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TDM NEW MAPPERS WORKSHOP


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#1 Springheel

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:11 AM

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Welcome to the New Mappers Workshop!

 

This is a communal workshop for new mappers who have never made a TDM mission before.  Each week or two I will make a tutorial video and help to guide everyone through the process of creating a small, complete mission.  I'm hoping the participants will feel free to ask questions, no matter how small--we're all here to learn from and encourage each other. 

 

Since I expect this thread to get fairly busy, I'm going to be heavy-handed about removing off-topic content. 

 

======================================================================================================================================================================

 

Lessons often include links or other written instructions; direct links to the lessons are collected below:

 

Lesson 1: Planning

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=407999

 

Lesson 2: Visportals

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=408253

 

Lesson 3: Your First Room

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=408484

 

Lesson 4: Decorating Your Rooms

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=408785

 

Lesson 5:  Connecting Your Rooms

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=409215

 

Lesson 6:  Outdoor "Rooms"

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=409322

 

Lesson 7:  Creating Doors

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=409547

 

Lesson 8: Functional Props

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=409731

 

Lesson 9: Immersive Details (sound/particles)

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=410258

 

Lesson 10:  Advanced Brushwork (ladders/water)

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=410667

 

 

Lesson 11:  AI

http://forums.thedar...kshop/?p=411192


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#2 Springheel

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:11 AM

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So, Lesson 1 is all about creating realistic goals.  This is meant to be a ten week workshop, so we're going to be creating fairly small missions.  I really want us to create goals that are achievable, so that everyone has something to release in the weeks after the workshop is completed.  Most beginning mappers fail because they take on projects that are far too ambitious.  This lesson is all about avoiding that pitfall.

 

By the end of this lesson, you should have the rough outline of your mission sketched out, along with ideas for your protagonist's main goal.  You'll probably have other ideas pop into your head along they way--be sure to write them down and keep them.

 

A few comments about difficulty:
My role for this week is to act as a sounding board for any ideas you might have for your mission--without knowing what the engine is capable of, it can be difficult to gage how difficult an idea might be.  Is it easy or hard to make custom conversations?  Is it easy or hard to make a beach setting?  Is it easy or hard to make an AI follow you? Since this is a workshop for beginners, I'm going to recommend that you stick to the things are fairly straightforward--you don't have to make something complicated or unique in order to create a fun mission.

 

For our first mission, there are certain things that are probably too difficult to attempt--extensive forest settings, ruins, complex elevators, etc.

 

I highly recommend relying on pre-made modules.  This makes mapping both easy and fast.  The following environments can be created with existing modules:
Any typical outdoor city setting, manors, mansions, banks, administrative buildings, inns, townhouses, slums, poor homes, crypts, warehouses, sewers, or any generic interior.

 

Settings with fewer resources that should be avoided or approached with caution:  natural outdoor settings, ruins, churches, harbours

 

Secrets:
Near the end of the video I mention the creation of a secret or mystery.  It's usually worth coming up with at least two different things that the player doesn't know, that they can discover through the course of the story.  This can either be a bait and switch (the player thinks X is true, but through the course of the story they discover Y is true instead) or a new piece of information about the story that the character can learn by piecing together clues (for example, learning that Constantine is not who he appears by exploring his mansion).

 

You might want to start thinking about possible secrets now, although it's not something you definitely need for the next lesson.

 

If you're going to post secrets, I'd recommend putting spoiler tags

[spoiler] [/spoiler]

around them.

 

Other Links:
Installing Dark Radiant:  http://wiki.thedarkm...Dark_Mod_Editor


 


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#3 Destined

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:16 AM

The video is currently set to private.



#4 Springheel

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:19 AM

It shows as public to me.  Maybe it wasn't finished processing yet?



#5 Destined

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:26 AM

I can see it now. I will wait a couple of minutes the next time ;)


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#6 NeonsStyle

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 12:27 PM

Sticky this when it's complete, it's a damn fine idea


I have a small YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:
 
https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

 

 


#7 Darkness_Falls

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 02:22 PM

Awesome, thanks! Watching now



#8 Nightcrawler

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 07:18 PM

Sticky this when it's complete, it's a damn fine idea

 

That comment made me think that Sotha's video series should already be pinned.



#9 Atomica

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 09:09 PM

Thanks for that.

 

I think it was a very good idea to impress upon people the importance of establishing limits. I've had this issue with my own programming projects, where I'll have this grand idea in mind but never actually finish it because the scope ends up being just too large for person to handle. By working on smaller projects that become building blocks for future projects, it's possible to incorporate the things I've learnt and built previously, but can now use the ideas I had but didn't have the time to implement previously. Good to see that mapping is exactly the same. :)


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Oh my God! JC! A bomb!


