Steam, Tracks, Troubles and Riddles

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

After the Cuban Missile Crisis, humanity is wiped out and only machines are left.

This is a vision of a possible future.

In this adventure mod, your task is to solve puzzles and move the Handcar along the tracks until you can go no further.

Let the “robot” guide you and pay special attention to his head!

Basic Details
  • Title: Steam, Tracks, Troubles and Riddles
  • File Name: hl2-ep2-sp-sttr.7z
  • Size : 205MB
  • Author: Peter Graf AKA PeeGee
  • Date Released: 20 September 2014
MapTap Users

This file is too big to be offered as a direct download for use with MapTap – sorry.

Download Options

Download to your HDD [205MB]

You can still use it with MapTap once you have downloaded it.

Manual Installation Instructions
  • Copy the STTR_CH1_V1_01 folder into your SourceMods folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • Steam, Tracks, Troubles and Riddles should now be listed in your Library tab.

If you require more help, please visit the Technical Help page.

Videos

The playthrough/walkthrough below is provided by PlanetPhillip. See more of my playthroughs on this site: VP: PlanetPhillip.

Screenshots

Click on the tabs below to select the size of screenshot you would like.
All sizes are the same screenshots, just in different resolutions.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

1024 x 576

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
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Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
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Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Maybe
Play It Later
Play It Now!

7 recommendations, average score: 3.29 (out of 5), standard deviation: 3.06 (what's that?)
Total Downloads
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 7 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: 0 Users
Manually: 7 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 8 Hours, 1 Mins
Shortest: 0 Hours, 50 Mins by PlanetPhillip
Longest: 50 Hours by NitroHam
Total Time Played: 56 Hours, 6 Mins
Jump to a review
Phillip says Play It!Think TwiceAvoid It!Play It LaterPlay It Now!Avoid It!Play It Now!

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19 Comments

  1. Phillip says Play It!

    I have to applaud the author on his vision, unfortunately his realization doesn’t quite match that vision.

    The first thing that worried me was these two sentences “More than four years passed by until this moment. In the past months we had a beta test.” It’s possible there were other beta tests but this make it seem that a beta test was only done late in the development process. Late beta tests often highlights issues that are hard to fix in such late development. Essentially, some things could have been addressed much earlier.

    Now, with that out of the way, I will talk about what was actually released.

    What we have here is an adventure and puzzle mod. Told in the first person, we learn via the first map that we are in an alternative future. It’s not clear that humanity was supposed to have been wiped out and machines took over. All I understood from the first moments was an alternative future. More could have been done to explain that in the mod. Another question, is who am I and how have I got there? Perhaps that is covered in future releases, but it should be mentioned immediately.

    The “robot” that greets us is well made and used well. I would have replaced his moving mouth with a grill, because the moving mouth of metal just seems silly. The vision present is subdue and colourless and I feel that was a nice touch. There are a few obvious spots of Combine textures and that spoils it some what.

    The gameplay is well explained and the puzzles are certainly not hard, but it’s the package that is important. All in all I had some fun but felt everything was built as a puzzle, rather than feeling that the puzzles were a natural part of the environment.

    I found a bug in the mod where I fell out of the playing area a couple of times and that should certainly have been addressed in earlier beta testing.

    Apparently, this is just the first episode in a series and whilst the author has worked very hard I would prefer he worked smarter and addressed some basic issues before spending time of superficially things.

    All in All, I would recommend playing this mod, it’s only about 50 minutes of gameplay time and the interaction with the guide is worth having. Just remember, you don’t kill or shoot at anything.

  2. AI

    As a former “Railroad person” I found this quite enjoyable! The puzzles were not too hard for me, and the hand car brought back a few memories! Good timing is advised. 🙂

  3. JG
    Think Twice

    To me, no matter how much custom content you have, the bottom line is that a mod has to be fun to play. This mod was not fun. Sure, some will probably be enthralled by the custom NPC (NPCs?), the bizarre humor, bleak sense of style and the overall amount of work that must have went into it. But at no point was I ever having fun with it. It just felt like monotonous busy work from beginning to end.

  4. Phillip, I posted a comment here but I think it got lost in moderation.

  5. Hmm,, This crashes steam,,,
    windows still runs in background.

    which is unusual cause usually when HL2 crashes it locks up the entire PC.

    1. JG

      I didn’t get a crash. However, I noticed that it didn’t run in Linux.

      This mod uses the same VPK packaging scheme that Deep Down did. Make sure you’ve converted over to Steampipe, or else you will have issues.

  6. I am trying to play this but finding it very buggy. I got my car to the tunnels but no matter what I do the robot never shows up. That means I can’t get the crowbar. I don’t know why.

    1. Avoid It!

      This was very disappointing. The part I was able to play was very frustrating. The controls were clunky to use and the design of the car was bad. I kept getting bumped off the thing because it was too small. I didn’t really understand the pipes puzzle but I managed to get it done through trial and error. However, once I got to the tunnels and the robot didn’t show up I was unable to continue the mod. With some beta testing and bug fixes this could have been a really nice mod. Unfortunately the way it is I would recommend avoiding it. Research and Development is an example of the right way to do a puzzle mod. This is just painful.

