***NOTE: to play, load ep2 and enable the command console in advanced options in control. Click the tilde key "~" next to 1 on your keyboard and type "map prisonmap", hit enter.***
This is a small (10-15min run, 20 if you are very slow) HL2 Ep2 map I made a while ago involving a prison escape. It is basically all action gameplay (shooting), though it does have some smaller elements of strategy towards the end with the major battle sequence.
Quite proud of the battle sequence and some of the visual work I put into this.
As it stands I'm not sure if I can continue it, though it would be great to receive some feedback anyways. Any suggestions welcome. (I know of the lack of a 3d skybox in the one section, and the random appearance of the HEV suit in another :) )
Thx to Grim, Ant, Strideh, PB, Rabideh and everyone over at TWHL.
Let me start by saying that I quite enjoyed your map despite being a bit short (approx 10 min to finish)
The atmosphere is spot on, conveying the idea of a grim prison and the urge to escape it at all costs. One of the biggest assets of this map is its level design; quite eye-pleasing and on par with Valve maps (Nova Prospekt maps come to mind). Your brushwork, texturing, layout, props placement and sounds all add to the overall experience the player goes through, albeit a short one.
The pacing is rather balanced; you don't feel under-armed or over-armed at any moment of the game. The amount of available weapons/firepower is adequate and gradually increases as the plot unfolds.
The final battle is reminiscent of the one in Nova Prospekt but is more manageable. Placing the turrets at the correct locations and placing yourself in a way to deny the combine the ability to reach/knock out these turrets will ensure a swift and sweet victory.
In addition to what you have mentioned about the lack of a 3D skybox (definitely needed for the outdoor section) and the appearance of a red HEV suit on the top floor (just before jumping down to the final battle), there are couple of things that you should look at in case you decide to continue work on this level and expand it further more:
- Review the props fade distance (many props were fading too soon while still in the player's close field of vision).
- Consider adding dialogue to the squad mates. They follow you and fight fine, but throwing some chat lines along the way would bring the gameplay further to life.
- The map lacks in soundscapes. Besides the prison sirens and couple of sound effects, I didn't notice background soundscapes for indoors and outdoors.
- The Hunter at the end is totally avoidable. I'm not sure if this is a design choice or it is unintentional, but I just had to stay in the turrets room where he can't follow me, then pop a couple of shotgun slugs in his head to finish him off. Redesigning the final battle arena to accommodate for the hunter fight should be considered.
- The end is a bit confusing, probably because the map is not finished. After going in the storage room, I got the unidentified personnel warning and I instinctively jumped behind the fan, totally avoiding the deadly gas and surviving. I even jumped back through the door that I came through (loosing 5-8 hp along the way) and could return to the final battle arena, but without purpose or goal. If this gas chamber is a gateway to a 2nd level you will work on later, then it's fine but if it's the end, then you need to make sure the player can't escape.
Overall, those were 10 min well spent on an eye-pleasing, well-paced, "escape from prison" map. Keep up the good work and hope to see a sequel to this level.