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What are you working on for Duke right now?  "Post about whatever Duke related stuff you're doing"

User is offline   Perro Seco 

#9211

View PostMark, on 30 March 2020 - 05:13 AM, said:

My reason for detailed non-reachable areas at the edges of maps is because I like how it looks waaaayyyy better than just an outer wall perimete
But you still have to use sometimes those "ugly walls" to enclose the no reachable areas, and even more uglier barriers to prevent players from... playing the map. :D

View PostMark, on 30 March 2020 - 05:13 AM, said:

Exploring is important so having the map detailed like that helps.
What's the point of exploring if most of the areas can't be accessed?

I mean, you don't need to follow any rules when creating your own maps, but using lots of no reachable areas to make a map look good makes me think of lack of ability to mix atmosphere with gameplay.
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User is offline   Dukebot 

#9212

This days I've continued a project that was abandoned some years ago (2014).

Here is the original post.

The idea was to make a big SP/COOP map, really big, with a lot of open space and areas to explore.

Recently I've retomated the project and I plan to finish it as I already invested lots of hours on this map.

Some screenshots of the work in progress.

Any valuable feedback is wellcome.
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#9213

On unreachable areas, sometimes you have to make the decision to either include such an area and make it inaccessible, or not include it at all. If it's'an interesting enough setpiece and there's at least some visual cue to show you can't go there it's generally fine.
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User is offline   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#9214

Just to add, in many cases you can make otherwise unreachable areas reachable through a challenging secret, I always loved that aspect in doom where you had a whole exterior that could just exist for visual reasons but there was some secret door that allowed entry to it.
Once you are in this "unreachable area", the bonus of finding a way in, even if it's a dead end, is always worth it. You won't miss if it leads to an abrupt "end of world" after that.

But yes, detailed "end of the world" bits are cool, as long as they're designed to be uninteresting at the same time (i.e. pile of rubble, huge fire, cracked ground, etc..)
Ideally any block in the world has to be explained through game play logic and should never have invisible walls.

There is also the tool of using skybox-like exterior that is almost like a second layer some distance away from the player.

For a designer, it might actually come as a surprise how little realism actually matters to the player :)
Hotel hell probably the shittiest hotel on earth, having a bar and all for whopping two rooms. You didn't have a single decorative door even for a third room. But hey, it worked!


But yeah, ended up getting things off-topic here a bit.
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User is offline   ck3D 

#9215

Unreachable area talk is funny because it's exactly the type of consideration I had in mind when I asked Maarten whether he meant his Duke Burger to be enterable or not. My current stance on them is that they can indeed add a lot to the atmosphere but only really shine where they serve some kind of purpose later in the map, e.g.. by revealing themselves to be secret places. I think as much space in a map should be enterable as possible, even if that means one has to connect the dots with SOS tricks and whatnot, it's not mandatory but it's good optimization and something I try to focus on my levels these days (resulting, again, in a lot of opportunities for secret places or just nooks and crannies/sniper spots etc.).

That's actually something that bothers me quite a bit in that seventh screenshot of mine I posted (the one of map 1), that cinema building on the left side is an unreachable area (I originally designed it to be a long-distance visual marker for an important section of the map, with the big neon sign) although it's a sniper spot for enemies and blocked with a combination of ledges and fences, I still feel like the player is going to try so hard to get in there (in the original Duke 3D, everyone would have), I'll probably spend a few extra sectors on connecting at least part of that zone with something accessible. I used to be mostly concerned with the look of my rooms in 3D mode in my formative years but now what especially draws me to mapping is really clearly 2D mode and manipulating/connecting those locations I design in (hopefully) smart ways I intend to be reminiscent of the original maps (even something as simple as the E1L1 arcade room wall always works, now imagine big cities mostly designed like that, the potential is enormous). So right now to me, that cinema is a good example of a mistake that could easily be avoided (and will probably be fixed eventually), and I guess it's especially more annoying when it's the only segment of the level that's just declared inaccessible by its author in a relatively questionable way.

