Half-Life 2: Short Stories is a team working on a group of modifications that take place in the same realm. A lot of the focus is on the story and gameplay, new innovative set pieces and puzzles. After the release of the first episode of Human Error, the team is planning to release more episodes and expand the characters and the world.

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Super Secret Beta Testing Blog (Mods : Human Error : Forum : Dev Diaries : Super Secret Beta Testing Blog) Locked
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Dec 20 2009, 5:23am Anchor

Sunday 20 December 2009

Today we are slowly starting beta testing Human Error. There's only few lines to record, custom music to make, and some minor tasks and we have a full mod. Of course, there will be still some way to go as we start giving playtesters access to the mod and we will start polishing the mod. Of course the mod has been under constant testing since we started it, occasionally bringing outsiders, or other modders to test it. It has been greatly shaped by comments, trial and error, seeing it being played. So, it's not like we would be completely unaware of how the mod will play. Never the less, there's no really telling how long the beta testing stage will take.

After the Christmas I will try to write here in this blog almost every day, giving some short details about the progress of the play testing, bug finding, and general final development of Human Error. Do not expect any fine literature though.

Today I am also going to have a friend play the mod. Like always, I am planning to do it Valve style, not giving him any hints on what he has to do or what tactics should be used. Every time I do this with someone, I end up getting grey hairs, not only because they don't seem to be doing what I wanted them to do, but also because of the ammount new bugs that suddenly appear. But then again, because of this, every play testing session has been valuable.

Although it's two hours until I the time the agreed time, and I am still compiling one of the maps. Few hours ago, when I was testing the mod myself, I found some minor bugs. When I recompiled the map, I forgot to enable the trigger visgroup, and now I have to recompile the map again. And after that I still have to test the map before leaving.

-T

That went surprisingly well, although there was one bigger bug that stopped him from progressing and a crash. As I have been working on the maps all night getting them ready I am super sleepy and slowly starting to loose it. I asked him to send the mini dump file from the crash to my e-mail so that I could figure out what caused the crash. Few minutes later I saw that there was one message in my mailbox. I got super exited, thinking that it was from one of our voice actors sending her final lines. Alas, my poor short term memory and sleep deprivation.

-T

Saturday 26 December 2009

Okay, I am back from spending Christmas with my family and I am finally returning to my normal life of staring at the monitor on late hours, drinking some bad coffee. There has been some new bugs surfacing while I was away. Most notably one of the play testers managed to get the APC into a tree. After I was shown the screenshot I haven't been able to ask him when he had last updated his SVN, before playing, so I am not sure if I had already partly fixed that. The APC has always been a bit troublematic.

It's slightly heavier than the Jalopy in EP2, and goes a lot slower, but it needs to be able to push objects from its way. It also has bigger tires, so there's more space between it and the ground. When I was first experimenting with vehicle script files before I even started the project, I sometimes ended up in weird results where the vehicle would start bouncing around violently, flying around like some tornado, destroying and killing everything it hit. Trying to finetune the vehicle could be a bit confusing, when you didn't know what you were doing.

Of course there's no flying tornado vehicles anymore, but getting it work 100% fool proof can still be hard. To make things even harder, Human Error doesn't have the physgun in it, so the player can't just push the vehicle, when it gets slightly stuck on something.

-T

Sunday 27 December 2009

Got a bunch of screenshots from one of the playtesters. They were mostly visual bugs, which is a relief, since those are an easy fix. He didn't seem to have much trouble finishing the game expect for one bug in the final map. So, that's a good sign.

Anyways, gotta download FontForge / Cygwin so that I can make fonts for some of the new weapons like the Alyx Gun and Turrets. Already got fonts done for the Manhack weapon, but had my harddrive erased since that time so I have to install the program again.

-T

Sunday 28 December 2009

Still waiting for the last voice actor to send her lines so we can have all the parts of the mod ready. Of course there's some music (pretty much all of it except for few songs) to be made, but the music guy has also apparently left the Internet to have a Christmas holiday or something. Blah. Waiting is the worst part in this business.

I bought Mirror's Edge from the Steam Christmas sale and apart from getting stuck every now and then and the quick time events, it was quite fun. The story and story telling was not that great, however, and it ended a bit suddenly.

I also coded and modelled (the viewmodel) a Combine sniper rifle. Some of the comments from one of our playtesters has always been that there isn't enough weapons to choose from. This was one of the reasons I added Alyx's gun into the mix. The sniper is working quite fine. It has the laser like the Combine snipers had in HL2. Just like the stunstick in HE, it uses suit battery (the one you recharge from wall suit chargers or item_battery) to get more ammunition. Once you have run out of ammo you can transfer 10 suit battery into one sniper round by pressing Reload. To not make the rifle so overpowered you have to be zoomed to get best precision, and when you are zoomed you can't walk fast or sprint.

