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Half-Life: Blue Shift Editing Interview

By Chris 'autolycus' Bokitch

I recently had the opportunity to ask David Mertz of Gearbox Software some questions regarding editing for the upcoming Half-Life expansion pack Blue Shift.

"In Half-Life: Blue Shift, players are challenged to take on the role of the Black Mesa security guard and explore restricted areas of the mysterious government facility. Blue Shift also contains the Half-Life HD Pack, which automatically upgrades the weapons and characters of all the games in the Half-Life saga with new high definition content." (taken from the official Blue Shift site)

  1. Will Gearbox be releasing editing resources for Half-Life: Blue Shift and if so, when?

    Gearbox will be releasing a level design SDK, much like we did with Half-Life: Opposing Force. The level design SDK will include .fgd files for both WC 2.1 and WC 3.3, as well as entity documentation and an example level in WC 2.1 .rmf and .map format. The level design SDK will be released immediately upon the commercial release of Blue Shift in June.

  2. Obviously the question on most people's minds is, what kind of new entities are we going to have to play with? I know the focus of Blue Shift is mainly single player action, but will any of the new entities add any new possibilities for multiplayer maps?

    The Blue Shift entity set is built off of the original Half-Life entity set instead of the Half-Life: Opposing Force entity set. Minor modifications to existing entities were made as well as the creation of entities for new items and our new scientist character.

    One new entity, the env_warpball is a nice entity for convenience. It basically creates the effect when Xen aliens teleport in, replacing anywhere from 4-32 entities depending on how a designer made their teleporter effect.

    Blue Shift is strictly single player, the online multiplayer component that is included with Half-Life: Blue Shift is Half-Life: Opposing Force Online which includes all the online multiplayer material from Opposing Force, along with Opposing Force Capture the Flag (Op For CTF). We have already made available a wealth of level editing information for Op For single player and multiplayer. The standard Half-Life multiplayer game entities work with Op For multiplayer and Op For CTF has an extended entity system that is very flexible and allows level designers to make different game types, not just CTF.

  3. For the Blue Shift maps, have the mapping limits been raised at all, in regards to r_speeds, entities per map, etc?

    No, one of the requirements for Blue Shift for the PC was that people whose computers could run the original Half-Life would also be able to run Blue Shift. Gearbox realizes that since the release of Half-Life, technology has advanced and many users have much more powerful machines. The High Definition Pack (HD Pack) which is currently only available with Half-Life: Blue Shift, was specifically created to cater to the higher end PC owner without penalizing the average user.

  4. To clear this up real quick, there is a screenshot floating around of what appears to be a room full of scientists at work. The thing that stands out is that the floor of their room is reflective, reflecting geometry and models. Has Blue Shift enabled reflective surfaces, or is this a simple mapping trick and custom models?

    Blue Shift uses the standard Half-Life engine. Half-Life does not currently support reflective surfaces. One of our level designers, Matt Armstrong, did a fantastic job being "tricky".

Post and read comments here.