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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Credits don’t go to me, I’m not actually sure who originally produced this, but saw it on Twitter and thought it was fitting.
Moving on though, yes there will be new content soon. I’ve been buying some new equipment recently for recording and I’m preparing to invest my time (and money) pretty heavily into this. However, I’m unsure in where things are going to go and how I’ll do things, so prepare for a lot of experimentation (not that there hasn’t been any already).
Currently, the plan is to get recording equipment so that I can actually do analysis videos, where I go into greater detail into some of what you see in videos, but another thing I’ve been looking into is, well, essentially “Let’s Plays”. Now I know, how are LPs relevant to this website? Well as you know I recently started doing a playthrough of Prey, because I feel it’s somewhat underrated and thought while it’s good to cover games in their earlier forms, it’s also important that people are aware of what the final product looked like. I want to throw my voice into the mix because it gives me a chance to talk about certain aspects of the game that I’m aware might have changed or generally go into finer detail on certain matters.
I have actually already tried this in an additional Prey video, that’s yet to be made public, which also includes a web-cam view of myself, which could be pushing it a little, but I really need more feedback before I can decide on what works and what doesn’t. I’m not the most confident individual either, so trying to adapt myself is rather difficult but all round I think this would be a positive thing so long as I can make it both entertaining but more importantly, informative.
I have recently started a Patreon. So if anyone wants to, they can both support the content being produced here but also receive something of a reward in return. I’m not completely familiar with Patreon so this is rather new to me, but I can’t emphasize enough how much your support matters to this websites continuation and generally means to me.
While there’s a lot of information on the page regarding the work I do, essentially your support means I can put more work in towards the quality of content I deliver and time I can put into it.
Hello everyone, I’ve had a number of emails and messages now asking me if I have anything more to release surrounding Unreal or the Unreal Engine in general. To be frank there’s still quite a few things I have which aren’t yet in the public space but there’s several pretty good reasons for it.
Releasing source-code is a little different than releasing a build because of the implications, especially when it can potentially be damaging to a still active community.
Some of it is actually too big for me to upload in just one day.
Documents and other content may still need looking over.
I may have been specifically asked not to upload it.
Additionally, Unreal and the Unreal Engine are not my only or primary focus. This is an archival site for a multitude of different games. There are many other games which I want to cover, so many so that I probably couldn’t cover everything in my lifetime.
If there’s anything else then I will either post about it here or on the BetaArchive forum.