BlackMesaDoorVille

for Black Mesa

29th August 2017

Welcome to the very first (hopefully of many!) Black Mesa Mapping Challenge.

This release features 9 maps, each based around the theme of “What’s behind that door?”.

Mappers had to create a map that used a previously locked door from the retail game.

Unlike standard Source mods, this release features a special way to install the maps – don’t worry, it’s not difficult, just different. This is due to the game itself, not something I have changed. There are text and video installation instructions.

GO PLAY IT!

This has been updated to version 1.2 – see below.

Basic Details
  • Title: BlackMesaDoorVille
  • Filename: black-mesa-doorville-v1.2.7z
  • Size : 61.30MB
  • Author: Derek Jones AKA Taz AKA Tazed, JamaicanDave, WALLe PL, SNW, Seji-Evan, HeadCrλbbed, Tim Age AKA HashtagMC & Andrew Brown AKA Rookzilla, OJJ, HighFire​
  • Date Released: 29 August 2017
Entrants and Map Names
  • Anyone Else Here? by Derek Jones AKA Taz AKA Tazed
  • Uncharted Territory by JamaicanDave
  • Maintenance Complex by WALLe PL
  • Forget About Freeman (Alternate) by SNW
  • An Extra Step by Seji-Evan
  • Premature Evacuation by HeadCrλbbed
  • Thanks, Buddy! by Tim Age AKA HashtagMC & Andrew Brown AKA Rookzilla
  • Due Processing by OJJ
  • The One Free Door by HighFire​
Judges

Dolmo The Douglas and Crowbar were the judges for this challenge.

The Winner

This challenge was won by Uncharted Territory from JamaicanDave – congratulations to him.
Unlike The Hammer Cup, this stand alone challenge doesn’t have points.

Credits

I would also like to thank Crowbar for providing the solution to the format of release.

Reviewing

If you decide to use the Per-Map Opinion Images, please either watch the video below or use the SPECIFICALLY created BlackMesaDoorVille-Review-Template.txt file. Thank you.

Gauge Users

Sorry but Gauge currently doesn’t cover Black Mesa maps or mods.

Download Options

Download version 1.2 to your HDD [61.30MB]

Download the updated version of Thanks, Buddy! to your HDD [1.94MB]

Manual Installation Instructions Video

Manual Installation Instructions

If you require more help, just ask, but please read and follow the instructions carefully or watch the video first – thanks.

  • Locate and open your Black Mesa installation folder. For example, mine is D:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Black Mesa\.
  • Open the black-mesa-doorville.7z file.
  • In it you will see two folders: bms and platform.
  • The platform folder contains a file which will overwrite a file in your installation. This is NOT a problem, but if you are unhappy about this follow the Optional Step below.
  • Optional Step: In your Black Mesa installation folder, open the platform folder, then open the resource folder. Rename GameMenu.res to GameMenu-original.res. This means your original file will not be over-written – but honestly, it’s not a problem.
  • Copy the bms folder into your Black Mesa folder. IT will say that you already have the same folders in there, don’t worry, you are only adding new files, so just say YES.
  • Launch Black Mesa
  • You now have a new menu item: BONUS MAPS (That’s what the GameMenu.res files was.
  • Select BONUS MAPS.
  • This will bring up a new window.
  • Select the BlackMessaDOorVille RTSL folder.
  • You will now see all the entries and can select them in any order.
  • Play and ejoy!

Release Versions
  • 1.0 – First version of release – at the time of release, no known issues.
  • 1.1 – Included updated map for Forget About Freeman (Alternate), corrected an issue with the folder’s thumbnail. Added all the AIN files. It seems that the maps actually make the AIN files in the maps’ graphs folder instead of the BMDV/maps/graphs folder.
  • 1.2 – This version contains an updated “Thanks, Buddy!” map. It has improved & enhanced visuals and details. Gameplay changes include four items added, and/or re-positioned four enemies added, a new air vent added, some map logic changed, especially for the first fight. Visual changes small alcoves with stuff in them, posters, props and debris.
  • Playthrough Videos

    Coming soon.

    Screenshots

    WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
    All images 1600×900
    More images coming soon.

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    Reader Recommendations
    Avoid It!
    Think Twice
    Maybe
    Play It Later
    Play It Now!

    8 recommendations, average score: 4.63 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.23 (what's that?)
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    Meta Review Data
    Statistics based on 6 comment(s) with meta review data.

    Installed:
    Using Gauge: Users
    Manually: 5 Users

    Time Taken:
    Average: 1 Hours, 46 Mins
    Shortest: 1 Hours, 30 Mins by 1Lucia
    Longest: 2 Hours, 35 Mins by Urby
    Total Time Played: 10 Hours, 35 Mins
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    45 Comments

    1. I like the idea ! I will teste it right now

    2. I’m stuck in the QE map. I fulfilled the objective, but the elevator back up is broken. The door closes and opens again, but the elevator doesn’t move.

    3. I tried to make a map for this too, but I got uncreative and had no more inspiration for it. So I canceled it. But the contest itself was pretty good.

      Premature Evacuation

      It is great!

      The idea is that you don’t go through the usual door in the start of “We got hostiles” but through another small door at the beginning. The Level design was good, the idea was pretty thinkable and realistic. The combat was fun and the ending was interesting. The map didn’t really fit in place with the next On A Rail levels. They would’ve overlapped (I’m pretty sure) but this isn’t too bad. Vortigaunts shot me through a prop at the beginning doe, a simple clip would’ve fixed that. Spoiler for end of the map: And at the ending I just shot the HECU Marines and still won.

      An Extra Step

      It is okay

      The Combat was pretty good, the Level design nice, but the map didn’t work and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. It was something about eyescanner things being down. The texts overlapped and I couldn’t read it. I got down the elevator, switched 2 levers, then a cutscene showed up (which I don’t personally like, but they were okay). I afterwards backtracked, was met by lots of HECU Marines and got back into the elevator. The doors closed, I moved, and when the doors opend again I was on the same floor and the Elevator didn’t work anymore. I tried this 3 times and it never worked. I noclipped to see what’s happening, the Elevator starts to move about 1 meter, then goes back down. After about 20 minutes I decided to give up.

      Maintenance Complex

      It is great!

      This map was very very fun. Lots of “objectives” fit into a small space. The level design was also enjoyable. The combat wasn’t fun though sadly. Go into a room, kill some zombies, go into next room, kill some zombies. The Combat in the tunnel was also very boring and predictable. But one thing that really saved this map was the use of props for stacking! It went back into the old classic Half-Life pushing crates to get somewhere. I loved that part of the map!

      The One Free Door

      It is bad

      The combat was okayish, there were no soundscapes or any background sounds, there were lots of security guards working, while the disaster already happend? There were zombies and HECU marines but the map looked like it was pre-disaster. There was some flying black box if you look out the top windows, there were so many nodraw textures to be seen, the Slide doors opened in the wrong direction and you had to touch to open them, and they had the wrong sound which didn’t sound right at all. The map was (I think) leaked, and you had no long range gun for the HECU Marine fights. There was a glitched elevator door which led me behind the map somehow. I don’t think it was supposed to be used. There was no end. Meaning you just stood around and nothing happend. Very bad map, but since the combat was okayish I’ll still give it a “It’s bad” instead of a “It’s dire”

      Uncharted Territory

      It is great!

      Great map! Good combat, well designed, although I sometimes lost track of where I’m going, in the end I got it. Nothing bad to say about this map!

      Anyone Else Here?

      It is good

      Good level design and combat, but quite short. There was also no real ending as it seems. I looked everywhere any nothing happend, I then turned on noclip, noclipped through some random door (that was already opened) and it ended. But I really enjoy the details put into this map! The particles and stuff.

      Due Processing

      It is great!

      The map didn’t look so good at first, which got better later, but the layout was nice, and the combat was fun. The fight against the gargantua was very fun! The lighting also was very beautiful. A good entry!

      Forget about Freeman (Alternate)

      It is WOW!

      I am a playtester of this map, so I know this map a little longer. This map was also my favorite in this contest, followed by Uncharted Territory and Due Processing. (No, I am not saying this because the map maker is my friend, lol) I think the map design was good, the combat was also nice, but there were not any puzzles in this map, and neither would it really fit. One thing is (atleast for me) Ammo crates were hard to spot between the usual crates. But eventually I found them. The map also fit pretty well between the maps it played.

      Thanks, buddy!

      It is great!

      Wow, 2 maps actually used the same door! This map was good in design and combat as almost all other maps. But it was a little boring. There was really only 1 puzzle and the rest was just killing (which was fun though). Spoiler for end of the map: The end teleporting thing was pretty surprising and interesting to watch!

      Summary
      A very great contest with lots of good entries! Loved it!

    4. I tried to make a map for this too, but I got uncreative and had no more inspiration for it. So I canceled it. But the contest itself was pretty good.

      Premature Evacuation
      It is great!

      The idea is that you don’t go through the usual door in the start of “We got hostiles” but through another small door at the beginning. The Level design was good, the idea was pretty thinkable and realistic. The combat was fun and the ending was interesting. The map didn’t really fit in place with the next On A Rail levels. They would’ve overlapped (I’m pretty sure) but this isn’t too bad. Vortigaunts shot me through a prop at the beginning doe, a simple clip would’ve fixed that. Spoiler for end of the map: And at the ending I just shot the HECU Marines and still won.

      An Extra Step
      It is okay

      The Combat was pretty good, the Level design nice, but the map didn’t work and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. It was something about eyescanner things being down. The texts overlapped and I couldn’t read it. I got down the elevator, switched 2 levers, then a cutscene showed up (which I don’t personally like, but they were okay). I afterwards backtracked, was met by lots of HECU Marines and got back into the elevator. The doors closed, I moved, and when the doors opend again I was on the same floor and the Elevator didn’t work anymore. I tried this 3 times and it never worked. I noclipped to see what’s happening, the Elevator starts to move about 1 meter, then goes back down. After about 20 minutes I decided to give up.

      Maintenance Complex
      It is great!

      This map was very very fun. Lots of “objectives” fit into a small space. The level design was also enjoyable. The combat wasn’t fun though sadly. Go into a room, kill some zombies, go into next room, kill some zombies. The Combat in the tunnel was also very boring and predictable. But one thing that really saved this map was the use of props for stacking! It went back into the old classic Half-Life pushing crates to get somewhere. I loved that part of the map!

