CloneVille Idea

31st October 2011

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

SPOILER ALERT: As I was playing TWHL Mix yesterday, there’s a part at the end where one of the scientists seems to get cloned.

Being an idiot I jumped into the cloning machine in the hope of being cloned.

I nearly got stuck, as the last screenshots shows, but fortunately I could press the external button from the inside.

Anyway, that got me thinking, how cool would it be if I could clone myself and perhaps more importantly how would it work.

So, here I present my idea for a gameplay mod: CloneVille. Now, even though I have added Ville to the end, it’s not going to be a future competition.

The actual process of how you get cloned isn’t too important and with some thought could be part of a story which the mod would be based on. The interesting part is how players view and play each clone.

The Basics

For each clone that appears their view is added to the players screen. Essentially, like a split screen. Of course, that’s easy for two players but what happens when you have 11 clones AND the original?

Well, I envisage ever expanding views. A 3-clone view would look something like below, and the Original Freeman would either be highlighted or always in one of the corners.
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

Now, which ever way the original moves, so do the clones. Yes, this is a little strange and often clones will be walking against walls or falling off edges etc. When they die, the screen fades to black until a new clone appears.

Each clone has whatever weapon it happens to find or have ammo for. It would automatically switch weapons when it runs out of ammo. Of course most of the time the player will be using the original Freeman as its main player because if he dies, so do all the other clones.

That said, there could be some interesting gameplay mechanics where the player has to switch attention to Clone 2, for example, because Clone 2 could open a door that OF (Original Freeman) can’t get to.

We now have a much more strategic gameplay situation where you need to use and/or sacrifice clones for the greater good of the original.

Essentially, you are playing a co-op game on your own. Unlike Decay where you must switch players in this case you control all the clones at the same time.

If OF looks up, so do all the clones, if OF fires, so do all the clones, if OF jumps, so do all the clones: you get the picture.

Setting One

Through some sort of Portal malfunction Gordon Freeman gets cloned and clone 1 (from this point all clones will be known as C1, C2 etc) pops into existence somewhere in the same level as the original Freeman. For unknown reasons (part of the story) the clones always appear within 200 metres of the original.

The clones appear either every x minutes or randomly. The player has no control over the location OR the number of clones.

Setting Two

When a player uses a Health station a new clone is created. This allows the player some control over the process, but clones MUST be created to pass the level.

Of course, it doesn’t have to be a health statiomn, it could be called a Clone Station, but the idea of fixed points through the level. Some parts of the level can ONLY be accessed by clones.

The Issues

Obviously, the idea needs testing and fine tuning, but it’s clear there would be challenges.
The first, would be the engine demand. Rendering many clones at the same time would be a big problem for the engine. Perhaps the level within the game or mod would be specifically designed to reduce the load. Perhaps, very simple textures, plenty of corridors etc, maybe even quite dark.

The number of clones would also important. I would guess no more than 4, with the OF perhaps in the middle of the screen. Something like this would be unplayable:
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

That said, it might be fun to try!

There you have it

I really hope that this hasn’t been done otherwise readers will think I stole it.

If it has been done, I’d like to try it.

If not, why not?

It might be absolutely hilarious or it might be a completely disaster.

Personally, I think it would only work for part of a game or mod. To play the whole way through might just be too much.

What do you think?

Got any suggestions for making it playable or better?


  1. EmoLevelDesigner

    This idea reminds me of the game Prometheus, where you create clones of yourself by travelling 1 minute back in time. It is a challenging and entertaining game with original puzzles.

  2. Hec

    Not bad idea at all, is nice that PP encourage modders to create new gameplay dynamics, is nice and I think more in the line of a guidhall or studied mappers competition, in those fields I thnk this cloning gameplay idea can be definitely possible.

  3. Frohman11

    While I think its a brilliant idea I really dont know how to execute the fact of having 2 players in 1 map at the same time.

    I guess the idea could be executed but not in SourceSDK.
    The only thing that you could probably do is controlling a NPC , with a camera entity on his head and a screen overlay taking up 1/2 of the screen in RT texture.

    That would also need some bypassing as even the func_monitor needs to link a camera ID.

    On the other hand its completely possible to use a npc_citizen as a assistant in your maps as I already have done.
    So the most you could save in Cloneville could be only done as Coopville.

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