There is no spoon
This will be my first map. I got UT 2K4 about a month ago, right after putting together my new rig (which I am sure will allow me bragging rights for quite some time.. more on that at a later time :cheesy: ). It's the first Unreal game I got, since my previous system (and connection) was not that great. The UT 2K4 demo I found on some magazine is what really got my hooked (props to the publisher for including multiplayer on the demo !).
Anyway, since Space Trash will be my first map, it is my aim to put it together using only out-of-the-box stuff. In other words, I am not going to jump right into what I consider advanced stuff (examples include scripting, emitters, terrain, Maya and custom models). This doesn't mean I'll use those techniques if I get to them.
The map is almost finished. It took about a couple of weeks of work (with an average of, say 1.5 hrs a day). Speaking of which, the only bad thing about UT 2K4 is that playing it keeps me from working in UnEd on my maps.
The plan is to make an alpha release ASAP. Keep checking here; I'll certainly note when that happens and let you know where you can get the map.
A few more details on SpaceTrash:
- First release will be for Deathmatch; whether 1-on-1 or team is up to the user (map should be quite large and easily accomodate 6 players). However, I think it should be easy to expand the map to be an onslaught map. That is why, the full working title of the map is 'DM-FOR-SpaceTrash-01'. The only thing that worries me in regard is that the map, if duplicated to be onslaught, might be too large (not worried about it being repetitive, since the 'half' I am working on right now has good variety, I think). We'll see.
- The map will be indoor, in a space ship.
- <wiki>As a sort of background story for it, I'm thinking something along the lines of the following:
The <name_to_be_determined> Corporation was one of the first Corps to implode during the Corp-Bomb Recession of recent years.
The Tournament organization has acquired their space flgship at a recent online sale and has begun refitting it to accomodate matches.
In order to start recuperating money on their investment, the Tournament organization has decided to open the first section of the ship even though the refitting is not complete yet. The section opened for this Deathmatch event includes the West Wing of the main level of the ship, and the two cisterns below it.
The lightning system has been re-activated to the minimum required for a televised match, and participants are eager to enter this new arena.
Or something along these lines.
That's, mostly, it, for the time being.
I'll add more notes as I go, sort of a developer's diary.
Right now, I think the map's progress can be summarized as:
- geometry, meshes and lights: about 60% done;
- bot pathing: 0% done;
- sound: 0% done (not much planned, though, so it shouldn't be much: mainly some noise around a generator in the level)
- optimization: 0% done (optimization-as-you-go not counted).
I've worked some more on SpaceTrash.
I decided to shoten it up a bit, using a large area as the 'end' of the level on one side instead of using, in the same spot, a set of smaller areas followed by one large room. This should make it more manageable to move on to a different type of map (onslaught, for ex), and should make the development of SpaceTrash 1 shorter. Additionally, the new large area is quite interesting in itself: a sort of octagonal funnel spanning three floors, with an additional octagonal room below it. Glass divides the upper funnel from the room below -so you can see who's walking above/below you-, and there are 4 elevators going from the bottom room to the upper level of the funnel (plus elevators to allow movement in the Z direction between the 3 floors in the funnel). Cute, isn't it?
I still haven't finished this area (elevators and geometry are in place, including some BSPs acting as pillars to sort of divide some of the levels in the funnel, but I still have to add the decorating meshes, and lights), but this brings me, I think, to about 75% of the map geometry being done.
All is left to do are two side corridors connecting one end of the map to the other (and, of course, the pieces connecting the corridors to the main longitudinal body of the map). The corridors, while long, shouldn't be too boring, since I will have conveyor belts in them and a couple of side-rooms on each of them.
Been thinking quite a lot about Map Flow as I worked on this section. I wonder if Graph Theory could be used to come up with some metric indicating the overall quality of a map...
I also think I'll have to add a teleporter from one of the level to the other: there is a room at one end which would be an incredibly good sniper's spot if I don't give the other players some way to get in there other than the standard entrance.
Oh yeah, and you know another thing that keeps me from finishing this map?
Jeanne should stop by in the next 24 hrs (wind outside is starting to pick up) and I'll probably have to unplug the PC to keep it safe, and the connection might go down as well (double):angry:
30 Sep 2004
Worked some more on SpaceTrash.
What I'm now calling the funnel-area at one end of the map is mostly done. I still have to texture and populate (i.e. add the smeshes) in the bottom layer, but the top funnel is done (might add some smeshes to the ceiling, but just for looks, and most of it done already). I'll have to add a teleporter at one extremety, linked probably to the bottom floor of the control room which is roughly mid-way in the map. The upper floor of the control room will most likely have another teleporter linking to the other end of the map (confused yet?). I also have to add a window in the center of the ceiling of the funnel, but windows will be the final touch to this map.
I started working on one of the side corridors. I ended up making brush-based arches for it (I think of them more as ribs since they are not that thick). Cool stuff, so far.
What else? Rather busy at work, so I haven't done too much (bit tired when I get home after 10 hrs programming Perl :-)
I probably should move this part of my page into a separate developer diary page and link it to the proper category.. maybe later or this week-end.
Gee I could also add a rant page since I've been playing a bit online and I have a few.. ehr.. rants to vent somewhere.
Till next time.
04 Oct 2004
Refactored the notes about Space Trash out of my personal page. This should allow me to link to some other categories and keep the space a bit more tidy.
Anyway, Space Trash is moving along. I've done about 50% of one of the two side corridors. The other one will be a mirror of this one, so I'm getting closer and closer to the whole map's geometry/texturing/smeshing/lighting being done :cheesy: (ehr... don't we all constantly think we are almost done, just to discover there's a few more things to do?).
As I get closer and closer to that point, I'm thinking more and more about the next steps.
One of them will be bot-pathing. Another one, which I am realizing is crucial, will be placing weapons/ammos and health pick-ups.
I don't have too much experience in UT, yet, but it is getting clearer and clearer to me that this is a make-or-break part of modding. It really drives the whole playing experience, so I'll try to be carefull with it.