What is the best mapping tool?

I use Hammer Editor, but sometimes it can be quite frustrating to use. Do any other facepunchers recommend anything else? Please contribute!

I’m pretty sure that’s the only mapping tool for Source lol

What about 3DS MAX? I heard that’s bretty good, I saw a thread on like mapping… with like a plugin. Some-something CORVEX Mapping Tool.

There is one but honestly, I find hammer has more adventages if you know every feature.

Search mapping with 3dsmax tutorial on youtube

If you want to map for source, with it’s old style mapping, use Hammer.

If you want to map with more talented style, with modelling and texturing skills, I recommend UDK the Unreal Engine editor or the CryEngine 3 SDK. Both have freedom to do exactly what you want to do. Remember that this editors are more useful if you want to make a carreer in games as they are powerful tools.

if he thinks hammer is frustrating, i doubt he will be able to use 3ds max

and then of course there’s the 3ds Max one. You could try using sketchup but I strongly don’t recommend it unless you have a good understanding.

I think hammer is frustrating as all hell in many cases. 3D modelling might be more difficult, but way less frustrating with things that can go wrong, stop working or glitch out. Heck, even just setting up hammer for your game can be a pain. I have to make my maps for Hl2 inside the counter-strike source hammer editor, when my maps really are for gmod… With a 3D program, you just sit down and start making geometry, straight forward, no problems.

http://gamebanana.com/threads/192903 Sledge - a hammer alternative - is supposed to support source soon as well.

But I mean, how many people actually support and use it compared to Hammer

he’s not going to find it easier if it doesn’t have any support for when he needs help

I find this very curious. Can you provide the list of things that are more advantageous in Hammer than 3ds Max?

THis is simply not true. You can map entirely in 3ds Max for Source… and you do not have to be limited to “old style mapping”.

That is not entirely true. I personally find Hammer frustrating and love 3ds Max. My frustrations with Hammer are very extensive due to its extremely limited toolset and frustratingly laggy viewport performance.

I’ve spent the last several years building 3ds Max to Source pipeline tools, and the last year has been directly devoted to turning 3ds Max into a Source Engine level editor. Many of the tools and methods I’ve been developing make the design environment as robust as mapping for the CryEngine.

It tires me to read the same un-substantiated claims, over and over, that the only viable way to make levels for Source is Hammer. It is simply not true. Sure, you have nothing stopping you from using Hammer if it is what you prefer–but when someone asks if it is possible or viable, you expose faulse authority when you claim with certainty that Hammer is the only viable option.

Here is more on this topic:

And, as mentioned above, you may find many tools like CorVex that are giant time-savers for level design that far surpass the work-flow you have in Hammer.

Probably the best thing about hammer is UVs as you can quickly align faces to the top, center, left etc, as well as scale it up precisely with the press of a button. Not to mention you can use already compiled materials and see their effect near instantanously rather than compiling your map only to discover a material doesn’t work.

It also makes entity work a lot easier as you can see the connections of entities.

And visgrouping is nice, because you can hide say all func_details, or all water or displacement brushes easily. In max you manually have to separate all objects them into layers. and hide/show each one.

Now some of these are due to source being crappy in general, but it’s easier to do it in the crappy editor in some cases than to do it in max.

I don’t see why you are accusing me of having ‘unsubstantiated claims’, despite me admitting that there are other options. On writing my first post, I already knew about Corvex, but I assumed this guy is new to the mapping scene, and imo, Hammer is a lot more user/noob friendly. In terms of interface, it looks a lot less intimidating. (Thus, I did not mention 3ds max)

Also I haven’t had any experience with laggy viewports

I wasn’t making an accusation. I was pointing out the simple facts. People often ask questions, like the OP, and get results that are not true. Despite what you personally know and/or feel, your direct response is quoted below:

The point is this. I know that this is the mapping board and that the mappers in Source are very used to the idea that mapping is a Hammer-only thing in Source. I have personally spent several years using Worldcraft and its successor Hammer. During all my years I dreamed of using 3ds Max for Source mapping. After years of being told it wasn’t possible, I gave up the idea until I started learning how to make my own programs for Max… and then realized that it was never an issue of being impossible, but just an issue of someone taking the time and building the tools.

