Overall game and PC enthusiast. Popular Case Modders with many awards and recognitions. Experienced Crysis modder, won most creative map in official contest. Also trying my hand at source modding.

Comment History
ZapWizard Feb 21 2011, 4:56pm replied:

You can easily do LOD in propper by simply making multiple models and then going back and editing the .QC file of one of them to included the other SMD files, then re-compile that on .QC file. The bonus is you now have lower res copies already compiled for skybox or other distance use.

+1 vote   download: Propper
ZapWizard Aug 26 2010, 2:41pm says:

I have probably done more on real world locations in SketchUp and Left4Dead then anyone out there. However yes, it is a limited engine and doesn't bode well for massive areas. I started out with Cryengine and while a easy to use engine, Crytek just doesn't support it very well. I would encourage you to use the UDK if you want this to be a big game.

If you do want to use Left4Dead you need to balance out models with brushwork together to achieve detail.
I have a guide on using SketchUp and Hammer together, I use it for all my maps: Goo.gl
You can see examples on my website zapwizard.com

+1 vote   news: I'm finished with this engine
ZapWizard Nov 9 2009, 12:49am says:

This game made my brain hurt...and I like puzzle games!
Well done.

+1 vote   news: Prometheus available now as free downloadable game
ZapWizard Aug 8 2009, 12:25am replied:

I am not sure. Probably if you setup the model with the right constraints. But in my campaign it won't move for anyone but the tank.

+1 vote   media: Tool box and Car lift
ZapWizard Aug 7 2009, 10:33am replied:

Why would you think SketchUp is bad for game modeling?

You draw the exact geometry you want, as complicated or simple as you want.I find this far better then drawing something overly complicated, then spending more time trying to trim down the polygon count after the fact. It does many things that XSI simply can't do. For example I used the photomatch feature to make the toolbox. That means my model matches the real world object, increasing the overall quality. Sure you can do that in XSI if you have straight on shots of each side of the box. But I did it with just a single photo and the overall dimensions of the toolbox on Snap-on's website. Tinyurl.com

I used the exact same photo match feature to whip up the scale mock-up of the car using a screenshot of the game from hammer. This ensured that my model fit the in-game car perfectly.

If I used XSI to model this, I would have the exact same geometry, the exact same UV map, and the exact same physics model...but it would have taken me much longer to make. This entire model took less then 30 minutes from the initial "I need this for my map" concept to a working-in game object.

SketchUp lets you make the geometry as complicated as you want. I choose not to make this model overly detailed on purpose. It shows up only once in the campaign, and is there just for tie a room together. There is no sense in slowing the game down for a single background object.

This thread is a great example of what you can do with SketchUp:

+1 vote   media: Tool box and Car lift
ZapWizard Aug 6 2009, 5:25pm replied:

A straight jacket would help to make brain eating a bit harder.

+2 votes   mod: Allegheny Asylum
ZapWizard Aug 5 2009, 11:17am says:

This is actually a bug, there is a spot light there, but for some reason they are not working on crow's system. Both of us are really just learning hammer as we go.

+1 vote   media: Forensics building interior
ZapWizard Aug 5 2009, 11:16am replied:

I am actually trying to come up with an idea of what to place in the rubble. As in what could have caused that big a hole in the ceiling. Something like a helicopter is too large. My current idea is to have some body parts from the tank poking though, the idea being two tanks got in a fight and one got tossed.

+1 vote   media: Forensics building interior
ZapWizard Aug 5 2009, 11:14am says:

Keep in mind these first screenshots prototypes. Meaning they are to test out the flow of the map, how large the rooms are, where extra rooms are needed, if the player can see too far for zombies to spawn properly or hordes to attack quickly enough. The idea is to get a general feel for the area, cleanup any playability issues first, and then go back and detail it.

