1.1 Formulating an Idea/Plan
Perhaps one of the most difficult parts
of creating a map for D-Day: Normandy is thinking or a theme or situation
in which the battle can take place. All of the ideas I have gotten
for D-Day maps have been from actual battles in World War II. As
it stands right now with the player models and skins as such, it makes
sense to create conflicts in which Americans and Germans are involved,
whether the battle is historical or possible (what if? scenario).
So, often it can be very helpful to research a little about WWII to get
In this day and age of rapid information
transit, ideas are often just one click away. However, it is my opinion
that internet sources may be unreliable sometimes. This is not to
discourage using the web to obtain information/material; I usually obtain
images for use in new textures through the net. I simply think that
books are your best friends when researching history. Your local
library should have lots of WWII books. Try looking up subjects such
as "Normandy", "World War II", "D-Day", "Eisenhower", etc. and you will
be pointed in the right direction. If your library uses the Dewey
Decimal System, many WWII books relevant to the D-Day Mod should be found
around the call number 940.54. I like to find the relevant section
of shelf and leaf through the books for descriptions of battles and pictures,
which are instrumental in formulating a realistic D-Day map.
Once you have read up on the historical
battle or contrived a fictional situation, try to visualize what scenes
would have been witnessed by the troops on each side: burned-out
buildings, trenches, bunkers, pillboxes, open fields, and the like.
Keep in mind that the Quake2 engine is limited, so you'll need to use some
artistic liberty to contain open areas to smaller ones. Think of
yourself as the Quake2 engine, and the more "stuff" you see, the more work
you have to do. When making maps it is important to set them up so
that the player only "sees" little bits of the map at any given time.
Even with outdoor areas, through creativity you can place brushes (solid
walls, etc.) such that this occurs. A great example of this is the
hedgerows seen in both official and unofficial D-Day maps.
Drawing the map layout on paper is very
important, as it helps you visualize where objects are in relation to each
other and figure out line of sight issues (how much the engine "sees",
henceforth referred to as r_speeds). A balance must be struck:
if the map is too linear (long and skinny with Allied and Axis spawns at
each end) a bottleneck will occur somewhere in the middle and much of the
map will not be used. If the map is too wide, there will be little
strategy because the players will run around with reckless abandon and
strategic points will be difficult to defend. This can be improved
through creating obstacles like sandbags, buildings, pillboxes, etc. so
that defenders can take a shot at attackers in wide open areas and then
duck down/sideways to seek cover.
Be sure to visualize as much as you
can: what do you want the buildings to look like, how can ambient
sounds be used to improve the feel of the map. Recreate the battle
for the players and try to give them as realistic an experience as possible
given the limits of the game. After you're fairly certain about your
layout, it's time to begin mapping!
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Next topic: 1.2
Creating a New Map