July 2016 General Chat

1st July 2016

Hello July, you Daughter Of A Stalker! Where have you been?

I can finally, wear that yellow bikini around the house I keep talking about (if I receive $1000 Dollars donations this month, I post pics), so it’s definitely starting to get hotter.

My work load eases off from today, so I should be able to do more with the site in the next 5 weeks or so.

So, what have you got planned for this month?

What is this post?

Over the last few months, RTSL has got a lot of new readers, mostly I suspect due to VNN, but maybe from other sources too. Anyway, unlike many other sites that also have a “proper” forum, RTSL does not. We did have but it was never used, so I removed it. People also complained about having to register twice – and I fully agree.

So now, each month I create a “General Chat” post for readers to post whatever they want within the limits of being a family-friendly website.

Please don’t post reviews, questions or comments about maps and mods listed on the site – post them on the respective post – all those comments will be deleted. I do this to ensure that when a reader visits a map or mod page, all the information is in one place.

This Month’s old FPS game

Back in June 2014, I started to use a poster from a classic Sci-Fi move as the background for the post image. It’s been two years now and time for a chance. From June 2016, I started to use images taken from really old FPS games.

This month it is Strife (1996).
“Hailed as the original FPS-RPG game that spawned countless imitators, Strife: Veteran Edition is a love letter to the classic from 1996.”


  1. Currently my life consists of getting as much money as I can to buy stuff off Steam (pun not intended) and saving some, which is pretty much impossible.

    What do you guys think I should choose from Shadow Warrior Classic Redux and Unreal Gold?

  2. Working hard on Half-Life : ARRANGEMENT, messing up with our new audio engine, programming our launcher.

    PS : There is a little FAIL : “Strife (19996)”, one “9” to remove ^^

    1. But what if he is right and there will be a reboot of Strife called “Strife”, that will come out in 19996?

      1. Because if that were the case it would probably be called “Strifee”.

  3. All these promises of that yellow bikini. Next time you do a 12 hour livestream you should ask for sponership from people if you do it in your bikini!

    July in Bolloxed Land will be pretty much the same as June. Been working on new content for the channel the last few weeks as many of you have seen and it has grown to over 1 million video views a month so I will be working on improving that. Should be a few new things making an appearance on the channel towards the end of July πŸ™‚

    Thanks to all my viewers and subscribers – you guys rock πŸ™‚

    1. Keep up the great work.

  4. I recently completed the third and final part of the Intern’s Story Trilogy, which absolutely blew me away. Phenomenal mapping, gameplay, and storytelling, easily my favorite source mod that I’ve played in a very long time. If you haven’t played it yet and you enjoy horror, Lovecraft, or story/atmosphere-heavy mods, it’s definitely worth trying out!

    Also, congrats Phillip on reaching $100 on Patreon πŸ˜€ !

  5. Same as last month, try to improve work-life balance and increase productivity, especially when working on my modification.

  6. shark

    Was thinking about venturing to a new game from outside the HL universe. Any recommendations about similar games? Not just shootthemup, I particularly like the atmosphere and quiet moments HL provides when you can explore the surroundings, especially city17.

    1. Try the Oddworld series, specifically the 3D games like Munch’s Oddysee or Stranger’s Wrath. Those games definitely have a similar vibe to Half-Life 2 – however they are in third-person (Stranger’s Wrath is a mix of third-person and first-person). I would steer clear of any newer games released out there as they are overpriced and filled to the brim with degenerate content.

    2. For me, the two games that really capture that same kind of quiet ambiance are BioShock and Fallout, particularly New Vegas, but 3 is good too. Fallout 4 has a very weak narrative compared to the others, although it does have better combat and more polished gameplay mechanics. All Fallout games are heavy on exploration. So is BioShock, but its levels are more like HL2’s linear spaces instead of an open world. Fallout is a giant world you explore at your leisure, getting into side quests and trouble as you go along.

      Other FPS games worth looking at are Wolfenstein: The New Order, Singularity and Doom.

    3. Metro 2033 Redux and Metro Last Light Redux

    4. Everyone keeps saying Fallout or Metro while forgetting the other cool post-apocalyptic game.

      Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky, and Call of Pripyat.

      Trekking the Ukrainian Chernobyl Exclusion Zone never gets old for me.

      1. Tha Zone gives, and tha Zone takes.

        Metro and STALKER are pretty much my favorite post-apocalyptic games ever.

