Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bubbling from the Depths

There was a post recently on Planet Philip about images that "inspire map ideas" and it got me thinking: just what is my next map going to be like?

The whole topic is really up in the air at this point, but I can tell you right now it's not going to be for Global Offensive, partially because there isn't even an SDK for it yet, but mostly because no one would play it, they're just going to be playing de_dust like they have been since 1999.

Most likely it'll be a Portal 2 puzzle or if I'm feeling really stuffy and old fashioned, it'll be another one for Half-Life 2, because in case you forgot: I hate change. I've just never seen a compelling reason to go to a more advanced version of the engine. Why should I? Vanilla Half-Life 2 has all the bells and whistles: HDR lighting, env_beams, 3-D skyboxes. The works.

That might not sound like much to you kids but the Source Engine has always been incredibly robust and despite rumors from those disease-addled punks on the fora it still looks gorgeous. Mission Improbable is all the proof I need in that regard.*

But what kind of map would it be? Well I've really been wanting to do a race car driving map recently. Imagine a dozen or more Combine APC's just barreling down the road, shooting rockets willy-nilly. There would be fire traps along the road that the player has to avoid and large swaths of the track would be soft sand that Antlions would burrow out of to attack. I think this idea has the potential to be incredibly silly, like some twisted spawn of Mario Kart and Cube.

And yet I can't get any of my associates to be the least bit enthused about this. It feels that way about all of my little projects really. The moment the words "Killbot" or "Ceres" are uttered it's like a magic spell that makes people's eyes glaze over and Steam Chats mysteriously fall silent. Well you know what? We don't need them, dear readers. It's obvious I'm on my own on this one, so like always, I'll be doing all my planning in secret.

Because it's all a conspiracy, they pretend to be disinterested because they know it'll just make me tell them about it more. Why? So they can steal it for themselves.

I think it's time we face the facts: we are living in a post-Paranoia world. Will the next map be abstract? I can't rightly say. Most likely it will be, but so many of my associates have been bleating over and over again, "Tylerrrrrr, we want you to make a scary map! A real one this time!"

So many people want a proper horror map. Can I really give that to them? Am I really capable of it? I feel like that base has been covered with mods like Nightmare House 2, why bother adding another one to the sea of grimy, blood-stained abandoned hospitals?

What really interests me right now along with the race track idea was that awful April Fool's Joke. Sleep Apnea. What if I actually did make a full length map, but as horrible as I possibly could? It would rely on one thing: that I take every cliche of bad mapping; flat, saturated lighting, blocky featureless environments and just general clutter and confusion and make it work.

For now I'm going to be compiling a scrapbook of inspiring pictures. Hopefully Planet Phillip will have more soon.

* Okay, maybe Dear Esther too, just for good measure.

1 comment:

heavonbound said...

Don't make a scary map. I'm sure you can easily do it and make people wet themselves, but true horror is measured in not what is seen but not seen. Paranoia, for example, was very enjoyable because of the dark, surreal, creepy atmosphere. You could easily see the grudge and a giant tarantula having a tea party on the ceiling. It's scary and beautiful, sort of like some Salvador Dali works, or a squashed spider.

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