List of newbie questions

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by yoseph, May 1, 2015.

  1. yoseph

    yoseph L1: Registered

    Messages:
    18
    Positive Ratings:
    2
    Hi, I have a bunch of questions (and vague, misguided observations I made that I would appreciate some feedback on) about hammer that just kept piling up and I didn't want to overflow steam chat with them. :blushing:

    1. When I was running around the decompiled version of lumberyard I saw that all the displacements that made up the grass looked like stitched together 512x448 brushes. Is this just an aftereffect of decompiling or is there some advantage to having lots of small displacements make up the ground (basically does making lots of smaller displacements allow to to have higher quality bumps and noise than having just one huge brush with displacements all over it?) If so, do you really have to stitch them up manually or do you plan it with the "raise to" function in order to make nice neat seams. Every displacement tutorial I've seen just makes one displacement and then ends, I need to see what it's like when they're all put together properly to make telly-tubby hills or something.

    2. I come from a kinda casual/competitive background, I've played a lot of tf2 and I've always really loved the maps. I'm stressing out over making everything perfect, making sure that there are no overpowered perch spots or any way to build a teleporter that brings a spy into your spawn etc. (Even though you can build teleporters in Badlands forward spawn and red/blue can't remember which 2nd spawn) I'm also constantly checking for how sentry range affects the map and all of the possible sniper angles and how I can cut them off. It is really slowing down the production of my map, this is less of a question and more of an opinion I'm asking for but is it better to yolo it with a specific vision and fix the problems later than try to build the perfect map from the ground up?

    3. How is the custom map "meta" right now? I'm asking what are the most commonly produced maps, in order to avoid making something there may already be an overflow of. Also, what is the current state of payload maps? I want to create something inspired by the original more spammy payload multi stage payload maps like goldrush and hoodoo, but everywhere I look most payload maps are open and airy like badwater and upward. Basically are open single stage payload maps because they are considered "better" and the more modern version of the map? (I don't want to be stuck trying to make a better 2fort when I can be making a better doublecross for example)

    4. I've looked around but I can't find a list of textures and models associated with the various themes in tf2. Other than flying around decompiled maps in hammer and jotting down the textures and props I can associate with the alpine theme or the spytech stuff is there a list I can be pointed in the direction of with those kinds of things in mind?

    5. When I'm making the first few brushes, for slopes made of earth or dirt of whatever, is it best to make them brush ramps and come back later and make them smooth displacements, or is it better to just get it out of the way and create the displacement geometry in the first place?

    Ok, that's all for now. I would really appreciate some answers/links that point in the right direction. Thanks!
     
  2. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Messages:
    2,878
    Positive Ratings:
    4,955
    1. It's best to do this because you have limited resolution with displacements. The amount of points you get to work with is the same regardless of how large the displacement is, so to get smoother hills and curves and whatnot, you'll want to make terrain out of lots of brushes stiched together. Having multiple small brushes can also help you create complex shapes easier. There is a sew function in the displacement tool that will sew edges of two displacements touching as long as they share the same edge, so no manual raise-to is required.

    2. No one can do this perfectly on the first time. That's why we test our maps, find those problems in actual gameplay and work on improving them over multiple versions. Get a playable map out as fast as you can - the faster you get it out there, the faster you can find the real problems and fix them. No point stressing over the theory of what players will do in your head.

    3. There really isn't one. Koth maps are probably the most popular to make, but you should make what you want and not worry about there being an overflow of anything.

    Personally I consider single stage maps superior to multistage ones because it doesn't break the flow of the map half way through. But likewise, you should make what you wish.

    4. Flying around decompiled maps is frankly the best way to do this. Learn from established maps, note down what you think you need. There's not really any other resource that compares.

    5. This is personal preference. Displacements are harder to edit later, so most people leave them til the beta stages of their maps to displace terrain, but displacements can also be very important to gameplay in the early stages of development.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  3. Vel0city

    aa Vel0city func_fish

    Messages:
    1,931
    Positive Ratings:
    1,540
    1: Yes. Lot's of power of 3 displacements that are small makes it so that you don't need power 4 displacements which can cause issues and it gives you mode detail to the brush. Making one huge brush and then making a displacement of said brush results in gigantic sections which result in pointy walls or floors since you don't have much detail. As Aly (Freya) said once:

    So basically never touch a power 4 displacement. Heck, it can cause a server to crash if it gets touched by a physics object, like a Demoman's grenade.

