MinimalismVille

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

MinimalismVille is the first 50-hour mapping challenge I have run. It will not be the last!

It contains 21 entries and a bonus map.

The focus of this theme was to use a little as possible. The mapper decided what was “little”.

Basic Details
  • Title: MinimalismVille
  • Filename: hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c2-minimalismville
  • Size : 142MB
  • Author: ESToomere, Mark A.K.A. Strontvlieg, November, Crowbar, Tiop, ethosaur, Event Horizon, HighFire, ThatsRidonkulous, Rob Martens, DarenDark, Dirk Destiny, 1upD, Sockman, Mista Heita, Builderpro, Niker107, BlueASIS, TurretCube, Ian Spadin AKA Idolon, Frag, Klems
  • Date Released: 05 May 2017

Download Options

Download to your HDD 142MB]
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-50hmc-minimalismville folder into your …\Steam\SteamApps\Sourcemods\ folder.
  • Start or restart Steam
  • RTSL.50HMC.MinimalismVille should now be listed in your “Library” tab.
50-Hour Mapping Challenge

One day an idea suddenly appeared in my head (like one of those light bulbs from the cartoons).
I decided to announce it and see what happens. I had no idea if it was going to be successful or a complete failure.
21 entries suggests I should run it again and I will.
Entrants had 50 hours to build a map.
Often, mappers get too ambitious and either never release the map or change it so much that it’s not as good as they had hoped.
With the 50-Hour deadline, I hoped that mappers would simply select a simple idea and build it.
It seems to have worked.

IMPORTANT NOTE

After the first entrant-only release, it became clear that there was an issue with brightness in some maps played after other maps.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank DarenDark for creating a guide to fix the issue and Rob Martens for actually fixing all the maps.

Without either of them the release would have been delayed by weeks.

Theme Details

Detail is wonderful. When it is appropriate. Empty space, sometimes called “negative space”, is as important as the content. Change the space between notes of a song and you change the whole feel.

As a level designer, it’s important to be able to know how much or how little to use of something.

We believe that this challenge will allow you to make careful and interesting use of the games assets. It will focus your attention on what is truly important when creating interactive levels.

Therefore, we would like you to create a map that uses the concept of “minimalism”. This could mean a limited number of enemies (maybe even one), weapons, one piece of ammo, one room, one area, a limited number of brushes, textures or models. Dev textures are allowed. Visuals are NOT the focus of this challenge, although great looking maps always give the right impression.

What is it that is essential for your map? Remove anything that isn’t necessary.

One word of warning: Simply creating an area with infinitely respawning enemies is NOT what we are looking for. That is not minimalism.

The winning map will be the one that is fun to play and presents its idea in a creative way.

GOOD LUCK!

Entries

Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself, which were randomized after the deadline.

Refinery by ESToomere
Downsized Escape by Mark A.K.A. Strontvlieg
Abstraction by November
Antguard by Crowbar
Shut Up by Tiop
The Test by ethosaur
Rooms by Event Horizon
Destroy The Generator by HighFire
Antichamber by ThatsRidonkulous
Defense in Depth by Rob Martens
Nova Perspektive by DarenDark
Gauntlet by Dirk Destiny
Contrast by 1upD
Warp by Sockman
The Mal Omals KY by Mista Heita
Grey Assault by Builderpro
Color Cues by Niker107
Loss by BlueASIS
Cuboid by TurretCube
Cluster by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
FRAGGED by Frag
BONUS: Reporter 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

We are pleased to announce that Abstraction by November & Nova Perspektive by DarenDark both won MinimalismVille – congrats to them

Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II is the prize but both winners will be awarded a prize of equal value.

Judges

Phillip and DolmoTheDouglas are the judges for this challenge.

RTSL Community Voting

Which are your favourite top 5 maps from MinimalismVille?

  • BONUS: Reporter by Klems (8%, 21 Votes)
  • FRAGGED by Frag (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Cluster by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Cuboid by TurretCube (2%, 6 Votes)
  • Loss by BlueASIS (4%, 10 Votes)
  • Color Cues by Niker107 (14%, 34 Votes)
  • Grey Assault by Builderpro (2%, 5 Votes)
  • The Mal-Omal's KY by Mista Heita (6%, 16 Votes)
  • Warp by Sockman (6%, 14 Votes)
  • Contrast by 1upD (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Gauntlet by Dirk Destiny (1%, 3 Votes)
  • Nova Perspektive by DarenDark (10%, 24 Votes)
  • Defense in Depth by Rob Martens (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Antichamber by ThatsRidonkulous (13%, 32 Votes)
  • Destroy The Generator by HighFire (1%, 2 Votes)
  • Rooms by Event Horizon (3%, 7 Votes)
  • The Test by ethosaur (11%, 28 Votes)
  • Shut Up by Tiop (2%, 5 Votes)
  • Antguard by Crowbar (3%, 8 Votes)
  • Abstraction by November (4%, 9 Votes)
  • Downsized Escape by Mark A.K.A. Strontvlieg (2%, 4 Votes)
  • Refinery by ESToomere (2%, 4 Votes)

Total Voters: 64

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Menu Music

Brane Scan by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

Release Versions

V1 – Entrants only version.
v2 – Updated entrants only version
v3 – This version. First public release. No custom gridview images.

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

This release contains no custom gridview images. Futures versions may.

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: [email protected]m 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.

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

13 recommendations, average score: 4.38 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.54 (what's that?)
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Longest: 4 Hours by rikersbeard
Total Time Played: 20 Hours, 42 Mins
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37 Comments

  1. Maybe?

    50 hours is not much to develop a map, and If I’m honest I was quite bored about 40% of mod but that might be because I get bored after a few seconds of not shooting anything.

    It was a cool little experimental competition, but if you ask me, it wouldn’t hurt with a bit more time.

    1. maybe that is because of the theme of the challenge and not because it’s a 50 hour contest 🙂

  2. Maybe?

    Minimalist review, enjoyed antichamber, warp and cuboid.

    refinery

    not fun, had to go look for enemies

    downsized escape

    way too short

    abstraction

    nice visuals, systematic design, ai could use more work => behaved very static

    antguard

    novel idea, ai not always cooperative making it hard to enjoy

    shut up

    no, you shut up

    the test

    portal in hl2

    rooms

    too systematic, extreme lag from func_physbox wall, only the last room was fun, too dark

    destroy the generator

    short, didn’t realise I had the super gravity gun, got owned pretty hard

    antichamber

    very cool visually, couldn’t see crosshair

    defence in depth

    couldn’t figure out how to get to the 3 figures on top

    nova perspektive

    very cool mechanic

    gaunlet

    would have been more interesting if it all took place in the same arena, better use of space

    contrast

    cool puzzle, but please give the suit if the player has to traverse a big distance

    warp

    holy shit

    the mal omals KY

    frustratingly hard

    grey assault

    this gave me grey hair

    color cues

    super hot

    loss

    other than the atmosphere this has nothing going for it

    cuboid

    good

    cluster

    started out as a somewhat enjoyable jump puzzle that got more frustrating as is progressed, music breaks when loading a save

    fragged

    wut

    reporter

    pretty cool idea

  3. Play It Later

    You guys are being too harsh on this!
    Some of these maps were extremely well-designed and fun – I saw some mechanics that I never thought possible in Source, and some maps were really pretty. Some (especially the first) kind of brought the collection down, but the sheer amount of fun maps means this one shouldn’t be skipped.

  4. A funky collection of entries, most of them have some kind of gimmick(puzzle-orientated), and some of them are a run-off the mill action schlock.

    Please bare in mind, that I won’t make critique of polishing or small things that could have been done for QoL things because the competition was very short to demand a quality product.

    Refinery

    by ESToomere

    It is bad

    While the combat is pretty much the selling point here, i wasn’t able to finish this map, other than noclip behind a combine shield to arm myself with more weapons, hoping it would trigger something, nothing happened. And the ammobox of rockets does mean there was a combine gunship/helicopter to mark the ending of the entry, sadly no trigger or signal announced arrival or such enemy. Combat was solid, enough cover and scattered enemies to deal with, plenty of supplies and health expands the range of how forgiving the level was. The reason i’m on the low review score is because it did not had any ending.

    Downsized Escape

    by Mark A.K.A. Strontvlieg

    It is okay

    A terribly short entry, however that appears to be it’s strong point, as the level is more polished in comparison with the others. There isn’t much to say, other than the level has a very straightforward objective to showcase the author’s view on design. Layout is serviceable and the combat, be it very unsatisfying, is there for just filler reasons. If it had more to do, i’d give it a better rating

    Abstraction

    by November

    It is good

    This counts towards the puzzle-action hybrid, where the player is expected to utilize basic skills to take cover and collect objects to progress the level. And it’s included with shading of the hl2 elements to represent their role.Features a difficulty transition and enough of a plot to have a meaning. Pretty tight and alright level that I certainly enjoyed it.

    Antguard

    by Crowbar

    It is good

    A rather innovative entry where as the title suggest, that the antlion guard is your key to advancing and progressing your way through it. And finishing it with giving the player the ability to remove the pestering enemy after he has helped you get through the level, I did die several times here because of the sloppy hitboxing of the antlion guard, but it’s definately not what the mapper could work around it. Maybe he could have just had a keyflag or condition that the antlion distances himself all the time from the player to trigger his charge stance, to avoid being chased for the melee attack.

    Shut Up

    by Tiop

    It is bad

    You are expected to shut up here, kudos for the minimalism, but I really did not see the appeal of this one. It looks like it tells a story about something, but that ending just sells me that it’s a not-serious map

    The Test

    by ethosaur

    It is good

    Just a heavy Portal-Inspired entry, polished and tested with the exception of WHY IS THERE A HEALTH STATION FLOATING IN THE AIR. Puzzles weren’t very hard, a new use of the physics where it bounces the player that i’ve not seen before. Knowing Ethosaur, there is bound to be some easter egg somewhere.

    Rooms

    by Event Horizon

    It is okay

    A little action clusterphobic segment until the end where you are taken through the common valve player-obstacles in the half life 2 maps, lot of good cover placement, and a cute breakable wall. Liked it for the length and dumb shooty-shooty.

    Destroy The Generator

    by HighFire

    It is bad

    Absurdly short entry that only features in entirety of 4 rooms and backtracking with nothing else but scripted assaults to show somebody who is new to mapping. Kudos for having an ending

    Antichamber

    by ThatsRidonkulous

    It is great!

    Woah, I loved this map, not only it has continuity and a plot to follow, it could be said that it’s canonical with the limited voice clips that gman has. I’m big fan of the combat-arena layout, lot of cover, even quake-style pickups. And of course, the antichamber influence is felt in the puzzle segments. Very supportive if this entry picks up the winner trophy.

