- Planet Half-Life
name = Planet Half-Life
url = http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/
commercial = No
type = Gaming
registration = Optional
launch date = April 27, 1999
current status = Active
Planet Half-Life (often abbreviated to "PHL") is a gaming website owned and run by
GameSpy. Maintained by a voluntary team of contributors, the site is dedicated to providing news and information concerning the games "Half-Life" and " Half-Life 2", as well as any related modifications. It was originally founded by Kevin "Fragmaster" Bowen and is now one of the largest of an array of GameSpy-run gaming websites known as "planet sites".
As well as daily news updates, Planet Half-Life hosts extensive, in-depth collections of information regarding "Half-Life", "Half-Life 2" (along with "Portal"), "
Counter-Strike", " Team Fortress" and " Day of Defeat". These sections cover overviews of each game as well as any official expansion packs related to them, as well as going over their storylines, important characters, enemies, weapons, cheats, walkthroughs, and, in the case of the multiplayer games, map overviews and strategies.
The information found on these pages is original work drafted by all of the staff writers and senior editors collectively (although without any individual credits given, unlike other articles found on the site).
Planet Half-Life also supplies other content in the form of:
* Picture of the Day (POTD), a daily, often comical picture relating to "HL"/"HL2".
* Articles, various writings that don't neatly fit into any of the other feature subcategories.
* Comics, a dead feature that now acts as an archive of "HL"-related Flash animations by Kevin "Fragmaster" Bowen.
* Editorials, often-controversial opinion pieces released on a somewhat weekly basis.
* Featured Level, showcases the best levels from "HL"/"HL2" and their modifications.
* Featured Mod, showcases prominent, excellent "HL"/"HL2" modifications.
* Featured Skin, a dead feature that showcased the best new skins for "Half-Life" models.
* Fiction, original "HL"-related stories by PHL staff writers.
* Hosted Focus, a dead feature that showcased the best sites "hosted" by PHL.
* Interviews, a feature in which PHL interviews various mod developers, prominent community members and Valve employees.
* Mailbag, a reader-sustained feature involving staff-reader banter.
* Old Polls, a dead feature that archived the results of reader polls.
* PHL Film Festival, a special contest that ran from December 2006 to April 2007.
* Previews, a look at upcoming, unreleased modifications that look promising.
* Reviews, much more objective and critical looks at recently released modifications.
* Tech Corner, an audience sustained mailbag concerned with technical issues as well as a monthly column.
A major feature of Planet Half-Life, and all other planet sites, is its public forum. These forums include boards ranging from general discussion to technical help.
In August 2007, the forums changed format to comply with GameSpy's
ForumPlanetstandard (the "IGN SnowBoards" system), removing some outdated features and adding many new ones, such as a dynamic news box that streams in late-breaking news from not only PHL, but all other planet sites as well. This also changed the registration process for the forum, from a per-planet account basis to a network-wide, global account basis.
Planet Half-Life has been running public game servers since 2006. The original servers have since been abandoned, however a new crop has recently started up. Currently, PHL hosts 24/7 map rotations for "Counter-Strike 1.6", ', ', "Half-Life: Deathmatch", "" and "
Team Fortress 2". [ [http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/static.php?page=Servers PHL Public Game Servers page.] ]
In addition to public servers, Planet Half-Life also has a Steam Community group. [ [http://steamcommunity.com/groups/planethalflife PHL on Steam Communities] ] Currently, Steam Communities are still only in their early stages of development. The PHL Community can only host a chat room and specialized news updates for now, but more features will be added in the future based on suggestions from readers. [PHL Forum Topic, [http://forumplanet.gamespy.com/planet_half_life_community/b48783/4606819/p1/?3 The Planet Half-Life Steam Group Suggestions Box] Retrieved 2007-09-26.]
