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.

arc 1

arc 2arc 3

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 3 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 29)

So, a few questions:

1) How many chapters are you planning at this point?

2) Any plans for new weapons and enemies?

3) Are you looking to expand gameplay mechanics, for example - rope climbing (like in Half-Life: Opposing Force)?

4) Just curious, how big is the team?

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Psst... got a download link to that hammer editor remake?

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I'm really excited for this game! I really enjoyed the VNN video which got me hyped since I have never heard of this game until then.
Wish I could help but I lack every role experience that you guys require, I have plans on becoming a programmer. Well... I wish you guys luck on this fantastic looking game!

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The gameplay video you released w/ VNN was extremely disappointing. Very boring repetition of the least exciting parts of Episode Two, on par with any old fan made shoot-em-all map.

Just wanted you to recognise that not everybody got super ecstatic. Maybe you should rethink how you approach mapping, because just new models and just new sounds don't make a good mod.

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Nukedrabbit95 Creator

Sorry for the late reply. We're well aware of this. I'm not particularly happy with that VNN video either. I believe it was a mistake to allow random old dev maps to be shown off unfiltered as the most current state of the game. The maps shown off in that video are both well over a year old, and neither is in any form part of the game currently. I can assure you that we are not just making some lackluster EP2 maps with pretty graphics and nicer weapons. Our gameplay ambitions are just as high as our artistic ones. We want to make a game that's worth playing in its own right.

Which is where the issue lies. There aren't that many level designers left in the community capable of crafting gameplay of the quality we're looking for, and fewer still who are available to work for free. It takes a lot longer, and a lot more effort to design a game that's worth a damn from scratch, than it does to make some models and polish HL2's shooting mechanics, and ultimately we need something to show off in order to attract the talent we require to finish the game. We've had multiple starts and stops on the level design front, scrapping entire directions when it was clear they weren't gonna produce anything more than what you've seen in that VNN video. We're on a much better track now, but we've learned our lesson, and aren't going to reveal anything until we're certain it's worth showing off.

So rest assured. Creating a game is absolutely our number one priority, and has been the entire time.

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I agree. We don't need improved weapon recoil or sounds! Better concentrate on mapping...

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This honestly looks so good, I really hope to play the combat demo at some point.

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I really hope by the time PB & BA come out i get a much stronger Laptop to play them, i only had NVIDIA GEFORCE GT for now althought i do know i still can run Boreal Alyph since it's on the source engine, good luck with this project and my your hearts be your guiding key (Kingdom hearts line)

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