Streets of Fire update

Discussion in 'Mapping' started by Varbles, Jul 19, 2016.

  1. Varbles

    Varbles Simply Maptastic. Staff Member

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    I'm working on bringing Streets of Fire out of the stone age, since it's one of the original stock maps. The two priorities initially were removing the not-so-secret spaceship button, and overhauling the very tight commander view restrictions. Since the latter required gutting the original optimization, I also basically reoptimized the entire map and hopefully FPS for the infantry player is improved or at least the same.

    As a side effect of freeing the comm view, artillery can now shoot over the buildings, though it's still not very practical. There is now more base building space on the map, since the medians are flattened and some trees removed. This may change, since it leaves the map a bit barren. The inaccessible building interiors are removed, and the accessible ones are expanded a bit. The ridiculous doors in the tunnels are gone, too. The fence dividing the middle low ground can now be seen and shot through.

    The lighting has changed from straight up blue sun + blue ambient to something more realistic and less overbearing; aesthetic taste is obviously subjective to an extent but I urge you to give it a chance before saying you prefer the original lighting. The blue might have been the stylistic signature of the map but it was also eye cancer and sloppily done.

    minimap:
    [​IMG]
    Old minimap:
    [​IMG]


    New lighting:
    [​IMG]


    Original lighting:
    [​IMG]

    Not considering any significant color correction anymore
    New lighting with color correction I'm considering:
    [​IMG]



    download link: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2644783/maps/StreetsofFire_b1.7z
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
  2. Donald Trump

    Donald Trump Member

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    I'd definitely suggest the new lighting one, looks more realistic.

    Might I suggest doing something with this area circled in Red? It's always bothered me that this street is blocked off and that one side is higher than the other making it an unrealistic street to begin with. There should be some sort of entry way through here and I don't think it would affect gameplay that much, hell it might even balance this map from being BE sided.

    Also, I know it's a lot for basically a complete overhaul, but the buildings could have an enter-able first floor to add some verticality to the map and some more street combat? It'd be cool to fight shop to shop and maybe even some with a second floor that you could shoot out of.

    Otherwise, overall, I approve of this! Looks good with updated textures!
     
  3. blizzerd

    blizzerd Member

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    second one... STREEEETS OF FIIIIIIIIYAAAA

    How are you standing with complexity in this map? could you add some infantry only passageways? this map is far too vehicle sided imo adding to it getting boring mid to late game.
     
  4. Awpolt

    Awpolt Member

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    Thank you Varbles for updating these maps! Looks great.
     
  5. flasche

    flasche Member Staff Member Moderator

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    i like the non colorcorrected version more. its all grey in grey and looks bland.
    but ofc its a matter of taste.
     
  6. Avatarix

    Avatarix Member

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    A little more of red?
     
  7. Caelorum

    Caelorum Member

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    Wow. It's not that old..
    I'd go with a little more cool lighting instead of making it warmer. The map was definitely made with that in mind and I'd have to say the current updated colour corrected lighting could use a tad bit more blue. I think the original lighting didn't work because it was just too bright.
    Come to think of it. I'd love this updated map with the original lighting colour, but with brightness halved and then some LED lighting placed.

    BTW one of the things I've always wondered is how this city operates at night. As far as I can remember there is absolutely no lighting whatsoever. There's also nothing that makes it feel alive. Even the shops and building entrances (which you've no removed?) were totally devoid of anything that even resembles humans live there.
     
  8. complete_

    complete_ lamer

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    doesnt color correction always break in empires though?

    looking at the screenshot, one small thing bothers me. the replacing of the shipping containers with the models from hl2. i see those things as part of empires architecture, even if it may not look the greatest. that style is even used in emp_fuel, and i use it in ballast too. it'd be a shame to see it replaced with a default hl2 model

    are those bush models that are good at hiding mines still in this map?
     
  9. ImSpartacus

    ImSpartacus nerf spec plz

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    Had a couple folks tell me to find this thread.

    Fantastic that someone is making this map easier to com on. That, alone, is fantabulous.

    Design wise, I wouldn't remove so many trees. I get that removing some in the "lower" B4 area allows for more vehicle combat. However it looks silly when you take the trees out of the medians on the main bridge road. They break up the

    Anyway, first aesthetic impression is that the lighting adjustments make it look really bland and forgettable. It's undeniably more realistic looking, but that's not always a good thing. The grays and tans look straight out of a modern CoD game (especially when all of the greens turned so pale). I love CoD, but I don't think Empires should pursue that kind of aesthetic.

