Hey dudes, hows it going.
After spending a couple of hours talking to people on IRC I have decided to make a post for all them people who love ZPS and want to take a shot at mapping for it.
If I neglect to put something in/get something wrong, let me know and I will change it.
May I just start off with: Thank you! Deciding to make your own maps can be a bit frightening at first, but if youve ever grasped the basics of things like photoshop or dreamweaver, you should have no problems
Also making a map for a mod helps encourage the life of the mod, with more maps to keep players entertained. Plus, theres nothing more satisfying than watching yourself and others playing a game in something you have made!
I would just like to expand on some of the mapping tutorials you find about a bit, including areas of mapping that a lot of people do not think about when making their first map, such as planning and design. Also the neccessary info needed for making maps specifically for ZPS can be found here.
Ok so let's get into the main meat of this thing!
CONFIGURING SDK FOR ZPS
If your new to the Source SDK, its in the Tools folder of Steam. Download and install it.
When you run the SDK, choose Half Life 2 Deathmatch as your game to edit, and choose to open Hammer Editor.
(If you dont see Half Life 2 Deathmatch in the list, go back out of the SDK, right click it, select Properties, then Set Launch Options. Then enter in there:
It should have Half Life 2 Deathmatch there then.)
Once you have Hammer open, click on Tools -> Options.
Inside you will want to add the Zombie Panic! fgd. This can be found in the main part of your ZPS folder, inside Sourcemods part of the Steam folder. This allows you to have the entities needed for playing ZPS. (If you dont know about entities, look at some of the mapping tutorials shown later)
If you want to know about the entities added in ZPS, check out MapMan's article here:
Okay so now your options should look something like this:
Things at the bottom like game executable and directory you can change if you wish, but arent completely necessary in order to make ZPS maps.
Another thing you will want to change is under the Build Programs tab of the options:
Notice where it says "Place compiled maps in this directory before running the game:" it leads to the ZPS maps folder. This is so that once you compile the map and run ZPS, the map will appear in your list of maps when you start a server.
Ok unless I've forgotten something thats all you need to start making ZPS maps! When you compile the maps you should not check "run game after compiling" and instead open ZPS and open a listen server to look at your map.
NOTE: Some people might say that you could make a seperate configuration file for Zombie Panic! Source, rather than changing the HL2DM one. But I doubt many mappers will be making maps for that, especially with such good new games out like TF2, Portal and ZPS! But if you do insist you can make a seperate configuration if you want.
USING HAMMER EDITOR
Im not going to put in all about how to use hammer, there are plenty of good tutorials that will tell you already, google is your friend here, but I will post some examples:
- this one helped me for making zp1 maps, but brushwork and things are the same in source so should still be helpful
- some counter strike specific stuff in here but a lot of general mapping tuts too
GENERAL MAPPING ADVICE
Alright, this is all just general advice from here on. You dont have to follow it 100%, and some mappers might argue different methods, but I've found this has produced the best end result, and is a lot better for gameplay.
STEP 1: Planning
Before you even open the Source SDK, stop. Think about if for a moment. Why do you want to make a map? What kind of map do you want to make? What kind of features should it have? Should if have some kind of theme?
To show you an example as we go along, I will show you the process i used to make a map for zp1 called zpo_doom_v2. Now I know that isnt source, but for these general tips it doesnt matter. OK? Lets move along.
Before you start mapping away in Hammer, perhaps it is better to draw a plan. There are many ways to plan out a map, and you should do it according to what suits your style the most. Draw it out on a piece of paper, use lego bricks, paint, photoshop, I dont mind.
This is my plan I made for my map, which I've drawn in paint:
Pretty snazzy eh? As you can see, you dont need to be a wizard at art to plan out a map.
Another program I like to use now to make map plans is Google SketchUp. Its a lot faster than making things in Hammer, and mistakes can be more easily removed. Heres an example I made earlier:
I made this after messing around with the program for half an hour.
As long as the map your making isnt some kind of team effort, it doesnt really matter how readable/understandable your plan is. As long as it makes sense for you
, and you
are able to use it to help your map, then it doesnt matter.
Try not to design the biggest, boldest, most inventive map with all of the newest mapping techniques and features on your first try. It may help to keep it simple, at least while you are still new to the mapping game and dont have all of the tricks up your sleeve quite yet.
Step 2: Mapping
Once youve finished your designs, and you are just itching to start making the dream a reality, you can start making your map. It is important to test the map very regularly ingame to see if the dimensions/plan of your map are working out in the same way as you invisioned.
I find it easier to firstly make all of the rooms connected to each other, then add detail to each part of the map in turn. You should be asking yourself certain questions while you are mapping:
Is there enough room for the characters to move about? This is especially important in a game like Zombie Panic, where survivors are always looking for a way out to escape, and zombies are looking for a place to hide and ambush a player.
Does this look interesting and engaging to the player? Now while this might take a secondary note to the gameplay, i find that it helps if the player believes in his surroundings. Adding some pipes, an extra vent, or some bushes to an area can make all the difference in whether a map is believable and engages and excites the player. Perhaps some extra sound, to make a steaming pipe or bubbling stream seem more realistic. With the source engine, there is a huge range of sounds/models/textures at your disposal, and I suggest you make use of it
This screenshot shows my design that was made earlier being implemented in hammer:
P.S I was learning how to map when i took this screenshot, please excuse some of the bad brushwork you see in here
Once you have created your map, test test test! Bring some of your friends in to see your map, or open a listen server for people to join. Do people get stuck anywhere, or find something annoying? Are there enough weapons /ammo to keep a higher/lower amount of players happy? Are all parts of the map working correctly? You need to be constantly asking yourself these questions while you are testing your map.
Step 3: Release It!
Once you are finally happy with the map, upload the necessary files somewhere and share it with the world! See what people like/dislike about the map. What ideas have you gained from making this map that you could use in another map? Look for constructive critisism, while avoiding comments like "this is rubbish". After all, this is the internet, and not everyone is going to be as appreciative of your efforts.
These are screenshots for my completed map:
Step 4: What now?
Now that your map is finally over and done with, what next? Do you wish to make another map? Perhaps you would be interested in learning how to make your own custom textures/models/sounds to put in your maps, to make them "stand out" from other maps. Maybe you would like to map for another mod?
More in the next post because ive taken my limit.