New GP Poll: Texas Student & Counter-strike Map

Yesterday’s big story concerned a Texas senior who created a Counter-strike level based on his high school.

Today’s poll asks you to vote on how the incident should have been handled.

-Should Paul Hwang have been arrested? 

-Should he have been disciplined by school authorities?

-Or was he simply exercising his right to be creative using the tools provided by the game?

The poll is located in the upper right sidebar of GP’s main page, so be sure to cast your vote.

Joystiq by the way, has obtained screen shots (left) of Hwang’s maps.

Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditEmail this to someone


  1. 0
    Diceman says:

    What I would like to know is how the school has any authority over what he does in his free time.The other issues is the school is acting preemptively by asserting he has done something wrong before(if ever) he does it.

    Using the schools logic Folks should be suspended/transferred/punished for knowing how to make dry ice bombs(hey dry ice+nails=just as mean as a pipe bomb)or if the police used the same logic folks should be arrested for:

    1.buying a gun(hey they could *possibly*use it for a crime)
    2.buying a scale(it could *possibly* be a warning sign that they are weighing drugs)
    3.putting a mod chip in there NES(zomg he could possibly pirate 20+ year old games 1111)
    4.burning the american flag(technically its arson if they wanna charge you that way)
    5.buying a copy of “goats gone wild!(I swear it’s a documentary officer!)
    6.buying a ps3(ok I can wish right?)
    7.existing altogether (If you exist then you might possibly remotely do some kind of crime!)

    As you can see jumping to conclusions only makes you look like a fear mongering tard(like a certain lawyer we all know and love)now on to my other opinions:

    on violence(digital and otherwise)too much violence desensitizes(to a very minor extent as studies show but it is there)you to violence while too little or none at all separates you from reality and can lead to dangerous situations(like you pause when you should run and such when someones robbing a store or not knowing the consequences or certain inactions on your part)violence is a part of life and as they say art mimics life.*gets a hooker in GTA:SA then continues*.

    Ironic tho that most of the people i know played stuff like mortal kombat and quake yet when a real tragedy strikes like v-tech they still have that look of shock on their faces.

    anywho the kid should sue the schools for damaging his character via preemptive judgment on very little to no data(I think thats class 2 character defamation but I’m a bit shaky on my law and can be wrong).or in simpler terms “gtfo of my business bish”.

    ps:since im entirely insane ill leave a thought of the day:what would deep fried baby jesus taste like?mozzarella sticks or closer to spiced beef?

  2. 0
    hudson922 says:

    You know the gaming industry has an opportunity here to shame that school board and start building a positive image of its self. I think some game production house (especially Valve) should offer this kid a very sizeable scholarship (the bigger the better) to him and, if he is interested in being a gaming programmer make it a full ride scholarship with a job waiting for him after he graduates. But that’s just my thoughts.

    Hudson out

  3. 0
    Mika says:

    As a parent I don’t see anything wrong with what this child did. I feel his was punished out of hysteria/fear because of the Virgina Tech incident. Once the police found no reason for charges that should have been good enough for the school. The owe this young man and his family a HUGE apology. I pray this doesn’t hurt his chances of attending a college or rather college period.

  4. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If the student has to stay at the alternative school, then I hope karma will hunt down the school board with extreme vengeance.

  5. 0
    F**ked up says:

    Was it mark twain that said “write what you know”?
    So in this case could this be applied as “Make a map of what you know”?

  6. 0
    janarius ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    @ Sparkz

    Keep trolling and i’d like to discuss with you in person. Here’s a utilitarian question: does the entertainment and creative benefits associated to video games outweigh the drawbacks of increased aggression of a single VG genre, i.e FPS? Should violent depiction and consequences in media be more realistic than it is now? should we remove sanitized violence?

  7. 0
    hayabusa75 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    So if you don’t experience real violence, you have no right to comment on it? Getting into a fight at some bar will automatically make you a better person?? Firing guns and sustaining injury is the way to enlightenment???Obviously, you’ve done all these things, otherwise you wouldn’t be pushing us to do so. Well pal, from what I’ve seen of you so far, folks don’t seem to like you very much, so I think I’ll stick with my peace-loving lifestyle.

    God, I’ve seen better points on a basketball. Give me a break.

  8. 0
    AbsumZer0 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Why is anyone bothering to reply to Sparkz? He’s obviously some sort of paranoid hick who thinks he’s a bad-ass and one of the few people in this country prepared for an inevitable full-scale Muslim invasion or… whatever. Point is, getting hit in the head enough times doesn’t make you a sociologist, it makes you brain damaged.

