Talk:Pre Retail Era

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This era is characterized by an updated visual style, which had a higher focus on realism than the older, more cartoony style of the earlier eras. World-building was used with various locations and enemies in order to both explain and build upon the story, as well as further push the realism factor.

Enemies are designed in a way that fits their environment and their role in their affiliation. Rollers, for example, fill various niche roles in the Combine, handling cleanup of debris and security. Some enemies from HL1 are struggling to adapt such as starving Houndeyes, while others are thriving such as Bullsquids.

In this era, the Combine re-engineers most human technology, rather than re-using it like the previous eras. An example of this change is the Hunter-Chopper's model; however, raw materials and weapons are still re-purposed.

Development Background

It was towards the end of this era, during the start of the refinement needed to take the game to retail, that Valve's servers were compromised, of course resulting in much of the development cycle leaking to the public.

This leak included both assets and code used throughout HL2's development, giving a glimpse into its development. Unfortunately or not, a fair number of both assets and code were made obsolete by this point in time resulting in their absence or their files being overwritten with newer designs.

E3 2002

March ??/03/2002 failed demo to Gabe, The E3 That Never Was

  • - Kleiner's lab is too long and boring.
  • - 10/04/2002 The Scanner is redesigned.
  • - 22-24/05/2002 E3 2002 planned trailer.

Changes from the Cameo Era

By this point the visual style had completely settled into a realistic aesthetic after the gradual changes within the previous era.

Character Changes

Eli Maxwell was combined with Captain Vance in order to form.. Eli Vance.

  • o Bullsquid got his leg instead of the Particle Storm now.
  • - Particle Storm idea dropped (possibly recycled into the Ion Storm?)

Dog (T-Bot) Redesign

  • o Takes Skitch’s role as Alyx's pet.
  • o Combot eye and different color scheme.

Weapon Changes

2002 gravity gun model with charging ability from last era

Combine Stunstick Redesign

  • o Last design is seen in the icon, a similar design is used in HL2:Survivor.
  • o Originally needed ammo as battery is completely modeled.
  • o Unsure if present earlier.

New Consul Design

  Note (Bun): consul.mdl (therefore, breen's face) is from before or around december 2001 (7.0 vtf)

Citadel Changes

as mentioned above the closest citadel design in it's evolution is the tile design (

NPC/Enemy Changes

While the Combine were already a combination of races before this point, they did not all have the same visual styles. This era merges the Dhabih Eng Combine visuals and older designs.

  • o Advisor blue anti-gravity.
  • o Early gunship at E3 2003 blue.

Bullsquid Redesign

  • o Before this era, the Bullsquid was very close to the original HL1 design. Now, it takes some realistic crocodilian inspiration.

(include images)

Stalker Redesign

  • o The Stalker's design was changed up a little bit. More implants were added to its skeletal structure.

More Enemies

  • o Sewer fauna x 2.
  • o Cut Hl1 enemy (Flocking Floaters.)
  • o Starving Houndeyes.
  • o (Hydra 2003? intention of more enemies is still present.)

Key Dates and Info

  • - ??/06/2002 Harry Teasley leaves Valve.
  • - Designed concepts for another Valve game.
  • - Some of these concepts were moved into HL2's beta.

  • - 25/07/2002 physcannon sounds.
  • - Making game trailers presentation.
  • - Screenshots of early chargeable gravity gun.

  • - 16/08/2002 Combine scurry mine's last edit.
  • - 27/08/2002 Bugbait sounds.

  • - September ??/09/2002 better concept reel.
  • - Buggy race along City 17's coast.
  • - Headcrab encounter on a pier.
  • - Strider attacking downtown.
  • - Some re-tooled earlier sequence.
  • - Kleiner's Lab but shorter.

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Dhabih Eng Era
HL2 - Eras Next section:
Retail Era