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Slainchild
17th Jan 2005, 12:13 AM
Name: DM-Campgrounds2005-SC
Version: Beta 4
Compatibility: UT2004
Description: Read the title...
Comments:Just read the changes :D
Screenshots:

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v497/Slainchild/cg1.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v497/Slainchild/cg2.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v497/Slainchild/cg3.jpg
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v497/Slainchild/cg4.jpg


Credits: Me, iD Software and Hourences for his awesome texture pack.
Homepage: Not finished yet
Download: http://www.slainchild.dsl.pipex.com/DM-Campgrounds2005-SC_beta4.zip

Any feedback at all would be nice, thx :)

Beta 4 Changes:

-Moved some of the weapons around.
-Added rain and puddles with sound triggers.
- The two big jump-pads/steam-vents are now moving pistons, that "kick" you to the level above.
-Bots can now use the jump-pads (thanks Hourences ;))
-More pipes and stuff, oh and some spider webs in a few places.
-The two dodge-ramps have changed position. (see screenshots)
-Skybox has been updated so you can't see the corners from the window.
-Some more stuff I forget right now...

milb
17th Jan 2005, 09:39 AM
As I swa the first to pics I thought, Yeah looks for UT, but löater I've noticed that it is a Ut2k4 Map! Maybe you can break off all the Brickwallsand build some pipes behind the walls. Or some plants wich grow out of the walls.
Dude, it looks not bad, but the map needs a lot more detail!
And btw there're enough Campgrounds out there!

Thunderstrike
17th Jan 2005, 11:58 PM
Okay then, where to start? ;)

I'll start off with a common issue; optimisation. The level is currently all one zone, and the layout gives plenty of opportunity to zone off many sections to improve frame rate. It isn't atrocious at the moment, but the layout gives you the opportunity to get this level running at a significantly higher rate. You also have no antiportals at all. You mentioned that you used antiportals in the SE version of Gordian, but they certainly weren't applied in the standard way. I should be able to open up the find tool, type in "anti" and have a list of antiportal actors. That didn't happen in Gordian, so I would like to know what method you used to incorporate antiportals into that level. Did you create brushes and use the "Add Antiportal" button? In any case, this beta is currently also devoid of antiportals and again, to improve frame rate further. Your terrain is very wasteful. Given the small area that it actually appears in, you need to change the dimensions. Try and keep the terrain just slightly larger than the area in which it appears (i.e. slightly wider than the corridors and rooms that you see it in). It may be neccessary to use more than one terrain info to get the best optimisation, and don't be afraid of zoning across terrain. As long as you have the terrainzone=true in each zone, the terrain will be visible. To assist you with optimisation, are you familiar with the "rmode" console command? When you're in the level, bring down your console and type "rmode 1" without the quotes, and this will switch you to wire frame mode. You can now see all the static meshes that the engine is drawing (currently all of them), as well as the wasteful terrain. This is what the engine is actually drawing. This view is very helpful for seeing where antiportals should be placed, and if they're doing the job you thought they should. To switch back to normal view type "rmode 5", which is the normal lit version. There are other rmodes which are equivalent to the views in the 3D window of the editor (i.e. unlit, zone/portal, lighting, BSP cuts). The numbers don't neccessarily correspond to the views, but each has it's uses.

Next is the lighting. You need to do a lot more work with all of your lighting. Both the torches and the electric lamps need adjustments. For the lamps, you need to move you light actors much closer to the flame emitters, increase their brightness to somewhere between 160 and 180+ and reduce their radius to a maximum of 16, but preferably less (8-10). You then need to duplicate each light actor, drop the brightness to 24-48, but increase the radius to something like 32. This gives you the hotspots, but also ensures a pseudo-ambient light effect. With your blue lamps, a similar approach is needed, however the static mesh lights are not currently convincing as light sources. This is due to their vertex lit nature, so placing a single light in front of them simply won't evenly illuminate them. You'll need to play with several light actors around each mesh to get the desired effect. It might not seem very intuative, but the effort is worth it. There is a light mesh from one of the Egyptian mesh packages that requires something like four light actors to get it to look as though it's actually emitting light. The level overall is rather too dark, and picking out players can be a real chore in several locations. Perhaps study the original a bit more in this respect.

