A Guide to the Spark Editor

fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
edited December 2011 in Mapping
Get Started Making Maps for NS2




A Complete Guide to Spark, parts 1-6

http://www.own3d.tv/FMPONE


^^^ Full tutorial series




Old Post Below




Hey guys, in the next few weeks I'm going to be releasing a series of videos taking you through the complete building of a relatively basic map. My goals for this are very simple:

1. Explain, in full, how the vertices and face system work. This can be a point of confusion for many people, which confuses or slows further progress.
2. What you NEED to know about each and every room of your map.
3. Describe the various important elements of lighting, including the "rules" as I understand them.
4. Offer some strategies to deal with rooms of all shapes and sizes.

The entities stuff is for some other guy, if you can't figure that stuff out, God help you.

5. Now keep in mind I'm just some schmuck who hasn't released a real map yet, so I am also going to take you through some released maps and show you some of the things I've learned having opened up other .level files from real smart and sexy people.
6. Is there anything else you'd like to see covered in a video series?
Post edited by Unknown User on
Daxx
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Comments

  • WilsonWilson Join Date: 2010-07-26 Member: 72867Posts: 1,397Members
    edited December 2011
    I'd like to see something on workflow, perhaps showing a room from the initial ideas through to the finished product.

    I'm looking forward to them :)
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    In-game name: Wilson

    My Crosshair Pack: LINK
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
    edited December 2011
    QUOTE (Wilson @ Dec 20 2011, 02:04 AM) »
    I'd like to see something on workflow, perhaps showing a room from the initial ideas through to the finished product.

    I'm looking forward to them :)


    Yes, very good idea. I will detail one room for everybody and demonstrate organized layering. /Makes a mental note in addition to this to remind myself
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • LV426-ColonistLV426-Colonist Space Jockey Join Date: 2011-08-05 Member: 114269Posts: 678Members, Constellation
    edited December 2011
    A few things that would be useful for those looking to map but don't know all the techniques of creation:

    -Spawning requirements (Mains)
    -Random starts (And how they work)
    -TP/RT requirements
    -Powernodes (And how they work)
    -Circular faces (Curvature)
    -Creating one face from multiple faces
    -Creating Mini Map to use in game
    -Setting up pathways (Macs/Drifters)
    -Adding audio (Sound Effects)
    -How doors work/function
    -Proper/Improper alignment
    -Different lighting techniques
    -Main use of rotation/size/scale tools
    -Determining the "proper" size for each room (Onos)
    -Determining the "proper" size for vent/air ducts
    -How to piece the map together (Like a puzzle)
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    LV426-Colonist
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
    edited December 2011
    QUOTE (LV426-Colonist @ Dec 20 2011, 02:28 AM) »
    A few things that would be useful for those looking to map but don't know all the techniques of creation:

    -Spawning requirements (Mains)
    -Random starts (And how they work)
    -TP/RT requirements
    -Powernodes (And how they work)
    -Circular faces (Curvature)
    -Creating one face from multiple faces
    -Creating Mini Map to use in game
    -Setting up pathways (Macs/Drifters)
    -Adding audio (Sound Effects)
    -How doors work/function
    -Proper/Improper alignment
    -Different lighting techniques
    -Main use of rotation/size/scale tools
    -Determining the "proper" size for each room (Onos)
    -Determining the "proper" size for vent/air ducts
    -How to piece the map together (Like a puzzle)


    There is a bit too much focus there on entities for my taste, I believe entities are important but most of them are in constant flux and need an independent understanding, I want to focus on Spark and what Spark does - geometry, lighting, models, and some aesthetic stuff.

    I can get into entities, but I'm just hesitant because I feel like a lot of it will not withstand the test of time.

    I see your point however, if I'm detailing exactly how to make a map, I should cover these areas. When we exit the basics I'll see into how much depth I'd like to explore entities and gameplay ents
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • JibrailJibrail Join Date: 2009-04-16 Member: 67200Posts: 866Members
    Really smart idea,It would be really nice to have a set of tutorials out there before the game hits v1.0 for people to learn, and this could later be added to the wiki page maybe?
    looking forward to them.

    oh and I would love to see videos about importing custom textures and maybe even models from sketchup if possible?
  • whoppaXXLwhoppaXXL Join Date: 2006-11-03 Member: 58298Posts: 703Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    Great News!

    I think it's very important to show an effective way of getting the geometry done including vents and the like.
    I saw myself creating a Room in 5 different ways and did not find out for myself which the best way is to use the Tools in effective order.

    A plan for this would be great, since you seem to have much sucess with yours! :)
    "I got in one little fight and my com got scared, he said you're moving with your squad to the ###### hive."



