General Xen Chit-Chat Thread

Adam-Bomb just posted Beta time! They’ve pushed all of Xen and Gonarch’s Lair to the public beta branch on steam. The technical beta was just 3 maps, the complete Xen and Gonarch’s Lair is 9 maps.


So Gonarch’s Lair and Xen are awesome. I’ve played them several times through on all difficulties and it’s actually really smooth most of the time with very little hiccups along the way (most of them in the early chasing sequences with the Gonarch). I do have some other concerns though about everything in general since I’ve gone back and looked at some of the other stuff you added into Anomalous Materials.

  1. -My primary concern actually is in Anomalous Materials, honestly: During the Resonance Cascade, I was happy to see you finally added the Bullsquids in the cave. I was also incredibly pleased that you added the ability to look around and move, albiet way too slowly not to be jarring. I think you guys should definitely give the player the feeling that they’ve been teleported to the alien world and are there now, not that they’re in a cutscene and can’t move or are in a stasis thing like HL2’s portal incident. I actually agree in slowling the player down a bit, but with the creatures being non-aggressive and the player having no weapons, I really loved the original feeling of being able to walk around at normal speed; it didn’t give away whether or not it was permanent so easily when it was done that way. The slowed down feeling makes it obvious that you’re gonna be ported again any second, revealing that the whole thing is just a sequence to wait out. I think feeling at all trapped in that particular sequence is a mistake. The vortigaunt part can’t be helped and they always kinda take the player’s control in both games, however I think it’s very jarring when you lose FULL control to that screen with them. You should be able to look in 360 in that sequence (it’s all black anyways) just to avoid the feeling of ever being in a cutscene as much as humanly possible. Even if it means just being able to move 50% faster at that part and maybe being there a second or two longer, I think it would dramatically impact the value of that moment as it did in the original. I love local you chose, it’ll be easy to trap the player there so he only has a solid moment to look at his surroundings and have his mind blown.

  2. -I don’t know how I feel about how you can end up wasting ammo on the gonarch by shooting it at the wrong sequences. I think in every sequence that it harasses you that you should be at least able to stun it for a few moments or something. Maybe you can but I wasted a lot of shots on it from across the chasm thinking maybe I could stop it to look around. I didn’t end up being able to, but then again I had no rockets and she does have high HP in the current state. Speaking of which, I thought maybe it would be a cool idea to have your suit’s energy able to max out at 200 on Xen when using the charging blue crystals, maybe to illustrate their incredible power and why the scientists sought them, etc. Also could serve as a way to deal with the some difficulty concerns by taking some edge off, though many attack go right through armor.

  3. -The new melee-bullsquid actually reminded me a lot more of the classic bullsquid’s speedy focus on taking things down personally at a lot of ranges. I think that instead of working on a new model (or if you already have one, do this anyways and still make that one melee-only) you should increase the range required for the regular bullsquid to choose spitting at you over chasing you down so that you can more melee battles at medium range. It seems that the bullsquid actually prefers to spit way more than anything else and that you have to get right up on it for it to get physically hostile. Sometimes that’s different, but it really does like to go on a spitting spree if you let it start spitting away. I feel like it’s possibly because of how fast the player is and that the creature can only register the player being that close after it finishes it’s spitting animation. I think by that time the player has moved around so much that it recalculates what to do and ends up spitting again most of the time if you’re not really close it; you’ll see it more than almost any other npc (houndeye being second place in this) spazz out fairly often trying to turn and stuttering, stopping, going to spit, going to run, stopping, then just spitting and usually hitting you cause you couldn’t guess what the fuck it was gonna end up doing after all that dancing lol. I mean go test it out, the melee bullsquid feels… just noticeable more real than the others. I reminded me why I liked them in HL1 and I mean this when I say I honestly forgot.

  4. -I was hoping maybe you guys could slightly render the big-houndeye a sharper color difference from the rest, maybe a more purple or lilac one? I could barely tell the difference between the regular houndeye and the larger one. For some reason, it made my eyes decide that it looked unconvincing, especially when it got up close. It’s possible that it’s the animations it has also, as it doesn’t seem to be any heavier than the normal sized ones and moves awfull quick for something so large with such comically small legs. All the same, I feel like if it were as colorfully oriented as the other two houndeye types, it would just suddenly stand out in all the right ways. It could be like an alpha breed rather than just ‘big boi’. There’s not really much depth if you ask me to just having a large armored version of the same animal - that doesn’t seem as believable in the vacuum of variety we have in the same way that larger controllers and military aliens do. I love the little glowing houndeyes visually, however I wonder what the hell they are suicidal for and what purpose that would serve them in any eco-system they’re possibly from. I don’t know any animals of that scale that are sacrifical besidesm maybe octupus…? If they die what’s the point of even attacking me first? Maybe they should have a normal speedy houndeye attack but simply exlode on death, requiring you to be far away to kill them…? I don’t know why, but I feel like the 3 of these ideas (the color and movement speed of the large houndeyes, and the attack and/or hostility of the exploding houndeyes) are at least decent enough to consider since I’ve played the beta many times now and there’s the sort of things that stand out to me.

