I enjoy learning by doing. And so this is the third part of my Dawn of War 3 modding diary where I’m learning the tools to design and create maps by simply jumping in and seeing what buttons do what! And chronicling the progress as I go.
It’s something I’ve been enjoying thoroughly, almost as much as playing the game, and I think progress is certainly being made.
For this map, as always, I had a scenario in mind.
In this map, the scenario is a large Titan-class Imperium ship being shot down by Eldar weapons and crashing down into a swampy area, killing almost the entirety of those inside bar a few. The crash is near to an Eldar relic that is currently being excavated, and the surviving Imperium are slaughtered by angered Eldar.
The map begins with a Space Marine detachment landing in the wreckage to search for survivors, and to investigate the xenos threat. The Eldar, on the other hand, pull additional forces through the webway to ensure their relic remains un-sullied by human hands.
| Map Design
To start with, I created the basic outline of the map’s elevation.
Instead of increasing the height of the map, which caused problems due to the fixed camera in the game, I began by lowering the height, smoothing the edges, and then raising what needed to be raised. Which will hopefully create a better map.
I then proceeded to pick a base material for the map, which is a dead grass texture, and painted the entire map it to begin with. To create a solid base and get rid of anything un-textured.
The next step was to create additional lowered areas of the map which would serve as further reservoirs for water.
And this is it with the water added in, which takes only a few tweaks to the settings and a right click. The water tool in the map editor really is very simple and can quickly make a map look even better. I then just smoothed out some of the edges and continued.
After that I simply added some darker materials underneath the water and at the edges of the water to make it look wet. The texture used is a dark, muddy one.
And then for an extra boost, I added some plantation to the edges of the water. Just some grass which would give the map a little bit more of a 3D look.
Adding this grass to the elevated areas and the fields of the unplayable area did add a lot to making the map seem more than just a small playground to play a game in, and actually a cross-section of a planet.
And then it was time to continue to the meat and potatoes of the map.
These two objects are ruined sides of a large Imperium ship which would be the one that had been shot down by the Eldar. I positioned them slightly apart to make a choke point into what would be the Space Marine’s base, and then simply cluttered it with additional debris and objects.
With that done, I then started to look at making small little stories here and there.
This small section of destroyed objects was meant to show an initial failed rescue attempt by a drop-pod. There is a ruined Dreadnought beside it, and a crashed troop transport ship on the other side. This was intended to signify potential escapees from when the ship was first shot down, but didn’t last for long as Eldar forces cut them down.
Finally I added some non-destroyed transport ships and tanks in order to push the scenario of this being a Space Marine battalion arriving at the scene to investigate, landing and then moving out.
This was the initial plan for how the Eldar base would look; a large platform which would house the weapon in question which shot down the imperial fleet. However, I disliked how barren the map was and so moved things around a little.
I decided the defences would be on the high-ground, but the actual relic would be in the center of the lake, slightly submerged but still visible. I added a holo-field around the sight and a few other Eldar relics to make it look increasingly important and something the Eldar would die defending.
This was one such relic I then placed at the center. This was a powerful Soul Stone and a large energy crystal that the Eldar were looking to extract and keep out of Imperial hands.
And after this was done, I simply added the necessary objects to make the map playable, added control points with their resources (control points in the centre of the map featured Elite add-ons and are therefore much more coveted), and then calculated the territories.
Now it was time to test it!
Loaded in, the map was bright and looked good. The submerged wreckage, even with my graphic settings turned down, seemed to look quite good. However, there was still a few problems.
I now see that in my last map, it wasn’t my modded camera tool which was the problem with the grass loading in as, with that tool disabled, the grass continues not to load in. I’ll likely need to look into fog or render settings in order to resolve that.
Additionally, some of the deeper areas of water were impassable despite me not having selected as such. So I will need to be more mindful of deep water in the future, but in this map it didn’t stop it being too much fun.
And that’s my third diary finished! I think the maps are starting to get more detailed and more advanced, and with a clear plan for my fourth Diary I believe that will be the first truly great map with no problems. So stay tuned!