Had a good look through the Half-Life2 Raising the Bar book (just by Valve) today. It has a few nice insights into the construction and design of the gameplay and environments. The chapter on City 17 has great concept art and the corresponding in-game visuals - beautiful. It really does highlight the extraudinary amount of work required to bring a game with this much polish to life. I quite like the sketch isometrics showing a combat area (like cellblock3 or the yard) detailing how the player can act and what the environment suggests and requires of them. My most memorable part in the entire game is the walk across the bridge - seeing it again in the images brings back fond memories indeed. Comparing how combat works in HL2 and the static combat of the MMORPGs does show that the industry has a lot of growth potential in many areas.
The text covering the interaction between the art and gameplay (where they conflict and inspire each other etc) is quite telling.
Well should I bite the bullet and grab a copy of this baby as well... It has plenty of nice features to tempt anyone. http://www.e-frontier.com/article/articleview/1156/1/281?sbss=281
[images from the gallery section of the Poser website]
WoWing - more of the Mage!
[journeytime = 1 hour]