2023 General Chat

1st January 2023

Another year is upon us already! Here’s a new General Chat! Best wishes from me to you for a great 2023!

This year, I’m still hoping that mods I mentioned a year ago see the light of day, like The Core, Dark Matter, Signal Lost, and THWL Tower Source.

I also plan to catch up with mods and games I’ve been wanting to play, like an Alyx replay as well as FMPONE’s Levitation which was released in November.

What are your 2023 resolutions? Or better yet, goals?


  1. In 2023, I’m hoping to be able to release a mod of my own.

    I’ve also been meaning to give Alyx a replay myself, as well as play some of the mods for it. But playing VR in the summer isn’t exactly a pleasant experience, so it’ll have to wait a bit.

    1. I think you should try some other VR games first to get you in the mood. Eventually Alyx will become a want.

  2. Just hoping for many more non-VR maps/mods.

  3. Anyone played Entropy Zero 2 yet? I just finished chapter 4 of Black Mesa: Blue Shift (always excellent), and am hoping EZ2 hits that same quality level.

    1. well let me tell you that.

      EZ 2 has an interesting thinks and you will like it

      but of curse BLACK MESA is the best one

    2. EZ2 is far far better than EZ1. It’s funnier, bigger, and actually more serious too. There are some big name modders working on that. Voice acting is stunning too! BM:BS is really damn good too though.

      1. Yeah. I skipped EZ1 entirely based on the reviews that talked about the quality/difficulty level issues.

      2. Just played the latest chapter in Blue Shift. Really enjoyed it, and can’t wait until the next one comes out!

        1. Same. The quality remains so high with this team of modders.

  4. I’m currently tinkering with the standard map builder in Portal – just for fun. If I like it I might try to release something as a first effort this year.

  5. Hello! Welcome to 2023! I eventually hope to release a mod of my own (99% sure it will just be a mappack though). I also am excited for the future of Source because Evacuation has just released and it was a sweet little mod. I won’t talk about it too much here, but it had some very unique challenges I didn’t see before. My goals for 2023 is to continue to play and enter mapping challenges and push myself to new limits. High quality, bigger maps faster. I have been trying to join more mod teams to help reach my goals. See you in the comments πŸ˜€

  6. In my personal point of view, Blue shift for BM (last version) and Raising the bar redux (last version) are the best mods I have ever played. Don’t shoot me or hit me with a crowbar if you are not sharing my point of view, it is only a personal judgement 😊. But try them both if not yet, you will be surprised

    1. Thanks so much for pointing out Raising the Bar Redux. I agree with you, it is an amazing mod.

      1. What is the mod about?

        1. “Raising the Bar: Redux” is a mod attempting to recreate the HL2 Beta experience while updating it to make it more like a modern game. You can play what’s been released so far on the Moddb page, and you should really give it a try as it’s super high-quality: https://www.moddb.com/mods/half-life-2-raising-the-bar-redux

  7. Hec

    Well, probably my main goal in 2023 is to pay my debts fully, so I hope I can do it this year.

    Anyway, I just to chat about something related to Half-Life. I wonder if Unq plans to release Half-Life Delta, a total Russian conversion of HL1. I think that one should be a mandatory release here as it’s a very interesting mod.

    Here’s the link to the Delta mod: https://www.moddb.com/mods/half-life-delta

    1. Unq

      I will play and add Delta, but I’m waiting on the full overhaul that’s underway.

      1. Hec

        Wow! I didn’t know they were planning a total overhaul! I’ll keep an eye on that!

  8. I’ve been absolutely overwhelmed by irl stuff and instability but once I get those ironed out, I’m gonna go on a Source binge.

  9. Roxana

    There is a chance i will release my own mod this year its “Half-life 2 Episode 3 the return”!

    1. i hope we can see it i like the opinions of the community

  10. I would very much like for The Core to be done this year.

  11. Most forward goal right now is to release a map this year. Need to break out and make some stuff because I feel like I want to. Cheers, folks.

