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Left 4 Dead [X360 PC – Beta]

Left 4 Dead is a FPS with a strong coop mode, that was developed by Turtle Rock Studios and published by Valve for PC Windows and the Xbox 360 in 2008. The Left 4 Dead beta characters were changed, and at the Electronic Arts E3 2008 press conference, Valve revealed a new characters design for the survivors. As we can read on Wikipedia, Left 4 Dead underwent many phases of development; influenced by playtesting, Turtle Rock Studios removed many of the features that were originally in the game. Another significant element removed was a long introduction between campaigns; because the game is designed for replayability, it was difficult to hold the player’s attention for repeated viewings of cut scenes, so they were dropped in favor of a sparse narrative.

Also, the game started out with one big city design with many routes for the survivors, but playtesters were confused when they began to play, and later they always chose the same route; ultimately Turtle Rock Studios cut the city maps into the first “No Mercy” and “Dead Air” campaigns.

Here’s a comparison between the old characters (top) and the new ones (below):

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As Nastykill has made us to notice, at the Official L4D Blog we can find a lot of interesting infos and screens / videos from the game development, like the early experiments with the lights in the backgrounds and some test cutscenes. Some more screenshots from an early build show the beta characterts and a couple of beta areas.

At Left 4 Dead Wikia we can read a lot of info about the game’s development.

Upgrades are a scrapped feature that can still be found hidden in the game’s code, but they can only be activated by using an hack command. Some of these upgrades are:

  • Kevlar Vest: This item reduces the amount of damage you take.
  • Prevent it: Protects you from a Boomer’s bile once.
  • Hot Meal: Increases current health to 150.
  • High capacity magazine: Gives the player a larger magazine with each of their weapons, though the exact percentage increase is unknown.
  • Hollow point ammo: Increases the amount of damage weapons do.

A small upgrade system is implemented in Left 4 Dead 2, including the Laser Sight originally meant for Left 4 Dead.

Originally the melee weapons were supposed to break after prolonged use, but the development team ultimately decided against it after testing. Break sounds for the Axe and Frying Pan weapons can still be found in the game files.

The Hunter has an unused animation of it hanging upside-down. The Hunter’s ability was originally to become invisible. It did this when backed up against a wall, then the pounce ability can be used. For some reason, it was cut to just leaping, possibly due to that Left 4 Dead tries to keep a realistic theme, and an invisible Infected may have simply been too far-fetched. It also could regenerate, but was cut along with the invisibility.

The original design of the Smoker was to “pop in” to the Survivor group in a cloud of smoke, seize any Survivor, and “pop out” again to leave the unlucky Survivor stranded. Valve changed the design, however, saying it was “too challenging for the players.” This design has never been seen in any video footage, suggesting that it was dropped early in development.

A later video shows that the player took something called “poison damage” from a Smoker. When a person was affected by poison damage, the damage inflicted would turn into temporary health.

The Screamer was a Special Infected in the early stage of game development, preceding the Witch and the Boomer’s vomit attack. The Screamer did not have any actual attacks: if agitated enough, it would run off to hide. Once hidden, it would let out a scream, attracting a horde, like the Boomer’s bile. It was therefore important to kill the Screamer as quickly as possible while it tried to run off.

Originally, the Witch was to attack the entire group upon being startled. However, this was cut from the final game because it was deemed too difficult as she would often wipe out the whole group with little trouble.

Originally, Valve intended Zoey and Francis to have a relationship, but this was deemed to be “distracting” by the play-testers. In her cut quotes, Zoey picks on him often [3]. Although their former relationship is no longer very evident, she still seems to be friendly towards him (“Groovy,” which was something he’d said before). In The Passing, she’s baffled by Rochelle showing an attraction to Francis, and claims she’s going to throw up. On the other hand, she finds it cute that Francis still has “that side of him” deep down despite his tough guy attitude when he flirts with Rochelle.

Thanks to DCodes7 and Ace.Dark for the contributions!

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Portal [PC – Beta / Concept / Unused]

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Portal is Valve’s professionally developed spiritual successor to the freeware game Narbacular Drop, the 2005 independent game released by students of the DigiPen Institute of Technology; the original Narbacular Drop team are now all employed at Valve. Certain elements have been retained from Narbacular Drop, such as the system of identifying the two unique portal endpoints with the colors orange and blue.

