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Mainewha

nmo_mountainranger (wip journal) hopefully

10 posts in this topic

I had a fit of inspiration or twelve reading through the forums last night...and the posts of a certain mad canine with links to all sorts of tutorials and thought it was worth a shot.

So apologies for the file sizes....and the size of the paper...apparently sketchbook paper is larger than standard paper.

Picture 1

Picture 2

The basic synopsis and ideas are as follows:

After escaping the hellish nightmare in New York, the survivor's head deep into the wilderness to a supposed evacuation point near the Handy. Co. lumberyard and sawmill. The last reports before the radio station was lost to the van's radio was that they were still evacuating people from a Forestry Service helipad intended for medical evacuations of injured campers and workmen.

For a time the Forest Rangers, Police stragglers, National Guard and other emergency services were able to keep the zombies at bay...but had fallen mere hours before, the last helicopter out caught on the ground and the crew overwhelmed. Arriving at the site your out of gas, out of ammo, and out of options. With nothing but death behind, and certain death if you don't move forward, take control and fight your way out!

Objectives: At least one will be to refuel the helicopter before you can escape. This will take the place of the usual 'wait for extraction' phase like you see in Chinatown. Afterwards escape is possible but be careful of the helicopter blades!

There will be many other objectives along the way, but they have yet to be thought up. (Ideas are welcome of course)

Map layout: This is a rather large map with several open areas and many with views obstructed by trees and the like. Along with a few indoor areas to help convey the feeling of the back-story and a sense of a hasty and ultimately doomed evacuation for those that had come before.

There will be several buildings including a sawmill, ranger station, aid station and a gas station (I know there's a theme here). each with various items and supplies available to make use of in your bid to escape the hellish forest and the zombies within.

I am still learning how to make Hammer work out..but I am open to thoughts, questions etc etc if someone likes this idea.

Current version: 0.2 (rough picture made of map)

Version 0.1 (thought of, not written)

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Well, it's good to see more people out there picking up mapping. After reading your rough draft, I would suggest spending some time researching/experimenting with how to make 3D skyboxes and good displacements. I would also be concerned with the optimization of your level as large, outdoor maps tend to suffer more from performance issues than primarily interior maps. I think if you centralize your design to be as compact as possible, this shouldn't be an issue, but if you try building an outdoorsy area in the same manner you'd build a standard linear level, then you're gonna have a bad time. Think more like Cabin and Lakeside and less like Chinatown in terms of progression. Less of an A-to-B-to-C layout and more a compacted or hub-based design. Try to avoid truly open areas as much as possible, as the zombies in this game benefit from being in large mobs and/or in close proximity to their targets, so more space would require more zombies, unless you go all Zephyr and decide to pack it full of runners instead. It's really hard to tell from the images provided what you are actually planning, so I could be more specific once you've started blocking your level.

But try to make things as small as possible. It'll save you some stress in the long wrong, trust me.

Best of luck.

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Thanks for the advice and encouragement, maybe I can expand on the 'mountainside to cut down on the overall size of the map

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It could be done, but you will have to make the path corridors. The playable path will have to be very distinctive, and you will have to find ways to reduce visibility. Think like left 4 dead 2. It simply cannot be some huge open area skybox. The skybox will have to fit around the edges of the walkable path very closely, and also come down to the top of structures, or natural formations that you can use to cut vis. beyond that will be 3d skybox. So, basically you must make the path like an indoor area, that appears to be outdoors. Honestly, just I wouldn't attempt this unless you really understand vvis.

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Honestly don't know what I am doing, but when I find the things to tell me HOW to make a outdoor area with cliffs, hills etc I can move more forward than I am now.

But considering the area I would think trees, lack of lighting or fog (if feasible) or the paths with many twists and turns so your always looking at trees.

Thanks for the suggestions ^_^

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Well, I may have a bit ahead of myself there. Excuse me lol. Anyhow, if you need help with anything hammer related you can add me on steam. Same name, and icon.

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I'd start by just trying to block out the boundaries of your level in hammer first. Don't worry about displacements and such until you've got a solid picture of how everything's going to be sewn together. Fog will be almost essential, and I'd focus on partitioning your map with solids and cliffs first, and relying on treeline second. The lighting's not a big deal when you are talking about line of sight and such.

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Here's a good question, if I reduced the overall size to say..medium large-ish, how big would that be? Also i am looking for suggestions for objectives. I know what i want the final one to be since the whole reason of the map requires it..but anything different..like say...find a battery for the fuel truck..or saw..use the sawmill to cut some logs for a alternate bridge crossing?

