Featured in June,
2005 issue of
Player Count: 8-10
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
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.