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Advice and Techniques on Planning Level Layouts

#1
I'm curious how experienced mappers are doing this. For example you want to sketch a single atrium map layout. But you want to have multiple floors (levels) stacked on top of each other. I've tried using dotting lines and I've tried using different colors to signify different level heights but it all ends up really messy and hard to read. So what I end up doing is just jumping into the editor without much planning and just a general idea of what I want to build.

Another way I've been sketching layouts is just visualizing what I want to make in my head. I have a lot of time at work where I'm driving on the interstate so I can do this without losing focus, unlike at home where if I try to sit down and not do anything and try to visualize a map I get sidetracked or bored very quickly. I still pay attention to the road while I'm doing this..

If any of you mappers keep notebooks can you post pictures of your sketches of these types of areas / maps? I don't have a digital camera or a smart phone or else I would take a picture of mine and post here.

Maybe this would also be a good thread in general to post notebook screenshots.
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#2
You can keep stacking floors on top each other to see how they match together, but I suggest you save a draft of each floor separately. And maybe sketch few rooms in rough 3D view, it's easier to make maps when you got a reference.
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#3
Let me start! Big Grin
Quote:I'm curious how experienced mappers are doing this.
I am not an expert in mapping but I know something about drawing.

[Image: drawinga1.jpg]
cross section view and a top view
On the right I did the same with cube- side view and top view (+ perspective view)
These are techniques I find usefull to clarify my layouts:

The top floor has the thickest contour (3B soft pencil). Medium a bit thiner (H pencil) and the lowest (ground floor) very thin one(2H).

Second option is to try different colors per levels (as you allready tried): Blue for the lowest one, green for a middle, red for the top one (red always will appear closer then blue)

You can combine two of those techniques and try dotting lines for the underground level as well.

Or mabye make the top floors semi transparent and the lower floors under the top ones draw with lighter preasure.

I think that visualizing is what all mappers do. Sketches are just to help you out. Its good to use different kinds of pencils I suppose. You can grab a Graphic Pen as well and try to highlight the most important lines.
Edit: Well. In the end I think that sketches aren't very usefull. Its good to draw them but I never was able to stick to them completly. Its just something completly different in the 3D editor then 2D piece of paper Smile You go into netradiant and change everything completly Big Grin
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#4
I'm not a mapper. But you said it get's confusing with multi-level design maps.

Why not do the first floor on one sketch, then on another, do first floor + 2nd floor it, then for the 3rd floor - have just the 2nd floor and the 3rd floor on a sketch rather then 3 floors, for 4th floor, use 3rd and 4th floor on another sketch. This way you can break down the layers and only use one layer above or below so it doesn't get over-crowded when your thinking out design. Afterwards you can find ways to connect say from 1st to 3rd floor?
[Image: 542.png]

#deathmatchers @ irc.quakenet.org

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#5
http://forums.xonotic.org/showthread.php?tid=4353
or do it like i did it here. build random rooms and connect them (in a hopefully good way)
<Samual> I am the most unprofessional developer ever
<bluez> halogene, you make awesome music, but you have no clue about ctf.
<Halogene> I didn't know mappers include some mysterious waypoints so members of the BOT clan can navigate a map?
<divVerent> if you don't pay for a premium account, your movement speed is limited to 100qu/s
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#6
Good point, Cortez! But in most cases this won't work (unless you have brilliant spatial awareness) due to the fact that good layout must be previously considered and measured. Doing sketches from the top are good when your map does not have more then 2 overlapping levels, otherwise its a mess on your sketch.

I suggest also different approach. Just imagine you are cutting a cuboid area from your design and then draw it in a perspective view with proper scaling.
Quick example:
[Image: sketch2-lw.jpg]
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#7
What is spatial awarness?

The way i do it, is by drawing the general layout with cicles for rooms and lines for coridors connecting them. Then i draw more detaled plans for rooms, some elevations or cut-througs maybee,a few perspective views, best of whitch i sometimes texture and add a litle bit of shading.

P.S. I havent actualy done a map usig that method, drawings stayed on paper...
[Image: 0_e8735_c58a251e_orig]
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