Poll Question 042 – What is your pet peeve regarding Single Player mods?

3rd August 2007

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

The quality of some SP mods is incredibly good and then some are incredibly bad! Even though I haven’t ever released a map I know that SP maps take more effort than MP maps. I’m sure we all have our pet peeve when it comes to SP releases and now is the time to express them!

This week’s poll question is:

What is your pet peeve regarding Single Player mods?

The Real Problem

I personally believe that a major problem with Single Player mods is the ability to tell stories. Valve has really put into place anything that helps mod makers to do this.

I have an alteria motive for this poll and I hope to be able to announce a new project on my return from holidays in mid-August.


  1. zeroth404

    Uninteresting design.

    I don’t play most single player mods because they’re all just more of the same-old. I play scifi sp fps games because they’re a new experience. I abhor all these half-life 2 mods because they’re all set in the HL2 universe.

    I expect fresh new ideas, not more of the same old crap.

    don’t create a story because you’re making a game. rather, make games because you have a story to tell.

  2. Norton R Martin

    The lack of story telling of course. whe nthe mod gots only a kill for kill action, the mod get’s kind of uninteresting, in overall, thanks much due to this. Also, if the mod is bad made we can consider not playing it at all.

  3. Zockopa

    It doesnt bother me if a mod use the same models
    textures and stuff like the original game if the action is entertaining and probably a interesting story is told.

  4. Steve Munz

    Single player mods ARE more difficult to program than multiplayer and I think that’s contributory to the low rate of published SP mods. However, what I hate most is the MULTI-YEAR pre-release notice on some mods (esp. the commercial releases). Now look, I’m very aware of the release now vs wait until it can be tweaked to take advantage of the light speed introduction of new stuff out there. But isn’t there a happy medium somewhere. I have nothing but respect for those who publish quality mods…it’s not easy.

  5. Ryan "Quakis" Rouse

    Multiplayer maps can be just as tricky to get right as Singleplayer, you’ve still got gameplay, design and flow to think about.

    Anyway, I’ll name two major hates;

    I don’t like a lacking design, I want the release to look as good or better than the original game it’s intended for.

    Lacking variety and flow in gameplay, some HL2 releases are extremely dull in the action department for many reasons. Repeatitive action and no flow of combat – fighting the same horde of twenty combine soldiers / zombies room after room… you get the point. Nothing interesting to come across in the release at all, it doesn’t have to be major but the same old generic design and button puzzles is nothing exciting.

  6. Kasperg

    Lack of original elements. Both architectural and gameplay related.
    When I play a SP mod, I love to do things that hadn’t been done in the original game. It doesn’t really matter if the amount of new models or textures is small. There is still A LOT of original stuff you can do with the default material.

  7. It’s a toss up between Architecture and Balance, but I eventually went for balance, as a map with weak architecture at least has some chance of redeeming itself with interesting gameplay and sequences, while a map with awful gameplay is doomed whatever the case. Considering my recent comments on HL2 packs, it seems like story is a close third for me.

  8. I play a lot of stuff and like to find good things better than bad ones but even if a small release is rated here by everydody “avoid it” I will give it a try what is really the things I hate is when it’s not bug free… Infiltration by envisioned game is a good example that’s why I vote according technical issue

  9. I was going to say constantly spawning bad guys but I hate it even more when authors take cheap shots.

    I can’t stand it when a panel falls away or a door opens to reveal an enemy and you’re half dead before you’ve had a chance to click the fire button.

    It’s not exciting gameplay that keeps you on your toes… it’s lazy and very annoying!

  10. Henry Swanson

    What I dislike most about SP mods is that there seems a certain unfortunate, ‘standard sub-standard” level reached among them – a kind of “Sigh.. ok **** it, its good enough I’ll release it” type level. (Heh, kinda sounds like Micro$oft.)

    Mind you, this unique feeling of “bleh, nothing special” one gets from such mods, is however the >>exact< < same type of boredom and disconnection one feels with most of the first person shooters out here generally! At some point I too-often feel like, "Why am I even playing this lifeless lump of cack, it's totally mediocre" - ie. there's nothing there to pull you forward and make you want (if not HAVE) to see what's around the next corner. Say what you want about Half Life 2 it's got one of the most engaging storylines ever. (The key here I think was the human-ness of the character's faces.) Two of the better mods I've played so far have been "Dayhard" and "Afraid Of Monsters". There's actually a tiny section in Dayhard near the beginning where your can sit in a jacuzzi and enjoy a zombie adventure movie. Right there in the middle of the mod! It's totally priceless. I guess that's what most modern mods are often missing. Complex, surprising - and especially unusual - ideas. It's like most movies dumped on the public from the Hollywood Death Star. Nice special fx.. and utterly brainless and devoid of any engaging ideas whatsoever. The days of "Shooting stupid A.I.'s inside an endless series of sparsely-furnished cubes joined by poorly lit corridors and vents" are over! Common people, let's let our imaginations go wild. (And for crying out loud - please, no more wooden crates.) Here's one possible (tough) test for greatness for any new mod: That next to *nothing* could happen there - but you'd still feel 1) Like virtually *anything* could 2) Like you want to be there (that for some reason it's an intrinsically interesting place..)

