10 reasons mapping for HL2 will be easier than HL1

Do you,

  • Agree

    Votes: 21 80.8%
  • Disagree

    Votes: 5 19.2%

  • Total voters


May 17, 2003
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1) Hammer has been improved, rewritten and (I hope) a lot of the bugs have been fixed. A solid tool is the most essential part of working with maps.

2) Poly-counts are higher. Scalable level of detail will (hopefully) allow larger, more detailed environments. No longer does the map maker havce to crawl around his map with r_speeds on trying to get the poly count down.

3) New texture system. Using bump maps (and gloss maps, Gabe talked about source supporting specular highlights) more realistic textures can be created. Image trying to create a car. Before even using photgraphs for textures would not look too realistic. Now image a flat coloured texture, with a bump map for the lines in the bodywork, and a glossmap so the paint looks shiny and metallic.

4) Your PC is probably faster. Assuming you've had an upgrade in the last 5 years, you'll now have more RAM, maybe a larger harddrive. This will allow you to work faster, and I hope compile times wont have increased more than your processor speed.

5) You're more experienced. Some of the skills you (possibly) learned from scratch canm be applied to HL2. The new hammer looks similar to the old one, so anyone that used the old one gets a head start.

6) There's a larger community now. More people are interested in HL2, the will be more people to get help form etc.

7) The new physics engine will mean much less scripting. No loger will you need 3 or 4 entities to make something break realistically. Now it will all be done for you.

8) Cos Gabe said so. And we believe what he says. Especially as it involves HL2

9) New AI and acting system will reduce the ammount of scripting that needs to be done for NPCs as well as enemies.

10) Ok, so I only got nine. But it sounded better to have ten reasons why.....

Most of this is admittedly speculative. However there's nothing really wild in here, it all seems reasonalbe. Some points (such as 4)) are debatable, but I'm posting this here mainly to reasure people who seem to be intimidated by Source.
There are also many reasons why mapping, and modding in general, will be more challenging for HL2. Gabe has said this, too. For one, the increased polys and texture sizes mean that the quality of the models and the artwork need to be that much higher. In HL1 you could get away with mediocre models and art, because the engine couldn't render much better. But now poor quality will really stand out, especially compared to what Valve themself are doing for the game.

Think about character models like the G-man. Are modellers really going to know how to build realistic characters with 40 muscles in their face, or do you think Valve will make this easy by giving us some ready-made models and modfication tools?
Wooo First vote! I Think it will be easier to map. Im sure that at first it may be difficult to live up to the standards of valve but after while people will begin to learn all the 'tricks of the trade' and will in all likely hood get quite good at it.
I reckon that mapping will be easier, not much so but a little bit......however modelling and coding will be a hell of a lot harder :(.......ah well
I'm kinda expecting it to be both easier and harder.
I believe it will be easier to acomplish things that were problems in HL1 and needed tricks to get them done. The tools are going to be a bit better and you will be able to build things in alot higher res.

It will also mean that theres things you have some extra steps now that you didnt have before. Creating bumpmaps, gloss maps(I guess), and you'll probably have to rebuild alot of things in multiple LOD's and set the ranges. This can also mean alot of testing to get the LOD distance changes just right. YOu'll notice that even valve got a bit slopy on the LOD changes on a few small objects, its going to be alot of tedious work. You'll also have to texture youre different LOD models in such a way that the texture's dont jump around, Thats going to be alot of work too.
I've never done bumpmaps or "Gloss maps" but I figure its not a trivial thing.

IF we are going to be able to do all the modeling, texturing, bump mapping and animation in XSI and then just convert the models into whatever format HL2 uses, hopefully with just a plug-in that'll be great, real great!

The AI stuff looks like its going to eliminate ALOT of scripting.
I am right now a bit concerned about the facial animation and musculature stuff they talked about, and hopefully valve gives us some help on this one. This is an area where game companies have been screwing us recently, they give us all sorts of tools and info to map, but hold back on character animation. SOF2's "GHOUL2" system is a good example. I'm holding out hope that Valve is going to treat us alot better than Raven did with those who wanted to mod SOF2 (that problem with GHOUL2 may be taken care of by now, I dont know).