    2: No map is perfect from the beginning. That's why alphas and betas exist. Perfection comes over time, and even then things won't be 100% perfect. Every map has its flaws, but that's something you can't avoid. Don't try to make the perfect map, make the map that you think is fun and then have it tested, and make changes after a testing day with the feedback you got from that day.

    3: A lot of people seem to be working on 5CP maps (Glassworks, Sunshine) because that's what comp likes to play the most, since it can be played in both 6s and highlander. Payload maps are really suited for highlander only. I can only think of 3 payload maps in highlander right now that are in comp which are Badwater, Swiftwater and the good ol' Upward. So there isn't really a meta now, but people tend to make 5CP maps since you basically only have to design half a map and then mirror it over to the other side.
    That said, KOTH seems really popular too, but that's mostly because of its simplicity to make, entity wise (but with the ABS pack that's less of an issue).

    4: I'd suggest just running around the maps with various themes in-game. There isn't really a list of what goes with what since a lot of models and textures are used in multiple settings (the rock texture on Gorge (alpine setting) is also used on Viaduct (snowy setting)). Some of it could be solved with common sense though. You won't see a [UEAK]cactus in a Barnblitz-themed map do you? Or big patches of snow on Egypt.

    5: If you want to make a slope to displace, you make the slope with solid brushwork and then displace the slope. What you DON'T do is make a flat brush and then try to displace it into a sloped surface (and by that I mean with a big hight difference) since it makes sewing a nightmare. Usually, displacements are left out until beta stages (or late alpha) unless it's the ground.

    Hope these help.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  4. yoseph

    yoseph L1: Registered

    Messages:
    18
    Positive Ratings:
    2
    Thanks, you've both done an excellent job at answering my questions.

    I'm guilty of trying to displace a solid surface to a raised one, you've certainly saved me headaches in the future. I've heard about how horrifying power 4 displacements can be, and I'm so glad I asked these questions instead of laying out a giant 2000x2000 brush and trying to make hills out of that! D: (using displacement power 4 as well!!!)

    Thanks again, I really appreciate it.
     
  5. killohurtz

    aa killohurtz Distinction in Applied Carving

    Messages:
    1,006
    Positive Ratings:
    1,160
    Power 4 displacements aren't inherently bad. It's just a good idea to avoid them in general, because it's very easy to have a high vertex density when you use them, and that's what causes crashes with physics objects. You can technically have a power 4 displacement as long as it's sufficiently large, but it's still a safer bet to break it up into smaller pieces of lower power.

    To clarify, the sew tool will only work if the two displacements you're sewing A) share a common edge and B) have edge lengths in a ratio of 1:1, 1:2, 1:4, etc. The powers of the two faces don't matter.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. Zed

    aa Zed Certified Most Crunk™

    Messages:
    1,248
    Positive Ratings:
    1,013
    Don't forget Borneo.
     
  7. Pocket

    aa Pocket func_croc

    Messages:
    4,489
    Positive Ratings:
    2,219
    Well, which is it? Is there no stability difference, as Freja just said in your quote, or will one cause a crash? These are kind of mutually exclusive.

    For what it's worth, there are official maps that have large power 4 displacements. Gorge has a bunch of them. So either a bug was introduced to the compile process that makes them contain glitches of some kind, or it's a matter of vertices per area, not per brush, as some people have speculated in the past.
     
  8. yoseph

    yoseph L1: Registered

    Messages:
    18
    Positive Ratings:
    2
    Oh, I have one more question!

    6. It's been bugging me, I can't seem to figure out how to make rolling terrain using displacements like the hills at the first point on pl_badwater. I've looked at a bunch of displacement tutorials but they only really show you how to sew together two brushes right next to each other. Is there a tutorial which show how to stitch together lots of little displacements on different angles to make the kind of geometry I'm looking for?

    I can make displacements, but when it comes to making sure the sides all line up, especially on angled displacements seems impossible, it must be something I'm doing wrong along the way. I would really appreciate a point in the right direction. Thanks.
     
  9. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    Messages:
    2,878
    Positive Ratings:
    4,955
    I don't actually know of a tutorial for that. I should write one. The best tip I can give is build the general shape from regular brushes first and then displace afterwards, it's much easier to make sure everything lines up that way.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1