RaiseTheBarVille

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

Nova Exhange: “After taking a wrong turn on the way to Lighthouse Point… Gordon stumbles on a Combine secret”
Takes place between the chapters Sandtraps and Entanglement, replacing Nova Prospekt.

Delayed: The strider at the end of Half Life 2 Episode 1 destroys the escape train, leaving Gordon and Alyx stuck in City 17 as the Citadel goes critical.

Blast Pit: A re-imagining of the classic scene from Half-Life.

Basic Details
  • Title: RaiseTheBarVille
  • File Name: hl2-ep2-sp-mc-raisethebarville.7z
  • Size : 47.10MB
  • Author: Erik-Silver Toomere AKA ESToomere, Justin Carlton AKA Sneakyspeckman, Dan Jordan AKA The_Rabbit42
  • Date Released: 09 May 2015
MapTap Users

Download directly into MapTap [47.10MB]

You MUST have MapTap installed before using this link.

Download Options

Download to your HDD [47.10MB]
You can still use it with MapTap once you have downloaded it.

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

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

About the theme

This was a joint Mapping Challenge, run in association with MapCore.org.

We’d like you to re-imagine a scene of your choosing from any of the Half-Life games.

To be clear, we are NOT looking for remakes of any scenes – we want you to completely re-imagine a scene.

Think of this as a What if…? concept.

Here are some examples of ideas you could develop:

The Tram ride at the beginning of Half-Life:
What if somebody else pushed the cart? Gordon was late, so they got somebody else and the resonance cascade happens when Gordon is still on the tram. It crashed to the ground but leads him to a previously unseen section of Black Mesa.

Black Mesa:
What if Half-Life’s infamous research facility were hidden underneath a city or town rather than out in the desert?

Surface Tension:
This particular event occurs on the side of a Citadel. Yes, it doesn’t fit the story, but that’s not important. This is about high cliffs and long falls.

Opposing Force:
What if Black Mesa were devastated by this game’s nuclear bomb quite early during the story, leaving Adrian Shepard to navigate a version of the research facility resembling a post-apocalyptic nightmare?

Point Insertion:
Instead of arriving at a city train station, Gordon finds himself in a deserted and derelict village station, perhaps near enough to Ravenholm, to feel the threat. Being seen by Civil Protection may be the least of his worries.

City 17:

What if the Combine had chosen the United States, France or London to be their primary city?
The only limitation is your imagination, which we ant to see run wild – create the most wonderful interpretation of Half-Life’s universe that you can conceive.

Whether your project is big or small, you should strive to create something that will delight all Half-Life fans.

Entries

The entries are displayed in the order they were received, both here and in the mod:
Nova Exchange by Erik-Silver Toomere aka ESToomere
Delayed by Justin Carlton aka SneakySpeckMan
Blast Pit by Dan Jordan aka The_Rabbit42

Prizes

Winner:
A lightly used hardback copy of Valve’s rare Half-Life 2 development book Raising The Bar. This book is a must-read for any fan of the game, and particularly those interested in the development process. In addition to being collectable in its own right, this edition is signed by valve staff.

This has been kindly donated by Don aka Unq and the signing has been arranged by a friend of Phillip’s at Valve.

Almost Winner:
Don’t feel bad, you nearly made it. Have a plush companion cube plus a MapCore mug or T-shirt, and know that we love you.

Random Draw:
All entries, except the Winner and Almost winner, will be entered into a random draw to win Sniper Elite 3.

Judges

There were 3 judges for this challenge.
Phillip, Ryan from MapCore and Don aka Unq, who very kindly supplied the RaiseTheBarVille first Prize.

Winners

The winner of the RaiseTheBarVille mapping Challenge is Blast Pit. All judges felt this was the perfect combination of using the theme in a clever way and making a map that was fun to play.

The almost winner is Nova Exchange. This was a very detailed and thoughtful entry that all the judges enjoyed playing but felt it lacked player guidance too often.

Delayed comes third.

The judges more detailed reviews can be found in the comments.

Menu Music

Brane Scan by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

Credits

The RunThinkShootLive.Com intro video was made by ĜL1TCĦ³

Grid View Images

Three grid view icons are included in this file. To use the included grid view icon, select “Gridview” in Steam (top right corner). Right click on “RaiseTheBarVille” and select “Set Custom Image”. Then browse to the SourceMods folder and then to RaiseTheBarVille/steam-gridview-icons folder and select the image you prefer. Then click “Set Image” and that’s it.

Of course, you can create your own custom image if you prefer.

