Name: Sylvain Gravejat
Location: Bordeaux
Posts: 136
People's knowledge of HLDM is sometimes sad. I've read that the game is slow, that it's "funny", or that it just plain sucks. Can it be a good multiplayer competitive game? No way I hear. Have these people actually played the game more than an hour? Ever watched a good demo? Probably not.

I know there's never been any big competition featuring HLDM (not that I know of anyway), it's not even featured on this website in the demos or whatever. So it's normal I guess that most "pro" or competitive FPS players don't know much about it.

Now with some players looking for a new game to play, and Half-Life 2 being released some time soon (maybe september 30, probably later..), I see some saying HL2 DM will suck just like HLDM sucks. Hence this column: let me show you what HLDM is about. This is a quick summary.

Movement

Bunny jumping: Half-Life is based on the Quake 1 engine and therefore features one of its "bugs": bunny jumping, or bunny hopping or speed jumping, however you want to name it. I'll take it most already know what this technique is about, it's a bit like Quake 3 strafe jumping, and it's in CPMA. It allows players to get faster and faster by constantly jumping, and it's based on...

Air acceleration: just like in Quake, you have a lot of air control, so you can keep your speed when moving around a map, while turning, when you jump you can change your direction in air etc..

Long jump: this is a jump that you can perform only once you've picked up the longjump module. It's performed by crouching and then jumping quickly, it gives you a speed of [default speed] x 1.8 and also makes the jump slightly higher than usual. You can use it as much as you want.

Gauss jump: there's no rocket jump in HL but there's the gauss jump. Just charge the gauss gun, jump, shoot the opposite direction you want to go to and feel the speed.

So on open maps (boot_camp), by combining long jump, gauss jump, bunny jumping and air movement you can really move at insane speeds.

Explosive jumps: all the explosives in the game can make you jump more or less, depending on how much armor you have, but it's usually avoided cause it just hurts too much. Except maybe in a couple of situations (crossbow jump to rpg on datacore for those who know what I'm talking about).

Weapons

Every weapon has 2 fire modes.

Guided RPG: you can either guide it after firing, or fire straight away. You can do some crazy RPG kills like firing before entering an area and then guide the rocket to the enemy. Q3 equivalent: the rocket launcher I guess, but it's still totally different.

Crossbow: 2 modes: zoomed and unzoomed. Unzoomed fires a non-hitscan explosive bolt that has a small damage radius so it's quite useless. Zoomed fires a hitscan bolt that does muchos damage, basically a railgun, except that you have to zoom first. Can kill someone that has just spawned in 1 shot.

Gauss: probably the most unique HLDM weapon. Primary fire is useless, secondary charges it until you release the click to fire. It's used for movement (as explained above), it also does lot of damage if charged fully, and it can go through walls, actually adding a big splash damage (this can be disabled with sv_ag_wallgauss 0). Q3 equivalent: railgun for damage, rocket jumps for movement.

Shotgun: just a shotgun. Secondary fire more powerful than primary (using 2 shells vs 1 shell) but also less accurate. Q3 equivalent: shotgun (I bet you had guessed it).

MP5: primary is an accurate machine gun, secondary fires a contact grenade. Q3 equivalent: closest is the lightning gun for primary, and rocket launcher kind of for secondary.

These are the main weapons used in HLDM. The other weapons are: crowbar (humiliation!), pistol, magnum, hornet gun, egon (powerful weapon, unbalanced lightning gun some might say, it's not that used though, available only on a few maps), snarks, hand grenades, satchels, tripmines.

Instant weapon switch: maybe not exactly instant, but something like 50 ms or so, it's very fast. And it's actually even more evil than in CPMA: once you shot a weapon you don't have to wait to switch to another weapon, but you still have to wait some time before being able to fire again with *this* weapon. So weapon combinations are a must, you'll often see someone gauss jumping, firing RPG, crossbow, and shotgun all while in the air.

Reloading: you have to reload most of the weapons (all the main ones except the gauss), I thought this needed to be mentioned since this isn't in Q3 or UT.

Headshots: headshots do x3 damage by default, it can be changed (sv_ag_headshot x).

Items

Long jump module: like mentioned above, usually one per map, sometimes 2, sometimes none. Very important item.

Health pack: each pack provides 15 health.

Armor pack: each armor pack gives 15 armor, this is a big difference with Quake/UT, you don't have this mega 100 armor on the map that you have to control. Armor is still very important. You're limited to 100 armor. Being full (100/100) means it's gonna take 3 crossbow shots to kill you for exemple, or one crossbow headshot.

Chargers: there's health and armor chargers here and there, "using" them slowly gives you more health/armor.

What you need to play

Half-Life also has its "pro" mod, used for competitions: Adrenaline Gamer. Provides your usual match commands, offers new game modes, uncaps bunny jumping (was capped in one of the HL patches a long ago, gg valve). You won't find many good players on original valve servers, usually.

Demo / Movies

Check out this demo if you want to see how HLDM is played (at a very good level). It's quite an old demo but still, Garpy owning Lynx is a must see. Unzip the demo in your aghl/ folder, command to watch it is "viewdemo garpy", or "playdemo garpy" if viewdemo doesn't work.
If you don't have HL or are just too lazy to install anything, I made a small avi of just 90 seconds of this game, you can get it here (30 megs). Nowhere near as good as the whole demo though.

You can find a whole bunch of HLDM movies here, I recommend the di.avi and the CS fanvideos, both quite good, fun and highly entertaining.

Related links

Adrenaline Gamer - Mod HLDM players use
HL-Elite - Another HLDM mod in development
HLCCL - European clan league
TournamentGamer - American teamplay & individual tournaments
Pro-HL - Misc HLDM news, 1o1 competition
AG-Stats - Player database, cheater database

Final words

There's many things to master in HLDM: movements can be very fast, weapons offer many combat possibilities, different maps provide different styles of play. There's online competitions for both duels and team games (around 50 active clans in Europe).

And now please stop being totally ignorant about HLDM :P. You can still say it sucks, but say it based on the real thing, not your altered view of it. (HLDM isn't CS ffs)

By the way I'm not saying HL2 DM will be the same. I'm just like the next guy, I know jack shit about HL2 DM, I don't even know if there is going to be a DM. But I know that if there is one I'll be giving it a serious try.