Hazardous, of Course


"We’ve been hacking away as usual and progress this quarter has been quite nice."

mr05 polaroidtime marked


What's poppin'? Hopefully you’ve been well, masking up and keeping safe. Welcome to the third quarterly update of Hell Year 2020! We’ve been hacking away as usual (in the “working” way, not the “painful lungs” way, mostly) and progress this quarter has been quite nice.

One of the most important bits of progress we’ve made this quarter is that, after many months of research, we’ve finally figured out a way to implement a functioning save/load system into the game! Gone will be the days of your idiot twin brother dying at the end of Resonance, forcing you to replay the whole mission for the 12th time. This system has been a particularly large technical hurdle as it turns out that multiplayer loading systems in the Source SDK are a bigger pain than you’d expect. (We had to re-implement a large chunk of the engine’s singleplayer save code ourselves and even do a little bit of memory manipulation to bypass some annoying engine restrictions that Valve put in place for multiplayer mode.) DKY’s been tearing his hair out, but now that he’s gotten the system working, he can finally take a breath of fresh air. The new system is currently in prototype, and we’ll be rigorously testing it in the coming months to work out the bugs and polish it to a usable state.

We also recently picked up two new concept artists! Rory - responsible for the awesome header art up above - has been blasting through various 2D art tasks, while France has been kicking butt in the character art department. The latter churned out this old grump.

Dr. Keller Concept Art Dr. Keller Concept Art

You can check out some more of her work here. For example, to top it off, this is a friendly reminder to be kind to, and thank your maintenance pals!

Maintenance Worker Concept Art


Rory’s also been picking up some concept art! The Displacement Beacon plays an important role in Peer Review, so she’s been helping flesh out ideas on that front.

Displacement Beacon Concept Art Displacement Beacon Concept Art


Also in the 2D department, we’ve been busy whipping up some material recreations! Many of the environment types and by extensions textures we create are unique to Peer Review, but given that this is, y’know, a reimagining, often we find a need for some updated classics. Have a peak at some of Chris’s recent creations!

Material Recreations


It’s always nice to see how far tech has progressed since Half-Life’s original release! We have a 1k texture standard, whereas Half-Life typically hovered around 128px. That means if you put our textures next to the OGs using the same scale, it looks about like this:

og scale comparison


On the level design side of things, some of you may be aware that before Peer Review, our team was known for developing and releasing the mod Black Mesa: Hazard Course, a modern re-imagining of Half-Life’s “Hazard Course” level as an add-on to Black Mesa. Well, fans of the Black Mesa Hazard Course mod can rejoice, as Peer Review’s "Hazardous Course" level brings players back to the award-winning, critically-acclaimed masterpiece from PSR's spry young years as a dev team. Just as well, haters of the Black Mesa Hazard Course mod can rejoice, as "Hazardous Course" depicts the Black Mesa Hazard Course in total ruins, crushed under the resounding dust and echoes of defeat.

Hazardous Course Crouch Jumping


The more keen-eyed of you may think you’ve spotted some BMS content above, but fear not! These are our own renditions of those materials, created specifically for continuity with our previous project in this mission. Those assets, nor any other BMS-based content will not be utilized in other areas of Peer Review. We stand on our own shoulders, thank you. Seriously, our chiropractors hate us.

Onto the more auditory side of things, you know Jupiter's been busy as always. Some of you may know him for his 8-bit bops, but between those thicc chirps he throws down phat beats to go along with the sound of HECU heads splitting open. Have an ear-look at another track he's whipped up for us!


Our artists have also been busy in the 3D department as always. From pipes to sandbags to tents, there’s always new 3D work happening, which is one of the fun things about making a 3D game. Have yourself a gander at Notewell’s sentry gun! Remember meee for sentriiieeees! This bad boy will swiss the absolute hell out of your cheese.

Sentry Gun


Lastly, we’ve given our viewmodel arms a material upgrade! These babies can take more hazardous environments than you can shake a crowbar at.

HEV Arms


That’s all for the media! Wanna hear from us more often? Perhaps you have a pressing desire to ask us about the cut missions for the thousandth time, or maybe you drew a cute Colette Green and wanna show us? We have a Discord server for that! Come chat about Peer Review, Half-Life, game dev, or really anything. It’s a friendly, safe space for everyone and hardly anyone ever gets stalked!

If another Discord server is a little too much engagement for your liking, we also have a Twitter profile. We share random tidbits our team members post, as well as cool stuff from the Half-Life community.

As I’m sure you could guess, this project is hella ambitious, so we need all the help we can get! Right now we’ve got open slots for every non-audio/writing position. In particular we’d love some character modelers because, well…

@ Character modelers please apply to the team, thankies pic.twitter.com/sNIj8tg6Ny

— Chris Bryant (@LiterallyCrypt) September 4, 2020

Dr. Keller isn't gonna make himself! So if you’ve got some game dev skills and are looking for a project to claw away at your spare time go ahead and apply for the team using this form.

Lastly, as always, we love hearing back from you. Your comments are a big motivation, so if you've got any comments, questions, cries of outrage, confessions of an undying love for us that is unfortunately unrequited, or really anything, we appreciate the feedback!

Catch you all in December!