Why do my map suck?

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by AntonJ3000, Mar 27, 2009.

  1. AntonJ3000

    AntonJ3000 I am inactive and make horrible maps

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    By some reason my map seems to suck, I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.
    I can make indoors pretty well, but my outdoor maps always become extremely bad.
    This is the best screens of the map:
    [​IMG]

    What am I doing wrong?
    The map just seem to be sucky, And I don't know the reason why :(
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2009
  2. bakentake

    bakentake L1: Registered

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    I think I have much of the same problem you do. And I'm sure nobody's map really comes together right off the bat.

    That cliff texture repeated looks too much the same in my opinion.
    Along the track you could add more props; give it a reason to make the curves where there seem to be none.
    [​IMG]

    Try thinking about the theme you are going for and write those ideas down (or go right to doing them). You can weed out the ideas you don't end up liking, overall it just seems to take time.

    Have some faith in yourself; if you keep at it, it will come together.


    Not sure how much of this can be applied, its just what I see and I havn't been around here for very long.

    Good Luck.
     
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  3. Engineer

    aa Engineer

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    You need more detail and that repeating rock texture is awful. But keep working... You can do it.
    Oh, and BTW use more windows for your buildings
     
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  4. Ceiling Man

    Ceiling Man L3: Member

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    1. Displacements on the cliff.
    2. Replace cliff texture.
    3. I'm with icrap, more windows.
    4. More cover.
    5. More detail.
     
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  5. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

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    Look at buildings in badlands.

    They have windows like those guys ^ said. But not always alot of them, but they do give the impression the building is more than a block, they make it feel like it has an inside.

    But more than that look at the trim, the weird towers that stick up. all the walls aren't flat either. When there's a little shed or tower it sticks out of the wall and adds corners/shape/hiding spots....
     
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  6. Vigilante212

    Vigilante212 L7: Fancy Member

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    Lack of detailing.
    Your buildings seem odd.
    Lack of displacments.
    whats with the building behind the cliff wall? looks odd
    Take advantage of source engines ability to render sweet looking scenes. Dont make your map in a box canyon.

    I would suggest you download the decompiled versions of some of the valve maps and look at what they did.
     
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  7. Mar

    Mar Banned

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    Variation in textures and variation in props is needed. More detail. And wear and tear to the buidlings. Throw down some posters. More displacements

    And turn up your graphical settings to max when you take a screen shot since lag doesn't matter.
     
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  8. AntonJ3000

    AntonJ3000 I am inactive and make horrible maps

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    I added some more props, made the cliff wall a displacement and added some paint alpha to it, made some more cover, Couldn't add windows. Because they like flashes when they are put into the wall, still looks pretty bad :(
    [​IMG]

    Mar, I have graphical settings on max including Anti-Aliasing, And some autoexec tweaks to give higher texture quality and models, The screenshots just looked a bit bad because I had them on medium jpeg setting when saving in Photoshop, to avoid extremely long loading times.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2009
  9. BagOfChips

    BagOfChips L5: Dapper Member

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    roofs look a bit odd. Yours should probably hang over a few units like valve's
     
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  10. Sgt Frag

    Sgt Frag L14: Epic Member

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    I think the problem you are having with the cliff is that you are trapped in the 'box' mode as I like to call it.

    You gotta think what's outside the box, that doesn't nessecarily mean thinking outside the box ;P

    It's easy to think that 'this is gameplay area', focus on it and not pay attention to what the player can't get to. But that's the most important part in immersion. Players need to feel that there is more of a wrold than just the gameplay area box. So you have to get creative to make that illusion appear valid.

    For a cliff wall there are obvious solutions. Train tunnel entrance prop and tracks. maybe a car or 2 sticking out so it looks like the train is still in the tunnel.
    A mine shaft entrance, tracks...

    Also, vary the tops height. almost no cliffs are straight across the top, and of course along the wall needs shape. So that's where displacements come in.

    You can also add a canyon that leaves the area. Slap a chainlink fence in front, maybe a truck in the canyon...

    I agree your roof look a little odd. make them full triangles, make them tall and overhang the building so water wont run down it. Then add tons of props. Raingutters on roof edges. chimneys and smoke partilecs to the roofs. electric boxes and water hoses on the sides of buildings....
     
