Half-Life 2 Prison Evolution (10th October 2002)

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This is part of a video series showing the gradual evolution of the Prison in Half-Life 2. It’s not intended to demonstrate gameplay, as most of these levels, in their original form, weren’t playable. Because of the number of levels to cover and the amount of time it takes to clean them up enough to be viewable, these will be kept as quick glances.

This level is produced from the VMF, prison. The level was likely created by David Sawyer.

The prison level you see here is huge and is one of the larger levels that was leaked in 2003. This level is essentially the prison in its entirety at the time, which includes a very different layout from that seen in the final game and also includes sections seen in previous videos albeit mostly iterated upon.

This level also includes an incredibly early version of the shower section seen in the final version of the prison.

While not covered in this video, the level is also unique in that it includes a scrolling cloud layer within the skybox.

Credits to H.Grunt for cleaning up the level so this video could be produced, without his help this video would probably have taken far longer to finish than it should have.

I’m not dead.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Announcement, Article, Game, Half-Life 2

This is a quick update and firstly I’m not dead, and secondly the next video is still on its way. A lot has happened recently which has meant I have less time to focus on my personal pursuits, namely I’m working at a software company now and this means I’ve been pretty much occupied with work.

This also means I’m likely to take the Patreon offline.

To bring you guys up to speed, the map being featured in the upcoming video was giving me a lot of grief and because I was struggling to find the time to work on it, in the end I asked a friend to take a look at it for me. That map is now ready to be filmed and now it’s just waiting on me to finish, which will either happen over this week or by the weekend. The new video is also using Source’s demo smoother, rather than how I was previously doing it, but let’s just say it can be a little unreliable at times and there’s a lot to cover in this map and I’m also using Source 2013 to preview the maps, rather than trying to do it within the leaked 2003 build.

Additionally, there’s still about 40 maps left for me to cover just for the prison alone… Obviously I’m questioning how much I can retain my sanity at this rate, so we might cover random levels in the future instead and I might move onto covering different games for a little while too.

In the meantime here’s a few random screenshots I apparently captured without realising it. This version of the map is starting to gradually shape up to what we saw in the final game though there are some pretty obvious differences in the design of some areas, plus the layout is still very much incomplete and it very much still feels like a cluster of areas just slammed together.

Half-Life 2: Episode Two Unused Particle Effects

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Game, Half-Life 2: Episode Two, Video

This video demonstrates a number of particle effects that went unused in Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

During Episode Two’s development, Valve were working on overhauling the particle system within the Source Engine to replace the previously hard-coded particle system that their previous games had utilised.

One of the changes Valve worked on in addition to this was overhauling the impact effects to use their new particle system. However, unfortunately, this didn’t see the light of day for Team Fortress 2, Portal or Episode Two and instead was disabled by the console variable ‘cl_new_impact_effects’ by default.

In addition to this, the new impact effects themselves were broken in Episode Two’s release, so even enabling the console variable would fail.

As a side-note; Ignore the HUD, level and other oddities in this video, this is my own custom modification that I’ve been using to produce future upcoming videos in relation to the ‘Prison Evolution’ videos. Apologies for any confusion.


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Half-Life 2 Prison Evolution (25th September 2002)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Game, Half-Life 2, Video

This is part of a video series showing the gradual evolution of the Prison in Half-Life 2. It’s not intended to demonstrate gameplay, as most of these levels, in their original form, weren’t playable. Because of the number of levels to cover and the amount of time it takes to clean them up enough to be viewable, these will be kept as quick glances.

The level you’re seeing here is from a VMF named cafeteria, which appears to have been produced by David Sawyer; who was a designer at Valve, who produced most of the iterations of the Prison that we’re going to see.

This is a relatively small level, which seems to be an early version of a cafeteria portion of the Prison. The purpose of this level was likely to establish gameplay dynamics and general themes.

The control room is unusual, as it features a glass panel embedded in the floor, of which the player can look through. This was likely to show the result of pulling the switch but it’s difficult to tell.

There’s also a control room hidden in the middle section of the level, which isn’t accessible typically. It’s not clear why this is.

