MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

The Problem with Celebrity Playtesters -

I think you all successfully figured out I've been to Valve again - I'd love to contribute to all of your more paranoid and obscure conspiracy theories, but the reality is that it was for some kind of Source Developers' Conference. Which, erm, had been rather rapidly postponed until next year. Leaving me with air tickets already booked, and nothing to go to.

Fortunately Valve let me in, and even more fortunately let me play their games. ALL OF THEM! MWUHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

... Ahem.

So it might have been a one-man mod conference, but I still had great fun. And my avoiding-waiting-in-airports-for-connecting-flights technique of stopping for a few nights in San Francisco and Boston was also a bonus. Although I did spot another Combine citadel. How long have they been on this planet? I saw another last year, remember...

So, that MINERVA thing? Well, both Marc Laidlaw and Robin Walker kindly played through my latest version, and uncovered various issues, problems and bugbears which I'm busy fixing. For instance, providing sufficient clues so that people like Mr. Laidlaw no longer miss the Big Apparently Obvious Door To (Partial) Freedom and run headlong into unstoppable Combine reinforcements; additional clues so that people like Mr. Laidlaw no longer run entirely the wrong direction down a particular corridor; and finally more *DELETED* and *REDACTED* to make sure people like Mr. Laidlaw cackle even more evilly during a certain section of gameplay. Oh, and a *REMOVED* to stop a Mr. Walker from getting bored and jumping from a great height during a Very Important Plot Moment.

So huge thanks to Valve for letting me in the building, allowing me to playtest their games, and in turn playtesting my own little game.

Yes, you must all be thoroughly annoyed with the endless delays, procrastination, illness and so on (I'd tell you about the lovely new cold virus I inadvertently brought back from the USA, but that's gone now...) but rest assured, MINERVA shouldn't take too much longer.

I hope!

Article Comments (now closed)

U-mu-la-mah-ri's gravatar

1. OOO

Posted by U-mu-la-mah-ri at 10:50PM, Thursday June 28 2007


Pyro-Dude's gravatar

2. Sweet

Posted by Pyro-Dude at 11:13PM, Thursday June 28 2007

A more polished version of Minerva, shined to Valve's standards is good news in my books

Mr. Bunny's gravatar

3. Yay

Posted by Mr. Bunny at 11:15PM, Thursday June 28 2007

Awesome! We can't wait! You might want to post a torrent link as well as mirrors for those who can't torrent when you release. I'd hate to have the community slam mirrors too hard.

kast's gravatar

4. Citadel and such

Posted by kast at 11:20PM, Thursday June 28 2007

Woh... scary buildings everywhere. I can just picture blocks of those windows extending from and retracting into the building, sliding up or down to release legions of manhacks and scanners. The elephantine cry of synth-copters echo through the streets and the spindly-legged striders fly out strapped to the underbellies of great swooping beasts.

Very glad to hear the masters and the Master are exchanging expertise and polishing one another's great works. So much the better.

Still, 'not too much longer' is an amazingly imprecise measure of time, about as much use as the length of any given piece of string. Let's just hope we don't all expire from asphyxiation.

Baffled's gravatar

5. Bored??!!

Posted by Baffled at 11:43PM, Thursday June 28 2007

Bored???!!! How is that possible? Grrrrr what a nerve that Mr Walker has!!!! To think what any one of us would give to play Metastasis through to the end.....

Gah!!.. The Acolytes should *DELETED* his *REDACTED* and then *REMOVED* his *ERASED* until he appreciates such privilege in future!

What did you think of Mr Walker's TF2 ( setting aside your known aversion to MP gaming )?

Your photos are beautiful as always, SF is a wonderful city.

Oh the torture of italics...not *too* much longer...ohhhhhh

Sirc's gravatar

6. Pessimism! FTW?

Posted by Sirc at 12:47AM, Friday June 29 2007

I'm going to be the pessimist and guess a Minimum of three weeks...

If I'm wrong I'll be pleasantly suprised...

If I'm right it will be just what I expected...

It is strange how pessimism can be a Win-Win situation...

Baffled's gravatar

7. The sway of Hope

Posted by Baffled at 2:03AM, Friday June 29 2007

Behold the Master's post, the last word is hope.

To paraphrase John Cleese, despair I can handle, it's hope that gets you. Pessimism is the only defense against the agony of hope ( Happy thought for the day ).

I have identified this latest Citadel as The John Hancock Tower in Boston. Apparently it did once move but not with quite the balletic efficiency we have come to expect of Combine engineering. When first built it swayed so much that they had to install two 300 ton weights free to slide against springs on lubricated steel plates on the 58th floor to stop the whole thing from tipping over. Not only that but most of the windows began exploding out bombarding pedestrians with plate glass!

So it seems that Adam has discovered one of the earliest Citadels, built when the Combine were still learning their trade, something they will want to keep quiet lest it give us grubby humans....hope.

Lewk's gravatar

8. Too much to take in!

Posted by Lewk at 6:42AM, Friday June 29 2007

"Oh, and a *REMOVED* to stop a Mr. Walker from getting bored and jumping from a great height during a Very Important Plot Moment."


Internet slang aside, I haven't laughed so hard since last night when I watched the last episode of Red vs Blue. And before that, at the new Transformers movie! Both hilarious and brilliant at the same time.

What a week for news! (and it's not even e3 yet!). FIrst there's a Hitman the movie trailer;
Then an anouncement that there's not only a new Soldier of Fortune in developement, but a Supreme Commander expansion pack;
Then not to mention Black Mesa Source has a new media update;
Red vs blue final episode;
There was other news and stuff, I just couldn't be bothered writing it. And now adam with his latest adventures to Valve HQ!

What a week.

(I also just went to that insurgency mod website, and its down? They're uploading the mod maybe? Releasing tonight maybe?)

ufotofu's gravatar

9. Beautiful photographs and such

Posted by ufotofu at 6:45AM, Friday June 29 2007

Foster, you crazy gent you. First you go to Valve, and then you dangle delightfully unspecific plot points in front of our faces.

What with waiting for the new Chemical Brothers album, Minerva 3, Black Mesa (Source) (except not source), and Oblivion (with bells)... I'm about ready to drop from the suspense.

This is shaping up to be some good stuff.

Jumbles's gravatar

10. Other news this week...

Posted by Jumbles at 11:39AM, Friday June 29 2007

Preston and Chantelle split up!!!

Pyro: Don't you mean "A more polished version of Episode 2, shined to Mr Foster's standards is good news in my books"

Nesretep's gravatar

11. Oh, if only...

Posted by Nesretep at 2:47PM, Friday June 29 2007

...I had the money to go gallivanting around the Western World. Nevertheless, it was not a wasted trip!

@Adam: That was very sly of you to start your blog entry trying to lead us to believe that you hadn't gone to Valve. You know we always wait with baited breath for new blog entries hoping that the next one will be THAT blog entry we've all been waiting for.

@Jumbles: You'll have to forgive my ignorance, but who the heck are Preston and Chantelle? Those names are about as familiar to me as the characters on any show on...BBC, for example (I'm in the US and don't get BBC America).

kast's gravatar

12. P&C

Posted by kast at 3:44PM, Friday June 29 2007

A couple of Big Brother contestants, I understand. I am assuming (for my respect of my fellow acolyte) that Jumbles is being ironic in mentioning the split. Like it matters!

MrHappy's gravatar

13. All of them?

Posted by MrHappy at 4:51PM, Friday June 29 2007

Does "All of Valve's Games" include that Crossplayer *thing*?

I laughed for about five minutes picturing Laidlaw blindly and helplessly running in circles in a combine deathtrap :)

Pyro-Dude's gravatar

14. YAS

Posted by Pyro-Dude at 5:22PM, Friday June 29 2007

I'm very interested to see how Valve will fit MINERVA in to the Half-Life universe

$eb's gravatar

15. "shouldn't take too much longer"

Posted by $eb at 8:33PM, Friday June 29 2007

Depends on what is meant by "too much"! :p

For any impatient Minerva player, each day, each HOUR is toooooo much :'(

However it's great to know that it's coming and that it's getting better and better!

Thanks again for that work Adam, does somebody want to send him a champagne bottle with me when e3 is released? :D

U-mu-la-mah-ri's gravatar

16. Hmmm

Posted by U-mu-la-mah-ri at 9:02PM, Friday June 29 2007

I too would like to see such a great mod OFFICIALY sanctioned into the HL Universe, but that however is unlikely, because if they did such a thing, Im sure it wouldnt be free anymore :(

OK Is the new spell check on firefox driving anyone else nuts besides me?

Naurgul's gravatar

17. "Hmmm" isn't a word.

Posted by Naurgul at 9:22PM, Friday June 29 2007

I don't see how Minerva would stop being a free mod if Adam discussed its place in the Half-Life universe with Valve.

About spell-checking. I'm using the British English one and works fine for the most part. It's the Greek one that's driving me nuts, though.

So, won't we learn anything else about the aforementioned Source Developers' Conference thing that got postponed?