I think overall its going to be "EASIER" but theres probably going to be alot more steps to do, and thats okay with me so long as valve gives us the tools we need.
I think it will be much easier to mod for. Seeing how well people modded for hl1 and how much you could do with it.. they are most likly expanding this to draw more to the crowd. And about the muscles and models. they wil most likly release some models with there characters rigs that you could use for urs ect.

Overall i thnk it will be alot easier to mod for then hl1. but will just have to wait and see.
The thread was specifically about mapping (though I included one point about textures), but the points made on modelling are all valid. As for waht Gabe has said, in most early interviews he rambled on about how HL2 was going to be easier to mod than HL1 (could someone post some quotes here?). I can only assume they will have some modular way of building up faces using muscles that doesn't require the skills of a professional modeller.

As for textures, I really think it will be easier using bump maps. Especially for things like rock textures. You have a plain brownish grey texture that you could cook up in MS paint, then a bump map which is basically just noise. Hey presto rough looking rock that catches the light in a realistic way. Before you would have had to use some 'emboss' filters to get the same effect.
Specificly about mapping, oops. Overall I think The mapping will be a wash. The tools will be better, but there will be a bit more to do. But doing those things should be less work.

I read "mapping" and got sidetracked with overall modding, sorry. My vote still would be the same, easier.
It will definly be more user friendly. ass tools advance, thats ually what happens (not windows however :/)
what are 'ass tools' ?


Can't wait to start mappinbg for HL2, even before the game is out. I assume the sdk will include hammer, and that the sdk will be available to the general public. With lighted previews it should be possible to nearly finish a map before the game is out.

I wonder who will be first to release a custom map...
Damn I didnt even notice that the first time :LOL:

I dont know about you, but if I see any 'ass tools advance' towards me I'll start swingin! :sniper:
I believe half-life 5 will have a tool to do direct mind-to-map in 3 easy steps. Or something. They should improve the tools to the point where a blind, half-crazed monkey scratching its butt can make a breath-taking level with just one hand.
mapping will be ALOT easier for sure.... the very fact there is no restrictions plus HL2 will ship with 1000s of textures and realistic prefabs (some wont even be used in the game) that we can use.
Coding will probably be easier, tidy and clean SDK, great flexible physics system.... it'll be no harder than HL if easier as they wont have to invest time making HL2 any better looking (like they do with HL1- particle effects ground shadows ect) because its already there and you can focus on the mod itself.
As for modeling i think it'll be no harder it'll just take a bit more time to make each decent model. tools are getting better all the time and people from HL1 mods will just develop their skills over time.

modding will be a MUCH easier affair with Half-life 2
and the facial expression wont be too hard to recreate... everything like that will be explained to the max in the sdk or that large modders book that is coming out for Half-life 2.

On that note anyone know any info about that indepth modding book? Gabe says its gona cover like everything
Definitely harder, i say. When starting to map for HL2 ppl will realize that their ideas won't be enough to fill a map of 100000 polygons as you'll need a much more clearer vision of what you want to do.

Building a map upon 1 single idea won't be enough anymore. Only ppl who can draw sketches or write long descriptions will succeed to make good HL2 maps.
I agree on that. you definatly need a good view off perspective because the schenes can get quite complex. you really need to plan everything carefully. but it only rases your skill off working as a pro and planning everything out good is a must in dah pro w0rld :)
Originally posted by EVIL
I agree on that. you definatly need a good view off perspective because the schenes can get quite complex. you really need to plan everything carefully. but it only rases your skill off working as a pro and planning everything out good is a must in dah pro w0rld :)

he's right you know... planning makes perfect :)
HomeLAN - EBGames is showing pre-orders for not only the game and strategy guide but also a book for Half-Life 2 mod makers and a "Behind The Game" book. Can you confirm this and if so can you be more specific on what it will contain?

Gabe Newell - Yes. Prima really got behind Half-Life 2 early on and decided they wanted to do these three projects - the strategy guide, the MOD guide, and the "Making of Half-Life 2". It's been a lot of fun working with them, as they share our enthusiasm for Half-Life 2 and a desire to do quality products.

www.ebgames.com then search Half-life 2 comes up with a option to pre-order half-life 2, some stratergy guides and a moding book.

see there is a mod makers book in development, but i think ebgames got the discription wrong for that one
wow cool. this will help alot off unexperienced mod teams with cool idea's that have only a little knowledge for sure.

