September 2017 – General Chat

31st August 2017

OMG, I can’t believe that September is here. I did 20% of the things I had planned for August. Oh Well, there’s always next year. HA!

Anyway, we are getting closer to the server move, so that’s good but I am still pretty nervous about it. It’s the first time the site will be self-hosted. The dev site seems really fast, so that’s one good thing.

Due to circumstances, I have been spending some time posting stuff on Twitter, hopefully you have been following me – if not, why not?

RTSL Twitter feed Only 32 more followers needed to reach 1,000.

Besides that, I’ll try to finish Wolfenstein: The New Order and even start Old Blood. YES! I know I said that last month but I mean it this time.

What about you, what do you have planned?

Featured image is from graystripe2821DA over on Deviant Art.


  1. Love the header pic.

    You (Phillip) said a while ago the only way to submit maps right now was by mail – any plans on bringing back a submit form (I think there used to be one, from a time before I found this site)?

  2. Wesp5

    Speaking of the title screenshot, I just listened to Phillip’s Twitter video about the HL2:EP3 script and I still wonder why we are not discussing this here, where the many good Source modders are active. For example I have a few possible answers to Phillip”s questions. I believe the script is from just after HL2:EP2 as it fit’s well to the cut HL2 segment with the Borealis so it would make sense from a development point of view at that time, but not today. It also fits perfectly to the concept art of EP3 leaked years ago and to the bit about Dr. Mossman in EP2. I also doubt that the story would have changed much. I don’t think they changed too much about HL2 except for cutting half the game because of the delay like “Raising the bar” shows. As for the reasons why Marc released it now, maybe a NDA date has indeed expired or when Valve announced their new big project was a card game about DOTA2, Marc finally had to accept or was just annoyed enough that Valve would never make EP3 and that his work on it had been in vain.

    Also to me HL2:EP3 and HL3 are two different things and I guess Gabe Newell was again too busy with Steam at the time to care enough about EP3 in the first place. Like he did with HL2 when this was in development, just read “The last hours of HL2”, especially between the lines. So EP3 was delayed until the episode concept made no sense anymore, although at the time EP3 would not have needed a new gimmick as EP1 and EP2 did well enough without. Once the delay got just too embarrassing long, Newell switched to call it HL3 and started to lie about that as he did about HL2 at the time, again not caring because Valve made enough money with Steam and MP games selling cheap ingame goodies. So while maybe they could still make HL3 in VR some day to force their own VR system on people, like they did with CS and Steam in the first place, they never will do HL2:EP3 now. So why not have the community do it? The outline is sparse enough so there are lots of possibilities for the people to design their own maps. It basically only defines a few locations, but nothing more detailed. I hope someone will do it!

    1. There are some projects like this. I don’t know how many will really get off the ground though.

      As for Marc’s story itself, I’m perfectly content with it. I’m actually surprised at how satisfying it is, given the 10 years of hype, speculation and build-up. I loved how the coordinates of the Borealis reflect where it’s “going to be” rather than where it actually is. That would have been a great setpiece. A whole Combine base built around this ship that keeps phasing in and out of existence. And then ramming it into the Combine homeworld, only to realize in your final moments that you are hopelessly outmatched, would have been an amazing visual. As is the confrontation between Alyx and Mossman. That actually clarifies why Mossman was so zealous to reach the arctic.

      I really don’t need or want Valve’s input. I can play this whole scenario in my imagination and like any good story, it’s probably 10x better than anything they could come up with in reality.

      Some will dismiss it as fan fiction. Some will hold onto hope it will happen someday. All of this continues to give the benefit-of-the-doubt to a company that really doesn’t deserve it. Fans can only be so patient. Valve had 10 years to weigh in on this. They chose not to. As far as I’m concerned, I see no reason why the future of the franchise shouldn’t belong to the man who had the guts to speak up and say something.

      After all, if Valve wants to correct the record, all they have to do is make a game. Their continued silence, even after this, speaks volumes.

      1. Wesp5

        I completely agree with you! I also believe that Marc Laidlaw very probably played a big part in the success of the whole series in the first place, because the main difference for me when I played the first game was that it had a decent story that made some sense, compared to previous FPS like Wolfenstein, Doom or Duke Nukem.

