Ever seen an AI create a map for Marathon? (Infinity)

Discuss map ideas, techniques, and give help.

Ever seen an AI create a map for Marathon? (Infinity)

Post Nov 2nd '14, 00:51

I love mapping!
I've been busy working with Pfhorge (couldn't get Weland to work, which is a real setback, although I'm sure I can fix this), I've already completed 2 maps, and about to finish a third (need to re-texture it with Vasara). I'll need someone to test them for me, tell me what I'm doing wrong, etc...
One's a netmap, the other two an attempt at creating an intro of some sort for a scenario. However, Pfhorge's
Terminal editor is f***ed, it barely works, anyway I'm having a bunch of problems like these so having some sort of
'mentor' would be great. Anyone interested? If you'd like the maps, I can send them privately or I might aswell just
attach them to this post. Could really use some help!

Sorry if this doesn't belong on this board. Happy gaming [MGrin] [a1logo]

EDIT (20.11.14): Weland now works!
Last edited by Tycho X on Nov 20th '14, 11:41, edited 1 time in total.
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 2nd '14, 01:21

If you love mapping that much, you should assist with creating some netmaps for Halathon. ;)
Also make sure you install the right version of Mono + GTK# for Weland to work. On my XP setup I'm running it with v2.10.9. Hope that helps.
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thedoctor45

Post Nov 2nd '14, 01:37

Thanks for the offer, but I'm really not that experienced :P
On top of that, I've never been a fan of Halo, but thanks again anyway :)
Don't worry about the Weland thing, I'll get my programmer bud to help me out.
I'm just afraid any of the maps I've created so far in pfhorge won't be compatible with other editors...
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 2nd '14, 02:11

If you upload or PM me the maps you've made I'd be happy to take a look at them and give whatever feedback I can. The more you map and the more progress you make, the more feedback I'll probably be able to give.
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$lave

Post Nov 2nd '14, 09:31

Yes, if I were you I'd post the map(s) (as a zipped attachment) here in this thread. The Pfhorums are a good place for works in progress.
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Crater Creator

Post Nov 2nd '14, 19:29

Thank you for all the replies! :D
'Aboard The Prodigy' is a mess, untextured, and for some reason crashed my A1 every time I open the map in the
last room. Anyone know why?
I'd consider Artemis V complete, it's only an intro level. However, since the terminal editor doesn't really
work, I'd need to re-edit the file with some kind of terminal editor (any suggestions?).
Obviously 'Toxic Taxes' is a net map. Yes, there are a lot of shotguns, it's on purpose.
Attachments
Pfhorge Maps.zip
Enjoy.
(62.69 KiB) Downloaded 90 times
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 2nd '14, 20:51

Given that your geometry is pretty competent, I think the biggest issue right now is your lighting/texturing. First of all, stick to one texture set for now. While there are some cases where different texture sets will work together nicely, you don't have a strong enough grasp on texturing to try that yet.

Lighting is a bigger issue. You really need to light your maps if you want them to look any good in Marathon. I've uploaded an example of how an area of the first map looks with/without lighting. You should also work on your texturing, of course, but starting to light your maps is a huge first step.

You also might want to try working on one (or maybe two) map(s) at a time, especially since you're just starting. You generally have the same problems between all of your maps, so it's easier to discuss and work on improving one map, than tackling all the same problems in multiple maps. For now, at least.
Attachments
lighting.png
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$lave

Post Nov 2nd '14, 20:55

Thanks!
I'll definetly work more on the shading, and try to restrict myself to one texture set for now.
Have you tried the map without VML? If you did, what do you think of the monster placement?
Also, what did you think of Toxic Taxes? Was the shading there any good?
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 2nd '14, 20:57

Also, I could have sworn I shaded those maps! The picture you sent me looks way too bright... are you sure you don't have some plug-in getting in the way?
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 2nd '14, 21:24

For the most part the monster placement was actually pretty good, gameplay-wise the maps were actually pretty enjoyable. Juggernaut in the... second level, I think, was pretty annoying though. Juggernauts are almost never fun to fight, but they're especially annoying if you don't have an abundance of rockets and/or fusion ammo. This is on TC, fwiw.

The only plug-in I'm using doesn't affect anything other than Monster AI, so maybe you just uploaded the wrong map file?

Toxic Taxes was much better, although it could still use some more drastic lighting. There isn't really much difference between the lighting of the outer ring and the inner area. Darkening some areas to make the light stand out more would probably make it look much better. The texturing is also better on Toxic Taxes, but could still use work.

EDIT: Also there's one room where an enforcer teleports in right behind you. That's not cool.
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$lave

Post Nov 2nd '14, 21:55

Haha, I guess you're quick. Also, there were several secrets, did you find them? Like the two tiny towers with enforcers in them, the doors are openable, you'll find a x2 charger. And the juggernaut, if you're fast enough, there is a switch you can trigger by punching; bottom right of the room. The jug spawns in space, and needs about 10-15 secs to actually get inside. I'll use the enforcer teleporting in thing in some long corridor, on some other map.
Also, what do you recommend I change in toxic taxes? I guess I just have bad taste in textures?