  9. 0
    Grendal says:

    He was investigated be police they found no cause to charge him that were it should end. He has no history of acting act, no history of mental illness (at least from what I’ve read) he was a model student. He engaged in a fantasy, he used his imagination, whats wrong with that? After I rad the Zombie Survival Guide I started analyzying my college campus for fire angles an defense, it was just me screwing around, should I have been disciplined as well? I understand the desire to keep people safe, but if we start giving up our basic freedoms to secure safety then that’s too high a price.

  10. 0
    Wa_Hi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    uh sparks I do go to a boxing gym and and a gun range quite often and my taste for violence has not decreased i have more respect for what i and other impacts could have for doing a violent act but its dosnt decrease my like of violence ive broken a fellow boxers jaw but that didnt decrease my love of boxing any. So i can say for sure that just because you think it might decrease peoples like of violence dosnt make it reality.

  11. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Wow, Sparkz, you sure sound tough.

    I’ve seen & been through my share of real-life violence too. And guess what? Because fake violence is TOTALLY unlike real violence, my “thirst” for pretend violence didn’t suddenly diminish. Oh, and good job with the racial slur. You are a true man.

  12. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Sparkz: Your statements and your conclusion have no basis in reality. Getting beaten up for real does not somehow reduce one’s desire to partake in violent escapist media. There’s no evidence that there’s even any connection betweeen those two.

    The people above who are saying, “I made a map of my school/park/mall,” are simply showing how commonplace it is for video game enthusiasts to draw from real-life settings when creating maps. Nothing more. They’re showing that the act of creating a virtual representation of a real-life location – even in the context of a violent video game – is not, in and of itself, a cause for alarm. If the person making these maps has other warning signs showing some form of mental instability, then perhaps the map may be a warning sign as to the possible direction of intended violence… but in and of itself, and by itself, it means NOTHING.

    So, what was your point, again?

  13. 0
    Sparkz says:

    dear posters,

    guess what. endlessly commenting ” i made a map and didn’t kill anyone” ” i play games and i dont kill nobody” . is a totally useless and inane comment to make. guess what, no one cares. the only people that anyone cares about are the ones that actually do kill people. and one of these days, one of you is going to get murdered by the people that are willing to use real violence against you. it may be a random criminal act, it may be a beserk shooter, it may be an islamic fundementalist, it may be someone that you care about. but its going to happen. and when it does, your plantive complaints are worthless. what i am saying is, stop playing games, and go to a gun range. go to a boxing club. get in a barfight. go to the part of town where the lily white crackers get thier heads stomped in. there is a huge difference between real violence and fake violence. and im telling you right now, once you’ve experience real violence, your taste for this fantasy world will diminish, and you’ll be a stronger person for it. or, at least know who you really are. and don’t none of you come back with no ” i did blah blah blah” bullshit. you’ve never done crap..

  14. 0
    smartr says:

    This is absurd. He made a map of his school. It’s not slaughter the innocents fun fest, it’s a map. If they were upset about him violating some sort of architectual intellectual property, they might have something. The fact of the matter is they’ve freaked out over someone making a map. There’s nothing disturbing about this. I’d be suprised if I was still a student and was kicked out for making a map. It takes a good bit of skill to do so, and being able to emulate the designs of the real world in a 3d environment is a useful skill for game development. Considering how much time he likely spends at his school, it’s a pretty realistic place to make a map of. If I were this child’s dad, I’d not only sue the school, but the police for false arrest.

  15. 0

    I regularly make maps for games based on places I know. Work, school, home, church, neighborhood… Not because I want to go on a killing spree, just because those are the places I am intimately familiar with, and able to build into a map/level more or less from memory. I’ve frequently exaggerated some details here and there… but it is simply part of the creative process; artistic expression, which like others have said, in the US is protected speech. The government cannot infringe upon protected speech.

  16. 0
    Jason Smith says:

    Only the government should be allowed to make video game maps of public places like the US Army game has. People who play the other games by independent companies should be arrested because they are a terrorist threat.

    Also, Lucy Liu should be arrested because in Kill Bill, she play-acts violence. She could potentially be a terrorist threat. Quentin Tarentino was just trying to make a homely movie but Lucy Liu does some disturbing play-acting. Her role specifically is very violent.

  17. 0
    Father Time ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    The proper discipline action? The kid should sue the school, and the school should fire the board members and let him back in as settlement.

  18. 0
    DeusPayne ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    At WPI, one of the senior projects was to map out the entire campus for use in Halo. So… we get told to make the school in an FPS, whereas he gets all this shit? People need to stop overreacting. If he made his school in lets say… Elebits (if it was possible), would you think that he had some master plan to make the school ridiculously messy while searching for fictional animals?

