Mapping Tips & Tricks
Here you can find some mapping tips & tricks submitted by OldUnreal community members.
Mapping Tips & Tricks By...
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Great ways to map:
Here are some pointers for you eager mappers out there-
1. Have a 'builder map' so that you can create complex designs there, intersect, save brush, then open into map as 1 whole brush! saves time when you want to move that brush.
2. USE SEMI-SOLIDS!!! It will cut down on BSP holes, ESPECIALLY if you are using complex brushes. (proof?)
3. It is usually better to rebuild in this order: Geometry, BSP (settings are always at 5 for me), then lighting.
4. Save multiple copies, you never know when you need to go back.
5. Keep adding to your work! Update your map. New ideas will always come to mind :)
6. For the love of pie, dont have a non-solid and a semi-solid touch!! Unreal Editor goes 'OMGWTFBSP!!' (if something goes trough a sheet brush, make it a mover, a solid, or a mesh, else...)
I'll write a tutorial sometime on howto make great lighting effects.
Some mapping tips & tricks to avoid bsp, to make a nice map, etc.:
1. NEVER use cubes as zone separators (I made a nonsolid cube w/ sides marked as portals and it worked out fine until it cut a bsp hole through half of my map... replaced with 4 sheets (from floor to ceiling) and it worked fine).
Intersect anything you want to substract, deintersect anything you want to add. NO NO NO! Using too much intersection/deintersection often makes brushes heavily loaded with useless polygons and stupid ne edges you don't need. (de)intersection should be used only when required. (but still, don't let the brush be 50% in the floor and 50% in the air because that fails)
3. Don't fuck with the rebuild dialog's sliders too much for it can cause a disaster and completely fuck up your map beyond all recognition.
4. Avoid using reflective surfaces (translucent + mirror) near fake backdrops (I did that because I can but only once, for lulz).
5. Slice your map to pieces using zones, but don't get crazy and zone off every unit.
6. Basic geometry goes first (use "Set ZoneInfo AmbientBrightness 255 | Flush" while playing through"), then basic lights, then detail geometry, then fine lighting and finally items and enemies (but make sure you leave enough room for everything).
7. Save before rebuild!
8. Keep multiple copies of your map so if you fuck something up, you can easily revert (like I keep at least 1
00 snapshot s of my virtual PC where I code).
9. Do not rebuild paths until final rebuild.
10. Do *NOT* rebuild paths until final rebuild!
11. However, if you *DO* rebuild paths every time you rebuild your map (because you didn't know this before, hurf durf), select all Inventory, Pawn, Keypoint (?) and NavigationPoint (sub)classes, right click one of the selected actors and select Order -> To Last. That will sink reachspecs like Titanic sunk itself (lol fail).
12. Before you add or sub
stract a brush, look at it for god's sake... If it's additive and sinking into floor and you don't want it to, deintersect it (and if it's sub stractive and is hanging in mid-air, intersect it). If it's pointing out somewhere it shouldn't, make a test room, do (de)intersection(s) there and add/sub stract it into your map afterwards.
13. (optional) Delete all test rooms and test brushes before releasing your map (if you want to keep your brushes for later lulz, keep a copy of your map with them for yourself).
14. (optional) Add music and ambient sounds into your map if it's not a very silent map (like underwater or something) to keep it interesting.
15. (optional, recommended) Add eye candy. Small semi-solids, Decorations, Emitters, etc. However, do not add too much or it'll generate bad bsp/big file (except if you have a leet upload speed of over 9000 Mbps and a magic wand - no homo).
16. USE 227'S FEATURES GOD DAMNIT! These guys are working hard on this stuff and it's not to be left out... If you make a map without 227's features using 227's editor, then
YOU FAIL, PERIOD you should make one, lol. (In case you didn't know, 227's features are extremely sexy...Emitters, Distance Fog, Woodruff and everything else. :))
17. (recommended to required) Play through your map at least 100 times after you make the "final" version and get some beta testers, because you don't want to release a broken map. Or you want...whatever.
