Author Topic: How to make an Eastern Front map  (Read 14385 times)

Offline Nissi

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #30 on: 23-06-2014, 14:06:48 »
The editor colors are very misleading, the following pic shows how the road works ingame



Note that none of the objects are lightmapped on the screenshot... and therefore looks quite strange.  ;)

edit: thanks Ts for the blog.

Offline Roughbeak

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #31 on: 23-06-2014, 15:06:07 »
Ok, thanks. It looks great now. :)

Offline LuckyOne

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #32 on: 23-06-2014, 20:06:09 »
Great job!


... Although I'd argue that the SL pooping minions is just a basic gameplay mechanic flaw that forces a certain mapping style to counter. So instead of fixing the (real) problem you try to go around it by purposely limiting your mapping freedom.

Anyway, can't wait to see how this will play out! Especially the infantry gameplay. Hopefully better than Russkie FH1 maps, I always found the combined maps a bit bland to play as infantry.
This sentence is intentionally left unfinished...

Offline Ts4EVER

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #33 on: 26-06-2014, 12:06:02 »
How to make an Eastern Front map - Part 3 (Subpart B)

Hello, and welcome to the continuation of part 3. This time we will take a look at two rather tank heavy flags, at spawn points, mainbase design and pickup kit placement.

If you consult the gameplay plan at the top of this post, you will see that the map is roughly divided in two areas. This is a tried and true way of mapping, the best example being de_dust from Counter Strike. On that map, both teams have a choice at the beginning: They can either go into the dark and chaotic close combat area, or into the overpass area, which is dominated more by long range weapons. On Dukla Pass, you can choose between the village, which is more conductive to infantry fighting, or the valley of death area, which is a tank arena.
The control of either area gives you some advantages. Whoever holds the village gets a light anti tank vehicle (Marder or SU76M), whereas the tank area gives you access to dominant positions to shoot into the village and the opportunity to trap German tank reinforcements in their mainbase. For this, the following flag is important:



Farm

This farm building lies astride the main road leading from the German main and guards the most direct way over one of the three creeks. While the rivers are generally very small and easily fordable with tanks in many places, the area here is relatively rough, limiting and somewhat choke pointing tank movement. For the Germans it is vital to hold this farm.
If you have a look at the flagzone itself, you will notice that it is dominated by another objective static. This barn static is actually a favourite of mine: It has three distinct entrances, a cool raised element and it is roomy enough to place additional statics in it to really make it your own. Another small open hut and a little open shed round out this flag area. Even though there are three open buildings in it, it isn't really the best place for infantry to be. It is overlooked by open hills from both sides, making it easy for tanks to dominate it. On top of that, the area around it is relatively sparse, unless you count the forests, so infantry will have a hard time making it into the flagzone from their spawn areas, if tanks are overwatching. The flagzone purposefully extends to the road, so tanks can easily cap it on their way from the mainbase, without having to maneuvre around stone walls.

The second flagzone is even more tank centric:



Valley of Death

It is called "valley of death" and as you can see, it is the only flagzone without a proper objective static. Instead, it consists of shell holes, trenches and hidden foxholes and some tank wrecks randomly scattered about. There are some static weapons guarding the way from the Russian mainbase, which will be mostly in play at the beginning of rounds and relatively useless later. This is tank terrain!
That being said, the flag features what I think is the best infantry defensive position we have ingame: the crater.
Craters are awesome. They are the reason I like Alam Halfa and Sidi Rezegh.
- They feature 360 degrees of cover
- They let you switch from cover to 360 degree fighting positions, and all that WHILE lying down
- They all look the same, so it can be really hard to locate snipers and such with any certainty, especially after respawning
In this case I opted to go for a few big ones, instead of many small ones, but it is something to keep in mind. As a sniper, I will prefer a crater to a church tower any day.

The mainbases

Compared to capturable flags, mainbases are pretty much no brainers, but there are some guidelines:
- Vehicles must be easily able to leave them without fancy maneuvring
- Soldier spawns should be placed so that the players see some useful options either:
- looking directly at vehicles
- or pickup kits
- or seeing the initial paths to the enemy

One big thing everybody complains about is baserape. Frankly, I care very little about this. I don't care if people shoot into ABC areas and I design them in a way that assumes that people will shoot into them. In my eyes, the ABC areas are not there to prevent people from shooting enemy forces in them, but to prevent them from maneuvring into positions from which they can directly and easily shoot at spawn points or spawning vehicles. It is not my job to ensure that players can leave their base unmolested after they got themselves trapped in it like idiots. If you prevent people from shooting at the ABC area, they will just camp 50 metres further back and you have the same problem.

Russian main



This layout is very simplistic. I don't subscribe to the school of thought that every vehicle needs to be placed under a camo net or somesuch. In my eyes that often ends up looking more fake than just placing them on the road they will drive down. This way it looks like a tank convoy stopped for a last time before the attack, so that the tankers can enjoy a last vodka/bier/tea. The infantry all spawn down in the tents, roughly the same distance from the tanks, looking directly at them.

Pickup kits

Pickup kits are one of the least standardized aspect of FH2 mapping, so what I am writing here is my own personal opinion on the matter. I place pickup kits to be used. One small thing I am really proud of on Omaha is that on a full server, almost every kit will get used, including stuff like deployable MGs. For instance, when you spawn in Vierville you are instantly faced by a Panzerschreck, a G41 and a Lafette on a bunch of boxes. Tanks and other vehicles are marked on the map, so I don't see why I would hide kits away from the player.

