Jump mapping

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Making a jumper friendly map

Introduction

What makes randomjumps a crappy map and Jupiter a great map?
At what point is bisjumps better then Futre?
Why is it that some maps are considered one of the best while others are never played?

In here I'll try to give you an explanation of what are the key points of a good jump map.
To make my explanation more complete, I'll resort to the use of examples. Real examples of real maps.
Remember map makers: I'm not trying to make your map look hideous, nor am i trying to make you look like an idiot. But if there is a specific flaw in your map, and I can point it out to make my statement… I will. Please don't get angry.
To make a jumper friendly map you have to consider a lot of things, including spawn locations, textures, lemmings, map name, mazes and more. Below I'll discuss each point individually.

Spawns

The location of spawns is perhaps the core of your map. Jumpers fail and spawn all the time. And, if you didn't set up your spawns correctly, jumpers will rage, eventually quit and banish your map from their jumping maps list.
Even though you now have save and load in almost every server, a lot of players don't use it and, making proper spawns is always a must.

Spawns' Location

The place on the jump where you spawn is a major key of your map. Often people spawn in the middle of someone's prejumping area, and end up blocking others. This is not okay!

Let's take a look at an example: the jump 2 of ut4_dsb_b1.
People spawn exactly in front you all the time. This results in jumpers getting pissed and frustrated, all the time! Then, they eventually start leaving and the others being kicked for "blocking" when it's not even their fault. Don't let your map contain such flaw! You'd better make a spawn room (close to your jump), while still considering the following information about spawns.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure the player does not spawn in the path of the jump itself, including prejumps.


Spawns' Orientation

Although a spawnkill is annoying, it only happens sometimes. What does, however, happen all the time… Is jumpers spawning.
Spawning with your back turned to the jump or far away from where the jump is located is really frustrating! Map makers, keep in mind, spawning with your face to the opposite side of where the jump is: is no fun!.
Equilibrium is a perfect example of a map with practically perfect spawn locations! There is literally not a single time where you spawn with your back turned to the jump. This makes it possible to jump very fast in a row, without getting frustrated at all.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure the player has his face turned to the start of the jump every time he spawns!

 

Spawn Killing

Spawn killing is also something to have in account when making spawns. It is utterly annoying for someone when it happens. So always make sure you have enough spawns per jump.

One of the best "spawn makers" is most likely Moonie, for thousands of jumpers (not individuals) play his maps and only one of them, most likely less, dies from a spawnkill. Take a look at the spawns he makes to see what I mean!
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure the amount of spawnkills are limited to practically 0!


The respawn brush

Respawn brush? What's that?
The respawn brush is the brush to which you apply the trigger_teleport entity. And why am I mentioning it? Well, because.... Lag + thin respawn brush = jumper falling through the brush + possible lemming, skipping jumps / going back to previous jumps or even getting stuck.

Lag isn't uncommon nowadays therefor respawning with lag isn't uncommon either.
If you're not sure what I am talking about then watch this small video on How to pass through a small respawn brush. If you're still not convinced you can watch any of the following videos by X-RaY:


So get your respawn brushes set up properly!
Look at Moonie's maps for example, no matter how much lag you manually generate, you can't get yourself to fall through any of his respawn brushes.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure your respawn brushes are thick enough not to be lagged through.

Location Names

Although location names are not required, it is highly recommended to set location names to all your jumps / rooms. A map without location names is often seen as an 'alpha release'. Why? Because it's a little tweak that makes the map just a bit more finished.
They are often used to inform others of our locations so jumpers can keep track of each other's progress and such. It is also useful as a call for help for whenever someone is stuck at a jump. If it doesn't have a name, it'll be very hard to explain to others where you are and to, consequentially, get proper help.

There isn't really a real format on how to name your jumps, although descriptive and numeric names are the best.
Jupiter is an excellent example: Jump'n'Slide (H4). Descriptive, yet numeric. Another commonly use pattern is having the jump number followed by the jump's given name, like Jump 1 [A hard start!].
A lot of map makers choose to name their jumps with the solution to make each jump, and end up having names like Jump X - 3wjs, 2 plats, 2wjs, slide. It doesn't need to be like this though, you can name it anything you want. Something cool for an instance, J18 - The Fingerbreaker

On the other hand, using names such as the ones in example jumps can leave some people even more confused than when using no name at all. For example: [[Prepare For a Wounds [Proxima Centauri 4,2 light years away] ]]. Besides being a name so big that it can't fit in one chat line, it is too complex to be memorized by jumpers.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure to assign proper location names to all jumps.

Jump entities

With the new versions of Urban Terror being constantly upgraded to include Jumping as an official gametype, we have been gifted with 3 new entities: jumpstart, jumpstop and jumpcancel. For further information about them check this article.
Adding these entities to your map isn't the most important thing but it sure is a plus on every map!
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure to implement jumpstart and jumpstop entities.

