Poll Question 072 – Have players become bored with single player Half-Life 2 maps and mods?

3rd March 2008

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

When you look at how many maps and mods were released for Half-Life 1 and how many for Half-Life 2 it seems that HL2 is running out of steam (Pardon the pun!)

So, this week’s (Late again Dammit!) Poll Question is:
Have players become bored with single player Half-Life 2 maps and mods?

HL1 Vs HL2

The reason I am asking is because I notice a lot of comments here on PP and other sites and forums talking about “Yet another Nova Prospekt map”, but I never recall hearing that about Black Mesa environments. Could it be that Black Mesa is so much more interesting than Nova Prospekt? Probably, but I think the sentiment runs deeper.

I currently have 444 sp maps and mods listed for Half-Life 1 and 304 listed for Half-Life 2. Now, some are probably duplicates and other errors but considering that HL2 is 5 years younger and the making mods and maps is generally considered harder with HL2 it’s not much difference.

To be honest I thought the difference was much greater. In fact in a another year HL2 might have over taken HL1. And perhaps he lies the problem: There are just too many maps and mods that are too similar.

Each developer is trying to do more and more with their mod because otherwise few people are interested. Do you agree.

In a previous poll question I asked Will the release of Black Mesa reinvigorate the HL2 SP modding community?. Perhaps that question is of more relevance than almost exactly one year ago when I asked it.

Hopefully Episode 2 and its new assets will stimulate the modding scene or maybe the problem is one of general ennui. Unless Episode 3 introduces some seriously coolassets modders may think the SP scene is just not worth the effort and move onto other games.

What do you think?

The Poll


  1. MASTER74

    Well, I like both games (HL1 & HL2); yet I enjoy more SP-HL1 maps and mods.
    And, yes, there’s something about Black-Mesa that makes you want to come back 🙂

  2. Nick

    NEVER! I’ll never get bored with SP maps and mods. My hat’s off to all of you out there making the effort and spending many hours/day’s even months developing some true masterpieces. Keep up the good work.If only I was able to make some maps/mods of my own.

  3. Kasperg

    It’s a bigger picture, really. Since HL came out, not only have we seen and played tons of HL maps and HL2 maps, but we’ve seen a big number of other first person shooters on the market. Making “something that we haven’t seen” is much more difficult as time goes by. That’s why Portal is considered interesting, for example…

    It’s not fair to compare the Black Mesa theme (almost a whole game) to Nova Prospekt, which is just a chapter. The reason why the HL2 maps look alike is because A)The textures for this theme are very well defined. You could see tiled versions of them and know what the map will probably look like! HL1’s textures are less defined, more polivalent. They leave more room for experimenting and creativity. It’s better accepted, because the quality standard is lower. B)Obviously, the HL2 props keep showing up in all maps. There are a lot of props, but you do get tired of them. C)Less enemy variety means more maps will have similar combat sequences in them.
    D)The above mentioned good definition of textures, props etc makes it much harder to develop a story completely outside the HL2 universe, whereas HL1 is less limited.

    My answer to the question is NO, since I’ve gotten quite a few comments in my mod, and so have the people who have submitted HL2 maps in these past couple of years.
    We could say that mappers have become bored of HL1 maps and mods and it wouldn’t be a completely false statement. It’s been 1 year minus 7 days since my own last HL1sp release :o!

  4. bkadar

    maybe gaming consoles have something to do with this,cant run mods on them can you?i never thought about this till now dont own one so I have no idea of the diff game add- ons,plus theres the on line aspect,i do enjoy me some hl1&2 deathmatch.i’d like to get some of the custom deathmatch server options in some of the mods(low grav,trip mines,oz runes.
    also some multi player mods like a team deathmatch style 2-16 players for or against,or a to b winner take all.
    but I cant complain, im 4 mods behind gtg times wasting

  5. speckman

    Personally I get bored with them if they don’t present anything new or interesting. New, as in something different or original, not just a model or weapon. Just one good idea separates a good mod from a bad mod for me. Let those creative juices keep flowing and I will keep playing them! No matter the size or scope, it’s all about having fun.

  6. Mman

    Kasberg pretty much summed it up. I voted option three.

    There seem to be way too many SP HL2 mods that are too ambitious and just fold or, instead of focusing on making the interesting content they have work, add lots of forgettable filler or stuff that’s badly tested just to meet some arbitrary gameplay time.

