September 2016 General Chat

OK, first things first: this is Don posting now. I’m not taking over the RTSL site, but I offered to be an interim admin to keep things going while Phillip is on sabbatical.

I’m going to simply be keeping an eye on the site. The regular weekend streams of The Ville Retrospective, Classic of the Month, and Source of Fame will resume shortly and we’ll keep those going. New maps and mods will still be posted in this interim time.

In case you don’t know me, I am Don AKA Unq (short for Unquenque) – Half-Life fan and mapper since the early days. I’ve been a part of the PlanetPhillip/RTSL community for over 5 years, and I currently run the Classic of the Month streaming event where I pick a new Half-Life or Op4 mod to play.

I plan to continue these monthly chat posts because they’re a great way to catch up with everybody.

I also want to quickly thank everyone for their outpouring of support and comments on Phillip’s sabbatical. His break is well deserved and I only hope I can keep things in good shape in the near future.

Whew, September already. Hard to believe. Some of us are back to school, some of us are still trying to hold on to summer, and no doubt some are glad autumn weather is not far away.

What are you up to? I personally am trying to buckle down on my Half-Life mapping and hoping to get two releases done this year. We’ll see, no promises.

Happy September!

What is this post?

Over the last few months, RTSL has gotten a lot of new readers. Anyway, unlike many other sites that also have a “proper” forum, RTSL does not.

So now, each month we create a “General Chat” post for readers to post whatever they want within the limits of being a family-friendly website.

Please don’t post reviews, questions or comments about maps and mods listed on the site – post them on the respective post – all those comments will be deleted. We do this to ensure that when a reader visits a map or mod page, all the information is in one place.

This Month’s old FPS game

Back in June 2014, Phillip started to use a poster from a classic Sci-Fi movie as the background for the post image. Starting in June 2016, we started to use images taken from old FPS games.

This month it is Thief Gold (1999).

Thief Gold is the expanded edition of Thief: The Dark Project, released just a couple weeks after Half-Life in November 1998. A brilliant game that makes you think before you act – the “S” in “FPS” in Thief’s case is “Stealth.” It’s the first 3D stealth game and often cited as one of the top games of all time. Definitely worth playing, and it’s a personal favorite.

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  1. Oh goodness me, Constantine’s Mansion, as if Down in the Bonehoard wasn’t weird and maze-like enough. I should probably go back and replay that one day on Expert or something. Just been busy with Clear Sky for now.

    Anyway, finally got that other 2 Remods done, Survive in Catacombs 2 and Escape from the Darkness, feels great. College is starting though, so that feeling ain’t gonna last long.

  2. Anybody else seen this BBC report about BT suing Valve?

    1. I haven’t read the patents, but in their claim, these sound like incredibly generic concepts they are suing over. And given that the BBC points out that BT tried to sue other companies in the past claiming they owned the concept of hyperlinks, it’s probably a bunch of nonsense. Things like storing content on a server and allowing users who log in to receive it. Wow, how original.

      As an American citizen, I really must apologize for our country’s absolute joke of a patent system. It’s legalized extortion. Companies like BT hope to bully others into paying “licensing fees” or get lucky in front of a technologically-illiterate judge and score millions. There are rarely any repercussions for filing bogus lawsuits like this, so they keep doing it.

  3. Oh ever since Phillips post I was wondering who the hell is this DON he talked about. Never heard of him before but yes sure. It’s you Unq of course. I know you or rather your work far longer than I have been a mapper myself and far longer than you ever heard about me before. 😛

    Glad to see you aiding Phillip while he is taking a hopefully long and restful break of things. Let him be a player for once and no Admin – let him be free of obligation. (Not that he had any for a simple hobby). So it’s good to you have you here. Welcome – welcome to City em 😛
    I don’t know how it will go on with this site considering this isn’t the first incident but we all can only wish the best for Phillip and no matter what happens it was a good time here.

    You mentioned potential 2 releases this year? I could imagine the current TWHL Rift content being 1 what’s the other one? Care to spoil a little bit? ^^ 🙂 In either case I hope you reach your goals for this year. There ain’t much time left you know.

