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Thoughts on the HL2 Leak Community

AmbientNoise Blog 2 comments


Being affiliated with the Half-Life 2 Leak community for some time now, I thought I'd post a bit on my observations from personal experience and a bit of here-say. I don't intend to ramble with this, as (hopefully) I've become better at summarizing things in a shorter amount of virtual real-estate. I am coming at this from a Biblical perspective, as that is what I believe all absolute truths and morals stem from at heart, so take that as you will.

The Mods

There are a plethora of leak-based mods being worked on, and some that have actually released. Many people complain about how there are so many individual mods, and that they should just combine to make one giant 'supermod', cutting down on time and expanding the leak's breadth. The problem with this is that the leak itself is a disjointed set of ideas that Valve was working on; some were easily connected linearly while others weren't. If all the leak content was to try to be included, the mod would be a mess of overlapping, nonsensical content. If it was to be made coherent, it would lose a lot of leak content and general creativity that makes these mods different from each other.

As it is, I'm quite glad there are so many mods out there on the topic, as it allows more overall artistic freedom for each mod individually. Some mods may be objectively better in some fields more than others, but it could be argued that in this way they actually complete each other without sacrificing any of that individuality.

The Community

Here's where we get into a rather sticky subject. The Leak community has not done itself many favors in terms of general etiquette, although to be fair it is based off of content that Axel Gembe acquired illegally. Regardless, I've seen many instances of leak mods and modders being openly toxic towards both seasoned and newbie modders, often for no good reason. If we wish to be taken seriously, we need to curtail this and be more open to newcomers as well as detractors.

I have seen open flame wars in various leak chats that started over simple disagreements that have flared up into name-calling and childish insults. I have witnessed people with clearly toxic behaviors and attitudes threatening others and not getting the mental or emotional support they clearly required. While this appears all over the internet, it seems to manifest very heavily in the leak community. People become disillusioned and pessimistic, which in turn drives down the probability of leak mods actually surviving long-term, and thus it becomes a self-perpetuating cycle.

One of the biggest issues that I've noticed is that the community is very adept at holding grudges. This isn't uncommon to human nature in general, but just because something is common does not make it acceptable. In fact, many things that are common in the world today I would find morally unacceptable, but that's another topic all to itself. I've seen hostility toward modders for things they have done months (even years) in the past. We are called to a higher standard than this, and it is shameful that this is even a problem at all.

We should be willing to admit when we are wrong or when we have made mistakes, and people should accept honest apologies. Harboring grudges against people is unhealthy for the body and soul, and honestly it takes more effort to keep those flames lit than is worth it. Forgiveness of past transgressions should be swift, even if it is not returned in kind. Gossiping about so-and-so's mod or what they did that's controversial is ultimately pointless, and rots away respect and level-headed thinking for those listening.

Essentially, if we want to have a good community around the leak, it needs to stop brooding over the past, forgiving those who have done wrong, and move on. If those transgressors decide to keep on being toxic, they can be ignored. As for the rest of us, we have a duty to put our best foot forward and act in a respectable manner. We are hobbyists and are here to have fun and develop our skills, but all the pointless drama that this community stirs up is likely the reason why few potential developers ever make it out of the comment section.


Romans 14:19 - "Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another."

Matthew 5:44 - "But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you..."

Romans 12:17-21 - "Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, 'Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.' To the contrary, 'if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.' Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

[Signal Flare: Aleph Pattern]

AmbientNoise Blog

I'd say there's still some hope of getting back, but right now things are looking pretty bad.

Those damn portal storms... What'd we do to deserve getting sent through those horrid things? Orifices that lead to nowhere or, less fortunately in my case, somewhere worse than nowhere. We had heard that the Anomalous Mat's fellow eggheads had stumbled onto a similar phenomenon, but I don't think I ever heard of them being in conditions like this.

