Based on the Marc Laidlaw short story--Epistle 3--Boreal Alyph aims to capture Valve’s lost vision, and bring a fun, and satisfying end to the celebrated Half-Life series. Epistle 3 is a synopsis of Half-Life 2: Episode 3, written by ex-Valve writer, Marc Laidlaw. Since its publication in the the 25th of August, 2017, Half-Life fans at Keep Away From Fire have been working hard to bring Epistle 3 to life in the source engine.

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Hello! Welcome to the Boreal Alyph November 2018 update.

It’s been quite a while since our last update. In the meantime, we’ve significantly re-structured and re-organised our team. Additionally, we’ve made significant progress in updating the Source Engine, as well as new additions to level design, systems, and artwork.

We’ve been hard at work since the last update, and have overhauled nearly everything. Keep in mind that everything you see, however, is a work in progress. It may change drastically before the final release.

To start with, we’d like to show you our crowning achievement thus far. We’ve made significant progress in bringing the Source engine’s graphical capabilities more in line with modern titles. The first aspect of this is Physically Based Rendering (PBR). PBR is a rendering technique that has become extremely widespread in the past few years. It allows for far more accurate shading and reflections than the traditional rendering methods used by Source. Both models and brush geometry are able to make use of PBR shading. If you’d like to know more about PBR, you can learn more about it here.

On top of this, we’ve implemented subsurface scattering, which simulates the bleeding of light through materials like skin, liquid, and plastic. This will allow us to have far more realistically lit humans and aliens, enhancing the immersion and believably of our characters. You can expect more news regarding features like these in the future.

Boreal Alyph's November Update

With new graphical updates, comes new gameplay improvements. Our first step towards this end is improving the way weapons feel. This includes making them more effective, engaging, and satisfying to use, while still maintaining familiarity. Recoil has been made punchier, and most weapons will travel upwards while shooting. Accuracy is also affected by how long you shoot. These changes have been kept subtle and tasteful. We’re not looking to alter the core identity of the game.

A great amount of attention has been paid to weapon sound design. A whole procedural system has been crafted to ensure that our firearms sound detailed, varied, lively, and credible. Gunshots will reverberate dramatically through the environment, and change based on your surroundings. We currently have five different environment types implemented, and more features enhancing detail and nuance are in the works.

Environments showcasing Boreal Alyph's reverb technology

An article discussing weapons in the game can be found here.

We’ve also taken the first steps in overhauling the AI of certain enemies to make them more engaging. So far we’ve made combine soldiers flinch more frequently in response to being shot, as well as boosted their accuracy. A medic variant, who administers first aid to fellow soldiers, is also in the works. Expect more changes like this in future updates.

We’ve put together a brief demonstration of our game’s combat in action. Keep in mind that everything you see is still a work in progress, and subject to change before the final release.

Boreal Alyph combat demonstration

Our musicians have been hard at work creating brand new tracks, attempting to faithfully recreate the feel of Half-Life’s original score — while maintaining its own personality. Take a listen to this score sampler and throw some feedback our way.

Boreal Alyph score sampler

Our artists have been developing plenty of new concept pieces for the team. We’ve gone through several design iterations of Alyx’s new winter gear, while retaining the essential elements of her design. You might notice another familiar face here as well.

New concepts for Alyx Vance in winter gear


New outfits for Barney Calhoun (Left) and some armour variants for a Combine soldier (Right)

Our landscape artists have also been working on some possible arctic environments for Gordon to traverse through during the course of the game.

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Concept pieces depicting various locations Gordon may traverse on his journey

Finally, if you think you possess the skills needed to help this project progress, please join us! We are currently hiring for these positions:

  • 3D Artists
  • 3D Animators
  • A.I. Programmers
  • Concept artists
  • Level designers
  • Programmers

You can find our application form here.

We will do our best to be increasingly transparent with our progress, without spoiling some of the things we have going on under the hood.

We appreciate the support of our community and the Half-Life community at large. We’ll see you again soon.

- Keep Away From Fire

Update Two

Update Two

News 2 comments

Archive of Update Two. General info, and showcase video.

Update One

Update One


Archive of Update One. Studio re-branding, and concept sketches.

Comments  (0 - 10 of 11)

Hey can your mod additions be easily applied to the OG Half-Life 2 and it's first two episodes? I read your weapon article and would love to see those gunplay changes made to stock Half-Life 2. Maybe you could package that all together, so when downloading your mod, the player gets the complete package for replaying Half Life 2 and all it's content & episodes, before he gets to your new third episode, which is based on Valve's original plans for the official Episode 3. It's like the Perfected Half-Life 2 mod with unofficial episode 3 expansion campaign to play and maybe finally finish the narrative. YEEEEEEEE! I want to re install Half Life 2, just cause I saw this mod for the first time today. Good job and thank you. Hope it gets pushed out the door without getting stuck in development hell. Good luck.

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Boreal Alyph involves changes to the code of the game, so no. You will be able to place Half-Life 2 maps in Boreal Alyph directory and play them from the console, but this won't be supported. Some features won't work as they rely on the maps having specific entities or settings in them to work.

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Awwww. :( Damn, the transition from the OG half life 2 and both episodes to your game will be intense, as your gunplay seems superior to the vanilla. Any mods for OG that you recommend to enhance the gunplay? Any personal favorites of yours?

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Looking great guys, keep it up! Totally jelly you're using deferred rendering. I've been trying to implement it for EZA but simply do not have the knowledge to get it working!

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SchwartzKAFF Creator

Thanks! Im looking forward to EZA myself. I quite enjoyed EZ, excluding that goofy turret section.

Reply Good karma+2 votes

Сoncepts are really beautiful !

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SchwartzKAFF Creator


Reply Good karma+1 vote

Good to know this has a ModDB page. Thanks Lambda Generation!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+5 votes

Hey catch me later, I'll buy you a beer!

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