    There need to be more succinct mods like Union and less like *insert Zombie corridor level you forgot about as soon as you finished and was half an hour longer than it should be* .

  7. Pace

    Personally I think if there were more genuine attempts at storytelling in mods I’d say they can remain interesting indefinitely. I still enjoy mods or map packs that have no story, but then there is a limit on how much or how many I’ll be interested in playing. All of my favorite HL1 mods put some effort into narrative, like Poke646, Azure Sheep, Sweet Half-Life, but I can’t think of many that try too much for HL2. Well, beyond some vague setting like “escape from jail to freedom” or something. There’s some, of course, like Minerva or The Citizen, but not many that I’m aware of at least. I’m not a modder myself so there’s a limit to my appreciation for level design, and I like to have some incentive and ‘direction” in games.

  8. Daniel

    No, I don’t think that players in general have gotten bored with HL2 maps and mods, but there is a danger that they will. One of the reasons why high-quality releases aren’t common for HL2 is the very difficulty of mapping for modern game engines. I remember dabbling with Worldcraft and choosing to not continue because I didn’t have the time (nor do I now) to effectively learn how to use this mapping tool. Being a wanna-be freelance writer, I thought I could combine my storytelling abilities with some effective maps, dripping with ambience, sudden scenes of intense violence, and effective setpieces. Perhaps, if Valve were to release a step-by-step publication (in book and/or pdf format) on how to use their mapping tools, the quantity and quality of sp campaigns would accelerate. In addition, it would be in Valve’s best interest to make certain enemies encountered in Opposing Force and the original HL available for mappers to use in HL2. This strategy would help increase the variety of combat scenarios that amppers can create and help keep the mapping scene alive.

  9. Berrie

    The main problem has been mentioned before.
    There are those that try too little, to be honest I sometimes enjoy a single map, but it’s often an architectual showcase making them quickly similar in gameplay and storyless.
    I personaly enjoy mods/maps with a story the most.

  10. count_de_monet

    I’ll play any maps and mods anytime if realistic, aesthetic, long enough and unbugged.

  11. IDM

    Love them, cant get enough of them!
    There are a lot of great Moders out there, some not so good. The beautiful thing is we get to pick & choose. Keep them comming!

  12. MikeS

    I think Kasperg summed it up well — the lack of variety re. enemies and the same props being used in HL2 mods begins to pall after a while. That said, I’m engrossed in Offshore at the moment, and I can’t wait to play Union, so I’m certainly not bored yet.

  13. BlackMaze

    Phillip, I didn’t read all of your speech, but otherwise, voted in the 3rd option. Why? Mods should come in great scale, because besides providing fun to the players, it also demonstrates innovations, gameplay, concepts, models and, of course, the plot. Ideas can NEVER be looked down by ANYONE, be it me, you or a great mod and/or game reviewer/columnist. There is always something that can be used in another scheme and still work well.

    E.G.: HL-1 idea of putting Gordon Freeman into Stasis. This creates a great impression and “feel” in the sub-sequent games, but the idea STILL didn’t got over-used.

  14. Zeroth

    Half-Life is the one game that I love the most when it comes to maps. I don’t so much care for total conversions, I love the half-life universe and I love even more the feel of the game just based on the engine, effects, and [lack of] physics.

    Half-Life will be with us forever.

  15. BlackMaze

    Half-Life is the one game that I love the most when it comes to maps. I don’t so much care for total conversions, I love the half-life universe and I love even more the feel of the game just based on the engine, effects, and [lack of] physics.

    Half-Life will be with us forever.

    I actually believe so. Altough I never mapped using HL1 Hammer Editor (just tested it someday), I imagine that the easyness, great plyability/gameplay and the fun HL1 engine can propose, just makes it perfect, even today, for modding. The only drawback are bad graphics for nowadays standards, but that can be left aside with good mods such as Scientist Slaughet House.

  16. zeroth

    well, I misread the title. I thought we were voting for Half-Life 1. as for HL2, I was never interested in maps and mode. It just doesn’t have the appeal that Half-Life 1 does for some reason…

  17. Gonome

    Mods – good thing. But we need sometninng new and interesting too. =)

  18. senator33

    NEVER! I’ll never get bored with SP maps and mods. My hat’s off to all of you out there making the effort and spending many hours/day’s even months developing some true masterpieces. Keep up the good work.If only I was able to make some maps/mods of my own.

