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Repaving The Route

17 May

If you happen to visit The Escape Route from time to time, you’ll surely notice that things all of sudden look much different around here. If this is your first time here, then the above never happened – we’ve always looked this cool, really.

Changes are being made throughout the week, so any tweaks, colorations, font sizes — any formatting in general is a short-term growing pain as we break in the new duds. Unlike fixing highways, however, we won’t divert you with big machines, piping-hot tar, and/or detours. See, I told you we were always this cool.

Intermission

7 Apr

Some small updates in this rather informal post (then again, how formal are blogs anyways?):

1. Last episode of the Modcast I said we’d be back for Pt. 3 of our current mini-series in a couple weeks. That was more than a few weeks ago by now. I decided it’d be best to hold back on Pt. 3 & Pt. 4 until after ChromaWaves is officially released. The game has been finished for a good month now, ready for submission to Apple, but processing and opening accounts to get the process started has been taking longer than we anticipated. Just know that the game is indeed set to be available, and as soon as it’s within our capacity and officially approved for release, it will be.

2. Cory was nice enough to update one of our most popular posts on the site, regarding the generation of NAV files in L4D. He’s thrown a disclaimer on it at the beginning explaining that the list he made there is dated by now, and to proceed using it in your experiments in Source with caution.

That’s all for now. Stay tuned for more podcasts, posts, and updates after our Spring semester comes to a close.

Beta’ Late Than Never

25 May

L4D_Tools_installLast week sometime, the beta for Valve’s answer to an official L4D SDK (Software Development Kit) was released as the Left4Dead Authoring Tools. With each announcement Valve made about the release, we grew confident that we’d not see the SDK before the Spring 09′ semester had already ended. Turns out we were correct, but at the least it’s finally here and some much needed clarity is brought to the standards of developing for this game. There’s more or less significance in the distinction between this and Source SDK itself as well (which is used for every other Valve title), because it’s left us pondering, “Why not just add a new engine version/category within the plain-old Source?”. The simpler answer is in being a beta, but I feel going into some of the bullet points helpful towards what we need to do from here.

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Final crit

29 Apr

First off, the CIA and CWRU tournament was CANCELLED! Lack of sign-ups from CWRU came as a surpise and the event has been rescheduled for next semester. BRING IT ON!

Final critique for our Ideation and Presentation major day class is today and we’ve had the chance to reflect on the semester and look at where we’ve come from, see what we’ve got, and think about where we’re going.

With regards to stage 1 (My scene), the basic layout of the map has long been finalized, and details are being added such as a traffic accident scene very early in the scene. This offered up a wonderful opportunity to try something new with the level, and making the acquisition of weapons in the game a narrative element. Screenshots below explain.

The nav map has successfully generated for my level, much to the dismay of others on the team, and we were able to playtest the map to a degree that (despite not having the frills and details) is pretty close to the final thing. The backtracking element will surely benefit from the details that are yet to be applied, but the nav (and the zombies it brings) help to make the experience a little more challenging.

To sum up my semester of work, having learned hammer from scratch, deconstructed existing valve levels, generated an extensive tutorial for the benefit of the community, and actually made, revised, rebuilt, and playtested my map, I can safely say that the experience has been an excellent one and that I can’t wait to keep working over the summer with the team to hopefully get a campaign we can play through from start to finish.

Awesome semester!

Matt.

Screenshot teasers -

l4d_zoo_010027
l4d_zoo_010013
l4d_zoo_010040
l4d_zoo_010049

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