Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

I always felt a little sorry for Fortress Forever [official site]. The folks behind the Source engine mod started in the long period when Valve had seemingly abandoned Team Fortress 2, with the goal of recreating Team Fortress Classic-y style class-based shooty shenanigans on a newer engine. Then Valve unexpectedly re-announced TF2, and Fortress Forever only beat it to release by one month before attention flocked to Valve’s shiny new thing.

Fortress Forever is a pretty dang different game, though, especially after years of Valve bolting new things onto TF2. If you fancy some good old-fashioned 2forting, it’s easier than ever, as the latest FF update brought it to Steam as a free standalone.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Doom isn't the only aging shooter than's getting bloodier through modding. Now Half-Life has received a generous dose of gore and gibs with the Brutal Half-Life mod. Inspired by Brutal Doom, the adventures of Gordon Freeman have taken a turn for the gross with dismemberment, decapitations, gallons of blood, and some new moves.

Oh boy. I done made a mess of Barney.

Instead of just shooting monsters and soldiers, now you can chew off their individual limbs with bullets or pop their heads off with a shotgun blast. In fact, if you shoot off all their arms and legs, they'll flop to the ground and writhe around, still alive. You can smash their bodies into splattery glop, too. Those Barneys sure have a lot of blood in them. At least they used to.

Sorry, Vort, but the easiest way to get your collar off is by removing your head.

Not only do your opponents get covered in blood, you do too. After wading through the gooey spray that results from hyper-violent close-up combat, your weapons will become caked in gore. Speaking of weapons, there are a couple new ones. The M249 from Opposing Force has been added so you can really let some lead fly. And, Doom's own BFG can be collected, letting you put the green-glowing smackdown on crowds of enemies.

Not surprising that your own weapons get covered in blood.

There are some new animations, because as you'd expect, when you shoot someone's leg, arm, or head off they tend to move a bit differently. There are also added effects, like different types of explosions and smoke. The mod also comes with its own map, a sort of arena-style monster zoo for you to run around and fight whatever sort of enemies you like, accessible from the main menu.

And, the mod allows you to kick a dude, just like real scientists do. I always felt like Freeman should have been able to kick. He's gotta have strong legs after all the walking, sprinting, and standing in Limbo he's been doing.

Just open the door, Brainiac.

Brutal Half-Life can be found here, and it comes with its own installer which adds it to your Steam games list after a restart. It's only in beta, so I did get a couple crashes and once or twice maps didn't load properly. Otherwise, it's a bloody good time.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alec Meer)

Better than kings - gods!

The leaked Half-Life 2 beta is an old, old story – and how it happened, and what happened next was documented masterfully by RPS chum Simon Parking a few years back – but a recent fan compilation of all the characters in it who never turned up in the finished article is fascinating. This is the Half-Life 2 that never was, and yet, to some extent, it does exist after all. … [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer
PC Gamer

Something is happening over at BMRF.US, a website associated with the Source-based Half-Life remake Black Mesa: Source. The site is repeating an emergency broadcast warning of "a disaster of unknown type" that has occurred at the Black Mesa Research Facility, and ordering the immediate evacuation of everyone within 75 miles. Half-Life 3 confirmed?

Well, no, I think we can safely say that's not it. But the warning may have something to do with a coming launch of Black Mesa: Source as a stand-alone game on Steam. It was originally released as a free mod in 2012, and in late 2013 was among the first games to get the Greenlight on Steam—a somewhat surprising development, given that it's based entirely on Valve's intellectual property.

It's generally assumed that when the commercial launch rolls around, it will include the Xen levels, which weren't included with the original mod. According to a post on the Black Mesa: Source forums, however, one of the developers said the alert "has nothing to do with the imminent release of Xen," but added that more hints may be in the offing.

It's worth remembering that the BMRF site was actually part of the Black Mesa: Source ARG that launched shortly after the mod was released, and as noted by Reddit, the site is owned by the Black Mesa web developer. It's legit, in other words, but legit what, exactly, remains a mystery.

