2020 General Chat

7th March 2020

Well, it’s been a long time since we’ve posted a General Chat. For a while it was monthly but then it kind of fell away shortly before Phillip left.

So here’s a catchall post to chat about anything Half-Life or Valve related, or questions/issues about the site. Or gaming in general! Or just about anything!

It’s really a great time in the Half-Life world. Black Mesa just officially left Early Access with their 1.0 release. The Map Labs mapping challenges keep on rolling. And of course, Half-Life: Alyx, the first Valve Half-Life game in almost 13 years, is right around the corner!

What are you playing? What are you making? What are you looking forward to?


  1. Stefan Wagner

    I can´t Play my mods! Alternitiv gameinfo wanted ??? Sorry my English

    1. Unq

      Stefan, you can try this: https://www.runthinkshootlive.com/th/#sec4

      Specifically, this Steam community like might help: https://steamcommunity.com/app/420/discussions/0/864971765497379056/

      Most mods here on RTSL should work fine, make sure you follow the installation instructions which are on most pages.

  2. Well, the Black Mesa v1.0 release has caused a few issues with my custom maps so I’ve currently got them all hidden on the stream workshop until I get round to updating them.

    And what am I looking forward to? Half-Life-wise it would have to be TWHL Tower 2. Sounds like there were a fair few maps submitted so should be a decent release. Even had a go at a floor or two myself, first time I’ve been tempted to try Half Life 1 mapping.

  3. Unq

    For my part, I’m really looking forward to Doom Eternal. Doom 2016 surprised me nicely, I had a blast playing it. Of course, HL: Alyx is exciting too. I’m planning to get a VR system just for it, probably all according to Valve’s sinister plan.

  4. It’s nice to see general chat back again after a long time! I am currently making my way through BMS 1.0 and so far, I am really enjoying it. Although playing through things always takes less time than I imagine if I have played it before. (In this case, I last played the BMS campaign in 2016) It took me an extortionate amount of time to first play through Half-Life 1. Partially because I was playing it on my PS2 and also because it was a fresh experience and I did not know the levels. I remember getting to the beginning of Office Complex and thinking “There can’t be that much left to go now!”

    I am looking forward to playing Half-Life: Alyx and experiencing VR. I don’t know if I will get to play it on launch day or for the following days as things are extremely busy right now but I have most of the necessary items (except the game) and am eagerly waiting for release.

    Another thing I am looking forward to is playing TWHL Tower 2 which was a community event run on TWHL.info between November 2019 and the end of February 2020. It is a Half-Life mod that combines a variety of peoples maps into a tower so there should be a wide range of interesting things to find!

    In terms of my modding and level design, I am in quite a slump right now which always seems to happen right after I finish a project. Hopefully I will find some willpower to create something with the new tools for HL:A eventually but for now, I am “on a break” from modding.

  5. Although it is now clear that the Half Life franchise has been resurrected, I gotta admit I’m not in a rush to play the upcoming HL:A. Main reason is that my current old PC would melt when trying to run VR, and I haven’t felt the need yet to update my system. Perhaps the release of Kerbal Space Program 2 – a space sim which my system also would be unable to run – would finally drive me to update.

    Modding/mapping wise I’m very lazy at the moment. Haven’t looked at Hammer in weeks, and this while two standalone projects are basically 99% done and more or less on the verge of release; an update of A2B Trajectory (listed on this site) and an all new A2B Trajectory 2. Gotta soldier on through some software shenanigans and actually release these projects.

  6. I’m looking forward to anything and everything SP that can be played. Pay or not.

    I can’t say I understand exactly what’s coming up, or already here (early access = ?), but hope as always to see the definitive answers here!

  7. zoe

    In the vein of Cromulentville, there was a map that came out about 5 years ago called “Post-Exposure Prophylaxis” that I thought was interesting. It’s not mainstream and a bit bizarre, so it didn’t get any exposure on RTSL.

    For those of you looking for more to play.


    I have no connection to the author/s of the mod. I just thought it was cool and deserves a wider audience.

    1. Thanks! Definitely worth playing. Pretty strange!

      A tip about this map, not really a spoiler. I thought “Loading” was the end, however I needed to look around a lot.