        Regarding a re-creation, I think it wouldn’t be too difficult for some of the great modders here. A lot of ice textures and the Borealis model and interior itself could be taken from the leaked HL2 alpha. Including some of the unused HL2 alpha weapons would be cool too! And the main part of the story plays out in normal Combine environment which people like the guy who made the fantastic antlon farm in a recent competition can handle easily. Only the finale with the Dyson sphere would be challenging…

  3. After finishing all of Star Trek: The Next Generation, I moved on to Deep Space Nine, which I’m finding a lot more enjoyable. A lot of this has to do with DS9 expanding on what the The Original Series touched upon: entertainment comes from having strong, disparate personalities dealing with complex problems. In TOS, it was primarily Bones and Spock. In DS9, it’s practically everyone, so it works in a similar way. Stick these personalities in creative situations and watch what happens. It makes the show innately more interesting when the crew doesn’t always get along.

    I also finished Sleeping Dogs. Talk about a criminally overlooked sandbox game. It’s awful how Grand Theft Auto sucks all the oxygen and critical acclaim out of the room when you have something far more fun and ambitious like Sleeping Dogs out there.

    1. Oh boy you’re in for a ride. It’s true DS9 rely much more on characters and dialogues, because of that it end up feeling almost like a sitcom sometimes. Especially during the “silly holosuite episodes”.
      I still prefer TNG only because it’s more optimistic. DS9 can get very dark sometimes.
      This remind me, I need to watch Babylon 5.

  4. That header pic, lovely but ooooh the heartache!

    I have to pick up my tweezers, paintbrushes and glue and start to re-become the model maker that lies within! But the dusting… Forever dusting. And then the repairs!

  5. Please to announce that Sockman has won Xotic. He is the first winner in the new Monthly Review Giveaway. His review was for From Combines.

    Congratulations to him and remember, you must be a registered member of RTSL and use a Recommendation Image in your review to stand a chance to win.

  6. I would like to share one curious event with you. Tonight I had a dream(sleep) in which I was talking with Phillip about… sorry I don’t remember now what we were talking about. But I do remember that it was a long and a detailed conversation in a strange place like a room in a hotel in the (strider?) mountains. We were surrounded by some weird moving small mechanisms like music boxes but they were moving on the floor like just balerina without any box. I explained something important to Phillip and I wasn’t surprised by this fact. That’s all. Now I am thinking what does it mean? The dream was very colourful and vivid.

  7. I only now realised how soundscapes work. What the actual f*%k. I always thought they were like a trigger, with sounds only playing inside their radius. I never realised they keep playing until another soundscape takes over.

    1. Please do not swear in the comments.

      1. Whoops. Sorry, didn’t mean to offend anyone. I simply forgot that that’s technically a swearword. Won’t happen again.

  8. JamaicanDave

    Any Fallout 4 players here? Just discovered the 2 Gb patch I got the other day nothing to do with actually patching the game. It’s installed Creation Club, some kind of new mod distribution tool, along with all the currently available mods. Problem is I have no interest in this, don’t seem able to uninstall it and can’t access those mods anyway without paying. 2 Gb is space I want back, and unless the platform gets changed the file size presumably grows each time a new mod is added as it’s automatically downloaded. Just wondered if I’m understanding it correctly and if anyone else thoughts on the matter?

    1. I have a thought on this matter: It’s unbelievably stupid, but unsurprising given the source.

      They were probably basing this on how multiplayer games will often give players all the DLC to maintain compatibility with those who don’t own it. Except there, you have a reasonable explanation for doing this. Here, in a single player game that may see hundreds of such mods in the future, there’s no excuse for doing it this way. It’s lazy design, plain and simple. But the real question is, why should we expect anything better coming from the Fallout 4 team?

      1. JamaicanDave

        That’s an interesting fact about DLC and multiplayer compatibility. I didn’t know companies did that, but as you say it makes sense.

        As for Creation Club? I’m distinctly unimpressed with the situation.

  9. ikar

    Hey people, what did you decide? Will the EP3 scenario be a cross-cutting theme for contests in next year? And by the results of the year will be made our own
    HL2: EP3 – F # % & you, Greedy Lazy Gaben Edition?
    Or at the end of this year, Philip will say “I’m tired, I’m leaving!” (c) And we will have to look for new good modifications throughout the whole Internet and new sites for contests?

