What follows is an overview of the basic steps required to map for RTCW, updated for 2013.  By the end you will have all the tools setup and ready to go.


RTCW Game and DEV Installations 

  1. Install a clean copy of RTCW if you haven't done so already.  Instructions here.  This will be your "playing" instance of RTCW.
  2. It is recommended that you launch RTCW and play a few minutes of Multiplayer and SinglePlayer.  Both to verify that your installation, patching, and pb updates were fully sucessful, and to ensure all default games files are present for a proper mapping environment.  After you're finished, exit RTCW.

    • Your install path should look something like:   C:/Games/RTCW
  3. Copy the RTCW folder, and paste it to another location on your computer.  Rename the copied RTCW folder to RTCWDev.  This will be your "Dev" instance of RTCW.

    • Your DEV install path should look something like: C:/Games/RTCWDev


Extract RTCW Content into DEV Environment

Located in your RTCWDev/Main folder are about a dozen ".pk3" files.  These are ziped archives of the game's various content and assets.  You can open them using any zip utility, like WinZip or WinRar.  I prefer the later.

Now for the boring part.  We need to open up ALMOST every pk3 archive and extract the folders listed below into the RTCWDev/Main directory.  Note you will want to work through the pk3 files alphabetically, a-z.  The reason is the engine also reads the pk3 files in alphabettical order, and "uses" the last referenced instance of any given file.  Thus, if a specific file in mp_pak0.pk3 has a bug, mp_pak1.pk3 could contain a corrected copy of that file to resolve the bug.  Extracting them in this manner will ensure you are overwriting files in the right order.  The last pk3 file you should be extracting from is sp_pak3.pk3.  Start with mp_pak0-5.pk3, then mp_pakmaps0-6.pk3, the pak0.pk3, then sp_pak1-3.pk3.

Extract these folders from the aforementioned pk3 files into the RTCWDev/Main directory.

  • maps  (optional:  useful as reference only)
  • models  (required)
  • scripts  (required)
  • sound  (optional:  but very useful)
  • textures (required)



Unless you are intending to map for Single Player, there are some files we do not need.  Go to the RTCWDev/Main/maps directory and delete all files that DO NOT end with .script or .map.  Only script and map files are needed in the maps folder.  Strictly speaking even those aren't needed right now.   But should you need them later, these stock map and script files are an excellent reference.

Note:  You may wish to also keep the .ai files as they are great examples or RTCW scripting.  Even if primarily targeted at RTCW SP.

The required game assets are now unpacked and you are now ready to setup a mapping environment.


Setup GTK Radiant Mapping Tool

Note:  GTKRadiant 1.4.0 has some known issues on Windows 7.  Namely, saving work on a new map.  The work-around requires some hackery.  

Even though 1.4.0 is still preferred by some, I will be using GTKRadiant 1.5.0 so I can focus on using the tool, and not troubleshooting it.

  1. Download and Install GTK Radiant 1.5.0 here.
  2. Select Custom Setup Type , and expand out Gtkradiant > Game Support.
  3. Select Game Support and click "Entire Feature will be unavailable".
  4. Select RTCW Support and click "Will be installed on local hard drive".
  5. Below, change the Location to "C:\Games\GtkRadiant 1.5.0", or wherever you like.
  6. Click next, then Install, then finish.
  7. Launch GTK Radiant and open preferences to set your RTCW path.

    1. Edit > Preferences > Settings > Paths > Enter your Engine Path  (i.e. C:\Games\RTCWDev)
  8. Done.


Intro to Shaders

Navigate to C:\Games\RTCWDev\Main\scripts\shaderlist.txt and open it using notepad++.  This file was created by the GTK install.  It is an index of the default shader files that RTCW comes with.  These shaders are in the same scripts directory as the shaderlist.txt file are, only they end in .shader.  You can open shaders with any text-based application.  I prefer notepad++.  When it comes time to making your own shaders, an entry for your shader text file will need to be added into the shaderlist.txt file, otherwise GTK will not know to "load" your shader.

A shader is a properties based text file that accompanyies in-game textures.  They control various aspects of a texture and enhance their pressence in game.  This includes rendering a fire texture as wavey, adding footsteps to gravel textures, identifying the surface type (for interaction with bullets), and its mass (exploding blocks of conrete vs.splintering wood), making water textures swell and scroll along any plane, making textures see thru like glass and translucents, increasing detail with bumpmapping, and any other number of efffects… The basic idea is you start with a texture of some kind, then adjust the texture's shader file to refine the texture's role in the game.  More on this later.  Just take note of the shaderlist.txt file.  It is what controls what textures will be accessible to GTK, and thus your mapping environment. The default entries are fine enough to get started.


