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Here's where I started. Once I'd finished the tutorial, I'd learnt enough to feel I could make a full mission.

 

http://wiki.thedarkmod.com/index.php?title=A_-_Z_Beginner_Full_Guide_Start_Here!

 

When new mappers start to map, they often have big dreams of this huge level, or very complex level which in the

end burns them out and they get demoralised, and their map ends up in the now quite large abandoned map thread.

 

Take a tip from those who have gone before. Pick a small map, and complete it. Something that you can complete fairly quickly.

Once you have a map under your belt, you'll know you can do it and then you can tackle what you really want to do. So start

small, take it right to completion. If you get stuck, there are oodles of people here willing to help, or even fix a problem for you

if you can't.

 

Start small, and you'll learn all you need to make that dream map you've been thinking about. Start big, you'll get demoralised

like so many before you and end up never completing one. So please. heed the advice of those who've been there. We want

you to make a great level, we want you to surprise yourself, and add to the mapping community.

 

Level design is satisfying on so many levels, so enjoy it. :) Oh; and welcome :)

 

Good luck

 

Neon

Edited by NeonsStyle
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I have an eclectic YouTube channel making videos on a variety of games. Come and have look here:

https://www.youtube.com/c/NeonsStyleHD

 

Dark Mod Missions: Briarwood Manor - available here or in game

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18980-fan-mission-briarwood-manor-by-neonsstyle-first-mission-6082017-update-16/

 

 

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Welcome! I also agree with the others. I myself started wit ha project that was too much for me and switched to a more realistic one.

 

As another starting point for mapping, Springheel is planning on doing a workshop for new mappers in the near future. Just take a look at this thread, if you're interested:

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18865-new-mapper-workshop/

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My original FM plan that I got from another mapper was to shoot for "10 rooms" (where a "room" can also be an outside area or any kind of discrete space).

 

Thinking right at the start of the number of rooms you want made it easier for me to plan the whole FM in terms of what rooms I wanted the player to see in what various orders & what would happen, and also made it really quick to plan and build, knowing how much time I wanted to spend on each room and how much time I needed to set aside to finish, which was great for making progress & for morale.

 

So that's my recommendation for any new mapper too.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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If interested in mapping, I made a youtube series where I build a new map from scratch.

 

It took something like 6 hours in total and shows everything that is needed for a simple mission with no fancy extras.

 

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18680-lets-map-tdm-with-sotha-the-bakery-job/

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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If interested in mapping, I made a youtube series where I build a new map from scratch.

 

It took something like 6 hours in total and shows everything that is needed for a simple mission with no fancy extras.

 

http://forums.thedarkmod.com/topic/18680-lets-map-tdm-with-sotha-the-bakery-job/

 

Speaking of which, is this really a good example? Because while the mission itself is nice and small, I was nearing desperation testing my extinguishable oil lamp patch on it, until Destined and noticed that you didn't use the standard oil lamp entities at all!

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As good example as any: it covers everything and is narrated why I am doing stuff I do.

 

I never use standard light entities, but rather model+light entity combos. Standard lights do not show light radius in DR. TDM is a game of light and shadow: I need precise light control in the editor, and that is the reason for using the combos.

 

Mapping protocol is the same wheter one uses standard entities or you build a combo entity. You just clone the light and smack it into place.

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Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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Thanks for the unanimous advice "start small". That goes against my instincts - and is why in my last attempt I did nothing but fight with the engine until I lost so completely that I deleted it all. Totally daunted.

I decided to forget all about big ideas and follow the various tutorials until I get a better understanding of how and why missions are built the way they are. Maybe just build different areas, e.g. short alleys, short rooftop and 2nd story paths, small canal area etc., and focus on making them look realistic - so I've got an idea how to actually make a map.

 

I'm following the Bikerdude videos on module building right now. Perfect!

I put Sotha's vids in queue to follow next.

 

 

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Great! Just one other advice, that has often been discussed in one or the other thread: Don't forget gameplay over being realistic. In my first attempts I started to build houses as realstic as possible. The problem that arose later on was: A realistic house does not necessarily make for good or interesting gameplay. Sometimes you have to stretch the realism a bit, so it is actually enjoyable to play a mission. This does, of course, not mean to throw your realism over board. Just keep gameplay in mind and try to imagine ways and obstacles you want in your mission as you build. This can save a lot of work later on, when you may have to adjust large sections of a map, because they are lacking regarding gameplay.

 

I found the first link in the OP of this thread very useful, as it discusses the essential elements of stealth gameplay. The other links are also very interesting to read.

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You can go even smaller and build just one test room/location/scenery (like the inside section of "Bakery job" or warehouse in the "Matter of Hours"). This way you'll be able to use techniques you like (brushes, prefabs, modules, your own models, anything in-between, etc.) and see the results faster. And, you'll be able to see how much the engine can take in terms of scene complexity (before it drops below 60 FPS), which is also very useful for measuring performance and setting your goals as a designer.

