I checked my facebook page today to find that Cracked had released a new article detailing the "6 Greatest Games We'll Never Get To Play". To my surprise, the very first entry on the list is a game which would "focus more on complete interaction with a small environment instead of partial interaction with a large environment, and shift the mood from pure action to strategy/survival."
It was like a sign from the universe telling me, "yes, this is a good concept for a game! There is indeed an audience for it!"
You don't have to tell me twice, universe.
Right. First off, let me assure everyone that neither I, nor the mod is dead. Despite my lack of news and content updates, I have been very hard at work. I describe the recent work I've done in the podcast, but I'll go over it in more detail here.
First off, I've done significant work to the map from the "Teaser" video. It has the same general layout, but with much more detail and a much better setting. It's now a large complex of warehouses, with resources being spread out throughout the map.
Now I didn't mention this in the podcast, but in the video for it you can see a zombie attack a fence and shatter it after a few swipes. These are the more advanced barriers I've designed, using some tricks from Hammer (and some advice from the ever so useful Jim, who I mentioned in the last update). These barriers actually appear to the zombies as enemies, rather than an invisible obstruction that stops pathing. The old barriers hooked into the zombie's AI and short-circuted it, forcing them to continually attack nothing, and hope the claws hit the concrete. Now, the zombies see a barrier and actively go to destroy it, meaning they are allowed to choose between targets, such as if a survivor went outside and started shooting at them.
Obviously in a game where your goal is to scavenge resources, you need an inventory. By pressing "i", you bring up a list of things you have with you (literally with you, it works by turning off collisions and making the item follow you). You can select things from that list and drop them, use them, etc. The only things you can currently use right from the inventory are weapons, via the 'equip' button.
The Half Life 2 engine allows multiple weapons to occupy the same slot, but it's very wonky in how it lets you select them (scrolling to it selects one, pressing '2' on the keyboard selects the other). It took just a few edits to the code, but now on picking up a weapon, it checks whether or not you have a weapon in that slot. If you don't, it equips like normal. If you do, it goes right to the inventory. In your inventory, you can also select a weapon and equip it, and the other weapon simply goes right to your inventory.
Unfortunately, all NPC AI is broken in the standard Half Life 2 deathmatch. Fortunately, I've been able to fix most of it. Everyone knows who to hate and who to like, and simple NPC's like zombies and headcrabs work right off the bat. More advanced AI like rebels and citizens need more work though.
The problem with Rebel and Combine NPC's is that in Deathmatch, you can play as them. The models are made so that they use player avatar animations rather than the standard NPC animations. Luckily, Combine seem to use separate animation files from the Rebels, so I've been able to import all the Human models into the mod, leaving combine player models intact.
The Rebels still aren't done... lots of references to "LocalPlayer" exist in the code, which if the game is in multiplayer mode, returns "NULL". Bad, horrible things happen when the code then tries to mess with a "null" player. More than that, each weapon needs tweaks to allow the npc's to use them, and even more than that, rebels aren't used to fighting zombies, they just run from them while shooting. That's just a simple matter of modifying and adding schedules though, which I'll need to do anyway to allow them to patrol and stand guard.
As I referenced in the podcast, I've also tried my hand at compiling models. I've taken one of the corpse models and put the zombie animations to it. It makes the whole mod look very different, giving it a nice disinctive feel, despite the fact that I'm not using anything new.
Sorry, no shots of this just yet. I'll post a few images and a clip or two in a few days.
That's it! I'm not ending this update with a video like I usually do, simply because I started off with one: the podcast! Please, let me know what you all think about it, I'd love to have feedback.