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    Lost Coast Walkthrough by Grawl

    Version: 0.1 | Updated: 10/31/05 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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    Half-Life 2: Lost Coast Guide by Grawl
    grawler (@t) gmail (d0t) com                          
    10/31/05 - Version 0.1
    It seems thousands of players enjoy my guide, seeing the countless mails I
    receive. This makes me very happy, since it means my guide actually has some
    use ;p So I'm asking you, if you're enjoying this guide, could you perhaps 
    donate some money? Heck, I'll be happy with your 2 bucks you were going to 
    spent on a cheeseburger later ;p Thank you!
    1) Don't steal anything from this guide. This guide is copyrighted according
       to the DMCA (http://www.copyright.gov/legislation/dmca.pdf) and stealing
       this guide and/or parts of this guide without my written permission will
       lead to a removal request. When this request doesn't get accepted within
       48 hours, an official DMCA notice will follow. If this gets ignored, bigger
       steps will be taken.
    2) Do you see someone use parts that look like parts of my guide? Please let
       me know. 
    3) If want this guide on your site, send a mail to me to ask permission. I
       have the right to reject or accept this request. I'll keep my own list of
       sites that are allowed to use our guide. If I find my guide on a site 
       that's not allowed to host it, I'll ask to remove it. For more information
       see point 1. Once you are allowed to use the guide, you are only allowed to
       use this guide the way it can be found on www.grawl.nl. You're not allowed
       to ask money for the guide.
    4) Donations are more than welcome. I need the money to buy the latest games,
       fix problems with my PC etc. If you enjoyed this guide, head to
       http://www.donategrawl.cjb.net and donate something. It's more than
    5) I have the right to answer a mail or not. Be sure you checked the latest
       version of the guide. You can find the latest version at
       http://www.grawl.nl. I won't reply when you're mailing about something
       obvious, something that's already covered, something that'll end up in the
       guide in later versions or when you're not able to write a proper mail. Use
       proper grammar and spelling.
    6) Mailing me to tell how good the guide is, is appreciated ;p You can write
       in either English or Dutch.
    To make searching easier, I added search-codes in the TOC. Just press CTRL + F
    and enter the code to jump to that part immediately.
    Table of Contents                                                   [HL.00.00]
    * Table of Contents.................................................[HL.00.00]
    * History & Next Version............................................[HL.01.01]
    * Introduction......................................................[HL.02.01]
    * Walkthrough.......................................................[HL.03.01]
    * FAQ...............................................................[HL.04.01]
    * Conclusion........................................................[HL.05.01]
    History & Next Version                                              [HL.01.01]
    Version 0.1 (10/31/05) - Everything is new. (22,4KB)
    Introduction                                                        [HL.02.01]
    Valve doesn't sit still. Nothing like that at all. They developed a new
    lightning technology called HDR, which is truly amazing. This level they
    released on Steam is not really much of a game to play, but more of a tech
    demo. Nevertheless, it's still great stuff, and the level design is simply
    brilliant. I just wished that they made Half-Life 2 like this.
    Can anyone play this? No. You need Half-Life 2 (any version will do, as long 
    as it's legal)... and that's pretty much it. However, if you want to play 
    this game with the new HDR function, your card needs to be able to handle
    HDR (I'm not sure which one do or don't). You can still play the level fine
    without it though. 
    Furthermore, I'm not going in-depth on weapons, enemies etc. For that, I
    suggest you to read my Half-Life 2 guide, which can be found as an exclusive
    guide on IGN.
    If you want to have the most fun out of this, and don't want to be spoiled,
    turn off the commentary and play on hard. You'll have a blast. Then play 
    again on easy, with commentary on, so you can enjoy the game and look around
    at your own speed. Also play around with the gravity gun, it's still fun ;)
    So once you ready, get the files of Steam and load the thing up (you may need
    to set up HRD manually though - I had to). Get ready to have some fun for the
    next half an hour or so.