FinalWarning's gravatar

18. Thanks

Posted by FinalWarning at 5:13AM, Saturday June 30 2007

I've been out of the loop for a while. Thanks for the update Adam. I'm sure Metastasis_3a will be a masterpiece when it is finished. :>)

Boff's gravatar

19. omg like cool

Posted by Boff at 6:46AM, Saturday June 30 2007

Keep up the good work,

you just turn up to valve with the latest build of your games.....all unplanned like ;)

"So I show you mine if you show me yours".

I'm trying to stay clear of any Ep2 news to keep my experience "clean" so when I go into Ep2, I'm all: "COOL" didn't see that comming.

but is it "good", is it to standard? Is it worth the wait?

Now Portal fits into HL2 universe, and is even (apparently) explained in EP2,
so what's the best way to approach these two games with the least amount of "spoiling".
Is it best to play through Ep2 first and then Portal (which I may be doing as Ep2 is my primary *want*)
or would you recommend Portal first, then Ep2?

So no pressure but, if you could secure a release of minerva during the summer to keep the legions happy with some "decent" HL experience. (note most people actually level your work up as the same standard as Valve's here when it comes to a "half life experience")
and after you flayed off the last bits of skin from bone in you hands fixing minerva.
Then you can take a rest..... ;)
(only joking, it must be stressfull being you some days)

Sortie's gravatar

20. City with dels

Posted by Sortie at 12:56PM, Saturday June 30 2007

I got another one in Prague, there's lots of them. You know, the City 17 skybox is an image of the big apple. ;D

Yar Kramer's gravatar

21. Jumping from a great height out of boredom

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:07AM, Monday July 2 2007

Oh, I do that all the time. Just not during Critical Plot Moments. ;)

I don't know why, but this whole latest post has just made me grin.

Campaignjunkie's gravatar

22. Wait a second here...

Posted by Campaignjunkie at 11:14AM, Monday July 2 2007

... whom does "celebrity playtester" refer to? I don't get it.

Spaztick's gravatar

23. Curiousity got the better of me...

Posted by Spaztick at 1:00PM, Monday July 2 2007

...so I just have to ask. Is Minerva going to be the prime character in Portal? Minerva is female, as is the main protagonist of Portal, so the possibility is there. I know your storyline isn't "canon," but the possibility is there, so I just had to ask. Your mapping and storytelling are 2nd to none, so it wouldn't be surprising if you erm...got involved with Valve on a professional level (although I'm sure you would've posted something about it in this blog, hence why I also think Minerva being in Portal unlikely).

Nesretep's gravatar

24. And the celebrity playtesters are...

Posted by Nesretep at 6:16PM, Monday July 2 2007

Marc Laidlaw and Robin Walker of Valve! It talks all about them in Adam's blog entry.

Campaignjunkie's gravatar

25. Oh!

Posted by Campaignjunkie at 11:01PM, Monday July 2 2007

I guess I should actually read the entry next time!

M_Gargantua's gravatar

26. Canon

Posted by M_Gargantua at 11:29PM, Monday July 2 2007

Did valve ever cannonize the Minerva plot into Sainthood? You've mentioned that after running it by them you have found its home in the Half-life Universe. Did they accept it into the Half-life universe as yet another cool non-interfereing plot? Or did they say 'we love it so much just change this bit here and it actually happened?

And you never said much about what they did think of the entirty of the plot, which you did mention you told them.

Naurgul's gravatar

27. Re: Canon

Posted by Naurgul at 12:37AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

We wouldn't know until we witness the stories connect in some fashion. I firmly believe that Minerva's storyline is tied with the events in Portal, somehow.

M_Gargantua's gravatar

28. REckless Cannon

Posted by M_Gargantua at 2:48AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

Know involved are The Gman and whatever is behind him, and the combine.

Seemingly there is an involved other then the Gman behind the aperture science lab, and it sure isn't the combine. Minerva is also on the level of the involves if what we've seen is any indication.

And while Minerva isn't nearly as brunt as the Combine or the Gman, she's an involved because she's playing (Or possibly a master of) their game.

The Portal gun is also much more subtle then the weapons of the combine, yet considering what its capable of its quite the potential for not so subtle effects.

So the main power behind the aperture science lab has a chance at being Minerva, although I don't think we'll find out any earlier then october and more likely during episode 6.

Oh, and while im on the topic, who coined the term involveds? I think it was Banks but I don't know if there was someone before him.

SenatorPalpatine's gravatar

29. ?

Posted by SenatorPalpatine at 3:02AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

You mean episode 3 right?

MrHappy's gravatar

30. episode 6

Posted by MrHappy at 5:12AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

why not episode six?

U-mu-la-mah-ri's gravatar

31. Oi

Posted by U-mu-la-mah-ri at 7:37AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

Minerva tying into Half Lifes Story, yeah I could see that....But Portal? dude sell me some of what youre smokin, cuz it must be better than what i got

U-mu-la-mah-ri's gravatar

32. oops

Posted by U-mu-la-mah-ri at 7:39AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

Sorry for two consecutive posts but I didnt finish my thought....

as we are all entitled to our own opinions >:) I just want to say "I believe Portal is nothing more than a standalone game....and it has nothing to do with Half Life at all"

cant wait to say I told ya so :p

Bob's gravatar

33. NOT

Posted by Bob at 8:22AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

Aside from the fac that those Valve guys have stated a few times it definitely is?

U-mu-la-mah-ri's gravatar

34. PROOF!

Posted by U-mu-la-mah-ri at 8:53AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

Link me please, not trying to be a dick, but it just seems, far fetched....

Kevlmess's gravatar

35. Proof.

Posted by Kevlmess at 9:40AM, Tuesday July 3 2007


I believe that the paragraph above the third screenshot in the article serves as proof.

U-mu-la-mah-ri's gravatar

36. ow my feelings

Posted by U-mu-la-mah-ri at 10:45AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

OK Ok Ok Im man enough to admit defeat :(

Au-heppa's gravatar

37. "let 'em theorize"

Posted by Au-heppa at 11:02AM, Tuesday July 3 2007

'Set within the Half-Life universe, Portal breaks from the franchise's previously constant focus on the exploits of Gordon Freeman in the aftermath of the Black Mesa incident--or, at least, it seems to. I asked team members if Portal eventually ties into the larger events of the Half-Life universe, and while the carefully noncommittal answers I received strongly suggested that it does, it remains to be seen how and to what extent. "We would prefer to let players come to those discoveries themselves," explained Valve's David Speyrer.'

It sounds a bit like they wont give us the full answer, thou, but that they will let us theorize that how exactly are they connected, just like with the question "Who is G-man".

FinalWarning's gravatar

38. Portals? Half Life universe? .........

Posted by FinalWarning at 1:10PM, Tuesday July 3 2007

What will really blow everyones mind is when Tommy from Prey comes walking out of a portal at the end of Half Life 2: Episode 2. ( Remember- Valve has put Prey in Steam and the main focus on that game was movements through portals! )

kast's gravatar

39. mind blowing

Posted by kast at 2:11PM, Tuesday July 3 2007

As bonkers as that would be, it would in fact be really bloody cool \^^/

Someone's got to mod Portal with a Tommy model asap!

Baffled's gravatar

40. Artistic license

Posted by Baffled at 2:53PM, Tuesday July 3 2007

I think that Adam is free to insert Minerva and her machinations into the HL world anyway he likes, in a third-party modification, but Valve will not include any aspects of MINERVA in any canonical instalments.

So Minerva will have no place in Portal, but Portal can have a place in a later chapter of MINERVA. After all, the Portal assets will presumably be included in the SDK, so we *might* find ourselves wielding the Portal Gun, sometime in the future.

Has anyone tried Insurgency yet, it's rather good ( when not displaying giant red ERRORS everywhere )? It plays like "RedOrchestra-ModernCombat:Source" stirring stuff :-)

Boff's gravatar

41. personally I feel a bit sorry for Cargo_Cult here

Posted by Boff at 4:26PM, Tuesday July 3 2007

You spend time and effort to make a map

you go see your "hero's" as such.

And they don't get "it" going in the wrong directiong,
leaping to death of boredom during some exposition.

personally I find that kind of crushing.

Keep at it Adam!!!

Sirc's gravatar

42. Raising the Bar

Posted by Sirc at 7:17PM, Tuesday July 3 2007

While it may seem frustrating to have someone venture in the wrong direction, it will result in something good. Mainly that the quality we expect from MINERVA will stay intact if not rise.

So while I'd admit it'd be saddening to watch a professional venture the wrong way, it will help in the long run.

After all, we learn the most from our mistakes...

kast's gravatar

43. indeed

Posted by kast at 11:57PM, Tuesday July 3 2007

In computer game design, you learn most from other's mistakes. That's why you have beta testers and Quality Assurance.

Holy Socks's gravatar

44. Mutual benefit

Posted by Holy Socks at 1:14AM, Wednesday July 4 2007

Im sure both MINERVA and Ep2 are better as a result of this meeting, but I have to hope that Adam didnt get lost anywhere in Ep2. MINERVA and ep2 being delayed would be Very bad....but not that surprising.

