May 2016 General Chat

1st May 2016

Hello May. Where have you been hiding? Time to change my wardrobe for my Summer clothes – YAY!

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 Sci-Fi Movie

In June 2014, I started to use a poster from a classic Sci-Fi move as the background for the post image.

This month it is from Logan’s Run (1976).
An idyllic sci-fi future has one major drawback: life must end at the age of 30.

I loved this movie when it first came out and I suspect if you were born in the 60’s, you did too.


  1. I’m a PostSecret reader and saw this one today that made me laugh: Tell Someone.

    Hope you laugh like I did.

  2. Well, for my part…. My hard drive with the OS died, today. I’m hoping that I can find my SATA/USB converter so I can rescue what data there was on it. At least it isn’t tremendously unreplaceable stuff but…

    Now I have a new rig – liquid cooled cpu, new mobo, new case, new drive and old ones hooked up.

    Of course, this does mean I have to reinstall all my Source games – I had started playing Backtrackville last night, and even took some notes, but any review is going to have to wait a while.

    I certainly hope other people’s months aren’t starting out like mine 😉

    1. Sorry to hear about your PC troubles. Fingers crossed on recovering the data. Hope May gets better for you.

  3. Just in case you missed my tweet or FB post: Just throwing this out there: GameOfThronesVille. Build a map based on a scene from the TV show. This WILL NOT be in THC2016


    1. Miigga

      Seems oddly specific to make it themed around a particular TV show

      1. Yeah, but it’s an incredibly popular show and there are plenty of places or events that could provide inspiration.

        1. Personally, I don’t like it.

          Hammer does not provide enough tools to create huge believable (as well as medieval) landscapes easily, and doing so while also providing respectable gameplay would be a very tough task.

    2. Never had any interest in it. Medieval settings do absolutely nothing for me.

    3. I strongly recommend against doing that, nobody should be expected to watch that vile show. Running a historical theme or even specifically a medieval theme would be fine, but not one based off of softcore pornography and shock-like violence. Although I myself do not participate in the mapping competitions anyway, I would hate to see a reputable website associate itself with the degenerate media that HBO produces.

    4. Mr.Walrus

      I think Game of Thrones is an excellent series, but I don’t think it’s popular enough or related closely enough to source assets to make a good competition. A ville that focuses on history or a specific era (or even just a ville focused on being set outside of the HL2 universe) I’d totally be on board for though!

  4. DAMN IT! Source Tree seems to have screwed up my templates.

  5. Miigga

    I’m making good progress with my map. You should expect a Miigga release this month. Or next month if I get lazy.

    1. Feck yes, Miigga is back!

      I’m looking very very much forward to playing your map!

  6. Heinz

    May is my favorite month always…
    My plans are barbecues every weekend and at 25th is a big party planned, it is my 38th birthday…so lets party all the time…lol

  7. Life in Bolloxed Land has been busy the last month. Been recording loads of Half-Life and Half-Life 2 mods, at the moment I have nearly a 3 month backlog of videos to publish! But people seem to like them as my channel is now getting nearly 700,000 views a month.

    I’m also looking for someone to play Half-Life Decay with. I never played it before and looking for someone who would join me while I film – so if you’re aware of my style of gameplay and recording then let me know if you’re interested. Idealy looking for someone older as I’m a granny myself.

    Finally, in other news I had my first HL related dream the other night – probably a consequence of the amount of time I have been playing – and let me tell you that Dreamland Combine are not the happy cheerful bunch they are in the games 🙁

    1. Mr.Walrus

      It’s very strange when a game starts showing up in dreams, isn’t it? I know that a couple years back after playing too much Gmod several of my dreams featured a super gravity gun from Gmod, as well as the ability to reverse actions by pressing/thinking of the letter z.

  8. This month:

    -I’ve completed the construction of a HL2-map. The level is set somewhere in Western Europe (had to fabricate some custom textures for this) and has a simple and straightforward plot. Far from brilliant stuff but (hopefully) not too bad either and I’d be satisfied with a Maybe or PIL-rating. I’ll upload the files within days.

    -Buying another car. A hybrid to be more exact. Reliable, economical and therefore ideal for commuting from and to work and an occasional trip throughout Europe … !

  9. Mr.Walrus

    So I know that a lot of people don’t like Episode 3: The Closure (I haven’t played it yet, so I can’t judge). However, I’ve been wondering, would people support a fan-made Half Life 3 that stuck closer to the Half-Life canon and style? If you did want to see Half Life 3 made by the community, are there any particular mod/map-makers who you would want to see develop it?

