What The Headcrab! Episode 17

18th July 2016

Hello and welcome to What The Headcrab! Episode 17.

I have another action-packed show with plenty of Half-Life news items to keep your Headcrabs Humping, your Bullsqiuds charging and your Striders stomping.

As always, there’s a giveaway courtesy of A A Ron from SteamContests.com and another Half-Life trivia question, news from RTSL and the Miscellaneous section that covers no mod stuff.

Let’s go!

Watch the Video

Last Week’s Follow Up

Follow up to What The Headcrab! Ep16.

The Renegadist: “It would be nice if you could view the images and videos on moddb so we can look at the images, hear your input, and possibly hear you give thoughts about some of the comments because a majority of the time people make interesting and insightful remarks”

RCStuff: “Any links to the mods being discussed? You had them in the description, then you had the link to the web site with the news, and now nothing at all.”


in no particular order.

Half-Life Lore Trivia Question

Can you answer this question WITHOUT referring to the Combine OverWiki?

Please post your answer as a YouTube comment.

We know that Black Mesa is in New Mexico, but where is the HECU’s main base?

This question was kindly supplied by monkeymo.

Pick Of The Episode Game Giveaway

WTH Ep15’s winner of Interstellar Marines was Crowbar.

This week’s game Brothers – A Tale of Two Sons, courtesy of Aaron from SteamContests.com.

To have a chance to win, simply post a YouTube comment and I will randomly select a winner on next week’s show.

Final Thoughts

Plenty of stuff happening this week. Two interesting releases planned in one week, after a drought of weeks.

The HL community continues to work hard and amaze us.

If you like what I am doing, please consider supporting me on Patreon.

And while I am talking about that, I’d like to thank all the supporters who have helped me reach $100 per month. I can’t thank you enough.

If you prefer not to make a monthly commitment, you can make a single donation via PayPal to:

All money received goes towards improving the site. Eventually, I hope to make running the site and creating content, including videos my part-time living.

☆ Please rate and share the video, and subscribe to the RTSL YouTube channel – Thank You. ☆

Remember, Finishing Half-Life is just the beginning!



  1. Has anyone ever gotten a straight answer from Valve about whether or not Patreon/Kickstarter/Indiegogo fundraisers for Source games are formally allowed? It seems like, even if the release itself was free, you personally are still making money off a Patreon. Legally, maybe you could claim that you’re being paid for your work rather than your product, but it seems like a sketchy gray area.

    I couldn’t get any response from their Source Engine licensing e-mail. It seemed like a simple enough question. Guess no one “chooses” to work on answering e-mails over there. 😛

    1. Patreon is seen as donations, so I think it shouldn’t be a problem.

      1. Donations are okay.

        In the case of crowdfunding, you may say that the money allow you to hire staff, buy tools and/or the Source engine license (with Bink/Havok license).

        Basiclly, you are not allowed to make mandatory paid content with a free engine license. You are allowed to make optional paid content however.

      2. I came across this article while looking for information on this. It’s from a year ago, at the height of the paid mod fiasco on Steam, but I thought it was an interesting read. https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/05/modders-video-game-industry-valve-steam/

        I’ve certainly seem examples of modders going to Patreon, but I’ve never seen any official statement regarding it.

  2. Back when that Rolling Stone article was posted on r/HalfLife, I made a comment about a different passage in it. It was a quote from Gabe Newell that basically said, “Believe me, we are acutely aware of how much we annoy our fans.”

    This line really stood out to me. Because either Valve is blissfully unaware of the demands of their fans, which they obviously aren’t, or they are perfectly happy to annoy them. Why would any company want to annoy their fans? I don’t get it. But there’s a lot of things about Valve’s attitude I don’t get, and it was just another element in the general “malaise” I have toward them.

    1. Gabe like to mess with us like the Internet mess with him ^^

    2. It’s a business, and one that is far from struggling thanks to some good ideas a few years back, namely Steam. Despite the demand for Half-Life 3, Valve has no reason to supply it because:
      a) they’re better off investing in the Steam brand, which is why we have a SteamOS, a Steam Machine, etc.;
      b) they have that policy where people work on whatever they want, and therefore they’re not ruled by demand but rather by their own whims. They’re basically a company of creatives, so naturally they want to try to innovate and make new things rather than go back to the well; there’s truth in that sequels are basically done to make money, most people would just rather keep making new things. Heck, I know if I had the chance, I’d rather pursue my own projects and make new stuff rather than work for my clients’ projects, so I don’t blame them for doing what they want rather than what the fans want.

