Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dirty, Filthy Birds

It's Bunday, which means it's time for us to revisit our home away from home: Ōkunoshima, also known as Rabbit Island.

Speaking of which, I'm now accepting donations for the Shadgrimgrvy Relocation Fund. Your generous donations will go to a good cause: shipping me to Ōkunoshima, where I will live the rest of my life. With your help, we can raise enough to buy me a plane ticket and keep me hidden from the Japanese authorities for years to come. Plus, donations of $25 dollars or more will receive a stylish tote bag.

Every little bit helps.

But that's not all; I actually have some map related news if you can believe it. It isn't Lost Highway though, it's an entirely new project.

Someone messaged me on Steam a few months ago, describing their idea for a new game mode in Garry's Mod. Essentially what they were making was a single-player campaign, with multiple player characters who's scenarios were all part of an overarching story. It sounded good to me, but what really caught my attention was the setting, which was so unusual I eventually gave in and agreed to make a map for them.

Their plan, as it turns out, was to make a game mode based on The Birds with the player having to defend themself against huge flocks of ravenous, eye-pecking birds. They would have to scavenge ammo and equipment from around the map during the rare moments of calm before they started to attack again, with the ultimate goal of seeing how long they could survive against endless waves of dirty, filthy birds.

I've only seen a couple of demonstration videos so far, but the idea really translates into a game well. It's incredibly creepy seeing a flock of birds rushing the player, even when using the seagull and crow models from Half-Life 2. Plus, where else are you going to see a Hitchcock video game?

We've occasionally discussed his plans for the mod and it's all starting to sound very involved. Custom models, in-game cutscenes and of course programming to make the birds actually do damage, since it seems impossible to do so with mapping inputs (believe me, we've tried).

The map I've made was based on the schoolhouse in Bodega Bay. Surprisingly, there weren't very many reference photos for the interior. But going by what appeared in the movie and what little I could glean from an old newspaper I made something that might make sense, going by what I thought it would probably look like inside.

I haven't seen how well my map works as a playing field, but I haven't received any complaints yet so I assume everything's fine. I included plenty of fog on the assumption that it would hide the map's borders and obscure the bird's approach, giving them ample time to sneak up on the player and peck out their eyes.

From what I gather there's at least two other people making maps for the game mode and by now, I'm actually really eager to see what they look like. I discussed it with D.E.L.B. a few weeks ago and we both agreed there should be levels based on other Hitchcock movies too. Imagine it, fighting off swarms of seagulls at the Bate's Motel or inside James Stewart's apartment. Heck, there could even be a map that takes place on top of Mount Rushmore.

I have no idea how many people are actually involved by this point, but there's at least one person making concept art for each character and map, including mine:

I actually think his picture looks better than what ended up being the .bsp file. If I could go back and rework the textures a bit, make the grass more overgrown and unmanagable or make the fog thicker I think I would be happy. But as it is I'm actually really optimistic for this project. It sounds like a great idea and from the work I've seen so far it has a lot of promise.


mom said...

how stylish is the tote?

Shadgrimgrvy said...


Linda said...

Since I have seen the movie countless times this looks very close to the school house. Went to Bodega Bay several years ago and sadly the town has grown and does not resemble anything like the town in the movie. It should be a very interesting game when you are finished.

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