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|By request of Kai: A look at Glowstars Colorstage||Locked|
|Sep 13 2019 Anchor|
Hello once again,
on the last Padday, Kai asked me to do a post similar to my last, except on the Colorstage. The map where your FPS drop from 125 to 60 when you dare to look diagonally across it.
The flaws I pointed out on Harms Hütte came from playing the map against players on my skill level or better in the way FFA is meant to be played, as well as in duel situations with select friends, when we were playing anyway. I usually don't play CTL with these same friends. As such, I haven't tried to do very well on Colorstage and have mostly played it in a casual way. I will try to compensate for this lack of experience on this map by following generally applicable rules to WoP and Q3 maps that I have learned by playing these games. Everything said is just my opinion and you are welcome to point out where I am wrong.
On CTF and CTL maps in general:
Most CTL/CTF maps share a similar design: Two bases with items that a defending player should have quick access to, and a middle with some additional items that they can try to obtain before attacking the enemy base. However as the enemy team is trying to do the same thing, the middle is a meeting point where meaningless fights are sometimes carried out, resulting in one party dying and in the other party returning to base to resupply or attempting an attack with half a health bar and dying horribly because of it (A good example in another game of this is ctf_2fort in Team Fortress 2. While popular with snipers, the mid is completely meaningless and if they don't have a medic with them, stops many attacks short).
Mid-fights, as entertaining as they are, cause CTL/CTF maps to stalemate. Even worse, if there is only one way leading to this middle from each base, and bonus horribleness points if that one way is tight (looking at you, CybJourney...). I like to call these tight routes choke points and they are a staple of poor CTL map design. The bases are usually where the interesting and important battles are carried out. If the design of the base is interesting to play (a single base should feel like a complete small FFA map, at best), there is very little that can go wrong. As I said, there should be more than one entry, to avoid choke points and increase the players' options. Furthermore, it is important that defenders actually spawn where the lolly / the flag is at, and that this location is visible and can be attacked from many points inside the base. If a map gets this wrong, the location of the lolly can be completely taken over by the enemy team. If essential resources are just next to the lolly (like the Padshield next to the Lolly on PadBox) and this happens, retaking the own base becomes so hard, it is easier to just take over the enemy base instead. This again, while entertaining, leads to stalemates.
So in short: A good conventional CTL map has two bases which both are fun to fight in and have an exposed location for the lolly so that stealing it is a challenge and an attacker does not wish to stay in the base longer than necessary. In my experience, this leads to the most intense matches where a wild chase after the carrier starts as soon as he has grabbed the lolly. Attackers need to have more than one way to attack (and run away) to encourage creative play and get rid of the choke point menace.
With all of this said, let's talk about the Colorstage:
This map gets a lot right. I will call the outermost platforms close to the lolly "outer" and the inner two, which have jump pads to get to the enemy base the "inner". As the map is mirrored, it doesn't matter which outer or inner I am talking about.
First of all, there is no middle area that you can walk around in. GOOD. This means that every engagement with an enemy player happens in one of the bases, making them way more meaningful. You actually feel like you lost the attack if you die on enemy territory, and you actually feel like you helped the team when you kill somebody. The one power-up the map has (Revival) is suspended in the air between the two inner platforms and reachable from each side with a jump pad. Good. That way, no two people with the same power-up should meet.
Secondly, there are three ways to attack the enemy base, with three respective jump-pads.
The one on the middle, while giving you revival (if it is there), will bring you to the lower level of the enemy inner platform, which will slow down your attack. The ones on the sides both lead to the upper level of the enemy inner platform, which for the one on the right means a very quick attack as you can bounce on to the lolly (Assume a red player following the arrows I added to the screenshots).
The route on the left is slower, but still faster than taking the middle jump-pad. At least you also get to the outer platform very quickly, where you will have to walk along for a while. As there is a glass barrier that you need to jump around. The good news is that most players don't expect you to go this way.
There is not much to say about the outer platforms themselves. Each of them has two health stations right next to each other (in the middle) and Bubble G and Splasher, left and right, respectively, though you will rarely see anybody with a Bubble G who has not spawned on that particular part of the outer platform. Players spawn even right next to the lolly, so an enemy team will have trouble taking over this lolly base permanently. Good.
I really like how the routes that lead to the inner platform from the outer platform are not the same as in the opposite direction. This means that oftentimes, the attacker will take a different route for their escape after stealing the lolly.
Finally, let's talk about the inner platforms:
In the very middle on the upper floor, there is a PadShield, quickly reachable from the lower level by the teleporter (about which I will also say something soon). Pumper and Betty are set up so that the left (slower) attack route gives you the Betty, which is, arguably, the stronger of the two. I couldn't manage to get the Betty and jump past the glass panel, as I described above, which in my opinion, if intentional, was good balancing, as it slows down the attacker who is picking up more firepower along the way. The right attack route only gives you a pumper, which is a good weapon for the unprepared attacker to pick up before going in.
I am always slightly annoyed that the teleporter has two sides, and entering the teleporter below the pumper will teleport you right next to the Betty (facing away from it as well, causing a new player to walk straight past), while entering below the Betty will teleport you straight to the Pumper (at least facing it so you can pick it up...)
