Who is planning an ns2 map?

ConfusedConfused Wait. What? Join Date: 2003-01-28 Member: 12904Members, Constellation, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue, Subnautica Playtester
<div class="IPBDescription">And what steps are we taking.</div>So guys,

First of all: howdy, it's been a while.

I am interested to see what every one is up to and who is planning to make an NS2 map. I know from the blogs/podcasts/vodcasts that some of you are out there with orange maps already. And for those of you who are that far along i salute you. I personally am having trouble with the whole making a map thing with out a clear idea of the gameplay.

So Instead i have been trying to figure out what sort of environments would be interesting. Charlie and Max both seem to have discussed interaction with the environment a lot and so I am trying to work something up that feels good but is varied enough to allow rapid changes in flow using minimal amounts of effort. I am planning to use a lot of prefabricated structures to allow this. This is a revelation i pulled out of playing Mass Effect which has a very modular feel to it. I recall feeling that the use of essentially prefabricated hallways back in the day was basically a cop out. Mass Effect has changed my mind, to a certain extent anyway. Their game has very few fundamental architectural elements but they are confined to secondary aspects of the game. I would love to talk at length about Mass Effect's merits here but instead i need to get back to mapping for NS. The plan at present being to use prefab hallways to link rooms with interesting features, saving myself time initially and on the later, and inevitable, reconfiguration I will need to do, given that the game is currently in development.

So, to get a bit more back on target here. I have worked up a graph of points of interest which currently assumes a similar game play style as the original game. This led me to location names, which, in turn, has led me to back story. Sad to say, this has been spread across 5 PCs two of which are no more. So, I'm not entirely sure of what I have left, and/or where it is. So, I wont be posting a large number of epic screenshots, or renders, or even concepts. Along the way though, I have made some fun little discoveries.

For doing layouts, I have been using a free tool developed by AT&T to do telephone network layouts called <a href="http://www.graphviz.org/" target="_blank">graphviz</a>. When I say layout I mean it in a very tenuous sense, they are more similar to the node networks used to describe the maps from the <a href="http://perso.enst.fr/~cguerin/NSmap/p1.html" target="_blank"> Mapping and Competitive play sticky</a>. This will automatically generate the shape of your level, to match the points you have linked. The syntax is pretty easy
<!--c1--><div class='codetop'>CODE</div><div class='codemain'><!--ec1-->point_a->point_b<!--c2--></div><!--ec2-->
Generates a line with an arrow pointing from point_a to point_b. This means that getting a grip/updating the overall layout is much easier than using ms paint and cutting and pasting. That said, it's obviously not as pretty. Personally, my inner geek enjoys being able to rip stuff out easily and move it around the level while keeping the relationships stable.

<div align="center"><img src="http://dev.podded.us/images/graph_sml.gif" border="0" class="linked-image" />
A quick preview of what graphviz layouts look like

I am planning to post both a classical layout, with room shapes in soon. But instead I will probably try to get some prefabs done as i haven't really played with hammer and a pretty good amount of time:)

In closing, Who else is panning a map still? What little gems have you stumbled upon recently?


  • ChuckstarNLChuckstarNL Join Date: 2003-11-23 Member: 23446Members
    Lemme see... okay, my advice: Just take it slowly. There is no rush since there is still so little known about the gameplay. There is also no known release date for a public beta or tech release of some sort.

    The way I'm mapping right now is to just draw a couple of test-layouts (single room or part of a map) on a piece of paper and then ideas will just pop up randomly. I don't make the whole final layout, but I do keep NS1 in mind.
    Anyway, so now I have these test-layouts that I can think about further. For example, I can ask myself the question: "Does this fit the theme of the map?" or "Which layout is the best of the bunch?". The balance of the room is also important, but can be hard to judge at this moment. When I'm happy with the layout I can build the basics in the level editor.
    After the orange dev textured room is done, I can think about the lights. "How do I light this room?" "Do I want dramatic shadows or soft shadows?" "What color of light should I use?" are all questions I ask myself by then.
    After the lighting gets done and you make a neat gun... err, when you're happy with the layout, lighting and the balance (so far), then you can add textures and models and stuff.

    There's a fat chance you'll learn something new along the way so don't be afraid to redo older areas. Also, keep working nicely on the grid and DON'T USE CARVE for pete's sake. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tounge.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":p" border="0" alt="tounge.gif" />

    Hope that wasn't too boring.
  • Kouji_SanKouji_San Sr. Hινε Uρкεερεг - EUPT Deputy The Netherlands Join Date: 2003-05-13 Member: 16271Members, NS2 Playtester, Squad Five Blue
    edited January 2008
    Still toying around with me current maps in source. But as long as we don't get our precious information on gameplay, all I'm doing now is simply recreating the areas from me maps and see where the wind will blow in terms of layout... Which is kind of set already due to shiplayout and the NS1 roots... (I'm mainly thinking about hallways and vents here)

    I just hope I can get my weldable resnode, humungous 2 button door, and hiveresnode lockdowns into NS2. Also I'm kind of interested as to what welding will be like in NS2 as my map (achio) has a huge amount of weldables...