    Defense in Depth

    by Rob Martens

    It is okay

    A very bizarre, but to the point entry. The only problem was the way you had to continue the level without having any signal or determinant to advance, until you try everything a player can do. And being of the caliber of Martens work, i was a little left in awe of confusion of playing his work. If it had more concise pointers, it makes it very short to really tell the design apart.

    Nova Perspektive

    by DarenDark

    It is good

    I feel like I played an entry where the perspectives were the main gimmick of a puzzle in the other viles, but i’ll give the benefit of the doubt that this was a unique concept. If it was a little more expanded and in length, would totally qualify for a winner’s echo.

    Gauntlet

    by Dirk Destiny

    It is okay

    A pretty barebone arena-combat entry that transitions from the different type of enemy hazards in the hl2 games, but the copy-paste layout could have just been the only arena than having to go through the same thing with the different enemies. It featured player-traps that very much helped and compensated the pressure on the player, specially stunning the hunters to prevent becoming more dangerous to the player. It was the only entry that did stutter after entering every new arena.

    Contrast

    by 1upD

    It is bad

    The reason I’m giving it a bad rating is because of the soundscapes that trigger after moving and interacting with the level. As a headphone user, it not only caused me annoyance, but i had to hear it for the whole entry. As for the level layout, it was purposed for what the author envisioned. Nothing more, nothing less.

    Warp

    by Sockman

    It is good

    Now that’s actually something i’ve not seen before, and the recently titanfall 2 had this wrapped in it’s campaign. The enemy placement was very genius considering how the cover was dynamic and pleasant to work with, I had a good time playing this.

    The Mal Omals KY

    by Mista Heita

    It is good

    A pleasant eyecandy map, depicting some surreal landscape(reminds me of the wolfenstein: new order hebrew technology with the shapes and triangles), The combat was very unforgiving with how the enemies were introduced to the player, and the hard difficulty made it even more so tedious to try to memorize enemy placements(note: memorizing enemy placements is not a good thing for the player to do). If the author could lower the speed of those platforms to something a player can aim in continuity than reflexive, it would be far more acceptable. Or have the transition of the enemies be singular and play around the platform trajectory. Other than that, a very brilliantly crafted map.

    Grey Assault

    by Builderpro

    It is okay

    It looks like a precursor to a defendvile entry, with very barebone goal to just survive in the environment and unlock new ways to survive until the player reaches a very logarithmic high goal to accomplish. Would have been greatly appreciated if the player could keep track of his count to be aware of his goal. To add to that, maybe altogether removing the sound queue’s or having the resupply come from not a visible place could justify the consistent and annoying alerts that the player has new supplies for him.

    Color Cues

    by Niker107

    It is great!

    Another very competently crafted map that takes big influence from the game SuperHot, however for expectations i was hoping there would be a bigger influence so we can see timescale play a part. Enemy placement is pretty good, cover is plenty to be found and used(with the exception of the roof), and it draws parallel to a meta-like story that Superhot narrates. It appears this entry went through a couple of revisions as how the map layout is created, but it does not disappoint at all. A very solid candidate to take on the winner circle.

    Loss

    by BlueASIS

    It is okay

    A simple story ambient and auditory entry that has the player explore very darkened corridors. Nothing much to say for this one
    P.S:Give Punt pls

    Cuboid

    by TurretCube

    It is okay

    Right as I loaded the map, it gave me black mesa vibes. Combat was a bit dull and uninspiring, but it made good use of the layout to frame it as a combine base. The ending was very anti-climactic. That’s all i can say here.

    Cluster

    by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon

    It is great!

    Well i was a bit surprised to see that there was a platforming segment that could be done in 50 hours(which isn’t that surprising…) As a kreedz veteran player, i didn’t had much sweat trying to tackle the platforming, very doable and tolerant jumping obstacles. Also great idea to include checkpoints and a warning when playing the map so players who aren’t well versed in platforming to reset their settings within the map. The soundtrack was very considerate of the author for filling up dead noise as the player is progressing through.

    FRAGGED

    by Frag

    It is bad

    A totally unexpected product of Frag that I’ve witnessed with this entry, not only that a whole valve map is copypasted here, but there is no flow of the progression to allude the player is doing something that the environment is consequently changing. The platforms(props that identify where an invisible player_brush is) took very long to raise, making it longer than needed for playing. I’m to guess that the holographic solutions to the 2nd puzzle were there so in case the player isn’t lost trying to interact with every part of the puzzle, a good anticipation, but very unnecessary because to begin with the puzzle was very short, and it didn’t take that long until the player has investigated and touched every part of the room.

    BONUS:

    Reporter

    by Klems

    It is good

    I’m a little bewildered on what is the bonus here, was this done in more than 50 hours or is it a latecomer to the vile?
    In any case, It seemed like it delivered an original idea that other 2d platformers have incorporated as their main gimmick, it was a very medium-sized length of an entry, not to mention the puzzles and the interaction with the player was 3rd wall breaking but it did not affect the flow of the progression. The only thing if i had the reason to make a critique about is the introduction. The author could have placed the text on a white background as when the player starts interacting with his environment very quickly and swiftly realize the new gimmick. Other than that, I had no issues with this entry.

  5. Play It Now!

    This was a mixed bag in terms of entries, but there are definitely a lot of really solid ones. Forcing people to make a map in such a short time forces them to be creative in how they use space, mechanics, and gameplay, and it’s led to some very fun and interesting results.

    Refinery
    It is bad

    This map was very simple, being basically a large environment where you were attacked by metro cops. I don’t know if it was a glitch or not, but when it ended it just kind of stopped, it didn’t go to the main menu, but no enemies spawned and there was nowhere else to go so I just assumed it ended.

    Downsized Escape
    It is okay

    This map was pretty fun, but didn’t really do anything fun with the minimalist theme. It kind of just seemed like a small HL2 map with a few nice puzzles and a bit of combat.

    Abstraction
    It is great!

    This map took the minimalist theme, and instead of just using it as an excuse to use dev textures, it did something really fun with it. The combat is pretty average, unfortunately, but otherwise it’s a very fun, solid map, with a really great style.

    Antguard
    It is okay

    This map tried to utilize an interesting mechanic, where you try to make the antlion run into things, but unfortunately it doesn’t end up being too fun, and starts to get tedious pretty quickly.

    Shut Up
    It is bad

    This was an odd map… at first I didn’t know what to do, then I realized that you stuff junk down the toilet. And that’s pretty much all you do, find some junk and stuff it down the toilet. The intro didn’t really make sense to me either.

    The Test
    It is WOW!

    This is a great portal-style map, and it’s hard to believe it was made in 50 hours! The puzzles are creative and fun and use pretty unique elements.

    Rooms
    It is good

    This map essentially breaks down Half-Life 2 in to it’s core components, and separates them into rooms. Things like physics puzzles, different types of combat, combinations of the two, etc. The reasons this isn’t rated any higher is because the end battle was way too overwhelming and wasn’t too much fun; it could have used a lot more cover. Also the room with the wall of physics cubes lagged out my game a ton.

    Destroy the Generator
    It is okay

    Like “Downsized Escape”, this map just feels like a small version of a normal half-life 2 map. There isn’t a lot of cover or enemy variety so the combat is pretty stale, and there aren’t any puzzles, so the whole map ends up feeling kind of boring and stale.

    Antichamber
    It is great!

    This map blew my mind. Obviously, this is inspired by the game “Antichamber,” but it still feels very unique, and it uses a lot of it’s own ideas. I would love to see this turned into a full mod of some sort.

    Defense in Depth
    It is bad

    I had no idea what I was doing throughout this map. I ended up having to cheat because I had to idea how to get up to the top area. Whatever idea this map was going for was conveyed poorly, and it ended up just being confusing. (I did like the “Happy Mother’s Day” easter egg though)

    Nova Perspektive
    It is WOW!

    This map had a very interesting mechanic, which turned out to be really fun. My only complaint is that it was very short, and didn’t seem to go as far as it could with it’s idea.

    Gauntlet
    It is okay

    The idea of this map fits in very well with the idea of minimalism. I enjoyed it a bit, but unfortunately,fighting enemies in the same environment can get boring.

    Contrast
    It is good

    Another puzzle map! I didn’t think this one was as creative or polished as some of the others, but it was still enjoyable.

    Warp

    This was my map, so I’ll give a little insight as to my thought process behind it. I figured this wasn’t a part of the hammer cup, so it was low-risk, and I wouldn’t be spending much time on it, so I went with a crazy idea that probably wouldn’t work well in Half-Life. I think it turned out pretty solid, but it’s still very wonky.

    The Mal Omals KY
    It is okay

    This has a pretty cool theme, but the combat is very unbalanced. The ending felt very unfair and it took a lot of attempts before completing it.

    Grey Assault
    It is good

    I liked the idea of a endless hoard map, and this did a pretty good job at it. The environment is a little bland though, and could have been a lot more interesting.

    Color Cues
    It is good

    Basically super hot but without the slowdown mechanic. I had a lot of fun with this map, especially at the end. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer too much in terms of gameplay other than that.

    Loss
    It is bad

    You just kind of walk around in the dark… I couldn’t see anything though so I just got lost. If the author was trying to be deep or something it didn’t really work. But it looks nice, so there’s that (although it would be nice if you could see.)

    Cuboid
    It is okay

    This was a pretty simple map, with some fun combat and a basic puzzle mechanic.

    Cluster
    It is okay

    A very basic, and sometimes annoying platforming map. I had a bit of enjoyment from this but it got frustrating pretty quickly.

    FRAGGED
    It is bad

    This map was extremely abstract, and focused more on that rather than combat or puzzles. It didn’t really make much sense, and the puzzles weren’t very fun.

    Reporter
    It is WOW!

    This was a nice bonus map. I really enjoyed the concept and the ideas it explored with it. It also had a nice atmosphere with the music and style.

  6. I haven’t played any of the maps yet (beyond the first few moments of each during testing), but I want to take a moment to explain Defense in Depth. To echo what I explained on Discord:

    After activating the white figure on the floor in the center of the map, walk onto it, look straight down and press Use.

    I knew as I was building that stupid lift “people aren’t going to realize they have to press Use, and even if they do they have to look almost straight down to do it so it probably won’t work and they’ll get frustrated”. A touch trigger, that I briefly tried as an alternative to Use, made the ending sequence a bit clunkier, since you’d have to walk over the platform to get to the exit, and in the process you’d get lifted up. It’s a tiny thing that isn’t as important as making the design clear and that I shouldn’t have obsessed about, but I did, so I left it as is hoping people would notice the outcroppings suspended above the head and the new sound effect coming from the white figure, suggesting it’s a machine that needs to be activated. I’m delusional enough to have hoped people would be invested enough in the map to want to commit to trying a bunch of different things to complete it, because apparently I haven’t learned from the reception of every level I’ve made for any game for the past three and a half years.