    I follow the site, some very good maps have been published, and some are simply superb, but it’s a pity only that the modders are not able to unite and make a big enough EP3-like level mod, and make mods one by one it turns out very long, the interest is lost, and, as a consequence, the endings of mods turn out to be crumpled. And it takes a lot of time…

    I would like to have time to play in EP3 before the American hawks turn the whole World into Fallout

    1. Wesp5

      Sadly, it seems to me that Phillip has no interest in managing a EP3 mod, although I believe that he would be one of the few HL modding scene figures who could actually make people work together, because a lot of the best Source modders know and respect him from his competitions. But then maybe he knows from experience how much work this would mean for him ;).

      On the other hand I read on reddit about a huge team fighting about doing EP3 in the Unreal 4 engine which makes no sense from a working point of view as all assets need to be build anew and people seriously underestimate this. Also from a legal point of view I think that Valve may tolerate a HL2 EP3 mod as it would increase HL2 sales, but never a new game in another engine.

      Last not least I also think that the team behind Black Mesa isn’t good enough for this. I haven’t played it yet, but to be honest with Xen still missing it took them over 13 years to remake a game where every detail was already known! How long would they need for a completely new game? Also they fell for Valve’s attempts to commercialize mods, so their EP3 would never be free!

      1. I beg to differ. As far as I know, Crowbar Collective plan on making Xen from scratch (even more from scratch than the rest), because they think the original Xen was too small and didn’t really fit in with HL. And I don’t really mind them demanding money for Black Mesa – thirteen years of volunteer work is a lot to ask for, and I’m sure they all got bills to pay too, be it software to work with, artists to hire or people basically working overtime besides a full-time job to participate. And if it were good, I would pay for a fanmade Ep3, if it’s the quality of Black Mesa or better. I don’t think that’s “falling for Valve’s attempts” but more feeling like they deserve a little recognition for their work.

        I have no idea what Phillip does for a living, but coordinating an EP3 project would presumably be a huge, huge effort (not to mention being the target of lots of anger and disappointment should it turn out to not please everybody). I’d love to see some EP3-themed contests in the future, though.

        Also, I’m curious how Tripmine’s remakes of Opposing Force and Blue Shift will turn out. They have promised to make their mods available free of charge, if I recall correctly, and they too have shown off some impressive work (but no release yet). If they can get Guard Duty and Operation: Black Mesa done, perhaps they (or some of them) would be interested to try their hand at EP3.

        Either way (or any other way), I think it’ll be YEARS until we’ll even see a solid concept for an EP3 mod. I don’t doubt there will be many people trying it, but I figure it’s gonna take long until a team with enough competence and resources forms.

        1. Wesp5

          What annoyed me most about Black Mesa (and which is why I said they fell for Valve’s concept of payed mods to get more money for free from other people’s work) is that they announced Black Mesa to be free, released a free first version and then abandonded it for the commercial one! I think we had the discussion here before, payed mods are most profitable for Valve and not the modders. Using a donation system or similar would be much better to actually honor them.

      2. Most of those Reddit projects won’t get off the ground. That group really has no appreciation for what goes into making a map, and seems to operate in an alternate universe where the sole purpose of modders is to make Half-Life 3 for them. Anything that isn’t HL3 gets so little traction there. Phillip posts BlackMesaDoorVille and no one says a word.

        I wouldn’t trust Crowbar Collective to do it, nor would I ever expect them to. They take too many creative liberties with gameplay.

        If it were me, I’d try to distill Marc’s idea down to its core elements and find a way to express them in just five Source maps. Even with a conservative scope, that’s still an immense challenge, but it’s an attainable one.

        That said, I’d be happy to see an “EpisodeThreeVille,” where you’d take some aspect of Marc’s story and make it into a map. There’s a fair bit there you could use.

        1. I never played the original Half-Life (when Half-Life was published, I wasn’t even BORN yet), so I’ve no comparison between BMS and the original. No idea how much it differs in terms of gameplay.

          Five maps doesn’t sound like much, but fitting that entire plot (or rather, the elements doable in Source) into it seems hard. Even so, it’d take an entire team with new assets, someone would have to write dialogue for it, someone would have to do the voice acting, and the Borealis phasing in and out of existence part, I’ve no idea how one would do that in Source.

