MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Yeah, so you've looked behind the curtain, only to discover the whole world is a carefully manufactured lie. But to what ends?

Well, I'm Adam Foster, and these are my experiments in Half-Life 2 mapping!

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MINERVA - on GameFront -

What with the recent re-release of MINERVA, there's been one or two interviews with the gaming press.

So here's another, From Modder to Valve Employee; the MINERVA Story on GameFront. Read more about how MINERVA came to be re-released, along with its past and potential future. Also includes a list of increasingly antiquated mods and maps which I reckon are awesome.

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Iain (M.) Banks - 1954-2013 -

Over at the other blog - that ever-so-slightly influential Iain Banks has decided to die.

Arse.

I'm not yet actively upset, just ... numb.

... and now almost pissing myself laughing, tears running down my face, reading of his last requests...

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MINERVA - on Eurogamer -

I'm pretty sure it's the appropriate bottle cap above. I don't exactly drink much Stella. Look at the beer snob, me!

If you're wondering what the hell the above has to do with anything, go read the interview on Eurogamer, with never-before-relayed information from behind the scenes of MINERVA's development!

Edit 2013-06-08: ... and now an unexpected part two, behind the scenes of the Portal 2 announcement ARG!

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MINERVA - on Steam -

The conversations went something like this:

-[//SYSLOG:VALVE:10F.ADAMF/]-
--[/MSG:CONV:FOSTER.A/08.10.14/15.20.05/ID:7937549/a]--
---[/TXT:TRANSCRB:DUMP:BGN:----

"Oh, hi Adam. Welcome to Valve! Really liked your mod. MINERVA, was it?"

"Yes. Thanks!"

"You really ought to get it on to Steam, you know. How is it you're distributing the thing?"

"Oh, friends with lots of bandwidth, and a home-made PHP script."

"Nice!"

----:END]---
--[/LOG:SKIP:DATE/11.04.18/]--
--[/MSG:CONV:FOSTER.A/11.04.18/22:34.25/ID:82749725/a]--
---[/TXT:TRANSCRB:DUMP:BGN:----

"Portal 2 complete, and shipped. Yes!"

"It's *ever* so slightly larger than my previous game release."

"Oh, that Half-Life thing? MINERVA?"

"Yep. That was just me, a desk, a computer and a large bottle of Belgian beer. No big party!"

"Did you ever get that thing on to Steam?"

"Erm... Nope. I really ought to get round to that."

----:END]---
--[/LOG:SKIP:DATE/13.02.04/]--
--[/MSG:CONV:FOSTER.A/13.02.04/14:28.42/ID:3954738/a]--
---[/TXT:TRANSCRB:DUMP:BGN:----

"So many Portal 2 maps!"

"Steam Workshop. It's big."

"Yeah, I'm a product of the previous modding generation."

"That Half-Life 2 mod, MINERVA? Well, that's just an earlier version of mods on Steam."

"Erm... It's not actually available on Steam."

"*Really?* Go talk to [ELIDED]. Get it up there. User generated content! Valve strategy!"

"Right then. Procrastination over."

----:END]---

And thus, ever so slightly later than expected, here's an actually-final, director's-cut, polished-visuals, tweaked-navigation, improved-puzzles, hours-of-free-Half-Life-2-shooterings MINERVA: Metastasis - this time on Steam.

Technical details: maps lighting fully rebuilt with maximum settings, more expensive materials swapped in where appropriate, vegetation density increased, DirectX 8 mode actually working (!), running on Source 2009 for better dynamic lighting and other visuals. Gameplay details: various puzzles improved with better (but still subtle) prompting, various difficult-to-navigate areas improved with better (but still subtle!) guidance. Quite a few bugs both large and small squished as well. That disappearing-crosshairs thing? Finally gone. Exciting.

Special thanks go to Tom Edwards for his now-no-longer-necessary Officially Unofficial Source 2009 patch, which saved me huge amounts of time in getting things working again.

Additional special thanks go to Piotr Burzykowski and his LocWorks-translated language packs - full translations into French, German, Italian, Polish, Russian and Spanish are now available by default. Just set your Steam client to the appropriate language, and enjoy Minerva's occasionally inappropriate language however you understand it best.

Additional additional thanks to all the people at Valve who made this possible!

I was also going to link to Joseph Toscano's site for more soundtrack stuff, but it appears to be down. Oh no!

Edit: ... fortunately, he got in touch having seen the news - and he's got a new site. MINERVA soundtrack here!

A link to the thing on Steam? Here you go: MINERVA: Metastasis.

Installation details: go to page, click 'PLAY GAME', follow instructions. You'll need to own a copy of Half-Life 2: Episode One, but shouldn't need it installed already. Once this Steam edition is installed, you can safely delete any metastasis folders from SteamApps/SourceMods.

Enjoy!

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Resistance Is Character-Forming -

Already posted over on the other blog, but ... personal hero Iain Banks has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. He's likely got less than a year, perhaps just months to live. I learned of this last night, in a typically matter-of-fact, no-holds barred statement brought up by my RSS news reader.

I discovered his science fiction books while not having an especially fun time in life - the sheer escapism, pitch-black humour and leftist sensibilities helping me rebuild my mind into something much sturdier. I promptly devoured everything that Iain M. Banks had written, then started picking at Iain Banks' oeuvre, eager for more.

He's someone I've never met, and likely never will - but I've spent about thirteen years exploring and inhabiting worlds of his devising. And to learn that there's a door now permanently closing is ... painful.

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