MINERVA: Episodic, Single-Player Half-Life 2

Yeah, so you've looked behind the curtain, only to discover the whole world is a carefully manufactured lie. But to what ends?

Well, I'm Adam Foster, and these are my experiments in Half-Life 2 mapping!


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Development Log

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Infuriating the Public for Fun and ... More Fun -

The vaguely observant of you might have noticed the countdown timer on top of every page on the main MINERVA site. The slightly more observant will have noticed the timer reached zero, and things changed. The particularly observant among you will have realised that yes, it's April 1st - and those with eyes of hawks will have realised that the joke pages are randomly selected from a pool of five. (Direct, non-randomised links: 1, 2, 3 and 4. Page five is ... low probability. Very much so...)

While not trolling the gaming public (give someone a timer and they'll immediately believe it's for something amazing, even if it's counting down to this notorious date) - I've been doing some slightly more useful things. One is a fancy new repackaged version of Someplace Else, with full Steam compatibility, detail textures (for subtly improved visuals), a nice new splash-screen, and (best of all) a lovely little 16x16 icon for the Steam games list.

On the MINERVA front, there's a nice Metastasis 2 review at Press Start Online - best of all, it contains constructive criticism so I have an even better idea of what to concentrate on in future... ;-)

Metastasis 2 was my third released map for the Half-Life series. I hope I'm improving.

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How to reply to fan-mail -

I freely admit I'm incredibly slow replying to the email I receive. The following might partly explain why - in this case, I finally got round to typing something after nearly a month.

Replying in-character is great fun, but just a little time-consuming...

On 25 Feb 2006, at 19:31, Josh N---- wrote:

> The transmission has been reversed.

Actually, I think you'll find it hasn't. As ever, I remain in full control of my faculties - and yours too, so it would appear.

> You wanted this to be a one way communication, but I have found a way to talk back. I am no longer the unquestioning servant, and you owe me some answers.

How cute. The little lab-rat has poked its tiny pink nose out through the bars of its cage, and thus reckons it knows the Answers to Everything!

Well, to be honest, I'm not really into this biology lark (it always seemed so messy and simplistic), but instead of just slamming the cage lid down onto your sensitive little nose, I'll feed you some choice little titbits of informational biscuit I have right from this desk here.

A desk on which infinitely more important work is conducted, please note. You're a plaything, a pawn, an experimental subject - not a vital agent of destruction and change.

(Or are you?)

> Tell me, who are you, and what do you want from me?

Who am I?

Perhaps the real question you should be asking is *where* am I. And perhaps even *when* am I. No, forget that last one, it would only confuse you.

Secrets are only of interest when they remain secrets (don't worry, things will become certain one day) - to be clear, we have more pressing things on our minds right now.

What do I want from you?

Information. Analysis of whatever horrors our beloved Combine might be conducting beneath the surface of a certain island. (Remember that? You were doing so well...) I gather it's now possible to continue this experiment, assuming you haven't escaped into your happy little lab-rat maze already - but in case not, I'm opening the door right now.


Have fun! I do hope you survive this one too, we were having such a good time...



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Request for Comments -

This new blog-thing has been upgraded once again - it now has a simple comments facility.

No such thing as user accounts or flood control yet, but it does keep a record of what you're doing. Most of the work needed is in administration stuff behind the scenes, but other than that it should be fine.

On the mod front, a project I used to work on a while ago, Half-Life: Nightwatch, has finally resurrected itself in the public eye and is now looking better than ever on the Source engine. Before you ask, yes they do have screenshots. Anyway, I wish the team all the best, and I'm still eagerly looking forwards to playing it after this many years. So please, hurry up! :-)

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Lutte en profondeur -

One advantage of this new blog system is that I can post things quickly. And guess what just arrived - the French translation pack for Metastasis 2!

Once again, it was graciously provided by the Sarmatia project - perhaps the only people on the planet entrusted with the MINERVA back-story. I'm sure some people would kill to get their hands on the annotated versions of Minerva's messages, complete with detailed explanations of all the vague allusions she makes... ;-)

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Metastasis 2 released -

Yes, so Metastasis 2 was released on Friday 3rd March, but I hadn't got round to posting a news item yet. Well, I haven't changed regarding that promptness thing, remember...

Response seems wildly enthusiastic, with various reviews up already - there's one at The Mod Resource, another at Amped DX, and maybe another couple elsewhere. Edit: 2006-03-13: here's another review, courtesy of The Abandoned Workshops!

(Note: some of the above links contain screenshots of some of the secrets buried underground by our dear Combine. Only click on 'em if you want to see what happens.)

Download count right now: 32,980, including those via Bittorrent. Not bad - and it probably would have been higher if (a), my webhost decided to suffer from major network connectivity problems shortly after a link was posted in a Steam news update, and (b) I'd tested the website properly before launching, so an amusing Internet-Explorer-sees-outdated-pages bug might never have appeared. Oops!

Some reading material for you: courtesy of CGW's Shawn Elliott, there's the MOD Summit at 1UP.com, with short interviews with people from all aspects of games modding - the developers of the original games, modders who've made it big, and then the current crop of modders themselves. Including yours truly.

Also for download, a copy of the interview from Computer Gaming World magazine, courtesy of Shawn Elliott again. Enjoy!

Finally, a quick technical note on this very news system. I've finally got round to replacing the editing-raw-XHTML with something more ... modern. So, I present BaaBaa-BlogSheep(tm), the glorious new blog system written in an afternoon by myself. It's still very crude at the moment, but it already has an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, so you can stay up-to-the-minute with MINERVA news (wahey!), and I've also started work on a comments system. Yes, really. Interactivity on this website? Wonders never cease!

And finally plus one, huge thanks for all the emails you've sent me! I'm still struggling to reply to them all - I'm pretty slow with email, so as ever, don't expect anything too quickly...

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