December 2014 General Chat

1st December 2014

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

Well, the holidays are only a few weeks away and I am sure looking forward to them.

I am lucky, as I have about two weeks off work (no pay though), but that will give me plenty of time to work on the new theme and add lots of missing maps and mods.

Weather here is just starting to get cold, a smidgen of snow on the tops of the surrounding mountains. Nothing like what the US has had recently – bad luck everybody – hope you stayed safe.

Anyway, chat about anything you want, except maps and mods already listed – that chat should be on the respective post.

Here’s a funny stumble to get you started: Cynicism Humorously Illustrated by Eduardo Salles

This Month’s Sci-Fi Movie

In June, I started to use a poster from a classic Sci-Fi move as the background for the post image. This month it is from Missile Monsters (1958). Monsters in Missiles! That must be the 1950’s version of Snakes in Planes! Anyway, I think the poster is probably better than the actual movie. Watch it at your own risk.


  1. Weather around the US was pretty horrible, *except where I was*, because I live in the gloriously lovely San Diego area. We had 90 degree (f) weather with not one cloud. It was dry as heck, so the cats would shock themselves waking up and wanting me to pet them 😉

    It’s always both scary and funny to me seeing how the Winter starts up everywhere but here.

    On the sadder note: today (Nov. 30) marks the 2nd memorial of the closure of my very, very favorite game, City of Heroes. All I can do is look at screenshots and play with the offline creator that someone made, and hope someone does manage to wrest it from its uncaring owners. Not a great holiday present 2 years ago, I have to say. That was a weird roller coaster for me: Black Mesa announced it was going to be through steam, Elfquest’s new story was to start up, and … then I lost CoH. :/

    Here’s to hoping that the holidays this year aren’t quite so rocky.

    1. We had 90 degree (f) weather with not one cloud

      I am so jealous!

  2. to anyone who understands maptap and general hl2 mod/map installations .. heres the deal :
    1) as im using a 128gb ssd i have installed all my half life games and most other games on my D drive ( mechanical sata hard drive ) … however i cant seem to run any maps from maptap allthough more established mods such as leons final project dairy and strider mountain run fine when installed in sourcemods ( however some other mods seem to have problems )
    2) is there something i need to configure when using maptap if i have my half life games installed on another drive ( instead of the default c drive ) ?
    any help will be much appreciated !

    1. I’m almost certain but currently only the Beta allows you to have different locations for installation of the Steam and Mods. Have you tried it yet?

  3. I don’t suppose anyone has any ideas for plots I could make into a HL2 mod? Not necessarily set in the HL universe, just general ideas. I am desperate.

    1. I would think that the plot might be closely linked to the type of mod you want to make. Do you have any preference for that?

    2. How about:

      You are a citizen in an outlying town from City 10. The player character was in a house with a few other rebels when it got raided by armed combine who suspect someone of smuggling weapons to the resistance. Regardless the Combine are there to kill you and you can’t defend yourself. It actually transpires that someone was smuggling weapons but they hid the caches in the tree lines because they were naive enough to think that a lack of evidence would stop the combine prosecuting citizens.

      We find the player character hiding in a closet as the combine search the house. Sooner or later the player will have to make a break for it and just RUN for the treeline!

      The player manages to lose the combine in the forest and follows the rebel symbols to the weapon caches but they have been booby trapped. The player must THINK of a way to disarm these traps before the combine regroup and attack.

      The player eventually figures out how to disarm the traps and receives their ammo and a few moments later the combine assault their position. The player is going to have to SHOOT their way out of this one!

      With the combine defeated and the cache secured all that is left to do is LIVE their life.

      My word! It sounds like your new plot would fit in perfectly with Phillips new mapping competition RunThinkShootLiveVille. You should absolutely enter!

      Good luck 😀

      Or alternatively type ‘mod idea’ into the PlanetPhillip search bar. Phillip has posted a few in the past.

  4. Thank God the holidays are coming! Here in Greece, in Thessaloniki, the weather is very rainy. I don’t like it at all.

    Anyway, I’m in need of some huge help. I have a brother that doesn’t want to play Half-Life. I tell him about the great story line, the great gameplay and such, but he just won’t play it. Any ideas?

    1. Zekiran

      Has he played any other related games like Portal? Or does he just not play FPS like these at all? And are you talking the original HL or 2? 2 is probably a better bet if he’s more used to modern visuals – HL1 is a terrific game but I doubt that I would have played it if not for Portal and hl2.

      He’ll be playing a piece of video game history, though!

      1. He does play other Valve games, but he suffers from a problem that I would call “Game Restriction”. A lot of people on Steam have this problem and that means that they spend WAY too much time on 1 game. He has about 300 games on Steam, but he only plays TF2 and Civ 5.

        Also, I’m talking generally about Half-Life, that is all the games. He tried Half-Life 2 for like 15 minutes before he was stuck on Route Kanal and simply said “The game sucks”.

        Also, he actually likes Portal 2 and we actually played a bit of the Co-op campaign. Well, only ONCE.

        1. JG

          I honestly don’t blame people who play Half-Life 2 today and just don’t “get it.” We all think it’s brilliant, but we’ve been playing it for the better part of 10 years. When you take a step back and try to look at things objectively, the game does have a number of shortcomings and rough edges. Some due to age, some due to other games doing the same ideas better and some flaws that have always been there, but we never noticed them.

          I’ve realized that if Half-Life 2 didn’t have an SDK, I wouldn’t have cared nearly as much about it. It would be something I’d play once and be done with. But it belongs to a rare breed of single player games which do, and that’s why I continue to stick with it.

          I like mapping for Half-Life 2 more than playing Half-Life 2, if that makes any sense.

