BacktrackVille

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Welcome to the third challenge from The Hammer Cup 2016, which has a Grand Prize of a NECA Gravity Gun, plus other prizes for second and third places.

This challenge contains 12 entries all with the idea of a “backtracking” as the main theme.

One of the staple events in video games is the backtrack sequence. A part of the game where you retrace your steps in the exact location but this time something has changed.

The change can be due to new enemies, a violent explosion, time travel, new vehicles etc.

We would like you to create a map where the player interacts with an area and then has to backtrack through the same area, but the area must have changed.

The reason for the change and the exact change is entirely up to you.

We will allow remakes of any Half-Life game map but they shouldn’t just be copies – put a little personal touch into them.

Of course, we would be more than happy if you created your own design and have a reason for its change. Any reason is acceptable.

Even though time travel does not feature in any of the Half-Life games (unless you consider Gordon’s stasis – in which case every game features time travel – forwards!) we will allow it for this theme – either forwards or backwards.

You could create a map where you are attacking a Combine Outpost and get knocked unconscious and when you wake up you find that the resistance has been pushed back and you are now behind Combine lines. You must return to join your resistance comrades.

Or you could have been sent on a suicide mission to destroy a facility and find yourself still alive after destroying it. The Combine have sent reinforcements and your objective now is to either die in a blaze of glory or make it back to the rendezvous point.

The main idea is to play the same area twice but the second time must be significantly different from the first.

The map will be judged on how well it fits the theme AND bonus points for Design (layout, foreshadowing, secret areas, concept etc), Visuals (lighting, textures, etc), Sound (ambient sounds, voice acting, special effects etc), Gameplay (flow, exploration, 3 dimensions etc) and Misc (g-man sightings, humour, seriousness, scares etc)

Basic Details
  • Title: BacktrackVille
  • Filename: hl2-ep2-sp-mc-thc16-backtrackville-v1.7z
  • Size : 148MB
  • Author: Derek AKA 1upD, Ethosaur, OJJ, Niker107, Dr. Towers, Erik-Silver Toomere aka ESToomere, Confused_Travolta, Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofsonces, Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar, Abraham AKA ihonnyboy, Marcu Alexandru AKA Melc311, Jason Gimba AKA Maki
  • Date Released: 30 April 2016

Download Options

Download to your HDD [148MB]
You can still use it with Gauge once you have downloaded it.

Manual Installation Instructions
  • Copy the THC16-BacktrackVille folder into your …\Steam\SteamApps\sourcemods\ folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • BacktrackVille – THC16 should now be listed in your Library tab.

If you require more help, please visit the Technical Help page.

Authors and Entries

This is the order within the mod.

Collapse by Derek AKA 1upD
Delirum by Ethosaur
Going Gnome by OJJ
Grey Forest by Niker107
Home by Dr. Towers
Impasse Bypass by Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere
Mobius by Confused_Travolta
Pilot by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofsonces
Raven Mansion by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
Retaliation by Abraham AKA ihonnyboy
Singularity by Marcu Alexandru AKA Melc311
Sweep by Jason Gimba AKA Maki

Winners and Points

To Be Announced Very Soon

Full Points Allocation

To Follow.

Entrants Comments

For this challenge, I asked all the entrants to write some comments about their experience. This is an interesting exercise and may help other mappers thinking about entering.

OJJ

The pressure of meeting a tight deadline gave me the drive to look up how to use entities correctly, for example up until a day before the deadline of backtrackville the skybox had ruined the shadows on my map but I couldn’t figure out why but then I looked around for a fix on the model settings in the skybox and found out how to turn off shadows. Learning the source engine usually tends to be gradual because you’re making maps at your own pace so getting that pace sped up so you can meet the deadline makes the process faster and alot more fun.

Ethosaur

Well even though my map didn’t go as well as I had hoped, I felt I learned a few different special effects which I can use in later maps. I also during the beginning of my map I had improved a bit on detailing and outdoor creation (atleast for the first part of the intro) Every time I make these maps I learn something new even if its just a tiny thing, but it helps me improve for the next times I make more.

Dr. Towers

Well, I’ve been mapped for about a year now, but this is effectively the first, complete map I’ve ever finished, when I begun I was wanted to make a map more oriented toward the overall aspect and aestetics though I ended up deciding for an event-based one, expecially since the theme of the challenge was an idea, aka backtracking, rather than an actual enviromental characteristic (like it was Chasmville).

While working on it I almost immediatly realized that if I’d concentrate myself over the event structuring I won’t have got enough time to fully design an appealing map, so it came to my mind that since the theme was “backtracking”, I could have just done a limited amount of ambients, then altering some details when the player returns to them in a second moment, then another thing came to mind: “what if the changes in the enviroments have a supernatural origin?”, it’s a pretty common horror trope to have a small detail in a room inexplicably change when no one is looking so I decided to build the entire mod around it. My first idea was about an hunted mansion, however building a decent mansion, expecially with just hl2 materials and models, would have been pretty difficult and time consuming, so I decided to go for the suburb apartment, composed by very similar rooms that I can make out with a single template. The biggest difficulty was surely managing to keep order in the event structure, expecially considering that most of the map consists on returning to the same four rooms, I had to stuff tons of logic_compare, ambient_generic and similar in a very small space and keeping track of everything was quite hard and the many unfixed bugs of source surely didn’t made it easier. Another issue I met was about dynamic lighting, another typical trope of the horror genre: despite the gain in atmosphere the map kinda lost in terms of quality, some rooms have unrealistic or glitchy lighting and unfortunatly I couldn’t make anything about it, however considering Source is an engine more oriented toward static lighting it was still I big thing I managed to implement this mechanic anyway. On a last note I had to rush toward the end and cut some parts because time management, halfway the development I added an entire new part to the map: the dream sequence originally wasn’t included or was just a non-interactive scene, while on the other hand the bathroom scene would have been done by Mossman/administrator during the couch scene, the small chase in the administrator’s apartment was planned to be much longer and complex and would have replaced the final bathroom scene.

Confused_Travolta

Well, in my case it’s the usual. Planning and time management is everything, especially in that short competition. It’s something I’ve learned again… or you can say more appropriate – I didn’t learn yet again. Yeah, seriously. You have to draw all your level on paper or something. Have all events planned. Then start to build basic layout of your map. Then… and this is the most important, most basic thing. You have to create all mechanics of the map, forget about the look, just mechanics, things that let you play the entire map already. Beta test now. It sounds obvious but it’s not. If you level works well you can go to artpass and detailing. Switching basic brushwork to more complex, adding models and bonus things.

It’s easy to say but harder to do, especially with bigger maps. It can be achieved in Villes if you will keep your things together, but sometimes, after many days of work with this basic level, you starting to doubt. And I find this with myself. If this level really ends up looking good? Maybe it will suck. Because light and textures really make a difference. So in this situation it’s really good idea to just stay in one area and finish it, detail it entirely, that you can just see the result. It really gives you new energy when it turns out to be really good looking thing. At least it does for me.

When in doubt, it’s always good idea to write things down. 2 days before the deadline I decided I won’t be able to finish the map and that I won’t participate. But then, next day I sit down and after like 15 minutes I wrote all thing that left to do, and were necessary for map to be playable. Turned out to be not so many. So I sat again and finished the map. Well it’s not exactly what it was suppose to be, but at least it’s there 🙂 I just didn’t want to waste all those little things I crated. Maybe I could use some of these next time. Byt when this next time will be? And (maybe) some things will inspire other mappers and will be usefull in a better way on their maps? So why wait 🙂

My big problem is that I always try to do something new and add things that nobody did before. And the bad thing about this is, it takes lots of time. It’s good thing overall but not in case of fast mapping challenges like Villes. Let face it. 3 weeks is not enough for decent map unless you are able to spend all this time on your project. Also you need a good idea for a map like ASAP. I for example, had no idea what to do for like the first week. So I lost 1/3 of the time just deciding what to do. Yeah, after this time I should really stick to tested things. I often catch myself in a sitution when I would love to add something, but I don’t know how to make it exactly, so I have to spent time to read and recreate tutorials. And that something I could do way before, on some test maps, and now just copy it and modify.

There is this good idea to use something like prefabs. It doesn’t have to be prefabs literally (the deafult ones are broken anyway I think) but just to have other “test maps”, what I call them. Maps with already created stuff just waiting for perfect moment. Like for example, a fight between rebels and soldiers, an assault of combine, dropship landing, a ravenholm style trap, or everyting other you came up during your mapping time. It’s good to have such things and just copy to your new map. It saves time. I make it a lot, even just copying the models. Normally you have to put an prop_static entity (for example) then open properties, then open model browser, then search and choose a model. It’s not such big deal, but it just add up, everytime you want a new model. So just open your another map and copy the model. The ideal thing that I never did for myself (because I’m lazy) is models library on a map. It’s often called as the zoo )because it looks like it). All models on one map, in groups. Something like this was made for TF2 while back. Some folks from TF2maps.net did a map with all models in all varations (skins) and you could just easy browse them and pick up with no worries about which type of prop entity they will work, etc. Valve did something like that with new de_nuke assets. It’s super cool and usefull.

Creating a map is a many-layered thing. So don’t forget any and be prepared! You could think, that creating small map should go quick. It’s just brushwork, textures, lighting, enemies and some inputs and outputs between entities. Right? Well no, it always ends up with a lot more things to do, at least when you want a decent map.
I said layers because I see this that way. Layers. Brushwork layer, texturing layer, models, lighting, NPC and enemies, scripts, sound and soundscapes (something I always forget to do in Villes and end up with using one for entire map), cubemaps, clipping out the playable area, autosaves, adding your own textures and other files to the map and other. Yeah.. don’t forget random bugs, unexpected crashes that always delay the work 🙂

I think that’s all I can come up, about things that came back to me during making my entry. I just hope, that although it unfinished state, people will enjoy my map anyway.

Derek AKA 1upD

“One of the biggest challenges I faced was working up the confidence to actually submit an entry. I was afraid that perhaps my map wouldn’t be up to the same standard of quality as the other maps. The important thing is that I had an idea and executed it to the best of my abilities. I’ve created a map that I’m proud of and I’m eager to learn from other players.

Another problem I ran into is that I feel the core concept of the map was underused. I had a clear mechanic in mind that would separate this map and make it fun and interesting, but because of the time constraints I didn’t end up using that mechanic in the design of the map nearly as well as I should have.

I learned how to structure my time for a mapping challenge. I started by spending a few days on the design, then outlined the map using developer textures, and gradually added features. I didn’t spend much time polishing the map visually, but in the end that doesn’t bother me as much as I thought it would; I would rather spend more time on the core concept.

