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 Post subject: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Sun 26 Apr 2009, 12:52 
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GUIDELINES:
I thought I'd list a few general guidelines for making good maps.

1) Make sure you have good vehicle access linking the Scientist and Rebel spawn zones. The way vehicles will eventually work is that you buy them in your spawn zone, just like a weapon. They will then appear where you're standing, putting you inside it. Which means that they have to be able to drive out of ALL positions from all spawn zones, otherwise they'll get stuck and be useless. Also make sure you have good vehicle access from the Truck extraction zones to the spawn zones, too. Although the game does not have vehicles in it yet (as of version 0.5) it is important to consider them so that when vehicles are released, your map still works. Vehicles will range from 2 to 4 tiles (metres) in width. So make sure you have at least a 4 tile wide gap where ever you need vehicles to go.

2) Give your map's playable area a nice 40 tile border so you can't see the map edge. While this isn't necessary, it will help immerse players into your map if they can't see the black map edge. If your map is set at night time or underground this may not be a problem, but most of the time you should try to make a 40tile gap between the map's edge and the playable area of the map.

3) Make sure the map is balanced by using the measuring tool. By pressing 'M' you can bring up the measuring tool, which allows you to click on the map and measure distances. This is very useful to make sure that the Scientists and Rebel spawn zones are evenly balanced and have to travel roughly the same distance to extract objectives or reach critical choke-points.

4) Position spawn zones wisely and mark them with coloured lights. You don't want people having to guess where their spawn zone is. It helps to line up the spawn zones with edges in the map. For example, if the scientists spawn in a room, the edges of the spawn zone should line up with the edges of the room. That way players know if they want to buy a gun, they just have to walk into the room. This is much easier for players to find than if the spawn zone is positioned randomly in the centre somewhere, causing players to have to run around in circles until the "Buy Guns" tab shows up. Furthermore, using coloured lights will help define the boundaries of the spawn zone. Putting a yellow light in the room will indicate that it is the Scientist spawn zone. Purple lights indicated Rebel spawn zones, and Red lights indicate Mercenary spawn zones.

5) Make wall cross-sections with the full collision property and a black texture. Suppose you want to create a building which you can walk inside, and don't want players to be able to see through or over the walls. To do this you use the full collision property on the wall tiles. The full collision property will always cast a complete shadow and stop objects from passing over the wall. This will achieve what you want in regards to game play, but graphically you should use a pitch black texture on the wall tiles, too. This is more intuitive for your players as it simulates a cross-section of the wall. Knowing this, they won't try to find a way to walk over your wall, and will feel as if they're actually inside a building.

6) Don't go overboard with smoothing groups or use too many different heights. While smoothing groups can greatly improve the look and feel of a map, most often a simple and flat surface makes for the best combat. Feel free to experiment, but try to use smoothing groups only when necessary or for areas outside of the playing zone. Having too many different heights will also slow down the game and the map loading time, too.

7) Don't use too many lights. Lights take a while to calculate when loading the map. Sometimes you can get away with just 2 directional lights, if your map is outdoors.

8) When creating your own texture map, position similar texture tiles vertically. You'll notice that when specifying wall textures in the editor you drag vertically on the texture palette. Suppose you wanted to make 5 slightly different brick textures, you'd be much better off organizing them vertically rather than horizontally, because that gives you the added option of using those 5 tiles together to make a wall texture. Also, when setting dimensions of your texture map, it is wise to set the dimensions more vertical than horizontal. For example, the official map textures all use 1024x2048 dimensions. You may want to use 128x2048, which will give you 64 unique tiles to work with. This is a good number for an average sized map. 128x2048 is far more useful (and easier to see in the editor) than 512x512, even though they both give you the same number of tiles.

If you don't want to make your own texture map you can use an existing one. It is recommended to only use the official texture maps, as I can guarantee that they won't be altered. It would suck if the creator of your chosen texture map decided they wanted to reorganize things, which would result in your map looking very ugly. Finally, never modify someone else's texture map. If you need to create your own custom tiles, you're more than welcome to create your own texture map. You can copy and paste existing tiles if you want, but make sure to rename it otherwise you won't know if people are viewing your modified version or the original.

HINTS:
And here are just a few quick hints to improve your map making speed and enjoyment.

1) Save frequently. REALLY frequently. There is no undo feature just yet. So if you make a huge mistake that you can't quickly paint over again, your best bet may be to close down the game and open up your last save.

2) Never try to open the map file in a text editor. You risk corrupting your map data and losing all your work. If you need help with something, I'd much rather help you personally than risk you losing all your work.

3) Turn perspective on/off. 'P' toggles perspective view and is VERY useful. I usually work with perspective turned off so I can accurately select and paint tiles. Then I'll quickly turn perspective on just to see how it looks.

