Since there has lately been some doom and gloom over these forums on the dearth of fan missions in 2011, I thought I'd liven things a bit by taking a break from my main (XL-sized) FM and do some speedbuilding to
- get peoples' spirits up a bit;
- create a new, playable fan mission in a fairly short time span (I'm looking at the weekend plus a few more evenings);
- show newbies how easy it is to build a simple but good-looking mission in DarkRadiant once you have completed the beginners' tutorial.
- models, which come with your Darkmod install
- prefabs, collections of brushes, patches, entities that are saved and stored for reuse. A prefab could be an architectural feature, a machine, an entire building or a corridor. Here are editor images of a few I will be using:
TDM already contains a bunch of prefabs by default. I will cheat a bit and include some I have built for my own levels - but once the mission is done, I will share them with you so you can use them in your own work. Prefabs and models are great because they are a painless and beginner-friendly way to make a level look good. Unlike models, you can retexture, modify, disassemble and combine prefabs very easily in DarkRadiant.
This thread is not a tutorial per se, but I will add a few simple tips in quote boxes about things that are useful to know. So -- since I've still got an hour or so today, let's get going!
Fiasco at Fauchard Street
It consists of one street, a few side areas and enterable houses. You will start at the north, and proceed to your target at the southeast (the house of "Lenderman", a pawnbroker), and be able to sneak through the place on street level, or climb up to higher places to follow the thieves' highway. The front will be guarded, but there are going to be other ways inside... My idea is for massive, ancient construction, so I will be using thick walls, support beams and such to create a feeling of weight.
Tip: You can see the basic layout is crooked and irregular. This will create the illusion of an old, rambling city, but it will also have a significant benefit: to break up the level into smaller segments which will be separated by visportals, which are essential to cut down on the areas being rendered, and also to conduct sound. In the S-curve in the centre, there are going to be no less than three VPs. As the original version of Return to the City has shown, correct visportaling is the difference between good performance and horrible performance, so pay attention to it.
The beginnings of the level:
My starting area is a big sky-textured box with nothing in it except the player start and an AI. I also have a skybox (which supplies an animated sky with clouds and celestial bodies) and a starting equipment list off screen, which I copied from another mission. You can also use the startpack offered here if you'd like more stuff. For the time being, I have sealed the entire level in the box so I can compile it in its current form without a leak. At a later stage, I will remove these walls.
Tip: I recommend placing a guard in your level right at the start to get a sense of the architectural proportions. I have underestimated scales on multiple counts because I had no visual reference to compare my architecture with.
Edited by Melan, 08 April 2011 - 04:15 PM.