Old City 17

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Old City 17 government zone.
Old City 17 government zone.
City 17 has gone through quite a few stylistic changes over the course of Half Life 2's development. The earliest known City 17 maps date back as early as 2000/2001. The style of brushwork seen in these early maps is comparable to brushwork seen in maps from Half Life 1 - in other words, relatively small and self-contained. As well, the style of brushwork seen in these early maps, despite seeming "blocky" by retail standards, is much more finalized and inflexible, and therefore very difficult to work with. Sky brushes, for example, typically conform to the shapes of rooftops. Artistically, these maps showcase the earliest surviving iterations of the darker City 17 as seen in Raising the Bar. This is the era of City 17 that saw the gigantic Gothic skyscrapers and sprawling industrial sectors that were nowhere to be seen in the retail game. It is also in this year that we see early renditions of the "vert" section of the game. However, many of these maps contain little to no gameplay and are full of brush based props and low-res composite textures.

In 2002, the concepts that had been laid out in the preceding year began to take on new life. This is the year that saw the latest stages of popular old City 17 areas such as e3_industrial and e3_terminal. The "vert" chapter itself was redesigned from scratch into the more visually pleasing "palace" maps. These locations, however, would be cut from the game by the end of the year.

Throughout these three years of City 17's development, we can see progressive attempts at showing the Combine grafting their own structures onto the city. Some of these structures, such as the stenographer's chasm and the concrete outer wall of the Citadel, gave the impression that the Combine were constructing or renovating buildings using human materials instead of their specialized metal ever-present in the retail game. This strange phase of design is also apparent in the prototyped Citadel interior covered almost entirely with white ceramic tiles. In the retail game, this style of Combine construction is virtually absent, and Combine construction is limited to the mysterious blue metal materials. This decision was most likely made to emphasize the stark contrast between Combine and Human architecture.

Civilian transportation within the city has also changed during the course of development. While in retail that citizens are restricted to foot travel within closed precincts of City 17, there were at one point electric trolleys and buses connecting the various locations.

City 17 industrial zone.
City 17 industrial zone.
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