Textures

This is a major part of all maps, this also includes the jump ones. A lot of jumpers care about textures quite a lot.
For a map to be great, great textures are not needed. Let's look at de1337edjumps_beta3 for example. The map is basically just made out of 1 texture, yet the map is considered as one hell of a beautiful map!
Undergroundjumps, on the other hand has stretched and random textures. complete landscapes put in boxes with the ugliest pictures ever. It's not only painful for the eyes, but it also gives a very unwelcome feeling. A different example is sk8jumps, although this map has a lot of random textures,  fact  is that is has a theme. The map is about the old school 2D video games, and the way he displaced the textures doesn't make it look aas bad as it could, they just make it a random mess of jumps.

Map makers: Try to use solid and nice textures, if you're not able to do so, then only 1 or 2. The jumps of your map will have a coherence, making it look like one giant fluid map ⇒ which is what you want!
Jupiter and Saturn are maps where you want to wander around, from start to end and back. Talking to other jumpers without getting bored! Just for the fact that the textures and the design are nice and fluid.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure your textures are not random, stretched or ugly. You're better off using 1 texture properly all over your map than using 201 random different ones!

Lighting

Nowadays, lighting is clearly an important factor that every map maker should have in attention if they want to have a successful map. For a jumper, it is annoying to have to change his r_gamma settings every time he switches map, or even worst, every time he's changes jump It is important for the map maker to create a fluid look on his map when it comes to the lighting. It'll give a better atmosphere to your map and make the jumping experience more pleasant. If you don't know how to make proper lighting, it is better not to have any other than having a map that is too dark or awefully bright...
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure you light up your map correctly!

Lemmings

Lemmings are obviously a problem that needs to be mentioned. A lemming / burn at the last jump of bisjump isn't fun, disregarding the fact that you can quickly teleport back. A lemming at jump 10 of lotr is not funny.
Map makers: jump your map from start to end and then backwards. Try to see at what platforms you actually lemming. To save you time and work: apply nodamageto all textures used on horizontal surfaces, disregarding the fact whether a jumper can get there or not. Have in account that some players might go backwards on a jump or a couple jumps, so you should really apply nodamage to all surfaces, whether you think a player can reach it from a place high enough to lemming or not.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure you apply nodamage to all horizontal surfaces.

Map names

Here, there isn't much to say. Just...
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure your map is named correctly.

Map sizes

The size of your map is sadly something that has great importance. Maps that tend to be over 20MB piss people off and get played less on servers (probably due to bandwidth issues and people cancelling downloads if they are on a slow internet connection).  A 10MB map is downloadable within a minute (more or less), even by people on a 2Mbit connection.
To avoid an oversized map file, once you've it compiled and packaged, you should consider removing things that ain't needed or used as much. Just strip down the pk3. The size of your map shouldn't be more than 18MB.  Ideally it should be no more than 10-12MB, but 18 is still acceptable.
But before you get into stripping your map to the ugliest point ever, you should read this post by Rayne
To make a jumper friendly map: Avoid having the size of your map over 18MB.


Map Construction

How often have you had fps drops on larger and continuous maps? How often have you felt forced to stop jumping because it was nearly impossible to do so while having your fps oscillating?
If you have then you know how annoying and frustrating it is to jump on a non-optimized map. If you haven't, you still have an idea of how it is, even if vague... Therefore, it is important for every map maker to optimize his map at the most. They can do this several ways. It is always important to understand each one though before going on your mapping adventure.

Portals

The easiest way, and also the one that gives you less work is the use of portals.
Separate each jump with a portal. By doing this, the jumper will only be rendering the jump he is on, and not anything else.

This way doesn't always fit what you want though, a lot of mappers like continuous maps, so let's see what you can do with those.

Corridors

Another way of doing it is by constructing corridors between jumps.
Separate each jump by one with corners. It's important that these corridors are not made in straight line, but in a zig-zag way. It'll block visibility and prevent the player from rendering as much as he would if the corridor was straight.

Read this post to see how cornered corridors affect rendering.

Hinting

Regardless of whether you have corridors or portals, this is something you should always do.
Hint your map. This is the best and most important thing you can do to optimize your map. Proper hinting is hard to do, so it is crucial to know what you are doing. I'd advise you to read and re-read our wiki articles about hinting.
For an example on how to do it in jump map typical corridors like the ones in Ad Lucem check this topic. It'll show you how you should hint your corridors.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure your map is properly optimized!

Jumps

As this is an article about making a jumper friendly map, the jumps had, of course, to be mentioned. There's a couple things you need to know about them.

