Numerous NPC’s in Half-Life 2 and it’s episodes appear before Freeman on digital displays.
Regardless of where they appear, whether it be the clunky soviet televisions littering citizen residences, or the intimidating Breencast monitors; any character who appears on a screen in Half-Life has to exist somewhere on that map.
In order to ensure that Freeman can never accidentally interrupt or interfere with these NPC’s, level designers chose to place them in separate enclosed environments; far away from the action of the rest of the map.
Consequentially you can expect to find one of these unintentionally ominous cubes in some desolate corner of any map where a character appears on a screen.
The Citadel in Half-Life 2 was far too large for the initial version of the Source Engine to be able to handle at a 1:1 scale with the rest of the game.
To solve this problem, Valve constructed the Citadel at a mere fraction of it’s actual size, and then project that model into the ‘skybox’ of the actual map; giving a convincing Wizard of Oz esque illusion.
If the player so chooses, they can noclip on almost every map in Half-Life 2 to the box where the citadel is held, allowing them to view the actual size of the model in comparison to it’s enlarged projection.
So I found out that the npc_cscannner timescale is effected by the timescale of the physics engine, which means if I turn phys_timescale up to say… 25, then the scanners go super fast but everything else goes along at normal speed. Naturally I spawned a couple dozen scanners in and voila you’re in hell.
Here’s what happen if I let the scanners know I’m there.