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After Nearly 9 Years, PlanetPhillip Has Closed Its Doors

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PlanetPhillip was a website focused on chronicling, uploading, and reviewing custom maps and mods for both the Half-Life series, and the Portal series. Founded on the 23rd of September 2003 (coincidentally, the day of the infamous Half-Life 2 delay), it was far more than just a simple map database. It had many different features, spin-off projects and websites, as well as a number of competitions for writing and level design. It had its own active mini-community, and for many of us, it might have been the first Half-Life site we ever visited.

After Nearly 9 Years, PlanetPhillip Has Closed Its Doors

But after almost a decade of perseverence, service and activity, PlanetPhillip has unexpectedly closed its doors. The site has been completely closed down, and all the content has been removed.

The closure comes in the midst of several important side-projects, such as The Replay Experience Experiment (which was to take us on a ride down nostalgia avenue, for a full playthrough of the entire Half-Life franchise), and the 6×10 Mapping Competition (which encompassed 6 level design mini-competitions for HL2: Episode Two, each lasting 10 days and all leading up to a grand prize).

Phillip says the site might just re-open in October, but he says that at this point, he doubts it. Here is his full statement:

I have run the site for over 8 years and invested over 10,000 hours into it. Others have helped me, but it’s mostly my work.

Recently, I have become tired. Tired of how every weekend is consumed with the list of tasks related to the site.

Tired of dealing with content thieves, idiots and the general hassle that goes with such a comprehensive site.

No doubt some will call the closure “melodramtic” but they have no idea of what’s involved.

I may reopen in October and having the summer off may recharge my batteries. At this point I doubt it.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who has helped me and to all my dedicated readers.

Pleae do not email me as I will only be checking my email once a month and will NOT be replying to ANY website or gaming related messgaes.

The people who are currently involved with me on projects will recieve an email.

There was no prior warning, and there currently is no content archive of any sort. Apart from that, that really is all we know and have directly concerning the closure, for the time being.

Let me say that PlanetPhillip was an incredibly important part of the Half-Life community. It hosted countless maps and mods (and so many of them extremely well-done), numerous insightful interviews and editorials, and generally, a whole lot of really great content and media.

And let’s not forget that Phillip helped us get off the ground, during the infancy of LambdaGen exactly two years ago. Without his support, what’s to say we’d all still be here?

For many of us, it might have been a constant in the turbulent chaos of a fragmented and troubled community. And seeing it close down represents a huge loss for the entire Valve community. There’s no denying that the Half-Life fanbase is currently passing through some very tough times, and this year seems to have brought the worst of it all (and I sincerely hope Valve understands this). Between this, and the closure of Steamcast two months ago, the community has taken some hard losses as of late.

But all is not lost. Things always change in a community as large as this one. And sometimes, change can be extremely abrupt. As they say, everything is in flux. We might be seeing a time of transformation for the entire fanbase at large. PlanetPhillip was not the first to go down, nor will it be the last. But that doesn’t lessen the far-reaching impact of its closure – not by one iota.

Still, whatever happens, I personally believe that the community will remain as creative, as passionate, and as active as it’s ever been. So, in the words of Cave Johnson: “Let’s all stay positive, and do some science.”

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38 Comments

  1. WOW I was away along time: It was good to know you Phil. I was with you almost from the beginning. I started at the Hanger, then when it closed I was in search of a new home. Philip took me in.

    • Rossi, this article is from 2012.

      You’ll be glad to know that Planet Phillip is alive and well in a new form as runthinkshootlive.com

  2. The site is now back online.

    I have posted some details on the frontpage.

  3. Thanks, Phillip, you provided me with hours of HL entertainment for free! Take all the time off you need.

  4. Certainly not a joyous occasion; I feel Phillip, however deeply tied to the community and his work, has done whatever he could in the past to keep things going. I’m getting the vibe that among the issues listed, something must have gotten the best of him to take this drastic action.

    He was always a spontaneous fellow though when it came to posting new projects or poll questions or even whole articles and level reviews. This ‘event’ is just as spontaneous I think; best wishes to Phillip and his work whatever he ends up doing with it!

  5. Thanks for all the kind words or support.

    FUCK YOU! to all the people complaining. I don’t owe you shit.