      The One Free Door
      It is bad

      The combat was okayish, there were no soundscapes or any background sounds, there were lots of security guards working, while the disaster already happend? There were zombies and HECU marines but the map looked like it was pre-disaster. There was some flying black box if you look out the top windows, there were so many nodraw textures to be seen, the Slide doors opened in the wrong direction and you had to touch to open them, and they had the wrong sound which didn’t sound right at all. The map was (I think) leaked, and you had no long range gun for the HECU Marine fights. There was a glitched elevator door which led me behind the map somehow. I don’t think it was supposed to be used. There was no end. Meaning you just stood around and nothing happend. Very bad map, but since the combat was okayish I’ll still give it a “It’s bad” instead of a “It’s dire”

      Uncharted Territory
      It is great!

      Great map! Good combat, well designed, although I sometimes lost track of where I’m going, in the end I got it. Nothing bad to say about this map!

      Anyone Else Here?
      It is good

      Good level design and combat, but quite short. There was also no real ending as it seems. I looked everywhere any nothing happend, I then turned on noclip, noclipped through some random door (that was already opened) and it ended. But I really enjoy the details put into this map! The particles and stuff.

      Due Processing
      It is great!

      The map didn’t look so good at first, which got better later, but the layout was nice, and the combat was fun. The fight against the gargantua was very fun! The lighting also was very beautiful. A good entry!

      Forget about Freeman (Alternate)
      It is WOW!

      I am a playtester of this map, so I know this map a little longer. This map was also my favorite in this contest, followed by Uncharted Territory and Due Processing. (No, I am not saying this because the map maker is my friend, lol) I think the map design was good, the combat was also nice, but there were not any puzzles in this map, and neither would it really fit. One thing is (atleast for me) Ammo crates were hard to spot between the usual crates. But eventually I found them. The map also fit pretty well between the maps it played.

      Thanks, buddy!
      It is great!

      Wow, 2 maps actually used the same door! This map was good in design and combat as almost all other maps. But it was a little boring. There was really only 1 puzzle and the rest was just killing (which was fun though). Spoiler for end of the map: The end teleporting thing was pretty surprising and interesting to watch!

      Summary

      A very great contest with lots of good entries! Loved it!

    5. Play It Now!

      I tried to make a map for this too, but I got uncreative and had no more inspiration for it. So I canceled it. But the contest itself was pretty good.

      Premature Evacuation
      It is great!

      The idea is that you don’t go through the usual door in the start of “We got hostiles” but through another small door at the beginning. The Level design was good, the idea was pretty thinkable and realistic. The combat was fun and the ending was interesting. The map didn’t really fit in place with the next On A Rail levels. They would’ve overlapped (I’m pretty sure) but this isn’t too bad. Vortigaunts shot me through a prop at the beginning doe, a simple clip would’ve fixed that. Spoiler for end of the map: And at the ending I just shot the HECU Marines and still won.

      An Extra Step
      It is okay

      The Combat was pretty good, the Level design nice, but the map didn’t work and I had no idea what I was supposed to do. It was something about eyescanner things being down. The texts overlapped and I couldn’t read it. I got down the elevator, switched 2 levers, then a cutscene showed up (which I don’t personally like, but they were okay). I afterwards backtracked, was met by lots of HECU Marines and got back into the elevator. The doors closed, I moved, and when the doors opend again I was on the same floor and the Elevator didn’t work anymore. I tried this 3 times and it never worked. I noclipped to see what’s happening, the Elevator starts to move about 1 meter, then goes back down. After about 20 minutes I decided to give up.

      Maintenance Complex
      It is great!

      This map was very very fun. Lots of “objectives” fit into a small space. The level design was also enjoyable. The combat wasn’t fun though sadly. Go into a room, kill some zombies, go into next room, kill some zombies. The Combat in the tunnel was also very boring and predictable. But one thing that really saved this map was the use of props for stacking! It went back into the old classic Half-Life pushing crates to get somewhere. I loved that part of the map!

      The One Free Door
      It is bad

      The combat was okayish, there were no soundscapes or any background sounds, there were lots of security guards working, while the disaster already happend? There were zombies and HECU marines but the map looked like it was pre-disaster. There was some flying black box if you look out the top windows, there were so many nodraw textures to be seen, the Slide doors opened in the wrong direction and you had to touch to open them, and they had the wrong sound which didn’t sound right at all. The map was (I think) leaked, and you had no long range gun for the HECU Marine fights. There was a glitched elevator door which led me behind the map somehow. I don’t think it was supposed to be used. There was no end. Meaning you just stood around and nothing happend. Very bad map, but since the combat was okayish I’ll still give it a “It’s bad” instead of a “It’s dire”

      Uncharted Territory
      It is great!

      Great map! Good combat, well designed, although I sometimes lost track of where I’m going, in the end I got it. Nothing bad to say about this map!

      Anyone Else Here?
      It is good

      Good level design and combat, but quite short. There was also no real ending as it seems. I looked everywhere any nothing happend, I then turned on noclip, noclipped through some random door (that was already opened) and it ended. But I really enjoy the details put into this map! The particles and stuff.

      Due Processing
      It is great!

      The map didn’t look so good at first, which got better later, but the layout was nice, and the combat was fun. The fight against the gargantua was very fun! The lighting also was very beautiful. A good entry!

      Forget about Freeman (Alternate)
      It is WOW!

      I am a playtester of this map, so I know this map a little longer. This map was also my favorite in this contest, followed by Uncharted Territory and Due Processing. (No, I am not saying this because the map maker is my friend, lol) I think the map design was good, the combat was also nice, but there were not any puzzles in this map, and neither would it really fit. One thing is (atleast for me) Ammo crates were hard to spot between the usual crates. But eventually I found them. The map also fit pretty well between the maps it played.

      Thanks, buddy!
      It is great!

      Wow, 2 maps actually used the same door! This map was good in design and combat as almost all other maps. But it was a little boring. There was really only 1 puzzle and the rest was just killing (which was fun though). Spoiler for end of the map: The end teleporting thing was pretty surprising and interesting to watch!

      Summary

      A very great contest with lots of good entries! Loved it!

      1. Hi, Tim Age/HashtagMC (main author of “Thanks, Buddy!”) here.

        Got to say, I’m positively surprised you liked the map so much! Due to its lack of length, I expected it to do much worse.

        This was actually my first Black Mesa map (and my first actually finished map in the Half-Life series), so I was pretty slow, hence the small size of the map. To make up for the limited gameplay, I did invest a lot of work into the final sequence (my buddy Andrew modeled the submarine, which is completely made of brushes, by the way, and also re-worked the Xen cave, whereas I did the scripting/logic).

        As I’m always interested in feedback, I’d like to ask whether you thought the puzzle at the start was too hard? The playtester told us it was hard to understand what he was supposed to do.

      2. Correction to The One Free Door, there is an ending. But I just couldn’t find it. A friend told me later on.

    6. Wesp5

      Is this working on the free version of Black Mesa or only the commercial one?

      1. It’s intended for the retail version. I fathom you can extract the map files from the archive and try them with the mod version, but I guess you’d face lots of errors from missing content to game-breaking stuff like not implemented entities. If you wanna try it – good luck, let us know whether it works!

    7. Play It Now!

      First of all, I’d like to say I really enjoyed participating in this contest. It was my first mapping contest, my first BM:S map and my first ever finished map for a Half-Life game (previously Garry’s Mod and Portal/2), and although I dreaded the deadline, it was fun to map with a given theme in mind. I couldn’t have asked for a cooler start to get into BM:S mapping.

      Premature Evacuation
      It is great!

      This map fit an astonishing amount of gameplay into what felt like a pretty small space, cleverly distributing it across several storeys and making the player backtrack and cross its own path often enough. The combat wasn’t extraordinary or really interesting, but enough alien brains were splattered across the walls to keep me interested. Visually, the map blended right in with Black Mesa – perhaps not perfect, but surely close enough.

      An Extra Step
      It is good

      I didn’t really like the start of this map, as it freezes the player and also features dialogue in the form of on-screen text – a nightmare, since I’m a big fan of creative use of stock assets. Also, the animations were a bit rough, like NPCs flinching in an ugly way or reverting to ragdoll pose before moving properly.

      The theme of the QE chapter was met quite well. The visuals fit, as did the enemies used. Only the weaponry was limited to what one would expect in earlier chapters.

      What really stood out was the inhumanly hard difficulty. The author and his beta tester must possess ace-like combat skills, I however frequently died due to sheer lack of ammunition and an onslaught of numerous enemies. Ammunition, health and autosaves have been very, very distributed sparingly across the map. Also, a cutscene was used, which is something I don’t like much in the middle of gameplay.

      The end of the map is broken, as the exit elevator doesn’t move at all. Except for this, the map is somewhat okay.

      Maintenance Complex
      It is WOW!

      This map absolutely blew me away. At first, I was a little wary, because the map was set in the same initial situation as mine, but I needn’t have worried, because it was completely different (and much, much better).

      I’d like to congratulate the author on not only opening one, but four(!) previously locked doors. Not gonna give too much away, but it’s really, really awesome. The puzzles themselves are nice but not really challenging, but they serve the gameplay well. I was a little confused initially because of a kind of puzzle I hadn’t seen before, but once I managed that one, I got through smoothly. Also, the map has a cool boosfight, that keeps getting harder and harder, and features a cameo from another BM:S chapter. I’d like to bow in awe to WALLe PL for this overwhelming map!

      The One Free Door
      It is dire!

      While the previous map was amazing, this one was pretty underwhelming. I reckon it’s the work of someone who hasn’t been mapping for very long, much like me, so I’ll try to provide extra helpful feedback instead of just listing flaws. I hope HighFire (the author) can get some helpful tips from this and other reviews.

      The first issue is length. It’s a problem I am quite familiar with, as I also struggled to fit enough gameplay into the map before the deadline arrived. I completed the entire map in about two minutes, which is really, really , really short. I found that it helps to sit down and plan the map out on paper, this way, you won’t have to make it up as you go and can work faster.

