Starting a new map--where do YOU begin?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Nerdbot, Jul 3, 2009.

  1. Nerdbot

    Nerdbot L7: Fancy Member

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    While my previous map isn't quite PERFECT yet, it's going to be a while before I get enough feedback and circulation for it to be ready for a new version, so in the meantime I decided to finally start a map idea I've had in my head ever since they announced Sawmill for the Sniper Update.

    My problem is that I just have absolutely no idea where I should start in creating this. I have an idea for the CONCEPT, but I don't know exactly how I should go about mapping out the actual map content. I have a clear vision for the start and end of the map, but I don't really know how to fill in the blanks, or even where I should begin in constructing this.

    So I ask: where do YOU start with mapping?
     
  2. Acegikmo

    aa Acegikmo

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    It depends on what gamemode it is.
     
  3. Nerdbot

    Nerdbot L7: Fancy Member

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    Well, my idea is a Badwater-esque Payload map. The middle of the map is obviously the most important content of a payload map, but I just have no idea how to fill it all in. The track and the cart and all that I imagine will probably come last and I would map out the content for the map first, because it'd just be easier to set up the tons and tons of entities that way. But other than a good idea for the map visually, I don't really know how I'll fill in the blanks.

    So basically--I know how I want this map to LOOK, just not how I would lay it out. I have finished maps before, but I always forget how much work goes into laying everything out and setting up doors and playerclips and lights and...just EVERYTHING! When I do finally sit down and start on it I get all of that done ridiculously quick, but right now I'm having a bit of trouble visualizing this map. I guess I should try laying it out on paper, but I'm pretty bad at that, honestly.

    But honestly, I'm just sort of curious to hear what the pros do when they decide to start from scratch on something new.
     
  4. Dr. Spud

    aa Dr. Spud Grossly Incandescent

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    Draw ideas on paper, and go through lots and lots of paper. Nobody is bad at it; it's not like you have to post your drawings and get feedback on it. It's for YOU.

    And if you're out of ideas, give it some time. Your brain will keep thinking about it over time and you'll come up with something better later.


    Whatever you do, don't build a map off of some half-baked ideas and think "oh, I'll improve it later." That leads to disaster.
     
  5. ParanoidDrone

    ParanoidDrone L3: Member

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    This. Thisthisthis. This is the reason I scrapped my first two versions of my CTF map. (Which I'm now at peace with by refusing to work on it until I have a clear idea in my mind.)

    If you have some idea for a key landmark or feature, map that first. In the second version of my map, I really liked the way a certain room looked, so when I started fresh, I made that my first priority and set up a camera entity so that a respawning/spectating player can see it at a dramatic angle. (At least I think it's dramatic.) If you don't know where to go next, simply put it down and walk away for a while. In my case, that meant several months. Then come back when you're ready.
     
  6. Axolotl

    Axolotl L1: Registered

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    If you'd like a tangible place to start in sculpting your map, I'd recommend starting with the spawnrooms.

    A good spawnroom will give you some room with which you can branch out and flesh out your map with time; of course, you'll come up with different ideas, redact some others, and remove even more, but with a spawnroom as your foundation, the rest should come naturally.

    ( And oh god, do spend time sketching it out and Hammering it out; you may go through a bunch of bogus crap to begin with, but the experience you'll get out of using the tools provided and working out what needs revision will reward you later on. )
     
  7. Tom Foolery

    Tom Foolery L1: Registered

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    This is great advice.

    I have a notebook made of graph paper. I'll sketch out ideas on plain white paper and keep those sheets stuffed in my notebook, and put the refined ideas into the notebook in grid scale 128. Now that I've learned a bit more about map design, most of those layouts seem pretty bad, but that's besides the point.
     
  8. Nerdbot

    Nerdbot L7: Fancy Member

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    Alright, this is pretty helpful. I think I have a better idea of how to do this now. Thanks for the pointers.