The Big Amazing Guide to Lighting

Posted by on Dec 8, 2010 in Past Stories

As many of you know, I’m a stickler for lighting. In this guide I’ll show you guys some tips and tricks to the entities, indoor, and outdoor lighting. Please realize that this is not a video because this is a reference for lighting. Also, this guide will be ever changing, so if I missed something let me know and I’ll add it. VRAD VRAD is the command-line tool that takes a compiled BSP map and embeds lighting data into it. VRAD’s static and pre-compiled light is bounced around the world with a radiosity algorithm. VRAD will: Generate lightmaps Generate ambient samples Generate per-object or per-vertex prop_static and detail prop lighting VRAD is the generally the slowest of the three compilers due to the many, many calculations it must perform. Lighting optimization can help, as can ensuring your map is free of leaks Basic Lighting Tips Tip 1. Placing a standard light entity is rather simple, but the most common mistake is placing it too close to the model. In real life the light is projected from the bulb, but this is not how it works in source engine. No matter how bright a light is when placed too close to a brush will give a rather unsightly bright circle. The light is actually projected from the center of the entity, the small “X” in the middle. All you need to do is pull the entity away from the brush. Both lights have the same brightness of 150. You can see the difference in the screenshot.   Tip 2. The colors of the lights are important to the feel, and mood of a area. This is quite some reading you can do on this. Here are the links. VDC: Color temperature VDC: Lighting psychology TL:DR, A light is almost NEVER solid white, this is why I get a bit angry when I see a 255 255 255 200 light. (All light in source engine is colored in Red Green Blue Intensity) The lighting psychology is a good things to read, it will allow you get inside of the players head to keep the feel you want. Here are some basic things that you should know to get you started. Most lights will remain from a red, to a blue. Most lights lights in the real world produce a warm yellow glow. You will see me mostly use a yellow glow in my maps. The light settings for the first picture is: 255 239 202 150             Yellow/Green – When a player stumbles upon a room lit by yellow lighting, it automatically makes them feel either accomplished, content, or comfortable, depending on the situation. Also a very stealthy color. Makes the player more aware, and more careful. It also gives the environment a living, breathing quality. Blue/Purple – The color of sadness. Blue rooms seem very full of memory....

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Protecting a Map From Decompiling

Posted by on Dec 4, 2010 in Past Stories

My theory is maps are like houses, if you don’t lock them stuff will get stolen. Just because you lock a map doesn’t mean that stuff won’t get stolen. There is always around a map lock, all we can really do is cause as much trouble for the decompiler as we can. There a 5 things we can do achieve this. I’ll outline below how to implement all of these protections into a map. 1. The no_Decomp flag This one is simple, it will simply cause the decompile to error. Create a “Info_Target” anywhere into your map. Turn off “Smart Edit” Click add. Add “no_decomp” into the Key field. Add “1” into the Value field.               Simple right? But I’ll be blunt, this protection is the easiest to crack. All the decompilers needs to do is open the map with ENTspy and remove the info_target’s flag. 2. The Lock texture This one is simple as well. It will cause the decompiler to error. Browse to your materials folder and create a folder named “tools” Inside that folder create a text file named “locked.vmt” Inside the VMT add this “Lightmappedgeneric” { “$basetexture” “dev/bump” } 4. Create a brush somewhere in you’re map with this texture Done, this one is simple and effective. 3.  The prefab This is another brush lock, super simple no brainer. It will cause the decompiler to error. Download this:  Download: Map Protectors This is a collection of tools that will help you protect your maps from people that want to steal your precious content. Version: N/A Filetype: zip Size: 104.42 kB Add this prefab into you’re map somewhere. That’s it, told you it was simple. 4. obfuscating the VMF file This one is not protection like the others, more of annoying the decompiler if he is successful in decompiling. Again, simple. Download this:  Download: Map Protectors This is a collection of tools that will help you protect your maps from people that want to steal your precious content. Version: N/A Filetype: zip Size: 104.42 kB run IID_GUI.exe You can also drag and drop a VMF onto the other exe (IID.exe) Browse for you’re map. If you want to have all logical entity’s placed at 0,0,0 then leave this box checked. (If left checked it will move all entity’s that locations don’t matter to 0,0,0 resulting in a major confusion for the decompiler) Click “Obfuscate” Enjoy your obfuscated map!           To see what it has done just load the map into hammer. 5. obfuscating the BSP textures This one is not protection like the others, more of annoying the decompiler if he is successful in decompiling. This one is done to the BSP, and when decompiled it will mess with all the textures in the level. Download this:  Download: Map Protectors This is a collection of tools that will help you protect your maps from people that...

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