Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Getting ready for Portal 2 mapping.

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 all entities. Wow, Looks like Valve got tired of triggers and doors too! After decompiling, looking at the new way to map for Portal, I started to make prefabs. They were mostly easy till I got into the box dropper. Man that was so complex. It involves 3 logic cases,, a branch listener and other stuff so the box can fizzle and be respawned much like how it is in the game. I've included it in my prefab pack, in case you wanna look at it.

Next I was ready to map. I was working on a map to test my prefabs untill a friend said that a working Diversity Vent would be awesome to see in Portal 2. So In a rush because I was going out that night, I quickly remade the  E3 Vent chamber:




Like its Portal 1 counterpart I made in the Portal 2 Demomap, its kinda buggy, and since I rushed, this is even more buggy. I wanted to test the portal detectors new outputs (OnEndTouchPortal) which will make Portaling  things in the future A LOT easier. In the end I screwed up the I/O communications and theres some points where it did not work. But again in a rush, made a video, uploaded it and went out.

The thing I got out of that map was not the I/O part, but the lighting. People said it was almost a close match. Finally! I think I got the hang of lighting after 4 years! So I went back to that map I was working on and remade some ideas I had that I did in Portal 1. Later, I posted this picture:


I got people off their feet with this one since most people are currently playing with things like panels and such, not really caring how the map looks while I just want to express the engine and the puzzle ideas. No one is right on what they want to work on first, but being that I remade half the stuff in Portal 1, I got to work as soon as possible. At this point, the tools now feel just like the Portal 1 tools I've been using ever since; I feel right at home again. 

I will be releasing a map very shortly, I just want to fix up a few things and then I'll upload it to the myApertureLabs database. I'm thinking about releasing a lot of small test maps from now till the real tools come out. After that, it will be time to get to business. 


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