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Thought 1- Preparatory Editor Learning Regardless Of Mapping Desire.
If there`s one problem that gets in the way of making maps, it`s not knowing how to map. Profound indeed. A related problem that by the time one gets round to learning to map, games have moved on, you`ve lost inspiration and indeed relevance and purpose (small, dedicated scenes like this aside).

How to keep up with the times, eh? (You may notice that this thread doesn`t entirely sit with my next thread.)

I had an idea. A new game engine comes out, sometimes with a game attached to it (say, Unreal), sometimes without (say,....oh it`s far too bloody obvious). One has mapping urges but perhaps no inspiration whatsoever for that particular game. So what you do, as soon as the game is played and the editor available, learn to map for it. Doesn`t matter what and don`t think about releasing. Just learn the editor and what works for mapping. Play around a bit, make a few test maps, then ignore it.

The purpose being, of course, that when a game that does inspire your mapping is released using that engine, you are halfway there. You can put your ideas into action quicker and be more relevant and timely to the current game`s scene. For example if you were a Quake mapper who`d learnt Unreal mapping, you might find WOT or UT inspiring you. Or an HL mapper who`d learnt Q3A mapping might put it into action for Elite Force or RTCW.

Is this making sense here?? I know it`s an idea focused on "the next big thing" and whatever is "popular at the time". But then again it`s also about genuine mapping desire, and making it easier to put that desire into action when the games are still fresh.
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if you wanna keep up with time, you can learn howto map for some popular engine on which will be released a number of games (take a look at q3)
for the next step i`d recommend learning doom3 editing, since its next version will be released after 5 years after d3 release (jc himself said so) he also said that there won`t be new engines released every 2 years. so this depends on universe you love more. if you like quake related stuff, choose q3/d3 technology. if you like unreal universe, learn ued.
and if you`re psycho circus/blood2/avp* fanatic go learn lithtech editing. 
or just learn the editor you need to do what you want. if you put your back into it, you can break one open in about a week or so - and that will give you a fair amount of cunning to start from.

this is much easier if you have someone to ask, face to face, mind you. but most current editors out there have pretty decent documentation.

aah, fuck it, I dont know. 
Providing that you already have experience with editors and their concepts, then like wrath said, you should be able to learn an editor in a week or so. If you`re a complete newbie who doesn`t know anything, then obviously by the time you really get the hang of the editor and map making, the game will be "old" and everyone else will have moved on.

Granted, it`s rather simplistic, but I learned Cube map making in 2 days or so. 
I think jc changed that to that a new engine will be made not too long after d3 but that the one made then should last a long time. 
if that is the case, why do many quakers who want to map for anything unreal-based find it difficult and vice versa too (albeit it seems to be easier switching from Ued to bsp based editing apparently)?

And to make a good map, you have to learn the particular entities and scripting etc for the gmae you map for (again this is more emphasized on the sp side). 
ued is frustrating and buggy.
you need a lot of patience and motivation to map with it.

the idea is that you either have fun creating and playing with editor or like the game you are mapping for.
learning the editor for knowledge sake makes sense only for those planning to make career in gamedesign 
RPG - see nitin`s answer. I`m also meaning, learning to map well, not just to know how to make a box in the editor (although that seems to have served *you* well so far :P).

Speedy -

"the idea is that you either have fun creating and playing with editor or like the game you are mapping for.
learning the editor for knowledge sake makes sense only for those planning to make career in gamedesign"

Nope... It could make sense for anyone, as most big engines (Id, Unreal, Lithtech) are used to make a wide variety of games. For example: Q3A is released. You don`t like it. You don`t want to learn to map for it. Then, 2 years later, RTCW is released. You like it lots and want to map for it. NOW you have to learn to map in the Q3A engine - something you could have learnt years ago. You`re wasting current mapping time.

It`s kinda obvious the way engine usage works, that learning to map for a big engine, regardless of whether you like the game it first shipped with, will set you in good stead as far as future games which might inspire you. Unless learning to map is really THAT EASY and something you can do in a week *cough*. 
usually any editor available is easy enough to learn for one week. yet there are proper docs ships with it usually, and forums with lots of helpfull fellows...
only thing u need is just strong desire to map :) 
requires a LOT of desire. 
Shambler, FYI, you may not know you can use html quote tags < q > and < /q > for this effect:
Nitin, Shambler 
Finding it difficult to switch to Unreal says nothing about the length of time it would take to actually learn it. When I say it takes about a week, I presume that the mapper does not get frustrated after 30 minutes of work and then go off searching for porn. Although I have no evidence to support it, I contend that it would take about a week for someone already familiar with making good levels (but not with that technology).

