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[HL2: R] School Has Started… But That Doesn’t Stop Us!

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Introduction

Hello everyone! Sorry we haven’t posted any news in a while. Since school has started, our schedules have been packed. But that doesn’t mean progress on the mod has stopped! We have a couple of topics to showcase today, such as:

  • The new, HD ammo cartridges and re-textured supply crates we’ve implemented
  • The new skin for the Combine APC
  • Photos of the final version of the Combine APC garage
  • Pictures and info on Cellblock C4
  • What we’re planning for the future

So, as you can see, lots of things on our to-do list. So lets begin.

Ammo and Crates

We have implemented brand-new, high quality textures for ammo cartridges(SMG ammo boxes, pistol ammo boxes) as well as the supply crates that are littered throughout the Half-Life 2 games. Here are some screenshots:

HD Ammo Boxes and Retextured Crates HD Ammo Boxes and Retextured Crates HD Ammo Boxes and Retextured Crates

The New APC

Although this isn’t a large addition, we thought it would be nice to spice up the way the Combine Armored Patrol Car(APC) looked, so we gave it a nice, rusty, high-quality skin. Have a look:

High-Resolution APC High-Resolution APC

It won’t be the last time you see the APC. Soldiers, police, and Civil Protection shocktroopers use these mean-green fighting machines, so be weary when you see or hear them.

The Garage

After many revisions, and much work, we finally perfected the Combine APC garage. This is where you defend against waves of incoming Nova Prospekt security forces with automated sentry turrets. These turrets, which see you as a friendly after flipping some switches, are the only way you’ll survive this showdown with the assaulting security forces, so be sure to stick by them, and set them back up if knocked over(the soldiers LOVE to throw grenades). As for images of the garage, see for yourself:

vFinal APC Garage vFinal APC Garage
vFinal APC Garage vFinal APC Garage

Looks nice and sleek ey? We went a different approach then having it look like a conventional garage. Here, you can see the scaffolding, cranes, and workspaces under the platforms where engineers can work on the APCs. We hoped to make it more realistic than you’d expect, and shine some light on the atmospheric side of things.

The Inland

We have some more photos revealing the nature and atmosphere of The Inland, a brand-new area we are introducing to the Half-Life 2 universe. Not as thick or forested as White Forest, but it definitely has some green and grass growing all around the warehouses, factories, and industrial complexes scattered throughout the place. See the photos below:

The Inland The Inland
The Inland

We will reveal more information on The Inland later on. Stay tuned!

Breaking New Ground

And now, for the most important piece of news for this update. We have some crisp-clean photos of Cellblock C4 for you, the last cellblock you stumble upon in Nova Prospekt. Doing battle with security troops and swarms of antlions, this location as well as the section of the chapter(d1_prison_06) depicts how the situation of the outbreak has escalated from soldiers containing the antlion threat to making their last stands in hastily-constructed barricades. This section is the last of the skirmishes you have in Nova Prospekt, and we aren’t holding back on the epicness. But until more details can be revealed, here are some photos:

PLEASE NOTE: These photos are still Works-In-Progress and are not to be taken for the final product.

Cellblock C4 Cellblock C4
Cellblock C4 Cellblock C4
Cellblock C4

Info-Features

One little thing we have planned for the future is to create a series of “info-features” or articles about different locations and features we are implementing into the mod. We will talk about the Civil Protection Shocktrooper, The Inland, The Shipyards, and The Tunnel. We hope that by elaborating a bit on these locations, you’ll better understand how they come to have significance in the story of the mod, and be fleshed out more when you actually play.

The first info-feature has already been published, read about The Shipyards by clicking this link.

Our Farewell

Well everyone, that’s all the content we have for this update. Please comment, track the mod, and let us know how we’re doing and show your support for Half-Life 2: Retaliation!

Until next time,
Adrian Lopez


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Children of Men

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I watched the film again a few days ago, and I was reminded of why it is such a masterpiece in my eyes. Everything about the film is flawless. Sound, cinematography, acting, there is no fault what-so-ever. It also has taught me valuable film techniques and ways of doing things in films.

For instance, Children of Men is known for its “long takes” or “continuous takes”. A long/continuous take is when you film a large and complex scene without breaking to another take. Children of Men had three that its known for. One was a scene of a woman giving birth, and the scene lasted 229 seconds. Another was when characters in a car are attacked by a group of bandits, and that scene was 189 seconds long. The longest and most memorable scene, which is remembered for its sheer complexity and camera work and achievement in cinematography, is a 9 minute long combat scene between rebels and British military personnel.

I have learned of how to make long/continuous takes be effective and how they work, and just what they mean as far as cinematography goes. They are very complex, and quite tricky to use though. Only the most veteran of directors who can definitely keep everything in line are able to pull off such a feat, just as how Alfonso Cuaron(the director of Children of Men) did.

The film has also taught me about mood and camera angles and movement. The mood and cinematography, believe it or not, are intertwined. The way the camera shot looks and the way its positioned can spark a different mood depending on the scene. For instance, there is a scene where a supporting character is shot and killed on-screen. The main character drives away in a car, and grieves over the loss of his friend. This is felt emotionally by the audience, as low, slow music is playing and the camera is mounted in front of the windshield, and stares at the main character as they drive.

Such a scene could be manipulated in so many ways, and have different effects on the mood of the scene and the way you take it all in. The music also takes a very large part in the mood. During the combat scene as well as almost all of the film, the cinematography was unsteady and filmed in a technique called “guerrilla style”. Using hand-held cameras, the operator would follow or look at what is happening in an unsteady fashion, and slowly run from point to point filming what he is supposed to. This is personally my most favorite technique of filming, as it depicts a very gritty, realistic, and hectic atmosphere and mood.Though they are drawbacks to filming guerrilla style. Too much movement and shaking can bother or annoy the audience, and even make them succumb to motion-sickness. Therefore, it takes away from the film rather than add to the mood.

The way the cinematography as well as everything else just made Children of Men a masterpiece in my eyes, and probably the film I’ve learned most from. I’ve learned many different aspects of films from Children of Men, and I hope that in the future, I can create a motion picture in its image and using all the good characteristics of it to create my own masterpiece.

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