A peaceful Alien Swarm map? Are you crazy?

How many people play Alien Swarm for a few minutes and then quit because it’s too fast-paced for them? There’s probably a high number of people that tried the “insane” difficulty setting on their first game that fit that description. I’ve played Alien Swarm as well, but from a different perspective. I’m not usually the one inside the imaginary world killing alien bugs. Instead, I’m the person who creates that imaginary world so you can play in it. In fact, I’ve spent over 100 hours in its development tools in the 2 weeks I’ve had it.

And now, back to the purpose of this post. Violence isn’t the only thing possible on a game like Alien Swarm. Sure, most of the game’s items are weapons, and most of the weapons hurt whatever you shoot them at, but the game’s backend, the Source engine, allows for much more than that.

Take this picture as an example. It’s the start of a map I made, codename “Brook”. If you’ve played Alien Swarm, you know that this picture looks bland in comparison to most of the good maps out there. This is where the Source engine really shines. I can add a cheap effect called color_correction to the map using a file I created specifically for this map using the game’s tools, and this is what I get:

If you can’t see the difference, try zooming in on each of the images. They have exactly the same camera angle, lighting, terrain, and props. The only thing that has changed is the addition of a color_correction entity.

See that stream over there? Let’s go into it. I can’t show the awesomeness of the stream on this blog because the water is animated and I’m too lazy to make an animation right now, but I can tell you that it looks very real.

You may still think Bastille (that’s the name of the marine in the picture) is just squatting in a shadow. Let’s try another angle. This is something that wouldn’t normally happen in the game, but through the magic of camera movement, this is a closeup.

If you ignore the lack of anything resembling a sky – I’ll add that later – this looks like a nice little stream, doesn’t it?

If you thought of complaining that this map only has a stream and some grass, look here:

Hills! And look on the other side of the stream:

A cliff!

And now, it’s back to work for me. See ‘ya!

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