View PostDukebot, on 30 March 2020 - 05:55 AM, said:

This days I've continued a project that was abandoned some years ago (2014).Here is the original post.The idea was to make a big SP/COOP map, really big, with a lot of open space and areas to explore.Recently I've retomated the project and I plan to finish it as I already invested lots of hours on this map. Some screenshots of the work in progress.Any valuable feedback is wellcome.


I think this looks really good. Clean design (maybe that castle could use more detailing but I guess it's W.I.P.) and huge open areas, reminds me of the fun of late 90's/early 00's user levels (think Warzone era etc.), just refined, bigger and I'm sure better. I hope you finish it!

edit - oasiz we posted at the same time but I generally very much agree with you. Decorative doors used to plague my own levels yet have become a huge pet peeve of mine now. Whenever I do feel the need to implement one for pseudo-realism (apartments one can only enter from the balcony only make that much logical sense, even in DN3D), I make sure it's either blastable from the other side later in the mapping process, working my layout around it, or mark them with an invisible switch that just plays some sort of clicking sound, 'rewarding' the player for trying to open it all the while communicating that it's effectively locked and most likely just an accessory.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 30 March 2020 - 06:49 AM

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User is online   Mark 

  • you think those sunglasses make you look cool or somethin'

#9216

View PostHigh Treason, on 30 March 2020 - 05:56 AM, said:

On unreachable areas, sometimes you have to make the decision to either include such an area and make it inaccessible, or not include it at all. If it's'an interesting enough setpiece and there's at least some visual cue to show you can't go there it's generally fine.

I've used barriers like semi-truck blocking access, military made pile of sandbags, chain fencing, barbed wire fences, collapsed tunnel, construction blockades. Things that let you know you go no further.

I forgot who posted this. They are not "all over the map". Mostly along some map edges where it made sense to me.

This post has been edited by Mark: 30 March 2020 - 07:11 AM

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#9217

@oasiz; Unfortunately this isn't always possible, specifically when entering the area would break something. Take the courtyard in Dimension Shift (this one), bad things can happen if the player goes in there, it does some rather nasty things to have that overhanging sloped roof (hint: no TROR and actually renders better in DOS than it does in EDuke in some cases) so the only alternative was to not have it at all, or else make it far more boring to look at. The player only needs to walk on that path in the middle, so that's all they can do.

In this case I feel it is completely justified in existing this way because, well, for one thing it looks cool. You see it several times (including a few clones); firstly it sets the scene, it guides the player to a basement entrance so that they get to observe a locked door that they would have no reason to see otherwise (it would be possible to do some teleport stuff to 'reach' the front doors of the house, but this wouldn't reveal the locked door downstairs), it allows the player to see events regarding progression through a window they might otherwise miss and has enemies appear in it late on.

For other unreachable areas less time and resources were spent, like a couple of rooms blocked by bookcases (crap fact: they did exist as full rooms once but had no reason to be there and walls were tight) and a balcony with nothing on it that exists solely to make the building's geometry 'make sense' (kinda ironic) between the first and second floor - it seemed noticeable to me that the room above was smaller. There's actually another, larger balcony with chairs on it on the opposite side of the building too that exists solely to not have another gray wall with doors on it, as well as a subtle clue that nobody probably noticed (personally still get distracted by a ghost on a viewscreen, I didn't do that).

This post has been edited by High Treason: 30 March 2020 - 07:15 AM

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User is offline   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#9218

View Postck3D, on 30 March 2020 - 06:35 AM, said:

edit - oasiz we posted at the same time but I generally very much agree with you. Decorative doors used to plague my own levels yet have become a huge pet peeve of mine now. Whenever I do feel the need to implement one for pseudo-realism (apartments one can only enter from the balcony only make that much logical sense, even in DN3D), I make sure it's either blastable from the other side later in the mapping process, working my layout around it, or mark them with an invisible switch that just plays some sort of clicking sound, 'rewarding' the player for trying to open it all the while communicating that it's effectively locked and most likely just an accessory.