    Walkthrough                                                         [HL.03.01]
    Right in front of you are several audio commentary balloons (if you enabled
    them, that is). Press the use button on them to hear them. 
    #1: "[Gabe Newell] Welcome to the Lost Coast. In this tour, we're going to be
    talking about a new graphics technology we've been developing, called High
    Dynamic Range Lighting, or HDR. We'll also be giving the construction of the
    Lost Coast. First, a quick explanation of the commentary system. To listen to
    a commentary node, put your crosshair over the floating commentary symbol and
    press the +USE key. To stop the commentary, put your crosshair over the
    rotating node and press your +USE key again. Some commentary nodes may take
    control of the game for the purpose of showing something to you. In these
    cases, simply pressing your +USE key will stop the commentary."
    #2: "[Viktor Antonov] When the art team started to think about a location that
    would demonstrate the power of HDR, a beach was one of the first choices we
    made. The visual relationship between the sky, the water, and the rocks is
    something we could not achieve without HDR. In order for high dynamic range to
    correctly simulate the light's interaction with the surfaces around you, like
    these wet rocks, we needed more precise information about the surfaces than
    we've had in the past. So now, going forward, we're modelling textures in 3D
    packages to ensure that the physical information encoded in the texture 
    allows HDR to correctly bounce light off the surface. We also design the 
    colors and values of each surface to ensure they will be correct across all
    exposure levels."
    #3: "[Gary McTaggart] With conventional rendering, seen here on the left, if
    something on the screen is 20% reflective, like the wet stand, then the 
    maximum reflected brightness could only be 20% of  the maximum brightness of
    your monitor. HDR's more accurate simulation of light ensures that the sun's
    reflection on this wet sand appears as it would in the real world, which could
    potentially use 100% of the maximum monitor brightness. HDR uses bloom to 
    simulate light that is beyond 100% of a monitor's maximum brightness."
    If you have HDR on, just take a look around. Notice how the sand reflects the
    sun in a beautiful way. If you're lucky enough to run with high textures, the
    rocks will look great too. I wasn't that lucky. Before walking to the 
    fisherman, notice there is also an area behind the rocks to the left of your
    starting point. You'll find a wrecked ship here, and another text balloon.
    #4: "[Robin Walker] The remains of the ship in front of you where once part of
    a puzzle we cut out of the Lost Coast. The original design of the puzzle was
    based on the idea of the player and the fisherman co-operating together to
    solve something. This was a type of puzzle we'd always wanted to attempt in
    HL2. Unfortunately, as development on Lost Coast neared the end, and this
    puzzle still wasn't finished, we decided to cut it. It's always painful to
    remove work, so we've tried to evolve a process for making those kinds of
    decisions. For example, with this puzzle we asked ourselves 'Is this puzzle
    actually fun?','If not, how much work does it need to be fun?','Does this
    puzzle fit within the purpose of Lost Coast?','Would our customers appreciate
    this puzzle being finished more than they would appreciate, say, soldiers
    rappelling off the cliffside?'. In the end, it made the most sense to put this
    problem on the shelf with other interesting ideas, and come back to it later."
    Get back to the previous area, and have a look at the text balloon in front of
    the fisherman.
    #5: "[Randy Lundeen] The process of building characters in Half-Life 2 taught
    us many things. By the end, we believed we'd figured out a more effective
    process for designing and constructing characters. This fisherman is the
    first character we've guilt using that process. Design-wise, the fisherman was
    focused on showcasing HDR, and the way light falls on human skin. The
    highlights on his forehead and nose are good examples of specularity on human
    skin. You can see how the wrinkles on his cheeks, and around his eyes, are an
    example of how we can use normal maps to add depth. Production-wise, the
    fisherman was built using a similar process to the rocks you saw on the beach.
    We model the 3D character at a very high detail, then extract much of the 
    physical information and store it in the textures."
    The fisherman will ask if you're the real Gordon Friedman (or something), and
    then open the gate for you. We're almost ready for some action. Let's first
    check the next balloon.
    #6: "[Gary McTaggart] Water presents us with a lot of rendering challenges.
