Learning and Prototyping Maps for Deathmatch

This is not a tutorial of any kind but a showcase of what I’ve been working on right after finishing a module for University.

Just scroll right down the to bottom if you want current screenshots of the project or carry on reading for some poorly written back story

Due to S&box being…well S&box, I have been super excited for it for multiple years now and have been slowly in my time schedule just learning more about coding in C# and level design. Though due to University almost coming to an end for me I haven’t been able to work on any projects of any kind towards S&box, until recently!

As you know, S&box has been blowing up with development recently so i thought once i have time I’ll pop into the HLA tool set and learn it all from the ground up. I’ve fiddled around with Game Engines and so forth in my life time, messed with texturing, modelling, audio, level design, and so forth but I’m not expert, nor do i believe I’m good at any of it (Definitely after seeing some of work done here like damn guys well done!).

Though to me it is so exciting to learn something new, to be able to create from the ground up and then to see it come to life.

So this is where this begins! :sweat_smile:

I jumped right into Source 2 Hammer and just started scanning through maps and creating whatever I could think of. No images can be shown for this but I’m sure you know you can easily pop into maps from HLA and to inspect what Valve done within Hammer.

I knew from the start I wanted to make some form of Deathmatch map as it would be a great starting place and I loved the idea of having a blast with friends on a map that I’ve created.
(Same feeling as just creating a game and your friends wanting to play it and saying its fun once they do)

I quickly put together stairs from HLA (Quickly pieced together HLA assets to get my idea off the ground) and made a mirrored map that players can attack from multiple layers, which you’ll notice I like to do later down the line of this post.

Map at the time shown here;

Though upon using these assets, I realised that the stairs ruin movement definitely when sprinting, so I just quickly changed up the stairs to match my need as shown here;

Though a lazy fix, it worked perfectly.

Anyway who cares about that, the post is long enough anyway so I’ll just go towards the project I have going now.

Well, with the project I have going now, I decided to go with two layed Deathmatch map, but I also wanted it to be a lot more optimised than previous projects due to the fact I would like to get into the workflow of optimising along the way and not at the end.

Honestly yes, it looks trash I agree but wait. Around this time I was experimenting with scale, models, meshes and the rest of the tools and that is why it looks ugly with faces not even shown to the player and even in this screenshot as some are in the wall and so forth. I learnt from this fast.

Second screenshot just shows me creating the second level. Though as some may easily tell already. It just isn’t the way you should be doing it…so please don’t do the same, but It did give me an idea of just starting again with the new knowledge.

So from there I recreated it!

Looks way better right?. No hidden faces, mended in the places that needed it and light worked perfectly with it.

From there I was able to simply mirror it to the opposite side as planned though no screenshot for this part but you will see! Then created pathways to the upper floor to allow players no matter where they spawned to navigate the map evenly, then lit everything up! Though…ran into problems when it came to lighting.

Lighting would not look good (While running after it was built) with the Dev textures shown in the screenshots no matter what I did, it was blurry, sometimes in places it shouldn’t be, even if i baked lighting, cleared it and changed the build settings, It just wouldn’t change.

I was able to overcome that issue by simply texturing everything! I was going to anyway but with quickly testing with HLA materials. It just looked way better instantly! Now this is where I’ve reached within 1-3 days and this is how it looked currently today of this post.

Different angles for each screenshot. Its bare boned but the structure is there which is perfect! :smile:

I have tons of plans to fill out the space but I just wanted to throw this out in the wild to get some feedback / get reactions even if I believe it looks terrible compared to other peoples projects I’ve seen recently (like Damnnnn).

Anyway, I hope this wasn’t as poorly written as I believe it is…as its 4:44am while writing this part here, but thank you for reading and I’ll keep you updated in the replies if you are interested!


About the stairs, if you really wanted to you could keep them, and create an invisible ramp instead.


Nice story and love the vibe of the map and agree with what I just said @Win :ok_hand:


A meme that explains it well:


Oh I forgot to mention this, this is a good idea but I simply just did not like stairs very much in some areas, though in other places I do…during this map I just went straight for ramps for now before adding some detail. When first doing this, though a mistake from me as I’ve done the whole invisible ramp on stairs before In hammer…I did it differently and it did not create the sound to be desired when walk/ran on, but again that’s because of the way I did it :sweat_smile:. Basically I will add stairs in some places later on!

