Black Mesa Mod Work in Progress Showoff Thread


Get the picture you want. Convert it into VTF. Make a corrosponding VMT for the VTF file you created. Put it inside of bms/materials folder for Hammer to load the material. Apply the custom texture in your map through Hammer. Now when packing your map in VPK, be sure to also pack both the VTF and VMT along with materials folder for it to work.




I thought custom textures were not working the same way sounds and scenes weren’t.

Good to know they’re not, there’s a few changes I might want to make to Office Complex’s ceilings…


Reminds me of this thing I did


Yeah, it was actually the ceiling tiles that I was thinking about replacing- I’ve had a horrible time with the ceilings coming out too dim compared to the walls and floor, and by intensive study of the ceiling tiles in the actual underground office warrens where I work I concluded that the actual texture is far too gray and just isn’t reflecting enough light (also the bumpmaps on the tiles are backwards, but whatever). I didn’t want to affect the canon maps in any way, so I was planning to extract that ceiling tile texture, lighten it a little, and then save that as a new texture to be used in the PD maps only.

I did find a workaround, however:

Each floor in areas with ceilings I want to fix is sliced into three layers.

  • The first layer has the regular floor texture on top. From above, it looks just like a regular floor, and accepts shadows and everything. However, the underside is glass- this makes the entire brush transparent to light, even though with the floor texture in place you can’t see anything from above (I used this same effect to create the “one-way mirror” in the Map B conference room Easter egg).
  • The second layer has, facing upwards, skybox texture. The texture the Office Complex maps use is actually completely transparent, but it still produces directional light- with a light_env entity set to shine straight upwards (90 degrees) at a spread value of zero, the skybox shines up through the transparent underside of the carpet, illuminating everything directly above it (and only things directly above it, bleeding only where the lightmaps are very large and cross from an area that is not lit to one that is). By making the light the same blue-white as most of Office Complex, and setting it to a relatively low value, it is just like I made the ceilings it shines on more reflective. By happy coincidence, the skybox does not seem to light the undersides of props cast shadows from them onto the ceiling.
  • The third layer is just a regular NODRAW brush to seal the map, since the transparent floor panel cannot do that. In theory the skybox should be able to do seal the room itself, but I was getting weird leak errors so I put a safety element in.

I still can’t decide if this is stupid or brilliant, and it took a lot of effort to get right, but it does work. Of course, now that I know custom textures are indeed supported, I’m not sure if I want to continue with this approach or just create a new, lighter tile design like I was originally planning.


That is a very inventive workaround to a problem I never noticed, and I commend you for coming up with it even if it turns out to be totally unneeded.


I probably would’ve just used dim light ents w/ mostly constant attenuation, but that’s definitely a clever way of doing things.


The problem with dim light ents is that they also make the walls brighter- so the ceiling still looks dim relative to the walls.

I’ll have some comparison shots of one of the offices up soon, with a lighter ceiling texture versus the underlit ceiling. I’m putting the lighter texture at an inherent advantage, however, as in areas where there is a burned-out light it will not cause this to happen:


All right, here we go:






(Note to self- do the vent and dirty textures too…)


This will probably be the last post I will make for my current project on this showoff thread - the next post probably would be on its own thread (which isn’t up yet) when I decide to release the first part of the map once the issues regarding the current version of Black Mesa is sorted out.

I went and made new platforms for stations and more textures.

I based this area on a real-life public train station (in a much smaller scale since this isn’t a public transport).

The screendoors (not yet finished, no actual “doors” currently exist) are there for the decoration only. I’m planning a scripted scene about this so I can’t talk much.

I plan to have some lamps destroyed to break the monotonous feeling.

Currently this entire platform is very empty and dull. I hope to add more various military props to light it up a bit. A memorable combat scene will take place here with Gordon, HECU and aliens killing each other. But we already know the winner.

A closer look at the monitors and the signs.

Both the signs and the monitors were also taken inspiration from their real-life counterparts. Some of you even may recognize it (that is, if you live near this area that is).

The Blue Line platforms will not have these fancy monitors equipped, since it was constructed before the age of such thing. Also these things cost money a lot. So they only installed these on newer portion of the facility.

Platform from a different angle. To your front is a hall of mirrors.

Generally, this line was constructed much later in the history of Black Mesa (in my head-canon), but most of the stations used pre-existing areas. So I first built the platform to look a bit old and used, and then added much more modern-looking, clean and new signs/maps/monitors around the place. This is only for the Violet Line platforms, however. Other lines such as the Blue Line were constructed much earlier, and therefore more rough looking signs/etc.