It's a good thing my hazardous environment suit still works, otherwise I'd be dead right now. Battery's still got some charge, but it won't be able to filter the local atmosphere for too much longer. This place is weird, and when I first arrived I expected to either be back on Earth or in some kind of void. Instead I wound up in a dimension full of nightmarish landscapes. Nothing looks terrestrial, and everything makes me want to puke...

[Image Data Corrupt: EC2918]

This is what I'm in right now, a land of this grey fleshy gunk. It's formed mounds and valleys, hills and ravines, but it all blends together into this wavy desert of... whatever the hell it is. I can't ascertain whether it is sentient or not, but it is certainly alive. I tried prying it up with a broken-off piece of different, harder fleshy stuff, but after I pierced the surface and tried to torque it open the damn thing got pulled underneath the flap. It was about as quick as a mailman slipping a letter in through someone's door slot. That reaction itself would have been disturbing enough, but I could see the bulge in the ground recede as whatever I used was digested in a series of gurgles and spattering sounds...

There are pillars in the distance, they look like they're made of some metallic chitin. Parts of them are glowing, leading me to believe that there is likely some kind of life there. The sky around them... it's like I'm inside NGC 6334, although this place can't possibly be in our own dimension. The- Oh...

My suit just buzzed me. It's been performing a low-intensity scan of air samples it's been taking while I've trundled on towards those pillars. Well, I say air samples but it's hard to describe the atmosphere of a place when it has no gasses to speak of. The area above the ground here is nothingness. That's not the most worrying thing though, surprisingly enough. The scan found unknown particulates in the void, a few nano-meters in radius each with some variation. They clump together really easily it seems, and they also seem to ingest organic matter when exposed to it.

Damn... Looks like I'm gonna die here in this stupid orange space suit.


Fall Break, Mod Progress, and Animes?

AmbientNoise Blog

Hey everyone,
Just got out of college for a week, so I'll be able to get back to work making sounds and drawings for the mod. The story is also coming along nicely, although it's still not fleshed out nearly enough to be called complete.
Anyways, this post isn't going to be terribly long as I don't have very much to talk about this time. I've recently started to become active on the Half-Life 2 Leak Facepunch thread, so any of you who haven't checked it out really need to if you are interested in the stuff we're doing, you might learn a thing or two :)
Link here!
Several interesting topics have popped up on that thread, and if you can get over the fact that it's currently 67 pages long (atm), then it is actually pretty neat to read through.
I've also been getting into watching Japanese animes a little bit. Now before everyone starts screaming "Anime! Evil!" I must stress that anime varies just as much as most modern TV shows. You've got good ones, bad ones, and ones in between. Judging the entire genre off of a few awful animes both here and in the past is not the way to go, as there are really a few gems here and there if you're willing to look for them. It does take some getting used to at first, as Japanese customs and culture are heavily present in most of the animes I've seen, so that can be a little tip for you.
Some shows I've watched that I'd recommend are as follows:
Accel World
Sword Art Online
Girls Und Panzer (Mostly for World of Tanks players like myself.)
And if you want a laugh, watch No Game No Life. It's hilarious!

Next up on my list are Jin-Roh! The Wolf Brigade and Cowboy Bebop. Should be fun :)

Anyways, that's all for now. Got places to meet and people to go! :P

Groans, Games, and...Microphones?

AmbientNoise Blog 2 comments

Well, I've been working and studying a lot lately. Not at school, of course(Who studies for school anyways?), but with sound and microphones. I've found some interesting things, but first, una pequeña perorata, or if you speak Spanish, a little rant.

I keep noticing that people on our page call what we are recreating the Half-Life 2 "Beta" or "Alpha". Truth be told, those simply never existed. Half-Life 2 was leaked, not in alpha, not in beta, but during development. The terms alpha and beta represent testing phases of a game where large numbers of people from the outside test a game to root out bugs and issues, within a definitive period of time where someone could say, "This is when the beta starts and this is when it ends." Half-Life 2 never went through any of that until after it was shown publicly. By that point, it was already well developed, having been reviewed multiple times before by the Valve team and their own play-testers. It's development was a long process of trial and error, and Valve has the concept art and maps to prove it. The only correct form that I have been able to find of referring to some of the stuff we are using is "Leak".