One tool for clever blocking when you run out of ideas is to use overgrown alien walls that have infested the door area itself.
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User is offline   oasiz 

  • Dr. Effector

#9219

View PostHigh Treason, on 30 March 2020 - 07:09 AM, said:

@oasiz; Unfortunately this isn't always possible, specifically when entering the area would break something. Take the courtyard in Dimension Shift (this one), bad things can happen if the player goes in there, it does some rather nasty things to have that overhanging sloped roof (hint: no TROR and actually renders better in DOS than it does in EDuke in some cases) so the only alternative was to not have it at all, or else make it far more boring to look at. The player only needs to walk on that path in the middle, so that's all they can do.

In this case I feel it is completely justified in existing this way because, well, for one thing it looks cool. You see it several times (including a few clones); firstly it sets the scene, it guides the player to a basement entrance so that they get to observe a locked door that they would have no reason to see otherwise (it would be possible to do some teleport stuff to 'reach' the front doors of the house, but this wouldn't reveal the locked door downstairs), it allows the player to see events regarding progression through a window they might otherwise miss and has enemies appear in it late on.

For other unreachable areas less time and resources were spent, like a couple of rooms blocked by bookcases (crap fact: they did exist as full rooms once but had no reason to be there and walls were tight) and a balcony with nothing on it that exists solely to make the building's geometry 'make sense' (kinda ironic) between the first and second floor - it seemed noticeable to me that the room above was smaller. There's actually another, larger balcony with chairs on it on the opposite side of the building too that exists solely to not have another gray wall with doors on it, as well as a subtle clue that nobody probably noticed (personally still get distracted by a ghost on a viewscreen, I didn't do that).


Unreachable areas can be fine if made uninteresting, by that I don't necessarily mean boring.
In your example screenshot I can see that you have low visibility and windows block it (when looking from inside). It essentailly becomes "background" in a sense that skybox does andn that's cool. Plus those fake ROR tricks can be nasty with visual and/or collision, it's justified.
If you had that area bright and pointing to other areas then it would be different.

As for the other shot, with game play I mean that you should at least add tall fences or something that justifies why player gets blocked.
Invisible walls can work if they exist to prevent corner cases (i.e. sprite climbling for an otherwise unnaturally tall sprite)

Anyway, it's always a bit case-by-case basis on these. General rule of thumb is to just think of the platformer style FG/BG where BG might never use certain shades of brightness, can look cool but clearly has that almost "matte painting" feeling compared to the rest.
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User is online   Mark 

  • you think those sunglasses make you look cool or somethin'

#9220

Like in Decay, I had a perfect excuse/reason for my blockades separating the playable and non-playable areas. The military and police force are trying to contain the zombie invasion by blocking street intersections. It made sense and looked cool at the same time. Here are 4 of the couple dozen examples you'll find in my maps. Maybe not the best but they were the first ones I found in just the Decay project. For those few of you that played the mod, the first screen shot is where Duke makes a cameo appearance running down the street with zombies running after him. The third pic is looking back at the city you drove away from in the previous map. The last pic was just a bit of fun looking in a warehouse window.

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This post has been edited by Mark: 30 March 2020 - 08:41 AM

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User is offline   Perro Seco 

#9221

View PostMark, on 30 March 2020 - 08:37 AM, said:

the first screen shot
First screenshot shows how jumping becomes suddenly useless. :D
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User is online   Mark 

  • you think those sunglasses make you look cool or somethin'

#9222

Jump height was already limited in code to keep the player from jumping on top of zombie hoardes. ;) I still think its better than having an invisible blocking wall with no explanation why you can't get past it. The barriers at least give you a hint you weren't meant to go past.

I think it was oasiz that posted about having a secret way to get into a non-playable area. I did that in an upcoming project. The map ends within a couple of seconds after reaching it so whether its considered a "playable area)...

This post has been edited by Mark: 30 March 2020 - 09:04 AM

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User is offline   R A D A Я 

  • Zionist Shill

#9223

What do you guys consider to be a non playable area though? Brullov's screenshot could be a map border of a much larger public space. In that case, it's fully playable as a highly sophisticated wall.
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User is online   Mark 

  • you think those sunglasses make you look cool or somethin'

#9224

Good question. With the exception of the one example I just mentioned, non playable means the player never enters it. I guess I should use the term non-enterable because if there is an enemy it could be shot in that area if you shoot between the blocking gaps. Most times there are no shootable enemies. Just architecture.

This post has been edited by Mark: 30 March 2020 - 09:10 AM

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User is offline   Merlijn 

#9225

To me, unreachable areas are like custom skyboxes. They're there to provide some context and scale to your location, and they can make a map more immersive.
For instance, Shaky Grounds wouldn't be the same without those broken city scapes in the background.

You just have to make sure that the borders of the playable area are well defined and that the playable area itself isn't too small.
Being against unreachable areas just because Romero said something 28 years ago seems needlessly purist to me.
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User is offline   R A D A Я 

  • Zionist Shill

#9226

View PostMerlijn, on 30 March 2020 - 11:45 AM, said:

Being against unreachable areas just because Romero said something 28 years ago seems needlessly purist to me.


Exactly. It's not like Sigil was the pinnacle of level design.
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User is offline   Lazy Dog 

#9227

yet even e1m1 had one unreachable area.

This post has been edited by Lazy Dog: 30 March 2020 - 01:46 PM

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User is offline   Fauch 

#9228

it also makes me think original Duke maps tend to be enclosed with tall bland buildings using repeated textures. If a building stands out, you can usually enter it.
Now if a building stood out, but couldn't be entered, had no gameplay purpose, would that be kind of an unreachable area, something players would think they should be able to enter?

There was mention of Half Life 2, from what I remember playable areas were often enclosed with walls / rocks too high to climb, so it was obvious anything beyond was just for look. Of course this gets more complicated when you can have a jetpack.
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User is offline   ck3D 

#9229

Been doing some progress, celebrating 1111 sectors and breaking the old wall limit (well, this, not so much) with more sneak peaks at map two, first one is a simple pharmacy I did a few days ago, second one is a bit more representative of the rest of the map although only a tiny fraction of it, I built that section months ago, it's just some moody shot because again I'm trying to save all the sweet stuff, pretty bare because I place decorative sprites and detail in open sections last. Also background will have something eventually but right now you can have fun imagining the texture 0 wall in the far, undistinguishable background if you want (not recommended).

Map scale is getting seriously ridiculous, not just on the horizontal / vertical axis in terms of looks but also in terms of distances to cover and terrain variation, honestly I think it will make for some pretty unique gameplay, I'm not worried about finding workarounds for the troubling aspects of the experience bigger scale maps can represent but by the wall limit closing in, every time. I'm at half of them now, but I feel like there's way more I would like to put into this one than twice what's already there. Ah well as usual I'll somehow make it work.

Side note - it's kind of funny how I'm easing into the habit of building specific city map segments to the point of increasingly successfully guessing in advance how many resources this and that construction should take up beforehand, and starting to think of them like actual currency. Like OK, I want to build a train system with two stations, this will cost roughly 350 sectors, I can do it. But then I'll be dry bones for this and that other specific thing, so I gotta pick wisely, etc. It almost feels like putting pieces of a puzzle together as I'm drawing it.

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This post has been edited by ck3D: 02 April 2020 - 05:19 PM

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User is online   Sanek 

#9230

@ck3d it's cool that you can actually estimate how much sectors you'll spend here and there (sectors counter is not as critical as walls though). What I'm usually doing is just keeping thing low, i.e. don't make everything super-detailed right of the bat, even if my maps rarely if ever reach any kind of a limit.


On the side note, I was thinking about my Dark Seed/Station sequel and I'm kinda confused right now. I want to make the next map more story-driven, with you reading logs and stuff like that. And the space station that will have all the stuff you expect like cargo bay, crew quarters, mess hall etc...so it'll be Dark Seed all over again? I don't know if it'll make much sense, making essentially the same map but with only slightly different layout and story. I have some kind of unique gameplay in mind that'll require some CON enhanced stuff, but don't know if it'll justify the semi-remake of sorts. Dark Station was the only map of mine that gave me sort of 100% satisfaction with it, to the point when the sequel can be a let-down.


It sucks that Dark Seed was a better-known map (since Loke made a video on yt) than Dark Station (which is so much better) and it's presumable sequel if it'll ever be made. :rolleyes:
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User is offline   ck3D 

#9231

There are no rules but the ones in your head, you should totally feel free to work on and release any map with the concept of your choice without worrying too much about reception as long as you yourself are satisfied with your body of work, and confident in your output. Go for whatever you're inspired for or else what, you're probably going to settle for something less exciting to you and make a worse map (in general that's exactly how bad maps happen).

Feel you on the wall limit, forever the average Build creative's arch-nemesis.
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User is offline   Dukebot 

#9232

View Postck3D, on 02 April 2020 - 05:05 PM, said:

Been doing some progress, celebrating 1111 sectors and breaking the old wall limit (well, this, not so much) with more sneak peaks at map two, first one is a simple pharmacy I did a few days ago, second one is a bit more representative of the rest of the map although only a tiny fraction of it, I built that section months ago, it's just some moody shot because again I'm trying to save all the sweet stuff, pretty bare because I place decorative sprites and detail in open sections last. Also background will have something eventually but right now you can have fun imagining the texture 0 wall in the far, undistinguishable background if you want (not recommended).

Map scale is getting seriously ridiculous, not just on the horizontal / vertical axis in terms of looks but also in terms of distances to cover and terrain variation, honestly I think it will make for some pretty unique gameplay, I'm not worried about finding workarounds for the troubling aspects of the experience bigger scale maps can represent but by the wall limit closing in, every time. I'm at half of them now, but I feel like there's way more I would like to put into this one than twice what's already there. Ah well as usual I'll somehow make it work.

Side note - it's kind of funny how I'm easing into the habit of building specific city map segments to the point of increasingly successfully guessing in advance how many resources this and that construction should take up beforehand, and starting to think of them like actual currency. Like OK, I want to build a train system with two stations, this will cost roughly 350 sectors, I can do it. But then I'll be dry bones for this and that other specific thing, so I gotta pick wisely, etc. It almost feels like putting pieces of a puzzle together as I'm drawing it.


The screens are looking really good and if you've surprassed 1000+ sector then I suppose that this map it's quite big! Looking forward to see more images.
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User is offline   ck3D 

#9233

Thanks, yeah this is map 2 of an episode, map 1 is pretty big too with 2200+ sectors IIRC, managed to fit it just under the wall limit, hopefully this one will be alright too. I wish I could show more too because I keep building stuff I'm happy with but the episode follows a certain concept that is nothing revolutionary at all, but I would still like to keep a surprise if I can manage to, and showing all those constructions would be a giveaway. But yeah I've been into large scale levels these days, that's also why I'm looking forward to your map, big open spaces with massive constructions make for the best Duke environments in my opinion, I always wished I could make them and am just now getting there which is satisfying.

This post has been edited by ck3D: 03 April 2020 - 02:25 PM

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User is offline   Dukebot 

#9234

View Postck3D, on 03 April 2020 - 02:24 PM, said:

Thanks, yeah this is map 2 of an episode, map 1 is pretty big too with 2200+ sectors IIRC, managed to fit it just under the wall limit, hopefully this one will be alright too. I wish I could show more too because I keep building stuff I'm happy with but the episode follows a certain concept that is nothing revolutionary at all, but I would still like to keep a surprise if I can manage to, and showing all those constructions would be a giveaway. But yeah I've been into large scale levels these days, that's also why I'm looking forward to your map, big open spaces with massive constructions make for the best Duke environments in my opinion, I always wished I could make them and am just now getting there which is satisfying.