    I totally concur. HL2 is the best ever, and I welcome the work of the mappers and modders.

  19. hero twin

    I think we need some sort of new style to invigorate the community, much like what happens in multiplayer mapping communities (counter-strike is the best example with gun game and surf maps). This could be a new character or a creative weapon that is available for all level designers and is easy to implement.

    Now I play most of the HL2 maps that are posted on PP, but I am often found groaning at the homogeneous design. There are just so many cliches.. like starting in a prison cell, using the gravity gun to unplug a forcefield, and most especially fighting the same exact chopper / gunship over and over with the rocket launcher. That has got to be the worst. Maybe it has to do with where designers get their inspiration, perhaps if we look outside the HL games we can revitalize our maps.

  20. cygnus100

    I will never get tired of Half Life 2 mods. There are some factors involved though that have or are interfering with playing them though. One huge factor is that there are not alot of good mods comeing out for HL2. I am intentially not including the newer episodes in that statement because as of yet I don’t have them. It has for a while been time for me to be getting a new computer and not just upgrade this one again, and I have been unwilling to purchase any new games until I have done so. With all the other projects I have going on,(I am putting together a small recording studio together in my home) investments are needed in other things first (Ahh…The burden of priorities).So, until some of the other HL2 only mods are released that we have all been waiting for, I am kind of in Limbo in the HL2 universe. When two things happen I will be right back into the thick of it with with gaming, first thing is when Black Mesa is released and second is when I get the new “puter and upgrade to the latest versions (Episodes)of HL2. I will have lots of new mods to download and play then… I am sure that although we are not in the majority, there are many others out there that have similar situations to mine and soon there WILL be a resurgance into the dismal and very violent world of Half Life 2 mods. Keep em comming!!!

  21. cygnus100

    As an addendum to my last post, I will say that I have been replaying, on Phillips sugestion, HL2 from the beginning, on the most difficult setting (for a couple of months now I think) and am entering Nova Prospect (for about the thirteenth time now) and am thoroughly enjoying it although it has been a little frustrating sometimes because the balance of the difficulty setting can become quite ridiculous every now and again…MMMM!!!Guiness is GOOD!

  22. feckineejit

    I have played through HL1, Blueshift And Opposing Force I loved them, couldn’t get enough & didn’t know there was a mod community at the time.

    I played through HL2 (four times) HL2 EP1(5 times)& 2 (2 times) I have played:

    Missing information
    Riot Act
    The Citizen
    Nightmare House
    Escape from Ravenholm
    Combine Destiny
    Mistake of Pythagoras
    Leon’s Coastline to Atmosphere
    Rock 24
    City 7 Toronto Conflict

    And many more. All of these mods have different things to offer and I don’t believe that “fighting the same chopper with a rocket launcher over and over again” is a bad thing, There’s a reason it’s in the game, it’s lots of fun! Call me snobbish or whatever, but once a game or a console gets a graphical upgrade I am not likely to go back and play an earlier version (unless it’s an 8 or 16 bit console game). Therefore I would not play any HL1 mods at this point, I have tried and been unable to get into a world that is less graphically realistic – I simply can’t suspend disbelief of an artificial world.

    The HL2 engine has so much to offer and has a crisp presentation of a murky reality that is so convincing that I simply can’t get enough. The textures are of high quality and believable, all the props add ambience, from the burned out cars to the broken bottles and trash strewn about.

    Fighting for your life in a post apocalyptic world is invigorating. If I had the time and the know how I would make my own mod. Since I can’t, I will enjoy playing as many HL2 mods as I can.

  23. Werner Spahl

    In my opinion HL mods have more possibilities because HL itself featured more diverse weapons and enemies, especially if you include Opposing Force. Compare that to 3x headcrabs, 3x zombies, 3x combines and a few other enemies of HL2 with only the gravity gun and the spheres challenging all the great bioweapons of HL!

  24. Zockopa

    I played FPS way before HL1 and still im not
    bored playing fancontent for various FPS-Games
    including both HL-Games.
    What probably becomes boring is the postapocalyptic wasteland theme of HL2 and like Werner wrote the limited diversity of weapons and enemys.

  25. I haven’t gotten bored with them, but it’s only been a year. I do hope people will start branching out to using the Source engine for new content, and not just HL2 rehashes.

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