==UN-UPDATED prototype release== Prison Dusk Variant (interval 22) Reverting to int 22 due to critical bug with the revised gas puzzle. Will upload a...
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Reposting from my blog, this is a bit of a long one.
Blimey, it's been a minute.
Not a lot new to report, I've had precious little time to work on the mod. I've survived a year at my current job and I've stayed on top of the rent. Quarantine has made keeping the house supplied difficult, and my life has struggled to maintain stability with the many, many curveballs I've been thrown as of late. Hopefully, I'll be able to dedicate more time to the project now that my work schedule has become more consistent again. I've been doing more paper concepts for Superstructure, as it's an exceedingly difficult level to get working.
It's going to be a vertical layout map, mostly focused around puzzle solving, some setpiece moments, and maybe a bit of action at the end, but I'm trying to save the firefights for Prison since it's a map mostly built around non-linear shootouts.
Speaking of Prison.
Depending on the breaks, I may be reworking some elements or trying out a from-scratch rebuild, depending on how things go. I like the map overall, but some of the older parts of the map were built... eight years ago? However, currently, the map's t-junc count is in the stratosphere so attempting to add anything causes the map to not compile at all. The main area I want to rework is the prison interior. It's a bit of a janky space to navigate and I want to polish it up to match the rest of the level. The scale for parts of it is a bit off and honestly it could really use a rebuild. I might try to build that specific section in isolation in a different vmf and then re-add it, but the map might also benefit from a full rework to make the map a little more thematically cohesive.
If I do decide to rework Prison, I will likely do so after the release of the first 3-4 maps of the mod to the public, and if I can balance that with the rest of the mod to come.
I haven't made the roadmap for development public, because I've been reworking it repeatedly and trying to excise anything that won't match my quality bar or plot outline. But rest assured, there's a plan for release. I'll give out some rough ideas, but understand, these are all subject to change at any time.
train / superstructure (a/b?) / prison
Train's gameplay is more or less done, it's a matter of polishing the visual elements and syncing it up with the other maps.
Superstructure is being planned and greyboxed, and is likely going to take a great deal of time to make. Lots of displacements, optimization considerations, working on puzzles, etc.
Prison, you've already seen. It's come farther since, I've changed some things. It still needs a bit of work, but it's pretty close to being cracked.
livefire / sewer / docks / shipwreck / radio tower
Livefire is in the prototyping phase. I've got some ideas, gonna try not to spoil much. A few screenshots have been uploaded, so you can see a bit of what I have in mind.
Sewer hasn't been started. I've got some drawings down but I've been trying to hunker down and focus on Block I.
Docks has been prototyped decently, and I've got some shots of it up. It's not quite done, and needs a sync up point with the next level and the previous once it is shipshape.
Shipwreck hasn't gotten out of planning. It might be too much for Source, but I really want to make ti work. We'll see.
Radio Tower is also a planned area. Small, boss fight thing. Might roll it into Shipwreck or cut the chapter completely depending on the difficulty balance.
garrison a / garrison b / bunker / research one a /research one b
Garrison has an exterior design, you can see it in the current version of Prison. I have some big plans for this level. Will need to do some prototyping, but focusing on earlier content for now.
Bunker has an old prototype that I'm excising, but might draw on for stylistic reference. Its gameplay will likely be prototyped much later.
Research One I've been doing drafts of on paper, trying to find the right look of the building and how it connects to everything else on the island. It, too, is a rather ambitious idea.
Now, balanced with all of this, I'm also attempting to learn Unreal 4 on the side. The one thing I am committing to, for sure, is getting Block I out the door on Source. Once those maps are out in the wild and I start getting feedback, I can make some bigger decisions about where to go and whether or not to try to migrate the game to Unreal.
The main advantage with Unreal that I can see that helps the mod is fluid dynamics and level streaming. I've always wanted the mod to be a seamless experience where you can see parts of the island from other parts of the island. Unreal can be very good at this, as well as offering a better draw distance to more fully realize things like Superstructure. And what I have planned for shipwreck would probably work better in Unreal due to the fluid dynamics. Additionally, if I were to bring on more people to the team, Unreal is significantly easier to work with from an asset pipeline perspective. Getting new models into Source is an oft-herculean task. Source's import tools are old, and from my understanding, quite difficult to work with.
The main problem with Unreal would be undoing years of work to try and get it on another engine, and I don't want to do that unless I genuinely have to, or the mod builds up a fanbase that wants to see the game on a more recent engine. I like Source, I've built up my skills on the SDK enough that my mapping on the engine is relatively confident. Having to restart on UE4 would honestly suck, because I'd have to start from the ground floor again and learn a completely new way of doing things. Even if it would be more flexible in the end, Five is a game about the Half-Life canon. It was written and tailored to be a Half-Life game, and it feels like it should stay on Half-Life's engine. The only way that would change would probably be contingent on how Project Borealis fares, and if I can use their assets to build off of. They've already released movement physics code and their gunplay looks spectacular in the engine demos they've released. Five on UDK using Borealis could honestly be a great direction to take the project. But it would require a lot of retraining and a lot of growing pains.
So I guess you could say I'm at a bit of a crossroads. I'm trying to hold off on addressing that until after Block I is done and out the door. I promise you that the first few levels will come out on Source as planned. After that, I've got some thinking to do.
Thanks to all of you who have tried my mod. I hope I can keep making cool stuff for you.
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