Great job, I will try to play your first episode map then when I have some time. If there is a thread for that map let me know and I will post my opinion there when I have finished it.
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User is offline   ck3D 

#9235

View PostDukebot, on 04 April 2020 - 02:54 AM, said:

Great job, I will try to play your first episode map then when I have some time. If there is a thread for that map let me know and I will post my opinion there when I have finished it.


Ha thanks, for your interest too, regarding map 1 I'm keeping sitting on all the levels until I can release the whole pack at once, so that's definitely not going to be for today (I'm estimating I can make 2/3 maps per year tops) but my latest released map is what finally convinced me I was ready to tackle such a project: https://forums.duke4...e-poison-heart/ it's already quite large, not exactly on the scale I'm going for with those two first maps that are more open and twice the size, and I guess it has its flaws but upon completing it I did feel like OK, I can now go in for the real thing.

Work usually gets in the way of mapping and makes my rhythm unpredictable a lot but right now with the lockdown I can be back at it to a comfortable extent and try to make 100 sectors a day on average, so the progression stays real.
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User is offline   Maarten 

#9236

Looks good here, folks!
@MRCK I reconize some things you're pointing out, I even have to "split" my idea in at least 2 maps haha. Gotta love that shadow @ staircas shot.

--------

Meanwhile I've LOTS of inspiration while building on my map. It will contain a HUUUGE outdoor town location (more about that...later!), but I also felt like mapping some inside locations to make this town feel more "alive". Keep in mind: I might be polishing it a bit more in the futher.
Right now it's 1260+ sectors, 10100+ walls.

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User is offline   ck3D 

#9237

Hahaha, is that a Funny Comedy Dog that I'm seeing?

Thanks, it's funny our WIP maps currently are at the exact same stage, not even kidding. I've been happy with my progress too so I can relate to the stoke you're feeling!

Love the style in those screenshots. Last one in particular is so sweet with the creamy textures and architecture work. Good luck with the rest!
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User is online   Sanek 

#9238

@ck3D, Maarten - you should make a map together! :P
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User is offline   Dukebot 

#9239

View PostMaarten, on 05 April 2020 - 04:03 AM, said:

Looks good here, folks!
@MRCK I reconize some things you're pointing out, I even have to "split" my idea in at least 2 maps haha. Gotta love that shadow @ staircas shot.

--------

Meanwhile I've LOTS of inspiration while building on my map. It will contain a HUUUGE outdoor town location (more about that...later!), but I also felt like mapping some inside locations to make this town feel more "alive". Keep in mind: I might be polishing it a bit more in the futher.
Right now it's 1260+ sectors, 10100+ walls.


Liked to read 1260+ sectors and 10100+ walls, this means that another huge map is comming, love this kind of maps, and for the screenshoots it is looking really good!


I'm also working on a big map (at the moment 1100+ sectors, 13500+ walls), in my case it's an outdoors land with some temples, a cementery, some old ruins and stuff like that. Right now I'm trying to give some "vitality" to this natural landscapes:

https://i.imgur.com/av4Hwjc.png
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User is offline   ck3D 

#9240

View PostSanek, on 05 April 2020 - 04:55 AM, said:

@ck3D, Maarten - you should make a map together! :P


Honestly I have a concept ready if anyone is down, was planning to use it for a possible future one-off level of mine but it would work well with the community project format (and then maybe it would also come out); now let's hold our horses, realistically everybody seems to be focused on their personal projects with real life on the side, so I'm not sure many people would have the luxury for something like this (I suspect a lot of them are only getting ahead in their own stuff because of the lockdown, too, at least that's my case). I do have pleasant memories of sending map files back and forth with Maarten for AMC Pleaser though, or even Roch Island, wow, time flies.

The only way this could work would be if people needed an outlet to go nuts with on the side of their personal projects to let off some steam, but we're at a stage where most currently active mappers work on their personal projects for fun just to let off some steam in the first place, we'd need 48-hour-long days, or a delivery of Vitamin X.

'Come eat a, delicious. DUKE NUKEM boi-ger'

This post has been edited by ck3D: 05 April 2020 - 10:21 AM

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