Post news RSS How It's Made. Half-Life: Extended

Today we will share some insight on the thought process behind Half-Life: Extended as well as tell what do we actually do with the game.

Posted by on

How It's Made. Half-Life: Extended


It's been a long while since we last posted. Today, we are here to break the silence.

Recently we found out that people like articles that provide interesting insights on the development much more than showcase articles, so now we will tell you more about our philosophy and approach to this mod, as well as explain how exactly we do things. This way you'll better understand what to expect.
So let's see what are the Extended™ ways.

MAPPING

Philosophy:

Our idea is to, first of all, expand the vanilla Half-life maps by adding new areas, puzzles and enemies. It can range from something simple like adding a janitor closet or a control room to creating whole new areas, sometimes big, sometimes not too much. The most important thing here is to be creative and not get stuck in a loop of adding closets and toilets :)
Another thing to consider is the approach to vanilla sections. Now this is more case-specific. You see, every chapter in Half-Life has very memorable and iconic moments. These must be still present in Extended™ chapters by all means, and since most vanilla maps are built like a train ride from one iconic place to another, general directions must remain more or less similar.

Extended Office Complex, first map overview


However, those iconic places rarely remain untouched. In fact, making iconic places Extended™, new and unusual is one of the most exciting parts of the mapping process.
Such important places can be Extended™ in many ways, from adding sub-areas and scripted sequences, to expanding them in size and taking advantage of the new volume to spice up the gameplay.

Office Complex turret room. Some places may be extended in more unusual ways than others


So, the philosophy is to remain familiar, but provide a fresh, different experience.

The process:

Now that we have an idea of what we are going to make, let's see how…

  • Plan. Everything starts on paper, in your mind or even in MS Paint. Accumulate ideas for your map, think of what addition and where would make sense, what would be fun and interesting.

Lambda Core concept


Actually, we can't use that much vanilla geometry because the map sources we have are meant for Half-Life: Source, thus all the scripts are broken. Plus, 1998 geometry isn't quite up to the modern standards and may easily turn out to bee to different from our additions style-wise, so when it's time to build you…

  • Take the floors of a vanilla map to have the right layout and directions.
  • Edit those floors according to your plan, add only the floors of all new locations, shaping out the soon to be rooms.
  • Add walls and ceilings, primary detail.

Steps above are done without textures or with dev textures to focus on geometry and make it faster.

Unforeseen Consequences. The area right after the elevator ride. (early)

Only after all of that you can add textures, lighting, scripts and decorations. Essentially, we have to remake 80-90% of each map which takes a while but provides a better optimized, more consistent in style, more Extended™ and nicer to work with result.

Unforeseen Consequences. The area right after the elevator ride. (detailed)


Animation:

When it comes to animation for HL:E, more precisely character animation, it usually boils down to how the character is portrayed in the story, how that character would act in the world and in what context is an animation going to play at. For example if a character is cleaning a gun, they will act calm and relaxed, while if they are throwing a punch, they will put all their force into it and be very aggressive.

Even though the animations are all done from scratch, overall they are all kept as vanilla as possible, but only given more fluid movement and more weight.

Character details:

There also has been effort to differentiate animations from character to character,to make them feel more unique and fleshed out, for example let’s take a reload animation for the shotgun for the Barney and the HECU soldiers. The animations for the Barney has been made with the idea that Barney is unprepared, stressed and not very familiar with the weapon, since he is a security guard and not trained with these weapons in mind.

image5

Barney reloading his shotgun


While on the other hand ,the HECU are portrayed as trained professionals who are very experienced with their weapons, prepared for any combat environment and are more collected.

image6

HECU shotgunner reloading his shotgun


Weapon details:

Another thing that has been added to the characters are movable weapon parts, so when they are reloading or firing their weapons, the weapons will move accordingly. For example movable slides on pistols or removable magazines for MP5s. This has been done so that the world would feel more believable and more detailed.

Human assassin with a crossbow


Also in order to finish up the sort of c_hands system that's been in development for quite a while, we invited LIL-PIF to help us with bones and animations, re-animate weapons. Click here to see what is it about.

"Everything is subject to change"


Due to the nature of a volunteer project, the team slowly changes over time, and with it, so does the mod.
HL:E went through several stages of transformation, and now has taken its final form as a fresh and unusual Half-Life experience.
With the foundation of the mod done, we've now fully focused on creating maps. Yes, maps have been in production since the earliest days of the mod, but back then there was no definite approach, philosophy or even a finished base, so it's actually only a few months ago when proper mapping began.
Now that HL:E truly has a clear path, all that's left is just to walk it.
It's not difficult to guess finishing HL:E will take time. When tackling a project like this, the most important thing is support and feedback. At this point, we've gathered an audience we deem very big for us, and with the help of our Discord this audience is turning into… a community.
Thank you very much, people who are there for us when we're being quiet or active. This mod depends on us, and we depend on your support.

Any pre-release fans who get the reference?


With that said, goodbye until the next article, hope you liked this one. Stay safe these dark days.

Written by Tear. Animation section written by Sandi. Edited by Half-Time and Tear. Credit for the image at the end goes to Vortigaunt.

Comments
DIAMANT–™
DIAMANT–™ - - 7 comments

Nice!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+7 votes
Cvoxalury
Cvoxalury - - 1,287 comments

> The animations for the Barney has been made with the idea that Barney is unprepared, stressed and not very familiar with the weapon, since he is a security guard and not trained with these weapons in mind.