A key difference in the signature portal mechanic between the two games however is that Portal’s “portal gun” cannot create a portal through an existing portal unlike in Narbacular Drop. Portal took approximately two years and four months to complete after the DigiPen team was brought into Valve, and no more than ten people were involved with its development.

Portal writer Erik Wolpaw, who along with fellow writer Chet Faliszek of the classic gaming commentary/comedy website Old Man Murray were hired by Valve for the game, noted that “Without the constraints, Portal would not be as good a game.”

Portal Gun [Concept Art / Proto]:


Images still at Portal on Steam Store, Notice that some differences are:

  • The Colors of Portal gun was still in beta, but Portal Gun was changed.
  • Graphics looks a little better.
  • The Portals graphics was a lot of different.
  • When the portal gun shoots and open the gate, the graphic was a lot of different, there was more effects

The Portal team worked with Half-Life series writer Marc Laidlaw on fitting the game into the series’ plot. Wolpaw and Faliszek were put to work on the dialogue for Portal. GLaDOS was central to the plot, as Wolpaw notes “We designed the game to have a very clear beginning, middle, and end, and we wanted GLaDOS to go through a personality shift at each of these points.” Wolpaw further describes the idea of using cake as the reward came about as “at the beginning of the Portal development process, we sat down as a group to decide what philosopher or school of philosophy our game would be based on. That was followed by about 15 minutes of silence and then someone mentioned that a lot of people like cake.” According to Kim Swift, the cake is a Black Forest cake which she “thought looked the best” at a nearby bakery.

The austere settings in the game were a result of finding that testers spent too much time trying to complete the puzzles using decorative but non-functional elements; as a result, they minimized the setting to make the usable aspects of the puzzle easier to spot, using the clinical feel of the setting in the film The Island as reference. While there were plans for a third area, an office space, to be included after the test chambers and the maintenance areas, the team ran out of time to include it. They also dropped the introduction of the “Rat Man”, the character that left the messages in the maintenance areas to avoid creating too much narrative for the game.

The textures of the Old Portal Gun are still found in game files, however, the Purple and Blue color was changed to the original (orange and Blue):
*Click to Enlarge*

GLaDOS [Concept Art]:

The player’s model was at the beginning a male character, but then it was changed for the actual female character known as Chell. Chell’s face and body are modeled after Alésia Glidewell, an American freelance actor and voice over artist, selected by Valve from a local modeling agency for her face and body structure. Ellen McLain provided the voice of the antagonist GLaDOS.

Erik Wolpaw noted that “When we were still fishing around for the turret voice, Ellen did a ‘sultry’ version. It didn’t work for the turrets, but we liked it a lot, and so a slightly modified version of that became the model for GLaDOS’s final incarnation.”

Mike Patton’s voice also appears in the game performing the growling and snarling of the final core-chip of GLaDOS. The Weighted Companion Cube inspiration was from project lead Kim Swift with additional input from Wolpaw from reading some “declassified government interrogation thing” whereby “isolation leads subjects to begin to attach to inanimate objects”;

Swift commented that “We had a long level called Box Marathon; we wanted players to bring this box with them from the beginning to the end. But people would forget about the box, so we added dialogue, applied the heart to the cube, and continued to up the ante until people became attached to the box. Later on, we added the incineration idea.”

GLaDOS Protos:
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According to Swift, the final battle with GLaDOS went through many iterations, including having the player chased by “James Bond lasers”, which was partially applied to the turrets, “Portal Kombat” where the player would have needed to redirect rockets while avoiding turret fire, and a chase sequence following a fleeing GLaDOS. Eventually, they found that playtesters enjoyed a rather simple puzzle with a countdown timer near the end; Swift noted that “Time pressure makes people think something is a lot more complicated than it really is”, and Wolpaw admitted that “it was really cheap to make [the neurotoxin gas]” in order to simplify the dialogue during the battle. [Infos from Wikipedia]

In the beta trailer below, you can notice many rooms that were removed or heavily changed from the final game (also, the portals look different). The game seemed to originally have a more dark color scheme.

Video [Beta Trailer / Gameplay]:

Unused Stuff

This game contains some beta unused stuff, some of those images appeared in trailers, such as Red Portal, and the Effect of the Red Portal:

There was one unused sign that was never saw in any trailers, a sign with a Joke of the 300 Movie. It might be rejected due to copyright issues:

There is also a Unused GLaDOS voice in the game files, would might be used at the end of the game:

Thanks to FullMetalMC and Gabrielwoj for some of the images!
Also Thanks again to Gabrielwoj for the unused Stuff! 

