Tell us who you are and what you’ve done:
Hello. My name is Scorpio Uprising, I’m a mapmaker focused primarily on the competitive tf2 community, and a budding 6v6 medic. I’ve focused on competitive maps since cp_resonance (about 6-9 months after tf2 came out) and only recently have things been going my direction. A lot of that has to do with my rather poor networking. cp_resonance was pretty popular back in the day, but maps following it have all kind of fizzled until recently.
We’re starting to see your maps grow in popularity. I’m looking at the UGC nominations for the next season and I’m seeing your maps pop up quite a bit.
A lot of that has to do with both the ESEA 6v6 community taking a liking (relatively speaking) to my maps, as well as me becoming quite a bit more active in the competitive scene. Before, I was pretty much a spectator, and while I was excited to see some of my maps get some comp playtests or into some pugs, I couldn’t really see what the next step was. By taking part in a lot more pug groups and even one season in ESEA open, a lot more people are starting to take notice. It also helps that, at least for 6v6, not a whole lot of North Americans are developing maps catered to competition, tending to focus more on Payload and Dustbowl style maps, so I’m pretty much free to do what I want.
Now you’ve made 3 maps total, correct?
Well, I have four currently active maps that are being worked on right now- cp_standin, cp_process, cp_metalworks, and the newly released alpha for cp_ashville, a 5cp version of Mackey’s koth_ashville. However, before that I’ve got quite a few more maps that I’ve developed, very few of which have gotten out of the beta stage.
I started with cp_resonance, which was my first map that caught the comp scene’s attention. The map itself was reasonable and played well, but suffered due to some pretty poor mapping techniques. Aspiring mappers! Heed this advice: stick to powers of two for your brushes. That led to the final version of the map having ridiculous fps problems. From there I made cp_warmachine, cp_extraction, cp_frost, ctf_vitalism, and then finally onto the four maps I’m working on now.
cp_metalworks is a reworking of cp_resonance, designed to fix both the optimization problems and redo the aesthetics to fit with the quality level of my most recent works. cp_process is a map based of Sigma’s ideal map (granary middle, badlands second and well last) though heavily remixed and very different from all three maps. And cp_standin is a 5cp domination style map that is currently scheduled to be played in ESEA season 10. Its fast, with constant action and it really elevates some of the stalemates of 5cp maps.
Okay, so I was only off by a count of four complete maps. That’s some serious time committed to Hammer. How much time have you put into these maps and how has the journey been thus far?
Currently I have about two thousand three hundred hours in hammer (more than I have in TF2!) but about a hundred of those hours could be discounted as I tend to leave hammer running when I leave. With that much time in hammer I’ve gotten really quick about how to do things, so I tend to complete maps fairly quickly now, barring lack of playtests or feedback.
The journey’s been great. TF2 is an amazing game to do level design for. Height, distance, and a whole host of other issues are always in need of tweaking, so theres always some way to improve things. Plus, you’ve got to love that fresh, clean art style! Its been a long process obviously, 3+ years of constant mapping and not a whole lot of league play, but hopefully things are getting there.
Any thoughts on your maps being picked up by Valve as official maps?
Obviously, I’d be delighted. To be honest, it seems as though Valve’s TF2 priorities are not really maps right now, especially when you look at the last two comp officials they picked up (gullywash and freight) being done about one or two seasons before those maps get taken out of ESEA rotation. Likewise, the number of unlocks versus the number of maps Valve has put out themselves doesn’t really seem to indicate that they rate maps highly in their free to play business model.
If they stepped up their emphasis on maps or on making maps, then I could definitely see metalworks or standin going official but unfortunately that decision isn’t really up to me!
If you had to call one of your maps your Magnum Opus which would it be?
Well, I prefer to always think of the map I haven’t made yet as the one that will be the summation of everything. That way, I’ll always have something to do! But, if I had to pick a favorite, I’m tempted to say standin or metalworks at the moment. Standin plays completely different from a lot of other comp maps, but the incredibly fast pace and stalemate free flow really stand out to me as an incredible sauces. I like metalworks because I feel like I really nailed the art style, and because its the map that is most genuinely my own.
What’s next for you?
OH GOD! I’m working on cp_ashville for Mackey and co, I’ve got an idea for another standin style map (tweaking some of the distances and symmetry issues from standin), I’ve got my eyes on someone elses koth map that they seem to have abandoned, and maybe an attack defend map based off some parts of badwater. Honestly, too many projects. I’m trying to limit myself a bit, otherwise none of them will ever get finished!
Now like all the folks I interview, you’ve got to give your shoutouts. Who’s on your list?
First, a huge shoutout to waxpax and the New Map Weekends. Pretty much every map from metalworks on has been tested there, and having a place to get some playtests in is essential to making maps better. Also, CB, Banny and the MGE crew for invite level feedback. From there, Ravidge and Dr. Pepper of TF2maps.net, TLR, sdogg2m, Killing, Womb Raider, Mike, Walka, Eulogy, Mackey, McNuggetfiend, and so many more!
Lastly, be sure to check out my stream twitch.tv/scorpiouprising . I’ll be streaming my mapping, should be detailing cp_ashville soon, and then maybe another project.
That was pretty metal of Ian to take the time talk about how much he’s already given the TF2 community. The eXtv crew enjoys watching the Scorpio Uprising stream. I’ve got some overdue props I need to extend to eXtv’s Dyonysus for all the visuals in this interview and the two prior. Till neXt time,