we decided to go back to our roots, to the half-life 1 engine, and create lost coast. we thought that it would be a very difficult place to make art. we wanted to see what we could do. what are the technical challenges of this level? we created a first pass on the art assets, which were given to the tools team to create the level. antonov says: \"the tools team had to do an amazing job, and we used all the lessons we learned while developing the tools to make lost coast.\"
the team at valve went to the lost coast, which required development for around six months, and antonov says that it \"put all the lessons learned to work\". the art team spent two months building the level, then they began to identify the technical challenges. antonov says that the level was built in three phases. the first phase was the most important, so it had to be as realistic as possible. the challenge was to make it believable as a feature of a real world, like the rocky landscape in the earth's real coast. the second phase was creating shadows and reflections, because they're very difficult to render.
the third phase was creating light, using light from the sun. this had to be realistic, so it was physically impossible. antonov explains: you have to have something that behaves as light. how would the light change depending on where you are? you have to simulate the rays from the sun as they fall on the landscape, and calculate what your environment is doing. \"the hardest thing was the lighting, because that is the most complicated thing in games,\" he adds.
antonov says that the level can be used as a benchmark to judge how good a new engine would have to be in order to create lost coast. he explains that the team wanted to show what they could do, and now that the lost coast has been completed, it's difficult to decide what the next level will be. antonov says that he knows that half-life 3 will have very high quality graphics, but the team will have to consider what tools to create it in.