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Old 31st Jul 2003, 10:24 PM   #1
Stuart Lee
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DM-Jawbreaker : BETA release

Hi all,

Here, at long last is my first ever map - DM-Jawbreaker

It's taken a while to complete as I was learning everything as I went along, but finally I've got it to a stage where I think it's done. The only thing (I think) missing is the custom soundtrack that a friend is making for me, which will hopefully be in there for the final release.

Please take a look and give me some feedback.

http://www.stuart-lee.com/ut2003/DM_...ker/index.html


Thanks,

Stuart
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Old 1st Aug 2003, 07:01 AM   #2
Gui
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Cool

Not bad for a first map

At first sight, you need more variety in texturing and shapes: walls are all basic concrete and overally the BSP is far too much squarish and simplistic with flat and empty ceilings. A lot of static meshes are missing to fill the various areas. Lighting color scheme can be better aswell though there's some cool contrasts here and there. More ambient sounds would be welcome too

Gameplay-wise, there's some good points: z-axis, overally good connectivity but item placement seems slightly messy in some places. Also, there's too much teleporters IMO, it's often the sign of a poor layout and you don't always know where they'll bring you to: I strongly recommend you give a try to some other ways to connect the various areas of your map... I had strange things with the lifts which came back to their keyframe0 before I could exit them at first try: you may want to give a close look to their collision settings because this sort of things can be really annoying during a game

Finally, here is a list of usefull links which may help you to improve your map:
http://forums.beyondunreal.com/showthread.php?t=112028

I recommend particularly the articles of CliffyB as well as the tutorials of DavidM concerning lighting and gameplay but also the architecture tutorials of Hourences and Bot_40

Keep up
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Old 3rd Aug 2003, 11:44 PM   #3
Stuart Lee
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Thanks for the feedback, I do have a couple of points/questions of my own...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gui
At first sight, you need more variety in texturing and shapes: walls are all basic concrete and overally the BSP is far too much squarish and simplistic with flat and empty ceilings. A lot of static meshes are missing to fill the various areas.
I take it you meant you'd like to see more static meshes, rather than there were things actually missing? I tested it on 2 machines to make sure there was nothing missing as such. I could have put more decoration in (and may still do that), but didn't want to fill the place up too much as then it becomes too big to download and slower on lower spec machines. I'd also recomend not running round looking at the ceiling too much as you're likely to wind up DEAD!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gui
Lighting color scheme can be better aswell though there's some cool contrasts here and there.
That sounds a bit like a contradiction to me.... example/s of what you didn't like and ways to improve it would be more helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gui
item placement seems slightly messy in some places.
Again, examples would be helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gui
I had strange things with the lifts which came back to their keyframe0 before I could exit them at first try: you may want to give a close look to their collision settings because this sort of things can be really annoying during a game
Yup, I noticed that on a couple of the lifts they don't stay 'open' the first time u use them, but work properly after that. I copied those lifts from another map as I wasn't sure how to make them myself at first. I'll re-build them now I know how and see if that fixes it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gui
Keep up
Will do!! I've already started drawing my next map (yes, on paper, with a pencil!!). Time to start learning about terrain.....

Stuart
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Old 7th Aug 2003, 10:13 AM   #4
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Hey Stuart

Forgive Gui, he has this thing about giving general impressions and letting the map author make their own decisions. Good job I'm here, eh?

Firstly the power plant room:
* The walls here need more detail, either some more bsp cuts/additions and/or a whole lot more static meshes.
* I think you should reduce the variety of colours in the lights, especially in the power plant room, because you've got blue, yellow and red, and green just down the hallway in Jawbreaker and it's just too gaudy. You really need to pick a colour and remove it, and my money would be on the red. You have the blue from the power plant, use that to partially illuminate the room with your yellow lights for a pleasant contrast.
* The upper floor in the power plant goes nowhere except that balcony in the turbine hall - why not improve connectivity by connecting that ramp to the highest ramp in the turbine hall?
* I think you should increase the damage-per-second at the base of reactor in the power plant so that it's an instant death.

