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A fan-made project to bring a new district to APB:Reloaded
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Intro

Hello there my name is Nick also known as Ellix. For the past few years I've been working on something that I am really passionate about and would like to share with you today.

This is Project Midtown - A project that I started to work at back in 2015. The idea behind this work is to make a new district for APB:R which will go together with other mission districts. It will bring a brand new area of gameplay for the players and will be a host for 2 new organizations - 1 criminal and 1 enforcer.

Trough the years of development I've posted few threads both on the old APB forum and a new one about this project. In my last thread I asked you guys if I should continue working on this project and what you think in general. I really loved the response which was done with both praise and criticism so I decided that one day I will keep on working on this project and so I did.

Today I stand at a point where I can finally say that the project stands at a good spot to share again! So today it will be shared with with you what's been done so far, what I think will be the future but most of all I would like to hear the response of the community and the developers to see if my work can be actually used in APB:Reloaded or should be something fun that I've made and left aside for good.

I must say that I'm very excited to share this project with old followers and maybe even new ones but please TAKE ALL THIS WITH A GRAIN OF SALT.

This is not a professional project, it's not done by the developers of the game and very likely to never be used.

But in any case I'm very excited about my work and would like to hear the community's opinions about it.

 

So let's begin.

 

 

 

About the work 

Project Midtown was something I started back in 2015 when I was still in high school. It started like something fun that  was done in my spare time and I had no idea at all if it will one day turn into something.

One thing was sure though - I loved this game and always knew that it has much potential. I also loved the APB lore so when I first heard about an unreleased district for APB it was very exciting!
For those who don't know Midtown District is something that was planned and worked on in the early RTW days (RTW aka the original devs of APB).It was never used but some of the assets that were made for that map were later used in Financial district. However it doesn't mean that the district doesn't exist. You have evidence in ingame e-mails and props inside the game that Midtown is real in San Paro!

 

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However work on Midtown was never complete. It was nothing less then a test map that never got to a playable point.

The idea however excited me and I was up for discovering more about this district!

 

I started the project my getting all the data that I could about Midtown.

Like I said there were lots of e-mails that cross-referenced Midtown and there is a lot of information in the game. I gathered a file of info about the district's lore which you can find HERE. All of this is from the game and was a starting point for me.

 

And so I was ready to start working...

 

 

 

The process

I didn't have any modeling knowledge (Still don't really do). So I decided to try something else.. I looked for easy to use architecture programs that I could use to build a city and stumbled across Sketchup!

Also I didn't model it right away in the Unreal Engine. The reason for that is that APB is using it's own version of Unreal which is hard to make custom content for..

So the best I could do is to make a mockup of a map that can later be used to create the actual map.

 

For me Sketchup was really easy to get into - it's a very easy program to start building in and I decided that it was good enough for me to try and build few blocks with it.

At first there were many issues with my modeling as I left lots of garbage and artifacts on my creations. I later discovered that there is such thing as flipped faces and so on.

Years passed though since then and I now have a bit more experience with my tools so it's not as messy as it used to be back then..

I learned the tools just by keeping working on Sketchup. Never actually took a class or anything. I just had an idea and some willpower to actually do it..

 

I never really intended to finish the project so I only did about 1/5 of the whole work from 2015 to 2018. Together with real life issues I abandoned the project completely

However from August 2019 when I finally decided that it's about time for me to finish it and had a lot of free time I said to myself that at least once I MUST finish one big project in my lifetime. So I did.. And for the last half of a year I tried to work as much as I could for about 5-6 hours a day (With breaks of course) and finally last week I came to the point that it feels like something ready.

And although it still feels like there is work to be done I think today is a good point to review the project together with the community.

* Some of you may already seen the progress as I was spamming the Twitch channels of APB with this 😄 *

 

In the end I think that the thing that cam out of it is something interesting...

 

 

 

Status today

So today I would like to share with you what I have:

 

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The modeling is ready! All of the buildings are modeled and placed. I also added some props and placeholders for props to make the map a bit more balanced and alive.

This doesn't mean however that the work on it is done:

 

-There are no windows or shops in the district. It's something that I haven't added because even though I have the models for most of them the size and scale is off and it's not something good if you want to use the map to model it in the engine later.

 

- There are no textures on the map as I don't own any of APB's materials or know how to UV properly

 

- I miss some props that should go into some areas. Some of them are vital for balance and for the looks of the place

 

- Overall balance of the map is not done completely as you need to actually play the game in order to place the objectives at balanced places and also there are areas that can look balanced or unbalanced at first but actually are the opposite while you play

 

In 2 words lots and lost of smaller and bigger changes in order to make the map usable.

Speaking of usable...

 

The model is currently a Sketchup creation. It means that it can be exported as a 3D model (For example in FBX format)

I don't actually know what the new APB engine will use - BSP or actual models for the maps however 1 thing is sure..

