Map Theme Artpass Difficulty

Discussion in 'Maps' started by Moonrat, Nov 28, 2015.

  1. Moonrat

    Moonrat Noob

    So, what themes are the easiest, and what themes are the hardest to create? Well let's dive in some!

    Difficulty will be rated on a 1-5 scale. These ratings are subjective, and not necessarily indicative of each map, some bigger maps and others combining themes can be harder to detail. This should be taken lightly as a general assessment of difficulty.

    This Google Spreadsheet can be a good reference to see what maps are in certain themes in TF2:

    1. Mines (2)

    Mines are something rather common in TF2's setting. The theme often consist of mostly wooden structures and caves which have rails and supports throughout them. The main difficulties in making a convincing mine is 2 things. One is making the area look run-down, as a mine would not be the cleanest place. The other difficulty is displacements. You might be in man-made caves, but there is still going to be a lot of rocky walls surrounding you.

    Advantages of the Mines theme
    - Extremely versatile, there is few places where a mine isn't realistic. You can ship just about any theme with Mines, and it still works.
    - Very good for RED, as most of the buildings are natural wood and warm colors.

    Disadvantages of the Mines theme
    - A high level of displacements
    - While it's great for RED, BLU suffers from it lacking in their cooler colors.

    Some example maps that use Mines well
    - Dustbowl
    - Ravine
    - Gravel Pit


    2. Farmland (1)

    Farmland sounds more difficult then it is. TF2 loves it's facades, and Granary gives us an extensive set of Farm props and such to use. Expect rooms filled with grain and hay, and lots of wood with some occasional sheet metal to break things up. This theme is very easy to create for two reasons. For one, you don't need complex brushwork unlike the Mines theme. Two is that it's flat. If you are bad a displacements, that is a godsend.

    Advantages of the Farmland theme
    - It's very flat, meaning you need minimal displacement work.
    - A ton of props to use with it, and a lot of great textures.

    Disadvantages of the Farmland theme
    - Also relies a lot on wood, but you can use metal and concrete at points.
    - Meshes poorly with any themes outside of flat grasslands.

    Some examples maps that use Farmland well
    - Granary
    - 2Fort


    I'll continue this guide in later post, as there is a character limit on this forum
  2. Moonrat

    Moonrat Noob

    Let's get 2 more out of the way!

    3. Industrial (2-3)

    The difficulty of this theme is all about how heavy you apply it to your map. If you go lightly, it's easy, but if you go hardcore, then you might have some trouble. Industrial areas are places of work, factories, warehouses, all that jazz. Yet another theme that perfectly meshes with TF2's gameplay-story integration. Think big metal buildings, with lots of concrete and some bricks. Wood may make an appearance, but don't expect a lot of it.

    Advantages of the Industrial theme
    - Has pretty much no displacements near it, paving over ground with concrete.
    - A big selection of props and materials.
    - Goes well with TF2's narrative.
    - Fantastic with night maps.

    Disadvantages of the Industrial theme
    - Pretty monochromatic, with a lot of it's textures being gray and brown.
    - Doesn't go well with nature themes, mostly paving over and avoiding them.

    Some example maps that use Industrial well
    - Well
    - Foundry (Not in TF2C)
    - Dustbowl (Third Stage)


    4. Clean Industrial (2)

    Think Gorge styled, with mostly clean buildings and a lack of clutter. Goes much better with nature due to it's much smaller ring of encroachment than it's dirtier brother. This theme deals heavy in a clean setting, mostly featuring concrete, tiles, and high visible team identification. Most buildings in this style are flat, with a band of team color going around them. Buildings here can get a bit too samey, so make sure to break it up at points. Gorge for example uses a special building with team colored concrete and a plastic texture broken up by a small amount of white concrete.

    Advantages of the Clean Industrial theme
    - Goes much better with nature, and often allows dirt and such to go through it.
    - Stupidly easy player and team identification, with it's white walls and heavy handed dealing in team colors.
    - Easy to make look good due it it's minimalistic design.
    - Is very versatile with themes, and can be inserted just about anywhere effectively.

    Disadvantages of the Clean Industrial theme
    - Needs displacement work once more.
    - Can be oversaturated, make sure to break up the standard design of buildings.

    Some example maps that use Clean Industrial well
    - Gorge
    - Ferrum (

  3. onefourth

    onefourth Achievement Hunter Staff Member TF2C Admin

    one theme we've been reaching into is urban/city
  4. Moonrat

    Moonrat Noob

    @OneFourth I was planning on covering both Urbans (Mannhattan's American take and King's Soho version) in the next post
  5. Moonrat

    Moonrat Noob

    Alright, let's knock two more out of the way!

    5. Urban American (3)

    American cities, the pinnacle of freedom. Tall buildings with various items on their sides. Bricks and concrete will be seeing extensive appearances here. Expect advertisements to appear a lot as well. TF2 has a lot of materials which will go well into a city setting, so expect a decent variety of props and textures to use in your city.

    Advantages of the Urban American theme
    - Has a good variety of things that are not directly city related, but fit into one none the less.
    - Complements TF2's spytech narrative well.
    - Avoid displacements the same as industrial.

    Disadvantages of the Urban American theme
    - Doesn't have a lot of props that directly correlate to a city setting.
    - Can end up monochromatic as well.
    - Troublesome to make skyboxes for, as there is next to no props for city skyboxes.

    Some example maps that use Urban American well
    - Wiseau
    - Mannhattan (Not in TF2C)


    6. Urban Soho (5)

    Chinese cities, the pinnacle of tears. You will cry if you try to make a map look good in this design. Sure, it looks good, but holy fuck. This theme will rip your fingers clean, and lick up the blood. A ton of complex designed buildings, with tons of different textures and models running through them. Also a lot of small streets and other thing running through it. Tall buildings with air conditioners poking out of a lot of windows, and signs going off of them. If you ever want to make a map in this theme, get some friends or other help, you'll regret it if you don't.

    Advantages of the Urban Soho theme
    - Very pretty when done well.
    - Has a lot of props and textures specifically for it thanks to King.
    - Also fits in TF2's spytech narrative well.
    - A lot of team colors on it's various props, helping team identification \.

    Disadvantages of the Urban Soho theme
    - Will cause you to reach the limits of your abilities.

    Some example map that use Urban Soho well
    - King (Not in TF2C)
    - Urban Brook (

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice