Happy Holidays from the Half-Life 2: Wars team! It’s been a year to the day since our last news post, and contrary to all appearances we are still very much alive and kickin’. A lot of people have assumed we’re “dead” or inactive, and I assure you that is not the case. Sander and I have been toiling away all year (especially Sander) and finally we have some interesting news.
All of 2009 has been consumed by redevelopment of the game code. Our last public release in mid-2008 had a lot of performance issues related to the structure of client/server interaction and NPC code, so for the entire past year Sander has been slaving over a brand new codebase, rewriting everything in the mod from scratch to optimize the Source engine for multiplayer RTS capabilities. The vast majority of the mod’s code is now written in Python, which Sander has integrated with Source and used to expose much of the engine code. The result of all this technobabble? A more efficient and playable multiplayer RTS experience.
At the same time Sander has been handling the programming, I have been busy with the design and concept side of things, writing and scrapping and rewriting the game design over and over throughout 2009. We’ve finalized an initial design to work towards for our almost-mythical (and still very far off) Beta 1.0 release, but in the meanwhile have decided to go ahead with our original plan: to create a small “demo version” of HLW to showcase the brand new game code and optimized multiplayer capabilities.
This takes the form of a small multiplayer-only game mode where players command opposing Antlion colonies, competing over food and grub resources. It’s a fairly simple game type – we just want you guys to have something new to play, and this will be available long before another full beta release. You can check out a couple of new screenshots, the first showing a Pheromone Marker resource point (which generates Antlion grubs) and the second showing our prototype “direct control” feature where players can take over and command one unit on the battlefield:
We’ll give you more details on the Antlion demo gameplay in the coming weeks and months, along with more media (including video) and a special surprise we have in store for our fellow mod developers out there, which you’ll hear more about soon. We don’t have a release date for you guys yet, but we’re working hard and promise to keep you posted more than once a year from here on out.
It's also time for us to expand the team. Right now we have only two core developers, and we need more talent to help with art content! We're currently looking for 3d Artists, Texture Artists, and Level Designers, but if you have other skills you think could help us out (like sound design or voice acting) feel free to drop us a line. You must have advanced proficiency in your area of development, as well as a solid portfolio or examples of previous work. Experience with Source development is preferred but not required. If you've got what it takes, let us know via email (email@example.com) or on our community forums.
Before we sign off, we'd like to thank everyone who voted for us in Mod of the Year 2008 and got us the distinction of being the 10th most popular released modification in the 2008 MOTY competition. Hats off to all of our fans, and here's to 2010 being the biggest and best year yet for Half-Life 2: Wars.