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The Making of KOTH Frigid

September 29, 2023 - Waugh101
We like to start our maps out by basing them around clear, distinct ideas. Usually, our maps are made with the intent of improving upon a perceived flaw with an existing map or mode, or are just built around a strong and interesting central premise. In the case of Frigid, it was initially intended to be a Four-Team, three-point Domination map. However, as the layout came together, the central arena started looking more like a KOTH map. It was decided very early on (before the layout was even complete!) to scrap the other two points and instead focus solely on the central point. This change was primarily made to reduce development complexity, and had the added benefit of introducing a new gamemode to the Four-Team map pool, which is something we’re always interested in.



The map's early versions​

With this new gamemode variant also came a new environment theme. The Arctic theme was chosen so we could try a style that isn’t often seen amongst TF2 environments. There’s plenty of snowy maps, but not many that go the extra mile with the icy cliffs and wide-open expanses that you might expect from the Arctic. As with existing environment themes, the Arctic theme carried the advantages of providing an immediately recognizable setting. Importantly for our limited development resources, it didn’t require a large amount of new assets to bring to life, too. It also allowed for similar styles of industrial structures seen in other maps, which helps to maintain the game’s visual identity. As with the alpine theme, we’ll be looking for new spins to put on it with future levels.

The architectural style itself developed in multiple ways as well- originally intended to be much more Brutalist, imposing, and neutral-oriented, it was slowly worked into the current, more industrial research station aesthetic the map has today. As well as the overall style shift, there were also smaller shifts as the map was developed alongside our Four-Team architecture guidelines that put it more in line with what we expect from Four-Team maps.



Evolution of Frigid's visuals​

Notice the shift from pure concrete to a mix of somewhat more setting-appropriate materials. From there, the move away from trapezoidal shapes to more grounded and rounder ones.

We thought it might prove fun to provide some development insight through our blog like this. We have more ideas for future topics that we look forward to sharing soon!