4) Plan your map before creating it and allow for extra space. Before making your map you should sit down with a pen and paper and draw it all out. It doesn't have to be perfect but it'll save you a lot of time and your map will make more sense in the end. Also, when setting the map size give yourself more space than you need. It doesn't hurt to work with a little extra room on the sides, just in case you decide to expand your map.

5) A backup of all your most recently saved map versions is creating in data/maps/myMaps/. Hopefully you won't need this.. but know that it's there, and remember to always make backups.

6) A player can just jump over a 2m high box.

7) A player can walk up a 1m high box without needing to jump.

8) A player can just jump a 5m gap.




I'll put some more ideas up later.. but this should start you in the right direction. Happy map making, I look forward to playing it!

Ben.

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Thu 21 May 2009, 14:30 
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Just read all of the tips and hints you've posted, will help me a heap for when i finally do make a map or two, though shouldnt you be aiming to have an undo feature added to map making ASAP, also, a tip for anyone contemplating creating a map, make sure its structured; It doesn't have a million backalleys and areas to jump across to reach the opposing teams flag, but has a maximum of 3 main routes to take in order to reach the flag and bring home an extraction.

I find maps that aren't structured with several routes to either teams base to be strenuously boring and a neusance, just not enjoyable, so keep that in mind.

;)

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Wed 27 May 2009, 21:11 
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Um... the Map Editor button isn't working for me. Any advice? :oops:

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Fri 29 May 2009, 14:51 
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Hey there,

You need to be logged into an account to use the Map Editor. This way your account name can be saved with the map so only you can edit it in the future. I should've probably made that clearer.

For next version :)

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Fri 29 May 2009, 18:27 
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Omg thanks, i couldn't create an account... guess why? right, i tried only 4 letter names... Alex and SiCk... xDD
*starts learning to make top-down 2.5D maps*

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Thu 09 Jul 2009, 13:43 
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Just to point this out:
Hellz Solja wrote:
shouldnt you be aiming to have an undo feature added to map making ASAP


Also, how do you delete/remove zones?


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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Thu 09 Jul 2009, 16:05 
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gedazz wrote:
Just to point this out:
Hellz Solja wrote:
shouldnt you be aiming to have an undo feature added to map making ASAP


Also, how do you delete/remove zones?


Paint it grass?


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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul 2009, 10:29 
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Phrst wrote:
gedazz wrote:
Just to point this out:
Hellz Solja wrote:
shouldnt you be aiming to have an undo feature added to map making ASAP


Also, how do you delete/remove zones?


Paint it grass?


Yeah just hold the Right button and select an empty part of the map then left click on the area you what to delete :)

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul 2009, 20:48 
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Oops, I'm sorry. I meant spawn zones and such :?


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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Fri 10 Jul 2009, 21:09 
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Ahh, right click on the icon in the middle.

Note that the editor makes sure that you ALWAYS have least 1 of each spawn and extraction zone. So if you only have 1 mercenary spawn zone you won't be able to delete it until you place another mercenary spawn zone first. Then you can delete the original.

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Tue 20 Oct 2009, 11:42 
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I feel like adding that if you have bought a copy of spore and spore GA (even if you no longer play it but still have it sitting around) i find the adventure creator to be a really easy way of getting an idea of designing the map before hand and you dont even need to make your own buildings. Just search for something you want in the sporepedia and plop it down where you want it, after all we are only making a rough sketch here.

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Wed 20 Jan 2010, 10:14 
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Hey ive got a couple questions (and maybe more in later posts) about map sizes and types.

Will we be able to easily convert a BX map into a war map down the line by perhaps changing 1 number in the file? (im sort of working on a map that would be best suited for WAR mod simply because of its size pushes in the game edtors allowed value limits in height currently)

And if we want to change the size of the map later on could that sort of work by modifing the height and length of the map size variables and anything that falls outside of the boundaries from reduction just gets chopped off and any new regions just get a default appearance and height applied to them? (this is so i can sort of trim up the previously mentioned map to help loading times when i need to which will possibly be needed, oh it will be a massive map)

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Wed 20 Jan 2010, 12:53 
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LungJuice wrote:
Will we be able to easily convert a BX map into a war map down the line by perhaps changing 1 number in the file? (im sort of working on a map that would be best suited for WAR mod simply because of its size pushes in the game edtors allowed value limits in height currently)


Only members of the official map making team will be able to create WAR maps. The reason being that kills on WAR maps will contribute to your global WAR character, and thus could be exploited. So far the only people on the official map making team are:

bencelot
swiss
Carbon14

It's not hard to become an official map maker. You just have to make really good quality maps.. push the engine to its limits and preferably create your own texture file - just like swiss has done. If you can make a map better than any of the current ones, you're in! Also, if you're an official map maker your maps will start with BX_ instead of bx_.


