These tips are from what I believe will help you with your mapping,
these are from my personal experience and I hope they help you.
1. Keep your r_speeds as low as possible, high spots can go up
to around 800, but try to keep a max of 600 and an average of
200 if possible, (thats hard to achieve, but you dont want it
to be 600 all over the map(. r_speeds are w_polys on the screen,
type developers 1 and r_speeds 1 in console to see them in map
2. Be Original, there's no point making a map like a map thats
already been done, unless you make it in your own style (hmm that
doesnt make much sense :)
3. Keep it tidy! yes keep your mapping tidy, if you see a tiny
gap where a brush meets a brush then close that gap, right away!
always zoom in to the smallest grid when aligning particularly
4. Simple maps often become more fun to play, so try to keep things
simple. You can be as complex as you want, but there are limits,
so be aware! if your going to make it complex, then try to make
the map easy to get around, have landmarks etc, so people know
where places are.
5. Compile your map every so often, dont produce a whole map and
then compile, do your map step by step, say you have a section
done and want to compile and you have gaps where you think future
paths, roads etc may go then block bits off from the void and
compile the bugger!
6. Skies, its best to make the sky as you go along, think of it
as part of the map. putting a large sky box around your map is
very lazy, and decreases the maps quality a lot, as well as makes
you sit there for a long time when compiling and makes it a tad
more laggy so they say.
7. Common sense. The halflife engine is a good one, dated now
compared to quake 3 say, but still its pretty flexible, its a
quake 2 modified engine. The one thing it doesn't like is massive
open spaces. Most mappers know this. So lets not stick thousands
of brushes in view and have massive 20 mile hay fields in your
8. Watch your texture load, if your saving your textures into
wad u can see the .bsp get bigger, and if you go too high the
map gets unplayable, I have seen one mapper and all his maps having
a lot of textures, and the maps are horrible to play, really laggy.
Also click on toolbar, map , then show information , and it will
show you the amount in Mb used, bare in mind halflife could only
take 4mb worth before zoners tools updates / patches. It can take
more than that it used to , but just dont go totally texture crazy.
(by this I mean the amount of different textures you use, not
the same one put on the map more :)
9. Dont Overlap Brushes, (brushes=objects of any sort) it means
the engines splits faces and just anit good for the running of
your map, and will make a mess in Worldcraft.
10. Spawn Points, always keep the info_player start, or info_player
deathmatch a few units above ground. When spawning it will touch
the floor anyway. Remember to give your spawn points some space
in-between if you have multiply spawn points
11. Try out new things. Often if I have a new small idea, or want
to try out some new stuff, ill quickly make a block, right click
and hollow it, then add a light and then do the test I want. It
beats putting a new feature in your map if you have nearly finished
it and compiling it again. Run a test first then put it in your
12. Make sure your map is in proportion to the player. To do this,
when your making your map, say you want to make a wall and want
it to be in proportion to the player, well stuff in a info player
start to see what size its like, then when done delete the info
player start. If you dont do this method sometimes things turn
out far too large and maps can be scrapped or have to be restarted.
Dont forget you can also use bots in maps to see the relation,
as things look different with players in. It might look all in
proportion from your view, but when u see other models it the
level might be giant sized
13. Compile using q2beaver or batch files, and use zoners tools.
Adding -estimate in each additional options box in beaver with
display on screen how long its going to take each section to finish,
roughly. Also try using -sparse in the rad additional options,
this somehow calculates the less light patches or something, and
anyway it improves compile times with no loss of quality. I know
it sounds odd, but ive tried it with and without the command loads,
try it yourself, also you will see the vistmatrix reduced dramatically.
Regarding vistmatrix, id say anything about 10+ is not worth compiling,
it will take a very long time. The lower the faster, and more
likely if you have 10 in the vismatrix your maps pretty large,
it could be fine in some cases, but you get the general idea of
what size to look out for as a size of 10+ could prove to be too
14. Giving up, its all very easy to stop making your map half
way through, in my experience when im around 70% through making
a map I get sick of doing it and rather hate finishing it off
to be honest :P but make it through and you'll be pleased to of
made it :) (I dunno maybe other people dont get like this, but
I do :)
15. Sometimes I find leaving a map for a while and going back
to it can be advantageous, however sometimes you'll never finish
it. But coming back to a map fresh, can mean redoing certain bits
you couldn't be arsed doing before. Perhaps even redoing whole
sections and adding more improvements.
16. Use the "snap to grid feature" in the toolbar and
use the grids well and precisely, sometimes the grid wont go as
small as you want, when you have moved say a large collection
of objects or resized them, so resizing bunches of objects all
at once isn't a good idea, but you can realign them to the grid
using the vertex tool.
17. Imagine what you want to make and just try to create what
you have imagined, or just do what I do and make it up as you
go along :P
the end of the day try and create a map your going to like, you
cant bank on everyone liking your map, so if anyone says its "crap"
just remember how long and how much work you put into it, it might
be "crap" to them, but to you personally you have created
something great, which took you a lot of hard work and effort.
18. Dealing with comments. You may get quite a few comments about
your maps from other people on forums if you post screenshots.
Sometimes you'll get "that 0wns" comments, although
this is great to hear, remember for every person that says "that
0wns" there will be people who think its crap. You can never
please everyone either, just do the best you can or whatever you
feel you want :)