Colony 42

Half-Life HL
Colony 42 by Notewell
Posted 7 years ago2015-05-16 22:46:38 UTC • Unfinished • Half-Life
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Colony 42
Notewell Notewell
7 years ago2015-05-16 22:46:38 UTC
7 years ago2015-05-17 16:20:52 UTC
3.25 (4)
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Colony 42 puts the player in the role of Oscar Guthrie, a member of the colony's maintenance division, as first contact is made with a less than amiable race.

This mod was made years ago, and for various reasons sat unfinished for quite a while. After enough people asked me if I was ever going to release it, I eventually caved, patched up the furthest along map to have an ending, and here we are.
Included are the source files for all the maps, a few unused models, and some personal notes on the lore of the mod, so if you feel the ending is unsatisfactory, you're more than welcome to finish the mod yourself as per the original vision. If you do so, let me know - I'd like to see your interpretation!

DISCLAIMER: As they were made years ago, the contents of this mod to not reflect my current skills or opinions. It was a simpler time, when I didn't pay attention to theory, and Metroid: Other M was a cool-looking trailer instead of a poorly-executed game.


Commented 7 years ago2015-05-16 22:59:17 UTC Comment #20875
Taking a look!
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-16 23:44:58 UTC Comment #20876
DLing now.
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-17 01:52:10 UTC Comment #20877
Tbh, I kinda see why it sat unfinished for a while.

A lot of the areas are gray, monotone hallways, and the interesting-looking areas are in a vast minority compared to the dull-looking ones. There were some rooms that were entirely GREEN.

The level design was a bit confusing. The doors you can open aren't very well differentiated from the ones you can't open, especially in the beginning maps, and there are a lot of dull copy+pasted offices that you have to explore for keycards. Enemy placement wasn't too inspired, either, and there were a lot of doors in small areas that I didn't even know I could go through until I tried every other one.

But the custom voice acting was nice, so there you go.
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-17 12:22:13 UTC Comment #20878
I've just finished the mod, and I very liked it. Yes, this is alpha release and maybe levels are not so detailed as they can be, but the mapping and scripting are good, also there are some good custom stuff, so I don't understand how someone can rate it 2/5, it's just nonsense.
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-17 16:12:38 UTC Comment #20879
Lighting is very bland all around, I want to add. Look at this room--might as well be fullbright.
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Same with this area.
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There's no contrast in any of the lighting, even in the areas which look passable.
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These places would look so much better if there were some variance in the lighting.
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The levels also harbored some rather strange, stretched textures. Why are these walls so stretched? I know it's hard to tell, but the minor stretch still doesn't do much justice to the tiled plate metal walls.
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And yes, the custom textures are nice, but they would have been even nicer if their dimensions fit the brushes they were put on.
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And it may be an alpha release, but I'm still going to rate it as a normal release. I'm not going to rate something better just because it claims to promise better content in the future, if you plan on continuing this project.
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-17 16:18:28 UTC Comment #20880
I certainly don't plan on continuing it myself. Most of the feedback so far is stuff I'm well aware of, but keep it coming - every little bit helps!
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-17 16:19:32 UTC Comment #20881
So happy to see this get released!

It was a very ambitious project to undertake alone and you should be proud that you got it this far! That said, it's certainly not without its flaws.

The pre-disaster chapter actually had me really pleasantly surprised. The mapping is blocky and the lighting is criminally bland, but you've actually done a really good job at creating a 'living' world to explore. Almost every NPC encountered during this chapter is just resolutely getting on with their day and it never feels like they're just standing around waiting for their turn to be seen by the player.
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The references throughout are excessive and heavy-handed, with some falling into the category of ridiculous, but actually I found them really endearing for the most part; though I have to ask: is there anybody on the Colony 42 station who is not a member of TWHL? :D
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Were it not for the intro text, however, there is little to indicate that the story unfolding takes place on a space station. It's not until the very final hallway of the mod that we start seeing some space-age looking architecture and viewing ports. Everything else about the station feels fundamentally and disappointingly terrestrial, with standard box rooms and endless hallways with 90-degree corners.

I enjoyed seeing Urbles and myself have a little conversation in the control room. I'd genuinely forgotten that I'd recorded a few lines for this, though given that the original files on my PC are dated as January 2009(!!!) it's no surprise that I'd forgotten!

Unfortunately once the combat begins, the mod takes a bit of a nose-dive in terms of enjoyment. Whilst exploring the largely open maps during the pre-disaster chapter was fun, once it becomes a matter of figuring out where to go to progress, it gets insanely irritating. I was constantly left wondering if I'd gone the right way or if I'd missed something and this was not helped by the lack of an overarching objective.
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The combat, too, is all rather samey. Highlights were few and far between as most encounters happened in the bland hallways that make up the majority of the level design. A couple of good door-scares with zombies and wide open vort fights were entertaining, but on the whole gameplay really suffered from repetition.
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The model reskins were cool, though I'm still not sure if there is any notable behaviour difference between the different colours of vortigaunt, and it seems a shame that you didn't extend the colour change to their zappy discharge, which stayed stubbornly green throughout, despite my best efforts to coax them into changing colour.
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One of the best philosophies I stand by with modding is giving everything in the world a story, and there are times when you've really, really nailed this. Be it simply the right props for the right rooms or more extravagent carnage (highlights include a room torn to pieces by an employee who has just received a letter from his girlfriend letting him know she's leaving him & an unfortunate scientist who's triggered a shotgun attached to a tripwire), this attention to detail stood out to me as being the best aspect of your design.
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You should also be pleased about some of the props you were able to make with just basic brushwork and good texturing. Everything from toilets to coffee machines are elegantly represented by some really neat brushwork!
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I'm not sure if there was going to be a more overarching story that got cut for this release, but I never really got a sense of what Colony 42 was, what it was doing or indeed what the disaster was that had caused the influx of aliens and 'splosions. There are a couple of hints towards experimentation along the lines of the Lambda Complex, such as tamed houndeyes and chumtoads, but otherwise I was left in the dark. It's obviously a massive facility, given its inclusion of everything from eateries to an entire shopping mall, but there's nothing to explain why such a station exists.
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Overall, you know exactly what the problems with this are, and I can see why you fell out of love with it. It's not representative of your current skill level, and I was really pleased to read your addendum in the credits - you've got exactly the right attitude. Be proud that you released it, and seeing something of this scale leave development hell is truly inspiring. Bravo, sir!