Setup EasyGen Terrain Generating Tool

Just like it sounds, the EasyGen Terrain Generating Tool is used to create terrains in your map.  It is an external tool mappers will require to incorporate terrains into their maps.  GTKRadiant does not have the ability to create terrains.  New mappers do not need to start with Terrains, and should perhaps hold off on them for at least a month while they better learn GTK Radiant.

Note: The UI for this tool has issues in Windows 7.

  1. Create a bitmaps folder in your RTCWDev\Main folder.  C:\Games\RTCWDev\Main\bitmaps
  2. Download the EasyGen Terrain Editor here.  
  3. Extract the zip archive into your C:\Games directory.  Mine looks like:  C:\Games\EasyGen.
  4. Launch the application.
  5. When prompted, set the Export Folders for Work mod to "c:\games\rtcwdev\main" and Bitmaps to "c:\games\rtcwdev\main\bitmaps"
  6. Set the import Folders for Bitmaps to the same Bitmaps folder above and press ok.

Note, this program does not "install" on your machine.  It is a stand-alone executable.

For a tutorial on how to use EasyGen, go here.


Intro to Q3Map2

Q3map2 is the official level compiler for Id Tech 3. Originally coded as a modification of the RTCW tool chain for PlayStation 2 at Raster Productions. It eventually became part of the open source GtkRadiant editor.  

Many games have been created using q3map2:

  • Quake Live
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Operation Resurrection (PlayStation 2)
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein: Tides of War (Xbox)
  • Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory
  • Star Wars: Jedi Academy
  • Medal of Honor: Allied Assault: Breakthrough

And many more games are supported:

  • Nexuiz
  • Open Arena
  • Quake III: Arena
  • Quake III: Team Arena
  • Return to Castle Wolfenstein
  • Soldier of Fortune II: Double Helix
  • Star Trek Elite Force
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast
  • Star Wars Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy
  • Tenebrae
  • Tremulous
  • Urban Terror
  • War§ow
  • Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory

To learn more about q3map2, be sure to check out their site, shaderlab.


Setup Q3Map2Toolz 

Q3Map2Toolz is a community built tool that was created sometime after RTCW was released.  The tool is designed to be a light-weight front end for the q3map2 compiler, first and foremost.  Secondly, it also makes easily available to you the wide world of "switches" and new compiling options that GTKRadiant does not provide out of the box necassarily.  In other words, this front end enables much greater control over the RTCW compiling process using the most updated version of q3map2.  Usage of this tool might fall under the advanced category, but it takes little actual time to learn.

  1. Download q3map2toolz here, extract the archive, and install it.
  2. Hit next a few times until setting Installation folder.  I set mine to "C:\Games\Q3Map2 Toolz.".
  3. Hit next, next, close.
  4. Launch Q3Map2Toolz and set the Game to "RTCW-MP".
  5. Set the Path to wolfmp.exe:  C:\Games\RTCWDev\WolfMP.exe
  6. Set the Path to q3map.exe:  C:\Games\GtkRadiant 1.5.0\q3map2.exe
  7. Leave the last 2 at defaults and select Ok.
  8. You should receive a warning that a generic .dat file will be created.  Hit ok.

You are now ready to start using advanced switches and performing an extended list of operations related to mapping, outside of GTKRadiant.  Go here for a crash course in switches and compiling.


Get Organized

By the time you're all setup, there will be a number of executables and directories you will want quick and easy access to.  I like to create a single folder on my desktop named "RTCW" to place all these shortcuts into.  You might use a different system.  Either way, getting organized early is key.

Create a shortcut for the following files and directories, and place them in your desktop "RTCW" folder.

  • C:\Games\RTCW\Main… rename to RTCW
  • C:\Games\RTCW\Main\WolfMP.exe… rename to RTCW
  • C:\Games\RTCWDev\Main… rename to RTCW DEV
  • C:\Games\RTCWDev\Main\WolfMP.exe… rename to RTCW DEV
  • C:\Games\EasyGen\EasyGen.exe.. rename to EasyGen
  • C:\Games\Q3Map2 Toolz\Q3Map2Toolz.exe.. rename to Q3Map2Toolz
  • C:\Games\GtkRadiant 1.5.0\GtkRadiant.exe.. rename to GTK Radiant