This is the Phillip’s Blog category

A variety of post themes, including articles, ideas, stories and rants.

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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

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

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

Remaining Mapping Challenges’ Dates

I’ll be honest and say I wanted to fix the dates for the whole year in January and release them but as it turned out, it was better not to due to the addition of the new 50-Hour format.

Below are the dates of the remaining mapping challenges in 2017.

I do not envisage changing them but I will be open to the possibility.

Black Mesa Challenge 1: 26 July to 21 August

YAY! Finally, got this agreed. Initially, I was going to be working with the Crowbar Collective but cancelled at the last minute and now I’ll be running this alone. Like all other mapping challenges, this one WILL have a theme but unlike all other mapping challenges, it will be for Black Mesa (obviously!).

I have also added another week to this challenge to help with modders new to the BM set up. I actually wish I had finalised these dates sooner and could have give modders even more time to get comfortable with the engine etc – sorry.

50-Hour Mapping Challenge 3: 9/10 September

With the last two 50-hour challenges having over 20 entry maps each, it would be crazy not to do at least one more. As for the previous two challenges, the theme will be open enough to fit 50 hours of creation time. Think of these challenges as more experimental gameplay styles than traditional HL2 releases.

The Hammer Cup Challenge 4: 20 September to 9 October

Challenge 4 of The Hammer CUp will be 19 days and have a theme that requires entrants to balance design, polish and gameplay.

The Hammer Cup Challenge 5: 8 November to 4 December

Challenge 5 of the Hammer Cup will be a special theme and has an extra week.

50-Hour Mapping Challenge 4: 16/17 December

Another 50-hour challenge to finish the year. And no, it won’t be XmasVille or SantaVille, or RudolphVille – in fact it WILL NOT be related to Christmas at all.

Final Thoughts

As I said, I wish I had set and announced these dates earlier, especially the Black Mesa one, but I didn’t, so sorry. Here’s hoping for a spectacular release of SP maps between now and the end of the year!


15th July 2017 7 Comments

Second 50-Hour Mapping Challenge

Just a very quick post to let you know that the second 50-Hour mapping challenge will be announced at 10pm Central European Summer Time on Friday 7th July 2017.

Full details will be announced then, along with all the rules and the theme.

The deadline will be 12pm Central European Summer Time on Sunday 9th July 2017.

And, yes, the header image is a vague clue, but it’s NOT TheSimpsonVille!

If you have ANY questions, except related to the theme, please don’t hesitate to ask, either here in the comments or by email (runthinkshootlive@gmail.com) if you prefer a private answer.


2nd July 2017 11 Comments

RTSL Graffiti

I am very pleased to announce that some exclusive RTSL graffiti has been created by Monkeymo and I would like to thank him for all his hard work.

We worked together to get exactly what I was looking for but he did all the work. After some feedback from the modders over on the official The Hammer Cup 2017 SMC Discord channel a grunge/grimmy feel was settled on.

Crowbar converted the images into VTF (files that can be used by modders) and made the demonstration map, from which the image below have been taken and I would like to thank him too.

The graffiti is available for use by any mapper and no entry to any mapping challenge is obligated to use them. They can be used in any non-commercial Source release but a credit to Monkeymo and RTSL MUST be included.

In future, I may offer a small prize (or even extra points if the judges agree) for clever use or placement of the graffiti in maps entered into mapping challenges.


15th June 2017 3 Comments

The Hammer Cup 2017 – Challenge 3 Dates

Hi Everybody,

Just to let you know that challenge 3 of The Hammer Cup 2017 is going to start Wednesday 31st May 2017 at 11am Central European Summer Time.

I will be posting the theme details along with the regular rules then.

For this challenge, there will be a compulsory email format submission, along with an optional chapter image format, details of both will be in the post.

Standard rules will apply.

I will answer any questions you have except those related to the theme.

If any mapper is interested in creating a bonus map for the challenge, please let me know. You WILL NOT get to learn of the theme early but you will be allowed to submit your map later than the entrants. You WILL NOT receive any points either.

Starting Sunday, I will begin a tease countdown on the RTSL twitter account.

Thanks for reading and remember, finishing Half-Life is just the beginning!

Oh, BTW, no the header image contains NO information, clues, hints about the theme, so don’t try to guess!


24th May 2017 3 Comments

50-Hour Mapping Challenge – MinimalismVille

Hello and welcome to the first (of many or maybe last) 50-Hour Mapping Challenge – MinimalismVille.

Below are the details.

PLEASE READ THEM CAREFULLY.

As always, if you have any questions, you can either post a comment or if you require a private reply, send Phillip an email: planetphillip@gmail.com


12th May 2017 11 Comments

The Hammer Cup 2017 Fund Raising Livestream – May 2017

Hello everybody. This weekend, starting at 2pm Central European Time on Saturday 13th May, I will be livestreaming to raise money for The Hammer Cup 2017 Prize Fund.

ALL money raised will be added to the fund.

However, it’s not going to be simply me playing and you watching, with the occasional donation – OH NO!

If you want me to keep playing you will have to pay. It will work like this:

  • Starting at 2pm, a minimum of 3 Dollars will need to be raised WITHIN THAT HOUR for me to continue after 3pm
  • Starting at 3pm, a minimum of 4 Dollars will need to be raised WITHIN THAT HOUR for me to continue after 4pm
  • Starting at 4pm, a minimum of 5 Dollars will need to be raised WITHIN THAT HOUR for me to continue after 5pm
  • Etc

I will attempt to stay online for as long as the money keeps coming in, yes, for as long as the hourly target is reached!!!

I am sure there are some devious people who will pay to see me suffer – in fact, I am counting on it.

Remember, All the money goes to The Hammer Cup 2017 Prize Fund, so it’s for a good cause.

At this point, I plan to play Prospekt and some other longer mods (probably past Villes), probably even an hour or two mapping. – but I am open to suggestions for other things.

Anyway, I hope you can join me and as always, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments, please don’t hesitate to post them.

Don’t forget that all RTSL are now on the YouTube channel: https://gaming.youtube.com/c/Planetphillipcom/live.

Hope to see you on Saturday!


10th May 2017 7 Comments