I’ve been playing through some older custom maps to prune out the good ones. I came across a cluster of weird, hard, or just plain bad maps. Here are the hard ones. Basically by “unreasonably hard,” I mean that a group of 2-4 players can die around 10 times before you can even think of getting to the next part of the map. Right, because not everyone has a server with 10+ players on it 24/7. Oh, and I wouldn’t say this is a good list to be on; you have to be a pretty bad mapper to go overkill…
5. Crood Co-op (croodcoop) by Headz
Immediately you’re greeted in spawn with a mouthful of bullets by a turret. You go from block to block in the map sweeping up monster “cells” where a bunch of random medium-difficulty monsters are clustered together randomly. Maybe the structure of the map was an interesting idea but the combat is just lazy. Granted it’s not too difficult, but you’ll get used to dying over and over with a small crew.
4. Little Problem (sc_littleproblem) by Zorak
There’s seldom any reason to make a cramped map for servers who host “a great amount of players” as the mapper has it. Usually those maps are reserved for small groups. So which is it? You can’t make your cake and eat it, too. Basically packing a bunch of Houndeyes and Alien Slaves in small corridors is the best way to gib players over and over.
3. Military Strike (MilitaryStrike_beta2) by cyberdaemon
If this map was somewhat small it wouldn’t really be a big deal. But because the spawn area scenario is replayed over and over in various ways throughout the map, you’ll get worn down unless you have an army of players to take these grunts on. The combat and monster placement of this map is a little more sensible, sure, but more overwhelming because they are military NPCs and not semi-melee or one-shot monsters like in the previous maps.
2. Insertion (insertion2 through 4) by Mr_InSaNe
As interesting as the setting is for this map, players appear to focus solely on the combat, and for good reason: you’re constantly under fire from NPCs that just won’t die, and if they do die there are squads more to come. Not to mention the ridiculous traps placed all over the maps. If you’re making a map you don’t put traps in the only pathway or any most obvious pathways. That’s not clever and it doesn’t make your map interesting, just annoying. Most of the monsters are either presented in large, seemingly never ending squads or have large amounts of health. Did I mention there are sharks that crawl on land and ravage you?
1. Too Hard Map (TooHardMap1 through 3) by Verbator
As though the name didn’t give it away already. The question to ask here is “why?” Why go through the trouble of making a map that obviously is too hard? As though players are going to look at the name and expect an enjoyable map. Basically it’s Crood Co-op and Little Problem’s lazy monster placement combined with Insertion’s insane combat and gameplay, except there is no visual development so you’ll die over and over and have to look at boring, boxy rooms or ugly exteriors.
I think the lesson is: please beta test your maps with other people and get their input on how difficult it is. You won’t do much in the public eye if you’re dead set on being “that guy who makes shitty maps.”