    [​IMG]

    Finally, I would take this opportunity to ensure that the minimap is an actual map, not just a screenshot. The old minimap was an actual map. It wasn't pretty, but it was brain-dead easy to navigate from. In the "new" minimap, everything is a shade of gray and it's difficult to determine what is level ground and what is the top of a building. The shadows also aren't helping things (I could easily see someone thinking that the shades are a "ledge" or some other unique level of elevation). Hell, even the orange ref spots blend in whereas the yellow ones were much easier to spot (which is hilariously important when you're a com trying to get your team to go capture refs). There's a reason you have to press a button on Google Maps to turn on the satellite overlay. It looks pretty, but it impairs your ability to navigate (especially if you're not familiar with the map). If you need any assistance with editing that minimap to turn it into a legitimate map, I'd be more than happy to assist.
     
  10. Awpolt

    Awpolt Member

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    I do agree that it could be made a bit more lively, with respect to Empires' theme. What would need to change is its architecture. By that I mean making it a bit more realistic by adding debris, mangled streets, torn structures, decals, etc.. Maybe some soundscape, such as...

     
  11. flasche

    flasche Member Staff Member Moderator

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    idk what colors the world across the big lake look, but my surroundings are as colorfull as a paintbox. (no im not on acid lol)

    such desaturated images are from cinematics and photography, they transport moods, but its in no way realistic.
     
  12. Donald Trump

    Donald Trump Member

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    I agree maybe more infantry combat, perhaps adding 1-2 level shops all along the roads that infantry can go in? Would add a new feel to it fighting for the shops and allow for infantry to still be useful throughout the game instead of running in the streets when there are mediums and getting run over.
     
  13. Caelorum

    Caelorum Member

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    The old ones looked terrible. I bet they're just a brush done poorly, right? I always wondered why they didn't have that much detail, I mean, just round it off a bit more and attach a base to each of those and it will look way better and still doable within Hammer.
    The updated placement is a lot better though. I'd have gone for a little bit more orderly placement, but this will do much better. There's some actual cover there now.

    BTW Varbles, How much room do you have for adding brushes etc? Are you hitting the engines safe limits with this map or?
     
  14. Varbles

    Varbles Simply Maptastic. Staff Member

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    This map is a redheaded stepchild to be honest. It was made with a lot of bad techniques and was only playable because of it's over-aggressive optimization. I spent so much time trying to clean up the geometry that it's going to be a while before I'm motivated to commit to expanding it. I want to do infantry areas at some point with a sense of house-to-house fighting, but that's quite a lot of work to make even without having to fit it into the prohibitive existing geometry.

    To-do list in the order that I'll probably get to it:
    Redo the streets as displacements and change the sidewalk layout
    Add skybox geometry/skyline
    Add sprites to existing lamp models
    Add furniture/interiors to existing accessible buildings
    Redo BE starting area to feel like a genuine construction site
    Refactor BE side tunnels to be less removed from the actual relevant territory
    Add enterable side-shops along three main north/south corridors
    Add elevator vantage points on either side of middle


    As for the streets, I'm going to try removing the median altogether and having the grass/trees between the sidewalks and the road. I still want to observe a few more games to decide if having more building space in the streets actually adds anything to the map.

    I think opening it up to vehicles would be too much of a departure from SoF's balance. It makes 3 routes into NF's vulnerable territory while BE still has just two. I haven't really heard any complaints about bias in the map so I'm not going to fix what isn't broken. I might change the way that infantry filter from B2 to B3, but it will remain closed to vehicles and cannonfire.


    Because of the way the map was made (duplicating building templates over and over) it is already near a lot of complexity limits, hence the errors and console spam in the original. The map also already suffers from being kind of nebulous, with dead ends and irrelevant passageways and vantage points. I want to add storefronts along the main fighting routes, but they will all be strictly parallel to those routes and not be spiderholes from one front to another.


