A couple of BM-style levels made to help the author get a job, which he did.
I don’t know if there were issues at the time of its release, but playing it on the latest version of Half-Life 1 via Steam is almost impossible without cheating. There is a fan that seems like it can only be passed by no clipping and the level crashes when you enter the dark room. Loading the second level manually means you must give yourself the suit and weapons.
When I reached the last image there doesn’t seem as if there is anything left to do.
- Title: Beginnings
- File Name: hl1-sp-beginnings.7z
- Original File Name: weassp1.zip
- Size : 825.68kB
- Author: Luke Whiteside AKA weasl
- Date Released: 21 July 1999
Download directly into MapTap [826kB]
You MUST have MapTap installed before using this link.
You can still use it with MapTap once you have downloaded it.
- Copy WEASSP1.bsp into your …half-life\valve\maps\ folder.
- Copy weassp2.bsp into your …half-life\valve\maps\ folder.
- Launch Half-Life 1
- Open the console and type map WEASSP1.
- Press enter/return or click the Submit button.
- Play and Enjoy.
If you require more help, please visit the Help page.
Click on the thumbnails below to open a 1024 pixel wide image.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
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No point; bad ending.
No installation instructions in the readme file, and it doesn’t work in the console with “map weassp”…
Not a good sign when by a fellow who wrote that this level helped him get a job in the gaming industry…
Took me a while to suss this one. When I did, My opinion went up a couple of notches. Good mapping skills by weasl here. Great textures and environment design. The best thing is how he makes two maps seem like four!
The whole thing is a puzzle really, with not much fighting, but very well thought out.
As he says in the intro, it’s a Demo, so don’t be put off by the sudden ending, which is quite a pretty room in itself.
Two maps. Put them in your valve/maps folder, point your shortcut to map weassp1
The first of the screenshots I captured by noclipping. The rest are a visual walkthrough, so don’t look at them too closely before you play. 🙂
Yes, this also took me some time to figure this one out and over a long period, however, before a get into explanations, these are a couple of good maps which you should give a play.
Now for some details, I remember playing this years ago and gave up due to both a bug and not managing to puzzle through. I am pleased I gave it another try it proved satisfying to sort the puzzle out and play through to the end after all these years. There is a nice balance between combat and puzzle solving to make your way through the two maps to an ending which unfortunately is not structured. The bug I referred to is after the loading of the second map either manually or auto, the map loads ok but when you try to progress the scene goes fuzzy, I just kept trying until I finally entered the scene without any issue.
Hey guys, I don’t really understand how to get any further in this mod. There’s a seemingly indestructible fan in the vent shaft and when I close the airlock doors (which I assume leads to weassp2.bsp) my Half-Life crashes to the desktop.
Hm. This one was something to complete my cheating skills: The fan is no problem with noclip ON. Then I got no access to the second map – the scientist opened the door to the room with floating spheres around two towers, I walked down the stairs and the game crashed. If I jumped off righthand I could explore the room but there was no exit. So I loaded the second map manually, had to cheat on the console /give item_suit – sounddogs where waiting. /impule 357 a few times gave weapons, ammo and batterys for a few enemies and rooms more.
It was bound to happen sometime and it happened today: A map that didn’t work properly. In its day, it might have been perfect but not today and that might not be the author’s fault.
I couldn’t find a way past the fan in the duct without cheating. Later in the second level there is a switch for a fan, but I don’t know if it’s the same one, I assume so. If that’s the case, how was I supposed to get past it?
The problem is that this looked to be a really well made couple of maps and if it hadn’t crashed and nothing was broken I would probably have given it a PLAY IT! recommendation.
I have added the Beta Demo Unfinished tag purely because it certainly seems buggy.
It’s quite limited in what it attempts but putting aside the bugs the final result is high quality – just wish I could have played it as it was meant to be played.
Brownie points for anybody who passes the fan without cheating.
Phillip, You may know by now, that you need to turn the fan off and then back track to the fan.
Can I please have a Brownie point.
But how do you get past the fan to turn it off? By breaking the scanner? I’ll try. I have posted your brownie point, you should get it soon.
