Thursday, 29 June 2017

Permission Granted

I finally managed to contact Eric "ebolt" Boltjes and get permission to remake his original UT99 maps DM-Nitro and DM-Bishop for UT4.
I'd already been working on both maps for quite a while but was unable to find contact info for him until recently.

Thanks again Eric!

DM-Nitro








I've kept the meshes and materials light on Nitro for performance reasons (I want it to be played competitively). It's a fairly large map, large enough to play well in 8 man FFA DM and 4v4 TDM, yet small enough to work well for Duel too.

I made a number of item placement changes to better balance playing the entire map, making the strong high side less overpowering for control, the weak side stronger and to encourage running the whole map rather than just controlling a small area around the sniper rifle and shield belt / 50 armor.

It mostly uses stock assets with a few custom materials and meshes.


DM-Bishop

Bishop is a larger map that plays well in FFA DM and should be ok for TDM but is too large for Duel.

I've moved the 100 armor to the other side of the map and put a 50 armor where the 100 used to be. That should make it play better in TDM though it could use more testing and feedback in TDM.

I've gone for more of an atmospheric, moody and colorful look in Bishop but it still performs very well too. It uses a number of custom assets from several different UE4 demos and asset packages as well as a few assets I made myself.

Notes


Both maps have three UTGenericObjectivePoints which get used in gamemodes like Showdown, Domination and ShockDom.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

PSK to OBJ Conversion Script

Just a quick post to share a little psk_to_obj python script Scoob (the author of Elimination) whipped up for me that makes porting meshes from older UT games with XTXP's UT4 Converter much easier.

https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B0TfHeypIQIaY0JXMUZTaXB1Ync

I've tested it fairly extensively on UT 2k4 meshes under Win 10 and it's worked perfectly for me in all of my tests.

Usage:

You need to have python installed.
  • Run the Converter program as usual.
  • Import all the textures and "Make Materials" for them. This must be done first or the materials won't be automatically applied when you import the meshes.
  • Once Converter is done drop a copy of the psk_to_obj python script into the folder where Converter put the *.psk meshes.
  • Double click on the psk_to_obj script.
  • Wait a few seconds for the script to finish.
  • Open the UT4 editor, go into the content browser and "Import" all the *.obj files.

You'll now have all the meshes in UT4 ready to use. You may wind up with some missing materials (the ones that weren't just simple textures in the old engine) but for the majority of maps and meshes most of the materials will be there and automatically applied to the meshes.

A big thumbs up and a thank you to @Scoob for writing this script!

Monday, 6 February 2017

Maps repacked and moved to a new location

Since the Play Unreal redirect went down I've moved the Unreal Tournament 4 maps I'm working on back to MPF.

Multi Player Forums Redirect

Unfortunately while the MPF redirect is working for uploading and downloading with a web browser it is NOT WORKING as a redirect.

Most of my maps are back on the MPF redirect depository and in-game redirects are working again now.

DM-Landscape has not been uploaded because Epic broke something in the most recent build(?s) preventing the trees from displaying at longer distances. It almost seems like they hard coded foliage cull distance, changing it to 0.0 (used to disable distance culling) or 500,000.500,000 (very large values) in editor makes no difference.

The problem is long range sniping is what the gameplay on Landscape is mostly about. The trees have collision and function as cover... If you can't see the trees your shots get blocked by invisible collision. If you zoom, the trees do fade back in, but still, it's a problem.

If you're looking to chat with me about any of my maps (feedback, suggestions or w/e) I can be found on Discord.

UC Discord
Epic Discord

Saturday, 24 September 2016

DM-Codex Progress Report

My DM-Codex remake was getting a little too big (filesize) and I wanted to scale the whole map up a bit since it was starting to play a bit too tight after multiple in game changes to movement and player scale over several months.

I decided to redo the whole map from scratch, significantly reduced the filesize in the process and released that. Now I'm polishing it up and adding details. It's getting bigger again, but not as big as before, plus it's more detailed and looks better too.

Here are a few quick screenshots taken in the editor.




Note: There is something wrong with lighting builds in the current version of the editor. It seems like bounced lighting isn't being applied correctly and messing up the shadows. It'll look better once that's fixed (hopefully in the next version of the editor which rumour says is coming soon).

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

UT4 Editor - Using Blueprint Skewmesh

Among the more useful new features in the UT4 Editor are skewmesh blueprints. There are 3 types of skewmesh blueprints, BP_SkewMeshX, BP_SkewMeshY and BP_SkewMeshZ.


