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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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

August 2018 – General Chat

I just looked at the July 2018 General Chat post and it talks about it raining. Guess what? It’s raining now. I just got back from my bike ride and was absolutely soaked – I love it!

So here we are August. I’ve got some things planned for the site, updates etc and hopefully some HL1 mapping too. I’ll try to start and finish one game as well.

What about you, what do you have planned?

OH, starting this month, I will be embedding the Half-Life Art and Half-Life Proverbs tweets into the comments of this post. Mostly for those people who don’t use Twitter.

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


1st August 2018 16 Comments

Open Question 001 – Why do you think Valve haven’t released Half-Life 3?

My Goodness! How long has it been since the last release of an official half-Life game? Too long, that’s for sure.

We all know how hard it is to start something again after we have taken a break – going back to school after the summer (teachers as well as students!), starting a new diet after eating whatever we want or doing exercise after lazing on the sofa for months.

It can’t be much different for Valve and let’s not forget that Valve back then and Valve now are very different. Different people, different objectives and different priorities.

There’s also the Duke Nukem effect. The longer you leave it, the greater the expectation.

So, what do you think is the reason for the lack of Half-Life 3?


21st July 2018 11 Comments

I Love Corridors

I am going to take you on a short journey.

I love corridors. Perhaps there is some deeper meaning about wanting limits or restrictions in my life. Perhaps I like the linear feel of doing everything in the correct order.
Anyway, a quick search for “corridors as metaphors” produced nothing of interest, so at least I have the title of my new academic research paper I’ll never write. I think I will keep looking though as I honestly feel there is something deeper here.

It contrasts nicely with my general dislike of arena or large empty spaces, at least from a gameplay perspective. That said, the best memories I have of areas in mods, were places where the enemies were all around me, although not at the same time.

Now, a search for “corridors in video games” produces some more interesting results.

The first is a discussion about How Valve took gaming out of corridors. I’ve yet to read it beyond the intro but it does look interesting.

Another results that is very cool is the “http://scificorridorarchive.com/”Sci-Fi Corridor Archive which certainly deserves further exploration.

And finally, for now at least, I searched for “corridors in architecture” hoping for something unusual and I was not disappointed. Obviously, it brings up lots of links about technicalities but it eventually led me to the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture which sounds totally cool and worth reading some more about.

From its website: “The mission of the Academy of Neuroscience for Architecture is to promote and advance knowledge that links neuroscience research to a growing understanding of human responses to the built environment.”, which totally sounds like code for making better games to me!

So, where are we? Well, I am thinking about how corridors in games represent the “process of change” and how they can be used to greater effect. I’m not planning to write a book or create a tutorial video because I’m not qualified to create either, but I will begin to pay more attention to corridors in games and specifically Half-Life.

Let me know your thoughts.


19th July 2018 1 Comment

50 Sourcey Days of Summer

It is with some trepidation that I announce the 50 Sourcey Days of Summer!

For the next 50 consecutive days, I will be adding new maps or updating older maps. All will be Source based, mostly Half-Life 2.

I have created a special page for the event, prosaically and rather obviously called 50 Sourcey Days of Summer and it is similar to the 100 Summer Days of Nostalgia event, which believe it or not I ran 7, yes, SEVEN!!! years ago.

It’s linked to on the second menu, under the header images.

I hope to post screenshots etc and even my review, for each map or mod I post or update. I plan to update quite old maps, so don’t get too excited. There will be new releases added too though.

I should tress that I will do my utmost to not miss a day but I seem to be much busier than 7 years ago, so I won’t make any promises.

I have already posted NostalgiaVille for today’s release.

Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions regarding the event.


15th July 2018 6 Comments

WANTED – Ideas for a new type of zombie

This is an Idea Challenge. The first of its kind for RTSL. Suggested by Mr. Mazur.

Earlier today, I tweeted this:

The upshot was that I realised we should be creating a new zombie class that uses the MechaCrab zombie. If you don’t know what the MeachCrab zombie is, please visit the RTSl Mod Template page.

We feel that the MechaCrab should be attached to the Rebel model, as that model doesn’t have an official zombie type. But that is not set in stone, we could change that.

Idea Challenge

Therefore, I would like to hear your suggestions for a zombie based on the MechaCrab. We need sensible ideas that can be coded and modelled. Ideas that fit into the HL Universe, so don’t suggest things like the MechaCrab on the G-Man, for instance.

We require some unique features for its attack. Something that makes it feel fresh, different AND fun to play against.

Of course, we will have to beta test things but this challenge is just about the ideas.

I know that there are probably lots of new types of zombies on Steam Community and Game Banana, but I don’t want to use soemthign that has already been created.

I will give some games away to the best ideas.

