A little over a year ago I made a post titled Glaciers first model - http://forums.pvkii....showtopic=15212
That post was showing the first prop I created to test out the pipeline from 3DS Max to Source. Now a year later Glacier features over 80 new and unique 3D models
* Most of what is here was created by me, but there are some other props that were created by other artists that worked perfectly for glacier so there wasn't a need to create them such as the trees, plants, barrels, crates, boats, and lanterns.
These are some screenshots that show off how these props are placed around the level without any lighting information, any darker detail that is seen is baked or painted right into the the texture map.
As mentioned above I used 3DS Max to create all the assets seen and I used Photoshop to create the textures.
There are many different ways to create these props and even more ways to texture them now, but since source can't take advantage of a lot of the new tech that has came out over the last few years I stuck with an older last gen method, however I do have some additional tools and plug ins that were critical to creating everything you see.
The basic method I used is this.
size up in source - > export to max - > model base mesh -> import to see how things look -> redesign if needed -> UV map -> bake AO and color maps -> texture -> hopefully final import - > fix any issues and do another final import if needed. (Final import includes exporting materials, collisions and sounds)
A couple things to note, I generally never needed to do any high poly to low poly normal and AO baking. This was mostly to save time and I felt that I could texture all the detail into the mesh I needed anyway.
As far as additional tools I used Wallworm, a plug-in for 3DS Max, that allowed me to import and export files into source a lot easier and faster than the normal way.
I also used texture maker to generate my normal maps from the textures, this program generally gave me better results than others when viewed in source.
When texturing I got all of my textures from Textures.com, a free texture website that allows textures to be downloaded and modified, then I overlapped my baked AO map over my textures which put all the shadows into the texture map.
Something you might have also noticed is all the snow are on separate layers, I made sure that almost every prop with snow had multiple skins so they could be used in other levels. Here is just one example with the stocks.
There's nothing you can modify about a prop once it's in hammer so extra work goes into getting it to look how you want before you can really see it in game. This often means multiple imports and passes to models before they're game ready which can be a pain.
This is why a lot of source maps do more with brush work than modeling, but with the help of Wallworm I took on the challenge of doing more with props than what is generally done. Hopefully this creates a better looking environment that stands up closer to what other great multiplayer levels are looking like.
Early on once a mesh was modeled I would import it in to see how what the look and feel was before I went into texturing. We did this for all the props in Glacier.
The latest work was done to the Knight base, here is an in game screenshot of the latest build
As you can probably see there still is a lot of work that needs to be done, broken shadows, new textures needed, reflections, more detail needs added, etc.
Hopefully though this gives you an insight into the work it takes to create a more model heavy environment in source.
This dev journal was a little light on specifics and really showing the creative side so I do plan on making a video that goes over the pipeline in better detail in the software I mentioned for a new mesh that is still being planned out for Glacier.
And finally here is an album full of glacier's model screenshots in mid development
Thanks for all the support over the last year. I'm working around the clock to get this in players hands and a big thanks to everyone on the PVK team for letting me take on Glacier and helping every step of the way!