MAPPING INTERVIEW - The Makers of de_elysium

An Article for GameBanana

Hello world. We are one of the oldest mod sites on the Interwebs. Sign up and maximize your browsing experience.

  • Subscribe: Get notified of new submissions like this.
  • Say Thanks: Show your appreciation by sending K@rt points.
  • Post: Give K@rt your thoughts on this Article.
  • Watch: Get notified when this Article is updated.
Mascot

Join the community!

Sign up

Already a Bananite? Login

> Recently voted winner of GameBananas' Red Planet Mapping contest, de\_elysium is a bomb defuse map for Counter-Strike Global Offensive... ambitiously depicting a space-station built into the wall of a huge impact crater on the surface of Mars!!! In this article the makers of de\_elysium very kindly take the time to talk to GameBanana about themselves, the competition and the map itself. > > Read a full, in-depth review of de\_elysium [here](http://gamebanana.com/reviews/42 "http://gamebanana.com/reviews/42") De\_elysium was made by two talented young mappers/level-designers known to Gamebanana users as [3kliksphilip](http://gamebanana.com/members/561609) and [Sarah B](http://gamebanana.com/members/790011). With a long-time fascination for game design and development, 3kliks has a wealth of mapping experience acquired since the purchase of his first PC over ten years ago. Originating from sunny Scotland, SarahB studied Game Design at Dundee University ("College for you Americans" - her own words), but didn't complete the course as it, "wasn't what I'd been expecting at all". Sarah is currently self-employed, choosing to invest her time in various indie projects. ![http://files.gamebanana.com/img/ss/maps/5053c6938fd15.jpg](http://files.gamebanana.com/img/ss/maps/5053c6938fd15.jpg "")

Thank you both for agreeing to talk to us. So, where did the idea/inspiration for de_elysium come from? Was this an idea you developed uniquely for the Red Planet Mapping contest or was it an adaptation of a previous concept or project?

**3kliksphilip:** The map was made with the competition in mind; if I’m going to put weeks of work into something then a competition’s a great way of ensuring that it’s seen (by) as many people as possible. It’s also nice to be working to a deadline, always makes me feel more motivated to work on it! The moment Mars was mentioned I began messing around a crater and the lighting; once I had that right the map’s theme fell into place.-

There were two of you working on this project. How did you divide the labour? For which elements and aspects of the map did each of you take responsibility?

**3kliksphilip:** Making the map collaboratively wasn’t as bad as I had feared, one of us would work on the main file while the other would go off and experiment separately with models, structures or whatever and then port it across at a later date. Before Sarah joined the project I worked on the layout of the map, play testing it for several weeks and across about 40 different iterations, then moved onto detailing the various areas of the map using blocks and props while Sarah focused more on the custom models, decals, soundscapes and neat little features such as the stars. Towards the end our roles merged and we both chucked large numbers of props at the map to see what stuck. One of the most fun parts was flying about the map in noclip together with random players who joined the server, debating what to change. **SarahB:** This was my first proper map collaboration with someone, so it was a challenge at first working out a proper workflow that allowed us both to work on the level at the same time, especially considering almost all the work (was) being done in the last week or so. Eventually, we found the best system was to group the whole map when we started working, add our elements, and then when we were finished, delete the original group, and paste the new stuff into the ‘real’ map using paste special.

Is this the first time you have worked together? What advantages and disadvantages do you find in working as a team as opposed to working alone?

**3kliksphilip:** This was the first time that I had ever worked with anybody on a map. Sarah and I both have strong ideas of how we want our maps to look; working together could go horribly wrong if we tried debating elements with one another. Instead, we’d just go off, do our own thing, then show it to each other and be like ‘yeah, that’s great, include it!’ It was nice to work with somebody as capable as Sarah, who could come up with ideas and put them into practice and ultimately make the map look better than I could have hoped to on my own. **SarahB:** This was our first time working together, so I suppose that the level had the advantage of two minds working to come up with ways in which the original Counter Strike props and textures could be used to create a futuristic looking environment; the best ideas getting kept, and the worst ones being identified as such and discarded. I think another advantage of working together, was that you wanted to give your best effort in order to compete with the person you’re working with, always trying to find better solutions etc, even when you’re both working on the same project, as well as learning new techniques and things like the fogui command.

