MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Interview and Looking Ahead to ... Tomorrow, 6pm! -

The domain name transfer thing seems to have finally been set in motion (it's now listed as 'Status:PENDING TRANSFER' in the whois output), so I might eventually move on to new web hosting. Note to self: seriously, set the DNS stuff before initiating the transfer in future.

But still. There's an interview with myself up at Halflife2.net which could be interesting reading, and will be continued when they send me the questions for a second part; some very childish behaviour which I greatly approve of; and finally and most importantly, Half-Life 2: Episode One gets unlocked over Steam in less than 23 hours.

I'm still looking forward to playing it, despite having played it already. Yes, I'm a fanboy. I admit it.

Update 2006-06-03: Please be warned - the comments in this article may contain spoilers!

Article Comments (now closed)

Naurgul's gravatar

1. *Your* suggestions?

Posted by Naurgul at 5:09AM, Thursday June 1 2006

Don't forget to tell us if they took into account your suggestions...

Wait... That's impossible to know. Oh well, just tell us if they changed anything according to what you suggested, okay?

Kast's gravatar

2. Tidbits and records

Posted by Kast at 5:43AM, Thursday June 1 2006

Interesting interview. :) Always good to have information on the design process and the thinking behind it. Nothing particularly new, though.

Something I've been meaning to say for a while - can all of us acolytes stop pestering the master? :P If it's aggravating me, who knows how much it must be aggravating Adam!

6pm... can't wait. I think I'll be playing it over and over again tommorrow evening.

Baffled's gravatar

3. Aggro-a-gogo

Posted by Baffled at 9:11AM, Thursday June 1 2006

I think, most of us, have come to think of pestering Adam for information, as the multiplayer component of MINERVA. This blog IS, in effect, the co-op that Adam says he wishes someone would create, as we are, in some sense, playing co-operatively in trying (and "catastrophically" failing, apparently) to solve the puzzles in the plot.

I do feel some sympathy with Adam. He creates a game to show off his talents and then a blog for his acolytes to express their admiration and otherwise fan the old ego, only to wake up one morning, and discover that he has somehow managed to recruit a whole team of jumped-up Project Managers for his hobby, his source of relaxation and fulfilment...oh, the irony.

A wise man once said that if you have a job without aggravation, then you haven't got a job. I'm afraid, then, by that measure, you now have two jobs Adam ;-)

Kast's gravatar

4. How very true

Posted by Kast at 9:10PM, Thursday June 1 2006

What an interesting way of looking at it, Baffled. Project Managers? *Shudders at the thought*

Multiplayer companant? Can't help but agree with you there.

Kast's gravatar

5. The plot thickens

Posted by Kast at 7:23AM, Friday June 2 2006

Just played Episode One and I will refrain from saying anything but one simple point:


Siman's gravatar

6. ep1

Posted by Siman at 7:58AM, Friday June 2 2006

jest played and finished it in 2h with the food comes out to be like 1h and 45min. my first impreshon is .................. it doesnt feal like half life 2 any more. my rating is a 6/10. and it was way way way to short for me playing 17.95 for it.

Baffled's gravatar

7. Less Haste, More Fun

Posted by Baffled at 9:17AM, Friday June 2 2006

What difficulty settings are you playing it at to finish it so soon? You should play it on difficult only, and not rush. I'm somewhere in Chapter 3, I think, in the dark waiting for a lift(not really a spoiler in there) after a total of 3 hours play with a 2 hour break in the middle. You should savour it to get your money's worth. It seems worth £11 to me, thats less than many 2hr DVDs.

Either you're MUCH brighter than I am, Siman, (entirely possible), or you rushed through it on easy, spoiling it for yourself in the process. You have to work with the game rather than against it, to get maximum enjoyment and value from it. I'm looking to make it last at least into Saturday. I'm really enjoying it so far.

Kast's gravatar

8. How to Play

Posted by Kast at 10:07AM, Friday June 2 2006

* Don't rush!

* Play in character! (Do not play as a l33t, mad skills gamer, but as a tired, hungry, battered, Gordon Freeman)

* Play on HARD only!

You play it like that, and it's well worth a 98%. Can't wait to read the PC Gamer UK review.

Crack Hitler's gravatar

9. Normal diificulty?

Posted by Crack Hitler at 10:32AM, Friday June 2 2006

What's wrong with playing it in Normal?

Siman's gravatar

10. aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh don't look

Posted by Siman at 1:59PM, Friday June 2 2006

i played it on the hard setting. i dont realy rush i jest play at my normal speed and play it over and over and over and over... and i use logic in the places neededlike the ant lions i was playing and they kep comming then i jest got all pisset and thrue a car over the top of it to make them shut up that is how i do things mostly to get thru so........

ducbian's gravatar

11. re: aaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh don't look

Posted by ducbian at 8:05PM, Friday June 2 2006

You should double check, it set the difficulty to easy when I first loaded the episode

Nesretep's gravatar

12. Halflife Ep. 1

Posted by Nesretep at 3:11AM, Saturday June 3 2006

I have yet to play this installment so first be careful with the spoilers! [grin]

I hope to be able to play Episode: One soon, however I am po'. So much so, I can't afford the rest of that word. However, Father's Day is right around the corner so I've got a gift coming! :)

I really have enjoyed playing Minerva so far. Kudos to you, Adam! The game play was great and I felt that the maps were real places rather than a movie set like you sometimes see with other maps.

Kast's gravatar

13. Spoiler

Posted by Kast at 5:04AM, Saturday June 3 2006

OK, no spoilers. However I will just say that I shouted the following during my first play through:

"Oh, no, you cannot be serious! No way... Dog... NO! Alyx, there's no way this going to work! DOG, PUT THAT DOWN!!! NOOOOOO!!!!!"

Cargo Cult's gravatar

14. Copied-and-pasted from web forums

Posted by Cargo Cult at 7:44PM, Saturday June 3 2006

Having a second (then a third...) play-through has really helped in the plot-absorbing process. Like any Half-Life game, the most important plot points are often veiled behind ambiguity, and if you don't pay close attention then you can miss 'em completely. But so: on to copying-and-pasting some of my speculation posted elsewhere.

I used to assume that the Citadels were essentially on autopilot once they arrived on Earth, but it really does look like they contain a fair number of Combine Advisors. Maybe the conversations Breen was having in Half-Life 2 weren't long-distance telephone calls, merely talking to his superiors elsewhere in the Citadel?

I'd often wondered who (or what) did the medium-scale strategic planning for the Combine, whether it was a faceless bank of computers or enslaved humans modified specially for the purpose. Well, it looks like it might be the Advisors after all - that red shaft seemed lined with Advisor pods, and there's at least a few dozen present...

Other observation - before you reach the lift going down to the reactor, you can see Overwatch soldiers hanging in open pods in the distance. A closer inspection showed they're like the one seen in Nova Prospekt, only ... graphically superior. And plain disturbing, as usual.

You might have figured out what that 'poor Alyx' comment was about - it was a certain train crash after leaving the Citadel which really shocked me.

The Episode Two trailer at the end was the absolute first I'd seen of the events in the next episode - I'd instructed Valve persons *not* to tell me anything about what happens. But three-legged bio-mechanical creatures galloping through a pine forest, and all that?


A thought - something about a commentary thing in the Advisor room saying that one of that scene's purposes was to show that Alyx was susceptible to the the neural blast whatsit thingies, in order to put things in place for Episode Two.


And the trailer for that has scenes of an unconscious, but apparently uninjured, Alyx.

Maybe the whole bridge thing is a ruse?

Tero's gravatar

15. Breen

Posted by Tero at 10:15PM, Saturday June 3 2006

Wait a minute. Breen was escaping in the end of HL2, why was he escaping but not all the Advisors in the cellar? Is he more important?

Btw, I think it's pretty obvious since we see the "a host body?" video of Doctor Breen that this Advisor we see in the scene in that room is the host body that Doctor Breen is now in.

fuzz's gravatar

16. Dr Klieners Anouncement

Posted by fuzz at 12:23AM, Sunday June 4 2006

Somehow I missed it when I first loaded up Ep1, but I've just sat through Dr Kliener's speach over the ex-combine videoscreens on the start screen of Ep 1.
Quite a lot of backplot is explained in it, I'm suprised none's mentioned it yet. Or was that what steam was decrypting when I loaded it this morning?

fitzroy_doll's gravatar

17. Alive

Posted by fitzroy_doll at 12:46AM, Sunday June 4 2006

The new colour pallet is very impressive. Much more use of blues, yellows and reds, to as opposed to the predominantly white, brown and gray HL2. The sounds and AI were similarly alive. The combine are much more animated and the zombine is positively unnerving. I admit that I even felt a bit sorry for the dropship synth that crashed in the citadel, something quite pathetic about it blundering into the walls.