On the other hand, we are definitely not a pure leak mod. As you can tell, the leak is beneficial to us when we have no other work by Valve to go with when we are making maps and concepts, but we try to base as much as we can around the earliest possible concepts. Examples of this can be seen with our train station map and our citadel model that Zip made a while ago. Unfortunately, there are some areas that are completely without source material, such as Weather Control. This area has absolutely nothing to go on. Some may argue that the script for the Weather Control battle with the Combine "mech" provides a lot of hints about Weather Control, and it does, but not in the same sense. It only talks about what happens outside the Weather Control station, not anything inside it. In these cases I have to make concept art to "fill in the gaps", as some might say. I tend to look at these areas initially in the perspective of form fitting the function. The base can't look like it was made in an urban city, as that wouldn't make any sense considering it's surroundings in the middle of a snowy wonderland. Instead, it would most likely be set up rather like a fort, with high walls and a gate, with underground passages leading to various other areas of the base. The walls would not only act as a defensive measure (They are guarding a weather control machine, after all), but also help keep the area inside the base safe from the arctic winds around it. That was just one out of the many levels that we are going to be working on... Fun.

Back to what I mentioned earlier, I've been learning a lot about how microphones work, and how movies and games make their sounds. It's a little more complex than one initially thinks when starting in this field, but so far I don't think that has scared me much. Hopefully once I get out of high school and into college (Which won't be long now), I will be able to learn further on the topic. One interesting thing I found out is that cardioid microphones are named like they are because they record sound around them in a heart-shaped pattern, so that only sounds on the rim of the foot-long heart shape (point away from the microphone) can be recorded properly. Anywhere else and the microphone is not as effective and clear as it could be. For now, being as cheap as I am, I must content myself with what I can manage to scramble, duct tape, throw, and elbow-grease together what I can to make some really good sounds for a really good mod.

On the topic of mods, anyone remember the old days when Battlefield 1942 was released, and how it was so totally awesome? Even on Windows XP? Well, it's still alive and kicking guys, and I've been playing quite a bit of it. I've also found some very fun and interesting mods that have been made for it. Two of these are Forgotten Hope and Forgotten Hope: Secret Weapons, both of which are meant to provide 1942 with more maps, vehicles, weapons, and even mechanics to play with your friends. They really do appeal to me personally because they are about one of my favorite wars in history, World War II. Now, don't get me wrong, I do not condone anything from the war itself, but the technology used back then was rather fascinating, especially when speaking of "What If?" weapons and events, such as the German Maus super-heavy tank or the Invasion of Alaska by the Russians. While Forgotten Hope is a good mod, I always felt it was lacking a bit in new content. I mean, most people that play this kind of game have probably seen a M4 Sherman or a Churchill tank, but what about the lesser-known stuff? Well, Forgotten Hope: Secret Weapons gave an answer. I would highly recommend anyone reading this to visit their page (both of them) and try it out. But you will need to get Battlefield 1942 first, which fortunately is free on

Battlefield 1942

Forgotten Hope Mod

Forgotten Hope: Secret Weapons Mod

P.S.- If you actually read these and have a question or comment, just post down below. I check the website for updates often so they most likely will get an answer!

Exams, Christmas, Progress

AmbientNoise Blog

It's been a while since my last blog so I thought I would provide some updates for you.

As you all know, Christmas break is coming up and schools are giving out exams left and right. I've been extremely busy with homework and long-term assignments lately, mostly a product of teachers not spreading out their curriculums appropriately, so they try to cram all their quota of tests and quizzes down the students' throats the week before exams. So that's

Speaking of Christmas, this year might bring around even better sounds from myself as I will be getting some professional sound packs. You all know what this means...bigger explosions, more vehicles, and better weapon sounds. I've also been experimenting with different effects and filters to help make sounds for Xen npc's and such, so far to little success (any suggestions here would be appreciated). Makes me wonder how Valve did it in the first place.