Prospero [Cancelled Valve MMORPG]

Prospero is a cancelled PC game that was in development by Valve while they were working on Half Life / Quiver. Initially the game was meant to be an action adventure, with an “science fantasy epic” storyline, lots of exploration and a complex combat system with psionic powers, but after a while the project became a MMORPG in which Valve wanted to let users to create their own worlds to have an ever-expanding universe. Prospero was canned in 1997 when Valve decided to move their effort to Half Life. Key features that were planned for Prospero were later integrated in other Valve projects, as Steam and Portal 2.

 As we can read on Half Life Wikia:

In the Half-Life sound files folder (Steam version), the music files commonly known as “Dimensionless Deepness”, “Steam in the Pipes”, “Threatening (Short)”, “Traveling Through Limbo” and “Vague Voices” are named “prospero01” to “prospero05”, which could imply that the tracks were initially made for Prospero.

Thanks to an interview with Marc Laidlaw by François Aymes for Jeuxvideo.com, we can read some more details on the project:

The Prospero development was halted in 1998, was it because of Half-Life ?
It was halted because some of us went to game shows and saw things that looked like Prospero, and felt that we weren’t doing anything that was going to make us stand out in the crowd. The project was flailing, struggling for identity, and there wasn’t a sense of great confidence. It was a natural thing to move more of our attention to Half-Life. Prospero was dead in the water well before Half-Life 2 came along.

Was Prospero supposed to feature a single player adventure ? Can you give us an idea of the plot ?
It straddled the line between single player and MMO, which was not something we could have pulled off back then. There were all sorts of possible plots, but we never got far enough to have to decide which one would work for what we were building.

Thanks to Valve Time we are able to know more about this interesting project, check the video below!

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Team Fortress 2 [Proto / Beta / Unused Models]

Originally planned as a free mod for Quake, development on Team Fortress 2 switched to the GoldSrc/Half-Life engine in 1998 after the development team Team Fortress Software – consisting of Robin Walker and John Cook – were first contracted and finally outright employed by Valve Corporation. At the point of Team Fortress Software’s acquisition production moved up a notch and the game was promoted to a standalone, retail product; to tide fans over – since, as well as time issues, much of the Team Fortress player base had purchased Half-Life solely in anticipation of the free release of Team Fortress 2 – work began on a simple port of the game which was released in 1999 as the free Team Fortress Classic (TFC).

Notably, TFC was built entirely within the publicly available Half-Life SDK as an example to the community and industry of its flexibility.

Images [Proto]:

Preview article from Incite gaming magazine, January 2000.

Images [Final Version]:

Walker and Cook had been heavily influenced by their three-month contractual stint at Valve, and now they were working full-time on their design, which was undergoing rapid metamorphosis. Team Fortress 2 was to be a modern war game, with a command hierarchy including a commander with a bird’s-eye view of the battlefield, parachute drops over enemy territory, networked voice communication and numerous other innovations. This initial design for Team Fortress 2 is quite possibly the only game to have spawned a thriving sub-genre without ever being released itself.

E3 1999

The new design was revealed to the public at the 1999 E3, where it earned several awards including Best Online Game and Best Action Game. By this time Team Fortress 2 had gained a new subtitle, Brotherhood of Arms, and the results of Walker and Cook working at Valve were becoming clear. Several new and at the time unprecedented technologies on show: Parametric animation seamlessly blended animations for smoother, more life-like movement, and Intel’s Multi-resolution mesh technology dynamically reduced the detail of on-screen elements as they became more distant to improve performance (a technique made obsolete by decreasing memory costs; today games use a technique known as level of detail, which uses more memory but less processing power). No date was given at the exposition.

In mid-2000, Valve announced that development of Team Fortress 2 had been delayed for a second time. They put the news down to development switching to an in-house, proprietary engine that is today known as the Source engine. It was at around this time that all news ran dry and Team Fortress 2 entered its notorious six-year radio silence, which was to last until July 13, 2006. During that time, both Walker and Cook worked on various other Valve projects – Walker was project lead on Half-Life 2: Episode One and Cook became a Steam developer, among other tasks – raising doubts that Team Fortress 2 was really the active project that would be repeatedly described.

