So I’ve nailed down enough of pd_c1a0a to properly explain my design theory behind it and what some of my objectives are:
Most of what I’m changing in this map is just the lighting, which I’ve already expounded on at length here (and will likely continue to expound on as I learn new techniques).
There’s also some logical features I plan to implement, most of which are pretty trivial:
- You can get back into the tram platform through the airlock without having the security guards pass you in every single time. I thought about modifying Officer Slow-As-Balls’s scripting so he’d cross the catwalk to let you in in a more timely fashion, but didn’t bother since he only does that once and you can operate the door controls yourself after that.
- You can get back out of the elevator area after being let in, but you can also get in there to begin with - and indeed will be able to go all the way to the Test Chamber entrance - without the HEV suit. I know it’s a bit strange, but I always thought there was something pleasingly pre-disastrous about being able to have basically the run of all non-hazardous areas of the facility in just a comfortable shirt and kakhis and not bulky protective gear. The suit’s still available to wear wherever, of course. Freeman’s walking speed is a little slow without it, so I might include a player_speedmod as well. If I can get that to work and find it helpful I’ll put it in all the other pre-disaster maps too.
- It’s actually possible to take the HEV suit back off and store it back in the locker room if for some reason you want to do that.
- While there’s currently no place for it to go, it will be possible to use the tram system to fast-travel to other pre-disaster chapters as they are added. Similarly, if ArcHammer is still around and willing to add a transition to match, the Sector B airlock will be unlocked and able to connect the player to the coolant reserve.
I’m planning on including a lot of documents in this map that both explain what the Anomalous Materials Lab actually works on, and the interactions of various people in it with Gordon and each other. It seems to be kind of a minor meme in the fandom that Black Mesa was a comedically horrible workplace in every respect, but really the labs we see in Anomalous Materials (and for that matter areas like Office Complex, Questionable Ethics, etc.) compare pretty well to where I currently work. Granted what makes or breaks a work environment is the people and we do see some bad behavior on display in AM, but the majority of the scientists and security/service workers seem pretty friendly when interacting with Gordon and each other. So overall I’ve decided to portray the lab as a pretty OK if a bit competitive place to work. I actually made Dr. Rosenberg from Blue Shift and Decay the head researcher; Dr. Keller (the older scientist in the wheelchair) runs the other Sector C lab where Gina Cross and Collette Green work (more on this below). I also decided that Gordon does not just push samples into the AMS- he has a desk in the research/administration area with the whiteboards, and actually does do theoretical physics research. He, Dr. Cross, and Dr. Green just wanted an excuse to have the lab pay for them to get HEV certifications:
In terms of providing access to other areas of the map, I’ve had a pretty easy time of it. Most of the locked doors in bm_c1a0a just lead to labs we can already see, so all I needed to do was unlock them and fill in a few walls that were not visible from outside and thus never textured. However, the security office and mailroom in the lobby weren’t immediately accessible, so I added a sort of service area connecting them:
It’s worth noting that I’ve not opened the door at the end of the Personnel Facilities hallway, and have indeed added other locked doors in the service area that face the same direction. That’s because I believe these doors connect Anomalous Materials to the other areas surrounding the anti-mass spectrometer that we see in Decay, as I’d outlined previously here
. I’m calling those other labs the “Anti-Mass Systems” department. I was in luck that bm_c1a0a separates relatively cleanly from this area, but I foresee some problems in bm_c1a0b in how much of the anti-mass systems half of the spectrometer labs I want to build out and make accessible versus how much I want to save for people working on Decay remakes- does the door to the security desk in front of the Test Chamber lead into an area seen in Decay? What about the upper lab with the catwalk over the plasma cells?
I’m sure I’ll figure it out. But in addition there’s some things I know I won’t be able to do without changes being made by the developers to how Black Mesa’s code works- the HEV startup sequence graphic and some of the NPC flavor dialogue are actually tied to the map name and thus will not function on a map called pd_c1a0a as opposed to bm_c1a0a. The announcement system also has this problem, but I built a decently-functional “fake” announcement system using some timers and a crapton of ambient_generics that I can easily bring over to replace it. It might be possible to do the same with the HEV bootup, but I doubt it, and the NPC dialogue I’m pretty sure is a lost cause.