    If I spend my time collecting all the maps and mods in one place and then close it, tough.

    Tuesday 10 July: Just a quick update

    NOTHING has been deleted: calm down.

    I just needed to close thye site completely for my own personal reasons.

    I wouldn’t just delete the site and files. I’m stressed but not stupid.

    Stay Tuned

  6. This really sucks, Especially since he was in the middle of so much (good) work. However its outrageous to claim he’s done away with all the data on the site. He may be sick of his work, but he’s too passionate about it to just throw it away. I’ve been in his shoes once before working with Modinformer and all it takes is a vacation or two, and some time to think about things. Best of luck to Phil, and shame on those who claim any wrongdoing on his action.

  7. Darn this is a real sad, but these things take a lot of work and dedication.

    Once valve turns on the steam workshop for HL, it will then copies everything he’s ever done – thanklessly on top of that, and all those new fanboys will never know of philip and they won’t even care.

  8. I agree completely. I hope nobody ever trusts this man with a single byte of their data again.

    Hosting a site that collects community-created content comes with a responsibility to that community. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life running the site, but you do have an obligation not to spend nine years gathering other people’s work and then flushing it all down the toilet.

    Sure, sometimes you have to say goodbye, but you can do that without screwing over people who trusted you. Find someone to take over the project, or to coordinate moving all the content to a new site, or announce that PP is now a static archive that won’t be updated anymore — pretty much anything except what he did.

    • That was supposed to be in response to Merried Seinor Comic.

    • That’s what’s so ODD about this: he doesn’t normally do this kind of thing!!

      Either something catastrophic happened to him in his life; or someone managed to hack the site, and hijacked the page with that misspelled note.

      And both you and “merried senior comic” need to ask yourselves: “what kind of disaster in your lives would cause you to do something like this??” I know something about Phillip, having spoken to him many times over the last 5 years or so, and I can think of a number of scenarios that would fit quite well, and would be totally understandable.

      So cut him some slack; and if you’re having trouble with that, try putting yourself into his shoes, before you flame him for something you don’t fully understand.

      • I am not the caretaker of nearly a decade’s worth of other people’s work, but I can imagine being one, and I can imagine any number of reasons I would choose to stop, from the trivial to the terrifying.

        But I can’t imagine a single reason I would choose to destroy an archive representing millions of hours of passionate effort. Abandon it, sure. Hand it off to someone else, absolutely. But wipe it off the face of the Web with no warning? Never, ever, not ever.

        Like I said: He could have named a successor. He could have given people time to rescue their stuff before he pulled the plug. He could have just walked away. If he had to quit, he had to quit — but he didn’t have to do it like this.

        • Given how he stated things, I believe he still has the data, and will bring it back. Of course, we may not be privy to what happened–say, catastrophic hosting collapse–and the data is all gone. Who knows?

          I for one am with Phillip, and if I can help I will.

  9. I suspect that it was somebody who may have angered Phillip at some point just prior to the closure, which caused him to have a rage or something. At this point, we should heed the letter and let him calm down for a bit. I personally am very interested in what’s the explanation behind the rage, etc. but it’s highly unlikely we’ll find out. Best of luck for an october comeback, I believe he’ll come around.

  10. Holy fvkking azzcrackers.

    Talk about the surprise when I hit the site (after holding it in Safari on my iPad, because I was ACTIVE in the TREE), and find it dead.

    Dammit, it’s like someone ripped my heart out. I’m sure Phillip had his reasons, and that they were valid: but, geez, at least arrange for someone to at least host the links, or take over the site and run it while gone on sabbatical.

    This was, hands-down, my favorite online site for anything gaming, but most especially HalfLife related. I just rediscovered it (yet again), and got very into the TREE, and was enjoying it immensely.

    Phillip: Please consider handing the site to someone else. We don’t want to lose your content. You were a gem, a bright light in the community, and we don’t want to lose it all.

    Thank you so much for all your hard work.

  11. No… where are my mods

  12. I also guess the community is taking some losses recently because the parent game that originated everything is simply getting older and older?

  13. The great strength and the great weakness of PlanetPhillip always was that it was the project of just one highly passionate and creative individual.