You need to first progress to the second map, one of the reasons why I am pissed off with the level change bug. In the flooded area you will see a small gantry with a broken ladder leading to it. First advance through this area up the stairs pass the turret guns, you will come to a window looking over the flooded area. Break the glass to your left, now continue to a room with lots of crate, drug one of the metal crate back to the broken window, make sure you have broke the left hand window, pass the metal crate through the window then align below ladder, once you have deactivated the fan you need to back track to level 1 and pass through the duct.
Two Brownie points, maybe?
Ps. Breaking the scanner opens the door to the second level.
Three Brownie points?
Whilst Mel is right the brownie points should go to Petrick and EmoLevelDesigner who posted the solution hours earlier (going by the times of their edits).
Phillip, vancanucksfan, suggests first loading map 1 in lower case, i.e. map weassp1, is that posted anywhere, the readme file quotes map WEASSP1.
Sure, they should get Brownie points before me if that is the case, although I did not read their reviews.
When I played this the first time around (read my post) I typed the map name in lower case as usual (I’m too lazy to hit caps lock), it played exactly the same as described in Phillips original post!!
Phillip’s Installation Instructions above, say;
-Open the console and type map WEASSP1.
Released 1999? Feels more like new release, too bad that this wasnt finished. Would be so nice map as a part of larger mod too.
I didnt even go to that went, I just used crowbar to this scanner, heh http://i18.photobucket.com/albums/b140/PPiira/HL/weassp10000.jpg
I know this level for years and I feel that this is one of the best Half-Life levels ever made.
We arrive at the picturesque place in sunset. Looking back, we see a G-Man, who rides away on the train. This is a small hint at the story. The building ahead of us also has such small hints. What happened here? What is our goal? This is mostly left to imagination.
Through the entrance we see a cherished “Black Mesa Research Facility” sign. Upon entering, very very strong Black Mesa atmosphere is felt.
The design is very beautiful, creative yet true to Half-Life style.
Mainly we will explore different rooms in search for a way to get deeper into the facility. The only way is blocked, so we have to open it first. Layout and flow are also done well. There are some enemies, too – to add variety to exploration and puzzle-solving.
To make the second map accessible, break the scanner.
To turn off the fan, use the “FAN UNIT 1” switch. You can get to it by pushing the crate under the ladder.
Unfortunately, it ends abruptly in a very interesting place, which looks like a teleporter to Xen. But despite that this is a masterpiece that deserves the highest rank.
I played this through first time in the order of the above images and it was pretty much as Phillip has described, then I saw Petrick’s and EmoLevelDesigner’s posts (thanks Guys). The order of the .BSP’s are £$$ about face. I think a lot of us assume that air-vents are the obvious route and when we see them we go for them, this is going to make me think again as broken iris scanners hanging off the wall usually have no function.
So playing it the second time in what is the correct route most of the bugs went away, the only place I used NOCLIP (I only learnt how to cheat a few days ago) were the doors in the lift-shaft. This as far as I can see is the best offering so far, the layout and game-play were thoroughly enjoyable to my amateur eye. The second time around is, I think what the author intended, but he could have given us a hint to the correct route and having gone the original route I knew what to do to finish this to its intended end.
I did however the first time round, switch off the fan and get back to find it had stopped.
Originally I was going to give this a Think Twice but now that’s irrelevant.
This is a first class set of two maps that unfortunately is let down by a few bugs. The maps exhibit a high level of skillful mapping with the author balancing the gameplay to perfection. For such an early custom release, i.e. July 1999, the set designs and map layout are admirable and it’s no wonder the author went on to work in the gaming world.
Now to the negative, if you release a custom mod or map pack that has known errors, which is the case here, then you leave yourself open for negative reactions. Most of us are now very experienced HL1 custom mod players, and has such we accept some degree of imperfection, however, faced with a bug that crashes out the player with level loading, one needs to be concerned. I know for a fact that this particular bug at the time of release either prevented or stop gamers from playing through.
With the advent of PP we have the means to help and get round most bugs, however, the author must have known of this bug but offered no help, and for that I mark this release down.
For me it’s still a Maybe.
