Half-Life continuity deep dive Created 2 weeks ago2020-11-15 09:16:03 UTC by KingDaniel KingDaniel

Created 2 weeks ago2020-11-15 09:16:03 UTC by KingDaniel KingDaniel

Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-15 09:16:03 UTC Post #344858
The continuity of the HL universe is a hodgepodge of retcons and revisions as all long running franchises are. Gameplay always comes first. That being said, I love stuff like HL: Alyx explaining Alyx's gun and the toxic gloop all around City 17 in HL2, or Dr Magnussen being the guy whose lunch you ruined at the start of HL1. Blue Shift Barney being the one you pass on the tram at the start of HL1. The Portal 2 workshop made the infinite multiverse HL canon, which kinda accounts for every fan mod and discrepancy you could imagine. But, I like to wonder how things might tie together into one continuity.

Specifically I was curious about the timing of the Seven Hour War. I saw a very rough HL mod timeline on ModDB once which tried to put as many SP HL mods as possible into and around the canon HL games. He fudged a little so the Seven Hour War and Combine invasion didn't come immediately after HL1 but a few years later, allowing for mods like Redemption and Poke646 to happen in a world where the inital Xen invasion was taken care of and life returned to normal for awhile. Gman takes Gordon out of stasis to deal with a few minor and major crisis before sealing him away for 20 years for HL2.

Does the idea of a break of a few years between Black Mesa and the Combine invasion make much of a difference? Does it ruin the continuity or am I the only one who cares?
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-15 09:59:18 UTC Post #344859
It ruins nothing, especially if you are modding.

Like you said, even Valve themselves made so many retcons to the series that nothing really matters anymore, a break doesn't mean a thing. The Combine either attacked immediately or it took them some time to discover the portal to our world, doesn't make a difference.

Mods should be free from what the canon is or what the story is about. If someone has a cool idea they want to implement they can do it. Who cares about story?
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-15 12:07:06 UTC Post #344860
I am all for alternate timelines and I never consider a mod canon. Even the REALLY good polished ones like Poke 646 that tie into the original story. A lot of great mods came out before Half-Life 2 was ever confirmed. They often revolve around Freeman as a special operative, picking up work for the G-man. I simply assign them to their own little microverse and disregard the franchise canon entirely. The Black Mesa Incident happened, after that it's fair game.

Honestly the official lore is completely incomprehensible anyways. Even my absolute favourite video concerning the aftermath of the Black Mesa Incident has some inconsistencies and errors, such as the date the experiment takes place and so on. However, I do agree that canonically the seven hours war probably occurred within a month of the disaster.
UrbaNebula UrbaNebulaGoldSourcerer
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-15 18:23:53 UTC Post #344862
I agree 100% mods shouldn't have to follow canon if they don't want. When I'm playing, it's the mod's version of the story that matters at the time and nothing else.

BUT! I also like to headcanon a bunch of random things into some epic overall story: Heart of Evil is a Xen ship crashing down in 'Nam causing all of that chaos and could even be humanity's first contact with those creatures and set research into motion that ended in the Black Mesa disaster. USS Darkstar and Gunman Chronicles are the centuries-forward future of the HL universe following the defeat of the Combine. They Hunger somehow happened somewhere in the US before the Black Mesa disaster because why not?

Urby, that video is epic. Lots of thought went into it.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-16 09:28:22 UTC Post #344866
Heart of Evil is a Xen ship crashing down in 'Nam
Oh man, Heart of Evil. Trying to make a believable jungle setting in GldSrc would have been hard enough. And it was a Sci Fi mod, based on a war/psychological film, based on a book about an Ivory Trader. It was so far from original source material but it actually was a decent mod. Well, the original was tripped out, the Napalm edition tipped it just over the 'serious' edge into satire...

I remember in Azure Sheep how they recreated a lot of the inaccessible areas of the original HL tram ride into their own levels, which was kind of cool, but then Blue Shift stomped all over that with a similar idea, which made the narrative of those two stories cancel each other out!
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-17 01:55:25 UTC Post #344867
At least Blue Shift is good though.
Suparsonik SuparsonikI'm going off the edge to meet my maker.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-17 09:19:27 UTC Post #344868
Azure Sheep > Blue Shift :P

Half-Life games/mods being first person accounts of events, you get a lot of wiggle room. Ever see true crime shows where two people who were there have wildly different accounts of events? And that's when the events aren't alien invasions. Maybe Barney Miller thought he came out through the door in the HL1 intro that (doesn't) lead to Barney Calhoun's opening levels but actually it was a different similar one. Maybe Gordon was wearing a red shirt that morning (AS) or blue like all the others (BS)
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-17 09:38:31 UTC Post #344869
Well, the original was tripped out, the Napalm edition tipped it just over the 'serious' edge into satire...
The original was pretty satirical. Napalm Edition just made it unfunny.

Regarding Azure Sheep, I really enjoyed the way it expanded on the areas seen during the intro tram ride from Half-Life. Nowadays I can see how it was so appallingly made. So many featureless corridors.
UrbaNebula UrbaNebulaGoldSourcerer
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-17 19:51:27 UTC Post #344870
Oh no, KingDaniel is an Azure Sheep apologist! I can revisit Blue Shift and still find new things to marvel at, I cannot say the same with Azure Sheep. I played it once and thought it was kind of boring and annoying. The featureless corridors leading to set pieces is also pretty hilarious to say the least.
Suparsonik SuparsonikI'm going off the edge to meet my maker.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-17 22:36:24 UTC Post #344871
Both Azure Sheep and Blue Shift are great. Azure Sheep's levels were created by DAV, who's made some top notch mappacks in the 2000's which features some of my favorite oldschool maps ever ( Calling it oldschool doesn't even make sense since mapping in that style was the norm at the time). I like his simple style and elaborate scripting that tries to create different scenarios, especially in his aforementioned DAV levels.

Some Azure Sheep's maps look great , definitely doesn't deserve to be remembered only by blank corridors which you'll zip past by without checking anyway. As for the mod itself, I consider it a classic and one of the best mods ever created for HL.

And since it is a good time to mention it, I also consider "Life's End" one of the greatest mods ever made for the game and it has shaped my mapping style (not overly detailed, set-piece heavy) which I still follow the rules of.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-17 23:13:55 UTC Post #344872
I 100% see the crust in Azure Sheep's corridor maze design, but I've got such warm fuzzy nostalgic feelings for it I will forever love it. Played it through probably a half dozen times. It was the first fan made mod I played that crossed over with Half-Life 1's levels, and I was so excited to explore those opening tram areas I'd been so curious about. Something can be technically flawed but still be hugely enjoyable.
And since it is a good time to mention it, I also consider "Life's End" one of the greatest mods ever made for the game and it has shaped my mapping style (not overly detailed, set-piece heavy) which I still follow the rules of.
See? Technically awful, maps in such a state I built new ones from scratch for crossovers in Time's End. But some people like it for some reason.

And I thank them for it :)
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-17 23:16:33 UTC Post #344873
Now Life's End I can totally get behind. That mod inspired me so much to make a mod of my own back in the day. Naturally I was nowhere near talented enough to complete and upload anything of worth, but I would like to return to something like that in future, set in Black Mesa but maybe a little more tongue-in-cheek that The Core is going to wind up.

Azure Sheep though... I dunno. It was certainly never one of my favourites. The only thing I can say that's remotely positive is that it's long. However, I feel it's only long because of how padded it is with countless hallways or maze like areas. Yes, some of it looks great but there are a lot of sections that don't.

I've also never played a DAV level, even to this day. I think I got one or two on a PC Gamer CD back in the day, but for some reason I never got them to work.
UrbaNebula UrbaNebulaGoldSourcerer
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-18 00:05:33 UTC Post #344876
I just wanted to make something and figured if I liked what I made, someone somewhere will like it too. And here I am inspiring and shaping people's mapping :o
I've also never played a DAV level, even to this day. I think I got one or two on a PC Gamer CD back in the day, but for some reason I never got them to work.
DAV also did Point of View, which was fascinating and had noticeably fewer corridor mazes. I loved the mechanic of zapping characters and stealing their health and playing as an alien. I'm not 100% sure but I think I read somewhere the Vort gameplay was originally a bonus mode in PS2's HL: Decay?

