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Lengo Offline
#1 Posted : Sunday, August 11, 2013 2:00:46 AM(UTC)
Lengo
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The ideal size for a two player battlefield: 270w x 360h. Bigger than that slows down the game a little. You want to slow it down for Hard AI players. No larger than 275w x 380h is necessary. Remember these numbers. These sizes make for fast and furious games. Fast and furious is fun. Waiting for your assault team to get to the other side of the map is dreadfully boring.

A flat map is a dull map. You have tools of all sorts to form your landscape. You can make hills. You can make dry creeks. You can make swales* and water gardens. You can make an infinite variety of realistic landforms. The keyword is realistic! Flat ground is boring! Make a landscape where your troops will mover over hills and swales, stream beds lined with trees, and rugged impassable mountains (not cones).

You have a bevy of textures to choose from. You have a bounty of trees to choose from. You can make deserts, temperate fields, towns, villages, and even cities. Make it look nice! Make forests. Make lakes. Make puddles. And texture all of these nicely, instead of making them look like some place found in the game Starcraft.

What do I download from here? Disappointment, that's what. Most maps look like cartoons. They look like some planet dreamed up by a science fiction game author. Generals/Zero Hour is real-world. Make your map look realistic and charming. Make it visually appealing. All it takes is time of which you seem to have not got! And it takes a little observation of the real world, which I'm sure you do have. Yet, instead I find worlds that look like they belong in a science fiction game.

I like fast and furious along with pleasantly appealing, realistic scenery. Put some money on your map! Put at least three oil derricks per player. Give each base two supply docks. Do you put a battlezone area on your map? Put something in it to fight over like an extra supply depot, a vehicle drop pad, an extra oil refinery. It's a battlezone! Make it worth fighting over! Dang!

Here's a few tips.

Create a new map that is 270 wide, 360 long, the base terrain is 32 units in elevation (this allows you to make stream beds and swales), and make the border around the map 40 units wide. Now, take any road (this is only temporary and you will delete these), and drag one from corner to corner across the center of the map. Drag another road from the other remaining corners. Where the roads meet in the middle, that is dead center of your map. Now you can lay out things fairly for two players or four.

Now that you've found your center, turn on the Lock Angle Tool, and drag a road from the center to the right, and then left from center, then from center to top, and center to bottom. You now have found both the vertical center and the horizontal center. You can strategically place goodies (oil derricks and oil refineries, etc.) where they are equally distant from both players.

Now look at the vertical road that goes through the middle. Make a brush that is 100x100 and place any texture that won't be used on your map. Use the default texture that you're given at startup -- TRANSISTIONS/rocks type2. Point it at the bottom, so that the bottom edge of the brush doesn't go into the margin, and point the cursor at the center of the road that bisects the map, and plop down base one. Then go to the top. Point your brush pointer directly over the up-down road and click to make the outline for base two.

Next, find the center of your bases. You do this by making a brush that is 50 units in size. Pick up a flat snow texture (white). Plop the brush inside the base, right on an outside corner, inside the base. The inside corner of the white snow is dead center of your base, right where the AI loves to put his command center so he can lay out his optimum pattern. Put down a waypoint on the inside corner, and name it playerX_starting_position. You've got the dead center which the ai LOVES! You've also found the centers of two edges of the base. The one facing the other base is where centerX waypoint path will end. The other is where backdoorX will end.

Try it. Try it right now. Make a 100 sized brush and dab in some gray. Then make a 50 sized brush, and paint one corner of the gray, white. The center and two edge centers are found.

The map's center is defined. Now you can draw the inner perimeters. Just click on all four corners of the base. Now you want to make the outside perimeters. Pick up a new, third texture. A cliff pattern works well. Make a brush that is between 30-40 units in size, and put down squares on the inner corners of the base, outside the base, and then at the back, alongside the base. Use this to draw in your outer perimeters.

Once you've done all this, you've accomplished a lot. You've found the vertical center of the map, the horizontal center of the map, and logical places to put the center and backdoor waypoint path ends in your base. Now you can divide the four quaters of the map by using roads again. Once you've done this, mark the centers created by the roads with goodies (oil derricks, oil refineries, vehicle drop pads). Next, delete your roads used to find the centers. Then put in your waypoint paths from the goodies into your base. Once you have done this and you can remove the paint that defines the bases by filling them in with your basic pallete texture.

Note:
By using straight roads to find the center of the map by going corner to corner, you can do the same to find the center of any two halves of the map, or any quarter of the map, or any eigth of a map, etc.. Once these are done, place an object on these centers, then delete the roads. You don't need them anymore. You'll make your real roads on top of your waypoint paths, or maybe not. You don't have to have roads, but they will make sense most of the time.

Time to paint

You're not done at getting started, though you've accomplished a lot. You now have to choose a palette.

What is palette? Its a set of ground textures that look good (and natural) together. You'll make your pallet in your map's margin. You can then pick up these colors by navigating to the pallet using the pick-up tool. Choose similar greens for grassy places. Choose a grassy sand that goes with these greens. Choose some accent colors like browns and tans. You'll make a 12 sized brush and place one of each in your map's margin so that you can pick it up again with the dropper tool easily.

Having a palette saves you computer memory. Less memory will be used to store texture data. By selecting a palette to work with, you'll save both you and your computer lots of work.

You'll also make a palette of trees. Look through them and decide which ones you want to use. Put down one of each kind that you want, so that you can select it, then choose the object placement tool, and it's already loaded for you. Choose trees that look good together!

Okay, so now you have centers and have marked them. You've also defined your bases. You have a palette of textures (about 8-10 of them), and a palette of trees. NOW you're on a roll! Save your map now! Name it temp_something. When you're done with it, you can save it under the name that matches the map and delete the temp_something map.

Once you've chosen your palette, it's time to put down your basic texture (desert, temperate, or tropical). It's time to get creative and make a REAL WORLD TO PLAY IN! Make it pretty. It's all the more fun to go mess it up during battle.

Time to terraform, but first....
Your two bases' perimeters are defined and the waypoint paths into them are already in place. You've chosen your two palettes, one of textures and one of trees. Now you start terraforming, but before you do this, put in your roads if you're going to use some. You'll want to terraform based on these roads so that the roads don't go over steep hills when they should go around them!

Place your roads over the waypoint paths. Then start forming the land.

Oh! And... Choose your road type accordingly. Make it look good on your base terrain. Brush a color similar to the road underneath them, and just about as wide, so that they can be seen on the minimap and the introductory screen.

Think on this: Just because two centers will contain the same goodies for either player, this doesn't mean that the surrounding area and even the goodies' elevation must be the same. One can be lower than another. One can be in a valley or swale, and the other can be on a hill top. This doesn't matter, and in fact, this is good if you make the two places different. What matters is that it's fair for both you and the other player because the objects are the same distance from either player.

Now start terraforming. Make your hills. Make your valleys. Make your dry creek beds. You might want to raise an entire side of the map with the height brush. Make some rolling hills. You might make a meandering dry creek, full of trees. Whatever you do, don't keep the terrain that the units move on flat! It's fun to see them move up and down. Make the terrain that your units move over, the most important terrain, full of hills, valleys, and slopes of all kinds -- some steep, some gentle. Make it interesting to play on!

Time to texture it all. Start painting with your palette. Be creative and make a REAL WORLD TO PLAY IN! Make it pretty. Make it realistic. It's all the more fun to go scar it up during battle.


Simple tips:

One cliff texture is enough for any map. Two will make your map look silly. One will also save your 'puter memory that can be used better for other things.

Put money on your map. Oil derricks allow you develop fast (why are we waiting for the money to roll in?) Oil derricks are something to fight over too.

Put two supply docks in each base, and one or two on the map in the battlezone to fight over also. Again, why should you wait to develop? Put enough money on your map to get your base built quickly, then have units flowing out of the armory and barracks like pudding out of a chocolate eclair!

Trees look best in clusters. That's the way you find them in the real world.

Trees line rivers. Trees line the base of hills and mountains. Trees are found in fields in groups. Trees are found on hills in groups. Trees line farmers' fields. It is rare to find a tree standing all by itself in the natural world. When you use the Forest tool, place the tress, then look. Are they in groups of at three here, and five there? If not, shift them around a little to make small clusters. It looks better. Really, it does!

Large rocks (and even small ones) look best if there is an odd number of them on your map -- 1,3,5,7,9. And if you're going to put down rocks that look impassible, paint the ground underneath them 'impassible'. You don't want tanks moving trough them.

Large rocks look best if the ground they're lying on is different from the rest of the ground. They erode and leave stains on the ground, or other flora grows better in their shade.

About fields: Take a look at any field. Stand on a ladder or go up in a hot air balloon. Is the field all one texture? Is it repetitive? No. Even your average lawn in the front of your house isn't all the same. Use two or more textures of a similar color to break up the monotony of a large field. For example, use FIELD/2% GrassMediumType3 as your base, then make one unit wide figure eights and other swirls in this using RESIDENTIAL/2% GrassMediumType12. AutoEdgeOut these swirls and look at the result. It is far more pleasing to the eye.

Dense forests should be painted impassible.

Units can hide behind large hills. Make some.

Bases must be at least 100x100. They can be larger, but not smaller in either dimension. You might want to provide space on the left or right of a base. Use a brush to guide you when drawing the inner perimeter, then fill it with your base texture after you've made your inner perimeter. Also, it is wise not to place a base right on the edge of a map. Instead, pad it by 10 units, using a 10 sized brush to mark where the edge goes.

