Rock24, a Half-Life 2 modification

You must know the game Half-Life 2 by now. If you don’t, go get it and play (if you like First Person Shooters (FPS) or think you might). There is a video showing Half-Life 2 finished in 1 hour 42 minutes, but it took me the better of a week to play though it. Many happy playing hours guaranteed.

The Half-Life 2 game uses the Source engine, which consists of:

  • A great graphics engine, with the latest version including High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering. The HDR is like real time lighting effects, based on the surroundings and human physique. For example, if you come walking out of a dark tunnel into full sunlight, you will be slightly blinded by the brightness of the sun. This effect gradually fades away, just like with your iris adjusting to the light difference. Amazing to see.

  • A souped-up version of the Havok physics engine. The Half-Life 2 game includes loads of puzzles where the laws of physics are the solution. At one stage you need to keep a ramp, that is in the water, afloat by putting empty barrels underneath it in the water. Almost all objects can be picked up or displaced, and when dropped, kicked or thrown they behave like real world objects. Sweet.

  • Artificial intelligence engine for the

  • A modification engine backed up by a complete Source SDK. Game developers can leverage the engine to build their own games based on Source. Loads of games have been developed already, such as Counter-Strike Source, Day of Defeat Source and the upcoming Portal and Team Fortress 2. There are also lots of modifications (mods) out there

The reason for this post is that Henley Bailey (site seems to be incomplete at the moment) and Richard Acherki have created a modification called Rock24. After HL2 Episode One and awaiting Episode Two, it brings a new story on the main character Gordon Freeman. It puts Gordon in a prison facility to free the scientist Richard G Newell, battling against combine soldiers, headcrabs and zombies.

Make sure you go see both trailer videos of the game (The music of the first trailer is Spitfire by The Prodigy, if you wanted to look that up). The links to the mod download are also there. And since Henley’s site is down, I am taking the liberty to give you links to two in-game songs (After the storm and Prison) that Henley and Richard made (will be up shortly).

It’s been a while since I played this, but I was taken by the authenticity of the game to the original Half-Life 2 game. It is very apparent that both Henley and Richard have great experience in developing games. Both have worked at Eidos and created a bunch of games before. Rock24 is a fairly short game, but it will give you a nice evening or two to play it.

I also recorded a demo using Fraps (a screen capture utility, similar to ZD Soft‘s Screen Recorder), where you can see me in action at the final stage of the game. It’s a 30 second clip, without sound, but it should give you a good impression of the game (and my playing skills. If you think I missed a couple of shots, check out the blood spatters at the wall). Of course the two trailers are a must-see.

For your further entertainment, you can take a look at the Ballad of Black Mesa, a house-like piece of music made from the sounds of HL2 and the characters of the game. BTW, Black Mesa is the research facility in the Half-Life storyline. It is totally unrelated to Rock24 otherwise.

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