This is the Read category

A collection of text posts, including Poll Questions, Text Interviews with moddersand Phillip’s Blog. All posts are written to encourage friendly debate and discussion.

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RunThinkShootLiveVille 2 – Map Labs #3 Mapping Challenge Announcement

Hey, you didn’t really think we’d never have another Ville challenge, right? Geez Louise!

Chris & Toki (the Map Labs folks) have really stepped up, filling the void that RTSL left once we started to wind things down late last year. This is the third “full” Map Labs Challenge – though they’ve run a couple of Test Tube (smaller) challenges in the vein of the Experimental Mapping Challenges here. Most of them are available right here on RTSL, and all are on the Map Labs ModDB page.

I’m happy to partner up with Map Labs for this challenge. May they keep the cool Half-Life challenges going! Perhaps there will be more crossovers like this in the distant future…

The Map Labs Discord just opened up for business. Head there to keep up with Map Labs, find out about new challenges, and maybe volunteer as a beta tester!

And be sure to join the Source Modding Community Discord if you’re thinking of mapping for any of the Map Labs Challenges, or if you just want to talk modding for just about any Valve game.

Theme Details

Just like in the original RunThinkShootLiveVille, mappers must create a map linking 4 distinct sections:

Section 1: RUN
Section 2: THINK
Section 3: SHOOT
Section 4: LIVE

They’re pretty self-explanatory, but we’ll let the official announcement fill in the details (click for full version):

RunThinkShootLiveVille2 Announcement

Note the optional Bonus Challenges, just to add some spice to the maps.

Deadline

The deadline for submission was Monday 8th April 2019

Prize

Map Labs typically doesn’t have prizes for the challenges, other than special roles on the SMC Discord server for placing in the top 3. But I happened to have a spare copy of Raising the Bar in decent shape kicking around, so I’m offering it up to the winner.

Raising the Bar


8th March 2019 13 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 Winners

The Lambda Cup 2018 consisted of five mapping challenges, each with a different theme.

Entrants received points for each challenge they enter.

At the end of the event, the best 3 points totals from the challenges they entered were added together for each entrant. These totals decided who won the Grand Prizes.

Read to find out who took the top 3 prizes – and we announce a couple of special prizes!


2nd February 2019 7 Comments

RTSL in 2019

Let me get straight to the point – I am leaving the site, the Half-Life community and gaming.

I have been running this site since September 2003 and have been heavily involved with the HL community since around 2005.

It’s time for me to move on and do other things. I am disappointed I never “finished” the site, but I really need to change my focus.

I would love to think that I will create some GoldSource maps/mods, but I think it highly unlikely.

I would like to thank everybody who has helped me over the years, and there are a lot of people, too many to mention them all by name.

Don AKA Unq will be taking over the site, BUT it will be more or less in maintenance mode. This means that Don will moderate the comments, add certain/major releases and update some posts, specifically the Villes with missing screenshots.

Don has a message below.

There are still some things to discuss and decide but effectively this is my last post and I will withdraw completely. I won’t check the comments, I won’t be posting new videos on the RTSL YouTube channel or tweeting on the RTSL account, although I may continue tweeting elsewhere.

I wish everybody a bright and creative future.

Goodbye.

A Message from Don

I hope you recognize me from assisting with the RTSL site and events over the last 7 or so years, particularly the Classic of the Month streams. I don’t intend to take over the site and make it my own; I simply want to maintain it as the awesome single player Half-Life site that Phillip built over the last 15 years.

So don’t expect too much to change. As Phillip said, I aim to post major releases and do some fixing up here and there.

There may or may not be more Ville challenges in the future. There definitely won’t be anything like the Hammer/Lambda Cups we’ve had over the last 3 years.

As this transition takes place, I hope you all join me in saying a heartfelt “Thank You” to Phillip for his hard work, vision, and his support of the Half-Life community over the years. And best of luck to him in his future endeavors.

And thank you all for being a part of the RTSL community – you’re why we’re doing this!


31st December 2018 67 Comments

Skill Editor – A Cancelled Project

As the title says, this is a cancelled project. Well, it’s 80% cancelled. There is something that works and will be useful for you, but more on that a little later. Let me explain what I imagined the project would have looked like if it had been finished.


29th December 2018 1 Comment

The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 5 – ReplayVille

Hello and welcome to Challenge 5, the final event in the Lambda Cup, a series of five Source single player mapping challenges.

