Some hammer and mapping questions

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by yellowblood, Jan 20, 2010.

  1. yellowblood

    yellowblood L1: Registered

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    Hey guys I have some questions, would appreciate your help.
    It's my first map and it's targeted to the dodgeball mode.

    1. I'm trying to mess with the $blendmodulatetexture parameter, to make my blending material look neat. However, I can't see a preview of the blending mask in hammer - I can only see it after compiling the map and running the game. Is it possible to see the result of the blending mask in Hammer?

    2. The optimization articles in the VDC look very complicated, and I'm not sure I will read them all or understand them good enough. I'm talking about leafs, HINT, AREAPORTAL, etc. Can you please give me some general tips about what should I do in a map that has absolutely no walls, and it's basically a neighborhood baseball field with some trees, and has a huge skybox (extremely high, due to the gamemode needs)? I draw a huge trigger brush with "func_viscluster" all over the map but I'm not sure it's the ideal thing.

    3. Can you think of any good material for metal poles? I'm speaking about poles that hold a fence. I tried some metal materials but they all seem to reflect the grass and become way too green.

    4. Due to the gamemode needs, I need to avoid bright/white/shiny colors on my map. Unfortunately I need some light, better be bright daylight. Is it possible to have some darkish skybox with daylight, and without visible sun (or sun that is extremely low pitch, and I will cover it behind some trees)? Which skybox should I choose and what kind of brightness settings?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean. Do you mean displacement alpha?

    2. You can't really optimize something like that. Either you have the entire map rendering or you remake the map.

    3. There are some good metal materials, but why not use the fence props already in the game? it would make your fence look a lot better.

    4. You can set any light valvues in light_env without displaying a sun. The sun is a seperate entity which you don't even need to include, and the skybox texture has nothing to do with the lighting of the map.
     
  3. Terr

    aa Terr Cranky Coder

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    2. Well, it's sort of the "worst case scenario" in some ways. You can use a func_viscluster, but what that mainly optimizes is the time you spend compiling with vvis.exe, it doesn't make the final product any faster.

    4. Skyboxes are independent of the lighting in a map. It's possible to have "daylight" everywhere but a night-time skybox, and vice-versa. (Although of course it looks bad.) As Aly mentions, even a sun-in-the-sky is optional. When working with light_environment (its actual location in the map doesn't matter) you can choose how much of the light should be ambient (directionless) versus directional from a particular sloping angle.
     
  4. yellowblood

    yellowblood L1: Registered

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    Thanks for your answers.

    1. I'm talking about blending textures in a material, and yea I think it's called alpha something.
    http://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/$blendmodulatetexture
    It lets you decide how textures will blend with each other, but I can't see the difference in Hammer. The blending in Hammer is always the default one (gradient), and doesn't show the actual blending mask.

    2. So I guess there isn't much to do. I will just release the map as it is and see if it causes any lags to players.

    3. I can't use the fence props since they're not the correct shape/height. I will just use a concrete material as last resort.

    4. I didn't know the ambient thing, thanks. I will just use a daylight skybox with no sun and enough ambient so there won't be a too bright area on the sky :)
     
  5. Freyja

    aa Freyja ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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    1. Ah, that. No there is no way to get it to show properly in hammer, I'm afraid.

    3. There is some metal textures that arn't reflective. I forget its name, but anything that doesnt have "chome" in its name shouldn't be super-reflective.
     
  6. VelvetFistIronGlove

    aa VelvetFistIronGlove

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    No, Hammer won't show the blend modulation. If you're trying to tweak to get it right, I suggest you: create a test map with a displacement with the texture and a bunch of various alpha painted on it. Run TF2 windowed, and load this map.

    Then you can go back and forth between the TF2 game and editing the VTFs and VMT, and just use "mat_reloadmaterial <path/materialname>" in the console to force it to reload that one texture. This'll let you iterate very quickly and experiment with the material.

    The mat_reloadmaterial command also lets you use wildcards, e.g. when I was working on my space skybox, I would do 'mat_reloadmaterial "skybox/sky_skylab*"' to reload all 6 skybox textures with one command.
     
  7. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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    run tf2 with -tools and have fun with vmt editor. :D
     
  8. yellowblood

    yellowblood L1: Registered

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    That really helped, thanks!
     
  9. Boylee

    aa Boylee pew pew pew

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    What's that? I tried searching for it on the VDC and got nothing.

    Edit: nvrmnd, just tried it, never realised you could do that!
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2010