June 2016 General Chat

2nd June 2016

Hello June, you Son Of A Headcrab!

It’s still not warm enough for me to wear my bikini around the house yet. I was expecting it to be hot enough to do that. I even got a bikini wax last week in expectation. Oh well, looks like the neighbourhood will have to wait a little longer to gaze upon my golden svelte super body.

Back to gaming, if you can, after I probably burned that image into your eyes for the rest of today.

As you can see, I haven’t really updated the site much. Partly because there doesn’t seem to have been anything released and partly because I have been working on other things. Got a few things I wish I could tell you about, but it’s better to wait until they are ready.

I’m thinking of starting a new YouTube channel playing really old FPS games. Thoughts?

So, what have you got planned for this month?

What is this post?

Over the last three 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 this month, I will use images taken from really old FPS games.

This month it is Systrem Shock 2 (1976).
“Remember, it is my will that guided you here. It is my will that gave you your cybernetic implants, the only beauty in that meat you call a body. If you value that meat… you will do as I tell you.”

The cult classic sci-fi horror FPS-RPG has returned.


  1. Thank Winters here and I no longer have to wax,,,

  2. Bikini? Is there something you want to tell us, Phillip…?

    Actually, speaking of System Shock 2, I bought it on Steam ages ago but never got around to playing much of it. Mainly because, well, I couldn’t get past the controls. It’s a faux pas, I know, but I’d rather just replay Half-Life than grapple with those weird keyboard configs. I’m great with keyboards but I can only handle weird controls if it’s on a console controller, like with Metal Gear Solid.

    Perhaps even more controversially, same thing happened with Deus Ex. I don’t think I ever got past the first level!

    1. Not finishing Deus Ex 1 due to controls!?
      Dark sorcery if i ever see one.

      Is it like the controls themselves that make you uncomfortable?
      The default configs or something?
      Did redefining the keys help in any way?
      Or maybe it’s the movement in itself that freaks you out?

      1. To be honest, I don’t even recall anymore. I think it was just tricky to get a handle on it all, and there was a lot of stuff to master if I recall.

        I preferred Human Revolution on PS3. I’m a blasphemer

      2. I couldn’t get into the original Deus Ex either. I respect its importance in the genre and what it accomplished, but I completely missed the boat on being able to actually enjoy it.

        Human Revolution was fine, though I want to play the Director’s Cut someday to see how they fixed the worst aspect: the boss encounters.

        I have little interest in Mankind Divided, however. The whole thing just seems so melodramatic to me. I think the graphics of the original, and the subtle humor of HR kept things from ever getting too serious. But Mankind Divided, we seem to be pursuing a full-on Biblical allegory with deadpan seriousness and that kind of thing just bounces right off me.

        1. Deus Ex is my favorite game, but I’d say it’s difficult to get into it now. I tried a few times a while ago and couldn’t go past the first level, it was for me such a boring game with awful graphics. Then I tried Human Revolution, which is for me a blend of awesomeness and inanity, and overall, I really liked the game and the universe. After that, it was far easier to play Deus Ex. HR really served me as an introduction to Deus Ex. It made me understand the Deus Ex universe, and the improved graphics of HR taught me how to interpret the barren mapping of Deus Ex 1, and as a result, I started enjoying its graphics a lot!
          Now, I really love Human Revolution, but there are things that make me so angry about it. Its main flaw being the cut-scene with the girl from Tay Yong Medical. Seriously? You pretend this game is all about giving you choice, then you take control of my character and make him fall in an obvious trap? Just the fact of thinking about it makes me want to say this game is crap.
          The 4 endings are weak and botched. It’s just one single compilation of TV report extracts with a different script with quotes of Albert Einstein like in a college dissertation.
          There are other things I hate as well. Sometimes, the game forces you to debate with a character, either because you passed near them or started talking to them, and does not allow you to simply leave. For example, in the police station, if we go through the main entrance, we’re forced to talk to Wayn Haas and to try to convince him to let us enter the police station. I didn’t want to talk to him because I thought that normally, if I was seen roaming in the police station, and that, afterwards, a capital evidence was stolen from FEMA, they’d directly understand who stole it, but no. Same thing when we enter the morgue, we’re start talking with the doctor when we get near him, even when he’s not supposed to have seen you.
          These are the main flaws of HR that make me so sad because this is the game I enjoyed the most playing but also the one which made me angry the most as well.
          What makes me skeptical about MD is the world run by a totalitarian, nazi-like power like the one in HL2. This is really something I find not original at all.

