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Sandbox map

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Poll: Sandbox map poll: (24 member(s) have cast votes)

Which sandbox map would you rather play on?

  1. gm_flatgrass (1 votes [4.17%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.17%

  2. A custom map with a large flat open area & water (8 votes [33.33%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 33.33%

  3. I want more map features than just flatgrass & water. (14 votes [58.33%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 58.33%

  4. Something else (specify in a post) (1 votes [4.17%] - View)

    Percentage of vote: 4.17%

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#1 Pandaboy


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Posted 20 April 2014 - 21:56

As most of you know, I've been pushing to get a LDT sandbox server we can all enjoy.

There was some talk about having a custom sandbox map for the server, and there's always a risk of it staying as just talk if someone doesn't start working on it :P


With that said, here's some info about the map I started working on:

Here's basically what the map looks like. 60% of the map is covered by grass, with a natural transition to water. The concrete square in the images is a temporary spawn that could evolve into something more useful.


This is an early WIP. posting it here because..

Hmmm I think we should work with more people together to produce a map that is more than just flatgrass with water.


I agree with psycix on this!

It would be great if other LDT mappers would like to collaborate :).

There's been suggestions in the Sandbox topic about having a secondary underground area, and a LDT corner. And of course a good building at the spawn.


Is anyone interested in collaborating with making those things and/or are there suggestions what you'd like to see in a sandbox map?

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#2 user


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Posted 20 April 2014 - 22:19

They way you're going with it right now is pretty much perfect- big open map with land and water.

#3 Eclipse


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    Regular User

Posted 20 April 2014 - 22:50

Well, if you want it to be just an ldt player base server, go ahead, but if there is even a possibility of trying to get anyone new to join, I don't see how a custom map will help that :v

#4 Pandaboy


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Posted 20 April 2014 - 23:48

That's why I've kept the map as simple and as similar to gm_flatgrass as possible, since that's what most sandbox players want, and having too many pre-created areas discourages building.


However, the lack of water in flatgrass really limits what you can build. Okay, you can technically build boats/submarines. but you can't take them for a ride.


Personally I don't think an underground area is necessarily needed, but it's not like anyone can complain about a small extra area under the map. 

That's where most "mixed areas" building maps fail imo. There's so much crammed into the same place that it completely breaks the multiplayer experience. You should be able to find anyone by just looking around after spawning. In my eyes it's equally interesting to watch others build as it is building my own stuff.









Simple sandbox maps are the best, but flatgrass has no water so you can't make boats/submarines. And underground area isn't necessary, but it won't interfere with the rest of the map so it can't hurt to have one, providing it doesn't take over.




But as Eclipse said, a lot of people won't even bother joining servers with custom maps. But since LDT already has a huge player base that might not be a problem. If it is, then changing the map isn't that hard (if you guys even want this in the first place ;p)

#5 microlander


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  • Steam:microlander

Posted 21 April 2014 - 12:11

i want a sand box server to build cars and buildings etc :P or and Rainbow UFO :OOO


#6 Psycix


  • 11,431 posts


Posted 21 April 2014 - 12:36

I think we should make a list of features that we want.



-Large flat open area.

-Large body of water.


Ideas that we could add:


-Mountenous / hilly / forest area (possibly with dirt racetrack)

-River / waterfall / water racetrack

-Surf/bhop/climb areas

-Town area

-Underground rooms / bunker / caves

-Underwater stuff to explore + underwater caves 

-Stunt area with ramps

-Glacier / snow / slide hill with ice material

-Color room

-Dark room

-Mirror room

-Zero gravity room / space room


I think we can make the racetrack particulary interesting by essentially making it multiple racetracks in one. It would consist of many different sections, and a controlpanel allows you to change the barricades, opening up different sections.

This could be done with IO, but perhaps a lua script is easier. (If you want to enforce a track without dead ends or blockades.)



There is plenty of room for all this AND a full-size flatgrass, if we can shave off a little bit of height.

If you don't need any height you can have like 8 flatgrasses stacked on top of eachother in one map.


Although airplanes and stuff will need a lot of vertical space, having just as much vertical as horizontal has always felt weird to me. Being too high up makes the map feel boxed and small. I think we can easily do with 75% height or less on the main flatgrass area.


#7 yagwog


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    fucking degenerate i'll post when i want fam ldt is shit sti

Posted 21 April 2014 - 13:16

I smell a multi mapping gather

my response to vaping being "cool" tbh fam


"stimulates the same circuitry that was simulated when u sucked on ur mommas titty


#8 Pandaboy


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Posted 22 April 2014 - 03:35

Psy, most of the features you listed are things that players can build themselves in sandbox, or settings you can change with tools (anti-gravity, ice, etc) :P

As Eclipsed mentioned, adding too much will make it an LDT-only server, and discourage new people. Even people from LDT would probably lose interest after a while as well.

It's kind of like.. what would be the reason to play a pokémon game if you started out with the pokédex filled and had your PC full of level 100 pokémon? Basically, everything that the mapper creates are things that the players won't bother with, so everything that is created will further decrease interest in the game mode. Make a town in hammer editor, and people who like to build structures won't join. Make a race-track in hammer, and that will be the only track people race on, etc.. People will get bored.

(also, players rarely want/need terrain to play on, but when someone gets the urge, the 3d skybox provides a nice hill landscape.)


