Kingrudolf's mapping story (tutorials and rants) -1 reply

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Kingrudolf

Fan FH Mapper

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9th October 2003

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1,345 Posts

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#1 14 years ago

This is to all newbies and people that might just have a sense of humour. Incompetent and dumb people should stay away. They might get headaches due to the many words that they're puney brains have to process.

Chapter 1

“So I want to become a mapper that can do… stuff.. lots of it”

It all started when I saw these cool BF maps! They were all vanilla, but who cares about poor map layout and crappy balance. I just loved to be unable to find any cover in a supposedly crowded looking city! I wanted that too! I wanted to make a map too also!

Well, sonny, this isn’t gonna be easy. Not easy? Heck no. You need to know stuff first. Like what than, grandpa? Well, in my days we didn’t have Battlecraft. No, o dear lord no. We had to program everything by hand, I tell ya! And we had to pack the map and run it over and over in BF just to get that one fence right! Ahh.. yes. Those were the real days. But these, pussys like you, sonny, have the luxury of BC, and ED42. So what are these things then grandpa? What? You don’t know? I always knew you were stupid. Those are programs, that allow you to make maps easily, and they also provide a good crappy texturing program. Heck, if I remember correctly, BC even adds that little “touch” to it. Touch, daddy? Yeah, when you saved your map after having textured the whole four damn blocks, it would screw up your textures, with all kinds of circus colors. It sprays purple, green, and red all over the place. Isn’t that great son? I guess so..

But where do I find these programs? What? Are you retarded or something? You never heard of Google? Google granny? I tried looking on the FH forums. but they all started swearing at me for not using a “search” thingy or something and posting multiple topics concerning the same subject. It’s not my fault they didn’t reply within two minutes. They are so mean! Now dear dear, son. We can’t all be smart. Tell ya what, let’s go to Walmart this afternoon, see if there are any brains in offer. Yes yes please granny! *sigh*

I think I downloaded my first editing thingy at.. what was it again.. ah yes, it was called “Planetbattlefield”. There was a link there, an editing tool link, and it was like being in paradise. It had all the stuff you could dream off. RFA extractors, packers, BC, texturesets, all kinds of stuff. But don’t think it was all that easy. What ya mean grandpa? Well, first off all you had to do a “register” thingy or something at a site called “Fileplanet”. Can you believe that son? Register?? My god. That would have at least taken me 5 minutes. I wasn’t gonna wait that long, just to be able to download tools I could enjoy months in a row. Heck no, It wasn’t worth it. I was gonna get my tools elsewhere. I heard of this thing called “ED42”. I heard some mapping nerds talk about it. They praised the program as if it was a good!

As a god, grandpa? Oh yeah. Yeah.. so I HAD to get that program. It fitted exactly into my character, offcourse. After all, I was a mapping god. I made maps similar like “Invasion of Norway” and many other hits, and uploaded them all to bf1942files.com. Offcourse, I couldn’t share my full capacity. They weren’t getting the best of me, or at least not for free. So to tone em down a bit, I put in a couple of broken links of screenshots, so they wouldn’t be able to see the map, and had to download them. Hmpf, those lazy bastards didn’t download even one of my masterpieces. They don’t need no screens! They should just know my pieces were great, they would see when they downloaded them! They were all extraordinary. So how about it grandpa..? tell me about one of your greatest maps.. pleeeeaase?

Well, ok then. See, once I made this map called “Battle of udkaiogorn”. Seems like an impressive map, gramps, was that an important battle in WW2 dad? Hahaha! No, offcourse not son. I just wanted the map to have a cliché name, that started with “Battle of”.. and the rest.. well, I just got frustrated and lazy so I just hit the buttons on my keyboard as fast and random as I could. Thus the impressive map name. But let me tell you about the map itself. Yes yes! Please dad! Heh, ok then. Well, I started out with a flat area, offcourse. I kept it through the whole map offcourse. Heh, gramps wasn’t planning on doing actual work, so I just got lazy. Well, I did landscape the map a bit, when the map was finished. I put in some craters because it looked good. I was too lazy to texture though, so you had to watch out not to fall into them oversized deep ditches, leaving your precious Tiger tank over to the monsters of the untextured pits. As if they textured craters in real life!

Haha, tell me more gramps. Sure. So I started mapping. I didn’t really know what to make, really. After all, the map name couldn’t really suggest anything good. So I decided I needed something that made all maps big hits. I needed something… cliché. So I started adding this port to my map. I first lowered the land and holed out a big gap for big battleships to put in. I put the submarine into his own puddle, so it could dive and drive underneath the water and the land to the open see. Too bad the n00bs didn’t make use of this though, they never got far with the sub, they just bounced it to the sides and bottom. But anyway. Then I added these big cranes, I put lots of em in, so I could camouflage the ships. Offcourse, the cranes were also needed to load in ammo and such, even though the cranes are unaccessable useless statics that just swallow fps.