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Commented 7 years ago2015-05-18 19:58:20 UTC Comment #20884
I just finished playing the mod and heres the video.

So about the mod. Theres alot of npc's and scripting, which is something I like alot about mods. It's very similar to the 'office complex' chapter of vanilla. I also like having otis in the mod even though it's just spirit. I know spirit allows otis to use his own sentences so that's cool too. And every once in a while you see windows to the outside that reminds you that this is a space station rather than black mesa clone #441. So setting's pretty good too. Actually, it's Really Good because of all the letters and notes littered about. That always makes the setting seem more believable, even if the notes are just notepad files. I also like the easter egg computers thats around all the place. Think I saw TFC, fallout, starcraft, HL2, and some I don't remember. Was expecting madoka too, because of your secret santa map.

Few other things: One problem was that the maps are very DAV-like. Meaning hallways filled with locked doors which some people might find repetitive. There was one part in the beginning where I kinda got lost due to this kind of design, and then surprisingly ended up where I started due to the non-linear layout. Which was cool, because most mods tend to be extremely linear. There's also a lot of dead ends with nothing in them, but I guess that's kinda realistic.

The ending is blatantly random, which is sad, I know. But you've come this far. You've learned more about modding than ever. And trust me, this mod is alot better than other mods made by people in your age group.

To everyone else: PLAY this mod. Jeff discloses his full name at the end. Isn't that a huge incentive? He doesn't reveal it in the readme, so dont be lazy either.
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-19 07:28:53 UTC Comment #20885
My review from RunThinkShootLive

First off, I'd just like to say that I am so happy that this saw the light of day. JeffMOD has been a member of TWHL for as long as I can remember, is a very active mapper and jumps at the chance to bash something together in GoldSource. He has come such a long way since he started working on C42 and he himself admits that it doesn't reflect his current abilty. The mod was officially canned about a year ago I believe, but he ultiimately decided (with some persuasion from yours truly) to release what he had.

Though it's technically a pre-alpha, I will review it as a complete mod as Jeff has stated that he will no longer be working on it himself.

The first thing that I can say right off the bat is that this mod has the same issues as Toadmann's mod Azure Sheep. A lot of it takes place in corridors which lead to yet more corridors. While this was boring in Azure Sheep due to the featureless walls, Jeff's attempt to maintain the sense of place by adding multiple locked doors make progression downright frustrating at times. This could have easily been rectified by placing obsticles along the way which require the player to find a way around them, even if it just means cutting through a couple of living quarters.

It's a real shame since the sense this being an active working place is fantastic in the pre-disaster section at the start. Little notes left around for collegues, scientists attempting to get into their labs (which the player is able to resolve) and so on. Everything after that though, including the event that causes the aliens to appear, just kind of happens. I can only assume that the intention was to flesh out the story afterwards because for the most part I was utterly lost and wasn't sure what my ultimate goal was.

Overall, the mapping and lighting is rather basic, though there are occasional sections which look far more polished and detailed. It's very easy to get lost and some players may get frustrated by this. My play time was significantly drawn out during a section where I was looking for a keycard. This took place around a featureless corridor section which gave very little in the way of landmarks to guide me and prevent me from going back on myself multiple times.

I'm going to give this a maybe (3 stars), simply because anyone outside of TWHL who didn't see the mod's pregression over the years might not get as much out of the experience of actually playing it.
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-23 21:53:15 UTC Comment #20887
So... Where the hell do you go after you get the first keycard?
I've been lost for 10 minutes?
After watching 2muchvideogame's review (thanks) i noticed that the elevator near the fire door area didn't open for me. I'm not sure if i missed a step anywhere but i know i had the keycard. I noclipped in and pressed the button on the inside... continuing...
Commented 7 years ago2015-05-24 07:15:25 UTC Comment #20889
This is great, im going to play simply for the fact I remember Jeff posting tons about it on the forums years ago when I was still in school, so ill enjoy the fruits of his labors.
Commented 3 years ago2019-03-11 14:31:43 UTC Comment #101886
Delicious labour fruits...
Commented 2 months ago2022-09-11 05:32:37 UTC Comment #104771
There's a game called Colony 42 on Steam now. Any relation?
Commented 2 months ago2022-09-24 15:53:45 UTC Comment #104801
There is not. Odd coincidence though, especially given how uncreative my train of thought was when picking it

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