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Teaching Old Progs.dat New Tricks.
You know about the info_notnull explosion hack. You know about making monsters drop weapons or alternate ammo using the .weapon and .ammo_whatever hacks. You know about making items float in the air by spawning them on a temporary platform. Let's have a thread where we talk about new ways to use existing behavior and get novel gameplay. If you're a "retired" mapper, this is a great time to do some armchair level design and suggest ideas you'll never have a chance to use yourself.
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Dynamic Mapmodels And Overwriting Paths 
This thread's almost fallen off the page, so I thought I'd put a couple more things on here. The first is how to make a non static entity with a model. This is like the func_illusionary trick, but because the entity remains dynamic you can remove the entity later. You can also set angles on it, something neg!ke said wasn't possible with a func_illusionary.

The downside is that you have to mess about with modelindex to make the model display correctly. Make an info_notnull with these properties:

mdl progs/player.mdl
modelindex n
think SUB_regen
nextthink .3

Where n is the modelindex of the model you want to load. How does modelindex work? As the quake engine precaches models for the game, it places them into a numbered list. The modelindex of a particular model is it's number on this list. Index 0 is the null model, index 1 is the world itself. The next models will always be the brush models from the bsp, then the models precaches by the QC in the order that the models are first precached by the spawn functions.

This all makes it a big pain to work out which model has which modelindex. I'd recommend running the map through darkplaces or aguires engine, as these have commands that will display the list of models along with their modelindex. Be warned, the order in which models are precached may change if you alter the entities in your map. Also, different skill settings may have a different modelindex, so be careful.

On the plus side you can set all the things like frame number and angles without a problem, and even give the same entity a use function if you desire.


Ok, now for overwriting paths. What this does is allows a one time alteration of the path of a func_train. You can't toggle it back, and you can't switch it again to another path. But someone might be able to find a use for it.

Ok, here goes. To make the explanation simpler, we are going to alter just one point on the path, you can expand this to replacing multiple points and doing more complex things quite easily, it just takes more fiddling with triggers. Make a path of path_corners with targetnames p1 -> p2 -> p3 -> p4 -> p1. Then make the replacement p1 path_corner, making sure it is further down the entity list than the original p1. Give the replacement p1 the same targetname and target.

At this stage what should happen if you run the map is that the train goes between the first four points, the second p1 path_corner will be ignored. Now for the trick, add a key to the original p1 of

use s_explode6

Now, when you want to change the tracks, just fire a trigger that targets p1. This will run s_explode6 on the original point, which removes it in 0.1 seconds. The new p1 has no use function, so it remains. Why use s_explode6 instead of SUB_Remove? Well, just for neatness really, it's possible that you'll be triggering p1 from a touch function, and removing entities during a touch function can be dangerous.

That's the basic idea, anyhow, but you can do quite a bit with it, it's mostly how you set up the new p1. For example, there's no reason the new p1 has to target the same entity as the original p1, it could go p1->p1a->p1b->p2 and then back through the original path. You could choose never to return to the original path, do something like p1 -> q1 -> q2 -> q3 -> q4 -> q1. And then you could pull the same trick again with q2, switching onto yet another path...

You might be tempted to try this with monsters following paths as well. In theory this should work, but there is one problem. If you remove the point the monster is currently heading for, it'll start heading for the world origin and won't ever resume it's path. This doesn't happen for func_trains as they calculate exactly how far they have to move as soon as they start moving. Monsters have to hit the trigger of the path_corner, and constantly correct their course using the navigation AI. Bit of a shame, but there's not as much use for changing monster paths as func_trains offer anyway. 
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