  3. I’ve been having so much fun with Doom. Not only was the game itself the most fun FPS I’ve played in years, possibly since Half-Life 2 itself, but Snapmap has held my attention for another 50 hours on top of that.

    If you have the game, you can check out my latest Snapmap, Argent Overload, with the ID: 3Q9MARYX

    Snapmap is no Hammer, of course. You don’t get to define how the rooms are shaped or where the playable space is. However, there are 120+ rooms to pick from, offering all different kinds of high-level functionality, and you get to script anything that happens inside of them. The ability to mirror and change fog and atmosphere settings also helps make your instance of that room feel distinct. The scripting side of things is a streamlined version of what Hammer offers with familiar concepts like Counts, Relays, Timers and so on. There is an emphasis on Spawner management as the game can only have so many Demons active at once. You also have Objectives, Points-of-Interest and a bevy of Audio and other Communication functions for guiding players which is nice to see and makes it feel different from Half-Life’s mostly silent guidance.

    One of the things I’ve found interesting is the way they teach you the basics of this editor. You have Basic and Advanced tutorials that walk you through navigation, item placement and scripting. You also have a huge Reference section showing many different, contained examples of various entities. But what’s cool is the Snap Puzzles. It is treated like a kind of Puzzle Mode where the builder is given a specific design problem and they have to solve it with the entities they have at hand. It’s a really clever and hands-on way to introduce advanced concepts. A lot of tutorials for editors tell you the how, but not necessarily the why. You go through 10 steps and end up with a functional thing, but you don’t really understand why it works. This forces you to think like a mapper, presenting a more abstract approach. It’s cool.

    But anyhow, I really can’t recommend Doom enough. It’s easily the best FPS I’ve played in years and I feel it sets a new bar that future FPS games, including a hypothetical Half-Life 3, will be compared against. Between Doom and the new Wolfenstein, a new gauntlet has been thrown down for the future of the single player FPS. What a great time for gaming.

    1. Might want to rename that to Doom 4, just to get the confusion out of the way.

      I swear, i just hate companies that do this kind of stuff, Sonic did it, then Wolfenstein, then Tomb Raider, and now Doom.

      Anyway, just recently finished a classic mod for SS2 funny enough, Ponterbee Station, bleedin’ well done mod, if not for the lack of direction/map that did took me a while traversing the mod.

      People wanted a sequel for SS2, but i think those custom maps/mods have already got our backs.

      Now that i think of it, it really confuses me when people want more gameplay addons/sequels/DLCs from official devs when the modding community has it and more.

      1. Eh, it’s simple. There was Doom, Doom II, Doom 3 (which should’ve been ‘III’) and now DOOM.

        Just capitalize it. DOOM. DOOOOM.


      2. I don’t like reusing names more than anyone else, but calling it Doom 4 almost does it a disservice by keeping Doom 3 in the continuity. Against every expectation, I think the game has earned the right to the name Doom as long as the context is clear, although I’ve generally taken to calling it “New Doom.”

        Incidentally re: DOOM versus Doom, according to Steam, all of these game titles are in full caps.

        1. actually there are some theories on how the new Doom continues the story of the older Doom games. Well some people say they are very obvious, but I never saw anything like that and found these theories to be really interesting. There is an article about that on Kotaku.

          google “The Wild Theory That Connects All The Doom Games”

          1. I think it is strongly implied that is the case. I’d go into it more but the Spoiler tag doesn’t seem to work at all.

            Doom actually has a rather clever story. It’s definitely not in-your-face and it is extremely subtle compared to everything else, but it is there if you’re willing to look for it.

      3. It’s easily the best FPS I’ve played in years and I feel it sets a new bar that future FPS games, including a hypothetical Half-Life 3, will be compared against.