I am not sure if the Sniper Rifle will be that much covered in the first episode, though. We are very very late in development, and although it didn't take much at all to develope (I had been working on it for Paradigm Decay originally), there can always be some unexpected bugs, balance, and gameplay problems. There also isn't that many sequences where you really need sniping. It might stay as small easter egg, and we will definately use it in EP2.

-T

Tuesday 29 December 2009

While waiting for the scripts of This Is Larson and This Is Eloise to be made, I made another trailer, this time advertising the quite possible 2010 January release. It shows a lot of stuff that you have already seen, but also some new ones, and a lot of the improvements made recently. I might post the video later this year, it really depends on what our plans are otherwise (i.e. how This Is Larson is coming together).

Also, even though thos blog is super secret there might be some of you that are lurking here. Thus, I am asking you to come forward with the promise that the first one to post here gets an early access to the mod, few days before the actual release next month. This offer is only up before the release of the video, since it might create enough traffic for some people to quickly check out what's going on in the forums.

-T

Edited by: Au-heppa

Dec 29 2009, 10:00am Anchor

One word: AWESOME, i voted for MOTY.

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Bug are annoying.

Dec 29 2009, 2:55pm Anchor

I had a feeling that if someone would post here it would be you. :>

Dec 29 2009, 7:12pm Anchor

I've been watching this mod almost since its inception. Glad to see that it's nearing release!

Dec 29 2009, 7:47pm Anchor

looking forward to it!

Dec 29 2009, 10:30pm Anchor

I am Eric Fong in your forum before. I really love these mod that base on Half-life 2 story line.

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Bug are annoying.

Dec 30 2009, 4:11am Anchor

Thansk for the comments.

Wednesday 30 December 2009

I had a moment of big relief yesterday. One of our play testers reported that he was having some serious trouble with the manhacks. First he wasn't able to select the manhack controller with the weapon selection menu. This was a bug that I had had in the very early days of the development, but then quickly fixed. But apparently the camera of the manhack view was also in a complete other position than the manhack, outside where the manhack shouldn't even be able to get. Shortly after this the game crashed. It was even more worrying when no other playtesters (or myself during hundres of playtests) had had this problem. This was very worrying, since it would be rare and hard to replicate bug, which would made it hard to fix.

Luckily, as I was watching the demos he had recorded while playing, I remembered that I had had the same problem previously after all, when I had been working on the 2008 Trailer. The record demo feature of Source engine doesn't like vehicles for some reason (I was seeing some bugs with even the APC as I was watching him play). When I tried recording a demo myself, and the using the manhacks, I got the exact same problem. While the "demo recording doesn't like vehicles" doesn't explain why it broke the weapon selection of manhacks as well, it's still a huge relief, knowing, that it's quite possibly something that only occurs while recording a demo.

-T

I just made the strongest cup of coffee ever. I think I might die.

-T

Edited by: Au-heppa

Dec 30 2009, 3:18pm Anchor

I always appreciate Dev blogs, they usualy turn out to be an interesting read.

If you guys need anymore playtesters hit me up!

Dec 30 2009, 11:12pm Anchor

"I just made the strongest cup of coffee ever. I think I might die."

Don't die!!!

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Bug are annoying.

Jan 1 2010, 12:44am Anchor

Friday 1 January 2010

Here's how I pretty much spent my last day of 2009: Woke up, got an e-mail from the voice actress. Worked on the visuals of the first two maps, and some bugs in the final map. Went to store and bought some glögg and two movie dvd from the bargain bin. Watched the movies while the maps were compiling, tested the maps, and went to bed thirty minutes before the midnight.

Then I woke up five or six hours later in 2010. For those of you still living in 2009, I can tell you, it's nothing special, the same old.

-T

Well, gotta do some more waiting it seems. I also have to try to run the maps a couple of times myself before I send them to the next batch of play testers. Sometimes I don't get the bugs myself on my own computer, and sometimes they only appear when playing all the maps in a row. Either way, I want to test it myself before sending it to anyone else. I am kind of a stuck in a moment where there isn't much else to do than just waiting, and constantly play testing the maps myself.

-T

Saturday 2 January 2010

One thing that often gets commented was the lack of Alien Grunts armour. There's a bunch of reasons to why it's missing. First of all, I wanted the Alien Grunt to look very much like the Vortigaunt. I tried to mimic its texture when making the Alien Grunt texture. The Vortigaunts are not wearing anything, so nor should the Alien Grunts. I also didn't want come up with a look for the armour, since it would have to be different from the Combine, and it wouldn't be seen anywhere else in the game.

Secondly, Nihilant's dead, and he's no longer controlling the Alien Grunts. They are now listening to their Vortigaunt and Controller brothers on what to do, but they are free. The Alien Controllers are Vortigaunts were both wearing something resembling shackles in HL1, and so did the armour symbolize the Nihilanth's power over the Alien Grunts. They have also been on Earth for some time, they could have simply lost their armour during battles.