        We should take notice, however, that not even Fallout is weaker/better than the following. It’s just that they share a different tone. While Fallout is happy’n’flowers, STALKER is somewhere in between with the Cheeki Bandits to cheer you up. Metro on the other hand is pretty depressing. If we were to rate them it would probably be like this:

        Fallout < STALKER < Metro

        Not in terms of rating, but in terms of how realistic the post-apocalyptic theme is portrayed.

  7. shark

    Thx for the recommendations, I’ll look into them while waiting for the release of HL3. lol not funny, I know…

    1. you can buy the Metro Redux Bundle for very cheap on the summer sale right now

      1. shark

        Thx crowbar, great price indeed. Bought it.

  8. My plan for July includes a crap ton of work on The Core, while at the same time getting my Fallout 4 fix and playing online with the SnC guys.

    I’ll also be continuing with my streams on weekday evenings. I found that I actually REALLY enjoy doing them.

    Finally, I’ve got a ton of playthrough videos to do for maps and mods. I’ve got a few already recorded as well. Just need to get them edited and uploaded.

    Then there’s fatherhood. That’s my biggest time drain…

    So much going on.

    1. Looking forward to your streams (especially the mapping ones) ^^

  9. A couple of days ago, I commented in June 2016 general chat, but I’m afraid my post might have gotten buried. I don’t want to repost, but I also think my questions were important and I’d like to ask them again.

    I’m interested in writing a program to add the func_instance feature from Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2’s version of Hammer to the Half-Life 2 map compiler. I was curious if Half-Life 2 mappers would find that useful and if they’re already using instances with Hammer’s built-in “collapse instance” feature in their maps.

    I was also wondering if, more generally, the Half-Life 2 community would benefit from a simplified level design tool like Portal 2’s Perpetual Testing Initiative.

    1. I’m sorry to spoil what could have been a fun project for you, but Facepunch programmer James King (@Metapyziks on Twitter) beat you to the punch with VMFII. It’s the same idea you’re describing, a preprocessor of sorts that collapses instances automatically before handing the result off to the rest of the toolchain.

      I’ve found instances incredibly useful in my own Source maps, so much so that (and please pardon my horn tooting) when I started making Quake maps I couldn’t bear working without them and wrote a VMFII wrapper called Quinstance.

      Knowing Hammer already, I can’t speak to the utility of a Portal 2 style level editor. I don’t think I’d find it terribly useful, exactly, but it might still be fun to play with, and more importantly it could be helpful for new mappers. You might want to wait for feedback from them to be certain, but I’d say go for it!

      1. When I didn’t get any results looking for Half-Life 2 instancing, I assumed no one had done anything like that. Looks like I didn’t search hard enough. While I am disappointed that I don’t get the opportunity to write a useful tool for the community, I’m very excited to hear that it’s already been made. That means I can start using it for my maps immediately.

        Better yet, it looks like the code is free to use. Between this and benvlodgi’s VMF parser made for Portal 2, I have a great resource to refer to if I do write any VMF related programs myself in the future.

        Thanks for letting me know about VMFII.

  10. I just finished my third Snapmap for Doom, Argent Overload ][ (Snapmap ID: NC576AWX). It’s the sequel to the well-liked original (available at 3Q9MARYX). It’s also much more straightforward, with more intense battle design, gameplay as a Baron of Hell, and even leading a little army of friendly Revenants on your way to escaping the Lazarus Labs. Because who doesn’t like having rocket wielding allies with jetpacks? πŸ˜€

    Gameplay for the interested: https://youtu.be/rVRnrYDKfJM

    I’ll probably return to Source eventually. I think I’m tapped out of Doom ideas at the moment and the new features seem like they are months away from happening.

  11. I’m hoping things start to slow down at some point at work, it’s been hectic for 4 months straight now and I could use a bit of a break, if only to work more on my Hercule Cubbage comic. Last year around August things slowed to a crawl, but that was on my last job and this company has a lot more work going on, so… we’ll see!

    Also, I bought Prison Architect, Undertale and Telltale’s Game of Thrones this Steam sale, but I doubt I’ll be playing much of them since nowadays I’m a bit done with PC gaming. I prefer sitting on a nice couch after work and playing console. These days I’m making my way through the Kingdom Hearts series, I’m up to Kingdom Hearts II.

