CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Tutorials and discussions about Mapping - Introduce your own ones!

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby editor Dave » Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:42 pm

I just want to drop by that I will keep my eye on this very interesting thread, as I am a fan of seeing how projects come to life. There are people with more experience in gameplay decisions than me, so I let them have the say in those matters :mrgreen: Just let it be known that the concept already sounds pretty cool.
Image
Coming 2018?
User avatar
editor Dave
Inhuman
 
Posts: 885
Joined: Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:40 pm
Location: Germany/Bavaria
Personal rank: Exorcist

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby fudgonaut » Fri Jan 12, 2018 12:20 am

OjitroC wrote:Often because of missing file(s) - the starting point to finding the reason is what does the Editor log say?

papercoffee wrote:
logggg.png

That's what that little button does!
/slaps forehead

Thanks both of you!

editor Dave wrote:Just let it be known that the concept already sounds pretty cool.

Thank you sir!

Okay, I cleaned up the map file (empty/hidden Groups, unused geometry, etc). It appears to be working now. I have added the file back to the top of the thread. If the map doesn't load for you, please let me know. Remember this is the base layout only - no weapons, no nothin'. Just for runnin' around and getting a feel for the space... maybe spurs some ideas or discussions I haven't thought of.

In several places the flag stealer can get off the ship by jumping but the margin of error is small, maybe only 16 units. I think I'll probably increase the height of the insets along the sides, one tends to bump one's head on the ceiling when jumping there.

I welcome any thoughts or ideas for improvement.

PS: If you check out the WIP map you will notice I reworked my whiteboxing textures... again. I can't seem to stop myself from tweaking them. They are much cleaner, with more colors now. If anyone likes them let me know and I'll update the source files in the other thread.

UPDATE: As a test, I tried running the map on another laptop and it came up as blank in the editor. Checking the debug, the error is that textures were missing from the Acrophobia.utx file. My assumption is that there's no way to 'bake' my custom (whiteboxing) textures into the map. Is this correct? I don't want to ask people download a whole separate .utx file just to check out a work in progress. Is my only recourse to replace all textures with ones from default.utx files?
User avatar
fudgonaut
Experienced
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:20 am
Location: The Emerald City
Personal rank: Abysmal

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby papercoffee » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:57 am

Search in the forum the word "MyLevel". It's a very important technique.
User avatar
papercoffee
Site Staff
 
Posts: 8491
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:36 am
Location: Cologne, the city with the big cathedral.
Personal rank: coffee addicted !!!

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby fudgonaut » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:34 am

papercoffee you're lifesaver!

CLEANING UP THE MAP
Here are the steps I took to unlink a missing/unused package from my map:

  • Loaded the map and used the debugger to find out the editor was looking for a missing texture package
  • I renamed the unused texture package back to its original name
  • Re-loaded the map in the editor (what do you know, the map was not blank anymore!)
  • I selected all textures in the map and replaced them with a default UT game texture
  • Then I used Texture Cull to remove references to the unused texture package
  • Went to Menu > Build > Build All
  • Saved the map, exited the editor
Then I used the MyLevel technique in a new editing session to import whitebox textures, and applied those textures to the map. To test, I renamed the old texture package back to something different. I restarted the editor and loaded the map - and this time it loaded fine, no debug errors.

So I have re-added the map to the top of the thread. Hopefully three times is a charm and people will be able to give it a look, meager as it is...

As always, thanks everyone for your help. This info is really valuable stuff for a would-be mapper such as myself!
User avatar
fudgonaut
Experienced
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:20 am
Location: The Emerald City
Personal rank: Abysmal

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby papercoffee » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:56 pm

Nice to hear it works now. :tu:
User avatar
papercoffee
Site Staff
 
Posts: 8491
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:36 am
Location: Cologne, the city with the big cathedral.
Personal rank: coffee addicted !!!

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby fudgonaut » Thu Jan 18, 2018 6:31 am

I have updated the map. I did some significant reworking - although things don’t look a whole lot different. The room geometry has been changed a little and includes some detail to break up the large flat surfaces. I simplified the inset corridors along the walls, and I rebuilt the catwalks from scratch (see below), then added Invisible Collision Hulls & Sheets so you can see through to the skybox below.

I made more changes to the placeholder textures. They are simpler and I added a lot more colors, especially more muted/neutral tones. The other thread has been updated with new .pcx and .psd files.

