Sep 26th 2007 The F.E.A.R Effect

I mentioned in the last post about a technique that should help to give the players a bit of a scare, and I feel that it’s worthy of it’s own post, so here it goes.

Essentially I grabbed this idea from the rather excellent game F.E.A.R, which had some really great ways of making you squirm and not want to carry on through the game. If you have played it you may remember at the very beginning when you are assigned with finding someone, that their mutilated face flashes up on screen for just a second as a kind of vision. I really liked this touch and what’s best is it has no explanation at all but you pause and think “Shit, what was that? Something probably isn’t good” and that is a great reaction, fear of the unknown.

Soooo, I tried to replicate it this effect in HL2 to an extent, probably about 18 months or maybe 2 years ago and recently I found the map that I did it in and remembered how neat it was. It isn’t 100% realistic but everyone that played it certainly got a tad shocked.

I think the best thing to do is give you a glimpse of the actual set-piece and then we can analyse it a bit more.

Looks pretty cool huh? I really like this effect as it certainly isn’t expected by the player, especially in HL2.

I think the first thing we need to take a look at is the actual place where this effect is used, you can’t just shove it in anywhere you know, and I’ll explain why.

blink20000.jpg

This map was quite an old design that I worked on long ago, but there are some useful tips you can pick up from it. The first thing anyone will notice is the map is quite dark, dingy and obviously not a nice place to be. We need to inform the player that his or her presence is not wanted in this map and by progressing they need to feel as if they are intruding and they are somewhat threatened. In my eyes this is a great way to get a player tense and uneasy, which is just what we want.

So apart from the obvious room details, I wanted the player to enter this area feeling a bit wary (there were proper soundscapes, but I’ve lost the txt files) and the zombie scream just before is a key indicator that there may be some trouble coming. Secondly the player needs to see their goal, which is the blue door dead ahead.

By adding a spotlight just above it, and leaving it slightly open this gives some big hints towards where they need to go. You should always try to give the player visual clues that they don’t even realise they are picking up on, keeps a really natural flow to the level and stops them being distracted from the tense atmosphere by looking for a door.

The next concerning thing for your player is the “signs that shit has gone down” that are visible in the middle of the room, this goes in the form of some severed legs and a couple of corpses looking as though they have been flung about. It’s important not to over-use things like dead bodies so that when you do finally use them, the player won’t just thing of them as props.

With all these things playing on their mind, hopefully the last thing they want to do is cross that space in the middle and head towards the door. The key thing here is the player knows something is going to happen, they are just gritting their teeth and being extra careful so they can get the drop on whoever finally attacks them.

It’s like if you turned your back to someone who you knew was going to hit you with a stick very hard, you know it’s coming but as you’re waiting the tension kills you. It wouldn’t quite work if they just walked up and twatted you in the face with a piece of wood without any warning, in fact it would most likely annoy you.

The same is when someone decides it’s time for you to fall into a pit of zombies without warning, or get attacked from behind with no clues. It isn’t scary and it just fucks you off.

So with all these things combined the player is being cautious in their movement, they are listening harder and checking parts of the room even closer, with any luck they are probably leaning into their monitor to get a glimpse of an attack. What a perfect time to deliver a shock, except if you give them the shock they wern’t expecting it works even better!

Right, time to stop blabbering on about a screenshot and instead blabber on about the basics of how it works. I won’t give you a step by step guide as I will assume most people that read this have used Hammer and understand basic entities, and that’s all you need to know.

hammer-shot1.jpg

One small tip is that this works great if you have some debris or props to move about after we flick back from the monster, this has the effect of fooling the player into believing they are under attack for a brief moment.

Let’s take a gander at the entity setup:

entity-setup.jpg

So all we’ve got here is our delightful monster with a script behind him to make him chuck his hands at you in a nasty way. Two ambients generics, purely for some random zombie noises. I used one of his sounds and a headcrab sound as they are quick and loud-ish.

There is a light spot in there, as it’s handy to see the zombie and it’s aimed up to try and give some shadow effects on the model itself - plus one cubemap to render that. To control the view we need a camera so that’s positioned about head height and far enough back so the swipe doesn’t look silly and we go inside the body. A handy way to test that is to set the animation sequence to the zombie through Hammer, using the tab in it’s properties.

Most importantly (you probably didn’t even notice) are the very brief fade transitions that take the view to and from the zombie. I’ve used two to fade in and two to fade out, the reason being that, one fade takes you to the white and the other one takes you from the white whilst the camera is activated in between.

