Basic Mapping

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Empires Mapping Documentation
Mapping Overiew | Hammer Configuration | Entity Index | Basic Mapping | Setup Resources | Tutorials | Useful FGD Modifications | Bots and NPCs | Dimensions | Skyboxes

An example of an Empires map in Hammer.


After you've configured Hammer to run with Empires, you're ready to start making maps.

Step 1: Build a large room

Build a huge room that will represent your level. If you're doing an outdoors map with vehicles, make sure to allow lots of room. Your map will need to be at least 10000 units square and that will be a small map. If you want to have a sky instead of a solid roof, then use the Tools/SkyBox texture on those walls that will be the boundary to the sky

Step 2: Add Entities

You're going to need one of each of these:

Step 3: Create your map's resource file

The best way to do this is to go to your empires directory and look under the resources/maps directory. Copy one of the existing map's files there and rename the copy to match the name of your map (plus the .txt extension). Edit it and make adjustments as needed. This will let players select spawns when ingame

More Detailed Guide: Setting Up Map Resources

Step 4: Set up your map's materials directory

Go to your Empires\materials\maps directory and copy a pair of any two .vtf and .vmt files (must be the from the same map). Rename them to emp_<yourmapname>.<vtf/vmt>. These will serve as placeholders for your map's overhead view until later. Untill you have created your own minimap picture and .VTF file, your map will use the minimap from the map files you just copied.

This is no problem for testing things out so do not worry about your minimap untill the map is nearly ready to go.

More Detailed Guide: Setting Up Map Resources

Step 5: Flesh it out

Deciding Gameplay

Empires suports a few quite interesting gameplay types, with more to be added later.


The standard (Classic) gameplay type involves capturing resource nodes and building bases. It is used on maps such as emp_duststorm and emp_crossroads. The objective is for the players to destroy the opposing faction's Command Vehicle.

For it to work you need a barracks (emp_building_imp_barracks, emp_building_nf_barracks) for each team, a Command Vehicle per faction (emp_imp_commander, emp_nf_commander) and also at least two resource nodes (emp_resource_point, preferably marked by an emp_resource_point_prop so that one can actually see the point) to be able to play properly.

None of the above entities are absolutely required, the game will work as long as there is a way for people from both teams to spawn.


The second one is as seen in Battlefield and other games, involving capturing and holding flags. While it is possible to have a Commander and a Command Vehicle, it is not required. This gameplay is slightly featured on emp_escort, on which it has been converted into a push type of gameplay by not having the flags to be recapturable by the Northern Faction.

To be able to spawn at a flag, you need to place spawn points. These are called emp_info_player_Imp for the Imperials and emp_info_player_NF for the Northern Faction.

Adding Buildings

Buildings are in the form of entities. See the Entity Index for a complete list. Buildings are the entities with building in their names.

Step 6: Compile/Run

Hit F9 and run with the default options if you don't mind waiting several hours for the map to compile.

If you just want to quickly check something, you can compile without making lighting calculations, this saves an awful lot of time over the development of a map. Make sure your compile options are Normal, (not advanced mode), then under Run Vis and Run Rad, check the no box.

This is not to be used when you are checking water as that needs the Vis calculations in order to appear in game. This is also obviously not to be used for final compiles or your lighting will look pretty pants!

Check your developer console by pressing tilde (~ or ^) in-game and look for obvious problems.

Feel free to experiment with map settings and looks with emp_template, which comes with all the entities required to compile and run a basic empires map

See Also: Gameplay Types, Entity Index, Setting Up Map Resources, Advanced Tutorials from the Valve Wiki