• Just Go Things Nov 5 2014

    Not another golang-is-better-than-yourlang piece. »

  • Christmas Countdown Nov 1 2014

    Because Twitter wasn't scary any more. »

  • Cobbles and Castles May 1 2014

    How Cobble in CS:GO achieved what I failed to do in the original. »

  • Function Timeouts in Go Apr 6 2014

    How to handle Go function timeouts without causing a meltdown. »

  • Mission Not Accomplished Apr 3 2014

    I think I have more... »

  • Mission Accomplished Aug 30 2006

    This is the bit where we end. »

  • Cruelneth Returneth (part 2) Aug 16 2006

    Ok, this one's a bit mean... »

  • Cruelneth Returneth (part 1) Aug 14 2006

    'Cruelness' has returned, but with a slight lisp. Today's casualty: de_strata »

  • Cruelness returning... Aug 7 2006

    Just a quick request to anyone who had their map featured in the 'Cruelness' series I did a few weeks back: It's time to see the aftermath! »

  • Preachin' Day 5 Jul 28 2006

    Last one! (Note to self: add confirmation for 'delete post' button...) »

  • Preachin' Day 4 Jul 27 2006

    Some things are better created with brushes, as part of the world. Others are best modelled-up and added as a prop or entity. Typically, the more detail something requires, the greater the likelihood it should be a model. If trying to create something intricate is too difficult with brushes, then it's a prime candidate for a model. »

  • Preachin' Day 3 Jul 26 2006

    There are times when a change has to be made, but making the change will be tricky because it's being retrofitted to existing geometry. The temptation is to force the change in with minimal alteration - this often results in brushwork doesn't quite fit, or becomes very untidy. »

  • Preachin' Day 2 Jul 25 2006

    Without a good design, your map is essentially wasted - unless that was the whole idea. You might have the prettiest map in the world, but if it turns out to be less fun than eating wooden spoons, then you're better off investing in a wooden spoon factory. »

  • Preachin' Day 1 Jul 24 2006

    Hooray, a week of me pouring out my brain about stuff! »

  • Doodle-storming Jul 11 2006

    Now, I was going to write about something dull like how to get the most out of level geometry, but I had a far better idea before I got the first word out. »

  • Low-level 'design' Jul 4 2006

    In the past I've written quite a bit about high-level level design, specifically, getting a good overall layout for multiplayer maps that isn't too convoluted nor over simplistic. »

  • How to topple Counter-Strike Jun 24 2006

    Everyone who wants to make a mod wants it to be a popular as Counter-Strike. They want the fame, the fortune, the fans, and/or the flames. That's why searching on Google for "hl mod" gives 5 million results, and 95% of the mods listed are touting themselves as "better than Counter-Strike." »

  • Texture-tastic diagrams Jun 15 2006

    I was looking for some textures earlier today, and came across a few of the original files I used when creating Sienna. Creating textures sounds like witchcraft sometimes, so I've put together a massively-oversized diagram showing how I put some of them together and the bits that went into their making. »

  • Playing by the rules Jun 13 2006

    Many of the principles of game design rely on consistency - if a distinctive yellow-coloured barrel explodes when shot, players will expect this to be the same for all identical yellow-coloured barrels and will hopefully learn from it. Moments like this are especially important when the stakes are high - if a rule like this is broken later on in the game, exactly when the player needs it, they will be annoyed. »

  • Giving the player purpose Jun 7 2006

    I've been playing more TFC lately, and whilst it may not have the bells and whistles of DoD:S or CS:S, it's still remarkable fun. What surprises me is how despite being the first true multiplayer class-based game, and how despite lots of games and mods trying to copy it, none have ever succeeded in being more entertaining. »

  • Rabbits, Carrots and Werewolves May 29 2006

    Consider a rabbit. Picture yourself holding a carrot in front of it. Note how the rabbit heads towards said carrot. Show the rabbit a second carrot and it will continue to eat the first. Only once it is done will it try to get the second carrot. Move the carrot away and the rabbit will follow. Move it too far away and the rabbit will stop. Add a werewolf between rabbit and carrot and you'll have a big mess, or a delightful soup. »

  • Cruelness... the end! May 25 2006

    Ok, over the past 4 weeks I've written about 11 maps whose screenshots were sent to me. I've pointed out features I like and flaws I didn't like, potential problems and possible solutions. It was fun, although not nearly as mean as hoped. Next time I'll have to be extra cruel and merciless. »

