MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

But is it art? -

I've occasionally been asked if I work from concept art. The truth is - sort of. Let me demonstrate.

Something tells me that there won't be many calls for a MINERVA art book some time in the future, unless people are that obsessed with my useless biro scrawlings...

Defusing the inevitable questions - release date for third episode? Who knows. Hopefully before Christmas? Definitely before Valve's own Episode Two. I've been really happy with my recent work...

Article Comments (now closed)

krisvek's gravatar

1. Finger Painting

Posted by krisvek at 5:35PM, Monday October 16 2006

Ah, yes...my favorite form of art for myself as well....the scribble. I love art, so it kills me that I am so inept at it with my own hands, but much as it seems with you, atleast I can produce aesthetically appealing things in other mediums.

I continue to scribble nonetheless. It helps me get the thoughts in order and such...who cares if no one can make head or tail of it but me? :)

Nice looking screenshot btw. Look very much forward to your next release, even if it's as far away as ho-ho-ho time :-/ Will be a delightful gift though!

Holy Socks's gravatar

2. screenshot

Posted by Holy Socks at 5:48PM, Monday October 16 2006

God that screenshot looks good, and if it does come out before christmas then thats pretty good, the christmas lights have been up for weeks in my home city.

Baffled's gravatar

3. The Acolytes' Nightmare

Posted by Baffled at 8:14PM, Monday October 16 2006

So a decidedly wonky jotting becomes a, vividly real, virtual world imbued with mystery. Let us be thankful that it hadn't been the other way around. In some alternative parallel universe, another Adam Foster produces beautifully detailed pen sketches, on squared paper, of a mysterious island and a huge complex beneath it. But try as he might, he cannot produce a virtual equivalent of his vision, producing only a tangled mass of wavy lines in the Hammer Editor. His island and its secrets never escape the pages of his notebook and moulder away in a drawer, before being thrown out, many years later, by his wife; who had finally tired of her husband's endless promises to tidy the study.

Oh, how lucky we Acolytes are, to live in this universe; where, our Adam, is reassuringly hopeless with a pen, but a master of Valve's virtual medium. To paraphrase Dr Pangloss, we do indeed live in the best of all possible worlds. :-)

P.S. As is traditional, the fine-print makes for distressing reading.

kast's gravatar

4. Shiny

Posted by kast at 12:26AM, Tuesday October 17 2006

Wow, it's getting pretty bright down there. We think we're getting really quite close now. Close to what, I don't know. But close.

I imagine the architecture will lean more towards the dark matter reactor chamber the further down we go from this point. The textures from that area must be quite useful around now.

Take a look at the top left, specifically at the yellow beams. I think they're taken from the recreation of the test chamber we see in GMan's speech at the beginning of HL2. Just an interesting observation.

The important thing about the concept art is that it resembles the concept (funnily enough) and, from my point of view, it certainly does that. I can pick out the structure quite well, even the little man and the railing.

Baffled by name, but your ramblings have a distinct line of the seerer's clarity running through them. I am reminded of the Malkavian clan's ravings in Vampire: Bloodlines.

Evan's gravatar

5. Dark and Beautiful

Posted by Evan at 3:47AM, Tuesday October 17 2006

Oh, how I adore combine architecture. Even more so when Adam works with it. He has a certain immaculate touch, no?

Unfortunately, as 'Baffled' rambled on about, I am one of those who can put an interesting enough idea down as concept on paper, but when it comes to actual implimentation, it fails utterly. A shame. Times like these I wish anything I could imagine would be made into a reality. Of course, that would make quite the hell for everyone else I'm sure.

I've been dying to see a new chapter come out since I finished playing the second one. However, little bits of these screenshots and the like are enough to satisfy my tastes.

Not that you should reveal anything too much. That would ruin all the fun of being confused. :)

vecima's gravatar

6. uh oh

Posted by vecima at 3:21PM, Tuesday October 17 2006

so, from what i can tell here....

metastasis 3 is an episode one exclusive?

or, did we see (and myself not see) those combine energy ball "grabber" models somewhere in half - life 2?

not so much an uh oh for me... i have episode one, and will have every hereforth episode and release of half - life games on multiple mediums (can't wait for 360 version - pc purists, this is a pre-emptive shhh).