Haven't had a chance to play insurgency yet, it looks great but I've never been a fan of the whole hyper realism thing.
I've just finished The Darkness and its one of the best and weirdest games i've played in ages... in one section its possible to watch the first hour of "To kill a mocking bird" as well as "flash gordon" and some other shows.... very odd.

U-mu-la-mah-ri's gravatar

45. Insurgency

Posted by U-mu-la-mah-ri at 2:19AM, Wednesday July 4 2007

INS is an EXCELLENT Mod. It DOES have some VERY MAJOR bugs, but they can be mostly over looked as it is the first release.

Whaever you do stay clear of the INS forums though, its an idiot fest

Disirian's gravatar

46. RE: personally I feel a bit sorry for Cargo_Cult here

Posted by Disirian at 5:08AM, Wednesday July 4 2007

Hmm, I've always viewed playing a game or a mod as not only a fun sort of challenge against the environment, and interesting storyline, alternate world exposure kind of thing, but also as a view into the mind of the person/persons who created it. Perhaps those playing are used to dealing with a different sort of thinking, that is why they didn't get "it".

Anyway, thank you for such a great mod, I only bought ep1 cause you talked about needing it for the next map :) *sits back down to eagerly await the next release*

vecima's gravatar

47. on certain celebrity playtesters

Posted by vecima at 5:34AM, Wednesday July 4 2007

one Mr. Laidlaw... i wouldn't feel too bad. he stated in one of his online author interviews that he doesn't really play PC shooters. i could be mistaken, but i believe he said his favorites were Katamari Damaci and possibly Nintendogs (anyone confirm?) Imagining him wandering around the halls apparently aimlessly makes me grin.

one Mr. Walker...jumping off in boredom.... that one really hit me like a brick. either CC crated something strikingly boring for a MINERVA map area, or, (far more likely) one Mr. Walker suffers from a bizarre and extremely rare Attention Absence Disorder (AAD), with a potential diagnosis of space bar hyperactivity.

Sortie's gravatar

48. Haha ^^

Posted by Sortie at 8:48AM, Wednesday July 4 2007

So the top guys at Valve doesn't play video games and got ADD.
Really amusing. :P

Yar Kramer's gravatar

49. Portal

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:52PM, Wednesday July 4 2007

Me, I'm just amused by "Any contact with the chamber floor will result in an unsatisfactory score, followed by death."

Sirc's gravatar

50. On Insurgency

Posted by Sirc at 12:49AM, Thursday July 5 2007

I've loaded it but have YET to be able to play it...

Whenever I try to join a server it says class tables are different.

And when I try to Make a server it simply locks up...

I'll wait for a patch before I try that again...

Back to Minerva...
At least we have a subtle hint that there will be some sort of 'Highwire Act' in the future installment...

Nesretep's gravatar

51. Re: on certain celebrity playtesters

Posted by Nesretep at 7:17PM, Friday July 6 2007

Although I cannot provide a link confirming your claim regarding Mr. Laidlaw's game playing habits, I can say that I seem to recall reading that same information, but I cannot remember the source for the life of me.

Chrispy's gravatar

52. Re: Coincidence?

Posted by Chrispy at 6:19PM, Saturday July 7 2007

OK, firstly, I think you deserve to procrastinate as much as you want, it free!

Secondly, and also mainly, I feel like Im in an episode of lost. I have noticed posts by 2 users here, 'Sirc' and 'Nesretep'. Backwards? Well that spells my name! Granted theres an 'h' missing from the Chris, but other than that, unusual spelling of the surname is correct as well.

Who are you people!? You're scaring me!

M_Gargantua's gravatar

53. Welcome

Posted by M_Gargantua at 6:31PM, Saturday July 7 2007

You are now entering the dusk zone. Which is controlled by power that is far beyond your intelect's ability to understand. What you think are coincidence are mearly providence, what you think is abnormal is routine.

Nesretep's gravatar

54. Re: Re: Coincidence

Posted by Nesretep at 6:59PM, Saturday July 7 2007

@Chrispy: The "unusual" spelling of my surname is one and only true way to spell it. It is also a sign of being Danish or of such ancestry. Other spellings are a sign of being an impostor! :) Also, there is nothing scary about our handles that you mentioned, just one of 2 things that likely occurred: 1, the handle we really wanted was taken and we lacked the creativity to do anything different, or 2, we had been using this handle long enough that despite its obvious source and total cheese factor, we continue to use it because it is familiar and we have been using it for SO long anyway. What <i>is</i> creepy is that your handle is a nickname that I once had when I was younger. Which means that all three of us (Sirc, you and I) share a similar given name.

Baffled's gravatar

55. As all good conspiracy theorists know....

Posted by Baffled at 9:44PM, Saturday July 7 2007

.....there is no such thing as coincidence.

I have tortured Chris Petersen in an anagram generator and he has revealed a hidden message:

Cretin's Sphere: -Minerva's name for this blog?
Spin Her secret -find the hidden message about...
Princess Three. -the third chapter of MINERVA
Sphincter Seer -an insulting reference to our ingame self
reinspects Her -tries once more to fathom Minerva
then per crises -via many battles
screens Her pit -searches the chasm
sheer sin crept -in which, evil lurks
riches present -and finds clues
seen Her script -and receive messages
rich pretences -which we don't understand
spies retrench -the Combine flee
cherries spent -having exhausted their forces
'n' Her epic rests. -Metastasis ends.

spooky eh?

Baffled's gravatar

56. Apostrophe Police

Posted by Baffled at 9:59PM, Saturday July 7 2007

It should read "Cretins' Sphere",otherwise it refers to Adam, not to us, which is, errmm, obviously inappropriate ;-)

Sirc's gravatar

57. What is Truth? What is Fiction?

Posted by Sirc at 1:42AM, Sunday July 8 2007

While I would love to admit to being part of a 'Higher Circle' or MINERVA and the conspiracy behind it... I can't.

I am no more than a simple fan of MINERVA. Any wild speculations contrariwise will be of your own making.

I will congratulate you for making a decent distraction though...

$eb's gravatar

58. Just imagine...

Posted by $eb at 1:29PM, Sunday July 8 2007

Somebody said that maybe Minerva could be the main character in Portal... When I tried to link both games, I imagined that the complex in which we "Infiltrate. Observe. Reveal. Destroy." could be the laboratories of Aperture science...

What a link!! :p But however I guess I'm terribly far away from the truth...

Okay okay, I just keep on dreaming! ^^

Dogboy73's gravatar

59. Minerva 3

Posted by Dogboy73 at 5:42PM, Sunday July 8 2007

So ........ when for Minerva 3 then? I'm dying to know what's behind those big f**k off doors at the end of 2 :-)

Yar Kramer's gravatar

60. Release and Conspiracy

Posted by Yar Kramer at 11:25PM, Sunday July 8 2007

Metastasis 3 will be released When It's Finished. As for conspiracies ...

"A tin-foil hat is a mark of someone who can, in all seriousness, say 'if it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it must be a concealed listening device placed by the government under the instruction of the military-industrial complex and funded by the media industry.'"
- Unknown

Naurgul's gravatar

61. To change the subject a bit...

Posted by Naurgul at 9:41AM, Monday July 9 2007

Shouldn't we acolytes see that Minerva has an entry at halflife2.net's new wiki? I'd do it myself but I don't have an account there. (*laughs evilly* great excuse!)


Nesretep's gravatar

62. I came here to post...

Posted by Nesretep at 6:47PM, Monday July 9 2007

I came here to post something but it seems that we are running really low on good topics unless Adam does something interesting and keeps us busy for a few days and then we're back to the posts of "when is MINERVA coming out". I know I have said it before, but I miss the forums for that reason. It may get a little crazy there, but at least we could always find something to yak about even if it was fairly pointless.

@Naurgul: I don't have an account there either, but if I did and were to make an entry I'd probably end up with a trashy entry that copied much of what was said on Wikipedia.

Anyway, I guess I am just bored right now so somebody post something interesting! :)

U-mu-la-mah-ri's gravatar

63. withdrawl

Posted by U-mu-la-mah-ri at 7:01PM, Monday July 9 2007

I agree, we need some kind of media update.....and not one thats in some backwards ass format, like those last set of pictures, I still never figured out how to view them

Sortie's gravatar

64. Worst Case Senario

Posted by Sortie at 7:07PM, Monday July 9 2007

What if Adam got arrested? Or died in some plane crash on yet another trip to Valve? How would the third chapter come out?

Is there any script that released a death notify or something if there happens anything?

How'd we know?

Naurgul's gravatar

65. Re: I came here to post...

Posted by Naurgul at 12:45AM, Tuesday July 10 2007

Only a heretic would suggest that the number of available topics for discussion is growing thin. :p

To prove my statement, I ask this: Does anyone know if Minerva's original statement after she blew up the forums for the first time is still somewhere on this site?

pox's gravatar

66. 1-18-08

Posted by pox at 3:08AM, Tuesday July 10 2007

Hmm, thats a damn good question Naurgul, it feels like ages since I first visited this site and was greeted by that unwelcoming page of static.

