Dolores is a total conversion modification for Half-Life 2, released in March 2006, as part of the Danish academy for digital interactive entertainment (DADIU) graduation project. A team of 11 individuals were given a month, and some loose change, to put together a playable game demo.

The educational curriculum of DADIU was in its infancy in those days. I – and the team of willing guinea pigs – were effectively prototyping the venture into establishing a curriculum centered around game development. Selecting Half-Life 2’s source engine to serve as the basis for the playable game demo was – in hind-sight – probably not the best choice. Sufficed to say, Half-Life 2’s source engine is incredibly complex.

Ironically, picking this over-complex engine for a simple playable demo probably ended up mirroring the actual game development cycle fairly accurately as the team was quickly faced with crunch-time as well as the difficult choice of what to cut, and what to keep as the delivery deadline loomed.

Given it’s pioneering status DADIU retains no on-line record of this production, or any prior to 2011 for that matter. Since most of the on-line resources for this project are quickly disappearing, I’ve done my best to showcase Dolores here, lest it be lost to time forever.

Dolores Trailer


Quick Facts

  • One month collaborative development timeline – Pioneer of DADIU Model
    • Design document and some other assets were created in advance, but only one month was set aside to develop the playable demo
  • Team composition: 2 Animators, 1 Audio Designer, 2 Artists, 1 Game Designer, 1 Game Director, 1 Game Producer, 3 Programmers
  • Total Conversion mod for Half-Life 2 Source Engine
    • Coded in C++ using Valve’s Half-Life C++ SDK
    • No prior experience with the Engine/SDK


Dolores was one of a handful of playable demos produced as part of DADIU’s prototype curriculum. Despite the game design document having been finished in advance of the one-month-development period, the production was rushed. Valve’s source engine was not well documented back in 2006 and a lot of time was spent just trying to piece together how to simply import new assets, and much less modify the game engine itself. Consequently, Dolores barely modifies the engine, and the parts it does modify (such as the characters default height) are very buggy.

DADIU’s curriculum has likely come a long way since and – I believe – now uses Unity as one of the game engines to create its playable demos in.

Although you can find an installer to try the playable demo yourself, assuming you own a copy of Half-Life 2 on Steam, I cannot vouch for it being in working order. Honestly, I’d be shocked if it ran as intended given how likely it is for fundamental things in Steam and/or Half-Life 2 to have changed since 2006. Hence, a rough playthrough of the demo in its entirety is provided for your viewing pleasure on the right.

Dolores full play-through.

Team Dolores

The in-game end credits will often fail to display properly at the end of the playable demo. One month’s worth of development time barely leaves room for proper quality assurance. Here is the full list of contributors to the project in alphabetical order:


  • Karsten Madsen
  • Jeppe Sandholt

Audio Designer

  • Frans Galschiøt Quaade


  • Rune Hauberg Brimer
  • Susanne Møller Nielsen


  • Henrik Bennetsen


  • Jan Rahbek


  • Hans von Knut Skovfoged


  • Bo Bendtsen
  • Lasse Laursen
  • Anders Thaulow

Concept art

Development screenshots