Freeman Rush: HL2 RTS Lambda Wars Free On Steam

What a cute little Citadel!

Way back when RPS was a wee bairn, Alec gurgled and waved his flabby babyfists at Half-Life 2: Wars, a mod turning Valve’s FPS into a Company of Heroes-ish RTS. Pistol squads facing off against headcrab zombies, breaking out RPGs to take down Combine gunships, and all that. Well, RPS has grown a lot since then, as has Alec, and so has HL2: Wars too. Having renamed itself Lambda Wars (it tried Spike but the other mods at school were merciless), it’s matured over the years and is now available on Steam as a standalone game free for all. You don’t even need to own Half-Life.

Lambda Wars, then, is a Combine vs. Resistance RTS with CoH-style base-building and capturing power nodes. Tech trees, research, upgrades – all that stuff’s in there. It’s made for multiplayer, supporting up to 8 players, but also has single-player missions and a tutorial on the side.

I remember being wowed all those years ago by the very fact that someone made an RTS in the Source engine, and have downloaded this to have a look later at how far it’s come. It’s looking pretty different all right.

Developers Vortal Storm note that the Steam launch also brings a new update, including new menus, improved matchmaking thanks to Steamworks, and a balance pass. Though it’s now out on Steam, it’s still using the “beta” label mods so adore. As for what they still need to add, well, they’re waiting on feedback.

Here, have a trailer from last year, when it was trying to get through Steam Greenlight:


  1. RARARA says:

    It must have taken enormous self-restraint to not just post NEW HALF LIFE GAME APPEARS ON STEAM and make the rest of the post viewable only after clicking on the article.

    Edit: Never heard of it before; looks pretty great!

  2. Turkey says:

    Watching that video feels like getting a glimpse into a weird alternate reality where Valve merged with Activision in the early 2000s or something.

  3. DavishBliff says:

    I’m excited to try this later, as good as the HL series is I’ve never cared too much about the story or setting (though it’s well done enough), so it’ll be interesting to see how much a different style of game in the same universe actually keeps my attention. It looks in the trailer like the headcrabs and zombies are environmental rather than an actual faction, which is cool. If they actually muck things up enough to be a concern (instead of just being something to clear at the beginning of the game) it would be very interesting indeed.

    Although the interface doesn’t look too great – Company of Heroes 2’s interface is just so good at conveying important information and letting you control multiple things at once, it can be hard to go back to older RTSes. I thought it would be fun to play the first Company of Heroes with a friend a while ago but not being able to monitor all my units at once made it immensely frustrating and I quickly uninstalled it because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to get over that hurdle.

  4. Diziet Sma says:

    If it plays anything like Halo Wars count me in!

  5. LionsPhil says:

    Heh, Steam’s telling me it’s a mod for Alien Swarm. I wonder if that’s because AS is free and HL isn’t, and Steam wouldn’t let you have a free mod for a non-free game that didn’t require it.

    Edit: Oh god, the voice acting. Argh.

    • Ennui says:

      Dev here. It was a mod for Alien Swarm (and Orange Box and HL2 before that) before becoming a free standalone game on Steam via Greenlight -we have a public release history dating back to the stone age.

      Valve simply don’t seem to mind us distributing a Source mod using HL2 content as a free, non-commercial standalone title :)