Hey, everyone! Loop Mod has finally been updated into the newest engine.
I’m happy that I’ve been able to do this. The inability to compile in 2013 has haunted me for the longest time and I’ve just beaten it. To contextualize this, when I first tried porting Loop Mod into the source version of Black Mesa, I had 7000 brushsides more than what the compiler would allow. My task was to bring that number down. After using pretty much every trick I could think of, I was able to knock off about 3500 brushsides without having to actually change anything (as was my former design principle). I then hit a block and never thought I would be able to knock off another 3500 and thus get to a compilable state. The maps still worked in the 2007 compiler!
But I never thought I would be able to get it into 2013, and here I am!
It has, however, come at a cost. As I mentioned in my previous post, I stated that I was going to have to make some significant changes to existing areas. This included my own areas as well. But also as previously stated, I’ve avoided anything that should impact gameplay to any appreciable degree. These changes are as follows:
- Simplification of the health charger room to the left of the first elevator
- Removal of stairs in the ramp room
- Removal of lowground near the electrical box room (where two vorts are fought)
- Simplification of the H room between the two tracks where a bullsquid is fought
- Simplification of a lot of things at the electrical pool puzzle.
- Deletion of some vents and pipes around the map.
At present, I’m sitting on the cusp of where the map stops working; the difference between the map compiling and not compiling is, in fact, a single brush. I’m that close. So I can’t stress enough that I really didn’t have a choice in these matters but to get it into the state it is now.
With any luck, however, the maps should play the exact same. Hopefully y’all will agree with me.
That said, I did want to talk about a major development that helped me loads.
You see, the way that Black Mesa handles tunnel curves is very expensive brush-wise. I would suspect that a large number of brushes and brushsides comes from how those were constructed. I would dare say it’s inefficient. They’re also quite modular in a way and, considering that the stock maps weren’t as full as this one, it was a non-problem
But what I attempted to do was rebuild the tunnel curves from scratch. To do this, I took a length of tunnel and rotated it around a center point (which would be the radius of curvature). I did this in 10 degree increments, giving me 8 portions of track within the curve (just like BM uses 8 portions of track in the curve) plus 2 more sections that lie on-grid. This works best when these two on-grid sections are connected right with surrounding sections of tunnel (especially if said sections are straight). The main difference, however, if that the wall cladding, the track edges, and the sloped parts of the ceilings, which are expensive in the old way, are done much more efficiently.
To illustrate this, a single piece of sloped ceiling is made of 2 brushes of 5 brushsides each, and there are two of these pieces; one on each side of the tunnel. The wall cladding is, similarly, made of 2 brushes of 5 brushsides each, and there are two of these pieces; one on each side of the tunnel. The track sides are made of three brushes with one being 6 brushsides and the other 2 being of 5 brushsides each, and there are two of these setups; one on each side of the tunnel. So, in total, that’s 2x4x2 + 2x5x2 + 2x5x2+2x1x6 = 72 brushsides. Multiply this by 8 curve segments and you get 576 brushsides per curve.
In contrast, with my method, the cladding is made of a single brush of 6 brushsides (and again there are two of these), the sloped ceiling is made of a single brush of 5 sides (are there are two of these), and the tracksides are made of a single brush made out of 6 sides (and, again, two of these). SO we get 1x6x2 + 1x5x2 + 1x4x2 = 30 brushsides. Multiply this b 8 curve segments and you get 240 brushsides per curve.
You can see how helpful this is in overcoming the brushsides issue. It turns out that I was able to employ the method on four curves in the map (and I briefly considered using it on a fifth). I think this actually saved the map, if I’m being honest. As an added bonus, however, the curves came out looking really nice.
So there we have it. The mod has been updated. Enjoy!