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 Mapmaking Guide

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Osiris88
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PostSubject: Mapmaking Guide   Sun Oct 09, 2011 3:38 pm

Want to learn how to make good maps for online play in YR? Well, I have all the information you need here on how to make a good map for YR online play. Making maps is not hard, but it takes a lot of work and time. Dedication is required to continue the quest for perfection. In every map you make, you want it to be fun, fair, and balanced.

Fairness is having each spot on the map having an equal chance of winning. Balance is balance between the 3 factions. Some factions will have a better time on certain maps, but do not make it impossible for a certain faction to win. Fun is self-explanatory Laughing

I visualize every map in 3 main layers. The foundation of the map is the first layer. The foundation provides the base for the rest of the map to stand on. The foundation consists of the size of the map and the map theatre. This is basically a basic terrain layer. In this layer, the mapmaker selects a size and theatre, then go into more detail. I always do water first. This defines the land you have to work with, making the mapmaking process less time consuming if it is a map with water. Water areas stay as is, and need no further action. The last part of the foundation is the cliff. Cliffs are a vital part of any terrain, and need to be placed perfectly to get the map looking right and being functional. You want to place cliffs with fairness in mind. Many maps will need the cliffs to adhere to a certain geometric design, and this is the time to make sure you stick to that. Using the minimap is extremely helpful because you can visualize the map from the outside looking in. Once the cliffs are set perfectly, then move on to filling in the height the cliffs need to be. This would be the time to add bridges if applicable. Once all of that is done, check to make sure your tiles are in good working order. I suggest looking at the ramps section.

The first layer is the toughest and most time-consuming. Now comes a less tedious part. The next layer is all about the players. You place their starting positions and the money. Once you have the basic terrain down, start placing the starting positions. You need these to be fair, so keep that in mind. Once the base locations are placed, and you are satisfied with them, it is time to start putting money on the map. I suggest starting with the gems if applicable. They are very important pieces of the map and usually focal points of the map such as the center or on top of a hill. The ore comes next. Make sure that the ore is placed in a fair way amongst all the spots. If stretching is going to be allowed on the map, make sure all players can stretch to their ore. Each spot needs an equal amount of ore also. It may also be a good idea to have an ore patch the spots have to fight for. The layout of ore will reflect the mode the map is intended for. For instance, in team games, there may be ore that the players share. Examples of maps like this are Dry Heat and East VS Best. After the ore is placed, the oil derricks and tech buildings come last. the same rules apply here as they do with ore and gems. Make sure each spot has access to them. In some instances though, you may want to handicap one player in one area and make up for it in another area. An example of this would be Top o' the Hill. One player is being doubled by two, but he has gems and sits atop a big hill.

The final layer is the secondary terrain level. The first step in this layer is to do minor height adjustments. This creates small hill and depressions in the terrain. These features will make the map look more realistic and give it more aesthetic value. I like to put ore and gems on hills and in these depressions. Other features can be placed on higher or lower terrain, such as a house or tech building. Blood Feud makes extensive use of the height adjustment tools. After the terrain height is finalized, you can start to add the remaining details. These include trees, roads, bushes, rocks, and other miscellaneous things such as people and cars. A word of warning when it comes to details. Too little details and the map looks boring. Too much detail and the map size increases too much. If a file gets too large, then the map will take longer to transfer, and be more laggy.

Congratulations! You just finished phase one of the mapmaking process. The next step is offline testing. Play the map offline from each spot several times to see if there are imbalances between the spots. Does one spot have more ore? Is one spot closer to the oil derrick than the other spot? Notice those imbalances now and fix them before taking the map online. Once those are fixed, test it again offline until you think it is ready for online testing. Online testing will get more issues because other people may see things you did not. Especially since you are thinking of the map in the terms you designed it for, whereas someone else may not be. Keep editing the map until it is perfect.

You have now made a map!


General Tips

1. Envision what your map is to be in your head before you even open FA2. This way, you save time and have a clear objective of how you want you map to turn out.

2. Save your map often. After you finish a certain portion such as the water, save it. If you like the way it looks that is. If you are not satisfied, then you can reload it from the last save point and start it from there.

3. Make sure the details match the setting. A desert setting should not have many trees and there should not be much water.Temperate areas should have deciduous trees and bushes, along with generally more detail. They usually contain the most water. City maps should have civilians, buildings, and civilian vehicles. Snowy areas usually are the least detailed. They contain coniferous trees, not many animals (except maybe polar bears), and the slopes should be less intense.

4. Give the players something to fight over. An oil derrick, airport, or patch of gems in a central location are good candidates. There could be several of these strategic focal points on the map. This way, games will not be campy and players actually will use skills such as eco, BOs, and tank control.

5. The map size should be somewhat correspondent to the number of players that would be on it. A 2 player map should not be as large as Sedona Pass, and a 6 player map should not be the size of Dune Patrol.

6. Generally speaking, base locations should not be too close unless they are on the same team.

7. Try to have several ways to attack a single base. Choke points on base entrances breed campy games. Dry Heat and Defcon 6 make good use of this style.

8. Give each base location enough room to fully tech. Give the player enough room to build all the buildings he needs to. Take into consideration he will need more than one power plant.

9. Change up the ground type. If you are in a snow climate, there are several snow types for the ground. Available options are regular snow, dirty snow, and ice. Each theatre has several ground types so make use of them.

10. Small details like roads, traffic lights, mailboxes, dumpsters, vehicles, etc. will really set your map apart and make it look amazing. Only use these if it fits the setting though.

_________________
“I am the punishment of God...If you had not committed great sins, God would not have sent a punishment like me upon you.”

-Genghis Khan


Last edited by Osiris88 on Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Mapmaking Guide   Tue Oct 11, 2011 4:48 pm

Good writeup. I will be using this as a guide from now on. When will you add the rest of it?
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Osiris88
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PostSubject: Re: Mapmaking Guide   Tue Oct 11, 2011 7:23 pm

I just added the "General Tips" portion.

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PostSubject: Re: Mapmaking Guide   Today at 4:19 pm

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