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Mappers block - how do you overcome it?

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    Sometimes I'd start with another map as a base (with the intention of making a port) but end up making so many changes it quickly becomes it's own map. Because other games have different gameplay it requires changes (sometimes major changes) to the map so it plays well in UT2004.

    Other times I have a solid idea of one area in my head. From there I either make it in basic 3D, or sketch it on paper, and just branch out from there. As long as I have a starting point.


      Originally posted by David3642
      I have just purchased Mastering Unreal Technology and to kick things of, a few days prior to receiving it, I was joting down nearly everything that would either make a good map, voice pack, and I even had a go at sketching down ideas for characters and weapons. I found insparations in everyday life sayings from movies or tv, scense that could be photographed, and because I work at a factory I started observing the movement of machinery and anything associated with machines, sounds, effects etc. I have used both my working environment and tools at work like scanners, camers, copy and paste. I started make a collage to collect and record my Ideas, I have many map ideas sketched onto graph paper.

      I can't wait to begin learning how to make up levels in Unreal ED and Maya.:up:
      Heheh and when you have everything ready and set to go and you're anxious to go:!!! o man what do I do first. how am I going to implement this.
      Ideas are no problem for me, it's puttin ideas to use that's the hard part.


        -keep it simple.
        -don't work on visuals until you get the layout and gameplay/pathing FINAL.
        -think "areas" instead of "rooms."
        -keep a vault of good ideas (screenshots, unfinished maps, pictures, whatever) that you can access when you can't think of anything. google image search is a good one too.
        -try to give yourself rules to keep areas consistent (no more than three exits for most of the areas, no dead ends, etc).
        -keep away from long sightlines and break up long lines with variation.
        -think in Z axis.
        -remember that figure 8's are good for flow.
        -lifts are for jumping.
        -playtest the **** out of it.
        -great layouts can take a LONG time.


          A lot of good points from BIOS.

          -don't work on visuals until you get the layout and gameplay/pathing FINAL.

          I create my layout or terrain first, add basic rooms or building mockups, then pathnode it all so that I can see how bots run in it.
          It's easy to fix problem areas before you get everything done like all of the detail and decos.

          -playtest the **** out of it.

          I have multiple workstations in the studio, so often I will launch my beta map on one or more systems while I'm working on other projects, and let bots play it to death. This along with a group of mappers and friends who beta all of my maps.

          -great layouts can take a LONG time.

          My maps usually average one to two months full-time to complete, which equates to about 300 to 600 hours of work each. But I usually create a lot of custom map content like meshes and textures, and I use a strict naming and packaging convention to keep the resources in order.



            I dont think ive ever had a mappers block.
            I have a long list of ideas for maps, I could just pick one.
            I do always worry what the map will look like, but usually comes out OK in my opinion, I just figure that I'm a noob in any case, so I have noone to impress.
            I figure that no matter how good a mapper I am, there are way more critics that will flame my work - rather than people giving me a good direction to steer to.


              Advice I have is don't let an idea you think of during one map make you abandon the current one and start another, unless you know you're at a dead-end.
              What I like to do when I first have an idea is subtract a small cube and decorate it according to my vision as I would a finished level. For me at least, I usually have to see the progress I'm doing so I feel that I'm actually doing something or I'd be at risk of quitting... So I'll just keep looking back at the subtracted cube and that usually gives me the incentive to keep going.


                Personally, I'm blessed with being able to map cooperatively alongside my clan members, so typically, when I get to a point that I just can't think up a good layout for a particular area, I lethargically hand it over to somebody who's still fresh full of ideas.

                If I'm working alone, however, I mainly overcome mapper's block by closing down the editor for a day or two and spending some time on my favorite DM server. This simple leisure time away from planning always seems to reinvigorate my ambition to map and refuel my mind's eye, leaving me both eager and inspired once I get back to the drawing board. It's weird, yes, but next time you just plain can't decide what to do, go get 200 frags. Amazing what it does to the imagination.


                  My advice would be to go to sleep, many good maps that I have thought of came from dreams.

                  You might want to keep some sort of notebad by your bedto jot your ideas down from dreams as soon as you wake up. Getting your body ready for the day will almost certainly lose you the idea!