BMPD: Pre-Disaster Office Complex

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    • Well, the idea of how the Map C looks like fully available for walking around is a magnet that brings I believe many of the folks here. With all regard to the importance of right color in Office Complex, it's that celebration of your imagination of how the entire Office Complex looks like that makes this whole conversation so interesting (to me, at least).

      Of all three Office Complex maps, the Map C was the one we've never got any details on. Several promising screenshots and good conversations here and there, but nothing substantial.

      I think it won't be an exxageration to say that seeing Map C in full is what's really missing from the Office Complex pre-disaster maps release.
    • So, over the last week-or-so I've been playing around with the fixed and upgraded lighting engine, and have made some simply massive breakthroughs in the lighting style that finally matches the vision in my head of this very sterile, institutional, but bright part and navigable part of the Facility. It's a bit early to say that pre-disaster Office Complex is back online, but pre-disaster Office Complex might indeed be back online.

      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • Map A is coming along very nicely; I've made an initial pass through the whole thing and in a few days once I've tweaked the lighting and color balance a little (maybe messed around with the color-correction too, since I've not much experience with that) I expect to actually have something workable released.

      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • Really making good progress on getting rid of that horrible green tint previously seen, at least with the background lighting. The problem is, I just can't get the light_spots in the ceiling (for added color) to do anything worth mentioning. I can get them to show up on the floors- not super visibly, but enough- but they just will not show up on the walls unless their saturation and angle are both made really large- which turns the entire floor blue, and even then is not especially visible.
      Here are the spotlights just affecting the floor...



      And here they are 'fanned out' to affect everything:
      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • SO, with better accent lighting Map A is now back from the dead; getting Map B updated is going to take a while simply because it's extremely large so I figured I would work on it on and off along with the expansion of Map A!

      Part 1: The Basics

      The canonical sections of A look like this:



      I am tentatively breaking it up into two main focuses- the maintenance-type areas almost exclusively stemming out from the "guard-and-vorts" room, and the office sort of areas that will connect much of the rest (since this level of Office Complex seems to be more hallways than offices currently). I do not think these areas will connect to each other as they'd normally have to loop alllllll the way around the north end of the map in order to do that, but there is an exception I'll get to in a minute.



      The maintenance areas are relatively simple but at the same time a lot of their design details might be changed by how I connect up the office sections, so I'll dedicate some time to those latter sections first.


      The bathrooms are bathrooms. Small blocky ones like in B Map would fit here pretty well, although if I have the space I may extend them out into a sort of L-shaped design that is less cramped; it depends on how exactly the rest of the office section develops.


      Now, in theory, the idea behind this area is pretty simple. It seems weird to me that to get to the stairwells (which, judging by the large red doors leading directly into lobbies in B and C Maps, are still commonly used) administration personnel would go through what is clearly a little-used maintenance corridor (which even has signage warning unauthorized personnel away). This whole level would make a lot more sense if that maintenance corridor was extended down slightly to bring the storage area and that last section of admin hallway together, and there was another pair of fire doors at the end instead of those manila filing cabinets:


      That's not the way the mapis, however, and so I think the best option is to have the main personnel entrance actually be this white door at the back of the stairwell, which would then connect to the 'emergency exit' door in the hallway:


      It seems odd that such a main path through the complex would have such small doors leading to it, but those are basically the only doors in this section. There's a fair amount of space back in that area, so I plan to build it out a fair bit with another reception desk of some kind and some extensive offices, which will help counter the weird detour quality- and, since it can stretch back to the east as well, I figured I'd have a maintenance door back there connect to the Big Fan Room seen in the post-disaster map (the other door there will connect to a ladder leading to a maintenance area in B Map):

      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • Part 2: The Problem Of The Cargo Doors

      I'm really happy with the setup I discussed preciously, and all of it is pretty much ruined by this section right here.

      Any connection to the stairwell is going to run right past these three doors and presumably connect to them- which is not a problem idea-wise, I made a pretty neat 4-way intersection with an elevator way back in the original version of this map. The problem is that I now recognize that the actual office sections of Office Complex are almost universally flat- the only areas where there's any change in height whatsoever are in and around the cafeteria in Map C, but these sections are up a good ways from the level of both the stairwell door and the admin one- and yet, unfortunately, not quite high enough to be on a level above the offices. This is complicated by the fact that that transformer room has two doors to it, and there really is not a lot of space for the far one to lead to:






      The way I see it, I kind of have two options.



