Audio Interview with Christopher Dollard

22nd August 2010

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

I sat down and chatted with Christopher Dollard, the author of Gamma Energy and you can hear the whole thing below.

We chat about a number of different things and I challenge him on why those last two chambers are so freaking hard!

Listen to the interview



  1. I took this offline for a few minutes because I managed to reduced the size of the MP3 by half, but I couldn’t get the stream .FLV any smaller, so that’s still 31Mb. 🙁

  2. I’m downloading this now. It should make for an interesting listen, as I highly enjoyed gamma energy.

    1. Couple of thoughts:

      His brother deserved major props. I might be able to beat maps that didn’t actually have solutions, but not to the point that I’d let someone depend on me being able to do it.

      The idea that he started with hard maps and then whittled the difficulty level DOWN is really quite interesting, and anyone doing any type of puzzle design in their own modding should take serious notes. I find that I’m doing that myself, even in the conceptual stages of my modding, as you start with what you need for the story of plot, and then provide hints and visual queues for how to solve it, tweaking distances and damages so that not figuring it out right away is still survivable.

      I need to get in touch with him as a beta tester to help him work out what he needs to patch. I really hope he does. This deserves the level of response and notoriety that Research & Development and Portal Flash Version Map pack seem to have. Tweaking just a few things might be enough to get him there.

      1. I don’t think any portal mod out there can stand up to R+D. You should have said “Portal Prelude” instead of R+D.

        1. Are you talking about how good the R&D is, or how much notoriety it has gained? I felt Gamma Energy managed to provide a higher level of puzzle difficulty while still primarily holding to the Portal philosophy and puzzle structure, while R&D had a number of sections that veered heavily away from HL2’s puzzle structure, like the code boxes and the frustrating fuzebox maze.

          Gamma Energy has some difficulty issues to work out at the end, but if it does work those out, I think it stands to be a better Portal Mod than R&D is a HL2 mod.

  3. Ah prefabs, terribly useful stuff for mapping. I’ve started trying to set up a big old pack of the combine technology seen in Episode 1’s citadel episodes. Hopefully if I even get around to finishing it up it will let some less experienced mappers use those gameplay elements in their mods (even copying and pasting it straight out of a decompiled map still takes a fair amount of work given all of the tiny bits and parts inside of other bits and parts).

  4. I’ve replaced the movie player with a simple MP3 player.

    1. I’ve now replace that with a better (bought) one.

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