Author Archives: Nick Buonarota

More Texturing

Working on grabbing and editing textures for the map.

panels

Most of tonight’s textures were panel textures and mostly from the control room. Textures may seemed squished here, but that is because they need to be a perfect square (more specifically a power of 2) to be a source engine material and texture. Yet, when they get applied to the correct size brush they will look fine.

2015-01-07_00001

Fig. 2 – Grabbing textures (first person screenshots) from Battlefront 2.

Most of the textures were ripped from SW: Battlefront 2, by going in game and taking screenshots. Then I went into photoshop and edited them. Some didn’t need much touch up. Some required a lot of touch up. One was so bad that it wasn’t even recoverable. So I made my own custom version of it. (This would be ds_panel_05 if you were wondering)

ds_panel_05

Fig. 3 – “ds_panel_05.vtf”

Simple lightsaber in the game

Got a simple lightsaber in the game.

got a simple lightsaber in the game

I think this addition will help sell the map and experience more.

The process of replacing a melee weapon in Source was at first not an easy task. But first step is to just try to get through the process with nothing fancy. So I followed this tutorial by Slpinks on Steam. http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=250723629 There was a few slow spots here and there even with the step by step guide. I got stuck at the part with texturing. Luckily there was a video link as well, which I found where my mistake was.

My mistake was that there was a material in Blender, which had a different name from my vtf (Source engine material). The true cause of the problem was that I didn’t create the material on the Hawkgirl Mace and I didn’t even know it existed. So I was calling a material that didn’t exist. But I knew that it had something to do with not linking up the texture to the model correctly, and after digging around, I did find the problem and fixed it.

After I took the Hawkgirl Mace through the process, I started to get familiar with the pipeline workflow and decided to try to get a 100% custom (my own) model into the game. Enter the almighty lightsaber!

The hardest part was getting the lightsaber to glow. I wanted to use the “glow effect” built into source, the one you see when you hover your hand over an item in the game, but I couldn’t figure out how to access the shader. Instead I eventually just duplicated the inner white blade and scaled it up. I then added a new material to that called “blade_color”. In the vmt file for “blade_color.vtf”, I made it transparent so that you can see through it to see the inner core white blade.

Code from “blade_color.vmt” :

VertexlitGeneric
{
“$basetexture” “models/weapons/melee/Blade_Color”
“$translucent” 1
}

This is the basic implementation of the lightsaber. For the final product, I’m going to look into additive blending and using multiple intersecting planes, like how old school trees where done in some game engines. I hear this is how the lightsabers were made in the Jedi Knight II: Jedi Outcast and Academy series.

Han Solo Survivor

It felt weird having the only L4D2 SW survivors be imperial, so I decided that I’ll also make Han, Luke, Leia, and Chewbacca as survivors.

myl4d2addons_survivor_solo_thumb

Han Solo replaces survivor “Nick”. This is my first l4d2 model. Probably still some things that can be worth improving. I got the model from tf3dm.com it was originally from SW:FU for the Wii. I ported it over to L4D2 so we can have fun with some star wars characters.

Check it out on the workshop here: http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=303215194

Started a design one sheet

Began a design one sheet on the parts of the map I wanted to focus on first.

sv_deathstar

Some ideas I was thinking at this point where:

  • Map focuses on the survival game type.
  • Wanted to focus on the hanger first.
  • Also add the deathstar control room as an extra room for the survivors to explore.
  • All other rooms would be pushed back until these two rooms were completed first.

Project Overview
I was posting things on facebook. Decided to move things here to help keep it all organised.

Info about the project:

Death Star – Left 4 Dead 2 – (Ongoing solo project)

  • Identified lack of Star Wars map for all of the Star Wars content on the L4D2 Steam workshop.
  • Took it upon self to create the content and capitalize on this gap in the marketplace.
  • Geometry and textures based off of content of Death Star map from SW: Battlefront 2.

Super Mega Happy Fun Time: Group Work

A group sitting around a table talking to each other.

Communication is at the core of productive group work.

Sharing is caring. So it’s time to work in a group. Nothing of any significance was ever done by a single man or woman, not even in the world of video games. 

“HEY! What about that guy who made Minecraft?” – random internet reader

No. Not even Markus Persson, or more commonly known as ‘Notch’, the creator of Minecraft did it alone.

And if you think about it in a more philosophical way, we all stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. I don’t think I can say that as a software programmer I made the app that I made the other day all by myself. There are so many libraries, algorithms, lower level compile processes, design interfaces, et et that others have made that helped me get to where I am today. And I am thankful.

But whether we look at it in a practical way or in a philosophical way, great works of humanity are usually done by groups of people working together towards a common goal.

Some of the benefits of working in a group are that you have people to argue and fight with. And no this isn’t a bad thing. Bouncing ideas off of other scholars, arguing about opinions, and embracing new ideas is simply amazing. At the core of these acts is potential growth for both you and for your project. Your project can’t succeed without growth. 

Working alone has its pros and cons. One of my favorite things about working alone is that you don’t have to waste time with super long meetings. I can just have an idea and then go to work on it. Yet on the other side of that coin, the thing I hate the most about working alone is that no one is around to tell me my idea is pure and utter crap. 

Working in a group also has its benefits and drawbacks. One of my favorite things about working in a group is the potential for “enthusiasm rub off”. I can illustrate what I mean by that term by giving an example. When I work on projects, I usually get very excited and enthused about them if I truly believe in the project.  When I see other group members’ enthusiasm, their enthusiasm rubs off on me and I get even more motivated to do a great job. It causes me to go above and beyond anything I could have done alone because of the responsibility I feel toward my team.

If it is still hard to understand, then think about the concept of having a gym workout buddy. Think about why it is easier to find yourself consistently attending the gym when you have a workout buddy compared to how inconsistently you attend the gym if you don’t have a workout buddy, personal trainer, or fitness class.

Yet one of my biggest fears of group work is also enthusiasm rub off. But in this case the other group members have no enthusiasm and don’t care about the project at all. Often if I find myself in this situation, I tend to also loose interest in the project. I tell myself if my teammates don’t believe in the project, then why should I. 

Hopefully in the future I’ll be able to turn the emotions around, rally the troops, and make the team members who don’t believe in the project into team members who believe and truly care. 

Two people sitting at a table talking, giving feedback, and iterating.

Communication, feedback, critique, and iteration are key elements of group work.

Yet regardless of pros and cons, or hopes and fears. If you want to have good group productivity. You and your team members need to communicate. Communication is at the core of productive group work. Your concerns will never get addressed if you don’t bring them up to your team members. Concerns are important because without them your project will never grow and become great. 

In short, group work isn’t perfect, but it is the best thing that we have in order to make amazing things. And if you know how to communicate with your teammates, then you will be able to think as one and create something truly amazing. 

P.S. To all those who were expecting a topic from the last post, I’m sorry. This was a required assignment post. I’ll try to post one of those other topics next week.