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Basic Mapping Guide Oriented on Gameplay

Suicizer

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Basic Mapping Guide Oriented on Gameplay
« on: January 14, 2015, 11:24:44 pm »
    Basic Mapping Guide Oriented on Gameplay

    In this guide, the basic mapping for a gameplay oriented map will be described. This guide is suitable for the newcomer, but perhaps for the more experienced mappers (people who construct a map) also.
    If you're trying to read this; then I congratulate you in doing so; that shows off you actually have the will and time to invest in your mapping experience.
    Although editing itself is quite easy; finishing a map seems for most mappers pretty tough. This result has many reasons; but I won't talk about it here.

    Starting up
    When starting a map (execute in the console line "/newmap 12"), you should already have a certain plan of how the layout should look like and work best for the gameplay and flow. Why not for the theme, atmosphere or even just certain details? As that's not the most important for a gameplay oriented map, but rather is for a conceptual or artistic map.
    The player should eventually be interested enough to play the map again as it was fun to play for a whole match long among others, not because a certain detail is great (while the rest isn't).


    The result after executing "/newmap 12".

    Picking a gamemode for the layout
    So you've started a new map. Now you may already know what kind of layout you are aiming for, but keep the next things in mind;
    • Which mode should be played on the map?
      It's no mistake to aim for several modes; but be sure to have 1 mode which suits best.
    • With how many players you are actually going to play so?
    A golden rule for making a layout is:
    • Simplicity in a layout works best for any mode commonly.
      The more complex you build a layout; the tougher it is to play but also the harder it is to add significant changes to.
    Some preferences in the layout for modes from the mapping-community seems to be:
    Deathmatch
    • Contains platforms with different heights connected to each other.
      They are often shaped as a "hole in the ground" with the lowest in the centre and the highest at the sides of the map (for example; complex, douze, tartech, but also turbine, justice and frozen).
    • You're more free in keeping an open or closed layout than on capture, as that's not that important in Deathmatch (for example; curvedm, fragplaza, killfactory, injustice but also orion).
    • Nearly every area or platform pays off more chance of frags over another area, while another area pays off more chance over the first area or platform again (so a player on area 1 has more chance to win from a player on area 2; then it will frag a player positioned on area 3). So eventually the map should be balanced in tactical areas.
    Capture
    • Has several open areas while they aren't in contact (for physical but also visual) except for paths linking them to each other (for example; lostinspace, monastery, nmp8, ogrosupply, paradigm, relic, nevil_c). On those tactical open areas there often is a base positioned.
      Although the physical aspect of bases making contact with each other (you're able to shoot an opponent from 1 base while you stand at another) is often forgiven; it's not recommended when making a capture-oriented map for the nearly first time.
    • Not every area has to pay off more chance of frags over another area like on Deathmatch (as that's not the actual goal, but still often preferred). Some bases are harder to capture (as they are a so called "hotspot") because many players pass over it or it is hard to hold as it's on a place which has disadvantages against other areas around (like being lower positioned).
    Capture The Flag
    • Contains often 3 open areas which are connected to each other by different paths (1 base for each team while the centre of the map is open as well that commonly are visually but not physical separate).
    • Doesn't need a lot of difference in height or a lot of pathways to be good (for example; autumn, garden, twinforts but also flagstone) although some prefer it to keep the pathways split from each other (for example; forge, reissen, redemption, recovery, turbulence, tempest and evilness).
    • A typical aspect for this mode is symmetry, so each team has equal chances. But this doesn't mean that both sides should look identical towards each other; they should only play like that.
    Hold
    • Often seems forgotten and leans on the bases which are also used on capture. However, the gameplay is more like on Deathmatch.
    • Needs several tactical open areas like in capture, but it doesn't matter if the bases are in contact with each other (for visual or physical).
    • The layout shouldn't be too open, yet not too close.
      Too open makes it nearly impossible to play the mode (as you obviously need cover to not get hit that easily). But being too closed shouldn't be done also (creating hideouts which are easy to defend) as makes the match too tough and eventually boring.
    • Ammunition spawns here also; not just health, armour and power ups like in capture.
       
    In this guide I've chosen to create a small and simple Deathmatch map (for about 2 to 6 players) as that's a proper base for newcomers to learn how the gameplay works for mapping and the other modes are eventually based upon Deathmatch.
    The other modes will be clarified more in the Advanced Mapping Guide Oriented on Gameplay.

    Defining the flow
    After you've chosen the gamemode which you want to construct for, you should start to map. But keep in mind that players should always manage the next couple of things;
    • Not hit their head towards the ceilings or doorways when jumping.
      If you really want to add a certain cool feature like some shortcut to a base or a path towards the spawn place of a valuable item; just don't. Keep such things for later creations.
    • Able to strafe on paths or areas.
      There are obviously exceptions on that, but for the main layout they should be able to do so. So make sure paths are wide enough for a decent strafing and place playerstarts not tight towards a wall and be sure their direction is not facing obstacles (as like the wall itself).
    • Don't need to constantly jump to reach an area.
      You should be calculated that players will constantly jump, but not force them to do so. Keep the bunnies free.
    • Are free to take teleports (or even jumppads) to navigate through the map, but also have the option not to do so.
      Adding such features within the map should be done later in the layouting process to speed up the flow and sometimes the gameplay as well.

    To learn more about the layout and flow on a map; please read the http://quadropolis.us/guides/flow_and_layout guide.


    The result after deciding the gamemode and creating the main layout. Textured in classic-style to show it's construction better.
    To download the map: http://www.mediafire.com/download/5a0oam4ikbem96s/scedm9_a5.zip


    Working on the gameplay
    After you've made everything flowing and are satisfied about the tactical positions for the map; the map needs some ammo, health, armour and perhaps even power ups to make the play more spicy.
    Some pretty decent relationship for the amount of ammunition on a map oriented on Deathmatch with a maximum of 4 players is (there is no minimum):
    • 2 Rockets/Bullets
    • 3 Riflerounds/Grenades/Health
    • 4 Shells
    • 1 Green armour
    • 0,5 Yellow armour
    • 1 (Cartridge)
    • 0 (Healthboost)
    • 0 (Quaddamage)

    Of course you're always free to add a few more of a certain item, but keep this as a base.
    The Yellow armour has a quite odd number due the reason of having 2 YA's on a map meant for a maximum of 8 players feels too much.
    Cartridges are rather existing to taunt the players than actually be useful as they already spawn with a decent amount of ammunition for the pistol.
    Commonly there are no items like a Healthboost or Quaddamage on maps meant for only 4 players at maximum. On maps meant for 1 on 1 they are more or less forbidden, as the player which controls the map gains a huge advantage against the other player (which he already would have from the YA if taken). They often start appearing on maps which are aiming for 8 or more players.

    To learn more about the layout and flow on a map; read the article in the next link;
    http://quadropolis.us/guides/flow_and_layout

    Appearance
    After you've made map work properly, we've come to the eye candy part. This starts with the theme of the map; what will it be? There are countless amounts of specific themes, but keep it first simple by asking yourself some couple of questions:
    • Realistic or fiction?
    • During daytime or at night?
      it is advised to start with a daytime themed map first and try the other when you're more skilled in lighting.
    • An urban or a wild environment?
    • A place yet in construction or broken?

    If you've answered such questions; it's time to really begin with the fancy stuff. In most situations, you work in the next steps;
    • Texturing
    • Lighting
    • Detailing

    You sometimes can switch between lighting and detailing as light-sources like lamps are details also, but the overall texturing (like floors, walls, ceilings and doorways) is a strict first step as that's where orientation towards details can be made.

    Texturing
    For most beginning mappers, they stumble upon the next couple of issues;
    • Only few textures have been chosen.
    • Textures from different texture-sets.
    • Textures which have uncooperative shader settings.
    • Textures aren't fitting the geometry they are attached to.

    A thumb-rule for texturing a map with a common theme is:
    • 3 different textures which form a primary layer for the floors, the ceilings and the walls (a minimum of 1 texture for each).
    All textures which form the primary layer shouldn't be heavily patterned (like a panel-texture isn't a great choice as primary layer as in that case, it's not fitting the geometry. A texture like meant for panels is as it says so, meant for panels; not for large surfaces).

    There are plenty of maps which try to use the textures from gibbie, lunaran or trak5 in combination of dg, techsoc, egyptsoc, ikbase or ik2k. Let me just tell; that won't look nice. I'll explain later in the Advanced Mapping Guide Oriented on Gameplay, but for now; just stick to 2 certain texture-sets and let any other packs untouched.

    The weight of the texturing on a map is often defined by the theme. If it's abstract, then there probably shouldn't be a lot of textures around, but the map relies much more on the lighting.

    Lighting
    The lighting matters a lot for the appearance of a map. Especially for daylight-themed maps, just the sunlight is often enough. Mind that the map should be open enough and not be in something like a cave or inside buildings.
    If this actually is the case that the skybox isn't very sightable in such positions, then add a source of light (like a lamp, torch but even a laserbeam could emit light).
    The most simple technique is to add a light-entity which is pretty intense of colour but with a small radius very close to the light-source and a subtle coloured  light-entity with a much larger radius more towards the center of the area that should be lit. The colours of both light-entities should match each other but also the light-source, so it really feels like that that lamp or torch is enlightening the area.
    The colour of the light-entities should match that of the light-source, as it is part of the realism in a map.
    In most cases, light-entities which have a  subtle yellow appearance (like ... 150 140 120) feel pretty natural.
    However, if the theme should rather be more cold, a subtle blue appearance works better (like ... 120 140 150). This strongly depends on what theme you've chosen, so use some sense for that.

    All commands which are related to this can be found on the next link;
    http://sauerbraten.org/docs/editref.html#lighting

    Detailing
    The detailing of a map is at it says, the details of a map. They accentuate the theme and appearance of the map. Due this, most details should never be used frequently in a map. It might be great to see recognition throughout your map, but that only applies to things like light-sources or objects which apply to the flow of the map like jumppads, ladders or even crates (albeit some diversity is still highly recommended). Having only few type of trees used on a map which represents a local park isn't realistic; neither when the same kind of lantern in the park has been used as the one standing in a backyard of a nearby house.
    So really think through what details you should add and how they should look like.


    After following all these steps, you now should have;
    - A geometric layout that feels quite good to navigate through.
    - A texturing which fits the geometry and represents the basic elements to recognize your position on the map.
    - A lighting which supports the texturing and geometry so there's a certain ambiance on the map.
    - Some details which show off the theme of the map stronger than only some, textures.

    [size=18]WORK IN PROGRESS; DONT REPLY[/size]

    All information provided within this guide may be used as a base to create other guides, articles or as reference within comments, replies or any other conversations, as long as it's about a similar topic and the original author is credited. Anything within the article or this license should not be edited without permission of the author. Original author: Suicizer. Created at 2015-01-15 23:24:44.[/list][/list][/list][/list][/list][/list][/list][/list][/list][/list]
    « Last Edit: May 03, 2018, 11:08:27 am by Suicizer »