Looks like it might have been good when it worked properly. You can fix the problem with the mod crashing between the first and second maps by renaming the first map to all lowercase letters (“weassp1.bsp”). The difficulty gets a little crazy at the end and I am not sure if you are supposed to do anything when the last room opens or not.
vancanucksfan, great tip, will try loading in lower case, i.e. map weassp1.
No, I meant you have to rename the actual first map file itself to “weassp1.bsp”. Then run the console and load it and it works
I would like to revise my review.
Having now played through yet again, loading map1 in lower case, i.e. map weassp1 the transition to map2 was fine, and played through both maps without any concerns, only getting on to the ladder was a bit tricky.
This is now for me worth a Play It Later. I can’t give it a Play It Now due to all the trouble it gave me over 10 years or more.
Yep, as soon as I saw the installation instructions (before I downloaded the file), it popped into my mind that there might be a problem with the all-caps name. Sure enough as you guys figured out, that’s how you fix it: rename the first map to weassp1.bsp (all lowercase). This is a well-known problem with Half-Life (not just Steam!).
This is a nice 2-map set. The design is solid, and the maps really give you the Black Mesa feel. Despite the unintuitive broken retinal scanner bit, this set is fairly polished. I like the basic puzzle aspect, although story-wise and combat-wise there isn’t much going on. It’s a good demo without an ending, and what’s there is high quality.
Why only Maybe? for my rating? I don’t think this is a level everyone should play. It’s nice enough but the full experience just isn’t there.
This is a nice little excursion to Black Mesa based around a pretty complicated puzzle. Shame that there isn’t much to shoot at. Looks like the puzzle stumped phillip and some other players, but it’s not exactly RIP difficult, so I can roll with that. Basically, the goal of the entire second map is to deactivate an obstacle in the first map for players to proceed. Of course none of this is obvious to the player so I can understand why some underestimated the quality of the mappack. Man, I didn’t really know what was going on either so I actually reached that fan unit switch by jumping on barney’s head (yes, I exploit maps to death if given the chance, hahaha)
Anyway evil impulses aside, I liked some of the visuals in this map, such as that little side maintenance room and the scripting throughout the maps, but other areas were bland and seemed lazy. I can say these maps are good enough to try, but the puzzle herein is a bit more challenging than those in your typical Half Life map. Though I do hope the description is changed, it gives this map an inaccurate impression.
Too many issues deny that I rate this in a better place, I mean this 2 maps are centered into that transsition the player has to do between them and having a bug in there is just the most killing fun thing we can have in maps conected each other, so u have to charge them manually and that’s bad, and it seems to be that there’s a continuing part in Xen that we don’t even play so that’s even more bad for this mod, I mean the developer should still work on it and turn it into a propper mod in order to upgrade or enhance the quality of this, I mean this still have some future as a classy hl1 mods, and I don’t know why is called begginings…
Now that I have renamed the first map to lowercase and know how to turn the fan off, I am updating my recommendation.
I also thought that when I entered the room that the scientist opens for me that the map crashed, but now realize this is the abrupt ending mentioned in the readme!
Anyway, it’s a very well-made couple of maps and recommend you play it.
I will update the details in the main post tomorrow, same for the 100SDoN page.
Thanks to everybody for their help and keep checking the post/mail for your brownie points.
Now after that ive finished this few more times…
I still like this so much, but cant give it 5* because it’s so short and ending is what it is. And I wish I could use Barney more against monsters 🙂
Overall this is a good map.
There’s some confusion with the installation, I later found out that you start with map2, then go to map 1, if you start with map 1, there’s an impassible fan, and map 2 has the switch, the thing is you cant get from map 1 to 2, but vice versa is possible.
Anyway, map 2 is great, you don’t even need a weapon in it, it’s basically a puzzle that involves backtracking, and getting some crates to a certain spot in the map to reach a broken ladder for the fan switch.
Once the fan switch has been tripped, everything is smooth sailing from here on out, as long as you play the maps in the right order, this is a must play, but if you’ve been given faulty instructions, you might end up pulling your hair out trying to get past the fan without noclip.
