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An Open Window is an experimental MOD for Half-Life 2, Episode 2. In this project I will attempt to bring the concept of different realities to life in a realistic scenario. Instead of being another Shooter, AnOpWi centers around the role of the player and his/her experience, emotion and memories. By interacting with the world the player will define his own reality within the story. For this project I chose an open development cycle, which means I will update very frequently and share every step I take in the process of creating this game. Next to the regular media updates, I will also share my thoughts on the different areas of game design in the form of articles. In every article I will also ask for your opinion with the Question of the Day. This MOD also functions as a knowledge base for new and experienced designers.

Report article RSS Feed An Open Window: PLD +25

In this update I'd like to show you more in-game developments and talk more about the stages of art passes I use for this project. To demonstrate this, I'm going to show you a new room.

Posted by Hezus on Feb 23rd, 2011

An Open Window: Project Launch Day +25

In this update I'd like to show you more in-game developments and talk more about the stages of art passes I use. To demonstrate this, I'm going to show you a new room that has been further developed than the other rooms at the moment.

First off, using art passes is not something that's set in stone. Every developer has his own style and way to approach the design. When I was making maps for Half-Life 1, I often completely finished a room before I even started on the next one. Most of my designs were based on vague outlines and whatever seemed interesting or exciting at that point. This might not seem professional, although I can't claim this way of working is necessarily wrong. Many mappers have made very good maps this way.

However, working with art passes makes your project easier to manage and you can test the actual product before you've invested a lot of time into the details. The video below will demonstrate the five steps of art passes I use for AnOpWi.

As you can see from the video, the world is being build up on base of necessity. In this project, the theme of the room is the most important aspect. With every art pass I add whatever seems most necessary to make the room feel like an actual location. The order of art passes is relative, though. If you were making a deathmatch or single player map you might want to start with objects and lighting instead, because those can influence gameplay.

That's it for today's update. Before I conclude this article, I'd like to mention this little project was mentioned on Podcast 17 in Episode #122 and #123. Just like the show hosts, to the most people it's unclear what the project is actually about. I hope to shed some light on that in the next update.

Thank you for reading and all the comments I've received so far. As always, I'll end with the QotD, which is aimed at the mappers out there.

Question of the Day:
Do you use art passes in your development? If so, in which order?

Post comment Comments
DarkPivot Feb 23 2011 says:

I like to develop the bare bones of the map first, that way if there are any gameplay changes that need to take place, it's much easier to change. Then, once the bare map with the essentials are done, I'll add the textures, then the lighting and any other minor details.

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zonbie Feb 24 2011 says:

my art pass takes place immediately, during the beginning builds of the level. i can do this because of careful planning and identifying unforseen problems with the design before it is too late. But I simply can't develop without the proper lighting, prop placement, and sounds already intact.

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Juniez Feb 24 2011 says:

bare bones -> brushwork -> props -> lighting

+1 vote     reply to comment
Metalspy Feb 24 2011 replied:

Same here, although I don't 'do level design' that often anymore.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Leon_Kilean Feb 24 2011 says:

It sorta depends. Sometimes I make gameplay elements on seperate source files and then combine them to the actual level afterwards, or I work out the assets and the colours first, and then a whole level comes out in a day with those assets-- orr block out some heavy gameplay area and later on polish it with art.. whatever. If you do all yourself, it hardly matters. I just jump back and forth with all my files and levels, but its all forward-progress. =P

Since Im so random, I can say that lighting I do almost first, and try to focus on that. I just dig that stuff.

BUT, its really good to think in phases and layers anyways, otherwise you get stuck on tinkering some small stupid detail, and never finish anything. Phases really quicken your working speed.

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