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WAR-Midnight Breeze [BETA 2] [UPDATE JUNE 2014]

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    WAR-Midnight Breeze [BETA 2] [UPDATE JUNE 2014]

    Name: WAR-Midnight Breeze [Beta]
    Version: 1
    Compatibility: PC
    Requirements: PC version of UT3, Titan Pack
    Description: Once a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Tokaido islands have been invaded by the Necris. Dark clouds hover over as tentacles stretch, crushing anything in its path.
    Comments: This map took awhile to make, and changed drastically since it started. Learning how to make custom static mesh actors, and the art of terrain, led to the delay.
    I hope you enjoy playing the map as much as I enjoyed making it!
    Screenshots:











    Credits: Various tuts on the web, Epic for making UT3

    Download:
    http://rapidshare.com/share/74C21793...356FE60EE681E5

    Note: Click "To download" under the large blue area and close the pop up that will open to access the file.

    Video:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWCKh...ature=youtu.be

    Please let me know about any obvious problems with the map, and what you think I should do to make it better. Thanks for your support.

    #2
    Awesome man. I will d/l and take a look.

    Comment


      #3
      Wow! Good job! I saw the map on your botmatch youtube.

      Many good things jump out right away. I think you nailed the visuals. Lighting and ambience are really well done. I like the overall node layout also.

      Feedback for your consideration: (Much of this will revolve around a theme of Z-axis …)

      Terrain elevation:

      Generally the map seems rather flat. Maybe that's ok as is, or maybe try adding a little more variety to the TerrainInfo's height map. For example:
      • In the space between the Nodes, paint in some gently rolling hills here and there, and use those to create (or at least suggest) some pathways that connect one point of interest to another.

      • Tuck some rock meshes and big-tree meshes into some of those new hillsides in order to create some smallish, natural-looking cliff faces.

      • Maybe place a strategically oriented sloped rock mesh a few hundred UU from the south wall of each Prime Node that would allow players to board-jump over the wall. (Maybe also stick the Belt at the top of this, or something …? I don't know.)

      • Even the most subtle hill, like between the Primes in Serenity, can add significant value.

      The theory: especially for outdoor maps, working with this elevation variance is one of the best ways to generate a map's "flow", and so provide a ton of those interesting game-within-the-game mechanics that add depth to the gameplay and give a map its best chance to be popular for a long time, IMO.

      These elevation features are what allow players to wage all those competitions for the high-ground advantage, and to devise sneaky attack vectors and experiment with their inventions during the heat of battle. Maps that provide these opportunities for player creativity are what keep the game feeling dynamic and fresh and new every time a match is played, for as many people as possible.


      Terrain texture:

      In (only) a few spots the terrain still retains a bit of an unnatural tiled look; maybe paint in a little more random splotches of opacity between the layered textures wherever it might help. (Between Core and Prime I thought I noticed a few spots like this, is all; again most of the terrain already looks really good.)


      Scale:

      The areas immediately surrounding each Node feel cramped; maybe generally scale those up some 125-175% or thereabouts.

      Prime Nodes are already tightly fortressed with both the covering structure and outer wall; if you make any adjustments maybe use the dimensions of the Primes on Avalanche as a guide here.

      South Node: having the node right up against the back wall feels especially constricting; e.g., a player is going to want to have at least a little bit of usable space behind (south of) the node so he can circle his view/position in all directions, to keep eyes out for attackers, while holding Link on the Node. Maybe scale up the whole platform here, and/or move the node north a bit to where it's between all four tree planters (and then center the orb spawner).

      (A good rule of thumb for scaling and juxtaposition: in general, make sure each major object or "thing" is at least one wall-dodge distance away from its neighboring "thing". This gives enough space for both free movement and cover — and so makes the "things" feel more like features you can use, and less like obstacles you have to avoid.)


      Random stuff (again, just from seeing the video):

      Is there more than one approach to the Core area? It looked like there was just that one main ramp. If so, it seems like in a live game with smart humans, that area would get congested.

      Are there boots? Map like this, seems like it'd dig some jump-boots action. Then again it is possible that I am just pulling bias out of my *** on this one.