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  11. uma plata

    uma plata L6: Sharp Member

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    What Frag said

    I'm a beginner too, and I've found the most helpful thing is loading up other maps, and observing how others do it. The decompiled valve maps are de rigeur: download them if you haven't already

    Having said that, you definitely want to tap into your own creativity. That will guide you better than anything. You have to use it as a tool to approach your design goals though, not an end in itself

    Also I like to keep a couple "sandbox" maps, where I just try out different ideas. It helps to just have a space you can create in, without constraints
     
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  12. AntonJ3000

    AntonJ3000 I am inactive and make horrible maps

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    Thanks all, But outside mapping seems to be too hard, So I give up on the map and start making some inside base map.
     
  13. UKCS-Alias

    aa UKCS-Alias Mann vs Machine... or... Mapper vs Meta?

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    Outside maps need alot of practice on displacements. even if you just randomly do some changes it might already improve. Its just that you should try to make that flat wall more rounded and have it look like it are real rocks.

    Try to follow this guide: http://forums.tf2maps.net/showthread.php?t=798
    It doesnt have to look as good as that but at least it can give you the basic knowledge you need. Getting it to look like that takes alot of time to learn. (and also, it doesnt matter if you get your own style of displacement looks - if it looks good then it is good, thats the general rule!)

    Going fully inside might work but still, outside maps generaly look better and are more fun to play so its worth to try it.
     
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  14. Pink_Panther

    Pink_Panther L3: Member

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    heres a couple thoughts that will make you excel and learn more than you thought you could.

    -your focusing on whats 'bad' and not on whats 'good'. Why is that part good? do more of that.
    -walk outside and actually look at things around you as if they were brushes. is it square? is it squarish? is it smooth on some sides and rough on others? what is rectangular and what is not? is everything perfectly lined up or is it more random and have interesting angles to it?
    -im going back to old style maps on this one, back before props and models all over. Is the area of the map interesting? are the walls just flat and have a single texture all over it? Theres a lot of debate on this, but props dont make an area interesting, they make it more interesting than it already was. Take a square room and fill it with benches and its not interesting. Take a rectangular room with a curved cieling that comes to a point, and then raise a section in the front and fill it with benches and you have a completely different effect (think cathedral). Start with brushes and making the area interesting, then worry about the extras that just enhance whats already there.
    -good vs bad? thats a difficult thing. what one person calls good, is another persons crap and the opposite is true too. I saw your image and its not bad. its good, you tried lots of different things that people normally havent tried. Thats very good. So what if it didnt work out in the end. you still learned something that you can use later in a different way and make something that is 'good' and is something nobody has seen. Keep learning new tricks and eventually you turn out something amazing. Its a learning process everyone has to work their way through.
    -dont be afraid of being wacky and trying something wierd. it may turn out better than you ever imagined.
    -best tip of them all: take a close look at every single map you come across. Find something you like no matter how 'bad' you think the map is and ask yourself: what is good about that? How did this person make that? Dont decompile to find out. Just image the answer, simplify it, think about it some more, simplify. Thats how we all get better. Its easy to copy/paste, but you learn nothing. Think about they methods used and you learn everything you will ever need.

    Lastly, its about perspective. be positive and learn from everything. If something doesnt come out the way you wanted, great, you just learned what not to do. Go back and try again, and you will learn another way not to do it. Eventually you just find better and better ways to do everything.

    I have been mapping for 15+ years (started with Wolfenstein3d). I have made 150+ maps if you include all the failed attempts and probably 75 that I considered completed. And i still am improving and learning more. I turned in my contest #8 entry a couple days ago and am already thinking of improvements to it. No matter what, you have to keep positive, learn and dont be afraid to fail miserably. In the end, you WILL get better at what you do.
     
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  15. cornontheCoD

    cornontheCoD L7: Fancy Member

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    wow, this community still continues to amaze me. In a good way. Thanks for helping him out guys, I was almost expecting someone would come in and call the guy a mapping noob. Then I remembered this is tf2maps.net :laugh:

    I don't have much to add, just follow what the other guys said.
     
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  16. Ezekel

    Ezekel L11: Posh Member

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    one thing i can suggest: you are unconfident about exteriors, but enjoy interoirs. so why not go 1/2 way between them so you can still enjoy doing it, whilst getting experience at mapping for larger, more exposed areas.
    i.e. make a map which is mostly industrial in design (like cp_well, pl_waste, cp_devilsbrew)

    take your time to think about the why's and how's of your map when it comes to designing the non-accessible areas and the skybox.
    e.g. if you have a factory, think about putting a train station nearby to carry away the produced goods. if you have a base in a desert, you need cacti, and it's worth considering having at least one road/gate to explain how people get to the base.

    also don't be afraid to experiment in small vmf files and take what you learnt experimenting to a map afterwards and applying it.

    most of all, make sure you're having fun. if that does end up meaning you go back to only interiors after you try the above suggestions, then that's fine. mapping has to be something you enjoy, so that you can be proud of your creations, not ashamed of them.
     
