World Building ideas

This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. More details

  • World Building ideas

    World Building is something I find always fascinating and Opposing Force provides plenty of opportunities for things to be flesh out more in this remake. Here's a few hat come to mind.

    In the Friendly Fire chapter there's several offices and conference room where the Displacer blueprints are at.

    combineoverwiki.net/wiki/File:Displacer_Chart.jpg

    combineoverwiki.net/wiki/File:Displacer_chart_2.jpg

    Now that Portal is part of the HL cannon this area could be expanded on to reflect that. The projector screen in this room could be showing off the Black Mesa equivalent of Aperture's Dollar and Sense slide and discussing Aperture's rumored new Portal device. Not to fall behind on their competition the slide could tasking Black Mesa staff to come up with their own design to counter their competition and offer paid time off (creative project time) to work on creating a prototype for approval by the administrator. (in real life some companies do challenges like this in order to help encourage creativity and out of the box thinking to stay ahead of the competition.) The Displacer could be Black Mesa's answer to Apature's Portal Device.

    Ohm's Power Inc as far as I know has only one appearance in the game being at the military base. I kinda wonder if they manufacture the battery packs for both the HEV and PCV units as well as perhaps in some way related to some of the components in both suits. Perhaps some of this could be explored upon during the boot camp level when trying out the PCV.

    combineoverwiki.net/images/a/a3/Hlof_suit_charger01_on.png

    For Blue Shift I would almost like to actually have Guard Duty start before the opening tram with perhaps a little more exploration of the surface dormitories. See some of the staff doing some R&R, maybe have a mesa times newsstand not far from the tram station. Perhaps have a playable Prax Wars 2 arcade mini game the players could play. I love the little details at the start of Blue Shift but I always felt it was a shame you could never interact with it in a meaningful way.

    combineoverwiki.net/images/8/87/Topside_dorms.jpg
  • I´m working on the Guard Duty intro and while it´s currently not planned, maps are designed that if we have some time left, we can make it possible. Also during the tram ride, I consider possibility that tram could make one more stop where player could exit the tram and explore surrounding area. Then you would have to wait and board different tram. Again, it´s just if we have extra time, if not, there areas will remain unaccessible. I´m making the transit system to be quite complex and I want to achieve a feeling that it´s actually working complex system, so you gonna see other trams passing by and your tram reacting to it (sometimes, it will be randomized a little bit). As I work as metro train conductor in real life, I´m using my experiences from my work to achieve pretty realistic results, including making the system work in realistic manner. However, don´t take is as granted, it really depends on our schedule and priority is to make the "linear" variant work.
  • So I was thinking lately, for a facility that employs as many scientists and is rather massive, you don't really get much information about what scientific or technological breakthroughs Black Mesa has achieved. We can gather the HEV, Displacer, Tau, and Gloun are creations of Black Mesa (along with possibly the PCV) but what else they have done? Black Mesa is supposed to have been active for quite some time so they must have come up with something. So I was thinking it would only make sense for there be a "hall of achievements" showroom, something to impress investors or prospective scientists of the accomplishments Black Mesa has done in the past, present, and things upcoming in the near future.

    This hall or chamber could be placed in the Friendly Fire chapter of Opposing Force. As in the original game there is office and administrative areas in that chapter and for the remake could use some location "landmarks" that a couple of Opfor's chapters , such as this one, somewhat lacked.

    We could get rather creative with this. such as maybe a hologram tourguide and intercom voice showing off things about Black Mesa's breakthroughs. Maybe the hologram could even be Dr. Breen (if a good sound alike VA could be found.) because who better show off Black Mesa then a hologram simulation of the administrator himself.

    Another advantage of doing a showroom like this would allow us to get really creative with the alternate 80s, 90s, and 00s of the HL/Portal universe and the role Black Mesa had in science and technology.
  • Summerset Banjo wrote:

    So I was thinking lately, for a facility that employs as many scientists and is rather massive, you don't really get much information about what scientific or technological breakthroughs Black Mesa has achieved. We can gather the HEV, Displacer, Tau, and Gloun are creations of Black Mesa (along with possibly the PCV) but what else they have done? Black Mesa is supposed to have been active for quite some time so they must have come up with something. So I was thinking it would only make sense for there be a "hall of achievements" showroom, something to impress investors or prospective scientists of the accomplishments Black Mesa has done in the past, present, and things upcoming in the near future.

