Welcome to the June Edition of The Wrench! In this edition, we are sharing (and showing off!) some fresh projects and progress with the community that modders have been hard at work creating. Additionally, we have a special Q&A session with a fellow mapper from the community, offering a deeper insight into what the people creating mods are spending their time on.
Join us on the Community Modding Discord where you can join discussions and meet the modding community. It's a great place to share your ideas and passion with like-minded people that will be happy to help you along the way. Let's go!
Q&A with Xander
Xander has been hard at work for the past couple of months working on his map that started as a test for village placement and lighting. This map features an awesome landscape with lots of foliage variation and clever asset placement to give the environment an authentic look and feel. Below you can see a video and some images of the map as well as a brief Question and Answers session to provide a little more insight into the process.
Q: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us! Could you give us a brief introduction of yourself and your previous experience in modding if you have any?
I am a hobby modder that started with landscape design almost 3 years ago. I first started using CryEngine, but quickly got a hold of Unreal after getting tired of paying for the
CE SDK. I have not modded much before, only done some landscapes and stuff for my own use.
Q: How did you get started with modding in the Squad SDK? This is a common question amongst new starters and there is a lot to choose from. Did you start with reading
documentation, watching tutorials or did you take a hands-on approach and just dive in?
I started using Unreal Engine 4 before the Squad SDK, so I had some experience before. I still had to watch many YouTube tutorials and read some documentation to get started
importing heightmaps, and setting up the materials... But more or less I just dove into it.
Q: You have posted quite a few images and videos of your Squad map! Do you have a name for it yet and what is your overall direction with this map? Do you aim to change the
gameplay style through different map design or are you aiming to push the visuals in Squad?
It was more or less a small test to get an idea for village layouts, and lighting setup. And also some foliage testing. But I will probably do more with this one when there is
time for it. For now I am happy with the progression and will look into gameplay setup when the modding implementation is complete. Maybe there will be a small player based
gameplay release at one point near the Steam Workshop release, with some capture zones.
Q: Do you use references when creating your maps, from images to videos and even real life? How do you manage to get such a "grounded" and realistic feeling in your map?
To be honest what I do mostly comes straight out of my head. When doing trees I have looked a lot into how treelines form in real forest locations based on Google Earth images.
But also from playing other games I have compared the density of foliage in different games, and then just gone with the flow to suit Squad more.
Q: Can you give us a brief overview of your workflow for creating a map? Where do you start, do you lay down your roads first? After you have a terrain?
I start off with a heightmap and basically work from there. I try to use the flat areas and draw some roads, then I just place assets from there.
Q: Optimisation is a big one for mappers. Maps can be beautiful, but they also need to run well. How do you handle this aspect?
The optimisation for my level is actually okay. I work with draw distances for trees to make them draw less triangles from a decent distance. Also having some open areas that
don't have too much foliage helps on framerates.
Q: If you could do one thing differently when you started making a map in the Squad SDK with the knowledge you have now, what would it be?
I think I would start off setting up my folders and that stuff first... Then maybe get a Google Maps/Earth satellite image to use as reference. Then I use that as a base layer to
paint the roads and areas on. That way you could do real locations and get the roads and tree lines accurate and to scale.
Q: Finally, have you got any advice for players that might be interested in modding, and tips for current modders?
Get some nice textures, and even a landscape material. That helps a lot! Then just spend some time outdoors gathering some inspiration for your maps. I have a lot of farm and
wood areas around me, so I guess that's why I mostly do these types of maps.
British Prop Asset Pack by Baby_James
The British are coming! We may not know when exactly, but we have seen enough glimpses of their development over the last few months that we know they are underway! Baby_James is
preparing for the inevitable by working on some environmental props, with more to come. Looking great, now just get some tea and biscuits ready!
Samland Peninsula by Legion_X
While the Samland Peninsula isn't entirely sure if it's a peninsula or an island, it is no stranger to conflict. The Russian territory borders the Baltic Sea and is otherwise surrounded by lagoons. The historic battleground, reaching back to the Teutonic Knights, through the Soviet offensive during World War 2, is now being updated by Legion_X for a more modern take on warfare. Will history repeat itself? There's no tellin', but it's going to be beautiful way to find out!
French Foreign Legion Mod: OPEX SERVAL by SquadFrance.fr
The French-speaking community is coming together to build something special. SquadFrance.fr is working toward getting the French Foreign Legion into Squad, including vehicles, uniforms, and even fixed weapons! Picking an active, modern theater of operations, they are fortunate enough to have a combat veteran that served in Mali to ensure accuracy. At its core, the strength of Opex Serval is that all the developers are Squad players first and foremost!
Their team is just getting started, so now's the perfect time to provide your feedback. If you'd like to know more about Opex Serval, head over to the Squad Mod Francais site, complete with development blogs. Bon travail!
And that brings us to the end of another Wrench. There's no shortage of amazing projects happening right now, and no shortage of modders to help out. If you would like to be featured in The Wrench, don't forget to drop by Discord!