MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Mystery objects -

Well, I'm back from an utterly fantastic trip abroad. Saw lots of things, met interesting people, and completely failed to overthrow any governments. Oh well.

SAS is somewhat more comfortable than being strapped to the underside of any Combine aircraft, be it synth or metal, and luckily I wasn't dropped off on any particularly hostile and/or mystery islands en route. But I did get to see icebergs, glaciers and things in northern Greenland on the way out. Unfortunately, I was sat in the middle, so no photos - I got a great view from the loo, but I thought taking a large digital SLR in there could be considered ... mildly peculiar.

Other news - Metastasis 2 is Planet Half-Life's Mod of the Week, and it's a good read despite consistently misspelling 'metastasis' (now fixed!) - oops. But there's some nice screenshots taken from angles I haven't really seen before, and lots of ego-stroking praise. Always appreciated!

Update 2006-04-18: Talking of nice screenshots - a Mr. Kast has posted some of his own. Well worth a look.

Article Comments (now closed)

Campaignjunkie's gravatar

1. Hmm

Posted by Campaignjunkie at 6:10AM, Tuesday April 18 2006

That almost looks like... some sort of... valve object... ? Utterly bizarre.

Kast's gravatar

2. Proposals

Posted by Kast at 6:36AM, Tuesday April 18 2006

I wonder if it's a release valve for that fish tank. Maybe, if you unscrewed that locking mechanism and turned the valve wheel enough, all of that... mysterious, blue, glowing substance would pour out of the container. I further suggest that such an act would release all of those little grey entities (Fish?) into a later, submerged area of the level which you'd have to swim through... stop me if I get carried away.

You flew with the SAS? How'd you wrangle that one? Wait, wait - don't tell me - "If I told you, I'd have to kill you", right?

I imagine being strapped to the underside of a synth might actually be quite comfortable. At least in comparison to the more mechanical fighter. The striders don't seem to complain about it.

Kast's gravatar

3. Screen shots

Posted by Kast at 8:41AM, Tuesday April 18 2006

Oh, and thinking of nice screen shots, I took a few of my own. :) Have a gander at my<a href="http://kastanok1.googlepages.com/art4">Minerva shots page</a>. :)

Omnivore's gravatar

4. wow

Posted by Omnivore at 3:39PM, Tuesday April 18 2006

Kast, you have made any attempt to generate other Minerva publicity shots a complete waste of time. Sweet.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

5. Not screenshots - more like photography...

Posted by Cargo Cult at 12:44AM, Wednesday April 19 2006

There should be more games where the sole aim is to wander round, taking 'photos' of things. Those MINERVA shots are great; note the updated blog post. Thanks!

As for actual photos, I've uploaded some (digital efforts) from my trip:


You'll need to scroll down a little to see the new ones. My photo gallery thing is overdue for an overhaul anyway.

Kast's gravatar

6. Thank you

Posted by Kast at 3:38AM, Wednesday April 19 2006

I'd like to thank the Acadamy... *cough* Thank you very much Omnivore (I think), and thank you, Adam. It was a bit of fun and I have too much time on my hands. Think it's about the most productive thing I've done this past fortnight.

You know, I know of only one game where the idea is to take photographs. Pokémon Safari, if I remember correctly. It was an on-rails thing. Naturally, it sucked.

And is it just me or do those kayaks look like sardines? Oh and now I could really go for a monkfish fillet on a bed of rice with... blackbean sauce. Yumm.

I love the play of the light in the reflection photo. Warping a twisting an otherwise gracefully structure. Hmm. *Thinks*

Muskie's gravatar

7. Err.. Guys?

Posted by Muskie at 11:52PM, Wednesday April 19 2006

Look at the top of the picture.

It's the Golden Crowbar.

Adam's gone to Valve HQ.

Kast's gravatar

8. Divine Bovine!

Posted by Kast at 1:39AM, Thursday April 20 2006

He's right. Do a google for "Golden crowbar". I thought the crowbar was a brass rail on the side of the tank, apart and seperate from the plaqued stone block.

Omnivore's gravatar

9. Yikes

Posted by Omnivore at 6:51AM, Thursday April 20 2006

I had assumed Adam was going to Valve (where else would he be going?), but did not even begin to imagine that the picture was of the freakin' lobby.

*begins banging head on doorframe*

xbskid's gravatar

10. Adam at Valve HQ?

Posted by xbskid at 7:10AM, Thursday April 20 2006

:( Now I'm sad. There should at least be an article in either the Steam News or the SteamPowered Site News about Adam's visit! And news of Metastasis Part 3. :(

Muskie's gravatar

11. Definitive Proof

Posted by Muskie at 5:23PM, Thursday April 20 2006


The Valve Crew standing right behind the exact same Big-Ass Valve.

Jerry's gravatar

12. Imagine...

Posted by Jerry at 10:29PM, Thursday April 20 2006

So, Adam, what did you at the Valve HQ?
And -sorry for that question, I guess you heard it a thousand times before- when will Metastasis Part 3 (approxiametly) be released?! All other mods -except "Mistake of Pythagoras"- are poor in comparision to yours.

Thanks for that great piece of art (it's indeed kind of a)!


