Maps?

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Maps?

Postby Weegee » Mon Aug 08, 2011 18:29 UTC

A few questions related to maps.

First, I played this server about a year ago or maybe a bit more, anyway both Anarchy and CTF used a pretty nice (although large) custom map package. Why'd you stop? Copyright, size, server space, maybe other reasons?

Second, I recently got back to making maps for Q3. I really like this server, so I was wondering whether Vogon's owners and players would be interested in getting a set of levels dedicated to this server, and actually use it if such a thing was done? I have previous experience making levels for various multiplayer games, including Q3A. I think that using levels made specifically for use with this server's features would spice the game up a little, what do you think? Above could also apply to other game assets if anyone's interested, since I would gladly do that as well.
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Re: Maps?

Postby AG » Mon Aug 08, 2011 19:26 UTC

Weegee wrote:First, I played this server about a year ago or maybe a bit more, anyway both Anarchy and CTF used a pretty nice (although large) custom map package. Why'd you stop? Copyright, size, server space, maybe other reasons?

they're a perpetually frustrating thing.

* if a user connects to a custom map server but doesn't have the map packs and doesn't have q3's auto download on, they are prevented from joining the game.
* if they connect without the maps but do have auto download on, q3 will send all the maps at once over an antiquated and dead-slow connection. most people won't wait around 10+ minutes for a single map.
* the map packs can be posted for download on the forum. however, not only do new players not know to do that, but many existing players don't take the time or are unable to get them installed properly.

what normally happens is that a few interested players will get the packs and play on the custom map server, but wind up going back to the ones with the default maps where everyone else is still playing.

dedicated servers have been set up a few times, but i don't think it ever wound up being worth the extra cost. sometimes existing ones like ffa-us would host custom maps for a bit, but during those times new traffic (what little there may be) is being bounced.

Weegee wrote:Second, I recently got back to making maps for Q3. I really like this server, so I was wondering whether Vogon's owners and players would be interested in getting a set of levels dedicated to this server, and actually use it if such a thing was done? I have previous experience making levels for various multiplayer games, including Q3A. I think that using levels made specifically for use with this server's features would spice the game up a little, what do you think? Above could also apply to other game assets if anyone's interested, since I would gladly do that as well.

it's still not something that can't be tried in one way or another. a dude had made a custom map a while ago that got run on ffa-us for a few weeks. if people are interested, it's worth a try.
Last edited by AG on Thu Aug 23, 2012 09:33 UTC, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Mon Aug 08, 2011 21:47 UTC

Thanks for the reply. It's just something I thought of while playing the CTF, since the space maps are ridiculously broken there (even worse with bots in play as sometimes even hooking around like mad can't help against their are-you-bloody-kidding-me aim). Even if people skip the horrible CTF4 and better but still scrappy The Very End Of You, well... you have three maps left. One is CTF1 which is pretty balanced save for the base entrances which leave too much opportunity for BFG camping and not enough ways to make use of the hook. Next, Troubled Waters which is actually great, large enough and plays perfectly with Vogon's gameplay mechanics, thanks to multiple routes and good vertical design. Last is CTF3 which is pretty good but obviously made without the hook in mind. So, while Anarchy has enough maps to cycle and is too dynamic to pay attention to the level layout, at least CTF suffers from the lack of maps (it's also id's fault for making too few CTF maps for the original Q3).

So, I just thought that it'd be nice to at least try this concept out. I get the point about how much of a pain in the arse is the map distribution, which is why (if we assume this is gonna be done) the amount of maps shouldn't be too excessive, as well as all maps would use stock Q3 assets only (maybe besides one banner for the server), to cut down on the size as much as possible. (a complete pk3 would weigh 25 MB in worst case)

I'd actually like to hear what other players have to say about this, though. Also, forgive me not doing RTFM and other research, but is this server's software available anywhere to try out and test things with if I were to attempt making one sample map?
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Re: Maps?

Postby AG » Mon Aug 08, 2011 23:28 UTC

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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Wed Aug 10, 2011 14:19 UTC

I'll make one sample CTF and one FFA map then, so you could try to implement them to receive some feedback. If the community gives a green light, I'll go for a complete set. If it's not too much of a pain to host something on one's PC as opposed to a dedicated server, I could set up a test server beforehand as well.
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Re: Maps?

Postby SD » Wed Aug 10, 2011 18:28 UTC

I would echo what AG said about the custom map/new player problem, it deters players as most won't bother with downloading and fiddling about installing them correctly etc. BUT - custom maps can be great and breathe new life into the game for existing players, some of the maps in the WTF pak are frankly awesome fun and if you have the time and patience then I see little harm in shoving one or two into rotation for a while. We can make a sticky to advise forum members of the procedure (again) for dl/install etc so I say yeah go ahead and make something a bit wacky! As mentioned a member made a custom map a good while ago and although basic, it made for a change. Sadly, he didn't stick around so neither did his map ;)
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Re: Maps?