...while on the topic of intresting topics, though it may deviate from Minerva, what are everyones expectations or reactions towards J.J. Abrams newest project "Cloverfield"?

Siman's gravatar

67. cough tired

Posted by Siman at 6:11AM, Tuesday July 10 2007

Still not here... o yah I caught this in my half drunken dazed self. (jest joking about the drunken part but I’m tired)

"So it might have been a one-man mod conference, but I still had great fun. And my avoiding-waiting-in-airports-for-connecting-flights technique of stopping for a few nights in San Francisco and Boston was also a bonus." - Grammar error can’t start a sentence with and

Also come on man I want to play the third installment before I die.

Yar Kramer's gravatar

68. Re: worst case scenario

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:33AM, Tuesday July 10 2007

No, I'd say the *actual* worst case scenario is that Adam is prevented from finishing Minerva by the Combine taking over and turning us all into Stalkers.

Sortie's gravatar

69. Re: Re: worst case scenario

Posted by Sortie at 9:47AM, Tuesday July 10 2007

No, that'd be awesome, then I've a chance so say hi to Gordon Froh,an.

Sortie's gravatar

70. HTTP protocol is bugged

Posted by Sortie at 9:47AM, Tuesday July 10 2007

What I meant was:
No that'd be awesome, then I'd have a chance to say hi to Gordon Frohman.

Jumbles's gravatar

71. Orange Box

Posted by Jumbles at 11:42AM, Tuesday July 10 2007

On the Orange Box site (http://orange.half-life2.com/) why does Portal come between Episode 1 and Episode 2 but TF2 comes after E2?

rb_lestr's gravatar

72. duh

Posted by rb_lestr at 1:57PM, Tuesday July 10 2007

becuase you are supposed to play the games in that order.

Nesretep's gravatar

73. Re: Re: I came here to post...

Posted by Nesretep at 2:30PM, Tuesday July 10 2007

@Naurgul: I'm not saying that no one could come up with something to discuss, but up to that point no had really done so (to speak of). So for you to come up with something after my post doesn't prove me wrong, you just did something to help fix the problem. Not exactly the same thing.

As far as what Minerva said after destroying the forums the being posted here somewhere in the blog...I don't think it can be found in its entirety but possibly quotes from Her statement.

Naurgul's gravatar

74. Aperture Science Bugzilla: Incident Report

Posted by Naurgul at 5:36PM, Tuesday July 10 2007


I would like to report a bug I found with artificial intelligence agent #314A, codenamed "Nesretep".

The bot seemed unable to cope with specific shades of human humour. This poses a serious security threat as some of the test subjects may become suspicious because of this behaviour while communicating with "Nesretep".

It is possible that they come closer to the truth, something that must be avoided at any cost, as it would render the test data worthless.

I am looking forward to hearing from you in regards to fixing this bug.

kast's gravatar

75. hehehe

Posted by kast at 6:33PM, Tuesday July 10 2007

genius. that's all I have to say.

Nesretep's gravatar

76. Re: Aperture Science Bugzilla: Incident Report

Posted by Nesretep at 6:36PM, Tuesday July 10 2007

Perhaps the problem lies in the fact that it was "humour" instead of "humor" that was detected and so said subject didn't know what to do with it. :p ( Back at ya! :) ) Really, I guess that I had missed the emoticon at the end of your sentence there, my bad. But I must say I did enjoy your Portal-themed post in response to my inept response!

In other news, Black Mesa has a new media release on their site....

Sirc's gravatar

77. Tech Support

Posted by Sirc at 8:07PM, Tuesday July 10 2007

Thank you for your support in the continuing regulation of our company.

AI Construct "Nesretep" was temporarily quarantined and analyzed in response to your complaint.

The error was found in the transference protocol between American English and British English.

This has been deemed an insignificant bug and the Construct has been released. "Nesretep" has been added to the observation list to monitor if this will cause future problems.

We Thank You for using MINERVA online tech support.

Have a nice day...

Baffled's gravatar

78. Nesretep

Posted by Baffled at 1:40AM, Wednesday July 11 2007

After pointing out the lack of topics to discuss, Nesretep *becomes* the topic of discussion.

How very postmodern of him ;-)

LNL(coldshock)'s gravatar

79. ...........

Posted by LNL(coldshock) at 6:37AM, Wednesday July 11 2007

Hey guys it's been awhile since iv been on because i have been talking with steam's support staff to get steam working again....

So i guess all i would like to say is hopefully
Adam will finish Minerva soon.........Annnnnd wats everyone been up to?

Yar Kramer's gravatar

80. Me?

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:01AM, Wednesday July 11 2007

Devil May Cry 3, myself. *adds it to List Of Games The Creators Of Which Are Stupid For Not Providing Level Editors, although it's probably just as well since more than once I've toyed with the notion of Devil May Cry: Raving Rabbids, bad enough that I've been considering a HL2 mod to that effect ...*

Baffled's gravatar

81. The $30m question

Posted by Baffled at 5:05PM, Wednesday July 11 2007

There's a very interesting 6-page article, on game development, over at FiringSquad. The costs involved are quite shocking:


Yar Kramer's gravatar

82. Yikes

Posted by Yar Kramer at 9:44PM, Wednesday July 11 2007

Yeah ... that's expensive.

On the other hand, look at what Adam's doing right now (although admittedly using tools and an engine made from Half-Life 2). Or, for that matter, look at Touhou Project, a shoot-em-up series with which is so successful that it's got its own conventions, has its own artwork, engine, music, etc., is nearing completion of its tenth installment (plus a couple spinoffs), and from the start has been SINGLEHANDEDLY MADE BY ONE GUY. Gives me hope, at least that I could get out some low-budget stuff with Steam (though that can be a double-edged sword) ...

Chrispy's gravatar

83. Re Re Coincidence

Posted by Chrispy at 1:14AM, Thursday July 12 2007

@Nesretep: yeah, Danish ancestry is where it's at!!!
You want creepy. When my friends and I were young, (and you have to remember just how YOUNG we were!) we would reverse our surnames , (and firstnames for nicknames ) so that we could talk in front of strangers without them knowing our real names. It was that sort of age where you watch too much spy-based rubbish and you think that if you use your surname backwards as your name then 'the pigs' won't have record of you, so they wont be able to find you...


More distractions from the what is quite honestly a procrastination of procrastinational waits?

You want citadels?
Manchester has a pretty close, giant replica:


Adam Duke's gravatar

84. thanks

Posted by Adam Duke at 2:48AM, Thursday July 12 2007

Dear sir,

MUCH THANKS for many genuinely satisfying moments of gameplay with your Minerva series. Still my favorite of all mods for HL2 (seriously) and I truly look forward to more.

cheers & thanks again,


Yar Kramer's gravatar

85. Manchester

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:22AM, Thursday July 12 2007

... Why does that van say "MANCH23STER"?

Nesretep's gravatar

86. Re: Manchester

Posted by Nesretep at 4:01PM, Thursday July 12 2007

I had to go back and look at the picture again to see just what you were referring to. But sure enough, there it was. I think it might actually says "MANCH235TER" though, which only makes it look weirder. But Chrispy, do pray tell, what is up with that?

An an entirely different note, does anyone know what language to voice overs in Ravenholm were done in? I was playing some of it yesterday with my younger brother and I couldn't readily identify it. Anyone know? The part I heard sounded Eastern European, but I could be WAY off.

MrHappy's gravatar

87. Mysterious vans and whatnot

Posted by MrHappy at 1:10AM, Friday July 13 2007

After a very brief conversation with Lord Google, I came accross this: http://www.manchester235.com/pages/index.html

"Manchester235 is the UK's first luxury gaming, dining and live music club. Influenced by the newly hip Las Vegas scene, Manchester235 boasts contemporary interiors, classic and electronic gaming, stylish bars, an intimate music venue 235Live, and two distinctive restaurants - Numero, serving modern Italian food, and Linen, serving modern British food."

I'm curious what you are talking about Nesretep, I don't remember hearing any other languages in Ravenholm

Yar Kramer's gravatar

88. Ravenholm

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:56AM, Friday July 13 2007

Yeah ... the only speech at all that I remember was Father Grigori spouting the bible, and zombie noises.

Divals's gravatar

89. Re: Ravenholm

Posted by Divals at 8:23AM, Friday July 13 2007

I think he was talking about the Ravenholm mod.

xbskid's gravatar

90. Mao?

Posted by xbskid at 9:12AM, Friday July 13 2007

I forget, did Adam give an ETA on Metastasis Final?

Naurgul's gravatar

91. Quotation

Posted by Naurgul at 9:47AM, Friday July 13 2007

Let me quote his last two sentences from this very blog-post:
"...but rest assured, MINERVA shouldn't take too much longer.

I hope!"
That's your ETA.

