DefendVilleTwo

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

DefenedVilleTwo is the first mapping challenge in The Hammer Cup 2017, a series of five mapping challenges spread throughout the whole of 2017, each with a different theme.

It contains 11 official entries and 1 unofficial (it was late) entry.

Ranging from short, focused maps to larger multi-defense points maps.

I am sure you will enjoy most of them.

Basic Details
  • Title: DefendVilleTwo
  • Filename: hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c1-defendvilletwo
  • Size : 141MB
  • Author: ethosaur, 1upD, Dave, Spyde3r, Crowbar, Ttiki, Rekurer, Alex Marcu AKA melc311, Stanislav Rosecky AKA Stanleyros, Mark AKA Strontvlieg, Sockman, Klems
  • Date Released: 18 February 2017

Download Options

Download to your HDD [141MB]
You can still use it with Gauge once you have downloaded it.

Manual Installation Instructions

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

  • Copy the hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c1-defendvilletwo folder into your …\Steam\SteamApps\Sourcemods\ folder.
  • Start or restart Steam
  • RTSL.THC17.C1.DefendVilleTwo should now be listed in your “Library” tab.
The Hammer Cup 2017

The Hammer Cup 2017 consists of five mapping challenges, each with a different theme.
Entrants will receive points for each challenge they enter.
At the end of the event, the best 3 points totals from the challenges they entered will be added together for each entrant.
These totals will decide who wins the Grand Prizes.
This means that entrants do NOT have to enter each and every contest to win the grand prize but they will need to have entered at least 3 challenges to have a chance of winning the grand prizes.

Full details of the event cane be found here: The Hammer Cup Homepage

The Hammer Cup 2017 Prize Fund

The more money we raise, the more money the entrants get!

Theme Details

We would like you to create a map in which the player has to defend a location from attack.

The player should be given a maximum of 5 minutes preparation time but MUST also have the option of triggering the attack manually (for example, with a button or some other clearly marked method).

We want you to create a map that allows for replayability by including a variety of defenses. Ideally, the map would allow for players to use a variety of defensive tactics on replays.

We DO NOT want you to simply create a rebel base and have a lot of Combine soldiers rush it. Maybe the Combine are attempting to destroy (or steal) something vital to the rebels and you have to specifically defend that.

Consider attack waves, with a slight rest between them for the player to regroup.

This challenge is not restricted to a Combine-only attack, so perhaps mix in other HL2 enemies if you like.

The player could be a Combine soldier instead (we will assume that the Combine have stolen an HEV). The location could be moving – maybe defend an APC that is carrying a rebel prisoner.

You should try to create something that will surprise the judges (and players!), is fun to play at least twice, and hopefully looks great and is polished.

We encourage you to look at the more successful maps in the original DefendVille for ideas or inspiration – but create your own ideas on the theme (and keep in mind DefendVille was slightly more restrictive than this challenge).

Entries

Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself:
Castle Defender by ethosaur
Countermeasure by 1upD
Defenders of the Old Republic by Dave
Energy Train by Spyde3r
Haven by Crowbar
Mine by Ttiki
Neocortex Prosecution by Rekurer
Trainyard by Alex Marcu AKA melc311
Unexpected Interference by Stanislav Rosecky AKA Stanleyros
Urban Disarray by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
Warm Up by Sockman
Zombie Defense by Klems

Reviewing

If you decide to use the Per-Map Opinion Images, please either watch the video below or use the VilleReviewTemplate.txt file. Thank you.

Winners and Points

Winner: Zombie Defense by Klems
Second: Haven by Crowbar
Third: Unexpected Interference by Stanislav Rosecky AKA Stanleyros

Full Points Allocation

Full points can be found on the public spreadsheet.

Zombie Defense by Klems: 98
Haven by Crowbar: 80
Unexpected Interference by Stanislav Rosecky AKA Stanleyros: 69
Countermeasure by 1upD: 31
Trainyard by Alex Marcu AKA melc311: 31
Neocortex Prosecution by Rekurer: 29
Castle Defender by ethosaur: 28
Urban Disarray by Mark AKA Strontvlieg: 24
Energy Train by Spyde3r: 20
Mine by Ttiki: 20
Warm Up by Sockman: 21
Defenders of the Old Republic by Dave: 17

Public Vote

For this year’s The Hammer Cup, a public vote will have equal importance as the Judges’ vote, however, only RTSL members who joined before 17th February 2017 will be counted.
To vote, please go here: RTSL: THC2017: Challenge 1: DefendVilleTwo Community Voting Form.
The vote closed Monday 27th February 2017.

Menu Music

Brane Scan by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

Release Versions

0.8 – Judges’ Version. No Intro video or readme. No background or chapter images.
0.9 – Early Access version for Patrons and entrants. No Intro video or readme. Missing Scenes folder.
1.0 – This Version. First Release.

Credits

The RunThinkShootLive.Com introduction video was made by Jeff Muñoz (ThatoneJeff)” and he also significantly helped with logo design – thanks Jeff, you ROCK!
Rob Martens for converting the RTSL introduction video and my intro video into .bik format.

Custom Gridview Images

Twelve gridview icons are included in this file. To use the included grid view icon, select “Gridview” in Steam (top right corner).
Right click on “RTSL.THC17.C1.DefendVilleTwo” and select “Set Custom Image”.
Then browse to the SourceMods folder and then to hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c1-defendvilletwo/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.

General Mapping Challenge Rules

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

Sponsor

This challenge was partly sponsored by Nodecraft – High Performance Game Servers.

Videos

Coming Soon.

Screenshots

WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
Each map has 5 screenshots.

1024 x 576

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
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1600 x 900

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

11 recommendations, average score: 4.64 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.41 (what's that?)
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 14 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: 2 Users
Manually: 12 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 3 Hours, 44 Mins
Shortest: 2 Hours by Spyde3r
Longest: 8 Hours by fdewit
Total Time Played: 52 Hours, 18 Mins
Jump to a review
Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It LaterMaybe?Play It Now!Play It LaterPlay It Now!

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59 Comments

  1. Well, this is the first time I ever made a public map 😀

    1. The recommendation image for this review has been removed as it did not follow the guidelines.

  2. a shame that trainyard didn’t make it in time to compete with the others, cause that is my favorite map so far. Haven’t played all of them yet.

  3. so since my question wasn’t answered the last time, I’ll ask again: Are participants allowed to vote? Cause there is no reason not to vote for your own map. In my opinion it shouldn’t be allowed. Or allow it and expect everyone to vote for his own map. Or if someone really thinks his map deservers top 3, he still might not vote for it because he might think people will think negatively of him.

    1. Yes, entrants can vote. Nobody’s community vote will be made public.

      1. alright 🙂
        the system still can be abused, but I don’t think we have a community that would do that 🙂
        especially since only established members can vote.

        1. The system could be abused whether entrants vote or not, but I’ll do my best to filter the false votes.

      2. RobosergTV

        Please make the amount of votes public, it was very useful before.

        1. AFter the vote is finished, I will decide what we make public.

  4. @ethosaur
    your map make can break extremely easily and the player might not even notice it. Is the player supposed to be able to destroy the main gate with the crowbar? I did that on my first playthrough and the map broke, the gunship didn’t spawn for example.

    On my second playthrough I didn’t break the gate but went down through the cave, which was also much better for the flow of the map, so I assume this was the intended way. This time the map also didn’t break.

    I know of some other person who had this issue and just assumed that this is a bad map, because the player doesn’t realize that the map is broken.

    1. Yeah to confirm for anyone else that plays, this was not intentional.
      Traverse through the caves for the correct way of playing through, should work fine from there (Just dont break the gates)

      1. Ah, so that is why I have to go look for enemies after I’ve found the NPC I need to protect. Indeed It is easy to break. In fact I did not find a way in except breaking the gate…

        So I guess I need to start again if I’m going to review this one propperly.

  5. JamaicanDave

    Based on Dolmo’s vids I’d say the stand out maps of the competition are (in order of appearance): Haven, Trainyard, Unexpected Interference and Zombie Defense. I do also quite like the city aesthetic of Urban Disarray.

    The rest were a bit mixed, but it is nice to see mappers with a range of skill and experience taking part.

  6. I am glad to see that it’s finally out. Some of the maps were dire, but I guess it’s because of the new mappers, but I think it’s a good thing in the end. I also think I could have done way better on my map too and add more various enemies from more locations.
    By the way Philip, can you please modify my entry name to ‘Alex Marcu aka melc311’? That would be neat.

    1. Done, I’ll update the readme in the mod soon.

      1. it still says “Trainyard by Alex Marcu” for me on this page

  7. Yay! I was waiting for it. Hope to play it ASAP.

  8. RobosergTV

    Is there a way to see voting results? I always picked the mods to lets play based on the number of votes. It was quick and efficient. Please make the results public.

    1. Jesus

      Should play the mod yourself and cover the maps you like instead of just doing the popular ones just to get views?

      1. RobosergTV

        Yes, I should also watch all movies and play all games that are coming out by the thousands, because hey, I have unlimited time per day. Great advice!

  9. Play It Now!

    Castle Defender – This map is fairly fun. The ambience and theme was a bit cheesy but it was ok. I liked the keys and chests gimmick. I liked the fact that there was lots of optional content (I broke the map by bashing through the gate but I interpreted that as another way in). The wave were a bit strange tho. The gunship should’ve been last. The dropship combines went in one after the other, which made it very easy to counter. The king lowering the bridge wasn’t communicated clearly. I would’ve liked a crown model on the king’s head. Also one of the music overlapped with another.

    Countermeasure – Very confusing. Everything looks the same. Why are the rebels fighting us? Why was the first tesla coil already on? Where is the anti-headcrab device and how do I enable it? Why is there zombies around if the rebels had an anti-headcrab device? The wave were fairly tough until I realized the tesla coils could ignite everything they touch, so I used that everywhere. This made the map pretty easy (I think this would’ve been more punishing if I played on hard). I don’t think I finished the map, combines went in and then nothing happened? I think if you removed the corridors around the main arena and improved the center/waves, the map would’ve been more fun. The idea of protecting something from zombines grenades was cool. This is a good exemple of a mapper trying to over achieve. If you’re under a strict deadline don’t try to stuff in everything you can (NPC reskins, new mechanics, etc). Regarding the tesla coils, don’t just add sparks, add everything you can (sounds and effects when they’re being carried, when they’re shot, when they fizzle out, when they touch something, etc).

    Defenders of the Old Republic – I somewhat liked the minimalism? Running around picking up ammo. If there was no grenade crates, no turrets, less combines, combines dropping health, and the doors moved closer, this could’ve been much more fun and focused. Nothing to explore which is a shame.

    Energy Train – Very ugly. The ball generator can be used to shoot combines, but it should’ve been in a more useful place. In the middle of the room would’ve been perfect. Avoid instant death traps, they aren’t fun at all. I think the map broke since the fourth battery never got out of the wall. Why is there a elevator if you can’t (I think?) use it?

    Haven – One of the better maps of the bunch. Most of the buildings were explorable but were HUGE, very dark, and had very little reward. This made them very boring to explore, especially since you had every weapons right from the start. The map itself was too big, it felt like quite a bit of walking to get from one place to the other. The waves were pretty fun and hectic though, it felt like the EP2 finale and that’s great. The progression through the “entry points” felt natural and the landmarks were clear enough.

    Mine – Very ugly. Very small and overcrowded, then very large. The combines all come from one place and they stop at a broken door. The cart started without me so I walked on the rail. Why are the combines and antlions attacking a generator? Which powerbox is number 1? There isn’t any indication. I think all generators are destroyed but this doesn’t seem to cause a game over.

    Neocortex Prosecution – The waves were a bit hard, but since the combines all get funneled through the same spot and you have a RPG crate nearby it’s a bit too easy. I liked the fact that the game counts the number of alive citizens at the end. I felt deceived when I realized the antlions thumper couldn’t be turned off. As a matter of fact the antlions were pretty useless, they could’ve been used to attack the combines if you turned the thumper off for instance. I liked the random item generator even though it was a bit too slow to use.

    Train Yard – Very fun and very pretty map. The waves were quite fast and it was very hectic. Nicely done. I would’ve liked a little bit more enemies varieties. Some rollermines for instance. Also, please, for the love of god, don’t EVER put infinitely repeating message on the screen. It’s EXTREMELY infuriating. I couldn’t prepare the defense since the game insisted that I pressed the goddamn button.

    Unexpected Interference – The environments were pretty. The way you get the weapons at the beginning was great but felt out of theme. The rest of the map felt like a good defense map, it had a good rythm. The arena was a bit boring, I would’ve loved to be able to walk on the boats, but it was essentialy a big box with some covers. Don’t use helicopters if the player only has a rocket launcher, they take too much rockets to take down. Add a sprite and a light on the teleporter when it’s on.

    Urban Disarray – Too small. Good visuals but the map is a bit flat. The way forward by blowing up the butane tank wasn’t obvious. It’s possible to break the map by staying in the starting room for 5 minutes.

    Warm Up – Extremely ugly. Very confusing. Only 1 dropship came in when I played, then nothing. I liked the fact that the arena moved up but it wasn’t really well used.

    Zombie Defense – My map. This is my first solo map, but I’ve made numerous multiplayer maps. Most of the problems when I made this were entity related (as usual with source), especially moving the zombies toward the objective efficiently. I made a greybox version and I’m glad I did since this allowed me to tune the travel time of the zombies, get the scale right from the start, tweak jump height, etc. The first version was very big, I toned it down to almost one half. I asked some friends to playtest it and this allowed me to highlight some problems. The first version was much too hard, without the first playtest I wouldn’t have caught on and the map wouldn’t have been much fun. I made the way to the rooftops a little more obvious by moving the frag crate above the car. Initially the propeller was already on the motor so the tester didn’t realized it could be reused, so I moved it away from the motor. For the detailling I didn’t bother much, I copied and pasted several brushworks from the SDK ravenholm vmf. The textures were directly taken from this map, and so were the soundscapes. I tried to be as faithful as possible to the language and universe of HL2. I don’t think this map is perfect but I’m pretty proud of myself, as I had little trouble making it and it came out more or less like I envisioned. I always knew what to do next and it’s a great felling when you’re in the zone.
    As for improving the map, I think the waves could be tightened a little more and the ending made a bit more clear. Make the player involved in the escape somehow, by allowing the train to go through or something. It can feel underdetailed and bare in some places, it could use a little more reliefs and decals and colored lights. I didn’t go too wild on the traps either, I should’ve made 1 or 2 more just for the sake of sadism. It’s ravenholm after all.

