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CCsaint10

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[Level] ge_siberia_cc
« on: September 11, 2010, 08:46:54 am »

http://www.youtube.com/v/iL_iCa9mxBY

          I know a lot of you guys may have heard about a "surface" map or "siberia" going around and I sadly never made a thread earlier to discuss/show the development of how the map was going. So now I am going to start that so I can get community feedback as well. The story behind this is Luchador (our dedicated Goldeneye Source mapper now) designed this map back in beta 1 days before he was a developer and I used to love playing it. After getting out of the trance of beta 3 that I was in when it came out (due to it being so superior to beta 1), I started getting into mapping.
          I had previously mapped once or twice before for a mod called "Dragonball: Source" in which I made some very basic third party maps. It is there that I learned how to do squares and simple geometry, but I never really took the time to sit down and actually learn hammer to its full extent, nor did I really enjoy it. That all changed when I realized after beta 4 release that I REALLY missed siberia from beta 1 days. It was such a unique map and it was so different from other maps due to its vast size, layout, and displacements. I loved it. So I asked Luchador one day if I could take his map and just change a few things like update weapon spawns, change some player spawns, add armors, and make it compatible with gamemodes. He said he was totally fine with it, which was awesome.
          So production started on "my" alpha version of siberia (surface). As soon as I got hammer up and running, I soon realized that I would have to modify some vmfs and add some textures to the map simply because they either changed from beta 1 days or they weren't available anymore. It took me quite a while learning how to do simple things like blend textures, modify vmfs so that I could customize blends and help re-create the original feel, and just learning the basics of how to make displacements. About 90% of my help was by Luchador in the beginning, and I am truly greatful for the help he has given me so far. Now that you have a brief history, I want to show you some pictures of development through previous builds and up till now.

Start of Alpha 1

Here are some alpha versions of Siberia from my first few compiles:



          Notice the blinding HDR? That is me trying to learn how to level it out and trying to figure out which entities will help with that. Anyways, you are able to tell (if you played the beta1 version) that I had to replace majority of the level with just plain snow and all the details from the original such as rocky mountain sides and some skybox lighting had been lost. Aside from the HDR being too bright, this was originally where I was going to stop working on it and call it "good". I soon started learning that MANY things were wrong with the map or needed some adjustments. I also just didn’t feel satisfied with it the way it was.

Start of Alpha 2:

          After realizing that I could change this map substantially and really bring life back into, I kept working on it. I soon decided that I wanted to redo some of the layout a little bit, take out some areas, raise some areas, lower some areas, and just do what felt right. Oh boy did I soon realize what I was getting myself into.
          I started out redoing the outside lighting. Oh man, what a trip. I must have spent a few days getting the light to even display correctly due to me not knowing at all what I was doing. After countless tutorials on youtube, I finally got a result in this early build that I felt satisfied with at the time. However, it didn’t last long before it got changed again. :-) I started to play around with the brightness, change some skyboxes, change some snow textures, and try out blending of snow textures. This took me quite a while as I had to either learn it from youtube, tutorials online, or from Luchador, ESS, and Mangley.

I eventually got to the point where I wanted to change the skybox:



          After looking over the map, I realized it was too colorful so I began working on changing the lighting again along with the skybox to match more of the "surface" look. I then came to this:



          The skybox wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I felt like it would due for right now. I then began production on particle effects such as snow to place around the map. Little did I know that hammer is not exactly user friendly when it comes to placing func_precipitations on displacements. Snow tends to only appear at its full density when the player is at the lower parts of the brush, making the snow appear very faint if you were to walk up a displacement. Very inconvenient due to the nature of Siberia.  After figuring out that I would have to place snow brushes with each change in ground level, I began work on a LOOOONG project. It took me 3 days to fully get the snow implemented, flowing smoothly, and appearing evenly around the map.
          I then started changing the steepness and grooves in the displacements as I noticed a faulty mechanic in game play on the map during testing; there was no cover. While changing hills and mountains a little bit around, I also moved trees, rocks, and other debris around in different areas to give the player some cover during a firefight. This showed and really helped in future tests that followed. It also helped bring some more life into the level as most of it is pure snow anyways. :-)
          Upon changing the layout, I also decided to go with a blue look to the level, which at the time seemed like a good choice. Here is what the next compile came out looking like.



