CP artpass_earkham

Discussion in 'Map Factory' started by EArkham, Jul 18, 2010.

  1. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Worked on this since the contest was announced. Didn't have much to show yet, but I think I'd better go ahead and reserve the thread since others are also doing a ruined theme. :)

    Step One: Theme

    Normally I plan theme and layout at the same time, but in this case the layout was done. Since I have WIPs for both a winter payload and a night Egypt river theme, I didn't want to use those themes for this map. I did however really feel the layout lended itself to a set of ruins (gaping cavernous openings, skybox visible in areas inside, etc), so I tried for an entirely new ruined theme. After a semi-random search for images of ruins, I opted for an Angkhor Wat/Cambodian style to be distinctive from existing Egypt styled maps.

    http://kupukupu73.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/angkor-wat-ruins.jpg
    http://www1.i2r.a-star.edu.sg/~bxchen/myPIC/Cities/Angkor-Wat.jpg

    A quick non-comprehensive review of Cambodia revealed it became a nation in 1953, independent of French rule. This means it A) fits the timeframe and B) spy is French, so tenous link up there.

    Since others are already doing cavern ruin themes, I'm going to try to focus more on the jungle-ish outdoors.

    Step Two: Asset Organization and Creation

    After sorting through the available props (including a host of custom ones), I set aside a couple dozen that were especially fitting for the theme. Obviously I'd still need to create several. I picked several custom props as well, but I'll wait on getting approval until I'm sure I'll actually use them.

    Permission from Spike granted to use his jungle trees. Much appreciated! [Edit] Though after much reference material, I realized those trees aren't the right style. Still appreciated. :)

    Step Three - Map Building

    The meat and bones of the contest! Finally! Though I've been picking away at little areas since the start of the contest, as of the start of September, I'm diving headfirst into wholesale map building.

    Little disappointed to find that the default brushwork is... pretty shoddy (overlapping brushes, brushes that stick into seperate areas, etc), so this slowed me down quite a lot. However I've still managed to get some progress on some real khmer-esque style ruins.

    Here are the final shots. And by "final," I mean "unfinished," not "done." Post mortem after screens:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    POST MORTEM

    While I could rush out a finished map before the deadline, I'd be extremely unhappy with it. Not only would I be unhappy, but I'd be outright ashamed. This is not mapper vanity or obessiveness (though certainly both apply partially), but an issue of being realistic.

    * Quality- As stated. This is the number one reason I'm dropping out. The area still requiring detail is Point B and the exterior of Point C. On the plus side, areas I've finished can be ported to another map since I'm not sending this in.

    * Time Available - My paying projects are suffering by putting time into this map, and quality-issues aside, that alone is enough to kill my entry.

    * Lighting - The lighting on this map is quite frankly awful. A month ago, I spent most of a week comparing lighting screenshots and doing test compiles. I "temporarily" put in the goldrush settings just so I could have some screenshots, and I never took it out.

    * Prop work - If I had a dedicated modeler, this would not be a problem. Unfortunately, being mapper, modeler, and texture artist with the time constraints means I can do all of them mediocre or I can do one of them very well. Many missing props (window ornamentation, roof details, additional root clusters, etc) as well as significant texture issues on the finished ones. Again, this is not content I want to release without some additional work.

    * Layout - I've never been happy with the artpass layout, and the khmer theme -- no matter how desperately I tried to shoehorn it in -- doesn't fit the layout. While khmer temples have vertical elements, they're predominately wide structures with multiple openings. It's been a struggle to get what I have to work with the layout.


    SUMMARY

    Though the quality of the map just isn't there, as a test of a new theme (or more accurately a variant of Egypt), it was a success. Learned much on how to properly create it in a later map.


    FUTURE PLANS

    For future contests, I plan to collaborate with someone else. Either as the mapper or modeler, but not both. Lesson learned. I was too ambitious to try and create and do everything myself for this.

    OR... I'll go with a much more standard theme so I don't have to spend any time creating new content, but where's the freaking fun in that!? :)

    I'll be releasing the full texture pack (30+!). After I take a break, I'll revisit my props, correct the problems, clean them up, add the missing ones, and then release those as another pack.

    Meanwhile, I'm still very enamoured with the Cambodian ruins theme. I'll be creating a mirrored 5 Control Point map using this theme (or possibly KOTH). Since a ton of detailing has already been done, this will go a lot faster once I start working on it. First however... blocking in a layout I actually like.

    There's a fair chance that I'll finish the artpass version and release it for giggles. But it's no longer a high priority (or a priority at all). And it certainly won't be in time for the contest.

    Been totally relieved to have killed this project off, quite frankly. :D

    Kep
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2010
  2. Efhan

    Efhan L2: Junior Member

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    Great lord, what have you created. And there are people that don't believe in intelligent design. j/k.
     
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  3. Tekku

    aa Tekku

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    Awesome, even more Mayan themed maps.
     
