Desert Island Mods

25th July 2012

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

On BBC radio 4 is a show called Desert Island Discs where a personality comes on the show and has to select 8 pieces of music, one book and one item of luxury to have with them if they were stranded on a desert island.

They talk about each selection and what it means to them, why it’s so important etc and it turns into an autobiographical chat.

Let’s use that idea and have our own “Desert Island Mods”.

Here are the rules:
1. Select up to 5 mods for any game, any genre, any system. It must have been released, so no imaginary mods please.
2. Select 2 books.
3. Select 2 CDs or pieces of music.
4. Select 1 item of luxury. We will follow their rules and state that it “must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside”.

Don’t rush to reply. Think about it carefully.

I’ll add mine later this week.


  1. s.anchev

    a. They Hunger
    b. Research and Development
    c. Get a Life
    d. Strider Mountain
    e. Mission Improbable

    (besides They Hunger, I would want only sunny, funny mod’s, not dark mods)

    a. Dark Tower (series) by Stephen King, and since its a saga of 7 books, it will be my only choice.

    a. Bolero (Ravel)
    b. Octavarium (Dream Theatre)

    4. Wow. Perfume, probably.

    1. I wasn’t looking for just a simple list but a little bit about each choice.

      It’s just just a way for us to talk about our choices etc.

  2. Kyrii


    a. They Hunger – My favorite story-driven zombie mod or game ever made 🙂
    b. Survive in Catacombs – It’s like Serious Sam when it comes to it’s massive number of enemies :>
    c. Underhell – The best shoot-em-up and scare-fest to ever come out of Half-life 2 modding ^^
    d. The Delta Sector – Intricate attention to detail and probably the most professional Far-cry mod ever made.
    e. Dead Epidemic – The only campaign mod to ever come from the game “Land of the Dead”


    a. 1632 – My favorite alternate history book about an entire town in modern Virginia being sent back in time to 1632 Germany during the 30 years war.
    b. The Counte of Monte Cristo – An excellent revenge story about a man loosing everything and gaining it all back to exact vengeance on those who had wronged him :>


    Iron Maidens “The Number of the Beast” and Slipknot’s “Iowa”, I love their melodies and can easily meditate to their tunes ^.^


    Meh, a 24 pack of Pepsi Lime, it’s delicious 😀

  3. great idea phillip ….. I actually remember listening to desert island discs ( shows my age ) and it was originally hosted by roy plomley who came up with the idea sitting at home in his pyjamas ,,,,
    anyway its 8 oclock and time for “desert island mods” and my first mod is
    1)minerva ….. this was one of the first mods I ever played and has stood the test of time… the creator adam foster slaved for over 2 years to create this mod and unlike other mods he used vertical mapping which resulted in fewer loads….. the mod has since had a HD facelift
    2)strider mountain …. leon brinkman is one of my favourite hl2 modders/mapper and mainly due to the style of maps he creates…. I can remember the first time I downloaded strider mountain and 3 weeks later I was still playing it… its a immense mod and one of the all time greats …
    3)the citizen …. I actually played this mod yesterday after problems with the scripts ( no one would speak to me ) .. however I realised I applied the fix wrong .. however when I originally installed this mod it ran fine and I thoroughly enjoyed it…. very well made
    4) slums 2 ….. another classic and one of the mods I will play on a regular basis …. very atmospheric and excellent lighting ….. one of many mods you should have in your steam libary
    5)coastline to atmosphere … another classic from the king of hl2 mods “leon brinkman” ….. this is just pure class and it astounded me how leon created such a massive map… this was also one of the first mods I downloaded and one that shouldnt be missed
    note : I know they are all hl2 mods however in my opinion these outclass all other mods from other games… many may disagree but hey thats just me
    books …
    1) the rats by james herbert….. its been that long since I read this the story is pretty vague… however still one of the best herbert books to this day
    2) bravo 2 zero by andy mcnabb …. a good account of the b20 sas team who were left on their own to escape and evade during the crippling winter in iraq … other team member chris ryan still holds the record for the longest evasion walking just under 250km … mindblowing
    1) go down by ac/dc …. my favourite rock song of all time… bon scott is awesome and the riffs from malcolm and angus young make this song a all time classic
    2) figure of eight …. paul mccartney …. being a scouser I had to include my mate macca ….. seriously this is one of pauls lesser known songs but it has a great melody and beat….
    and finally I would love the latest high end pc… but my item of luxury is my wife jeanette …… money does not bring happiness but jeanette does

    1. Sorry, but no matter how lovely Jean is, she doesn’t count for the luxury as it must be inanimate. Something else?

      1. original gibson less paul …. very rare but one of the best gutairs…im looking forward to your selection …..

