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Can someone point me to some Zombie Escape mapping tutorials?

Discussion in Mapping Discussion started by mrfranswa, Dec 21, 2012

  1. Dec 21, 2012
    Hey everyone,

    I'm not new to mapping, (actually I did it professionally about 4 years ago), but I am new to making Zombie Escape maps. Could someone please point me to some newbie/advanced tutorials that will walk me through making some zombie escape maps? I have about 30 great maps that I want to port to the server.

    Thanks everyone.
  2. Nov 11, 2011
    Can you show us your portfolio? We are interested in the maps you've created :smile:
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    • Dec 21, 2012
      If you give me tuts :smile:.

      In the meantime, most of my maps are l4d and l4d2 maps. L4d uses about 90% CSS textures/models, so I thought i'd be an easy port. There's already a L4D convert on the server, (no offense it's kinda boring), but I wanted to make something a lot more fun with bosses and such.

      Anyways, here's a few of my early maps I wanted to convert, (I still have the source files, and I made them before anything professional, so I retained rights to redistribute):

      Fort Noesis

      or l4d2 version: http://www.l4dmaps.com/details.php?file=4708

      Freezer Burn


      There are countless other maps, but I don't know how well they would convert, (I dont know how small I should pak the maps to. Some use a LOT of custom models/textures/sounds). Basically, I would put all the maps together, and make it a multi-directional level-based map series kinda like Predator. All the players would have access to beginning equipment which would give them different class abilities, and add to the replay value. I don't want to keep it L4D themed, and would probably want to do something stupid, (I really want to do an arnold map where you just face various boss incarnations of Arnold Schwarzenegger from his various movies while blasting Austrian Death Machine, but I'd probably have to find some models online somewhere.

      Anyways, any help would be greatly appreciated. I just hired a new assistant with my business, so I FINALLY have time to do some spare-time mapping. If I cant get any tuts I'll prob just start de-compiling ZE maps and figuring it out on my own.
    • May 15, 2011
      There aren't really any tutorials specified to zombie escape. I believe the best method for learning what makes a good ZE map is to play them on a server (A server where the people aren't dumb fuck retarded, so PF is probably a no-no.) and become acquainted with the tactics involved through gameplay, as I see you are very familiar with Hammer, you will be able to pick up on the tools used behind the scenes as you play through. In a way, it's exactly the same as L4D, but on a larger scale player wise.

      And yes, decompiling maps to see how they work will help. If the mapper is still active though, it's a good idea to ask them if you can have the .vmf for learning purposes, as we have a lot of ZE mappers here or on GameBanana that are still active.
    • Jun 18, 2012
      What Dirtbag says.

      Also something I probably won't have to point out since you're familiair with mapping, but keep it logical. One big room doesn't lead you to another bigger open room etc.. You probably know this but just advice since you're just starting on ZE. Don't forget to throw in enough holds either.

      If you've got any questions feel free to PM me and I'll try to answer them the best I can as I've been playing ZE for a very very very long time.
    • Dec 21, 2012
      Actually I'm a regular on the server. I just never got around to joining the forums. If I play mako one more time my brain is going to explode....

      Add me as a friend on steam. My username is RyOK
    • Jan 11, 2011
      Well, most ZE mappers made their first Zombie Escape map without knowing any basics anyway, and most of the time they work, and when they don't they usually get fixed in 1-2 versions.

      If you have mapped before (and apparently a lot) and also are a regular on the server (as you mention) you shouldn't have any problems, however here are some tips:

