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September 17, 2007 / Ben Chun


My senior class has been creating game maps for the last week, and today was the first day we started testing them. Since this is serious work and not just playing video games (ahem), I of course have them filling out evaluations and reflections after a 10-minute deathmatch round on each map. In addition to feedback about bugs, strategies, and player advantage, one of the questions is, “What is your favorite part of this map?” Best student answer today:

“pwning noobs with the shotty”

And there you have it: quality secondary education at work.



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  1. Rich / Nov 4 2007 6:00 am

    Hey Ben,
    I use Forge (on old OS 9 Macs) to design death match FPS maps and Aleph (open source of Marathon) to “test” them with my HS students. Photoshop will have a role in this too (for texture creation) but we’re not there yet.

    I’d like to move to a more modern engine. How difficult is Sauerbraten to learn and how flexible is it as far as using home-grown textures and physics editing? The screen shots are amazing.


  2. Ben Chun / Nov 4 2007 9:14 am

    Sauerbraten map editing is pretty easy to learn. It’s all “in-game” so you have that first-person view as you’re selecting geometry and pushing or pulling in 3d. Kids pick it up pretty fast. You absolutely must have mice with scroll wheels, as almost every editing gesture uses it. There are a lot of keyboard modifiers, so you might want to print up a “cheat sheet”. I’d probably create one next time I do this.

    I didn’t have students do any texture creation, but I think it’s as easy as putting the jpeg files into a folder and then assigning them to different surfaces in the editor. That’s done by holding down some particular key while rolling the scroll wheel to change the texture of the selection.

    Editing the physics would require a recompile, so that’s a lot more difficult to have students work on. But, since it’s open source, you could do it if you really wanted to. Here’s an amusing comment from the header of physics.cpp:

    // physics.cpp: no physics books were hurt nor consulted in the construction of this code.
    // All physics computations and constants were invented on the fly and simply tweaked until
    // they “felt right”, and have no basis in reality.

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