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Design process
Page 1
 Stage 1: Layout and brainstorm
The first step is gathering ideas of how the map will look, sound and play. Any ideas I feel might be forgotton or neglected as it develops are written down or sketched. The map layout is decided in it's simplest of forms, depending on whether it is a Single player or a multiplayer level. This map is set in the multiplayer format, featuring 2 capture points and one destroyable objective.

Tools used: Pen, paper, imagination.

 Stage 2: Basic Geometry

In this stage, the bulk of the map is built out of simple, clean brushwork. I use plain, 'developer' texture for this stage, mostly to get a good feel for how large certain areas will be, and how long it should take a player to head from A to B. Once the map has been compiled, I will travel all routes of the map, timing the distances and adjusting the layout accordingly. I will often do this with a helpful friend to decide on combat 'choke points'.

Tools used:
Valve Hammer Editor.

 Stage 3: Detail brush work

Once the layout has been decided upon, more definition is added to the map, through 'detail' brushes. In the Half-Life 2 engine, a func_detail is used for these details. Func_detail brushes have no effect on the VIS process of the map, and create no extra visleafs during the compile stages. Every room or area in my map will comprise of a simple shape filled entirely with detail brushes for the maximum optimisation of the map.

Tools used: Valve Hammer Editor.

 Stage 4: Texturing

This is a fairly recent stage for me, since I have previously relied on dedicated 2D artists for texture stock. This is of course a lengthy stage, requiring a great deal of photosourcing, tiling and editing of every texture in the level. Points of interest are the creation of specular refection on textures, normal and bump mapping for some textures and even the creation of more advanced DUDV mapping for the 'glass bricks'.

The DUDV (or derivative) map is a layer that tells the game engine how to refract light passing through the texture. 99% of the textures in this map are custom content created by myself. Finally, the textures are applied to surfaces, taking care to avoid inproper tiling.

In this stage I also pay special attention to texture optimising the map, applying the NODRAW texture to any face which will not be seen by the player. This should help to improve performance ingame. Also, the lightmap scale is adjusted on any surface that does not need to recieve crisp shadows. This makes for a faster compile and smaller file size for the .bsp file. Equally, the lightmap scale is also increased on surfaces where i wish there to be striking shadows, such as the image above.

Tools Used: Sony Cybershot Digital Camera. Adobe Photoshop CS 2.surfaces where i wish there to be striking shadows, such as the image below.