Posted by: Drakon | June 1, 2009

Finally, Valve brings me a waterfall

Its not the most super awesome waterfall ever, but it beats using steam to mimic water.

Inspired by a recent trip to Rickett’s Glenn, Pennsylvania (Very beautiful place), I have hammered out a rough ‘sketch’ of a map that involves many caverns and waterfalls. Exactly ‘what’ the Blu and Red teams are doing there has yet to be decided.
Trying something slightly different this time around – my usual approach is to carve out the rocks as I make them. This time, I’m simply throwing blocks in there – big, clunky blocks. Looks like something from Quake 1 for now.
There are a few suspected advantages to this:

1 – Being the sort of person that can get 75% done with something and then lose all motivation when I realize I’ve got an even better idea for something else, I suspect I may be able to ward this off by getting a lot more down before the creative flow is turned off. I don’t need too much creativity for turning a block into a rock.
2 – Depending on the rocks you are going for, this can end up giving them a natural look when detailed (if done right).
3 – Think that might be it…

Going to take some screenshots of the same place as I show below as I detail it, to create something of a timeline of detail.

Will take shots of the rest of the level as I detail it.

I haven’t completely abandoned my previous work in progress – however, it is very likely to undergo some major changes before I start it up again.

Posted by: Drakon | December 21, 2008

Latest Team Fortress 2 Works

I’ve scrapped the previous map I’ve been working on in favor of starting up a new, slightly smaller map borrowing some of the ideas I had with the last one. In short, it brings to mind some of the ‘good old days’ when Team Fortress was with Quake 1. I’m trying to keep it dark, have very little reliance on prop models, and few texture variation (though tastefully done, hopefully). I am attempting to increase the detail on brushwork (brushes = the basic building blocks of the map) for two reasons: attempting to make up for the lack of props, and I think good brushwork can look much better than a well-propped but otherwise drab room.

Here are some screenshots of a weekend’s on-off worth of work.

A nice view of the whole Blue base – currently noclipped to get here, but I think a small sniper spot may be a nice addition here… I couldn’t let a view like this go to waste 🙂

Here’s a wide view from noclipping outside the map.
Wide view of chasm, from outside the map. is sneaky.

A ground level view at the entrance to the main part of the base.

The map was originally intended to be capture the flag, but I realized theres no good way to prevent rocket/grenade jumping from the entrance to the intended flag point (the top of the tower with the glowy pillars).
Instead, the plan is to make it capture points in guts only – Capture the opposing base 3 times to win the round.
Also, I’m using a lot more colored lighting than I usually do. I likes it. Likes it much. I have a nightmarish amount of displacements to work on – its hard to notice in the pictures, but about half of my rocks are still rectangles and cubes.

Posted by: Drakon | August 19, 2008

Latest Team Fortress 2 Map bits

With my ‘dark forest’ map on hold, possibly awaiting re-making, I’ve started off on another road, another night, and another theme.

UPDATE 9-18-08: The forest theme is being resurrected, and I have some direction now! The tree models that came with the heavy update will now make up the surrounding area – The overall theme of the map is rarely decided when I start making it. The few times I do start with that in mind I seem to actually get them done. Anyhow, I this might imply that I will finish this map… ?

Although its still very dark (I’m still working on the lighting), you can at least see some tree silhouettes. I’ll try using an actual sky and providing a hilly background; it may look more awesome if the trees are unlit and only the silhouettes are visible, in that case…

Still up in the air is how, exactly, the middle area will happen now.

The 'labs' are now in the midst of a pine forest.

UPDATE 9-04-08: Not moving along quite so quickly anymore – the slump has arrived, but I’ve encouraged myself out of it by fixing some bugs in the map. I’ve finished (for the most part, detailing may not be done) the ‘flag’ room; its designed to look like a room housing a supercomputer of some sort. (Flag/Intelligence area not shown in the picture)

Intelligence room

Also, I’ve ripped out a floor and made it a pit. Every map can use a pit. They’re big, mysterious, and deadly. Seriously – 2fort should have a pit in its basement. The well should actually have a well. And Dustbowl should fall into a pit entirely. This is a floor level view looking at the lobby, over the pit.

Floor level view of the lobby area, over the pit.
UPDATE 8-21-08: Moving along – finished a lobby area. NO science-facility is complete without a coffee break area. I’d have added donuts, but such a model does not exist in Half-Life 2.
Further thoughts on theme: I feel an inter-dimensional theme could be workable. The ‘inner workings’ of such things I like to leave to inhabitants of the world – before I get ranting, I’ll simply say that games need to leave more to the imagination than they often do these days.
As you can see by this screenshot and the ones further down, I’m getting into an area that I can close off and detail more. Makes it look so much nicer when you can’t walk around in it.
I also may be doing something new here – has any other map used wooden planks heavily in a tech theme? I rather like it.

Coffee time!

These are obviously not done – I’ve black-boxed the entire map for the purpose of taking screenshots – you can probably tell theres a lot missing. Also, when I DO get to the point where I can cease the black box and actually hand-craft the ‘sky’, it will still be pitch black, unless Valve releases a decent night sky.

Standing on a plank walkway of Blue's base.

Looking onto a rooftop area of Blue's base.

As planned now, each base will consist of two parts – about one half rooftops/outdoor, and the rest will be inside the flag area. For once I’m going to try and force the building’s exterior to NOT match up
with the interior – I did that a little bit in dm_thefactory and I it worked well.
The base sizes will be medium (ctf_2fort or smaller), hopefully with a larger mid-ground. There will NOT be snipers shooting at each other from battlements of one fort to battlements of another. To prevent very good snipers (*cackle*) from dominating attackers, the battlement’s coverage will be limited, or force the sniper to move about much more than usual.

Posted by: Drakon | August 7, 2008

MUDBot/TF2 Map update

Age of Conan addiction is rapidly fading. I gave mmorpgs another try, but as always, the addiction only ever lasts 1 week to a month, and soon I see it joyless. Now, Team Fortress, I can’t seem to ever NOT have fun with that. Back to sniping!


Anyhow, now that I got a new video card for my Linux box (my old one melted its original fan at one point and was last being supported by an external fan. The colors it started producing were quite fascinating, though, albeit quite incorrect). I figured all the cool kids had it so I should too. I’ll be doing MUDBot work on there now. Working on a new method for MUDBot’s mob recognition. The current system works, but its just ugly.

As for my map, I’m currently looking for some inspiration to push me through the connection of the two areas. I have it somewhat mapped out, but that only takes you halfway through the process.

Posted by: Drakon | July 12, 2008

Half-Life 2: Deathmatch maps

Right, so I might as well have links to my two Half-Life 2: Deathmatch maps here. As you could see from both of them, I love a night-time setting. I also love a rainy setting, but the problem with rain is that it generally kills frames per second, or visibility. I’ll post the two maps that have been sent in to Planet Half-Life .

For descriptions and other stuff, visit the Half-Life 2 page in the right-hand links.
The Pit
The Factory