    Also I kind of like the idea of using the orange dev textures to create the map layout and then focus on getting the detail into the map<!--coloro:#FF8C00--><span style="color:#FF8C00"><!--/coloro-->*<!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->. This type of mapping is very intuitive when you are creating layouts that work well with NS2 for gameplay testing purpose (walking distance, campable areas, siege ranges etc...)

    I will be using this technique on the areas between the main areas, while doing the main areas like I did them in NS1 (max out the detail and perfect the texturing/lighting) This has backfired on me in goldSRC mapping due to engine limitations, but this is Source so I should be good <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tounge.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":p" border="0" alt="tounge.gif" />

    <!--coloro:#FF8C00--><span style="color:#FF8C00"><!--/coloro-->* <!--colorc--></span><!--/colorc-->Charlie also mentioned this in one of the blog entries or audio casts I think, or was it Max? I can't recall...
  • StixNStonzStixNStonz Join Date: 2006-11-06 Member: 58439Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    The source dev textures are nice, but they really aren't that necessary. The mapping technique mentioned simply means that you just build the basic brushwork first to completion, then tinker with it, and then finally add all the detail and lighting and such. I didn't take this approach with Nexus, and by the final version, i'd ripped out and redone two huge areas, expanded the entire map once (that was a whole ton of work), and one time gone back and touched up just about every brush previously made.

    Ns_stage, on the other hand, is getting this better approach. The basic brushwork is about 70% done. Frankly I love this mapping technique. I've already picked out all the textures I want and placed them on placeholder brushes ('show only used textures' <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink-fix.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=";)" border="0" alt="wink-fix.gif" />). I get the feeling that i'll blast through the texturing and lighting stage once I get to it.
  • MoconnorMoconnor Join Date: 2002-07-26 Member: 1004Members
    I have not started any test maps for NS2 yet or anything like that yet, but I'm thinking about creating a map for NS2. Myself, I am currently trying to get back into the swing of things, I have not done any mapping in quite a while. For now I'm just practicing on my texturing techniques as well as some modeling.
    For the style of my map, I'm keeping a close eye on the dev teams concepts for now. I suppose when the time comes Ill have a bash at creating some of my own concepts for a level.

    I've also been thinking about the layout side of things quite a bit. My though for now is that if I get a good art style going first, I'll aim to create a map that has more than just specific routes from A -> B. With this I can then close down areas, open up new ones etc, so it feels like an actual facility/ship/whatever (you get the idea?)
    Hopefully I'll have some good solid prefabs, and models done for my hallways as well so I won't have too much trouble creating/editing new/existing routes to adjust for game-play tweaks.

    But like I'm saying, its all just thoughts at the moment.
    I'll start getting some stuff down on paper and what-not when I get college and other things outta the way. <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/tsa.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid="::tsa::" border="0" alt="tsa.gif" />
  • Rendy_CZechRendy_CZech Life is a Koan Join Date: 2003-10-11 Member: 21608Members
    I'm planning something for NS2. But it depends on how good NS2 will be and how much spare time I will have. Hovever I have layout sketch on paper and that's good for beginning :-)
  • ThaldarinThaldarin Alonzi&#33; Join Date: 2003-07-15 Member: 18173Members, Constellation
    I'm planning, heck I bet a lot of people are planning. Doesn't mean it's going to happen though.
  • StixNStonzStixNStonz Join Date: 2006-11-06 Member: 58439Members, Reinforced - Shadow
    Its a real shame so many people have lost their source files. I sure as hell will port Nexus and maybe even Stage, and then do em up all fancy dancy. Having the basic brushwork and proportions already laid out saves like 80% of the buildtime, imo.
  • BelgarionBelgarion Join Date: 2002-07-19 Member: 973Members
    I hope UWE provides a LOT of props and variation in those props. They're an easy way to add detail and depth to a map, but can just as easily make the map feel generic and uninteresting because of the repetition from other maps. Here's hoping.
  • GrizzlyGrizzly Join Date: 2003-10-27 Member: 22025Members
    I haven't got started on anny real layout, but done alot of brushwork to get some ideas down
    untill we get textures and more info about whats needed, i supose thats whats left to do <img src="style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/smile-fix.gif" style="vertical-align:middle" emoid=":)" border="0" alt="smile-fix.gif" />
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