      The second issue is details. The author copied some parts from official BMS maps (menu background and inbound/AM transition), and the stark contrast between the detailed BMS mapmaking and the author’s bland, rectangular rooms and corridors. They’re lacking details in any shape or form, be it decals, props, brushwork or advanced lighting, It’s an issue I know all too well myself, and I recommend exmaining the official maps and build up what some people call a “library” – a VMF file containing stuff you might want to reuse. Be it prefabs, models with the correct prop type and skin filled in, materials that work well together – anything. It can also be a good idea to pair up with a mapper who is talented when it comes to details, perhaps you can find someone who complements your skills.

      Number three: complete lack of puzzles. By this, I mean that there is exactly one button to push. There isn’t even a part where you search for an exit, or move a crate, it’s just straightforward “follow the only corridor there is”, which makes for a really boring map. I understand that coming up with good puzzles can be hard, but some are simple and have proven to be good times and times again (such as activating a couple of switches in different places and facing combat on the way there).

      And number four: realism! I mean, consistency. In other words: it doesn’t feel right to fight HECU Marines (that only appear much later in the game) in a map set in Sector C Test Labs (where Gordon doesn’t encounter Marine) in a pre-disaster Black Mesa (why are they there if the resonance cascade hasn’t occured yet?) while some guards are doing office duty next door (like they don’t care). This rings true even more in terms of aliens – how can I fight grunts when Xen and the facility haven’t connected yet? On top of that, assets from chapters Anomalous Materials, Inbound and We’ve Got Hostiles were mixed within the same area, which is also a sign of bad map design (unless when used with good reason). I recommend planning a map in advance and thinking which part is set in which chapter to avoid confusion.

      I’ve mady many of these mistakes myself in the past – or still make them -, so I hope I could give some tips as to how to avoid them.

      Uncharted Territory
      It is WOW!

      Oh, yes. The overall winner by the judges’ choice, and for good reason. To be fair, this isn’t a map – it’s an entire chapter. Almost, at least. How JamaicanDave managed to get this much work done in three weeks, I can only speculate. The entire map gave me a “watch the master work his magic” feeling. It is by far some of the most well-balanced combat I have ever seen outside a Valve game (with the possible exception of the Black Mesa campaign). Although I often dropped below 10 health, I always prevailed and didn’t die more often than two to three times. The entire map was perfect, with medkits and ammo placed exactly where I needed them, visuals beyond any doubt and an overall feel that was as Half-Life as it gets.

      The map design was on-spot, utilising many techniques seen in Half-Life as well, such as bounces (sending players somewhere to do something and having them come back) and loops (leading players back to previously visited locations later, allowing them to backtrack or see a place they were at before). A couple times, gameplay was fitted into an area that was smaller than it seemed, but made the player move around and upwards in a room, seeing it from the different perspective of two or three storeys. The map also caters to the player’s need to explore, adding dead ends here and there where ammunition or health can be found. These places don’t need to be visited and can be missed or skipped altogether, but when found make the map seem even larger than it already is.

      This map excels in terms of length, visuals, gameplay and layout. If there was a Nobel prize for mapmaking, I’d give it to JamaicanDave without hesitating.

      I’ve got one thing to complain about, though. There is a room with radioactive goo, and unlike in the BMS campaign, this goo doesn’t have the characteristical noise and grain on the player’s HUD. But this is just me being nitpicky about tiny tiny details.

      Anyone Else Here?
      It is good

      This map was very short as well, lasting about a total of two minutes too.

      The first negative thing I noted was that all doors used a “locked door” model, making it hard to distinguish between useable and unuseable doors. The first time I played the map, the security guard exploded into a splatter of bloody bits for no reason when I looked away, this didn’t happen the second time.

      The combat is actually somewhat intense, and it took me a couple attempts to take out the enemies. For some weird reason, there was ammo placed in a way that I could only get it after fulfilling the objective, when it was no longer needed. The ending of the map was rather sudden and without explanation, and the objective wasn’t ever stated in the first case. The visuals look pretty good though and would’ve passed for maps from the BMS campaign.

      Also, for some reason, this map kept setting my difficulty to “Hard”, which was very, very annoying, as it took me a while to realise this, after wondering why the next map was so hard.

      Due Processing
      It is okay

      The map started very promising (although I found a nodraw leak right at the start). I played some minutes, admiring the architecture (some of which was very, very beautiful and AAA-level). However, the main weakness of the map soon became obvious: too much content. I first realised this when I fought aliens that weren’t to appear until the very end of the game. OJJ apparently tried to incorporate every enemy and every style into the map, hopelessly messing it up in the process. It’s got almost every NPC in the game, and that ruins it. The map uses design themes from Residue Processing, We’ve Got Hostiles, Surface Tension and Lambda Complex, which just makes no sense at all, seeing as the Lambda Complex Reactor ist most likely not right next to the residue press. The map also was very unpredictable – in a bad way -, since I never knew what type of enemy to expect around the corner. With the campaign, it’s pretty clear – in Office Complex, you expect zombies and vorts, in Surface Tension you expect grunts, and so forth. This map discarded this rule, which resulted in the absurd situation of being attacked by a tank and afterwards a gargantua while simultaneously fighting off grunts and a zombie.

      There is some really neat detail and architecutre work as well as beautiful lighting, which is why this is rated “Maybe” instead of “It’s Bad”. But it wouldn’t fit into BMS at all because of the weird mixture of all the chapters, which violates about every rule of map design. This was the first map that I actually quit because it was so frustrating (I also couldn’t figure out what to do about the gargantua).

      Forget About Freeman (Alternate)
      It is great!

      This map was very enjoyable, and I loved seeing it end in a way that didn’t interrupt the flow of the BMS campaign, meaning that it would fit in as an actual part of the campaign by virtually replacing FaF. I’d love to see an edited release of this on the workshop that actually replaces Forget about Freeman.

      The visuals were pretty good – not as perfect as Uncharted Territory, but probably a close second or third (I guess it’s a tie with Premature Evacuation). The combat was very fun, too (I love blowing things up) and once I found the supply of rockets, it was just a matter of hide-and-fight – less of a challenge and more satisfying KA-BOOM. I did find it really hard to spot any supplies though, since the map was full of standard military crates. Aside from this, the map was pretty cool and pretty fun.

      Thanks, Buddy!
      It is okay

      This is my own map, so I’m obviously biased and I also can’t provide feedback on gameplay since I know the map like the back of my own hand, but I’ll try to be as harsh on it as I was on the other maps.

      First of all: length! Or rather, the lack thereof. I know the map, so it took me about two minutes to play through it, a friend who playtested it took eleven minutes to complete it. Which is very short. I have to attribute this to sheer lack of practice (which makes perfect, after all), and I hope I’ll get faster over time.

      Issue number two: details! Which I am not really good at. I teamed up with Andrew for this, but the deadline and the fact that the last week of BMDV coincided with his vacation thwarted our plan to have him pretty up the map once it was working (he still helped by brush-modeling the submarine and providing advise and feedback via chat). So I probably ought to take a closer look at the mapsrc and get more into detailing maps – again, something that will come over time, I hope.

      In retrospect, I can see some problems with the map. First that comes to mind is the outro sequence – I won’t spoiler you, but I too used HECU soldiers before they should have appeared (although I could argue that it’s left unclear how much time passed during the final sequence (spoilers), so I might let that pass). The next one is again the lack of puzzles (I included one puzzle and two buttons to push), there is still room for improvement.

      I think the overall design was pretty ok, although it lacks the player visiting previous locations – hard to do, though, with such a small map. The lighting was, while not overwhelming, mediocre to okay. I’ve been told by the playtester that the first puzzle is a bit hard to understand – I have no idea whether it is, so any feedback would be appreciated. There wasn’t a real challenge, as the enemies were a mere matter of taking a few steps back and blowing out their alien brains.

      I’d like to highlight that I put a lot of effort into scripted sequences (especially the intro and outro), which I also think is my strongest suit. Due to the small size of the map, the lack of details and the not-really-challenging gameplay, with neat scripting and a cool outro on the plus side, I’d give the map a “Maybe”.

      I figure Phillip is going to remove the recommendation image for this one, because he usually does that when people review their own maps – I tried to judge it like I would anybody’s map, but I understand if you still remove it. Just leave the “I’d give it a Maybe” sentence in it, if you would, please 🙂

      Summary

      This contest was fun to participate, and most of the entries were fun to play. The few really bad maps were outnumbered, and some of these maps might just become my new favourite maps (hint hint Uncharted Territory, hint hint Maintenance Complex). I sure hope this has sparked interest to create more maps for Black Mesa (I sure want more, and I’ll keep getting into BMS mapping) and shown people that the game has potential beyond the recreation of Half-Life. Some of these maps would fit seamlessly into the Black Mesa Research Facility, and some of them are already part of my headcanon (fan fiction term, it means what a person accepts as their own “truth” within a franchise). This was really cool, and congratz to Crowbar/Klappstuhl for figuring out the Bonus Map stuff.

      I really hope to see another BMS contest some time in the future, and also thanks to Phillip for getting me into mapping contests in general 🙂

    8. Play It Now!

      I’m a bit sad I didn’t participate in this, it seemed like a fun challenge, and almost all the maps were very creative with how they tackled it, despite their quality. I’m looking forward to other Black Mesa villes in the future.

      Premature Evacuation
      It is great!

      This is a pretty straightforward map. The door it chooses is one I didn’t even notice in the actual game, but it’s a fun choice. The combat is pretty fun, and the layout isn’t very confusing. It’s good how at the end it shows what you’re opening; it makes it obvious you have to backtrack. My only gripe is that the vent was hard to notice, but other than that this map was very well made.

      An Extra Step
      It is good

      Instead of a door for this one, you go down an unused elevator. It’s interesting to see more of the facility during “Questionable Ethics,” I was a bit disappointed that there were just offices, and no fun experiments or buttons to push. Either way, I enjoyed this map. The combat was really good, and it felt like there was always enough cover. The layout isn’t as great though, it’s a bit confusing as to exactly when you have to get in the elevator, and I missed the ladder that takes you below the floor a couple times.