  • Cruelness (part 4-ish) May 18 2006

    Much later than I anticipated, so I'm gonna get this up and posted while I can. I'll do the final one next week now (hopefully...) then normal service can resume. Probably. »

  • Im**rsiv*nes* May 9 2006

    Where I live is quite industrialised. Despite being a fairly small town, it has many buildings and warehouses dating back a hundred or even two-hundred years. Big, brick buildings, some amalgamated onto modern processing facilities and others left abandoned. »

  • Cruelness (part 3) May 2 2006

    Another two this week. I keep writing too much! »

  • Cruelness (part 2) Apr 24 2006

    Off we go again! Not too cruel this time, focusing on theme, style and architecture. »

  • Cruelness (part 1) Apr 18 2006

    My request wasn't a complete failure! I got screenshots! And pleas! And loads of exclamation marks! Whooray! I'll do some today! Then some more in a few days time! I wrote too much today! Exclamation! etc. »

  • Something a little different... Apr 11 2006

    Ok, this should be fun. »

  • Copy'n'paste Apr 11 2006

    One of the benefits of working on HL1-based maps was that it took an order of magnitude less effort and less detail to create an area. Case in point, all of Dust was basically created from two brushes that were duplicated over and over and then tweaked into position (these were the surrounding walls with the trim at the top.) The roofs all over Cobble were the same. With Dust 2, I was even cheekier and copied Dust 1. »

  • Big airy bits Apr 3 2006

    Sometimes, I can't help but see something on TV and want to recreate it as a CS map. A few seconds thought and suddenly I'll be visualising what something would look like once all mapped out, textured and populated for Counter-Strike. It happened again this weekend whilst watching Spooks. »

  • DoD:S mapping and that Mar 27 2006

    I've been playing a lot of DoD:S in the past couple of days, and naturally having been used to BF2 (and the aggravation that comes with it), I'm hooked (again.) Typically, my designer hat refused to fall of and the differences to CS mapping were all so apparent... »

  • A little wad (the story of cs_tire) Mar 20 2006

    A lot of people don't know this, but Dust wasn't my first Counter-Strike map. On the other hand, a lot of people do know this and are cursing me for suggesting otherwise. Either way, it's true and having now written a paragraph intro we can continue onto better things. »

  • Unplanned Mar 12 2006

    I've mentioned enough times before how most of my maps have been entirely unplanned. Dust was unplanned. Dust 2 only had the vaguest of plans. Cobble was unplanned. Tides grew out of a single photo I found online. ETC and ETC2 had very little planning indeed. »

  • More Fact! Mar 5 2006

    Did quite a bit of work on pa_fact this weekend, including making the inside a lot warmer, making the outside a lot colder, and completely removing a couple of bits so I can redo them properly. I'm trying to get a real cold winter and foggy feeling into it now. I've also frigged the ladders to the building loft with a non-ideal solution but the best so far... »

  • Modding yourself employable Mar 1 2006

    If my months of research, quantum physics knowledge, Excel spreadsheets and wild assumptions are correct, then most of the people who read this blog are modders with a passing interest in level design. Some of you enjoy it as a hobby, others are paid for it as a job, some are trying to get from one to the other, and one or two have clearly been tricked into coming here. Either way, you're here now. Ha! »

  • Design Crossovers Feb 23 2006

    I've been playing quite a bit of [Trackmania Nations](http://www.trackmanianations.com/) recently and it's pretty good fun. Half of the formula is its simplicity (4 keys is all you need) and its arcade aspect (i.e. if something happens that costs you the race, it is always something you could have avoided and hence spurs you to try again.) It's those attributes that make it a fun game to just download and play. That's not to say it doesn't have its faults, but compared to BF2 it's like pure gaming heaven. »

  • Feeling It Feb 16 2006

    After you've been playing games and designing maps for a while, you tend to get a good feeling about what works and what doesn't. Whether it's simply through looking at existing maps or making your own, your brain takes it all in and starts to link up what you're seeing with the qualities of the map itself. At least, that's how it seems to me. »

  • Fact Screenshots Feb 4 2006

    Well, it's Saturday 4th February, and as everyone knows, Saturday 4th February means I have to post some screenshots. It's the law. »