Nesretep's gravatar

18. Spoilers

Posted by Nesretep at 4:33AM, Sunday June 4 2006

Whatever happened to no spoilers!

Baffled's gravatar

19. Out of body experience

Posted by Baffled at 4:49AM, Sunday June 4 2006

I finished Episode One in just about 6 hours playing time, and thought it was a wonderful game, well worth the money.

That's a good point about the Advisor's implied expendability, Tero. I'm wondering whether those bodies were, in fact, merely "blanks", some sort of biological depositories for disembodied minds, rather than fully fledged alien beings evolved into a physically helpless state. Perhaps the advisors discarded their bodies altogether, swapping them for those incubators in order to escape their mortality. That would explain how such a body would be on hand, at short notice, for Breen to slip into.

Speaking of disembodiment, the one thing that most irked me about this game was the scene in the car chassis. When seated, we have no visible legs, arms or torso, we are just a head, floating at head-height, able to swivel, Exorcist-style, in a continuous circle. Considering all the impressive work that has gone into the animation of other characters to make them more lifelike, it seems crazy that they should neglect the player's own body so completely. It is perhaps obvious that I have only the faintest clue about the work and technical hurdles involved in making a game like this, but still, it seems a shame.

The teaser for Epsode Two looked exciting. It did remind me, though, of Return of the Jedi, with its rebels in a forest fighting bipedal enemies from an evil empire... Isn't it strange that in the genre where you are most free to exercise your imagination, namely Science Fiction, it seems almost impossible to come up with any truly original ideas?

P.S. I had a much more lurid scene in my mind concerning Alyx's fortold ordeal....either you are easily shocked (although I wouldn't fancy a close encounter with a Stalker) or I'm a bit of a pervert...

Siman's gravatar

20. Spoiler aleart advert your eyes

Posted by Siman at 2:16PM, Sunday June 4 2006

Iv even found a few gliches thru out the game that i exploted to get thru and found a few things.

Ok when the floor falls thru and your in the room with the zombies kill them then thru the door. In the next room you see a hole in the floor have a peek and see what is happening, a rebeleion in the rebles?

When you face the big ant lion the best way to win is stack the wooden boxes in a manner in order to get up on the cat walk this will however not work (player clip). Keap trying to jump on the plat form the ant lion will come over and try to kill you. But insted bounce you up ontop of the invisible wall saveing you from deth.


There is a lot more iv found but i dont want this to turn into a essay.

TomboCombo's gravatar

21. On the Nature of Combine Advisors, Owl Necks, and Returning Jedi

Posted by TomboCombo at 2:39PM, Sunday June 4 2006

I think that Breen was escaping at the end of Half-Life 2 but the Advisors weren't was because Breen was an obvious figurehead to blame for humanity's problems: if the rebellion won, he would be the first in line for the guillotine. The Advisors, however, are a new discovery for the rebellion: Alyx actually says, "Wahat is that?" (or something similar) when a video of it comes on in the red antechamber. The idea that this was Breen had crossed my mind, and it could be possible if Baffled's "mental glove" theory is true, but I think that Breen is completely and certainly dead.

The whole swiveling head thing is a not-issue for me. It's always been dumb that we couldn't see any part of Gordon's body except for his hands. Even if reflections were absent, it would at least make sense to see the HEV suit when you look down. But this has been present for so long, I'm not worried about it anymore.

I actually got that RotJ vibe, too, I just couldn't identify it until now. I'm confident that it will have a decidedly Half-Life style to the Star Wars concept, however. For example, a lot of Half-Life Fallout members are refering to the small three-legged synth as mini-Striders, but I was reminded of Houndeyes as soon as I saw them. Perhaps synth variants of old Half-Life monsters will appear? Also, I think Episode Two is where we get a good idea of what's happened since the Black Mesa Incident (since there seems to be some references to the Seven-Hour War in Eli's monologue) and what the Vortigaunts have been doing throughout the series (they appear to a have a more prominent role in the upcoming episode, since they presumably rescue you again and fight alongside you this time). It seems we have identified the substitutes for the Clone War and Ewoks.

Kast's gravatar

22. Trailer and horrors

Posted by Kast at 8:27PM, Sunday June 4 2006

Those 'mini-striders' have a curious gait. A kind of lolloping, gorilla like movement. And I can't help but feel like I've seen them somewhere before, though I've looked through Raising the Bar again and didn't find anything there.

I didn't notice until I paused the video for a better image of them that there's a full size strider along with the three 'mini-striders'... boy, I can't wait until a better name is agreed upon.

It's going to be good being in the wilderness again. The city can get really claustraphic.

I'm surprised we haven't seen the mortar and crab synths again. You know, those big things we caught a glimpse of during Half Life 2's final stalker pod journey, just before you ascend to Breen's office.

Oh, and from the message from Dr. Mossman, I'm guessing she's at 'Kraken Base'. It's somewhere mentioned in Raising the Bar on an early map of Gordon's planned path through Half Life 2. I understand Kraken to be a rebel outpost in the far north, near a 'weather control' building - one of the places used by the Combine to change the atmosphere. At least, least were ideas at some point during the production of Half Life 2.

One little anecdote before I go... I don't know how many people have had this happen to them, but I was playing Episode One for the third or fourth time around and had gotten a little way into the third chapter, the underground system. There was a low, zombine-like moaning coming from behind me and I spin around to see Alyx laughing. "Got ya :P" she goes.

Tom's gravatar

23. Hunters

Posted by Tom at 9:21PM, Sunday June 4 2006

The ministriders are apparently called '<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_humanoid_and_synthetic_Combine_in_Half-Life_2#Hunter">Hunters</a>'.

Tom's gravatar

24. Dammit

Posted by Tom at 9:22PM, Sunday June 4 2006

You've got to start allowing some basic HTML Adam...

F-Ish's gravatar

25. EP 1

Posted by F-Ish at 12:36AM, Monday June 5 2006

Man, I love this game. It was even better than I expected. Sadly it's short but it's episodic content and ep 2 will be released end of this year if Valve doesn't delay the date as usual. :p

Valve did a fantasic job with ep 1, hopefully they will retain this quality for furtherer episodes.

Baffled's gravatar

26. Suited And Booted

Posted by Baffled at 1:28AM, Monday June 5 2006

I did notice Alyx's practical joke. There are a number of nice touches to the interaction between Alyx and the player, although she can be a little patronising at times, using that tone that Americans use with small children..."good job" , "nice thinking".. and the like. The commentary mentioned that playtesters didn't like Alyx chiding them, but I think more of an edge should have been left in her speech...we are in a seriously stressful and perilous situation after all...

But it was Alyx's near invulnerability that was most in danger of spoiling the overall effect. Another commentary relates Valve's discomfort with Alx being so much more agile than Gordon in order to get her out of the way during puzzles, and I didn't really have a problem with that. But I really think that they should have made her more susceptable to damage (although she managed to die a few times on my watch) in order to make it seem more believable. In fact I think she should have been given an HEV suit of her own and require us to share our health and power packs and dispensers with her, perhaps with a HUD readout from her suit next to ours. I also felt that she should have been vulnerable to our friendly fire. I've only got as far as the reactor room with the commentary enabled so if they have addressed this then I haven't heard that yet. It just seems silly, and rather ungallant, for us to be all suited and booted, whilst she has to suffer exposure to all the dangers in a denim jacket and jeans. If I were Alyx's father I wouldn't have let her run about without some kind of protective clothing..she hasn't even got a bulletproof vest on, she could have got one from a dead combine after all. Now I realise that they wanted us to admire Alyx's ermm... animation, and not to render her as another combine-like suit, but it's in danger of spoiling the illusion of a real and dangerous enviroment that they seemed to have worked hard to create.

I too have missed the Houndeyes from the original Halflife, and if Hunters are synthed houndeyes I do hope that they still have that sonic whoop. But the real star of Episode One has to be the Jihadi suicide bombing Zombines. It was increadibly unnerving to see one whip out a live grenade and hold it aloft without throwing it. I was left scrabbling, in terror, for the gravity gun, to try and get it off him, and away from me before it went off. Just shooting the Zombine is not a foolproof option because the grenade just falls to the floor and the fuse has shortened considerably in the time it takes to kill him (on Hard anyway), and if you are being assaulted from behind by other Zombies/Zombines at the same time and your flashlight is about to fail, the tension can be excruciating ..great job there Valve.

Are we likely to encounter these devils in a later chapter of MINERVA? Their existence does seem to require some kind of breakdown in the Combine system, but I supose that need only be a localised failure. It seems also, that the commentary system is available to modders, perhaps we might hear our master's voice....