  12. Hiyas; I just started getting into Half-Life mods. I’m one of those people who loved Half-Life 1 and loved it and then tried Half-Life 2 and didn’t like it and dropped halfway just headcanoning Half-Life 1 as a standalone game, I didn’t check out the expansions either. Since I got the news that Entropy Zero 2 delivers closure as Half-Life 3, I decided to finally take the dive on the expansions and a selection of popular mods that aim to expand the world with their own stories that deliver on Half-Life quality and see what I get if I treat them as canon and build up to Entropy Zero 2 as a finale!

    I have a lot I’d like to talk about, but to try and cover the overall experience: dang I’ve played Opposing Force, Echoes, Poke646, Poke646 Vendetta, Blue Shift, and Point of View in that order and the only one that didn’t deliver Half-Life was Blue Shift, and the only one that didn’t deliver on Half-Life was Blue Shift! I really liked Opposing Force and Poke646 and loved Echoes. Vendetta was quite fun, but I did headcanon it out as soon as I finished it with how badly it felt like a blissful dream Damien had his first night after Poke646 that was less interesting and focused.

    I dropped Blue Shift for undercutting like… everything about Half-Life that worked with its lack of atmosphere or sense of danger to the facility. Up to Rosenburg I may have killed more HECU in it than I did in the entirety of Opposing Force, Echoes, and Poke646 with the AI just sending them around in droves in open areas that confuse them to get killed fast. After loving that armor system in Echoes I was surprised by how much it overloads you on it, so it feels like this is just another day on the job for Barney and he’s overqualified without even having a suit and making the grunts look like idiots. At a base level I found it just failed to create scenes with its level design unlike the rest.

    I have enjoyed Point of View but I think it might be getting too long for an fps with no ammo, health management, and mostly interchangeable enemy types (so far), but dang I’m shocked how well the writing holds up despite coming out before HL2 with it making clear that the Vortigaunts have changed throughout history and their minds are very much different from what we see later because the Nihilanth as a hive mind master fundamentally changes how they think. Fingers crossed it can stick the landing when I come back to it later.

    I think I’ll head to Field Intensity next with how beloved that one is, and I’m excited to see how it feels as a pay off to fight the Kingpin as an enemy type when in Echoes it was a character and we got a glimpse of it in the Xen lab of Poke646.

    For Blue Shift I’ll either go back and finish what little is left or wait until the remake is finished

    1. Oh dear I can’t edit comments, sorry I should have proofread this more.

  13. I’ve been playing Half Life games for quite a few years and can say that I’ve enjoyed them all. I have been impressed with the talent that is out there to develop some quality Mods & Maps. I’m hoping to see a lot more this year, so I can continue to build my library of games to play.
    Thanks to all who have worked so hard, including our fearless leader Philip.

    1. Yes to that, but also our fearless leader Don for many years now.

      Its a real treat to have this site continue! Over the many years I’ve only found a few other FPS single player games that I like, and none of the (non Half-Life/Black Mesa) new games that have come out appeal to me. At all. I’ve bought and tried to play a few. And I don’t do any multiplayer, I’m too old and slow, which eliminates a lot of games πŸ˜‰

      So I tend to repeat play literally everything here from the beginning of HL that is of decent quality. The way the games are so well catalogued here makes it easy to do this.

      1. Unq

        Thanks! Yeah, sorry the site doesn’t get many updates. I try to add major releases and the larger Map Labs challenges but life is busy and I’m struggling to get to things properly.

        Thanks for hanging in there everyone!

  14. Looking at Entropy Zero 2’s workshop, I’m wondering if it’ll need a category on here like Black Mesa at some point with the mapping scene it’s been picking up. I hope it keeps growing.

    1. Thank you, an excellent find! Some complete, large and fascinating SP maps within a game, in the sub menu Bonus Maps – who knew? I would never have found these in a million years, given the way the search function works (?) in Steam.