Ultimately, I think I will learn the most from reading feedback. I’m still learning exactly what makes a map fun to play, and I can’t wait to apply what I’ve learned to the next mapping challenge.”

Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar

Phillip asked us to write about something we learned from this challenge. There is probably more than one thing I learned, but the most important lesson for me was the following:

I planned my map to have 5 sections:
– the way to the main area
– 2 branches from a hub area
– one final fight you unlock after completing the branches
– escape from the way you originally came

In the version I sent to Phillip, the map immediately starts at the main area and you have to take the two branches, do the final fight and the map ends, so the first and final section I originally planned aren’t in the map, but you can clearly see in the map how I planned to do them. The thing is, every other part of the map is compelete and polished more or less, but because the map is obviously unfinished, the experience might not be as satisfying as it could be, even though the map is fairly long in its current state, I think longer than the average Ville entry.

If I just planned to make these 3 main sections and build those and make a proper start and ending, the map would feel much more satisfying I think, I THINK, I’m not sure, that is something you have to decide. As a side effect it would spare me a headache. I also messed up the cubemaps and the last second and didn’t have the nerves to fix them, although I think cubemaps aren’t great in maps where light goes on and off anyway.

I thought about making a full mod out of my 5 maps I will have after the 5 challenges, then I would also complete this map and do everything I planned.

Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere

The text and images below were originally published on Erik-Silver Toomere’s blog and are republished here with permission.

Another competition down, another map up. My latest map “Impasse Bypass” was an interesting foray into, like the title says, compromises and keeping it simple. The goal of this competition was to create a map that focuses on the theme of “backtracking” that is, an area that the player has to re-traverse after already having gone through it once.

When entering this competition I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to tackle this theme. Due to lack of time I didn’t have the time to enter the last competition but I had a rough idea that I wanted to do something that feels like it was a part of Episode Two. Therefore, I knew I had a wide choice for the enemy NPCs but I tried to limit myself to: the Combine soldiers, Combine synths and the good old zombies and related.

I also had a rough idea that a route surrounded by cliffs would prove, like Valve has demonstrated time and time again, the best solution for the gameplay area.

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

The image above is the earliest work in progress (WIP) version I have. A basic road through rolling cliffs, whilst creating this I figured that a man made passage way might prove to work as a good reason for backtracking – a choice that eventually gave the map its name: Impasse Bypass, a (by)pass that will prove to instead be an impasse.

Marked in green is the intended, unobstructed way through the map. Marked in red is the path the player is now forced to clear the blockage on the path, and after opening the passage the player has to continue, marked in blue, to return to the green line which then finally takes the player to the ending.

As you can see from the image the original plans had the player use the jeep. This brings us to another WIP shot:

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

This second version now has an orange path. The new path mostly only opens up after winning the boss fight (marked with an orange star). Another addition is that a lot of the paths and areas that are already passed can be opened from the opposite end, that is, a lot of the doors that start locked can be unlocked from the other side. This serves two purposes, the first is to make the area feel more open, the second is to serve the theme of backtracking since all the doors open to an area that you have already. Additionally, having the APC “boss” fight in an arena that the player has already (potentially) explored makes the fight feel a lot more easier.

This takes us to the final version:

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

I have opted to not illustrate the paths since most will be the same and I don’t want to ruin the final gameplay. But this is where we come to the compromises. Firstly, I removed the jeep: in playtesting it proved to amount to about 2 minutes of driving and the testers seemed to forget that they even had one. Secondly, I added a lot of those “doors” that I mentioned before that the player will open eventually but if opened earlier will provide with the explorer-types with goodies that will make the final fight easier.

So, what did I learn? Keep it simple. A small map with fun gameplay makes it feel bigger, as opposed to a big map with boring gameplay. The whole thinking progress for creating a map with limited enemy types, a need to keep it small and the time constraint will end up creating areas with a lot of “gating” situations which will lead to a fun map, and I will never tire of saying this: thank you Valve and praise be to GabeN.

The only problem I had is that I had to have a kind of a crescendo moment in the map. If I had more time I would polish the APC fight to be much, much more entertaining but I hope I made it up to the player by including plenty of ways to kill the metal bastard.

To conclude, limit yourself! Think small, limit the enemy types, reuse areas, pace the player. Don’t force anything into the map that takes too long or too much effort to do, you’ll burn yourself out. This time I finished a whole four days earlier (usually I send the map off, with what feels like, 5 minutes post deadline) which left me enough time to iron out small kinks and end up with a small but fun package.

Menu Music

Brane Scan by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

Video Credits

The RunThinkShootLive.Com intro video was made by ĜL1TCĦ³
Thanks to Rob Martens for converting the introduction video to .bik format.

Custom Grid View Images

Twelve grid view icons are included in this file. To use the included grid view icon, select “Grid view” in Steam (top right corner).
Right click on “BacktrackVille – THC16” and select “Set Custom Image”.
Then browse to the SourceMods folder and then to THC16-BacktrackVille/steam-gridview-icons folder and select the image. Then click “Set Image” and that’s it.
Of course, you can create your own custom image if you prefer.

Sponsor

This challenge is sponsored by Nodecraft – High Performance Game Servers.

You chance to vote for your favourites.

You may select up to 3 entries as your favourites.
This vote DOES NOT affect the points for The Hammer Cup 2016.

Which are your 3 favourite maps from BacktrackVille

  • Sweep by Jason Gimba AKA Maki (58%, 52 Votes)
  • Singularity by Marcu Alexandru AKA Melc311 (16%, 14 Votes)
  • Retaliation by Abraham AKA iohnnyboy (12%, 11 Votes)
  • Raven Mansion by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Pilot by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofsonces (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Mobius by Confused_Travolta (28%, 25 Votes)
  • Impasse Bypass by Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere (30%, 27 Votes)
  • Home by Dr. Towers (42%, 37 Votes)
  • Grey Forest by Niker107 (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Going Gnome by OJJ (2%, 2 Votes)
  • Delirum by Ethosaur (7%, 6 Votes)
  • Collapse by Derek AKA 1upD (4%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 89

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Screenshots

WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.

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

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Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Maybe
Play It Later
Play It Now!

12 recommendations, average score: 4.08 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.41 (what's that?)
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Longest: 3 Hours, 30 Mins by DolmoTheDouglas
Total Time Played: 30 Hours, 3 Mins
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76 Comments

  1. RAISING THE BAR IS ONE OF THE PRIZES??

    I want that so much!
    It is nearly impossible to get a copy of Raising the Bar in Germany without paying a ton of money.

    1. Send me a ton of money and I’ll send you one!

      But seriously, Raising The Bar is one of the prizes for Second place.

  2. on the Hammer Cup page for this challenge and the tables and stuff, you can already see the points each map got.

    Didn’t expect my map to be that bad …

    1. 6th place with 2 more challenges to go, I would say you still have a good chance of winning!

      Im still here at 10th place, but I sorta accepted that since most of my maps where not exactly special and 2 where unfinished. But it’s exciting to join anyway.

      1. to be honest this is like a kick in the teeth for me. Killed my motivation to participate in the following challenges.

        I don’t want to win, I would be happy to be 3rd place maybe, but just 25 points for this map?

        Apparently I have a completely different view to what makes a map good.

        I just got 2 points for visuals, that completely boggles my mind. I am just sitting here thinking “what?! why?!”

        But hey, I’m not saying they should change it or they are wrong, it is how it is, if they don’t like it, they don’t.

        Btw, what’s the opposite of “made my day”?

        1. OJJ

          I’m alright with the scoring, I guess. Even if I completely disagree with the points and winner order.

      2. I really liked Delirium. It was short, but the visual tricks were really interesting and completely caught me off guard.

        1. Glad to hear, I had good ideas but the theme was very hard to work with along with a lot of stuff happening in my life at the time, and of course real life has to come before that.

  3. marnamai

    I am having problems with the download, stops at around 80mb

    1. marnamai

      edit: nvm, after 3 failed attempts it worked

  4. Well, this Ville has one, obvious winner ^^

  5. Play It Later

    Well, it was quit interesting because there are 12 entries and big amount of good emotions (supposed to be).

    In my opinion, half of entries were not so good as I thought (Not talking about WIP status)…

    Also, cant give full feedback, I will just give you my opinion.

    Collapse by Derek AKA 1upD
    It is good

    First minutes of gameplay were normal, suddenly I was attacked by rebels – what a twist. Design and atmoshpere are good.

    Delirum by Ethosaur
    It is great!

    Idea is amazing. As many entries, it is short, but whole play, I was thinking where are jump-scares. Bravo!

    Going Gnome by OJJ
    It is okay

    Standart corridor gameplay…

    Grey Forest by Niker107
    It is great!

    Entry is almost perfect, it requires some little fixes, but still, it is great. Just a bit short…

    Home by Dr. Towers
    It is great!

    That was unexpected, like horror movie. Perfect! I thought it will be some default FPS in house, but, as I said, unexpected. Very nice entry.

    Impasse Bypass by Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere
    It is WOW!

    Amazing! Atmosphere, design are great. Wow, so many details, I really liked to play this entry.

    Mobius by Confused_Travolta
    It is WOW!

    Whole entry was superb! I`m still shocked by this amazing idea…

    Pilot by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofsonces
    It is okay

    Some easy puzzle system…

    Raven Mansion by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
    It is bad

    Endless rooms with headrcabs…

    Retaliation by Abraham AKA iohnnyboy
    It is good

    Very cool. All just looks like original HL2 coast. Design is great. Loved those new combine dropship containers. Thumb up!

    Singularity by Marcu Alexandru AKA Melc311
    It is good

    Well-made, design of levels is good. A bit disappointing that second save(aka level) is too short.

    Sweep by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is WOW!

    Perfect! Atmoshpere, design are great. As I expected, entry made gave me a lot of good emotions.

    1. Is it just me or are all of these reviews scrambled or from previous villes? “First minutes of gameplay were normal, suddenly I was attacked by rebels – what a twist. Design and atmoshpere are good.
      Delirum by Ethosaur”

      But that was not in my map?

      1. The first line of text was pushed up above the images, so the last line for each images is the title of the next map.

        I was confused as well.

        1. so the bad rating is for my map? Endless rooms with headcrabs?
          There are only 2 rooms in the entire map with headcrabs.

          1. @Ethosaur It seems that after editing whole list went crazy as usual.
            @crowbar I am VERY sorry because it`s just that I lied to you. What really happened:
            I loaded your entry and started playing, but in few minutes I understood that I`m getting bored and….just closed your entry. I will, no, MUST replay it. Sorry for that, I can`t imagine that you did this entry, your previous works were better…Sorry.

