‘Death’ Testing How-To
Because sooooo many maps that are submitted to us do not even pass the initial ‘Death’ Testing, I’ve decided to write up this How-To on the process so you mappers can do this yourselves before submitting your maps. This will hopefully free us up to add more content and other wise keep the rest of the site up and running.
What is ‘Death’ testing and why do it?
Basically ‘Death’ testing is a small series of tests that we put the maps through to make sure that they meet the requirements set forth here, in the AQMD Map Requirements. The primary reason we do this testing is to assure that any map can be downloaded and extracted by anybody, newbie or expert – on any OS, and they will have all necessary files in all the correct places so they will just be able to jump on a server and play.
There are two steps to ‘Death’ testing:
1) Checking the zip file for correct structure and making sure that it contains all necessary files and
2) At least a short run through of the map to check for high r_speeds, any visual odditites that may hinder gameplay (like clipping and texture missalignment) and making sure the map fits the Action theme.
During both of these phases we also look for any illegal textures being used.
This document will deal primarily with the first part of the test – checking the zip file for correct structure and all necessary files. The second part of the test should be rather self explanetory except for r_speeds, which you can find information on here. As for illegal textures – anything from any game other than Quake2 or any free Quake2 mod is probably illegal. If your using one, your map won’t pass.
Ok, enough of the propaganda – how to do it!
Mappers: Before doing this, we would recommend running your map (.map) through MapSpy, making sure to check the box to force file names to lower case. You will then need to re-compile your map and package it up into a zip file as described in the Map Requirements.
Now to the important stuff. There are two different methods that can be used to do ‘Death’ testing. The best way to do it (and the way it would be done in a production environment) actually requires loading the map on a server and connecting to it using a *nix (Linux) client, but since this is beyond the resources of most mappers, it can also be done in Winblows using some very basic tools. I will explain the Winblows method first as it is the way most of you will probably do your testing.
Method One: The Winblows Way
The first thing you will have to do is download and install WinZip and MapRid if you haven’t already.
Open up the maps zip file in WinZip and take a look at the directory structure. This is the exact way it will look on disk after extraction (under the directory it is installed to). If the directions in the Map Requirements were followed corrctly, the files should be in the same directory structure that they have to be in to play the game. If the stored directories begin with quake2\action\ or action\, or if there are no directory names at all, then the directions were not followed correctly and the zip file needs to be recreated, as the files will not go into the correct places if you unzip the file into the action directory.
Make sure that all the top level directory names (env, maps, sound, and textures) are all in lowercase, including the first character.
Mappers: If any characters are upper case you will need to rename your directories in Winblows (making sure to type the name completely in lowercase) and re-create your zip file. If you ran your map through MapSpy with the ‘force lowercase’ option then you will want to make sure that all the file names themselves are also all lowercase.
Make sure that ALL file extensions are in lower case – this is particularly a problem with the sky files in the env directory.
Before closing the zip file, start MapRid and ”View’ the maps .bsp file (make sure to open the same .bsp file that is in the zip file). MapRid will display the all the files used by the map in the exact format that they will be looked for on disk (correct character case and directory names). You may notice that the slashes between the directory and file names is backwards (actually its a ‘forward’ slash) from what you are used to. This is correct! It’s just the way it’s done in *nix – the game is smart enough to reverse the slash when being run on a Winblows box.
Make sure that all the files listed in the list boxes are in the zip file – except for two exceptions (which are original Q2 or Action files and should already be on the client system).
Textures beginning with an ‘e’ followed by a number (like the first three in the above example)
Sound files that are stored in the world directory
Character case must be the same as it is in the zip file.
Files in the ‘Textures’ listbox need to be in textures\[displayed directory], files in the ‘Sounds’ listbox need to be in sound\[displayed directory] and the ‘Sky’ needs to be in env\[displayed directory].
If the map has a sky then there should be 12 files in the env directory – 6 .pcx files and 6 .tga files. The base file name (name without the file extension), of these files, should begin with the value that MapRid shows for ‘Sky’ and end with dn, up, bk, fn, lf and rt – which correspond to the six sides of the sky box the map is in.
The above example would have 12 files in the env\woebane directory, named: city1adn.pcx, city1aup.pcx, city1afn.pcx, city1abk.pcx, city1alf.pcx, city1art.pcx and city1adn.tga, city1aup.tga, city1afn.tga, city1abk.tga, city1alf.tga, city1art.tga (shweew!)
Method Two: The ‘Right’ Way
I’m not going to go over installing Q2 or Action on *nix (Linux) – there are many fine tutorials on the web already for doing that (Linux Games for the lazy). Since there aren’t any good map editors for *nix (yet) you will have to either have a Winblows box up and running to do map changes on you will have to jump back and forth between OS’s (bummer!). You will also need to have some type of Action server running on another box (could be the box you develop your map on).
WARNING!!! If you normally play in *nix either do this in a completly seperate directory than you normally play in or back-up your Action /env, /textures, /sound, /maps and probably /sounds directories (and any versions of mixed character case ie: /Sound). You have been warned! We take no responsibility if you accidently delete all your game files.
Make sure you have unzip installed – it should be on your distribution disk if it’s not already installed.
cd into your quake2/action directory and remove the /env, /textures, /sound and /maps (and any versions of mixed character case ie: /Sound).
Unzip the zip file. It should create the appropriate directories /env, /textures, /sound and /maps (for files included in the zip) – all in lowercase.
Skim through created directories and make sure ALL files have a lower case extension (the whole map name [.bsp file] should be lower case).
Copy the .bsp file to the server and start the game server with that map (or just change maps if the server is already running).
Make sure you turn logging on in your Quake2 command line (+set logfile 2) – this will create a log of all console messages in a file called qconsole.log in your quake2 directory (this is how they display your stats on a server) and it will create a new file every time you start the game.
Start Quake2 and join the server. Don’t worry about catching any file names that the game can’t find – they’ll all be recorded in the qconsole.log file. If the map is playable (no large number of textures missing) go ahead and do your short run through (this is even better if you have others join the server)
When you are done with your run-through, exit the game and pull up the qconsole.log file in your favorite editor. There you will be able to easily see what files were either not included in the zip or are stored on the disk in a different character case (the character case you see in qconsole.log is the case the map is looking for).
If there are problems, go back to Winblows to fix them (including just zip changes – Winblows has a hard time reading *nix zip files sometimes) and start the whole process over again. If there are no problems, jump back on the server and frag some more =)
That’s about it, other than making sure that the zip file contains some type of readme file (preferably named [mapname].txt) and contains no extra files like screenshots or custom config (especially custom configs).
Now test these things before submitting them to us damn it!. Maybe that way we can spend less time ripping your map to shreds on the Test Matrix and more time bringing you stuff like reviews and contests and other fun stuff (and maybe even have some time to play ourselves – yes! we do like to play the game too sometimes!)