Half-Life 2 is a vast and interesting game. This YouTuber fragments it into 60 seconds to give you the best, most accurate and important impressions.
And by that I of course mean silliest. Do you ever just randomly talk to the games you play? Poke fun at characters playfully? That's essentially what BlackLightAttack does with his 60 Second Let's Play series.
60 Second Let's Play: Half-Life 2 [YouTube]
Jul 26, 2012
Remember the Slender Man game we mentioned a couple of weeks back? It's a terrifying indie horror based on the spooky Something Awful monster. You had to wander through a dark forest with a pale torch hunting for messages while trying not to look directly at the creature. It's scary as hell.
GOOD NEWS EVERYBODY, a different team are creating a version of Slender Man in Valve's Source engine. Fittingly, it's called Slender Source, and this one will let you avoid a horrifying death with friends. Yaay!
It's a work-in-progress deal at the moment, but the bare bones are in place. Here's the challenge: "Players must work together to collect a certain amount of creepy dolls all while trying to avoid the abomination that is the Slenderman. The kick? No weapons."
Sadly, nobody has ever invited me into the woods to collect creepy dolls before, but if they did I'm pretty sure I'd say "hell yes BRING THE SCARES," which probably makes me that guy who dies horribly at the start of every horror movie. Thankfully, games like Slender Man, Slender: Source, Hide and SCP Containment Breach give us the chance to experience those scares without, y'know, the dismemberment. You can keep an eye on how the Half-Life 2 mod is progressing over on ModDB. Here's an early screenshot showing the wooded environment, which is one of two planned for release. The other will be set in an abandoned hospital.
And here's the trailer for the other Slender Man game, to give you a taste of the Slender Man vibe:
Are there any other horror games/mods that you've enjoyed? Let us know, we need some new ideas to test on work experience applicants.
Jul 26, 2012
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (John Walker)
Scaring someone is a fine art. Scaring someone when they’re expecting to be scared makes it even trickier. So Grey is a big task for the Deppresick team of modders. A total conversion mod for Half-Life 2, it’s a horror game that borrows liberally from every other horror game, movie, book, and scary painting you once saw. I put on my bravest trousers and had a look.>
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (RPS)
Joe Martin is a Half-Life 2 obsessive who often wells up with actual tears when he thinks of the content Valve cut during development. Imagine his joy at finding the Missing Information mod, which collects workable snippets from the stolen HL2 beta and assembles them into a Steam-compatible mod. Joe takes a look at the parts of HL2 Valve didn’t intend for us to see, and wonders if the game we got was the best it could have been.>
The Leap is a new motion controller that tracks the movements of your hands and fingers to a super-fine degree of accuracy. It takes the form of a USB dongle that sits in front of your keyboard, looking up at your hands and doing techno-magic to pinpoint their position in 3D space.
CVG have highlighted a trailer showing the tech in action, and it's pretty impressive. It shows a number of quick demo clips including one that involves playing Angry Birds with a pair of chopsticks, and another showing the player taking out some Combine soldiers in Half-Life 2 with a finger gun. On the Leap site its creators claim that it'll be "more accurate than a mouse, as reliable as a keyboard and more sensitive than a touchscreen." Watch and judge for yourself with this video.
Leap looks set to arrive around December, but it's available to pre-purchase now for $70. If you'd like to get your hands on the SDK, they're taking submissions on the developers page of the site.
If there's one man who knows from originality in video games, it's Viktor Antonov. He's the man responsible for the oppressive, beautiful art design of City 17 in Valve's masterpiece Half-Life 2. One of the main reasons that I'm excited about the upcoming Dishonored is that Antonov will be art director. Just check out this gallery of the man's work. He's a true original.
But Antonov is generally unhappy with the current state of video games. In an interview at Eurogamer, he laments: "It's been a poor, poor five years for fiction in the video game industry."
Antonov's observations mostly revolve around the fact that there are so few new ideas for games, and that so many games look the same. He sees the fact that the closest touchstone for this year's Dishonored is BioShock, a game from 2007 that doesn't actually have all that much in common with Dishonored, as cause for concern.
"I'm not a harsh critic of games," Antonov insisted. "I'm extremely happy of where technology has gone. But artists and art directors should make their own life a little bit harder by pushing management to take more artistic risks, and use the technology to a better, higher level. That's what I've been doing and suffering by - I've been spending as much time creating, as convincing the people who are financing games how important it is.