The mod's been progressing nicely and we've had some people apply for positions on the team. As of the time of this writing, the team leader (and several other members) has been offline for most of the past few weeks, so even though I may have answered, Boker still needs to approve your membership. Other than that little hiccup we have made significant progress, and I've been making more concept art.

I did find something interesting though. While I was working on some definitions on for one of my classes, I found an article about how the word "X-mas" came around. Intriguingly enough, the common assumption that it is a secular name for Christmas is false. Its origins actually lie within the early Greek Church, where the letter "X" was commonly used as a substitute for the word "Christ", therefore X-mas isn't anything bad, it's just a shorthand form of Christmas. Prety interesting, huh?

Wishing you all good luck on your exams and a Merry Christmas,

School Starts, Pack Released

AmbientNoise Blog

Breaking news! School has started! Everyone probably knows how that goes, less time to work on mods and live leisurely, more time devoted to, well... actual work. I could go on and on about how school is necessary for the survival of history nerds like myself, but maybe it's better if that's left to a ranting blog somewhere else.

In other news, anybody currently watching what I'm doing here on ModDB might be wondering why on earth my newest sounds haven't been available to to hear. (Now that I have your attention, if you actually read the words in parentheses, I would like to say if you really read my blogs and such, go ahead and watch me, you know, with that little button located in the middle of the page and to the right. It's just nice to know who is actually reading this junk.) The reason is that they are top-secret (omgwtfbbq) at the moment, but once the mod has progressed more and actually starts using videos more often, they will be revealed, melting eardrums across the world.

Also, I recently released a resource pack for Minecraft that adds Half-Life 2 Beta Textures to it to allow for grittier and darker looks to your next big building project. Amazing right? Well, to be honest, the hardest thing to make the pack was just the utter amount of textures I had to sift through (anyone who owns the beta can agree with me here) to find the ones that seemed to be able to be used the most. For instance, at one point I considered using the old brown textures for the combine walls and such, but it wasn't really used anywhere else, so that idea got booted. Further refinements may come in the future, but nothing too soon. The map included with the pack is my personal rendition of the Industrial Sector of City 17, an area that was completely cut out of Half-Life 2, even though they had a version ready for E3 in 2002. Basically how I created the map is I took several different versions of the actual beta maps and just picked out ideas that seemed to fit well from each one. Overall, the map took quite a while. Including texturing, the map probably took around 4 or 5 months to get to it's current stage. Of course, there were periods of time where I didn't feel like working (on the stenographer's chasm...yeesh) but those usually didn't last for more than a few days. And the pack is currently updated to 1.6.2 so anyone with an updated game can run it. Have fun!


Mods, mods, mods...

AmbientNoise Blog

Well, it's been a while if anyone has been reading my posts. I've just been really busy with school over the past few weeks and haven't really been able to give any good informative updates. So I decided to address some ideas that are floating around about the Raising the Bar mod.

Q: What are you people doing differently in your mod as compared to other HL2 beta/alpha mods?
A: We are going back to the earliest roots of HL2, earlier the beta and alpha. We are basing our mod off of concept art and scripts found in the book the mod takes its namesake from. We do take some inspiration from beta and alpha in areas where material from an earlier time is not present, however, contrary to some people's beliefs, we will NOT copy over beta maps and call them our own. ( On this note, I still need to work with Boker to fix up the industrial map a little more, it seems too close to the beta for my liking.)

Q: When will the mod be released?
A: When it's done.

Q: There are so many HL2 beta/alpha-themed mods... Why don't you all team up to make one really good mod?
A: Well, to be honest, I really don't know why. One explanation that comes to mind would be that since there are a lot of gaps and missing stuff from the early days of HL2 that all of the different mods are taking their own spin on the story, and combining several mods together would force them to give up their ideas for the story.

