[MAP] Stiglitz


(KeMoN) #1

Stiglitz Beta 1
----- custom map for Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory -----

Some of you might have heard about the map-contest that was running the last few months. Well, now that it’s over and the evaluations by the judges are complete, I’m happy to publicly release the first beta of Stiglitz.



First of all, I would like to extend my thank you to the judges for organizing this wonderful event. Personally, I learned quite a lot during the last couple of months. Having a fixed schedule, which I needed to follow in order to participate, meant finding a balance between an efficient work style as well as achieving a result of which I could be proud in the end. Even though the last weeks in the contest were stressful to say the least, because I also moved to another country during the time, I’m happy with the outcome. I would also like to extend my congratulations to all other mappers and especially @anon96144471 for making first place.


Once again, a huge thank you to @TITEUF-85 for filming the trailer.


---- Mission ----
July 1943:
Local resistance reported a branch of Deathshead’s X-Labs in a small remote village. Stiglitz, an OSA agent, has been sent to infiltrate the facility and gather intel of Deathshead’s activities. Communication went dead some days ago and Stiglitz is suspected to have been spotted and is soon to be executed. The Allies are trying to make their way through the village, free Stiglitz and escort him back to safety, so he can be debriefed at the OSA headquarters.


---- Concept ----
This first beta has a slightly different setup compared to its original concept. This is simply due to the limited time frame of the contest, which didn’t necessarily go hand-in-hand with the personal spare time of both @phisherman and me. The original concept, which is still planned for beta 2, has an unique twist compared to other escort missions. The mission for the Allies is to free Stiglitz and escort him back to safety. The concept however allows Stiglitz to be freely escorted in any direction the escorting player wants. So if one route is blocked by the Axis, then another path can freely be chosen. The Axis on the other hand can also escort Stiglitz and try and hide him from the Allies. Obviously, some restrictions need be be applied to avoid having the Axis hide Stiglitz in their spawn, rendering the Allies helpless. For this concept to work, a special LUA script is necessary, which unfortunately was not possible in the given time.
However, the concept will be realized for beta 2, which unfortunately will still have to wait until next year. As many of you know, so far @phisherman was responsible for the scripting part in all my maps. For this beta however, it would have been difficult to coordinate both our personal time and still make the deadline. So, this beta is completely created by myself and @phisherman will enter for beta 2, so we can properly implement the intended concept.
For now, Stiglitz is escorted along a pre-defined path as any other escort mission.


---- Layout ----
Since the concept is still on the table, the map needed to follow a certain layout to accommodate for technical limitations. The biggest of them being that the walking animation of Stiglitz would definitely be flawed when having to overcome differences in height. This made it necessary for the map to more or less be completely flat. Obviously, for this concept to really have an impact on gameplay, the map needed several different available routes. When overdone, this on the other hand, has the possibility of turning the map into Swiss-cheese with no real flow direction. So for the Level-Design there were 3 requirements:

  • map needs to be flat
  • map needs to provide different routes
  • map shouldn’t feel like a labyrinth/Swiss-cheese

---- Setting ----
Because the map had to be completely flat, I decided to have the primary setting in a village. There it wouldn’t be too obvious that everything is happening on one level. Nevertheless, in my opinion, maps with terrain and landscapes always have a better feeling and atmosphere. That’s why the village was planned to be situated in a mountain range, so the terrain is simulating a vertical environment. That way the flatness could be hidden even further. Having different routes was pretty straight-forward, simply include several different streets. To not turn the map into a labyrinth, there needed to be common choke-points, which Stiglitz always had to pass. By having choke-points a certain direction of flow could be ensured, which would make navigation for the player easier.


So the decision ended up with a village in a mountain range that has different sectors divided by a river. To cross from one sector into the other you need to pass the river. By passing the river you need to expose yourself to an open area, which lets the enemy team locate you and especially Stiglitz.
This always follows the same principle with 3 options to choose from. First, a semi-fortified flood-gate, a provisional bridge and lastly a main bridge.

To avoid having players take a shortcut, the different crossings have been closed off from each other. One with a floodgate, the other with a toxic waste dump by Deathshead’s X-Labs, as seen in the image above.


