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A Year in Review 2011

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As 2011, comes to a closure, its time to look back of all the nonsense I have done. I've put together a cheaply made video along with cheaply made royalty free music to summarize this not so cheap year.



I don't go over every Hammer Notepad experiment, nor everything I did in just a day, but mainly things I've worked on (released or not) were I got some knowledge out of it. Life is just one big learning process. We start with Blue Portals: Extended Play.

Blue Portals: Extended Play - March 


After we got done with shipping Blue Portals and the update for it in late 2010, we worked on and released the extension: Blue Portals: Extended Play. This eight map mappack takes you back into the development center, and you now have access to the fully operational portal device along with the ECHO, a gravity gun like puzzle device. If you have the latest version of Blue Portals, it should already be there. If not, click the Download link below!

Download

Portal 2 Stuff - April, May

This ye…

Blue Portals 2 Canceled?

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Ever since we were developing Blue Portals, we kept imagining how awesome Blue Portals will be in the Portal 2 engine with Blob tech, dynamic lighting and the whole bit. When Portal 2 went live, we config the Alien Swarm Authorizing Tools and started to work on Blue Portals 2 that May. It was in development on and off. We would be actively updating the mod for a solid week or two, then development would halt. Now there is more then one reason why we are pulling it.

Blue Portals is a Portal mod that takes advantage of the I/O system. The mod showed how clever configuration of this system can produce neat things like Portalable light, Fans, Box types and many more! The original Portal did the same with its elements, as you needed to put together many entities to get box droppers, buttons and ball catchers to work, so the elements in Blue Portals worked liked that. In Portal 2, everything is coded, and when you compare it to the clunky I/O elements, the custom elements seemed more sloppy …

Infestation (October Update)

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After realizing that the main game play is really flat, I decided to work into the game structure more. Before, you spawn, grabbed weapons, press the radio, and you killed Antlions until you die. Not really the thing that someone is going to look at it and go "WOW! THAT'S FUCKING AWESOME!". It was more fun playing it, but not much watching someone else. I'm not much of a programmer, the most I can do is take existing material and morph it into my own. And with this, most of the game rules are map logic.

I decided to take a whack and use a system like the Nazi Zombies system with the weapons. Since Survival games are more 'arcade' games, I thought that this system will at-least help develop my own ideas. Again, using map logic, the player "buys" weapons, health, and others with his or her "points". But I could not get it to prevent purchases if the player was short. So, the game_score entity just makes a negative value instead. I thought t…

Infestation

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After a whole summer of Hammer Notepad less videos, your probably wondering "What happened?" and you call back to when I use to post a video at least every month or so. Well its a long story. So lets start this from the top.

Introduction:

I have videos filled with Beta videos and interviews of Left 4 Dead, Portal, And Portal 2. And I still watch them even though I watched them hundreds of times over. Why? Well for some reason, watching videos like that gives me inspiration, and I say to myself "I wanna make something like this, with this style." Kinda silly since I have Left 4 Dead, Portal and Portal 2, but its not the same playing the retail and then watching a game in progress video. And If you know me, If I'm not creating something new, I'm recreating the old.

I have the Left 4 Dead videos from QuakeCon 2007 and Showdown LAN, and I love the videos of them. Why? Well for those who don't know, In the older versions  of Left 4 Dead, (Remember, the FIRST…

We Are Alive & Kicking! And so is Portal!

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Portal: Alive & Kicking was announced a few days back. Its a Portal 2 addon, which will recreate the adventure of Chell during  the adventure of the original Portal, with the current look of Aperture labs.  So why do this is a few other people are doing it too, and why play it?

Portal: Alive & Kicking is pretty much a collaboration of recreated Portal maps for Portal 2. Not only Colossal and I are working on it, but also PortalPlayer, an admin for myApertureLabs, Omnicoder, mapper of the third place entry Edifice of the Summer Mapping Initiative Contest, Groxmapper, and  Wauterboi, who does music.







This project is still under development, so please watch the ModDB page for more updates.

It's Summer!

That's right, today was my official first day of summer vacation. I've spent the last few weeks not really touching my computer that much as I had school, and during the day, it was to hot to operate a PC. And folks, there is no need for A/C if we usually get 80 degrees for only a month. But now, I got more time open up.

