HL3.txt: What’s in It and Should We Be Excited?

Discussion & Analysis Half-Life

It happened again. Another bit of what we want to believe is Half-Life 3 has appeared in the wild. But how big of a deal is this?

HL3.txt: What’s in It and Should We Be Excited?

3 text files were found by Steam Database inside of this Dota 2 directory 373301/game/core/tools/help/fgd/ ,for those unaware, ‘FGD’ stands for Forge Game Data, these files define all the entities in the game’s level editing tool and these txt files are being used to help define entities.

So, are what’s in these files believed to be part of the next installment in the adventures of Gordon Freeman? HL3.txt, RPG.txt, and AI_basenpc.txt


As if RPG.txt wasn’t enough to suggest some kind of RPG mechanics, HL3.txt features references to quests, quest goals, quest dialog, etc. Could the rumors about Half-Life 3 going open-world be true? Maybe Valve see the value of replay-ability of these games. That coupled with decent mod support makes for a great combo. Considering how Skyrim has been in the Top games by current player count stats since release.

Combine Pulse Ceiling Turret

This is the oddest one, in HL3.txt exists an entity called npc_turret_ceiling_pulse and the help text refers to it as ‘Combine Pulse Ceiling Turret’ in Half-Life 2, there’s an NPC called npc_turret_ceiling but it’s not refereed to as ‘Combine Pulse Ceiling Turret’. Is this a simple rename of an existing entity or is it a whole new ceiling turret? Without something more tangible like models or materials, we will have to wait and see.


prop_zipline exists in HL3.txt, but it’s not exactly new, this was found 3 months back by a Reddit user poking around Dota 2’s Client.dll

Is the Freeman going to be zip-lining around the Borealis? Or maybe it’s a new name for something old. If you remember in Half-Life 2 the Combine would sometimes repel down from the ceiling, I think prop_zipline might just be the Source 2 version of this.


Aside from the 3 I mentioned, there’s tons of stuff to go looking for, I didn’t even touch on Vehicles or Squads as I feel they were renamed HL2 work.

Should we be excited? 

In my opinion and this is just me speaking, not really all that exciting. We’ve been down this road plenty of times, looking through .dll files, JIRA leaks, etc. This just doesn’t get me pumped like it used to. You can say that I’m just being bitter or jaded and that’s probably true. Understand that at this point in the site’s life and me writing for it, I would much rather be writing about a new Half-Life 3 mod or showcasing some Fan-Art based off what happened in HL3. Not going through .txt files to scrounge up new info about a game that is in a constant state of development limbo to the outside world.

I’m not all that negative though, this is an interesting time for Valve and Steam. Let us not forget that Source 2 launched just this year and the tools for it look to bring new possibilities for what devs can make in Source-based games.

We are also at a point where Dota 2, CS:GO have launched and received countless updates and Valve currently has no upcoming games announced. With their new hardware coming out, the Steam Machines, Controller and the Vive, it’s pretty exciting to be a PC gamer right now. It’s a new era for Valve and that’s what gets me excited, not a couple of .txt files with some obscure code in it.

At the end of the day, we can still only speculate on what all this means and how it factors into the fruition of a new title. One things for sure though, the future for Half-Life 3 looks pretty bright for what it can be and how it can be made. I hope to see these snippets of code again when the game has it’s time in the sun.


  1. Half Life 3 is an Borderland open world like, I think.
    For me it’s not bad. But I want a new mind blowing physic engine like when Half Life 2 was released and more physics puzzle.

    • And you’re just the person they’re NOT going to make Half-Lfe 3 for, dodo021. If they ever felt the need to return to the series, they’re going to impress the world, again. More of the same? Fuck that, we have plenty.

  2. Commenter AvatarVietnam Flashbacks15 October 2015 at 1:40am

    The leaked files (there are four, not three) are the help files used by the Source 2 version of Hammer (the level editor), not .fgd files. rpg.txt isn’t related to hl3.txt, it has its own map (worldspawn) properties.

    • That’s what I said, they abandoned the FGD format and are using text files while keeping the FGD name for the folder and at the time of writing only 3 were discovered.

      • Commenter AvatarVietnam Flashbacks15 October 2015 at 8:35pm

        No, they did not. They still use .fgd files for Source 2. Like I said in my previous post, the leaked files are the help files used by the level editor, not .fgd files. The fourth file is lights.txt, and it was leaked at the same time.

        • I’ve updated the article to patch up the FGD issue, but at the time of writing the only 3 .txt files of interest were the ones I listed. Lights.txt seemed pretty uninteresting aside from the Day/Night cycles. My bad for not mentioning that in the article.