A redux of the cancelled mod from August 2016. Utilising content from developer repositories and some originally created parts, Half Life 2: Raising the Bar Redux will aim to recreate at part of the vision the original developers had for the game, as well as developing our own. RTB:R centres around a thematic melding of the HL2 Alpha, Beta, and Retail concepts, as well as our own ideas, to create a unique and complete experience.

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Half Life 2: Raising the Bar REDUX: Update V3.3 - creatures, maps, models.

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Half Life 2: Raising the Bar REDUX: Update V3.3

Hi, everyone. In Update V3.3, we’ve extensive work done by our character modeller to show, as well as redesigns of a few crucial gameplay items, our new MP7 model, new animations for some of our heaviest weaponry, concept art of a key map prop we’ll be acting on in the near future, and, as always, great map progress.

Team Updates

As with last update, we’ve taken on a number of new people in the last few weeks. In programming, we have Milkyderp and Scart (the latter of whom was accidentally missed out from the last update, but his contributions so far is such that he definitely deserves special mention). In modelling, we took on Saatvik Dube, some of whom’s work you’ll get to see today. In level design, we took on ThatsRidonkulous, who got to work on the trainstation. In voice acting, we took on Sam Warren and Caleb West, who are voice acting our Barney and G-Man respectively. Finally, in animation, we took on Anomidae, who will be animating the new creatures we have our character modeller working on.

Medvial

Medvial Render


Medvial In-game


Starting off small – you might recognise the medvial from a few updates back. The texture was primitive and the model could also do with improvement. Saatvik, upon joining the team, went to work on the health vial and enhanced the model, as well as creating a brand-new texture for it. Little details like this can make-or-break immersion in gameplay, which is why we’re happy our medvial finally got the treatment it deserved.

Headcrab Concept Models

Retail-Inspired Headcrab Render


Retail-Inspired Headcrab In-game


Leak-Inspired Headcrab Render


Leak-Inspired Headcrab In-game


The first of the creatures Andy went to work designing and experimenting with was the default headcrab. Aiming for two skins – one based off of retail, and one based off of early iterations of it – Andy delivered a new and unique take on headcrabs. The opinion on the team is broadly positive on the change of design, although it is by no means final. We do, however, intend to wait for his interpretations of the fast and poison headcrab before we pass a solid judgement on the set, and we expect these will be ready for a showcase in January. We acknowledge the design is different and steps away from Half-Life’s design, but we think it is a good redesign, and want to see where the thought process goes before stopping prematurely what could be good ideas.

Heavy Weapon Animation Updates

As previously mentioned, our heavy weapons – the GR9 and OICW – have both been subject to new sounds and animations by Joshua Kardian and Peardon Peace respectively. These have gone some way to helping the weapons feel satisfying to use, particularly the improved GR9 animation set. Take a look:

Lab02 Progress

GameSmert has made further improvements to Lab02, detailing the lab itself, as well as making good progress on scenes for the map. He’s also begun work designing a scene for our opening G-Man speech, the first line of which is voiced by Caleb West. You can watch them here:

Lab02 Progress Video


G-Man Progress Video


Houndeye Models

Half-Life Inspired Houndeye Render


Half-Life Inspired Houndeye In-game


Leak Inspired Houndeye Render


Leak Inspired Houndeye In-game


Another creature worked on by Andy is the iconic Houndeye. For this – as has been our approach with all our creatures – we wanted alternate skins that drew inspiration from multiple official sources for the Houndeye, allowing our mappers greater opportunities for detail. Here, you can see the traditional variant, with yellow-tinged skin and blue-hued sonic ridges along its spine, and also the Half-Life 2 leak variant, with more orange-tinged skin and red-hued sonic spine ridges. You’ll see a similar – and greatly expanded – thought process with our bullsquid models later in the update.

