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Experiments and excerpts

My collection of random knowledge and findings related to Source and Source level design.

July 17, 2008

Setting samples in game

0 percent falloff = does nothing ?

I've been working on a chart to answer the question "So what exactly does setting the 0 and 50 percent fall off distances do?". While in the image on the left you can see the noticeable effects of changing the 50 percent fall off distance in-game, the 0 percent, not so much. I'm still trying to find a better settings to show a more defined contrast between the different values.

July 3, 2008

Flagrun works?

I messed around with the flagrun map concept a bit more and was finally able to make a working prototype. Part of my problem before was my using the CTF game type for the teamflags, with the CTF setting, after a team has three captures it is automatically declared the winner, even if a master_control_point entity is present, so I changed the mode to KOTH. I believe flagrun might be the actual game play style for KOTH anyway. I still have yet to find a descent work-around for the multi-pickup bug.

Anyways, for those interested I've uploaded my mostly working (short of the problems I mentioned yesterday) prototype here: --Brandished 15:57, 2 Jul 2008 (PDT)

July 2, 2008

Flagrun for TF2?

For those of you who may not remember or not have played a round of Flagrun, here's a recap. Flagrun was a 4 flag CTF style map with 4 flags both teams fought over. Unlike with standard CTF, the flags spawned in different locations around the map, and the flags do not return to the enemy base when captured, they stayed in your own base, unless they were dropped during transfer or the other team steals them. From the TFC objectives:

War - Control the flags

Objective: Bring all four flags in the map
to the capture point in your base to win 
the round. Secured flags can be stolen from
the enemy base

Scoring: Returning a flag - 2 points 
	 Securing a neutral flag - 5 points
	 Capturing a stolen flag - 10 points

Other Notes: When a flag carrier is killed,
the flag returns to the neutral flag room.

I've been able to partially recreate this map type using a mix of CTF and CP gameplay modes. What I created was basically a 3 CP map, with each capture point requiring a player to possess a flag in order to cap it.


The main problem I've run into is a "bug" with TF2 that springs up when there's more then one cap-able flag available to a team, a single player can pickup an unlimited number of flags, but they can only drop one, the other flags they have picked up stay with them until the map is reloaded, they can't drop the other flags they have picked up even if they die. So if a player happens to pick up more then one flag during a round, that round immediately becomes un-winnable. I have still to come up with a descent work-around for this

The second biggest problem I've run into is due to the gameplay splitting a team up into separate groups, the scout has a significant advantage over the other classes due to his increased speed. The flags no longer have any speed penalty settings, so workarounds must be used. There are two workarounds I know of, but both are a little rough, and can have some undesired effects. The first one I know of is to create significant choke points that require a team effort to be overcome, as with 2fort. Choke points, while forcing teamwork, can also tend to turn what was once fast paced game into an unending turtle-fest, especially as more players join the server. The other workaround is to parent a trigger_gravity onto the flag that cuts the flag carriers speed down significantly. The problem with this approach is that not only does it limit the classes speed, but their jump height, and distance as well, not to mention making it near impossible to leave a water way that lacks a ramp exit of some sort.

Lastly, the lack of a neutral flag color, announcer sounds, and on-screen messages to the flag carrier tend to create a bit of confusion during the match, especially for players unfamiliar withthe game type.--Brandished 00:11, 2 Jul 2008 (PDT)

June 27, 2008

Level editing with Blender

Blender can export to the ".map" format, interesting. The "map" format can be loaded into the old 3.4 version of Hammer and then saved into rmf, which can then be opened with the current version of Hammer (4.1). That's a an extra step where as XSI can export directly to vmf. It also doesn't seem to support texturing, only brushwork.

I know something similar could be done with 3DS_Max via the GLB plug-in, but with GLB, brush work could not be saved and re-edited within Max, only exported to a .map file. You were also limited to a somewhat small set of tools the plugin supported.

I wonder how it deals with non-convex geometry.

Non-Standard Flags for TF2

For those curious about the faces, the red flag is Robin Walker's, the blue flag is Charlie Brown's.

Although Valve may not have included a way to directly change the model for the "item_teamflag" entity to something other then the intelligence briefcase, it is possible to parent other entities to the "item_teamflag" entity as a rough work-around. When an entity is parented to the "item_teamflag" entity, when a player touches it in-game, it has the same effect as touching the "item_teamflag" itself. It does look a little weird when the "flag" is dropped, though.