Fastest way to edit a map?

Need help with your project? Ask here.
Zhadoom
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 16:06

Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Zhadoom » Wed Jul 15, 2015 15:57

Hello!

Well, as a spare time map designer, I often wonder, how you huys manage to edit highly detailed maps in a number of weeks.
Mine take much longer. :bfg:

Hence the question: What is the fastest way to edit a map?
What editor software?
Do you use certain configurations that make editors more flexible?

By the way, is it possible to use a game controller to control an editor like GZDB or Slade?

Many thanks in advance!
zhd

User avatar
Rex Claussen
Developer
Developer
Posts: 2400
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 18:36
Contact:

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Rex Claussen » Wed Jul 15, 2015 16:59

Zhadoom wrote:What is the fastest way to edit a map?
Most people have to weigh quality against speed when creating a map. Some highly talented mappers are able to achieve both, but for the rest of us it's a methodical (sometimes tedious) process. But if you simply want to make a quick map, you can create a "sketch" instead of a detailed "portrait". The more "architectural" detail and game-play complexities you add, the more time it will take.

Also, study the results of the speed-mapping contests at DoomWorld to see what works well in a speedmap.
What editor software?
Read this post on DoomWorld. The most commonly used mapping software appears to be DooM Builder and its derivative, GZDooM Builder.
Do you use certain configurations that make editors more flexible?
Editors come with "standard" game configurations (e.g., DooM, ZDooM, Heretic, Hexen, Strife etc.) These allow map editing for specific games. You can also create customized configurations to suit your needs.

Were you perhaps inquiring about "plug-ins" and "pre-fabs"? Plug-ins provide additional functionality to the map editor (e.g., a plug-in could allow you to preview your map in 3D mode from within your editor). Pre-fabs allow you to drop certain types of map constructs into your map without having to create them from scratch (e.g., hexagonal pillars, circular rooms, stairs, etc.)
By the way, is it possible to use a game controller to control an editor like GZDB or Slade?
Not to my knowledge. I believe those utilities need to be run "natively".

Zhadoom
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 16:06

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Zhadoom » Thu Jul 16, 2015 19:15

Hello Rex!

Thanks for your reply! You should know that I read your tutorials on what makes a good map. I used the knowledge you provided there. :cheers:
Most people have to weigh quality against speed when creating a map. Some highly talented mappers are able to achieve both, but for the rest of us it's a methodical (sometimes tedious) process. But if you simply want to make a quick map, you can create a "sketch" instead of a detailed "portrait". The more "architectural" detail and game-play complexities you add, the more time it will take.
Yes, you are right.
Well, so far I've made eleven maps. The first four took a few weeks. Map five to ten took a year each. Map eleven took even two years. Since about one and a half year I've worked on a twelth map. However, I've reworked parts of the older maps again and again. They DO look better, but still many things are missing in them to be perfect.
Hence, I try to fasten the process of editing a bit. I don't want to do "quick" maps which don't look interesting, but I want to do things faster.
To be precise, I wonder if I have a room in my mind - and I have thousends of rooms in there :D - how can I become faster in getting the room done in the editor.
Thus, the question should be: How do you advanced mappers do your mapping so fast? Is there anything which makes mapping faster?
Have you experienced a method that you would consider as being quickly? For example, do you think that 3D editing leads to good results in a fraction of time that 2D editing would have needed?
Were you perhaps inquiring about "plug-ins" and "pre-fabs"?
Yes, that was what I meant.
Plug-ins provide additional functionality to the map editor (e.g., a plug-in could allow you to preview your map in 3D mode from within your editor). Pre-fabs allow you to drop certain types of map constructs into your map without having to create them from scratch (e.g., hexagonal pillars, circular rooms, stairs, etc.)
Yes, pre-fabs, that sounds good. What is the best way to organise them? Should one use rooms as pre-fabs or smaller items like pillars and windows?
Don't pre-fabs leed to the result that many rooms or items in a level look rather similar?

