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mrthejoshmon

Mrthejoshmon's Half Life... Thing.

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After I got my hands on Valve Hammer Editor (thanks to the guys in this thread) I have proceeded to test my abilities, what it boils down to is a short tech demo like map I mad trying to show off what I can do in Hammer...

It's not that good.

Here are some shots and explanations:

Start room:
http://i.imgur.com/Zl74azh.png
The player starts in the middle of this room, a dead scientist has the crowbar, there is a pistol on the wooden box (Which contains pistol ammo), a HEV charger, a medical panel and some decorations.

Second room:
http://i.imgur.com/rQ9Auum.png
After leaving the start room through a door, the player then fights a zombie next to another dead scientist, a window to an outside area and a pushable crate.

Third room:
http://i.imgur.com/hHQ9zmn.png
http://i.imgur.com/at01IjQ.png
http://i.imgur.com/21Uafom.png
The player enters another door to have a headcrab attack him off of a table and to see two zombies over a security guards corpse under a blinking light as well as some shelves and shit the other side of the room and a hole in the roof (With wind sound effect and created using the carve tool).

Outdoors:
http://i.imgur.com/OH7R7Oc.png
http://i.imgur.com/HqvQLNk.png
Upon going through the next door, the player enters an outdoor area down a ramp, with a see through fence (that can be climbed over by using the barrels to break the crates and get items by using the crowbar), upon heading towards the fence a headcrab will ambush any unaware players from the left (shown dead after a failed attack), clip has been used to prevent escaping the map boundaries, to the left is a passage to a tunnel.

Tunnel:
http://i.imgur.com/Hp4UNmj.png
By opening a revolving door, the player then heads into a well lit tunnel.

This is where I left off, I have yet to implement scripting, water, a puzzle, buttons, spawning alien enemies and a map change script (This is to show of my abilities as a mapper, even though I am just a basic one).

It is extremely basic, but then again so is the toaster I made this thing on so go figure.

Any good? Keep in mind it really is just me showing off my ability to use functions and shit like that, architecture will be the focus of the next map (The target of the "Changemap" script) and I am more used to Doombuilder (which is less complex than this)

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Clonehunter said:

Doesn't look bad, I guess. Some rooms with objects, pretty much what the game looked like (Honestly).

I personally wanted to create my own segment of Xen (Trying to move from Half Life's naturally cube like corridors and do something rarely done and something I can make unique), however the terrain editor is absolutely bollocks when it comes to anything that isn't a cube, "Incorrectly pegged item" would lead to the game rendering all those floating islands I made into giant cubes, so I just stuck to cube structures and prefabs.

And even then you end up spending an hour aligning textures of literally everything (If you move anything more than a pixel, the texture stays behind and looks awful).

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I love those 70s-looking couches. They instantly make a place look more like an aging research facility. (Yes, I've spent time in real places with that same ugly shit...)

Why such low resolution for the screens? The first mainstream game with properly pretty coloured lighting wants more love (sorry, JC; QII doesn't look as nice as HL!).

You're right about Half-Life featuring a lot of square corridors and rooms. When you need a small office space you make that work by keeping things tense or spooky. From Half-Life, the flooded office areas with sparking wires and the dark room with the flickering computer and dead scientist come to mind.

You wanted to mess with editor functions so here's a few things I remember from Hammer:

The light_env thing you use you light the outside always works better if you match its direction consistently with the skybox so you get appropriate shadows. Places are usually more interesting with lots of shadows.

Changing the number of reflections the lighting tool calculates can dramatically affect the look of the map, especially in dark areas. I don't remember if that works with the stock tools if you have to get Zoner's tools, but having the light reflect off surfaces a few times makes the shadowy areas more visible and makes areas with coloured lights interesting. It of course also slows down the map compilation nicely, but hopefully you're not doing this on a 150 MHz Pentium.

Speaking of zoner's tools, there's an option with those to have light not pass through things like func_doors. Sometimes that looks a lot better, though when you open the door you don't get light shining through it.

Office nitpick: where the hell are the other lights in that place? A room with only one light in the middle of the ceiling is a weird design. Better than SS2's rooms with no lights, but still odd. Having the others be off/broken is cooler than an odd ceiling.

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Bretty good, at least as good as anything I've ever made in a brush-based engine. thumbs up!

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Aliotroph? said:

I love those 70s-looking couches. They instantly make a place look more like an aging research facility. (Yes, I've spent time in real places with that same ugly shit...)

Thanks, the textures on those couches took a bit longer than I imagined to get into correct positioning as well as which texture to use.


Why such low resolution for the screens? The first mainstream game with properly pretty coloured lighting wants more love (sorry, JC; QII doesn't look as nice as HL!).

Because unfortunately, I run Half Life and Doom off of what I would consider two steps from a toaster.

You're right about Half-Life featuring a lot of square corridors and rooms. When you need a small office space you make that work by keeping things tense or spooky. From Half-Life, the flooded office areas with sparking wires and the dark room with the flickering computer and dead scientist come to mind.

Don't forget the inhuman creature lurking in the shadows and the vents! Their idle noises are a great way to create tension.

