User:Jupix/Jupix's miscellaneous newbie questions

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I know, I know - there already is Help Desk - but if I were to ask all my stupid questions there, it would fill up pretty fast. Therefore I hope someone will read this and has time to answer some of these questions. Thanks :)


What's the most efficient way to create a non-flat wall?

Hey VDC-ists! Long time no see. :)

I'm trying to recreate a wall type seen in Crusader: No Regret. I think that in 3D it would look something like the following:


(Sorry for the crude image, I should know by now that making 3D sketches in 2D imaging software always ends in tears.)

So, the question is: How should I go about making this kind of wall? What is the most efficient way?

  • Bump mapped texture?
  • A shader texture of some kind?
  • func_detail prefabs?

If anyone can be bothered to shed some light on this, I'd be very grateful. :) Jupix 02:32, 17 Jan 2007 (PST)

The most accurate way to do it would be brushwork, but I'd advise aginst it as it would eat fps for lunch. Properly modeled and LOD'd it could work as a model but I belive it would cause more alignment/lighting issues that it would be worth. Realisitcally for that effect a properly done normal map is your best option. --Angry Beaver 19:54, 17 Jan 2007 (PST)
Thanks for your input Angry Beaver :)
I did figure that wall models would be too expensive, but I wanted confirmation.. And there it is.
I experimented with normal maps earlier today, and found that they were unsuitable as I couldn't make the material "deep" enough. As can be seen from the above sketch, the depth of the wall is at least 15 centimeters, and I found that with normal maps I could create only a couple cm deep effect.
So I tried parallax mapping. That seems to work better. I went for the 3rd party mod, but I'm having some trouble with it, it seems to break lightmaps somehow. Check out this screenshot for an example of what I'm talking about. Does anyone have any idea what I should do to fix this? Jupix 12:56, 18 Jan 2007 (PST)
Ah. I read the thread. The mod linked at parallax mapping doesn't support HDR.
Going to try out this one. Jupix 14:27, 18 Jan 2007 (PST)
lol that seems to be for models only.
Well, Parallax Occlusion Shader mod seems to work without HDR so that'll have to do until the author comes up with a version that supports it. Jupix 15:24, 18 Jan 2007 (PST)
The wall looks very ugly with POS.
However, I don't think I have any other choice, so I'll just stick with it. It'd be way too bothersome to make walls out of models (as this wall texture will cover most of the map I'm creating). Jupix 05:16, 22 Jan 2007 (PST)

Questions on using HDR

  • What do I have to do to get the Lost Coast HDR skybox to load in my map? I tweaked my Hammer settings so that the map goes into the lost coast/maps directory and executes in lost coast hl2.exe but still it fails to load the skybox. I think what I have to do is to load the lostcoast_content.gcf somehow but I can't find the documentation on how to do that. Jupix 03:32, 12 Mar 2006 (PST)
Well, they no longer do.. I suppose the recent patches added HDR to HL2.. Either that or I did something by mistake that fixed it. Jupix 08:31, 22 Mar 2006 (PST)
That's glare, for some reason whatevers supposed to eb doing it isn't shading down the reflection on the gun, so it picks up a huge ammount of reflection of light and causes glare due to the HDR code. Are you runnign stright appid 215? or are you running a mish mash? if its a mish mash there were some changes in shader properties to prevent that effect in HDR mode that need to be applied, but I'm nto sure exactly what they are. --Angry Beaver 19:54, 17 Jan 2007 (PST)
It's very simple to fix it. Simply run the buildcubemaps console command. --Sortie 07:53, 3 Feb 2007 (PST)
Thanks, but the problem was that I was trying to run an HDR lighted map in vanilla HL2. (Note that I left this question in March 2006 :) Jupix 08:36, 3 Feb 2007 (PST)
  • Does the vanilla HL2 fully support HDR? I don't mean the maps but the engine, so that I could make a map for HL2 that uses HDR.
I mean, the HDR basics article says: Note: Currently HDR only works in Lost Coast, DoD:S, and CS:S. It will not work in regular HL2 or HL2MP until/unless those programs are updated for HDR. Has that update already occurred? How does it behave when it doesn't work? The HDR effects don't show up at all or do show up but with all sorts of weird glitches? Also, does the recent HL2 patch have anything to do with HDR? Jupix 07:34, 18 Mar 2006 (PST)
Vanilla HL2 does not support HL2, appid 215 anything does plus CSS and DODS --Angry Beaver 19:54, 17 Jan 2007 (PST)

Multiple cubemaps on same brush?

