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Source 2 Level Editor Exploration
Ravenholm in Half-Life: Alyx

Source 2 Hammer Exploration

Goal: Learn how the editor works by looking over the example content Valve provided, and dive into the levels they shipped to better understand their construction. Then build something with what I learned.

The opening to Ravenholm seemed like it would be an appropriately scaled project to tackle. I started by loading up Ravenholm and taking tons of pictures of the opening area, and reacquainting myself with the look, feel, and scale of the space. From the ref I was able to deduce the scale and re-block it out with Hammer 2's modeling tools. After I got the whole space blocked in, I decided to make some compositional changes to the space to better guide players to the zombie and to the eerily lit sawblade shack. Once the composition was adjusted, I switched to detailing and diving into some of the new features Hammer 2 had to offer.

Throughout the project I was able to learn and make use of Hammer 2's modeling tools for geometry, physics sims for cloth, cables, and the hanging zombie ragdoll, tilesets (3d meshes placed off of a single face), hotspot materials (insanely fast UVing of faces), volumetric fog, cubemaps, compile processes, and more. A small space proved to be a fantastic way to learn a wide variety of tools, and prepare me for future projects. I walked away being blown away at how powerful these tools are for Level Designers, and even more so if you are a Level Designer with some environment art background. These are easily my favorite tools I have worked with to date.

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