    In fact, we have to render the scene 3 times. Once for the refraction of
    what's under the water, once for the reflection of everything above the water,
    and once from the player's view. You can see the reflection $ refraction
    scenes in the two small windows onscreen. In the refraction, we calculate,
    per-pixel, how much water you're looking through to do a volumetric underwater
    fog, to simulate particulate matter. For our full HDR solution, we had to go
    through the entire engine and modify every bit of code that calculated light
    and color. For example, these water reflection & refraction renderings had to
    be improved to support the full range of contrast values."
    So, enough listening/reading, eh? Walk up the path, and you can start fragging
    the Combines. They're coming from everywhere, so watch out for that. The path
    isn't too big either, so don't fall of the cliff when going sideward. After
    some shooting, you'll notice you can't go any further. Turn around, and jump
    on the cliff. There is another text balloon here.
    #7: "[Robin Walker] The area you're currently entering is called the cliffside
    arena. We were particularly happy with the vertical cliffside in Half-Life 1,
    and regretted that we didn't iterate further on that concept in Half-Life 2.
    Vertical space allows us to force the player to deal with threats from above
    and below. We find that player focus their view on the direction they're
    travelling, so by using a cliffside, and having the player ascend it, we 
    ensure the player will look up and be prepared for enemies. If the player's
    path was to move past the bottom of the cliffside, it would be unlikely he
    would notice the soldiers rappelling down from above. Dying from unknown
    threats never feels fair, and certainly isn't fun."
    Sure Robin, that's why a bit later on, you get attacked by soldier on roofs.
    Makes perfect sense. Anyway, continue up the cliff, and kill the Combines.
    After a short while you'll reach a small hall with another text balloon.
    #8: "[Chris Green] One of the features of our HDR solution is dynamic 
    tonemapping. The easiest way to think about dynamic tonemapping is that it is
    a method of simulating the way the human eye reacts to light. In the real
    world, you've probably walked into a dark room and noticed your eye adjusting
    to the darkness, letting you see better after some time. Or you've walked into
    a bright day, and been blinded by the sun, only to have your eye adjust and
    allow you to see normally. Your iris is adjusting itself in response to the
    amount of light hitting your eye. Dynamic tonemapping simulates this, by
    automatically adjusting the exposure of the scene to mimic the behavior of
    your iris. You can see this as the view moves from the dark tunnel to the
    bright sun, and back again. Here you can see the way we calculate the amount
    of light hitting the player's eyes. We take a snapshot of the scene, and 
    extract the brightness levels to get the average level of light. Additionally,
    we consider light at the center of the screen more important than that at the
    edges, to better simulate the geometry of the eye."
    Once you move a bit more forward, you enter up in a courtyard. The doors 
    behind you close. Relax for the moment, though. Follow the path up into the
    church, reading and listening to the balloons.
    #9: "[Robin Walker] The courtyard in front of you is a space we call an Arena.
    Arenas are built to hold the player for a period of time, and usually contain
    combat or some other challenge. They often have multiple entry-points for
    enemies, along with a gate of some kind to prevent the player moving on, until
    the challenge has been completed. In this case, the arena is free of enemies
    until the player solves a puzzle, and triggers an alarm. This is a method that
    allows the player to explore the arena, and get a sense of its space before
    being forced to fight in it. It adds a sense of uneasiness to the player, 
    who's expecting to be attacked now that they've reached the goal set for them
    at the start of the map. The break in action here is also a crucial part of
    the level's aching. It allows the player to recover and explore the world a
    little, after being attacked on the way up the cliffside."
    #10: "[Chris Green] The Source engine supports a wide variety of shaders. The
    refraction shader on the window here requires us to copy the scene to a 
    texture, refract it, and then apply it to the window surface. To fully
    support HDR, every shader in the engine needed to be updated, so this 
    refraction shader was improved to support the full range of contrasts."
    Use the door of the church to enter it. If you don't feel like it yet, you can
    also wander around and exploring stuff. You'll find some supplies, weapons
    and ammo around. Inside the church are more text balloons.