  • Is it generally correct for one brush face to have multiple env_cubemaps linked to it? My guess is yes but I decided to ask anyway.
Cubemaps are used for the reflections that appear on some surfaces (whether a surface has a reflection depends on the shader/texture applied to it). I don't think any surface/texture/etc uses more than one reflection, so I don't think any surface would have more than one cubemap linked to it. Also, afaik, you only need to link a cubemap to a surface when you can't get it to look right otherwise. Giles 11:28, 27 Feb 2006 (PST)
Yep - I know the basics :) However, I am thinking about a situation where I have, say, a long metal corridor, surfaces of which reflect according to its lighting, and a blue light in one spot and a yellow one in another. I believe the two different lighting conditions create need for 2 cubemaps. Apparently I also need to build the corridor from at least two brushes to give them one cubemap each?
Fair enough, I get you now, though it doesn't much help me give you an answer. :) I think it's up to your own experimentation (or someone who knows more than me) to determine whether each surface chooses a cubemap, or each quad/polygon that makes up that surface chooses a cubemap, and whether Source will blend cubemaps together. Giles 14:22, 27 Feb 2006 (PST)
OK, will do a test on it some day then :)
You'd have to create two seperate brushes. Keep in mind that the cubemap is much like a 2d skybox, just for the brush. It isn't stationary but moves with the player when he moves on the brush (hope you can follow me here :) ).
However, don't forget the lighting of the spots itself! They will have the far superior impact on the appeareance of the brush, so I'd say create a cubemap in the middle of both spots and it'll be ok. Maybe increase the lightmapgrid on the brush if you want the spot to be "sharper". --Vaarscha 06:51, 6 Mar 2006 (PST)

Mass selection in Hammer?

  • Is there a selection tool in Hammer that would, when used in any of the 2D views, behave like (for example) the Block Tool and would select all possible items in its range (that means all items inside the white lines)? I have used Hammer for some time now and haven't found a tool like this. It would be handy for moving stuff, rooms for example, without grouping them first.
When you have the selection tool active, click and drag in the 2D window in any blank space (ie not near any brush edges or selection points). A white box will appear. Press enter to select everything inside this box (including things only partially inside the box). Or press escape to cancel and get rid of the box. Giles 11:28, 27 Feb 2006 (PST)
Ahh, that's handy. Thanks :)

Easy way to build arch-shaped walls?

