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Antlion Grub

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"Freeman, you did avoid the grubs on the way in here, right?"

Antlion Grub are the larval forms of Antlions. They are found in the first two chapters of Half-Life 2: Episode Two, To the White Forest and This Vortal Coil, in the Victory Mine.


Antlion Grubs mine floor

Antlion Grubs in situ.

The Grubs resemble Earthly insect larvae, with soft, translucent bodies and underdeveloped limbs. They also have small mouths that open and close slowly. They emit a high chirping call and bioluminescence similar to that of a Firefly. They are found only deep inside Antlion colonies, and can be seen hanging on any available surfaces, often in groups of two or more. They are extremely fragile and can be killed by merely bumping into them. In the hive, human remains are sometimes found scattered on the ground near Grubs, suggesting that they are carnivorous and are presumably provided with food by mature Antlions. Grubs also exude a filmy thread, similar to that of a Silkworm but on a much larger scale. As seen in the Victory Mine, these webs often block whole passageways or contain items useful to the player. Every Antlion in the nest will protect grubs fiercely.

Grubs internally contain a yellow substance with healing properties, named "larval pellet" ("nugget" in the game files). Killing the Grub releases the said larval pellet, which varies in size (it includes three models: small, medium, and large). How much the substance heals is dependent upon the player's current health level.[1] The larval pellet will be destroyed if it hits the ground at relatively high speed or if it is shot.

Behind the scenesEdit


The original Antlion Grub nest in the test map "grub2", with rocks supposedly serving as placeholders for Antlion eggs.

  • The original Grub model can be found in the playable Half-Life 2 Beta files. It has eyes, while all retail Antlions are blind, and one of its animations show it to move at a decent speed and directly attack the player. The files also feature early sounds which appear to be sped up baby sounds.[3]
  • According to Valve's Ted Backman, the Antlion Grub was created for Half-Life 2 to visually flesh out the lifecycle of the Antlions but the team never found the right place to include it. As the team developed the Antlion environments of Episode Two, the Grubs were an obvious choice for resurrection. In addition to the Grub's role in the life cycle of the Antlion, they provide light, which is an equally valuable service in these dark tunnels.[1]
  • As the Grubs came to life, the team made sure that killing them was more rewarding, introducing the larval pellet for players with low health. Soon they found many players were compelled to squash every Grub in the map. The Grubs also play a role in the game's dynamic resupply system: the more injured the player is, the more health they provide (as stated above), which allowed the team to create a consistent level of challenge for players at differing skill levels.[1]
  • According to Valve's Carl Uhlman, in early tests playtesters did not realize that Antlion Grubs drop health pellets, since they tended to pick up the larval pellets by accident after squishing the Grubs. In order to showcase the feature, the team placed a Grub on the far side of a webbing. When a player breaks the web, they squish the Grub and send the pellet rolling. Most players chase the larval pellet and naturally understand how to exploit Grubs in the future.[1]
Squashed parts

The unfinished Antlion Grub texture found in the Episode One files.

  • According to Valve's John Morello, Griggs and Sheckley's comment about not stepping on the Grubs was originally intended for comedic effect and to suggest that, as usual, Gordon Freeman had brought trouble in his wake. However, the team found that some playtesters took this comment too literally, and would spend the rest of the level avoiding grubs in fear of spawning more Antlions, making the levels quite difficult. The team experimented for a short time with making this an actual mechanic, bringing in Antlions whenever Grubs were squished; but this had several negative results: it made the tunnels far too difficult, and canceled out any benefit the player got from squishing Grubs for health. They then decided to keep the Grub behavior simple and rewarding.[1] It still reacts when approached by the player, but does not necessarily summon other Antlions.

Trivia Edit

  • An unfinished texture file for squashed parts of an Antlion Grub can be found in the Episode One texture files.
  • Of note is the similarities between the Antlion Grub and a common Termite, especially when viewed from the front.
  • "Get Some Grub", possibly the hardest achievement in Episode Two, can be unlocked by killing all 333 Antlion grubs in the game. Another, "Piñata Party", can be achieved by breaking open all 9 of the stashes of supplies found trapped in the Grubs' webs.
  • Picking the larval pellet up will only emit a healing sound without a HUD icon, much like the Medkit.




List of appearancesEdit


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