  4. Senator33

    Good choices!

    Mine are:
    1. Minerva
    2. Poke
    3. Op4 Nuclear Winter
    4. They Hunger
    5. Strider Mountain

    1. Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language
    2. Diana Gabaldon:The Outlander series – 7 books

    Music CD’s
    1. Mahler: Symphonies 1 and 5.
    2. Richard Strauss: Death and Transfiguration

    My Cello

    1. A dictionary is a strange choice, considering you won’t have anything to look up or check.

      Cello sounds the perfect companion.

      1. Senator33

        Phillip, I chose the dictionary in part because its a long read on those boring desert island days, and because my 3rd grade teacher insisted that the book would be indispensable in such a place……

        as for the cello….its my passion…

        1. Senator33

          And by the way, if I couldn’t bring the cello, a Stepford wife would do…

  5. Herr_Alien

    4) A solar powered scientific calculator
    3) Maurice Ravel’s Bolero, Sid Phillips – Boogie Man
    2) An astronomy book and a chemistry book
    1) ZRP mod for STALKER Shadow of Chernobyl, AvP2 Team Fortress for AvP2, Released – Reykjavik – Iceland – GTS for Fallout 3.

    Now, mentioning mods, I take it we’ll have a PC capable of playing them on the island? If not, then I’ll switch the scientific calculator for some sort of solar powered PC.

    So, about them choices:
    – the calculator will be used to make calculations (go figure :)). It’s not the simple computations (multiplications, additions, square root) in astronomy that put me off, it’s the trigonometry that is a bit tougher to do exclusively by hand. Have somebody compute sin (23.46) by hand and you’ll get the picture

    – the two pieces of music: I found the Bolero to be the best piece of music when I need to focus and I am a bit tired. Sid Phillips” Boogie Man is a cheerful tune, snappy, and I end up listening to it when I need to boost up my energy. Granted, other songs can do better (Slipknot comes in mind) but there’s always a chance you’ll end up with too much anger listening to them. And anger on a deserted island does not bode well.

    – the books are mostly about survival and enhancing life conditions. The chemistry book I mentioned has loads of useful information, including how to obtain iron from iron ore. The astronomy book will both keep me busy and help me locate myself.

    – the mods: two for single player games, and one for multiplayer. Thing is, I would like to use some of the features in AvP2 Team Fortress in a single polayer mod for AvP2.

  6. Nice idea Phillip, but the choices are so limited.
    Two book choices when all I can come up with start with three, like “The Lord of the Rings” or Kim Stanley Robinson’s Mars trilogy. I have noticed some people have added their favourite book collections!
    Does “2 CDs or pieces of music” cover “The Lord of the Rings-The Complete Recording”, three CD/ audio DVD boxsets as one piece of music?

    Sorry to complain but I would just like the rules clarified so I can add my “Dessert Island Mods”.

    1. Well, I just took the BBC’s criteria, but I am very flexible. You can add authors instead of books if you prefer and CDs can be sets too.