What these blueprints do is take a mesh and allow you to move one end of it in any direction (up or down and to either side) around one of the 3 axis (X, Y or Z). Skews are extremely handy for aligning trim, wall meshes and other modular meshes along angles they weren't designed to fit. They don't solve every mesh alignment problem but they do help a lot.

Anyhow like they say a picture is worth a thousand words so here are several thousand words worth.

This first is a BP_SkewMeshY with the default mesh (a Liandri assets pillar/column) assigned to it.


You can change the mesh your skewmesh is operating on in the details panel. Here I changed it to use one of the Liandri assets floor trim meshes.


And here's another an example of that mesh zoomed in close so you can see the seam where the beveled edges of two meshes (one skewed,  one not) meet. The top part looks a little funny but that's a problem with material alignment on that particular mesh, not with mesh alignments which are perfectly lined up with each other.


Here are two instances of a floor panel mesh. The one on the left is by itself (not skewed). The one on the right is another instance of the same mesh inside a BP_SkewMeshY. Notice the transform handle named "End" to the right of the skewmesh. That's the transform gidget we use to move that end of the mesh around. This is quite similar to selecting and moving surfaces with the BSP editing tools.


Next, I've pulled the mesh upwards to make a ramp and added another instance of the mesh to the right. Notice how the edges of the skewed mesh align perfectly with the other meshes... Unlike when trying to get the same look by rotating and/or scaling the same mesh. They also light better and have fewer problems with z-fighting too.


Finally, here's the same skewmesh skewed to 45 degrees to one side rather than up. If I'd wanted an angled ramp, I could have skewed it both up and to the side at the same time.


There are some problems with various materials on skew meshes (they look fine in editor but show the default checkerboard grid material in game) but you can work around that by merging meshes. You can merge just a single skewed mesh or multiple meshes (both skewed and not skewed). Merging probably helps with performance too.

In case anyone wants to take a closer look at similar mesh alignment seams in-game, the map in the screenshots is DM-Nitro.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

My Favourite UT4 Maps

Unreal Tournament 4 already has a large number of custom maps, remakes and ports out there. These are my top 3 personal favourite maps to play in UT4.

DM-Broken - by ConradJustin


"This is my shield, I dare you to try taking it from me!"

This one really stands out from the crowd. It looks good, plays great and seems to be made up entirely of custom content made specifically for the map.

Broken is a fairly large map with plenty of vertical action. Lots of ramps, stairs, elevated platforms and walkways, a few lifts and several well placed jumpads. It has good connectivity and sightlines without being over connected or having overpowered sniper camping spots. There are plenty of chokepoints and strong defensive positions for more strategic play. Most of the combat happens at short to medium range, there aren't a whole lot of really long sight lines.

Overall weapon and item placement is very good too though one thing I don't care for is the stream with a keg and a bunch of health vials all lined up. IMO that's just too much over health to have all in the same area.

I really like the shield area. The upper platforms around the shield are a great camping spot but not so great nobody can knock you out of there (especially not if they gang up on you). It works out to a sort of king of the hill style game. Sure it's a strong spot to hold, but if you're up there you aren't getting much overhealth, armor and probably not the jumpboots or anything else either, all of which make a successful counterattack more likely.

I really like playing this map King of the Hill style, controlling the shield, the area around / below it and daring anyone to try taking it away from me.

Not wishing to give anything away, but let's just say it's well worth your time to search every nook and cranny looking for hidden secrets.

DM-Nitro - by me


You might think I'm biased with this choice since I remade Nitro for UT4. It's not that I like Nitro so much because I remade it, just the opposite, I remade Nitro because I like it so much.

The map is appropriately scaled up (2.5 times larger), with proper UT4 lighting, materials and reflection environment. It's mostly meshed now, though a lot of the large floor, wall and ceiling surfaces are still BSP.

Layout is the same as in the original, item placement is mostly the same with a few changes and additions to address the problem with one side of the map being so much stronger than the other.

Whether the game is DM, TDM or Duel, it plays great in UT4.

DM-CurseII - by MetalFist


An old favourite from UT99 this one's more of a port than a remake, appropriately scaled up by the same 2.5x factor but still using the old UT99 textures.

Other than not having a Ripper, layout and item placement are identical to the original. Gameplay is about as good as it gets, it plays great!

Curse was never one of my favourites in UT99 but it certainly is now in UT4. I love playing it now, maybe that's because I'm more of a shock ho now than I used to be and the top of Curse is a great place for shock ho'ing.