    1. I was worried about this, my map (warmup) glitched out for you. Two dropships are supposed to spawn, and the one that didn’t spawn for you basically triggers the rest of the map. I didn’t have time to fix this, which is completely my fault, but it would be nice if you replayed it in it’s working form. Thanks! 🙂

      1. So I replayed it properly and I have to say I was unfair when I said it wasn’t well used. Some parts of the moving platform should’ve been textured with grate textures or at least glass texture, it was quite hard to see/shoot below. Where do we teleport to in the end? Was that the ship we were trying to protect? But it was so tiny. An RPG crate on the ship would’ve been fun. The button in the house didn’t make sense and wasn’t communicated clearly. Some of the dropship glitched and kept hovering in the same place. The gameplay is nice, it would be great with some tweaks, too bad the visuals are so bad. I would advise to take more care while making brushwork, use textures more wisely and more sparingly. The “receptacle” for the ship don’t sell as one, why is it made of bricks? Wouldn’t it be made of metal, concrete and truss? Make a theme with a few textures of the same general color and stick to it for every buildings. Your maps will look nicer.

        1. I totally agree with you about my map!
          I MUST say: it’s an ugly map, with not any indications…
          In fact, at the beginning, I was working on a simple map where combines run to enter a buildings… Just what the judges don’t want… So I worked on that map, and due to files problem, I finish with a bad map like this…
          However, I’ll do my best for the next ville! (And hope that files will work…)
          Thank you,
          Have a good and productive day!

  10. Play It Now!

    This is only my second ville, but I feel like I have enough experience to review these maps. Just keep in mind that what I say shouldn’t be taken too seriously. Anyway, this ville was way better than the other one I entered (hardville), and had a lot of enjoyable maps.

    Castle Defender

    A short, yet decently fun map. The environment is large, but simple enough to quickly understand. There’s also hidden goodies that reward exploration. I didn’t really like how there was only one dropship though, especially since it was so easy to camp. But overall, pretty fun and simple.

    Countermeasure

    This map is very confusing. It tries to introduce a ton of different mechanics to you, and while it does a good job, there’s simply too much thrown at the player at once. I didn’t understand that the device I was protecting was the headcrab suppression device, and I wasn’t even able to get the weird chair thing working. The top and bottom floors look too similar, and the environment you’re protecting lacks sufficient cover, and feels bland. Don’t get me wrong, I had fun playing it, but I feel like it could have been a lot better. I think focusing more on one mechanic instead of trying to juggle multiple mechanics would help.

    Defenders of the Old Republic

    This felt a lot like it was made by a new mapper, and I’m pretty sure it is. The environment is basically a big box with a bit of cover. The only enemies are elite combine soldiers, which sometimes you can barely see due to the bad lighting. You get three turrets, which is nice, but if you set all them up, it’s stupidly easy, and if not, it’s stupidly hard. It doesn’t help that all the enemies generally come from one direction. If this is someone’s first or second map, it’s not bad, but they still have a lot of things to learn.

    Energy Train

    I have mixed feelings about this map. One one hand, I generally enjoyed the combat, and the ambience was creepy and unique. But on the other hand, there were way too many enemies that spawned too close to the train, limiting the space you have to move. A lot of the time, it felt very claustrophobic because of this. The environment is also a bit strange in places. For instance, some rock walls have sharp corners, you can see where the water cuts off beneath the metal path outside the train, and that same metal path only has one visible face. I really like what this was trying to do though, and I generally liked the environment and enjoyed the use of the supercharged gravity gun.

    Haven

    This is probably my favorite map. The environment is interesting and is fun for combat, and I liked how you have to rush to different locations, like in ep.2’s strider battle. I didn’t really enjoy the gunships near the end, though. They felt too far away and there weren’t many good places to get cover. It doesn’t really help that you have to get npcs to give you rpg rounds, either. I understand why you don’t want an infinite ammo crate, but I would have liked it if there were more rpg rounds spread across the map. But overall, a very fun and enjoyable map.

    Mine

    The first part of this map isn’t very good. It’s very crowded with npcs and railings, so it’s difficult to navigate, the button to start the attack isn’t clear (a light above would help), and combine only come from one direction. After this, however, I enjoyed the section with the antlions. It was challenging and fun, something that’s very hard to do. But then it just ends! It was just getting good! I would have liked it a lot more if the first section was a lot shorter, and the second part was a lot longer. I also think the health of the “powers(?)” should be increased, they usually break before the player has time to react. There were also lot of missing textures… I don’t know if that’s missing cubemaps or if the mapper was trying to use custom textures, but next time, try to make sure that doesn’t happen.

    Neocortex Prosecution

    I really didn’t enjoy this map. The supply teleporter was a neat idea, and the defend target isn’t usually a group of people, but there are simply too many enemies. And to make matters worse, they end up pressuring you into the room with the prisoners, which is small and has little cover. So no matter how hard you try, you end up just trying to control the flow of combine through two doors, and shotgun any that manage to get through. The only part of this I had fun with was the gunship battle, but there really wasn’t anything special about that. Basically, way less enemies, and maybe some cover in the area between houses would help this map a ton.

    Trainyard

    There really wasn’t anything special about this map, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good. I actually found it really fun and pretty challenging. The enemies consist of mostly combine soldiers, but there are a ton of viable options the map gives for taking them out. The environment also gives nice cover and some fun places where you can get an advantage on your enemies.

    Unexpected Interference

    This map starts out interesting, with a small puzzle segment that leads onto a well detailed underground train station. Unfortunately, the environment where you’ll be fighting is very big and open, and offers very little cover, or at least useful cover. I found myself on little health, forced to hide behind a wall and unable to fight my way out, for a good portion of the map. Also, NEVER force the player to kill a chopper with just a rocket launcher. It’s not fun, it’s just tedious. Especially since there are no health chargers, so at this point, the player is probably low on health and has no way to get it back.

    Urban Disarray

    This is one of my favorites, along with Haven. It rewards exploration with some hidden hoppers and supply crates, and the combat is pretty fun. It’s only combine soldiers, but like trainyard, it gives quite a few options to dispose of them. The end battle with the hunter-chopper is great too. There’s a nice sound cue to give you some warning so you can get prepared, and, again, it gives you more than one option to dispose of it. You can throw it’s bombs back at it, or you can just gun it down with one of the mounted guns. Overall, a short, yet very fun map.

    Zombie Defense

    Again, a very good map. Seems to be based on ravenholm, which is a nice break from all the maps where you’re fighting combine forces (my map included). Like what you’d expect from ravenholm, there are traps, physics objects to use with the gravity gun, and lots of zombies. I like this map quite a bit, since there were a lot of different options for the player to kill the zombies, and many hidden areas with supplies.

    jesus i almost wrote a whole essay

    1. in Haven there are actually four places where you can find rockets and they respawn after you pick them up, but you probably didn`t find them cause most of them are in the empty dark houses.

      1. First of all thanks for your reply!
        I know, the first part of the map is bad as hell! But, it was a simplify attack/defense to help me understand the ai_assault entity…(it was the first time I worked with those entities!)
        Second things, for the second part of the maps: It should have been lot bigger, but I ran out of time :/ There should have been: zombies, soldiers… and the antilon attack would have been a little easier.
        If I had more time, I could have made this part of the map greater…
        And for the texture when I tested the map, everything was all right… (I’ve got just ep2 installed)
        But when I sent the files to Phillip, I don’t know why but the missing textures appeared… I try to fix them but that didn’t work…

        For the next Ville, I will work harder on the map, and I won’t lost too many times testing obvious things… And I will try to make a good level design too with good textures…

        1. you may have answered the wrong comment 🙂

  11. Play It Now!

    It appears the per-map recommendation images are unavailable at this time. Also, I’ve noticed Defendville 2 isn’t listed in the Challenge list.

    Gotta say this ville was an interesting one with a broad spectrum of maps. Here are my thoughts for each map:

    Castle Defender: nice environment with a pleasant late-afternoon light casting on the landscape. Also no complaints regarding the gameplay of Castle Defender. There was some light confusion now and then, especially concerning the King Citizen, but nothing major.

    Countermeasure: I almost immediately saw this was a 1upD-map … ! Several interesting new gameplay-mechanics were introduced, but it was too much to process all at once. I was fascinated but also confused most of the time. I did manage to complete this map legit, though it took me a while to figure out how to end the level … !

    Defenders of the Old Republic: visuals and gameplay both weren’t great and I encountered the problem that I couldn’t save; death resulted in me having to start all over again. Despite this, I could complete this map legit.

    Energy Train: probably the LOUDEST entry I’ve ever played. The environment wasn’t very nice but I gotta admit I enjoyed the gameplay to a certain level. This was the only entry I couldn’t complete without cheating; I had to noclip to shoot down the Gunship, because it moved out of sight.

    Haven: this map appeared visually rushed and unfinished but I was pleasantly surprised by the gameplay. The area was very large but distinguisable landmarks helped navigation a lot. All in all a solid entry … !

    Mine: the first area was tiny but well-detailed. It looked like the electrical fence at the entrance couldn’t decide wether it should open or close. The second part of this map was kinda weird with Antlions attacking powerboxes in slowmotion, then the map suddenly ended.

    Neocortex Prosecution: first impression: wow, excellent visuals and a beautiful environment. The gameplay however was harsh with dozens of Combine streaming into a small indoor area to kill some prisoners. I had to fire the Rocket Launcher almost non-stop. Gotta say I was frustrated and highly amused at the same time … !

    Trainyard: once again brilliant visuals but while the gameplay wasn’t outright frustrating as in some other entries, it wasn’t very dynamic either with small waves of incoming Combine soldiers over and over again.

    Unexpected Interference: third example of a map with very good visuals but suboptimal gameplay. I especially have to object against having to shoot down a helicopter with a rocket launcher. It takes ages and is indeed tedious. Also, a little bit more health in the area certainly wouldn’t hurt.

    Warm Up:
    The environment is simple but yet kinda nice with the blinding sun in the sky. The moving platform/ship resulted in interesting gameplay but its very hard to destroy all enemies before they take out the core of the ship. The balance regarding this might be a bit off … !

    Zombie Defense: I consider this the number one in this Ville. A nice and atmospheric environment and a well-balanced gameplay results in a map that is fun to play and replay; I’ve played it 4 times by now. Well done … !

  12. Play It Now!

    This review won’t use per-map opinions. In the past it became clear multiple times that how I rate maps is not consistent with how other people do, which might lead to people understanding my opinion about a map better or worse than it actually is. Also since I’m an entrant, I think it is more fair this way. The main purpose of this review is to give the other mappers feedback … if you do care about my humble opinion.

    I mainly point out the mistakes most maps made, but please don’t think I hated every map. I had fun with most maps, with some less, some more. I don’t know why I do this, but it feels pointless to mention every little good thing someone did.

    Castle Defender by ethosaur

    I think this map could be really good if there was more time, but in its current state there is a lot that can go wrong. If nothing goes wrong, you have a map with a really cool enviroment, small firefights, a gunship battle and then a single dropship. The small firefights throughout the map weren’t well designed in my opinion. There is barely any cover for the player and the enemies can easily flank you without you realizing it. The enemies also use some weird assaults which makes them ignore you sometimes and they just go straight to the assaultpoints.

    Assaults can be annoying as hell, and they aren’t as flexible as they seem in my opinion. I had a lot of trouble with them myself, so at the end I just deleted them and simply used the “UpdateEnemyMemory” input with whatever the target is supposed to be as the parameter (e.g. !player), which seems to work much better, since you are not restricting the AI in any form, but they still go straight for the target until they see it.

    The gunship battle was really weak in my opinion. The map has crates spread throughout the map, but I feel like hiding weapons inside them was the wrong decision. Players might not open those crates, because carrying the keys around can be extremely annoying, plus I don’t think people realize that there are weapons in them. There is also a crossbow in a weird spot of the map that can easily be missed. Missing these weapons makes the map unnecessarily hard.
    Instead of hiding weapons in the crates, the author could have hidden rockets inside them, which could make the gunship fight much more dynamic and open, which it desperately needs.

    The final dropship at the end seems a little pointless, but I guess that is where the author ran out of time. The map has issues. The music sometimes just stops and is way too short for the encounter. It never really feels like defending or an invasion of some kind. A big part of the enviroment isn’t really relevant in the map. While the displacement rocks and the bridge look really good, the main area of the map, where the player will mainly move around, looks too simple and dull. In my opinion the work should have gone into this area rather than everything around that.

    A map that was extremely confusing on my first playthrough, but I had fun on my second one.

    Countermeasure by 1upD

    Too much text. Most of the text seems very pointless, especially because it isn’t implemented well, at least in the first room where there is a floting black brush in front of the monitor. It’s pointless. The main map was very confusing at first. Every area looks the same, which made me question if I’m going the right way multiple times, or if I was here and there before. It took me ages to find the broken window through which you have to shoot a barrel, which seems completely pointless.

    What was the point of that first server? To show the player what he is supposed to protect? Well when the zombine blew those up, I felt like I made a mistake, but it seems it was scripted anyway. Since the author used so much text, this introduction to the servers seems pointless. The player can also damage the servers himself, which I don’t like at all, cause that can happen accidently easily.

    The map is not fun to explore, because everywhere looks the same and there are way too many doors, which also lead to pointless rooms sometimes. The geometry is very blocky and simple and the texture choices are not good, they turn the map into this grey/brown mess which is just not fun to look at.

    The combat also wasn’t really enjoyable, mostly because it was so repetitive, uneventful and monotone. There wasn’t even any music. The map also got stuck multiple times, because enemies didn’t come out of their spawns.

    This map can be very confusing and frustrating, but on my second playthrough I wasn’t completely lost and had somewhat fun.

    Defenders of the Old Republic by Dave

    I hope this map was done by a beginner. The brushwork is very simple and blocky, every face uses the same textures which makes the map look very boring and the area is way too open to be fun to move around or fight in. The turrets are in some weird corner and you have to carry them away from there one by one which is way too tedious, even if you had a gravity gun, but you don’t. The combat also is very simple, and unnecessarily punishing, since all enemies seem to be elites with AR2 rifles. I didn’t complete the map, so I hope I didn’t miss anything. For a “first map” it’s alright.

    Energy Train by Spyde3r

    The map starts and there is an extremely loud background noise that never goes away, which made me want to quit the map immediately. The main issue of this map is balancing. There are four citadel chargers. A single citadel charger is already extremely powerful, but there are four, so I guess to counter that the author thought he has to throw million enemies at me?

    It is really annoying that you can’t grab the energy balls with the gravity gun, you can only punt them. This made them almost useless. At some points random snipers spawn and just destroy you. Visually it’s also not very appealing, mainly because of the bad lighting and the very simple and blocky “cave”.

    If this was a “first map”, then it’s alright, but if not, then it’s just bad.

    Mine by Ttiki

    Do you seriously expect me to grab all those hopper mines from that room and carry them all the way to the chokepoint? Especially since the movement is so clonky, there is so much stuff in the way, plus the NPCs which sometimes block you. Enemies come from a tiny chokepoint that can easily be abused, but it’s also just really static and boring, plus you can see how they spawn.

    Are all those crates dynamic_resupply? I broke most of them at the start and only got smg and pistol ammo, probably because I had full health and armor. You can’t expect the player to know that those crates are dynamic resupply and force him to only break the crates when he is low on health or armor.