Honestly, I don't think that I'm an advanced mapper, but I consider mapping as a highly creative hobby that I like to do for myself in first place. Still I don't know if I'll sometimes finally release my maps to others, because I don't think they are perfect. But I try my best to make them as perfect as possible... so to speak. :angel:

Thanks
zhd

User avatar
Gez
Developer
Developer
Posts: 1393
Joined: Mon Oct 22, 2007 16:47

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Gez » Thu Jul 16, 2015 23:26

Zhadoom wrote:By the way, is it possible to use a game controller to control an editor like GZDB or Slade?
The interface in both DB2/GZDB and SLADE 3 is designed to work with keyboard and mouse, so you might have some luck using applications such as JoyToKey that transform game controller input into keyboard and mouse input.

I'll admit I cannot really help you more than that, since I do not have any controller and so I never tried to use such a thing.

User avatar
Rex Claussen
Developer
Developer
Posts: 2400
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 18:36
Contact:

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Rex Claussen » Fri Jul 17, 2015 13:58

Zhadoom wrote:Thus, the question should be: How do you advanced mappers do your mapping so fast? Is there anything which makes mapping faster?
I'm not sure that all "advanced" mappers make maps quickly. Often, it is a trial & error process to see what works best. For example, I recently began a map that represents a vast space station. It's taken me several hours to create & scale the proper textures, and set up just the very basic start area. I needed to mess with sector heights and slope angles, length and width, texture alignment, etc. And I've not even completed 2% of my map.

If there's one thing that probably speeds up mapping, it's the ability to properly visualize and conceptualize what you're going for. Some people are better than others in imagining areas of maps. Such people tend to be able to better translate their ideas into map structures. For others, it helps to create paper sketches, both of maps in a 2D view, as well as specific areas and structures in 3D view. Either way, knowing what you want the map to look like [themes, geometric shapes, texturing] will help in streamlining the process and allow mapping to keep moving forward.

Another thing that tends to speed up mapping is having a fairly good idea of the map's progression before beginning mapping. If you know the path (or path options) that the player will need to take before hand, it will avoid having to "stitch together" different parts of a map later in the process. [What helps me is to create a block diagram that traces the player's path (and options) as well as the principal objectives.] Of course, you always need to be flexible, and be prepared to make changes to the progression and layout even after you've begun the process.
Have you experienced a method that you would consider as being quickly? For example, do you think that 3D editing leads to good results in a fraction of time that 2D editing would have needed?
Unfortunately, I'm not the right person to ask this question, as I don't primarily use map editors that feature 3D mode. I have used DooM Builder's 3D mode, and it certainly speeds up texturing and texture adjustment. However, as 3D mode does not allow you to change map shapes (i.e., moving vertices), this method doesn't provide any significant advantage in modifying shapes. I think that the main advantage of 3D mode to someone like me is the ability to swiftly switch between 3D and 2D modes. The way I do things is to save my map changes, then run a batch file to load the updated map, then close it and return to my editor - clearly more time-consuming than having a one-touch switch between 3D and 2D.
Yes, pre-fabs, that sounds good. What is the best way to organise them? Should one use rooms as pre-fabs or smaller items like pillars and windows?
Don't pre-fabs leed to the result that many rooms or items in a level look rather similar?
Pre-fabs tend to work better for smaller items. However, if you have a theme to your map, and different areas can have similar-looking rooms, then entire rooms can be pre-fabs. Insert your pre-fab room, and then make changes that prevent the new room from looking exactly the same as others - new wall & floor textures, relevant sectors moved around, heights of sectors changed, etc.

Yes, pre-fabs can sometimes create a "cookie-cutter" look, where things look similar. However, changing the dimensions and texturing of pre-fabs can reduce this unfortunate side effect. Another way to avoid the sameness that comes from wide-spread use of pre-fabs is to use them sparingly and create more pre-fabs from which to choose. Also, plagiarism is your friend - if you see something in someone else's map that will work well in your own, and if the other author has given permissions, then copy-and-paste what you need and give credit.

Zhadoom
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 16:06

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Zhadoom » Fri Jul 17, 2015 18:59

Hello Gez! :wink:
The interface in both DB2/GZDB and SLADE 3 is designed to work with keyboard and mouse, so you might have some luck using applications such as JoyToKey that transform game controller input into keyboard and mouse input.
Many thanks! I will try this out and let you know if it works.

There is one thing in GZDB as well as in Slade 3 which I'd like to use: If one opens a map in 2D mode one should be able to move the mouse and as soon the mouse pointer reaches the end of the map view then the view should move with the mouse. That is vertical and horizontal scrolling of the map view by just moving the mouse. Is this possible?


Hello Rex! :wink:

Many thanks for the information you provided! Well, you could create another tutorial out of it. :wink:
I'm not sure that all "advanced" mappers make maps quickly.
So, you're saying that everybody needs a lot of time for mapping?
Then I should ask it this way: What would we consider "long" in terms of mapping? Is one year "long"?
Often, it is a trial & error process to see what works best. For example, I recently began a map that represents a vast space station. It's taken me several hours to create & scale the proper textures, and set up just the very basic start area. I needed to mess with sector heights and slope angles, length and width, texture alignment, etc. And I've not even completed 2% of my map.
Okay, this reminds me of my own mapping sessions: trial & error, several hours and in the end only 2% ... :cheers:
I begin wondering, if I'm really as slow as I've thought so far. :wink:
Either way, knowing what you want the map to look like [themes, geometric shapes, texturing] will help in streamlining the process and allow mapping to keep moving forward.
Agreed.
Another thing that tends to speed up mapping is having a fairly good idea of the map's progression before beginning mapping. If you know the path (or path options) that the player will need to take before hand, it will avoid having to "stitch together" different parts of a map later in the process. [What helps me is to create a block diagram that traces the player's path (and options) as well as the principal objectives.] Of course, you always need to be flexible, and be prepared to make changes to the progression and layout even after you've begun the process.
Well, I think this is the way how I start making a map: At first I choose a theme. Theme is hereby not meant only in the architectural sense - will it be a tech base or nukage maze - but also in the sense of overall gameplay and "feel" of the map, that is, will it be a map which basically provides more puzzles or action, will it be dark or light, will it focus on architecture or on some aspect of gameplay and so on.
Then in a second step I choose an architectural theme, that is a basic texture set along with basic concepts, like will there be lots of bridges or more closed rooms and so on.
Then comes the part of mapping itself which takes... years... :angry:
In the end, that is after years :angry: , there finally will be monsters in there... 8)
The way I do things is to save my map changes, then run a batch file to load the updated map, then close it and return to my editor - clearly more time-consuming than having a one-touch switch between 3D and 2D.
Ha, that's exactly the way I use to do it. :wink:

zhd

User avatar
Rex Claussen
Developer
Developer
Posts: 2400
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 18:36
Contact:

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Rex Claussen » Sat Jul 18, 2015 12:44

Zhadoom wrote:So, you're saying that everybody needs a lot of time for mapping?
No, not everybody needs a lot of time for mapping. However, I'd say that is true for the average mapper who is aiming for "perfection" (whatever that means). Some additional factors that contribute to the length of time to complete a map (and most of these are obvious):
  • 1. Size of map (map unit dimensions). The larger the map, the more time to put it all together
    2. Level of detail. More detail = more time
    3. Complexity of scripting
    4. Complexity of gameplay
    5. Amount of time per day spent on map development
    6. Amount of time used to check map in 3D mode (or in-game). I find I am obsessive about perfecting (there's that word again) a particular area before moving on to the next. This adds a significant amount of time to the development process
Then I should ask it this way: What would we consider "long" in terms of mapping? Is one year "long"?
I would say that one year is, indeed, long. [However, unless I know what the specifics of the map and your mapping habits are (as outlined in Items 1-6, above) I couldn't judge.]

I used to be able to complete a mid-sized map with a reasonable amount of detail in less than a month. But that was when I was spending pretty much all my spare time (2-3 hours/day) on development. Now, I could go a couple of weeks without opening a map editor, and it takes me months to complete a single map. I'm working on a 14-map project that I started in 2010, and I'm still 2.5 maps short of completion. [Of course, every time I get a new idea the project expands. The original project scope was for 5 maps.]

Zhadoom
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 16:06

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Zhadoom » Sun Jul 19, 2015 10:44

Thanks again, Rex! :wink:
Another thing that tends to speed up mapping is having a fairly good idea of the map's progression before beginning mapping. If you know the path (or path options) that the player will need to take before hand, it will avoid having to "stitch together" different parts of a map later in the process. [What helps me is to create a block diagram that traces the player's path (and options) as well as the principal objectives.] Of course, you always need to be flexible, and be prepared to make changes to the progression and layout even after you've begun the process.
I have to add the following to my first reply on this issue: When I start a new map, I already have in mind how the player will move along and what s/he can see in particular places of the map. That doesn't mean that I am able to visualise a complete map, because when I then start to design it there will be additions and changes. The basic concept, however, stays the same.
For exmaple, I created a map where the player starts inside a tech base. Moving along there are several windows opening his/her view to a rather dark outside area with some hell knights and constructs looking like island and seeming to have no connection. Later then the player find a way out of the tech base and needs to activate switches to let the connetions to those islands become accessable. During the process of design I added several twists and rooms insed of the tech base, but the surrounding and the concept were kept till the end.
It is most exciting to have such an idea and thinking of it. It is fun to build and test it. It is, however, not so much fun having to wait a year or more till it is finished. :wink:
I would say that one year is, indeed, long. [However, unless I know what the specifics of the map and your mapping habits are (as outlined in Items 1-6, above) I couldn't judge.]
Example: I'm working on a map with bridges and many different areas, some tech basis and inbetwenn some industrial places as well as a few dark wholes for imps and the like. I began this map in January 2014. Up to now it has 1750 sectors and around 10800 vertices. It has reached 14000 x 9600 map units. However, it is still not finished. Many places need more detail, some areas still have to be added.
During all the time I added around 1300 sectors to my previous maps.
Hence, this means around 3000 sectors in 18 months.

What frightens me in this respect is the following calculation: If a mapper wants to do a 32 level project and needs up to two years for a really detailed and good looking map, then this mapper will be at an age of retiring when the project will finally be finished. The question is: Will the mapper at that age still be able to enjoy playing the project? :D :mrgreen:
If there's one thing that probably speeds up mapping, it's the ability to properly visualize and conceptualize what you're going for. Some people are better than others in imagining areas of maps. Such people tend to be able to better translate their ideas into map structures. For others, it helps to create paper sketches, both of maps in a 2D view, as well as specific areas and structures in 3D view. Either way, knowing what you want the map to look like [themes, geometric shapes, texturing] will help in streamlining the process and allow mapping to keep moving forward.
I think this is the most essential thing. I found that sometime I have an area in mind, but when I design it and begin testing nothing looks the way it has been planned. If this is the case it takes me hours to fix it.
Most recently I recognised that I've used to start a new area with the wrong light level. Up to now I thought beginning to build a room should be done with a high light level so that one can easily detect texture missalignments and so on. However, this way hinderes the correct "impression" of the room if it is supposed to be one with a high level of lighting contrast. Also, if the room is light and I change the light level later on it can lead to the effect that I don't like it any more because I've become used to the higher light level by testing it. Hence, the original idea has not become created properly.
The last additions I made I all started with a relatively moderate light level and all of them became the way they had been in mind. :D

zhd

User avatar
Rex Claussen
Developer
Developer
Posts: 2400
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2006 18:36
Contact:

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Rex Claussen » Sun Jul 19, 2015 19:14

Regarding light levels, I use the following general rule of thumb:

1. Outdoor areas with light-colored sky = 192
2. Outdoor areas with foreboding skies (pretty much all DooM/2 maps except for DooM1 E4) = 160
3. Dimly-lit indoor areas = 128
4. Moderately lighted areas within dimly-lit areas = 144
5. Well lighted areas = 160
6. Shadowed areas and areas with no obvious light source = 80 - 96
7. Really dark areas = 64, but I typically add a light source to provide contrast. In GZDooM, this is best done with, say, a point light.

Also, most map editors allow the user to increase or decrease light levels simultaneously for multiple sectors (e.g., ++32). This allows you to quickly change light levels uniformly for entire rooms or areas.

Zhadoom
Posts: 56
Joined: Tue Sep 02, 2014 16:06

Re: Fastest way to edit a map?

Post by Zhadoom » Thu Oct 01, 2015 16:24

Rhank you, Rex!

Post Reply

Return to “Editing Help”