Dates

The challenge started 11am GMT Thursday 19th March and was originally due to finish 14th April but was extended to 11am GMT Tuesday 28th April.

General 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 and MapCore the right to release the map as part of the RaiseTheBarVille 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_rtbv.bsp
All entries must be sent to: planetphillip@gmail.com no later than the deadline.

Your chance to vote for your favourite map

This vote is for entertainment only and does not affect the prizes.

Videos

The playthrough/walkthrough below is provided by PlanetPhillip. See more of my playthroughs on this site: VP: PlanetPhillip.

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

Screenshots

WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
The first ten screenhots are for Nova Exchange, the next ten are for Delayed and the final ten are for Blast Pit.

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

9 recommendations, average score: 4.33 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.67 (what's that?)
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 8 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: 1 Users
Manually: 7 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 2 Hours, 12 Mins
Shortest: 1 Hours, 35 Mins by RedMesa2391
Longest: 3 Hours by Larry
Total Time Played: 17 Hours, 35 Mins
Jump to a review
Phillip says Play It!Play It LaterMaybe?Play It Now!Play It Now!Play It LaterPlay It Now!Play It Now!Maybe?

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25 Comments

  1. Phillip says Play It!

    I can’t lie, I was hoping for a lot more entries with this mapping challenge, but the 3 we did get were fun to play.

    Nova Exchange

    As much as I enjoyed this map, I felt I was not only fighting the enemies but also the map itself. I was confused quite often about where I was supposed to go and what I was supposed to do. IF you watch the video playthrough, you will notice I managed to break the map quite early. Situations like that put me in a negative frame of mind from that point forward.

    I found the whole map quite dark, which of course is how that part of the game is supposed to be, but it makes it quite hard to see what to do.

    There’s no doubt this was a large and detailed level, but I felt more relieved it was over than any sort of excitement.

    Delayed

    The situation is fairly clear from the beginning and the possibilities from this are intriguing. Once I got into the main part of the level I was feeling frustration. Antlion Guards are my least favourite boss enemy and I think I managed to avoid it to progress. Once passed that the level changes and with a little more combat that third section could be really fun. I lost Alyx, only for her to appear in the Jalopy at the end.

    Still, it was fairly fun to play and the destroyed car park could be a really fun longer setting.

    Blast Pit

    Visually, this stands out from the other two entries as being in the “classic” style of EP2. The twist on the blast pit theme from Half-Life was really well done and the puzzle area were challenging enough to make me think for a moment (or longer) but still doable.

    The combat was a bit harder, but that’s the fun. There’s never a dull moment in this map, although I am sure I missed some areas and was worried that I went the wrong way a few times.

    All in all, a worthy winner in my opinion and probably worth a second play through to see the nuisances of the layout and design.

    Final Thoughts

    Certainly not the best or longest mapping challenge run but still worth your time. Each map has its own nice touches and are fun to play.

  2. I have problems with the textures on Nova Exchange. I’m sure I have everything installed.

    1. Yes, me too. My guess is that it’s a video card problem. Our cards are too old, i think…

      1. Really, I think there might be some optimization issues in the map, as I’ve now blue screened twice while trying to play through it, both times immediately after the jumping puzzle. My frame rate drops down to almost nothing and then blue screen immediately after.

        Just thought it might be a good idea to let the ESToomere and Phillip know about the issues, so that maybe the map pack can be updated with an optimized map at some point down the line, so these crashes don’t keep happening. (Also I have a pretty new graphics card, so I know that isn’t the issue)

  3. Ryan Williams (Thrik)

    My more detailed thoughts on these maps:

    Nova Exchange

    I assumed as soon as I saw the name that this might be an attempt to play around with what the Air Exchange chapter could have been, which was cut during Half-Life 2’s development and was meant to come straight after Nova Prospekt. In terms of gameplay, it’s a lengthy and well-paced level but I found myself feeling like it wasn’t guiding me very clearly, and in some cases I got frustrated with fiddly scenery and jump sections. It uses the Nova Prospekt setting effectively, but falls victim to feeling too similar much of the time. I also felt that there was a lack of exciting set-pieces, which combined with high difficulty ultimately made the level feel a bit long and grindy. I think that this would have been an excellent map if its length had been shorter and the extra time used to refine the moment-to-moment play.

    Delayed

    This was a nice revisit of some great parts of Episode Two, and I thought that set-pieces were used very effectively. I do feel that it stalled a little after the exciting introductory sequence, as the giant antlion encounter got a little frustrating in the end and it took me quite a long time to get past it. However, the pace soon picked up again once I eventually figured out how to get through the concrete walls, and the level quickly but excitingly drew to a close with a set-piece and car sequence. I’d say that visually this level was splendid and there was a definite wow factor to seeing the citadel up close, but in terms of gameplay there wasn’t anything particularly noteworthy.