Consul Plaza Progress

Taking into account feedback from the previous update regarding lighting and detailing, Honza has begun filling out details on the building brushes scattered around the consul plaza to add more depth to the urban cityscape present, as well as to create a more vivid and visually varied environment to explore. Gameplay tweaks, as well as an early version of a consul statue you can see in the background, have been just some of the new additions added into the map. For now, progress detailing the map is being put on hold to prioritise the development of the inner canals, with the intent being for two or three of our level designers to conduct a broad art pass on all maps in chapter one prior to a demo release of the first chapter.

Suit Battery Model

Suit Battery Render


Suit Battery In-game


Next, we’d like to showcase another item prop we redesigned – the suit battery. Wildchee took into account the suit battery present in the leak files (which was simply Half-Life’s) and the retail suit battery when merging these two, providing a suit battery design that is reminiscent of both old and new. Borja then conducted the texturing job on the model, bringing it to a good standard of quality, before it was then made ready for use in-game.

Free TVs Progress

Jonah has done phenomenal work refreshing and redesigning our old Free TVs map into a much more detailed and inspired take on the iconic map from the cut concept years. With custom models on the way and scripted sequences beginning to be set-up, the alleyways of city_test have seldom looked sharper, and this will only get better as Jonah dedicates more time to the map prior to wrapping it up with scripted sequences which set the stage for the player’s progression through chapter one.

New MP7 Model

MP7 Render


MP7 In-game


Part of the work being done by modellers like Jared right now is modelling new weapon models that are entirely our own. Due to constraints on resources and skillsets, we previously had to made do with either improved leak file assets, or with royalty-free models sourced from around the internet. Jared’s first task involved taking the tried-and-tested design of the MP7 and making it our own, providing a merger of the leak (with the short, almost non-existent barrel), retail (with the holographic sight) and real-life counterparts of the weapon.

Trainstation Art Pass

ThatsRidonkulous’ role on the team thus far has been solely conducting art passes, using his advanced understanding of map detailing to spruce up the introductory map to the mod. His work on the initial platform the player arrives at, entry corridors and halls, and the iconic train pit has added substantially to the map and allowed it to reach that next level of immersion a solid first level needs. Having spruced this up as much as he feels is necessary at current, he has gone to work blocking out the Outer Canals – the third map in our second chapter – whilst we await other chapter one maps to be in a state ready for art pass duty.

Bullsquid Model Designs

Half-Life Inspired Bullsquid Render 1


Half-Life Inspired Bullsquid Render 2


Half-Life Inspired Bullsquid In-game


Half-Life Pre-Release Screenshots Inspired Bullsquid Render


Half-Life Pre-Release Screenshots Inspired Bullsquid In-game


Leak Inspired Bullsquid Render


Leak Inspired Bullsquid In-game


Aquatic Bullsquid Inspired Bullsquid Render


Aquatic Bullsquid Inspired Bullsquid In-game


Landsquid Inspired Bullsquid Render


Landsquid Inspired Bullsquid In-game


Half-Life Alpha Inspired Bullsquid Render


Half-Life Alpha Inspired Bullsquid In-game


Andy’s most substantial contribution to the team thus far has been his bullsquid creature designs. Taking the motif of “squid” further than that of “bull”, with features like the ridged tail, the arrow-head shape above its head, and the split irises, Andy has iterated on a fan-favourite design in a way the entire team is very pleased with. As icing on the cake, Andy designed six skin variants for the bullsquid, all based either closely or loosely off of all official valve concepts for the bullsquid known to exist. You can see here the Half-Life variant, as well as the Albino variant from exceedingly early pre-release screenshots and also the yellow variant from the so-called “Half-Life Alpha”. Then there is the red and aquatic bullsquids, based off of the designs featured in Half-Life 2’s leak files, and finally, we have an interpretation of the landsquid’s design, adapted to the bullsquid model. As the first sketch for the bullsquid ever conceived – and as it was done in colour – more of a creative liberty had to be taken, but given his limited reference, we think Andy succeeded in producing a skin worthy of implementation. Andy has been working solidly on creatures and we expect to showcase some more of his excellent work next update.