The worst thing was, when I put in the dock scene, many people didn’t even drive the ships out of the docks! Each time they screwed up. I have no idea what the hell those people were doing. They just swam to the ships, and then I kept hearing this squeeling sound each time they tried to drive off. Very odd indeed. I think someone was whining about the docks weren’t deep enough or something… what an idiot. Who made the map? He or I? You offcourse, gramps. That’s right sonny. Remember, never listen to other people, they are always wrong. Especially not when they whine about the huge amount of floating objects in your map. Just ignore them. They’re all jealous.

So what else did you put in grampa? Oh, lots of stuff. I then made a huge town. I put in gigantic rows of houses, and to make it look nice, I kept the same type of houses in each different street, thought it’d look good. I don’t know what they were whining about, but I didn’t notice any lag at all. The slow cursor movement was just because of the explosions going on, the ground moves each time, so you can’t really easily stand still. In WW2 I didn’t hear anyone crying about lag. Idiots. So then I decided this huge city part where no one would even bother to capture or guard the flag with a radius of 2 metres, I thought it needed some scenery. I put in, say.. about 50 piles of rubble.

So kids, did you really think gramps made such a great map? I’m not sure if I’m allowed to interrupt grampa’s scene.. but who’ll notice eh? I’m Chris, I tested gramps map once. What? Yes, he made only one map. Heck, it wasn’t even finished. He didn’t even texture it. He made a grass landscape, but because of his incompetence he kept the landscape grey with the default crack-rock ground texture. I’m pretty sure he forgot to texture important things like craters and stuff as well. Not to mention, … oops, gotta go. Here comes the security!

No son, they didn’t all whine about the map, some of them were smart. Like one time, this guy came to me and said; “hi I rely lik ur map you rox” that was like so totally cool offcourse. He said he really enjoyed the long walking distances that were between the flags, and he agreed with me that there was no transport needed, because in real life they didn’t have halftracks everywhere either. Sometimes you just had to walk kilometers at a time to get to a flag, only to get expacked by an engineer who hid in a ditch 20 metres behind the flag. That was really worth it. Fuck transport. I was too lazy to sort out this “object template spawn” thing-whatever-the-heck-it-does-thingy.

Then I decided the map needed many tanks to fight off the battleships. Offcourse, it wouldn’t be realistic to command all these tanks, so I just put in the static wrecks and cluttered them all over the field so that you could hardly cross the field without having to take a de-tour of 300 metres. Lastly I needed something good.. something exciting.. an airfield! I reserved a big chunk of map for this, and put in about 20 hangars with double the amount of airfields. The extra airfields operated as a reserve offcourse, in case the other airfields were occupied. Even though I had only one Stuka spawned which would be thoroughly involved in tough teamkill planecamping battles where after the Stuka got hit so often when taking off that it didn’t even get off the ground. So as a punishment to those TK-ers I put in only one Stuka spawn for all the 20 hangars and 40 airstrips.

I also put the soldier spawns very far away from the vehicle spawns so that the enemy would get a good chance to rape our spawnpoint. I knew this would happen so I made sure that spawn was an uncapturable spawn, in the middle of a flat field with no cover, so that there was a good view to all sights for the defender so they could shoot the enemy B17’s out of the sky with their SGT’s. But how did you create all these ingenious scenes then grandpa? Well that was easy. Easy enough for me, gramps? Even for someone stupid like you, son. It was a program called “Battlecraft”. And If you couldn’t handle THAT program, then you needed some serious help. I must admit, it crashes now and then on unexpected moments vaporizing your work into thin air.

No seriously guys. Yah, this is the author of the document speaking. It’s me, Kingrudolf. BC is a good program to start with. Heck, it’s all I use at the moment, in cooperation with Photoshop (for texturing). Easy object placement, ingame view, simple settings, importing files, editing con files. You can even combine lists and standardmesh RFA’s so you can view all available mod objects in BC, and actually see where you place them. ED42 is nice. But I have yet to find out how to rotate objects. Seriously.. but it’s great for texturing landscapes. What you see is what you get, for texturing this is the program you need. Never go with BC for texturing.. unless you want a circus like grampa told us.

Chapter 2

When will you finally explain how to make a damn map? Idiot..

