The antlion, a disposable enemy that haunts the player during the Coast chapters, and later the Combine soldiers during the Nova Prospekt chapters, experienced a surprising deal of evolution, although without major visible changes to the overall design.
- 1 Version 0: Pre-Birther
- 2 Version 1: Birther / Pel Release Antlion
- 3 Version 2: Leak Antlion
- 4 Version 3: Shader Antlion
- 5 Version 4: Final Antlion
- 6 Version 5: Placeholder Worker
- 7 Comparisons
- 8 References
Version 0: Pre-Birther
There is some indication of what the antlion was before the already final-style Birther model:
RTB briefly discusses the early forms of the antlions, including a few concepts on the same page:
The Antlions were some of the first creatures to be created and went through many augmentations and additions over the course of the project. They were heavily armored to begin with, but tearing them to bits with bullets was just too much fun, so we turned them into cannon fodder.
RTB Uncorrected Proof includes a set of stories made at the beginning of Half-Life 2's development, which includes a rough description for antlions, mentioning them having 6 legs:
Despite its size, it touched the ground quite lightly, even delicately, on six wicked legs. It looked like an enormous insect, striped in virulent colors like a wasp, with its glossy elytra flaring up defensively. Its hind wings formed a crystal blur as it leapt with scissoring mandibles at Gordon's throat.
There are two miscellaneous VMTs present in the antlion's folder. They are most likely earlier textures for the antlions' gibs, since there is no evidence of any other early textures for the antlion.
Textures named identically to the VMTs in other folders. It is unknown if these were the ones referenced.
Version 1: Birther / Pel Release Antlion
Before the placement of the antlion's textures into a (rough) composite sheet, the model without animations was copied into a separate model named "Birther.mdl" in the Leak's base directory. While the UVs are different from the current Leak antlion, the mesh is identical to the Leak version. It should be noted that the Birther model may have been used with either the Pel / Leak textures, since the UVs are identical.
This antlion also appears in a few miscellaneous files:
- In Derek Jenson's portfolio, it appears as part of a video showing his rigs for non-human creatures.
- On Valve's XSI tutorial, a slide showing the process of making models, periodically shown throughout the series, includes a picture of this version's model.
- Pelpix first released the thumbnails (256x) for the textures, and then shortly after corrected it to be the full-res versions.
- Both "abdomen.vtf" and "caseback.vtf" are larger than their Leak counterparts, respectively 512x to 256x and 256 to 128x.
Version 2: Leak Antlion
The antlion present in the leak has a large degree of difference from the final, but surprisingly little from the Birther model. Compared to the final, it is UVed differently, with a different and slightly higher-poly model, for example having legs that end in single vertices, rather than in the final in small stumps.
- The sheet is slightly misaligned; the "antlion_parts" portion is one pixel up, which creates a gap between it and the other parts that is also visible.
Version 3: Shader Antlion
An intermediate antlion that makes an appearance in the early-2004 slideshow D3DTutorial10_Half-Life2_Shading. In the images shown, it uses the Leak antlion textures, with a rather exaggerated normal map on top. The model is largely similar to the Leak version, retaining the sharp legs.
Version 4: Final Antlion
The antlion that appears in the final version of Half-Life 2. It implements an interesting skin-changing functionality, with 4 different skins, and downscales the texture sheet from 512x1024 to 512x512.
This version retains the Leak antlion's gibs, keeping a downscaled version of "antlion_parts.vtf" in order to texture them.
Version 5: Placeholder Worker
Briefly appearing in the first teaser for Episode 2, it appears to be either an early version of the Antlion worker, or an unused skin for the standard antlions within the caves.
It is much more similar to the antlion grub's appearance than the final, with a brown head and glowing mass at the end of the abdomen. However, it behaves identically to the normal antlion, aggressively rushing the vortigaunt before being stunned by his circular blast.
Earlier Antlion Textures
Final Antlion Sheets
- For example, the pencil scribbles used on case.vtf in order to create the semi-black areas, or the same technique for the bright orange areas.
- Although not particularly differently, since it just uses a sheet which contains all of the non-sheeted textures unmodified