  8. Wesp5

    While it is nice to see with HL:A that HL is back as a game franchise, I don’t really get the hype about it. What I have seen looked like any good mod here, like nothing special except in VR…

  9. Hello everyone.
    It’s been a long time since my last connection. It has also been a long time since I opened up Hammer or Jack….. I don’t know when I will start mapping again but for now, I’ve been practicing level design for a future project. I won’t be talking about it here because no one cares and it’s not the place for it.

    I have finished Black Mesa and I must say it’s one of my favorite half-life mod ever made. Even so, I don’t know if we can call it a mod now when it’s more of a full game. I was a bit disappointed with the last levels of Xen as I encountered lots of bugs and I found the game really really hard. I’ve played the full game in hard and it was challenging but not raging. But I don’t know why I found the last part of Xen unbalanced. But apart from interloper, the rest of the game is gorgeous and fun.

    About Half-Life Alyx O_o. I couldn’t believe it when I saw the trailer. There were only 100k views at the time I saw the thumbnail on youtube and I sat in front of my screen for 5 minutes before clicking on the video. Sadly VR is too expensive for me at the moment. So I try not to get spoil by any news or videos because one day I will play it, whenever I get enough money to buy a good headset. But I must admit, from the trailer and few youtube thumbnail I saw, the game looks really interesting and good.
    Hopefully, I will earn some money with my projects and I will be able to save enough…. finger crossed.

    Ho, and I turn 19 yesterday ^^. Not a big deal but hey….

    1. Black Mesa is a good mod, but have you ever played “Black Mesa: Military”? 🙂


  10. LJ Isbister

    How strange. I had thought that the website had effectively fallen dormant, though I was aware that Unq had taken over the maintenance of it. At the risk of saying something inappropriate I hope that Philip is well and that all is going well both for him and the site. I am still playing Half-Life and its many mods, and hope to do so for many years in the future. It’s given me a great deal of enjoyment and hopefully will do so for many years to come

  11. grabbie

    Glad to see things are still running around here. Been playing most of the new mods that come out. If you haven’t checked out ATROPHY: XCIX, please do it ASAP. It’s an excellent mod and prob my favorite of the year so far. He updated his original mod too if you haven’t played that one over the years. Below is the link to the moddb page.


    Recently finished Black Mesa 1.0 for the Xen levels. The map design was great but it just went on for longer than it should. They can easily cut it down in some sections.

    1. Thanks for the heads up on TITAN_XCIX, downloading now.

    2. Thanks so much for that info. I just completed Atrophy and thought it was brilliant! I’ll play Titan next.

  12. Been looking to get back into map making but all out of ideas currently… except for one idea that’s too big to tackle. I’ve had some bittersweet excitement about HL:A, as someone with no VR gear and neither desire nor option to buy some. Black Mesa tho, hell yeah! I haven’t played any of Xen yet because I wanted to wait until the proper 1.0, so that’s deffo on the to-do list now that it’s out!

  13. I must admit, I’m a little disappointed over HL: A , I mean sure, it’s great to know the franchise hasn’t been completely abandoned, but having to buy even more stuff to play it sucks…and it doesn’t look any different, just more knobs and buttons to twiddle with…one thing’s for sure, they don’t listen to the fans otherwise 3 would be out, it’s all just about money really , we’ll keep shelling out for things we don’t actually want and they’ll keep creaming it off the top. Conned is too mild a word.

    1. Wesp5

      I completely agree! Instead of HL2:EP3 we get a VR only prequel that is targeted to sell Valve’s VR equipment…

  14. Need to upgrade my laptop if I want to play the PR prequel or even the Xen chapter in BM. Now’s not a good time to spend that kind of money so I’ll be digging into my collection instead. Maybe it’s time to play USS Darkstar again.

  15. Re: BMS 1.0, presumably this was the update being done by Steam to my retail game.

    Advice please…. In the release notes it said ” If you have had mods in the past, it may be worth uninstalling the game, deleting all local files in Black Mesa, then reinstalling the game”. I’ve played pretty much all of the add on maps/every bm map, but haven’t added any mods that aren’t maps.

    ?1: Should I uninstall the game as suggested?
    ?2: If maps won’t work with 1.0 until they are redone to suit, can our list be somehow changed to reflect the status? https://www.runthinkshootlive.com/bm/

  16. Been playing Alyx lately, and its been mindblowing.

    Every level, I think a creative peak is reached, then Valve basically goes “y’all mind if I scoot over here a bit and RAISE THE BAR AGAIN?”

  17. yeetman

    Everytime I try to open the Half Life 2: Episode 3 mod game, it shows me the main screen and then exits me, is it a problem with steam or the game?