      Maintenance Complex
      It is bad

      I almost never understood what I was doing in this map. It starts off fine, but then there’s a pipe that does damage to you and I couldn’t figure out how to stop it. There was no valve or obvious button anywhere. I think you’re supposed to put stuff on it and walk over that, but that’s clunky and not very fun. Then there’s a vent that you can’t reach, and you have to go back and grab a barrel, decreasing your already low health. The there are multiple “puzzles” where you have to push things, which are just tedious. Pushing things in source generally isn’t fun unless it’s for a very short distance. Then it ends with waves of enemies spawning in the same room, which like a lot of other things in this map, is just tedious. The map looked decent though, and combat was generally ok.

      One Free Door
      It is dire!

      I was excited when I saw the door this chose, and I thought of the cool things you could do, like the resonance cascade from the pov of a random scientist. Instead, for no reason, you’re thrown into combat right after a room with perfectly calm scientists. While these maps shouldn’t be judged much on narrative, I feel like part of the fun of this challenge is seeing what cool stories are behind the doors. Ignoring that, though, the combat isn’t that special. At the beginning you fight vortigaunts and alien grunts in basically a box, then you fight human grunts that are way too far away for any interesting combat. During that part, you can also clip through several models, indicating that this probably wasn’t playtested and/or that section was taken directly from the start of the game, meaning only a small portion of this map is actually original.

      Uncharted Territory
      It is great!

      This map was really good at pretty much everything except for the layout and lack of variety. I was almost constantly confused as to where I was and where I was going, probably due to how lots of places look similar. For example, there are two red hallways with smoke in them, and all three large doors lead to similar platforms (I confused the first and third one since they were also against a wall). It took me awhile to get familiar with where everything was, and at that point I was almost done with the map. Not a big deal, since the map was good at leading me in the right direction, but I shouldn’t have a constant sense of deja vu. Other than that, this map is really enjoyable. I debated giving this a “it’s good” but I feel like my nitpicks shouldn’t detract from the rating.

      Anyone Else Here?
      It is okay

      This map is really short, but for what it is it’s pretty ok. It took a sort of different interpretation of the challenge than anything else, meaning you could actually put this in the game as a small little section behind a door, then go back and play the game as normal. For that and it’s nice visuals I’ll give it an ok.

      Due Processing
      It is okay

      This map starts in the trash compactor you’re thrown in, and starts off well. There’s a nice battle with some vortigaunts and alien grunts, and a small but intuitive puzzle, then the map gets really unfair. My main issue is that you’re constantly put in situations where aliens spawn around you, and you’re never given quite enough health. There are almost no health chargers in the map. I feel like it’s fair to have a large health boost right after and before a hard fight. Then the boss battle with the gargantua is unfair. Having to look up to kill the controllers while also having to worry about the gargantua is almost impossible, and even the safe areas are too enclosed to let you avoid the controllers’ projectiles. Then the way you defeat the gargantua isn’t very obvious, I would make the explosives stand out a bit more. There’s also a small glitch I found where there are some turrets and a scientist which refuses to follow you. He follows you if you blow up the turrets, but only if you blow them up. At first I just dropped down and knocked them over manually, and the scientist never followed me. Just a small glitch that should probably be fixed.

      Forget About Freeman (Alternate)
      It is okay

      I like the door this map chooses, and the way it presents it is pretty nice too. There are a few big gripes I have with it though. First of all, at the start you get put in a small room with lots of vortigaunts and alien grunts, with no suit power or any supply crates nearby. Then when you get to the surface, there are way too many things happening at once. The first thing I see is a gargantua, which quickly dies so I don’t really see the point, then a ton of aliens spawn, then there’s a tank,
      then there’s a helicopter. It would have been a lot better to space all that out with downtime in-between. The rest of the map is fine, but the pacing seems off considering the first part was full of action, and everything after that is almost calming.

      Thanks, Buddy!
      It is okay

      It’s probably not intentional, but this goes through the same doors that “Maintenance Complex” does. Also like that map, it has a dumb pushing puzzle. Fortunately, after that the map is consistently pretty good. There’s a nice, straightforward puzzle and some enjoyable combat. I didn’t really understand the ending though. Also I found a small glitch: there’s an unkillable barnacle at one point so that it can kill a security guard, but you can actually get caught by it too. Then you die kind of unfairly since you can’t really kill it.

    9. No public voting per map or top10 for this? It was very useful before to pick the best top3 maps.

    10. JamaicanDave

      Ok, I’ve played through all the maps and enjoyed most of them to varying degrees. I do suspect many entrants where a little over ambitious and more used to mapping for HL2. Overall maps were either quite buggy, rough and/or had too harsher combat. To be fair Black Mesa editing is ‘quirky’ and things won’t always work the way they should (or at all). The games combat is also far more punishing than HL2 and what works well in one won’t necessarily work well in the other. It was good of Crowbar Collective to release the single player map vmf’s but they not the best for getting to grips with BM mapping. I’ve said this before but instead I strongly recommend looking at the vmf for Maki’s custom map Bravado, which he kindly made available to all. It contains a little bit of everything and is very cleanly and logically put together.

      I know I certainly appreciate feedback on my maps, good or bad, so I’ll try to make a few comments on each entry individually, time and enthusiasm permitting. As for the challenge itself I’d probably give it a Play It Later.

      1. JamaicanDave

        Ah and I nearly forgot to mention I really like the way it was released. The Bonus Map menu is very neat and installation was easy. I didn’t actually have a GameMenu.res file in my Black Mesa folder, so no worries about overwriting anything important!

      2. “and more used to mapping for HL2” — In my case, it’s worse: not used to mapping for singleplayer shooter games at all.

    11. JamaicanDave

      Map 1 – Premature Evacuation

      This map was rather buggy (a HeadCrabbed specialty I believe). I got wedged by the fallen storage rack trying to avoid the harmless(?) green water. One of the zombies launched a barrel at me through the lift doors before they’d opened. I had not one but two crash to desktops (which has never, ever happened with BM) trying to use the satchel charge. The train got stuck on a piece of broken crate and couldn’t even get off to manually remove it because magic clip brushes had appeared. There were a few odd cube mapping reflections and some npcs were very static. I could go on.

      And yet I actually rather enjoyed playing this.

      Yes the timing on the security guard / zombie sequence could have been tweaked so he wasn’t so obviously waiting for the now non-existent scientist to finish panicking. Yes there was far too many pickups. Yes it might have been better to have the aliens start spawning once the player got on the train (I picked them all off, plus two HECU before boarding). And yes the ending left me slightly puzzled as I’d mown down all the soldiers, presumably rescued the other NPC’s only to find those HECU corpses were detaining me for further questioning.

      But I still enjoyed it. In fact I enjoyed it more than a lot of the other entries.

      The action was fun. I got to crawl through vents, crawl on (and fall through) ceiling tiles, ride a lift, ride a train, press some buttons, smash some crates, smash some aliens. There were nice scripted sequences. The npcs weren’t just standing there waiting for me. The back tracking was well done. There was enough detailing to make the environments interesting. All packed into a surprisingly small level. And it had a most amusing title.

      1. JamaicanDave

        Map 2 – An Extra Step

        This map was a bit buggy and rough around the edges but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment of this romp through one of my favourite campaign chapters – Questionable Ethics. Although pretty crude I appreciated the intro setting the scene. The scientist animations weren’t great and the on screen text cycled too fast but I clearly understood my objectives and it felt more immersive for it. Wasn’t too sure where the zombie sounds were coming from though?

        The general layout and detailing was very nice indeed. The brush work was well done, there was no sense of ‘boxiness’ and the level of detailing really helped bring the environment to life. It did a good job capturing that post disaster Black Mesa atmosphere and I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the map. I particularly liked the look and feel of the server room. I was sure I’d be ambushed by aliens amongst those long banks of powered down servers and slightly dingy lighting.

        The combat was pretty fun throughout. There was plenty of little interactions with lifts, buttons, and ladders, glass windows to smash, some scripted sequences and well timed music. I never had trouble knowing where to go next.

        The map wasn’t without its flaws though. I saw lots of misaligned textures, the echoy sound effect in the QE portion was out of place, lights were too white or bright in places and no cube mapping. The blue metal QE walls are just made for reflections. The change in style between the lab and server areas felt too abrupt. Important pickups such as the crowbar and MP5 supply cache, without which left the player in real trouble, could be missed. Cut scenes mid map are usually a big no no, (but I did think it was pretty cinematic). The HECU in the server room fight didn’t drop weapons, a situation where the player really might need them. There were far too many HECU waiting for the player as they climbed the ladder, with few options but to climb back down. Ladders in source are awkward as is, trying to fight from them can be painful.

        All said though, I thought this was a very enjoyable map.

      2. JamaicanDave

        Map 3 – Maintenance Complex

        I’ll start by saying I don’t really like Source engine physics and I don’t particularly like physics puzzles. This map is in the Source engine and has a lot of physics puzzles. I’m sorry but I really didn’t enjoy it that much.

        The mapping isn’t too bad, it’s quite interesting how the map loops back to the starting area a few times and it could believably be part of the Black Mesa complex. I liked how the security guard behind the fence was replaced by a headcrabbed guard. The final battle was in quite a tight space but I had enough room to manoeuvre and sufficient firepower, resulting in a rather frantic and fun fight. The appearance of the garg was pretty neat. I never really had any trouble seeing where to go next.

        But….

        Knowing where to go and actually getting there are two very different things. The physics puzzles very janky. I thought the hot pipe was quite well sign posted and saw pretty quickly how to get past. But getting those boards in place got so frustrating I gave up and just took the damage. Only to find out I had to cross back to get something to climb on for the next puzzle. Straight after that the movable box blocking the vent exit proved incredibly difficult to actually move. I think it was catching on the vent fragments or something else on the floor. The biggest headache was getting back into the collapsed vent, stuff just wobbled everywhere and even when my tower was high enough crouch jumping into the vent proved very frustrating. The scripting of the guard at the end seemed problematic too. I assume he’s supposed to open the door and call out to signal how to escape, but I opened it myself before he arrived.

        Nice idea, but even when things work perfectly this really isn’t my cup of tea.

      3. JamaicanDave

        Map 4 – The One Free Door

        I’m guessing this was made by a beginner mapper. It was very basic, short and had technical mapping issues. But it wasn’t bad for what it was. I had a bit of fun shooting a few baddies.

