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Half Life 2: Raising the Bar REDUX: Update V3.0, featuring music, maps, weapons, models, and updates.

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Half Life 2: Raising the Bar REDUX: Update V3.0


Hi, everyone. We've got a lot in store today – huge updates to maps, including shots of our newly-revamped Underground map; models, including Alyx, our new suit, and our made-from-scratch HL2 Beta-inspired health vial; animations, with new weapons and old alike receiving some magic from our animator; and our first full volume of music, with much more to come.

Welcome to update 3.0. Let's get on with it.

Weapon Revamps

Stinger


Iceaxe


Flaregun Render


Flaregun In-game


HMG Render


HMG In-game


As ever, we are committed to delivering a satisfying arsenal to the player, full of weapons that merge Beta concepts with more modern tools and models to create a more visually pleasing and mechanically entertaining inventory. Our Stinger model – modified by Jasper, and then improved in its textures by me – has become our RPG of choice. The new iceaxe model, courtesy of Yogensia and, again, modified by us, has allowed us to round off the melee category in a satisfactory way. Soidev’s flaregun model also provided us a good base to build off, which involved some minor model adjustment, and a complete texture makeover to better resemble the flaregun from the Beta files. Finally, our HMG has received some experimental makeovers to resemble both its source – the prototype GR9 – and its beta incarnation. After research indicated the pattern featured in both sources is a desert variant, we’ve begun experimenting with this new look. We have much more planned for other weapons in future, some of which may well be ready for the next monthly update.

Arcade Finishing Touches

Now, the arcade. This map has been featured in updates again and again, and Honza has finally reached a stage where we’re happy to submit it for the time being and move on to other pastures. Some work is still being done on maps either end of the Arcade, so a second pass is inevitable; however, Honza has done a spectacular job so far, and we expect his next project – a revamping of our Consul Plaza map – will meet similar standards of quality. Part of the arcade’s design process involved reshaping it as a combat map – something Honza met head-on, delivering exciting set-pieces and scripted events to make engagements more dynamic and thrilling. He also continues to deliver a masterclass in hidden exploration benefits, meaning both this map and the construction site are chock-full of secrets (that even some of us haven’t found yet) for adventurous players to discover.

Underground Revamp

Our music composer, Cft, wanted to try his hand at level design – and blew everybody away with his intimate knowledge of mapping, scripting, and environment design. The underground – a bare-bones map before – now features richly-detailed environments, from the ruins of an old city buried under Combine architecture, to zombie-infested maintenance tunnels, to revisiting old map concepts like the Vorticells. The map is also home – taking inspiration from Honza’s map – to numerous secrets and easter eggs to entertain any player seeking every nook and cranny that this map has to offer.

RTBR OST Volume 1: Terminus Vector

As a break from mapping, we’d like to announce the first volume of RTBR’s OST – Terminus Vector. Ranging from the curiously experimental (like Edge of Chaos) to the highly traditional (Terminus Vector, after which the volume is named), Cft has outdone himself with this early work to establish the tone of the mod through music. He had some words to say on the matter:

"Hello, I'm Cftsc. As the music composer, I've tried to make tracks that not only fit the ambience of the early Half-Life 2 world, but also that pay homage to the harmonies and textures associated with the retail game's soundtrack, leaning more in the style of the original Half-Life soundtrack in composition than to the style used in the episodes. After joining, I also did some work as a level designer on the Underground area of the map, overhauling it both visually with new particle effects and details, and gameplay wise by adding puzzles and combat to an otherwise empty map."

You can listen to Volume One at our SoundCloud: RTBR OST

Lab02 Progress

Returning to maps, GameSmert has begun to finish off the Lab segment with the second half of the encounter – the infamous teleportation sequence. In our shots, you can see he’s made good headway in establishing the cluttered environment of Kleiner’s Lab. Meanwhile, Wildchee and I are working on finishing off the teleporter model, based heavily off cut concepts for Kleiner’s lab. Right now, it has a placeholder texture, but we’re hoping to have something more complete by next month’s update.

