Tutorial 02 - Tools and Editors (part 4) - MAXELL's HOME

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This command starts DoomEdit – the map editor of Doom 3. DoomEdit is loosely based on previous Quake 3 Radiant map editor, so user interface and tools are very similar. However, there are also completely new and different features.

DoomEdit can be launched by “editor” command entered in the engine console. But if you use DoomEdit often, the better way is to create “Doom3.exe” shortcut with parameters (instructions have been already mentioned earlier). To launch DoomEdit properly use following parameters.

  "C:\Doom3\Doom3.exe" +set r_fullscreen 0 +set com_allowConsole 1 +editor

Note: The example above assumes Doom 3 installation in the “C:\Doom3”, use own actual installation path. If DoomEdit crashes on startup or doesn’t start at all, try to disable antialiasing by adding one more parameter “+set r_multiSamples 0”.

Doom 3 maps are defined by four different file types. Each of there file types is stored in ASCII format for easy handling and easy development of third party tools. Let’s describe propose of these file types now.

.map – The .map file is the main file that is created when you edit a file; it defines all the entities and brushes in the map. The other three files are all generated from the .map file with the dmap command. The format hasn't changed much from the Quake series.

.cm – The .cm file defines the collision geometry in the map. It is used by the physics system for collision detection.

.proc – The .proc contains all the pre-processed geometry in the map. It stores all the visible triangles, batched up in to surfaces. It also stores all the portal information and any pre-calculated shadow volumes (if a light doesn't move, and a brush doesn't move, the shadow volume can be pre-calculated).

.aas – The .aas files contain the “area awareness” data for the AI to navigate through the level. A separate aas file is generated for each size monster. Generally an aas48 and an aas96 file is generated for most monsters sizes. If a map has a special monster in it, such as the mancubus, saboth, guardian, or cyberdemon, then it will generate a special aas file for them.

Doom 3 level editing is all about placing convex polytopes, also known as “brushes”. A brush is basically an arbitrary convex shape. Making a map with brushes is similar to making a structure with Lego blocks. You have a series of convex blocks that you fit together to create rooms and other objects.

To create a brush, just click and drag within the 2D view window. This should create a red rectangle which defines the size of your brush. If you continue to click and drag, you will only resize the selected brush. In order to create a new brush, you must first unselect the old brush by hitting “Escape”. You can reselect a previously created brush by clicking it while holding “Shift” key. If there are multiple brushes stacked on top of each other, you can cycle through them by clicking while holding “Alt + Shift”. You can duplicate the selected brush by hitting “Space Bar”, and you can delete it by hitting “Backspace”. Detailed table with keyboard shortcuts can be found in DoomEdit – Keyboard shortcuts article. Closer look at the DoomEdit workflow will be given in the next chapter about map creation.


The next important thing is to know the meaning of a “leak” term. Levels in Doom 3 (and Quake for that matter) have to be completely sealed in. This means there can't be any cracks from the “inside” of the level to the “outside” of the level (also known as the “void”). For a map to be completely sealed in, the brushes should form a complete volume with no gaps between them.

There are three common situations that cause leaks:

1. There is an entity outside the map. All entities must be completely inside the map. There cannot be any entities poking through a brush or hanging out in the void (unless they are marked as noflood).

2. There is a gap between two brushes. This is simple enough to imagine.

3. A “hull” brush has a non-solid texture applied to it. This is probably the hardest situation to figure out because it will look like there is no leak. The problem is even though there is a brush there; it may have a texture indicating that it is not solid (for example a trigger texture).

There is a tool to help track down leaks known as the “Pointfile” tool (in the “File” menu). This tool draws a line from the leaking entity to the location of the leak. If the leak was caused by the entity being halfway inside the map and halfway outside then nothing will be drawn (because the entity location and the leak location are the same). After loading the point file, you can press “Ctrl + Shift + K” and it will take you forward to the next node of leak line or “Ctrl + Shift + L” which will take you opposite direction.

Some texts on this page are originally from:

Related article: Tutorial 03 - Maps - DoomEditu Basics

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