Source engine anuisances…

Posted in Source Mod on May 19, 2011 by skaruts

Now I remember why I kinda gave up my horror mod a bit before I lost my internet and before my graphics card blew up. It was when this “Black Windows of Death” bug appeared on Valve’s editor, Hammer, and at the time almost no one knew how the hell to fix that. Well, I’m NOT back on building that mod, but I found a solution for it now. This bug is the one that makes your 2D windows have no grid and the 3D window selections be weirdly highlighted by a black wireframe.

Well, I’m not making that mod, but I’m starting another mod. I think the Dungeon Keeper Source stuff I’ve been doing could probably become a very nice thing as a mod, if I ever get to make it work as intended. Not much done, just created the mod and went through all those annoying issues that creating a mod grants you as a developer aspirant. Compiling successfully under – and launching a debug session from – Visual C++ Express has took me a good amount of reading – and problem solving – through the wiki docs from Valve and I can happily say that everything is working great (except the Release builds – still getting an error).

Mapping for the mod was another pain in the butt… There’s an issue with one of gameInfo.txt‘s lines where the “toolsAppID” is by default 211 (Source 2006), and that makes the “Black Windows of Death” (BWD) bug come into play. Changing the value from 211 to 218 (Source 2007) solves the BWD bug, but then you see certain editor entities like info_player_start and move_rope, etc, as a big ERROR text model. Tried 45781135 solutions, but none of them worked for me. The only thing that helped was some guy in the steam forums that had a great idea – Extract/copy the files from sourcesdk.gcf at /hl2/models/editor to mymod/models/editor. Works perfectly, at least so far.

So for now I have the mod working, I will proceed to get some more content done, but especially to sketch out the plans and script (as in movie-scripts) for the mod in more depth.
Wish me luck.

Ok, heading for a new path…

Posted in Bla bla bla... on May 15, 2011 by skaruts

Good news, and bad news. Good news is, I’m back on my own super-computer (yea, right) and I’m feeling like doing something again. Bad news is, since HL2dm has been upgraded I feel like my jump maps aren’t good for anything anymore… I feel sad for this. The themes may serve some purpose in the future, but the straightforward jumping is pretty much obsolete, due to a Sprint bug that popped out of Valve’s (not surprisingly) really intelligent upgrading of the game. So all my maps have suddenly turned from stand-by mode into a full halt.
I won’t be developing them for AG2 either, mostly because of the lack of active players, and because the active ones play Pro-mode mostly, which I don’t at all.
My horror story mod, is pretty much left aside too. I may come back to it sometime in the future, probably when chicken start laying omelets. 😀 Due to a complete reinstall of my PC’s OS I now have the mod… somewhere… and I’d need to get everything organized again in order to be able to continue with it. But to be honest, I lost most of the inspiration I had back then, so probably only when those omelets come.
I have, however, a good amount of will to start exploring an idea I had some time ago, before my PC broke down. The original idea was to make a CTF map for HL2dm, based on that amazing game from my youth era, Dungeon Keeper. I did a fair amount of stuff back then. It’s not much compared to my goals, but considering all the work I had, it was already a very significant amount for me.
I’m currently catching up and recapping on source stuff and blas, hammer crashes and bugs, and all those nice annoyances from Valve, and I’m already sketching up some ideas and doing some 3D modeling. I made a video back then from the results of my experiments. I have yet no advancements to show off, but if all goes well, I may soon show some neat stuff, and maybe even what my goal is. Meanwhile, I need to start going to the beach, and do some more sketching in the process.

Amnesia and the Mod Tools

Posted in Game Making Tools on February 16, 2011 by skaruts

I had bought Amnesia – The Dark Descent while it was still in the pre-order fase, and I completely forgot about it over time, due to having a slow pc working at the moment, and while my own pc isn’t fixed I haven’t been thinking much about “bigger” games at all. But, when recently a friend of mine caught me on steam and sent me a line saying “Amnesia best horror game ever!!”, I remembered having bought it and I said to myself, what the hell, I may as well try it, at least. So I went searching my inbox mails for Amnesia and FG related keywords and I found the confirmation stuff and all, I downloaded it, and I tested it. It crashed. 😀 This pc isn’t in the best shape and the graphics card isn’t the most supported by it, but after testing diferent graphics settings it finally ran well (“well” as in “everything mininmum, 640 res, and not 100% butter-skating-smooth, but very playable, still).

But meanwhile, during a few days that I was thinking the game would never run here, I tried to modding tools. So far I’m just a big noob at it, while I understand the basic concepts of the Level Editor I couldn’t be asked to make a decent map yet, let alone a whole custom story. But still I already am surprised.

I only tested the level editor so far, and I must say I loved it. There is only one thing I wish it was improved, and that is viewport navigation system: I’m used to Valve’s Hammer and its WASD flying system, which works pretty much as if you were ingame with noclip on, and this is a must for me in any editor. But I’m also used to Blender and a few other 3D modelers and the controls of this Level Editor aren’t so diferent from them. Alt+Left/Mid/Right mouse buttons will give you the Orbit/Pan/Zoom funtions respectively. This isn’t that bad. I’m ok with it. Still wish for WASD flying, but it’s ok anyway. At least it isn’t as bad as the older UEds in this matter.

It has a few bugs (but, hey, if you come from Hammer you’re used to that and much more! Right? lol). One of the bugs is rather funny, when you click the red cross on the top-right (the one you use to close apps), it doesn’t work. You need to either go to “File->Quit” or press Alt+F4. I laugh at it everytime I use the program because I always forget. 😀

There are, however, a few severe/dangerous bugs, and one must save a lot, and sometimes restart the program to fix certain ones. But so far, everything seemed rather easy to deal with and no harm as been done to my simple map that I made from a basic tutorial.