          You may have noticed also that I took some textures like the stepping textures and replaced them with dirty snow. It helped really bring out the different colors in the map along with helping it feel like the original. But, development kept on and the map just didn't feel right still.

Start of Beta 1:

          Eventually, I got to the point where I wanted to add some fog other than fog_controller in to help with the cover issue and to make it have more of a snow storm look. Figuring out the different smokevolume values and what made the map look good but not destroying the frame rates was another problem I had encountered. This took many days, and by the time it reached the best I could do, it still didn't fit right. Here is an example picture of that.



          After realizing the smoke killed players frame rates so much, similar to runway's smoke, I didn't want people to have to suffer with low frame rates for an effect that a) doesn't even look that good b) has a black tint to it even when the particle effect is defined exactly like runway's was c) decreased frame rates by about 20-30 fps which just wasn't worth it. My main goal for the map was to give people the highest frames possible while delivering the best gameplay I could manage without redoing the whole entire map. I feel like I am slowly accomplishing that too.
          Following the next playtest, I soon learned that players wanted a few variations in the map that the original just didn't have. JCFerggy suggested adding a pond (which I really did not want to do at all initially). Others wanted textures changed here and there, railings fixed, props changed out, areas modified, and so on. I originally declined the idea of a pond, but I am sure glad I decided to try it because it is probably one of the best parts of the map today. So production on the pond started which REQUIRED me to make my own texture which I had NEVER done before. Thanks to tutorials on youtube and Luchador/Mangleys help, I was able to put together my first ice texture.



          Pretty simple ha? Yeah, it was my first texture. I didn't think it was too bad for a first try, but it definitely needed some tweaking. I then went back to Photoshop and started the whole texture from scratch again. Upon completing it the second time, I decided it would look best if I blended it with the snow. It is snowing after all. ;P

Here was my second attempt:



          So not as bad as the first one, but still not great either. After changing the texture AGAIN, I finally came upon the look I liked. I then realized that a nice sexy reflection would add to the look as well, so I graciously had Mangley to teach me how to make a spec map for my texture through Photoshop. It was a great learning experience, but ended up being SUPER bright and reflective, to the point where you couldn't even see the blue ice texture.

Like so:



          After playing with the spec brightness to make it less reflective, I came up with a slightly better pond.



          However, this just wasn't good enough. Where did the snow go? What about cool reflections? Not quite there yet.

          I soon learned that making an alpha layer with my spec map was the only way I was going to get the snow on the outsides of the pond, as well as have a sexy reflection and glass appearance. Mangley was nice enough to teach me the steps of going through that again as well, which had REMARKABLE outcomes. Mangley is awesome, and his skills/knowledge showed in this.

Alpha layer added to the original texture:



          Ehh, but I need a little bit more blue...and I want better reflections. After tweaking/adding some vmf values, I finally came up with some great results and colors. Here is what the final product turned out to look like.



          Much better result isn't it? This was a fantastic learning experience. After finishing up the pond, I then (with some help from Luchador of having me try some brightness and lighting settings) was able to change up some of the lighting of the map and make it a little more complicated and not as blue/simple like it was before. Here are the changes that occurred.



          Adding a little bit of pink and blue actually made very good color variations and contrasts. These are the current colors/brightness that I am sticking with at the exact moment, although they are subject to change if necessary. I am now starting production on the next set of changes.

*If you see something in the pictures or have a suggestion to make, please leave a comment.*

However, please remember the original purpose of this map isn’t to "redo" the whole entire map, but to get it updated to beta 4, make some changes accordingly, and change the map up to provide the best gameplay experience for the player as much as possible.

Therefore, requests like "will you redo the whole satellite dish" will most likely be answered as no because if I redid the whole map, what would be the purpose of using Luchador’s map as a base like I did? That would almost be like stealing his work too, which is not my intent of this map. This map is more of a learning tool for me and it also allows the players to have a working surface map BEFORE the official release. Get where I am going with this?

Reminder, this is NOT the official Goldeneye: Source Developer version of Surface. This is just a 3rd party map that I am making. It has nothing to do with the official version of the mod nor does this one reflect the final version of the mod.



