Zombie Panic: Source is a co-op oriented Survivor Vs Zombie multi-player survival horror modification for HL2. While our main priority is to make the mod as fun to play as possible, ZP:S plans to greatly expand on the core features of "Zombie panic" For HL1, with the obvious new features, impressive visuals, and of course atmospheric maps. More importantly ZP:S will not force players to fend against dumb and predictable AI, but instead keep the same intense thrill of surviving against intelligent and persistent player controlled zombies as the original.

Report article RSS Feed Developer stories #2 (Level design - Shreddingfield)

Here is another ZPS developer story to give you insight as to what kind of challanges and tasks our developers might have to face in daily modding life.

Posted by OkeiDo on May 5th, 2009

Hello fans,

Here is another ZPS developer story to give you insight as to what kind of challanges and tasks our developers might have to face in daily modding life.

During ZPS development we've recieved a few donated levels from different authors. For example, we recently released zpo_harvest, a level that Darth_Brush donated.

Darth also donated a second map that was at an early stage of development, but he had no time to finish it himself. We didn't want a map with such a great theme and layout go to waste so we decided to complete what he had started. This map was recently seen in a ZPS media release and has been known as "Deadcity". It has changed quite a bit since it was donated, all thanks to Dr.Robot. He took over the project, and the level is now called "Shreddingfield".

When we recieve a donated map they always require some sort of work to adjust them for Zombie Panic: Source gameplay and style. This is a task that can prove to be quite difficult and might require a lot of design decisions and testing. This was the case with Shreddingfield.

Polishing and pimping:

While Darth_brush is a great architect, he hadn't spent much time on the interior areas of the level. Dr.Robot reworked every interior area, changed it around completely for a new style and pimped it with custom content. The outside also had a makeover with plants/trees, vehicles, lighting, buildings and so on to make it prettier. Everyone loves eye candy!

Gameplay decisions and objective designing:
It's sometimes hard to create an objective based map with an existing layout that was intended for another type of gameplay. You have to look at the setting and consider what kind of mission to use (escape, holdup etc). We choose an idea with a storyline that works well with the post-apocalyptic setting that Shreddingfield is based on. From there we had to decide what layout changes were needed to match our gameplay ideas.


Layout changes:
Once the objective idea is set, the magic begins. In order to make the objective work, we reworked the layout. Some paths were removed, new areas were added and existing areas reworked for better gameplay. A lot of time has also gone into making the level look more realistic. We want the locations to fit with the story and the objectives. We always put gameplay first in our level designs, but also know that enhanced visuals really add to the overall experience.

Optimization and cleaning up:

As many level designers out there might know, the Source engine (compared to the HL1 engine) requires more model useage and less brushwork. Dr.Robot has redone certain brushwork for better optimization, replacing a lot of brush-based furniture with custom models made by himself. All this has contributed to a more stable level with a significantly smaller file size.


Testing:
Before the objectives were in place, testing was mainly focused around finding issues with textures, props and exploits. Once the objectives were implemented, a whole new stage of testing began. Dr.Robot is working hard with the feedback and bug reports that the playtesting team provide him on a regular basis, and we keep recieving new updates.
While we won't reveal the objectives we can say that the level is coming along nicely and we hope that the players of ZPS will enjoy it as much as we do.

On a different note, if you're not following us on twitter, you should! Zombie Panic status updates will start coming more frequently through it! Follow us!

Until next time,
Zombie Panic Development Team.

Post comment Comments
Jesternz08
Jesternz08 May 5 2009, 7:46pm says:

interesting article, huge improvements in before-after's

+2 votes     reply to comment
Spooboy
Spooboy May 5 2009, 7:48pm says:

Agreed, this mod keeps getting better. Keep up the good work guys.

+2 votes     reply to comment
AlCool
AlCool May 5 2009, 11:11pm says:

The only thing I have to say about the before and after:
Even tho the after definitely shows improvement, I do believe Darth_Brush was working on this before the orange box engine was available to add that extra bit of improvement, and was possibly another one of his old but unfinished projects (<-- me defending him :D). His architecture is incredible, but it seems his eye for small details is lacking ;D

+2 votes     reply to comment
frikazoyd
frikazoyd May 6 2009, 2:41pm replied:

I don't think Darth_Brush needs defending really. We're not insulting him in any way in this post. It's obvious that the map was designed for another mod, and so the custom content available for the map was missing when moved to ZPS.

As the article outlines, the majority of the work was done to tie it into ZPS (with our content), change the layout slightly to match the ZPO play style, and to enhance on the things that Darth didn't focus on.

I would not say this is a slam on his ability at all.

+3 votes     reply to comment
OkeiDo
OkeiDo May 6 2009, 2:46pm replied:

Just to throw it in there, "While Darth_brush is a great architect". It also says that the map was at an early stage of development. No need to defend him, this is the 2nd map he has donated to ZPS :).

+2 votes     reply to comment
ben72227
ben72227 May 6 2009, 12:54am says:

Good read!

+2 votes     reply to comment
Andrey(Rus)
Andrey(Rus) May 6 2009, 11:24am says:

i hope you will make new animations for both zombies and humans

+2 votes     reply to comment
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