DM-Permanent – Released!

That’s right! I’m finally releasing DM-Permanent! (On 01/10/11, or 1/2/3 in binary, no less!)

You’ll quickly notice that, unlike I promised last time, this is still a fairly pure recreation of the original and not something expanded into a new, more traditional HL2DM experience. The reasons for this are primarily that (a) this was much quicker and easier to achieve to get a first map out the door, and (b) I’m a sucker for simple, old-school BSP maps anyway. Plus, I love recreating things and that made it more fun to work on.

Here are the press release comparison shots (full size is 1920×2400 if you click on them):
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So there it is! I learned a lot working on this map, and it was a great experience. I’m particularly proud of the Combine shield bubble (and especially the shield emitter on the roof — try putting the wooden crate up by the shotgun and getting on it for the full view) and the “underground” room. If you have any thoughts or complaints or ideas, please post them! I’m not sure what I’ll be doing next, but I’ll keep you updated.

Design insights:
xxx– The water at the bottom of the elevator shaft is there because that was the only section in the level where the player could take falling damage, so I placed the minimum amount of water required to break their fall. This also allowed me to give a nod to the original level’s underwater theme, including the pipe elbow and the dripping water.
xxx– The design cut through the ramp in the main room not only looks cool, it also serves to let light down into the tops of the ramps below. When I switched the map from the 2006 engine to the current 2009 version, all of the lighting changed a little. The tops of the ramps were really dark from the underground area, so they didn’t catch the eye and the player wasn’t encouraged to go that way. I decided to let some light in from the top, and the effect is subtle, but I think it helped a lot.
xxx– In keeping with the classic deathmatch feel, I used fluorescent lights on the floor as pickup bases for ammo, health vials, and shields, and I made sure that all the weapon spawns had a base/platform of some sort. I just like having dedicated spawn bases for some reason, and all the pickups looked lost when they were just sitting on the floor. (Except the health packs; they’re big enough to stand on their own.) I had to put NoDraw blocks on top of the lights in order to get the different ammo types to sit on them, and I had to craft tiny corrals for the SMG grenades and the crossbow bolts. (The crossbow bolts were a nightmare; they were always rolling away or popping up into the air when they spawned. I originally had them longways, but had to switch to the current orientation to fix everything. They’re compliant now, most of the time.)

Known issues:
xxx– The metal detailing on the “upper right” platform in the main room (the one you’re standing on in the second screenshot/the one to your right in the fourth) is tall enough to catch you as you’re jumping over it and will kill your momentum if you do it too close to the edge. This doesn’t happen often, but you may want to be aware of it. I left it at that height for two reasons: It matches the feel of the original level, and it’s just high to prevent people from sucking the armor pickups over the edge with the Gravity Gun. (Again, see screenshot 4. You gotta work for your power-ups in this town, boy.)
xxx– If you try long enough, you can get lodged in the ceiling/wall joint in the underground portion using the explosive barrel. I recommend crouching on top of it and hitting it with the crowbar.
xxx– If you use the Gravity Gun’s primary fire on the specially-made weapon spawn platforms, you will get a flash of white along with the “nothing to fire at” animation and sound. On top of that, if you aim directly at the center of the red glow sprite, you’ll still get the white flash and “nuh-uh” animation and sound, but it’ll also do the firing visual effect. Apparently the Gravity Gun hates sprites.


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