Half-Life 2 Mod: Week 7 — Gleaming Translucent Chandeliers, Detail of Railing, Heavy Object Designing

MyMod07.pngHalf-Life 2 Mod: Week 7 — Gleaming Translucent Chandeliers, Detail of Railing, Heavy Object Designing (Jerz’s Literacy Weblog)

This week I finally managed to make my chandeliers look decent. Previously I had placed an invisible light-emitting entity inside a solid translucent block, but that unfortunately left the outside edges of the block looking very dark. So this time I created four thin transparent walls, and put the light inside all four walls. In addition, I placed extra light sources outside the chandelier, to create the glowing effect that I wanted.

The picture shows that I also added some chandeliers to the top level of the balcony. You can also see the woodgrain railings, though at this resolution the 45 degree angle join is only barely noticeable.

I actually spent much more time on the room I haven’t shown yet. To give meaning to my new media meanderings, I’m trying to create a Half-Life 2 mod that implements Cloak of Darkness, a very simple scenario that’s been implemented in dozens of different programming environments. That scenario is set in the lobby of an opera house, and features a bar (which I’m working on) and a cloakroom (that I haven’t started yet).

While designing the bar, for the first time I’ve worked extensively with angled wall shapes — complicated modular units that I duplicate and rotate in order to form a circle. The circle is divided up into 10 sections, so I created a large 36 degree wedge, then used it to cut out a kind of trough, and then placed my wall unit in the trough, and used the trough to cut the wall unit into a piece that has 36 degree edges. Since the world-building feature isn’t designed to work with resolutions of smaller than one inch, the modules I’m creating are going to be a little off, but I’m not too worried.

These wall units are so complex that I should really be creating them in a 3D modeling tool, and importing them as models into the HL2 world. I’m actually being very wasteful of computing resources by constructing these modules out of blocky square brushes, and manipulating the corners of the blocks in order to approximate the shapes I want. But I’m not yet ready to tackle learning a 3D modeling program.

No pictures of that room yet. I need to spend some time creating the images that will make my wall units look better. Half-Life 2 comes with plenty of materials that represent cracking plaster, rubble, bricks, etc. It’s also easy to find assorted high-tech panels and display readouts online, but nothing that depicts the precise decor I’m shooting for. So the models look pretty slapdash at the moment.

I’ll show photos of the bar area when I’ve got something worth sharing.