We Are The Lambda Generation. LambdaGeneration is a website dedicated to the video game Half-Life. ( We're basically really passionate about crowbars, headcrabs and anyone who has goatee with a PhD in theoretical physics… )

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How not to build a level in ten days – An Ambushville retrospective

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As many of you may be aware, PlanetPhillip.com recently held the first of three planned mapping competitions, which would require level designers to create a map in ten days and feature the player being ambushed by enemy forces as the main attraction. “Build a map in ten days? How hard can that really be?” I naively asked myself. As it turns out it’s pretty damn hard! Let me tell you a story…

Half-Life Alpha Dating From September 1997, Finds Its Way Online After 15 Years

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The original Half-Life was first announced in early 1997, initially set for that year’s holiday season. But one very impressive E3 1997 showing later, and suddenly Half-Life was on everyone’s radar – expectations were ramping up, and suddenly, Valve were in the center of the gaming world’s attention. And so, later that year, close to their projected release date, Valve decided that a delay was in order. Once they’d attained it, a lot of the pressure was off, and the team at Valve spent began to intensely evaluate every aspect of the game, and all of the content they had created in one year of development.

And while there had been a considerable amount of progress, and the game itself was in very good shape, it just seemed like there was something missing – as Valve engineer Ken Birdwell stated in The Final Hours of Half-Life, the game simply wouldn’t have gone “over the edge anywhere“. To Valve, it seemed like Half-Life could be a lot more revolutionary and a lot more groundbreaking. Thus, in late 1997, an entire game’s worth of content and design was completely scrapped, and Half-Life underwent a complete redesign, fully from the ground up.

What gamers eventually got one year later in November of 1998, amounts to an entirely new game (in fact, according to Ken Birdwell, it really is a Half-Life 2 of sorts). But what happened to the Half-Life that never was – the “Half-Life 0” that Valve unceremoniously threw out the door?

Jack “Gauss” Monahan’s “Valve Portfolio”: Fantastical Visions Of The Half-Life Continuum

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To call Jack “Gauss” Monahan a mapper or a modeller would be doing him and his skillset a grave injustice. He’s an artist, a game designer, and I can only assume, a few others. He occasionally posts his thoughts on his blog, Gausswerks: Design Reboot (as well as the Gausswerks forums), and his very own Twitter. Back in 2009, he served as the level design lead for the time-travelling cult hit Darkest of Days, and at the moment he’s cranking away on Animal Memory, an indie shooter of his own design, built on the Unreal engine.

He’s also a Valve enthusiast. He once did an excellent dissection of Left 4 Dead and TF2’s character designs, and long ago he created a delightful little design reboot of Half-Life, titled: “Doctor Ivan Just Won’t Die”. But we’re going to take a look at something he once cooked up way back in 2005 – a gallery of artwork and game designs based on the Half-Life 2 universe. These constitute his early “Valve Portfolio”, which represented a section of a larger job application he sent to Valve.

As you can tell from the enticing feature image, it looks really good. Well, let’s take a closer look, shall we?

Half-Life: Uplink (1999 Movie by Cruise Control)

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For years, we have entertained ourselves with thoughts of a Half-Life movie. However, time and time again, Gabe Newell has told us that he will protect his property fiercely, and until he gets a good movie script, a film will not be made.

Behind this lies a dark secret. A veeeeeeery dark secret.
Hit the jump to find out about that veeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeery dark secret.

Rare Russian/Ukrainian HL2 Leak Bubblegum

Half-Life

The 2003 Half-Life 2 leak caused ripples in not only the community, but the world as a whole. It shaped our community into what it is today, yadda yadda, and more importantly, it allowed the creation of the world’s first Half-Life bubblegum.

Using content and screenshots from the leak itself on its packaging, this Russian/Ukrainian bubblegum seems to have been created sometime in early-mid 2004. Check out a community-made video showing its ground-breaking opening, after the jump.

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