ChasmVille

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Chasmville is the first in a series of 5 Mapping Challenges called The Hammer Cup 2016, which has a Grand Prize of a NECA Gravity Gun, plus other prizes for second and third places.

This challenge contains 13 entries all with the idea of a Chasm as the main theme.

Theme Details

The main element of the map must be a chasm. Canyon, gorge, abyss, rift โ€“ whatever you want to call it, but it must be the key feature of the map.
This chasm can be inside or outside. Think the perilous pits in Black Mesa, the insane heights inside the Citadel, and the dark antlion caverns.
These are just Half-Life examples to get your brain started! Put a new spin on one of these, or come up with your own thrilling chasm!
The player is not required to cross it but it must form the main gameplay element of the map.
Bridges CAN be used but are NOT compulsory and they can be anything from huge solid metal bridges to loose, wonky wooden ones.
There CAN be puzzle elements involved in crossing the chasm or just combat.
The player could work their way to the bottom and up the other side or fly across!

Basic Details
  • Title: ChasmVille
  • Filename: hl2-ep2-sp-mc-thc16-chasmville.7z
  • Size : 118MB
  • Author: Confused Travolta, Bastion, Flamdar, Boonie, Pedro Marques AKA Dalannar, Dan M, Jason Gimba AKA Maki, Abdulhamid Cayirli, melc311, Niker107, Erik-Silver AKa ESToomere, Joacim Rappu, StrikeVonNice
  • Date Released: 06 February 2016
Authors and Entries

In Alphabetical order, as in the mod itself:
Abyss by Confused Travolta
Coast by Bastion
Core Facility by Flamdar
Disposal by Boonie
Drain by Pedro Marques AKA Dalannar
Fissure by Dan M
High Wire by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
Megastructure by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
Northern Face by melc311
Outpost 57 by Niker107
Retraction Valley by Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere
The Gap by Joacim Rappu
Watering Hole by StrikeVonNice

Winners and Points

Here are the points for ChasmVille.

Winner: Jason Gimba AKA Maki for High Wire
Second Place: Confused Travolta for Abyss
Third Place: Niker107 for Outpost 57

Full Points Listing
Confused Travolta for Abyss receives a total of 60 points
Bastion for Coast receives a total of 28 points
Flamdar for Core Facility receives a total of 22 points
Boonie for Disposal receives a total of 23 points
Pedro Marques AKA Dalannar for Drain receives a total of 34 points
Dan M Fissure receives a total of 24 points
Jason Gimba AKA Maki for High Wire receives a total of 81 points
Abdulhamid Cayirli aka Crowbar for Megastructure receives a total of 25 points
melc311 for Northern Face receives a total of 28 points
Niker107 for Outpost 57 receives a total of 48 points
Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere for Retraction Valley receives a total of 28 points
Joacim Rappu for The Gap receives a total of 29 points
StrikeVonNice for Watering Hole receives a total of 24 points

Scoring Process:
1. All three judges played the maps and ranked them first, second and third. 48 points for first, 36 for second, 24 for third and 12 points for the rest.
2. Then the maps were allocated either 0,3,6 or 9 in the following categories:
Design (layout, foreshadowing, secret areas, concept etc)
Visuals (lighting, textures, etc)
Sound (ambient sounds, voice acting, special effects etc)
Gameplay (flow, exploration, 3 dimensions etc)
Misc (g-man sightings, humour, seriousness, scares etc)
The average from each category was then added to the places.

Future Publication.
The judges are still in discussion as to whether release the full points table.

Menu Music

Brane Scan by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

Video Credit

The RunThinkShootLive.Com intro video was made by ฤœL1TCฤฆยณ: https://www.youtube.com/user/tlmmisback

Custom Grid View Images

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

Sponsor

Previous challenges were sponsored by Nodecraft – High Performance Game Servers.

Download Options

Download to your HDD [118MB]
You can still use it with Gauge once you have downloaded it.

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

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

You chance to vote for your favourites.

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

Videos

The playthrough below is provided by Custom Gamer. See more of his playthroughs on this site: VP: Custom Gamer

The playthrough below is provided by Bolloxed Gaming.
See more of the channel’s playthroughs on this site: VP: Bolloxed Gaming












Screenshots

Coming Soon.

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

14 recommendations, average score: 4.86 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.12 (what's that?)
Total Downloads
  • 2,512
    Overall
  • 2
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 16 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: 3 Users
Manually: 13 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 3 Hours, 9 Mins
Shortest: 2 Hours by Hec
Longest: 5 Hours, 15 Mins by PlanetPhillip
Total Time Played: 50 Hours, 25 Mins
Jump to a review
Play It Now!Play It Now!Personal FavouritePlay It LaterPhillip says Play It!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It LaterPlay It Now!

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101 Comments

  1. I think you forgot to tag this as “Mapping Challenge” so you can give individual ratings for each map ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Are you talking about the user rating ? I think that this ville is going to be rated by professional map critics because it’s part of the Hammer Cup .

      1. Everybody will be able to rate the mod and individual maps. But I needed to add a tag that allows users to add per-map opinions

    2. You are right, fixed, thanks.

  2. Damn! Congratulations to all authors!

    It’s great to see so many entries. Have fun everyone.

  3. Zekiran

    Downloading now! Wow so many entries, I can’t wait to play!

  4. I love waking up on a Sunday and finding Phillip has published a new mapping challenge!!
    Me download No 79. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. what would you say if I write a review for this Ville, even though I am one of the authors?
    Is that cool?

    1. May I ask , which one is yours ? Also I don’t see why that would be a problem .

      1. mine is Mega Structure. Phillip wrote my real name instead of my nickname, I just realized that.

        Phillip can you add my nickname too pls?

        1. I will add your nickname now and yes, of course you can write a review, just avoid giving your map a per-map opinion image.

    2. It’s very common for the people who enter to talk about the other entries, and also give a bit of insight into their own.

      I’ll be doing that when I get around to finishing the mod sometime tomorrow.

    3. Admittedly, I’m sure the reason it feels odd because the judges haven’t scored the entries yet. So coming out and saying “I felt so-and-so’s entry wasn’t that great” while having an entry of your own in the comp feels awkward.

      At least, it does for me too.

  6. Play It Now!

    I’ve done it , I’ve made a map for the ville competion series (the dream ๐Ÿ˜€ ) , before I give a review of EVERY map , I gotta say I played all the entries without dying once , there were a few close calls but I made it. Also there will be some spelling mistakes because it’s 2 AM and I wanna be the first making a review , I’d edit them later but I can’t :P.

    Abyss

    The setting and the easter eggs in the map really got me , it would’ve been interesting to if the map was all white-black since there isn’t really much color in the map (with a few exceptions) and it has a memory feel to it , but anyway probably my #1 , Thanks Confused Travolta for this amazing map.

    Coast

    Quite a lenghty map with an interesting visual idea , my only problem with this map is that the author could’ve spend a little more time on the geometry and texturing of the level , but all in all it was a solid map.

    Core Facility

    A little bit confusing , the player wasn’t really guided to his objective , but the puzzle was okay , although a bit hard , this was an OK release.

    Disposal

    The barrel cave was really unique , but I have a problem with it , I dunno if it’s small or big but I manged to finish the map with no guns , because I knew how map started , I jumped off the moving thing took some fall damage , got to the gate , the poisoned zombie followed me , I pressed the button , also made a few more zombies to follow me , got to the combine part , the combine shoot the zombies and I ran away like a little girl to the exit ๐Ÿ˜› But I liked the visuals :D( no hate author :3 ).

    Drain

    Well my only complain is that it was too short , visuals grate , mini boss battle grate , reward exploration grate , water effects grate , there isn’t really more I can see , only that I want a sequel :3 please :)))

    Fissure

    Is it bad that I review my own map , yes ? Anyway This is my first singleplayer map ever ๐Ÿ™‚ YEY !! But I’m sad that it was so short but I was pinned to only 5 days of mapping ( mostly weekends , because of school ๐Ÿ˜› ) In which 2 days I was looking how the func_moveliniary and the buttons worked , Thanks Philip for the combine architecture tips! and hope everyone enjoyed my map :D.

    High Wire

    What can I say It’s a Jason G. map , with a little more polish this could be in Episode 2 as a bonus area , I can’t say anything else other that I’m waiting for the next release.

    Megastructure

    I liked the zombie infested hotel theme , but I frequently ran out of ammo and I only got a crowbar when I was full ammo \ gear , zombie combat was just on my taste but the final almost got me killed and I full hp and armor , was I suppose the shoot the floor ? or I was suppose to just barely survive like I just did , The grenade security system was my favorite part , I was really scary because I thought I would not make it in time.

    Northern Face

    I got stuck on my first minute of the map , i feel on the lower level of the intro area , but with the power of noclip I made it out ALIVE , the boss battle was too long and repetitive and the outro didn’t disconnect me from the map , but all in all I liked this , combat was solid and it reminded me of Tomb Raider and Uncharted in those snowy moments.

    Outpost 57

    Wow , I like the chasm , it was really cool , having a wastelandy feel to it , the way it was presented just brilliant , I can say the same to the friendly outpost , waiting for a sequel :3 please . Note: the joke about Gordon made my made XD

    Retraction Valley

    Kinda creepy , I might say . The intro mall and parking lot with the zombies and combine made me think that I was watching The Walking Dead at first , solid entry.

    The Gap

    This map shows the the grate use of lighting and textures can make a map look good with very basic geometry , fun puzzles and a jumpscare , really nice map.

    Watering Hole

    Unfortunately I got stuck , and couldn’t make the combine door open , was I the only one ? The prop placement was grate and I liked the water effects , tho the combine base was just a big cub with no reason being there.

    1. Oh , and I might make a video review of my favorite maps , just don’t expect too much from it.

      1. I enjoyed Fissure. Knowing now that it was your first map, you did a good job of building something manageable within your time constraints. This is a good talent to have!

        1. The combine console was suppose to show you the gates open and all that , but because of my limited time and knowledge, I was hoping that people seeing the red wireframe picture of a teleporter similar to mine would explain that. As for the backtracking itself , I wanted to make it similar to forest train , having a gunship chasing you have to the end, but for this idea to work I would have to have multiple gunships , deleting one just before another one appears because of my multiple chasm layers and it would’ve been too much scripting.

          1. Yeah, it makes sense if you’re not familiar with those systems. It’s best to not try to do too much in your first map, especially if you’re under a time constraint. Set these things aside for the next one!

            You can look at d1_trainstation_01, but it’s basically a very thin func_monitor placed right in front of the Combine screen with a specific TV texture on it that makes it look like it’s on the screen. That is linked to a point_camera, which would be looking at the elevator.

            Once you set one up, you’ll remember how to do it. But sometimes these things aren’t intuitive. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Play It Now!

    Full disclosure: I have a map in this competition and I watched Phillip’s streams beforehand. So, I never really got stuck anywhere, but I can still point out where I likely would have.

    Abyss
    It is great!

    This foggy and surreal map has you operating a teleporter machine to push buttons. Why? Well, you’ll find out in the end. No combat. I think this is a solid map, but I find maps like this are really difficult to judge because they obviously aren’t doing the typical HL2 gameplay. So, how do you compare it against a more traditional map? I guess it’s a question of how it makes you feel. Voec’s Run Think Shoot Live entry, the one which I compare a lot of these maps to, was funny, nostalgic, and had something interesting to say. Abyss hints at something with occasional cryptic text on the walls, but it’s ultimately just about pushing buttons.

    I did find it was possible to get stuck if you teleported to the apartment area from itself. The buttons on the machine itself were too big, so I’d hit the wrong one from time to time. And there was a Breen speech playing in the captions throughout, which shows up in one of the teleport areas, but is faintly heard everywhere.

    Coast
    It is great!

    This map looked like a slog in Phillip’s stream but, in practice, I really enjoyed it. The fighting keeps you on your toes and you’re given multiple tools for dealing with things. The Crossbow gets a lot of use and you can even wipe out Headcrabs with an RPG. Obviously, the map suffers from blocky terrain, but you can see the vision here with the author channeling the cliffs of Lost Coast. It also has a lot of dramatic flair with Headcrab Canisters, especially during a pivotal battle. I do feel the second-to-last battle near the crane is very tough. I also didn’t like how the house was a straight rip from one of the Highway 17 levels. I feel I may have gotten stuck at the grenade-throwing door had I not seen Phillip do it.

    Core Facility
    It is okay

    Not a fan of this one. Big, under-detailed, and not much ammo to go around. And dark. Very dark. It’s never made clear, but you’re trying to activate a giant Combine reactor in order to open a door at the beginning of the level which looks like every other door. The reactor is activated in multiple stages, and I wound up doing it backward from the way Phillip did it by accident, but it led to far less combat there because instead of fighting my way back up, I just rode the elevator up. A really janky elevator, I should point out. The final battle with a Gunship is a bit scary, to be honest. It flies SO CLOSE to you that it even clipped through the platform I was on. Ran out of rockets, so I just waited around for it to end.

    Disposal
    It is good

    This one is kind of neat. You start off literally on a disposal line getting dumped into a pool of garbage. From here, you’ll fight a lot of Zombies and a hoard of Combine in a peculiar cave environment. I liked all the lush foliage on the ground. Unfortunately, you’d never know this was a chasm unless you looked up.

    It’s a bit easy to miss the Shotgun early on, meaning that you’ll be stuck thwacking Zombies with the Crowbar until it gets boring. The ending is rather unceremonious as well. It feels like the author started with a cool idea and the rest was bolted on, never looking or playing quite as good as that first moment.

    Drain
    It is good

    This entry kind of bugs me because it’s basically the Jacknife level from Mirror’s Edge. The one where you go down a massive drain, run along the sewers, then come back up through a different drain, with a helicopter chasing you. That comprises about half of this level. The rest is new and the whole thing is competently made, I can’t help but wish the author made the concept his own. Unsurprisingly, this level is at its best when you’re running from the Hunter-Chopper, which is thwarted in a creative way.

    Fissure
    It is great!

    I rather liked this one. It’s a rather no-frills jaunt through some large Citadel-inspired space with interesting enemy placement and a balanced amount of ammo and health. My only real criticism is that it’s not clear what the console does. You backtrack because it’s the only thing you can do, not because you know why you’re doing it.

    Megastructure
    It is okay

    This one is strange. You start by taking damage. That sucks. And so does the lighting. Bizarre pools of light, obnoxious flickering lights, etc. And good gosh, the weapon deployment makes no sense. You start off with an SMG and nothing else. It’s several minutes before you find a Crowbar, and you’re dealing with Zombies. Wasting precious ammo on Zombies. And Dr. Breen. Okay, I didn’t really have to shoot Dr. Breen, but you want to make sure he’s dead, right?

    So why is this an “It’s Okay” instead of something worse? Because it has a couple of interesting ideas. First, there’s the grenade trap. It’s not perfect – the escape route uses the wrong gameplay language – but the idea itself is clever. Second, and equally clever, is the ending battle. Again, it doesn’t work quite right. As Phillip demonstrated, the enemies float over the holes instead of falling into them… but imagine if they did. That’d be a very unique twist. As it stands, it’s still an interesting final battle. It arguably marries combat with the danger of falling in a way none of the other maps do.

    Northern Face
    It is good

    This one makes me chuckle because it’s interesting how we followed a lot of the same design cues by pure coincidence. You begin on a tram to a snowy ravine. Don’t hit that lever at the start or else you’ll complete the level. Seriously.

    This level has you going in and out of structures along this ravine. I liked how the Combine all seemed to have ragdoll magnet deaths which pushed them into the ravine. Combat is simple, but fun.

    Then the Hunter-Chopper shows up, and that’s when things get weird. I have no idea how you are meant to fight this thing without taking damage. You operate a mounted gun to damage it, but the chopper will sweep to the left. If you take cover to the left, you’ll never make it back to the gun to hit it when it returns. That, and the timing of the chopper’s firing, makes the whole thing feel very unsynchronized. And then you backtrack to the start, fighting just a couple enemies.

    This level has a good layout and good ideas, but it needed more polish. And a 3D skybox!

    Outpost 57
    It is great!

    This is a pretty neat map because it’s full of little touches and polish that make it stand out, from the malfunctioning door lock to the message on the radio delivered by that awesome Rob Martens guy. Not to mention that totally unexpected… I’m not even going to explain it. You’ll know it when you see it. It’s cool. The map does have one big problem though: Manhacks. Specifically, the cardinal sin of a Manhack swarm without a Gravity Gun. It may not be neverending, but man, it just kills the pacing and mars what’s an otherwise great map.

    Also worth pointing out that electrical trap. Could have used some work. I don’t think it’s particularly fair that the area around the switch itself is damaging, especially when the damage you take is so brutal.

