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WIP in WIP, post your level screenshots!

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Yeah, it's just me messing around with an idea seeing what I could accomplish. 

The original theme in mind was supposed to be Dinant, so maybe I could turn this into an actual playable level!
2010-08-12-Dinant-2010-08-12.jpg

Other notes:

I didn't know about the Info_lighting part, thanks!

Also, some displacements are misaligned because whenever I reload Hammer they keep messing up (gaps appear ETC). I'm still looking for a way around it but the brushes seem to be clean so I'm not sure what causes it.

But yeah, if anybody is interested in helping me turn this into an actual map, hit me up. CS:GO already has default assets provided to make a map as such, so this wouldn't be a problem.

No worries :)

Some props still require an info_lighting even though compiling with -staticproplighting -staticproppolys in vrad solves 90% of these black tint shadows on props. This trim is one of them where the origin gets deeply buried inside the brush/displacement underneath; placing an info_lighting just outside the trim will give it a natural lighting.

For the displacements, it's a bit tricky as Hammer has these rounding errors since 1996 :D; what you see in the vmf might not be what is actually stored in the bsp, vertices-wise.

Your best bet is to have all the brushwork perfectly aligned on-grid BEFORE turning them to displacements; making one displacement and then copying/cloning it to complete the wall will generally give these gaps and even sewing the displacements won't fix them (Hammer will always think that one of the edges is not shared).

If you did this and you're still getting these open seams, then you can use a trick I used in one of my maps :-D to "camouflage" these seams: just add a thin displacement or prop on top of the seam (same sloped angle) to serve as a sort of support pillar, a decorative visual and a perfect camouflage for the seam :D; 3 in 1, can't beat that.

Good luck and hope to see this reference photo in action in-game :)

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Working on two deathmatch levels, as we speak, as can be seen, it's all very wip =)

@ My fake job: As always, trying to make a fun and good vertical level, never really succeeded I feel - maybe this time!

VrvVdmZ.jpg

@My real job: Can't get more non vertical than this though. Inspired by DM2...

Tfb7aJ9.png

Tired. To be continued =D

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3-4 colors max per scene is a great rule of thumb. If you look at any AAA game or Hollywood release, the vast majority understand that when it comes to lighting and color less is really more. That's why you see Blorange so frequently, it may be repetitive at this point but that's because it's so effective. The color scheme of your scene just reads as noise because you're not using color for any discernible purpose. Warmer colors widen, cooler colors lengthen, our brains draw shortcuts like these and artists exploit them for creative effect. You have nice values and brightness choices, but the fact that you aren't using one or two dominant colors with a very subtle third and/or fourth color, means your scene is essentially random to look at and not as effective as it would be with good color usage.

Its especially obvious in your first screenshot, where all the lights are roughly the same size and are all different colors. There's no subtle interplay of color, there's no dominant and subordinate colors, it's just a random rainbow that's meaningless. The fact that you use blues and greens which are tantalizingly similiar but all different from one another, is even more frustrating to view. Those colors need to consolidated and distilled into one color and actual, limited artistic decisions need to be made in that reduction. Your goal should be 2 dominant colors (blue and red? green and blue?) with a far more subtle 3rd and (if you want to push it even more subtle) 4th.

You're also making too much use of darkness to hide your geometry. It's kind of a crutch in those scenes, and the drawbridge doesn't have any scale items to compare it with. So even though there is "stuff" in the scene, it just feels very generic and corridor-ish, because you're shying away from making actual decisions.

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