I am a developer for the "Guard Duty" and "Operation: Black Mesa" mod teams. My main focus and skill set lies with Level Design, though I also create world textures and 3D props as well. I have been Source mapping since 2006 and have been creating textures for just as long. My skills with 3D modeling has been gaining ground since May 2011. Level Design, and video games in general, are truly a great passion of mine. I am always striving to learn more and become the best artist I can be, so that one day I can achieve a career doing what I love.

Report article RSS Feed Duty Calls redesign

Posted by EvilGoodGuy on Jul 5th, 2010

Hey everyone, I'm EvilGoodGuy, a relatively new level designer on the
Guard Duty team. When I was brought onto the team I had a desire (as I
still do) to bring a more logical and artistic style of mapping to the
team.
      I am assigned to re-creating maps in the Chapter "Duty Calls",
which had already been mapped by a previous level designer. The
purpose of this DevBlog is to show the comparisons between the previous
level designers version and my iteration; and the process I go through
when designing a map.
      Before I even begin mapping I ask myself the questions: "what
is the purpose of this area?", "what is the theme/style of this area?",
"what is the main attraction of this area?", and "what could I do to
make this area more realistic/appealing?", etc.. I then research any
photos/information I can find that may relate to the area I'm creating
and use it to aid me in my re-creation.
      In the beginning areas of Duty Calls, the player finds himself
in sub-level storage/maintenace area. The resonance cascade has
occurred, so lights are flickering, alarms are going off, and a sense
of gloomy chaos fills the area.

      In the previous mappers version of the map (as seen below) the
original areas have been re-created with a similar structure to match
the original, but have some issues:

  • The area was enlarged, when I believe it should be kept as small, if not
    smaller, than the original, in order to preserve the feeling that you
    are in a sub-area for storage and maintenance.
  • The entire area was drastically over-lit with bright white light
  • There were mis-matched props everywhere and props/detail brushes
    scattered everywhere that made little to almost no sense existing in
    that area.


(WIP screenshot of previous mappers version)

         In my iteration (as seen below), I decided to start from
scratch and made a great deal of changes to the area:

  • I kept the area very close to the original size, and even shrunk
    some areas in order to give the player the proper feel of the room.
  • I styled the area with dim lighting, red emergency lights,
    broken/flickering lights, etc, in order to convey the feeling of the
    disasterous situation and felt that a darker atmosphere would fit this
    area better in accordance with its theme.
  • I populated the area with props that matched the
    storage/maintenance theme and only that theme. It is better to have a
    few correct textures/props, than a crap load of wrong ones. Just because
    a map is littered with props, doesnt necessarily mean it's "detailed".

(Early WIP screenshot of same area made by me)

      It is to be noted that my map (as seen in the screenshot) is
still very much a Work In Progress and does not reflect the final level
of detail and structure that it will have in its final stage. Even at
its early stages of development, I believe my iteration displays a much
more appropriate and styled area.
      Well, that concludes my first devblog. Hope you guys learned a
little about my mapping style and stay tuned for future devblogs :)

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