Most of my later work can be found in the Professional section.
Dust PCG (de_dust_pcg)
Dust PCG was built as tandem with a two-part tutorial for PC Gamer UK magazine, teaching the basic principles of Counter-Strike: Source level design. As my first foray into CS:S mapping, it acted as a learning experience involving almost all the required entities and technologies needed for a modern CS:S map.
With Dust PCG it was important to maintain the simplicity of the Dust series whilst also adopting the new style and sheen that CS:S brought to it. Whilst Dust PCG draws very heavily from Dust and Dust 2 in both arrangement and theme, it does introduce some new elements and occasionally stutters with the theme.
While I made Dust, Dust 2 and Cobble as a keen hobbyist, they were later bought and included in the retail editions of Counter-Strike. You can read more about them on the Professional Work mapography. The maps listed below were all released separately.
Bridge was my final foray into mapping for Counter-Strike 1.6. It was originally intended partly as fun to entertain my housemates for the small 3 versus 3 matches we held, hence allowing me to get away with lots of things that I wouldn’t do in a ‘serious’ map. In some ways it draws inspiration from Quake 2 CTF and Unreal, with colour-coordinated symmetric halves, lightning, thunder, rain and over-saturated lighting.
Download cs_cstle (0.6MB)
Castle was originally going to be my next map for Counter-Strike after the suprising success of Dust. I remember asking MacMan (Chris Ashton) for some more ‘Castle-like’ textures, which he promptly delivered and again amazed me with the quality. I had fairly big plans, stretching out to a hill, lakes, and TV broadcast trucks which would act as a terrorist bomb target.
Naturally, it fell flat on its face. I didn’t have textures for broadcast trucks, nor the inspiration or reference to create a castle. The result was an oversized mass of grey which I was immensely proud of, but didn’t meet the stringent requirements to become another official CS map. Days after the map being rejected, I produced Cobble using the same textures and a very different style, which has been in CS ever since. Castle was later tidied up and released for free to anyone who wanted it.
Download pa_fact (1.3MB)
Fact was the child of an idea that came after armoury entities were added to CS, allowing level designers to place weapons around the map instead of letting players buy them. My aim was to create a small and tight map using custom textures and restricted weapon choice. In particular, the weapon selection was chosen in an attempt to balance it out - CTs nearer the Terrorist end of the building were not given explosives or any weapons that could mow down the Terrorists by shooting through the only wall separating the two spawn points.
This type of gameplay was called ‘Prepared Assault’, hence the map name prefix. It turned out extremely popular for very small and entertaining LAN games, and was publicised by Gearbox Software along with one of their own CS maps.
ETC 2 was the culmination of a long and scattered two-year development cycle that had started right after I released ETC. My aim was simply to create another single player experience that remained true to the Half-Life universe and design aesthetic, more so than the original ETC. This required not just level design, but additional modelling, texturing, audio and game coding to produce.
Reviews were generally extremely positive - ETC 2 turned out to be reasonably successful attempt at delivering a fun single-player experience in the same vein as the original game. Despite a few peculiar design decisions in the later maps, I remain rather proud of ETC 2.
Character dialogue was written and recorded by Mike and Pete Chu.
Download Charred Chaos (0.7MB) Charred Chaos was my first (and last) deathmatch map for Half-Life. The less said about it the better, really…
ETC was my first major amateur release for any game, and easily the biggest modding project I had ever worked on until that point.
Despite some flaws and dodgy design, ETC did well, critically. The mission lacked story and any real purpose, but succeeded on being consistent and different compared to the other missions that had been released up to that point. It also netted me my first requests from game companies to come in and interview for level design positions, although I was still in high school.
DJDM1 aka “Evenings”
Download DJDM1 (0.6MB)
My first attempt at a Deathmatch map. By now I had worked out out how to stick with themes, and adopted the metallic “base” style of Quake 2’s early levels. I spent a lot of time analysing popular Quake 2 deathmatch maps and copying their lighting at the cost of the most important element - gameplay.
Download gates.wad (0.2MB)
My very, very earliest released work on the internet. Previous to this I had uploaded one or two Doom maps to BBS’s, but nothing of any substance. Gates.wad continued that trend - a mis-mash of bits of Doom I liked, but with no coherency at all. 14-year-old me spent months making this, but you’d be best not playing it unless you want a terrific headache…