    Sorry everybody! Hope my map didn’t put anyone in a sour mood and make subsequent entries seem worse by association.

  7. Play It Now!

    First off, I want to say that you’re all awesome. Its incredible that after so many years you people are keeping the spirit of Half Life alive…and not just rehashing old concepts… Creating stuff I have never seen before. Kudos to every single one of you.

    Also, while I understand that the challenge was only 50 hours, I wrote these reviews with the mindset that the author might want to one day revisit their entries and update them/remaster them. So if I suggest something that required you to spend time you didn’t have working on the map, please don’t be offended. Oh and SPOILERS. Obviously.

    Refinery by ESToomere
    It is bad

    It’s not the best map to kick things off with, but there are some things I liked about it for sure. For one, the interconnected design works in the map’s favor as you try to explore the entire area. If it was just a tad smaller it would have been a lot more satisfying to run down a hallway, escaping gun fire only to emerge above the combine on a catwalk and shoot em down.
    As it is, the combine seem to spawn all around the player, shooting from very long distances. It causes a lot of confusion and frustration as stray bullets hit you from god knows where, leading you to stop and try to find the last remaining bugger. I also had issues finding the exit to the map. If there is one, it’s certainly not clear.

    I liked the idea of the combine forcefields slowly shutting down as you fight through them all, but this idea was soured because from far away, the forcefields looked on even if they were off! Overall, it was a pretty good idea that needed just a little more time in the oven. I want to see a full release of this some day!

    Downsized Escape by Mark A.K.A. Strontvlieg
    It is okay

    This felt like a slice of a standard Half Life 2 map. If I were to guess, I’d suppose that the minimalism came from using only the crowbar and gun. The author should try to idiot proof the beginning a little more – I found a few people (not me, that’s for sure) that threw the barrel over the fence at the beginning and had to restart (definitely not me). The dead corpse floating up when the water levels rose was a pretty clever and grim image.

    Abstraction by November
    It is WOW!

    This one was really really good. I love the look! I’m not sure why I was ingesting these giant blue pills in order to progress, but perhaps Gordon has fallen on hard times.
    What a majestic shot of the combine guard in front of the pillars. A lot of thought has been put into this, its clear. EVEN MY GUNS ARE SILHOUETTES, WOW. I wish the blood splatters could have been black too to fit into the monochrome style, but maybe the author is going for a Sin City aesthetic. The HDR effects also cause some unnatural flickering to occur when looking at the black pillars in the level.
    The fight with the hunter was a little sub par. I landed on a blue pillar, and quickly unloaded clip after clip on the hunter. I felt like I cheated. I think I cheated.
    ….And then my pills assembled around the dark red pulsating virus, and it was defeated once and for all. Gordon was saved. At least that was my reading.
    That was a lot of fun!

    Antguard by Crowbar
    It is good

    This was a fun concept. I felt like a bull fighter most of the time, fighting against the AI of a terrifying but inconsistent lobster-bull-thing. More often than not, I would be left waiting by the thing the Antguard needed to charge just so that it could run up to me and nuzzle me in the face. This would then allow me to proceed. The times when the charging mechanic worked, it worked well! I got my bullfighter dream in the end – that final encounter was the most ingenious spin on the guard fight I had ever seen. Absolutely amazing!

    Shut Up by Tiop
    It is okay

    The introduction was quite dark. I felt like I was drowning someone. And then I awoke with a blood splatter on the floor. I guess I was the one being drowned maybe?

    Nice visuals. I like that the cupboards and drawers open, that counter and bathtub are pretty damn shiny. Its a cool effect though. I liked throwing stuff into the toilet. I wish the props I put in would spin around before they disappeared! That would have been funny but time consuming to pull off. Great work though. I was racking my brain trying to figure out who had a dialogue in the game that says “Shut up!”, so the dialogue made me laugh, even though the ending was pretty grim. Perhaps to sell the point that you’re captive (if that is the case) perhaps have the man come over to you and begin hurting you too?

    The Test by ethosaur
    It is good

    It was pretty cool. I like how you remixed Punt and Portal and Half Life. I like how the combine officer walks around the facility, following you. There’s a point where you’re on the same level as him and he comes up to the glass. That was pretty cool. I kinda wished that he’d give you a little wave or something, heh. The puzzles were fun, especially launching yourself off with the grav gun. I wish health wasn’t an issue though, as that caused problems for me in the last room where I was at risk of dying – but its not a big deal. Also the language of the cubes was a little confusing at first, I spent a time firing energy balls at cubes that didn’t need em. Overall, I was really happy with it though. Made me use my noggin!

    Rooms by Event Horizon
    It is good

    Ah yes. The one with the low FPS room. 😉
    I liked this one a whole lot! It felt like a distillation of all of Half Life 2’s mechanics. If Half Life 2 had a Portal-esque spinoff this would probably be the prototype. I would have liked if the doors didn’t auto close so quickly, and I’m sure the level would have been a little better optimized if the author didn’t make it all one long hallway, but it works and it works really well. As an added challenge, try to do the whole map with the saw blade that you get in the beginning! I laughed at the headcrab behind the gravity gun pillar. That was nicely positioned.

    Destroy The Generator by HighFire
    It is bad

    Quite short, but sweet. The puzzle of figuring out which button opened which field was a nice one, but lacked polish (perhaps wires going to the correct portal? Windows?). I liked that the hallways weren’t just a rectangle. It was great that there were health chargers at the end, really gave a sense of foreboding. And good on the mapper for not putting in a crate full of ammo – I had to run around the arena picking up dropped ammo in panic. Nice escape in a train. Its clear the mapper is just starting out, so while the level lacks detail, the ideas are there. Keep at it, HighFire!

    Antichamber by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is great!

    An interesting entry! I liked the puzzle and surreal elements, albeit there were not very many of them. The final arena was quite nice to look at (with the “real world” bleeding in) but I didn’t find it very engaging. Some of the combine were difficult to see when they were standing in front of the generator. The Gman frame work was nice, albeit some of the visuals (exploding house) seemed to be there just for the sake of it. I loved the music – it fit into the level nicely. Nice map overall.

    Defense in Depth by Rob Martens
    It is okay

    On my first playthrough, I didn’t finish this map. The fact that the player icon was an elevator eluded me completely. I ended up getting incredibly frustrated not being able to find a way to the top level. I suppose the only “minimalist” way to convey the elevator to the player is to slightly raise it once its activated? Nice touch with that zombie crawling towards you when the elevator goes up. When I played it a second time, things went a little smoother for sure. The zombies are a great way to keep the player on their feet. However, the healing pools are a bit of an antithesis to this – I fell off a narrow bridge on the second level because of a fast zombie and was down to 40 health. I tried to heal at the pools, but since the zombies kept coming, my net health was at a negative. Perhaps if the pool was the elevator’s head, then you could rise off the ground and be safe while you regain health? it’s a tough one. Perhaps the heal pools should have had NPC clips around them so you could heal in peace. The poison headcrab zombies were a little mean, in my opinion, as once you’re poisoned, any attack will take you down. However, once I knew how to do everything, this was a fun map to run through! I even found an Easter egg while messing around that gave me a chuckle.

    Nova Perspektive by DarenDark
    It is WOW!

    Wow. This is probably the best entry in this entire mod. No, the best entry out of all mods. The next evolution of games since Half Life 2. It’s fantastic. It’s beautiful. No, it’s more than that. It’s art. Anyone who doesn’t vote for this to be the winner of the competition doesn’t understand art. People will think you don’t understand art if you dont like this mod. They’ll point at you on the street and go “Look, there does *muffled*, he or she doesn’t understand art”. And they’ll be right. You don’t want that, do you?
    In all seriousness, I found out about the competition at around midnight on Sunday. I quickly got to work on an idea I had bouncing around in my head. I knew what the art style would look like – a sort of ethereal dream-like place, perhaps with black “circuit board”-esque lines enveloping the environment. I also really wanted to avoid using light entities. All light in the level comes from the “sun”. Only the first room achieved what I was going for, to a degree. I had a prototype ready at 1:20 AM (the first room) and worked on the map until about 3:30 AM before sleep took over.
    MinimalismVille was really liberating to me but also quite stressful – I always had an excuse to not add too much detail, so it was liberating, but I also had to very quickly become intimate with some entities I hadn’t used before. So it was stressful, when I had less than 12 hours. It taught me a lot of lessons on how to map efficiently – what areas of the map should I work on first? Probably the main mechanic. Focus of visuals later. If I could go back, I would have dropped the amount of optimization I was trying to do and used all that time to make another puzzle room for people to solve. That seems to be the main complaint! So if people are interested, I will start work on a remastered and extended version of this mod ? Thanks for all the feedback!

    Gauntlet by Dirk Destiny
    It is okay

    A nice idea! I liked the explosion pads, but I didn’t have a lot of opportunities to use em. Perhaps if the arena was smaller, it would have been better for the explosions. Overall though, the weapon progression was fun and I actually liked fighting the hunters! I usually don’t find them too fun. And the boss fight was satisfying. Maybe because the helicopter didn’t throw down the bombs. I’m not too sure. But good job, it was fun!

    Contrast by 1upD
    It is good

    Really clever puzzle design! It was intuitive to understand what was going on, and it didn’t overstay its welcome. My only complaints would be that I would have liked the HEV suit so that I could move around more quickly. And I would have liked a better way of knowing where the corners of the blocks were. The colours all mix together and while it is quite beautiful – it did leave me falling a few times. But that could have just been my incompetence.

    Warp by Sockman
    It is great!

    A really cool idea that I still can’t figure out how he pulled it off. So unique. It was fun warping through quickly, but it did tend to crash the game. A lot of the combat was alright, but the highlight of the map were the hunters. Hunters have become a cliche to end your map on, so I was extremely surprised with this encounter. Baiting them to charge you and then quickly switching the level so that they fall into a hole was hilarious and something I’ve never seen before. Really fun. Apart from crashes, I had soft locks where warping while falling through the holes lead to me surviving and walking on the skybox. But this was definitely a favorite.

    The Mal Omals KY by Mista Heita
    It is great!

    This one has a great art style. I burst out laughing when the metrocops flew by on the hoverboards. Awesome work. I did have a bit of trouble finding the Krystal, but Im also a bit thick, so that could have been it. A bit of dodgy autosave placement but overall a really cool area. The environment felt like the old combine wall concept art. I’d love to see more! Great Easter Eggs too.

