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01 - The beginning involves setting up a bounding box that the level will reside inside.

The level is set to be a recreation of the Trafford Centre in the UK. Mall + Zombies = Good map (hopefully).
02 - The next step was to begin basic block modelling of certain features. This picture shows a very crude front to the arcade.

Interesting early props were added such as the ammo crates and entities such as the lights. Note that lights are only a source and do not include a model of a light. This needs to be chosen later.
03 - Quite a large progression, this map includes a series of props such as the metal rails.

The modelling has progressed to more accurately represent the Orient in the Trafford Centre.

Columns and lighting are added in a work-in-progress, with the idea to learn and adapt them to better suit the map.

Lights are now being rendered with HDR to give the map a better level of quality.
04 - An interesting tutorial from:


helped me to understand the process of setting up doors.

Primarily an experiment, however doors will appear relatively frequent in the final map.
05 - This picture shows how a combination of HDR lighting and water effects have improved the quality of the central area.

Helpful water creation tutorial:


06 - After creating the general shape of the 'Orient' its important to separate areas to work on individually whilst maintaining the overall concept.

This space is rather open and large and therefore requires a large quantity of models to give the illusion of life, past or present.
07 - A series of columns provides a perfect area to test out lighting types, colours and brightnesses.

Fluroescent flicker lights are combined with narrow beam spotlights to create an area that appears dangerous with exposed unlit alcoves and open spaces.
08 - The idea is to try to make the map appear compelling and visually interesting just using the editor's basic brush tools. Once this has been achieved, numerous props are imported to give the areas character and a sense of life.
09 - When the detailing stage arrives, after mapping out the level, lighting will be key to this area.

The lighting currently in the scene has just been testing the possibilities. Low angled lighting and intense spotlighting will be used to create atmosphere.

Making an area completely dark would more than likely just prove to be frustrating to gameplay rather than scary or intimidating.
10 - The next step came when the Left 4 Dead SDK tools were released to users.

I have imported the map into Left 4 Dead and as a result have changed some of the materials and items scattered around the level.

It is noticeable how different the lighting contrast is to half life 2. This will be explored to maximise effect on the player.
11 - This rather odd looking shape is my first attempt at creating and importing custom models into the Hammer Editor.

I used the XSI Mod Tool program and followed the Noesis tutorials that come with it. Needless to say, it went wrong about 12 times however after a few days of alterations to the textures and a variety of file names I successfully got both model and texture working in the game.
12 - This area is fortified with sandbags. It gives the impression to the players that there can be threat of hordes. The spotlights convince the player of the direction the zombies will run from, however its possible that many more can attack from behind or just off to the right of the image, shown in darkness.
13 - I understand that good level design becomes evident when the player accepts their surroundings as plausible in regard to the scenario. The scenario for my level is mass exodus from the area leaving scattered hints of life before the infection.

1. Upturned chairs & tables, lighting left on, these show a lack of care exiting the premises.
2. Contrast between the interior cafe area & the exterior walkway. Plants and paintings in the cafe, spotlighting and defensive barricades on the walkway.
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Mapping in Hammer Editor for Left 4 Dead
Stephen Hunter
Stephen Hunter Manchester, United Kingdom