Some of you Forgehubbers might remember a 4v4 map I put together dubbed "genji" with a similar Japenese dojo theme as this here map you're checking out now. I was generally very happy with how that map turned out, but it was decimated by framerate drops (thx 343), so the map was tabled. I was still in love with how I was executing the theme, and recognizing an opportunity to really showcase its strength, I decided to design a new dojo from the ground up designed for 2v2.
I was able to solidify the dojo theme much more convincingly on a smaller map. I think confining the non-natural structure of the map predominantly to one core building has helped the map feel even more like a place, rather than just a design with a theme thrown on. If there's anything I strive for when designing maps, it is immersion in the design.
Big thanks to @MultiLockOn and @Xandrith who really helped in making the design a lot less boring than it originally was. Opening up the big staircase, adding the stairway in the dojo, dropping the fountain, and redesigning the temple corner really allowed for a much more dynamic design.