    Grey Assault by Builderpro
    It is okay

    A fun little arena that was beautiful for me to look at, but ultimately didn’t show too much creativity from the mapper. I died once from a zombine, and was dismayed because there wasn’t an autosave. There could have been one whenever you buy a weapon or when you press the explosion button. But I understand if this was supposed to be a one-life challenge. Overall, I loved how beautiful it was but wanted a bit more arena variety and autosaves. I liked that you staggered the weapon unlocks though, and the enemy variety. Not my cup of tea, but a fun sandbox map.

    Color Cues by Niker107
    It is WOW!

    Super. Hot. Super. Hot. A really cool minimalist level that takes inspiration from Super Hot. It’s clear that Niker107 paid a lot of attention to detail. The consoles and doors etc. have all been retextured to fit the white and red aesthetic. The combine spawn in from bright red lights, which is a great callback to SuperHot. The train is extremely believable, even if the minimalism theme allows the author to “cheat” a little with the scenery. 😉 The only thing that didn’t sit right with me was the end car – The bright red theme in the car was really cool, but the combine are also red and were lost in the background. Also, going back and forth to the ammo crate felt a little weird, but again, it’s incredible that this was achieved in under 50 hours. It isn’t perfect but oh my god is it awesome. I would love to see a re-release of this mod. Perhaps having the train cars change more drastically when you must run back to your escape – Niker mentioned that he wanted to add a gun ship or a helicopter to harass you while you’re returning, so I look forward to that as well as having to jump from one car to the next as they unlock etc. Great stuff.

    Loss by BlueASIS
    It is okay

    That was really atmospheric. The silhouettes of everything in the environment gave off a really great feeling. It was so beautiful that I felt guilty that I was overlooking something even though I was taking my time as it was. But then you took me into a loop a few times and I got to become intimately familiar with the environment. It was creepy but fun!

    Cuboid by TurretCube
    It is good

    Really lovely start. So moody. Kudos for adding details behind the player too. I didn’t even notice this until my second playthrough. Nice job! I liked that you didn’t just keep the player running through the hallways. You lead me up into the rafters, and had me jump down like I was a secret spy or something. That was fun, but towards the end I started to run out of ammo and couldn’t defeat the elite combine. I felt like the gravity gun was underused. The brushwork was fantastic though. Good job!

    Cluster by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
    It is good

    Oh man. Instantly reminiscent of Mirror’s Edge 1. Beautiful map. I love the slow blue gradient in the sky. I was getting some performance dips, but I was on my tablet. The beginning was really fun – like climbing a jungle gym. before the end, I was having trouble with the jumps but I’m not really an expert platform jumper myself, so that might be why. It was also a little annoying that I’d slip off the platform sometimes due to the player speed modification.
    But I made it to the top without cheating and it was really satisfying, so good job! 🙂

    FRAGGED by Frag
    It is good

    From the moment you start the map you’re immediately unsure what the hell to expect. You’re greeted with the beginning of Half Life 2 and you think everything is fine, and then you begin to see white pixels emerging out of the brushwork – glitches in the matrix, I thought. Or is time coming to an end and the fabric of the universe is unraveling? It was a bit unnerving to see a familiar place many of us have intimate knowledge of – be defiled. Like if you came home and your TV was suddenly replaced by a walrus. Frag pretty much constantly keeps you on edge. Just as soon as you acclimatize to being in a pseudo Half Life 2, you open the doors to the court yard and you’re greeted with a blinding explosion of the city. And the map begins to deconstruct the game further from there. If the lobby was meant to be a real place (ie not stuck in time) there could have been a bit more interactivity. I would have liked to order a ration, or get a drink. If it was meant to be a level frozen in time, I would have liked to see more evidence of that. The stepping stones should obviously be faster, but also varied. I would have wanted to walk on a gunship that’s frozen in the air, shooting rebels far on the ground. I wanted to jump from strider head to strider head across a street that is collapsing into the dark abyss. The pyramid at the end was interesting, but it felt like there was a puzzle involved with it that the author didn’t have enough time to complete. I look forward to an expanded version of this!

    BONUS: Reporter by Klems
    It is great!

    A really interesting concept. I loved the deception of the instructions and the feeling that I was essentially “creating” the level. The sound effects were lovely. The word puzzle was interesting even though the solution took me a bit to figure out. Really looking forward to future releases by this mapper.

  8. Personal Favourite

    MinimalismVille is now one of my favourite mapping challenges on the site. There were a lot of entrants who created such creative concepts that I am honestly considering making short mods from some of the entries I particularly loved the idea of (hopefully with the help of the creators themselves).

    Mostly No Spoilers Below.
    (Spoilers are marked with tags)

    Refinery by ESToomere
    It is okay

    Refinery has good lighting and level design (although perhaps the level is a bit too big, so a lot of spriting about was required), however I wasn’t able to play it for long because at one point I had killed all of the metrocops that spawned (or at least I didn’t see any more running about; and after trying to find some way to progress the map for some time, I inevitably had to quit because I didn’t know what else I could do.

    Downsized Escape by Strontvlieg
    It is okay

    Downsized Escape was a short but sweet entry with some standard HL2 gameplay. The ending was well made and overall it doesn’t have any major flaws, but I can’t remember anything that particularly stands out either.

    Abstraction by November
    It is okay

    Abstraction was alright. It works well as a MinimalismVille entry, the player’s goal is pretty clear throughout the map and the gameplay is mostly balanced. The ending is abstract, but sort of explains why you were doing what you were doing throughout the map (other than just opening doors).

    Antguard by Crowbar
    It is good

    Antguard is a small but enjoyable map (made in 2 hours, as well!) which has a clear game mechanic set for the player and some puzzles built around it. It’s short, but it does a good job of defining and keeping to a single mechanic, and I haven’t noticed anything wrong with it, so it appears to me as a Good MinimalismVille map.

    Shut Up by Tiop
    It is good

    [Potential Spoilers] Most people seem to have found Shut Up to be a joke or troll entry, but I don’t consider it to be so. I believe that Shut Up is… although minimalistic, an entry that brings across the concept of being kidnapped and having to come up with a creative solution to get out of the situation. Personally, I got right into the mood of this entry when was able to move, and thought there would be more to it at the end.
    [Potential for Full Mod] This is one of the entries that I believe has the potential to be made into a full mod with an interesting storyline and game mechanics. If it weren’t for the 50 hour time limit, we could potentially see a very tense and beautifully crafted situation that could have many outcomes, if done right.

    The Test by Ethosaur
    It is great!

    Short, sweet, and beautiful. I loved The Test. Just like how every puzzle game should be made, it has a set of mechanics that it comes up with, introduces the player to, and then uses to make interesting puzzles. The similarities to Portal and other Portal-inspired puzzle games are clear, but it doesn’t make this any less interesting in my opinion, if at least because of the setting and how pretty it looks (especially when considering the short time limit). My favourite puzzle mechanic was definitely the jump pad, followed by the charged cube. Good job on creating one of the ‘short but great’ entries for MinimalismVille!
    [Potential for Full Mod] The Test could easily be made into an interesting, more developed, complex and gorgeous puzzle mod with potential for mechanics that we haven’t seen in games like Portal. The ending disappointed me with how soon it came, but that’s common for a lot of the entries. Still, I wish it’d lasted longer!

    Rooms by Event Horizon
    It is great!

    [Spoilers] Rooms has an absolutely lovely concept at its heart which is brilliantly pulled off! At first I thought it was literally just going to be a bunch of rooms with small challenges that get harder and then the map’d finish, but no, instead it pretty much symbolizes the nature of teaching the player how to play a game through clever level design: starting off with the basics and then building it up. Once I entered the final room, I was both shocked and very pleasantly surprised at what I saw, and I loved every bit of it! Good job on a fun and well made map.

    Destroy The Generator by HighFire

    [No Rating] Once again, applause to HighFire for entering this competition and continuing to develop his mapping skill! I sure as heck wouldn’t join a 50h mapping challenge when I was only starting off. I can’t rate this map because it wouldn’t be fair to do so. The gameplay is indeed pretty simplistic, but there is no particular quirk. However, the map fits the MinimalismVille theme, so you can’t complain! Looking forward to more stuff by HighFire in the future. Don’t be afraid to ask around on the SMC Discord or DM me if you have any questions about mapping.

    Antichamber by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is WOW!

    [Spoilers] This entry amazed me! Antichamber was just amazingly pulled off. The main mechanics are simple and fun, and they’re taught in the exact way game mechanics should be taught – this guy clearly knows his level design. Not to mention the intro is bloody spectacular (G-Man scene, appearing walkways, elevator, you do this crap so damn well). This is literally the first time I’ve seen G-Man done right in a mod/map and not just cringey. He’s elusive, in control, always watching you, his lines actually fit what you do, and the ‘pocket dimension’ that you’re located in makes sense and is lovingly crafted together. A mix of Antichamber and Stanley Parable, almost. The ending location is also great – I love how the real world sorta fragments into this pocket dimension, and I love how we’re using the mechanics we learned at the beginning to our advantage. However, the final battle is not really that fun, and ended up being slightly annoying. I’m not sure why, perhaps it’s to do with balancing the amount of enemies or making the arena more interesting and useful for the player. Oh and the music was just great!
    [Potential for Part of a Full Mod] I don’t think this could quite be a mod of its own, however, Antichamber set a new standard for me in the HL2 universe (really!). I’d like to imagine that this (probably non-canon) could be something that Gordon sees and experiences while he’s in stasis. Weird rooms, non-Euclidean geometry, stuff from Antichamber, endless recollections of past events (hence the real world creeping in and Combine battles) and it’s all just so creepy and interesting at the same time. If there was a mod with G-Man in it and we were put into stasis temporarily – this is what stasis should look like.

    Defense in Depth by Rob Martens

    [No Rating] [Spoilers] I was sadly unable to complete this map because I did not know that the big human figure in the middle of the map that lights up once you activate all the ‘relays’ is an elevator. I walked around for around 15 minutes trying to find a way but couldn’t, and I didn’t want to cheat so I just left the map. Other than that, not having any weapons other than a gravity gun and a bicycle is not a good idea in my opinion (unless I missed something else), because I ended up killing several poison zombies with just a bicycle (which barely deals damage) to see if that’d let me progress in the map.
    Other than all that, with a couple of fixes, this map could definitely be quite fun, but I haven’t gotten around to replaying it yet :/

    Nova Perspektive by Darendark
    It is WOW!

