Challenge Series 2009: Challenge 07

28th October 2009

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

Welcome to Challenge Number 07.

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

Onto the seventh challenge.

The Challenge

Don’t collect health unless you are below 70 points.


It’s clear to me that having too much health makes me reckless. I can honestly say that the best I have played has been when I have less than 10 health and I even remember a specific time when I had 1 health point left and played really, really well.

For me it means I have to be very careful. I can’t just “run and gun”, I have to plan and think. Strangely though I can’t play like that for too long – the stress is too much. It’s alike the one-shot-one-kill format of some Unreal Tournament mods. I loved that game for ashort time but it would drive me crazy for too long.

So this week’s challenge is trying to recreate that feeling. Instead of simply collecting every drop of health you see, you have to wait until you are low.

Now, depending on your skill level and the maps and mods you are playing, you can change the value. Although I would say that 70 should be the highest you go. Any higher and it probably won’t work. I will be interested to hear from players that have chosen a lower amount and to see how they faired.

I suppose it wouldn’t be too hard to write some code that we set you maximum health points at lower than 100. That would force you to be more careful. It may also be possible to simulate the same idea but adjusting the values of health, sheild, ammo damage and enemy damage in a config file but I suspect that the psychological factor of seeing less than 100 is what’s most important.


This challenge isn’t related to shield power, so collect as much as you want. However, it would be cool if the same applied to shield power if it’s possible.

A variation

The same concept could be extended to the amount of ammo we store and collect, although it’s a bit harder to control.

An Offer!

I have one Neosis tutorial DVD that I will send to somebody who is prepared to create a mod/code that will allow players to set various maximum levels of health and ammo via a slick options style interface. You would then select a mod to play and use those settings in. Anybody up to the coding challenge?

Choose between:

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:

  • What health level did you choose?
  • Did it make much difference to your playing style?
  • If you could set a permenant lower level, would you?


  1. Cor! It’s a bit lonely in here.
    Anyway, gave it a whirl with Slums2 for an hour on hard. Slums2 is not exactly overburdened with health pick-ups anyway.
    Waited until health was 10 or below – had to noclip back for health in a couple of places. Health never exceeded 52.
    This did not make the slightest difference to how I play. Probably because of the way I play. I don’t “run and gun” unless I must. Strategy and tactics are my thing.
    Outwit the enemy and then kill – lovely.

  2. Leck

    what if, we dont heal us until we find a medkit, the chargers at the wall are prohibited ^^

  3. oddworld_chris

    game play slowed a lot, which wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I found my sound quick saving and loading a fair few times, as I got use to the new game play element though I found myself enjoying it more.

    I tried to minimise my health maximum to 50, but primarily stayed near the 30 marker.

    I tried with half life 2: episode one, and found it rather difficult. Played some RnR and the challenge made me play even more strategically in certain locations, I think increasing the fun in that particular MOD.

    As for the prospect of making it more permanent, in the world that is HL, I don’t think it would work. HL as a game, involves a little run and gun… I think with the introduction of permanent health reduction slows the action down to much. You aren’t as willing to risk your health when you know three shots and your out, in turn slows down your pace and willingness to take a chance. In other games that prospect works, in the HL series, I don’t agree so much 🙂

  4. Wozzle

    When I used 70 as the marker before I gathered health I found that it became slightly easier get through fire fights. I would generally have more health to gather after a fire fight because I had avoided it earlier when I didn’t really need it.

    I found that the gameplay slowed a bit as I was a bit more cautious but I generally play more tactically, moving from cover to cover, rather than just run and gun so it wasn’t a drastic slow down as it may be for others.

    Then I went to the extreme and only collected when less than 10 and capped around 30. It dramatically slows down play but it feels more realistic as you can only take a few bullets before going down. I found this really challenging but it was quite fun too. It also has a satisfying feeling when you do complete an area or an entire game knowing that you did it like a normal person might have rather than being a tank.

    I would say that only the patient would be able to keep this going for long periods because the amount of quick save/load is ridiculous.

  5. Pingback: Episode #55 » Podcast17

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