Latest Version here: http://wiki.empiresmod.com/index.php?title=Releasing_a_Map Almost every, if not every, empires map that has been released has some drawbacks in its release. I'd like to see some quality releases not just "random stupid" releases. (as a side note, devs need to work on their way how to release mods, too. Just look at 2.23 - missing gameinfo.txt, maps in server release that shouldn't be there (emp_glycenplains)) Please follow these steps: Create your map Think about naming of your map. A map name usually consists of 3 parts, prefix(es), the namename and suffix(es). While there are no strict rules on naming, you should have a look at the following guidelines for determining how to name your map: Prefix(es) You should use something to represent the game type played. As of now empires maps don't follow these convetions, however tagging a map as emp_ctf_mapname (for example) makes clear which gametype is run on the particular map. Mapname I encourage you not to add your own (nick-)name to the maptitle because it makes the mapname senselessly complicated in the most cases (If you are afraid of copyright theft or anything like that, put your name into the map in several places (brushes, models, decals, descriptions) and protect your map against decompiles.). Apart from that you should stick to a short and meaningful title dedicated the style of the map (For example: emp_isle takes place on an island). Also you should try to use real words instead of random characters ("Wrong" example: emp_roflwtf!BBQz3). Suffix(es) The suffix of a map should be related to the map's version. The first part of the suffix should represent the current state the map is in (for example, Alpha, Beta or "Release Candiate"). The 2nd part should be the curret release number (according to its state). Here is a list of the Suffixes I recommend to use: prealpha This should be used on a very early release. A Pre-Alpha shouldn't be released unless you want to preview your map. In addition, a pre-alpha usually lacks most of the maps planned feature and is not intended to be playable. a or alpha Alphas are early releases, it should be avoided to release alphas. Alphas can be playable (but don't have to) to a certain extent, but it is likly that they contain many bugs or are quite imblanced. In addition, alphas lack many features planned for newer versions b or beta Betas are early releases. Betas are playable, but are still unblanced, bugged or not feature complete. rc RCs (or Release Candiates) are pre-final releases to sort out any remaining bugs or issues. These should be optimised and feature complete. final (or no suffix) Final maps are really final; they are thoughly tested, feature completed and all bugs have been sorted out. Usually it means that you stopped working on the map aswell and that there are no future versions. Personally I recommend not to use a tag if you intend a map release to be final. fix (special case) fix suffixes should be used the map release a small, but required release to remove game-breaking game bugs or imbalances. This suffix should be added in addition (for example: emp_mymap_b4_fix). v2, v3, ..., vn (n being any number) You should use a vn tag if you deceided to continue work on a previously final map - or if you intent the release to be an alternate version of your map (you might want to use emp_mymap2 instead). However personally I dislike seeing this unless it's really required. There are more suffixes to be used, however I recommend avoiding complex version numbers as these over-complicate your map name (examples: emp_mymap.005, emp_mymap_v1.00.005). Using these kinds of complex version numbers rarly makes sense on a map as it's unlikly to reach hundrets of map release - if you really pump out a new release every day, you should think about doing less (less is more sometimes ). Test your map for consistency: Get rid of EVERY single compile error. They are there for a reason. Helpful for explaining errors: http://www.interlopers.net/errors/ Get rid of EVERY single console error. They are there for a reason, aswell. A very common error is: SOLID_VPHYSICS static prop with no vphysics model! (<modelname>) You can fix this by changing collisions of the partical prop_static to bounding box or no collisions VERY IMPORTANT: Fix Leaks Make sure you optmised the hell out of it Make sure to use areaportals, occluders, hints, Func_details & fading where possible. Further reading on optimising: Valve Developer Community A quite good guide on optimsing Test your map for consistency & possible ingame exploits (and fix them) Send your map to your friends and let them look for errors or possible problems Do a final compile! Full VBsp Full VVis Final VRad LDR Final VRad HDR Open your map and create cubemaps with buildcubemaps command Make sure everything works as it should, check for errors Bspzip your custom content into your map Why should I do this?: You never need to put bspzipped file into a .res file. These files can't be forgotten to be included in a zip file. Other mappers can't use bspzipped files UNLESS they extract them from the map. This prevents using custom textures if you don't want to (-> incase you don't know its custom, but some other map added it to your materials folder) Drawback: Your mapsize increases and you can't use possibly existent content from older maps Check your map for consistency again Some custom bspzip tools might damage the map. You should check it to be 100% sure it works. Create/check your .res file incase you created one Pros: Better way to use content that is shared on many maps (skyboxes for example); this also saves space compared to bspzipping, but only IF its used on multiple maps Cons: Large .res files are hard-to-read and quite messy. Its possible to get lost (and missing some files) Every item in a res file needs to be deleted manually by the user/server admin incase they want to remove the map complety Every item needs to be compressed for fastdownload on a server seperatly Incase a file is removed from server/user's empires folder it may cause problems with another map which uses the file Compress EVERY BIG (>100kb) file that will be released with the map in bzip2 format (using ULTRA compression power) As I am a server admin myself, I know how freaking annoying bzipping 60 files can be. Every half-way decent emp server uses fast download for custom content; using compressed files decreases download time dramatically. Also, this will decrease a "Do not want to put on server" barrier because it decreases the work for the server admins. You have this work once, but it reduces the work for the server admins on the sixteen emp servers currently out there. [*]Create a map achieve (Only zip needed file & readme. NEVER EVER put screenshots in your zip) in a commonly used format (Zip, Rar or 7z) I recommend 7z (Download) because it has the highest compression which reduces the downloadsize for the map achieve (not every has a over-9000 Mbit connection)[*]Delete every map file in your Empires folder (make sure to backup!), unzip your achieve and copy it over. [*]Test your map for consistency again and try to fix your achieve [*]Send the achieve to your friends and let them check it, too [*]Take good screenshots (set your game to the max gfx settings) I personally recommend disabling anything not-map related such as gui, etc. To do so, type the following in console: cl_drawhud 0 (disables HUD) net_graph 0 (disables netgraph - enable it if you want everyone to see your fps, though you mant want to use cl_showfps instead) Then go spectator and take the screenshots[*]Upload the map. Try to provide many mirrors and use sites which don't remove the uploads after a while. I recommend using fpsbanana since it will automatically upload the map to many mirrors at once. Also it might help to boost the mods popularity as fpsbanana is a well-known source for anything related to FPS game, especially source-games.[*]Upload the screenshots. Yet again, try to use sites which don't delete the images after a while. [*]Finally announce your map everywhere; provide links to the images & map achieve in your post aswell as a detailed description of the map Thanks for reading. I might edit this post to improve that guide Changelog: 04/16/09 - Added something about naming your map. Hopefully it helps!