Ben joined May 11, 2009

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Come get' some Level


I am an intermediate Source SDK user (Half-Life 2 content, etc). I am creating several mods of my own (99 Bolts, Assault on Overwatch, and other personal projects) and I am contributing to several other mods (Room Escape, etc). I have good ideas and the will to learn. I'm also a nice guy who is willing to help others learn about Source. - November 2011

Blog RSS Report abuse The Ten Commandments of Mapping (Two Lists)

5 comments by zonbie on Mar 17th, 2011

I wrote these two lists on Interlopers.net and I would like to share them with you all.  The first one offers a broad understanding of a strong mapping philosophy.  The second one is focused on improving the mapping of beginner Source mappers.

The 10 Commandments of Level Design (Philosophical)

1. You are the One True Master of your maps. No one else can build your maps for you.
2. Optimization is more important than aesthetics. Engine performance affects player immersion.
3. Even though your game-building programs may give you trouble, remain patient and vigilant.
4. Take strategic breaks to remain creative and avoid "mapper's block". Go outside sometimes.
5. Study the mapping of successful video games (Half-Life 2, Call of Duty, STALKER).
6. Lighting makes the level. Be bright, dramatic, and colorful. Use total darkness only if forced to.
7. Sound is the very best tool for player immersion and mood enhancement.
8. Never steal content from another mapper. Obtain permission before using the assets of others.
9. Seek out the opinions of fellow mappers and learn from constructive criticism.
10. Learn to create your own assets (textures (easy), models (intermediate), and entities (difficult)).

The 10 Commandments of Mapping for the Source Engine (Technical)

1. Valve is the creative force behind the Source engine. De-compile Valve's maps and utilize the VDC.
2. Optimization is more important than aesthetics. Engine performance affects player immersion.
3. Save your work often. Generate a spare copy of your work in case your map becomes corrupted.
4. Never use the "Carve" function for any reason. "Carve" will corrupt your maps and your computer.
5. Fix leaks as soon as you detect them. Leaks reduce map quality and ruin engine performance.
6. Playtest your level's gameplay as soon as possible.  Add details only after the layout is finalized.
7. Learn about the tool textures and their effects on optimization, gameplay, and aesthetics.
8. Use two light entities per "light": a bright light_spot and a dim light of the same color.
9. Disable collisions and shadows on certain prop models to improve player movement and aesthetics.
10. Game environments need at least twice as many details in order to be considered "good" in mods.


More than anything else, a map should be FUN to play.

I am eager to hear of your suggestions and/or improvements.  This is a work in progress and I plan to adjust and modify this list based on the suggestions I get.  I'm hoping to post this in the VDC once we can all agree on it.  :)

Comments  (0 - 10 of 30)
DeathVice Jan 19 2012, 11:41pm said:

Zonbie I read you needed help with getting custom textures...
If you need help getting custom textures for your projects I can help you out and show you how to get them.

+2 votes     reply to
explorer7 May 12 2011, 12:19am said:

I thought of a catchphrase "Escape or Die Trying" lol.

+2 votes     reply to
zonbie May 18 2011, 12:54am replied:

i like it

+2 votes     reply to
aidas2 Dec 24 2010, 1:18pm said:

Merry Christmas!

+2 votes     reply to
zonbie Nov 14 2010, 4:42pm said:

Because thinking with portals is just so...intellectually challenging.

+2 votes     reply to
CauterizeandExpunge Sep 28 2010, 5:34pm said:

Are you Zonbie on facepunch?

+2 votes     reply to
zonbie Oct 8 2010, 6:04pm replied:


+2 votes     reply to
cW#Ravenblood Aug 17 2010, 9:17am said:

Thanks for the add!

+2 votes     reply to
Spooboy Jul 31 2010, 12:00am said:

Dude I just noticed your comment on my news article, so sorry I didn't see it before. I would of contacted you in a heartbeat! If you still want to do that it would be awesome, however I must warn you that my mapping skills are not great..but there getting better.

Anyways, I like how 99 bolts is progressing, and best of luck on your other mods as well.

+2 votes     reply to
GodofDarkness Jul 8 2010, 4:57pm said:

hay joe may i see some of your maps form the balto mod?

+3 votes     reply to
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