Review: Source Forts
Mod Type: Half-Life 2 Multi-Player
Mod Website: http://www.sourcefortsmod.com/
Mod Download: SourceForts Zip (13.3 MB)
Review Date: January 27, 2006
"Source Forts" is a multiplayer modification for Half-Life 2. Its main game play function is to utilize the Half-Life 2 physics, and physics manipulation system to help construct your own base. You would not usually consider such a modest file size, just 13.3 MB, to hold such quality,
but these file sizes are reminiscent of amateur made single-player mods and fun-only multiplayer mods. However Source
Forts' simple style and unique game play make it a must for any mod freak seeking something just a touch different.
I�ve assigned the help of Andrew "entRo" Roquemore, a part of the Source
Forts development team, whose job it is to manage quality control, especially
with beta testing and public relations. He�s been kind enough to answer a few questions for us.
Fresh: For the poor folks who have never played Source Forts before, could you to the best of your ability
summarize the game? What are its key features? How its played? What makes it different from other mods,
especially those that take advantage of the Half Life 2 physics
||This shot shows a concrete base, modded with panels to deny enemy access. In the middle a bunker to repel the enemy while they run through no
entRo: Source Forts is, as it's name implies, a game that revolves around building a fort. The game makes full use of the Source engine's multiplayer-friendly physics system to allow teams to construct whatever they desire by freezing basic building blocks and panels in place in any manner of configurations.
The game play functions on classic capture-the-flag mechanics, but when you throw in the user-made bases that defend the flag, it's not at all like any other CTF game. The game is separated into rounds, build and combat. In the build round, teams are separated and given materials to build their bases with, whereas in combat, the teams are pitted against each other where they attempt to do whatever necessary to get the other team's flag.
It's a bit difficult to describe a typical game of SourceForts, since it doesn't really exist. No two games are the same. Preferences in building techniques and styles vary from player to player, so when you have teams of multiple players all building the same base, you're bound to encounter something different every time you play.
He�s damn right too. To the new player this mod is somewhat self-explanatory if
they've played Half-Life 2, and especially to those who have played Garry's Mod. As soon as you spawn for the first time you get an eerie sense of where to go and what to do. The game play is controlled with a time limit on construction, normally around 700 seconds. This time is given to spawn blocks and panels to construct your base and give yourself not only a solid base but good platforms and mid air bunkers for vantage-point defense. Then followed by a round of attacking their base, the object to destroy/jump the walls and capture the flag, in this mode of play you choose a class, choices being the hard hitting soldier, the quick scout, the fort wrecking rocketeer, the long range sniper and the builder, a key player in the game allowing you to build and repair in combat time. As Andrew said, there�s no set base style, however some designs work better than others.
Fresh: This mod hasn't had the smoothest ride so far, with key designers and programmers leaving, internal disputes and the creator of the mod himself disowning the mod. Do you feel that this has had a negative effect on the game as it is now? Would you say its battle scars only add to its charm, being an inherit part of its evolution?
entRo: Source Forts has definitely had a rough life. We've been faced with the difficulty of pioneering a new genre of game play, but I think we've handled it pretty well. We're on our third lead coder, staff members have come and gone, but the general vision for the game's future hasn't really changed much. I think that the game has definitely grown and stood to benefit from these problems, with the staff and community always bouncing back and accepting of changes that we've had to make.
The history of the modification is fruitful to say the least, however these boys have worked miracles and basically recoded the mod form scratch no so long ago. However, I would say that the brilliance of this mod is its simplicity and style. The fact is this mod looks very much like HL2: DM, all the weapons are the same, the props and most of the textures are from HL2 giving a small download size, comforting similarity and instant playability. However the style of game play is owned to the amazing coding this game has, unlike many mods the game�s beauty lies below the surface.
Fresh: We know you as "entRo," but who else is involved with the development of this mod, and what do they each bring to the table?
||Props like this flag you�ll most likely have seen before, encasing this flag in blocks is a bad idea, since to cap the enemy flag you must take it to your own, leaving room for it to be stole. Clever design is key.
entRo: Here is our team, in no particular order:
Our lead coder is Voltaire, who slaves away long and hard mashing out bugs and implementing all the cool features that the team dreams up.
Stieffers is our website coder and artist, who recently finished re-coding the entire SourceForts website and forums.
