Goreagulation - The Inaugural Article
Hot off the heels of previous project announcements, updates, and releases - I'm announcing another project I've been working on, small-scale, hyper-focused, and extremely creatively fulfilling - Goreagulation (Gore + Coagulation), the Silent Hill-meets-Giger-meets-Junji Ito mod where everything is meat and metal, and you're the one thing that can dismantle it all.
In Goreagulation - set within the Half-Life 2 world, still - you awake deep within an industrial facility gone wrong. Impossible geometry, an abundance of industrial grunge, and what can only be described as "land made of meat" fills these gory halls, whilst ominous atmosphere entices - or perhaps repels - all who lay eyes upon this place. A mad god of sinew and gore has made this place his personal fiefdom. For reasons beyond your fathom, you're not imprisoned like the others you will meet, and possessing of a singular directive - Ascend the Spire. Destroy the Eye.
In Goreagulation, you'll fight the flesh servitors of the Eye, an Old God who, in the absence of its own ingenuity, has mimicked those above holding humanity in its sway. Possessing the psionic ability to control the headcrabs as their matriarch, you'll face zombies and twisted creations that aren't quite Combine anymore in hideous halls and discomforting atriums. A fully original and custom arsenal of weaponry, each with their own fleshy SFX, will ground you further within this grim domain.
The mod is four gameplay maps long with an estimated runtime of about 30-40 minutes, but two ends and a moral choice in the middle that significantly affects gameplay from there on out means there's a little replay value to be had, if you fancy braving the halls of the Eye once more.
The Halls of the Eye
The entire mod is blocked out, playable from start to finish with testing already underway to refine gameplay to a polished sheen. Many innovative takes on usual Half-Life 2 gameplay concepts are enhanced from being built upon Mapbase, and all the pleasures that entails. Whilst most of the mod is still in this very mouldable state, the first few sequences of Goreagulation are art passed to a logical conclusion, and will be used as the standard for the rest of the rooms throughout the mod. The shots below are just a taste (a foul, raw taste) of the environments you'll fight through in your odyssey to the epicentre of this nightmare.
Lots of custom or adapted assets are already on show here, with retextures being used extensively to give some of the props from Half-Life 2 that would fit nicely that extra bit of unfamiliarity. As the levels progress, they will grow fleshier and fleshier, with less industrial elements, until the final level will be like the body of a giant organism itself.
Creations of The Eye
Of course, a mod like this would be poorly served with just generic combine soldiers and ammo pickups. As before, assets were retextured and some modelled/sculpted anew to fit better into the environments you'll find them in. New soldiers and hunters were sculpted out of Half-Life 2's meshes, with lots of added detail, bumps, and carapace, then brought into substance and textured from scratch. These may look familiar, but they're twisted, horrific versions of the things you've seen before. Then...there's you, the Meat Man. Under what circumstances you will see yourself are to be revealed, but when you do, it may not be you anymore...
In the absence of other ammunition, teeth will have to do
As mass produced as those above, the Gorebine are the simplest of the Eye's servants,
carrying the weaponry of their master and the Elite in particular being a better crafted tool
One of the fiercest of the Eye's recreations - the Meat Hunter
carries out its namesake with grave impunity
Many more custom assets exist, with more to be created. In time, all will be revealed - and you'll explore them all within the bastardised sanctum of the Eye.
Flesh Crafted For War
Six custom weapons, sculpted from scratch for the most part and animated by Silent, rear their head as you fight your way to the Eye. Its champions will provide a barrier you will need to overcome by any means necessary. In all, these will be familiar, but like the facility itself, changed in hideous, contorted ways.
In time, these hands will do great things - or great evil
The Gorebar is a crude tool - but you are in a crude place
The Fleshmg is the simplest of your firearms, but with simplicity comes reliability
The Gorenade - deadliness in an explosively familiar package
The Fleshette may look uncomfortable - but the toothed-shrapnel it fires are far worse
The Meatspinner is an enigma - far finer machined, it is also the most despised for its similarities to the inorganic. Abandoned, a potential ally will be the one to bestow this little flame of humanity on you.
The Crossbone is one creation the Eye remains proud of - nor
a crude copy nor a near replica, it is the most unique of the Eye's tools
A cornerstone of every mod I make is a combat sandbox enhanced through changes to weapons, big and small - and feel is one of the biggest changes of all. Later on, prior to release, you'll get a glimpse (and an ear) at the movements and sounds these weapons make. Most custom sound design in the mod is hand-recorded and mixed, with environmental ambience and weaponry made up of field recordings. It brings that extra feeling of being down-to-earth to the whole arsenal.
The Echoes of the Damned
If Raising the Bar: Redux is an exercise in teamwork and The Burton Equation an exercise in directed contributions towards a deeply personal vision, Goreagulation is an exercise in my trying to bring to life a vision in its entirety with little to no outside touch. It's intended as the rawest, purest version of what I envision, and as part of that, I decided I would try to compose the six tracks used in the mod - three ambient, one combat, and two credits. I've never composed prior to this mod, and it was a very difficult, deeply iterative process. It was probably a bit easier that otherwise given most of these are ambient or at least otherworldly. The process was, however, very rewarding - and in-game hits the exact notes I wanted. You can listen to the haunting tunes of the Eye's corridors below:
Gore1 - Gore Circulator
Gore2 - Gore Circulator
Gore3 - Bones and Woes
Gore4 - Flesh Walks Forwards
Gore5 - Where Eyes Tread
Gore6 - Slinking Eyesores
With that, I return to work. This mod - like The Burton Equation, or any other project - lives in tandem with all of the others I'm working on, though this is easily the smallest in scope. It's meant to be short, sweet (or sour, I suppose), and to leave you wanting more. Will there be? Who knows - what's more likely is, when Goreagulation is finished, another project will take its place.
In the meantime, there might be one more update before the final release - I'm fully expecting (or at least hoping!) this will go live this year, but modding is a complicated beast and often the best laid plans go awry. Maybe it'll be a grim Christmas surprise - we'll see. For now, thanks for reading, and be sure to check out my other projects too!