  • Electr0Electr0 Join Date: 2011-10-31 Member: 130337Posts: 349Members
    Would be cool to see any clever tricks you might have as well.
  • playerplayer Join Date: 2010-09-12 Member: 73982Posts: 1,677Members
    This means less time spent on veil. I do not approve of this.
  • endarendar Join Date: 2010-07-27 Member: 73256Posts: 620Members, Squad Five Blue
    QUOTE (player @ Dec 20 2011, 11:22 PM) »
    This means less time spent on veil. I do not approve of this.


    I didn't want to say anything.
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
    I'm just gonna do a video every week or two in time that would otherwise be spent looking at sexy websites
  • whoppaXXLwhoppaXXL Join Date: 2006-11-03 Member: 58298Posts: 703Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    QUOTE (fmpone @ Dec 20 2011, 10:13 AM) »
    I'm just gonna do a video every week or two in time that would otherwise be spent looking at sexy websites

    QUOTE (fmpone @ Dec 20 2011, 10:13 AM) »
    looking at sexy websites

    QUOTE (fmpone @ Dec 20 2011, 10:13 AM) »
    sexy websites


    Does this mean you won't visit this site anymore? =S
    "I got in one little fight and my com got scared, he said you're moving with your squad to the ###### hive."



  • IronsoulIronsoul Join Date: 2011-03-12 Member: 86048Posts: 806Members
    http://www.naturalselection2.com/tutorials

    bam, check it out. Dunno if you knew about this, but there are already tutorials available. see what you can improve from this set.
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
    edited December 2011
    QUOTE (Ironsoul @ Dec 20 2011, 04:36 PM) »
    http://www.naturalselection2.com/tutorials

    bam, check it out. Dunno if you knew about this, but there are already tutorials available. see what you can improve from this set.


    Thank you for that link. I myself most likely learned Spark from those tutorials, so there is nothing per se wrong with them, but I intend to answer all of the questions people naturally ask about on the forums and confusions that are the result of weird editor eccentricities that those videos don't address as bluntly or leave out entirely, all while giving you that stuff as well.

    The idea being, I lurk the forums, I know the problems people have and questions that pop up a million times, you won't have any of them after my videos (ideally)
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • konatakonata Join Date: 2011-08-24 Member: 118296Posts: 862Members
    I suggest you do it in the style of the UE3 ones that were available on the special edition disc. The design structure and video format would really help you and teaching others how to use space in an editor, especially Spark.

    I believe those same ones are available somewhere online for free to but I'm not sure who made them/where they are.
    ~ Konata

    À tellement bien mentir, on finit par se croire
  • IronsoulIronsoul Join Date: 2011-03-12 Member: 86048Posts: 806Members
    the style that 3dbuzz does it in.
  • Evil_bOb1Evil_bOb1 Join Date: 2002-07-13 Member: 938Posts: 915Members, Squad Five Blue
    Can't wait to see these :D I hope you are going to talk about geometry, textures and props and how to combine them effectively. You have been doing a great job on the veil remake. Some of your though process on that would be nice.
    ns2_turtle modid=486cef9 Forum thread / duplexgaming page
  • quazilinquazilin Join Date: 2002-11-25 Member: 9880Posts: 381Members, Contributor, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue
    This would be really helpful for everyone. Especially showing how to build more complex stuff would help me alot.
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
    edited December 2011
    OK folks, heres the first video in the series

    http://www.own3d.tv/video/348699/NS2_Map_Tutorials__1

    Much, much thanks to Tommy aka Acid_rain who helped me get all this going. In the future I will post in real time as I stream these tutorials for you guys to watch, these are just recordings.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
  • whoppaXXLwhoppaXXL Join Date: 2006-11-03 Member: 58298Posts: 703Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    I lol'd at the trolololo part.

    Good Videos though sometimes you overcomplicate things I think. For example the 3 arrows for dimensional moving - first you're playing around with them and after some time you state what they're really about in one fine sentence. (What is enough really) But doing that in the first place would be much better to prevent confusion and waiting for the logical understanding.

    Did you make some kind of notes before doing them? Seems like you do it all off the cuff, which is nice but you can keep certain things simple and only rest some seconds to state them before moving on to the next part.

    Also I recommend to make a youtube channel :)

    All in all very informative thank you!

    "I got in one little fight and my com got scared, he said you're moving with your squad to the ###### hive."



  • konatakonata Join Date: 2011-08-24 Member: 118296Posts: 862Members
    Low resolution hurt my eyes.

    We need videos that teach good mapping, good techniques, not overall techniques.
    ~ Konata

    À tellement bien mentir, on finit par se croire
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
    You gotta run before you leap.

