November 19th, 2008 is the 10th anniversary of Half-Life. It's been ten years since Valve released its first game which went on to take the modding community by storm and spawn a number of completely new experiences that have forever influenced the first-person genre. The game itself was both a critical and commercial darling but for many people, Gordon Freeman's debut adventure was only the beginning of their Half-Life experience. After so many years, the game still tops the popular charts on ModDB for good reason. Valve has drawn strength from its boundless community of modders—almost half of their original IPs have been formed from the ideas of students and amateur developers that Valve have brought into their fold. The following is a list of mods that managed to make it into the big leagues courtesy of Half-Life:
Originally a mod for Quake, Team Fortress Classic transitioned to the GoldSource engine after Valve recruited the designers behind it. Robin Walker and John Cook led development on the mod which incorporated nine different classes and a variety of gamemodes that have since become the standard multiplayer fare. Second to only Counter-Strike in popularity, TFC encouraged teamwork having players work together to take advantage of the strengths of each class.
The mod that really took over the online community and harbored the title of being the 'most played online game' for years after its inception. Helmed by developers Minh Le and Jess Cliffe, Counter-Strike aimed for a realistic shooter experience. It put players into the roles of terrorist and counter-terrorist dealing with hostage rescues and bomb defusal within urban settings. With only one life to live each round, you needed to display cat-like reflexes and wits of steel to compete with the best.
Back in 2000, when the WWII genre churn was still in its infancy, Day of Defeat started development. It soon gathered a loyal following and quickly grew into a multiplayer experience that many favored over other commercial WWII-era games. The mod featured many landmark areas from the European theatre of war with multiple objectives needed to obtain victory. Two years after development had started, the core team was recruited by Valve for a retail version.
Mystery and murder on the high seas! Find out who your target is and assassinate them before you get whacked yourself. The Ship was a prototype created for Half-Life and eventually released as a commercial game on the Source engine. Unlike the other mods listed, The Ship is not developed under Valve but a company called Outerlight which is already at work on a sequel.
Not to discount all the other mods, Henley has put together a video covering the top 5 mods of all time for Half-Life (top). A lot of these mods still have active communities to boot, so don't hesitate to jump in! It's a quite a lovely roundup that will take you back. Enjoy!
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