      So far I’ve played Last Contact EP1 and rate it a PF (10/10), and Arbeit Airport (9/10). In other words they would be at the sharp end of my SP Maps’ favorite’s list. I bet most don’t even know they exist.

      I wonder what other games have “hidden” games in their sub menus that we don’t already know about?

      1. You’re very welcome! It’s so cool to see it get a scene. I’ve taken advantage of the workshop to get to play some Entropy Zero 2 without spoiling it before I finish Half-Life 2 to prep for it. I’ve treated the Black Mesa East Raid as a demo and thank goodness that fight is now playable in something other than Hunt Down the Freeman. I was very relieved to concur that it delivers on refined Half-Life combat despite Half-Life 2 and even its predecessor mod being underwhelming at that.

  15. Anyone know if there’s another mod that uses the Xen Squasher of Poke646, the alien rat weapon that eats candy and shoots exploding charge beams, or is the original Poke646 the only campaign to ever use it? That thing was the best, but not even Vendetta lets you use it.

    1. Unq

      I doubt it. Any mod that would use it would be running under Poke646.

      1. Dang, even so I thought someone might make a map pack for that with its legacy. Guess I’ll just need to play through it again!

  16. Well, it’s all gone horribly quiet out there in the Hl universe, yeah the odd and often pointless things. A few poorly made experiments for HL 1 and random fixes. I can’t believe there is more stuff being made for Doom now than HL…maybe it’s just easier and I fully get new guys have to start somewhere….but oh, is it really over…I’d play something else but there isn’t anything I fancy to be honest, I guess the gravy days are over. Hopefully someone will prove me wrong. As for Alex…really ? I mean come on, that was blatently a con to sell VR…(in the hope no doubt it would appease those waiting for HL 3…it hasn’t worked, sorry)

  17. Urektus

    Hello! I really love the Source engine and all of its associated games. I’ve been playing a lot of hl2 mods recently and I have to say that it gives me a sense of nostalgia for the early 2000s. I have released 3 maps for EYE:Divine Cybermancy and I am currently working on a map for NeoTokyo. One day I want to make a small hl2 campaign

  18. Hey does anyone know if there’s a HL1 Vortigaunt model without the shackles out there you can use as an addon? I’d like to try using one when I’m playing mods set after the Nihilanth died like Poke646.

  19. Ah for some mods that aren’t on RTSL:
    Report One: Upgrade Edition and its addon Report One: Operation Alive, both for Half-Life 1, look rather promising and apparently the former will get even further revamped and more addons too. The last article update came out in January 2022, but Operation Alive came out in November 2022 so there’s a good chance of it keeping up.

    They Hunger: Relit from January of this year looks like something that started as a shadow rerender mod, but now has become a remaster mod of all 3 parts of They Hunger with an added health system making your low hp last longer among many other changes, and it seems people are really liking it! I know the balancing of They Hunger is a common point of critique, so I’m curious of trying them out via that package.

    And lastly the first episode of Entropy Zero – Uprising, a mod campaign for the first Entropy Zero by an entirely different mod team covering the Combine perspective of the revolution starting, came out yesterday, and people love it! Also looks like it’s got a good length to it with hours long playthroughs on youtube already. So I guess the Entropy Zeros effectively got a full spin-off that’s promising even more later. Gosh it’ll be wild if Entropy Zero ends up getting more games than official Half-Life itself. Half-Life modders are so cool.

    1. Thanks! I played the two Report One: mods and enjoyed them. I found the page(s) on Moddb confusing (yes there are two separate mods, not the 2nd as an add-on to the 1rst one). Entropy Zero – Uprising was also very good and lots of gameplay. IMO, the quality isn’t quite Entropy Zero 2 standard, but well worth playing.

      I really don’t know how you find all these. But glad you do!