    1. you can play PC games on a couch too πŸ™‚
      plenty of options (Steam Link for example)

      1. I’ve thought about it, but I can’t seem to figure out a way of being comfy while doing that. I thought, maybe just connect my laptop to the TV screen and use the keyboard and mouse on my lap, but… that seems awfully unwieldy!

        Any suggestions? They’d be very welcome, I want to merge the best of both worlds!

  12. I just published another Snapmap. I was a bit bored over Independence Day and churned this out in ~10 hours over a couple days.

    Five Charges

    It’s fun to watch, if nothing else! Five Charges combines a lot of what I learned in the previous maps into a short, condensed experience focusing primarily on one very large battle. Because the map is small, I was able to push details like a more robust audio presentation, dynamic lighting, small props and manually-placed effects.

    The battle is an extension of the setup I used in the previous map, and with it, I feel I managed to capture the chaotic intensity and relentless feel of the main game’s battles while still being fair. It is great fun to play with a lot of replayability by virtue of the randomness in where enemies appear. The explosion effects at the end play off the environmental lighting, making the whole thing feel very cinematic and dangerous.

    In fact, the map’s transition from an atmospheric beginning to an explosive end is something I’m proud about and I feel it shows the potential of Snapmap to create a mood. In particular, coming from Source, it feels crazy to be able to use dynamic lighting with reckless abandon.

    Give it a try if you have the time and the game. It could use some more views. πŸ™‚

  13. I recently watched one of many video,s on youtube regarding half life 3 and one well respected channel was convinced valve will be releasing hl3 as a virtual reality game ….. his reasoning behind this was
    1) half life brought fps to the table
    2) half life 2 brought physx and
    3) half life 3 will bring VR
    however my concerns are if ( like many VR games ) you would need a VR unit to play the game .. and combined with the cost of a new title and a VR unit this would currently set you back nigh on Β£700 !
    hopefully VR will be a added extra … but if valve did decide to make it VR only this would be a massive mistake .. we are all not spoilt rich kids with the odd grand to spend
    any views
    link : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdvzwXQcWoY

    1. sorry, but this is getting so annoying. No offense to you, but this whole “HL3 will release as VR because thats the next step” is just ridiculous.

      1. Half-Life brought FPS to the table? No. It established many of today’s fps rules and story telling. But what does this have to do with HL3?

      2. Half-Life 2 had physics (NOT physx) and other technological advancements. This also has nothing to do with HL3. Of course new fps will have better technology. Half-Life 2, Doom 3 and Far Cry came out at a time where the console generation was near its end and very underpowered compared to a gaming PC, so Far Cry, Doom 3 and Half-Life 2 could be ahead of their time by developing exclusively for the PC. The same happenend in 2007 with Crysis, which still looks incredibly good today and only something like Crysis 3 could improve on that (and that is still the exception).

      Valve isn’t holding onto Half-Life 3 because they have to make innovations in some way. They just take their time as always. HL3 will probably support VR in some way, but will definitly not be VR exclusive. Of course HL3 will have impressive technology and do new things, but thats not why they are making HL3, its just part of the development process of making the next big “masterpiece” for which they’ve worked on for a very long time.

      Im not sure I can bring my point across, english is not my first language.

      1. Valve isn’t holding onto Half-Life 3 because they have to make innovations in some way.

        I’m not sure I agree with you here. Valve has always treated and discussed Half-Life games as sort of technological breakthroughs. Half-Life 1 had the skeletal animation system; Half-Life 2 had the physics engine; Episode One, I believe, was AI, in the sense of Alyx as a permanent (non-annoying) companion; and Episode Two was those nifty techniques like the bridge bending and breaking, for which I can’t recall the particular name. Half-Life 3, of course, has to continue the trend in some way, it can’t be “just” another FPS.

        Plus, in The Final Hours of Half-Life 2, Geoff Keighley mentions how Valve saw Half-Life 2:

        No, Half-Life 2 had to be something much more ambitious. It had to redefine the genre. To innovate where other games hadn’t.

        It’s obvious that Valve will treat Half-Life 3 with the same expectations and importance.

