Arrowhead is a Half-Life 2 mod set during the so-called “First Days,” where Xen flora and fauna, however briefly, ruled the Earth. Drawing from authors like Stephen King, Marc Laidlaw, a variety of pulp sci-fi writers, and just about anything else that catches my eye, my work on Arrowhead is intended to be a love letter to Half-Life, creature features, and the general aesthetic of classic science fiction and horror in all its forms.

You can learn more about it here! I’ve written over 20,000 words of Arrowhead narrative content, not including promotional or development material. Below is what I can share without spoilers! This includes pre-release narrative content and a selection of vignettes, which are long and descriptive short stories written to help level designers, artists, and audio producers. They can be accessed by clicking on the images below. I hope you enjoy them!

Logs from Dale R.

“Then, a groan louder than anything vibrated through the dull, eviscerated corridors of a Black Mesa that had been abandoned for two thousand years. I looked out and saw a corridor that I know for a fact has never existed here. It was pitch-black but there was something there. I don’t know how to bring it into any meaning or justification. It was alive and dead, or sentient and non-sentient. Old and new. There was another groan that split through everything, and there was light at the end of that awful fake tunnel. Orange, and then green… barrelling at me like a train. There was a howl as it approached, like a train through a tunnel made of open, screaming faces. Then, as it appeared to split through the darkness, as though it was a barrier, I woke up. I never caught sight of what it was. Perhaps there was nothing to see at all, just a figment of a concept my brain conjured up to scare the hell out of me.”
A series of daily logs released in real-time as a teaser focusing on Dale Rogers, a character we meet in Arrowhead, during his time as a member of the Black Mesa Research Facility. Grappling with his rapidly shifting thoughts on consciousness, his job, and even his own morality, he is inevitably displaced from the facility after the Resonance Cascade, though not before a vague but distressing encounter leaves him questioning everything. I started this by wondering how a fairly normal engineer at Black Mesa might view the insane experiments going on around him, though it quickly shifted in a direction I didn’t expect. I'm really satisfied with the final piece, so no complaints from me!


“Sawyer’s first sensation was the stench of decaying meat. The second was the unpleasant, sterile flickering of fluorescent strips. These lights shone quite a bit brighter than the ones that stayed on, but did just the opposite. They flashed at points in the store like lightning, and then went dark. In brief blue-tinted flits they illuminated dioramas of a world gone horrifically insane; some zombies stumbled around to nowhere with an uncomprehending shock. Others were slumped on tiles or against upright shelves as though dead. Whether this was a trick or a form of sleep with unknowable dreams was something he couldn’t bring himself to dwell on.”
Written over the course of three days, The Store was basically my first contribution to Arrowhead. I really wanted to do a dark, isolated space with zombies, and a superstore seemed like a perfect fit! This was obviously unfeasible to build in-game at the time due to the complexity of the space along with the asset density it would require, but it was still an incredibly fun way to figure out how we’d handle the more atmospheric survival horror aspects of any setting.


“The shot cracked across the arroyo, puncturing a crazed shriek with a noise that had become much more natural in his hands. The nest of eyes exploded like a dozen hatching egg sacs, and he had the brief but insane vision of hundreds of blind and unfeeling spiders squirming out of its head to devour its corpse. Instead, the wet scraps of eyeball simply glistened under the setting sun as clear juice and yellowish gunk spilled out of its cavernous head. Its paw raised weakly, swiped at the air, and then it finally laid silent. Its pack went on without it, not stopping for a second.”
Longer and more complex, The Canyon was written with more intent to provide a blueprint for a potential level, albeit in a dramatized fashion. As we narrowed in on setting a portion of the game in a national park, I thought it would be fun to play with power dynamics, with a long journey to reach a group of creatures harassing you from above. This bloomed into a trek through canyons, a cave, and a dried-out riverbed, with lots of fun surprises along the way. Heavily inspired by the indie game Firewatch, I wanted to imagine how a natural space could twist and become more hazardous due to influence from alien forces, which is a major theme in Arrowhead. Overall, I’m happy with what I was able to portray!