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General questions about aligning textures

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Hello, all. I hope everyone's doing well on this beautiful autumn Friday. I have some very general questions about texture alignment; thank you ahead of time for clicking on it.

My appeal for some explanation is, you might be happy to know, based on my having no desire to submit future WADs that have texture alignment problems (or any problems at all, for that matter; it might take me a year, but we certainly don't need any more half-baked...well, you know what I'm saying).

About two weeks ago, I began to use Doom Builder 1, as DM2 won't run on my old WinXP box, which simply doesn't have the RAM or CPU for it. DB1 works perfectly, and I've been experimenting, practicing, and having no real problems.

I've obviously also been reading! So here's my disclaimer: I've pored over every available bit of documentation that I've been able to find, and I've Google searched, Doom World browsed, You Tube viewed, etc. to find tutorial information on the topic of textures.

There are plenty of tasty-looking links on Doom World's Editing Pages, but most of these are, sadly, broken. If anyone can direct me to a tutorial that would at least be relevant to Doom Builder 1 for beginners, I don't mind that, as opposed to getting personal answers here.

I've already read the Illustrated Guide by Mr. Anderson, but it doesn't go into the topic of textures enough to really explain about which situations call more for manual alignment than auto-alignment, how adding things affects existing alignment and how to prevent that, etc. (and the Guide is full of many mistakes and skipped steps anyway -- which isn't to criticize the author, whose prose has been invaluable).

I've created several sectors that are joined in various ways -- just to experiment, learn and test. I've used both kinds of Auto-Alignment (A and Shift-A). I'm not sure which is preferred, nor how one decides, so I do both, which is probably overkill...but I just don't know.

The auto-alignment works well on the sidedefs of what I'll call generic rooms. But after creating a couple of corridors, I filled them with gradient steps -- and now, every time I create and auto-align another sector that eventually leads to the stairway corridor, even it's connected indirectly by, say, ten sectors in between, the stairway textures get knocked off alignment.

I've spent hours manually lining up the BSTONE2 texture on the short, front edge of each of those steps, so that the brick lines match the lines on the walls to both sides. I have to do it again, you see, every time I auto-align another sector, anywhere on the map.

I know that the obvious solution would be to wait until I've completed the entire map before going through it in 3-D editing mode and aligning textures. But I can't shake the feeling that this painstaking, manual texture adjustment isn't necessary, and that the problem is due to some misunderstanding on my part about how textures work.

I fully comprehend the concept of patches, 64x64 textures, etc. What I'm not clear on are these points:

The difference between A and Shift-A appears to be that the former auto-aligns horizontally, while the latter does so vertically. As an experienced editor, when do you employ one or both of these features? Is one more sensible than the other as a general rule?

What's expected of stairway texture-alignment -- for example, when a BSTONE2 step runs between two walls of the same texture, should the front edge of the step be lined up perfectly with the adjoining walls, so that all of the bricks are in perfect unison? Or am I getting too fussy, because the eye expects steps to have their own sets of bricks, unrelated to the walls?

Finally, is there some sequence of events that you follow while creating a sector -- i.e. a particular order of texture placement/texture alignment that you like to stick to, so that you can avoid constant re-fixes?

Thanks VERY MUCH for reading this novella of a multi-question; I'll be extremely grateful for any help, or general explanation about texture alignment.

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Use auto-alignment when it's sensible to do so.

Making a rough outdoor area with ASHWALL or similar? Auto align that all over the place.

Making a well-constructed indoor area with bricks or STARTAN sections? Manual alignment required.

You can manually align in DB1 by entering 3d mode and using the arrow keys whilst pointing the mouse at a texture.

Here is the big key:

Almost always, you want to think of textures as materials as opposed to just wallpaper to be plastered onto sidedefs.

The best article that explains this was Esselfortium's Mapping Tips & Tricks though the images have disappeared which makes the article not so useful.

As for auto-alignment fucking up previous work, don't forget you can break up your walls with say a bar or support which makes aligning textures easier, as the auto-alignment stops at a different texture, so you only have to worry about making small areas contiguous.

Also say you are working a complex area with green bricks, once you get an area the way you want it, stick a bordering red brick texture whist you are mapping. This way, if you auto-align more green bricks later on, the alignment will hit the red bricks and stop, not ruining your earlier work. Obviously you'd make the red bricks back into green bricks for the final release, they are just a construction aid.

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That's an awesome idea. I didn't know that the auto-alignment stops where the texture changes. Thanks -- I appreciate that!

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To give you a brief overview of the concepts in Essel's article, take this scene:

Note the inset detailing on the left and the top border on the right look silly, because they cut the "slabs" of the STARTAN in half. They don't treat the STARTAN as a material and the computer circuit is cut off halfway which looks unrealistic.

Now this:

is much better, notice the inset works in better with how one would actually physically make a gap in STARTAN if it was an actual wall panel, and the computer circuit appears at its full 64-pixel height. The block on the right also looks alot better as it continues the "slabs" in a lifelike way.

You'll probably also find the U and L keys useful when making inset detail like the computer circuit. Make an inset or window, put your cursor over the parent wall (the STARTAN in this case) and press U and L to upper and lower peg the textures.

Now take a corner with such a material:

This looks shit because it cuts the STARTAN off halfway through a "slab". One could just auto-align:

but that's not so great either, as now the STARTAN wraps around like wallpaper, which it isn't. You don't see bricks wrapping around like this IRL, for example:

How about if we put some extra verticies in the middle of the diagonal and manually aligned the texture to "stretch" out the slab a little bit?

Now the cornerpiece looks like how an actual STARTAN slab would have to be made if it was a real-life material. Note you can also do fancy tricks with this like blending two non-identical but similar textures, like I have here with the green and brown STARs.

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Wow; that's fantastic help. Thanks so much. I'm going to scrutinize this carefully tonight!

Kappes -- thanks; I've read it. My questions didn't seemed to be answered in it, but maybe it's "newbie" goggles. :D

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