Post news RSS Half Life 2: Raising the Bar REDUX: September 2021 Update

Hey folks! Welcome to the third major update of 2021 for RTBR. This September, we’ve got a bucket load of new content to show you, from assets to progress on maps to further revised animations for some of the core weapons in the arsenal. One or two items in particular on this list are especially important to Division 2, and we’ll get to that very soon!

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Hey folks! Welcome to the third major update of 2021 for RTBR. This September, we’ve got a bucket load of new content to show you, from assets to progress on maps to further revised animations for some of the core weapons in the arsenal. One or two items in particular on this list are especially important to Division 2, and we’ll get to that very soon!


Flatboat – Airboat Remake

Airboat Redesign - September 2021

Airboat Redesign - September 2021

Airboat Redesign - September 2021

Airboat Redesign - September 2021

In the last major update, we showed an early attempt at a revision for the airboat. Whilst it was considerably more faithful to HL2’s design, we decided, in the end, to take a very different direction with the traversal vehicle for the canals. We wanted the player’s power to feel more realistic when placed alongside the revised chopper and APCs, especially as we have turned up the bombastic factor of the outer canals a great deal from HL2. Val’s new design marries the more adapted technology of the Combine with a more formidable inspiration. It won’t be the only water-borne vehicle available to the Resistance, but it will be the only one players will drive in the course of the narrative. With the new sounds by CW from Division 1.2, the airboat remake is a fierce challenger to any Combine encountered as Gordon escapes from City 17.

Consul Head

Consul Head Rework - September 2021

Consul Head Rework - September 2021

Whilst the team is mostly focused on Division 2 and onwards, we have spent a few resources going over more generic improvements that will also be backported to Division 1. One of them is a rework of the Consul’s face textures by Andy with an emphasis on both feedback within and outside of the team. The look rectifies some of the “eggheaded-ness” that was present in the Division 1 model, and will also be helpful in future narrative sequences where the Consul features.

Quarrytown01

Quarrytown01 - September 2021

Quarrytown01 - September 2021

Quarrytown01 - September 2021

It wouldn’t be a Division 2 update without a feature from Quarrytown and Flash’s design philosophy, so here he is to discuss in detail:

Flash: Another important aspect in the production of the quarrytown, is establishing a thematic variety within the environments. This principle has two effects. Firstly, it distinguishes every area the player enters, making each section a unique and almost standalone slice, which furthers the character of the quarrytown. Secondly, it coincides with the prominent half-life concepts of environmental storytelling and hints towards actions and events that took place in these regions long before the protagonist arrived. This diversity, coupled with entirely visual narratives helps the world feel lived in and further immerses the player as they traverse through the depths of Ravenholm.

Combine Generator Remake

Combine Generator Makeover - September 2021

Combine Generator Makeover - September 2021

Whilst we often remake models from scratch, we’ve also been investigating an alternative workflow as of late that places less emphasis on scratch remakes and instead on sprucing up commonly used props like the Combine Generator. Saatvik handled this one, bringing many of the 2D details into 3D, AI-upscaling the basic texture, and then applying several manual improvements. It’s not ground-breaking, but it’s not intended to be – it was a very efficient and effective way to up the fidelity of a classic prop, and we’ll likely be putting this workflow into practice with other regularly seen objects throughout the mod.

Xen Creeper

Xen Creeper - September 2021

Xen Creeper - September 2021

As ever, we remain committed to bringing our xen-infested environments to life, and Andy’s numerous original takes on xen-like organisms are a crucial part of that. This plant will see use across Division 2 and onwards, giving off a subtle orange glow and helping to add variety to any locations where Xen overgrowth is apparent.

T-Bot

T-Bot - September 2021

T-Bot - September 2021

T-Bot - September 2021

T-Bot - September 2021

It would be hard to put words regarding how much work has gone into T-Bot justice. The final model – and implementation in-game, which we will likely reveal in the future – were the culmination of many members of the team, as well as the superb support and regular communication from Travis Brady. Sloth’s sound effects for his human-like speech; Randomcat’s particle effects for his speech VFX; CW and I’s scripting and choreography to give him a good spot within the lab; and of course, Val’s legendary modelling work, whose achievement was essential in bringing T-Bot to life in a way never seen before. Scratch modelled and lovingly detailed, optimised, and referenced, T-Bot will be one of the stand-out models in all of RTBR, not just in Division 2. Here’s a few words from him on his process:

Fearell_Val: Hello, Fearell_Val here. One of the tasks of RTBR team is to bring to life concepts from HL2’s past. One of the models that have been given such treatment is T-bot. This design is partially based on the original vision of Travis Brady, a yellow, bipedal junk bot with blue energy running through him who sounds like a human talking through a 1950s radio. Our version is partially made of parts from our Combine Guard, his weapon, the immolator and Scanner Drone. You will meet T-bot in Division 2, and I hope you will enjoy this new model and interactions with him around Elis Den.