    #11: "[Viktor Antonov] We wanted the transition from a bright, wide-open space
    into a tighter, closed one to showcase HDR's dynamic tonemapping. We also like
    to focus on contrasting elements in our settings, like ancient human 
    architecture and futuristic combine technology. A monastery fit these 
    requirements perfectly. Monastery's are generally isolated, unlit, and built
    ages ago. They provide a great backdrop for the contrasting combine 
    technology. When we build fictional settings, we try to ground them by basing
    them off a real-world location. We use this location as a design constraint
    that forces a logical consistency behind the art choices."
    #12: "[Viktor Antonov] Churches are great dramatic spaces. They're often lit
    naturally with extremes of darkness and brightness, which makes them a great
    showcase for HDR. Gothic churches are the sober, monochromatic spaces that
    you've been in almost every horror movie or game. Byzantine churches, on the
    other hand, are very colourful and have a large variety of materials. We 
    wanted that color & material variety to show off our HDR reflections."
    #13: "[Robin Walker] Our games are filled with things we call "gates", which
    are essentially just challenges that the player must overcome to drive the
    experience forward. We used a puzzle here, since the player has been through
    combat and exploration recently. When we design challenges, we try to
    ensure that the player's goal and the action required by the player are both
    fun. It's not hard to create interesting goals for the player, like stopping
    this machine from shelling the nearby village. But the action required by the
    player to solve the challenge needs to be fun as well. So instead of something
    menial, such as hitting an off switch, the player gets to use physics to jam
    the gun's mechanism and cause it to break."
    So, let's listen to mister Walker. Grab your gravity gun, and shoot the plates
    of the machine. When the machine is going up (to shoot a shell), put something
    between it, doesn't matter what. Once you did this, the alarm will go off.
    First a few Black Headcrabs will pop in. After that Combines will rush in, and
    a chopper will go around. I suggest to just wait till most Combines came in.
    That way you can easily pop them. Head outside after that, kill the remaining
    Combines, and hide. After a short while, the gate will be crushed open. Move
    on, for a chopper fight. If you want an easy fight, you can just enable the
    balloon, and the chopper will stop moving. Don't be so lame though ;) Shoot
    the chopper down with the rocket launcher, and enable the final commentary.
    #14: "[Gabe Newell] This marks the end of the Lost Coast tour. This has been
    an experiment on our part to see if our community would find it interesting to
    learn more about our development process. As always, we're interested in your
    feedback. I can be reached at gaben@valvesoftware.com. If people like this,
    we'll keep producing the kind of content for all of our games going forward.
    Thanks for listening!"
    So, that's it? Not quite. The chopper will crash into the platform, and some
    Combines will start shooting from above (see? told you!). Frag them down. Now
    all you need to do, is go down. However, the way back is blocked. Use your 
    gravity gun to shoot down the wooden planks that are loose. This will reveal
    a path below. Go there, and crawl your way to the cabin. Enter it, and head to
    the fisherman. He'll thank you and that ends the level.
    FAQ                                                                 [HL.04.01]
    Q: Why did you even do this guide?
    A: Good question... *whistles*
    Q: When i re-load my game, all the Combines resurrected... as dolls...
    A: Yea, it's a bug. As long as they don't shoot, it's fine with me ;p
    Q: Are there any ways to reach the parts of the level you can't reach?
    A: Yes, with the use of cheats. In the options menu, find the option to use
       the development console (~). Press ~ in-game, use the command sv_cheats 1
       and then noclip 1. You can now fly there.
    Conclusion                                                          [HL.05.01]
    I hope you enjoyed my guide, since I put a lot of work in it. If you encounter
    problems, feel free to mail me. Also suggestions, feedback, comment etc. are
    accepted, the mail addy is on top of this file.
    Thanks-list: Stephen Ng
    And especially you, for reading this.
    For other guides, you can check this link:
                    Copyright (c) 2005 by Grawl. All rights reserved.

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