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#1 The Dark One

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:04 AM

Hope this is the right forum. <.<

 

I've been musing on making missions at some point, but I'm not sure how easy it would be. I've never really messed around with a level editor before, and I don't want to run up some ludicrous learning curve that makes no sense if you have no programming experience. So like the title says, how difficult is DarkRadiant to learn? Should I just not bother?


Because in mystery novels, the first suspect is almost certainly never the murderer. No matter how much unmovable evidence there is, it will all be smashed in pieces by the wrath of the remaining number of pages of the story.

 

-"The Evil Spirit of the Zushi Clan" from Virtual Carnal Pleasure by Yamada Fuutarou


#2 Destined

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:31 AM

New mappers are always welcome! Dark Radiant does not require any programming experience, but some more advanced stuff you want to do might need a script. However, if you are completely clueless, people on the forum are very supportive and can help you out there. Of course (just like any other editor), Dark Radiant needs some getting used to. If you have already worked with other editors, it will be quicker, but I have had no mapping experience whatsoever myself when I started and think that I can work with it reasonably well, now. There is a mapping tutorial on the Wiki called "A - Z Beginner Full Guide". A few parts are a bit outdated, but it is very detailed and gives you a good introduction into using DR. Also, if you get stuck, people here on the forum are always very supportive and helpful (just take a look at the length of the "Newbie Dark Radiant Questions" thread). So, I would recommend to at least give it a try and work through the Beginner's Guide. While doing that, you will see, how DR works and if it is too complicated for you or not.


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#3 Judith

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:33 AM

If you don't have any experience with much more UX-focused editors, like UDK or UE4, you should do fine. There are lot of things you can customize, shortcuts included. Controls are a bit unorthodox, I'd say, but it makes sense, more often than not. E.g. You can't accidentally select anything, because you have to press Shift key first. Mouse controls are designed for fast brush building and scaling, very useful when blocking out and prototyping.

 

I only don't get it why you can select brushes in 2d view by selecting an empty area inside them - that kind of undermines the effort to minimize accidents. Every other editor in the world treats brushes and models in 2d view like a wireframe, you can't select them in any other way than by selecting their edges or vertices.

 

Also, one of the biggest chores is writing material definitions in notepad (preferably Notepad++). Other editors use material preview windows, slot or node-based. But if you stay out of anything flashy, you'll be mostly pasting the code and changing paths and names. I use self-made material templates, so I don't have to dig in the wiki everytime I forget how something was made.


Edited by Judith, 16 February 2017 - 07:13 AM.

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#4 Destined

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:41 AM

Also, one of the biggest chores is writing material definitions in notepad (preferably Notepad++). Other editors use material preview windows, slot or node-based. But if you stay out of anything flashy, you'll be mostly pasting the code and changing paths and names. I use self-made material templates, so I don't have to dig in the wiki everytime I forget how something was made.

Well, for a beginner I would recommend to stay with existing assets for starters. Creating new stuff (like materials, models, sounds etc.) usually requires more background and in many cases additional programs, so I would say that is the least "newbie friendly" part.


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#5 STiFU

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:47 AM

I'd say just go for it. The worst thing that could happen is that you learned something new. ;-)

 

There is a mapping tutorial on the Wiki called "A - Z Beginner Full Guide". A few parts are a bit outdated, but it is very detailed and gives you a good introduction into using DR.

This sounds like a task for the more recent mappers, who have completed the guide not too long ago, but know their way around TDM by now.


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#6 Judith

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:51 AM

Typically, amateur mappers also need to be modelers and texture makers to have decent amount of creative freedom, so I think that's something to keep in mind as well.

 

I'd say just go for it. The worst thing that could happen is that you learned something new. ;-)

 

This sounds like a task for the more recent mappers, who have completed the guide not too long ago, but know their way around TDM by now.

 

First thing that comes to mind is Shift + click not Ctrl + Shift + Click to select something. More importantly, the folder structure is outdated, and looking these assets up can be a bit confusing for a newcomer.


Edited by Judith, 16 February 2017 - 02:53 AM.

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#7 STiFU

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 03:06 AM

If you see things like that, it would be nice if you could just fix them, as you're knowledgable enough to identify errors, but still fresh enough. :-) That would be a great deed for future newbies.



#8 Judith

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 03:08 AM

Will try to do that around the weekend :)


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#9 freyk

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 03:56 AM

So like the title says, how difficult is DarkRadiant to learn? Should I just not bother?

For all level editors, you need to have patience.
Because there are lots stuff you can create (and needs that to learn)
Making levels takes hours/days/months or even years.

for new mappers, to speed it things up,
there are video tutorials.
Spoiler

and there is also a mission generator.
(somewhere on this forum)

Edited by freyk, 16 February 2017 - 03:57 AM.

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#10 Destined

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 04:09 AM

This sounds like a task for the more recent mappers, who have completed the guide not too long ago, but know their way around TDM by now.

