General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc.)

Toyoka

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Hey everyone! You may not remember me as I joined back in 2011, and have only recently come back to the game with a friend of mine (truthfully, I played the mod much earlier than this, but only joined the forums relatively recently). During this 4 year absence, I've learned quite a bit in terms of art, particles, modeling, mapping, texturing (UV unwrapping, etc.) [but unfortunately, not animation or coding]. I've been lurking the forums every now and then for any updates to MS:S, and I've seen some progress on ModDB, which is great. You can probably guess where this is going (I'd be happy to contribute to MS:S!) :)

Anyways, recently Valve has announced the Source 2 engine publicly, and has also announced that they will be giving it out for free (without licensing, so you could potentially make some money off of it if you release it without any copyrighted material!). I've also seen talk of putting Master Sword onto Greenlight, which is a fantastic idea. People would jump at the chance to get it if they knew about it. This would also allow you to create a workshop for the game/mod, possibly allowing users to submit their own weapons and/or models/maps/etc. A great opportunity indeed! Especially since Valve is planning to make workshops an income source for games that are willing to go through with it.

I was thinking it would be an interesting endeavor to try porting MS:S into Source 2 (MS:S2? :D) and see how you guys like the workflow and pipeline. I've been using the Dota 2 version of the Source 2 workshop tools since its release early this year and it's been a blast, as it's very convenient and efficient to work with. The tools are great, and makes it easy to port stuff and manage your assets. There is also much better material support, with a lot of nice features and shader support (no more .vmt/.vtf files! Use the source .psd/.tgas straight from Photoshop!). Lua is also the scripting language used, which is quite robust for modding (at least, for the Dota 2 version)!

With that said, I don't see Valve continuing support (updates) for Source just as they have stopped updating GldSrc, although I could be wrong. But take from that what you will. I'm not suggesting to drop everything and port straight to Source 2, but I think it would be beneficial to "test the waters", so to speak, with Source 2 to see if it's worth doing (and I'm going to bet that it is ;) ). Mapping is especially affected (in a good way) as the new Hammer editor is MUCH more robust than the Source 1 equivalent. No more displacement maps; full on terrain sculpting! You can make models inside hammer, both convex and concave. The list goes on and on, and I highly recommend getting Dota 2 just to install the workshop tools and play around with it (if you haven't already). It's that good.

ANWYAYS (again!), one final thing I wanted to get off my chest; Art direction. From the screenshots for MS:S, it seems there is no concrete art direction (it's mostly sticking to the Half-Life universe, thematicly/texture-wise [perhaps these are placeholders?]). I think it would serve well to find central thematic ground for what the game will look like in it's final state. Whether that be cartoony or otherwise. I know this is probably a lot to ask, since the team behind the port is likely composed of different skill variations, but it would help to ground the ideal look of the game so people aren't creating art assets that will seem out of place.

I just wanted to get this out into the open, so feel free to discuss this! :)
 

Thothie

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Re: General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc

Toyoka said:
With that said, I don't see Valve continuing support (updates) for Source just as they have stopped updating GldSrc, although I could be wrong.
I wish you weren't, but you are... They are still putting out updates for Gldsrc, and they keep breaking sh*t that worked for decades in the process (in addition to making the engine more and more bloated). I'm sure, sadly, they'll keep updating Source as well - probably with a smaller and more noobish team dedicated to said - and they'll continue to break more and more Source mods (something they do even more often than in Gldsrc, by for instance, wiping out whole swaths of Source mods with silly and needless game_info.txt changes).