      Option A is to do what I did in the original map- put a stairway going upwards somewhere in the office section, build most of it level with the cargo doors, and then have another stairway going down near the white door in the main stairwell. The second door in the 'electrical room' isn't really relevant; whether it connects to elsewhere in the complex or just terminates in small generator/HVAC room is a question I can answer later:

      I don't like this for a number of reasons. For one thing, it adds a lot of verticality to the office sections, which as I mentioned previously is not really something the first two maps do. For another, that verticality is in a very 'zigzag' fashion where to get, say, from Admin 1 to the Dev Offices, an employee would have to go down a flight of stairs in the main stairwell, then up a flight of stairs past the white door, then down another flight of stairs to the emergency exit door- basically, the stairs 'cancel each other out' in a way very foreign to how large buildings are actually designed.


      Option B is to actually push the offices back farther and have them kind of loop around to the door, and put another, wider maintenance area behind that garage door, which would have two stories and thus descend into the office area proper.

      But what would this area do? One would think the stuff being held in that storage area would go somewhere and it doesn't make sense for cargo to be moved up on that freight lift in the main room only to go back down immediately after, so perhaps there is actually another elevator stop up there, or a passage leading to some other sector of the facility.



      The problem is, the office sections (which, remember, are all on one plane and I really want to keep them that way) have ceilings that are about 32 Hammer Units higher than the floor of the freight-elevator area. That means that if I tried to have anything at all in the maintenance section run over the office area (which it needs to do in order to connect to any other sections of the facility, as it is completely encircled) the two spaces would clip into each other. I could make something in the maintenance room lift up more to solve this, but that's another version of the 'self-defeating stairwells' problem I ran into up above- why would the freight elevator go up to the height it does when there is just a ramp or stairway (or, heaven forbid, another elevator) immediately after it? Why not go up all the way?


      Instead, I am sorely tempted to cheat.


      Several times in Blast Pit the BM devs hide trigger_teleports in areas that don't quite connect topologically in order to make them accessible- if the area where the teleport is is small and the player's vision is restricted, this is pretty much seamless (not quite, which is why you can lose the Hidden Hat so easily in that level, but I think I have a better way to do it where such issues won't happen). The maintenance hallway towards the end of this level is actually pretty damn ideal for this sort of trick:

      Then, the office and maintenance areas could actually be split up like so, with 'the same' elevator shaft (assuming I do indeed want an elevator hookup here) actually existing in two different locations but nobody noticing because the two are identical:

      Then, I wouldn't even have to bother with collisions for the offices versus the freight area at all, and would be free to expand the maintenance area after the electrical room as well. This would require another cheaty trigger_teleport in the portion of the office leading up to the stairwell, but as I am designing that area I think I can make it teleport-friendly without too much trouble.

      This option also has another enticing prospect to it that I will get to in either the next section or the one after.
      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • Part 3- Tunnels and Security Offices


      In terms of the overarching design philosophy of the 'stupid guard' area (I never really thought he was that dumb, actually, he doesn't have as much experience with zombies as freeman does and that area has pretty terrible visibility), I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do, but there are a few issues.

      I always thought of this section as kind of the back alleyway behind Office Complex, a service area between that sector and other sectors where stuff gets unloaded and moved- those red doors up on the balcony are actually an entrance to the complex, and other things in that area aren't actually part of the complex at all. In particular, that entire lower section with the roadway is properly part of the canals and not Administration at all. With that in mind...


      In the previous revision of this map I had this door partially open and leading into an area matching the canals in design. I see really no reason not to port that directly over.

      This door I am thinking is not really part of Office Complex at all; looking at my old full Black Mesa map and .RK's more canonical one I imagine it leads into either the canals or the lower levels of the Area 9 transit hub (i.e. Subtransit or Power Up). Once these areas are restored I will probably connect it, but at the moment I am thinking I am going to leave it closed.

      In the original map I connected these two doors with just a little service area so that security guards could actually get into the reception area without climbing over the front desk. I might end up expanding out this maintenance area and making it connect to the other section (more on this in a following post), but that more depends on what I decide to do with the stairwell area.

      The big problem is these two doors right here:
      The top one I originally just had go into a generic maintenance room, and I see no real reason to change that. The bottom one, however, I want to have go into a security checkpoint for the road tunnel- the problem is, for the tunnel design I want (i.e. the one from Map C) that door is way too high.
      Notice how the tunnel wall very closely follows the shape of the blast doors? That means that in Map A, a security office on the level of that lower white door would have an observation window almost completely diagonal, high up on the tunnel roof. That'd just be weird. I could also put some kind of staircase there to move the office lower, but that's the same 'going up a stairwell and then immediately going down another' problem I was trying to avoid in the office section.