As far as that Star Wars motif goes Tombo, it's just occured to me that the whole "Episode One" thing could be lifted from there as well...and MINERVA being a later added prequel seems to fit into that scheme too hmmm...

TomboCombo's gravatar

27. On Three-Legged Aliens

Posted by TomboCombo at 9:26AM, Monday June 5 2006

I've got the source for where the name "Hunter" first appeared on Games Radar:

vecima's gravatar

28. episode one, concerns and comments

Posted by vecima at 4:00AM, Tuesday June 6 2006

on the floating head... while i usually prefer to see a body associated with my head in videogames, i have yet to see it be done in a convincing manner. The best example that i can think of would be The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape From Butcher Bay, though Riddick's body still didn't feel entirely right. So personally, i'm fine without it if i lended itself to people focusing their talents on other things (as well as keeping overall polycount down).

on the fauna of xen... i was hugely dissapointed that we didn't see bullsquids and houndeyes (moreso the bullsquids), and was hoping that this might be rectified in one of the episodes, however this seems unlikely considering the possibility that all the antlions and hunters (whether or not they are "houndines") may have flourished and killed off all the other xen wildlife. I however was hoping that outside the combine's city wall lied expanses of wildlife from the tentacles (that detected sound) to those flying manta things from hl1 to the aformentioned dog & cat sized xen creatures.

on episodes... i was overjoyed at the quality of episode one, though i think the episodic thing will take a wee bit of getting used to, coming from major developers like valve... must say, hl2:episode one kicked the pants off sin episodes: emergence, though i knew it would.

on this post... sorry, Adam and everyone else if it seems like i'm trying to turn this blog into my own!

Baffled's gravatar

29. While the cat's away...

Posted by Baffled at 4:58AM, Tuesday June 6 2006

It is all too easy to get carried away with this posting lark, isn't it Vecima? Still, Adam doesn't seem to mind....but he did sound rather cheesed off in the infamous "Facts" post didn't he? And you have to laugh at the way the number of posts mushroomed AFTER he told us to "Cease and Desist".

Quite a few people, on various forums, seem convinced that Alyx is dead in that teaser...any thoughts?

Kast's gravatar

30. Thoughts

Posted by Kast at 5:37AM, Tuesday June 6 2006

I don't think they'd kill of Alyx. Besides, she didn't look at all injured when being carried by the Vaut. No, my money's on Eli. He's not the guy many people would expect to die, you've got a strong bond of friendship with him (at least I have - I still think of him as my old collegue) and it would impact Alyx in a way that would tear us, the audience, up too.

I really do not think the hunters are combined hound eyes or anything. Forgive me but it seems nonsensicle. They look nothing alike save for having three legs. I would loved to have seen the bullsquid again, though. I'm sure in the coming episodes we'll be seeing our old adverseries again. I have a funny feeling we might have to contend with gargaunts (remember the massive creatures with plasma-shooting arms, one of which you fried between a couple of generator pylons?).

Anyone notice that the Antlion Guard in the Ep2 trailer is recoloured to be greener?

Having a body... FEAR pulled it off spectacularly, I thought. As well as doing the whole forced perspective thing of being knocked over, being helped up again etc. It was always great fun to run up to someone, see your shadow flaring in the strobe of their gunfire, and watching your own legs sissor kick them to the ground. Great stuff.

vecima's gravatar

31. feigning

Posted by vecima at 5:38AM, Tuesday June 6 2006

shes playing snow white, to get a kiss off gordon! (kidding, of course)

i think she's either comatose, or dead... but if dead, i think the vorigaunts use their "vortesence" to bring her back to life.

i just want to see dog grab a ministrider, and slam it into something...

Baffled's gravatar

32. Fifth Column

Posted by Baffled at 5:57AM, Tuesday June 6 2006

I've just reread Adam's lastpost: if they have gone out of their way to show that Alyx is susceptable to the mind meld jiggery-pokery, then it does seem unlikely she would be dead.

Is it possible that the Combine might be trying to use Alyx as a tool to lead Gordon into a trap? Is that what you meant by the bridge fall being a ruse Adam?

Cargo Cult's gravatar

33. Host Body

Posted by Cargo Cult at 2:04PM, Tuesday June 6 2006

If you're reading this, then you're on the new web host. So, recommence discussions!

(An aside: I do like all the nattering that goes on here, it's a much better signal-to-noise ratio than your average games discussion place...)

The ruse: Valve persons are hardly going to outline some major plot revelation in a trailer, are they? I guess we're supposed to think one thing, but something entirely different will happen.

Something hinted at in Episode One which *might* be the setting of some grand finale in the final part of the trilogy is the Arctic base, last seen being investigated by Mossman and being attacked by the Combine. There's been ideas that it might be the long-forgotten Kraken base proposed in Half-Life 2's development before being dropped - I really hope it is, 'cause some Tennyson is in order. (Minerva likes bloated, pretentious poets of bygone ages, before you ask.)

"Below the thunders of the upper deep;
Far far beneath in the abysmal sea,
His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep
The Kraken sleepeth: faintest sunlights flee
About his shadowy sides; above him swell
Huge sponges of millennial growth and height;
And far away into the sickly light,
From many a wondrous grot and secret cell
Unnumber'd and enormous polypi
Winnow with giant arms the slumbering green.
There hath he lain for ages, and will lie
Battening upon huge seaworms in his sleep,
Until the latter fire shall heat the deep;
Then once by man and angels to be seen,
In roaring he shall rise and on the surface die."

Kastanok's gravatar

34. Horizontal movement

Posted by Kastanok at 2:31PM, Tuesday June 6 2006

'Signal-to-noise ratio'. I'm going to have to remember that :P

If we're going to Kraken, we're most likely going to get there by way of Borealis. Anyone who's looked into the hammer editor will recognise that name from a texture package. The Borealis is an ice breaker ship that was planned to take Gordon to Kraken, so I don't think that's going to change.

Interesting poem. So much of it could be used as inspiration for possible plot/action occurences in and around Kraken Base.

coracle's gravatar

35. Character death/mapping

Posted by coracle at 3:42PM, Tuesday June 6 2006

I second the idea that it will be Eli to die. When there's a video link up in the first chapter he doesn't seem well, his voice sounds rough and he has a cough. Reckon it could be curtains for him.

Does anyone know if it is possible to map for episode 1? I'd like to have a play around, sandbox for a bit.

Baffled's gravatar

36. Divine correspondence

Posted by Baffled at 7:43PM, Tuesday June 6 2006

Someone on Halife2.net has emailed Gabe Newell about the SDK update:


That's a bit like writing to God...and getting a reply!

vecima's gravatar

37. god speaks to me!

Posted by vecima at 9:50PM, Tuesday June 6 2006

actually gabe replied to my email commending episode one and the commentary system.

was a short reply, understandably, but a reply none the less

also, on an occasion long ago, i called valve, and was unsure who to really call, so i called gabe, and he picked up and basically just told me he wasn't the person who could answer my questions about the xbox version of hl2

xbskid's gravatar

38. Mail to Gabe?

Posted by xbskid at 7:48PM, Wednesday June 7 2006

What's the normal turnaround for a reply from Mr. Newell?

vecima's gravatar

39. 6 to 8 weeks

Posted by vecima at 7:59PM, Wednesday June 7 2006

just kidding... i think it was like next day... but i wasn't really asking him anything, just giving kudos.

SkUrRiEr's gravatar

40. Spammers

Posted by SkUrRiEr at 8:30AM, Thursday June 8 2006


It appears that spammers have found your blog. =(

Julian Calaby

Cargo Cult's gravatar

41. Eggs, spam, chips, beans and spam

Posted by Cargo Cult at 11:24AM, Thursday June 8 2006

So, I took off and nuked the spam from orbit. It was the only way to be sure.

(I really need to rewrite the login system for this 'ere blog-beast - right now, it's broken. PHP running as CGI, or some such TLA. So until it's fixed - no new articles...)

SkUrRiEr's gravatar

42. Re: Spammers

Posted by SkUrRiEr at 4:25PM, Thursday June 8 2006

Best thing for it =)

One of my friends has a solution involving lasers, GPS and traceroute, but that may be getting a little extreme. =)

Julian Calaby

vecima's gravatar

43. spam spasm?

Posted by vecima at 8:34PM, Thursday June 8 2006

sorry about spamming to ask if i'm spamming, but...

am i spamming? who else? we aren't really talking about stuff other than HL or minerva... except Adam who keeps going on about his web problems :)

is this board spam-heavy? i remember a certain halo discussion, among others that didn't seem to ruffle such feathers.