  7. It feels more like someone’s hobby project than anything else. It’s visually interesting but that’s pretty much where it ends; nothing feels like it’s introduced but rather dropped in front of you. The setting is introduced in a few images but it’s a bit vague and it doesn’t really connect to the gameplay in any way. You could just be riding around on carts in the present day and it wouldn’t be any different to this weird robot cold war thing.

    The NPC is really bizarre. He’s modeled and animated really well but he never DOES anything. You could omit him entirely and I reckon it wouldn’t change much. In every scene, he appears, says one line of dialogue largely irrelevant to the scenario and then just stares blankly at you while you complete the puzzle. As soon as you finish it, he just says he’ll catch up and stands there after you’ve gone. I have no idea how he’s getting between the areas without doing the puzzles but I envy him for it.

    The puzzles themselves are hit and miss. The main problem is that you figure out the solution in the first few seconds and then spend ages completing them. The train in the first level is painfully slow and the scene where you have to move the track along the water was so simple that it felt more like busy-work.

    The only puzzle I couldn’t do was the one with the pipes. I must have spent about 20 minutes on it and I couldn’t do it. I confess, I had to skip past that one.

    Lastly, what was up with that sequence where you had to run past all of the trains? It felt like they were desperate to inject some action into it but it was so laughably easy that there was no tension whatsoever; just standing in the doorways and waiting for the trains to trundle past so you could trot along behind them. It was kind of funny how they played rock music over it.

    I really can’t recommend this. Everything feels so slow and awkward. Only play it if you’re a huge fan of either trains or waiting rooms.

    1. JG

      I accidentally solved the pipe puzzle. I have no idea what I did.

      I tried turning all the valves off.
      I tried turning all the valves on.
      I tried closing the “poison” valves shown on the poster.
      I tried mimicking the diagram on the poster.
      I tried randomly turning things on and off – BINGO.

      And that’s not how a puzzle like this should feel. There’s no feedback with that puzzle at all – no sense of progress. I probably spent as much time trapped in that one spot as I did playing the rest of the mod. If that puzzle wasn’t so obtuse, I likely would have given the mod a higher rating. As it stands though, it’s basically one of those “Find the right permutation” puzzles. There probably is a logical solution that you’re supposed to glean from the poster, but I sure didn’t understand it.

      1. I did exactly the same. My video shows me turning valves on and off and suddenly the gate opened. The problem was, as I was doing it I said “And this should open the gate” and it did. Totally lucky.

  8. Play It Later

    The pipes puzzle was so poorly communicated and with no feedback that the worst rating should apply. In fact I doubt the instructions or what you do make any difference. Just keep changing valve settings and valve wheels and get through that mess.

    However I really enjoyed the rest of the mod and several things were very impressive including the graphics and unique features.

  9. Hec
    Play It Now!

    I quite enjoyed this one. Some parts in the map, specially at the beginning remind me to the fantastic Research and Development mod, with all of that industrial post-apocalyptic scenario.

    I have to say the environment was ok and felt like a 50’s frozen time era atmosphere.

    Though I have to recognize at the beginning that crane puzzle seemed to me like a kill-joy task, once I got familiarized with the dynamic of that puzzle it didn’t seemed that bad and the rest of the mod was just ok, with not very difficult puzzles, those were more like press the button and retrieve this and that.

    I guess the most difficult part is where you get to the wrecked subway station, there I find a very annoying bug almost every time I tried to pass the subway canal, actually when I reach the other side the continuing movement of the train carts just drifted me away TO one certain direction and I even was out of the map once!! so yeah, I guess that part need to be revisited in order to make it bug free.

    The robot was a nice companion and seemed to be way too much friendly for my liking, and in my opinion I’d love if the robot would have gone crazy and tried to kill me or something like that, I hope to see maybe an evil side of the bot in the future episode maybe…

    Finally I don’t know if taking the train cart that we armed at the beginning could actually alter the story?? so I may reply the mod some day to prove that, and if it has an alternative ending would be cool.

    In conclusion it was a fun linear puzzle mod to play, though I guess you’re going to dislike it if you adore combat mods, maybe in some future this mod sequels can be beta tested some more and incorporate some new details like combat or scary situations, that can be very interesting.

  10. Ade

    I agree with JG. It was no fun for me at any point basically.

    It was frustrating from get, not understanding the controls in the first room, and not knowing the parts I was supposed to pickup, and I could basically pick up random unuseful props so was a trial and error for me. Oh I lied, it was fun to spot random bugs like floating cups on the fridge in that area, to start with. Same area had another bug, the lever for the door would not work and the robot just stood there, I had to go back a bit to trigger it, that didn’t make any sense and I cried for playing the nth untested mod, cus it’s so f***ing hard to find testers these days, like not even betatest but simply playtest is enough to find random spots in the mod where people get stuck not knowing what to do, or triggers not being triggered properly, visual language not transmitting everythin the author wants to when instructing the player.