Still on lighting, but incorporating it into discussion on theme. The original level uses a tech gothic theme which worked well. Your current theme can't seem to decide betwen industrial and gothic, and suffers for it. I think you need to bite the bullet and decide betwen using lamps and using torches. For my money you'd be far better off sticking with the lamps, because you can still vary their light colour, whereas torches need that orange/yellow hue. Also, I think you should think about you're texturing some more. I think the level would work better as metal and stone, rather than stone and wood with a dash of metal. This would be more in keeping with the original tech gothic theme, but should still work well if you go for a straight industrial theme. I didn't like the pool of water on the first floor of the level. It looked erouneous. With no water source, it really looked forced and contrived. Such a device would be better on the ground floor set amongst your terrain.

milb is right about adding detail (and there are enough Campgrounds remakes, but you've come this far ;)). The level really needs some extra detail throughout. This doesn't have to get in the way of players. As milb suggested, having cutaways in the walls filled with meshes adds a lot of detail without encroaching into the play space. Similarly, you have an abundance of ceiling space where players will never venture, so don't be afraid to add plenty of overhead piping and other suitable mesh work to reinforce the industrial aspects of the level. Initially I did like the boxes and ramp you've used near the armour pickup in lieu of the normal stairs, however during play it became clear that this setup restricts players and makes their movement far more predictable and precarious in this area and I'm not convinced this is a good thing. Consider reinstating the wide stairs there.

Finally, weapon placement is always going to be open to interpretation. I am unfamiliar with the "G1E" version of the level. I only ever played the stock version and the Pro version. I'd recommend you stick to one of these unless the G1E is considered a superior version for some reason. Given that I am unfamiliar with the weapon placement for the version you are basing this level on, I'll just give my opinion on the equivalent weapons in UT2004. The Plasma Gun is obviously replaced with the Link Gun. The Rocket launcher is a no brainer, but after that it gets a little more tricky and possibly less obvious. The Shotgun should be replaced with the Flak Cannon. The Lightning Gun should be replaced with the Minigun. The Railgun is the most open to interpretation as 2k4 has two hitscan weapons. Although the Lightning Gun is perhaps the best analogy, but if it's a choice between the two, I'd recommend using the Shock Rifle. Whilst technically not the single hit kill that the Railgun is capable of, I think the weapon is more versatile than the Lightning Gun whilst retaining the hitscan considerations. There is the possibility of using the Super Shock Rifle, as found in Instagib, however this is generally frowned upon by most players and level designers alike, and unless you want to go out of your way to stir up some controversy I'd suggest ignoring that option! ;) I'm most familiar with the standard version of the level, however the Pro version was produced after extensive consultation with hardcore players, so my recommendation would be to duplicate the Pro version item placement. The other point on weapon placement is that it might be worth having a play with weapon placement by removing all the weapons, ignoring any previous layout and have a think yourself about where the UT2k4 weapons would be best placed. Things like the flak are generally more advantageous up high (like where you have the Bio Rifle now, or the Rocket Launcher at the top of the jump. There are lots of options if you take this path, and then you would be applying UT2k4 specific logic to the level, rather than attempting to use analogies for the weapons. Just a thought.

I'll be interested to see what improvements you can make before your next beta. Pathing would be good, even if it's just rudimentary. If you have any questions on anything I've mentioned just ask, or PM me.

Good luck.

The Warden
18th Jan 2005, 10:58 AM
there may be enough campgrounds out there, but this is one is different. Careful how much eye candy you add. Slain Child you've aready seen some of my pointers on BuF.

I like the direction this map is going!

Slainchild
18th Jan 2005, 12:33 PM
Cool, thanks for your input Ts, I will definatley make some of the changes you mentioned.
I didn't think too much about the weapon layout (i'm not that good at weapon layouts) and I think I will reinstall quake3 just to look at the pro version's layout.