    1. zoe

      Purely my amateur, shot-in-the-dark, take you chances options when a mod crashes like this, I usually associate it with the SteamPipe update of 2013.

      Gameinfo.txt fix method
      1. Find gameinfo.txt in the mod’s directory.
      2. Delete all contents in the file.
      3. Copy-Paste the code below into the blank txt file.
      3. Save the new .txt as gameinfo.txt
      4. Re-start Steam
      Remember to always backup the original file.
      Be sure to replace MODNAME with the mod’s name.
      If this doesn’t work, you didn’t get this info from me!

      For EP2 mods (SteamAppId 420)…

      name “MODNAME”
      game “MODNAME”
      title “MODNAME”
      title2 “”
      type singleplayer_only
      icon “resource\icon”
      homepage “”
      developer “”

      SteamAppId 420
      ToolsAppId 211
      AdditionalContentId 220

      game+mod |gameinfo_path|.
      platform |gameinfo_path|.
      game_lv hl2/hl2_lv.vpk
      game+mod ep2/ep2_english.vpk
      game+mod ep2/ep2_pak.vpk
      game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic/ep1_english.vpk
      game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic/ep1_pak.vpk
      game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_english.vpk
      game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_pak.vpk
      game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_textures.vpk
      game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_vo_english.vpk
      game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_sound_misc.vpk
      game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2/hl2_misc.vpk
      platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform/platform_misc.vpk
      mod+mod_write+default_write_path |gameinfo_path|.
      game+game_write |gameinfo_path|.
      gamebin episodic/bin
      game |all_source_engine_paths|episodic
      game |all_source_engine_paths|hl2
      platform |all_source_engine_paths|platform



      1. zoe

        Formatting is probably important (I’m a noob), so here are the actual instructions (with proper formatting)…


  18. I have, for sometime now, been having a problem while playing all HL games, that the top of the screen flickers. I tried to research a fix but to date have not been able to find one that works.
    I recall that this happened once before and I was able to figure it out, but now I can’t remember or find the answer. I tried setting the game to run in different compatibility modes and even upgraded the memory. I looked for updates to the drivers for the monitor, but nothing seems to be working.
    Can anyone help?

    1. Just a thought, in video options, does the chosen screen resolution say # X # “(native)”? I have to change every map I install to that.

      If it does say that, have you tried reducing the resolution, making sure to keep it within the same aspect ratio as native.

      Another thing to try is switch the display mode between ‘full screen’ and ‘window’, in searching I found someone solved a problem like that by doing this.

      1. Thanks dougjp,
        I have tried looking at / for these suggestions but have not had any luck in correcting the problem.

  19. So I’m just working on completing a few mods on my backlog, and I’m currently playing through Lost Under the Snow, and I needed to come here to find the save file needed to get past the Wild West crash.

  20. Stevan

    this is going in my bookmarks, this site is amazing for providing all modding info you will ever need

  21. Hi Y’all

    Very much enjoying the Map Labs stuff that has recently been appearing on here. Currently playing The Grid and having a great time.

    On a different note has anyone else noticed that, with a few exceptions, most of the HL, HL2 etc. mods, when played through the new(ish) Steam interface, do not subsequently show up in the Recent Games list. This is a shame as I used to like being able to return to a mod and have it appear at the top of the Recently Played list rather than having to trawl through the huge number of mods I have accumulated over the years. A few such as Downfall, Transmissions Element, Prospect etc. do show up as recently played but most don’t. I am wondering if anything can be done to change this behaviour. I have contacted Steam but did not get very far.

    1. Some mods are even on a tab called ‘hidden’ in my Steam. Strange. It tooks me 15 minutes to find them!

  22. Hi everybody,

    I hope it is the good place to post it. Here below are all the (good and best) mods I have already tried. Have I forgotten one ? (only mods for HL2, HL2Ep1, HL2Ep2).
    Dangerous world
    Dear Esther
    Deep Down
    Down Fall
    Entropy zero
    Episode 3 The Closure v. 2.0
    Estranged : Acte1
    Eye Of The Storm Episode 1
    Forest train
    Get A Life
    Human Error
    Leon’s Coastline to Atmosphere
    Lost Coast
    Mission Improbable
    Project 25
    Research and Development
    Resistance Element
    Riot Act
    Silent Hill Alchemilla v.1.1
    Strider Mountain
    Surface Tension Uncut v2.0
    The Citizen
    The Citizen Returns
    The Gate 2
    The Sprucescape Mod
    The Stanley Parable v1.4
    Transmission : Element120
    Year Long Alarm

  23. Though it was promised at the time, it never happened, so is there anyone out there that can fix ” Sebastion” ?…( HL2 E1)…I’ve tried everything I can think of as well as what was suggested…look in the comments.

