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    CTF-AdvancingGuard [Pics][Alpha]

    NAME: Advancing Guard
    VERSION: 0.4
    COMPATIBILITY: v3369
    DESCRIPTION: An U-shaped CTF map with the Skaarj theme. Each base has four entrances/exits and there are three levels from which players can freely change way, either by Translocator, trickjumping (first to second) the Lifts (both start from first floor, one ends in second and another on third) and Jumppads situated at the corner areas.
    NOTES: The first proper "first pass" version, complete with proper placement of everything and 22 spawnpoints, 11 per team. Staticmeshes are in a separate package for convenience reasons. I want to reuse those meshes in other future maps, since I can retexturize them.
    OLD 0.3 SCREENSHOTS


    CREDITS: Epic Games, OFC. Some of the stuff is also taken from the map DM-CBP2-KroujKran by Rogelio "Desperado#2" Olguin. (Though I can't remember what, I do remember I've used that map and AS-Mothership as inspiration sources) SkaarjMaster and papasfritas from Epic Forums and everyone at Unreal Argentina for testing.
    HOMEPAGE: None ATM.
    DOWNLOAD

    #2
    well I installed yer map and played it; my thoughts:

    -needs pathing. bots are important.
    -weapon placement is ok so far, if a bit sparse, at least needs a sniper up top somewhere.
    -looks nice overall. lighting could use something extra. I might suggest a glass roof with ribbing and some big cool glass windows looking out into space
    -no music, so something appropriately futuristic but not too cheesy please- stock is ok if you don't wanna use something else
    -no sound in space but there could be some ambient machinery noise, etc.
    -layout is pretty simple but solid and has levels, so good job. but the two lonely elevators could use some help moving players around for fast action- some well placed jump pads to better utilize the vertical aspects of the layout. and / or more elevators.
    -at least get it bot pathed and it is a pretty good map. address some of the other issues and could be terrific.

    Comment


      #3
      - Botpathing wasn't done, yeah, but, then again, it's an alpha. :P I do intend to add it in the final version.
      - A sniper? I'm not sure about that.
      - I'd definitely want to do a better lighting.
      - Music is also a must for final version, in fact, I already chose a theme. (Skaarj Assault)
      - Sound is also a must for final version.
      - I was thinking on adding a jumppad from second-center to third-upper. Despite the translocator, I think it can use some more connection between uncommunicated levels.

      My main concern for the map, right now, is about where to place ammo, health, armor, etc. In another forum people told me there's a lot of potent weaponry in bases. Should I go the easy route and add ammo near weapons?

      Comment


        #4
        -I like the sniper, but lots of folks love em. then again, there's always worm/etc
        -that would be a good jump pad spot. maybe a couple more too.
        -ammo next to the weapons is fine; if you wanna get cute and mix 'em up that's fine too. just so long as weapon distribution is even for both teams.
        -I'd lean toward stronger weapons and powerups in the middle, to encourage offense and less base camping.
        -armor health- I say high + low, so you have to move around to really power up.
        -Don't wait too long to add bots; they need testing as much or more than anything else.
        Looking forward to next version!

        Comment


          #5
          This map needs a preview shot and more weapons and health. I did not see a sniper rifle in here, but did see shock rifles; not sure a sniper is really needed though, but it could work. Yes, stronger weapons and stronger items in middle and up high is good idea……some of this is already taken care of. You said the bots, sounds and music will be added in final, so I won’t comment on them here. Yes, jumppads would be a welcome addition in my mind. I like the starry skybox as well as the moving red/blue lights, green lights, textures/meshes and Udamage location. This could be a very good map with some finishing touches and a beta test of course, since this is only an alpha.

          Comment


            #6
            Uploaded Alpha 0.4 after a very long time. I finally got some time to work on this, at last! Link at the first post. I owe you the screenshots of this new version, though.

