Creative Infusion: A Different Perspective On Decompiling

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by endyss, Aug 28, 2008.

  1. endyss

    endyss L1: Registered

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    I hope this doesn't garner any ire from people like Snipergen (whose views I completely respect).

    For me, I am essentially a non-mapper, or was at least until a week ago. I have never made a map before. I have opened Hammer and been intimidated into a little corner, and the closest thing I've ever done to the kind of art you guys create is much less professional maps for Age of Empires and other RTS games. However, when Arena mode was first released, I had an idea and decided to do the work necessary to make it happen.

    Arena is essentially a TF2 version of Counterstrike, and while I wasn't a huge CS nut back in the day, I played it enough to remember some good times in one particular map: de_dust. From the moment I began playing Arena, I speculated how cool it would be to play that map in TF2. So I set to work, and little did I realize what I was getting into.

    Before it was done, I learned about map structure, 3D skyboxes, brushes, props, textures, clipping, nodraw, leaks, hint boxes, lighting, and tons more. I poured roughly 8-12 hours a day in the final week of my summer vacation into figuring it all out and making it work. The con? I started out with a decompiled version of de_dust from the Counterstrike: Source shared files.

    By the end, I had redone nearly everything except the original ground displacements. I decompiled and stripped down the original .bsp file because I wanted to ensure all the angles and dimensions and that it would feel like the original de_dust. I had to account for all the new vertical possibilities TF2 allows for, and how to give it a unique look and feel that fit with the TF2 universe.

    My point isn't that stealing is okay, or that what I made was anything other than a TF2 port of the most famous CS map out there. It did, however, push me over the edge and into the world of mapping, and by the end I feel entirely confident I could (and probably will) create an entirely original map after this. I think I would have remained intimidated and never gone far with it, but through that initial decompiling, I had to make sense of everything in front of me, and one step at a time, I got it done.


    So before you call me a thief and move on, take a quick look and tell me what you think, the first community evaluation of a map I (more or less) created. Like I said, I don't put the project or especially its layout in anything of the same league as the fine work of real, skilled mappers. But it's my first, and damn it I'm a little proud:

    Arena_Dust

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

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  2. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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  3. nossie

    nossie L3: Member

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    wow this worked really well. i like it how u didnt just take the decompile strip it and change textures.. i like it how u actually learnt about hammer and the design process unlike some people. id like to see how it plays as well
     
  4. Buzzy

    Buzzy L1: Registered

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    wow, this looks good, I wouldn't even recognise dust :eek:hmy:
     
  5. TotalMark

    TotalMark L6: Sharp Member

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    Basically you ported it.

    You're no more a thief than any game company that ported titles to other platforms.
     
  6. luxatile

    aa luxatile deer

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    I think you've done a very nice job on converting it to a TF2 style, especially for a complete non-mapper...even if I think it's a bit wrong to decompile, edit and release someone else's map.
     
  7. Username

    Username L2: Junior Member

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    :D
    Man, this looks good. I would never be able to tell it was dust. This is what decompiling was meant for. Sure, you could have run around the map and remade it by eye, but that would be extra effort for an identical result. Two thumbs up.
     
  8. grazr

    aa grazr Old Man Mutant Ninja Turtle

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    This is a nice looking map. The dimensions shouldn't need to be perfectly identical, TF2 has different needs than a cs map. In general TF2 combat is quite close combat whilst cs is very ranged. But all the same it looks like this would work.

    Would you like to know what my very first map was back when i cracked open worldcraft 2.2 around 8 years ago? Complex, a port from golden eye/perfect dark. I didn't release it (though i might have had i access to a decompiled version to work with), but it was a port just as is yours. I figured if Perfect dark could reproduce a level from another game then so could i :lol: but of course it was my very first map and quite poor.

    Ports are somewhat different to changing a games mode, essentially a port is a remake of a timeless game environment. Whilst i don't condone working directly from a decompiled map, what comes of this is undeniably something different. You've changed textures and hopefully some architextural details, it would be nice to see them pushed to the bounds of the TF2 theme. You've even changed the 3d skybox. :thumbup1:

    I would have thought however that a 2cp map would have been more appropriate rather than arena. Given the nature of the original map. But that's a minor detail.
     
  9. FaTony

    FaTony Banned

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    LF pl_arena_assault.
     
  10. Apex_

    Apex_ L3: Member

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    Thief. *moves on*

    I jest. This thread really hits a point I wish more mappers (or would-be mappers) would consider, which is the difference between porting and ripping off. Porting, to me at least, means you took an idea and layout and adapted it to fit another game, whereas ripping a map and dropping in a different set of entities takes into account no gameplay aspects that would need to be altered to fit elsewhere. Putting thought into adapting a map isn't so far flung from making your own, and learning by professional example is one of the best ways to get started.

    Despite my deeply seeded hatred of arena mode, I would gladly host your creation on my server. The effort put into it and a familiar layout should prove to be a quality level.
     
  11. endyss

    endyss L1: Registered

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    Wow! I'm humbled and surprised at the positive response!

    I've put it up to be hosted on a server group I'm part of (WDFNews.com), but I'm going to hold off posting it to map sites for a couple days to make sure I didn't miss any major bugs.

    Btw, I made some fairly major (in my book) additions and alterations to details since I took those shots, so here are a couple from the final version.

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  12. Bonafide

    Bonafide L6: Sharp Member

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    change the ground to displacements and use blended textures instead of putting an overlay on the ground trying to break up the repetition.
     
  13. VelvetFistIronGlove

    aa VelvetFistIronGlove

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    The light beams in the dome look strange -- it makes it appears as if the sun is shining in from all directions! They really ought to be mostly parallel, with the holes on the side away from the sun just having an env_lightglow to make them look bright.
     
  14. endyss

    endyss L1: Registered

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    Ya, I've kind of had to learn about things as I go along. I used blended textures for the skybox terrain, but I didn't realize it could break up the normal terrain as well.

    And I've started using lights, light_spots, and point_spots, but not env_glows yet.

    When I start making touchups and bug fixes for an eventual Version 2, I'll put both of those in (and until then, I'll appreciate the pretty cathedral look of the indoor lights).