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Chinny's 10 Step Mapping Checklist.


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Chinny's 10 Step Mapping Checklist. - Postby chin.democ. » 22 Mar 2012, 03:16


1. Weapon racks

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It's best to copy across the default weapons layout into your maps, the default weapons arrangement are perfectly spaced from one another and are all easily frobbable for the player and are extremely familiar too. When you start moving and tilting around weapons their highlight boxes can be disturbed which can lead to hard to pick up weapons as the frobbable highlight box can be a tiny target for the player to point at in order to pick up the weapon. Please note however the weapon boards above do not feature every weapon Deus Ex has to offer, it may be a good idea to add other weapons (such as the riot prod) on a nearby table for example.

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You can ofcourse make your own weapon boards but make sure you still use the default arrangements, above are examples of custom weapon boards which still use the default weapon arrangement that can be found on any standard Deus Ex multiplayer map. Here you are offering the player a new weapon board design yet a very familiar weapon arrangement so the player can quickly get their weapons and go about their business.




2. Playerstarts

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Many maps suffer because of simply not having enough playerstarts, ideally you should aim to have anywhere between 16 - 20 playerstarts on your map. The above picture is taken from the SDK, it shows ideally how playerstarts should be spaced out, also notice that they are quite close to the weapon boards. You'll notice that the playerstarts are all pointed to face the weapon boards, this is done by first clicking on a playerstart and then holding down shift and right click then drag the mouse to rotate the red arrow (which shows the playerstart's orientation) to the desired position. When the player spawns he/she will be close to the weapon boards and oriented to roughly face the centre of them making it nice and easy for the player to then choose the weapons quickly on the familiarly laid out selection of weapons.




3. Spawn locations

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Ideally you want to space out your spawns as much as possible, spawns placed around the outer edges of your map work well, leaving the main central fighting area clear. Spaced out spawns will really open up the map and keep your enemy guessing as to where you spawn after dying, you may just catch them by surprise! Above shows good examples of well spaced out spawn points (circled red) that utilise the whole map.

Unless you are going for a standoff style of map you should throw in as many spawn points as you can. You should be aiming for around 4-5 in a medium/large sized map and have no more than 5 playerstarts at each spawn. If you have spawn rooms then it's a good idea to have multiple exits as it is possible for one person to block a spawn exit which means other players cannot pass, another door or a vent would be a good addition in this case.




4. Medbots and Biobots

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As you've spent alot of blood, sweat and tears over your map you owe it to yourself to make it compatible for augs as well as 0 augs. This means we need to add bio bots aswell as the regular medbot. Depending on the size of your map you could well have up to six biobots and four medbots, the medbots should ideally not be locked away and should be "free", above is a shot of a medbot from DXMP_Smuggler which is not locked away and therefore is a "free" bot which requires no use of a skilled tool to access. These "free" medbots are a great addition to a map, you'll have people scrambling to the nearest medbot which gives a quick heal for the player and makes for a fast paced map. Just like spawns you'll need to space out your bots and they should cover every corner of your map, this again opens up the whole map and gives every location a point of interest for the player.

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It's best to copy and paste med/bio bot housings from default DXMP maps to give the player that familiarity which is crucial to make a fast paced map. Ofcourse you can customise the textures of the housing to suit your map as shown in the picture above. Here the bot housing blends in with the map, so once again you are offering the player something that looks new and fresh but also something very familiar, which is a great balance.





5. Containers

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Maps need containers believe it or not, mostly maps have only one type of container - ammocrates. However it is a good idea to put in unbreakable containers too that the player can use to get to higher platforms or to use as blocking devices, it adds another dimension to the map and makes the map more interactive and fun for the player. Not to mention they can be good to add as rudimentary decoration - if one area of your map looks a little bare add a container or two.

Ammocrates should be placed away from weapon boards as there's little point having them so close, and shouldn't be placed in areas where you do not want players to camp - dark roofs for example. Other good containers to have are TNT crates, these will add an additional fun factor to the map and players can get creative with throwing TNT from a height to get a kill for example. But it may not be a good idea to add too many to a map any more then 5 is perhaps too many.




6. Cabinets and Turrets

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Cabinets are essential for making Aug-friendly maps, there are two types of combination of hole in the wall (above, left pic) cabinets - LAM, gas grenade and EMP grenade, and HE 20mm and biocell. Depending on the size of your map you can have 1-3 of the LAM, gas grenade and EMP combo, and 1-2 of the HE 20mm and biocell combo. These cabinets ideally shouldn't be placed in (or right next to) spawns as it makes that particular spawn strong for the player thus giving him/her an unfair advantage. As before with bots and spawn locations try to space out the cabinets as best as possible!

Turrets are another good addition to have in your map as it gives the player another objective besides just killing opposition - taking the turret!
Ideally the turret (or turrets if the map is big enough) should be placed so that it doesn't dominate the whole map - there should be a way of avoiding this turret completely should the player choose to. I find it best to place a LAW cabinet near to the turret so that the turret acts as a protector, this law cabinet will again be copied from a default DXMP map and thus have a lock strength of 0.6 which is perfect.




7. Skilled tools/pickups

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Your map needs loose (not locked away) skilled tools and pickups such as multitools, lockpicks, bio cells and medkits. Depending on the size of the map these can vary from around 2 of each (small map) to 4-5 (medium/large map). These "free" pickups should be placed with some thought behind them, so free medkits should placed away from medbots, free bio cells away from biobots, free lockpicks and multitools should ideally not be placed right next cabinets/locked biobots. And all of the above should ideally not be placed in spawns or at least in strict moderation as to not make one spawn particularly strong for the player lucky enough to spawn there.

Don't place all these pickups in plain view - hide some away! Reward the player that spends the time searching through your map for some of these pickup goodies. Get creative with placing these more hidden items, but at the same time don't make them almost impossible to see.




8. Vents

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Vents are such an integral part of Deus Ex - giving the player an additional route into/out of a building for example. Vents are effective in spawn rooms which give the spawning player an alternate route out of the spawn room - particularly useful if the opposition have closed in on the spawnroom and are waiting for you to exit through the spawnroom door!

Vents are also very useful in providing the player with shortcuts - very useful for quickly exiting a building that might have only one or two exits! Items can also be hidden in a vent and so really they have several uses and are great additions to all medium/large maps. Vent covers that move directly up and down tend to be the best as vents that swing open tend to be buggy in DXMP and should really be avoided. Vents should be 80 x 80 (height and width) unreal units, this will allow two players to pass one another in the same vent which is very useful.




9. Zone Portals

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It is a good idea to add several zone portals to your map, a zoned off map will increase performance for the player as only the zones visible to the player will be rendered at any one time rather then the whole map. The gains may only be slight but it's still worth doing particularly for those with poor performance.

It's easiest to add zone portals at choking points such as doorways, a typical Deus Ex door will be 128 units high with a width of 64. So in this case I need to create a sheet brush Image that is 128 V, and 64 U and I need to tick the X or Y axis (which will orientate the brush to our needs), now I need to hit the "add special" brush icon Image. Now select from the predefined menu "Zone Portal" then hit add special, line up your brush with the doorway and rebuild your map. In the 3d view window (bottom left) click on mode and select Zone/Portal view, here you will see each zone as a different colour.





10. Music and Sounds

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Having music and sound effects adds atmosphere and believability to your map. Every DXMP map should have music that suits the style of map, if the map is small and frantic then the music should reflect that, equally if the map is large and action is less frequent the music should be less dramatic. Having ambient sounds will bolster the map's atmosphere and believability, if your map is set in an outdoor environment then you should think about adding ambient sounds that suit that environment. Sounds such as nighttime insects buzzing, wind noise, dogs barking, street noise and trees rustling will add believability to your outdoor environments.

Simple humming noises applied to your lights will add that extra touch of realism, out of bounds noises are also effective - having a closed off gate with sounds behind it will give the player an opportunity to use his/her imagination as to what might be lurking behind. Do you have any underground sections in your map? if so it's worth checking out echo water drips, rumbling and tunnel noises. It's all about reinforcing your visuals with audio that helps hammer home the feeling/atmosphere you are wanting to achieve. All movers should have mover sounds too, make sure the mover material suits the sound - metal doors need metal door sounds, wooden doors need wooden door sounds, elevators and similar movers work well with pneumatic sounds. Most movers should have a closed, opening and moving sound applied (top, middle and bottom in properties > mover sounds).


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby Majster » 22 Mar 2012, 13:53


Good tips for mappers. I can add, spawn points should well keep from spawn kills. For example, in spawn points in hangar on Area51 are windows and very easy can kill someone. Also spawns on Pool, Mini Dust and Iceworld are horrible, sometimes you die before you take weapons. :roll: If you guys make small maps, you can make spawn points as on NYC_Statue or Smuggler (offcourse these spawns points aren't perfect, but are far better than on Iceworld or Pool).

I think best spawn points are on CMD. Anyway, map size as CMD is the best in my eyes.


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby [FGS]Kalman » 22 Mar 2012, 15:48


And what about count of medkit and biocells per map?
Edit: Is there any way to set a mover's moving sound's radius? I'd like to make the crane louder on my StrangeDocks map


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby chin.democ. » 22 Mar 2012, 20:23


@ Kalman - I couldn't see anything obvious about changing the volume of a mover's sound, I wonder if Nobody could hack a workaround. Or perhaps could the mover trigger an ambient sound I wonder.

