From Combine OverWiki, the original Half-Life wiki and Portal wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

The history of the wiki.


Wikia era[edit]


The earliest known wiki logo, dated April 2007.

The "Half-Life Wiki" was created on February 12, 2006, by Wikia user Chuck182. At this time, Wikia was known as Wikicities, however it was renamed Wikia in March.


In Spring of this year, Donut THX 1138 brought significant improvements to the wiki. During this period he requested adoption of the wiki. On April 11, he was granted bureaucrat rights by Wikia staff member CatherineMunro. That same day, Donut appointed user RelentlessRecusant as a sysop.

On May 18, the wiki's name was officially changed from "Half-Life Wiki" to "Combine OverWiki". Donut THX 1138 figured the old name was too mundane, and prior to changing it opened a forum post asking for other possible names.

The post received only one response, and so Donut decided to go with his own suggestion of "Combine OverWiki", a wordplay on the title "Combine Overwatch", which, according to him, better suggested the wiki's contents and was at least more interesting than "Half-Life Wiki".


2008 saw significant growth in the wiki's contents and user base. There was considerably greater contributor turnover than in previous times, however during this year the only two administrators become inactive.

The wiki was once again adopted by EVula, an administrator on the English Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, who brought a boost to the wiki's improvement drive. He was appointed bureaucrat on February 15 by Wikia staff member Angela.

The following months saw the appointment of two more administrators: MattyDienhoff, appointed on February 21, and Coming Second, appointed on April 11.

The new team brought many more improvements, however, like his predecessors, EVula eventually became dormant.

Klow was appointed as an administrator on December 14, and began taking up the inactive EVula's reins. New policies were established in aide of bringing greater consistency to the wiki's contents: a Manual of Style, improved image management, along with a new design and logo were brought about.


The Consul, one of the many subjects to get its own article in 2009.

This year saw a considerable increase and improvement in the wiki's coverage of the series. There was also an increase in the usage of original images used on the wiki being used elsewhere, such as in YouTube videos and on gaming websites.

On February 28, Klow and MattyDienhoff were promoted to bureaucrats by Wikia staff member Uberfuzzy. YabbaMyIcing was instated as an administrator by Klow on March 18.

The much needed Layout Guide was created soon after.

Yet more changes were made in 2009, including the more specific targeting of bad information. This led to fanon, speculation, and poorly written articles being improved and removed drastically across the wiki.

Many new articles, covering areas such as behind-the-scenes topics, came into existence, whilst many articles were removed. The walkthrough section was removed due to its redundancy in the light of other websites, and also because it required regular attention.

The official Steam group was created on April 30, as promotion for the wiki and for users to show their dedication to the wiki elsewhere.

On May 18, the featured articles feature was resurrected, being opened by none other than Gordon Freeman himself. The wiki then started to build up its safe, good, and featured articles lists, with a weekly featured article being chosen for the main page.

In June, the first official community project, spearheaded by YabbaMyIcing, was started. The goal of it was to take all of the many unused files on the wiki and put them into articles and galleries, or delete them if they were no longer needed.

On July 6th, the official projects page was created, designed to encourage more editors to help out and give people something to do.

In the same month, the wiki was given a Wikia spotlight, bringing new contributors from elsewhere around Wikia.

The official Facebook page was created on September 22, with the aim, similarly to the Steam group, to promote the wiki and bring in new contributors. Five days later, Darkman 4 was instated an administrator, a position he had deserved for a long time.

On December 2, as a holiday gift, the wiki was once again revamped, with a new logo and replaced layout images, to move the wiki onwards and upwards from the old days.

Three new rollback users were appointed on December 23, whilst two older ones were removed due to having not logged in since 2007. These users were Big McLargeHuge, Erickos, and JgcxCub.


ASCII art of ATLAS and P-body, one of the many images revealed through the Portal ARG.

2010 was slightly less exciting than 2009. However, on February 2, Marc Laidlaw revealed in comments on his personal blog that he was aware of the existence of the Combine OverWiki, and that he visited it periodically. He described the wiki as "clearly creative," saying that he admired the energy brought to the creative efforts of the Half-Life community, also citing Concerned and Garry's Mod. He added that it was "great to be even peripherally a part of so much energy."

On February 9, a fourth additional rollback user, Bramblepath, was appointed. The bot DOG was created on the 22nd to speed up repetitive and menial edits. Again, on March 28, another rollback user was appointed: Halo-343.

During that same month, the Portal ARG began, to promote the upcoming release of Portal 2, which meant a lot of work for the wiki contributors as large amounts of canon fodder made its way onto the wiki.

For April Fool's day, Klow and Darkman 4 improvised a hoax to be played on wiki users. This included a new low-res logo, poor theme, and messy main page. Keeping in the spirit of the hoax, many users joined the movement by creating poor quality pages filled with nonsense to trick unsuspecting users.

On April 16, Halo-343 was given sysop rights, to honor his outstanding help.

On July 19, the official YouTube channel was launched as a hub for Half-Life and Portal videos.

Bramblepath was given administrator privileges on October 24.


SiPlus was given administrator rights on February 28.

For this year's April Fools' day, an image of Master Chief was put as the wiki's background image, making articles unreadable. Moreover a link to a YouTube video presumably titled "GameSpot Exclusive: Valve's Gabe Newell talks about the awaited Half-Life 2: Episode Three" was shared on the Facebook group and the Aperture Science group, with the description "Gabe gives small bits of info about Episode Three, its close relation to Portal 2, and hints at a release date. He also talks about the upcoming cartoon series featuring Portal 2's Atlas and P-body, and explains the reasons of Kelly Bailey's departure from Valve." Many readers obviously fell for it, but as great as it was, it was alas an hoax, since the video was actually and simply "Trololo", or the "Russian Rickroll". Fijure was also given rollback rights after things went back to normal, the only serious thing to happen that day.

On April 5, Wikia Staff member Tae suggested that the Combine OverWiki would partner with Wikia to offer a cake to Valve to be eaten on the day of Portal 2’s release, as a nod from the community and to remind them that we exist and love their work. After we greenlit the project, Wikia Staff member Kacieh set up the whole thing. On April 19, Portal 2 was released, and Valve was kind enough to eat our 20'' (c. 50 cm) cake during the launch party with some sparkling wine, as reported by GamePro, and glimpsed on the official Facebook page for Portal. On April 14, Wikia also launched a Portal 2-related contest consisting of winning a copy of the game and a plush Weighted Companion Cube, which ended April 28, the winners being announced the next day.

On July 11, it was officially announced that the Combine OverWiki was about to leave Wikia ("fork" as they say there), and the new URL was created to showcase a teaser website, with the newly created motto "Run. Think. Shoot. Edit.". Klow created the teaser website and the motto inspired by that of Half-Life, while Bramblepath worked on the move itself. An official and convenient e-mail address, combineoverwiki@gmail.com, was also created. Indeed, over the years Wikia has diverged from its original purposes, i.e. hosting community-based wikis, and turned the community into an advertising farm, making the company earn money on the backs of the editors, which were forced upon inconvenient and extremely user-unfriendly skins, designed only to accommodate advertisement. Unfortunately for us, Wikia never closes a wiki that has "forked", as they need every user click for their ad revenue (disregarding the fact that having duplicate wikis is quite stupid); this is a good example of how they treat communities, they have no power at all on their work.

Several days before the wiki's official relaunch, new sysops were appointed, in the persons of Fijure (on December 22), and Barnz (on December 30).

Cake gallery[edit]

These are the images of the cake sent to Valve from us and Wikia, and eaten on April 19, 2011, on the night of Portal 2’s release.

Independent era[edit]


Screenshot of the teaser front page used in 2011 before the actual move.

On January 2, after a slight false start, the wiki was formally reopened for editing after months of behind-the-scenes work, deliberation, delays, and retrials. This started our quest for freedom of content and design, as well as a better credibility from the Half-Life and Portal community, and the tough battle to gain higher ground over the obsolete wiki on Google results.

On January 18, the website was blacked out (along with other sites, such as Wikipedia and Reddit) to protest the SOPA and PIPA bills being considered by the US congress, both of which could damage and stifle the free and accessible nature of the Internet. A page, claiming the site was being censored by Aperture Science, was set up, mocking the style of GLaDOS' terminal screen, to make the rest of the wiki inaccessible for 24 hours (from 5AM UTC).

On January 28, Vic from LambdaGeneration was given rollback rights. On June 7, the wiki's official Twitter account was created.

In October 6, an existing Facebook page for Gordon Freeman was taken over by the wiki, to connect with fans in different ways.

On November 12, the wiki moved a second time to be hosted by ValveTime. For some time the Combine OverWiki was seeking a host that would be cheaper but above all faster than the first after leaving Wikia, and with people who could easily manage most of the technical issues. Several options were considered, until VT proved to be the best choice.


Wiki logo for the 15th Half-Life Anniversary special.

On February 5, the "Content Updates" section was launched on the main page. It aims at gathering and dating every notable content change recently brought to the wiki. New articles, new information into exiting articles, cleaned up articles, etc.

On February 26, the Multiplayer maps section was created.

On March 2, the Likes of Combine OverWiki's official Facebook page reached the 3,000 mark. On March 4, Marphy was appointed sysop after showing his tremendous dedication.

On April Fool's day, Klow improvised a hoax renaming the Combine OverWiki to "G-ManPedia", with a logo featuring G-Man with an exaggerated facial expression, the slogans "The right editor in the wrong wiki can make all the difference in the world." instead of "the original Half-Life and Portal wiki!" and "Rise and shine, editors. Rise and shine." instead of "Run. Think. Shoot. Edit.", and the infamous "Gman goes sexy" YouTube video (the original video is now private) on top of every page. Another hoax was also made on the wiki's official Facebook page, claiming that Half-Life 2: Episode Three was finally out through a link to a fake Steam store page made by another member of the community. On the same day, the Quotes section was created.

On August 7, Sandvich18 was given sysop rights after several months of intense work.

From November 19 to December 3, a special was held for the 15th anniversary of the release of Half-Life, which consisted in showcasing a Half-Life-related featured article each day.


On October 3, Marphy was given bureaucrat rights after proving himself in handling various problems on the wiki.

On October 27, the Cleanup project reached a milestone, with only 200 articles left to clean up. On the same day, Sandvich18 was granted bureaucrat rights, as well as the access to the wiki's social pages, which were mostly inactive.


On April 30, Klow started heavy work on the Quotes section with Sandvich18, i.e. creating the missing articles, expanding them and uploading the sound files.


On May 26, the wiki moved again to a different hosting provider and was updated to the latest version of MediaWiki.