Back to the main topic, it's kinda hard to reconcile POV plot-wise with canon, but Alyx does give us a damaged Vort cut off from the hive mind, so maybe some have more individuality than others. Or something.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-18 05:29:19 UTC Post #344877
But why are we trying make mods tie into the canon though? If that were an obligation where does mods like Crack-Life stand, lore wise? Gordon's fever dream after being ambushed by the soldiers and hit in the head one too many times?

If we REALLY want to make POV tie into the canon it's one of the easier mods to do so: Because vortigaunts are slaves that are kept in line using their collars the vort we are playing as gains autonomy once he loses it and joins up with Just Barney and Kate at the end, security guards he's been killing since the start of the game.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-18 13:01:43 UTC Post #344879
"Major Fracture Detected."
boop boop boop hiss
"Morphine: Administered."

Crack-Life starts.
UrbaNebula UrbaNebulaGoldSourcerer
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-18 17:01:56 UTC Post #344880
But why are we trying make mods tie into the canon though?
I get a kick out of trying to make everything fit together into one epic, super deep mythos. It kinda started with laying out a chronology of the Half-Life universe for Time's End (which was originally gonna be far more spammed with references to other mods than it turned out to be) but when I play something, a small voice in my head wonders if/how/where it can fit. Of course it's not essential.
"Major Fracture Detected."
boop boop boop hiss
"Morphine: Administered."
Crack-Life starts.
Perfect.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-19 12:42:20 UTC Post #344890
I forgot to mention the biggest wrinkle HL: Alyx adds to the continuity. And it's huge:

Adding filler text

So the spoiler doesn't show on the front page

Is this enough? I hope so

Let's find out

Namely, that Alyx is plucked from 5 years prior to HL2, jumped to the end of Episode Two to undo her father's death and then put into stasis by the G-man. The entire timeline of HL2 and the episodes should be erased by the removal of Alyx, but that doesn't happen. From Gordon and (now alive) Eli's perspectives, Alyx simply vanishes at the end of Episode Two. But should Alyx re-appear, it'll be an Alyx who never met Gordon Freeman and who never experienced the events of HL2, and Episodes One and Two.

I'm really curious how Valve plan to address this going forward.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-19 13:24:50 UTC Post #344891
I'm not 100% sure but I think I read somewhere the Vort gameplay was originally a bonus mode in PS2's HL: Decay?
yup, i have the ps2 version and there is a bonus mission in decay where you play as a vortigaunt, also there's a cheat code in that version that allows you to play through the HL1 campaign as a vortigaunt, that was an awesome bonus.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-19 14:07:49 UTC Post #344892
I feel the complete opposite.

I was extremely dissapointed with the story of HL:A and with the game itself to a degree too.
Then again, I felt the same thing with HL2 back in the day, so I don't really care what the future games will be doing. HL kinda died to me after the first game.

Bringing Eli back from the death was a terrible idea that ruined the shocking ending of EP2 and the potential revenge story in the Arctic with a bitter Alyx. You kill a main character, then bring him back like nothing happened? Pointless.
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-20 00:02:02 UTC Post #344896
I thought HL A was a prequel to HL2
LOZ98 LOZ98Insert Creative "Custom Title Text" here
Posted 2 weeks ago2020-11-20 10:55:19 UTC Post #344901
yup, i have the ps2 version and there is a bonus mission in decay where you play as a vortigaunt, also there's a cheat code in that version that allows you to play through the HL1 campaign as a vortigaunt, that was an awesome bonus.
I'm so curious, was there a plot to the Vort mission?

Wait, never mind just googled it. Youtube playthroughs are the best :D
I thought HL A was a prequel to HL2
That's how it starts out, but the more I think about it the less sense the overall plot makes. It's very convoluted.
The Alyx in HL2 and Episodes One and Two can't have ever visited the Vault (in fact there would be no Vault at all) since G-Man wasn't imprisoned in that timeline. If he was and she released him, those events would never have happened. I'm guessing the change in the timeline starts with G-Man going back from some point after Episode Two to do something, fucking up by getting captured. Kinda like the Star Trek reboot, X-Men: Days of Future Past or Terminator Genisys in how it messes with things.
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