CTF Atropos

As far as a background story goes...I was sort of working the old-industrial-complex-worked-over-with-new-industrial- factory-but-even-that\...


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As far as a background story goes...I was sort of working the old-industrial-complex-worked-over-with-new-industrial- factory-but-even-that's-still-old-and-rusty-because-that's-what-textures-are-easiest-to-make map. Or an OICWOWNIFBETSOARBTWTAETM as they call them in the business. Either way, I think theme is all in your head anyway this is multiplayer, if you like the map, and it feels real and interesting, go with it.

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Title		:CTF-Atropos
Version 	:1.00
Release Date	:07.07.05
Filename	:CTF-Atropos.unr
Author		:Andy "Chrysaor" Monroe	
Email Address	:Chrysaor39@yahoo.com

So, first of all, you might be wondering what the hell I've been doing that accounted for the three year gap
between the release of this map and CTF-Disposable Heroes. Well, I've been having a real life (tm) thanks. 
I finished my Bachelor of Arts from the University of Missouri in Columbia focusing on Architecture and 
Anthropology. But more importantly I diversified my social life and hobbies from just level design all the 
time like it used to be. This was all very important in dealing some personal losses I won't go into. 
The difference between the Disposable Heroes Chrysaor and the Atropos Chrysaor is as different as boy 
to man, and I believe that comes out in the professional quality of the design. Maintaining balance and 
getting outside once in awhile is critical to being healthy and keeping the creative juices flowing when 
you do get to work.

This map was actually started at the conclusion of the 03 school year, and then work was also done last summer, 
when I was also fiddling with static meshes and terrain stuff for UT2004. Though neither amounted to anything at
the time despite King Mango's prodding. So, obviously Atropos has changed quite a bit since it was first started.
A screenshot from the original texturing is included. As you can see I was going for this skaarj/richrig blend 
that became overdone with the release of Operation Na Pali, and I felt original textures would be stronger. 
The layout also used to run north-south instead of east-west as it does now. Not that I redid any of it, but I 
didn't get to it initially. The old architecture from 2 years ago is the entire basement area, the purple room, 
pulse gun room through the flagroom. About a third of it was done then. So the only major new parts are the spawn 
hallway with the flak cannon and the Sniper rifle room, and of course all the 3dsmax terrain brushes.

Subsequently, what I hoped to accomplish with the level also changed. When it was first designed, I felt like I was
one of the premier mappers out there, or certainly on the cusp. But there was a definite divide between my style and 
most specifically, those mappers, like Hourences, whom I felt were my rivals. So, in many ways, this level was geared 
towards showing my capability of making an uber-detailed map and being more successful at it than my peers. The style 
of Disposable was utilitarian and simple, but it was not for a lack of skill, and this map would have helped proved 
that. My design philosophy is put detail where it belongs, and that isn't everywhere. Maps that are ridiculously detailed 
along every inch are not realistic in my opinion. I like a plain wall or any surface once in awhile, even big ones. 
The trick is to manage them so they do not appear blank and unfinished, but, well, natural. Atropos, being for UT1, 
defined these areas by open spots that would already be prone to slow FPS, such as the connecting area between the 
first opening and the flag room. However, areas that I could conceal, like the towering foggy utility support area 
by each sides lower entrance, have horrible framerates. And in general framerates are not very high, but that was a 
conscious decision. Overall, I feel I've been reasonably successful in managing a detailed map that does not feel 
blank in many areas.

The terrain was sort of the inverse of Disposable, having the middle open instead of making two paths around the 
terrain created quite a framerate problem, because there was no large hill to occlude. So, I used the bridge system 
to ramp up and down and hide the level a bit from the players view, but in the end this yielded a pretty simple 
outdoor with little room to accentuate and detail, which makes it look somewhat rushed. While I considered reworking 
the terrain layout entirely, much like I did for Disposable, I didn't want a huge terrain to detract from the 
centerpiece of the level, which is the bases themselves. So ironically, the strongest part of Disposable, the 
3dsMax skinned terrain brush became the weakest part of Atropos, even if there are five of them. 

If any of you are wanting some direction on using 3dsmax to skin terrain, I'll first warn you that it's really tough, but 
you'll hopefully ignore me. You'll need Clive Barker's Undying t3d importer/exporter to change your work from .ase to .t3d.
You'll need to learn enough 3ds max to make it yourself. I'll recommend using a checkered material to minimize distortion on
the terrain textures. Always do an STL check to make sure the brush is clean of errors. The Meshtools plugin for earlier 
versions of Max is helpful for modelling. I used 4.29, which is pretty old by now. You'll be able to find all these programs 
by looking, I can't provide lasting links. Anyway, Max units and unreal units are the same, so that helps you with scale, 
and continue to import back and forth to work the brush into what you want. Always use the log command "actor align" to get 
the max brush on the unreal grid. That will save many BSP errors. Most of the trouble is lighting ugly UT1 engine brushes. 
Use Edge Turn to correct a lot of those in Max. But in UEd, Bright corners and special lighting tricky surfaces to smooth 
things out is helpful. If you have a large open flat spot, be sure it is completely flat and Unreal will still merge polys 
(please know what that is) and keep skinning on the other faces of the brush. Most importantly be mindful of sightlines, 
they'll kill your fps. That's about all I can think of. Remember the best way to learn something is to teach yourself, but if
you've questions, I'll try and help. Hey someone should post this paragraph in Unreal Wiki or something to get these tips out 