There’s only three rules:
1. By submitting you idea, you grant RTSL the right to create and release the concept as part of the RTSL Mod Template.
2. You are the creator of the idea.
3. It’s family friendly, within the confines of the Half-Life 2 setting.

Idea Submission Deadline

Let me know if you have any questions.


7th July 2018 33 Comments

July 2018 General Chat

Hello July. Why is it raining? Where is the sun?

Here we are. Over halfway through 2018. Where has the decade gone?!

I AM GOING TO FINISH WOLFENSTEIN: THE NEW ORDER THIS MONTH! yes, I know I have said that for the last 12 months but I really mean it this time.

On a serious note, I would like to apologise for the lack of updates recently. the site has essentially become the Mapping Challenges and that is not right. I promise to begin to add new maps and mods very, very soon.

How was your Steam Sale? Did you spend too much money? I did a stream, where I spent just over $25, with $15 of that donated. It was fun.


7th July 2018 11 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 3 – BossVille

We’ve all been there – reaching the end of a game or chapter and having to face the BOSS. Usually, it’s a single all-powerful enemy. Well, almost all-powerful – inevitably after enough dancing around each other, you find its weak spot and exploit it. Hooray! Not really – it’s totally expected, uninteresting, and cliched.

For this challenge, we would like you to take the idea of a final battle and breathe new life into the scenario. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

We don’t want you to necessarily focus on a single enemy, although you can have that kind of boss if you want. But you’re also allowed to have multiple boss enemies, or one big bad boss with other minions helping. Imagine a pair of bosses working against you and maybe even each other.

Even though this challenge is called BossVille, you don’t have to make a boss fight. We really like the hectic finale in Episode 2, where you had to fend off striders and hunters while driving all over the place. We want to encourage clever twists on the classic boss fight – and we’re definitely keeping an open mind as to what’s acceptable in BossVille. All we’re looking for is a great finale, boss fight or not!

Make the encounter interesting! Perhaps the boss fight has several phases – where the boss changes its attack patterns, or its behavior, or the environment. Maybe you encounter the same enemy multiple times throughout the map, setting him up as the Big Bad and leading up to a great finale fight. Maybe we have to outwit the enemy instead of fighting them?

The core concept of a climactic finale is the key here. Use a single boss in ways we’ve never seen, or come up with your own intriguing final faceoff!

Deadline

The deadline for submission was 11pm GMT Monday 23rd July 2018


1st July 2018 16 Comments

Things I never noticed in Half-Life

A little while ago, I started a new project on the site called Reference Galleries. I plan to put images I see from GoldSource maps and mods that will inspire me and can be used for reference.

Obviously, Half-Life will contain a lot of things that both inspire and can be used for reference. Unlike many readers, I’ve only played half-life a couple of times and the last time was part of what I called The Replay Experience Experiment AKA TREE and that was a few years ago, so I have decided to replay it, as well as the other games, over the next few months.

I started 10 minutes ago and when I got to the doorway where a Barney says that he can’t let me through and I looked up. I believe it was the first time I had done that and this post suddenly appeared in my head.

There are sure to be things I haven’t noticed and I thought I would document them here. Don’t expect any “Never-before-seen” things, they are just things that I have never noticed or forgotten I have.

The images and thoughts will be posted on the RTSL Twitter account and then embedded as comments on this post. The hashtag is #thinnihl.

By the way, if you are looking for a chapter-by-chapter review of each of the games, then visit the Games section of the site.

Anyway, I’ll hope you’ll follow along with me and add you own observations.


16th June 2018 3 Comments

Half-Life Posters – A RTSL Fan Art Event

The Posters have been added to the bottom of the post.

A while ago, Maki, over on the SMC Discord server, suggested running an art challenge. He said it because, as you may know, I try to post a Half-Life art image every day on the RTSL Twitter account.

So, here is the first of hopefully many Fan Art Events.

Now, let me clarify. Just like the Fan Fiction Events, they are not exactly challenges. Certainly not in the same way that the mapping challenges are challenges. There are no winners. There are just favourites. I give random Steam games to my favourite and to the readers’ favourite. The games tend to be quite old and not very expensive. I want people to enter the events for the fun and experience, not because they think they will win a AAA modern game.

Right, so with all that said, let’s talk about the event itself.

Theme

As the name suggests, I would like you to create a poster. The poster can be about one of the Half-Life games, one of the characters, weapons, locations, events or even a mod.
The style is up to you. It could look like a movie poster, an art-form (water-colour, oil, abstract etc), photoshop screenshot – the choice is yours.
The style can be serious or joking.
Text should be kept to a minimum unless the style demands it. If text is used, it should be in English (sorry).

A quick look on Deviant Art shows some possibilities.

Entry Deadline

Please send your entry, via email, either as a jpg or png attachment, to runthinkshootlive@gmail.com, no later than 11:59pm UTC Sunday 8th July 2018


14th June 2018 11 Comments