If it's models - There still should be UV and shadowmaps done for all of the map

If it's BSP - You need to convert everything into BSP which is not a 1 click process..It actually requires you to place the 3D model and use it as a guide to reproduce it in BSP.

 

In both cases it's not as easy as to just take what I've built and use it and I understand that.

But I hope that I've made something that can be used to build something that is actually usable later ingame

 

Here are some more images both from a mockup in Unreal 4 that represent the map

 

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Some Midtown lore and how the map is built

So as I mentioned earlier I was using the released top down map and the ingame e-mails to make Midtown. (Which again you can read about from this file)

I tried to stick as much as possible to the lore of the district.However few changes that are made are:

 

- The overall layout of the map (It's similar to the original but changed)

- I took the original Midtown map layout flipped it and changed the roads but kept overall oval shape

- Bankside is now actually..at the BANK (shore) side which is West and not East.

 

Overall though I tried to stick to the lore:

 

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This for example is where the district is located according to a map found in the game.

Some of the building and spots I made from the lore are:

 

Letsby Court in Pocket

 

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Birches out by the campus (Suburbs)

 

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University of John Holland and a campus near it

 

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Opera House in Northen Quarter (Cinema nearby as well)

 

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Satori strip (Which was modeled after an old concept art)

 

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Site of an old hospital next to Satori

 

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Joker gunworks old factory 

 

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And of course..

Green street and Green Projects (Gang turf)

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There are more..

I tried to stick to the lore as much as I could. Even a bit of so beloved by LO - Red Hill is showing.. 🙂 

 

I also left a spot for something different.The big cyan square on EAST of Midtown is actually a SPPD keep HQ.

I though it will be a good idea to reuse the enforcer social district at least as a distant scenery

If not as a (Not inside actual district) Fightclub map later on..

EnforcerSocialDistrict_3.jpg 

 

In general I think my creation will fit with the existing lore..

 

 

Size

Overall the gamplay area is about Financial's size

 

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Organizations and contacts

The two organizations for Midtown are SPPD and RedRain

San Paro Police Department while currently (according to the lore) being out of order may still be roaming around Midtown and trying to protect the people.

Some of them can be found in other Enforcer organisations but some of them may still run a small bit of operations somewhere in the city. So I think Midtown is the right home for those people.

 

Red rain being a gang that rules Midtown is looking very gangster type of criminals.They are quite stylish and own quite a bit of money and turf in Midtown so they might be a little more organized then your avarage crim.

One iconic member is YoDawg

 

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His model seems to have once existed in APB's files so I bet LO will still have him somewhere..

 

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Other contact designs can be those who we see a lot in some APB art such as some works of the old devs.

Here are some examples that can be used as a design..

 

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This of course requires from the devs some work as not all of the clothing items are now available but I hope that we will see those types of contacts in the district..

 

I made it that in Midtown it's possible to host up to 10 contacts for each faction

That is however a lot of work and content that needs to be made so I bet it will be alright to start just with 4

Here are the spots however..

 

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(Yellow spots are gas stations)

 

 

Gameplay predictions

I designed the map as a mission district just as Financial and Waterfront are however I'm quite sure that it can be good even for Riot (with some work) if it's ever getting re-released 

I tried to balance the ranges so there will be enough for each class - meaning that there are long,mid and cqc areas on the map. I assume that there will still be weapon changing tactics so there will not be spots where you will do fine just with one same class of weapons and the map overall supports a lot of team based tactics such as snipers covering cqc players,spots covered from different angles and so on..

I put some great work into trying to balance the spots of the map so there will be no camping spots. In theory there should always be at least 3 paths to get into some spots and no higher grounds to camp with items at (as much as it was possible).

The map supports lots of CAR SPAWNERS and paths that you can use in the middle of the blocks to get inside with your car with or drive trough.

 

In general I think the map is a bit harder to master for a new player as in some cases it's using tactics of approach that require some "parkour".

So my though if this is going to be released that the level cap should be limited to at least R30 however that's just my opinion.

 

Again - the layout is a subject for change and there still needs to be work but you can already see for yourself which type of gameplay they represent which in my opinion is a good mix between Financial and Waterfront..

Overall you need to play this map to know anything for sure but those are just my thoughts as a developer.

 

And also- There are a bit of sewers :3 

 

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Logisticszzzz 🙂 

This project requires the new engine being built. And I think this is obvious that the current one can't support such a thing.

Only assuming that everything goes well and the population will be slightly bigger this can become a reality!

However in that case the game needs some new content!

I think that a new district is something the playerbase really needs as for the past 10 years we've seen just the old 2 mission districts,Fightclub and a small glimpse of a new gamemode.

I hope that a new area can be a good update for the game.

