As promised, my recent experiments with multiplayer maps have not kept me from continuing to expand and improve Questionable Ethics. We’re still a ways from getting those wonderful blue biolabs completely finished, but a great deal of progress is being made. Current plan is to release major improvements to all the maps alongside an expanded E Map laboratory complex, then start work on the rail station and finally redo the Legendary I Map from scratch as my current draft has run into a few different problems with its overall design plan.
So it’s become very clear that a lot of changes are coming in the next engine update which will significantly alter the way that the pre-disaster maps are being made, so I think the best thing to do at this juncture is focus on area expansion and asset creation (the latter of which I am often too busy tweaking other elements of the maps to bother with). First up has been the surgical robot, which I was having trouble cleaning all of the blood from and so I just made the blood Xenian yellow:
I still don’t know why the Devs couldn’t give you the original textures without the blood.
I mean it’s a mod, freeware.
I strongly suspect that this is because they no longer exist- it’s easy to edit over WIP files if you’re not making a specific effort to preserve them.
Unless someone has the original PSD stashed somewhere and the blood was stored in a seperate layer (Probably how I would do it, anyway) there’d be no way of giving it to him anyway.
I’ve lost, intentionally deleted, or misplaced a lot of source files over the years. I actually had to go back and decompile a couple models the other day because I no longer had anything other than the base body meshes in the .blend file for a model I was working on and needed a working QC, skeleton, and the scientist head.
which makes me wonder why designers don’t use source control?
I’ve probably got time to work on it again, would you like me to carry on my attempt at cleaning the blood off?
Actually, I think I’ve got it well in hand. Thanks for the offer, though.
I’m sure they do, just not for all directories. Storing every revision of every source file for a project this size amounts to a good chunk of space more than just the final assets and any files that would have to be shared between developers. If you’re paying for hosting, especially when you aren’t getting anything back (As per the mod version of BM that asset was made for) that extra space can cost you a relatively hefty sum of money.
Generally for mods it’s just coders that know how to use .git, so perhaps when the mod was ongoing not all asset creators used it.
Now that the mod is a proper game, I would guess they use .git for all their stuff.
This quote by @TextFAMGUY1 shows that the BM devs have indeed lost source files over the years:
I believe one of the devs mentioned that they were using SVN, and then moved to GIT. But for some reason it went sideways, so they had to revert back to using SVN.
There’s an article on Gamasutra by Adam Engels (a.k.a. @Adam-Bomb) which might be an interesting read in this context: http://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/AdamEngels/20150507/242877/Tips_for_Starting_Your_Side_Project.php
So, I’ve gotten around to doing a little work on The Legendary I Map (i.e. Lab C), and I thought I’d open discussion on ideas regarding just what some of these cryptically-named labs are actually for:
- C1- N Detector Sensor Lab: I’ve sort of arbitrarily decided that then ‘N’ stands for ‘Neural’ or ‘Nervous’ or similar, and concluded that it’s looking for some measure of remaining brain activity in zombies. Thus, I’ve made it into the room seen in the above screenshot, with a zombie Marine (presumably the result of an ill-fated mission into Xen) hooked up to some equipment. There’s a bit more to it than that, but you will have to wait until release to see what it is. Presumably the equipment here was also used to determine the effect of the Vortigaunt collars on brain activity.
- C2- C Warming Sensor Lab: Honestly I’ve got no idea on this one, mostly because I have no clue what “C” could stand for that could be ‘warmed’- Cardiac? Circulatory? Cryogenic??
- C3- Chromatography: Chromatography is an analytic technique (or rather a family of related analytic techniques) commonly used in biochemistry, so it’s easy to imagine that this lab runs such tests on a variety of samples brought up from the autopsy rooms and similar. I’m imagining it being mostly just chemical benches, gloveboxes, and a few large instruments, but it might be interesting to have some of the equipment driven by lasers of the type seen in Lab D.
- C4, C5, and C6- Hazmat: Considering how hazardous the unsecured areas of Questionable Ethics are, whatever’s in these labs must be pretty nasty. I’m thinking one is dedicated to studying that green goop the bullsquids spit out, while the other two are working on hornet guns and their projectiles- one studying the general structure, and another specifically trying to get them to fire. For the analytical labs I’m thinking there will be more gloveboxes and work benches, while the firing range will have another big metal target like the one in the snark lab, and possibly a robot arm or two for the hivehand itself.
- C7- Chemical Vapor Deposition Lab: Vapor Deposition is a real technique used in a variety of high-tech manufacturing processes, most commonly for electronics. Not sure what it would be doing in a bio lab, but maybe (like the Xen crystals in the laser labs) they have found some sort of Xenian biological structure with properties of interest to it. As such, I am thinking that one area of this lab is a control room (probably the smaller one, as that seems to be the general layout of Questionable Ethics facilities), while the larger one has more glove-boxes and worktables, but possibly also some sort of large tank or tube setup for maintaining the exotic conditions required for most deposition processes.