PC Gamer

Something is happening over at BMRF.US, a website associated with the Source-based Half-Life remake Black Mesa: Source. The site is repeating an emergency broadcast warning of "a disaster of unknown type" that has occurred at the Black Mesa Research Facility, and ordering the immediate evacuation of everyone within 75 miles. Half-Life 3 confirmed?

Well, no, I think we can safely say that's not it. But the warning may have something to do with a coming launch of Black Mesa: Source as a stand-alone game on Steam. It was originally released as a free mod in 2012, and in late 2013 was among the first games to get the Greenlight on Steam—a somewhat surprising development, given that it's based entirely on Valve's intellectual property.

It's generally assumed that when the commercial launch rolls around, it will include the Xen levels, which weren't included with the original mod. According to a post on the Black Mesa: Source forums, however, one of the developers said the alert "has nothing to do with the imminent release of Xen," but added that more hints may be in the offing.

It's worth remembering that the BMRF site was actually part of the Black Mesa: Source ARG that launched shortly after the mod was released, and as noted by Reddit, the site is owned by the Black Mesa web developer. It's legit, in other words, but legit what, exactly, remains a mystery.

PC Gamer

Half-Life 3 it ain't, but if it's a new Half-Life game you crave then maybe Lambda Wars will do the trick. An RTS spin on the Half-Life universe, Lambda Wars has been kicking around the modding community for a while as HL2: Wars, but now it's absolutely standalone and most winningly, free. The beta has been available since the weekend. 

The game uses the Alien Swarm engine, but as a newly standalone offering you won't need a copy of that nor any Source Engine game to run this. As either the Combine or Resistance you can play online with up to eight human or AI players.

Check out the trailer below:

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Graham Smith)

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.>

You read the headline and the tea spurts from your mouth. “Have I pla–!?” Half-Life! The gall of it! To suggest that not every PC owner has already experienced Valve’s formative first-person shooter. The frivolity of it! To give space to those who have might enjoy reminiscing or celebrating a game long loved but no longer frequently discussed.

I know> – I’m just a mess about it myself.

… [visit site to read more]

PC Gamer

Everyone still wants Half-Life 3. People feel its continued absence like a pain in the gut. Some people carry this weight around with them every day, and may well do so for the rest of their lives. Some people, when you say something nice has happened, silently whisper to themselves "Half-Life 3 confirmed?" 

This doesn't mean we ought to 'engulf' the lives of Valve employees, as a press release for a new crowdfunding campaign calls upon us to do. A ploy concocted by two interns at New Mexico ad firm McKee Wallwork & Co., the campaign is seeking $150,000 to organise a series of events and advertising sprees intended to persuade Valve to develop the anticipated installment. 

It's a unique idea - and it's probably not as dodgy as it sounds - but some of the wording is very problematic indeed, especially in light of recent harassment campaigns in the games industry. According to the press release received by VentureBeat, Half-Life fans have "never truly shown a united front", though "a little concentrated effort might finally get us what we want. The press release headline reads Indiegogo campaign to engulf Valve employee s lives.

VentureBeat reached out to the campaign creators Chris Salem and Kyle Mazzei, and this is what they had to say regarding the potential for harrassment. Obviously, lines like [engulf people's lives] is a little sensationalized to get people s attention, Salem said. But we think we re doing everything in a good-hearted way. We aren t going to have people camped out in front of Valve headquarters for weeks at a time. It s just going to be a one-day thing.

The IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign involves the purchase of Google Ad Words, mobile billboards, a Valve doorstop campaign populated by Gabe Newell look-alikes and a concert. It's currently raised $36.

Rock, Paper, Shotgun - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Alice O'Connor)

[Gordon Freeman: ]

Hold on a second, chums. Look at that screenshot again. That’s the opening scene of Half-Life with subtitles. Pretty important atmosphere-setting, isn’t it, that train ride narration? It makes Black Mesa seem so much bigger than us. Half-Life used an awful lot of speech to reveal what was going on, from our one-sided conversations with scientists to soldiers yelling at each other. Here I pull off an incredibly adept pull-back-and-reveal: those subtitles were added by a mod which only came out this year. A new version’s now out, with new ways to make this side accessible to folks who can’t or don’t want to hear it.

… [visit site to read more]

...

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