Theme Details

For this challenge, we would like to you create a map that is fun to replay – or that specifically rewards you for playing through again. Variety is the spice of life, so offering the player different experiences during playthroughs is key.

One way to do this is by offering the player choices. Choice of path, or weapons, or companions, and so on.

Randomness can also make significant changes to the experience. Random enemy locations, random timing of attacks, or even random map layout changes that can lead to interesting playthroughs are all fair game.

Ideally the player’s choices or any random elements will impact the playthrough and offer variety on a replay.

Your entry could be a hub-type map where the player must achieve an overarching goal by completing a number of smaller goals. The hub area would lead to various points where the player performs an action that has consequences in the other parts of the map. For example, the player chooses to clear a building of zombies first and then attempts to pass a city street which has a sniper. Because there are no zombies left, the player finds it harder to reach the sniper since they are the only target left. If the player had attacked the sniper first, they would have found a shotgun which would have made it much easier to kill the zombies. But, because the sniper was killed first, they would find a lot more zombies in the building than in the first scenario.

In this case, “hub” doesn’t necessarily mean a map with corridors and portals – the hub area could just as easily be a crossroads in the forest, for example. “Hub” here just means a central area connecting to a variety of areas, where the player can make choices about how to proceed. If there is an overarching goal, it should be clear to the player – and ideally the smaller goals tie in sensibly to the larger goal. (Think of Blast Pit, where the player had to turn on the oxygen, fuel, and the power in order to fire the test engine to proceed past the tentacles. It’s not a good example for replayability, just for how an overarching goal can be linked to smaller goals).

Your entry could also be one where the player has to find the “correct” route in order to complete the map – along the lines of ChaseVille or some of the maps in the recent 72-Second Experiment. But keep in mind that it should be fun to replay – not frustrating and almost certainly not time-limited.

Or perhaps the player learns something during playing your map that allows for a totally different approach on a replay.

For this challenge the usual limit of 2 maps is removed. However, please don’t take that to mean you should build 10 maps.
We have removed this limitation to allow interesting “jumps” to each section, IF the mapper chooses to create a hub-style map.

As always, if you have any questions or doubts, please ask. If you want a private answer, please send an email to RunThinkShootLive@gmail.com – NOT planetphillip@gmail.com. Good luck!

There is one new rule this time [about affecting other maps], so please, please please, read all the rules carefully.

Deadline

The deadline for submission was 11pm GMT Monday 17th December 2018


16th November 2018 20 Comments

The Mesa Cup 2018 – Challenge 3 – The Surface Complex

Who can forget the moment when Eli Vance says that you must reach the surface and get help? Up until then we had just been wandering around and causing trouble (and a resonance cascade). Now we had a real goal – something to get us excited. Reaching the surface proved harder than expected but BOY! was it worth it.

For this final Mesa Cup challenge, we would like you to create a level that features a Black Mesa surface area as the prominent element.

The first two challenges have had maps that were set mostly underground, so now it’s time to get some fresh air. Your entry can be set completely on the surface, or a mixture amongst inside, underground, and surface areas. The main goal can be to reach the surface itself if you like, or the level can take place entirely on the surface.

We would love some foreshadowing as well as a WOW reveal moment, but the details are up to you.

This challenge lasts longer than the previous two; you have 5 full weekends to create and polish your entry. Please get someone to playtest it!

As always, let us know if you have any questions, either here in the comments, in the SMC Discord RTSL Challenge channel or directly to Phillip if you would like a private reply. If you ask the SMC channel, accept only Phillip’s, Don’s, or Crowbar’s answer. Whilst the regular members probably have an idea of what we’d say, it’s not official until one of us says so!

Deadline

The deadline for submission was:

11pm GMT Monday 5th November 2018


5th October 2018 7 Comments

September 2018 – General Chat

Well, it’s back to work for me soon. I’ve had all of August off and reduced hours in July, so September always feel really hard. That said, it’s nice to get back into a routine and I hope to keep some sort of update schedule going, but certainly not one release per day!

I will also begin mapping again and may start livestreaming practice at the weekends.

I am actually on a holiday until 6th August, visiting the UK.

What about you, what do you have planned?

Let me tell you about some changes. I have limited by tweets. I have stopped the Half-Life Art and other series, like Half-Life Proverbs. They got me lots of retweets, likes and responses but the reality is that it’s not part of RTSL core objectives. Stuff like that is better suited to Lambda Generation.