- C8- Nano Fabrication Lab: This is kind of a vague term that could refer to a lot of things, so in keeping with QE’s stated purpose of biological research into Xen I am thinking the lab is involved in producing nanoscale chemical and mechanical components for biolotechnological purposes. More standard lab equipment, although electron microscopes and other Anomalous-Materials-type doodads could start appearing.
- C9- Microfluidic Synthesis: Probably related to studying the composition of (and attempting to duplicate) Xenian blood and other biological fluids- again, the term is rather vague, but I could easily see this being of use to a lot of other labs. Perhaps this was where the green liquid being used to preserve/sustain Xenian specimens in Aquatics was developed, and we could have a tank of it in the middle of the lab to break up some of the monotony of chemical workbenches and gloveboxes.
- C10- PSI Chamber: I know what’s in here, and it’s quite large, and it’s terribly important, and it will remain a secret until such time as the map is released.
- C11 through C19- OSI Test Labs: I don’t really have a good idea of what to put in all these little rooms… I was thinking ‘OSI’ might stand for ‘Optronic Surgical Instrument(s?)’ and these labs are related to developing equipment used elsewhere in Questionable Ethics, but why would such a section take up easily a third of Lab C?
- C20- Observation: This is the room visible from the necropsy labs one level below.
Still picking away at various cleanup-y elements on these maps as I wait for the pre-Xen engine update to come out. One thing that’s giving me a lot of trouble are the two-way reusable level transitions… or perhaps the biological science being practiced here really has just gone too far:
So restoration of E Map is clicking right along for the most part; I’m currently working on the bioelectric test labs and while there’s a few issues regarding floor level in the biochem labs that will need to be resolved to get them to sync up with the security office in the decon area, but I don’t think they’re intractable and if worst comes to worst I have an idea for how to exploit 3D skyboxes (of all things!) to get everything to look right.
What’s really got me stumped, though, is this little room off of the snark labs:
What is this room for, and why is it so weirdly shaped? If it was just a square room I would have no problem whatsoever building some sort of a snark farm inside of it, possibly styled off of the greenhouse/incubator/whatever system I already added to Xeno Flora…
But it’s got that weird protruding notch in one corner that I really just have no idea what to do with. What would possibly go in such a small space, and why is it off to the side like that? The shape of the white area is really suggestive of the control-room nooks we see elsewhere in the labs, like the one in necropsy…
… but those are filled in on the maps and this is just blank.
My current best (i.e. only) idea is to have one of the far walls be a snark incubator, then have a glovebox or other device for handling snarks and getting them out of their hives set into the white-space nook area. Not sure what to do with the other walls, though…
do to its shape and coloring on the map, guessing it is a maintenance room, likely either vent access (hence the shape it juts out around the event) or electrical access of some sort like an emergency breaker.
There’s also the biohazard bins next to it, maybe a small incinerator?
Nice work on the project so far. I’m just dumbfounded at how all the BM/original HL devs took the time to create a working layout and design for the facility. Gives you so much documentation to work off of to help design these mods and maps for the game, and that definitely deserves some recognition.
So, after some substantial fiddling around I think I’ve made a major breakthrough in terms of lighting. The maps are coming together really well now, but there’s still a glitch (present in the original game but much more obvious in BMPD because it’s brighter) that’s causing NPCs and most props to light way too brightly and while disabling parts of the lighting engine through the console provides a workaround it renders those same props very dim:
This has been confirmed to be fixed in the Xengine update, but that will probably drop over the holidays when I won’t be working on much of anything at all. However, at some point probably in early to mid January expect a much improved update of the entire Questionable Ethics complex, along with some (although not all) expanded areas for E Map. After that things get a bit hazier, as I have plans for fixing Office Complex, expanding the rest of E Map, adding a tram station to H Map, and beginning to show off the new areas of I Map.
So the first map of QEPD has been updated and adapted for the Xengine build of Black Mesa: tiny little Map H. As there is really not all that much to it I don’t think I’ll be releasing just that one map; instead, it’ll come out alongside the new map containing the lobby and administrative areas. Nonetheless, I’ve posted updated media in the Map H post (although since this is just a quality update of a preexisting map it’s really not that interesting).
Overall, there’s really only two other things worth mentioning. The first is that with Map E growing extremely large I’ve decided to relocate the level transitions throughout Questionable Ethics to the decontamination chambers. This, in turn, means that I’m very close to having working decon airlocks set up throughout the Complex. However, despite its almost universal implementation throughout the canonical maps, I’ve opted not to implement color correction for BMPD for the time being- I just have not found anything that adds to the appearance of the maps as they currently are, and a lot of the preexisting colorcorrection used in those maps produces a very strong ‘filter’ effect when used on the more brightly-lit pre-disaster maps.