A level designer of 11 years, first with maps for the Goldsource engine before moving to Source in 2007. Decent texture artist and voice actor, too. Co-founder of Scotch and Coffee Studios. I'm Archie, I'm Scottish, I'm 24 and I'm mostly happy.

RSS My Blogs


Archie_SnC Blog

It is entirely possible that I take Formula 1 too seriously.

Arguably taking the racing sim genre that one step too far, but I'll be wearing the colours with pride for every race on the calendar! Plus, when else am I gonna wear it?

A thought on Crysis 3

Archie_SnC Blog

A fair few reviews mention negatively that the game runs poorly on maximum settings (read in suit voice) even on high-end PCs.
I can't see why that's a negative point at all. The game looks fucking fantastic on high settings, pretty great on medium and damn passable on low settings which caters to just about any recent system. The fact that it is also future-proofed for upcoming hardware advances with a ridiculous ultra setting is a solution to what PC gamers* have been whining about for years - current-gen consoles holding back graphical advances in our poorly ported games. Well here's what happens when a dev makes a game suited for a PC with properly scalable graphics for tomorrow's hardware. It's awesome.

*Myself included.

Archie 2012

Archie_SnC Blog

This is my new showreel, up to date as of May 2012.
James Archibald
Showreel June 2012

Lighting Camera Op | VFX Artist | Director


Music by MonsterCat Media


Archie_SnC Blog 2 comments

So yesterday I posted my first major media release for The Core which features several locations from the Black Mesa Central Admin Building - a modern, well funded and bright place to work full of accountants and legal teams. I received the following comment from impcnrd:

great brushwork and architecture
it reminds me a lot like mirrors edge"

Firstly, thankyou for the positive comment. Seriously, it means a lot to hear that people like my work. However, the reference to Mirror's Edge really irritated me. Why? Because it seems that whenever a game/mod developer uses primary colours in their work people think it's been inspired by Mirror's Edge.
Central Admin Building Media Release 1
We've been ruined by mainstream games and their absolute fear of using any colour that isn't brown. My maps are in fact not inspired by Mirror's Edge. They're inspired by real life places where I've worked. Real life places filled with bright colours and light. Filled with clean whites contrasting solid primary reds and blues and greens and yellows. These places exist in realty. Honestly, they do. So why can't they exist in games without people linking them to a dystopian future parkour game?

Mod developers of the world, I hereby lay down a challenge to use bright colours in your productions. Don't make it a weird quirky thing to do; make it the norm.


Returning to the Goldsource engine.

Archie_SnC Blog

So after my brand new PC finally arrived, I was overjoyed to find that - with an Nvidia card as opposed to the ATI card I had in my old rig - I could once again map for Goldsource.

This was a truly terrible idea.

I got right into it, creating a .wad of custom textures, gathering reference images and then mapping to my heart's content for several days. What I produced was something I was genuinely happy with. It looked a hell of a lot better than any of the stuff I'd made in Goldsource before I stopped mapping for it 3 years ago and it was going to be used in Urby's mod The Core.

Unfortunately I then had the bloody nerve to compile the damn thing and I was immediately reminded why I had fallen in love with the Source engine. Goldsource is just so distressingly limiting. There is no room to be creative. If you want a large, expansive area like the one I mapped, you have to sacrifice so much in terms of detailing. First of all I got the MAX MAP PATCHES error or some crap along those lines. Something to do with the way the engine calculates lighting on faces. Apparently a fairly detailed, large expansive grand hall with multiple skylights and textures scaled to (what I believe to be an extremely reasonable) 0.75 is too much for the engine to cope with. I eventually got it to compile by using the -sparse RAD compile option with The Mighty Atom's Compilator 3 only to find that many of the faces of not even particularly complex brushes are missing.

This was particularly perplexing when I noticed that a lot of the smallest details were rendering just fine.I then noticed that from the lowest point in the map, a massive hole appears as if the sky is ripping through the world. At first I thought the max viewable distance was too low, but it's not. It's just another glorious VIS error, despite the fact I am compiling with full VIS.

The fact of the matter is - Goldsource is dead to me. It's incredibly difficult for me to find inspiration to continue working on this project when I'm hitting engine limitations at every turn. Source has spoiled me and Goldsource just isn't a viable option anymore.

Last Online
United Kingdom 🇬🇧
Become friends
Member watch
Blog Statistics
Views Today