You wanted to mess with editor functions so here's a few things I remember from Hammer:

The light_env thing you use you light the outside always works better if you match its direction consistently with the skybox so you get appropriate shadows. Places are usually more interesting with lots of shadows.

Changing the number of reflections the lighting tool calculates can dramatically affect the look of the map, especially in dark areas. I don't remember if that works with the stock tools if you have to get Zoner's tools, but having the light reflect off surfaces a few times makes the shadowy areas more visible and makes areas with coloured lights interesting. It of course also slows down the map compilation nicely, but hopefully you're not doing this on a 150 MHz Pentium.

Speaking of zoner's tools, there's an option with those to have light not pass through things like func_doors. Sometimes that looks a lot better, though when you open the door you don't get light shining through it.


So to get the best light_env effect I should line the direction of the light with the direction of the sun (Or general light source) of the skybox to the light_env to get the best effect?

Also I will have to check out Zoner;s tools, sounds like I could pimp up the map with them.

Office nitpick: where the hell are the other lights in that place? A room with only one light in the middle of the ceiling is a weird design. Better than SS2's rooms with no lights, but still odd. Having the others be off/broken is cooler than an odd ceiling.

That's a good point actually, I will do that!

Thanks for your advice and input!

Nomad said...
Bretty good, at least as good as anything I've ever made in a brush-based engine. thumbs up!

Thanks, I have had experience with Half Life 2 maps Which I was able to reverse engineer those skills into Half Life 1 maps.

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If you're serious into getting into the nitty gritty of Half-Life 1 mapping, check out Nem's Batch Compiler, as it simplifies all of Zoner's / Power Tools' billion different config settings. Not sure if it contains any switches for Vulzcan's tools though.

If you're still using the QTools, get off of them. Like, now. They're crap, and don't catch a ton of mapping errors. I do think QRad lights rooms a bit differently than Zoner's / Power Tools, but unless you want a retro '98 look to your lighting, you should generally avoid it. The QTools also have lower mapping limits, too.

Also, while this is a tad bit advanced for where you might be, you need to investigate texture lighting. It'll make the quality of light your light far more realistic and can also reduce the entity load in your map. Note that texture lights are inflexible and static, so once they're compiled into your map, there's no way to toggle them on and off AFAIK.

Your map could still go for a lot more detail. Find some trim textures and fall in love with them; placing trim in your maps can be a quick way of detailing an otherwise simple room. Also, for texturing, to quickly align textures left click on a face to designate it as a "starting point" and then ALT + Right Click on any other textures that you want to align. This will change the texture to match the "base" texture and modify its coordinates and scaling, respectively.

Try sticking to a grid of 8x8 or 16x16 for right now unless you need the extra detail. Some of your doorways look a bit wafer thin.

Lastly -- while I'm not saying you've done this -- do NOT use the carve tool. Ever. Otherwise, you'll be sent to mapping HELL.

I don't remember if that works with the stock tools if you have to get Zoner's tools, but having the light reflect off surfaces a few times makes the shadowy areas more visible and makes areas with coloured lights interesting. It of course also slows down the map compilation nicely...

Speaking of zoner's tools, there's an option with those to have light not pass through things like func_doors. Sometimes that looks a lot better, though when you open the door you don't get light shining through it.

You have this backwards. Bounce lights are based off the compiled direct lighting and add virtually no time to the compile. Opaque entities, which is what you are referring to, not only have somewhat incorrect lighting properties, but also dramatically slow down the compile -- so much so that the compile tools can run out of ram, and then you've gone ZHLT or PHLT fucking hashing and it's 10 hours later. Using opaque entities on a door or two is fine, but don't go overboard with it.

however the terrain editor is absolutely bollocks when it comes to anything that isn't a cube, "Incorrectly pegged item" would lead to the game rendering all those floating islands I made into giant cubes...

wut?

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I really like those screenshots, reminds me of Half Life 1 original maps so it's pretty cool actually, not the best mapping of HL i've seen, but it's not bad.

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BlueFeena said:

If you're serious into getting into the nitty gritty of Half-Life 1 mapping, check out Nem's Batch Compiler, as it simplifies all of Zoner's / Power Tools' billion different config settings. Not sure if it contains any switches for Vulzcan's tools though.

If you're still using the QTools, get off of them. Like, now. They're crap, and don't catch a ton of mapping errors. I do think QRad lights rooms a bit differently than Zoner's / Power Tools, but unless you want a retro '98 look to your lighting, you should generally avoid it. The QTools also have lower mapping limits, too.

Also, while this is a tad bit advanced for where you might be, you need to investigate texture lighting. It'll make the quality of light your light far more realistic and can also reduce the entity load in your map. Note that texture lights are inflexible and static, so once they're compiled into your map, there's no way to toggle them on and off AFAIK.

Your map could still go for a lot more detail. Find some trim textures and fall in love with them; placing trim in your maps can be a quick way of detailing an otherwise simple room. Also, for texturing, to quickly align textures left click on a face to designate it as a "starting point" and then ALT + Right Click on any other textures that you want to align. This will change the texture to match the "base" texture and modify its coordinates and scaling, respectively.

