Barium is classic bomb defusal map set around an old industrial harbour. It´s designed for 10 to 16 players.
Download and read reviews here:
I started designing this map by choosing a playstyle theme. This means that I choose to primarily design the map for medium range encounters. Once I had the base down I started to incorporate areas and routes for long range, and close range locations.
Starting out by focusing on one playstyle theme and really creating a solid base. And then incorporate close and long range options to cater to a wider player base worked great for me, and really gave the map a unique feel.
I started designing the map from the point of view of the attacking team, because it´s the team that will move around the map the most. The defending team is more static and only really move later in the match to rotate and flank the other team.
Next step was to draw out the main paths, basically the routes both teams take to reach the chokepoints and/or objectives in this case bombsites. Based on old classical counter strike maps I knew that having 2-4 main paths worked great, the more main paths you have the more complex the map gets, and the harder it gets to design a good map.
I designed all my chokepoints to be very different. I wanted them to cater to as many playingstyles as possible.
I did this by working with narrow chokepoints like these ones on bombsite B, offering both medium range play as well as close range play from certain angles.
I built wide chokepoints. Like this one leading into bombsite A, offering good medium range locations as well as long range sniper locations.
Throughout the development of this map I playtested it as much as possible. This meant showing it to fellow level design students, having friends play it, and testing it regularly with experienced mapcore members.
By doing this I received a lot of good feedback, both visual and gameplay related.
Some of the feedback I received and fixed were:
Certain positions were players could stand and only have their head show up above a box, and still be able to shoot. I blocked these with small objects.
If in the future I would go back to this map and continue working. I would work on visually differentiating the different parts of the map to allow for easier navigation.
I would work and playtest more with focal points/interesting silhouettes as well as lightning to guide the player in a natural and non obtrusive way.
Conclusion, what I´ve learned
*Complexity of ones map-routes are crucial. You want to offer enough routes to allow for tactical gameplay and improve replayability. And simple enough to grasp quickly as to not discourage new players.
*Designing the map to cater to a wide range of playing styles is beneficial.
*Risk vs reward routes/options creates and extra flair and tension to the map as well as adding a layer of tactical choices.
*Timing is everything in a Counter Strike map, I learned to work with both positive and negative space to achieve a more strategical map layout where timing is key.