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Author Topic: DeathMatch (DM) Mapping  (Read 3407 times)
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« on: January 04, 2014, 11:05:53 am »

Deathmatch Mapping guide I wrote back in 2008 (some parts may be outdated):

Creating a map for DeathMatch is much easier than for normal Savage, since you don't have to think about tactics so much. The maplayout is simple and the games are short. I would say, it is the ideal way to start mapmaking.

And that is how it works:

Getting started

Open the Mapeditor:
Start C:/Programs/Savage/graveyard.bat
Create a new blank map:
Open you game console and type world blank64. (32 x 32 maps are bugged and 96 x 96 maps too big)
Remove Fog and increase Farclip to see more:
Into the console: gfx_fog 0 and gfx_farclip 10000.
Fill your flat map with a colour:
Press F2 and choose a big bush and a good color (medium green, red or blue) to paint this colour on the whole map.
Save the mapfile:
Open your console again and type writeworld dm_yourmapname (Maps with dm_ are automatically recognised as deathmatch maps on all SFE+ servers.) You can find your new map now in /savage/world.
Do not forget to save your file often enough, there is only 1 undo available.
(In case your editor crashes, go into your savage world folder and open "_undo_" with winRAR and rename all files in it including the ZIP file itself to yourmapname.dontchangethat. Nothing is lost, you get all back.)

Creating a heightmap

Preparation in Illustrator or Photoshop:
Start Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop (or another vector based program or a pixel based with complex functionality) and create a new document with the size 512 x 512 pixel and get a white background (not transparent).
Drawing the layout:
Use form and path tools to draw the maplayout (use simple forms, the map has only 128 triangled polygons for each side). Where you draw black, the map will be lower, gray will cause higher terrain. I recommend to draw the black area not bigger than 20-40% of the mapwidth (50% = 32 x 32 map).
Tip: The Spawnarea we will define afterwards, is centered on the map (we can't change that). It is important for a good working spawnarea to draw the black area in the middle of the map as well.
Now use the blur function (unsharpness) of your program to reduce ugly artefacts when you apply the layout in the mapeditor. Use min 3 pixel blur for each area. Paint eventually dynamical blur with the blur brush or with a special selection and applied blur filter. (Open the Illustrator file in Photoshop to add the dynamical blur if needed, but keep the vector forms in Illustrator. It will be easier to create a good minimap afterwards.)
Exporting PNG
Use now Illustrators or Photoshops Webexport function to export the file as nontransparent PNG24 into the folder /savage/graveyard.
IMPORTANT: You need to mirror the heightmap vertically before applying in the editor!

This is a guideline how big the DeathMatch area should be on your heightmap for a 64 x 64 map with 1-5, 10 and 15 players (the green circle is the optimal area size, which fits for low and high player amount):

Example of a good finished DeathMatch hightmap (the brightest circle is no duel area anymore. The circles have nothing to do with the graphic above.):

Bad example. This one is too big and some parts are too thin, which will cause ugly artefacts in the mapeditor (at least with small mapsize):

Applying the heightmap

'Merge' settings
Switch back to your mapeditor, open the console and type le_terrain_mergestrength 500 (you may use a value between 500 and 1000).
Apply 'merge'
Type now merge_terrain /yourfilename.png (You can flatten the terrain everytime and apply a new hightmap again - even with textures and objects on it).

Alternative methode / optimizing terrain

Creating a heightmap to merge the terrain is not necessary, you can also use the deforming tools from the mapeditor (push F1). I recommend the heightmap, as you can work very precise and you also have the correct positions for a great minimap.

Colours and Textures

This part is quite time intensive, but easy to get. Just choose brush size and sensitivity and colour (F2) the textures (F3) you've painted on the different layers.
Layer 1
Paint here your main texture on the whole map with a big brush. The "tiled grassroads" textures can be put very precise with the smallest brush to create small paths and blank loam areas.
Layer 2
Use different brushes to paint other textures on this layer. You will get a soft transition into layer 1 as long as you do not cross 2 textures on the same layer.
Layer 3
Layer 3 is optional and not supported by Macintosh Savage (it will be just ignored). Use it to add a texture transparent on layer 1 & 2 or just to get transitions more softly. You can set the transparence of the brush with the bar on the left side.
Tip: The textures appear different depending on the background colour you've painted before. Press F2 and paint with R (255), G (255), B (255) to get a bright, but neutral texture colour (You get neutral but darker textures by painting 200-200-200; all 3 values have to be the same). Try different background colours for different parts of the map. You will get a great diversity of texture styles. (If you want to generate shadows for your objects on the map automatically, use F6 and 'Lightmap' after having put all objects, but add the colours later because it will be resetted.)