        The map did seem to lack any sound and I feel copied too much from the official vmf files, resulting in big changes in quality. I’d have preferred the author map more of their own, new areas. The tram station was never a playable area from the main campaign, many of the props had no collision which the author missed fixing up. It wasn’t a bad combat area but would have been better waiting for the player to jump down to the tracks before revealing the soldiers. They’re then caught in an ambush from above, but have plenty of cover to weave in and out of. Instead I just picked off all the soldiers from the safety of my little alcove. Not sure why there was odd yellow shadows under all moveable props and npcs.

        A couple of simple tips to hopefully help the author progress: Try adding columns to the corridor walls and some pillars and beams in the bigger rooms. It’s a quick and easy way to add visual appeal and break up the boxiness. And try adding the occasional contrasting light colour both to add visual variety and direct the player. For example a green light by the end of level elevator, perhaps coming from an exit sign, would help grab the players attention and highlight the importance of the area.

      4. JamaicanDave

        Map 5 – Uncharted Territory

        This was my entry and I’m not going to say much about it. Instead I’ll copy a section from the readme, to give the maps location a little context.

        Description:
        On his return from activating the track power Gordon was having serious reservations about confronting the gargantuan creature lurking by the trains. Those soldiers who intercepted him must have come from elsewhere. Perhaps it’s time for a change in direction?

        Authors notes:
        Uncharted Territory originates from the Power Up chapter, specifically a short corridor that opens up after reactivating the power. It’s located just after the final HECU battle, between the storage area that explodes and the collapsed stairs, and appears to be where the soldiers came from. The player starts in this short corridor from the main campaign. The doors leading in are now locked, and the previously locked doors at the far end lead to an unexplored area of Black Mesa (my map).

      5. JamaicanDave

        Map 4 – The One Free Door

        I’m guessing this was made by a beginner mapper. It was very basic, short and had technical mapping issues. But it wasn’t bad for what it was. I had a bit of fun shooting a few baddies.

        The map did seem to lack any sound and I feel copied too much from the official vmf files, resulting in big changes in quality. I’d have preferred the author map more of their own, new areas. The tram station was never a playable area from the main campaign, many of the props had no collision which the author missed fixing up. It wasn’t a bad combat area but would have been better waiting for the player to jump down to the tracks before revealing the soldiers. They’re then caught in an ambush from above, but have plenty of cover to weave in and out of. Instead I just picked off all the soldiers from the safety of my little alcove. Not sure why there was odd yellow shadows under all moveable props and npcs.

        A couple of simple tips to hopefully help the author progress: Try adding columns to the corridor walls and some pillars and beams in the bigger rooms. It’s a quick and easy way to add visual appeal and break up the boxiness. And try adding the occasional contrasting light colour both to add visual variety and direct the player. For example a green light by the end of level elevator, perhaps coming from an exit sign, would help grab the players attention and highlight the importance of the area.

      6. JamaicanDave

        Map 6 – Anyone Else Here?

        This map was pretty short and had lots of little niggles, not least the fact my difficulty got changed to Hard every time I loaded it. Openable doors used the locked door model, the sounded of a zombie hitting a chain linked fence through me for ages until I realised it was the guy hitting the glass (!) window and the scripting was a bit bugged and unpredictable. The end of level was very misleading, it really looked like the open vent with red light was the way forward. After much frustrating stacking objects to get in, it was a dead end and simply back tracking out the room faded to black. And that damned security guard, when he wasn’t dead on arrival constantly blocked my path. Damn that man!

        Visually the map was quite nice and I could happily believe this was a part of the Black Mesa facility. There wasn’t much else to do except fight and the combat was a little hit and miss. The final battle against the HECU was a bit harsh. There was little cover, a doorway choke point with explosive crates just past it and multiple soldiers all looking directly at said doorway. The rest of the combat suffered a bit from the scripting issues, if all went well it was fun and fairly balanced but other times much was already dead or I’d attracted the attention of NPCS I should maybe have been fighting slightly further on.

        Not bad, not great.

      7. JamaicanDave

        Map 7 – Due Processing

        A lot of work seems to have gone into this map but sadly I didn’t particularly enjoy it. The combat was too harsh and the changes in visual style didn’t gel very well. The start set the tone when a couple of alien grunts plus a vort spawned in on top of me with only an MP5 and no suit. This continued throughout the map with too many enemies, often too powerful, often appearing either behind the player or without any decent cover. It felt like learning via death, I ended up just sprinting past some sections entirely. I appreciated the idea behind the final boss fight and when I had breathing space it was quite intuitive how to defeat him. But honestly I got frustrated and quit the map several times.

        The mapping itself was pretty creative and had the Black Mesa vibe, but the change from grimy industrial to hi-tech labs and back again was very jarring. The area behind the residue processing building seemed slightly off. I got the impression it would have been sunk into the main campaign interiors. It was probably unnecessary to have more map after defeating the boss, it felt like filler and was anticlimactic. Just passing through a door or fading to black would have sufficed.

      8. JamaicanDave

        Map 8 – Forget About Freeman (alternate)

        I thought this was quite a clever map with a well constructed environment and impressive battle but let down by some harsh combat and awkward pacing. I loved the idea behind this one, the way it almost seamlessly replaces a section from the main campaign. With the exception of some detailing here and there I thought visually this map blended right in with the FAF chapter. The alternate battle was a great set piece, with lots of heavy fighting, explosions, sound and heavy armour (tanks, choppers, a garg). But I didn’t have a huge amount of fun playing the map.

        The fight with alien grunts and vorts just before the main battle was too punishing, due to a combination of numbers, a lack of suit energy and very few options for manoeuvre and cover. I got past either by backing up so far the ai couldn’t respond and using the crossbow or leaning the spawning pattern and shooting as they appeared. Another case of learning by death.

        My problem with the main battle was everything happened too quickly. There was no time to appreciate or evaluate what was going on. But my biggest gripe was the timing of the chopper. It appeared about the same time I was battling the tank, but I had no warning because it was generally out of view and its sound was masked by everything else going on. The first I knew about it was when it opened fire from behind, and with the tank in front death was unavoidable. Ultimately I got past this section by learning what appeared and when, which required several deaths. Never had any problems with rocket ammo though, despite not realising there were crates around. That was nicely done as it kept me moving around the battle field looking for pickups rather than hunkering down next to the infinite supply (although the option was there).

      9. JamaicanDave

        Map 9 – Thanks, Buddy

        Of all the locked doors in Black Mesa what were the chances of two entrants picking the same one? Well, this map and Maintenance Complex did it! Fortunately the authors then built very different areas behind it.

        The environments in this map are quite plain – boxy rooms and corridors with a scattering of props thrown in. I’d recommend a little more attention to detail to help bring the map to life and avoid some slightly comedic sights such as shelving units the wrong way round and doors with back to front writing. The vorts at the start appeared buggy at first glance, shooting off in all directions. I think it was scripted but to what purpose I don’t know. One did bug out and couldn’t be killed. The ending (cool submarine sequence btw) was, um, interesting?

        The map had plenty of staple ingredients though. The combat was generally satisfying, scientists met grisly deaths via scripted sequences, aliens teleporting in, vent crawling – can’t be a BM map without that. Although the visual style was basic I clearly felt like I was in Black Mesa office complex. All good stuff. Try to add some kind of reward, be it picks up or a visual treat, to places that aren’t obviously accessible (ie having to reach them via vents).

        1. Yeah, I was dumbstruck too when I saw I’d picked the same map as someone else. It felt really confusing to play his map, because I subconsciously expected the layout to be like mine. Took me a couple moments to get used to it.

          I’m aware of the lack in details. We had planned for Rookzilla to pretty up the map as soon as I had the gameplay working, but the deadline arrived sooner than we would have liked. I tried to make up for the lack of detail by adding all the scripted things, like scientists meeting a gruesome end by means of a barnacle and the likes, hoping that an alive-looking map would, to some extent, cover up the square-ish architecture. I figure with more time (or more practice on my part), these issues could have been avoided. I had no idea, by the way, that shelves had a back and a front.

          The vortigaunts destroying random stuff were scripted indeed, and since I under-estimated how vent-savvy Half-Life players are, the vorts were meant to make it obvious the vent and the crate were to be used by blowing up the vent and pushing over the crate on spawn. Douglas (one of the judges) said in his playthrough video that (to him) the vent was already the obvious exit, meaning I probably could’ve saved the effort and just let players straight-out fight the vorts. And yeah, the last vort is buggy – his damagefilter is set to invincible until he blows up that vent (I wanted it to be more obvious than obvious), and sometimes, it’s not reset correctly afterwards.

          I’m glad you enjoyed the combat and the scripted environment, though. I considered doing more dead ends with extra items, but decided against it due to the deadline coming up. And it’s good to hear I met the OC style, I took a good look at the vmfs to see what props and materials the BM:S team used.

          The ending was meant to make it clear that the player was a) not Gordon Freeman and b) dead for sure. After all, Gordon didn’t go through this door, so the player could hardly be him. No idea whether you noticed, but at the very start, I had to NPC play out the “original” scene, one guard taking the role of Freeman and saving the other security guard from his zombie-infested pal (hence the name “Thanks, Buddy!”) like Freeman does in the campaign.

    12. Play It Later
      Anyone Else Here? by Derek Jones AKA Taz AKA Tazed
      It is okay

      For some reason the grunts were kicking my ass in this map. I guess because I had a lot less armour than in previous maps, perhaps? This is another case of a map where I didn’t know where in the Half-Life story it belongs. I’m going to assume On A Rail, but only starting with a pistol threw me a little. After fighting through a squad of grunts I found a scientist that I apparently needed (?) and then the level just ended while I was backtracking, looking for the rest of it.

      Uncharted Territory by JamaicanDave
      It is great!

      This map was absolutely phenomenal! Massive in scale, multiple paths and plenty of exploration. The combat was varied with plenty of ways to sneak up on enemies, as well as a good amount of conflict between the HECU and Xen forces. It fits perfectly into the Black Mesa theme and I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid had this whole section been in the initial release. Sooo… why only a ‘Great’ rather than a ‘WOW?’ Well, there’s just one thing that bothers me with this map… Which door did I come through to get here? 😐

      Maintenance Complex by WALLe PL
      It is okay

      There are a couple of things that irk me about this map. Firstly, you should never force the player to take damage. The section with the pipe that you have to run over three times would have been impossible if I had taken any more damage than I did. Secondly, I feel this whole map is a bit of a misstep. I really like that this is essentially just an extra area to explore that essentially brings you back to the start, but there is absolutely no pay off. Had this been in the original game I would have been furious. It didn’t reward my curiosity. If anything, I was punished. I came out with the same weapons, but with less health and ammo. Argh!

