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Old 07-24-2011, 06:27 PM   #1
maturin
 
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One Of Our Finest Remaining Urban Centers (enormous map)

Soviet Military Map of City 17

Remember this tiny little thing? I liked it so much that I decided to increase the scope and scale by about a thousand.

Last year at college, I happened to have a week in midwinter where I had no classes and not much to do. Rather than drink myself into a stupor, I decided to do something more productive. Seven months later, I have completed the project.

This is a map of the entirety of Half-Life 2, Episode One and the beginning of Episode Two. It is City 17 as I imagine it would appear on the topographic maps created by the Soviet Red Army.

This is the result of dozens of hours of work. What you see here are Half-Life levels flattened and translated onto a map (with varying levels of faithfulness), a large area of streetplans lifted from Sofia, Bulgaria, and a partially traced coastline, all knit together by my imagination. Most of this completely made up, an imagined geographical context for the events and environments of the game. This is my tribute to the Eastern European setting I have enjoyed so much.


Details:

All the placenames are in Russian. I have retained existing names such as Ravenholm, White Forest, Lighthouse Point and made up the rest. The name of the city is Birkutgrad, after a fictional Polish stakhanovite (shock-worker) from the 1950s. This is, what Stalin renamed the city after the Soviets liberated the (anonymous) country in 1945. It's old, true name was restored in 1989, but we don't know what that is.

By the way, this is a very zoomed-out view of the city. Only major roads are shown, and each block of buildings actually contains many unseen side streets, alleys and thoroughfares.

This map is, loosely speaking a 1:100,000 scale map. I aped the system of labeling and rendering used by the Soviets without strictly adhering to it, using proper documentation when it suited my purposes.

See the distance scale (in meters) at the bottom of the map to get a sense of the distances involved. These are based, on the way, by a few exact Hammer Editor measurements, some rough estimates and some fudging. The distance from Kleiner's Lab to the Citadel (or where it would be), for example, conforms quite closely to the game's opening 3D skybox.

3D skyboxes were a major source of information about elevation and city density. Making the map required gathering a lot of reference images from various chapters. Bending and molding the contradictions of Hammerspace into a rational geographic layout is really a mental process that began years ago.

Black areas are prominent individual structures that stand out from the surrounding buildings. These usually take the form of important official structures, the ubiquitous tower block apartments, or factories and industrial sites.

Black-and-white striped ribbons denoted railroads, while motorways appear in white and red. Major highways have a red striped running down the center. Bridges should be fairly self-explanatory. Blue-outlined streets are canals.

Let me know if a visual Legend or Key would be helpful, and I'll make one.

I do have some regrets about the map. The large, empty corner of the map is unsightly, but it is impossible to fill such a large space without any inspiration. Secondly, the size of the individual city blocks does not conform very well to the scale of the map. I have, in effect, created an imaginary version of the 1:100,000 scale. Also, the ocean lacks contour lines. I planned to add them, but it gave me a headache.

So please comment on the map, and share any suggestions. It is not in a final state and there are plenty of blank areas that could be embellished, or symbolization that could be added. And if nothing else, take pity on my poor fingers that had to draw all those contour lines with nothing but the mousepad of a laptop, using a trial version of Flash CS5.

Many thanks to sovietmaps.com and http://maps.vlasenko.net/ for making all this possible.

Last edited by maturin: 08-03-2011 at 12:34 PM.
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Old 07-24-2011, 07:13 PM   #2
geitliefje
 
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I'mm gonna go out on a limb and guess that you're some kind of wizard? Though yes, I think some kind of cheat sheet would be helpful because I'm lost already
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:00 PM   #3
maturin
 
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Originally Posted by geitliefje View Post
I'mm gonna go out on a limb and guess that you're some kind of wizard? Though yes, I think some kind of cheat sheet would be helpful because I'm lost already
Alright, link added with a bunch of blue labels.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:22 PM   #4
EricHVela
 
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Post Замечательно!

Is Nova Prospekt supposed to be Novi Prospekm? I don't know Russian, but I figured it would be Novi Prospekt with the Nova becoming Novi and nothing else changed.

Is the Citadel gonna be planted at that Freedom Cathedral or whatever that is? (Again, I don't know Russian.) EDIT. New map shows it. SW of that place I mentioned.