          Still, I hope some pieces of this come true. Even if Marc’s story just inspires people to pick up HL2 modding/mapping again and start imagining their own EP3 story, it’s a good thing.

          And an EPThreeVille sounds like a rad idea. People could focus on just one element instead of having to make an entire game happen.

  10. Starting today, I’ll try to create a weekly Half-Life quiz question. The tag on the Twitter feed will be #RTSLWHLQ.

    Which name was a real option instead of Black Mesa?
    Black Fortress
    Black Butte
    Mesa Fortress
    Black Diablo

    Feel free to send your questions for publication to me via email.

  11. hey i found a small team are making half life 2 episode 3 based on epistle 3 on unreal engine 4
    can thy really finish it what do you think guys? (this is not advertisement just sharing with you)

    1. Wesp5

      This is the same team that I was talking above and I don’t think they can do it. Especially not on U4 for the reasons I already mentioned…

      1. yea but i hope they make it also does valve going to allow a game like that?
        edit: i checked their twitter page and i think they are very serious about it they shared some modelworks and soundtracks they made

        1. Wesp5

          I don’t think Valve will allow this in the long run, except if they made an exclusive deal to sell it on Steam so Valve could get their usual 30% for nothing. Otherwise making HL2:EP3 in U4 basically means that they use Valve’s IP and recreate their assets without permisson which Valve can’t allow, alone to avoid setting a precedence after which people would start remaking any HL game for free. A HL2 mod on the other hand would circumvent all of this and it would directly give Valve new HL2 sales as well…

          1. Wesp5

            P.S.: I have just found these small maps, made after the concept art released some time ago. Quite unfinished and unpolished, but they give a good impression on what capable Source modders could create from the EP3 outline:

            As for a suitable number of maps, EP1 has 14 and EP2 has 23, so I guess around 30 would be fine for EP3 :)!

        2. i played these maps few weeks ago and i think they are good for a mod that only based on concept arts.
          yes ep3 must have more maps than others
          I HOPE project:borealis team finish and release game even they have obstacles on their way

  12. Hello guys, I’ve been playing again the dishonored series lately ( played dishonored 2 and played again the 1 and his DLC ) which is for me a very good video game, now I’m playing the new one the death of the outsider.
    I’ve juste started but it looks good as always 🙂

  13. JamaicanDave

    To any source mappers out there, how smooth and curved do you think displacements should be? Particularly for things like cliff faces and rock walls. I thought it’s time to learn displacements and am struggling to make things look convincing.

  14. So, I’m new here and wanted to recommend a Ville map (With the map ratings and such), but I can’t find the button that makes headers like in the how-to video. Do I need to enter the header manually?

    1. Like review? Just scroll to the bottom of a mod page

    2. Unq

      In the Reviews section there should be a link to a Template txt file you can copy & paste the contents of that gives you the headers and spots for the recommendation images. If the Ville you’re specifically talking about doesn’t have that link, let us know – but in the meantime you can copy & paste the text from a different Ville if you want.

      1. Clicking on that just sends me to the “Holy Headcrabs!” page.

  15. How do you control HL2?
    WASD or something else?

    Growing up before keyboards were everywhere, (58 this year Phillip!!) I remember trying wasd for about a week and thought no way,, took quite a few years before ALL games allowed it but —
    Mouse turns player
    Mouse1 is forward
    Mouse2 is back
    wheel is gun change
    left Ctrl is fire
    left Alt is alt fire
    left shift is strafe left
    Z is strafe right

    fast forward 20 years and add a G110 keyboard and those last 4 are mirrored
    to the bottom 4 G-keys, reload and USE are the next two above them.

    the placement of the silly Windows key provided many swear words until early on it was prised off, and later on the G board just disconnected.

    note the placement of keys around the bottom left of the keyboard to locate my hand and all movement via mouse. Really the only key I use that means a hand movement is the space key,, and its too big to miss!!

    How do you control yours?

    1. Standard WASD, really. The first thing I do when setting up any Source games, though (HL2 or otherwise) is to change the key for the developer console, because there is no ~ key on European keyboard layouts. Usually, I use J or the # key.

      By the way, I played Deus Ex Human Revolution recently, and the game mapped ironsight on my middle mouse button. Since that one’s broken on my mouse, I had to map it to the right mouse and set “take cover” to the browser-back button instead. Took some time getting used to that.

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