BMPD: Pre-Disaster Office Complex


Did you figure out the shadow/lighting issue you had?


I’ve had so many I don’t know which one you are referring to specifically, but I have made many changes to the way I am doing lighting to fix a lot of things I was unhappy with.


pd_c1a2b is almost ready to ship (remind me to never make a map this goddamned large again!), I am just going back over the level transitions and trying to find a way to prevent undesirable entity transitioning without the cumbersome hidden teleports in the original maps.

Honestly, it could be going better, but I’m not even close to exhausting everything I want to try.


So, I was unable to get rid of the trigger_teleports completely, but I was able to significantly reduce their number and so Map B has now gone up. I’m really liking it.

“Officially”, I will be working on a number of different things in the next month or so- the expansion of pd_c1a2a, the restoration of pd_c1a2c, and also ev_office. However, pd_c1a2b is the first map I would say that I have well and truly finished, and so to celebrate I was thinking of starting work on some completely new map that I have never really messed around with before- something other than more Office Complex or Questionable Ethics; something from an entirely different chapter or perhaps a Deathmatch map.

Any suggestions on what you’d like to see given the pre-disaster treatment?


A while ago when first getting into mapping, I tried to PD Apprehension. It went kind of well, but I gave up because I was very new at mapping and ending up restarting a few times because I irrecoverably screwed up. But more interestingly, it was hard trying to figure out which areas are abandoned/decommissioned, or just flooded/in bad shape.


I think when I eventually (perhaps pretty soon) take a crack at Apprehension I’ll be working on it under the assumption that all or nearly all of it was in fact in active use until the disaster- building underground is expensive, and Black Mesa is trying to run itself off the American taxpayer while supporting top-secret projects; I doubt they’d let an entire sector just go to ruin like that, especially when we see labs like Blast Pit built into converted missile silos. You can get away with an awful lot if you’re willing to tweak a few textures under the pretext of different lighting conditions.


I do want to claim bm_c2a3c if I can get a better .vmf of it. My decompiled version kept crashing the compiler when I tried to compile into PD form. Plus, 3a and b deserve to be focused on more as the entire chapter takes place in sector E (maniacal laughter), and show the most promising connection to get to QE.


Map C’s reworking kind of just came together unexpectedly; I was messing around with it and changing an area here and an area there, and before I knew it the whole thing was done. I believe I’ve mentioned previously what I plan to do with Map A and will probably just get right along with that, but it is worth noting that while I got some requests to play around with Apprehension and the first map of Power Up what I actually ended up doing was expanding the relit rooms of c1a0a I created for the interior lighting thread into the rest of the map and making a “Pre-Disaster Anomalous Materials”. I quite like the way it looks, have unlocked some of the sealed labs, and if people show interest I may very well whip up some documents for it and release the thing to the public.


I surely want to play this!!! NOW!!!


My easily-distractable Pre-Disaster focus has turned once again towards Office Complex, and as I’ve been thinking over how I would try to expand Map A I’ve realized a lot of what I’m doing involves questions that can be more easily answered after expanding Map C. So that’ll be my next area of focus.
I already have a fairly good idea of how I want to set the area up, based on previous discussions here. The big question previously was where to place the tram platform since there seemed to be shipping and high-traffic personnel areas on both the south- and northeast ends of the map, but I’ve decided that Office Complex is important enough to merit two small tram platforms, one on each side with a walkway in between them (think similarly to Area 3 Security). Then however much of the rest of the area remains can be used as offices or for the incinerator or whatever.

On a side note I was seriously considering having the two corridors in C Map that go west instead terminate in this exposed office area from Inbound (which I had originally planned to have one level above). The doorways actually do line up almost personally, but unfortunately they’re facing the wrong way! So I don’t think this area will be explorable from pd_c1a2c and instead be part of the level above.

I have a reasonably good idea of what I want to do with most of the rest of the map, namely just filling in exec offices wherever space is left over from the tram station and other areas, but at the moment I am absolutely baffled as to what to do with the service area at the top of the map. Currently the big fan room takes up much of it, in fact blocking some doors, but I plan to move that back somewhat and have no idea what to put in the space it leaves; particularly behind those big double doors confusingly labeled both “exit” and “restricted”:


Okay, so I might have accidentally intentionally beat a guard up with a TV before stealing his gun and killing everyone in all three maps.

