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[Source SDK Mod] Zeitgeist, 1934 - A HL2 Total Conversion


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some of you may remember me from a couple of DoD:S and RnL maps I made years ago. I'm afraid I went into inward emigration after noticing I was literally not working on the level I wanted to work on, so I took some time off to improve my modeling, texturing and level design techniques to hopefully become a somewhat more complete artist by working on a project I could be really enthusiastic about. So I scratched all my sketches and the rest of my money together, rented a server, started some levels, put them online and ended up with a 14-person-project single player total conversion called "Zeitgeist", set in the 1930s of an alternate reality where history took a couple of different turns. My current function is that of the lead level- and environmental artist, story author and project manager aka :monkey: .

The Story:

The story behind Zeitgeist takes place in the 1930s of a fictional time line. The 'Great War', as it is called, did not end in the autumn of 1918; with the Lusitania never having been sunk, the Russian Revolution failed and Italy having left the Entente due to an internal crisis, the war lasted until the summer of 1929 when most of the reserves were gone and the continent's economy finally collapsed. Now, in 1934, a league of nations is about to be founded in London: an end to war and a solution to all the national conflicts.

Then, a terrible attack crushes the hopes of the european people in a heartbeat. Peace now depends on Richard Czerny, a journalist who happens to bump into the terrorist right after he planted the bomb in the conference hotel. In a race against time, Czerny, wrongfully accused of being the terrorist himself, must defend himself against the police, a radical militia and an ancient secret organisation trying to keep the flames of war burning. The next and probably final episode of the 'Great War' seems inevitable as scientists in Copenhagen and Berlin make a discovery that could change the face of warfare forever.

The Setting:

Zeitgeist features several European cities such as London, Prague and Venice. The fictional 1930s allowed us to place intact old towns, baroque and renaissance buildings next to modern art deco, art nouveau and bauhaus-architecture. Neon signs and imperial insignia might appear in the same scene, just as horse-drawn carriages, steam trains, Zeppelins and highly modern streamlined vehicles. In order to keep the technical and historical background's credibility working, we spent years on recherche and employ, among others, a trained art historian, an engineer and a transportation designer.

The Images:

As by now the number of finished or almost-finished levels has increased over the years, I'll try not to show more pictures than necessary to give you a first impression of the visuals we're trying to create for Zeitgeist.

zg_dec_001th.jpg zg_dec_004th.jpg

zg_oct_002th.jpg zg_oct_004th.jpg

upd12_10_a_05th.jpg upd12_10_a_08th.jpg

updatenov10_03th.jpg updatenov10_04th.jpg

shot_02th.jpg shot_04th.jpg

zg_mp18_003th.jpg zg_mp18_004th.jpg

zg_airship229_001th.jpg zg_pc_hotel_001th.jpg

g1th.jpg g5th.jpg

(I'll keep spamming pictures in here every once in a while, and only savage criticism and personal insults can stop me, so you know what you've got to do :v ).

The Books:


I'm currently working on three novels about Zeitgeist, right now on the second book. In the beginning, writing the books was only necessary for the creation of a plot and a cast for the game. Then it turned out to be more fun than I was hoping for, I developed a kind of workflow and now the first novel totalling 700 pages is mostly ready for printing. I am still looking for a publisher - in case I'll find a solution for that, I'll have the books translated into English by a professional. Naturally, there are lots of minor characters, locations and story twists that will not make it into the game because of their complexity and the enormous amount of time needed to include them, so reading the novels might be an option for those who'd like to know more about the story.

The Trailer:

The Zeitgeist prologue trailer.

Thanks to Stefan B., formerly RnL, for the Prussian P08.

Our Communities:

We are active in lots of different communities so we can maintain connections with other developers and creative artists all around the globe. We've also been featured in podcasts and several print media articles, but I want to spare you from having to read or listen to all that stuff, too. Zeitgeist has the following communities, accounts and pages:


If you want to know more about the history of Zeitgeist's development, our "news" section is our backlog with all the important updates between the beginnings and today.


The Zeitgeist-Facebook page. Started only yesterday, going to be updated most regularly.


My brain is not capable of using this twitter software program thing yet. Still, here it is!


The official Zeitgeist website featuring print media articles, more images, information about the team & the Zeitgeist ouverture.


Our showcase & studios website.


We also have a Steam Community.

I'm sure that you (like anybody else with a life, a job and / or friends) have a dozen better things to do, but if you wish to support us by joining our groups or even our team, you're welcome! We're happy about any visitor and we'll try to answer any questions.



Til / Albatros


My apologies if you've read parts of this posting in other places before. Descriptions and images don't change within days, and I think there is no benefit in rewriting a synopsis or a technical description if making it look different it is the only purpose of the rewrite.

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thanks :D it's good to be around again!

We're trying to do a lot of stuff with Source, although I must admit that my jaw must still be lying around somewhere under my kitchen table after playing Dear Esther yesterday. It's the final proof that Source still does have the potential needed to create stunning visuals. :v

The Zeitgeist Ouverture is online now.

The wmv. video is on http://www.facebook.com/video/video.php ... 2423&saved and, still in mp3-format, available for download from zeitgeist-thegame.de / downloads.

I'm currently translating the prologue of the novel with the help of an expert; I can't tell exactly how fast I'll progress, but I'll try to make updates with two or three pages every two or three days via facebook and, eventually, as a whole on the ModDB.



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