What aspect(s) of the construction de_elysium did you find most challenging? Did you have any unexpected problems and what were the trickiest things to get right?

**SarahB:** Oh yes, We had a whole load of unexpected problems. On the night of release, Philip had decided to add a physics tile to the level, which completely broke the navigation mesh generation system, so there was a panic trying to work out what was causing the problem, especially considering that the map now took over an hour to compile on normal! **3kliksphilip:** Overall, the whole project moved quite smoothly. There was a rush as the deadline approached; I had to redesign and detail bombsite B, both the T and CT entrance rooms to bombsite A and the CT spawn area within the last 12 hours, but we were lucky not to have any major problems aside from hunting down a rogue hanging physics tile. I can’t help myself, a map doesn’t feel complete with(out) a dangling shootable thing somewhere. It was a great help to have people willing to playtest the level at various stages; Mr13A in particular gave feedback throughout the project and also lent a hand in the Machinima we made for the level.

And what aspect(s) of de_elysium are you most proud of? Which elements of the project do you feel were the most successful and why?

**3kliksphilip:** I’m pleased with how unique the level feels; it appears a lot larger and more open than most CSGO maps. The whole setting and colour-scheme makes this map immediately recognisable in any screenshot, which I think is important when there are so many maps out there vying for your time. I’m particularly pleased with the skybox. It gives a sense of scale and by lucky accident we found that the fog, combined with a black texture surrounding the level, cast a convincing atmospheric look. If you noclip upwards you’ll find the atmosphere above you getting thinner and thinner and the stars more visible. These were made from stationary dustmotes, giving them the impression of ‘twinkling’. If you look closely you’ll occasionally see a shooting star! It’s very soothing to watch. **SarahB:** Personally, I’m proudest of the skybox and the opening/closing doors at the terrorist spawn. The original concept for the skybox was essentially a crater, a night sky and without props or anything, but after a lot of digging around I found some the perfect model to create a pipeline type of environment, and a few small satellites which I made slowly rotate to give the skybox some life. You can see the development of the skybox in one of the map’s videos we have posted on the submission page. ![http://files.gamebanana.com/img/ss/maps/505405dda04d7.jpg](http://files.gamebanana.com/img/ss/maps/505405dda04d7.jpg "")

What are your feelings about mapping for Counter-Strike Global Offensive compared to mapping for Counter-Strike Source? Do you find mapping for the new engine to be liberating or problematic? Are there any changes you would like to see made to the CS:GO authoring tools as a whole?

**SarahB:** Frankly, I never really did that much mapping for Counter-Strike Source, I was much more into creating levels for Gears of War and modding a whole bunch of Warhammer 40,000 games. But the one thing I would love to see be implemented into the current CS:GO engine would be a basic civilian NPC archetype that runs away in reaction to gunfire etc, and that you lose cash/points for shooting. I really think it could add a great twist to levels, having to watch out for civilian casualties in a bank heist or something, maybe have it so that CTs gain cash if Ts shoot the hostages, but lose cash if they shoot them to balance it out. Oh, would also love linked\_portal\_doors to be available, because they’re awesome! **3kliksphilip:** It’s so similar that I was able to port this map over to CSGO mid way. Normally with a new game you’d expect the first maps to be more basic but the Source engine changes so little (and has so many mapping tutorials online for mappers to follow;) that there are already polished, professional looking maps coming out for it by the community. The only differences were the textures available to work with, I’ve found some new favourites that I’ll no doubt overuse to death over the coming years. The sharper shadows in CSGO are a welcome improvement though you still need to compile your map to be able to view them. If Valve can somehow let you preview what your maps will look like in real-time I’m sure the quality of maps being released will shoot up overnight.

Now that the Mars Mapping Contest is over, do you have any plans to develop this map further? Are there any things that you are not happy with and would like to go back and change?

**3kliksphilip:** I have no intention of working on it further; (I) don’t want to fragment the map by releasing multiple versions. I feel that my time would be better spent on newer, more ambitious projects... unless any horrific bugs are discovered in the level, in which case I may work on a new version with other little tweaks as well. Try and spot the displacement error we found after the competition deadline! **SarahB:** I think we’ll be going back to it and fixing small problems, adding more detail in some places etc, possibly adding a space suit model for Ts and CTs once Valve get around to making custom character models actually a proper thing, rather than messing around with the dir\_01 vpk.

What are your feelings about the mapping contest as a whole and the other maps that were submitted? Are there any other maps that you particularly liked, and if so, why?

**SarahB:** I personally liked a lot of the other map entries, and was very jealous of de\_curiosity’s light design, wish I’d managed to come up with that myself! The others made very good use of custom textures and probably could have won the contest if they’d managed to add some things to identify which area you were in and stuff, as opposed to the same repeating corridors. **3kliksphilip:** It was a great theme to do, really kind of NASA to set up the Mars mission to coincide with this competition. I loved the glowing, futuristic lighting in de\_curiosity, but my favourite has to be Mining Complex. Played it through from start to finish, LexxoR had a lot of great ideas and I really feel it suffered in screenshot comparisons with far smaller, more detailed counter strike maps. Give it a go; it’s a nice little campaign with a lot of atmosphere.

Finally, do you think you may enter any Game Banana mapping competitions in the future? And what advice would you give to any other mappers who decide they would like to participate?

**3kliksphilip:** Yes, we’re planning an entry for the new competition already. Advice to mappers: play-test the map as soon as possible with other people. You’d be surprised by how many obvious design flaws only become apparent when other people are viewing your map! I can’t help but start with a superficial detail, with de\_elysium it was the crater and getting the shadows across the ridges just right. Getting this challenge out of the way gave me motivation for the rest of the project. Working with somebody else helps to drive you on also, as well as being someone to share the experience with. You can’t beat the feeling of teamwork as you race towards the deadline, deprived of sleep and shaking with fear that your internet could cut out and ruin weeks of work. You don’t know someone until you’ve made a map with them! **SarahB:** My advice would be to get someone to work on the level with you, even if it means splitting the prize, because a partner can spot all the problems and stuff that you don’t, as well as help coming up with possible solutions/workarounds to any problems that you have. Something else worth adding would probably be that, unless you’re making aim maps, try to have at least one really memorable set piece/piece of visually striking architecture in your map to give people something to remember it by.

Well once again, thank you both for taking the time to answer our questions and congratulations on winning the competition. We wish you both all the best with your future projects and look forward to receiving many future submissions to GameBanana from the both of you.

![](http://files.gamebanana.com/img/ss/maps/5053c69811a42.jpg "http://files.gamebanana.com/img/ss/maps/5053c69811a42.jpg") Interview conducted by k@rt for GameBanana. If you are interested in getting involved, there are GameBanana competitions running almost all the time for mapping, modeling, skinning... and much more. Just keep and eye on the news feeds and keep those submissions coming!! Read a full, in-depth review of de\_elysium [here](http://gamebanana.com/reviews/42 "http://gamebanana.com/reviews/42")

Posts

  • 5y
    Giblets of Jesus avatar
    Giblets of Jesus avatar Offline
    Member Joined 8y
    13,813 points Ranked 314th
    20 medals 1 legendary 5 rare
    • 1st Place - Secret Society Mapping Contest Medal icon
    • 2nd place - D.U.M.B Mapping Contest Medal icon
    • 3rd Place - Halloween Mapping Contest Medal icon
    • 2nd Place - Winter Wonderland Mapping Contest Medal icon
    • 2nd Place - Useful Props & Prefabs Contest Medal icon
    • 6 years a member Medal icon
    > **Posted by K@rt**

    > Of course we would love to try to evolve towards creating more audio/video media articles, with the mapping reviews as well... but you have to take into account the logistics. Creating video content is considerable more involed and time consuming; for a map review you would have to record in-game footage using demo smoothing or filmaker (takes time), mixed with still images, title screens etc, you'd have to write _and then_ record the commentry, synching it correctly with what appears on-screen and then splice it all together in vegas or moviemaker. I would love to be able to make reviews like this (and hope very much to try to evolve towards it) but remember most of us are giving up our time to do this and what you're suggesting is a full-time job. Yahtzee from ZP, for example, makes one 4-5 minute video a week and one 2-page article and that's all he does, it's his job.
    >
    > Soon I hope to be experimenting with video content, so please be patient... until then you'll just have to try to survive how they did in ye heathen days of yesteryear and learn to read things that aren't limited to 500 characters. :)