      Wacky wishlist item: add high-mounted platforms, say, up the trees a bit … like, defense turrets accessible from a jump pad … and then if you have the boots you picked up from somewhere else, then from one platform you can wall-dodge-boots-jump up to some up-higher platform with, I don't know, Sniper ammo, Avril ammo, maybe powerup goodies, or something.



      Anyway this map is already pretty slick … real nice work

      Comment


        #4
        Great map !

        Thanks !

        +1 for the Stealthbender

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Veggie_D View Post
          Wow! Good job! I saw the map on your botmatch youtube.

          Many good things jump out right away. I think you nailed the visuals. Lighting and ambience are really well done. I like the overall node layout also.
          Thanks, I looked to maps like Serenity for guidance.

          Originally posted by Veggie_D View Post
          Feedback for your consideration: (Much of this will revolve around a theme of Z-axis …)

          Terrain elevation:

          Generally the map seems rather flat. Maybe that's ok as is, or maybe try adding a little more variety to the TerrainInfo's height map. For example:
          • In the space between the Nodes, paint in some gently rolling hills here and there, and use those to create (or at least suggest) some pathways that connect one point of interest to another.

          • Tuck some rock meshes and big-tree meshes into some of those new hillsides in order to create some smallish, natural-looking cliff faces.

          • Maybe place a strategically oriented sloped rock mesh a few hundred UU from the south wall of each Prime Node that would allow players to board-jump over the wall. (Maybe also stick the Belt at the top of this, or something …? I don't know.)

          • Even the most subtle hill, like between the Primes in Serenity, can add significant value.

          The theory: especially for outdoor maps, working with this elevation variance is one of the best ways to generate a map's "flow", and so provide a ton of those interesting game-within-the-game mechanics that add depth to the gameplay and give a map its best chance to be popular for a long time, IMO.

          These elevation features are what allow players to wage all those competitions for the high-ground advantage, and to devise sneaky attack vectors and experiment with their inventions during the heat of battle. Maps that provide these opportunities for player creativity are what keep the game feeling dynamic and fresh and new every time a match is played, for as many people as possible.


          I see what you mean. I'll look around and see where I can implement some Z-axis changes.


          Originally posted by Veggie_D View Post
          Terrain texture:

          In (only) a few spots the terrain still retains a bit of an unnatural tiled look; maybe paint in a little more random splotches of opacity between the layered textures wherever it might help. (Between Core and Prime I thought I noticed a few spots like this, is all; again most of the terrain already looks really good.)
          Thanks, this is my first published map using terrain full time, so, I'm glad it looks great! Like you said though, I clean anything that looks a little rough.


          Originally posted by Veggie_D View Post
          Scale:

          The areas immediately surrounding each Node feel cramped; maybe generally scale those up some 125-175% or thereabouts.

          Prime Nodes are already tightly fortressed with both the covering structure and outer wall; if you make any adjustments maybe use the dimensions of the Primes on Avalanche as a guide here.

          South Node: having the node right up against the back wall feels especially constricting; e.g., a player is going to want to have at least a little bit of usable space behind (south of) the node so he can circle his view/position in all directions, to keep eyes out for attackers, while holding Link on the Node. Maybe scale up the whole platform here, and/or move the node north a bit to where it's between all four tree planters (and then center the orb spawner).

          (A good rule of thumb for scaling and juxtaposition: in general, make sure each major object or "thing" is at least one wall-dodge distance away from its neighboring "thing". This gives enough space for both free movement and cover — and so makes the "things" feel more like features you can use, and less like obstacles you have to avoid.)


          Random stuff (again, just from seeing the video):

          Is there more than one approach to the Core area? It looked like there was just that one main ramp. If so, it seems like in a live game with smart humans, that area would get congested.

          Are there boots? Map like this, seems like it'd dig some jump-boots action. Then again it is possible that I am just pulling bias out of my *** on this one.

          Wacky wishlist item: add high-mounted platforms, say, up the trees a bit … like, defense turrets accessible from a jump pad … and then if you have the boots you picked up from somewhere else, then from one platform you can wall-dodge-boots-jump up to some up-higher platform with, I don't know, Sniper ammo, Avril ammo, maybe powerup goodies, or something.
          Originally posted by Veggie_D View Post

          Anyway this map is already pretty slick … real nice work
          Couldn't agree more about South Node now that I think about it. I did originally use Avalanche as a base for creating the Prime nodes, but it is a bit closed in. I agree adding jump boots would make the map more interesting by allowing an orb carrier to jump the walls into Prime Node.