For example, we deemed this hallways too open, and too quick for the players to run though easily. So we have added bars and obstructions that prevent players jumping the middle wall. Extra rooms to the end for rescue closets and infected to spawn. Larger props to both hunker down next to, and for infected in a later versus version to hide behind.
I made a custom cot to make the place look more like a building to house survivors. I also made a custom progressively breakable board to place between the split walls, allowing a horde to climb over rather then get bottle necked running though the one opening.

Crow already fixed the bricks last week, and has tweaked the lighting to be more dramatic. He is a bit more timid on feedback. I am used to it, I have been doing popular project logs for years and only see any feedback as helping to improve. But he doesn't want to release anything else until he feels they are 100%.

+1 vote   media: Forensics building interior
ZapWizard Aug 5 2009, 11:06am replied:

The above screenshot you see is 99% brush work. The only models are the windows, doors, and characters. And none of those models are custom.

So far all the in-game screenshots of buildings are all brush work. The only building so far to have a large model piece is the greenhouse.

+1 vote   media: Warehouse
ZapWizard Aug 3 2009, 12:47pm replied:

This was a early screenshot, the material was already replaced.
See the other screenshots.

+1 vote   media: Greenhouse
ZapWizard Aug 2 2009, 3:27pm replied:

The lighting will be tweaked. Currently it is bright for development.
However thanks for the tip on the wall, he has since fixed it including have extra bricks laying nearby.

+1 vote   media: Forensics building interior
ZapWizard Jul 29 2009, 9:34pm replied:

Yes, that is the only thing bothering me. But I don't want to make the model overly complex either. Do you know how to make the texture double sided. I can't find anything online about that. This is a brush model.

+1 vote   media: Water Tower
ZapWizard Jul 28 2009, 2:32pm replied:

I have only a few reference photos for the interior of this building. I have tons for the main asylum. I am not doing the interior of this building. A crymod.com member named Crow is helping me on the interiors. He as a bit more experience in hammer.
My other reference for the interior of this building is that Ghost Hunters the TV show actually did a filming at the asylum and inside this building.

But most of the interiors will be up to our own imagination.

+1 vote   media: Forensic building
ZapWizard Jul 28 2009, 2:29pm says:

There is too much to explain here. The simple answer is that all VMF object has to be grouping of faces making up a solid convex shape.

Read the Valve developer wiki on valid VMF shapes and see this thread here: Forums.steampowered.com

+1 vote   media: Forensic building
ZapWizard Jul 28 2009, 12:55pm replied:

SketchUp has two features to match buildings:
One: Importing a image from Google Earth. This gives you the footprint of the building at 1:1 scale. You draw the outline and extrude that upwards to some unknown height.
Two: Photo matching, since you now have the outline you can find a point of reference on a photo and match that to a point on the model. In most cases I choose the corner of the building at ground level.
You adjust the photo as needed until the width of the building in the photo matches the width of your building model. Since the width is correct in the photo, the height is now correct. You then pull the height of the model downwards to match the photo.

There are video tutorials from google on how to do this, they are linked directly inside of SketchUp help.

+1 vote   media: Forensic building
ZapWizard Jul 25 2009, 6:38pm replied:

All that type of detail will come later, currently these are purely exports in order to start building the terrain around.

+1 vote   media: Medical Building
ZapWizard Jul 25 2009, 10:39am replied:

This building will be entered in the game, in fact part of it will be destroyed. This model is more of a "master template" that I can further modify, optimize, etc...

It won't be entered until the fourth map, and my current goal is to get the first map done as it is the most complex.

+1 vote   media: Medical Building
ZapWizard Jul 22 2009, 10:20am replied:

FeareD is correct. This simple building may be easy to do in hammer in the first place, however Hammer doesn't give me any good reference for scale other then its grid. I would have to eye ball everything.
Since I am working with a real-world building and have reference photos SketchUp has a system built-in that lets me match the model to photographs. And using images from Google Earth I can be sure the building is made to proper scale.

