Episode Three assets found in Alien Swarm

#1 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
As noted on the fantastic Half-Life Wikia site. I've looked but I haven't seen this posted anywhere. Anyway, some Valve message board experts found what appear to be Episode Three assets in Alien Swarm. 
 
  
Note the "Ep3" and "Aperture" names of those nodes.
 
Also note the inclusion of the word "Cover". First-person cover-based shooting confirmed. EDIT: Actually, it occurs to me that if this is real those cover tags and brain tags and whatever are probably for how NPCs animate, not for the player character.
 
Completely unrelated: I hope they handle Alyx properly in Half-Life 2: Episode Three.
 
#2 Posted by Ace829 (2083 posts) -

O_o

#3 Posted by ThatFrood (3375 posts) -

fucking...

#4 Posted by Linkin10362 (602 posts) -

Hmm, interesting, but Valve is one of those companies that enjoy to joke around with their community with pranks.

#5 Posted by Jeffsekai (7026 posts) -

What the...
#6 Posted by Zajtalan (1163 posts) -

i think valve knows how a character works and she's going to be depressed through the whole game

#7 Posted by BeachThunder (11725 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze said:  

#8 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
@Zajtalan said:

" i think valve knows how a character works and she's going to be depressed through the whole game "

Yeah, I know. It just suddenly occurred to me, you know? Because every other video game developer (save for perhaps Naughty Dog) would totally pull the "five minute sadness and move on" card.
#9 Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
@BeachThunder: Shit, don't... just... damn. :)
#10 Posted by wolf_blitzer85 (5251 posts) -
@BeachThunder:  Blasphemy I say! Although I wouldn't be totally surprised.
#11 Posted by Atomasist (2818 posts) -

I think Valve is just messing with people. 

#12 Posted by SlasherMan (1725 posts) -

Yeah, could be just them messing with us.
 
I'd love to hear something official about Episode 3 or HL3 or whatever it is they're doing with Half-Life. The more time that passes by, the more I lose interest, especially in such a narrative driven game. Hell, I think I may have forgotten what HL is about by now. Who the hell is this Alyx character?!

#13 Posted by HandsomeDead (11863 posts) -
@BeachThunder said:
" @ZanzibarBreeze said:  

"
#14 Posted by Mmmslash (2166 posts) -

Rebel FM talked about the "How will Alyx react in Episode 3" thing for almost a half hour in the last episode of their HL2 Game Club. If you're interested in this, that might be worth checking out.

#15 Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
@Mmmslash said:
" Rebel FM talked about the "How will Alyx react in Episode 3" thing for almost a half hour in the last episode of their HL2 Game Club. If you're interested in this, that might be worth checking out. "
I actually have all those episodes and am listening to them as we speak, believe it or not. Just finished the first episode now. I recalled them talking about it as you say but I can't remember what conclusion they arrived to. I'm about to find out, though. :)
#16 Posted by InfamousBIG (3200 posts) -

If this is real, this is awesome. 
 
It's probably just Valve fucking with us, though.

#17 Edited by Symphony (1912 posts) -

That's an interesting find!
 
In regards to what's in your spoiler tag, I find it funny you hope they deal with that issue seriously, but seem to have no problem with accepting the fact she's fallen madly in love with someone who never speaks or reacts to anything she does or says. "Oh, Gordon. you're so dreamy... for a statue. "

#18 Posted by SuperfluousMoniker (2907 posts) -
@Symphony: Yeah, but he's a doctor statue.
#19 Edited by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
@Symphony: How to interpret the character of Gordon Freeman is up to each player. I personally don't accept that he's a mute in the proper continuum; the fact that Valve continues to leave him silent is their design choice. I'm sure that if Marc Laidlaw novelized the Half-Life series, he would have Freeman talking.
 
An interesting note from the Half-Life Wiki:
 

Since Gordon does not say a single word during the entire saga, it is not clear to what extent he exists as a separate character outside of the player's influence. Since the start of Half-Life, Valve has made sure that the player's and Gordon's experience are one and the same. An example of Valve's player strategy is shown during the scene in Eli's lab. Investigation of certain props (most notably the newspaper board) triggers Eli to give some explanation to their meaning and history, thus indicating that Gordon presents emotions that the non-player characters can detect. The chapter Captive Freight from Blue Shift also shows an example of the character apparently speaking but being unheard by the player. When Rosenberg asks Barney how he knows his name, there is a slight pause, then Rosenberg confirms the name of the scientist who told it to Barney, as if he was answering him. 