  19. 0
    Mike (DeathRain) ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I answered “nothing” to that poll, but it was a conflicted answer. As long as “discipline” means action taking to punish him, that’s how I feel. I think the only thing he did wrong was not consider how making the map might have been perceived by others. That’s all he really did, and I think the worst at this point should be that someone explains that to him. Yeah, it was important to investigate to make sure it wasn’t threatening, but after that, it should have pretty much been over. I get the feeling that people who don’t understand would be mistreating him after that anyway.

  20. 0
    BmK ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    While what this person did might be consided be tasteless he created this map for Counter-Strike in the privacy of his own home, not on school property. Punishing him in any way would be a direct violation of his First Amendment Free Speech rights. So I voted Nothing.

  21. 0
    AbsumZer0 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:


    Except there is no scientific evidence that videogames themselves or the playing of them can potentially ’cause damage’ and restrictive legislation done for the good of the general population ought to be done only with the full backing of good science, not fear mongering, and a thorough examination of peer-reviewed studies on the subject will show that any law would be unjustifiable.

    And how exactly would video-game regulations have prevented the school from over-reacting and doing what it did? By stopping from Hwang, who continued to be a successful and popular student years after creating the mod, from enjoying the game in the first place? If anything, we need some federal law protecting students from this crap. The same thing happened in schools across America after Columbine, in case anyone’s memory is hazy, and kids wearing the shirts of their favorite bands or black raincoats to school… even in the rain… were habitually harassed, suspended, or expelled. The only victim in this is Hwang and, potentially, his family.

  22. 0
    Samantha ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Playing games in maps resembling or replicating places you visit in the real world has novelty value. That’s all. A bunch of folks from my degree were attempting to recreate the school of computer science a couple of years ago, and it was just an entertaining and creative project for them.

    The kid did nothing wrong. Investigate, sure, but do so sensitively, without assuming from the get-go that you’re dealing with a psychopath in order to avoid humiliating the poor guy, and certainly don’t discipline him when you find NOTHING.

    Complete overreaction. The very most that should have happened was the map files being erased/put out of use if they felt it was a threat.

  23. 0
    David Gillen says:

    Back in the day I created a doom level of my school. It was great, I loved it, friends loved it. And we’ve all gone on to be mass murdering psychopaths. Errrr I mean level headed adults will decent well paid jobs and some of us are now raising our own families. In fact most of myself and friend who played the level are probably out performing our then peers in terms of where we are now. Go figure.

  24. 0
    Wolf ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I say nothing! He was practicing what should’ve been a protected right. I hope this doesn’t cause too much damage onto him.

  25. 0
    GoodRobotUs ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    He hasn’t done anything actually wrong, unless America advocates not only thought crime, but circumstantial thought crime.

  26. 0
    Zerodash ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Does anyone notice what kind of prescedent this sets? By simply making a virtual representation of a place in the real world, you are in effect committing an arrestible crime.

    BTW, what is happening to this guy right now? Is he still in the “special school”? Will he be allowed to graduate? What about his college plans? Hell, his entire career for his life will be affected by this arrest.

  27. 0
    orangekrush ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Arrest? On what charge?

    Discipline? Again – on what charge?

    More importantly – what message are they (school board and police) sending out to youth?

    You see – its very easy to pick on those who can’t vote. If I were still in highschool and this happened to a student, I would have organized a protest. But people (not just kids) are not into the ‘all-for-one’ thing anymore….

  28. 0

    I always wanted to make maps based off my School…back in the days of THPS 1-3 I wanted to make a map based off the lay out the roof of my high school (it is spread out and actually had some sloping bits of roof I thought looked good.)

    I have sometimes thought about creating maps for UT based off different buildings on my university campus. (the building I have most my lectures in would be good…(it is square with 3 sets of stair cases…and not all the rooms link together.

  29. 0
    janarius ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I would discipline him… for not presenting his CS map as a school project. By looking at the screenshots, it’s very nice and the school should be thankful that it brings out hard work and creativity in that guy. The school board should look into the broader nature of video games. I hope all the best for him.

  30. 0
    Serrenity ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If I was the kid, I would be raising holy hell. He did *nothing* wrong. He is a victim of the “wrong place, wrong time” kind of mentality. Interestingly enough, when I inquired with both the newspaper covering the incident and several officials from the school asking to be pointed towards a press release on the incident. The report of the newspaper replied with he was unable to provide more information, and the school has promptly ignored my requests for a press release.

