I like to draw a top down, birds eye view of my maps. I have a Graph Pad Book, in where i sketch it out. I try and follow this acronym: "C.E.S.P.R" Combat, Exploration, Story, Puzzle, Reward.
I believe that this is everything a HL2 (or even HL1) level would include. At least, in my opinion.
I believe the player should always have something to do. Albeit, killing zombies, or breaking down planks of wood. The player always has an objective. Experimental Density, is what you may call it. Some levels (like the 4th one) are designed to be soothing. But i encompassed Combat (Killing Zombies and Headcrabs) Exploration (Going off a beaten path to get supplies or just find a world building scene) Story (Visual Story-Telling. Like. Y'know. What HL2 does?) Puzzle (Because in my opinion, this shakes up the gameplay; making it more diverse and scientific. (ig) [An example of mine is the use of Algebra in certain levels.] Reward (Because going off the path would be a waste of time, unless you got a reward. Supplies, World Building, etc.)
You're stuck underground. The entire chapter takes place underground. Sometimes in caves, basements of industrial powerhouse buildings, and... an odd elevator shaft ;)
Of course. Locals lack diversity. But the later Chapters will fucking destroy that. Expect the overall pacing to change and escalate ;)
So far, i have 4 levels down. The chapter will have 6 levels overall. Stay tuned!
P.S. after the Easter Holidays. I plan to take a 4 week break from the mod to clear my head and think about the mod overall.