Question; How to connect misc. buildings to the map like Valve does? (pics)

Discussion in 'Mapping Questions & Discussion' started by Armadillo of Doom, Feb 1, 2008.

  1. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

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    I've run into a roadblock. I have the layout, borders, and most of the basic stuff. Started working on details, and realized how emtpy my map still was. I tried adding a few buildings around the edges, but they seem so out of place. Here is what I mean the way Valve does it;
    http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg204/Immortal-D/hl22008-02-0111-20-52-10.jpg
    http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg204/Immortal-D/hl22008-02-0111-20-36-90.jpg
    It looks like you're actually part of a much larger area. The dirt/grain drop-off connect to spawn, which has a shed and a road that leads to the side of the middle area, etc. The best I've been able to come up with so far is this;
    http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg204/Immortal-D/hl22008-02-0111-28-48-56.jpg
    http://i249.photobucket.com/albums/gg204/Immortal-D/hl22008-02-0111-30-34-98.jpg
    For that first pic, the building on the right is my spawnroom with a missile in it, so having the metal thing there doesn't really make sense. So I guess I'm looking for suggestions on how to fill in the borders. How to make it look natural, like the spawn or capture point is part of this larger structure/area?
     
  2. spaceweasels

    aa spaceweasels

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    Well, a 3D skybox can definitely help add depth to the buildings without impacting performance.
     
  3. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

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    I actually have one, but I misaligned the sky_camera, so the whole thing is under the map atm :D
     
  4. trackhed

    trackhed L3: Member

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    the blue chute looks very misplaced, but if you moved the red silo over and placed another silo next to it I think it would make it look a lot better

    I would suggest also taking a cue from the valve designers

    they used the cow, dirt material and some grass props to make it look like the building was part of the back yard of the building you can actually enter (notice the deck build onto the side of the enterable building)

    on the right of your red building (past the chain link fence) I would say try adding a little yard.

    on the blue side, the corn is way too close to the building, try pushing that back and adding a fence around it to give it more of a "farmed" look.

    Take some inspiration from the world around you

    http://www.fairvuefarms.com/Fairvue_Farms.jpg
    http://www.linwoodnj.org/photos/Brighton Farms.jpg
    http://www.webelfarms.com/WebelFarms.jpg

    Notice the divisions of the land here
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/suffolk/in_pictures/suffolk_from_the_air/images/ru_holbrook_farmland_400.jpg
    they usually put fences down with about 50-100 feet around it for trees (which hold the soil down and create a wind barrier)
     
  5. VelvetFistIronGlove

    aa VelvetFistIronGlove

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    OK, I understand your question to be more about how to create detail that fits rather than whether to put it in the 3D skybox or not, is that right?

    I find it's mostly a matter of what "looks right", and adds visual interest. This might be looking for areas of blank wall that need some detail, or adding some buildings with an interesting silhouette.

    Take this bit of my map for example:

    [​IMG]

    This area is about halfway through detailing. Originally, this was a big open area behind the fence. I had a big solid block of a building on the left, plain blue, at the height of the lower frontmost bit.

    The first things I did here was add in the conveyor/pipe in the foreground. This worked with the more mechanized industrial feel I wanted for the blue team, as well as serendipitously fitting the slope of the ground.

    The pipe needed something to run into, so I added the right-hand building. At this point it was still a single level, again at the height of the lower frontmost bit. These two flat buildings were visually uninteresting, so I added an upper storey to each of them, with the higher pipe running between. The higher pipe then naturally required door overlays where the catwalk reached it.

    It was looking decent now, but there was still a huge bare expanse of wall on the left-hand building. I added the ducting on the corner, and the windows across the top of the wall -- these details reduced the empty space while being plausible. Lower down I added the smaller room sticking out of the side to break up the wall, with a slanting roof to be less rectangular. I added a similarly slanting roof to the upper storey of the right-hand building, so its silhouette was more interesting.

    Finally, I added the cooling tower model to fill up the space opposite the small room, and then a cliff wall behind (matching the rest of the map) to provide a plausible end to the space.

    I still need to add little details: maybe some stains, work on the ground displacements, maybe add some rocks; but it's mostly ready.

    While detailing, I find I spend a lot of time looking at the decompiled valve maps to see how they've filled up space with details, and how those details break up the basically rectangular structure of the map.


    Here's a few other more-or-less completed detail areas of my map; again, all of these are inaccessible, so are just there to make it a more "real" place.


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [Edit: now that I've seen trackhed's comments, I might give some suggestions]

    I fully agree with trackhed about looking at the real world. Google Images is your friend here. What do you want this red building to look like. A farm? A factory? An actual missile silo?

    The first thing to change should be the big cubical building. If you're aiming for the farm look, maybe make it a barn, something like this or this. You could have a big hatch open in the roof for the missiles to fire out of (remembering that the "farm" is, in the game's fiction, just a front for the spy base) -- like the three hatches in the roof of the red base in granary, but on a larger scale.

    For your building extending out to the left, I'd be inclined to remove the windows, make the roof a little lower, and less steeply slanted, then add a long, narrow, low loft, also with a peaked roof, with windows regularly spaced along it, rather like on the top of this barn. The double-level breaks up the rectangularity and adds depth. Also, the industrial cooling tower doesn't fit the farm look, so maybe a water tank (props_mining/watertower002 comes to mind).

    OTOH, if you're after a factory look, then the left-hand building looks wrong, but the cooling tower should stay -- along with more external pipes/ducts, ventilators, and things like that.
     
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2008
  6. Armadillo of Doom

    aa Armadillo of Doom Group Founder, Lover of Pie

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    Wow 0.o Velvet, those pics are awsome. That is exactly the kind of thing I want to create, but can never seem to get quite right. Also Trackhed, that is some pretty good inspiration lol. I appreciate the help guys. I should be able to liven up all my barren space a bit :D