Getting started?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Lockhart, Sep 2, 2009.

  1. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    Hey I've been looking all over for a decent tutorial that shows you how to do all of the basics to get to map building on your own. Problem is I can't find any.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. :) I've got some cool ideas, but I need to know how to put them into the program.

    I mean, I haven't been able to get spawn points to work correctly yet, with them spawning you 5 feet below them to just plain not spawning you at the proper location...
     
  2. Kazagin

    Kazagin L3: Member

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    [ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-IblzeE-4M&feature=PlayList&p=13A8C11B9FC96967&index=1"]YouTube - Source SDK Tutorial - First Map tutorial using Hammer[/ame]

    Here you go. This guy made his tutorial using CS:S, but the fundamentals are the same.
    And don't worry, I've been mapping for nearly 90 Hours and I'm still learning stuff everyday.
     
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  3. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    Very useful video, better than what I'd found. Thanks.
     
  4. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    Okay, I don't know what to do, but I can't test even my most basic map.

    I saved the map as pl_dive_concept
    Pressed F9 and had all on normal
    And had it set to starting the map automatically after compiling
    It boots up tf2 and nothing happens
    So I try to start a server with my map, it flashes the loading screen and doesn't finish, going back to the main screen....

    As long as there is a skybox around my map, and it has spawnpoints won't it load?
     
  5. DJive

    aa DJive Cake or Death?

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  6. YM

    aa YM LVL100 YM

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    ... block tool....what a noob.

    this guy teaches pretty bad stuff in a lot of his videos.

    This is what you want to use to start.
     
  7. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    Thanks, it ended up being some bad textures, and I was building near the edge of the map. :)
     
  8. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    That's nice and all, but I can't figure out how to cut from objects. Sometimes something isn't perfectly square/round and I just want to cut into it... still trying to figure out as I type this...

    Too bad it isn't covered in any tutorials. >.<
     
  9. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    Okay so two more questions that I can't find answers to searching, using websites etc. (someone really should make this easier to get into)

    1. My hammer won't start:
    error 1: failed to take master pipe connection lock

    2. How do I cut into blocks?
    Can I make, say a cylinder and cut out the center somehow? I know I can get the same results using an arch, but cut would really decrease the amount of blocks I use to patch holes in the ground etc...

    I lied, last question: is overlapping blocks usually okay on walls/ground sections?
     
  10. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    Many people will tell you not to use carve :)carve:) and they're generally right. It's easy to cause terrifying buggy stuff with it. If you have a block and you want to shape it, I suggest using the clipping/slicing :)clippingtool:) and vertex :)vertextool:) tools. Use the first to cut things up into smaller bits, use the second to shape those bits. It takes a bit of practice, and not all shapes the vertex tool lets you make are valid. (Turning a cube inside-out in a certain way, etc.)

    _____________

    1. Try quitting Hammer, the Source SDK, and Steam, and then restarting them. (In the reverse order, open hammer from the Source SDK menu.)

    2. I do not think there is any way to make a donut hole in a cylinder without effectively turning the cylinder into a bunch of shaped and grouped connecting chunks. This is because Hammer brushes are built around convex ([ame]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convex_and_concave_polygons[/ame]) shapes, shapes which don't have "dents" in them.

    So arch is probably the way to go. Remember that when it comes to the final product, there's no performance hit to having two faces which perfectly meet each other, like between all the arch segments.

    3. Overlapping blocks are... Well, they're nothing technically wrong with them, but generally speaking try to avoid doing so, especially where players might see it. (There are some cases where it's easier to let them overlap than to try to re-architect everything.)

    Some brush-entities will have extra restrictions (ex. areaportals, hints, water.) Special mention must be made of overlapping sides with different textures: If you have differently-textured brushes making up a single flat floor, ensure they don't overlap on the top. If so, then the engine may make the two textures "fight" and flicker since neither one is truly "in front of" the other.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 2, 2009
  11. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    Okay, I've got another critical question here, is there any way to speed up the portal process in map compilation? I only finished the small area around blu spawn on my map and the time's way over 2 hours.

    And even after I close hammer my CPU usage is 100% +
    I basically can't compile my map because it's so taxing. Any idea what might be causing it? Are there certain things that really drive up compilation time and that portal process or w/e?