Model Work

Suit

Alyx

Health Vial

We’ve begun exploring more cut concepts in our models now, in addition to the player’s arsenal. We shift suits and suit arms on what feels like a weekly basis (both of which you may have already noticed in our animation showcase), trying to find something we’re happy with on the team. Lenoax’s suit is once again our basis, but we’re still exploring ways to better match concept art of the suit by modifying this one. Meanwhile, Egon, Brendaymn and I have spent a great deal of time elaborating on our Alyx model to bring her closer to cut concepts. We’re not necessarily finished yet, but we’re happy, for the time being, with our melding of both retail and concept art. Finally, Wildchee modelled, from scratch, a health-vial based on the HL2 Beta’s design. We ran it through several passes in the team, adding more detail every time, until it reached the stage it is at now. With shifting goo textures, glowing elements, and detailed normal mapping, we think we’ve done a good job detailing a tiny but nonetheless important part of HL2’s pickups.

"The Calm before the Storm..."

Finally, Egon has been putting more time and work into his map. He requested not to spoil more than this, but I think any Beta fan will be able to see where this is going…

Finishing Up

And with that, we conclude our first monthly update. We’d like to end on a note that addresses happenings with the mod in the previous months. Arguments were had; content was leaked; and in the fallout, some of the developers at RTBR experienced severe doubts about what we’re setting out to achieve. It was a rough time, but we must thank not only each other for motivating ourselves to redouble efforts on the mod, but also Jar of Flies from the Project Beta discord and other members of the community that supported us during this time. Jar ran a stream of our leaked mod and, with me and Brendaymn, gave us a platform to set straight a great many misconceptions and malicious lies that were hurting our mod. His words of support – and that of the others with whom he streamed the leak with – is part of the reason we were able to pick up the pieces and get back to work.

Before ending, we’d like to announce the last few roles we’re looking for on the team at this moment:

  • An experienced mapper (scripting, ideally knowledge of scene creation)
  • A concept artist (level concepts, scenes, and etc)
  • An experienced texture artist (Substance Painter, UV unwrapping, etc)
  • An experienced 3D modeller (high-poly baking, character modelling preferred)

If these positions interest you, please add me on discord at Kralich#0901.

Thanks for your attention. Tune in next month for more!

Comments
SpookyTheCuteGhost
SpookyTheCuteGhost

Lots of cool stuff to show today! Keep it up!

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GameSmert
GameSmert

Thanks!!

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Chocolate-Helicopter
Chocolate-Helicopter

oh my god i got goosebumps on the free tvs screenshot

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flippedoutkyrii
flippedoutkyrii

REALLY digging that new outfit for Alyx, a collision of both the Beta and Retail is oddly fitting. The diving suit didn't make much sense outside of wet conditions but the boots are better suited for traversing Xen infested sewers compared to the retail version.

And MAN I love that flare gun animation! AKM got bit by the Green Weapon bug, though. Hope the green guns are kept to a minimum next update!

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LeoJFC
LeoJFC

The details of the weapons are extremely good.

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.Bach
.Bach

That was a nice update. The only thing that bothers me are the draw animations of the weapons. Gordon doesn't need to pull the receiver each time he draws the gun, it's distracting and doesn't make sense since the bullet that's in the chamber would be ejected each time if that happened IRL. I'd be fine if the draw anims were just like in HL2.

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naryanrobinson
naryanrobinson

Nice work, but I do feel like some of those animations are a bit... bouncy.
The flare gun in particular bobs up then down then up then down then up again in one reload cycle.

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Kazemeka
Kazemeka

You are all developing so insanely quickly! Thank you so much for your hard work.

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NOVλ
NOVλ

Amazing

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eymane
eymane

your maps suck

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Guest
Guest

Just like your mum

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Honz4
Honz4

Hey, instead of just saying "your maps suck", you could've said some real criticism and elaborated instead of this empty comment of yours. ;)

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Blue199
Blue199

your maps are blocky and simplistic, especially compared to the weapons and other models, so they feel unfitting. Here. That's at least my opinion, idk about him..

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Cvoxalury
Cvoxalury

There's certainly a lot of room to grow, and the updates show more progress on models rather than levels, but, like, come on.

If BrandoCube thinks they didn't give enought effort in their maps, well, he gave even less effort on commenting. That's his best? How... banal.

