RTSL in 2017

16th December 2016

See that cat above? That’s how I have been feeling the last 6 months. I just haven’t been able to get the energy to do any work on the site.

However, I have almost reached a decision to continue with the site BUT before I make that final commitment, I want to be sure.

In a few days, I am going away for the Christmas holidays and then on 4th January I am going for a holiday in the sun. I will relax, looking at the ocean and ponder life’s unanswerable questions: “Can Gordon talk?“, “Should I stop pretending to be a bad player?“, “should I extract all the modding knowledge from Don’s brain and become a mapping giant?“, and of course “Should I continue running the site?“.

I suspect the answer to them all will be “YES!“. So, let’s just assume that for the rest of this article.

The Hammer Cup 2017

I’m guessing then, that you are curious about The Hammer Cup 2017. Well, the good news is that I will run another Hammer Cup. I have finalised the changes but won’t publish them until the official announcement. However, I can tell you that the number of challenges will be the same; 5, but instead of over 6 months The Hammer Cup 2017 will be over 11 months. That doesn’t mean the length of challenge time has increased, it’s just that there will be more time between each one.

The scoring and prizes are the other two main changes.

The RTSL Mod Awards 2016

Unlike ModDB, bless their hearts, I run my awards after the year has finished. Ideally, I would like to post something on the 1st January but with my two trips, it’s going to be a little difficult. And for those wondering why I don’t prepare them before I go away, it’s because I am really busy at work at the moment.

The awards will be pretty much the same as last year, but instead of three stages, I will just run two. If you are interested, here are the links for last year:

Other Plans

I won’t go into the details of any other changes, but suffice to say I will try to stay focused on mods and doing things I enjoy.

I will be putting more effort into Livestreaming and the YouTube channel as I see that as a way of generating income for the site and it’s something I really enjoy doing. Talking of income, I will be reinstating the Patreon system from January too.

I hope to continue with The Level Design academy but I also have a plan for an Ep2 mod. Yes, I know that sounds crazy but it’s not that much work. I’ll announce more as soon as I can.

With regard to getting people to help, I will accept help but would prefer not to. As I have said many times, I would rather walk way from RTSL and let somebody else run it than turn into a manager.

Well, I think that’s it for now. As always, if you have any questions, suggestions or comments just post a comment here.

Finally, completely off topic, I have been working a little harder on my Squash Coaching YouTube Channel, so if you want to see another side of me or if you play squash, then head over there and check it out.


  1. Extended time between Hammer cup challenges will be a really welcome change, I got hit with pretty bad burnout after challenge two concluded which had me sit out of the contest and mapping until half-way through the summer.

    Looking forward to the upcoming year though, got some new projects in the pipeline I’m excited to share as well.

  2. crowbar_at_work

    Glad to hear.

  3. Does Patreon actually support the payment of PaySafeCards? I am not using PayPal and credit cards… well lets just say there are certain problems with them in my country, but I’d really love to donate something when it’s back up.

    1. Hi, no, unfortunately Patreon doesn’t accept PaySafeCard. I’m not sure I have a solution for you. Perhaps you could donate some games for prizes?

      1. I think I could do that, yes. Must the games be something specific or doesn’t it really matter? And how would I donate them (giving it as Steam gift, normal activation code…)?

        1. Sorry for the delay in replying. Any games, but ones most likely people will want and given via Steam Gift, that way I can easily re-gift it.

      2. zoe

        Bitcoins are always an option.

        It’s a little tricky at first, but once your accounts are set-up and you use it 2-3 times, it becomes very simple an easy to use. It’s no more complex than any online credit card/paypal operation.

  4. Glad to read this site probably won’t cease to exist in 2017. I’m also positive about your plans of spreading the Hammer challenges over the entire year; as mentioned above, it prevents ‘burn-outs’ regarding level development and could perhaps attract more (amateur) mappers like me.

    Btw, thanks for being a source of amusement (lots of mods, streams) and information … !

  5. I can´t wait for THC 2017 🙂

    I really don´t understand why the last Hammer Cup was not spanned over the whole year, it seemed kinda weird, since it was the Hammer Cup 2016!

    Please never stop running this site btw, it´s one of my favourite HL websites (if not my favourite).

    1. I really don´t understand why the last Hammer Cup was not spanned over the whole year, it seemed kinda weird, since it was the Hammer Cup 2016!

      Because it was the first one and I had no idea how successful it was going to be. If it was a failure and planned for the whole year that would have been even more of a disaster. Many things happen for less than 12 months but are still called by the year.

  6. Unq

    Nice news, hope you have a good holiday.

    Note about the Level Design Academy – the good part is that almost everything you’ll learn about Goldsouce mapping transfers to Source mapping. Yes, there is a lot more available in Source but in terms of things like basic architecture, texturing, and many of the entities they are the same.

    “Should I stop pretending to be a bad player?“

    But you are so convincing! So convincing.

    1. but in terms of things like basic architecture, texturing, and many of the entities they are the same.

      That’s what I am counting on.

      But you are so convincing! So convincing.

      Thank you for your kind words. I have been considering a career on the stage.

  7. Wesp5

    I too would like to see the site being continued. It’s the heart of the HL and HL2 modding community after all :)! If things get too stressfull for you, just space the competitions and articles more as suggested. Often maps are included about which I think they could have needed some additional time anyway…

  8. zoe

    I have a suggestion for a future competition, and perhaps this would encourage fledgling map designers or spark collaborations.

    What if the competition was to REDUX someone else’s “stinker” of a map to a new and improved version? If the basic groundwork is already done, why not complete it to something worth playing more than once? Maybe take a map with an “It’s Dire” rating and turn it into a “It’s Good”.

    There’s so many PP-ville entries that get slammed for being “unpolished”. If only there was someone with experience that could show us what-could-have-been.

    Not being a map make myself, I’m not sure how difficult it would be to re-vamp or build on top of someone else’s map given the numerous changes/updates from Valve. But I think it would be interesting to see a Before vs. After, unpolished vs. polished, most improved visuals/battles/gameplay.

    Being an avid Portal 2 player, I see this kind of thing all the time from their Mapping Community, tweaks and whatnot.

  9. bolec

    Get rested. Relax. Enjoy free mind. Thank you for PlanetPhilip/RTSL being excellent community for HL universe fans. Outstanding job!

  10. Retibsi

    Just wishing everyone a Happy Christmas and hoping a good new year to you

    1. bkadar

      yes! ^^^^ that!

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