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» Advanced Mapping Tutorial


The following tutorial is for the map makers that want more tips besides the general ones that helped them made their first map. Before going ahead I"d like to point out if you are new at map making have a look at RVMECH"s tutorials on the CNCDen website. His tutorials helped me a lot in starting my C&C Generals map making and I can"t stress how much new map makers would benefit from his tutorial.

Section 1: General Tips

Planning
Probably the most important stage of map making is the planning you make for the map, don"t go making a map unless you"ve got a rough plan of it in the first place, use a piece of paper and a pencil and keep in mind the following"

What theme is it?

Is a desert town, a Swiss village, Desert or snowy mountains?
How many players is it?
Is it a refreshing head to head or an 8 player brawl?
What size is it?
Once you have chosen how many players try to keep the size respectful to the number of players, that is don"t go putting 2 players on a massive 8 player sized map, or all the map won"t be used, and if you really have to ruin it definitely don"t go putting 8 players on a neat small 150 X 150 map!
Players
2
4
6
8
Rec. Min Size
100 X 100
250 X 250
300 X 300
350 X 350
Rec. Max Size
250 X 250
350 X 350
400 X 400
450 X 450

How much resources?

Also respectful to how many players you got, but the main thing is which sort of play are you looking for?

There are 4 types of ways you can put resources on a map:
1. Be Generous, give each player a supply depot and put plenty more around the rest of the map. This kind of layout gives the players a good chance to make large armies quickly and is best for a map that was designed to be a quick game.
2. Give each player a supply depot BUT be rare on the resources around the rest of the map. Maps like these make the players cautious with their initial supplies as they may need the supplies later to finish the game.
3. Don"t give each player a supply depot, instead give them a few supply stacks and be generous with supplies around the rest of the map. A rare layout for supplies, this could lead to an interesting early migration to other areas of the map, to make it more interesting the only other supplies outside the base could be located all in one area.
4. Be VERY ungenerous with the supplies, a few supply stocks in the base and a few sprinkled about around the rest of the map. This will lead to players desperately saving supplies in order to build desperate small forces to claim other supplies or to pathetically attack a base, if you like long drawn out battles go for this one!

You can replace supplies with Oil Derricks to add a bit of variance. Keep in mind though when doing a map with supply layouts 1 or 4 there is such thing as too much supplies and too little supplies.

Layout and Player Starting Positions

Basically there are two ways of designing a map, symmetrical or unsymmetrical, either way you will have to split the map up into sections so you know where you are putting things but we"ll get into that later. In symmetrical maps, every single thing is symmetrical, the hills, the resources etc., it is a good idea however to vary it a little, instead of let say having an oil derrick in every corner you might put a hospital in one and an Oil Refinery in another. In unsymmetrical maps, believe it or not you still have to have a rough degree of symmetry it the following areas.

Start Locations and Start Location space (that is all the Base spaces should be equal, not necessarily the same shape) Resources (Supplies and Tech Buildings) Land accessibility (one base may be surrounded mostly by cliff, the other by a river)
You don"t have to be exact but the main point is both players should have roughly the same opportunity to win, this does not though mean that they have to have the SAME opportunities.

Starting

I am not going to direct you how to make a tutorial map, the points I give you under this heading are important ones to carry out or consider when starting any map.

Right, so we"ve designed our map on paper, next step is to actually start it off. First, split your map up into sections, this tip I got from Rvmech"s tutorial but I cannot express how convenient this tip is. To split up your map into sections use waypoint paths. It"s best to do this in Top Down view. Select the waypoint path tool and drag to paths going diagonally from each corner (it doesn"t have to be too exact). Next is the difficult part, you have to divide the map crossways aswell, the best way to do this is to drag 2 waypoints path through the intersecting diagonal waypoint paths, one going roughly horizontal and the other going roughly vertical, next switch on the grid view, align the horizontal and vertical waypoint paths with the grid lines keeping them going through the intersection of the two diagonal waypoint paths.

Once finished its best to save the map twice, one for the map you are making right now and another one incase you want to make another map later with the same size.

Establish Structure of your design.

Keep in mind that you don"t have to fully follow your design on the piece of paper, the first thing to do would be to establish the base areas and one of the first changes to your design will start with that. Once you"ve marked in some way where your bases are whether it be by some indicator or simply roughly making the terrain around it what you next need to do is to check the base area"s scale, best thing to use is a USA Airport as this is the largest base building that has to be accommodated for. The Airport should be relatively tiny compared to the base area as there needs to be enough space not just for the other buildings but for the resources and AI building placement (The AI can get severely messed up if it doesn"t get its preferred spacing). It is very likely your planned Base area would have to be considerably modified.

Just to highlight one of my above points again, make sure all base areas are roughly equal, use the waypoint markings to get a good idea of the size each base area should be.

Depending on the design of the map one of two things should be attended to next, that"s the other resource areas and the main feature of your map (whether it be a large river, mountain range or town, etc.). If you have a dominant main feature start with that first. It is usual to situate the feature right in the centre of the map (if not a group of dominant features should make up the whole area, one side of the centre a town, the other a river, etc.). If you can simply mark it where it is roughly (I"d recommend establishing the main roads of a village or quickly digging the river for when I say mark it), then you could proceed to establishing the rest of your maps features and finish your town/river etc. later.

Alternate resource areas, unless they are very close to your original base resources should have substantial building space around them, this is very important mainly because the AI will build there if there is generous space around that resource. Large spacing isn"t needed around tech buildings though obviously, but in both cases it can be interesting to provide defence capabilities near supplies and tech buildings, such as a bunker or civilian buildings or just simply an easily defendable area with only one entrance.

