Ultiduo Acropolis, a collaboration between myself and Bereth.
This is my second attempt at a TF2 map (the previous being Ultiduo Sacred). Just like with Sacred I designed the alpha and roughly envisioned a theme which Bereth then brought to life with detailing and fleshing it out. This map was quite a bit of work for him due to the amount of displacements everywhere. We have an interesting work relationship where I'm like a screenwriter trying to convey to the film director how I want the movie to end up while he puts some of his own twists on things and tries to talk me out of some of my implausible or difficult ideas. In the end though I think the process creates a cool result that bears both our influence and we can take some pride in.
The map is a simple stone bridge next to/over a very deadly and tall cliffside set in a fantastical Greek-type location. The main inspirations for the theme are the backdrop of Nina Williams in Tekken 2 (Image 1, Image 2) as well as some exaggerated landscapes such as seen in the movie 300 (Image 3, Image 4). If anyone remembers those silly tf2 balloon_race maps the cliffs there were also on my mind when I was imagining the theme (though the scale on this map is not quite as immense).
The standard ultiduo map and balloo are excellent maps so, once again, I have no reason to make clones of them and would instead rather try something different and risky. Another guideline that I try to stick to is to keep things simple so that the focus in streamlined on the gameplay. Though I'm aware of a bunch of other maps that have this feature the main standout gimmick here is the death cliff. Usually a player gets forced off once or twice in and entire game as it's not that easy to blow people off when everyone is aware of it. That does, however, set up some interesting mind games as the threat of falling forces tense ammomod style battles over the point. On occasion there's a game with tons of falling which is pretty hilarious. I distinctly remember one time megaboy just kept throwing everyone off the cliff repeatedly. Another unusual decision was to go with mirror over rotational symmetry. Obviously this is less ideally balanced but I think, like on viaduct, this is interesting. Due to the large and open nature of the map Medic is extra strong here. Also the map is much fancier and prettier if you have your 3D skybox enabled (r_3dsky 1).
Going off the cliff edge should (in theory) trigger screaming from the characters. This is great when it works but there are two issues with it. First is that soldier has two screaming sounds--One is just that, appropriate screaming, while the other is him cursing Mersasmus for being a bad roommate which has no context and makes no sense. This is because the screaming was first released with a Halloween map where you could fall into a long 'bottomless' pit. The second issue is that there seems to be a cooldown with regard to characters' voices. Usually if you go off the edge it's because damage pushed you off and there was a corresponding pain yelp that your character produced which then means the trigger won't immediately activate its screaming voice line. Often times you can make it all the way down before the cooldown wears off. Sadly this means that overall the screaming trigger rarely works as intended, though people playing this seriously would kill bind as soon as they realize they're going down anyway.
Thanks again to Bereth for being awesome and working on my maps and a huge shoutout to the dozens of teammates, friends, and other people who have playtested this map over the months (almost years?) that it has been in development.
-First public release.
BZ2(for server owners)