I'll be sure to darken all the maps. I was just afraid it might be too dark, which I imagine(d) would annoy players more. Maybe in my preferences I'm on a darker setting?
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 2nd '14, 23:08

Nah, I didn't find any secrets, I just sorta did a cursory run through the maps to see where you're at.

It's not so much that your maps as a whole need to be darker (the darker lighting in the image I uploaded was just one of many ways you could light that area), but rather that you need more "differential shading" between areas. I sort of see lighting as serving two separate functions in Marathon.

Firstly, shading can be used in specific areas to add clartiy for the player.

Secondly, giving different areas throughout the map different shading from eachother (ie, making some rooms/halls considerably darker than others) helps to make the player feel like they're progressing through the map, and makes different areas feel more meaningful and distinct.

Anyway, I wouldn't say that you have poor taste in textures, it just takes experience mapping to figure out which textures work better with others, and what sorts of surfaces different textures look nice on. Try texturing the same area in drastically different ways once in awhile. It will also help once you start adding more detail to break up your walls and hallways. I don't really have any recommendations for specific changes, other than maybe trying to add some detailing in the outer ring just for fun. It's a very small and symmetrical map, so it would probably be more worthwhile making an entirely new map based off of it, with a bit less symmetry and some more complexity. I think Biohazard by RyokoTK from Paradise Lost is a pretty good example of a map similar to yours, but with more detail and complexity.

Just keep mapping. And keep in mind that when I talk about detail I'm mostly thinking of simple things like a small row of lights at the top, bottom or middle of a wall; not a large mess of polygons.
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$lave

Post Nov 3rd '14, 19:20

Alright, thanks again! I'll keep posting any progress/maps I make here.
The link was very useful, thank you for that too.
Also, I guess I should work more on net maps for now since they're *supposedly* easier?
I'll be doing this anyway just to get a hang of map sizes, weapon placement and hopefully sometime in the future
find a working terminal editor for campaign maps.
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 4th '14, 02:32

No problem. As far as netmaps vs solo maps go, it's easier to go over fundamentals like shading, texturing and geometry in netmaps because they tend to be simpler and a bit more concise. They can help to let you become more comfortable creating larger and more interesting spaces to work with, as opposed to the sprawling mess of hallways a lot of new mappers tend to start off making as "solo maps". It's up to you what you work on though, just make sure you're enjoying it.

Try using Atque to split an existing scenario's map file and look at how terminals are done. You should be able to just write your terminals in a plain text editor (notepad or TextEdit), and merge them into the map again with Atque.
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$lave

Post Nov 4th '14, 06:09

Atque, got it.
Hope it'll work!
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 5th '14, 19:41

Tycho X wrote:I'd need to re-edit the file with some kind of terminal editor (any suggestions?).


"Hex!" is a relatively user friendly terminal editor. I think you need Classic to run it:
http://webwonks.org/Marathon/utilities/emr.html

Tycho X wrote:'Aboard The Prodigy' is a mess, untextured, and for some reason crashed my A1 every time I open the map in the
last room. Anyone know why?


It probably has to do with all those untextured walls in the last room. Just take a minute to manually texture them and see if it still crashes.
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philtron

Post Nov 6th '14, 16:42

Thank you for the suggestions.
New netmap coming up :P

EDIT: Yes sadly it does require classic, couldn't get it to run. However, I'm downloading Atque right now,
it should help a bunch.
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 16th '14, 13:22

I took all the advice and made another map;
-Added proper Shading
-I tried to make the textures look better; only used one set.
-Added LOTS of ammo/weapons and a higher respawn rate
-Got Weland to work (thanks Hopper!)

Critique is appreciated. I'm considering adding this to some future net map-pack. I think it's quite a success! :)
Attachments
Archive.zip
Meltdown: Final Minutes
(23.79 KiB) Downloaded 87 times
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 17th '14, 04:17

What a cocktease of a thread title.
Enzan

Post Nov 18th '14, 02:21

I'd rate it good on aesthetics, fair on gameplay & flow.
  • Don't put the player spawn point too high. The camera pops out of the world until he falls down, which is disorienting and looks weird.
  • Put a delay on platforms. The player doesn't necessarily know when it's going to stop, so he needs time to react and step off before it pulls him down again.
  • Try to use textures self-consistently. Don't have two identically shaped, textured, lit, and accessible polygons where one indicates a teleporter entrance and the other a teleporter exit. Don't use a door texture on a 1 WU wide, well-lit wall that's not a door, or at least figure out an arrangement that makes it not look like a door. If you use the mechanical Triscuit texture (you know the one) for a platform, try not to use it on other floors that look like they could be platforms. You have options for what doors or teleporters or platforms should look like in your map, but self-consistency is necessary so you don't give the player the wrong expectations.
  • Accommodate the flow of the player through your map. For the player to go north or south along the east wing of your map, they have to jump into an elevator shaft, wait for the elevator to bring them to the top, and then reverse and take them back down. If there were a gap, players could leap off past the platform and fall straight down.
  • When the distance between floor and ceiling is under 1 WU, it generally feels claustrophobic to me. This is mostly aesthetic, however you do want to avoid situations where you hit your head when running down a flight of stairs.
  • Use sound objects or ambient sounds to smooth over liquid sounds. Otherwise it cuts in from nothing to full volume when you step onto a polygon with lava in it.
  • The flow could be better. The most succinct way I can put it is, there are two spots in your map where the only way to go is back the way you came. Try to avoid this in netmaps.
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Crater Creator

