|The ideal level to look at before making a clan level is, of course, dm3, the Abandoned Base. DM3 is the single most played clan level on the net. I would go so far as to say 99% of every clan game is played on this level.
So what makes dm3 so great? The balance of the level. DM3 is a constant struggle for power of the rocket area and sometimes the red armor area. In general, you will find one team covering the rocket area and the quad, and the other team building up with red armor and super nailguns. Then a fight usually occurs at quad, when the weaker SNG team tries to take back the rocket area. It is a pretty simple concept, making a level that is balanced from one side to the next, or somewhat balanced (a good argument could be made that dm3 is not evenly balanced, and I would concede that point, however it is close.) But while the concept is one that is easy to understand, it is not the easiest to implement. I have found (from a lot of experience) that it is not easy to create a clan level. Not everyone is going to be pleased with what you make, and it is hard to get servers to put your map up so that people can play it. The thing is, you just need to keep in mind that not everyone is going to like it. A lot of people are stuck on dm3. They have played it for over a year now, every day, over and over, and they are not ready to give that up now.
Hot spots in clan levels are by the quad, the rocket launcher, and the red armor. I do not intend to turn this section of the guide into a strategy guide for dm3, however much of what I am discussing now comes out of dm3 experience, and will be the map I am referring to. When creating a clan map, you want to be sure that you spread hot spots out, or one clan will be able to dominate every hot spot, and the other will be left searching for scraps. When a clan is searching and fighting with scraps, they are not going to be able to put up an effective fight, and the match is essentially over.
Spawns are incredibly important when it comes to clan games. Before spawn randomization was put into the Clanring mod, all a team had to do to win a level was sit at the spawn points or run the spawn point order. Spawn randomization almost fixed the problem. The thing you have to be sure of is that you put in enough spawn points so that one clan will not be able to cover them all and they can’t cover multiple spawns at one time. You also have to place them within a decent distance of armor and/or weapons, so that the recently spawned player can build up fast enough to help his team again.
Weapon layout goes a long way to determining balance and hot spots. If the level is based like dm3, you need to be sure one team can have weaker weapons but stronger armor in order to take down the side that is controlling the rockets. You do not want one team to be able to effectively take control of all the weapons on the level. If so, one clan is left with nothing at all, and will be completely dominated the rest of the game.
Armor layout is integral to the balance of the level as well. If one side can control the strongest armor on the level, as well as the rocket launcher, it becomes increasingly difficult for the other clan to mount a comeback. This is why strong armor for the losing side is necessary for them to take a shot at the winning side. And that means putting the strong armor well away from where the winning side will most likely be, that is, near the rocket launcher and/or quad.
Powerups. On dm3, the two powerups can mean the downfall of either clan. I disagree with the positioning of the quad, because it was put too close to the rocket launcher, and thus easily controlled by the winning side. In my opinion, I think the Ring of Shadows should be swapped with the Quad, thus putting the Quad by the side the losing team will most likely be on. The Pentagram can turn a game around, if the losing team manages to get it and grab a rocket launcher. The quad can do the same, because the losing team will be able to frag an opponent and take their rocket launcher with more ease. However, poor placement of these powerups can lead to easier domination of the losing team, so choose carefully.
Traps are not found in dm3, but that does not mean that they should not be included in a clan map. A trap could help a losing team put the winning team at a disadvantage. However, one thing to note is that dm3 is a wildly popular level, and there are no traps in it, and the including of a trap could actually hamper people’s opinions of it. In other words, if you don’t have a great idea, don’t do it.
When a player is forced to make a sound, it alerts all players in nearby areas to that player’s presence. As such, you need to be careful when designing the level so that players can avoid making sounds if they try. One of the big advantages is surprise, and making sounds denies a player this tactic which could be essential for helping the losing team to make a comeback.