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 Concepts and an introduction 
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Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:16 am
Posts: 143
Post Concepts and an introduction
I'm a zealous member of the Tribes: Ascend community who found his way into trying to convince Hirez to adopt a new way of making maps or at least balance the ones they already had.

I've spend a long time trying to break the corporate dogmas and have tried to bring some sanity to their forums. Unlike what you would expect I am not yet a broken man, but it's getting close.
And so in my zeal lead to map design; different kinds of concepts that could lead to a different sort of map.

Zubis' Lament concept - Hills blocking LoS and preventing stand to stands, forcing people into the mid field. Limiting routes to a general predictable direction but still able to vary greatly in approach.

Netarah concept - One large centre hill (and two side hills) forcing players to not take the direct route and not giving cappers a stand to stand option.

I made a 50 minute video series discussing some of the problems with T:A and justifying some finer points of the two concepts above (I also discuss Terminus a Hirez map in the making that sort of resembles the centre hill design of Netarah). But the basic idea is the same: encourage cluster play and force players out into the map instead of being stuck in a single 'llama trench'.

I'm taking my first baby steps in UDK. I've used Free Fall to test skiing on the heightmaps I've painted, to find whether or not they are viable for any game.

It is unlikely that these ideas will be implemented in T:A but I can't let it go. I've slowly come to the conclusion that FreeFall might be the game I want to see my maps become a part of.

Nothing I have right now is close to being called a map though. I have heightmaps with a bad global material on it which allows for skiing and nothing more. I'm catching up on UDK tutorials but ideally I want to find some more people to help me out (especially with base ideas and the jutting down of static meshes and actually give some kind of character to the maps).

Against better judgement I'm showing some of the recent stuff I'm working on in the hopes of getting some more feedback and showing progress as I learn and add to the ideas (and and some more concepts along the way).

My time is limited, but I want to help this project along. I'll be sure to try and chime in wherever I can, at the moment it'll mostly be mapping related but that's a big part of the game.


The WIP maps using the two concepts above. (Just heightmaps with a single texture right now):

TEXTURE/MATERIAL PACK USED BY BOTH MAPS: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fhyz4maulraed ... hPack1.upk

Zubis - https://www.dropbox.com/s/zqcp5mm0bwtqw ... Alpha1.udk
http://imgur.com/a/YsNwZ



Ilysh (Netarah Concept) - https://www.dropbox.com/s/7krxrd4bg9qil ... pha3_2.udk
http://imgur.com/a/np8S3 - Excuse the chrome texture, I'm a noob and thought it was cool.
(This is a map that I'll probably be changing significantly, although I think a scaled up version of the way it is now could really work for Free Fall)



These are maps born from a T:A perspective, but I think they can be easily adapted for Free Fall. Regardless if these ideas are functional or not I'd still love to contribute and talk about the general concept of maps for Free Fall.

I'll be updating this thread with new stuff whenever I get the chance!

_________________
Greth, much like Lilith, was one of Gods first children. He was subsequently banished from the garden of eden because he kept complaining about the lack of radial symmetry in the heightmap concept of the garden. The placement of the tree of wisdom was also lacking in strategic importance. All historical records featuring Greth, including Bible passages have been expunged since the early 12th century.


Last edited by Greth on Tue Apr 30, 2013 10:24 am, edited 9 times in total.



Thu Apr 25, 2013 2:38 pm
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:57 pm
Posts: 780
Location: San Francisco, CA
Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
Cool looking maps, especially the snow map. As for static meshes you might use, I suggest raiding DM-Deck. The meshes included in deck would lend well towards base construction. It's actually great that your maps aren't in a very complete state; the game has been undergoing a lot of scale based changes that will mess with mappers badly. For now, I would wait for the next source code release before investing too much time into any one map.

3D Buzz Video Tutorials - Using UDK

Those videos tend to be quite helpful for most learning UDK.

_________________
"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Thu Apr 25, 2013 4:22 pm
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Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:16 am
Posts: 143
Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
Right now they are based off a 1009x1009 heightmap. The green one is a little over 128 in x & y scale. z scale is in the low 60ies I think. The white one is 128 scaled and a bit lower on the z axis as there is some drastic terrain shifts.

I'm fine with the scale changing. I've tried to stretch these heightmaps out to stupid sizes and they keep pretty well. I'm thinking about putting a makeshift base in for a T:A show 'n tell, the concept can then easily be adapted for FF - which I think is going for a big importance for bases if I'm correct?

