I encountered three main issues with my entry.
The first issue
The second issue
The third issue
All these issues meant that the time investment required to produce a quality entry eventually forced me out.
Thank you for your input to the contest. While I very much wanted to participate, I couldn't (I let Shawn know in advance), so I feel I have little right to argue about experiences on how working on an entry for the contest through WW and 3DS Max helps/slows down.
However, I would love to shed some light on my experience with de_cathedral which was also done for a contest, as well as adress a few of your issues.
Firstly, when designing cathedral
, I knew that I would never be able to do it in hammer because of its complexity. In almost every aspect, Wall Worm helped me to do things that I couldn't (3D Skybox, designing the 3D geometry alongside brushes etc). After all, the whole project got from 0 to a full cathedral in just under 3 months. To do that in Hammer, it would not only be of an atrocious standard (brushes-only churches only go so far), but it is downright impossible. It's just kind of impossible. Sure some people can pull it off (FM-Pone, Skybex, catfood, that's about it...?), as they have this workflow so in hand, coupled with a limitless amount of talent, but those are exceptions and 99% of the other mappers (including me!!!), they couldn't unless they had a year or more. I'm specifically talking about the 3-month challenge.
With that said, I agree with your first issue only on the texturing aspect. Unless you have PolygonMap
, texturing in 3DS Max can only be a pain if you are not familiar with UVW-mapping and the concept of planar texturing. Things like textures with 2-1 powered resolutions which cannot get the ratio right, or wanting the same scale and alignment on nearby objects etc... all of that is solved with PolygonMap however, and if you have the plugin, it's freaking ass-kicking and so much faster with the automatic mapping tools. What I'm trying to say is that I feel it's more fair to blame 3DS Max for most of the difficulties
, rather than Wall Worm (Wall Worm has, as a matter of fact, nothing to do with texturing brushes or models. Only Corvex/Shellvex/Detailer and other plugins do some part of the texturing automatically).
The only thing I really do not understand is how everything had to be custom content. Can you direct to the rule that states this? I think custom content was a requirement, but that can be combined with existing textures and models from Source (especially, since Shawn extended the contest with the release of native .mdl support).
For everything else, I agree with you, and your third issue is probably the main problem for many people. WALL WORM, in my opinion, is easy to learn. I learned the Wall Worm Modeling
Tools relatively quickly at the time, and used it in many projects. The Level Design
tools I mainly learned during my time with cathedral, about 3 months, but I had the luxury that at the start I already knew for a big part the way 3DS Max worked for modeling and texturing (and even then, if I look at what I know now, I would have done things differently). 3DS Max however... I remember spending almost 2 years understanding how texturing finally worked, and that might set off some people.
In hammer yes, for brushes you can just pick the neighbour face and then continue down the line to have the same align. This method is super-easy, it's so easy in fact it makes you lazy and you forget all about planar texturing. I think this bridge is often discarded, and people then don't understand texturing in 3DS Max, because it's too advanced. Shortly said Hammer is too rigid and 3DS Max allows to much freedom you get lost.
I blame myself for not participating, and for still not having made videos on so many of these aspects. I'm in the position to share a lot of knowledge about Wall Worm from a customer perspective who started from 0 (Shawn surely started from 0, but he is a god amongst mere mortals at this point). I have already decided to free up time after my master degree to set this right, but for me the timing for many thing on the computer for this year, is just completely off.
In fact there have been 2 contests (Day of Infamy and Christmass contest) that I could have won (at least the second one, blatantly), provided I had 3 full months. I saw some big names enter the contest, none of them made an entry, and pretty much all the entries that got into the christmas one... I have never seen such an overall low-quality submission pool. But I just couldn't participate, I had no time whatsoever.
The only thing I can think off, is to either start a contest after some people (± 10) have showcased actual working levels, as proof they understand how 3DS Max and the tools work (we had at least 4 people I think for this contest, I hope the other 2 can share a bit on their side, even if it's just saying 'Had no time/desire'), or start a collab with a community like MapCore or GameBanana. When through a community, make a small contest, like maps for ar_ modes or demolition (small maps).
Overall I think a bridge needs to be crossed for many people, and perhaps through a buildup with small contests to begin with, that's a good start. At least to get many people on board (enough so a contest can actually have place).