      I could cheat again, of course. There's no reason why I have to have the roadbed on one end of the doors actually be level with the other- bm_c2a5f is revealed to be pretty shameless about this in canon, if you take away the static props covering it up (really, devs, what kept you from just putting that road on a slant?):

      But that is a big jump in c1a2a, big enough that I'm pretty sure people would notice the discrepancy, and (just like I'm going to have to deal with one way or another in c2a5f) if I ever expand that portion of the tunnel system those doors can never actually be opened.



      One other thing I am thinking about is whether I really want to use that specific tunnel design- it's the type of tunnel we see in Office Complex, certainly, but it doesn't really fit well with the grayer, cinderblocky aesthetic of this particular room. I am wondering if instead a tunnel like the ones in Surface Tension might be better:


      What's notable about these is that they have a somewhat higher section of flat wall before they start to curve, giving the possible security office a bit more room. But I think it'd still look weird to have it so high up.


      Other than that, I suppose I could radically restructure the whole area so the security office is accessible from a different section entirely, but I'm not really seeing it.
      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • Glad to see you figured out the lighting issues and that you're back in the architectual restoring game!
      I REALLY love the idea of trying to make the simple stage of an action game into a believable facility!
      The fact that some folks are willing to put so much effort into all this restoring work just shows how much valve back in the day and CC nowadays suceeded in creating a believable backdrop for their game, even tho many parts wouldn't spacially work in real life.

      Keep it up, Admiral! I just wish I had the time to learn hammer because I'd just love to work on this!
      Co-creator of two humans.
    • If teleporting is good enough for the black mesa devs then i think it is appropriate to implement where you see fit. 1:1 recreation of a realistic space is admirable but probably not worth the set-backs and frustration.

      I'll say the same as wayne, even if you're not fully satisfied by the lighting I can see a clear progression from the weird bloom and saturation to something more complimentary to the maps and it's great.
    • Pretty much the only thing left to decide about Map A (other than actually making the office section) is whether I want to connect the maintenance area beyond the 'electrical room' to the service area behind the reception desk near the 'stupid guard' room.

      The way the map is set up currently, this would be kind of hard. For one thing, there's this maintenancey area up above already, which makes it very difficult to build anything else above that section of the facility:

      I could add another stairway or ladder leading up from the electrical room, but since that room is already going to have stairs leading up to it (after a freight elevator, no less) I'd prefer to avoid that for the same reasons I didn't want to add a bunch of different stairways in this area in general- it seems redundant, and not like the sort of thing real facility designers would have happen.


      For another thing, though, there is simply quite a bit of distance between the two ends of this proposed connection, and I really have no desire to fill all of that in with more maintenance areas and equipment:


      If I wind up using a trigger_teleport to separate out the maintenance area from the rest, both of these problems disappear- the higher area is now off somewhere very far away from the maintenance section in real-space and won't interfere with other construction, and more importantly I can make the upper tunnel a much shorter length and still have it 'connect' just fine to the other side of the map.

      So I think if I end up using the teleports (which I probably will) then I'll connect the two, but otherwise likely not.
      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • So, the bad news is, Map B is going to take a little longer before it's actually released, as I rework yet more lighting problems and hopefully hand the devs some bug reports detailed enough to pin down a few long-standing issues; the good news is, I'm taking that opportunity to completely revamp the new areas I've added for aesthetic, logical, and gameplay coherency, and it's coming out great:

      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • Progress on the re-imagining of Map B is coming along very well; it's a very large map when you get right down to it but I am incredibly happy with it.


      One thing I was thinking of doing with the pre-disaster maps in general was adding readable documents- papers, folders, bulletin boards, and computer monitors that when clicked on display text on the screen. However, I have not been able to find a good system to do that. Game_text entities have a limited message length and cannot be translated, and basically every other method I have looked into references the language files in Resource, which do not support custom content that I can determine. Has anyone had success in loading custom text through the localization system?
      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!
    • New

      So, I'm still really drawn to the idea of including readable papers in the pre-disaster maps, and have put together some examples of ones I might include:

      Office Complex:
      Display Spoiler

      On a table in the exec lounge:

      FROM: James Haney,Senior Water Quality Engineer, Sector E Residue Processing
      TO: Dr. MartinCoccorocchio, Chief Radiation Safety Officer, Sector D Administration
      RE: PROPLABradioisotope contamination

      Three times in thelast month we’ve detected radioactive contamination far aboveacceptable bounds in wastewater from Sector D PROPLAB. We are notequipped to handle this type of waste and each time have needed toreroute the wastewater flow to Sector F Radioactive Waste Handling bydeliberately backing up the entire system, which is having an adverseeffect on processing efficiency and the operational lifetime of ourequipment. I have attempted to contact the lab RSO directly but Dr.Fox is not returning my emails. I’ve attached the relevant test andoperation logs as well as my messages to Dr. Fox. Please speak withhim about whatever is causing these radioisotope incidents.