    At its best, the room with the radio specifically, it looks like something that Miigga would have made.

    Retraction Valley
    It is bad

    Sorry, but I hated this one. It’s tedious. It’s huge. And it’s painfully dark. You’ll get “flashlight eyes” playing this map. And there’s really nothing that passes for a chasm here, unless you count that bit at the end which feels like a complete afterthought. The map has almost nothing to do with the competition at all.

    It begins in a mall. HL2 doesn’t offer much in the way of mall textures, but the author manages to make something passable. You also get a Gravity Gun. That’s it. A Gravity Gun to deal with what feels like a neverending swarm of Fast Headcrabs.

    The level transitions into a parking garage next and you’ll need to find a way to get the jalopy to the ramp near the top. Again, it’s very dark. Worse, you’re carrying a crank wheel around trying to figure out where it goes.

    Eventually, you jump the jalopy and crash it into an office building across the street. Cool. Makes no sense what you’re supposed to do with it now. And now there’s a Suppression Device raining down on you. So you scurry around aimlessly until you take that out, and find a nearby button that lets the jalopy progress, and you leave.

    The Gap
    It is good

    Kind of sits in the same boat as Coast. The blocky terrain really brings down an otherwise good visual presentation. You make your way down the eponymous gap, dealing with Zombies and a fun little counterweight puzzle. Lots of crates and smashy physics fun, but otherwise not too memorable.

    Watering Hole
    It is good

    Pretty good for a first map. Its main flaw is that it looks like a first map. But it generally plays well and puts you in a variety of combat situations. I don’t feel I made it into the final Combine space in the intended way by stacking boats, but couldn’t figure out how else to do it. Like Coast, this is another map that gives you an RPG long before the level ends, so you can have some fun blasting enemies you wouldn’t normally use it against. Things to work on would be texturing, primarily.

    1. Aww, my pretty div headers got lost when editing! XD

      1. I have fixed them for you.

    2. why is it a problem that you start with taking damage?
      why is it problem starting without the crowbar?
      And what’s wrong with the rest of the weapon placement?

      I’m not saying your are wrong or anything, I just want to understand why you think that way so I can do better next time.

      My idea for those things were that you start by taking damage because this map should feel more like survival, only as low ammo and supplies as you need. It is also recommended to play on hard difficulty for that, but I wouldn’t force that. You start with the smg to change things up a bit. You fight headcrabs and zombies on every map with a crowbar, but here you have to use the smg, and the map gives you enough ammo for it, unless you miss some shots. I hope you didn’t miss the magnum.
      And the rest of the weapon placement? The smg, magnum, shotgun and crowbar you will definitly find. You can find the shotgun early, or find it later. The grenades are a bit hidden, but they are not important anyway. The AR2 rifle and the crossbow are a bit more hard to find, but they are not essential to beat the map. You even get to see where the AR2 rifle is exactly, but you have to figure how to get it (After you disable the combine shield wall, the other shield walls also disable, the ones which trapped you with grenades) and I think the AR2 and some other supplies are great to reward people who explore and find secrets.

      1. why is it a problem that you start with taking damage?

        There’s a difference between starting with low health and starting with taking damage. Taking damage causes the screen to flash bright red. This will naturally feel like a cheap hit to the player. Unavoidable damage, right out of the gate. If you want to start the player with lower than normal health, I believe you’re supposed to use a logic_playerproxy and the SetPlayerHealth input. See the VDC for details.

        why is it problem starting without the crowbar?

        The real question is, why notstart with the Crowbar? To “change things up a bit?” How? By replacing melee combat with more shooting? The player is supposed to have choices. In your map, you’ve given the player exactly one option at the start.

        It’s not like you have an infinite SMG ammo crate in your map. If the player burns through all the ammo you placed, that’s it. They’ve got no other option.

        In your defense, you avoid one of the big issues, which is forcing the player to shoot item crates because there is no other way to open them.

        And whatโ€™s wrong with the rest of the weapon placement?

        Again, it goes back to what’s so important about withholding the Crowbar? How is it rewarding to get a weapon that is less powerful than the one you currently have? You also decided, arbitrarily, that enemies don’t drop weapons. SMG gunners don’t drop ammo. Shotgunners don’t drop their Shotguns.

        It’s not inconceivable that you could reach the Hunter battle and not have enough ammo to deal with them. You can argue that it’s unlikely, but we’re supposed to deal with the unlikely. Half of level design is anticipating the unlikely. You might have an ideal, intended way of completing the level, but players will always do things you never expected.

        1. thanks for clearing that up. You make some good points.

  8. Personal Favourite

    Chasmville is absolutely a joy! First off so many entries, and some from first-timers I take it! I really do hope that the other HammerCup competitions draw this much attention and quality.

    There were NO losers in this bunch IMO – though some were a little more simple than others, and showed where the mappers need to beef up their work a little, the fact is that all the entries were playable, hardly bugged (there were some), but overall enjoyable.

    Abyss
    It is WOW!

    Everything about this map is amazing. The overall look and feel of ‘chasm’ was definitely A++. Terrifying heights feel, including when I fell numerous times… ow. Had a bit of a hard time figuring out exactly how to get back to the cliff face, but finally did. The addition of Eli’s command made me jump, and the antlions overhead … wow. Visually though there wasn’t much TO the areas, each portion was well done. The faintly connected areas where you could see through the brick wall was nice. A little disjointed, not sure what was the plan with the ring-around-the-room cycle, but hey. Apparently I had been going the wrong direction because I had been back to that room numerous times before it acknowledged my cycles. There is absolutely no way you could ever, EVER get me near almost any of the cliff faces shown – from the very start, lol I’d be cowering in the car no matter how badly I needed to go forward. Beautiful atmosphere, and brilliant puzzle. Loved the addition of the Aperture area. ๐Ÿ˜€ Positively adorable end segment though I’d like to see more antlions ๐Ÿ˜€
    Play time around 45 minutes.

    Coast
    It is good

    Very blocky appearance, ‘adequately’ decorated, but kind of plain. Could have lived without the platform jumps along one cliff face. Nice hidden crossbow. The fighting was quite challenging but well done, though the lack of actual physics props (the blown up pieces of building didn’t seem to hit anything during the hunter fight?) was a little hard to deal with. Multiple Hunters was still a great fun fight. If the chasm itself had looked a little more realistic, the overall feeling would have been a bit better.
    Play time around 35 minutes.

    Core Facility
    It is okay

    While it was definitely vertical and had a lot of yipes moments this was a pretty hard to figure out map. Platform jumping again, not all that thrilling but definitely annoying. Without any hint about what you’re supposed to be doing, had little clue where to go first or what to do once there. The red lighting made it good to know where anything important was, but aside from that it was kind of nonsensical. I would *hate* to be those Combine guys. “Holy crap Ed, did you see Mike? He just walked right off that ledge!” The narrow elevator was really difficult to use, also bugged in that once it went back up it was impossible to return without noclipping. Too narrow, I had to crouch and move around carefully to avoid breaking it.
    Play time around 20 minutes.

    Disposal
    It is good

    So. Many. Barrels! Nice feel of a chasm, and good use of props though I have to wonder how some of the trucks got where they were! Definitely looked and felt like a ‘dump’, aptly named. Fights were fun, not hard at all, and the shotty is always appreciated. Down side is it’s pretty short.
    Play time around 15 minutes.

    Drain
    It is great!

    Visually this is just incredibly fit – both the theme of chasm, as well as with the feel of it being a Combine held location, and not just the presence of the combine themselves. More platforming but at least this time, with some HL2 object interactions. I did manage to fall multiple times, but had to let myself drop all the way, since you wind up on the little ledge… and looking down. Nice combination of fighting and fleeing. I do wish it was a little longer, but I think at its short play time it got the point across more than adequately.
    Play time around 8 minutes.

    Fissure
    It is okay

    While it definitely kept to the depth-and-walls theme, and certainly was better looking than Core Facility it kind of lacked… something. Predictable fighting and a strange array of weapons but little extra ammo. It thankfully led the player around pretty easily, there were no ultra-confusing areas or what-do-I-do moments. One thing I didn’t care for, the constant noise. I didn’t care for it when it was used in another mod either, it would be nice to have some kind of variation because honestly anyone working in that facility would go insane within a day. I did like the use of nebulous brightness and darkness, it offered a really stark ‘you need to leave now’ feeling. It was very short, perhaps thankfully since that noise was so annoying. Also it lacked intro and outro text.
    Play time around 5 minutes.

    High Wire
    It is good

    Beautifully decorated, reasonably realistic looking location that could be anywhere among the mountains we traveled in Episode 2. The fighting was a touch rough at the start with the gun emplacement, but held pretty steady. Given that we don’t really know which direction the enemies will be coming from, placing the turrets was a cross-your-fingers moment. I wound up with only 20 hp left *before* the gunship fight. Thankfully it was pretty quick and easily dispatched. I’d like to have seen more of the chasm, but we do get a nice couple of vistas at the start and end. I’m glad that our trip across in the tram didn’t end in flames…
    Play time around 12 minutes.

    Mega Structure
    It is okay

    The combat was quite brutal, particularly the end fight in close quarters. Also problematic was that the one easy method of getting across the break in the balcony area, the plank, fell down the first time I touched it. Making that area more frustrating than needed. I didn’t think this entry really qualified as ‘chasm’, so much as ‘structure’. The initial upwards glance was pretty impressive though, however it did cause me some trouble in the long run because I kind of expected the chandelier to fall through the glass at any moment. The ending was … well, I don’t even know what, press a button to quit? Would have been nice for some kind of ‘event’ at the end rather than merely pressing a button and darkness. Not a bad map at all, but not really what I’d call a thematically-correct one.
    Play time around 20 minutes.

    Northern Face
    It is good

    Well this one got my vertigo senses rolling. The wind and pretty well rendered cliff faces, improbably built upon as they were, definitely looked good. It was pretty short but had enough going on, including clever ‘puzzle’ bits before the boss fight. I have to say I didn’t care for the boss fight, but I managed to survive by heading back into the building to gather what health had dropped from prior Combine enemies. The lather-rinse-repeat Gearbox style of ‘boss fight’ was a little weak. Again, no freaking way you’d ever get me into one of those buildings, even safely inside one, with that view and that wind. Realizing ‘oh crap I have to cross that pipe’… scary. Also, I did have to noclip to get to the end point – I’d fallen into the chasm and still had 7 hp left, and I’m not sure whether that was why the mod didn’t ‘end’ quite right, it faded to black but kept bringing the tram back.
    Play time 15 minutes.

    Outpost 57
    It is great!

    I was wondering with the start whether it would really ‘qualify’ for chasm-ness but that feeling was quickly swept away… into the chasm. The addition of humor was a good respite since the entries so far have been pretty much scary/fighty. Beautifully detailed, though I’m not really sure what happened at the end, I enjoyed getting there. Felt shorter than it actually was, but overall it was very good.
    Play time around 15 minutes.

    Retraction Valley
    It is okay

    I didn’t think that this map had much to do with the theme of Chasm, though overall it was quite challenging and a well made map. I think it might have fit in better with some other form of theme, since I didn’t really see much in the way of a chasm until the very end (at which point I kept dying, since I didn’t get the ramp right the first 4 times…). I wasn’t sure how long the thing was going to take, wandering around inside a mostly-dark and extremely confusing parking garage felt a LOT longer than it should have, and really broke what little pacing there was. The fights were hard, even just the headcrabs, and even with enough weapons to go around. Add to that not having any idea where to really go or how many times I’d have to exit the vehicle and stomp around… I’d have preferred some other kind of ‘chasm’ involved. It was well mapped, a little plain in some spots, but well decorated. It’s just that there was very broken flow, and not really much in the way of the theme.
    Play time around 30 minutes.

    The Gap
    It is okay

    Oh how boxy and undisplaced, but… still pretty cool! This was a good chasm, even if all the edges were very square. I like the use of all the existing housing/building props, and enemy placement was quite good. I lost my saw blade through the floor of the elevator as it just slipped on down. :/ Very short, but it’s a good chasm and was certainly fitting the theme.
    Play time around 10 minutes.

    Watering Hole
    It is okay

    Though this was a first map (?!) it was quite fun! Peering over the edge at the top I wondered if I should just jump down but I’m glad I didn’t try that. A house full of zombies made very little sense, but hey – it was fun. The boss fight was quick, though I will say that one of the two Hunters appears to get stuck in the door frame, and didn’t leave, so he was easy pickings. You get kudos for having what seems to be the only Gman sighting! The map kept to the theme reasonably well, it wasn’t very well paced, but it didn’t bog down anywhere. Exploring was in its favor here, the house had many different ways around or out.
    Play time around 14 minutes.

    Wrapping up, I think Abyss was absolutely the hands-down winner for all kinds of reasons. Each of the entries brings something fun to the pack, be it humor or lighting, clever placement of enemies, or just outright fun combat. Great work, everyone.

    1. in Mega Structure, that plank that fell down, you can just go around take the other way.

      1. Zekiran

        Yes I wound up jumping over it. However, the frustration of seeing it topple that easily (and not as a scripted event, as some parts of other maps did) meant to me that not nearly enough planning went into that specific piece. If I had some way to replace it, or to place it myself from a stack of rubble or other planks nearby that would have made it more interactive and more of an investment to keep around.

  9. Play It Later

    Please Note: The original Per-Map Opinions have all been upgraded by 1 level. This was done at Crowbar’s request

    Introduction

    Hi, I’m crowbar, one of the people who made a map for ChasmVille. Mine is Mega Structure.
    In this review I will point out as much things as possible, I will be really harsh. Please don’t take it personally. I’m not a good diplomat, but I think my points will help you to improve your next map. Some of the critcisms I make even apply to my own map! It looks like some maps were made by beginners, and I like that. Beginner maps always feel very different to other maps, maybe they try some crazy things, because they don’t know what works and what doesn’t work yet. Unfortunately some maps felt like the mapper was too ambitious and the map became too big, too empty, soulless.
    I want to say congrats and thank you to all mappers though! Especially Phillip for hosting this event. “ChasmVille” is a great idea and I had a lot of fun playing through this Ville, BUT probably more fun than I should have, because I am one of the authors, so it was exciting for me to see what others have come up with. However, my ratings will also have in mind people who might play this Ville in 2 or 3 month or even a year, that is why you will see a lot of negative ratings.

    Again: Please don’t take it personally. If you don’t like my writing style, if you think I’m too harsh, please let me know!

    Abyss by Confused Travolta
    It is good

    This was a really solid, compact and consistent map. It starts good, has a nice atmossphere and slow, but good pacing. I really like the fog, made it feel like Silent Hill or Resident Evil, but not too creepy, it also was a bit relaxing to be honest. Also good use of ambient sounds.
    The map also has some nice “wow” or “aha” moments, but I will talk about those later in the spoiler.
    I like the overall idea of the map: “puzzles” in different locations, which lower bridges, which allow you to cross the chasm. I really don’t like the execution though. The teleporter thing was a bit confusing first, but what I don’t like is how you get teleported to places which feel completely random and most of the time you just have to press a button and go to a different place.
    There was one puzzle which was extremely weird and I didn’t even realize what I did to solve it (the one with the looping).
    What I really didn’t like about these “puzzles” though, is that they take place in a completely different parts of the map, they have nothing to do with the chasm at all. You just press all the buttons, and at the end cross the bridge. Still, because of the simplicity and short length, it wasn’t dull, just simple, and the ending is really cool and satisfying.
    Maybe it would be better to have something like a network of bridges which lead to different puzzles which lower the bridges, I don’t know.

    Things I want to point out (SPOILERS):
    The antlions were REALLY cool, made the map even more mysterious. Would be cool if you also modified the sound, give it more bass and make it louder, so you already hear the antlions from a distance, but this is just a wish.
    The wooden plank which blocks the door just randomly breaks? That was a bit weird.
    I don’t like that you break the lock with the stone, because that is inconsistent to the main game, a different rule you should have to establish first, but I still figured it out really fast, so not a big deal, but still, I am not a fan of breaking rules without establishing your own.
    Oh, and when you go to pick up the gear, a sound plays which says “behind you”, which was extremely random and pointless.