First you oughta know one and another about the RFA archives. This may sound like nerd talk, but you want to map, right? Get RFA extractor and extract a map to your c:/ drive. Go to the c:/bf1942 folder and look into the map. You notice a peculiar structure. The main folder is called “bf1942”, with a subfolder “levels”, where the maps are being placed. Extract another map to the c:/, and it’ll automatically put in the map into the folder (it won’t overwrite the bf1942 and levels folder). Right. Now you get BC (Battlecraft). Don’t just immediately start trying things out, just follow one of the tutorials that come with BC. You might say “fuck it” but sooner or later you might want to know all the functions. I say this to keep them gazillions of posts down, like “how do I make BC texture my map?” or “why can’t I move objects??”, stupid questions like those.

Now when you get to know the basic stuff of BC, and screwing around a bit into the extracted levels, you need one more thing before you start mapping. It’s called an “idea”. For example you just watched that Band of Brother Bastogne scene again, and you feel like making a scene of that serie. Gather some intel, and ask yourself if you want to make the real scene or just make your own forest and town. It would be logical to recreate the actual scene, so look over some pictures or film, and then draw the map on paper. Draw out the layout, positions, flags, object spawns, as much as possible. Also think of the weather settings, respawn times, kits, the kind of stuff people usually forget.

Now if you’d want to make this type of map, you might want to keep the map small. This ain’t Joint Operations or BF2. This is the bf1942 engine we’re talking about. There are hardly any 64 player servers, if they’re actually playable. So design your map for say, around 32 players. If you want fierce action, you make bottlenecks, and small scenes, if you want the battles on multiple fronts, you make the map larger. But watch out, you don’t want any back flag cappers. Most mappers tend to make humongously large lines and area’s. Not only is this very stupid, it also means a lot of work. You need to texture each and every tile, and make each scene unique again.

Talking about detail, don’t just copy the vanilla map style. Look at the vanilla Berlin map. Russian ruin here, rubble pile there, sandbag over there, and that’s it. So much for realism and looks. Please make sure that you make some good looking, but most importantly, gameplay friendly scenes. Make sure theres enough cover, that the scene looks realistic, avoiding the typical “sniper” battles. If you’re gonna use armour make sure they won’t get stuck. You should test armour in your map to see if everything is bug free. Exploit every item in the FH list, to see if it is of any use. Honestly, we are all getting sick and tired of seeing the same city building over and over, and the same typical scenes, and untextured craters where people fall in and get stuck, not to mention floating rubble piles and buildings.

*sigh*

Whatever you do, provide some uniqueness. If someone did a thing you had a similar idea about, then use the concept and make it better. Don’t steal it, just use the concept.

You’ll notice, that once you’ve been laying out the map a bit, that it appears that it’s a lot of work. Heck yeah. The bigger the map, the more the work. But if you want something, you gotta work for it. So don’t give up. Theres the mapping forum you know, but only ask for help if you’re really stuck. If you find out things yourself, you’ll remember it better, and will be able to work more efficient the next time you run into trouble. I ain’t no babysitter.

You might envy others people work. It’s gonna take a while before you “catch” up to other mappers’ experience and skill. Usually the best way to find out how they did things is to dive into their map, with RFA extractor. As for texturing, it might take a while before you get Editor42 to work. Then you need to sort out the functions. But it’ll be worth it. Make sure you have your scene figured out and texture it. Don’t use to much vegetation on your field. This isn’t FarCry. If you need large forest borders, use the Gold Beach hedgerows. You can change its texture easily.

Changing textures might be tough, if you’ve never worked with Photoshop. I know you and me both don’t have the money to buy it in the store. So you’ll just have to get it at.. “external” resources. Textures are usually .dds files. But how do I know which textures belong to which object? This requires a bit of work. Extract the objects.rfa, and standardmesh.rfa, and finally the texture.rfa from your FH folder to your c:/ drive. If you want the texture of say, a Tiger tank, search in the objects folder for the name “Tiger”. In there you need to open the .con file with Notepad, and pick your component of which you want to edit the texture. If you want to change the turret texture, remember the static object name, and search for that name in the standardmesh.rfa. In there you have two files. One is called (I dunno) for example, “Tigerturret_m1.sm” and the other “Tigerturret_m1.rs” You need the second file.

Open it with Notepad and you’ll see names that end with “.dds”. Open those up in photoshop. Now you can edit them to your taste. Make sure you flatten the image before saving (image>flatten image). When the textures are done, go to BC and open your map. Then choose the “add file to archive” function. Import the new .dds file to your “texture” folder. Replace the line below with: “bf1942/levels/Your map name here/Texture” (without quotes, ya idiot). Should be all set. Now to make them “work”. Go to your init.con file. Use the function “archive file editor” and open it up. Put this line in there: “textureManager.alternativePath bf1942/levels/Your map name here/Texture” Without quotes, offcourse. Then it should all be working. Now once you hit “save” to save the .con file, don’t save the map itself. Else it’ll reset that line again.