1 May 2020ВитойВитой
Hello everyone!

You might remember that we had a nice little mapping contest last year. Few people attended, even fewer finished their work and sent us their maps, but in the end the maps played greatly, and thanks to the contest we now have a few more great maps for the HL2 Beta!

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We thought that it's about time that we repeat the mapping contest - although this time we are willing to give everyone much more time for their maps as last time many people complained that they couldn't finish their work before the contest ended.

Just like last time, entrants are tasked with creating a map in the Leak engine. It could be anything - a remake or a redux version of a map from WC-mappack, a map based on Marc Laidlaw's short story, or something completely unrelated to the cut content of Half-Life 2.

The contest starts today, May the 1st, and ends September 30th, a memorable date when Half-Life 2 was initially to be released in 2003 - so you now have five months to finish your maps. After this date we will take some time to play your maps and make our verdicts, and then on October the 2nd, the exact date when the leaked build of Half-life 2 was publicly released, we will make another stream on our Youtube channel where we will showcase your works and give you the names of the winners.

We only have a few rules for our mapping contest:
  • Maps should be made for the leaked engine (so called "Half-Life 2 beta")
  • Maps must be decent in terms of efforts you put into them: no really short "tech-demo" style maps please! Do something really creative and more or less big. Also no joke maps.
  • Maps must be at least fairly original - we are not looking for another Get Your Free TVs remake, sorry.
  • Feel free to use any custom content. You could even release it in a separate folder as a mod.
  • All entries must be made by the closing date - the 30th of September.
  • To submit the entries, attach them to an email and send it to: contest@hl2-beta.ru. Don't forget to use some popular file hosting, like Dropbox or Google Drive

As for the winners - we'll have three 3 prize places again. And the prizes will be:
  • 1st place - any steam game up to $40
  • 2nd place - any steam game up to $20
  • 3rd place - any steam game up to $15

Just as last time, all winners will also get Discord roles on our server.

If you have any questions regarding this contest, or you would like to share your progress on maps with everyone - feel free to communicate with others on our Discord server's #contest channel that was made specially for this contest, or in this thread.

Good luck everyone!

23 March 2020ВитойВитой
And so, recently we streamed maps from the last year of Half-Life 2 development before it was leaked. And this means that we finished showing you practically whole period of Half-Life 2's development process - from the earliest maps we have in our disposal to the last month when hacker dig deep into Valve's servers and stole playable build of it.

We have made five streams in total about each development eras. Here's links for the recordings of those streams for you to be able to view them once more and remember what was in each one of them:

2001 era storyline stream

Late 2001 - earrly 2002 era storyline stream

2002 era storyline stream

Late 2002 - early 2003 era maps stream (Part 1)
Late 2002 - early 2003 era maps stream (Part 2)

2003 era maps stream

Many people have asked us: "If you finished streaming different development eras, does that mean there won't be any more HL2 beta stream where you tell something new about storyline and everything else?". And the answer on this question is undoubtedly no! We have plenty of stuff to show you during our next streams and to discuss it with you all. So obviously we'll meet during our next streams more than once.

But the nearest streams on your YouTube channel will be about the upcoming Half-Life: Alyx walkthrough, which should be released really soon. See you all there!

1 March 2020ВитойВитой
In his Twitter Marc Laidlaw shared a funny story from an early Half-Life 2 development era:

Early in HL2's development, before we had decided to bring back the Black Mesa staff and give them names, I wrote a bunch of vignettes and short dramatic scenes. One of the scripts involved a scientist I called CORT. I picked this name because I had just watched Tobe Hooper's 1986 remake of INVADERS FROM MARS, in which Bud Cort plays a scientist who gets eaten by a Martian. We never did anything with this scene, never developed the Cort character, but he stuck in my head as such things will.

Later in development, we came up with the character of Dr. Kleiner. Bill Van Buren went in search of face models, and ended up hiring a businessman who worked on the floor above ours to pose for Dr. Kleiner. His name was Ted Cohrt. I thought this was already a pretty great coincidence. Occasionally I ran into Ted around the building, said hi. The Cort/Cohrt always amused me but it was too convoluted to explain to him.

Some months later I was in the Santa Ana Airport, on my way back to Seattle, when I saw Ted Cohrt in the terminal concourse. It was funny to meet in this context, and when he saw me he stopped and said hello. Precisely where he stood, perfectly framed for my eyes only (thanks, Universe) was a big hanging sign: FOOD COURT.

Cort/Cohrt/Court. It was all there in that image, absolutely objective, but also completely subjective. If we'd run into each other a few feet in the other direction, I wouldn't have had this perfect view.

People ask why I come up with puns. It's not me. Blame reality!

Dr. Cohrt's model from HL2 beta
The story he shared is pretty funny but we didn't put it here just to have a good laugh with Marc Laidlaw. This story also sheds some light on one of HL2 Beta's mystery: who exactly was doctor Cohrt and why doesn't he look like Ted Cohrt. And the answer is that he was a scientist predecessing dr. Kleiner and unlike the later character he wasn't even related to Black Mesa personell.

Another thing we'd like to point out is that unlike what Marc told us before about those short stories and vignettes he wrote for developers during early stages there were more of them, not just the ones we had thanks to Raising the Bar! They're probably there, somewhere on Valve's old hard drives, waiting to be released for us, Half-Life series cut content lovers.

17 February 2020ВитойВитой
In the begining of 2004 when some fans started scanning leaked build of Half-Life 2 more closely while waiting for game's full release, the feature that amazed everyone the most was of course game's physics. People who figured how to set Hammer map editor began making mini-sandbox maps with plane hulls where one could attach propane tanks with the Physgun.

That's when Garry's mod idea first came into Garry's head, after all he was among those who spent hours playing HL2 beta multiplayer with his friends. And mod's first versions main feature was mainly porting Physgun from HL2 beta into retail engine.

Of course those fan'made maps weren't just about flying planes. As you can see at the second video from that era, some people were making some sort of HL2 beta machinimas. Apart from doing such videos they were making all sorts of bizzare maps. Some made maps with car junkyards, slaughterhouses (with Alyx ragdolls instead of cows) and various luna-park attractions like enterprise and ferris weels others made big maps with some sort of storyline and quests. For example there was a map where you needed to accomplish few tasks to be able to proceed through the forest. The game wasn't yet released and HL fans were having fun already.

The only thing we want to add instead of a conclusion to all this is that you can download many of those maps from our website and play them yourself, if you didn't do this already. And if you have some maps or content from that era that are not in this archive - please let us know, we would love to add as much of it as possible!

25 January 2020ВитойВитой

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HL2 Beta-related mod called Raising the Bar: Redux released a new media update on its ModDB page.
This time the developers shared new screenshots of maps and model renders of Consul and Combine Guard.
As always, all these new screenshots were added in mod's album on our website.

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