    Coast by Bastion
    It is okay

    This map makes a bad first impression, but turned out to be fun still, sometimes. What hinders the map are a lot of tiny flaws here and there. The enivorment is really dull and blocky, the ambient war sounds at the start feel out of place and the starting area is really big which makes it a bit hard to see where to go. Most of the fights were okay, but when you have only ramps and bridges everywhere, the fights can become really dull. There is not alot of movement involved and the enemies just line up behind each other. But there were also 2 or 3 better fights in bigger areas, these were fun. I like the idea to throw headcrabs at the player while he is fighting the gunship, but you can just hide under the roof and shoot the headcrabs first.
    This is one of those maps which felt a bit too ambitious, it was too long. The fight against the gunship would be a good place to end the map I think, but I like how the map ends with the crane and stuff, even though it doesn’t make sense why you need the car and why the gate opens which blocks the tunnel. The fight before the ending, before you get the car was really annoying. Way too many combine soldiers at once, not enough space, it was clonky and tedious.
    Overall it is an okay map, but lots of tiny flaws here and there bring it down.

    Things I want to point out (SPOILERS):
    The placement of the crossbow is really bad in my opinion. I guess it is supposed to be a secret? But finding the crossbow or not makes way too big a difference for the rest of the map, especially because you get full ammo for it. Because of the crossbow the map was really easy until the end. The secret was also just weird, in that weird corner in weird building with weird people.
    The button you have to press to open the gate was hard to see, there should be a light above it to guide the player there.
    The place where the hunters come out of doesnt make any sense.

    Core Facility by Flamdar
    It is bad

    I want to like this map, it could be really good, but there are some serious flaws and questionable decisions. First the start of the map, what the fuck xD. You start in a tiny room just with a pistol, low ammo, against two combine soldiers who both throw grenades at you. I like that you immdiately see the door you have to open, your objective, but the door looks like all the other doors in the map, there should be something special about it. I like the lights next to the door which indicate the state of the door, but I think the mapper should choose other models for the lights, something which fits the theme of the map.
    The map kinda has a cool atmosphere, but doesn’t make any sense. Dull textures and geometry, and way too dark. There is one place where the map just pissed me off. You do a jumping puzzle, and when you go out of the room, you fall down, because there is a small gap between your room and the platform which you can’t see because the map is so dark and you get shot by 3 combines at the same time.
    Also it was really annoying that you get almost no ammo for the pistol, your only long range weapon in a long range map. Why are the pistol and the smg the only weapons anyway? Fighting combine soldiers with those for the whole map was boring.
    I don’t like the enemy placement, the item placement and the platforms are too tiny, or they should have railings, and enemies shouldn’t have so many grenades. Some combine shotgun soldiers are placed so bad they just stand and look at you because they can’t do anything.
    The place I really liked about the map was that reactor room or whatever that was. That part should be bigger and the whole map. Pressing a button on every level and getting immediate feedback from the reactor thing was cool and it looked cool. The buttons were hard to see first though because of the bad lighting. The elevators are buggy as hell, you can get stuck easily.
    The last fight was, again, a cool idea, but bad execution. You don’t get enough rockets (on hard difficulty at least) and the gunship was buggy, it clipped through the elevator a lot of times.

    Things I want to point out (SPOILERS):
    The doors should open automatically. It doesn’t make sense for a place like that that you have to press E. There are no autosaves.

    Disposal by Boonie
    It is bad

    The map made a good first impression, but it got really bad towards the end. The introduction is cool, even though the execution was a bit weird. The starting area is cool, the view to the top is nice, but most of the areas look dull and boring. This area is also supposed to be the chasm I guess, the thing is, the rest of the map doesn’t has anything to do with the chasm.
    The two big fights against combine are really bad. The first one almost felt like a joke, so many combine in a tiny corridor. You can easily die there, but you can also easily abuse it. And the fight after that the map just throws million combine soldiers at you, and the location you fight them at is really not suited for a big fight. I don’t like the item placement, there is little to no exploration and the map was just too short. Oh and the shovel in front of the door at the start of the map is INFURIATING! ๐Ÿ˜€

    Drain by Pedro Marques AKA Dalannar
    It is okay

    This map could be so good! I really like the chasm area! It looks cool and has a nice atmosphere. But the map was really short, and there wasn’t much to do. The map gives you 3 weapons but you only get to use them against two combine, so it felt pointless. The use of music is something I criticize in a lot of mods, but the use of “Vortal Combat” in this mod was the worst I have ever seen. The music doesn’t fit the situation at all, it actually takes away from the intensity, the situations doesn’t deserve to have music. I think the whole map would be better if the helicopter attacked you right from the start and if it was about dodging the helicopter from bottom to top and the when you destroy it then you get music, as a reward!
    The ending was cool, but I didn’t understand why the helicopter even exploded.

    Fissure by Dan M
    It is okay

    This map has a really nice chasm, good use of fog and the sound in the background really fits, although it starts to get annoying. Other parts of the map look really boring and dull though. In this map you also just fight combine soldiers, and always just a few of them at the same time. Like most of the other maps there are no highpoints, no climax. The enemy placement is weird in some places and all the enemies are in an idle state and just start attacking you when they see you, even though their friends which stand next to them are already attacking you.
    The map has crazy backtracking, you basicaly play the map two times, and with that backtracking the map is still extremely short.
    The button at the end of the map doesn’t tell you what it does, the screen could show you what happened. I also don’t like how enemies appear after you pressed the button out of nowhere. There is no place they could come from except where you started the map, but then they couldn’t be so fast. Maybe it would be cool to have an alarm play after you press the button which alerted the facility and because of that the other enemies appear. The fights were boring because the areas are just open, no cover, no physics, no destructables.

    High Wire by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is great!

    This was a really solid, consistent and high quality map. I really like the start with the binoculars which immediately show you what your objective is. The chasm looks really nice and the map has a nice atmosphere, but even though the map looks really good, the ground of the chasm is just a dull texture which I don’t understand. Why not water or fog? The map guides the player really well, the fights are all well made in cool environments, but actually most of the map doesn’t has anything to do with the chasm, only the last fight does.
    The fight where you have to defend until the cart arrives was cool, especially because you had 3 different things to defend with, but it was also really easy.
    The final fight against the gunship was good, but it could be better. The cart could be bigger, the windows could be bigger, maybe have some breakable parts at the cart, so the fight gets harder the more it goes on. Now it’s just duck until the shooting stops, stand up, shoot, repeat. Also I don’t like the use of music, I don’t think that fight deserves music, it’s just a normal gunship fight. You don’t always have to use music for your final fight.

    Things I want to point out:
    The locked door is blocked from one side, but opens to the other side anyway, so it doesn’t make sense. The combine fence brush is smaller than the model.

    Megastructure by Abdulhamid Cayirli

    Since this is my map, I won’t give it a rating, for obvious reasons, but I want to talk about the map a bit. SPOILER ALERT.

    The lights at the start of the map, I knew they are unrealistic and bad, but I was too lazy to fix them even though the fix would take me just a minute. When Phillip played the map though, that was the first thing which got his attention, and it made a bad first impression. I really regretted being lazy there :), so rule number one: DON’T BE LAZY.
    My map is based on the movie “Dredd” (2012). I always wanted to make a map based on that movie, and I actually made one for the game Insurgency, but abandoned that. The map is not really a chasm, but I think it still fits to this category and is unique compared to the other maps.
    Like in the movie “Dredd”, this building isn’t just a hotel, it’s almost a city. It has apartments, but really small and dirty apartments, it has shops, it has restaurants and stuff. That doesn’t really come across that way though, also because I got too ambitious myself. The whole builing is a ghetto though, like City 17, it’s set in a dystopian future.
    I also wanted the map to feel like survival. You should have really low ammo all the time and explore the shit out of everything. Problem is that only works if you play on hard, but I didn’t want to tell people to play on hard at the start. Also players don’t neccesarly expect that, so they might waste ammo and run out of ammo and think “how am I supposed to do this?”. For that case though I just expected the player to be smart and restart the map and do it better that time.
    The map has a lot of optional areas, you could just go upstairs all the time and leave the zombies, but then you miss the shotgun and grenades and other supplies. On the other hand when you get trapped and fall down the vents, you have a bit of an advantage even though you don’t have many supplies, because the combine which ambush you will attack the zombies too.
    I really wanted to have a moment in the map which makes it special, gives it a bit variety and changes things up. That is the moment where you get trapped with the grenades. It’s a shock moment, and it is also the moment you stop fighting zombies and start fighting combine, because it’s the combine who trap you.
    What also was really important for me was to have vertical combat and danger of falling. The theme of the map is “chasm” after all. For that I made some broken areas, but especially the final fight really has that “danger of falling” and I love it. I got the idea for that final fight with the help of a friend actually. In the first version you could just shoot the glass and the hunters will fall down, but that was so easy I didn’t wanted that to happend, so I put npc clip brushes there. The problem is players might feel cheated the moment they realize that the hunters don’t fall down, but I think it’s worth it. Overall I’m really happy with my map. I actually played it myself every day or two after I finished it ๐Ÿ˜€

    Northern Face by melc311
    It is good

    Good intro, but you are surrounded by extremely ugly mountains with really low texture resolution and there is no place you come from. Also you can just press the lever and immediately end the level. The reason I figured that out is because the door doesn’t open automatically, which it should. The place under the cart when you arrive is weird and pointless, and when you fall down there is no ladder for some reason. Oh I like how you can see the helicopter from the start of the game, but it’s not too obvious which is good. The fights were all good, but the enemies always rush you in your face which can be annoying, especially at one part later where you get rushed by enemies where you have no cover and get shot by the helicopter at the same time. Also you can easily miss the shotgun if you use grenades to kill the shotgun soldier, there should be a free shotgun in the room after that. There is some nice item placement though.
    The last fight was cool, but simple and really tedious because the helicopter has so much hp. Also sometimes you are unlucky and get a bad cycle where the helicopter shoots you while it is changing positions, so you have no cover and will get shot. After the fight I had really low hp, but the map throws two elite combine soldiers at you for some reason. The ending is bugged, it fades to black, but doesn’t end.

    Outpost 57 by Niker107
    It is okay

    In this map you only do like 5 things. 1 of those is stacking crates, an annoying amount of crates. 3 of those is fights and 1 is a simple but cool puzzle. 2 out of those 3 fights were against tons of manhacks, but because they spawn so far away it wasn’t really challenging, just tedious.
    One of the fights is against a group of combine, but first there is a combine shield wall in front of you, which behaves completely different than in the main game, it’s just a solid wall.
    I didn’t like the look of the chasm, it was just a big area with dull textures, the platforms were okay though, but could be better too, especially if they made more sense.
    The thing is, half of the map doesn’t even take place at the chasm and feels like a completely different map. The voice acting was good, but didn’t really add anything, felt like a gimmick, but is still nice to have, makes this map a bit more memorable than others.
    Also I was surprised how short this map was. It started out strong, I guess the mapper didn’t have enough time?

    Retraction Valley by Erik-Silver Toomere
    It is bad

    First of all where is the chasm? I didn’t like this map. It is way too big, way too dark, too empty, there are a lot of pointless places and running out of flashlight battery was annoying. There should be at least some lighted places so you can turn off your flashlight and recharge it, but still continue playing and not wait in complete darkness for the battery to refill.
    Also why is it so dark anyway? Is it supposed to be a horror map? I also felt lost most of the time, there is no player guidance, and the fact that everything is so big and empty doesn’t help. You can easily guide the player by just placing some lights, showing them a locked door or gate before they open it, and don’t have pointless places, always reward exploration.

    The Gap by Joacim Rappu
    It is okay

    First: no autosaves!!! Second: I like this map. It has problems though and the combat was boring. Fighting only zombies, only with the gravity gun, for the whole map. That’s not fun.
    I like the setting, but like Bastion’s map the mountains were just blocks.
    I’m also not a fan of how the path you are supposed to go is hidden. The plug, the vent and so on. It just makes this map drag on for more than it should, if you don’t find one of these things.

    Watering Hole by StrikeVonNice
    It is bad

    Like some other maps, half of the map doesn’t has anything to do with the chasm. The building you get in first is designed really bad. First the corridors and rooms are tiny, but filled with tons of zombies, but what makes it really annoying are all the physics props on the ground which obstruct your movement. Also the building has pointless rooms. For it me wasn’t immediately obvious what the button press did, but later I realized that you can actually see what happens outside the window, but putting a light there or something would help.
    Then you come to the chasm area which could look nice, but the placement of the rocks is just wrong and again blocky mountains. The fight against the gunship was weak, because the gunship doesn’t move at all and all the ammo is in the container which is a weird place to fight from, especially because your head clips through the ceiling of that container. Then you fight some hunters and combine, but one of the hunters got stuck behind the door and it was annoying that the combine spam the shit out of you with grenades.
    The map could be better if it was more compact, and completely focused on the chasm, maybe some more fights there, some smaller ones, some bigger.

    Please Note: The original Per-Map Opinions have all been upgraded by 1 level. This was done at Crowbar’s request

    1. I feel you have been way too hard on most of these maps. It’s a common issue that new reviewers tend to be harder than others, I have my theories on why but this is not the place to go into that.

      Each and every map had problems but within the context of a limited time frame I feel every map had something interesting to offer.

      Anyway, it’s your opinions and that’s fine.

      1. yeah but constraints and time limit and what are just reasons for why some thing didnt turn out well. They still are problems though. Imagine someone who comes to this site in 2 month or some and thinks about playing some Villes. Giving every map so good ratings will just give him unrealistic expectations. Besides, in my opinion most people give too high ratings anyway. I guess they want to be nice to everyone, not be an asshole (like me), but I want to say what I’m thinking and I’m NOT thinking “OH THESE GUYS ARE SO BAD”.
        Also I noticed most people don’t pay attention to a lot of things. They just play the map. If there was nothing annoying about it, then it was good, otherwise it’s just okay. But do they really question the level design, enemy placement, item placement and other things? Not just question them, but judge how much these things affect the experience, sometimes a bad thing is a bad thing, but doesn’t take away from the experience.
        I agree that everything has something interesting to offer. But that doesn’t automatically makes them good maps. I also think people judge the theme differently. For some it doesn’t matter how well the chasm was implemented or even existed. For me I wouldn’t really rate down a map for not having a chasm or making no use of it, but if there is no trade-off, no advantage for not having or not using the chasm, then I will rate down. On the other hand if the chasm is REALLY a central part of the map, I will definitly rate up.

        Maybe I’m taking this whole thing too seriously though, but at the end of the day, you can ignore the ratings, just read what I wrote and take it as feedback. Even when someone just destroys your map and hates it, you can still get something out of that review. Of course that doesn’t excuse when someone just bashes and flames people.

        One last thing: I used spoiler tags for every per-map review, so you could just see the heading and the per-map recommendation image, but not the whole review. I thought thats good, because then the comment isnt that huge, but for some reason the spoilers didnt work and I can’t edit anymore ๐Ÿ™

        1. One of the problems is that it is very easy to pick holes in all maps and mods. Finding fault is the easy part and yes, people need to know what they need to improve upon.

          Another issue is who is writing the review. Your entry was no better than most and for you to be very critical is hard for some people to take. What you need to understand is that being too critical doesn’t help anybody. People are less likely to want to read your future reviews if you only talk about the bad things, because as I said that’s the easy part.

          You also need to understand the difference between a review and a beta test report. The review takes about impressions, feelings and overall effect, whereas the other is highlighting each and every point that needs work.

          I am not saying you should change your review style and give everything praise but try to balance it against the fact that most readers are just players not mappers themselves and they want to know whether they should take the time to play something or not.

          Only use spoiler tags for really important things. Reading a review nearly always includes spoilers, so don’t worry.

          1. okay. I will adapt. Btw I wouldn’t give my own map “ITS GREAT” anyway only because I gave so many negative ratings. But when I think about other Villes, for example Blast Pit, or Run Think Shoot, those were GREAT.

      2. Bastion

        Brutal is usually good, the coast review is a good read.

        1. Yeah, I don’t mind brutal. And I don’t think the person writing the review has to be an accomplished mapper to have gravitas. I don’t feel this feedback is necessarily wrong. Like, I made a note of the solid force field in Outpost 57 too, but it didn’t rise to the point of my mentioning it.

          It’s also an 18 day comp. Some authors, like Fissure’s, only had the weekends to work on it. Some stuff is going to slip through the cracks. Be realistic. You can’t hold these entries to the same standard as a mod that had months or years of work.

          In my case, I did consider a lot of these things and made the conscious choice not to do anything about them. I knew it would be a ton of work to populate the bottom of the chasm, so I decided not to draw attention to it. I had intended to put water there at one point, but I was concerned about the performance ramifications given all the particles which were already present. Music is a personal opinion. I think having just one music track, playing during the penultimate battle, is not unreasonable. As far as the tram is concerned, it is informed by what players did (or rather, didn’t do) in Avenue Odessa’s train. The cover situation was not clear enough there. So, this makes it way more obvious – if you’re standing, you get shot. If you’re crouching beneath the windowsills, you’re safe. The shifting attack vector of the Gunship is the complication.

