With the year coming to a close the Project Borealis team wanted to end on a high note. As such, I am here to share with you today some of the progress the team has made during our first few months of real pre-production.
Nuts and Bolts
While maybe not the most glamorous area of development, PB’s team of programmers have been making huge strides in developing the game’s core gameplay systems including recreating HL2’s iconic movement, UI, weapon functionality and AI.
The team now enjoys testing regular builds each week focused on perfecting these systems in order to build a solid foundation for which the rest of the game can expand on. The team’s goals at this stage is to make the base experience as close as possible to the original.
We consider the above mentioned systems critical to capturing the HL2 experience so it’s imperative that these systems be tackled first in order to ensure the rest of the game’s flow can mechanically match the game it’s inspired by.
On movement alone, the team has spent numerous hours poring over HL2 speed runs and documentation to make sure we get every mechanic right so that players who use those features feel right at home, even in a new engine. Yes, this means re-introducing things like accelerated back hopping, circle strafing, bunny-hopping, etc.
For those who are just interested in the general feel of movement, the team has been working hard to make sure acceleration, friction, momentum, etc are properly handled to stay true to what people expect.
The concept art team has been hard at work further expanding upon and defining the overall look of both the Rebel and Combine forces.
Project Borealis takes place primarily in an arctic setting, meaning both sides have had to adapt their outerwear and gear to match the harsher climate. We’ve also had our environmental artists produce some stunning renders of upcoming locations to be featured in PB.
Below are links to just a small handful of some of the team’s latest concept images, just keep in mind these are ALL work in progress concepts and will change as we continue to iterate.
The writing team has taken the initial Epistle 3 story posted by Marc and broken it down into critical plot points and then added more as needed to fill the gaps and flesh out a full and compelling story true to the lore and feel of the Half-Life universe.
Working through this more detailed story, the first 1/2 is nearly complete and undergoing review by the design teams. As we’ve stated in the past, the team does not intend to provide any spoilers into Epistle 3’s story development beyond what was originally laid out by Marc. However, we did at least want everyone to know things are moving forward smoothly.
Elements of the 2D art team have been working with 3D to refine materials used on assets and provide greater synergy between the two teams.
Other parts of the 2D art team have been working on recreating classic HL2 decals in order to help recapture the spirit of HL2 in newly designed areas; new decals, inspired from other sources, are also being worked on to be used in other areas.
Finally, material assets have been created for use in environment design - such as mud and ice textures - which help lay the groundwork for the look and feel of the game.
The 3D art team has been hard at work churning out a variety of assets to be used in PB. Much of the work involves the thankless task of creating the game’s countless props used in the set dressing of levels.
That being said, work continues on many iconic models, some of which can be seen below in various stages of completion:
Finally, we leave you with another taste of the wonderful music being produced by our sound team. These latest tracks do a good job of capturing the emotional tone of the situation players are presented with in Project Borealis.