@ Majster - This is more of a checklist that a medium/large map should satisfy rather then a guide on map layouts (layouts can be loved and hated so I thought a checklist that could apply to all decent sized maps would be a good idea).


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby chin.democ. » 25 Mar 2012, 23:54


Sorry for double post, a little birdie tells me you can alter the sound under Mover Properties->Sound->SoundRadius.


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby ShadowRunner » 26 Mar 2012, 01:01


This is really good Chin, it's great to see some important tips being in the same place, I realize it is WIP and you've invited comments/input, so my 2 cents would be:

1. Chin is right in suggesting to copy/paste weapons from other maps, but bear in mind none of the default maps have every wep and some wep racks are missing weapons, even in default maps. Not every wep has to be on the rack, you can be creative and have prods and crowbars placed in interesting places. Reaction stuck a combat knife into a dartboard on one DXMS map.

2. Probably would be great to add all the things to this guide about MP mapping that Tack doesn't even mention. Vent size etc. I would mention 80x80 and the fact that players can operate with less, but 80 is necessary for players to pass each other.

3. "Spawn Locations". This was the only part I didn't completely love. My version would be "spawnROOMS" and include the most obvious tips in making a spawnroom that works. I would say it's not a "well-spaced" example at all, in fact it is totally different from the default maps, which all have spawnrooms. I would make the point stronger, that spawns need to be spaced from each other. If it were my guide, I'd be telling people they need spawnrooms and are crazy if they don't have them, or have two doors/exits for each or exits that are big, like in Smuggler.

Also, not to make spawn locations into mini-fortresses for campers. e.g. comm in A51. Grenades are a no no for spawnrooms and in my opinion, spawnrooms should protect people, but not make it so they can spend the whole game there, stuff should be missing so they have to go and look for it. Some ZXC and TKG maps have mini-fortresses in the spawns, with HE20 and LAW, not even locked away. This again, is not Deus Ex totally.

@ Kalman. Med/bio count. People will give you an answer, especially aug mappers, but I don't think there is any set rule. It's down to you the designer to strategically place items, for gameplay or exploration. However your room for creativity is very limited, repairbots and items like this generally need to be recognizable and not hidden. The classic mistake is to make a locked room or vent, but fail to place a lockpick inside that area. Strange Docks has strange med placements, very close together and lots of them, you didn't stick to any rule, but it worked. It depends on each map. The placement is what makes the map interesting or exciting or well-balanced etc...


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby chin.democ. » 26 Mar 2012, 02:56


Hi Shadow, I used the term spawn locations as I didn't want to touch the spawn room/ no spawn room can of worms! The picture I agree wasn't a great example as far as well spaced spawns in terms of distance, but it was more a case of making the point of spacing spawns in far corners of the playing space.


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby ShadowRunner » 26 Mar 2012, 04:32


Umm, your map is a 0-aug tiny map, but your guide so far is about DX mapping in general for both gametypes, so I'd say it definitely needs to cover spawnrooms and how to make good ones. I didn't know that anyone disagreed with spawnrooms. If they do, it's probably because people camp the badly designed ones and others feel they have a God-given right to snipe those people at the wep rack, since they can do it on Iceworld.

It annoys me how the community is splitting on this issue. Admins changing map because people decided to camp Comm is unacceptable. People decided to camp for a very good reason, yet the Admin was too dumb to see he was the only person in server who wanted a sniper fight. The rest wanted a change of pace and prolly is why they voted the map.

As experienced players we tend to forget the needs of the beginner. Too many guys are getting chopped down at the wep racks.

Some of the default spawns are atrocious, some are pretty good. DXMP guys never met Player_23 when they made them. I think what you did and pic are fine, just you're missing a section called "Spawnrooms" and how to avoid making bad ones then perhaps.

It's all good, obviously it's the just beginning, as more info and useful stuff gets added it will really grow.


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby [FGS]Kalman » 26 Mar 2012, 05:47


ShadowRunner wrote:This is really good Chin, it's great to see some important tips being in the same place, I realize it is WIP and you've invited comments/input, so my 2 cents would be:

1. Chin is right in suggesting to copy/paste weapons from other maps, but bear in mind none of the default maps have every wep and some wep racks are missing weapons, even in default maps. Not every wep has to be on the rack, you can be creative and have prods and crowbars placed in interesting places. Reaction stuck a combat knife into a dartboard on one DXMS map.

2. Probably would be great to add all the things to this guide about MP mapping that Tack doesn't even mention. Vent size etc. I would mention 80x80 and the fact that players can operate with less, but 80 is necessary for players to pass each other.