          There is a secondary entrance to the core via jump pad near the cliff, right beside the beserk. I thinking about your wacky wishlist item... maybe not totally wacky, but I get your point.

          Thanks for your feedback. It's amazing how much it helps the map and myself as a mapper. The map is slick, but with some changes, I'll release a secondary beta in a little bit.

          @LordBret

          Glad you like the map. I personally agree that the Stealthbender doesn't get enough respect when it comes to it being in maps.

          Comment


            #6
            UGH I made a big post but the forum gods determined they didn't want me to submit that post, so here's another one lol.

            Overall a very good map! It’s simple and to the point. The size is nice for smallsh to bigish teams. Symmetric yet it is Axon vs Necris which is fun but can be hard to balance.

            Lighting:
            * I think the saturation of a lot of lighting is too much, especially the yellow lamp lights. I would shoot for a slightly more amber hue and less saturation.
            * The four directional lights will have a more dramatic effect if you lower them down a bit above ground level. It will make for longer shadows and a sense of light direction from the moon.

            Optimizing:
            * Your file size is pretty big. You can reduce it a lot and at the same time make some meshes look better by changing OverRiddenLightmapResolution to something like 32-64 for a mesh that has a lot of shadows. Or for a dull mesh without many lights/shadows try 16 or 8 especially for large & complex meshes with a lot of tris – like the roofs, bridges, and especially ASC Foliage Tree01. Just lighting for Tree01 takes almost 3MB. Perhaps even replace Tree01 with a more simple tree mesh with less tris. And use Tree01 in smaller areas where players are close to it to see the detail, and make sure they cull easily (i.e. not in a big open area). Look at the Primitive Stats tab (lightmap column) to see what is hogging space.
            * You need distance culling. Try looking at a Cull Distance volume from serenity for what settings should get you started.
            * Collision issues. Basically a lot of rocks need a collision volume around them so it’s easier to walk over them without having to constantly jump.
            * UN_Foliage Rootcluster_01 I would select them all and then change collision to block weapons.
            * Change your worldinfo StallZ to ~2100. Then move the big blocking volumes (127/325) up by ~512uu to make it a soft hit above you instead of crashing into the blocking volume.
            * A lot more emitters and scenery Detail Mode can be changed to DM_High/Medium. Mainly areas you cannot touch, the outside trees, Necris deco, and islands.
            * Make sure all backfaces on BSP is set to unlit. You got a lot of them but there are still some like on some of the building outside of the play area.

            Gameplay:
            I second everything Veggie said.
            * I think the Berserk should be placed differently. There should be more time between grabbing Berserk and hitting that jump pad that is on sides of the bases.
            * There should be less trees overall especially between core/primes. Also, run around the bases of all the trees finding the ones with poor collision and fix it with blocking volume. Some of the meshes allow you to run into the roots at the base.
            * Maybe add large rocks on sides of paths to primes to create a couple small choke points to force battles, and cover for those who want to be stealthy.
            * The big area to the north of the bases needs something more there to make it more likely for players to go there such as some health or boots?
            * Near the turrets, you can get stuck between the statue and the railing. Maybe add BV, or move statue a bit.

            Texturing:
            * The terrain textures do need some help. I would use the terrain layer “Rocks” for the paths through the forest. Use “Stones” for in the bases/nodes or other manmade areas mainly to help reduce the tiling effect. Plus “Rocks” has better contrast so you can see the paths better.
            * To really help with the tiling effect even more, open StoneMAT terrain material, and change scale to 1-2, then change MappingRotation by an arbitrary amount like 65deg (not 0,45,90).

            Comment


              #7
              wow, looks nice 0(\°L°/)0 !

              best regards
              Blacky

              Comment


                #8
                Originally posted by tarnationsauce2 View Post
                woosh … High. Value. Feedback.



                Some echoes:

                To the extent that doing so does not violate your overall design, do indeed try to reduce the number of trees, shrubberies, mesheries, etc. wherever you can.