Shadow Reapr's gravatar

44. Of hellos and opinions

Posted by Shadow Reapr at 8:55PM, Thursday June 8 2006

Howdy - first time commenter, long time player (love the mod).

I've just played through Episode 1, and my opinions are mixed on it.

As for my theories, I really hope Eli doesn't kick the bucket; Robert Guillaume is a superb actor, voice and all. Though, from what I'd guess is his frustration of Freeman losing Alyx, doesn't he sound a little... manic and warmongering in the teaser? Maybe I'm just imagining it.

I would suppose the Vortigaunts would carry her off to heal her - after all, they are allies. But I do wonder how they plan to help - a bit of mind-jiggery-pokery doesn't sound all too effective, if you ask me.

Which brings me onto my final point - the Vortigaunts and their plan. My assumption is that the Employer's contract was about to run out - Freeman achieved the goal, and that was that. The Vortigaunts are not so clued-in - they still want the assistance of Freeman, hence their interference. Or perhaps they knew we were about to be... bought out, perhaps by the combine themselves. Either way, I think contract-breaking and defying the beauracracy would be enough reason for the G-man to get pissy.

Anyhoo, keep up the good work Adam.

Baffled's gravatar

45. Tangents and Tangles

Posted by Baffled at 10:09PM, Thursday June 8 2006

There is such a thing as going off on a tangent in a discussion, isn't there Vecima? I think that such digression plays a part in any intelligent conversation, and I'd like to think that this blog is one of the more civilised and friendly corners of the web partly because of our "nattering", as Adam calls it. Perhaps Mr Calaby would like to demonstrate his idea of a relevant and value-adding post...?;-)

I've just been reading some the rather tangled theories surrounding the G-man....who IS he and who is he working for...and why does he speak in that strange way? I don't think that we can infer that he was going to sell our services to the Combine just because he's not allied to the Vortigaunts though. Some people seem to think that the G-man is a future Gordon Freeman...I can't see that myself.

Cargo Cult's gravatar


Posted by Cargo Cult at 10:28PM, Thursday June 8 2006

... the spam being deleted was of the highly unwelcome advertising variety, in this case linking to car insurance sites in an attempt to boost Google Pagerank. But their robots failed, as they always shall. We hairy apes can continually out-think their algorithmic, predicable nature.

Meanwhile, your rambling discussions are great - I may have said before, but carry on!

Kast's gravatar

47. More rambling, as ordered

Posted by Kast at 11:19PM, Thursday June 8 2006

The general aggreement is that the G-Man is a kind of intergalactic hero-agent. He puts promising people in the right place at the right time, gives them oppertunities and makes heroes. He then puts them in the right place at the right time... for the right price, of course.

He put Gordon through university, he made sure he was in the test lab on the day of the Black Mesa incident, he put everything in place so that Gordon would go to Xen and kill the Niahlinth and when it was all done... he put Gordon in storage. Years later, the G-Man returns him to normal time and space at the time of the first teleporter tests by the rebels - at the perfect time to bring down the Citadel. And that job being done, the G-Man prepares to pull Gordon out of our timestream once more...

But the Vortigaunts step in and prevent this. Earth needs a hero and they're keeping this one. Together, the Vorts have great power, enough to trap the G- Man and throw a spanner in whatever his plans are. The battle isn't just for the freedom of mankind and the Vortigaunts anymore. Whether Earth knows it or not, it's also against the G-Man and his employers.


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48. Apologies to Mr Calaby

Posted by Baffled at 11:48PM, Thursday June 8 2006

Oops got the wrong end of the stick back there....missed the offending material...thought you were criticising us...was a tad paranoid....rambling?...rambling and paranoid...oh dear....cheap meds you say?...might need some of those at this rate...

The G-man put Gordon through university?! How on earth do we know that? Is he an alien then or from the distant future? Is the future Earth government his employer? The Wikipedia page on the G-man ends with an apparently hidden note from valve mentioning him as a "misunderstood servant of the people"...

What the heck is an intergalactic hero-agent anyhow....sounds like I'll be sharing those tablets....

Kast's gravatar

49. All in good time

Posted by Kast at 11:54PM, Thursday June 8 2006

It's not certain but it is suspected that the G-Man organised Gordon's grant because in the introduction to HL1, his sponser is... 'sponsor'... oh, I'm a twit. Sponsor could mean anything. Anyway, sponsor is listed as 'Classified', which many suspect to be the G-Man.

Intergalactic hero-agent. By that I mean he creates heroes for hire, and sells their services to interested parties from across the galaxy.

Baffled's gravatar

50. Meat Stack

Posted by Baffled at 12:32AM, Friday June 9 2006

Sorry but this is an off-topic-micro-rant.

I'm in the market for a new graphics card, and stumbled upon this horror:


So now we have to buy not one, not two, but THREE of these bloody things..?!!

Naurgul's gravatar

51. half-life++

Posted by Naurgul at 1:03AM, Friday June 9 2006

Logically, Freeman's sponsor is Isaac Kleiner. The texts of ancient wisdom mention that: "As fortune would have it, his mentor at M.I.T., Professor Isaac Kleiner, had taken charge of a research project being conducted at a decommissioned missile base in Black Mesa, New Mexico. Kleiner was looking for a few bright associates, and Gordon was his first choice." It still is plausible that the G-Man arranged that Kleiner and Gordon meet each other. Unfortunately, even if Kleiner's name should be classified, given the nature of his project, why would VALVe make this appear as one of the first and very few written messages you get in the course of Half-Life?

PS: I am under the impression that I've been flamed for being a pest. Am I really such a nuisance or are you all just jealous that I am the most faithful of the acolytes?

PPS: half-life++ means that this is one comment past half-life (50 hit points) :P

Errant's gravatar

52. Sponsor

Posted by Errant at 4:22AM, Friday June 9 2006

I'd have to agree with Naurgul on this one. For the G-man to be Freemans sponsor wouldnt work tbh, that would imply direct interaction by the G-man with other humans - I doubt that somehow. Also it would mean some sort of (even classified) record of him.

Agreed though he could well have engineered the Freeman / Kleiner meeting, that is miuch more likely

SkUrRiEr's gravatar

53. Re: Apologies to Mr Calaby

Posted by SkUrRiEr at 6:37AM, Friday June 9 2006


Sorry about that, my post made perfect sense with the three span posts before it. - I should have been more clear. =)

As a player of this mod, HL1, HL2, and (soon) EP1. I find this an interesting blog on the games. - Possibly the perfect spot to put a little speculation out about the origins of the games.

Personally, I'm intersted in how the BlackMesa mod affect all of this. The designers seem to have set themselves the goal of reproducing Half-Life 1 as a full source game. Within this goal, they have numerous opportunities to add to or muddy the whole backstory of the three games with their mod.

In other mod news, Adam, I salute you in that you have chosen a peice of the story that you can craft in your own way without stepping on the feet of the main story of the games. Good work.

And (I know that this has been said numerous times before, but...) Great work on the mod - You have created a believable, realistic mod which is completely up to, and in some ways exceeding Valve's standard.

I can hardly wait until the next installment =)


Julian Calaby

P.S. call me Julian - Mr Calaby makes me feel like I should be wearing a suit.

Kastanok's gravatar

54. Suit?

Posted by Kastanok at 11:22AM, Friday June 9 2006

What a hazard suit, Dr. Calaby? ;) And you can have it in wide range of colours, too. Orange, bloodied red, or headcrab yellow.

SkUrRiEr's gravatar

55. Re: Suit?

Posted by SkUrRiEr at 3:45PM, Friday June 9 2006

Not a hazard suit, I was going to say that it makes me feel like I'm some sort of on-line G-Man, but I'm not. So I said "wearing a suit" by which I meant a business suit, not any other sort of one.

And I'm no doctor =)

Julian Calaby

Kast's gravatar

56. *Sigh*

Posted by Kast at 5:02PM, Friday June 9 2006

My attempt at... daftness, I suppose, went un-noticed. I knew what you meant, I simply chose to act like I didn't. And the Dr. was an allusion to being a scientist worthy of the HEV. Nevermind

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57. Deus Machinations

Posted by Baffled at 8:28PM, Friday June 9 2006

Does anybody else sense similarities between The G-Man and Minerva? Perhaps he was the inspiration for her? They both seem to have a partially God-like view over events, seeing them from a removed, and an enlightened perspective, yet both seem to need the player to act as an agent for them (otherwise there would be no game, of course) indicating a limit to their abilities. Neither of these characters are a deus ex machina, and Adam actually says this in his last major clue: "In my avoiding of a deus ex machina, you might have heard of some vital political constructs already." (God knows what that means, except that it was apparently a reaction to speculation about the "ignorant tyrant" in the "joyeuse" quote on this site's title page.)

