I've started playing around with the editor over the last two months. Given my experience with WorldCraft and UnrealED, I knew I understood the basics, but had a lot to learn with Hammer; different engine, different nuances...
So far, my initial level has grown organically. "Let's see how this works and what I can do with it", and it's gone from there. At this point, I don't think this is a great level, but it is one that I cut my teeth on and would like to see published.
It's a small map, 4 control points. Several areas break apart the map, but I am running into a critical issue...
I've spent a lot of time consolidating brushes to decrease poly count and face complexity, and I am at a point where I am sealing the level off into areas for performance gains. However, despite the identical nature of their construction, some area portals insist on displaying the effect of a nodraw texture while some appear to work perfectly fine! All suspect portals have been recreated many times, tied to triggers/doors in multiple, creative ways. I've even copied working portals and moved them to replace the non-working instances, but no luck.
It would be a shame to have to abandon this map based on the whims of the engine to break areaportals, any suggestions?
I've since stopped beating my head against the wall with my area portal issues and moved on to playing around with the entity I/O system.
With remarkable ease, I managed to contrive a framework for an assault style map. I'm envisioning something along the lines of a bank-heist or fortress assault with multiple objectives (destroy this wall to gain access, then open this door, then...). The entire objective set can be set to be non-skippable and sequential; the 'attacking' team would be forced to hit objectives in a predefined order within a set time limit.
This will be my new project and I (hopefully) will be updating regularly!
Started working my my new assault (sequential cap) level. So far, I've ~5 hours work with the paper, models, and the initial editing in Hammer.
I've always themed/named my maps with media/literature references; this piece is being built under the working title "A bridge too far" (check the movie - it's a classic).
The premise is that BLU has fortified a top-secret data center within a mountain base. RED has established a beach-head base and has been tasked with breaking into and destroying the data center. I decided to have the attacking team push through the following objectives:
1 - cross the first bridge to the guard shack and hold the building for 30 seconds (basic cap in behavior w/o the visible cap model)
2 - cross the second bridge and break open the fortress walls (func_breakables attached to a cap)
3 - once inside the compound, a room to the far left needs be accessed to hit a switch and open a generator room (func_button)
4 - on the _opposite_ side of the compound (of course, need not be too easy!) the generator becomes accesable and the attacking team needs to destroy it (func_breakable w/lots of health)
5 - deep inside the base the data center lies deprived of power and only a destroyable wall stands between the attackers and all the vulnerable mainframes (func_breakable)
6 - lastly, the data center, filled with mainframes needs to be 'cleaned out' (func_breakables - again)
For each objective on the list there is an associated spawn area (maybe just one between 3+4 and 5+6). While BLU hold the cap they will spawn on the farthest point, but when RED captures an objective, ownership of the spawn will change. Thus the front line of the assault will constantly move towards the final objective and RED won't be forced to run the length of the map on each respwan. Also RED will have added time for each objective completed.
I realize that I am overusing breakables in this initial offering and am hoping that I can work a way to change the objective for #4 to have to keep a (live) engineer on the generator for 1 minute or so. It would break up the cap->destroy->push->destroy->destroy->destroy monotony and add some flavor to the map. I think I can do this based on what I have seen in this wiki, but let's aim a little low for now... ;-)
To date, I've blocked out the major proportions of the level to get a feel for the overall size and distance that the attacking team will have for each objective.
I've spent some time pursuing other interests in Hammer: adding to my library of custom prefabs.
I have worked on adding to the initial spawn for the assaulting team. I've added some roads to extend the bridge-work, and tried some interesting displacements for the local ground area. I've one seam that seems not to want to sew no matter how it's configured, so I think I will just let it be and come back to map once I have worked through my ideas for prefabs.