Half-Life 2 Level Layout Feedback Desired Created 4 months ago2021-05-03 20:53:54 UTC by KlassicKent KlassicKent

Created 4 months ago2021-05-03 20:53:54 UTC by KlassicKent KlassicKent

Posted 4 months ago2021-05-03 20:53:54 UTC Post #345581
Hey everyone, I'm working on my first Half-Life 2 level and was hoping to get some feedback on my level layout. That being said I think it would be helpful to identify for you guys some of my goals for the project which are the following:
  • solid Half-Life 2 level design (environmental/physic puzzles, fun combat encounters, eerie/exciting atmosphere)
  • learn more about Hammer
  • 5 - 10 minutes of gameplay
  • accomplish in ~3 months (I'm a married adult w/ kids so time is limited)
The setting is in the canals of the earlier Half-Life 2 levels and the goal is to simply move up the canals (but you must overcome obstacles first). Not the most original setting, but I want to focus on beginner level design goals rather than making something super unique.

Here is the layout w/ flow lines and an explanation of the flow below the picture.
Half-Life 2 Level - The Canals - Layout Sketch Marked-UpHalf-Life 2 Level - The Canals - Layout Sketch Marked-Up
  1. Player arrives via airboat and has a view of the level before getting to the canal entrance. Player sees it is blocked, and must proceed over the pier and onto the concrete loading dock area.
  2. Player gets into magnetic crane and crane is positioned so player can see guards storm out of the Guard Room. Player then uses crane to pick up objects and defeat guards. Player then uses crane to lift airboat over obstacle and into the canals, exits crane and gets back into airboat. Player then proceeds up canals towards point 3.
  3. Before entering the Boathouse, player sees canal turning left but is blocked by a gate. Player continues forward due to it being the only path available and enters the Boathouse. Boathouse garage door opens part way, grenade tossed underneath and after explosion, guards storm in through normal doors on either side of garage door. Fight takes place in garage as well as outside.
  4. Player has fight in another loading dock area before climbing onto crates and metal sheets to hop onto the shelter at area 5. Maybe player needs to use gravity gun to place objects/metal sheets in order to climb this section.
  5. Shelter has some objects underneath it and some ammo/health/shield. Player proceeds across driveway to the Garage at point 6.
  6. Player moves through a garage building, not sure yet if this will be combat focused or puzzle focused.
  7. Player enters area and vehicles storm through gates, fight ensures. Enemy on turret in tower at point 8 gives hint at where player can go to take out approaching helicopter. Helicopter arrives and player heads to part 8.
  8. Player takes out helicopter w/ turret.
  9. Player climbs onto roof and into the Gate Control building to open the canal gate at part 10. Player then follows walkway over gate and back to the Boathouse, climbs a latter down and gets back into the airboat.
  10. Player exits Boathouse, goes through gate, and continues north through the canals.

Some questions I have are, should I nail down more of the details such as exactly what the Boathouse will look like such as catwalks and props, or if part 6 will be more puzzle or combat focused, etc, before I head to whiteboxing the level? Are there any improvements you would suggest or changes that should be made?

Potential areas I've noted I may need to improve
  • more verticality
  • more secret areas
  • potential underground areas
Any feedback is appreciated, thanks!
Posted 4 months ago2021-05-04 02:48:17 UTC Post #345582
Looks like a really good plan! I don't really have any suggestions, you've already nailed it pretty well. I do notice the "guard room" you have isn't part of the player's main journey - there's no reason you have to make it a mandatory visit, but at least put some stuff (ammo/health) in there for the player so they have a reason to go there if they want. You could even make the guard room have two entrances, one you could open from the other side (point 4) so you can backtrack to point 2 and get some item you need to progress through the shelter.
Penguinboy PenguinboyHaha, I died again!
Posted 4 months ago2021-05-04 03:16:31 UTC Post #345584
Oh yeah that's a good idea. I do know I have to kind of figure out the details of where there will be little goodies hidden and what not and the guard room could be great for that. Maybe I'll even have a more powerful weapon in there to make later sections a little easier if they spent the time exploring.

I'm going to have to try and think about what could be retrieved through the guard room for part 4 to get to the shelter. Part of me doesn't want them to go back through since it could be confusing and lead them in circles, but maybe if I have enough environmental clues it would be a fun addition.

Posted 4 months ago2021-05-04 16:56:52 UTC Post #345585
You put much more planing into this map than I do, that's for sure. Just remember the golden rule, keep your map sealed :walter:
Posted 4 months ago2021-05-04 19:50:35 UTC Post #345586
Haha yup I will make sure it's sealed! And yeah I just want to make sure I have a solid plan before going into whiteboxing. I think it's almost there so I've actually started in the editor today. I have a better idea of what I want for the garage section so I feel like the layout is mostly done except for maybe some secrets and more details on the combat encounters.
Posted 4 months ago2021-05-13 13:22:19 UTC Post #345602
I've got a few updates to add to this post for anyone that is interested. I have decided to move the garage section to earlier in the level along with adding an underground section beneath this. This will allow me to give the player some exploration/puzzle solving before throwing them into the action. I can also use this underground section to introduce zombies to the level for some fun variation in the enemy forces. This garage and underground section will act as a run-down and dilapidated area that the Combine has failed to maintain. This will give the player a good way to sneak into the level since security in this section has been neglected due to old age and zombie infestation.
New Garage LocationNew Garage Location
I have recorded a rough playthrough of this new section but please keep in mind it is very rough and I really just wanted to get a sense of the flow and layout. :biggrin:
New Garage Area - Rough Playthrough
Next I'll be working on the section seen at the very end of the level.

Let me know what you think! Thanks!
Posted 1 week ago2021-09-06 23:50:01 UTC Post #345924
I love this. One bit of advice I'd have on the layout is - I think the area with all the zombies and the displacement floors is an area where water would flow ? but it doesn't seem to have an obvious outlet near where you enter. (44 seconds)

I too am married with kids ;) attempting to devote more time to mapping and modeling for hl2 since I had a very long break.
This is a great thread and project, I love to see prototyping videos.
You must be logged in to post a response.