          1. some of the things I mention, for example the use of music in your map, are things I criticise, but they don’t really make the rating worse. It’s just small things which I don’t like, but where I know that others WILL have a different view on them.

  10. ehm where is my review? I just posted it but I can’t see it

    edit: from the stats I can see that my review is in the system. Shortest playtime is by me for example, but I cant see my review. Does it need to be approved by moderators?

    1. It’s visible now. For some reason it was in the trash.

  11. Phillip says Play It!

    Well, I certainly can’t complain about the number and general standard of entries. Thank you to everybody who entered and I hope you enjoyed and learnt something from it. Below I have made some general notes and added my per-map opinions.

    The judging will be announced shortly. Overall, I am very happy with this challenge. The entrants should be proud of what they made.

    The takeaway points are:
    1. Make sure the theme is the main point of the map. For example, in some entries I didn’t really need to cross a chasm or it didn’t provide the main element of gameplay.

    2. Polish, polish, polish.

    3. Smaller but better is always more preferable than big but boring.

    It’s worth noting that my playtime is based on the total time of my streams and under non-stream circumstances it would have been shorter.

    Abyss by Confused Travolta
    It is good

    An interesting puzzle map with a couple of nice elements. Specifically the airship and the giant antlions. I found the puzzle fairly interesting but overall the interaction was minimal and the fog obscured the chasm, although that was never specifically outlawed.

    Dropping us into Portal was a nice touch. This was my third place. The antlions, aircraft and general puzzle idea was fantastic but I never got excited.

    Coast by Bastion
    It is okay

    The first thing that hits you is the blocky and squareness of the design. I found an invisible wall immediately. The combat was actually quite fun with some interesting sections. The setting was what let the map down though and I saw the enemies spawn once.

    Overall, a very good first map (so he says) but not enough emphasis spent on the polish. Clearly over ambitious for a first entry. I still enjoyed playing it though.

    Core Facility by Flamdar
    It is bad

    I really didnโ€™t enjoy this. I felt the whole design was too simplistic and boring. I would have prefered a much smaller level but with more details and something that looked like a COmbine base.

    Disposal by Boonie
    It is okay

    I enjoyed the opening of this map and the area you get dumped into was very well lit and designed. Itโ€™s a shame that we donโ€™t spend more time in there with some gameplay.

    The rest was all competently made but it lacked the Chasm feel and I felt that it didnโ€™t really do the theme justice.

    Drain by Pedro Marques AKA Dalannar
    It is okay

    Certainly an interesting design idea but I felt that it was too short. A few more areas to fight in would have made this a much better map for me. It could so easily have been made a little dark and the use of spotlights would have made it look better.

    Fissure by Dan M.
    It is okay

    Visually, this started well but making a Combine base takes a lot of work and this turned into few simple areas with a few Combine soldier encounters. There’s nothing wrong with that but putting fights in a large area didn’t really match my expectations of chasm. The actual combat was maybe 12 soldiers all more or less evenly spaced out. The genral design was really intersting but it lacked gameplay excitement.

    High Wire by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is great!

    Jason is probably the most experienced mapper in this challenge and this map clearly shows that. The use of the binoculars (donโ€™t know the proper name) gave the player an immediate objective.

    The whole map looked fantastic and there was enough variety in the gameplay to keep it interesting.

    Even though it looks a large map the actual area where the player moves in and plays is smaller than in some other entries but it just feels bigger.

    Overall, the clear winner for me.

    Mega Structure by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is okay

    Playing in one building can be a little boring and even the best made apartment building lack a feeling of coolness. The problem is that visuals play such an important role in how a map is perceived and if the whole map is bland it is hard for the player to get excited.

    There was one very weird encounter that made no sense to me but was fun nevertheless. The final battle was pretty tough too and doors closing behind is quite annoying, for me at least.

    All in all an okay entry but not imaginative enough.

    Northern Face by melc311
    It is good

    Besides the HUGE issue with being able to simple finish the map before it started this could have been really fun. I quite enjoyed working my way to the landing pad but felt the final boss battle lacked imagination. The helicopter was always too close and even for a crappy player like me I felt it was too easy.

    Visually, this was exactly the sort of thing we had in mind when we set the theme.

    Outpost 57 by Niker107
    It is good

    A very bland but competent start leads to a beautiful underground cave. Thereโ€™s a couple of nice touches; the wall falling down and the floor dropping away but also a numbing stacking puzzle (unless I did it wrong). The main cave area was a great idea but the number of manhacks combined with the fact it made no sense spoiled it a little bit for me. Personally, I like areas that make sense.

    The ending was a little strange and I would have prefered a simply escape to a white light. Voice acting was fantastic and the fact the author took the effort to get that done. This was my second place.

    Retraction Valley by Erik-Silver Toomere
    It is okay

    Letโ€™s get straight to the point: It was too dark, too big, especially the car park, too laggy and lacked a serious Chasm. That said, if this were better lit and didnโ€™t lag this could have been a contender for a place. I donโ€™t know what I did wrong but I could finish the map. My car got stuck with a table in the middle of it and that made it impossible to use.

    The final battle would have been fantastic if it didnโ€™t lag for me. Maybe it didnโ€™t lag for you, I donโ€™t know. I also managed to fall down a hole somewhere and got stuck!

    The Gap by Joacim Rappu
    It is okay

    Again this could have been a really cool entry and I did enjoy the setting but felt there were too many doors to open with too many headcrabs jumping out at me.

    I managed to break the gameplay flow and reached the roof too early. I didnโ€™t miss that much but it was still a surprise. The weight bridge was a little confusing at first and a spotlight on the second part would have helped.

    All in all, a fun level that looked better than it played.

    Watering Hole by StrikeVonNice
    It is okay

    If this really was a first map this was pretty cool. However, I felt it lacked a chasm, yes it had a large open area but thatโ€™s not the same. Gameplay was pretty cool and apparently there is a different ending if you carry the gnome to the end, which is a little annoying as you are given the airboat at the beginning and there is no way for you to drive and carry it.

    All in all, a fairly well built entry and smaller and more detailed would have been better.

    1. I’m probably going to regret writing this,

      but I don’t understand at all why my map got that rating compared to the others.
      Some of the other maps you gave “ITS OKAY” are really short, have just some small fights, no exploration, no variety, no high points and the chasm doesn’t really matter. My map has different locations, a lot of exploration, secrets, lot of different fights against different enemies in different situations. A small high point in the middle with the grenades and a final boss fight which REALLY uses the “chasm” element.

      It’s your rating, you are the judge, but I really don’t understand why my map go so bad ratings from so many people. I hope the other judges will also write reviews and not just give you their rankings.

      Oh, what I don’t understand at all is “not imaginative enough” …

      Btw I’m not saying my map deservers “ITS GOOD” in general, just in comparison to the other recommendations YOU gave it deservers that in YOUR review context IMO.

      I guess next time I just make a big open area, put some combine here and there. Won’t take so much time.

      1. I think you are really missing the point here. It’s not about having a lot of exploration and a lot of different fights or what have you, it’s about the quality of all of those, both alone and combined with each other, and how much “sense” they make in the context of your map.

        There are certainly good things about your entry (I’ll get into more detail when I write my reviews) but overall I think you are overrating your own map and getting into that position where people are playing your map wrong and they aren’t getting the big picture. The player never plays the map wrong, it’s your job as the designer to make sure that doesn’t happen.

        1. I never said people play my map wrong and I know that its never the fault of the player. I just look at what Phillip writes about my map and about the others.
          And even if its about the quality of the aspects of the map (OBVIOUSLY), my map does have exploration, secrets and different combat scenarios unlike some of the others where a lot of things dont even exist. And some of the other maps are also completely unrealistic, not even close to a real place. And the quality of the fights in those maps are better or what? Fissure for example, just some big platforms, no cover, nothing, 2 or 3 combine soliders, and that 2 or 3 times.
          I don’t think I am overrating my map, I think people are overrating the other simple maps, but compared to high wire and nothern face, and abyss maybe, my map will have really strong competition, I know that.
          Seriously, my map is on the same level as “Retraction Valley”? Ok .. now I’m getting into flaming/raging territory, so I will just stop.

          1. Maybe my map isn’t the most REALISTIC map out there , nor the most gameplay brilliant and such , but I’ve come up with a fairly unique fictional place \ setting that some people enjoy more or the same as your map , you don’t have to react like this because someone liked our maps the same , because in the end the beauty is in the eye of the beholder and you should not judge his opion.

            1. you are right. I’m sorry. Who am I anyway to tell people how to judge maps.
              But Phillip’s text for my map is so vague and doesn’t tell me anything, I think that triggered me.
              I will just accept how things are and will try better next time.
              My reaction was a bit childish.

              1. I know what you mean but there wasn’t much more to say , he wanted people to get creative and make something unique , the apartment building theme that you were going for wasn’t unique and not fun to look at , not that it’s impossible to make good , but it would take much more time and effort for something of this scale . Your map had dull lighting , and I think with a little use of color it could’ve turned out much better . He didn’t said anything about the gameplay because it was mostly ok so he based his review on the art style .

                1. Yes, I don’t know if you watched Phillip’s stream or not – which is archived on Twitch now – but I think all the information you seek is laid out there. Don’t view it as “Wow, he’s not doing any of the things he was supposed to.” View it as “What could I have done to change his reaction here?”

                  And don’t just go by what Phillip verbally says. Watch his reactions. Pay attention to where he is looking in the game. There’s a lot of stuff between the lines that is worth analyzing.

              2. Mednes

                You have been too harsh, but I seriously enjoyed your entry. I like not starting with gravity gun / crowbar sometimes, because most mods do. You lack ammo? Bait headcrabs / zombies into barnicles. I loved the grenade trap, I saw nades thrown in, jumped over a sofa and hid there, only to realize that grenades were EVERYWHERE and managed to jump into the vent in the last second.

                I liked your map style because it makes sense as a real purpose building, and you had some cool ideas. What I disliked was the ending battle (which was really difficult on Hard, but in a sort of cheap and unfair way) and also your music use in one section when fighting the combine. Basically epic music started, then I killed the combine very quickly and so it ended in about 15 seconds into a complete silence. Felt wierd.

                In terms of rating, I haven’t finished playing yet (I’m at Retraction Valley which I won’t be finishing due to framerate lag when I face a certain direction, can’t be bothered) but I’d rate yours over all the maps so far except for High Wire, Abyss and Outpost 57 but just barely. I mean you definitely have nothing to be ashamed of, on the contrary I’d say!

                Lastly I just want to say you haven’t done the theme much justice, but I don’t really care about that. All in all I’m looking forward to your future entries. I felt obligated to write this down since you haven’t gotten much in terms of positive input and I felt it would be a shame if that discouraged you from making more.

                1. THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  1. Mednes

                    No trouble. I just remembered one more thing which irked me – the ambush when you pick up I think crossbow? By two combine zombies. It makes no sense, there is no way they’d set up that trap themselves. I’d imagine if something fell down and made a lot of noise when you picked it up that would be fine as it would alert them. But as it stood there wasn’t a really good reason to suddenly become aware of you and ambush you.

                    1. you’re right, but I didn’t really care tbh ๐Ÿ˜›

  12. Play It Now!

    First, let me say, I have been looking forward to playing this and future Competitions in the hammer Cups, I think its a great Idea. I had fun wich each and every one of the entries here. I don’t know if I sound harsh in the reviews, but I enjoyed all entries. It took a while to play and write reviews for all the entries, but here we go!

    Abyss by Confused Travolta
    It is good

    This was a weird one indeed. As a puzzle-based entry, it had lots of atmosphere and cool ideas, I was even a bit creeped out when riding the baloon. It is always strange when you don’t have a suit, in my opinion, it limits the player and what you can do as a mapper. All in all, I enjoyed this one, but when I don’t get to shoot aliens, I can get a bit cranky.
    Theme score: Great

    Coast by Bastion
    It is good

    Okay, the geometry in this map is very basic and the visuals do have a part in the overall score. The gameplay on the other hand, was challanging but fair, though a few times the enemies just stood in the same place and clumped together, or came at me in a straight line, letting me mow them down easily. It has problems, like every map, but overall, it was fun.
    Theme score: Good

    Core Facility by Flamdar
    It is okay

    Combine Architecture. Its always a risk to try making it because its so specific. This map had citadel textures but did not look like the correct architecture. It was just plain walls. Enough of that, onto the gameplay. It was hard. You start of facing 2 combine soldiers, in a small chokepoint with just a few bullets in your pistol. Then you face of several more, with even less or no ammo for your pistol, then you end up having lots of ammo and health. This map did not flow at all. It just generally felt cramped. It was Okay.
    Theme score: Okay

    Disposal by Boonie
    It is okay

    This map started of good. It looked good, it played good, then it just turned in an instant. Walking into a snall room with 10 combine soldiers with are dispatched quickly with a grenade is not balanced nor fun. Further down the line, again 10 Soldiers standing in a group, dispatched with a energy ball. The End. It was very short and didn’t quite follow the Theme as Philip intended. Sure it looks pretty, but it does not play that well.
    Theme score: Bad

    Drain by Pedro Marques AKA Dalannar
    It is good

    This is pretty hard to review, there is not much gameplay in this map. A few jumps and only a few soldiers, then its over. I can’t really judge on the gameplay since its not much, but I’ll work with what there is. The visuals are great, but the gameplay drags it down. Some zombies and more Combine Soldiers is all that is needed.
    Theme score: Good

    Fissure by Dan M
    It is good

    You are just dropped into the map with no clue on how you got there, but there are hints that you were a prisoner. Anyway, Combine architecture again, pretty decent, basic, but decent. The combat is the downpart of this map, the Soldiers just stand in your way. Combine Soldiers excel when they work in a group to flank and supress you and cover each other, but here they just come one by one, usually just standing and not coming from anywhere. This makes is too easy and predictable.
    Theme score: Good

    High Wire by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is great!

    Jason Gimba. From the first second I thought “This looks familiar”, you have made a name of yourself when someone can just look at a map and instantly know who made it.
    Onto the map itself, visuals, they are beautiful as always. Combat is balanced and fun and nothing is too hard or unfair. I can’t seem to find anything negative about it, if one thing is that its pretty short, but I won’t let that drag down the score. This map is really good.
    Theme score: Good

    Megastructure by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
    It is good

    The beginning of this map is a plus for me. You get the feeling that you escape from zombies and locked the door behind you. Anyway, the gameplay is interesting, lots of exploration and suprises, I quite liked that. Secrets and pickups everywhere. The combat is a little on and off. One encounter is fun and balanced, and another is not, the hunter fight for example, way to small area to fight in. Overall, really interesting map. Although, it did not fit the theme very well.
    Theme score: Bad

    Northern Face by melc311
    It is great!

    Starting of with a clear objective can be a good Idea, gives you something to strive for. This map looks okay, pretty basic visuals and sounds. The combat is really good and balanced and a few minor puzzles. After you kill the chopper was a bit confusing for me, I waited around for…something, but didn’t know I was supposed to go back, makes sense, but no real indication on what to do. I enjoyed it.
    Theme score: Good

    Outpost 57 by Niker107
    It is WOW!

    Holy sh…shenanigans…This map is awesome, it has everything. Good looking enviroments, excellent secrets, superb combat and even humour. You start off, and you you see the tiny chasm. This map don’t follow the theme at all, I think to myself. Then I see it, a huge cavern with combine stuff and…stuff. Very mysterious, and very cool. Good job!
    Theme score: Great

    Retraction Valley by Erik-Silver Toomere
    It is great!

    This map had an intreresting style. Very good looking, the only downside is that its way to dark most of the time and that the scaling is wrong in some places. The gameplay is fine, very fun most of the time, if a bit confusing. Its mostly combat and exploration oriented. Very good atmosphere and overall an enjoyable experence. BUT, did not follow the theme at all
    Theme score: Bad

    The Gap by Joacim Rappu
    It is good

    Again, we get a clear objective from the start, wich i like. The enviroment does feel very blocky at times, there is not much to the gameplay, it feels mostly like platforming and puzzle. Jumping puzzles, also known as Juzzles. Hah… ANYWAY, its a neat little map wich is fun to play.
    Theme score: Good

    Watering Hole by StrikeVonNice
    It is okay

    Basic geometry, but pretty decent looking. I felt pretty powerful when I was fighting enemies, so It was a bit to easy. I don’t think there are any AI nodes in the map since the enemies seemed pretty stupid. Just looking at me through the glass. For a first map, it was really good.
    Theme score: Okay

  13. I don’t really have time to review all of the maps , but I just wanted to say that Abyss was great . Not only because of the game mechanic (which is great btw) , but because it’s a very great 3D first person representation of the Submachine online game . Great job ! I recommend checking out the original games (maybe without Submachine 3)

  14. Play It Now!

    Great turnout for this one. I’m hoping to see even more entries in the next competitions. From me, I certainly am planning on continuing to enter them.