  • Reach for the Skybox Feb 1 2006

    One of the cool things about Source is the skybox feature. It's something I've craved for years, and was finally delivered. The great thing about skyboxes is not only do they make things look cool and bigger than they really are, but in the process make the world seem more believable. Combined with sensible partitioning of accessible areas, and you can create a world that seems immense.... and real. »

  • Twee Texturing Tips Jan 25 2006

    A bunch of simple considerations when texturing your maps. Take notes if your latest map looks like something from 1995. »

  • Inkscapism Jan 21 2006

    If you're like me, designing maps on paper leads to large swathes of forest disappearing, graphite stocks depleting, and a slow increase in aggrevation as you are forced to redesign large portions because it would be a pain to erase. »

  • Casbah... oh dear Jan 11 2006

    So, this is the mess we ended with last time. »

  • Casbah... alpha Jan 7 2006

    So, Casbah was proceeding nicely (actually, "mideast" was, because it wouldn't be named Casbah until much later.) My blue-team spawn area had branched out into a couple of small paths, one leading to some courtyard area, and the other leading to... some other courtyard area. Terrific stuff. All I needed now was a few more courtyards, the spawn area for the red-team, and my masterpiece would be complete. »

  • Casbah... Jan 5 2006

    With [traffic from digg](http://digg.com/gaming/The_Making_of_de_dust_and_de_dust2) slowly residing ([8 gigs of traffic in about 48 hours!](http://www.johnsto.co.uk/~diggoverload/awstats.htm)) I think it's just about safe to emerge from behind the Christmas/New Year rock and post some stuff. Given the popularity of the 'Making of' articles due to Digg, I thought it might be worth giving a brief overview of how Casbah came to be. Creating it was one of the most valuable experiences in my career. »

  • DaveJ's Christmas Feel-Good Message Dec 21 2005

    It's almost Christmas, and since it's hard to escape it, I suppose there's little option left than to embrace the season of good will, merriness, happiness, joy and other fluff. This post will be no exception. »

  • Dull map? Dec 13 2005

    Right, so you've got your map. It looks amazing. It feels alive. People are salivating at screenshots, and you even know the precise number of brushes. The problem is... it's really, *really* boring. It feels like corridors and doorways separated only by a few themed rooms. How do you resuscitate it? »

  • Light Me Warm Dec 6 2005

    One of my favourite things about HL2, one of the things that set it apart from so many other FPS's, is the lighting. It managed to remain realistic (more so than most games), but also engaged the "wow, we can do real shadows!" era of Quake, where strong, well-defined shadows were cast everywhere. HL2 is awash with spotlights and bold colours combined with otherwise casual lighting. »

  • Me on: de_view_update1 Dec 1 2005

    Since dumping Battlefield 2 due to its bugs and irritations, I've started playing CS:S more. The other day I hopped onto a server, but the map ended pretty soon and suddenly a new one was downloading. I rarely have the patience to let a new map download (I usually stick to the official maps), but this time I thought I'd give it a chance, just for a change of scenery. »

  • Help me help you Nov 27 2005

    I've finally reached it. The point where I can think of nothing else to rant on about here. I'm out of ideas. »

  • pa_fact at night? Nov 17 2005

    On my journey home tonight in the absolute freezing cold, the train passed the same old industrial yards, lit up in the otherwise black outdoors via their bright yellow incadescent bulbs and bright white flourescent floodlights. Things like that always look fairly pretty on an otherwise boring journey, and made me wonder if I'd actually got the lighting solution in pa_fact wrong. »

  • That D word again Nov 15 2005

    I was pointed to an article on Gamasutra yesterday, covering [realistic level design for Max Payne](http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20020508/maatta_01.htm) from the 2002 GDC. Whilst not exactly complex stuff, it's interesting merely because it demonstrates some of the problems with realitic level design. »

  • website propaganda Nov 9 2005

    Just a heads up that [johnsto.co.uk](http://www.johnsto.co.uk/) has been updated with a new design and even [some](http://www.johnsto.co.uk/?t=information) [new](http://www.johnsto.co.uk/?t=maps_com) [content](http://www.johnsto.co.uk/?t=maps_free) so if you're excessively bored, give it a visit and see if you can locate the main navigation buttons... »

  • pa_fact Source'd Nov 5 2005

    Nothing's coming to mind to write about, so instead I thought I'd post a couple of screenies of something I did last Sunday and a few of the things in it that I think work quite well. »