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  17. Vig

    Vig L2: Junior Member

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    .

    "No one ever learned anything new, by only sticking to what they already know."
    Know that everyone, starts off this way, some people never look for help and they go on making crappy maps or give up. The only way to make outside environments easier to do, is to do more of them. You've got a decent start, you really do. You know your way around the editor enough to get something playable, you just need to build on that knowledge.
    What you need to do, is keep your chin up and keep muscling forward.

    Suggestions:
    - Apply a scale helper texture to just about everything. Use something like the gray texture in Youme's displacement tutorial, world craft also comes with other stock scale textures if not there are tons of them floating around, they aren't that hard to make either and if you haven't created and imported textures before it might be a good intro. This is important because these big boxes are going to be sliced wherever the texture tiles. So it helps to know exactly how many texture tiles are on a wall. You don't want a wall thats 258 units high, because it adds another near microscopic row of texture. Which if you make that habit, it could help kill the maps performance.
    It also helps to get a sense of scale.

    - Don't make your buildings out of one big box. Start off with a box for a wall make it 8 units thick and however high. Then copy it and rotate it to make the other walls.

    - Do the same for the roof.
    - In the top viewport draw out a big brush that covers half of your building, Use the little X in the center of walls to figure out where the center is.
    - Giving yourself some room for it to hang over the walls. Then in the front viewport click the brush so you can skew it, and push it up until you have a nice roof angle.
    - Next You should probably use vertex exit mode to snap the roof to the grid. Texture it, copy it by shift-drag, flip it so the other side is covered.
    - Now you need to create a triangle that fits between the top of your walls and the roof, vertex edit and snap it, or cut it.
    - Also know that where two brushes intersect or meet, they will also be sliced during the compile. That is unless you turn some of them into Func_detail entities, click "to entity" and it should be the first thing that pops up. These entities can't be used to seal off our level and they won't block vis, but where two func_detail entities intersect or meet they won't break apart during compile. This really helps speed things up in your map, especially compile times.
    - Buildings in TF2 aren't always big 4 walled buildings. Take some time to noclip around some of the TF2 maps, take screen shots and go back into world craft and recreate what you see. I won't ruin the chance of self education and discovery, as that exercise alone is a VERY valuable skill to have. Learning to dissect the world around you or a game world so you can faithfully recreate it, is paramount in creating good maps. After a while you should stop copying and start innovating. Because as fun as it is to pull off something that looks like it was a straight copy/paste from TF2, people really like seeing something new.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 28, 2009
  18. Vigilante212

    Vigilante212 L7: Fancy Member

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    We were all maping noobs at one point. If not here to help people why bother to post at all right :)
     
  19. [O]

    [O] L3: Member

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    im new at this but i think i got a pretty good idea of WHAT to do even though i dont know HOW to do it. so heres my 2 cents on your map:

    1. you've already done 80%of the work by designing the LEVEL [paths, choke points,]. you've taken care of the gameplay aspect of your map, now all you have to do is add the finishing touches.

    2. i agree with what ended up being the most recommended point from everyone in this thread---details. you need more props. your map aLREADY started looking that much better when you started adding in that truck and little shack. so continue. DONT GIVE UP YOU"RE NEARLY THERE.

    3. when adding props think of them in more than one scale. place larger props, few in number spread around your map. then place some medium sized ones around the larger ones and a few on their own. these would be more in number than the large sized ones. then finally add a bunch of small props around the groups of large and medium. also add a few on their own as part of details of buildings, which brings me to...

    4. when designing your buildings go the extra step and break down those large planes. someone already mentioned this before me but i forgot who it was. anyway, think of it like armor. instead of having just a box of four sides, take each side and break it up into 2 or 3 brushes. apply different but complimentary textures as per tf2 style. all this, of course, applies to large buildings with large walls. small buildings will jsut look tooo cluttered if you apply my advice above.

    5. then of course add some little props to the walls and ceilings [as said in the previous point] like pulleys, wires, corrugated metal sheets sticking over the wall edge...

    6. displacements. your cliff edge already started looking better when you moved them around a bit and added some alpha. thats the idea. but do the same all over again jsut this time start with a few more brushes on your cliff side instead of one gigantic wall. youme has a great tutorial here somewhere that shows you how you can end up with a nice tf2 loking cliff.
     
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    Last edited: Mar 29, 2009
  20. AntonJ3000

    AntonJ3000 I am inactive and make horrible maps

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    Thanks for your awesome feedback everyone.