I get the stressed part, but otherwise, why would a guard not be trained with the shotgun? The place is littered with them, they're in every guard armoury. Stress alone is a good enough justification anyway.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+19 votes
the16mapper
the16mapper - - 56 comments

Genuine criticism. You might not listen to it, but that'll hurt you in the long run!

*What have you done to Office Complex.*

The turret room looks like something copy and pasted out of Echoes, please change it to look more Office Complexy and familiar to that part, if you catch my drift. HL:E wasn't meant to be a remake of Half-Life like Black Mesa. Trust me, I know. I have been with you all for at least 6 months, more or less. I was the second ever mapper on the team as well.

The Office Complex map shown shouldn't have been red and green text on white background along with a low-res overlay of c1a2. Make it not be so bright and higher resolution please? I can't really tell areas from the maps, it seems to only showcase the size, and even then it doesn't seem too big. Not like it should be any bigger though. Please don't make the first map any bigger and definitely not confusing.

*Unforeseen Consequences, what in the world?*

The area in Unforeseen Consequences at the end of the ride shouldn't have a ladder or a door, it seems like a control room Black Mesa: Source style? Either way, there was a health charger up there, and it rewarded you for quick thinking and spotting the secret. But not anymore that you can climb up to it. The area looks visually fantastic, but please do not neuter the gameplay...

*Bloated AND faulty SDK!*

And last, John Smokes was right about the SDK being bloated, please make a lite version of the SDK without all the endless NPC variations or something like that. The goal from the beginning was to make a mod base, but that no longer seems to be the goal. Which is stupid, considering the mod is still advertised as a mod base. Revert the SG550 to be the burst-fire M16 too. Unless you already did that.

Best of luck from 16! xoxo
P.S. The mod started to die after I left, so that's a neat little coincidence. Might wanna unban me or something? I'm over the drama now.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes
Dhanus
Dhanus - - 124 comments

Ok homeboy

Reply Good karma Bad karma+7 votes
the16mapper
the16mapper - - 56 comments

(buried)

Not a boy but okay

Reply Good karma Bad karma-5 votes
CamKablam
CamKablam - - 92 comments

Mate, just deal with it
Thats what I've had to do

Reply Good karma Bad karma+7 votes
the16mapper
the16mapper - - 56 comments

(buried)

You're right. I'm gonna let the mod go deeper into the bargain bin in peace and instead dedicate time to my other projects /hj

On a more serious note, I really don't want this mod to be subpar rubbish with an SDK full of bloated stuff. Half-Life: Extended to me starts to feel like Half-Life 2 Overcharged. And we all know how Overcharged ended up. It kind of feels like my 6-or-so months working on the project fueling it with ideas, textures, making maps, giving constructive criticism, were just a waste. Deeper down the bargain bin it goes, I guess.

And Cam, while I didn't like you back then, you at least are speaking the truth now. And that's what matters most.

Considering that the team doesn't really take criticism from me due to just generally disliking me, I don't think my attempts at slightly improving the mod will reach out. As such, this is my last post on the Half-Life: Extended page. Separate the work from the author, and peace out.

Reply Good karma Bad karma-5 votes
Dhanus
Dhanus - - 124 comments

man, camkablam respect 100+
you respect -100

Reply Good karma Bad karma+8 votes
CamKablam
CamKablam - - 92 comments

Have a good one man. Hopefully you'll still give it a try.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+5 votes
Waz.
Waz. - - 85 comments

CHEESE!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
Heffernan
Heffernan - - 140 comments

hopefully we can finally find out who ate all the donuts.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
FlippedOutKyrii
FlippedOutKyrii - - 3,519 comments

This looks ******* nutty, can't wait to try it!

I've played through vanilla Office Complex so often it's gonna be wild running through something with esoteric design principles! Hope the turrets can rip through the glass!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+3 votes
wmf776759
wmf776759 - - 472 comments

Waiting...

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Daburubareru
Daburubareru - - 738 comments

Oh wow this is a huge improvement! I really dig that office complex's design, and the animations can't wait to see what other chapter's HL1 will look like such as Xen.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
Dhanus
Dhanus - - 124 comments

i have one criticism for this article
the article looks fantastic

luck from john pot popo
p.s. = what the hell man i though the game is ded

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
AidenDemon
AidenDemon - - 567 comments

This mod is better than Black Mesa Definitive Edition!!!

Reply Good karma Bad karma-1 votes
CamKablam
CamKablam - - 92 comments

I'm liking the looks of these maps!
I also thank you all for outlining the process in which the maps are made. This could come in handy for people who want to develop their own mods.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+4 votes
aarvbeto480
aarvbeto480 - - 49 comments

Ohh baby! I'm eager to see it finished! GL!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+2 votes
BallSmasher1942
BallSmasher1942 - - 59 comments

Seems cool

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
lambdaguy
lambdaguy - - 213 comments

run. think. shoot. live. again.

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
GordonFreemanReal
GordonFreemanReal - - 30 comments

office complex turret room looks cool, keep it up and i hope it goes well!

Reply Good karma Bad karma+1 vote
Post a comment
Sign in or join with:

Only registered members can share their thoughts. So come on! Join the community today (totally free - or sign in with your social account on the right) and join in the conversation.