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HLZ 2016 Retrospective

I suppose we're late-bloomers here on Half-Life Zone. This sort of thing is done at the very beginning of the year. But I suppose better late than never. Its time for a retrospective of our grand journey thus far:

Half-Life Zone started out as almost a sort of joke between Awkook and I. We even roped Hunk-Guerrius into it at various points. We've had several hosts that I don't remember, Awkook at a few points used his own money and I think I have pulled some personal favors as well. We had a few sub-websites like for Half-Life Episode 2 or Yellow-Shift. We've had a lot of people come and go, some of it transparently because of me being an idiot.

But in all seriousness, as far as websites made on a whim by a few young dumb teenagers(!) go, I think we did pretty well. Despite Awkook and Hunk no longer actively working on the site leaving Maffu AKA Captain B.O and I to run the show I can still say this has been a cool journey. Its funny to think, we've all gone our separate ways in our own lives but HLZ is still around.

But what surprises me more is that we're not slowing down. I mean a website that posts a few things every so often doesn't have much to slow down in the first place. But its that we've switched to Maffu's personal hosting, he's re-written the entire website, we've updated and cleaned the forums.

But its not just us that hasn't slowed down either. Its the entire Half-Life community, everyday I still see modifications being made, little addons being released. I see a lot of older mods of both big and small being added to MODDB or getting steam patches.

Its really an incredible thing to see, that something so old is still so beloved and people are still finding ways of making this engine sing. Will Goldsrc still be played with in 2020? Will we still be around 2020? We'll have to wait it out and see, but I am hopeful for that future.

Speaking of that future, stay tuned for a roadmap update soon.

New reviews and new friends

After a while of radio silence, Half-Life Zone has some new stuff!

I've just posted a review of the classic mod Absolute Redemption (read it here) and shortly will be putting up the collection of modding tools that Wolf posted on the forums a few years ago.

In other news, Alex from Lambda Generation got in touch with us about featuring HLZ on their site. There's now a nice logo of ours on the "Around the community" section of Lambda Generation which will hopefully mean new visitors for us! If you haven't visited Lambda Generation before, be sure to check them out. They have a wealth of news, reviews and videos around Half-Life, Half-Life 2 and related games.

We have a few more reviews lined up over Christmas and new year so sit tight!

More Downloads

Our downloads section has been looking a bit empty, hasn't it? Time to fix that.

Along with a new layout that's better suited for lots of items, we'll be finding new downloads to add to the section. Do you have a copy of a mod or a tool or something else that has long-since vanished from the HL modding radar? Let us know and we might add it!

New Developments

Hi everyone. Long time, no updates!

Half-Life Zone has just gone through a complete back-to-front overhaul. This means it behaves about the same, but the code that powers it has been re-written to make it easier to add new features and maintain current ones.

I've also taken the opportunity to refresh the site's styling. The changes are fairly subtle at first but the main goal was to re-do it in a more maintainable fashion. One of the nicest new features is that the site is now responsive, meaning it adapts its layout depending on the size of your device. Resize your browser window to see it in action.

Here's a quick run-down of the major improvements:

  • Indexes and article pages have been re-done and look better than ever.
  • The gallery component of articles has been totally re-made bespoke to HLZ.
  • The site has been widened slightly and more room given to the content column.
  • I've implemented more friendly URLs for the site (e.g. halflifezone.com/reviews/poke646 instead of URLs with ?s and &s everywhere)

Also, a quick round-up of some reason fixes and improvements:

  • A couple of the reviews were pointing to the wrong data (open Paranoia and Point of View and you'd end up reading a review of Scientist Slaughterhouse). This has now been fixed
  • Fast download on our DMC server wasn't working, causing glacial download speeds for maps and other assets. This is now working.
  • A new live server stats component for DMC

Because of the far-reaching nature of the changes, things that were working may now be broken. If something's not right, please drop us a line on the forums with a description of the problem and your browser/OS details. If you can't even access the forums then, uh, go play Half-Life for a while.

Incoming are some new mod reviews from myself and DoomMarine23.

Stay tuned!

:koolkleiner:

What to expect from us

Okay, so Half-Life Zone is alive and kicking once more. But what can you - that's right, you - expect from us in the near future?

Trinity

Trinity is the amazing new rendering engine for Half-Life that was first released right here in 2011. Trinity is packed with features that gives Half-Life functionality and eye-candy once thought impossible. Allow me to scratch the surface on what Trinity can do:

  • New, high performance map and model renderers offering per-pixel and per-vertex lighting, respectively
  • (almost) No limit on static model polygons counts
  • External texture loading, allowing (almost!) unlimited resolutions on maps and models
  • Model decaling support (most notably blood splatter on unsuspecting crowbar'd scientists)
  • Extremely powerful particle engine
  • Configurable water shader

There aren't nearly enough tutorials and there isn't nearly enough publicity for Trinity and we'd like to fix that. Coming soon will be documentation and tutorials on how to make the most of Trinity.

Tutorials

Along with a bunch of Trinity content, we'll be making more tutorials on mapping, modelling and general mod-making. We have some ideas on the backlog but we'd really like you to tell us what we should write about. Let us know on the forums!

Reviews

Want our loud and uninformed opinions on a Half-Life mod? Let us know! We already have a dozen or so reviews but we'd love to make some more.

Improvements to the site

The site you see here is fresh off the production line and will contain bugs and missing feautures. It's under active developent and will see regular updates and improvements.

A fresh start

Welcome to the new and improved Half-Life Zone!

After a long period of being dormant we're thrilled to release our all-new site and get Half-Life Zone active again.

Gone is our half-finished Joomla! site and in comes our slick new replacement, designed from the ground-up by and for Half-Life Zone.

Stay tuned!

Our friends