3×24: Competition 1: BeginningVille

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

And so it begins.

This is the first of the 3×24 Mapping Competition Series.

Just to ease everybody’s mind, the 2 models requirement has been removed.

Full details are below.

3×24 Introduction

This is the first part of a mapping competition series of 3 events, each lasting 24 days – that’s 4 complete weekends.

Each competition will have a detailed theme and have the possibility of each entrant continuing on from their previous entry or just submitting a stand alone entry.

There will be an 8 weeks’ break between each competition. The exact dates and times are below:
Competition 1: 11:00pm GMT Fri 11th January – 11:00pm GMT Sunday 3rd February
Competition 2: 11:00pm GMT Fri 5th April – 11:00pm GMT Sunday 28th April
Competition 3: 11:00pm GMT Fri 28th June – 11:00pm GMT Sunday 21st July

If a mapper enters all 3 competitions then they will have the opportunity to polish all three entries and release as an updated mod.

The objective is to provide mappers with a global framework for a proper mod, with a beginning, a middle and an end.
Once the second competition has been announced, mappers will be allowed to make small modifications to the end of their last entry, but nothing too significant. Larger changes will be allowed if they enter all 3 competitions.

As with the 6×10 Series, I won’t be announcing the themes until the start day of each competition so mappers won’t be able to continue working on their maps.

To ensure that entrants don’t simple continue working on their mod, there will be some thematic elements that will provide additional design decisions. This will make it difficult for them to simply create something and then try to “fit” it to the announced theme.

BeginningVille Theme Details

This map will “set the scene” and at the end give the player the feeling they have travelled a long distance. It is essentially getting the player to their destination. Of course, there must be proper gameplay, action and/or puzzles too.

The map must start with the player receiving instructions. These can be via voice (a radio, an NPC etc) or even just text on the screen.

The player must feel he has travelled a fair distance. I am looking for something with plenty of movement and hopefully not too linear.

They need to feel as if they are in the middle of something out of their control and are glad to leave it behind.

What’s really important is that feeling of going somewhere. Suggestions include a tunnel, conduit, mining shaft, coast, or even a rush through a city’s streets with a tank chasing you.

The use of a vehicle is recommended, but not compulsory. The “movement” could be a series of lifts (up or down) fast moving water, a train, a boat along the coast. The choice is the mappers’.

The player must stop at least twice to open a gate, solve a puzzle, help a group of rebels, change means of transport and/or setting etc. Simply, getting them on a train and then ending the map will not be good enough.

The map must finish with the player underground but about to climb a ladder to reach ground level via a drain cover.

3×24 Rules
  • Two maps per mapper per competition. (Updated from one)
  • The map must be original and not have been released publicly before.
  • The map must run in system with only Ep2 installed
  • By entering the competition you grant PlanetPhillip.Com the right to release the map as part of the 3×24 Mod.
  • Maps must not appear before the release and for one month after the release of the mod.
  • No assets from retail games other than HL2, HL2: Ep1 or HL2: Ep2 are allowed.
  • Other assets are allowed with written permission from their original authors, which MUST be included in the entry.
  • Phillip’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into about it.
  • The map MUST have a proper name.
  • The map MUST have a proper filename: MapName_pp_3x24.bsp
  • All entries must be sent to: planetphillip@gmail.com no later than the deadline.
Special Notes

Mappers are encouraged to include freely available assets, including textures, models, sounds and music. This will help the map stand out from other entries. However, the actual experience is much more important than simply including lots of new stuff.

WIP Forums

A will create a WIP forum for mappers to post their WIP or ask for help or ideas. More details soon.

Final Words

I admit that this is a little rushed and I planned to have the forum ready, as well as an intro video created and even a range of generic lines recorded by members of the Voice Actors Guild for use by mappers. So sorry if it seems a little lacking. Hopefully the basic concept is enough to get mappers interested.

I will announce prizes later. I still need to award the prize for the 6×10!!

As always, if you have any doubts or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.

