Thursday, December 9, 2010

L4D2 Campaign Screenshots

Well, here it is into December and I haven't posted in ages! Work in film has dropped off to almost nothing for the time being, so that means back to the level design in a serious way. We've come a long way with this campaign now. The first map is just about ready for testing, although there is still a ton to be done on it. We haven't even touched the audio portion yet, for example. That said, it's looking really good, and feels great when playing through it.

I'm in the process of putting the second map together right now. Some of it is only basically blocked, while other areas have far more detail. Roughly half way through, there's an event I'm planning in a warehouse train bay. The way forward is blocked by the train, so the survivors will have to "disengage the track lock" (or something to that effect) so the train moves until an open box car allows passage onwards. I'm not sure exactly how long the event will last yet, but basically the survivors will have to fight off the horde until the train is in its final position.

I got a little out of control with the texturing and lighting before even building the event (which I'll be getting at later on!), and even though the area is by no means finished, I felt it was time to drop at least a few screenshots...

I'll try to start posting here more often, but for the time being enjoy the screens! Cheers!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

TV/Film Work Currently Endless...

Well, it seems that it's going to be a while before I have a chance to get back at the level design in any kind of concerted fashion...  Just finished 11 days in a row on Covert Affairs (TV show, believe it's airing on USA in the States), and it look like the next few weeks will be just as busy.  I'd been trying to get Escape From Parkdale finished up to be hosted by Valve on their official servers, but even that has had to be put off for the time being.  As soon as I can I'll get that done, at least.  Not sure when this massive wave of work will slow down, but for the moment I have no choice but to go with it, and fill up the bank account for when it all slows down again.  That being the nature of the business...  Cheers!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Long Overdue Update!

It's been quite a while since I've posted on the blog.  Life seems to have a way of getting unbelievably busy lately.  There's been lots of work in film again, so that's been keeping me out of the house a lot more.  Good for the bank account, not so good for the level design work!  Most of the work is for TV Series/Pilots, so the wages aren't what they are for Feature Films, but so be it.  They're saying that there will be fairly solid work through to next Spring.  At that point, the actors, writers and directors will all go to the bargaining table with the producers at the same time, and the general thinking is that there will be some fairly significant labour stoppages. We'll see, i suppose.  In the meantime, we'll be getting a lot of work so they can bank shows/movies to see them through any strikes that may occur.

As for the WoLD Challenge, well, I lost that one quite badly, it seems.  Not quite sure how that happened, but suffice it to say that's it for me and contests for the time being.  I could still swear that mine was the only one that actually worked properly...  In any case, it's time to set aside such things and get down to work on a proper campaign.  The screenshots from my My 16th post are all outdated.  None of that will be used in this new campaign.  The team is currently myself and MikeTheBodacious, and we've come quite a long way with the first map.  It's coming along really well, although we're still unsure as to whether the campaign will end up being 3 maps or 5.  The first map is fairly long, but instead of doing 2 more longish maps with the finale at the end of the thrid, we may do 3 additional shorter maps, with a fifth that would be mainly finale.  That remains to be seen.  In any case, I'm going to start doing more of a development diary for this campaign.  I imagine that I'll use this blog for that purpose, instead of one of the mapping site forums, at least for now.  So, I'll get some screens together soon and post them here.  Not sure when I'll actually get to this because of all the IATSE work, but I'll be trying to update a lot more as the work progresses.


Sunday, May 16, 2010

WoLD Challenge Update & Sneak Peek...

The WoLD Gameplay & Flow Challenge is heading into it's last week.  I've been sitting on my entry for a week, now, getting some feedback, etc.  Monday I'll be starting to do the final changes & fixes for the Friday deadline.  I'm not going to go crazy with it, though, as I think it's achieved what it was meant to do.  It doesn't have all the bells and whistles that a campaign should, but it's not ever going to be that, so why do that much more on it, is my feeling. I'm happy with the way it has worked out in any case.  I think the level design, within the parameters of the challenge, is actually pretty good...

So, here's a sneak peek at a couple of screens from a new campaign.  Seems we'll be a team of three for this one, at this point.  I'm really excited about working with a great modeller.  So nice to not be limited to Valve's props...  More news about the make-up of the team at a later date.

