MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Return of the Forum -

The attentive amongst you may have noticed that the forum is back.

Please be aware that it has returned purely on a trial basis - if you behave, it may get an extended stay of execution.

Rules? Be aware that you will be governed by the arbitrary and aloof decisions of the seven Horsemen of the Apocalypse - who are well aware that any misdemeanours are to be instantly punishable with Death.

Or even Deletion, if you were really, really bad.

Some good guidelines to work from? A sensible outline would be the following, as provided by Horseman Locworks:

  • Courtesy and respect are required.
  • Proper spelling and adequate grammar are welcome.
  • No flaming. No trolling. No spamming.
  • If you have an issue with a post by another acolyte, send a private message to any of the Horsemen. The dirty laundry will be washed away from the public eye.

Also, discussions about cheese might be encouraged, so long as it's not that vile, processed, factory-produced effluent labelled 'cheese' in the United States of America!

So there you are. The MINERVA Forum.

Article Comments (now closed)

kast's gravatar

1. topics

Posted by kast at 12:33AM, Wednesday February 7 2007

I don't believe I am the only one here who would much rather discuss... rampant AI, exisentialism, reality and (god forbid) MINERVA, rather than cheese.

Did we really act so irrisponsibly last time that we need such random and irrelevant overseers?

silence's gravatar

2. topics

Posted by silence at 1:19AM, Wednesday February 7 2007

I'll second this. While I wasn't present for the last cycle, the current set of forums is strange, irrelevant, and a touch depressing.

Sirc's gravatar

3. We Forge The Path...

Posted by Sirc at 1:37AM, Wednesday February 7 2007

While I have no foreknowledge of the events that led to the deletion of the previous forums, as long as everyone is responsible we will be able to shape the forum into a place worthy of MINERVA discussion. It is by our own doing that we doom or uplift ourselves, please take these words to hear and forsake any abuse you wish to perform.

kast's gravatar

4. @Sirc

Posted by kast at 12:35PM, Wednesday February 7 2007

The forums were deleted the last time because they had been born with a death sentance. About one month in which to talk and theorise before the end of the world. How would it end? What was the meaning of it all? Oh... we had such fascinating conversations.

And, I agree with silence, the atmosphere in there is rather depressing this time around. And... well, somewhat vulgar and blunt.

Narvi's gravatar

5. Moderation

Posted by Narvi at 12:48PM, Wednesday February 7 2007

So, wasn't the last forum moderated or something?

kast's gravatar

6. Everthing in moderation...

Posted by kast at 1:16PM, Wednesday February 7 2007

"including moderation".

Nope, not that I remember. all we had was Adam here deleting 'bot advertising posts.

parm's gravatar

7. The Horsemen

Posted by parm at 12:05AM, Thursday February 8 2007

You'll please forgive the Horsemen for being a little... unexpected and even arbitrary, at least to begin with. We were wrested, unsuspecting and by an greater hand, from our slumber and we are a little disoriented at the moment. They say you shouldn't eat cheese before bedtime, and perhaps They might have a point.

Anyway, give us time, and for the moment forgive us our unusual fixations. I can't speak for my fellow horsemen, but I certainly do not wish to discourage your eschatology; after all, everyone's time comes eventually, and it is perhaps healthy to discuss these things.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

8. Arbitrary eschatologies

Posted by Cargo Cult at 12:29AM, Thursday February 8 2007

I'm quite alarmed about the depressing tone the forum has taken as well - a jokey psychological experiment in apparent oppression seems to have been taken quite badly.

The Horsemen? Basically, a bunch of real-life friends from Somewhere Else who got roped into the task - a spur of the moment thing yesterday afternoon.

The forum is definitely here on a trial basis, and it took some of the stuff I was designing for MINERVA as a vague inspiration - the basic gist is that I *really* don't want it to turn into a typical, teenager-infested shithole like so many other gaming forums. Exhibit A:


To be honest, I'm still favouring the blog-beast. Anyone agree? ;-)

Sirc's gravatar

9. Essentials

Posted by Sirc at 3:13AM, Thursday February 8 2007

Since I was not here for the previous forum, I do not find any need to talk about MINERVA other than here...

Essentially this is all the 'forum' I need...

silence's gravatar

10. ...

