Hey everyone, I know it’s been awhile since the last post but I’ve been rather busy. The good news is level2 is 50% complete and looks gorgeous, though the colours are all dark and monotone to fit the atmosphere and the environment I wanted to build. But I’m here about something else today, something that will let those with creative inspirations and ideas throw out to the masses:

We need your help!

We want to reskin all the special infected, the commons and the survivors. But before we can do this, we need ideas for the project. We want you to send in 3d references or sketches of what you want the survivors to wear and look like as well as what you want from the specials and commons.

Please note this is for L4D2′s version of the campaign only.

If you feel like you have something you’d like to submit, you will get full credit if we choose your design. We’re also looking for more modelers to help with this process. But make sure you follow the below criteria for your designs:

  • The design must fit in to a destroyed world, based around either Egyptian, Tibetan or Mayan civilizations and designs.
  • The Specials and commons can be black or white; we aren’t racist, we just want variety.
  • Take in to consideration the three (3) main environments you will be in in this campaign are: Snowy Landscapes, Tombs (Mixed with Egyptian and Tibetan design) and Destroyed Mayan structures.
  • Boomers don’t have to be big and fat, they can be muscular. Smokers don’t have to be tall and skinny; you get the idea.
  • Everything else is open to what you want it to be, as long as it fits the first 3 criteria.

For the survivors:

  • You can choose the original four (4) survivors or the new survivors to base your concept off of. (Since no one is fond of Rochelle anyways)
  • Try to focus on remembering that the survivors are running and gunning through snowy landscapes, tombs and caves. In the last chapter the survivors explore a ruined city where the Infection in the area originated from.
  • Try to keep it as realistic as possible. We don’t want survivors carrying gigantic bags that make no sense whatsoever as to the concept of the game.
  • No we will not accept survivors with glowing eyes or alien-like features. Keep the survivors realistic. They are humans trailing the military who passed through the area recently.

Also to all those who believe zombies can’t survive in the snow or cold environments based off of what Valve put in CEDA’s writings in L4D2: It’s a matter of opinion :). Looks like CEDA was wrong about a lot of things.

If you’d like to help out you can email the lead of the team at cndmadmin@gmail.com with the subject AZ Modeling.

If you’d like to help out as a modeler for the team or as a texture artist hit me up on steam under Draugonian or email via the above address.

When L4Dmods.com is back up I will have a link to the thread where we will be asking for the communities help. Thank you and now on to the fun stuff!

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Dark, mystical, destroyed and corrupt landscapes, eerie places which bear a resemblance to time. What we are doing with level2 is a challenge: We are destroying it. I have built half of the level and now I am currently going back and destroying areas left and right. I want it to look destroyed, I don’t want pillars in perfect condition. I want you to FEEL like this place existed at one time.

To achieve this goal it is key to remember that lighting must match the architecture perfectly to give the biggest sense of awareness and realism to the area you are exploring. So what am I doing with the lighting exactly? Simple! I am making it look like it would in real life. It’s pitch black, but that isn’t all there is. That would be boring and pretty easy to do right? So what I’ve gone and done is made it so that the military presence you’ve been tailing has left objects and lights around from when they were staying there trying to survive; or researching the former inhabitants. You will see lights and wires strung up to generators, areas where the military presence was stronger; somewhat of a safe place to be (which doesn’t come often in my designs). If the lighting doesn’t fit then the whole level is out of accordance to what we want it to be. Dynamic, real, enticing.

The condition of a level is what stands out the most apart from the way a level is lit. If it’s a ruins from an ancient civilization you would expect that it wouldn’t be in perfect order right? You’d expect the pillars to be aged from time and crumbling to the touch. So that’s what we have done; In one segment for example, the area crumbles as you’re walking through it. I’ve taken extreme measures to make sure the physbox crumbling do not hurt the survivors since the area is already against them.

The Last design element I am incorporating in a great way that I would like to discuss is the terrain. In a lot of maps you see how you go up and down, turn corners and fall off ledges ( that are amazingly safe to fall off of); the reasoning behind this? So you have different areas of terrain to fight in. It increases the ability to go over the top, to change things up and to give a different experience for the players than say.. a flat road in the middle of nowhere, going nowhere if I might add. So right out of the safe room you are running up a long flight of stairs, pillars on both sides of the room as well as niches behind tapestries for the infected. Then you go in to a long straight room with 8 niches on each side of the room. But to make it more fun I decided to change things up by having the second half of the room flooded by sand and rubble. This helps to change up the game play and assure players that they will have to stay on their toes when exploring the tomb.

Perhaps I’ve lost you by now, but this is a blog and thus, I put how I feel and what I think from my experience in to writing for you to read. Now if my cat would stop climbing on my keyboard I could also tell you that there are purposely made death spots on the level. There are also many places to hide for the specials and there are a few spots where survivors cant go back if they drop down. Did I mention there is a room which requires the survivors to split up in to 2 man teams? I’ll have more on that later, but just know that we are working hard (as you can see from the lack of blog updates) to bring you a truly unique experience for L4D1 and L4D2.