    Blast Pit

    Being one of Half-Life’s most memorable sequences, I was very keen to see what this level had in store. After a visually impressive arrival at a facility that serves as the map’s setting, I soon had a smile on my face when I saw the tentacles reborn as a Strider. The level is essentially about navigating the facility that surrounds the circular room the Strider is trapped in and figuring out how to dispose of it, with its overwhelming firepower just as lethal as those tentacles. Well-designed puzzles that involve locating and activating equipment break up the action, which combined with plenty of nooks to explore and excellent use of scripted enemy encounters makes this level the most enjoyable overall experience. It also excels on the visuals front, with every area exhibiting impressive craftmanship.

  4. Unq
    Play It Later

    Overall I really liked this competition. Yes, there were only 3 entries but they were pretty solid. Each map was clear as to which location from the original games it was replacing – although I do think Blast Pit should have had a different name; the link would have been clear, but only after a few minutes once you got a feel for the layout of the central pit.

    Nova Exchange
    At the start of Nova Exchange, I found the opening text to be too fast to read. Although within moments it became clear that this was an alternate take on the approach to Nova Prospekt, complete with the avoid-the-sand bit from Half-Life 2. What I really liked about this entry was the economical use of space – the central area that you keep circling and coming back to was really well laid out. What’s missing is better signposting to help guide the player a bit. Yes, the red flares help here and there, but I think more attention to lighting and possibly adding audio hints in a couple places would have gone a long way toward helping the player progress. I ended up lost a few times and going in circles many more. The pervading darkness everywhere didn’t help with finding my way around. I think even though the heart of the map was nicely reused, there were quite a few “filler” areas with little detail that kind of hurt the overall feel of the map. The moving crane near the end was confusing, particularly since it was difficult to jump onto, and then the one area that was clearly a walkway across the crane was actually not solid and I fell through it to my death several times.

    I also think the ramp-up of combat is nicely done, there’s a nice mixture of antlions, Combine troops, and a handful of zombies, culminating in the double-boss setpiece with the gunship and APC. The antlions were really painful in the cramped area with the fences in the latter half of the map, and when you soon after get the bugbait I felt there were really a lack of opportunities to use the bait. It was really a letdown after having to fight through so many antlions just before that.

    Phillip had a good quote in his playthrough, that he felt he was fighting against the map as much as fighting against the enemies – which I feel is pretty accurate for this map. Parts were way too dark with little guidance to the player, it gets very frustrating especially when the gunship is out patrolling. There was some fiddly platform jumping, including crawling across barbed wire and the aforementioned crane.

    Overall, a fun and quite long entry that’s a new take on Nova Prospekt. It’s not perfect but in general it’s a solid entry.

    Delayed
    Another decent map here, although it felt a bit schizophrenic. It starts right at the end of Episode 1, where the strider has destroyed the train you were going to board. But then you get led into antlion caves similar to Episode 2’s This Vortal Coil, and then out to the destroyed streets of City 17 again. Each area is fairly well done, but in total the map feels a little scattered. But there are some pretty cool moments and really good use of music.

    Delayed starts off with a bit of an Combine ambush and then you’re cleverly introduced to the mechanic of knocking over a loose wall with the gravity gun, which is important in the antlion caves as it’s your key to escape. I thought this was a really nice puzzle, and most importantly it’s introduced in an easier form early on (when you get to the final version of this puzzle, you’re likely to be under duress due to the acid antlion guard chasing you!).

    I did like the hide-and-seek section with the antlion guard. Thankfully the caverns are not too labyrinthine, and there are a couple of nice shortcuts you can take that the guard can’t. It took quite a few tries to not only understand what I needed to do but to actually have some peace and quiet to do it. It was a bit of frustration but on reflection I think this is a really well designed area.

    Soon you reach the outside and get a nice view of the destroyed Citadel. There’s a really nice sequence of a strider rising out of some rubble, and you get a glimpse of your car waiting. Unfortunately I thought this was a bit of a wasted opportunity – it’s pretty easy to make your way to the car and drive away, although on my first try I simply climbed up and ran past the strider all the way to the end of the map.

    Alyx’s scripting was also a little fiddly, and clearly dependent on making your way through the level the way the author intended. From watching others’ streams of this map, she has some useful dialog but I never got to hear it since I never killed the guard (just avoided it). Although magically at the end she teleports into the car if you start to drive away without her.

