=Let's Up The Ante=
Cameron 'Knowitall66' Gardner
The Tremulous Community has an immense number of Level Designers aka 'Mappers', each with their own style and level of skill.
I hope this article will inspire those of a developing skill level to improve their ability.
Some of you may think that to reach a level similar to that of TRaK, Your_Face, Brain or Supertanker is impossible.
But what you don't realize is that they all started at the bottom and made their way to the top.
Look at some of Your_Face's earlier maps 'Power Grangers' and 'Space Mining Facility', they are interesting
maps however not exactly top-notch. If you look at any of the aforementioned 'Mappers' levels in
chronological order you can clearly see the improvement and refinement of their works.
A good example of this can be seen on;
[Your_Face's Site: http://cocoapet.googlepages.com/mapscreenshots
If you're still in doubt, then take a look at my early attempts at mapping then compare them to my more recent endeavors.
Not pretty, Eh?
Now something more recent; Soooo, What's the problem?
Well there are seemingly endless amounts of atrocious maps out there and it would seem that their quantity just increases exponentially. In my aimless surfing of the web I unearthed an image which pretty much sums it up;Blocky
; These second rate maps tend to have been created on the grid setting 4 (8 game units minimum size), this does not allow for finer details. Further more the maps don't include anything at angles other then 90 degrees.Lack of Detail
; Railing, Pipes, Crates, Lighting Fixtures, Columns, Supports, Cables, Barrels etc
There are thousands of 'details' that could be placed around the map but the designer chose not to include ANY.Dull Lighting
; Few people utilize coloured lighting nor do they include things such as spotlights (Light linked to target_position) and low level lights for dramatic effect. Ambient light should be avoided unless only used with an extremely low intensity.Bad Texture Choices + Misaligned Textures
; Most people are fed up with seeing the texture set used for ATCS,
there is an incredible variety of texture sets out there and if you are unable to find one that suits you then you could make your own.
Misaligned textures just looks unprofessional, it is so quick and easy to fix.
Here is some brief points (Some are repeats of the above);Layout
• Complex enough to offer varying gameplay, but not so complex that egg hunts become a prominent tactic adopted.
• Clear enough that the player always knows where they are and how to get to other areas.
• Multiple decent locations for teams to establish bases.Lighting
• A fixture for every light source, no 'magical invisible light sources'.
• Intensity proportional to the size and type of fixture
• No over saturated colours
• Not too much contrast in one area
• No areas that are too bright or dark
• Have lighting best viewable with a gamma setting between 1.0 and 1.2 (As it is a common player choice)Texturing
• Minimal or no use of ATCS textures
• Try to stick with one texture set, as they have a theme and mixing too many differently themed textures will look unrealistic
• Make your own
• Experiment with shaders
• [Shaders] Don't make animated shaders change frame to fast (Seizure inducing effects are bad)Detailing
• Start early
• Make up some templates/'props' which you can place around your map
• Don't over use .md3 models (They have a big impact on pk3 size)Gameplay
• Regularly playtest to ensure it is reasonably balanced (It'd be good to avoid another 'Window Room')
• Experiment a little, spice it up with features such as; Traps, Lava, Pits, 'Stage Doors', Alternating Layout.
E.g. 'Pulse's lockable doors, 'Wrecktify's 'Tyrant Barrier', 'M.E.E.P.'s Teleporters
You can also go a bit more extreme like;
E.g. ‘Hard Landing’ (‘Blackout’ doesn't count as it requires a mod
)"Now go and create pretty maps that might even play well too!" – LavaCroft
Now if you still need help then start by searching the forums.
Also this thread has an abundant amount of useful links;
[Useful Mapping Links: http://tremulous.net/forum/index.php?topic=7497.0
Also feel free to ask question in the ‘Mapping Help Center’, and on the Tremulous IRC channel.
Well I hope this will encourage someone, If just one more ‘Ingar’ or ‘TRaK’ (Or Face or Gareth or Taiyo or Brain or...) comes along then this article will have most definitely been worth writing.