I’m Taking a Partial Sabbatical

Hi Everybody,

I have some surprising news.

Over the last few years I have felt increasing pressure running the site. Remember, in various forms, I have been running the site for almost exactly 13 years. That’s a long time. During that time I have spent thousands of hours working on it. I feel that I’ve done a pretty good job at promoting SP maps and mods.

Recently, it has felt more like a burden than a hobby. Every weekend is planned around streams and work that needs to be done on the site. Every week day, most my free time is spent doing something related to the site.

I need a rest. A proper rest. Not just a few weeks. Even during my “holiday” I felt obligated to check in and see what’s happening. That’s wrong.

I heard something on The Goldberg’s last night. Somebody said “I just wanna ride my bike and play video games”. And that’s exactly how I feel. It’s time for me to be a consumer not a creator.

I feel that I have been trying to promote SP Half-Life stuff alone, of course I haven’t, but that’s just how it feels. I have tried so many different projects, initiatives, ideas and events. Some have been mildly succesful, others failures, but at least I tried.

One of the reasons I renamed the site from Planetphillip to RunThinkShootLive was because I wanted more community involvement. Something more like LambdaGeneration, but that takes a lot of work and it never really had the effect I had hoped for.

The new RTSL Discord server has brought with it yet more hassle.

I have been thinking about closing the site for a few years now and over the past few months that feeling has become stronger.

Unlike last time, which was a reaction to a big problem with ModDB, I will be giving people and myself time to transition.

What Next?

Firstly, I will, with immediate effect, stop updating the site, except for newly released maps and mods. No more blog posts, poll questions, streams, or videos, including What The Headcrab.
I said “no videos” but I *may* make videos of any maps or mods I add.

I will leave the comments open and continue, with Don, to retroactively moderate them.

Don has kindly agreed to deputize in my absence . He will take over the organization of the weekend streams and have complete control over the Discord Server, as well as possibly posting new maps and mods.

The Twitter, Tumblr and Facebook pages will remain online but not updated, except for Twitter.

Longer Term

On 31st December 2016, I will announce my longer term plans. There are plenty of options:

  • Close the site completely (Unlikely, but definitely possible)
  • Archive the site. Keep the site up and running but add no new content. As long as the donations cover the cost of the servers, then that’s fine.
  • Revert back to PlanetPhillip and ONLY post maps and mods. Remove ALL other content.
  • Sell the complete site to somebody who wants to keep running it.

Those are the obvious ones, but there are others too.

With regard to the last one, I would sell it, not to get any money because I never ran the site to make money, it’s too niche for that, but to ensure that whoever wanted to take it over was serious about it. A little bit like like the Green Light system on Steam. I have no idea what amount I would ask for.

However, if an interested party approaches me, I will discuss formally passing the site onto them. They MUST be known to be or be recommended to me by somebody I know.

If that happens, they can take over the complete site except for the Twitter and YouTube channel. The reason is that they are under the PlanetPhillip name and whoever takes over, should start afresh with those.

New owners will need to negotiate with Nodecraft for the hosting as well as discuss whether to continue to host the files on the dedicated server or another option.

As I mentioned, one possibility is that on 31st December, I could decide to revert back to PlanetPhillip.com, remove everything except the maps and mods, i.e. interviews, poll questions, etc, and just post and review maps and mods.

I would then pass the RTSL Discord server over to somebody else, along with the RunThinkShootLive.com domain name.

What About the Level Design Academy?

At this point, I don’t know what I would do about the Level Design Academy.

I haven’t decided what to do about that and I won’t rush it. I’ll talk with Don and see what happens.

What About Gauge/MapTap?

I don’t know. I will discuss it with Alex, the coder and we can decide together.

What About The Ville mods and other exclusives?

Again, don’t know. If I close the site, then I will give the community my permission to upload them wherever they want to. If I continue with the site in some form, I may or may not continue with those. If I do, then the format would definitely change.

The Black Mesa Mapping Challenge

I’ll talk to the Crowbar Collective and Don, and see what we can work out. Expect news very soon.

Thank You

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has participated in the modest success of the site, especially, Aaron, Simon, Don, Alex, Jan and Mazur.

There are many others who have helped and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.


As you can see, I am still very confused about what to do, but something HAS to change. A hobby should never become a burden.

No doubt, I have forgotten something, so feel free to remind me and I will respond to all the questions and comments that this generates.


I’m tired of running the site.
I’m taking a break.
I’ll announce something on 31st December 2016
Thanks for your support.

Help me create more and better content - please support me on Patreon

Help me create more and better content - please support me on Patreon


  1. Sad to hear this but completely understand where you are coming from.
    If something you’re supposed to be enjoying has become more stressful then that’s a problem.

    Personally I’d hate to see the site go, there’s so much content here regarding maps, mods, mapping events, news & updates that nowhere else really supplies, the site is unique and provides a lot to the community.

    But whatever your decision, I’ll support it 100% you’ve done a great deal for the community so we can only thank you & the team for the hard work that’s been put in.

    1. Thanks for your support. The site won’t disappear completely.

  2. PLut

    I’m sad to hear that, but I can understand it. Thank you Phillip for all your work, I wish you the best!

  3. Zee

    Hey, I’ve been around this site for a long time, but never actually made an account or commented. I’ve tried to compete in a few Villes but the dates always seemed to be at a bad time for me. So this is a long time listener, first time caller sort of thing.

    I just wanted to say, thanks for running the site for so long. It really does seem like an end of an era, with with the rise of indie games overshadowing mods, the length of time between Half Life 2 and the vaporware known as Half Life 3, and the continuing decay of the Source engine (both in it’s age and Valve’s lack of support).

