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.
Just the other weekend, I hopped into my 7th UAT hosted Game Jam with a group of friends and for 48 hours straight, we developed a game from scratch. The theme of this jam was Halloween, so the games we made were all in some way related to our favorite spooky holiday! A lot of very unique games were created during this jam, so instead of just talking about mine, I wanted to dive into a few of the other teams’ individual experiences and ask them how the jam went for them.
There are a few sacred Gamer holidays; E3, GDC, the last friday of Oct. and first two of Nov. (really needs a name... but it tends to be when the biggest titles of the year come out. Or are delayed from), things like that. However, there's one that will always hold a very special place my heart: April Fools. Because of the way the game industry operates, though it can be a really rough industry it also tends to be one of the most light hearted and of course fun loving. So every year, companies unleash their April fools pranks upon the world. Some are content patches for short periods of time like Ultra Rapid Fire (URF) in League of Legends or Zombie punting in Dying Light. Some have crazy announcements like Corsairs Mechanical Gaming Mouse or last year Destiny announced a collectors edition would include a trip to Mars. Then there are the obligatory Half Life 3 rumors and stories though to be fair that's a year round thing. People just tend to bring them up more on April fools. In all it's just a wonderful day to be a gamer. It's a day that reminds us that at their heart these companies really do make games because they want to add a little fun to the world. To anyone who wants to bring up the fact ; yes, I realize that these types of stunts increase awareness, and foster good will amongst gamers as well as some other good stuff for the bottom line so that is most likely the real reason why they do it. To those people I say; shut up, I'm having enough fun and I'm going to choose to not see the business aspect of today for once. Fundamentally games are about having fun, and April Fools serves as a reminder for the developers to have a little fun.