Pre-Disaster Multiplayer Maps!

So when I talked about this facility maybe facing the Pacific Ocean, I was imagining one of the buildings actually having a dock or pier sticking out into the water which would be traversable by the player. However, I’ve realized this does not actually make a great deal of sense, as sea cargo comes in those big square containers off of massive container ships that would never in a million years fit into a dock at a facility the size of Stalkyard. So what ‘facing the sea’ more likely means is that there’s a large, public container yard between Stalkyard and the docks proper, and since such a thing is not Black Mesa’s property but shared by whoever else rents out this industrial park, the player probably won’t have access to it. This is a good thing as it would likely be far too large to effectively render, nobody wants to explore a giant concrete plain with nothing but rows of shipping containers in it, and more to the point Black Mesa does not have a lot of good nautical models.

Looking at the map as it currently stands, there seems an obvious place to put such a thing- the area near the white, large-windowed warehouse which already has a large number of shipping containers piled up around it, and additionally a big crane like the one in Gasworks fits very well between the buildings there.


If that’s the case, then it’s likely that the main street supplying this industrial park runs on the opposite side of the complex from the container yard. I’m thinking that the logical place for the front parking lot would be tucked in between Building 5 (the “logistics building”) and either Building 2 or Building 4. Considering that the 4-facing side of 5 is more open and has a wider entrance I am thinking the main lot is on that side, although there might also be a smaller cargo lot on the 2-facing side.


Then, thinking about personnel and cargo moving through the complex, I think it’s reasonable to guess personnel and administrative/support facilities are located in Building 5 along with the main entrance. The main peronnel entrance is through the large shed-like building and garage door off to the East; the other door leads into the forklift shop that makes up the majority of the southern half of Building Four. Building Two is likely then just more storage, although it may be more distribution than long-term holding:

Thoughts?

What you said regarding shipping containers makes sense. Not sure how you’ll fit a crane in there though without it being too far up to stand out from the original map design.

Oh that’s the crane you’re talking about. I wish we had feedback from the devs that designed this map

I don’t think they put a great deal of thought into how these maps fit into the surrounding area, because there was no need for them to do so.

I know this because there are an incredible number of areas where maps overlap or have weird gaps between them.

You know, as freakishly huge as Building Five is I am wondering if instead of an external parking lot, there might actually be a small one- or two-story parking garage inside of it. Going to have to run some size comparisons with the carpark in Surface Tension…

Fear not, Pre-Disaster Anomalous Materials is not abandoned and a bugfix will be released in a few days, but in the meantime I’ve been messing around with Gasworks and getting a feel for the map, and overall I’m pretty optimistic:
https://steamuserimages-a.akamaihd.net/ugc/949594071146273168/86BE5CD620B230B90AC94B65DCC18B5912FA4D5A/
There are, however, two issues that I am still trying to straighten out.

The first is whether to turn the map’s skybox and outdoor lighting into daylight, or leave it as night. I think the map looks better at night and that is how it was originally intended to be seen, but at the same time the PD maps claim they are the morning before the Resonance Cascade and it seems weird to me to be going from maps like Inbound which are daylit to maps like Gasworks which are at night.

The other big question I am wrestling with is just what Gasworks (and to some degree the buildings around it, although those may just be unrelated) actually does (which is obviously important for things like documents and expanding areas). The multiplayer flavor text claims it was built to power early teleportation experiments, and then phased out presumably in favor of the hydro dam and the giant nuclear reactor in Lambda Core. However, the place was obviously still up and running at least in a limited capacity until relatively recently.

One theory that I have is that the big furnace system might have been repurposed to provide heat instead of electrical power. Contrary to what the calendars and tram announcement combine to imply New Mexico does in fact get pretty cold in the winter, and even tropical deserts like the Sahara get cold at night, so Black Mesa likely has extensive heating requirements. In large facilities like university campuses and military bases heating is typically provided to different buildings by way of steam that is warmed in a big central plant- the one a block from where I work that heats campus and the local hospital actually looks extremely similar to Gasworks. I was originally thinking that the building with the furnace near the hangar in Surface Tension might have served this purpose, but that might have some other function entirely such as refining aviation fuel on-site or something.

It is, however, equally possible that Gasworks itself has been converted into a fuel refinery of some sort (as there are other big refinery towers surrounding it in the skybox) or it is now used for purely scientific purposes as petroleum refining and power generation are ever-evolving fields that the US Department of Energy presumably has significant interest in.

What do you all think Gasworks actually does?

I’m leaning towards gasworks being a refinery simply because of the skybox details you mentioned. They look like the cokers and various equipment associated with refining oil products and the like. After a quick google it seems there are significant accumulations of bitumen in New Mexico if you want to have some irl reasoning.