    ...brb rebooting. My browser's lagging.
     
  12. ParanoidDrone

    ParanoidDrone L3: Member

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    That's caused by an excessive amount of visleafs, which basically cut up the level into sections that the game then uses to figure out what you can see from where. If you have a lot of small brushes or weird angles (such as stairs or anything round), then the large number of small faces involved put vvis into a hissy fit. Tie them to a func_detail entity to make vvis ignore them completely. Just know that func_details don't seal the map at all.
     
  13. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    What step is taking a long time?

    If it's VVIS, then run just VBSP and do "Open Portalfile" in hammer to see the leaves. You want to try to have them be blocky and not too many. If you seem tremendously dense blue lines somewhere, follow them to see what edges are causing them.

    Then, find things which don't measureably impact how people can see a room (like a column in the center, or steps on stairs) and func_detail them, so that with "World Details" unticked (in the far-right VisGroups panel) your map looks clean and crisp.

    Oh, and go to: http://optimization.interlopers.net/
     
  14. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    This is all getting very confusing optimizing the map, I'll maybe hand out a screenshot in the future which could help you guys explain what's actually causing a huge slow-down.

    After I get past the first spawn point (Blu's) the rest of the level will be entirely underground, with turns inbetween each room/section.

    I hope I'm not being too bothersome with all these questions, I figured out invisible walls at least:p
     
  15. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    Here's an image of my level so far.
    I'm still having problems compiling it even after putting nodraw on the hidden sides of my textures.

    Um, a couple questions:
    1. Are the overlapping ground blocks causing compile issues/performance issues?
    2. Should I have made that tube on the bottom one arch instead of copying it?
    3. How's it look ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    Two issues.

    1. You've put everything floating in a giant box. This'll work for a while, but it should only be temporary and it probably causes a lot of the slowdown. Instead, think of it this way: Your entire map is system of small caves and corridors, and the skybox is simply fancy holographic paint that fools the natives. There's no need to build a lot of stuff in a giant glowy cave, just use smaller zones and paint their ceilings.

    2. What am I seeing near the pit with the overlapping stuff? What's with that big triangular section? Gasp! You didn't use the carve tool, did you? It's a Dark Side tool. It grants mapping shapes some would consider to be.... unnatural.

    Look at the bottom of this wiki page. This is what you don't want.
    [​IMG]

    Instead, use the :brushtool:.

    Except instead of the default setting "block", use "arch". This setting is on the far right hand side of the editor.

    Then once you have a 360-degree arch (in other words, a round thing with a round hole) use the :vertextool: to pull the outer edges out so that you have an a round-hole inside a square outside.
     
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    Last edited: Sep 3, 2009
  17. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    Yeah the box was temporary, I've now replaced the invisible walls with the skybox and it did wonders on the compile time.

    Also, the overlapping ground there are actually forms of blocks or wedges that were shaped using the vertex tool to cover up holes. Unless you have a better idea of how to draw around the pit I probably won't change that and move on to the next areas after a couple changes.

    My goal at the moment is to finish the level start to finish with any major details and then make it testable on a basic level to see if any of the major room design elements or shapes need changing for balancing.

    I'll probably be working on it alot more this weekend. :) I'm having alot of fun with the program and I'm really getting into it.
     
  18. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    I'm not sure what you mean by "cover up holes". What does the deep pit area look like in the 2D view from the top?
     
  19. Lockhart

    Lockhart L2: Junior Member

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    To draw around the pipe I used a few rectangular blocks for the grass, and then covered the gaps with triangles. Sometimes the triangles overlap the blocks/each other. I'm thinking this will be okay, but in the future is there any other way to do it?
    [​IMG]
     
  20. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    Uhm, do you really want a 15-sided hole? That'll make things trickier later because there will be no real lines of symmetry. I'd suggest doing an 8, 16, or 12-sided one instead.

    That said, I suggest you do it this way:
    [​IMG]

    Basically you use :vertextool: to pull out the outer edges so that they all form a square or rectangle, and then use rectangular brushes to do the rest of the lawn.

    Also when placing those vertices, try to keep it into exact grid locations on the largest sensible grid size. (Don't do all your work with a 1x1 grid unless you want to lose a lot of sleep later on.)