Challenge Series 2009: Challenge 01

16th September 2009

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

Welcome to Challenge Number 01.

If you don’t know what the Challenge Series 2009 is all about, please read the Introduction.

Onto the first challenge.

The Challenge

I challenge you to remove the crosshairs from you Heads Up Display (HUD).


Open the console and type “crosshairs 0“, to re-enable them open the console and type “crosshairs 1“.

If you are new to the console, HalfLife2.Net has a nice guide to get you started.


Let me ask you this. Why do we need those crosshairs? To make aiming easier of course. But isn’t that making the game too easy. Imagine if you had never played a video game before and the first one you did, didn’t have crosshairs. You would soon get used to where to aim.

I remember hearing about people who lost their crosshairs and for whatever reason couldn’t get it back, putting a very small sticker on their computer screen. I’d never really thought about it before but I suppose that the crosshairs are exactly in the centre of your screen, unless there is some vibration effect in action.

In fact, that would be an interesting test, to move the point that weapons hit an enemy, say from the exact centre to a little to the right (same height though). Although I doubt there would be any practical benefit to doing it.

Whilst it’s not the most important aspect of playing, once you get used to having no crosshair it may make you feel that an obstruction has been removed.


You may find the first 5 or 10 minutes a little strange, but I think that after then you won’t have much trouble.

Of course some weapons, depending on what game, map or mods you are playing, may have crosshairs as part of their design (sniper rifles for example). In these cases don’t worry.


If you are interested in learning more about Crosshairs I highly recommend The Bulls Eye”. You can learn how to create your own crosshair, although after this challenge why would you want to?

Your Experiences

Don’t forget a major part of the challenge series is to share our experiences. Don’t let my questions limit you but here are some to get you started:

  • How did you manage for the first 30 minutes?
  • Did it get easier after that?
  • Was your experience different for different weapons, or the distance to the enemy?
  • Once the challenge is over will you continue playing without crosshairs?


  1. demoneyeoffire

    thats the first challenge? for the longest time I was playing w/o crosshairs and didn’t realise it. oh well.

    1. You’ve passed already – well done.

  2. Bolx

    Playing without crosshairs is like aiming a real gun without using even rudimentary sights, at close range (5m or less in real combat) is OK. Anything further away starts to need a more deliberate aim to take down the target.

    At close range any firearm can be used with instinctive aiming (a lazer sight helps in low light), but for an effective kill, anything over 5m, sights (iron, optical, lazer) become a necessity.

    I applaud you for suggesting different ways of playing.

    One of the reasons I like the HL series is that to an extent it keeps the ballistics real (although not all the time).

    The crosshairs in HL and its series are actually nearer to reality than you realise. I suspect that some of the people on here MAY have experience of real firearms and play based on knowledge, rather than the Quake or Doom style of play.

    If I were in a real combat situation you can bet your gluteus maximus I would be using sights (crosshairs)

    1. I understand what you are saying but it’s only a game and the challenges are just for fun.

      1. Bolx

        I know it’s only a game, try telling that to a football supporter.

          1. Bolx

            No apologies needed, just keep us posted on all new mods for HL/HL2 etc.

      2. Played with and without. I like the feel of no cross hairs unless I am using a sniper rifle or crossbow.

  3. That’s it,Phillip? I thought you were going to provide us with a little map to face the challenge.
    At least pick out a map that everybody can play,that way we are all on the same page. You know that some maps are harder than others. 🙂

    1. Yes, that’s it – for this week. Don’t forget the challenges get harder. I don’t want to suggest maps becasue you should be palying the whole week without the crosshairss, so one map won’t make any difference.

  4. Done already.
    Before I knew how to use the console, I played quite a few maps without crosshairs. They were close combat maps and, as Bolx says, crosshairs are irrelevant so perhaps the crosshairs were deliberately omitted. With these maps, I had not even realised that there was no crosshair until the wife compained!

    1. You are one step ahead of us then.

      1. Phwar! That’ll be a first! I can only hope that I have done some of the future challenges already. Knowing you, I doubt it.

  5. Inkblot42

    could I use the SMOD/Obsidian Conflict iron-sights?

    1. Only if comes with the weapon.

  6. I’d just like to point out a few things.

    Firstly, yes this challenge is quite easy but I wanted to satrt easy and get harder.

    Secondly, I suspect that the readers who have commented so far are the players most likely to have tried a few things already. There are plenty of readers who may try the challenges but never comment.