For that mod, it's definitely something from Eastern Europe; my bet is on Russian.

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

92. On geography

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 10:21AM, Friday July 13 2007

If you read some of teh signs (look at rather) in playing HL2 Single player, you will notice that some of the signs atop warehouses are in what I would best describe as Russian, City 17 is DEFINATELY in eastern Europe, I reember reading that directly on a summary of Half Life 2. I would go with either Russian, or Polish, and from what I see geogrophy wise I would venture a guess and say the game takes place if not in Poland, then in Lithuainia, I say these two because it is obvious that whatever place your in it's on the ocean, and those two places have the most oceanic coastline in eastern europe...Oh yeah could be Latvia as well

locworks's gravatar

93. Ravenholm SP mod

Posted by locworks at 11:24AM, Friday July 13 2007

Do you mean that Ravenholm mod? http://mods.moddb.com/4878/ravenholm/downloads/

Done and recorded by Czech guys in Czech.

SenatorPalpatine's gravatar

94. Soon

Posted by SenatorPalpatine at 7:12PM, Friday July 13 2007

It's been two weeks since his last blog post, so he's due for another one within the next two weeks. I'm guessing that he'll release the game along with that blog post (Judging by ETAs he's given). I could be wrong though.

vecima's gravatar

95. Re: Mysterious vans and whatnot

Posted by vecima at 10:15PM, Friday July 13 2007

"...newly hip Las Vegas scene..."

Hah! i was born in Vegas in the early 80s, and trust me it was hip even far before that.

Nesretep's gravatar

96. Re:Soon

Posted by Nesretep at 5:19PM, Saturday July 14 2007

I'm not going to get myself too excited about that possibility. While I would LOVE to see the next episode of MINERVA come out so soon, I don't see any indication that that will be the case. After all, at one time he was as specific as to say it would March, but we all know what happened to that... ;-) I have learned to take Adam's annoucements as to when to expect the next installment with a grain of salt (so to speak). As was once pointed out on this blog, he seems to have a mastery of Valve Time. I don't have the link to the explanation of Valve Time for those newer here, but if you do a search for it on the blog you'll come across the link. Or maybe some kind soul could post it here for me.

Evan's gravatar

97. Release Date?

Posted by Evan at 6:24PM, Saturday July 14 2007

Maybe Adam should just be as vague as possible, and then he'll suddenly get done with it.

We all know when he picks a specific date it doesn't work out.

Us: "When is the third chapter of MINERVA coming out, Adam?"
Him: "Yeah."

Nesretep's gravatar


Posted by Nesretep at 7:05PM, Saturday July 14 2007

Sorry this is kinda messy, but here it is:

**Valve Time** - **Actual Time**
Tomorrow - At 10:00 Pacific
Next week - In 3 months
Shortly - Sometime around next week (see above)
In the coming weeks - At a completely undisclosed time
We're finishing this feature up now - We've just finished the concept and we'll start working on it in the coming weeks - (see above)
In the upcoming months - Never
Q1 - The third week of Q2
[This year's] holiday season - Fall of next year
2003 - 2004
2006 - Fall 2007
Until the problem is fixed with an
SDK update, use the following workaround: - In our next-next-next-gen engine (when everything but our tools are broke)
When it's done - A month or two after just to be sure
When Team Fortress 2 ships - Coincident with the Rapture
Coming soon - When Duke Nukem Forever goes gold

Naurgul's gravatar

99. Valve time - A joke that never gets old

Posted by Naurgul at 7:17PM, Saturday July 14 2007


This has been used as a joke too many times, but according to Valve time it won't get old for ages!

Yar Kramer's gravatar

100. Re: Valve time

Posted by Yar Kramer at 8:11PM, Saturday July 14 2007

What's "for ages" in Valve time? ;)

Nesretep's gravatar

101. Re: Re: Valve Time

Posted by Nesretep at 8:19PM, Saturday July 14 2007

See Coming soon. :)

Pse's gravatar

102. Re: Geography

Posted by Pse at 7:37AM, Sunday July 15 2007

Given some signs in HL2 where written in what appears to be the cyrillic alphabet, I wouldn't bet on City 17 being in Poland.
Check: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_using_Cyrillic

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

103. On geography 2

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 11:28AM, Sunday July 15 2007

I didnt say Poland specificly I said Poland or Lithuainia

Sortie's gravatar

104. City 17.

Posted by Sortie at 11:40AM, Sunday July 15 2007

Doesn't exist, fictional, Valve has mixed every eastern european citys into one, that means, there'll be russian, poland, etc. over the whole city.

Also, since Adam works for PEANUTs, what's shouldn't take too much longer in PEANUTs time?

MrHappy's gravatar

105. Peanuts

Posted by MrHappy at 10:34PM, Sunday July 15 2007

I thought he worked for himself?

Yar Kramer's gravatar

106. Working for oneself

Posted by Yar Kramer at 7:07AM, Monday July 16 2007

I'm going to make a company called "No Man." Then my employees can say "I work for no man!" with impunity.

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

107. lol

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 8:57AM, Monday July 16 2007

thats acctualy pretty funny lol

Nesretep's gravatar

108. Re: Re: Geography

Posted by Nesretep at 4:16PM, Monday July 16 2007

Keep in mind Eastern Europe could also include Greece. Both Greek and Cyrillic use the same character set because it was created by a Greek monk named Cyril who visited Russia back in the day (if my memory serves me right). He modeled the phonetics and alphabet after Greek. So maybe you're not seeing signs in Cyrillic, but in Greek....

Naurgul's gravatar

109. Re: Geography

Posted by Naurgul at 5:45PM, Monday July 16 2007

Actually, the Cyrillic alphabet is a variant of the Greek alphabet created by two Byzantine monks (Cyril and Methodius). In turn, the Greek alphabet is a variant of the Mesopotamian alphabet; but this has nothing to do with this discussion.

So, no, there is nothing Greek about the characters on the signs in Half-Life 2. The environments in the game are pretty similar to the landscape in Greece, but still not as similar as to Eastern European countries.

vecima's gravatar

110. c17

Posted by vecima at 4:27PM, Tuesday July 17 2007

i thought i read somewhere that St. Petersburg was the biggest influence aesthetically, so i always just took it as being set there.

i think it was in 'raising the bar' that i read this, but i could be mistaken now.

FinalWarning's gravatar

111. City 17

Posted by FinalWarning at 9:12PM, Tuesday July 17 2007

This is what you all need.
; )

SenatorPalpatine's gravatar

112. Good Find,

Posted by SenatorPalpatine at 9:19AM, Wednesday July 18 2007

A good find, Warning. Although it doesn't tell us too much we didn't already know aside from architecture(interesting). But reading in on the Valve Dev Wiki is better then on some blog entry comments for sure.

rb_lestr's gravatar

113. well duh

Posted by rb_lestr at 1:44PM, Wednesday July 18 2007

You should have been reading the Wiki in the first place, it answers almost everything.

Sortie's gravatar

114. if (Adam + Citadels is equal to null )

Posted by Sortie at 4:29PM, Wednesday July 18 2007

I can't imagine how crazy Adam went when he saw this: http://www.hylobatidae.org/photo.php?id=265

Sanjuro357's gravatar

115. Yet more Combine Towers?

Posted by Sanjuro357 at 2:45PM, Thursday July 19 2007

This one is in Melbourne.


Sanjuro357's gravatar

116. Dammit

Posted by Sanjuro357 at 2:49PM, Thursday July 19 2007

I really wish there was a preview or edit option, now I just look like a clueless dick.

C'est la vie...

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

117. Hank

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 5:32PM, Thursday July 19 2007

Shogo is a good game...they need a next gen of it

Sortie's gravatar

118. Re: Dammit

Posted by Sortie at 10:09AM, Friday July 20 2007

Yeah a litle bbcode enabled wouldn't hurt a serious discussion. ;-)

Baffled's gravatar

119. Send in the cavalry!

Posted by Baffled at 2:34PM, Friday July 20 2007

Marc Laidlaw mentions some of the script ideas for Half-Life:The Movie that have been pitched to valve, in a CVG interview.

One of them involved the Cavalry being sent into Black Mesa only to have their horses torn apart by Bullsquids!

Do they still have a Cavalry, and how would they get the horses up those rock formations? Oh well, we must never let logic get in the way of equine Bullsquid carnage I suppose!


Cargo Cult's gravatar

120. Giant Comments Thread Of Doom

Posted by Cargo Cult at 6:04PM, Friday July 20 2007

I keep catching up with it, then sat back to digest your comments, ready to post something suitably erudite in return - but by then you've all posted more stuff. Curse you all.


Anyway, random things:

Robin Walker's alleged boredom: I think he's seen so many playtesters choose the wrong solutions to gameplay and story events that he knows every single possible pitfall - and could therefore point them all out to me. If there was the chance of a player getting bored or distracted, then he'd reveal it - and then came Marc Laidlaw's genuine confusion over which way to run down corridors...

