Originally, I didn’t want to make this area at all (instead the hallway that leads to it would just go directly to the decontamination room), or at least wanted to radically change it up from my original design and make it much smaller, drabber, and less elaborate. The skylights were actually the very first thing I thought of including here and I kind of designed the rest of the room to be amenable to them, but at the same time I was kind of afraid of them and was worried they would ruin the area. You see, one of the things that I see occasionally in Black Mesa maps that I don’t like is people making the facility too much like a shopping mall or hotel, with a lot of fancy architectural flourishes and creature comforts that a US government laboratory would be very unlikely to possess, and I thought the big glass skylights would have that effect. However, the combination of the big metal beams supporting the skylights, the bare concrete walls, and the cinderblock guard station taking up most of the center of the room make the spotlights much less comfortable and more like something you’d find in a military base or high-security prison, which is exactly what I wanted for the high-security biodome. So I am immensely proud of the skylights and glad I included them.
As part of that very gritty, ultra-secure institutional aesthetic I was thinking of including some HECU soldiers throughout QEPD in place of security guards. The only problem is that while I can fairly easily make them be friendly towards the player and scientists, they have no pre-disaster dialogue and very few ‘working’ or ‘casual’ animations so there isn’t much they can actually do.