Bases don't have to be dead center on the roads used as guides. You can offset the bases by placing them on the edge of the road, or half way to the edge. How do you do this? Make a brush that is 50 sized, plop it down on the middle of the vertical road, then using a 100 sized brush, place the cursor right on the edge of the already placed 50 sized square.

Don't place your battlezone around a cramped city! No General would order his units to go single file into battle. This is just plain stupid! Place your battlezone around fairly open territory, and around the thing that matters most -- money!

Make it look realistic! Your palette should work together and make a pleasant environment. Greens should look similar to an extent. Grassy sands should look similar to your green fields. Accent colors are found not only in the ACCENT group, but in other places too. FIND COLORS THAT WORK TOGETHER! You want nice transitions, not harsh unbelievable ones.

Most importantly, make it look like the tank drivers are having fun going up and down hills and gullies. Make your terrain fun! Units are fun to watch moving across rolling terrain! Make them move up and down slopes of differing degrees. Make them move around hills, over hills, along cliffs, and around dense clusters of trees and large rocks, all the while going up and down. Flat terrain only exists in Nebraska (and that isn't really flat, either, now is it?)! World builder makes 3D worlds. Include the up and down action!

TAKE THE TIME to to make a nice looking, fun map. Your dedication to making a work of art shows in what you upload. Only present your best work!


*swale (noun) - a depression in the ground.

End Briefing



 2 users thanked Lengo for this useful post.
Rrtaya_Tsamsiyu on 8/12/2013(UTC), Gameanater on 8/15/2013(UTC)
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Lengo Offline
#2 Posted : Sunday, August 11, 2013 11:07:18 AM(UTC)
Lengo
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Here's a picture of a map after two centers have been found. You have found both the map's horizontal and vertical centers, and both centers on the E side of the map, both N and south. You can divide the lower right corner into 8th's of the map also to find these centers.

Finding Centers Using Straight Roads

Use roads to find centers. Find centers for both halves of the map, so that goodies will be the same distance from the lower base as they are from the upper base. Place goodies on these centers, then delete the roads.

Also, once you've drawn the inner perimeter around the base, you can fill the base's two colors with the natural background color. But before you do that, place temporary squares on the outside of the large square that is 30 to 40 units in size, so that you can use them as guides for drawing your outer perimeter.

Once your goodies for both players are placed, start terraforming around these goodies. Don't move them. Raise them or lower them. Place your real roads to them, then start terraforming to make your roads fit into the landscape.

NOte: Once you've made one of these, and found all centers that you want, save the map with the centers found as "Template_270x360". You won't have to find the centers again! This is a big time saver. You can then put down goodies where you want them, delete the roads, choose your palettes, and start terraforming and painting.

Got it? Good! Now get going.

Lengo Offline
#3 Posted : Sunday, August 11, 2013 11:40:37 AM(UTC)
Lengo
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More centers are found. The red dot is dead center of the map. The two blue dots are centers for perhaps an oil field and a vehicle drop pad, both in each (one for each player. The green dots are away from the center and behind your backdoor path, making them privately owned by each player.

More centers found

The Blue and red dots are in fairly open territory and this area makes for a good battlezone. Once you've placed goodies here, draw your battlezone around them.

The Green dots will be close to waypoint paths, making them easily found by the AI opponent. Still, they belong to each base, and you will be forced to defend yours and destroy your opponent's.

Again, once you're done placing the goodies and drawing the battlezone, delete the roads and fill the bases with your main texture. Now you can test it, or start terraforming. I terraform first. I can trust the map as it is, because I know that the goodies are fair for both players. At any rate, save it now as a template.
Lengo Offline
#4 Posted : Sunday, August 11, 2013 12:27:35 PM(UTC)
Lengo
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Which image is less repetitive and more pleasing?

before
.
after

Clearly, image two is less repetitive and mechanical, and looks more natural.

Both images are the texture DESERT1 2%SandLargeType3RockyandGrassy. The second image has this as the base layer, with DESERT1 2%SandLargeType3 hand drawn over this texture using the single square brush, making swirls. A little effort makes your map much more realistic and pleasing.

Note, both pictures were taken from WorldBuilder viewing in Top Down mode (CTRL+F). The difference is even more apparent at an angle.


Lengo Offline
#5 Posted : Sunday, August 11, 2013 1:18:36 PM(UTC)
Lengo
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Which playground looks more fun?

flat
.
hilly

If you said picture 1, go join the GLA and beg for shoes!

It only took me 1 minute to make those hills. I used the Mound tool (+), set to raise the land by 5 feet per dab, with a top area of 3-4 and feather set to 5-7, and tabbed each hill three or four times. Now that Humvee driver gets a roller coaster ride!