      Forget About Freeman (Alternate) by SNW
      It is WOW!

      Now this? This is a battle done right! The fight breaks out as you approach the surface and then all hell breaks loose. My heart sank when I saw the gargantua, because I played this immediately following Due Processing, but then BOOM. The xen forces were largely wiped out and I found myself facing off with a couple of security guards against a huge wave of HECU infantry with armour and air support. The area was beautifully built and had a perfect balance of open space and solid cover. Ducking into cover, popping up to take out a couple of guys then sprinting from rocket fire from a god damn tank! An absolute blast and I loved every second of it. What’s more, I knew exactly where this took place and I love that I ended up in the right place to continue the game as normal after this epic diversion.

      An Extra Step by Seji-Evan
      It is good

      This was pretty excellent up to a certain point. The first half mirrored the feeling of the unforeseen consequences chapters of Half-Life, with very little ammo and plenty of vortigaunts and zombies. Then, the action packed section with the grunts was incredible too. Any map that uses that showdown track from Black Mesa’s Questionable Ethics chapter gets bonus points in my book. Sadly however, once I got back to the elevator at the start of the map, nothing happened. I looked around for a while trying to find an alternate path, but couldn’t find anything. I think it broke, so I can’t rate this higher than I have now. 🙁

      Premature Evacuation by HeadCrλbbed
      It is great!

      A very nice map with some very cool environmental hazards and officially the first time I’ve seen a headcrabbed grunt in this game! So that was nice. The first portion of the map didn’t seem overly challenging, but the return to the train and the following rail shooter section really ramped things up. The ending had a nice little twist to is as well. Having not witnessed a major plot point that occurs later in the chapter, of course you would just willingly approach the military! :O

      Thanks, Buddy! by Tim Age AKA HashtagMC & Andrew Brown AKA Rookzilla
      It is good

      Another solid entry, oddly starting in the same area as Maintenance Complex, but handled much better in my opinion. This felt very much tied in with the Office Complex chapter, with very similar environments as seen in Black Mesa’s campaign. The multiple teleport cinematic at the end was quite nice, but one other gripe just prior to this was the zombies teleporting in. That’s not lore friendly! Otherwise, a nice map and the ending was a good way to wrap up this map pack as this was the last entry I played.

      Due Processing by OJJ
      It is okay

      Man. This one really dialed up the challenge to 11. So much so that on Medium difficulty I was really struggling. There are some very large fights that take place throughout and I died a lot, mostly because of cheap tricks by the mapper. One section that comes to mind is a load of Alien Grunts and Vortigaunts spawning behind me (Yeah… don’t do that shit) and absolutely destroying me. Then, after reloading, I simply didn’t clear out the tripmines and the fight was a cake walk. The final battle I assume had some pretty cinematic moments what with there being a tank involved as well as a gargantua! Thing is, I have no idea what happened to any of them as I was constantly being pinned down by grunts and alien controllers, with no access to any additional health! Not a bad map overall, but probably a little on the extreme side. Also, I found a massive hole at the start of the map, after going down a ladder near the crusher. 😐

      The One Free Door by HighFire​
      It is okay

      This one was… surreal. So I take a right at the station platform in Sector C to find that there is a security center below the labs and there are aliens and grunts all over the place already? Alrighty then… Gameplay was a little lacking in this one. There wasn’t much more to it than corridors and bad guys. The final area with the grunts was really bad. After a really glaring invisible wall, there was very little cover for the player to use when approaching the arena, and I was able to walk through several of the props during the fight. Fortunately, I was absolutely maxed out for health and armour so there wasn’t really any concern, nor challenge for that matter.

      Summary

      A very nice map pack overall, and it was a refreshing change to play through Black Mesa for a change. I feel that after all this time, there might still be some teething problems with the engine and custom maps. I encountered a fair few bugs during my playthrough and I don’t believe these can be blamed on the mappers. Things such as hits not registering on certain enemies after they teleport in and so on. Also, my difficulty settings seem to adjust themselves from time to time, which was annoying. Again, I don’t know if this was a glitch with BMS, or if the mappers can control that kind of thing? Either way, a little irritating.

      I hope to see more of these Villes however, that aren’t always going back to Half-Life 2 Episode 2. Maybe one day we’ll get another Goldsource ville, but until then, keep them coming!

      1. JamaicanDave

        I had the same problems with Anyone Else Here and Due Processing. The reason is on loading up Anyone Else Here the games difficulty switches to Hard. I didn’t notice until half way through Forget About Freeman (Alt), which I was also struggling with. Very annoying.

        I admit my entry (Uncharted Territory) uses a rather obscure door. I described it’s location more in the maps readme, which wasn’t ideal, but unfortunately I had to submit a week early due to other commitments so couldn’t elaborate more in map.

        1. I didn’t know maps can switch difficulty settings.

          1. One map also changed my FOV from 75 to 90. I don’t remember which one it was but yeah.

          2. JamaicanDave

            I didn’t know either. I guess it could be done with a point_clientcommand, but that would have to be deliberate, which I don’t think anyone would do.

          3. I found this to be very annoying, too. I think I played Due Processing after Anyone Else Here? and I just kept dying a dozen times until I noticed that the difficulty was still set to Hard from AEH. Very, very annoying and a very bad mapping practice.

      2. Hey, thanks for the positive feedback on “Thanks, Buddy”! I do have to admit that you’re right in regards to spawning zombies through portals, so I guess I’ll add it to the “things to change should I ever get around to re-working this map” list. Thanks for the feedback! And I’m glad you liked the ending 🙂

        I closely examined the map this one uses as a start in Hammer to see which textures and models were used, and I’m relieved to hear the goal to blend in with Office Complex – albeit on a much lower level of detail – was achieved. The Black Mesa VMF files were really helpful in general, teaching me some nice tricks like spawning Xen portals and waking sleeping zombies.

        P.S: About Maintenance Complex – you didn’t get the puzzle. It took me some deaths to figure it out, too (could have been more obvious), but apparently you’re supposed to put these (wooden?) panels on top of the pipe, then you can cross it without any damage.

    13. Play It Later

      So, I was gonna enter this competition, but part of the way through, I just really didn’t feel like working on it anymore. I think I just hate this theme, to be honest. Not very good for creative freedom.

      Anyway, here’s some reviews! Couple things of note: One, I played on hard, because I’ve gotten pretty good at the Half-Life games. Two, I’m very critical in these reviews, even for some of the ones that I liked. So, if you’re a mapper who entered this competition, and I get a bit rant-y on your map, don’t take it personally. It’s just how I critique stuff.

      Premature Evacuation
      It is good

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- Gordon Walkman

      This map felt very competent. The detailing was serviceable, and at no point did the map feel outright boring. But the whole thing felt VERY generic. Completely linear, no branching paths, minimal player choice, meh. The gameplay is balanced, they do a really nice job of keeping your health and ammo balanced the whole time. (But the map is like 4 minutes long, so it’s not that hard) No encounters feel like a dick-move on account of the mapper.

      Also, at the end (SPOILAH ALERT) the marines do their damn job and save you from the alien invasion. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but they put a marine in PLAIN SIGHT at the end of a tunnel that encourages you to snipe at enemies. How am I not expected to shoot the guy at the end of the tunnel there?

      In the end, nothing in this map is technically bad, it’s just a bit boring. For as short as it is, though, I would say play it.

      An extra step
      It is bad

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- Gordon Denton

      Eugh. You know, this map is a bit of a tragedy in my eyes. From what I can tell, the author has some serious talent, as his detailing is really solid!… And certain aspects of the map’s design are pretty decent. Like it’s conveyance, and such.

      First, let’s talk about the elephant in the room- Text on screen. Ordinarily… I’d be fine with this. After all, I did this in one of my maps, so… why would I have something against it here? Well, I understand why people do it- Coming across a voice actor that can create an adequate performance, even for a few lines, isn’t easy. So, if it’s necessary for the creation of a narrative… then I’m fine with it. The problem I have here is the fact that it felt really, really unnecessary. Like all of the stuff could’ve just as easily been conveyed through visuals, or scientist dialogue that’s already in the game.
      But, it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the map at all, so I’m gonna let it slide.

      What I’m not gonna let slide is the fact that the combat encounters are just downright bad. They throw sooo many enemies at you, and don’t give you nearly enough ammo to deal with them. Like, at the beginning, there’s gotta be over a dozen god damn zombies there, and very minimal glock ammo. (Also, apparently I got my HEV suit by picking up a weapon… I guess my character just has augmentations or something, so he just implanted an HEV suit into his body when he picked up a gun.) Then you get towards the end, and you’re fighting soldiers… and… It. Gets. Worse. You fight about 8 soldiers in a server room… which is basically designed to just be 3 basic corridors disguised as an arena. What the hell? This isn’t fun! It feels like I’m playing whack-a-mole with marines! Anyway, then you backtrack through the zombie corridors, except now it’s literally jam-packed with so many marines that it slowed my frames to a crawl. Now, keep in mind that I can consistently run the base game at around 150 frames a second. I go up there, it dips into the TWENTIES. I didn’t count how many marines there were, I just ran past most of them, but it’s gotta be at least 15. Oh, and there’s not a whole lot of cover, too. Just to make it even better.

      Look, I’m sorry that this turned into a bit of a rant, but when a map pisses me off, it really pisses me off.

      Anyway, all ranting aside, this map is salvageable. Re-do the server arena, so it has actual cover, and encourages more dynamic movement… cut down on the amount of enemies… maybe add some more cover to the hallway portion… and you should be good.

      Maintenance Complex
      It is great!

