Half Life 2: Raising the Bar REDUX: Division 1.2 Content Update
Hi, everyone. It’s been a while – we’ve had our heads down hard at work on Division 1.2, and today, we’ll be revealing the majority of the awesome work we’ve been doing in this time. Division 1.2 will be out before 2021, and this means that you’ll have your hands on it very soon! I also want to announce before we get started on content that, thanks to Blixibon and 1upD, we have successfully migrated RTBR to the revolutionary Mapbase branch of the Source Engine, created by Blixibon himself. Featuring literally too many improvements, fixes, and adjustments to count, we’re already making use of Mapbase in Division 1.2 and will be in future releases as well. You can read up more on Mapbase here: Moddb.com
New Team Members
First off, though, our team has received a number of new members since Division 1.1, all helping push us forwards on Division 1.2 and beyond. These include Lisa Ortega, Fearell_Val, and Kalimando, doing character modelling, weapon modelling, and implementation support respectively; Randomcatdude, doing particle work; Name, doing music composition; Herr Dr Mord, Dev, and Iridium77 all on level design; SordidSpectacle, voicing Eli Maxwell; and TwoTime and CrazyEyedMustafa, both working on public relations. Our team continues to flourish with new talent, and Division 1.2 will show this extra manpower as well as the future divisions to come.
The Classic Zombie
Starting off strong, a common complaint regarding the custom models in RTBR was that we’d not yet covered all of the key models – metrocops and zombies being the main offenders. Thus, Andy reimagined the classic zombie, bringing it in line with our visual style whilst keeping it just as gory and horrifying as before. The dark corners of Underground are now far more ominous with these guys shambling about, and when Quarrytown appears in Division 2, you’ll see more of our redesigns of Half-Life 2’s iconic zombies, breathing new, er, “life”, into the undead.
Several noticeable props were modified by us in the early days of RTBR but didn’t see a total makeover in Division 1 or 1.1. We’ve sought to rectify this somewhat in 1.2, with Alexander giving our vending machines a faithful remake, keeping also our alternative skins we created before. With improved materials, too, these vending machines will help some environments pop just a little bit more.
Stenographer's Chasm Workers
With the Industrial Sector being one of the maps we’ve developed even further from Division 1.1, one of the vistas a lot of work was put into is the Stenographer’s Chasm. Featuring improved visuals overall, we also saw fit to implement the slightly more obscure but nevertheless important denizen of this place – the Chasm Worker, courtesy of our new character modeller Lisa! We showed concept art of this a few weeks ago and here, you can see the finalised model. These guys will appear elsewhere in RTBR, too, but for now will be appropriate set dressing in Division 1.2’s Industrial.
An iconic part of Half-Life 2’s world are its propaganda posters, helping sell the oppressive and insidious nature of the Combine. With RTBR being set in a different take on Half-Life 2, Gameboy created new and reimagined posters to sell our mod’s version of the world and the Combine, and these have been sprinkled throughout Division 1.2. There’s a lot here, so the two or three above are just a book-end – you can see an imgur album with almost all of the new posters here: Imgur.com
Much like the Chasm Workers, the Industrial Worker concept has been reimagined, also by Lisa, to help make the sector stand-out. Along with it comes a Hyperborea worker variant, which you’ll get to see first-hand later in RTBR – but going through the industrial sector with these, the new metrocops, and the new chasm workers alone makes the map feel more unique with its own place in the world, and art passing of the map by Fodderstompf makes this even more apparent.
Skin Variants Render
We couldn’t call Division 1.2 wrapped up without the Cremator receiving a total remake, and Andy took the cremator in a faithful but inspired direction. Along with our new immolator model, the cremator maintains its fearsome, horrific place in the world, and fits in better than ever. Our alternate skin for the cremator shows our commitment to branching out and picking ideas from not only Half-Life 2, but other cut concepts from all of Half-Life, and just as we’ve sampled from Half-Life 1’s cut content, we’ve come full-circle in bringing some small part of Half-Life: Alyx’s cremator design into RTBR. With code-supported skin RNG, you’ll see both variants plentifully, a reminder of what came before and what may have been across the decades.
Whilst map progress in this update will be sparsely featured due to us wanting to retain an element of surprise for the release of Division 1.2, we figured we could show some areas of the mod having been revamped so you can see the scale of changes many maps have undergone. FreeTVs is being refurbished almost from the ground-up by our consul-voice-actor-turned-talented-art-pass-mapper, Flash. With ominous sewers and highly detailed building facades, FreeTVs will look better than ever – a new yet familiar love letter to one of the most iconic elements from the cut content.
With all of our custom creature and environment models, the allied populace were sorely underrepresented. We held an internal vote some time ago to decide the finalised citizen variant we would go with – and we ultimately settled on the E3 2004 design, being one of the more recent to be revealed and one of the least common recreations. Thus, Lisa took to bringing the concept to life, and when you play Division 1.2, these will be one of the most noticeable improvements to the atmosphere of the chapter.
With a new cremator comes a new tool for him – and Freeman delivers, once again, with his outstanding Immolator model. A faithful yet high-fidelity recreation, it fits comfortably in the cremator’s hands – and it might well fit comfortably in yours, too.
Along with FreeTVs, Industrial is another map that has received extensive touch-ups. Fodderstompf has revisited all of the major vistas in the map and really brought them to life, whilst bringing up the standard of detail throughout the map, too. Implementing a number of our new models, along with new soundscapes and improved optimisation, Industrial has been brought up further than ever.
A common complaint regarding the industrial sector was the absence of one of the more iconic elements of this place from the beta – the cremator factory workers. With Division 1.2, we’ve rectified this missing element, and you’ll find all the pieces are here – with improved effects in that portion of the map, too, ensuring industrial sector touches upon all of the fondly remembered parts of the cut content.
Part of good, immersive world-building is having plenty of variety in environmental details. The extension of our repertoire of propaganda posters aided this, but we took things a step further. Clatronix, our playtester and some-time graphics designer, drew up many new pieces of graffiti from reference pictures myself and other members of the team took from our own streets. You’ll see these sprinkled throughout Division 1.2 and we expect to be making more graffiti, posters, and more environmental decals in releases to come to keep environments fresh and unique. As with the posters there’s too many to put into one article, so if you like what you see above, check out this imgur album link here: Imgur.com
Last but definitely, definitively not least is our new metrocop models – arguably one of Andy’s magnum opus contributions to the team, the new metrocops are the smoking gun that defines Division 1.2. Combat against them is even more satisfying thanks to CW3D’s new voice acting for them, which you may hear teasers of in the run-up to the release. We’ve also been able to make behavioural improvements to elite metrocops thanks to Mapbase such as allowing them to throw grenades, which makes them standout more from their normal counterparts. We feel Andy’s new take is an iconic love letter to Half-Life 2’s classic enemy types, and it joins RTBR’s enemy gallery with a splash.
With that, Division 1.2’s content update is wrapped up! Before ending, there’s one role we’re looking for right now:
- Competent level designers, to help push progress elsewhere in the mod
If this role interests you, feel free to add me on Discord at Kralich#0901. Thanks for listening, and we’ll see you soon for the definitive Division One release of Raising the Bar: Redux!