Lunaran.com Matthew Breit Level Designer | Texture Artist
CPM18R - Powahaus Redux
Oct 03, 2004
Rich "Swelt" Jacques over in Pro-Mode-Land approached me shortly after the release of Lun3DM4 with a task: give a full makeover to his second and rather fugly map NoDM2 - Powahaus (which Swelt was the first to admit had become a teamplay staple on merits other than its looks). The requirements were lofty: it had to look good in both graphical detail and in "professional mode" (ie vertexlighting, and r_picmip set to crap), and the gameplay had to change as little as possible from the old to the new. I started, and stopped, and started again, and dodged a few emails, and eventually handed 85% of a map off to Swelt for him to fill in the remaining gap. The result is Powahaus Redux.
I was approached to do this conversion of CPM18i with the idea that I would be able to produce a map that was as close to the original in gameplay as possible while still giving it a pretty facelift. I had to be very exacting with my conversion - even things so small as minor changes in line of sight around corners had to be avoided. I therefore took the .map Swelt kindly provided, and after slashing my way through the brushwork in much the same manner as an explorer on safari might hack through jungle with a machete, I rebuilt a textureless, detailless map to conform as exactly to the hull of the original as was feasible (there was quite a bit of original geometry that had been laid with grid snap turned off completely) and, once Swelt had verified I hadn't broken anything, rebuilt it again dressed with another new texture set of my own devising.
One of my requirements was to ensure that the map was "legible" in both normal video mode (which one takes screenshots in) as well as the flat-shaded vertex-lit way that more serious gamers use for visibility ("ass mode"). I was aiming for a gloomy subbasement feel, with a greater emphasis on moldy brick and concrete than the rusty industrial metal I had fallen back on for so long. There was still rusty metal but in a trim role only, to provide a contrast of dark brown vs. the light grey of the concrete that would survive the textures being intentionally mipped out by the user.
The white fog sky was supposed to be passable as glare, to give the impression that the player's eyes had adjusted to a darker map and the sun was now painfully bright. The use of rich blue as an accent in lighting was probably a mistake - given the more prevalent realism in the textures and other lighting, the map would have been strengthened had I moved away from my usual "pick a color for the map and overuse it" method.
Something very important to CPMA gameplay is trick jumps. I was given permission to not worry about those, since that would require an exact duplicate of the geometry, but warned to preserve as many as possible. I did what I could, prancing about the map like a loon trying to discover everything I could possibly double-ramp-circle-power-jump off of or up to, invariably missing a few that Swelt was more than happy to point out and I was more than happy to put back in. One was a jumppad off the main room which, depending on how you touched the trigger, would send you up to the third floor, or would bonk you against the underside and leave you on the second instead. (I marked the jumppad with a "Watch Your Head" sign.)
My last step wound up being to hand almost all of a map back to Swelt and implore him to please help the thing see the light of day, since I had spent the better part of a year alternating between not having time to work on it and having it but spending it on a myriad of other things. In the final version, the upper eastern YA/RL room was built by Swelt, and is not pictured here.