 
To extrapolate some more, I also find it interesting that Freeman seems to be so regularly voted as the Greatest Video Game Character of all time (Empire, GameSpot et al). For a character that's not actually much of a character as you say, it's certainly vexing.
#20 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze said:
 To extrapolate some more, I also find it interesting that Freeman seems to be so regularly voted as the Greatest Video Game Character of all time (Empire, GameSpot et al). For a character that's not actually much of a character as you say, it's certainly vexing. "
How so? Gordon Freeman is a character with a rudimentary backstory and little display of anything you might call "personality" outside of 

A) what he does
B) what the player can make him do
C) what happens to him
D) what he goes through 
and most importantly
E) how other, VERY human characters react to and relate to him 

This makes him much more interesting, memorable and engaging that most other video game protagonists. In fact if you look at the top spots in these "greatest video game heroes" lists there is a striking dominance of characters that do not show their face much if they even have one, have either no voice or speak very little if at all. (Mario, Gordon, Link, MasterChief, Samus, Cloud Strife)
#21 Posted by Symphony (1912 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze:  That's an interesting point and sure it's up to the player to decide how to interpret Freeman.. I guess... Honestly, that strikes me as a make-shift excuse after the fact. FPS characters just didn't talk back in the days of HL1, Freeman was no different other than he was supposedly just a normal Every Man who just happened to get caught up in a big mess. 
 
Having a character explain things Freeman is looking directly at never gave me the feeling Freeman was trying to have a conversation where the player couldn't hear his voice... That's just odd. If someone was staring at something intently in my house, I'd tell them what it was they were looking at, too. 
 
Anyways, even with that explanation it just seems so horribly awkward and unbelievable to have Alyx falling hard for Gordon. Sure, let's say he talks to her for the sake of argument. But even so, he never really interacts with her in any other way either. Are we supposed to imagine that he's hugging her back when she out-of-nowhere embraces him; are we supposed to imagine he flirts back whenever she makes some sort of advance on him?
 
Hell, you could imagine Duke Nukem being nice to the lap dancers if you wanted and imagine he's a sweetheart who just has a tendency of spouting obscenities and suffers from random bouts of misogyny, but then makes up for it by buying them chocolate and flowers, then promising them a pedicure and bubble bath back at his place.
 
But as you said, it's up to the player to interpret Gordon Freeman, as a character... it's just so strange we place him on a pedestal when he's really no different than any other generic Every Man.
#22 Posted by Symphony (1912 posts) -
@SuperfluousMoniker said:
" @Symphony: Yeah, but he's a doctor statue. "
Ohhh very good point.
#23 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -
@Symphony said:
" it's just so strange we place him on a pedestal when he's really no different than any other generic Every Man. "
He is different, special and unique in the way he and his world and his travels are presented to the player. On paper, Freeman might not be much different from Nukem - but as a medium or avatar, he certainly is. I enjoyed being Gordon Freeman much more than I enjoyed being "any other" FPS protagonist - including Mr. Isaac Clarke, who is as close to Freeman as you can get. 
 
Getting told about Freeman through the interactions with other characters only might not be realistic / naturalistic, but that doesn't mean it cannot be effective. 
#24 Posted by CaptainTightPants (2834 posts) -

Shit i shouldn't have read that spoiler, i still haven't finished Half Life 2 :D 
I don't care about that dude though so no harm done :D

#25 Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -
@Meowayne said:
" @ZanzibarBreeze said:
 To extrapolate some more, I also find it interesting that Freeman seems to be so regularly voted as the Greatest Video Game Character of all time (Empire, GameSpot et al). For a character that's not actually much of a character as you say, it's certainly vexing. "
How so? Gordon Freeman is a character with a rudimentary backstory and little display of anything you might call "personality" outside of  A) what he does B) what the player can make him do C) what happens to him D) what he goes through  and most importantlyE) how other, VERY human characters react to and relate to him  This makes him much more interesting, memorable and engaging that most other video game protagonists. In fact if you look at the top spots in these "greatest video game heroes" lists there is a striking dominance of characters that do not show their face much if they even have one, have either no voice or speak very little if at all. (Mario, Gordon, Link, MasterChief, Samus, Cloud Strife) "
Not much of a character in so much as he is not directly addressed by Valve -- he has no character traits. By proxy some of his character is formed through interaction with other characters as you say, but it mostly is the player's own extrapolation.
#26 Posted by Gamer_152 (14058 posts) -

This is an interesting find but I don't think we can really extrapolate anything about Episode Three from these assets. You know with the way Valve have promoted their games and teased their fans in the past I'm pretty sure that they expected this stuff to be found.