    2. I have correctly formatted this comment. Everybody should watch the video if they have any doubt about using the Per-Map Opinion images.

  6. Hi! I’ve been enjoying this Ville so much. However, I cannot keep playing one entry that impressed me even in the opening scene!

    I have a problem with the entry HOME. Game just stops working everytime after I approach to an object and press E key (especially the pill box in the bathroom on the floor. Restarting the game does not solve this one, yet I solved other ones by doing so.). It started to happen as I woke up and tried to figure out what is going on in my place. I had to save the game when I managed to move forward after nothing happened in such cases before. It really bothers me and I have no clue about why it happens. Anyone has an idea about it? Any suggestions? Thanks in advance!

    1. You could try changing your “use” key in the options and see what happens.

    2. I had this once too, game crashed to desktop after I pressed ‘use’ on one of the evidence (the table one), but that was on test version of the mod, and I didn’t have this problem anymore.
      That’s interesting because those objects only trigger bunch of text. Well, at least I suspect they do that.
      What a shame, it’s great entry 🙁

      1. Thank you for your interest! I figured that out! It is a habit of mine that I usually save the game using the main menu and make a quick save in the beginning of a map/mod that takes place in HL universe.

        I did not change the use key, actually. I just solved this with a fresh start and not saving any part of the mod. This way, I had no problem at all. For those who may encounter the same sort of a problem, I strongly recommend not to save game during playing the HOME entry. To me, there is actually no need to do so in the entry.

  7. Mobius legit creeped me out

    1. Yeah, it was pretty weird, wasn’t it.

  8. Maybe?

    This is the first Ville I’ve played , so I can’t really compare it to the previous ones

    Collapse
    It is okay

    I don’t get it. Not the gameplay, that was OK, and although a bit boxy, the level geometry made sense, and was generally… OK. What I don’t get is the story/plot/whatever. Why are resistance members suddenly trapping me with mines, and start shooting me? Were they brainwashed or what?

    Delirum
    It is good

    The keycard was a nice idea, and I liked the creepy hospital atmosphere of the second part. It was a little too short on content though.

    Going Gnome
    It is okay

    Ummmm… Is this memes? Other than that it was ‘meh’ at best for the most part, except for the boss puzzle, which was a cool idea. (at first I thought I had to shoot that dead scanner at the strider like a magnusson device, and I was a little confused when it just bounced right off. I think the whiteboard notes are a bit confusing right now.)

    Grey Forest

    I appreciate the voice acting, and there were some nice ideas (mainly the Zombine doorbell :D). Sadly it’s unfinished so I don’t really want to rate it right now, sooooo… ?/5

    Home
    It is WOW!

    Wow. That came out of nowhere. A short, self-contained horror story, with a surprise gameplay element I’m not going to ruin for anyone. I like that there are multiple endings, but so far I’ve only been able to find two of them. I hope this gets remade or continued with some actual voice acting!

    Impasse Bypass
    It is great!

    Now this is some nice Half-Life level design! It’s great, go play it! Only problem: I got a bit fed up with doors that open from one side, but that’s probably only bugging me

    Mobius
    It is great!

    Ummmmmmm. Yeah. Ummmmmm. Well, the execution is good. But. Ummmm. What!? (btw, make the glass break on the first crowbar hit, I got stuck in that room for a while)

    Pilot
    It is bad

    I think this glitched out for me. The dev textured levers in one level didn’t turn into actual levers for me, making it impossible to beat it. I like the idea, and I would give it a 4/5, but until someone confirms that it’s a problem on my end only, I’m gonna give it a 1/5

    Raven Mansion
    It is bad

    Stuck. Lights go off, I have no flashlight for some reason. There is one room with a wheelbarrel, where I couldn’t find anything, and there’s a power box in the dark somewhere, which doesn’t do anything when I press “e” on it. Plus the weird lighting hurts my eyes. Oh, and you start in the void where you can fall off the map.

    Retaliation
    It is good

    This was a bit… standard I guess? Nothing bad, but nothing stands out to me.

    Singularity
    It is good

    I liked the idea, and the execution wasn’t too bad, but once again, I didn’t find anything that stuck out to me.

    Sweep
    It is WOW!

    Wow. It looks really good, the voice acting is not too bad, the map on a whole plays nice, and I loved the bossfight. Also, it’s pretty funny when you find out where the title of the mod comes from 😀

    Conclusion

    So yeah, I’ve enjoyed most of it, eventhough there are a few duds. Thanks for every single participant for putting their maps out here for everyone to play! You guys are awesome!

    PS: Would it be too late to join in on the next round? I’m gonna have lots of free time and I could use some controlled practice 🙂

    1. It’s not too late to enter the next one! Next comp starts May 12th. Watch the front page for an announcement around that time. It may be too late to actually have a shot at winning the cup overall if you haven’t entered the others, since only your top three entries count and there are only two comps left.

      1. Pilot did not glitch out for you, I submitted my map late, and well you can see the results. I didn’t budget enough time to it, and wound up with a proof of concept, and nothing else really. I see where I went wrong. Oh and to directly reply to your comment, I never replaced the last puzzles levers with models.

        1. So wait, was I supposed to be able to pull those levers?

          1. Oh dear, looks like my playthrough was not thorough enough. I gave up after 10 minutes of failing.

    2. I have correctly formatted your review with headings instead of bold.

      1. Thanks! I’ve added headings but the boldness cancelled it out or something. I’m gonna keep an eye out for that in the future 🙂

        1. No problem. I wish we could make it easier for users, but I can’t see a way. However, now that I typed that, something might have popped into my head. Stay Tuned. IF you edited your comment, the headings might have been lost.

          1. I actually did edit my comment when I’ve added the PS part 😀

            Btw, is the livestream of this Ville scheduled for today?

            1. 30 minutes to livestream

  9. Collapse
    It is okay

    Killing the civilians was unique and fun and so were the bomb barrels breaking the walls.

    Delirium
    It is great!

    The design was great and super creepy! The LOST numbers is always a welcome addition. Zombie hooks, skeletons and smoking fire heads added to the creep factor.

    Going Gnome
    It is okay

    Love the name

    Grey Forest
    It is good

    Always nice to have voice acting and the visuals were good.

    Home
    It is WOW!

    Fantastic design gameplay and uniqueness. I could watch headcrabs humping for hours. Fun story to play through and multiple playthrough/endings was super fun. This would have been my top pick if the lighting wasn’t pure black in areas which made it hard to play sometimes.

    Impasse Bypass
    It is great!

    Great but made me feel like a noob. I play on easy and it was hard for me. It was solid in all aspects though just not wow.

    Mobius
    It is WOW!

    Visually stunning, looks professional. Great gameplay and loved the television heads.

    Pilot
    It is good

    I love puzzle maps. Nice use of blockout visuals vs final visuals. The actual puzzle mechanic might not be the best but it was worth a try and im glad to have played it.

    Raven Mansion
    It is good

    The biggest takeaway for me was the creepy half zombies, it was actually one of the most memorable moments of all the maps and I’m shocked valve didn’t use this idea because it worked so well.

    Retaliation
    It is great!

    This didnt quite make my top 3 but it had super solid gameplay and visuals. Nothing too crazy or unique but if a whole mod was made this quality it would have a lot of fans im sure.

    Singularity
    It is good

    Felt like there was a bit too much reuse from half life level design but it was fun.

    Sweep
    It is WOW!

    Going back through an area has never been more fun since it was completely different being underwater one way and the train boss fight ending was a fantastic ending to a visually lovely map.

  10. Very nice job with the custom animations, Dr. Towers. Are they difficult to make? I’d imagine they’d be featured in a lot of other mods if they weren’t, but your entry makes it look easy with how many are in it.

    I really enjoyed the custom dropship containers in Retaliation as well. Was there something similar in that one entry from CrossoverVille a while back? The one that takes place on a couple bridges between four outposts above some sort of lake or generic water source. Regardless, I would like to see more instances of them.

    Great competition overall, the Hammer Cup has been a blast so far. Here’s hoping to the same amount of quality and quantity from the remaining contests.

  11. Hi, I’m pretty new here and this is my first comment. I have played all challenges in this years cup and wanted to write something to each of them but havent come around to do so. This challenge will be my first to write something. I am not a map maker myself, I’m just a passionate gamer.

    Collapse
    It is bad

    I liked the transformation the map went through while backtracking, but overall I have trouble finding things I like about the map. The rebel twist is an interesting idea but it was implemented horribly in my opinion. It just didn’t make any sense and was plainly confusing.

    The combat was another let down. On the way there to companions were a straight up annoyance and as it turns out later, just a story element. The combat was either too easy or just more annoying than satisfying, due to the level geometry.

    Delirium
    It is okay

    This map had me high on expectations because visuals were building an interesting atmosphere. But thats about everything.
    I feel this map has trouble establishing a narrative. It has pieces that dont quite fit together yet and while looking for the ties to make sense of them you realize that the map is already over.

    Going Gnome
    It is okay

    Strongest part of this map was by far the strider interaction (from first sight, to the hunt, until the takedown). Also the path leading you around, although it doesnt make too much sense, has a nice feeling to it (the “hey, I know this, but last time I came from another direction” feeling).

    The combat encounters didnt feel natural. This also applies to the the rest of the map as well. It’s like the map doesnt try to hide that it’s made in a map editor and therefore doesnt feel like part of a world.

    Grey Forest
    It is okay

    This map had such a promising start. It built expectations which are promptly shattered by confusing transitions to arbitrary setttings. Why am I going down through a rocket silo to get to a meeting, but have to plug in a cable for some dude before that. Why isnt there a normal way down? Then I leave the building on that level, when I think Im deep beyond the earth. The following events are also somewhat of a mistery, but sadly that is were the map already ends.

    Each part of the map was carefully crafted but in the grand scheme they just didnt make any sense like this.

    Home

    I’m really confused how this map found its why into a Half-Life modding contest. Its a walking simulator with a somewhat convincing narrative and a nice twist, but if you want to be fair you have to consider all the corners this map has cut by stripping so much of the core gameplay off the original game. This map did really well what it tried to do, but it feels so unfair towards the other map makers that I dont want to include it in the rating.

    Impasse Bypass
    It is great!

    This map really does well with grabing the player and letting him dive into the world. The setting and atmosphere were coherent and made sense. The combat encounters had a really good difficulty curve, allowing the player to slowly sink into the world.