        Oh come on. How can you say something like that? Doom is great game, but it has NOTHING that defines new standards for future games.
        It’s really just old school game done right. Nothing more. It didn’t move FPS genre any bit forward.
        What you want to compare with future games? That they have… weapons? Glory kills? Arena like maps with swarms of enemies? Pissed of protagonist? A simplified editor that ony works well because of very simple Doom gameplay? 🙂
        I really hope that HL3 will go into Stalker and Deus Ex direction, complex games with multiple approuch to one thing, interesting plot, big and complex universe. Expanding this idea even more.

        1. if a game brings the genre forward or not has nothing to do with its quality

        2. It is classic ideas revisited in 2016 and done exceptionally well. That is, in and of itself, innovative. Innovation isn’t just new ideas. It’s also knowing when to tastefully reintroduce ideas that have been largely ignored.

          Combat that encourages players to get up-close-and-personal, physical projectile evasion, levels so complex they need maps, secret hunting, indirect and environmental storytelling. None of these things are new, strictly speaking. But seldom have they been combined this well. And many are in harsh juxtaposition to the rest of the FPS genre in 2016, ravaged by the likes of Call of Duty.

          So, to me, this is the way it brings the genre forward. It reminds everyone, developers and gamers alike, that there is still room for another approach. That not everything has to be Call of Duty. And Doom is sort of a novel twist itself – it’s not an arena shooter like Serious Sam, but it’s not an “intelligent” shooter like BioShock or Half-Life either. It’s a hybrid that took the the best elements from both.

          People scoff at Snapmap. Think of it this way. If Snapmap gets other devs to think about bundling mod tools in their games – something the vast majority currently refuse to do – then it’s good for all of us. One of the biggest shortcomings of single-player FPS games in the last 10 years is the lack of mod support. BioShock, Wolfenstein – great games. No mod support. No longevity. Doom has something. It’s not perfect. But at the same time, for the first time I can recall, we actually have cross-platform support. And there may be merit to the fact that it traded some complexity for ease-of-use, considering that it already has thousands of maps and hundreds more are submitted every day. Not all are good, of course. But in Snapmap forums, I see a lot of neophyte mappers who are overjoyed at having something like Snapmap. Who just want a taste of what it’s like. Who want to learn more. Who try to go above-and-beyond to stand out. It’s actually a really uplifting thing to watch.

          1. But things you mentioned are just original Doom things, that most of the time will work only in doom-like game. You can’t evade bullets for example, not with real weapons 🙂 Environmental storytelling is almost in every game. Big levels… yeah that was a thing back in the day. But in the other hand, you have sandbox games. And they have far more interesting maps than repeated sci-fi corridors.
            I think, that a year from now, most people will forget about Doom4, and it will be another good title, but nothing really significant. Unless some DLC, or modders will expand this SnapMap thing maybe. But doubt it.

            I think it’s just more like momentary infatuation right now, nothing else ^^

            1. sandbox games have more interesting maps? Honestly the levels in sandbox games and open world games I find to be extremely dull. Either because they are randomly or procedurally generated, or in the case of most open world games the developers used some tools where they just paint the world, I dont know, or they just aim for extreme realism, which is cool for atmosphere and stuff, but not really for gameplay.

              The levels in the new Doom were just a pure joy to explore and to fight in and move through. And there is way more diversity than one might think, although I think they wasted some potential with the hell levels. There are a few AMAZING set pieces tho.

              And btw, he didn’t say “BIG” levels, he said “complex”. That is a huge difference.

              Sure, you will maybe forget DOOM in 1-2 years, and maybe other people too, but that still doesn’t mean it’s not a good game. But I can tell you I will remember and replay the game every few years probably. I completed it multiple times already with different settings.

    2. I agree with Maki, except that I think SnapMap is shit, not because of SnapMap itself, but because of Multiplayer and how the SnapMap gameplay (even if you make a Singleplayer map) is in reality multiplayer gameplay.