In this post I’m backtracking a little bit to explain part of my brush-building process. I wanted to share it in case it’s useful to other new mappers (or in case someone wants to suggest better methods):


When I start building a space, it’s with the intention of swapping out parts with final (cleaner, better-built) brushes. So I create a test space and play around with it, and when I find something I want to improve, I rebuild it in a parallel space.

In the screenshot you can see one of the wall insets (subtractive brush) mentioned in the posts above. I want to make new ones without the beveled edges – and also make them a little taller so players don’t bump their heads while jumping.

So I create a parallel space (a ‘warehouse’) and rebuild the shapes using the Side/Front views as a visual guideline to line up everything.

brush-building.jpg


In the screenshot I’ve simplified the inset into four brushes.

  1. A cube brush where I used Brush Clipping on each corners to make a squashed octagon
  2. A cube brush
  3. A cube brush where I used Vertex Editing to create a ramp
  4. A (long) cube brush

Then I build a brush around those, and used the Intersect button to make a brush out of the whole thing. I export that brush for later use.

If I decide I don’t like the brush, I move the .t3d file to a “for_deletion” folder to keep it out of my active Brush folder. I will permanently delete them only when I am absolutely certain I won’t need them for anything. The for_deletion folder will probably hang around until the map is finished.

If I decide I do like the brush, I delete the old brush from the map, add/subtract the new one its place, rebuild geometry and play the level to see how it feels.

To rebuild the catlwalks I used the same method with a brush-building space underneath the test space, to get a top-down view for matching up things visually. Then I moved the whole brush-building space from underneath to the side, and used Vertex Editing to visually match up the catwalk ramps.

building-ramps.jpg


Since the catwalks are somewhat complicated brushes, I saved the map under another name, so I have several separate warehouse maps, so that I don’t clutter the main map.

I used the same technique with the Invisible Collision Hulls. I’ve seen tutorials that tell you to keep 1 unit of space between Invisible Collision Hulls (ICH) and solid geometry. However, working in single units makes me nervous, so I keep my ICH's 2 units aaway from solid geometry.

After making ICH for one side of the catwalks, I used mirroring to create the other side:

mirroring.jpg


Hopefully this all made sense. Experienced mappers may find these methods tedious or inefficient. But as someone starting out, I find it useful to work in this incremental way.
User avatar
fudgonaut
Experienced
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:20 am
Location: The Emerald City
Personal rank: Abysmal

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby Hellkeeper » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:17 pm

This is astonishingly overthinked and needlessly complicated when pretty much everyone has used a big hollow cube beside the actual map to build and store temporary structures since the engine was made. Some Unreal maps still had the temporary structures on release. Case in point, this is the first map of Unreal.

I dont want to say your method makes no sense because everyone works his own way and whatever suits you is fine, but I've never seen such a convoluted way of building simple BSP. I mean, your geometry is still extremely simple, it's not like you need to break down the map in several parts to prevent issues. Working with dozens of files separated in several folders is such a bother I don't understand how you can bear it. And finally, topping off all this, intersecting huge non-convex brushes to end up with extremely poor geometry.

Iteration is a staple of mapping, but usually it involves either altering the geometry directly (because at worse, if you can't just undo things back to the starting point, you can just rebuild it) or duplicating (ctrl+w) the structure, moving it a few units away so it's easy to work on in the 2d viewports, modify the copy and either replace the original or delete the copy and restart with a new duplicate. At most, I'd save a second map if I made big changes, don't want to erase the main map, yet am not sure I'll keep the new stuff. Sometimes I'll make the map in separate parts, saving a few maps like "sky", "bridge", "base", etc. Storing brushes as .t3d in separate folder and flagging them for deletion in some occasions when you can just store them in the map as actual brushes in a separate room boggles my mind as it only adds steps to something which could be done in exactly 0 steps.

I'd strongly advise new mappers against doing things this way. This is tedious and inefficient indeed, but it also isn't any more incremental than any other method. Also, I'm not sure if UT99 does it but some versions of the engine automatically merge coplanar faces on imported .t3d brushes which adds a new step to get to workable geometry.

I'm not trying to be a dick, it's just... I don't understand. Maybe I'm wrong?
Last edited by Hellkeeper on Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
You must construct additional pylons.
User avatar
Hellkeeper
Masterful
 
Posts: 607
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:32 pm
Location: France
Personal rank: Soulless Automaton

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby fudgonaut » Thu Jan 18, 2018 7:24 pm

Hellkeeper wrote:This is astonishingly overthinked and needlessly complicated

Fair enough!

Hellkeeper wrote:it's not like you need to break down the map in several parts to prevent issues.

Actually this is exactly why I’ve been working this way.

