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New alpha version ready to download containing the second chapter (Unforseen Consequences) and a deeper look into the development cycle of the MOD.

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Welcome back everyone to another update of Half-Life: Enriched! Jumping right into it with the link to the the new alpha, containing the second chapter Unforseen Consequences!

chapter2a

Half-Life: Enriched - Alpha version 0.15

Version alpha 0.15


But before you start playing, come join me in some good old development greviances!

Limits, limits, limits

Everyone who has experience with Half-Life's GoldSource engine knows that it has its limits. Remember that Half-Life originally came out all the way back in 1998 and the base for this engine was laid for Quake (1996). Back then, the minimum requirements for Half-Life were a Pentium with 133 Megaherz with 24 Megabytes of RAM, so a lot of the engine was tailored to these specifications.

chapter2e

The computers of today are a thousand times faster and will be able to handle far more detailed maps. Throughout the years, the community has created better compile tools and developed tricks to push the limits even further. Sadly, some of these limits are hard-coded and cannot be changed without access to the engine's core.

So far, I've been pretty successful in merging the maps and staying within the limits. The graph below shows the original amount of BSPs and the converted amount in Enriched. I've managed to reduce the amount of loading points by nearly 2/3rds.

maps

The two most critical limits for this project are the AllocBlock and the entity limit. The entity limit can be increased since an update made back in 2014 for the Steam version Half-Life. However, I'm aiming for compatibilty with older versions, so I have to keep to the limit of 900 entities.

chapter2d

The Allocation Blocks contain lightmap information and the engine has a hard limit of 64 blocks. Since I'm using high resolution textures on a smaller scale, I'm also increasing the amount of lightmaps. This makes the maps look a lot sharper but also brings me closer to the limit a bit faster. It's a constant battle of detail versus map size and I'm trying to put the pieces together in the most efficient way possible.

chapter2b

So with these limits in mind I'm heading back to the next Half-Life chapter: Office Complex! In my next update I'll go a bit futher into depth on the subject of texturing. Thanks for reading and see you in the comment section!

Comments
Mr.Maris
Mr.Maris

I see that you are still working on the mod! this is good, I understand that modding the GoldSource is difficult due to the specifics of the engine, but I'm sure that you will release the final version, do what you sew correct.

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Hezus Author
Hezus

Thanks! Still a long way to go but we'll get there eventually :) Best thing about working on Half-Life, is that you can develop on Valve Time ;)

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PurpleColonel
PurpleColonel

Just played through this and it's very interesting so far! I have a few bits of criticism:

- The upscaled textures look quite good most of the time, but sometimes they tend to make the lines look wobbly, and anything with text or recognizable objects like the guard on the moving poster in the hallway or the soda machines come out kind of poorly. I'd suggest remaking these from scratch or just being content with their original resolutions.

- For the most part texture mapping is improved by a lot, especially the test chamber. But in other places, like on the curved corners of the anomalous materials hallways, the mapping is more distracting than it was in the original game. Some spots are also missing textures or walls entirely leading to that effect where you can see through the map and everything kind of breaks down. Glass is invisible in Unforeseen consequences.

- A lot of smaller details are missing in this version, like the light on the button in the chamber, the laser's ability to kill you, and collision with plenty of objects just isn't there. Sound effects like the helicopter in Inbound and the microwaved food exploding are missing as well.

- The raised texture resolution leads to the flashlight becoming very small, which could become an issue in chapters heavy on vents like Office Complex.

- Ammo is missing in the locker in Unforeseen Consequences, which is pretty much the only reason to explore that area after the disaster. Other balance changes like the 1 grenade = 1 grenade choice a lot of mods make will either require more grenades added in areas where only a few are present, if the purpose of the mod is not to alter the gameplay itself in significant ways.

If some of the default goldsrc limits are really hampering things you want to do in the mod, using Xash3D would probably let you get around them and allow you to change and add even more. I love what I'm seeing so far, it's the exact sort of mod I've been looking for for years, just needs more work. Hopefully at least some of these points will be helpful. :)

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Hezus Author
Hezus

Thanks for the kind reply and lenghty feedback! I'll be sure to check out those points.

Everything is still in very early stage and plenty left to fix, so there are bound to be a few issues and missing things. In other cases, I sometimes ommit or change things because of engine limitations or for the sake of gameplay. I'll probably dedicate another article to the choices I make at some point :)

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The_uaredead
The_uaredead

In the second to last screenshot, you're missing a trim around the lead up to the hallway. Half-Life: Source and PS2 Half-Life remove it, so it seems Valve intended to get rid of it at some point. More up to you on whatever or not you want to restore it or not.

In the last screenshot, the post-disaster map contains a lot of inconsistencies compared to the pre-disaster map. Like being up to get up to the top and that little computer on the wall. It has always been inconsistent like this during development of HL (sans the computer which used to exist in both pre and post-disaster.)

Just some food for thought.

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Hezus Author
Hezus

Thanks for the comment! I've fixed up a whole lot of those inconsistences you've mentioned, especially those between going to the test chamber and back. Might be fun to pin point some of those in a future article if I get around to it :)

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xenobi
xenobi

Pretty neat idea and implementation. However, pl note the following

- When Inbound gets over, the guard opens to gate to the anomalous labs, the 2 cylinder locks of the 1st gate do not open.

-Light on the switch in the test chamber is missing.

-2 lights in the delivery system remain suspend in air even after the cage descends.

- During the resonance cascade, the 1st xen area sounds are messed up, they play a little late, you appear in front of those 2 bull squids and its mute for a few seconds.

- The laser appears a bit late after the explosion. (In the area where you get the crowbar)

-When the 1st bullsquid teleports in front of you over the catwalk, it does not die, instead it attacks you from below and gibs after a few seconds.

-Pl dont place too many black mesa toilet papers in the rest room, the one on the floor makes it look a bit out of place.

-Coffee textures need to change, the froth texture looks better but ends up as a mismatch to the entire visual language.

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Hezus Author
Hezus

Thanks! I'll check those points for sure.

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