Check out the screens:

Not sure when we'll be officially announcing, so there won't be an official WiP thread for now.  I might drop some screens on here occasionally, though...


Monday, May 10, 2010

Playable Map For WoLD Gameplay Challenge...

OK, here it is...  First version publicly available to test.  Download it here!  Contest is over on the 21st of May, so I'll be making changes for sure.  Love to hear any feedback, opinions, etc!  Latest screen shots and such on the most recent page of my WIP thread over at World of Level Design.  Cheers!

Friday, May 7, 2010

New Shots From The WoLD Gampeplay Challenge!

Hey!  Thought it was time to put some screens up here, as well.  Pardon the quality...  Since the Passing, I haven't been able to run my graphics above medium or the game crashes to desktop.  Ugh.  Anyway, Here are the screens!

Interior of the last room before the safe room.  Safe room entrance is at the left of this shot.

 One of the outside sections.  Few more props now, starting to look like a map!  :)

Looking through one of the arches into the final area.  The wooden barricades on the left will be blown up in the event...

Event sequence:  1. Player presses button on C4 Remote Detonator.  2. Wooden barricade is destroyed, opening way to the safe room.  Onslaught begins.  3. A second later, the charge at the top if the fire escape goes off as well, blowing open the blocked door.  Survivors can now make their way to the safe room.

Some overhead shots.  Again, sorry about the quality, it's really kind of embarrassing...  Valve may force me to get a new computer sooner than I'd wanted to.  Ugh, again.

Overhead again...

And again!  :D

That's it for now.  Here's a link to the latest page of my WiP Thread over at World of Level Design.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Back At It!

Well, there was a nice little burst of film & tv work there for a few weeks, but it seems to be dying down a bit now.  Highlight of that was 2 1/2 weeks in a gravel pit north of Toronto making it look like the Antarctic for the prequel to The Thing (John Carpenter's 1982 version).  Loads of fun (and brutal work) and some money in the bank to last until there's more work!  Haha.  So a few days here and there, I imagine, for the next couple of months or so?  Hard to say, but that seems about right.

So that means it's back to mapping!  I haven't gotten around to posting here yet, but I've been working on a new World of Level Design contest for the past week.  Here's a link to the Gameplay & Flow Level Design Challenge guidelines.  Here's a direct link to my WIP thread in those forums.

I'll post here occasionally, but that will be my main thread for the development of this new map.

Here are a couple of screens of it coming together:


Friday, February 19, 2010

Here It Goes... Again...

Alright, Version 7 will be available in about five minutes time.  Should be at least a few hours before a ton of holes get smashed through this one!  Thanks to all that have helped recently with bug reporting, play testing, etc.  I couldn't possibly do this without you guys...  Cheers!

Fixing Now...

Alright, haven't heard from Mik3 yet, but kithiero figured it out!  Thanks to him!  Making changes now.  Should have the fixed version ready soon...

Big Fix Coming Today...

Wow, so I'm going to have to do another version immediately...  I forgot to upload my custom horizon texture for the skybox.  I was so positive I had thought of everything!  Haha.  Also, right after uploading the new file, Mik3 and The Tuss found the nastiest exploit on the Hotel balcony.  Worst part is, I haven't actually talked to him still, so all I have is a brief explanation and the screenshots...  I tried to replicate it for ages, but can't figure it out!  In any case, I can't leave that in there.  I've fixed the skybox and a couple of new nav issues, and now I've added a couple of new custom overlays as well while waiting...  Some screens until I get this update going on:

Wow, that skyline is ugly!

Players can get behind the furniture block.  Obviously, this breaks things...

You can see from this angle the the chair is floating out there...  Ugh.

New door overlay...  Band used to practice at this place...

Woohoo!  Stevie graffiti!  Fresh from downtown Toronto!

More later when I figure this glitch out!  Cheers!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

EFP Verion 6 Available Now!

