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Free Download Installation Instructions (Half-Life 2 is required)
1. Install Steam (free): http://store.steampowered.com/about/
2. When the download is finished, navigate to your Steam directory, find the folder called “SourceMods”
(default location is C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steamapps\sourcemods\)
3. Unzip "k1.zip" into the “sourcemods” folder. Inside of "sourcemods" you should see a new folder called "k1"
4. Restart Steam
5. “Thurston Farnsworth’s Robot Ruckus” should appear in your Steam Games Library
(requires a valid Half-Life 2 installation to work)
 


What Is This?

“Thurston Farnsworth’s Robot Ruckus” is a free Half-Life 2 Mod that I made here and there on my own time over the course of a couple years. It’s a wave-based ‘horde mode’ style game where you destroy robots for 20 waves. You play as a 78 year old soup server in a food court on Pluto. The food court is part of a mining colony set up by the intergalactic corporate conglomerate “Enormco”. Robots do all the mining on the colony, and in the mod the robots have all gone berserk. The robots come in three flavors: Miners (HL2 zombie, with modified animations), Diggers (HL2 fastzombie) and Security (HL2 Combine). There’s also a ‘boss’ robot based on the Ant Lion guard. Survive for 20 waves to escape!

Basically this was a technical exercise where I replaced assets and did some basic scripting and level design. I was always curious about what made Half-Life 2 tick, and in modding, I saw a chance to dig into it, pull it apart, and put it back together again. I also wanted to see what I could do by my lonesome with only the internet to help me out if I encountered any problems. The Steam forum folks were great and got me out of quite a few jams. In the end, there were a few instances where I was simply not able to figure something out (like playing a Bink), but, all in all I’m satisfied with the final product.

What I learned from making this simple map was this: Making games is hard. You’d think I would know this already from working on Call of Duty, but at Treyarch I’m focused mainly on the animation portion of the game development process. Working on this mod opened my eyes to the scripting and level design challenges that my colleagues deal with every day, and I now have a new appreciation for what they do and how painstaking it can be.

At every stage of the process I had to overcome various obstacles. Without a doubt, this was harder than making an animated short. I’d never used XSI before, so there was that too. I’ve seen people using Maya to animate Half-Life 2 weapons but I couldn’t get that working to save my life. The weapon rigs all lived in XSI, so I just animated in there. Using VisualStudio and getting the zombie code to work with the new models was a whole process, then updating all the weapon models, even just compiling the map successfully was a challenge at a certain point. What eventually happened was that adding stuff caused the level to freeze when it loaded up. So I concluded that “I simply can’t add any more stuff”. Project complete!

Anyway. Here it is in all its glory. It takes about 45 minutes to play through. Enjoy!

PS - I lifted Dead Rising's excellent Mall Music for this mod. It's by Hideki Okugawa.


Videos




Gameplay (2:34)


The Ending I Couldn't Get To Play In the Game (0:41)



Screens

Here are few screengrabs from the final version.




 


Weapons

Robots


All work © 2006 Kevin Kraeer / Kraeer Animation
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