That said, if the GldSrc->Source transition is any indication, it probably won't be too difficult to adapt any Source source code for use with Source2. Biggest differences are liable to be on the mapping and modeling side, but the technological leap isn't as huge, this time around, so they may even be compatible. (cross fingers)

Toyoka said:
ANWYAYS (again!), one final thing I wanted to get off my chest; Art direction. From the screenshots for MS:S, it seems there is no concrete art direction (it's mostly sticking to the Half-Life universe, thematicly/texture-wise [perhaps these are placeholders?]. I think it would serve well to find a central ground for what the game will look like in it's final state.
I keep saying this, and no one listens to me. :( But I have to admit, I have not proposed nor provided any art style concepts myself. The maps, already, come in a rather jarringly wide variety (though the biggest offender wont compile due to displacement limitations). I thought part of the motivation for this project was to avoid the haphazard hodge-podge appearance you get in MSC, but meh.
 

enter560

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Re: General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc

it seems there is no concrete art direction (it's mostly sticking to the Half-Life universe, thematicly/texture-wise [perhaps these are placeholders?]
From what i can gather, the contributions from crazyghost and pike (models) are stylistically in the "realism" category. However I have not seen any definitive post on what the style should be. It would be nice if the team would clarify this. :)
 

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Re: General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc

Though even "realism" is pretty vague... If they use my modular weapon parts idear (which I still need to get them the details on), it's also going to get harder.

What ya really need, is distinct features you can use to "MSS'ify" existing maps and models, regardless of where they come from. Be it a color motif, spikes, spirals, spires, runes, crystals, growths, fungi, or what not.

In most more established games, you can usually determine which game various objects belong to on sight. WoW, Torchlight, and Morrwind/Oblivion/Skyrim all have very distinct styles, and you can imagine how to tweak models, or even real world objects, to better fit their style. This is because they setup very specific sets of parameters for what features objects in their game should have, within their various unified art departments, under the supervision of a lead concept artist.
 

Toyoka

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Re: General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc

Thothie said:
Toyoka said:
With that said, I don't see Valve continuing support (updates) for Source just as they have stopped updating GldSrc, although I could be wrong.
I wish you weren't, but you are... They are still putting out updates for Gldsrc, and they keep breaking sh*t that worked for decades in the process (in addition to making the engine more and more bloated). I'm sure, sadly, they'll keep updating Source as well - probably with a smaller and more noobish team dedicated to said - and they'll continue to break more and more Source mods (something they do even more often than in Gldsrc, by for instance, wiping out whole swaths of Source mods with silly and needless game_info.txt changes).

That said, if the GldSrc->Source transition is any indication, it probably won't be too difficult to adapt any Source source code for use with Source2. Biggest differences are liable to be on the mapping and modeling side, but the technological leap isn't as huge, this time around, so they may even be compatible. (cross fingers)

Toyoka said:
ANWYAYS (again!), one final thing I wanted to get off my chest; Art direction. From the screenshots for MS:S, it seems there is no concrete art direction (it's mostly sticking to the Half-Life universe, thematicly/texture-wise [perhaps these are placeholders?]. I think it would serve well to find a central ground for what the game will look like in it's final state.
I keep saying this, and no one listens to me. :( But I have to admit, I have not proposed nor provided any art style concepts myself. The maps, already, come in a rather jarringly wide variety (though the biggest offender wont compile due to displacement limitations). I thought part of the motivation for this project was to avoid the haphazard hodge-podge appearance you get in MSC, but meh.

True enough. I'm unaware of how drastic the updates to GldSrc are. But from what it sounds like, they're not exactly very intuitive and seem more like legacy support rather than full-on updates, sort of?

From my experience porting Source stuff to Source 2, it's incredibly easy (at least, asset-wise; I'm not too sure about coding, but I will assume it will be) and very much compatible. The only minor issue you might run into while porting maps to Source 2 is texture size on brushes (easily fixable, and usually only affects displacements) and displacements in general, which work slightly differently but allow for much more elaborate design of terrain (and there is no limit!). It really works much more like a traditional modeling/sculpting program than what Hammer used to be.

