CMM Post Mortem, and Skyboxes
Updated: Nov 19
This post is mainly an archive for the CustomMapMaker skybox library, that was unfortunately deleted from CMM a few years ago.
If you already know about CMM and just want the skyboxes, I have most of them in a zip file here.
If you dont know anything about CMM, or want to know a bit of the backstory behind this post, please read on!
If you don't know, CMM (custommapmakers.org), is an old style forum dedicated to all things mapping. Its an interesting treasure trove of information related to mapping, with an amazing history.
The site is unfortunately not really used anymore, its last post as of making this blog was 2021, with "Does anyone still use this site posts" dating all the way back to 2018. Unfortunately the hay days of CMM are long over ):
One of the things that made CMM so unique from many of mapping sites was the abundance of shared material/assets. Exploring CMM will find you dozens of posts with gorgeous screenshots, and frequently, links to assets created by users. Shared for free to other users for no other reason than pure passion of the art.
Unfortunately, the vast majority of these links are now 404, and inaccessible. Its a tremoundous loss in my opinion. Losing any publicly shared, free assets available for anyone to use is really quite sad, especially with the backstory and history of the site, and the art itself.
When I began gamedev, I was mostly focused on the programming side, and of course, being a programmer, I still am. Being able to find freely available, high quality and diverse assets like these were not only critical for me to find my love for gamedev, but they really help bring a sense of community to the groups of people who create this art. Without these sorts of contributions I certainly would not be doing the things I do today, and im truely forever greatful to the people who were willing to freely post hours worth of work on the internet for anyone to download and use freely.
This brings me to the main topic of this post.
I started learning graphics programming in late 2018. I was utterly enthralled by it, and the thought of being able to write code to make these sorts of images display on the screen. It was the most passionate point I think I was in my gamedev journey.
Part of learning graphics programming was writing code to do a skybox. After I implemented it, I at that point had enough systems and background to be able to create some interesting scenes.
This is where the discussion of freely available assets links back to what I am discussing.
Being able to put assets, models and sound in my game engine was an incredibly point of pride for me, and brought me a satisfaction unlike anything I had ever experienced at that time. Even if it was in the grand scheme of things, not incredibly remarkable.
This is where CMM comes in. CMM maintained a very large library of high quality, easily downloadable skyboxes, in a simple 6 image cubemap format. There were 200+ skyboxes that anyone could immediatly download, and they were in the perfect format for the engine I created.
I spent many, many euphoric hours importing these skyboxes into my game engine, importing some models or terrain from the internet, and looking at the beauty of the creation I had made. It is a really fond memory of mine.
Unfortunately, in 2021 CMM stopped hosting these skyboxes, and I didnt have them archived, preventing me from using them. I was really heartbroken about this. I tried to use internet archive to see if maybe the download was archived, but it didnt seem to be functional.
After about 2 years later, I was writing some opengl code, and needed a skybox. I thought back to this site, and felt an incredible pull to try again at redownloading these skyboxes. I went onto the CMM internet archive page, and went through dozens of archives trying to download the skyboxes. Eventually, one thankfully worked! I have no idea why none other were functional, but the feeling of finally being able to be reunited with these skyboxes was really quite incredible.
I ended up downloading every single skybox that was still functional, and i've kept them on my harddrive until now.
Im sure someone else out there had a similar experience with these skyboxes, or just wants to use them because they're absolutely gorgeous, and would look great in a project.
Whatever the reason may be, in the spirit of CMM and the beauty of publicly sharing game art, here is the archive of these skyboxes for anyone to use.
CMM Skybox Library Archive (~440 MB): https://drive.google.com/file/d/13Z0bRF3vXx6L_l4O72f0yKIVUPrY5Meg/view?usp=sharing
CMM Site Skybox Library Archive Page: https://web.archive.org/web/20180831021303/http://www.custommapmakers.org/skyboxes.php
When downloaded, the skyboxes should have their images, and a readme with credit for the author. I of course do not own any of these, I keep them here so that anyone may use them in the future, as CMM did for me and many others.