Fairly clear? I thought so. The hardest bit is getting all your timings down and this took the longest for me to tweak. To give you a hand here is what I used:

outputz.jpg

Easeh!

3 Comments » Posted by Simon / General

Sep 24th 2007 It’s back? Yup

Well hello, we haven’t seen each other in some time have we? So sorry for the holiday, but I promise good things from now on, good things!

Like a bad case of the flu I am back to hurt your soul with random level design typings. It actually felt odd opening Hammer again after some months but after playing through my maps again in HL2 I remembered why I enjoy it so much and with new inspirations and ideas I was up for diving back in. As well as that this little blog has quite a devoted following and I’m touched so many of you still checked it, had I of known earlier I would of turned it into a shock site.

So let’s get down to business yes? And see if I can still write interesting things.

After playing through my map and having the epic gun battle I decided it was time to slow things down and give the player some exploring to do and also shake them a little bit with some ’scary’ maps, oooooo!

But I bet you’re already thinking “Oh great, rooms full of zombies and barrels, quick pass me my spare kecks, I’ve shit everywhere”

Well even if you wern’t thinking that - it is true, it’s not easy to make a scary map in HL2 anymore, or is it? It all depends on what you focus on when you’re setting the mood.

If you look at one of the HL2 zombies, any of them, you’ll realise they aren’t scary to look at, no sir. This is why just having them in your map is rubbish unless you time everything just right. Play any scary game and it’s the fear of the unknown and the build up to something that really shits the player up, combined with sounds and lighting you can really get the palms sweaty.

Now you need to bare in mind this isn’t easy in my orange day-glo maps, but I try to get the gist across enough for it to be tested. First thing I decided upon was some small, tight corridors as it really gives that feeling you have no where to go, especially when my friends the fast zombies come out to play.

After freaking the player out a tad with some dim lights, a wierd HL2 track and the odd howl (it’ll be better with soundscapes, promise) it’s time to give them a quick glimpse of what’s to come. I like to use the quick and easy method of a fast zombie darting into view to start with.

tight-corridor1.jpg

You need to have a bit of a tweaking session with the trigger, so the player isn’t too close but the goal of this sequence is to put the player on guard instantly, they may even squeeze off a few rounds. This is what we want, now they are in the mindset of “I will be attacked soon, but when?” and once there, you can fuck with them all you like.

For my next trick I am to borrow from BioShock and if you have played it you will recognise it (hopefully) and if not let’s just call it the ‘i’m in your face’ trick.

It involves the trigger_look entity which I had tremendous amounts of frustration with, partly me being a tard BUT mostly the entity’s fault, honestly!

tight-corridor2.jpg

Can you guess what it is yet?

No, you can’t - I was just wanting to add another picture!

Anyhow, after all this time I do owe you a video, so that’s what I am going to give you. And be assured that I have a neat idea to show you next time that should scare the crap out of people because no one has done it in HL2 before (to my knowledge). I’ll even tell you how to do it as well.

To the video!

3 Comments » Posted by Simon / General

Jul 1st 2007 Break Time

Obviously I’ve not posted here for a bit and currently I don’t see any update for a little while. Taking a break from Hammer at the moment and I’ve been mega busy with my new job. It hasn’t died - merely hibernating!

6 Comments » Posted by Simon / General

Jun 15th 2007 Not feeling inspired? It happens

Not touched my map since the last entry, but I thought i’d spur you on with one of my motivational posts, it’s like counselling, but cheaper.

If you look round any forum where people are making maps, there are always threads with people grizzling about being inspired and not having any ideas on their latest map. Well unfortunately that happens when you’re doing amateur level design. One of the main advantages of doing it professionally in a decent design studio is the presence of concept artists, these unsung heroes will draw up an area in superb detail, capturing the mood with lighting and look, then the texture artists and modellers do their bit and the level designer puts it all together.

This might not be how every studio works and seeing as I’ve never worked professionally I can’t say I’m 100% accurate but I’m fairly sure the main role of a level designer these days is to put it all together and work on the scripting side of it more. Sure you need the skills but if someone produced me some dazzling concept art and all the props and textures I could whip it up in no time. This is why employers love it when you can do all these things yourself.

That’s where it makes life hard for people like me and you, who need to try and do all those jobs at once. It’s not impossible but it’s harder when you need to think of the area, it’s look, what will be in it, what will happen etc.