    Modding for Source was a large part of my childhood. Both playing mods, and learning the inner workings for it. It really helped me decide where I wanted to go in life (Computer Science), even if I kept most things I created private.

    I understand, running a niche site like this is tough, and I respect that you kept it running for so long. So I wanted to say my thanks. This site, and many other Source sites, mean a lot to me, and I hate to see it go, but I can respect your decision either way.

    So thanks for the fond years!

    1. Shame to hear the Ville dates weren’t good for you. Hopefully you will one day release something to the public.

      Who knows, maybe there’s more to come from RTSL in the future.

    2. knarf

      @Zee, your comment reads like the story of my life too! I went thru the exact same experience.

      And yes with the advent of affordable/free game engines it seems devs are less interested in modding nowadays.

      1. Yes, I agree with your comment about affordable and free engines. I do wonder if the end of modding or at least a permanent change has or is about to take place.

  4. wesp5

    I think it would really be a great loss to loose your site! Why don’t you just keep it as an archive with the occasional new mod if something really impressive appears and just stop doing the streams and other things that are much more time consuming? Personally I never cared about those, but played everything you mentioned here, except it got really bad feedback ;)…

    1. That’s certainly a possibility but sometimes it’s better to make a clean break and let somebody else take control. As I said in the post, I am just taking a break and haven’t made a final decision yet.

  5. What? This catches me completely by surprise, especially because you seemed to put even more work into the site in the last few weeks (before holiday) than you usually did, like more production value for the What the headcrab videos and trailers for Villes etc.

    If this site dies off, then Half-Life 2 has officially died for me, BUT if you really think you need a break, then do it. I hope someone will continue this site for you. I mean the best solution IMO would be if you just skipped all the extra content and streams, just upload new maps and mods.

    Anyway, I dont have a problem with this, I respect your decision. GL HF for the future.

    “No one is more deserving of a rest…”

    1. Yes, maybe you are right, perhaps the last few weeks/months pushed me over the edge.

      Anyway, there is still the possibility that I’ll continue in some form.

      I love the reference from HL2.

  6. I discovered this site just several months ago but its already grown into one of my favourite online places to be. This is no doubt due to the broad variety of mods presented here and the dedication this site oozes. It is/was a pleasure fabricating some maps and receiving honest feedback from you and others, and the Villes were a delight to play and review. I think its a monumental achievement running a site succesfully for 13 years mostly by yourself. And indeed, when a time-consuming hobby becomes a chore, its time to set sail for new destionations … ! Thanks for the entertainment Runthinkshootlive.com presents and has presented … !

    1. It’s nice when newer members recognize the hard work that has gone into something.

      Don’t give up hope yet, there maybe be many more *Villes to enter.

  7. Well this was depressing, but somehow I could see it coming.
    I guess it’s soon time to say goodbye to my most beloved game of all time, hopefully you find out a way to keep the site up though, the last thing anyone would want is no access to all the mods and maps that has accumulated after all these years.

    I respect your choices and wish you well.

    1. Yes, I promise not to suddenly delete the site or the files, so they won’t be lost.

  8. marnamai

    In my opinion you could place all additional content on the backburner and just post mods & map releases. You don’t even need to review or play them, just include a couple pictures (from moddb or provided by the devs).

    if you were to completely shut down, I’d love to see the mods & maps uploaded to a free server (mega?) and a list of every mod that was hosted, including a copy of the hall of fame.

    Cause it would be a crying shame if that content was lost.

    1. As I tried to explain in the RTSL Discord server, simply posting new maps and mods without reviewing them would be the worst thing for me to do. Why would I want to continue a purely administrative role? This is supposed to be a hobby.

      I promise that the files won’t be lost but the problem with free servers is that each and every file normally has to be downloaded a minimum number of times per month or it gets deleted.

  9. marnamai

    Now that I think of it, this is pretty much the last bastion of HL2 mapping…

    1. Well, I suppose Interlopers still has some activity and of course ModDB, but I take your point.

      1. I do hope you decide to resume work on the site Phillip. Even with the other two sites mentioned, there’s really no quality source covering and giving access to new mod/map releases as they come out. The site is so clean, and moddb is just a total mess. This is really the last quality place to find hl2 mods. Perhaps you can give the site to some other interested party who wants to continue your legacy if you decide to leave. Either way, this site would be terribly missed if it just went dark with no new content. I visit 3 times a week at least!

  10. gezegond

    I’m quite surprised that you had managed to run this website for so long. Why not instead of just quitting the whole thing all together, move yourself into more of a management role, and get some new people to do the contents and whatnot? I’m pretty sure you can find people interested in various HL communities if not from RTSL itself.

    1. It is the most obvious idea but the problem is that managing people is not a hobby. At least not for me.

      Lots of people have offered help but will they create new content and I don’t mean just adding maps and mods. Will they administer the DB etc. If you suddenly start allowing access to the back end, that’s why problems arise.

      In theory, getting people to help is great but in reality it’s more trouble than it is worth.

  11. You have done a great service to the Half Life mapping community. Weather you decide to continue next year or not, i wish you luck.

    I guess i will miss “What the headcrab” as the community needed a show/podcast like that. I guess i could do something like that on my channel were i go over Hl/Hl2 mods and maps news. It wouldn’t be as good though! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I also hope you come to an agreement about the BM mapping challenge as i have been super excited about it since it was announced.

    1. I actually woke up this morning and seriously considered making a WTH! episode. The difference is that when it’s a choice not an obligation it feels different.

      Who knows, maybe if I return I’ll make a different version of the show that is fun and easy to make.

      I working on keeping the Black Mesa Mapping Challenge running. Expect more details in a day or so.

  12. As if 2016 couldn’t be any more worse, at this point, either an actual resonance cascade or a hostile alien takeover would be the only thing left to top everything off.