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Help me create more and better content - please support me on Patreon

71 Comments

  1. Finally! I’ve been anxiously waiting for this. I like the theme this time. It has a goal but at the same time its not very restricting, and also allows us to create our own story.

    I do have some questions about it though.
    You say the players needs to feel that they are going somewhere and that at the end they need to reach said destination, but that the map needs to end with the player coming out from underground. So where is the place the player needs to get to ? Did they reach their destination and then go underground or is it after they climb out and that is where the second competition begins ? Because if it is the latter, the player won’t feel they reached their destination, because infact, they never did, they will only see it in the second one.

    In terms of movement. Can this “movement” be just normal walking/running or do we specificly need to use some form of artificial movement ? If so, what ratio ? Say, 2/3 walking and 1/3 driving (or something) ?

    This last question might be a bit stupid to ask, but I’m not very knowledgable of it. Can we legally use copyrighted material (music in my case) in our entries ? I have no idea how the legal system works around this topic, more so when this is international, but I would think that it would be legal, since there is no monetary gain.

    That is it for now, I’ll spend the next 4 weeks working on this and hopefully it will be worth it. Thank you for the competition and good luck to anyone who plans on entering.

    1. You say the players needs to feel that they are going somewhere and that at the end they need to reach said destination, but that the map needs to end with the player coming out from underground. So where is the place the player needs to get to?

      That will be the theme of the second competition.

      Did they reach their destination and then go underground or is it after they climb out and that is where the second competition begins?

      They climb out to reach it but they don’t know what it is yet. The drain leads them to it.

      Because if it is the latter, the player won’t feel they reached their destination, because infact, they never did, they will only see it in the second one.

      True, but getting there is very different from interacting with it. It’s more about feeling that the initial journey is over and now its’s time for some fun.

      In terms of movement. Can this “movement” be just normal walking/running or do we specificly need to use some form of artificial movement? If so, what ratio? Say, 2/3 walking and 1/3 driving (or something)?

      Yes, you can use any form of “Movement” you wish. However, I imagine some form of artificial movement would be needed to get the player a long distance from their starting point in case the next theme doesn’t work too close to that. I can’t give you an exact ratio as that would be too restrictive.

      This last question might be a bit stupid to ask, but I’m not very knowledgable of it. Can we legally use copyrighted material (music in my case) in our entries ? I have no idea how the legal system works around this topic, more so when this is international, but I would think that it would be legal, since there is no monetary gain.

      No. if it is copyrighted you can’t use it unless you have prior written permission.

      1. Thanks for the responce. The destination thing is still kinda effy though. Does the player know what he is trying to reach ? You said that it would be the theme of the second competition, so, do we decide where the player goes to now, or do we wait until the second competition and then decide where this jorney led to ?

        1. No, the player doesn’t know what he is trying to reach. You, the mapper, will decide within the theme details and limitations of the next competition.

          1. MisterAddy

            Doesn’t that complicate things somewhat if the player has to receive instructions? How can you do that without telling the player where they are going?

            1. Well, yes, that’s a good point and the instructions I had planned were very generic. Things like “Okay, we need your help but can’t be sure the Combine aren’t listening. Go to the pre-arranged point and we have more details waiting for you there.”

              One possible solutions would be for mappers to just instruct the player in regards to what they create.

  2. MisterAddy

    Sounds good, I have plenty of ideas and I can’t wait to start!

  3. Mr. Walrus

    Really love the theme and the guidelines, lots of room for creativity and a nice central theme. I think it’s the best competition yet, definitely entering in this one! Though has the maximum of two maps per entry stated in the initial announcement been changed to one?

    1. Well, good Point. I really wanted to even the playing field with this rule but now I am having doubts.

      I think I’ll stick to it to make it fairer for everybody.

      1. Mr. Walrus

        Just to make clear, do you mean you’re sticking to the rule stated in the first announcement or this one?

        Sorry I’m being really nitpicky about this, it’s just that it has a big impact on what I’m planning.

