Tutorial: Mapping stairs with GtkRadiant

I’m very critical when it comes to mapping. I’ve seen a lot of poorly made stairs recently, so I decided to write a tutorial. I will be making this for Warsow, but the concept is the same in every game, e.g., Quake 3, Urban Terror, Xonotic, Open Arena, etc.

So you’re making your map and you decide, this needs stairs. Maybe so, but I would like to point out that too many stairs is bad. Let’s not have giant flights of stairs in our maps please.

Step One

Figure out what dimensions you want to use for your steps. The most common and best working is 16 units wide and 8 units tall. This is what I’m going to use in the tutorial (the maximum recommended height in Warsow is 12 units.) Notice where I place my first step; it’s flush with the top floor. Don’t start your stairs one step below, i.e., using the top floor as the top step.

Editor screenshot

Step Two

Copy the step you made by pressing space bar, and moving the step into place. Do this until you have a full stair case.

Editor screenshot

Step Three

Now most people would stop here and call it a day. However these are bad stairs; make some good stairs. Bust out the clipper (x) and make two points to clip the bottom half of your steps diagonally.

Editor screenshot

Step Four

Make sure the steps are still selected, and press ctrl+m to make the steps detail brushes. This is how pros do it. It cuts down on compile time, and improves performance. Read about it here.

Step Five

Create a brush the size of the stair case, and clip it to make a backing.

Editor screenshot
Editor screenshot
Editor screenshot

Step Six

Now that you have some pro ass steps, you can hit ctrl+d to toggle detail brushes. Your steps should hide, and show once you press the shortcut. It’s just a quick way to see if you did it right.

Editor screenshot

Step Seven

Now you can add some quick lights, or flood lighting and test them out.

Editor screenshot
In-game screenshot

Step Eight

The final step would be to texture the stairs, and caulk the sides. Here’s an example of what a finished set of stairs might look like.

In-game screenshot

Wow, now you can work for id or something.