TREE: Short Story Event No.1

16th July 2012

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

I received 5 entries and have collected them into one PDF file.

I have chosen a winner, but given you the chance to vote too.

Will you agree with me? Who knows until you read them all.

I have announced the winner a little lower in the post, but you can download it without knowing. Then come back here and vote and comment.

Download or view the PDF

TREE: Short Story Event No. 1
Left click to open in your browser, right click to save to your computer

Your chance to vote

And the winner is…

Witness by Drew Stearns.

Not only is it really well written, but it tells the short story of something small and insignificant.


  1. s.anchev

    Interesting, count me in.

  2. I’ll have a stab at a story.

  3. RossBondReturns

    Count me in…been looking forward to writing in the Half-Life Universe.

  4. I have posted the results and the PDF with all the entries is now available to view online or download.

    See the updated post for details.

    1. William

      Not to get difficult… but in the future can you not update the post?

      Updated posts don’t show up in RSS Feeds.

      Either way, too bad I didn’t win but it was really fun to enter the contest. THANKS PHILLIP!

      1. I thought when you changed the date it created a new feed. Next time, I’ll create a new post.

  5. Ade

    To William, I had issues with RSS too and as much as PP tried to help, I use the latest 100 comments instead..

    I wouldn’t have picked Drew Stearns” entry as the winner. Judging by its quality, yes it holds its own podium. But to me it seemed written a while back, perhaps unrelated to the HL universe and was just used here, or dare I say reused. Again, it’s my opinion as it felt the least related to HL in any way. Or maybe I need to play Blue Shift 😐
    Also English isn’t my first language so my opinion here is far less important than the one of the natives. I voted for Steve’s POV, William’s story, despite having an overwhelming amount of SCI-FI in the culminant (why doesn’t my Mozilla recognize this word..) point and conclusion.

    1. There is also the Comments feed that keeps people up to date.

  6. oh. I forgot about this. it it too late to submit my entry?

  7. RossBondReturns

    Having read the entire document a number of times I don’t really feel as if Drew’s story was the best. Please note that it’s nothing against his style, I simply felt more connected to the other stories in the competition.

    It felt very sterile- very safe almost. I never really felt the danger for his character, it almost felt more like a demo for a new graphics engine than a game made with a new graphics engine if you will. It was very pretty description wise as a screenwriter I could totally picture the locations- actions etc. but I was onl engaged on that level and not the level of character.

    I mean I could have told my story based around one scene in immense detail in the same style…(in fact I considered it since I was so busy working on the indie film I’m working on). However in the end I opted to create a series of vignettes on the survival attempts of my character.

    I’m glad that we have so many writers here and that we all took very different tacks on the same objective. And I hope we have more short story events in the future, so that I can more fully devote more time to it.

    Oh and Phillip your choice is your choice man- I totally understand how people like different things- so stick to your guns!

    Good work everyone!

  8. zonbie

    OK I’m kind of upset because I have been waiting for a writing contest for a while now…and somehow I had no idea at all that there was a writing test going on already!!!

    1. Sorry you missed it. It was announced a month ago.

      Don’t worry though, there will be two more writing competitions before the end of the TREE event.

  9. Please remember, I am no better a writer than any of the entries. The only reason I am judging the event is because I am paying for the prize.

    Below are my thoughts about each story and they are simply my opinion.

    Please read the entries BEFORE reading my comments as they contain spoilers.

    These “diary-style” entries are a little too contrived for my liking. They all sound as though they were written after the fact, which of course they were, but I don’t think they should. In this case, it’s a recording which is even more different from what one would expect.

    There were a couple of canon issues. Firstly the date. To my knowledge we don’t know it’s 2000. Secondly, the entry broke the rules becuse it finished after Blue Shift. We have no way of knowing if Humanity wins, although we all hope they do.

    I did like the premise of a guy in a suit having to survive deep within Black Mesa though.

    This was too dramatic for my liking. English isn’t Rodolphe’s first language and I have adjusted my expectation but phrases like “Finally the light at the end of the bottomless pit.” were more than I was willing to accept.

    I’m never sure how the protagonist wrote the diary in the first place. It’s not the sort of thing people write in those situtaions either – at least I can’t believe they would.

    All in all a little too unbelievable.

    Absolutely loved this entry. We are taken by surpised towards the end of the first chapter but William has one more in store for us.

    I would say the ending seemed rushed. Opening the doors in the test chamber would have been enough.

    Still a great read.

    After reading William’s entry I was in a happy mood, but started to get serious as I began reading this entry. Everything is really well described and I was suddenly absorbed in to the story. I wanted to know what happens.

    I din’t like some turn of phrases or other little things, but that’s true of everythign I read.

    This certainly feels like a serious writer and an experienced one. I also like how the story is not some hero saves the world, but just one of a million little mini-events that are dramatic and intersting in their own right.

    This is worthy of your time.

    This ia nother well written piece and I certainly enjoyed it. I just think the idea of an injured scientist getting the better of a couple of assassins is too much. Maybe I have overdosed on Freeman.

    I saw the situtaions in my head as I was reading it and some parts stick in my mind.

    It just didn’t have enough emotional impact.

    That’s not the reason it didn’t win, because the rest is very good.

  10. Here’s what I had so far. It was going to be about the scientists in the observation room during the resonance cascade. It’s pretty bad. I was never good with dialogue:
    “He’s late.” Luther said. “Should we go on with the test without him?” Walter asked. “No. He’s the only one in this
    Sector trained in using the HEV suit.” Luther rebutted. Jeff was sitting in his chair, listening to the arguement.
    “We’re just going to have to wait for him.” Einstein said. Jeff looked at the clock, 9:02 am. Just then Gordon Freeman
    walked in, HEV suit and all. “Ah, Gordon. There you are. We just sent the sample down to the test chamber.” Walter
    greeted Gordon. Gordon nodded. “We boosted the anti-mass spectrometer 105%. Bit of a gamble,
    but we need the extra resolution.” Luther explained. “The administrator is very concerned that we get a
    conclusive analysis of today’s sample. I gather they went to some length to get it.” Einstein told Gordon.
    “They’re waiting for, Gordon, in the test chamber.” Walter said lastly. Walter always wanted the last word.
    Luther went over the retinal scanner and opened the door for Gordon. Gordon smiled and walked through the door.
    The door closed when Luther said “I hope this test goes well.”. “It’ll be fine” Einstein assured.

    Wel from Gamefaq’s for the HL Script

  11. s.anchev

    I’m the writer of Exp Life, thanks for reading my story, I know that there would have been some trouble because I don’t live in an english country, but I’ve done my best.

    I’ll improve it when there will be another one, another day, maybe.

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