View Full Version : Great Mapping Tips

19-08-2001, 04:10 PM
Here are a list of mapping tips I have aquired over time, I hope they are useful to you.

The reason you find so many maps of technical labs and gothic churches, is that it is much cooler to duck into a musty old church then to blaze away in your version of a local mall. Real life places are just too mundane. You may think your home is cool to die in, but noone else cares.

Add some colums to the side of hallways and make halls out of multiple brushes.

It is important in SP maps that you add in some mini-missions. For example, people will lose interest if the entire point of the map is to run down halls killing everything you see. You should give them obsticles to over come or a switch to find every once in a while.

While SP maps need to be linear, dont make them TOO linear. Add some depth to you map like an alternate hallway with a locked door so players don't feel they are stuck on a track.

Add some dark areas to your map.

Stick to a set of textures. Obviously, if you are going through a cave you won't round a corner and be in a lab. This may seem obvious but you would be surprised how many people make this mistake. While you may be able to think up reasons for using a lab texture in a cave, DON'T the player won't be able to figure out why its there so it will just seem like a mistake to him/her.

Use texture lighting.

Use Zoners Compile Tools

Add some easter-eggs into your map, not where the player can easily get to them, but where if they work they can find it. This would be a good idea to place credits for people who helped you.

Compile often, don't wait until everything is finished to compile and find a leak. Nothing is worse than that.

Make outter walls 64 units thick for safety.

Make sure your map is fun, if you don't enjoy playing it after a few play-tests, chances are the players will quickly grow tired of it.

For grates, ladders, ect. Turn them into func_walls and set Render Mode to SOLID and FX Amount to 255. This makes the blue in them transparent and makes it look better.

When possible, connect corners together with vertex manipulation so they meet at an angle. This decreases r_speeds because they aren't broken up into polygons if made like that.

If you make rooms by taking a block, hollowing it, and then carving a door to the next room, then don't do that. It's much easier to build them with individual brushes. This is not to say you will never use carving, but that its not good to make rooms that way.

Playtest your maps over and over and over. Give them to your friends to playtest, tell them to send you a notepad with at least 5 things they saw wrong. Playtest until everything is just right. Make sure there isn't too much ammo but that there is enough.


Deathmatch maps can be divided up into 5 popular styles:


Arena types have one central room where most of the action will take place. They may have a few halls leading away, but the halls should go right back to the main area. The main room should be as simple as possible architecturally so the game moves fast.
EXAMPLE: Fractacle Reactor, Unreal Tournament

Maps are circular in design and built so that they player would never turn around on the main path. Very few dead ends, so very little camping.

Linear maps have few alternate paths. Weapons should be placed to force players to travel for ammo. A good example would be a map symetrical map with weapons on one side but ammo for them on the other. This style is rarely used but is a good style.

Players always know where they are. However, they don't always know how to get somewhere fast. Each area should have a mini-theme to it. In DM3 of Quake there is a stairs area for vertical fighting, a computer room for close-quarters, and a water area.

Has a certain aspect of the map and exagerates it all over. Themes may be deadly traps, water, wind tunnels ect. In the RATS! series, everything is huge so it looks like you are the size of a rat.

A few of the tips here came from a great book I read called "Gamedesign: Secrets Of The Sages" it sales alone or in a development pack at stores like Electronics Boutquie and Best Buy. Also I recomend picking up the "Sams Teaches..." series if you would like to learn a particular subject quickly.

21-08-2001, 09:14 AM
well im sure some mappers out there will thanks you for your effort, i see you made what was possible for them...but really this doesn't help the more advanced mappers, apart from the 5 "types" of maps :)

anyways, congratulations man.

21-08-2001, 03:26 PM
ya I know not much helped the advanced guys, but I knew it was only gathering dust in the Newbie Forum judging from the size of it to this one. Anyways, hope you guys found this stuff useful.

21-08-2001, 06:29 PM
Yep. Thanks dude! I actually learned a few things like using func_wall to make the blue stuff on textures to be transparent. ;)

Keep it up guys.

One of the only problems I have is the need to be able to make complete custom textures for my own maps. Can anyone send me a link (besides valve-erc) that'll show me everything I need to know about textures and that stuff?

21-08-2001, 08:55 PM
Sure, try HERE http://wadfather.game-edit.com (http://wadfather.game-edit.com)