LungJuice wrote:
And if we want to change the size of the map later on could that sort of work by modifing the height and length of the map size variables and anything that falls outside of the boundaries from reduction just gets chopped off and any new regions just get a default appearance and height applied to them? (this is so i can sort of trim up the previously mentioned map to help loading times when i need to which will possibly be needed, oh it will be a massive map)


This is exactly how it works at the moment. When you go to load one of your existing maps, if you drag the width/height sliders it'll tell you how many tiles will be added/removed from the sides.

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2010, 05:13 
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Ah ok then thanks for that. I didnt notice that you could change some of the starting map variables part way through.

Also didnt realise that the WAR mode character would be a single multiserver character too, i was just thinkning it was more of a single server/match character in a gamemode that was longer to level up and had no time limit. I like this multi WAR server character thing.


Oh yeah and about vehicles:
How fast will they move generally according to type they are in metres/tiles a second?

Will vehicles have the sort of perpetual motion thingy (im just great with describing stuff) in that if you go fast up a ramp you will go off it and fall in an arc?

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2010, 06:04 
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Yeah, your WAR character will be consistent across all WAR servers forever. Like.. it'll take years to reach lvl 100.

Vehicles will behave very similar to the cars in GTA2, and yes they will have inertia, making jumps possible.

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Thu 21 Jan 2010, 23:12 
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bencelot wrote:
Yeah, your WAR character will be consistent across all WAR servers forever. Like.. it'll take years to reach lvl 100.

Vehicles will behave very similar to the cars in GTA2, and yes they will have inertia, making jumps possible.


Attachment:
=D.png
=D.png [ 1.32 KiB | Viewed 17993 times ]
Awesome.

EDIT: Sorry if I pissed you off or gneerated some sort of negativity sabout useing that blue smily face thing ragnaros

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Fri 26 Feb 2010, 14:43 
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I'm not sure where to put something this general about map making without making a whole new topic for something that can be quickly answered or just sending a PM to bencelot but possibly depriving others of this advice so here it is:

For a place holder for diagonal walls is doing what I did in this image acceptable and will easily allow me to convert these place holder diagonal walls to actual diagonal walls when 0.6 comes out? http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3034513/Subvein%20ideas%20and%20%20bits%20and%20pieces/errors%2C%20bugs%20and%20bad%20things/diagonal%20query.png

Was also going to ask something else but I forgot so ill see if I remember tomorrow.

The other question was how should I go about doing the walls for the buildings on my bx_Town map? As some of the buildings will be higher than others and I want to have people to be able to shoot over other buildings when they are on top of some of these higher buildings but i want to not have people also not be able to snipe into just any of those buildings as if they had roofs or something. What I'm Currently going with is having the higher building only few metres higher than the others generally and the wall height for normal buildings is going to be about 8 metres.

I was going to go with full collision on all of these lower buildings walls but that could drastically limit the strategic value of the higher buildings.

Anyone want to tell me what they think?

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Fri 26 Feb 2010, 23:12 
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LungJuice wrote:
What I'm Currently going with is having the higher building only few metres higher than the others generally and the wall height for normal buildings is going to be about 8 metres.


This is your best bet I'd say, and don't use any collision so you can shoot over the top. And yeah, your diagonal wall setup there should be fine :)

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Fri 26 Feb 2010, 23:18 
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bencelot wrote:
This is your best bet I'd say, and don't use any collision so you can shoot over the top. And yeah, your diagonal wall setup there should be fine :)
Cheers.

EDIT2: Moved my EDIT into a new post after this one.

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Last edited by LungJuice on Sat 27 Feb 2010, 21:17, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: General hints & guidlines for map making.
PostPosted: Sat 27 Feb 2010, 21:14 
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LungJuice wrote:
EDIT: Also bencelot when you have diagonal walls working in game I would appreciate it if you could show a diagonal wall with a 1 and a 2 tile/metre gap in them for me to get an idea of the spacing that would give a player to get through (because diagonals create extra length and all with a tile based system) as well as show what a diagonal wall corner looks like (there are several combination of wall intersections so not all could be shown).

See this link for details: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3034513/Subvein%20ideas%20and%20%20bits%20and%20pieces/errors%2C%20bugs%20and%20bad%20things/diagonal%20intersection.png

Having those sort of grid lines (like my textures default tile is) would be good too if you could add them
I just moved things around a little. So make sure you read that quote above cause you probably skimmed over it as it was an edit and they don't show up as a new post.

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