- Place kits near the spawn points or in high traffic areas
- Place kits where they will be useful
- Place a selection of kits in each mainbase
- Place them highly visible on boxes or tables

I don't place novelty kits like bare hand kits, angry farmer kits or that one kit nobody has found yet, not because I am opposed to them in principle, but because I think jokes are best only told once.
In case of the Russian main, there are a bunch of pickup kits available in the tents, like a scoped automatic rifle and a PPS43 assault kit, for that tank riding experience. Might add an AT rifle too, once we get these, so people can snipe the 88mm gun down in the village from the top of the hill with it... ;D

German main



This is a bit more complicated, mostly to prevent spawn rape, but the same principles apply: The German tanks can easily maneuvre out of their hidden positions and all pickup kits are right out in the open. It is hard to see, but there is also an 88mm gun for additional protection. You can also shell the farm flag with it.

Since you are always interested in assets, this is the preliminary tank layout:

The Russians get 5 T34/85 (early version) + a Katjusha
The Germans get 2 Panthers, 2 Panzer IVHs, 1 StuGIV

I might replace the StuG IV with a Panzer IV/70.
Both sides get some transports, but I personally don't like small vehicles like jeeps etc.

Spawn points

There is no effective way to prevent spawn rape in BF2. In later BF games you have stuff like ray checks, but all you can do in this case is make it as hard as possible. A good rule of thumb is 5 - 8 spawn points per flag. More than that and you probably have too much clutter around it. As you may have noticed on Omaha, I like to have distinct "spawn areas" where the spawn points are concentrated, but in a way that one person cannot camp them all at once. I think people should be able to at least predict the general area where they will spawn or from where respawning enemies will assault them. This leads to more tactical choices and clearer gameplay.
For a typical spawning area we will take a look at the valley of death flag:



This is a small wood cutters camp with an open building to spawn in. With additional spawn points in the shell holes. The spawns are protected from long range fire by the ridgeline to the north and a thick forest to the south. A bunch of craters serve as cover on the way into the flagzone. Some AT kits are in the area for additional tank defeating power. You should generally always also design covered ways between the flagzone and the spawning area, so infantry can reach it... unless of course the enemy is guarding these approaches.
Two things you should never do:
- Place spawn points inside the flagzone
- Place spawn points in key terrain buildings (to remind you: buildings outside of flagzones that are valuable to control)
Generally speaking: If you want an area to be an interesting fighting stage, do NOT place spawn points in there. Rather have you spawning areas a bit on the sidelines, without any inherent value except for the spawn points, obviously.

This concludes this series for now. The map is in a pretty advanced stage and some changes were already made based on testing. I am pretty confident in how it works and maybe I will make another blog about the finishing process in the future, even though that would probably be rather technical. For now, there is another map I need to get to this level...



Discuss...

Offline Harmonikater

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #34 on: 26-06-2014, 13:06:43 »
Just out of curiosity, do you guys lightmap with Editor or with 3dsmax?
I do bad things to the BF2 engine.

Offline Roughbeak

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #35 on: 26-06-2014, 14:06:52 »
Fantastic TS! That last shot could be "road to Berlin" perhaps? ;) I also, saw that the Panther received a new skin, very nice.

Offline Matthew_Baker

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #36 on: 26-06-2014, 20:06:40 »
Amazing updates TS :) you have a real knack for writing tutorials. That was the best I've ever seen the idea of BF2 mapping broken down and presented to me. A lot of people can go into the editor and create a working map, but it takes a lot of design and know how to do it well 8) I hope this gives some new people the itch to make a map like I have now :P

Offline FORGOTTENKEVINOHOPE

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #37 on: 27-06-2014, 19:06:33 »
this might help  matt ..... 

Offline Ts4EVER

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #38 on: 28-06-2014, 17:06:39 »
That reminds me:

A comparison between the plan and the latest (still WIP) beta minimap:





The map is 2x2km btw.
« Last Edit: 28-06-2014, 17:06:33 by Ts4EVER »

Offline Matthew_Baker

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #39 on: 28-06-2014, 17:06:45 »
Damn nice detail :o you can see pretty clearly how well that matched up to the plan you originally had.

2km x 2km. For comparison's sake, isn't PHL that big? and what's El Al?

Offline Ts4EVER

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #40 on: 28-06-2014, 17:06:48 »
All FH2 maps are either 1x1km or 2x2km. The only exception was the old verison of Bardia I think, that was 512x512.

Offline Stubbfan

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #41 on: 28-06-2014, 19:06:01 »
Sfakia is 512x1 (alas 512x512). Not sure if any other map is scale 1, i think ramelle was, but was later changed to x2 for performance.

Offline Ts4EVER

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #42 on: 28-06-2014, 20:06:28 »
Damn nice detail :o you can see pretty clearly how well that matched up to the plan you originally had.

Planning is half the battle.

Offline PapillonFH

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #43 on: 29-06-2014, 16:06:33 »
Looks great!
Could you go into a little more detail on how you export the Heightmap from Google Earth?
I did fail quite miserably tbh...
And yes, the lightmapping question would be interesting for me too :-)

Offline Ts4EVER

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Re: How to make an Eastern Front map
« Reply #44 on: 29-06-2014, 16:06:36 »
I only lightmap in the editor.

About google earth, you can get the heightmaps here:

http://srtm.csi.cgiar.org/

Download the dem files here, open them with microdem, cut out the part you want and convert to black and white .raw. That way you can just use it as BF2 heightmap. You will probably have to smooth it over in the editor.