Neptune is a single-player modification for Half-Life 2, taking place entirely outside the mother game's universe. Set primarily onboard a mysterious and desolate cruise liner, floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, Neptune allows the player to slowly unravel the dark and disturbing past of the ship as he/she explores its once-grand rooms, corridors, concert halls, restaurants, bars and maintenance areas. Taking influence from games such as System Shock 2, BioShock, Thief: Deadly Shadows and Silent Hill, Neptune is an atmospheric, narrative-driven, horror-based shooter; an exercise in videogame storytelling and tense level design. It is expected to be released in Q3 2009.

Post news Report RSS Weekly-ish news update #3.

Weekly-ish news update #3. Plodding along handsomely, trying desperately to leave that horrible zone of 'finishing pre-production'.

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This is, by far, the most frustrating period in a mod's development.

We're now at the stage where the story's pretty much finished, the artwork's all getting there, level designs are starting to come together, the script's being written, and then half of it's being chucked out and started again with.

Okay, maybe that's not strictly true, but it certainly feels like suddenly we're having to revise a lot of concrete ideas we had about the specifics of Neptune.

This means a few things. Firstly, I'm really stressed out, because I really want to actually start making the thing in a way that will resemble the finished product. Secondly, the planned media release seems a little silly now, as the content represented has largely been chucked out. If we can get everything updated quickly, we still may be able to treat you to something in the next couple of weeks, though. Thirdly, it's got to that annoying stage when you've been working on the same thing constantly for a few months, when all the ideas you had at the start that seemed fantastic, ingenious, innovative and amazing... well, they now sound a little bland and predictable.

I'm going to take a risk and wager that it's because we're too close to the project, and not change any of the core ideology of the thing. Nick's writing up a new version of the story, which gets rid of some cliché, adds some depth of character, and establishes some nice new themes. Clearly, we're not giving any of this away, but hopefully everyone will find it sufficiently odd and interesting to keep them hooked throughout the few hours of gameplay we have planned. We're working on a very specific artistic style to the thing, giving the mod a sense of time and place. All we can really expand on all this is, it's the end of World War 2, you're an innocent man taking a risk so you can afford to put food on your family's table, and it all goes horribly wrong when your boat capsizes in the middle of nowhere... oooOOOOoooh!

The pace will pick up, I'm sure, because we welcome two new team members this week. Anthony Sims and Jacob Fisher both join the art team, and we can expect some lovely models, textures and - sooner - concept art from that crazy pair. Welcome aboard!

See you all soon with something more interesting to report.

Lewis & co.


I think this is the stage that many mods get abandoned, and it's obvious why. All I can say is that I truly hope you continue development on this promising mod.

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LewisDenby Author

Instead of going "oh, crap, this doesn't work, we'll have to get rid of it," we're thinking "okay, this specific thing doesn't work, but how can we achieve the same sort of gameplay experience in another way?" As such, we're always thinking forwards instead of backwards, and I'm sure that will ensure there's always a goal in sight, and no reason to discontinue work on this.

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The very fact that you consider these issues with such maturity suggests to me that you have what it takes to see it through and overcome any problems you encounter. Really looking forward to this one. Good luck!

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Looks very promising, and I can't wait to hear more news of it in the future

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