=Map Pack Download=

=Server Install Map Pack=
« Last Edit: September 25, 2014, 02:41:03 pm by killermonkey »
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Proxie

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2010, 08:57:15 am »

Awesome work Saint, was always really fun to test the map with you and a bunch of others.
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CCsaint10

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2010, 09:04:06 am »

Thanks, hoping I can get in some last few changes that Ferggy talked to me about and then hold another test. Will update this thread as it happens. :) <3
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Storm101

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2010, 09:06:50 am »

The two final images of the pond are broken for me. Everything else looks amazing, though. I loved this map back in beta 1 and it looks like you made it even better. Great job. =)
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 09:10:39 am by Storm101 »
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The Cy

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2010, 09:07:10 am »

wow, this looks really cool. and I like your way of documental presentation
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 09:08:54 am by The Cy »
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Mangley

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2010, 09:27:58 am »

Really nice detailed write up, I enjoyed reading about the progression of the map. I can't wait for it to be finished!  :)
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CCsaint10

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #6 on: September 11, 2010, 10:06:40 am »

The two final images of the pond are broken for me. Everything else looks amazing, though. I loved this map back in beta 1 and it looks like you made it even better. Great job. =)

hmmm, i just tested the last two images and they worked for me...:( I'll take a look at it again just to be sure though.
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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #7 on: September 11, 2010, 10:18:29 am »

They work for me also.
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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #8 on: September 11, 2010, 10:39:49 am »

Excellent work out there! In my opinion, The ice would look a bit better with a slightly lighter blue, But it looks great like this.
Although, In the next screenshots (If you post more) If you'd like, could you activate AA for a better view on the screenshots? (Unless your graphic card does not support it. Although its not a big deal if you don't activate it.)

Looking forward to some more news on that project.
Keep up the good work.

Storm101

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #9 on: September 11, 2010, 11:31:16 am »

hmmm, i just tested the last two images and they worked for me...:( I'll take a look at it again just to be sure though.

They work in Google Chrome but not in Firefox (4.0 Beta 5). Weird. But yeah, that pond looks great.
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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #10 on: September 11, 2010, 11:50:23 am »

SO DOWN! looks sexy mate!
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teekay2010

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #11 on: September 11, 2010, 01:07:00 pm »

For the ice... have you considered creating a custom non-animated "water" texture?

Pull apart HL2 and you can try using reflectiveglass002.vtf or reflectiveglass003.vtf as a basis for ice. This way, your reflections will be much more pretty. Sadly, it still won't reflect the main character you play as... but I think it will reflect other characters, which is awesome and a huge plus over cubemaps and the way you're doing it now (I think).

I tried making an ice texture to show you, but I was having problems getting my "$basetexture" and "$envmapmask" to show up, so I commented those out... but I created a nifty normal map to refract the light.

Here is a sample... just imagine this with a layer of snow overtop. Also, the normal map is probably much too strong. Still, here's an example:




This is what I have...

Code: [Select]
"lightmappedreflective"
{
//"$basetexture" "glass/reflective_ice"
//"$envmapmask" "glass/reflective_ice_mask"
"$translucent" 1

"$refracttexture" "_rt_WaterRefraction"
"$refractamount" "-0.2"
"$refracttint" "[1 1 1]"

"$reflecttexture" "_rt_WaterReflection"
"$reflectamount" "0.2"
"$reflecttint" "[1 1 1]"

"$fresnelpower" "1"
"$minreflectivity" "0.5"
"$maxreflectivity" "1.0"

"$normalmap" "glass/reflective_ice_normal"

"$surfaceprop" "glass"
"$bumpframe" "0"
}

I don't know why the snow part wasn't working... maybe something has to be added to the list of shaders in GE:S?
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 01:08:52 pm by teekay2010 »
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Proxie

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2010, 01:41:02 pm »

They work in Google Chrome but not in Firefox (4.0 Beta 5). Weird. But yeah, that pond looks great.




EDIT: 100th
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 01:44:09 pm by Proxie »
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coolDisguise

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #13 on: September 11, 2010, 01:54:50 pm »

The map is really looking good.
Just a question: if I understood correctly the pond isn't as bright as before, because it's supposed to have a/some layer/s of snow above the ice. If there is so much snow on it that you could hardly see the ice, why would it be that reflective?
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Storm101

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Re: GE_Siberia_LuchSaint
« Reply #14 on: September 11, 2010, 01:57:04 pm »




EDIT: 100th

I see the thumbnails, but when I click on them nothing appears.

http://i9.photobucket.com/albums/a72/Storm101/gespic.jpg

Oh well. No big deal.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2010, 02:13:53 pm by Storm101 »
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