P.S.

The L4D2 version sadly is the bulk of the experience since we can modify the character models. So if you have L4D2 lucky you, but remember that the campaign is being made for L4D1 first and foremost!

Any questions or comments are welcome as well as if you would like to help out with modeling and texturing. Go ahead and email us at cndmadmin@gmail.com or message me personally on steam. SteamID Draugonian.

Crystal Caves

February 26, 2010

Now it’s about time that I helped people realize that this campaign is not actually a fantasy setting but one of reality and proportions only those that have traveled to Mexico or Mayan areas would ever be able to fathom in to the world we know today. Crystal formations: Do they group and cluster? Refract light in to what we perceive as colours? Do they grow to be long and tall, thick and wide? Is this fact or fiction?
For those of you who are interested to see what I’ve been using as references for level1 and 2 so far, here you go:

Crystal Formations

Clicking on the left or right of the picture will slide to the next picture. The very last picture shows you a real location on Earth that is beyond dream or fantasy, it is a fact that crystals like I’ve been discussing with friends and foes, exist.

So what does this mean? This means the crystals coming out of the walls in the tomb must have originated from somewhere else in the world I am introducing to you in the campaign. But where? Simple, you get to actually go through the crystal caves through areas in the tomb that are blocked off by debris. There will be great areas for the Infected to attack from in here and the main idea is to follow the crystals giving off green light as that will lead you through the crystal maze. Though the areas in the caves aren’t mazes, they will probably be confusing and as such, follow that green trail my friends.

There will also be small clusters of blue crystals radiating energy in the tomb itself. What does this mean? It means either the tomb is very old or that the tomb is very old and was built around crystal mines. Perhaps the ancient civilization harvested the crystals? Who knows.. perhaps I will throw in some backdrop history when the campaign is done. Though it is based off real locations that are just being modified heavily for enhanced game play, there is no one specific location to which I am modeling the campaign after.

I hope everyone enjoyed this little excursion in to crystal formations and I hope you check out that picture slide show to see what awaits you when you delve deeper in to Absolute Zero. Until next time folks!

Level2 warning..

February 23, 2010

I’m just making a quick, short post (Yeah right.. a short post from me, it’s a normal post) for everyone so you all understand what level2 is going to be like.. Dark, dank and creepy. You won’t be seeing the sky, you won’t have majorly lit rooms and most of the lighting will be from rays of light coming in through cracks in the ceiling or from crystals embedded in the tomb walls. The crystals will give off a bluish aura and the light from the roofs cracks will be faint.

I guess the reason for this is that it’s a tomb.. I know no one likes completely dark areas because of tunnel vision and the headaches it can cause (Think back to Silent Hill1, the pitch black level with the annoying siren sound). That’s why I decided to add crystals coming out of the walls. Although in reality you can find crystals shining in some dark caves deep underground, you probably wouldn’t find them in a tomb. But this isn’t reality; it’s a zombie apocalypse.

There will be a part of the level where you walk and the lights just suddenly go on, and I’ve just about got it so the particle effect fire stays off and deactivated with the light source until you activate it. This way it actually feels somewhat spooky and derelict but at the same time very ancient. I’m not working on it today, taking a break while I draft up the level on some graph paper along with little doodles of things I want in the level.

I also wanted to say that this level is stepping the difficulty up 3 or 4 notches. Level1 on expert with pills only will be a cake walk compared to level2. But I’m done talking for now, haven’t slept in a few days since life and the campaign have kept me up (sad isn’t it). I’m also sure you’d rather I was working than typing! So without a further ado I will leave you guessing as to what’s to come next!

So level1 is pretty cool, but it’s missing it’s overlays due to myself maxing out the entity data before getting to the final structural level. So what am I to do about this? Well I’ve found a solution. When level2 releases in a few months I will also be releasing an update for the first level which will have overlays in it to make it look like there was a mess or a struggle when the military was forced out. I felt that it was necessary to tell a story without forcing players to listen to someone hammer on about things we don’t really care about, and thus I am going to do it through messes on the floor.

I can’t do cereal boxes and papers scattered about with the overlays since this isn’t a city but I can do something else, and you’ll just have to wait and see what it is when the second level is officially released.

Now level2, how long will it take? I’m not entirely sure.. I know it won’t be 5 months like the first level now that I have models and textures actually made. It’s a shorter level consisting of 4 crescendos at each corner of the map with a central hub. The hub consists of 4 doors that must be opened; hence why players venture to the 4 corners of the crypt. Each door you open calls a horde and each area you activate the horde in is very bad for survivors. The areas will be bigger and more open but don’t think that boomer and smoker are useless. There are areas in the ground that boomers can run around in and boom through the floor without being seen easily. There are ledges for the smokers to pull players from and make them hang when going to open one of the doors in the central hub, and opening said doors causes a lot of zombies to spawn.. a lot. I’ve designed the first crescendo spot to not be good for camping at, meaning you have to run down, start it, run up and camp if that’s what you choose to do.