  11. MaRk

    When a really great concept for a single-player HF2 mod is announced and it ends up turning into, what appears to be, vaporware. How long have we been waiting for NightFall or Black Mesa Source?

    I realize these are independently developed mods by individuals with a life and family outside of gaming but isn’t bad enough that Valve makes us wait for years at a time?

  12. Anonymous

    Don’t you mean pet peave, instead of pet hate?

    If there’s one thing I dislike about SP mods compared to MP, it’s the lack of general replay value. It doesn’t matter how amazingly well done the actual mod is, when I beat it, I usually feel no desire to play it again, even after months to years of not playing that specific mod. No matter how well executed it is, it’s not going to improve upon the second time playing it.

    This is a general problem with the puzzle-solving adventure games of the early 90’s. They may leave you wanting more in the end, but that’s the problem. You’re wanting more, not the same thing all over again.

    Now there’s always the prospect of an alternate ending of easter eggs that drives someone to want to give the game one more go, but even those are limited. Multiplayer, on the other hand, will always have that replay value because it has that random element of human interaction missing from single player modifications.

    As a HL and HL2 junkie, I’m a masochist for bland mapping, ripped models, bad voice acting, and the same zombie-like AI that’s never changing. When it comes right down to it, I’ll download anything simply because it’s new. No matter how bad the gameplay, design, or story really is, I’ll still enjoy it somewhat because it satisfies my need for more.

    (As an exception to what I just posted, I usually do replay some of the short maps and mods simply because they provide faster gratification to more large mods)

  13. Memobot

    A bit of everything.
    Those maps that have been created solely for the purpose of killing zombies – why?
    Why should I press a button to release more to complete this level?
    A lack of story is perhaps the biggest problem with many mods, although I’d hate to be stuck in a small, square, brown room, in which I must get to the opposite side of which I have started, although I can’t because it crashes as soon as I pick up a gun.
    Then when I find a patch, I discover that the soldier who is my only enemy has 15x as much health as I do.
    (I’m thinking of making this mod and calling it “Nightmare Mod – The Darkest Design’)

  14. Jimbo

    “What is your pet hate regarding Single Player mods?”


    Actually I don’t mind it if they’re short– I just hate it when they’re only 5 minutes long and you finish it thinking “…wow. I wasted my time.” I mean Poke646 Vendetta was pretty short, but it was fantastic! Same with that one HL2 mod “Nightmare House”. Short, but great. You get what I mean?

  15. I’ve read all previous comments and there seems to be quite a lot of people saying that there needs to be something original and not the same old HL2 scenarios. Hang on a second. People are modding with HL2’s editor. Of course it will look like and fell like HL2. That’s the point. Also, no-one has actually come up with any original ideas to give modders a challenge. I love HL2, it’s scenery, it’s entities, everything. I am learning to mod myself and when I finally do create a map, it will feel like HL2.

    Instead of whining about things, create the perfect mod yourself. I have spent weeks watching/reading tutorials and believe me, it is hard. If you don’t want to see HL2 based mods, don’t d/l them.

    My hat goes off to all modders, good and bad. At least they are creating something and more importantly…..it’s for free.

  16. don’t you mean pet peave, instead of pet hate?

    Yes, you are right. I’ll edit it now.

  17. My hat goes off to all modders, good and bad. At least they are creating something and more importantly…..it’s for free.

    I agree and have said it many times on this site. However,I still think a lot of maps and mods that are released could easily be improved with a little more thoguht and consdieration. I’m not talking about anything technical, just other aspects.

    I would have hoped that after a year of polls I will be able to create an interesting piece and what SP players want and don’t want.

    Also, no-one has actually come up with any original ideas to give modders a challenge.

    What excatly did you have in mind? A competition?

  18. Ryan "Quakis" Rouse

    My hat goes off to all modders, good and bad. At least they are creating something and more importantly…..it’s for free.

    You make it sound like giving criticism is a bad thing. =/

  19. Criticism is a good thing. I don’t like seeing “This sucks!” or “The map is unoriginal”. If I created a map and these were comments given, I probably wouldn’t bother again. Give good comments and identify areas which need improvement or what else you would have liked to see in the map, not just slagging off.

    This brings me neatly onto my next bit. Nice idea Phillip. Let’s set a challenge or 2. A map with just puzzles, or the best voice acting, best map created by just one person (inc voices!), best team effort etc. Encourage modders to deliver what we would like to see instead of them wasting time on maps we don’t want.

    BTW, is it possible to add quotes from 2 people?

  20. Kasperg

    Encourage modders to deliver what we would like to see instead of them wasting time on maps we don’t want.

    You have to understand that modders usually make maps they like themselves. When you dedicate so much time and effort to level design for free, it’s obvious you end up doing what you like best.
    Plus, the consensus you speak about doesn’t exactly exist. Some people enjoy blasting zombies, others like physics puzzles, challenging combat etc. I can’t give any details, but I’m working on something people might actually like a lot.

