The Alamo Drafthouse is simply one of the coolest theater chains in the world. I am fortunate to live in Austin, TX where most of them are located.
The location near me, Lake Creek, hosts a zombie film festival each year:
Along with this film festival they show short armature made zombie films. They put a call out for people to make their own movies and submit them for a cash prize.
Well being a map maker, at first I thought, hey make a machinima movie using L4D characters and zombies. But I haven't made one before and didn't have the time, it is not long until Halloween.
Then it struck me, make a L4D survival mode made based on the actual theater.
I am currently working with people at the Alamo Drafthouse and valve in hopes that people will be able to play the game in the theater during the festival.
What follows in this post is my progress so far, about a weeks worth of work so far.
100% of the brush work, and a few of the custom models such as the neon sign were all made in SketchUp and exported to hammer. The building is made to 1:1 scale. There will be reference photos mixed in along with the SketchUp and in-game screenshots.
Posted: Tue Sep 08 @ 8:13 am Post subject: Re: L4D Suvival Map: Dismember the Alamo
I was amazed myself that I could get such an accurate look using nothing but built-in game textures. Valve has a pretty good library that comes with the game.
The only custom textures so far are just the various signs and posters.
I still have lots left to do, I wouldn't be able to go this fast though without SketchUp. _________________ www.ZapWizard.com
Posted: Tue Sep 08 @ 11:46 am Post subject: Re: L4D Suvival Map: Dismember the Alamo
These two images are direct from SketchUp to Hammer using the valve export tool and my own custom clean-up scripts. Aside from the zombies, lights, and some texture re-positioning there is nothing modified in hammer.
Here is my general workflow:
1:First model my building in SketchUp as if I wasn't going to do any exporting to hammer. Ensuring every line is on a grid of 1 inch. Hammer will import stuff that is off grid just fine, but it will be hard to work with later inside hammer. I use the Photo match tool built into SketchUp to take my reference photos and build the model around them. I then re-paint the model using materials I imported from Left4Dead so they will work in-game.
This screenshot shows the building before it has been "converted for export to hammer"
Also note that Jason's Deli isn't yet modeled, you can see the reference photo still attached:
2:Once I have my building modeled I go back and examine it. Basically you have to look are you model as if "How can I best cut this into 3D blocks" because everything inside hammer that isn't a "model" has to be a convex block. (called a brush) This takes some extra time to do properly, but in the end is still much faster and has better results then if you made your building in Hammer. The screenshot of the lobby above is a "Hammer ready" SketchUp model. Note all the extra lines, those reveal where everything was cut into blocks.
I use my own customized ruby scripts to do clean-up of the blocks before export.
3:Once in hammer I cleanup the textures, as each block ends up with the texture stuck in the corner. This is a pretty easy click on everything maneuver. I then go and mark what needs to be a func_detail, area portals, triggers, etc... add lighting, make sure the map is sealed and start playing.
I can add and change the map easy enough in SketchUp without exporting the whole map by simply exporting only the parts I changed, and cutting and pasting them into my "master" map file. For example last night I added a hole in the wall where I will have a truck crashed into the side of the building.
There are so many other advantages to SketchUp over Hammer.
SketchUp has components, which allows you to make one model, copy it, and if you need to change one all the others change with it. For example I added a bit more detail to the front pillars in SketchUp without editing each on in turn.
The 3D warehouse is full of models, while most are NOT good to use due to some reason or another, they provide a awesome reference to compare against when you need one. For example in my other project I needed a tool chest. I found one someone else has modeled. I couldn't use it directly because A: Copyright, and B: the model, while accurate, was messy with too many lines used. But I used it as reference to make my own low-polygon copy using existing in-game materials. It took no more then 30 minutes from idea to in-game. _________________ www.ZapWizard.com
Posted: Sat Sep 12 @ 2:09 am Post subject: Re: L4D Suvival Map: Dismember the Alamo
Time for a lot of screenshots.
First off, the Alamo Drafthouse has done a few great events called the "Traveling Roadshow." Basically they load up a truck with equipment and a big projector and do a "Movie in the park" style showing on the set where an movie was filmed.
Well here is that truck, the driver didn't make it.
Next up some movie posters. Each of these is the poster to one of the zombie movies that the Alamo is showing during the festival.
The two lighted "coming soon" posters will show my Allegheny L4D campaign, and the Dismember the Alamo offical poster.
Next up is the hallway connecting to most of the the theaters. I will probably widen it a bit, but it is currently to scale.
The theater has some movie and dinner themed canvas artwork on the walls.
The theater has these cool lights made out of old movie reels. They were pretty tough to get to look decent in-game.
Next up will be the actual theater rooms
And a bonus screenshot I captured while play testing the map.