      Honestly, I don’t blame Valve. I love the series and, more importantly, I would like to see the story complete (more than play it for gameplay alone, although that will surely blow my mind when it comes out). However, we were lucky enough that Valve made Half-Life 2 not just to make more money, but because they really wanted to pursue that idea and elevate the series and their technology even further; otherwise, we would’ve had a 2001 game where Gordon goes back to Black Mesa and beats a few new bosses, rather than a game with what was, at the time, a technological breakthrough of an engine and a game completely original and distinct from its predecessor.
      Personally, I seriously would much rather wait for Valve to have that spark again, rather than have them try to pump out a game “for the fans” that ends up being a glorified Episode Three with little to no imagination. Let them take leap years, let them try whole new directions only to scrap them altogether (I believe that may have happened at least two times already, going by the little information that they’ve said or that was leaked), let them grow frustrated, kick it into a corner and make a much easier Left 4 Dead 3. To me, what matters is the destination in this, and that would be the perfect Half-Life 3.

      1. well all of what you said would make sense if Valve just said years ago that they don’t work on Half-Life 3. Simple as that.

        1. What if they were trying whole new directions and then giving up on them completely, like I suggested? Because Gabe Newell actually somewhat confirmed it at one point in the past:

          We end up changing our minds as we’re going through and developing stuff, so as we’re thinking through the giant story arc which is Ricochet 2, you might get to a point where you’re saying something is surprising us in a positive way and something is surprising us in a negative way, and, you know, we’d like to be super-transparent about the future of Ricochet 2.

          The problem is, we think that the twists and turns that we’re going through would probably drive people more crazy than just being silent about it, until we can be very crisp about what’s happening next.

          I think I may have actually linked this before here, but it’s worth repeating, I guess. Here’s the source.

          Please don’t get me wrong, I’m not arguing with you. Heck, I’m just as mad as any of you, madder still since Marc Laidlaw left Valve, because, at least to me, that was the final nail in the coffin; there are other writers involved in the series since Episode One but, to me, the Half-Life story is Marc Laidlaw. I know he left of his own volition and I am 100% supportive of him, it just feels like Valve should’ve gotten it done before he decided to move away from the industry. (Though I’m sure there’s a highly-valued script or plot synopsis for Half-Life 3 in a Valve vault somewhere)
          All I’m trying to say is, if Valve actually quit Half-Life 3 temporarily or even completely at some point, I really don’t think it was to piss on fans. They don’t need to make it for the money, like I said, so if they are making it, it’s just to make it a fantastic game. It also means they’re in no hurry to release it, though, which is why it sucks for us.

        2. I agree with Crowbar wholeheartedly.

          I’m all for Valve taking whatever time they need. But it is rude to constantly give your fans the cold shoulder instead of telling them the truth. Sorry. There is just no other way to put it. It’s been almost 10 years. Fans still love the game. Why in the world would you choose to treat them that way? It smacks of incredible arrogance, if you ask me.

          And this is something I’ve found troubling, just in general, about future Source projects. If I’m going to spend countless hours of my own free time developing maps for someone else’s game, unpaid no less, I want to at least feel good about who I am supporting. And I grapple with the fact that I just don’t have much respect for Valve anymore.

          You know what MachineGames, the Wolfenstein: TNO team, did a few weeks back? They made, completely out of the blue, a fifth episode for Quake, which is owned by their publisher, Bethesda. 20 years old. And it was a lot of fun. No one expected it, no one asked for it, they just did it because they thought it was a fun way to give something back to fans. Do you see Valve doing something like that out of the kindness of their hearts? I don’t. But that’s the kind of thing that makes me feel good about a company. They aren’t the only ones either – John Romero still makes Doom maps from time to time. He may have gotten a lot of flak for Daikatana, but it’s clear from his continued interactions with the Doom and Quake community that he never forgot the fans or where he came from. I have respect for that.

          Or Frozenbyte. Trine was a great little franchise. They decided to go back years later and add on-line co-op to Trine 1, just because they could. They offered the Goblin Menace DLC for a rock bottom price for current owners. They also decided to offer their level editor and a started a Steam Workshop to support it. I respected them for that. Trine 3 comes along, and it wasn’t that great. I didn’t get disappointed at them – I felt bad for them. They clearly bit off more than they could chew. I still bought it because, in some way, they earned the benefit of the doubt from me. I didn’t want to see their company fail because of one bad game.