      Display Spoiler

      On a billboard in the entrance hallway:

      ADMIN DEVELOPMENTMOVIE NIGHT
      (Exec lounge, 8:30 –11:00)
      DECEMBER
      2 – Puma Man
      9 – Space Mutiny
      16 – Manos: TheHands Of Fate
      23 – Santa ClausConquers The Martians
      30 – Attack of thethe THE Eye Creatures
      SECOND“THE” IS NOT OPTIONAL!!

      Display Spoiler

      In one of the small offices near the maintenance area:

      FROM: Dr. Colton Marsh, Deputy Ethics ReviewOfficer, Sector D Administration
      TO: Dr. Paul Bottomley, Lab Administrator,Sector E Biodome
      RE: Experimental Animal Termination Procedure

      I’ve pulled a number of records from theSector A Storage Area listing your department’s requisition oflarge amounts of heavy weaponry including buckshot, .357 hollow-pointrounds, and propofol tranquilizer darts. While I understand the needto equip military-grade weaponry in high-security areas of thefacility, the continued consumption of ammunition far in excess ofwhat would be required for training purposes is concerning. I wouldlike to remind your department that there are legal and facilityprotocols in place regarding the human euthanasia of experimentalanimals, especially larger ones such as sus domesticusand pan troglodytes ofwhich your labmaintains an outsized but curiously unobserved population.
      If possibleI’d like to schedule a tour of the facility for myself andpotentially an outside inspector as soon as possible. Please be awarethat failure to comply with this request could be considered groundsfor a further mandatorysurprise inspection. We here at the Office of Ethical Review take ourresponsibilities EXTREMELY seriously.


      Questionable Ethics:
      Display Spoiler

      On multiple billboards and desks in the first floor:
      SECTIONBULLETIN
      CLASSIFICATION: Safety
      PRIORITY: 2
      SECTION: SectorE Biodome
      AREA: AllLabs
      DATE: 23/11/00
      SENDER: Dr.James Wells, Safety & Containment Supervisor

      I’dlike to begin by confirming that the medical department has found noevidence of the infection remaining in Dr. Cadbury’s system, andshe is expected to make a full recovery.
      However, for relatively obvious reasons, we should be doing more toprevent incidents like this from happening again. To that end, I aminitiating biweekly TESLA wipes of all equipped lab areas in additionto the current specimen transfer schedule and emergency-breachprocedures. All laboratory heads should send me a proposeddecontamination calendar by the end of this week.

      Display Spoiler

      On a table in the cafeteria:
      EXECUTIVESUMMARY
      “TESLA”Decontamination/Containment System

      TheThermo-Electric Selective Lysis Accelerator (“TESLA”) device is aproprietary technology developed by the Black Mesa Research FacilityBiodome and Anomalous Materials labs using physical processesreverse-engineered from species X-18 and X-25. When fired in agaseous mixture close to atmospheric pressure, the device triggers anextremely-high-frequency ionization cycle over the course of one totwenty-five milliseconds. This process is harmless to inorganic andnon-living organic materials and the ionizing field dissipatesquickly when allowed to diffuse into ambient atmosphere, but whenconcentrated through gas-tight seals living cells will universallyundergo a highly destructive runaway thermal reaction that results inthe complete dis-integration of all living tissue into diffuseplasma.
      Although the high electrical power requirements of the TESLA systemrender it impracticable for direct military use it has seen extensiveadoption throughout the Biodome facility as a means of selectivelyeliminating biological contaminants following specimen transfersand/or containment breaches, without harming non-living equipmentand/or sealed biological samples.

      Display Spoiler

      In the admin area, on one of the desks:
      TO DO
      * Talkto Breen about firing Ethics Review Office staff
      *Sit-down with Mulachy about security response
      * Checkover new construction plans
      * RouteALL purchases throughhigh-security/hazardous
      *Reroute crystal specimensto Horn



      Unfortunately, I am still somewhat at a loss as to how to get these into the game, as localized text (which includes things like being able to produce messages greater than 255 characters and set the color) is still not working very well.
      Pre-Disaster Planning Thread: Thinking of Restoring a Part of Black Mesa? Come Here First!

      Office Complex PD: I'm the Slowest Pre-Disaster Mapper!

      Pre-Disaster Questionable Ethics: It's here!