    The APC part was the most lacking in my opinion, in multiple ways. Replacing it with a different, more enjoyable battle that makes a little more sense would make me so happy. Also there could be a little more hint to where to go after that.

    Even though this map was my favorite experience in this challenge.

    Mobius
    It is good

    This map gave me Bioshock: Infinite vibes, which is one of my top games of all time. It has a really nice way of driving the narrative by building anticipation with its atmosphere and enviromental hints. The “reveal” has quite the effect and the visiuals are spot on.

    Sadly this map has me longing for more, since the gameplay was rather uneventful making it a short experience.

    Pilot
    It is bad

    Sometimes “meta” or whatever this is supposed to be is great. But here it just feels like laziness.
    Completing a puzzle is more a struggle of understanding the visuals and the mechanics than solving the puzzle.

    Raven Mansion
    It is good

    Sadly this map starts in an unfinished area. It really does not do the rest of the map justice. This map has a great theme which is established with a fitting atmosphere and appropriate combat encounters. If this map had a proper beginning and ending, maybe a little more polish here and there, it could easily compete at the top of this challenge.

    Retaliation
    It is okay

    This map has solid visuals and a rather shallow narrative. The combat doesnt really hit the mark for me. Its not satisfying enough and seems a bit too reduced to staying behind cover.
    This map does quite a few things, none of them too bad, but also nothing that really stands out as great.

    Singularity
    It is okay

    The narrative of this map is quite confusing to me. As there are not many hints, this map was a concatenation of combat encounters that led me one way only to get back the same way to were I started to realize that this was my destination all along. In the meantine the map had a nice transcombineformation, which was nice. But other than that this map has not much going on.

    Sweep
    It is good

    This map has quite the unique way of backtracking. The way there was a little boring with lots of stops to breathe and nothing happening. The combat was simple but effective. Killing the boss was a satisfying experience. The storyline made sense and was delivered appropriately.

    1. You haven’t included a main recommendation image. Was that an oversight or on purpose? There’s no obligation to include one but it will help other readers if you do.

      1. I actually forgot about that. Can you change it to “Play It Later” for me, that would be great. Thanks.

    2. Thanks for playing my map and giving me a detailed review of it (Singularity) . I just want to ask you what you have meant to say when you said that it’s ‘too confusing’ and that the final destination is where the player started . Isn’t that whole point of the whole challenge ? I tried my best to make the second part as different to the first one as I could by adding different gameplay and visuals . While I agree that you don’t really know what your objective is , I think that in it’s impossible to give a clear objective for the map that I made and still have the same layout . In the beginning I wanted to add a kleiner cast to inform the player is goal , but as I was short on time , I decided to focus on other elements . I agree that the backtrack aspect was kinda wasted in this map as it isnt the most exciting in terms of visuals and objective so I think that I will re make this map with different a layout .

      1. Sure, I will try to explain it in a little more detail.
        The trouble I had with your map was that it didn’t make any sense to me, story-wise.
        Why am I running across the map to get hit by a laser, just to run all the way back to be safe. Why couldn’t I just stay at the beginning because apparently this is where I can escape and there was nothing to gain on the other side anyway?

        Maybe you have this questions answered in your head. And maybe you put hints into the map to make the player aware. I just didn’t get the story. This might be my own fault, or you just didn’t make it clear enough.

        This is my major concern with your map. Other than that I could say that the map felt a little too close to the Half-Life 2 street levels, but in a boring way. There was not anything too special about it, other than the transformation an the way back, which is definitely a strong part of the map. Also, if I remember correctly, you had to push a green locker or something from a door. I had big trouble with that. It either moved hardly at all or it got stuck in the door frame, making it even harder to move. Very frustrating. You should avoid something like that in my opinion.

        I hope this helps.

  12. I’m actually surprised I’m still ahead of some people score wise, I was sure Pilot would leave me in dead last. It was rushed, poorly put together and not even that fun to make. There was no heart, nor soul to it. I had it running on a flimsy narrative that worked around a 1980s anti-depressant ad. How creative. The puzzles, when presented to the right people were met with huge enthusiasm, but that blinded me to how poorly concocted most of them were. Not to mention dev textures in places they shouldn’t be.
    All in all, I feel like this map is far from what represents me as a mapper but it did allow me to take a step into the unknown. I had to force myself to learn the hammer I/O system and then utilize it constantly to pull off the map. While yes, the game logic was error free, it was still visually and gameplay wise unappealing, and I totally agree with the reviews it’s received. But I did learn something out of it. And that’s the important part ya know? I’m not doing all that well point wise but these little villes have given me a chance to give the unexplored a shot. Such as the hyper detailing in Rebel Island, and now the entity work in Pilot.
    I’m very great full for these Ville’s Philip, and my fellow mappers you should also be. Don’t let the points beat you down, and try and take something positive away from it.

    P.S. I’ve done detailing, now entity work, and next probably combat flow. Perhaps it’ll all accumulate into a final map that combines all the concepts this contest has taught me?

    1. Miigga

      I thought your map was easily one of the better ones. I was close to giving it a vote, but I was bothered by the lever system in your map. I felt like the second puzzle taught me that the dev-textured levers don’t do anything, whereas the real-looking levers are the ones that work. Then in the very next puzzle, there are only dev-textured levers and when you press them, it’s not clear whether or not it did anything. Yet, those dev-textured levers are required for solving the puzzle.

      It was a well presented map, but I think you should work on communicating to the player what the player’s actions actually do.

  13. Play It Later
    Collapse by Derek AKA 1upD
    It is okay

    Simple and most of the time dull combat, but not bad. Visually it wasn’t ugly, but also not very appealing. I also didn’t understand why we started backtracking at the end. Of course we do, because that’s the theme of the challenge, but I’d expect some reason for that in the map itself. Maybe I just didn’t understand what happened. Using barrels to destroy walls to progress is something I’m not a fan of. The only reason the player shoots that barrel is because there is no other way to progress, so he thinks whatever I’ll shoot this random barrel over here.

    Delirum by Ethosaur
    It is okay

    The map has some nice moments, but overall was too short and too uneventful. Some areas looked really nice, others looked very dull. I want to give this a higher rating, but it wasn’t really a satisfying experience, but well made.

    Going Gnome by OJJ
    It is okay

    Solid map. Looks okay, plays okay. The final boss was too easy and too fast, so it didn’t feel like a climax. Sometimes in some combat sections you could just stand in the corridor and wait for the combine to come to you one by one, that made the combat tedious and it isn’t well designed.

    Grey Forest by Niker107
    It is bad

    Well the only reason for this rating is because this map doesn’t offer me anything. It’s unfinished apparently. You talk to some people, drive somewhere, drive back, that’s it. Visually it was extremely dull too. Just some empty rectangle rooms. The jumping puzzle at the start was infuriating.

    Home by Dr. Towers
    It is great!

    Clear winner for me. Unique idea, branched storyline and some nice moments and I was genuinely scared a bit. The map has problems though which is why it isn’t a personal favorite. Too many invisible walls, some bugs, bad lighting, and for a map that takes place in such a small enviroment I expect much better visuals.
    The moment you find out that you have a pistol in the drawer was really a great moment. It was a bit weird that the map doesn’t end by itself, but realizing that you have to restart the map and take the pistol from the drawer, knowing it was there all the time, was a cool moment. And apparently there is more then one ending.

    Impasse Bypass by Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere
    It is bad

    I don’t understand why people like this map. The starting area looks good, but not great, the rest of the map looks really dull, dull geometry and lighting. The combat was a complete joke. You open a door and a group of combine soldiers try to fight you through that door, you yourself are stuck in a tiny corridor. So the combat was just reduced to holding the left mouse button. Some objects are stuck in the air for some reason. The vents were annoying, the final battle frustrating. APCs clearly aren’t made for close combat.

    Mobius by Confused_Travolta
    It is good

    This map easily could be a winner if there was more gameplay other than walking and shooting your pistol once to kill things, but it definitly is a unique map and satisfying to play. This is 2nd place for me.

    Pilot by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofsonces
    It is okay

    I give this “IT’S OKAY” and not “IT’S BAD”, even though I really had no fun playing this, but apparently some work went into it. The puzzles were too cryptic though and not satisfying to solve at all.

    Retaliation by Abraham AKA ihonnyboy
    It is okay

    Solid map. Really not a lot to say about this one.

    Singularity by Marcu Alexandru AKA Melc311
    It is good

    While playing this I didn’t think it’s that good, but compared to most of the other entries this is definitly a good map. The combat is solid, it has a solid length and it has a good enough idea for the backtrack part, although it feels really random. You go to A, stuff happens, you go back to B. You can clearly see how the mapper built his map around the theme, you can clearly see behind the scenes if you want.

    Sweep by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is okay

    After playing this map I was dissapointing, because I thought “where is Maki’s map?” (remember this is the last map in the pack), but apparently this is was Maki’s map.
    The main area looks really nice, although my fps dropped from 300 to 150. Other areas looked okay, but not good. The way to the “objective” was really boring and annoying. The way back was also annoying. When the antlion guard appears for the first time, the floor is extremely weird and you move like you weigh 300 kg and that made that part extremely frustrating.
    The battle when you are at the main area again was also really unsatisfying. It was just pure chaos, running around, waiting for the vortigaunt to kill things.
    You kill the boss by luring him in front of the train, but it really felt like a gimmick, like the whole map was built around that idea. It wasn’t made well IMO.

    1. I put spoiler tags for the spoilers in the review, but apparently they don’t work.

      1. Oh, sorry about that. To be honest, I think with reviews spoilers are to be expected and in an ideal world, no spoilers would be great, I don’t think it is possible to review something properly without at least some spoilers. I’ll look into the issue though. Did you edit your comment?

        1. no I didn’t edit it, I’m scared that it will destory itself.

  14. Maybe?

    I really liked Sweep and Impasse Bypass but I think Sweep was better because it was actually played in the hl2 universe including a character and place from the original game.
    The rest of the maps were just okayish or not even playable, so overall I think this ville was really weak.

  15. Play It Later

    BacktrackVille had a hard act to follow in the form of LiberationVille. LiberationVille had maybe burnt a few contestants out but there were a few returners this time (Niker107, Crowbar, Melc311, Ethosaur, Agameofscones and Maki) I could tell by some posts over the challenge period on the announcement page that some people were struggling to get stuff done. Maybe it’s the time of year? I finished the mod for the first time (A play though I did on Youtube) and felt somewhat disappointed. Maybe I was expecting a lot as this was a golden opportunity to shine and gain points for being really cleaver but no one shone through. Don’t get me wrong, there were some great entries but no stand out entries. With that being said, BacktrackVille still remains part of THC 2016s legacy and will not be forgotten. Thank you to all contestants for the effort you put in and the time you gave to making these creations.