    My ramblings will contain spoilers so go play before reading.

    Abyss by Confused Travolta
    It is good

    The biggest point for the first entry is that it is very creative. The antlions and the zeppelin where the definite stars of the map and I felt they worked pretty well. I love zeppelins so seeing one really put a grin on my face.

    However, being creative also meant it was quite non-sensical. Under normal circumstances I wouldn’t like that, but because there was no combat in the map and it was quite abstract I felt it didn’t impede my enjoyment of it. The “puzzles” however were horrible I feel. The fact that the wooden board breaks on player touch makes no sense, and I actually got a bit stuck because I first tried to pick it up with my hands without coming close enough to touch it. The padlock suffers from the same problem. Many mods have made the “brick breaks padlock” puzzle but when I first tried it the padlock didn’t break. It seems like the angle and position the brick needed to be in is quite specific.

    The other puzzle that didn’t make any sense was the “looping” puzzle. I have no idea how it works, and from the look of it, no one else knows either. My best guess is that you have to run around twice in one direction and backtrack once very quickly but that’s a vague guess, and it just seems completely random whether or not the progress bar goes up.

    Another problem I had with the map was the poor use of sounds. At the beginning the very powerful wind ambient felt correct but it kept throughout the whole map, even indoor. The same for Breen’s announcement. As a mapper my best guess is that the author was using normal ambient_generic’s for the whole map. Don’t do this, look up soundscapes ๐Ÿ˜‰ Also, the “behind you” line came out of nowhere and didn’t really make much sense.

    As for picking up the cacti, I managed to take 3 with me to the zeppelin. Is there a reward for finding all of them ?

    Coast by Bastion
    It is okay

    Blocky cliffs really don’t look very good. It seems that the author should really have gone with a smaller scoped map. Not only is the vista too big, which makes the blocky nature of the map pop out too much, it also overstayed it’s welcome. Ending the map after the gunship fight would have been good, having to climb up to the crane area to get the car seems to me completely pointless in the context of the map.

    The crossbow secret was rewarding and interesting, but it could really have made with opening/breaking the door on the way out instead of having to jump through the window again.

    As for the fight immediately after the crossbow, it really needed more cover on the way in. Although the crossbow really helped in that one which is good. However the button that starts the next combat is really well hidden. Incredibly so, it took me a long while to find what to do next, and I actually went to see Phillip’s stream to find out how to progress because I completely missed it.

    I don’t know what else to say really, as I said in the beginning it was too big and got quite boring after a while.

    Core Facility by Flamdar
    It is bad

    Seems not many people liked this one. I’m one of those people as well. It’s boring to look at, and it’s very buggy.

    The doors really don’t work very well. Not only are they not visually interesting, but you never know if something is a door or not. There are some “openings” that look exactly like a door but don’t actually open.

    The elevator on the left “puzzle” was very buggy and it actually took me a fairly long time to figure out there were doors on each side of the elevator. Then the right side was a complete mess. The moving platforms don’t work well in HL2 and the random diagonal pillars really make no sense.

    The combat is also not enjoyable. You have no cover, and neither do the combine. They really can’t move very much in the environment and the first combat is very unfair to the player.

    The last fight with the gunship was very buggy as well. The gunship kept clipping into the platform and getting me stuck on it too. It didn’t flow well either. You weren’t given enough missiles to take it down and barely any cover to move around the lift.

    Disposal by Boonie
    It is okay

    This one looked pretty nice and was promising at the start but it really felt kind of pointless. The zombies posed absolutely no threat to the player, and the control room had nothing except a big group of combine that couldn’t really come and attack me because of the very narrow corridor to get out.

    It seems like the author started with the barrel wasteland, which is interesting and creative, but then had really no clue how to continue the map and just winged it. It was also fairly short.

    I do have to say however, that I really liked the cave visuals right before you climbed the ladder. The atmosphere I got looking at the water streams below, with sunlight shining through the cracked ceiling was really cool. But except for that, the map really felt pointless.

    Fissure by Dan M
    It is okay

    There really is nothing to this map as well. It’s very linear without anything exciting which grabbed my attention. Just a bunch of combine scattered around the place, some of them that don’t react to their friends being shot.
    I don’t understand why people are reacting so positively towards this one, it’s consistent, but as I said, there’s really nothing that stands out.

    I’m sorry, I really don’t have anything to say about this other than take a look at stair proportions for your next entries. The blocky stairs were not pleasant at all to look at.

    High Wire by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is great!

    Jason is a very experienced modder and it really shows in this one (as it does in all of his other entries). I couldn’t however shake the feeling that I was playing Forest Train all over again.

    The beginning area follows one of the authors previous mod very closely. The initial enemies being fast zombies reminded me of that almost immediately, but instead of attacking the player they attack the combine. After that, crouching down behind the cars to avoid the mounted gun feels exactly like the same situation as in Forest Train when you are trying to avoid the sniper. And even the interior of the building reminds me of it.

    That was my biggest problem with the map. It’s a very good map, but I feel like I’ve already played it.

    As an aside Jason, you mentioned my entry reminded you of Mirror’s Edge. I totally agree, but mine you played in different game, I played yours in the same engine xD

    Megastructure by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
    It is okay

    As with Rectration Valley later on, I didn’t really get the ‘chasm’ in this one. Sure, there’s a big opening in the middle but I’m not sure I would consider it a chasm. Thankfully I’m not one of the judges, so I don’t have to deal with that and can focus on the gameplay.

    To me it felt like a bit of a mess. There are too many enemies crawling about the place, and you are given very few options. It was made so the player gets put into a survival mode, but I find that to work much better with less enemies and more options. You just need to make those options harder to use, by hiding them for example. It both rewards, and gives the player a reason to explore.

    I wasn’t very compelled to explore this map. Most of the doors were locked, yet used the same visuals as “open” doors in HL2 so it just got into my head that I should go up instead of exploring around the place.

    There were a couple of things I really liked though. The ‘grenade’ trap, as people have mentioned already, is rather creative and works well. The visuals of the vent are off, but the scenario manages to get the player in reaction mode without being unfair.

    The second thing I liked was the idea for the last battle. Since the area was so small and limited I thought the point of it was to shoot the glass and have the hunters fall down. However, that doesn’t work, and I really don’t understand why the author didn’t want that. People have already killed many hunters before, and you have a fantastic opportunity to make the combat interesting, unique and dynamic, but instead it’s a rather dull combat in an horrible area that you can’t move or take cover in.

    Northern Face by melc311
    It is okay

    Mission Complete!
    That really should have been caught before submitting. It’s a pretty simple problem to fix and probably an even easier problem to spot. I’m sure most people, if not everyone found this. It’s just so intuitive. You are stuck in a small area and there’s a prop that the player can usually interact with. Of course people are going to touch it.

    The map itself is a rather nice concept. Visually it’s not very impressive but the high altitudes, along with forcing the player to walk out into open areas and dangerous situations feels great. The chopper battle however works very poorly. The player has pretty much no cover and the chopper at one point starts to shoot while moving from point to point, which feels unsynchronized, as someone has pointed out already.

    The map could really have ended there, or we could have been forced to take another way out. As it stands, the same path on the way out doesn’t offer anything new.

    Outpost 57 by Niker107
    It is good

    A surprising entry. The beginning felt a bit boring but it shared the same sewer theme as my own entry so it felt interesting from my point of view.

    The electric “puzzle” I’m still in two minds about. At first I thought it was horrible because there is really no idea to predict it and so it’s very much a cheap trick. On the other hand, I don’t think it’s possible for the player to take damage before that, so they aren’t going to die so quickly and can get on top of a nearby crate fairly easily. I think I like it more than I dislike it, but I’m still not sure, objectively speaking.

    The voice acting was a nice change from all the other entries, and something I’m hoping I can focus on for the next competition.

    As for the chasm itself I don’t have much to say about it I’m afraid. It doesn’t look especially good, but it doesn’t look bad either. It’s alright. What I didn’t like were the never ending manhack waves. They took so long to get to the player it was incredibly dull. I have no idea what happened at the end, it feels like the author wasn’t sure how to end the map. It could really have used some sort of explanation.

    Retraction Valley by Erik-Silver Toomere
    It is bad

    I’ll be honest, I didn’t finish this one. I got to the parking lot, but it’s so big and in complete darkness that I have no idea where to go next and it really brings down my enjoyment. I found a turning valve that I felt forced to pick up and bring with me, even though I had no idea what it was for, and apparently it’s not used for anything (?).

    There really is no chasm here, and with a map so dark and expansive I think the author really should focus on a more concise and focused experience in the next competition. It’s just not enjoyable at all for me, I’m sorry.

    The Gap by Joacim Rappu
    It is okay

    This is the only map I replayed. That’s because when I was writing these reviews I really couldn’t remember anything about this map. That’s not necessarily the map’s fault, being the 12th map in the competition, by the time I got around to playing this one I had already played a lot of HL. It’s unfortunate and a bit unfair for the people whose maps only get played at the end, and maybe something should be done about that, but that’s a discussion for another time.

    As for the map, I don’t think I actually played the map in the ‘intended’ way. All of the enemies were incredibly easy to avoid so that’s what I did. And the weight puzzle, I just jumped on the counterweight bucket and then onto the goal xD It really was much easier to do that than to find the props to lower down the wooden container.

    The rebel’s scripted scene as the door tries to open is nice, but it took so long that when first playing the map I actually missed it because I didn’t want to wait for the door to open. I just kept on going with the map and didn’t look back.

    It also suffers from blocky environments like Coast. But I liked the chasm much more in this one. Looking down to where I was supposed to go looked pretty cool and had a nice feeling to it.

    Watering Hole by StrikeVonNice
    It is okay

    So, it’s incredibly easy to break this map. Just jump off the waterfall when the map first starts like I did and you will get stuck down there. That’s a rather easy mistake to spot. I have the airboat so I know I’m not going to take any damage. Of course I’m going to want to jump down!

    I can’t say I particularly enjoyed this one. It seemed kind of a random mess and didn’t have anything that was really interesting.

    For future reference for the author:
    First of all, don’t make sloped water surfaces, the source engine doesn’t like that. When going down the waterway to the bottom, you can easily notice this if you look back. Secondly, the waterfall particle is pointed in the wrong direction. This is actually Valve’s fault as the water isn’t following the direction the arrow is pointing at inside hammer.

    Drain – My entry

    I’m quite pleased with how my entry came out. Much more so than my last two ville entries, that’s for sure. As some people figured out, the idea for my map was very much influenced by the third chapter of Mirror’s edge. It’s one of my favourite games of all time and when I was thinking of a chasm that’s what popped into my mind almost immediately. This would probably have been great for crossoverville, but I didn’t have time nor incentive to enter that one.

    I was a bit hesitant to go with the idea. For one I actually found out no such structures actually exist anywhere in real life so reference was minimal. The only place I could find was in Mexico, but it was much smaller than what I was building. The other problem was that I didn’t want the player to have to fight the chopper with the normal weapons. I thought many people would do something like that as a finale and I wanted to offer something different. When I had the idea to destroy the chopper by pouring a metric ton of water on it I knew I had to build the map. In my mind it just seemed too unique not to try it.

    I took the opportunity to learn and explore something new to me. I think that’s a good idea to go with, and I’ll try to do the same for my next hammer cup entries. For this one it was a new technique for building circular structures. Building circular areas in the source engine can be a battle and I wanted to learn how to do it effectively. I can now confidently say that I can do just that in my next maps going forward. For the most part that’s why the map is as short as it is. Because I was building something I’m not used to it took quite a bit of trial and error to get right. In the end my only real problem (that’s worth mentioning, there’s a plethora of smaller problems) is that it’s too short. The ending is very anti-climatic. A mere couple minutes after starting the fight with the chopper and it’s done.

    Originally the map was supposed to take longer, with more ins and outs the player would get to explore and hide from the chopper in. This also included more combine combat. However as time drew close to the finish I realized I wouldn’t be able to complete all I was planning so I had to compromise and cut the fight short.

    1. The looping puzzle in Abyss is probably a variation on the “infinite hallways” in Stanley Parable. What’s really happening is that you’re getting teleported from one side of the room to the other, and each time you do this, you increase the bar slightly. The thing is, the bar appears to go up if you go backward and forward across the same point repeatedly, without actually traversing the room. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As far as High Wire goes, nothing is actually copy-pasted from Forest Train, but it does pull a lot of inspiration from that and Odessa and there’s even some of Truss in there too with the crashing end. It’s supposed to be a lodge of some kind, to support the mountain tram, and FT also had a lodge-like setting. It’s all very “national park” in theme.

      As far as your entry, I had noticed your lighting question on Reddit and the geometric situation you described sounded pretty ambitious. Making an angled space in Source is difficult with brushes and you did pull it off well. It is interesting that the Mirror’s Edge drain itself is total fiction, because – as Phillip has posted before – the giant sewers are a real thing. On the other hand, what purpose would an enormous hole like that serve anyway? X)

  15. Unq
    Play It Now!

    Overall a great turnout for this challenge, I think this ties HunterVille for the most entries. As always there is a good mix of maps, some variation in quality, and some good interpretations of the chasm theme.

    Abyss

    A nifty puzzle-focused map here. Initially I thought the fog was a way to kind of get around designing a rocky chasm but it’s used to great effect and I soon changed my mind. Especially with the antlions, I almost got a “The Mist” feel from parts of this map. The puzzle aspect, even though overall you only hit buttons, was pretty well-designed and I of course liked the visit to Aperture. I don’t think it’s an easy choice to enter a map without weapons, but this map was clever and interesting enough in the end.

    Coast

    I tend to think the author kind of took a ‘kitchen sink’ approach and threw a ton of stuff into this map, where my advice would generally be to focus a little more – put even more limitations than the theme itself, for example – and then improve and polish the part you focused on. Short and sweet is better than huge and ugly. That said, this map is still fun although it looks blocky and sub-par.

    Only after I finished the map and went back to watch Phillip’s stream did I realize I missed the gravity gun! Unfortunately with the infinite grenade crate, I inadvertently pushed the grav gun off the cliff with a nade and when I crossed the bridge I never even realized it was previously there. So getting around the boulder near the end was quite the challenge. The only other issues I had with this map was the garage door button which blended into the wall so well that I never saw it. I looked around for 10 minutes all over the map before I realized it.

    Core Facility

    I liked the huge dark Combine feel to this map. I didn’t really like the platforming or the vague goals. You have to hit 2 buttons in different locations to open an unremarkable door near where you start the map, but you get no guidance or even feedback as to what the buttons do. It’s also possible to get stuck on the top level of the elevator (the main level) without actually having hit the big button that is your goal – once you ride the elevator back to the top there is no way to activate it again. And to boot, you don’t have enough rockets at the end for the gunship – I had to resort to using my contact grenade and some luck to finish it off. Overall a nice take on the chasm theme but a very frustrating map.

    Disposal

    I also liked the take on the chasm theme in this map – you’re running along the bottom of the chasm for the most part. The idea is good, although I think some better layout could have highlighted the canyon and really have you feel trapped down in it for the whole map. I also really liked the beginning area, with the hundreds of barrels around the disposal pool.

    After the opening, unfortunately things were a little bland. The Combine soldiers were clustered into that one room, and then later they charge you in like 4 rows – making them all easy to take out. The lack of sound really held back this map as well – I think the idea of having the player deep inside the chasm was a good idea, but better design and attention to detail would have improved the atmosphere a lot.

    Drain

    I liked the location and look of this one a lot, and the variation on a chasm. Although several times I had to curse the author for that small gap between the catwalk and the tower’s wall – just large enough to fall through. I liked the vertical progression and the feel of height and size of the tower – but what didn’t work for me was the gameplay. The hide-and-seek with the chopper was well designed, but I was disappointed it ended in a button to get rid of the chopper (although it was kind of a cool way to get rid of it). I just didn’t feel like there was much ‘meat’ to this map.

    Fissure

    This map was fairly straightforward but another nice take on the chasm idea using Citadel-like architecture. In general this map was OK, although a bit simple. It’s a matter of traversing the map, hitting a button, and backtracking to find out what the button did. I did like the look of this map and the sound design was good – but again the gameplay was very by-the-numbers and left me wanting.

