It had been months since HLA released, and I was eager to play it in my time in lockdown- and when the corona times supposedly neared the end, September, I discovered that you could create maps for Alyx. I hadn’t even played the game yet, but that created ambition and inspiration- a motive for failing and trying again. So, I started my first map ‘Combine Raid’ where your apartment had been raided by the metro police, and you had to… I didn’t even know, I just wanted to map. This first level was me simply dragging in assets, with literally no experience with any sort of game development, it all looked complex at the time. Now, I see what it looks like with a bit of knowledge from the industry, trying to model in blender proved highly intuitive, and I didn’t even know it.
At the time, there wasn’t much documentation on Source 2, so I joined the HLA mapping discord to get help from people, that, although nearly as new to the engine as me, had used various other level creation tools. After a bit of time with the engine, I moved on to making an art gallery for someone, which I hoped to show to them in VR, utilising newly learned features such as god rays (props to Hosomi for that tutorial). Then, I wanted to remaster Combine Raid with my slightly more refined skills, thus creating Combine Raid 2, where I applied some tutorials, learnt about AI schedules, and fiddled with the I/O system. December finally reached, and the VR headset arrived. After playing HL Alyx, moved by its 15 seconds of progression for the HL story, I meddled with the warehouse at the end, converted it to a playable map, analysing Valve’s techniques and playing around with generic_actors.
Then comes January and I decide to create an ambitious, and eventually unfinished map. Your name is Leon, and you are a scientist working in a mini lab near the Quarantine Zone. It is 1 year before HLA. While doing work on your friends Gravity Gloves, something happens in the QZ. Vortigaunts are disappearing, and resistance members report a substation being constructed (a reference to another creators map, Overcharge). All other entrances to the QZ are locked down, apart from the one near you. Eventually, your meant to find a scientists hideout after going through an antlion infestation (a map I did finish, albeit small) board a train that leads straight to the scientists project, of course, The Vault- under construction, except I can’t model. Then you go into the Vault, find the gman but striders appear and gman confronts you- but he’s trapped right? No, he reveals it’s a test, and you almost passed, but Alyx was the one he really wanted. He takes you into stasis etc.
All of this was happening as S&box was slowly rising up- and I sort of had a head start- I could say that I knew Source 2 before I even knew about this Garry’s Mod successor. Of course however, there are those mappers that have loads more experience, and C# programmers that trump my skills. However, I hoped to map for S&box in the future.
As of right now, I’ve been working on a map/gamemode (not nominated yet however) inspired by Indiana Jones / Indy and The Emperors Tomb (Without getting DMCA’d by Quixel). I want to focus on advancing my skillset to modeling, animating and programming, which are all very daunting tasks, and I took this time to reflect on my journey. I look forward to S&box as it is the next generation of Garry’s Mod, doing the same job of inspiring young modders like myself to step into the Game Industry, just like 10 years ago. (except load times are faster )