    Because of these issues I stopped playing the map, but in someone else’s playthrough I saw that the map has another section, that seems way better than the first, which makes me question what the point of the first section was anyway? The work that went into that section could have gone into the second one.

    Neocortex Prosecution by Rekurer

    Right at the start I had multiple confusions in this map. Where am I supposed to place the turrets? There are barely any flat surfaces, so you have to be very careful when playing the turrets, which is obviously not easy when you get attacked by a lot of enemies. Where will the enemies even come from? I was very surprised when they came from where I came, which caught me completely off guard. I don’t think that was fair, cause there didn’t seem to be any hint that enemies might come from there, it was a part of the map that I already conquered.
    Most of the time there were too many enemies active at the same time for my taste, which also lead to them being clumped together allowing me to either abuse that and get a quick kill on a lot of them, or get completely destroyed.

    Then there were level design issues. The roof of the house is clearly in jump range and it even looks like the author wanted me to use that space for the combat, but there is an invisible wall. Not only that, but when I tried to jump and hit the invisible wall, I fell down all the way to the bottom, which seems to be out of bounds? I’m not sure. I didn’t die, but I couldn’t get back and there didn’t seem to be anything to do there. After I completed Wave 1, music started, but there were no enemies and I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.

    The map isn’t bad. It is a nice enviroment and the teleporter was kinda cool, but it was just confusing most of the time.

    Trainyard by Alex Marcu

    Beautiful map. Really really liked the visuals. It is consistent, not “too much” and those god rays look damn nice. For some reason the author thought it is a good idea to ruin that by displaying a big text on the screen constantly. The combat was alright, but as other said, extremely repetitive. It seems as if the author just copy pasted the waves. What I also didn’t like about the combat was how the enemies attacked from all angles EXACTLY at the same time, which made the combat feel very artificial. Also I think there were too many enemies active at the same time, which lead to frustration multiple times. This is still a map I like. It’s not in the top three for me, but definitly close.

    Unexpected Interference by Stanislav Rosecky AKA Stanleyros

    Although the first half of this map was built well, I thought it was completely pointless. It didn’t have anything to do with the theme, and it also didn’t work as a build-up of some sort for the second half, since you have five minutes anyway after you reach that section which is more than enough down time. The lighting was a little off in some sections of the first half, but other than that it was high quality in terms of visuals. One detail that really annoyed me is how you could smash the locks through the gap in the fences, but the doors still didn’t open. The map also lacked any background sound or soundscapes.

    It actually took me way too long to find the vent in the first half, but my question always is why the author hid the vent in the first place? What’s the point? But a little detail I really liked was the small metal thingies in the vents which gave them a little more detail, something I would imitate the next time I build vents, so thanks for that 🙂

    The second half of the map takes place in a very impressive enviroment, but I don’t think it wasn’t well used for the combat. Most of the time I was inside the building, and moved only around the static cover, but I think the map could really benefit if it allowed me to use more of the enviroment. It definitly needed more cover.

    It was weird how the encounter starts with Metrocops and then immediately switches to Hunters. Later you get attacked by so many enemies simulatenously that I just died on the hardest difficulty, and I blame the map for that. Another map that didn’t have any music for some reason. There wasn’t enough supplies as well. Batteries were hidden for some reason. I didn’t see the mines for a long time and it was annoying to take them out of that thing, which was uneccessary.

    Overall it is still a top three map, but I must say that is mainly due to the lack of strong competiton.

    Oh and yeah, that chopper at the end was just …

    Urban Disarray by Mark AKA Strontvlieg

    This map had one cool element which makes it a little more memorable than some of the others, but other than that it is weak. What I liked was how different events, for example the chopper crashing somewhere, dealt visible damage to the enviroment. It wasn’t overdone, it looked good. Visually it wasn’t great though. The lighting was very ugly I must say, like a very bright yellow. Also the author used some extremely old textures that are just ugly.

    The combat also had problems. All enemies come from the exact same tiny space, which you could abuse so hard since you have a mounted gun. Only at the end they attack from somewhere else but that didn’t really do much. I also didn’t like the chopper fight, because the chopper wasn’t any threat to me. In a good chopper fight, the chopper would switch between mine drops and turret attacks, but here the chopper just drops mines, which I just throw back.
    It was fun though, cause you don’t see this mechanic used often in other mods.

    Warm Up by Sockman

    I stopped playing this map because I couldn’t read the text and had no idea what I was supposed to do. And please, tell me, why do people still use this awful grass texture. There are so many better ones. I had no idea what ship the author was talking about. I’ll watch the playthrough of someone else to see if I missed something.

    Zombie Defense by Klems

    Not considering my amazingly brilliant best map of course (this is a joke), this was the best map in the pack. It felt like a full map, with a beginning, a middle and an end. The enviroment had consistent visuals, albeit not THAT pretty look to it (but still really good). I especially liked the out-of-bounds details with the grave stones and the fog. The level design was also nice. There were different height levels, diagonal and round shapes and connections between streets that felt natural. Unfortunately I didn’t find the upper section of the map until very late, which would be fine, if there weren’t the shotgun and other things, which make the map much easier than it already is. And that is my only criticism of this map. It offered zero challenge. The author throws tons of zombies at you, but slow zombies aren’t a threat in such an open space with very little physics props. The other enemies also weren’t a threat because of the traps etc., but that wasn’t a problem, because fighting them still was fun. I think the map could really benefit if you actually had no guns other than the gravity gun, but much more traps spread across the map, different traps. Another map that didn’t have any music, and it was also kinda uneventful, there wasn’t a climax of some sort.

    1. The ship for warmup is the big metal platform in the center… I really should have made it more obvious and made the process for activating the attack simpler, so sorry about that. You just have to turn on the generators on the four corners, then press the button in one of the buildings.

      1. Hello,
        First of all thank you for your reply.
        The first section of the map was bad, and I know it, I’m sorry…
        But it was here to help me understanding the ai_assault entity, because it was the first time I was playing with them! For the crate, it’s just because I’m a jerk 🙂
        And for the last part, if you play it once, sorry for the bad level design and all that buggy things you will encounter… I ran out of time due to files problems…

    2. Zombies are very hard to balance properly. I made some coop maps with zombies and they tended to be very boring (zombies do nothing apart from walking slowly). Depending on how you want to tackle them, they can either be completely harmless or very dangerous. This leads to completely different experiences for every tester which is hard to balance 🙁

      The first tester hated the map because it was much too challenging, while I was having a good time on hard. Now it’s so easy I can kill every zombies before they ever leave their spawn. In the end I settled for a sort of “sandbox experience” where the player set his own goals. I’m not a fan of sandboxes but HL2 is kind of like that. I would rather have an easy map than a balanced/hard map, you shouldn’t balance your maps around your skill level.

      In retrospect I should’ve added more zombies on higher difficulty settings.

      1. it didn’t really hurt the map, I just mentioned it, don’t worry about it too much. I watched IMakeLevels playthrough and he had way more trouble then me, but he didn’t find the rotating blade thingy for example which I heavily abused.
        One more little thing, at one point I killed the zombies so fast that I was close to their spawns and shot my sawblades at them and couldn’t get them back because of the invisible walls, but also not a big deal for a Ville map.

    3. Hello,
      And thank you for your reply.
      For the fence I would like to block the player to leave the map, but I should make a way to make combine enter it, so I choose those fences that open when a combine enter the trigger.
      For the 2dne map of the map, I ran out of time due to files problem.
      However, if i had the time, this 2dne part should have been lot better…

  13. Play It Now!

    The Hammer Cup 2017 is upon us. After playing DefendVille 2 for the first time, I was rather disappointed at the lack of smart maps. Maps that took the theme and creatively defined the meaning of “defend” in a different way than what we have seen. After playing again, I realised that the maps that were good happened to be really smart and I found stuff I did not see when initially making my videos. There is a wide variety of maps, some are simplistic and some stand out as being creative and well through. In hindsight, the Ville offered a lot of fun content and I would like to thank each and every one of the entrants for taking the time to make the maps and to help keep Half Life 2 mapping alive and well in 2017.

    Castle Defender by Ethosaur

    The initial message that flashed up on the screen was clear but unnecessary and did not do its job of getting the player into the mood of the map or add narrative to a story barren map. Atmosphere is gained when the music starts and the wind sound effect is initialized. The intro section through the cave introduces a chest mechanic. This mechanic adds something to the game play but on the surface, it is just a gimmick. One of the strong points in this map is the stealth mechanics. You can sneak past the combine soldiers or face them head on. Although it almost seems like it is not best suited for the defend theme. This can be incorporated into many different scenarios and should be done a lot more in Half Life 2 maps and mods. The defend part of this map was a bit loose. There were no “waves” as such. Once you let the king go free, a gunship is released into the map and combine begin to attack. It is very easy for the player to run across the bridge to take down the gunship and miss the combine who then go and kill the king. There are also zombies which break down the front gate although they take a long time and the map can be finished before they get in. All in all, the map had elements of stealth and exploration but it lacked explanation and direction. If the map was more regimented with definitive waves and clear direction, it could take a massive step up in enjoyment.

    Countermeasure by 1upD

    This map is a step in the right direction in the context of a defend map though it is somewhat complex. There is a lot of learning to do which is mostly fine as the narrative is relayed through a radio broadcast right at the beginning. When in the main area, there are a lot of rooms that the player can explore. There is also a visual tutorial of the zombine blowing up a server. This teaches the player the mechanic that they will need later. It seems as though it loses its context because it is a considerable distance back from the main area. It is easy to forget about this. A simple solution is to move that room/tutorial right next to the main area so the very next thing the player will do is begin fending off the zombine instead of exploring more rooms and forgetting. The good thing about the defend part is how the defend goal changes. Firstly you have the servers and zombine then you have the combine and the other soldiers attacking the player. There was a risk factor at going into the upper and lower corridors when the zombine are taking down the servers because there is a lot of good things to find but you put the servers at risk. After that part, the waves seemed random and it was almost like there was too much time in between waves. I spent up to ten minutes waiting for more enemies at one point. It was good that there was “tools” to play with like the “killing devices” that the player could lay out to kill the oncoming enemies. The door that opens at the end could defiantly be made obvious to the player. It is not clear that the door has opened and may result in players spending longer waiting for more waves. Overall the map is a middle of the road map. It has great concepts that could be delivered slightly better.

    Defenders of the Old Republic by Dave

    I can see what level the maker of this map is so I will try and write something that will be useful in future development projects. To start off, I love Star Wars and I am really happy someone made a Star Wars themed map! With that being said, there is no guidance for the player. The control panel to start the “waves” just looks like part of the scenery. There should be an actual button prop or a green light on it to tell the player that it can be interacted with. Then a siren sound or something like that should sound to alert the player something is happening. In terms of game play, there needs to be structure. The map was loose and the “combine” were coming at the player from any of the entry point at random times. The waves need to be clearly defined. The turrets were practically a one-time set up. Because the combine were just running at the player, there was no need to move them or even pick them up if knocked over. The whole map could do with some flavour. There needed to be an alternative game mechanic in there for example something like the antlions and tunnels scene from episode 2 were the player had to move the turret according to the tunnel that was getting attacked. Putting something like this in would make the map far more enjoyable. I would also recommend giving the player more weapons and ammo as the player can run out very quickly and there on after only have the pulse rifle that the combine drop. Overall the map needs a feature that would make it fun to play and the map would be adjusted accordingly.

    Energy Train by Spyde3r

    Energy train seemed a little lacking in dynamic features. It is similar to castle defender in the sense that the message at the start has no context so therefore it is fundamentally pointless. “Explode the roof to get the power supply” is very vague. The map has a bit of exploring to do at the start but not much else to find other than the batteries and a few health kits. Once the action starts, the player is confined to the platform were the train is. Running into the cave system is not an option because all of the tools the player needs is beside or on the train. It becomes an activity in standing and shooting soldiers, man-hacks and hunters. The map needs to encourage the player to move. The sniper was a good addition but fairly easy to take down and just required some nerves to get rid of. The sniper should have maybe been placed at the far end of the cave and if there had been sufficient cover, the player should have slowly worked their way towards the sniper with the risk of being shot. The amount of tools and ammo were good and perhaps it would have been better not to give the player many of these super health chargers. It would encourage the player to move to get kits. Overall, the map could be more dynamic with better guidance but the variety of enemies was sufficient.

    Haven by Crowbar

    Haven is a well balanced map. It takes from a game play style from Half Life 2 Episode 2 itself. Not just is there different waves but they are coming from different locations around the map forcing the player to move before they are overrun. The map itself is full of different buildings and locations to explore at the start making exploring exciting. It encourages the player to search instead of starting the waves immediately. The map at the start was a nice touch. It ensured the player could get their bearings before heading out. When the action started, the map did a good job of teaching the player were the 5 entry points were by having one wave come out of each one before it mixed things up. This was good even if the player had looked about before starting as it gave the player an idea of how the later waves were going to be. There was always pressure on as there may have been a gap between waves but the player had to stock up on health and ammo and move to the next entry point. This is a map that genuinely immersed me into the action. I felt like it could have been part of the Half Life 2 story line. There were a few graphical issues with the fact it did not have full skybox so parts of the outside were just blue and there were other visual bugs but they did not interfere with the experience what so ever.

    Mine by Ttiki

    In “Mine”, there is a duel defend scenario. Firstly you have to defend the compound from combine soldiers and then you go into the mine and stop antlions destroying wall panels. To start when the combine spawn in, they all spawn in plain view of the player in the one spot then proceed to try and get into the gate. The player can despatch of them instantly and they very rarely make it to the compound. It would have been better if they had spawned out of view from the player and approached from a few different directions. Then it would mean the player would have to keep an eye on more than one place instead of standing there and shooting aimlessly at the never ending horde of combine. Thankfully it does end and the mine is open. There is a cool moving platform that the player stands on before the antlions start attacking the power units immediately. There is no explanation to what they are doing or what is at risk. Text comes up on screen telling you that “Power 2 is under attack” even though the player does not have time to familiarise themselves with the units. After a few minutes of that the map ends randomly. The player should know when and what ends the map. All in all, the map was confusing and did not make the player feel like they had defended anything. There needs to be more dynamic features like the combine coming from many different ways and the power units being more spread out around the area.

    Neocortex Prosecution by Rekurer

    The general feel of this map is how condensed the world feels. There is a lovely seaside village with a lighthouse (which to my dismay, you can’t enter!) The button to open the gate to the prisoners is fairly easy to miss. There should be more to point players in that direction. This is also the case with the radio. It looks just like part of the set. It could have players running around for ages searching for something that was right there. The teleporter was slightly confusing as well but it could be easily worked out. When the waves start, the map kind of throws enemies at you and it’s difficult to fight them outside but inside is too narrow and they run right up to the player. There is no middle ground. If there was another place to defend the citizens from where you could take them long range but not be out in the open then it would be a lot more fun and be a lot better from a game play point of view. Overall, Neocortex Prosecution has a nice feel to it with some great ideas but with lack of direction and weak encounter points, it is not very fun to play.