Next you should roughly paint the general textures you want in each area, rock for cliffs, etc. . Don"t go blending it yet, a real eye-pleasing map has varied textures within the large texture groups (i.e., in an area where you have dirt texture, that dirt texture should vary between several different dirt textures)

Developing

Once you have roughly established the layout of your map its down to the serious work, fixing the textures, e.g., taking off that surplus cliff textures and making corrections to the land, when done blend the textures and then using the soften tool take out those texture stretches on steep tiles. Make sure you got a suitable texture underneath water too and don"t leave any impassable area unmarked, use cliff textures to do this.

Start Locations
Don"t feel reluctant to redesign the land for maximum ease in base building and for easy access to the resources, experiment with the location of the player starting waypoint, its best to place it right in the middle or more preferably the widest space. Move the supplies accordingly to the starting point but make good space between the supplies and the starting point due to the sensitivities of the AI base planning.

Secondary Resources
To get a good theme put your second resources beside industrial, abandoned or warehouse buildings, basically anywhere you might find all sorts of handy supplies in real life such as a dock. This goes for Tech Buildings too but I recommend using some specific buildings for the Oil Refinery and Oil Derrick, these buildings being anything to do with Oil really. You could layout these surrounding buildings in such a way that makes them useful for defence around the resources, but keep in mind supplies need good spacing.

Town
If you main feature includes a town, here"s what you do:

If your town is very rural, out in the middle of nowhere make the roads irregularly planned out, by that I don"t necessarily mean just make them swerved but basically as follows:

In this case you would mostly line up the buildings with the road.

On the other hand, if your town is more Urban themed the following design is more suitable:

Buildings in this case would be lined up with each other in 90 and 45 degree angles exactly. Use a ruler to get your roads relatively straight, I find one of the Industrial Bibs handy for this, just place it and pick the angle you want your road to line up to. See Screenshot1-0.

Props in both cases are important, lights, rubbish cans and vehicles should be placed in both cases, look through the man_made props and just place whatever you like in the proper position. For example in a run down area of a town placing burnt out cars, police, rubbish etc. can give a great effect, also note I purposely set some of the buildings" energies to low to make them seem abandoned and dirty in Screenshot 1-1.

Water Body
A lot of times your map could have a river, lake or ocean, if you don"t know how to place water in the first place you shouldn"t be reading this tutorial but its usually done by lowering the land enough.

First, you must be familiar with modifying water areas, in a lot of case you don"t need water all over the map and so whether it be a river, lake or ocean reshape the default water area roughly to you water body, here are the does and don"ts in doing this.

Once you establish the water area around your water body, click on it and higher or lower your water to your preference, if you use shallow water on your map, make the shallow area only 1 or 2 feet bellow the water level. Have a look at Screenshot 1-2.

As for rivers, I strongly suggest looking at the official World Builder Tutorial as they are frankly a pain in the ass, it all comes down to luck in getting them to flow in the right direction, following my points here will get you closer to a proper river but keep in mind I still have many trials and errors with these things.

1.  River should go gradually lower in the direction you want it to flow.
2.  Make the water polygon yourself, and keep in mind both sides of the river should have the same water polygon points, one roughly corresponding to the other
3.  You can get different flowing results by clicking on different points of the water polygon and enabling the river mode, thought this was the answer to my troubles but the results don"t make as much sense as they should.
4.  If you got the river flowing, LEAVE IT! If you have to reshape the river, whatever you do don"t disable the river mode then turn it on again as the water polygon will recheck the shape and change the flowing.
5.  For design reasons, the EA tutorial recommends making rivers slightly wider at the start at the end, it is a good point, it looks better for some reason, don"t know why.
6.  Put dirt/gravel, or anything you"d find under water in real life for shallow water mode reasons, it would be weird to see snow or grass under water.
7.  Add "Amb_WaterRiver" sound flags in 4/5 points of your river, especially under a bridge.

As for Seas, if you are a shallow water mode user (and even if you are not really), you should design the beach with different water levels near the shallow water level brink. See Sea Design and to finish it off I"d recommend downloading GenEdit2k.com"s wak edit for waves, a readme is included with that so I don"t have to direct you how to add them.

This is what your sea bed should look like in the World Builder without the water"Screenshot 1-3.

And this is what the finished product looks like, ingame and with the waves provided by the Wak Editor: Screenshot 1-4.

Notice I add a few small hills with rock texture in the sea bed, these give the effect of rocks poking out of the sea like you would find on a real beach, I admit, I stole this idea from Col. Burt, sorry :)!

Textures

In "Starting" I recommended painting the general textures and in "Developing" I told you to add the cliff textures to your cliffs and any other impassable areas and to blend the texures, now we are going to finish the textures issue totally, you"re not thinking \"What!? Textures are not done with yet? But I"" are you? It"s that sort of thinking that separates the difference between professional and unprofessional mapping, take a look at the difference"

EA"s Golden Oasis - Screenshot 1-5.

My first map, Desert Conflict - Screenshot 1-6.

The trick is to split the areas into general texture styles as I recommended in "Starting" then to vary the textures a bit while still restraining yourself to only certain types of textures, have a look at the picture of Golden Oasis again, but this time I"ve split it up into sections, Screenshot 1-7.

The Town area uses dark healthy grasses and rock tiles for its texture style.

The Lower Desert Area uses various sand textures and dry grasses for its texture style.

The Higher Desert Areas, the base areas, use much the same style but without any grass along with some desert dirt aswell as sand.

The Oasis" use dark healthy grasses and you can see the transition between the Oasis and the Higher Desert Area is made smooth with a drier grass on the Oasis" outside.

It"s also worth noting corresponding props with the textures can look good, like putting trees on grass areas and near water, putting rocks in dry areas etc.

You mix your textures in this way and believe me you will begin to see a professional look in your map.

By Waraddict, CNCSeries Staff.

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