                A good test to apply to each object: "Is it a feature, or is it an obstacle?" … where:
                • A feature is the product of the level designer having envisioned all the routes and pathways that players would be taking, and then placing something somewhere in order to aid or direct that action in some way (i.e. "flow");

                • An obstacle is something placed just to look pretty, to fill space, to look symmetrical, or on a whim, for no particular reason, without careful consideration for flow.

                Of course "features" can (and eventually should) look pretty too, but they're features first. Some examples of areas that IMO might still stand to be improved in this regard:
                • The four planters/trees arranged in a square at the South Node: Are all four needed there? (Maybe yes.) Would one or two larger trees complement the action just as well?

                • The three trees planted along the south wall of the Core structure: Could you get away with two larger trees here instead? The more essential pickups (health, Avril) you tuck into the folds between each planter, the more you slow down the flow. Maybe that's what you want, maybe it isn't.

                • The apparently four (I think?) weapon lockers inside the spawn area at Core: There usually isn't any reason to have more than two lockers in close proximity. (Apparent counterexamples to this are Floodgate Center and Core; but recall these were designed before the patch that caused players to spawn in with the nearby locker's weapons already in possession.) Any superfluous pickups you can eliminate reduces the number of open network channels, which can improve net performance on a heavily loaded server.

                • There really are a lot of trees, I agree with TS — it certainly looks cool, but then, so would fewer, larger trees, at least in certain spots. Maybe concentrate the fewer/bigger trees toward the center of the forested areas, and keep the numerous/smaller trees around the periphery. Similar look, fewer polys, better FPS.


                And some more miscellaneous minutiae:
                • Would it work to add an opening (or two smaller openings) to the south face of the outer wall around the Primes? (Again, compare with Avalanche Primes, which are wide open on all four sides, as well as exposed from above.) It might also benefit gameplay to open up the back/north side as well — or better yet, if you play with the terrain, have a chain of traversable rock meshes back there (think Islander and its peripheral attack vector toward the East Core along the south coast), from which players can jump down and over the wall into Prime.

                • In general it's better to put the spawn points for the heavier vehicles (e.g. Hellbender) behind or on par with the fast vehicles (e.g. Scorpion) … so as to help prevent traffic jamming during the initial rollout. Here I'm thinking of the vehicles at Core; you've given them a plenty wide berth there, so it's not likely to be a big problem, but still.

                • What if you just got rid of the railing around the Core Turret? Railings are real-life features, but in-game obstacles, if you think about it — they don't actually help players at all. Plus, if you did lose them, then, after the Turret gets sploded and disappears, Scorpion drivers can use that ramp with their boost to fly up and over the wall. Weeeee ftw!

                • At Core, maybe consider placing the Avril in a more trafficked location, say, on the opposite side of the support column in front of the Orb spawner, or have it trade places with the Sniper.




                Happy mapping

                Comment


                  #9
                  Originally posted by tarnationsauce2 View Post
                  UGH I made a big post but the forum gods determined they didn't want me to submit that post, so here's another one lol.

                  Overall a very good map! It’s simple and to the point. The size is nice for smallsh to bigish teams. Symmetric yet it is Axon vs Necris which is fun but can be hard to balance.

                  Lighting:
                  * I think the saturation of a lot of lighting is too much, especially the yellow lamp lights. I would shoot for a slightly more amber hue and less saturation.
                  * The four directional lights will have a more dramatic effect if you lower them down a bit above ground level. It will make for longer shadows and a sense of light direction from the moon.

