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NaliCity Mothership

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Name: DM-Misery
Author: Steve Keene
Rating: (1-10) 8.0
Pleasantly powerful!! This baby is chock full of gaming goodness.
- Qualthwar
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Intro To Mapping by Bot401. Introduction
2. Making the map
3. Final touches
Wow, an intro to an intro, cool :)
Anyway, what is this article about? I'm not here to tell you how to create a map in Unreal ed, this isn't a technical article at all. It's just hopefully to tell people a bit about the community, how to get a map made, get feedback and get it released the right way. Just small things that I have learnt over the years and I wish I had known back when I started mapping to stop me making an idiot out of myself :o

Things you need to know

Firstly there are a few things you need if you want to be a decent mapper.

1. Patience - It takes a LONG time to make a map, and even longer to learn how to make really good maps, so if you know you are the sort of person that gets bored with a game after 5 mins for example then don't bother :p
2. Ability to take criticism - Just as important as the first. If you are going to go and commit suicide if someone tells you a texture doesn't look very good then don't even bother!
3. Being self critical - VERY important. You need to be able to look at things you make and be able to recognise the things that are wrong with it, otherwise you end up either making maps which you think are great but get disappointed when nobody likes them or you have to keep asking everyone if something looks good all the time. Neither is going to get you very far.
4. Artistic ability - No, you don't have to have been drawing since the age of 2, I didn't really have any interest in art at all before I started mapping and never thought I would have, but you need to be able to know basic stuff such as a flashing purple and green cube is not a good map :)
5. General technical ability - Not very important, but if you struggle with ms word then you are going to run into difficulties :)

There are other small things but those are the most important and you need to have these qualities if you want to go far.

Making your first map

First of all, you need to be prepared to take a lot of time when you make a map. It takes a lot of thought and effort to make a believable theme and an atmosphere that makes you feel like you are actually standing in that spot, a layout that is fun to play over and over without it getting boring and pull this all together while making sure the map will run on even the lowest spec pc.
Most people just rush in and string together a few cubes with no real thought, this is never going to make a good or even a bearable map! To quote someone I was talking to today "It's like having 2 million pounds to spend on a car, then buying a second hand car with doors falling off". Mapping gives you the freedom to create just about anything you want. The only single limitation is what the engine can actually handle and if it will run on other people's computers.

Quick note on remakes. Yes, it's fine to remake a map, add a few extra vehicles, change some textures. Might even be a good idea to mess around with a map and change things so you can learn your way around the editor better, but please DON'T RELEASE THEM! Really, there are so many remakes of Torlan, Deck16, Whatever, it's getting ridiculous. OK, you might enjoy playing torlan with 50 redeemers, but the general public really doesn't want to see such things so don't waste people's bandwidth and clog up map sites :)

The first thing to do before beginning your first map is of course getting yourself some tutorials to read so you actually know where to start. There are 1,000,001 tutorials out there for making your first cube map, pretty much any will do, if you can't be bothered to search then try this one.

At the start, make lots of small maps and test things out. Get a feel for how everything works. Read tutorials and try things out. Experiment. Look at some top-rated maps and try to copy things that the author did. This way you will quickly learn how the editor works and what the most streamlined techniques are. It's pretty important that you understand how most things in the editor work before you start a proper map that you seriously want to release, otherwise you will have all these ideas and you either won't be able to do them at all or you will execute them badly and waste that good idea you had. I think it's a good idea to point to say that I've noticed if I get a good idea for something in a map, it can be an entire theme, or just a small feature, but a lot of the time, once I've created that in a map, I'm not really interested in doing it again, so if you execute a really good idea you had really badly, you will probably regret it and most likely won't come back and have another chance to do it right!
First make a lot of small maps and test rooms to try out ideas but DON'T RELEASE THEM. That's a really bad idea since your map will NOT be well received! There's a 99.999% chance that the first 5-6 maps you make will be really REALLY bad, even if you don't think so. Many people release maps which they copied from tutorials or test rooms they made. Don't even THINK about doing this :p
When you finally feel you know how to do the more important things in the editor, then you can progress onto making your first releasable map :)

1 2 3 Next


07-09-2004 12:46 AM EDT
Good. Maybe some pictures would help describe (and break the paragraphs up.
07-11-2004 08:27 PM EDT
I wanted to add some pictures but when I was writing it I didn't really notice any points which I thought "I need a pic here". I'll prolly go through it again and put some in. I also want to split page 2 up a bit because it's so long :\
07-12-2004 02:25 AM EDT
Great Tut Bot40. Lots of great ideas/suggestions on how to think Map. :)

9/10 Recommended read!! :D
07-12-2004 08:03 AM EDT
This is something I missed when I started mapping. I lost a lot of time doing stupid stuff instead of something good for me. Gladly, I never got to release the first maps like you mention on the article. :)
Every starter should read this. Really. It'll hopefully open yours eyes and save yourself some time.
07-12-2004 03:30 PM EDT
Awesome. Pure genius.

I wish I had these pointers when I was starting out. I've violated every single one of these. :/

And you've just re-ignited my mapping fire for the first time since UT2k4 came out. I especially liked the "don't be afraid to use BSP" part. I had just gotten used to UT editing when UT2k3 came out and confused me all to heck.

Fear my upcoming, sucky, n00b maps. ;D
Otto Sinner
07-12-2004 07:53 PM EDT
All this is good stuff Bot40. I am just setting myself to cook my first map and I guess I would have done most of the mistakes you warn about.
07-19-2004 04:00 AM EDT
That was without a doubt one of the best intro's to mapping that i have ever heard. I commend you for being frank and honest without dashing hopes completely. Personally i'm at the stage where i'm working on releaseing my first map to the public (much of my other work has been done with other engines and was not release quality but learning).

Anway, this is now at the top of our 'mapping resourses' link of links on the forums. Two thumbs up
07-20-2004 04:59 AM EDT
i have never made a map but i would like to so if u could tell me what the editor is and where i cold get it that would be great.
07-23-2004 06:27 PM EDT
Definitely a good read. I'd recommend anyone new to mapping to check this out! I know I've done many things that I shouldn't have that you've pointed out.

Hopefully my future maps will be a lot better, and not insanely huge. ;)
07-24-2004 03:15 PM EDT
07-27-2004 04:29 AM EDT
I give this map a 12 to make up for Bangouts silly score above :p

Seriously tho, nice work a very interesting and informative read even for an old "Has-Been" like me :)
07-28-2004 02:53 PM EDT
wat vermoord zegt :p

there are 100's of beginner-map-tutorials,
and you can always find one that actually makes sence.
what a world :)

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