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How to Make Custom Maps

Setting up UDK​

Step 1​

You need to download and install UDK build 7748 BETA January 2011 to create maps for Tribes Ascend.

You need to download the TA actor classes. Extract the TribesGame folder to \UDK\UDK-2011-01\Development\Src\ and the TA_BaseAssets.upk to \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\.

You need to download all the TA package files. Extract these to \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content.

Note: You will need the Package Files to play and test the map on the leaked dev build and official client, it is best to copy these now before you delete the downloaded archive.

Step 2​

After UDK is installed, go to \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Config\ and open UDKEngine.ini in a text editor. Search for [UnrealEd.EditorEngine] and at the end of that section on a new line write ModEditPackages=TribesGame. Save the file and close the editor.

Step 3​

Launch the UDK Editor, when asked to update the outdated scripts hit yes. Wait for the success message then close it and reopen UDK Editor to get started.

Required Knowledge​

Do not save over one of the downloaded package files. If you want to add custom textures/meshes to your map you should create a new package file.

Map files(.fmap) require specific file naming to work in Tribes Ascend. TrGameMode-MapName where the CTF map Arx Novena is named TrCTF-ArxNovena.

Your First Map​

Step 1​

Here is a download to a basic CTF map. This should be placed in \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\Maps\. Launch UDK and open the map you just placed in your Maps folder.

Step 2​

Now you are free to do editing however you see fit. I recommend modifying the terrain, adding material to the terrain and adding a couple of random static meshes from the TA packages within the content browser to get yourself familiar with UDK. When you feel like you are ready to test the map out. Hit Build then Build All. Hit File then Save Current Level. Close the UDK Editor and save any asset packages you created.

Step 3​

You will need to complete Step 1 of the workaround to for the refshadercache before you build and test your map.

Open \UDK\UDK-2011-01\BinariesUnrealFrontend.exe

Select the profile DM-Deck and remove DM-Deck.udk under Maps to Cook. Add your custom map, click Cook and then Cook Packages. Exit Unreal Frontend once completed.

Now your map should be ready to be tested!

Testing Maps​

Launching Custom Maps on Leaked Dev Build​

You need the leaked dev build of Tribes Ascend.

An easy way to launch the map is with the dev client launcher

Easy way​

Step 1​

Extract the TA package files to the dev builds \TribesGame\CookedPC\Maps\ folder.

Step 2​

Copy RefShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk in C:\UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\CookedPC\ and paste it into \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\.

Copy the uncooked map from \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\Maps\ to \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\Maps\.

Copy any asset packages you've created from \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\ to \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\Maps\.

Step 3​

Download and launch the dev client launcher

Click the Set Path button and set it to the Leaked Dev Build Tribesascend.exe.

Set the game mode to your maps Game Mode.

In the Map text field, enter your map name, it will not be in the dropdown.

Note: TrCTF-BasicMap

Step 5​

Click Launch.

Once the game has launched hit the console key and type ChangeTeam BloodEagle for blood eagle spawns or ChangeTeam DiamondSword for diamond sword spawns.

Hard way​

Step 1​

Extract the TA package files to dev builds \TribesGame\CookedPC\Maps\ folder.

Step 2​

Copy RefShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk in C:\UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\CookedPC\ and paste it into \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\.

Copy the uncooked map from \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\Maps\ to \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\Maps\.

Copy any asset packages you've created from \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\ to \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\Maps\.

Step 3​

Open Command Prompt. CD to the Tribes dev builds \Binaries\Win32\ Folder and enter Tribesascend.exe TrGameMode-MapName -seekfreeloading.

Note: TrGameMode-MapName for Arx Novena would be TrCTF-ArxNovena.

Step 4​

Hit Enter.

Once the game has launched hit the ``key and typeChangeTeam BloodEaglefor blood eagle spawns orChangeTeam DiamondSword` for diamond sword spawns. Otherwise, you will spawn as neither team.

Hosting Custom Map​

Host your server.

Extract the TA package files to the servers \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\Maps\ folder.

Copy RefShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk in C:\UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\CookedPC\ and paste it into \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\.

Copy the uncooked map from \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\Maps\ to \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\Maps\.

Join your server.

External Resources​

Ex Hi-Rez Studios map developer Katelyn Pitstick has posted some information specifically about making Tribes Ascend maps on Kate's website.

thenewboston has an old UDK Tutorial Playlist where he is using an old 2011 build of UDK. Tutorial 36 is where he begins work on terrain.

Te-Krogoth's Working With Packages Guide.

Khorrin's SDK Mapping for the Lazy.

dMidgard wrote a SDK Guide to Mapping.

Te-Krogoth's Mapping for Tribes: Ascend SDK.

Te-Krogoth's T1 Heightmaps.

Troubleshooting​

RefShaderCache Compiler Error​

In the official version of the game, the shader compiler crashes when attempting to load a custom map in the game.

Workaround (Easy way)​

Step 1​

Download a RefShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk which has been modified, paste it into \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\. If you've played on custom maps before, the one from your \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\ folder should work.

Step 2​

Run UnrealFrontEnd and cook the map. Copy RefShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk in \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\CookedPC\ and paste it into \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\. This will need to be done every time you wish to test the map.

Workaround (Advanced users)​

Step 1​

Copy the RefShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk in \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\ and paste it into \UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\Content\.

Step 2​

Using a hex editor, you will see the values C1 83 2A 9E 25 03 02 00, modify the 02 in that sequence to 00.

Step 3​

Run UnrealFrontEnd and cook the map. Copy RefShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk in C:\UDK\UDK-2011-01\UDKGame\CookedPC\ and paste it into \Tribes\TribesGame\CookedPC\. This will need to be done every time you wish to test the map.

Reason why this is needed​

It looks like the shader compiler is missing some required shaders to properly compile.

Cooking the map with the unedited RefShaderCache-PC-D3D-SM3.upk will fail due to license version checks, the license version is in the file’s header which we edit via our hex editor.

Where is UDK Installed?​

By default UDK installs to C:\UDK\UDK-2011-01\.

Texture issues of static meshes from the packages​

You need to copy over the materials for the meshes you are using in your map, otherwise they will show up with a blue and white texture pattern in-game. Find the material the mesh uses by double-clicking on the mesh in the content browser and expanding the LOD section. Copy the material(s) to your map package and then reassign the material to the mesh you are using. Select your mesh in the level editor and press F4 to bring up the properties, and then you will find a material override section. Apply your materials thereby having the material selected in the Content Browser and then pressing the green arrow in the Properties window of the mesh. If you have multiple materials you need to assign, click the plus sign to add another material slight in the Properties window.

This quote is taken from Te-Krogoth's Working With Packages Guide.