Once in the central hub for the final time (and you will cross through it at least twice) you will have to go through the main tomb atrium, where a gate is shut midway down. To open it you all have to stand by it (any survivors who are alive) and it will open. Seconds later a boulder will be released but unlike in the first level, there will probably be no zombies, just a longer hall to run. At the end you do a little climbing up a bigger and more open spiral staircase and get to the top where the end area will be near.

I will try to get some early screen shots out of level2 in a week so until then, see ya and enjoy the first level in Absolute Zero.

- Project Zero Team Leader

Chris

Ice ruins released! (Level1)

February 21, 2010

I am proud to announce that level1 (albeit missing a few custom models that are still in the works) is complete and tested. It’s available to download from the downloads section as well as from L4DMaps and I welcome all and any comments you might have; as long as they aren’t derogatory and just straight out insults. I must point out thanks to all those who helped us along the way with the first level (since no one helping me is on the team for the entire campaign unless they choose to be):

Traggey | L4DMods.com

- This man is great, made all of the custom models except for the chandelier in the gauntlet and the safe room.

Coffee Crazy

- This guy is great at what he does.. when he does it :P He made the chandelier in the gauntlet and safe room.

Phrosty

- Camera man, lead tester and a great friend. He kept me working even when I didn’t really want to. (More like he threatened me.. amber alert!)

The Master

- Master helped me find errors; like the 2 medkits sitting INSIDE a table. He helped me find out the temple closed even when tier2 was inside (Which is just awful bad luck guys).

Jeff Broadbent

- If you love music then PLEASE check this guys music out, he knows what he’s doing! I have to thank him yet again for the wonderful ambience music and the new tank music which adds a sense of feeling to this chaotic world. Check his site out here.

The L4D Community

- If it wasn’t for you guys none of this could have been possible! Thanks for all your undying support and votes with the Absolute Zero article! If you find any errors please post a comment at the L4Dmods WIP thread here or at the L4Dmaps page here.

I am going to list out some information and debug issues I am currently having with the gauntlet due to the amount of zombies there are:

- If you experience high ms/ping latency increases please report it to me on any of the forums/threads/websites for the campaign or if you would like to privately tell me about the experience you’re having with it email me at cndmadmin@gmail.com please put in the subject Absolute Zero Error or the email will be disregarded and marked as spam. Currently our teams ping goes up by about 50ms and the [in] ratio goes up by 1000-1500. If this becomes an issue I will lower the zombie spawns to reduce lag, sorry for that small inconvenience and enjoy the map!

Your comments are important to us (yada-yada) so please, when you have the time, write back to us because we’d be glad to be spammed with.. no wait don’t. Just leave comments ^_^ Thanks and enjoy!

I’m going to be gone for a few days so I just wanted to let everyone know that we fixed the map for L4d1 and the L4d2 version is being edited and tweaked by LordNitro and will release when he gets a chance to fit it in to his busy schedule. L4d1 version will release when I return in a few days. The musical ambience is only for single player but the new tank music works for both offline and online play. Crescendos will vary for the same levels depending on which L4d you are playing in. The posters are being redone, the L4d1 poster as well as the L4d2 poster are being remade and tweaked by the author/artist to fit the new atmosphere since his original painting was done with the very basic of background from the level. Sorry for this tremendously long wait and off to the states I go!

The calm before the storm

February 3, 2010

Level1 now has working, ambient music which plays for everyone, everywhere. It doesn’t matter when you join the level, you will hear it. When the tank comes it disappears and comes back after the new tank music. The crescendo in the temple works as well as the never-ending crescendo in the gauntlet. All that’s left is to get the 3 new textures for the start area (which are being made tomorrow, my texture artist is back from his hiatus) and to throw the decals in to the map.

Originally I wanted some voice acting done for the level so you could hear soldiers in areas you can’t get to. While not forcing the player to listen, if you sat there and did listen it would be a sort of easter egg. In the end I chose not to go with this kind of egg as most “good” voice actors out there on the internet are in fact very bad voice actors. Not to nail on DBD since I actually liked the geometry in the level, but the guy they had voice acting TJ, really wasn’t that good. I just didn’t want to make players listen to something that would annoy them more than anything.

Maybe down the road we can get someone to do a voice over for someone I won’t mention as an easter egg.. Who knows?

We will be testing and tweaking the crescendo gauntlet later today to make sure it’s really friggin hard and almost impossible but possible with some luck on Expert, advanced guns, some items and a lot of team work.

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