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[Source SDK] Bridge - Alien Swarm


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Bridge- Bridge is a single player standalone map for Alien Swarm. As of right now I'm deciding on whether I will make it for the "single player mod" for Alien Swarm, it's one of those things I'll have to look up on!

Design- This map will be based around the concept of a single player map, which is something new for alien swarm, and something that should hopefully challenge me as far as mapping goes. In addition, there will be some extra areas to explore, as well as semi non-linear paths to objectives, all whilst contained within a linear set of objectives. I want to give the player some freedom without overwhelming them.

Goals - My goals for this map are three fold

-Release a completed map

-Use custom textures correctly in a map

-Create custom particle systems

Story- The IAF has detected the ID signature of an outlawed military class android on the planet. The android had cutting edge weapons technology installed and was destined for use on the mining asteroid C5-89B6. However, the Traxus industry freighter carrying the cargo ceased communications 12 hours before rendezvousing with the base on the asteroid. Speculators blamed the attack on the Swarm, or the up-and-coming Dread Pirate Roberts, who'd become increasingly active after the disarray that the swarm attacks had caused. Traxus industries strangely silent on the incident, stating "Traxus is grieved at the hard working employees lost today," and that "they were investigating every possibility." With tensions rising in the civilian population due to the swarm outbreak, the last thing Admiral Hannib Plinne need is for Trust Media to catch wind of an android on the loose. The droid's ID was pinpointed on Helio Centauri, at a Traxus Industry shipping port and dam super-complex. the IAF cruiser hailing the facility received no reply, and Swarm activity is suspected. They've sent in Spc. Matt Doorman to recover the weapons technology and destroy the android if necessary.

So that was fun! I'm quite excited about this map, Alex's recent posts have been really inspiring in helping me to get motivated to actually release a finished map (which I haven't been able to do yet! I've done a lot more pre-production work on this map than I have on any other project before, so that will be really helpful! As of right now I'm about 90% done with pre-prodcution, so let me know what you all think.

Also, there's a lot of stuff that I'm going to try and keep under wraps until the full release of the level, but once that happens I'd like to release my all of my pre-production notes and .vmf files to help out anyone who wants to learn from my maps, and if you have any questions about how I did anything (although I'm not the best level designer) don't hesitate to either ask in this thread or send me a PM!

This is most of the top down sketch, I tried to be as specific as I could so I wouldn't be asking myself "well what goes here?"

2D Sketch


3D initial Whitebox


Heres some info about mapping for alien swarm that I've discovered.

The main problem with designing for Alien Swarm is not getting your mind stuck in what the game creators have already done. I think that's the biggest problem with designing for any game. Another thing to consider is that verticality, as hard as it is to design for, is even more screwed up in this game. Verticality adds a whole lot of interest to alien swarm, however it doesn't work the same way as in most FPS games, because of the nature of the game, adding vertical depth to your map is almost like adding layers in photoshop, you have to be very careful not to obstruct the players view of his player, even if the player knows where their avatar is, it can be confusing if, say, a catwalk is blocking their view.

Another thing that is difficult to design for, is trying to tell a story. The game's story in the official campaign is told almost exclusively through optional datapads and emails which none of the online players take the time to read due to the fact that it slows down how fast they progress and thus results in casualties. It's game designed to be played co-operatively, so it's challenging to direct the player with a well - integrated story when there are fewer tools to help the level designer implement said story. (I'm talking about explicit story, not story told through the level itself, although both are equally important)

That last thing that can cause trouble to Alien Swarm mappers, is that since it was originally a UDK mod, and was then ported to source, there are a lot of entities that are "broken" or don't work properly, so there are some work-arounds that Source Mappers will have to become comfortable with before they can effectively script their levels. On the bright side, the new entities introduced with Alien Swarm consolidate a ton of features and options, so that's helpful! Also using instances is super helpful, fun, and modular between many maps! I'm glad that I get to take advantage of the new features introduced into the hammer by Valve.

I have updated my original post with a cleaned up top-down sketch, I decided to clarify things with MS Paint until I can get my POE for Photoshop verified by Adobe. But, really it's usable and that is all that matters! I just spent a bit more time than I'd like on it. That's some advice to any mapper: don't wait for a certain program or something to fall into place, get started TODAY use what you have, it may take some more time, but it will take less time than waiting for something you don't have.

Also, I've finished the initial whitebox and started the basic scripting of the gameplay necessities! Hopefully I'll have a playable whitebox by Wednesdy! I'm happy that I'm starting to get involved over here at Mapcore and I'm excited to start contributing here!

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