Blade's gravatar

13. Pay to get in at Valve HQ?

Posted by Blade at 1:59AM, Friday April 21 2006

Did you have to pay to get in at Valve HQ Adam? Is everyone allowed to visit the Valve HQ? If so, I like to go there too, to meet Gabe Newell and the rest of the crew.

Kast's gravatar

14. Details!

Posted by Kast at 7:19AM, Friday April 21 2006

We want details, dagnammit!

Cargo Cult's gravatar

15. The details are in the devil?

Posted by Cargo Cult at 1:13AM, Saturday April 22 2006

I'll post another blog entry thing when I've got time - I *was* wondering when my dear readers would figure it all out. ;-)

Basic synopsis - met a load of Valve people, played the work-in-progress Episode One (it's standard HL2-style content, but very high quality - and I had a long chat on how it could be made even better), and then spent a few days exploring Seattle with my camera. It didn't rain *all* the time, which was quite impressive.

I was invited along, but they seem an incredibly friendly bunch - if you were to email them saying you were in the area, they might let you in. Maybe. Or they might set the zombines on you instead...

I'm off to Brussels tomorrow, so will probably do a bit of MINERVA-mapping on the way if I'm sat next to power socket on the train, otherwise it'll be some work on BaaBaa-BlogSheep. If this thing suddenly starts setting cookies, you know it's been upgraded!

Omnivore's gravatar

16. yay

Posted by Omnivore at 1:40AM, Saturday April 22 2006

Our cult leader has resurfaced!

Should our little enclave ever be discovered, and difficult questions asked about a certain programmer's fascination with cloven-hoof mammals (BlogSheep, GoatMatic, and presumably an underlying BoarServer running AngusDB), you can count on our giggles^H^H^H^H^H^H^H support.

Why the site is called Hylobatidae versus, say, Artiodactylae, remains a mystery to this particular acolyte.

Jr. Acolyte Kast's gravatar

17. It's devils and details all the way down!

Posted by Jr. Acolyte Kast at 1:46AM, Saturday April 22 2006

*Releasing himself from the tenterhooks* Oww... that's going to leave a mark. Or two.

It would an honour to have re-animated, xenogen-human hybrids set upon my corporeal form by the Masters of the Valve.

I can't believe it took so long for the penny to drop. Really can't.

*Returns himself to the tenterhooks in wait of the new post and new map*

Cargo Cult's gravatar

18. Apologies to the Acolytes

Posted by Cargo Cult at 6:38AM, Sunday April 23 2006

Not quite some spectacular multimedia extravaganza of a blog post, but I've added some updates-indicating features to this blog. For now, it'll simply highlight when there have been new comments posted to an article since your last visit on the main articles listing pages, but the important stuff is done. Now, it's just adding some extra stuff - and I hope nobody minds the presence of two new cookies!

(Oh, and I don't limit myself to artiodactylae when naming software - there's a 'Pneumatic Gerbil v.1337' powering some EU-funded industry websites somewhere out there...)

Omnivore's gravatar

19. can't stand it

Posted by Omnivore at 3:23PM, Monday April 24 2006

Okay, I've been waiting for someone to post so I can see the highlight (see what you've reduced us to, Foster?)...but the BlogSheep is deader than the proverbial sleeping parrot. Here's one for the rest of you.

Omnivore's gravatar

20. oo, pretty

Posted by Omnivore at 3:26PM, Monday April 24 2006

Nice, but the text flags start dark and don't turn red until I reload a couple of times (at which point greater minds than mine might expect the "New" flag to go away entirely)...

Kast's gravatar

21. Bling

Posted by Kast at 8:12PM, Monday April 24 2006

Thanks for taking a bullet and biting one for the team, Omnivore... (you know, mixing cliches doesn't work when the incorporate the same noun)

Yes, that's going to be helpful in future. Granted, most of the time I check this there's only one new post but heh, what you gonna do?

Cargo Cult's gravatar

22. Red Menace

Posted by Cargo Cult at 8:35PM, Tuesday April 25 2006

It's probably your computer caching the old CSS file a bit ... vigourously. I had to do a couple of reloads before it started showing up properly here.

I've spent the morning wrestling with DHCP. I hate computers.

But anyway - back to work, in the suspiciously City 17-like European capital that is Brussels...

(Oh, I've remembered what I was going to post here - the minerva@hylobatidae.org email is dead. Deceased. Gone. Anything sent there will bounce. Which should include the three trillion metric tonnes of spam per day, including adverts for Orthodox icons in Russian, corrugated steel sheeting in Russian, lewd stuff in Japanese, and countless other pieces of crap my spam filter has been patiently ignoring. There's a new address up, but with time that too may be destroyed...)

Quaunaut's gravatar

23. VALVe

Posted by Quaunaut at 4:41AM, Wednesday April 26 2006

Whats neat is, anyone can get in, most of the time.

I was a student, 17, went up to Seattle, and went up to their floor(you have to practically play a game to figure out which, as their unlisted), and then I had to really screw around to get in- but I got in that room, talked to a guy for awhile about the XBox version, and various things. VALVe is sure as hell a neat place to work.

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