    Awesome concept that we’ve seen before and yet don’t see enough of. Nova Perspektive was initially just of average fun for me because “solving the puzzles” at the beginning wasn’t anything more than a tutorial, and I’d have been disappointed if that was all there was to the map. However, what unlocks at the end is amazing, and it got me super hyped up to see what else Daren had come up with, only to be faced with an end screen and disconnect to the main screen. I was heartbroken. However, I understand that he basically only had the evening of Sunday and thus couldn’t do much.
    [Potential for Part of a Full Mod] This map is just perfect in all aspects (except the ending) and needs to have an extended remastered version created and released. This has a lot of potential, and despite the limitations of Source, it can definitely be done. With no deadline, this could turn out as a great little experimental puzzle mod!

    Gauntlet by Dirk Destiny

    [No Rating] Gauntlet was clearly made by a beginner mapper, so I’m not going to rate this harshly. I appreciate the concept of this map, and I like how the difficulty progresses from “easiest” to “hardest” (although I found it to be the polar opposite), but there are a few glaring issues. First off, the explosive pads that the player can use are not really useful at all. It takes much less time to kill the zombies manually than to lure them onto explosive pads, and Combines don’t go through the center when finding the shortest route to the player, so you can’t get them that way either. If the range of the explosion was increased and the map made a bit prettier, it could be quite a fun arcade experience! Perhaps make use of item crates more than just putting health kits around, though. Dynamic resupply is a godsend.

    Contrast by 1upD
    It is good

    Contrast is a lovely short puzzle set just on the border of HL2 lore, and I find it an interesting way of letting the player visit a completely weird and abstract environment while somewhat staying true to logic. I just like the way the intro’s been pulled off, really! Other than that, the puzzle itself took me about 5-6 minutes to solve, and it was fun in that time. The only thing that annoyed me was the ear rape that comes about when too many things move at once. A single ambient_generic that’s loud would’ve sufficed instead of having all the movable objects emit a sound of their own. Other than that – great entry!

    Warp by Sockman
    It is good

    At first I didn’t quite get what Warp was all about or what the text on the screen was actually telling me, but the second I pressed a certain key, it all fell into place. Warp was quite a fun although a very simple combination of action and puzzle using an innovative game mechanic that is very fitting in a theme such as MinimalismVille! Good job on a short but sweet entry.

    The Mal Omals KY by Mista Heita
    It is good

    This entry was quite an interesting one. I really liked the architectural and visual design of this map. It’s really quite pretty! The enemies fight the player in an interesting way that I haven’t seen before, and overall the map has quite an aura of strangeness to it that makes it even more interesting to play. I also liked the collectibles that the player could… collect, and really enjoyed the hidden stuff overall. However, I couldn’t finish the map without noclip because no matter how hard I tried, I did not know how to get to the ending bit to unlock the door. Either way, lovely map, thanks for entering!
    When I played the dev version, this map was last, and let me tell you – it was a real treat to have it as a finishing touch to an already great mod.

    Grey Assault by Builderpro
    It is okay

    Despite the general consensus (I think?), I found Grey Assault to be fun. I quite like how the items are given to the player, both from above and to the sides, and this feels like a sort of bullet hell adaptation in Source, except with bullets replaced. There isn’t much to say really – there were times when I was cornered and had to really fight to get back into the flow of things, and the button in the middle of the map, if not abused, can be pretty fun to use, because it really saves you from dire situations. However, I believe that it should have some sort of drawback to it because of how powerful it is, such as points not being rewarded when it’s used (so that it just saves you from the brink of death). Other than that, good job on the map!

    Loss by BlueASIS
    It is WOW!

    After I finished replaying Loss three times I went straight into Blue’s DMs and called him a cheeky [bum] and said that his entry was freaking phenomenal. Loss is, in my opinion, a phenomenal entry into the MinimalismVille challenge. I’m sure not everyone will like it, but I loved it. If you haven’t played the mod yet, stop reading this and go play Loss.
    [Spoilers] Loss is just amazing both aesthetically and in terms of gameplay. The sheer amount of detail and crap that had to be put into the level to make it seem real is huge, and it shows. The rooms that the player walks through feel more real than any industrial-looking zone I’ve ever seen in Half-Life 2 and its mods. The silhouettes that all the different objects and cables cast are tremendously beautiful. And yet, it is simple to follow and fun to explore. But what amazed me the most is how the level changes as the player moves through it. At first, I just played normally, climbing the ladder and getting back to my initial position. I thought to myself “Oh, I must’ve missed a turn somewhere.” and then I went forward, looking for a passageway I must’ve missed. And sure enough, a path there was, so I followed that, not even noticing the fact that the ladder was gone. But I ended up in the same location again… At this point I was confused – was the map just going to lead me to this same location every time? No, no, it couldn’t, because Blue clearly talked about making an ending to it on the Discord when he discussed its creation. I must’ve missed a turn again. But just in-case the mapping is pulling tricks on me, I’ll be extra careful. So I went along again and, sure enough, the same passageway just through the fence was there. I lowered my guard again, confident that the map did not change anything, and then I happily made my way to the exit, thinking I must’ve figured it out.
    …Only to then return to the map to find out what the hell is going on. I went through again and noticed that the fence pathway was gone and the ladder was there again. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, BLUEASIS YOU CHEEKY [BUM]!
    I then had to replay the map several times with fullbright on and off, checking the triggers and generally finding out how he made it. Absolutely amazing job on this one, even though you don’t think so yourself, Blue!
    [Potential for Full Mod] Pretty self-explanatory. This map’s concept is superb and absolutely deserves being part of something bigger and more complex. I must admit, I’ve had the exact same idea as Blue for a long time, but I never got anywhere close to doing it. However, I don’t believe I could’ve pulled it off as well as Blue pulled this concept off with Loss. It really shows how, when using fog to show the surroundings instead of light, you have to put in a lot of detail.

    Cuboid by Turret Cube
    It is great!

    Cuboid is a good, short experience that I enjoyed going through. It starts off with an area that I absolutely love – expansive, dark, sinister. The very first thing the player sees is very well put together, and it sets the mood for the rest of the map. The subtle details that are around like the lights flickering and the force field frames are really appreciated. In particular, I liked how the interior design (and specifically the ceiling design) was done, and it’s a great thing to see a mechanic that is introduced to the player and then used throughout the rest of the map to both guide the player forward and provide them with something to do. Overall, Cuboid is a map with some great brushwork, level design and graphic design, and even though it lacks a bit in combat, I still found it very fun to play.

    Cluster by Idolon
    It is good

    Cluster was a nice, calm (not so calm at some points) experience that was different to the other entries. I quite enjoyed how it incorporates both skill of the player and thinking, as there were some parts where I got stuck and had to ensure my knowledge of the surroundings to get through. Simple, but clever and fun design. The music was also very nice, I wish it was looped because it ended about 25% through my completion of the map and I wish I’d heard more (which is why I just went into the files and set it to loop anyway!). There were, however, some parts that I had to noclip because I just could not find my way around them. I’m 80% I was doing something wrong and I didn’t actually need a stupid amount of skill to pull something near impossible off, but that is also a possibility. In general, it’s a good entry!

    FRAGGED by FRAG
    It is great!

    FRAGGED is an interesting and abstract entry into MinimalismVille. It holds to quite a high standard of quality and is fun to play, however it didn’t achieve just as much as it was meant to in the short time span, sadly. Frag has mentioned that I might be the only person who got the true ‘fragmented feel’ of the map, which is also why I’d be so keen on working with him on a remastered version of it, to get the result it was aimed for originally. Other than that, I also quite enjoyed the structure and appearance of the ‘behind-the-scenes’ parts of this map.
    [Potential for Full Mod] [Spoilers] FRAGGED, in my opinion, would work great as a map where the player gets to go through the Half-Life 2 storyline in fragmented pieces, with everything half-frozen similar to the G-Man cutscenes. I think that it has a lot of potential for getting across key points of the story and making fascinating-to-look-at scenes as the player goes through it.

    Reporter by Klems
    It is great!

    Reporter was a great late addition to the already lovely challenge! It took me a while to understand what I had to do at the very beginning, but after that it just became clear. The music, the sound design, the visual design – it was all very nicely done, to a level of polish that is now becoming more expected from Klems – and he keeps delivering! There were quite a few clever tricks in this map that I enjoyed going through, and the concept itself is very creative.

    Color Cues by Niker107

    [Map Creator] [Spoilers] Ahhh, Color Cues. The map that I made myself. Let me tell you, at the beginning of it all I was really not sure whether I was going to enter this challenge or not. Considering I had a lot of work to be doing on that weekend, participating in a mapping competition with such a short time limit seemed impossible. But nonetheless, I almost instantly thought up what I wanted to achieve (the visual design of the SuperHot game set on a moving train) and I got to work as soon as I had the free time. As a result, Color Cues was created, after about 12-13 hours of work, about 3 of which were used for the creation of assets on the evening of Saturday and the entirety of my free time on Sunday spent on mapping.
    Color Cues was a real gamble for me, because I knew that after I’d created the assets essential to the map, I would not be able to step back and change anything, so I had to know exactly what I was doing. In particular, the important part was getting the intro text right because I knew I’d not have enough time to change it if I wanted to change the player’s objective. Thankfully, I didn’t, and everything remained fine. The only problem is that I had to resort to simple old game_text for the outro of the map, but that was unavoidable (and besides, making the bold text appear on screen would require me to use the entities used in G-Man cutscenes and I really can’t remember how those work and couldn’t spare the time to find out).
    I knew from the beginning that I wanted the player to start off in a simple, non-dangerous train car with beautiful sunlight peeking through beams on the ceiling, a few shard black-colored item crates to introduce the player to the notion of interactive objects being made from black shards, and then have the first breakable door with a little LMB indicator, which’d hopefully let the player know how they will be getting from one car to another. After that, the open-air storage car was also pre-planned. Afterwards, however, mostly everything was improvised. The importance of the first car is very significant, as it allows the player to get into the mood of the map, get prepared for action before it starts, and get used to the fact that their weapons and interactive objects are colored black and are made from shards, as stated before.
    There are quite a few things that I wasn’t able to achieve in the short time span when making Color Cues. For example, the red carriage at the very front of the train was colored the way it was to both look sinister and to make enemies harder to see and differ from the background, however it didn’t work out quite as well as I hoped it would. Nonetheless, I like its finished appearance – especially the rows of monitors shining red light everywhere.
    Another thing is, there was originally going to be background scenery moving around the train, such as powerlines and a very simplistic dev-textured plain, and some rails too. However, I left that until the end and then ended up not having enough time to do it. Thankfully, swapping out for a completely blue’ish white skybox seems to have worked just fine, and some people (Darendark) even pointed out how sneaky I am for following through with MinimalismVille’s style and not making any scenery because that’s easier.
    About the textures – I don’t really like how the shards turned out, because I feel like they look more like shiny painted paper mache than glass shards, but that might just be due to Source’s limitations and not my inability to create good-looking textures. Also, Combine soldiers were meant to disappear and break into a sea of shards using a custom particle system, but as with the scenery, I left that until the end if I had the time to spare, and it turned out that I didn’t. If I remake this map, I will definitely try to improve it based on what I wanted to do initially.
    As for the ending, the escape sequence, I really like how it turned out, but it was also meant to be different originally. It would take more than just 40 seconds (it was 2 minutes initially) and the player would be severely slowed down by troops coming back from the back of the train, as well as a helicopter shooting the player when they’re not in cover. Other than that, I just hoped to make the escape sequence more interesting, but again – it didn’t seem to turn out too bad. I’ve even heard some people liked it. Weird, right?
    The interior parts of the final two cars before the head car were made in about 10-15 minutes because I was rushing to get the map in before the deadline, and as a result I ended up cheesing a bit and making them look all rough and glitchy, and totally not because I was running out of time. But hey, these dev logs I provide about my map are here to tell you how and why I did the stuff I did – so I’m saying the whole truth here! They would’ve been as detailed as the other carriages if I had enough time.
    That about wraps up everything I have to say about the development of Color Cues. Hopefully what I wrote about my own maps and the other entries will help you improve your skills and creativity.
    Never be afraid to ask the SMC Discord or myself anything you need to know to improve your skill. And be sure to enter these mapping challenges if you haven’t yet! They’re really fun, and they test your ability to adjust to things you don’t expect and solve problems in a creative way.

