Dawn of War III Modding Diary – Part 1

I’ve always been a massive fan of the Dawn of War franchise, being a Warhammer 40k tabletop player, and I am very happy with the third installment in the series. And therefore I decided to try my kind at creating maps to play using the World Editor tools available for DOW3.

This is my first attempt at making maps in order to learn the tools; despite it being not fully fledged and still needing additional work, I thought it would be interesting to keep a note of how my progress was going in learning how to create functional and fun maps for the game. This is Part 1 of this progress diary.

| Map #1 – Canyon01

HCanyon01

My first map – Canyon01

Being the very first map I created, I expected much more difficulty in getting this to work but the level editor tools provided by Relic surprised me in how simple and robust they are in creating a playable map, and Canyon01, as you can see from the above screenshot I took, is very much playable.

The first step in creating the map was simply the terrain itself. This map began as being inspired by my favourite map in Dawn of War 1 which featured 4 raised areas for each base and a central point to attack. Though DOW3 does not have a gamemode to facilitate such a map, I decided that making the central point the only resource which can earn you valuable Elite points would be a worthy trade.

I also ensured that the map was reflected equally to make sure fairness was guaranteed for all players.

CStep1

Step One

I began by raising the 4 corners of the map to higher values, and then created mid-way bridging gaps between them in order to make them feel less like a “drop”. The Editor tools have a very easy way to do this; the yellow lines in the above diagram is the terrain that is ready to have its default height-value shifted, and then it can be edited further from there.

After this being completed, I used a geometry tool in order to add a bit more 3D to the desert-like map with dunes and hills, as well as smoothing the heightened terrain already made.

CStep2

Step Two

And then, in the above image, I began painting the map with textures to make it look a lot more dynamic. My goal in this design was a desert area with hidden structures underneath being revealed; many planets in Warhammer 40k have hidden Necron tombs beneath them, and that was the general theme I had for this map.

CStep3

Step Three

And this is an aerial shot of the map having been completed. All of the metallic-areas of the map will house the resource and capture points, with the central area featuring more valuable capture points worth fighting for. The stone areas will house each of the four bases, and in a team game, teams are placed opposite one another.

Overall I was relatively happy with how it looked, and I didn’t wish to add any additional layers which could impact performance on the map. Figuring I had a grip of the texturing tools I decided to advance and learn additional elements of the map creator, which would be the features necessary to actually play; objectives.

CStep4

Step Four

And this is the map after it is populated by all the control points and bases for each of the four teams that are playable. These objects are selected and spawned onto the map, where they can be dragged and moved freely, and then they need assigned to each team member. Team 1 is in the top left corner, Team 2 is in the bottom right, Team 3 in the top right, and Team 4 in the bottom left.

CStep5

Step Five

Finally I added victory conditions for the map, which would be the Power Cores that need destroyed and the shield generators along with them, and then finished off with the “Calculate Voroni” option of the Map Editor, which generates these coloured boxes which are each teams, or resource point’s, territories.

As an example of what they are, the dark purple colour on the left-hand side of the screen is Player 1’s territory. Their spawn points need to be within that colour tile. This limits some of the scenarios that can be done, but I intend to explore further the different ways to spawn enemies.

After that it was a case of saving the map, exporting it, and jumping into Dawn of War 3 to test it out.

CStep55

Canyon! It’s there!

The map I’d just made was readily available for selection when creating a custom offline game. I noticed here that the (2v2) parts of the maps are actually part of their names, and so I will ensure later maps will be called someone akin to “(2v2) Canyon” to ensure consistency.

CStep6

In-game screenshot

As you can see, this is the map working relatively perfectly! I would go on the play most of the game and everything functioned perfectly well.

However, one glaring problem you can see is how everything seems relatively zoomed in. Due to DOW3 limiting how far you can zoom out, this seems to have been an issue with my map having elevated areas be too elevated. For later maps, more slight increases in height levels will serve to provide a substantially better experience.

However, overall, I would consider my very first map to have been a success! And so it was straight onto the second. Look out for Part 2.