Poll Question 212 – How well do you know the details behind the HL universe?

18th February 2011

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

I know it’s only February but I am going to make an effort this year to spend time researching and reading about the details behind the games themselves.

I will use four main source: Combine Overwiki, HalfLife2.net’s forums, The Half-Life Saga Story Guide and Valve’s Raising the bar.

For some readers this may seem strange but I have to admit that I am not as knowledgeable or as well-read as I should be, or would like to be, about the finer details of the games. For somebody always expounding their virtues I should be better informed.

Who knows what may come from the research, perhaps some fan fiction or some detailed pieces offering my viewpoint.

I therefore, ask you, the reader and player, to join my in my knowledge quest. If enough people are interested I will start a sub-forum to discuss interesting information.

The Poll


  1. Kasperg

    I chose quite a bit. Even though I’ve dedicated an insane amount of hours making singleplayer and multiplayer maps for the games, I am certainly not an expert regarding the background information and details that aren’t actually present in the actual games.
    I think it’s ok to have an “‘expanded universe'” for those who want to explore the game world, but I don’t consider it to be THAT important.
    After all, part of the charm of the HL games is the factor of the unknown, whether you’re playing as Freeman, Adrian, Barney, a random scientist, a random citizen etc. I think having an ingame encyclopedia/bestiary/story so far/etc like other games like RPGs do, would mean breaking the movie-like immersion feeling that these games are trying to achieve. Not even cutscenes showing the player are present! What needs to be unknown should stay that way.

  2. Of course I’m an expert. Valve regularly contacts me to make sure they are doing EP3 right. Don’t insist though, I can’t give up any information or I’m going to jail and getting my steam account permabanned along with Gabe Newell himself kicking me in the nuts.

  3. I think I voted Quite a lot.
    I might be an Expert though.
    I forget stuff.

    1. NoFace

      Same. You put it perfectly.

    2. Echo that Jasper. Through the years I’ve been through a huge amount of informational material regarding the games back-story as well as a great deal of, ” hey, I didn’t know that ! ” moments, but simply can’t recall it all. There’s simply quite a lot to keep track of and some of that info is arguably subjective at best.

  4. Major Banter

    As a developer, quite a lot.

    As a fan, I’m an expert.

    I’m just like that. I spent 45 minutes on the Mass Effect wiki earlier.

  5. Frohman Zelinsky

    Expert… from the beginning of the teleport iccident to the end of the borealis , and YES , valve told me about the borealis already 😉 You can get quite a shock from EP3. Too bad im not allowed to tell you the relase date

  6. GoodGuyA

    Give me a question, I can freaking answer it and tell you fan theories about the stuff you don’t actually know. It just sort of happened to me by spending enough time on the forums. I know that Combine Advisors are Shu’lathois (though I can’t spell it) and why each zombie is placed where it is. I know the writers and I know pretty much every map by heart.

    1. See ! This is one of those guys that I collect all those tasty little ” didn’t know that ! ” moments from – I can’t come close to this level of inquisitive devotion !

    2. Anon_245826

      Thats pretty good information, about the zombies.

  7. Hec

    I think a lot, im CMB over Wiki fan, and well every time I like some detail of the game I acces toi that site, it’d be cool that phillip could open a new space, like valve in real world, or mod of the week related to those sweet and great details in HL-Portal universe!

  8. I’d say a lot. Give me a question about Half-Life and I can probably answer it.

    1. Hec

      hehe, lets try this one,: why are children-citizens abscent during the HL2 saga???

      1. Dan

        Because of the suppression field?

        1. Hec

          That’s correct, I guess the CMB supression of the vital protein for reproduction stop the procreation procsess, but the big and dark question is what happened alredy with the millions of children that were living during the CMB invassion??? there must be nessesarly a massive genocide of children under start ruling of the CMB but most likley citizens can’t remember anything because that thing they put into the nasty watter they provide to the citizens.

          That darkest part of the CMB would be an excellent topic for a mod, I would call it CMB Genocide or TRAUMA the begining, or some like “The Woodside massacre, inocence interrupted”, that really would be cool, to find out that the CMB are despiadated, and find out what happened to children during the course of a mod.

          1. RustySpannerz

            But it’s been 10 years since the Combine took over meaning most of the children would have grown up, and those who didn’t would have been weak causing them to not live much longer.

            1. Vic

              Actually, it’s been close to 20 years. So yes, all the children have grown up. It’s also possible some of the younger children were killed. The Combine wouldn’t like toddlers running around the cities, now would they?

  9. Bramblepath

    Seeing as I administrate the OverWiki, you should think that I have a decent knowledge of the universe. There are lots of great resources out there, and the Universe keeps expanding the more you read 🙂

  10. voldomort42

    Quite a bit. I’ve read through the CMB overwiki, have listened to the commentary, and know enough about storylines, but I wouldn’t consider myself an expert. I don’t know about others, but I would certainly enjoy having a sub-forum to discuss these matters.

  11. I thought I knew a bit about the HL universe, but thanks to your links, I realised I did not. But I will in future now I’m reading up on things.
    But will the helmet issue ever be resolved!
    I am a reader and gamer and I like the idea of a sub-forum.

  12. I’m pretty certain that I have a good overall, basic knowledge of the how’s and why’s within the HL2 universe. That said, I’m sure that folks who own the Raising the Bar book would clearly beat down anyone who does not with trivia or background that didn’t make it otherwise into the game.

    The joy of the HL2 universe, and the way that Valve has set it up, though, is that there is plenty of room for speculation and fandom stories. While some takes on the universe may seem a bit weird or “wrong’, it doesn’t take much to be able to see things a certain way.

  13. Alex

    The HL backstory is my life.

  14. Dias

    I fixate horribly on HL lore. Half-life is what got me so interested in game design, so I want to know about the changes made & the reasons behind those changes not only because I love the Half-Life storyline, but because knowing what was in, what was cut & what was changed, I can figure out why it was done from a game design perspective.

    I used to contribute to the HL wiki quite a bit until Klow banned me for fighting with him over something simple & stupid. It’s sad really. I’m still finding out things that I would post about on the wiki, but unless he unbans me, I’m perfectly content with keeping to myself.

    1. Major Banter

      If it was “fought over’, it means it was questionable information and therefore speculation from a administrative perspective. I think “keeping it to [yourself]” is a bit of an elitist attitude and surely it wouldn’t hurt to send a polite email to request unbanning?

      And rather than fighting a point, arguing with evidence? I’m not being a douche; rather, if you’ve got information you could share you should do your best to distribute it and add to the lore.

      1. Dias

        It wasn’t “questionable information” It was opinion. Opinion I was trying to remove. The trivia section of the Assassin from HL1 says that the Lance Assassins from Borderlands look & act very similar to the Assassins. I clicked the external link to the Lance Assassin article & saw what they looked like & wanted to remove “look and” from the article, but he kept reverting it. I wanted to start a discussion about it, but it amounted to nothing. Eventually I was banned for reverting it too much.

        I would share some of the things I’ve noticed. But it’s really not worth the effort to me to send out an apology email when I know I’m in the right. It’s not like I’m doing it out of spite, but where else would I bring up something like; in the concept art for the cremator, you can see a cable sticking out of the Immolator it’s holding & if you were to adjust the contrast & brightness a little, you would see it connects to the socket in it’s stomach. Or how the sniper entity has a comment referring to a “bullet stopping energy shield effect.” etc.

  15. Vic

    I’d say I’m an expert.

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