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7.35 Mapraider
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Featured in June,
2005 issue of
PCZone magazine

Page Scan Image

Game: UT2004
Player Count: 8-10
Released 03-26-05
Inspiration: Kubla Khan Poem

About 1/3 of the way through development I joined the UCMP team and donated Xanadu to the mappack. I got a tremendous UEd education from working with the other UCMP mappers so a big thank you to the UCMP team!
My goal for this map was to practice with 'rounded' BSP. I went beyond that and also created custom textures and meshes. One of the critques of the early betas was that the orignal stock material I chose didn't visually mix well with the overall theme I had chosen. So using source photos from China, I started creating textures and meshes.
After I started making the custom material, I decided that I really wanted the map to 'breathe'. To accomplish the illusion of a 'living space' I, sometimes too subtly, implemented various particle effects and movers to simulate a living environment: leaves fall gently from the trees while fireflies hover around them. Lamps hanging in the trees swing gently and project their light outline and the shadows of the leaves in the tree on the ground below. The shadow moves back and forth in time with the lamps. Some lamps hang supported by poles. These, and their light outline also swing and move back and forth in time with each other. The doors on the buildings slowly sway, while the water inside and out splashes at the waterfalls ends. They're sometimes hard to see because they're so subtle, and some of the lamp light outlines aren't necessarily accurate to the topography, but overall I was very pleased with the end result. Also, with the quantity of lamps in the map, using projectors would have severely hampered the framrate. To reduce the FPS load, I used static emitters tagged to the lamp movers and adjusted their orientation accordingly.
Due to problems based on the map's overall layout, I also learned a great deal regarding optimization. But the most important lesson I learned was to think about the optimization before even starting the map.
Despite its long development time, and the amount of time I put into learning Maya PLE 5.0 and the lack of UV mapping on many of the cusom meshes, I am very fond of this work.