Adding and moving objects in general

Please spend much time here and look that your objects are put precise that they do not cause bugs.
Changing view in the mapeditor:
You can zoom in and out with your mouse wheel and turn your view by pressing the spacebar (Your view always turns around the object you're pointing at).
Turning and moving Objects
- Turning an object on its X-axis: Alt + Right mouse button
- Turning an object on its Y-axis: Ctrl+ Right mouse button
- Turning an object on its Z-axis: Right mouse button
- Moving an object on the Y-axis: Shift + Left mouse button
- Scaling an object proportionally: Shift + Right mouse button
Please DO NOT use TS objects, because they are not shown on the map (ts NPCs, ts buildings etc.)

About Spawnflags and Sublairs

The Spawnflag (obligatory): You'll find it under 'Objects' -> 'Reference_Objects' -> 'Spawnflag'.
The new game configuration allows you to define a spawn area where the players get randomly spawned (to prevent spawnflag camping). You have to add only one Spawnflag to activate the spawnarea configurated in a separate file. You can put the Spawnflag on a random place on the map, it doesn't matter. The Spawnflag icon will be shown on the minimap, so try to put it where it looks good and where people see it and click on it. If you put the Spawnflag in the middle of the map, you might put it under the terrain that nobody can see it while playing. Add a new configuration file:

set ball_x 2000 //spawn width across mid
set ball_y 2000 //length
set ball_z 1000 //spawn height

You may change the value '2000' depending on the wished spawning radius.

Sublair(s) (optionally): If you like to have a fix spawnpoint, you need to add a sublair (for team 1). This allows spawn camping and is not recommended.

Command Center

You'll find it under 'Objects' -> 'Reference_Objects' -> 'command_center'.
Command Centers are invisible on Deathmatch maps, however, players can still use them. Look that they are not on places where players should not get.
You need 2 command centers to get a valid map, but only the first one will be used in game. (The first center you add is for team 1, the second one for the inexisting team 2.)
Tip: The position of the Command Center should not be in the air over the deathmatch area since its position has an influence on the directions NPCs movement when they get hit but without aim to attack. They will exploit over fences and the maparea if the Command Center is not on the ground.

Prepare Human/Beast NPCs

Define first: All monkits I put on the maps will be Savages and all Mudents will be Predators, etc

I use always this configuration:
npc_gerkat = human_nomad
npc_oschore = beast_stalker
npc_bearloth = beast_predator
npc_monkit = human_savage
npc_mudent = human_legionnaire

(Do not add the real NPCs yet)

Do not add too much of them, since it is an easy way to get health back - every goodie bag gives you 100 HP.
NPCs can only stand on terrain. You can't put them on a tower without raising the terrain under the tower that the NPC can stand on the terrain. NPCs put on Objects will fall down to the next terrain.

Changing config file: Human/Beast NPCs + Spawnflag

We will change now the values in the objects configuration file of your new map.
You need a program now which can edit 'ZIP' files, I recommend WinRAR. Open your mapfile from /savage/game/world/dm_yourmapname.s2z
and into this ZIP file open the configuration file /world/dm_yourmapname/dm_yourmapname.objpos with a texteditor.
Modifying NPCs
Use the 'search and replace' function of your text editor now: search 'npc_oschore' replace into 'beast_stalker' etc (it does not matter in which order the objects in this file are, but since you placed all NPCs at the same time, you will find all modified objects on the same place in the document.)
Modifying the Spawnflag
Push Ctrl+F and type 'spawn' to search for the name 'Spawnflag' in the document. Press 'Return' after the spawnflag and add the following text: 'refset team 1' (this will cause, that the flag is already captured for team 1).