The GUI is very simplistic, just how I like it. Again, being used to Hammer makes me wish for this kind of stuff. 12 buttons on the side, a control pannel or property inspector, whatever you want to call it, on the right side, and a sort of status bar with a few toggle buttons and that’s it. However, not all is made with the Level Editor. And that’s why there’s more programs in the tools, like the Model Editor, the materials and particles editors and some viewers and the language tool which is used for tranlations, I think. The model editor is used to set model properties for the map, and not a 3D app as the name may make it sound. In this editor you can define the state of a model, for exemple, you can have a door being locked by default when the map starts.

Everything in the editor are 3D models, except for certain things like entities, lights and areas. This means, if you want custom stuff, you gotta do it yourself. Diferent walls or doorways or whatever, it all has to be modeled externally and saved as a Collada DAE model, and then it can be used to make up the map. I’m not sure how the GPL2 engine works, but I’m sure it doesn’t use BSP geometry at all. In a way, for some reason, I like the idea of it, even if it means I won’t be doing much custom stuff alone.

Well, as a final thought, I think it’s a great tool. I haven’t mentioned half of what it’s capable of, and I don’t know more than half of what it’s capable of, but so far it surprised me. Well, such a complete set of tools and full ingame support for mods, coming from an indie dev team, is something to be surprised at.

But even more surprising is Amnesia – The Dark Descent, from which I only had the pleasure of fearing for 20 long and cruel minutes, and I already feel like recommending it to everyone who likes being scared to shit by watching/playing horror. And if you think you aren’t the type to piss your pants just by playing a game, I tell you: Even more than Penumbra series would (or did), this game will impress you. But I’ll leave this for another post, sometime after I played more and have cleaned my underwear. 😀

Loooong absence…

Posted in Bla bla bla... on December 22, 2010 by skaruts

Some dificulties along the way have left me with my hands tied to keep working on almost everything I was working on… My ATI graphics card broke down and I quit the last ISP I was connected through, and until I buy a new card I won’t be doing any mapping, unless the PC I’m using now can handle Half Life 2. Maybe in a recent future I will re-establish my internet connection, and that will allow me to get my researches going and perhaps some of my works.

However, I have not been idle. I will post my atempts on creating simple games in Flash as soon as I figure out how to embed a swf file and as soon as I make them the necessary changes (shrinking) for them to fit a blog page. I will also post some 3D models (Blender is amazingly light, and runs on any PC :D) and other works I may have done.

Until I come back, cheers and a happy xmas. 😀

Cort EVL-Z4

Posted in 3D Models on January 28, 2010 by skaruts

There’s the beautiful Cort guitar I still dream about. Half way up to become real. One of these days I’m going to aquire one, but until then I’ll have this one handcrafted and homemade.

There’s too much reflectiveness in the body in this render, but I’m adjusting it as I make new renders. Now it needs strings and lots of stuff more that I can’t remember the english names. Even a few details on the body that are missing and the fret measures that’ll be aplied with a texture perhaps, I’m kind of happy with those hambuckers, but they still lack the screws too.


Oh no! Another Horror Story!

Posted in Source Mod on January 19, 2010 by skaruts

The latest adventure I got myself into is a mod for Half-Life 2. It doesn’t yet have a title nor it has any real thought given into it due to its experimental aproach. So far so good, but I had to go around some wicked bugs it was having envolving cameras (point_viewcontrol), rain and point_spotlights. The cameras were there to make a short intro to the story of the mod, but I’ve decided to come up with it in video format and display it on the beggining of the map. So the intro is taken care of.

After that I had to look into the source code in order to change the player walk and run speeds, and also to deactivate the crosshairs. No, the game will not have a crosshair. It’s supposed to become a survival horror mod, and IF the player ever has any weapons they will be some kind of casual everyday intrument like and axe or a fry-pan. I have some other ideas for certain weapons or defensive systems that I’ll only be able to implement if I find a good and generous programmer that is willing to help me.

The final product should be a short/medium playable mod, as much scary as I can make it, and with a nice amount of interaction and little bit of freedom of choice. And since I’m a perfectionist by nature, some easter-eggs will surely be lurking from the shadows as well.

It will not be the typical haunted mansion type of horror story, even though you may thing that by looking at the photos. The mansion is a simple house in the woods, from a missing famous writter, and you are going in to investigate about his absence. What will happen after you get into his life (death?) or what lurks inside his house? Or… oh, wait!  Is it outside looking at you as you go in? That’s something you’ll be able to find out once you take your investigation forward.

I’ll be posting more details about it’s deving and my ideas as I make it grow.

Unreal Development Kit

Posted in Game Making Tools on January 18, 2010 by skaruts

Unreal Development Kit (UDK) is a free version of Unreal Editor and Engine 3 that allows anyone to make games or mods with it. It doesn’t require you to have any Unreal Engine based game to use it.

I have yet to learn more about it, since I’ve never been into Unreal editing tools before, but I already noticed some good things about it. One of them, is that this editor allows you to navigate in your 3D viewport with WASD keys by pressing the right-mouse button, which for me, since I’m used to work with Hammer for the Source Engine, is a must. There’s lots of other cool stuff about it that already come from previous versions. Having the ability to quickly preview/test/play in the editor itself, is one of them.

After being used to work with Source Engine, I think UDK has many advantages over it. Also, from what I’ve seen around, you can make your own games with it. Even if they aren’t the 1st person shooter type of games.

This is a great tool for all those that want to actually create their games in a powerful 3D engine. I highly recomend it.

Go for it. Or like they say in the documentation:

“Go make something unreal!”