Post news RSS Half-Life: Dark Matter update - 19/02/2020

Hello everyone, I am pleased to finally bring you a brand new update for Dark Matter! This is quite an extensive write up, and hopefully you will find it interesting combined with the extra media.

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Dark Matter update: 19/02/2020


Hello everyone, I am pleased to finally bring you a brand new update for Dark Matter! This is quite an extensive write up, and hopefully you will find it interesting combined with the extra media. I had hoped to have this ready for February 10th, which would have been the one year anniversary of the project's launch. Unfortunately certain setbacks occurred over recent days, and I had to take more time away to do other things. So here we are one week (and a bit) later, but better late than never as they say! Anyhow as stated, it's been a year since Dark Matter was revealed to the public, so what exactly has happened since then?

Storyboarding


One thing that has taken some time is writing the storyline and the structure of Kovac's Journey through the Black Mesa incident. When I launched this page, I had a somewhat detailed plan of what I was going to do, but there were lots of gaps, and some aspects I wasn't entirely sure of. Various ideas have evolved, and been expanded upon, others have been simplified or even thrown away. For example, originally I was set on creating a new alien race that would be introduced into the disaster, however I realised that it would be a lot of work, and would overly complicate the plot. It would also seem forced to bring in this new faction, only for them to be around for just a short period of time before Black Mesa was obliterated.

So instead, I've focused on the untapped potential of Race X as a formidable force, delving into their history and capabilities through old pre-release interviews with Gearbox and other sourced information found on the Combine Overwiki. Opposing Force is great, but it does a very bad job at explaining what Race X are really about, you'd be forgiven for not really understanding what is going on with them. The most important point about them is that unlike aliens from Xen and The Combine, Race X have full teleportation abilities, allowing them to not only move between dimensions at will, but move anywhere within said dimensions.

This means that they can potentially be a much more powerful unseen empire, having already absorbed many worlds into their conglomerated army. Certain gaps in their background allow for me to play with ideas as well; what if there were more Gene Worms than the one Shephard defeated? Did you ever think of that before this moment?! kovac

Gene WormGene WormGene WormGene Worm


I've gone through several iterations of the various locations Kovac ventures through both old and new, changing several aspects of the timeline, and rearranging certain places in a different order here and there. The timeline now is probably 95% complete, some grey areas remain where I'm not totally sure what goes where, such as what method to use to transition between certain chapters, but mostly it's clear. The overall basic storyline itself is essentially complete. What exactly happens and what Kovac must do in each map per each chapter is still a work in progress as the make up of the environments take shape.

Having finally worked out a lot of this however, it's allowed me to start work on some new areas of Black Mesa at long last, which you can see further into this article (and in the media section of course). As Dark Matter is designed to be an official expansion, I've worked hard to make sure everything fits with the existing lore (taking into account HL2 canon as well), so there's no case of just slapping something somewhere for the sake of it, it actually all makes sense.

DM Timeline


Recent Developments


In the last small update I made at the time of MOTY, I showed off some of the new programming features like the fully working Race X, and real time radio communications system. We've since expanded the code further to include other new features, again you can see them demonstrated in the video below. I wrote a detailed FAQ to answer a lot of the regular questions I get on the Moddb page and Discord. If you haven't seen it, take a look here:

I also launched our official Twitter page (@HLDarkMatter), which you should absolutely follow if you have an account there! We've also appeared all over the Half-Life internet in various places, such as Lambda Generation (big shoutout to Robo, Gee and Alex!), Reddit, YouTube, and... 9Gag (?!) We also even got a brief mention on Vinesauce of all places, which is insane! The positive response Dark Matter has had so far at this early stage has been amazing, and I'm so very happy and grateful for all the support! THANK YOU! kovacsmile

Kovac artwork


Of course the most notable aspect of all this is probably down to the box art mockup myself and team member Sporkeh created, which received a very positive response! Originally that wasn't supposed to be shown anywhere until this very update, but when I wrote the FAQ, I first added the logo, and then suddenly I thought perhaps it would be interesting to see the response if I included the new artwork with it- Thus Kovac was revealed!

The concept was simple, if Dark Matter was to appear as an official expansion, it needed artwork to represent that in the same way as the previous box art designs did, so I edited a scanned image of the original Half-Life US box to remove the stickers, and made it a darker red. Then it was up to Sporkeh to edit the existing Male Assassin model to be more detailed. Here you can see work in progress tests, first the original model was positioned in a way where only everything above the waist that was necessary would be displayed, the goggles were detailed more, and then some lighting tests were done:

Kovac WIP1


Then the original model was positioned roughly in the right position on the background, before the higher poly Kovac model was created in stages, as well as remodeling the M40a1 rifle to match the detail. Once the lighting and render was finalised, further painting was made on top before the finished artwork was completed:

Kovac WIP2


...and there you have it, Kovac was born!

I was so impressed with all the versions, but the final artifact really blew me away, it was exactly what I wanted! It seems everyone else shares the sentiment, and I'm thrilled kovacsmile

Pipeline Software


I started this project solo, and created Pipeline Software as a fitting title to sit alongside those other developers named after an industrial device! I've since been lucky enough to get help from other people in the Half-Life community from various avenues, some of which I've known for over a decade! Because of this, I can fully realise Dark Matter into the real "Final Chapter" I wanted to create, Pipeline Software is now 8 strong! I (D3ads) am of course the project leader, responsible for the main concept, the majority of the writing (storyline, dialogue, events), level design, 2D art, and some minor sound work.

I first played Half-Life in 1998 when the Day One demo was on display in a Game store here in the UK. I then played the main game, and grabbed the Worldcraft 2.0 level editor from the CD extras. Twenty one years later, and I'm still part of the community! Half-Life has probably actually taken up about half of my actual life... hah. The others who work with me include:

James - Programming.
Suparsonik - 3D/2D art.
Sporkeh - 2D/3D art, animations.
DGF - 2D/3D art, animations.
Speedy - Soundtrack and audio effects.
Hezus - Level design guidance, Ideas and advice.
Youreviltwin - Ideas and advice.


We will expand further still in time, especially when I complete the written dialogue scripts, and recruit voice actors!

pipeline small


Media


Now for the part you've all been waiting for: new media! Well we have several bits and pieces for you...

First of all, here's a new Male Assassin model by DGF! The idea here was to update the existing model with more detail (without changing the overall design), improve the proportions, and add a headset to reflect the real time radio communications system that will be present in Dark Matter. The headset itself is basically the same design as the original LD Female assassin model, but with an actual texture!

massn_new

I am very happy to finally show you all some early screenshots from two new areas in Dark Matter!

The second chapter "Escalating Circumstances" (taking place at the same time as Opposing Force's "Foxtrot Uniform"); Having escaped from the military in the Storage Complex, Kovac reaches the surface level in Sector G...

dm1a4_wip1dm1a4_wip2

The as yet unnamed sixth chapter, Kovac navigates his way through "Materials Transport C", another part of the old decommissioned rail system...

dm3a4_wip1dm3a4_wip2

Be sure to check out these shots in the images section, where more detailed descriptions are present...

Last of all, here's a video demonstration of some of the new features in Dark Matter, a keycard system, human grunts armed with the M249 SAW, and Kovac's armour pickups, which replace all HEV chargers and batteries like Blue Shift does:

Again, a more detailed description is available in the videos section.

Everything here is of course work in progress, and subject to updates and changes.

Discord server


We've got a brand new public Discord server for you to join! Here you can discuss all things Dark Matter; ask questions, watch for updates here and on Twitter, and see work in progress images and videos posted as I work on various parts of the mod in real time! There are various other offtopic channels there as well, but please observe the rules, violators will be barely tolerated, play nice! kovac

Click the button below to join us:

discord button


In closing...


Last of all, Dark Matter has an official release date:

dm release


...what do you mean that's not a real date? Tell that to Valve! kovacsmile

Well... expect it sometime within the next decade anyway...

So I think that about covers it for now, I hope you enjoyed this update, I will try to keep this page fresh with new content as much as I possibly can, hopefully sooner rather than later! Next time I shall hopefully bring you more screenshots of new areas including Xen, and some actual gameplay from the real environments themselves.

For now, this is Command signing off...

Until next time 👍👍👍

-D3ads-

Comments
neophus
neophus

Nice work and good luck !

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Gnio
Gnio

Keep up the good work Marine! ;)

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therealMooble
therealMooble

Cool!

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Dmitriy-Bars
Dmitriy-Bars

Can't wait for the final result...)

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cambreaKer
cambreaKer

really nice

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Samuj
Samuj

Little nitpick but i'd imagine the Gonarch's Lair chapter takes place during Crush Depth, and Interloper takes place during the rest of Crush Depth and probably the entirety of Vicarious Reality.

But with that out of the way, good luck on the project man.