About the optimisation, well I usually get to that at the end for some reason, but I think I will have that and the bot pathing sorted for the next beta.

The wooden boxes/ramp area near the 50a will be changed I think. I'll put more of the long wooden planks similar to the ones on the left of that section accross the gap, but still have the boxes visible through the gaps to make it a bit more interesting; and I'll probably stick a blocking volume over the lot ;).

I've got lots to think about for the next beta, so thanks once again!

The Warden
18th Jan 2005, 05:52 PM
I'll agree put the flak back, a quick demorec for ya to see. I couldn't explain it well so I'll show ya!

I appologize I was standing for so long, I was typing! :nag:

also I used winrar to compress the file if you have trouble opening it.

Thunderstrike
18th Jan 2005, 05:58 PM
Just quickly, if you're going to reinstall Q3, then you'll need at least I think patch 1.30 or maybe 1.28 to get the Pro version. The latest patch is 1.32 and if you have none of the others you can grab 1.32 right here (ftp://ftp.idsoftware.com/idstuff/quake3/win32/q3pointrelease_132.exe) . While you're at it, take a few notes on the lighting levels.

Slainchild
18th Jan 2005, 06:02 PM
Roger that Thunderstrike! ;)

And warden, I can't play the demo cos the map has changed since that version :lol: , tho I'll probably download that version right away.

Edit: :( I think I need to delete some wooden trimming! Don't worry tho, I'll replace it with something else less exploitable.

Slainchild
19th Jan 2005, 06:15 PM
Beta 3 is ready for testing!

Link and screenshots in first post.

Changes from beta2:

-Bot Support!
-Changed the scaling back to what it was in beta1.
-Changed most of the textures.
-Lots of visual additions
-Map is now zone-portaled, giving a big fps boost.
-Better lighting including coronas.
-Flak is back!
-Moved the bio-rifle back to a different column.
-No terrain. Zoning was giving me a hard time with the terrain, so I deleted it. No regrets.
-Added temporary level preview shot and description
-Ported the music from the original Quake3 map to .ogg.
-Plenty more things that I have no doubt forgotten about.

The Warden
19th Jan 2005, 08:52 PM
:rockon: \o/ :rockon: \o/ :2thumb:

play bots after I eat!

also people may complain it's a little bright.

The Warden
20th Jan 2005, 02:53 AM
bots navigate the map well, they didn't use the LtG area much at all, and the jump pads, it would take them 2X to get up to the top.

Thunderstrike
21st Jan 2005, 05:42 PM
Well, what an improvement! Visually and in performance. Very smooth frame rate. Good work.

A few things to consider.

Firstly the recesses you have for the lights everywhere are trimmed with a wood texture. This look wrong, to suddenly see wood. I think you either need to substantiate the use of wood more by perhaps adding a thin (8uu) cube brush and then have the subtract after that to give a raised up wood effect, or just change the trim texture, perhaps to a stone trim, or a metal trim, or even just back to the same texture as the surrounding wall. The same goes for the wood trim on the curving wall just past the lightning gun area. Have something sticking out. You'll acrue a few more BSP polys, but you have that to play with now.

You have those cross-struts all over the place, so why not use them to further the strong industrial theme with a few sm pipes? The struts would appear to be the supports and you get more detail in your shadows then, as well as adding a little more detail.

I'm not sold on the steam vents as jump pads, only because it's a cliche now and everyone does it. Have you had a look for any good jump pad textures ala Q3? This is a taste call.

I can see what The Warden is talking about in terms of some people thinking the level is too bright. I think it's about right, especially given the original, however you may want to take it down a single notch (using scale lights - maybe 10%). This is your call. As I say, I think it's about right now, but others may not.

My final thought for now is that I'm still not 100% on the weapon placement. I think you should consider swapping the shock and the minigun. You seem to be sticking fairly consistently with the Pro loadout, so where you have the shock there's a lightning gun. This is a long(ish) range, rapid fire, small damage weapon, and I think the minigun would better emulate its damage signature. I'm not entirely sure about the shock, as Q3 has no weapon quite like it. I'll chew that one over whilst I continue to evaluate the bots.

