Fan Feast: FAQ
I will update this page as more questions come in.
Send questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: I am having trouble loading and or playing the map
Q: Can I play this map alone?
A: Yes, you can start a survival lobby and play with bots. The hordes will not come until you call them. However scavenge mode requires more players.
Q: How long did it take?
A: Four months.
Q: How did you make it?
A: Using a combination of techniques.
Google SketchUp is my primary tool for making the map. The initial map layout is done using satellite photos and birds-eye photos. SketchUp can import scale images from Google Earth directly.
I visit the real-world location and take tons of on-site reference photographs. Using photo editing programs many of these are turned directly into game textures. There are over 300 custom textures in Fan Feast. The reference photos are also used in SketchUp using the "Photo-match" tool. This allows for pin-point placement of windows, doors, signs etc…on the buildings. Ensuring that the in-game geometry doesn't just look like the real location, but is an uncanny recreation of it. Custom models are also made and textured in SketchUp. After that the area is converted for game use and exported to Hammer. Inside hammer I texture the map and add all the gameplay elements. Cars, guns, lights, etc…
I have written a beginners guide to both SketchUp and Hammere here: How-To: Make a Left 4 Dead Map Using Google Sketchup
Q: Where did you get the idea to do this?
A: Last year the Alamo Drafthouse put out a call for people to submit their short films for their "Dismember the Alamo" zombie film festival at Halloween. At first I was thinking of making a Machinima inside Left4Dead but I didn't have enough time to make one, nor had I made one before. Nearly all the game maps I have worked on are based on real-world locations. So I had the idea, why not model the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek in Left4Dead(1) and let the public play it at the festival. The drafthouse was immediately on-board with the idea. The result is my "Dismember the Alamo" Left4Dead1 map. The map and event was a success.
Fantastic Fest is a film festival held every year at the Alamo Drafthouse, and this year they added a video game festival called "Fantastic Arcade". The drafthouse contacted me about doing a map in Left 4 Dead 2 using The Highball and The Alamo Drafthouse south Lamar. I immediately went to work and determined that doing the whole shopping center was the best option. This also made the map 20x larger. The map was finished in survival mode for Fantastic Arcade and the lucky visitors to the festival got to both be virtually and actually inside the video game map at the same time.