        Personally, what I think happened with Half-Life – and I’m not basing this off pure conjecture, but bits and pieces I’ve read over the years, most of which I’m sure are in the “Future of Half-Life” page on the OverWiki if you want to look for them – is that, when it was ‘just’ Episode Three, it was fairly unambitious and done story-first. But then, someone must’ve had one brilliant and/or insane idea, because “unexpected concept changes” (as mentioned here) completely changed the entire scope of the game, which then became Half-Life 3. As GabeN himself says in that same article, the direction has changed considerably over the years:

        The problem is, we think that the twists and turns that we’re going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it, until we can be very crisp about what’s happening next

        Unfortunately, it must’ve either been too ambitious or perhaps even the wrong direction, because at some point Valve must’ve dropped the project to focus on other things, and I assume only in the past year or so did they get back to it, as seen by the leaks since then.
        Alternatively, it’s possible they just dedicated the team entirely to Steam and new IPs after the Orange Box as those grew, and Half-Life got lost in the mix.

        1. Ep1’s and Ep2’s “breakthroughs” were ridiculously overstated, imo.

          1. Agreed, but then again, if we were waiting for big revolutionary technology from the episodes, we’d still be waiting for Episode One right now.

  14. Was cleaning up some files today and decided to make the VMFs for all my map releases publicly available, just in case they might be of interest to somebody. Better that than losing them to hardware failure at some point.

  15. Portugal won the UEFA Euro championship yesterday! A historic moment for my country, we’re a bunch of football-holics and it’s the first time we got the title. I don’t really care much about it myself generally, but today I’m proud to be Portuguese.

    1. I was genuinly sad about what happened with Ronaldo.
      Congratz for winning πŸ™‚

      1. Thank you! They thought Ronaldo was our whole team but we proved ’em wrong! πŸ˜€

  16. I’m in complete utter dumbfoundedness at the moment, and I really need an experienced mapper to help me out here.

    I’ve attached a .vmf of my project, Absolution that is nearing an end. I’ve curled out most bugs, the gameplay is reaching a satisfactory level, and I’m pleased with most of the results. However, I have a single, extremely frustrating problem at the moment.

    Please stop reading further if you’re interested in playing the release blindly. It’ll have some minor spoilers.

    During a garage-gauntlet, the player is pitted against a small wave of combine soldiers, coming at them from three entrances (Two of them on the ground level, one on a catwalk).

    Problem is, there is a really game-breaking bug in that very area. When a player who has previously died in the level and reloaded a save shoots a barrel (Not even the explosive type), a grenade goes off or any other explosion occurs, the game crashes. Straight to desktop, the map just shuts and the game closes.

    If a player manages to get to the garage without dying beforehand, he can complete it just fine. No crashes, fun happy shooting times. But if he is playing a reloaded save, the crash occurs.

    I’m tearing my hair out at this. If anyone with some experience with the problem or something similar could give me a hand, I’d really fucking appreciate it.

    Here’s the link to my vmf:

  17. I’m almost finished on my current project, Absolution. Anyone who wishes to play it blind, please stop reading further, but I’m really in the need of help from a experienced mapper or modder.

    I’ve attached the .vmf of my map here

    There is a problem that occurs during the garage gauntlet. If the player has died previously in the level, loaded a save (Or just respawned) the garage will bug out, and as soon as a prop is shot or something explodes, the map crashes.

    I’m tearing my hair out at this problem, and it’s frustrating me endlessly that I cannot find out the cause of the problem. If the player gets to the garage without dying beforehand, it’s easy peasy – you get to play completely normally.

    I have no freaking idea what’s causing this trouble, but I really need someone to help. I’m hoping someone with experience of the problem can give me advice, or atleast look at the VMF and see what might be the cause.

    The map is plagued by messy brushwork, and it’s starting to give strange leaks when compiling occasionally. This is also part of the reason why I’m shutting the lid on it while it’s still playable.

    The garage issue is not associated to the random leaks. It has existed ever since I first made the garage, back when the map still worked perfectly well otherwise.

  18. I need someone to help me, potentially someone with a ton of mapping experience.

    My current project, Absolution is bugged out, a crash in a certain spot occuring, but only if the player has died beforehand

    If you’d like to play my map blindly, please read no further.

    I’ve attached a VMF to the map here.

    When entering the garage and a prop is shot or an explosion occurs, the game crashes – but only if the player has died previously in the map, and respawned/loaded a save.

    The crash does not occur if the player plays the scene in the garage without dying before. It’s as if the map corrupts the save.

    The map is plagued by some messy brushwork and is starting to give random leaks occasionally when compiling, but these are unrelated to the issue. The garage has been crash-prone since I first created it, and it’s been haunting me ever since.

