What is XEN to you?

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    • What is XEN to you?

      Recently, Gabe Newell posted in a reddit thread that he was not satisfied with certain things in original Half-Life, and I quote:
      "Anything in a game is a sacrifice of things not in the game. I just feel those more personally about Half-Life for a bunch of reasons. And Xen.."


      If it were about you to decide, how would you personally imagine/create/enhance the XEN parts of the Half-Life universe and why AND what do you
      think Gaben would do if he were to create XEN properly from scratch?
    • To me, xen is anything but a wasteland. It has a ton of weird life in it, both fauna and flora.

      When I was a child and first played HL1, I always thought of xen as a literal border world. So it was kinda like Earth, except in another strange dimension where physics doesn't make sense and what we know as reality breaks down.
      Coincidentally, kinda like the "up-side down" in the show Stranger Things, except more alive.
      So in my mind, when you teleported to xen, you were merely teleporting to a position on the Earth, except in a parallel dimension.

      To this day, I still view it similarly.
      I would create it as a sort of in-between "world", which is located in the unknown space between where you are teleporting from and where you are teleporting to.
      For me, that would make sense, because it does not seem to have a defined structure and anything is possible in terms of physics and life.
      It also would be a cool way to explain how the combine get to Earth, because they have to be able to link up with xen (the universe between the combine universe and ours) in order to get here.

      Style-wise, I would keep it relatively the same, except have its terrain match Earths more. To give the feeling that it's a weird and twisted version of our reality. I'd probably add a touch more of life to it as well.
      Senior Level Designer | Environment Artist @ Operation Black Mesa & Guard Duty | My Website
    • I honestly thing Xen is great idea, but it got stucked half-away. I believe at least partialy due to HW restrictions. It´s not that I hate Xen, as I cannot imagine Half-Life without it. But it´s the worst part of Half-Life. On the other hand, I think gearbox managed to make Xen very enjoyable in Blue shift and I even wished it was longer.

      As from base Half-Life, I truely enjoy Interlopers. Beside that, I think the rest is the weak part, let it be the very first opening map until Gonarch. I always felt Gonarch wasn´t needed and was way too close to Nihilanth.
    • In opposing force, xen had a different skybox. Close to one used in the gman's monologue at the end of half life. What's up with that? I just thought it was supposed to be gman bending reality or whatever it's called, since the same skybox appears with sand and tanks on the ground too. Did Gearbox just get it wrong? It's normal again in Blue shift
      Similar skybox here.

      Yes I know, it's a random question and not that related to the topic, but it's been bothering me ever since I realized that
    • TheDeltality wrote:

      In opposing force, xen had a different skybox. Close to one used in the gman's monologue at the end of half life. What's up with that? I just thought it was supposed to be gman bending reality or whatever it's called, since the same skybox appears with sand and tanks on the ground too. Did Gearbox just get it wrong? It's normal again in Blue shift
      Similar skybox here.

      Yes I know, it's a random question and not that related to the topic, but it's been bothering me ever since I realized that
      That is a good point. Although it can be anything. Maybe related to concrete location or maybe a time ? Maybe it´s sort of day/night cycle on Xen :P.
    • I know this is sorta necroing a old thread, but it isn't like this forum is super active sadly, nevertheless Black Mesa has released a demo/beta of their first Xen maps. I think it looks amazing and beautiful (and a bit James Cameron inspired.) it also has what I feel are some nods to the Azure Sheep/Point of View mods with the Black Mesa Xen base. But all and all I kinda feel they strayed a bit too far from the Geiger style that I think Valve was trying to go for.

      What do you guys think? Either way it looks fun.

      youtube.com/watch?v=cjqIQOiusDM
    • I felt like I was playing a remake of Blue Shift´s xen rather than original Xen. Also, it´s true that Avatar came to my mind several times. Generaly I think they did amazing job on that and pushed limits of Source engine even further. Although, I´m very curious if they are able to keep me entertained for such a long play time as they promise (I believe they told it will be 8 hrs of gameplay).


    • more gameplay of Black Mesa's Xen. I like the more desolate look of the later areas of this vid as it feels a little closer to hl1's art direction for Xen. Their remake continues to show just how impressive the source engine can be. Not sure how I feel about them extending out the Gonarch fight like that though. its visually more interesting and extends more gameplay for the player, but I feel Valve made the original more of a arena like slog for a reason.
    • Summerset Banjo wrote:

      Not sure how I feel about their new enemy types though. the water barnacles are interesting but the explosive houndeye would feel more at home in a serious sam game than half-life. if they are adding new enemies to Xen. why not one of the beta one's like Panthereye or Kingpin.
      I must say I think these explosive houndeyes are a bit too anoying. In my eyes, this is a miss-step from their part.

      Since they expanded Xen a lot, I understand they want to add more enemies to keep the game fresh throughout these 8 hours they claim Xen to be. And who knows, maybe they are bringing Kingpin or Panthereye too ? :).

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