          The point is, that generosity toward fans sticks with you as a developer. So, when your fans shower you with praise and talk about all the nostalgic feelings they have for your work, making the choice to ignore them and say nothing actually says a lot about you.

          1. Well, I can definitely see where you’re coming from. It’s almost ironic that Valve, one of the early supporters of building a community and providing modding access and support, are now showing so little attention and care to the original community that took so much hard work and collaboration to build. Their best excuse so far is to not disappoint fans by switching directions constantly, but I suppose that’s no better than full-blown radio silence, plus others have managed to pull it off (The Last Guardian, Final Fantasy XV).

            I’ve been playing Devil’s advocate, but I do think Valve has gotten a bit aimless over the years. Valve hasn’t put out a single game I cared to play since Portal 2; even before that, while everyone was making a big drama about not buying Left 4 Dead 2 and then went on to buy it, I just silently let it slide until I got it on sale years later, just because. If I didn’t have my own little fan projects around the Half-Life story that I can’t stop obsessing about, I probably would’ve moved on from Valve myself years ago. But this way, all I can do is try to do my own fan stuff… and wait.

            That said, if you’re looking for a project you can feel good about spending your free time mapping for, I got a comic or two that could use your talent and experience… (Hm. Too forward? :-P)

            1. the argument about “we can’t say anything because we change directions constantly” is completely ridiculous. First of all we don’t want details, just say if it’s in development or not, nothing more.
              Second, why the hell are you changing directions all the time? Are they so incompetent? They can do that for a new franchise where they want to experiment, we are talking about Half-Life 3, the end to a trilogy. Honestly at this point I’d prefer if they just had done Episode 3, with Episode 2 graphics slightly better and almost the same gameplay, maybe some new enemies and weapons and be done with it.

              1. btw, just to show you how little Valve cares: In germany Half-Life 1 is censored. The thing is, when a game is 15 years old, you can put it to test again and rerelease it. A lot of developers have done that. Doom wasn’t available in Germany, now it is. Max Payne and Max Payne 2. Lots of games from that time, except Half-Life 1. It is such a simple thing to do and doesn’t cost them any money.

            2. Totally agree, with the overall point, but I felt I had to comment because I think that it’s slightly worse than us just being ignored.

              On and off over the years we’ve been drip-fed hints, and oddments of artwork, and “lost maps”. Nudge nudge wink wink comments by various Valve people, and hidden references here and there that have kept the HL community forums, and sites like this smouldering on with hope.


              The longer it goes on, the more people like me just end up putting it to the back of our minds, and priorities, and just think, what a waste.

              There are some fantastic mods & maps, as this site stands supreme testament to, but what we’re all hungering for is “What next Valve?” What happened after Ep2? Borealis? Portal/Portal 2, as Leon’s mod was named for the fact, we’re missing “closure”, though most of us hoped it was another segment of an enormous story arc, with more episodes and actual chapters/games.

              Remember the ongoing discussions about HL3 or Ep3? 6 years or so old now…..

              They’re treating us like we didn’t pretty much help pay for their empire. I sure hope they read every single thing on here…..

              1. I feel like the leaks have dropped off a fair bit. At least, to the point where they seem more like accidents than leaks. But you are generally correct that, worse than saying one thing or another, Valve actively strings everyone along.

                But at some point, like the tale of D.B. Cooper, the mystery resolves itself. When so many of the original HL crew either move on or retire, like Marc Laidlaw, chances are HL3 – if it ever happened – wouldn’t be the game we wanted anyway. It’s very rare for a studio to pull a Doom 2016, something with the same enthusiasm and reverence for the original like 20 years never passed in between. The Valve of 2016 is not the Valve of 2004, it’s as simple as that. And we cannot count on them to deliver like the 2004 team could because, it would seem, their priorities are radically different and their attitude toward fans is… well, it is what it is.

                1. That’s true, Maki. I suppose we’re better off just imagining what it might be, rather than getting something that may not be up to our expectations. We certainly don’t want to have a Duke Nukem Forever scenario on our hands!

  3. HR: Parasomnia looks cool as f**k. Also, that HL3 article was really crap. I thought RS was better than this.

    As for Zombie Escape, well I’m a huge, HUGE fan of the original CS gamemode, however I really hope it doesn’t end up like HDTF.

    About that lore question, I think it was Arizona, I don’t know specifically where though.

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