For my Advanced Level Design class, I decided that I would create a map for one of my favorite games - Portal 2. I have played the game multiple times, struggling through all of the main story’s puzzles and the community-made puzzles that can be found in the Steam Workshop. I wanted to see what developing these maps were like, so I jumped right into the Hammer editor and got myself started. It was a long and rather exhausting process, but I believe that learning about how maps within Team Fortress, Portal, and Left 4 Dead are made is a fun skill to have, as it would allow me and other people to join Source modding communities and create cool content that would keep these old games alive. So today, I am going to tell you the process that you need to go through to create a decent looking map and some tips about using the Hammer editor. Keep in mind, I am going to talk about Hammer from the perspective of developing a map for Portal 2, but most of the content within this post should be usable across all Source games.
For those unaware, Gametrailers.com is (or rather was) a gaming website dedicated to bringing news, videos, and reviews to the masses. While hosting trailers was always nice as per their namesake, it was some of their other content that had kept me going back for years. They had original shows such as Pop Fiction which explored the sometimes strange and wonderful world of gaming myths; Retrospectives covering the history of storied game franchises, and many others. Gametrailers was special to me partially because it was on that site that I saw the developer diary that made me finally decide I wanted to be a developer.
It may be kind of a silly thing to say, but most of the people who want to work in the entertainment industry are those who want to create content that they love to make. Why bother creating something that you hate, right?