    In any case, i can do nothing but only hope the best for all.

    1. HAHA. If we did have either or both, then it would make all this fuss over a silly website quickly fall by the wayside.

      Anyway, as you say, let’s hope for the best.

  13. S.anchev

    This is the end of tiiiiiiimes!!!!

    Well, as I look on mod’s news and HL news on the past 8 months, it was pretty bland… Slowly dying… Some projets took too long (Time’s End, The Core), some disappear…

    I think it’s time for everybody to move on…

    1. Not the end of times, just a pause.

      Yes, the last few months have been quiet but that’s not the reason for my decision.

  14. Sad news indeed. You work will be missed and please do not think that it was not appreciated. Enjoy the next steps and keep your crowbar handy!

    1. Thank you for your kind words.

      I’ll keep that crowbar by my side.

  15. I can understand it for sure, but to me and obviously many more, its like being dropped through floorboards into eternal Ravenholm….. Which would be the case IF this site doesn’t remain as an archive of all the maps. Nowhere to turn to.

    There are no other interesting games with add on maps, of any numbers, so my HL world will end in oblivion ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I’m currently playing/replaying all the maps. The site is so well organized I can do this by sorting columns and return later for more, knowing exactly where to pick up at again. Nobody has done this better, ever, anywhere! Thanks Phillip.

    1. Don’t worry, no files will be lost. They will be kept and made available somewhere.

  16. Hah, I know that feeling. I run a blog (about Valve) since 2008, but for the last few months I didn’t post (almost) anything, because i don’t feel it anymore. Or maybe because Valve is doing shit too ๐Ÿ˜‰
    The same with mapping, didn’t mapped much lately. But on the other hand I played lots of games. I just wanted to be the customer not a creator, as you said.

    Well, let’s hope, you will come back eventually.
    Maybe it’s time to open RTSL a little. Let other, trusted people, post some content.

    Don’t know if you remember a site – grinder74.com. It was like polish equivalent of RTSL. Site died eventually, but long before that many people from outside were writing reviews, me included.
    Maybe that’s the way to do it, you could stay, and just do some extra things whenever you want.

    1. Of course I remember grinder74! It’s listed in the Links page.

      Maybe I’ll get my mojo back and post stuff.

      With regard to getting other people to post, I have no problem with that but people don’t really stick around and people management is not something I want to do as a hobby.

  17. Tom

    Hi Phillip – I totally appreciate were your’re coming from

    Best whishes for whatever course you decide to take

    As for the future of the “site”
    I think reverting back to PP is a great idea

    1. Thanks for the understanding.

      People on the RTSL hate the idea of reverting back to PP, but I suspect they are the newer people who have only really known it as RTSL. Whatever it’s called a slimmed down version of the current site could be the answer.

  18. Well what else can I say other than:

    That it has been a privilege. I sure do understand the pressure – the time and cash involvement here. Also seeing that we may never get a Half-Life3 it stands to reason that the remnants of the fan & player base for the Half-Life Franchise are slowly dying out and moving on to other games and projects.

    It was a good time with you and your site and I wish you only the best for your personal life and future. You used to run the site efficiently, you + your database will certainly be hardly missed. But so is life all good things have to end at some point. So thanks for many good years of service and entertainment.

    Should you ever consider running a site like this again then I suggest to keep it small and don’t get over ambitious. The original site PP used to be simple and you seemed happier with it. Anyway a hobby should be there to provide fun and not become a 2nd full time job.

    Ps: Eventually try if you can find a sponsor so that this site along with it’s database remain archived and in tact. There are many unique files hosted here you can’t find anywhere else anymore. Would be sad losing them.

    Farewell Phillip ๐Ÿ™‚

    Best regards

    1. Don’t worry, no files will be lost.

      I agree, smaller is possibly the answer.

      Let’s see how I feel after the break.

  19. As someone who has been lurking here for a very long time yet registered less than 8 months ago, I have a hard time reading this.

    I know, like many others, how it feels. You get a burn-out. Everyone does. I appreciate that you’re not letting it go until you fully decide; you might come back or you might not. Either way we’re not capable of changing your decision, merely influencing it. But in the end it all comes down to you.

    Although I never was too interested in streams and tutorials until recently I never felt like the site lacked content. Sure, there were always (and will always be) times when the modding community is slow – but we’ll recover. I considered all of this optional – the streams, the tutorials, the challenges. You were never entitled to do them but chose to do so in order to beautify the site.

    The maps is what this site revolves into, even though it has grown over time to serve as a hub for the Half-Life modding community. Although you feel endebted you were never (and will never be) obliged to make content YOURSELF in order to satisfy our needs. Just tell us where they are and we’ll come looking for them.

    Sorry for any possible grammatical errors – as you may see by my profile I’m not a native English speaker. This announcement has taken me by surprise and had little time to gather my thoughts.

    Whatever you do Phillip you will be both hated and loved. As long as you are happy with your decision then it doesn’t matter, but for the sake of all this work you’ve put into I can only hope that you at least archive the site. RTSL, like TWHL, has become a widely-known place among the modding community and it would be a huge hit in the guts if you decided to just throw it away. ModDB has been my go-to for any Half-Life mod until I discovered RTSL in late 2014, then it served as home. I am unable to look at my older self and relive those experiences again. ModDB has a ton but it certainly hasn’t all – like two of my beloved games which had 70% (and respectively 85%) of its content thrown out the window when Gamefront closed. Those two games were Medal of Honor: Allied Assault and Aliens vs. Predator 2.

    In the end it’s your choice. Do what you feel like. I just wanted to take some of the burden off my chest in case I was never going to get a second chance.

    1. Yes, burnt-out is the right phrase.

      The site won’t be lost lost or closed completely and maybe a smaller version will be the answer.