Now those tools are here. I would have paid money for the tools that are now Wall Worm when I was mapping the most back in CS 1.6. But I’ve been giving the community a constant stream of new tools for building models, levels, materials and more all inside 3ds Max. And for years, all of these tools have been free. Only recently have I started making little Extra Addons for small fees.

So if you can imagine that I’ve shared a large percentage of my skills, time and expertise to people freely, you may realize that I can be both saddened and frustrated when people respond to questions as in the OP that completely disregard the time, effort and support I have given to the Source community. That you don’t recommend or use Wall Worm instead of Hammer is not what can upset me. It’s that these kinds of responses create a self-reinforcing belief system that gets recycled on the Internet all the time. (Had this thread stopped with your first answer, then the OP would have been left with an untrue answer.)

And to Stiffy. I understand that you have a strong feeling about UVs being a challenge in Max. I know that you are comfortable in Hammer. I’ve talked to you personally about this. I respect that this is your feeling. I disagree with it, but I respect it. But that is a UI and familiarity thing. I think part of the challenge that you face (and others I’ve talked to with a feeling similar to yours) is that you are approaching 3ds Max from the Hammer perspective. But the reality is that if you do want to really learn to use Max for level design, you have to unlearn some of the methods that Hammer pushes (because of its UI limitations) and embrace other methods. I’m not talking about principles, but methods. The principles are all the same.

mapping in 3dsmax is kinda weird, I mean I get the whole thing of building assets like houses, rocks, etc then plopping them down crymearivengine style but an entire source map would just feel so weird.

That’s fine, and I respect you for what you’ve done. Taking the time and effort to create your tools really is something to be proud of. Sorry if I seemed to completely throw away the 3DS Max option. It’s just that you came off to me in your reply as a tiny bit high-horsed about 3DS talking about the limitations and faults of Hammer.

Anyways, whatever the OP decides is their choice, I’m sorry for stirring a bit of unnecessary tension

i think gtkradiant can be used to map for hl2 too. but its some really old thing so…

That is a feeling based on your experience and familiarity with traditional Source workflows. The idea of it is only weird because you grew up on using Hammer … and there traditionally was no other way. Had you started in a different environment, you may have a different feeling on what is weird or not.

There is no real tension on my part and I love the entire Source community (and generally all creative communities). And not one shred of my posts are directed at anyone personally (except when in praise).

I am only expressing frustration towards certain ideas that are so strongly held as facts in the Source community. While there are certainly those who are very knowledgeable about the topic of Hammer and Max… I’m pretty confident that there are very few people who know the ins-and-outs of the technical aspect of Source level design, in terms of both 3ds Max and Hammer, as I am. I can say this with extreme confidence due to the long list of people that come to me for advice from amateurs to professionals… and I am in the trade of finding new ways to accomplish artistic tasks for Source in the context of 3ds Max.

So if I come across as being on a high-horse… then it is simply due to my human-nature. Yes, I wholeheartedly know that Max is, across the board, more powerful than Hammer. There simply are no real limitations in Max. Ever. If there is something you cannot accomplish, then a developer like myself can simply solve it. That isn’t true in Hammer… and all users are forced to comply with methods that fit its architecture.

Now the opinion of any individual, that one is better or worse for their personal workflow, is entirely different. For many people, Hammer is a perfect tool. And while I will always encourage people to tip their toes into 3ds Max for Source level design (I am very biased about this), I know that it is often just too much for some people. That’s just fine. What I want to make sure, and why I even jump into these kinds of threads, is that someone with the same kinds of interests and desires (that I have always had) get directed to the tools I’ve been working on so passionately. Otherwise, I spend so much time building things for this community only to find that someone who would love to use them gets detoured. And I spend far too much time building these tools to have people getting detoured!

In the last year I’ve had dozens of emails from people who were absolutely shocked that they could make a level for Source in 3ds Max. Very often, in such emails, are things like this: “Everyone always said it was impossible so I never really looked into it.”

In any event, I do not ever hold ill-will or tension with anyone. I respect almost anyone as long as they share that respect. I also don’t apologize for my passion on this subject! :slight_smile: