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Pretty and Large Maps - I can't do it

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So I have been working on my own project called Operation UAC and the plan is to turn it into a Megawad (one day at a time, I will get there). However my progress can really stagnate when it comes to outdoor scenes and generally large open spaces.

One of the major issues I suffer is the repetitive single texture in enclosed open maps. If the walls are long and ceiling is high the rocks look so damn repetitive is hurts. My only solution to break the consistency is to create cracks in the walls with many little segments in different heights forming different shapes.

Outdoors are near impossible to make appealing mostly for the same reasons. Are there any basic but effective tricks to really improve high Outdoor walls? Any good examples or screenshots you can show?

It would be much appreciated.

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Lower brightness levels help to hide bland visuals.

Look for large textures where details don't stand out so that the repetition is less apparent. Plutonia and Suspended in Dusk rocks are much better at this than Doom2 rocks.

Consider adding some landmarks, like tall towers or something other that can break up the monotony.

Have structures of various heights, don't use same sky ceiling value everywhere.

The most important I think. Don't take this too seriously. You might work on the scenery meticulously, spend hours perfecting every little detail, but the player will just look at it for 5 seconds and then continue fighting. You're probably much more critical of your visuals than any player will be.

In general, IMO large rocky areas suck in Doom precisely for the reasons you mentioned. The guy draws 5000 linedefs, then plasters the same texture on all of them - where's the beauty in that? And if people try to mix it up with more different textures, it just looks like a mess. Not to mention that caves and mountains are overdone as hell, only KDitD techbases are worse maybe but that's not saying much.

Maybe show us your attempts so that we can see how well you're doing.

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Chezza said:

...any basic but effective tricks to really improve high Outdoor walls?

I'm not an expert at this topic, but this is how I normally do; make a contour terrain and give it a diminishing brightness. The first screenshot is from MAP11 of Sunder, and the second one is mine that I'm currently working on. Giving them proper textures and decorations also works fine for me.


Or, you can just make it irregular and complex, adding some landmark structures, just like MAP28 of Sunlust.

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Thanks for the advise, the pictures shown by antares seems to have applied both of your tips. The diminishing bottom and the layered roof seems to work well. I think I may take this on board.

The images I have below will show you how ugly the textures look at a distance. Essentially it is primarily 2 textures, one being the dark rocky pattern and other a lighter brown dirt. The roof tops are a major problem with the design I went with, I did try to create a variety in heights and formations but they only look good in particular angles and tend to make little sense or straight out ugly at other point of views.

My best technique I used was the cracks in the walls method. In the last 2 screenshots you will see they look decent up close however in a distance with tall walls they just look like random patches of light brown.

I did use ZDoom for the screenshots when this map was made in Zandronum. The lighting varies in different source ports. But in Zdoom in particular the lighting is way too bright allover.


Ugly Walls At Distance

Ugly Roof

Wall Cracks

More Wall Cracks

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Here's a shot from a map I've been working on recently. I used varying light levels and cliff levels to create a more natural feel than if it was just flat.

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I looked at your pictures Chezza. I think you definitely should lower the brightness of the area to give it more depth. In software mode things get darker with distance, but if you're using something like 208-256 brightness then the effect will be almost unnoticeable. Also, as I said before, I would try picking a less repetitive texture (CRACKLE is extremely repetitive). Regarding the cracks in the walls, I'd say these are simply too small to really change anything so it's a bit of a waste of time to add them. When dealing with such large areas you need large details that stick out, not tiny little ones.

But honestly IMO the whole area looks kind of interesting already. The roof tops really help and I like the multistore building on the left.

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Thanks for the feedback.

I think I ought to play around with new textures and definitely work on the lighting. Also If I get the time I may experiment with much larger cracks and see how it looks. I should of taken screenshots from Zandronum, the intended source port, it somewhat adds its own depth to lighting and it doesn't look as bad. But improvements are needed nonetheless.

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You may consider to use custom cliff texture with 256 x 128 size. A huge landscape like that, It's not a good idea to use a texture with a narrow width. Not to mention that you may consider to put some various flat textures to distinguish the contour. IMHO, I think that the current cliff textures and flat textures don't blend pretty well. Don't forget to give some diminishing brightness to the landscape.

One more thing. Whenever I create a rocky landscape, I usually don't give them an acute angle; no pointy edges. Instead, I put some more vertices to make them smoother since I think pointy edges are not a good idea for rocky environment(just my opinion).

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