Posted by silence at 5:53AM, Thursday February 8 2007

The reply is appreciated, as it sheds light and provides some semblance of comfort.

I cannot say I see a need for such a level of concern -- consider you target audience, indeed -- but I suppose it is better to be overly cautious than annihilated suddenly by a large glob of napalm-related substance.

kast's gravatar

11. One thread good, inuberable threads bad

Posted by kast at 1:18PM, Thursday February 8 2007

forums are fun, an interesting diversion for exploration of new and old concepts alike... but the blog is eternal, the central pillar of our experiance.

Nesretep's gravatar

12. The forum...

Posted by Nesretep at 4:51PM, Thursday February 8 2007

I would have to say that I agree with kast. The Forum is a more relaxed place. Less based in reality than the good ol' blog. I think that comes in part as a result of our last experience there...

Evan's gravatar

13. Forum, you say?

Posted by Evan at 1:48AM, Friday February 9 2007

Is it really a form or a simple distraction from the not-impending-enough MINERVA Part 3?

Silly Adam.

kast's gravatar

14. Distraction, you say?

Posted by kast at 12:16PM, Friday February 9 2007

I don't care if it's a distraction. This kitty will bat this ball until something more interesting is waved before him eyes.

Sirc's gravatar

15. Repetition, You Say? PREPOSTEROUS!

Posted by Sirc at 7:58PM, Saturday February 10 2007

Whether it is a distraction, a simple experiment, or a reattempt at community it is a nice olive branch nonetheless...

Can't wait for the next update!

The Avatar's gravatar

16. The Horsemen

Posted by The Avatar at 2:48AM, Tuesday February 13 2007

There are only 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse.

Evan's gravatar

17. Horsemen, you say?

Posted by Evan at 2:58AM, Tuesday February 13 2007

Oh, but what is four when compared to the seven sins? Such a round number, such a cryptic number - and much more suitable for the situation we've all gotten ourselves into.

Minerva works in such ways, you realize.

The Avatar's gravatar

18. Re: Horsemen you say?

Posted by The Avatar at 7:13AM, Tuesday February 13 2007

Actually its not that cryptic. And the seven sins are a religious creation of man, and at best a distraction from the real meaning of the number seven.

Nesretep's gravatar

19. Reaaaaally.....

Posted by Nesretep at 3:33PM, Wednesday February 14 2007

Avatar: You are taking things way too seriously. Besides if the seven sins are a creation of man, then who decided the meaning behind a number such as seven?

On another topic: It looks like we have been found again by yet another spammer...

Lewk's gravatar

20. Owies

Posted by Lewk at 7:17AM, Thursday February 15 2007

Sorry to say, but the forum hurts my eyes. The black and all, not my favourites. I too agree that forums are a teenage mutant infestested dung heap.

Anyways, my real reason for posting here was, will we see hdr updated versions of metasis 1 and 2 with the release of 3? or after?

Julian Calaby's gravatar

21. Argh Spam!!!

Posted by Julian Calaby at 11:35AM, Saturday February 17 2007

TommmDuu, on behalf of the spam robots everywhere, strikes a crushing blow on behalf of the illegal drug monger forum scammers.

The crowd holds it's breath in anticipation of a crushing blow from the forces of good and just things and stuff.

Cargo Cult's gravatar

22. Spam removed

Posted by Cargo Cult at 2:43PM, Saturday February 17 2007

It seems the spammers have finally written a bot which gets around the Blogsheep's idiosyncrasies - it's even managing to create new user accounts. You'll see how many items of spam I've had to delete from the gaps in the comment IDs...

Fortunately, it's just three clicks to delete each one - once on the username, again on the delete button next to their entry on the user listings page, then one last click on the deletion confirmation button.

Strong Bad would be proud.

Other stuff: work on MINERVA progresses apace. I've renumbered maps a bit, and here's the official, final listing:

Carcinogenesis: metastasis_1.bsp
Downhill Struggle: metastasis_2.bsp
Depth Charge: metastasis_3.bsp
Pegasus: metastasis_4a.bsp and metastasis_4b.bsp

The latter two are now sort-of playable - it's mainly just continuing the implemetation gameplay and polishing scripting that's needed. Geometry is effectively complete!

Five maps. I hope that's enough.