  20. I think all of the site’s fans will completely understand no matter what your decision is. If you do decide to close everything down (hopefully not though) it’s been a great run! Thanks for everything and enjoy your time off.

    1. Thanks for your support, both now and over the years.

  21. JamaicanDave

    Shame but understandable. I only discovered RTSL relatively recently and it’s a nice site. I doubt there’s many others dedicated to custom Half Life content.

    One quick query, the post suggests new maps can still be submitted. Is this actually the case? Or would it be preferable to find other hosts?

    Anyway, take it easy.

    1. I will be posting yours soon, I promise.

      1. JamaicanDave

        Thanks Phillip.

        I skimmed over the Discord earlier and for what it’s worth I think some of the comments implying you, personally, have an obligation to keep the community going are rubbish. I also very much agree with your thoughts on cutting loose (or was it going off grid) for awhile. I say go for it!

        1. Actually, I think there is a certain amount of obligation on my part to at least make sure that the site transitions in some way. But some people feel that I’m being selfish but wanting to stop, which I find insulting.

          After I have replied to all the comments here, I’ll be posting some clarification and then making a quick video addressing some points raised.

          In fact, I wish I had made the video at the same time as the post. people seem to watch videos more than read posts properly.

  22. lj4linux

    I told you last year (or a couple of years ago, I don’t remember exactly) that this game was going to die. Now it’s dead. Precisely if PP/RTSL is down the game is over. It’s your life, it’s your choice. THANK YOU Phillip! You made my life better. Really! Wish you all the best.

    1. Thank you for your kind words but NO, the game and the community is not dead.

      I am sure that great SP mods will be released and HL3 will one day be played, although perhaps not by me.

  23. i think i can arrange a safe backup for all the maps if you give up. i really dont want all those maps to go to waste.

    to be honest i wouldnt mind if you would revert back to the philip stage, and post maps only. this is the main thing we are all here.

    1. No files will be lost. I am sure that even if I stop updating the site, we could raise enough money to simply keep the site online. At that point, somebody could begin to transfer files to other hosts.

  24. Wait, already 13 years?

    Before I find this site, I download mods from ModDB, but it has a big flaw, and that is it’s very hard to find a mod. Here I can just sort stuff out with filter, that’s why I download most of HL mods here.

    Then I start making HL mod playthroughs just 2 years ago. This site seems to be the one that is still active(beside ModDB), it’s a shame to see it goes. It’s understandable how tired it is to run a website, I respect what you choose.

    Oh, by the way. You sure are the one good website runner.

    1. Thanks for your kind words and support.

      There is still a chance the site will continue to be updated, I just need a rest for now.

  25. After being a part of this wonderful website for half a year, and having heard about it since 2012, I’m really sad to see you go( hope you don’t <3 )but if you decide to go through with this, I wish you the best of luck in your future endeavours and may all your wishes come true.

    PS: I hope you’ll at least convert RTSL to PlanetP stile of running the website.

    1. Thanks for your kind words.

      Yes, there is still a chance that the PP style of running the site will return.

  26. Tex

    I am bummed. Saddened. This brings a tear to my eye.

    But I understand as well. Since I’ve started my newest job (two years ago), I haven’t been able to do much of anything except play HL/HL2, and any mods/maps I can find or play (since Valve likes to break anything people do outside of themselves), and that only rarely.

    All I can hope for is that you do what’s best for you, and that you do decide to offload some of the work to others, and let them maintain the site and map uploads.

    But, overall: a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.

    Best of luck, my friend, keep in touch.

    1. Please wipe that tear from your eye. Think of this as a “See you later” not “Goodbye”.

      As you say “A free man’s gotta do what a free man’s gotta do.”

  27. Senator33

    ….and for those 13 years you have brought the world a great storehouse of HL and HL2. I think we all can realize your sacrifice and hard work…..and I, among others, thank you!

    1. Thanks so much for your heartfelt words.

  28. Personally, I blame Gabe Newell for this. His lies destroyed lives. Phillip is the real world analogy of Eli Vance.

    We were so close to getting that mankini live stream too.

    1. Nah, Gabe is not responsible for this. Other stuff, definitely. But not this.

      Who knows, maybe that mankini will still make it into a video.

    2. so Gabe Newell is Dr. Breen? ๐Ÿ˜‰

  29. Retibsi

    When a labour of love becomes a burden then it’s time to stand back and decide what to do, though sometimes it can be painful to take any action at all. Though I’ve visited the site for many years and would be sad for the site to close, go into stasis or something else it has to be something that gives you peace of mind. It has to be your decision and I wish you well

    1. Yes, I do need to step back for a bit. Play some games for a change and get a fresh perspective.

  30. I recently just stopped playing Der Schwarze Nebel 1.82 HD on my PC, just suddenly stopped! I also stopped on my last ‘ville review midway, like the will to finish suddenly vanished.
    Now i read your latest news and i am not in the least surprised. Strange but your news was not unexpected.
    Thank you for years of hard work Phillip, you will be missed if that is your decision to close the site, or take a very long holiday. You have my good wishes on whatever you choose. TTFN ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Wow, I haven’t heard TTFN for years. Brought a smile to my face.

      Thanks for your support.

  31. I’ve been out all day and only just seen this and as much as I (amongst many others) want to see PP/RTSL continue, you have to do what is right for you, because in reality you owe us nothing.
    We owe you a lot, other HL sites exist (existed) but yours created a community unlike the others.

    To put it simply, as you have said the site is a hobby! In this case the hobby has taken over a large part of you personal life, you need to let it go and permanently if needs be for your sake not ours. If at some point you decide to return you’ve got a lot of current members who will be there for you.

    1. Thanks for such a great comment.

      Hopefully a break is all I need and I can return with gusto and vigour to an eager community of other HL buffs.