See this link for a video on how to make models in SketchUp using reference photos:

The same process has been used on all my other building models so far.
For example see this photo where the reference photo is still super-imposed onto the model, or look at the building behind this one in SketchUp, it is not completed but has the reference photos attached.

+1 vote   media: Simple building made using blocks in SketchUp
ZapWizard Jul 21 2009, 10:23am replied:

The only reason I started a L4D map is the SketchUp importer.

+1 vote   media: Main asylum, sketchup model
ZapWizard Jul 20 2009, 3:51pm says:

I find the exact opposite. I don't particularly like the hammer editor. I have been spoiled by the CryEngine Sandbox2 editor.

I find sketchup very natural to use. It makes prototyping a breeze, and then polishing stuff up isn't too hard.

But then again I have only been using hammer for a few months and I have been using both SketchUp and SandBox2 for years now.

+1 vote   media: Main asylum, sketchup model
ZapWizard Jun 22 2009, 11:50am says:

Yes, very real.

The Ghost Hunters TV show on the SciFi channel did an episode there.
The asylum ran for over 130 years.

+1 vote   media: Aslyum Satellite photo
ZapWizard Jun 22 2009, 11:46am says:

Yep, as accurate as I can get them.
The major outlines of the building are taken from the google earth image imported into SketchUp. That gives me the scale of the building outline.
I then extract the building upwards, using the building shadow as a rough guide. Then once I have a rough cut, I import reference photos. These give the final height and details of the building.
I do round the dimensions to the nearest 8 inches. This way when imported into hammer everything snaps to the grid easily.

+1 vote   media: First export into Hammer
ZapWizard Jun 16 2009, 3:37pm says:

I have been in communication with valve on their exporter. They are looking to improve it also, but need more feedback from users actually using it. There is a e-mail address on their developer wiki along with some basic guides.

There are a few things to be aware of:
If your exporting to VMF, then make sure every object is a non-convex shape. A block being the most basic shape. Each object should be a group or component. Also all textures in VMF default to 128"x128" and there isn't any UV mapping (Textures are locked to the default location in hammer)

If exporting to SMD, you have more options with shape and texture UV mapping.

When making a model for any game follow these rules:
-The less number of polygons (Faces) the better.
-Make sure you don't have any reversed faces that are visible on the outside of your model. In SketchUp under styles you can set the reverse face texture to something bright and recognizable.
-Make sure you don't have any orphaned lines. That is lines that don't meet at least two other lines. In the style editor make a custom style that has the endpoints exaggerate so you can find and correct any endpoints or lines.

+1 vote   media: Allegheny -Building layout test
ZapWizard Jun 12 2009, 6:27pm replied:

I actually used a different creative commons photoset for my inital design. I found yours on a separate search trying to find one that closer matched the perspective of the screenshot.

+1 vote   media: Allegheny -TB Ward
ZapWizard Jun 12 2009, 12:19pm says:

Yes that is SketchUp.
The great part about using real world buildings, and SketchUp is that it has a Photo-matching tool that greatly aids in making a building.

Valve has released a SMD and VMF exporter tool.
But some aspects of the exporter are bugged, I am working with someone at valve to help correct these issues. In the meantime I plan on getting more of my buildings made.

+1 vote   media: Allegheny -TB Ward
ZapWizard Jun 12 2009, 12:12pm replied:

If you look at any of the default valve made maps, besides no-mercy, there isn't any explanation on how you got there, or even a door or path leading to where you are now. So irregardless, any kind of explanation is better then nothing.

Dra6o0n, my maps starts out in some woods behind the asylum. There is a water tower to the north west of the asylum. That is where my map will start. The survivors will have to go though the woods, some of the outlying buildings, and finally to the first safe room in the building immediately behind the asylum. The campaign will end on a small foot bridge that is across from the asylum.

I can't post URLs yet, so search for Weston, WV on google maps. You can't miss the asylum. I also posted a new image showing the area.

+1 vote   mod: Allegheny Asylum
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