                  Optimizing:
                  * Your file size is pretty big. You can reduce it a lot and at the same time make some meshes look better by changing OverRiddenLightmapResolution to something like 32-64 for a mesh that has a lot of shadows. Or for a dull mesh without many lights/shadows try 16 or 8 especially for large & complex meshes with a lot of tris – like the roofs, bridges, and especially ASC Foliage Tree01. Just lighting for Tree01 takes almost 3MB. Perhaps even replace Tree01 with a more simple tree mesh with less tris. And use Tree01 in smaller areas where players are close to it to see the detail, and make sure they cull easily (i.e. not in a big open area). Look at the Primitive Stats tab (lightmap column) to see what is hogging space.
                  * You need distance culling. Try looking at a Cull Distance volume from serenity for what settings should get you started.
                  * Collision issues. Basically a lot of rocks need a collision volume around them so it’s easier to walk over them without having to constantly jump.
                  * UN_Foliage Rootcluster_01 I would select them all and then change collision to block weapons.
                  * Change your worldinfo StallZ to ~2100. Then move the big blocking volumes (127/325) up by ~512uu to make it a soft hit above you instead of crashing into the blocking volume.
                  * A lot more emitters and scenery Detail Mode can be changed to DM_High/Medium. Mainly areas you cannot touch, the outside trees, Necris deco, and islands.
                  * Make sure all backfaces on BSP is set to unlit. You got a lot of them but there are still some like on some of the building outside of the play area.

                  Gameplay:
                  I second everything Veggie said.
                  * I think the Berserk should be placed differently. There should be more time between grabbing Berserk and hitting that jump pad that is on sides of the bases.
                  * There should be less trees overall especially between core/primes. Also, run around the bases of all the trees finding the ones with poor collision and fix it with blocking volume. Some of the meshes allow you to run into the roots at the base.
                  * Maybe add large rocks on sides of paths to primes to create a couple small choke points to force battles, and cover for those who want to be stealthy.
                  * The big area to the north of the bases needs something more there to make it more likely for players to go there such as some health or boots?
                  * Near the turrets, you can get stuck between the statue and the railing. Maybe add BV, or move statue a bit.

                  Texturing:
                  * The terrain textures do need some help. I would use the terrain layer “Rocks” for the paths through the forest. Use “Stones” for in the bases/nodes or other manmade areas mainly to help reduce the tiling effect. Plus “Rocks” has better contrast so you can see the paths better.
                  * To really help with the tiling effect even more, open StoneMAT terrain material, and change scale to 1-2, then change MappingRotation by an arbitrary amount like 65deg (not 0,45,90).
                  Wow... that's some great advice. I never knew anything about anything about optimizing, but it makes sense that the speedtrees seem to hog space. Hopefully I can get it below 60 000 kB.

                  I'll see if I can change the path to the rock texture. Hopefully it will look better. I'll look at the scale and gameplay.

                  Again thanks for the advise. Both you and Veggie have been a massive aid to me as this is only my second publicly released UT3 map, and I have a lot to learn.

                  I'll post an update when it's done.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by Veggie_D View Post
                    woosh … High. Value. Feedback.



                    Some echoes:

                    To the extent that doing so does not violate your overall design, do indeed try to reduce the number of trees, shrubberies, mesheries, etc. wherever you can.

                    A good test to apply to each object: "Is it a feature, or is it an obstacle?" … where:
                    • A feature is the product of the level designer having envisioned all the routes and pathways that players would be taking, and then placing something somewhere in order to aid or direct that action in some way (i.e. "flow");

                    • An obstacle is something placed just to look pretty, to fill space, to look symmetrical, or on a whim, for no particular reason, without careful consideration for flow.

                    Of course "features" can (and eventually should) look pretty too, but they're features first. Some examples of areas that IMO might still stand to be improved in this regard:
                    • The four planters/trees arranged in a square at the South Node: Are all four needed there? (Maybe yes.) Would one or two larger trees complement the action just as well?

                    • The three trees planted along the south wall of the Core structure: Could you get away with two larger trees here instead? The more essential pickups (health, Avril) you tuck into the folds between each planter, the more you slow down the flow. Maybe that's what you want, maybe it isn't.

                    • The apparently four (I think?) weapon lockers inside the spawn area at Core: There usually isn't any reason to have more than two lockers in close proximity. (Apparent counterexamples to this are Floodgate Center and Core; but recall these were designed before the patch that caused players to spawn in with the nearby locker's weapons already in possession.) Any superfluous pickups you can eliminate reduces the number of open network channels, which can improve net performance on a heavily loaded server.

                    • There really are a lot of trees, I agree with TS — it certainly looks cool, but then, so would fewer, larger trees, at least in certain spots. Maybe concentrate the fewer/bigger trees toward the center of the forested areas, and keep the numerous/smaller trees around the periphery. Similar look, fewer polys, better FPS.