Postby craij » Wed Aug 10, 2011 19:59 UTC

SD wrote:won't bother with downloading and fiddling about installing them correctly etc

a few bad apples, the rest suffer


SD wrote:Sadly, he didn't stick around so neither did his map ;)

are you referring to Dean's map? so what if he didn't stick around ... you still have the map, right?
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Re: Maps?

Postby chaos252 » Wed Aug 10, 2011 20:04 UTC

maybe it could be like 2 different maps in rotation changed on a weekly/monthly basis? wouldnt be much trouble for admins to do, and no huge files for new players without the pack to download.
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Re: Maps?

Postby AG » Wed Aug 10, 2011 20:35 UTC

craij wrote:
SD wrote:won't bother with downloading and fiddling about installing them correctly etc

a few bad apples, the rest suffer

it's not bad apples — there are a lot of people that just don't know why they are getting booted from the server, don't have the time to mess with downloading or installing custom maps or just plain have all sorts of problems trying to get it done. just as a guesstimation, i'd say at various times maybe 30% of vogon regulars try to download and install the maps, 15% get it working, 8% try it and 3% keep playing them after a period of time.

again, not to say we can't try them as we did with dean's map. what would be really nice is if someone wrote a script or something that would find the q3/ioq3 installation directory and automatically copy the maps with little manual intervention.
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Thu Aug 11, 2011 19:10 UTC

It's good to hear some encouragement. As soon as I'm done with my current map, I'll get to it.
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Re: Maps?

Postby craij » Thu Aug 11, 2011 19:27 UTC

AG wrote:it's not bad apples — there are a lot of people that just don't know why they are getting booted from the server, don't have the time to mess with downloading or installing custom maps or just plain have all sorts of problems trying to get it done. just as a guesstimation, i'd say at various times maybe 30% of vogon regulars try to download and install the maps, 15% get it working, 8% try it and 3% keep playing them after a period of time.

sorry, i meant "lazy" apples ;)

I, for one, would love to try out your levels Weegee.
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Thu Aug 11, 2011 22:20 UTC

That's funny, because you've never seen any of them yet. :V
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Re: Maps?

Postby craij » Fri Aug 12, 2011 14:57 UTC

I said I'd love to try them. I didn't say I would like them. :V
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Fri Aug 12, 2011 18:30 UTC

I'd like to tease you people anyway. This is what I'm working on right now... almost finished. Wouldn't mind it landing on Anarchy either, as long as you consider its size (7MB) and the performance hit (rain) acceptable.
Image
Image
Image
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Re: Maps?

Postby AG » Fri Aug 12, 2011 20:32 UTC

the shots look pretty awesome. i didn't even know q3 had rain.
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Fri Aug 12, 2011 22:00 UTC

It doesn't, same with objects that span square kilometers. That's just some tricks I picked up while doing stuff for other engines (and a good compiler in the latter case).

If you're curious how this is done:
Image
The rain consists of a thick grid of intersecting planes. A cube spanning 10m in each dimension has exactly 64 polygons on it; 16 planes facing each side. The fact that it's a square grid is masked by randomizing the UV texture coordinates of each plane, so that each 16 layers show a different part of the rain texture. On top of that, each texture is also drawn a second time, scaled down and scrolling slower, to emulate a sense of depth. That way, you see twice more layers than there are present. The rest is just Q3's excellent shader system that's optimized enough to handle nearly hundreds of overlaying alpha-mapped textures at once. What's funny, Unreal Engine 3 (used in almost half AAA titles these days) has problems with almost any transparent materials, let alone this many.

Image
The island, on the other hand - is a result of a nice addition to more recent versions of the q3map compiler. If you place objects in a separate hull on the same map, and place a _skybox entity inside there - the second hull will be baked outside of your map, with scale that you can specify (can be really huge). If you're good with 3D apps such as Maya and carefully think out the placement of your map inside the "skybox", this can look really good. On top of that, all shaders work in the second hull as well. (I made lightning on the sky with that)
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Re: Maps?

Postby Ballerina » Mon Aug 15, 2011 23:17 UTC

cool, i´d love to see your maps on Vogon!
I would certainly download a mappack as well, no matter about size. I hope more players here will agree!!!
I used to map a bit many years ago but a HD-crash killed all my data and i had a backup for only a few maps. Thats a shame...

have fun
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Wed Aug 17, 2011 06:18 UTC

Okay, I'm done with TowerOffense. Proceeding to Vogon maps, decided I'll tackle FFA first.
Things to consider while designing that I already nailed down:
- Player jump length is just a little more than 256 units.
- 16 players is a common number here.
- Players are kicked into the air at spawn.
- Railgun can shoot through any solid wall.
- No need for pickups (obviously, will place several teleporters around though)
- Quad and BFG jumping ensure the players can reach possibly any height, regular visual tricks and invisible walls won't work too well. On the other hand, the map can get really... vertical.
- Short height jump pads are obsolete and just cram up the level. Launch pads are still needed.
- Void/FOD has no gameplay significance.
- Narrow hallways should be used sparingly. Unclipped walls are pure evil. Best if most turns are smooth arches you can slide on. (dm6 style)
- The map has to be small in file size. No custom textures besides the Vogon banner.