    Collapse by Derek AKA 1upD
    It is okay

    Collapse is an “Okay” map with some good puzzles and a good backtrack execution. It was great that there was a variety of enemies such as Antlions, Rebels and Combine and putting the red lasers in was a great idea. There was a distinct lack of storyline so I was not quite sure what was going on or why things happened the way they did.

    Delirum by Ethosaur
    It is okay

    This map had such a good beginning with such a great atmospheric starting area. It felt like a quaint hospital especially as there were people on it on the sofa. As the map went on, I began realising that this could be a concept that has never been in a HL2 map before. I was genuinely scared when the Gman started walking towards me. I found the key card and made it out. I saw the “changing room” that was blood stained at the window and not when going through the door. I got outside and was ready for something big to happen but it ended. I think (in the nicest possible way) this map is a wasted opportunity. It could have been even scarier and mysterious. I guess time played a big part as contestants only had 19 days. The Gman could have kept leading the player to a strange area were you had to fight loads of zombies then been chased by the gman back out the hospital or something like that. There could of been other stuff that could of happened but as it stands, good atmosphere, Lacking in more gameplay.

    Going Gnome by OJJ
    It is okay

    Everyone loves gnome maps! I liked this one even though the gnome was in it for about 5 seconds as I drove the car madly into the warehouse! All joking aside, this was a basic map in terms of aesthetics as the rooms were boxy and the walls were bland. I do however love the puzzles and it had decent combat. Using the flying combine flash robots (Dont know proper name) to destroy the strider was a stroke of genius and It took me a while to work it out. This was good as it felt rewarding. To make this map better, the car journey could have been longer, although I do understand the space was well used. And the actual rooms could be made to look a bit better. All in all an enjoyable map.

    Grey Forest by Niker107
    It is okay

    It’s great to see a map with custom voices and scripted sequences. There were parts of it I really enjoyed but it could of had more focus on the backtrack part. At the start, it felt like “A day in the life of “not Gordon Freeman”” but it picked up with the driving part and the enemies toward the end. I find it hard to place this one as it is unfinished and lack a back track part so I will be playing it again before I release my rankings!

    Home by Dr. Towers
    It is good

    A very well done horror map. This was atmospheric and scary. Even though it crashed when I “Used” the suicide note, I found a way to get it working. This was such an original entry and something I have been looking for in a mapping challenge. The whole set up and “Plot” were done really well. The Backtrack part was amazing. Definitely a top teir map!

    Impasse Bypass by Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere
    It is great!

    Impasse Bypass is a great looking map and included a very interesting “Backtrack”. Although the map layout confused me once or twice, I generally was guided in the right direction. It was a longer map but not overly long and it ended in good time! The fight with the APC was interesting as it took me a while to work it out. In the end, it was rewarding. Definitely a solid eatery and one of the most memorable.

    Mobius by Confused_Travolta
    It is good

    Mobius was a decent map that brought into it many good ideas. The idea of going into a different dimension was cool and the TV people were brilliant. I also liked the impossible corridor! The problem with this map is the fact I had no idea what was going on. I get that I was in a research facility and I went to another dimension but that was about it. And it ended with no explanation of what had happened. Did I destroy the portal or contain it? Otherwise the backtrack part was more of a front backtrack but that is fine!

    Pilot by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofsonces
    It is dire!

    I cannot say much about this because I have no idea what is supposed to be going on. There is no direction whatsoever and even the writing on the screen does not help. The puzzle idea was cool but not obvious and it was only on my second play through that I realised the two levers that were dev textures in the second part did stuff (You can see me missing stuff in my youtube playthrough) I don’t think making the player play a map over and over again is “Backtrack” or for that matter fun.

    Raven Mansion by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
    It is bad

    This map was challenging and had a good concept. The mansion seemed to be well designed to start off with but both times playing, I broke the map. For instance I went back through the room with two doors on either side to get to the locked gate. Going back to the room, the door was locked leaving me in a trapped area. The door to the leaver to turn the lights on could be a bit more obvious and there could be more of a story line. I presume the lack of outside was either lack of time or a glitch.

    Retaliation by Abraham AKA iohnnyboy
    It is okay

    This map was quite good and I love the fact the setting changed and the building was destroyed for the backtrack section. This made up for the shortness of it. The map had 2 or 3 challenging areas and I loved the battle at the end. I was sad at the end when the train doors closed (The other rebel outside the train) and the map ended as I would have liked to have seen the train leave the station. I understand map challenge time was limited so this is just a small detail.

    Singularity by Marcu Alexandru AKA Melc311
    It is good

    This was a very cool map! I loved the “Backtrack” feature! The changes from water into toxic waste, the sky had changed and some buildings were burning. This really did capture the theme very well! The corridors at certain points seemed plain but it wasn’t super plain that it removed anything from the level. Loved the inclusion of snipers as well. There wasn’t an explanation for anything happening in the map but that is just a side note as the actual theme of backtrack was done very well.

    Sweep by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is great!

    I wasn’t surprised to see this map was a Jason Gimba creation after I played it as I didn’t look at who made each map beforehand. This map looked and felt so much better than a lot of the others in this Ville. I have to say, I wasn’t as enthusiastic about the “Backtrack” feature as some of the other maps but the story to this was amazing. Especially with the custom voice. The boss “Battle” at the end was cool as I was running about shouting “Come on train” and I was pleasantly surprised to see the train come along and knock that Antlion Guardian into oblivion. All in all, a strong map but not necessarily one of Jason Gimbas strongest. I do however have to say this is my winner for BacktrackVille!

    1. Just realized, i accidentally put in 3 hours instead of 2 for playtime. Hope it doesn’t mess the statistics up.

    2. Thanks so much for taking the time to post your videos, Dolmo. It is always helpful to watch others play your map.

  16. Phillip why you lie to me? You said you will put the updated version of my map in the final release but you didnt? You probably still didnt fix LiberationVille too…

    1. OJJ

      He updated mine, maybe there was a mixup somewhere along the line?

  17. robert

    I was excited all month to play this Ville but unfortunately a lot of the entries felt unfinished or rushed. Usually in each Ville I find at least a few maps that are so well made, so good at imitating the Half Life 2 mapping and gameplay style that I feel like I’m playing Half Life DLC or expansion packs, and I guess that’s what I like.

    There were some interesting ideas here but I think most entries would have been better if they were given additional time. Maybe we need two months inbetween challenges or something, I am not sure.

    The maps that attempted to break the mold and do strange things like Moebius, Delerium and Home were refreshing but all of them ended very abruptly just as I was getting drawn in. Some of the other maps were well made but looked bleak or blocky. Sweep was atmospheric but had no guns, and ended too quickly.

    I’m no Half Life 2 mapper, the last time I made maps was forever ago on Starcraft Brood War, so I can’t criticize the abilities of anyone in this content, but I guess the TL;DR of my post is, there was a lot of great ideas here that felt like they didn’t have enough time to complete.

  18. Play It Later

    Backtrackville, a third attempt for mappers to show their skill. This theme was quite unique because in my opinion it required at least a little bit of creativity to make the backtracking section somewhat interesting. Let’s see what do we got here.

    Collapse
    It is okay

    The first moments weren’t so bad, design wasn’t so blocky, killing npc’s wasn’t so dull, I liked it. But the more i’ve played the more bored I was. The plot twist was definetely unexpected and a big plus for that but it didn’t make any sense. There should’ve been some sort of explanation why I got double-crossed by rebel forces. Backtracking in this one was very simple and it was just going back the way I came. Kinda meh.

    Delirium
    It is okay

    I really, really, really liked the starting location, apart from some dull building design, the rest was amazing. The hospital part was quite average thoough, it was the smallest and emptiest hospital I’ve ever been. The creep factor was nice tho, building the atmosphere with the ghost, Silent Hill-ish room and somewhat the morgue have been done well. I’ll give that an “Okay” mark.

    Going Gnome
    It is bad

    You know what I would’ve really loved? If the Gnome in the “Going Gnome” title really meant something. I just left it where it was and didn’t give a single fap about it. The corridors were tight and empty, filled with block design syndrome. The strider part was nice, but it’s the only real plus of this map. I’m sorry.

    Grey Forest
    It is bad

    Even though the voice acting was okay, and the beginning was announcing something big and interesting, it ended up pretty fast and disappointed me hard. I believe the author focused too much on faceposing and voice acting instead of the map itself. Try to see what your priorities are according to the mapping theme.

    Home
    It is WOW!

    Holy tits this was unexpected. I could almost taste the dreadful hammering coming from my annoying neighboor. But I never would have expected THIS. This map did it’s job on making me shout “wow” several times, backtracking was done amazingly, the design wasn’t outstanding but the dark atmosphere made me forget about the lightning bugs and empty corridors and focus on the story. I see no reason why this map shouldn’t get into Top 3.

    Impasse Bypass
    It is good

    For as long as I’ve played this map, I had this nice feeling in my tummy. Mostly thanks to a properly done design which could’ve been even better tho. The vent crawling quite tired me, shootouts weren’t really that hard. What I don’t understand is why my jeep teleported from the beginning to the other side of the gate I was trying to get through…

    Mobius
    It is great!

    God damn Travolta. I knew you were gonna get inspired by Portal-ish experiments and science stuff. The design was marvelous, and the TV People encounters were quite disturbing. I really liked this map and the desorientation I felt, “what’s going on?”, “why is this stuff happening?”.
    Guaranteed 2nd place for me.
    Hugs and kisses.

    Pilot
    It is okay

    I love how you made the bakctracking part, when it all ended up as a on giant loop, when I have to restart the map all over, when I have to get frustrated as hell again at a puzzle in one of the levels. Seriously, it’s all simple but that one part with blocked paths and three boxes made my nerves die from blood overflow and mostly because of these “dev levers” that didn’t change their form properly.

    Raven Mansion
    It is bad

    One word: gruntfest. A very boring one except two parts, the crawling fast zombies and the duel with mad Grigori that can double shot me in the head on medium difficulty.

    Retaliation
    It is good

    The design was good, the rebel outpost was cleverly done and most importantly, not empty. The shootouts were just right, not too gruntfesty, not too boring. The backtracking part was done very simple tho, and it should’ve been somehow expanded. I just walked there 5 meters from the camp and came back, done.