            Main changes:
            - Scaled the map. Now some tricks (especially at the ramps) should be doable.
            - Redone placement. It now includes ammo, health, armor and some adrenaline. Now I can truly consider it "first pass". :P
            - BOTPLAY! First pass also.
            - Redone lighting.
            - Now it has 20 spawnpoints: 10 red and 10 blue.
            - Fixed movers.
            - MUSIC! Skaarj Assault is the go-to theme for everything Skaarj in UT2004.
            - Minor fixes and stuff.

            Known issues:
            - Lighting should be better.
            - I'm not sure if the uploaded version is the scaled-down one (it should be possible to go 1st. floor to 2nd. floor with regular trickjumps) or if it has the same scaling as before.
            - I'm planning on getting rid of the staticmeshes and just do the walkways as pure BSP. However, the last time I've tried this approach there were areas with no collision at all. :S

            I'm also planning a DDOM version.

            Comment


              #7
              With an ambient brightness of 64, everything looks completely washed out, especially static meshes, which are more strongly affected by ambient "light" than BSP. A brightness of 10 or so would be acceptable, but you should use more logical light sourcing. The trusses above the play area would be a perfect source, and should have some subtle coronas. A planet, star or something else in the skybox would also work. One good method for approximating natural-behaving light sources is to put a bright, slightly more saturated low raidus light directly near the source, and a dimmer, higher radius light a bit away from the source. The bright yellow squares are too bright and bit on the ugly side, so put a different texture there or consider a different way to set those up as light sources, maybe using a mesh in the center of those squares.

              The layout itself seems pretty good, but I'm not much of a CTF player. Maybe have a few more places for players to change routes and get to the upper paths, and put in a bit more cover. As a rule, you want to turn off collision on small meshes, like lights that are nearly flush to walls or ceilings so that players do not get caught on them as they move or dodge. Similarly, you want to put blocking volumes around meshes that are large and protruding, and around static mesh ramps and walkways. This is particularly helpful if you do a VCTF version, as vehicles can pass right through or get stuck on meshes easily. I think this map might be just about the right size for a small number of vehicles, like a couple of scorpions on each side. I can't comment too much on weapons, since it booted up in instagib when I play-tested, but I would move the bio to a higher position and put the link in its place below the flag. I didn't see a RL, but it would work in the base area pretty well, maybe put the shock inside the base right behind where the link currently is.

              Other observations: small, separate mesh and texture packages are a bad idea, especially if they are sourced from other maps in the first place. Just mylevel them for simplicity and convenience. The map needs a couple of zone portals, at least one at the entrance of each base. This will help optimize the level, and also allow you to easily name the zones with your zone infos. You can also use volumes to name zones. The reason you want to do this is so you can easily tell the location of team mates and bots as they chat or use taunts.

              Comment


                #8
                First of all, thanks for the feedback. =)

                Originally posted by jefe View Post
                With an ambient brightness of 64, everything looks completely washed out, especially static meshes, which are more strongly affected by ambient "light" than BSP. A brightness of 10 or so would be acceptable, but you should use more logical light sourcing. The trusses above the play area would be a perfect source, and should have some subtle coronas. A planet, star or something else in the skybox would also work. One good method for approximating natural-behaving light sources is to put a bright, slightly more saturated low raidus light directly near the source, and a dimmer, higher radius light a bit away from the source. The bright yellow squares are too bright and bit on the ugly side, so put a different texture there or consider a different way to set those up as light sources, maybe using a mesh in the center of those squares.
                Hmmm... I've got to investigate on lighting a bit more. (There's a lot I still need to learn... -.-) Good thing this is an alpha, heh. :P

                Originally posted by jefe View Post
                The layout itself seems pretty good, but I'm not much of a CTF player. Maybe have a few more places for players to change routes and get to the upper paths, and put in a bit more cover. As a rule, you want to turn off collision on small meshes, like lights that are nearly flush to walls or ceilings so that players do not get caught on them as they move or dodge. Similarly, you want to put blocking volumes around meshes that are large and protruding, and around static mesh ramps and walkways. This is particularly helpful if you do a VCTF version, as vehicles can pass right through or get stuck on meshes easily. I think this map might be just about the right size for a small number of vehicles, like a couple of scorpions on each side. I can't comment too much on weapons, since it booted up in instagib when I play-tested, but I would move the bio to a higher position and put the link in its place below the flag. I didn't see a RL, but it would work in the base area pretty well, maybe put the shock inside the base right behind where the link currently is.
                There are some ideas I have for second-to-third connection. I still have to implement them. Good point about the collision, forgot about that. Also, AFAIC there should be a RL at the entrance to each base, don't remember if upper or lower. I wasn't thinking on doing a vCTF version, especially not now that the map has been scaled down. Is the map really suited for something like that?

