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Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Sat Mar 24, 2012 1:40 pm
by Lavarinth
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IskatuMesk and Lavarinth have a chat in regards to the ongoing Campaign Contest. Why the contestants drop out? Why do they join? How do they stay motivated? These topics are discussed and raged upon in this podcast. In addition, with both individuals terraining for their own projects, IskatuMesk asks for some input in regards to how does one balance realism and gameplay into a map in StarCraft II. Wibod also chimes in at times with some input.





Head on over to our Podcast section to check out our previous podcasts as well, or click here to get listening!

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Sat Apr 14, 2012 8:32 am
by GnaReffotsirk
Lovin' this podcast!

I have this one in a loop for inspiration. Thanks oh great masters of CC.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 5:25 am
by Gradius
I enjoyed this one as well. Good work.

Terrain is probably my least favorite thing to spend time on. I think the biggest hurdle to achieving realism though is the differing scale on everything. In SC2 for example, I was attempting to create a "livable" neighborhood area, and the cars are half as big as the houses, and the civilians are half as big as the cars by default. My map also has snow-tipped mountains...but they're not the scale you'd expect mountains to realistically be, otherwise I couldn't actually show them. :/

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:12 pm
by IskatuMesk
Gradius wrote:I enjoyed this one as well. Good work.

Terrain is probably my least favorite thing to spend time on. I think the biggest hurdle to achieving realism though is the differing scale on everything. In SC2 for example, I was attempting to create a "livable" neighborhood area, and the cars are half as big as the houses, and the civilians are half as big as the cars by default. My map also has snow-tipped mountains...but they're not the scale you'd expect mountains to realistically be, otherwise I couldn't actually show them. :/


Oh yeah. Well, if Sc2 was using a engine anywhere near modern, you'd have maps larger than 256x256. Then, yes, I would painstakingly scale everything realistically.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:24 pm
by Falchion
IskatuMesk wrote:Oh yeah. Well, if Sc2 was using a engine anywhere near modern, you'd have maps larger than 256x256. Then, yes, I would painstakingly scale everything realistically.


You know what we could have, if SC 2 was using an ACTUAL engine:

- 512 x 512 sized maps
- Ability to support 16-24 terrain brushes
- 5> Terrain height layers
- Simplified trigger and mission briefing editor a-la StarEdit, but with allowance to text editor for slighter changes, but allowing for wicked results. Also, it could save or load custom trigger sets.
- Set up AI editor.
- Unit and Mission previewer, without needing a test mode.
- Unit data editor a-la DatEdit, but, like with the trigger editor, an allowed text editor.
- 3D import, export and conversion tools, with preview capacity for animations.
- LipSync tool for portraits.
- Cutscene Editor (Oh, wait, that's *said* that'll be in HotS).


Well, can't imagine anything else...

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:46 pm
by IskatuMesk
Er... you can do mission briefings fine in the editor...?
And you can edit unit data in text...?
The AI is Galaxy, so...

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:54 pm
by Falchion
IskatuMesk wrote:Er... you can do mission briefings fine in the editor...?
And you can edit unit data in text...?
The AI is Galaxy, so...


Yeah, but sort of LESS complicated than it is right now.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:18 pm
by HelpMe
Yay I got mentioned in the podcast! Does that mean I get to be a CC Legend?

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:50 am
by Lavarinth
Falchion wrote:
IskatuMesk wrote:Er... you can do mission briefings fine in the editor...?
And you can edit unit data in text...?
The AI is Galaxy, so...


Yeah, but sort of LESS complicated than it is right now.


So you're asking to NOT have those abilities by making it less complicated, or..?

It's complicated because you don't know how to code, it's not for everyone, just like not everyone can model and would complain "it's too complicated."

I look at the editor and it makes sense to me with enough time.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:40 pm
by GnaReffotsirk
For briefings, say, like the scbw talking heads, one needs to create a trigger-based menu for it using dialogs. I use dialog designer. It's somewhere in mapster I think.

One can make a template and share it, like what I've done with the "Campaign Mission Selector" thingy, where text is displayed and a camera will move to shoot a set. Imagine WC3 and its campaign menu.

Or the same with the Scenario that Mesk featured on his youtube.

For AI, it's the same.

I've started creating a trigger based AI that behaves much like an AI that is hard-coded. I've done some during the beta, the galaxy AI thing. Much like how Green Tea AI is coded, but it's not Editor friendly or mapper friendly. Scenarios require different AI, and when you do the approach used by Green Tea, you have to put it in every map using MPQ editor. Which is a pain.

SO I decided to make it trigger based and modularized so as to be easy to modify and suit a specific mission. Though it is possible to just trigger attack waves and let the ai do the auto-building and replenish, my goal was to create an AI that is more controllable. e.g. where to mine, where to build CCs, etc. Much like a controllable version of the Melee AI.

I ended up creating triggers though, and AI behaviors are scripted. Like, Area defense triggers with given set of units, attack waves, attack routes, all triggers to make the scenario specific to what I need.

A map/scenario that is aimed to have a bit of randomness when it comes to AI behavior though, like response to what you build, train, where you are, etc, will require the former AI I've been working on.

It was not worth it.

In short, regarding AI and briefing, the Editor allows you more freedom, however, "presets" do not exist. Or say templates. Like mission briefing templates, AI, etc. Cut and paste from the WoL campaign could work, but it never crossed my mind. I'd rather make one for myself.

