Left 4 Dead 2 is great fun, but there are only so many maps that actually come with the game. And until Valve releases any additional map packs, community-created maps are your best bet for fresh content. But why not learn how to make your own custom maps? With Valve's Hammer World Editor and Google's free SketchUp program, it's actually much easier than you think.
Valve's Hammer is the game map editor that comes with the Left 4 Dead Software Development Kit (SDK). Google SketchUp is a free 3D design application that has myriad uses. Using both tools, you can design and make custom shapes and objects that would be impossible to generate with Hammer alone.
We're going to show you, step-by-step, how to use these tools to make a single Survival map for Left 4 Dead. We'll cover the basics of Hammer, the art of designing a building from a reference photo, and crafting simple objects to use in-game. The techniques we introduce apply to both Left 4 Dead and Left 4 Dead 2. They'll also help you make maps for other Source engine games, like Counter-Strike, Half-Life 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2.
Grab and seat and dive in. Making a Left 4 Dead map is a perfect D-I-Y project for the Holiday weekend
Intel has kicked off a PC Mod contest to help generate some publicity and enthusiasm over the new Core i7 and Core i5 processors. Not that Intel needs to drum up any excitement about the processors; most enthusiasts have been anticipating them for quite some time.
The contest involves building, or modding, a computer with the new technology and submitting photos of your build to Intel. There will be a preliminary judging by Intel and sponsors and the top mods will be sent to the People’s Choice finals where the public can vote on the mod they like the best.
You can get more details at the Intel Core i7 Custom Challenge site. The deadline for submissions is November 16th and voting begins November 23rd.
Finnish modder Jani Pönkkö scores major geeks points, both for holding onto a 25-year-old cellphone and for breathing new life into the mobile monstrosity by modding it into an HTPC.
Pönkkö started off with the handset, installing LEDs, a WiFi card, a soundcard, a speaker, and the crème de la crème - a 128 x 182 OLED display.
Inside the briefcase-sized Mobira Talkman's base, Pönkkö managed to cram a 3.5-inch form factor motherboard, Intel T5500 Core 2 Duo processor, 1GB of DDR2 notebook memory, and a 32GB SSD. The modded cellphone also boasts a DVI port and USB hub.
Have you spent countless hours shedding blood, sweat, and tears into your Kick Ass mod? Does your mod have your friends and family drenching you in compliments? If so, have your rig shine alongside the elite crew of modders by submitting your rig to MaximumPC’s Rig of the Month contest! Every month, one talented modder and his rig will be featured in the magazine before the entire world to see, as well as rewarded with a $250 gift certificate! We know you’re interested, so read on for contest rules and details.
Think Bethesda shouldn't have spilled so much Oblivion into the good ol' Fallout formula? Think you can do a better job? Well, here's your chance. After heralding its arrival a couple weeks ago, it's our pleasure to inform you that the G.E.C.K. (Garden of Eden Creation Kit) is here! Break out the irradiated champagne bottles!
On top of that, Bethesda has also blown the cover off its G.E.C.K. wiki, a "community-run site where you'll find everything you need to use the The Garden of Eden Creation Kit and make mods for Fallout 3." Or, if you only have text-reading eyes for Maximum PC, you can ride the Internet over to Bethesda's blog, where you'll find a number of handy video tutorials.
Now, if you'll excuse us, we're off to craft the Fallout 3 equivalent of a child's first macaroni drawing. We sure hope our mom likes it enough to tape the computer to the refrigerator door. That'd just be tops!
Black Mesa, a Source engine recreation of the original Half-Life, has sported an unwavering "in development" status for the past four years. After a while, we just started lumping it in with Duke Nukem Forever, Alan Wake, and the apocalypse as signs that God does exist -- but that He's one hell of a procrastinator. After checking out the latest Black Mesa trailer, though, we're belting out a different tune. Or at least, we're trying. The cascading tidal waves of drool blasting out of our mouths -- fire-hose style -- make it kind of difficult.
Fortunately, the mod will apparently scale the walls of development hell within our feeble lifetimes. According to a post on the official site for the unofficial remake, "the days this mod stays in development are truly numbered. Hang tight, because at long last, it is coming."
"Fallout 3, Far Cry 2, Fable 2... uh, LittleBigPlanet," I nonchalantly listed, sliding my scroll bar up and down a ludicrously large list of games that'll begin hogging shelf space next week. Instantly, a deafening shout of "OH! LittleBigPlanet!" flew straight and true, right into my unsuspecting ears, from the other side of a view-obscuring television. "You're so buying LittleBigPlanet!" My friend's voice continued, registering at somewhere around War-crime on the decibel scale.
Yeah, LittleBigPlanet's kind of a big deal around the gaming scene's more console-y bits, but what's it mean for PC gamers? Well, in these parts it's not quite a revolution, but it's pretty damn close.
Over the past couple years, "user-created content" has crept onto many game developers' billowing lists of PR-friendly buzz words, and with good reason. Whether it's Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion's character creation system or Spore's, well, everything, people love to spill their creative frustrations onto videogaming's canvas. (And drawing new Mega Man levels on graph paper is so nineties.)
Now stop! Take your finger off the scroll wheel; the comments section isn't going anywhere. Yes, PC gaming gospel states that we must fling ourselves into Internet forums, kissing the ground, and praising mods -- and games like Oblivion and Spore did not invent user-created content -- but guess what? Mods are old news, no matter how crazy-awesome they might potentially be.
Why? Consoles. Consoles. Consoles. Like it or not, aside from a few shining examples, game design has parked its heart in simpler interfaces and ease-of-use. PC gaming, its cash cow now six feet under for a number of reasons, simply isn't worth the effort these days. As a result, real mod support -- sloppily attempted in only a single console game -- watched its bungee cord snap as it plummeted right off developers' priority lists. After all, mod tools don't just appear out of thin air; they siphon extra time and cash away from other areas of development. When simple user-creation tools can offer a menagerie of similar (but less versatile) powers to a wider range of people, mod tools sadly get kicked to the curb.
Continue reading to find out why this trend might not be as awful as it sounds.
A man needs a place of his own, and when Thom Davis found using the family computer for his gaming pursuits to be less than ideal, he set about building the Seizure, the ultimate form-follows-function gaming rig. His goal was to create a rig that was gaming friendly, had no exposed wires, and looked good in the living room. We think he succeeded on all three counts.
While building the Seizure, Thom discovered that connector manufacturers definitely tend to think “inside the box,” and typically don’t make cables suitable for such a large rig, but with the assistance of a local electronics supply store, he was able to create the 6-foot cables he needed to complete the job.
Vic McGuire found a diamond in the rough when he set out to build his latest mod. While browsing through a computer store, he found a custom case with chrome-plated front air grills in the junk pile and an idea came to mind. After arduously sanding the rust off the grills, Vic had the basis for the HawgWild U.S.A.
The contest prompt: Create your best mod featuring a brand, character (or characters), or theme from a game of your choice. Winner gets an all-expenses-paid trip to PAX.
We had a really hard time picking the winners for this one - they were all so good, we wish we could have chosen them all. But that's not how this works, so in the end our intrepid panel of judges had to pick just three: one Grand Prize winner, one Second Place, and a Juror's Prize for best first-time mod.