      - If you want something to be filtered for Only-Zombie or Only-Human, just filter them for Terrorist (Zombies) or Counter-Terrorist (Humans).
      - Take in mind that at the start of a round half of the humans are still on terrorist team; so don't add triggers to add zombie-health or keep zombies back at the very begging of the map.
      - Same happens on round ending, around half of the players of the winner (remaining) team will switch to the other thing; this must be taken into account to avoid killing humans after a nuke that includes every area (like what happens on Paranoid's Coliseum) or to avoid the possibility of glitch-victories (like can happen in Mako Reactor, where a zombie turning counter-terrorist after killing the last human can trigger the human-victory).
      - The maximum map duration on CS:S (without plugins) is 9 minutes; so you should usually make your maps (or their stages) be possible to beat in 8 minutes or less. I personally like 5-6 minutes the most. Don't make the map take more than 8 minutes or the round time will end before humans reach the end if they slack or are slow at some point; like if they take extra seconds to press the buttons, or they don't start running asap as a hold opens because they have to deal with the zombies.
      - Is has become a norm to add shortcuts and/or teleports to allow respawning zombies to get back into the action and to close areas so humans don't hide-camp instead of advancing. If you add those, its usually a good idea having a mini-trigger-hurt on the destination that ends killing humans inside of help with the problem of the last survivor being an AFK human inside 5 AFK-Zombies.
      - Try to make every room that exist have a reason of being; don't start adding lots of pathing and running just to make your map bigger/longer. Its okay to have a corridor connecting A and B, but why do 5 corridors and 3 rooms that players just run trough without even stopping? With nowadays settings (zombies not being faster than humans, or just sightly) 4 minutes of running become 4 minutes that could just be cut out of the map without affecting it since zombies wouldn't catch up with the humans anyway.
      - Things that stop and slow you down (breakables; closed doors; waiting for the elevator; things that need to be activated in order to proceed,, etc) aren't just a way of forcing a so called "Hold Position" that forces fights between Humans and Zombies, but also a way of making sure that both zombies and slower humans to catch up with the "main group".
      - If any of your L4D maps is too long for ZE, think about dividing it into multiple "progressive stages", similar to what Minas Tirith and Skyrim do.
      - If you add bosses or similar events; don't make them too long, since this is Zombie Escape after all; I suggest trying to keep them under 60-90 seconds per round, and not necessarily in every round.
      - Don't count on Fall-Damage to kill the humans, since many servers have classes or global settings that completely avoid it; so you will need to add killing-triggers. On the same way, don't make those falls (or other traps/hazards) deadly to zombies... if a human falls of a cliff, he deserves to die and makes the map harder for humans... But zombies not only can be shoot down (making it easier for them to fall victim of those falls) but if they die they can end making the round boring (to few zombies left to fight the humans, etc).
      - You maybe want to map for pF and don't care about other servers; but if you want to make your maps for everyone; take into account that every server uses different settings. This includes many things (Fall-Damage for everyone or no-one, normal ammo clips or infinite-ammo with no-reload, zombies respawning after diying or not...). But the more important one are usually the spawn settings, that if set incorrectly for a map made with something particular in mind can make the map impossible to win (for humans) unless they are incredible lucky, or incredibly boring (and easy for humans) because zombies don't infect anyone... So you can either try to make the starting area in a way that fits multiple zombie spawning settings, or include your own spawning rules within the map (number of zombies, teleporting them back or not on spawn, time they take to appear...).
      - Try to make the hold positions interesting, with multiple entrances. My personal favourites are Mako Reactor and Predator Ultimate first holds; they consist of an area that can be hold from multiple positions and with 3 or more ways to hold... that are in opposite directions; making it fun, challenging and skill-rewarding for both teams.
      - Try to avoid crouch-only paths and vents unless you really know what you are doing and for what exactly. The reason? Those are extremely easy to hold for humans; sometimes abusing them instead of the intended hold position some few meters away; sometimes abusing it to delay a round they can no longer win.
      - Just as with the crouch-only paths, try to avoid any areas within the map that can be reach and hold "for eternity" by campers against hordes of zombies because how they were made (one of the most famous of those was a vent, on top of a "library" that you needed 3 jumps to reach and just 1 bullet to shoot the zombie down and make him repeat again; in Space Station.
      - If for whatever reason you have a really-easy hold, you may want to break some pieces of it after the hold time is over; so some humans don't just decide to keep holding there forever. This can also be avoided if the map has closing-area-teleports previously mentioned.
      - Very important: Beware of the "Single Player Mapping Syndrome". Being a L4D mapper you can still be affected by this but not in such a big measure... This "syndrome" is about mapping and testing your rooms, corridors and buttons/whatevers in singleplayer without taking into account that those places will be holding +40 players on them at once. Very small corridors and rooms are just a cluster fuck where you only see other people's backs; and small hold positions just become a "shoot in the door non stop I don't care if I see zombies".
      - If you add music to your map, label is as music (this is made by adding "#" in front of the music you chose on the ambient generic). This allows players that don't want to hear it (because they don't like it, or prefer to listen to their own music, or would rather play without any music) to set its volume down (and up!) indepently of the footsteps, gunshoots and other ambient sounds.
      - And last but not least, please remember that Zombies are players as well; many mappers seem to forgive this making many maps really boring/tedious to play as a Zombie.

