Level Design Academy

Level Design Academy

Teaching you to take Half-Life to the next level!


The Level Design Academy (LDA) will be a regular livestream broadcast where Don teaches Phillip how to map for the Goldsource engine.

Just like other RTSL streams, they will be announced on the Wednesday or Thursday before a weekend in the Weekend Livestream Schedule post.

Phillip will also livestream most of his practice sessions too.

All streams will be uploaded to RTSL's YouTube channel a day or two after the stream.

All files required can be found on a shared Google Drive space.


The LDA's objectives are initially to teach Phillip the basics of making a level and releasing a playable map.

In addition, it is hoped that the streams and videos will act as tutorial sessions for those wanting to learn how to map.

The sessions will continue for as long as Don and Phillip feel there is a need. However, it is planned to have "seasons" (just like TV shows), where various points and elements of mapping will be covered but then there will be a longer break, perhaps in December, where Phillip will try to create a playable release combining all his newly acquired skills.


Don and Phillip will be livestreaming personal tutoring sessions approximately twice a month.

The stream will feature both Don's and Phillip's screen.

Then, on another day, Phillip will then practice what he has learnt and at the next tutoring session will revisit any points that he needs clarification on and ask Don questions that have been generated through the practice sessions.

It is hoped that viewers will contribute thoughts and comments through the livestream chat and even use it as an impromptu discssion session with other mappers.

During the tutoring sessions, both Don and Phillip will do their best to repsond to points raised in the live chat, but of curse their attention will be focused on their intraction.


Don and Phillip have been talking about this idea around for a few years now and originally, it was planned to be a series of video tutorials with a custom mod being made at the end of it.

The trouble is that this project is just one of many for both Don and Phillip and it was agreed that the livestream version, whilst not likely to be asprofessional as a pre-made video series, would still be fun and useful to make, and help encourage live participation by viewers.

Why GoldSource?

Goldsource was chosen for a few reasons. One, Phillip loves Goldsource games and has always wanted to make a mod for it. He fully understands that this limits him, both conceptually and practically, but he is like a dog with a stick in his mouth - he won't let it go!

Another reason is that his teacher, Don, knows Goldsource better than any other engine and like Phillip, loves Half-Life.

Both Don and Phillip fully understand that starting a stream about an 18 year-old game will have limited appeal, but this is a hobby for both, not a business.

If the idea proves successful then there are a number of possibilities for additions, extensions and other sessions.


This is sure to be an exciting new feature for the site and it is also hoped that a few people, no matter their age or experience, will decide to learn Goldsource mapping along with Phillip.


Here is a list of all the previous streams, in chronological order, with the oldest at the top.

You can also view the posts in the standard excerpt format:
Main Level Design Academy category, LDA Tutoring category and LDA Practice category.

Date YT video Video length RTSL post Type Contents
24th May 2016 Level Design Academy 2h 34m Link Tutoring
  • Introduction to the Level Design Academy
  • Responses to Phillip's Questions raised during his previous practice sessions
  • Review of shortcuts
  • Best practices
  • Review of interface elements in Hammer
  • Review of brushes and entities
  • OMG, brushes can be entities too!
  • Parts of a brush
  • Brushes MUST BE convex NOT concave
  • Selecting multiple brushes
  • Brush rotating and skewing
  • Flip and align
  • Transform dialogue box
  • Other brush primitives: Wedges, cylinders and spikes
  • Introduction to carving, hollowing and clipping
  • Nervous breakdown trying to remember everything!
16th May 2016 Level Design Academy 59m Link Practice
  • Added corridors around basic 5 room structure
  • Experimented with various heights and widths
  • Found and fixed a few leaks
  • Adjusted lighting in corridors
14th May 2016 Level Design Academy 1h 20m Link Practice
  • Consolidation of basic actions and shortcut keys
  • Enlarged first room to include more rooms
  • Started to create various types of ceilings
  • Tested various lighting settings in one particular room
  • Added a headcrab and crowbar
7th May 2016 Level Design Academy 2h 47m Link Tutoring
  • Introduction to the Level Design Academy
  • Introduction to games and engines
  • Applications required
  • How to install and set up the applications
  • Introduction to some interface elements in Hammer
  • Instruction to build very basic room, with a light and player start
  • Compiling the room into a playable map