Anything I forgot above? I'm gonna start blocking it out anyway.
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Re: Maps?

Postby dyn » Wed Aug 17, 2011 09:22 UTC

Those are some maps which were popular with VOGON community, especially Kellanger and Octagon. You can see they are very different, Kellanger maybe even too small but this created some kind of chaos which is always welcome. Black Realm is unique, perhaps too polished. Overkill some people liked, some didn't because it's too big for less than 10 players. I think since Q3 has less players than in the past years small to medium sized maps would be best, without too complex architecture and no trickjumping and so on, because as you discovered with usual settings is easy to overcome map obstacles, either by weapon-jumping, bigger jump than in q3 (which can vary) and finally, many times grappling hook is enabled. Some kind of "evil arena" would be best, where focus is on action and it should feel crowded even with a few players -- don't spend too much time on complex design and don't make it too big.

The Black Realm - Special Edition by sst13 - 13 Sep 2005
http://lvlworld.com/review.php?id=1804

The Color Of Anger by Kell - 26 May 2005
http://lvlworld.com/review.php?id=1778

Octagon by dTd - 05 Jan 2002
http://lvlworld.com/review.php?id=1112

Overkill! by Wiebo de Wit - 09 Feb 2000
http://lvlworld.com/review.php?id=80

You perhaps already know this -- for compatibility reasons check if tools you use are updated. GtkRadiant for Q3 is 1.5.0:
http://zerowing.idsoftware.com/files/radiant/nightly/1.5/GtkRadiant-1.5.0-2007-04-26.msi

For bots (AAS generation) i recommend this:
bspc.exe -bsp2aas mapname.bsp -forcesidesvisible -optimize
( i used forcesidesvisible because of leaks at some maps, also it seems to make bots more aware/active )
BSPC 2.1h is latest and included in GtkRadiant package. Official page seems to be down.
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Re: Maps?

Postby chaos252 » Thu Aug 18, 2011 08:31 UTC

is that map with all the rain available for download? id love to check it out.
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Thu Aug 18, 2011 11:35 UTC

chaos252 wrote:is that map with all the rain available for download? id love to check it out.

Here you go
http://www.megaupload.com/?d=L5ZVPGN0
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Re: Maps?

Postby AG » Fri Aug 19, 2011 02:23 UTC

whoa that's a nice map. it might be too big to work, but dyn could we try it on the server for a bit?
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Re: Maps?

Postby dyn » Fri Aug 19, 2011 13:42 UTC

Our servers/mod support even biggest maps, like nV bunker and that castle map we had in the first pack, if anyone remembers it, Citadel Fantasia by Myth, http://lvlworld.com/review.php?id=1862.

We can set up some map server, i think it would be best for that purpose. Any regular server can also run custom maps, but then traffic will drop a bit.
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Re: Maps?

Postby AG » Fri Aug 19, 2011 18:02 UTC

dyn wrote:Our servers/mod support even biggest maps

i meant more for gameplay — its one of those maps that seem like it might not be fun with only a few people. but it looks nice and would be fun to try.

dyn wrote:We can set up some map server, i think it would be best for that purpose. Any regular server can also run custom maps, but then traffic will drop a bit.

whatever works the easiest.
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Re: Maps?

Postby chaos252 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 06:51 UTC

so pumped :) i remember that castle map, was one of my favorites. so many places to explore.

weegee your map is pretty sick.. the rain is really well done. the whole outdoor scene is great, quake 3 skyboxes usually suck but the clouds were done right. no seam that i could see
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Wed Aug 24, 2011 07:31 UTC

The sky is seamless because it's a dome mesh instead of a cube, that's the way it's done in modern games. There's some distortion near the horizon due to my lazy UV mapping, look closely.

Lol, I remember Citadel Fantasia as Vogon was the first place I saw it at. Inspired many of my works.
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Mon Aug 29, 2011 10:52 UTC

I found vast, horizontal spaces with a lot of obstacles inbetween working the best for FFA in Vogon. After confirming the map's layout and checking the flow, I started to work on the architecture.
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Re: Maps?

Postby dyn » Mon Aug 29, 2011 18:16 UTC

It looks interesting! I think real test would be to actually play on it, even if it's in alpha or beta stage. We can setup a server for testing @ UK or US location.
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Re: Maps?

Postby Weegee » Tue Aug 30, 2011 05:30 UTC

As i said, I did some personal layout/flow tests and it seems fine for me (could be a little too big at cubic space rougly twice that of Q3DM6)
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