Pre-Disaster Multiplayer Maps!

So, I’ve finally started making headway here after fiddling around with a great deal of behind-the-scenes asset and engine topics for a while. The first map I’ve picked is dm_stalkyard, both because it’s fairly small and because it’s almost completely self-contained. I’m a little bit unsure how to proceed with release since I’m using decompiled maps and that always struck me as a tiny bit rude, but in terms of the actual restoration it’s just going insanely well:

After spending so long messing around with Black Mesa’s ultra-modern, ultra-clean “lab” and office areas, it’s actually quite refreshing to work on a part of the facility that’s a little bit more industrial. Really, I imagine that when I give this area another detail pass a lot of what I’ll be focusing on is making the area a little grimier and worn-in, as at the moment it looks like it’s never been used.

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Make crossfire next

Looks nice and promising, the second screenshot reminds me of some Aperture areas in Portal. It could be fun if player can interact with some buttons (lights, doors, elevators, equipment, secret areas, …)

Going to have to use a bit more artistic license with the multiplayer maps overall, as a lot of them lack basic architectural features like glass in the windows or handles on the doors… or, in this case, anything resembling a button to control their various pieces of equipment.

I don’t feel quite as bad about improvising here, however, as we have no idea how long some of these areas have been left to rot since the Disaster, and some of them appear to have been deliberately modified after the fact in ways that don’t always quite make sense.

I think that this area was left for military combat practice, as shown in BM Steam launch trailer with Subtransit and Gasworks, could be 5-10 years before RC incident.

At Cryoshell’s prompting I’ve been exploring around with Crossfire, and while each area requires a lot of work to get functional the results are quite impressive.

The fact that a lot of the design elements here are also things that will become relevant to the troubled and troublesome Office Complex restoration effort is an added bonus.

So in just a matter of a few days, pd_stalkyard’s original areas have gotten extremely close to done! There’s still some logic to do (a lot of doors, and the two-stop elevator with the moving platform is giving me significant trouble), but the area is very small and already in fairly good shape so there really was not a lot that needed to be drastically changed. At the moment, though, the map is still rather boring as there are only a few elevators and doors to interact with, and other than that basically just crates and concrete as far as the eye can see, so I likely won’t be doing a pre-expansion release of it. Like Office Complex’s B Map Stalkyard is a relatively small map to start out with, so expect a substantial increase in size.

Currently, Stalkyard looks more or less like this:

There’s some additional parts of the bigger buildings in the skybox, but no new structures or even any real changes in architecture. It’s also worth noting that the large building on the bottom and the two skinnier ones on either side do not physically connect; they are simply adjacent.

Now, both to save myself some work and establish a clearly-defined boundary for the Satellite Distribution Center, I’ve decided that Black Mesa does not in fact own every building in this industrial park- rather, their property only encompasses the fenced-in section and the buildings connected thereto- that is to say, the warehouse at the top with the big windows (Building One), the little hut in the center (Building Three), the terrace-roofed compounds on either side (Buildings Two and Four), and the big one with all of the ventilation stuff going into it at the bottom (Building Five). They might also own the dirt lots to either side, but since they seem to have gone to great expense to put up that security fence with the lots outside of it and build those enclosed metal shacks around the garage doors leading to the other buildings through said lots, I doubt it.

At the moment Stalkyard seems to be almost completely storage with only that one tiny little office area, so in some of these buildings I’d like to add a few support structures: A security office, administration, a workshop for forklifts etc., a cafeteria or at least a lounge for workers, and a main entrance of some kind that fronts the actual city street. Where will all of that go? I really have no idea- Building 5 looks large enough to hold all of that comfortably, but it’s accessible only through one sort of out-of-the-way garage door; Building 4 has two entrances, but it’s also very small.

Oh, and there’s also this one weird garage door that goes into Building 3 but has no corresponding entrance to a room inside.

It might be an elevator to some kind of underground storeroom or tunnel complex (as the space between it and the corridor on the other side is about the same thickness as the cargo elevators elsewhere in the complex), but I think it’s much more likely a small, self-contained garage or storage area like the ones in Surface Tension that are used to store fuel drums.

