Xen 2.0 and prop models.

Going to do things a bit different than what I usually do, I’ll give some background on how we are doing the levels and then show some of the small props I have been making. So we posted new images today to go along with the summer sale showing new images from the map Xen. C4a1a which is where all the images have come from so far (except for my wire frame shots) is a desert like area that is quite rocky and has many different islands. Adam, Shawn and I have been detailing the map using 3dsmax and a plug-in called WallWorm (WW) developed by Shawn Olsen (a team member and creator of the program, buy it it is great you will need Max though). Our process is to import a vmf that a LD has already made and has been divided up into a instance for ease of bringing back into hammer later. Once in Max we can turn all the displacements into a sculpt mesh and sculpt it very easily. We also can vertex paint 4way blended textures onto the mesh. We also can sculpt the mesh to form around pretty much anything. Our next task is to place and scatter various props around that need to added to specific areas. We use an importer from WW to import either single source .mdls or large numbers of them into the scene. We can either place each prop by hand or use one of paint functions to paint props on the mesh or just shift drag them (copying them) . This is a pretty intensive process, but can be quite fun. We have rocks that are modular and can be rotated around to look different. We also have some large rock props that are used to cover larger areas. These all match our base rock texture.There is then a foliage pass that is either hand placed or in the case of the grass and some other plants scattered using a powerful program called forest. Once every thing is finished we collapse back to displacements, group props, cull polys, create collisions for the new groupings and export the vmf. The LD then takes and tweaks it all doing the optimizing,lighting scripting etc. By using this pipeline we can get really natural looking vegetation and rock formations. These end up being a lot more dense than doing it in hammer.
Here are a small sampling of the models I made to be scattered around in Xen.

These are the shots used in the media release just a bit bigger. Tree textures are just placeholder.

An overhead shot of this small portion of C4a1b.

Nice :stuck_out_tongue:

Very nice!

Not to rain down on your parade, but while these all look fabulous, I do feel they’re a little bit too much inspired by under water life, especially the anemone-like plant in the first exterior screenshot. I get more of a feeling of being under water rather than being on an alien world. Could use more non-logical structures that don’t make sense on a planet like Earth, and some more green colours in the ground texture and models would also help a lot.

This isn’t relevant to what Brian has posted here. Please keep comments on topic.


Hey Brian can you show some classic props like xen tree ,plant light or fungus

This isn’t a request thread. It’s a blog from Brian. Next off topic reply gets banned. Try me.

Lol we are getting so spoiled with these updates…

More on topic, I’m loving the new “syntheically-organic” aesthetic that you’ve adopted for the Xen flora. I guess I’m also just a big sucker for neon blue/purple. Not to mention, it must be ridiculously difficult to convincingly model fleshy/squishy looking stuff in the source engine, so even more props to you, BKDale.

Thanks Brian for these crazy insights! I don’t do gamedesign but it sure sounds like you found yourself a really helpful pipeline to work with. That’s great! I am still so much impressed by the dedication and motivation - and quite frankly - the balls to just say “Let’s scarp most of Xen and do it like we think it should have been” That’s really curageous, and I mean it in the best of ways.

Anyway, looking at your Xen plantlife props, I do wonder if we are going to see more “grown” (eg. bigger) iterations of these. I am thinking about this, because in the first Xen pic that has been released in december, there were these tiny Xentrees in the bottom left hand corner of the pic. As we know that there will be - most likely - grown versions of these, I do wonder if these new lats grow eventually into something bigger - and more dangerous.

Keep it up, I am looking forward to see more, if you’re willing to share more! Your first propblogs on the forums were the reason for me to finally sign up in the first place after years of lurking.

That+s an interesting texture for the coral. Looks like sand paper.

BTW do you guys name the “plants” you make?

Well I’m sorry our vision of Xen doesn’t match your concept. Derail my blog again and you get banned it is in the rules I set up and I get really annoyed when people don’t follow my rules. If you want to bitch about things start your own thread somewhere, just don’t expect me to respond to any of it.

The pumpkin is actually stage 3… There are a few others that are like that.

Yes whoever makes it names it. We aren’t terribly creative with the names gets hard after 10 or so.

Great work, Brian! I can’t wait to see these in-game.


has the tree, or is it the fungus. what ever the breathing thing with 4 legs is.

ON TOPIC: love how the plants look. Can’t wait to see more when xen comes out.

How flexible are the pre-existing props, and how available are the tools used to make them for modders? If I wanted to make new sections of Xen, could I just assemble the existing rock sections differently to suit whatever structure I want to make, or are the sections large enough that they determine the overall shape of the level by themselves? If I wanted to make new sections, would I need WW and Max, or can a similar result be produced in Hammer (presumably just with more work)?

You can just use the rocks in hammer. Where you will run into issues is with the number or props hitting the entity count. WW/max just allows us to group them and get more on the level. You can place 100 grass models and group them so they count as 4 or 5 entites. There is also a ton of other tools in WW/max that it a lot faster.

Great job in here, sir.
Love the way you manage to find your own workaround to push Hammer’s limits.

Love the foliage-dense vision of yours. Makes Xen a really wild place, interesting and creepy in the same time to explore.

great! nice job

Jeez why are the mods so hostile? Starting to not like the vibe I get from these devs from time to time. I mean the guy just asked if you could show what the new version of some old xen props look like. You know a simple no suffices instead of threatening bans left and right like its purposeful thread sabotage. Anyways, I really like the foliage of xen that you guys are creating it really makes xen look alive and foreign. I have high hopes for the coming xen levels.

its more the fact that the origin post states not to ask stuff like that.