If there is a difference, make it two teleporters visually as well, please.
That is all I have to say about particular areas of the map.
It of course has the issue that playing against a determined Splasher player may lead to some surprising deaths, as you are forced to take quite long jumppad routes, but since CTL is not played 1v1, but instead at least 3v3 or 4v4, I did not feel like this was a pressing issue. If you die on one route, you just take another. And as your whole team is doing the same thing, somebody is bound to get past that Splasher. As dying doesn't give the enemy team points, it isn't that bad to die in this game mode either. The map designer also tried to limit the reach of the splasher by putting up some glass barriers and pillars, which help out a lot. Much appreciated.
I forgot to mention that for the inventive player, there is another option to cross into enemy territory, which I haven't found much use for:
With a Betty or Pumper Jump you can get onto the beam visible in the picture and walk over another beam, jump over both Padsymbols onto the enemy inner platform's beam. This is the slowest option to attack, costs HP to pull off even if you don't meet anybody and is easy to counter. At best, it is a surprise plan. But options like this make a map entertaining, and elongate the time I can spend with it without getting bored.
I haven't mentioned the BamBams because there is nothing wrong with them on this map. They can not be placed on the beams and pillars as far as I could tell, and in an open map such as this, they are mostly harmless.
When I was younger I disliked this map because it would slow down my game to even fewer FPS (the computer I used at the time was JUST able to run WoP at all), and that will remain my biggest issue with it: It performs poorly, even on more modern hardware.
That is all.
Edit: Improved on grammar and wording.
Edited by: blu132
|Sep 16 2019 Anchor|
Wow! Nice review! Would be nice if we could see more of it in the future ;-)
I never recognized that the teleporter have different entries o.O
Best regards/Liebe Grüße,
Play more Spray your Color!
|Sep 16 2019 Anchor|
Very detailed review of this map! I know some players that don't like it though as when there are only a few players, there are some incredibly short ways to the bases if you include weapon jumps and if you are quick enough and hide well enough, you can capture several very quickly. I only find this map good with many players, though it is one of the best for this.
This is a bit unrelated as it is another map, but as blu mentions padjourney as having a bit of a weak point, I would say padcrashctl is probably the worst in terms of having such a short cut to the lolly.
Using weapon jump after you go through the teleporter and then on the roof can get you from lolly to lolly in 8 seconds, resulting in being able to capture it in under 20 seconds.
I know it doesn't match the threat title, but wasn't sure if it was worth creating a new thread.
I think colorstage suffers a similar issue to this map though when played in instapad, the weapon jump just takes over there. And with team mates working with you (shooting you along) help out, you can sometimes capture it in next to no time too. That may be the point of team mates, but on other maps, it seems more of a challenge.
|Nov 25 2019 Anchor|
I need to say that I am sorry for replying so late to this fantastic review. Somehow I recognized this posting to late. You can use the "@name" mention to highlight the posting for me. Or you can send me a private message here. I will recognize it much easier. I want to thank you for putting so much effort and I really value your review. I think that the some of the routes you mentioned were never intended by GlowStar to be used by the player. I especially think about the weapon or strafe jumping from the upper platform to the lolly or between the glass and the wall. Try to judge the gameplay on this map without those possibilities, would you still like it? Otherwise I would cut it off.
Regarding changes of maps I need to say that I have access to the map sources of all mappers except ENTE's maps. He never shared his source files with the team, so I cannot make fixes there. For all the other maps I can and I have the permission for this. But I think this is limited to fixes and smaller changes to improve the game play, but this could also include a solution for the teleporter irritation on GlowStar's ColorStage. The frame drop of this map is not surprising, since it as an very open map with a lot of brushwork always visible. That's a lack of too big maps (also like TrashMap). The idTech3-Engine rendering optimization is simply not working since there are no walls to hide the detailed brushwork behind.
Regarding map reviews, I want more of this. I need to gather this a little and also would appreciate if others could join to give also their feedback. Please make a new posting for every single map to keep the discussions separate. It is much easier for me to follow. Regarding CybJourney I also started directly after patch 1.6 to work on a solution for the middle door disaster. I wanted to add at least 2 additional paths there to surround the middle. I simply could not finish this. But if there is more stuff to fix it is worth to do it and to release it as a WoP 1.6.1 patch or something like that. So keep on the good review work because the Community can have an impact here to better the game play. I am able to do fixes like that. It simply needs some time.
Edited by: Kai-Li
|Jan 28 2020 Anchor|
sorry for taking a while. As far as I am concerned the teleporter is the only thing to definitely fix. However Ben_the_PadKing is probably the guy to ask about map exploits. I personally wouldn't fix issues that arise from playing InstaPad as it is kind of a wacky game mode to begin with, so arguably, minor map exploits there are more like additional features. A map that needs fixing certainly way more than the colorstage is Harms Hütte.
Edited by: blu132
|Feb 10 2020 Anchor|
Hi @blu132, thank you! I will see what I can do.
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