    1. thanks for the review!

      I would have added more detail to the rooms, (was thinking of one of those massive generator-like things that disintegrate objects seen in ep 1.) but…. Minimalism

  9. Play It Later

    This was a fun little map pack and it’s really cool to see what people can do with the Source engine and a little imagination. I’m often blown away with how even dev textured maps can look incredible in Source with some decent lighting applied. Of course, not every one of these is going to be spectacular and 50 minutes really is quite a small time frame, so my ratings below aren’t intended to be harsh or unfairly positive and so on. 😛

    Refinery by ESToomere
    It is okay

    Not a bad layout for a combat area, but nothing spectacular. I don’t know if I didn’t trigger something or if I just plain missed any triggers and such, but after killing a handful of metrocops, nothing seemed to happen…?

    Downsized Escape by Mark A.K.A. Strontvlieg
    It is good

    Not a bad series of areas but is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. This level is over within a couple of minutes, but that’s fine. The green light in the bathroom was a little on the nose, where instead you could have used a note near the offending toilet (see Shut Up) but I’m just splitting hairs here.

    Abstraction by November
    It is great!

    Very interesting map. I like that the health and suit chargers were given the same minimal style to match their surroundings. Some very cool combat throughout as well. Just a very solid entry overall.

    Antguard by Crowbar
    It is good

    A good way to show that even a brightly lit map can be absolutely terrifying. I like the idea that the guardian is your sole enemy as well as your only means to progress. Sadly, I found the mechanics of this idea a little frustrating after the third room as it’s often difficult to get the enemy to play by your rules and sometimes he just froze until I re-positioned myself. Not really the fault of the mapper, but there it is.

    Shut Up by Tiop
    It is good

    A slightly amusing map with very basic game play. There isn’t really anything more that I can say about it…

    The Test by ethosaur
    It is great!

    A very solid portal style puzzle map. I’m not really big on this style of map, Portal being my least favourite Valve franchise. However, I can appreciate the entity setup and the amount of work that went into this. Really cool stuff.

    Rooms by Event Horizon
    It is okay

    Very basic and really easy, especially given that you can simply run through the rooms without engaging any of the enemies (obviously in some cases you need to actually carry out some form of task in order to progress). For the most part though, this was really basic, which I guess plays into the theme, but at the same time wasn’t all that fun to play. Also, backwards weapon boxes are a pet peeve of mine. 😛

    Destroy The Generator by HighFire
    It is bad

    Some very basic/dull game play and level design, made worse by, what I assume was, a very cheap ending involving dozens of soldiers attacking at once. I died. I did not retry.

    Antichamber by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is WOW!

    Another astounding map by ThatsRidonkulous and one I could easily fire up again for a quick blast of puzzling and action. The blend of styles actually works really well and gives you an idea of what these areas could be, helping your mind fill in the blanks. The final area was a really fun arena to play in.

    Defense in Depth by Rob Martens
    It is great!

    A rather peculiar little map with a very strange aesthetic, but mostly enjoyable. I found the way to the second level purely by accident and then I died after getting trapped by a fast zombine and a fast zombie which felt a little cheap but not so much that I didn’t just try again. Really nice.

    Nova Perspektive by DarenDark
    It is great!

    This was really trippy and it took me a moment to figure out what was actually happening. As soon as I did it oddly became second nature to just sort of… bend reality to my will (obviously I had very little control over this and it was all down to the mapper but it felt really rather empowering…) Again, a really nice map.

    Gauntlet by Dirk Destiny
    It is okay

    I would have given this a ‘Good’ rating if it had been a little more streamlined. Having to navigate up multiple ramps to get to the next wave of enemies in the exact same arena really killed the pacing and drew this map out unnecessarily. Other than that, the combat and inclusion of traps was really quite fun.

    Contrast by 1upD
    It is good

    Another simple premise and even more simple design. It was nice in that it had that “Aha” moment and I figured out exactly what I needed to do. I’m not really sure how the gameplay could have been varied as enemies may have made this frustrating, but it did feel as though it was lacking something to make it more fun to actually play through.

    Warp by Sockman
    It is great!

    Another very basic looking map but with a game play element that turns everything on it’s head. Not being a source mapper I don’t quite understand how this works, but it was a lot of fun. Especially when I was able to screw enemies over by dropping them through the floor or trapping them with a grenade. Unfortunately, there are some frustrating issues, such as SMG grenades hitting invisible walls that killed me twice and lost this map it’s potential ‘Wow’ score.

    The Mal Omals KY by Mista Heita
    It is good

    A rather fun if extremely challenging combat and key hunting map set in a pretty and surreal environment. Once again I have had to drop the score by one point because of frustrating choices by the mapper. In this case, an autosave right as I was caught off guard by an ambush. Every time I died I would be taken back to the same spot and would get gunned down in seconds. I had to restart, and this time I was ready. I don’t mind a little trial and error, but not if it leaves me unable to correct myself after reloading a save…

    Grey Assault by Builderpro
    It is bad

    I’m afraid this one was a bit of a bust for me. The first thing I did was accidentally hit a button that took me back to the menu. Sooo, I guess I won? When retrying, I realised it was a never ending survival map. I understand that people enjoy these, but when I get the impression that it is going to continue until I die or leave, then I opt for the latter quite quickly as I’d rather play something with an actual conclusion.

    Color Cues by Niker107
    It is WOW!

    Obviously inspired by Superhot which is by no means a bad thing and fits the minimalism theme perfectly. I loved the environment and the combat throughout. I even died just before I reached the end but the map still finished on a high with the mysterious message from my ’employer’ rounding things up. Really good fun this one.

    Loss by BlueASIS
    It is okay

    Basically a walking simulator set in a basement. The aesthetic and the environment itself was nice enough and I guess the fact that the repeating areas had slight variations was meant to convey the titular feeling of loss. Otherwise, there just isn’t a lot to its game play.

    Cuboid by TurretCube
    It is great!

    Another basic FPS map. Kill the bad guys and press the buttons to progress (or break the things in this case). However, I did actually have some fun with this one. I like that some of the red glass cube things had to be broken with grenades rather than the crowbar. Good fun.

    Cluster by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
    It is bad

    No denying that it is rather minimal. I appreciate the notice at the start prior to moving on to the remaining maps. As for this one… urgh. I’m not big on first person platforming so I didn’t finish this. I fell off one time too many and just quit. It looks OK, but the game play is just dull for me.

    FRAGGED by Frag
    It is bad

    When I saw the opening areas from Half-Life 2 with the text prompts, I thought this was going places. Similar to the sections seen in Stanley Parable, I was ready to be drawn in… but it didn’t happen. In fact, nothing much happened at all which was a real shame. Then, it just kind of ended… Hmmm 😐

    BONUS: Reporter by Klems
    It is WOW!

    Once again, a fine map from Klems. This one really was a lot of fun and I like that it would sometimes (OK, most of the time) catch me out. The “Jump” section for example was quite amusing once I figured it out. Some really clever ideas in this map and I’d say it was a perfect way to conclude the whole pack. Excellent stuff.

    Summary

    Overall, I did get quite a bit of enjoyment out of this and I would recommend it to anyone who wants to play a mod that isn’t just about running, gunning or even story elements. It’s just a good mix of unusual maps and ideas.

  10. Play It Now!

    Since there are so many entries I don’t want to write full text and just put my notes here that I made during playing (except for a few entries).
    “+” is a plus point
    “-” is a negative
    “o” is neutral

    Refinery by ESToomere
    It is good

    + big area with different paths that loop into each other, which also makes use of verticality
    o could have made the metrocops throw down explosive barrels like in Half-Life 2
    – hard to orientate, because there are no landmarks and everywhere looks the same
    – no challenge because only enemies with pistols, but tons of crates
    – you can break a lot of crates before anything happens, since these are dynamic_resupply, all you will get is pistol ammo
    – there is an infinite pistol ammo crate, even though all enemies drop pistols and crates give pistol ammo too, that is not minimalistic, that is redundant
    – the crowbar is redundant, since you can do everything with the gravity gun. There are no headcrabs where the crowbar would be preferable
    – only wall cover, no knee-high cover, which makes the combat a little dull
    – the fight only makes use of a small part of the whole area, that is not minimalistic
    – didn’t know where I am supposed to go after the metrocop fight. Is that the end of the map?

    Downsized Escape by Mark A.K.A. Strontvlieg
    It is okay

    – barely any content:
    — One tiny fight
    — Very little exploration in boring corridors
    — one “fake” puzzle, which was just weird

    Abstraction by November
    It is great!

    + cool artstyle that doesn’t feel too “tryharded”
    + walls are not too “white”, which would just be annoying on the eyes
    + love the health and energy chargers
    + really cool room for the hunter fight
    o walls could be a little whiter
    o the hunter fight room could maybe be a little less symmetrical
    – after the hunter fight the thing breaks into glass, which doesn’t seem to fit the artstyle of the map
    – very annoying soundscape
    – no autosaves
    – weird footstep sounds, that don’t seem to fit the enviroment

    Shut Up by Tiop

    I have no idea what I’m supposed to do

    The Test by ethosaur
    It is great!