It is tricky trying to decrypt a plotline set in a fictional universe where essentially anything is possible, the only thing we have to go by, in both cases, is that it must be internally consisitent and the characters must have a rational motive for their actions.

I was wondering whether the answer to both plotlines, HL2 and MINERVA, might be dependant upon actors not yet glimpsed. In HL2 we have the mysterious "employers" of our services, and in MINERVA, we have Minerva's equally mysterious "colleagues" and "friends", not to mention her "adopted forefathers" or that "ignorant tyrant". Both games are hoping to keep us hooked and guessing well into the forseeable future, and so perhaps what we have now, are closer to hints than clues, and contain red herrings aplenty...

P.S. Who is this Kastanok that has started to appear...is there a Jekyll and Hyde dynamic in operation...an evil twin perhaps...?

P.P.S *fingers crossed* for England tomorrow.

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58. On G-Man and Minerva

Posted by TomboCombo at 9:32PM, Friday June 9 2006

I actually thought at one point that G-Man and Minerva were of the same...organization, I suppose you'd say. They each had their quirks in that G-Man liked directly observing your progress while Minerva gave you support and criticism from somewhere very distant. But Minerva seems to be very much a loner, whereas G-Man has his shadowy "employers," so I dismissed the notion.

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59. Beyond Space & Time

Posted by Naurgul at 9:33PM, Friday June 9 2006

This blog seems to be the perfect spot to present some of my half-life theories...

The G-Man is an entity unrestricted by the dimensions of space and time. The same can be said for the vortigaunts as one collective entity (at least as far as time is concerned). This suggests a *not* entirely new line of investigation. What are the consequences of the fact that an entity has a property that has only been attributed to deific creatures so far? What exactly is it that makes the G-Man different from a god?

To change the subject to something more tangible: I believe VALVe loves giving us a feeling of foreboding. So I think that there is a connection between http://www.hlfallout.net/image.php?id=31403 and the beginning of episode one. I also like to think that phrases like "The Eli Vance is indispensable to the liberation" have something to do with the "mind behind the resistance" role that episode two teaser suggested for Eli(a vort would know since it has actually lived through what we call the "future"). So, if we can recognise the pattern which VALVe uses to include bits of what is to come, we will be able to decipher the meaning of other vortigaunt phrases... Quite a nasty piece of work we'll manage if we can pull this off. Everyone will be impresssssed...

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60. Dr. Jekyll speaks

Posted by Kast at 11:21PM, Friday June 9 2006

Kastanok is equivilant to Kast. When away from my home computer (at college mainly) I often forget that I go by my abbreviated name on this blog. Sorry for any confusion.

On the subject of the good doctor, might I be permitted to quote the following for no better reason than I enjoy quoting things?

"Mirror, mirror on the wall,
Am I strange? Or vain?
Or evil and evil ever
To remain?"

Shadow Reapr's gravatar

61. Of G-Mice and Men

Posted by Shadow Reapr at 3:18AM, Saturday June 10 2006

The G-man... What a curious fellow. I can't rely get behind that whole "G-man is future Gordon", especially what with recent developments (Episode 1) and also the incarceration of Adrian Shepherd. A very small part of me seems to fear a Dues Ex Machination should the writer of Half Life (whose name alludes me) let things get a little out-there. Isn't it just ever so curious that only the silent characters have had any 'interaction' with the G-man (all the original game's characters have seen him)? I'm not quite ready to suggest "It was all a dream", but I think it could veer towards A Beautiful Mind territory here.

I don't think there is actually that much more to reveal about the G-man. He's a interdimensional beaurocrat, yup, who sells the better-skilled average-joes of us to the highest bidder, those who would need a hero (interestingly, as an aside, what other interstellar alliance would take that much of an interest in Earth to offer the G-man such a price (assuming he wouldn't need money) - unless of course it is merely intended as a blow against the Combine). But what more do we need to know, really? Just as we won't get to know the original homeworld of the Xen-based foes from the original half-life, I doubt we will get to, or even need to, know more of the G-man's origins. In fact, I believe the only remaining detail of actual importance is who our purchasee is.

As a final aside, I think, should Valve need a project in-between/after the episodes, I think we could see a revival of dear old Adrian Shepherd. Think of it - the G-man would need someone to reclaim one of his best assets, and it would be an interesting dejá vu.

Even if they didn't make it, it'd make a fantastic mod.

I really do need to learn to stick to my existing topics.

Errant's gravatar

62. Vortigaunts

Posted by Errant at 4:58AM, Saturday June 10 2006

I really wonder if the vortigaunts have been under estimated - after all as we all agree someone is employing the G-man!

I wouldn be suprised as well to see Vort's in Minerva....

(at least I hope I am right)

Kast's gravatar

63. Shepard

Posted by Kast at 1:12PM, Saturday June 10 2006

I do recall hearing a rumour that an unofficial mod intended as a sequal to Opposing Force was shut down by Valve soon after development started. Now, this could simply be protecting their intellectual property but why couldn't they just ask the developers to change the name of the mod or leave it alone, like they do most other mods?

I'm pretty sure that Valve does intend to return to Adrian Shepard at some point in the unforseeable future. It'll just be an idea they're throwing around everynow and then.

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64. Mono-Log (tm)

Posted by Baffled at 1:36PM, Saturday June 10 2006

On the subject of split personalities, I find myself disagreeing quite profoundly with my own posts whenever I reread them... I think whoever wrote my deus ex machina post was quite wrong about the G-Man. He IS quite clearly a deus ex machina, floating above the proceedings and swooping in to save Gordon when his success seems certain to doom him at the end of HL2. I think that other Baffled was trying to insist that a deus wotsit had to be a last minute invented character, or force, intended simply to change the course of the plot without having played any role in that plot before then. In HL2 the G-Man was part of the plot from the beginning, and so maybe wouldn't qualify as a deus thingy, but the other Baffled hadn't considered HL1.... But Minerva doesn't seem to be a deus ex machina, she can't just beam us into position, we have to arrive strapped to the underside of that Combine helicopter, and presumably she cannot beam us out of whatever trouble she's got us into. She exists fully in the same reality as the player, but at a different location, "all alone" in that "forsaken machine".

I thought I might start my own blog, just for me, so I could argue with myself like this..except it needn't even be online as it would be, well, just for me,...a "Mono-Log" as it were...hours of free entertainment...

Naurgul, what did you mean by the Vorts having lived through our future?

Kast, wasn't there talk of an Episode Four, to be made by Gearbox, and to involve Shepherd...?

Anyhoo....its a gorgeous hot day, it's a Saturday, there's an England World Cup match....life is good....but did I remember to buy the beer.....

Naurgul's gravatar

65. On the nature of G-Man

Posted by Naurgul at 1:56PM, Saturday June 10 2006

First of all, I just wanted to say to Errant that the G-Man has actually been seen interacting with other humans. In Half-Life, we can see him discuss something with a scientist. You can even listen to his speech at that point, but it is muffled ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/G-Man_%28Half-Life%29#Miscellaneous ). He is also seen talking to someone (Colonel Odessa, presumably) during Half-Life 2. Whether the incidents are linked or not, I cannot say.

Now, let's move on. I'll have to agree with Shadow Reapr's comment:» I don't think there is actually that much more to reveal about the G-man.". This appears to be VALVe's approach too. However, I believe there is much to discuss about his nature. Please let me expand the thoughts I presented about him earlier. If he lives outside the dimensions of space and time, then some paradoxes appear: How can a third party (the vortigaunts) interact with him since the incident takes place outside the course of time? Even so, wouldn't he know that would happen? Then, how can he experience feelings (he is clearly pissed off)? All these indicate that in the Half-Life universe, a plane is defined for entities that live outside the course of time to interact. Even without the "time" we know, there seems to be some kind of causality and interactivity in that plane.

One last thing: The G-Man seems to have an obsession with time. "Time, Mr. Freeman? Is it about that... time, again?" He enjoys making fun of Dr. Freeman and the fact that he is hindered by time. Nevertheless, I detect a kind of jealousy because Mr. Freeman can experience the feeling of time passing while he cannot. Interesting, isn't it? Especially if it is true.

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66. We still see you in Black Mesa

Posted by Naurgul at 2:38PM, Saturday June 10 2006

I am sorry, Baffled. I just noticed your post (and thus, your question).

What did I mean by the Vorts having lived through our future?

I thought that was clear enough, but I will try to clarify it a bit. Since the vortigaunts live outside the dimension of time, they are aware of everything regardless of the moment in time it happened. That's because they don't experience time, like we, humans, do. Let's just say that when a vort is in a point in space, it experiences simultaneously everything that happens in that place during all the course of time. In fact, this is not a very good example (since the vorts are hive-minded and the word "simultaneously" implies a specific moment in time), but anyway. A more accurate analogy would be a mathematical function: Living through the passage of time is like having samples of the function's output while living outside the course of time is like having the function's expression.