  7. SteveUK

    Strider Mountain had this where the crosshair wasn’t enabled by default, it took me quite a while to realise due to the fact my long-range aim wasn’t so good.

  8. Gypsy Jim

    Not having got to play the full SM yet, though it’s only a matter of time, having been flummoxed by the pre-release, I have to argue that shooting a charging combine a hundred times with the Sub-Machine gun before he dies would challenge anybody’s credulity, let alone trying to do it without cross-hairs…..

    I’ll happily give it a whirl when I try a smaller/easier mod/map though.

    When it comes down to it, if you want to add enemies/challenges to your HL1/2 experience you could just spawn them yourself, and create your own scenarios. I did for a while, when I learned how to do it, but relented and now rely on authors” own creations. Without exception they’re better than any of my attempts!

    (Which is probably why I play rather than create….)

    Like your thinking though Phillip, even though I couldn’t be bothered carrying the gnome all the way through Ep2, but do look forward to seeing what you come up with next……

  9. confused

    I’m assuming the console no crosshairs works on hl1 aswell. I’ll try this out for a while, since I just finished night at the office (it had no crosshairs) this should be relatively easy!


    1. confused

      I found out you can just go into configuration and set the crosshairs off.

  10. Zeeek

    Sounds like an easy challenge or does it? I’ve just finished SM on hard and have posted a thread on the SM forums saying that in retro spect I should have done what I did for the pre-release ie play on normal then go back a second time play on hard as you have to play with different tactics and from a different perspective and enjoy the mod twice. I thought then that I would probably not play the mod again but your challenge has just given me another reason to try it, however at 20 + hours I expect without crosshairs would take me substantially longer so it won’t be this week but I’ll let you know how I get on when I do it.

  11. Morto

    I am now playing CSS without crosshair 😉

  12. Anonymous

    aka: Things to do because there’s nothing new. Again. Still.

  13. Anonymous

    Is it just me, or when you turn off the crosshairs in HL2, the ( ) part of them is still there, so you just can’t aim precisely as easily.

  14. Davie

    I started playing Strider Mountain the other day, and noticed it didn’t have crosshairs. I’m still not sure if this was intentional or some bug. Either way, I’ve been playing it without and have been having some trouble getting used to it.
    Interestingly, it becomes harder to take on larger numbers of enemies at close range than a few enemies farther away. I came to realize accuracy is just as important when the enemy is right next you, and that it gets much harder to aim in a frenetic, close-range firefight.
    It’s not been the most enjoyable experience, but it’s certainly shown some interesting elements of aiming that I hadn’t noticed before.

  15. confused

    Quite on the contrary, I found it easier up close then far away. The first five minutes I was missing a lot but after a while I got used to where the crosshairs ‘should” go, and it became easier. It was most difficult when, for example, you used the crossbow or .357. Since they have such small arrows/bullets it was easy to miss the target by a few feet. While this was an easier challenge I look foward to the harder ones! Perhaps a inverse mouse-look challenge? : ) That would be hard!

  16. Ade

    Uhm, hi!
    Can I apply this in dm for what’s left of this week? Sounds hard at first 😐 gulp

    1. Of course, although the other challenges might not be suitable for MP gameplay. Good luck.

  17. I have decided that I’ll continue without crosshairs for a while. Anybody else man enough?

  18. Grey Acumen

    Dangit, Phillip, this is going to entirely change my playstyle. I usually use the crosshairs to make precision shots using pistol and magnum on enemies that can barely even see me or can’t hit me because of how far away they are. I am going to be wasting so much ammo on this challenge it’s not even funny. Probably going to switch to the shotgun a lot more for this too.

    1. I know what you mean, but it’s good practice. I honestly think that in only a few hours of playign I have become more accurate and, perhaps more important, more careful with my ammo.

      You make a good point about using different weapons, now that the crosshairs are gone.

  19. Ade

    Sry I’m late on this.. tried this last night and I’m afraid I’m not “woman enough” to keep it 😀
    Played for more than an hour like this, it’s way harder to aim for the head (for quicker kills and saving health..) and very much a waste of ammo for me, unless I’m aimin at close range and/or use the shotgun (best weapon for absence of crosshair) 🙁 And what’s worse is that I would’ve expected to improve my aim and instincts, but they’ve gotten worse right after I put the crosshair back 🙁 Hope this fades away!
    The only thing that improved my aim/instincts besides experience was major lag 😀

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