    Singularity
    It is okay

    This map’s theme would’ve been soooo good if it wasn’t for the dull map design. Seeing City 17 before and after Citadel explosion is one hell of an amazing idea but the city should’ve been in total ruins and it still hold up somehow. Backtracking factor done well, but could’ve been better.

    Sweep
    It is great!

    And here we come to Maki’s map. When we say Maki, we say quality and this map is no different. Train station with the underground metro and canal part were outstanding. I liked the company of the vort, reminds me of the one from Episode Two where one helps another. But something was missing in this map. Something that was crucial in Maki’s last maps in Liberationville and Chasmville. Something that would make me say “DAYUUUUM” loud. Fighting the antlions and the guard with the help of the vort and obviously driving train was a very nice and intensive part but It felt more like a typical part of the gameplay, not something that would make stand still for a minute and think about what just happened. I’ll give this one a 3rd place easily.

    1. God damn headings broked.
      I’d have never expected CSS to fail me.

      1. I have correctly formatted your review. Please see the video, linked to in the Per-Map Opinion selection section, for more details.

    2. a third attempt for mappers to show their skill.

      Not sure if you know but this is the 40th mapping challenge I have run on the site. It is the 3rd in The Hammer Cup 2016 though. I just thought I would clarify that.

  19. asterixer

    after lowercase the files, it run without problems under linux. Loved the last map, GREAT!

    1. Yeah, the last map is quite nice just with the design itself.

  20. Play It Now!
    Collapse
    It is bad

    If I had to summarise this in one word, it would be ‘basic.’ The environment is just really bland and not much fun to explore on the way in. I’m just not sure what this place is supposed to be, or what our goal is ultimately. I assume it’s to free the prisoners but then we never seem to actually get around to that… Then, when the changes occur on the way back, it just feels shoehorned in. There isn’t a lot of information given to the player as to why the rebels turn hostile and why the cave / mine / tunnels are now collapsing. On top of that, the enemy placement on the way back is just a little predictable, and the citizens on the way in where nothing more than a hinderance in the narrow hallways and up on ledges.

    Delirium
    It is good

    Short but sweet. The exterior section at the very start / end of this map looks great, but I have to admit that I was a little underwhelmed once I headed inside. It just seemed so bland and sparsely decorated by comparison. I really do like the clever use of Half-Life 2 assets such as dialogue and characters. I also really liked that brushwork was used to create mission critical items that had to be carried from place to place, leaving the player exposed to enemy attacks. It’s a shame that this wasn’t really utilised a little longer, but then the whole thing is over within five minutes.

    Going Gnome
    It is great!

    I really enjoyed this one. Again, the mapping was a little basic and the setting was very vague, but the backtracking section getting destroyed as I went was a nice touch. Also, I love the idea for taking out the strider. It’s honestly something I had never thought of before but a very interesting solution. Yeah, this one was great.

    Grey Forest
    It is good

    This is very much along the lines of the opening to Half Life 1, going back and seeing who out of the people encountered on the way in are still alive, and indeed how many have been turned into shambling mawmen. It was a real shame to see this unfinished. Knowing Niker’s development style he can churn out some really cool maps in a short amount of time, but sadly this time it appears that he ran out. None the less, I still like what there is of this entry.

    Home
    It is WOW!

    WOW! I am speechless. This was very eery and unsettling and I absolutely loved it! This is what I look for when I think of a horror map. It does have a jump scare, but it doesn’t completely rely on them like so many horror mods to. Most of the time, something is catching your eye or there is just a general sense of unease. Not only that, but the atmosphere is spot on, the level design is nice and the interactivity sells it. Plus, having to restart the map for the alternative ending… wow.

    Impasse Bypass
    It is great!

    I really like the design of this one. It feels like classic HL2 and the environments are stunning. I really like that I had to backtrack and then retrace my steps a couple of times. Whether that was the intention, or if I simply got confused somewhere, there were enemies to fight both times so it never got dull. Nice little bossfight with the APC, even though I never find them particularly engaging as they do not move. A solid entry and definitely one of my favourites.

    Mobius
    It is great!

    This one was weird. Really weird. I loved it. Once again, a stunningly well realised environment with some nice custom artwork and some entertaining little bits of interactivity. Interesting new enemies with the TV head guys, even if they were a little easy to despatch with the .357, but that’s fine. Nice quirky little entry that really stood out from the crowd.

    Pilot
    It is okay

    I wasn’t so sure with this one. The puzzles were ok, and did involve a little back tracking, but for the most part I was retracing my steps… I dunno. I like that it runs in an infinite loop, but past the first room I couldn’t see any significant changes. Also, it seems that it is quite easy to break this map, mostly at the end where you have to SEND CALL. The phone got knocked off the platform in my first run, making it impossible to finish without quickloading. Second time around, the teleport appeared to trigger twice, sending me to the reception and back to the dev texture area in a split second, leaving me stranded.

    Raven Mansion
    It is good

    The map doesn’t appear to be sealed off, which I’m guessing was due to a lack of time? Either way, first thing I did was get into the car and drive off the edge. I suppose my question is, why is it even there in the first place? From the get go, I was sure I was going to give this a bad rating, but the longer I played, the deeper and deeper I got into the “Endurance game” mindset. I quickly learned the pattern. Find fusebox, find circuit breaker, power up fusebox, open door, repeat. Not only that, but the low amount of ammo meant I was constantly switching between weapons, using only the most efficient method to take out certain enemies. However, with a map this long AND challenging, it automatically loses a point for not having ANY autosaves!

    Retaliation
    It is great!

    Another one with a classic HL2 feel, while at the same time being relentless and shying away the ammo. I for one, really enjoyed the challenge. I loved the little shanty style base, made up of shipping containers and other junk. It’s an aesthetic I really enjoy, and wish we had seen more of, given HL2’s post apocalyptic setting. I also like the new dropship containers, dropping all troops at once, rather than the suicidal single door approach of the classic dropshop pods (I guess the combine weren’t aware of the Normandy landings). While not relating entirely to the maps rating, I did have one hilarious moment I wished I had captured, where a combine soldier died before leaving the pod, but his leg got caught in the closing door, and he was dangling from it as the dropship flew away. Lost my mind a little when that happened. Anyway, I really enjoyed this one, and the first rebel’s ventriloquism act was top notch. Didn’t move his lips once! Somebody get that man a puppet and put him on stage!

    Singularity
    It is good

    Not a bad little entry, though I’m not sure what the ultimate goal was in the first map, the second map was clearly about escaping the city ala Episode One. The design was OK, but there are some serious issues with scaling. The trainstation at the start and end of this entry was ridiculously small. Otherwise, the rest of the city felt very faithful to Half Life 2 and Episode One, some sections feeling as though they were basically the same thing, rearranged slightly (back alley courtyard full of hopper mines, metrocops shooting through gaps in fences and ragdoll magnets pulling them through when they die). Not saying that is a bad thing mind you, as overall I had a blast playing this.

    Sweep
    It is WOW!

    This is one of those maps that makes you sit back and appreciate the work that goes into some of these entries. A lot of it seems as though it would not be possible within the time limit, but there it is. This section feels like it would fit right into the Half Life series quite neatly. The only gripe I have is the Vort’s voice acting. It simply doesn’t feel… “Vorty” enough. I can of course appreciate that you aren’t going to get a perfect vortigaunt mimic in the short space of time available, and the dialogue itself is spot on. I enjoyed the hell out of this one. There were one or two glitches I noticed during the backtrack of course. Items from crates were still frozen in the position they would have been in the water, seemingly stuck to the ceiling. I can’t complain too much about that though, considering that the whole map only sees you using the gravity gun and crowbar. I felt a little naked at first, before realising towards the end that I was getting by with no issues whatsover. The good old “Flip-n-Whack” is all you need to dispose of those pesky antlions.

    1. of course it looses a point for having no autosaves. Phillip didn’t put the updated version in the final release! (Raven Mansion)
      In the updated version the spawning area is also sealed off btw. But thanks 🙂

      1. All entries are scored on the first version entered. I allow mappers to update their maps as a courtesy.

        Please accept my apologies for not updating your map, I thought I had done it properly.

    2. The Vort actually sounded more “Vorty” at one point, but the problem was Faceposer could not figure out how to generate lip sync on it. I went and re-recorded all his dialog at least 3-4 times, eventually resulting in the “Speak like I’m talking to a 3-year-old and pitch it down” method. I suppose the silver lining is that every time I did, I wound up trimming the dialog more and more because I was getting tired of repeating it! XD

  21. My overall Ville rating would be Play it Later, and 7 of the 12 would be Play It Now.

    Impass Bypass would be my winner but its pretty much a toss up between that and Collapse, Going Gnome, Raven Mansion, Retaliation, with Singularity and Sweep slightly behind in my ratings.

    Mobius crashed 3 times part way through, didn’t like Pilot at all, or Home, Grey Forest or Delirium. It was obvious time constraints ruined some maps, and one even ended at a point that seemed to be only part way through.

    Thanks to everyone for making this “oasis of great tasting water” in what otherwise is a desert empty of gameplay these days.

  22. Play It Later

    Some very interesting entries. My overall winner would be “Sweep” as it is very polished with an interesting premise. Honorable mention goes to “Home” as I thought it added a very clever twist to the backtrack theme of the contest.

  23. Personal Favourite
    Introduction.

    Twelve free maps, how can that not be a personal favourite? All the maps offered something for the player some better than others and some just stranger, Mobius for example. I found Impasse Bypass and Sweep to be the best for sheer playability, polish and adherence to the brief. Retaliation and Singularity would slip into HL2 like Gordon’s grey gloves and Raven showed as Grigori’s idea of a fun house!
    Home gets special mention. This is a mod of a different ilk, cloaked in mystery and darkness, literally at times! A bit of Hitchcock style too.

    Collapse.
    It is good

    Nice design and interesting use of barrels for wall opening. The switch was a surprise and the first time I got caught by the exploding mines! Failed to notice a switch. Got a good sense of betrayal as I backtracked. Nice little map.

    Delirium.
    It is okay

    Nicely weird and a little creepy with nice visuals. But it was too simple and quick! Played nicely though. That was some glowing keycard!

    Going Gnome.
    It is bad

    A good little actioner but confusing to play. There are too many streams of antlions as you try to recharge near that wire fence maze! I kept dying confused. The escape means you have to replay after finding that button. After that is was a fight with some nice little tricky obstacles, but too many enemies! The end fight was another grab-it-launch-it-with-the-gravity gun affair. It did fill the brief, looked great, played well but I found it too challenging on easy!

