Happy New Years from the Half-Life 2: Wars team! It's been a while since you guys last heard from us all the way back in March, but we've been working hard on HL2: Wars all year long and we have a lot of progress and improvement to show you. 2011 was a quiet year for us, but 2012 is going to be "The Year of Half-Life 2: Wars", with our most important and exciting public release yet looming just over the horizon: HLW Beta 2.0.
Beta 2 will be the first truly robust version of HL2: Wars to be released to the public, with fully implemented and playable Resistance and Combine factions available for use in multiplayer. Both factions now have fully developed tech trees with their own sets of unique units, buildings, abilities and research. We'll be looking at them in depth in a later news post. Beta 2 will also be the first public release of HL2: Wars to feature our fully implemented multiplayer resource system, explained below.
First, though, check out this 30 minute gameplay video to get an idea of where the mod is right now. Recorded about a month ago, this is a complete 1v1 multiplayer match of HL2: Wars in the Annihilation game mode, with me playing as Resistance against Sander playing as Combine:
In the month since that video was recorded, many of the placeholder building models you saw have been replaced with new models, which you can check out in this video (ModDB mirror). We also recently posted a short video showing off a new Overrun game mode map, or_hill, which you can watch here (ModDB mirror).
Now for a brief description of the new resource system we have implemented for the primary multiplayer game mode of HL2: Wars, called Annihilation. Players battle for control of several key strategic points on the map, known as Requisition Points. Once captured by a player, these points generate a fixed income of Requisition for that player. Requisition is the main resource in HL2: Wars and represents the strategic importance of the battle you are fighting for your particular faction. Basically, you can simply think of it as money which can be spent on more powerful and useful units and buildings.
In addition to the main Requisition resource, which both players fight over, each faction has its own specific resource to worry about as well. For Resistance players, this is called Scrap, which represents salvaged equipment and technology, vital to the success of the beleaguered and undersupplied human resistance. Scrap is gathered by Engineers from specific Scrap Points around the map, which requires you to guard them as they carry Scrap from the point back to the HQ. Scrap can also be acquired by killing enemy units and players also receive a small amount of fixed Scrap income every minute to help when their back is really against the wall.
The Combine's faction-specific resource is Power, which is accrued by building Power Generators. All major Combine structures must be built within range of a Power Generator to function. Additionally, they generate a small amount of Power every minute, which is needed to purchase advanced Combine units and buildings such as Snipers, Hunters, and Striders. Power Generators are weak and quite vulnerable, so Combine players must protect their base's generators at all costs.
Watch the video above to see it all in action. The final resource used by both factions is Population, which is pretty similar to population cap in most RTSes. Resistance players must build Billets to raise their population cap, while Combine players need only research a population upgrade at the HQ to do the same.
With the new resource system and full tech trees for both factions fully implemented, we're currently hard at work playtesting, tweaking, and balancing the gameplay itself to make it a bit more varied and interesting, as well as seeking out and fixing bugs and performance issues and finalizing art assets such as building models, interface icons, unit sounds, etc. Beta 2 is just over the horizon - we don't have a solid release date yet but tentatively expect to release it sometime in the next few months, hopefully before the end of Q1 2012.
In the meantime, you can expect to see several more news posts from us in the next couple of months featuring the new building models for Combine and Resistance structures, our brand new reworked HUD / interface, the full tech trees for each faction, some of the new maps that will be included in Beta 2 and a lot more exciting stuff! We're also still looking for dedicated level designers and could use some motivated and capable internal playtesters as well - if you think you've got what it takes, email us at hl2warsmod [at] gmail [dot] com or post on our community forums. That's all for today - but stay tuned! My New Years Resolution is to keep you guys better informed of our progress, which means news posts will be much more frequent than our semi-yearly updates of the past!