    I doubt Phillip will ever read this… but on the off chance that he might:

    Many thanks for the great site and all your work over all the years. Take a good rest – as long as it takes – and don’t let the b*stards grind you down.

    With respect,

    Passerbywhousedtoplayhalflifealongtimeago

  14. Commenter AvatarMerried Seinor ComicJuly 8th 2012 at 9:52pm

    What a big crybaby. If this guy had any respect at all for the community or the many talented individuals behind the mods he hosted, he would have given an early warning notice he was about to shut down and delete everything. That way, at least some people could have saved the material before it was lost forever. But no, he just pulls the plug out of the blue and tells everyone to shove off.

    We shouldn’t be mourning the guy who can’t even spell “melodramatic” in his tearjerker of a goodbye letter. The real tragedy here is the permanent loss of so many maps and mods due to the abrupt actions of one emotionally unstable manchild.

    • I agree. There are some audio interviews I want to use for my A2 level coursework. Luckily I downloaded them a few weeks ago. I’m not sure if I should even ask for permission now.

  15. This is really shocking news, especially considering that Phillip was in the middle of a mapping competition and the summer event. PlanetPhilip is a fantastic website so it will be really sad if all the effort that was put into it is wasted. Perhaps it could be handed over to someone else in the community to host?

  16. Sad times… :(

    I salute you PlanetPhilip.

  17. Best of luck to you Phillip and I also hope that you will reopen the gates in October be it on full base or just to allow people to download all your stuff for themselves so that they can archive the stuff you’ve hoted over the years.

    Many of your hosted maps&mods where nowhere else to find. So it’s a huge loss for the single player community and the Half-Life community as that.

    Even so thanks for 9 wonderful years with you in Half-Life and while I don’t know the exact reasons behind the site closure don’t let the pressure gonna eat you up.

  18. I don’t mean to be insensitive to the issue at hand, but what about the Combine OverWiki? That’s been down for a few days now as well due to an expired domain. I wish I could offer my condolences to PlanetPhiilip, but I didn’t learn about it until about a week ago. The Combine OverWiki, however, I really wonder about.

    • I’ve spoken to Klow – the OverWiki will be back online very soon. They’re simply having issues with hosting and domain renewal, but rest assured that all is well on that front.

  19. This saddens me deeply, but sometimes you gotta move on.

  20. Maybe it’s some kind of person drama, maybe something bad with his family (illness)? I Hope that everything will be okay.
    And I really hope that, at least, he’ll reopen his site just for some short time, that people can download all the stuff.

    Instead of shutting down, he should just leave the site, not updating, but just leave, i don’t know, maybe to domain to expire or something. Shutting down such a big site, just like that, in one moment is pretty… well… irresponsible.

    Sad news :(

  21. too bad, I loved that site. Thanks Phillip for all those maps!

  22. Shame it sure was really good site

  23. This was a really sad message for me to hear, because I really enjoyed the site, and I took also part in the mapping competition.
    I knew that there weren’t many visitors on this site, but Phillip always put a lot of work and time into the site, and I’m astonished by the sheer amount of content he created alone.
    I hope that he will be able to manage his situation and I wish Phillip the best luck for the future.

  24. Maybe this is some kind of midlife crisis?

  25. This really sucks. :(
    I can’t say I’m all that suprised though, and to be honest, I’m kind of suprised it didn’t happen sooner.

    I understand that this is a pretty personal project to Philip, but surely he’d rather have a few others help out with the site, and writing up reviews than see it, and the wonderful community surrounding it die? I’m sure there’d be a huge abundance of people willing to help out.

  26. Maybe this is some kind of midlife crisis?

    Anyways, even if Phillip won’t read it, I just wanted to say Thank you.
    Thank you when in 2008 I discovered mods and since then I’ve played many, because of you.
    Thank you for all these “Ville” compétitions providing us with cool projects.
    Thank you for providing us with mappers such as Miggaa or Magnar Jenssen. I would never have known them on moddb.

    Just Thank you.

  27. I’m so sad. And this was so unexpected.
    Phillip was an one man army running the most friendly HL mod community.

  28. Yes, sad news that I awoke to this morning. Best wishes for Phillip. I do sincerely hope that the site lives on in some form in the future.

  29. Oh come on… what happens to maptap now?

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