    This map didn’t feel like it belongs to MinimalismVille, but it was fun
    + very fun puzzle map
    + clear progression of complexity
    + fun jump pad mechanic
    o I have no idea what is supposed to be minimalistic about this map
    – jump pads can be really annoying

    Rooms by Event Horizon
    It is bad

    – in a very short time the map throws multiple different enemy types at you and gives you several different weapons, not minimalistic to me at all
    – room after room, which is very repetitive and not minimalistic at all
    – pointless physbox wall that does nothing but to kill your performance
    – zero challenge
    – very dull and boring combat encounter design
    – the final room is the complete opposite of minimalistic
    – multiple enemies with AR2 rifles is the most horrible thing a human being can do
    – barely any cover on a tiny spot, give me room to move, room to breathe

    Destroy The Generator by HighFire
    It is okay

    – extremely dull and empty rooms
    – combat without any cover against multiple AR2 enemies
    – how are you supposed to heal or get ammo if you get rushed by multiple AR2 enemies, without any cover?
    Stopped playing because of the ridiculous final fight

    Antichamber by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is good

    I don’t know what people see in this map that I don’t. I give it a good rating, because it has a lot of content and is well crafted, but it has problems and rough edges and is weird.
    + well designed combat area
    – weird transition from puzzle to combat. You think it’s a puzzle map first, but nope, it’s just a tiny small section
    – weird intro
    – floaty movement is annoying
    – gman quotes feel pointless
    – music felt a little out of place
    – walls too white, impossible to see crosshair and very annoying for the eyes
    – too many AR2 enemies
    – combat space could have used more cover, more knee high cover especially
    – when you activate the teleporter, you barely have a chance to come back to the combat space, which forces you to stick to the ramp near the teleporter and cheese out the fight
    – music doesn’t restart when you load
    – after defeating all enemies, there was a long time where nothing happened
    – the only “minimalistic” thing about this map were the white walls, and all those achieved was to annoy the hell out of me

    Defense in Depth by Rob Martens

    + interesting visuals
    – what was the gravity gun for? I had nothing to use it with
    – no idea what I’m supposed to do after pressing the three things
    – how are you supposed to use the healing pools if the area is full of enemies you can’t kill?

    Nova Perspektive by DarenDark
    It is good

    it seems like the first two “puzzles” were just tutorials and then the map will start, but there is just one more puzzle and it just ends. A little disappointing, especially because the first two “puzzles” are “fake” puzzles. (I call puzzles fake which aren’t really puzzles, because there is no decision making, you just do what you can do)

    Gauntlet by Dirk Destiny
    It is bad

    – it seems silly to me that I have to kill all zombies to progress. This cost me a lot of time in the map, which made me quit. The zombies aren’t a threat at all and it is a gigantic space which is very annoying and boring to move around in.

    Contrast by 1upD

    + really nice looking
    – way too bright, too hard for my eyes
    – extremely loud elevator noise, because the sound is stacking
    – no idea what I’m supposed to do

    Warp by Sockman
    It is great!

    + really cool map
    – AI seems to have problems with the nodegraph
    Someone played Titanfall 2 😛

    The Mal Omals KY by Mista Heita
    It is okay

    + cool visuals
    + good flow
    + cool idea with the flying enemies
    – the flying enemies became annoying very quickly, because you never really know where they come from, they are too fast and then just destroy you (on hard)
    – the architecture isn’t minimalistic to me at all, it has a lot of pointless aspects to it
    – the music at the start seems to serve no purpose
    – when the first fight happens, multiple songs stack on top of each other
    – in the first fight I get COMPLETELY destroyed. Probably didn’t test on hard more, because here you can’t sustain random damage out of nowhere
    – impossible to get through that section without cheesing out the fight (on hard)
    – on-screen text in a minimalismVille? The text served no purpose at all

    Grey Assault by Builderpro
    It is bad

    a very minimalistic map
    – the unlock system is completely pointless, because you just wait until the room is full of zombies, press the button, and already unlock half of the weapons

    Color Cues by Niker107
    It is WOW!

    + weapon and enemy retextures look awesome
    + overall artstyle feels minimalistic, nothing is overdone or feels too “tryharded”
    + very nice flow through the map
    + I like the countdown at the end, which made me play differently and increased tension
    o not sure about the music when you trigger the finale
    – I don’t think the music at the start was necessary, even if this wasn’t minimalismVille
    – one or two rooms maybe had one enemy too much
    – the final room was confusing because the crate thing disappears and reappears and enemies spawn. It made me think I have to do something else than to just kill all waves

    Loss by BlueASIS

    + different type of “minimalistic” artstyle than other maps
    – thought I have to jump down at the start, but the things arent solid
    – so uh … you have to go through the same thing three times? I don’t get it

    Cuboid by TurretCube
    It is good

    + overall solid entry, that didn’t have any special features though
    – why am I fighting AR2 Elites with a Pistol only?
    – the Elite shoots his energy ball and it bounces around in my room 100 times and kills me, even though I had full HP
    – why do some enemies drop their weapons and some don’t?

    Cluster by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
    It is good

    + was fun
    – a little repetitive

    FRAGGED by Frag

    it’s kinda interesting? But I didn’t get it.
    – boring jumping puzzle

    BONUS: Reporter by Klems
    It is WOW!

    Funny how there is a map called “Antichamber” in this Ville, but this map actually feels way more like the game “Antichamber” if you ask me 😛
    + the only map where I felt like the music actually fit and also was minimal
    + really cool concept
    + map plays with expectations
    + has a nice flow
    + kept surprising
    – it was a little annoying to keep shooting everything
    – the final “puzzle” was weird. I had “You will pass”, but nothing happened. Does it have to be “You can pass”?

  11. my top three:
    1. Color Cues
    2. Reporter
    3. Warp

    1. I actually haven’t played titanfall 2 and my map wasn’t based on it… I just thought it would be a cool idea. 😛

  12. Play It Later

    Yeah, one can’t reasonably expect large, high-quality maps in a 50-hours challenge. Still, there were a number of very original and good entries. For me personally, Color Cues, Grey Assault and The Mal-Omal’s KY were the best. Fragged, Cluster and Antguard were the worst with annoying gameplay.

    Best moment was in The Mal-Omal’s KY; the first time I saw the Combine on these hoverboards I sat there for a moment wondering what the hell just happened … !

  13. Lurkerofxen

    Where is the other unofficial entry that was mentioned in the contest comments?

    1. There is Reporter, which is the last map in the mod, but there is also a Black Mesa map and a GoldSource (Half-Life 1) map that I will be adding to the site this week.

      1. JamaicanDave

        Didn’t realise there was a Half Life 1 entry too. Looking forward to checking that one out.

        So that’s 23 maps in total. I’d call the challenge a resounding success. Personally speaking it’s also rekindled my desire to map again.

  14. Where is the map fix guide. Maps are crashing or not loading at all.

    1. There is no map fix guide. Sounds like your download is corrupt. I can only suggest downloading a new copy. So far, you are the only person reporting this issue.

      1. Thanx Phillip. I’ll give that a try.

      2. Phillip I re-download mod and still have the same problem. The game loads ok but when I click on a map, it opens and immediately crashes. You or anyone else help me out?

        1. Right, so..

          1. IS EP2 working correctly?
          2. Has it been run recently?
          3. Copy some of the maps from MinimalismVille into your EP2 maps folder and run them via the console. Do they work?

          1. 1. IS EP2 working correctly? Yes, I have downloaded new mods and they ran ok.

            2. Has it been run recently? Yes

            3. Copy some of the maps from MinimalismVille into your EP2 maps folder and run them via the console. Do they work? Did not work.

            I’m getting an error saying that ” Could not load Library client. Try restarting, if that does not work, try verifying cache. Forgot how to do that. I think I’ll uninstall and re-install everything.

          2. Phillip, I uninstalled everything (games and Steam) and tried the mod again. I got the same results. Don’t know what to do next. If you have any suggestions, I’m all ears.

  15. Play It Now!

    Finally, I’m back on this site after a long hiatus, but still, I don’t have a lot of time to write a detailed review about 21 freaking maps, so things are gonna be pretty simple.

    Anyway, let’s start with:

    Refinery
    It is good

    Well, the only reason I’ve chosen “It’s Good” is because the map looks surprisingly really nice, for a map that only has dev textures but great lighting, which is a very important thing about the Source engine. Other than that, however, that’s it. The “minimalism” seemed to be the fact that there were only 5-6 Combine soldiers that only appeared in one fraction of the map. That’s disappointing, concerning the fact that the map is really big and even has two floors. Also, there is no end trigger, so basically when you kill all the enemies, that’s it.

    Downsized Escape
    It is good

    I found this map to be really pleasant. The mapping and the architecture were pretty basic, but that’s exactly what this map needs. There’s not a whole lot more to say, it’s 3-4 minutes long and there aren’t many enemies, so yeah.

    Abstraction
    It is great!

    Now thisis a really good minimalistic map. I really liked its use of colors, and the amount of combat it offered. It has the perfect length for a map of its kind. Mapping is pretty basic, as usual.

    Antguard
    It is great!

    I actually didn’t expect to like this map so much. It has a really interesting mechanic which I’ve never thought of before, which is strange. Again, basic map with dev textures, nothing else here. Sometimes the Antlion Guard could be annoying, but still, this was a really fun map for me.

    Shut Up
    It is bad

    I’m honestly at a loss with this one. The drawers are kind of cool, I guess?

    The Test
    It is great!

    This was a very nice test-chamber-like map. I don’t really get what’s minimalistic about it tho. Also, the mapping was really nice, and the textures were pretty solid, but I had some problems with them, like the missing texture stuff, which was really annoying. At the end, this was a great map and definitely one of the best from this Ville.

    Rooms
    It is okay

    An OK map. Its concept is pretty basic, but very restricting, and there’s not a whole lot to do with it. The mapping reminded of me of the previous map, there was even a puzzle which was similar. The combat was nice though, I’ll give the mapper that.

    Destroy The Generator
    It is bad

    I honestly didn’t like this map. Not only is it literally seconds long, but also there didn’t seem to be a connection with the Ville’s theme. Boring combat, dull mapping, nothing to see here imo.

    Antichamber
    It is WOW!

    Wow, this was an awesome map. Great design, an interesting concept with really fun combat. I have to say though, the beginning didn’t impress me a lot, but later on, it gets much better. It has some really fun mechanics, which could have been used more in my opinion. Still, this map is great and I had a lot of fun with it.

    Defense In Depth
    It is okay

    I chose “It’s Okay” for the visuals only, which were really nice. The rest was just bad. The only way I found for killing enemies is the bicycle in the beginning, which sucks. The way you get to the top is really stupid and I had to spend 10-15 minutes to figure that out. I just didn’t like this map.