It was an illuminating experience, and fantastic information on improving MINERVA - since then I've managed to make various puzzles subtly more obvious, and beefed up the storytelling so more people should get the maximum benefit from certain events. I'm pretty sure metastasis_3 is done now, and metastasis_4a is close - and I'm currently doing a final pass on metastasis_4b, the final map. So there you go.

Team Fortress 2? No, I don't normally like multiplayer games, but yes, I had great fun playing it - it's solid, chunky, fantastic to look at, and despite playing against Valve persons I was still in with a fighting chance. The utterly brilliant character taunts, voice-acting and so on make it all a much friendlier experience than the Counter-Strike of yesteryear - who needs trash-talking when your medic can mime a mournful violin tune on his bone-saw?

Insurgency: looks fantastic, but is precisely the kind of multiplayer game I dislike. It might be 'realistic', but the costs aren't high enough to be real-life - everyone can be a high-speed kamikaze if they're going to respawn sooner or later. And a team-mate died instantly when I accidentally shot him in the shin. Um.

I'm sure many other people will absolutely love it, however - and it's an amazing piece of work for a mod team. Creating a mod is easy, it's the releasing it that's difficult - and Insurgency may well be the biggest yet...

Portal's lead character vs. Minerva: there's no intended connection, and any similarities are purely coincidental - but there is a certain resemblance, which people at Valve did comment on. A person with a larger ego might refer to great minds thinking alike?

"Humour" vs. "Humor": I had to ask Marc Laidlaw about how the Combine would spell 'armoury' - he wasn't sure. Apparently there isn't a style-guide for signage placed by our dear Universal Union - they appear more adaptive than previously assumed. So I took the initiative, and now there are props with the word "ARMOURY" proudly placed upon them, American spellings (spelings?) be damned.

Props? Yes, I've finally started learning how to create new models - in Blender. There are now two entirely new props in MINERVA, modelled and textured by yours truly. Four, if you count different skins. Not much, but it's a beginning... ;-)

fuzz's gravatar

121. discuss

Posted by fuzz at 7:06PM, Friday July 20 2007

At what point will American English be sufficiently different to be referred to as a separate language, if at all?


(oh, and it's definitely al-you-min-ee-um ;)

Sirc's gravatar

122. Seperate but Equal? Eh...

Posted by Sirc at 7:53PM, Friday July 20 2007

I honestly doubt that 'British English' and 'American English' will be the same thing for nigh eternity. The spelling differences are minor since those words are still pronounced the same (as far as I know...).

The biggest differences between the two would be the 'slang' that both use. I doubt that languages would ever be truly 'separated' by slang since slang often has vast differences dependent on localization within each country.

Long story short, the greatest problems people will have understanding one another will arise from the amount of slang they use in everyday life.

And on to MINERVA...
First, it was such a nice large section of text that we were given this time. I praise it's length and context!

Second, it sounds like our next installment is progressing forward. Assurances of this is all I need to keep going. I'm gonna guess 3 more weeks till the next interesting marker...

Third, New Props!? Will the joys never cease!!

And to satiate my paranoia, eat healthy, don't take risks, and live!

I've expended my will to discuss...

Holy Socks's gravatar

123. lots of things

Posted by Holy Socks at 8:51PM, Friday July 20 2007

Well i'm glad to hear that "British English" is the prefered choice for pan-dimensional alien empires, also does that Armoury mean that we'll be getting some more weapons? gravity gun? crossbow? Rocket Launcher?

I agree with Adam on the Insurgency mod, its a very impresive achievemnet but just too realistic for my tastes.

P.S. I would certainly say that great minds do think alike.

Sortie's gravatar

124. Uncanon Combine Technology Based Props

Posted by Sortie at 11:00PM, Friday July 20 2007

The combine technology never ceases to amaze me, and since Metastasis is to combine tech oriented, I presume that the new props are combine props. :D
I'd wish I could model too, but brushing combine tech instead is far more amusing. ;-)

Yar Kramer's gravatar

125. Props

Posted by Yar Kramer at 12:29AM, Saturday July 21 2007

Definitely -- props to you, Mr. Foster ... ;)

Siman's gravatar

126. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh

Posted by Siman at 1:44AM, Saturday July 21 2007

this is the 289th time iv played minerva please get the third one out. A release date would be nice and please fix the sparking gass meter in the basement its driving me nuts!! Siman curls in a corner rocking back and forth.

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

127. 2 things

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 2:32AM, Saturday July 21 2007

Ok, think of it like this

We have just deployed into Baghdad, I accidently shoot you in your shin......Do you think youre gonna be ready to fight a battle then? didnt think so

and as for Minerva

If I see a gravity gun, in the next minerva, i will kill myself. G-Gun is stupid, makes everything too easy

Sam's gravatar

128. Monster Thread /DIY forum

Posted by Sam at 4:58AM, Saturday July 21 2007

Wow what a monster comments forum. Thought I'd weigh in on the whole hl2 location/setting argument, discussion thing. Personally I'm not really fussed about it that much but had a bit of a think 'cause it always seems to come up whenever anyone starts to talk about HL2. This mainly just thinking aloud so feel free to correct me / take me to pieces on this.

(lights dim)
I think that hl2/ ep1/ what happens next in story arc is set in...
(drum roll)
the 3 countries around the north west of Black Sea
Bulgaria, Romania and the Ukraine.
1 The Art director is originally from Bulgaria
2The use of cyrilic alphabet which is used in above countries. (actually not Romania their alphabet is Latin based)
3 The resistance base New Little Odessa could be named after the port city of Odessa in the Ukraine . (little Odessa is the name for The eastern European community in Brighton Beach, New York)
4 The buildings in City 17 are very similar in style to those found in a big Balkan/ Slavic city do a google image search for Bucharest or Kiev if you don't believe me.
5 They're all on Black Sea which gives you the coastal setting.

Sam's gravatar

129. Back on topic

Posted by Sam at 5:03AM, Saturday July 21 2007

Apologies for the ramble above, this is what I meant to say rather than going off on one.

If the combine in minerva2 were farming head crabs on that Island does that mean they're keeping a Gonarch in the basement?

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

130. Well I dunno....

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 6:14AM, Saturday July 21 2007

Are they FARMING headcrabs...or are they simply doing research to make them more efficient and unstopable killing machines?!??!

Shit, I better play minerva right now....

Permutated's gravatar

131. Wonderful Mod. Congrats

Posted by Permutated at 9:06AM, Saturday July 21 2007


I just wanted to give you props; you have the best looking and most well designed mod on the market, the only one that even comes close to your level of quality is Black Mesa, and they have a massive team on their hands!

You're doing an awesome job, can't wait to play part 3!

-Nathan Reign

Sortie's gravatar

132. Re: Monster Thread /DIY forum

Posted by Sortie at 11:06AM, Saturday July 21 2007

Sorry to ruin your speculation but there's a lot of other elements that point to even more countries. City 17 doesn't exist, and it isn't in any real country. That's a freedom Valve took, and so your discussion is pointless except if you want to discuss how the city was inspired.

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar


Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 12:25PM, Saturday July 21 2007


Holy Socks's gravatar

134. RE:ahhhhhhhhhhh

Posted by Holy Socks at 1:31PM, Saturday July 21 2007

289 times? You mean you havent played it every day since it was released... bah :-)

Im not saying we need a gravity gun in the next MINERVA, but I dont think it would be that overpowered I mean I dont see why the combine would have a load of circular saws and toilets in their underground facility.

As for the origins of City 17, Im pretty sure its a composite of Eastern European, former soviet cities. This is based on the architecture and also (correct me if I'm wrong) that the language on the signs hasnt been matched exactly to any real world languages.

Sam's gravatar

135. Re. speculation

Posted by Sam at 4:57PM, Saturday July 21 2007

OK you got me. I should have added an " I pulled most of the info from wikipedia disclaimer". The whole point of the post was to try and think through the area that the whole game is based in/ based on not give a specific local. Sortie is right by the way it is all make believe and completely imaginary ( well imagined though). Its the Artistic training I've had that makes me want to delve into the references in just about everything. Hopefully that's closed the can of worms.

Back to Minerva
A Gonarch in the basement is just an idea although it would be a cool surprise/shock. If your experimenting on headcrabs/ using them as a weapon a fresh supply is always useful and having the mother of all headcrabs dropping them all over the place would be handy. Can't quite see the Combine running around with nets and sacks trying to round up the buggers. Perhaps they are grown in vats.
The gravity gun? Dunno. Would be tricky to balance the game play especially in enclosed spaces where it turns into a bit of a super weapon. The trick would be to have it as a useful tool rather than weapon of choice, anyway I can't remember that many radiators or chuckable things lying around in the combine base proper.
Don't think the the combine would care enough about health and safety to have a tool for safely handling hazardous materials lying around. They'd make you use your hands, without gloves or even an old tea towel.

Sortie's gravatar


Posted by Sortie at 7:40PM, Saturday July 21 2007

No, it's Sparta.

