Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Double caw caw

I've passed the trial and as of two mondays ago, I am an associate designer at Raven Software! My responsibilities haven't changed much, I work with the design director, project lead, and the other senior designers on levels, passing feedback back and forth.

This is probably a good time to declare the death of every extra-curricular mapping endeavor I have, which really hurts because they were my life for a very long time. After a long day of mapping, the last thing I want to do when I come home is more mapping. Also I've been knee deep in Radiant for about 7 months and I'm pretty sure I'd just fumble around a lot in Hammer, curse, drink, and go to sleep.

Theres at least one project that is not dead, and that is CP Upland, which is being entirely handled by Mark 'Honeymustard' Sinclair since I got the internship, and hes been the driving force behind the map for the past few versions. I feel bad because I'm basically the Idea Guy right now :( Regardless, the maps phenomenal and ETF2L just played an experimental cup on it!

(I'm fairly certain mark is a wizard)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Dear blog, I know I haven't written in a while, but its for a good reason. I got an internship at Raven!

Its incredible and fun and everything I hoped for. The people I work with are amazing and crazy talented, and its the first job I've had where I haven't gotten up in the morning and dreaded going to work.

Unfortunately this means that nearly all of my mapping projects are on hold, except for my "declared inventions", which are:

CP_Upland (working with Mark Sinclair, dude owns)
Cold Blooded
The Box
Dead Light!

(All of which, save CP_Upland, can be found on my portfolio site.)

Of which the only one receiving significant attention these days is CP_Upland, which is a 'steel' type CP map set ontop of a plateau in the grand canyon. Mark and I have been hammering out betas for the past month and a half. Theres some delicious eye candy of it below. B4 is the latest, and it is here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Adventures in Radiant #1: In which we talk about two brothers with different fathers.

I started learning Radiant a few weeks ago to apply for an internship at Treyarch. So far I think I've got the hang of it, its pretty close to Hammer but different in a few key areas. Stuff like decals are a bit less mindless. I think its the same idea behind them, but Valve streamlined it a bit more. Areaportals are two brushes, not one. I can't figure out how the sky works, etc.

The biggest thing thats really bothering me is that there is very little documentation. Radiant itself refers to the level editor for a VERY. WIDE. SELECTION. OF. GAMES. Not limited to:

Quake 3 and 4
Elite Force 1 and 2
Doom 3
Return to Castle Wolfenstein
Call of Duty 1
Call of Duty 2
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare
Call of Duty: World at War
Call of Duty: Black Ops

And those are just a few off the top of my head.

The problem with this is that the documentation is as diverse as the games that use idtech 3, 4 and 5. Treyarch's wiki itself is pretty good for learning the basics, but its a little sparse for anything past that. I hope it changes when the Black Ops SDK comes out this/next month. The Source SDK community is so thriving and massive that anything that doesn't make sense will get fixed in a few hours, here I'm finding problem posts from 2 years ago that are unanswered.

I think the lack of clear documentation is the biggest negative of Radiant. Otherwise its pretty good as a next step for people who conquered Hammer and are looking for the next thing (or vice versa if you're from a bizarro world). Compiler is much more streamlined and I don't even have to sacrifice an animal when I use it.

I'm not going to post anything I've been working on in it right now, I'm still trying to replicate Treyarch's style. It looks like bad poser screenshots right now.

Friday, April 15, 2011

I can't even get real drugs here!

Just a quick post to show that my site is up and running now with some content. I'd like to expand it in the future and move all this content over there too.


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Let the spirit of the noble sucker punch guide you to victory

This'll be a somewhat short portfolio update.

I bought a website, still working on getting it up and running. The foundations been poured, wood framing is going up. It'll be a week or so before its furnished enough to post here.

As for portfolio pieces, I'll go through the current plan.


Mills doing fantastically so far. Everywhere its been tested its getting positive responses. Theres been a bit of a performance issue but I've fixed in in beta 4 with the help of Shmitz, of tc_meridian fame and all around cool dude. I ended up redoing the optimization from scratch as well as a whole bunch of other things.

Mills doing so well that the next version will be the first release candidate. There are a few things I'd like to do for this version.

1. Rebuild a lot of it from scratch. A whole host of the map is fragmented to hell from me constantly slicing and manipulating brushes. I'm hoping to simplify it a bit. At the very least the respective side's buildings will be rebuilt.

2. Get more competitive feedback. They gave me some great stuff for beta 3, and I don't want to ignore them.

3. Fully hint/skip the map out, CORRECTLY this time.

Thats more or less my checklist. I hope to work on this after I explain a future option and the website.