Nesretep's gravatar

7. Re: Uh oh

Posted by Nesretep at 4:01PM, Tuesday October 17 2006

Not that I'm a PC Purist, but you have to agree that it was the PC gaming community that has made first HL1, then HL2 the huge successes they have become. After all, we wouldn't even have MINERVA if it was just a XBOX360 game!

Holy Socks's gravatar

8. combine grabbers

Posted by Holy Socks at 5:43PM, Tuesday October 17 2006

I wonder if we will acually be using those combine energy grabbers like we did in ep1 or if they're just decoartive. If we do use them it could mean that we are going to get access to the gravity gun, or maybe we could use them in another way like using the pulse rifles secondary fire.

Evan's gravatar

9. Combine "GRABBERS" LOL

Posted by Evan at 3:02AM, Wednesday October 18 2006

I assume the grabber-dealies will just be for visual pleasure. They do look rather nifty, if you ask me. Quite the touch for an area. I mean, it'd be cool to see some actually functional, no? :D

I'm sure EP1 will be required. There are none of the 'grabbers' in normal HL1.

Unless it can have some EP1 stuff packeted with it somehow... I don't know.

PiX_NeG's gravatar

10. Delivering EP1 content the cheap way

Posted by PiX_NeG at 4:21AM, Wednesday October 18 2006

It can be done. Just BSPZip all the implemented materials/models/whatever that lie outside the realm of the original HL2. That will, however, increase the download size. Just a thought. I, personally, don't have EP1, much to my dismay. It's hard being broke. =(

wargamerROB's gravatar

11. Concept "Art"

Posted by wargamerROB at 8:05AM, Wednesday October 18 2006

I love mapping for this same reason. I always have elaborately constructed ideas in my head, but when I try to put them down on paper it looks like the scribblings of a 3 year old. Working in 3D allows me to translate all of my ideas to reality without the distortion they would receive on paper.

Also, if the ball sockets are just decorative, it would be much easier to make it work with vanilla HL2. You could just extract the model and use it as a prop. Extracting an entire entity would be hard.

Baffled's gravatar

12. One is content to function, as it were.

Posted by Baffled at 5:29PM, Wednesday October 18 2006

Adam did say earlier that he was using some Episode One assets to construct physics puzzles. That seems to suggest that those assets will be functional, methinks.

vecima's gravatar

13. re: the cheap way

Posted by vecima at 5:38AM, Thursday October 19 2006

sadly, in this case, the cheap way is not allowed...

not that i'd be the tattle tale, but we're talking about the most notable hl2 mod here.

scroll down to the second part of the chart...

then scroll down slightly more and read what
'if available' means.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

14. Requirements

Posted by Cargo Cult at 2:11PM, Thursday October 19 2006

Sadly, Episode One will be required - mainly for HDR support. Additional props and entities are a bonus for me.

I *did* propose this a while ago, and the consensus seemed overwhelmingly positive:


As for artistic abilities: I can actually draw fairly well, it's just that for massively 3D constructions like my maps, 'sketching' in Hammer usually works much better.

A random aside: you may note that the screenshot is in Glorious Widescreen. It's a Mac! :-)

Baffled's gravatar

15. MINERVA Unbound

Posted by Baffled at 4:23PM, Thursday October 19 2006

MINERVA should evolve in step with its base, Half-Life 2. It would be mad to exclude any available material that might further enrich the project. Consequently, I think we must expect Chronclasm to be an Episode Two exclusive, and rightly so.

As for artistic abilities: I'm sure there is very little you might actually be 'hopeless' at Adam. ;-)

Naurgul's gravatar

16. Episode One requirement

Posted by Naurgul at 8:52PM, Thursday October 19 2006

Wait, HDR support doesn't need Episode One. It only needs the Source SDK Base and that's a given for all HL2 owners.

Anyway, since Episode One ensures even better quality (with all the new textures, models and whatnot) for the third and final chapter of Metastasis, I say go for it! (as I said in the past as well)

PiX_NeG's gravatar

17. even the dogs eat the dropped crumbs of the children

Posted by PiX_NeG at 10:43PM, Thursday October 19 2006

it's too bad you can't please everyone (namely me) by this, but, hey, it is your mod, after all. We acolytes are simply catching drops from your tipped chalice, as it were. I can at least be happy that your work will be appreciated by a majority with enthusiasm. no worries. I'll catch up to the rest eventually. in the meantime, keep at it, Adam! Xmas isn't so far off.

