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New to map making, what are the things that I should avoid?

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    New to map making, what are the things that I should avoid?

    Let's just say that I want to make a fun map along with obstacles and such.

    Something that has really helped me recently is the advice that says to start with the big picture and then add details. You'll see this with the WIP maps in the game right now -- start with the general structure and layout of the map, then start fleshing out some key elements like important materials and meshes (lava, emissive objects (to be used as lights), etc., and add some basic lighting.

    Also, what I like to do as I'm starting the structure, even, is to set up a bunch of dim directional lights. Eight directions, one brighter group angled down, and one less bright group angled up, sixteen lights in all. I make sure they don't cast shadows, I make them really small, and I usually tint them ever-so-slightly blue (like .025 saturation -- I usually go with 230 Hue or 235, rather than the literal 'Blue' of 240). Regardless of whether it's a bright nature-ridden outdoor map or a cold dark atmospheric metalic indoor map, that trusty set of 16 lights usually helps as a base lighting setup for me, regardless of what other kind of lighting I have later on.

    I leave meshes to the later stages, though I'm still planning my map in terms of the meshes I have available. At this point in time, my skillset is nowhere near capable of creating the quality of models I would need to put in a map. I can create a... box. And, like, I learned how to make a soda can? So, in other words, right now, my modeling ability is *quite* limited. As a result, I make do with the models I have. I've installed the engine as well as the tournament editor and game, so I have access to the assets from free demos and such on the Unreal Engine Marketplace as well (like Kite demo, Infiltrator demo, Elemental demo, etc (although I think Infiltrator demo's assets did get ported over to the Tournament editor)). So, I recommend getting a good understanding of the assets you have to work with, if your modeling skills are as limited as mine, and then deciding what map you think you can make with them. Keep those models in mind when you're laying out the structure of your map.

    I'm a big fan of BSP, so I lay out my map's structure with that. I do have some advice for using BSP, though. Tip #1: Unless you have to, due to the nature of the object, don't rotate your BSP brush. So, for example, if you have a cube, and it's twice as long as it is wide, and you want a hallway to go perpendicular to that one, don't copy and paste and rotate it -- do please go to the details panel and change the values without rotating -- I think you will thank yourself in the future for doing that. You should be able to select a cube brush, look at your widgit, and determine which value needs to be increased by which axis is the one you want to modify (if it needs to be longer along that green arrow, change Y, etc.). Also, Tip #2: This is personal preference, but I believe it is the right way to go. Do yourself a massive favor and change your grid setup to Power of Two, rather than 1, 5, 10, etc. I decided that since Unreal 4 seems to like this new 1, 5, 10 type of setup so much, I figured I should give it a shot with the map I'm currently working on. WHAT A MISTAKE. The number 25 is the bane of my existence. The problem with this grid type is that, while it's really nice for those 400 x 400 assets, it's terrible for taking fractions of lengths. What I mean is, if you have an object with a pivot in the middle with a width of 100, that's great, just set the grid to 50 and put it where it belongs. However, if you have the same situation but the object is 50 units wide, now you have to set your grid to 5, zoom in real close, and move it five lengths. There is no 25, or 250, or 2500. And even if there was, there's no 12.5, 125, etc etc. You get the idea. Power of Two snapping is so... satisfying. Unless you're at grid size 1, there is always a grid size that is half of the one you're currently using. If you want 3/4 of what you're using, go down two sizes and move it three grid spaces. It's beautiful.

    Also, one more thing to mention -- remember that this is Unreal Tournament. As a result, maps are going to be different than, say, for Call of Duty. One of the defining aspects of these maps is vertical gameplay. This isn't as much a command to conform as it is simply a recommendation given how this game plays (jump boots exist, lifts exist, there's no sprinting, there's no aiming down sights, etc.)

    I hope this was helpful -- good luck to ya, if you have any questions just let me know :P


      Don't make it hard to navigate the map. A good example of what not to do is Garden of Stone. Collision should come from only core elements.
      UT2004 Movement Mutator


        Also, on that note, make sure your map's bounds make sense. This isn't Star Wars Battlefront so you don't have the luxury of "soft boundaries" which suggest you return to the battle -- as far as I know you really only have blocking volumes and kill volumes to work with. So, don't make the mistake Black Ops 3 did here and there, where jumping into water five feet down doesn't hurt you, but jumping onto a ledge in another map 3 feet down does because it's "outside the play area". If you have an outdoor map, make sure your boundaries make sense, with things like fences, bodies of water, cliff edges, walls, etc. There should be a visual reason for why you can't exit the map, which makes the player go "oh, that makes sense, I can't go there because ______"