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Rapid Map Development
I would like to hear what approaches other people take to speed up the development of their maps so that they actually see the day of release and whether that comes naturally or whether you end up having to focus on the issue of development speed.

Back when I first started mapping in 1997-1998, my first few maps took about 3-5 weeks to make each. Now obviosly since they were first maps, they were also really shit. Over time, I learned to understand what actually made any given map good, started paying attention to polish and detail and this has caused the development times to balloon completely out of control.

Apinaraivo / Monkey Rage, the Q1SP I released a few years ago took 6 months of active development time, mapping 2-4 hours pretty much every single day. Right now I also have an UT3 DM map in the works and while I admittedly have been quite lazy, that alone can't really quite explain the numbers: I take a new backup of a map file every new day I am working on the map, judging by the amount of backup files, I have worked on this map on 35 different days so far amd while it does have some interesting things, it not even remotely close to a beta.

At least in part, the problem seems to be that I am not easily satisfied with the quality of my work, random XYZ thing has to be just right before I can move on to something else and this often results in me rebuilding a small section of a map 10+ times, making tiny adjustments, moving things around, etc etc so that at the end of the day, a lot of work has been done, but I have very few things I can actually point my finger at and say that "this is new stuff I've added today", so the progress feels very slow.

And then I see some people making absolutely jawdropping releases using new, modern engines that they have not only made the map itself, but also had to build all the meshes and create quite a few materials, test, polish and release into the wild, all done in a timeframe of 3-4 weeks.

WTF?
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Damn it, there's nothing stopping you guys from trying the same thing. Hop to it! :) 
Careful Willem 
Zwiffle wants to bend you. 
There Is Something Stopping Me 
I have a head ache.

Now gogogogo! 
 
I warn you all that this might not be the fastest experiment. I barely get time to map these days. Prepare for disappointment! 
Something I Always Wondered About 
If you expect to be disappointed and it meets your expectations, are you really disappointed? 
Yes 
I can't do similar since I've only got wip maps, nothing new to do. Yes, those ones. 
 
This Will Be Interesting 
 
Great Thread Jago! 
and great idea Willem!
really looking forward to WIllems blog-map...
and getting some ideas for map dev in general 
Hm 
I never saw much sense in an untextured but detailed pass. If you're working with premade textures, your geometry is so dependent on them that it doesn't make much sense to build architecture first, does it?

Unless you are talking about major architecture only, which then would require a detail pass again ;-)

But maybe all this doesn't really apply to Q1 because the architecture may be much more simple than in newer engines. 
 
I never saw much sense in an untextured but detailed pass.

Huh? I don't think he said that anywhere. Willem talked about doing detailing/texturing as one step. Unless I'm misunderstanding you.

For me personally, Willem's plan is kind of how I've always worked. I actually tend to enjoy the basic architecture + basic lighting phase more than anything else.

I enjoy the detail/fleshing out work too, but there's no "creating something from nothing" feeling like that of making that basic layout, compiling, and running around in it, and deciding how to make it better. That's the part that's 0% work and 100% fun...

I need to make another level. Fuck's sake...I do all my mapping at work now. :(

(Other than Trackmania, which has stolen my soul.) 
For Detailing 
I like to make a separate map and just put junk detail ideas in their. Fully textured, detailed, etc, and even make entire prop scenes that I think look cool.

Then I like to make func_statics out of them (not possible in Quake, but you can make func_walls instead although I wouldn't recommend it unless necessary) and then populate my world with detail where I've designed for it. I find that can also save a lot of time and helps you nail down your look early without having to spend time in your map working solely on one area.

If you do this early on, this also lets you build with an eye for details later while still balancing for gameplay.

But that's just what I do. 
Just Make An Algorithm 
2 do it for you, using those textures. 
By "it" I Mean "the Brushwork" 
 
WIllem.... 
looks like a sequel to White Room.... Blue Room? 
 
You know this actually makes me wonder if there is an exercise that wouldn't be too bad trying out, something similar to a speedmap. I think something more focused on the discipline of the process of map building, done over the course of several hours instead of just doing whatever jumps into your mind.

It needs some refinement, but how about this for a process-oriented exercise:

1 hour of just doing basic layout, do as much basic layout as you can, start wrapping everything up 10 minutes before the time is up.

1-2 hours of gameplay, enemies, traps, secrets, balance

1/2 hour to an hour of detail playground in a separate map

1-2 hours of detailing the actual map, texture alignment

1 hour of lighting

The idea being that the preparation of drawing your layout or thinking about it isn't important, but just working within the framework of this bottom up kind of approach is. The time limits might need to be refined, it might turn out that basic layout only needs 30 minutes or something, etc.

Any thoughts on that? I would imagine getting used to this kind of exercise would allow some mappers to speed up their map-building process a bit. 
Yeah 
I need a kick up the proverbial arse anyway.
We should do an event for this.

Monday - Layout
Tuesday - Gameplay
Wednesday - Messing with details of another map (what Zwiff??!)
Thursday - Detail map, texture alignment etc.
Friday - Lighting.

Give any potentially busy participants until the following Friday or something, and there could even be some participation. 
Willem 
You forgot this step...

6) Get hot chicks!

or possibly

6a) Get Zwiffle's steamy ringer.


P.S. Good plan, looking cool so far. 
 
"Huh? I don't think he said that anywhere. Willem talked about doing detailing/texturing as one step. Unless I'm misunderstanding you. "

Right, the first step isn't necessarily detailed, it just implies the shape of the level. It shows where arches go, where detail trims go, etc. It doesn't really dictate anything other than a medium level overview. The texturing/detailing stage comes later.

"looks like a sequel to White Room.... Blue Room?"

Haha, believe me, I was tempted. But I'm going to follow it through and texture this thing up properly.

"You forgot this step...

6) Get hot chicks!"

Damn it, I always forget something! 
Or 6a) 
Ricky, I basically like to open a separate map and just do pure detail stuff, like how doors might look, etc so that I have a playground if details that share a theme for reference.

That step can be skipped if you don't do it that way. 
 
That's a cool idea, Zwiffle. It gives you a way to scratch the visuals itch if you get restless while working on the layout. 
Sounds Like 
A prefab library. 
 
Well it sort of is. I explained upwards somewhere that in other games you can just make these things into func_statics or func_details or what have you, but you don't have that ability in Quake. But it's still a good visual reference.

The post is up there somewhere, I swear. 
Huh 
lots of good ideas.

maybe I'll give the outline on post 41 a try. 
Cool 
you guys map strangely. i start on 1 area/room, and do that room completely until it's done. including the structure, detailing and lighting. then i move to the next area.

for me the most fun part is the detailing and texturing, so if you spend a month building your level without any detail, just doing the layout, FUCK that would be boring. there's no point mapping if your not having fun. and besides, the textures dictate your architecture so god knows how the guys at hl2 built the entire game without textures first.

then, once the entire level is finished, i go back through and do all the gameplay. this is the really boring part for me!. actually, if i could just build the levels and then someone else did all the gameplay, i probably would have built a lot more levels.

jago it sounds like your wanking around for far too long on 1 section rebuilding it over and over. just do it once, then if you can think of a better way to do it, move on to the next area and use your new idea there.

2-3 hours a day for 6 months? that's 500+ hours on 1 level?????? i could make a whole episode in that time lol 
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