Once you've finished learning the basics to mapping, this section will help guide you to proper mapping techniques that will ensure smooth gameplay and reduce the load on everyone's computers.
First Major Tip: Use the "nodraw" Texture on Brushes that Won't be Seen
When building the base structure of your world, its best to select the 'nodraw' texture to apply to all outside edges of your map. The player won't be seeing these edges, and the texture will tell the game not to render them. This prevents extra rendering from happening and improves the FPS of your map while reducing it's compile time. You can then use the steps you learned in the basic construction guide
to apply textures in the inside of your map where players will see it.
Second Major Tip: Use the "Vertex Tool"
The Vertex Manipulation Tool can be used to seal two brushes together, this technique should be used on any edge that isn't going to be seen by the player. It can be used on basic level design, or in artistic work like creating a house/hollow box/doorways etc. As an additional benefit, the two faces that are touching will not be rendered as long as nodraw is on both of them.
The Steps below cover basic manipulation:
- Select the brush you want to manipulate, then select the Vertex Tool circled in "One".
- Click on a corner of the brush where the white box is, it will turn red. Then click and drag that corner to form a 45 degree angle.
- Select the other brush, and repeat the process.
You now have two brushes that are equally dividied along that edge. It may not be apparent now, but it will serve you well in the future when it reduces compile times and makes your mapping look that much cleaner.Note:
Vertex Manipulation can be tricky business, if you pull a brush the wrong way (Such as through itself.) it will fail to compile and that brush will have to be deleted. If it's not an esential brush, then you can go to "Map" and select "Check For Problems", Hammer will automatically find the brush and give you the choice if you want Hammer to fix it. Hammer will then attempt to fix the brush, but it's more random than precise.
Third Major Tip: Detailing
Any brush that is not important to the shape of the room (Not walls, floor, or ceiling) should be converted into a func_detail or func_brush. To do this, simply select the brush you want to convert, and press "Ctrl-T". An "Object Properties" dialogie box will appear, you then then type in "detail" in the box under "Class:" and it will search for func_detail. Select it, then click apply. Doing this will cause the compiler to not compute any edge that has a nodraw texture on it, drastically reducing your compile time. If you use func_brush, that brush will be "invisible" when touching other brushes, reducing compile time and increasing FPS.
Fourth Major Tip: Player Clipping
There are two important textures when it comes to deterimining player movement, "playerclip" and "playerclipinteract" both can only be applied to brushes, and can not be turned into entities such as func_brush or func_detail.
These brushes serve as invisible walls for your arena,
"playerclip" prevents players from going through, or being able to wall-run up or off it. Use this for spots where players shouldn't be wall running off of, such as the skybox or above a fence.
"playerclipinteract" prevents players from going through, but allows
players to wallrun off it. Use this along fence lines or around models so players can wall-run on it.
The reason for these is that Blade Symphony has issues when the player comes into contact with any non-flat surface that isn't a 90degree angle. It might look cool to fight on a slope, but in reality the game will act very wierd as it isn't designed for it. You should use this to outline for every arena you have.
Fifth Major Tip: Skybox Settings
For some reason, the skybox set for a new map in Blade Symphony will cause screen blurring and will generally be unplayable. You will need to go to "Map" then "Map Properties" and find the box named "Skybox Texture Name" then to it's right, put in one of these premade skyboxes:
- ber_sky_overnight (Grey Clouds with some light coming through, great for darker maps)
- templesky_hdr (Sunny, clear skys)