As I’ve said before, the first thing I always do is take a break, always. If you don’t feel like making any new sections to your map today then don’t, leave it a day or two. But if you have time, try and fill that void with something creative. I really like to play other games during this time, maybe not even related to the style I’m working on as you can pick up ideas everywhere. I left my map alone for a week and went away and completed F.E.A.R and came back to Hammer refreshed and brimming with new ideas on different game styles. Before I started this mod I had just completed Deus Ex and that gave me so many ideas on putting the player in control and letting them have some say over how they play your map. Sometimes re-playing an older game but really analysing the design decisions - good or bad, can really open your eyes.

When I approach making a new area I really try to challenge myself to not make the same ol’ square area I’ve made before. You can do so much more than connect two doorways with a big room. Play around with stairs, balconies, raised and lowered areas, the lot. Think about how you could link places together as if the area you were making was an existing complex before the player showed up, not a maze of combine filled corridors.

Also take into account what kind of place you are creating - what would be in it? If it’s a sewer then you’d expect pipes, small claustrophobic areas, dark fetid sewer pipes, but also you can break it up with larger treatment areas that the sewer workers would use, so control rooms, maintenence balconies etc.

The enemies you choose also shape your map, I really enjoy using NPC solidiers to their potential for example. They can do so much more then stand and wait for the player to shoot them. Each time I setup a new encounter for the player I try to use the enemy in an interesting way, perhaps having them run past and shooting without stopping, or busting in through a roof. Things like that mean the player stays excited and you also don’t have to use 50 enemies to make it a challenge if you can use 4 enemies efficiently.

One tip I can say you should remember if any is to put your player at the heart of everything, don’t bother making it look cool if it plays like a dog turd. I’d pick fun over looks any day (except maybe girls, I draw the line at a hippo in my bed despite any claims of that being fun) and that’s why I see designing maps with dev textures and forgetting the detail to be an essential way of designing maps, and it’s waaay quicker.

I know you’ve read a lot there, possibly bored you to tears. Well wipe those away because I’ve prepared a little video once again, you know you love it. This was taken from a demo of my friend playing through the last area of the first map. I’ve spent a lot of time tweaking how it plays and really the only thing that needs work is how much health he ended up having, which was a lot, but that’s always a hard part to get right.

Enjoy:

15 Comments » Posted by Simon / Level Design

Jun 13th 2007 One map down..

So I’ve begun work on the next map, imagine that! The first one is at a point I’m happy with for the time being but I’m certain it will change extensively with playtests. I spent absolute hours on that last area that you’ve seen me write so much about the other night, the way it played just wasn’t always working and this is one of the niggles with giving the player so much freedom in a particualar area.

Despite that I worked out a solution and it plays even better now then it did. Upon entering the area atop the balcony the NPC rebels are in cover and they shout (or it comes up as words at the moment) to the player to get down below and they will provide cover. Then a music track kicks in, they break cover and it’s gunfire aplenty. From there it’s up to the player about how it plays it, carefully or with pure running and gunning, or a touch of both. Either way it’s much fun and I’ll try and sort out another video when one of my friends playtest it.

So with that taking up a whole evening I spent a few hours today working on a new area in the second map. Seeing as the player is about to progress into a sewer area or more of a water treatment area - I wanted to give that impression early on. I do intend the player to go down a small maintenance lift that will go quite some way, but I really wanted to have an interesting room first. With this whole next part of the game I want to slow the action right down for a bit, start building up some suspense and using a few techniques to get the player a bit edgy. At this early stage it won’t be easy with dev maps and no decent light and sound, but I can get the scripting down, which is the most important part.

Anyhow, enough rambling let’s get some pictures going on shall we?

abyss-balcony1.jpg

So this area was going to be a normal room with a rasied platform a small height off the ground, but as I was creating this part I had the idea of making a huge drop into darkness as I really like areas in games where I’m made to feel small in relation to some bigass map area.

I got stuck in with creating a large drop and also at this stage I extended the centre of the platform just a tad, to stop it looking so boring.

abyss-balcony2.jpg

Now I was going to just leave it as a big drop in the middle but after a bit of thought I decided it will probably look quite open and dreary. Much better to give the player something to look at when they enter the room, always nice to have a sense of focus to a room.

What better then to use pipes? Well not just normal ones, but huge pipes that give the balcony platform some meaning.

abyss-balcony3.jpg

Without these rough pipe versions there it would be silly to have the platform going around the edge, so now the room makes a bit more sense then what I originally intended. At some point I will get a lucky volunteer to turn those ugly cylinders into a model of some sort, but for now that’s not really a concern.

