Half Life 2 Gravity Gun build (tons o' pics!)

Volpin

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
This is a project I've had brewing in the back of my mind for a while now, ever since I had finished my Portal Gun build a few years back. The Grav Gun is a lot more complicated than its physics-manipulating sibling, and I've finally gotten to the point where I think my propbuilding skills are at the level where I can do this thing justice.

The problem up until now is that (like in Portal) there are 2 versions of the gun; the "equipped" model and the "environment" model. The equipped model is far more detailed, but only includes the upper left rear section of the gun, as shown when the player is holding it. The rest of the model doesn't exist. The environment model is a full 3D model, but pathetically low in resolution.



I had a chance to visit Valve a year ago, and spoke with one of their lead designers who really wants to see this thing made. To that end, he provided me with an excellent 3D model that he had made personally, which shows the gun in all its detailed glory. With this in hand, I could finally start my project (before anyone asks; I'm sorry but I do not have permission to distribute this file or post any higher-resolution imagery)



I've been working on the build for about a week and a half, but wanted to have some more substantial progress before I fired up a build thread. This is the first project where I've used laser cutting before (service provided by Ponoko) so there's a lot of new ground to cover.

It took about 3 days of plotting and measuring, then the plans for the gun went to Ponoko about 2 weeks ago. I got these in the mail just this past Tuesday:




Most of whats there will get you about 65% of the way to having a grav gun, but there's a lot of sanding and molding yet to do.

For instance, the cages that fit over the illuminated bars. I made these out of 4 sliced sections of acrylic, with styrene added for the beveled edge. I'll need to mold this and make 6 copies.



The front barrel assembly shown here is 4 pieces as of now, but will eventually need to have 4 more layers to be complete. There's some apoxie sculpt in the edge that will be sanded for a bevel



Main section of the rear body going together. I went with clear because that was the only .080" plastic they carried and I didn't want this thing to be too bulky. Before sending these out to be cut, I made a few paper mockups to be sure of the dimensions. Good thing too, the first 2 attempts were wrong!





Not everything is getting laser cut though, the cylinders on the back of the gun as well as the prongs have both been lathed & sculpted by hand and molded. The claws were one of the smaller molds I've attempted, and glad to say they came out very well.




I did mention there would be illumination (of course there will, right?) and I'm planning on putting an Arduino in the body of the gun to give the LEDs some nice PWM pulsing effects. Boards are off at BatchPCB.com getting printed, should have them back in a couple of weeks. There are just shy of 100 LEDs in this thing. Gonna be BRIGHT!







I'll be updating this thread as the project commences from here on out. Deadline is December 1, so gonna have to move quick!

EDIT: Deadline is so I can make the Child's Play charity auction event in Seattle on December 8th with the gun in-hand.
 
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comicguy

Sr Member
I've wanted to see this done the right way for years. I've seen a few paper crafts of the gravity gun but nothing like how this will end up. I can't wait to see the finished results, this is going to be amazing!
 

Dainbramage546

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Looks amazing so far! Can't wait to see the end result.

We've got a couple laser cutters here at school but I haven't attempted to build anything with them yet. I might have to take a stab at something [simple].
 

Slukaj

Member
Ah, I was figuring that you were using the reference pictures I sent you a while back. I couldn't figure out how you were able to come up with this kind of detail!

Looks great so far!
 

BLACKULA727

Active Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
Awesome start. I love how clean everything is. Wish I could work this neat, im kind of a slob...lol. Anyways, this is going to be great!
 

dstilgar

Active Member
So, Valve invites you to go to their studios and then shows you the model file for the gravity gun that will be in Halflife 3, and requests that you build them a model before Dec. 1 for a nice big Christmas surprise, that surprise being Halflife 3 being released before Christmas this year! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AGHAHHHAHAHA!HA!H!H!AH!HAH!AH!HA!HA!HAH!HA!A

I knew it! I'm so pumped!

On a side note, although you have talked to some of the guys at valve about this, I've always thought of the gold tone inside the front assembly to be gold mylar, kinda like on the moon lander. Do you know what it's "supposed" to be and how are you going to do it. Gold mylar lit up with amber LEDs would just be rad.
 

TMBountyHunter

Active Member
Keeping a very close eye on this thread for awesome :D




So, Valve invites you to go to their studios and then shows you the model file for the gravity gun that will be in Halflife 3, and requests that you build them a model before Dec. 1 for a nice big Christmas surprise, that surprise being Halflife 3 being released before Christmas this year! AHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! AGHAHHHAHAHA!HA!H!H!AH!HAH!AH!HA!HA!HAH!HA!A
Unfortunatly Valve doesn't work like that. They still have DOTA 2 to kick out the door and are in the middle of closed beta. They've also announced CS:GO fairly recently and that'll need just as much effort. Those two pretty much fill up 2012 for them as far as actual releases go. They're also still have a massive lineup of updates and DLC for TF2, L4D2 and Portal 2. If they announce HL3 now it'll be for 2013 and even after that Valve Time needs to be taken into account.