Some of the things you listed are hard to make in sandbox though:

Underground area - I've already built a tunnel leading underground from the main area, but there's not much down there atm :3.

I suggest to make it into a smaller building area where people don't have to deal with the above-world chaos :P

Caves & Underwater caves - this isn't really about building, but about exploring an unknown world. if you build it yourself you'll know it all by heart, so I can understand why this would be made in hammer. I actually made some research in how to make underwater caves in hammer, and it could be pretty awesome, but a looooot of work to make it really feel underwater, since underwater life is pretty complex.


What would be really awesome though, is that all areas could be connected.

flatgrass area <-> underground tunnel <-> underground area <-> cave <-> cave river <-> waterfall <-> underwater cave <-> underwater cave exit <-> flatwater area <-> beach <-> flatgrass area




Yep, there's plenty of room. 50-55% skybox height is enough for planes, that's about 350 meters. then the 3d skybox takes up some vertical space... but yeah, room is not an issue. But we should make sure that what's added actually serves a purpose in sandbox and doesn't discourage general sandbox gameplay.

#9 Max


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    I like rusty stuff

Posted 22 April 2014 - 07:18

Tbh, big city build & destruction servers have been the most fun sandbox servers for me so far. Build something and actually battle with it.

While doing that on a flatgrass map with destructible environment is even better, it is so much more work to build an entire battlefield.

#10 Pandaboy


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Posted 22 April 2014 - 08:21

max, build it once, dupe it, spawn when needed. :>


as I said in the last post, there's a tunnel leading underground, but there's not really anything down there.
I made the spawn similar to flatgrass since it actually serves it's purpose (like a lookout tower after spawning) and it looks pretty nice. I adapted the design to allow for an underground area.
Screenshots: 1 2 3
but what should be down there?
atm it's just an empty big room (which can be changed and/or expanded): Screenshot

#11 Domnomnom


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    Forum Regular

Posted 24 April 2014 - 19:21

Looks interesting. Tbh I'm not sure about adding so many features to a sandbox map. I can see the advantages but it is right, might put off newer players. We could always trial it? But that'd be difficult. Vote time?

  • Pandaboy likes this
Oui oui chevaux

#12 Pandaboy


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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:18

I feel the same way. There are advantages, but at the same time I'm not sure how needed it is and I'm worried it might put off new people.


I re-designed the underground are a bit btw (did it quickly to just see what it looked like):

1 2 3

with that design it could naturally be extended to a cave area.



Yeah you're right, it's about time we have a poll on this.



#13 Hardcore Bob

Hardcore Bob

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    I am the one who knocks.

Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:33

I'd say get a flatgrass (full hammer grid size) and add the 3D LDT logo in the 3D skybox where gm_flatgrass has the "Flattywood"
Then turn one "quadrant" of the map into water and voila, you're done. Any decent mapper could do this in an hour or two, surely.

Except I know Pandaboy has rather limited rendering power.

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#14 Pandaboy


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Posted 25 April 2014 - 10:46

Bob, that's exactly what the second poll option is, except it was made from scratch, and I haven't added the LDT logo yet. I was thinking to have a plane flying in the 3D skybox with a banner behind it with the LDT logo :3. I think having a huge logo that's always seen in the background may ruin the atmosphere a bit.


And yeah, you could say that again about my rendering power xD. My comp has slowed down the last couple of days, so now I'm getting about 4-5 FPS when using the camera view in hammer editor. Hard to sculpt displacements with that.

So I'm just about to restore my comp to factory condition, it usually fixes things.

#15 elite


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  • LocationEngland

Posted 25 April 2014 - 21:31

I think that having more than jut flatgrass and water is important, it would separate LDT from other sandbox servers and would allow greater user creativity, most people seem to want more than just a plain map, although I think it should still be kept quite simple so that it isn't too overcrowded.

#16 user


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    Regular User

Posted 25 April 2014 - 21:37

I voted something else because I'm torn between options 2 and 3.

#17 Pandaboy


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Posted 28 April 2014 - 09:40

I'd say get a flatgrass (full hammer grid size) and add the 3D LDT logo in the 3D skybox where gm_flatgrass has the "Flattywood"
Then turn one "quadrant" of the map into water and voila, you're done.



Well this has most votes atm, and it would probably be best anyway not to put down too much effort into the map until this sandbox thing really kicks off!






Also, Since the map is so simple, it's really important to have some nice cubemaps, placed in a way so your nearest environment is always reflected (click for screenshots).

If you're on grass, the grass should be reflected.

If you're on sand.. -||-

More reflection screenshots: 1 2 3 4

#18 Psycix


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Posted 28 April 2014 - 16:49

Hmm that looks great! Sbox is a go, Ill set up the server soon™
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#19 Daniel


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  • LocationEngland

Posted 28 April 2014 - 21:35

Whoop whoop!

#20 Pandaboy


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Posted 29 April 2014 - 15:08

Well the basic grass/water area have been done for a few days, but having big trouble compiling a map of this size.

Even though the map geometry is extremely simple, the compiler is going crazy and is taking forever (I left it on overnight, but nope), and I'm guessing it's because vvis.exe has trouble figuring out how to build the visleaves of such a massive area, which doesn't work well with my shitty laptop.



So.. If another (experienced) mapper wants the .VMF, let me know so I can hand it over :).

It could be compiled as it is, or more areas could be added.



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