  • The Hill Oct 22 2005

    Part of the fun with level design is in trying to find solutions to simple gameplay problems. That's why, in the absence of anything better to do, I find myself considering very simplistic scenario and attempting to work out the best way of solving them such that gameplay is fairest and most fun. Counter-Strike is a great game to exercise this on, due to its simple mechanic (oversimplified: two teams, one target). »

  • Dtaiel vs Dgiesn Oct 19 2005

    Just over four years ago, I wrote that 'Detail versus Design' essay/article/rant, which basically said, "Gameplay first, geometry second, perfect texture alignment third." It was a response to the onslaught of absolutely pristinely designed maps (featuring trims on anything and everything, textures aligned to the pixel, and 1000-poly realisations of door handles) that featured gameplay as uninspired as the title of this post. »

  • *design Oct 13 2005

    Ever since I first got my hands on the DTP/art programs when I was about 10 (things like TimeWorks Publisher ST, Calamus 1.09n and Arabesque), and started printing out my own A5 newspapers and mags, I've loved doing design work. I've gone through to web design, graphic design, 3D design and of course, level design. It's terrific. »

  • Mission One Oct 5 2005

    Right, I'm back. First I must say one thing: I hate the very PC I'm typing at. This is due to three things: it crashed while I was working on Granada, it filled the VMF file with zeroes, and it filled the backup VMX file with zeroes (accompanied by a traditional blue screen and sound noises I thought only a ZX81 could make). I sit here utterly confused and *infuriated* as I don't know how or why it happened (why zeroes?! and why just those two files?!), nor why I hadn't incremented the filename for so long. This is hardly helped by the fact that I do backups on Thursdays; the map was a few hours short of being backed up and hence saving me 5 days of work. »

  • Normal Service... Sep 19 2005

    Now settling in to new flat. No internet access (BT, why can't you do these things quicker?). Normal service will be resumed in a couple of weeks, so until then, go for a walk, give a stranger a chocolate bar, and wish the telemarketer on the phone good luck. See you in two. »

  • Game-time versus local-time Aug 30 2005

    Modern FPS engines can do all sorts of remarkable things, from radiosity lighting to HDR lighting and reflections. The Lost Coast levels are rumoured to have only one light source - the Sun. Nohing quite beats seeing a map for the first time where the sunlight is just absolutely perfect and believeable. »

  • Level design and style Aug 27 2005

    It's quite interesting how level design has evolved stylistically throughout the past 10 years. »

  • Mission Statement Aug 22 2005

    It occurred to me how the mapping world is very different to how it was when I started out 10 years ago (when I was, err, 12). Back then, all we had to teach ourselves were big manuals and some dodgy software that would only occasionally crash and not take all your work with it. »

  • Random ETC2 stuff Aug 16 2005

    Whilst my mind is empty of any *real* content, thought I'd let slip on a couple of stupid things I put into ETC2. I'm a firm believer in putting silly things in games, but only when they don't detract from the actual game or require actual effort to find. Much of the time it's just for personal entertainment (why call a zombie 'Zombie1' if you can call it Kathy?) »

  • Ups and Downs Aug 16 2005

    *Tonedef* made this comment to my post from last week: »

  • Black Mesa: Source Aug 15 2005

    Another busy week... »

  • Flying Start Aug 8 2005

    There's nothing more satisfying or enjoyable as a level designer as stumbling across a photo like this: »

  • Engine Paradigms Aug 4 2005

    Something that came out of the Quake 2 versus Unreal battle of years and years ago was the obvious distinctions between both engines. Whilst they were both capable of coloured lighting, shadows, water, details and vast swathes of area (well, Unreal moreso), both engines had a distinct look and appearance. »

  • The Map is not the Territory Aug 3 2005

    A popular expression from NLP is the phrase, "the map is not the territory", neatly describing that a particular description will not entirely reflect the details of some object or concept, but will act as useful information nontheless. The difference between map and territory is however important to understand. As [Wikipedia puts it](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_map_is_not_the_territory): »

  • Designing on paper Jul 26 2005

    As I sat on the train home yesterday out of Waterloo station, scaring my fellow passengers by snapping photos through the window of derelict industrial buildings as they whizzed by and making frantic drawings on a pad of paper, I wondered how one would actually draw the layout of those locations. How are places like that really designed? Can some of the principles be transferred to level design planning? »

