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40oz

Texture Visual Formats/ Mapping Texture Types

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Okay. I feel like types of textures need better definitions so I'm making a proposition to define the types of textures that are needed in order to create a successful texture pack, and the types of textures used in mapping. This stuff may seem pretty obvious but I feel as though it needs to be said.

TEXTURE VISUAL FORMATS

The way I see it, there are 3 types of texture patterns that a texture can appear as. It's important to know what makes textures useful for what situations. If you are making a texture pack, it's important that you have a texture that can tackle the most common surfaces in Doom. Usually textures will fall into one of these 3 categories.

(1) Let's look at COMPTALL for example. Experienced mappers know this texture fits perfectly on a wall with a line length of 256, and a floor-to-ceiling height of 128, because the actual dimensions of this texture are 256x128.



But COMPTALL is more than just that. This texture was designed with many small pieces known as patches. These patches were 'quilted' together to create the entire texture. Each patch is bordered with a "crack" or "bevel" that are usually just a simple line that seperates part of it from the rest of the texture. These bevels act as boundary lines that should border the corners of the objects you create in maps, and restrict the types of walls the texture can be used on to still appear "aligned." I highlighted these bevels to help identify which parts of the texture are useful to mappers. The numbers inside of each bevel are the dimensions of each patch, knowing these dimensions helps mappers to decide on which piece of the texture they want to place on the surfaces of the objects they draw in their map. A 64x64 piece would fit perfectly on a line that was 64 in length, and had a front height of 64. BRICK textures commonly feature the most distinguishable bevels and it is pretty helpful to the mapper that these bevels have dimensions that conform to the grid in the map editor. Usually if the dimensions are divisible by 8, that's pretty good. The texture is increasingly easier to use (but not necessarily 'better') if the dimensions are divisible by every doubled number, (16, 32, 64, etc.)



(2) There are also textures that don't have any distinguishable bevels on them. Let's look at TEKWALL4 for example.Technically, this texture has many bevels given the large amount of contrast, but the parts twist and turn in so many directions, and the pieces are so small, that a mapper typically wouldn't bother trying to create a wall that would accomodate any specific part of this texture. ASHWALL textures, and ROCK textures often fall into this same category. I usually consider textures like these to be "cheat" textures, due to the fact that they can be used on some of the most rigid and non-unirform walls without appearing ugly. Theoretically, a pro to these types of textures is that you could use textures in this category on every single line in your map and no one will bug you about not aligning your textures. The con however, is that an overall good-looking indoor map strives to use as few of those textures as possible. If you are creating natural rocky terrain however, these type textures are ideal.



(3) And finally, we have textures that only have vertical or horizontal bevels, but not both. Let's look at SUPPORT3.



I highlighted SUPPORT3's bevels in white. This texture can be used on lines with a length of 24, or 16, or any added combination of those two numbers. A benefit for this category of textures is that texture can also be used on a line with any floor-to-ceiling height. This is because the texture repeats vertically, given it doesn't have any distinguishable edges that cut it off horizontally. SUPPORT3 can repeat vertically any number of times and still look aligned. There are other textures that feature this quality, such as WOOD8, and DOORTRAK. There are also textures that can repeat horizontally but not vertically, and thus can be used on any length of line, but still restricted to certain front heights in order to appear aligned. These textures include SKSPINE2, and all STEP textures.

When developing a texture pack, it's important to have a balanced set of textures that fit in each of these categories. It's also important that the pieces that make up your textures have dimensions that conform to varying grid sizes. Most often those dimensions are 8, 16, 24, 32, 64, 96, and 128.

TYPES OF TEXTURES IN MAPPING

A mapper needs certain types of textures to work with in order to make a good map. These usually fall into 3 categories as well.

1. Basic/Empty Walls

Textures like this make up the majority of the map and create the general texture theme or color scheme of each room. They also make up a large portion of Doom's stock textures. Textures such as BRONZE1, BROWN1, BROWN96, BROWNGRN, METAL2, COMPSPAN, GRAY1, etc. these textures are pretty plain and too much exposure of them would make a map look under-detailed, however they are extremely important to the structure of the map.

2. Occupied Walls

Occupied wall textures are similar to Basic Empty walls except they usually have some sort of emblem on them that makes them unique and are used carefully throughout maps. This kind of emblem can be just about anything depending on the theme of the map you want your textures to be used in. In Doom, these emblems are usually computer screens, UAC logoes, poison signs, wall lights, pentagrams, stone gargoyles, skulls, hanging dead bodies, etc. Occupied walls are usually made using existing Basic/Empty Walls as a base so they fit consistently with the texture theme of the room.

3. Trims/Supports

Textures in this category can be used to create a frame around a room to make it look more industrial, or for the same purpose as Occupied Walls, however their primary purpose is usually to be used to seperate sudden changes in texture themes, or color schemes in different rooms. In Doom, LITEs, DOORSTOP, SUPPORT2, and SUPPORT3 are used to seperate the walls of rooms that don't share the same texture theme or color scheme. For example, this tends to make a lot more sense than this. STEP textures do this same job to seperate changes in floor textures. These types of textures usually have small dimensions that rarely exceed 32. These aren't necessarily essential for making a good map, especially if the entire map sticks to a strict texture theme, but for maps that don't, experienced mappers know that seperating varying texture themes with support textures really makes a map look clean.

Does this sound about right? Am I missing anything?

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That seems about right, though I personally would go against the traditional wisdom and debate the necessity of support textures to separate themes. :)

Most of the time when I use support textures nowadays, it's not to separate different texture themes, but just to have support pillars in walls serving as structural detail to break up a continuous texture.

Separating textures through physical means rather than support textures tends to give more realistic results, in my experience. In your example, this could be done for the main walls by continuing the BROWN1 around the outer corner and not switching to BROWN96 until the wall reaches an inner corner. Having materials curve inwards into the wall where they transition is also an effective method for many textures. Using height variation for texture transitions can give great results as well, as long as it's done while keeping the textures' shapes and outlines in mind, like this, this, or this.

(The map in these screenshots uses no support textures in the traditional way, with the exception of some thin DOORSTOP pillars placed in windows, DOORSTOP on the inner sides of some wall terminals, and SUPPORT2 used as part of a wall computer structure, lined up with COMPSTA. Support textures are fine and dandy however you're using them, but I felt it's worth saying that there are other ways of thinking about how to separate materials effectively.)

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