BMPD: Pre-Disaster Office Complex


#41

By the looks of it, we could actually get a small team of three up and running - to convert the game to its pre-disaster glory. I’ve got Hammer up and running and working on some practice maps, so far so good!


#42

Can I ask where to find this layout?
Thanks.


#43

Sorry, I neglected to include the link! Here you go: A map of BM’s Black Mesa Research Facility


#44

Awesome! I remember seeing one of Half-Life 2, done like this. Looks great and very useful!


#45

Biggest problem I see is that you have completely changed the lighting to white everywhere. If you are redoing things to to predisaster I can see it being more fully lit but the color of the lighting shouldn’t change.


#46

Holy crap a developer! Office Complex is kind of a special case lighting-wise, since 90% of the chapter has the same style and dimensions of rooms and those white drop ceilings, so it makes sense for the lighting in it to be very even. Note that not everything is completely white- the interior offices are whiter, but the corridors are more blue. Furthermore, I am trying to be truer to the lighting of the stock levels in other areas (where applicable). That said, lighting is not my strong suit and when I eventually release VMFs (current plan is alongside the legendary c map), anyone who can light the area better than I will have their changes included in the mod and their name credited.

I’ve also been poking around in Unforeseen Consequences and Blast Pit, and expanding these areas is going to prove to be a challenge as both are just unimaginable Escher hells and it’s impossible to figure out what actually relates spatially to what- half of Blast Pit is held together with trigger_teleports, and Unforeseen Conseuences (most prominently the Box-Smashing Room) includes doors that open directly into blank walls on corridors nearby. It’s going to take some additional work to make these areas make sense or be suitable for restoration. That said, I now have like 80 different people building different parts of Black Mesa, so maybe someone else will be able to handle it. I’m also very interested in seeing what ArcHammer does with the top floor of Sector B, since I planned to expand the frozen lab at the start into a full suite of supercooled laser labs beyond that collapsed hallway, but abandoned that due to time constraints…


#47

Made a little progress on c1a1e, since as it has very few actual doors in it the non-Euclidean headaches are more manageable. I am thinking I’ll be turning up the white area lights as well to make the place a bit less overpoweringly yellow, but I’m not sure if even that will be enough…


I am considering giving the player the ability to start and stop the crate tracks in the box-smashing room from the control room, individually or as a whole… also thinking if it would be a good idea to let the player drain and refill the canal, by opening or closing floodgates on the source side- I doubt the maintenance teams actually use that ladder to SWIM AROUND IN THERE, after all… no obvious place for the controls to do that to go, but perhaps one of those valves on the pipes up above controls it…


#48

Looking good!


#49

Also, I neglected to mention that I’ve made a somewhat interesting discovery- naming a security guard after a scientist in the character manifest will cause them to spawn with a consistent set of traits taken from that scientist, but adapted for the guard NPC. I am going to have to experiment with this, and see if I can find scientist or Hgrunt names that will prevent guards from spawning bloody, maintenance guys having armor, et cetera.


#50

All right, results of the first round of NPC “cross-dressing” tests:

How this works:
NPCs (npc_human_security guards) given targetnames from the character_manifest file that are intended to refer to other types of NPCs, for instance a guard named Sci13_research.

Findings:

  • Giving NPCs a crossdressing character_manifest name that specifies a model will cause the NPC to spawn with that model while retaining its type. The NPC will therefore look like, say, an npc_human_scientist, but still have the AI, sounds, and other behavior of npc_human_security. Swapping models with Marines creates glitchy, immobile NPCs since Marines and civilians have different animation sets. However, scientists and security have (almost?) the same animation set, so switching the two of them appears to work under most circumstances. This makes it potentially possible to create armed scientists, as well as solving an important problem in the old female guards topic (albeit with a lot of work on the part of the modeller to make a compatible animation set). Have not tested with alien models, but I imagine this would create more glitchy, unusable NPCs due to different animations.
  • This exploit is nowhere near as powerful as I was expecting, as it seems it only influences NPC skins and faces, not bodygroup props. Crossdressing NPCs will always spawn with the default bodygroup props.

#51

Please reply, can I join your team, or not?


#52

There isn’t really a formal team, and it’s not like I can stop you from making maps. If you want some section of the facility in particular, you should check out the planning thread, and ArcHammer is working on another meeting area so that we don’t spam the BM forums with predisaster planning.


#53

It’s been a while without any activity as I deal with a few non-BM projects, but I’m getting on track to finish at least the first part of pd_c1a2c. Since that part contains a certain Very Important Area that has some serious issues with the way it is lit, in order to get the map back into proper production I’m making another pass through the Office Complex lighting, trying to make it look a bit less fullbright and more similar to the post-disaster lighting.

The corridors and maintenance areas look great:

The offices, not so much.



Too yellow, too even, and yet at the same time too dim…




This last one isn’t so bad, it’s just kind of flat and it took me about three hours to balance the lights just right in this one room. That, and I think it looks purple.

Oh, and while messing around with Unforeseen Consequences I discovered that you can, in fact, fit four complete office technology setups into one 48x48 crate with room to spare for cables and manuals:

I expect the gib list to be modified to accommodate this discovery immediately.


#54

The Level A relight is progressing slowly but steadily. I’ve made a few very minor alterations to the way the level geometry is set up, but B will have more drastic changes. That said, I’m thinking the place looks, from a geometric perspective, about as good as it’s ever going to get. I’ve decided to release the A and B VMFs with the lighting fix update as well- after that, work on Map C will resume.