    I’ve no bloody idea what’s causing this terribly odd problem, but I really need help from an experienced mapper or modder who could point out a solution to me.

    1. OJJ

      I think I may have fixed the problem, but i’m gonna have to check a little more, also is there not supposed to be any exit out of the room with the 4 forcefields? Because I kill all of them and no door appears, I can also see combine spawning out of thin air so you might want to add a few bends to their ‘clown cars’ so they spawn out of sight from the player.
      EDIT: Okay, I haven’t solved the barrel problem, but I have found that the butane cans don’t cause crashes, if you can’t figure out the problem you might want to consider replacing all the barrels with butane

      1. OJJ

        Something really weird is up with this level, the level crashes whenever I pass past a certain point in the room, not from the explosions anymore, i’ve made some changes to your level in my quest to fixing it however;
        I’ve cleaned up the brushes to be less messy with the portals, i’ve placed area portals at both ends of the room to cut down on how much is rendered at once, i’ve also tied these areaportals to the doors that now close automatically so less has to be calculated at once, one of the doors has now got a fitting doorframe and all barrels have been replaced by butane which stops the crashes on explosions.

        1. Thank you so, so, so much.

          I know there’s some problems with the map (Although there is an exit in the four-shield-arena), but it’s mostly part of my learning process. It is, after all, my first map.

          I’m extremely grateful you took the time to help me catch the bug (and to Rob Martens as well), and I’m also very glad you took the time to help set up proper areaportals. Thanks a LOT, mate.

          1. OJJ

            One tip I would give to clearing up the brush work; turn off everything in the auto tab aside from world geometry with displacements turned off and load the portal file, that way the portal file highlights where the brush work is getting too complicated and you can easily see what needs to be an actual brush and what can be turned into a func_detail (it also makes seeing potential leaks alot easier as well)

            1. Thank you, that’s great advice.

    2. Through the process of elimination I believe I’ve found the issue.

      It seemed like the crash was only happening when a barrel exploded near the service pit/lift in the garage. Narrowing things down by deleting a few at a time brought me to the red toolchest, with the prop_physics wrenches and pliers on top. The wrench in the middle has its Model Scale set to 2, and for whatever reason this seems to make the autosaves unhappy. Setting it back to 1.0 solves the problem, as far as I can tell. I would never have imagined something like that would have anything to do with a crash, but I suppose that’s the Source engine for you.

      1. OJJ

        Ah, if that’s the case then i’ve updated the changed map file to have that included aswell.

      2. Thank you a lot mate! Never considered that to be a problem.


  19. Hi Phillip,,

    just a quick idea,,

    have you/can you have your current date and TIME displayed on site?

    Just a different way of helping your international members watch/stream/listen…

    1. This is a actually a solid idea. A small timer somewhere that shows the clock in Phillip’s time zone (Being the same one he announces events in), and a small indicator showing what time zone it is, (E.g. “GMT + SUM (2) 07:43”)

    2. I have added it in the middle column of the footer.

  20. I’m back after a long time of not playing HL mods, is there any new good release that i miss?

    1. Best way to do this is to go to the PLAY page (See the main orange menu at the top of the page). When the page loads, go to the bottom and add “5” in the Av.Rec. column. This will filter the list to only the best releases. It’s already in chronological order, so you just need to scroll down and find something you like.

      Let me know if you need any more help.

  21. Speaking of suggestions of improvements to the site, one thing that would help greatly would be a notification system that points out the latest replies to your comments. It could be a little circle with a number next to your avatar that, when clicked, gives you a dropdown of unread notifications, or even just a separate page.

    Personally, this would be extremely useful since a lot of times I’m looking to see if anyone has replied, and for that I have to browse the “100 most recent comments” and try to guess which were replies or not.

    1. Sounds like a great idea but it’s not available as far as I can see. I may be able to install a plugin that sends an email to a user when somebody replies to their comment. How does that sound?

      1. Well, I suppose in some cases it’d serve the same purpose, but it’s not quite perfect. In my particular case, I only check the e-mail I use for this account when I’m home, but I might take a quick peek at replies on RTSL for a short 5-minute break. That would mean I’d still not get any notification and, instead, have stuff I’ve already read filling my inbox at the end of the day.

  22. Hunt Down The Freeman has been greenlit on steam. Now its time to see how Valve responds.

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