Anyway, I’m confused with the sketch up. What level is are all the boxes on? With them being on a top-down view with multiple floors to begin with, the boxes look more like they’re all on top, rather than at varying levels.


I think I can fix the TVs; some physics props seem capable of dealing damage when others cannot, but setting them to ‘debris’ usually solves that.

This is all for the lower level (Admin 2, with the cafeteria); I don’t plan to expand the upper very much seeing as it’s a whole other floor but only a single hallway is canonically designed.


It took me literally a week to make this stupid arch. It took about a day for me to come up with a way to actually make the brushwork- it’s a series of horizontal rings made with the ‘arch’ tool corresponding to the width and height of the brushes that make up the straight ‘tunnel’ arch section beside it (sort of like the steps of an amphitheater); then I could move one of the bottom edges of all of the brushes up to meet the top edge and form the appropriate slant. This actually worked really well once I got the hang of it, but after saving the map for the first time I realized that the geometry was very badly mangled by the planes-to-vertices roundoff error bug, making very obvious gaps.

I tried a couple of different scales and subsegmentation values to try to get around this, but nothing really worked.

“No problem”, I said, “Before I save it and mangle the geometry, I’ll just turn the arch into a model with Propper and just use that instead”. Turns out Propper doesn’t work in Black Mesa, and I spent a good long while trying to figure out why and then going through the rather convoluted process to get it working and re-make the arch geometry from scratch (copy-and-paste also falls prey to the roundoff error and my original arch got completely munged anyway) in a map that the SDK 2013 version of Hammer could load without crashing. Then I finally got the model made and discovered… that the model also had gaps in it because apparently Propper references the saved .vmf in order to make its model in the first place.

So what I ended up doing was taking the Propper-produced model and opening it in Blender (Propper does also save raw .smds of the models it makes so at least I didnt’t have to decompile the .mdl file) and merging the vertices there, then recompiling the thing with Crowbar and sticking it back in the game. So that’s a total of three external tools (four if you count the SDK 2013 version of Hammer) to make a single prop… which can only really be seen at a great distance from a catwalk further back up the tunnel in the actual map. But it was still a valuable learning experience… right?


Wow, that really had to be frustrating!

We learn more from our mistakes than our successes.


That vertices rounding issue has made me give up on more than one attempt at map-making. Good to see you found a workaround, even if it’s a pain.


Geometry for the southern half of Map A is finally nearing completion, although everything should be considered very much WIP. The lighting in particular is not representative of the final product; I am still on my old backup computer and the monitor on that has gotten so terrible that making reasonable lighting on it is impossible. Fortunately SOMETIME in the next few weeks I should be recovering my new computer from the manufacturer, so we will probably see a release of Map A around that time.

Particularly concerned about this last room here, since it kind of has a lot of different props of different styles in it and thus looks very chaotic.


I think there needs to be more labelingi in the different props room
Some of the lines need to be labelled and have arrows for flow direction
Bigger lines
Hot DI Water
DI Water
Sulfuric Acid
Hydrofluoric Acid
Waste Water non-potable
Acid Waste

BIG PIPEs or ducts
Heat Exhaust
Hazardous Waste

Smaller Lines
CDA (compressed dry air)
Breathing Air

just my 2 cents


Yeah that would be really helpful. I’m thinking also of redoing all the pipes in here with the white metal ones like are in the transformer room, but in the same basic shapes.


Thought of connecting my computer to my TV and playing Black Mesa on that, but that’s made the lighting even more confusing because the gamma values do not sync up and the color balance is weird and… it’s just a mess.

In positive news, though, the new Office Worker and Maintenance models are working wonderfully, although I am still unsure what to do with the female staff.


RE: The Arch

I know I’m rather late to the game - but I figure a bit of knowledge is always useful for the future. That arch can be made in 5 minutes with the torus tool and then playing with the vertex editor to snap the pieces onto the grid. Make it a 360 torus (in both ways - cross sectionally and from top/down) and then simply shear it with the clipping tool to make the half donut that you wanted here.

You could also displace it with subdivision instead. You can do kinda magical things with displacements, if you know how.

Also since working on Xen I’ve learned a bit more about the “rounding error” which happens on complex brushwork. It’s not a rounding error per se. It only happens when brushwork becomes concave. This most commonly happens on sloped+rounded surfaces. The fix is to do the surfaces with displacements or by triangulating the brushwork.

You were basically making this, right?