Lift corridor:
* I really think the jump pads need to be replaced with elevators/ramps - the jump pads are the only ones in the map and really seem out of theme.
* Do something more to advertise the current elevators, try coloured/flashing lights, warning textures or something else to draw the eye.

Jawbreaker:
* Give the green lights a source, and maybe even change the light colour.

Gallery:
* The gallery and access room need more meshes/BSP detail and I felt that the upper floors here should go somewhere to improve the connectivity rather than just leaving a player to have to jump back down again.
* Just thought I'd say that the elevators in here are perfect for lift jumping!
* The round tunnel from galley to turbine hall seems out of place. I'd recommend you at least consider replacing it with an angular corridor.

Turbine Hall:
* The turbine hall in general needs some more meshes/BSP detail on walls because right now there are just too many wide open empty spaces
* The lighting here could do with increased brightness/reduced radius - and here I'm thinking of those spotlights in particular, just to create a more clearly defined spot
* Again here you could drop a colour from the red, yellow and green lighting theme (this time I would suggest green)
* In general you could use more lighting on the ground floor, particularly around the pipes at the pipe entrance end and the flak at the other end
* You need to change the sounds on most of the metal catwalk meshes
(if you don't know how to do this let me know!)
* If you really have to stick with the round pipes on the wall then place grates over them to stop players shield jumping or translocating into them

Now just a few more general comments:

*Like Gui, I really dislike teleports, especially one way and it really does smack of a quick fix for connectivity. I'd strongly recommend you reconsider their use.
*In general you need to improve overall detail in bsp geometry (make corridors and rooms more than just cube brushes, or at least use some vertex editing or brush clipping; if you don't know about these I've always had a soft spot for what is now leveldesigner.com)
* Please learn to use coronas to add that extra something to your lights, but read some tutes on it and don't abuse the power!
* Finally, please use trim!!! Nothing look so bad as textures that just stop, nasty angles, etc. If you don't know what I'm talking about, I can direct you to a great tutorial if you haven't already seen it.
* You really could do with a greater variety of textures on your walls and floors. Plain grey concrete grows old real fast.

Hope this helps and please, if you're doing terrain for your next map, give it a definite identity and sense of purpose!
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Old 7th Aug 2003, 01:28 PM   #5
SkaarjMaster
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Well looky there, Thunderstrike is even more detailed than Gui. I stand corrected.
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Old 7th Aug 2003, 07:05 PM   #6
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Cool

Well, here ya go:

The recommendation for 10-12 players is a good idea for this large map, but maybe only 9 bots for a default would be better. Definitely add the custom music as you planned. Some ackward areas, but map flows fairly well. Good weapon and item placement. I also agree with Thunderstrike about the coronas and connectivity.
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Old 8th Aug 2003, 03:54 AM   #7
Stuart Lee
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Thanks guys,

I've made a list!

I will just say one thing - it seems like everyone who's made a comment (on other forums too) mentioned the lack of static meshes and texture detail. With the textures - I played around for SO long trying out different ones that I got sick of it and stuck with the concrete. The difficulty was that the walls were large and so most of the textures looked crappy on such a big surface. Also I guess I didn't want to fill the place up with a ton of stuff just for the sake of it, so I erred on the side of caution - taking things out if they didn't have a purpose rather than putting more in.

Seems like the phrase "less is more" really doesn't apply in UT2003!!

Thunderstrike - thanks for the useful comments. The lifts in the pit - no coincidence that they are perfect for lift jumps! And the pipes on the wall in the Turbine Hall contain player starts so I don't think I'll put a grate in front of them this time... In fact that's kinda where the map was born/got it's name. They were the first thing I created in the first room - as player start points so everyone would jump down from the pipes, like the way jawbreakers come out of the machines. Tenuous link, I know!


Ok, busy weekend ahead for me and my list...

Stuart.
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Old 8th Aug 2003, 08:26 AM   #8
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Laughing Don't forget!

Stuart

Skaarj reminded me. Yes, also please a custom music track. The current one fits alright, but you could really put a stamp of individuality on the map and also get a unique atmosphere happening.