Vorticell Concept Art

Last but certainly not least, the vorticell is a popular and grim concept from the pre-release HL2 storyline, draining vortigaunts of their energy like organic batteries. As we already have a vorticell made out of brush geometry in our underground map and would likely use the concept in other places, too, we’ve decided to pursue our own concept art of the model and use this concept art to help design a proper model for it, too. This iteration is Rowan/Efil's handiwork.

Finishing Up

And with that, we conclude our monthly update. This is easily our largest update yet, showcasing work from many corners of the team, and also demonstrates how our new team members are able to immediately and effectively get to work.

Before ending, we’d like to announce a few roles we’re looking for on the team at this moment:

  • An experienced mapper (scripting, ideally knowledge of scene creation)

If this position interests you, please add me on discord at Merry Kralichmas#0901.

Thanks for your attention. Tune in next month for more!

Comments
Jhrino
Jhrino

This mod is gonna be aweosme

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Kralich/Gonzo Author
Kralich/Gonzo

I don't know why people are voting you down (I don't know why people are voting The-Turkish-Man down either) but thank you kindly for your support!

Reply Good karma+8 votes
The-Turkish-Man
The-Turkish-Man

Awesome!!

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GameSmert Creator
GameSmert

Thanks!!

Reply Good karma+5 votes
gman33
gman33

Will the holo scopes or scopes in general be able to be used where we can look through them to aim or is it just cross hairs only?

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GameSmert Creator
GameSmert

We're not sure on that at the moment. It is most likely we will have it crosshair only, but you never know!

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Blue199
Blue199

Houndeye and Bullsquid look out of place imo. Nicely detailed and all, but out of place with all the exagerated proportions. Now I'm not saying that it's necesarily a bad thing, but in otherwise more-or-less realistic, HL2 style graphics they stick out like a sore thumb. Maybe if everything else in the mod would be done the same way, including human characters and level geometry, etc...
Also the suit battery looks like a brush rather than a model, extremely blocky, idk what happened there.

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GameSmert Creator
GameSmert

Thank you for your criticism! I'll make sure to relay this over to our 3d modelers!

Reply Good karma+6 votes
ubilada
ubilada

Holy Motherlover Headcrab with helmet!

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SpookyTheCuteGhost
SpookyTheCuteGhost

yes, totally yes

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Zorro_de_la_noche
Zorro_de_la_noche

The design of the Houndeyes and Bullsquids look great, but the Headcrabs do not. Although I appreciate that the headcrabs look more like ... a crab, but it does not make sense in certain aspects. The Headcrabs are supposed to attack their prey to control it and thus use the body of the antitrion as a vehicle and those things ... THROUGH THE HEAD, damn it! If the Headcrab now has a shell as shown in those images, it means that it will only be able to control those beings whose head fits inside its body, meaning that the headcrab will not be able to control the body of those beings whose heads are larger than what a headcrab can handle.

Regarding the rest, I have no problems because it looks great, so it's all for now.

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GameSmert Creator
GameSmert

In our version, the headcrabs have developed a sort of resistance to melee attacks in the form of the shell. It's protection so they don't get knocked off their hosts head. And just because the shell is able to withstand blunt damage doesn't mean that it's not flexible. It'll still be able to fit around different peoples heads. It's safe to assume that the shell works similarly to flexible Kevlar.

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Zorro_de_la_noche
Zorro_de_la_noche

The problem is that there is no living creature in real life that says that a shell can be hard and flexible at the same time; basically that contradicts logical things in too many levels that I would not know where to start, even for videogame standards. Again, I admire what they try to do with this but, in a way, that makes it look more stupid and illogical than it sounds. The only way it could work is these headcrabs can only attack creatures the size of wolves, lynxes, wolverines, small bears and even human children (which sounds terrifying if you think about it correctly). Basically, it's all I have for now.

