Making of the swimming pool
The swimming pool was one of the environments we were really looking forward to when we started this project. And so after slowing down and getting exhausted a bit over the summer we started with the same speed and enthusiasm as at the beginning of our Mod.
Because we try to rebuild the locations as accurate as possible our first goal is always to find as many references as we can. At this point we have to thank Tim Suess for letting us use his high res pictures from his visit to the zone.
Because you don't have to create layouts yourself when you recreate a existing place it is fairly easy to build up the first rough block out of the scene, but if you want to do it accurate the references are a gold mine, full with details and informations. Of course making a 1:1 copy of a place makes it harder to create decals and textures which fit in the whole szene and give a reliable feeling to the level.
As always beauty comes not over night. It took us one month of hard work to bring the scene to what you have seen in the last update. From the first model and the first crappy light setting to what it is now it took over 100 working hours.
First we did a rough concept made out of brushes to see which size actually fits the best to all the references we have. Right after that we placed the first textures.
Mostly we use Valve textures to see if the whole scene works. Some people might say that they don't need to place textures at the beginning but we are kind of uncreative and prefere to have a first basic view on the scene. :-D
Try and find out
When we finished the rough concept of the map we got back to our references quickly. To bring the scene to life and make it as real as possible we decided to bring in every little detail we can find. In this case we took all the sprays and figured out how we get them into the map. The Problem was to get suitable high resolution fotos, the creation process itself was the minor problem.
You may think, our Workflow is very contrary to the usual ones, but we felt way better adding details and refine the rough afterwards. Our apprehension was having a pool that looks good without details, but as soon as you add the details, it feels very unrealistic. Thats why we did it in the reversed order. So we adjusted the layout to the Details.
But you don't get a good feeling atmosphere only with details. A very basic but important aspect is the correct lighting. We invested several hours to achive a lighting setting like it is now. We also had to think very careful about where we should add high resolution shadows. (Explanation: High resolution shadows increase the file size of the map drastically because the Shadows are calculated during the compile process and afterwards added to the map file.
In our opinion we found a good balance between filesize and quality.
In the next Dev Diary, we will tell you something about the development process of the Reactor.
We hope you enjoyed it to see behind our litte iron curtain.