I may begin to post more mod images etc and I would love to post more mod news, but I don’t have time to constantly check ModDB.

I’ll be publishing my objectives for 2019 in November, but essentially I am going to try to limit myself to updating the site and mapping.

Can you guess the name of the mod shown in the image above? It’s called Half-Life: Echoes I can’t link to it in a spoiler, so you will have to search the site for it.


1st September 2018 18 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 4 – PhaseVille

Hello and welcome to Challenge 4 in the Lambda Cup, a series of five Source single player mapping challenges.

If you are new to my mapping challenges, please see the event’s homepage: THE LAMBDA CUP 2018 as well as the CALENDAR of the mapping challenges for the entire 2018.

Theme Details

The tagline of Half-Life is “Run. Think. Shoot. Live.”. You should know that but not everybody does. That’s where the name of this website comes from.

One of my favourite Villes was RunThinkShootLiveVille. It allowed mappers a chance to create small sections, each with a clear objective; both for the mapper and the player. Each phase was clear, precise and compelling.

For this challenge, we would like you to choose one verb from each phase and blend them into a seamless whole map:
Phase 1: Find / Escape / Ride
Phase 2: Solve / Fight / Evade
Phase 3: Drive / Descend / Chase
Phase 4: Live / Die / Fate Unknown

We are looking for natural flow between each phase. You CAN NOT change the order of the phases.

You are allowed to replace ONE of the verbs in the first 3 phases with one of your own choosing. That’s one replacement total allowed, and it’s optional – so if you like the list you can stick to those choices.

There is one new rule this time [about affecting other maps], so please, please please, read all the rules carefully.

Deadline

The deadline for submission is 11pm GMT Monday 24th September 2018


31st August 2018 4 Comments

The 72-Second Experiment Challenge

Let me put it simply: You have 72 hours to make a map with EXACTLY 72 seconds of playtime.

We often talk about how it’s better to have shorter, more polished maps than longer weaker ones. By “polished”, we do not just mean visuals (lighting, textures, environmental art), but also gameplay, interaction, storytelling, soundscapes etc.

You can make your map action packed or only have a few interactions. It could be a beautiful scene that the player walks through and relaxes, a non-stop gunfight, or anything in between.

For example, you could create a map that can be finished in 72-seconds but only if done perfectly. That would allow replayability in trying to find the optimum way to complete the map.

You can simply submit a map that can be played in one 72-second sitting.

There is an OPTIONAL template for you to use, that fades in from black, lasts 72 seconds and then fades out. The fades last 1 second each. Mappers may extend the “black screen” time at either or both ends of the map, to display text.

Ideally, we would like the text to be kept to a minimum. Everything should really be contained within the 72-seconds gameplay.

Locations, events, style of map are all open. The only limitation is the 72 seconds.

Be aware that the minimum AND maximum playtime of the map is 72 seconds. Don’t think that you can create a huge map and allow the player to reach certain points and autosaves. That is not the idea we are looking for.

If your map lasts longer than 72-seconds after the fade-in, it will be considered a bonus map.

Deadline

11am UTC Monday 27th August 2018

That’s 72 hours.


24th August 2018 6 Comments

The Mesa Cup 2018 – Challenge 2 – The Tram Complex

Hello and welcome to the Mesa Cup, a series of three Black Mesa single player mapping challenges.

If you are new to my mapping challenges, please see the event’s homepage: THE MESA CUP 2018 as well as the CALENDAR of the mapping challenges for the entire 2018.

Theme Details

Trams and trains are iconic in the Half-Life series of games. Black Mesa especially has memorable tram sequences – starting off with the incredible atmospheric opening train ride. But there’s also the entire On A Rail chapter, and the short but crazy ride at the beginning of Apprehension.

For this challenge, we would like you to create a map that features a tram. The type of tram and how it is used is completely up to you. The player does not necessarily have to ride on the tram, but the tram must play a key part in the map.

We’re pretty flexible on what counts as a “tram” for this challenge – generally, something that can be ridden from point A to point B that isn’t just a simple elevator. What’s more important is how it’s integrated into the map and the gameplay. Maybe there’s a cool sequence witnessed by the player as they sweep by on a BMRF tram. Maybe there’s some clever tram-to-tram firefights. Surprise us!

Deadline

The deadline for submission is:

11pm GMT Tuesday 21st August 2018


1st August 2018 No Comments