    As for me I just released some Black Mesa helicopters (re-skins) still containing some minor texture glitches but @Tetsu0 will help me addressing these issues so I will release a minor patch at some point for them. Other than that I took responsibility over “The Infected” as Neclipse lacks the proper time finishing it himself. The mod is pretty much release ready with the exception of 2 missing maps. I intend to change as little as possible so that it remains his mod and his vision how the Resonance cascade looked elsewhere in Black Mesa. That’s also 1 of the reasons why I needed the chopper. ^^ But I don’t wanna spoil to much. 😛

    Offtopic: Now I know you especially asked for it not to. But I keep getting confusing reports about my mod release. People claiming I changed nothing or things are still crashing in WON etc. Please update the mod here on this site. I recently released an update for Military Duty enhancing several things, models (texture alignment) details and even adding new map sections + 1 map. This site still hosts the old file. Please update it UNQ asap. The spam in moddb starts to annoy me. Feel free to delete this entire segment of the message here and if you can’t the entire comment of course. Also keep in mind the file size is smaller now than before as I included the textures in the bsp’s itself.

    Edit: @Phillip hey there.. Enjoying your time? No I didn’t hear anything about it till you told us here… It’s kinda interesting.. But from the additional comments it sounds like one of these money grinding companies which sue all sorts of other companies in order to gain some profit out of it.. Even if they would win I doubt it would be much of a loss for Valve assuming the penance would be a cash penalty. So I’m rather calm relating to that but lets keep following it.

    1. Please allow me to apologise for the delay in updating. I have now uploaded the latest and final file and the post links to this version.

      With regard to the suing issue. BT is not just a patent company trying to get money from Valve they are the main telecom supplier in the UK. BT stands for British Telecom.

    2. Unq

      Yes the first will be TWHL World once we can wrangle everything together. The other would be SCRAM which won’t be a surprise, I think I even asked you to beta test it once upon a time. That might or might not make it this year but we’ll see.

  4. JamaicanDave

    I’ve got one more month to enjoy before the new University semester starts and I have to work longer hours again. Sadly most schools are going back already and so the roads be awful again.

    Mapping wise I’d like to try and complete one Black Mesa map, a final follow on to Quarantine and Overtime. That’ll make a trilogy of small, loosely connected maps.

    I only saw the headline about BT suing Valve, I didn’t really read the article.

  5. Thanks Phillip and no worries regarding the delay. Hm sounds like that phone company is having a hard time dealing with the free phone internet competition which must be why they sued all these other companies.

    @JamaicanDave: Congrats on yet another release. I’m kinda happy that people like you make releases for it. I just hope XEN will arrive anytime soon. I think that’s one of the reasons why we see so little fan support for it. Because most people probably don’t wanna map for an incomplete game.
    Or they simply moved on long ago from the Source engine.

    1. JamaicanDave

      I don’t think we’ll see the Xen levels anytime soon. Personally I found them to be by far the weakest part of the original game. Back in the day I’d often stop playing after passing through the portal. This was one of the reasons I was happy to buy BM early access.

    2. I just don’t think Black Mesa plays very well.

      There’s something to be said for the fact that almost no HL2 mappers, or HL1 mappers for that matter, have gone off and made content for it. To JamaicanDave’s credit, he basically sticks with the entities that do work well… mostly anything prior to the HECU. This is the same thing Bravado did, because everything beyond that is broken, in my opinion.

      1. JamaicanDave

        The AI still needs a lot of work. I recall hearing it was a bit of a bodge and might explain why it gets quite flaky, and why many of the larger creatures are so inflexible. I’m not a terribly big fan of the enemy damage output and health balancing either. It can be very unforgiving. I know there’s a large number of interlinked factors involved, but, yeah …. One of my main gripes is with the HECU. I really, really think they should only shoot when stationary, and fire in bursts.

        That said I do like some of the game play changes they made, such as the slower move speed, as well as improving some of the less enjoyable mapping from the original (mentioning no name, On A Rail).

        1. Yeah, I’ve said this before, but the HECU are basically super soldiers. If you look at the abilities of the HL1 HECU, Metrocops and Combine Soldiers, they all gave up something to gain something. The HECU combined all their best attributes and forgot to give them a weakness. I’ve also heard the claim that their AI behaves very differently on the team’s end, but I don’t know what to make of that. In the game itself, the HECU are just broken to me.