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- Gordy Hamstring

      This map was unintentionally brilliant. Or maybe it was very intentionally brilliant. Either way, it is a very interesting use of physics puzzles in a Black Mesa map. Basically, it encourages you to do things that would, in other maps, completely break the level… but here it’s what you’re actually supposed to do! And somehow, this is always clear to the player! Now it did trip me up a bit at first, with a duct… it’s not that I didn’t know what to do, it’s that I was a bit pissed that I needed to backtrack to get the barrel to climb up to the vent. But after that, I knew what the map was doing. The ending was really fun, too. It puts you into a sort of gauntlet against waves of enemies, and the arena is… mostly good at facilitating movement. The player should be able to go around either side of the cars, but other than that, good.

      Couple complaints: Really obvious invisible walls. Non are placed in areas that are complete horseshit, but it’s still obvious that they’re there.

      Also, I might’ve gotten a bit too into the whole “breaking the map is the point” gimmick, and ACTUALLY broke the map. You can stack barrels at the beginning to reach the button that brings you to the ending room early.

      The One Free Door
      It is dire!

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- Gordon Ramsay

      Something tells me this was the author’s first map. And that’s alright- we all gotta start somewhere.

      Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is, this map (is fucking raw!) has no regard for visuals, design, balance, logic, or anything. It is a mess. Boring, square corridors with zero detail, piss colored shadows, completely lackluster arenas, dropoffs that are half covered with an invisible wall, the other half is where you’re supposed to go… yeah.
      To top it off, the end is literally a broken room. You literally have to go into a broken, untextured room in order to beat the level. It’s not obvious, either.

      But as a message to the author- Keep at it. Everyone who maps makes crap their first try. Everyone. Myself included. (Hell, I’m still kinda makin’ crap) Just keep at it, one day you’ll get it right.

      Uncharted Territory
      It is great!

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- Green Zapman

      This map didn’t do anything groundbreaking, but it felt good. The combat felt good, the visuals felt good, the pacing felt good, etc. Not a whole lot to say here. It just all worked pretty well.

      I like the consistency of the enemies- Zombies, Vortigaunts, Marines. Occasionally you’d have headcrabs or houndeyes, but that’s about it. It gives the map a running theme without getting stale. I also like how the map had some branching paths.

      Couple things of note about the ending- First, it reminded me of a map I put on the workshop, Emergency 17. (In quite a few ways, now that I think about. JamaicanDave, was there any inspiration there, is that a coincidence, or am I seeing similarities where there are none?) Secondly, it runs into a similar problem to my map, where the optimal strategy is to huddle yourself in a corner and take potshots at the enemy. Might wanna change that up a bit.

      Anyone Else There?
      It is okay

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- Gibson Freeman

      Well that was quick.
      As I stated for a previous map: The detailing feels serviceable. It’s not bad per say, it’s just kinda lame.
      A guard follows you the whole map. I’m not sure if he’s invulnerable, or if the map’s just so short he didn’t get a chance to die. And I’m not kidding when I say this map is short, there’s literally only 3 combat encounters through the whole thing, and you can finish the map in a minute and a half. Holy crap.

      The ending isn’t very clear, either. You find a scientist, and it looks like you’re gonna head out on a rail car to the next area!… Yeah, no. What actually happens is you take your scientist buddy, backtrack ten feet, and then the map just ends. No climax, no nothing. It just ends.

      I gave this map an “Okay” rating, because nothing is strictly bad, just really disappointing.

      Due Processing
      It is good

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- John KitchenSink

      This was a strange map. At first I was kind of excited, because it took me to an area that I ACTUALLY wondered what was up there! Unfortunately, the map immediately threw me into a completely unfair battle against some alien grunts, and that sort of destroyed my expectations right from the start.

      It did get better for a bit, it forces you to do an… actually decent puzzle! Throw a grenade at some sentries, get the scientist to go along and unlock the door for you. Nice. Unfortunately, my initial solution was to come up from behind them and throw the sentries on the ground. This doesn’t activate the trigger that allows the scientist to follow you, so that confused me. Not really my fault, though.

      Then it demonstrated its affinity for the worst enemy in the game. Controllers were shit in Half-life, they’re shit now.

      And then it took me from the residue processing plant… to the lambda complex! Like… instantaneously! Okay? That’s a bit of an awkward transition, one that could’ve been avoided with mere detailing changes… but alright. This area does also have a really cool secret, which I won’t spoil. Just know that it’s very rewarding.

      You then come back outside to the residue processing plant, and… surprise tank figh- I mean Gargantua fight! The arena you fight him in is really unintuitive. It’s not very clear that you’re supposed to blow up these random tanks to start… flames?… that… destroy a metal platform? (What the fuck?)

      And then, that’s just about the end of the map! I was originally going to just give it an “It’s Okay”, but for what it’s worth, I enjoyed the map.

      Forget About Freeman (Alternate)
      It is great!

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- Forget A. Freeman

      I didn’t really realize how good this map actually was until after I finished it. Not because it did something brilliant, but because it was tough- but not cheap. The first half of the map is pretty forgettable (heh), just a bunch of corridors where aliens spawn in. They’re all polished okay, and it looks alright. Then you get to the arena portion of the map, and my god is it amazing. Spectacular visuals, amazing set piece combat, a fluid battlefield, it’s all really well made. This is the main reason this map exists.

      There are a couple complaints I have with it, though: One, not a fan of having to fight a helicopter and a tank at the same time. That’s just a bit much for me to try and keep track of. Two, you know what’s useless against helicopters? Waist-high cover. You know what this arena is full of? Waist-high cover. There are a couple of spots you need to look out for to beat it, and once you do, man, it’s satisfying.

      Thanks, Buddy!
      It is good

      I’m dubbing the protagonist of this map- Gulby Freemington

      This was another short one. You go through several office corridors, shoot a couple vortigaunts and zombies and whatnot. Pretty simple stuff. It’s fairly average office complex affairs for about 2 minutes before you get to the ending.

      The ending is hilarious. You’re spontaneously teleported to Xen, then in front of a submarine, then in front of a soldier’s bullet, then the map ends. I liked the ending. It was certainly a lot more interesting than a fade to black, and it’s more or less what saved it from just being “It’s Okay”

      1. Cool to hear you somewhat liked “Thanks, Buddy!”

        I see the outro served its purpose (to not just fade out). We reasoned, if aliens can randomly teleport into the facility from Xen, then why wouldn’t the player accidentally get into one of these portals? I took inspiration from the teleport sequence in Half-Life², where Gordon is accidentally teleported into the desert, into the citadel and in front of an angry ichthyosaurus. Good to know it saved the map’s rating 🙂

    14. asterixer

      Thanks, buddy! didnt work under Linux. You could not damage the first grid of the air shaft.

      The rest of the maps had no problems.

      But PLEASE: use only lower case files, because i had to figure out wich has to be lower and which upper case to work. Under Linux upper or lowercase of the Files and Folders matters!

      1. That’s not a problem with the map but actually intended. The first duct panel has a damage filter to allow only vortigaunts to damage it. I set it up this way to make it obvious for players to see where they were supposed to go (vortigaunts are scripted to blow up the air shaft), but this seems to cause confusion rather than make it easy. Give the vortigaunts a couple seconds before blowing their brains out and they’ll blow up the air shaft and allow you to proceed.

    15. To answer someone’s question, I tried to use the maps with the legacy/mod version of BMS, and it didn’t work. The game crashed upon loading the maps. So no, you can’t use the mod, you’ll need the retail version.

    16. Play It Later

      It was refreshing to see contest entries in the Black Mesa world for a change. The mechanic to load the individual entries worked fine and some of the entries were really good. My brief notes are as follows:

      Premature Evacuation – I liked the start of the map being a very familiar Black Mesa location. The combat was pretty good, but I was confused by the ending. At first I thought I was supposed to shoot the soldiers and didn’t realize I was trapped on the cart and not supposed to fight at that point.

      An Extra Step – this was a nice entry with excellent use of retracing your steps to make it longer

      Maintenance Complex – I didn’t care for the hot pipe part as I didn’t know I needed to bring something with me to stand on for entering the vent. Also there was an invisible wall near the end (at least in the first version) which didn’t allow me to get a health pack which was disappointing

      The One Free Door – the quality wasn’t very good on this one. You could walk through objects and there was no real ending to speak of

      Uncharted Territory – a really nice long section of combat that I really enjoyed. The action was balanced and never felt unfair.

      Anyone Else Here – short, not much action or an ending, and it changes your settings to Hard which is annoying

      Due Processing – interesting entry that I found to be very difficult. The garg section in the yard looks great but I had to go on godmode to proceed. Especially after the previous map had set my settings to “Hard” and I hadn’t noticed!

      Forget About Freeman – very good but short entry. I loved the outdoor combat area but it was difficult to do anything other than run for safety

      Thanks Buddy – I wasn’t a huge fan of this one. Doors open for no reason, you can’t save Barney from the barnacle, and you die if you get caught by the barnacle as it can’t be killed. I didn’t understand the ending either.

      Overall my favorite was Uncharted Territory with Forget About Freeman being the runner up!

    17. Hello, i need some help, ever since minimalismville launch i’ve been having issues with the files, when i unpack it with winrar, i gives errors to almost all the files, i really want to play these villes, and october is coming and i dont want to miss the next horror/halloween ville,

      If anyone can help me, i would be grateful.

      1. I think this happened to me before. It went away when i switched to 7-zip

        1. Thank you for your help, i tried seven zip and it worked indeed.

    18. Play It Now!

      I wanted to see a mapping challenge for Black Mesa for a long time, and finally it is here, and it is a huge success. I really enjoyed playing through the whole package. With nine maps the package is not huge, but nearly all maps are worth playing. I hope the next Black Mesa challenge is not too far in the future.

      I want to start by pointing out a few things multiple maps made wrong in my opinion, so that I don’t have to repeat these for most entries. These weren’t things that affected the rating, just small annoying things.

      1. Too many zombies. Some maps make you fight zombies for like 75% of the map. Zombies are boring, tedious. They aren’t a threat. You also shouldn’t use zombies like in Half-Life 1, which came out in a completely different time period for gaming. Zombies are good to direct the player into a certain direction, get their attention, or gate them somewhat.

      2. Some maps have really bad autosave placement. Please always include autosaves and try to spread them well. Don’t make the player repeat something that has no replay-value (autosave before cutscene for example).

      4. Some maps have wrong music volume settings. The authors probably had 10 as the music volume in the ambient_generic, which is too much. Music volume should be exactly the same as in official maps. I don’t want to change my music volume slider for every entry. Also don’t forget the # before the filepath to the music file, to make sure the game knows it’s music.