      1. You’re very welcome! I’m still running on hyper-fixation energy, so I keep looking through mod pages under various orders and categories for HL1 and Entropy Zero Uprising’s release was announced on the Entropy Zero 2 Steam page. I basically look at them like hunting for new Half-Life games since fans can deliver on consistent polish, paying off old ideas, and just doing their own things in a way that values what came before like Valve never really did compared to chasing new tech and doing something completely different.

        I still need to play all those, but for now my priority is Entropy Zero 2 as a finale now that I’ve finally just finished the HL2s this month, and gosh I can’t believe how much it’s living up. Just playing Entropy Zero 2 as Half-Life 2 Episode 3 feels so dang natural. The only unnatural thing about it is how much better and bolder it is. If this is going where I think it is, this is like the perfect way to end the story of that arc and there is no chance Valve would have taken that opportunity.

      2. I have now beaten Entropy Zero 2 and Uprising; I still have to do replays for other endings on the latter. Dang those were just some excellent writing; Uprising did more work for showing how the Resistance fought the Combine than HL2 ever even tried to do! I did not expect that both of them would bring whole new themes to the franchise that just begged to be told, exploring what value humanity and memory has to an uncaring cosmic empire. They’re just flat out essential stories, moreso than any of the Half-Lifes I’ve beaten so far!

        Spoiler thoughts on both:
        Uprising introduces “Dr. Breen’s Private Reserve” as water tainted with some form of brainwashing chemical that makes the protagonist forget his wife for flashbacks throughout the game. It increases your max armor too. It’s a simple but far reaching addition that meshes well with the themes of controlling memories that Entropy Zero 2 deals in with how the Combine use Bad Cop’s memories to have a super soldier; where as soon as there was an example of the most sympathetic and useful to them human had an example of turning against them, they would uncaringly wipe away it all and go back to all brainwashed soldiers. The more they make people forget their humanity, the more compliant they are, and they thoroughly apply that to their collaborators. It seems like a core part of the theme of the Entropy Zeroes is that they can’t change your memories or your humanity to be something they want, all they can do is take them away or steal them. That’s a pretty strong narrative choice that I think works very well for Half-Life. “Everything I do may fail, I may die, and nothing good may come from my decisions whether they are false or not, but I know what I went through, and what I did. They can destroy me or who I am, but they can’t control my experiences and who I decide to be out of them.”

  20. I found a few more Moddb only Half-Life universe mods that look pretty great: Thunder’s Leaves, Titan: XCIX, and Atrophy: XCIX, all of which seem to be set in the far flung future of the Half-Life universe, with the first being about repurposed technology in this new verdant wild world and the latter two being set in a space faring future. Of these I’ve only played Thunder’s Leaves so far.

    Thunder’s Leaves: There was a lot of awkwardness in this as a production from the rough tutorialization to seeing little graphical glitches to the subtitles not matching the dialog and hit and miss voice acting, but holy crum it did what it set out to do. It nailed the atmosphere, level design, gameplay, and a far flung future human battle with the Combine with rebuilt and reimagined technology that changes how it plays. Even when I could see the friendly soldier lines hadn’t been changed at all, it never felt like it was outside of its story’s setting. I was thoroughly entertained throughout with the pacing at the start still landing way better than HL2’s, and I am absolutely including this in my canon. This gave me a future of what Earth long after HL2E2 is like, and I am happy to have it and hope the remaining polish issues get fixed by someone at some point given its source map files are up.

    1. I found Thunder’s Leaves to be one of the most enjoyable and at the same time frustrating mods, because of some of the trigger points misplaced, new mechanics that sometimes work but not always, and to me anyway, confusing design logic. Yet I rate it as high as possible, have already replayed it and intend to again.

      Titan is a 2011 mod for HL2. Thanks for pointing out the current year update, I’m downloading it now.

