14th January 2005

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3
Starting Premise

44 years after a biological research facility was sealed from the inside by General Allenton, you have been sent to the base as part of a three-team mission to reopen it.

The Teams

As mentioned above, the mission consists of three teams: Elite Recon, Secure and Provide and Scientists. You are part of the Elite Recon team, whose primary role is to reconnoitre the area and assess the situation. Although all members are battle hardened, you are not supposed to engage the enemy unless absolutely necessary. Your team travels light and fast, meaning you have small silenced weapons and a carefully chosen selection of other items.

Your mission is to enter the base and recon the first two levels, leaving highly-classified surveillance equipment in strategic points. Once this is accomplished you are to exit via the main entrance, which will then allow Team SP entrance along with their equipment and supplies, and wait while they set up a base of operations. After this you will move onto the lower levels until the base has been totally secured.

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3
The Base

It’s hard to get away from the Resident Evil movie concept because I want a secret back door entrance followed by a deep underground complex. The idea being that your exit is blocked and you can only go down, the last place you want to go. The exact layout and design of the base is not strictly related to the story or gameplay elements, however in my mind I saw each level being lower than the one above (duh!) but offset by about half the width. The arrangement either continues downwards in a straight line (Similar to open-plan stairs) with one straight tunnel running along side the levels or continues downward in a spiral with a central shaft providing direct access to the levels.

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3
The Action

Section One
You enter the base via a concealed vertical helicopter shaft. The helicopter would descend down this very large shaft perhaps half a kilometre into the ground. The decent would need to be very slow and automatic weapons would give adequate protection from unauthorised entry. This entrance was unknown to ANYBODY inside the base, even the General. If the shaft-cover were breached without proper authorisation then huge explosives would seal the shaft, completely blocking entry or exit.
You, of course, have proper authorisation and are dropped at the bottom of the shaft by the helicopter and then have to enter the base. This is accomplished via a special doorway that only allows one human sized object through at a time. Remember, this entrance was only to be used in an emergency. Once past this door way you are faced with a large thick glass wall. You need to cut a small circular hole into it and gain entry to main entrance hall of the base. This glass wall displays the Project’s insignia and is only transparent from your side. Once inside you need to perform you duties with efficiency and skill. Make sure that the area is safe and place surveillance devices carefully.

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

Section Two
You leave a team member, let’s call him Blue1, in the main entrance hall and proceed with your mission. On reaching level two your team regroups and radios the OK to Team SP. You are congratulated and told to make you way back to the main entrance, leaving another team member at the lowest point of your recon. Your team leader , let’s call him Red1, informs Blue1 in the lobby to open to the main gate.

Whilst walking back the alarm system goes off and Red1 radios back to base. You are told that the sensors you placed earlier, now connected to the main alarm system, have detected an air born virus. Base radios that you are to stay where you are. Minutes pass and you are becoming nervous. Only levels one and two have been searched, who knows what lies beneath them? Suddenly Blue1 radios that he is under attack from Team SP and that you should go deeper into the base as there is no chance of rescue or escape via the main entrance.

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

Section Three
What the fuck has happened? It’s clear you need more information about this base and also you need to slow down Team SP’s movements. The only option is to seal the lifts and block the stairs. Red1 decides to send each of you to different parts of the base and recover any usable items as well as more information. You return with general all-purpose radios, yours are very small and only used for communicating with each other and base. Other team members find some heavier weapons and data files. Combining this information found on the data files you begin to learn something about the base and its top-secret project.

Section Four
This cycle continues through a number of levels where you fight both regular soldiers (Team SP) and another foe called HIM (With strange tactics and weapons). But each time you return to the agreed meeting point, one team member is missing, assumed dead.

