As long as I've been playing games I've wanted to make my own. Captivated by the possibilities of level editors, I started mapping in 1996 for Doom II. Not long after my gaming experience was changed by the release of Half-Life in 1998. This game got me hooked for the next couple of years and it should come as no surprise that as soon as I found Worldcraft, I was making my own Goldsource wolds. As we moved into the new millennium, online gaming started opening up to me and I found Sven Co-op in 2000 for which I made countless maps and content. I closed off 10 years of GoldSource development with the release of Land of Legends in 2009. Since 2008 I've picked up Source mapping and worked on maps for Resistance and Liberation, Overwatch and Fortress Forever. After that I worked on a discontinued MOD called "An Open Window\". After a long break of mapping, I got back into the game by creating the remake of HL:Uplink for Black Mesa: Source in late 2012.
I was pretty impressed at the start. The mod jumps right into the action with snipers, combine, dropships, etc. No tedious learning curve, since MOD-players are experienced players. The good design puts monsters below you, under you and make them flank left and right.
After that the MOD sadly starts to decline. Before the zombie part you have to shoot the energy ball to unlock the door. There is no reason for that advanced security to be there and what makes it even more strange is that the gravity gun is on the floor right in front of it. Why not just make a regular door then? If you add gameplay elements, they need to be functional.
The placement of the zombies wasn't very good either. You just slice your way through them without any interesting fights. Also, the combine placement gets more predictable after a while. It's you versus 5 combine soldiers, then restock and do the same thing over again in a different place. There should be more variation. Let players use gameplay elements! I wanted to bring some of the surviving rebels along with me but you immediately block off all ways to do that. The same goes for the hopper mines. They can really influence the battles, but you made sure that bringing them along is a tedious job. Reward innovative players instead of punishing them for not following your predetermined paths.
Visually it's pretty well done but the design also becomes more blocky and repetitive after a while. It felt rushed to me. The ending is probably the best example: Pushing a button to blow up some device and then teleport to an unknown location. It's quite an anti-climax and it doesn't make sense. During the entire game I had no idea what my objective was.
More variation would make this MOD a lot better. Remove some of the combat phases and add puzzles, story elements and nice sequences instead. I experienced severe combat fatigue while playing this. Down-time to relax en enjoy the design is just as important as combat.
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