    2. I just beat Titan XCIX and gave up on Atrophy XCIX and just skimmed a playthrough for the rest.
      Okay… so Titan XCIX is an adventure game in its own fictional spacefaring setting, The environmental design was strong and it felt quite navigable overall though with some oddness where at one point it just gives up and uses glowing arrows to point to where to go and that just felt unnecessary. It also has room direction within the ship written along the walls, but that actually felt integrated into the world with some human crew on the starship not being able to read the alien language. It builds up intrigue though tropy but has fun and ends on a cliffhanger. I felt slightly entertained throughout overall, and was eager to see how its 9 year sequel with a survival emphasis would play.
      Turns out the sequel retcons the setting into being long after Half-Life, is mostly just a horror mod with a slowly losing health system that breaks if you load a save, is barely interconnected through repeated KOs, misuses interactable objects in favor of just drawing red arrows all over the place for every interactable with no explanation, features exploitable or basic level design, and it pretty much ends on a cliffhanger again without touching the last cliffhanger. The result feels very ramshackle and I do not recommend this dive.
      I now feel more obligated to play Beyond Earth and just… a horror source mod because the former seems way more bold and interesting as a sci fi game in its own setting where you learn how to communicate with aliens and I’m sorry but that was not a good horror mod.

  21. There’s a lot of unique Moddb only mods that I need to check out…

    Half-Life: Trials is an HL1 mod in early access with a demo that was updated on May 11th. It has an interesting theme of “one Half-Life weapon per level.” It looks quite different visually with a robot protagonist theme and great reviews so I’ll make sure to check out that demo sometime.

    The Big Boned and the Curious is an HL1 mod out with a demo from March and is the next mod by the Hazard team of Half-Life Induction and Field Intensity. It’s about showing what happened with the Vortigaunt and Otis you saw interacting in Field Intensity becoming friends and gosh that seems delightful. I love getting to be nice to Vortigaunts. I’ve had it installed for a month or two, but haven’t gotten to it yet.

    Lost and Damned is an HL2E2 mod that just straight up is a fixed camera survival horror game that came out in March. Looks like it’s pretty much Half-Life themed Resident Evil so I’m def interested to try.

    And a year old one, Tungsten Spider, is an HL1 mod taking on the gameplay of Iron Lung, a short submarine horror game. Tungsten Spider came out two months after said game.

  22. Ooo a big mod just dropped and there’s been updates of ones I mentioned before.

    Swelter, the next HL2 mod by the Snowdrop Escape developers, dropped on Steam a couple days ago and it looks hefty and also like it’s building up a part of the world that is not touched upon elsewhere. It looks like another big Source engine game that reimagines the combat and I’m excited to check that out.

    A really interesting looking reimagining of Counter-Strike Condition Zeroes’ Deleted Scenes dropped last month as a mod for Half-Life called “Counter-Strike: Zero Hour.” It uses 8 different maps from that strung together as a campaign where you earn money and spend them on weapons, so it sounds very much like something worth checking out if you’ve been wanting a Counter-Strike Campaign, especially since apparently Deleted Scenes didn’t have a weapon buying and selling system!? I tried it a bit myself and it does seem pretty straightforward with AI that doesn’t seem up to snuff admittedly.

    I see there’s a moddb only mod called “ESQH” that just got updated last month that based on reviews is apparently huge? Has anyone tried that out? It sounds like an undertaking like exploring Residual Life.

    I don’t know much on Half-Rats other than it’s a popular mod but it looks like the last part a rewritten script of its planned trilogy just got uploaded yesterday to A Fever Dream’s Moddb page called “Half-Rats’ Real Story,” so maybe people have been waiting for something like that.

    A new map for Entropy : Zero 2 got uploaded last month called “After Shelled” with its own little story of different characters.

    Report One got that planned update last month though apparently another is planned for providing VA for its soldiers, so I’m planning on hopping into that one soon, probably after I finish the Timeline Remod trilogy.