    Grey Forest.
    It is okay

    Loved the very in-game feeling start and that teleportation tower scene, the hovering high of the ground combine capsules were a touch strange! Well I did literally backtrack to the starting point in this map, then halt! Black wall and done. Oh…
    Pretty but so surprisingly short! I wanted to play before reading the notes.

    Home.
    It is WOW!

    First play was rubbish! I found the gun and got a quick ending. Rubbish map, next one! But no! Seeing the images on the site I replayed. Wow I was so impressed with this suspenseful mystery tale! It played out beautifully and as that psychopathic neighbour was drowning me I read a message. After that rather Hitchcock style flight down the endless stairway!
    I was being told to reload the map from the beginning within the map, very odd! Now I understand the “YES” when he finds the magnum! I’ve played this three times already so I guess it’s my cup of tea.

    Impasse Bypass.
    It is WOW!

    This was, in my humble opinion, perfection! I love exploring and this had vent tunnels leading all over and even collapsible ones you can climb back up. So much to explore and collect, trouble later! I fell into a room with no exit but a damaged consol and a box of grenades. Nice touch was the broken panel begging for a good grenade toss!
    This map had me constantly finding myself back in rooms I’d been in before, opening those closed doors as I went. The end was not a backtrack as the electrified roadway attested! It was a melee with the combine and an APC! The hopper mines needed to kill said vehicle were perfectly placed for maximum personal harm! And that still wasn’t the finish with those combine! Finding the other car past the tunnel exit ended this satisfying and epic map. Loved it! So many pathways made this seem so much bigger than a mapping challenge.

    Mobius
    It is good

    This was another weird one. Very well made and those inter-dimensional effects were very effective. Shooting people with TV heads seems very MTV, but its fun! The change over through that glowing, watery rift was a nice touch. Puzzles were intuitive and all in all a great concept. I gather the red TV head guy was very angry! There seemed to be some in-jokes too.

    Pilot.

    Wow this was actually bad! Playing after the brilliant “Impasse Bypass” and interesting “Mobius” might not be fair, but I found this map lacked interest. (I’m not much of a Portal fan).

    Raven Mansion.
    It is great!

    That crazy Grigori is back and beckoning you into his house for trouble! It’s a standard house but the many twists and turns actually make this entertaining. I like the light out traps and gore in this one and the just right amount of ammo, usually down to pistol and crowbar! The sound of poison headcrabs is so creepy; especially knowing they’re a challenge to kill. Nice puzzles to open walls and a hidden priest, who gets his, ha, ha!

    Retaliation.
    It is great!

    Nice open map feel with lots of exploration potential and vertical movement all dressed to feel like a typical HL2 rebel camp. Nice voice acting leads you to another vertical area from a closed valley, with you only notice if you look.
    An aerial assault and explosion marks the backtrack point as you run back to help your fellow citizens under combine attack. The aerial reinforcements are a nice touch, harder to shoot as they drop than I imagined!
    The final assault’s fast headcrabs would be a chore but getting on the train solves that!
    A good map, nice lighting and playfully laid out little citizen vignettes make for a good map. Combat was just right and was most enjoyable.

    Singularity.
    It is good

    This map, whilst not offering anything new to the player was a good piece of FPS action and quite nostalgic too! Combine targeting with the pistol is always so rewarding. After the loud changeover the scenery looked a little broken. I was expecting zombie-ville but the combine were still in charge, yay!
    Sniper grenading, frog-mine flipping and then my favourite, sneaking up behind combine and shooting ‘em in the back kept the fun coming! Nice map.

    Sweep.
    It is WOW!

    The first sound of stomping watery splashes mad me smile. Flooded maps are my absolute favourite! Our old friend the C17 train station was intact but empty and a touch soggy. The flooded underground station was genius and so much fun to explore, especially swimming through the train and discovering the flooded lift, which I should have taken note. The lit areas were teaching me a route but I didn’t realise this at first.
    The sudden trap after the very grotesquely decorated chamber surprised me, as did the very well voiced Vort. The lower level was drained and I went down the ladder to join the Vort and the poision antlion guardian! A genuine WTF moment! I reasoned that the lit areas must offer some protection or this map is wrong, it is not! The slippery floor was not funny as I died for the forth time! But my eye caught the red light indicating the lift that I had forgotten was there and managed to slip and slid into it, closely followed by that guardian!
    “Here they come!” was not what I wanted to here from my Vort friend as ‘the Freeman’ was heavily armed with a crowbar and gravity gun! Luckily his instruction eased my mind and we reached the station concourse, as did my nemesis!
    I ran around like a headless chicken trying not to die when another instruction to use myself as bait made me laugh, amid the antlion dodging!
    I finished with an impersonation of a young Clark Kent leaping across the path of a speeding locomotive from the ’78 movie, leaving my adversary to face plant the music!
    This is the best map, by far! Wet, slippery, gloomy, macabre exploration armed only with a Vort! FUN!

    Conclusion.

    Another fine set of maps to play, with three exceptional ones for our old friend Gordon to run around in. But I think he was missing from ‘Home’, too scary for the old fella! There was only one real dud, in my opinion, so another good crop.

  24. Unq
    Play It Later

    Overall a solid set of maps with some interesting new ideas sprinkled in. And it’s great to see mappers who haven’t participated yet in the Hammer Cup entering maps. Hopefully we can keep up the good themes that receive a lot of entries. From watching Phillip’s stream and reading the comments, it looks like people have been having crash problems with a number of the maps in this mod. For the record, I didn’t have any crashes on any of the maps, and I played them all more than once. I played the prerelease judges’ version of the mod.

    Collapse

    This map has a decent mix of areas (tunnels and antlion-style caves), and the backtracking is well done – in that the path back is generally the same, but with some minor layout differences, plus the main difference in that the rebels you were just fighting alongside are now your enemies. However, therein was the main problem I had with this map – there’s no explanation for the sudden turnabout that happens and it’s not only surprising but also a bit frustrating. I mean, was it an elaborate trap they were springing on me? Why didn’t they just shoot me outright? By the way, I didn’t have the problem with the rebel stealing my crowbar, I suppose I always grabbed it first before he/she could reach it. Overall this map was OK but didn’t really stand out for me.

    Delirium

    The strongest thing this map has going for it is the atmosphere. It’s dark and spooky without being campy, and the lighting is nicely done to support the creepy feel. I liked the Gman sequence, and little touches like the zombies on the hooks – but overall this map felt pretty thin. By that I mean that there’s just not much to it. I appreciate the limited timeframe for these challenges, but this really just boils down to: see the Gman sequence, find the key card, and get out. The keycard mechanic leaves you exposed but there’s no payoff since you don’t face any enemies while backtracking with the card. The outside has changed as well, but it’s mainly cosmetic since nothing really happens once you’re outside.

    Going Gnome

    I always like a lighthearted objective like “deliver the gnome hood ornament.” But overall this map was a mixed bag for me. It actually has very little backtracking, it’s more of a loopback design in most parts. It has a variety of environments – even though it nominally takes place in City 17, there are some Combine areas and an odd courtyard with zombies and antlions all over the place. In fact, a lot of the areas in this map I would describe as “odd.” There’s an odd mini-labyrinth leading to a grenade crate near the courtyard area – was this put there to simply prevent the player from spamming grenades? And you face off with 2 hunters in a terribly cramped encounter (an odd use of hunters in my opinion). I did like the battle with the strider, with the atypical mechanic used to defeat it, but spawning enemies behind the player was pretty cheap. There were other odd choices to control the player’s movement which were really off-putting, such as not allowing the player to jump off the bridge even after breaking the glass, and the sudden fence that appears blocking off the grenade crate area.

    Grey Forest

    A decent start but ultimately disappointing entry here. It’s clearly unfinished (it tells you as much when you reach a black wall blocking your progress during backtracking). What’s there is ok, but all I see is lost potential. The map is reminiscent of Episode 2’s White Forest, complete with rocket silo. It’s much less interesting here, and the steam puzzle at the start is a bizarre addition. I also had the problem of the headcrab canisters simply hanging in the air after the event. You start backtracking up the hill and come across some zombies and Combine, but right when the map starts getting interesting, it ends. Unfinished and overall it just makes you wonder what could have been.

    Home

    A really interesting although flawed entry here. This one was nicely reminiscent of The Host from HorrorVille, but quite different as well. And God help you if you manage to turn off all the lights at once. The strength of Home is of course its creepy atmosphere, unfortunately slightly spoiled by the headcrab nature program on the TV. The head peeking around the corner was awesome, though. I think the rest of the map plays out very nicely, and I thought it was a novel idea to require the player to restart the map once the hint is given while you’re in the bathtub. But of course this allows the possibility of the player screwing things up the first time he/she plays through. Yes, it’s a small chance, but if it happens the experience is ruined for the player. That’s the flaw – otherwise I quite liked this map, especially the staircase bit and then the distant view of the figure down the hall. It’s the kind of unconventional map I like to see in the Ville challenges – even if the backtracking aspect wasn’t really well implemented.

    Impasse Bypass

    Although this map started off a little rocky (with the sudden electrocution if you try and go back to the car), it ends up as one of the strongest entries in the challenge. Regarding the beginning, it would have been infinitely better if 1) the player was physically restricted from going back, not punished by electricity, and 2) the buggy was shown as wrecked or trapped somehow, so as to not tempt the player to try and drive it. And yes, I said buggy – to distinguish it from the car you reach at the end of the map which clearly confused some players. Beyond that (and perhaps the long, long vent crawl), this map was a joy to play. The backtracking was handled nicely, and there are decent challenges as you progress, culminating in a fairly intense APC battle back in the opening area. This map was by no means perfect, but it had solid design, a nice flow to the progression and backtracking, and decent combat throughout. The poison headcrab on the ceiling was pure evil.

    Mobius

    I really liked this map for its unusual setting and oddball aspects. However, overall it kind of left me wanting, since there’s no real payoff for making it all the way through the research center. And while you do loop around to familiar places, there’s not really backtracking per se in this map. The repeating hallway and impossible corridors after it were great touches. I loved the unconventional use of standard assets like the giant gnome, and the headcrab train, all of which add to the great whimsy of the map.

    Pilot

    This puzzle map had some clever ideas, particularly the backtracking required to solve the chambers. But the fact that it’s very much unfinished sinks it completely. The end result is disjointed and disorienting, and you’re left to wonder what could have been if the map had been finished and polished. The puzzles have some clever design, but the lack of feedback leaves you feeling like you just stumble on the solution rather than feeling like you actually solved the puzzle. I’m usually very patient – but I didn’t have the patience to just keep solving this map in a loop – is there a payoff somewhere?

