Challenge Series 2009: The Conclusion

22nd November 2009

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

Firstly, I’d like to thank everybody who accepted my challenges and posted comments. I am hoping that more players took the challenges than actually commented, but who knows. I enjoyed creating the challenges and writing the posts each week, and I hope you did too.

I can honestly say that I feel I am a better player than when I started. I no longer use the crosshairs (at least not all the time), I have changed my keybindings (which has helped my movement), I have started to use the pistol much more, rather than the larger weapons and lastly I have increased the sensitivity of my mouse settings (which has made me faster). So, all in all, it was worth it.

That doesn’t mean it was perfect and I believe the biggest flaw was the weekly schedule. The problem that was for some reson the amount of maps and mods I posted over the last 2 months has been quite low, therefore having maps and mods to use the challenges on were low.

If, and I stress the if I were to do this again, I would recommend two or three maps and mods that could be used for each challenge. That way, I could stick to my weekly schedule but not worry about whether you have something to play on that will make the challenge fun.

On Podcast 17 a few weeks ago, Dave from ModDB made a couple of great suggestions for challenges. Until then, I thought this would be a one-off series but his suggestions made me realize that there must be plenty of good challenges I could set players.

Therefore, I will start a draft collection and around October next year I’ll try and write a new series of Challenges.

Again, thank you for accepting my challenges and I hope you enjoyed trying some of them. Please don’t hesitate to send me you challenge suggestions (not via the comments though – let’s keep them secret!) and I’ll do my best to include them.

I would love to hear readers conclusions on what benefits the challenges were to them.


  1. I started the challenges as an accomplished battle hardened tactical player. Anyone who plays Minerva Metastasis, Offshore, Strider Mountain, CtA and a very few others in Hardest Skill and finishes has got to be a good player.
    I was not as good as I thought though.
    Some of the challenges forced me to adopt better tactics and gameplay.
    I’ll try and find my brain again (I think it got blown out of my skull in Explosions 2, I’ll go look) and see if I can suggest a challenge or two for the next round.
    Thank you Phillip.

  2. Ol" Scratch

    To be bluntly honest, I don’t think I’ve done anything except play devil’s advocate on the challenges, mainly because I’m already handicapped enough, I don’t need to make it worse for me!! :-O

  3. WizardExt

    I didn’t participate in all of the challenges, but the ones I did I had good fun. It was also interesting to see how I handled the challenge. What the result was and if I learned something.

    Thanks for creating these challenges.

  4. AnonEntity

    The challenge Series taught me to use “secret” HL2 console commands.
    Otherwise, I’ll stick to my original key-bindings. Thanks!

    1. There were nine other challenges besides the keybinding one, which was only one key anyway.

  5. I found most of the challenges to be too open for interpretation for my tastes. I like my challenges to be very clearly defined. Still though, the ones I actually did were an interesting experience.

  6. sumone

    I like the overall idea, except for the fact that these 10 challenges were a little vague and bland.

    I like the overall concept, but I’m looking forward to more interesting ones next time.

    Here’s a couple of suggestions.

    [Edit – I removed these suggestions, because I said speficially don’t enter them as comments. – Phillip]

    the possibilities are endless…

    1. You must remember that the playing standard and style of players reading the challenges is very wide. Having specific challenges is great in theory but I always felt it would be too limiting in practice.

      I tried to give players the option of using them for a wide variety of maps and mods, (one of yours would be impossible for 90% of mods) and also allowed players to adapt them to suit the circumstances.

      For example, if I had told people they can only save every 2 hours, for some that would be too easy, others (like me) way too hard.

      If I knew you personally and had watched you play, then maybe my challenges could have been very specific but I don’t so I had to think of the massess.

      1. Sumone

        I don’t want to get theoretical here, but in short, trying to appeal to everyone at once will make you appeal to no one.
        Why? Because everyone has different tastes and opinions, which conflict with others opinions.
        I don’t see why you can’t just have different challenges on different difficulties.
        Perhaps make the next series of challenges be ranked in 3 different difficulties?

        1. I felt most of the challenges were good, once you sat down and really worked out exactly how to define the guidelines of the challenge. Once you dealt with that, if you felt the challenges were too easy, then it’s just a matter of combining multiple challenges in a single playthrough.

          1. That’s why I purposely went with “vague” because I tried to give instructions for personalizing each challenge. Maybe next time, one or two will be very specific though.

        2. I wasn’t trying to appeal to everyone just as many people as possible. It’s clearly impossible to make 10 challenges that everybody would enjoy, so I aimed for most players.

          It may be possible to ahve 3 different levels of challenges but that may require a lot of testing, to get exactly the right amounts. Perhaps I could ask a few people to be beta challenge testers.

          I’ll also be tryin gto provide map examples to use the challenges with, so 3 difficulties may be easier to set with specific maps.

  7. Pingback: Episode #58 » Podcast17

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