        1. Okay, two maps are allowed.

  4. Mr. Walrus

    Would it be alright if one were to use textures/models from the HL2 beta, seeing as it was originally made for HL2 and it never went retail?

    1. Mr. Walrus

      Last question(s), apologies for the comment spam…

      If a model is on a website which is intended for open use, such as gamingmodels.de or gamebanana, do we still need written permission? I’m attempting to find new models but most of the time the creator’s email is impossible to find and thus it’s very difficult to contact them.

      Also, does anyone know if hostel’s STALKER texture pack are actually textures taken from the game stalker, and thus invalidated from use due to the requirement on retail games, or are they just textures BASED off of stalker?

      1. Please don’t apologize. Ask as many questions as you want.

        No, you don’t need permission if a model is on GameBanana or similar sites. They post them up there for use, just make sure you credit them in your readme file.

        I can’t answer the Stalker question – sorry.

        1. Mr. Walrus

          Alrighty, I’ll include credits for all models used.

          Regarding the stalker question, I can’t find a clear answer anywhere, but I’m fairly sure they aren’t simply textures ported over to source. Going to include them methinks.

          1. MajorBanter

            Hostel’s pack are straight ports from STALKER. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.

    2. Yes, you can use HL2 Beta stuff, although I’d rather you didn’t. Just to keep things legal.

  5. I am really exited now and I like the Idea of a forced ending, you MUST end it like this. It will be exiting how everyone tackles this competition.

    A question about the story. Does it have to be involved, with lots of plot twists and characters or could it be loose or “weak” story, like you are a man who needs to escape City 17?

    “The map must run in system with only Ep2 installed”
    That means I can’t use unique content frop EP1 or HL2 for example, sounds or voices?

    We can still use custom models, right?

    So this first map will be rushing the player to their destination? Like the Car part from EP2, you NEED to get to White Forest to warn the resistance. Except you don’t know where you are going. That gives the player a goal and they feel they need to complete it.

    And one last, maybe stupid question. You say the map must end coming from underground to above ground. That don’t mean the whole map needs to be underground, right? Just making sure 🙂

    No, one last question. Can the mapper plan ahead to what the ultimate goal is? Like, rescue Alyx from the combine or is the mapper as blind as the player when it comes to destination? Since we don’t know the second theme yet, do the mapper know where the player is headed?

    Anyways, I really can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with. I hope Miigga will enter 😀

    1. Dino_Yoshi13

      If you only have episode two installed, the files from HL2 and EP1 are still included through Source SDK.

      1. Are you sure about that? I was under the impression that you only got the Episode 2 stuff and the base Half-Life 2 files, not any of the new content from Episode 1.

        1. I’m really not sure, maybe Philip knows.

        2. Dino_Yoshi13

          I don’t have EP1 installed on this computer and the files still show up in the Source SDK running under EP2.

    2. Does it have to be involved, with lots of plot twists and characters or could it be loose or “weak” story, like you are a man who needs to escape City 17?

      No, it doesn’t have to be involved. But don’t go writing a story just yet. You will have creative control over the story and such but within the limits of the second and third themes. Will will be able to decide if the palyer escapes etc.

      “The map must run in system with only Ep2 installed”
      That means I can’t use unique content frop EP1 or HL2 for example, sounds or voices?

      No, I believe you can use content from HL2 and Ep1 via the Source SDKs.

      We can still use custom models, right?

      Yes, definitely. But with permission of the authors.

      So this first map will be rushing the player to their destination? Like the Car part from EP2, you NEED to get to White Forest to warn the resistance. Except you don’t know where you are going. That gives the player a goal and they feel they need to complete it.

      Yes, but don’t include the location. That may be part of the second theme – this is to stop people creating new maps out of competition period.

      And one last, maybe stupid question. You say the map must end coming from underground to above ground. That don’t mean the whole map needs to be underground, right? Just making sure

      No, the map doesn’t have to be underground. Just the last part. Although, it would be better if they travel a little underground before the end otherwise the second part might not make sense.