Au-heppa's gravatar

23. Five maps?

Posted by Au-heppa at 5:23PM, Saturday February 17 2007

hey, five maps? huh? I thought we have only played two so far? we are getting whole three new this time?


Holy Socks's gravatar

24. How deep does this hole go?

Posted by Holy Socks at 11:47PM, Saturday February 17 2007

Five Maps!
Considering the length of the previous two maps; Metastasis could end up being as long as episode one.

Suzuran's gravatar

25. Spam robots

Posted by Suzuran at 12:55AM, Sunday February 18 2007

I've only seen one, it was captured intact on a purposely vulnerable machine for purposes of curiosity, but from what I was able to figure out, it's a wget-like HTTP transactor working with sets of regular expressions. It crawls through google looking for web pages with forum-like entities on the page, then runs the page through a series of filters to determine what type of forum it's dealing with. Some it has rules for, others it doesn't. There is a default rule set for forums it doesn't recognise, so it can attempt to post there. The rules decide how to proceed; If it can find register links, it tries to create a user. If it can create a user. it tries to post. If it can post, it moves on to the next victim. If it can't, it makes a note of this and moves on. Pages with a high pagerank that cannot be posted to become candidates for having a special rule set made. Most likely someone made a blogsheep rule set for an existing bot. The bot we caught had filters for several dozen forum types, and several types of wiki. (We found that ours was specifically instructed NOT to spam Wikipedia, which we found amusing.)

The creation of filters and maintenance of bots is quite expensive and problematic, so recently many large spammers have been hiring teams of people in China and India to manually spam for them.

Julian Calaby's gravatar

26. Argh!!! spam!

Posted by Julian Calaby at 5:50AM, Sunday February 18 2007

And in a crushing blow, TommmDuu is whacked out of the stadium.

The crowd goes wild!!!

Masking the sudden appearance of Mikiiimusez.

Adam, in another note, try this:


Can't say it works for me as I have no sites with this problem, but I heard a guy on Slashdot (yeah, I know really credible) who used a similar technique.

Julian Calaby

silence's gravatar

27. Why?

Posted by silence at 9:46PM, Monday February 19 2007

Why do they even do it? No one clicks on that stuff. Why bother posting? Annoying.

kast's gravatar

28. Why oh why oh why

Posted by kast at 10:59PM, Monday February 19 2007

I belive it is in order to boost their Google ratings. The more links to any given website that google's bots find on the net, the higher that website's place in searches.

Procyon's gravatar

29. Get your Viagra out of here!

Posted by Procyon at 4:08AM, Tuesday February 20 2007

What the hell was that?
We don't need spam. Thanks.


About the next release of Minerva.

Will include Pegasus (3 maps), or only be Depth Charge?

and.... when?

Cargo Cult's gravatar

30. Ineffectual spamming

Posted by Cargo Cult at 2:37PM, Tuesday February 20 2007

It *is* a couple of seemingly identical robots posting links in the hope of increasing rankings in search engines - but alas, they're made entirely irrelevant thanks to the 'rel="nofollow"' attributes the blog-beast places on all third-party-provided links.

So we get all of the annoyance, they get none of the benefit, and search engines know to ignore such links entirely.

I'm wondering if it's the word 'Forum' that's attracting the robots - otherwise, their behaviour seems similar to ones I've seen in the past.

I've added some rather crude spam-blocking heuristics to the blog-beast, working on various (standards-breaking) aspects of their HTTP requests - if anyone gets blocked inappropriately, send me an email and let me know. The system does keep a log of who's been blocked, and why.

As for maps, the full MINERVA: Metastasis release will contain five maps, including HDR-updated versions of the two previously released. All maps are listed above. Yes, it'll be quite a large release!

As for when? Who knows. I'm seriously aiming for March...

kast's gravatar

31. Marching swiftly onwards

Posted by kast at 4:50PM, Tuesday February 20 2007

STALKER and MINERVA in one month? I must have done something right in a past life! :D Can't imagine what it could have been...

And what's with all the capilisation? Coincidence? Maybe? Conspiracy? Maybe not! ... wait ...

Sirc's gravatar

32. Hey! I'm The Pun One Here!!!

Posted by Sirc at 7:00PM, Tuesday February 20 2007

(If you come up with good ones though I must share the position...)

Back on topic for Minerva...
This revelation can be put into context.

