Friday, July 8, 2011

The Archives

As you all know, mapping is a monumental undertaking. It requires planning, forethought and plenty of experimentation. When making Insomnia I had several other maps built for the purpose of testing various features. Think of them as the books Gehn stole from the D'ni library to practice The Art; they're shoddily put together and hard on the eyes. These rough, blocky laboratories are some of my very own prototypes, never intended for mass production; too ugly to let live, too rare to let die.

Here we are in lesaw.bsp. Even though it's a cramp little cabin (with no obvious exits) in the middle of nowhere, it would be a bit inaccurate to say that it's nothing spectacular. This was where the experimentation with sprites happened and it made the over-all "sparkly-ness" of Insomnia possible.

Technicians didn't like to go in redroom.bsp. It might be the color scheme or maybe sheer loneliness. Whatever it was, the whole crew made an effort not to go in there during development.

Won't you stay a while?

Here's where we tested various light sources. I'm not sure what's going on with that blue aura on the far right. We condemned the whole map, just in case it was radioactive.

sweepy.bsp was always the life of the party during development. Everyone hung out here, trying on new ai_actbusy entities. Here's Sweepy himself, toying around with the scripted_sequences and generally keeping the place neat and tidy.

Oh, and here's Paul. He was awful to work with. There wasn't a fiber of professionalism in his whole body. It got so bad that we had to break off all creative ties with him. Good timing too, we avoided some costly litigation in the process. His drinking habits were a serious detriment.

Seriously, pull yourself together.

train.bsp is a long, starkly minimalist tunnel. There's nothing here except a single rusting engine that speeds on through and reappears on the other side.

There are no sounds except the wheels of the train.

There are no people.

That train will keep on like that forever.


Here's something interesting. Back when abstract_hallways was still being built a friend on Steam asked me to make a city for him. Thankfully, he didn't want a city in the same way Paris or Los Angeles are cities. He just wanted a bare-bones group of blocky buildings to work with. On one hand this was good for me because it meant that I wasn't condemned to spend the rest of my life planted at my desk duplicating brushes. On the other hand, he had given me permission to make a hideous maze of plaster blocks. Considering that I had just started mapping and had no idea what I was doing this was especially dangerous.

I made the abomination in a matter of days and promptly forgot about the whole affair. For almost two years it didn't enter my thoughts again. Well, just recently I had the opportunity to look at his modifications from way back when.

What I found was twinworlds.bsp, a terrible memory of the past.

Here's the only source of light in the entire map, everywhere else is pitch black. It took several minutes of searching just to find this little spot, after I found it I didn't want to leave. The darkness suddenly seemed too terrifying to contemplate.

Eventually, I worked up the courage to leave the warm glow of safety and explore the building I found myself in. Waves of memories came back as I saw the crude architecture. "All those hours of toil..." I thought, "And this is what it's turned into?".

The map is so dark that it's impossible to take a picture of the whole thing. But know that it is a giant cave, with moss all over the walls on either side with the city at one end and a duplicate of it on the other.

I traveled to see the duplicate city, maybe there was civilization on the other side. If I was searching for signs of people I found it...

This is one of the many pools of blood on the other side, all of them dried up as if nothing has lived here in years. Everything in the duplicate city seems older, more broken down then the other side. I don't dare go inside the buildings and keep to the crumbling street, my only protection being my flashlight.

Many of the buildings can't even be entered. The "door" on this one was painted on to the wall.

I stuck to the street the whole time, eventually it just stopped and dropped off into nothingness.

I don't know if I'll ever return to Twin Worlds, perhaps some things are better left forgotten.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That's real great, very nice.

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