As promised, an interview with id's Jack of All Trades, Christian "Disrupted" Antkow. My questions begin with L:, his answers begin with X:
L: Any basic tips or advice to editors who want to port their Quake 1 maps to Quake 2? What will be the big headaches?
X: All the new entities and textures should prove to be the biggest task. As I understand, a couple editors have already been modified to read in .WAL files and have the new entity list. It's just a lot of drudge work I guess.
L: With the pointfile gone, is there any way other than loading QE4 and reading the map to chase down leaks?
X: Not that I'm aware of. I can ask John when he gets back from his trip, but it wouldn't surprise me if he ripped it out.
L: Will you be releasing a list of command line switches for QRAD3, QBSP3, and QVIS3?
X: Hey. Didn't we release the source? =)
L: You said light would be different and would take some time to get used to. What did you mean?
X: Just that radiosity lighting generates a different feel. It's a lot harder to create dramatic shadow effects with radiosity (compared to QI's lighting model), but I think that small tradeoff is for the better. Radiosity based lighting gives a much more "real feel" to the world.
Also, people will have to get used to the light intensity values. ie: If you have a small 16x16 light and change the attribs on the face, you'll have to really crank the value (from the default 10000) in order to get it to emit more light. Inversely, if you have a huge lava brush, you only need to set the value to something like 200-300 in order for it to illuminate the entire room. The light a face emits depends a lot on it's size. Also, point light intensities are a bit different. I had a hell of a time converting Death32 to use QRAD because all the point lights came out too bright after all the bounces.
L: So lava gives off colored light now?
X: Yes. Lava gives off an orange or reddish glow, depending on the texture colour.
L: Just as Doom level designers needed to break old habits when developing Quake maps, no doubt Quake 2 editors will have to make some changes in thinking. What are some of the new concepts people will have to learn as they get into Quake 2 editing?
X: I don't think the jump will be *THAT* great. You just have more toys to play with now. The biggest thing I think people will need to get used to is the lighting. Other than that, perhaps surface attributes, and some of the new entities we have (like func_door_rotating, teleporting trains and whatnot).
L: Something I noticed is that a lot of entities have a targetname. Has the target/targetname relationship and how they are handled changed?
X: It hasn't changed much, but we've expanded it. We've added;
deathtarget -- An entity is fired when that monster dies
combattarget -- When a monster first sees the player, he will seek out a point_combat with an appropriate targetname. So they run to an advantage point, or take up a strategic location.
killtarget -- When the creature die/item is activated, it removes anything from the game with a corresponding targetname. That could be fiendish. Kill the Tank and all the health items disappear. :)
L: How are skies handled in Quake 2? It's obviously different.
X: You set the "sky" key in worldspawn with _unit1 through _unit9 or space. It draws the skybox around the world automatically.
L: So then you can leave holes where the sky should be, both on the top and on sides, and it wraps it for you, and no leaks?? Great!
X: No! You need to have a sky texture where you want sky. The map still needs to be sealed. When I say automatically, I meant that the skybox is drawn in. Perhaps that was a bit misleading.
L: "nextmap" "strike" -- I see what you've replaced trigger_changelevel with. Question: does this mean there's only one potential exit?
X: We've replaced trigger_changelevel with target_changelevel. Maps can have any number of exits. The "nextmap" key is only used for deathmatch purposes.
L: So it's possible for one map to exit to 4 places, for example?
L: "_color" "0.168627 0.584314 1.000000" -- You'd said that light would take time to get used to. I'm guessing this is one of those facets. What is the first line, _color, all about?
X: It's an RGB value between 0 and 1. The editor converts this automatically to something usable by the tools. Click on a light entity in QE4, hit "K" to bring up the colour selection, select a colour, and watch the value that is filled in for "_color" in the entity properties.
L: Someone on IRC said the 3 color values are R, G, and B. True? Also, is the color intensity from 0 to 1, with fractions in between?
X: Yes (to both).
L: What's this: "classname" "target_speaker"
X: This is a general purpose sound generator. Instead of having all the ambient_* entities as were in Quake I, add a "target_speaker" to your map, and fill in the "sounds" key with a path to a .wav you want to play. ie. "sounds" "world/xianbeats1.wav"
target_speakers generally have to be targetted unless you have them set to loop.
L: Is "func_group" a group of brushes? What does the group mean/offer?
X: This is strictly a QE4 function. This is how we group brushes together in the editor. Just select a group of brushes, make them a func_group, and they all move together as one. The BSPer ignores this. Again, it's strictly for the editor.