I got another map accepted by Valve for Team Fortress 2! I'd like to just showcase some of the work I did for the map here.
The map is a basic lobby-style King of the Hill map that takes place in a New York harbor that has become infested with sharks.
I've recently become sort of obsessed with signs and their ability to be created fairly easily and you can hide jokes and Easter eggs in them while giving your map an extra little polish. All of these were done 100% using Substance Designer, which has quickly become my favorite program.
Another thing I have always tried to make a point to do is to add little calling cards for the mappers involved in the project. Here's the one's I made for myself and Billo:
I was originally brought on to make a single model; the shark cage prop:
This was one of my first bespoke models that I made 100% from scratch, and I was quite happy with how it turned out. Here is a video timeplase of me creating it!
This is incredibly nerdy, but thanks to the help another artist named Tianes, I learned how to do diffuse baking in Blender and unleash the power of my procedural ropes I had designed for TF2. I can basically make any shape rope I want using a spline system in Blender incredibly quickly.
A rather large prop I did that has probably gone unnoticed was the garage door at mid. The brushwork version of this door like really bad so I just had to make it a prop. It's pretty simple, just 2 sliding doors, sort of rusty. The fact that it's gone unnoticed I think is a good thing because it means it fits the space well and reads as a door.
I have never done a soundscape design before so this was a fun challenge. Basically none of the existing soundscapes matched the environment particularly well. I need a mix of watery, industrial, boat fog horns and seagull sounds. Thankfully all these sounds already existed in TF2's ambient sound files so it was just about mixing them correctly.
I also learned you can specify targets in the soundscape so the sounds come from a particular location in the map. This worked very well for setting direction to the fog horns and seagulls, as well as the faint car honking.
A lot of people have noticed the shark kill counter, this was one of those, "you know what would be cool?" things we were just spit balling.
Basically any time someone falls in the water and is killed by a shark, this number increments. This is a bit complicated how it actually works using Source logic but I'll briefly try to explain.
The heavy lifting is done by a material proxy called "ToggleTexture" where you can fire an input to the info_overlay entity and cause it to change to the next frame in the VTF. Shout out to Adam for helping me figure that part out!
So I created 2 VTF's, one with digits 1-9, and a second with blank-9. Then all I need is a single math_counter to bump the second digit every 10 kills, and second math counter to track total kills so we can clamp it to 99.
Next there is an issue of z-fighting between info_overlays. Basically the sign on the brush was fighting with the 2 digits, so my solution was incredibly stupid; I created a 1hu thick func_detail that as a totally blank texture on it, as in 100% white with a 100% alpha channel and applied the 2 digit overlays to that.
Another thing I did was the flying seagulls.
The map has 3 different seagulls that fly. The one sitting on the derrick takes off when the point is capped, as if to imply he is annoyed by the ruckus caused by the point cap that he flies off. Don't worry though, he returns to his perch!
These are actually just retextured Half-Life 2 seagulls, so we get the full benefit of the seagull animations which there is a surprising amount of. Then all I needed to do was set up a tracktrain and a path of them to follow and periodically have them change animations when they pass certain path nodes. I'll say though, aligning the seagull to the one perched on the derrick was really hard because the tracktrain sometimes moves the model in a way that isn't very precise, but it works well enough I suppose.
Menu Photo Render
I've always loved the skeuomorphic aesthetic of a lot of things in TF2; so I wanted to do something spicy for the menu photos for the map. This was done in Blender using a simple orthographic camera and a point light. The newspaper itself was created by Blaholtzen. This turned out great and it's really unique among menu photos in game.