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D3ads Author
D3ads

Well... it's pretty much impossible to make an exact concrete comparison there because Xen and Earth's time frames do not sync exactly. We can say that probably Nihilanth is defeated at some point during The Package since the Xen aliens stop appearing after the Vorts at the mortar launcher. Other than that, it's just speculation. Here it's just a case of putting the chapters in order next to each other even if they don't match up exactly. Ultimately there's no crossover here anyway...

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Samuj
Samuj

Yeah after seeing this video Youtube.com just recently where at the 3:07:12 mark. Freeman enters the portal to get hired by the G-Man and it happens during the middle of "The Package" chapter. So yeah that indeed might just be the case(granted the Opposing Force footage is sped up but you did say that Earth and Xen times aren't in 100% sync so screw it) and also yeah i don't expect a crossover.

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D3ads Author
D3ads

Thanks for the video, seen the map one but this one is new, it has Decay!

Sadly.. this is not accurate in parts, most notably Blue Shift and Decay are out of sync, doesn't even show Barney returning from Xen at the same time as the end of Rift where the events crossover, that one should be easy!

These videos are fun, but should never be taken as gospel...

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Samuj
Samuj

"These videos are fun, but should never be taken as gospel..."
Eh idk i think it sort of affirms the assumption you made. Though technically Freeman getting hired can happen at any point in the late game of Opposing Force so in a way you are right.

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Guest
Guest

I its more or less like this.

HL |HL:OF

Quest. Ethics |Welcome to BM
Surface Tensio|We Are Pull Out
Forget Freeman|Missing in Action
Lambda Core |Friendly Fire
Xen |We are not Alone
Gonarch Lair |Crush Depth
Interlooper |Vicarious Reality
Nihilant |Pit Worm's Nest
Endgame |Foxtrot Uniform
|The Package
|Worlds Collide
|Conclusion

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D3ads Author
D3ads

Questionable Ethics is too early for the Opposing Force timeline, remember Surface Tension is a long chapter and it's climax syncs with the end of "We Are Pulling Out" from the radio transmission to Cooper. Nihilanth cannot be before The Package, since the last Xen aliens (vortigaunts) teleport in then. If we're trying to be accurate as possible, the actual timeline between the two likely looks like this:

Surface Tension - Welcome To Black Mesa
Surface Tension - We Are Pulling Out
Forget About Freeman - Missing In Action
Lambda Core - Friendly Fire
Lambda Core / Xen - We Are Not Alone
Gonarch's Lair - Crush Depth
Interloper - Vicarious Reality
Interloper - Pitworm's Nest
Interloper - Foxtrot Uniform
Nihilanth - The Package
Endgame - Worlds Collide

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Guest
Guest

Guess that makes sense.

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Magic_Nipples
Magic_Nipples

Sexcellent!

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Robopunch
Robopunch

Now that's one chunky media update.

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Qwertyus
Qwertyus

Happy to see a good amount of progress there!

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Lucifer97
Lucifer97

I'm really looking forward to playing this mod !

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GoldSourceFreeman
GoldSourceFreeman

The towers have doors now! It's really cool to see such details! And BTW who exactly from Vinesauce mentioned your mod, Joel maybe?

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D3ads Author
D3ads

Vinny I think, during a Stream of Black Mesa, hehe.

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monster_urby
monster_urby

Are you a Black Op? Because you can deliver MY package...

Yeah, I dunno what I mean by that.

Nice update. :D

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Hodis
Hodis

Valve, Gearbox, And Pipeline.

I see what you did there.

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D3ads Author
D3ads

Guilty as charged your honour...

Reply Good karma+4 votes
Guest
Guest

I hope I can play this game before I die. Same goes for HL3 !!

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AhvixDood
AhvixDood

half life modding spirit never ends, huh...

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theNintyFan
theNintyFan

This mod continues to blow me away, looking great so far and can't wait to experience it for myself!

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HungrySithLord
HungrySithLord

Does this mod has any crossovers from half-life 1

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D3ads Author
D3ads

Check the images.. ;)

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PsyWarVeteran
PsyWarVeteran

Fantastic work.

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HungrySithLord
HungrySithLord

I hope we can see MASTER FREEMAN and G-man in the mod

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elvenezolanoXD
elvenezolanoXD

just take your time, you are doing a great job XD

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loshmedty
loshmedty

Kovac sounds like either Serbian or Croatian surname. XD

Btw can you make this without HD pack??

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cptMarkc
cptMarkc

i think this mod is inspired by another mod, called "Black OPS"

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kingdruiduk.AKA.DJ
kingdruiduk.AKA.DJ

Is it ready yet? looks good

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