      No, one last question. Can the mapper plan ahead to what the ultimate goal is? Like, rescue Alyx from the combine or is the mapper as blind as the player when it comes to destination? Since we don’t know the second theme yet, do the mapper know where the player is headed?

      Yes, you CAN plan ahead but only in the vaguest sense. “Rescue Alyx” would be acceptable but not “Rescue Alyx from a Combine station on the coast”.

  6. Just one last question, for real this time. Is it a must that the player plays as Gordon Freeman or can we be someone else?

    1. No, they don’t have to play as Freeman, but their first name IS Gordon.

      1. I thought of another question, maybe the last this time.

        So the map should be in the Half Life 2 Universe but does it have to be based on the Half Life 2 Story? Or maybe I decide that the Citadel was never destroyed? I just want to make sure so I don’t start working on something that breaks the rules. 😀

      2. I’m assuming you said the character’s name is Gordon because of the voice-overs you are trying to provide for the community ye ? Because Gordon wouldn’t make much sense for the story I’m trying to convey. (Within the contest limits ofcourse)

  7. I think I’m taking part

    at least I started working on an entry

  8. Arma

    Questions. Questions. Can we make our own mod base? Or to have custom skins for certain NPC’s do we have to pack it into the map. Also I really hate the idea of having to climb out from underground as the ending, my entire idea is above ground outside since that’s much more suitable for travel and random sewers really isn’t something I care to have in my map.

    1. I would prefer you pack it into the map but a mod base is okay too.

      At this point you should have an “entire idea” because the concept is about 3 individual sections. I need a way to stop mappers just making their mods and ignore the time limits.

      You only need to have the play go underground for the last part. This gives me the option of selecting any type of location for the second theme.

      1. Arma

        So I can have a few custom code tweaks as well? It would really help since there’s a few things I want hammer can’t do.

        Also couldn’t it just be a door? Or mappers can have their own ending and then when the next comp comes around they just have to edit it?

  9. “The use of a vehicle is recommended,”

    Ok, now we are talkin! I was waiting for such a compitition! As a fan I’m looking forward to seeing some long coast maps, or canal runs or whatever. This should be fun!

    😀

  10. Mazur

    I have a good idea for this theme, however engine limits won’t allow me to do it. Is it possible to bump the limit to two maps?

    Also by the way, since we are supposed to have dialogs, you might have a problem if multiple mappers make scenes using faceposer. Remember to rebuild the scenes image when you’ll package everything otherwise scenes will be broken for a few maps.

    1. Okay, go for two maps.

      I didn’t know about the faceposer scenes, so thanks for that.

      1. Mazur

        Awesome, thank you.

  11. I have never really worked with large maps before but now I am nearly hitting the limit of the workspace in hammer and when driving a vehicle, you don’t want to drive a few minutes and then stop but since we can only use one map per competition, I ask if this will affect the rating of my map?

    1. Zig zag paths a lot, and remember what Adam Foster taught us: vertical mapping works wonders. I can invision quite a long drive time if those principles are used.

      And now you can use two maps!

  12. Exams over, time to get mapping! Can anyone point me towards some good tutorials for getting NPCs to say scripted dialogue, I haven’t really worked with NPCs much before.

    1. I recommend a site called halfwit-2.com. They have lots of tutorials only on HL2 SinglePlayer mapping. The one you are looking for is ‘logic Choreographed Scene’

      Its not that hard really. I don’t know if this is something wrong on my side but I can’t play the scene sounds inside my Hammer Editor. I open up the Source Sounds.gfc with GFCscape and find a voice line that I want to use and then look it up inside the editor.

      I hope that makes sense. Otherwise, just look at the tutorial 😀

      1. Thanks! I’ve seen a lot of tutorials before but that site looks to be very useful.

  13. Noface

    When the map ends underground, if you are in a tunnel in a car, do I still have to make a ladder upwards (thus losing the car)?

    Secondly, can I request a line to be made by a voice actor?

    1. Can I give suggestion? There can be a gate in the tunnel and to open it, you follow a wire that leads up with the ladder. You press a button(or something) to open it, then go back down to drive on.