Facility02

Facility02 - September 2021

Facility02 - September 2021

Facility02 - September 2021

Many maps in Division 2 now approach completion. With over two thirds of the division having undergone rigorous testing periods and feedback adherence, as well as months of detailed art passing, maps like Facility02 are approaching the finishing line. Lena had some thoughts on her addition to the process:

Lena: Facility02 was a much more collaborative effort than Facility01, with myself, Iridium, Kralich, and Clatronix all working on it together. I decided early on that for the art pass, I wanted it to deliberately contrast with the previous level’s much more pristine conditions and put a much bigger emphasis on moodier lighting and grimy areas with the Combine’s technology at the forefront. Unlike 01, where everything seems relatively normal, here you get the sense that something isn’t quite right with the area, which gets more obvious as you go deeper into the zombie-infested inner workings of the facility. There’s a much bigger emphasis on verticality in the map as well when compared to 01, with stairwells and elevator shafts placed carefully to build up a bigger sense of scale and make the player feel tiny. It’s been a fun challenge to envision the levels that bridge City 17 and the Canals, and I hope everyone has as much fun playing them as we did making them!

Xen Stump

Xen Stump - September 2021

Xen Stump - September 2021

Another plant modelled for the Xenfestation in Division 2 onwards is the Xen Stump, also by Andy. This gross little combination of arm-like extensions and a trunk also comes with animations for each individual tentacle by Kalimando. This modular approach to our xen plants – as seen also with the Xen tubes and Xen flowers – gives a lot of control to level designers over how they want to bring the fleshy overgrowth to life.

AKM, Pistol, SMG1 Animations

Silent’s continued commitment to quality and revising his animation sets with closer and closer attention to detail produces regularly fantastic results, and whilst you’ll get the chance to take a look at his work on other weapons soon, here’s his revisions of the AKM, Pistol, and SMG1 animation sets since the last update:

New Mossman model and hair texture

Mossman Rework - September 2021

Mossman Rework - September 2021

Much like the Consul’s head, the Mossman rework is less oriented around patching Division 1 and more around providing a stronger foundation for the future. Nevertheless, Mossman’s redesigned body – as well as being more optimised – is also more faithful to our own concept art for her, and Lisa’s done a brilliant job revising her body model. Andy also took a crack at improving her hair texture, leading to a more realistic look and one that fits concepts for her much better.

Maxwell’s Lab

Maxwell's Lab - September 2021

Maxwell's Lab - September 2021

Maxwell's Lab - September 2021

Meanwhile, CW’s visual overhauls of Maxwell’s lab continue in earnest, with more swathes of the environment receiving huge improvement. Every inch of Maxwell’s lab is being considered and made to feel lived in, and CW had some thoughts to share on his progress so far:

CW3D: Since last update featuring Eli's Den, more progress has been made to the art passing and I have made my way into the main area of the den. One of the first things I got to finally add was Val's beta bus model, which I ended up turning into more of a living space rather than just a bus for various parts eli might need. I am still wanting to experiment with the lighting to highlight the bus more, so I'll see where I go from there. Another addition for the main area I started working on was more scafolding and metal support beams, taking inspiration more or less from a gorgeous looking HL2 mod, Mission Improbable. There's still a lot to go with the detailing and polishing in this map, but I think I'm really getting somewhere nice with the interior stuff. I'm really looking forward to it's future!

Maxwell Suit

Maxwell HEV Suit - September 2021

Maxwell HEV Suit - September 2021


One of Egon’s first props he modelled upon rejoining the team a while back was a rendition of the damaged HEV suit seen in the concept art depicting an eyepatched Kleiner. Though RTBR has its own suit design, we thought it’d be a cool addition to Maxwell’s lab to have his own HEV prototype on the go – perhaps for Alyx, perhaps as a backup should any other resistance members crop up and need assistance. It’s just another feature that will make Maxwell’s lab stand out from Kleiner’s and, later on, Kraken base.

