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Author Topic: Making new map, any suggestions?  (Read 11512 times)

Offline Llamageddon

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Making new map, any suggestions?
« on: August 29, 2011, 06:14:59 pm »
Hi,

I've been following UFO:AI for a few years now and thought I would contribute with my level design skills. I notice that all the map TODO's for the next two versions are pretty much done and I want to do an interesting new map using tiles and the RMA. Any suggestions on where to start? Is it pretty much OK to go with whatever takes my fancy? Could I start making a +european set or something. Got an idea for a village in the country and a desert map with some archaeological ruins.

Thanks in advance for your advice.

Edit: For instance, any regions/themes that are particularly lacking in variety/maps.
« Last Edit: August 29, 2011, 07:24:07 pm by Llamageddon »

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2011, 07:40:18 pm »
That's great Llamageddon. We always need more maps and mapping is probably the one part of the game that is the most flexible, which means you are pretty much OK to go with whatever takes your fancy.

My personal feeling is that the game currently has a lot of rural and contemporary (early 21st century) maps. It could use more maps that might reflect strategic locations for aliens: energy production (oil and gas production; power plants; wind and sun farms); political hubs (the UN of the future; political offices); and places with larger populations (cities or things found in cities, like larger buildings).

Also, I think it would be good to try and give some of the maps a little bit of a taste of the future. We shouldn't go crazy with flying cars and robot doormen, but a lot of our maps like +africa, +oriental and +village still reflect specific conditions of the late 20th century that are likely to change somewhat in the next 80 years.

But as I said , you are free to do pretty much whatever you want. And the best motivation to complete a mapping project is to be really excited by your idea, so by all means stick to what you're really interested in. We do need a proper desert RMA.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2011, 07:42:12 pm »
Stop by our IRC channel too, sometime. It's a good place to catch the devs and ask any questions.

Offline Llamageddon

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2011, 03:53:16 am »
Cool, think I will ease myself in gently and start expanding the desert tile set a bit. Think I will do some rocky desert as I notice it is all sand at the moment and we have some nice rock textures. Also got to wrap my head round the ump stuff for it too, should be interesting.

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2011, 09:42:30 am »
Looking forward to it!

The UMP stuff is fairly straightforward once you understand how it works. It can just be a bit tedious to make sure there are no mistakes. One thing I would recommend is to build larger rather than smaller tiles. UMPs with lots of little tiles take more work to maintain.

Offline geever

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2011, 10:01:11 am »
One thing I would recommend is to build larger rather than smaller tiles. UMPs with lots of little tiles take more work to maintain.

But  gives more variability -- once the RMA algo is not broken.

-geever

Offline Llamageddon

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2011, 02:09:16 pm »
Thanks for the info guys, that answers the questions I had about tile sizes without me having to ask it.  :D

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #7 on: August 30, 2011, 03:00:41 pm »
But  gives more variability -- once the RMA algo is not broken.

This is a really debatable point when it comes to variability of gameplay, but it depends a lot on what the tiles are and how the map is constructed.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 03:03:36 pm by H-Hour »

Offline Llamageddon

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #8 on: August 30, 2011, 04:46:27 pm »
Could anyone give me some pointers on blending. These are my experiments so far:

Code: [Select]
# sandy rock to rocky rock blend
{
material tex_nature/desert004
scale.s 0.25
{
texture tex_nature/desert001
scale.s 0.25
terrain 0 32
lightmap
}
{
texture tex_nature/desert002
scale.s 0.25
terrain 32 192
lightmap
}
}







Wasn't exactly what I had in mind but quite nice results anyway. I think I am misunderstanding how the gloating point variables work. "Scale.s" isn't mentioned on the wiki but is used in many material files. Does it actually scale the texture sizes up and down and does it work on the referenced textures as well at the main material texture?

What I really would like to know is can you blend along the x/y axis instead of the z axis so I could have a blend at the edges of a flat tile, if not is the only way to have a slope running down to the edges of the tile and blend it towards ground level?

Sorry for so many questions in such a short time, I couldn't find the answers on the wiki.

Edit: Also, I notice the other desert tiles often start on a 12 high brush that goes 8 down below z-0. Is there any reason for this or just to make the brush less fiddly? I assume anything below z-0 is ignored in-game.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2011, 05:05:05 pm by Llamageddon »

Offline H-Hour

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #9 on: August 30, 2011, 08:03:31 pm »
I'm not sure what scale.s does. Try removing it. You should always use textures that are the same size with the material stuff.

You can only fade from one texture to another on the z-axis. There is a separate thing we call blending, which is where you blend one texture over another (you can see this done in the streets in +city).

It doesn't look to me like you're actually getting any fading on the z-axis for the desert002. I'm not sure why but maybe test out some different heights to make sure it's working? You can always post the .map file as well for me to take a look at.

The normalmaps on those textures are really terrible. That's what is causing the odd patterns on the ground. If you make the RMA I'll commit to making sure the desert textures have proper normalmaps for you. But in teh meantime you might want to experiment with a bump 0.1 parameter or some other low number.