    Nova Perspektive
    It is great!

    I would have chosen WOW for this map, but it’s just so short, that you don’t even have time to enjoy it properly. Great map, incredible design and very nice mechanics. I could play a whole mod out of this.

    Gauntlet
    It is okay

    Really boring map, with the same recycled mapping but with different enemies. I understand what’s minimalistic about its “mechanic”, but it didn’t work well (wasn’t as effective). Also, this doesn’t even work well with most enemies, so it becomes redundant pretty quickly.

    Contrast
    It is great!

    A great puzzle map, with many different colors and a very interesting mechanic. No combat here, just plain old puzzle solving.

    Warp
    It is good

    This map has a very interesting concept, but a pretty mediocre execution. Warping was very buggy, there was no lighting, the enemy placement wasn’t very good and you could even see them spawning. It does need a lot of work, but still, this mechanic has a lot of potential.

    The Mal Omals KY
    It is good

    I really liked the architecture of this map, very bizarre and mystical. The mapping was great, however the enemy placement was annoying as hell. Not to mention, your ammo will run out faster than light. Still, nice map.

    Grey Assault
    It is okay

    Not a lot to say here. It has some nice lighting, but it’s just another endless (i think) combat map.

    Color Cues
    It is WOW!

    This is another great – and actually minimalistic – map. Sure, it’s another combat-based map, but its presentation is excellent and probably reminiscent of the game SuperHot. It has great mapping and really enjoyable combat, although those long-distance fights were a bit too far fetched. Still, this is probably one of the best maps here.

    Loss
    It is great!

    I don’t know why, but I really liked this map. Sure, it was one of the most linear things ever, and it can be hard to navigate, but I just loved the visuals. This aesthetic is something I really appreciate, and the map deserves a Great rating just for that.

    Cuboids
    It is okay

    Not bad, but not great either. Everything is just really basic, from the combat, to the mapping, to the way you finish the map. Not a lot to see here.

    Cluster
    It is bad

    At first, I thought I was gonna love this map, because I really enjoy platforming maps (like in Kreedz Climbing), but this one was just bad. There’s no clear way to find out where you’re supposed to go, so you’ll fall many, MANY times. It’s really sad though, the map doesn’t look that bad and it could have some potential, if it just wasn’t so annoying.

    FRAGGED
    It is good

    There’s not a lot to say about this map. It has some really impressive architecture and I really like the way it changes the start of HL2. There’s no combat, so it’s another one of those really bizarre maps with some minor puzzles and some quite annoying platforming.

    And finally….

    Reporter
    It is great!

    Man, the bonus maps of each Ville seem to be some of the best. Very nice design, great architecture and its mechanic is pretty interesting, though sometimes it can get too boring or tiring to use.

    Overall, this Ville was one of the most interesting (and biggest) ones yet. If you want to enjoy some really different and unique maps, then look no further. I hope the mappers had fun making their maps. Good luck to everyone! 🙂

  16. 21 maps is a lot to review and I am just about to change my old dying hard drive so I am going to be lazy! A mixed bag of fun and insanity, so what’s not to enjoy? Some good, some I just could not understand, a walkabout for a darkened room and a bonus map that was just eyebrow raising, in a good way!
    A review may follow if my cloning experiment goes to plan….

    1. Cannot work the review system!
      Even after carefully following the video explanation.

      1. Tell me what is not working for you and I will help?

  17. Play It Now!

    Great mapping challenge! Nice idea for minimalism idea.
    I really like this competition.
    Here you can find some abstract and unusual maps.
    So, i find it really cool.
    But we need maps by Jason Gimba or other cool mod creators.
    Here my top 5 best maps of this list.
    1. Antichamber
    2. Color Clues
    3. Contrast
    4. Reporter
    5. Nova Perspektive

    1. I have succeeded okay I think! There may be errors but whatever prevented my using the tabs before has gone away. 🙂
      Like replying to wrong post!!!

  18. Play It Now!

    A fine collection of ideas in mod form; some great, some not so but all interesting stuff. Thanks to all involved…

    Refinery
    It is okay

    Nice simple design, nice action but would not end after all the combine were dead!
    Climbed all over, found invisible walls and then had to noclip to get that weapon stash.
    Played thrice same dead result!

    Downsized Escape
    It is good

    Short and sweet little puzzle, fight and escape vignette. Nice graphics and the toilet escape solution was amusing!

    Abstraction
    It is great!

    The minimalist approach used in this entry was very clever and felt so easy to play. Reminded me of those old school Computer games I played but so much smoother! (Ask your elders about those!)
    Good combat makes me believe this would make for an interesting full-on mod!

    Antguard
    It is good

    A superb combat mod with the player on his back foot running to save his life and open gates; with his body! Facing an antlion guardian with the normal gravgun was not funny, but the layout of the mod was very easy to understand as you panicked!
    With fleet foot you can win this but I failed on and on… shamefully I used a little consol help.

    SHUT UP!
    It is okay

    This was a weird one. The toilet blocking was odd and the ending. Well a strange skit, very strange!

    The Test
    It is good

    Sort of Portal-like entry. I could not make the last jump work, seeing how to cross an electrified pool when only going up and down I was stumped! Nice but I would like to have finished it.

    Rooms
    It is okay

    Not a bad minimal shooter but I had major lag on the box section wall. Otherwise an nice short bit of HL fun.

    Destroy the Generator
    It is great!

    A four-room combat blast that is short and well paced and could have been a segment in the original HL2. Nothing new but nothing bad either; just fun!

    Antichamber
    It is WOW!

    This map was amazing. A new minimalist slant and the G-man too! Seems we are sent to his private combat area and have to fight the foe after a very confusing start in the nothingness of the G-man’s realm. Great combat and the chance of bullet-time for those that like it. One of the best maps in this competition.

    Defence in Depth

    I did not get or understand this one at all, so I can hardly comment on its performance!

    Nova Perspektive
    It is WOW!

    A clever new mechanism using those combine binox to alter perspective makes this entry an outstanding map if it was not so absurdly short! Polished and very, very minimal. Wow it’s clever! Wow it’s short!

    Gaunlet
    It is great!

    Using the minimalist approach makes this quite an interesting combat mod. Running the gauntlet of escalating enemies in ever more combative stages was fun, even if the area was the same. The flooded ending was a nice touch and I did not expect to see the airboat in this comp! Good stuff.

    Contrast
    It is good

    A clever multicoloured puzzler entry. Fairly simple in look and concept, but an amusing fifteen minutes with a little bit of head scratching!

    Warp
    It is okay

    I did not enjoy this one. Too simple in concept with no fun and those Hunters… well I died and died and never finished! I hope my hunterphobia has not returned!

    The Mal Omals KY
    It is good

    An airborne floating and blocky temple of sorts and some fiendish combat; not least from those flying combine, whose appearance reminds me of my horror at seeing “Highlander 2” at the cinema… such shivers! They were hard to kill but I eventually succeeded and passed through the gates. Tough little combat map.

    Gray Assault

    Endless hordes, endless yawns! I do not like these types of combat especially when under-gunned with an, at times, laggy PC! No comment…

    Color Cues
    It is great!

    Simply super shooter! Running down a train in, around, over and under obstacles and gunning down combine in soothing minimal colours is a joy. And you get to do it on the way back! Red combine are nice and the boxes seem wrapped in bin bags! Colours are cool but the action is fast paced and spicy. Good map.

    Lost
    It is WOW!

    This entry was impossible! Until I played in a blacked out room and adjusted my settings, not done since my old monitor died. (I’m widescreening now!) Loved the gloomy muted tones and creepy soundscape of this wandering-through-the-gloom map. This would be a great long mod finishing in broad daylight to shock the player. Simple exploration, nothing more but a pleasant meander.

    Cuboid
    It is good

    Second play had more combines attacking me early on in this simple corridor map. Nice forcefield switch design and there was a wee bit of climbing to keep it Half Life. Nice map.

    Cluster
    It is great!

    I enjoyed this difficult platform map, with its very intricate and precise jumps. It got harder as you increased altitude but then I reached an impasse after making what I thought was a near impossible jump! Alas I could not get to the next step and had to abandon after many attempts. Finished using noclip but where is the fun in that! Good looking platformer with nice music, just a shame I could not finish cleanly.

    Fragged
    It is okay

    A wander through that much overused train station brings on a feeling of nostalgia; where it all began indeed!
    Splosh; a mad platform level! Easy jumping and then a bright blue door and “What’s on that pyramid in that room… oh it’s ended!”
    It was okay.

    Reporter
    It is WOW!

    This was interesting and novel. It appears the gun is mightier than the pen in this realm! Painting your environment with a gun is rather noisy but it did have the minimalist style and was fascinating. A couple of puzzles thrown in for variety made this a welcome bonus map. It reminded me of something I had played before but nevertheless this was fun.
    The title. Report as in the report of a gun? Reporter i.e. Shooter!
    In conclusion a good collection of free entertainment and frustration, at times and not just with a lagging PC!

  19. I think there’s a bug in this mod, you sometimes get a super Gravity Gun instead of a normal one. Because I actually got the super Gravity gun in Destroy the Generator instead of the normal one.

  20. Hec
    Play It Later

    Oh boy! What an interesting concept for a mapping competition.

    That’s overall what I thought after I played this minimalism-ville. I have to say I’ll review this as a whole product instead of reviewing each by each entry in it. This is because is a really huge competition! So in that respect could be judged as a successful competition in terms of quantity; however, in quality terms, this competition had a mixed flavor. You know, some entries are just terrible, with no clear directions to follow, some confuse gameplay, just having blank-dead endings, and others are just absolutely awesome, as the 2 winners, or my personal favorite: “Reporter”. This of course had some very clever entries where I feel the “minimalism” concept felt just right, you know because it was original and straight to the point, like in those entries I mentioned, you feel the whole map has a clear gameplay goal which is precisely achieved by minimum elements of mapping and basic but fun gameplay designs.

    Considering all of that, this was a hard competition for the modders to develop. Precisely because the minimalist concept was too ambiguous and that was clearly visible in some entries. Some of them were just too much abstract for the common gamer to grasp the essence of the entry.

    Anyway, despite that conceptual-connection shortcoming, I can say this competition overall is entertaining to play, as very few entries were boring, most of them are always interesting to explore and to play. I think -if I don’t get wrong- the one which won felt a lot like the cool “The Trap” HL1 mod, so that was a great array of nostalgia and cleverness on it.

    So this as a whole felt like a perfect Play It Later, is a perfect PL, but anyway a fun PL. So have you played all mods update and want some more fun?? Then Try this competition.

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