    1. Anon_1429177

      (( this is Zekiran, darnit it didn’t log me on))

      There’s an existing poll and conversation about this exact subject somewhere on the site.

      Most of us say “no, leave hl3 to the people who developed it”, because it’s their baby and their story to tell. For many of us mod players, anyone that puts out a ‘it’s half life 3 really’ (I know why the Closure was called that, as a statement, but I still don’t think it should have been that way) miss the mark by a long shot. No modder knows what was in store, and none of us agree completely about what direction the game would eventually take. That’s not our job, really.

      When you play Leon’s maps (and I hope you’ve played the two before the Closure) you’ll see Leon, not Valve. When you play virtually anyone’s maps, you’ll see their interpretation, however close or far, but it’s still always going to be an interpretation, not the ‘real thing’ for most folks.

      I think a few people have outright given up on the idea that Valve will ever produce the game, but I personally don’t fall for that at all. I’m just patient. 🙂

      1. I’m no longer sure Zekiran,, after an amount of time the interest in the story just falls over and stops. Do we think valve is storing it away for a bad financial year? waiting for the writers to re-write/finish it? waiting for DX14?
        Anybody old enough to have bought HL1 when it was released and owned a PC is now way to committed to family and work to bother with valve.
        and Gabe doesnt even care enough to keep us interested.
        Lucky Phillips here!!

  10. OJJ

    Half-Life 2 is now possible to beat in under 41 minutes

  11. Due to things way beyond my control I missed Phillip on the 1st,, even after working out time zone differences , sigh.
    Surely I can catch him over 12 hours???

  12. I just realised that Phillip looks like the consul from the beta of hl2. check the main wiki image and you might see a resembelance

  13. A WIP pic of my second map:

    Progress is slow due to busy real-life and I had to cope with a nasty consistent Leak-error. Turned out it was caused by a NPC_metrocop placed outside the map … !

  14. the Black Mesa devs just announced a new update. It will introduce the nice shadows of CS:GO to Black Mesa and add Surface Tension Uncut.

    I can’t wait for BlackMesaVille 🙂

    1. That’s neat. Looks like another reason to go and touch-up Bravado again. I’m glad I didn’t make too many of these, because every time they do an update, I feel like I have to revisit them to incorporate the new stuff they add and change. XD

  15. Does anyone know if there’s an option to search a reviewer’s reviews on the site? Like, if I want to see how harshly Jim reviews something, I can just search his name?

    1. Currently, no, but it is one of the features that have been planned for the membership profile update. In the next few days, you will be able to see the last 25 comments of each commenter by clicking their username. You could certainly try searching for a user’s name and see what happens. I suspect that the results will be the posts that the user has commented on and you will still have to manually look for their comments.

  16. oc

    Hi, I’m not sure if this is the right place to post at, but I’ve recently put out an album inspired by hl and generally I’m very interested in creating soundtracks for games, so if any of you guys are interested in having some music written specifically for your map or mod (can try to create ambient/atmosphere sounds as well), send me an email ([email protected]). Here’s the link to the album:

    1. Are you sure you are allowed to sell those tracks? The one I just listened to was a remix of an original HL track.

      1. oc

        It is indeed. The option “let the fans pay if they want” is turned on by default when you set the price to zero, I’ve missed that. They were free to download anyway, but I’ve just removed that “pay-if-you-want” thing, so, hopefully, now it does not violate any copyright.
        Oh, and I forgot to mention, I’m not trying to sell the music to anyone here, I just want to have fun helping people create unique atmosphere for their maps or mods, no money involved.

        1. Please don’t misunderstand me. If it’s legal, I’m all in favour of it and hope you do sell some.

          1. oc

            No worries, it was just not very smart of me to forget to mention that I’m just looking for people who might be interested.

    2. I’ll take you up on that. Check your e-mail!

  17. Oh.
    The release of the new Doom is just one day after the next challenge starts.
    I know what I’m gonna do 🙂

    1. I hope you mean enter the challenge!

      1. Yeah! It would be great to see someone enter all 5! That would be an amazing achievement!

    2. Yeah, I know what you mean. I think Doom may end up being my surprise hit of the year, considering how cynical I was about it until recently. While I was soured on the multiplayer beta, the single player campaign looks like a lot of fun and I think Snapmap is really intriguing. It’s not going to replace Hammer, but for a little 1-2 week project? I could see it being a lot of fun to mess around with in the same way that Super Mario Maker is, only in a more interesting environment.

      No, Snapmap won’t let you architect your own rooms (although, maybe you could build catwalks and things in existing rooms), but in terms of actually having a basic I/O system, entity placement, triggers, spawners, effects – I could see it being a wonderful introduction to someone unfamiliar with how to map. Plus, the fact that it works on consoles and publishes maps compatible on all platforms is almost unprecedented.

      1. Bethesda messed up the marketing for the new Doom. After the E3 presentation they almost completely focused on multiplayer. They wanted to target too much audiences at the same time, so the multiplayers suffers from an identitiy crisis (I quoted TotalBiscuit).
        But I think they realized that there was a lot of negativity after the Beta, especially from PC Players, so they showed tons of Singleplayer stuff, and that looks amazing IMO.

        It looks like exactly what I want from a shooter. A lot of different weapons with different strengths and weaknesses, lots of enemies and varied levels. Unfortunately I think the negativity will stick at the game even after the showed the singleplayer stuff, so the sales might suffer from that. I mean okay, I don’t know how good the game is, so that will obviously also be a factor.

        The great thing about SnapMap is that you have an unlimited about of Singleplayer, but also different Co-op modes and you can make classic style multiplayer modes too.

        1. Indeed. I think there was some damage control after the multiplayer beta and the single player stuff came right on time to assuage those fears. The stream they did where they showcased three different levels sold me on the game, but the Snapmap demonstration a few days later really got me excited. This is a game that could have some serious replayability, and that’s great considering that the number one shortcoming of Wolfenstein: TNO was that it had so little replayability.

          Another thing to remember is that id didn’t do the multiplayer. They outsourced that to Splash Damage. So id has been completely focused on delivering a single player campaign and Snapmap.

          My only complaint about the footage they’ve shown is that it seems very arena-centric. You enter a room and fight waves of enemies before you can move on. I’ve never been a fan of that flow, but at the same time, their auto map does look quite elaborate – map complexity seems on par with something like the original BioShock – so there has to be a mix of gameplay styles we just aren’t seeing. I enjoy what they’ve done with the UAC in this story.

          It’s been a long time since we’ve had one of those “do everything” kinds of FPS games. Even if Snapmap is no replacement for Hammer or Unrealed, it’s still *something*. So many recent single player FPS games don’t offer any modding potential, and without that, they’ll never dethrone Half-Life 2 for me. My hope is that other devs take notice.

          1. but who knows. They say the game is not moddable, but maybe people will find ways to mod the game anyway.
            Look at how many GTA 5 mods there are even though Rockstar tried everything to prevent that.

            1. The thing is, id Tech has some natural barriers to modding just from the way it was built. Rage had an SDK, but no one really made anything with it. I’m given to believe the reason for this is due to the way their environments are built, with giant texture skins wrapped around the entire room model, instead of individual props placed in a room. It would make designing a new room difficult because you wouldn’t have these generic swatches of concrete, you’d have a skin that only fits one specific room in the game. It’s like if you took a room in a map you made and, instead of having individual textures on the walls, you somehow merged them all into one enormous texture that was tailor fit for just that room.

              1. oooh so THAT is what those “mega textures” are right?
                But this is Id Tech 6, maybe they changed stuff?
                Isn’t it extremely stupid to do it that way?

          2. JamaicanDave

            One of the main reasons I brought Black Mesa in Early Access is because the single player level editing is still simple enough for one person to do. You only need Hammer (included in the download) and some patience. Many modern games are very complex and the assets created are often specific to one in-game location / situation. Just being able to use a level editor isn’t enough to create maps, let alone mod, these days. You need modelers, texture artists, animators, sound artists etc.. to create custom content.

            1. Yeah, Source Engine games are at the point where it’s about as far as one person could really take it, and still make a single player map or comprehensive level set. It doesn’t help, of course, that there haven’t been many alternatives.

    3. Finished it. Loved it. It’s not often that a game leaves me physically trembling, but Doom did just that on more than one occasion. While I think the campaign sags a little bit toward the end as the level design becomes more arena-oriented, it is counterbalanced by the way the game makes you feel. I can’t think of any other FPS that has such an exhilarating flow and pace of combat. There is a palpable sense of “bring it on” as you plunge headfirst into a really obvious battle arena.

      1. Reading your and Crowbar’s comment make me want to play it but I have never spent that much on a game before, so I will have to wait until it’s on sale in a year or so. Will there be any SP mods for it? Should I start a site to cover them?

        1. there won’t be any mods unfortunately. Only custom maps created with a limited ingame editor.

