With UrT HD on the way mappers have to start thinking about mapping for the new engine (fstech1).
So far we've seen some screenshots of new maps and videos that show some lighting techniques.
So what is the difference between mapping for 4.1 and HD.
First of all tools. In 4.1 the only way to build a (playable) map was through GtkRadiant. A very old and very primitive tool.
Those that invested thousands of hours managed to create some very impressive geometry in it. But most of the time we played on maps that look like something more suited for minecraft due to their blocky nature.
In HD that changes. Organic look of maps is closer than ever and there is very few limitations.
So what do i need to map for UrT HD?
Any 3D modeling tool that can export a model in .ase, md3, .obj, .3ds format will do. I suggest sticking with .ase models since they're easier to edit.
Why would i switch to a 3D modeling software?
There are few reasons.
Radiant lacks some essential tools. Tools that have been a standard in most 3D modeling software for years.
Second, quality of your geometry increases 10 fold. In radiant is it literally impossible to build a smooth looking primitive such as sphere. No matter how much phong you use it never looks good.
If you don't know how to build something and you need a tutorial, chances you won't find what you need on the web are slim to none. Where with radiant finding decent tutorials has always been a pain in the ass. So the learning curve is actually smoother with less bumps along the way.
Believe it or not but light leaks are no longer an issue. Edge mitering along with building double walls to stop light becomes a thing of the past.
Texturing is a lot easier in a proper 3D modeling software and most models have it's own unique texture specially made and customized to fit on it like a glove.
Large amount of models available on the web. There is a lot of free models released under the creative commons license that allow modification of the work. So it's easy to find a suitable model and edit it to suit your needs.
Advanced lighting, up until now we never had the possibility to create a map with decent looking shadows. Almost all shadows would look like big blotches and lack sharpness. This was very noticeable on smaller shapes that would raise the level of details and realism in a map. Now with possibility of baking shadows directly into textures we can not just have sharp ray traced shadows but also adjust them as we see fit. Another product of this technique is a performance boost since shadows are just a part of the texture now and shorter compile times.
There are more reasons why to switch to 3D modeling software but i think this is enough for now.
Radiant remains in use, but now serves the purpose similar to the one of an assembly line. Finished models are imported into radiant and placed in their position. After that all that is left is to set up lighting and spawn points.
Lighting will depend on the technique you used. If you used shadow baking then your main goal is to fully lit the map so all the textures are fully visible and -notrace switch is used during light compiles to remove all the shadows.
If you decide to leave lighting completely to q3map2 then the procedure to light up the map is a little different and FrankieV explained it into details in his video "painting with lights".
Another nice addition to UrT HD are normal and bump maps. Normal maps can be used to add details and specular level to textures.
While bump maps can add depth, used together they create something called parallax mapping. Which is basically forcing a distortion into a texture thus making it look 3D. An effect that can make textures look amazing or horrible, so use it carefully and don't go over board with depth. Less is very often more.
_n and _b maps are one of reason shader lights are no longer the best way to add lights in a map. Targeted lights make specular level look more natural.
fstech1 engine handles meshes a lot better than it handles brushes. Switching from brush based geometry to meshes improves performance and removes the need to vis block a map like we're used to doing it in 4.1.
Tris count can no longer be used as benchmark, a new one has to be found.
Hardware rendering is a big step and probably the biggest addition to the game in it's 10 years of existence.
Achieving constant 125 FPS is no longer a dream and almost everyone will be able to enjoy both the gameplay and the look of the game.
Bottom line of this post is to bring mapping for UrT HD closer to mappers. Not much has been said regarding mapping for this engine and even though release date remains unknown, last thing you want is to be caught unprepared.
So obtain a copy of blender, 3ds max or any other 3D modeling software and start learning it. If you plan to map for fstech1 engine you will need it.
This is the breaking point in UrT's history and here only those determined to become good mappers, those with the will to learn and improve will survive.
Don't take this lightly and think radiant will suffice for UrT HD, it wont. Learn and improve.