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

Section Five
Finally you and the team have searched all the base except the powerplant which is a level much deeper than all the others. They are also out of pattern with regard to their placement. They are seperated from the main base because both section are the most important. Basically the last level of the main base is a part storage area and part lobby where two corridors branch off to their respective destinations.
With the complete story (See later) now revealed, you and Red1 decide to attempt to reach first reach the computerised and automated lab to make the antidote and then to reach the powerplant and try to save the rest of the surviving humans. (Not knowing that it’s impossible!)

Of course, you reach the lab and synthesis the antidote, all you have to do now is get to the powerplant!

The powerplanet and some recent excavations by the HIM have become their Hive. This is the “battle of the game” where the HIM soldiers simply come in waves and fire power alone is not enough. You need to use the things around you to help you win. For example there are drums of different chemicals around the building exploding the correct combination create a certain vapour that make it difficult for the mutants to decide if you are friend or foe. If you remember their awareness of their environment has been altered. If you match their chemical smell then you are friend.

Once you have either destroyed the colony or tried to save the humans (Your choice), you attempt to get back to the main entrance and inform Team SP of your actions, hoping this will save your life. However, there’s always a however!, your way is blocked by your, assumed dead, team members. It seems that Red1 has finally mutated and is trying to kill you.

Section Six
The gameplay changes signifcantly now. Your Team are now firing at you. Clearly they want the anitdote and to stop you getting it to the surface. You have to avoid being killed and get past them. It is at this point that they begin to run and hide whilst talking to you. The things they say will have to be carefully controlled so as to not repeat the normal gamespeak. “I’m going in!” “Incoming!!” etc They will basically try and convince you to hand over the antidote.

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3
The Twist

[Highlight the space to reveal the twist!]
It is you who has mutated! Your Team is not trying to kill you but to capture you. They know that if you get to the surface the scientsits will simply take the anitdote from you and then put you in a lab and perform experiments on you. Once the mutation starts you only have a short period of time before the antidote becomes useless. He’s the crux of the problem. Do you believe you Team or is it a ruse to capture you? Trust! Do you trust your Team?
Of course your mutation would happen only right at the end, otherwise your motivations and actions would be strange. Your Team want to get the antidote from you so that you and others can be helped.

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3
What the player won’t know until later

The base is a military research facility and was experimenting on combining human and insect DNA. The scientists focused their research on ants. The goal of the project was to produce soldiers who were more concerned with the well being of their Queen than of their own personal safety. The military Generals in charge of the project felt that a completely selfless warrior was easier to produce than a robot. These soldiers would have all the skills and intelligence of normal soldiers but without the fear and hesitation normally experienced in the heat of battle. They would also take commands from their Queen without question. It was hoped that the Queen concept could be replaced by a commanding officer.

The base was sealed because the General lost control of the soldiers. When the General tried to substitute the Queen for himself they became uncontrollable. In an effort restore the balance the General killed the Queen, which made matters worse. The soldiers went on a rampage and took control of the base. General Allenton had no choice but to seal the base and hopefully keep the hybrid soldiers in the base and eventually they would die without a Queen. However, unlike Zombies these hybrid humans still had the intelligence of a normal human being but their motivation and desires changed.

The hybrid soldiers forced the remaining scientists to produce an air born mutation virus, meaning that anybody who breathes in the virus is slowly mutated into a worker. There is very little outward change for those infected by the air born virus, essentially just the motivation. In fact the only change to their appearance are glazed eyes and slight loss of hearing. Only those specifically breed with the mutated DNA are different from normal humans. In their case they are stronger and fast but this has been at the cost of awareness. Not everybody who breathes in the virus is affected.

After the virus was created the Hybrid soldiers got the Workers (the mutated scientist and admin staff) to build a large incubation area just off the powerplant. They also chose a number of female workers and essentially turned them into Queens. These Queens were to produce more hybrid soldiers. The Queens no longer gave commands, somehow the collective intelligance of the soldiers took over the leadership of the colony.

The colony was never agressive but it wanted to survive and expand. They realised that they had to stay underground and they simply started to burrow large cavens.
After the base had been sealed the military put sismic detectors around the base and had recently noticed increase activity. Fearing the unknown you and the other teams were sent in to deal with the problem.