    Trainyard by Alex Marcu AKA melc311

    Trainyard is the unofficial entry to DefendVille 2, which is a shame because it is more surprising than meets the eye. To start off negatively, the constant writing flashing at the start is super annoying, effective but annoying! I hated writing telling the player what to do before but now it’s at a whole different level! (Rant over). There were plenty of tools like exploding barrels and hoppers that you could strategically place to aid you. The map made it obvious were the enemies were coming from so you could set up the turrets accordingly. The fact that there was 4 entry points and they were all spared out meant the player had to keep an eye on the turrets and make sure the combine were not slipping by. The layout of this map was a lot better than the majority of maps in this Ville for that reason alone. The inside of the building could have been larger with more space to move but overall the map was good and made you think about how you were playing it. A big down side was the lack of variety of enemies. It could have been ten times more dynamic with manhacks and hunters although there may be a good reason for why they were not included. Overall, this map had a great layout and it definitely did its job as being a good defend map.

    Unexpected Interference by Stanislav Rosecky AKA Stanleyros

    Unexpected Interference was another map that got it right. It had a nice intro section that set up the map. The map was condensed but it gave the player enough space to fight any of the enemies that were thrown at them. The cover was well done because there was sufficient cover and the player had to really think about where they were going to take their fights. A hunter came quite early on into the wave and that is something that should really come into play much later on. There were exploding barrels and hoppers so the player could plan ahead and the chopper battle was intense although choppers are really meant to be taken down with their own detonators and using a rocket launcher can take a very long time. Even with that being said, the chopper battle required the player to keep moving position and to constantly have to put themselves at risk to get rockets. The map looked visually decent and it had a bit of humour in there too!

    Urban Disarray by Mark AKA Strontvlieg

    Urban Disarray was fairly simplistic map in terms of defence but gave the player a lot of space and tools to aid in the fighting. At the beginning, you can see out the window and get a view of where you will be fighting. After a short exploration/getting things, the fighting starts. Many combine come from one side of the street but it almost feels like the player does not have too much thinking to do. Then the wall at the other part of the road breaks and there is a bit more fighting. It is in great certainty that this map would benefit from having a longer defence section. If it started off 3 or 4 combine come from the right hand side then the same from the left, then it could slowly build up until there is the amount of combine that there were. As it stands, it feels like the combine offensive goes far too quickly for it to have meaning. Of course there is a chopper battle at the end (with a cool intro sequence) and there is cover but the map makes it so the player has to revel themselves in the mine field to get a shot at sending one back to the chopper. Overall, Urban Disarray could have gone on much longer and could have included more challenge but it had a good foundation.

    Warm Up by Sockman

    Warm up was a simple map in terms of visuals but it was intriguing to play. The compound had many small locations to explore. Starting the waves took a long time and could easily have been done with one button instead of five. The first thing that enters is a dropship. I would always have drop ships entering from out of the players reach to avoid “spawn camping.” Then the drop ship moves to the top of the “space ship thing”. This thing of having the dropship move to another location on the map could have been done a few more times but it is probably best not to do it too much. After that, everything kicks off with combine running into the compound with hunters occasionally making their way to destroy the ship and even a strider shows up. There needs to be clear waves. I get the idea of what the mapper was trying to do. It makes it dynamic because you have to move and deal with many enemies at the same time. I would have let the hunter run in while a drop ship goes around every so often and drops of a load of combine or something like that. The strider doesn’t really need to be there until the end as a kind of boss. Overall the map could have been clearer in the purpose and direction but it was dynamic and there was a consequence for failure.

    Zombie Defense by Klems

    Zombie Defense was a smart entry. It took inspiration from the tower defence genre. It generally had all the weapons and tool the player could need but they were all placed far away from each other meaning the player had to manage their time. The player could stand in once play for the entire time but once they ran out of a certain type of ammo, it became ten times harder to stop the zombies from reaching the people. Strategic positioning was super important. There were places up high that the player could get a shot at the zombies entering the area and there were places near the staircase were the player could see but the player had to move. As the player, there was a genuine tension as the player as the zombies kept on coming. I felt scared for the NPCs camped up in the building. There was a good mixture of all the different types of zombies. The ravenholm feel added to the tension and the ending felt rewarding. The ending could be brought to light more although it was good that father Grigori came to “clean up”. Overall this map was well made and it fun to play.

    So there we go. I am making my recommendation a “Play It Now” because new Half Life 2 content is rare and anyone who is a fan should play. Even if they don’t enjoy the majority of them, they will find one they like. (Also I don’t want to be the first one not to give it a “play it now”!!)

  14. Some developer commentary regarding Urban Disarray (my entry):

    Development

    Due to problems in the development of my entry the end-result didn’t exactly turned out how I wanted. Originally, the Combine assault would go like this:

    Wave 1: a mixture of Metrocops and regular Combine soldiers, coming from a maximum of two directions. This Wave has been implemented.

    Wave 2: Combine soldiers armed with SMG’s and Shotguns, coming from at least two and perhaps even three directions.

    After Wave 2, a citizen was supposed to throw a crate containing a RPG off the roof of the apartment building.

    Wave 3: a mixture of Elite Soldiers and Hunters were supposed to move in from three different directions.

    And finally, a Gunship would appear and it was supposed to crash into the nearby tall building, exactly the way the chopper crashes in the current version of Urban Disarray.

    The main problem was that I didn’t knew how to set up the citizen to throw a crate off the building. To make matters worse, several triggers became broken and the whole entry was a mess just 2 days before the deadline. I was about to throw in the towel but ultimately decided to delete the ‘rotten’ parts of the map, make the Gravity Gun a primary weapon, and go for a chopper as the ‘boss enemy’.

    Feedback
    I’ve read and watched the feedback here on RTSL and on Youtube and it looks like Urban Disarray is going to end up as a mid-tier map in this Ville. I’m quite satisfied by this as I thought my entry would be a total bust. The flawed combat with the Metrocops and Combine soldiers is obviously a quite prominent issue, several smaller problems seem to be lighting and some confusion regarding the path towards the main area.

    The given feedback will help me to keep certain things in mind for the next ville, so thanks to all for that … !

  15. Initialy I wanted to review the entire mod, but as I was playing all the entries, I just didn’t feel as a fair judge, so I will atleast judge myself in this review and take you all through my journey of making it, even if noone would read it, atleast I trained my english a bit(yeh, it’s still terrible). The mod itself is definetly a PLAY IT NOW, as there are some great entries there by great creators.

    Unexpected Interference Post-mortem

    First of all, I would like to thank all of you for playing my entry, and giving me any kind of feedback. Almost after decade of making stuff in Hammer editor, I finally decided to give it a shot, and push myself to release a map.

    I started out with intro sequence. I already made this kind of intro before, where player gets teleported in accidentaly during „The Red letter day“ chapter of original Half life 2. I chose this style of beginning because it feels natural, and from the start player knows where he stands in the lore. It also gives me possibility to have player without any weapons, but already with suit, without it feeling forced or strange ( Player doesn’t have to question why did Gordon lost all his weapons ). First room you are introduced to seems very simple, with a twist in front of boarded exit doors. I wanted to give player something to think about, play with his mind a little if you say so.. „hmm so it’s boarded, but where is any tool to open either door ort he vent near the floor which feels like a way to progress. There is trigger placed that causes sounds of headcrab cannister being fired, and shortly after that impacting somewhere near. This even causes Vent cover in the ceiling to colapse, giving player a way to progress. To further enhance the effect, slight shake was added to inform player that something happened. In playthroughs I watched, I don’t think that anyone noticed that. But it still felt more reasonable than just open vent in ceiling. Only way to reach the vent is through very simple „move the box“ puzzle. After a small crawl through vent you drop to room with doorlock puzzle, this was there only to ensure that you got the crowbar located on the table. To give you something to smack with your newly aquired tool I hid a zombie behind some props there, should it hurt you in any way, I placed health vial right next to its sleeping position. I hid the exit vent because it felt too easy to leave it just open, there is no actual reason why to hide it, it’s a matter of what feels good to me. Just so the player would be atracted to that place, I added very specific light towards the spot where the vent is, this also helped to make the room very contrasted, allowing the zombie to be well hidden. With the loop towards the area where you begin I wanted Player to have that „click“ in his mind, like „Ahh, now I can continue“. I don’t know it is achieved or not, but if nothing else, it makes the map a bit longer.

    My initial plan was for player to get out of starting room and meet npc that would lead you towards the train crash site. Originaly it was supposed to be combine train attacked by rebels for supplies. It was designed as a point where player gets guns and gravity gun. As time went on, I had to make numerous cuts to overal design of this area so it ended up feeling a bit without purpose, even the puzzle for opening the shield in front of the gravity gun was meant to be more complicated (connecting cables between cars and locomotive and starting it up so it would work, but i will keep this for my Mod). Small coridor connecting crash site and final area was made in big hurry, mostly just copy/pasting the fence from begining, which is the reason why the locks can be shot off, once again it was meant to feel like existing place so it felt wierd just to have coridor with ladder up. I tried to give player information that he is not supposed to go there by making it unlit and dark/unwelcoming, but I should’ve make the ladder much more stand out, point some light on it, or create some area of focus around it, currently it just somehow blends there.

    I started designing of the defense location pretty late, and it’s very visible. There are alot of details, that I consider standard, missing. For my entire time making maps for source I always was „Eyecandy mapper“, creating tiniest details possible, practicing creation of destroyed environments and such. I never really experimented with AI, scripting and gameplay balance, and I believe it’s the part that most people find not that good in my entry. I spent hours learning the AI and scripting stuff, and tried my best to make it atleast work properly. I had idea for overal design of the combat area from very begining. It was supposed to be some kind of warehouse where player should defend the teleporter. First greyboxing was using some props from various HL2 episodes, such as premade roofs and supports, but ultimately it didn’t feel right (almost as if the props weren’t made for that hahaha). So I designed my own big place with look of old abandoned warehouse with wooden supports all over the place. Sizing finaly met my expectations, but all the sudden I had big open interior with wooden supports and nothing else. Initialy I wanted to take big inspiration from The Last of us first chapters ( there is a dock with a ship inside it and you fight your way through), but my creation was too big already. It already had train tracks going through one side. Somehow it came to my mind to make this into Ship building/repairing facility. So I tried placing some boats there and see how it looks. To my surprise it looked pretty nice and very genuine, so I decided that’s it.

    The theme for final location was set. I moved onto creating first wave of attack, or more likely Zero wave, consisting of couple Civil protection units. The idea behind it was that even on the radio player should get information „Combine are already looking for this place“, so I figured that CPs felt like they are just searching the areas in general. First actual wave is (for most of players very surprising) 1 hunter, and about 10 regular soldiers equiped mostly with SMGs. My logical thinking behind the Hunter was that once you start Shooting, CPs will alert the central and since they are already searching around the Hunter is fast enough to arive as one of the first ones. He was also very much meant as a distraction for the player while soldiers are droping off the dropship. I also made the dropship to be able to defend itself, but hunter felt as appropriate distraction. After player fights off the first wave, there is a small pause, and two more hunters approach from multiple directions. I setup I/O in a way that when you kill hunter coming from the right side, squad of Elite Soldier, Shotgunner and 3 soldiers will bust the third way into arena and attack you. When you manage to wipe this squad, there is one more, identical squad coming from same location. In imakelevels playthrough on youtube, he suggested ammo/health refill area in place from which they bust through. It’s an excelent idea and I honestly wish I did it. It would hugely improve survivability of players and wouldn’t feel out of place if there would be charges and such. This is another thing I will keep in mind in future projects. After player kills most of second squad coming from busted doors, last wave of onfoot enemies arrives through middle gate. During testing with my friends, it felt ok for them. Maybe they tried to sugarcoat me, even though I said that I need honest critisism. But even for me, the amount of enemies felt ok, maybe mainly due to my inexperience with gameplay creation.

    „The Boss fight“ – This cursed thing.It started almost innocently, I wanted the finale to feel different than regular gunship combat (it sure as hell ended up feeling different, but most likely not better), so I wanted to use the helikoptér. Looking at it now, I should’ve used famous 3 hits gunship instead, I feel that it would result in better experience for players. First ideas for finale were very different, for a long time I played with Idea that player will get RPG with 3 standard shots, and strider as enemy, after player would deplete his ammo, teleporter would get charged, player would get in, as the teleporter would close, strider would charge his cannon to shoot right at player in teleport, making players escape a bit more epic and „on edge“. I plan to play with this concept a bit more and use it in my future projects working as intended. I understand the critisism of tedious battle with helicopter, this is probably the single biggest thing I failed horribly, which is quite shame, considering that it is finale.
    There is massive lack of an kind of ambient noise. I’m not sure why it happened, but atleast in first part of map, there are soundscapes setup as they should be. But during creation and final merge of two parts of map, for some reason they stopped working completely, and I didn’t notice before release.

    Most gameplay issues are mostly in difficulty of final fight, and lack of health and supplies placed around final area, in retrospective I feel like I should’ve give player more explosives to play with and things to throw around, or cover himself with.

    All in all, I’m happy with my submission to a certain level, there is huge space for improvements, it’s a big achievement for me to actualy release something. It was great experience making it, even though when I was nearing deadline it felt stressful. Thanks again all of you who played it, and reviewed it positively or negatively, it all counts towards my future projects. And Thanks Phillip for running this site and all these contests.

  16. I really couldn’t enjoy this theme. I just prefer exploring and puzzles to trying to defend people/equipment. Still waiting for BBQZombieVille!

  17. Unq

    Quick reminder: public voting closes today (i.e. in a few hours)! Still time to get your top 3 votes in!

    1. Unq

      Update: Voting is now closed. Thanks to all who played and voted!

  18. EDITED: I apologize, I forgot to include a recommendation with my review.

  19. Play It Now!

    I intended to review DefendVilleTwo the weekend it came out. It’s taken me a really long time to write this review. I have to apologize if my thoughts on the entries are a little disorganized. Originally when I played through the entries I took notes of things that stood out to me and then I wrote these reviews while going through my notes. My review will contain spoilers.

    Castle Defender

    It is okay

    It’s Okay

    The castle environment was really interesting. The terrain, architecture, and twilight skybox and lighting were all very visually appealing. Unfortunately, only a few minutes in, I think I managed to break the map by breaking down the drawbridge instead of taking the cliff. I liked the “open” feeling of the map and how it left room for the player to explore, but I was left with an unsettling feeling that I had done something wrong by breaking down the door and that the sequence of the map was scrambled.

    I liked the new mechanic of chests that can be unlocked with keys but because the lock on the chest looked like a normal Half-LIfe 2 padlock, I expected that it could be broken with weapons. Not being able to break the lock was a little jarring.

    Another problem with Castle Defender was that I never had the sense that I was defending a single location from attack. I often left the “King citizen” completely alone and no one ever seemed to bother him. When the gunship attacked I left him behind and lost track of where he went (he actually just returned to his cell) and then later it seemed the enemies should have been able to kill him but they didn’t.

