Possible next mapping challenge: TransmissionsVille?

I am looking to start the next mapping challenge this Wednesday or Thursday but would like modder feedback before I make a final decision.

As you can see from the title, I am seriously considering running a TransmissionsVille mapping challenge.

Now, I am sure that many players would like to play this but I really need to hear only from modders.

The theme would be to create a map that uses the new Concussion Gun and textures in interesting ways.

There would be no obligation to use the textures, although clever inclusion with standard EP2 textures might be fun.

However, there are some technical issues that need to be addressed before the challenge is agreed.

I have been informed that using new textures and code is not trivial.

I was hoping that I would be able to take the original Transmissions: Element 120 mod and remove the original maps and anything else only related to the mod and release a mod that contains the new maps. This may be possible, but perhaps a simpler solution would be to release a new mappack that gets added to the original mod. That would be smaller but require players to use the console.

What I want from modders

I would like to hear from modders their thoughts on how this could work, if making maps for Transmissions would be possible within a 17 day time frame and any other potential technical issues.

Which version of Hammer is used could also be a problem. The maps would need to work with the Source SDK Base 2007

I know you don’t have much time to respond, so please share this with your modding friends.

I will do my best to answer any questions you have immediately.

Finally

Not only has Shokunin given permission for the challenge, he has also agreed to pick the final winner and maybe even offer feedback.

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8 Comments

  1. Salamancer

    I’m always hesitant at any competition that requires heavy modding other than the map itself, as any potential entry that is not as confident at including these type of things will be less likely to enter. Especially with a 17 day window.
    I like the theme, a lot, but unless you came up with a good way for people to immediately pick up and map for Transmissions, we could have another Voiceville situation

  2. Well.

    Getting a map to work on the 2007 engine could present a few problems depending on how different entities and their keyvalues (essentially “options” of an entity that the mapper can set) are from one version to the other. The entities themselves shouldn’t be different, but think some options were only introduced with more recent update.

    That said, I just tested my Eye on the City map by playing it from the Transmissions mod. I chose this map because it contains a lot of “moving parts” and complex entity setups (the City Eye, a boss-type enemy machine) that are fragile and could easily break if a single line of code changes from current to 2007.

    Guess what. There were some missing textures and sounds (not just custom ones). Most importantly, the City Eye was just frozen solid no attacks, no head movement, only some sounds (not even all of them). This suggest that the following could break when ported to 2007 from a newer version:

    func_tank (used to make the machine move) AND/OR npc_enemyfinder (used to tell the func_tank where to aim and to control the machine’s weaponry).

    I’ll stop here because these two entities are fairly frequent in custom maps (func_tank is also used for things like mounted guns, npc_enemyfinder can be used to better direct a squad of Combine soldiers).

    This means that making maps in the current engine and then porting them back to Transmission is most likely out of the question.

    To make a working Source 2007 map, the 2007 version of Hammer is needed – this can be accessed using the old Source SDK tool, which is still available on Steam under the Tools section.

    To make Hammer (and the map) work with Transmissions, the SDK would need to be told to use the Transmission content and code instead of the default HL2 stuff… especially because there is no game configuration by default in the SDK for Source 2007. This can be done, here is an example for Black Mesa (before it became a fully-fledged commercial release). However, it requires a bit of work and tinkering with the game files.

    So all in all, as a mapper, I think that mapping for Transmissions is definitely possible, just like mapping for any other mod is, but it definitely requires a bit of setting up and is not guaranteed to work. Perhaps I’ll make a full test later on, configuring the SDK and all.

    Lastly, remember that all mappers are used to working withing the rules and mechanics of HL2. Besides the technical part, creating gameplay for the Concussion Gun is going to be completely new for everyone – although this could be considered a plus.

  3. I love the idea! Giving mappers a new toy, and than seeing what they do with it. But, 17 days is a bit to short, since mappers would have to take a lot more time to brains storm and figure out what the weapon works with. Maybe a month or 24 days.

    Though, judging by what The_Blazer said, I don’t think it would work with the concussion rifle, at least not straight from Transmissions. I also bet there’s a bunch of fancy scripting for the breakable walls in Transmissions, so mapper’s would have to get used to that too.

    I’d absolutely enjoy creating maps for the concussion rifle, but only if it was easily portable. Maybe in the future someone can make a custom weapon or npc or something exclusively for this kinda contest, or at least with this kinda setting in mind (like a mod that would come with an example map/vmf). I have been working on custom animations in source, so who knows, maybe in half a year’s time I could release a pack.

  4. Hec

    I know I’m not a modder so I really don’t have many weight words to say a thing about technical issues. But from a gamer perspective what if this Comp. present for some players pretty low FPS’s as some of us experienced in the original Transmissions Element 120 mod???

    That would be a shame, now, I really don’t know what caused low FPS, maybe that new gun did???

    So I only question if that aspect is being considered.

    1. The new gun almost definitely didn’t cause any lag. It’s probably the large amount of entities present to make everything so fun and destructible.

  5. Okay, I have decided to not run this themed challenge.

    Now is the right time to do it, but with so many currently unanswered questions it’s probably best to wait.

    I’ll ponder another theme and plan to announce it next Wednesday.

  6. asterixer

    if you are able to use the console you can copy the original HL2 maps to the maps dir of the mod and then play the HL2 maps with the concussion gun…tried it. worked so far but you get errors in the console and there are no acting etc. of alyx, dr. kleiner etc.

  7. Is a challenge like this one possible in the future, now that Transmissions is out on Steam as a standalone game? It comes with its own preconfigured copy of Hammer.

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