Q: Will you be needing any more members in the future to help out?
A: Probably, we will be most likely needing voice actors once we get that far, and a few other positions as well. So far, however, we are nowhere near that point and so this is just speculation. I just hope that when we need extra people to help we can find them.

Q: Are you guys competing with other beta/alpha mods to try and get your stuff out sooner than they do?
A: Of course not. We would absolutely love other mods to come out before ours, that way we won't get bored during down time! But in all seriousness, we hope that other beta/alpha mods don't see us as a fierce competitor or anything like that, as we are just trying to tell the story of Half-Life 2's early days the way we see it. Kudos to mods like Missing Information and Dark Interval, you guys are really doing a great job, I can't wait to see what you guys have been up to! (If you guys somehow go off the internet's equivalent of the beaten path and wind up finding this.)

Q: Will you guys be open to questions?
A: Absolutely! Though, be warned, there are some questions which we cannot or will not answer regarding our mod, such as when it will be released or what we are working on currently. Other than that, feel free to ask on our mod page!

Stay tuned for future mod updates!

Wasteland Mod Status

AmbientNoise Blog

For all of you out there who are wondering why the team has removed the Wasteland mod from the site, here is a little explanation.
The mod has been postponed indefintinely. Keep in mind that it isn't officially dead, as I do not know the ideas that pop into Theuaredead's head, but from what I do know it has been shelved. I have other mods I will be working on though, so if you like my work, don't worry, I'm not out of the game yet. :P
The whole team in my opinion was rather uncoordinated and almost too big to work effectively. We did get some things accomplished, but it just didn't work out. Hopefully though, in the future, maybe the mod will be revived (which is a quite optimistic thought).

That's my update as of the time of this writing,

Wastelands Mod; Half Life 2 Leak Mod Soundtrack Stuff

AmbientNoise Blog

Well, as you can tell from what I have posted on my profile, and my profile name, that I do like to work with sounds a lot for games. I'm still waiting on getting a good mic (haven't got the money for it yet), so that I don't just have to take it off of youtube videos or download already-made sounds.
So far, I've been included in working on the Wasteland mod, if it ever comes out or makes any progress. From what I've been told by the team leader, we are missing a few key areas, since the team (from what I can guess or have been told) consists of a bunch of mappers, a sound guy (Me), a modeler, and the leader. We are also working on the Half Life 2 Beta Deathmatch mod, and that is currently our main focus I think, which might explain the lack of updates for Wasteland.
My prediction is, Wasteland may have a chance if the vacant positions are filled, but if they aren't, it's probably going to die out like so many other leak mods. Just the way I see it, don't think I'm a oracle or anything :P
Anyways, I've been looking at the other leak mods and I must say I'm impressed with the great mapping that they have done, especially Dark Interval, even though it's been dormant for quite a while. I have been trying to locate songs that fit the areas in their screenshots well enough. All songs would be from the HL & HL2 (Including episodes) soundtracks since I can't currently make music with my equipment. Here's a few I've thought of:

  • Wasteland Train Ride: Space Ocean, Lab Practicum, Inhuman Frequency, Shu'ulathoi.
  • Air Exchange: Hard Technology Rock, Airex Reactor (ambient1 in the files), Pulse Phase (E3 version), Decay Mode, What Kind Of Hospital Is This, Eon Trap.
  • Combine Factories: Traveling Through Limbo, Vague Voices, Calabi-Yau Model, Entanglement (If it's not used as an ambient sound), Trainstation Part 1 & 2, Combine Advisory, Decay Mode, Eine Kleiner Elevatormuzik, Shu'ulathoi.
  • Canals: Cavern Ambience, Diabolical Adrenaline Guitar, Dimensionless Deepness, Electric Guitar Ambience, Sirens in the Distance, Xen Relay, Brane Scan, Broken Symmetry, Calabi-Yau Model, Probably Not a Problem, Suppression Field, Eine Kleiner Elevatormuzik, Extinction Event Horizon.

If anyone has ideas or comments, feel free to post. I'll most likely respond.

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