    Altogether Castle Defender was a great environment with a lack of direction. I wasn’t sure what the correct way to go was, whether or not to leave to the king unattended, and then where the king was. It didn’t help that I broke the map initially. Playing through the map correctly a second time fixed a lot of my confusion but it didn’t clear up everything.

    Countermeasure
    It’s Mine

    Countermeasure was my entry into DefendVilleTwo.

    I feel a little bit let down by Countermeasure. In a way it feels like one step forward, two steps back for me. I tackled some really ambitious ideas and features and I’m proud of some of the things I accomplished in this map, but in the end I failed to communicate vital information to the player. I also think that the layout of the map was bland and not conducive to fun gameplay.

    The storyline in Countermeasure might have been a bit self-indulgent. It’s sort of a tangent to a mod idea I’ve wanted to make with friends for years. I first had the idea for a map about former soldiers hiding from the Combine during AnyVilleVille, but I didn’t have engaging enough gameplay ideas to make an enjoyable map out of it at the time. Once I saw the theme for DefendVilleTwo I realized that I could focus the map on protecting a headcrab suppression device. I saw an opportunity to return to that story idea and went for it. I am still trying to decide whether or not I should continue the story in the next entry like I intended while making Countermeasure.

    My friend Connor “Izkavan” Wlodarczak provided the voices and I couldn’t be happier with the voice acting in Countermeasure, especially given the time constraints I was under.

    I learned a lot about level design from watching people play my map. One of the biggest issues in Countermeasure is the hallways surrounding the main room where the objective is. The hallways don’t have enough landmarks for the player to navigate them effectively. To make matters worse, many of the rooms connected to the hallway are identical.

    Some specific problems were exacerbated as I developed the map. My earliest testers never had any issues finding the exit because I originally only had enemies in the final wave come from that direction – it was obvious that they entered the main area through a previously closed door. I added more enemies to that segment that come from all sides, leading the player to look away from the door. Removing that contextual clue of where to go basically eliminated all communication of where to go to progress the level and broke the map.

    I’m compiling a full list of things I would change if I were to start over completely making Countermeasure. One example is that I could have used a point_tesla on the power cells / tesla coils for a much more impressive visual effect. Additionally, I’ve reworked how the tesla coils work as traps to be much more balanced yet also more fun to use.

    Most of the defenses were not properly demonstrated to the player and as a result, most players only used the power cells to defend themselves. There’s still a lot I need to learn about how to do better, but I’m looking forward to starting fresh in the next challenge.

    Defenders of the Old Republic

    It is okay

    It’s Okay

    I should preface my thoughts of Defenders of the Old Republic by sort of explaining the context of where it came from. Defenders of the Old Republic was made by a friend of mine, Dave, who found out about Half-Life 2 mapping challenges from me and wanted to enter. When Dave told me the idea, I encouraged him to try to make it and agreed to make a custom skin that would make the Combine soldiers look like Sith troopers. Dave came up with the idea and built the map but it was finished by Tiop, who made There’s No One Around And Your Phone Is Dead in HalloweenVille 3. Tiop added in the triggers that spawn the enemies and the ending of the map.

    I think the concept behind it was a lot of fun and I think it’s an excellent first map for a brand new mapper, but it has some pretty glaring flaws that prevented it from being enjoyable.

    My biggest complaint about DOTOR was that the enemy waves lasted for too long without enough changes to mix up the gameplay. Since there was only one enemy type with one weapon and they came from random spawn areas, nothing really seemed to change as the map went on. This might have been okay if there were far fewer enemies, but with the number of enemies you have to kill it just becomes tedious halfway through.

    There’s no sprite indicating the control panel you use to start the waves. I sort of knew that that was what I had to use, but I might have been confused if I hadn’t gone into the map with that knowledge. By far the worst issue is the invisible wall blocking the player from entering the enemy spawn area. Any ammo dropped inside the spawning areas is lost forever because the player can’t enter. I understand why the mappers didn’t want the player to enter those areas, but without a visual effect blocking the player it feels really cheap.

    I think DOTOR could have been a visually interesting map but it falls flat because of a few missteps that sort of homogenized the environment. Using the same texture on all of the walls AND the floor makes the entire map look blocky and fake. Simply choosing a different texture for the floor would go miles towards making the map more interesting. The lighting was also very simplistic and better lighting in the interior areas would have made the enemies easier to identify and would have improved the aesthetic.

    Because I was involved in making DOTOR I know of a lot of features that were planned but weren’t possible to complete within the time frame, like a brush model of the Ebon Hawk in the center of the hangar. The map felt huge and empty because things like the Ebon Hawk were missing, which was a shame. DOTOR was a unique idea that may have been too ambitious for a first map.

    Energy Train

    It is okay

    It’s Okay

    The first thing I noticed about Energy Train probably has more to do with my headphones or audio drivers than it does with the map. There’s a horrific rattle in the ambient audio that plays while the player is standing on the train. It was really distracting and almost started to give me a headache. Other parts of the map has less of a rattle but still had too much loud ambient noise. In any case, that isn’t necessarily the mappers’ fault.

    My first impression of the map was that the train seemed sort of disjointed. The train is made out of Combine materials, like a razor train, but it has bunk beds and seats for passengers. Did the rebels move that stuff out of a normal train into the combine train?

    Outside of the train, the cave is very blocky. There is a certain logic to it though: The Combine-styled railway tunnel passes right by an old mine, so there’s mining equipment next to Combine energy dispensers in such a way that doesn’t feel jarring or artificial.

    I liked the rollermine and explosive barrel dispensers. The traps and preparation period went pretty well; I had plenty of turrets and mines to set up to try to block enemy points of entry.

    The best thing about the map was its use of the super gravity gun. I don’t see the super gravity gun in many mods, so that was kind of a surprise. I forgot it even existed. This also marks the first time I’ve used the gravity gun to kill a Hunter by picking up and shocking it, so that was fun.

    Unfortunately, there were a lot of annoyances that prevented me from fully enjoying the map. The map made use of text prompts to direct the player to objectives. It would have felt more natural if I could have determined what I was supposed to do based on the design of the map and other contextual clues. Even with the text, it wasn’t always clear what I was supposed to be doing. Batteries seemed to spawn out of thin air in tiny stone boxes.

    The worst hindrance to the map was that the gunship would often fly in areas where I couldn’t see it, forcing me to blind fire with the rocket launcher. It was so bad that I almost had to stop playing. I think eventually I used noclip to get to it.

    Overall, Energy Train was an ambitious but unpolished map that unfortunately relies on text narration to give unclear instructions.

    Haven

    It is good

    It’s Good

    The first thing I noticed about Haven was that there was no soundscape in the starting area. I’m not sure why but that always sticks out to me – the rest of the map did have a minimal Ep2 soundscape with bird songs and wind noises.

    For some reason Haven gave me a little bit of a Fallout vibe. Perhaps it was the gas station; is there a settlement like that in Fallout 4? In any case, the locations were interesting and fun to explore.

    The opening room is a little bare, but the very first thing the player is shown is a map of all of the major landmarks on a whiteboard. I absolutely love this feature! I wish other maps in DefendVilleTwo would have done this (including mine) as it makes the process of learning the layout of the map a lot smoother.

    As I explored the surrounding setting, I noticed that I could see the edge of the world, that there were untextured surfaces or overly simple textures, and that there were large open rooms without much inside them. The map feels like a very professionally done map partway into development, with the visuals and presentation being unfinished. Having seen the visual polish Crowbar achieved in Mega City One, I wish that the challenge had some extra time so that he could have polished this map more. Haven already looks good; I can only imagine how great it would look if given the Mega City One treatment.

    I also wish that there could have been custom voice acting instead of the onscreen text prompts. I understand how hard that is but it would have been a lot more immersive if it would have been possible. Haven did use Crowbar’s signature dynamic music feature, which is always fun to hear.

    Haven has a really interesting take on defense. Instead of setting up traps, players must use the five minutes preparation time to memorize the layout of the map so that they can more easily navigate to the different staging areas.

    The combat was never too challenging, and the enemy waves were appropriately sized. The enemies never seemed to take out a single supply cache though. It made me wonder if they were actually attacking the crates and I just stopped them in time or if they were ignoring the objective and going after the player and NPCs. (If that were the case, it would be understandable; I found that making NPCs do what you want can be very difficult.)

    Mine

    It is okay

    It’s Okay

    My first impressions of Mine were positive. The environment looked and felt like a White Forest bunker, and I liked little details like having a space to store the hazard suit when it’s not in use.

    The first issue I had with the map was that the doors automatically close behind you, which made moving mines from the storage room tedious.

    I thought that only giving the player a few hopper mines was a good balance. I was really excited for the map at that point.

    That’s when things started to go downhill… The Combine only spawn from one direction, making it very easy to take them out as they head for the single choke point.

    The Combine seemed to keep coming, but I noticed a trap door was open with a ladder leading down into the bunker. I was totally confused. Was I waiting for that hatch to open? How long had it been open? Was I supposed to go down there?

    Curiosity got the better of me and I headed down into the mine, where Antlions were attacking power boxes. I saw them destroy all of the power boxes but the map still went to credits. Did I lose? Did I win? What happened to the Combine?

    Mine had a good opening but it totally lost me partway through and it felt like a complete communications breakdown between myself as a player and the mapper.

    Neocortex Prosecution

    It is good

    It’s Good

    I really liked the coast environment in Neocortex Prosecution. The terrain looks great and the mapping is really clean and well structured. I also thought that the map was really well bounded; it was clear where I could and couldn’t go.

    However, I was initially confused about what I was supposed to do. I lowered the force field blocking the prisoners, but I wasn’t sure what that accomplished. Initially I didn’t know why they wouldn’t leave their cell or pick up any weapons.

    Crossing over to the other building, I was able to figure things out pretty quickly, but I wish there had been a sprite indicating that the radio was interactable. After I used the radio, it seemed like the attack waves started almost instantly the first time I played. Maybe the timer had started before the first time I used the radio?

    In any case, the radio did a good job of explaining the mechanics. I really loved using the teleporter to bring in supplies in between waves. It’s a good way to pace resupplies. (only three per wave)

    Once the waves started, something seemed just a little off about the map. The door to the building where the prisoners were kept created a chokepoint where the combine needed to approach the door to open it. By putting a turret on the other side of the door and closing it, I could easily cheese them. They were able to get around that by going to the hole in the side of the building, but those two entrances were the only two ways in and became congested chokepoints.

    I felt as though I could focus on that one building and its two entrances and ignore the rest of the map for the most part. There were way too many enemies at one time in each wave, and I was only able to succeed by very careful placement of turrets.

    Taking out the last gunship was very satisfying. The number of enemies was a little frustrating at first, but I enjoyed the frantic, intense gameplay. Letting the player know how many people they saved was a good way to conclude the map.

    Trainyard

    It is great!

    It’s Great

    The first thing I noticed in Trainyard was that a turret falls over immediately and starts beeping. I thought that was a nice touch because it let me know that I had to reset the turrets. Likewise, I noticed the hopper mine containers right away because one hopper mine was already outside it.

    The map looks excellent and it fits right in with the Episode Two style White Forest environment. The terrain is varied and there’s a lot of room for different strategies.

    At first I focused heavily on the mounted gun on the second floor while relying on my turrets to cover my blind spots, but after some trial and error I found that staying on the ground floor and CQBing the Combine was much more effective.

    It was very noticeable that care was taken to balance the wave size – I was never overwhelmed by an unstoppable number of enemies, everything felt moderate but was still challenging.

    Unfortunately, a bug caused the Combine to stop moving when I loaded my save. I had to noclip around to find them and kill them. I feel for this author because my experience entering this competition was that Half-Life 2 NPCs are rebellious. You can’t just tell them what to do and count on them to do it, they always disobey. I don’t know if anyone else encountered this bug, but it feels more like a programming issue than anything that a mapper could fix.

    Trainyard could have used a more satisfying conclusion but it was the highest quality entry so far.

    Unexpected Interference

    It is good

    It’s Good

    Unexpected Interference had a very strong opening. The first thing you see probably could have been better than staring directly at a brick wall, but I liked the opening line from Doctor Kleiner that grounded the story based on the teleporter sequence in Red Letter Day.

    I really liked that the map opened without weapons and that you needed to find the crowbar. I adore the “Metroidvania” style opening where you have to find your basic gameplay item and solve a basic puzzle to loop back. The introduction to the gravity gun was similarly cool.

    One small detail I noted during the opening section was that the vent interiors were detailed differently than most vents, and it looked good. In general the map had a lot of atmosphere and good visuals. I was a little irritated that I could shoot the locks off of some doors but not open them, but that’s just one tiny nitpick.

    The custom voice acting was well done and it did a good job setting up the defense scenario. I liked that the objective was to defend a teleporter, a classic Half-Life motif.

    Initially, I thought the pacing of the defense sequence was done well. The waves started out with Civil Protection Officers, then quickly ramped up to Combine Soldiers and Hunters.

    Things suddenly went very wrong after the second group of Hunters. Two or three full squads of Combine soldiers spawned at once, making the encounter almost impossible to win. To make matters worse, I was almost completely out of health packs.

    When I finally got through the overwhelming wave of Combine troops, I had to fight a Hunter Chopper with no healthkits. It took way too many RPG hits to kill, making for a very tedious finale.

    I loved the first 50% of the map but once I was halfway through the defense the map took a turn for the worse. It’s a shame because the shipyard environment was a really cool new setting in the Half-Life universe and the map looked great.

    Urban Disarray

    It is good

    It’s Good

    Urban Disarray was a short, simple, and focused map where you defend yourself from incoming Combine.

    Similar to Unexpected Interference, I liked how they started out with Civil Protection and then ramped up to Combine soldiers. I thought that the Combine squads were well balanced and I never felt like there were too many or too few enemies.

    I made a mistake by not watching my flank and lost all of my allies to a squad of Combine soldiers, but I was able to recover. That made for a really intense moment.

    I noticed one of the mounted guns was actually the airboat gun – which was perfect for taking out the helicopter at the end of the map. Watching the helicopter crash into a building at the end was awesome.

    The city street warfare environment reminded me a lot of Bothersome Flies from Hard!Ville. If I recall, it even reused an animated sequence of a smoke stack falling from that map. I don’t find the similarities to be a problem because this map improves on the previous by so much.

    The map was very short and simple but I had fun playing it and I didn’t find much to complain about.

    Warm Up

    It is okay

    It’s Okay

    My initial observation for Warm Up was that the room you start out in is too plain, and it could be much smaller. You can skip the crowbar if you want to, which could be an issue. Upon leaving the starting building, a scanner tried to dive bomb into me. I liked how that kept me on my toes.

    I was a little confused by the preparation time. I activated the four generators but I didn’t know I had to hit the button inside the house to start the ship. I overlooked it because the button didn’t have a sprite on it, however when I started over I realized that the opening text did say to press the button.