Flow

Most part of jumpers like to do every single jump "in a row", this means, without stopping in the middle of a jump.
For example, the first jump of syncope requires you to grab a platform near the end of it, just before you finish the jump. Jumps like these usually annoy jumpers and tend to break they're rhythm as well as the map's rhythm.

Coherence

Jumpers like to have a "pre-defined" route, this means, having a jump map with one jump after the other, giving them a strict path to follow, not having to wander around the map. Some maps like dmcjumps4 give you a lot of freedom, by allowing you to choose which way you want to take and which jumps you want (or don't want) to make. Maps like this are not well accepted by the Jumping Community because jumpers might get lost, or reach a point where they don't know where to go after .

Jump Style

Another very important point is the style of your jumps. By this I mean if they're funny and / or challenging and if they're the so called "normal" or icy.

Fun

One of the reasons icy jump maps are often played over and over again, is because most jumps are funny, still good looking and challenging. In order to have your map played over and over again, you need to create a nice atmosphere, a pleasent evironment for the jumpers; and, on top of that, some fun jumps that make the common jumper say "Damn, I like this", and your map will be played over and over again..

Challenge

As mentioned above, challenging jumps have a strong impact on the jumper's idea of the map.
A good example is the map Invictus, where, by using triggers and timers, the mapper created jumps where the jumper's skills are put into a test.

Dificulty

The dificulty of a map is of course up to the map maker to decide. till there are a few things to consider...
  • Ridiculously easy maps tend not to be played. Not even by those who are jumping for the first time. Example: Deathjumps, Rednbluejumps and Strafejumps
  • Easy / Medium(ish) maps are often played by those who are learning, but after that they ain't played as much. Example: Wootjumps, Walljumps and Uberjumps
  • Medium maps are played by everyone, those who are learning and those who are good or even great. For the worst jumpers it's a challenge, for the best jumpers it's a place where they can relax and have fun. Example: Freakjumps, Hellocutty and Jump Temp
  • Hard maps are played by all those who can jump, and all those who want to become better jumpers. Usually provide great fun for them. Example: Liftjumps, Mercury and Orion
  • Awefully hard maps just ain't played at all. Example: Walljumps uber pro


  • Maps that have multiple paths, each one with a different dificulty please a bigger crowd and are played by everyone. Example: Jupiter, Saturn and Dark Sequel
  • Maps that have an increasingly dificulty are also played by a lot of people, expecially if there are shortcuts that allow jumpers to skip certain jumps. Example: Bstjumps


Ladders

Ladders are a obstacle in the coherence and fluidity of your map. Creating a ladder isn't annoying by default, but making ladders all over your map, at the end of every jump, between jumps and as jumps turns it into a hell!
A ladder with the size of wootjumps' ladder of doom is plain annoying, although in this map it isn't as noticeable because it is an alternate way. On the other hand, the one at the end of bstjumps is a mood killer. Still, jumpers might let it pass because it is the only ladder in the entire map. Ladders that appear constantly, like the ones in trickyjumps or JustJump don't follow the same path as the ones mentioned before. These ladders ain't nice! If jumpers (get the name... 'jumpers') want to climb ladders they'll play laddermadness.

Another important point worth mentioning when it comes to ladders is invisible ladders. You should never, but never make these. For some unknown reason, a couple mappers find it amusing, and decide to add them to their map. Don't make this mistake yourself, invisible ladders are one of the biggest pains in the ass a jumper can possibly have. Take a look at the first jump of Mercury (hard way) and tell me how long it takes you before you rage quit or decide to skip the jump in any way possible.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure you don't create too many ladders.


Mazes

A maze isn't really a problem as long as you don't make it too big, too complex and too annoying. A maze like the one in uberjumps is acceptable, but a maze like the one in mutfak_bronze is just a criminal act.
Some things you should always consider:
  • Do not let your maze contain spawns.
  • Do not let your maze get too big and / or too complex.
  • Do not let your maze get too dark or crowded.

The perfect example of a maze that explodes with everyone's heads is the one in icycastle. The only thing that differs this one from all the others and, that makes it slightly acceptable is the fact that it is an alternate route, not something mandatory. If it was then the map just wouldn't be played at all.
If you haven't yet decided whether or not to add a maze to your map, then don't. Keep it simple and good!
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure you don't create complex mazes.


Invisible paths

This has everything to do with the previous point about mazes. An invisible path is nothing more then a maze without visible walls. They are utterly annoying and they take agees too complete if they're not meant to be passed by just walking forward.
They're not all a huge pain in the ass though, the one at the end of speedjumps isn't as annoying, because it has lights to follow and walls you walk against without being respawned. The exact opposite occurs at the end of wantedjump and somewhere in dodgethis. Plain invisible paths in which you are teleported back if you "go out of line" and, with no guidance at all ain't funny. It's just asking for jumpers to rage quit. Do Not Ever make an invisible path that takes so much time, concentration and frustration as those two! Your map won't gain any extra by implementing one of those horrible creations.