After that weeks time, if the mapper has past experience with level design (like if I were to start learning UED now) then he should be able to apply that knowledge and make good looking maps. That is to say, after learning for one week, to make a room like this ( ) depends less on my technical ability in the editor than my knowledge of what looks good and what doesn't. My example of Cube was just a minor example, considering that the maps are not as complicated as games like Quake or Unreal. It would indeed take longer to learn editors for these games.

And indeed, to make a good map you have to know that game's entities. But we are talking about learning to map for a specific engine, not a specific game. Entities change from game to game, even though some remain the same. And besides, even though I map almost exclusively for Quake, I still don't know the names and keys for all the entities. Such a thing is solely a practise in memorization and has nothing to do with a particular person's talent or ability to make inventive use of those entities. Perusing the list once or twice would probably be enough to give you an idea of what you can and cannot do. 
Will Power 
yea, shambler, some people just cant learn an editor if they hate the game which runs those maps. i know it would have made sense to learn q3rad and then hope that a better game came out (well, youd actually get to know about it too) but a man is a complex thing and sometimes one can lose interest quickly... 
May Be Its Hard For You To Understand 
cause you are not mapping yourself

pretend you plan to make maps for the doom3 and go learn q3radiant

maybe you dont plan to, but force yourself - you`d feel exactly the same way I would be feeling learning latest ued, just thinking I might want to make levels for some future games based on Unreal warfare (or whats ut2 tech called) 
Stop Your Whining 
If you wanna map, you learn the tools.
If you wanna push pixels, you learn the tools.

The more tools you know, and the better you know them - the better you can pour your mind into the work instead of wrestling with your tools.

Is photoshop biting you on the ass? Well - boh-fucking-ho, here is a dime. Call someone who cares.

UED is good enough for the folks at epic and legend - they are good enough for you.
Radiant clones are used professionally at tons of development houses, they are good enough for you too. 
wrath - I feel so...enlightened. That is exactly the sort of insight, wit and articulacy that makes this community what it is :) 
why, thank you. 
wrath - the amazing flame machine 
wrath - I feel so...enlightened. That is exactly the sort of insight, wit and articulacy that makes this community what it is :)

It`s exactly the sort of insight that makes wrath a valuable, nay, essential, part of this community =). Although in some ways, behind the spikes, he`s hinting at a point that comes to my mind - that people arguing against this concept seem to want immediate mapping gratification - they`re unwilling to put the hard work in now unless they get some reward now. Understandable of course, I guess I`m advocated a more "goody goody homework on time don`t put off until tomorrow etc etc" approach. 
Anyone guessed that this is quite a personal topic?? Under the guise of a general discussion (which it still works as, OK), it`s actually a lament that I`ve come up with far too many map ideas for someone who never learnt to map. And the longer I`ve left it before trying to learn and trying to put these ideas into action, the less relevant they become. Games move on, gamers move on, mapping standards move on, hell even my own inspiration moves on.

So I`m left with pages of scribbled notes and a wish that I`d learnt to do something with them years ago. Having said that, almost all of these are for the "basic games" but still if I`d learnt to edit straight away then it would have made a hell of a lot of difference....and if I knew how to edit for them I`d feel able to have such inspiration for later games...

Grump grump. 
<quote>wrath - the amazing flame machine</quote>
That was a flame? I�m shocked. And a teeny bit awed.

<quote>Although in some ways, behind the spikes, he`s hinting at a point that comes to my mind</quote>
Yeah, I could go fluffy bunnies and cotton candy on you, but that would require some effort. I�m quite content shooting from the hip.

It�s just that the gimme-gimme mentality of the average internet pundit has been getting under my skin as of late.
"I wan�t free downloads, they owe me!"
No they fucking don�t.
"I wan�t to do blizzard style cutscenes with normal mapped high-poly characters engaging in ICO-style hand-animated moves. What you say? I have to learn filmbox, maya and sell my soul? The hell with it. I�m a 21st century digital kid - I wan�t it all."
Spoiled brats.

I must�ve missed the memo that said we can use cpu --> cortex information transfers, welcome back from the future mister - here�s a manual - do it the old fashioned way.

(Also, this fucking board ate my first post - so this ineloquent heap of drivel was brought to you courtesy of bad code.) 
if you work on it this summer, i`m sure you can start making something. wait for school/college/whatever to give you a break and start mapping.

cmon, not that hard if you wanna.

i`m not mapping because i`m doing something else but i WOULD have the time and the energy if i wanted

and yea, UK is pretty cold right now! best weather to sit in front of the pc. 
Go ahead and try it. You might even like it :)
The only problem is the ammount of time it takes if you want to make something quality 
> The only problem is the ammount of time it takes if you want to make something quality

That`s what I`m scared of. Hell I`m still going to be playing catch up to games released in 2001 when I get back to my own PC... 
The Point Being... 
I wish that I`d got started with mapping several years ago. About 98 would have been good LOL.

And I wish I`d had ideas like this ^^^ too... 
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