Post news RSS Half Life 2: Raising the Bar REDUX: July 2022 Gameplay Sandbox Update

Half Life 2: Raising the Bar REDUX: July 2022 Gameplay Sandbox Update, featuring a closer look at our gameplay sandbox in Division 2!

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Hey there folks! Welcome to the July 2022 Gameplay Sandbox Update. It’s been a while since our last update – that being the demo from February – and in that time we’ve been hard at work on Division 2. As we explained in the last update, we wanted to steer away from content-heavy updates as that would involve showing a lot of Division 3 stuff, and we want the focus to remain on Division 2. However, we’ve made some big changes to the weapon sandbox in Division 2, and we decided now was a good time to get into some of them, especially as some stems directly from demo feedback! There’ll be a few other things to nibble on too, so stick around!

NOTE: This update has quite a lot of video footage included to help illustrate the info provided, so we'd suggest watching the video below for this update. However, we've provided some gifs and a transcription in case you're not able to, and we'll be happy to answer any questions you might have over on our public Discord:

Weapon Functionality Updates

KRALICH: Kicking things off, Division 2 is introducing a lot of new changes to the weapon sandbox – bringing new functionality for classics of the arsenal, some not introduced into a cut content mod before. Let’s break down some of these changes, starting with the AKM.


New Hands (January 2022)

KRALICH: In RTBR, the AKM is a reliable weapon with heavy damage output, but to balance it with other weapons available at this time, we introduced a delayed-fire system where, after the first five shots held down, the weapon slows in firerate by about 20%. It’s powerful enough to mow down weak enemies even when the trigger’s held, but with careful burst firing, the player’s DPS will be higher. Next, I’ll hand off to Iridium, who programmed the pistol’s function.


Minetown (January 2022)

IRIDIUM: In an early release build of HL2, a bug existed where you could hold right click to “charge up” a second shot from the pistol. We decided to canonise this feature with a secondary burst fire for the pistol, firing two shots in quick succession. The primary fire is now also much more accurate, however it can no longer be spam fired. Since the demo, the primary fire rate has been increased to 250 RPM (up from around 225 RPM), and the burst fire allows for four bursts per second. Now, Amicus will describe the shotgun you’ll find in Ravenholm.


New Hands (January 2022)

AMICUS: Half-Life 2’s double barrel burst was satisfying, but challenged the balance of a lot of other weapons at close range whilst also being unnecessary overkill in panic firing situations. For RTBR, we decided to innovate with a semi-auto secondary fire which has a considerably faster firerate but also less accuracy. The primary fire’s accuracy was slightly buffed to compensate, giving players a little more control over their ammo economy. Arbabf is up next, with the grenade cooking system!


July 2022 - Grenade Cooking

ARBABF: The grenade is a weapon that has a bit of inconsistency associated with how much you can get out of it, and whilst useful against less intelligent enemies like zombies, loses some of its usefulness against the Combine. As a result, we’ve implemented a grenade cooking system, which lets players time their grenade throw to deal some serious damage and wipe out many soldiers at once; however, overcooking it will be hazardous to the player. As you’ve been watching these, by the way, you might have noticed that the flashlight has changed – it now has a new texture with a wider field of view, and an infinite battery life, which helps with player visibility as well as making the flashlight more useful in general. Now, back to Kralich, regarding the MP7 and Stunstick.


Cagelight Remake

KRALICH: Division 1’s MP7 was a force of nature, mowing down enemies with little trouble. Our AKM initially struggled to keep up, and so in the Division 2 demo it received a nerf in damage that was a bit overtuned. Now, it’s been buffed from 25 rounds in the mag to 30, and received a small buff in damage potential that still gives the AKM room to shine, but the MP7 now also has its own personality at short range, as intended.



KRALICH: In Division 1, the Stunstick’s damage was higher than the crowbar but slower in attack speed, ostensibly for breaking crates and other environmental hazards in one hit. However, this was a niche use that didn’t play well into the strength of the weapon, and we decided to add a charge up system. At full charge, the stunstick will one-hit kill a zombie, giving players a powerful option for saving ammo in difficult situations.

Now that we’ve gone over the weapon functionality, let’s get into another addition to our weapon system – draw and reload frames.

Draw & Reload Frames

July 2022 - Draw Frames

KRALICH: Our weapon animations are detailed and aimed at triggering all the right reactions in our collective lizard brains, but we also noticed a few instances where they were just a little too long in practical gameplay. Rather than compromise the quality of our animations for those who like to chew the scenery, we’ve introduced a system used in CSGO and a lot of other modern shooters where the weapon’s “readiness” is determined on a per-frame basis instead of when the animation concludes.

When drawing a weapon, the weapon’s actual ability to fire is arbitrarily linked to when the draw animation concludes. This limits the ability of players to “quick switch” in the relevant weapon for a task, so draw frames now determine a weapon is ready to fire as soon as the animation shows it pointing forwards. This speeds up ready time across some weapons by only a fraction of a second, but adds to the flow of combat a lot.

Like draw frames, our weapon reloads have flair, but swapping out just a little too early could sometimes result in players just missing the “reload readiness” at the end of the animation. Now, a frame is marked as when the weapon is reloaded and ready to go – usually synced up to the magazine being inserted. Players can then quick swap to “skip” the rest of the reload, which, combined with draw frames, keeps combat flowing nicely.