18. Add pillars into tall rooms for more realistic look except if the map is abstract or something so pillars really bother and you don't want them.
1. If it's a surface, if it's flat, it could probably use more decoration.
2. Trims and borders are essential for a polished look. Trim your walkways, platforms, stairs. You can add trims to a lot of things and it's always nicer with them.
3. You know what sucks? Empty useless rooms suck. If it's useless, it shouldn't be there. If it's empty, it's useless.
4. Never think "Hum, that should be okay". Work until it IS ok.
5. A noiseless map is a dead and lifeless map. Everything makes noise in the real world (outside the window). Everything should do the same in your map.
6. Emitters are cool. Trims are cool. A lot of different texture packages are cool. Sometimes, mixing everything in one huge bloated map is not as cool as the sum of the cool things it has in it.
7. A singleplayer campaign should not be the story of a man whose ship crashed on an unknown planet. We've been playing this for ten years, we know all the tricks you can come up with.
8. If you have only one height level in one room, it better be a small and useless room. If something happens in this room (like, I don't know, the player fighting), it should have at least two levels. Three is good. Four is very good. Five is too much. Six is a cheap and impossible labyrinth (or the entr hall of a skyscraper).
9. Adding stairs of 2 steps in the middle of the room does not count as a different height level.
10. A lot of textures of the original game are very, very, very abstract and can be used for a lof of different things, including things you didn't see in the game. Making a map with the exact style of an existing map is dull, useless, uninteresting and not creative. And you should be creative (one good way to do that is using a lot of textures that are only scarcely used in the game and using them for something they were NOT made to. The Skaarj.utx texture pack is used a lot at the end of the game, but you can use the ceiling textures on your walls and vice-versa).
11. If you really want to make something with the oldschool style of the original Unreal maps, make something with great amplitudes. Think Sunspire, don't think Rajigar mines.
1. Align every possible surface in your map. Otherwise it look ugly.
2. NEVER try to make your map too *cool* or realistic because it may waste too much time.
3. Make an easter egg in your map.
4. Semisolids reduce node count, but excessive usage of semisolids lead to BSP holes hell :P. It's better to think solid brushes as the hull or core structure of a map, and semisolids as the details or decorative parts that aren't essential to keep a building structurally stable. Semisolids that are nonsolid in game (i.e. player can fire and walk through it) are a sign of BSP holes.
5. Don't build hollowed or concave shapes with semisolids, split it in convex brushes.
6. Don't stretch your zone portal sheets trough the walls/floors of your map. If there is a corridor with two windows, from where you see the outside, don't place a large sheet to cover both windows at once, make one sheet per window and fit them to the window boundaries.
7. Starting off 227f, there is a new dynamic zone info actor which can create water without needing a separate zone. Take advantage of it! Pounds, fountains, pools, lagoons or a sea with nothing but a flat underwater floor can be done without wasting zones now. Note: you'll still need one or more sheets to show the water texture.
8. Try to use portal sheets that perfectly fit the edges of the corridor, window, whatever you wish to cover. With the 2D shape editor you can build sheets with 3-999 sides.
9. If a zoned off part of your map isn't being zoned off after rebuild, there is a BSP hole that is causing the zone to leak. One visual sign of a BSP hole is a invisible surface that shows up on some wall/floor/ceiling. Note: starting off 227f, zones must contain a zoneinfo actor to be counted.
10. To increase productivity use the groups feature to rebuild your map in pieces. Group structures and actors under the same group's name, then you can simply hide things that aren't hardlinked to other things in your map, speeding up both rendering in editor and rebuilding times as you won't be working with the full map everytime.
11. Intersected brushes are ugly! Movers made this way have many unecessary vertexes at the middle of edges and many unecessary triangles.
12. Vertex snap + tesselated cubes trick. With this trick you can have tesselated cylinders/prisms.
13. Use your brains.