There is no Gonarch model in HL2, except from that Beta one, and since Adam went to Valve. But you can't count on Valve gladly handing out beta stuff. :P

As for the gravity gun, that's unoriginal and not Adam's style. But the EVIL part suggests there something better waiting for us. :-)

Yar Kramer's gravatar

137. The new item!

Posted by Yar Kramer at 2:49AM, Sunday July 22 2007

Hmm ... maybe a Portal Gun, and you'll discover the headcrab farm is made above Aperture Science ... ;)

Or the HL1 Gauss Gun, maybe. :D

Pyro-Dude's gravatar

138. Maybe

Posted by Pyro-Dude at 9:57AM, Sunday July 22 2007

Maybe it's not an item in the sense it's a weapon or something hand held, maybe it's an allie? Maybe a mobile gun turret ot the like

rb_lestr's gravatar

139. NO

Posted by rb_lestr at 5:00PM, Sunday July 22 2007


No gravity gun.

This is not HL2 and the player is NOT Gordon.

It would make no sense.

Sortie's gravatar

140. Re: NO

Posted by Sortie at 5:43PM, Sunday July 22 2007

Unless Adam comes up with a very good reason, he is known for his writing afterall. :P

Yar Kramer's gravatar

141. Re: His writing

Posted by Yar Kramer at 6:07PM, Sunday July 22 2007

I'd say he's primarily known for his damn good level design, but the good writing doesn't hurt either, yeah.

LNL(coldshock)'s gravatar

142. ending

Posted by LNL(coldshock) at 6:32PM, Sunday July 22 2007

A good ending would be having Minerva show her self and possibly destroy the combine, or battle them........?

Sirc's gravatar

143. Too Simple

Posted by Sirc at 8:24PM, Sunday July 22 2007

If MINERVA simply appeared at the end for some sort of showdown...

I honestly doubt that such a 'simple' ending is planned for MINERVA. While I cannot say this with absolute certainty, it would feel greatly out of place from the current structure of the game...

I expect that the ending will be clever and original, and it won't fall into a 'cliche' ending category....

Sanjuro357's gravatar

144. Re: Ending and Too Simple...

Posted by Sanjuro357 at 8:58PM, Sunday July 22 2007

Yet a Deus ex Machina ending would somehow feel appropriate.....

LNL(coldshock)'s gravatar

145. Re: Ending

Posted by LNL(coldshock) at 2:32AM, Monday July 23 2007

Well i guess i shouldn't have said a good ending, more of a cool showdown ending, but for the Minerva way it would be more of the type to not really have an ending, and Minerva just dissapears at the end never to be heard of again except for in myths......Like a cheap scifi ending.......That would seem more likely, but being Adam he is going to make it something none of us would expect.....

SenatorPalpatine's gravatar

146. Is the player Gordon?

Posted by SenatorPalpatine at 4:20AM, Monday July 23 2007

Think about it. At the end of HL1, GMan gives Gordon the choice of working for him, or fighting an endless battle that he cannot win. (I'm to lazy to find the exact quote, maybe later)

If you interpret this endless battle to mean being stuck on Zen with no escape where the enemies will eventually kill you, then the character in Someplace Else could be Gordon Freeman in an alternate timeline that branches off when GMan gives him the choice.

But that's really an argument that says the character in Someplace Else is Gordon, not necessarily Minerva. But "Gordon" recieves messages from Minerva and they both escape. Maybe they went to the same place and Minerva captured "Gordon" and decided to use him for some island infiltration.

To perfect my theory I'd really have to play Someplace Else again, and watch HL's ending again, and I don't know if I feel like doing that. Anyways, feel free to shoot it down.

Evan's gravatar

147. Someplace Else

Posted by Evan at 6:48AM, Monday July 23 2007

I recall the MINERVA in Someplace Else mentioned she once had another person, a soldier, whose curiosity she admired. Because of that, I've always assumed Someplace Else was somehow after Metastasis, so I doubt some of those theories about Gordon are right.

I suppose it COULD be Gordon in Someplace Else at least, assuming he had some odd time-warp situation going on. Knowing the G-Man, however, it wouldn't surprise me.

However, I don't think Gordon is the 'Bastard Perseus' from Metastasis. I remember there MINERVA saying something about taking you out a pod somewhere, perhaps implying you're a Combine soldier yourself.

Also, is it just me or does the architecture in Someplace Else seem awfully Combine-like as well? :D

Evan's gravatar

148. Someplace Else

Posted by Evan at 7:16AM, Monday July 23 2007

I started to play the actual game again just to make sure, and yes, I was right with the paraphrased quote. I probably should of gone and gathered up the actual full one... but yes. Now you have something to do for yourself, no?

And to be honest, I don't quite recall how to get to the portal at the end...

Sortie's gravatar

149. Freeman? Again?

Posted by Sortie at 9:25AM, Monday July 23 2007

Freeman would be a litle unoriginal having around, he gets killed in the ending of hl1 remember the. 'Observed Terminated' or something if he does not choose HL2.

A combine solider? Now this is interesting.

Nesretep's gravatar

150. Minerva's Perseus

Posted by Nesretep at 2:43PM, Monday July 23 2007

We already know that the character in MINERVA is not Gordon Freeman. If you don't choose to take the G-man's offer YOU DIE. That, and we also know that the events in MINERVA take place between HL1 and HL2 (2009). Also you have to take into account the refences Minerva makes regarding you being a former combine soldier. And even further, Minerva refers to the hazard suit has having been stolen. So the character that we play in MINERVA is an altogether different person.

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

151. Combine

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 3:11PM, Monday July 23 2007

Ill go with the "Former Combine" theory becaue I thought I remembered her mentioning that.

They need a good ass mod where you play as a Metro cop or somthing

Nesretep's gravatar

152. Speaking of...

Posted by Nesretep at 5:57PM, Monday July 23 2007

Speaking of the "former combine theory", there was a really good discussion on the topic at the old forums that you can still read there. We did some delving (sp?) into why a metro cop might abandon that somewhat comfortable position in the combine heirarchy.

fuzz's gravatar

153. But then...

Posted by fuzz at 6:32PM, Monday July 23 2007

why would a metro cop leave the combine, you could equally well have a mod pitting the player against the resistance.
Taking out someone in a hazard suit, armed with half a dozen different guns would be entertaining (and difficult).

KIA Chief's gravatar

154. Minerva's Tool: Hypothesis Or Fact

Posted by KIA Chief at 9:04PM, Monday July 23 2007

I'm afraid i'm going to have to rain on your theories of it been a combine soldier.

The liquidation pods are reserved for either Stalkers or prisoners and not Combine soldiers. The Combine soldiers were willing volunteers who chose to become or were blackmailed into becoming Combine Soldiers (a reference by Dr. Isaac Kleiner in HL2: Episode 1).

So unless, instead of going off on a tangent with his storyline, he has completely changed the history of Humanity's ongoing tale and the Combine's various methods of subjugation (seeing as how they are perfectly happy to kill people instead of merely transforming them into more troops), this character is not a Combine soldier but something altogether more mysterious. Perhaps a new experiment by the combine? Maybe a normal person or a modified stalker taken and changed? Perhaps even an attempt by the combine to create a Synth-Human hybrid?

Can you wait to find out more?

I know i can't.

KIA Chief's gravatar

155. Edit on previous subject.

Posted by KIA Chief at 9:06PM, Monday July 23 2007

When i say volunteers i mean they did not attempt to fight back. Just clearing that up. :D

Nesretep's gravatar

156. Sorry for the double post...

Posted by Nesretep at 9:47PM, Monday July 23 2007

But I think this link will take to the aforementioned discussion.


vecima's gravatar

157. follow suit? no. file a suit? no. aha!... file under 'suit'.

Posted by vecima at 10:16PM, Monday July 23 2007

Nesretep: "Minerva refers to the hazard suit has having been stolen"

...i thought she referred to the security certificate or badge being revoked or invalid... i don't remember hearing about the suit being stolen.

also, doesn't she say something about the creators of the suit being more concerned with science than her observations or something like that (beginning of Downhill Struggle).

I figured it for either a HEV or possibly a metrocop outfit (though the hand models are skinned as an HEV, which could be an oversight).

Holy Socks's gravatar

158. what I think is...

Posted by Holy Socks at 11:23PM, Monday July 23 2007

I think that Perseus must have been previously some sort of collaborator with the combine ( either a metro cop, some other soldier or something we dont know about yet), how else would he have sercurity clearence in the first place?

As for how he ended up on jis mission, I presume he did wrong, intentionally or acidentally, in his previous employment and Minerva offered his only form of escape. Thus if it wasnt for Minerva Perseus would have ended his life in one of those pods.

Evan's gravatar

159. Combine

Posted by Evan at 12:35AM, Tuesday July 24 2007

@KIA Chief: You make it sound like it's impossible to be both a Metro-Cop and a normal person. Metro-Cops literally are just normal people who haven't yet undergone the changes involved with being an outright Combine soldier. Barney gets away with being one as well and nobody is the wiser.