For positive people, they can hope for March 1st, For normal people, they can hope for March 15th, and the negative people can hope for the last day of March!

Hooray for vagueness!!!

kast's gravatar

33. Dates?

Posted by kast at 7:14PM, Tuesday February 20 2007

"I have an appointment with eternity and I don't want to be late."

I'm holding out for it coming out by March 25th. By current estimations, that gives me at least two days to thoroughly play and replay MINERVA so far a few times over before I start on STALKER.

It'd be hell if they came out together - I wouldn't know what to play first.

Holy Socks's gravatar


Posted by Holy Socks at 9:23PM, Tuesday February 20 2007

I'd be the same as Kast, not being able to decide which one to play first, I think I'd end up playing MINERVA first if they came out at the same time.

Vague Deductor's gravatar


Posted by Vague Deductor at 12:03AM, Wednesday February 21 2007

Well, the forum will be deleted on the Fifth, so it may or may not be a reasonable assumption that something else notable will occur simultaneously...

silence's gravatar

36. Someone taught them manners.

Posted by silence at 2:04AM, Wednesday February 21 2007

I find it highly amusing they apologize for their own behavior. Good-bad little robots.

Dracko55's gravatar

37. Maps!

Posted by Dracko55 at 1:04AM, Thursday February 22 2007

Will all of the new maps be of equal length, more or less, to the previous two?

Nesretep's gravatar

38. Forum countdown...

Posted by Nesretep at 2:25PM, Thursday February 22 2007

Adam said previously that the countdown wasn't a countdown to the release of Minerva, so I would expect it sometime after the countdown ends but before March 31. Again, Hooray for vagueness!

Cargo Cult's gravatar

39. Do Not Taunt Recidivist-B-GonĀ®

Posted by Cargo Cult at 4:56PM, Thursday February 22 2007

Good news: the lashed-together spam-blocking technology appears to be working - as are the bot-blocking hacks I've made to the forum.

I may now actually be able to leave the two on their own for a bit, safe in the knowledge that they won't immediately get overrun by viagra-touting junk...

(By the way, do *not* attempt to test the filters. They're a little ... excessive in their level of response.)

Map length? The last two maps will be a fair bit shorter, gameplay-wise, than the first two - the third and middle map is probably slightly shorter. Total gameplay should still be 'lots', of course!

vecima's gravatar

40. Increaz your MAP length for free

Posted by vecima at 9:56PM, Thursday February 22 2007

i tingle with excitement...for so many reasons.

is this testing the filters?

Holy Socks's gravatar

41. testing 123

Posted by Holy Socks at 12:49AM, Friday February 23 2007

Good to see that the message of "not testing the filters" has really been taken to heart ;-)

Cargo Cult's gravatar

42. Day Of Redemption

Posted by Cargo Cult at 10:09PM, Friday February 23 2007

Anyone for more episodic, single-player Half-Life 2? Haven't played it, but the screenshots look promising - as do the comments:


Plus there's a second chapter under production:


Finally, the bot-net which attacked the blog-beast appears pathetically small. IP-based blocking now seems more than enough - for just a couple of attempted spammings per day...

Sirc's gravatar

43. The Good, The Bad, and The Hungry

Posted by Sirc at 6:44AM, Saturday February 24 2007

Positive Side Says:
It is nice to see that you support the Half Life community as a whole. Some creators get so rapped up in their own game they see all else as competition. It is nice to see that you are not too paranoid.

Negative Side Says:
It is nice to see you have time to look at other games. I'm guessing this will help distract us till MINERVA comes out. BLAAARGH!!!

Neutral Side Says:
I should have eaten more soup today...

A frightening look into my bored psyche...

(Thank you SOO much for getting rid of the spammers...)

Evan's gravatar

44. Day of Remption

Posted by Evan at 10:58PM, Saturday February 24 2007

I don't know if I screwed something up... but none of the scenes worked for me and it was very buggy. I couldn't continue no matter what I did through certain areas, doorways would lead into a blurry nothingness until I actually went through them, and the like.

