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Planning a map...


SKULLHOZER

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Usually there are special key locations which come to my mind and which make me start the map. Then I think about what else to add and draw the layout.

Sometimes I just build one area for fun and if I like it I decide to expand it and build another one...and another one...and have a complete map in the end without the planning stages (you have to make up your mind about a vague layout while mapping though). I don't recommend this method since it often results in layout changes during the beta phase of the map (as long as it isn't simple Deathmatch and you totally fuck it up), but sometimes it needs some time to get in the flow ;)

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I've tested various styles for planning and I think it's a matter of taste which one people like the most.

The first method I used was the simplest, improvising. Ya think of a theme and start creating after planning some key areas briefly. After that just go with the flow. It's a rather tricky method and can mess up the layout as friechamp said so I suggest you do the following:

First come up with a theme that hasn't been done a million times, for example an location like Tokyo or a building like a library (I think people have seen enough dust styled sand and rocks already). Then try to find an answer to the question: "What will make your map stand out from the millions of maps out there?" (an 18th century library, urban residential areas in Tokyo).

There are still themes that have not been discovered. One reason would be due to the limitations of the engine.

Second, start refining the theme, work on architectural designs on paper, areas that go hand in hand with the architecture. Brushwork=architecture=layout, texturing is of secondary value.

Once you come up with some nice solutions try to figure out how to diversify the different areas of the map.

Finally think of something that noone else has. It can be something small to which the players can relate to.

There are two basic methods for mapping, You can either start mapping room by room or map the entire layout and then start to work on detail and diversification. It's a matter of taste which method ya use. Outdoor areas would most likely use the latter.

You can either draw the entire layout on paper or design some areas and figure out the rest while mapping. Either way, your original plans will change during mapping.

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I find that the room + room + room method is easy to do (4me) but give a sloppy end-result. The "make the whole map and then fine tune" gets the layout right but makes it hard to fine tune (4me anyway) So I kinda use a mix. Thanx for all the help, but keep em' coming! The more views we get on this the more all of us will know... :wink:

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What I find to be the easiest and most effective is, first play the game ur makin the map for, then continue on to study official map styles, look at their flaws and upsides. Then bring up the ol'hammer and create a room, finish (detail proper lighiting and such) If the style/theme seem ligit, then conitue on the lay out by drawing it on a piece of paper. Try to labal sections of the map that would correspond with theme you are try to achieve. This makes it easier to achieve proper detail and a mind set of what the room will look like. After the layout is complete begin to map room by room. Compile often so you know your achieving the proper look.

Good luck ;)

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Thanx Crackerjack!!

It's strange how your maps look great yet you are not as well known as Mazy & 3DMike & those guys, I think you should be cos your maps look great! Anyway, this topic helps a LOT I think ppl sould neva stop posting in it... :wink:

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Word, it's another South African. How could this be, I just don't know.

Besides all that has been said already, I suggest just making a showcase. One part of the map where people can say wow, that looks fricken great. Those are always nice and refreshing to look at. It's also often what maps now days are remember by. Power of association.

A while back I would say, just map and add on, like Frie said. Sometimes earlier on you have so much inspiration driving you, making the map and what you want comes easy, it's just your knowhow on the tools holding you back. But in hindsight I would say plan on paper and do it room by room (in the editor). It sucks when you have to go back to areas and touch them up because you don't think they look good or right. Inevitably this will happen anyway in some areas, but it reduces time wastage and gives the map and you a feeling of progression.

- Ewok

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Well when I do map, I normaly have a few ideas for cool architecture, so I will draw some rooms, then a floor plan and keep working with that and then when I map it its completely different :D! When I draw the floor plan I try and imagine walking around in the map and shooting people, and I can sorta think, hey it would be cool if there was some cover here and stuff like that.

Immerse yourself :)

Also depending on the type of map, I will make each main room first, then connect them or add corridors. You can also quickly do a compile of just that room without having to close up any gaps, since you can just hide all the other rooms and compile only visable stuff. :)

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For gameplay, I try to immerse myself in the map, I make a crude room in Hammer, fullsize the 3dview, and place myself in different areas of the room, thinking "Hmm, what if some guy came from over there, and then the aliens came crashing in from over there" and so on, which gives me a good idea of the layout and chokepoints of the map.

When I have the layout complete, I work on timing, thats to say, it should take an equal amount of time for Team A and Team B to reach the chokepoints and important areas, or if its Deathmatch, each spawn should be equal, ie. ammo and weapons nearby, not too close to superweapons and the spawn shouldnt be in the critical path of the map.

For design, I just get some cool ideas in my head, or I take a look at different texture sets and imagine cool setpieces around the textures, and then it just automatically gets more and more advanced.

If that doesnt work, I play other games or look at screenshots from other maps/games, and "steal" some ideas. It's not really stealing, since I never make a copy of what I see, over time the inspiration I got from the other game/map is mutated into something of my own.

Wow this was way too long.

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Ewok:

:D

COOL!! Where you from? Me: CapeTown. Do you read New Age Gaming Mag (NAG) ?? I luv it - the best game mag in all of South Africa!! Do you play online in South Africa? Anyway, it's nice 2 see some1 else from SA!! We should do a map togetha or sumthing, he?

:D

All:

ThanxXx!!

:wink:

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