As for the art direction, it may be a good idea to find some references for weapons/armor/enemies/buildings/environments/etc. and discuss to see what sort of world MS should look to be. It feels a bit like Skyrim in some of the screenshots, from the looks of it. But I bet it would look more interesting if it was stylized and/or simplified. Sort of like ESF; simple texture work (not a lot of detail noise) and it keeps to a theme, even across environments.

enter560 said:
it seems there is no concrete art direction (it's mostly sticking to the Half-Life universe, thematicly/texture-wise [perhaps these are placeholders?]
From what i can gather, the contributions from crazyghost and pike (models) are stylistically in the "realism" category. However I have not seen any definitive post on what the style should be. It would be nice if the team would clarify this. :)

Thothie said:
Though even "realism" is pretty vague... If they use my modular weapon parts idear (which I still need to get them the details on), it's also going to get harder.

What ya really need, is distinct features you can use to "MSS'ify" existing maps and models, regardless of where they come from. Be it a color motif, spikes, spirals, spires, runes, crystals, growths, fungi, or what not.

In most more established games, you can usually determine which game various objects belong to on sight. WoW, Torchlight, and Morrwind/Oblivion/Skyrim all have very distinct styles, and you can imagine how to tweak models, or even real world objects, to better fit their style. This is because they setup very specific sets of parameters for what features objects in their game should have, within their various unified art departments, under the supervision of a lead concept artist.

I definitely think the art style should be honed down and developed some. "Realistic" is sort of hard to make interesting (partly because not everyone has the same idea of 'realistic') or fun because there isn't really enough in the real world to reference for the more exotic stuff that's in MS:C, for example. And even the stuff that ends up being "exotic" tends to go beyond the 'realism' art style, and it all goes down the drain because it's a muddled up mess :\. Going in a stylized/cartoon-ish/surreal direction would certainly give more leeway to come up with a world that would look interesting, and be fun to play in.
 

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Re: General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc

You can probably guess where this is going (I'd be happy to contribute to MS:S!)

Welcome to the community and thanks for your input!

1)- This mod was at one point, going to be for Source 2. In the end I had to decide to proceed on Source, vs. waiting. Is it possible we will return to a Source2 release? maybe. That depends on how the availability/licensing/bug support matrix pans out.

2)- Since we're proceeding with Source for now, and you've stated your intent to contribute, what areas of development would you be interested in?
 

Toyoka

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Re: General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc

Hey BoX! Thanks for your reply, and thank you for your welcome :)

I take it you prefer stability over uncertainty, so that's fair enough, concerning switching to Source 2.I know that licensing will not be a potential issue since Valve is giving away Source 2 completely for free (that includes using it commercially), so that would be one worry off your list, if you intent to port it at some point!

But indeed, onto my intent; I wouldn't mind mapping, modeling, and/or texturing if you are in need of any of these roles.
 

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Re: General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc

Alright, cool! When we take into account the current roster, the most prominent role you could assume is Mapping Lead. If you are interested in this role, you would become the lead mapper for the project, giving direction to the other level design developers. You would be in charge of A)- learning the lore. B)- taking all existing lore maps, and with minimal input from uppers(me, etc) you would create environments(maps) based on the land/lore of Daragoth. Tons of lore/geography will be provided. If you are interested in this position, all we need is word.

You have indicated that material creation(vtf) is part of your canon. If you should choose to accept the role of lead mapper( or any mapper for that matter), then you would also have free licence to create your own materials as you go. I understand the sometimes desire/need to create materials 'on the fly' and that concept is very welcome here.

Here's the bottom line. If you wish to take over as lead mapper, the job is yours to lose. Our concept of hiring talent comes down to desire. Who has the desire to create, and whom takes the time to create. If you decide to create something, be it a simple test map, a weapon, a piece of armor, a common usable item, or just a static prop, you have brought the game closer to release.
If you would rather work in modeling, that is also doable. In this case, I would encourage you to be an all-around developer, as much as possible. (make your own maps/models/materials as a group).

If any of this sounds good enough to commit to, let me know and I'll get you a first assignment!
 

Toyoka

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Re: General MS:Source Discussion (Thoughts, Suggestions, etc

If you're in need of more mappers, I will definitely help in that regard. I will indeed also work on models if the need arises. I'm not sure if I can commit to a lead role quite yet, but I'd be happy to test the waters and work on anything you need, provided I get the details to start!
 
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