MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Trip to Valve: Crate and Barrel -

Literally just a few minutes walk from the Valve office:

Now I know where they get their standard-issue FPS supplies from. Apparently it's actually like a posh IKEA, but I don't believe that.

Article Comments (now closed)

krisvek's gravatar

1. odd

Posted by krisvek at 9:39AM, Sunday May 14 2006

the more we see of your real-life adventures, the more i suspect that real-life is just as curious and odd as the stories you weave

Evan's gravatar

2. Awesome

Posted by Evan at 11:16AM, Sunday May 14 2006

Ah, the good old Crate&Barrel. Just walk right in with a trusty crowbar and get a whackin'.

wargamerROB's gravatar

3. Crates

Posted by wargamerROB at 3:44PM, Sunday May 14 2006

I think someone should walk in there and loudly complain about their lackluster level design and poor use of props.

I can see the Halo influences, and I have to say, I hated Halo 2. The Silent Cartographer was my favorite Halo level and that might just have something to do with why I love MINERVA.

Kast's gravatar

4. It's true...

Posted by Kast at 6:55PM, Sunday May 14 2006

Life really is stranger than fiction.

vecima's gravatar

5. Halo sucked.... sorry, but i had to...

Posted by vecima at 1:15AM, Monday May 15 2006

i WAS having fun playing halo single player a while back... untill i reached the library... how awful. i was almost insulted as a gamer.

same problem with halo2... i WAS having fun marauding about the Earth, then what? more halo1, back with a vengance...

they both had crappy stories in my opinion, and thier only redeeming quality was very fun multiplayer...but even there, halo1 has halo2 beat.

Evan's gravatar

6. Halo 1/2 = Amazing

Posted by Evan at 1:54AM, Monday May 15 2006

Both Halo 1 and 2 were amazing games, and I'm almost disappointed with people who say they disliked it. Both games were revolutionary to me, and I actually can't wait for Halo 3 to be released.

Halo 1 for the PC, I must admit, was actually quite mediocre graphic-wise and annoying to play.

Half-Life 2 anymore has become one of my favorite shooters, and I definitely love how MINERVA is throwing together a cryptic combination of both HL2 and Halo.

Keep it up, Adam!

And let's see some updates from Metastasis 3, eh?

Tom Edwards's gravatar

7. That's all very well,

Posted by Tom Edwards at 3:34AM, Monday May 15 2006

...but are the barrels explosive?

wargamerROB's gravatar

8. Keyboard

Posted by wargamerROB at 3:34AM, Monday May 15 2006

But does the 0 key stick on their computer?

Kast's gravatar

9. RE: Keyboard

Posted by Kast at 5:06AM, Monday May 15 2006

Just hope they remember to phone ahead.

vecima's gravatar

10. 'elo anyone?

Posted by vecima at 6:10AM, Monday May 15 2006

halo has good gameplay elements, but level design is also a big part of gameplay (why are we all at this site, after all?). halo had some good levels, but also had some very repetative, go down 65 stories, then come back up style or like the library, (heres the same room 20 times). they did a good job with coding and graphical aspects, but SOME OF the levels just irritated me beyond belief...

though, i'm not trying to change anyone else's opinion on the game, (to each their own), after all every one of my friends absolutely love the game (though most of those cretins weren't spoiled with hl2 like myself ;)

Cargo Cult's gravatar

11. Blam!

Posted by Cargo Cult at 6:39AM, Monday May 15 2006

Some chapters in Halo I really, really liked (Silent Cartographer is perhaps my favourite computer game map ever, and Carcinogenesis's working title was, erm, Flatulent Geographer) - other chapters I thought were absolutely awful. The Library for one. If Bungie had been given a Valve-style 'deadline' to play with, then the game might have been utterly spectacular - then again, it's possible it would never have been released at all without Microsoft's intervention.

I didn't dare go in to Crate and Barrel - the unshaven, blue-jacketed, concerned-looking citizen I saw at the customer services desk looked a bit suspicious. He appeared to be having a few problems with his computer, and the few hundred Crate and Barrel delivery trucks outside kind of concerned me as well.

The only crowbar I did see at Valve looked gold-plated, and quite firmly affixed to a pedestal. They didn't appear to have any stashed away for use in emergencies, despite the headcrab lurking in the void over the reception area...

vecima's gravatar

12. great minds

Posted by vecima at 7:31AM, Monday May 15 2006

not only think alike, but they stay out of the library too! j/k

xbskid's gravatar

13. Nope.

Posted by xbskid at 8:12AM, Monday May 15 2006

Interestingly enough, great minds think -differently-, to quote that retarded Disney commercial. Compare Adam Foster to the mappers at Valve. That's all I need to say about that.

More Minerva, please :)

Kast's gravatar

14. Comparison

Posted by Kast at 8:50PM, Monday May 15 2006

I think such a comparison is... facile, if I may use the term. You can't compare one man to a company of many. I'm sure there are people working at Valve that share Adam's particular brand of genius and flare for design while others are of a distinctly different school. It's them working together, along with artists, actors, writers and everyone else that makes Half Life game so wonderful.