---- Secondary Objectives ----
As mentioned, the map consists of 4 different sectors. To help with differentiating them, each sector has received an individual purpose and title as you can see in the following screenshot from @TITEUF-85’s trailer.

The Allied team starts in the Nature and the Axis team in the Noble sector. Both the Industry and the Church sector have a neutral flag. This results in a stronger need of team coordination, because after all, you don’t want the enemy sneaking behind you and capturing the spawn behind you, putting you inbetween the fronts, do you?

On the central bridge connecting Industry and Church, there is the secondary map objective, a Command Post. However, aside from the usual CP benefits, this one has another small twist to it.
—Only the team holding the CP is seeing Stiglitz’ location on the command map.—
Now, for this beta, this is rather a secondary feature, because Stiglitz is following a specified path. However, if you imagine the enemy being able to run around anywhere with Stiglitz and hiding him in the weirdest places, it is basically a crucial map objective to hold the CP to have that extra bit of information over the enemy.


---- Screenshots ----


---- Technical Notes ----

---- VIS blocking ----
The flat layout of the map allowed for quite an interesting approach to VIS blocking. Because the player would only be on street level, it was possible to let the map play in one giant open space. This makes it easier for the both specators and possibly even shout-casters. All houses have structural brushes inside them, as you can see on this screenshot.

The street level is cutting the world on the ground and on top of the structural building blocks 2 giant HINT brushes cut the world again, sealing off the playable area. Aside from that along the main roads and the rivers there are also vertical HINT brushes cutting the world along the sectors. Below you can find an example screenshot of the Nature sector, looking towards the central river. You can notice the HINT brush cutting perfectly along the structural blocks which makes it impossible for the engine to see too far into the Nature sector.

In this short video you can see the 2 horizontal HINT brushes at work. Generally, all structural brushes close off with the upper HINT, but some of the houses, especially hallways, aren’t as tall.


The general idea behind the VIS blocking in this map can be seen in the images below.

  • G is the sky area, where only spectators have access to. They can look into all streets, which is why FPS will be awfull for them when there is a lot going on.
  • A is a regular street level. As seen in the image below, A can only look inside the area between the 2 horizontal HINT brushes and the sky. It is not possible for A to see into any other blocked-off street
  • F is the area between the 2 horizontal HINT brushes. That area, which is still accessible to the player can look into all street levels below it and the sky, but like A it is now possible to look into any other section blocked off by the upper HINT brush. All other sections act accordingly.



---- Infinity Blend ----
In this map I tried a (for me) new technique, which blends the world with ‘infinity’ or rather ‘transparency’.
This is achieved by simply blending with a texture that only has 100% alpha channel. For its shader and setup, please check the .map source files.




---- Specs ----

  • Author: keMoN & phisherman
  • Brush count: 35.541
  • Entity count (total): 3.292
  • Entity count (ingame): 847
  • Development time: contest time frame -> 7 months
  • Compile parameters:
    – [q3map2] -meta -v -mv 1024 -mi 6144 “[MapFile]”
    – [q3map2] -vis -saveprt -v “[MapFile]”
    – [q3map2] -light -samples 4 -samplesize 8 -v -thresh 0.05 -patchshadows -dirty -dirtdepth 256 -external -lightmapsize 512 -shade -bounce 2 -bouncegrid “[MapFile]”

---- Notes ----
The source files are included. I kindly ask, that you contact me before creating any maps based on Stiglitz_b1. Once beta2 is released this map will act as some sort of tutorial map with an extensively documented script and if possible a tutorial video series.
By doing so, we hope that we can spark a new genre of objective maps to bring some fresh wind to ET.


---- Thank you ----
Direct support:

  • @ryven or extensive support during debugging of the script_mover.
  • @WuTangH for the broken tree model acting as bridge from Nature to Industry and the modified head model for Stiglitz to fix a visual glitch.
  • Everyone on the TWT Discord for helping out in one form or another.

Indirect support:

  • Jon Swenson (=N4RC= Smokey) and Chris Swenson (Hobbie) for Axis Lab. The forwards and backwards movement of Stiglitz is inspired by Axis Lab.
  • Gordon ‘digibob’ Biggans [SD] for his purely magical MD3-to-TAG tool
  • C and Npherno for their wonderful model tools respectively
  • hipshot for his “miramar” skybox from http://www.custommapmakers.org/skyboxes.php
  • RtCW for models + textures.
  • @ischbinz for textures
  • @FireFly for his Hanomag model
  • Detoeni for his submarine and truck models
  • @RayBan for his treeline textures
  • Everyone else who provided info, feedback, ideas or helped in any other way.