"We were always waiting for the next generation of great worlds or great graphics. Well, great graphics came; the worlds that came with these graphics are not up to the level of the graphics.
"Graphics used to be an excuse 10 years ago, that we can't make great worlds. Right now, we have a lot of New Yorks, we have a lot of war games. Please everybody," he pleaded, "let's do more science-fiction and more crazy worlds out there."
Antonov advises that developers stop trying to make games that are all things at once. "Now a game is trying to pack too many games - narration, music, contemplation, shooting - that they lose the experience." Instead, he suggests, developers should make more specialized games that pick one thing to do and do it well.
Read the rest of the article, which talks in-depth about the process behind Dishonored's city of Dunwall, at Eurogamer.
Jun 28, 2012
When Half Life: Episode 3 concept art surfaced on the facebook page of fansite ValveTime yesterday we were sceptical, but it's increasingly appearing that they really could be from the long awaited sequel.
Most of the artwork depicts a snowy wilderness with characters clad in winter clothing. This tallies with location the Borealis, the Aperture science ship that was revealed to be stranded in the Arctic in Episode Two. More intriguingly several of the stranger pieces of artwork contain the word 'Xen' in the file names, the Alien world visited in the original Half Life's final act.
OXM have been on top of the story and note that moderators on the Steam forums are claiming the pictures are genuine. Meanwhile fansite Lambda Generation traced the images back to a (since deleted) Picasa gallery belonging to Valve artist Andrea Wicklund.
Now here's the bad news. Although they were only recently discovered these images were all uploaded to Picasa in March 2008, only a few months after the release of Episode Two. This means that even if they are genuine, they aren't necessarily indicative of the direction Valve are taking now, four years later.
You can see the full gallery of images over at Valve Time.
It's alive! A bunch of new screenshots have gone online for Black Mesa: Source. In case you'd missed it, or forgotten it in these years of silence, BM:S is a fan project that aims to recreate the entirety of Half-Life 1 in the Half-Life 2 Source engine. The devs promised to releaser more details if their Facebook page hit 20,000 likes. It did, and they have. So without further ado, here are eight new screenshots for Black Mesa: Source.
It's been quiet for so long, I never thought I'd get to write that. It's worth keeping an eye on the Black Mesa site for more updates soon. "This is just the beginning. We have more in store for you in the near future! Hold on to your lab coats!" say the team on Facebook.
May 10, 2012
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - firstname.lastname@example.org (Nathan Grayson)
The rumors of Black Mesa‘s death have been greatly exaggerated. It has, however, been over three years since Gordon Freeman went for an all-too-brief jog in his shiny new hazard suit. No, gaming’s favorite man of zero words and 1000 crowbar swings per minute hasn’t suddenly affixed a chainsaw to his gun or moved his adventures to an unnamed wartorn Middle Eastern setting, but a lot’s changed.
Once upon a time, this was Valve’s firstborn with a fresh coat of paint. Now, though, the Black Mesa team’s pouring its own blood, sweat, and tears into one of gaming’s most sacred holy grails – for better or worse. Only time will tell. But how much time? One more year? Two? Half-Life 2: Episode 3 (aka, a billion)? And what state is the remake in now? I spoke with project lead Carlos Montero about all of that and more.
Rock, Paper, Shotgun - email@example.com (Nathan Grayson)
The universe has a weird fondness for improbable coincidences. Name your franchise Half-Life, and it takes half a lifetime to come out. Create a robust mod based around a game in that franchise, and its development mirrors that of its crowbar-wielding, hazard-suit chic father series nearly one-to-one. The lofty promises, the incredibly lengthy periods of radio silence, the incessant cries of “vaporware” and “it’ll probably be a huge letdown” – all of it.
Maybe, though, that part’s not such a coincidence. To hear project lead Carlos Montero tell it, Black Mesa‘s an obsessively redesigned, rebuilt-from-the-ground-up love letter to Valve’s opus. The goal, then, is to improve> on something already considered by many to be perfect. And that, as it’s turned out, has been a lot harder than Montero and his constantly fluctuating team first assumed. So, first up, we’re delving into what exactly has taken so long – especially in light of 2008′s rather stunning trailer that promised a release date of, er, three years ago.