If someone can make these "templates" so to speak, then it will become easier for other mappers that do not have interest much in coding this stuff.

AFAIK, this is the only way to make things more convenient.

Edit:

Oh yeah, to share, I have plans on making a sort of TotalWar type of campaign, where the player will start choosing regions, select deployment options and go into a map. This means, a map can be revisited multiple times.

In order to allow some randomness, I plan to create an AI that takes variables from a Record (which variables change depending on the campaign progress and player interaction). The map will also contain regions which will be filled with structures and objectives depending on the said Record.

This means, with regards to AI, that a trigger based AI must be made that looks into the Record, and behave accordingly.

This is possible, though will take significant amount of time to code. I hate it, but it is certainly a boon to anyone that has the will to do so.

Once done, anyone can copy-paste, and so anyone can modify and edit stuff and create more campaigns like it.

Again, it boils down to where do I get the damn Trigger to have this and that in my map. There's a lot one can do using the editor.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:59 pm
by IskatuMesk
I don't like BW styled briefings. I'd prefer something more cinematic. Which is totally possible and not very difficult other than acquiring the assets. The complications come in needing a scene you can't make out of the mission map. So you've got one of two choices.

Pre-composite videos and play them - My preferred approach. Except all video-related functions are Blizzard only. I intend to have someone look at hacking maps to fake them as Blizzard maps in the future. I'd mix 3ds max material, ingame, and composite it all in vegas.
Alternate maps - Means more load screens and you still have to make the scenes in the editor. For something like a ship interior this is next to impossible.

For AI, I have building, attacking, defending etc all working right now with rather minimal user effort.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:22 am
by GnaReffotsirk
Yeah. I personally would appreciate a more cinematic briefing, reserving talking heads to say in-game transmissions of the sort.

For the more "casual" mappers though, especially those who have been doing BW campaigns, having some kind of template to work out some briefing screen would be helpful.

If I recall correctly, those remake maps have this kind of thing. The heads however don't do much but just stand there.

Regarding video functions, I can't understand why blizzard made it inaccessible to us. Does the "billboard" work around still work? The one where we make a doodad which plays an ogg.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 7:12 am
by IskatuMesk
From what I understand, the prospect of playing a movie through the billboard is not only extremely unlikely to work properly due to syncing sound and such but also liable to result in a significantly low-quality video display. So, no, I do not believe that is an option.

For my project, I'll be using static portraits for characters/units and transmissions, both due to tool limitations and due to the limitations of my resources. I'll be aiming for something of a classic RPG approach in that regards, which is fine with me. But "briefings" would be most unlike BW briefings. Some involve exotic, lengthy sequences of events and character interaction, others are conducted through actual gameplay.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Sat Apr 21, 2012 12:45 pm
by Master Jademus Sreg
Yeah, playing an ogv on an actor is certainly still available, and syncing the sound just involves some arithmetic, an understanding of how the game handles time, and faerie dust. I might take a crack at writing a video script library, for fun.

Perhaps the only mildly difficult part would be for those who aren't acquainted with the XML layout files; you'd want to hide the debug message display frame, since the actor will pop an error when a video is played.

Re: Podcast: Map Terraining

Posted: Sun Apr 22, 2012 8:38 am
by Pr0nogo
Lavarinth wrote:It's complicated because you don't know how to code, it's not for everyone, just like not everyone can model and would complain "it's too complicated."


Actually, StarCraft II's modelling is ass-backwards and unfeasible for different reasons.
Spoiler: show
shamanyouranus of hiveworkshop.com wrote:As far as I'm concerned, Starcraft 2 has the perfect balance of over-complexity and dated technology to attract absolutely no modelers or artists.
If you look at the Warcarft 3 model database, you'll see the lack of quality. This is because of how simple the standards are for Warcraft 3. While there are many talented Warcraft 3 modelers, many haven't worked with other games, and as such have not had to develop the skills necessary to work with higher-complexity games. The majority of modelers, myself included, see the task of working in Starcraft 2 as too daunting to even attempt.
Despit this, there are many very talented modelers out there who have worked with next generation games and modeling technology. For these artists, the problem arises in how outdated Starcraft 2 is. The graphics are very simple and cartoony, while being processor intensive and using little-understood formats. I don't see why any modeler would decide to work with Starcraft 2, as it is so far behind in technology and features, that many would choose to work with more moddable games, or even make their own.
Honestly, I don't see much appeal in modeling for Starcraft 2 as it requires so much more time and skill than Warcraft 3 modeling does and those who possess these skills our can take the time to learn them would be better off applying them to other games.

Original post: http://www.hiveworkshop.com/forums/mode ... ost2136167


I definitely feel like the existing layout is way more complex than it has to be, particularly with the animations and unit-actor-model-upgrade-blah blah blah duplications every time you want to make a new unit. Monumental tasks like this are examples of how far custom content has fallen. Blizzard will never say it, but the fact that they've locked their own triggers (when in contrast they did no such thing in their maps for WarCraft III) and disallowed video usage for the average Joe has made it obvious that they no longer support custom content creation. Just look at the popularity function that's replaced the original hosting functions. That's horrendous. If your map isn't an instant hit, it's not going anywhere.