Balance in Maps

So you get into a new game you just bought a week late after it was released and you can’t help but notice that you’re getting demolished on one side no matter what… And surely at the end of the game you’re a little salty, write ‘bg’, throw some hackusations around and pray that you can get on the other team next game…

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In the Beta version this map sucked. It looks beautiful, I had a crazy amount of fun on it, but if you were the rebels you’d pretty much lost the match from the very beginning…

Games like League of Legends and DOTA2 have been able to find a perfect balance in their maps by making it almost completely symmetrical giving both teams the exact same advantages and disadvantages stage-wise.680x382x5-20140901015707phpstcnfd

Counter Strike on the other hand… really sucks at this

The amount of maps that are made that are completely one sided is crazy. To the point where only a few maps are actually played in the professional league and others are hardly touched by any players who aren’t on to muck around with mates.

Old 1.6 maps that have made GO like office and Assault are so incredibly T sided that people literally disconnect if they don’t /get put on the T side. They’ll cop that 30 minute cooldown just to avoid a guaranteed loss.

So my plan is to attempt at creating a balanced CSGO map designed for competitive 5v5 defusal game play. Including largely used parts in other maps, ie; long, short, mid, connector and squeaky, which will allow for easier callouts in game, call for a larger amount of strat usage and gamesense, and also allow for fast and even punishable rotations.

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This poorly drawn “blueprint” 🙂 shows the map design I have come up with with integrates all the map parts I talked about earlier. Using the CS:GO SDK tool and the Hammer world editor I hope that I will be able to construct, scale and texture this map to be uploaded to the Steam Workshop.

5 thoughts on “Balance in Maps

  1. Hey Jase,
    When you play a multiplayer game, it always seem that the most interesting maps do seem to favour certain players and make all the other players scream ‘bullshit!’ and demand that a more fair map be chosen. This seems to happen in Smash Bros, where certain maps are banned in competitive play due to the potential for ‘camping’ or even just too many unpredictable stage elements. http://supersmashbros.wikia.com/wiki/Banned_stage
    This list actually has some stages I quite like, but I am REALLY not the competition/tournament player. So, it does raise the point of different ways of play.
    I know that you are a competitive CS:GO player and so would know all the techniques that would help you to win, whether they are fair or unfair, and you would be quite skilled at this game, so an unbalanced map would soon show its true colours and would truly be unfair because one side (like you say) would always win through exploiting the map.
    Whereas me playing Smash Bros, since I am not good at it, it does not really matter to me if the stage is ‘unfair’ because, let’s be honest, I wouldn’t win even if it WAS fair. I am more interested in an interesting and fun stage.
    So, I guess what I am saying is: is it possible to make a stage that is both fair AND fun? Some of the images of ‘fair’ stages that you show do look symmetrical and fair, but to me look a little dull. Perhaps the challenge you can set for yourself is making an enjoyable AND fair stage

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  2. Hey Jase, your blueprint map looks really good after your presentation today I am a big fan of the short “squeaky” route where you can attempt to get around the other team however you risk the door creaking too loudly and being heard. I think thats such a good idea. Im keen for you to get a prototype up and running even if its really rough would love to have a run through of it. Keep up the good work

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  3. This idea is really fascinating, as you’ve opted to mod a game rather than make one, which in many ways is a greater challenge than making a game from scratch. Although I haven’t played CS: GO, I’m keen to see whether your final product amounts to what you had hoped in terms of balance.

    I believe the reason many maps in modern game releases are unbalanced, is due to the fact that players are now the play-testers, and issues with balance are discovered in the first few weeks after the game’s release, rather than by employed play-testers before release.

    Your blueprints seem to be quite comprehensive for this stage of development, and I look forward to seeing how you iterate them over the coming days.

    In my research for a previous blog post on “fair play” in my own game, I came across this website which might be of use to you. Many of the same principles can be applied to your project: http://www.sirlin.net/articles/balancing-multiplayer-games-part-1-definitions

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  4. Hey Jase,

    This is really interesting to me as I am not an excessive gamer (I have dabbled here and there) that the technical aspect of the maps can make a great difference. When I was reading Michael Nitsche’s article Video Game Spaces (https://mitpress.mit.edu/sites/default/files/titles/content/9780262141017_sch_0001.pdf), I kept thinking about what you explained in your presentation. Nitsche explained that space is a very important element of the experience and also a very challenging one. I couldn’t think of anything more frustrating than a technical element of the spatial structure of a game leading you to loose/ not be able to advance. I wonder if you will come across much difficulty when making your game, maybe then will be able to understand why some games are made like they are with bad mapping.

    Look forward to seeing your development!!

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  5. Hey Jase,

    Your blueprint looks good. From what I can see both sides have a balanced distance from the objectics, which is good in the play mode your after.

    I think you should have a look at https://www.reddit.com/r/Overwatch/comments/3h4ouo/maps_layout/ this particular person has made 3D models of at least three of the Overwatch maps. I think it could help your research when it comes to looking at what works and what doesn’t.

    I’m looking forward to seeing it completed.

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