    Some of the friendly NPCs have rocket launchers, but they’re nearly useless because they won’t use the launchers against gunships. Ultimately I found the map to be far too difficult because the enemy NPCs can too easily reach line of sight with the objective. There’s no way to prevent them from shooting at it, so the objective will slowly lose health.

    I really like the concept of protecting a ship as it takes off, especially factoring in the teleporter. But
    I didn’t really find the presentation of the ship convincing because it just looks like a single metal block with an engine in the center.

    Warm Up had ambition and the concept of using a teleporter to fight on and off a vehicle is great. In the end, the map was so hard that I had to stop playing. It is not possible for me to stop a gunship and two hunters from firing. I can keep them from killing me, but when they’re all shooting at a large exposed object with no cover and I’m supposed to kill them all before they hit it, it’s just not fun.

    Zombie Defense

    It is WOW!

    It’s Wow

    Right from the get-go I enjoyed the Ravenholm atmosphere and aesthetic. The curved roofs on some of the buildings were really interesting. I was a little confused at first during the opening because I thought that I needed to stack crates to get up into a vent, but all I got for it was a gnome.

    The walkways at the beginning gave a clear view of the surrounding area, which was really valuable because Zombie Defense relies on becoming familiar with the map. The architecture of the level was really interesting because of the odd angles on the streets, and it really felt like a classic Ravenholm map.

    During the preparation period, I liked that there was still a fast zombie jumpscare in a vent. It kept the atmosphere and tension alive when I would have expected to be safe and made looking for extra supplies feel like a risk.

    The placement of traps within the level was brilliant. The way I needed to memorize where the car trap / elevator was, where the spinning blade trap, the grenades, and the shotgun ammo were made the level an absolute joy to play.

    Different zombie types became different types of attackers; fast zombies went after the player while classic zombies and zombine went straight for the objective This made fighting the same old zombie types feel fresh.

    The gameplay of Zombie Defense actually made me feel like Father Grigori, tending to my traps and protecting the last remaining citizens of Ravenholm.

    Zombie Defense taught me again not to judge a book by its cover. I saw the most bland, generic title I could think of and went into the map with very low expectations. I can’t think of a more underwhelming title for a more outstanding map.

    Zombie Defense is easily my top pick for DefendVilleTwo. It stands out not just because it uses zombie and headcrab enemies rather than Combine but also because it has a really interesting layout that forces the player to think and plan where they need to navigate to ensure the zombies don’t reach their target.

    Conclusion

    Unexpected Interference was very well made but became too overwhelmingly difficult to be fun. Neocortex Prosecution was almost the same way. Haven was great, but felt unfinished. Trainyard was a lot of fun and it was polished but it broke on my playthrough. Because of all of these frustrations, I would nearly rate DefendVilleTwo as a Play It Later mod. However, considering how many maps are offered, the high quality of the maps I just mentioned, and the excellence of Zombie Defense, I have to say that there is a certain synergy that bumps DefendVilleTwo up to a Play It Now. I think it has something for everyone; maybe you won’t be frustrated by the same things I was.

    1. “Crowbar’s signature dynamic music feature”

      I like the sound of that 😉

      btw the enemies do attack the supplies, but only if there is NOTHING else they could attack.

      1. It is a really great feature. I was playing Spherical Nightmares a couple nights ago and I thought I noticed some form of dynamic music in that mod too – it might have just been that they applied a fade out to the music once all of the enemies are killed, which isn’t quite as impressive but works really well too. Perhaps eventually I’ll make a map that uses dynamic music.

  20. Unq
    Play It Later

    Overall I thought this challenge was a worthy follow-up to DefendVille which I first played only a couple months ago when I streamed it for The Ville Retrospective (RIP). The rules were a little more open this time, in that it didn’t have to be just a Combine invasion – and I was glad to see many of the maps used other enemies.

    Castle Defender

    Overall I liked this map. It had an interesting island castle setting and plenty of areas to explore for goodies. I liked the key/chest mechanic but the keys themselves were really clunky, and I never took the chance to see if any of the keys would open any chest – I just took the key immediately to the closest chest I saw. I heard all the zombies at the beginning but neither time I played this map did I see them break through the gates – perhaps I finished the map too quickly?

    My main issue with the map was that it wasn’t really a defense situation. Yes, you have to defend the ‘King’ but he is basically static once he goes back upstairs so I thought this was a missed opportunity. As much as most escort missions suck, perhaps there was a way to script him so that he moved from one safe point to the other, and you had to defend him while he was vulnerable as you both escaped the area. Not very challenging, either. The dropship guys were taken care of easily with a few RPG rockets.

    Countermeasure

    This map had its issues, but overall I found it challenging and reasonably enjoyable. I think the main complaint I have is that there’s just too many ideas crammed into one map that it ends up confusing the player. I still don’t understand the whole ‘headcrab pacification’ angle of the map. I did like the multiple rounds of defense, each with their own 5 minute prep. But I didn’t understand the roving carts with saws on them. I mean, I understood that they help clear out the baddies from the hallways – but you can activate them by ‘using’ them and they drive right through the garage doors. It didn’t even occur to me to put a power cell in the back.

    I did like the introduction of the power cells and the options for using them. Personally I put the turrets on ‘kill all’ and used 2 sparking cells as the last defense in the doorway of the server side rooms – they worked pretty well there since they set anyone touching them on fire. I thought the use of BMRF style grunts was confusing – first you get told that they’re on your side but they attack anyway. It really took a second play through to appreciate this map, the first time I was really just running around trying to make sense of everything and was frustrated. Part of the problem is likely that the hallways all looked the same – they needed some landmarks or distinguishing features somehow. And it wasn’t clear at all what to do once the waves ended. It turns out a new door was opened but this wasn’t at all obvious to me.

    Defenders of the Old Republic

    Here we have a very basic map indeed, and I got the solid feeling it was a new mapper’s entry. I did like some of the ideas (e.g. using a combination of turret placement and grenades as your only means of holding off an attack) but overall it’s not very engaging to play and just ends up being a monotonous arena battle. There’s no real flow to the battle either, you just kind of wait as the doors open and the Combine start coming through.

    The visuals and sound were really letdowns here as well which explains the low overall score for this entry. I realize it was trying to create a Star-Wars style hangar, but the bland texturing combined with total lack of ambient sound just made it feel even more empty.

    Energy Train

    Energy Train was a mixed bag for me. It had some good ideas but in general it’s not clear what you’re defending (the train?) since the Combine troops just kind of wander around rather than going for a specific area or target. What I liked: 1) the layout (sort of). I did like the multiple levels and the entrance of enemies from all sides – but again, they just kind of showed up and attacked rather than targetting something specific. 2) the nice surprise of the snipers – a good way to mix up the attack that isn’t used often enough in these entries. 3) the idea of setting the player up to explore for batteries – and then give them as rewards for completing waves. That said, I think it might have been better to use a similar battery puzzle to get the player to really explore the area in the 5 minute prep time, rather than having them as rewards for completing phases.

    What I didn’t like: 1) The totally broken gunship. Both times I played I hit it a couple times with the RPG, then it flew off to the side and was never seen again. I could still hear it but could not shoot it. Luckily the second time I played it somehow self-destructed and I was able to proceed and finish the map. 2) The balance. Yes, you get a ton of weapons and some goodies to help with the fight, but in the first wave you’re throwing elites at us? Seemed like you just wanted to make it impossible from the get-go. 3) The weak visuals and sound. I did like the Combine-style look of the the beginning, and the train – but the area you actually fight in is bland and not at all visually interesting (though as I mentioned I did like the general layout).

    Haven

    A solid map here that’s fun to play but also really frustrating at times. I really liked the circular plan of the map – and the big landmarks like the gas station, crane, windmill, and water tower were a great idea. Those were really important, because studying the map at the beginning under time pressure wasn’t as useful as you might think.

    Most of the gameplay was good here. But the experience tended heavily toward frustration when you face double gunships – twice. They seemed to always fly away from me so it was difficult to not only chase them, but then have your rocket get through both of them trying to shoot it down. Couple that with having to rely on your teammates (and a couple key shelves) for rockets and I ended up just frustrated with those battles. At one point the 2 gunships kind of got stuck together too.

    My main issue with this map is that the author bit off too much for this challenge. Many areas were under-detailed, including some blank textures and dead end empty rooms. And oddly you can knock a couple doors off their hinges and they open to nodraw sections. It would have been so much better to simplify the design, eliminate many of the empty side rooms – and it would have gone a long way toward helping the flow of the map. In addition, the area you have to cover is just too much, this map could have really been improved with the jalopy or infinite sprint – or carefully tightening up the design. I think there could still be a way to make the player feel frantic while minimizing the total frustration of just moving at a snail’s pace once sprint runs out as you’re trying to traverse the whole map.

    Mine

    Sorry, I didn’t care for this map much at all. It’s separated into 2 defense sections and I found both to be broken and frustrating. In the first section you’re in a garage and the Combine troops invade from outside. The garage itself and the rooms behind it are really difficult to navigate because there is so much crap in the way – including your rebel buddies – and trying to set any of the hoppers involves opening 2 doors that close after a couple seconds behind you. Then, once the battle begins, the Combine don’t actually approach you. Both times I played this map, the troops got just to the open fence and stopped. It was easy to clear out the big bunch of them that just sat at the corner.

    During that first section, a door in the floor slowly opens that eventually allows you to progress to the underground battle. But even though there was plenty of room to fit, you have to wait until the door is fully open to climb down the ladder. Weird, but fine. The second battle is worse than the first, though. You’re defending a power relay that is being attacked by (eventually) dozens of antlions. But everything there is so, so dark that it just frustrated me to no end. You can barely see the antlions unless you’re on top of them – and exploring for supplies is really just a stab in the dark. Better design decisions and playtesting would have really helped this entry.

    [edit] Just played the updated version of this map, and although the second section with antlions is a lot brighter and you can at least see what you’re doing, it doesn’t really help the situation much. Still a frustrating section to play.

    Neocortex Prosecution

    Another mixed bag here, although once I found a system that worked I did have fun (although it kind of felt like I cheated the system). For the most part, I liked the look of this map – a cool rocky coastline area. It looks great, but disappointingly there isn’t any substance to it – the lighthouse is inaccessible, and save for a hidden pathway up top there isn’t any reason whatsoever to explore the entire area. I thought that aspect was a missed opportunity (but of course I realize it takes a lot of time to flesh out those areas). But couple that with the severely restricted area in which you actually play and it felt like the map was a tease.

    I found the combat to be a little on the ridiculous side, so I resorted to ridiculous tactics. By sticking next to the rocket crate and cheesing the 3 teleported items you can receive for each wave, I found a great way to survive the otherwise misbalanced waves of enemies. The teleporters seemed to be random, and by far the best gift I received was a turret. Some deft keystrokes and some time later, and I had a solid 7 turrets to help me against the last wave. No one got through to the cell. I killed myself a few times with the RPG in that tiny room but it’s a small price to pay to complete the map.

    In all honesty I did have fun in this map. Yes, I was frustrated by the limited defense area and things like the clipped-off roof and windows. But there were nice touches too and once I figured out my approach (rockets galore + tons o’ turrets) I enjoyed playing.

    Trainyard

    In my opinion, this map was just about the perfect scope for a 3-week map that these challenges demand. Sad that it ultimately was submitted late. But the scope was just right – it’s a fairly simple and small area to defend – but centrally located with a lot of entrances that you have to cover. I liked the small starting area, the approach to the station you have to defend, and the beeping turret that draws your attention nicely – but why the constant text on the screen? Completely distracting and unnecessary.

    The defense itself was set up well. The design of the station is simple but I liked the addition of the large targets (generators) and the catwalk to kind of add tactical options for the player. I also really liked the one garage door that was only open a bit, it allowed you a narrow gap to see & shoot through while not letting anyone through directly. I felt the enemy waves themselves could use more variety, and you don’t really get a sense of the combat ramping up or reaching a climax at any point – perhaps the addition of a ‘boss’ style fight or some other twist beyond just the standard soldiers would have been helpful to make the gameplay more interesting.

    Unexpected Interference

    Another good map here, and one that feels just about right for a 3-week Ville challenge. The author didn’t try to bite off too much, and although there were minor issues with the map (lack of ambient sounds, for instance), overall this was a solid experience. I too built barricades out of the debris laying around (reminded me a little of SourceForts) – but the barricades didn’t really hold well over time. I liked the main battle area among the boats on the rails, although I would have liked to have some height variation to allow for different combat situations (both being up high and maybe being attacked from up high). Generally a good looking map overall, but I felt the lighting outside was too flat (although I really liked the shadows you got inside the warehouse).

    I for one really liked the boss fight. I prefer the chopper to a gunship any day even though it takes a ton of rockets, but that might be because choppers don’t shoot down the rockets in flight. I thought it was a nice game of cat and mouse, since I was really low on health by that point both times I played the map. Perhaps a health drop of some kind right before or during that battle would have made for better balance (even out in the open, for instance, to make it risky to reach).

    Urban Disarray

    I found Urban Disarray to be a decent although really easy map. I liked the general look of the map too, and while the lighting was interesting, the shadows case by objects seemed wrong and kind of hurt the overall visual feel. As with the last map, I would also have liked to see some height variation available in the main defense section. Yes, it’s interesting that the Combine assault comes from some different areas but it would have been even better to have some soldiers show up on a balcony or rooftop.

    The defense sequence was well done, I liked the ramp up in difficulty. And this was another boss battle that I enjoyed – I especially liked that I could use the mounted gun on the chopper as well as tossing its bombs back at it. I also liked the room of supplies that opened up after a couple of waves – I felt more of the maps in this Ville could have used this mechanic better. Although I didn’t really get the point of the bombs in this room, they just seemed to blow up just as soon as I picked them up.

    Warm Up

    This one was just kind of odd. It had some good ideas but sort of fell apart in the execution. I got the feeling this might be from a relatively new mapper, as it had a lot of rough edges – but also some good ideas that could be better developed in the future. I did like the idea of defending atop a moving structure (in this case the “ship” although it took me a long time to understand that was the ship referred to in the on-screen text). And the idea of using a teleport to both get more ammo (RPG) and defend against enemies on the ground could be explored further as a design aspect, it could be an interesting tradeoff in a defense map like this.

    Unfortunately I just didn’t find this map challenging. Sometimes the Combine soldiers just kind of stood around in a group and didn’t seem to move much or attack anything, so a single rocket took out a bunch of them. The hunters seemed to ignore the turrets so they didn’t last too long even when I didn’t actively fight them. As for other rough edges, I think unfortunately both the visuals and the sound design are weak. The map is pretty boxy, and some of the texture choices are questionable, plus many of the objects in the map just have the texture tiled over their surfaces. The map had some nice ideas as I said, but they needed to be developed better and the map needed to be polished more in every aspect.