When creating my new areas I try to plan ahead for my lighting as well. You can really cause problems for yourself if you try to squeeze light fixtures into an area that really doesn’t suit them. As well as this I wanted to make the roof a little bit interesting, something other then the wall extending upwards. To remedy this I went with an overhang.

abyss-balcony4.jpg

Now I have somewhere for some sexy spotlights and it makes things much easier on the eye. Notice I’m always looking for ways to keep things looking swanky with just brushes, as I’ve mentioned countless times before.

It did concern me how the wall near the outcrop on the balcony looks quite boring and flat. Remember how I said about F.E.A.R only having areas for the sake of the player’s existence? Well this area was fast becoming that, literally one side of the room to the other with some big pipes, all a bit too handy for Gordon.

A much better idea was to create a set of doors where the outcrop is, and to take it one step further I cut out some glass portholes so the player can gaze through and see another area. He can’t get there but it makes him think there is more to this map area then the bit they are walking through.

abyss-balcony5.jpg

I’m now free to leave that area closed off or even add a script behind the glass for the player to look at. Either way, this small addition makes the map seem more alive. Notice I also adjusted the outcrop to have 45 degree edges, looks much sleeker.

It’s the little things that count!

So the brushwork is pretty much done then but before my first compile I needed to chuck in a few lights. I had a go at seeing how some angled spotlights shining up at the pipes might look, as well as some standard spotlights along the balcony.

abyss-balcony6.jpg abyss-balcony7.jpg

Until we get a light preview in the 3D view it’s necessary to play around with different lighting styles, at this early stage in a map it’s not overly important but I like to try new things, so should you.

abyss-balcony8.jpg abyss-balcony9.jpg

Well it doesn’t look too bad for a first compile, and at this early stage I don’t want to get bogged down with little details. Once I can come back and go to town on it with textures, proper lighting and props it will look very nice, much like the rest of the mod.

Got a pretty good idea for the next section so I’ll update with some snaps of that, but until then I would highly recommend playing through some older HL1 levels, and the add-ons like OpForce and Blue Shift. All those games had some excellent areas and ideas that aren’t replicated in HL2 anywhere, so everyone has forgotten them!

8 Comments » Posted by Simon / Level Design

Jun 11th 2007 No internet is like monkey aids

If you were wondering why this blog has been a desolate wasteland lately then I think the above title gives you an idea. For about a week or more I’ve literally had no connection and it’s not offically back until some moron from BT comes out tomorrow to have a look. Catching up on forums and other things after a week is not a fun task, trust me.

In this time though I have installed a few older games to fill the gap and if you’re looking for a decent game to get inspiration from then re-install F.E.A.R (or indeed buy it if you don’t own it) as this game is just superb. One thing it proves beyond anything is that gameplay rules over looks in almost every case. As sexy as the Jupiter engine is, F.E.A.R is still one basic looking game in terms of environment detail but that quickly gets forgotton when you’re drawn into the superb action and suspense of the game.

I noticed several places where they used my favourite design idea of letting the player see an area and then being able to get there later and look back on the place you came from. This is a pretty basic idea but one that seems to work so well when done well, and re-playing the game whilst looking at it from a design perspective really made me appreciate it. Monolith also use long periods of nothing to really build suspense and keep the player on edge, nothing shits you up like the fear of the unknown.

One thing I really took onboard though was their use of levels in certain areas. Lot’s of above and below fights take place with balconies and stairs and I felt this really did spice up the gameplay significantly, so that will be something I will certainly be remembering when I start developing the next areas of this mod.

However there was one downfall that stuck out to me when playing it through and that was the obvious linear routes that were present throughout. Lot’s of entrances and exits to areas felt like they were there just for the player to go through, not as part of the environment.

So on many occasions I felt as though I was going through a vent just to get to the next area, or that this unlocked door in amongst 10 other locked ones was just unlocked for me. It’s important to give the illusion that the player’s environment would exist in that way without him being there and that for example, a vent has a normal purpose other then just a way into a room. This stops you feeling led by the hand through the levels and more like you’re being the clever one.

Browsing through the comments (as well as 50 pr0n links, need to sort that) I noticed a comment from Mr Weldon relating to the combine fight at the end of the map that I have been working on. He mentioned having the second wave of combine spawn as you approach the health kit is a lame idea and fortunatly I had already decided that was a fairly retarded design decision. But I appreciate it being pointed out!

