Hey everyone, it's us again with another update on our progress.
Now first off, some of you might be wondering why this update is relatively small even after 4 weeks of dev time, and the answer is twofold: Final exams and re-evaluation of our development process.
Finals, and all the preceding schoolwork that professors tend to pile on, have been slowing down development considerably, not to mention other IRL jobs that our members have to tend to. Once we get past these next couple of weeks though, it should give us more time to get back to work on making content for this mod.
The other factor is that we have been looking at how we are developing the mod and have decided to reorient our current priorities a bit. It's nothing too drastic, as work in all areas should still be proceeding to some extent, but we have learned a valuable piece of insight from the newly found uncorrected copy of the Raising the Bar book. For those who don't know, the past week has seen a valuable release to the community originating from an Ebay sale, where a few copies of an uncorrected proof version of Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar were sold and one owner was kind enough to photocopy it in its entirety. It's been posted in multiple places, mainly Reddit and Facepunch, and a few of our commenters have posted links to it of their own.
So what did we learn from it?
Well, much of the new content pertained to Half-Life, but there were a few tidbits of previously unknown concepts and story fragments that are still being reviewed by our team, but rest assured if we can find any valuable content, we'll try implementing it at some point. But one detail that struck us was the admission towards the end of the copy by Gabe Newell that they were trying to "solve production problems when we were in pre-production...we tried to solve them at the same time we were making core decisions... we really should have had production people working on something else rather than having them try to be producing Half-Life 2." In essence, we are doing the same thing on our mod team, with just about as much success as Valve in that regard. We've had multiple setbacks, but we've bounced back every time, albeit with a mild sense of unaccomplished work trailing behind every time.
So, what are we doing about it?
We are relocating our main focus from getting prototype maps finished to working on getting all the necessary pre-production material together for future mappers and modelers. The material mainly consists of fleshing out our story document further, possibly down to a detailed description of each level, as well as getting lots of concepting done in many areas. We have to clarify this kind of stuff before the main bulk of the work can get flowing smoothly, it's just a little unfortunate that we have only realized this at this point. But just like the setbacks that we've recovered from, we've learned a lot every time and are still kicking, so don't think that we are in trouble or at risk of dying like so many other leak-based mods have. With a mod this large (probably bigger than the retail release of Half-Life 2), planning everything out before getting too deep into production is a necessity. We sort of caught on to this when we decided to go with simple blockouts for our maps, but that still wasn't enough as problems and questions still arose from our team regarding how everything was supposed to fit together.
In this manner, we are turning once again to you, the community, to help us out. We need concept artists to help us flesh out what we have planned for the mod, everything from characters to weapons to entire levels and landscapes. Our recent addition of a concept artist has really helped cement certain portions of the mod, but we need more artists who are willing to help carry the weight that a mod of this size will require. Let us temper this by saying that anyone who does apply for this position on the team will need to be able to demonstrate that they can make a piece of concept art within a two-week period (at least), in keeping with our update schedule. The subject will be of our choosing, but it will be leak-related in some way, which leads into our next requirement. We would highly prefer artists who have at least decent knowledge of the leak, which more specifically entails knowing about the cut areas, weapons, and characters in good detail, as well as being able to adjust that knowledge to our own version if necessary. We have more specific requirements listed in the job ads section, so check them out there if you are interested in applying.
Lastly, we have a piece of concept art in the works currently that should be up very soon, so keep an eye out for it during the next day or two.