FicWill is our resident modeler/skinner and will be producing custom SourceForts models and media as the mod edges its way towards a total conversion.
SendMail is our Linux/server admin guy, maintaining and building our site along with all the server issues we deal with.
entRo is our quality control guy, who organizes the beta testing events and team, all ready to test the latest version that we produce to it's very limits.
Khuskan is our sound engineer, who handles music, weapon sounds, announcer sounds, and anything else we need sound for.
Last, but not least is our 2D artist, K3Y, who produces amazing concept art in drool-worthy detail.
The development team is essentially a core of key people, each with a job to get on with. This modestly sized team
ensures that there are no disputes with the games direction, and
is continuity ensured at all times with every patch. In their mIRC channel, #sourceforts on gamesurge.net you'll find speaking with the team a much simpler task than usual. It didn't take long to grab their attention and ask a member to answer a few questions on behalf of
Planet Half-Life, they were all willing to help and
seemed like very nice blokes. This also helps them communicate with the players who can keep them abreast of bugs or issues within the game. Also ensuring that game will not take a direction the fans dislike. A simple strategy bigger teams
such as Valve forgot when putting teleporters into Team Fortress
Classic's last update.
Fresh: We all know that most of the current HL and HL2 mod's longevity owe a lot to the community especially with a strong clan scene. What is the clan scene like in Source Forts? Are there any leagues or ladders to get involved with?
entRo: Many prominent members of the community, as well of a few of us on staff, have taken part in the competitive scenes of many games, from Counter-Strike, to Natural Selection, to Tribes. It'd be a disservice to our community to not be thinking about clans and competition.
We DO have a test ladder set up on our website, but the ladder will officially launch and competitive play will really start simultaneously with the upcoming release of 1.9.1.
In my opinion, this mod is very well setup for clan play. Even on public servers its easy to find people who usually play together executing complicated structures and advising the new folk on what�s best to do. Etiquette is already evolving; its bad karma to keep resupplying using the ammo boxes in spawn and constantly spamming grenades.
Fresh: Given that much of the literature regarding Source Forts is about the past or present. What can we expect to see from the development team in the future? What direction do you see the mod going in future betas? Do you have any juicy pieces of information to wet the fans appetites for future versions of the game?
||Teamwork is key, when building structures high up away from the block spawn area you'll find people shooting blocks up to you with the gravity guns primary attack, for you to catch and put in place.
entRo: We're currently hard at work on 1.9.1, and we just moved from alpha testing to beta testing on January 10th. We'll get all the kinks out of that, release it, and then we'll continue development. Though our main efforts are focused on 1.9.1 at the moment, we're still very much working on 2.0.0.
Once beta testing is well under way, entRo (myself) will be starting up a developer diary on our forums that will explain 1.9.1's features, fixes, and the general beta testing experience and what it entails. There's also an ongoing puzzle on the forums, but the end product will remain a secret until it's solved.
Source Forts and its community is expanding rapidly and it's only going to get better. The team offers their kindest regards and thanks to Fresh as well as Planet Half-Life for the opportunity to do this interview, and is eager to welcome and see new players on the
Source Forts forums as well as in game.
Big thanks to Andrew "entRo" Roquemore, and the rest of the development team for taking the time to answer the questions and quires we put forward. Good luck for the future guys.
The Bottom Line
Source Forts at the moment is the realization of a new type of game play. It�s the creation of an idea that has crossed many peoples mind since the HL2 physics system was delivered to us. Source Forts is the realization of this idea in its best form, providing a healthy alternative to other
capture the flag style mods. This mod is a must for any team player whose imagination knows only the boundaries of the skybox.
Game Play: 9/10
Replay Value: 10/10
||Different map styles pose new design problems for teams, making sure access out of the base is available for your own team, however trying to make it impenetrable the enemy.
How to Play
Step 1: Update Steam. Make sure you start Steam and let it update prior to installing a mod. If you do not have Steam, you will need to visit SteamPowered.com to download it and register an account.
Step 2: Set up Source Forts. Download and install the Source
Forts Zip (13.3 MB). Obviously, you'll have to have Half-Life 2 in order to play it.
Step 3: Restart your Steam client, click on the Source Forts icon in your games list and start a new game. It's that easy!
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