On A Rail Uncut - Re-Adding Cut Areas/Scenes (Expansion Project)

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    • I'd also like to propose cutting the original rail switchers. Shooting these signs with bullets was silly in HL and would be even sillier in the HD remake. I'd like usable levers in the game world in their place, or perhaps a modified set of tram controls to enable switching tracks in place of the shot signs.
      We'll miss you, Fnork. In our hearts, always.
    • Dr. Maxwell wrote:

      I tend to imagine the tram switches in a remake as being button-based and having large LED screens with arrows indicating the current track configuration. The LED screens would be breakable (and pre-broken in some cases) but this wouldn't effect the actual functionality of the track switch.


      Yep, this is how I'm planning on doing it too. The shootable tram switches from HL, while kinda cool, would make no sense whatsoever in a modern game. If I'm feeling adventurous I might even create semi-detailed overviews of each maps, and put segments of those maps onto the control panels by the switches. For example, if you have a track switcher which switches between two parallel tracks, the map would have these tracks and their end destinations, as viewed from top-down, in "real time". The active track would be green, with the inactive one being red, and it would change if you switched the rail. Not too difficult to do using simple animated textures, though I'd have to make the textures.

      In terms of how to bring back the rail elements from OaR while retaining the simplicity and lack of confusion which BM's redesign of OaR brought with it, is I'm probably going to have branching paths controlled leading to the same destination. This creates an "illusion," I suppose, of exploration and non-linearity. Using this "overview" system, I might be able to reward smart player choice too - for example if there's a branch between parallel tracks, I could show on the map that one is quite a bit longer than other but runs by a supply depot, or something like that. This would mean one player could opt to take the longer, but potentially more rewarding route, while another might take the simpler, shorter route. Though in the grand scheme of things the players will both end up in the same place, the smarter player who decided to brave the longer track will be rewarded, creating a system whereby players can, to a degree, "ignore" the confusing elements, whilst more adventurous/hardcore players can be rewarded. It's a nice compromise I think. Of course I'll still have a few places where the rail switching and whatnot is required, but I'm hoping these "optional" areas will help find the best of both worlds.
    • TextFAMGUY1 wrote:

      Yep, this is how I'm planning on doing it too. The shootable tram switches from HL, while kinda cool, would make no sense whatsoever in a modern game. If I'm feeling adventurous I might even create semi-detailed overviews of each maps, and put segments of those maps onto the control panels by the switches. For example, if you have a track switcher which switches between two parallel tracks, the map would have these tracks and their end destinations, as viewed from top-down, in "real time". The active track would be green, with the inactive one being red, and it would change if you switched the rail. Not too difficult to do using simple animated textures, though I'd have to make the textures.

      In terms of how to bring back the rail elements from OaR while retaining the simplicity and lack of confusion which BM's redesign of OaR brought with it, is I'm probably going to have branching paths controlled leading to the same destination. This creates an "illusion," I suppose, of exploration and non-linearity. Using this "overview" system, I might be able to reward smart player choice too - for example if there's a branch between parallel tracks, I could show on the map that one is quite a bit longer than other but runs by a supply depot, or something like that. This would mean one player could opt to take the longer, but potentially more rewarding route, while another might take the simpler, shorter route. Though in the grand scheme of things the players will both end up in the same place, the smarter player who decided to brave the longer track will be rewarded, creating a system whereby players can, to a degree, "ignore" the confusing elements, whilst more adventurous/hardcore players can be rewarded. It's a nice compromise I think. Of course I'll still have a few places where the rail switching and whatnot is required, but I'm hoping these "optional" areas will help find the best of both worlds.


      I like the way you think sir. Also I vote for a no go on the rails being electrified. But maybe you could add different electrical hazards to make up for that.

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Strider397 ().

    • First off, this is brilliant. Your work in the Black Mesa community is freaking fantastic, and I can't wait to see you start this project. And remember, take your time. It certainly worked for the Black Mesa Dev team... After all, quality is what matters in the end, although I think you already understand that.

