Author Topic: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest  (Read 5590 times)

wallworm

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Re: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest
« Reply #30 on: December 29, 2016, 08:42:07 PM »
The deadline is almost here and I've not seen any results. A couple members have shown tidbits.

Today I received notice that some demos cannot work as hoped (like GrowFX ) because the demo doesn't allow rendering. So I've updated the rules to state that you can either use the plugin or simply demo it; for demo situations, you'll just have to share with the developer your impression of the plugin.
Shawn Olson
Author of the Wall Worm Model Tools

Pipann

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Re: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2017, 12:16:46 PM »
So sorry to hear about the lack of activity on the contest. I haven't made anything that fits the guidelines, but I thought I might show it anyway despite that.

http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=831338775

It's not even a real map, just a model. Still, I really appreciate your hard work on making WW. Without it this wouldn't  have been possible. :)

wallworm

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Re: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2017, 02:18:59 PM »
That's pretty cool looking @Pipann. Thank you for sharing.
Shawn Olson
Author of the Wall Worm Model Tools

wallworm

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Re: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest
« Reply #33 on: January 04, 2017, 11:16:53 AM »
There were zero submissions.

So I'm going to put the blame of this on my shoulders. I honestly assumed this contest would be 1) Motivating and Exciting; 2) Fairly Simple; 3) So rewarding even people who only make models would think about making a level (because of all the prizes). Obviously, my own perceptions and expectations were highly flawed.

Based on just a couple conversations with the WW community members, I've gotten this response: That the requirement to use the sponsor demo plugins was too challenging (required too much effort to learn new plugins).

So I wanted to start a discussion here on your thoughts and ideas to make a contest successful: that is, what would make it fun and rewarding for all of you?
Shawn Olson
Author of the Wall Worm Model Tools

the6thmonkey

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Re: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest
« Reply #34 on: January 05, 2017, 12:54:42 AM »
I encountered three main issues with my entry. 

The first issue was that I found myself frequently frustrated using the wallworm tools for all elements of the level, instead of where the tools excelled (but understandble that you wanted that).  At the time of working on my entry I felt certain that the buildings I was making, with complex roofs and texture alignment, could have been built and textured in 1/10th of the time in hammer, at a higher standard.  For instance if it was allowed for a simple textured structure to be produce and then for it to be detailed in wallworm afterwards with custom models and vertex tweaks, the process time would have been drasticaly reduced with a superior end product.

The second issue for me was the custom content issue, where almost everything has to be custom.  As an example, I had a building in my level that was going to be a house.  To make it believable I would have been required to have produced a massive quantity of custom models for each individual room which is very time consuming.

The third issue, is that whilst the skills may be basic to learn on their own, when there are so many tasks where new knowledge is required, it can get overwhelming.  Especially when half way through the contest I realised that there were far more skills to learn than I anticipated learning (promo tools).

Finally I didn't want to produce a rushed half assed entry, that I didnt think was worthy of the prize.
All these issues meant that the time investment required to produce a quality entry eventually forced me out.
I hope my opinions help.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 01:02:25 AM by the6thmonkey »

Joris Ceoen

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Re: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest
« Reply #35 on: January 05, 2017, 04:49:42 AM »
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).

« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 10:32:21 AM by Joris Ceoen »
de_cathedral (WWMT map: http://csgo.gamebanana.com/maps/181217)
de_pontifici (WWMT map: http://www.wallworm.net/index.php/topic,1261.0.html)
space_marble_unlimited (WWMT map: http://csgo.gamebanana.com/maps/185591)
surf_greatriver_2015 (WWMT map: http://csgo.gamebanana.com/maps/187811)

the6thmonkey

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Re: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest
« Reply #36 on: January 05, 2017, 07:00:49 AM »
I agree with the power of wallworm.  Of the building I completed, I made the gutters, stone windows, corners and other items with models, so I did use models for detailing as it is very useful, as you stated for getting things to fit seamlessley.

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?

Just looked over them and it states otherwise.  I must of misread those rules, so obviously I didn't require quite as much custom content as I thought :-[

wallworm

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Re: Something Beautiful Level Design Contest
« Reply #37 on: January 05, 2017, 10:51:05 AM »
Thanks for your feedback guys.

The first issue was that I found myself frequently frustrated using the wallworm tools for all elements of the level, instead of where the tools excelled (but understandble that you wanted that).  At the time of working on my entry I felt certain that the buildings I was making, with complex roofs and texture alignment, could have been built and textured in 1/10th of the time in hammer...


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...

That's one of the main motivations I've had for the contest. I know that there are aspects of building levels in Hammer that are ingrained into Source level designers. I was hoping that this would spur some out-of-the-box (or out-of-the-hammer) thinking. There is no doubt that if you are going to think about level design in a Hammer-centric way that you are going to be frustrated with texturing.

There are ways to texture brushes in Max that are overall far faster and efficient than in Hammer (and not just using PolygonMap). But they take a paradigm shift.

So it's obvious I need to spend some time demonstrating different techniques and principles.

The second issue for me was the custom content issue, where almost everything has to be custom.  As an example, I had a building in my level that was going to be a house.  To make it believable I would have been required to have produced a massive quantity of custom models for each individual room which is very time consuming.

This must have been poor information on my part. I will make it more explicit if we do another contest.

The third issue, is that whilst the skills may be basic to learn on their own, when there are so many tasks where new knowledge is required, it can get overwhelming.  Especially when half way through the contest I realised that there were far more skills to learn than I anticipated learning (promo tools).

I guess this is another failure on my part. I must have projected my own enthusiasm for new tools/plugins... as I'm generally pretty excited when a new tool drops on my lap :) I also needed to have a motivation for the developers to sponsor the contest. So I will try to rethink this some. Note that it wasn't my intention that anyone needed to master the plugins, but simply open them up and try to find a way to utilize them in simple but helpful ways--thereby giving yourself the experience to provide some feedback to the developers.

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
Part of my goal of the contests was to get those +10 levels :)

make a small contest, like maps for ar_ modes or demolition (small maps).

Nothing is saying small maps weren't allowed here. I actually expected that that's the kind of levels people would make since the visuals was really the focus of this contest.

...start a collab with a community like MapCore or GameBanana... 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).

I have good connections with both communities. And I've discussed this with both. In fact, Wall Worm is one of the sponsors of the MapCore Day of Infamy contest. But even as much as they have supported me personally, the vast majority of their users (99.9999%) are Hammer people with zero interest in anything outside Hammer. So if the very community that uses Max/WW fails to rally the troops, it's really not likely that the Hammer-only crowds are going to rally behind it. And this very sentiment has been expressed during different discussions.

The only way that those communities are going to realistically sponsor a WW contest is if there is a growing pool of WW maps.



Again, thanks for your feedback. I hope this discussion continues and some others get involved in ideas here.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2017, 10:59:13 AM by wallworm »
Shawn Olson
Author of the Wall Worm Model Tools