Post Nov 19th '14, 18:59

Crater Creator wrote:I'd rate it good on aesthetics, fair on gameplay & flow.
  • Don't put the player spawn point too high. The camera pops out of the world until he falls down, which is disorienting and looks weird.
  • Put a delay on platforms. The player doesn't necessarily know when it's going to stop, so he needs time to react and step off before it pulls him down again.
  • Try to use textures self-consistently. Don't have two identically shaped, textured, lit, and accessible polygons where one indicates a teleporter entrance and the other a teleporter exit. Don't use a door texture on a 1 WU wide, well-lit wall that's not a door, or at least figure out an arrangement that makes it not look like a door. If you use the mechanical Triscuit texture (you know the one) for a platform, try not to use it on other floors that look like they could be platforms. You have options for what doors or teleporters or platforms should look like in your map, but self-consistency is necessary so you don't give the player the wrong expectations.
  • Accommodate the flow of the player through your map. For the player to go north or south along the east wing of your map, they have to jump into an elevator shaft, wait for the elevator to bring them to the top, and then reverse and take them back down. If there were a gap, players could leap off past the platform and fall straight down.
  • When the distance between floor and ceiling is under 1 WU, it generally feels claustrophobic to me. This is mostly aesthetic, however you do want to avoid situations where you hit your head when running down a flight of stairs.
  • Use sound objects or ambient sounds to smooth over liquid sounds. Otherwise it cuts in from nothing to full volume when you step onto a polygon with lava in it.
  • The flow could be better. The most succinct way I can put it is, there are two spots in your map where the only way to go is back the way you came. Try to avoid this in netmaps.


Fixed. Well, mostly. I didn't change the stair ceiling height, it would look somewhat uglier. However, I made the
eastern hallway A LOT roomier, should eliminate some of that claustrophobia (spelled it right?).
Sounds were also edited/added. I partially fixed the flow problem; I made that door usable, with a teleporter right
behind it. It teleports you into the *ex-*secret room (well, no longer secret I guess). Added 0.75 sec delay on all lifts.
Changed some textures in order to not confuse the player. This is probably the final version of this map:

(PS: thank you for the useful reply)
Attachments
Archive.zip
Meltdown: Final Minutes
(32.55 KiB) Downloaded 82 times
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 19th '14, 19:35

There are still a couple issues. The headbanger stairs are still a serious impediment to the flow of the map, as are a few dead ends that still exist. The south room also isn't great as far as flow is concerned, as you're forced to turn back/run in a circle. Taking down the eastern wall of that room so that there's a path to the hall beside it would do wonders for the flow. The north end of the main area also doesn't flow well; you just end up running into a large ledge with no way of moving up or around it. There should either be a platform in the middle of the ledge or towards the corners (or both) giving you some way of moving forward.

Also, your platform settings are wonky. Generally, platforms should be activated by players, deactivate at initial level, have a short delay (maybe half a second), *not* delay before activation, and move pretty quickly (I think i usually use between 4-6WU/second).

Your teleporters are also kinda bad. They tend to send you to really awkward places, and having totally isolated rooms in a netmap isn't the greatest idea. Teleporters should generally just lead you to some sort of ledge where you can move forward immediately (ie not be stuck facing a wall).

All in all it's a pretty good start though, keep workin'.
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$lave

Post Nov 19th '14, 20:21

I haven't seen the level, but based on lave dollars's feedback, it sounds like maybe you should play some existing netmaps first before trying to make your own levels.
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Wrkncacnter

Post Nov 20th '14, 11:37

Wrkncacnter wrote:I haven't seen the level, but based on lave dollars's feedback, it sounds like maybe you should play some existing netmaps first before trying to make your own levels.


I'd love to play some more multiplayer, it's just so uncommon for me to actually find other players.
Everyone seems to start appearing 12.00 (PM) - 1.00 (AM) my time, and during weekdays I really don't have that kind
of time.
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$lave wrote:Damnit bridgit, you are forgetting how fucking serious business the internet is.
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Tycho X
Aenna Prime

Post Nov 20th '14, 18:43

Tycho X wrote:
Wrkncacnter wrote:I haven't seen the level, but based on lave dollars's feedback, it sounds like maybe you should play some existing netmaps first before trying to make your own levels.


I'd love to play some more multiplayer, it's just so uncommon for me to actually find other players.
Everyone seems to start appearing 12.00 (PM) - 1.00 (AM) my time, and during weekdays I really don't have that kind
of time.


I think he meant that you should play some netmaps regardless of whether there's other players. You don't need other players to study map design and flow, and it's probably easier to do that when you're not being shot at, anyway.
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philtron

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