My experience so far with Ued is that it's idiosyncratic and inconsistent. Some hotkeys stop working, some don’t work at all.
I’ll be in a session and - without warning - the editor will start adding Light actors every time I click in the map space - forcing me to end & restart my editing session.
Frequently I’ll notice poly faces will appear/disappear depending on the angle or distance I’m viewing them. Can this be ignored or is it a precursor to BSP holes? I simply don’t know.
I simply don’t have a large enough frame of reference yet to know whether these issues are par for the course, or whether I’ve doing something incorrectly.
I’ve watched/read tutorials, practiced building shapes, tread carefully, yet I will still come across BSP holes and/or HOM artifacts.

As you say, it’s not like I’m building super complicated brushes… So I started breaking down my steps more incrementally to see if I can parse out or eliminate problems.

So far it’s been helping, and my hope is that I’ll be able to streamline my process as I get better and learn more. But in the short term this is what works for me. I don’t find it all that complicated or time-consuming (actually was much more time consuming to write about it than just doing it). Also keep in mind I am not racing to finish this map, I'm doing a lot of extraneous iterations, trial-and-error, to help me become more fluid & proficient with using the editor.

Hellkeeper wrote:And finally, topping off all this, intersecting huge non-convex brushes to end up with extremely poor geometry.

Why is the geometry extremely poor? Could you elaborate, so that I can work on making my geometry better?

Hellkeeper wrote:I'd strongly advise new mappers against doing things this way.

That is a good recommendation - as you have far more experience with the editor than I do.

Thanks for your feedback!
User avatar
fudgonaut
Experienced
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:20 am
Location: The Emerald City
Personal rank: Abysmal

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby papercoffee » Thu Jan 18, 2018 8:17 pm

I as well use a builder-room for shapes and builds which I implement into the map ...or delete them.
For that case that UEd is acting up and try to screw my map, I activated auto-save for the Editor. That way it keeps up to 10 backups and if something went wrong can I open a former backup and have lost only 5 minutes of work.
And for the pure reason of Mc.Screwup ...I save many backup steps as a alpha and beta. But I would never go to that extent of keeping several versions of a single map in different folders. This would be bothersome. :mrgreen:
User avatar
papercoffee
Site Staff
 
Posts: 8491
Joined: Wed Jul 15, 2009 11:36 am
Location: Cologne, the city with the big cathedral.
Personal rank: coffee addicted !!!

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby Red_Fist » Thu Jan 18, 2018 9:05 pm

All I do is keep adding numbers to my last save, then if I do something drastic I keep the same number but add a letter a,b,c,, but I always have my last root numbered map if my drastic editing messes it up. I never used autosave because I do it myself enough, keep track better.

All I do with T3d is a brush I need later, so I name it aramp, apillar astairs, I use "a" so it shows up on the top of the windows detail, directory view.

You might try vertex editing, just grab all 4 vertex on one end , grid 16 !! m and move them down to make a ramp, not sure if using that or the 2d brush makes a difference in precision. (I didn't read all the posts in case you already did vertex edit), might be worse, but for a square brush it shouldn't bother anything.
Binary Space Partitioning
Red_Fist
Godlike
 
Posts: 1297
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:31 am

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby fudgonaut » Thu Jan 18, 2018 10:34 pm

papercoffee wrote:But I would never go to that extent of keeping several versions of a single map in different folders. This would be bothersome. :mrgreen:

I realize it sounds like I have a spate of extra maps. At this point I only have two: one for prototyping the flag base, one for prototyping the ship. Realistically speaking, I don't need a "for_deletion" folder but it doesn't cost me anything to have those files hanging around.

I suspect if I did video cap of how I'm building the brushes, it wouldn't seem as complicated as I make it sound (but I don't think I have the bandwidth for that).

Red_Fist wrote:so I name it aramp, apillar astairs, I use "a" so it shows up on the top of the windows detail, directory view.

Yep! I use a different naming convention, but the result is the same: keeping the most recent work at the top of the list.

Red_Fist wrote:in case you already did vertex edit

Yep! I used vertex editing a lot, to create the four finalized brushes shown here:

catwalks.jpg
User avatar
fudgonaut
Experienced
 
Posts: 81
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 7:20 am
Location: The Emerald City
Personal rank: Abysmal

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby Feralidragon » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:14 am

Honestly I don't see any big problem doing it like this.