    I tried changing a few of the buildings from the straight grey concrete into brick material, but it wasn't an improvement. The grey color scheme is pretty much set in stone at the moment, for better or worse, though I will keep trying to add more trim to the buildings to make them look less repetitive.
    I'm still toying with the idea of changing the lighting closer to a moonlight nighttime map. Not emp_shadows level of darkness, more like emp_homeland. Maybe streetlamps or floodlights to keep everywhere playably bright.
    For reference the original sunlight is set to this color, which is very heavily saturated compared to the usual lighting colors: http://rgb.to/rgb/119,187,255
    [​IMG]
    I will post some screenshots of alternate lighting eventually, but the blue sunlight is either going to be gone or much more subtle.


    Yeah I totally forgot that CC always breaks when you have the map on a server, so much for that idea. Yes, the old shipping containers were switched out, partly because they were brushwork and partly because they were just ugly - made of concrete, too flat, trying too hard to look stylized, etc. I know the hl2 containers are overused but it really should be a model there. I believe Smithy is actually working on an empires container prop, otherwise I might replace their skin with a BE logo skin. I understand seeing the brush containers as part of empires architecture and I might switch back to them with Propper, but they're just so ugly and blah. The bush models are gone but might be replaced with similar bushes.



    The map is unbelievably grey and bland to begin with. The blue doesn't hide this so much as just distract from it by being ugly in a different way. It's so old that I think everyone has just gotten used to it. Try running old SoF with mat_fullbright on and see just how repetitive it is. I added a lot of texture diversity to the map and will try to add more, but ultimately it will always be a bland map. An interesting related example is emp_manticore, which is a sort of similar brushwork-heavy city. It has so much texture diversity that it ends up looking ugly because of so many different patterns and styles on screen at once, and yet still it also manages to feel bland.
    I neglected to do a low-contrast compile for the minimap screenshot this time, I'll do one for the next version. I can darken the inaccessible parts/rooftops or maybe put a striped overlay on them or something to highlight where the actual routes are, but I don't think having everything transparent except the walkable area ends up looking good. I also personally don't like the stylized, synthesized, or realistic paper minimaps; I prefer just the minimally edited overview both functionally and aesthetically. You're welcome to make one or illustrate what you mean though: https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/2644783/textures/streetsoffire_new.xcf


    I think the original concept for the map is NF infiltrating a locked-down Brenodi city and igniting a battle in the downtown area. The city is meant to be tightly controlled and very uniform and clean, kind of like Pyongyang, but evacuated and at a standstill. I don't think I could add battle damage to the city anyway without relying too much on half life's C17 props. The architecture in general is hard to do anything with because it was all copied over and over again from a few templates.
    What I do want to do is have the low level storefronts partially destructible, like emp_homeland, to make the city feel more real and make it more interesting from an infantry perspective. This is pretty hard to do well, though.


    It's near some of it's limits, especially in hammer. But there is still quite a bit of chaff that can be cut out, so there is room to add a decent amount of new geometry.
     
  15. Z100000M

    Z100000M Vithered Weteran

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    What do you mean youve not heard of any bias on the map? You asked about it in the forum chat and i told you about several.
     
  16. Varbles

    Varbles Simply Maptastic. Staff Member

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    That was about the middle, right? The bridge is gonna be slightly different in the next version to shake up the way it plays. And there are a few other places where BE has an advantage that I want to change, but the overall layout of the roads is pretty equal and I don't want to mess with it.
     
  17. flasche

    flasche Member Staff Member Moderator

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    the main advantage BE has is that the have the high ground both when attacking NFs main as well as when defending their own. this is closely followed by their lower side of center being completely accessible for vehicles, which increases the chance someone goes there and rebuild destroyed refineries. they can also easily build a quite well shielded vf down there and a rax right above on bridge, while NF can only place stuff on that crossroad, quite a bit back.

    idk if you can do much about this without heavily changing the layout though.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2016
  18. Caelorum

    Caelorum Member

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    That is good, but the current updated lighting is just a bit too warm for the map.

    As long as the underground passages are visible and the REF points are clear everything should be ok. Although I'd personnaly remove the shadows from the minimap and make the ref points blend in a bit around the edges. Also the stairs of the walkway just above B1 are not really visible.
     
  19. flasche

    flasche Member Staff Member Moderator

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    itd be cool to have "drawn"/stylized minimaps, like you know, real maps arent just satelite pictures either.
    but, unless someone cba to do it for at least all official maps, it would be inconsistent :\
     
  20. blizzerd

    blizzerd Member

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    If you need some help hit me up
     

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