This is my first post as a long-time lerker fan of the game, so hello Black Mesa community!
I would like to start a little blog about my new project of remaking the first map from Xen for black mesa source. The intention is to completely re-imagine an alternative start for xen which throws out the layout and game-play of the original maps, but maintains the Surreal but iconic look and feel to the Alien world. My primary focus is to explore remaking Xen is an living, reactive ecosystem which an emphasis on scaring and intriguing the player. I’ll be making this completely interdependent to whatever The black mesa team do with Xen as its just my personal exploration of how I would make the final chapters fun for the modern age.
To kick things off I’ve started off with figuring out how I would actually start making the art. When making anything in a new visual style I like to prototype some different techniques for making the kind of content I’ll need in good time. In this early phase I also like to start setting up all my brushes, alphas and materials I can reuse as and when I need to. So please understand a lot of this stuff is either WIP or just me playing around with methods of making stuff. For consistency all models will be rendered in DDO2 and all textures will be render in Crazybump until I start getting stuff ingame
Moreover I wont be talking about anything in too much depth until I feel the content foundations are laid and all my ideas are starting to form, right now I just want to start sharing my stuff with you guys and getting feedback. Working in a vacuum is no good for my motivation.
The first thing I made was a quick test prop for covering surfaces in slime, This probably won’t be used ingame but It was a useful technique which involved using a duplicated dynamic mesh of the original geo. offset slightly below the surface then applying a ‘stamps’ with a customized layer brush. The tentacles were make from zspheres. Considering the whole model from start to finish took about four Hours I think there’s some value in these techniques
After that I spent a few days making tileable textures; Most the work is done with custom brushes in Zbrush, then making tileable in photoshop.
At this point I really don’t bother much with getting the colours right since it’s impossible to tell how things look until they’re interacting with each other ingame, and you can just end up wasting time, depending on lighting and if you change your mind on the colour palette.
Lastly I decided to have some fun remaking some of the more Iconic props of the original xen; it just wouldn’t be xen without them.
I’ll continue to work on the base content and concepts for the next few months before getting stuff in-game. Every few weeks I’ll do a small post like this so you guys can see what I’ve been up to and keep me on track.