    Zombie Defense

    I had low expectations of this one based on the title – but it turned out to be one of the best in the pack. Yes, you’re up against zombies and headcrabs of all types, but the design of this map is top-notch. You start with a perfect vantage point of the playing area, and it’s immediately clear where the zombies will be coming from – as well as the method to start the defense early (shoot the explosive barrels). But if you do that, you miss the kamikaze zombines that run up to the barrels with grenades in hand – a nice stylish way to start the assault.

    The Ravenholm atmosphere is spot-on especially for a trap-filled, zombie-filled map. Exploration was certainly required and rewarded here – but what I liked the most was the layout of the map, and how the areas were interconnected (along with a bunch of nooks and crannies to explore). It really led to some interesting tradeoffs when scrambling during the defense. I kept trying to keep the chopper going (it kept losing its blade) but at the same time I knew I needed to keep an eye on the final ramp and once in a while grab shotgun ammo and grenades from up high. It was the solid design and overall polish of this map that I liked. A real gem worth of a better title!

    In all, DV2 has some good maps and some weak maps, and unfortunately doesn’t quite reach the heights of the best maps from the first DefendVille. Still worth a play though.

    1. There is an “infinite sprint” option?

      The map actually had the car, but I removed it very late in development, because I couldn’t test it and feared that the map could break easily with it. I should add that at that point, the player was forced to choose a loadout, which meant that not everyone would have the gravity gun. I ditched that last minute though for reasons, but didn’t add the car back to the map :/

      Thanks for the review.

      1. That loadout system sounds really interesting. How would it have worked? What made you decide not to include it?

        1. The player was forced to choose between four loadouts.
          1: Shotgun, Magnum, Crowbar
          2: RPG, Smg, Pistol, Crowbar
          3: AR2, Gravity Gun
          4: Crossbow, Pistol, Gravity Gun

          I removed it, because it would take me a lot more time to test all of them and balance them, plus it would take more work to spawn the right ammo type depending on the player’s loadout. Also because of time, I just made quick gunship waves, instead of something else I planned, and for the gunship wave to work, the player must have the RPG.

  21. Maybe?

    A mixed bag for this first competition with some fun and frustration to be had in equal measure.
    I challenge myself when building levels to try and get as much gameplay out of each NPC as possible. Don’t create challenge through sheer numbers of bad guys you throw at the player. Use them smartly and give the player a significant disadvantage to create challenge. Many of the mappers here give us all the weapons we could ever want, and throw every enemy they can muster… but it’s not much fun unfortunately.

    Castle Defender by Ethosaur
    It is okay

    A nice bit of mapping with a great vista. Key’s and lockers seemed unnecessary. Combine appear to have no AI at all and simply try and run through the player to reach the end goal. I wasn’t clear on what the win condition was for this map and so I failed several times before I figured out what I was supposed to be doing. That always leads to frustration. Whenever possible try to avoid teaching the player through death or game over. The player should know all they need to before they head into a challenge. The win condition of protecting the king dude also led to me never really using much of the map. I just stayed in the top room with the King for the most of it. Once I figured out what I had to do it was pretty easy. It’s a shame I was never encouraged to use the rest of the map for my battle.

    Countermeasure by 1upD
    It is okay

    Less is more as they say. In Countermeasure it’s a very clear case of too many ideas being thrown into the pot. Some of them are pretty fun and clever ideas but we’re not really given the space or time to explore them without playing through the whole experience again. One of my personal criteria for judging was around how fun the set up process was before the action was triggered. I have to say 1upD did walk the player through many of the new gameplay elements well and I wasn’t bored at all when setting up. Only when the action started did I start to lose patience. I also think this is a case of the mapper having a clear vision of how the map should be played but not really testing to see how others would play it. Through more playtesting they could have probably picked up on player behaviors that would have encouraged a change in approach. Still nice to see so many new gameplay elements being thrown in. Keep it up but try and focus on one or two new elements and give the player more room to explore the gameplay with them.

    Defenders of the Old Republic by Dave
    It is okay

    Loving the Mos Eisley style spaceport Dave… even if it is made of the blandest concrete textures! This map probably shouldn’t have been fun.. but oddly it was simple enough for me to find a way to make my own fun. The player is often very overpowered and giving us so little resources to play with made me improvise. Using grenades to take down some guys and then scoot out to grab their ammo had a fairly additive quality to it. This wore off after a while of course and it became rather repetitive going on for too long before I met the win condition. The lesson here is you need to change up your attack and up the pressure on the player as time goes on in a hold out scenario.

    Energy Train by Spyde3r
    It is bad

    I liked the combine theme to the playspace but the mapping was very blocky.
    At the beginning I thought I had to go find 3 batteries during the set up process. I thought this was a clever idea as it would have forced me to explore the play space. I was wrong… and dissapointed. I was actually very confused as to where the batteries were, or what was going to happen, or what I was supposed to do. I hit the detonator and then onslaught commenced. The combine ran blindly into the hail of gunfire from my clumbsy team who continually got in my way (not the mappers fault!) until my team died the turrets died then I died… I like to think that hundreds more combine came trotting through the entrance, trampling over our corpses, until they were crammed onto the train like a London Tube at rush hour… I tried dialing down the difficulty on this map but it still proved fairly impossible to get any fun out of unfortunately.

    Haven by Crowbar
    It is good

    Now this map had scope. It may not be that pretty but it certainly didn’t lack for scale or action. Taking a note from the finale of Episode 2, Crowbar makes his defense locations stand out enough that I was able to understand where I was supposed to be and what I was supposed to be doing at all times.
    I threw myself around the map desperately trying to keep things in check and had a blast doing it. I think the highlight for me was fighting the Hunters in the diner but there were other great moments too. I did think to myself that adding in the airboat or Jalopy might have given the player more options and could have taken it to another level. Great work on the design, just need to get better at that blocky mapping that seems to now come as a standard in a Crowbar map.

    Mine by Ttiki
    It is bad

    Nice work on the Intro area, detailing was quite nice. I ignored the combine at the gate as they didn’t appear to be much of a threat. I stood in the corner while I waiting for the slowest trap door of all time opened up on the floor. I barely noticed it was opening for a while it was that slow. Once it finally fully opened I was permitted to descend into a fog so dense I couldn’t even establish which way I was facing. Then the antlions came. They bit me, over and over again, imparing my movement and lowering my health. So now I can’t see, I can’t move and I’m going to die. I AM NOT HAVING FUN!
    Antlions should be used in packs of three, never any more or they quickly become the most annoying enemy of all time. If you’re going to ask the player to fight, first of all have them get familiar with the space they are going to fight in. Let them see the space to give them even a chance of winning.
    Don’t be disheartened by all this chastising… try and get some folks to play out your ideas next time in a dev map before committing to them.

    Neocortex Prosecution by Rekurer
    It is okay

    Some really nice mapping here. Some kind of direction about using the radio would have been really useful as I ended up exploring into area’s that I shouldn’t have been in and didn’t really understand what I was supposed to do. Once the action started the difficultly was super high with so many shotgun combine. Using the difficulty through sheer numbers again here and trying to defend the citizens proved almost impossible for me unfortunately.
    Other than stocking up on ammo and health there wasn’t a lot for me to prepare in terms of defenses, so I didn’t feel I had many options as a player. I hid in the corner and blew combine after combine away, who unfortunately didn’t really display any form of AI. Some nice touches in this map made it stand out for me but I’d be lying if I said I had fun playing it.

    Trainyard by Alex Marcu AKA melc311
    It is good

    Great mapping… looks fantastic!
    I would have preferred to be able to see the combine coming in from a further distance away. Probably could have been designed with a bigger area all around.
    Nice messaging to the player on how they were doing with the three generators. All the maps failed to convey to me how long I had to hold out for which is a shame because I think that extra bit of information would have really added the final touch here.
    Combine were pretty dumb on this map too running right up to me to bash me in the head instead of shooting me with their guns.
    I did enjoy trying out all the various elements available in the map but I didn’t really think they made much of a difference.. in the end I strafe circled and shot the combine at point blank range, which isn’t very interesting.. but certainly was effective!

    Unexpected Interference by Stanislav Rosecky AKA Stanleyros
    It is great!

    For me, this was the winner. I was given so many elements to construct my defense with. I made my plans and then I executed them. That’s what I am looking for in a hold out situation. The mapping was pretty good although everything was at 90 degree angles and there was no height added to the playing space at all. Still this was the map that I felt I could have replayed the most. Lots of differnt options available, the enemy displayed some intelligence, holding back and finding cover. I felt challenged but not frustrated and had fun playing it.

    Urban Disarray by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
    It is okay

    Another very flat map here with everything at 90 degree angles making it feel not quite right. Some nice destruction touches here and there. The mindless combine onslaught continues as they desperately tried to run past me to get to somewhere (I wasn’t really sure where to be honest). The chopper battle wasn’t really much of a battle. I held the cannon shoot button down and moved the mouse slightly wondering why the pilot hadn’t realised that he might have a bit of a problem and thought better of the situation and left. Still I won… which made me feel good… so thanks for that!

    Warm Up by Sockman
    It is okay

    In every competition you need some mad bollocks… so here comes Sockman with some genuinely weird goings on.
    Is the mapping blocky and crappy? – yes
    Is there a lot of challenge going on? – not really
    Did I have fun playing this? – Kinda!

    Powering up the machine was oddly satisfying and watching it rise into the air was a thrill. Defending it once it was up was really just a matter of running to fetch more rockets and wiping out anything that moved. The biggest gripe I have with this map was the fact the gunship was obscured by the sun and seemed to understand that. This map does go to prove that you don’t necessarily need to be a good mapper to create something unique. I probably shouldn’t have liked this map but it won me over through sheer silliness.

    Zombie Defense by Klems
    It is good

    This map gets so much right. The Ravenholme atmosphere and look. The very obvious goal and area I had to defend. Hidden bonus weapons encouraging me to explore. Giving me loads of things to play with and prepare before the zombies closed in. To me, zombies and antlions were the obvious choices for a defense map. They’re both designed to close in on the player and need to be beaten back. When the zombies did start to close in the gameplay great fun for a short period, until the fast zombies were released. Then unfortunately, the gameplay did get rather frustrating. With such a wide playing space I ended up retreating back to the stairway only to be quicly overrun. I think with more time and play testing this could be a really fun map to play. As it is right now it’s less fun than it should be.

    1. could you ellaborate on “blocky mapping”. I heard that before but I have no idea what people are talking about.

      1. sure… look at this image:
        http://195.154.69.184/media/2017/02/1024-defendvilletwo-024.jpg
        the backs of the booths are too wide and too high and are one brush. doesn’t look even remotely realistic. When detailing you need to make smaller brushes and focus on breaking up block shapes like that. Add more curves, make things not on 90 degree angle. the edge tool is good for making shapes less blocky… does that help?

        1. yeah I know what you mean now, thanks

  22. Play It Now!

    I don’t like write a lot. And i don’t good speak English. Sorry.

    Castle Defender
    It is good

    Beautiful map! But where are defense? It is assault of castle. No, there are one moment in map where you defend, but not always.

    Countermeasure
    It is okay

    To be honest, I spent many time to understand what I need do. It is not good. And defence wasn’t interesting.

    Defenders of the Old Republic
    It is dire!

    You can’t load this map. If you die then you need restart map. And the map is very empty, no ammo and nearly no medkits, that make map very hard. Only 3 turret which have small range of viev.

    Energy train
    It is bad

    Very easy and very bored.

    Haven
    It is WOW!

    Yes, it is great map! Big location and a lot of combines. Endless respawn of ammo, medkits and citizens make map easy. But it also make nice and relaxing gameplay this map.

    Mine
    It is okay

    Maybe I just don’t understand meaning of map. First we defend from combines, then from antlions and win…

    Neocortex Prosecution
    It is great!

    Not bad map: hard and fun. Door open and… ba-bah from RPG – minus 5 combines. Then 3 grenades fly from they side in your room and… ba-bah – minus you and all your citizens. 😀

    Trainyard
    It is okay

    Something is missing.

    Unespected Interferance
    It is okay

    A map have hard difficult, but it is so bored.

    Urban disarray
    It is dire!

    How I need leave from the house? Build the ladder of crates?! Ok. Gameplay time is 7 minutes and enough easy.

    Warm Up
    It is bad

    I played in this map 2 times. First time I always lost and I don’t understand who destroy my ship. Second time the map just breaks: after first wave, combines don’t coming.

    Zombie Defence
    It is great!

    Unusual map. Maybe I just little played this map type. Map have many things that you need find and use that win.

  23. Play It Later
    Intro

    As in every review I did so far, I attempted to complete the maps on ‘hard’ difficulty, and wrote the per-map reviews directly after completing the map or giving up.

    Note that there are bound to be spoilers in the reviews as I might discuss details. I have not marked them as such.

    On to the per map reviews.

    Castle Defender
    It is okay

    Reading the title I expected to defend a castle, and its occupant(s) against a combine onslaught, possibly ‘augmented’ with some zombie attack. I got something different instead.

    I still like the idea of a castle and the author has managed to actually make a map looking like one too. I enjoyed walking around when combat ceased for a moment, and explored the ramparts until two elite soldiers tried to kill me. So the environment fits the title and there are no obvious errors nor is the map broken in the sense that it doesn’t work as such.

    However, the instructions at the start, and the visual cues in the map are not enough to actually get the gameplay to flow as it should. Several times I wondered why nothing happened for minutes on end, finding out I had to trigger the next event by doing something specific that wasn’t obvious (e.g. picking up the RPG to trigger the gunship or crossing some imaginary line to get a door to blow open). Even after getting a “mission accomplished”(*) I wonder if I actually have completed the map as I never got to “meet” the poison headcrab zombie in the attic of one of the buildings, and never got inside the building on the outside that obviously was filled with zombies as well.

    I am rating this “okay” for the map to technically work, an interesting environment, but with issues with respect to player guidance.

    (*) I got this message after killing the last combine soldier from the dropship, while being killed myself a moment later. So I got the distinctly odd experience of the prompt to ‘go to the king’ being overlayed with a red “death screen”.

    Countermeasure
    It is okay

    I decided to stop playing this map simply because I did not enjoy it. The gameplay setup and layout of this map somehow didn’t make much sense to me. As feedback to the author I’m outlining a “hypothetical walkthrough” of the map “as it could have been”; I will not change the layout just the placement of resources and some other aspects.

    You start in the teleporter room. Activating the radio you are told that:
    1. A fellow rebel is hacking into servers of a location held by a hostile group (rebels or combine)
    2. It is likely that a succesful hack is going to be detected and troops will respond to stop the hack. The facility is expendable to the enemy because research is done and the facility is primed for destruction.
    3. You are sent in to physically protect the servers while data is being downloaded.
    4. Once you’ve teleported into a storage room of the facility you will be guided through your headset by the rebel hacking into the servers.
    5. He will guide you through the facility and will be able to see what you see (through a head mounted camera) and provide information on incomming attacks from the live data on the network he has hacked into.

    Once inside the server room you are told you need to gather resources to defend against the comming attacks.
    You are updated on progress every minute (just as now), and once the hack is successfull you are told that com-chatter shows that an attack is imminent.