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Here's a good question, if I reduced the overall size to say..medium large-ish, how big would that be? Also i am looking for suggestions for objectives. I know what i want the final one to be since the whole reason of the map requires it..but anything different..like say...find a battery for the fuel truck..or saw..use the sawmill to cut some logs for a alternate bridge crossing?

It's really not so much a matter of size, it's about reducing necessary space. It's about having a ratio of content and gameplay length balance to create a good experience. This may mean making your map smaller if it's more detail rich, and larger if not. Do not look at size in terms of space, but in terms of gameplay length. Ask yourself what it is you want the player to do during this, and what is the minimum necessary to complete said task.

Coincidentally, this is also a good way of looking at what objectives you should implement. Let's look at what parameters you want, and then determine what objective system would best fit them. So, let's say you are concerned about the size of your map. Ideally, an objective that requires players to stay in one area, instead of in a constant forward motion from place to place, is ideal. Also, this is your first time working on a NMRiH map, so you'll want objectives that are relatively easy to implement. So there are two parameters already in place, perhaps you want the player to experience a certain feeling, or overcome a certain challenge. Those would also be valid parameters. So that's cost, optimization, experience and challenge. Two static and objective, two dynamic and subjective.

But if you are unsure about what you particularly want to achieve, let us start with what it is you certainly want to do, and work backwards, yah? You want the player to escape via helicopter. So let's say the players start at the ranger station. It's FUBAR, of course, so they decide to find a means of escape. Coincidentally, a helicopter is sitting in the back yard, so they decide the best course would be to fly out. However, there are a few things getting in the way. Firstly, the thing's locked, so you'll need to find the keys. Unfortunately, the place where the keys are located is blocked by... oh, I don't know, an electrified puddle of water, so the players must first shut off the power to the ranger station before they can get the keys. Now they have the keys, and they can escape. However, the problem with this is that the heli's out of fuel. The survivors now need to find, oh, let's say 4 gas cans to power it back up. Due to bad luck, the zombies at the ranger station drank all the fuel there. But coincidentally, a sawmill just a small walk away just might have what they need, it's a good thing they have those ranger keys, because now they can get out of the yard and into the woods. SO the players get to the sawmill, and they realize the gas cans are locked away inside a storage closet, or something, and they need to find a way to weld the bugger open. So they have to go search the joint till they find one. After that, they get the cans and head back to the heli. Thankfully, helicopters run on plain old gasoline, so all that's left to do is wait for the bird to fuel up all the way, and then escape. Oh, and not get eaten by the hordes of zombies, which is an objective all by itself.

But that's just one premise, here's another. Let's say they're at the station, but everyone has long since evacuated. There is no helicopter, but there is a heli pad. Perhaps, if the survivors could secure the area and call for help, they could get a ride out of there. So they decide to find a working labtop and send an SOS to a military outpost, or maybe their drunk uncle, so that they can get picked up. Sadly, one of the zombies decided to see if the powerbox outside tasted like brains, and now the whole system's fried and in need of some repair. Even worse, no one has a welder or a replacement fuse or gasoline or some other contrived way of fixing it, so they decide to head down the street to the local seven-eleven/sawmill superstore and see if they got anything that could help. After getting there, the survivors learn that the store has one last macguffin in stock, sadly, it's in a safe on the roof, guarded by a pack of rabid children. After smashing the bugger open and lighting the place on fire (for some reason), you take the macguffin back to the station, shove it in the powerbox and radio/email/carrier pigeon a message to the drunk military personnel who may or may not be your uncle. Then you just need to secure the area and wait for extraction.

What these example show is that there are an absurd amount of ways to approach map making. If you want suggestions that have actual merit, other than empty words that you yourself could come up with, then you need to set yourself some more limitations about what you want to happen. The best way to find these limitations is to work with the assets and determine what you can and cannot do. It might seem like a Catch-22, but that's sorta how it goes: you need good ideas to start mapping and you need to start mapping to get good ideas. Again, once you have more tangible work done, alterations can be made and suggestions can have more weight.

So. Start. Mapping.

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Well, what he said is nice from a gameplay perspective, but also, and I don't mean to bombard you, although from a technical standpoint, you need to learn VVIS.


Here is a tutorial. Watch just this video, and remember the best way to block vis is with a corridor. Enjoy.


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