    High Wire

    Overall a gem. I really liked the view you get from the beginning – you can sort of work out what your whole path will be. Using the binoculars was a good way to communicate the objective without text or voice over. The design and look of this map were superb, but what I really liked was the gameplay. Yes, it’s all Combine but the defense sequence after you call the cable car is the highlight. I actually wish it were a bit tougher, I was expecting another wave after the hunters showed up since the cable car was still a while away.

    I did encounter one problem in this map: it’s possible to manually open the double doors that have the Combine lock before the lock opens. This leaves the lock hanging in midair, and when the lock sequence triggers you can see the Combine soldiers appear in the corner.

    But in general this is a perfect example of a short but sweet map. The author doesn’t try to do too much, but instead crafts the experience for the player and spends time polishing.

    Megastructure

    An interesting take on the chasm theme. If it were me, I would have exaggerated the chasm aspect – make it an open space but inside a ridiculously tall building to give the real feeling of height. I also actually liked the weapon approach at the start. Even though you say there is plenty of machine gun ammo to handle things, that is not the approach I took because I could not count on the ammo – instead I just evaded and ran past everything until I was better armed. But that also led to me skipping side areas because even if they had ammo or other weapons, I considered them to be too high risk given my current loadout. I never saw the grenade trap room, for example, until I replayed the map when judging. I also found the sheer number of locked doors to be frustrating, particularly when I was on the run. The finale was clever, but way too cramped in my opinion for 2 hunters. Their strength is their mobility, here they are cramped in a tiny area.

    Northern Face

    I really like the chasm and layout of this map – you get a nice sense of height. I think the cable car approach could have been really improved if you had a better and slightly longer view of the buildings before you arrived at the station, perhaps a different angle of approach. There are a couple of cool touches, such as seeing the chopper take off right as you look through the windows at it – and the door that just led to a nice fall if you went running through it. The chopper battle itself was a little monotonous and went on too long, although it is satisfying when you finally take it down.

    There were some minor bugs with this map, though they did not factor into judging. I too noticed that you can end the mission in 5 seconds just by pulling the cable car handle, and I also got stuck on the level below the car landing with no exit. The other issue I noticed is that I could not shoot the boards blocking the first locked door – I had to use the gravity gun. No big deal, but kind of irritating given that you only have a small amount of pistol ammo.

    Outpost 57

    I love how the early part of this map is very standard – tunnel, crates, steam valve puzzle – and then the author plays on those expectations and subverts them not once (with the hideout) but twice (with the Outpost reveal). A nice progression that had me smiling. I liked the layout and look of the outpost itself, and the way you dealt with minor puzzles to proceed. I thought the combat was a bit disappointing in general – the manhacks were a bit frustrating and the soldiers were confined to one area which made them pretty easy to take out. A little different design combat-wise and perhaps a more satisfying ending would have improved an already solid map.

    Retraction Valley

    This one was a real mixed bag for me. I really thought it missed the point of the ChasmVille theme – yes, it had a chasm to jump at the end, but it was hardly a main element in the map. In general I also found the map to be extremely dark and a little difficult to navigate, especially in the destroyed building near the end. More light and in particular using light to highlight goals and safe areas is recommended (this was done nicely at the start though). I did like the combat in this map – it was tough in spots but fair, and you’re generally given plenty of ammo. I also liked the weapon approach at the beginning (unarmed for a while, then grav gun only) – it helped ratchet up the tension. But ultimately this map felt huge and empty in general. I did like the sardonic ending, though.

    I was able to repeatedly drive the car right through the Combine forcefield on the street, so I thought the whole parking garage area was extra and off the main path. But after watching Phillip’s stream, I assume the forcefield was meant to block you, and you had to drive through the parking deck to jump the car back to the street? That makes more sense, but the map didn’t play that way for me unfortunately. I would as always recommend more testing – I know these competitions are short but making time for more testing goes hand in hand with my recommendation for a ‘short & sweet’ approach.

    The Gap

    I liked the setup of this map: work your way down the chasm (carefully) – but this isn’t a typical chasm, this has buildings and ramps crossing the chasm. In general this is a puzzle map with a touch of combat (headcrabs, zombies). But with the exception of the pulley puzzle, there’s really nothing very interesting here. The architecture was a little blocky, and I think the lighting was a little bland once you descended a bit. I love the reddish sunset lighting at the top but I think this entry would have worked better if you had allowed the sun to be higher in the sky and shine down the chasm at an angle a bit. Overall this map was decent but not really a standout.

    Watering Hole

    This one kind of stretches the idea of a chasm. But overall it was a decent map, especially for a first map. The architecture is a little blocky – the rocks surrounding the whole map, for instance. The combat is also decent, but I found all the enemies were kind of just standing around – a good way to give a map some life is to make the NPCs “do” things. There are some really nice techniques in Source for controlling how enemies act, for example. An enjoyable map but pretty rough around the edges.

    1. how the hell did you skip the grenade trap room in Mega Structure? ๐Ÿ˜€

      1. Unq

        Guess you’re right, it’s required to trigger the Combine. I suppose I just ran through it without noticing the grenades the first time – I think I saw the vent and just made a beeline. I noticed the comment from Dan M above and was not sure what he was talking about until I played the map a second time.

  16. The Gap literally destroyed my PC. When I was replaying it to write my review, my computer froze and I had to manually shut it down. And after restarting it, it showed errors on both of my hard drives, and this error happened a few times a few years ago, and the only fix was to send the PC to get repaired. However, since my PC is already really old, I might have to just buy a new one.

    TL;DR I might participate in the next mapping challenge on a new PC and my review for ChasmVille is gonna be sliiiightly delayed.

    1. Now you have a GAP in your schedule.

      #worstjoke2016

  17. No review yet, but fantastic map pack so far.

    Whoever made Abyss – I know you’re the same guy who created Transmission. It seems most people here didn’t get the reference scribbled on the wall, “There used to be a lighthouse here”, but I understood it, and hot damn my heart melted when I saw the Submachine teleporter after crossing the chasm. Fantastic mod, you managed to capture the submachine mood perfectly. I know who you are, Mur. And I damn well hope to see more content from you, because this map was fantastic!

    1. You’re not alone! I actually didn’t recognize the Submachine teleporter at first, but I was totally thinking to myself “wow, this has a vibe that’s really similar to Submachine, I love it!” Then I ran into a piece of graffiti saying some not-so-nice things about “Murtaugh,” and got just as excited as you!

      I really enjoyed the exploration, eeriness, creativity, and weaponless gameplay of Abyss. I’d love to see more of “Confused Travolta’s” work!

    2. Confused Travolta

      You have no idea how happy I’m that somebody noticed all of it ๐Ÿ™‚
      Not only Submachine part (melc311 mentioned it also few comments earlier and now Faith too), but also the reference to my previous map! To be honest I was 99% sure nobody will understand that.
      You sir, are awesome ๐Ÿ˜€

  18. Here are the points for ChasmVille.

    Winner: Jason Gimba AKA Maki for High Wire
    Second Place: Confused Travolta for Abyss
    Third Place: Niker107 for Outpost 57

    Full Points Listing
    Confused Travolta for Abyss receives a total of 60 points
    Bastion for Coast receives a total of 28 points
    Flamdar for Core Facility receives a total of 22 points
    Boonie for Disposal receives a total of 23 points
    Pedro Marques AKA Dalannar for Drain receives a total of 34 points
    Dan M Fissure receives a total of 24 points
    Jason Gimba AKA Maki for High Wire receives a total of 81 points
    Abdulhamid Cayirli aka Crowbar for Megastructure receives a total of 25 points
    melc311 for Northern Face receives a total of 28 points
    Niker107 for Outpost 57 receives a total of 48 points
    Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere for Retraction Valley receives a total of 28 points
    Joacim Rappu for The Gap receives a total of 29 points
    StrikeVonNice for Watering Hole receives a total of 24 points

    Scoring Process:
    1. All three judges played the maps and ranked them first, second and third. 48 points for first, 36 for second, 24 for third and 12 points for the rest.
    2. Then the maps were allocated either 0,3,6 or 9 in the following categories:
    Design (layout, foreshadowing, secret areas, concept etc)
    Visuals (lighting, textures, etc)
    Sound (ambient sounds, voice acting, special effects etc)
    Gameplay (flow, exploration, 3 dimensions etc)
    Misc (g-man sightings, humour, seriousness, scares etc)
    The average from each category was then added to the places.

    Future Publication.
    The judges are still in discussion as to whether release the full points table.

    1. Please do release the full points table. I don’t see any reason not to, it gives the mappers an idea of what the judges thought were the best and worst aspects of their entry so they can focus more on those for the next hammer cup challenge.

  19. btw Phillip I have a question for the next challenge. We are not allowed to use any assets from other retail games, only from Half-Life games. But why not use assets from CS:GO and Left4Dead? Those are Valve games too and definitly shouldn’t cause any trouble at all, but give us much more to work with.
    I mean to be honest I don’t even know if you can just import CS:GO textures. Okay it could be considered unfair, because not everyone might have CS:GO, but who doesn’t right? RIGHT??
    But for that case I could just upload all CS:GO textures for anyone to use.

    1. Officially, Valve doesn’t allow this.

      They have shown up in some previous Villes, however, when the author was stuck between a rock and a hard place and didn’t realize this was the case.

      1. I’m sorry but I don’t understand this sentence at all:
        “when the author was stuck between a rock and a hard place and didnโ€™t realize this was the case”

        English is not my 1st language ๐Ÿ™‚

        Didn’t expect Valve not to allow this, but ok.

        1. One of the entries for a previous comp had used CS textures throughout because the author didn’t realize this wasn’t allowed until it was too late. Since it was a last minute kind of thing, he was allowed to do it. Obviously, the Valve Police aren’t going to come knocking at your door and Valve is very lenient about fan works, but this is one of the stipulations they’ve made – you aren’t supposed to share assets between games.

          1. oh ok. Thanks for the answer.

            1. Because we are on the topic of assets from other source game , are we allowed to use them from free games , like team fortress 2 ? Because it’s not really stealing if it’s free :\

              1. well if using CS:GO textures is not allowed, then using TF2 textures aren’t definitly allowed either.
                It doesn’t really matter if it’s free2play, because it is not completely free and everything is automatically free to use.
                BUT I thought since we don’t monetize our mods it shouldn’t matter anyway.

              2. Zekiran

                For the purposes of Phillip’s contests, generally no other game assets are allowed, period. HL2 and the Episodes are the games that the site focuses on, not TF2 or L4D or even Portal, though since HL and Portal are set in the same universe those are often not just allowed but occasionally put to really good use (witness the portion of one entry). TF2 props and textures are ridiculously cartoony and oversized compared to HL’s, even Day of Defeat Source’s props are much bigger and while realistic they aren’t meant to be set in the ‘future’ – they’re from the 20s to 40s, not the 2020s. ๐Ÿ™‚

                For the overall ‘use of stuff for mods’ – remember that Valve specifically allows people to use their modding equipment *with* the specific stipulation that if the game is available for sale, *you have to own it* to use those features/textures. Even among Gmod users, sharing CSS resources online *is not allowed* unless you own the game, using ‘stuff from that other game by other companies’ is technically illegal outright.

                But that’s all discussion for other threads. Suffice to say that for THIS competition (and effectively all the Villes so far) the rules have stated pretty clearly that only Half Life 2 / Episodic content is allowed, unless you have specific permission and credit the creators of custom content.

    2. Zekiran

      “Uploading the CS:GO textures for all to use” is piracy, and is absolutely not okay. Please do not do that. In order for anyone to use the textures found in any of the Source games, they must actually own the game. Releasing them to people who don’t pay for the product IS illegal. I’m not talking about ‘people who want to make the map for a competition’ only, I mean for use, period. It’s not okay, ever, to give something that needs to be paid for legally, to anyone who didn’t buy it.

  20. just wanna say the sound design in Outpost 57 was good, also more maps need funny moments.

    1. Zekiran

      I have to agree on both counts.

      The sad thing is, “dying is easy, comedy is hard” is really true. Purposefully making funny bits can sometimes be awesome, but doesn’t always work very well under pressure. I love how funny the dialog wound up being, in this one.

    2. Thanks a lot for the amazing feedback <3

  21. Category Points:

    https://docs.google.com/document/d/1SCg2DieQGLuHSwHgLOTSfYBWN6vSYjrSWBGo-VajCk4/edit?usp=sharing

    I used a Google document as that was the quickest way to share them.

    I’ll try to add them to the main post soon.

    1. Thank you for making these public.

  22. Mednes

    Spoilers if you haven’t played Outpost 57 yet!! OK so I start the map with no weapons. I quickly proceed to the next area, open the door, stacked boxes to open up the vent, and… the door is barred by planks from the other side! Now I got creative, stuck a chair onto those planks and closed the door, which opened up a way. I looked for a weapon everywhere but couldn’t find one. Is this really the way it was intended, or did I miss something really obvious? ๐Ÿ˜€ I didn’t get crowbar in the Disposal one either, I was weaponless until I ran inside, jump over zombies onto the table, grabbed shotgun and shot my way out ๐Ÿ˜€ and i proceeded to open every crate with a shotty ofc.

    edit: After activating the electricity and getting back where I found a door opened, I am now stuck at a closed off vent. I tried throwing barrel at it but it won’t budge ๐Ÿ˜€ atm I’m back to trying to locate the crowbar

    edit2: Crowbar and pistol located in a cabinet. This mod just got a lot less interesting ๐Ÿ˜€ (I never remember to try to open these)

    1. In HL2 you can always open those cabinets. Unfortunately many inexperienced mappers forget this so it starts creating wrong expectations in the player’s mind. You can also open them in my entry, Drain.

      1. Mednes

        I had no trouble in your entry because I glimpsed shotgun ammo in a half opened locker. Opening the rest then felt natural.

        1. Yes, the fact that one of the doors was open was intentional for that very reason. Glad to know that worked out ๐Ÿ˜€

    2. Well, it goes to show, as long as you don’t physically hand the weapon over to the player, there’s always a chance they won’t pick it up.

      1. Mednes

        Well, I have replayed Disposal to find the crowbar and found it immediately. I spent some time looking at barrels and stuff before going on with the map the first time around, and I think the zombies quite simply walked over the crowbar and blocked it from my sight.

        To be honest, that was one of the best things that could have happened. I had to kite them around and it created a lot of tension. I noticed the poison headcrab zombie to the right of the hut, so I figured hey gotta be something in the house. I entered the house, saw the shotgun but I knew it was crawling with zombies outside, maybe they were already at the door! I ran to the next room and found myself sort of blocked inside.

        That was much more fun than getting a crowbar, slowly clearing out the room and just having 3 zombies to deal with.

        1. Oh, I didn’t find the crowbar in disposal either. Didn’t know there was one before now.

          I did pretty much the same as you, got in the building, grabbed the shotgun, killed a couple of zombies who had followed me and quickly ran outside before I got caged in. In that map, as you said, having no crowbar is much better because it forces you to dodge the zombies instead of killing with it which is rather tedious.

    3. You kinda amazed me, to be honest. I literally put the planks there to ensure that the player has the crowbar before moving on, and Phillip even noticed this on his stream playthrough. How you managed to break those planks by somehow using a chair and the door is beyond my understanding. Also, yeah, players are usually taught that those blue lockers are openable from the very beginning of HL2, so I don’t really see how so many people completely missed them. Perhaps it’s the lighting, I dunno.

      Anyway, thanks for leaving a comment!

      1. Mednes

        That’s what I thought man, but I came back and scoured every little bit and couldn’t find the crowbar, so I started getting creative ๐Ÿ˜€ I even opened the supply crates using the door.

        Maybe you could have included a message about weapons being stashed in the room somewhere in the radio message. I went all the way back a few times wondering if maybe there wasn’t a crowbar somewhere in the rubble.

  23. Play It Now!

    Before reviewing all challenges, I need to say that it was great idea and most of the participants made awesome entries!

    Abyss by Confused Travolta
    It is great!

    As for me, I think it must be on the third place, not on the second. Well, it was something new, and I`m not expected so interesting puzzle. Cool!

    Coast by Bastion
    It is okay

    The main idea was great. But the mapping was weird, and sometimes had confusing places.

    Core Facility by Flamdar
    It is good

    Design of Combine Base is really lovely. But I didn’t get the idea of the journey, we travelled from above to underground to…open hatch to go above again???

    Disposal by Boonie
    It is good

    It was quite short! Although, I liked this for its athomsphere.

    Drain by Pedro Marques AKA Dalannar
    It is great!

    SHORT! It was really exciting and design was perfect, but why the chopper blew up by the water, I didn’t understand….

    Fissure by Dan M
    It is good

    Same as “Core Facility”, didn`t get idea of the jorney…but the style of Combine Base was cool!