  • Making a map: first steps Jul 20 2005

    One of the hardest bits about creating a map is actually starting one. There seems to be the perception that a designer just sits down at the PC, and half an hour later they've got 5% of the map done. That's not how it works. »

  • Height Changes Jul 18 2005

    No matter how much level design I do, there's still one thing that I have huge problems with - height changes. In particular, inventing ways to get a player from one platform to another much higher up (say, above the height of the player's head) that don't cause more problems than they solve. »

  • Common sense strikes again Jul 13 2005

    Whilst redesigning the [main site](http://www.johnsto.co.uk/) (not live yet) I've been streamlining the content and removing some bits and adding others. In particular, I've added my full mapping history including all the maps I've ever released, plus some descriptions and commentary. This is when I noticed something: what separates my older successful maps from the unpopular ones. »

  • Tubes and Subways Jul 8 2005

    The terrorist attack on London yesterday was terrible, but as always, us British continue as normal. It has however affected one of my long-term plans: to build a CS map based on the London Underground that *doesn't* suck. »

  • The beauty of newbies Jul 5 2005

    There's something strangely enjoyable about looking at the creations of others, whether they be established at the craft or merely trying to make that first, fundamental step. First attempts at mapping, in particular, I find fascinating. I remember my days, trying to understand what a 'Thing' was in Doom and what a 'Brush' was in Quake, completely misunderstanding them for what seemed like the longest time. I remember crafting totally ridiculous, out-of-scale, ugly and bug-ridden creations that whilst completely forgettable, represented a huge leap in understanding and enjoyment. »

  • Directing the player Jul 1 2005

    It occurred to me that most of what I post here is common sense. This is good - it means you don't need a degree to know it or use it, just a little bit of sensible thought. Which is why I'm now going to cover another common-sense tactic. »

  • David Johnston MEng Jun 25 2005

    I made a promise to myself never to let this blog stray from being about level design to being about my personal life so I'll keep this short: yesterday I found out that, after four years of University, I now hold a first-class honours MEng degree in Software Engineering. Won't help my maps much, but it means I have some big career decisions to make... »

  • Learning from the Masters Jun 23 2005

    *Just a quick post while I have some form of web access (I'll be back late next week when normal service shall resume).* »

  • A couple little tips Jun 16 2005

    There are quite a few handy tricks one learns during the course of learning how to map. Typically, discovering them (whatever it is) is quite a rewarding experience, and prove to be quite useful, no matter how rare you may need to use them. »

  • A couple more little tips Jun 16 2005

    Inspired by the [mammoth](http://www.stuffedlegends.com/images/mammoth.jpg) success of my post from last night, here are a couple more little things I've picked up along the way. Both are much simpler. »

  • A couple little tips Jun 15 2005

    There are quite a few handy tricks one learns during the course of learning how to map. Typically, discovering them (whatever it is) is quite a rewarding experience, and prove to be quite useful, no matter how rare you may need to use them. »

  • Making it all seem real Jun 14 2005

    The past year or so has been a great time for level design aesthetics: finally, adding purely aesthetic, non-gameplay elements to maps is affordable. Horizons are littered with trees. Birds fly through the air. Discarded drink cartons roll across pathways. Dead, lifeless structures are cornered by life and activity, as boring and casual as it seems. »

  • Fun Map Features Jun 12 2005

    Having finally getting round to playing de_port a lot last week, and a bit of BF2 in the last day or so, and then cross-referencing this with my many years of FPS experience (haha) I think I've finally found the single thing that I enjoy most in any of them. »

  • de_dust_pcg: Source Jun 8 2005

    [PC Gamer](http://www.pcgamer.co.uk) issue 150 came out today, including the second part of my CS:S mapping tutorial. »

  • On Source map conversions Jun 6 2005

    The past week has been quite interesting in respect to the conversion of various HL1/CS1 maps to the HL2/CSS Source engine equivalents. Not only have the [first official screenshots](http://www.steampowered.com/Steam/Marketing/June3.2005/) of the Valve cs_assault conversion been released, but [a good batch of screenshots](http://forum.leak-free.org/viewtopic.php?t=2037) for the [Black Mesa: Source](http://www.blackmesasource.com/) conversion were posted too. »

  • Mappers and Designers Jun 4 2005

    Ever since being told my writing was 'pompous' 5 years ago during my English Literature A-level, I've had a bizarre interest for the real meanings of particular words, so I can ignore them and use them how I like. The best example of this is a Software Engineer a creative, technical, nice person who builds things versus a Computer Scientist an analytical, pessimistic and downright evil person who works out why what the Engineer built fell down. »