    Raven Mansion

    This is a map that totally misses the point of BacktrackVille. The design of Raven Mansion is strictly loopback, not backtrack – there’s a difference. The only backtracking you do is up from the power switch in the basement. I have a feeling this map might have been shoehorned into this challenge. Overall you do get a decent sense that it’s a spooky haunted house type of map. It’s crawling with various zombies and headcrabs, and you have to take quite a circuitous route to progress through the mansion. There are some odd choices like the zombie appearing in front of you for a second and then disappearing – it’s clearly an attempt at a jump scare, but why does he just disappear? And don’t get me started on the crawling zombie trap room – it’s so cheap of the author to disable the flashlight there. Why? The lighting in most parts was decent, but a lot of the interior surfaces are abnormally shiny which makes them stand out in a terribly ugly way. The combat was okay but just didn’t save this map. The highlight was certainly the zombie who kicked the propane tank at me.

    Retaliation

    A decent map overall here, which mostly takes place at a makeshift rebel base of sorts. After your little trek to turn on the thumpers, you backtrack up the hill and face a bit of resistance – but it’s when you get back to the base that this map picks up and things get rolling. This map had one of the more pronounced changes between your initial journey and the backtrack – when you wake up the sun is setting and the Combine are crawling all over. The backtrack is fairly short, but the highlight of this map is the standoff sequence at the end with the Combine dropship making several passes around the base. It’s nicely timed in that you get short breathers between waves to get some health. Overall Retaliation is a solid entry, enough to make you overlook that the character’s mouths don’t move when they talk to you. 🙂

    Singularity

    A pretty cool romp through the streets of City 17. This is another map that has a pronounced change between the initial trek and the backtrack, with the striking changes to the Citadel and the sky, and minor changes like the radioactive sludge in place of the water. The street itself has perhaps the most obvious change, with the huge metal wall eating the street as you walk past it. However, as nice as the changes are to the backtrack section, the actual journey back itself was a huge missed opportunity. There are so few obstacles during the backtrack that it felt more like sightseeing. Yes, there’s some slime, a couple of snipers, and only a few soldiers – and you can’t even use the tempting mounted gun on them! A big disappointment in an otherwise nifty map.

    Sweep

    Sweep has the best idea for the difference between initial journey and backtrack in the entire mod. The flooded area was about as interesting as a fully flooded area could be, with nice placement of lights to help you find your way to safe areas and to your destination. There you meet the vortigaunt, complete with competent custom voice lines, and set off the hectic backtrack section. The slippery floor is frustrating but really adds to the thrill of the guard chase. The battle in the station was also hectic and just about the right length (thanks for the train hint!). My main complaints about this map were: 1) I could not for the life of me get the antlion holes to seal using those luggage carts, and 2) you’re almost completely reliant on the gravity gun against all the antlions – I would have much preferred a small variety of weapons since it would have really opened up options in the big fight. But overall this map has top-notch visuals and polish, and is another worthy winner.

  25. Play It Later

    I’d like to write about some of the challanges about this Ville. The ones that I did not mention about are kind of seemed avarage to me.

    Unlike previous challanges, this one does not offer enough to make players excited in general. However, there are some entries that saved this Ville with outstanding ideas.

    It is WOW!

    HOME is just beyond everything else on this challange to me. It was made cleverly from the beginning, and very detailed. The more I played, the more exciting it got. I felt like I was in a psychological horror movie. Replay value was so tasty that I played 3 times just to explore some details and get more of it.

    GREY FOREST could be better if it were finished. I do not want to judge it as it is not finished. However, if author wants to complete it and share as a map out of the challange, I’d love to play it!

    It is great!

    MOBIOUS gave me the feeling of the Research & Development mod in the beginning. I was expecting some kind of Portal-like levels and puzzle based gameplay. Well, I was wrong. The point was not clear in the mod and it got interesting after a point which was a very nice idea to make players curious about what would happen afterwards. TV guys were so fun to escape from or shoot them in the face. This one was a weird one and tried to do things in a different way.

    It is good

    PILOT was a puzzle based map, and had a different idea to define itself. I did not really figure out in the beginning about what to do, but it was fun to play anyway. To make the point clear for players, it should have been worked on more by the author I guess.

    It is dire!

    RAVEN MANSION gave me headache in the beginning. After Ancient Dust, I was expecting something better than this from author. How did I get there by car? It was a cliff behind me where I was spawned in the first place. I tried to explore the area, tried to see what is behind me and I jumped off. I fell to a dark platform that I was able to see all the area from there. I reloaded the map and started over. I wanted to go forward and the building (on the right hand side) was getting loaded as I continue. It was even near me, not a distant place! After I entered the building, the illumination of the place was so bad. I picked the right side and entered a room full of disabled fast zombies, both of the doors were closed. My flashlight was disabled somehow for no reason and I was not able to see anything clearly, therefore I did not know what to do. I could not escape from the room, had to fight with countless zombies which was frustrating. Then, I loaded the map from perivous save and got in the room again. Same thing happened again. Then I tired one more time and something happened as I ran to the other door, somehow I managed to escape! I think there is a triggering problem in that room. Then, illumination was again so bad that I could not stand anymore. I had no eager to continue after all things happened. I just skipped the entry and continued with the next one. I wish author made a smaller map with nice details and spent more time to fix things (illumination, polishing, etc.) rather than making a low quality map.

    It is great!

    SWEEP was the last one in the order. After some disappointments from the previous entries, I said to myself, the best one must be hidden in the last one (as I am a big fan of Jason’s works), but I was wrong. It was great, but not as good as HOME. It could be WOW unless HOME existed.

    Starting with Crowbar and Gravity Gun made me happy already! I really like the gameplay style with Gravity Gun as there is some stuff to throw to enemies to beat them! I even try to finish some parts of the maps/mods with just gravity gun as I have the chance! Another reason why I like Maki’s works is he gives more importance to his works to make them detailed and in high quality. This one is no exception. As I entered the station and saw some dead antlions, I thought there would be a time machine somewhere that I was going to be teleported to a past time and seeing now what I caused in the station (as if I killed these antlions in the past), but I was wrong. Backtracking idea was well-made and I enjoyed every single part of it except the repetitive areas where we try to escape from Antlion Guard in the slippery floor. Voice acting was wonderful as well! The atmosphere was nicely done, just as the idea of beating the Antlion Guard in the station.

  26. Heinz

    2 words…WOW….AWESOME!

    Thx to all mappers for these raw diamond maps.
    Also thx to Phil who made it possible to get my hands on this really good stuff.

    Greetings
    Heinz

  27. Wesp5

    I know I’m late to the party and I still haven’t played half of the entries but I want to say something about Home, which is praised here so much. Well, the idea itself is great but the execution could have been improved as I got stuck several times! At first I didn’t turn on the bedside light when going to sleep, so the next scene was not triggered although I did everything the game suggested, like turning the TV and lights off. Who is sleeping with the lights on when the game says otherwise? Then when I visited the administrator nothing happened and I was stuck again. Restarting the map suddenly made the scene work but I don’t know why it never triggered the first time. Last not least I had to click all over the drawer to finally get the gun, even though I knew it was there! All of these are probably easy to fix issues that spoiled my fun of the map big time…

  28. Hec
    Play It Now!

    Well overall it was a nice set of maps. Nice entries, though I guess after playing Chasmville and Liberationville I could say those ones are better than this one. That comparison may explain the most PL recomendatorios in this one. I felt is as an OK competition as a whole, but you know, backtrack is not precisely my cup of tea and I felt most entries fun but with an average quality level. So I guess that’s how I can summarize the whole competition, I also feel “Sweep” is a really worthy winner. So Let see each one by one now.

    Collapse by Derek AKA 1upD
    It is good

    Nice and quite simple map. And for some reason i remembered HL1 maps in this entry. Combat was quite predictable and simple backtrack but I guess its an OK map to open the competition.

    Delirum by Ethosaur
    It is okay

    Nice horror fetch-things entry, but I think this could better fit into some Halloweenville comp. Backtracking was quite simple and the whole map was quite short.

    Going Gnome by OJJ
    It is okay

    The whole map felt too boxy. The combat was frontal and predictable. Fighting the Strider at the end was a cool finale but felt weird in that very narrow street.

    Grey Forest by Niker107
    It is bad

    Looked like a nice entry and I expected some more, but sorry, I feel unfinished entries no matter how cool they may be regarding it’s concept or mapping, just shouldn’t be allowed to compite. Despite that I hope the author complete and release his work.

    Home by Dr. Towers
    It is WOW!

    Possibly fit better into some horror competition, but backtracking was at the heart of this entry. And wow, it was just great how the horror concept was applied in here. I felt it like it was a short movie of horror, or some kind of story tell. The way you can alter the story and the eerie implications with it is just fantastic, I may would have voted for this one to be the winner, though I remembered i had some crash to desktop issues more than once.

    Impasse Bypass by Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere
    It is great!

    Great combat, was quite linear mapping and the backtracking was also quite predictable but combat was like the old school times and for that reason I liked it.

    Mobius by Confused_Travolta
    It is great!

    Nice map, remembered me to the Aperture Science Labs in a very weird way, I liked the concept and i guess it was an OK use of backtrack dynamic.

    Pilot by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofsonces
    It is dire!

    Terrible layout and implementation of the backtrack dynamic. Sorry but i didn’t enjoyed this one, I guess with some other context given should’ve been better.

    Raven Mansion by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
    It is good

    I liked this one because it remembered me to some HL1 maps, and that’s it, the combat against zombies was OK but as usual predictable, killing Grigori at the end was a fun ending. Though the map had no boundaries and you could easily get out of the whole map.

    Retaliation by Abraham AKA ihonnyboy
    It is good

    Nice entry, quite simple combat and backtracking but it was fun to combat those CMB striking the base, the train escape was a nice way to end the map.

    Singularity by Marcu Alexandru AKA Melc311
    It is great!

    I really liked the whole City 17 nostalgia this entry has with it. From the start where you begin in a train station till the very end and that special scene where you can se the citadel tower blowing up. I hope some more modders do some maps in city# environments.

    Sweep by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is WOW!

    All of the work this guy makes is very close to a Valve quality, I guess he can easily be part of Valve team, you know. So this entry is not an exception. It was great, a great concept and that metro flooded station was just a terrific detail, also the Vortigaunt voice and interaction were made with a fantastic quality, and fit perfectly in the entry concept. It was a great well deserved winner.

  29. Winners and Points
    To Be Announced Very Soon

    Full Points Allocation
    To Follow.

    1. No need to remind me every 2 months!

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