Put together a basic daytime lighting setup for Gasworks and have… honestly kind of mixed feelings about it. It looks very distinctive and not like anything else in Black Mesa, I’ll say that. Does this look like the sort of direction people would want the surface sections of the map taken in?

I think the reason why it looks a little off is because of the fact that it still is, “a basic daytime lighting setup”. The comparative dark lighting, along with very little shadow doesn’t give off a good day look.

Turned up the brightness and it does indeed look substantially better, but the shadows lead to another problem. Ostensibly, the purpose of making Gasworks daylit is because all of the pre-disaster maps are occurring at roughly the same time. That, however, means that the sun will be at about the same angle in all of them- probably a pretty high one. And, unfortunately, that means a lot of the neat shadow design the BM devs worked into the map will no longer appear… Continuing to mess around…

It looks interesting, it somehow reminds me of one of those CSGO maps.

But the both lighting settings could use different approach. For ambient, have you tried to add slightly more blue tint to match skybox color or playing with -realskylight parameters? And for the sun light I would increase the intensity and slightly change tint to more yellow (maybe something like 255 250 220). There are not any distinct shadows from sun, and ambient light have grey tint, like from early morning time, before sunrise.

For other parts of map, are you planning any significant changes? Like lowering / removing water level in lower part of map, making the elevator functional or opening few areas that were not accessible.

elevator

I have every intention of making the elevator functional in the initial release of the map, along with adding a control system to arbitrarily alter the water level. My typical process is to release a restored version of the existing areas first and then subsequently add new ones, but they will indeed be added. Gasworks is already a very large map that will need a fair number of connecting areas added to it underground so I am not sure how much performance budget I’ll have available for opening up the buildings topside, but I am hoping to have at least one of the smaller ones be accessible.

As a quick side project, I’ve cleaned up dm_stack. The only problem now is that I’m not really sure what to do with it in terms of releasing it, because my greater plan is to use it as an intermediary map between two surface maps, as though your driving around the underground tunnels to get from say, the ST dam to the WgH Surface map.

Should I compound it into Surface Tension, or should I just sit on it?

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My original plan for this area put it in the northwest, near the entrance to the ‘round’ tram tunnels in Inbound; the Communication Complex was then supposed to include the guard station that controls the big entrance doors; Surface Tension would take place mostly to the southeast. However, I think the bigger question is whether this “Black Mesa Communications Center” turns out to be the same one as seen in Decay, assuming a Decay remake ever comes out and gets a PD treatment. So I’d suggest sitting on it for the time being.

So Gasworks is coming along very nicely. I’ve got most of the actual remodelling of the place done and am now just adding in ent-logic, sounds, and NPCs. Which there are a lot of (particularly button-operated doors… holy hell the button-operated doors!), but I figure it’s still not too early to start thinking about how to add new areas:

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Gasworks is already a large map as it currently stands, and it’s placed into a much, much larger collection of skybox buildings. There is, quite simply, no way we’re going to be able to explore all of it, so I’d like to confine myself to adding small one-room areas and interconnections between areas and not adding whole other wings like some of the Office Complex maps.



Looking at the topside of the facility, small buildings like “C”, “H”, and “G” might get expanded but even though a fair number of doors in this big “tower” area lead to it the giant “building B” probably will not unless some other map is determined to be inside of it, in which case I will just restore that one as well and connect the two maps.


I also don’t think we’ll be able to walk the big flat area and get to the buildings father away, either- partially just because the map would take forever to compile, and partially because who wants to walk literally several miles along a featureless road to get to a new area?

If there was something ready to go in one of those other buildings, I think I’d just have some security vans that go out to them through a level transition.

I’m just gonna come right out and say that one of these isolated industrial islands near the edge of the facility would make for a pretty good standalone singleplayer escape or evac map, though.

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One thing I concluded early on is that Gasworks is very probably in the same general part of the BMRF as the latter parts of Apprehension, since both are older industrial areas with some pretty damn similar design motifs and both also have an unusual “twisted and piled” terrain style with a lot of mesas and no other visible Surface-Tension-style brick buildings which doesn’t really appear in any other topside maps.


I was initially considering exploiting this fact and putting the cold-storage and/or hangar sections of Apprehension right next to Gasworks, below or inside of Building B, possibly with that door in the Gasworks underlevels connecting to this very similar one in Apprehension’s C Map:

However, if the areas really were right next to each other, the big smokestacks of the Gasworks facility would probably be visible from the Apprehension hangar. Typically I don’t hold to precise Euclidean geometry in my conception of the wider design of Black Mesa (in fact I can’t because a lot of the canonical maps already have warps, gaps, and overlaps in them) but really the hangar is in that curvey, canyony, mountainous terrain while Gasworks has a very sizable area of extremely flat desert between it and the mountains. So I don’t think anything that doesn’t explicitly share the Gasworks skybox can actually be said to be next to it, and I will probably have it connect to the Apprehension hangar area with a car that goes through one of these tunnels into the mountains and have that connect through some skippable roadways to the hangar parking lot. I highly doubt that the Black Mesa Tram System comes out to what very much looks to be the northeastern(??) edge of the Facility, and even if it does it would probably end up in one of the big buildings that already aren’t being expanded.

