Hello! I'm Tom. I designed a game called Gunpoint, about rewiring things and punching people, and now I'm working on a new one called Heat Signature, about sneaking aboard randomly generated spaceships. Here's some more info on all the games I've worked on, here's the podcast I do, here are the videos I make on YouTube, here are some of the articles I wrote for PC Gamer, and here are two short stories I wrote for the Machine of Death collections.
Suffering from blogger’s paralysis, wanting to talk about five different things but having no preference as to which, I’ll just stick with the theme. This is a bit silly, of course, Episode Two being six months off, but Dabs mentioned something I’d forgotten, and I looked it up, and he’s right. Raising The Bar, the superb coffee-table book about Half-Life 2’s development, mentions that at one point a large section of the game was set in an arctic base, called Weather Control. Examining a scan of a map sketch, it even mentions a ‘Judith at Weather Control’ scene.
I don’t think we’re going there in Episode Two – it’s a whole new country and Episode Two is already introducing a very large and very different environment, but we’ve been shown it now, and I really buy the idea that they’d finish the trilogy in a very different kind of place. Also of note are two aspects of Valve’s design philosophy: a) that the player should see where he’s going to end up long before he gets there (mentioned in Raising The Bar), and b) that you don’t show the player something cool then deny him it (mentioned in Gamespot’s The Final Hours Of Half-Life 2, I think). Wherever the climax of Half-Life 2: Episodes, we’ll glimpse it well in advance, and whenever it happens, we will go to Weather Control.
My final, third piece of evidence is one of the most universal tenets of videogame clichÃƒÂ©: all expansion packs, however they’re delivered, must take you to a snowy environment.
I’m not sure how far they got with the section when it was going to be a part of Half-Life 2 – the name makes it sound like it served a Combine function like the Air Exchange, which had a lot built around it before it was cut – but there’s a short story by Marc Laidlaw in there written as inspirational material for the section. Sort of like textual concept art. It describes an intense climactic battle between Combine reinforcements who’ve tracked down the main rebel force, a last stand by the latter. Snowstorms and ice explosions. Enticing.
Bobsy: So, the battle of Hoth then.
Rob: "My final, third piece of evidence is one of the most universal tenets of videogame clichÃƒÂ©: all expansion packs, however theyÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re delivered, must take you to a snowy environment."
Oh god, you're so right! Magic Carpet: Hidden Worlds and Age of Mythology: Titans spring to mind, just for starters.
Dave McLeod: Terribly sorry I didn't reply to that earlier request, I never really get replies from these blogs. Should've spoken up, who knows where my fame might have taken me by now... Glad you were able to follow up though
All I know is that BIG STOMPY ROBOTS are mentioned, which can be nothing less than superb.
And of course, Bloodmoon :) Since Icewind Dale was really nothing more than an expasnino for the God-stuff that was Baldur's Gate, you might be inclined to mention it. Deus Ex 2 natch... Shadows of Undrentide...the secrets of the ultimate game making manual is reveal further.
Tom Francis: Warcraft 3: Frozen Throne, Diablo 2: Lord of Destruction, World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, Dawn of War: Winter Assault, Spellforce: Breath of Winter, and Icewind Dale's own expansion: Heart of Winter.
Mirror’s Edge, by Pentadact, who is secretly Tom Francis: [...] don’t often dribble about unreleased games here, except when they’re by Valve or a cool part of them has just been released or I’ve played them and can’t tell you [...]