I didn't stress over where to place that Humvee. I just plopped him down. I didn't even bother to look at the pure sand swirls in the base texture. I just started making hills. Look at the result. The pure sand got stretched to rise up one side of the far hill. It looks natural, and very pretty! It would be prettier if I placed a small rock somewhere in this scene and painted the gentle slope on the far hill on the left with pure sand, but it already looks better than FLAT. It looks great, but it could be better with a little more work.

You can do this. Make hills! Hilly maps are more fun to play on. They look better, and they make your game experience more exciting.

There are two ways to make hills. Use the mound tool or the height tool. Set the radius to about 3-5, and the feather large, such as 7-12. Change the settings repeatedly for one spot, or for surrounding hills. Using the mound tool, you either dab repeatedly on one spot, or drag it (preferred). Using the height tool is much more difficult, but it can be done when you're looking for precision. Again, change the radius and the feather often. The rule of thumb is, the larger the hill, the bigger the radius and the bigger the feather.

You can do the same to make swales. You use the dig tool on ground that is higher in elevation, like 30-60 feet. And you make both hills and swales in the same vicinity. The result can be outstanding!

Your best bet is to make clusters of small hills and clusters of larger hills. Variety is the spice of life. And once you make your hills, paint them to look even more pretty.

Consider this: A flat ground can still look flat, but large and small low hills (almost imperceptible) makes it more realistic.

Try it. Go try it now. Experiment. It only takes a minute to make a cluster of hills.
SUPER-G Offline
#6 Posted : Sunday, August 11, 2013 8:14:55 PM(UTC)
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Very nice, you've got lots of map-making skills there! Im glad your sharing these tips.
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Rrtaya_Tsamsiyu Offline
#7 Posted : Monday, August 12, 2013 8:44:59 PM(UTC)
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Quote:
*swale (noun) - a depression in the ground.

lol, the only question i had was what that was. Really good tutorial overall.

wanted to comment on one thing though;
Quote:
One cliff texture is enough for any map. Two will make your map look silly. One will also save your 'puter memory that can be used better for other things.

what do you think of using two, meshed together like you do with your fields? large cliffs seem to have the same problem as fields, as far as repetitive textures
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Lengo Offline
#8 Posted : Tuesday, August 13, 2013 2:35:07 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: rrtaya_tsamsiyu Go to Quoted Post

Really good tutorial overall.


Thanks.

Quote:

wanted to comment on one thing though;

what do you think of using two, meshed together like you do with your fields? large cliffs seem to have the same problem as fields, as far as repetitive textures


I wouldn't bother with cliffs. Mainly, the camera is pointed at the ground. But if you see the need, try it. I've never done that, but it should work as long as your two textures look good together.

Give it a try and let us know. Post a picture!
Rrtaya_Tsamsiyu Offline
#9 Posted : Wednesday, August 14, 2013 11:44:10 AM(UTC)
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i've done it with a couple of maps, went ahead and made a quick example.

One texture, you can see where it repeats itself;


Two textures, looks a little more random;

Edited by user Thursday, August 15, 2013 3:22:11 AM(UTC)  | Reason: Not specified

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Gameanater Offline
#10 Posted : Thursday, August 15, 2013 4:12:15 PM(UTC)
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Fantastic tutorial, it's like this comes from an EA mapmaker himself (only way better and not lazy)!
It is better to die standing up than to live life on your knees.
Lengo Offline
#11 Posted : Friday, August 16, 2013 6:45:00 PM(UTC)
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Originally Posted by: rrtaya_tsamsiyu Go to Quoted Post
i've done it with a couple of maps, went ahead and made a quick example.


I don't see much difference.

Why in the world do you need such tall cliffs? This doesn't mimic the real world. Keep it real. Make your cliffs believable. Instead of making one very large and unbelievable cliff, make two cliffs, and separate them by fairly flat land.

Here's an example:

Mountain Cliffs

The image is taken from WorldBuilder of a map I made Named LG Snow Chains Required (the name is subject to change).

As you can see it looks more natural, and it gives you a mountain to fight in. Make tiers out of your cliffs, and your mountains will look much more realistic. Lower cliffs are better. You can always add another cliff above a low one, and separate the cliffs by playable land.

On the left of this picture is where the center paths are. On the right is where backdoor2 and flank1 go N and S. Notice there's a connector between them to allow you to get from one path to another. This makes for great play besides looking good.

Extra tall cliffs can't be played on. All you can do with them is go up and down them. Observe the real world and mimic it.

Say yes to smaller cliffs and cliffs in tiers. Say no to extra tall cliffs.
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Pasha on 11/9/2014(UTC)
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