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Valve's unreleased Half-Life mod Threewave uncovered, fixed and released

Now free, man.

Valve was once working on a Half-Life-related game with Three in the title. No, not Half-Life 3. Threewave.

Threewave began life as a Capture the Flag mod for the original Quake that went on to enjoy huge popularity among the PC first-person shooter community.

As revealed by a new video from Valve News Network, Valve went as far as to bring the Threewave mod to Half-Life, too.

The video, below, runs through the history of the mod and how it came to Half-Life. Valve's take on it was discovered as part of the great Half-Life 2 leak of 2003.

But it's taken until now for Valve's Half-Life: Threeway to become available to download and play.

The story of how this mod came to light is amazing. The original Threewave mod for id Software's Quake came out in 1996, and helped popularise the Capture the Flag mode pretty much every multiplayer shooter subsequently had to have.

Its creator, Dave "Zoid" Kirsch, was hired by id to make Capture the Flag mode for Quake 2, before later joining, you guessed it, Valve. He's still at the company.

Valve's Threewave was buried within a leaked folder called "wmods", in a subfolder called "3wave". It's a level pack for Half-Life's Deathmatch Classic, and includes remakes of the maps from the Quake Threewave mod.

Valve News Network found the mod on a random FTP server in Vietnam, but it was in an unplayable state. Valve News Network then spent months working to fix the build so that it runs on a server. And you can download it yourself.

Valve's version of Threewave includes Half-Life's lambda, among other Half-Life aesthetics, but the structure is similar to the original. What might have been, eh?

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Half-Life 2

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Wesley Yin-Poole


Wesley worked at Eurogamer from 2010 to 2023. He liked news, interviews, and more news. He also liked Street Fighter more than anyone could get him to shut up about it.