You don’t need to start on weassp2, you just crowbar the scanner and you get taken onto weassp2 so that you can shut down the fan and finish it.
This one is basically a puzzle map.
I along with quite a lot of the reviewers struggled on that fan part. When I couldn’t figure it would I just started pressing and hitting everything until I realised that I was meant to blow up the scanner. Man that was a hard puzzle.
The second puzzle I struggled with was the box through the window puzzle and while it wasn’t too hard, I was still recovering from that first puzzle. After you have done that you can go through the fan and do some shooting. Like BaB and SaD this one also has a sudden ending.
This map has potential, and I’d like to see a finished version of it someday.
I feel that this map had so much potential but it ended up being very frustrating.
The quality and design of the level was very good. I felt that the map really captured the Black Mesa essence. Everything was placed in a way that everything felt like it belonged and added to the atmosphere. For example, the lobby scene that you first walk past gave me a sense of foreboding as I entered the complex.
However, it does lose quite a few points because I couldn’t work out what I was meant to be doing or where to go. My first thought was to use the ventilation shaft because that is quite a common motif in Half-Life but needing to break the scanner in order to pass the blast door is not. I feel really bad if I need to search online to solve in-game puzzles and I think it shows a lack of designing forethought and/or testing by the mapper. It would have helped immensely if there had been some kind of indicator that the scanner could be broken.
The rest of the puzzle in stopping the vent fan was fairly straight forward and I managed to solve that without any extra help. Though, I did need to switch between the maps a few times before the fan actually turned off after I flicked the switch and that had me confused for a bit as well.
Upon completion of the puzzle, I was then treated with a tad of combat, which was pretty standard, and an abrupt ending, as hinted in the readme.
Obviously, this map was centred around demonstrating the authors mapping skills (indicated in the readme as being a portfolio piece), which I think was done quite well. However, the puzzle that was central to the gameplay could have been designed better for clarity.
I think this would have been really nice to see as a full scale mod rather than a demo portfolio piece.
For the tl;dr review:
It’s good to look at but can be frustrating to play if you are not too good at solving obtuse puzzles.
Pretty nifty looking lil maps, I like the style very much! It’s feels like a lost Valve level hehe, something like a deleted scene.
Unfortunately it’s very unfinished what’s such a pity as the combat was cool.
I also had to noclip through the fan as I didn’t saw any chance to go by without O:)
Really a shame it’s not final. Started so goood! 🙁
But graphic ain’t everything.
This looks like the Beginnings of something alright… but where’s the rest?
As with a previous review of The Poseidon Incident, this shows a lot of promise, but is far from being complete. Visually, Beginnings is consistently above par, but the actual fun in the gameplay ends before it ever starts. On many accounts this level is even more unfinished than The Poseidon Incident and in my true opinion, should have never been released.
With no story, no hints, and some really great puzzles, this will be like a Rubix Cube… well, for me at least. What I mean is it’s frustrating and completely pointless. Consider playing USS Darkstar except, the addon ends when the accident happens, I bet the reviews wouldn’t have been so good to say the least. The case with Beginnings is that there’s lots of build-up with a nice layout, but no follow-through. There’s no good fights in these two levels to speak of, and it would’ve been just about as entertaining if all the enemies were removed altogether.
That’s no fun, no matter how good the design is. But, if it’s any consolation to the author, the design was very impressive to say the least. The architecture was very detailed and realistic, with a great wrecked base theme. Textures and lighting were also very well done. But that’s saying nothing so far, as all it did was make me think something good was coming and that never happened.
I’m not even sure if the author plans to finish this, he certainly doesn’t say anything in the txt except that the maps were not complete. If the author chooses to neglect finishing this project, it’ll be a waste of a good effort. And if you choose to download Beginnings as is right now, it’d be a waste of some good download time for something more substantial.
This review is republished here by permission and was originally published Friday, 24th September, 1999 by Jiang.
This review was originally posted on the Ten Four Website, which is now offline. Permission has been granted to republish the full review and more details can be found on the About page.
Download link is broken. Says “hl1-sp-beginings” instead of “hl1-sp-beginnings”.