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Mapping manual/Prologue

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There are tons of resources around the Internet about how to create and edit stuff for the Q3A mapping applications. The same happens with the mapping tools, there are many of them scattered around the 'net.

Likewise, although the main mapping applications for OA share the same functionality, they tend to behave differently regarding certain functions. In one editor, a specific function may or may not appear, while another would be executed in a different form from editor to editor.

This manual aims to compile and resume all of the knowledge about these tools onto a single place. It may be based on a set of tools, but the skills learnt here should apply as well to the other tools. All of the other available tools for OA mapping are covered in the Appendix D.

A bit of history Edit

In 1999, Id Software releases Quake III Arena, a multiplayer-exclusive chronological follow-up to Quake II (1998) and it became one of the most iconic games ever. It shared the multiplayer-exclusive focus with its long time rival Unreal Tournament, from Epic Games, also released that year, and over a long time both franchises set a precedent in the multiplayer ground.

In 2001, Id Software releases Quake III: Team Arena, the teamplay-focused expansion pack for Q3A, to a lukewarm reception.

In 2005, Id Software releases the Source Code of the Quake III engine, IdTech3. Although the source code of the game was released, assets such as maps and characters were still under restrictive licenses. Thus, the OpenArena project began.

Over the course of 8+ years, OA grew up and became one of the most iconic FPS in the Free Software field, while staying true to its roots.

The mapping tools Edit

In 1996, with the release of Quake, Armin Rigo wrote a mapping program called Quakemap. This first editor initially supported only Quake 1 map edition, but it was later expanded to support Quake II maps, as well as models, sounds and compiled Q1 maps. By 1998 it also added Python support for plugins, and was renamed as QuArK, short for Quake Army Knife. The latest final version of QuArK was 6.3, and was released on January 2003, with many posterior alpha and beta releases following.[1]

Earlier than Quakemap, however, Id Software used their own set of tools on the NeXTSTEP platform. These tools included the map editor QuakeEd, the original map editor for Quake 1. Some years later, there was another editor, called QE4, used for Quake II and released with the Quake II SDK. Robert Duffy used the source code of QE4 in order to develop QERadiant. This code was later used by Id Software to develop Q3Radiant, the level design tool for Quake III Arena.

Up to this point, all of the mentioned tools were available only for Windows systems.

In 2001, a modification of Q3Radiant called GtkRadiant was released with two major changes: it used the GTK+ toolkit in order to also support the Linux and Mac operating systems, and and was game engine-independent, meaning that people could use the editor for new games with the addition of gamepacks. Timothee "TTimo" Besset, responsible for the post-release Linux ports of Q3A and much of the network programming, was hired to maintain this game editor. This is the first editor released as free software, distributed under the GNU GPL license, with the source code being available at the Id Software's Subversion repositories. However, the code had a dual license where the new added code was GPL and the core Q3Radiant code (which used parts of Q3A's code) was Id Software's property, which made development difficult and inhibited the use of the editor in commercial projects.

At the same time that the Q3 source code was released, however, the Q3Radiant source code was released with it as well, and the full licensing for both the GtkRadiant editor and toolset (notable Q3Map2, the BSP compiler) was changed in February 2006 and publicly released under the GPL on February 17.[2]

Some of GtkRadiant's most prominent forks include:

  • NetRadiant: a GtkRadiant 1.5 fork made by Alientrap Games, the people behind Nexuiz.
  • DarkRadiant: a 1.5 fork optimized for games made in the idTech 4 engine (Quake IV, Doom III, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars, etc...)
  • ZeroRadiant: codename for the official GtkRadiant 1.6 editor, which is used for (and maintained by) many of Id Software's newer games.

References Edit

  1. QuArK history at Wikipedia
  2. GtkRadiant history at Wikipedia
Mapping manual (Pre-mapping stage) Next >>


OpenArena's Mapping manual
Prologue /// Pre-mapping stage - Map gameplay /// Choosing an editor /// Your first map
Brush manipulation - 2D/3D clipping /// Curve manipulation /// Textures /// Introduction to Entities
Lighting - Advanced lighting /// Weapon/Item placement /// Triggers and movers - Dynamic features
Shaders /// Terrains and liquids /// Mapmodels /// Sounds /// Gametype support
Optimization and Troubleshooting - Hint brushes - Bot play - Troubleshooting
Final touches /// Compilation & packaging
Glossary of terms - Advanced features - Modelling a map - Editor differences - Default assets (Textures/Models/Sounds) - GPL

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