  7. as phillip stated desert island discs uses a format… and heres the official criteria ( taken from wikipedia )
    Guests are invited to imagine themselves cast away on a desert island, and to choose eight pieces of music, originally gramophone records, to take with them; discussion of their choices permits a review of their life. Excerpts from their choices are played or, in the case of short pieces, the whole work. At the end of the programme they choose the one piece they regard most highly. They are then asked which book they would take with them; they are automatically given the Complete Works of Shakespeare and either the Bible or another appropriate religious or philosophical work.
    Guests also choose one luxury, which must be inanimate and of no use in escaping the island or allowing communication from outside. The devisor and original presenter of the programme, Roy Plomley, enforced the rules strictly, but they are less strictly enforced today. Examples of luxuries have included champagne and a piano, the latter of which is one of the most requested luxuries

  8. For my first mod choice it would have to be “Minerva Metastasis Trilogy”. A mod of such scope as to rival Half Life 2 itself and may be the two sequel episodes too!
    This was my first big mod and was quite a challenge for my old PC and me, but I faired ok and my PC, not so well. The last all-guns blazing climatic ending had my PC on the ropes as my graphic card fell to its knees and the action stuttered along at an agonising pace. This was the game that forced me to buy “Episode one” so I could play it without the funny purple checkers! Why I never bought this before? I guess I feared it would be a generation ahead of my aging PC!
    For number two I would say “Strider Mountain”, Leon Brinkman’s epic action mod that opened with a parachute stuttering down to some stuttering music! it’s a fun all-action piece with great humour, a nice up and down story and a hell of a lot of Combine shooting madness. It seemed to me that the entire Combine force was here on the mountain to just to shoot me, a lone Rambo, instead of tackling those other resistance guys! Half way through a new PC breathed new life and vigour into this game, so I replayed from the smoothly falling parachute beginning, now with music and the mayhem ensued! Oh, and finding out how those Strider’s are made, very creepy!
    Number three is “TITAN: XCIX”, or how I see it as, “The Care and Transportation of Batteries in Wet Environments”! A really well crafted mod set on a space ship where you have to fix, explore and find your lifeboat all without a gun. When you do get a gun you have to take it off the dead nutter you had to kill using steam by turning a valve!J
    There is zero-g fun and a stroll along the hull during a downpour of asteroids and so much to explore and learn. A huge back-story makes this a real gem, but the flooded section with the water intolerant battery is a real and novel challenge. Just for added fun, some of the passageways have waterfalls, thus causing much swearing and a return to last saved point! Ha, ha; this is how to make an interesting mod.
    For number four I chose “Operation Barbarossa”. A mission and campaign expansion pack for the excellent “IL2 STURMOVIK”, so I can give those German’s what for as a Russian WWII pilot. But really it’s a very good flight simulator and without one I may end up quite batty alone on that island! I think this counts as a mod, albeit a commercial one but I have the “Swastika” patch for the German planes for historical accuracy. I would have preferred ” Microsoft FS2004″ but I have over a hundred mods on that and that’s a tad over five!
    The fifth mod I choose is a newer one, but one of the most amazing things I have ever played, even in its current first version. And that mod is MyoHyo’s seminal masterpiece “G-String”. If I could have only one mod this would be it above all others. Set over 54 stunning maps in the North American Union city of “Tokyo Twice”, you, an 18-year old girl of Korean descent wanted by the authorities. Set in a very “Blade Runner” near future of rampant capitalism and decay, you must find your way ever forward. This is a stylish exploration piece that becomes ever more violent as you approach your destiny and my perfect gaming experience.
    And you can start fires with your mind like a “Twisted Firestarter” and there’s a song to go with that!

    My book choice would be “The Lord of The Rings” trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.
    I had never read them until the mention of the first film, “Fellowship of the Ring” directed by Peter Jackson prompted my interest. So I bought them and read them a week after I saw “The Return of The King” at the cinema. A long wait but worth it as the books were a good read and the differences from the film did not detract from my enjoyment. To be honest, if the film would have followed the first book, by including Tom Bombadil I would have run from the cinema screaming! The most irritating character to ever appear in a book! Seeing the films first meant I could put faces to names instead of trying to remember them from the first “Lord of the Rings” animated film! I loved the films and enjoy reading the books, but I have to say I have tried to read “The Hobbit” numerous times but I just hate it and only ever finished it once. But LOTR will accompany me to the dessert island.
    My second book series starts with “Dune”, the first book in this epic saga. Frank Herbert wrote this back in the 1960’s and I read it in the 1990’s. An amazingly detailed work of political intrigue as the various powerful House’s via for control of the Empire on a universal scale, all politically orbiting the small world of “Arrakis” also known as “Dune”, cue music by Toto!
    One House, “Atreides” eventually produces “The God Emperor of the Universe”, in Leto, whose 1000-year reign ends with the return of the travellers who have been to the outer edges of space and returned with great powers.
    Frank Herbert’s death left six books in this saga, but Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson have continued his work with prequels and sequels.
    I will need a sack for my Dune Saga’s 18 books.