/me congrats prima for the cool idea for making these books
I second that.... i'd be interested in the "making of Half Life" as well...... just to know Valve's MO....
Yay. Some decent help. I want to make a mod. I'm not experienced at programming yet though. So i reckon I'l read all that and get an idea. Then in maybe a years time I'l be building my mod :).

The making of HL2 would be cool to, if only to see how a 'real'* team works when creating something.

*As opposed to mod makers.
Huh, cool ! I'll definitely buy this MOd book - what a great idea ! I mean, sure - this is just 'making money' for valve but i think its ok. Reading thru this can really save you precious time, if the mod info it provides is deep enough.

I wish they would've done that in 1998 when HL came out.

The thing about "planning maps with concept art" became quite clear for me the moment i decided to make maps for HL - the description for HL had pictures of valve concepts as a background. Some scenes from the description can be found ingame, while others can't - maybe they trashed them.
Originally posted by ])rStrangelove
Huh, cool ! I'll definitely buy this MOd book - what a great idea ! I mean, sure - this is just 'making money' for valve but i think its ok.

Given Valve's closeness with the mod community I doubt they are milking us.... I think it's a gd idea... it'll be the first Prima book I have bought (I don't care much for so-called 'Strategy Guides', I like to play the game my way :) )
indeed.. stratigy guides are not my thing either.. it kinda spoils it wich I dont want. But the mod and the making how books rule. I really hope that the making how book has loads off pages with concept art. Cuz I cant get enough from good game concept art
Yeah, I know what you mean, I remember the (uk) manual for HL.... it had LOADS of concept art.... I even tried to map one of the levels they put in.... but left out of the game :)
My cousin bought a strategy guide once. he said he wasnt going to use it much. He ended up playing the game for about an hour when until he broke and then used it to complete the game. They take the fun out. Because its not like you wont be able to figure stuff out, it will just take longer. Strategy uides for linear games are even worse. I mean what is the need?

The concept art in the Manual was cool. Really good thing to add in my opinion.
Originally posted by Farrowlesparrow

The concept art in the Manual was cool. Really good thing to add in my opinion.

Yeah, I remember looking at the pictures in the manual and wondering if they were going to be in the game :dork:

once again Valve push the envelope so far, it's off the desk

(sorry, bad pun :p)
in august they are gonna release the new HL2 SDK... does that mean that we already can test our maps and self made mods?
I dont need the book, i'm just 1337 at making mods...:LOL: I wish
You forgot :

10) orange map. You can play the map without having to apply textures and light sources.
Originally posted by sharp
in august they are gonna release the new HL2 SDK... does that mean that we already can test our maps and self made mods?

In all likelyhood yes.... and methinks it will be a lot sooner than august ;) ... however it just contains the code, tutorials and tools, nothing more :p
so you still wont be able to test your maps right.. because you need the game to do that right?
I think you have the actual exe.... but no maps from the game itsself... ill ask Valve, then give ya an answer
hey I think they'll add a way of testing stuff..... in orange map style
there will be NO content from HL wat so ever apart from the engine and maybe a few samples of code and really crappy stuff that'll be no fun just demo some ways of doing things.
I'll email them in a bit
orange map, good point i forgot that one.

it would be really funny if valve did release an exe for testing maps in game....

people would start trying to map parts of the game from the e3 vids, (using screenshots to draw textures) just so they can play HL2 before it comes out!
Originally posted by Scaramanga
You forgot :

10) orange map. You can play the map without having to apply textures and light sources.

You can do that now. I always build my maps without the textues done. Just to get it all right, and to stop myself being limited by textues.
yeah but its bit different
you can name the surfaces so once the texture is done it apply's its self
it also lets you write about the surface you want there aswell... i believe so when a texture artist goes over it they know what u want
Yeah. But in th Hl one engine its different. Anyway it doesnt matter really. I'm gonna be texturing all my own maps.