Your Workflow Style?

This is very much just the title question, post your workflow style. I have heard a few, some of them being strange. I use a common approach, but I will go into more detail.

1. Use a few spare brushes to create the bones of the map. If there is displaced terrain, I create a low detail terrain mesh.
2. Begin cutting and using more brushes to create rooms, making sure to using vertex manipulation to limit the number of faces seen.
3. A final pass through with brushes to create buttresses, supports, etc. Again, I am making sure to use vertex manipulation to conceal faces.
4. This is where I begin texturing. I may cut brushes and edit them to add textures where I may need them.
5. Props is next on my list. I usually prepare another vmf with all the props put down on it, so I can see what I may use at the same time, rather than one at a time in the 3D model viewer. I just switch between the main map and this prop map. I as place props, I also give each of them fade distances that are appropriate for their size and location.
6. Last in aesthetics is typically lighting & sound, along with other flares such as sprites, dust motes, fog, particles, decals, weather effects, and color correction.
7. Depending on who you are, you may have done this part much earlier, but I am one who likes to know what kind of world people will be playing in before they play the game itself. This is where I add the functionality and interactiveness, according to the game or gamemode.
8. Now that the map is actually in it’s final visual and gameplay state, I begin to optimize what has not been optimized in the process. Area portals go in, everything that can be func_detailed is done so, and surfaces with no shadows over them get large lightmap scales. Accordingly, surfaces with more intricate shadows over them get lower lightmap scales.

I’m interested in knowing how everyone goes about making their maps from start to finish, since we can all learn how to optimize our time spent in the Hammer editor.

Just going to remind you that I am in fact a noob and im going to post my how i worked with my latest map-

  1. Place a huge brush as a base
  2. start building stuff.
    -Many weeks later-
  3. Realize i shouldn’t have created the huge brush as base since it makes work a lot harder.
  4. Start working in a different way.

How does it make work a lot harder?
I’ve never understood why people say this.

  1. Sit around and think for ideas.
  2. Get bored and do something else.
  3. Go to school.
  4. Have an amazing idea for a map.
  5. Come home.
  6. Start amazing map.
  7. Cycle repeats.

No really what I do is I try and make as close to a functional map as possible and then try it. I’ll fix a few things and then start adding entities and whatnot. Then I go about optimizing, using nodraw textures and lowering the skybox, etc. Then I’ll test it for lighting and detail props, then I go back into hammer, fix, and then release.

This is when im trying to make a phys map…

  1. Think of something that invloves physics

  2. Make outline of subject, Get infomation

  3. Map it

  4. Test it bit by bit

  5. Rage because when you get over 8 physblocks it stops working

  6. Repeat

It’s a fucking pain if you are going to build something underground.

  1. Draw some fucking ridiculously out of proportion map in my agenda then I make the make sloppy brushwork and often redo shit
  2. Two options, Quit it, or finish it.

1. Come up with a idea.
2. Begin thinking up features, layout and backstory (if any).
3. Begin basic architecture (in the case of my Citadel map, the big corridor/chasm things to start with). Playtest the map all the way through every so often.
4. Add detail, and entity work if any.
5. Begin texturing, and ask as many friends as possible over Steam for their opinions and constructive criticism.
6. Optimization, though I try and do it from the moment I start.
7. Release if good enough, I have never reached this stage yet- I normally end up ditching my projects by this time, though I hope to see my current map through to the end.

[li]Make awesome displacements.[/li][li]Never release map.[/li][/list]

  1. Build walls and floors with dev textures

  2. Add props and details

  3. Texture

  4. Add decals and shit, and func_detail stuff

  5. Get sick of map and start working on something else

  6. See deadchicken post in map pimpage thread

  7. Become suicidal for a few hours

1)Build a pillar or something that is good looking

2)Build off of that object and make a theme around it

3)Add tiny details that no one cares about

4)shitloads of C/P

5)Add Colorcorrection

6)Love your work

7)Never finish it


Dammit FP don’t make me double

What’s CP?

I usually start with a wall, then I pick a texture and pretty much base something off of that.

Adding secret child porn to the map

While I’m mapping, if I can’t see enough that supports the finished product, then I loose all inspiration to do it. I always constantly keep thinking about it in my mind’s eye.
**1.**Build on an idea I already have to the point where I could probably map at least 1/5 of the entire map.
**2.**Start with a few blocks that are completely no-drawed. These usually make the “backbone” of what I’m creating.
**3.**Now I have to already start texturing what I’ve made, as I said, to keep the finished product in sight.
**4.**I will add a bit more elements to the map. (i.e. Stairs, catwalks etc.) Along with this, I may add doors or other things to interact with.
**5.**I decide what the atmosphere of the map will be like, add the light_environment, and do everything that has to be done with the skybox. (But still save a 3D one for last, of course)
**6.**Run the first test to see where to improve lightmaps, or move blocks to make room for upcoming steps.
**7.**On top of all that, some more detail will be added to make the map look much less blocky, and more realistic.
**8.**Now time for the final details in this order: Decals, Overlays, Props, Lights, and Sprites.
**9.**With the are itself finished, It’s time to optimize!
**10.**Move to the next area, and repeat!

This is what I did for my dungeon:

  1. Have an idea for a map.
  2. Research architectural styles.
  3. Find reference images.
  4. Create a workflow of creating architectural style in Hammer.
  5. Once I figure out what I’m going for, create the layout for the map, floor, then walls, then ceiling.
  6. Add small details, varying textures on the floor/ceiling to break up repetition.
  7. Add more details, supports, archs, pillars.
  8. Add lighting.
  9. Add areaportals and hints/skips.
  10. Add decals, overlays.
  11. Add props.


I was going to put your name in that, but I instinctively knew you’d put it in for me anyways.

Start map
Think its getting somewhere
Stop mapping due to mappers block FROM FUCKING NOWHERE
don’t map for 2 months
get amazing idea
Cycle repeats