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"They say that the multiverse is composed of constants and variables. There are endless possibilities for what could happen. In one world, he dons the last mask of dimensional gates and is forever bonded to it by his destiny. In another, he teams up with a young woman who lost her finger and gained the power of tears. In yet another, he is unlucky enough to be the lab rat of a homicidal artificial intelligence with a penchant for portals. Through all these variables, one thing remains constant: Vezon is an annoying lunatic who never shuts up as he stumbles blindly from one universe to the next." Ah, Vezon. Whether you love him or hate him, I think we can all agree that he was certainly... memorable. As of this past March, I can finally add BioShock Infinite to the list of games I've completed. A crossover between BioShock and Portal, specifically Elizabeth using the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device, was something that I had in mind for a while, even seen here in this Garry's Mod screenshot from last year. You know, because portals and tears are basically the same thing (okay, not really, but that's not the point). Now that I've completed BioShock Infinite, what better way to celebrate? But then, I remembered another Portal crossover that I wanted to do for an even longer time. You can see one of my cruddy sketches from circa-2008 depicting Vezon meeting GLaDOS. A while back, I even jokingly suggested to Andrewnuva199 the possibility of a "Vezon's Mind", basically a Freeman's Mind-style playthrough of Portal from the perspective of Vezon. Again, because portals and dimensional gates are basically the same thing (again, not really, but that doesn't matter). And now, it's finally made possible with the porting of the BIONICLE Heroes Piraka models to GMod, thanks to The Frosty_Engine! So then, I asked... "Why not both?" Much like Armed with a Tail, the mental image was just too amusing for me to pass up. Elizabeth running through Aperture Science, escaping from GLaDOS and her turrets... while Vezon rides on her shoulders like a Jockey from Left 4 Dead, telling her where to go and pretending that he's contributing something useful to the situation. Admittedly, the "riding on the shoulders" pose proved to be the most difficult part of the picture to pull off, thanks to Vezon's thick legs and Elizabeth's (comparatively) short thin arms. Also, I discovered that, even when adjusting video settings to their maximum (e.g. enabling anti-aliasing), images through portals in GMod are not affected (e.g. still aliased), so GLaDOS ended up looking lower-quality than the rest of the image. Even Super DOF doesn't affect images in portals. Therefore, I tried to hide this with some additional dynamic post-processing in Picasa, but... I still don't know if I trust that program when I can't tell whether or not the JPG files it saves (and it only saves JPGs) are truly lossless. Once again, big thanks to The Frosty_Engine for making this possible. Comments and constructive criticism are appreciated.
"... and you wake them all." Oh, yes. What a time to be a BIONICLE fan with access to Garry's Mod! As if the Toa Mata and Glatorian were not enough to satisfy our appetites, we are still continuing to receive our classic childhood nostalgia recreated in Source engine. Of course, those aforementioned models were ported from other games... but what about those willing to take a step further? Enter Vissova38, who is taking virtual BIONICLE bricks and piecing them together in Blender to create beautiful high-poly sets for us to play with. Already, Vissova38 has released the Tahnok upon unsuspecting Source Film Maker users. Of course, since my computer hates SFM and SFM hates my computer, that option was out of the question. That's why the console command prop_dynamic_create comes in handy when you want to play around with SFM toys before they are officially released for Garry's Mod! I originally envisioned this as taking place in near-total darkness, illuminated only by Takua's lightstone and a faint green glow coming from the floor... and the glowing eyes of Jellicle Cats Bohrok. The inspiration came from the post-climax scene in Mata Nui Online Game, wherein Takua accidentally stumbles upon a Lehvak nest and is forced to flee from a bunch of dark silhouettes with glowing eyes. However, when I was looking to see if there was anything else I wanted to add before I closed down GMod, I found that one of the mist effects from Team Fortress 2's Lakeside Event map was strikingly reminiscent of the mist in Bohrok promotional art, and I decided to make a few adjustments to accommodate this addition. You can see the original version here. Please let me know which version you prefer. Personally, I really like how the original version has this more isolated feel, and how the giant Kanohi Hau statue is only just barely visible in the darkness. But, at the same time, I do feel it looks a little empty, while this version (as I said) better captures the mood and atmosphere of the Bohrok promotional artwork. Also, I had to find a map that had practically no lights in order to make this work. And when you turn fullbright on... "Well, this ain't so bad!" Once again, big thanks to Callegos-Y, Lehvak, and Vissova38 for making this possible with their Matoran, Kanohi, and Bohrok models, respectively. Comments and constructive criticism are appreciated.