Marshall's gravatar

15. Come on guys.

Posted by Marshall at 7:09AM, Wednesday May 17 2006

You guys are talking more about Halo and Halo2 than you are about the topic at hand, come on now.

Kast's gravatar

16. Marshall

Posted by Kast at 8:15AM, Wednesday May 17 2006

The 'topic at hand' being what? Crates?

Besides, there's plenty of discussion about Minerva in the previous post's comments.

EGerbil's gravatar

17. RE: Marshall

Posted by EGerbil at 7:59PM, Wednesday May 17 2006

Not only crates, but barrels too!

F-Ish's gravatar

18. What subject ?

Posted by F-Ish at 1:13AM, Thursday May 18 2006

Yea Halo was just like such a good game but nothing beats the HL-serie.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

19. Re: Marshall

Posted by Cargo Cult at 4:15AM, Thursday May 18 2006

Oops. I hope the grand owner of this blog-thing doesn't tell us off for talking about Halo... ;-)

And wasn't it Apple imploring people to 'think different', complete with dodgy grammar?

DarkPrimus's gravatar

20. Pondering on what has been said.

Posted by DarkPrimus at 5:48AM, Thursday May 18 2006

"Anyone want guess at a location for MINERVA? Hopefully you'll get to explore a coastal city (lightly dusted with snow) in the next chapter, complete with its own citadel. I'm going by the many-citadels
interpretation of the Half-Life 2 plot, in case you're wondering."

So while the first two maps of MINERVA are somewhat akin to Silent Cartographer, the third will be somewhat akin to Assault on the Control Room? ;)

Tom's gravatar

21. Having to specify subjects sucks

Posted by Tom at 6:06AM, Thursday May 18 2006

<blockquote>I'm going by the many-citadels
interpretation of the Half-Life 2 plot, in case you're wondering.</blockquote>So are Valve, so I'd say you were on the right track.

Tom's gravatar

22. quotes blocked (ahaha)

Posted by Tom at 6:07AM, Thursday May 18 2006

Huh, no HTML I guess.

vecima's gravatar

23. our 'Atlas' for today is this snow dusted metropolis

Posted by vecima at 12:45PM, Thursday May 18 2006

i dont think the third map is our snow dusted villa...

i think that town may represent the begginning of a whole new adventure...
MINERVA: geometradiation
(just messin with ya, mr. Foster!)

Tom's gravatar

24. Aaargh

Posted by Tom at 2:02AM, Friday May 19 2006

Wait, who did I quote from just then? And why can't I spell?

Baffled's gravatar

25. GiGaDeTh2000 is alive and well....

Posted by Baffled at 8:38AM, Friday May 19 2006

Check out this mod listing on Moddb, it reminded me of Adam's April Fool post:


vecima's gravatar

26. back to grandpa's nightmare

Posted by vecima at 10:47AM, Friday May 19 2006

my god that sounds bad...

technically, if you're still young enough to play with legos (according to the box) half - life 2 is out of your age range.

also technically, if you get shot in the hand, yes, you would drop your gun, but no you WOULDN'T be picking it back up anytime soon.

its funny when "thinking something through" only gets done half way.

Tyler and AndyTheBomb's gravatar

27. Minerva's start to crate time

Posted by Tyler and AndyTheBomb at 2:46PM, Friday May 19 2006

Tyler: Well I did Minerva's start to crate time and it's not good.

AndyTheBomb: Not good? NOT GOOD!? This game has possibly the worst StC time ever! There are crates on the title screen for Christ's sake! And it has crates in the intro cut seen! This is obviously one of the worst games of all time! This game gets like a -10 on the StC!

Tyler: ...Did you even play the game more than five seconds?

AndyTheBomb: No but that doesn't mater the StC system is infallible this game must suck!

Tyler: You haven't taken your pills have you?

AndyTheBomb: ...no

Tyler: I'm starting to think the StC systems not all it's cracked up to bee. Now go take your pills.

Baffled's gravatar

28. a physics engine + a physicist = a puzzle?

Posted by Baffled at 9:58AM, Saturday May 20 2006

Before we leave the fascinating subject of crates and barrels, I'd like to put in a request to Adam. Could you make more use of the physics engine and its props in future chapters? Solving physical puzzles is as much part of the Halflife tradition as combat, and given that you're a physics graduate, I feel certain that you could come up with some really devious setups if you put your mind to it...please do. Make them as tricky as you dare, don't be afraid to frustrate your players a little...

Anyone remember that water jug puzzle in DieHard 3? That was a good example, and no I'm not trying to start a DieHard thread....but..DieHard3 was waaaayyy the best , and why does Hollywood always cast british actors as terrorists and psychos?....*dives for cover behind the nearest crate*

TomboCombo's gravatar

29. Terror and Physics

Posted by TomboCombo at 10:23AM, Saturday May 20 2006

It's the accent. European accents sound more sophisticated to American audiences and give this sense of amorality to a polite man who would kill you for giving him the time five minutes off. It's sort of like what Hans Gruber said (since we're on the topic of Die Hard): anyone with half a brain can steal $6 million but you need some flair to steal $600 million and get away with it.