                    And some more miscellaneous minutiae:
                    • Would it work to add an opening (or two smaller openings) to the south face of the outer wall around the Primes? (Again, compare with Avalanche Primes, which are wide open on all four sides, as well as exposed from above.) It might also benefit gameplay to open up the back/north side as well — or better yet, if you play with the terrain, have a chain of traversable rock meshes back there (think Islander and its peripheral attack vector toward the East Core along the south coast), from which players can jump down and over the wall into Prime.

                    • In general it's better to put the spawn points for the heavier vehicles (e.g. Hellbender) behind or on par with the fast vehicles (e.g. Scorpion) … so as to help prevent traffic jamming during the initial rollout. Here I'm thinking of the vehicles at Core; you've given them a plenty wide berth there, so it's not likely to be a big problem, but still.

                    • What if you just got rid of the railing around the Core Turret? Railings are real-life features, but in-game obstacles, if you think about it — they don't actually help players at all. Plus, if you did lose them, then, after the Turret gets sploded and disappears, Scorpion drivers can use that ramp with their boost to fly up and over the wall. Weeeee ftw!

                    • At Core, maybe consider placing the Avril in a more trafficked location, say, on the opposite side of the support column in front of the Orb spawner, or have it trade places with the Sniper.




                    Happy mapping
                    I see what you mean about feature and obstacle. I'll do what I can. I agree that the sizes of the speedtrees also need to be changed.


                    Thanks for the feedback to the both of you. As said in my previous post, you two have been a massive help for me. I guess I better get working...

                    Comment


                      #11
                      Update!

                      Name: WAR-Midnight Breeze [Beta]
                      Version: 2
                      Compatibility: PC
                      Requirements: PC version of UT3, Titan Pack
                      Description: Once a peaceful getaway from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the Tokaido islands have been invaded by the Necris. Dark clouds hover over as tentacles stretch, crushing anything in its path.
                      Comments: I apologize for taking so long to make the updated map. I was focused on other things, but came back in the last couple weeks to implement the changes.
                      I hope you enjoy playing the map as much as I enjoyed making it!

                      Changes:

                      SOUTH NODE
                      - Moved South Node to the centre of the planters.
                      - Centred orb spawner.
                      - Moved spawners slightly south.
                      - Moved teleporter near the "dead tree".
                      - Moved trees to the side (I decided to keep the four trees, but made the node area more open for players).

                      CORE
                      - Deleted Railings near Turrets (left corner poles just for the look).
                      - Deleted extra Weapon Lockers in Core.
                      - Deleted One (1) tree, centred rest of trees.
                      - Switched Avril and Sniper Rifle spawns (now you can grab an Avril on your way out).
                      - Moved vehicles for better flow (moved "slow" vehicles behind "fast" vehicles").
                      - Added Blocking Volume between Statue and Turret Ramp.

                      LIGHTING
                      - Changed colour on yellow lights to B 95, G 245, R 245
                      - Decreased brightness on some lights.
                      - Lowered four "team colour" lights 32 UU down.

                      OPTIMIZATION
                      - Deleted several StaticMeshActors "hogging" space.
                      - Changed OverRiddenLightmapResolution to values such as 16, 32, and 64.
                      - Added Distance Culling.
                      - Set Detail Mode to "Medium" for several StaticMeshActors and SpeedTreeActors.
                      - Added some collision to the cliff rocks.
                      - Made some of the trees larger in diameter, reduced number of trees by 11 per side (31 to 20).
                      - Added some hills (near core), near river, as well as hoverboard spring.

                      GAMEPLAY
                      - Added large hill to better access Prime.
                      - Moved Berserk.
                      - Replaced Body Vest with Jump Boots.
                      - Added Body Vest on hill north of Prime.
                      - Added "sniper nest" on rocks above Prime (this is for you Veggie!) Didn't add turret cause I thought that would be overkill.

                      OTHER
                      - Reduced terrain tiling on roads.
                      - Changed scale of "stones" to 0.85 from 0.50. I really didn't want to go any larger than this, it seemed to make the stones too big. Also changed angle to 55 degrees.

                      Download:
                      https://www.dropbox.com/s/3hjffhpul9...0Breeze_V2.zip

                      Comment

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