Looking for Constructive Criticism for a building of a map I'm working on

Hey Guys, I was working on this one structure over winter break, and never really got a chance to work on it this semester.

I would appreciate any feedback regarding the architectural style, or anything really about it. One of my biggest weaknesses I think is that the surface isn’t broken up enough, and it’s a little small overall.

The style was supposed to be Cuban colonial in nature, with some modifications. The DM map will have 2 buildings, and a sewer.

PICS:

I know its simple so far, but any good insight or improvements would be helpful. If you feel strongly one way or another please back it up, saying ‘It’s shit’ without saying why wastes my time and yours.

EDIT: Oh, and I know about the lack of light sources in the computer room; just imagine the lights from downstairs are in that upper space as well.

Looks nice but if you should post this in the “pimpage thread”

Yeah, I’ve been there quite a bit. I was just hoping for a more detailed critique, and not have to compete (yet) with the various other things people are posting. Once it’s further along, I will.

Well here is a detailed critique.
Your brush work on the outer areas look nice, but the interior texturing looks off.
You may want to remove the boards leading up to the stairs, they look unecessary.
Make sure you have light sources for all of your lights. I can see in the last picture you have a couple of normal lights. I would suggest using light spot, and cranking up the brightness.
The interior color of the lighting in my opinion doesn’t match the moody blue outside. Some of the lights are a bit bright too.

Your map looks nice so far, you may just want to work on the lighting inside.

Those lights are incredibly bright. If you put an env_sprite there either lower the scale or remove it altogether because, wow.

Texturing on the outside feels as if it needs to be re-aligned, specifically the windows at the top. Maybe it’s just me. Also, the lack of decals to decorate the place is disturbing, maybe a few grimy decals or decals with a little trash in them. Maybe even some static trash props. Anything to fill that floor and decorate the walls.

Also, the staircase’s plaster texture needs to be fixed, somehow. It looks blindingly obvious you just sliced it, try to make it blend somehow.

I would also add a light or two to the top, small ones though as it would contrast with the orange if they were too bright. Light blue lights might seem appealing.

Another thing, unless the house is out in the middle of the country, try adding some props out there as well. Even some cacti or things will do but it seems pretty bland out there to me.

Alright, so;
remove the boards by the staircase

tune down the lighting sprites

Sync the lighting with the exterior lights, and some appropriate lighting at the top.

I do have some questions though; I think I understand what you’re saying about the interior texturing looking ‘off’; Is it because of the really rough tops and bottoms of the plaster texture compared to the relatively smooth ceiling and floor texture? Or is it a color mismatch?

For the staircase slice problem, yeah I see what you mean, and I think I put those board supports there as a way to sort of hide it. I don’t really like the board solution either, it sticks out like a sore thumb and is unnecessary. So, Would some sort of bordering do the trick, or is there some sort of texturing trickery I can do with the editor to ease that transition?

Also, one thing about the interior lighting; I will be turning it down, but what other color would you recommend I use? I was thinking of two ways; using a less saturated orange, and cause some destruction to the floorboards, which would help break up its bland flatness, and legitimize the use of more garbage props.

Or: Darken it further into a sort of redder, burnt umber sort of color, keep the destruction add some paper decals and such, but also rely on shadows to help break up some of the monotony.

I want the space to be interesting and navigable; right now I understand the lighting both going in and coming out of the building is a bit of a shock to the player; like entering a dark room from sunlight and especially in a DM map that sort of effect would really strain their eyes. But I do want a strong enough contrast between the cool, deep blue outside and a warmer interior… I could even go with a sort of peach interior light as well.

Thanks for saying the exterior brushwork looked nice, but what could I do to make it look GREAT?

Repeating use of either no light bulbs, or the same light bulbs.

Put some lamps in there and make the light less intense,

Ah that’s a good point too, varying light sources/heights.

in the second picture I feel like the bottom floor windows should be aligned with the top arched windows, though it’s your map haha, also for the slicing on the stairs, I think you could just texture the sides of the stairs with the wall texture, if anything a temp fix

No, that makes sense. There was a reason for the misalignment, rather then just a miscalculation, but I can see how it doesn’t look ‘right’. I’ll fix that.

By the texturing looks off I mean that green texture. Sticking to that tan texture seems like a good idea

Yea, I pretty sure buildings of that style, were all one material, like plaster and brick or something similar

Which green texture are you talking about? You mean the room with the computers? That was originally blue, but the lighting and something with your screen may make it look green.
I can change that too, if that’s what you mean.

I’m glad people still do this, cos it means people can offer actual criticism when they want it, rather then just oohs and ahhs, which is fine but don’t help create a better map.

So your map, you’ve got some really promising atmosphere going on there with the moody night lighting, but the skybox texture doesn’t quite fit, consider picking something a little more match to the tone you’ve got, or vice versa.

The exterior brushwork and texturing; top notch. I’m really digging the style, and you’ve broken up the textures well. perhaps a few detail props such as drain pipes or electrical boxes on the blank walls could help a little too…

The interior is the weakest part of the map at the moment. Your lighting, while contrasting nicely to the outside moonlight, it’s rather stark, and leaves the rooms feeling washed out. Try to lead your player’s eyes to points of particular interest with lights, the way to an objective, or simply showing off a detail, these area should be well lit, not everywhere. There’s such a thing as too much light, as it just drowns out the shapes and form of the map by eliminating shadows, and Source’s shadows are pretty, use them!

The brushwork is basic and frankly, it’s difficult to a whole lot more with simple rooms, but things like locked doors, or even broken walls can really bring a room to life, making it seem like things have actually happened there. The staircase’s supports are just… really bad, sorry, the brushwork is fat and pudgy and I recommend redoing/revamping that particular part.

Texture-wise, as I’ve said you’re doing better than many with a clear understanding of texture alignment and such… mostly. But All in all, it’s a great start, perhaps try adding a few un-enterable buildings or shacks around the outside, and try to expand what the player would see too… Hope you don’t mind a bit of honest critique… =)

[editline]25th February 2012[/editline]

Edit, also more props and details, decals dotted around, but don’t over do it…

Alright, thanks for the feedback! I’ve got a few ideas to help break up the simplicity of the rooms a bit, so stay tuned. I’m just a little busy working on a project for class wendsday, but I will probably implement the things you guys a little later this week.

As for the outside, which seems to be drawing a lot of unintended attention; It’s pretty much placeholder, I’m going for more of an islandish feel, and that was the texture I felt worked best as I liked the way it reflected the light_env.

Keep the comments coming, I do keep up to date with this thread!