You should generally never have any brush below 0 on the z-axis. If this brush creates what our pathfinding coding interprets as a walkable surface it can cause the game to crash. I wouldn't take the existing desert tiles as any guide. Feel free to start fresh.

Offline tilli

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #10 on: August 30, 2011, 08:15:07 pm »
welcome

both H-Hour and geever are right. Large maptiles are easier to do and maintain, while many maptiles are a pain in the ass the maintain, but are very well worth the effort.
Just a small trick: Put markers on each tile which identify the tiles, it makes troubleshooting later much more easier. I used black an white binary code for that: http://ufoai.ninex.info/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=5520.0;attach=6214;image

I had a look at your first images, they look good for start, keep going. And don't worry about reworking the whole desert.

tilli

Offline Llamageddon

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #11 on: August 31, 2011, 03:37:47 pm »
Thanks guys, will look up blending and play with materials a bit more before asking more. I'll get a rough tile set up and work from there. Going to poke around other people's maps and see if I can pick up some useful pointers too.

Offline Llamageddon

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #12 on: August 31, 2011, 09:56:51 pm »
Making nice progress but got an RMA that crashes the game (after debugging from console errors to get to that stage). Could someone look at my UMP code and see if there are any obvious errors?

Code: [Select]
// *********************************
// DESERT THEME
// *********************************

base desert_rock/

//---------------------------------// Tiletypes
// ------
// d: dropship
// h: raised horizontal
// o: step up to the North
// l: step up to the East
// 2: step up to the South
// 4: step up to the West
// p: step up to the NE
// 3: step up to the SE
// 1: step up to the SW
// i: step up to the NW
// w: outcrop NE
// s: outcrop SE
// a: outcrop SW
// q: outcrop NW
// u: raised flat area
// 5: low flat area
// a: ufo/alien squad

//Dropships
tile +des_craft_drop_firebird
{
6 3
0    0    0    0    0    0
0    +d   +d   +d   +d   0
0    0    0    0    0    0
}

//Landscape
tile +des_rock_u_h
{
6 3
0    0    0    0    0    0
0    +h   +h   +h   +h   0
0    0    0    0    0    0
}

tile +des_rock_d_flat
{
4 4
0    0    0    0
0    +5   +5   0
0    +5   +5   0
0    0    0    0
}

tile +des_rock_u_flat
{
4 4
0    2u   2u    0
lu   +u   +u    4u
lu   +u   +u    4u
0    ou   ou    0
}

tile +des_rock_n_u
{
4 4
0    2u   2u    0
lu   +o   +o    4u
lu   +o   +o    4u
0    ou   ou    0
}


tile +des_rock_s_u
{
4 4
0    52   52   0  
0    +2   +2   0
0    +2   +2   0
0    uo   uo   0
}

//Alien Hotspots
tile +des_craft_ufo_scout
{
4 4
0    0    0    0
0    +a   +a   0
0    +a   +a   0
0    0    0    0
}

assembly des_rock_test
{
title "_Desert"
size "8 8"
grid "1 1"
+des_craft_drop_firebird "1 1"
+des_rock_u_h "1 3"
+des_rock_d_flat "1 4"
+des_rock_n_u "1 4"
+des_rock_s_u "1 4"
+des_craft_ufo_scout "1 1"
}
« Last Edit: August 31, 2011, 10:32:41 pm by Llamageddon »

Offline Kildor

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #13 on: September 01, 2011, 11:18:18 am »
Your rma is really bad-formed.
Read this: http://ufoai.ninex.info/wiki/index.php/Mapping/Random_map_assembly

One more:
the tile definition is: size of (tile+extra border).

tile +des_craft_drop_firebird
{
6 3
0    0    0    0    0    0
0    +d   +d   +d   +d   0
0    0    0    0    0    0
}

+Letter (+d) means «existed tile». Letter (d) means «required tile». 0 means no tile. So, your tiles simply require *no* adjacent tiles.

My advice is:
define something as «common filler», and fill the tiles with this common fillers, i.e.
tile +des_craft_drop_firebird
{
6 3
0    a    a    a    a    0
a    +a   +a   +a   +a   a
0    a    a    a    a    0
}


PS: can you give whole assembly (ump and maps)?

Offline Llamageddon

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Re: Making new map, any suggestions?
« Reply #14 on: September 01, 2011, 11:43:07 am »
Thanks Kildor, sorry about the formatting, I was neck deep in the file when I posted. Will use your advice about common fillers, have a crack at this this afternoon and see if it's worth uploading the maps and ump. They are just very basic tiles for testing at the moment, steps up, corners etc. I made a simpler assembly last night and had mixed successes. It's just when it starts crashing the game I loose all the error logs from the console so makes troubleshooting tricky. If I put a 0 does that mean the game will try to make that edge of the tile face onto nothing (end of map) that would explain all my probs, I thought they would just try to combine with any tile.

Edit: Just to clarify, I try not to ask any questions before looking at the wiki so you can take for granted that I am looking through the wiki guide thoroughly. I've just never messed around with UMP files before so some of the more obvious things to you lot are probably going straight over my head. I'll continue with trial and error and upload the .maps with the UMP as soon as I have something vaguely working.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2011, 02:33:20 pm by Llamageddon »