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 Origin.com.
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!