"I have slept for so long. My dreams have been dark ones. But now I am awakened. Now the scattered elements of my being are rejoined. Now I am whole. And the darkness cannot stand before me." Thanks to the hard work of Xiron, Garry's Mod and Source Film Maker finally have a ton of LEGO models to play around with, without having to resort to work-arounds such as my earlier Toa of Light. I'm hoping to make some big pictures with these new assets in the future, but for now, I wanted to celebrate the birth of this new GMod era with a homage to another era's birth. This is a recreation of the full-page splash panel of Kopaka from the very first BIONICLE comic drawn by Carlos D'Anda, using models from BIONICLE: The Game, Half-Life 2, and the "Legend of the Toa" Skyrim mod on the GM_BigIsland map. Of course, the BIONICLE: The Game model for Kopaka doesn't hold a candle to the sheer legendary awe invoked by D'Anda's work, but unless/until custom Toa models come out, this is the best that we can use. Also, even though I'm aware that a much higher-poly version of the Kanohi Akaku was released for GMod (modeled, if I'm not mistaken, by the same person who modeled the "Legend of the Toa" weapons), I stuck with the BIONICLE: The Game Akaku because it better fit the artstyle of the rest of the model. Again, if a whole high-poly Toa Mata was released, then I'd change my mind, but until such a day... Still, despite the graphical limitations of the model, I tried to spruce it up a bit with some dynamic lighting and glow effects to better recreate the original image. Everything you see here was done directly in GMod, since I don't have access to Photoshop on this computer. If my computer didn't vehemently despise Source Engine water effects with a passion and crash GMod every few minutes on this map, I'm sure I could have done even more. Nonetheless, I'm very satisfied with the end result. Once again, big thanks to Xiron for making this possible. I hope you enjoyed this journey back in time to the beginning of BIONICLE. Comments and constructive criticism are appreciated.
"Beware my stinger tail!" It is the beginning of a great new era of prosperity for BIONICLE fans who use Garry's Mod. Not only do we have several classic Toa Mata and Toa Nuva models from BIONICLE: The Game thanks to Xiron (as showcased here with my earlier piece), but now we also have Glatorian and Toa Inika from Glatorian Arena and BIONICLE Heroes, respectively, thanks to the work of The Frosty_Engine. Still working on an idea with the Inika, but I definitely had something in mind for the Glatorian. I suppose I'm in the minority of the BIONICLE fanbase, since I consider 2009 to be an overall good year for the franchise. Gone were the over-abundance of silver and giant projectile launchers and unrecognizable travesties of our favorite characters. Once more, we had a brand new world to explore, populated by literally-colorful new characters who hearkened back to the early days of the tribes of Mata Nui. I even think that The Legend Reborn is not nearly as terrible as most fans make it out to be, and I can make an argument for it being one of the better films in the series. Its soundtrack, on the other hand... But, I digress. Anyways, I wanted to make a cool scene in the Bara Magna desert, maybe with one of the Glatorian tending a campfire while some Vorox lurk in the shadows, but tigerfaceswe already did a pretty good job at that, so I chose to do something different. Still wanted to do something with the Vorox, though; it's one of my personal favorite sets of the Glatorian line. Then, I thought about a particular quote from The Legend Reborn, where Ackar refers to Mata Nui as crazy because he charged into a Glatorian arena with only a Scarabax beetle and a Vorox tail for protection. For some reason, I had the mental image of Mata Nui wielding a Vorox tail... still attached to a living and very annoyed Vorox. The whole scene still played straight and dramatic, except for the Vorox ruining the tone. I found this just too amusing to ignore. But, if you're a stickler for canon, then I suggest you view this alternate version instead. As before, everything you see here was done directly in Garry's Mod, since I don't have access to Photoshop on this computer. This one took a lot of playing around with different camera angles and lighting effects to try to recreate the scene I imagined, since Garry's Mod is currently lacking in maps with volcanic gladiator arenas like that of Vulcanus. Backlighting Mata Nui with a red/orange lamp seemed to do the trick, as it found a perfect intersection between a fiery setting and a dramatic tone, as well as making up for the lack of lighting in this corner of the map. Much to my frustration, models cast no shadows on the map, which I feared would ruin the whole picture... but fortunately, this issue ultimately rectified itself once I maximized video settings for the screenshot. I'm really satisfied with how this one turned out. Once again, big thanks to The Frosty_Engine for making this possible. Comments and constructive criticism are appreciated.