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    Mapper Nih's Avatar  
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    Creating a Sven Co-op map

    Creating a Sven Co-op map
    This guide will prepare you for making custom maps for Sven Co-op. It has been written for the current version, 5.0, which is available from Steam.

    Configuring Hammer
    Note: The hammer configuration described in this subsection has not yet been tested by me. It should work, but the game will likely not start automatically when using the 'Run Map!' button. Just load the game normally and start the map from there.

    To map for Sven Co-op it is recommended that you use the SDK included with the game, but it is not a requirement. You can use whatever mapping editor and compile tools you prefer. However, if you want to make use of the increased engine limits, you will likely need to use our compile tools.

    First step is to install the Sven Co-op SDK. In your Steam Library, you can switch from 'Games' to 'Tools'. There you will find it.

    Inside Valve Hammer Editor, you will have to enter Options and configure some things.

    - In the Textures tab, add whichever .wads you wish to use.

    - In Game Configurations:
    1. Click the Edit button next to the configuration field and add a configuration called whatever you like.
    2. Add the SC .fgd. A common path name looks like this: C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sven Co-op\svencoop\sven-coop.fgd
    2b. You'll probably want to add zhlt.fgd (C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sven Co-op SDK\mapping\compilers)
    3. Select default point entities and solid entities. info_player_deathmatch and func_wall are good recommendations.
    4. Set up Game Executable Directory. Should look like C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sven Co-op
    5. Set up Mod Directory. Should look like C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sven Co-op\svencoop
    6. Set up Game Directory. Should look like C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sven Co-op\svencoop
    7. Set up RMF directory. Should look like C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sven Co-op SDK\mapping\hammer\maps

    - In Build Programs:
    1. Set game executable: C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sven Co-op\svencoop.exe
    2. Set up CSG, BSP, VIS and RAD executables. The 64bit versions have names like "SC-RAD_x64.exe", the 32bit versions "SC-RAD.exe". They can be found in Sven Co-op SDK\mapping\compilers
    3. Choose a directory to place compiled maps in. The directory should look like C:\Steam\steamapps\common\Sven Co-op\svencoop_addon\maps

    At some point in your mapping career, you may want to look into batch compiling: http://twhl.info/tutorial.php?id=35
    And advanced compile settings: http://zhlt.info/command-reference.html

    Introduction to the basics of mapping
    If you have never created a map for a game based on the HL1 engine, such as Sven Co-op, it is recommended that you read some tutorials that introduce you to the basics. The website The Whole Half-Life has one such tutorial available: http://twhl.info/tutorial.php?id=23

    Keep in mind that the TWHL tutorial above is an introduction to Half-Life 1 mapping and is not Sven Co-op specific. However, the lessons learned in the tutorial and its 6 parts are also useable for Sven Co-op mapping. There are also many other tutorials on TWHL that are useful, since Sven Co-op is in essence just an expansion of Half-Life 1.

    Sven Co-op mapping
    Let’s assume that you are now somewhat familiar with the process of creating a map for a HL1 engine game. Let us then focus on the things that are important to know when creating a map for Sven Co-op.

    Creating a Sven Co-op map is very similar to creating a map for Half-Life 1 Singleplayer. As a Sven Co-op player you will know that Sven Co-op maps can be very different and sometimes have very unusual premises, but in general most maps follow a structure that is commonly called “Walkthrough”. In a walkthrough map, players start at one end of the map, proceed through a variety of environments while killing enemies and completing puzzles, until they reach their final objective and the map ends. It is easy to see the similarity between this kind of map and a Half-life singleplayer map. One major difference is that in the typical walkthrough map, players can respawn whenever they die. The Sven Co-op team is aiming to move the mod in a direction with more “losable” maps, for example by use of the Survival mode, but creating a walkthrough map is generally a good way for a new mapper to begin practicing.

    Sven Co-op requirements
    First off, you should know that SC uses info_player_deathmatch entities as spawn points instead of Half-Life singleplayer’s info_player_start. You should always have a decent amount of spawn points in your map to ensure players don’t spawn inside each other. On a 16 player server, it is not impossible that all players will spawn at the same time on map start. For this reason, consider having about 8-16 spawn points at least.

    Second, ensure that your map ends at some point. The common way of doing this is to trigger a game_end when players reach or complete an objective. For example, the game_end can be triggered when a player enters an area with a trigger_once. An alternative to game_end is used in map series: If you want players to progress to the next map in a series, use the trigger_changelevel brush entity to change to the map you specify. Keep in mind that backtracking to a previous map does not work like it does in Half-Life singleplayer - The map players backtrack to will simply be reset, unless some extra entity trickery is used.

    Sven Co-op entities
    Sven Co-op includes all the standard Half-Life 1 entities (with a few exceptions) but also includes a large number of new entities that allow mappers to create more varied and customized maps.

    A guide to the entities in Sven Co-op can be found here: https://sites.google.com/site/svenmanor/entguide

    CFG files
    You can set up various options in map CFG files, such as changing the player starting weapons/ammo/items, turning realistic falling damage on/off, forcing a certain map to be run after the current map ends, etc. This is a powerful system and allows the mappers to set the rules of the game without a lot of entity usage.

    When a map is loaded in Sven Co-op, the game automatically tries to execute a CFG file with the same filename as the map (but ending in .cfg instead of .bsp). For example, if you ran a map called svencoop1.bsp, the game would try to execute a file called svencoop1.cfg. If no file of that name exists, default settings will be used (Players start with a crowbar, a pistol and other default settings). All CFG files must be in the same directory as the .bsp for them to be recognized.

    The Manual provides an overview of the settings that can be put in the .cfg, as well as a few other map-specific files. You can also look at the .cfg files of other maps to compare.

    In almost all maps you will want to make use of a map CFG. It is much better to give players their weapons and ammo via a CFG than by placing the equipment as entities in the map, because an excess amount of ammo_ and weapon_ entities can reduce the framerate in a room and players will be fighting over who gets to pick up the items.

    .Res Files
    When distributing a map with custom content such as models or wads, you will need a .res file if you want players to be able to download the content from game servers. A .res file lists all the files associated with your map that are required to play it.

    A guide can be found here: http://scmapdb.com/tutorial:map-file-distribution-guide
    You can also look at the .res files of custom maps for examples.

    Angelscript
    Sven Co-op 5.0 includes a scripting language to allow for advanced map scripting. As a beginning mapper you are recommended to simply rely on the available entities, but at some point in your mapping career you will want to look into Angelscript, either to discover new ways of manipulating the game or to simplify the creation of advanced map scripts. Some programming experience is recommended before trying to use Angelscript. An introduction to Angelscript can be found here: http://forums.svencoop.com/showthrea...t-Introduction

    Mapping tips
    - Even though computers of today are quite powerful, be careful not to push the limits of the game too hard. Areas with high polycounts can cause slowdowns on modern computers if their graphics card is not optimized for use in OpenGL games, and an excess amount of active NPCs can easily cause network lag. A w_poly max of 1200 is recommended and you can look at other maps to see how many active monsters the game can handle.

    - As mentioned earlier, the Sven Co-op team is highly interested in maps with losable gameplay, so you should seriously consider making maps of that type. By losable, we mean a map where every action of a player either contributes to or reduces the players’ chance of success, because the map can potentially end with a ‘negative’ ending if the players do not perform well enough. An example is a survival-type map, where players who die become spectators, and the players will lose once everyone is dead. Another kind of losable map is Fortified, where players are threatened with failure if they run out of resources or time. A losable map often requires more forethought and testing, but the end result is seriously worth it, as players will feel a stronger sensation that their actions matter.

    - A good map is always tested with a group of people before being released. Consider asking on the Sven Co-op forums if you need testers.

    - Try to include cooperative puzzles or gameplay mechanisms in your map, where players must work together to proceed. A classic example is the two player button sequence, but this can often be seen as a filler sequence or a cliché. However, there are plenty of opportunities for coming up with new and original cooperative gameplay sequences.

    - You can find useful utilities for map creation here. Other useful tools include Wally for .wad creation and Sprite Explorer for sprite creation.

    - Mapping can sometimes be a challenge without assistance from others. The people in the Sven Co-op Mapping Forum are always ready to lend a helping hand, and you can also find plenty of mapping resources and tutorials there. If you need immediate mapping help, you can also visit the Sven Co-op IRC channel (just be aware that you cannot expect an instant answer on the IRC channel either.)
    Last edited by Nih; 24-01-2016 at 06:10 PM.

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