Both things may look like that now:
createReference spawnflag 3189.0 1913.0 0.0 287.0 1.000 0.0 0.0
refset team 1
createReference human_nomad 1450.0 2382.9 0.0 70.0 1.000 0.0 0.0
createReference beast_stalker 3076.0 3691.9 0.0 132.0 1.000 0.0 0.0
createReference beast_stalker 2694.4 2082.7 0.0 95.0 1.000 0.0 0.0
createReference human_savage 3889.6 2431.9 7.5 51.0 1.000 0.0 0.0
createReference human_savage 2935.2 2824.3 0.0 244.0 1.000 0.0 0.0
createReference human_legionnaire 2440.9 2977.6 131.3 275.0 1.000 0.0 0.0
createReference beast_predator 4112.7 3210.0 101.7 312.0 1.000 0.0 0.0

Copy the whole edited 'dm_yourmapname.objpos' file in a seperate folder now. (the 'refset team 1' setting and the human and beast npcs will be deleted when you load the map again to add other NPCs.)

Normal NPCs

Chiprel: 100 health (every goodie bag gives 100 HP).
Zizard: Reduces your HP 15 seconds with poison and give Beasts venemous melee weapon.
Oschore: Gives Humans a Flux with 250 ammo and Beasts a frenzy.
Monkit: Gives Humans a Pulse with 25 ammo and Beasts a storm shield.
Gerkat: Gives Humans an electrical buff for 30 seconds and Beasts a Mist Shroud for 20 seconds.
Bearloth: Gives Humans a Coil with 11 ammo and Beasts a Tempest (11 shots with full mana).
Mudent: Gives Humans launcher with 10 ammo and Beasts carnivous.
Goodie Bag: Gives you 50 health back.

Do not add too much of them, as it is an easy way to get health back - every goodie bag gives you 100 HP.
But still add enough Chiprels, since killed with melee or ranged weapon they give Humans speed buffs to move faster over the map. Without Chiprels on the map, Humans and Beasts are less balanced.
Zizards do not exist in the mapeditor. I would create a Kongor, then change 'npc_kongor' into 'npc_zizard' in the config file.

Ambient Sound

You will find them under 'Objects' in your map editor. Place these effects wisely on positions where they have an influence on the right area. Place not too much of them and better do not use the annoying sounds of Insects.


Push F5 and add Sky texture, colour, object- and terrain light. Play with these settings skilfully, they have a big influence on the whole map impression.
Go to your console and type 'gfx_fog 1', then push F5 and change the Fog settings. Basically you can put farclip on 10000 and fog as well. DeathMatch maps are small and nobody should get fps problems.
But turn fog on, because savage XR users won't see their armor and weapon shaders otherwise. You may use fog as well to give your map a special atmosphere.

Final Mapsettings

Type into the console writeworld dm_yourmapname and add in WinRAR the lines from the document you saved into another folder. Don't forget to delete the old Spawnflag. It got not deleted, but has the wrong setting after being saved again.

Creating Overhead Map

Switch back to Adobe Illustrator (or Photoshop) now and modify the heightmap file to get a nice minimap which is named 'dm_yourmapname_overmap.jpg:
If you don't have software to create a good minimap, you may use Notausgangs Overhead Map Generator (not tested).

Map Testing

When you are finished you should have 3 seperate files:
dm_yourmapname.s2z (ZIP file with many files inside)
dm_yourmapname.mcfg (Server settings)

Add the first 2 files to /Savage/game/world (the third file won't have any effect on your test result, since it works only on our DM server, not locally.)
Start Savage -> Host Game -> world: dm_yourmapname
Now test textures, object bugs, the lightening and wether all npcs are on the right place or not (and all NPCs respawn correctly!).
If you find bugs, open 'graveyard' again and type into the console: world dm_yourmapname, when it is fixed writeworld dm_yourmapname - and do not forget to add all the object configs which have not been saved.