      5. A lot of entries have health and suit chargers. Some put these right at the start of the map, which is just a waste of time. Others have mutliple of these in the same area. Chargers are boring. Use chargers after a big fight maybe to slow the game down a little, give the player time to breathe. Or maybe before a big fight, or maybe even during a big fight, so the player has to decide when to heal and when to fight. But simply putting these here and there can make the map tedious. Especially when you die and the autosave is before you used the charger.

      Sorted by rating.

      Thanks, Buddy! by Tim Age & Andrew Brown
      It is bad

      When you start the map you immediately take damage. I did that in my very first map for RTSL as well, “Mega Structure” for ChasmVille, and I got lot of criticism for it. For good reason. It is really confusing and it feels wrong. If you really want to start the player with low health, at least make some kind of scripted sequence that makes it somewhat believable, for example make the player fall down a shaft or something, but even that can be frustrating for some players.

      What’s good is that I immediately know where I am at the start of the map. Unfortunately the rest of the map had problems. The music is too loud. The enviroments are very bland, and the ending is extremely confusing, but also feels random. Plus the credits afterwards are ridiculously long.
      There are a few smaller problems as well. There is barnacle that is supposed to kill a security guard, but if it catches the player first, it is unkillable and you just die. There is a button you have to press, but it glows red instead of green. In every offical map from Half-Life 2 and Black Mesa, green means interactable and red means deactivated or something.

      I see the potential, but in this state is the map is not enjoyable.

      The One Free Door by HighFire?
      It is okay

      A map where I immediately know where I am at the start, which is always a plus. As soon as you enter the area that was created by the author though the map becomes very bland, and the ladder behind the first door doesn’t make any sense. The map also has really weird looking shadows.

      The combat was okay. It was mostly “peek around the corner” combat, but that isn’t necessarily boring. The final combat section was even pretty solid, but the enviroment seems like it was just copied and pasted from the official maps. I think the rules stated that that is only okay for the beginning of the map, to show the player which door he will enter. Besides, it wasn’t even well copied, because there are a lot of objects with no collision.

      To end the map you have to press the button of a random elevator, the player isn’t guided there at all. Paths that seem more obvious are blocked by invisible walls. The map was also really short.
      It wasn’t boring though.

      Anyone Else Here? by Derek Jones AKA Taz AKA Tazed
      It is okay

      I don’t know where I am at the start, but apparently it’s the chapter On a Rail. Visually the map is solid, apart from a few problems, like dust motes that are too big, move too fast and are just too many. The broken window looks horrible. The map is also really short. The combat was alright though. The final fight happens through a chokepoint, but it wasn’t bad, because of the elevation and the soldiers having to move around to reach you.

      Premature Evacuation by HeadCr?bbed
      It is good

      I immediately know where I am at the start which is always good, but the locked door that I’m exploring doesn’t seem too exciting. It’s just a random door. The corridor behind that door looks great, but the big room after that looks a bit bland. Especially some of the ceiling textures don’t seem to make sense. Other parts of the map look very good though.

      I enjoyed this map. It features a variety of enemies in different enviroments. It’s not long, and there is even backtracking, but that backtracking is well implemented. I like the secret tau canon, because it is not too easy to find, but also not completely hidden. Also for people who don’t find it it’s not essential to beat the map.

      I also like the final train ride, because of the well placed and timed enemies and the good choice as the music. The ending was confusing though and unsatisfying. Also the author missed the opportunity for an alternate ending, if the player is good enough to kill all the soldiers. One time a headcrab jumped on the train and suddenly everyone started shooting me, even the security guard (who shouldn’t have a weapon when he is detained :P).

      Overall though really fun and looks good for the most part, but short.

      Maintenance Complex by WALLe PL
      It is good

      The biggest problem of this map is that for the most part you do fight only zombies, and that became boring quickly. The best part is the interconnected level design, that leads you back to the main area multiple times and lets you explore multiple locked doors from the main game. Going back to this place helps the player to create a mental map of the enviroment and makes it feel more real.

      I liked the pipe puzzle at the start, but it leads to a few problems. It does too much damage when you jump on it and it’s not too clear that it does damge. The sign is good, but it would be better if there was also maybe steam coming out of it or it at least made a sound. Also I got across using the wooden planks and didn’t know how to progress. I exploited the planks to enter the vent, but it felt wrong. I guess the author wanted me to go back and take barrels with me, but you can throw the planks away and loose the way back. There should be a valve or something or the pipe should be destroyable, which would make it even clearer that you are supposed to go back.

      Later you have to make another weird climb that feels wrong. The door that you enter has a grey wheel that is interactable. This isn’t good. Those grey wheels are NEVER interactable in the main game, and the wheel isn’t even at player height. I pressed it by accident. It would be nice if the author used the main area you come back to multiple times for combat at least once. It would be a good place for a vortigaunt or houndeye fight, something the map needs.

      There is a fight at the end with multiple enemies, but it is in a very small space, you have no idea where the enemies might spawn, they can spawn right next to you or even behind you. It was still a fun fight though and I like the Gargantua afterwards. The ending was fantastic, because you come back to the main path of the main game and you can even witness one of the great moments from the original from a different angle.

      An Extra Step by Seji-Evan
      It is great!

      An excellent entry that could easily be in the top three if it didn’t have quite a few flaws. Visually the map is on the same level as the main game. I immediately know where I am at the start. Not a fan of the on-screen text dialouge at the start, but I wouldn’t rate the map worse for that. I like the use of music at the beginning, but later it becomes problematic.

      For the first big fight the author has chosen the song from Questionable Ethics, which doesn’t fit at all in my opinion. The fight is way too small scaled for it. The fight is also over really fast, so the music can’t even come really to life. The worst though is that when you continue, the next song already starts and starts to overlap the one before. Plus both tracks are too loud.

      Also when you go up the ladder, you have tons of enemies right behind you, which is just weird. The only reason this part is doable is because I get so much MP5 grenades and the AI behaved very weirdly and didn’t even attack me sometimes. Apart from these issues both of these fights are well made.

      There is a cutscene that initates all of this, and while I’m usually not a fan of cutscenes, this one was implemented very well, because it was short and served multiple purposes. Problem is that the autosave is BEFORE the cutscene, which is a no go.

      With all of the problems fixed, this map could be DLC for the main game, like Surface Tension Uncut.

      Due Processing by OJJ
      It is great!

      This map had ups and downs, but I really like it. I immediately know where I am at the start and we visit an interesting area from the main game. Outdoor areas look really good, but there is a big room at the start and at the end that look really bad and are unecessary. Ironically that made the transition from the first bad looking room to the outside area really impressive.

      I love the variety of enemies in this map. There are alien controllers and even a well placed ichtyosaur! Later when you arrive at the tank you have to distract it with snarks, I like the idea, but it doesn’t make sense. Why would the tank shoot tiny snarks which it probably can’t even see, instead of Gordon Freeman, the man the HECU soldiers are looking for?

      The final fight was great, although I didn’t like how a lot of alien controllers spawned all at once and clumped together. These spawns could be spread through the fight against the gargantua. The way you have to beat the boss wasn’t immediately clear, but it didn’t take me too long, so it’s fine, but it felt a little artifical, since the gargantua moves towards the middle and waits there until the things happen. Still, a satisfying kill.

      The two soldiers that spawn right after are horrible. I barely had any health and they have long range weapons. I guess the author wanted to direct the player towards the newly opened exit, but this is the worst way to do that. Sometimes I felt like the map is lacking a few supplies here and there.

      The elevator ride at the end was a little funny. A proper ending would really help this map.

      Forget About Freeman (Alternate) by SNW
      It is great!

      This map isn’t that long, but features a really big fight that gave me an epic feeling. I love the elevator ride up, the sounds you hear before you arrive, and the scripted sequences that happen when you are at the top. I like that we fight a tank and a chopper, something that no other map did. The chopper can spawn while the tank is still alive, which can make the fight unfair. I loved it though, the whole sequence.

      There is a smaller fight before this one that isn’t so great, because it is mostly “peek around the corner” combat. The tunnels leading to this place are also very dark and empty. After the big fight you have more dark and empty tunnels. I love though how you can see the soldier getting eaten by the snarks from a different perspective, and later you come back to the main path of the main game. Oh, also the outdoor enviroment looks absolutely gorgeous.

      Uncharted Territory by JamaicanDave
      It is WOW!

      A fantastic map that doesn’t have to hide from official ones. Visually there is no difference to official maps, it looks great. I also love how complicated the enviroment sometimes is, but I never felt lost. There are also a few optional rooms for exploration, that also help to make the enviroment feel more real. Later you even open a shortcut to the big area you visited before, which helps to create a mental map and makes the enviroment feel real, because it is so interconnected.

      All fights were pretty good. The final one gives the player an overpowered position though with no incentive to jump down until the fight is over. Soldiers throwing grenade up there might be cool. The player could throw these back if he is fast and as a reward stay up there. The map features multiple fights where enemies fight each other, these are always great. The map is also surprisingly long.

      I didn’t know where I am at the start and still didn’t knew where I ended up at the end, but that is just a small issue.

    19. Nice and good ideas for most ot the maps although in one of them I was stuck (the map with the train rail in the beginning) I suggest to all black mesa fans to test it and enjoy it !

    20. Hec
      Personal Favourite

      As a whole, I have to say this was a fantastic competition!

      The combat was pretty intense on all maps, and overall I think it’s fantastic to have a Black Mesa competition, I eagerly suggest to have a second one! Because it was definitely worthy.

      As a whole, developers did great use of the BM scenarios. And even the map that was unfinished had a really great idea at the end, shamefully it wasn’t finished properly, I hope the author keeps working on it to fully release it.

      There were plenty of exciting combat against xenians and grunts, and also some cool puzzles too.

      I have to say if I would have voted for time, I would have done it for “Forget About Freeman”. I just love the surface action at the end! That battle against the tank was mind-blowing and that optional fight against the Apache was also a great touch! Also, the work from Jamaican Dave was a classic as all he has released for BM, just showed great quality and attention to details.

      In conclusion, I am very pleased to have played this competition! I insist there should be a second one! As this one was pretty awesome and I enjoyed it a lot!

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