          1. It makes sense. Other editors lack the flexibility and ease of use that comes with Hammer and brush based editing. Skyrims Creation kit is modular so it’s not that flexible what you can do with it on entry level. (If you can model I assume you can get more out of it) Unreal is OK but the latest single player game to use it is Painkiller HD and the community doesn’t seem to have lasted. Same goes for ID Tech 5 and RAGE. Far Cry 3’s Editor is very good for terrain but everything else seems to be modular and the distribution for single player stuff is a bit rubbish. FarCry 4 looks like it handles that better.

            So yeah, Either Half Life or Portal for Single Player modding… and I don’t really have a head for puzzles.

            1. JG

              The thing is, there’s only so much that one mapper can do. The problem with newer engines, from our standpoint, is that you’re either using cookie-cutter modular parts where every level ends up looking the same, or you’re painstakingly constructing new assets in a 3D modelling program. Spending countless hours fiddling with materials and models when you want to be focusing on gameplay.

              The advantage that brush-based modelling has is that anyone can do it and yet it’s flexible enough to let every mapper’s little idiosyncrasies shine through. It’s easy to see why modern games don’t use it – they have armies of artists. But I think for the hobbyist, there’s a reason why Half-Life 2 will stick around. We see that with Quake undergoing one renaissance after another.

  5. Hello everyone. My name is Muraqqi. I am from Indonesia. Nice to meet you all. I am not new to Half-life saga but new to map or mod it.

    Btw, i have a problem with my hammer editor setup. I try to run hammer from Half-Life 2\bin and it’s run. The problem is when i choose game configuration, i choose half-life 2 episode 2 configuration, and it shows this in console

    Invalid game “F:\Steam\steamapps\common\half-life 2 episode 2\ep2” found in VPROJECT environment variable, ignoring

    I don’t know what caused this problem, i afraid when i making some maps or mod it will cause an “unforeseen consequences” ^_^

    Thanks for the help

    1. JG

      Have you tried running the Hammer.bat file at least once? That’s supposed to set the VPROJECT variable, and then launch Hammer. Once the variable is set, you should just be able to use hammer.exe to start the editor.

      If you do that and it’s still wrong, check the Environment Variable itself. On Vista (other Windows are similar), go to Control Panel -> System -> Advanced System Settings -> Environment Variables. Under the “User variables for (username)” section, look at the bottom of the list for VProject. Is that value provided correct? For me, that value is: C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Half-Life 2\ep2 because that’s where my Steam and Episode 2 is located. If it’s not, feel free to manually change it here using the Edit button.

      If that still doesn’t work, check to see if this weird “common/half-life 2 episode 2” folder actually exists. If it does, that’s wrong because Episode 2 is supposed to be located within the Half-Life 2 folder. In that case, you will either want to try Verify Integrity of Game Cache in Steam to get those files moved to the appropriate location, or delete and re-download the game. This is especially true if you’ve had the same Half-Life 2 installation for years. Valve has moved a lot of files around over the years, and Steam doesn’t do a good job of cleaning up the remains.

      1. Thanks JG, solution number 2 is working for me. Changing the user variables is fixed this problem. What thing can cause this problem?

        1. JG

          I really couldn’t tell you where it may have pulled the bad information from. As long as it works, you just step away slowly and never mess with that setting again. 🙂

    1. JG

      Game makers share a lot in common with the Disney animators who would stick little Easter eggs in the background to see if anyone noticed. It’s often the side effect of working on the same thing for a long time – you add little things to entertain yourself.

      Also, I never knew about the low intelligence thing in Fallout. That’s hilarious, especially knowing that they had to give all these NPCs an alternate set of dialog for dealing with it.

  6. Portal 2 Companion Cube Ice Tray seems like a cool idea.

    I would prefer headcrabs though.

    1. JG

      That is a legitimately hilarious and clever idea.

  7. AI

    I am currently on line with my”old compaq deskpro” dug it out of my storeroom, It has windows 98 still on it 98megs ram and the vid board only has 1 meg ram!! But I found it still has my original HL1, Blueshift, and Opposing Force installed on it! those game disks were bought in 1998! Any one out ther with an older rig?? BTW I’m running IE6 sp1.

    1. None that I use… but I do have a Sinclair ZX8I lying around for some reason.

  8. Zekiran

    By the way, folks – if you’re not aware yet of this really good HL-world comic, you should absolutely check it out. The artwork might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I find it fits perfectly. The dialog is really amazing, realistic and thought out characters, and a dark storyline which is being revealed carefully. The first chapter is out now, and the next should be ready in the new year. There’s a thread on this in the Half Life 2(I think e2) section of the Steam forums, as well.

  9. lj4linux

    MERRY CHRISTMAS! God bless you all.

    1. Zekiran

      You too! Have a happy new year!

  10. So, what have you bought in the Steam sale?

    1. JG

      Nothing, yet. I am pretty much satiated and there haven’t been too many new games that have piqued my interest on PC. I wouldn’t mind having the Quake Collection for convenience sake, though even on sale, I feel it’s overpriced. Also, if I had any faith in my PC’s ability to properly run id Tech 5 games, I’d like Wolfenstein: The New Order on PC as well. I played through it on the PlayStation 4 – in part because Rage was such a mess on this PC – and it was a fantastic shooter, but I felt crippled by the gamepad compared to keyboard+mouse. Unlike the Call of Duty or Halo games, Wolfenstein doesn’t do anything to compensate for the gamepad’s inherit inaccuracy.

      Still, if you want an FPS that really captures the run-and-gun feel of Half-Life 2 with the goriness of Doom and surprisingly strong narrative chops, Wolfenstein: The New Order is your game. I mean, you get to dual-wield shotguns. Shotguns!

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