Moderator
#27 Posted by Meowayne (6084 posts) -
@ZanzibarBreeze said:
"but it mostly is the player's own extrapolation. "
Yes, but the art is to create an interactive and immersive environment in which this extrapolation is encouraged and inspired. Judging by the response this character receives from the audience, I don't think his appearance on these lists is in any way random or arbitrary, but a clear sign of someone having done the job of interactive story- and charactertelling right.
 

#28 Posted by MajorToms (366 posts) -

Interesting... Have you figured out what exactly this does? Like, what's the message? 
I'm intrigued.
 
Episode 3 will probably be the last game Valve develops for the current "source engine" TF2> L4D > L4D2 > probably Portal 2 are all running on heavily modified versions of the Source Engine.
It's not a bad engine or anything, considering how old it actually is (6 years), with modifications, it competes with top engines on both PC and Console. However, you can still see a lot old gaming quirks with the engine. look at the feet of the swarms of infected if you are wondering what I'm talking about in L4D or the spinning models in any FPS. The engine doesn't track the position of the torso and move the feet accordingly, the model just spins in circles.  
 
Another issue is the net code and processor usage. Mind you, the engine was built in 2004, when processors were more heavily relied on than GPU & GPU RAM.

#29 Posted by The_Laughing_Man (13629 posts) -

They are messin with ya. Why would stuff from HL be in this game? There is no connection to the two at all. No reason to put that in there unless they are screwing with you. Same reason Portal has black mesa refrances and all that. 

#30 Posted by DiscoDuck8k (499 posts) -

Unless a day comes where the game is sitting right in front of me, I don't think I can believe anything.

#31 Posted by Symphony (1912 posts) -
@Meowayne said:
" @Symphony said:
" it's just so strange we place him on a pedestal when he's really no different than any other generic Every Man. "
He is different, special and unique in the way he and his world and his travels are presented to the player. On paper, Freeman might not be much different from Nukem - but as a medium or avatar, he certainly is. I enjoyed being Gordon Freeman much more than I enjoyed being "any other" FPS protagonist - including Mr. Isaac Clarke, who is as close to Freeman as you can get.   Getting told about Freeman through the interactions with other characters only might not be realistic / naturalistic, but that doesn't mean it cannot be effective.  "
It sounds like you're more impressed with how the supporting cast interacts with Freeman than with Freeman himself. I certainly can agree that those character interact in a way more dynamic than most other games offer, but for me, that only made the fact Freeman is a silent protagonist even more off-putting. When the world around him and especially the characters he interacts with are so fleshed out, it's a strange feeling to have him be nothing more than a statue and it did not feel effective at all to me, personally. 
 
It's interesting you bring up Isaac Clarke, as I also love Dead Space, but Clarke, again was just an Every Man who had zero personality and could have practically been replaced with a bobble-head statue. Although, one major difference for me was that he had an established relationship and goal from the get-go -- we knew he had a girlfriend he was searching for. Freeman, on the other hand, didn't even have that. He was just a doctor working at a lab when things went horribly wrong. Sure, you learn a bit about him through interactions with other characters, but he still never felt like he had that same sense of purpose that Clarke did beyond being told at the start of HL2 (and constantly reminded throughout) "Oh hey, it's that dude what did that stuff in the first game. You're our hero. You're the one 'Free Man'"
#32 Posted by ZanzibarBreeze (3069 posts) -

I just updated the Wiki article with more information that was found:
 

A short time later, the community at Steam discovered further hints in the SDK: "This is a blood color script for the so called blob_brain entity, as you can see it has a decal for FROZEN. Which means it would be some kind of a creature which can be frozen," wrote one poster. This would work with the supposed Arctic setting of Episode Three. There are also references to Antlions, Zombies, the Gravity Gun, and one thing labeled "HL2_EPISODIC". The Combine are also mentioned, as well as two types of weapons: the Tau Cannon, and Flachettes, the type of projectile fired by the Hunters


I think this is where they say "The plot thickens".
 

The plot thickens.

#33 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

i have NO idea what im looking at

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