    In my opinion, the school was clearly in the wrong, and I feel that they violated his rights (I know his parents gave permission, but still … there is a fine fine line there…). Ultimately, what happened was this kid made a map, gave no indications of violence, mentioned it to the wrong person, who then went to the authorities, who over-reacted over something that was never meant to be anything than a game.

    This has Jack Thompson’s stink all over it. This, I feel, was nothing more than a calculated move designed to position games in the realm where big-government can take over the industry and stifle one of the few voices that it doesn’t have a hold over. (Sounds a little conspiracy theory-ish, I know … but it stands to reason …i.e. Patriot Act)

  31. 0
    Nick says:

    To elaborate, Counter-strike is basically Cowboys and Indians, Cops and Robbers. You don’t see random violence after those games, do you?

  32. 0
    Robert says:

    At the very worst, officials at the school (not the board level) should have had a sit down with this kid to discuss it to determine is there was a threat.

    That would’ve avoided the whole storm going on now….

    The fact that he made the maps public for his fellow students suggests this was harmless fun. Besides, as many others have pointed out, who DIDN’T make a map of their school when level editors became popular?

  33. 0
    Nick says:

    First off, shouldn’t it be pronounced “Hon” (I keep hearing that whenever I see the name Hwang)

    All of this is due to an inacurate discription of the game. A certain somebody (We’ll say a Jack T…no, that’s too obvious. We’ll just say J. Thompson) portrayed it as a game of random violence, rather than a team based game (Terroists vs. Counter-Terrorists, enough said). Let’s not forget that some of the missions require hostage rescue and bomb diffusion.

    You know what would be good for our children? Banning stupid people. But these stupid people hide behind their whole “freedom of speech” BS (yes, that’s sarcasm. Let it sink in).

  34. 0
    William says:

    While I agree that for the most part this behavior is relatively benign, in this litigation-happy society we live in, this can be seen as cause for a little concern. I emphasize the word “little” because anything more than offering the kid a voluntary psych evaluation is an invasion of privacy.

  35. 0
    Kommisar says:

    I remember back at an old job, when Marathon 2 came out (yeah, it was a while ago), some guy in the office made a map based on the corporate headquarters. He even put a bunch of the “BOB’s” in the presidents office.

    I don’t think anyone thought he was going to go shoot up the office or anything, it was just for fun… to be able to have a shoot-em-up in the game in territory you were familiar with in real life.

    Sad how times have changed…

  36. 0
    -Jes- ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    -Should Paul Hwang have been arrested?

    No. He did not commit a crime.

    -Should he have been disciplined by school authorities?

    No. What he spends his free time on is of no importance to the school. That it happened to be creating a map similar to a RL location he know is irrelevant.

    -Or was he simply exercising his right to be creative using the tools provided by the game?


  37. 0
    Verbinator ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    It’s ironic that in the halls of the game level, there is a mural encouraging Freedom for all people. In the USA, those freedoms include freedom of speech which is usually also extended to mean freedom of artistic expression. The school board was waaaaay out of bounds in their response to this young man’s creative work. Chances are, the taxpayers of this school district will end up bearing the burden for their school board’s lack of understanding of this young man’s constitutional rights.

  38. 0
    Morkoa ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think that he should be left alone. hell for any FPS ive ever played i always though of making one of my own high school. My shool actualy would be a good map for a 20 or 30 player map. Bun wheni want to make a real life map im now a potential murder? HA.

    I think (like in every generation) that the parents and goverment think that whatever the kids do is wrong or some how evil. Like in the 1950’s parents hated rock and roll and though of it as “Devil’s Music”. And today they hate rap. But now its geitng into viedogames. And as a few do somthing wrong, the rest are punished. The blame is on the only thing, parents and goverment think, makes sense, Viedogames. Even though in reality it was probaly parenting or other influences that you can make contact with, not some map making of real life places or shooting fictionaly people.

  39. 0
    Minshi ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I think that he should have been ‘disciplined’ in so much as being evaluated for his state of mind, and as he was investigated, but then dropped when there was no apparent threat. (depends if you look at being evaluated as a threat a disciplinary action or a nothing action).

  40. 0
    illspirit ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    If they should investigate him, they’ll have to investigate pretty much everybody else who has ever made maps for a game. Might be easier to work in reverse, and find the five or six people in the history of gaming who never made a map of something familiar..

  41. 0
    HCF ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    You know, we didn’t have doom when I was in high school. But we did have pen and paper RPGs. I remember my friends and I did a “Red Dawn” (the movie) campaign once using…guess what? Our real-life home city as the backdrop. We used published maps of our schools, libraries, and even the city hall. We’d just draw a square grid over the top of the maps and play…many of these structures were totally destroyed, and not all of them by our fictional Russians.

    I think that if you had searched our rooms, you probably would have found something like a hammer or a collection of swords, or in my case a knife collection (my grandfather’s, which meant a great deal to me…you would probably call them ‘boxcutters’ today).

    But I wasn’t caught and punished for this transgression, and somehow, nearly thirty years later, I wouldn’t appear to have harmed a single living soul.

    There’s no reason to hold our children’s creations hostage to the politics of today. Kids throughout the ages have played ‘cops and robbers.’ So the modern counterstrike version of that is ‘SWAT vs Terrorists’…and when I was a kid we played US vs Russia war games. Wow. Kids combat in fantasy the social enemy of the day. Is that some new knowledge we should be proud of having realized? Not really. This is how people deal with the fears and dangers of their lives.

    Someone always has to play the robbers. I don’t know why parents look at these games, and see – not their kids…no – other people’s children playing “the bad guy”, and see the worst in them for it.

  42. 0
    AJ says:

    I agree with Dracis.

    I wanted to make maps of school and my workplace at the time when I was playing CS way back. Not because I want to kill but because it was locations I was familiar with and had great layouts.

  43. 0
    psychotix says:

    What we are starting to see here is the result of having no laws about video games and minors.

    Since there is no government regulation this kind of action will start happening more and more as people look for ways to curb the potential damage games can cause.

    Without the federal government taking action this kind of paranoid self protection is what will remain.

  44. 0
    Sigma 7 ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    A quick test on why they arrested him: see if there is a same reaction if it was being made for America’s Army (if that’s possible.) As you know, that game always has the protagonists cast as the good guys, where either your team storms the school to get rid of terrorists, or your team is pre-empting an incoming terrorist attack.

    If there is no difference, then they are simply clamping down on students. If it was not an issue, then they are simply doing favouritism (e.g. A la mode enforcement.) If they would simply nbe easier on the stiudent, I wouldn’t be sure what that would mean, but I would consider this unlikely.

  45. 0
    JB ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    I don’t know anything about this kid’s personal life except that he played Counterstrike (which is becoming a crime I guess?). If he wasn’t messed up or angry before then chances are he certainly is now.

    Nothing like inciting fear, hey?!

  46. 0
    Eville ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    Asinine. I used to make maps out of my school for all the FPS I owned. No one got killed over it and no one was ever arrested.

  47. 0
    Nekojin ( User Karma: 0 ) says:

    When I used to make DOOM maps, trying to duplicate places I knew (a nearby mini-mall, for example) were one way I made my maps. Likewise, when I started playing The Sims/The Sims 2, I tried to recreate my own houses as places for the Sims to live.

    If there aren’t any other warning signs for the kid (and there aren’t, in this case), then there shouldn’t be any problem. It’s much ado about nothing.

  48. 0
    Jonah says:

    All overreaction. Lots of high schools are not the old corridors…they have complex hallways that wind together in bizarre ways (usually due to various renovations), and imho, it makes for a great playfield.

  49. 0
    Thefremen says:

    The first map I ever made for DOOM was of my house. When Duke Nuke’m came out, I made a map of my house, my friend made one of his, then we made a sewer connecting them in a larger map.

    It’s easier when you’re first learning to mod and use the tools to make something you already know first hand IRL. Later on when you master the tools you can create something you’ve visualized in your head.

  50. 0
    chs.student says:

    his name is Peter Hwang (not paul)

    he started making this map 4 years b4 the shooting…released it 2 months before the shooting…arrested for it 1 day after the shooting

  51. 0
    I love 1st Amendment says:


    To any one from the school that kid is from:
    Stand up for one of your own. You are all peer and should stand up for your human rights. Show some action to bring that poor boy back to your school. Petition, boycott, or any non-violence way to stand up to the oppressor in your education system.

  52. 0
    I love 1st Amendment says:

    Why the hell are people so paranoid? What ever happen to the Bill of Right? That kid have skill. Who reported the map? That person should be ashamed of them self. That poor kid. Every one is blaming stuff on video game, why don’t they do something about something that actually mater, like health care, fixing this crap that is call the education system, and global warming. They should know how adult oppression over kids are, they faced their parent unhappyness of Rock music. Now they are doing the same thing to us. What about our parent, it should be them to teach us what is right and worng. Not laws and policy. They hardly ever blame parents, it always current culture.

  53. 0
    I love 1st Amendment says:


    Continuing from the last comment:
    Every one who play counter strike should make more real places and show off their good map making skills. No mater who you are, where ever you are, make map of real places and use it as a message to the paranoid. People in the same community, make multiple maps of the same location individually to show supports of free speech.

Leave a Reply