Sometimes being away from your map and then coming back to it let’s you see things in a fresh light and makes you wonder what the hell you were thinking.

In this case I realised I had stopped putting the gameplay in the hands of the player and forced them into a particular situation which is what I of course wanted to avoid all along. Instead I have used a math_counter the spawn the second wave after all of the lower floor combine are dead - therefore allowing the player to kill everyone from the upper balcony, kill some from up there and move down for the rest or just go straight down and take them all by surprise. To add an incentive for going down and getting your hands dirty I have forced the rebels to break cover and fire on the combine once you reach the lower floor, if you stay upstairs they still remain hidden but also draw the combine gunfire.

So overall there is quite some variety in how you can play this area and it all depends on the player’s preference, which is a far more fun situation for everyone.

Time for me to get back to Hammer and start work on the next area which will be a sewer type map but not shit like so many sewers are. I’ve got some cool set-piece ideas and layouts so I’ll let you know when they take shape.

4 Comments » Posted by Simon / General

May 30th 2007 Listen to others

Nothing is more important to your progress as a level designer then listening to what other people have to say. You should always be open to feedback and take on board what people suggest, it can often mean the difference between your work being amazing or like taking a shit in your pocket.

Other players and level designers will look at things differently, even if they don’t have as much experience as you they can still spot useful things. I remember playing maps in the old days from people that wern’t very good at all, but the ideas they tried to pull off were very original. They just didn’t quite have the skills to make it work. That made me realise you need to appreciate everyone’s views and at least try it.

These days we have forums to post images and downloads for feedback and one of the most useful parts of HL2 is the abilty to record a demo of a map and send it over as a file. I have been using this feature throughout my map as I send it over for playtests, it has done wonders for my scripting and weapon placement.

I say this because in the comments of my last post rb_lestr suggested that the NPC rebels would do well to look like they were hiding in cover, rather then bunching around like they were tending to do. I had thought of this before but I dismissed it as they couldn’t shoot back whilst in a script but after reading his comment I decided “What if they just acted like they were pinned down?” and this seemed a much better idea. So I went ahead and gave it a go.

But first, can I just say how fucking wierd it is when the NPC eyes follow you around the Hammer 3D view. Who decided that should be a feature when it was made?

get-out.jpg

crazy_eyes.jpg

I’m having bad dreams about those eyes.

Anyhow, my tip for today is to use the NPC model tab in the properties to select your animation and allow you a way to line everything up perfectly in Hammer before compiling, very handy.

posing_models.jpg

To create the pinned down effect I set the rebels to like the combine via the ai_relationship and also made sure their scripted_sequence would have no interruptions. Using the trusty npc_bullseye I made sure the combine hated the hell out of those and placed them in front of the rebel cover, thus creating the illusion of being pinned down.

bullseye.jpg

Notice I added three so that the combine will choose between a target themselves and create a more realistic look. Another wonderous thing I discovered in Hammer recently is the use of the * wildcard. I may be the last person to know this but it was very useful. I had two groups of combine, balcony_soldiers1 and balcony_soldiers2 but seeing as I wanted the ai_relationship to target both groups I can simply use balcony_soldiers* as the target.

Amazing!

When the player reaches the ground level I do want these rebels to help out though, so I added a trigger to cancel their sequence and used the assault entities to move them in front of the fencing and provide the much needed cover!

setup-with-assaults.jpg simon_10046.jpg simon_10045.jpg

So in conclusion, listen to what people say about your map. Unless they are an idiot, in which case a swift stab in the jaw will restore order…

7 Comments » Posted by Simon / Level Design

May 29th 2007 I’m still going, I have proof!

Weeeell, it has been a nice little break hasn’t it? Quite some days since I last wrote anything on here, but what with a new job in the works and various Interlopers updates I’ve had to give it a rest. That’s good though because when I opened the map last night I steamed right into setting up the little battle I spoke much of last time.

So I had a little play with the Standoff entities and although they’ve done some good it transpires my map area isn’t quite suited to the use of these entities. The NPC’s like a lot of room to move up to the battle lines and I kind of wanted them to stay where they are. It has has helped as far as depicting the combat behaviour of both the rebels and the combine, I was able to tell the combine soldiers to be aggressive and keep the fire on the rebels whilst telling them to seek cover.