A few of the models and textures used in this level were missing and hence had to be replaced. Obviously this means that this isn’t 100% representative of what the levels may have looked like back when they were originally created, but it’s probably pretty darn close.


Music was produced by Chris Jensen as part of “Mishaps in the Reactor Chamber.” A collection of songs originally intended for Opposing Force that went unused.


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Half-Life 2 Prison Evolution (30th July 2002)

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Game, Half-Life 2, Video

This is part of a video series showing the gradual evolution of the Prison in Half-Life 2. It’s not intended to demonstrate gameplay, as most of these levels, in their original form, weren’t playable. Because of the number of levels to cover and the amount of time it takes to clean them up enough to be viewable, these will be kept as quick glances.

The level shown in this video was given the VMF name, prison_block. It appears to be a level produced by David Sawyer, who was a designer at Valve, who produced most of the iterations of the Prison that we’re going to see. This is part of a collection of levels produced by Valve during the development of Half-Life 2, that were leaked onto the internet in 2003.

This is the earliest revision that I’m aware of, which represents the prison that we end up seeing in the final game in its earliest form.

The level appears to be a collection of different sections of what was likely intended to become or part of, a much larger level which we’ll see in a later video. This was likely done to experiment with different gameplay dynamics and establish a general theme for the levels.

Development of the level also seems to have otherwise been somewhat progressive, with some portions of the map seemingly appearing less polished or using older assets than some other areas. Each area seems to have been cordoned off for testing and its development, so portions of the level were likely created independently from one another as time went on.

Very little of this level survived into the final game, but some of the overall design survived in a heavily revised form.

Many of the models used in this level were missing and hence had to be replaced. Obviously this means that this isn’t 100% representative of what the levels may have looked like back when they were originally created, but it’s probably pretty darn close.


Music was produced by Chris Jensen as part of “Mishaps in the Reactor Chamber.” A collection of songs originally intended for Opposing Force that went unused.


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Let’s Speculate! Half-Life 2 WADs

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Article, Game, Half-Life 2, Let's Speculate!

This is somewhat of a disclaimer I must put forward here. I have a habit of finding little things, and then theorising about them for a considerable amount of time to people (much to their annoyance, I’m sure), but never actually sharing it or writing it down. I have a website specifically for this now, might as well use it. That said, some of my thoughts or ideas are very likely wrong, but I’d like to put forward some interesting thoughts and theories for people to consider. Don’t take my words and consider them a fact. Don’t take them and publish them as fact.

Anyway consider this the start of a new series!

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Rayman 2 September 1999 Demo

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Game, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, Video

Just to clarify, there wasn’t any sound included in this build, hence why there isn’t any audio.

This was an additional demo for the Windows platform, released a few months before the game’s final release in December.

This build follows the previous one released in August. Interestingly it’s the same level and it appears pretty much the same as the final game, minus Rayman having his more powerful attack a little earlier in the game than he usually would.

Compared to the previous build, it seems a number of issues have been resolved and there’s likely a few additions. For starts, sprites on the screen appear smoother in this build and it also appears that lighting is functioning as expected in this build too. It’s also worth mentioning that the colour of the text is different in this build compared to the previous. Additionally, a very obvious change is that Rayman’s face is now animated correctly.

Wikipedia article can be found here.

Additionally, if you enjoyed this I recommend looking at my Patreon, if you’d like to support future content such as this.

Rayman 2 August 1999 Demo

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Playthrough, Rayman 2: The Great Escape, Video

This was a demo for the Windows platform, released a few months before the game’s final release in December.

There’s a few differences in this build of the game compared to the final release; some audio is different, Rayman’s face in general seems less animated and expressive, and some other minor differences. I’d like to do a more complete analysis video on this at a later point.

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Messiah Technology Analysis

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Analysis, Game, Messiah, Video


It’s taken awhile, but it’s finally here! The first video in my analysis series.

Yes there’s a lot of additional information I didn’t cover in the video, or details I may have overlooked. You might also be wondering what my sources are. In this case I recommend checking out the documentation I’ve written out alongside the video.

Messiah Technical Analysis Document

Messiah on Wikipedia

TalonBrave.info