Also, on a bit of a lark since all of the lighting in there currently is getting removed anyway, I went through the expanded backside of Level A and lit it in the post-disaster style. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with the outcome. Screenshots alternate with the vanilla c1a2a map of an area that I was specifically inspired by- keep in mind, there’s no changes to the level geometry itself here, other than breaking a few props in-game and adding some decals:








#55

Providing everyone with a little December update of my own with a relit, slightly repropped and partially debugged A and B map pack. Work on pd_c1a2c is FINALLY ready to proceed, and over holiday break I will have much more time in which to do it. Check out the OP for new media and a more in-depth summary of what is going on- I want responses on lighting and any bugs still extant!

[sub]Also, the modpack now contains VMFs.[/size][/sub]


#56

Well, the existing parts of Map C are for the most part pre-disastered: there’s still NPCs and logical entities to deal with, to say nothing of expanding out new areas, but the parts of the map you see in the game can now be experienced in working order without zombies and slaves running around everywhere and making a mess of things.

I have half a mind to do the logic and NPCs first in the areas that are already done, and release just that before adding new areas as I go along- if I did so, I could probably have the unexpanded map out by New Years. Magmatic/sb7766 does that, and it certainly seems to work for them.

I’ll be addressing the expansion of C in its own post, as that area is one of the weirdest and most non-Euclidean of all of Office Complex. I already know that I will never be able to unlock the doors into the kitchen due to this weirdness, as supposedly the same door is actually two different doors up against each other with different floor levels. There are areas with windows in them that would look right out into sections of maintenance tunnel, and doors that have ventilation ducts running right behind them. To make matters worse, the already-large map may be getting a number of very large areas added onto it, so I am genuinely considering splitting it into two maps entirely.

Oh, and I’m also changing around the lighting in Map B yet again (I didn’t like what the very dim look did to the ceilings, if you look at a real office block those fiberboard drop ceilings are always actually white), and working on changes to A and B in order to fix all the bugs that the bugfix caused.


#57

That’s what I’m doing as well - giving people their pre-disaster versions and then, for a later update, an expanded version.
Also, good luck with Map C… oh geez!


#58

All right, so, the first version of Map C is (finally!) out. Now it’s time to talk about expanding into new areas… and since Map C is a complete Escher hell, it’s going to take some talking and planning.

First of all, while I’d call Map B a pure office level (I always thought it might be Personnel) and Map A a basement office level with some substantial storage and service areas (it’s probably where people the Administrator doesn’t like are sent), I always thought of Map C as sort of a services and logistics hub for all of Office Complex- it’s much larger than the other two in terms of square footage, a large cafeteria is in there, and if you go by the doors in the elevator shafts it’s about in the middle of the entire area. So that’ll be my “theme” going forward as I try to fill in areas (mostly- I think the top part of the map is actually a completely separate part of the complex).


Back on my first attempt at Map C, I built a little maintenance room back here with a ladder that went up to the turret control hatch. I’m still pretty proud of it, so I don’t think I’ll need to do a lot to get it up to current standards.


There’s a couple of what look like offices in the lobby, so I think that’s exactly what I’m going to make. I had a security office in here with a camera bank and everything, but I don’t really think that fits in with the Office Complex aesthetic so I’ll probably replace it with something else.

At the end of this lobby area, however, is probably Map C’s single biggest puzzle:


The only real exit from the lobby is this corridor. The most obvious exit from the lobby is this corridor. Both the stairwell and the elevator terminate here, so the lobby is obviously one of the main entrances to this level, and the sign on the wall says that the bulk of Admin 2 is through this corridor, and sure enough on the other end of the corridor there is a cafeteria. So, this corridor is obviously a main connecting passage from one very commonly-used office area to another.

The problem is, that’s not at all what the corridor looks like- it resembles (and I’ve set NPCs in it to reflect) a relatively disused section of maintenance and storage hallways. Really, when comparing the especially clean and well-maintained lobby on one side and the only somewhat dingy cafeteria lounge on the other, it’s only the corridor between them that sticks out as utterly foreign.

Really, I have two options.

  • The first is to try to clean up the corridor until it looks passable as part of the admin areas beyond. I was able to do that with the stairwells throughout this complex, but the stairwells didn’t look this disused, and even that required drastically altering the tone of the lights and making some light structural alterations- even then, I’m not really sure how it would look. At the end of the day, while I can shave off some of the edges, this corridor is a square peg and the map has a round hole.
  • The second option is to do what I did in the first attempt at this map- provide another means for personnel to get to Admin 2. My original idea was to have the “proper” exit from the lobby be through this door

    and eventually make their way to the left fork of this corridor,

    which already opens into the square vending-machine room behind the cafeteria:

    Back in the first iteration I had a substantial office area back there, which in retrospect did not look very good. I feel like I could do much better this time just because of what I’ve learned about level design, but it still seems very counter-intuitive to that little door be the main entrance to Admin 2, as opposed to having personnel pass through the large red ones.

Since a lot of fundamental questions like “where is the office part of Admin 2, anyways?” and “where do I have enough room for a tram station?” hinge on the resolution of this problem, I’m going to stop here and see what other people have to say about either prettying up or building around that corridor.


#59

So I’ve been messing around with the hallway lighting and trying to get it looking less maintenancy, but I’ve really only been having any success at all with the bright blue-white decon lights from the stairwells:




I feel like this could eventually get to a place where it would fit to have scientists with papers walking through this hallway, but it’s also becoming very obvious to me that I’m going against the original intent of the area. Still not sure if there’s any other way, though.

On the plus side, the turret control room is now fully integrated, and I’ve added a new office to the lobby.


#60

i think you should build this corridor. These fundamental questions that you’re pointing out are definitely good arguments to make this corridor. Maybe you could make a double door entry in the lobby to make it seem like a main passage route, although this means that you have to modify some of the original content.