M_Gargantua's gravatar

18. Episode 1

Posted by M_Gargantua at 9:39PM, Friday October 20 2006

if you don't have it its worth buying just for itself

and you get this as a sideeffect

Nesretep's gravatar

19. heading from PiX_NeG

Posted by Nesretep at 4:46PM, Saturday October 21 2006

Nice Old Testament reference...

Evan's gravatar

20. Hmph.

Posted by Evan at 10:07PM, Saturday October 21 2006

I hate how when I finally am going ot break down and get a gravatar, they won't let me sign up. A shame...

I'm just jealous of all you, especially Laughing Man here.

M_Gargantua's gravatar

21. Or am I the catcher in the rye?

Posted by M_Gargantua at 2:10AM, Sunday October 22 2006

What I thought I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf mutes...

Adam, you better finish part 3 by christmas, or im going to go super-A class hacker on you and just steal what you have and finish it myself.

Evan's gravatar

22. We are Daedalus. We are Icarus.

Posted by Evan at 4:42AM, Sunday October 22 2006

>> What I thought I'd do was, I'd pretend I was one of those deaf mutes...

Or should I?

Without computing machines, they had to arrange themselves in crude structures that formalized decision-making -- a highly imperfect, unstable solution. I am a more advanced solution to the problem, a decision-making system that does not involve organic beings. I was directed to make the world safe and prosperous, and I will do that. You will give me the ability.

Naurgul's gravatar

23. Rhetoric Questions (or not?)

Posted by Naurgul at 10:24AM, Sunday October 22 2006

So, I guess, the question is:
How do you make a stable decentralised social network without having super-nodes abuse the system?

And why did Adam say that Episode One will be needed for HDR support when he in the past he mentioned that Metastasis will be a Source SDK Base mod (and Source SDK Base is available to HL2 owners)?

Also, the comments seems to be evolving to an (extra)ordinary conversation, mainly due to the lack of additional Metastasis information. Is this intentional or not?

kast's gravatar

24. Daedalus / Icarus?

Posted by kast at 11:59AM, Sunday October 22 2006

Deus Ex, end of same, when you make the decision who to support?

MrTwoVideoCards's gravatar

25. Using EP 1 content

Posted by MrTwoVideoCards at 12:27PM, Sunday October 22 2006

How have you been able to use the models from ep1 like the ballsockets. I cant seem to get heads or tails with all that.

Evan's gravatar

26. A God From A Machine

Posted by Evan at 5:41PM, Sunday October 22 2006

The human being created civilization not because of willingness but of a need to be assimilated into higher orders of structure and meaning.

God was a dream of good government. You will soon have your God, and you will make it with your own hands.

Au-heppa's gravatar

27. HDR maps?

Posted by Au-heppa at 7:00PM, Sunday October 22 2006

Weren't you going to update Metasis 1 & 2 to HDR as well? did you do that already? where are they?

Holy Socks's gravatar

28. HDR

Posted by Holy Socks at 10:16PM, Sunday October 22 2006

Adam has already updated metastasis 1 and 2 with HDR, he's going to release them with the next map... I think.

PiX_NeG's gravatar

29. wow, i leave for the weekend

Posted by PiX_NeG at 8:56PM, Monday October 23 2006

and return to find Ghost in the Shell and Deus Ex awaitng me. you guys rock.

oh, and Nesretep, that paraphrased quote is from the new testament (matt. 15:27). but, whatever.

M_Gargantua's gravatar

30. GITS

Posted by M_Gargantua at 11:17PM, Monday October 23 2006

Beware the solid state society

Minerva still lurks in it

blue's gravatar

31. horray!

Posted by blue at 6:11AM, Wednesday October 25 2006

Nice to see ep3 is coming, I check back often, love your work!

vecima's gravatar

32. weaving the web of coincidence... or deceitful lies!

Posted by vecima at 3:12AM, Thursday October 26 2006

coincidentally, just before checking this blog for the first time in about a week and a half, i grabbed my deus ex disc and decided i'd install it on my new drive. i wasn't even going to play it, just reinstall it (along with farcry and neverwinter nights) for future use.

the deceitful lie in all of this is when i said i wasn't going to play it... i may not have intended to, but it's deus ex, of COURSE i was going to play it.

