Level Design Beyond Hammer

Any aspects of level design for the Source engine.

Level Design Beyond Hammer

Postby shawnolson on Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:21 pm

There is a long history of Hammer love in the Source community. But I want to entice some of you to be a little unfaithful and take a new mistress out for a date.

And here is a little How-To guide I'm working on for this purpose. It's still a WIP, but I'm sure it can be of value to many Hammer users.

Hammered to the Max: A Hammer User's Guide to 3ds Max

Also, I wanted to share news of a new tool for Max called Carver that emulates the Hammer Carve and Make Hollow functions (with even more versatility).



This compliments another tool called CorVex.

I'll be releasing some new videos soon sharing insight on compiling levels from Max. I've recently added a new Portal file loader (PRT files) with much more convenient tools for exploring your PRTs in Max (than what you find in Hammer). There are under the level design tools in Wall Worm.
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Re: Level Design Beyond Hammer

Postby LordDz on Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:48 pm

If you want people to use your tool, I don't think carve should be a function in it :p
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Re: Level Design Beyond Hammer

Postby jimonions on Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:43 pm

First off let me say that I think its really awesome what you're doing, I use your tools to easily export my models out of max and that was the only thing keeping me from dropping source modding.
My experience with 3rd party mapping editors though has led me to the opinion that mapping should remain in hammer. The only thing that could possibly improve mapping would be a plugin or external app directly related to hammer, sort of running side by side. For example I don't compile using hammer's f9. I use VIDE instead which is much faster and is hotloaded with the vmf.
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Re: Level Design Beyond Hammer

Postby shawnolson on Mon Jun 02, 2014 1:56 am

LordDz wrote:If you want people to use your tool, I don't think carve should be a function in it :p


:P

Well I've never used carve in Hammer except playing around, but Boolean geometry is convenient. And although it's commonly not recommended in many circles, it's been something requested regularly for a couple years. It's certainly not THE reason I'm suggesting Max/WW for level design... just a new goodie. It does have a utility that solves some scenarios well, especially if you understand the pros/cons and technical aspects of what you are designing.

jimonions wrote:First off let me say that I think its really awesome what you're doing, I use your tools to easily export my models out of max and that was the only thing keeping me from dropping source modding.
My experience with 3rd party mapping editors though has led me to the opinion that mapping should remain in hammer. The only thing that could possibly improve mapping would be a plugin or external app directly related to hammer, sort of running side by side. For example I don't compile using hammer's f9. I use VIDE instead which is much faster and is hotloaded with the vmf.


Everyone who is happy with the Hammer workflow is certainly welcome to keep working in Hammer. I know that I'm personally never going to use Hammer again. And I think that as more people start to come out with projects outside of Hammer, it will slowly become apparent to more people that there is nothing really special about Hammer. It makes VMF files. That's it. Whether the VMF is created in Hammer or another app is irrelevant to the compilers.

It's only for the artist that the source of a VMF really matters.

The real issue, I believe, is that that majority of Source mappers are already proficient and comfortable with the Hammer approach. Which I fully understand. And much of the challenge for anyone trying to tackle a level in Max is understanding some of the methods employed in Max/WW that have not always been documented or have changed rapidly--and diverge from the common Hammer methods. This is one of the main reasons I started the book linked above... to finally put the workflow and philosophy into a more formalized document that can clear up a lot of the confusion for those not intimately involved in the WW project.

Take it or leave it! :)
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Re: Level Design Beyond Hammer

Postby shawnolson on Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:46 pm

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Re: Level Design Beyond Hammer

Postby YokaI on Sat Jul 19, 2014 8:45 am

This is pretty cool. Can't say I mind more modeling plugins so... The more the merrier! Though beyond level block-out situations, it won't be super useful for me due to the importance of topology and the process of manually editing edge-loops.
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Re: Level Design Beyond Hammer

Postby shawnolson on Sat Jul 19, 2014 1:00 pm

The carver tool (and CorVex) really aren't for modeling in general. They were both designed with blocking your level in mind. In terms of modeling, there are already a million ways to make any of these kinds of objects. It is the fact that they keep objects as convex chunks (and with simple planar mapping) that make Carver (and CorVex) useful for level design.
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