Reflection: HLywoodWritten on the 4th of July 2021
Date: September/December 2003
Welcome to the Frag-Net Reflection Section, and Happy Independence Day! We are celebrating this year a bit familiar but different with our new page here on Frag-Net. What is the Reflection Section? This will be a look-back at some of our favorite mods that have stood the test of time.So today we're starting off with something simple and sorta tied to the holiday: HLywood
Now, before we go much further, one thing we'll do here is go over the mod history and if worth mentioning, our own history with this title. HLywood came from The Whole Half-Life, a site that has been hosting levels and events for Valve related games for two decades (as of writing). TWHL also holds mapping competitions, to see who on the site can create the best level based on a theme. This is where HLywood came from, it was entered by SlayerA into the "Map a Movie" comp in late 2003. There it went against some heavy entries, eventually winning third place, not bad! Though the author had submitted an earlier version, we sadly don't have that and are looking at the "final" release.
As for my history with the mod? 10 years ago to this very day, I played HLywood for the first time, and have ever since made it a 4th of July tradition. Funny, considering the mod references the 90s movie "Independence Day", and I didn't even realize this at first! I had never seen ID4 at that point, shocking I know.
Right off the bat we're greeted to some classic low bitrate movie soundbites with the gimmick here being you have two "actors" who constantly quote various movies and scenes. You'll have to find and escort the actors through the back-lot/set which is filled with, er, monsters. We have samples from many many movies, including War Games, The Matrix, Star Wars, and so much more all listed in the readme if anyone is really that curious. It's kinda crazy how many there are for such a silly map, even I heard some new ones today if you can believe that.
Soon you will enter the studio building, fight more monsters, and uncover a giant blue screen showcasing the famous scene from Independence Day. If you walk up to the camera, you'll activate a sequence that recreates the special effect, and it looks pretty nifty for an amateur map. Take note that a glock is hidden here which will help with the rest of your few minute journey.
Finally you'll have your "actors" help you into the next room where you'll do much of the same till running into G-Man, aka the "agent" of your actors, and he happens to be an expert in movie quotations as well, leaving you with a thought provoking Big Lebowski message before fading to black.
And that's it! While it's a very short experience, I feel like HLywood exemplifies what counts as a mod, and what counts as just an addon or mappack. For example, SlayerA used the "sentences.txt" method for having more control over what and how many quotes the human NPCs could throw at you, something only suited for a mod proper. This gimmick along the fact the map is built around a Hollywood back-lot/set rather than a movie scene itself I've always found to be creative, for they could've just done a simple sound file replacement or mapped their favorite set-piece (which they technically did here), but these choices always made this mini-mod stick out to me.
It may not be an outstanding masterpiece, but it's always been charming, and now that you've read about it, give it a go yourself! And enjoy your 4th of July holiday! I don't know what I'll be doing tonight, but just like every year, regardless of what happens, I'll be playing HLywood.Xylemon