  24. AJ

    Hi, I want to delete my account. How may I go about doing this please? Thank you!

  25. Hi all, is there a way to tell if a map/mod will work with a linux based operating system before installing it? I revived an older pc and steam works and hl, hl2 , portal ,l4d all work at high graphic settings. fusionVille works but back on track does not. any thoughts?

  26. I just downloaded the mod Dark Factory which is an hl2-ep1-sp-dark-factory game. After doing what was needed to get the new game into my sourcemods folder and then restarting Steam, when clicked on the game it starts but then only shows a white screen. The error message received says “Can’t find background image materials/console/startup_loading.vtf”.
    Can anyone offer a solution? This has happened before with other downloads and I’d like to learn what went wrong and how to fix it.
    Thanks in advance for any help you can offer.


    1. What worked for me:
      a. open the gamedirectory in explorer
      b. search for another vtf-file in the content of that gamedirectory (use Search: *.vtf )
      c. select such a vtf file (doesn’t matter wich one)
      d. right click on it, drag it to an empty place in that directory and drop it there
      e. ‘do you want to copy the file?’ (or somithing like that) : Yes
      f. rename it to startup_loading.vtf

      restart the game.

  27. whens Bill the evil genius headcrab coming back?

  28. Well, it was good to see this was back, General Chat that is….back in March…is it a yearly thing then ?

  29. Hi, I tried to find “Deeper Down” on Steam but no result. In the past there was a tab named “Hidden” on my steam where mods were stored but impossible to find it anymore. Who can help me ?

    1. Unq

      Deeper Down isn’t on Steam. You can download it from the page here on RTSL.

      1. thx. I thought it was on Steam 😉

  30. nes

    I have no idea why, but Half-Life is the only series that i legitimately felt the desire for getting all of the achievements. While some of them were frustrating, i had fun with some other ones. (like beating Episode One with one bullet only)

  31. As instructed, I’ll post it here…go check out ‘Snowdrop Escape’..it’s long, hard in places and full of puzzles…good though.

  32. Hi.

    Unq, when you find the time would you be interested in adding my mod Half-Life: Sum? It’s a compilation of my previous works that is HTC, Autonomy Lost and Abeyance. I did a lot of fixes and additions so even if you’ve played the previous parts it’s still worth playing through to see all the changes. And of course as mentioned it’s all in one cohesive package.


    1. Sum…please add the installation path..

  33. Hi everybody

    I have just finished playing Riot Act on Hard level but on the bridge at the end I had to cheat and drop down to Medium level because everytime I tried to leave the hut on the bridge the Strider fired a laser beam which wiped me out. My brother-in-law also had the same problem on Hard level. I read through the game comments on your site and nobody mentioned it. Is this a known bug or are we both missing something?

    Many thanks

  34. Southernmost Combine has released…well worth checking out…

  35. Hi Unq and Phillip,
    I am just finishing Portal 2 and already getting withdrawal. I see there are mods for Portal 1 and 2 around the net but I can’t find any here. Have you considered adding mods for those?

    1. Unq

      Hi ivorybow! It’s just me here these days. Sorry, we won’t be expanding to Portal or Portal 2 maps.

      There are a TON of maps on the Portal 2 Steam Workshop, sorry that I don’t know how to find the good ones to play. Good luck!

  36. Hi,
    I would like to discuss about good mods and maps for Black Mesa. Is it the good place ? I would like to exchange info about :
    What are the BM mods I should absolutely try;
    What are the most gainful graphical options to swich on in BM : I have a graphic card GTX 750 TI (2Go GDDR5) and I would like to have the best possible graphics.
    PS : I played almost all mods for HL2 ( and EP1, EP2) 🙂

    1. I look on the page that displays the full list of Black Mesa maps and mods, but it seems not kept up to date for years 🙁

  37. I recently finished getting the achievements on BM which was actually pretty fun. Now there isn’t much to play except for the odd item popping up on the BM Workshop. There is a great looking Blue Shift mod demo there but so far it is just a train ride and no actual game play. I’m hoping something good to play comes along one of these days!

