Estranged Alpha #5 was released on the 6th of January 2012, and at the time of writing has been downloaded 2,961 times. It has been a very successful release, with the new and old parts gathering good feedback.
We're going to work on improving existing levels for Alpha 6, in addition to creating new content based on what people have reported. We're watching all of the ever-growing collection of "let's play" videos on YouTube, and getting some feedback there too.
We have spent a little time focussing on graphical effects, and so far have added SSAO, depth of field and film grain. The effects make game play far more immersive without being over the top. Below are some in-game screenshots, totally unaltered aside from the watermark, showcasing the new shaders.
Custom zombie models are also in the works, and we hope to change from the Half-Life 2 zombie models completely in the next release.
The animations and textures are nowhere near finished, that's a Valve model AniCator tweaked to test out animations in Blender. We hope that the finished infected model will feel much scarier and intimidating than the Half-Life 2 model, and hopefully will create a more chilling atmosphere and far better complement the story. They can also dance.
We're fleshing out existing maps, and the seventh map, the sewer outlet, has received a few major updates. A lot of the puzzles have also undergone a restructure, for instance the first puzzle no longer involves grenades. A lot of players said that it didn't make sense to them, and served no story purpose.
Health, ammunition and other consumable items are now spawned on the fly instead of being placed inside Hammer, a little like Left 4 Dead's AI director. This means that when you're low on health, you'll find health, and when you're okay for supplies, you won't get any. This should mean that people of all skill levels will be able to comfortably play.
For those of you who liked Alpha 5's music, we've created an album containing the mod's current soundtrack. Some tracks aren't included because they're not ours and will probably be replaced in the future.
You can go here to get yourself the full Estranged Alpha 5 (DRM free!) Soundtrack in a ZIP archive: Anicator.com