Choose your Music

Open /Savage/game/music/
There you will find the available background music in Savage:
to_rebuild_and_restore.ogg (default)

Load your map in Savage now and listen to the different music in the background. What fits best to what you feel while being on your map?

a_new_earth: hopeful, peaceful, approaching to life, finished and satisfied.
lost_hills: sneaky, taut and unsecure, undomesticated, wild, plain and natural.
the_legion_advances_by_moonlight: ominous, dramatical, manful, subliminal resolut, far away but large and mighty, eerie.
to_rebuild_and_restore: receptive, comforting, idealistic, rising, persistent.

Now open your mapfile with winRAR again /world/yourmapname/yourmapname.cfg. Search in the yourmapname.cfg file for "music1". You will find that line:
set cl_music1 music/to_rebuild_and_restore.ogg
Replace "to_rebuild_and_restore.ogg" with your favourite music.

Get your map online

When you've finished a map, create a new topic here and add all files compressed as one ZIP file behind your text. Use the available function 'Select file to attach". I will test your map and add it to our maprotation when everything is ok  

Example of a DM map

"dm_skull" is a finished DeathMatch map. You can download it here.
"Skull" has a quest, a special way how to get level 3 units: You have to go upstairs with a beast and kill a bearloth to get tempest, to kill the savage on the other side with i while you will turn into a savage and are able to throw disrupters into the pit where legionnaires and predators are waiting to get slaughtered.
(The command centers on dm_skull are wrong placed, but the effects got avoided by fences.)
Please think about the game mechanics of Deathmatch, so you will get an enjoying map. The NPCs doesn't have to be reachable by melee. You can imply disrupters, short and long range weapons into your map conception as well.
NPC kills give Humans speed buff for 2 seconds. This is a balancing issue. Put enough chiprels on random places, which can be shoot by discharger or coil to move faster across the map.

That is all. Thank you for reading.

« Last Edit: January 04, 2014, 01:16:52 pm by H3027 » Logged

First Witch: When shall we three meet again / In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second Witch: When the hurlyburly's done, / When the battle's lost and won.
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2014, 11:47:15 am »

that was way to much to read for me, could you just post a couple screen shots of a good looking dm map so map makers with experience can know what to aim for without reading a whole tutorial?
id just love some basics on what the map should look like. and thats all alot of people will need Tongue

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« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2014, 12:43:22 pm »

that was way to much to read for me, could you just post a couple screen shots of a good looking dm map so map makers with experience can know what to aim for without reading a whole tutorial?
id just love some basics on what the map should look like. and thats all alot of people will need Tongue

Honestly making a statement like this makes you look like a complete arse.

It's hardly too much to read as its clean and concise and is integral to creating a DM mode map. If you are too lazy to bother reading it, then do the rest of us a favour and be too lazy to bother posting as well rather than dragging the rest of humanity down into the murky depths of ignorance.

@ Tirza - thanks for sharing the post!

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« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2014, 01:04:56 pm »


In Quake 3, the classical Deathmatch game, would it be enough to show map makers how a nice map looks? No, because the map is more than just container that is required for a battle to take place. Unlike in MMORPGs where the gameplay is egocentric, i.e. about improving your character, Deathmatch games make full use of the environment.

DM mapping is not the same as RTSS mapping. In RTSS mapping you mainly had to bother about terrain design. In DM however there's no commander and all gameplay elements are part of the map. As a DM mapper you need to think about weapon, item and unit placement, about balancing the value of different map areas and you need to consider how fast/effortless players can get to certain spots and how easy it is to defend them. In Savage DM you need to place chiprels, so the speed advantage of Beasts can be compensated by humans killing chiprels with ranged weapons to get speed. A map that doesn't have this is imbalanced.

First Witch: When shall we three meet again / In thunder, lightning, or in rain?
Second Witch: When the hurlyburly's done, / When the battle's lost and won.
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Posts: 316

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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2014, 08:33:37 pm »

that was way to much to read for me, could you just post a couple screen shots of a good looking dm map so map makers with experience can know what to aim for without reading a whole tutorial?
id just love some basics on what the map should look like. and thats all alot of people will need Tongue

Honestly making a statement like this makes you look like a complete arse.

i was really trying to avoid this.
But hey if i have to read the whole thing, whatever Tongue

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