PS: I do not wish to suggest that I understand fully that concept, I believe it simply is above the understanding of humans...

Errant's gravatar

67. What I vort...

Posted by Errant at 6:11PM, Saturday June 10 2006

I see what your saying about the G-man there but remeber casual conversations and meetings do not constitute written evidence of the G-man, thinking about it a bit more i wonder if the G-man is Freemans sponsor but though a third party - Breen.

Think about it, maybe G-man's employer (is it singular or plural) is Breen (doubt that) or the combine. Think about it logically, ok so Gordon managed to trash the combine in HL and HL2 but did the combine still won - they have earth. HL2 maybe it went wrong. Perhaps Barney was not meant to meet Freeman at the station so he could join the resistance, maybe Freeman was meant to help the combine. Maybe he did, by rallying the rebels to attack back the combine have an excuse to really lay waste to them - except Freeman manages to destroy more than anticipated.

Thats backed up a bit by Episode 1. If the vorts ARE outside of time they should know the answers to all these questions, maybe they have a plan too. What if the G-man is "controlling" Freeman but the Vort's are causing him to rebel. Esp now that they have rescued him from the G-man. Perhaps they are finally showing their hand.

I really do think we have underestimated the Vort's and that more of them shall be seen soon...

Errant's gravatar

68. Maths!!

Posted by Errant at 6:13PM, Saturday June 10 2006

BTW Naurgal I liked your maths equation metaphor for the Vort's timelessness, think about it and it really does make alot of sense

Errant's gravatar

69. 1 more thing

Posted by Errant at 6:15PM, Saturday June 10 2006

sorry for all the posts but this just occured to me:

"This is more than anyone can bear, but we will persevere"

Fromk ep2 trailer and HL, very cryptic. Is the vort talking about alyx or Gordon, I think maybe they are. In which case they obviously have some sort of plan for him. No?

Siman's gravatar

70. weapons

Posted by Siman at 10:43PM, Saturday June 10 2006

ok if they have telaportation y dont they have laser baced weapons i mean there are energy baced weapons but you would think with that much tech they should be able to make laser baced weapons and what about a bigger "buggy" .... "tank" and i want to drive an apc...........

Kast's gravatar

71. RE: weapons

Posted by Kast at 11:25PM, Saturday June 10 2006

Such things require a lot of energy. The teleportators have massive generators to power them (BME has a hydro-electric dam and Kleiner's lab is hooked to the system via the transformers you run past immediately after you stop tele-jumping). I don't think the rebels could really build a lot of laser based weapons.

But I'm sure they have some. There were several gauss guns used by the Black Mesa scientists - I'm sure one or two of them were salvaged, maybe lying in pieces somewhere. And bear in mind that we've only seen a small part of the HL2 world - there are bound to be resistance forces elsewhere, perhaps with advanced weapons rebuilt from or based upon Combine technology.

Don't worry about new vehicles. Episode One was based around Alyx and her relationship with Gordon. Episode Two is about big space and Valve promises at least some more of their spectacular vehicular action.

Kast's gravatar

72. Cubbage

Posted by Kast at 11:27PM, Saturday June 10 2006

Oh, and it IS Odessa Cubbage that the G-Man talks to. A little 'jiggery, pokery' with noclip shows this for certain.

Siman's gravatar

73. hmmm............

Posted by Siman at 8:31AM, Sunday June 11 2006

well if ep2 is as short as ep1 then there wont be that much vehicular action.............

Shadow Reapr's gravatar

74. The Realisation...

Posted by Shadow Reapr at 7:33PM, Sunday June 11 2006

I have, indeed, figured it out. 'G-man' is merely an adopted name (he originally had no name, Valve simply adopted that which the players called him).

So here it is, the answer. Who is G-man?

He is the Doctor. Doctor Who?


Ever wondered where he walks off after you see him watching you? It's obvious, of course: the Tardis. It all makes sense! :P

Disclaimer: Please view this post as it is intended, as a joke. Furthermore, viewers not of british origin, or a hermit within that region, may not understand.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

75. Talking of time-travel...

Posted by Cargo Cult at 9:01PM, Sunday June 11 2006

I appear to have an 'nwc2a2c.rmf' open in Valve Hammer Editor, and a command window with HLRAD munching away at another map.

Ah, nostalgia!

Campaignjunkie's gravatar

76. Morituri te salutamus

Posted by Campaignjunkie at 9:22PM, Sunday June 11 2006

Are you ever going to release the NW textures, BTW? I know some HL1 mappers that would love to get their hands on them, especially those cool cats over at Reissues (aka PQL3) ( http://www.chatbear.com/board.plm?b=6189 )

Jerry's gravatar

77. Where's the good old Half Life 2 is gone?

Posted by Jerry at 12:26PM, Monday June 12 2006

At first should admit, that I'm not a professional gamer... Half Life 2 Episode One is too hard! It's just too fast for me, there too many enemies at the same time. I know it's embarassing, I don't understand it, because I've played Half Life 2 in "Hard" mode - and now I'm dying all the time in "Easy" mode in Episode One... Sigh!
I miss that typical Half Life 2 feeling. Episode One isn't Half Life 2- for example (Spoiler!) the part where you waiting in the darkness for the elevator... It reminds me of "Doom" and "Quake", games I didn't like!
It's sad. Hopefully Valve returns to the good old Half Life 2 when they publish the next episodes.

vecima's gravatar

78. where have all the bullsquids gone? gone, gone away.

Posted by vecima at 8:17PM, Monday June 12 2006

i was actually hoping for a return to the general feeling of hl1, which i thought we sort of got with ep1... i want more wildlife from xen for ep2, i mean the first 1000 combine soldiers you kill are cool, but eventually i'd like to fight something else (that isnt a hunter-chopper, gunship, apc, or strider)

xbskid's gravatar

79. Return to...Earth. :P

Posted by xbskid at 2:48AM, Tuesday June 13 2006

I don't think you'll be seeing any Xen wildlife, like Houndeyes or Bullsquids, or even those little lamp plants that hide when you get too close, in Episode Two. Only new enemy I can forsee is the Hunter, or Ministrider. I predict they'll be annoying as hell.

Interestingly enough, I don't care whether or not future episodes have a "HL1 feel" or a "HL2 feel". I care that the games are fun, intriguing, and let me enjoy myself at my own pace.

Siman's gravatar

80. hay i had a question for foster

Posted by Siman at 9:35AM, Wednesday June 14 2006

In the first chapter of minerva when you go under ground and there is thoughts 2 combine that run across and then there is a generator room when you go downstairs there is a gas meter that is some how sparking. Is this typically safe?

TomboCombo's gravatar

81. On Sparking Gas Lines

Posted by TomboCombo at 5:00PM, Wednesday June 14 2006

Nope. But since when has Minerva been concerned with safety? If you're alive, you're safe enough.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

82. He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning

Posted by Cargo Cult at 5:38PM, Wednesday June 14 2006

I only realised those things were sodding gas meters *after* visiting the USA. Talk about visual identity. The sparks were to draw the player's attention towards the staircase, so they might realise there actually *was* a way down...

Explanation for non-explosion: the Universal Union has forgotten to pay its gas bill?

vecima's gravatar

83. hay is for horses

Posted by vecima at 8:18PM, Wednesday June 14 2006

assuming you had hours to live in carcinogenesis (maybe the probability in a given day that those gas meters could explode), and due to radiation and combine forces in part 2 "your lifespan is already measured in minutes"... does this mean that in part three you've got an estimated number of seconds to live?

Kast's gravatar

84. Confused

Posted by Kast at 11:45PM, Wednesday June 14 2006

I'm not entirely sure what Vecima just said but I get the general impression what he/she/it is trying to put across is that we're dead. Right?

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85. Don't seek advice from a non-Advisor

Posted by Naurgul at 5:17PM, Thursday June 15 2006

Just another thing I noticed about Episode One:

In the chamber where you see a recording from Dr. Breen's final communication with the Combine Advisor, when the pod slides under the floor, I am pretty sure I didn't see the "rune ring" there is on the Advisor... Does that indicate that the creatures with the mind-blast attack are actually not Combine Advisors but other Combine creatures, lower in hierarchy?

Also, is there a complete list of Advisor sightings during Episode One somewhere? It's like G-Man sightings, but different. :p

vecima's gravatar

86. a call to arms (or failing that a call for a new blog update!)

Posted by vecima at 8:48PM, Thursday June 15 2006

@ kast... don't worry about it... it doesn't even really make sense to me any more!