    [i][b]What I would change[/b][/i]

    I would place resources somewhere close enough to the server room to have a fair chance to get them into the room before the first attack. Since you’ve introduced the power cells, use them exclusively (don’t use explosive barrels) and have more of them around.

    On the “upper level” I have no idea why there is a side room with three stations for power cells; explain through voice messages or remove.
    It is (initially) unclear why there is some kind of machine in a side room; only when you place a power cell, it will start “sweeping” the halls.
    Explain this by a voice message, e.g. “That looks like a robot that will kill anything in the hallways for you. You better find a power cell for it!”.

    Zombines do not make sense; have “hostile rebels” or combine attack your position once the download is underway.

    Give the player some clue where the threat is just before the attack; a light going red, a clear noise, something to help you focus if you respond quick enough.
    Though it is challenging to be attacked from all sides at any time, it isn’t very satisfying; I do understand this is just my point of view based on a limited experience of the map.

    Defenders of the Old Republic
    It is bad

    Just as “Countermeasure” I did not finish playing this map because I didn’t enjoy it.

    The player is put in an arena of sorts which is uninteresting as a space in itself. I like the attempt to recreate a Star Wars type of ship in this arena but the overwhelming impression is rather boring.

    The gameplay is equally uninteresting; having a seemingly unending stream of soldiers rush you from different doors isn’t very entertaining, especially when you mostly can keep chucking grenades at them to keep them from getting too close. One particular door could be covered with a tripod sentry gun completely, leaving me free to cover the remaining entry points.

    This all could be the result of inexperience of course with exception of one aspect: what are you defending and from what? From the title I could have known a Star Wars related theme but who are you and why are you in this area being shot at?

    I’ve rated this “Bad”; I can’t think of ways to improve this map.

    Energy Train
    It is okay

    I overall like playing this map because it challenges me to plan ahead and keep thinking while being under attack. The combat is really hard because enemies rush at you with hardly any pause to breathe.

    Some elements in the design do not make sense.

    Blowing up the roof doesn’t give you access to the batteries you need; killing a lot of enemies and shooting down the gunship through the hole does.
    Because of this I wasted time looking for the batteries on the upper walkway, when I did see the visual cues of the green lights on the “crates” containing the two batteries.

    It would have been more sensible if you would have to blow up a door or wall to get to the batteries or you would have to defend the train while solving a puzzle to find the batteries. The exploding roof etc. would then have been excellent cues e.g. for the gunship to appear and you having to shoot it down.

    The snipers don’t make sense; two holes appear in a wall and a sniper magically starts shooting from it. A sniper firing from the hole in the roof would have made more sense. This would also fit better with combine assaulting your position by breaching the roof.

    Also I fell through a narrow gap in the “platform” more than once and died; I don’t think that is supposed to happen.

    Still this map deserves “okay” as it uses some mechanics and objects in an unexpected way and challenges by demanding “thinking under fire”.

    Haven
    It is great!

    “Haven” ticks most of the boxes for me. All components -the setting, friendly NPCs and enemies – fit together. Its concept is a lot like the fight at the end of episode two: you fight waves of enemies entering the area where you are and you have to prevent them from reaching “something important”. In this case you are not attacked by striders but by different types of enemies, including gunships.

    I rate this a little higher because there were several clever ‘tweaks’ to the usual setup in defence situations. I liked the fact that there were no “infinite ammo” crates anywhere but you were resupplied by fellow rebels. This fits the situation of fighting off enemies together, and actually helps in fighting the gunships.

    The ‘dual gunship’ makes it really hard to take either down; I am not sure this is due to design by the author, or a “unforeseen consequence” but it is a good thing.
    They really act like partners covering each other and the pressure on the player is more than doubled because the usual tactic of ‘circling the target’ doesn’t work as well.

    For this reason the gunships in the final wave (I assume ‘final’ as I did not survive this) are a bit much; the rebels are not able to cover you well enough against the ground assault for you to concentrate on the gunships.
    I tried to complete the final onslaught but got killed so many times I decided to leave this map incomplete.

    Still it is “great” as a defence map.

    The Mine
    It is bad

    I have several problems with this map.
    There were a few oddities, such as rebel NPCs not moving/interacting, stuff blocking you from moving easily (the low ceiling in the ‘garage’ area comes to mind), and cinder blocks popping in and out of sight when being moved with the gravity gun. I also needed to ‘lure’ some combine to me who didn’t move even when shot at, and the triggering of a moving platform across a chasm wasn’t very functional as you needed to jump on it as soon as you arrived.
    These are only minor problems though compared with the clear absence of a time limit; instead of a maximum 5 minutes of preparation and an optional hand trigger, the switch is the only way to trigger the attack. The switch – a ordinary unmarked power switch in a not particularly well lit area – is also not clearly marked as per instructions.
    In this sense this map fails.

    Because of the title, “the mine” I expected to be running through tunnels, or defending a shaft (or both). Instead I started in a garage, climbed down a very short shaft and went through a no more than 30 meter long tunnel, crossed a large pit and ended in a large alcove in a rock face.
    I never really felt I was in a mine, and that is a pity.

    All of this together made this a “bad” map.

    Neocortex Prosecution
    It is good

    This map taught me a few things.
    I have to listen to NPCs instead of waiting for them to stop talking. If I had I would not have gotten in the position that I was blinded by the teleport glare when combine were coming.
    I also should not run around exploring when I should be paying attention and push a button. I ended up shooting the combine in the teleporter building from the platform at its rear, before pushing the button to set the rebels free.

    There are a few oddities as well.
    Why don’t the captives pick up the multitude of guns laying around after every wave? (They can can’t they?)
    I checked on the captives just before taking on the last gunship and I think they were all dead – lying on the floor, unmoving, dark stains around them. I did get a ‘pass’ as I apparently kept two alive; no idea where they were hiding though.
    Why are there antlions roaming around? They don’t play a role beyond set pieces and actually made me think for a moment that I should enter the tunnel at the far end.

    I think the teleporter is clever; I noticed that there is a certain randomness to what it gives you: supply crate, gun turret or rebel soldier. It potentially could change the dynamic if you get different combinations at the start. I set up the gun turrets I got before activating the radio. If I had gotten rebels I might have acted differently.
    So there is a potential for replay here.

    All together I think a “good” rating is warranted.

    Trainyard
    It is okay

    I enjoyed the good combat in this map. After dying however I tried to load a saved game but found that there were no combine coming. Even after waiting a few minutes nothing happened and the map did not end.

    I like the map design, the resources scattered around the map and the layout of the generator room that demands you think about setting up your defence. Because I was instructed to go to the control room I am not sure if this map actually ‘self starts’ after 5 minutes.

    The gameplay design is very monotonous: near constant rushing of combine with too little time to “regroup” between waves.

    Because of the “dead map” problem I never finished but feel confident that the ending would not have changed my review score of “OK”

    Unexpected Interference
    It is good

    An interesting map with some quirky choices that took me quite a while to appreciate. I like the longer ‘lead in’ that immediately triggers you to use your head instead of walking to the nearest supply crate. It also makes story sense that you have to sneak into this kind of area.
    It took me some time and energy to figure out how to make the defence a little easier with the little resources I had. Especially conserving enough health to make it to the end was hard enough and stimulated me to
    Strategically use the cover inside and outdoors and keep moving.

    Fighting a chopper with an RPG is tedious. Figuring out ways to use its behaviour against it to avoid being hit makes it a little more interesting. The environment provided some useful spots to move behind cover and take shots at the chopper before it settled into the right position to fire.

    So for me this was a mix of interesting, confusing and just plain hard.

    Urban Disarray
    It is okay

    I don’t mind starting with a little puzzle – see my Unexpected Interference review – but in this case the story doesn’t make sense. Why would a rebel leader be inside a building that is boarded up and blocked off and would have to blow up a wall to get to his people?

    It’s also very easy to blow up some of your men simply by picking up the mines that are lying around; hopper mines would have been a better choice. Also the positioning of the two mounted guns is rather odd; why would they be facing each other? The obvious reason is that the author wants the player to use both at ‘appropriate’ times. This means that the direction from which the combine are to be expected is easily predicted.

    The bombardment from the chopper with mines is suitable but hardly seems to be doing damage.

    I rate this map as “OK” simply because it didn’t confuse or frustrate me nor did it excite me.

    Warm up
    It is bad

    I was about to rate this map as “dire” when I found one switch I had not pressed before. I had restarted the map three times, set up the sentry tripods and turned on the generators but hadn’t found any way to “activate the ship” as the on screen instructions asked.

    Once I had pressed that one switch inside a building the combine started landing and I got to work.
    I kept teleporting to get rockets and almost exclusively used the RPG. This did not make for fun combat; the strider and hunters were easily dispatched, the gunships were a little harder, but a little running helped a lot I reset the turret guns several times but I don’t think they helped very much.

    Story wise I have no idea what happened.
    Apparently the thing in the middle was some sort of ship and I needed to defend it while it was rising.
    The ending does not make sense with that in mind; activating the console on board ‘the ship’ instantly transported me to some room with concrete walls and some rebels.

    The ship does look interesting, but It would have been more suitable if it hadn’t looked as if it was some concrete block being lifted into the air by electrical discharges.
    Also it would have made more sense if the four generators would have been on board and served as power sources to four engines. The assignment would have been to defend at least two of these to make sure your ship would be able to stay up.

    For the lack of clever game mechanics, uninteresting combat and bland design I rate this “bad”.

    Zombie defense
    It is good

    “Zombie Defence” does a good job in setting the mood and replicating the “small town with cobbled streets” feeling of Ravenholm.
    The challenge is on to defend some passive citizens from zombies in all shapes and sizes seen in Half Life 2 and sequels, and a challenge it is.

    After leaving “your citizens” behind in a locked room finding weapons is your first objective. After all: a crowbar and a gravity gun alone aren’t going to help you that much. I have tried once with just them and didn’t fare very well.
    Several weapons are hidden across the map. I have found a pistol and a shotgun and know there is a crossbow around as well. There also is a grenade crate and a shotgun shell crate that I’ve found.

    With those in hand and available I took to the rooftops and held off the zombies for some time. I failed to find a strategy to keep the zombies off longer than only part of the time needed.
    For me this comes down to a lack of usable choke-points. The traps that are available can only help you block off some of the zombies some of the time. Especially the “zombie chopper” only works for a very short time; it would be fairer if it would work until something significant would hit it, like a zombine’s grenade.

    In the end I am not sure this map actually was designed with a solution in mind. It works, it has an interesting premise and setup but I am not sure it is suitable to more than one player style.
    Did I mention I hate the Ravenholm level in Half Life 2? This map was much more enjoyable. That is enough for me to make it “good”.

    Summary

    After trying every map at least twice I am confident to give this “themed map pack” a rating of “play it later”. There are some interesting maps but also some with enough annoying or confusing elements to be rated badly. All maps work though and I give them all the benefit of the doubt because I value interesting more positively than I downrate boring.

  24. Little note:

    You can find a bonus stage/ early alpha idea for my entry here!
    Don’t hesitate to comment and give me your impression!
    Ps: Sorry for the auto-advert!

  25. Hec
    Play It Now!

    Oh boy! What a competition we had! I guess the first one was definitely better than this one, but I’m glad in this one we have plenty of entries. Overall is a PN competition but is far away to be a PF competition like Defend Ville 1. So now let’s go one by one.

    Castle Defender

    It is okay

    This first entry had an OK defense dynamic. based on frontal combat defense and protect the NPC. The map felt quite bulky though, and the combat waves were kind of predictable and easy.

    Countermeasure

    It is okay

    This author developed an interesting concept in here. I mean by concept the fact of making the head crabs docile creatures. But the main problem I find in this entry is that its main concept is ideal to develop more and to be tested carefully in a whole MOD instead of a short time competition. As a result, I found it quite complicated to play and full of confusion of what to do or how to proceed, that means the map needs to be layout more carefully. Anyway, I hope this author could enhance the concept and develop a dedicated MOD.

    Defenders of the Old Republic

    It is bad

    I guess this was inspired by some Star Wars movie, I like the whole Star Wars Saga, but despite that, I didn’t quite enjoy this entry because the defend dynamic was so linear and very predictable. Also, the whole mapping felt very amateurish and low polished.

    Energy train

    It is great!

    I enjoyed the combat very much in this one. Was intense, although the map never felt realistic and was kind of difficult to kill the Gunship in the last scene. Despite that, I felt it challenging and a mayhem fest of close combat.

    Haven

    It is WOW!

    Boy! I did like this one! as it was a very dynamic scenario to defend that required fast thinking and a coordinated tactic to defend the different locations effectively. I like the “spirit of corps” in it I mean, I liked that realistic touch of actually see the rebels going to battle against the CMB invasion.

    The Mine

    It is dire!

    I didn’t like this one at all! The whole map felt quite unrealistic and the last combat against the antlions was really predictable and boring, I expected to fight the CMB inside the mine instead of its entry. Also, I had some purple and black checker textures so the whole mapping felt low polished and badly finished.

    Neocortex Prosecution

    It is WOW!

    I just love the intense combat in HL2! So in this entry, I had exactly that: intense combat. The hordes of CMB troops felt well trained and aggressive enough to felt at the edge all the way. I finished with only 1 of health, but I really enjoyed the gameplay. Though I missed the crossbow and some more gun turrets would have come very handy. The dynamic of asking reinforcements was nicely done. I’d had voted for this as the winner.

    Trainyard

    It is good

    This one reminded me to the classic “Train Yard” map in the Counter-Strike MP games. The combat was so close and intense although is quite predictable and some more mounted guns would’ve come handy to protect the generators.

    Unexpected Interference

    It is good

    Was an OK entry with close combat all the time that became progressively difficult as each enemy wave passes until reaches the end. The only issue I found annoying is to combat against the Helicopter which was a pain in the butt! As it took so many hits to be shot down.

    Urban Disarray

    It is good

    I liked the close urban combat style in this entry, the mounted guns were in a perfect position and actually helped to defend the area effectively. The only issue I had was with the chopper throwing all those bombs in a very narrow map. I’d preferred a Strider attack instead of the helicopter bombing run.

    Warm up

    It is okay

    Reminded me the big grass classic map in the Garry’s Mod Sandbox. I liked the outdoor concept but in here I felt it quite poorly used, It was kind of challenging to defend the ship but the ship never felt realistic, and the hordes were so predictable.

    Zombie defense

    It is great!

    This entry oozed mapping quality and is a worthy winner of the competition. Although I find it very annoying to defend against those dumbish zombies, that made the combat quite hard and challenging but also frustrating in many times, I died many times and I just couldn’t use the traps effectively because of the overwhelming hordes. I managed to beat them all with explosives and shotgun fire, but it was extremely difficult. And I didn’t enjoy the combat.

    1. Hec, please use the review template linked to in the post. It saves me time having to edit your review to include the correct headings – thanks.

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