  • The Happiness Cycle Jun 1 2005

    In my efforts to bring ever new groundbreaking material from the behemoth that is my crazy mind, I present to you, The Happiness Cycle: »

  • Modding: doing it the right way May 28 2005

    Ever since Quake, I've tended to follow news about mods quite closely - it's really cool to see what's being developed. There are some really good ideas out there (and lots of bad ones), so it's interesting to see how they progress. »

  • de_dust_pcg: planning May 26 2005

    I remembered that before I had even laid a Dust-textured brush of Dust PCG, I played around with HL2's mapdev materials and sketched out a rough plan. »

  • Flow: Keeping Players Happy May 24 2005

    Another one of my pet hates in level design is how some maps consist of obstacles right in the most annoying places. This is even more true with physics objects (like in CS:S), where hitting one stops movement entirely or pushes you in a direction you didn't expect. »

  • The key to good outdoor maps May 21 2005

    My favourite maps are always set outdoors, usually at some prominant part of the day where shadows are king. Bright, bold sunlight in a map is something that can portray so much feeling. Looking at it today, boot_camp seems ugly, but I spent many mornings at home playing that map, simply because the sunligh in it typically matched the sunlight on those mornings. It made me feel like I was there, and added an aspect of realism that is otherwise hard to achieve. »

  • Old de_dust_pcg Screenshots May 18 2005

    Dust PCG has been out nearly a week now. Naturally, a few in-development shots of it are overdue. I must admit they aren't very exciting. »

  • de_dust_pcg: conflict areas May 15 2005

    I was going to post this in a few weeks time... but while the map's still hot... »

  • PCGamer Tutorials May 14 2005

    A reminder that the current issue of [PC Gamer UK](http://www.pcgamer.co.uk) has a tutorial on the making of Dust PCG, explaining the planning process up to building a simple defusion map. The next issue has the second half, building all the way up to the map as you see it now, plus a small surprise for mappers wanting to improve the map... »

  • Fixed de_dust_pcg May 13 2005

    A complete and fixed version of Dust PCG is now available, with all the annoying skywalking ironed out and a few small changes. Most of all, this is the full version, with bot navigation files and overview map. »

  • de_dust_pcg overview May 11 2005

    Due to popular demand, I and [PCG](http://www.pcgamer.co.uk) present the overview of Dust PCG: »

  • This is final May 11 2005

    Time for a short lesson on how to release a map in complete and final form. This is of course entirely unrelated to any map I may have made recently. »

  • de_dust_pcg: The Aftermath May 10 2005

    Wow, what an amazing (and varied) response to the announcement of de_dust_pcg! It's good to hear that people still remember me and are so excited about the map. It's also good to hear that lots of people want me to work on making new and original maps, rather than rehashing ideas from 5 years ago. »

  • de_dust_pcg screens 2 May 10 2005

    Some more... »

  • de_dust_pcg May 9 2005

    So, [the news is out](http://gamesradar.msn.co.uk/news/default.asp?pagetypeid=2&articleid=35698&subsectionid=1589) - a new Dust map from myself, designed specifically for [PC Gamer UK](http://www.pcgamer.co.uk) to go alongside a series of tutorials they'll have in their June and July 2005 issues. »

  • de_dust_pcg screens May 9 2005

    It's actually illegal in the UK to reveal you're releasing a new Counter-Strike map without providing any screenshots. To avoid court, here are two more: »

  • CS:S Credits May 9 2005

    I get a lot of e-mails about CS:S. Lots thanking me for Dust (and occasionally other maps I had nothing to do with). Thing is, I don't deserve it, certainly not all of it anyway. To recognise the work of Valve, and to help clear up some of the misunderstanding behind CS:S, it's about time I explained where the credit for the CS:S maps should lie. I don't like taking credit for other people's hard work! »

  • Keeping CS Maps Fair May 7 2005

    Occassionally I like to download a few amateur CS maps, just to see what people are up to with the game. Most of the time, I'm fairly impressed, but there are always portions of these maps that make me cringe due to some very basic mistakes in very critical areas. »