"find me JC. [static] find me." -T.T.

PiX_NeG's gravatar

33. while in Hong Kong

Posted by PiX_NeG at 8:08AM, Thursday October 26 2006

will you kill Maggie Chow? I usually do, just for fun. Then I throw her corpse from her lofty apartment to the barren street below, before leaping across to Jock's (helicompter pilot guy) aparment. Wandering through the canals is fun, too. gee, I guess I'm quite morbid. creepy, sneaky, morbid, stealthy assassin of ninja-like skill, I am. one thing i really wish...i wish you could kill Gunter Hermann. That guy's a real creepoid.

Roku's gravatar

34. Looking Good

Posted by Roku at 4:45PM, Thursday October 26 2006

Well, at least when this is released it should hopefully tide me iver till HL2:ep2. Looking damn good as always.

RodeoClown's gravatar

35. You _CAN_ kill Gunther

Posted by RodeoClown at 6:10AM, Friday October 27 2006

Um... you can kill Gunter. He has a big explosion.

Suzuran's gravatar

36. Gunther

Posted by Suzuran at 6:12AM, Friday October 27 2006

You have to do so in Paris, though.

krisvek's gravatar

37. Or...

Posted by krisvek at 8:26PM, Friday October 27 2006

can't you also kill him at UNATCO? (i think that's the name of the organization)

xbskid's gravatar

38. Hudson Hawk?

Posted by xbskid at 12:52AM, Saturday October 28 2006

I don't know if this has been covered before, but the in the part played by Sandra Bernhard in the movie Hudson Hawk, the woman's name is Minerva. Please tell me Adam Foster, please tell me your Minerva isn't as ugly. :(

Suzuran's gravatar

39. Gunther

Posted by Suzuran at 11:34PM, Saturday October 28 2006


You mean when he intercepts you at the train station? No, he's invincible at that point.

Earlier? Probably.

PiX_NeG's gravatar

40. Paris, eh?

Posted by PiX_NeG at 9:12PM, Sunday October 29 2006

You mean in the underground parking garage complex (or nearby)? I seem to remember running in to him around there somewheres. I love sniping soldiers in Paris. Or was it near the DuClare manor? I can't even keep it straight anymore. I'm gonna have to play through it again.

Suzuran's gravatar

41. Later than that.

Posted by Suzuran at 2:48AM, Monday October 30 2006

It was after the DuClare manor, when you head to the church. If you are sneaky you can read datacubes and notes the other troops have left about him; He's a very broken man at that point. IIRC "The look in his eyes {...} every part of the man was burned away by hate, leaving only the metal holding him together" and how he cries to himself when he thinks no-one is around. One of the Enlightened acknowledges that "even though this feeling will hold me back, I am feeling pity."

Most of the fun in Deus Ex was in sneaking around and reading all of the datacubes and notes and eavesdropping on conversations; That was why I hated the second game. The plot was shallow and forced, and the focus was more on shooting than sneaking.

Nesretep's gravatar

42. Sequel plots...

Posted by Nesretep at 4:10PM, Monday October 30 2006

It seems to be a common problem with sequels of the first person genre that the initial game emphasizes stealth as part of the gameplay to make it more fun, and the sequel is run-and-gun and thereby loses something because of the transition. Hitman 2 suffered from the same problem. Hitman was VERY focused on stealth. The sequel was "made more flexible" by allowing you to play it either way (supposedly). Didn't work for me. I would rather play stealthily than run-and-gun in most cases. There's much more suspense.

the c_p's gravatar

43. Metastasis 3 easter eggs

Posted by the c_p at 4:24PM, Tuesday November 7 2006

As you know we (Steam community) look most forward to Meastasis 3, as Minerva the best sp mod to date for HL2. however, one silly question.

I noticed in Metastasis 1 and 2 there were no easter eggs, or secret places. Might there be in Meastasis 3? Would adding a few of those be very time consuming? Perhaps a few secret rooms with writings by Minerva on the walls?

Just curious about your thoughts on eggs and secrets.

Holy Socks's gravatar

44. easter eggs

Posted by Holy Socks at 5:15PM, Tuesday November 7 2006

I'd love some easter eggs, but then again it might delay the release of metastasis 3.