Other than those, it is VERY impressive indeed. I hope Steam gives it a mention (either themselves or Kotaku or Rock, Paper, Shotgun or some such that they often use to link stuff).

Last edited by EricHVela: 07-24-2011 at 08:23 PM. Reason: New map posted. (Ninja'd)
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:25 PM   #5
maturin
 
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Originally Posted by EricHVela View Post
Is Nova Prospekt supposed to be Novi Prospekm? I don't know Russian, but I figured it would be Novi Prospekt with the Nova becoming Novi and nothing else changed.
The label says новый проспект. But it's in cursive, and Russian cursive changes Ts to Ms for some stupid reason.
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:30 PM   #6
ThoraxTheAvnger
 
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This is a really great map
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Old 07-24-2011, 08:41 PM   #7
Ingsoc
 
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This map is very impressive. Well done, maturin!

One of the things I really love about this kind of project is that it helps fans to continue to enjoy Half-Life 2 in new ways, even without any new games in the series. I felt the same way about GooseGoose's commentary - long after I've played the game, I love going back and seeing the world from new angles.

We're lucky that there are people in the community who put so much work into extending the experience - whether it's commentaries, home-made movies or maps such as this. Really very impressive.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:00 AM   #8
Doctor Nuriel
 
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I love it.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:34 AM   #9
Battlecruiser
 
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Great map. Loving it and the details to bits.
When someone puts in the effort, it really shows, especially how the map fits so well with what we know about C17 and how we see it and makes all elements connect seamlessly.

I also noticed that you decided to place the city on the shores of Black Sea.
Any reason behind it or is it just random decision?
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:53 AM   #10
CrowbarSka
 
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Amazing!

Did you find that Episode One created any inconsistencies at all? Just curious how accurate the placement of the 'episodic regions' is.
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Old 07-25-2011, 05:57 AM   #11
skinlo
 
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Wow, awesome
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Old 07-25-2011, 07:35 AM   #12
maturin
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Battlecruiser View Post
I also noticed that you decided to place the city on the shores of Black Sea.
Any reason behind it or is it just random decision?
I chose the Black Sea because the Coast area really doesn't look like the Baltic, and the nearby mountains fit Southeastern Europe better. City 17 is still in an imaginary geographic zone.

Quote:
Did you find that Episode One created any inconsistencies at all? Just curious how accurate the placement of the 'episodic regions' is.
Well, White Forest really is to the direct north. And in my mind, it's just a game version of Vitosha Mountain outside Sofia, Bulgaria.

In terms of how the different game areas are situated, "accuracy" is really something that has to be invented. The only clues you have are the 3D skyboxes, with distances that can be measured in the Hammer Editor. Since I had access to the Point Insertion levels, I chose to take those as authoritative and based the scale of the map on that. If you take some of the other skyboxes into account, with their teleporting Citadels and nonsensical sun positions, you would go insane. As a result, Water Hazard is rather mangled, and anyone comparing it the game will likely get confused.

The only information available or necessary for the Episodes, was the apparent height and position of the citadel, telling me that you emerged from the train much farther north and slightly farther east than Kleiner's Lab. The actual travel distances of the train could not have been measured, and travel distances are one thing that have to be fudged enormously, as with Route Kanal.

The entire game takes place in Hammerspace, not an actual city. This map is really the world's biggest shoehorning.

Last edited by maturin: 07-25-2011 at 07:42 AM.
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Old 07-25-2011, 08:33 AM   #13
Vladeslav
 
 
 
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Wow, was looking for this for a looong time, very impressive, have some rep).
Only one little complain: Revenholm should be a bit bigger.

Last edited by Vladeslav: 07-25-2011 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 07-25-2011, 02:25 PM   #14
maturin
 
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Wow, was looking for this for a looong time, very impressive, have some rep).
Only one little complain: Revenholm should be a bit bigger.
You'd be surprised how absolutely miniscule the playable area of it actually is. Valve's level design sends you twisting around in circles so that you barely cover a city block.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:10 PM   #15
Vladeslav
 
 
 
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Originally Posted by maturin View Post
You'd be surprised how absolutely miniscule the playable area of it actually is. Valve's level design sends you twisting around in circles so that you barely cover a city block.
Oh, ok. I notice such perspective, especially in HL1
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