      1. Doom Snapmap is getting some new stuff in the coming months. New logic entities, new props and assets, Hell modules and the weapon wheel (which one would expect means the silly two-weapon limit is gone) are all forthcoming. Perhaps they will do a full-on single player mode that’s free of all the multiplayer fluff. That would be nice.

        In the interim though, probably the biggest issue with Snapmap is discoverability. There are thousands of maps built just to get that one achievement. Combined with the sorting quirk where maps with “! ” at the beginning of their name appear higher in the list than anyone else, and the fact is that good stuff is suffocated. And it’s not like making a Snapmap is a quick thing either. You could easily spend a week or more on one, and so if the payoff is a dozen views, that’s really disappointing.

        You can really see where the benefits of a site like RTSL come in. Unfortunately, as they are trying to do with Fallout 4, Bethesda insists on doing this all in-house and, to be honest, they seem overwhelmed.

  4. I’ve got so much going on at the moment. I am part of the massive streaming community now that I discovered that my internet can handle lower quality broadcasting. It’ll be far easier to post playthroughs of maps and mods this way. I will also be streaming other games such as Fallout 4 and even mapping sessions in future. (Sadly, not The Core for reasons I cannot say)

    On top of that, I am also working on a podcast that I am not at liberty to divulge to much about that yet. I’ll just say that it focuses on fictional writing and is very very silly.

    Last but not least, I love older FPS games as much as new ones and would be all for seeing some playthroughs on YouTube! (System Shock 2 was impressive looking for a 1976 review Phillip, haha)

  5. Ugh, Phillip, you just reminded me that I still need to finish System Shock 2. I feel guilty now.

  6. Heinz

    I got only two plans…

    At first I want to spend much time with my kids and
    The second plan is playing a lot to get the trading cards to make badges during steam summersale for getting my steam lvl higher.

  7. Not a fan of System Shock 2, excellent atmosphere and world design, but I found the gameplay way too floaty and the constant respawning of enemies too frustrating.

    For this month in my personal time, I plan on using most of my time to expand the level design in a modification I am working on.

    I really like your mod walkthroughs by the way, like the latest one by “The Rabbit”, I don’t usually watch others play video games, but your channel is one of the few that actually contains useful commentary on the game mechanics.

  8. This Months old FPS game.
    “This month it is System Shock 2 (1976)”
    Really? I missed this first release when I was playing at the arcade!
    I have often watched game play videos on Youtube, especially games I cannot play due to PC tech or operating system. So your idea sounds great.
    Speaking of shock, I have an image of you introducing your next ‘ville in a yellow bikini!
    I need some memory soap!

  9. Miigga

    A month ago I said that my map will be released in May or possibly in June if I’m lazy.

    I guess I’m lazy then. 😛

    It’ll 100% be released in June, however.

    1. I’m really hyped to play it! Ill probably do a play through on my channel!

    2. Miigga I am so bloody excited!

  10. 2muchvideogames

    ss2 is way to hard for me (for some reason i cant stand using the vitapods)

  11. OJJ

    Just played through The Wilson Chronicles HL2 mod on Steam, that was pretty forgettable; no story, visually messy environments that blur into one (the fact that they’re copied and pasted doesn’t help), inconsistent doors and little aide in direction.
    One thing I do like about it is that the weapons are fun to use, I think they’ve been taken from other mods though but it does make it a lot more fun than if I was using the weak pistol from vanilla HL2.

    Speaking of map problems i’m really having trouble being satisfied with a map i’m making for a mod, i’ve got one which i’m proud of but another which is messy, empty, visually bland and probably boring for new players, does anyone know someone or any tips that can help solve these issues?

    1. Vance

      I thought the mapping was also somewhat subpar on WC, but man are those weapon/alien models great! The weapons felt so right, for some weird reason. I don’t know if they changed any of the characteristics or something. And the HL1 characters ported over to source sdk 2013 were by far the best examples I’ve ever seen. I still had a lot of fun playing it because it looked so darn good.

  12. I can’t stop listening to this soundtrack:
    It so epic. Mick Gordon is my favorite composer.

  13. Ahaha did anyone notice the graphic Phillip used for this post? Look’s like a guy with a massive erection that’s about to get some hot zombie action.