  32. Hey Phillip, long time reader.

    This is quite a bummer, but i see that 13 years of your time is actually quite a lot to dedicate to one site, let alone the investments and time to cover it.

    I do hope you reconsider or try to find an alternative where the financial and content backbone is split between other parties that will function swiftly.

    I’m gonna write my farewell message to you phillip just so i can convince you for the times and experiences i’ve had in this little ol blog database. I hope i will be successful ๐Ÿ˜‰

    PlanetPhillip was a great site which gave me the equivalent of 4 half life games and great replay-ability, I joined about the time when half life 2 episode 2 was released and there were huge number of mappers and enthusiasts to read critics and design which ultimately gave me the needed designer portfolio to try and objectively pursue mapping ideas. It encouraged me to invest myself into making scripts and skits for the source engine to better understand the AI and the insider view of creating and designing maps. I was temporarily part of a beta-testing group that increased my scope of mapping and my fandom for the half life games.

    I wasn’t here from the start, but i wish I was. Lot of great modders and mappers started their careers here, and it has been the must influential and encouraging place to get into mapping and modding. Doing the source community a great favor for having time and time again to play another set of maps and mods for countless hours.

    Let’s not forget the long-lasting mapping competitions that were pretty healthy and aspiring to outperform the top mappers, and to hear their critique of what could be better or worse for your entry.

    Let’s not forget the interviews and videos giving us a more personal look of the few popularized figures in the modding community

    And foremost but hopefully not last, the tradition and pretty friendly environment to read and exchange information between mappers of high-calibers, giving us surprises every time they release a new map/mod.

    Thanks for your time in reading this.
    I hope this is not the last of PlanetPhillip ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks for such a detailed and thoughtful comment. I am sure there is some sort of future for RTSL and its community.

  33. I know exactly where you’re coming from Phillip. I used to host multiplayer servers before shutting them down after they began to consume my life (at no fault of the community). I could tell from your recent videos that you appeared physically worn out. You tried to cover many things with this site, too many things for that matter. The bottom-line however is your health and happiness. Without both, you are destined for ruin. You must do what is necessary to ensure you live a balanced and healthy life, if that means shutting down a community modding website, then do it.

    My suggestion if you decide to return or continue with this website is to narrow your focus. I think most people here are more interested in mod news and reviews than anything else. As far as hosting costs go, I think turning RunThinkShootLive into more of a monthly or some kind of annual news blog with multiple authors would be far more economical in regards to both funds and time consumption.

    That’s something that ModDB is frankly lacking in my opinion. You cannot beat that site in terms of community involvement in uploading content, but you can with a focus on specific news and reviews about modifications. The important thing to remember is not to branch yourself out, with each new community feature you add, your workload will only expand.

    1. Thanks for the comment. You are right, each new feature, whilst not big in itself, all adds to the workload and at some point he camel’s back breaks.

      I agree people come here for mods and mods news and if I return that will be its focus.

  34. Derpmind

    I’ve been going here for years, so long I have no idea when I started, and I’ve got to say this site has always been the hub for all Half-Life maps. There’s no where that’s gotten even close. The rating systems let anyone find the best maps easily, and the vast archives means there’s huge breadth of experiences to be found. And in addition to that, the periodic contests you run motivate many creative and unique maps, which in itself is also fantastic. This site is unique and awesome, and nothing anywhere else is a hundred miles close to what it does for the Half-Life community.

    That said? I don’t pay one bit of attention to everything else you do. Podcasts, blogposts, polls, other projects, I ignore them completely. I can respect the hard work you put into those, and it’s obviously of interest to some people, but to me when I visit RTSL it’s nothing but clutter. It actually makes me less inclined to check the site when I see a bunch of discussion posts, podcasts and livestreams all over the front page. There are always going to be long periods of infrequency between any new released maps, but all the other stuff just does not capture my interest. Often there will be a new map that I want to look at but the post for it is buried beneath five other posts I have to scroll past just to check.

    I appreciate that you want to do so much to support the community, but before you started making all this other content you already did more than anyone else on the planet does. All a new visitor has to do is look through the archives or visit the hall of fame to realize just how useful, unique and fun RTSL is. If the site goes back to just posting new maps and mods, I for one think that would be fantastic.

    Putting aside my noisy opinions, I just want to say thank you. I wouldn’t have played one hundredth as many HL maps and mods if not for you, and I certainly would have never found many of the extremely excellent or unique maps I’ve enjoyed for years if not for PlanetPhilip. I sincerely hope whatever you decide you are able to recover from your burnout. If you do decide to end the site, I hope you find a way to keep its archives hosted and available. More importantly, though, for all your work and what you’ve built, I truly wish that you won’t in the future look back at all this as a burden.

    Live Long and Prosper.

    1. Thank you for your comment and honesty. I always felt that the other type of content complimented the main focus, but I know that some people aren’t interested. The problem is that when nothing new gets released, I tried to create other content because when a site doesn’t get updated, people stop visiting.

      Let’s hope a break is all I need and I’ll return with a renewed focus.

      EDIT: I just remembered, there’s a quick way to see the latest 10 posts for each game: 10 Latest Posts. That page can help avoid the stuff you don’t like. Hope that helps.

  35. Expat

    Long time lurker here.

    I think there’s nothing more to say than thank you Phillip. Whatever you decide to do, I wish you the best.