On the bots, first impression were good, but I did see the issue The Warden pointed out. I'll give you something a little more in depth with the bots in a day or two, if you can wait that long. I'm currently playing the level using the GameSpeed mutator set to 1.20 to give that authentic Q3 feel to the game play.

This level is looking nice, Slainchild. Keep up the good work.

The Warden
22nd Jan 2005, 10:21 AM
Thunderstrike, if the Shock is moved, so does the flak. the shock is needed there if moved the flak will become too strong, I thought about that as well before the Slain Child removed it, the flak is too close to the amp, it needs a balance.

Slainchild
22nd Jan 2005, 01:00 PM
Ok, bear with me while I rant about weapon placement. Based off the pro version of the original btw...

-My Map----Original Map-
Shock Rifle-----Lightning Gun
Flak Cannon----Shotgun (bottom level)
Link Gun--------Plasma Gun
Lightning Gun---Railgun
Bio Rifle--------Grenade Launcher
Minigun--------Shotgun (stairs)
Rocket L-------Rocket L
Damage Amp---100hp MH

I was thinking about whether I should:
Move the Shock Rifle to where the LG (ut) is.
Move the LG (ut) to where the Flak is.
Move the Flak to where the Minigun is.
Move the Minigun to where the Shock is (before it moved)
Keep everything else the same.

I could, I suppose, put a 100hp Keg in place of the Damage Amp. But I hear the Amp is more useful in TDM than the Keg.

Anyway, tell me what you think about that. Also I was thinking of doing the whole map again from scratch, to get the scaling right. Right now, it would take a lot of work to get that right with all the added details, subtractions, etc.

Thunderstrike
23rd Jan 2005, 03:22 AM
Thunderstrike, if the Shock is moved, so does the flak. the shock is needed there if moved the flak will become too strong, I thought about that as well before the Slain Child removed it, the flak is too close to the amp, it needs a balance.

I agree. Part of the problem stems from the fact that Slainchild, as he indicated above, is actually mixing the item layout between the Pro version and original stock version. In the original stock version, there was the quad damage where the damage amp is now, however, there was no shotgun which is being replaced by the flak cannon on the lower level at all, and where the shock is now there was a plasma gun (link equivalent). So, the balance consideration was less, although the plasma gun and quad damage was quite a formidable combination. In the Pro version, as Slainchild listed, instead of the damage amp there is a mega health (keg-o-health equivalent). Then there is the shotgun (flak) where it is and a lightning gun (minigun equivalent) where the shock currently is. I understand, Slainchild, that you've received feedback in regards to the damage amp being more valuable in TDM, and that makes a lot of sense. I think you need to be faithful to one layout or the other.

The other alternative is to throw the whole layout out the window and load out the map with just the UT weapons in mind. Why not try something a little left field? How about the link where the shock is, the flak where the bio is, the lightning where the rocket is, the shock where the flak is, the bio where the lightning is, the rocket where the link is and keep the mini where it sits and have your damage amp. I'm just tossing around ideas here.

In terms of scale, it seemed about right. The only area I thought was a little small was the central chamber (damage amp and jump pad) in terms of radius.

That's my thinking ATM.

The Warden
26th Jan 2005, 01:09 AM
beta 4?

putting the flak next to the 100A is not a good idea. the idea SlainChild has Just might work.

Slainchild
26th Jan 2005, 06:40 AM
Beta4 is on it's way. Expect it...err when it's done. :D

I think I might just move the LG to where the Minigun is. Then put the Shock rifle up in the LG place, and the Minigun where the Shock rifle is.

The Warden
26th Jan 2005, 11:19 AM
Slainchild give it a shot, but bare in mind leaving the flak next to the double Damage may cause a problem.

looking forward to beta 4

Slainchild
31st Jan 2005, 08:46 PM
Beta 4 is ready, check the first post for info and stuff. :)