How so? The tutorial was specifically made to introduce new mappers to DR and gives step by step instructions on making and manipulating brushes, including AI and lights. It was how I started mapping and it helped a lot.



#11 Judith

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 04:16 AM

I think STiFU meant mappers who completed the tutorial more or less recently, but now feel confident with DR enough to know what's wrong with the A-Z course and how to change it, in terms of the outdated stuff.



#12 Melan

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 05:00 AM

I didn't come to TDM as a complete newbie, but I did pick up the much more obscure and ornery Dromed without any sort of technical or programming background. It was less scary than I originally expected, and went surprisingly well. Now DarkRadiant is much more user-friendly than Dromed, and it has become even more accommodating since its first versions. By more-or-less following the A-Z tutorial, you can gain most of the skills you need to make a mission, and if you are stuck, just ask on the forums.The rest is imagination and perseverance. Making levels is always time-consuming, but I'd estimate a beginner could create a decent-sized maps over one or two months, or a small one in a few weeks - and that's without the new architectural modules. 

 

You don't really need to learn modelling to make a mission (I have never created a custom model, although I have asked people to make a few simple ones), while creating custom textures is fairly straightforward. But at this stage, TDM has more than enough base assets to let you develop a mission of your preferred type (except monster missions, since at this point we only have giant spiders and fire elementals).


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Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

#13 STiFU

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 05:45 AM

I think STiFU meant mappers who completed the tutorial more or less recently, but now feel confident with DR enough to know what's wrong with the A-Z course and how to change it, in terms of the outdated stuff.

Exactly!


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#14 Destined

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 06:39 AM

Thanks for the clarification. I thought your comment was meant for the whole "There is a tutorial [...]" and that the tutorial (and not correcting the tutorial) is a task for someone who knows his/her way around TDM. That's why I was confused. But I agree, a correction of the tutorial would be nice, especially if there is the possibility of a large number of new map authors due to the Greenlight thing.



#15 Sotha

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 07:35 AM

Just go for it. Anyone who can learn to use computer programs can learn DR. It just takes time and patience like all learning.

It is fun, too. Just make a small 1-5 room mission first. It is more fun than to try to eat more than you can swallow in one go.
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#16 Destined

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 09:38 AM

I agree here! And be careful that it actually stays with the 1-5 rooms. When I started, I wanted to make a small mission. But then I started to add this and that, and then, oh this would also be very nice. And suddenly the mission was actually much more than I could swallow. So I started a new mission with the "don't get too big" in mind, which I want to finish soon. It will be the introduction to the accidentally too big mission, so the plans for that mission are not wasted completely.


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#17 Melan

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 09:53 AM

Although it is more than five years old now ( :o), it may be interesting for beginners to look at the thread where I documented making Fiasco at Fauchard Street, a small-medium-sized mission using newbie-friendly and time-saving methods. It can give you an idea on what kind of work goes into a mission, and how you can manage the workflow. Of course, you've got even more tools to work with today - including modular architecture, optimised code and a generally broader asset base.

 

Another, related point: Fiasco is not a micro-mission. I see the "1-5 rooms" suggestion, but I'd recommend going a bit further. You don't need to create a sprawling FM, especially not on your first try, but if you make those 5 rooms, you can make it 10 and get away with it. 


Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

#18 Judith

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 04:20 AM

11 days, that's more like speed mapping ;) Actually you'd want to take it slow. Get used to controls, customize things if need be, go though the AZ tutorial to try out the different game features. Don't be afraid to experiment with those.

 

When you start making your mission, don't spread yourself thin, and value your audience's time. It's better to have 3 main, "content-intensive" locations, connected with corridors that serve as breathers, than 10 locations that are just ok. Also, don't worry about length too much. People have busy lives and tons of responsibilities these days, meaningful leisure time is something of value. You don't need 4 hours of average gameplay. Make it a meaningful hour, or hour and a half, and people will love you. Hell, make it interesting for 30 minutes, and you'll get the "short but sweet" tag and positive reactions as well (see Springheel's new intro mission).


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#19 Sotha

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Posted 17 February 2017 - 04:26 AM

When you start making your mission, don't spread yourself thin, and value your audience's time. It's better to have 3 main, "content-intensive" locations, connected with corridors that serve as breathers, than 10 locations that are just ok. Also, don't worry about length too much. People have busy lives and tons of responsibilities these days, meaningful leisure time is something of value. You don't need 4 hours of average gameplay. Make it a meaningful hour, or hour and a half, and people will love you. Hell, make it interesting for 30 minutes, and you'll get the "short but sweet" tag and positive reactions as well (see Springheel's new intro mission).


I agree 100%. Always better to have a short but focused mission, rather than a long defocused one. I personally enjoy most the missions that last from 30-60min. Those can be played in one session and you stay hooked all the time. Longer than 60min starts to get tiresome and it cannot be played in one session.
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#20 HMart

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 09:47 AM

Hope this is the right forum. <.<

 

I've been musing on making missions at some point, but I'm not sure how easy it would be. I've never really messed around with a level editor before, and I don't want to run up some ludicrous learning curve that makes no sense if you have no programming experience. So like the title says, how difficult is DarkRadiant to learn? Should I just not bother?

 

I'm not a mapper for TDM, but even tho i don't work with TDM, it uses idtech4 and a radiant based editor, things a have some knowledge about, so unless the TDM team changed things drastically around, what i will say should still apply, again don't know if applies totally to Darkradiant (never tested it deeply) but on DoomRadiant (the original Doom 3 editor) you can do in game logic, visually, in the editor by just connecting entities to entities, entities to triggers, etc, anything can be connected to anything and act as a trigger, is just like a UE4 visual scripting but in 3D with no need to make a script file.

 

Example, only in generic terms, imagine that you wanted to make a game logic where the player picks a object and it opens a hidden door or starts a alarm, if you knew how to code you could just make a script (is not very difficult), but if you are a visual person and code frightens you, then you can also do this in the editor, like so, connect (not bind) the object directly to the door, first select the object (the parent) then the door (the child) use ctrl+ k, a color line in the editor will go from the object to the door, you can also connect the object to a trigger (there's various special triggers, like a trigger_timer, trigger_once, trigger_relay, etc) and then the trigger to the door, in the first way, when the player picks the object, it will immediately start the opening animation of the door, or start the alarm sound, but if you wanted to delay the actions, you can use the second option with a trigger_timer, etc. This is one of the many ways to do visual "scripting" in idtech 4. 

 

Of course is not as straightforward as that, you still need to assign the necessary spawn arguments (in the entity tab of the editor) to the entities so they know what to do after being triggered.

 

This also limits somewhat what you can do because locks you to the existent functionality, if you want to do something totally new (but within the idtech 4 script capabilities) you will need to make a script, but even so is a powerful system and id software level designers used it plenty.

 

p.s - Btw i never used the unique to DarkRadiant stim/response system so don't know what you can or can't do with it.  


Edited by HMart, 21 February 2017 - 10:11 AM.


#21 chakkman

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 03:31 PM

Well, for a beginner I would recommend to stay with existing assets for starters. Creating new stuff (like materials, models, sounds etc.) usually requires more background and in many cases additional programs, so I would say that is the least "newbie friendly" part.

 

Just wondering, but, how often do people actually use custom assets? I saw some repeating stuff in most missions, but, i also saw some things which were just used for that one specific mission. As i'm not too much of an artist, i probably would have a hard time creating textures, create 3D models, or whatever is needed, if you want to do custom things. Do assets get added with new missions created by the "official mappers", say the guys who do the campaign and stuff? 


Edited by chakkman, 21 February 2017 - 03:32 PM.


#22 Melan

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 03:57 PM

The majority of missions use custom assets of some kind, but they tend to be the easy stuff, mainly textures and the odd model or sound. To give you an idea about their prevalence, take a look at the mission list sorted by size. Missions with very few custom assets (like much of the Thomas Porter series) weigh in around 10-15 MB for a moderately large map. All the rest is custom stuff! It always depends on what's included in the core mod and what isn't, though. I could substantially downsize my FMs after my textures made it into the standard package. Penny Dreadful 2 was over 100 MB, and we got it down to 43 (there is still a lot of custom stuff in there, particularly voices, but less than it used to be).

 

That said,

  • you can easily make a mission with what's already in the mod;
  • you don't have to make everything yourself - there are people with specialised skills who can and will help you do this or that.

Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved

#23 Destined

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 03:57 PM

New assets are added by whoever wants to make some. This can be the "official mappers" as you called them (with 2.05 a huge amount of beautiful modules made by Springheel, for example, were added) or just people who are into modeling. Sometimes people find stuff with a creative commons license on the internet that fits well (although this stuff still has to modified more often than not). If you need some custom made stuff and feel not up to the task, you can always ask here on the forum if someone could help you with it. Also, if you have seen some custom made stuff in a mission, most (if not all) authors will allow you to use this stuff (at least if you give credit to the author).



#24 chakkman

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 04:11 PM

Alrighty, thanks. :) I'll take a look at Dark Radiant the next days, and see if i can get my head around it then.

 

BTW, not really related to the mapping itself, but, i like those intro vids, where there are graphics from the mission, and the camera slowly moves over them, while a voice gives an overview, or background of the mission (just like in the Thief games). Is that what you'd call "scripted" stuff, or can you even do that in Dark Radiant.


Edited by chakkman, 21 February 2017 - 04:15 PM.


#25 Melan

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Posted 21 February 2017 - 05:38 PM

There are briefing templates which are easy to set up and which provide moving images and text, but for voice and more sophisticated animations, you have to go outside the mod.


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Come the time of peril, did the ground gape, and did the dead rest unquiet 'gainst us. Our bands of iron and hammers of stone prevailed not, and some did doubt the Builder's plan. But the seals held strong, and the few did triumph, and the doubters were lain into the foundations of the new sanctum. -- Collected letters of the Smith-in-Exile, Civitas Approved




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