#10 Darkness_Falls

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Posted 19 June 2017 - 11:55 PM

Love the video. Great start to things, thanks! Will be jotting some things down over the upcoming days to get some map/mission ideas on paper


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#11 LDAsh

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 09:12 PM

Great work on the video, keep 'em coming because this isn't necessarily just a nice resource for TDM mappers but level designers in general.  B)



#12 Darkness_Falls

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Posted 20 June 2017 - 11:34 PM

I think I've completed this phase of the workshop, except for downloading Dark Radiant. Will do that soon.

 

I was thinking of making four regions: mansion, courtyard, town, and sewer. But the sewer will be very basic... maybe just a single tunnel with a small room or two as points-of-interest. I'm okay with keeping the courtyard and town pretty basic, too. For my courtyard, I'm thinking along the lines of the perimeter lawn areas in Thief 2: Running Interference. But depending on how things go, I wouldn't mind adding a fountain, some hedges, a few trees, and a statue or two; unless they'd be too complicated to implement at this time.

 

I'm okay with keeping everything pretty basic, since I don't want to overdo it, like you say.

 

Note: I want to become fairly proficient someday at making other things, like crypts. Do you have a guess as to how behind-the-curve on crypts I might become for not choosing them as one of my regions for this workshop? Or if I chose crypts instead of towns, how behind-the-curve would I get on towns? Just curious, to help me weigh the pros and cons of choosing the regions I have.


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#13 Springheel

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Posted 21 June 2017 - 07:36 AM

I  was thinking of making four regions: mansion, courtyard, town, and sewer. But the sewer will be very basic... maybe just a single tunnel with a small room or two as points-of-interest. I'm okay with keeping the courtyard and town pretty basic, too. For my courtyard, I'm thinking along the lines of the perimeter lawn areas in Thief 2: Running Interference. But depending on how things go, I wouldn't mind adding a fountain, some hedges, a few trees, and a statue or two; unless they'd be too complicated to implement at this time.


Note: I want to become fairly proficient someday at making other things, like crypts. Do you have a guess as to how behind-the-curve on crypts I might become for not choosing them as one of my regions for this workshop? Or if I chose crypts instead of towns, how behind-the-curve would I get on towns? Just curious, to help me weigh the pros and cons of choosing the regions I have.

 

We do have some good hedge and "lawn" type props, so that shouldn't be a problem.

 

As for crypts, it depends a little on the kind of crypt you have in mind.  I plan on releasing some vaulted ceiling crypt-like modules in a package that people could use in this workshop if they like.  There is also a tutorial somewhere (the link below is one, but I've seen a better one--have to find it later) on how to make vaulted ceilings in DR that didn't look too difficult--once you make one or two pieces, it's fairly easy to clone them around.  http://wiki.thedarkm...lting_Junctions


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#14 Springheel

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Posted 22 June 2017 - 06:47 PM

How is everyone else coming along?  I'm putting together the next video already and aim to post on Sunday.



#15 Destined

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 01:26 AM

I have put my planning so far in a LibreOffice Presentation as I prefer a digital version of notes. This is how it looks like:

https://www.dropbox....l plan.odp?dl=0

I think I am good to go to continue. I think I might want another secret for the player to discover (have only one so far).



#16 Nightcrawler

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 07:03 AM

I'm still struggling with defining the levels main goal. Should it be

- To steal an object?

- To assassinate someone?

- To hijack somebody?

- .....

So many options to choose from. The main thing that ceeps me occupied is how to later develop a neat and interesting story around it.

 

About the basic shape: I think I'll stick with the majority and aim for a mason mission. Nothing too fancy or extraordinary. I plan roughly 4 regions:

Spoiler


#17 Springheel

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 08:26 AM

I have put my planning so far in a LibreOffice Presentation as I prefer a digital version of notes. This is how it looks like:

https://www.dropbox....l plan.odp?dl=0

I think I am good to go to continue. I think I might want another secret for the player to discover (have only one so far).

 

That sounds fine...just be careful about letting the mansion get too large.  You might want to use the same trick I'm going to use and block off areas of the mansion with dummy doors so the player can't access them.  Mapping out an entire mansion would be months of work.  Other ways of blocking off areas (so you don't have to map them) include:

 

1.  An objective that fails if the player goes beyond a certain point ("Don't interrupt the Baron's party..stay on the second floor")

 

2.  Physical barriers (The mansion is undergoing renovation and is blocked off)

 

3.  An AI that cannot be bypassed (this takes some work to avoid loopholes).



#18 Springheel

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 08:37 AM

I'm still struggling with defining the levels main goal. Should it be

- To steal an object?

- To assassinate someone?