    Nice to hear you'll be trying some things out soon and admittedly, video reviews for maps would take a lot of time to complete, but surely audio interviews might even be a little easier than writing a whole article up?
    Splat.
  • 5y
    K@rt avatar
    K@rt Offline
    Member Joined 8y
    8,663 points Ranked 508th
    15 medals 1 rare
    • 6 years a member Medal icon
    • Mapper of the Month, July 2012 Medal icon
    • Reached 1,000 Points Medal icon
    • Reached 2,500 Points Medal icon
    • Reached 7,500 Points Medal icon
    • 1 post awarded Exemplary Feedback Medal icon
    > **Posted by The Giblets of Jesus**

    > Neat interview and all, but if something like this ever gets done again, I'd quite like to see it done in audio / video form, maybe a bit like a podcast.
    >
    > I know I'd rather listen to a person talk about their work rather than just read massive blocks of text.

    Of course we would love to try to evolve towards creating more audio/video media articles, with the mapping reviews as well... but you have to take into account the logistics. Creating video content is considerable more involed and time consuming; for a map review you would have to record in-game footage using demo smoothing or filmaker (takes time), mixed with still images, title screens etc, you'd have to write _and then_ record the commentry, synching it correctly with what appears on-screen and then splice it all together in vegas or moviemaker. I would love to be able to make reviews like this (and hope very much to try to evolve towards it) but remember most of us are giving up our time to do this and what you're suggesting is a full-time job. Yahtzee from ZP, for example, makes one 4-5 minute video a week and one 2-page article and that's all he does, it's his job.

    Soon I hope to be experimenting with video content, so please be patient... until then you'll just have to try to survive how they did in ye heathen days of yesteryear and learn to read things that aren't limited to 500 characters. :)
    • Win x 1
    Messiah
  • 5y
    Giblets of Jesus avatar
    Giblets of Jesus avatar Offline
    Member Joined 8y
    13,813 points Ranked 314th
    20 medals 1 legendary 5 rare
    • 1st Place - Secret Society Mapping Contest Medal icon
    • 2nd place - D.U.M.B Mapping Contest Medal icon
    • 3rd Place - Halloween Mapping Contest Medal icon
    • 2nd Place - Winter Wonderland Mapping Contest Medal icon
    • 2nd Place - Useful Props & Prefabs Contest Medal icon
    • 6 years a member Medal icon
    Neat interview and all, but if something like this ever gets done again, I'd quite like to see it done in audio / video form, maybe a bit like a podcast.

    I know I'd rather listen to a person talk about their work rather than just read massive blocks of text.
    Splat.
  • 5y
    Jonny-higgins avatar
    Jonny-higgins avatar DRUNK...
    Admin Joined 10y
    199,844 points Ranked 15th
    42 medals 4 legendary 10 rare
    • Achieved Admin clearance Medal icon
    • Submitted 200 Threads Medal icon
    • Reached 100 subscribers Medal icon
    • 10 years a member Medal icon
    • Reached 75,000 Points Medal icon
    • 6 years a member Medal icon
    Great read guys, it's really interesting to see how you work!
    • Agree x 1

Share

Shareable Image:
Share banner
HTML embed code:
BB embed code:
Markdown embed code:

More embeddable images

Bookmark and Share

Submitter

K@rt avatar
K@rt Offline
Member Joined 8y
8,663 points Ranked 508th
15 medals 1 rare
  • 6 years a member Medal icon
  • Mapper of the Month, July 2012 Medal icon
  • Reached 1,000 Points Medal icon
  • Reached 2,500 Points Medal icon
  • Reached 7,500 Points Medal icon
  • 1 post awarded Exemplary Feedback Medal icon

K@rt
Sign up to access this!
Sign up to access this!
Sign up to access this!
Sign up to access this!

Category

Stats

Posts
4
Views
3,744
Date Added
5y
Date Modified
5y
bcp.crwdcntrl.net tracking pixel