    1. Thank you for your kind words, they are much appreciated.

  36. galocza

    im sure this is the right decision. as youve said when a hobby becomes more a job and less a hobby its time to ponder about it.
    of course im sad seeing you and the site go. it was one of my groupmark group of 7 that i opened multiple times daily for years. ive always liked the people here who might not have been numerous but behaved courteously and respectfully even if opinions clashed – oh, so rare nowadays.
    i got lots of mods/maps thanks to your work that i might have never heard of otherwise so im grateful for that.
    but, lets face it, hl2 isnt a new game, the hype is down for years, quality mods are fewer and fewer and its hard to rationalize maintaining a site when it takes the same amount of work and time but has less and less impact and gives its creator less and less gratification.
    so i wish you happy cycling and playing video games and see you again when hl3 comes out! (or not 8)

    1. I am glad I help you find and play maps and mods that you might not have without the site.

      It’s not really the lack of new releases that have prompted this decision.

      Knowing my luck, my bike will get stolen and the PC will break!

  37. Hey, Phillip. I heard there’s been some back lash on discord. Just want you to know I support you 100%

    1. Not a backlash, just a few people saying “get other people to help” but they don’t seem to realise that’s not how hobbies work.

      If I fished and said I was tired of fishing would people say, get somebody to carry your equipment for you and set it up and have somebody sit in the chair and hold the rod. Then they can put the fish in the net and carry it home for you! No, of course not. and for me it’s the same here.

      I understand they want the site to stay online and I have said that no files will be lost.

      Anyway, thanks for your support.

  38. Hec

    So it’s going to be out of line??? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ God that scares me, I haven’t reviewed many mods yet ๐Ÿ™

    1. NO! The site is not going to suddenly go offline. Don’t worry. I’m just taking a break and if I return things will be different and if I don’t return then another solution will be found.

      1. Hec

        OH thank god! perfect Phillip, I think you surely deserve a great and relaxing time off. ๐Ÿ™‚

  39. What are you doing still here? Let’s go man! You have a lot of funny stuff to do outside!
    (Have fun!)

    1. It would be rude to not respond to the people who have taken the time to comment. If somebody sends a message, the least I can do is thank them.

  40. Duke

    Wow, just read this, it’s like getting hit in the head with a brick…so sorry to see you go, albeit perhaps temporarily (hope so)…and complain as I do that there’s no fresh content regarding maps and mods , ( justly I think, but that’s not your fault ) it’s still the premier site as far as I’m concerned to find something to play. Have a good break and go ride your bike (what do you have by the way, push bike or motorcycle ? ) Missing you already Philip.


    1. Thanks for your support. I have a pushbike, although when I was younger I used to have a Vincent Comet with a sidecar.

      Don’t worry about having something to play, if it gets released, it will get it added here.

  41. Some clarification:

    1. RTSL is NOT closing. The chances of that actually happening are the same as HL3 being released tomorrow. Technically, it is possible but as close to impossible as you can imagine.

    2. I am taking a break from running the site not because I am bored but because I am tired and stressed. It’s a lot more work than people realise. It has nothing to do with the lack of new content or activity in the community. I believe the activity on the RTSL Discord server shows that there is plenty of creative activity still around.

    3. Yes, it’s mostly my fault for taking on lots of other smaller projects. My enthusiasm gets the better of me. It’s a personality fault but also a good thing.

    4. Don currently “owns” the RTSL Discord server. He won’t suddenly start deleting channels or anything. I passed ownership over to him because it’s important to have somebody around who has full control.

    5. The 31st December is the LATEST I will make an announcement and 16th October is the EARLIEST I will make an announcement. Between now and then I will post new maps and mods on the site.

    6. I suspect I will revert back to PP and only post maps and mods there. RunThinkShootLive would become an archive of the other content. I will restrict myself to posting maps and mods and making some videos.

    7. If I decide I do want to walk away, I WILL keep the site online for as long as the donations cover any costs.

    8. NO FILES WILL BE LOST. I promise.

    9. There is a small possibility that I could “sell” the site but only if the new owner(s) kept it online and not just use the name for other reasons.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

    It’s nice to see a few lurkers making comments – thank you.

    I’d like to address the comments related to getting people to help me. I understand why people would suggest that but when it comes down to it, lots of people offer but when they are expected to work at specific schedules and for a long time. In addition, management of people is not something that would be interesting to me.

    As a way of trying to explain my point of view, I’d like to offer this analogy.
    If I fished and said I was tired of fishing would people say, get somebody to carry your equipment for you and set it up and have somebody sit in the chair and hold the rod. Then, when you catch a fish, they can put the fish in the net and carry it home for you!

    No, of course not and for me it’s the same here. Getting somebody to “do” your hobby is crazy.

    I’d also like to mention the obligation I feel towards the users of the site. I have been vocal in saying that I feel Valve has an obligation to its users (us) about HL3 and I would be hypocritical if I didn’t recognize and acknowledge that I have an obligation to at least offer alternative solutions to keeping the site online.

    To say I am being selfish because I want to stop running the site is at best silly and at worst freaking annoying.

    Anyway, I would like to thank everybody for their kind words and support.

  42. AI

    Well for the last 10 years, I got to say thanks for the privilege of being a member of your site! even tho I don’t mod/map, and my comments have been sparse (to say the lease) age is catching up with me (70 1/2 years) I think I can understand how you’re feeling?? A friend on mine here in Minnesota ran 2 sites back in the day (BBS & early internet) “The Vault BBS & Over The Back Fence” on the net. I was doing Moderating on both sites! The BBS was a real challenge!! Bill got lung cancer and decided to shut down, that was over 12 years ago. I have all his files from both sites stored, and he gave me the rites to both of them!!
    Your idea of reverting back PlanetPhillip.com is a nice idea that’s how a lot of us had first contact here. Maybe that would be a less stressful endeavor? In the meantime do what you have to do for your own good! Your site is still in my “Favorites”

  43. I’m sad to hear that, believe me you have genuinely made a difference, The Half Life series is the only game I have ever enjoyed, tried others, not interested, and because of Steams complacency to the series I have logged in to the site regularly looking forward to your release of mods that has kept me going through these barren years.