  • My Second Map May 4 2005

    Quake 2 grew on me very rapidly. And, just like before, I got to work copying parts of it and also trying to change bits. The first level was freely downloadable in source form, so I started editing that and working out how all the fun stuff was done, like transparent water and coloured lighting. Once those basics were covered, I started trying to copy more complicated parts of levels, the whole time building a better understanding in my head about why the levels were built and stylised in the way they were. »

  • Doom to Quake May 2 2005

    Following on from Doom, I went through Heretic, Hexen, Quake, Quake II and Heretic II. Of all of them, Heretic was lots of fun, simply because of the theme - it felt far more 'real' than Doom did. But times were moving, and Quake was all that anyone cared about. I still remember loading up Worldcraft one day and try to make a map. I failed completely. Back to Heretic I went. »

  • My First Map May 1 2005

    In the interest of history, I felt it would be appropriate to post up a few shots of the first ever map I released onto the internet. »

  • Dust 2 = Cobble? Apr 29 2005

    I came across an interesting blog entry by [Luke Muscat](http://student.ci.qut.edu.au/~n4705777/plog) who, having examined the layouts of Dust 2 and Cobble, has [concluded](http://student.ci.qut.edu.au/~n4705777/plog/?p=9) that they bear a surprising amount of similarity. »

  • Working from the Core Apr 28 2005

    I read or heard something the other day about the problem people have with doing something (yes, I've forgot entirely what that 'something' is or was, but bear with me). The issue most people had with this something was never being able to go from nothing or something (the other something) to anything/something good. »

  • Smarties for Statistics Apr 25 2005

    Here are the current statistics for all my official (well, originally at least) CS maps, according to [ServerSpy](http://www.serverspy.net): »

  • csde_bridge: It's Here Apr 23 2005

    Right, just for fun, csde_bridge is now available for download. There are two archives - the first contains just the map (BSP) for players, and the second contains the original RMF and WAD for anyone who wants to edit/improve/destroy/port it. »

  • csde_bridge Apr 21 2005

    Earlier in the week it occured to me that there was a precursor to de_sienna that I had made, basically to experiment with a few things. The aim was to create a tight-yet-open dark-yet-bright map with action-yet-sneakiness designed for LAN play. The aim was not a 'real' map as such, but something that would be a good blast for a 30-odd minutes. »

  • Me and Machinima Apr 18 2005

    Two things about [this Slashdot post](http://games.slashdot.org/games/05/04/17/1539254.shtml?tid=204" title="Half-Life 2 - A Canvas for Original Works) caught me. Firstly, it's claim that HL2 is 'a canvas for original works' - I couldn't agree more. It's superb the lengths Valve have gone to in order to ensure the game can be easily modified and changed, but that was totally expected. There is no better engine for creating believeable scenes and environments (I still think its the radiosity stuff that we have to thank). Secondly - and its focus - was the promise that the Source engine shows for [Machinima](http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Machinima). »

  • More on Blender Apr 16 2005

    After further playing with Blender and the SMD exporter, it's apparant there are a few problems. One was the lack of physics object exporting, but that was fixed by making all objects smooth. The big problem however is the script fails to take into account object orientation - i.e. if your mesh object has been rotated around any axis, the resulting normals in the SMD will be incorrect, or something. This messes up the shadows. The solution has been to set all objects back to a rotation of (0, 0, 0) and then rotate the mesh to fit the original shape. »

  • Source Modelling in Blender Apr 11 2005

    I discovered today that it's now possible to create models for Source from [Blender](http://www.blender3d.org), which is great, because I personally prefer it to Softimage XSI. I needed to create a couple of very simple props for a small project I'm working on. »

  • HL2 Panoramas Apr 10 2005

    Sunday is typically spent sleeping, eating, lounging, drinking, starting fights, enjoying the company of family and friends, shaving animals, more sleeping, and concluded with a pixie dancing contest. In an effort to add to the list, I attempted to create Quicktime VR (QTVR) panoramas from Half-Life 2 maps. »

  • CS:S Tutorials Soon in PC Gamer Apr 9 2005

    A while back I was asked by [PC Gamer (UK)](http://www.pcgamer.co.uk) to write a couple of articles for them, introducing mapping for Counter-Strike: Source. I duly got onto the task and wrote millions of words, sentences and paragraphs, expending an entire forest in the process, leaving one squirrel family and a beaver colony homeless. »

  • Coming soon to PC Gamer UK Apr 8 2005

    PCGamer UK are running a feature next month on de_dust. Because no one will believe me, here's a picture: »