Category Archives: Source SDK

Left 4 Deadrising: Case Source

Not much to this one.

Yeah, Chuck cleared the town of zombies already

The rest of the gallery is on my Steam Community Page, but this level started off inspired by the layout of Stillcreek from Dead Rising 2: Case zero. It’s currently zombieless and AI-less cos I didn’t do the nav system for my comp at home. There’s a Nav system as done by friend and teammate JJ, but that’s lounging somewhere else at the moment. Still, wandering zombies would have made it difficult for me to go Frank West on the town and snap screenshots for everyone’s perusal. Yeah, it’s dark, but it’s left 4 dead 2 and I haven’t thrown in much of the post-processing effects into this one just yet. It also helps obscure the breaks and level ends in some parts of the map.

It’s a small town, but I tried to include elements of Americana in it as much as I can. For instance…

where cars go to die.

A garage, much like the starting area of case zero. Lots were changed in the layout.

where appetites go to die

A quintessential American diner. Apart from the starting area, I pretty much diverged from Stillcreek’s layout once I had a handle on how I was going to layout my own town. So everything after the Sheriff’s office is pretty much me doing my own thing.

Sadly, there were no hamburger props.

This is pretty much my proudest bit of my map.

It's raining...

Based loosely on a pub I frequented back in Jersey and Brooklyn. Took parts from both.

Damn, the jukebox is broken again.

Left 4 Dead 2 makes things so much easier with an abundance of props, textures and pre-fabs to my hearts content.

Go on: It's safe. I promise you there are absolutely no muggers there.

A park, because every American town has one somewhere.

A gazebo!

And a gazebo!, because it’s fancy, and not every American town has one somewhere.

which serves bud, of course

JJ’s restaurant. I added bits to this, like a carpark on the left (not pictured) and a proper wine cellar. (also not pictured here.) Again, check out the larger gallery at my Steam Community Page.

The town is smaller than it looks

An overview. The main street where the Sheriff’s office and the Diner is behind those row of houses, alongside the backalley that got you there. Lots of bits of the town aren’t actually constructed, just fudged to give the town a bigger feel, since those areas aren’t playable anyway. This is possibly the biggest, most complicated map I’ve created that generally on a single plane. Only the restaurant and the Sheriff’s office play with any sort of vertical and level space. Else it’s just a straight run from the garage to the brewery, through a fairly decent sized American Town.

No Beer for you!

Originally, this level was to be set somewhere in Kentucky, partly because of the brewery concept, but mostly because of my abiding love for Justified. But the abundance of pine trees used to cover the skyline shifted the geographical location to somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. That kinda explains all the rain as well.

Anyway, I’m pretty happy with the map, though a lot more work can go into polishing bits and pieces here and there. But onwards to the next project.

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This is a triumph.

No… not really.

Portal requires a ton of lateral thinking in creating the levels and the puzzle. I gotta say it was incredibly challenging and fun to try and dream up one. Not only that, the established aesthetic style allows for a lot less thinking in terms of trying to give the place a decent look. But man, what started as somewhat cool and difficult puzzles get incredibly streamlined through play-testing.

I like my first room a lot better than my second room. It feels a lot more portal like in the use of the basic puzzles and some lateral thinking that might get some people on initial play throughs. It’s not entirely difficult just a little different. Interestingly, this room I manage to cobble together in about a night, sans all the polishing and decals. A couple more days for some changes to the playtest. For instance, that window in the center wasn’t there previously, but players didn’t know what the 2nd level button (not pictured) did. So I moved it around and showed that the button lowered a block on the ceiling. Added indicator lights to make the point. If anything, the window makes the room look nicer.

The room originally started with the idea of playing around with the physics of the boxes. This particular room is inspired by map that can be found on myaperturelabs, Boxytricky to be exact. It took some work to get the drop right. A note on playing with physics in source; it almost always doesn’t work out like you imagine it to be. Sometimes it does, and you get to fling boxes with a satisfying tinkle through glass.

Like this puzzle. But when the physics doesn’t work the way you want it, you get this.

It took me the better part of a week just to get the numbers of the pulley weight system right. No wait… scratch that. I never got it right. Had to jury-rigged a solution based on an excellent suggestion by Kian Boon. Man, if I know to do that earlier, I possibly could have spent more time working on making a bigger level, or coming up with more puzzles. But after messing around with the physics, I got seriously fatigued. Before this, I was also using spheres, because they had a smaller footprint. But those are incredibly unpredictable in their bounce and control. It was tedious, even after a whole mess of practice.

I’ll probably try to make more portal levels later, especially once Portal 2 comes out.


Leo Tokyo: Adventures in Source

Not entirely sure what I was doing with these two maps.

Essentially, they’re proof of concepts of a science-fiction concept, more specifically a cyberpunk treatment of Hong Kong / Tokyo for a game idea. The original idea was to have the apartment link up to the Market on a bridge suspended high above the sprawl of the city. The market itself would be a labyrinth of stalls, pipes, energy walls and railings as the crowd snakes its way through the tight corridors overlooking the city’s skyscrapers, and building sized ads. The final version fell far short of that. I blame time.

This was done in a week after all.

Still, as proof of concepts go, I do think given enough time, I can come up with a reasonable cyberpunk location, maybe even attempt a Deus Ex: Source type game if I figure out the triggers and AI enough to wrangle some sort of gameplay out of the whole thing. Implementing a richer RPG system will require programming knowledge I simply do not have.

Special thanks to NeoTokyo’s Studio Radi-8, for all the cool props, textures, level design examples and other stuff.

For the larger gallery, check out the facebook album.


It’s Hammer Time!!

I started out with this image in mind.

A lakeside mountain retreat is kinda inviting no? A getaway from the rat race of congested urban life. Go inside, relax by the fire.

Kick off your shoes, pick up a paper, a cup of coffee. Even the kitchen is pretty cool with a nice marble open top concept and great view of the lake. However, since the assignment is a slow transition to creepy, several clues should lead you to the waterfall pictured in the first image. (Way back in the right part of the level). A misplaced box of ammo lying on the kitchen counter, several blood spots leading from the back stairs and into where a group of seagulls are milling about. They will fly off towards the waterfall, where if you trudge your way there, you’ll discover a cave hidden behind.

The rest of the cave system is best explored rather than described. I’m hoped to have more time to design more scenarios and events before reaching the end of the cave system, but the major lesson that this assignment taught me is that displacement is a bitch and cave systems are hard. I’ll revisit caves at a later date now that I know more tricks about it, but dear lord, I spent a lot of time fixing leaks and misaligned walls. The ether was bleeding through. Ultimately though, the end of the cave should reach this.

Creepy? A bit too reminiscent of 300, but I didn’t really have the scope for a more nightmarish scenario. My original idea was to somehow model a variation of  Apokolips, with towering furnaces, scorched metallic landscape, strewn charred corpses, and the wreckage of a elder god invasion. But scoping and technological issues got in the way, I mean, I didn’t really have the time to pull something like that off. Burning hanging corpses on a dead tree in an underground cavern will have to do. Just don’t stare at them too long. They might attack.

The final overview of the entire map.

With all its displacement, misaligned textures, spammed trees, and assorted skybox cards in play.