    Sure there are other sites that list the releases but yours is part of a community and I’m sure many of your members have been inspired to create mods for our pleasure because of you.

    Whatever you choose to do you fully deserve it, and you should be very proud of what you have achieved over the last 13 years.

  44. 2muchvideogames

    I remember when planetphillip was simply a site for maps and mods. There’s LOTS of stuff here that you cant find on moddb. You are right that by choosing to do alot more than that the result is you having way more tasks to have to do. I see links to this site from steam forums all the time, and in the end people probably think that this website is really mostly just about the maps and mods. Just like in the old days.

    Though it seems that there isn’t much community productivity nowadays than before, I know for sure there are still many maps and mods that have not yet made it onto planetphillip yet. Stuff on twhl, gamebanana, foreign language sites, etc. are still out there hiding. One thing this site is MUCH better than moddb is that moddb is filled with fluff like some 12 year old wants to make a mod and creates a page for a mod that dies within a week. Here everything you see can be played. It’s a huge advantage over moddb because of that.

    In the end it’s up to phillip so it’s his call. We are all players here (or ‘consumers’) and I think the first thing we came to the site for is the maps and mods, phillip included. So if you all dont mind going back to the site’s roots then by all means.

  45. Thank you, Phillip! I know you’ve said this isn’t the end, necessarily, but it’s still a good time to let you know I appreciate the service you’ve provided. If it hadn’t been for the Villes I’d have never finished a real singleplayer mapping project, let alone released anything.

    I completely empathize with your situation, I’ve gotten burned out on much less than thirteen years of administering a site like this, and I’ve been miserably cynical about it all the while. I’m sure I’ll get back to making HL2 maps and uploading Youtube videos eventually, but I haven’t been feeling it for the past year or so. I did a lot less work on those projects than you’ve done on yours, but I get sick of myself at the drop of a hat. That you’ve managed to maintain composure under the stress of a project like this is flabbergasting.

    With regard to the site’s future, I know you’ve said things won’t just suddenly grind to a halt, and that even if the site were to shut down you’d manage to keep the files available somewhere, somehow, but if I may be so bold I’d like to give a shoutout to Archive Team. If, between you and the RTSL/PP community, we can’t come up with an archive solution for everything ourselves, they may be able to help. A large collection of files, supremely artistic projects that represent years, decades of developer effort and personal investment; I imagine AT would have an interest in helping preserve it all. Not that I have a personal connection to them myself, just an awareness of their “mission”, so to speak.

    Thanks again for everything, Phillip! I do hope you’ll consider continuing your What The Headcrab videos and your livestreams on an as-you-feel-like-it basis. Get rid of an actual schedule, but still go for it if the mood were to strike you at random one day. I’m going to miss watching you have one-sided arguments with Leon, and to lose Phillip Sings Badly altogether would be more heartbreak than I could bear.

    1. Excuse me, but I sing beautifully. I put it to you that between leaving my mouth and reaching your ears there is a conspiracy designed to malign my reputation. Seriously though, thanks for your support over the years.

  46. SPY

    This IS big news, big sad news.
    But, funny thing, i do know exactly were you are coming from because i am at the exact same spot the last few months ones my Ep3 was released. We both worked for decade and a half with Source, both in different fields, but with the same enthousiast i think.
    For many, many years it was great fun, but in the end modding started to feel like a real job and it wasn’t all just fun anymore. Time things change, also for you it seems.
    Still, i do feel a big emptiness now, now i stopped modding. And nearly each day i think about starting with a new (small) mod. I can imagine that this will be the same for you. That is why it is a very wise decicion to wait a few months before you make a final decicion. Because, there will be days that you regret you decicion to stop the site for sure. That is why i think it is a good thing to also think about what to do next, with the site, but also with your free time.
    Also thanks for explaining why you changed the name of the site in to RTSL.com because that i never understound, now i do.

    Whatever you decide, i want to thank you for your help over the years, and your site. Because it gave me a place to show my mods as no other site ever did. And again, i fully understand were you are coming from, although i do regret your decicion. But as always, changes are sometimes needed, but always painfull when they end a time of great fun, community and gameplay.

    Thanks Phillip,
    (i hope you finish the Ep3 video’s or at least upload the ones you already made, but i understand when this isn’t the case.)

  47. I read this, going home from work on Friday. Not great news for the weekend, got me a bit low. I really like this site and its community. And I would never have guessed it would close down or take a longer break. We love it.. and you running the site, having created this community, we know you love it too. ๐Ÿ™‚

    But I definitely understand.. I was very skeptical towards the “year of the content”, because.. I myself didn’t want more. I think the site has become too much. I am only here for the maps/mods content, the reviews from you and players, articles/blogs in various forms and their comments, and audio/text interviews with developers. The rest.. I don’t follow.

    Personally, the site tries to be too many things and too much. I understand it’s a burden, even I felt a bit stressed with the ramp up of updates and content. I much rather have quality updates, content with time and thought put into it.

    On another note.. for me, PlanetPhillip, is still the name of the site. I still write that URL when going to this site. Run Think Shoot Live never clicked for me. It’s too long and complicated. It’s hard and tedious to name in a discussion due to its length and many words.. and in what way they are ordered, hehe! ๐Ÿ™‚

    And about the whole “modding is dying”.. I don’t feel that. The modding community of Half-Life’s will keep going. I still love making content and play maps/mods that are released. I love Half-Life and everything about it, that won’t fade.. ever. Same love I have for Quake 2, still making content and playing that game today.