          I’m somewhat okay with the slower move speed, but not the lack of omnidirectional sprint like HL2 has.

  6. …Yikes. September. I have a crap ton of things that I need to catch up on. My map for TWHL has been sat untouched for a few weeks now, since I’ve not had chance to do any more streaming which goes hand in hand with that project.

    On top of that, August ended with the released of the last Fallout 4 DLC, Nuka World, so yeah… I’m diving back into the Commonwealth to explore.

    The Battlefield 1 Beta came about as well, but that’s not really been as much of a time sink. Played a few rounds and decided that EA/DICE are no longer deserving of my time/money.

    Finally, there’s the big project… you know? THAT ONE. That’s going well 🙂

  7. From my side, my holidays will soon come to an end, which is unfortunate. I’m gonna have to leave my home and go back to Great Britain where I am studying.
    The funny thing is, these holidays were probably the most busy holidays I ever had even though I stayed home during most of the time.

    I took a job from someone who wanted to update the look of a theme they bought. This has been (and still partially is) so much work, I never or almost never experienced that. Weeks of working from morning til noon on the same thing. The “sad” thing is that I’m not completely proud of myself. The theme in itself is a large collection of files which are too big to be read and comprehensively understood. So basically, except for the libraries the theme is using, I am working on something I don’t really understand and my code reflect that, even though it doesn’t change anything in the end.

    One other project I have is of course TWHL HUB. Worked a lot on that too. My map’s going to be my family house and from the beginning I was upset that my map wasn’t set to the real dimensions of the house it’s supposed to be based on. So, at one point, I decided to resize the whole map to the “correct” dimensions, which meant making the whole map again from scratch. It took me almost a week of full days to make the structure anew, more work was put in models so it wasn’t that a big deal. To have the correct dimensions, I used an unusual technique: I measured something I could precisely measure. Not walls, floors or anything belonging to the structure as everyone would be tempted to do first, but objects like windows, tables and doors. Then, using the online converter I created for the occasion, I mapped these objects and resized the structure to make its dimensions somewhat consistent with the objects. It looks quite good.
    However, I experienced quite a big and annoying problem. Half-Life isn’t made to have the same proportions as real life does. If my converter converts heights well, the results it gives for widths makes sometimes for awkward dimensions. Indeed, I had to use a trick (making the borders of doors passable) to allow the player to go through certain doors, because otherwise the player would be too fat to.

    Besides all of this, well, I spend some time with my family, work on my English, and have tons of other projects I couldn’t spend time on (learning C++, etc…). But hey, that’s for later.

    Phillip, by the way, I completely understand your need for a sabbatical. Passions can become oppressive. I hope the website will stay as it is even if you don’t add new content to it, make competitions, WTH, streans… Then you could just make streams without commitment or planning, when you feel them. Just an idea, I don’t expect to be necessarily good!

  8. I only just saw Phillip’s post about his leave of absence/sabbatical, it’s quite surprising. I certainly understand where he’s coming from, running Metrocop (which isn’t even as active, admittedly) has also become quite a lot of work and sometimes I feel like calling it quits myself. Still, things seemed to be on the upswing, so I can’t say I saw it coming. All the best to Phillip, I hope he chooses whatever’s best for both him and the community.

    Also, welcome to the captain’s chair, Don! Glad to see you steering the ship! Not that anyone’s asked, but if Phillip wants to retire or ease his workload, I hope he passes the site off to a vital member like you permanently to keep the community alive.

  9. For me, september has brought a lot of free time … ! I’ve already taken advantage of this new situation and took off almost a week ago with my car to drive some scenic routes in Austria and Slovenia. Now I’m home again and can now focus on the following things:

    -House and gardens. Need to get rid of a bunch of stuff/garbage and the gardens are starting to resemble a tropical jungle due to the warm and wet summer over here.

    -A HL2 EP2 mod I’m currently fabricating: Aerial Harassment. Roughly the same ‘storyline’ as in Trouble Dutch and Sudden Departure (escape town and flee into the countryside) but longer, visually better, and more or less thought out gameplay … ! Expect a release within two weeks.

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