Hello NACL

GSPs, and EC2

I’ve been running servers in some capacity or another since 2011, and with such a track record you inevitably move from one server, host, and company to another.

Originally I was simply renting game servers from a generic GSP, then a shared web-hosting service from another company.
However eventually the demand became too great, and in 2011 I switched to EC2-instances for the vast majority of my services.
Aside from the general exorbitant pricing of EC2, and slightly under-powered single core performance, it served me very well until demand had slightly dropped, and it was no longer economically viable to host on EC2.

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Lightmap Compression

(This is going to be a short post)

If you’re compiling both HDR and LDR (-both) in your map files, the raw BSP size is going to be significantly (2x~) bigger:

Which for raw-unpacked map files is obviously not great.  Luckily we’re in an age where storage space is abundantly cheap for files this small.  However what isn’t cheap or quite abundant yet, is bandwidth…
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VMT Tip: $patch

$patch is a useful VMT ‘shader’ for creating unified sets of materials.

The $patch ‘shader’ works by specifying an existing material, in this example “materials/glitchvid/plaster/cleanplaster_base.vmt” and allowing you to add, or replace existing parameters, in the $patch’d material.  Unifying similar assets, and streamlining your material set.

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Experimenting in UE4

As a result of learning the basics of modelling, it became feasible to start creating things in Unreal Engine 4.
Since I had a texture set already made for a clean modernist style, I decided to test with that, I ended up greatly modifying the set however.

Hallway view

Hallway view



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TTT Foreguard

I’ve been working on this map on and off for almost a year now, it’s shown up in various states of progress on this website and Facepunch.

I started this project for a few reasons, one was that I wanted to experiment with the art style, another was simply because I wanted to practice, and finally because I wanted to get into modelling.

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Making flowmaps for Source

Valve added Flowmaps in the L4D2 and later versions of Source.  Valve used Houdini to create theirs, but most people don’t have access or experience in Houdini to create flow maps in the fashion that Valve did.

What is a flowmap?

A flowmap is a 2d texture that, according to colour values: scrolls the water normalmap over it, creating the effect of water “flowing”, hence the name flowmap.

This guide will teach you how to author your own flowmaps for Source, I am using the Portal 2 branch, but Alien Swarm, and CS:GO will work too.

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Alternate uses for $detail


Texture repeating is because games can only use textures that can only be so big, so they have to tile: that is, imagine bathroom tile, now imagine that your carpet was made from these “tiles” and each tile was the same inch of fabric repeating, these textures are made to have as little unique identifiers as possible so its harder to see when it tiles, but its always visible one way or another; just hidden better, this is because the brain is exceptionally good at finding patterns. Examples:

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