The Story of Crossfire, Pt 1.
A disclaimer: Everything within this blog post talks about things that are still in development. That means, the next blog post you read, it's possible things have changed or have been redone. Nothing shown represents any final ideas or themes. As with everything in the game industry, everything is subject to change.
The Half-Life 1 Crossfire was a bit... how to put it... under detailed. There wasn't too much to the visuals beyond the concrete buildings, large bunker walls and the assumed endless spread of the desert. Much like with the rest of Black Mesa, we've taken the original levels and used them as a base, filling in our own details. In some cases, we expanded on existing stories that these levels told. In other cases, we've created our own stories unique to the world. Crossfire is currently exploring one of these unique stories.
When we make our multiplayer levels, we try multiple different things with the visuals of the map. There's specific 'feels' and stories that we want to tell with the map, but we aren't sure what the best background is to evoke these feelings, or tell this stories. Many times, we'll go through three, four, sometimes five different theme bases before we decide on one that we like. Lambdabunker for example went through three or so different themeing ideas, just around the existing underground carpark, theme. This part of development is REALLY important as it literally sets the tone for the rest of the maps development and artstyle. Once we leave this part of development, do we rarely comeback to it. There have been some cases, but those were outstanding events.
Level designer JeanPaul Jarreau (JP, for short), has decided to take Crossfire into a not well explored region of the Black Mesa complex. Pulling on the idea of 'crossing over,' JP is turning Crossfire into one of Black Mesa's containment/ecosystem isolation chambers. Sorry, while this may bring up visions and memories of Jurassic Park, I can safely say that we don't have any dinosaurs.
Crossfire has 3 major sections. The close-quarters section where all the weapons are and where the players spawn. This is the area where you'll see most of the action as players scrambled to get weapons. There is the 'no-mans-land,' a barren yard where the first thing you see are two iconic tall towers and a couple of not-so-friendly looking 50cal's staring right back at you. Finally, the most important section, the nuke button room; the room that gives Crossfire its fame and fun. JP wanted to give visual significance to crossing over from the weapon/spawn section, to no-mans-land, and this is where the containment idea I came from. You can see the large fence barrier between the two zones.
Below are some images of what crossfire looks now. There's a lot less of that gray blockiness from a weeks ago, no? Let us know what you're thinking! Who knows where this will go? What is trying to be contained? Who knows! Maybe, you'll find out next time, in The Story of Crossfire, pt 2.
The Snark King. Ruler of all Snarks.