      Now, to business. You are going to create two maps before the first BM On a Rail map. Now, one thing that I plead to you is to not underplay the moment when the BM maps start. That part where you go to the half flooded rail system, along with the music... It was awesome. Please don't try to replicate that scene in your maps, because that moment should be on it's own.
      Another thing that you need to remember is to keep the intensity to a minimum. Unlike ST, On a Rail is not the climax of the game. This means that the vort v. HECU battles should be MUCH smaller than the ones in your ST maps. Also, these maps are much more oriented around the environment of the BMRF compared to surface tension. This part needs you to feel LONELY. It needs to feel almost depressing as you see this facility fall apart, your fellow colleagues murdered, and the HECU marines being eaten by bullsquids. Unlike Surface Tension, mood is KEY.
      One thing that I thought were underused were the existence of Marine Strongholds and blockades. Those didn't seem to exist much in BM's On a Rail, which doesn't make sense, as the HECU are trying to lockdown the place. This is the peak of military power, and even if they are still losing to the aliens, they are still set up and strong. And while you are at it, I hope you would include some alternate ways to take these bunker/strongholds out to reward intelligence (but don't go overboard).
      Give the Marines in this chapter some night vision goggles. They look badass, and it actually makes since to include them. Maybe even have the marines shut the power in a section and ambush you as some sort of trap (just an idea).
      For the office bits, is it going to resemble the offices in the Office Complex? If so, it is absolutely essential to make the place believable as a workplace. It breaks immersion to see things that really don't match up with an office environment (don't forget to make it dark and lonely though).
      Don't forget to add a sense of scale. It's something that should be taken advantage of, as it not only makes the player more lonely, but it also helps convey a sense of journey (like the Highway in Half Life 2).
      One final thought: Don't make your maps stand out. As I said before, this isn't a specific over-the-top moment in the game. This part is much more of a buildup in mood. It breaks the immersion when there is a sudden change in mood within the same chapter (the chapters all have a specific theme and mood). If it flows well with the BM maps, then it is a job well done. As you said yourself, it's not that On a Rail was bad, it just wasn't long enough.
      I look forward to your progress.
    • After a huge battle with hecu outside you launch the rocket in original BM, but after you go out there's no one there. My idea is that you put an "ambush" of grunts, so after you launch the rocket and go outside, hecu will attack so it will give you opportunity to have more fight in the nighttime. Please at least consider my idea, I think it would be really cool.



      Also consider doing sniper behing the net outside in the night as it was in original Half Life because it was cut in BM.
    • Thanks a lot for continuing to bring Black Mesa even closer to the old Half-Life feeling (I loved your surface tension levels).

      About the only thing I hope, is that you manage to get that feeling of exploration into these new maps (That's what I remember the most from OAR), while preventing them from being confusing.
    • Hi, Text. First of all, congratulations on past holidays and congratulations to the fact that your first expansion project is coming to an end. Secondly, it is nice to see that you decided to work with another controversial chapter.
      Well, there are two points that I would like to mention as part of the topic.

      1. In the original game was a memorable moment when it came to pass on the trolley under a lot of cyclically moving boxes. Immediately after that, the player is ambushed with a rocket launcher. Unfortunately, this has not been implemented in Black Mesa. However, at this point we can see part of the automated system of delivery of goods, which remained autonomous operation after the accident. Is the potential to give the player an incentive to interact with the mechanisms of the complex and to find alternative ways around the ambush.

      2. How about adding a puzzle, which is based on the manipulation of the position coaches and railcars on the rails? For example, players will need to free the rails from loading platforms and railcars to continue the movement. This is also a great horizon for creativity. We can apply the mechanics of Sokoban or something like that. Or just move wagons driving loading crane. If anyone finds this rather interesting Idea, I can do some sketches with different options environment.

      Thanks again for the continued development, Text. Good luck to you.
      All congratulations to past holidays, guys (maybe someone's holidays are not over yet. :) )

      And forgive me for my English.
    • Unfortunately in BMS, the conversing marine scene has been merged w/the HL C2A2H battle by the silo, which cuts out the quiet outdoor area and sniper. I thought this area was really important because it was the first time the player could actually enjoy the outside in peace and appreciate the skybox (WGH doesn't count because you have to run like hell). The sniper is also the very first sniper you encounter in game, so if you decide to re-add him, make sure to place hand grenades or MP5 grenades in a very obvious location. Note that making these changes would require an edit to BMS C2A2C.


      Actually, not necessarily. The scene with the grunts doesn't need to be moved, but the quiet courtyard could be put back before that particular map. The player enters this court yard because the previous section they were in was collapsed, therefore preventing progress, a maintenance hatch/room could be in an off to the side area, and the player can progress from there after being introduced to the sniper 'n such there, the courtyard would do well as a train station of sorts, (like de_nuke from CS: S if you're familiar).

      -- The previous tunnel could also be that dynamite trap the player had been in beforehand (if you so desire).
    • TextFAMGUY1 wrote:

      In terms of how to bring back the rail elements from OaR while retaining the simplicity and lack of confusion which BM's redesign of OaR brought with it, is I'm probably going to have branching paths controlled leading to the same destination. This creates an "illusion," I suppose, of exploration and non-linearity. Using this "overview" system, I might be able to reward smart player choice too - for example if there's a branch between parallel tracks, I could show on the map that one is quite a bit longer than other but runs by a supply depot, or something like that. This would mean one player could opt to take the longer, but potentially more rewarding route, while another might take the simpler, shorter route. Though in the grand scheme of things the players will both end up in the same place, the smarter player who decided to brave the longer track will be rewarded, creating a system whereby players can, to a degree, "ignore" the confusing elements, whilst more adventurous/hardcore players can be rewarded. It's a nice compromise I think. Of course I'll still have a few places where the rail switching and whatnot is required, but I'm hoping these "optional" areas will help find the best of both worlds.