    This hall or chamber could be placed in the Friendly Fire chapter of Opposing Force. As in the original game there is office and administrative areas in that chapter and for the remake could use some location "landmarks" that a couple of Opfor's chapters , such as this one, somewhat lacked.

    We could get rather creative with this. such as maybe a hologram tourguide and intercom voice showing off things about Black Mesa's breakthroughs. Maybe the hologram could even be Dr. Breen (if a good sound alike VA could be found.) because who better show off Black Mesa then a hologram simulation of the administrator himself.

    Another advantage of doing a showroom like this would allow us to get really creative with the alternate 80s, 90s, and 00s of the HL/Portal universe and the role Black Mesa had in science and technology.
    Very good idea, making a note here :)
  • I think all of those are great ideas!

    I'm also a big world building fan (I love what the Crowbar Collective has done with Black Mesa), and I got honestly excited the more I read your ideas. I think a major source of world building is the active and ambient dialogue from the various NPCs. I always found the friendly grunts in Opposing Force to be a little annoying - only saying "Check your zone!" and "Squad, quiet down!" They didn't seem to have any coherent characters or systems of authority. Only Shephard's rank as Corporal is explicitly stated, so when other soldiers constantly call you sir then turn around and shout orders at you, it's hard to tell how he places in the chain of command.

    I think it would be really valuable to establish some specific characters throughout OpFor. I think a good place to start would be these few:

    - Shephard's squad mates and commanding officer in the opening cinematic (maybe they could be the same characters from the training sequence?)
    - The officer that delivers the "Forget about Freeman!" and "Any last mortar coordinates, mark them on the tactical map!" transmissions (maybe he's in charge of all radio?)
    - The two grunts capture Freeman (maybe you hear them hatch the plan as you move with them, and they split off at some point to get him)
    - Drill instructor Barnes (Not present during the mission, but maybe grunts could quote him in a meaningful way through the story)

    Other than these specific characters, I think more references to parallel events in Half Life can serve as a fun time stamp for your progress in comparison to Freeman's

    -Troops first arriving shortly before "We've Got Hostiles"
    -Word about Freeman spreading throughout the Marines
    -Witness some grunts spray painting "Die Freeman"
    -Maybe a reference to Barney's exploits with Dr.Rosenberg in "Captive Freight", as the HECU was directly responsible for his capture

    I'd love to hear what you think, and maybe bounce some more ideas around!

    Post was edited 1 time, last by Dr.Criss-Cross ().

  • I've come up with a few other World Building Ideas - both callbacks/call forwards to existing events and new stuff that could be fleshed out.

    Historical Events

    While playing through Portal 2 recently, I remembered why my favorite chapters were in the old abandoned test chambers and lobbies. The amount of world building and history, as well as the emotional arc of Cave Johnson's recordings, pumped so much more story into the game. As a result, I think it would be awesome to include some references to that shared history. I think some of the best ways to do this would be:

    -News clippings/documentation of the Missing Astronaut Trials (maybe Black Mesa was another suspect alongside Aperture?)
    -All of the Department of Defense contracts that Black Mesa beat Aperture in attaining (could be a part of that "Hall of Achievements")
    -Letters from Aperture's legal department or Cave Johnson himself about stolen ideas (either physical letters, or just mentions by scientists who worked on the Displacer Cannon or other experimental tech)

    Casual Events

    I think the best way to include less historical information would be conversations between scientists in Guard Duty, since the opening mission Insecurity takes place pre-disaster. I know we we try not to mention Black Mesa here, but I think their approach to Black Mesa Inbound and Anomalous Materials is the right move - a series of vignettes throughout the labs, kitchens, common areas and locker rooms that have various scientists and security guards chatting and interacting.