The texture pack that ships with the level has been in the works for atleast a year, I can't rightly remember. My degree 
is focused in Architecture, and I took a few interior design courses that really helped my color palette arrangements, 
and I feel this came out very strongly in the texture package and the lighting. It created two distinct choices, the
complimentary blue and orange/brown and the analogous rusts and red, which really helped separate the two bases thematically.
The pack even has some great new detail textures, which as those skills grow, I hope to make much more often. All in all, I 
feel it is a stand alone, solid texture pack on par with the best. 

Since this is my last UT map (I hope) I wanted to work in this great stone texture I've been sitting on for years, but 
didn't really have a place for it. So early on, I decided I was going to use it, and I adjusted the color scheme until 
it fit. That was a great little excercise I also picked up from school. Don't know why I mention it, but it's almost 
impossible to not work around a texture or two that you like and make it a coherent scheme. In fact, I'd recommend that. 
Pick something you know you like, and then focus all the subsequent textures around supporting and complementing it.

This level picks up quite a few of my influences and reworks them well into a different whole. In many ways you'll notice 
my maps are influenced by Sidney Rauchberger's CTF-Hydro and Rich Eastwood's CTF-Terra. Those are apparent in this map 
as well. The flak room pillars remind me of CTF-November in a pleasant way. And a bunch I can't think of right now, this 
section was supposed to be longer...

Gameplay wise, this map is a tough cap. The flag runs are long, and the map bottlenecks in the arch. I did that on purpose,
of course. I felt like Disposable was too easy to cap and not easy enough to defend. This map is supposed to open and close, 
a process I call funneling. I've provided the player with routes between flag and center, and center and flag, but at those 
certain points, you must kill and not avoid. It's essential to CTF. Everyone can choose a path, but when the whole other 
team chases the flag carrier into a funnel it creates the funnest opportunites in the game. That's when you'll get your 
monster kill with the redeemer. It's where all the cool moments in a map happen, and managing and setting those up is paramount. 

I've also closed this level off a bit more, which relates mostly to flow. Disposable, and hell, many, many maps, are so 
open ended, that the author is less providing the player with routes, but giving them distractions and stuff to dodge behind. 
I'm trying to tell you how many you choices you have. Which contributes to the difficult cap. If you're truly having difficulty,
my recommendation is to get the flag, and go through the basement. Once you pick up that health and body armor, hammer up 
through that hole and scoot out the side of the base. It'll throw your opponent off, especially if they don't see you, 
and your backup will reach you quicker. 

Lastly, my feelings about base indicators. My capstone course and a couple other classes I took in my degree, really 
stressed the importance of teaching people where to go without signs. Suggesting wayfinding as opposed to telling them 
where to go explicitly is incredibly important to speed, which is even more important in gaming than real life design. 
So, for the most part the bases are devoid of solid indicators. The warning trim is desaturated enough not to ruin the 
color palette like Hydro, and the team indicators are few. Using texture color and lighting to give a "red-base ambiance"
is so much more helpful to every player than a big RED BASE sign. This is subtle, and, you'll likely get lost in this base 
the first time you play it, but I think you'll get the hang of it once you know what to expect.

As far as a background story goes...I was sort of working the old-industrial-complex-worked-over-with-new-industrial- factory-but-even-that's-still-old-and-rusty-because-that's-what-textures-are-easiest-to-make map. 
Or an OICWOWNIFBETSOARBTWTAETM as they call them in the business. Either way, I think theme is all in your head anyway 
this is multiplayer, if you like the map, and it feels real and interesting, go with it.

That's really about all I have to say, hope that was sort of interesting. Any questions or comments, anything will reach 
me at chrysaor39@yahoo.com - oh, except if you want a clan version where the terrain is symetrical, the answer will be no. 
It's a pain in the ass to do, which is why I didn't do it for Disposable either. I left the brushes in there, but you 
don't have my permission to mess with it.

Special thanks to my beta testers, David 'Nachimir' Hayward, Michael 'Bot_40' Rippon, Horton'sWho; all great mappers in 
their own respects. Oh, and lastly my old man. :)

Happy Gaming,
Andy 'Chrysaor' Monroe

Important Information::

This level is copyright Andy Monroe 2005.

Authors may not NOT use this level as a base to build additional levels.

You are NOT allowed to commercially exploit this level, i.e. put it on a CD or any other electronic medium that is sold for money without my
explicit permission!  This includes putting it on ftp.cdrom.com which has a tendancy to do so.

You MAY distribute this level through any electronic network (internet,
FIDO, local BBS etc.), provided you include this file and leave the archive

Unreal Tournament (c) 1999 and UNREAL (c)1998 Epic Megagames, Inc.  All Rights Reserved. Distributed by GT Interactive Software, Inc. under 
license.  UNREAL and the UNREAL logo are registered trademarks of Epic Megagames, Inc. All other trademarks and trade names are properties 
of their respective owners.

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