Wow, all work, all the time...  And no blog posts!  Anyway, loads of stuff done this week:  Major changes to the nav mesh.  Fixed a couple of ladders and added a bunch more infected ladders.  Added a new Survival ammo cache in the back alley, but forgot to add health kits.  Haha, had to be something...  Changed the Hotel balcony so the Tank doesn't get stuck.  Along with a ton of other stuff.  All in all, a successful release, but still not final.  In any case the new nav alone was reason for another update.  More testing, next...

Friday, February 12, 2010

EFP Version 5 Out Today!

Get it now!  I've made even more changes to the Hotel balcony, as well as some other minor changes/additions.  I'm hoping it proves to be more difficult up there...  Also hoping that I can make this the last update prior to the Final release, so people don't get fed up with downloading it all the time...  :)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

EFP Version 4 Available Now On!!!

Alright, people, it's finally reached its permanent home at  You can download it here.  All future updates will be released through that site...  Make sure to update to the newest version!  Cheers!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New Escape From Parkdale Poster

OK, so I'm too exhausted to actually get this new version together and uploaded tonight.  My brain is all over the place and I don't want to risk messing something up because I'm not paying proper attention.  So, first thing tomorrow I'll do that.  For now, here's the new poster:



Escape From Parkdale Wins WoLD 11-Day Winter Mapping Competition!

Woohoo!  What else can I say?  Here's the forum post.  Thanks to all who helped make this happen...  I really don't have a lot of time to think about it, as there's so much more work to be done to get the final version out the door...  Anyway, yay!  I'll have a the Beta v4 up and running on later on today.

Beta v4 & Launch On Tomorrow!

Screenshots tonight...!  Phew, I'm off to bed after this, that's for sure.  Got a TON of work done today.  I started with the problem that Survival was too easy on the Hotel balcony.  Spent quite some time building back into the hotel to make infected spawn areas behind the survivors.  Nice screens below.  Added another cache of gear on top of the complex for Survival mode as well.  Fixed nav (a lot). No errors.  Tested.  Director will just not spawn much at all from these new spots, even while marked obscured.  I screwed with things for another couple of hours.  Took a walk to cool down and get some beer.  Then it came to me:  why not take back instead of build out for Survival?  So I got rid of all the day's work and put boards over the windows in the last 2 hotel rooms that spawn in Survival only.  Some minor issues, but it seems to have increased the difficulty somewhat on the hotel balcony, so it's good for the Beta v4...

I also fixed up the CN Tower model so it's proportions are a little better.  Not saying they're final, but hey, it looks better!  Still have a lot to do in the skybox, in any case...

On to the screenshots...


The highlighted areas are the new ones I added for infected spawn zones.


Still having problems with bots and that Survivor down rope on the left.  New infected ladder on the right.

Added a new Survival mode base spot on the complex roof.


 This is what it ended up looking like after taking all that work out.  Huh.


First beauty shot.  Well, as beautiful as it gets until the skybox is properly finished...


First top-down in a while...  I like it from up here...


Oh, that same shot...  I keep taking it...


The Money Shot.  They wanted it, they got it.  I added the WoLD logo as well, cause that's why the map exists.  I'll make them both look better when I get better at it.  Haha.

Haven't taken this shot in a while.  Looks better now, I think.

And just in case I didn't take enough of these...  Here's one more!  Um, notice the CN Tower...  It's, uh, Toronto...

That's it for now.  Must sleep.  I'll pack this up and release it in the morning.

Monday, February 8, 2010

EFP Beta v3 Out Now! Survival Mode Plus More!

So I finally got the Beta v3 out tonight.  Download Escape From Parkdale Beta v3.  Survival Mode has been implemented, as well as a ton of other changes/additions.  I'll take some new screenshots soon and post them here.  Still a lot to do before the final version is released, but this beta version took a big bite out of it.  I've been lazy about blogging, but I'll try to post more often, to talk about what I'm doing and a bit about the process, etc.  Cheers!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Survival Mode Implemented, Success With Alpha Textures/Overlays

Got a lot done in the past couple of days.  Managed to implement Survival Mode in my test map, and then in Escape From Parkdale itself.  Also managed to figure out how to get the GIMP to save the alpha channel in targa files so I could make alpha textures as well.  I still miss Photoshop...  No screens yet, but later on or tomorrow I'll have some!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Working Model Of The CN Tower!!!