Try sticking to a grid of 8x8 or 16x16 for right now unless you need the extra detail. Some of your doorways look a bit wafer thin.

Lastly -- while I'm not saying you've done this -- do NOT use the carve tool. Ever. Otherwise, you'll be sent to mapping HELL.


You have this backwards. Bounce lights are based off the compiled direct lighting and add virtually no time to the compile. Opaque entities, which is what you are referring to, not only have somewhat incorrect lighting properties, but also dramatically slow down the compile -- so much so that the compile tools can run out of ram, and then you've gone ZHLT or PHLT fucking hashing and it's 10 hours later. Using opaque entities on a door or two is fine, but don't go overboard with it.


wut?

This is extremely valuable information and advice, if only I had known about all of this!

It turns out I was completely misusing the Vertex tool, I now have the words "Bell End" across my forehead (figuratively speaking of course), rock structures are actually simpler than what I was doing.

Oh and the carve tool, I can't use that even if I wanted too as I tried it out in one of my many little test room maps and it kicks the ever loving crap out of my toaster I call a computer (It also enjoys fucking around with any structures I have built with that wall).

I will be using this "Snark Pit" website more often in the future, who knows what I could achieve with suck in depth tutorials (Better yet, what could I achieve with a better compiler).

Ledillman said:

I really like those screenshots, reminds me of Half Life 1 original maps so it's pretty cool actually, not the best mapping of HL i've seen, but it's not bad.

Thanks, hopefully I can improve upon this map (Most probably thanks to the knew information I have received).

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Looks good! Some specific feedback:

The first room is probably a bit oversized if it's supposed to be some office space.

The sand...ramp? outside the window in the second room looks bizarre. I'd have to see that space in-game, maybe it'd look better if I could see more of that area.

Third shots are another case of an area that seems a bit out of scale for an office.

Outdoors look great! Consider putting a brush with a different texture at the top of the walls, to make a nice transition to the roof.

The tunnel is excellent outside of that awkward transition from the brick wall to the tunnel wall texture. (guessing you just overlooked that or didn't finish it yet)

Clonehunter said:

Doesn't look bad, I guess. Some rooms with objects, pretty much what the game looked like (Honestly).

Just quoting this because of how stupid it sounds.

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Dragonsbrethren said:

Looks good! Some specific feedback:

The first room is probably a bit oversized if it's supposed to be some office space.

The sand...ramp? outside the window in the second room looks bizarre. I'd have to see that space in-game, maybe it'd look better if I could see more of that area.

Third shots are another case of an area that seems a bit out of scale for an office.

Outdoors look great! Consider putting a brush with a different texture at the top of the walls, to make a nice transition to the roof.

The tunnel is excellent outside of that awkward transition from the brick wall to the tunnel wall texture. (guessing you just overlooked that or didn't finish it yet), thank god I tried my best in hiding the left side of the tunnel! There is some major texturing issues on that side (as of yet, the tunnel is unfinished, the turn leads to a dead end where the water test and shit will be.)


Just quoting this because of how stupid it sounds.


First Room:
Fair point, but I forgot to mention that all the rooms had more items in them which is the reason for the size, the items were removed because the zombie AI couldn't contemplate the idea to go around a box causing him to just stand there like an ass :/

The sand ramp:
Its was a cheap ass effect on my behalf, just for the purpose of having a glass window I added an outside area and after realizing that flat sand leading to blocky rocks was a stupid looking thing so I created 3 different sand blocks and used the ramp tool to give it a hill like appearance with occasional flat parts in between, it looked good on paper at least.

Third shots:
Yep, this one contained some item crates that fucked around with the zombie AI, so they were removed, also the original intention of this room was to be a recreational area... But it looks nothing like one.

Outdoors:
That's not a bad idea actually, I shall use some of the concrete textures for that.

The tunnel:
Now this is weird, the lighting messes with the perception of this shot.
The brick wall is not actualy straight up connected to the tunnel walls, the lighting just makes it look that way (by osbcuring the edges of the wall)

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BlueFeena said:

You have this backwards. Bounce lights are based off the compiled direct lighting and add virtually no time to the compile. Opaque entities, which is what you are referring to, not only have somewhat incorrect lighting properties, but also dramatically slow down the compile -- so much so that the compile tools can run out of ram, and then you've gone ZHLT or PHLT fucking hashing and it's 10 hours later. Using opaque entities on a door or two is fine, but don't go overboard with it.


So I do. Ended up doing some reading. Considering I read all Zoner's info at least twice before this was just a sad mistake.

mrthejoshmon said:

Oh and the carve tool, I can't use that even if I wanted too as I tried it out in one of my many little test room maps and it kicks the ever loving crap out of my toaster I call a computer (It also enjoys fucking around with any structures I have built with that wall).


The carve tool is definitely evil. What you might make by hand with two or three brushes it will happily create with ten.

Given your toaster-esque computer, you should definitely read through the articles on site Bluefeena linked. They have some good stuff about making your map run fast. Zoner's site also has good information on settings for his tools to speed up your workflow and still create nice-looking maps.

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