      This is a strong case for maintaining the fidelity of C2A2B1+C2A2C...it's the epitome of the converging element and the area is done very well. There's also many other ways of doing the rail switching theme purposefully. It will never be frustrating so long as one side does not terminate in a purposeless dead end. For instance, the dead end may have a switch that needs to be turned on in order to access the other rail.

      For now though the most important thing to do is finalize where the new segments are added, their themes and spatial layout.

      Re HECU ambush after launch:
      A big no-no. Post launch is a celebration period, a reward for a job well done, hence the cool music in HL. Ambush ruins the mood and there's already one at the opening of Apprehension.

      Re Chickenprot
      -I realized this as well and have modified the pitch bible accordingly.

      Re sniper haters
      -The sniper is awesome, period. There's so much one can do w/him in a radically redesigned version of C2A2G if the materials transport theme is extended outdoors. Several snipers could be used to force the player to move quickly on the tram. Alternatively, the track could be designed to circle around a single sniper who takes potshots at you. Ammo could be adjusted such that the player has no way of dealing w/him till the end, which makes it all the more rewarding.

      Also, just made some huge rearrangements and content additions to the pitch bible. Only things left to do:
      -adjust the content quantity section once things are more finalized
      -a brief discussion of BMS/HL Oar design philosophy
      -addition of comprehensive HL OaR map
      -addition of image gallery. it will consist of important iconic features of HL OaR and my pitch schematic for redesigning C2A2E-G.
      ~90% of the good suggestions people have made are already in it in some form or another.

      The post was edited 1 time, last by Wangman ().

    • ^I'm all for a segment where you're riding a tram through a long passageway with snipers trying to shoot you and you have to dodge their fire while simultaneously staying on the tram.

      Maxey wrote:

      If HL was a Kojima production, Shephard would be a cyborg by this point in time and we would be controlling Alyx and Freeman's son, Bob, as he goes undercover into the Combine homeworld to rescue Eli's brain, which was transferred into a Mobile Nuclear Platform called Steel Rod.
    • As for the sniper, I think the way the player is allowed to kill him is by a scripted sequence, and not grenades. I think it's disrespectful towards the BM devs to try to introduce a gameplay element when they specifically set up an intro to said gameplay element later in the game. Perhaps setting off gas explosions could be an idea.
    • TextFAMGUY1 wrote:

      Yep, this is how I'm planning on doing it too. The shootable tram switches from HL, while kinda cool, would make no sense whatsoever in a modern game. If I'm feeling adventurous I might even create semi-detailed overviews of each maps, and put segments of those maps onto the control panels by the switches. For example, if you have a track switcher which switches between two parallel tracks, the map would have these tracks and their end destinations, as viewed from top-down, in "real time". The active track would be green, with the inactive one being red, and it would change if you switched the rail. Not too difficult to do using simple animated textures, though I'd have to make the textures.


      Why would an old, generally disused rail system have modern elements like that? Stylistic juxtaposition? That seems a bit out of place, no? I'd imagine there would be stoplights, physical buttons and levers, with lit arrows not unlike what you see in BM's version of OaR.


      | Core Developer, PSR Digital | Black Mesa Hazard Course | 403 Aurelius |
      |Author, Hazard Team Compile Tool - Hammer Map Compiler Replacement |
    • I dont know why everyone keeps wanting text to redo the outdoor area of the launchpad just for the sake of having the sniper, leave that map ALONE!! its fine the way the BM devs made it. The sniper placement wouldent really work with the way the map was designed. Lets work on coming up with ideas for what the level lacked; more abandoned tram tunnels, thats the name of the level "ON a Rail" not "Launch"

      The post was edited 2 times, last by Strider397 ().

    • @Han
      The BM devs did no such thing to "set up" this gameplay element. The sniper scene in early ST was copied VERBATIM from HL ST, including the grenade ammo placement.

      @Strider
      Lol, you just contradicted yourself w/your post...the sniper IS what the level lacked. It can be added back to BMS C2A2C but that's not the only way to do it. An outdoor track segment themed like HL C2A2F-G would be a great place to put him.

      @Bloodshot (below)
      No. It's just a fidelity to the original HL thing (at least in spirit) but it's certainly more interesting than a headcrab. The sniper example was also meant to show that there's usually several workarounds to design probs.

      The post was edited 3 times, last by Wangman ().