@ Cargo Cult... 85 posts on this one here... i tire of scrolling down, and demand a new topic! (bit of the old american charm!) i mean umm... please!

vecima's gravatar

87. and an edit feature!

Posted by vecima at 8:50PM, Thursday June 15 2006

i meant 86 posts

wait... 87

Siman's gravatar

88. gass

Posted by Siman at 10:54PM, Thursday June 15 2006

ok thanks it kinda got me confuzed i actuly the first time i played it i was not going to the staircase when i saw the sparks then after like 5 min i took a leap and i didnt die so .............

Siman's gravatar

89. no 89 now, lol

Posted by Siman at 11:05PM, Thursday June 15 2006

also y dont you encorperate more puzzles in minerva it kinda gets repeditive after the 23 time you play.......... not that I'v been counting, <- (ok that was a lie i have been counting)

Omnivore's gravatar

90. like shooting self in foot

Posted by Omnivore at 4:53AM, Friday June 16 2006

My dear simian friend, anything gets repetitive after the 23rd time.

Quite by definition.

Siman's gravatar

91. yah lol

Posted by Siman at 9:20AM, Friday June 16 2006

I know but I’m like addicted to the game lol I’ll probably play it agen hear in a few more min of working on my mod then it will be the 24 time

Jerry's gravatar

92. The second impression...

Posted by Jerry at 9:27AM, Friday June 16 2006

Okay, I've finished Half Life 2 EP1.
And I have to rethink... EP1 is cool, now I'm playing it once again (with commentary enabled)- I'm lovin' it!!
Hey, Mr. Cargo Cult :-)
Are there any plans to build in a commentary function for your upcoming episodes?
Would be vey interesting...


SkUrRiEr's gravatar

93. Re: a call to arms

Posted by SkUrRiEr at 4:09PM, Friday June 16 2006

93 now =)

Baffled's gravatar

94. Waiting is such sweet sorrow

Posted by Baffled at 6:02PM, Saturday June 17 2006

Adam, I've spotted an appearance by Iain Banks on BBC2 this Tuesday at 10:00, and next week as well, on University Challenge. He's captaining a team of writers against a bunch of actors this week, and against a team of newscasters next week. They're both repeats from earlier in the year so, if you've seen them, ignore this; I must have missed them first time around.

I also ran into this rather droll letter he submitted to The New Scientist on the evolution-in-schools debate:

It seems that I'm doomed to a long wait for all my entertainments, with Metastasis 3 at the end of summer (if we're lucky), as Iain's next novel is slated for March 2007 with a new Culture novel following in August 2008 *gulp*


Siman's gravatar

95. site

Posted by Siman at 9:03PM, Saturday June 17 2006

can we get a shout box or fourms or even a irc chat room please

xbskid's gravatar

96. .

Posted by xbskid at 3:14AM, Sunday June 18 2006

We don't -need- a shout box. We don't -need- forums. IRC chat is probably doable. Hooray for scheduling chat interviews with Adam.

SkUrRiEr's gravatar

97. Re: site

Posted by SkUrRiEr at 2:48PM, Sunday June 18 2006


Cargo Cult's gravatar

98. A forum, you say?

Posted by Cargo Cult at 6:14PM, Sunday June 18 2006

Here you go:


Please note timer at top of page. Full file and database deletion for the forum is imminent... ;-)

Naurgul's gravatar

99. Yay!

Posted by Naurgul at 6:26PM, Sunday June 18 2006

I have already expressed my gratitude for this act by posting in the forum. :)

We will discuss more of it there!

Kast's gravatar

100. Centenary

Posted by Kast at 10:31PM, Sunday June 18 2006

I claim this post for the Kingdom of Kastanok!

Sorry for spam, just wanted to make the 100th post :)

*Drops into forum*

DarkPrimus's gravatar

101. A forum? Oh no!

Posted by DarkPrimus at 12:56AM, Monday June 19 2006

As if I needed the temptation of yet another Internet forum to spend time posting on. And yet, the allure of discussing Half-Life 2 with such an interesting and insightful group of individuals is so strong...

Kast's gravatar

102. Awwww

Posted by Kast at 10:22AM, Monday June 19 2006

Thank you *Bows* :P You're quite the intellectual yourself, DP.

M_Gargantua's gravatar

103. discussing?

Posted by M_Gargantua at 8:26PM, Monday June 19 2006

what are you on about, we won't be discussing anything. all we seem to be doing is fun, in character babble about random things

Baffled's gravatar

104. There's no such thing as RANDOM

Posted by Baffled at 9:43PM, Monday June 19 2006

You're mistaken, M_Gargantua, our seemingly random babble is in fact a heuristic process of information processing. Remember those chimps with typewriters coming up with Shakespeare's complete works, well we're the next step.

Kast's gravatar

105. Retort

Posted by Kast at 9:53PM, Monday June 19 2006

Don't insult the monkeys. They're a lot smarter than we are.

M_Gargantua's gravatar

106. about those seggestions

Posted by M_Gargantua at 10:52PM, Monday June 19 2006

did you see any of them implimented

Baffled's gravatar

107. Quarantine

Posted by Baffled at 2:50PM, Tuesday June 20 2006

I think that that impending deletion event on The Forum is a very wise and increasingly necessary quarantine function. I mean, my God, what a bunch of loons...what ARE they all on...and where can I get some?

vecima's gravatar

108. re: quarantine

Posted by vecima at 7:39PM, Tuesday June 20 2006

i don't think its a quarantine, or a purge...

we all have about
days outside of the usual space... here, it seems we can interface with minerva herself. certainly something these... acolytes would kill to achieve, as we have seen from the piles of transhuman forces left in their wake.

SkUrRiEr's gravatar

109. Re: insurance auto

Posted by SkUrRiEr at 4:30PM, Friday June 23 2006

More insurance spam.

Mayhaps it's time to give us logins to put comments on the blog.

After the next installment of Metastasis of course =)

Julian Calaby

Kast's gravatar

110. Janus

Posted by Kast at 8:51PM, Friday June 23 2006

Janus of de gamblin of de safety of de speeding-boxes... we took de boom-stick to BOTH sideseses. Foyst one, den de odder. BOOM! BOOM BOOM! An de faac go SPLAT all over deir bootsies.

Janus not be comin back no-mor ^.- He no sho- no faaces no mor. No, sar.

vecima's gravatar

111. combine insurance

Posted by vecima at 4:21AM, Sunday June 25 2006

combine insurance free combine insurance

enlarge your C.ombi.ne EN.suranc.E herbally!!!!!

Kast's gravatar

112. RE: combine insurance

Posted by Kast at 3:16PM, Sunday June 25 2006

*Collects self from floor*

Heh... :D heheehee... hehhh :D hehe...

Thank you, Vecima, for making a giggling fool. Excellent joke.

TomboCombo's gravatar

113. RE: combine ensurance

Posted by TomboCombo at 5:59PM, Monday June 26 2006

I wonder how that conversation would play out...
"Hello, this is vecima speaking. How may I help you?"
"Yes, I'd like to buy my free combine ensurance, please."
"Alright, what's your address?"
"The broken down apartment building to the right of the train station, City 17."
"Is that the one in Eastern Europe?"
"Yes, sir."
"Very well, it should arrive in three to four business days."
"Thank you. By the way, does my combine insurance also protect me from headcrab zombies?"
"Excellent. Thanks for your help."
"Any time, that's what we're here for."
...I guess "three to four business days" isn't quick enough.

vecima's gravatar

114. Breen on your RAZR only from nokia!

Posted by vecima at 4:49AM, Tuesday June 27 2006

good one tombo!

imagine, you're at the moves, all of a sudden, you hear from the row in front of you:

"welcome, welcome to nokia voice mail service. you have chosen, or been chosen to call someone who isn't available. I thought so much of nokia that I elect to establish my advertisement here, in the cellphone so thoughtfully provided by our benefactors. so, whether you are going to leave a message, or just hang up, welcome, to nokia voice mail. oh, and before i forget,
^its like this and that and like this and uh
^aint nothin but a G thang, baby

Kast's gravatar

115. Breen-mobile

Posted by Kast at 9:55AM, Tuesday June 27 2006

That is so going on my phone. *Nicked*

F-Ish's gravatar

116. Damn ringtones bot

Posted by F-Ish at 1:37PM, Tuesday June 27 2006

Ban ban ban ban !! =D

Is there upcoming updates to the site or is there a new adres/url/website ?

Naurgul's gravatar

117. The advantages of spambots

Posted by Naurgul at 1:52PM, Tuesday June 27 2006

Where you see just those annoying spambots, I see oportunity and information.

We can monitor when Adam checks the website by watching when he deletes the spam-advertisment!

Aren't I bright?