(Mustang) #2

Amazing work, looks great. Hard to notice it’s flat without playing it I guess, but it seems you hide it well with the techniques you mentioned, and also short sightlines. The VIS blocking thing seems like a neat performance trick. I didn’t really understand the blend one though (not a mapper) could you explain it a little more, like what are the differences I should be noticing.


(KeMoN) #3

Thank you for your kind words, @Mustang


I have attached two screenshots with direct comparison. On the left you can see the “standard” way, without any effect and on the right you can see the blending with “infinity”/transparency.
Basically, the terrain fades out slowly instead of a hard seam.

textures/stiglitz/infinityZ
{
qer_editorimage textures/editor/alpha.tga
q3map_tcGen ivector ( 256 0 0 ) ( 0 256 0 )
q3map_nonplanar
q3map_shadeangle 110
q3map_alphaMod dotproduct2 ( 0.0 0.0 0.6 )
// q3map_lightmapMergable
cull front
{
// Primary 1
map textures/editor/alpha.tga
blendFunc blend
depthwrite
rgbGen identity
}
{
// Secondary
map textures/terrain/grass_ml03cmp.tga
blendFunc blend
alphaGen vertex
depthwrite
rgbGen identity
}
{
map $lightmap
blendFunc filter
depthwrite
rgbGen identity
}
}


(Mustang) #4

Okay wow, very cool. I guessed that’s what it might have been, but it’s so obvious now with the side-by-side shots.


(WuTangH) #5

Beautiful map.
I love especially the industrial part, very well made!

Im curious how it plays out online tonight. :smiley:


(DarkangelUK) #6

The effort put into this post alone is impressive, never mind the amazing map it’s showing off!


(WolfWatch) #7

Stunning map! Loved the river and the water. And played well yesterday on UJE. :slight_smile:


(acQu) #8

Spawned as an allied first in this map, it took me quite some time to walk to the destination. The more i walked, the more i noticed that the map changed from hugh to tiny, to detail, in a good sense. Did not like the beginning as an allied, but at the later stages this map has it all imo. Maybe it is a ted bit too big overall, but it has some real strengths, like the objective for example, and all the tiny little streets and brushwork at the later stages of the map. Looking forward to playing this on a 32 v 32 player server.


(KeMoN) #9

Sorry for the late reply @acQu.
I also noticed that the map is rather big, however, the contest guidelines said it needs to be properly playable for 16v16 matches. That requires space. Maybe I should have just ditched that requirement, but I wasn’t sure how exactly the judges evaluate and I didn’t want to risk disqualification.^^
For comparison I have attached an image with the entire Fueldump terrain. Its dimensions are exactly as big as the playable area in Stiglitz.



Like you already said, inside the village I have hidden that fact relatively well with structures in the streets like the halftrack, scaffolding for the paint job on the house, statues, trees, etc. In the Nature sector however, this is admittedly a bit lacking. For beta 2 I will look into adding more wagons and stuff on the tracks as well as stuff in the side paths in that sector.

So far we have played the map on UJE twice and both times it was quite evident, that the team with the stronger team coordination won. It is really cool to see both capture-able spawns work out that well. You need to find a good balance between defending your captured flag and pushing the enemy. You can’t push too far, because the enemy can always sneak by you in a side street. Also what we noticed is that for the Allies it might be strategic to in the beginning leave one flag to the Axis and sneak by with a stronger squad to start escort Stiglitz. If the Axis have a middle flag, then they don’t spawn on Stiglitz, making the first bit easier for the attacker. The second attacker squad then needs to make sure to capture the necessary flags along the way.

Also many players underestimate the importance of the Command Post.
Again, only the team holding the command post sees Stiglitz’ location on the command map.
To be honest, I wouldn’t have expected it to have such a big impact already with this beta where Stiglitz is restricted only to the predefined spline path, but it’s definitely an interesting and cool mechanic.

Niek said he is going to put the map into active server rotation next week, so make sure to stop by the UJE server and test it with other players.