  • Is there an easy way to build an arched wall like this one? The Arch tool only seems to create the "frame" of the arch, whereas I need the whole thing. Carving a wall with an arch didn't do much good either. Suggestions anyone?
NVM, I used a half-cylinder to carve a block into an arch like in the picture. However, if there's a better way, I'd really like to hear about it :)
Carving with complex shapes is bad (because it puts vertices in off-grid/non-integer positions, which may then get rounded up or down, which will cause the various parts of the carve to separate and look glitchy, and because it creates lots of off-axis brush divisions which will make the BSP compilation get really stroppy). When I'm building complex shapes like arches, I tend to create cylinders as guides but then create the actual arch by hand, brush by brush (with the grid set to its finest level and zoomed right in so I can match up the vertices on what I'm creating with those on my guide brushes). Clip and vertex manipulation all the way. Giles 07:51, 3 Mar 2006 (PST)
Yup, I gathered that much reading the VDC article on carving. Reading your post it seems I really should learn how to use vertex editing. About brush editing, normally I do use the smallest possible grid and snap to grid so that shouldn't be a problem. It's just a pain to build complex shapes out of blocks (that's why I used carve for that thing of mine, it isn't very large so I'm living in hope that it doesn't hurt FPS too much. When I tested it out, it seemed to run very smoothly, so I think I'm going to leave it as it is (the arch is now made from only about 10 brushes max, and it's func_detail, so I trust it's quite cheap). Remains to be seen though. Jupix 05:23, 6 Mar 2006 (PST)
If you want an arc as complex as the image above. I would suggest that you use a prop or make your own in XSI. By the way im from Finland to Cheers--Deadity 11:25, 3 Mar 2006 (PST)
Cheers mate. Mitä jätkä? ;)
I should look into that. Thanks for the advice :) Jupix 05:23, 6 Mar 2006 (PST)
Mä voisin tehdä sulle sellaisen "propin" jos haluat. Mä tarvitsen harjoitusta--Deadity 10:42, 6 Mar 2006 (PST)
Sopiihan tuo mulle, VMF :) Jupix 10:53, 6 Mar 2006 (PST)
(switching back to English) Will this arch be used in a level of yours or are you just testing around? And can the arch be slightly thicker or is it vital that the size is exactly the same?
I don't think I'm going to use it in a map (not in a public one anyway), so feel free to mess around with it :) It just goes in a doorway as it is now. When I make shapes complicated enough (in the far future), I will try and learn how to make them into props. Jupix 05:17, 7 Mar 2006 (PST)
This is how far I have come, all I have left basicly is to UV and texture it. By the way do you know where I could host this model?--Deadity 05:44, 8 Mar 2006 (PST) Default Pass Render.1.jpg
Nice! Did you build that with brushes and then convert it to a prop? If that's the case, it seems like it does actually work. Could be handy.
I run a server ( so I can arrange some hosting for you. That'll take a day or two though. I'll get back to you on that. Jupix 06:10, 8 Mar 2006 (PST)
Actually I took the brushes that you made and imported them to XSI and then simply added geometry to them then deleted the original brushes Overview_of_Model_Creation#Softimage.7CXSI_Mod_Tool_for_Half-life_2 --Deadity 10:16, 8 Mar 2006 (PST).
  • Im done with the arch. The texture isn't perfect, but it will do. Check out the normal map on the texture.--Deadity 12:56, 8 Mar 2006 (PST)
  • No need for the hosting Jupix, I placed this prop in the snarkpit. Anyone who wants this prop, go ahead and take it while its hot.--Deadity 14:51, 9 Mar 2006 (PST)

Kaari0000.jpg Kaari0002.jpg

Looks awesome, good job! I might use it after all, if I come up with a building that fits its style :P Jupix 05:09, 10 Mar 2006 (PST)

Specifying a target for headcrabs emerging from a env_headcrabcanister?

  • Is there a way to define where headcrabs should jump from env_headcrabcanister? I have one canister which is set to land right next to a gorge - now I'm using an npc clip laid right next to the canister but that looks odd because the headcrabs still jump towards the clip and bounce off it mid-air.
Three options that might work [these are guesses, so no promises :)]
  • Try passing an info_target as a parameter when you trigger SpawnHeadcrabs (remember to set the Wait for input to spawn headcrabs flag on the launcher.
  • Have you placed info_nodes yet? It's possible that the headcrabs will aim for those as they exit the canister.
  • If info_nodes don't work, try placing info_node_hints with their Hint set to Headcrab: Burrow point. They might aim for these too.
If that doesn't work, then you'll probably have to just figure out some kind of justification for the npc clip brush, like a piece of cliff-side fence that half falling off the cliff, or a tree/rock, or something. Giles 07:51, 3 Mar 2006 (PST)
Oh and there's always the really obvious one - set the pitch/yaw/roll so the canister lands facing away from the gorge edge! Giles 07:53, 3 Mar 2006 (PST)
I'm gonna try those out, thanks :) I've already tested info_node and that seemed to have no obvious effect (apart from its own function which is quite clear anyway), most the headcrabs still jumped at the clip wall. I'm gonna try the other entities mentioned, but unfortunately I can't change the canister's angle to anything different since it must launch from a specific structure and hit a specific target. Jupix 05:23, 6 Mar 2006 (PST)

Modifying a brush after it's been created?

  • Can a block-shaped brush be made into an another shape, like a cylinder, without carving or clipping?
If you select an object and then switch to the create-brush tool, when you drag in one 2D view, the third dimension (the one not used for that 2D view) for the new brush will be set to whatever you just had selected. It's not a direct conversion but that would save you a bit of time while recreating the new shapes in place of the old ones. Giles 07:51, 3 Mar 2006 (PST)
OK, I'll check that out :)