Announcing the Level Design Academy Livestream

24th April 2016

I am pleased to announce the Level Design Academy here on RTSL.

Before you get too excited, allow me to explain what it is and what its objectives are.


The LDA will be a regular live streaming event where one person teaches another how to map for the Goldsource engine – that’s for Half-Life and Opposing Force (including all the other Half-Life mods out there too, single- and multi-player), for those that don’t know.

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


Initially, the LDA’s objectives are to teach people the basics of making a level and releasing a playable map. No timescale has been set for this.

To start with, Phillip will be replicating some areas from Half-Life and learning how to create walls, stairs, elevators, etc. and include enemies, lights, sequences, etc.

At a specific point, the copy will stop and Phillip will finish the map with his own ideas and anybody participating (see below) will be encouraged to do the same.


Starting on Saturday 7th May 2016, Don and Phillip will be live streaming personal tutoring sessions. Don will start by showing Phillip how to install the programs needed and set them up. The basics of the Hammer interface and the tools will be explained. In addition, there will also be some explanation of the jargon used and an overview of the concepts involved in making levels for Goldsource.

Each stream will feature a combination of Don’s and Phillip’s screen, plus voice and Phillip’s camera (sorry). Viewers will be able to ask questions on the Twitch chat related to what is being discussed or explained.

No exact stream schedule will be set but the goal is to stream at least twice a month. Each stream is expected to last between 60 and 90 minutes.


Goldsource was chosen for a few reasons. One, Phillip loves Goldsource 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 partner in crime, 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.

Phillip’s Practice Sessions

In addition to the tutorial streams, Phillip will also be streaming his practice sessions and hopefully Don (and possibly some other experienced mappers) will be around in the Twitch chat for some of these practice streams. These sessions will be very important to cement the new knowledge and gain experience.

Viewers are welcome and it will be interesting to see how audience participation works for these sessions.


It is hoped that after watching Phillip’s efforts, other RTSL members will be encouraged to start learning themselves. Even though Phillip will be the one streaming, if others start at the same time, they can help each other. Some system (yet to be decided) will be set up for LDA students to talk with each other and ask questions.

Each tutorial session could start with Phillip asking the other students’ relevant questions to Don and discussing them.


Don and Phillip have been kicking 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 as slick and professional as a pre-made video series, would still be fun and useful to make, and help encourage live participation by viewers.

Post Stream VODs

After the streams, the VODs (videos on demand) will be available on Twitch for a time – and they will be also uploaded to the RTSL YouTube channel for people to watch or download if they know how.


We are sure this will 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.

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to post them as comments.


  1. Sounds exciting, i could learn a thing or two from this, though my internet sucks at the moment, so i’m pretty much all about the VoDs.

    Really liked GoldSource too when it comes to mapping/modding, couldn’t get the hang of Source for some reason.

    1. Well, we hope you’ll drop by some time or at least watch the VODs.

  2. will watch it even though I don’t need it nor am I interested in goldsrc mapping

  3. Yes. Super excited for this. As a goldsource mapper, I might learn a few tricks, but I’ll mainly be there to lend a hand where I can.

    Love the idea!

    1. Glad you are as excited as I am.

    2. Unq

      Nice, happy to have other mappers share opinions and tricks – I’m hoping to learn a lot from this too.

      One of my big fears is teaching Phillip some bad habits because that’s “the way I’ve always done it.” Be great to have mappers straighten me out. 🙂

  4. I am so looking forward to this, for years I’ve wanted to at least get a basic grasp of mapping. There are a lot of tutorials out there but they are always one person talking at you, whereas if I’ve read it right this will be teacher/student interaction. Hopefully I will be able to learn mapping at last.

  5. Yay! Maybe I will start mapping for good’ol HL finally 🙂

  6. Zekiran

    Oh this should be a lot of fun! I can’t really catch any of the streaming as you’re literally around the world from me, but I will definitely watch the videos later. I’ve tried using the HL2 editor but I can’t really even get it to run any more. Maybe Gold will prove to be something I can use. 😀

  7. Anon_1428703

    oh man, I am really looking forward to these

  8. SPY

    A real shame it is about HL and not Hl2 mapping, but i did read the part were you explained why you make the choise for the Goldsource engine and i understand that. However, great to show mapping because a lot of people have no idea how things are made. And how much time and effort these things take! All in all, good luck with this new serie,


  9. Missed the stream by 4 hours, though i probably couldn’t watch it even if i did got there in time anyway due to Twitch’s policy on not being able to set “Video Quality” mid-stream for non-popular streamers.

    I am thankful that the VoD is still available in YT though, managed to spark back that dusty mapping lantern in that old forgotten space.

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