Still, having all the Xenians look alike, and have distinction the Combine synths and the Xenians was the most important reason behind removing the armour.

-T

Edited by: Au-heppa

Jan 2 2010, 5:06pm Anchor

This sounds amazing. If you need a play tester I'm up for it.

Edited by: Kmpressor

Jan 4 2010, 5:57am Anchor

I missed a day here's yesterday's post:

Sunday 3 January 2010

After missing the live recording of Podcast 17 for couple of weeks in a row, I finally returned to the live audience. They mentioned the media release briefly. I also playtested the mod, and as I was only able to find only few bugs it seems it is time to send the mod to the next batch of playtesters. Gotta wait for the maps to compile and run a quick test myself, though.

-T

On the subject of playtesting: Unfortunately we do not take "strangers" to playtest the mod. We invite people we know, some people from the community, mod press, and members of other dev teams to play test it. As for Eric and others who have followed the mod long and supported us, I can send an early release candidate. As in, when we have the first non-SVN upload for people to test.

Edited by: Au-heppa

Jan 4 2010, 7:38am Anchor

Really!!? I will be glad to play test it. *salute*

Btw, what is your steam id? or i will just told you my steam id: EricFong1993

Edited by: EricFong

Jan 4 2010, 5:38pm Anchor

Monday 4 January 2010

Got a bunch of new people to test the mod. And as I had fixed all the big bugs, there isn't much to do until the voice actor sends her lines, or the playtesting reports start coming back. So, I finally concentrate on trying to find more hats in TF2.

-T

Jan 4 2010, 7:28pm Anchor

I understand. I still love this mod and i'm going to follow it. If you need any help; I'm glad to.

Jan 6 2010, 5:24am Anchor

So after HE is done, you will start working in PE?

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Bug are annoying.

Jan 6 2010, 6:46am Anchor

Do you mean PD? That was Yorick's and Samon's brainchild, so they have the say so on that one. I have few ideas of what I might attempt after Human Error, but we still got EP2 of HE to do, before that, so I haven't given it too much thought yet.

Tuesday 5 January 2010

Got some of the final lines from the voice actress, and working on putting them in-game now. I sent the mod for playtesting to a bunch of people yesterday and I am now waiting for their judgement.

-T

Edited by: Au-heppa

Jan 6 2010, 7:58am Anchor

PD is base on Rebel, right?

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Bug are annoying.

Jan 6 2010, 8:30am Anchor

It was, yeah.

Wednesday 6 January 2010

What to do while the map is compiling?

Thanks to the Valve Batch Compiler you can compile maps without having to have that heavy Hammer open. But still you might be compiling several maps at the same time, or one of those bigger outdoor maps, so the compile can take hours. Usually I just leave it to compile the maps while I sleep, but sometimes, like last night, I forgot, and sometimes you just need to get it done ASAP. Unfortunately you can't just go play Team Fortress 2 while you do it, but you, again thanks to VBCT, can do some other things while compiling:

1. Watch movies and TV-shows. I have ended up rewatching pretty much every tv-show dvd boxset from Carnivale, Rome, and The Tudors to Lost, BSG, and Firely.
2. Play the most unfair flashgame there is: Bubble Spinner. I truly hate this game. That's why I keep playing it over and over again, swearing in Finnish as I go.
3. Read mathematics. Hahahahha, yeah right.
4. Browse the Internets and check your mod e-mail box.

Thursday 7 January 2010

Pretty excited by This Is Larson right now.

-T

Friday 8 January 2010
Doing some good progress play testing wise. Got some feedback on the gameplay and already did some small changes. Recompiling some of the maps now and waiting to get more reports back.

-T

Saturday 9 January 2010

Did some fixes and improvements into the hud. One of our playtesters recorded some videos while playing, which were entertaining to watch. They showed some bugs and problems, but most of them were easy to fix.

-T

Edited by: Au-heppa

Jan 11 2010, 8:22pm Anchor

I just can't wait for the release! I'm actually failing collage waiting for this to come out.

P.S - Finally figured out steam offline mode!

Edited by: Kmpressor

Jan 12 2010, 5:42pm Anchor

Tuesday 13 January 2010

Did some fixes on a bunch of the maps based on the feedback, and bugs the playtesters found. Luckily most of them are easy to fix, there's some issues, though, that will need more time with fixing and testing them. Still, I am actually amazed how well the playtesting has went so far.

-T

Jan 13 2010, 1:53am Anchor

Nice!

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Bug are annoying.

Jan 13 2010, 10:12pm Anchor

Thursday 14 January 2010

Hats!

-T

Jan 14 2010, 1:33am Anchor

Ah, a head light, nice.
"Shoot them before they see you!!"

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Bug are annoying.

Jan 14 2010, 6:44pm Anchor

Awesome. How many hats do you suppose will be in the game? It would also be cool if you earn hats by completing a task or something (just an idea).

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