I want HL3 as much as anyone else, but you gotta be realistic about it. Otherwise you're just settig yourself up for disappointment :(

Earlies plausible HL3 announcement is E3 2012.
 

dstilgar

Active Member
I want HL3 as much as anyone else, but you gotta be realistic about it. Otherwise you're just settig yourself up for disappointment :(

Earlies plausible HL3 announcement is E3 2012.
Yeah, I know. I'm just kidding.

I have a strong feeling, however, that DOTA:2 and CS:GO are going to be the last games (or close to it) before Halflife 3 comes out with a new engine (let's call it Source2). Valve cancelled the episodic model when they remembered that they are Valve and they don't rush anything, but I also think that it was 2007 that the Source engine really started to see its limits.

In 2007 Crysis, COD4, Bioshock, and UT3 all came out with new engines. This is also the last we saw of Valve's episodic release of Halflife games. While current updates to the Source engine look better in some ways, it's now 2011. The Source engine is behind the curve, especially when it comes to particle effects. I think the jump in graphics that came in 2007 really put a stopper on Halflife releases. Halflife is their premier franchise. It has to be better than every other game. It has always changed the industry. It always wins game of the year. Valve isn't going to release the next game unless they are sure it is going to do/be those things.

There's also the point that Halflife 1 was the premier of the GoldSrc engine and that Halflife 2 was the premier of the Source engine. HL3 will be released as the premier game for Source2.

So, what is Valve doing? Well, they've been silent about Halflife all this time, while keeping the Source engine from looking like complete crap. I think the Source engine has been a place where they experiment different ideas for a new engine they're working on, as well as a place where they can take some elements from the new engine and work them into Source whenever the code complies.

And that's the important thing, Valve is going to want a way to migrate much of their code to the new engine, like they did when they essentially ported HL:1, etc. to the Source engine.

CS:GO is one way to heavily test the ability to take a game from the Source engine to Source2. However, SC:GO can't be the game to premier Source2. It has to be Halflife 3.

Also, Valve has been getting better about Valve time. More and more I see them release updates on time and even early. While I don't think they are working any faster than they have before, I think they've learned their lesson on talking about it.

So when will HL3 come out? I think as early as holiday season 2012, or even summer, but that's wishful thinking. However, I don't see it being later than holiday season 2013. The Source engine isn't going to survive that long.
 

Lucky7

New Member
That 3D model is amazing. I don't think anyone could have put together a gravity gun faithful to the intended design without it. I just did a quick search for other reference materials and its pretty staggering how little there is, considering how much of a center piece it is to the games.
 

Volpin

Well-Known Member
RPF PREMIUM MEMBER
I've always thought of the gold tone inside the front assembly to be gold mylar, kinda like on the moon lander. Do you know what it's "supposed" to be and how are you going to do it. Gold mylar lit up with amber LEDs would just be rad.
The mylar is a neat idea, but one I hadn't considered until now. I was thinking it was a translucent sheet of some sort of material. I'm imagining the orange bars than run lengthwise to be some sort of resonant charged crystalline material, and their arrangement focuses the resonance down the "barrel" of the gun toward a disc made of the same substance, which lets the user aim/control it. My version will be a plexi sheet with orange LEDs embedded, which will pulse like the bars.

Short answer, no. They didn't tell me the substances of the orange stuff, but I did receive some interesting design direction concerning the rest of the gun. That comes later...

I've been to valve twice now, and have only seen 4 of the 5 floors of their office. Its my suspicion that the HL:3 stuff happens up there, but I have nothing to back that theory. In both of my trips, I have seen nothing that indicated HL:3 was being worked on at all, actually.
 

Lucky7

New Member
Short answer, no. They didn't tell me the substances of the orange stuff, but I did receive some interesting design direction concerning the rest of the gun. That comes later...
I always assumed the orange stuff was Xen crystal, which caused the whole resonance cascade from HL1. There's even some at Eli's lab at Black Mesa East in HL2.
 
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dstilgar

Active Member
I always assumed the orange stuff was Xen crystal, which caused the whole resonance cascade from HL1. There's even some at Eli's lab at Black Mesa East in HL2.
Nice connection. They certainly have a similar look. It's just so hard to tell from the pictures, but you are probably right.
 
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