So you’ve gotten a good look at our weapons now, but what about enemies? Well, one has received considerable reworks since the demo, and has added functionality for mappers to boot!

Cremator Revisions

Maxwell Furniture (January 2022)

KRALICH: The cremator is an iconic enemy of the cut content, and we brought it back in Division 1 and 2 with some changes to its AI like an added melee attack that were aimed at making it more satisfying to fight. However, we didn’t totally hit the mark, and following on from feedback in the demo, we made a few notable changes to its abilities. I’ll hand off to Iridium to discuss the cremator as most of it has been his brainchild!

IRIDIUM: The cremator has received changes that are aimed to reduce the surprise and guesswork that came with predicting its attacks. This led to much frustration during the Division 2 demo encounter. We did this in a few ways. First, wind-up and wind-down animations from the beta were utilised, which help to telegraph that the cremator is preparing to fire, and then it de-escalating as a threat once it winds down. Secondly, the melee attack speed was sped up, diminishing player ability to trick the AI of the cremator, getting it stuck in a melee loop. Thirdly – coded by Arbabf, and designed graphically by Randomcatdude –we took the new cremator fire, and updated it to burn the player in a way that showed an afterburn overlay similar to TF2. This overlay is much less intrusive than the red screen and large green flames of before, giving players less disorientation when fighting the cremator. As a bonus, I added the ability for the player or other entities to be ignited and extinguished with a cremator fire entity specifically, which allows the creation of new environment puzzles.

KRALICH: As you can see, we’ve done a lot of work ensuring Division 2’s sandbox is up to snuff with more interesting weapon functions to explore and a fairer cremator to face. Now, let’s get into a few extra tidbits – assets and levels! I’ll hand off once more to Amicus to talk about this first one.

Sawblade Cannon

July 2022 - Sawblade Cannon

July 2022 - Sawblade Cannon

AMICUS: The sawblade cannon was originally a trap we envisioned for Ravenholm involving players being able to launch sawblades from a controlled gigantic crossbow, but whilst cool in theory, in practice, we found it was almost always better to just fling them with the gravity gun. We still wanted to explain what use Grigori has for sawblades – he’s not flinging them like frisbees – and so we modelled this broken-down sawblade cannon model. You’ll be able to spot a few throughout Ravenholm, with sawblades nearby for your own use. Next up is a prop for Maxwell’s lab, and Val’s up this time.

Maxwell Generator

July 2022 - Maxwell Machines

July 2022 - Maxwell Machines

July 2022 - Maxwell Machines

VAL: Maxwell’s lab has been intended to have its own personality from both retail and the other labs in the mod, and this has been done with dozens of custom props, decals, and textures that each build on this personality. Remodelling the Black Mesa East props with a distinctive new look is one of the last tasks in this lab, and leaves things off in a great way. Next, Entity will say a few words about Outercanals01’s lighting improvements.


July 2022 - Outercanals01 Lighting Improvements

July 2022 - Outercanals01 Lighting Improvements

ENTITY: A common complaint about Outercanals01 in the wake of the demo was how dark the map was, and whilst this was intended to a certain extent, we also agree in some places it was just too dark to see where you’re meant to be going. As a result, we’ve gone back and brightened up the ambient lighting and direct lighting on the light_environment considerably, as well as adding floodlights to the platforming area so players can better see where they’re meant to be jumping. Back to CW now, discussing Quarrytown02 as he’s voicing some of the denizens of the place!


July 2022 - Quarrytown02

July 2022 - Quarrytown02

July 2022 - Quarrytown02

CW3D: Quarrytown02, as the middle-leg of Gordon’s trials in Ravenholm, introduces more zombies you’re used to facing, as well as a few new to Ravenholm. Rife with secrets to uncover, it’s a place where dedicated players will have plenty to dig up. Finally, back to Kralich!


July 2022 - Quarrytown03

July 2022 - Quarrytown03

July 2022 - Quarrytown03

KRALICH: The penultimate map of Ravenholm is, currently, the closest to its retail counterpart in design, but once more Flash’s art passing is making a familiar basis unrecognisably beautiful, and setting a remarkable standard for the rest of the Division.

Finishing Up

July 2022 - Recruitment

And that’s all for our mid 2022 update! We know it’s been a while, but rest assured, as this update demonstrates, we’ve been real busy! Before leaving off, if you’d like a piece of the action, consider joining with one of the roles below:

  • Competent level designers – We’re still open to having both additional support in the art pass and blockout departments
  • Facial flex/sculptor – We’re still in need of someone comfortable with sculpting head meshes in the context of Source (so creation of VTAs as well)

If any of these roles look good to you, please add me on Discord at Kralich/David#0901. Thanks everyone, and we’ll see you next time, hopefully for some big news about Division 2!

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SweetRamona - - 5,113 comments

Looks fantastic as always! 😺

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Kabootis - - 34 comments

woah deja vu, looking great tho

sawblade launcher looks okay but i love launching saws...

Maxwell Generator looks good

Draw & Reload Frames: feels like csgo like, but i remember how i played CSS (liked that game tho) or CSGO (A little bit...)

also the Shotgun changes is gonna be like uhh.. well.. having semi auto alt fire will be op or not, and gonna be like autoshotgun or whatever, but kinda good tho
also shotgun looks like hl2 beta shotgun but better

the maps lookin good tho!

this update feels like quality of life, and also its starting to have like better things going here from bad to good

looking forward to it

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wmf776759 - - 472 comments


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