      I wrote a lot more than I thought I was going to... Let me know if you have any doubt or think that disagree with some point.
      May add more things other day if I remember anything that is handy to know.

      - After testing/playing your maps online for the first time; take notes of what seems to be fixed/changed; and don't be afraid to make places that were too easy for humans more zombie-sided... However, don't do it the other way. If a place seems too hard for humans, don't "fix" it right away; since many times humans fail a big time until they get used to the map and its hold positions; and nerfing it right away may make the hold incredible dull and boring (and frustrating for zombies) when players get used to it.
      - Don't make a hold position out of only forced-crouch-walk entrances; and if possible neither of crouch-jump ways in. However, mixing both and even adding a third (or even more!) ways in can give you a fun hold for both teams (similar to the first hold on both Mako Reactor and Predator Ultimate). Not only they require team work (since 1 player can't effectively hold more than 1 path at once since they are aiming different directions), but also, even if a zombie was trying to get from the crouch-only path and was completely getting shoot down its not as frustrating, because HE CHOOSED that path with others being available; while if they were only crouch-only paths, it becomes frustrating for the zombie because he can't do anything.
      - Try to don't "set your map on stone"... Sometimes you may need to drastically change (or even remove!) a part of the map because it just doesn't work, doesn't fit or is unnecessary (like extra non-sense running). If its for the better, do it and don't look back.
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        Kaemon, Dec 22, 2012 Last edited by Kaemon, Dec 22, 2012
      • Dec 21, 2012
        To be frank, a lot of ZS is the same. I'm very interested in NPC characters like the bosses. I'll try converting some maps and going from there.
        • Like Like x 1
        • Dec 21, 2012
          Great news, I recovered pretty much all my old maps. Some are much better than others, but I'm not really interested in detail. As long as they are fun :smile:

          Basically, it's going to be a map with numerous different rounds, and about 4-5 different paths, (which are COMPLETELY different), depending on how much I can squeeze into each map. It's going to be my 'ode to Arnold map. Each path has at least 3 different skill levels, so hopefully it should keep people busy.

          Anyways, here are the different paths:

          Path 1: Total Recall
          Boss: Benny, Richter, Cohagen
          Path 2: Terminator
          Boss: Terminators, (various terminators)
          Path 3: Commando
          Boss: Sully, Arius, Bennet
          Path 4: Predator
          Boss: Predators, (similar to pred already on the server)

          The way the map works, is when players beat 1 map, it's removed from rotation, and the difficulty is increased for the following maps. Each time you replay a map, you are randomly assigned one of the remaining maps in that difficulty. For example, the first time you play all 4 maps are available at easy mode. If you fail you keep repeating them randomly until it's beaten. If you beat total recall on easy, the map is removed from the rotation, and you have terminator, commando, and predator left to randomly play from on medium difficulty.
          SECRET MAP 5: Death Colisseum
          Boss: SECRET BOSS

          If you can beat all 5, you have proven your worth to face the god of destruction.

          Each map will have numerous custom bosses, blast awesome Austrian Death Machine music, and be filled with tons of custom weapons. The zombies will act like the flood; if players are too slow they will be eaten similar to predator. Each map will also be filled with random "badguys" who have terrible aim, run around like idiots, and fire their weapons attempting to damage the player. All of which die in hilarious ways.

          Luckily, the maps are already "mapped", so all that's required is coding, and testing. Hopefully the map shouldn't take too long to complete. If anyone wants to give me a hand, feel free to add me as a friend on steam. Look me up under mrfranswa@yahoo.com.
          • Like Like x 1
          • May 31, 2012
            Can't wait to see your ideas being made!! Sounds exciting. Personally, I am just getting started. A player helped me learn how to make a boxed room, pretty much, so I am working from there. I hope to produce a map in several months.