          If you think about buying it, for me it was worth every penny (I bought it for 36€ from a key store), but as I said in some other comment, this is a game tailored exactly to my taste, so it might not be worth so much money to you. It also has multiplayer, but that’s not that great and I guess you are not the multiplayer type right? 🙂

        2. Not mods as we know them.

          The game has an editing tool called Snapmap which can create and upload maps to Bethesda’s web site, sort of like their own Steam Workshop. Snapmap is no replacement for something like Hammer. Its chief limitation is that you cannot create room architecture.

          However, you can assemble your map from dozens of prefabricated rooms in all shapes and sizes (hence the “snap” aspect) and there is a moderate amount of scripting logic available which bears some passing similarity to how I/O works in Hammer. OnDamaged, spawn this demon, unlock that door, play that sound, etc. What is also noteworthy and quite overlooked is that console users can use Snapmap too and maps built with it are automatically cross-platform. We are spoiled on PCs, but it is worth remembering this is something that console users almost never get, and it’s kind of a neat thing for that reason.

          I think Snapmap is great for someone who wants to build maps, but doesn’t consider themselves an artist. The prefab rooms are varied enough to host many different gameplay scenarios. Any map you download can be opened in the editor to learn how the author did things. I think it would be a fantastic introduction for someone in your position because it has a subset of the features we use. Now that the campaign is done, I want to take a closer look at it.

          With Super Mario Maker and Snapmap, I hope other developers are encouraged to take another look at how they handle user mods. Instead of locking everything down outright, I think these have demonstrated that even in limited form, the game’s longevity can be increased significantly.

          1. don’t forget the Portal 2 editor which was actually my way to get into Hammer mapping.
            The Portal 2 editor did everything Super Mario Maker did long before that came out.

  18. AI

    Question—– Has anyone got windows 10 installed and played any Steam (Hl/HL2) or anything else with any problems?? I’ve been experimenting on my backup PC and just would like to know before I install anything! (Windows 10 Pro) Otherwise I’ll just dump it and reinstall W7.

    1. I haven’t run into many compatibility issues on Windows 10. Half-Life 2 and Valve’s products in general seem to work just fine.

  19. I need some help.
    I made a map which is a 6000x6000x6000 cube with only one texture.
    I want to spawn NPCs, but I can’t spawn gunships or striders. Other NPCs like soldiers, hunters and so on work.
    Any ideas?

    1. Anon_1434232

      What part with spawning NPCs are you having trouble with?

      1. well I type npc_create npc_combinegunship into the console, but no NPC appears, no error message, nothing.
        I tried this on other “real” maps, there it works.

        1. maybe it needs air_nodes or something

          1. I have air_nodes, ground_nodes, even path_tracks (although I think you have to assign a gunship to a track or something, but in other maps in works without this)

            Btw the map has a custom texture. I thought maybe it has something to do with that for some reason, but I changed the texture and it still doesnt work. It is really weird.

            1. OJJ

              Just do ‘give npc_combinegunship’ or whatever the NPC’s name is into the console, always worked for me and is less typing :p

              1. hey that actually works!

  20. just played 3 hours of DOOM.

    It is amazing.

    1. I’m on the third level now.

      Yeah, it’s pretty great. The level designs are quite complex and elaborate, bringing up the automap shows how they are every bit as sprawling as the original game. They keep the story off to the side, in the logs if you want to read them, but you don’t have to. Combat is fast, visceral and fun. I love how agile some of the enemies are, attacking while clinging to walls and running around the battle space like they’re doing parkour.

      I have every setting cranked to Ultra and it doesn’t break a sweat either. I wouldn’t say it’s the best looking game I’ve played, but it does its aesthetic very well. I like how they use green lights to lead the player around the generally red and orange environments. Optional objectives give you little things to keep in mind as you’re exploring.

      So far, I have little to complain about, other than perhaps wishing that reloads from death didn’t take so long. Assuming it maintains this level of quality, I would recommend it wholeheartedly.

      1. honestly the game is just PERFECT so far for me, like they tailored it exactly to my taste.
        I have 5 hours playtime now. I have to say though that the level I’m currently at and the one before aren’t as open and complex as one of those early levels (the one they also showed at E3), but I hope it’s just this one, maybe for better pacing. The pacing is fantastic overall though!

        I find it interesting that they don’t give you every weapon they created. Multiplayer also has lightning gun, vortex rifle and static rifle, but I guess it makes sense, although I find it a bit weird that the Gauss rifle uses the same ammo as the plasma rifle and the minigun uses the same ammo as the heavy assault rifle. It could make sense, it makes sense that both shotguns use the same ammo.