    An area for some real fun could be the shooting range - small talk about condescending scientists, an optional mini game where you race other guards at target practice. This guards only environment could be a place for them to blow off steam and discuss stuff as team members. Since Barney is said to have a relationship with Gordon, and possibly even some debts owed in casual gambling, there could be some more fun places to really characterize him as he appears in Half Life 2.

    Ant Farms

    Operation: Black Mesa has a similarly built in place for all kinds of world building and references. The radio stations, called "Ant Farms" in the Marine Corps, could allow for much more in-depth world building. The transmissions Adrian receives could not all be directed to him, for instance:

    -Marines gearing up to ambush Gordon in the Xen research labs from Questionable Ethics
    -Leaked transmissions from Black Ops about locating and setting off The Package
    -Scientists with improvised radios attempting to call for help
    -If we want to get spooky, a static-laden transmission of the Nihilanth's psychic messages

    I think a great way to add a bit of optional storytelling would be a tuning system to the radio - simply aiming at the dial and pressing your use key would cause the needle of the radio to shift, triggering a different transmission from the one your heard. This could get really interesting with ARG elements too. Everyone loves a good morse code or SSTV puzzle, and having these radios could made easy room for those kinds of transmissions.

    Post was edited 1 time, last by Dr.Criss-Cross ().

  • Dr.Criss-Cross wrote:

    I think all of those are great ideas!

    I'm also a big world building fan (I love what the Crowbar Collective has done with Black Mesa), and I got honestly excited the more I read your ideas. I think a major source of world building is the active and ambient dialogue from the various NPCs. I always found the friendly grunts in Opposing Force to be a little annoying - only saying "Check your zone!" and "Squad, quiet down!" They didn't seem to have any coherent characters or systems of authority. Only Shephard's rank as Corporal is explicitly stated, so when other soldiers constantly call you sir then turn around and shout orders at you, it's hard to tell how he places in the chain of command.

    I think it would be really valuable to establish some specific characters throughout OpFor. I think a good place to start would be these few:

    - Shephard's squad mates and commanding officer in the opening cinematic (maybe they could be the same characters from the training sequence?)
    - The officer that delivers the "Forget about Freeman!" and "Any last mortar coordinates, mark them on the tactical map!" transmissions (maybe he's in charge of all radio?)
    - The two grunts capture Freeman (maybe you hear them hatch the plan as you move with them, and they split off at some point to get him)
    - Drill instructor Barnes (Not present during the mission, but maybe grunts could quote him in a meaningful way through the story)

    Other than these specific characters, I think more references to parallel events in Half Life can serve as a fun time stamp for your progress in comparison to Freeman's

    -Troops first arriving shortly before "We've Got Hostiles"
    -Word about Freeman spreading throughout the Marines
    -Witness some grunts spray painting "Die Freeman"
    -Maybe a reference to Barney's exploits with Dr.Rosenberg in "Captive Freight", as the HECU was directly responsible for his capture

    I'd love to hear what you think, and maybe bounce some more ideas around!

    Dr.Criss-Cross wrote:

    I've come up with a few other World Building Ideas - both callbacks/call forwards to existing events and new stuff that could be fleshed out.

    Historical Events

    While playing through Portal 2 recently, I remembered why my favorite chapters were in the old abandoned test chambers and lobbies. The amount of world building and history, as well as the emotional arc of Cave Johnson's recordings, pumped so much more story into the game. As a result, I think it would be awesome to include some references to that shared history. I think some of the best ways to do this would be:

    -News clippings/documentation of the Missing Astronaut Trials (maybe Black Mesa was another suspect alongside Aperture?)
    -All of the Department of Defense contracts that Black Mesa beat Aperture in attaining (could be a part of that "Hall of Achievements")
    -Letters from Aperture's legal department or Cave Johnson himself about stolen ideas (either physical letters, or just mentions by scientists who worked on the Displacer Cannon or other experimental tech)

    Casual Events

    I think the best way to include less historical information would be conversations between scientists in Guard Duty, since the opening mission Insecurity takes place pre-disaster. I know we we try not to mention Black Mesa here, but I think their approach to Black Mesa Inbound and Anomalous Materials is the right move - a series of vignettes throughout the labs, kitchens, common areas and locker rooms that have various scientists and security guards chatting and interacting.