Yahoo!  Victory is mine.  I'm going to recommend Propper here.  It is solely responsible for me getting my first working model in game.  Yay.  Took a lot of screwing with, but it's done.  Had to go through CS:S in order for it to work, as you'll see below.


So there it is, way in the distance...  The CN Tower is a model.  How terribly exciting.

Brushwork in CS:S


With a wee model...!

Going to do some play testing now...

CN Tower in the 3D Skybox?

Working on the 3D Skybox today. Made the CN Tower in Hammer, then shrunk it down for the skybox, but of course now I have a few microbrushes. Didn't consider that. It works in-game, but I'll have to use a model of the tower I think. I'm wondering if and how well Propper works. I had no idea it even existed until today. I'm sure it's not the best way of doing this, but it might do for the time being... Also been messing with horizons for the skybox. Valve's textures aren't going to do what I want them to, so again, I'm going to make my own gradient texture I think. Valve now uses these black skybox models, but they do it with instances, so your whole 3D Skybox is called into your map from a separate .vmf... If you use these models in your skybox the old-fashioned way, they appear to screw things up. Maybe instead I'll figure out how the instancing method is done. Might be a better idea...

A couple of screens:

First attempt at getting the CN Tower and Toronto skyline into the map. Top of the tower gives me the microbrushes... Too bad, doesn't look too bad. Still works, but I don't like the idea of having errors in my compile. Gonna have to be a model...


Some of Valve's horizon textures. I don't think these are going to do it...

Back to work now... Cheers!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

EFP Beta v2 Out Now!!!

Alright, so the .vpk issues remain unresolved, but 1SG.Heartless (many thanks!) was kind enough to point out that there's a work-around for the time being.  Basically you don't include the map files in the .vpk.  Instead you create the .vpk without them, then zip it up with the .bsp and .nav files separately.  The .vpk goes in the L4D2 addon folder as normal, map files go in the L4D2 maps folder.  Then everything works.  It'll do for now!

Here's the link to the temporary download site.  Follow the readme for installation instructions.  Can't put this up at because they only accept .vpk uploads, and that defeats the purpose.

I've created a Steam Group for the map, as well.  Hopefully this will help with getting some testing groups together.

Version 2 of the beta has a ton of changes from the original beta release at the end of the WoLD 11-Day Winter Mapping Contest.  Looks a lot better, plays a lot better.  Hope everybody enjoys it!


Friday, January 22, 2010

L4D2 Escape From Parkdale Beta Version Now Available!

So the World of Level Design 11-Day Winter Mapping Competition is finished, and I've released my first map!  Download the beta version.    What a fantastic and crazy process this was.  Anyone who's interested in the development can view my whole WIP forum thread here.  Going to play test it for a bit, but first a few screenshots:








Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Many Thanks To Valve!

Yay!  There are still tons of issues, but Valve today fixed a whole bunch of problems with the L4D2 SDK.  Check them out here.  I'm quite excited.  Haha.  WOLD Level Design Challenge is going quite well, altough I'm already feeling brain dead!  Track my progress here.  Cheers!

Monday, January 11, 2010

WOLD 11-Day Level Design Challenge

Alright, so I've decided to put off finishing the CS:S map in order to enter World Of Level Design's  11-Day Level Design Challenge...  I won't be posting that much here for the next little while.  Instead I'll be following progress here.  The main forum where we're all posting our works in progress is here.  Gotta go, only 11 days to finish an entire L4D2 Scavenge map!  Yikes!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Another CS:S Screen

Here's one more.  I've just been working on this section.  Now off to kithiero's birthday party.

Counter-Strike Screenshots & L4D2 Update

First of all, I finally have a working test map of Scavenge Mode in Left 4 Dead 2.  Was a real pain, but it's all going on now.  I'm considering writing a tutorial, but to be honest I'm still a little confused, so I'm thinking that one should maybe be left to somebody with a little more experience... We'll see as I start to build an actual map.

Here are a few screens from the CS:S map.  Texturing is getting a lot better.  I'm getting near finished the texturing and optimization.  Still a lot of work to be done.  Next things to do after this pass will be the ground displacements, then lighting.