Hi, boys and girls! Come on in and sit down at your desks, because today's lesson will be an exciting one: The Joys of Lighting! It isn't an easy subject, kids, but it's very, very important. For our example today, we'll be using a brand-new map called The Wasenshi Compound, designed by a new developer. He's made a solid first effort, make no mistake, but there are a few issues we'll help him work out today. Everyone ready? Okay, take out your pencils, and we'll begin.
The first thing you'll notice about this map is that it is bright. Very, very bright. It's so bright, in fact, that unless you made note of the shadows cast by the trees and such, you wouldn't even realize that the author had made a lightmap at all. Had he just compiled the map unlit, the effect would have been very much the same. Unfortunately, it makes it a little hard to enjoy the map, because it feels like all the details are thrown at you in one fell swoop -- careful lighting makes things a little more relaxed, and lets you absorb a map piecemeal. The lesson here, kids, is to always use lights in moderation. You don't want things garish, but you also don't want it too dark. Find a nice middle ground.
Now, the map is divided into seven primary parts. At each corner is a deep, wide cube, set underground with glass riding the ceiling so that observers can peer down at ongoing duels. It's a cool idea, kids, but it's very uninteresting. You can find a thousand other places to have identical duels, and many of them have a much more enveloping atmosphere. Lesson number two is to remember that dueling areas need something to separate them from the norm. If you have four dueling areas in one map, and they're all identical, things are going to get very boring very quickly. Variety is the key, kids, variety is the key. Spice up those arenas!
The other three parts of the level are the central courtyard, which is populated by a huge glass dueling booth, an accessible AT-AT, and a bridge; as well as a fenced-in garden, complete with trees and seats; and a big pyramid with a pretty small interior. The garden is nice for a change of pace, but feels all too blocky and doesn't carry atmosphere without proper lighting -- do you all remember Lesson One? The end effect is pretty monotonous. The pyramid is probably the most visually complex area of the map, but that's only because it has a couple of pretty, curved archways. The central area will probably get the most attention from players, but only because it's very trying on the eyes. Tell me, kids, have any of you ever attempted to duel in a big glass case? It might be cool with the proper shaders on the glass, but here, it's quite disorienting and difficult to judge depth, which is a very, very bad thing in a first-person shooter. All of these issues combine to give you Lesson Three: Keep the map visually appealing.
The last lesson today is one of consistent theme. If you are trying to create a purposefully themed map, then keep the said theme consistent throughout. While the name of this map and its background music both lend a slightly Asian feel to the level, the only object within the level itself that denotes an Asian background is the bridge. The pyramid and dueling cubes feel Egyptian, the glass case futuristic, and the AT-AT simply out of place entirely (not to mention missing textures). The end result is a feeling of disorientation, and that's not how you want your maps to feel, children.
Now, to sum up, we've covered four lessons; the first was to use lighting in moderation, the second to keep duel areas interesting and entertaining, the third to ensure maps are visually appealing, and the forth to keep consistent theming in maps where such necessities prove vital to the atmosphere. As I'm sure you've been able to conclude, the visual styling of the map has been the major factor of today's class work. This is so, because the map is of such type that gameplay is not inset within, but created by the players. To put it simply, kids: if you make a map that's gamplay-free, it better look good so that players feel comfortable creating their own fun within. Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll see you all tomorrow!
The Bottom Line: The Wasenshi Compound is an overly lit and underly fun map, but it nevertheless carries marks of effort. Trees have been individually modeled (JK2 doesn't come with palm tree prefabs), benches individually brushed, and dueling areas individually textured (they do carry coloration differentiation). A solid amount of work went into it, but there's no continual pattern to the level, no overpowering theme or feel. Quite simply, it feels as though different parts of the map were created on different days when the developer had different ideas about what he wanted the map to be. The end result is disjointed, but not overly negative. It's just very difficult to enjoy the gameplay, and a great part of this is due to the lighting.
Download if you desire, but it will probably make its way onto only a few server rotations, the mapper's clan’s being one of them. It's your choice.
Bot Support: NO New Music: YES New Textures: YES Game Types: FFA
- Dan "ViperEye" Tennant
---------------The Wasenshi Compound------------------- Created by [-S-] Perseus (email@example.com) Special Thanks To: -David Rivera (Agent007) SecretAgent@attbi.com, for a wonderful ATAT prefab ;) -[-S-] ProxXect for kinda helping me out. -My PC for not crashing all the time. -All the people who wrote tutorials, for making their tutorials absolutely incomprehensable to me. -ID software for making this really ****** ineffecient tool called JK2Radiant... -Enya, for some really relaxing music when I needed it... Drop this file in your gamedata/base folder and it should work fine in JK2. Have fun... THIS MODIFICATION IS NOT MADE, DISTRIBUTED, OR SUPPORTED BY ACTIVISION, RAVEN, OR LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LLC. ELEMENTS TM & © LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LLC AND/OR ITS LICENSORS.
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