    An area for some real fun could be the shooting range - small talk about condescending scientists, an optional mini game where you race other guards at target practice. This guards only environment could be a place for them to blow off steam and discuss stuff as team members. Since Barney is said to have a relationship with Gordon, and possibly even some debts owed in casual gambling, there could be some more fun places to really characterize him as he appears in Half Life 2.

    Ant Farms

    Operation: Black Mesa has a similarly built in place for all kinds of world building and references. The radio stations, called "Ant Farms" in the Marine Corps, could allow for much more in-depth world building. The transmissions Adrian receives could not all be directed to him, for instance:

    -Marines gearing up to ambush Gordon in the Xen research labs from Questionable Ethics
    -Leaked transmissions from Black Ops about locating and setting off The Package
    -Scientists with improvised radios attempting to call for help
    -If we want to get spooky, a static-laden transmission of the Nihilanth's psychic messages

    I think a great way to add a bit of optional storytelling would be a tuning system to the radio - simply aiming at the dial and pressing your use key would cause the needle of the radio to shift, triggering a different transmission from the one your heard. This could get really interesting with ARG elements too. Everyone loves a good morse code or SSTV puzzle, and having these radios could made easy room for those kinds of transmissions.
    I rather like these ideas myself, however there is a bit of a continuity problem with a couple of them. Shephard's Squad was not deployed until some point in day 2. (as mentioned by some hgrunts in Blueshift.) Therefore he would not have been around for events such as some marines spray painting the anti-freeman graffiti nor would have been present for ambush and capture of Freeman either. As both of those things were late Day 1 or early Day 2. Shephard's adventure didn't start until mid to late day 2.


    I would love to hear more ideas. keep pitching them.
  • Another idea I had was to incorporate the ps2 style chargers into the Lambda Complex as a contrast to regular chargers elsewhere and the old chargers at the old lab. My reasoning is that while they do look more cartoonish they also look more scifi which is perfect fitting for the most state of the art and secretive sector of black mesa. You could write into the lore that these are advance chargers to help compensate with the power drain the long jump may exert on Xen and the health chargers could be a drug cocktale of various medicines to help acclimate travelers to Xen's environment better. I know they would likely only be used once in the entire game but I think it would still be a cool touch.

    combineoverwiki.net/images/a/a3/Hlpsx_health_idle.png

    combineoverwiki.net/images/e/ea/Hlpsx_suit_idle.png
  • Summerset Banjo wrote:

    Another idea I had was to incorporate the ps2 style chargers into the Lambda Complex as a contrast to regular chargers elsewhere and the old chargers at the old lab. My reasoning is that while they do look more cartoonish they also look more scifi which is perfect fitting for the most state of the art and secretive sector of black mesa. You could write into the lore that these are advance chargers to help compensate with the power drain the long jump may exert on Xen and the health chargers could be a drug cocktale of various medicines to help acclimate travelers to Xen's environment better. I know they would likely only be used once in the entire game but I think it would still be a cool touch.

    combineoverwiki.net/images/a/a3/Hlpsx_health_idle.png

    combineoverwiki.net/images/e/ea/Hlpsx_suit_idle.png
    Agreed as always, Banjo!

    I think some of the cartoon blockyness would be remedied by the Source engine's ability towards detail - designers could take inspiration from the major structure of the original models (green health tank, syringe arm, symmetry of charger cells) while improving things like animation and detail (the syringe arm could be more fluid and controlled in its motion, the charging station would have blue battery cells like the others).

    I love your explanations for why they're different - maybe this is an opportunity to add another hologram, breaking down the innovations of the Xen vaccine and enhanced charging stations. Adding these models would also serve to further connect the universe to Decay, as I believe they used these different models in their level design.

© 2018 Tripmine Studios. Valve, Steam, Gearbox, Half-Life Trademarks of Valve.