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Regular (used to be weekly) polls to stimulate interesting and intelligent discussion.
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Poll Question 358 – How many Achievements have you attained?

In What The Headcrab! Episode 19 I talked about a post on Reddit that said that only 1% of people who have played Half-Life 2 had attained all of the statistics. I couldn’t find a page that said only 1% had all achievements but I suspect it was a play on the current 1%/99% theme in today’s world.

Then later that day, I was playing a single player mappack for Black Mesa called Small Lab and I started to get some achievements. The funny thing is that I haven’t even played the game yet and when I do, I might even have most of them attained.

I’ve never been a big fan of achievements but I understand their appeal. Perhaps we could have Attain November, just like we did last year with HARD November?

18th August 2016 25 Comments

Poll Question 357 – Is it possible for SP mods to release too many Alpha/Beta versions?

Preparing a What The Headcrab! episode, I noticed that Above The Catacombs had 3 Alphas available at the time of writing: Alpha 0.73 – Jul 18 2016 (Called the seventh), Alpha 0.4 – Jun 27 2015 and Alpha 0.3 – Jun 2 2015.

Putting aside the time difference between 0.73 and 0.4 of almost a year, I feel that schedules for public release should be fairly limited.

In general, Alpha are internal milestones and beta are external. Of course, it doesn’t have to be that way with mods but I can’t help feeling that if you need feedback this early in development then you don’t have much confidence in your concept.

11th August 2016 9 Comments

Poll Question 355 – What is the worst thing that could happen in HL3?

Sorry to have so many poll questions about HL3 lately, but the modding scene is a little quiet at the moment.

We all have our pet peeves; things that drive us crazy and with the recent leaks of supposedly HL3 stuff in lines of code, the anticipation has reached new heights.

With anticipation comes disappointment and not just from delays but from not getting what we expected, so this week’s poll question tries to address that exact idea.

For you, what’s the worst thing that could happen in HL3?

I could live with no new weapons, enemies, or vehicles – although I don’t think for a moment that Valve would release HL3 without those things.

I could even live with a main character dying if the story needed it. Hell, I could even live with Gordon finally speaking but I would rather he didn’t.

What I couldn’t live with is a big change to the gameplay mechanics and dynamics. I play HL games because of the setting and shooting, if you took the shooting away I wouldn’t be interested.

What about you?

28th July 2016 34 Comments

Poll Question 354 – Would you prefer a TC with a play time of 1 hour or a mod set in the HL universe with a play time of 2 hours?

Questions like these are always more of a “depends on…” because there are some many factors. But assuming the quality and fun was more or less the same, which would you prefer to play?

I generally find Total Conversions interesting but ultimately lacking and that’s fully understandable considering we are comparing an amatuer mod to a AAA game developer with huge resources, but sometimes TCs can offer the player something new and that might be enough to please the player.

Is something shorter but new worth more than something known but longer?

If I had asked this questions 5 years ago, I would have chosen the known but longer option, but now I think I’d rather have something new.

Anyway, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you are curious, I do have some Total Conversions listed on the site.

22nd July 2016 16 Comments

Poll Question 353 – Would you play Half-Life Go?

Unless you live in a cave in the mountains and have just returned to civilisation (I used that word reluctantly!) and this is the first website you have checked, you will no doubt have heard all about Pokemon Go.

I have got almost no idea how Pokemon Go exactly works, nor do I want to, so please don’t explain, but here is how I see half-Life Go working.

At various locations around , well, everywhere, are hidden various Half-Life enemies. You job is to kill or avoid them. For example, when you are in 5 metres of a headcrab your phone starts to make that purring sound sound. Upon lifting your phone up and scanning the area, when you are facing the headcrab it jumps and screams at you. The only way to kill it, is to position it at your feet and kick it, making sure the camera sees it happen.

With other enemies, you must use your phone as a gun. In some cases you must run away. There would be ammo caches scattered around the area. For example, if you saw a strider you would know that there is a rocket launcher nearby, as well as some rockets.

Players could locate Easter eggs of extra caches buy looking in groups i.e. the caches only appear if there are two or more “rebels” with 2 metres of each other.

I suppose you could buy extra weapons, ammo or range detection and I assume you can do those things in the Pokemon version.

Anyway, would you play it?

What other Half-Life inspired features would you add?

14th July 2016 25 Comments

Poll Question 351 – Would you ever play Half-Life games on your mobile or tablet?

Now that Steam is available on mobile Windows devices I started thinking about all the Half-Life games I had seen on Android, which lead me onto whether I would actually want to play Half-Life games on my mobile (I can’t, I have an iPhone – at least I don’t THINK I can) or a tablet (I can’t, I’m sure this time because I don’t have a tablet! Ha – gotcha.).

I know that desktop usage among non-business users is dropping significantly and mobile and tablet is soaring but there are some things better done on Desktops. I’m not suggesting that games HAVE to be better on desktops but some games work better there, just like some films HAVE to be seen in the cinema to really appreciate them. I’m sure you get what I mean.

The future could easily be VR goggles wirelessly connected to your mobile/tablet – who knows?

I don’t want you to think I am some old fuddy-duddy, I have played games on my mobile but only a couple. Mostly Dumb Ways to Die

I’d love to hear your thoughts on mobile gaming in general and specifically to FPS games like Half-Life.

30th June 2016 23 Comments

Poll Question 350 – How would you feel if Half-Life 3 were released and it didn’t support modding?

Have to admit I was struggling for a good question and I really wanted to avoid another Half-Life 3 one, but this idea just popped into my head.

Obviously, we want the story to either be finished or explained at least to some degree, but personally, it’s all the new mods that we hope to get that really excites me.

Of course, the chances of Half-Life 3 being released WITHOUT mod support is probably as close to nil as it can be, but Valve might decide to move in a new direction.

Plenty of single player games do well without a modding community or do you think that once a company starts down that road it would be commercial suicide not to continue with it.

Are times changing?

23rd June 2016 21 Comments

Poll Question 349 – Does your playing style represent your personality?

I am generally very open on this site about my personality and character traits. I like to think it is one of the reasons for my modest success.

Today, I am going to share another personal story. Many years ago I had a girlfriend and she noticed that when i was avoiding doing something important or difficult, I would begin to organise my personal spaces; desk, wardrobe etc. She said I would start to “make boxes” to rearrange things. From that point forward, any time I was procrastinating I was said to be “making boxes”.

I still find myself doing it today and a few days ago, I was playing a map and noticed myself “stacking crates”. Regular readers will know I have a (terrible/interesting/stupid/intelligent/useless/useful) habit of trying to get out of ALL the games, maps and mods I play.

So was this “stacking crates” just a video game version of “making boxes”? Was I avoiding playing the map by doing this? I’m not sure of the answer but it did lead me to wonder whether how you play videos games is the same as how you approach life.

Do you change personalities because generally in-game there are no serious or important consequences of your actions? In life, do you take chances or are you more careful.

Life obviously, doesn’t have save points, either manual or auto, that you can start again from, but life is also an experience and simply avoiding interesting situations or risks because you can’t try again could make our lives boring.

Clearly, it’s not for me to tell you how to play OR live your life, but as Plato would have probably said if he lived today, “A video game life unexamined is not worth living”.

9th June 2016 8 Comments