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  4. l33tz0rx

    l33tz0rx L1: Registered

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    For the pillar you can use the ones from cp_egypt (even though you were trying to avoid egypt, the pillars would work unless the color fails.)
     
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  5. Acumen

    aa Acumen Annoyer

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    i really keep my fingers crossed that you can pull it off. i always love it when someone tries to really push himself with creating new content on top of the challenge. what you have so far looks really promising. i hope the texture is so blurred because of the jpeg compression, though :D
    can't wait for your content progression !
     
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  6. Sharc

    Sharc L1: Registered

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    A mix of jungle and ruins? This could be great!
     
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  7. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Yeah, I've got my fingers crossed, too. I usually fall down pretty hard on modeling due to the twin headaches of UV mapping and optimization.

    Case in point. WIP of a vine-root:

    [​IMG]

    Left: Sculptris original, Right: Zbrush after decimation. ...and it's 1100 polys. DERP. :\

    Really not loving that side branch either. Probably will take it into XSI and chop off some of the ugliest parts. Or I may texture it and see how badly it looks in game.

    Kep
     
  8. FeartheMango

    FeartheMango L69: Deviant Member

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    Holy shit that's awesome.
     
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  9. Infi^

    Infi^ L1: Registered

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    Fourth Mayan theme!

    I'm curious as to where you have found these available and suitable models already. Do you mean within the GCF files? My own searches for Aztec and Mayan content have returned fairly little usable content for inspiration and to work with of course. I think three of us so far are borrowing and altering little bits from the Egypt theme.

    Good luck to you and it sounds like you have a lot of this planned already, but if I'm honest, I am hoping that it will only be the small handful of us that choose to work on the Mayan theme, otherwise this unique idea may become really old and common rather quickly.
     
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    Last edited: Jul 19, 2010
  10. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Cambodian, not Mayan. :p I know, I know, most aren't going to tell the difference or care, but it should at least help with visual difference. Ruins might be getting done at lot, but I think nighttime has it beat.

    Lot of props from the swamp pack work really well for "wet jungle," plus I have some more generic ones for exploration through a jungle. Most of the ones for the actual ruins I'm having to create.

    Kep
     
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  11. Infi^

    Infi^ L1: Registered

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    Perhaps we should create a Aztec/Mayan pack after this? It seems to be a rather popular concept.
     
  12. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Yeah, I'd be up for contributing to a ruins theme. Or a vegetation/foliage one.

    Progress on some assets:

    [​IMG]

    Opted for only two sizes: small (88u x 64u) and medium (176u x 128u). Larger than the medium size would have gotten silly. Various colours to match my wall textures. I still need to tweak the collision mesh a bit for the nose since I get some strange damage decals there on the large one.

    The textures were also more detailed, but it looked cluttered in game so I yanked out most of the fiddly stuff.

    Stats for those who care: $staticprop, ~1900 polys, LODs for 1200 @30m, 900ish @50m, 300ish @70m. Textures are 1024x1024 with clean stone, lichen stone, red stone, and pale red stone.

    Kep
     
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  13. alecom

    alecom L8: Fancy Shmancy Member

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    :O You got that right
    I am pretty sick of them too, since the most of them have nowhere near enough lighting :/

    Your statues and roots (or whatever they're meant to be!) will make your map unique enough to stand out for itself though.
    Looking forward to some in-game shots!
     
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  14. Bob Ross

    Bob Ross L3: Member

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    you should make some heads that look more tf2 ish. like a statue that looks like an ancient mayan version of the heavy or something.
     
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  15. Vergil

    Vergil L1: Registered

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    I like this idea as well. Maybe a distant ancestor to the Hale family, as an alternative.
     
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  16. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Actually, someone on Interlopers gave me the idea to make a pile of hats for the statue head as a variant. That should bring it more into the TF2 style. Totally going to do it if I have time (going to focus on finishing the "must have" models first).

    Kep
     
  17. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    After seeing the tutorial for painting a skybox, I've been itching to give it a try. Came up with several variants:

    [​IMG]

    These are all still WIP (need more temples, more mountain details, sunlight tweaks, and figuring out how to blend the top square, etc). I can't decide which one I like best, but leaning towards dreary or afternoon. Any thoughts appreciated.

    Kep
     
  18. Ashy Knuckles

    Ashy Knuckles L2: Junior Member

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    Real nice, Dreary and Afternoon are also my faves from your set.
     
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  19. Acumen

    aa Acumen Annoyer

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    i'd remove these brighter highlights on the mountains. looks too much like a painting. the tf2 stuff has these layered mountains that give it a certain depth to it. also i'r remove the tree silhouettes. keep it to generic terrain and you got yourself 4 winners at once !
    my favorites are afternoon or bluesky :)
     
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  20. EArkham

    aa EArkham Necromancer

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    Those are distant temples, not trees. :)

    But you think it'd be better without those? Make them skybox cards instead? I can do that.

    Will work on the highlights. Think I'll need to take a closer look at the Valve skyboxes to get mine to look more like theirs.

    Kep