- To hijack somebody?

- .....

So many options to choose from. The main thing that ceeps me occupied is how to later develop a neat and interesting story around it.

 

 

What makes something an interesting story is never the basic plot.  There are only a limited number of plots out there.  Generally what makes it interesting is how it develops, how the player learns bits and pieces as they go.  That's why secrets/mysteries are so useful.  If the player knows everything at the start of the mission, a lot of potential enjoyment is lost.

 

Also, don't get too hung up on story. Plenty of great Thief missions had very basic stories.  Gameplay, verisimilitude (feeling of being in a real place), exploration, and story all work together to create a strong mission.  As long as two of those are well done, you're in good shape.



#19 Destined

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 09:45 AM

 

That sounds fine...just be careful about letting the mansion get too large.  You might want to use the same trick I'm going to use and block off areas of the mansion with dummy doors so the player can't access them.  Mapping out an entire mansion would be months of work.  Other ways of blocking off areas (so you don't have to map them) include:

 

1.  An objective that fails if the player goes beyond a certain point ("Don't interrupt the Baron's party..stay on the second floor")

 

2.  Physical barriers (The mansion is undergoing renovation and is blocked off)

 

3.  An AI that cannot be bypassed (this takes some work to avoid loopholes).

I will keep it in mind, thanks! In my mind I pictured a couple of counter windows (like in a bank) and an area for waiting people in the west and only a small hallway with the stairs in the east. I am not quite sure if I want this hallway to be accessible from the waiting area. Both scenarios would make sense, I think. For the upper floor I intended two or three smaller offices (or a big room with several desks), a larger office for the boss/abbot/highest ranked builder above the smithy, and a balustrade above the counter windows. I originally intended this to be the whole building, but I like the idea to use dummy doors and make it appear part of a bigger building even better. It really helps to talk to people for input :)


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#20 Springheel

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 10:32 AM

Since a number of people are doing mansion interiors, I'm going to create some prefabs using the mansion modules (basic hallways, rooms, etc).  Should help speed things up.


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#21 marcuskiwi

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 02:03 PM

I am looking at a street with some sort of shop and a cellar and some rare object hidden somewhere inside.

Haven't worked out how to access shop from street yet. Might be from shop frontage or via cellar trapdoor in street (down side of shop?)

Shop to have three rooms upstairs and three down

I don't know whether this may be a bit ambitious for a first time!!



Second thoughts maybe an inn with a wine cellar and accommodation upstairs. That would work I think better

Edited by marcuskiwi, 23 June 2017 - 02:48 PM.

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#22 Darkness_Falls

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 03:12 PM

I was thinking of having a greenhouse next to my mansion, out back. Is that a bad idea for this stage of my DarkRadiant career? Like an oversized shed, but with glass walls, more or less, of course. Player will likely be able to get on top of its roof as a way of getting inside mansion in an unlocked window, or balconey, etc.

Probably just need an assortment of potted plants and flowers, tools, bags of seeds/dirt (or the semblance/illusion of)... maybe some bright focused lighting like in a dimly lit museum.

Edited by Darkness_Falls, 23 June 2017 - 03:26 PM.


#23 Springheel

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 04:11 PM

I am looking at a street with some sort of shop and a cellar and some rare object hidden somewhere inside.

Haven't worked out how to access shop from street yet. Might be from shop frontage or via cellar trapdoor in street (down side of shop?)

Shop to have three rooms upstairs and three down

I don't know whether this may be a bit ambitious for a first time!!

Second thoughts maybe an inn with a wine cellar and accommodation upstairs. That would work I think better

 

I don't think that's too ambitious.  We have a lot of good street modules to help with building city areas.



#24 Springheel

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 06:41 PM

I was thinking of having a greenhouse next to my mansion, out back. Is that a bad idea for this stage of my DarkRadiant career? Like an oversized shed, but with glass walls, more or less, of course. Player will likely be able to get on top of its roof as a way of getting inside mansion in an unlocked window, or balconey, etc.

Probably just need an assortment of potted plants and flowers, tools, bags of seeds/dirt (or the semblance/illusion of)... maybe some bright focused lighting like in a dimly lit museum.

 

 

That should be doable.  Working with glass always adds an extra level of difficulty, but nothing too serious.


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#25 Delahunt

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Posted 23 June 2017 - 07:17 PM

I was thinking of having a street (or perhaps a thieves highway) with a few points of interest - accessible office of a guardhouse; or the garret room of a minor character.

 

The main objective will be in the house of a well-to-do merchant - not quite a mansion. So I'm thinking going over a high wall to a garden/yard, a biggish house, and a cellar area. Access points above and below.

 

Once in the house the thief will see there's more to the job than meets the eye...


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