    Sorry if I over complicate things, I don't use notes, and therefore just want o make sure newbs get it fully. Get everything. Eventually we'll get into some true meat and potatoes, when all the basics have been covered.
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
  • nUfl0wnUfl0w Join Date: 2005-02-25 Member: 42412Posts: 235Members
    this is very interesting! love your vids.
    cheers - Dolce & Lebowski
  • WilsonWilson Join Date: 2010-07-26 Member: 72867Posts: 1,397Members
    Why do you need to bother with everything being connected like that? Why not just copy paste a new face into the gap and then stretch it out as needed?
    In-game name: Wilson

    My Crosshair Pack: LINK
  • fmponefmpone Join Date: 2011-07-05 Member: 108086Posts: 928Members, Squad Five Blue
    QUOTE (Wilson @ Dec 23 2011, 03:17 AM) »
    Why do you need to bother with everything being connected like that? Why not just copy paste a new face into the gap and then stretch it out as needed?


    Geometry should be "welded" in the sense that when you double-click it, you select more or less all of your map geometry. This is just good clean mapping technique to prevent rendering errors, and to make sure vertu are on grid and easy to work with.
  • Electr0Electr0 Join Date: 2011-10-31 Member: 130337Posts: 349Members
    It's good you're doing this but make a youtube channel instead as it's better and you'll reach more people, also screen recordings should really be in hd, anything where you're showing software should be at least 720p.
  • konatakonata Join Date: 2011-08-24 Member: 118296Posts: 862Members
    edited December 2011
    I'd not recommend welding until your level is complete. I'd recommend keeping an up to date level file that is always unwelded so you have maximum freedom in your content creation. I'd save your release/final version welded together as a seperate file.

    I'd also recommend less use of the line/face tool on to existing lines. It autowelds faces and planes, any manipulation requires you to delete and re-create which is frustrating, as opposed to planning ahead with a copy/paste method.

    In regards to your cleaning up of geometry, some of the hallway faces you replaced didn't need replacing and you made the doorway more complicated to texture and to manipulate, it's not clean as you said it was. In fact for me, it would cause so many problems having that many triangles in such an orientation. Functionally, I'd like you to show me a real in map example where that works, because it's just a huge triangular mess.

    Also in these videos your orientation with the camera is really off, it's really disorientating to watch. Are you using a laptop track pad or something? The zoom in and out is really off putting too.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    ~ Konata

    À tellement bien mentir, on finit par se croire
  • nUfl0wnUfl0w Join Date: 2005-02-25 Member: 42412Posts: 235Members
    edited December 2011
    Hhow important is it really to "stay on the grid"? I didn't really understand why it is that much of a problem.
    I am trying to build a corridor that has a 22.5° bend in the middle. The part I started with is perfectly on the grid. But the rotated part makes problems. Of course I could rescale it to the grid, but then the dimensions at the end of the corridor are off. Also to be or not to be on the grid also depends on the "refining of the grid", right? Can I use that maybe to solve the problem?

    Thanks! :)

    Edit
    Also: Does on the grid mean just on the lines of the gid or always on the intersects of the lines? :)

    Edit2
    The last video you uploaded today is the same like the 4th one you uploaded, but with a different title. The one about textures. Is that intended?
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    cheers - Dolce & Lebowski
  • pSyk0mAnpSyk0mAn Nerdish by Nature Germany Join Date: 2003-08-07 Member: 19166Posts: 1,435Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Silver
    edited December 2011
    It is just a cleaner mapping style to have as much as possible on the grid, which means vertices don't use float comma values. That way it is easier to modify or add geometry to the existing one, because as soon as it comes to moving or scaling you'll have trouble with the off-grid stuff to get it into exact different off-grid positions or to make seperate geometry connect exactly with other geometry ending off the grid.

    That being said there are a lot of things where off-grid vertices don't matter:
    -Seperate geometry, like building your own pillars or segments, which you then treat like props, where vertices are bound to be off-grid, when you rotate them.
    -Curved geometry for the sake of having perfect curves, although the two endpieces of, let's say, a 90° curve should be on the grid, if possible, and can be used as orientation/origin for moving and scaling that curved geometry.
    -Rotated geometry like bends in hallways to keep the intended scale and dimensions. In these cases it always helps to have the off-grid geometry connected and share vertices up to where the end pieces of said geometry are back on the grid. That way you always have some on-grid points you can use for moving and scaling.
    -Endpieces of geometry like, for example, when you extrude a rotated face of a wall to create space for a prop.
    Post edited by Unknown User on
    NS2 Map in progress, ns2_summit

    Spark tutorial for curved floors/corridors (included in the map thread in the last section of the 1st post)
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