I've also got some wild ideas that probably won't work for T:A, so I'll keep you posted when I finish those.

_________________
Greth, much like Lilith, was one of Gods first children. He was subsequently banished from the garden of eden because he kept complaining about the lack of radial symmetry in the heightmap concept of the garden. The placement of the tree of wisdom was also lacking in strategic importance. All historical records featuring Greth, including Bible passages have been expunged since the early 12th century.


Fri Apr 26, 2013 9:44 am
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Joined: Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:57 pm
Posts: 780
Location: San Francisco, CA
Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
My main advice for terrain in UDK is learn how to use the landscape system; don't use the terrain system because you can't cut holes in terrain but you can landscapes.

_________________
"Not every idea your gonna have is gonna be great, but I guarentee you every idea that doesnt work will somehow work into the idea that does." -Derek Waters

"It's a weird feeling being borderline addicted to gaming and not having anything to play that I can tolerate at the same time." -DejZant

"No longer are you justified saying that an idea in science is not true because it doesn't make sense." -Neil deGrasse Tyson

@Saccaed for updates and randomness...


Fri Apr 26, 2013 2:22 pm
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Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:52 pm
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Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
Nice work greth. Supporter of your long ass article you wrote on T:A a while back. =)

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Sat Apr 27, 2013 1:46 am
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Joined: Sun Mar 11, 2012 10:02 am
Posts: 114
Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
are you drawing the height-map by hand ?
arent there terrain editors that can export their height-maps from a scuplted mesh. (i want to remember i used something like that long ago.)


Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:48 pm
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:17 am
Posts: 19
Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
I'm pretty sure there are, and I know for sure that you can render sculpted meshes in Blender in such a way as to get out a heightmap, though the process there is moderately tedious.


Sun Apr 28, 2013 4:49 am
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Joined: Thu Apr 25, 2013 10:16 am
Posts: 143
Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
Yes I am drawing the greyscale by hand in GIMP. Then importing the 32-bit BMP into TerreSculptor to smooth it out and adjust altitude and bring in some slope erosion etc..
Then I export a r16 (RAW) which I can import into UDK.

I'm also using Terresculptor to bring out weightmaps based on altitude and slope inclination so I can put a complex base texture on the terrain before I've painted a single texture/vertex.

The weightmaps and materials / textures is something I've literally only started with yesterday (I am a complete layman when it comes to these things, everything I'm doing is a first for me).

The reason I'm doing it in GIMP is because it feels more natural to me, and the terrain that comes out of it also flows much more naturally.
Terrain is a trivial part of most games, but here you're making part of the balance. You get a lot of control over the terrain (pixel by pixel if you need to) but at the same time the blurring and smudging gives it a logical randomness. Which just sounds fucking poetic. (Also 3D modellers scare me).


I'm still screwing around with materials and textures (Oh god I haven't even gotten into normal and specular maps yet :'( ) and I might record a little video to show off the terrain so far.

Bases are still reduced to the flagstand. I have very rough concepts for the Zubis base, Ilysh/Netarah is still very much open for debate. But by Ignorance's suggestion I won't be putting them on there just quite yet before we get an idea where the base design of FF is going.

_________________
Greth, much like Lilith, was one of Gods first children. He was subsequently banished from the garden of eden because he kept complaining about the lack of radial symmetry in the heightmap concept of the garden. The placement of the tree of wisdom was also lacking in strategic importance. All historical records featuring Greth, including Bible passages have been expunged since the early 12th century.


Sun Apr 28, 2013 12:03 pm
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Joined: Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:04 pm
Posts: 102
Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
Cool Greth glad your helping out. Terresculptor looks helpful. You can also get real heightmaps from sites like usgs then manipulate those in gimp (zoom, crop, clone, blur) My computer cant keep up with dev udk to well and I had lots of crashes and wasted time. I did what I could.

BTW gimp also has a normal map plug-in. It was nice to work on your own normal maps for your own custom textures. Mostly just simple ones - but still good to have.
Keep it up.


Sun Apr 28, 2013 11:55 pm
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Joined: Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:17 am
Posts: 19
Post Re: Concepts and an introduction
The GIMP normalmap plugin is great. Bumpmaps are easier to edit (same principle as heightmaps) but most games don't convert them to normal maps automatically, so that plugin fills a notable hole well.


Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:38 am
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