Grigori Head

Grigori Head Rework - September 2021

Grigori Head Rework - September 2021

The last piece of specifically revamp content we’re showing is a remade facial texture for Grigori, based off of feedback we’ve received since showing off the model. Once again by Andy, this texture really plays to the modified head shape a lot better, improving his appearance and bringing his style more in line with the rest of the mod.

Outercanals01

Outercanals01 - September 2021

Outercanals01 - September 2021

Outercanals01 - September 2021


Outercanals01 has been a long-time commitment for me. Since taking ownership of the map in May, I’ve been working almost every day, chipping away at it. Whilst optimisation is still necessary, the map’s art pass is, functionally, complete, and having already been tested, the gameplay is solid, too. It took almost five months, but this month I’m finally moving off from Outercanals01 and focusing on scripting necessary for Ravenholm. There’s a lot of difficulties in art passing a vehicle map, and I had to do a lot of learning on-the-fly to finish off this map, but other members of the team who have worked on vehicle maps before were very supportive, and all in all, the end result is hard to argue with.

Xentree

Xen Tree - September 2021


Xen Tree - September 2021


The last xen plant being showcased is our take on a classic – the deadly Xentree! Whilst it won’t feature in gameplay in Division 2, it will be sprinkled about Division 3 and perhaps a little of the end of Division 4. It’s another great reimagining by Andy and even if not used in gameplay, we will be using it as a detail piece here and there outside the player’s accessible areas in Division 2.

Outercanals02

Outercanals02 - September 2021

Outercanals02 - September 2021

Outercanals02 - September 2021


The last feature in our update today is SCP, who has also wrapped up his work art passing Outercanals02! He’ll be moving on to Innercanals now to finish up that map too as it was almost complete before having to be shelved. Here’s a few words from him on how it felt to wrap up Outercanals02:

SCP: Greetings everyone I'm SCP! For Outercanals 02 I used several pictures of canals in Bulgaria! Mainly in Sofia and actually visited some canals myself! This helped immensely during the map's development! But remember going through the canals isn't as easy as going from point A to point B; the combine are still hunting you after all. Also, I made the map have more foliage than the normal city 17 maps! To show that you are getting father away from the city and let's say that you will meet some "familiar" creatures on the way too Eli’s den. Outercanals 02 has been a challenging map to artpasss to say the least. But I certainly hope that you all are going enjoy the map!

Finishing Up

Team Roles - September 2021


That’s a wrap for the September 2021 update! We showed some truly epic things today – T-Bot, the Flatboat, and damn-near finished levels. Division 2 is definitely over the half-way mark, and whilst we’re not giving out any dates and it’d probably be optimistic to expect Division 2 before 2022, it will hopefully arrive not long after! Before closing up, here’s a few more roles we’re still on the lookout for:

  • Competent level designers – Whilst we’ve picked up a few new blockout mappers since the last update (whose work you’ll likely be seeing soon), 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)
  • Texture/material artist – We’re planning ahead to Division 5 and we’d like to start getting world textures for the arctic put away, including variations of snow, ice, rock, and that kind of thing, so someone familiar with creating usable world textures in Source would be handy

If any of these roles look good to you, please add me on Discord at Kralich/David#0901. Thanks for tuning in again, and we’ll keep you posted on further progress on Division 2 in December – just in time for Mod of the Year!

Comments
Guest
Guest

Nice work!

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Syph0
Syph0

Looking fantastic!
I really can't wait for this update to be released.

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Neynh
Neynh

Awesome !

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Gordon_Susman
Gordon_Susman

This all looks amazing! Keep up the good work! Can't wait for the December update!

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wmf776759
wmf776759

Amazing update. WOW.

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mujo70
mujo70

Le epique

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Krychur
Krychur

I love the Xen flora. it is absolutely beautiful.

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LeoJFC
LeoJFC

Good!

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Jonex. Online
Jonex.

As usual, this is looking fantastic. Thanks for the update, and keep up the great work!

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Indianen
Indianen

Hej ursäkta mitt språk men jag kan inte Engelska, men detta ser fantastiskt ut kan knappt vänta, fick igång "Deeper Down2" igår och har svårt att gå ifrån datorn.
Så jag väntar spänt, tack
Indianen

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BF2all
BF2all

Good looking stuff

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doitall
doitall

Damn, that is the sexiest airboat I've seen yet 😲

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ReezeTheVampire
ReezeTheVampire

Another lovely, thicc update packed with gorgeous artwork and promising levels.

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