  21. Let’s set a challenge or 2. A map with just puzzles, or the best voice acting, best map created by just one person (inc voices!), best team effort etc. Encourage modders to deliver what we would like to see instead of them wasting time on maps we don’t want.

    I would love to do that but unfortunately PP doesn’t have enough mappers, at least I don’t think it doesn’t. If it did then comes the question of which game engine to use.

    One day, in the not too distant future PP will have more map/mod creation content and hopefully more mappers themselves.

    I’ve tried to contact mapping sites to try and develop join projects, but without wanting to seem rude they are all quite insular.

    However, one solution that is currently being worked on is a review and Award project for the end of year. By awarding best voice acting, best puzzle map etc, we CAN show the mapping community what SP lovers want more of.

    BTW, if any well-established mapping sites want to talk to me about some joint competitions and other promotion
    please contact me!

    BTW, is it possible to add quotes from 2 people?

    yes, just select the text you want (From any comment) and then click the “Quote selected text” link. You can do this as many times as you like, with as many different comments as you want.

    You can even quote a whole comment by clicking the link “Quote This Comment”, which is directly benaeth the commenters name.

  22. monkey_555

    Personally, I think that a map’s ability to draw you into the game is the most important factor when playing a game. This is a combination of good atmosphere, and a decent storyline. That is one of the reasons that I prefer the survival horror genre. Any game that tries to invoke fear will usually require a considerable amount of attention placed on triggers and good map design.

    What you see a lot of in bad maps, is a lack of professional style. Often, a crudly designed map will lack detail and playability. It often ends up being boring, and very unorigional. When I play a single player game, I dont want to spend time on a buggy, blocky, boring map.

  23. The one thing that consistently aggravates me most about SP mods (and all I ever play are SP mods) is the brainless attachment to the idea that Harder = More Fun. Often, it seems clear that making gameplay more difficult is intended to make up for a lack in other areas.

  24. cubedude89

    Ah phillip 😛 as a developer myself 😛 who has done both multiplayer and single player I can say that SP is not easier. They both have their easy and hard parts.

    And for the poll. I have to strongly say Story Line! To me that is the entire point of a single player mod.

  25. SPY

    took me a while, but I have read all comments above. and what can I add, it has all being said already. I would still like to add my 50 cent (i believe you say it like this in english, i’m dutch);

    because it’s all said, therefore I will add my comment as one of being a sp-mapper myself, for many years.
    it’s true that because making a sp-mod does take so much time you make want you like best yourself. but keeping in mind what most people will proberbly like, because you map things because you want to have them played by as many people as possible, and to enjoy them with it.
    there starts the hard part, because nothing is so different as the human taste. what some people realy like is hated by others, therefore you can never make something that will please everyone. but that doesn’t mean it isn’t possible to make realy bad things, and I gess we all have pretty much the same taste when it comes to bad things.
    it realy surprices me that the last 2 years everybody starts to call a collection of sp-maps a sp-mod. these days it’s hard to find a sp-mappack, and that when a whole lot of sp-mods are nothing more then a sp-mappack, why not call it like that then? there is nothing wrong with it, most of my work are sp-mappacks.
    but, that said I do believe that when you want to make a sp-mappack now with HL2 you realy need to implement new stuff (models, sounds, textures etc). because we all have seen the original HL2 stuff to much now, and new released maps will have more change to please much people when it has new stuff in it.
    and I would like to end one other thing, and that is what the intention of the makers was. some modders work for many years on one project, and then pleople compair those projects with other (quicker made) projects. and that’s just not fair. therefore I agree with MaRk, nr 11,;
    “How long have we been waiting for NightFall or Black Mesa Source? ”
    personaly I like to make as much great sp-maps in a as short as possible time. quality goes before quatity, but working for years on a project is nothing for me, I like to make severel good projects in such a time.

    (“Coastline to Atmosphere”,
    “Leon SP-mappack”
    made together with Baltic )

  26. Bad voice acting is the most constant pet peeve I run across. Another one that comes up a lot is rebels that call you Dr. Freeman when you are specifically NOT supposed to be him.

    One of my biggest pet peeves is making obvious references that are intended to show that they are connected to Half Life cannon, but still managing to completely screw up cannon. The one mod I played threw in a whole radio monolog that was describing events from the “7 day war” (7 HOUR WAR, people! HOURS!)
    the other, possibly my biggest pet peeve even though it doesn’t come up much, is when you play as a combine, but end up crawling through air vents, blocked from going where you need to by combine forcefields, unable to open combine locks, rebels armed with MP9s flying their own helicopters, and you even end up using the gravity gun. WHAT THE HELL people!? I’m supposed to be playing AS a combine, not as Gordon Freeman dressed up as one!

  27. Poorly made ones that look good up front.. but that is probably one of everyone’s peeve

    The rating and recommendation system here on P.P is the best I’ve found..

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