Here's my 2 cents by the way. Even if the map is simple, prototype, etc, there are ways to present it better. I'm not overwhelmingly encouraged by the screenshots and how they are set up (notice I say screenshots particularly, not maps themselves).

For example, the vorti-cell screenshot. A sizeable chunk of it is taken by that boring ceiling brush, like almost a third of the screenshot doesn't do anything, doesn't carry "visual information" so to speak.

Reduce the fov while you're taking the pic, give the metrocop an animation (so he's holding the gun with both hands, instead of having his arms hang by the sides), make the shot more straight - use less of crouch shots, they're for open spaces, not tight interiors - maybe even play with mat_autoexposuremax & min commands to make the picture brighter and more clear.

This way it presents even this small bit you have on a proto/early map, in a better way.

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Honz4
Honz4

Alright, thank you for your comment, we'll take that into consideration! We're always looking for criticism like this.

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Hey-Pi-Ron
Hey-Pi-Ron

I think if I reload flage gun like this I will broke my left arm wrist...

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Guest
Guest

You must have an extremely fragile wrist

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Hey-Pi-Ron
Hey-Pi-Ron

Maybe. But try reload something like that. This is uncomfortable.

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NOVλ
NOVλ

Wow! The weapon models look so good! Glad that you guys also removed the green from most of the weapons and that you are using a new different hev sleeve model which looks good imo

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NOVλ
NOVλ

Oof, forgot that I already posted a comment on this article

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Serious_Samsung
Serious_Samsung

GET YOUR FREE TVs!

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Joshuaortiz698
Joshuaortiz698

"content was leaked"

YOUR WELCOME!!!!

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Guest
Guest

Nobody thanked you

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djibe89
djibe89

Really really nice job.
Congratulations

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Guest
Guest

after viewing you're multiple updates I've come to really enjoy the work you've put into this mod. I have seen few hl beta mods that have gained as much progress while still being ambitious as yours. however I heard that your open to criticism and id like to voice some of my concerns.

while most of your updates include aesthetic changes to models, the amount of content including maps do present an atmosphere that resembles the gloomy industrial city in the beta but I feel they need something that defines them in a special way so its not just Gordon running through a dystopian version of Detroit filled with combine. perhaps you could find a way to weave in game play mechanics that fit in with the beta theme. for example, I was disappointed to hear that the man hack arcade was going to be a combat area, mostly because the arcade loses its purpose and just becomes another room filled with angry combine. But what if there was a way Gordon could use the man hacks in the arcade to fight the combine or solve puzzles. perhaps the arcade could be a control center of which Gordon could turn the man hacks onto his side.

Another concern comes from the fact that there are multiple mappers on your team. this is in no way a disadvantage to the mod I only want to emphasize to be consistent when transitioning between maps. every artist's work has his or her own style sown into it and this trend applies to mappers too. Although many of the maps being worked on are not finished I've noticed that some maps are more populated with combine technology than others and I what to make sure Gordon isn't walking through a map that looks like the inside of the citadel only to go through a door that leads into some trashy town filled with television thieves. (that may have been a bit exaggerated but you get the point) In summary, just make the maps consistent with your story.

Something else thing id like to mention about the maps deals with how dark they are. I get that the dim gloomy atmosphere is really important with this mod but I feel that objects of importance, enemies, item pickups, etc. might not be visible in all the shadows or simply blend in with the all the dull colors. this could be fixed simply by extending the duration of the flashlight or removing the limited use outright.

One more tiny thing is I'm not sure if you're going to use sound effects from the old game for enemy's like the zombie or combine. Id just like to suggest that you get an experienced sound designer if you want to replaces the sound effects of these enemies. far too many times have I heard the combine's chatter lazily replaced with the voice lines from F.E.A.R or the zombies given sound effects that clearly sound like some armature voice actor growling into his microphone similar to the zombies from the black mesa mod.

I hope you at the very least you acknowledge some of my criticisms and understand what I'm getting at. in no way do I want to force these ideas on you and clearly understand that you have your own set of plans for this project. I only wish is for this mod to turn up just as good as you want it to be. thank you for listening to my ramblings and I wish you luck on this project

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