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Old 06-30-2011, 08:55 AM   #1
AfterShock
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Competitive CTF Mapping Guidelines



Here's some basic guidelines which I believe to be true. Most of these rules may be obvious to many people who have played lots of CTF, as a lot of CTF maps follow similar patterns.

However, I think pretty much every CTF map that exists in FF breaks at least 1 of these rules, and I believe every single one would be better if it didn't. So I didnt exactly describe what exists already, although the majority of (decent) CTF maps follow the majority of the rules.

I don't see any reason why any of these rules should be broken. I consider them fundamental to making a decent competitive CTF map. There's still a massive scope for creativity and originality within these guidelines however.

NOTE: This is only for competitive 4v4 / 8v8 clanstyle / pickup play, this is not intended to produce pub-friendly gameplay.


In text format, since the picture will eventually be deleted no doubt:

  1. A basic CTF map consists of 5 open areas connected with tunnels / corridors / routes / choke points. I'll call these 2x Flag Room, 2x Ramp room and 1x Midmap
  2. The flag room and ramp room should both be big and open, with room to conc, and plenty of spaces for SGs. Multiple levels (vertically), balconies, and lots of ramps add to the gameplay depth of these areas.
  3. The flag itself should be positioned such that it's not possible (or at least, not simple) to conc in and out of the flag room with 1 conc, if the flag is at it's base position. It should require at least 1 throw to allow homerun concs. Good examples are sd2, destroy, roasted, bases, 2fort, schtop. Maps that suffer from lack of this include aardvark and monkey.
  4. There should be at least 2 but at most 3 entrances to the flag room. 2 is generally optimal and is a safe bet. 3 is risky but can be used if either (a) 1 route is very difficult or easily defended (e.g. sd2 lift), or easily defended alongside another entrance (e.g. monkey pit). Maps that suffer from lack of this include openfire (3 open entrances) and phantom (2 open entrances and 1 undefendable entrance).
  5. Routes between the ramp room and the flag room should be choke points. This means they shouldnt be wide open areas and should be defendable. They also shouldnt have line of sight between the flag room and the ramp room, to prevent spam and overpowered concing. The routes should be just long enough for front line defenders to give incoming warning, and prevent flag room spam from hitting front line defenders who backtrack a little to follow attackers. Maps that suffer from lack of good choke points include schtop (fd spam from switch, can conc from fd to flag, very little time to warn flag room of incomings, switch and ramp defenders constantly getting hit by flag room defenders)
  6. Spawns should always be in the "ramp room". This means generally in front of all the defense, so attackers never meet the same defender they just killed. It also allows some flag defense inside the ramp room, but this should be unsustainable.
  7. There should always be at least 2 base entrances, preferably 3. If running with 3, one should be a longer route which enters further into the base than the other 2 (but still enters in the ramp room) (e.g. tram route sd2). having only 2 base entrances is dangerous and leads to front door defense / front door spam, e.g. schtop (when sec is up) and monkey (both criminal because only 2 entrances, and 1 is very slow!)
  8. Routes into the base from the midmap should intertwine and criss cross in the ramp room. Players should not be locked into one route when they enter the base, but the choice of route on entering the base should still have an effect on the choice of route into the flag room (e.g. sd2, monkey, 2fort)

Some more advanced guidelines

  1. Ensure that defenders can easily clear the flag room when they return after chasing a flag. There is nothing worse than attackers taking over your flag room for extended periods of time. This means:
    1. Dont allow attackers to gain massive height advantage and potshot engineers / demos as they come back
    2. Limit the number of hiding places in the flag room. Forcing defenders to check behind 10 different pillars every time they return is not fun.
    3. Don't put resupply bags in the flag room which the offy can use to stock up.
  2. The flag room should be easier to defend than the other forward defensive positions
    1. Offense dying constantly on the front line is pretty boring. It's much better to get a good influx into the flag room.
    2. It also prevents one route being owned by a single defender (e.g. sd2 ramp)
    3. This also means as the flag is progressed out of the base, it becomes easier to move rather than harder. (Some maps are counter intuitive where it's better to take the flag backwards and wait for a super conc out with it)
  3. The map should encourage fairly staggered flag movement. That is, it shouldnt be easy to homerun, the flag should move steadily out of the base with multiple throws and variation in defense positions.
  4. Ensure common SG positions are in range of the entrances and exits. It's generally bad if medics are just standing in a doorway nailing your SG because it's out of range. This rule generally puts a limit on the size of rooms, especially the flag room, and in general the line of sight distances.

Last edited by AfterShock; 08-02-2012 at 12:27 AM.
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Old 06-30-2011, 09:51 AM   #2
moosh
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This is very, very useful Shok. I've been thinking about making a comp CTF map, but I never really had an idea how the layout should work. Awesome guide. Thanks!
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Old 06-30-2011, 11:18 AM   #3
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made sticky
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Old 06-30-2011, 01:03 PM   #4
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Very nice, these are good guidelines to follow.
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