In today's article, we're going to talk about Half-Life's lost feature, Timeline. In November of 1998, Valve released Half-Life along with Worldcraft, a level editor which was included on the game's disc to allow mod developers make their own custom levels. The same tool was used by the company to build the game. This release also included a guide by Chris Bokitch to help people learn how to use the editor.
In a pre-release version of this guide, dated March of 1998, there is an unusual screenshot of the Object Properties, a menu used for editing entities. In this image, the window has a fourth tab named Timeline, which is not available in any release of the editor.
According to the guide, this feature was created for Half-Life. It was to allow the user to specify an exact period in hours and minutes when the selected entity will be in the level. Like in the Fallout games, you could have a character only appear between selected hours in your map. It is unknown how the game was to keep track of the time. We contacted Bokitch for further information. He told us that he doesn't remember using the feature, or adding support for it to any game data file used by the editor.
While Half-Life never had a working time system like sandbox games, there were plans to implement dynamic levels that would change over time. In the early previews of the game, Gabe Newell talks about how the players could travel back to an area they've already been at and see changes. Moss would grow on the walls and alien creatures would breed during the player's absence. According to former writer of the series, Marc Laidlaw, this was when Newell was thinking of possibilities early in the development and were never added to the game.
The pre-release version of the help guide was included in the developer tools published for Sierra's SWAT 3. While the game does not use the Half-Life engine, its levels were made using Valve's Worldcraft.
According to a series of reports on the internet, Technical Illusions, a company formed by former Valve developers Jeri Ellsworth and Rick Johnson, has been shut down. The reports claim that the company's primary source of funding was cut. Left with no other option, the company was forced to shut down and lay off their staff.
Ellsworth was let go from the company in February of 2013 during a "great cleansing" as described by her. She was given permission to take the research that she had done for the company with her. Johnson left the company to join Ellsworth. The duo formed Technical Illusions to continue their research and work on castAR, an Augmented Reality device.
In 2011, a photo of a mysterious Combine Soldier artwork appeared on the internet. The photo was taken by an unknown person when he or she visited Valve's office. Some fans claimed that the image was created for a possible new Half-Life title in development even though it contradicted with style rules set for Half-Life 2 by former company artist Ted Backman.
In reality, it was part of a series of fan images created by artist Manny Llamas, who also worked at the company many years ago. It was placed on walls with other fan creations in the company's office. Llamas published two of these images on his personal website for a short time. The other images were also available on unlisted pages of his website.
The images were done when Llamas was employed at LucasArts Entertainment, so it is possible that he created them to apply for a job at the company the second time. We tried to reach him for a comment, but he did not (or could not) respond to our email.
In today's news post, we're going to talk about Left 4 Dead 3 characters. In July of 2015, Steam Database received an early version of Aperture Robot Repair, a virtual reality demo that was created by Valve. Our former site contributor Nick worked with them to document all the findings, which were published after the demo's release in February of 2016.
The demo features numerous references to Left 4 Dead 3 and other projects. In the files, there are textures for a character called "adult_01". This character is referenced in the map "vr_l4d_characters" but the model for it is missing. It should be noted that some of these files are not included in the final release of the demo.
• npc/adult_01/materials/boots (missing)
In February of 2013, three years before the release of Aperture Robot Repair, artist Moby Francke left the company. After his departure, he published concept art for two characters on his personal website in June.
These images depict two middle aged Middle Eastern men armed with weapons. They appear to be created for "adult_01" from the leak. When we were working on the Aperture Robot Repair article, we saw these similarities but we had no evidence to support our speculation.
Shortly after we published the article, one of our contacts who wishes to remain anonymous revealed that the original filenames for these concept images bear the prefix "npc_adult", which confirms the connection. We'd like to thank Martin Benjamins of Steam Database and our former site contributor Nick for their help.
Some of our followers on our social media profiles requested a list of developers who either left or joined Valve in recent history. The following list covers staff changes between 2016 and 2017. For more detailed descriptions, you can click on associated links under names (if they're available).
Click here to view the list.
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