  5. -You really gotta add a lightning screen effect or something during the use of the vortiguant portals and stuff. It’s very abrupt and feels like I lagged into another zone rather than teleported. It’s too fast, I’m like not even touching the orb before I’m looking in another direction standing still.

Spoiler Idea for Nihilanth boss fight based on some speculation and stuff people are leaking:

-It would be cool if you had to kill the Nihilanth with the crowbar for the final blow, like when his dome was open and he’s about to die, have him summon a forcefield orb around his dome made of the slow gooy stasis stuff from the citadel that had the white lightning in the center that vaporized shit; bullets wouldn’t go through it and missles would slow down and stop, eventually slowly falling to the ground. You would have to slowly drift inside the bubble for the last hit on the crystal inside of his head, shattering it in one hit after all the damage its taken. Depending on how the fight actually goes, that might be silly as shit but I just thought it was cool sounding lol

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Can someone translate all of this math? I figured this didn’t need its own thread since it’s Xen related, but I’m genuinely curious what all of this means.

dAD gum IT I am having the DICKens of a time beating Mr. ball sack monster. Is it just ME?


A lot of people - including me - have also had a really hard time. The devs said they’re looking into it.


Same here on hard difficulty. Damn.

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Let your son try :wink: (I’m pretty sure she’s a her?)

He is a he. :wink: He was a year old when this team thought about getting together, now he is going to be 15 this weekend! lol! But yeah, I should tell him to fire it up and do a recording and upload his first impression to youtube. That would be hilarious to hear him scream thru it! hahaha!

Dangit, i did a pitiful job of telegraphing what I meant.
I was referring the “Mr. ball sack monster” as being a female (not your son).

and I just got a new forum badge for quoting, thats something I did not know how to do and just lucked into it by accident.

First Quote

This badge is granted the first time you quote a post in your reply. Quoting relevant parts of earlier posts in your reply helps keep discussions connected together and on topic. The easiest way to quote is to highlight a section of a post, and then press any reply button…


Not gonna lie, I’m actually refraining from playing the beta. I wanna play through the entire thing when it’s out as a finished product.
I made a bit of a mistake when I played the beta releases of Subnautica, because I knew everything that was gonna happen before the full release, so the ending wasn’t as enjoyable. I want Black Mesa to be different for me.


lol! ok now I see what you meant there. :appropriate chuckle:

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I know a lot of upcoming things with Interloper, Nihilanth, and Endgame from snooping in the files for months, is there a way to spoiler tag a post?

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I LOVE spoilers! Spill it!

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Well, there’s a LOT here, and I won’t be able to cover all of it, but a large majority of it, Also some of my info may be wrong, before the rest of xen and Gonarchs Lair came out I found that about 5% of what I found was cut beta content.

Interloper will start with a Vortigaunt village (or a Garg Chase), And while you’re in this village, you will find peaceful vorts, though soon Controllers will arrive and Mind Control those Vorts to Attack you (As the music file for this song is named “xen_VortVill” )

Here are some models that are found in the files for the Vortigaunt Village

After this, you will be chased by SEVERAL gargantuas, and the song “Shadows of Death” will play.
There will most likely be a few puzzles between these sections and in generally throughout Interloper.
Next… The TOWER, Gordon isnt going to have a fun time entering this tower… as he will have to go through the…ahem… bowels of it. Soundscape notes say this:

The Tower actually has many Organs in it, though the only organs I can confirm that are in it by models in the files, are the Badder and the Brain, Here is the concept art for the Bladder

And here is the model for the device that will hold the Brain

Inside Interloper there will be many Slave Vorigaunts, all coughing and wheezing their weak words out, we have some new voice files for the Vorts, here is one

Thousands of Models for Agrunt Pods, Conveyor Belts, Machinery, Alien Vents, and Organic material including giant ribs and cysts are in the files as well, here are a few of them

I have a feeling Gordon will kill the tower by the end of Interloper

A developer stated in the Public Discord that Interloper “It’s quite creepy, dark, and atmospheric, but there’s a lot of puzzles and action. It’s quite action packed in places”

Also It appears that an elevator ride may be in interloper as well, similar to something like the Citadel though Im sure you’ll be free to move and shoot enemies, but thats just my speculation.
I also suspect that The vorts will be doing more than creating Soldiers, but perhaps making the nihilanth’s technology or doing something the keep him alive, because Nihilanth’s Chamber will have quite a bit of Xenian tech within in, but again, thats speculation.

For Endgame, Kevin Sisk confirmed with me that GMan will get up close and personal again, Like with Half life 2 Though I do believe we will still see him from Gordon’s Point of view standing in front of him as well, so a mix of both

There are some old Gman Speech animations in the files, though these could be old and outdated

And incoming a bit of a mega spoiler

you have been warned

The Interloper Tower will explode during Endgame:

And Gman will warp the world, forming the Tram around you,

It should be quite the spectacle.

Anywho, those should be all of the important bits, if I forgot anything, I’ll make another post, scroll up on the thread if you would like to see the leaked Nihilanth stuff.


ALSO The Dev Chon, shared some Early Beta Interloper and Xen screenshots with me.



We are not ready for this. I’m so excited.