The design of the areas, right from the beginning, were very well done however. I wish I could of gotten things working though, and I'd be willing to play through it again to see what is really supposed to be happening. I had to ... cheat a bit to get past some areas, think I actually skipped one entire map pretty much by mistake.

mrhappy's gravatar

45. Day of Redemption

Posted by mrhappy at 3:27AM, Sunday February 25 2007

DoR is certainly worth playing through properly, its quite fun. (scenes didnt work because you didnt extract them properly)

But I suggest to you, Adam, that you play it after 3 is released, cant have you wasting your valuable mapping time now.

Mangatome's gravatar

46. Multilingual ?

Posted by Mangatome at 8:08PM, Sunday February 25 2007

Hello Adam.

I just wonder whether the french (and multilingual) pack/patch will be out at the same time the upcoming-outstanding Metastasis 3/4 will. Or will there be a little delay for locworks to translate it, like for Downhill struggle ?

ps : sorry for my english, i'm just another frog... anyway, thanks for any answer you may give :)

Cargo Cult's gravatar

47. Languages

Posted by Cargo Cult at 12:10AM, Monday February 26 2007

Not sure how the translations will work for the upcoming release, but *hopefully* it'll be included as standard.

Mr. Locworks is a playtester, so he's more than aware of what's happening. ;-)

In other vague news, assembled while I was waiting for a map to compile - a non-blog:


Basically stuff I've found interesting in Google Reader, in no particular order. Will be updated in future. Enjoy!

Naurgul's gravatar

48. Re: Languages

Posted by Naurgul at 3:51PM, Monday February 26 2007

I believe I've volunteered for a Greek translation, right? Also, is it me or do the chapter titles hint on what's going on a bit too much?

MrHappy's gravatar

49. Chapter Titles

Posted by MrHappy at 5:17PM, Monday February 26 2007

Only if you know Greek mythology!

Naurgul's gravatar

50. Re: Chapter Titles

Posted by Naurgul at 7:10PM, Monday February 26 2007

Well, I was exaggerating a bit, to say the truth.

Anyway, it's not some sort of secret knowledge. Here, have a look: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theseus

Naurgul's gravatar

51. Re: Chapter Titles (errata)

Posted by Naurgul at 7:11PM, Monday February 26 2007

Argh, wrong hero... This is the correct one:

locworks's gravatar

52. Re: Languages

Posted by locworks at 9:40PM, Monday February 26 2007

The language packs will be out when they are ready. Sorry, I couldn't resist.... Seriously now, we will try to deliver the packs as soon as humanly possible.

Now, back to testing the Spanish pack...

Siman's gravatar

53. HMMM....

Posted by Siman at 4:26AM, Sunday March 4 2007

I quote "Stop complaining. I spent almost the whole weekend working on MINERVA. The whole of metastasis_3a is nearing playability. I hope to send it out to playtesters for next weekend, whether they like it or not!". Is this ever going to come out. its been like 3-4 months or longer....

kast's gravatar

54. Soon!

Posted by kast at 11:51AM, Sunday March 4 2007

Tis gonna be released sometime this month. We've waited so long already, a couple more weeks maybe won't hurt.

Holy Socks's gravatar

55. This month.

Posted by Holy Socks at 7:54PM, Sunday March 4 2007

Well we are getting two more maps than we originally expected, So I think we can forgive it being a few months late. Also since Valve has now delayed ep 2 by about a Year, I think we can be quite thankful that metastasis 3 is coming out this month.... hopefully.

Siman's gravatar

56. Sounds grate

Posted by Siman at 1:10AM, Monday March 5 2007

well then 2 maps in 3-4 months thies better be some --- --- maps.

Elyscape's gravatar

57. Maps

Posted by Elyscape at 10:13AM, Monday March 5 2007

The previous maps were absolutely stunning. I see no reason to believe that the next ones should be any different.

xbskid's gravatar

58. Re: This Month

Posted by xbskid at 2:28PM, Monday March 5 2007

Actually, it's one more than expected. Adam had said Metastatis Chapter 3 would be two maps. That's four. He just announced it would be five, so that's only one more than expected.

vecima's gravatar

59. i must be bad luck

Posted by vecima at 6:54PM, Tuesday March 6 2007

cus these bots always seem to show up just before i check the site...

(it will be deleted by the time anyone reads this, hopefully).

MrHappy's gravatar

60. They're baaaack

Posted by MrHappy at 3:18AM, Thursday March 15 2007

No, not the double thickburgers

spambots. Seem this little guy found away around your "mangled together scripts and blocks"

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