Disclaimer: I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so don't take what I'm about to say too seriously! spac_t0a0:
This is basically a text-only Powerpoint presentation. A slideshow can be an interesting way to provide an optional piece of lore. But here, it's essentially a slow, boring cut-scene with no skip button, with a nerve-wracking humming sound in the background and blurry text that's barely readable. The text itself is fairly long-winded.
So the background story is that there's this 'SDI' laboratory that's using prisoners like you as test subjects, and you're about to escape their facilities. How do you tell that story in an interesting way? By letting the player experience the story. Have them start out in a cell-block: that immediately tells them they're a prisoner, and gives them a goal: to escape. Make the walls look like a modern laboratory, add windows that overlook test chambers, put appropriate signs on the walls, and players can now figure out on their own that they're in a test facility. A big 'Space Dynamic Incorporated' logo in a lounge somewhere tells them the name of the place. And don't just throw enemies at the player: let some alarms go off first. Let them know that their escape has been detected and that security is on their way. Make it part of the story!spac_uplink:
My overall impression: the architecture, texturing and lighting are very basic. Rooms are blocky, with almost no detail, and the furniture that is present is out of proportion. Most of the rooms do look like they have an actual purpose, but the lack of detail and the somewhat illogical connection between the rooms doesn't make it feel like a realistic place. The dead grunts and scientist, and the zombies and houndeyes make it feel like a standard Half-Life disaster scenario, there's no sign of a custom story.
Enemy placement suffers from a common problem in that most enemies are just passively waiting for the player to show up. It makes the first rooms feel a bit dull. The grunts on the other hand are actively invading the place, which is a good change of pace. In general I felt there were too many enemies compared to how much ammo the player had, and putting grunts on high ground so early on in a level seems unfair. Then again, they felt easier to kill and less damaging than standard HL grunts. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing: how are you going to ramp up difficulty in later levels if you already need this many grunts so early?
I kinda like the idea of having to charge into a room to grab a powerful weapon, but I don't think it worked well here: the shotgun is barely visible and the houndeyes are quickly grabbing the player's attention anyway. The same goes for the closet on the side: the ammo and armor there give you a major advantage, but that's just not visible from the outside.
- The slow movement speed was quite annoying. Having to hold a button to run isn't such a great idea for a fast-paced shooter. I think it's interesting how you managed to implement it, but it's also easy to break when changing keyboard bindings.
- Instakill barriers are frustrating, especially when they don't look like they would kill you instantly. Just let the steam apply some burning damage and push the player back. Also, a pipe would (hopefully) never be placed like that in real-life!
- The textures in the first room (old, industrial) don't match the furniture (cubicles, desks).
- The scientist is partially inside the table.
- The doors are frustrating: their keycard locks often collide with the player, causing them to close again immediately, and it takes a long time before they open again.
- The tripmine doesn't get triggered by the houndeyes - that looks like a bug. However, I do like how you can use the houndeyes to blow up the mine with their sonic attack, and how a quick-thinking player can use the explosive crate to their advantage.
- The large crate in this room doesn't fit through either door. Logic mistakes like this are not uncommon in maps, but they're a bit jarring once you notice them.
- The HEV not working felt like a bug. It's probably a good idea to first introduce the body armor pickup before showing a HEV charger (if you need to show one at all).
- The weapon closet texture scaling looks strange, and parts of the text look poorly copy-pasted. Why is the MP5 hidden behind the sign?
- The reception hall provides the most interesting combat, but players probably end up camping in the doorway, or they find their way to the closet only to continue camping there. I don't think the layout does a good job of forcing the player to make interesting decisions.
- In the concrete alley, having a grunt launch contact grenades from a high place around a corner... I'm not sure I would classify that as 'fun'.
- The gap between the sandbag walls looks passable, but the player is blocked by an invisible wall. If something is impassable then it should clearly look impassable to prevent frustration.
- The 'Leave game' text in the menu is messed up somehow.
- The download contains a lot of models and sound files. Are all of these custom? If not, you may want to remove them to reduce download size.
- The same goes for the screenshots, there's no need to include them. But if you do want to, then save them as jpg or png files to reduce filesize.
I hope this proves useful to you, and that I didn't sound too harsh!