    High Wire by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is WOW!

    Superb! As I said in previous reviews, all works by Jason Gimba are perfect! This is NOT the exception.

    Megastructure by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
    It is okay

    The main idea of they challenge is Chasm, right? Where is something like that, tall building = chasm? The world gone weird…

    Northern Face by melc311
    It is good

    From the start, I understood, that it will be short, and I was right. All in all, I loved the idea and design of this work.

    Outpost 57 by Niker107
    It is great!

    It must be on the second place! Oh, its amazing, design and also voice lines well-done. I expected some standart gameplay, but, when I fell from corridor, I was surprised! Nice twist!

    Retraction Valley by Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere
    It is good

    Same as “Megastructure”, but maybe Chasm was a big street. Some places were really dark, I must admit. Atmosphere was great, and the way how the situation was changing is pretty nice.

    The Gap by Joacim Rappu
    It is okay

    SHORT! If the “Drain” was short, but the twist was great. There I didn’t enjoy enough. Just like 5 minutes from point A to point B. Design is weird.

    Watering Hole by StrikeVonNice
    It is okay

    Again and again, the idea was Chasm, I didn’t find the Chasm, all game was weird as design itself. Didn’t get why we need to go through Combine to reach….G-man??? Ending was strange…

  24. I donโ€™t know where you people get the time to build maps like these. Awesome. Really enjoyed playing each.

    Iโ€™m not going to individually rate them because theyโ€™re all good in their own way.

    Brilliant, brilliant work.

  25. Lack of verbosity precludes my being able to use the recommendation images, and no point in repeating. I’ll just say that I thought this “VILLE” was the best ever! Yes, in doing so I gave extra “points” for there being so many entries. Its definitely a Personal Favorite in my book.

    Other than MegaStructure which I thought was awful, and Fissure and Disposal which I gave 6/10’s, the rest were up in the 8, 8 1/2, 9 or 9 1/2 out of 10. Just awesome.

    Thanks for so much gameplay!

  26. Play It Now!

    A really nice contest. I loved that there were so many entries and I thought the overall quality level was high. My favourite was Abyss, as I loved the setting and the puzzles required some thinking to complete. High Wire was a close second in my opinion. While I loved the layout of the canyon and the cable cars, I found the combat to be a little predictable. You just had to look at the weapon placement to know what was coming.

    I will definitely be playing these entries again when I have time!

  27. Play It Now!

    I needed to listen to a lot of happy music to be able to go through this mod. It’s not really playing the mod that’s hard, it’s trying to play it, remembering crucial details for the review, AND not forgetting to record demos for each entry, since those help the author better understand what went right/wrong. And I’m also really late. But hey, I think it’s… somewhat worth it. So let’s see what the entries are all about!
    PS. Sorry if the later entries didn’t get as much detailed information as the first ones. 13 entries is a lot to go through, and I tried my best not to give up on writing this thing.
    NOTE: This review has been written before the winners were announced and is therefore not influenced by the judges’ choices. Only the commentary on my own map has been written after the points reveal.

    WARNING: Spoilers Below.

    Abyss by Confused Travolta
    It is okay

    Personally, I think that this map is alright, but it probably won’t spark interest in everyone. The visuals are quite good, and I myself am a fan of maps where you get to visit multiple locations all at once, but the gameplay isn’t too intruiging. Perhaps, if there were special objectives in every place you visit, it would’ve been more interesting, but it seems that this map focused more on exploration, letting you look around the different environments that the author has provided. There were a few points at which you had to do something special in order to complete the main objective, but there weren’t many of them. My favourite places were the HL2 City 17 (presumably) and the Portal chamber. Overall, it’s not a bad entry, but it could use a bit more variety. Again, though, bonus points for the visual design. Every area was well-detailed and the chasm itself is beautiful. And also gray. And the ending is a well-crafted reward after your small journey.

    Coast by Bastion
    It is good

    This map was quite hard to judge, since it has a balanced amount of ups and downs. Plus, the author is on my Steam friendlist, so this review’s gonna be awkward to explain. Anyway, let’s talk about the map.

    Okay, first of all, the map is quite long and it is clearly focused on combat. There are a few interesting moments which I’ll get to later, but overall, you mostly go through the map shooting stuff. Some people might say that this map lacks variety, but I think that the encounters were evenly spread out, and certain puzzles helped balance out the gameplay. I absolutely loved the fact that the author added a vehicle which you don’t often see in HL2 mods. Bonus points for that. I also liked the use of headcrab canisters, hunters, and a small grenade puzzle. I’m usually extremely scared of hunters, but this map helped me overcome my fear, huzzah!

    Now, the bad stuff. The first thing that you notice is that the cliffs aren’t made with displacements. Personally, it didn’t distract me too much from the gameplay, but if you wanna make good-looking cliffs, you need to use those. I’m not sure whether the lack of displacements is due to a lack of time, or because the author doesn’t know how to use them well. I sucked at making displacements until I tried to make my entry for ChasmVille, so I wouldn’t blame him. More on the visuals, the door after the first hunter fight merges with the wall and the textures spazz out. The easiest way to fix this is to make the door stick out of the wall a bit by making the ‘Lip’ keyvalue greater than 0 (for func_door) or make the move distance smaller than the door’s width (for func_movelinear). The invisible wall at the beginning of the map that Phillip pointed out could easily be replaced with a small wooden barrier, however I’m not too troubled with this, since the ship would then have no way of being infront of the wooden barrier, logically.

    Gameplay-wise, after the first jumping puzzle, it is possible to fall into a small water pit which is then really hard to get out of. I don’t see how this missed the testing, since you should always think about what happens to the player if they fail. Putting stairs or a few planks there to get out would be good enough. The weapons could also easily be missed by the player. It’s best to put them directly on the path or really close to it. The crowbar and pistol at the start of the map could be missed by people like Phillip, for example. The crossbow is hidden well, but the awkward silent citizens didn’t really fit, in my opinion. Another bad thing is copying a building straight out of HL2, but I can understand that it was due to a lack of time, again.

    Overall, the entry is good, but there are issues with it. There are no mapping problems that couldn’t be solved with practice or just being well-informed, so I’m sure that if Bastion decides to participate in another mapping competition, that entry will be even better.

    Demos:
    Coast 1
    Coast 2

    Core Facility by Flamdar
    It is bad

    I never liked giving “It’s Bad” or “It’s Dire”, and I’m not gonna go grumpy and say that this map is horrible, but it’s clearly a beginner’s map. I don’t really know where to begin, though. I think, the concept behind this Combine base/chasm is good, but the gameplay and visuals need work. Here are the issues I found: there are barely any weapons at the start (just give more weapons or lower the difficulty curve), crates aren’t evenly spread out through the map (plus the places they appear in make no sense), there are no autosaves, the thing you have to do isn’t really well-explained (why am I activating these buttons, or this generator?), the difficulty curve is too high for the small amount of weapons and ammo you get, and the lighting is too dark to actually see stuff. Again, most of these issues can just be fixed with practice, so I’m sure if the author takes note of this, the next map by them will be better.

    Demos:
    Core Facility 1
    Core Facility 2
    Core Facility 3
    Core Facility 4

    Disposal by Boonie
    It is okay

    This entry confused me a lot, and I’m still kinda confused whether I completed it correctly or not. The visual style is great, bonus points for the barrels (I love those), but I didn’t really get the gameplay. The crane in the first area looks like it will need to be interacted with, but in the end, you don’t get to use it. The huge crowd of zombies basically told me that I need to get out of the area, so I ran up the tunnel, completely ignoring the crowbar and the shotgun. Then, I saw a huge crowd of Combine soldiers to my right, ran forward a bit, and then I was greeted by another huge crowd of Combine solders directly infront of me. So, I got cornered from both sides and (I think?) I died. Either way, on my second playthrough, I started to look for weapons, at which point I found the crowbar and the shotgun. I ended up just fighting through the two huge crowds of Combine soldiers until I ended up at the very end, climbed up the ladder and the map was over. It feels like the two areas (the disposal chasm and the cave tunnels) could be used a lot more than just having to fight through a horde of zombies followed by two Combine squads. I probably just went the brute force way and didn’t see most of what the map had to offer, but if that’s all there is, then the areas were honestly not used as much as they could’ve.

    Demos:
    Disposal 1
    Disposal 2

    PS. After watching other people’s playthroughs, it seems that the map is meant to be played the way I played it. As I said before, it’s slightly disappointing that we don’t get to see more stuff done in these beautiful areas.

    Drain by Dalannar
    It is great!

    HURRAY! I’m not the only person in the world who has played Mirror’s Edge. I recognized the reference as soon as I saw the main area of the map. Bonus points for the crossover! There’s not much I can say other than, the map is too short. The visual style and the gameplay are great, but it only took me about 5 minutes to complete the entire thing. There are a few other problems though: breakable objects don’t get destroyed if they go down the chasm, there are rooms which have lights, but no light fixtures, and I think it’d be better if the main enemy was able to destroy the windows in the rooms you try to hide in, as well as interact with the environment a bit more. Having the catwalks get destroyed infront of you would also look really cool.

    Overall, the map is good, and it struck a note somewhere deep in my heart, but it could’ve been made longer in the time which was given for the challenge.

    Demos:
    Drain 1
    Drain 2

    Fissure by Dan M
    It is okay

    Well, the map is quite short, and there isn’t too much variety. It seems that you go through a part of the Citadel, shooting at Combine soldiers, while a loud buzzing sound loops in the background, then you get to a console where you press a button and hear a looping door sound. First, I thought that was the whole map and that it was unfinished, so I quit, and started writing the review, but then I remembered about the teleportation device I saw earlier, so I realized that the button must’ve opened it. After replaying the map, it turns out that the device does indeed open, but the button also spawns a lot of soldiers in your way so that you have to fight your way back. After that, you get on the teleporter, hear a teleport sound and… the map ends. There’s not much I can say, it isn’t really detailed at all, the chasm doesn’t feel like it’s the main part of the map, the fights are basically just NPCs placed in your way, and the main puzzle (activating the teleportation device) isn’t too rewarding.

    However, since this is author’s first map (I think), it actually isn’t that bad. If I showed you my first maps, oh boy, you’d exit the game as soon as you started. So, for a first try, this is alright. Hopefully, we will see more maps from Dan M in the future!

    Demos:
    Fissure 1

    High Wire by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is WOW!

    Well, what am I supposed to write here? It’s Maki’s map, obviously it’s going to be amazing. As usual, the visual style fits HL2:EP2 really well and as others have pointed out, this could easily be a bonus map for the retail game. Using fast zombies at the very beginning to establish the threat infront of the player is very smart (bonus points!), the fights in the buildings are well-paced, and of course, both the last stand and the final battle are great. I think that Maki really likes the door concept that he made for Avenue Odessa, heh. By now, it sorta feels like a custom game mechanic. Although using it in every map wouldn’t be great, it’s nice to see it occasionally pop up. The chasm looks good, and the snowy roofs are a nice detail. I honestly can’t spot any flaws with this.

    Demos:
    High Wire 1

    Megastructure by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
    It is okay

    This map is alright, and it would’ve achieved an “It’s Good” rating, but there are issues with it and personally, I think that it doesn’t fit the theme well. When somebody says ‘chasm’, I imagine a huge, deep hole somewhere, a real chasm which’d probably kill you even if you fell half-way. Other than the that, there are issues with the map. First of all, you shouldn’t make music cut off unless you’re sure that the player has moved on or killed all enemies in an area. It got really annoying to hear a song start, only to have it cut off 15 seconds after. Second of all, spread supplies around the map realistically. There were points at which you just had items laying around on the floor with absolutely no reason behind it, and that makes me think like I’m just following some linear path instead of exploring and finding stuff myself. There are other small issues (which I can’t really remember atm) which can be fixed really easily with a bit more attention to detail.

    With that said, I think that the author’s creativity pays off. The idea of having a ‘survival-based’ map is nice, and I wasn’t irritated by the lack of a crowbar from the start, although on my first playthrough I did sorta try to get away from the zombies as fast as I could, since there weren’t too many ways to engage them at first. Unlike most people, I found the final battle quite enjoyable. I hope that the reviews for Megastructure don’t discourage crowbar from making more maps, as I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more entries by him in the next competitions.

    Demos:
    Megastructure 1
    Megastructure 2

    Northern Face by melc311
    It is good

    MISSION COMPLETE! I didn’t watch Phillip’s stream before playing this map, so thankfully I found this little bug myself. Extremely easy to fix, but I’m sure it made the map a thousand times more memorable for everyone who has played it. Other than that, I think that the gameplay and visual style of the map are both good. The stashed crates around the map are a nice touch, as are the little Combine fights, but sadly, the finale of the map is kinda disappointing. I understand that the author did not have enough time to finish the entry, but I think more time should’ve been put into the boss battle. The helicopter should have more paths to which it can move, and sometimes having it shoot while moving leads to the player taking damage either way, since there are is no way to hide from that.

    Demos:
    Northern Face 1
    Northern Face 2
    Northern Face 3

    Retraction Valley by ESToomere
    It is good

    I think this map is well-made, but there are issues with it and I think it’d have done better in another competition. Clearly, a lot of time was put into it, and I don’t mind it being long, but it doesn’t really fit the theme. The only things which I could consider a ‘chasm’ are, perhaps, the mall and the part where we have to use the jalopy to get to the other side of the force field. But even then, they aren’t really the main parts of the map.

    Other than that, I didn’t think that the map was too dark and I liked the gloomy atmosphere. The gameplay was good, since I didn’t have much trouble realizing that I had to find an orange valve for the parking lot door and then use that to jump to the other side. So, going through the building first by foot and then by car felt quite natural to me. The ending is also a nice touch to finish off an already cool map. I’m looking forward to seeing more maps by ESToomere, hopefully some which would fit the theme better.

    Demos:
    Retraction Valley 1

    The Gap by Joacim Rappu
    It is good

    As others have pointed out, perhaps this map is a bit too short, but I really enjoyed the visual style of the chasm in this one. We instantly know our objective, and it’s not too hard to understand where the player needs to go, so I liked spending a bit of time looking around at the pretty wooden buildings and realizing that I sorta screwed up the pulley puzzle on my first go. Overall, the gameplay is simple, the map is visually pleasing, so it’s a fun little entry.

    Also, one thing I wanna say just for the sake of it, when the screen faded to black, the map didn’t end, and after about 5 seconds of darkness and nothingness, one of the citizen NPCs just went “Are we gonna… get going anywhere?” That was fun. I’d definitely give bonus points if it was scripted that way.

    Demos:
    The Gap 1

    Watering Hole by StrikeVonNice
    It is okay

    I guess I’m sort of neutral about this map. The final area doesn’t really qualify as a ‘chasm’ in my opinion, and there are a lot of visual glitches and blocky structures. I’d have preferred the ending to be simply a white tunnel than G-Man speaking to you with his mouth closed, heh. Other than that, I guess the map was fun to play. I’m not saying that the huge amount of zombies and soldiers being in that one house randomly is a good thing, but somehow, I enjoyed running through it, shooting at everything, and constantly being hit from the side by headcrabs or flying crates and furniture. The final battle with the gunship is pretty standard, so I don’t think I can add anything to that.

    Demos:
    Watering Hole 1

    Outpost 57 by Niker107 AKA myself

    [MAP OWNER] As usual, the ‘review’ of my map isn’t really a ‘review’, but instead, a behind-the-scenes commentary on the map’s creation.

    NOTE: This is going to be very long.

    Okay, so, let’s start with how the map was conceptualized. The very first idea that came into my mind was having a tunnel cave in behind you, leaving you weapon-less, and then walking through some sort of water facility until you ended up in a resistance hideout. The reason for the whole hideout and especially the radio is adding replayability to the level. I made the vent hard to find, so that nobody casually looking around could spot it, and the radio guy would point out that you have to climb up to the vent to open the door with the keypad. I made this so I could tell the backstory of the map to the players and then have them move on. And if they had already played the map, they could simply activate the switch and move on without having to listen to the radio in the first place. There are, however, a few things that fired back at me. First of all, making the vent hard to access even if the player knew that they had to get to it created problems for those who dislike crate stacking. Second of all, making the vent hard to spot (if you hadn’t listened to the radio) created problems for people who didn’t wanna listen to stuff and didn’t really care about the backstory. Also, apparently the locker with the crowbar was hard to find, however I don’t see this as a problem since HL2 players should already know that those lockers open, besides, they are right near the door. Either way, I could’ve just left one of the doors open so the player would open the others, so I guess this issue is easily fixable.