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

The Queen
The Queen was a genetically modified human female. A grossly over-weight woman was found to try and replicate a large insect Queen, and they began to make simple changes to her DNA, mostly to do with her body odour. She was placed in an artificial and controlled coma. Her voice commands came from a speaker integrated into her, complicated and elaborate, bed. General Allenton, of course, synthesized these voice commands. As grotesque as this sounds the General would do anything to achieve results.

Gameplay Elements

Although the story doesn’t require any particular gameplay style I think it would benefit from a slightly different approach. Most AI tries to recreated the intelligence of a human, whilst this is a sensible goal if you are fighting humans here things are different. Hybrid soldiers based on insect DNA would significantly change the way they approach situations. Less hiding behind objects and jumping out to shoot before jump back again. These enemies come straight for you and are normally large in number. Remember they are not interested in personal safety.

This means shooting could become almost useless because there are more enemy than bullets – A big problem! I envisage that the player always has elements around him or her than can be used to their advantage. The chemical example was used earlier, with a little more thought I’m sure other interesting and challenging situations could be developed.

One other point worth mentioning is that throughout the game the player should somehow be saved, via set pieces, by his team mates. This would add to the feeling of trust. A few situations where the player saves them would also add to the general trust theme.

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half Life 1, 2 and 3
Which Engine or Game?

Although I’ve used lots of Half Life images, I don’t normally consider which engine or game would best be suited to a mod story idea but here I think Doom 3 may be perfect. There would be no outside environments and the PDA could be perfect for collecting and using information. I’m not suggesting that the creepy feel of Doom 3 has to be used just that the engine and features may suit the mod perfectly.

I could be wrong because I only got a quarter the way through Doom 3 before I got bored of being scared and having to fumble for my fucking flashlight. We can build bases on Mars but can’t have guns with lights?!

Concept Details

I can’t draw otherwise I would have created a few concept drawings to illustrate some ideas and a feel for the base design. The mutation would be very subtle, no wings or antennas! Perhaps a change of skin colour or how a character moves could be manipulated.

For those that are interested here’s how the story came about. I was thinking about zombie games and movies and got to wondering what it would be like for the zombie. This led me to the idea of making a game from the zombie’s point of view. A bit like the Point of View mod for Half Life. Just being a zombie for all the game would probably be a bit boring, so I started thinking about what it would be like if you didn’t know you were a zombie and everything seemed normal. I wanted something where you were infected right from the beginning but couldn’t work it into the story.

One of my areas of gaming interest lie in finding gameplay features that compliment the theme and story. I also like puzzles in games, not the simply find a key and open the door or jumping from ledge to ledge type puzzles, but something more along the lines of what’s the best tactic, best weapon or item to use in a given situation. i felt that with the numbers of enemies involved shooting you way out of situations would be impossible therefore you have to use your head and also the items you find around you, in short you have to be reosurceful. I haven’t done too much research into ants and their behaviour but I’m sure witha little effort certain facts can be worked into the story and gameplay.

What now?

I’m not completely happy with the story but feel that it’s a good working draft. I’m sure a few more twist and turns would keep the player interested. As with all my ideas published here it is available for use in either commercial (I wish) or non-commercial projects. You don’t need my permission and I don’t expect any financial reward. However, I would like to know about any work you may be doing that are derived from these ideas and would also welcome the chance to contribute to any projects. The least you could do is credit me with either inspiration or the actual concept.

Some interesting facts about ants:
  • An ant brain has about 250,000 brain cells. A human brain has 10,000 million so a colony of 40,000 ants has collectively the same size brain as a human.
  • It has been estimated that an ant’s brain may have the same processing power as a Macintosh II computer.
  • With their combined weight greater than the combined weight of all humans, ants are the most numerous type of animal.
  • Ants can tunnel from two directions and meet exactly midway.

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