    Finally.. just want to say, this site and everything about it is awesome. You have done a fantastic job Phillip! And everyone else too. One of my favorite places to be on the Internet. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Darth_Sylph

      i do agree with some of the other users, that maybe you should drop a bunch of the extra stuff, like the blogs, streams, etc, those seem like they would be a big cause of stress

  48. SPY

    Sorry to comment a second time so quick but i forgot to talk about the ‘mod scene dying’ thing which is mentioned quit a few times above already.

    Its true, the HL2 / source community dies slowly, (can’t talk about the Hl one, don’t have experience with that). Before i modded/mapped with HL2 i worked with severel other very popular fpshooter games. And each had a time of being popular after which it died. The modders went on to newer engines / games, and the amount of downloaders of mods was getting less each month. Have to say, Source / HL2 has been very popular for many more years as all those other fpshooters. But the last 4 years or so i clearly noticed it had started also with Source.
    I had high hopes for a release of HL3, and was quit convinced it would have happened by now, or very soon at least. But, now i also doubt very much if Valve will ever even start working on it. A HL3 release would bring back all live to the comminuty.
    Seems the time has come indeed to move on to newer engines and games.


    1. Darth_Sylph

      there actually HAS been a tentative 2018 release date for HL3…

  49. Darth_Sylph

    if you truly feel you need to step back/down for the sake of your sanity/health, i can understand completely, my father just turned 55 last december, and his doctor was telling him “if you don’t learn to relax, you won’t live to 60”
    so i get where you’re coming from, maybe it’s time you try to train up a successor?

    anyways, I do wish you the best,
    i might add some of the strategies my dad was taught, that he uses to relax….if i can find where he put the book, xD

  50. csapdani

    Sad to hear but I understand completely. Thank you for all your work.
    Hopefully the site, or at least the SP content, will stay online.

  51. Unknown

    I am sorry to hear about your possible decision to wanting to quit from your hobby. I do understand the factors though the cost of updating the website, continuously posting and reviewing mods all daily. It can be a dangerous hobby if too much of your money is being used to support this hobby which can alter your way of life negatively.

    The unfortunate thing about how the internet works as well is “If it’s not the most trending thing making a living off it is almost impossible no matter how much time or effort is put into it.” The demographic has become too small to support in my opinion.

    You could “branch out” to other mods? But that could be a very risky decision due to finances and hosting and covering even one mod database is difficult enough. If you wanted too I am sure you could get some of the fans to play Multiplayer Mods with you, so the community could be more involved?

    I am not trying to dis-wade you from what you decide, but what if even if you do leave is it only a temporary fix to a re-occuring problem? Eventually your mental state will eventually return once again which may cause you to lose that passion once again. Mods have declined to almost a halt and they haven’t picked up over the years eventually returning could be a worse decision.

    The problem it’s a hosting website and if people stop making content for it how can you generate traffic afterwards? You may even feel that if you slow down and stop providing you may not be able to garner what you are trying to obtain. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle in that sense. I also understand the feeling of “trying to provide as much as possible to everyone and sometimes not even getting a thank you afterwards.” A hobby is fun when it’s free, but stressful once finances become tied in then you don’t have much of a choice it starts feeling like “I need to produce in order to pay the bills and if I don’t how will I buy food and survive?”

    I am not saying that everyone does this, but working yourself to death and not getting what you put into it unfortunately is one of the major issues as to why people eventually stop. Who wants to waste their time on something that no longer provides more then what you put into it.

    You may not be known for curing any horrible diseases or creating amazing new technology, but at least you will always be known for something; even if it is just one thing, that’s still more than what most people are known for and in no way is it any less important.

    Thank you for all you have provided for me and for others. Out of all websites I really feel like your community really helped shape the website with providing custom modifications allow more mods to be made and allowing community members to display their potential. That’s one thing I feel your website has always had over MODDB. I didn’t need to wait months for mods any more they started coming to me. Thanks to your archiving many of the mods may have even been gone forever never to see the light of day and we really could use people of that mind-set.

  52. Dear Phillip,

    We must be having great gobs of fun, because it is hard to believe thirteen years have passed so quickly.

    A list is brewingโ€ฆ
    1. You rank in the top class of inventive people that actually have fun at what they doโ€ฆuntil recently, that is.
    2. In the sphere that involves Steam/Valve/Half-Life, you have excelled at โ€˜back-marketingโ€™ their product and receiving what, in return from them.
    3. The โ€˜Villeโ€™ competitions are sheer genius as to getting the playing/creative folk more involved.
    4. Alas, though, your persistence and dedication have, unfortunately for many of us, resulted in your seeking asylum in the welcoming arms of a well deserved sabbatical.
    5. If you do return โ€“ yahoo!!! If not, as mentioned in # 1 above, you will have a second chance at excellence, in whatever you pursue. Few of us have that opportunity.

    Bye for now?

  53. Eyaura

    This is kind of sad but as Philip says it’s not the end- just a break. Yes, going back to the PP format and focusing on maps and mods will probably make the hobby enjoyable and manageable once again. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Relegate some of the new stuff to others like you did with Discord.

    You bit off more than you can chew maybe with all the videos, vlogs, contests and so on… Sometimes I feel the same way with my mod, it’s a huge project and seeing source modding slowly decline isn’t doing much for my morale heh… I have been lucky the people who enjoy my work have been patient but it’s time for me to finish also. Maybe next year it is time to release. Very high likelihood for that…

    Source is indeed difficult to work with so I understand why many devs move on. Having to recompile always to check everything is a terrible time waster, but with enough patience (and a few dozen compiles) maps in source can gain special charm newer engines don’t deliver; a kind of organic, soft feel. a lot of tweaking is involved in it though…

    HL3 would bring some life into the community but that’s not happening it seems. I don’t understand Valve’s policy on that at all. The more they delay the higher the expectations and eventually the become impossible to satisfy. People build it up in their minds…

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