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I never use standard light entities, but rather model+light entity combos. Standard lights do not show light radius in DR. TDM is a game of light and shadow: I need precise light control in the editor, and that is the reason for using the combos.

Interesting! I think they were no water arrows in The Bakery Job, so do you use no exstinguishable light sources at all or are there other ways to put your combos out without using the standard light setup?

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Bakery Job gives the player gold and they can buy as much water arrows as they can afford. Easier difficulty level gives more gold.

 

The combo entities work just like normal the light entities: the difference is that with those I can see the light radii in DR (Okay, I admit that making the first combo light is a little more work than just plopping in a light entity, and also the combo light model is always noshadows... but I still feel the benefit of visible light radii is more valuable than the mentioned cons.).

Clipper

-The mapper's best friend.

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The other essential beginner advice to get is to really pay attention to how visPortals work & how to lay out areas to work with visPortals. That--along with light placement (be sure to minimize the overlap of lights, to as little overlap as possible) and not not overloading too many active AI--are the most important factors for good performance.

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What do you see when you turn out the light? I can't tell you but I know that it's mine.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Just an update.

I carefully viewed Sotha's Bakery vid tutorials. Made notes, simple modules, modules of interconnected entities. I then viewed Springheel's vids on using his new modules. I'm still going through Bikerdude's tutorial, but this is more advanced than I'm up to, so that's on hiatus.

 

So, I started building an FM. I don't know if it'll work but the tutorials have given me a solid clue and it's starting to look half decent.

 

Questions:

I'm using a lot of patches. Are there potential problems if too many patches intersect brushes? If too many patches intersect both brushes, other patches and func_statics?

 

In areas where the player will go, but not the AI, is it allowable to leave more clearance between patch and underlying brush? (what is the clearance limit for pathfinding?)

 

Better that I rework all that patchwork now - get a clean start - than find out too late.

 

I started getting degenerate triangles. Not in the brushes. Turns out they're in some models. Rescaling models also tends to introduce the things. (I spent considerable time tracking them down!) I would want to avoid them on principle and that should be easy enough if I only use simple brushes to block out the world. Are degenerate triangles OK if in models and func_statics?

 

Apologies for the newbie questions!

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1. There aren't any technical problems with patches intersecting, but you should watch out for 1) their ends sticking out of the other sides of walls 2) them having too many subdivisions (it's usually better to manually subdivide them in the patch inspector window, but not always!), 3) patches z-fighting with other surfaces (it happens more than you think) and 4) shadowcasting and the performance impact (if they're on the ground it might be prudent to turn them to func_statics and put noshadows on them).

 

If you have patches that aren't the same length/width but are next to each other, be careful for the subdivisions/vertices to align in a way that doesn't create a seam between them.

 

2. I'd like to say yes, there's more leeway, but theoretically if the AI gives chase to the player, any area accessible to them is fair game. I'll say if the area is completely inaccessible, e.g. up a ladder that the AI can't climb, then don't worry about putting brushwork below the patches. The clearance limit is about 16 units IIRC. You can use vertice selection to align the brush edges to more closely match the patch above, but it's a bit more finicky.

 

3. I think the engine does its best to clear degenerate triangles, I'm least knowledgeable on this and it's perhaps why I don't worry about it that much!

My FMs: The King of Diamonds (2016) | Visit my Mapbook thread sometimes! | Read my tutorial on Image-Based Lighting Workflows for TDM!

 

 

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OK, got it.

As well as following some tutorials I've been deconstructing some small areas of exceptional Dark Mod maps. I tell you, it's an exquisite experience.

I decided to totally replace the foundation brushes of the area I've already built, saving out the "architecture". For now.

So I'll be deleting all the patches and rebuilding better.

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As well as following some tutorials I've been deconstructing some small areas of exceptional Dark Mod maps.

That how I learned in the beginning and still learn to map, the benefit of everything being covered by CC you can use anything that has been created for the mod in your mod related projects. Its just polite to give the original author a heads up and before you do and the credit then in a readme included with the mission etc.

Edited by Bikerdude
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That how I learned in the beginning and still learn to map, the benefit of everything being covered by CC you can use anything that has been created for the mod in your mod related projects. Its just polite to give the original author a heads up and before you do and the credit then in a readme included with the mission etc.

 

Well I tell you, there's already no way I can account for the depth of your influence. I note that a lot of the best missions have been co-authored with Bikerdude, and that the Dark Mod is a beautiful collaboration. So yeah, it tends to be your maps I try to read. But good luck to me!

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I haven't created nearly as much original material as people think I have, I have seen what others have done and improved upon it. As the saying goes, imitation is the greatest form of flattery. I think everyone who has been here for a while has done that in one form or another and we do it because we love the mod.

Edited by Bikerdude
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