Hit a bit of a snag when it comes to the garage doors- specifically the ones that have the potential to clip into windows or other objects above them if they were to just move upward as a single block. Originally I had a plan to split them into multiple sections that would “collapse into” each other inside the unseen interior of the wall and thereby replicate the effect of a roll-up garage door, but while this worked well for the door opening it resulted in the door segments either z-fighting themselves or appearing to “unroll” from the bottom when it closed. I’m not 100% sure how to proceed here, as while a heavily choreographed system with time delays would work in the strictest sense it would break horribly if the control button was ever pressed while the door was half-open. Until I can get a better handle on how to proceed, I am thinking of moving on to Crossfire, Undertow, or some other map without these mechanical difficulties for the time being.

I don’t think that the multiplayer deathmatch takes place before the RC incident as there are many maps such as Bounce and Undertow that hold Xenian life, unless you are implying that the maps shown in the trailer take place before the RC incident. There’s probably some quotes in the map loading screens that could give us more info.

I’m operating under the assumption that first they were abandoned in the Resonance Cascade, then the military came in and made further modifications, then in some cases the military left and allowed the sites to fall even more into disrepair.

More importantly, though, I’ve managed to find workarounds for the entity-logic issues that were bedeviling me in Stalkyard and now I stand ready to expand the map to its full potential.

The only problem is, I still have no idea where to put everything. In particular, I have absolutely no idea on which end(s?) of the complex there is street access or (since we’re in a port) dock access. Perhaps more will follow once I’m done with the one area (the drum storage) that I know how to fill in, and have a chance to look in more detail at the whole complex.

While we’re on the subject, how’d you get a hold of the VMF files for the multiplayer maps, anyhow? Did you decompile them yourself? Can you tell me where I can access them? I’m making a deathmatch map right now and I could use some references. That would be awesome, thanks!

Oh and great job on this pre-destruction mapping. When it’s all complete, it’s doubtless that the uses of it to the community will be overwhelming. Not only will it be useful for machinimas, but half-life modding will benefit from this.

I should really put that in its own thread; as it is of general applicability to many modders.

Wait, so you decompiled the bsp multiplayer files to make your own VMFs of them?

Yes, these are decompiles.

Step-by-step instructions can be found here.

Oh thank you!

Are you planning to bring back red button in Undertow map for full/partially flooding the last chamber?

At the moment I have no idea; I’ll have to see how high I can plausibly raise the water level without what would be considered obvious damage to the equipment in that area.

So when I talked about this facility maybe facing the Pacific Ocean, I was imagining one of the buildings actually having a dock or pier sticking out into the water which would be traversable by the player. However, I’ve realized this does not actually make a great deal of sense, as sea cargo comes in those big square containers off of massive container ships that would never in a million years fit into a dock at a facility the size of Stalkyard. So what ‘facing the sea’ more likely means is that there’s a large, public container yard between Stalkyard and the docks proper, and since such a thing is not Black Mesa’s property but shared by whoever else rents out this industrial park, the player probably won’t have access to it. This is a good thing as it would likely be far too large to effectively render, nobody wants to explore a giant concrete plain with nothing but rows of shipping containers in it, and more to the point Black Mesa does not have a lot of good nautical models.

Looking at the map as it currently stands, there seems an obvious place to put such a thing- the area near the white, large-windowed warehouse which already has a large number of shipping containers piled up around it, and additionally a big crane like the one in Gasworks fits very well between the buildings there.

If that’s the case, then it’s likely that the main street supplying this industrial park runs on the opposite side of the complex from the container yard. I’m thinking that the logical place for the front parking lot would be tucked in between Building 5 (the “logistics building”) and either Building 2 or Building 4. Considering that the 4-facing side of 5 is more open and has a wider entrance I am thinking the main lot is on that side, although there might also be a smaller cargo lot on the 2-facing side.

Then, thinking about personnel and cargo moving through the complex, I think it’s reasonable to guess personnel and administrative/support facilities are located in Building 5 along with the main entrance. The main peronnel entrance is through the large shed-like building and garage door off to the East; the other door leads into the forklift shop that makes up the majority of the southern half of Building Four. Building Two is likely then just more storage, although it may be more distribution than long-term holding:


What you said regarding shipping containers makes sense. Not sure how you’ll fit a crane in there though without it being too far up to stand out from the original map design.

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