        What I love the most about this game are the enemies. All of them are so badass and feel so fitting to the world.

      2. I just beat the Cyber Demon … he was so beatiful

        I love this game.

  21. Second map is virtually done:
    Need to check for bugs and add a little detail here and there, and the thing is ready for publishing. First map is currently in the process of being published on this site.

    Gotta say I’m glad this map is almost done. Thought I bit off more than I could chew, especially with a very busy real-life … !

    1. Hoping to publish the first tomorrow morning.

  22. I just sat here for 4 minutes transfixed:


  23. huh, I found a bug in Half-Life 2 I didn’t knew before. Do people know about this?

    1. Never seen that before! How did you find it?

      1. I don’t know, I like throwing stuff on my head I guess 🙂

          1. only half of my life

  24. look what arrived today 🙂

    payed 1€ for the book (second hand), and 10€ for shipping lol. (Had to buy from USA)

    1. incase you don’t get it: It’s from Marc Laidlaw, the writer of the Half-Life series.

    2. Jeez, the shipping cost. Should’ve taken the chance to buy some other stuff to spare you the future shipping costs! 😀

      1. haha 🙂 but I never buy something from the USA, this was the first time actually.

  25. OJJ

    Okay this is driving me nuts, how did Valve make the fog seamlessly blend out far away objects on ep2_outland_07? (The one with the Barn and helicopter chase) I’ve been trying to get far away objects to disappear but it’s so obvious as they just pop in and out of existence. The dev page for skyboxes isn’t very helpful as changing the colours of the fog to the recommended colours isn’t helping. I also can’t find the fog controller in the map its self. :/

    1. ep2_outland_07 uses sky_ep02_03_hdr. It is not unusual for this level to fail a decompile because, presumably, the Advisor scene has some weird stuff going on. BSPSource can decompile it though.

      Its env_fog_controller has 67 88 105 as the primary fog color, starting at 64 and ending at 6000. Their Far Z plane is set to 6200.

      Their sky_camera fog is set to the same 67 88 105 color, but starts at -1500000 and ends at 200000, which is sort of unusual.

      The real trick is that they surround the sky_camera with the mountainrange_7mid_pan textures. These are basically solid blue silhouettes of mountains, and that’s really what creates a solid color for the in-world fog to blend against. You can accomplish a similar thing with forest_fog01. Basically, create a box (or build a cylinder, if you’re fancy) and texture the inward faces with that texture.

  26. How do I get Hammer working with HL2 EP2? I recently installed EP1 and EP2 again and it seems there are now multiple Hammer.exe around:

    steamapps > common > Half-Life 2 > bin > Hammer
    steamapps > common > SourceSDK > bin > ep1 > bin > Hammer
    steamapps > common > SourceSDK > bin > Orange Box > bin > Hammer
    steamapps > common > SourceSDK > bin > Source 2007 > bin > Hammer
    steamapps > common > SourceSDK > bin > Source 2009 > bin > Hammer
    steamapps > common > SourceSDK SinglePlayer 2013 > bin > Hammer

    Which one should I use? Got the .exe in the map SourceSDK SinglePlayer 2013 somewhat working but it decides to throw a fit when running a map. Error: “Could not load library client”. Does anyone know what steps I should take … ?

    1. Well I use
      SteamApps\common\Half-Life 2\bin\hammer.exe

      and then I have small window where i can choose: hl2, ep1 or ep2

      1. You mean the configuration window in Hammer? Tools > Options … ?

        (hope this pic is visible)

        1. Nope. Something like this:

          It shows up just before actual Hammer.

          1. Ah, found the screen. I get it when selecting the hammer.exe in: steamapps > common > SourceSDK SinglePlayer 2013 > bin > Hammer

            But now the following error: “Could not load library. Try restarting. If that doesn’t work, verify the cache”. See if I can google a solution … !

            1. OJJ

              Why are you trying to use SDK 2013 for HL2? Use the one in the HL2 ep2 folder

              1. Ah, you mean the directory Common > Half-Life 2 > ep2? Funny thing is that is more or less the only directory that doesn’t contain a hammer.exe.

                1. Half-Life 2/bin/hammer.exe

                  1. In that direction I cannot select the configuration Episode Two. See if re-installing Hammer solves the problem.

                    1. Victory is mine … ! I’ve managed to get Hammer to run with EP2. Thanks for your help y’all.

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