“Invasion” design

When the Half-Life 2 source tree was leaked in late 2003 three Team Fortress 2 models were included, along with direct references to the game in the stolen source code. They consisted of an alien, Combine-like grunt and a very cartoon-like and out-of-proportion soldier. The code was interpreted by fans as making references to the Seven Hour War, an integral part of the Half-Life story; however, the two leaked player models did not look combine or human.

The Source SDK was released with the Half-Life 2 source code, and also provided references to the game. Some code merely confirmed what was already believed, but other segments provided completely new information, such as the presence of NPCs in multiplayer matches, the possibility of the game taking place in the Half-Life 2 universe, fixed plasma gun and missile launcher emplacements, and more.

None of the leaked information appears to have any bearing on today’s version of the game. This iteration was mentioned in an August 2007 interview with Gabe Newell by GameTrailers, in which he mentions “Invasion” as being the second-phase of Team Fortress 2’s development under Valve Software.

Final design

The next significant public development occurred in the run up to Half-Life 2’s 2004 release: Valve’s Director of Marketing Doug Lombardi claimed both that Team Fortress 2 was still in development and that information concerning it would come after Half-Life 2’s release. This did not happen; nor was any news released after Lombardi’s similar claim during an early interview regarding Half-Life 2: Episode One. Near the time of Episode One’s release Gabe Newell again claimed that news on Team Fortress 2 would be forthcoming – and this time it was. Team Fortress 2 was re-unveiled a month later at the July 2006 EA Summer Showcase event.

Walker revealed in March 2007 that Valve had quietly built “probably three to four different games” before settling on their final design. Due to the game’s lengthy development cycle it is often mentioned alongside Duke Nukem Forever, another long-anticipated game that has seen many years of protracted development and engine changes.

The beta features three multiplayer maps which contain commentary on the game design, level design and character design, and provide more information on the history behind the development. The commentary suggests that part of the reason for the intentionally cartoonish style was the difficulty in explaining the maps and characters in realistic terms — questions like “Why would two teams put their bases so close to each other?” become more relevant when there is an emphasis on realism in a game.

The art style for the game was inspired by J. C. Leyendecker, as well as Dean Cornwell and Norman Rockwell. Their distinctive styles of strong silhouettes and shading to draw attention to specific details were adapted in order to make the models distinct, with a focus on making the characters’ team, class and current weapon distinct and easily identifiable.

The commentary also explains why the commander (a single player who sees a top-down map and is responsible for organizing the team) was not included in the final design: it was too hard to make the experience fun given a poor team and a good commander, or a good team and a poor commander.” [info from wikipedia]

The Scout was one of the first TF2 classes that was created when Valve decided to try out a more stylized approach to the game. Various character designs were drawn before find the final one.

Images Concept Arts:

Also, various weapons were removed from the final game and even the levels were a bit different in the beta (as you can see from the videos below) . In the beta version of Team Fortress 2, the Demoman had six grenades to spill out. However, they were removed for balance issues. Many more unused and beta models can still be found in the game’s code, as you can read from Uber Charged!

Images (unused models):

Thanks to FullMetalMC, Ace.Dark and NastyKill for the contributions!

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Half Life 2 [Beta / Concept / Prototype]

The book Half-Life 2: Raising the Bar revealed many of the game’s original settings and action that were cut down or removed entirely from the final game. Half-Life 2 was originally intended to be a far darker game where the Combine were more obviously draining the oceans for minerals and replacing the atmosphere with noxious, murky gases. Promotional shots and gameplay videos released before the game became available showed parts of these scenes, and also showed enemies that do not appear anywhere in the final game, such as the “Hydra,” a massive, gelatinous, translucent, neon-blue creature that lived in the sewers. It was planned as a massive bulk far below the city with tentacles that would reach up and spear through enemies, including Combine soldiers. The Hydra was apparently cut because its AI proved troublesome: while impressive when attacking NPCs, it was less interesting, and more frustrating for players to fight, and was also difficult to code.


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Other enemies cut from the game included Combine assassins (their AI was salvaged to form the Fast Zombie; they were females, very similar in attitude to the Half-Life black ops; they are included in Half-Life 2: Survivor), a newly skinned bullsquid, houndeyes, various Synths and Combine soldiers. There was also a planned creature called the Cremator who would clean the streets of bodies after a skirmish with a massive acid gun called an Immolator, which would double as an offensive weapon when the Cremator would become an enemy. The Cremator’s head would eventually be featured in Eli’s lab in Black Mesa East, encased in a jar of formaldehyde, which Eli will make comments about when the player nears the jar and views it.