Though I would like to keep some ramps but if you believe some specific places need to be stairs let me know!


Update time for today! Though only for the people who care lmao.

Main notes for todays work is decoration and making it look pretty! Plus some actual stairs too, haven’t replaced the ramps though. :wink:

This reply will be long because of the screenshots but ill keep the text to the minimum. :heart:

Let me start off with this screenshot;

To add more depth to the walls instead of it just being square…I added sewage piping to match with the dark, wet industrial look of things on the first floor and i am pretty proud of myself!

Then added piping, small and large to make the map feel dense compared to before. Also you may see in this screenshot I’ve also just scrubbed up all the water off of the ground as it honestly did not make sense where all the puddles of water was coming from lmao.

Then here is some wiring and a little peak at the pipes.

Following the pipes from the last image shows the pathway to the second floor. Doors, particles, puddles around the pipes and so forth to give it more life!

Now the pipes and machines on the second floor, though obviously not finished but it does give it some detail compared to it just being a concrete mess…Oh and stairs! That…are…clipped. Bet you didn’t think i could do it!

Last off, a view from the second floor towards the first floor. Remember throughout all of these screenshots it is only showing one side of the map as everything is mirrored.

Bit of a large screenshot dump of an update huh…Sorry in advance but I do hope you liked the update as I’ll give it each time I spend a large some of time on the project! Though next up I would love to mess with cloth, decals and more bits and bobs around to give it more life…

I’m up for suggestions and so forth as to be honest…It probably is a bad project but I am having fun! Cya guys around!


Woah… what a glowup!.. which method did you use for the stairs…?


something beyond evil


Sadly had to make the stairs like this

Truly disgusting to me…
I wish it was like this;

This would allow for crumbs and so forth not to fall so deep into the stairs so the player doesn’t need to keep poking and grabbing into unreachable corners…


if only my stairs were like that 2nd one in real life, if you step too deep into the crack of the stairs on a rare occasion a nail will almost stab you in the foot through the carpet, please can i hire someone to edit player clips into my house irl to stop anymore of this madness


I’m there free of charge


Quick update! Got cloth and materials on the cloth perfectly and its just taking it to another level to the point I needed to update!

For those that do not know how to add material to the cloth as I found out many people don’t from the research I’ve done.

From here go into Render Properties and scroll down until you can see “Override Material” as shown here;


Ah, if you chose not to have stairs as design and not a limitation then that’s fine. I was mostly talking about the catwalks/metal walkways, since I don’t know how usual it is to find ramps on those :stuck_out_tongue:


This piece of cloth, adds detail that I really like :ok_hand:


Of course! Obviously still prototyping and such so it can change but right now I’m quite liking the ramps in those places. Though might change the ramps on the first floor before entering those buildings on the sides.


Update for today! Bit of an early update but might do one later if I do what I plan to do.

New lights, new small areas that again are mirrored! Sounds, Graffiti, Lights and Cloth physics placed around! Also changed the middle area by having cover and also a bridge that you can shoot through.

Not much writing again but the screenshots tell the story! Any questions or suggestions again, I’m always up for them.


Great detail work! One small thing that you could add would be a method of supporting the grated bridge, perhaps some metal columns, or some wires attached to the ceiling?

Additionally; have a look into some alternative lighting methods, you’ve got a good idea with the portable work light, but you have quite the amount of ceiling lights :wink:

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Ooo that is a good idea with adding something for the middle plus ceiling of the map. I have a few ideas for lighting but I do need to look further into it. Thanks ill get to work on that tonight and update this!

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Update time, bit late but only spent an hour on this today while testing other stuff out. Not much decoration this time around but got a pillar in on the bottom floor and two pillars and an archway on the top! Did some lighting changes but still got to change the lighting as @WYVERN suggested. Got a test tomorrow so probably wont have an update early! Goodnight guys!



Just use player clip then. Doesn’t affect physics objects, only players, as the name implies.