    In other personal news – Bolloxed Land has now reached over 800,000 views a month and growing at a good pace – thank you to all my viewers and subs etc – it’s only possible because of you! There will be at least 100 new Half-Life related videos published over the next few months to complete my Half-Life project which at the end I hope to offer the most comprehensive video archive of high quality Half-Life related content on the planet.

    Also starting to work with several people and we hope to bring you some pretty exciting and unique material over the next few months so stay tuned.. things are happening.

    Thanks again for all your support and especially to Phillip who deserves it for his raw sexiness alone.

    1. You and your dirty mind!

      Congratulations on your stats. Looking forward to seeing your new content.

      I’d just like to add my perceived raw sexiness just an illusion.

    2. My gosh, what is seen cannot be unseen!

  14. Great trailer Phillip, the beginning is the best 😀

  15. Unq

    Loved System Shock 2. Played it just a couple of years ago for the first time (beyond playing the demo in 1999). There are a bunch of update mods that improve the graphics and enable the HUD to work nicely in widescreen at HD resolutions without stretching.

    Would love to see playthroughs of old FPS games.

    1. I always wanted to make a commentated video series on all major fps games ever released, from wolfenstein 3D to the new Doom. But then I realize that my english is not great, that my speaking voice is not great, that my microphone is shit … aaand that no one will watch it anyway xD

  16. As Daz pointed out on Twitter, there’s a free demo for the new DOOM available until the end of E3, so this week only. It contains the first level of the game. Really encourage everyone who can spare the bandwidth to check it out!

    Direct link to Steam (can be found on the DOOM Store Page):

    Details of this and forthcoming Snapmap and multiplayer updates: https://bethesda.net/#en/events/game/doom-at-e3-2016-demo-free-updates-and-premium-dlc/2016/06/12/137

  17. It’s a weird feeling to have an idea for a neat project, but have virtually no drive or passion to actually do it. Doing the three Hammer Cups back-to-back, and then having Doom come along, has apparently broken my resolve. I couldn’t even be bothered to watch the video playthroughs of TrapVille. And then I get sort of glum, looking at how the site has only had a handful of level postings, outside of Villes, in the past months. It’s not uncommon to only see 2-3 comments a day now. A lot of familiar faces come and gone. Someone called StopSpark on the env_spark.

    It’s odd because it’s not a creative funk. It’s a “Do I really want to spend a hundred hours doing that?” funk. And honestly, if my heart isn’t into it, it’s going to show in the end result.

    Take Black Mesa. Bravado is closing in on 4,000 subscribers now and a question that has inevitably come up is when I’ll do another one. I have no clue anymore. Again, it’s not for lack of ideas. I have a couple layouts I can pursue. But it’s a general malaise over the game itself, of how I don’t think it’s that much fun anymore. I’ve been there, I’ve done that, in some sense it feels like “work” to revisit it.

    In some ways, it was this kind of funk that led me to Half-Life in the first place. I had been involved with Descent for years. One day, I just got tired of it and wanted to do something else. That something else was Unreal Tournament, and eventually it became Half-Life. Now when I look back on Descent, and I did revisit it last year, it holds little appeal to me anymore. Everyone I knew moved on. Life goes on. It became less interesting.

    I’d hate to think that the same thing is happening with Half-Life, but the signs feel like they are already there. And I don’t really know where to go from here either. But either way, it seems like a rest from modding is still in order.

    1. just take a big break.

    2. I’ve got no idea how you Ville mappers even turn out content so quickly, most of the maps I saw would take me at least half a year to make.

  18. Unq

    Limbo is free on Steam today and tomorrow. http://store.steampowered.com/app/48000/

    Highly recommended, dark platformer with great atmosphere.

  19. I had a general question about the hammer cup and I wasn’t sure where to ask. I hope this thread is alright.

    Over the past couple of days, I’ve been working on a practice map to try to improve before the next ville. That got me wondering: if the theme just happened to fit with what I’ve already made, could I use that?

    In fact, I have a lot of unused and unfinished maps I could pull elements from.