The game was originally intended to be much more diverse in settings (to the extent that the game felt almost overblown, and little time being spent on developing existing characters; one of the key reasons for it being cut). Parts of the book detail how Gordon would fight alongside characters such as Odessa Cubbage, albeit under a different name and in a different place, as well as fighting together with Colonel Vance – a character that was later merged with Eli to become Doctor Eli Vance – and Vance’s forces. Originally, Eli and Alyx Vance had no relation, and Eli’s lab was originally intended to resemble a form of scrapyard and town in a cave than a better equipped laboratory within a hydroelectric power station; the scrapyard area where the Gravity Gun tutorial takes place resembles the original concept; being an auxiliary area as opposed to the bulk of the lab. The Citadel also looked very different, it was more round than the bulky Citadel from the final version.

Other cuts from the game included a drivable jetski, which was eventually replaced by the airboat in the final game because it was too much like running around on foot. Another vehicle to be included was what looked like a large mining device, to be used in Ravenholm. Also, many weapons were cut.

The E3 video “Traptown” shows that at some point in the game’s development it was also possible to shoot any gun while using the HEV suit’s zoom function and that the player could discard weapons, indicating they could only carry a specified amount of firearms at a time. Traptown was to be a section of the Ravenholm chapter. It seems to share some similarities with a section from the Ravenholm chapter from the released version of Half-Life 2, mostly the setting of the section. The trailer also showed the ability of Combine enemies to try to break down doors, which did not make it in the final release.

This is thought to be a scripted sequence for the E³ video. At the end of the video, the player shoots an explosive barrel that was behind an old car, which made the car explode and jump into a nearby zombie. This wasn’t possible in the final version, although there is a roadblock in the Highway 17 chapter of the finished game where the player does something similar to a barrel-toting truck. Also, Ravenholm (or probably only the Traptown section) featured both Combine soldiers and zombies in its beta stage, as well as Father Grigori, which, according to Raising The Bar and the leaked sound files, was to be tougher and less humorous.

Initially a small mining town called Quarrytown, which was more of a puzzle solving section of Half-Life 2, with zombies added as the town’s pests, Valve liked the idea of having a town full of zombies, so Quarrytown eventually became a big town, which was full of traps, made by Father Grigori, the town’s priest and only remaining survivor. The E3 video, Traptown, featured both Combine Soldiers and zombies, the soldiers being added probably because Valve thought that the video wouldn’t have been as interesting only with the zombies, which are slow and easy to kill.

It remains unknown if most of the cut Half-Life 2 scenes will eventually be completed and released, or if they are lost forever. A removed section of the original Half-Life was eventually released as the Half-Life: Uplink demo; a similar situation was in place with the HDR technology demo, Lost Coast, which was based on a scene that was cut from the sequel. It is possible or even likely that more removed sections of HL2 will be seen in future expansion packs, as Half-Life 2: Episode One didn’t contain any of the aforementioned content. There’s a possibility that Kraken Base might be in the further episodes of Half-Life 2 because Doctor Judith Mossman is only seen in Episode One on a monitor in the Citadel reporting from an Arctic base. This might mean that Kraken Base (possibly under a different name) is being put back into the storyline.

Episode Two includes areas of gameplay based around the “Antlion hive” areas cut from Half-Life 2, and the presence of the cut “Antlion King”, now renamed to be an ‘Antlion guardian’. Episode Two also makes references to the Borealis icebreaker that was cut from Half Life 2, a research vessel revealed to have been created by Aperture Science for some unknown purpose. It is likely that players will explore the Borealis and related arctic base in Episode Three.

Info from wikipedia: www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Content_cut_from_Half-Life_2

Two very similar prototypes were leaked months before the game came out. Obscene amounts of Half Life 2 development data have slipped out of Valve’s grasp and can easily be found on the internet. This includes concept art, sound files, models and countless maps. Thanks to this we can see just about every change ever made to Half Life 2. To read about its original story and see pictures not featured here check out Half Life Wikia.

A mod for HL2, know as “Missing Informations” add some of the beta / unused stuff back in the game. You can download it in here. Some videos with unused models and beta stuff can be found at HL202 Youtube Channel!

Chris put together a site where anyone can download the Leak, patches, WC Mappack and more: http://hl2betapage.webs.com/

Thanks to D-vide, Nastykill, Megalol and discworld for the contributions!


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