I still hold to the fact that the main character of Perseus is a former Metro-Cop or even a "reclaimed" Combine soldier. I'm going to replay Metastasis I think though to look over some of what MINERVA says in game again.

Evan's gravatar

160. Combit, con'd

Posted by Evan at 1:29AM, Tuesday July 24 2007

I decided to make note to a few things MINERVA says during Metastasis that make me think you are a former Combine soldier.

1. You come in on a Combine helicopter, which is being piloted by a "subverted" Combine pilot.
2. She mentions that your "security card" is both revoked and too low to pass through the barriers.
3. She describes the area you are in as an old WW2 Army Base, and that she can't imagine why they are making such great use of it. She says that Citadel's provide much more storage and supply, "as I am sure you are aware". Implication that you've been in a Citadel before.
4. She mentioned "your beloved human rebels". Perhaps a Metro-Cop who joined with them?
5. She asks, "Dulce et decorum est pro terra mori?" Or, "It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country." Or, in this case, possibly even "one's Earth". After that she says something along the lines of, "But you've renounced all of that, haven't you?" Perhaps referring to Combine propaganda, convincing the metros/soldiers that what they're doing is for the good of mankind? Maybe, maybe not.
6. She mentions the rotting, liquefying stalkers in the pods, mentioned you would be there too if she hadn't saved you. Perhaps a rebel metro, captured and then freed by MINERVA?
7. She mentioned the HEV is stolen. From the Combine, or possibly even the Humans?
8. "Slavery is one of YOUR Combine's less endearing traits."

That is all.

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

161. Indeed

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 3:04AM, Tuesday July 24 2007

Thank you I was too lazy to go do that ,myself

LNL(coldshock)'s gravatar

162. RE:

Posted by LNL(coldshock) at 4:14AM, Tuesday July 24 2007

Possibly you are a captured rebel leader who was in the process of being transformed into a combine and you were already brainwashed......
But of course it could be nothing, do we really know how deep our Adam is? He always seems to find what we concoct as funny and bizarre... Mabey he jusr put these things together because he knew we would think these things up to keep us entertained........

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

163. maybe....

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 4:16AM, Tuesday July 24 2007

Maybe we keep guessing all the plot elements and Adam has to keep changing things, thats why its taking so long lol

Yar Kramer's gravatar

164. Changing plot elements

Posted by Yar Kramer at 6:10AM, Tuesday July 24 2007

Nah, Adam could just go the Terry Pratchett route and post "Oh shit. A bullseye." Although it's more his style to refrain from doing so.

Sortie's gravatar

165. Re: Minerva's Perseus

Posted by Sortie at 9:52AM, Tuesday July 24 2007

Uh, it's Half-Life that takes place between 2000 and 2009, and HL2 is 20 years after, ( 2020-2029). This is confirmed, ;)

@Evan@Combit, con'd
That's some great pointers, you made me a believer. :P

Siman's gravatar

166. yep

Posted by Siman at 9:53AM, Tuesday July 24 2007

to me it looks like a farm for the head crabs and you even see the head crabs i think being injected into the shells in the basement still think that you should fix the sparking gas meter its agonizing don't know why but when i see it i take 5 min jest staring at it every time i pass it.................. im serious iv counted every time iv played it ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
307th time... half way through the 308th weeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!

Nesretep's gravatar

167. Oh really...

Posted by Nesretep at 2:21PM, Tuesday July 24 2007

Well, it looks like I won't need to rebuttal that comment on the suit not being stolen anymore. Thanks Evan!

@Sortie: As for Minerva taking place between HL1 and HL2, I don't see how it could be otherwise. The Combine are already in power and the messages you recieve from Minerva have Date/Time stamps on them from October 2009 (if my memory serves me correctly). In order for both of those to be true, it must follow the events of HL1 and be before the events of HL2. If you can explain how my hypothesis would be incorrect, I would love to hear it.

KIA Chief's gravatar

168. Lets wrap a few things up shall we?

Posted by KIA Chief at 5:00PM, Tuesday July 24 2007

Unfortuantely i must once again pay my tributes to your theories for where is the joy of theory and conspiracy if it is not disputed? Feel free to dispute my theories as i'll try to dispute yours as well if only to make it all the more intriguing and mysterious.

Metro Cops have in fact already undergone procedures to make them combine (hence their brains are cybernetic, courtesy of HL2 graffiti), Barney simply has a fake helmet. Note how he sounds different?

The reference to YOUR combine/rebels could be a number of possibilities. From the way in which MInerva speaks i find myself believing that Minerva is seperate to the combine and the rebels and her implication that she is in fact interred/part of a machine/construct perhaps shows you that Minerva is seperate from all that occurs except her focus. For this i believe she is neither allied to combine or rebels but is merely an observer or potential victim/opportunist intent on achieving their own agenda using whatever methods are necessary. As we all know the combine travel through dimensions to conquer said dimension. May not Minerva be from a much higher plane of existence akin to that which the Gman and his clients inhabit.

In the scope of Minerva all theories have possible existence for it is an intriguingly well wraught piece of fiction.

On a last few points the HEV suit will have been stolen from humans as it is of Black Mesa Manufacture and the Combine don't have any.

And the reference to renouncing everything could perhaps be indicative of the fact that your working for her and have thus forsaken your role in everything but Minerva's interests.

Just theories but then humanity lives on theories and their consequences. The biggest theories of them all?

Why religion. Religion as a whole is theories.

So keep the theories rolling as I enjoy reading them and seeing how they relate to Minerva or contradict my theories is very interesting.

And remember dispute everything. Just because it's written down doesn't mean it's true. That includes me as well obviously, it's merely once again theories that i spout.

Take care, have fun and give some more to contemplate.


xbskid's gravatar

169. Timeframe

Posted by xbskid at 5:13PM, Tuesday July 24 2007

Half-Life 1 takes place between 1990 and 1999. It's in the manual. And I can't recall where (Official website, maybe?) said that Half-Life 2 takes place 10 years after the events of Black Mesa--not 20.

Nesretep's gravatar

170. Ye Olde Timeframe Discussion

Posted by Nesretep at 6:24PM, Tuesday July 24 2007

When we discussed this very thing once before we came to the conclusion that the 20 year timeframe was more realistic than the 10 year separation between HL1 and HL2. According to one of the posts back then:

"Posted by Tombocombo at 3:19AM, Monday October 23 2006

There's no way Half-Life can take place in the 1990s. In the manual for the game, there is a letter from the Administrator of Black Mesa to Gordon Freeman, congratulating him on being hired as a research associate. The letter is dated "200x", and Gordon is supposed to arrive on May 29. Therefore, Half-Life could occur anywhere between May 29, 2000 and December 31, 2009. Because Gordon and Barney and Eli are supposed to be good chums, 2002 seems a more likely date (especially when you take the Aperture Science website into consideration). Plus, ten years is far too short for Alyx to go from a toddler to a mature woman. As a rough guess, I would say that "almost two decades" = eighteen years, putting Half-Life 2 at 2020. So if Alyx is two- or three- or four-years-old during Half-Life, she would be 20-22 in Half-Life 2."

fuzz's gravatar

171. Memento Mori

Posted by fuzz at 6:34PM, Tuesday July 24 2007

"5. She asks, "Dulce et decorum est pro terra mori?" Or, "It is sweet and honorable to die for one's country." Or, in this case, possibly even "one's Earth"."
Your second translation is correct, it's 'your planet'.
The original line is 'Pro patria mori' meaning 'for your fatherland' or home country.
A little pun from adam there.

Sortie's gravatar

172. @'s

Posted by Sortie at 9:58PM, Tuesday July 24 2007

@KIA Chief
The grafitti is of combine soldiers, not metrocops. I could prove this and a lot more but I'm too lazy.

I just played the intros of both someplace else and Minerva. You're right it's 2002 and 2009, I could've sworn it was 2014 of some reason.

Anyways, that's interesting it's 7 years later and if the BM accident was in 2002, Portal gonna be yet more fun. ;-)

Evan's gravatar

173. Metro-Cops

Posted by Evan at 6:32AM, Wednesday July 25 2007

I'm more than certain the the members of Civil Protection are simply humans who have joined the Combine. They definitely have the potential to become modified soldiers, but at that point they are still normal. At the most, they've been brainwashed into service (drinking the water, hmm-ah).

In regards to the voice, the mask itself bears a vocoder methinks. When they are outright Combine soldiers, they seem to have the vocoder implanted directly into their necks. Among other cybernetic implants...


I've noticed the citizens call the Civil Protection forces simply "cops" at times. I would think they wouldn't refer to them with such a... human term if they were less than it.

Metro-Cops also get various privileges for being in service. If they were simply and utterly brainwashed I don't think that would matter. In fact, memory replacement is the "first step to rank privileges", or so sayeth the nice lady on the intercom. If they already had lost those memories, there would be no point to that.

U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri's gravatar

174. If...

Posted by U-Mu-La-Mah-Ri at 9:32AM, Wednesday July 25 2007

If it were the HL Universe I would be a metro cop....the Gordon would crowbar me in the face....and I would cry

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