    Is it against the spirit of the competition to reuse existing pieces of levels? I understand that one of the biggest draws for hammer cup maps is to see what people can do under the time constraint of just eighteen days. It would feel a little bit like cheating.

    I will probably not have anything on hand that fits the theme well enough, but it was just a hypothetical question on my mind.

    1. I wouldn’t mind. I do experiements before Villes too sometimes, so when a Ville gets announced I can start immediately, but I start from scratch.

      1. Right. I understand maps are probably better if they’re tailor made to fit the theme. I was just wondering about a very improbable case where a theme matched an unfinished map perfectly.

        It might be a good idea for me to just try different environments and make style guides to pull from, since I’m so new. Most of my maps so far are low detail and look pretty blocky, so I’m trying to improve on that this time.

    2. Using previous work for a Ville challenge would be against the spirit of the project, but where the line is is impossible to decide/define. I am sure that other entrants have used ideas or even things they have built in the past.

      My suggestion would be to try to do everything from scratch as you will get more benefit from the challenges that way.

      1. Thanks for the answer and the suggestion. That will definitely affect the way I think about _____ville.

        Just out of curiosity, what about art assets like old textures, skins or props? I don’t have a whole lot of those but I was wondering if my attitude towards them should be different since they’re not exactly part of the map.

        1. Well, in general, I would like to see nothing used that has been pre-created, but the reality is that you could easily use them and nobody would know.

          1. Got it. All the custom props and textures (if I use any) I use will be new.

            The only asset I was really thinking of reusing if a theme calls for it would be the decompiled and recompiled citizens with soldier animations I used in Trapville. If I was going to do that, I’d be using a new texture anyway.

            Not sure if that’s even a good idea to begin with since the reskins weren’t very popular, but it might work with certain themes.

  20. Breezeep

    Hey everyone, I’ve been lurking for quite a bit. I’ve recently finished Transmissions: Element 120. Gotta say, I absolutely loved everything about it, despite being a bit short. One thing I noticed on my end was that the dynamic shadows were not drawing on the decals (http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=704982680), and I’ve seen this Issue in the majority of Source games I’ve played. (Gmod, HL2: EP2, etc.) I’m not sure why it’s like this, but if anyone can lend a hand, I’d be much obliged. I have a GRX 970 btw.

  21. OJJ

    HELP, something just went wrong with hammer, all trigger textures are missing in the 3d view but not the texture preview on the right, it means I can’t see through triggers when editing anymore, it just happened while I was editing and restarting hammer doesn’t do anything to help.

  22. I had another general comment / question:

    I recently met the creator of the BEE mod tools for Portal 2. (http://portal2backstock.com/) I haven’t gotten into Portal 2 modding at all yet, so I learned a lot. Of particular interest to me was a Hammer feature called instancing. It seems like the HL2 version of vbsp doesn’t support instancing, but you can use Hammer’s somewhat clunky interface to collapse instances into a map before compiling. Since I find it tedious to keep collapsing and un-collapsing instances, I’m interested in writing a precompiler for Half-Life 2 based on BEE that collapses instances for you.

    First, do many Half-Life 2 mappers use func_instance already? It seems too useful to pass up.

    Second, would anyone here be interested in an extended mapping tool suite? Things like precompilers to make instances work with Half-Life 2 mapping or automatic Hammer configuration tools. I’d be interested in writing some software to assist with the production and testing of Ville competition maps. I could imagine all sorts of useful scripts to automatically generate a new ville folder for testing, configure hammer for that new mod, compile with instancing, etc.

    That leads me to another idea I’ve been thinking about for a while. What if there was a simplified editor like the Portal 2 Perpetual Testing Initiative to sketch out rough Half-Life 2 maps? It could speed up the early mapping process and help new mappers get into it as well. I only got as far as writing a python script that inserts blocks into a Hammer file wherever it finds a “1” in a text file, but then I saw BenVlodgi’s VMF parser code and learned about instancing and the whole process looks a lot easier now! I’ll continue to experiment, but I just wanted to ask if a simplified editor would be useful. I wasn’t sure how experienced mappers would feel about it.

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