Get KOTH_Mill b4 here. Thanks to everyone whos been helping out, like Kessel, El Mole, Shmitz, artisticmonkey, En Ex, Francis, FLOOR_MASTER (and everyone at 2fort2furious), and everyone else I forgot.

Cold Blooded

Cold Blooded 0.3 was released on the 28th of March. I know I haven't mentioned it for a while (except to declare every now and then that its on the backburner). The current version is for Left 4 Dead 2. Theres still tons of bugs in it and the navmesh blows but it is actually working start to finish now, minus some nagging bug in the finale that causes it to sometimes not trigger. Still figuring that one out.

Speaking of the finale, it'll be getting some major open-map surgery in the next version. I hope to decrease the amount of wierd areas (between the fences and the barricades) and some restructuring of the finale area. I'm also exploring a little new interpretation, with CEDA's presence. I think they could add some interesting shapes and spawning areas for zombies.

Get the newest Cold Blooded here. As always thanks to everyone of team Chilly Reception. I'd link the group that has everyone's names but the steam sites being fussy.

Dead Light!

Nothing really new to report here. Still doing tweaking of item placements with the new stuff that L4D2 brings to the table.

Portal Maps

I started working on rebuilding my old Portal level Test20 yesterday, and after about 5 solid hours of working on it, its in pretty nice shape. Check it out compared to the old one below. Old Maps on top, new maps on bottom.

I wanted to make the puzzle pipe more visible and remove the ugly framing I had to put on it. A lots changed in my understanding of level design in 4 years, and I hope this map will reflect that. I'll be building 2 more puzzles along with this one to give a sense of progression with the puzzle mechanic.

The OLD MAP can be downloaded here. Extract it to your portal/portal directory and play it by going to Bonus Maps on the main menu, then selecting Irish Taxi Driver's Maps.

So there, thats a pretty good idea of what I'm doing right now, excluding playing through Arcanum. Elves ain't got nothin' on me with my bullet deflecting top hat, mechanical power armor and exploding axe.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The quiet dignity of a circus clown in the midst of a thunderstorm

I wrote a mutation for Left 4 Dead 2 to learn how the system works, more will be coming after this:


-Allowed spitters increased to 12 at a time.
-Spitter health reduced by 50%.
-Spit range doubled.
-Spit velocity doubled.
-Spit spreads immediately.
-Spit interval reduced by 75%.
-Spitter speed increased by 100%.
-Only commons are Riot Infected.
-Riot Infected health reduced by 95%.
-Only throwables are molotovs.
-Grenade launcher removed.
-All defibrillators converted to pills.
-All first aid kits converted to pills.
-Removed special ammo.
-Removed survivor rescue closets.
-Removed item glows.

Its really hard and ridiculous, and thats the best part.

Place it in your left 4 dead 2/left4dead2/addons folder.
Run by typing in console: "map (mapname here) spitshine"

Saturday, January 8, 2011

While the rooms are scale models, the Tom Cruise doll is life sized

This week an idea was concieved and seen through. It was glorious.

I participated in a game jam sometime in December and had a ton of fun, and I wanted to see if I could bring that to level design. I've seen Map Jams before (2fort2furious did an "IronMapper" with the creators of CP_yukon, they built KOTH maps.) but not for Left 4 Dead 2.

The goal was to create a fully functional, working campaign in about 18 man hours. Four people (myself included) were given 4 hours to build a map based on a template that I had created. The templates had saferooms pre-built and working as instances, and the mappers had to build around them. The participants were: Dukka, Jetsetlemming, Neko and myself (Which also happens to be the order the maps are in).

Once the 4 hours were over, I took all the maps and built navmeshes, fixed bugs, etc. That took me about 2 hours. We just played through it and it worked perfectly. It was a lot of fun and everyone got to see how well we can create levels under strict time pressure. I livestreamed my entire mapping (Which can be found here along with a lot of other videos of me mapping.) process.

Thanks to everyone who participated! Unfortunately the result is campaign only, but we're planning a 4 Map Jam: Session 1 Remastered version for next weekend which will include a versus version (plus stuff like panic events).

Download it here thanks to Goon 4 Dead!
Also thanks to Dukka, Neko, Jetsetlemming, anyone else who pledged to participate but had to drop out, and the SomethingAwful Left 4 Dead Goons for being great sports!

(Also thanks to SA goon muscles like this? for the title)