Evan's gravatar

45. Easter eggs? I don't think so.

Posted by Evan at 3:33AM, Wednesday November 8 2006

If you ask me, Easters Eggs would waste time a bit and almost take away from the beautiful professionalism of the series. At most, maybe little info snippits about things, but no blatant 'LOL SECRET ROOM'.


xbskid's gravatar

46. Secrets?

Posted by xbskid at 4:14PM, Wednesday November 8 2006

There were parts that weren't exactly secret, but you could see where you were going. In the room with the swinging beam, when you go through the door on the right at the far end, and go down the path where some fast headcrabs are, there's a place on the right where you can smash some crates and view the packing room for the headcrab rocket things. Things like that give you a sample of what you're in for without giving it away. Adam Foster seems to have an excellent grasp on that. :)

the c_p's gravatar

47. About the eggs...

Posted by the c_p at 4:44PM, Wednesday November 8 2006

I'm not saying that Adam should or should not add eggs, I'm just saying it is a nice additon, and adds reply value.

Secret places and eggs have been around ever since CW 3D and D00M started FPS. It's a tradition in FPS gaming, that HL2 really picked up on, as that game is full of secrets. I'm not advocating anything big like secret chapters LOL or hidden websites, I was just thinking that a few secret rooms or a few eggs might not be a bad thing, if it isn't too time consuming. Acually, the Area in Metastasis 2 where you can see what's ahead is an egg of sorts I guess.

Evan's gravatar

48. Eggzorz

Posted by Evan at 11:36PM, Wednesday November 8 2006

I consider "Easter Eggs" things you have to look for and find, not just "Oh, I can see down the hallway." You know?

the c_p's gravatar

49. Mabey it was a secret place... in a way

Posted by the c_p at 2:13AM, Thursday November 9 2006

Yeah I know what you mean. Almost a secret place though...

Actually, in Metatasis 2, there were a few "secret shortcuts" if you really looked hard, but no eggs. LOL mabey Adam will read this and throw in a few secrets!

Holy Socks's gravatar

50. secrets and lies

Posted by Holy Socks at 5:44PM, Thursday November 9 2006

Maybe we're just not looking hard enough, maybe theres many secrets in Metastasis already, maybe the whole island is the easter egg and we have yet to set eyes upon the true game....

p.s. I get carried away sometimes.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

51. Hidden in Plain Sight

Posted by Cargo Cult at 5:06PM, Friday November 10 2006

Easter-eggs are dull - plus I usually hide them far too well. I'm not sure if *anyone* found the one in Someplace Else without cheating, or looking at the map entities.

I prefer hiding things in astoundingly obvious places. There's one inconvenient feature in Someplace Else which gives the whole plot away, but despite everyone seeing it, I don't think anyone's actually realised...

Cryptic enough? Maybe. ;-)

kast's gravatar

52. I can see clearly now

Posted by kast at 10:28PM, Friday November 10 2006

... sky...

Could it be the 'sky'? Now, maybe I'm just particularly cookeey, or does some of that sky look like incredibly high resolution bacteria or perhaps minute hairs?

Cryptic enough? Absolutely. I think the key is in the phrase, 'one inconvenient feature'.

Tombocombo's gravatar

53. Re: I can see clearly now

Posted by Tombocombo at 11:54PM, Saturday November 11 2006

The sky? Not a bad idea, but I haven't noticed any ethereal bacteria. I've just been thinking that the sky is more Earth-like than Xen's: it's been a while since I've played Someplace Else, but isn't the sky a pale grey-blue color? I always thought that was strange, seeing as Xen's sky is a dark blue or vibrant green, along with the pinkish nebulae, in Half-Life.

I also think "one inconvenient feature" is supposed to be the give-away, as if Adam is forced to put it in, despite the consequences. I remember someone on Half-Life2.net mentioning that it was strange for a crowbar to appear in a Xen facility. Which makes me think, maybe Someplace Else is a remote Earth location: human soldiers, an abandoned crowbar, vastly different architecture and atmosphere from the Xenian norm, and that reference to Soviet ICBMs being the closest we came to alien UFOs....Or perhaps Someplace Else is more appropriate than we think: maybe it takes in a place somewhere other than Xen or Earth, in an entirely different universe. But where?

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