Half-Life 2: Raising The Bar Redux

Revisit a version of Half-Life 2 that we never got

Source SDK                                    Hammer Editor

I joined the Raising the Bar team in the summer of 2019. Our goal is to recreate the BETA version of Half-Life 2 that we never saw. This version of Half-Life 2 is darker, grittier, and has a longer story. If you would like to see the entirety of the work on the mod, you can follow the link below to see our mod page on ModDB.


Free TVs

My first assignment on the Raising the Bar Team was to finish the work on FreeTVs, considered on of the most important maps in the first chapter of the mod. Here, the rebels begin to rise up and fight back against the combine. I was tasked to create this up rise and tension through scripting numerous sequences. The mapping had already been mostly complete by the time I was added to this map, aside from an ending and transition, but much of the detailing throughout is my own.


After completing my work on Free TVs, I was moved to the next level. Construction is a two-part map that has a fair amount of combat with the Metropolice. The first map features primarily a workshop and fight through the streets, both are pictured above. The second map gives the level its namesake where the player fights through a construction site and the tunnels beneath it, also pictured above.

My work on the construction maps consisted largely of play testing and bringing the map to a high degree of polish. I spent most of this time setting the atmosphere with lighting, making sure textures looked great, and creating stories told through props and decals throughout the environments. While play testing, I found several areas for improvement and spent a fair share of time tweaking the combat through enemy placement and environment set up to ensure the combat was fair but challenging and a lot of fun. Similar to Free TVs, I was working with someone else's level, so I made sure to not overwrite their work or take the map in a direction they had not planned.

Industrial Sector

The Industrial Sector is by far the most well-known and recognizable level from the Half-Life 2 Beta and I was really excited to be assigned to it. This map features numerous large factory spaces filled with hard-working citizens watched by aggressive Combine Metropolice. For now I am only able to present this one screenshot, but when we release the first chapter of the mod later in 2020, I will be able to present more.

When I received the Industrial Sector map it was by far the least completed of the others I worked on, which was great for me. Not only was the map lacking detail, lighting, and a lot of atmosphere, but about one third of the map hadn't even been greyboxed yet, which allowed me to really work on both making the environment look good, as I had done before on RTBR, but also create some spaces and game play opportunities. The level began feeling like a walking simulator where the player did almost nothing except follow the path through the environment, I hope to bring some game play to this level and make it a little more interesting while also building on the present story. Once this level is complete, I will be able to talk more about what I did to create it.