                Originally posted by jefe View Post
                Other observations: small, separate mesh and texture packages are a bad idea, especially if they are sourced from other maps in the first place. Just mylevel them for simplicity and convenience. The map needs a couple of zone portals, at least one at the entrance of each base. This will help optimize the level, and also allow you to easily name the zones with your zone infos. You can also use volumes to name zones. The reason you want to do this is so you can easily tell the location of team mates and bots as they chat or use taunts.
                My idea with that small package (the only one which should be there) is to reuse and retexturize those meshes in order to create other levels, as I've said in the first post. I had created them in order to fix collision problems the editor was giving when recompiling the map, perhaps now I should try to simply use BSP. The separated texture pack is because among the current Skaarj textures there weren't CTF textures, so I had to create some of them. About zone portals, I though the map had them, also forgot about the ZoneInfo (thought that was managed with simple volumes) and I'll surely put them in the next release.

                Comment


                  #9
                  You gain a minor file size advantage from the shared files if you reuse them - in your case, a 1.3mb texture file and 164kb mesh. But at those miniscule sizes, it's just not worth the hassle. It's a bit more justifiable to save things into an external package if you release two or more versions of a map, but again, only really useful if they have A LOT of assets in common. Even then, server admins are likely to only add the one version of the map that they find suitable. So no real savings for them, and it makes retaining compatibility between the two a bit of a chore for you. And as you grow as a mapper, you're unlikely to reuse more than a fraction of your old stuff, making the package even more of a liability (a large package downloaded because of only one or two of assets.)

                  Once you release a package to the public (even as an alpha) you need to consider those files LOCKED and unchangable. (More about that in a moment.)

                  If you want to reuse things, it's just as easy to open a level with myleveled assets to make them accessible for a different map (any assets used will be automatically saved in the new map; if you need something else, just load the source map again.) The big advantage to myleveled assets is that you can freely change them. And without dependencies, map installation and testing is much easier.

                  External packages are a hassle. Server admins hate them. Players hate them. It might seem silly, but it's enough to cause some players to pass on your map. One issue I've personally experienced in the past are file mismatches on public redirects because some random admin edited a package, the author updated it without changing filenames (for "compatibility" in his mind) or the file was corrupted, making the map, and any others using that package unplayable. - The version on a server, redirect, and client (player) must match EXACTLY.

                  I'm not completely against external packages, there are times when they are useful, such as when you want to make a large library for reuse, but they tend to cause more problems than they solve. For example, your walkway meshes have bad collision settings (don't use simple karma, bodies will fall through when they die, as well as vehicles, which are karma-based) - the only way to fix is to change that property and resave the mesh. That means you must mylevel it, rename to a new package, or unwittingly cause a mismatch problem if you just save it again using that file name. I routinely have to fix meshes on my server by myleveling them because we use vehicles on all kinds of maps for Invasion, and DM/CTF/BR/etc. mappers are/were mostly unaware of that collision problem.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    don't know if you still mapping this one or it's done already, but... By looking at the pics, i think it would be good to add some Arch at the corridors like in picture 2, change the floor texture because wall and floor look almost the same, and set lightning radius lower, with some coronas to give a good lightning atmosphere, specially because skaarj's theme is a bit dark, like, don't thinking i' VERY good at that, but, like my maps, Queen's Nest and Morbias remake, they have a theme based on skaarj, with focus on the green/blue/yellow lights, archs like at the old unreal and such, but the map construction looks great! (maybe later i play it)

                    Thanks!
                    Rampage

                    Comment

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