    And The Big Boned and the Curious got another demo this month, so now there’s more to play if you’re interested in more levels and story from the Field Intensity Team!

    1. Thanks again for deciphering Steam and Moddb, and finding these!

      A note however on ESHQ (note the spelling), I found it, downloaded, however my usual unzip program that works on everything else, wouldn’t with this? That forced me to download WinZip to do this, which fortunately has an evaluation period before paying (doing that is pointless for just this one file).

      As there was no apparent readme type instructions anywhere, I put it in sourcemods, and when nothing appeared in my games library, moved it to common/halflife. The two usual HL places. It didn’t appear there either! I concluded that I didn’t qualify with my level of ESP to play this one! πŸ™

      1. (Evil Scientist Headquarters eh?)
        OHHHH looks like it’s a standalone mod that uses Xash3D like Signal Lost, it doesn’t go in the Half-Life folder, and by the looks of it, it even overwrites vanilla Half-Life game files if you do so. You just grab the latest archive, drop it in a folder, and run the hl.exe in there.

        1. Thanks!

          Yes, evil that place is, leaving out information, assuming a level of intelligence that simply just isn’t there!

  23. I’m hoping to finish reviewing all ~580 HL mods and maps but I’m not so sure that I’ll be able to do so given how many there are. Still, it’s a fun long term goal and one of the main reasons I’m playing as much HL as I am so thanks RTSL πŸ™‚

    1. Unq

      For my part, you’re welcome – and good luck, that’s pretty ambitious!

  24. Currently I’m very excited to play Signal Lost’s next chapter… Jane Thrace has been cooking up some amazing GoldSrc mods!

    I’ve also been getting alot of work done on my own modding project Riptide which will hopefully see a full Chapter 1 demo in the near future. My favorite mod’s so far this year have been Entropy : Zero – Uprising, DISREPAIR, and Swelter.

    1. Thanks for the info! I agree with you about Uprising, and Swelter especially. That one gave me a poor initial impression, but that quickly changed and was one of my all time favorites. Downloading Disrepair now.

      ModDB continues to frustrate me. Signal Lost shows as a demo called Dimensional Malfunction released October 2021!

  25. I am absolutely hyped to play Inhuman after the recent update!
    It will contest for mod of the year but in my mind Swelter has already won it tbh.

  26. Thank you. You give me the opportunity to discover Swelter that I didn’t know. I’m a collector of (good) HL2 and BM mods πŸ™‚
    And this one is indeed a very good one

  27. Hi all. I’ve just registered here and would like to upload my Half Life2 ep 2 mod.
    The title is Zombie Rescue and is already on ModDB and Nexusmods How do I do that?

    1. Unq

      Welcome. Sorry, RTSL works differently – users don’t upload their maps – instead, we post them. I can add yours to the list to post, but first a question. Is it complete? ModDB indicates that you update it with a new version or a new chapter every few months.

      1. Is it possible to update released date of mods? There is some mods with 01 Jan 1998 release date but in description release date is correct.

        1. Unq

          Sure, it’s possible. But so unimportant compared to everything else on the site that I don’t expect to go back and update them, sorry.

          1. Yes, I understand. Thanks for reply and moderating this incredible site

      2. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get back to you. Yes, all three chapters of Zombie Rescue are now complete and available on ModDB. File name: Zombie_Rescue_3.1.zip

  28. As 2023 comes to a close. I wanted to wish everyone a very happy holiday season.
    For 2024 I hope to be able to squeeze some time in again for the games.

Leave a Reply

Comment Formatting Guide

Well formatted comments are much easier to read. Please copy and paste the HTML Tags to use in your comment

  • HEADER: <div class="fix"></div><div class="sbe3">TEXT HERE</div>
  • BOLD: <strong>TEXT HERE</strong>
  • ITALIC: <em>TEXT HERE</em>
  • SPOILER: <span class="spoiler">TEXT HERE</span>