On a completely different note, I would definitely enjoy some physics puzzles in Minerva if can work them in, Adam. If there are places where the story/shooting/exploration are more important, though, don't throw one in just for the sake of having a physics puzzle.

Tyler's gravatar

30. puzzle or story

Posted by Tyler at 3:54PM, Saturday May 20 2006

Physics puzzles are nice and all but this game is about story and immersion lets not have this turn into a game were I'm wondering why the combine instead of putting up a door and locking it decided to go for a more unconventional physics puzzle. Just remember the combine are evil and are against physics puzzles. They prefer the devious and boring fetch quest and the evil find the button, god dam it were is that control room!

Kast's gravatar

31. On phyics and bad-guys

Posted by Kast at 11:53PM, Saturday May 20 2006

Physics puzzles would be a bit of fun, yes, but might spoil the mood somewhat. Still, it's a though.

And English actors are cast as the bad guys because they pull of that superior, intelligent thing so well. I don't think I'm exagerating when I say the common Joe America distrusts smart guys, especially smart foreigners.

Oh, and English actors are the best around. ;)

Die Hard 3 was far too light weight for my liking. The first was amazing - defined the action genre for decades - and didn't pull its punches.

Baffled's gravatar

32. It is indeed a though (sic) ...or hic?

Posted by Baffled at 12:21AM, Sunday May 21 2006

You ok there, Kast? Your typing seems a tad wonky, a bit early for beer isn't it...though it is the weekend I suppose.... ;-) No, no, I'm just kidding. Perhaps we really are in need of an edit facility eh?

A bit light weight...I thought it by far the better film, oh well. I noticed that Phone Booth is on TV this weekend, anyone seen that...worth taping?

Tyler's gravatar

33. Phone Booth of DEATH

Posted by Tyler at 5:23AM, Sunday May 21 2006

If the phone booth is the thriller where a man is cheating on his wife and he gets trapped in a phone booth bye a sniper. Then ya it's a good movie.

and yes wee americins fear them smart furiners.

Baffled's gravatar

34. It's quiet, ...a little too quiet?

Posted by Baffled at 7:53PM, Sunday May 21 2006

*whisper* Do you think Adam is being rather suspiciously quiet this week? You don't think that he might be putting in one of his superhuman efforts to finish *you know what* before Episode One is released, do you? It's not as if he has anything better to do with his time, like, say, earn a living , run a business, or move to Belgium *wears an appropriately diaapproving expression*, is it?

On the subject of being quiet, and having better things to do, I mentioned to some friends last night that I was a regular contributor to a blog and it was pointed out to me that spamming is something of a hazard for blogs such as this. Apparently, spammers can start out by simply overposting reasonably relevant material before slipping into unprompted discussions about themselves and what films they like as if it were their blog and not that of someone much more important, and you know they're on the brink, and way too much at home, when they start chatting about what they might watch on TV.... So I must apologise, Adam, for getting a little carried away with posting on your blog this past week or so, sorry. Apologies also to Kast for that dumb post yesterday...I don't want to end up at my local community centre, sitting in a circle, saying "hello, my name is Baffled, and I'm a spammer..." *sob*

Kast's gravatar

35. Errors, errors and damned errors

Posted by Kast at 8:53PM, Sunday May 21 2006

Baffled - About my spelling, I think I was nearing the end of a very tough day at college when I wrote it and by that point my brain had just about melted. But, yes, an edit function would definately be nice.

And I wouldn't worry about random posts. I think we're all going a little stir-crazy without any news of Depth Charge.

Oh, and while I remember, someone mentioned Minerva describing a normal headcrab as a little strange or something like that? That's because it's a fast headcrab. Thinking on... most of the headcrabs in MINERVA are of the fast variety, I think.

vecima's gravatar

36. Metaphysics

Posted by vecima at 10:46AM, Monday May 22 2006

there were all three kinds of headcrabs when you hit the bottom of that one canister room
(the one where the combine follow you down after a while).

physics puzzles are awesome, but the best ones are instanced in an (seemingly) arbritrary fashion... ones that just happen to be made up of the environment.
not that others arent believable, such as the supplies hidden by the pully system in half-life 2, but they are best when they seem as though they aren't physics puzzles... rather, convenient mishaps that lead to mass distruction!

TomboCombo's gravatar

37. Indeed

Posted by TomboCombo at 1:50PM, Monday May 22 2006

That's a good point, Vecima. Those kind of puzzles keep you immersed in the game; it's better to come out thinking, "Sweet, I found a clip for my SMG!" rather than going in thinking, "So, I have to get there to restore 25 health." As for headcrabs, I always thought that the modified headcrabs (poison and fast) were new inventions the Combine were sending into battle just before Gordon Freeman hit the scene.

In other news, how's Metastasis 3 coming along, Adam? Not to be a pest, sorry if I sound like one. It's just that you've been suspiciously quiet lately.

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