3. "Spawn Locations". This was the only part I didn't completely love. My version would be "spawnROOMS" and include the most obvious tips in making a spawnroom that works. I would say it's not a "well-spaced" example at all, in fact it is totally different from the default maps, which all have spawnrooms. I would make the point stronger, that spawns need to be spaced from each other. If it were my guide, I'd be telling people they need spawnrooms and are crazy if they don't have them, or have two doors/exits for each or exits that are big, like in Smuggler.

Also, not to make spawn locations into mini-fortresses for campers. e.g. comm in A51. Grenades are a no no for spawnrooms and in my opinion, spawnrooms should protect people, but not make it so they can spend the whole game there, stuff should be missing so they have to go and look for it. Some ZXC and TKG maps have mini-fortresses in the spawns, with HE20 and LAW, not even locked away. This again, is not Deus Ex totally.

@ Kalman. Med/bio count. People will give you an answer, especially aug mappers, but I don't think there is any set rule. It's down to you the designer to strategically place items, for gameplay or exploration. However your room for creativity is very limited, repairbots and items like this generally need to be recognizable and not hidden. The classic mistake is to make a locked room or vent, but fail to place a lockpick inside that area. Strange Docks has strange med placements, very close together and lots of them, you didn't stick to any rule, but it worked. It depends on each map. The placement is what makes the map interesting or exciting or well-balanced etc...

I didn't place any medkit, only supply crates :)


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby ShadowRunner » 26 Mar 2012, 06:45


True, and I loved that. It's minor, but it's bringing the interactive joy of single player to 0-aug, the same way a vending machine does. Those crates can be repositioned so players can decide where exactly the medkits will respawn. This kind of thing makes the 0-aug game far more interesting than it would be otherwise.


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby ~[FGS]SaSQuATcH~ » 26 Mar 2012, 12:32


Wonderful guide! - Stickied

About explosives in spawnrooms: I think there are pros and cons to it. Placing grenades in spawn rooms is quite common in default maps, think about A51, CMD or Cathedral. What I personally don't like about it is the fact that people tend to set them up right there in that room so when the opposite team spawns there they will die quite fast without actually leaving the room. However I don't think that the default maps are patterns to follow. But I think that if you're going to have a large map like CMD, don't hesitate to put some of those candies in the spawn rooms with other essentials like medkits and biocells because otherwise people will just go out hunting for items all the time to make up for the disadvantage that they have against those with high streaks.
On the other hand I think Iceworld has a version that has a single LAM in the middle. Now imagine that map full of grenades in the spawn areas, noone would bother shooting a weapon anymore. When you're going to design your spawnroom, keep in mind that size matters! (pun intended :( )

I agree that maps should be designed to match both augs and zero augs. Although the only map I ever made is designed for altifire only (in other words designed for low gravity) and it tends to be popular, just like Iceworld which was designed for 0aug only. Generally I think that if you're going to have an aug map, it should be at least as big as Smuggler so that you have enough space to avoid multiple explosions by running and jumping as well. (Still I would probably remove the LAW from Smuggler though, but it works on A51 and CMD)

I think one of the greatest ideas for a spawn room that I've seen was the one where there is a spaceship in the sky - the spawn room - and in order to fight you have to jump out of it into a pool. It's far enough from the battlefield that you can't be harmed and you can't harm others but you can still have a dynamic game absent of spawn campers. (I forgot the name of the map, it was some sort of RPG)

God, I miss mapping.


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby ~][FGS][Nobody~ » 30 Mar 2012, 15:53


Yes, your mapping activity needs to raise! :-D

@Chinny: Very nice guide.
And yeah.. you are right according to the mover sounds. When playing those sounds, the SoundRadius, SoundVolume and TransientSoundvolume is being used to calculate the final sound value.
Btw.. I took the liberty to replace the ----------- like chapter delimiters on your first post with the proper [line] BB-Code, so it doesn't misalign the forum that much. :)


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby ShadowRunner » 30 Mar 2012, 17:11


I totally agree with you Krisz, pros and cons, nice post. I didn't mean to appear critical of the guide, it's great - and Chinny for president of mapping society. We used to tell people how asked how to make a map, "google tacks deus ex lab, read first 8 and come back", but really that's asking for trouble, so this guide is really useful and would be good even if Eidos could put on their community site and etc in other places.


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby chin.democ. » 22 Apr 2012, 19:23


Updated the checklist.


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Re: Mapping Checklist - Work In Progress - Postby ShadowRunner » 22 Apr 2012, 19:38


Zone portal piece is good, because it's teaching people to use the different views in the 3D editor...




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