An exception of the rule is an invisible path leading to a secret part of the map. But even then, be careful what you create. It should never be as complicated as those mentioned above. Not even for a path to a secret part of your map! It's always better to create a normal maze[!!], an extra hard jump, a secret passage in the wall... or even a secret code like the one at the end of skyjumps other than making an invisible path.
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure you don't create any invisible paths!


Rotating and Moving stuff

It is known to all that rotating and moving platforms in urban terror have the tendency to get buggy and it makes the jumping experience annoying because it's something the jumper just can't avoid and has no control of. An example of this is the infamous jump in dutcherjumps or the one(s) in vertigo. A lot of jumpers get stuck at those "jumps". But moving platforms ain't always a horrible thing, if used correctly it can be very funny, original and pleasant, like you can see in darksequel or invictus.

It doesn't need to be either buggy and annoying or well applied and awesome though, it can also be something in between. Something simple and not that annoying. It can be something like watch the lasers on the map funnyjumps.
To make a jumper friendly map: Avoid using rotating or moving platforms!


Other Randomness

I'll ask you some things and let you get to the conclusion:
  • Did you play 'ut4_dsb_b1'?
  • What did you think of jump 1?
  • Wait, what? is that a jump?
To make a jumper friendly map: Make sure you don't create random useless stuff!

Conclusion:

So, to sum it up... To make a jumper friendly map:
  • Make sure the amount of spawnkills are limited to practically 0.
  • Make sure the player has his face turned to the start of the jump every time he spawns.
  • Make sure the player does not spawn in the path of the jump itself, including prejumps.
  • Make sure your respawn brushes are thick enough not to be lagged through.
  • Make sure to assign proper location names to all jumps.
  • Make sure to implement jumpstart and jumpstop entities.
  • Make sure your textures are not random, stretched or ugly. You're better off using 1 texture properly all over your map than using 201 random different ones.
  • Make sure you light up your map correctly.
  • Make sure you apply nodamage to all horizontal surfaces.
  • Make sure your map is named correctly.
  • Avoid having the size of your map over 18MB
  • Make sure your map is properly optimized.
  • Make sure you don't create too much ladders.
  • Make sure you don't create complex mazes.
  • Make sure you don't create any invisible paths.
  • Avoid using rotating or moving platforms.
  • Avoid any other randomness.


Once you get all of this in consideration, all you need to worry about is the jumps itself. Be sure to make them fun, amusing and fluid. Try not to make them too repetitive nor too annoying.
When it comes to the difficulty of each jump, that's up to you, map maker, to decide what crowd(s) would you like to please the most.

There are still a lot of other things that require the map makers' attention. These are just a few that are essential and that needed to be made clear before another map gets out.
You are now qualified to make a playable jump map!

Some exemplar mappers

It is always easier to learn by examples, so I'll leave you here with the names of some of the great jump mappers we have in the community!
Please don't get mad if you felt exposed, intimidated or, if you feel like your name should be somewhere on this page and it isn't. I can't think of everyone, and, as I said, it's only the name of some of the great mappers. Try to learn from them and their work, because they truly are amazing!


Not all the maps of the previously mentioned mapmakers are equally loved, but they are in fact not abandoned.



Article originally written and improved by X-RaY. Rewritten, improved and updated by xandaxs
A very special thanks to Moonie and everyone else at the UJ community who helped building it

Jump entities

These are 3 entities (jumpstart, jumpstop and jumpcancel) created to allow jumpers to have tracked the time they take doing a run on the map.
To understand more about how these entities work and are applied download this map file.

To add these entities to Radiant, download this .def file and place it on the directory of the game you have set up in Radiant.
For those of you who use Urban Terror as a standalone game in GTK Radiant version 1.5, it should be placed in this folder (may change from one person to another): C:\Program Files (x86)\GTKRadiant 1.5.0\urbanterror.game\q3ut4

Jumpstart

Entity used as a start line for jump maps. Attach it to a trigger where you want the timer to be activated at the beginning of a jump route.

You can have multiple jump start entities on a map, one for each way, as long as you don't forget to connect them to their proper jumpstop entity.

Jumpstop

Entity used as a stop line for jump maps. Attach it to a trigger where you want the timer to stop at the end of a jump route.
Just like on the jumpstart, you can have multiple entities of this type, as long as you have them properly connected.

Jumpcancel

Entity used as a cancel line for jump maps. Attach it to a trigger where you want the timer to cancel the jump route.

Note: Specifying type 0 in this kind of entity will stop the run timer, no matter the path / way.



Article originally written by Kl4nk. and then updated by xandaxs
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