Can I get some advice on this map design?

Well after getting frustrated with not having maps that fit the style of rp that I was looking for and avoiding rp_autistictown like the plague, I decided to just make my own map. I am trying to design a RP map for our server that we run and I wanted to know what you guys think about this layout. Although I have made a map before I am still relatively new to it. Since I am also coding a bunch of things for the server I might just end up getting someone to make this map for us, so we can get my idea out to the public

Now I do know about using portals and stuff so I tried to section off the map with bridges/caves for a smooth transition. Also I did take into account that this map would exceed the max map size so some of these areas will need to be layered on top of each other.
e.x.: The dam can easily be put underneath the city layer of the map.

What are some others things I can do for performance and play improvement. Also I need to make sure this map is not to big in file size. That is the number one thing that kills off large maps. Players refuse to download anything over a certain mb regardless of how good it is. I am also trying to make it a need to have cars but at the same time you can walk places.

Here is a list of the stuff we want in the map:

Policae station
government building
gas station

Fast food place


Clothing store
Movie theatre
Mechanic building
Fire Department


beach house

race track
farm area

Empty places to build a house
Factory Plants

Skybox for different weather
grocery store
Power plant

Here is the layout of the map: Click to see full image

Also ignore the name I can’t think of anything to call it right now.

The police station and prison being together naturally makes sense, but having the bank, prison, ghetto, and mayor office all together doesn’t. I’d keep the bank and mayor office in some upscale area of the map, not too far from the police station though.

I don’t know how your server works but on a general basis, the following places are generally either used strictly as gang hideouts or ignored entirely:

gas station
fast food place
day care
movie theater
grocery store

These are all ideal in a perfect town, but if you find yourself hitting space limits and need to drop a building or two, one of those would probably have the least impact.

Again generic squarevalley small town.

Pompous much? It’s his map for his server. We’ve all started somewhere.

Assuming your adding a customized dark rp gamemode, you should try to focus on jobs that are fun and useful.

He’s talking about mapping though…


I dislike the idea of areas seperated by roads/teleports. The roads and paths should be the map, with a coridoor and rooms being a microcosm of a street with houses.
It is good that you have planned out your map before jumping in, many don’t. I recommend making it from orange blocks, resist the urge to decorate just make the bare bones and have a wander around.

Ask yourself the following:
Is this the right dimensions - if the buildings are too small, streets to narrow and the areas to cramped it will have no immersion.
Are all these areas necissary, your map has a school being as large as a ghetto is that the right decision?
Can I get to where I want to be
Are the areas as easy to nagivate as I want them to be - eg a slum should be a warren, a main square should be a nexus from which you can easily go anywhere
Are there areas where people can be alone for illegal stuff
Are there areas where people naturally congregate for social/selling/protests etc
Are the areas correctly positioned relative to each other eg you dont want a police area between the ghetto and shops otherwise it will be a constant fire fight/conflict. Place the police close to areas you want to be nicer and more lawful.

General tip thing:
Further from the police station => more crime
Further from spawn => less people
Distance can be artifically increased by making winding paths or travelling where to don’t have line of sight (eg a sewer)
A straight path between places makes them well connected and “close” consider this a different metric by which to measure distance.
For Darkrp if you have people a big space with only a few entrances/exits + a good way to view people coming they will make a base there, to discourage bases provide such an area with prebuilt furniture/shelves or add extra windows/entrances.

You could make a luxury holiday resort with garages for custom cars, swimming pools, mirrors on the ceiling, onsuite bathrooms etc but if it is far from spawn it will be a ghost town.

[editline]7th July 2014[/editline]

consider it a balancing act between playability and immersiveness.

A map might be immersive with realistic distances but people will have to walk for ages to get somewhere and most of the map will be filled with carparks, huge roads and identical boring houses.

A map might be playable with social manipulation to get people to act and play as you expect them to and have fun but if they find a map alien and uncanny they will go to other playable maps.

Also consider intuitiveness and themes. If you see a wooden door which you can break open then see another identical wooden door which you can’t break you will question why, same with windows. If you see a big corridor and a smaller corridor you expect the big one to lead to more places or a more major place.

Try to have visual themes. The police/nice area should be visually different, more open, more modern, cleaner, brighter ie safer. The slum should be more run down, more litter and more places for people to hide. Even if people can’t use those hiding places or the windows are boarded up it will create that element of “they could be anywhere, they are watching me”.

Sounds are another useful thing for this.
Use sound and colour to tell people what an area is.
“ah red bricks, brown colour scheme and an metal grinding engine sound, this is the industrial area I can find myself a warehouse here”
“ah bird noises, green pallete this is nature I can find trees and stuff”
“ah dripping water noises, I must be in a sewer I can store my shit down here”

Sound is also an effective camouflage. A background soundscape with the occasional noise and drone ie a buzzing light and the occasional metal scraping sound/metal bang/vent noise/helicopter flyby noise will help to disguise player made noises.

Size and scale is a big thing for immersivity consider early rp maps with roads nobody really used, they were 128-256 units wide. You put a car on there and think, thats not a road its a footpath. Also building sizes, don’t be afraid to stray from the 128-256 convention. A room with height 192 gives you extra space to play with lights, it also makes building more realistically tall. Walk down the street and look at a building, the ground floor is usually 2-3 times taller than a human.

Experiment with layers also, everything is not flat, have streets on an incline, have terraces, have concrete platforms
In lots of major cities they have these trenches round houses

that area also gives players an extra space to do things.

How is it really square and small? Click on the image to get a better view of how the map actually is. I actually intended this map to be pretty huge. Also some of these areas will be overlapping on top of each other.

Thanks for all the information. I will probably let some people test it before I add in the buildings so I can see how big the map feels to everyone else. I honestly didn’t want to section off the whole town with nothing but streets, but without multi-core rendering I was worried about performance issues.

I’m in a similar situation as you since I am making a map for darkrp for the same reasons.

My only complaint is that your map may be too big. I guess it depends on how many players you have, but keep things like brush limits and general optimization in mind.

I also suggest you take a look at vmfs of popular rp maps. Look at the complexity of evocity (and it’s still) organized. Look at downtown maps for examples of what NOT to do.

I think your map can have a lot of areas cut out, areas like fields and beaches won’t have much activity on them, so you don’t need a lot of that. Make sure what you are making makes sense for dark rp (a school may be cool, but will it add to the experience).

I can see you want to make a large map, and that’s fine, but keep optimization a priority and beware of creating useless areas. EVERYTHING needs a purpose.

I wish you the best of luck.

I don’t know if it’s wise city planning to have a prison right across the street from a bank.

downtown is popular because its fun. Whats wrong with that?

When you look at the vmf, you will see that they are often horribly made. I have seen brushes stretching way out into the void for no reason, leaks, boxed skyboxes, lack of no draw, and a bunch of other things that indicate sloppy work.

Anyways, to the OP, I HIGHLY suggest you consult with your community to revise your map idea. The more I look at it, the more I realize that it’s not going to work. Its way too big and complex. What I suggest is to combine some areas. Perhaps you can combine the day care and school into one building. Try putting the prison under the police station. Empty neighborhood should be cut out entirely. Combine the shopping mall and grocery store, and put the gas station in the same area (have more than one gas station too). Try connecting the dam to the beach thing closer, and lead the sewer tunnels to the dam (like a sewer base). This will greatly increase player activity there. Place the church by the lake houses. Give serious consideration if the cave system will be worth the high brush count (and realistically, does a sewer system connecting to it makes sense?).

In its current state, the map is going to hit limits, and frankly is so big that there will be empty areas. Best of luck

And yet its one of the most popular maps, people enjoy playing it (I enjoy it).

For the darkrp crowd who don’t want cars it fits the bill pretty well.

The problem is it could have been made better behind the scenes. From that standpoint, it’s a failure, and serves a good lesson of how not to map.

Ironic considering how proud and pompous The_Pro was over it

I looked at his too. It wasn’t too bad, although it was not organized and had random textures out of the map. I saw no hint textures or area portals though, and on a map as complex as that, that’s just laziness. But he did know what he was doing, I give him that.

I was mainly referring to all them edits of downtown

In my opinion from the design, the buildings look pretty compact and the map is pretty big which could overwhelm some people. I’d space some things out and remove some things that you don’t require in the map. Or things you think people aren’t ever going to use. You say you have a community, ask them what they would like to see in the map. Trust me on this, if you have a happy players, you have happy owners.

Imagine an ghetto outbreak. They will have an easier way to defeat mayor. I would keep mayor office and bank away from it, and propably fire departament too. And i think hospital should be almost in the middle of this whole town (or city). Wish you luck at this project.

The layout looks promising and fun, if a little ambitious, though I’m certainly no expert in RP mechanics. Maybe try to condense what you can and cut areas you can live without like da space core suggested.

Also, oskutin does have a point; 90% of RP maps are chronicly plagued by being generic towns conveniently surrounded by cliffs connected by a bunch of gimmicks. It really breaks immersion, and honestly, your map is going to feel like white noise if you go in said direction. Granted, it is difficult to optimize RP maps any other way given how much of a backwards pitpicky piece of junk Source can be.

What you could try to remedy it is using other things to break up visibility between parts of the map where possible, like dense foliage backed with hidden brushes, buildings or other structures (rowhouses could look convincing), or maybe even compress select parts of the map to use the enterable buildings as visual terminators etc. Also, around the edges of the map, try to open up the “walls” and make a 3D skybox to look out to since there’s nothing expensive that needs blocking. It’ll add depth, believability, and give a little bit of eyecandy. rp_california sort of did it and it turned out fairly well IMO. Don’t be afraid to use the notorious “insurmountable waist-high fence” as a boundary indicator in these spots, either. Just try to make it look like a property line by extending it in other directions out of reach or something.

TL;DR try not to make your map look like a town built in a quarry.
I wish you luck with it.


The RP cousin of gm_bigshitty :v: