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GRiNET

Unreal Tournament mapmaking tips

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Hello everyone!

My next project is going to be a tight 1v1 duel Unreal Tournament map.

I have some questions to anyone comfortable/used to make maps for Unreal Tournament.
I can't seem to find a specific level design workflow from Epic Games.
What I have found is that I should block the level out using BSP, and since I don't create my own assets, I will have to dress the map with theirs. 
I wonder if there are any general guidelines to think about when designing an UT map.

Any help would be appreciated!
 

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If you use stock material, be sure to thoroughly study the models to see what is available to you. When you don't have the artistic freedom by making/requesting your own models you have to work with what you got and therefore worst case adapt your level design to it. In that case it's also wise to study how Epic assembled their levels by kit-bashing their assets. They use their versatile assets very creatively. Get inspired there!

When it comes to workflow itself - Yes, BSP blocking would be the first thing. Test it thoroughly when finished, adapt to iron out any flaws. Once you are happy with the gameplay you move on there are multiple ways to go further. The next two major steps are meshing pass (adding meshes by replacing the BSP blocks) and blocking/collision pass (replacing BSP blocks with invisible blocking volumes). The order in which you approach those to passes is pretty much personal preference I would say. They can also go hand in hand. Be aware that some of Epic's meshes have their own collision while other's don't. After that the Final Art pass with lighting, details and decals comes into play.

Please keep in mind that I have only created one level for UT4 so far, so my approach might be flawed. But I think it aids as a general direction.

 

Edit: I found a picture that might be helpful to you. It's the roadmap/workflow for the DM-Deck remake by chonglee (full credit to him/her):

The%20Roadmap%20of%20Deck_zpsmyxkj0po.pn

Edited by poLemin

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There is a template level that contains metrics which you should keep in mind when blocking out the level - definitely check that out. Get familiar with all the weapons, items and movements (if you aren't aware already) by watching this youtube channel for instance: 

 

Analyze official/popular maps to find out what kind of layout makes a good UT level.

Think about what design element of your level brings something new to the mix of levels that are already out there.

 

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Thank you guys for the replies! I'll check it out!

 

9 minutes ago, 2d-chris said:

Hey - I made a video series, 5 hours long with commentary for making a map for UT, hopefully it is helpful. I don't cover the art pas though, just first pass design

 

You did LostTomb?

Another question.

Coming from mapping in the source engine is there anything particular I should note about Unreal except the really obvious things?

For example are there any specific keybinds and/or functions that are really good which isn't quite so obvious for a beginner?

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30 minutes ago, GRiNET said:

Thank you guys for the replies! I'll check it out!

 

You did LostTomb?

Another question.

Coming from mapping in the source engine is there anything particular I should note about Unreal except the really obvious things?

For example are there any specific keybinds and/or functions that are really good which isn't quite so obvious for a beginner?

Lots of useful things, I cover a lot in the videos. Experience and time is everything though, being overly prepared isn't that useful from my experience, just get stuck in. 

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I think before taking on a project of a full map, even if small, maybe work on a couple rooms, preferably following a tutorial for creating a simple scene.

They have loads of tuts on the unreal yt channel, but I purchased anyway "the corridor project" from Worldofleveldesign: this mainly because I was getting the assets to go with the project, so I only needed to concentrate on using the editor without scouting for the proper resources. You should get that sense of achievement of completing something in a short amount of time that should give you confidence to tackle something more meaningful.

Also if you are planning any particular script or "moving parts" in there (e.g. teleporter or elevator) consider building that first, just so you don't get halfway through and get stuck because you can't get something to work*.

There are many more tutorials of course, I think was @(HP) that created a serious UE tutorial, although maybe that's assets creation pipeline… but you get the assets purchasing the course :)

*like this happened to me on an HL2 map I was building and even posted on the WIP topic, stupid stuff like a ladder stopped working after first few compiles, I couldn't get an elevator to function properly even if I was following a tutorial step by step (and built plenty of those in HL1 maps). 

Edited by blackdog

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I do have a basic knowledge of how to navigate and BSP blockout in the level.

I also can manage a few scripts in the visual scripting for blueprints.

I was just curious about the whole level design approach. 

When I think level design, I firstly and mostly think greybox/whitebox and setting the flow and pacing of the map.

But then there are the "artsy" part of it with the dressing and the lighting.

I guess a level designer that wants to break in to the industry will have to "master" them all in a way before they can narrow down and focus on one part.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2oDxgeBPlIThe general approach is to make the area as fun as possible before spending time beautifying. UT is a game with a lot of movement abilities (especially from advanced players), so even things as simple as adding a few decorative brushes in the rafters have the potential to change gameplay due to bouncing flak shards, grenade launchers shots, etc. You may have seen Zaccubus's excellent and long-running video series of Unreal Tournament highlights, check it out (if you haven't already) to see what players are capable of doing in this fast-paced and unpredictable game.

In terms of general tutorials, I've found Ben Bauer's small bible of Multiplayer Level Design to be a tremendous resource: http://www.farcry2.cz/czech_menu/ke_stazeni/mapy-download/Benova-bible-mapy.pdf. Bobby Ross recently did an update that translates Ben Bauer's information into easily digestible infographic form! http://bobbyross.com/library/mpleveldesign

I personally like to do a lot of documentation before starting a project, since it saves time in the later stages of development. This is personal preference, what's great about UT is it's fantastic out of the box gameplay and the quickness you can get a map playable with bots. This 13 minute video shows you everything you need to know to get a map playable with bots.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2oDxgeBPlI

UT's BSP is flexible and gives a lot of control over individual vertices, and the ability to use subtractive brushes to carve out spaces in BSP is great for making corridors and rooms - it's something that Unreal does differently from the source engine. Making navmesh in Unreal is as simple as dragging in a box and adjusting it's bounds to cover the gameplay space, it makes iterations fast and easy so get in there and get mapping!

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