    After I was done with the hideout, I had the idea to add a bit of the facility that didn’t have power, and I knew that I’d need to add another puzzle before I could move onto the chasm. So I thought that, since this is a water facility, I’ll add the classic electrifying water puzzle. After I finished making it, however, I didn’t really like it myself because even I had trouble completing it without taking any damage. I don’t understand why jumping on the crates is so hard, since it seems that sometimes your jumps just get ignored by the game entirely. This is a fault in Source’s physics, so I don’t think I can really fix it. Also, making the actual lever and the stairs at the end electrified were bad decisions, which ended up killing a lot of players on their first try. Honestly, I think I could’ve made this room a bit better, and I regret to say that it’s probably the most frustrating location in the map (at least to some people).

    Other than getting the idea for the electrified water puzzle, I also simultaneously came up with the idea for the chasm’s reveal. I realized what I wanted it all to look like from the very beginning. I knew that I wanted the player to go into this seemingly normal corridor, and when they tried to open the door at the end, the tile floor beneath them would start collapsing and they’d end up in the chasm. (By the way, the corridor was inspired by a corridor from Blast Pit, RaiseTheBarVille. Thanks!)

    Making the tile floor break apart was the hardest part, but I think I managed to do it quite well, and the reveal is astonishing, in my opinion. I wanted the player to think they’ll fall to their death, so I ended up placing a lightbridge that only activates when the player gets close to it, saving them at the very last moment. One thing that not many people noticed (I think), is that the player is made invincible for a few seconds after the fall, since the height is big enough to take damage. I didn’t want the player to get hurt for nothing, and if they came across the chasm with 5 HP left, they’d have to replay the whole map from the beginning, which would be horrible.

    The chasm was originally intended to look very different. We weren’t going to fall onto a lightbridge, but instead, onto a metal Combine support. That idea was scrapped after I came up with the lightbridge, though. The chasm was going to be filled with trains and various bridges moving around (inspired by the final level in Mission Improbable. Thanks!). As it is now, it’s simply ‘Outpost 57’ with no defined purpose other than having an energy core. It was originally going to be a central transportation hub, but due to a lack of time, I couldn’t make a cave big enough to have trains moving around in it. There were also going to be City Scanners flying around, but I completely forgot about this idea by the time I submitted the entry.

    I am a person who really likes puzzles, but I knew that I’d need to add combat to a Combine outpost. I didn’t want to give up on puzzles, however, so this map combines (see what I did there?) both elements. I’ll admit it, the combat is still kinda shit, partly because I had absolutely no experience with it before making Outpost 57, so the first enemy, the manhacks, were added in so I could continue to work on the chasm itself without having to worry about dealing with AI just yet. They were originally going to spawn at the bottom of the chasm, behind the huge Combine pillars. You can actually still see a small ‘dispenser’ there, which I left as a tribute to the original concept. The manhacks took too much time to get to the player on the elevator, though, so I instead made them spawn from pipes coming from the ceiling.

    The Combine soldier encounter was a thing I really struggled with. I tried using scripted sequences first, but the soldiers would just look in one direction (like they didn’t know you existed), so I moved on to ai_goal_assault which didn’t really work, since they tried to bash their way through the force field, and then I decided on using ai_goal_standoff, which seems to work pretty great. Now, I’ll address a really big issue: the force field is solid. And yes, it’s on purpose. There is, however, a reason behind it. Originally, the player would still be fighting manhacks on their way to the top, so I wanted the soldiers not to shoot at the player until a second after they arrived. This second is meant to give the player enough time to assess the situation before beginning the combat. However, many people ended up trying to shoot bullets or SMG grenades through the force field, at which point they were greeted with a not-so pleasant denial. The fight is meant to start instantly (and that’s why I didn’t want to use a slow door), so that the player and the soldiers are both given a fair chance to start the fight.

    The finale is a looot worse than I wanted it to be. Originally, it was supposed to be a huge last stand where the player would shoot at Combine soldiers coming from everywhere around the reactor. After surviving all of that, the player would be shielded by a combine force field (one which also wouldn’t let bullets through) and they’d holster their weapons, looking at the huge, glowing core infront of them. They’d have time to simply stare at the soldiers pointlessly trying to shoot at them, and then they could casually destroy the core, blowing up the entire cave. However, I had to switch that amazing ending for a simple fade to white. Time constraints are sometimes both good and bad for your work. In this case, it ended up being bad, but I couldn’t have made it up to this point in the first place if the time constraint didn’t push me to move on.

    Overall, I still really like how the map turned out. I clearly did not have enough time left when I started doing the chasm, but I liked the concept and the beauty of the cave so much that I really wanted to submit the map, even if I couldn’t finish it, even if it was going to end up crappy. I was just so damn proud of the thing that I had made! Either way, to finish off, thanks to absolutely everyone who played it, and thanks especially to the judges and voters for choosing my map for third place. I love all the support you get on RTSL, and I am most definitely going to continue making maps for this site.

    Demos:
    Outpost 57-1

    Thanks to everyone who participated, played and judged this competition!

  28. Alright, so I’m going to post-mortem High Wire now.

    It took me a while to start. I didn’t have a layout I was confident about. At first I pursued the idea of a bridge over a high place, not too unlike the one from Highway 17. But the process of getting to the bridge from the ground below, using Lost Coast-style cliffs, would have required a lot of displacement work. And of course, sight lines from bridges are always a problem. You could fog it, yes, but then you deny the awesome Episode Two vista shots. And I knew from Truss, that was always a selling point.

    I wound up setting it aside for several days until I had better ideas.

    As some saw on my Twitter (@makidev), I had posted a screenshot from Hammer about a week before the deadline. Yes, High Wire was made in a week. Even though I’m happy with the end result, this isn’t something I’d like to do again. It was a mad rush.

    With a layout in mind, all the buildings were initially built next to each other. Then, they were Transformed around the map until I liked how they were juxtapositioned at various heights, and chunky brushes that would later become displacements filled the spaces in between. From there, the structures were fleshed out with various props and details. Combat started to come in rather early – all combat scenarios had a broad plan from the start and the level was beginning-to-end functional by the 5th day, I believe. The first room of the lodge was originally going to have combat, but it became a breathing space instead. Likewise, the second mounted gun battle was going to be a bigger deal, but it was cut down to one guy because the player could rush the tram button and having multiple battles would have sucked.

    The player starts in an area that was cleared out before the player took control, hence the dead Combine. But the real motivation was to just have something flaming up on the hill that could be an animated reference point from anywhere else in the map.

    I do wish I angled the turret box differently because half the players seem to miss it or forget about it. There is ample time between activating the tram and the first Combine appearing to set them up.

    The first Combine battle is also a bit glitchy. It’s not unusual for the Combine to take cover behind cars and never move, even as you plink them. It’s a quirk of the LOS setup there. The Combine lock not being a lock, yeah, that’s pretty silly. There’s also a tree which doesn’t block bullets like it should. I end up clipping around the Ep2 trees because I dislike how they ramp up at the bottom (it’s easy to launch yourself), so this was an oversight. Should have been nodraw or invisible. IMakeLevels pointed out that the truck at the start of this area could have been positioned more centrally, to allow players to advance from the left or the right. I think that’s a valid point, as long as the SMG and ammo were still framed well. He also noted the really thin wire leading to the forcefield and I think that’s valid too. Ever since I learned you could have wire width be decimal, I’ve shied away from 1 thickness ropes.

    The tram itself is interesting. A lot of people don’t seem to notice the keypads for opening the side doors, which is kind of funny because the lighting accidentally made them super glowy and obvious. Daz killed himself with a rocket that impacted the button around the lever. That button definitely should have been killed when it was no longer needed. The tram is deliberately spartan on details because, back in Avenue Odessa, a lot of players didn’t interpret the train walls as valid cover. Here, you can get right up next to the wall and be safe – at least until the Gunship orbits around.

    An issue I ran across during development was that the Gunship would sometimes deal out 40 HP damage to the player off one shot! It turns out, this had to do with the windows having “Don’t Allow Bullet Penetration” unchecked. Checking the option fixed this. The Gunship has some unusual properties concerning bullet penetration and I guess this, combined with the windows allowing it, somehow dramatically multiplied the damage. Another minor issue was the item crates falling through the tram. This was resolved by having them spawn a few moments after the level starts, instead of placing them in advance.

    One of the quirky achievements I’m proud of is the ammo resupply on the tram. I know that sounds really mundane, but as mappers know, the ammo resupply crates don’t allow parenting. So, to make this one move with the tram, it’s a pretty elaborate hack. It doesn’t use the console to grant the player ammo, but instead uses a trick to keep spawning ammo at the player’s location and remove it if the player is full. No one questions its authenticity, so that’s cool. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Niker noted there should have been a more impactful shake or viewpunch when the tram crashed. There is supposed to be a shake there. I’m not sure why it doesn’t play, but I agree. There’s also supposed to be way more smoke which doesn’t play (although, I believe you can see it if you kill yourself shortly after the tram crashes and watch the sequence again on reload).

    Myself, I’m actually not super happy with how the map looks. I think the displacement work is really sloppy in places and the ridge lines needed a lot more undulation to look natural. I dislike the Ep2 cliff textures because I find them super repetitive, but I couldn’t see the Truss textures working here because it was supposed to be mountainous and cold. There was a point where I was experimenting with adding more snow, and making snow-blend materials with the Ep2 cliffs, but that didn’t really pan out. Decided it was better to err on the side of subtlety with snow. I didn’t end up decorating the bottom of the chasm because it’s a huge space to fill and I wasn’t convinced I could fill it well. Felt it was best to not call attention to it. Besides, I’m on a new PC and flying somewhat blind when it comes to performance, so I’d rather have more detail and effects in places that would be seen.

    The thing I like most is that the map winds up drawing a little something from most of my previous maps. The mounted gun scenario from Excavation. The styling of Forest Train. The train from from Avenue Odessa. The tracktrain bucket from Cannon Beach. The crashing bridge of Truss. The DNA of all these things found their way into the level at some point. Not copy-paste, but rebuilt and adapted, sometimes painstakingly. The more maps you do, the more experiences you can draw from. The more aware you are of various pitfalls and edge cases.

    Not that this was any help getting Combine Soldier c2s1 to lock the door behind him. The jerk. ๐Ÿ™‚

    As usual, the VMF is available in the /mapsrc folder of the mod, so you’re free to check it out and dissect it. I thank the judges and all you reviewers – and the YouTubers who don’t end up posting here but whose videos are nonetheless invaluable – and look forward to what comes next. ๐Ÿ˜€

    1. Unq

      Great postmortem, it’s always interesting to see mapper’s notes and insights on their works. At some point I hope to actually start mapping in Source, your vmfs and notes are great references to have available.

      At some point in the future I do hope you give High Wire the same treatment as Avenue Odessa, a nice polishing and perhaps slight expansion. And get c2s1 to do his job.

  29. Hec
    Play It Now!

    Overall this is a very great competition! I guess The perfect formula to have great and many entries and in reason of that being a great comp. Is the pretty cool incentives RTSL offers to the mappers who dare to enter the comp.

    And here I can say we have plenty of entries and all of them feel quite cool in combat and game play terms. Also they’re quite original and many of them are quite challenging.

    Now lets review each of them.

    Abyss by Confused Travolta
    It is good

    Cool original concept, quite surreal scenario, and I think possibly is a worthy winner, personaly I like the puzzle-exploring features in those beautiful HL2 places, but as I’m a combat gamer I’d love to see some action, which I really miss in this entry.

    Coast by Bastion
    It is good

    Cliff pathways were quite square and rough. Though combat was pretty cool and felt like a real combat HL2 mission.

    Core Facility by Flamdar
    It is good

    That CMB structure felt quite real and combat was nice, tough the scarce weapons availability at the beginning make it quite annoying, I like fighting the gunship indoors, as I think that was a great general ending, I give my greetings to the author for have the guts to implement that cool ending battle.

    Disposal by Boonie
    It is great!

    I really liked this one. great realistic cave-like scenario. Amazing surprising combat against literally a CMB infantry Division. Simple but realistic and well achieved.

    Drain by Dalannar
    It is great!

    I just love to see these realistic humongous structures in HL2! The helicopter battle is just delightful and overall the environment in this entry is pretty cool.

    Fissure by Dan M
    It is okay

    Quite short and i felt the whole map just very plain and the absence of the chasm feeling was a constant. Combat was linear an predictable, and the ending was kind of badly done as the screen just fades black and that’s it.

    High Wire by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is WOW!

    JG. material is always kind of “VALVE QUALITY” you know. That’s it. Feels very profesional with a simple but pretty fun combat layout. Is just sweet to play, for me this should have been the perfect winner. Due to lack of time I just couldn’t vote for this as the winner.

    Megastructure by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA crowbar
    It is okay

    That building felt just weird and unrealistic structure and just going up floors with some combat on it was just OK but never great, you know. As combat felt quite predictable, and also the chasm absence feeling was a constant in this entry too! The final combat against the Hunters was just too much! I love to battle hunters, but is just annoying to do it in a reduced rat-trap space!!

    Northern Face by melc311
    It is WOW!

    Personally I really liked this one. Though I find a crucial bug at the beginning, if you pull the cable car once it has arrived to the station you can get the “mission completed” screen advice, and the map ends even without having to play it at all!! Anyway, the combat was cool, the exploration was fun and rewarding, the view felt just beautiful. And the combat was intense till the very end, I really loved to kill the chopper with the mounted gun at the end. The scenario felt realistic and the chasm feeling was always very intense.

    Retraction Valley by ESToomere
    It is bad

    The lighting just ruined this whole map. Was way too much dark!!! was tired to the eyes to play, and the chasm feeling was just 0, sorry but place some destroyed building rooftops doesn’t make a natural chasm scenario. The combat was decent and the cannon offered some challenge. But that parking lot puzzle was just too freaking tedious.

    The Gap by Joacim Rappu
    It is good

    Was nice to play and the physics puzzle was just nice. Although playing just with the Grav. Gun is not my cup of tea, I’d like to combat some CMB in there, as the zombies were just very boring and predictable. Also the chasm feeling was well achieved.

    Watering Hole by StrikeVonNice
    It is great!

    The concept although was little about chasm feeling, was just beautifully built around the water and the waterfall concept. That make me think it would be nice to see some “waterfallville“, I also enjoyed the final battle against the gunship.

    In conclusion.

    A great competition with a lot of fun entries to play. So you definitely must play this!!

  30. I’ve had a long break from HL playing Fallout 4, but I decided I wanted some of that HL goodness, so I downloaded a whole bunch of maps. A refreshing change from the predictability of Bethesda story writing is playing HL mod challenges. Always plenty of surprises! Enjoying Abyss so far, but I just cannot do the long jump. I’ve never been good at it. Any tips?

    1. the map doesn’t really require a long jump as far as I remember. Maybe you forgot to lower one of the bridges? Give us more information about your problem.

      1. I watched Philip jump it, but couldn’t do the same. I cheated with lower gravity. When I went on to the next map I noticed I could sprint again. Not sure what happened there. As I said, I haven’t played for a while and couldn’t remember whether I could sprint before. Once I got it back it was obvious I should have been able to.

        1. you couldn’t sprint because you have no HEV suit in the map Abyss

  31. Play It Later

    A really nice collection of above average maps with one of two being far better than the rest. I really like High Wire for example. I would heartily recommend a download but I personally feel a new comer to HL2 would appreciate these more so? I might be wrong. I was torn between “Maybe” and “Play it later” for an overall score. I went with the latter because of maps like High Wire and Coast and Northern Face.

  32. Play It Now!

    There are some great mods in this mapping challenge — some of which I think may be underrated in my view. I’ll try not to repeat what others have already said, so I’ll limit myself to a few highlights of what I thought were features of the best four mods in this bunch (ordered from best and down).

    High Wire: The best mod in Chasmville in my view, and it feels straight out of the forest bits of HL2 EP2, in all it’s beautiful detail and playability.

    Disposal: The mod takes place in a rather refreshing setting — a cavernous mine / waste dump. Nice level design and detail. The pounding combine action was especially impressive to me.

    Retraction Valley: A great mod, and underrated in my view. It has quality HL2 EP1 elements reminiscent of the escape from City 17 but with the addition of a night-time atmosphere. While there is a seeming lack of a chasm in this map (and while that may play into how well it does as part of the specific mapping challenge), I don’t think that takes away from the mod considered in its own right. The only thing that was rather annoying was the sheer size of the map, which caused my FPS to drop drastically. It would have been better if the modder cut up the map into manageable chunks.

    Abyss: Very clever and original puzzles reminiscent of Portal. While I can greatly appreciate this mod, a HL2 mod that is mostly puzzles is not my personal cup of tea.

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