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3D Buzz "Old School" UT3 Mapping Contest
The deadline for the UT3 mapping contest being run by 3D Buzz is now up and all the entries can now be seen here:

I especially liked the presentation by Kevin Cytatzky, it can be seen at

For those wondering what's so "old school" about these maps: in this case, the term means that all meshes used in the maps must come with/from stock UT3 and no custom meshes are allowed.
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LOVE that creation process break down. The wireframe texture was a cool idea. Might borrow that in the future... 
I especially liked the presentation by Kevin Cytatzky, it can be seen at

Word. An interesting presentation for sure. Like it. 
Are There Any 
in-depth tutorials around the net on working with UE3 editor? I keep getting creative urges to make something in a UE3 game but I keep hitting snags on the editor.

Also, are they any "you really need to learn this shit" things with the engine? Or general design principals?

For instance, I heard that making the room/hallway bsp work slightly larger than what you actually need is a good idea filling the area with meshes takes some room away from the area. Stuff like that :)

Also lighting! 
There are some videos on vimeo I could link you to. I think 3DBuzz has UE3 tutorial videos but I can't find them (didn't really look too hard though.)

It's really simple once you get the hang of it. 
Daz - Some UT3 Mapping Links 
The guy's map that Jago posted in the topic was easily the best in the contest and it'll probably win, although I think it's kinda unfair he was allowed to enter it because he said he'd already put like 2 months of work into it when the contest started whereas most other people had less than a month.

I really did enjoy the work I did on my map though because I hadn't mapped for pleasure for a while and it was fun to dive in and learn UT3 editing :) 
"For instance, I heard that making the room/hallway bsp work slightly larger than what you actually need is a good idea filling the area with meshes takes some room away from the area. Stuff like that :) "

What we did with UT3 was a little different. In the editor, you can right click on additive brushes and turn them into blocking volumes (I believe that shipped in the UT3 editor - if it didn't, you can fake it easily enough by copying the polygons to the builder brush, deleting the old brush, and adding a new blocking volume). So with that in mind, we shelled the levels with mostly additive brushes and then just converted those to blocking volumes and tried to restrict the meshing to stay inside of those volumes. Sort of a "color inside the lines" style of meshing. It worked really well because then the meshes don't need to collide with players and gives a nice performance bump as well.

So my advice :shell your level with additive BSP. It saves time later. 
Some Shots 
Nice ! 
I didn't really understand what you said and to be honest, I am a bit confused about additive/substractive mapping methods. The way I am making my current map is:

1) Created a new map, picking "Additive" from the menu.
2) Added a rather large brush to the world, which will probably cover the entire map area.
3) Substracted a few brushes out of the previously added huge brush to make some rooms
4) Started throwing some meshes into the rooms.

Am I doing this right? 
Blocking Volumes 
What are blocking volumes and why does using them mean meshes don't have to collide with players? 
Clip Brushes 
They're equivalent to clip brushes and you'd want to use them to shell out the level because the meshes themselves might have weird bounding boxes or mesh collision which obviously isn't ideal when you're trying to keep your layout clean. 
So how does having a clip brush behind a mesh make it so that meshes don't have to collide with players? 
The mesh is "behind" the clip brush.

Think of it like this. Take a typical Quake DM level from 97-98 -- that's your collision shell. Now pretend it's all invisible but in the place of flat walls there are now elaborate detailed meshes. The layout is still a fun deathmatch layout because you're not factoring in realistic collision on the meshes. If you did it would be a shitty unplayable mess. 

Because you can set the collision on the mesh to be "weapons only". That way bullets will hit them but players will not.

Ideally, what you want is for most (if not all) meshes to collide with bullets and to use blocking volumes (or BSP) for player collision. That way people can move around smoothly but their weapon collision is visually accurate. 
And as for your method ... we never use "additive" here at Epic. We always start creating with additive brushes. If you create a huge brush and then subtract rooms out of it, you're hurting yourself when it comes time to add a huge skydome to the level or anything else that represents large scenery outside.

All of Gears of War and UT3 was built using additive brushes in a clean world. 
Big World Brush Vs Small World Brushes 
One thing I've been curious about is this:

When you are doing a map using the Additive method, should you be:

1) Adding a huge brush that will cover the entire map area and then substract room outlines from it or

2) Should you have an additive brush for every single room and then use slightly smaller brushes for each room to substract from the additive room brushes, like shown in a tutorial at

The first method is much more trivial and that is what I use, but does it have any downsides compared to method #2? 
The buildings in your map have structurally very unrealistic bits.
Take look here
There is a recess in the building with some rocks. The part above the recess is held up with extremely thin necks of bricks from the left and right sides. That is not realistic at all.
If the hole was a little narrower so there could be support on the side arches it would be better.

The lights kinda light "around the bend" too. A common problem already in quake. :/ If you have a light fixture with a shade pointing forwards, the wall behind it should not be lighted by it.

Otherwise looks quite nicely atmospheric to me. 

You're thinking in terms of UE2 technology. I think that's the core issue here.

Unreal has changed in UE3. You really should build like you build in Quake. The world is empty - and you add to it. We generally end up with very little BSP remaining at the end of a maps development. Load up any UT3 map and turn off the static meshes (in the game, type "show staticmeshes"). What you see remaining is the minimal BSP.

Try to get comfortable with creating levels using a Quake mentality of adding everything. It makes meshing the level later WAY easier because all you have to do is convert your brushes to blocking volumes.

That's basically what the guy in the topic did:

He build the BSP shell and then used that BSP as a basis for placing meshes. 
I guses something else to keep in mind which may be tripping you up is this - Unreal levels don't need to be sealed. You can have a simple floor BSP brush that you build on top of with meshes and blocking volumes. Unreal doesn't have a rule about airtight BSP or anything like that. There's no VIS process that needs to run here. 
More On Blocking Volumes 
I still don't get how the blocking volumes are supposed to end-up "in front" of the meshes acting as their clipping boundaries. If we use the map shown at as an example:

The guy added a bunch of brushes to the empty world to make the basic map layout. Then he started adding meshes. Quite obviously the meshes are placed INSIDE the boundaries of the map layout, otherwise he would just end-up with meshes stuck inside solid walls. Now, towards the end of the map development process, you convert the initial additive bsp layout brushes into blocking volumes, okay... but at what point do they magically jump from being walls BEHIND the meshes to being IN FRONT of them acting as their clipping boundaries? 
As I said, you can convert the additive brushes to blocking volumes. I'm not 100% sure if this shipped or not but trying right clicking an additive brush. Do you see a "Convert to blocking volume" menu option there somewhere? If so, that's how.

Otherwise you need to:

- right click the brush
- choose "Polygons -> To Brush"
- delete the brush
- right click the volume button on the left side of the editor and choose "BlockingVolume"

Blocking volumes are invisible, odorless and tasteless. They will collide exactly the same way that the BSP did but you can't see them. So if the player is running over a blocking volume floor that has static meshes inside of it that don't have collision, the visual result is that they are running on top of the meshes. 
Granted, none of this REQUIRED - this is just how we tend to do it around here. Feel free to leave the floor as BSP or have the player run on the meshes themselves. We just find that colliding the player with a nice smooth skin of blocking volumes is best for gameplay because you don't get snagged in weird spots or corners or edges. 
That Doesn't Explain 
How the brush jumps from being behind a mesh to being in a blocking volume front of it, let me try to visualise, imagine looking at a room from a side view. At first you build a map like this:

| BSPwall | Mesh | Room

Now how exactly does that turn into this:

| Mesh | BlockingVolume | Room 
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