      I don’t know if the rules allow this, we’ll se what philip says 😀

      1. Hi Tobeas, thanks. Nice idea, but the tunnel wouldn’t be a place where a gate would be plausible.

        However, I get the feeling the purpose is to allow a new opening into a particular environment, although he was specific about the ladder up to the man-hole cover.

        1. I was thinking more of a man-made gate. Like Resistance members collected wooden planks and metal to build a gate to maybe hold of Zombies or Antlions? I don’t think my Idea works though since Philip was specific how it would end.

          1. That type of gate or barrier would be perfect.

        2. That’s correct. The man-hole cover is the start of the next competition and time for a complete change of environment.

      2. No, the new competition will start with the player emerging from the ladder/cover.

    2. Yes, you must lose the car.

      Yes, you can request a line from a voice actor. Please email directly the details.

  14. Ark

    It says that the player must stop twice to open a gate, does it literally have to be a “gate” or can it just a normal door?

    1. Yeah and a Sub-Question to that. Does stopping, getting out of the car and exploring a area with supplies in count to that?

      1. Yes. As I said, there doesn’t have to be a gate, I just want the player to have to stop at least twice. This is to allow some exploration or puzzle elements.

    2. The rules don’t say the player must stop to open a gate. They say the player must stop. The gate was an example. Check the page again for more examples. Yes, it can be a normal door. The player could change vehicles etc here.

  15. Mr. Walrus

    What’s the policy on textures from other source games, such as Day of Defeat or Counter Strike?

    1. Okay, but remember that the mod is set within the HL universe, so make sure they don’t stand out too much.

      1. Okay, my map as I’ve planned it is very deliberately not set in the HL universe. Is that going to be a problem?

        1. No. I must have been in appeasement mode when I said yes and wish I hadn’t, but I’ll stick to the decision. Carry on, but if there is a way to convert please do.

      2. Mr. Walrus

        I have the same problem as Officer_B, and I’ve already spent over 15 hours working on my map not set in HL2. I thought you said it was ok when I asked in the initial announcement :/

        1. Well, as I just commented to Officer_B, I wish I hadn’t said yes, but I will stick to that decision. Carry on. If you can convert it, that would be great. If not, then that’s okay too.

          1. Mr. Walrus

            I cant convert it at this point, however I will modify the gameplay so that it’s more or less the same as HL2’s and stays consistent with the other entries.

  16. William

    If anyone has any voice lines they need recorded feel free to contact me on steam:

    http://steamcommunity.com/id/p17william

    P.S. I can get my wife to do some lines too if you want a female.

  17. MajorBanter

    I would participate, but NMRiH has taken up my time again. Ah well, looking forward to the entries!

  18. SPY

    Great to read that PP will keep making mapping contests, although like MajorBanter am I not joining for the first contest because I will need all my time to finish my latest new sp-mod called Episode 3: The Closure. Have been working on this one the last 3 years and it is even bigger as my previous Strider Mountain or Coastline to Atmosphere mod. Hopefully I can release this new mod some were in February, next month.

    Ofcourse will I follow this like I did with all previous contests and hopefully we will see many new maps and or mods.

    greetings,
    Leon

    1. That is awesome news! Fantastic, I cannot wait – “even bigger than strider mountain”, outstanding! Thanks Leon, please be sure to keep us all up to date. Good job!

  19. TheDeadCamper

    Well, I am definitely not making the deadline this time. I started late into the game, but gave it my best. I’m not going to finish until two weeks at least at this rate.

    Life calls, sadly.

    Looking forward to the other entries, though!

  20. MisterAddy

    I posted this on the forum, but I am in urgent need of a few beta testers who can comment on the difficulty and any exploits in my entry.

  21. entry submitted håhåhå

    made the deadline

    (with a fairly bad map)

    1. Ade

      aww and you didn’t let me test it

  22. MisterAddy

    I’ve sent my entry!

  23. Put my entry in, interested to see what everyone else did

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