 

All this of course requires a lot of new content for people to actually get from the new contacts. That means more development time of course but I think in  the end it will be worth it.

If the project will get built as an actual map I think it's best to first start off with Anarchy mode for the playerbase to actually test the map and see if it plays well. (All this of course after SPCT and devs themselves)

 

This whole project is something for the FAR future of APB and it requires a lot of things to get just right.

But I'm hopeful - otherwise I wouldn't keep doing what I did! 

 

 

"So what's in it for you?"

Let's suppose that LO is seeing a potential in this.. What do I want for my work? Am I willing to get paid?

Well yes and no.

What I would want to receive IF the project will get approved is not hard stacks of cash.

I'm willing to give this out for FREE as a love latter to my beloved game that I play for 8 years now.

The best way to repay me for the work done is to accept me as a game tester for APB (SPCT) to actually test this map and maybe repay me in some amount of G1C.

Again! I will accept rejection as well as I understand that this is just a fan made project and it's nothing professional.

In any case it was fun thing for me to do and it's a good project for my personal portfolio as an environment designer. 🙂 

 

 

So in conclusion.. 

First of all I had a lot of fun with this project!

This was a blast for me to actually do something this big. A lot of time and effort was put into it and for me personally - I'm happy with the current result.

I don't really know what's the future for this.

Will it be accepted? Is it realistic?

I don't really know. But that's not the important thing.. The important thing for me is that I'm done with a project! Maybe the first time in my life.So I personally feel really pround

The answer is something to look into and I'm very hopeful but no matter the outcome - I will be happy with anything.

 

Dear LO. I hope you will see this post and consider using what I've done in the game. As a long term fan of APB I really would like to help the game if you let me and it will mean the world for me if you can use my creation.

Dear community - I hope to see your best response. Good or bad please be honest. It will really help me for this project and for anything I do in the future.

 

Feel free to ask me any question about the map!

 

I would like to use this opportunity to wish everyone an easy quarantine. Stay safe guys

Thank you everyone who's been reading and following the progress of Project Midtown! 🙂  

 

-Ellix

 

 

 

   

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Bro! the texture work could be imperial 😮 we should need 1M of hours  for paint/pose/mapping all the textures 😮 

for have 1 prop complete textured from base model this require 3-4h (T-T) with a texture ready to use! 

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Read the entire thing, When I was looking for "offical" names of the props in apb I discovered the "blue piles of cement packets" prop in watefront Had the "midtown" name on it, So there is possibly more things left over from midtown that never got used.

 

Just trying to say Nice work, And I hope 1 day this becomes a reality.

 

A few pictures (this one's done by a 3d model person thingy)

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The "enforcer social district" or whatever it was going to be

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This topic has been moved to the Creations/Fan Art section of our forums.

 

~@mayii

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Looking good, would be dope to have in game ! 

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For now with the current population it's unrealistic, although I'd love to see something else than we already have right now.. We can always dream 🙂

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So ... a single guy managed to do what 2 multi milion dollars companies couldn't do in ... 10 years ? 

btw.... looks awesome . good job. 

still .... oh G1 , G1 ... 

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dont have time but ill check this topic later..your awesome thats for sure 👍

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4 hours ago, Ellix said:

Very interesting project here

GAAAAA DAMN BROH, you seems like me, love to talk, to explain, to let peoples know about what you doing, really challenging pthem to write bigger topics and comemnts everytime.

Alright, i accept that.

 

Hellow Nick, we played a bit together, also inside OTW, was great.

You don't know how much i appreciate your hard work behind this project, i really love thigns like that, PURE LOVE.

 

"This is not a professional project" < well, maybe for LO, but for me it is, i can't ever do something even similar to what you have done so far.

 

If you are working that hardly on a "unreleased" district, you should know that Midtown wasn't really a proper district.

Well, yes, it was, but got scrapped away pretty fast and used for testing materials, textures, effects, animations, buildings, vehicles etc.

I really would love and like so much to have a different district, a new one, maybe mid size, between the one of Financial and the one of Waterfront, but not too much.

Also if im not wrong that was an Enforcer Social District while the Criminal one was Asylum at the beginning, which wasn't alredy a Fight Club.

So.. yeah.. a bit of confusion, also matt stated they found Midtown somewhewre but is just a suepr unfinished thing, a more prototype than actual district itself.

I dont' know what they made with it, but i am curious, you know.. maybe.. it's time, well.. firstly fix anythign broken inside the actual ones, then release it as a third one.

 

You made a fkin good work, dang it man.

I adore you, really, not many peoples show their interest in that way.

 

YoDawg, this guy.. i just love so much all the lore in APB and in its secrets, unreleased stuff, hidden ones and such.

It brings me old memories.

I wish one day we will see this contact living inside San Paro streets with all of us.

 

Those contacts looks so cool and artistic, also talking about their clothes and styled tattos.