The map gets bloody pretty quick once the hordes start coming.
Posted: Mon Sep 14 @ 12:47 am Post subject: Re: L4D Suvival Map: Dismember the Alamo
It can probably be tested in the next few weeks. I actually have the map "playable" in that you can trigger the event and start zombies coming. But most of that is testing to find and patch the many problem spots that inevitably will crop up. Stuff like zombies crawling up on things that go nowhere, getting stuck under objects, etc...
The guys at the Alamo Drafthouse were kind enough to give me tour and let me take photos of all the non-public parts of the building, including the projector rooms, kitchen, and behind the bar. I also took shots of each theater.
I have the upstairs areas blocked out, it will be a bit more time before they are ready for even initial screenshots.
Here are some new screenshots:
I started work on the big neon sign in the lobby. The texture for the neon isn't don't yet, this is more to get an idea of size of the sign. Each theater will be a bit different.
The hallways has been expanded.
I also started on the first of the theaters.
Due to the amount of space need for the AI to navigate I may not have room for the food tables.
The "pills" sign is temporary, I just needed a self illuminated texture to test with.
The truck will also have particle effects and some fire behind it.
Bonus shot today is from a couple that didn't seem to appreciate their picture taken.
Posted: Thu Oct 08 @ 8:18 pm Post subject: Re: L4D Suvival Map: Dismember the Alamo
I have been hard at work on the map. It is currently 100% playable and all the navigation bugs have been addressed. All beta testing will take place in a invite only group, please don't ask.
I have added the marquees to the front of the theater.
The movies listed are the actual movies playing at the festival near Halloween
The light maps have been tightened up around the lights. There is still a bit of light bleeding to take care of.
A few other small details, smoking drains in the road, a "Keep Austin Weird" graffiti (A local saying)
Many of the textures in the game are extracted from photos I took at the Alamo Drafthouse.
Some are created from scratch in photoshop.
For example the no skateboarding sign in this image is a photo that is perspective corrected and alpha mapped.
The "no zombies" sign is built from scratch.
The movie showtimes sign is a combination of both. I used a heavily modified photo of the real-thing and replaced the movies with the zombie films.
BTW, check out the youtube video which is both the call that got me started on this project, and the origination of the "No zombies" sign.
The theater information signs were made using a similar technique using a combination of photo and photoshop.
The "Try the Chili" sign is another direct from photo texture.
Because there are some great companies and organizations helping me out with getting this project going I wanted to thank them. There is also no good way to add credits to a map, so I added some more movie poster style signs to the other side of the lobby.
Intel R.I.G.G. is Intel's own LAN party organization. They are loaning me some PCs for the public to play on at the festival.
Austin Modders is a PC case modding group I helped get started back when I was doing PC case mods. They are helping to beta test the map and help out at the event.
Of course the Alamo Drafthouse for letting me take photos and hosting the event. I did just realize I need one more sign thanking valve.
Another addition to the lobby is two sets of line ropes.
They are connected with ropes and physics constraints. They can be shot around and the ropes will break hold or realistically.
Each of the theaters was heavily updated. A added a custom curtain texture I made in photoshop.
I added speakers, darkened the ceiling texture, and added various details such as exit signs and emergency lights.
I added the finale event trigger to one of the theaters.
There is a great thread on how to make the floating text here: l4dmaps.com
The following image is intentionally dark to illustrate what happens to the theater above when you start the event.
The theater lights dim slowly before the movie clip starts.
Then, the projector kicks in, the movie screen lights up and a animated texture in-sync with sound creates a movie 30 second clip. The light from the movie screen even flickers a bit.
The clip was quite challenging to get to work in sync with the sound and while also keeping file and CPU overhead down.
You can see the full introduction clip from which mine is extracted here:
A beam spotlight, dustmotes, and projector sound complete the effect.
In my planning document I actually wrote a crashed helicopter as the cause of the hole in the roof of the flooded theater. However there ended up not being a model of one in the game. Thanks to the new Crash Course campaign I now have one. Thanks valve!
Now onto some of the work-in-progress areas.
I have started on the upper areas of the theaters.
Shown here is one of the projector rooms.
The projectors themselves are modeled off the actual projectors in the drafthouse.
The texture is from my own photos and the model was made in SketchUp.
One of the offices that are upstairs. And yes, the real one is really just about this tiny and with that many desks in it.
Work has also started on the kitchen. If you haven't pick up on it in the thread yet, the Alamo Drafthouse is a dinner-and-movie theater.
Finally, the kitchen already has some fun treats inside.
Shown here is not the portal cake 3D Model (which doesn't have a slice cut out) It was actually re-created from scratch in SketchUp and scaled to about 1/3 it's original size. (the real portal cake is half the size of a car!)
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