The “Advanced Biological Research Lab 1” station (this one is 2nd) is situated on the surface (which was revamped from this old screenshot) and will have more modern construction since I plan to have the station not based on older area. This station is one that was glimpsed at the end of the Questionable Ethics chapter, “Sector E - Biodome Platform 1” (Not to be confused with Biodome Complex from the Opposing Force, in the chapter Vicarious Reality, which is different from the lab in Half-Life, Advanced Biological Research Labs).


OMG. Awesome!


Super excited about this mod. Hope it will also become an extension of the Questionable Ethics Pre-Disaster Mod - adding @Admiral Sakai :slight_smile:


I am not actually sure what I’ll do for the QEPD tram station. Always looking out for ideas!


Can I just have one minor criticism on this superb work you guys have done so far?

I feel the color violet is…I dunno, wrong somehow, for this portion of Black Mesa. I can’t put my finger on what the problem is, though. Maybe it’s too… I dunno, bright and vibrant for the surrounding gloomy-like textures?

Beyond that choice of color, stellar job all around! Can’t wait to play this sucker! :smiley:


Hmm. Well, being bright isn’t the first thing to come up for me. The color purple (what I define to be RGB(159,0,255)) is more bright and lively, while violet (RGB(47,15,95)) is more darker and colorless. This probably is something psychology related. I’m a methemagician so I can’t comment about it much. But I did accidentally use purple on some of the images above (it’s because the image editor I use default default to this). I plan to fix it later on!

The choice of the color was something I did a long time ago (way back in 2014, I think) and just stuck with it since. It’s not hard to change color since I work layer by layer (and therefore easily change components without messing up others), but right now I really do not have a motivation to change it. Maybe if more people have the same voice, I would look into it.

And by the way, I work alone, not a part of any team. Not that I’m introverted or dislike team effort or anything, though. I never convinced myself that I’m good enough to participate in an actual team based project.


Thanks. Yeah, the criticism is really minor but what I’m seeing in your screenshots is that the purple colors really “pop”…which would be a good thing in most cases, but in this case, I don’t believe they should pop as much. This is an in-use section of Black Mesa (or used to be in-use) so the colors should be more faded and perhaps a bit grimier or dirtier (I’m not sure of the correct words to use).

Everything just feels very clean which is contrasted with the dirtier parts around it. To me, Aperture Science feels “clean” and Black Mesa feels “dirty”. The violets you’ve chosen are too “clean” for Black Mesa and feel more at home at Aperture Science. Maybe dirty up the textures a bit?

Again, really minor thing.


You are actually right on that topic. Right now, they do have very minor “scratches” on their surface but they are not very noticable. I do plan to have the textures to have more much noticable grims on them, but I’m not really a person who is proficiented in this part of the texture-art-theory. I just never get to have these realistic “oom-ph” feeling of… nastyness. On that topic, I never get to have any feeling at all, actually.

I currently did make the colors less vibrant though, by making them even darker (but still retaining its violet-ness).

Personally I would like to achieve this level of “filthyness” (pic taken from official BM maps):

Look at all these dents and peeled off parts… That is the level[/size] I want to achieve (no pun intended, I swear). It surely would take some practice to actually get to that, though.

By the way, I do love the criticisms (unlike many other people). Especially if it’s coming from someone who is familiar with the Half-Life series (trust me, there aren’t very many such people around me)! I mean, my work is sort of like my kid. How could I judge my own child? Other people are more qualified for that, for sure! That doesn’t mean I’m going to suck every opinion into, though. Conflicts would have to be resorted (which is something I struggled with a lot since often one of my playtester would suggest this while the other would suggest the complete opposite).

P.S. Now that you mention it the signs do look as if they are from Aperture, hahaha.


Try to not darken them but try desaturating them.

I took your color ((RGB(47,15,95)) and desaturated it to RGB(53,43,67) and got something like this:

Your color is on the left, the desaturated is on the right. It’s not necessarily darker, though, but it is more faded.


Thanks for the color suggestion. I shall try it once I’m home and add some grim to the sign and see what I get!


[Warning: Somewhat useless post follows]

So while I was working on a setpiece for the map I’m working on , I noticed that due to the way model hitboxes work, the crossbars on the tram model (which is being used as dressing rather than a vehicle) were blocking bullets and giving the enemy some unintended areas of cover. So, I present, make up tools/invismetal and tools/invismetal grate, the OAR_TRAM_AWESOME_FUNC_BRUSH 1.0:

Set the model to no collision and this baby will let rounds pass through all the right places while still giving acceptable collisions. And when it his 88 Miles Per Hour, you’re gonna see some… nothing because it doesn’t move.

EDIT: Learning how to use the vehicle NPCs.


I lol’d at that video Jeff.