    Next area is again buggy with the gate not opening the FIRST time the bridge was in front of it. Plus the handcar was very buggy not starting if I wasn’t standing in the right place, like it would maybe get stuck in my player model? F*** knows. Next area! the handcar stops probably from same bug OOOR because the following door is closed, and we’re supposed to open it, but you don’t see why it stops because it’s round a corner so again it just gives the impression the mod is buggy.

    The pipes puzzle, oh wow, I can see I wasn’t the first to be confused by it, but moreover, it’s where Anicator and I got stuck cus after we raised the platform, with no feedback from the pipes turning, mind you, we couldn’t actually rotate the damn platform. I mean I get the robot was there to aid us instead of the sinful text on screen, but here it would’ve been great if valves and levers turning would’ve been accompanied by a reaction from that bot. Nop, too much to ask.

    Oh and lots and lots of invisible walls and kill triggers in places you’re not supposed to go, nice ways to enclose the playable area.
    So yea, I cannot rate this as I haven’t finished it, but for whoever reads this, there are other more polished mods out there that deserve your attention. I had way more fun in <15 minutes of BETA TESTING an ALPHA map from a BEGINNER which had proper gameplay in place and no bugs basically and new ways of introducing enemies and pffff idk just Avoid This.

  11. JG

    (This is in reply to Ade above)

    I ended up writing a more technical review on Interlopers about this mod for the author. Not sure if he ever saw it, though.

    The author had stated that this mod spent 4+ years in development, but was apparently only tested in the final month. It goes without saying that this is a poor way to do things, compounded by the fact that whoever tested it was either not very thorough, or the author didn’t want to bother fixing some very obvious problems.

    As far as getting shoved off the cart is concerned, I looked into this (because I’ve seen this same problem in some of my testbed maps) and it stems from not setting up the properties of the platform correctly. In the case of a func_tracktrain, the author needed to check the “HL1 Train” flag which, as explained by Valve’s Github, basically attaches the player to the train so they share movement information. That’s why the train at the start of HL2 doesn’t exhibit this problem.

    The robot, though certainly unique, is kind of a waste. For one, you can never get him to explain the puzzle a second time, and for two, he never drops hints or words of encouragement. He might as well not be there at all. Although he is voiced by some celebrity talent in the Half-Life world, the voice actor from Freeman’s Mind, the mopey, lethargic tone makes him sound very apathetic. Seriously, I had flashbacks to Larry in The Citizen.

    Reviewing a work like this is like walking on pins and needles. Picture yourself pouring 4+ years into something, not getting paid or anything, only to have it criticized on the Internet. I really don’t want to take that away from the guy. But at the same time, I can’t praise something that has so many issues – especially really basic stuff that would have been easy to fix.

    1. Ade

      Haha yea it reminded me a bit of Larry.
      Well I assumed one of the goals for spending 4 years is to have a product that makes people happy, or at least allows them to have fun, and what’s the point of buildin somethin then have players get stuck early on and not being able to see your entire work? Honestly now. And testing? Really? It’s eons far from good enough just cus it works for the author that knows the exact intended path! If it were a rollercoaster, I can’t imagine doing 1 rough test in the last month of the 4 years and then opening it for the public and people dying on it half way through haha
      To work for so long and to test so late and so little will just dumb the mod down to one that has been worked on only for a few months cus it’s what I got from it anyways, 1 and a half map in it and I was dead stuck and no incentive to even look at a playthrough and attempt to finish it.
      And the years I’m guessing are just a start and finish date, rather than actually working on this 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.

  12. Avoid It!

    i did not at all enjoy this month. it started out so promising but when i got to the first ‘puzzle’ i told myself its gonna get better but it didnt.

    the first area looks quite nice but the painfully slow crane was infuriating.
    the first thing you see when you exit the starting area is a nice looking backgroung building. it will be the last nice looking thing you will see.

    the puzzles are not puzzles they are mostly do what tells you or trial and error with a emphacis on the error part.

    the robot has a decent model but the animations and voice acting are just not good.

    the train thing is way to small and it kept pushing me off, that got very anoying because everytime you leave it it stops.

    the only nice thing where the german signs made sense unlike german signs in any other game that isnt wolfenstein.

    i just cant recommend it. it just seems like there was more effort put in the first area and the custom models than in the rest of the mod.

  13. Play It Now!

    This was a fun mod from the start with a nice visual style and the first puzzle was interesting, especially the control system and your robot guide, who has some powerful gyros to balance on that single wheel!
    Nice puzzles lead to a major pipe valve conundrum. Hard work but I arrived at the solution logically, I think!
    The battery puzzle defeated me! No matter how many times I tried to cross those opposing flat rails carriages I fell off. I shamefully resorted to ‘noclip’
    The last challenge was more my thing, climbing!
    I got to drive a trolley bus, but not for long!
    I liked the humour but the puzzles sometimes appeared to be solved as if by magic!
    Play it don’t moan…

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