    My first music choice is Howard Shore’s “The Lord of The Rings — The Complete Recordings” a fantastic musical opus over 10 CDs and three audio DVDs. The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The London Voices, & The London Oratory School Schola deliver a beautiful score with so many unforgettable themes. Some including memorable instruments like the Norwegian fiddle or Hardinger, with its unbowed strings beneath the main strings providing a ghostly resonance to the haunting Rohan theme. I can just imagine the joy of listening to the entire work in peace and quiet with just the added waves on a beach theme!
    There are so many other works I could choose, but I have one more choice so I choose my favourite soundtrack, Jerry Goldsmith’s “Star Trek The Motion Picture”. The 2012 reissue has 65 tracks, including the score, the original 1979 album and some alternate and soundtrack construction pieces. The film includes the most beautiful model ever seen in a film, the exquisitely painted and lit 6ft “USS Enterprise NCC-1701” before ILM ruined it. Filmed by Apogee and set to Goldsmith’s “The Enterprise”, it was six minutes of cinematic magic never to repeated by any other film. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and the music brings that to me every time I listen to it.

    For my one item of luxury I was thinking of a solid gold toilet, surely the definition of a luxury!
    But seriously, I would have to have a good telescope and since you say luxury, I think the Meade Max 20″ ACF reflector on its very sturdy equatorial mount will suffice. Fitted out with all the extras this will keep me active on the long warm nights and I can sleep through the days, which is fine, as I hate bright sunlight! But I do like garlic and I love steak!
    Maybe a Northern Hemisphere island for me as the Southern Hemisphere would be very foreign to my stargazing eyes and the Equator even stranger!
    I wonder, is it ok to write my astronomical findings down and float them off in a coconut shell boat if I want to be published?

    I hope there no weird bunkers on this island, time anomalies, dinosaurs, monsters or Doug McClure!

  9. The Mods

    In no particular order.

    Research and Development
    OMG, This is an amazing peice of work. I probably rushed through this, like most mods I play and would definitely enjoy the chance to sit abck and take it all in. I can only remember a few moments from it.

    Azure Sheep
    One of the first big Half-Life mods I played and all I remember is having to keep kate alive – at least I think it’s this mod! Also, it’s set in BM, which most of you know I love.

    Although I felt this had a lot of faults but there is also a lot of depth here, especially with version 2 coming. I am sure that I missed so much and would like to have a chance to play through realy slowly and make sure I fully explored.

    Mission Improbable
    I picked this even as it stands, without the new update and maps due soon. Quality shines through in this one.

    The books

    Excession by Iain M. Banks.
    Who doesn’t love the “Culture” novels and this one is a hard and military style story, also has great start.

    The Mind’s I
    Made me think more about consciousness than any other book.

    The CDs

    Massive Attack
    Just love the rythms and basslines they create. Perfect for films or TV shows.

    Another electronic band, with a lead singer with a great voice and beautiful lyrics.

    The Luxury

    Either a really good pair of sunglasses or a lifetime’s supply of LetiBalm which is a popular lip balm over here in Spain. I’ve become addicated to it, so nice.

  10. wreade1872

    Azure Sheep (i won’t be lonely as long as I can take Kate with me 🙂 )
    Nuclear Winter
    Sweet Half-Life
    Heart of Evil

    The Martyrdom of Man by Winwood Reade (the only book I own that I can open at any point and read)
    League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier (knocked Lord of the Rings down to #3 on my favourite books list)

    Superbeautifulmonster by Bif Naked (my favourtite artist)
    Robyn by Robyn (just a great and eclectic sounding album)

    Item of luxury:
    A gun, to defend myself from pirates, the others, zombies, giant crabs, childgangs etc 😀 .

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