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Beside of visually appealing levels, we want to bring more logical and artistic sense to our levels.

Posted by MR.sugar on Jul 4th, 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 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 :)

Guard Duty is currently in need of skilled modelers as well as texture artists.

-Must be skilled in high and low poly as well as baking.
-Must be able to unwrap own models.
-Must be able to to produce clean models.
-Must be able to work well in an eviroment with other modelers and developers alike.
-Texturing is a +.
-Being well versed with the Half-Life Universe is a +.

Texture Artist:
-Must be able to produce high quality textures for enviromental piece and weapons.
-Must be experienced with the use of texture maps.
-Being able to unwrap is a huge +.
-Being able to output textures fairly quickly without sacrificing quality is also a huge +.
-Being well versed with the Half-Life universe is a +.

These are currently Dire needs for us considering we are going through a major overhaul within the modeling department. We would be greatful if anyone out there would be able to offer their services to Guard Duty. If you don’t see your position listed here, you should check out the full list of available positions right here.
Thank you... hopefully your shift isn't delayed :lol:.

Post comment Comments
TheCodfather105 Jul 4 2010, 12:35pm says:

Wow, your version of the area is very nice. Good work :)

+5 votes     reply to comment
Held Jul 4 2010, 2:04pm says:

the map by conker looks better to me

-3 votes     reply to comment
MR.sugar Author
MR.sugar Jul 4 2010, 2:24pm replied:

Well, we decided to redesign as most people called for darker atmospehere. Current version more true to the original and is way more better in my opinion. The old one was just too bright and it felt wrong.

+5 votes   reply to comment
pfoot Jul 4 2010, 6:08pm buried:


I hope you never learn to map then.

-5 votes     reply to comment
Phott Jul 4 2010, 9:17pm replied:

And then you look at the overly usage of props, there's a generator in the middle of a hallway, makes no sense, the lighting is rather dull, power boxes and electric gear everywhere... A cardboard box on the floor? The list goes on, I commend the new mapper for what he's done, improved lighting, more claustrophobic and more focus on brushwork than prop placement.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Rex_Archer Jul 6 2010, 5:54pm replied:

That is a correct attitude to take, maybe the mapping looks worse (which it isn't. WE try to capture the feel and atmosphere of the original while improving the fundamentals.

+1 vote     reply to comment
AlexanderSig Jul 4 2010, 3:04pm says:

The old version was well made but I prefer the new version, it's pretty atmospheric, good job.

+2 votes     reply to comment
jackar Jul 4 2010, 3:06pm says:

the first image looks like its in normal use, before incident, but the second, looks like after the incident, both are good, there is just different story in each picture.

+3 votes     reply to comment
Tokoya Jul 4 2010, 6:21pm replied:

The lighting in the first one is a little too bright but other than that I couldn't agree more.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Xylemon Jul 4 2010, 3:42pm says:

I like yours better MR.sugar

+2 votes     reply to comment
Luigis_#1 Jul 4 2010, 9:39pm replied:

Technically Mr.Sugar didnt make that map, EvilGoodGuy did.

+1 vote     reply to comment
JohnnyMaverik Jul 4 2010, 4:06pm says:

Poor previous mapper :(

Still, while I don't think his stuff looks terrible, or even bad, it was a little bland and lacked any real sense of place, it just looked like another room in HL2 really, so average I guess. Your stuff it looking nice though, so congrats, looking forward to seeing more.

+2 votes     reply to comment
CrowbarSka Jul 4 2010, 5:38pm says:

Looks much better and much closer to the original. Lighting is much clearer and well-defined too. Nice shadows on the right.

+2 votes     reply to comment
freredarme Jul 4 2010, 6:05pm says:

Look better than the original and the first remake !

+1 vote     reply to comment
EliteAssassin Jul 4 2010, 7:48pm says:

The redesign reminds me much more of that area good job. Although the first was not bad.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Blandr3ws Jul 5 2010, 2:19am says:

I think the 2nd/new one is better - i know it sounds stupid but it feels like it's underground more than the other one. The 1st version looks pretty generic, and a lot of stuff makes no sense at all
I'm also with the idea of sticking fairly closely to the original.

+2 votes     reply to comment
Blandr3ws Jul 5 2010, 2:24am replied:

However conker did do alright on:
So I guess he just didn't quite get this area in the same way mr.evil did.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Stevokenevo Jul 5 2010, 6:34pm replied:

It should be noted that Conkers version was uber WIP. He's a great mapper in all our opinions. I too prefer EvilGoodGuy's version, like many people have mentioned it evokes a really interesting atmosphere.

+1 vote     reply to comment
Mirellanmal Jul 5 2010, 8:58am says:

i liked the door and the window that you cut off ._.
but I love them both o_o however the improved one is better ofc x3

+1 vote     reply to comment
Gunship_Mark_II Jul 5 2010, 3:01pm says:

+1 Tracker!

i love you map design and idea!

+1 vote     reply to comment
flyaway888 Jul 7 2010, 11:38am says:

Oh I need the flashlight in the second area :))

+1 vote     reply to comment
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