Hospital  Shootout

Fight through the combine forces occupying an old hospital

Source SDK                                    Hammer Editor

Video With Commentary

Hospital Shootout - Third Pass

For this pass, I wanted to lay out some AI. I will do my best to make it interesting an appropriately challenging, but it will need to be heavily tweaked through many, many test play sessions from both myself and a few people I know who are willing to devote a few hours to repeatedly playing a single 15-minute map. But before that, I am just getting the basic feel of the combat down such as where enemies come from, what weapons they have, and what cover do they use.


This is an early play through of the first half of the combat. It still has some tweaking needed, but this is about what can be expected in the final product. Some of the problems include the AI not being responsive in the parking lot area, enemies spawning prematurely, and I’d like to have boots on the ground on the parking lot, so the player has more variety in that section.


Another run of the level, it’s playing pretty well now, and I have most of the pieces in place, all that’s left is fixing some of the problems that I’m having here and there in the level such as: alley shotgunner can’t exit door, walkway combine doesn’t aggro player, sprite isn’t correct on button, zombie behind door doesn’t animate properly, and fast zombies don’t enter room. Next, I’m going to get some people to playtest it.

After having some people test play it, I’ve compiled all of the feedback into a list and I will address these problems before moving forward with the polish and details.


1) Players will shoot explosives in ceiling instinctively, this either opens the door early, or traps the player inside to hospital.

2) Players couldn’t figure out the APC puzzle.

3) Fourth combine the in second section doesn’t run to the windows with the rest.

4) Players can loop around to the second level without triggering the elevator to lower, this exposes a leak in the map.

5) There is a headcrab that attacks the player right as the game autosaves, which is frustrating to reload into.

6) The electrical water in the surgery room isn’t well telegraphed and feels like a cheap kill when the player dies instantly on it.


1) I will move the barrel from sight. I’m worried this will harm the context of the level, but it’s better to have a functional level with less context as opposed to a broken level with context. I did my best, though, and added a hole that looks like it is made from an explosion and I added a ‘false’ barrel.

2) I realize that this is because the player can open the doors by touching them, I will remove that flag.

3) I will make the wheel locks an obvious color so they are more obvious.

4) While playing with different options for him, I disconnected him from the AI rally points, I will add him back to that system.

5) I will create a second set of elevator doors that close on the second level and make it so the elevator doesn’t reset as it doesn’t need to.

6) I’ve moved the autosave to a point just after the player kills the headcrab.

7) Instead of an instant kill I will make it do high damage instead. I will also add more sparks and an enemy entering the water and dying so the player really understands.

Hospital Shootout - Second Pass

This part of the process is when I do three specific things. First, I will apply a basic, development placeholder material to all surface. Second, I will tighten up the geometry and by the end of this pass, hopefully will never have to touch geometry again. Finally, I am creating all of the needed pieces/props to make functional navigation and context to locations.

I just finished my first playthrough of the first half of the map, testing its mechanics to make sure it all works. For the most part it’s okay, but there are a few problems that have to be addressed. The issues in order are: lobby doors open before blown up, vents are too large, vent ladder dismount gets player stuck, elevator doors close before player can get in, lobby door opens wrong way on explosion, combine gate material not showing on road, combine console invisible, APC does not move (stuck in ground?), wire doesn’t break, trigger box for button shows, No ladder to magnum roof, invisible wall for combine gate doesn’t go away.


The playthrough can be watched here:

I’ve completed this pass of the level. I am able to play from beginning to end with no issues. The puzzle solving is included, and all of the rooms, doors, ladders, etc. are in place. After this video a made a few fixes to the optimization and tweaked some of the puzzles slightly, but those were very minor changes. With this in place, I am confident to begin my work on the combat and make the level play the way I would like it to.


You can watch this playthrough here:

Hospital Shootout - First Pass

I always start my maps by building the rough geometry with the nodraw material. By doing this, I won’t have to go back later and add nodraw to faces the player can’t see; doing this would inevitably leave many faces that are hidden still being rendered and not found during the later nodraw process.


I also always start with a grid scale of 16 unites per grid piece. This lets me keep clean geometry and prevent any leaks that would otherwise occur in smaller grid sizes. If I went any larger, I would lose the flexibility of the brush tool, and it would be hard to create basic geometry at the correct scale for the player i.e. all walls would be 2 feet thick.

Hospital Shootout - Sketch

Hospital Fight Top-Down.jpg

Hospital Level Design Document


1) Starting room – the player starts in a storage room.

2) First Alley – the player walks out into an alley where they find metro police attacking a citizen, the player defeats the metro police. Two ways, one way is fenced off to area 8. Second path leads down stairs to area 3.

3) Bend Alley – the player moves to area 4.

4) Waiting room – a waiting area where a car has crashed through the wall, so the player can foreshadow area 19.

5) Lobby – the lobby to a doctor’s office w/ zombies. Gas spraying on door, hole in ceiling covered by metal piece.

6) Trash Room – a room with a trash chute and bins, vent to area 7.

7) Vents that connect to area 2 and 8.

8) Combine ambush player

9) Hospital room

10) Hospital hall w/ zombies

11) Elevator lobby - *ding* combine

12) Elevator up to third floor - stops early

13) Stairs to locked door - emergency exit

14) Elevator Lobby 2 – combine.

15) Hospital Hall 2

16) Hospital room – zombie and hole to second floor below

17) Hospital room – explosive barrel and metal sheet. Hole to first floor lobby (5) with door. Use explosive to blow door open in lobby, move to 19.

18) Hospital hall – has supplies.

19) Parking lot – combine waiting. Destroy generator to get behind combine shield to open gate.

20) Loading bay – shipping crates for hospital. Combine come through ceiling. Use platform to get into hospital wing. Combine fighting zombies.

21) Stock room – service elevator, no function.

22) Waiting room 2 – zombies

23) Hospital hall – overlooks parking lot (19)

24) Hospital hall

25) Surgery room – zombies and puzzle. Player goes to room 26 to use plugs to get power, then to 27 to turn on power, then door in 25 opens and zombies wake up.

26) Puzzle room

27) Puzzle room

28) Stairwell – emergency exit.

29) Dead Space

30) Hospital Hallway

31) Cafeteria – big shootout with combine and a hunter that keep attacking until player solves puzzle. Must go into 33 and 35 to lock doors and unlock their own. Go back through, defeat enemies, and leave to END

32) Vent – to puzzle room

33) Puzzle room

34) Vent – to puzzle room

35) Puzzle room