Although, in my own latest map, I didn't have separate maps for different structures, nor did I do any importing or exporting, so just like Hellkeeper mentioned, I simply created another space within the same map and all the merging that I had to do I did mostly there, and I did a lot of it, especially for the lifts that I had to do which had a bit of detail on them.
I did keep different map versions backed up, just in case UEd decided to act up or if I did something I could regret later, but only about 5 of them.

But while I had no problems in doing it this way throughout the process, this way shown here is not without merit.
By doing things in different maps you effectively isolate the effects in the BSP tree of what you're building on the side. You never know how something you build on the side within the same map won't affect the BSP tree in such a way that messes your actual "final" builds within the actual map area itself.

Furthermore, some operations can crash the editor, and it's nice if only the editor where you were doing that weird shape is the only one crashing.

And while exporting and import .t3d files is more bothersome, it effectively creates backups of what was created for free, so a directory with stuff just for deletion is a very smart idea, because you really don't know what you're going to use next. It certainly happens that something you didn't expect to use, comes back to being even essential to some other part of the map.


Having that said however, merging brushes into a huge brush, especially full of non-convex angles, is not always the best idea.

The problem here is quite simple: whenever you're merging 2 3D shapes, if they fit perfectly with one another, like 2 cubes with the exact same size, the end result is simply both shapes joined, with no extra polys, no extra vertices, just a clean union.

However, whenever they don't fit very well, extra polys and extra vertices have to be automatically generated so they get welded together, and very often these polys and vertices are far from optimal geometry from the BSP point of view, it may even lead to errors in the algorithm itself given that it's not perfect either.

Therefore, in these cases is often preferable to keep some geometry separated, to avoid errors like these.
A merge should only be performed if where both shapes "touch" each other have the touching vertices all matching each other, without a single vertex in the middle of a poly or sinking into the other shape for example, otherwise bad geometry will be created most of the time.

Of course in some engines this is a non-issue, and in case of Unreal nowadays, and UT2004 and onwards for example, you could just convert the whole thing into a static mesh, which doesn't suffer from any of these problems, but as long as you're dealing with UT99 with the same engine built almost 20 years ago, you have to be very careful how you merge things, and how much you should actually merge.
User avatar
Feralidragon
Godlike
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:24 pm
Location: Liandri
Personal rank: Work In Progress

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby Hellkeeper » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:54 am

fudgonaut wrote:Why is the geometry extremely poor? Could you elaborate, so that I can work on making my geometry better?



I'm glad you took my post well. :)
Intersecting and deintersecting create very poor geometry because the engine needs to keep every polygon convex. When you intersect large concave brushes (like the one you showed), the editor has to divide concave surfaces into several convex ones to prevent rendering issues. In doing so, it adds edges and vertices to the brush to split surfaces into smaller convex ones, but you have no control on the process. You will usually end up with odd geometry, vertices which might be off the grid, splitting edges which didn't need to be affected, unecessary subdivisions of some surfaces, and generally suboptimal build. All this make the brush prone to holes and generate a needlessely complex geometry in the zone around it, which might lead to BSP holes.
It is almost always preferable to make larger brushes by hand as you can control precisely vertex placement and make us of the least amount of brushes required. I believe intersecting should really only be used for movers.

My previous post reads a lot like an assault, I'm glad you didn't feel attacked. I want to reemphasize that whatever methods suits you is fine, don't let old farts like me deter you from what you like. I'm still very surprised but hey, I've seen people do weird things with their editor and have good results, your workflow should primarily be fine tuned for you. :wink:
Last edited by Hellkeeper on Sun Jan 21, 2018 9:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
You must construct additional pylons.
User avatar
Hellkeeper
Masterful
 
Posts: 607
Joined: Tue Feb 25, 2014 12:32 pm
Location: France
Personal rank: Soulless Automaton

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby Red_Fist » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:45 pm

Not sure about that at all, all these maps that just cram brushes in with no intersection IS THE PROBLEM. Overlapped subtracts, add brushes sticking out of subtracts, hell no.

If the brushes fit properly, I always use intersect or de-intersect because that is what stops the map from going off the rails.
You reduce polys and get less BSP errors.
Binary Space Partitioning
Red_Fist
Godlike
 
Posts: 1297
Joined: Sun Oct 05, 2008 3:31 am

Re: CTF-Acrophobia: A n00b’s map from start to finish

Postby Feralidragon » Fri Jan 19, 2018 6:51 pm

Just like anything in life, all in due moderation though. :)
User avatar
Feralidragon
Godlike
 
Posts: 4781
Joined: Wed Feb 27, 2008 6:24 pm
Location: Liandri
Personal rank: Work In Progress

PreviousNext

Return to Mapping

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests