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We need more difference in map themes!

#1
I've been wanting to post this for a while. Currently, this is my biggest concern regarding Xonotic, on the matter of artistic direction at least. As a map coordinator, I hope this post might make a difference and change something as well.

My issue is about map similarity, in regards to looks and themes. All maps have their unique layouts, gameplay and environments. But when comparing them and taking a closer look, they all look and feel the same. The lack of artistic diversion is something that takes a lot of fun out for me, and I consider it a big issue at this time.

I see two problems leading to this. One is that most maps use the same textures over and over again. Commonly, those are the exx and trak5x textures. There's almost no map that doesn't use some of these, making everything look all the same. I know there aren't many texture packages in Xonotic yet, especially as good quality as exx. Still, I believe an effort should be done on using other textures too.

The second problem is lack of diversion in map themes, regardless of the textures used. All of the maps in Xonotic are facilities, commonly with metal walls. There are many interesting map themes out there, that Xonotic has yet to try. The first are epic maps (castles with brick walls, and little to no modern architecture). Also, why has no one thought of urban maps yet? I can relate to many map other environments too... such as hell worlds, egyptian tombs and pyramids, ocean floor maps (buildings located deep underwater), cave / mine maps (underground tunnels), rooftops (fighting on top of huge skyscrapers), punk-ish urban maps (cyber city) from ground level, and other possibilities that don't come to mind right now.

I will post some examples of map themes from other games, which is what I strongly recommend taking as an example for Xonotic. I'm not including outdoor maps in this discussion, since they're a large environment, and it's still discussable to what extent they're supported by darkplaces.

Unreal Tournament - Ocean floor:
Great example of a deep underwater map, where you go for a dive to get to the enemy base. Excellent idea for an assault map, but also for CTF and ONS.


Unreal Tournament - Galleon:
Official UT map, where players fight on a sailing ship.


Unreal Tournament - Condemned:
One of my favorite urban maps of all time, even if it's small.


Unreal Tournament 2004 - Morpheus:
Anyone who's played UT knows this map. Great example of a "top of the city" theme. I tried making a similar map in Nexuiz years ago, but the brushes got too messy and I gave up.


Unreal Tournament 2004 - Osiris:
Nice Egypt themed map, which should be a great guide for this style.


Unreal Tournament 2004 - Rrajigar:
Example for a good underground tunnel map.


Doom 3 - Hell:
Hell in Doom 3 single player. Isn't it pretty?


Nexuiz - Farewell
Known map from Nexuiz, which everyone should remember. Great example of how an ancient map should look like IMO. I seen screenshots of someone trying to port it to Xonotic... but with trak5 textures and pipes in the floor (AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!)


Only thing I can say about Xonotic after this, is "facilities facilities facilities". I'd pretty much call it an art block though. Afterslime, Glowpplant, g-23 and Red Planet are the worst case of similarity I can point out. Stormkeep is the most castle looking map so far... but even there the old brick floors were replaced with metal textures, going further against this purpose.

Although I'd suggest a full re-texture of some existing Xonotic maps, I'd at least like mappers aiming at making new maps to consider this. If you wanna make a map for Xonotic, please don't make yet another facility map. But go for another theme, like the examples pointed above, and others that I didn't mention. I'm sure many can be easily done in a high quality with netRadiant.

I'd appreciate it if someone could make this thread sticky, so that other mappers can see this. As for me... I've been planning to make an urban map for a while, but haven't got around to it yet (also no city textures included in Xonotic). But yeah, that's all I wanted to say on this matter for now.
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#2
I honestly think farewell should be included with xonotic how it is now. (textures and all) perhaps some work could be done adding things like grass and other flora, but all in all I think it's one of the best looking nexuiz maps.
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#3
The classic Agresssir is a classic and needs to be included and some more maps featuring small castles or castle elements with a modern twist.
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#4
Give me textures and i'll create maps for them.
I tried to create my own textures but they were a mess so i gave up.

About your ideas:

The water gives low fps to almost everyone and then i dont use it.

About the doom 3 maps.... maybe someone can port them? The source code will be free soon: Doom 3 Source Code will be free

Old maps... as i said, give me textures and i'll use them.
Btw, i will create an assault map soon. The idea will be to escape
from an old prison, maybe to reach the ocean to escape?
Obviously i need to finish the assault map i'm currently working on.
i need help with an assault map

But as to create that prison map i'll need new textures, like the nexuiz farewell ones, then again, give me textures, i really need them Tongue
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#5
The only one that inspired me in the least was the Doom 3 level.

Most of the map styles you listed are similar to some community made Nexuiz maps. Treasure Island, docs_hell_incarnate, etc etc to name a few. Xonotic hasn't even reached 0.2 yet, these maps will come in time as the community grows.

(08-07-2011, 03:43 PM)MirceaKitsune Wrote: Only thing I can say about Xonotic after this, is "facilities facilities facilities". I'd pretty much call it an art block though. Afterslime, Glowpplant, g-23 and Red Planet are the worst case of similarity I can point out. Stormkeep is the most castle looking map so far... but even there the old brick floors were replaced with metal textures, going further against this purpose.

What about that "Artstyle Development" thread? A glowing tron-style erebus spawning on glowplant or afterslimed is ok I guess, but then seeing him spawn in ancient egypt and then waterworld, and then in the mines of Moria doesn't seem too consistent.
(03-24-2010, 01:14 AM)Oblivion Wrote: The main point here is to avoid looking like as if we borrowed everything from other games and ended up with knights fighting zombies fighting elves fighting wookies fighting vampires fighting storm troopers fighting Giger's alien fighting pokemon fighting zelda.
I think what Oblivion said applies to maps as well.

(08-07-2011, 03:43 PM)MirceaKitsune Wrote: I seen screenshots of someone trying to port it to Xonotic... but with trak5 textures and pipes in the floor (AAAAARRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH!!!)
Thank you for your constructive criticism. Heart

Porting Farewell straight to Xonotic is a very bad idea.
a) It uses some of the lowest quality textures, even by Nexuiz standards.
b) It was small in Nexuiz, and with Xonotic's faster physics it would be even smaller.
c) It is a rock-solid fortress floating on air. Nexuiz maps where a fan of this, including Soylent and Dance to name but a few.

BTW, my "epic fail" is a patch hell, like the original farewell. I would consider starting from scratch with a more brush based structure and larger layout to account for physics (my port has added walkways to increase size).
nowego [MLP:FiM]
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#6
We certainly cannot use the old Nexuiz textures. But this shouldn't stop anyone from porting farewell - we just need better textures, and we certainly want that map. It wouldn't need much work other than replacing the textures. Aim for twice the resolution, and you CAN base on the old ones and just improve detail.
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#7
(08-07-2011, 06:37 PM)forseti Wrote: About the doom 3 maps.... maybe someone can port them? The source code will be free soon: Doom 3 Source Code will be free

they properly will release the engine code, as they already did that with all idtechs.

Oh and just for you information all doom3 map sources are already included.
Install it and go to \Program Files\Doom 3\base\pak000.pk4\maps\game\
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#8
I agree that porting Farewell with the Nexuiz textures would be a bad idea. Since those textures are very low quality, and I don't believe any of them should be brought back to Xonotic. Farewell as a map is a good concept however, and should be good with Xonotic physics IMO (small maps are needed too).

@ nowego4: I remember you posted that screenshot of Farewell now. I found the post again here. I'm not being mean about it or anything, and I appreciate and respect any contribution. Just that doing it like that is indeed against the purpose of this thread. Also, posting the screenshot here as well, so everyone can see what I'm talking about:

[Image: 8uajw99rv7eqoni0pc4n_thumb.jpg]

As for models like the Erebus spawning in ancient maps: That might be a concern, but I don't think it would look bad. See how the UT series did this... where you fight robots and aliens on all sorts of environments, and it doesn't look out of place. The idea I find best would be to add some modern architecture every here and there, but not everywhere. eg: Placing scifi-looking lamp with wires across the ancient brick walls, or even a hologram TV. But letting the architecture itself stay ancient and untouched. So it's obvious modern civilization is present there, and it doesn't look like the Erebus and other players don't belong (including the high-tech weapons).

And yes, I'm aware of the lack of textures for such themes. IMO, the texture types lacked most by Xonotic are stone / bricks, wood, and urban textures. For stone, track4x offers a small alternative so far. I'm hoping some textures might be found and included officially. I remember divVerent mentioning he doesn't wish to include new textures as long as they aren't used by a map that's being included as well... but new textures might exist on other branches.
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#9
I don't see why there's a problem with current models spawning atop Sphinx, if you give it some story, like I did with PIPE. For instance, maybe the space marines were sent there to recover some ancient artifact which affected their minds and turned them against each other. Or maybe it's some sort of Alien vs. Predator (a movie in which a group of highly advanced aliens fight other aliens on Earth in an Aztek-style pyramid buried in the Antarctic) style of map.
Stories are important. They can help justify all but the most glaringly stupid stylistic mismatches.
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#10
I don't mind tron like figures running down aztec hallways. I also wouldn't mind dinosaurs getting entangled in the cabling of a space ship. All that's important to me is that the map has a decent layout, good flow, lots of places for trick jumps and looks overall pretty.

As for overall prettiness, imho variety is nice, and map themes should be consistent within one and the same map. But I don't really see why Xonotic should be restricted to cables and pipes and sci-fi steam punk sites. If the map theme is nice and consistent, and if the map is well made with some love for detail, I personally don't care about whether it is in any way logical that people are hunting each others about with fancy rocket launchers in glowing neoprene suits even though the map theme suggests they should rather be using slings and pointed sticks and wear a tarzan tanga.

I mean, we've got a space floater partially build of wood and it still looks breathtakingly good, one of the best Xonotic maps imho.
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#11
I don't get the argument for farewell. It's the size of a small carton of orange juice. As nowego said, it was already VERY small, and It's even worse in Xonotic.

I actually like nowego4's re-make, the layout is nearly the same but there is enough space to maneouvere and the scale of it feel's right. If someone re-textured it I wouldn't have a problem, I just think the original farewell is ridiculously over-hyped.

I'd much prefer to see a map like DM-Baricade from UT being done, this is a old style castle outdoors, with indoor tunnels (not castle inside, hard to explain), with a lift etc, if you google or youtube it, i'm sure you'll find video/screenshots.

+1 for the underwater attack towards enemy base for assault mode. P.S Assault mode = epic.

If your going to get any idea's for that, I'd seriously look at UT's assault map's to see how great they are.
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#12
The argument is not specifically about Farewell or its layout. It is about the art style of the game as a whole. As a whole it does look too narrow right now in my own humble opinion. So I agree with MK. Here's why.

Allow me to draw you a picture of a situation where the current art style could meet with something refreshing and look completely credible. At the end I will explain why I think this would be a good thing. Again: layout, size and item placement should be left out of art style oriented discussions so forget about that for now.

Picture a farewell-like map the remains of the castle are being kept upright with modern looking structures. There needs to be a reason why that was done, so let's say the location of the castle is very important. Maybe water is scarce in the future (oh reality how you tempt me!) and the castle is on top of a huge well. Of course they would not use a bucket at the end of a rope, so there are pumps, generators and more good looking modern things that will look great with metal textures, pipes and what have you. Combined with the supporting structures to keep the ruin from collapsing it is the art. That art is painted on the castle as the canvas.

Who does not agree with me that Erebus would look completely at place here? A knight in armor would be the one who would look ridiculous, right? Good, end of that discussion then.

So what is the benefit?

A much needed variation on the theme without breaking the credibilty of the art style. This will give the art style as a whole much more depth. If you manage to combine two styles, but make the modern one prevalent to make the characters feel at home, then you can even manage to set them apart more than they would in a only modern envirnoment. Good maps done like this have the potential of becoming fan favourites for sure.

For those who like stories, it is fine to have one. But it is no excuse for a map not supplying at the very least a hint of the story. The maps are the world, that is where your game takes place. When you do it right, the map I described will already partially explain itself. It will allow the player to let their mind wander and get the overall feeling of why he is there: which is to fight for something important! Why were we fighting at Farewell? Well... to be honest I do not have a clue! A player should not have to read the manual or anything else to feel that. To know exactly why, how, who, when... sure, then an explanation like that is fine and can be very pleasing for the people who write and read it. Again: it is not my intention to burn down any specific storyline or storylines in general. I would love to have one as a backdrop to the game. Not for me personally but I know a lot of people would have pleasure in it. I am only trying to explain why the map should be the first one to try and tell the story for you.

Yes, making maps like that is hard, will need good coordination with the project itself (which stories do you want your map to tell?), they need fine mappers (which we have already) and of course, they need the appropriate textures.
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#13
(08-08-2011, 04:30 AM)MirceaKitsune Wrote: @ nowego4: I remember you posted that screenshot of Farewell now. I found the post again here. I'm not being mean about it or anything, and I appreciate and respect any contribution. Just that doing it like that is indeed against the purpose of this thread.

Of course, it is indeed a good example of what you're fighting... I just get tired of the only feedback I get being along the lines of "Wow eyecandy--YOU KILLED MY FPS!" or "The original Farewell was so awesome". I've only received two comments on the weapons and map layout. Nothing against you personally, I've just had trouble getting much feedback on any of my maps... ...wasn't trying to flame at anyone.

Anyway, back on topic:
I think the main issue here is making a separation between ancient and alien. I think making ancient maps is not consistent with the art style. I DO think creating alien maps is. Most of you probably haven't seen stargate... but maybe look at Tatooine from Star Wars. This goes back to what Pink Robot was saying (which is very good btw) about giving maps a modern focus even if they aren't entirely. I happen to think making farewell into a desertish-dry map centered around a big, modern-looking pump is an excellent idea. I've been getting into TF2 pretty good lately and it was interesting to see the crashed rockets sticking out of the sides of barns... it looks surprisingly fine.

I don't like making ctf maps personally, but I think putting a mega health underwater could result in some interesting combat, because of the movement speed underwater.

What about more clean and serene maps, like Dance or something like this?
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#14
I don't believe having much of a story is possible in Xonotic right now. There's no single player system based on progressing over a story. Xonotic is the type of game where you choose a map that looks and plays well, fight, then get to the next map. Arena games don't usually have stories (except written background ones and cutscenes), as much as I'd love to see Xonotic getting a full SinglePlayer mode... with monsters, save / load support, etc. Currently, the best that can be done is using the Campaign system.

@ nowego4: That's ok. Sorry if my comment was too vague. Like I said, the idea is good (although I don't like the trak5x textures personally). It's just no variety in style that I see a problem... and since Farewell was originally an castle map, I used its retexturing as an example.

As for the map you posted, I like it! A WW2 style bunker is something I would like to see in Xonotic. It's not the same as the metal facilities I've been repeating myself about here Tongue I remember that official UT classic assault map (not by name) where you start on a beach and infiltrate a building through a tunnel, to take out a cannon. I'd love to see something of that style too.
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#15
I think you can get it here,

http://ompldr.org/l20dtnn1s-psychward_ctf_b2

As far as "story" goes, I don't think Xonotic needs a entire singleplayer campaign story to justify making maps feel the way they need to... for example, a map like PinkRobot suggested would be fine IMHO, even if there is no expressed story. Players will get the idea if there is enough contrast between the "old" and the "new". They don't have to know names of different alien races to subconsciously know the map makes sense.

Anyhow I hope this thread has some inspiration for mappers, especially for us who have never played UT or anything Smile
nowego [MLP:FiM]
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#16
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_DOs-QNTnE

my inspiration for my darkzone remake
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#17
By the way, since UT maps seem to be coming up here..I looked for the assault map MK was on about AS-Overlord.

Whilst, doing that, the guy who uploaded the video, also had video's of practically all of the maps MK mentioned above also by pure luck I found this, so I thought it'd be handy if I linked them all here for you to see Smile

He has effectively uploaded every map in a video - win! Big Grin

Hope you guys find these interesting/useful I think you will.

Assault maps:

AS-Overlord - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-5B9rhrFR7k

AS - Ocean Assault (Ocean Floor) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R2Q7z48I...re=related

Deathmatch:

DM -Peak (Old castle/ruin style map Smile ) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GvCEKgK9n...re=related

DM - Codex (Use of wood & Bricks) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jR9yJSJFk...re=related

DM - Koos Galleon (Notice how big this actually is inside!) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GQjPGgNP...re=related

DM - Conveyor (A personal favourite of mine!) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SnLr5Bp-...re=related


CTF:

CTF - November (Not symetrical map with a HUGE Submarine in the middle!) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Xxpcf0X6...re=related


Domination:

DOM-Condemned - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NUQdsR4wq...re=related

DOM - Sesmar - Alienstyle temple/desert'ish - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2jMkE5DL6...re=related

DOM - Cinder - Futuristic/industrial with some brickwork - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hs9oJvh3E...re=related

DOM - Olden - Alien style indoor slimy/arcoan style passageways - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDzEOjri4...re=related

Loads more on his channel also, just I think these are some to be relevant Smile
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#18
Consistency, consistency, consistency, consistency! (looking at div's ava, featuring Stevie B. doing his thing)

MirceaKitsune, Your observations are highly accurate; the current maps lack creativity, as seen from our (Yours and my) perspective. But to roughly quote the very wise Philip James Fry: people are afraid of sudden changes and prefer reruns. Trust me; i've been playing CTF and FreezeTag. And if we let creativity run wild IT WILL EAT US ALL!!!!

Edit: Speaking of sudden changes: i just had an idea of a map that would look perfectly fine, you run around and as you are running around you suddenly face empty space! Ha! Cut off! Hoh, it should be random edits of popular existing maps, changeing the gameplay completely! And it could be spiced up with hidden secret passages. :O
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#19
(08-08-2011, 02:10 PM)nowego4 Wrote: I think you can get it here,

http://ompldr.org/l20dtnn1s-psychward_ctf_b2

As far as "story" goes, I don't think Xonotic needs a entire singleplayer campaign story to justify making maps feel the way they need to... for example, a map like PinkRobot suggested would be fine IMHO, even if there is no expressed story. Players will get the idea if there is enough contrast between the "old" and the "new". They don't have to know names of different alien races to subconsciously know the map makes sense.

Anyhow I hope this thread has some inspiration for mappers, especially for us who have never played UT or anything Smile

I didn't mean Xonotic needs a story to explain maps. Just saying it's hard for it to have a storyline currently. Maps just are... you don't need to justify them Smile

And Psychward looks nice. I find its layout too odd and repetitive, and the map itself too simple. But its texturing style I warmly recommend! It's a nice start toward another direction.

@ kojn^: Those are other great examples from UT, thanks for posting. Don't forget AS-HighSpeed, with the train attack. Also, two other wonderful Assault concepts from UT2004. I plan to try making something SIMILAR to the first map myself in Xonotic (MotherShip), now that we have a flying vehicle.




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#20
Can't second enough the first post. Just who and when said that Nex and Xonotic must be all about rusty metal rooms and tunnels? That's what one usually sees around when going on random servers. Yep, there is some style difference added into it with sole lonely maps, but it's not enough yet.
Is lack of textures the very reason which stops all the mappers from moving on in chosing style for their maps? Sounds ridiculous, cause even if one can't create textures for himself, there are tons of texture sites around with great quantity of free material.
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#21
(08-10-2011, 04:35 AM)Lord Canistra Wrote: Is lack of textures the very reason which stops all the mappers from moving on in chosing style for their maps?
I think it is the main reason, yes.

Although I´m planning to build a map like Morpheus soon. Let´s see what the future brings...
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#22
(08-10-2011, 06:44 AM)Maddin Wrote:
(08-10-2011, 04:35 AM)Lord Canistra Wrote: Is lack of textures the very reason which stops all the mappers from moving on in chosing style for their maps?
I think it is the main reason, yes.

Although I´m planning to build a map like Morpheus soon. Let´s see what the future brings...

nope. From my point of view the problem is who wants to map for a game with nearly no players

Anyway why dont you guys stop complaining and start doing something?
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#23
Undecided Dude, I don´t complain and I´m working on my maps, so where´s the problem?
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#24
Lots of Unreal Tournament references in this thread. If you REALLY want some mapping ideas and have a copy of Unreal Tournament, then look up these map packs:

Forts of Time
Forts of Time II
Forts of Time III
Fusion of Time
Flags of Time
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#25
(08-10-2011, 07:29 AM)Maddin Wrote: Undecided Dude, I don´t complain and I´m working on my maps, so where´s the problem?

you mostly talk about it (i dont mean only you, other people as well). Why dont do stuff first and talk about it afterwards?


(08-10-2011, 08:00 AM)Lee_Stricklin Wrote: Lots of Unreal Tournament references in this thread. If you REALLY want some mapping ideas and have a copy of Unreal Tournament, then look up these map packs:

Or even better play quakeworld (its mostly the quake 1 multiplayer part) its free and has a ton of great maps. If you want to test quake 3 maps you can do that with nexuiz and xonotic.
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