Half-Life turns 25 years old tomorrow, with new maps and updates to celebrate. Valve also reunited the game's original developers for an hour-long making-of documentary in which its original programmers and artists reminisce about creating the first-person classic at a time when many of them had never shipped a game before.
Chief among the revelations within is that all of Half-Life's textures were created by a single person, Karen Laur.
Here's the documentary, produced in partnership with Danny O'Dwyer's Secret Tape:
Of course, '90s games were made by much smaller teams than those that build video games today, even first-person shooters. Yet Valve had several programmers, several level designers, several character artists. I therefore assumed that its textures would likewise have been created by multiple different artists. Not so.
One thing the documentary makes clear is that Valve didn't have a cohesive plan for what Half-Life should be - including where its levels should take place. Different people on the team initially worked independently, and later started-over to try to turn it into something cohesive. As a result, Laur as texture artist had a lot of influence over what Black Mesa became.
"First of all I had a bunch of textures, and then everytime I made new ones, whoever was working on the new levels would be like, 'Oh fresh textures, I'm gonna use those!'," says Laur. "Somebody making another level would start using them [as well] and I was like no, this is chaos, we need to restrict this, so I started naming the texture sets by the level that they were made for. I was trying to enforce some visual cohesion, and that really ended up working."
"I grew up just out D.C., and so there's all these big, reallyRead more on rockpapershotgun.com