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Taking a look at Gasworks itself (finally!), I can kind of split the facility up into multiple ‘layers’ by height, and it turned out to be surprisingly tractable. Here, red is buildings, blue is vertical structures, green doors are big garage doors and yellow doors are just swing doors. Dashed lines are for doors with a “maintenance” or “confined space” sign next to them, since it is unlikely that large or routinely-trafficked areas of the complex are behind them:






It immediately jumps out to me how many of the locked doors in the upper areas are either underneath Building G or on their way to Building H- specifically, 1 and 2 seem to go to other parts of G and 3 and 4 seem to be pointing at G. This is particularly helpful since I like the idea of all of the apparently isolated buildings in this complex being connected somewhere, presumably through underground passages, and also because G has that big elevator right under it. Thus, I am beginning to conceptualize Building G as a primary control or logistics building that goes some significant depth underground and has a connection through Door 3 and Door 4 to Building H.

It is then easy to link the central control hut to this setup, since the ladder that disappears below the first floor of it comes out very close to Door 5. Building out some other logistics and control areas to make these connections ‘stick’ should not be difficult.

This also helps figure out what should be located behind Doors 1, 2, 6, and 7: they are part of Building G, and should be both thematically related to it and roughly confined to its footprint.

Door 8 has a ‘maintenance personnel only’ warning on it and is physically constrained in where it can really go by the other corridors around it so I think it’s just a manual override or service section for the control room.

Door 9 is small, and doesn’t really have a corresponding topside building anywhere near it, or any other structures on that level, really, so I think it too goes to something small.

Door 10 is a bit more of a puzzle because it is on the other end of the map with the unseen Building B- does it perhaps connect the tunnel complex to a tunnel complex under that building? Initially one would expect there to be other connections on the higher levels if that was the case, but the G-H-A connecting tunnels don’t interact with anything on the south end of the map until the lower levels either… Ultimately, though, I think it ends up being a question of “do I put something minor here or leave it locked?”.

On the lower levels things get hazier, as there is more activity on the south end of the map and it doesn’t line up quite as well with itself or any external feature.

It is, I suppose, possible that Door 11 connects to Door 14 on the ‘shore’ area, but I doubt it as they are a long way off and Door 14 has a ‘confined space, do not enter’ warning on it. Instead, I’ll wager that there is some kind of pump room or water quality lab or something behind both Door 13 and Door 12, and the primary access to the ‘shore’ is through that after getting off of the ‘main’ elevator.

Somehow, 14, 15, or 16 should connect to Door 18 in the very bottom-most section of the facility, but I really have zero idea how.

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While the southern, deeper end of the map is still a bit of a mess, I feel confident enough to start building out the topside Building G / H connections and related areas… except for one problem. I have no idea what Building G is actually for.

H is easy to figure out- it’s the only one in this industrial complex with a whole bunch of electrical doodaddery on top, so it must be related to power distribution or power storage or whatever. Given that Gasworks was originally established to power the early teleportation experiments there might be generators in there, or it might just be a transformer substation or some kind of big battery/capacitor bank to handle the massive sudden surges the teleport labs presumably produced. But G is a mystery.

It has that big heavy main elevator in it, and is right next to the outdoor freight yard and has what appears to be access to the cab of the freight yard crane on its roof, which would imply that it’s some kind of storage building, but it seems awfully small for storage especially when compared to the massive Building B. In the lower levels it has some kind of control room connected to it, but it also has that large pipe running into Building H and that weird conveyor belt seemingly going into it… What could possibly be inside this place?

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i like where you’re going with this. do you plan on updating questionable ethics and the office complex?

In fact, I’m planning to release a major update for Office Complex in the next few weeks!

For some reason from the topic title I thought these maps would be for multiplayer :smiley:

The outdoor lighting in PD Gasworks doesn’t look “right” for me, not sure if I am the only one.
Sunlight during day have almost white color and ambient light should have more blue because of sky color. Also shadows from sun should be more noticeable.

Something like comparison bellow.

I’ll certainly take a look at tweaking the lighting.

In the meantime, some people in the GMod community were talking about porting the pre-disaster maps over to multiplayer RP maps there; this might have recently gotten more difficult, though, due to the increasing number of features Black Mesa has added to their engine that GMod does not have.