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Creating a SkyBox
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Creating a skybox

I have received some requests for some beginner tutorials so I thought we could look at some basic components of a map and go though them step-by-step. We will start with making a skybox. The only knowledge you need to know before beginning is how to create a brush and how to change the grid spacing.

In this tutorial I am making use of The Storms sky fix for CoD Mapping. This pk3 file you will want to place in the main folder. It will simply add a sky selection to the texture drop down menu for easy sky texturing. You can get this pk3 file HERE.

Lets begin by creating a brush the size it which you want your skybox to be. This is predetermined based off of the size of the map you are creating. You want it to be large enough to completely enclose your maps contents; yet, you don’t want it to enclose excessive area that there is no map content.

Now that we have our skybox brush set to the length, width, and height that we want we want to hollow it out so that our map will “live” inside of a completely enclosed skybox. We can set our grid spacing by means of the grid drop down menu to set the thickness of our skybox. For this example I used 16 but the thickness is really up to you. Once you have your grid spacing set, highlight your brush and click on the CSG hollow command.

*EDIT - Although this tutorial suggests the use of CSG hollow - it is done at your own risk...take the time and make the six brushes individually...when using ANY CSG function too much can and USUALLY DOES go wrong - StrYdeR

You should result in a skybox looking something like this.

Next we will miter the corners so as not to have overlapping brushwork. This is not a must but I highly recommend it for good, clean, fundamentally sound mapping. The example we received, Dawnville, has its skybox sides all over the place and I’m not really sure why this is.

Highlight one of the brush sides of the skybox and hit “V”. Small green dots should appear at the vertexes of the brush.

On the inside, side of the brush, we want to pull the two green vertexes on the brush edge towards the center of the brush. You will do so by clicking on the green dot vertex and dragging it into position. Again it will take two times per edge as you are performing this to the top and bottom vertexes of a brush edge. When your done hit “V” again to get out of vertex editing mode.

Once you have completed all the brush sides that make up the skybox you will have a clean mated skybox that has no leaks. Don’t forget to do this to all the sides of the skybox (I consider the top and bottom as sides when discussing this tutorial). Cycling though and using the three 2D views should give you a view down the profile of each side so that you can miter all the sides (You may not need to cycle depending on your radiant layout).

Now we are ready to texture our skybox. This first texture we will use is caulk. This can be found in the common selection of the Texture drop down menu. Highlight all the brush sides of your skybox and texture them caulk.

NOTE: Some mappers skip this step. Its one of the fundamental basics of mapping. If you cannot view a brush face as a player then that brush face should have the caulk texture applied to it. Again in the Dawnville example we received this was not the case but should have been.

Then we will apply the actual sky texture that we want to see in game. Remember that pk3 file that we talked about at the start, well, this is where it comes into play. Use the Texture drop down menu and select Sky.

You will notice that all the sky textures come up. We want to only select the inside faces of the skybox that our player will see. We do so by holding down Ctrl + Shift and then moving our mouse over the face and left clicking. After we have selected the six faces lets click on a sky texture. Since we have been talking about the Dawnville example lets apply the mp_dawnville texture as our skybox texture.

Now this is simply up to your personal taste but I prefer to fit my skybox texture to each brush since I don’t care for the tiled look in the radiant. With the faces still highlighted I use Ctrl + F and this will fit the texture to each face. This will not change the effect of the texture in game. It will work the same in game if you decide to keep it tiled or if you fit it.

Finally let’s add some worldspawn lighting to our skybox. To do so we will now select the entire brush, all six brushes, and hit “N”. You will see that about in the middle of that dialog box you can scroll and see the different Keys and Values that can be add. Towards the bottom of the dialog box is where we can input our Keys and Values.

We will not go into depth on worldspawn settings as that’s a small tutorial in itself. I will say though that information on each setting is described in the tools/docs/CoDRadiant.htm file that came with the CodRadiant.

Once you have followed all the steps you will have a seamless sky that surrounds your map.

As you see, the skybox of a map can be very simple to create and setup. Some keys to keep in mind when working on a skybox are:
1) Make sure you don’t have any “holes” in your skybox. This can be easily avoided by working on the grid and cleanly mitering all skybox sides to make sure they fit tightly together.
2) Don’t let entities pass into the skybox or even worse case though the skybox.

Also remember that skyboxes don’t have to be square or rectangle in shape. Depending on how you map is designed it could consist of several square or rectangle areas that are all tightly mated together.

Written by General Death

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