  38. John190

    Hello there.
    I am looking for this one map/mod for HL2EP2.
    The map/mod in question is the one where you play as 4 rebels and you play as them in their own seperate playthroughs.
    Can someone here help me find this map please? Thank you.

    1. Unq

      Is this perhaps XBLAH’s Die Another Day from ReplayVille?

  39. Is there a separate general chat for 2021 or are we still using this one?

    1. It seems it is this one

  40. If you want to exchange good mods or tricks about BM or HL2, I would love it

  41. Tricks? As a mapper I usually play with developer mode set to verbose.

  42. What’s the best way to find playtesters for an early build of your level? I’ve downloaded a bunch of maps from RTSL but am just now starting to get involved in the community, so sorry if I’m posting this in the wrong spot!

    1. Unq

      A good place to join and get involved in Source mapping is the Map Labs Discord: http://discord.gg/p2c6Mfa

      Even if you don’t enter their challenges there are channels for help and mapping support and it’s easy to find testers there.

  43. Half Life 2 : Resident Evil..Survivor. Play it if you haven’t. In the light of very little of interest getting posted here these days, this is one to play. Discord I’m afraid is just as boring at the moment also, nothing to see there, but if you scroll through ModDB you’ll find it. A few niggles like invisible walls and props that you might expect to behave as they usually do, but it’s still worth it and very much in the vein of RE. A lot of puzzles, but nothing complicated, it’s just a fun romp and I highly recommend you spend a while there, it’s quite long so free up 2-3 hours.

    1. Thanks, Duke, I will try this new HL2 mod tonight 🙂

  44. Enjoying rewriting Valve’s code so that it works more stable…
    Enjoying PC-free time while shaders are compiling?
    What else can be better than this? 😀

  45. shivero

    is there a level thats kind of uhhh atmospheric (kind of like highway 17) i really like levels where it feels almost isolated with a few enemies and empty houses n stuff. good example of that is the map downfall which i really liked

  46. Going through the site, one or two things occured to me, well a few things actually. I go to the ‘Play’ link and navigate to HL2 ep 2, scroll through the list. Now usually, I select the ‘all games’ option, pick on one that sounds OK, read about it then if I don’t fancy it I click ‘back’ expecting to return to where I was. That doesn’t work, I’m back to the pages to select…page one…not back to ‘all’ where I left off, so I have to scroll back through it all again to find where I was. Mildly irritating that.

    Another thing is, wouldn’t it be better if it was organised differently. All the ‘villes’ in one section…all the long, short and medium lengths in another…maps or mods…I dunno, I find the navigation isn’t that intuitive though I do find the play now, wow and avoid it options useful to some extent, though of course that’s most likely based on one persons opinion. I don’t suppose it’ll ever happen, but a makeover would be nice, even though I realise that this site is basically an archive these days. But when I click ‘back’ I do expect to go back to where I was, not have to start all over again. Anyway, just my 10 cents worth.

    1. Unq

      Good to get feedback, though there is only so much I can change. As far as controlling the ‘back’ to where in the table you were, that’s unfortunately just something you have to live with. I suggest popping open a new tab to inspect each individual mod, that way you don’t lose your place in the table.

      The “Villes” are all listed in Play – Mapping Challenges. They are all also Ep2 mods so they show up in the Ep2 table as well of course. The newer Map Labs challenges are under Play – Map Labs Challenges – unfortunately I’m horribly behind on posting them here, so you can find the latest Map Labs releases on their ModDB site.

  47. Amongus guy

    how do i extract a 7z file?

    1. Unq

      Use 7-zip. A quick google search would have shown this.

  48. Hey, I’ve been trying to find an old HL2 custom map, from before 2010 probably, where you’d start with a City Scanner companion, that would always follow you, which you could interact with and by doing so it would open a holographic menu, allowing you to use in-game credits (money) to buy weapons, ammo and items. The credits/money could be earned by killing enemies in this map.

    Does anyone know the name of this map I just described? It was pure nostalgia for me.. I’ve tried going through the 400+ maps listed here but I couldn’t find it (maybe I missed it?)


  49. Heads up chaps, Rift 17 Demo is out there and it’s well worth playing, I can barely wait for the full version. It’s an HL2 mod and work in progress, but there’s a fair bit to play for now.

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