In June 2006, Planet Half-Life began its own
wikiproject. [ [http://phlad.planethalflife.gamespy.com/wiki/index.php/Main_Page PHL Wiki] ] To date, the PHL Wiki contains over a hundred articles dealing with fictional "Half-Life" characters, creatures and locations in a realistic, encyclopedic form as well as real life articles on mods, player terminology and strategy guides. The fictional and real life articles are kept separately, although they can be linked to each other. Before being announced publicly, most of the existing pages, particularly articles making up the fictional encyclopedia, were written by PHL staff writers. The PHL wiki is open to public viewing and editing, however it's location is buried in the main site's navigation bar and it has received very little promotion since its launch. Only a small handful of actual readers (not spambots, site staff or administrators) have registered contributions in the past year.
Planet Half-Life also offers free web hosting for "Half-Life" themed websites. The web hosting is regulated through
GameSpy, though the address of hosted sites is a subset of the Planet Half-Life domain. This was a major attraction of the site in its early days and many original "Half-Life" mod teams took advantage of the offer. However this feature has not been utilized nearly as much since the release of "Half-Life 2". A directory of the old sites still exists, although most have been abandoned by their creators. [ [http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/View.php?view=HostedSites.List Directory of PHL-Hosted Sites.] ]
As positions are voluntary, Planet Half-Life staff are free to leave at any time. New applicants must undergo a detailed application process and a subsequent trial period. Many staff members choose to volunteer for personal benefit, such as writing practice or a stepping stone to larger projects.
The [http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/static.php?page=Staff staff list] as of November 2007:
* John "Chief" Phillips, Site Director
* Alex "ACPaco" Capriole, Staff Writer
* David "zozart" Clark, Staff Writer
* Chris "LuNaTiK" Fryant, Staff Writer
* Mark "WeaponX" Gardner, Staff Writer
* Gregory "Capt. Insane" Hall, Staff Writer
* Steven "Ira" Kendall, Staff Writer
* John "Big Mac" McLane, Staff Writer
* Richard "Maxx Power" Ross, Staff Writer
* Mark Cocjin, News Editor, Steam Community Manager
* David "DeathToll_David" Highlander, News Editor, POTD Manager
* Brendan "Bdn" Hampton, News Editor
Planet Half-Life has been running since April 27, 1999. Since then, it has undergone numerous format changes, both in content and aesthetic. The following is a timeline of major changes [Internet Wayback Machine, [http://web.archive.org/web/*/http://www.planethalflife.com Planet Half-Life Archives] ] and other events.
*April 27, 1999, PHL first opens, covering "Half-Life" and editing resources. It looks nothing like it does today.
*November 16, 1999, Major changes to layout and color scheme, plus new sections covering "" and the announcement of "
*December 3, 2000, New sections covering "
Counter-Strike" and " Team Fortress Classic", these and other game overview sections consolidated into buttons at the top of left-side navigation bar as well as large buttons on the top of the front page, "Half-Life 2" section is buried.
*June 19, 2001, New section covering "".
*September 14, 2002, New section covering "
Day of Defeat".
*May 24, 2003, "Half-Life 2" section re-opens amid rumors of a September 2003 launch and early media releases.
*July 17, 2003, Major changes to color scheme and graphics in anticipation of "Half-Life 2" launch.
*June 11, 2006, PHL wiki is launched, with bulk of content made up by staff writers prior to public unveiling.
*September 13, 2006, Complete site format change to accommodate new "PNAP" article submission system, as well as new color scheme and graphics that are still in use today.
*September 13, 2007, PHL Steam Community officially announced to the public.
As of September
2007, the following games are covered by Planet Half-Life:
It is currently being debated as to whether or not the upcoming "
Left 4 Dead" will be included in these titles in 2008. Although co-developed by Valve Software, "L4D" has nothing to do with the "Half-Life" series, although it could arguably be equated to "Counter-Strike" or "Team Fortress". New sections for " Garry's Mod" and "The Ship" are also being considered. These games are already covered regularly in the news, which has lead some readers to half-jokingly refer to the site as "Planet Valve," "Planet Steam" or even "Planet Source" in the public forum.
* [http://planethalflife.gamespy.com/ Planet Half-Life]
* [http://www.forumplanet.com/planethalflife Planet Half-Life Forums]
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