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GameSmert Creator
GameSmert

No mean to offend you, but the shell not making sense really doesn't matter. People aren't going to look at the headcrab and say "man this thing really doesn't make sense i'm totally not immersed now" while they're playing a mod for a fictional sci-fi game with zombies, universe conquering empires that have teleporters, a god level being that seemingly can manipulate time, and an trans-dimensional plane of existence that borders our universe and another. If the headcrab looks cool, and fits in the universe, than it has served it's purpose. Plus, headcrabs come from a completely different universe from us, so they could be made out of some element that doesn't even exist in ours. It's not completely out of the question.

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Zorro_de_la_noche
Zorro_de_la_noche

Try to say it as you want but about a being with the power similar to a god, I think you are exaggerating a bit in that? And no, even with that said, it does not mean that what he has said is true, because if he does that, other rules will have to be broken in general, and that is not right. Also, to say that the headcrabs are made of something else because they are from another universe that is not necessary to break established rules. Not to mention, that the things a headcrab can do could be explained in a way that makes sense in this reality without having to change too much the lore of these creatures, and even then it would make sense within the Half-Life universe, so there is no excuse. Sorry.

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Kralich/Gonzo Author
Kralich/Gonzo

G-Man is able to bend time and space at will, and snap things out of existence. Sounds pretty god-like to me.

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Zorro_de_la_noche
Zorro_de_la_noche

That could also be explained easily, and no. The people who made Hlaf-Life did not do a good job, so any excuse that comes from that is not valid.

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Kralich/Gonzo Author
Kralich/Gonzo

So your argument is "it's not like Half-Life", followed by "the people who did Half-Life did it badly"? Next.

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Zorro_de_la_noche
Zorro_de_la_noche

Sorry I meant, Half-Life 2; the first one is pretty good, in fact.

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.Bach
.Bach

Everything's looking incredible. However, as Blue said there's a discrepancy in the details of the models. Though, I'm sure is something that will be fixed in the future.

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LeoJFC
LeoJFC

The new Headcrab and Bullsquid models were perhaps inspired by these old models:

Combineoverwiki.net

Combineoverwiki.net

Combineoverwiki.net

Es.halflife.wikia.com

Houndeye concept: Es.halflife.wikia.com

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Cvoxalury
Cvoxalury

What was the original concept for "Landsquid Inspired Bullsquid"? The landsquid, wouldn't it be the regular red squid from the leak? Since it had the aquatic one, and the non-aquatic one.

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Kralich/Gonzo Author
Kralich/Gonzo

The overall pattern of that variant was based on this: Vignette.wikia.nocookie.net

This is the bullsquid's very first iteration, as imagined for Quiver as opposed to for Half-Life. There was no colour scheme to work with and the pattern was hard to see, so it was the design that Andy took the most creative liberties with.

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Papasifis
Papasifis

The lossy compression in those map screenshots is horrible; you know you can take TGA screenshots in Source, right? The command is 'screenshot' - as opposed to the default 'jpeg' command assigned to F5.
Upping your anti-aliasing will also help immensely.

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Kralich/Gonzo Author
Kralich/Gonzo

As far as I'm aware, everyone's AA is at max. As for .TGAs, mappers are now the ones who take screenshots of their own maps for updates, so I will ensure they are aware of this.

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Magic_Nipples
Magic_Nipples

I like scrolling as much as I like making thumbnails to not have to scroll so damn much.

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9seed
9seed

I like the aesthetic presented here, looks very reminiscent of the original fallout games. It'd be cool to see that expanded upon!
The headcrab looks a bit like a crab synth, IMO.

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NOVλ
NOVλ

Very nice

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SweetJuleka
SweetJuleka

I don't know about everyone else, but I really like the new Xen Alien Creature Models! :3

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