From a few playtests it has certainly kept things interesting.

balcony-battleb1.jpg balcony-battleb2.jpg balcony-battleb3.jpg

And seeing as I kept everyone waiting between updates I’ll treat you to a little video I cooked up. This explains the gameplay I was looking for - a really big fight but interesting and not impossible.

Enjoy.

9 Comments » Posted by Simon / Level Design

May 22nd 2007 Gameplay or looks…? Gameplay please

I’ve managed to get quite a bit done tonight, despite my annoying setback. As I mentioned, I was planning to create an area for some NPC fighting before this map comes to a close. Before I go on I will mention how hard it is to gauge when to add a loading point, considering I haven’t done a full scale single player project or worked in just dev you can see how I might have difficulty telling. A quick check of the map data percentages at the bottom of the latest compile log showed a few things (such as entdata) being quite high already, so when it comes to detailing this map I may have to split it into two already. Fortunately I have found a corridor about halfway through the map that a loading point will fit perfectly, so that little concern is over.

So before creating this next arena I had in my mind that the rebels would be firing down upon the combine and the player would fight through to the lower area and then join in the fight but with a few added twists. With this pictured in my map generator of a brain I started mapping out some basic brushwork.

balcony-battle1.jpg balcony-battle2.jpg

Check out my hawt stick man designs, that really seals the deal for you, fuck custom models - these screenshots are the future of media releases!

balcony-battle3.jpg balcony-battle4.jpg

With the above screenshots in mind I think it’s worth mentioning just how important it is to design your map areas around your intended gameplay, and not your overall intended look. You see, anyone and his dog can make a HL2 map look nice, it’s not overly hard. There are so many entity effects and prop variations these days that most level designers can make an acceptable looking map quite easily.

The real task is creating a gameplay focussed map whose looks serve the purpose of the map. Take for example the shot above with the pillars and the stairs. As I was creating this particular part it crossed my mind that the combine are going to need some serious cover if they are going to put up a decent fight from rebels firing from above and with cover.

Without wanting to use several boxes and combine props as the cover I thought how I might incorporate brushwork to be part of the room itself, but at the same time working as cover for both sides. This is a great way to make an area flow because the player won’t realise they are using the environment as cover as obviously as 4 piles of crates. Much better to build your cover elements into the map design itself, it looks and feels so much more seamless.

To finish off the design I saved myself some time (unintentionally!) by mirroring the raised area on the other side. I wasn’t originally going to do this but I felt the extra cover and look of it went quite well.

balcony-battle5.jpg

Overall I was happy with this but I wanted to alleviate some of the symmetry at least a bit so I simply altered the type of doors on the lower level and changed the fence props on the other side. This edit was quite enough to give a slightly different look. Obviously my final prop placement and texture choice will help this even more.

Returning now to my superb stick man models you can see how the cover elements might play out already, and I haven’t added any cover related props yet, superb.

balcony-battle6.jpg balcony-battle7.jpg in-game-balcony.jpg

So with the first compile out the way it looks like I’m ready to start adding some entity work to it. As I mentioned previously I will be toying with the standoff entities but I’m pretty sure I can make some fun battles in this area.

My main point behind this drawn out post is to think about what you intend the player to do and what problems they will face before you start laying any brushes. Build your map around these guidelines and let all the fancy detail stuff take a backseat. Sadly, Awakening proved recently that you can have some really top class looking maps but if you can’t manage gameplay no-one will enjoy it. If you go the other way you will get a far better response, the people I have asked to playtest my map are enjoying parts of it as it is now, and it’s got no detail whatsoever.

Working on enemy placement, the strengths of each enemy, weapons for the player, ammo counts and health counts are just some of the other (just as important) parts that people may pay less attention to.

Right, that’s enough for now! I’ll update on how the standoff work goes.

9 Comments » Posted by Simon / Level Design

May 21st 2007 Butt raped by spyware

Well, the night I was meant to be adding some new areas I instead spent it cleansing my PC from a vicious spyware virus. Proper little bastard.

I’ve also taken just a day or two’s break whilst I think about the finale to this particular map before moving onto the next section. In my head I want a large area with a balcony type area overlooking a lower area that holds the exit but also plenty of cheeky combine. I want the player to stumble into the area whilst the NPC’s are all shooting the crap out of each other and force them to proceed during a battle, because it’s awesome to be in the middle of a firefight.

I remember reading about Standoff entities before and I’m very pleased to see it is as easy and powerful as I remember. I’m going to setup the area as soon as I can and start experimenting with these entities, it’s always good to try new things.

Another update soon.

No Comments » Posted by Simon / General

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