Cargo Cult's gravatar

118. Absence makes the heart grow ... spammer?

Posted by Cargo Cult at 5:08PM, Tuesday June 27 2006

Was in New York for a long weekend. Must catch up on forum and blog. Hilariously, updated Blogsheep with improved anti-spam measures is on laptop. Which is on my desk, with a flat battery.

The spangly non-standard MagSafe charger is in my suitcase, which is currently lost somewhere over the Atlantic - complete with the wrong name-tag on it.


So spam has been deleted manually. Except for that anti-Combine toolshed nonsense - that seems to have stuck. Shame. ;-)

(Random thought of the moment: what would the Combine do if they placed a Citadel in Manhattan? Build it extra-extra tall?)

Kast's gravatar

119. Weird and perculiar

Posted by Kast at 5:35PM, Tuesday June 27 2006

[PAN UP Empire State Building to GORDON FROHMAN on roof]

FROHMAN: Hey, Dr. Breen! Woohoo - look, I'm higher than you! Woh... that's a looong way down.

DR. BREEN at top of CITADEL, fifty feet or so below FROHMAN

BREEN: Get down from there, you fool! No man is permitted to be higher than the Administrator!

FROHMAN: What's that, Doc? "Man, you're permitted to lend me some cashinator?" Whatever you say, Dr, Breen! [Cue BIG GRIN]

FROHMAN throws a handful of quarters from roof. Several of them land in Dr. Breen's head.

BREEN: Ahhhh!!!!

Nesretep's gravatar

120. attention

Posted by Nesretep at 8:29PM, Tuesday June 27 2006

I have paying attention to the forum thinking that this area was now obsolete and that it wasn't going to be used anymore...I guess I was wrong.

Nesretep's gravatar

121. Re: Attention

Posted by Nesretep at 8:30PM, Tuesday June 27 2006

Oops typo. That should read: "I have been paying attention..."

Jerry's gravatar

122. What happens in here?

Posted by Jerry at 10:39PM, Tuesday June 27 2006

So, I've been off for a while... then I remember that there was a interesting website about one of my favourite mods, but what's going on here? Did the headcrabs caught some of the visitors and mutated them into spamming zombies? :-/ Strange...
He,ehm - sorry for my anoying questions but will your upcoming episode of Minerva feature comments like EP1 did? Just answer to the question, Mr. Cargo Cult.
Oh, I got it, it's a well kept secret,isn't it?

Ok, that's it. For this time...

vecima's gravatar


Posted by vecima at 4:08AM, Wednesday June 28 2006

personally i don't know if i want adam spamming OUR next installment of minerva!

kidding, of course, but i don't know if the commentary feature is part of the hl2 sdk... it may be only in the lost coast/ep1 sdk...

also, in manhattan, the combine would put 2 citadels right next to each other...

just try and wreck THOSE, osama...
phshhhh, your probly muzzled by a headcrab by now.

RedChunk's gravatar

124. This thread is getting old

Posted by RedChunk at 3:38AM, Saturday July 1 2006

123 comments and going no where! Where's Adam? Where's the next installment? I can tell by the desparity of the last few posts that people are getting desparate. Maybe so desparate that they will go out and write their own mods! LOL

Adam, speak to us! Oh great and powerful!

Let us wallow in the next installment of Minerva!

vecima's gravatar

125. you know what...

Posted by vecima at 12:38AM, Sunday July 2 2006

writing my own mod... that doesn't sound like a bad idea!

i did go out and write my own mod...
(actually it started the planning phase long ago, and i didn't write it... a friend of mine is the 'writer', but im the main developer).

there should be a playable demo being released sometime near the end of the summer.


sorry for the shameless plug here, but
seems like nobody knows about this project, so i wanted to give a heads up
for our impending demo release.

Suzuran's gravatar

126. And the last post goes to...

Posted by Suzuran at 1:06PM, Sunday July 2 2006

Myself, the child who isn't sleeping ^_^

Baffled's gravatar

127. Who's entertaining whom here?

Posted by Baffled at 1:21PM, Sunday July 2 2006

There was me thinking that we were the one's seeking entertainment from the mod and its storyline, but it appears that we are the entertainment for Adam and fodder for what seems to be a well developed sadistic streak. So we are "hollow men" with "heads stuffed with straw"....hmmm I don't know about the rest of you, but my ego feels a litle battered.

But still there was a little morsel thrown our way ..."the need to assign similarities to everything I do"...tends to suggest that MINERVA is a free standing construct which has been influenced by other storylines but is quite distinct from them.

Perhaps we should have staged an online Ante-Anti-Climax Party as the forum did seem to end with a whimper rather than a bang.

Naurgul's gravatar

128. The way the world ended...

Posted by Naurgul at 1:27PM, Sunday July 2 2006

So, I tried to end it with a whimper. At the last minute (the last 20 seconds to be more precise) Suzuran tried to end it with a bang.

Too bad our Master had already prepared a more appropriate whimper, now gloriously looping until there is no point in looping it any longer.

PS: A pity that so few people (three, including myself) cared to watch the end of the world?

Suzuran's gravatar

129. What's in a word?

Posted by Suzuran at 1:37PM, Sunday July 2 2006

Entertainment is in the eye of the beholder.

SkUrRiEr's gravatar

130. Yes, Minerva is indeed toying with us.

Posted by SkUrRiEr at 5:10PM, Sunday July 2 2006


Parsing through the new message she has provided us, I found the following:

"as for the continuation of your adventure - late summer, early autumn? Love, Minerva!"

We are but her playthings - she is, but, toying with us.

It becomes clear now that the forum was merely a distraction - a small experiment - a way for the devoted to while away the time until she makes her next move. - buying more time, so to speak.

As for her next move - if I could be so bold as to assume what this could be, I would say she is assembling our next assignment - moving it, bit by painstaking bit, into the puny systems of her contacts here. I can only hope that these systems are sufficient for her purposes and capable of performing what she requires of them.

If she is not drawn away for more pressing matters, We may have but a month or two until she is ready. As for what lies behind the curtain, It seems to be her wish that we will see it - when she, and we, are ready.

As for her number, we see it in it's imprecice cryptic form: 2.725 ± 0.002 K I'm certain it has more meaning to her, however, what is that meaning? - A temperature? - A question? - A clue? - A date? - or merely another distraction - The meanings of this are lost to me, maybe others will be more enlightened.


(Sorry if I was a little harsh about us all, I don't mean to knock you guys - I'm just trying to see this as Minerva would herself - Playing the master, so as to understand her ways, and maybe predict them. - Anyway, as you see, I'm one of her devoted acolytes too.)


On a more serious note, Adam, stop toying with us and give us some sort of insight into what's going on. - You've got a lot of very frustrated, (but very happily so) people waiting for your next move. Please?

Pretty please?

With sugar on?


On another note entirely, this whole thing reminds me of the eon8.com hoax, only with much more movement beind the curtains. (and not just automated lights this time =) )

Thanks all,

Julian Calaby

Naurgul's gravatar

131. Temperature? Of course!

Posted by Naurgul at 5:21PM, Sunday July 2 2006

I thought it reminded me of something. It was Hawking's books.

Without further ado, I present to you the solution:

2.725 ± 0.002 K is, in fact, the temperature of most of the universe, measured in Kelvin. That's that.

PS: For those who don't believe my words, either go research it yourselves, or take a look at this lovely link...

Cargo Cult's gravatar

132. Apologies

Posted by Cargo Cult at 6:36PM, Sunday July 2 2006

I'd had big chunks of fun stuff planned for release (defiantly NOT Minerva-related!) but real-life issues kind of intervened. :-/

But I've reopened Valve Hammer Editor on my PC and I'm back to work on *that* lot. Which could be interesting.

As for the end of the world - think Iain Banks' History Of The Universe In Three Words (sic):









Baffled's gravatar

133. Driven to distraction

Posted by Baffled at 8:15PM, Sunday July 2 2006

There seems to be an ever lengthening list of distractions keeping you from Depth Charge; a most upsetting trend.

At the risk of adding to the aforementioned, any chance of some piccys from your New York trip?

What's the procedure for entering the US like now, did they fingerprint you and subject you to the third degree as to your intentions? I always enjoyed that form they used to give you on the plane asking whether you intended to attempt to overthrow the government of the United states during your visit.

M_Gargantua's gravatar

134. I checked yes

Posted by M_Gargantua at 2:07AM, Monday July 3 2006

on that form, except it was when I was flying into china, maybe thats why I had such good service while there?

Nesretep's gravatar

135. So now what?

Posted by Nesretep at 2:15PM, Monday July 3 2006

Now that the forum is gone, now what? I have to admit it was a welcome distraction from my typical routine.

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