Talk:Pre Retail Era

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More realistic and immersive ??/3-9/2002

This era is characterised by an updated visual style, being less cartoony and more realistic, another way this was done is by fleshing out the world building with various locations and enemies that explain or build upon the general story.

enemies are designed in a way that fits their environment and their role in their affiliation, the rollers for example (circa 2001) 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 the bull squid.

the difference between how this eras combine utilized most human technology and the previous era is that this eras Combine re-engineers it rather than re-using it, an example of this change is the hunter-chopper's model, raw materials and weapons however 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 on the 7th of October 2003 valves servers were compromised resulting in many of the developmental files valve were working on 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.

changes from last era

character changes

Eli Maxwell was combined with captain Vance

  • o Bull squid got his leg instead of the particle storm now
  • - Particle storm Idea dropped (possibly recycled into the Ion storm?)


Dog Tbot re-design

  • o Takes skitch’s role as Alyx's pet
  • o Combot eye and different colour scheme


weapon changes

2002 gravity gun model with charging ability from last era


Combine stun stick redesign

  • last design is seen in the icon, a similar design is used in hl2:survivor
  • o Originally needed ammo as battery is completely modelled
  • o Unsure if present earlier

new consul design


citadel changes

as mentioned above the closest citadel design in it's evolution is the tile design (https://valvearchive.com/archive/Half-Life/Half-Life%202/Art/Levels/Citadel/office.jpg)


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 re-design

  • before this era the bullsquid was very close to the design utilized in hl1, now it takes some realistic crocodilian inspiration


Stalker re-design


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


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

  • o Kleiners lab too long and boring
  • - 10/04/2002 redesigned scanner
  • - 22-24/05/2002 e3 2002 planned trailer


  • - ??/06/2002 Harry Teasley leaves valve
  • o Designed concepts for another valve game
  • o Some of these concepts were moved into hl2 beta


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


  • - 16/08/2002 combine scurry mines last edit
  • - 27/08/2002 bugbait sounds


  • - September ??/09/2002 better concept reel
  • o Buggy race along city 17 coast
  • o Headcrab encounter on a pier
  • o Strider attacking downtown
  • o Some re-tooled earlier sequence
  •  Kleiners lab but shorter


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Dhabih Eng Era
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Retail Era