First off, I gotta say I have not touched the Portal 2 Authorizing tools in a while. Not only because I have not gotten a chance to really map, but its due to the fact that I'm pretty dry on ideas. No, I'm not asking for my inbox to be flooded with your ideas, I'm just saying that after a full 3 years now of Portal mapping, I'm sort of burned out. Although with Portal 2 and the new stuff that came with it, I can't find myself to make clever puzzles with them. I guess the Portal 2 Demomap was a bad thing after all since I made my Puzzles in Portal 1. Now, I'm not ditching Portal (2) mapping all together; I'm just taking a break from …

Pre-GLaDOS + GLaDOS' Awakening Chambers

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Portal 2 was first shown off at E3 with the chambers under dilapidation and disrepair. Since then, we knew that Valve would have a lot of foliage models to use, and the lighting was gold. Since the tools can be available, its time to see how hard it really is.


As you can see from the grid, It gets REALLY messy quick with the foliage. Also, a hard part about these types of chambers that you need to balance out the level. Too much, the chamber gets to cluttered and looks like Aperture Science is in a rain forest. Too little, it looks like my grandmother planted them. So whats the secret  end out doing? Well, I put the heavy foliage on the walls, but making sure its not covering up any check boxes. Then I used the hanging vine models and made it "grow" out of the sides. Also a few metal here and there and damaged tiles helped.

Next comes the lighting. I've looked at a lot of Valve maps and its clear that the light_spot and env_projectedtexture goes hand in hand. They have a…

Getting ready for Portal 2 mapping.

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With the release of Portal 2, I was wicked hyped to play it. After I played the campaign, I then went right into co-op. And after that, I played the campaign three or four more times. And every time I played it, I could not wait till the SDK. It was not long till people figured out that you can config the Alien Swarm SDK to map for Portal 2, since the engine versions are close enough such like Source 2006 and Source 2007. However their method involves copying over the files into a mod folder. Meanwhile like a pro, I just set up the SDK to read the Portal 2 VPKs. A thread on myApertureLabs about setting it up is here.

So what did I do the instant I loaded up the tools? Well, to be honest, I was lost. It felt like I was mapping in unknown territory, much like I was mapping for Team Fortress 2, or Left 4 Dead. So, I started to make buttons and switches like I would for Portal 1. It was not long till I got a hold of a decompiler and realized that doors, switches, buttons, you name it, are…

Conversion Cube'd

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First off, this map and the vmf is out. You can download them both here. (The vmf is in the SDK.) As you may notice in the SDK I have 2 vmfs. The plan was to extend the map a bit, but it did not go well at all. No idea why, I got andry and gave yup

A little history: The paint system started way back in the summer when everyone was remaking Portal 2 elements in Portal 1. One thing that people tried and tried was the gels. Well to be honest, while on a role with the Thermal Discouragement Beam, Faith Plates and Vents (What happened to those?) I got cocky and decided to tackle the paint deal.


To make a long story short, I did it in the most complicated way possible. The main issue was not the jumping effect, but the stains. To fix this, the floors worked like a grid. The paint would hit a sector, making the stain and spawning the effect at the center of that box. You can see it here.

But for the common human mind (and its normal for everyone else to see this as madness), no one understo…

Lightning

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First post, lets see how this goes. . .

Ever since I played Left 4 Dead on my favorite campaign No Mercy, I always wondered how Valve got the lightning effect to work. It was not until May 2009 when I got to see the vmf. In Valves case, the lightning effect is done by logic_cases, sounds, logic_timers and flashing sprites in the 3D skybox. However, this is in the first part of No Mercy when your outside and inside almost equal amounts of time. Without going into detail on how they did theirs, I decided to take a whack on this effect for a map were your indoors.




Better remember, lightning never strikes twice!
This was for a small map I was playing with, mostly playing with an idea me and another developer were doing. For that screen, I had to go into demo mode, and slow down the playback. Yeah, it flashes that fast, like real lightning. A neat effect to have in your map, totally when you use env_projectedtextures. Best off all, its actually very easy to do. 
I don't want these posts t…

New Blog, Welcome!

As you might already know, there is a play list on my YouTube called "Hammer Notepad", which features a lot of crazy stuff I do in Valve's Hammer Editor on the Source engine. Over the months, people been asking me how I did them, what entities I used, etc. To clear this up, I wish to start a blog about the development part of the Source engine. Hopefully, this will limit questions and educate more mappers. . 
Another way I want to use this blog is to talk about what I'm doing with the SDK tools. And now with Portal 2, I have a lot of plans and thought of what I wish to do. From just brainstorming to problems I wish to discuss, hopefully I will not forget about this blog as I did with so many others. . .
Going back to Portal 2, Source 2011 is sure going to be exciting! I'm nervous on how complex its gonna be compared with the Source 2009 tools, but I'm still hyped . Rumors tell me that a complete over-hall of Hammer will be in the Portal 2 tools along with a thr…