Also *snort* like SkaarjMaster said [giggle] watch out for those "ackward areas"! ROFL!!!!!

[several minutes go by...]
Skaarj:

[Thunderstrike dries his eyes] Ahhhhhh, everyone needs a good laugh every now and then!
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Old 8th Aug 2003, 09:41 AM   #9
Stuart Lee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Thunderstrike
Stuart

Skaarj reminded me. Yes, also please a custom music track. The current one fits alright, but you could really put a stamp of individuality on the map and also get a unique atmosphere happening.

Also *snort* like SkaarjMaster said [giggle] watch out for those "ackward areas"! ROFL!!!!!

[several minutes go by...]
Skaarj:

[Thunderstrike dries his eyes] Ahhhhhh, everyone needs a good laugh every now and then!

Ah yes, I've been busy all evening taking out those ackward areas. No idea why I put them in in the first place really.....

Custom soundtrack - hmpf... found out that the friend who was making it for me hasn't actually started yet! I'm gonna concentrate on getting the map ship shape b4 I start making music... I wonder what software people use (or any other way) to make their music tracks with??

Stuart

Last edited by Stuart Lee; 8th Aug 2003 at 09:45 AM.
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Old 8th Aug 2003, 10:06 AM   #10
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"ackward", hehe, I think I was thinking about Bill the Cat or something when I typed that; glad you liked it.
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Old 24th Aug 2003, 10:29 PM   #11
Stuart Lee
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Hey guys,

It's been a while since the feedback, but I haven't forgotten ya!

I've been very busy making some major improvements to my map and will definately be back with a new release soon!

New textures - check!

More meshes - check!

More detail in the BSP - check!

Custom music - I'm doing this myself now, so soon-to-be-check!

I'll be back with the new map soon, so thanks for waiting and for the feedback

Stuart
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Old 13th Oct 2003, 10:49 PM   #12
Stuart Lee
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BETA 2 (at last!)

Hi all,

well here it is at long last - the beta2 version of my Jawbreaker map.

http://www.stuart-lee.com/expo/jawbreaker.cfm

It's taken a while to get finished, but I've added my own custom music, tons more detail in the textures, meshes and some more sounds. I've also added a bit more connection into the map with extra rooms/corridors etc.

There is one major hiccup I can see and that is that a couple of sections of wall suddenly went black as if there was no light on them, when everything around them is well lit. Take a look in the generator room (right hand side as you enter via the lift corridor) and part of the wall on the left hand side when you take the lift up from the sewer where the water is. They didn't start out like that and I'm not sure what/when it happened. If anyone can shed any light on this (pun intended!) I'd be very greatful.

For those that made comment before - thanks very much and please take another look and let me know what you think. For those that didn't - what are you waiting for?!

Thanks again all,

Stuart
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Old 14th Oct 2003, 03:44 PM   #13
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I've taken a look at it and it's really better as far as lighting and sounds are concerned but archi still requires work IMO. The overall connectivity is pretty basic aswell: overally, there's still this Room-Corridor-Room syndrome and a lot of areas are far too much open...

I don't want to discourage you but maybe you should envisage to drop this project for now and pass on something else: I'm afraid you'll have hard time to turn this in something really worth to be downloaded and played, all the more as it's a pretty large map and therefore it requires long working sessions

I'd recommend to begin with something smaller and simpler and to consider the project as a try and a field for experimentations instead of willing to produce a finished map at all cost: after all you obviously learnt a lot of things while working on JawBreaker which is already very positive

Here is the suggested method to every beginner, at least for DM maps:
- build some rooms, leave 128 to 256 units between them
- connect each room on two or more floors
- put some items/pathnoding in and playtest

When you have a layout which works, you'll be able to take care of the visual part though the contrary is not obligatory easier. Feel free to post this layout when you think it is ready and we will give you our impressions about its gameplay to allow you rework the thing until you get something worth to be decorated

Step by step you'll build a cool map but if you go too much fast you'll simply screw up everything...
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