 

RIOT? Re-released? o.o 

Hmm.. I don't.. know.

 

I agree with the thign about limiting the level cap of joining the new district, it should require some knowledge.

 

Happy to see someone like you trying so badly.

❤️

 

3 hours ago, Cuve said:

For now with the current population it's unrealistic, although I'd love to see something else than we already have right now.. We can always dream 🙂

We can, of course, and we will hopefully have other districts in the future.

 

1 hour ago, -Reagan- said:

So ... a single guy managed to do what 2 multi milion dollars companies couldn't do in ... 10 years ? 

btw.... looks awesome . good job. 

still .... oh G1 , G1 ... 

Do you really need an answer behind that? I don't think so.

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28 minutes ago, AlishaAzure said:

Do you really need an answer behind that? I don't think so.

 it was obviously a rhetorical question 

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7 minutes ago, -Reagan- said:

 it was obviously a rhetorical question 

ik x)

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1 minute ago, AlishaAzure said:

ik x)

^^'  i'm losing my sense of humour i suppose :3 

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4 minutes ago, -Reagan- said:

^^'  i'm losing my sense of humour i suppose :3 

Naah, chill man, stay safe 😉

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Looks awesome

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On 4/8/2020 at 6:41 PM, Ellix said:

snip
 

I remember seeing the YoDawg npc when they showed off console gameplay (Not really it was like a small showcase of it) So that may be a xbox 360 dev build before it got a chance to be release into a physical and digital version of apb. (I remember seeing that NPC idk if Im right but I remember seeing him)

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Oah, I'm impressed ! would love to roam around this district at some point !

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10 hours ago, (Xbox)MortisedGuide said:

I remember seeing the YoDawg npc when they showed off console gameplay (Not really it was like a small showcase of it) So that may be a xbox 360 dev build before it got a chance to be release into a physical and digital version of apb. (I remember seeing that NPC idk if Im right but I remember seeing him)

oh jesus christ, dont quote the whole longass post

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This is very impressive work, regarding the models / BSP issue, it doesn't have to be done manually, I am certain that surfaces can be extracted and recreated as BSP with automatic UV mapping, it only needs a good programmer to write a tool for it, they also have divide it to sublevels anyway, texture it... so on, it needs work to be seen in game, but most certainly, this is a huge part of it, and an impressive one.

 

In my opinion, APB needs new districts more than anything, we have tons of guns, tons of ranks, tons of clothing and kits, decent amount of cars, but only 2 mission districts, I think it'd multiply the variety in gameplay, with new uses and strategies for everything that's already in the game.

 

We really need to push this to LO, give them our feedback, maybe it'll help them decide.

 

@MattScott

Is this something to be scratched as impossible or can the work be completed and integrated?

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Great work, love the details! this is the most effort I've seen someone put into APB in recent years.

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Queen of Love said:

Bro! the texture work could be imperial 😮 we should need 1M of hours  for paint/pose/mapping all the textures 😮 

for have 1 prop complete textured from base model this require 3-4h (T-T) with a texture ready to use! 

I thought about what you said and actually tried checking out what can be done

In theory you can texture everything in Sketchup and then export it as materials.

You simply color the blocks with a paint bucket,rescale and move the textures to your need which takes 5 minutes to do THIS for example...

 

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Now only if I had original APB materials that would be much easier for me to texture the whole district then building UVs

In this case only thing that will be harder to do is collision.

 

  

3 hours ago, N66 said:

This is very impressive work, regarding the models / BSP issue, it doesn't have to be done manually, I am certain that surfaces can be extracted and recreated as BSP with automatic UV mapping, it only needs a good programmer to write a tool for it, they also have divide it to sublevels anyway, texture it... so on, it needs work to be seen in game, but most certainly, this is a huge part of it, and an impressive one.

 

In my opinion, APB needs new districts more than anything, we have tons of guns, tons of ranks, tons of clothing and kits, decent amount of cars, but only 2 mission districts, I think it'd multiply the variety in gameplay, with new uses and strategies for everything that's already in the game.

 

We really need to push this to LO, give them our feedback, maybe it'll help them decide.

 

@MattScott

Is this something to be scratched as impossible or can the work be completed and integrated?

 From what it looks like from what they building in the new engine they are using static meshes

Which in example with above said can be easily done with some collision work.

Edited by Ellix
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Posted (edited)

Udpate!

I did some settings magic and now all of the models have collision per face 🙂

That means that it can actually be ported and be a bit playable!!

 

Not sure how hard it will hit the performance though or if it's even related but that's something!

 

Edit:

Also tried to do the same thing on Unreal 4 and it works!
I have to say that the UE4 version runs very good but you have to consider that there are no textures,all of the props and it's in general a better engine then current APB.

However collisions work now perfectly and I'm happy with that

 

Edited by Ellix
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