    Overall, a little bit of a mixed bag here. I liked the areas individually but they don’t necessarily tie together well. And on reflection, there was barely any combat – a handful of Combine and a few antlions is all you face (you don’t get the chance to face off against the strider).

    Blast Pit
    A nifty reimagining of Half-Life’s Blast Pit chapter, but set in an Episode 2-like forest area. There’s a strider sitting in the pit instead of tentacles, but your goal is to kill it with the rocket engine by first turning on fuel and power. It’s similar enough to the original that it’s recognizable but different enough to feel totally new.

    Only from watching others’ streams, I saw there was a huge outdoor area with a toxic lake that I completely skipped. One one hand, it’s nice that the player can reach the generators in different ways, but on the other I think this is a missed opportunity to ensure the author’s hard work is put to good use, especially since it was a nicely designed area.

    The only other nitpick I have is that the player should have been forced to go to the control room before being allowed to go to the generator or fuel areas, as in the Half-Life chapter. It gives some clarity on the objectives and the key to killing the strider. If a player isn’t familiar with the original HL chapter, and simply sees the rocket crate outside, it’s possible to really frustrate the player if they don’t see the control room first.

    Beyond those critiques, I thought this was a fantastic entry. Things were laid out in a logical manner, and you get signs right near the control room to help guide you toward the mini-goals in the map.

    There was a nice mix of combat here, with Combine troops ambushing here and there while the central strider remained a constant threat when you were near it. Tough but fair for the most part. There were odd choices here and there in the props used, like an unmovable small locker blocking a doorway that I should have been able to punt out of the way with the gravity gun.

    I loved the look of this map, very Episode 2-like but with a nice orange/red light from an approaching sunset. And my favorite touch may have been the dead headcrab in the vent to give you a bit of a harmless jump scare.

  5. Maybe?

    To be completely honest, I was quite disappointed. Why? Well, let’s see what we’ve got here.

    Nova Exchange
    I hated the beginning and the ending. I know that those sandtraps were in HL2 too but this was just long and boring. What came next was some kind of Nova Prospekt-like facility with Combine adjustments. The overall design wasn’t bad but some parts looked incomplete (or rushed) and sometimes it was hard to tell where to go. What I also disliked were parts with respawning enemies. That’s just lame and unnecessary. And then the ending. Oh boy! There were two mounted machineguns (with respawning crew, what did you expect?), a tank and a gunship – all shooting at you. That was pretty annoying and after I pacified them all, I had no idea where I was supposed to go. I eventually figured it out and after a moment it abruptly ended.

    Delayed
    This map sounded like a great idea. What a shame that the execution wasn’t that grand. First it was some kind of irradiated rubble where it was easy to get stuck. Then I came to the antlion lair (with respawning antlions) where Alyx refused to follow me further. Doesn’t matter, she was useless anyway. After I managed to get out of there, a fascinating scene of destruction occured. There wasn’t almost anything. Just what was left of the Citadel. The map ended with an escape in the car you find in Episode 2.

    Blast Pit
    The only thing this map’s got in common with the actual HL Blast Pit chapter is the idea. Everything else is different and the result is pretty good. Instead of a tentacle you must destroy a strider to proceed. In order to do so, you have to travel through the whole facility and turn on electricity and fuel. What I liked here was the fact that you explore everything. There are just about two buildings you can’t access. Oh, and there’s a really nice puzzle I’m not going to spoil. What I considered unnecessary was the very ending – a massacre. I ended up escaping on foot rather than going back for the car.

    So, this is my point of view. I think it’s pretty obvious which map I liked the most. So, I say give Mr. Jordan a medal! I mean….the prize.

  6. Play It Now!

    Three very enjoyable maps to be sure. I wish there were more but I had fun with these ones:

    Nova Exchange: I thought this map had great layouts and models. The industrial magnet platform was especially cool. On the downside, grenades can’t seem to penetrate the window where the first sniper was, so hopefully you had something else saved. Also, the author put spawning enemies in a couple of places which really are a negative for me.

    Delayed: This map had a few minor issues which I found frustrating. I got killed at the bottom of the elevator because I stopped to look around. There was no warning which I didn’t like. I also climbed over the car in the beginning part instead of solving the puzzle and got stuck somewhere in the air which was weird. The underground part was cramped and a little claustrophobic. I really did like the end part though with the car and the incredibly fast strider.

    Blast Pit: This was an awesome map with superb quality. It was very tough to have the strider indoors but it added to the story. There were great puzzles to solve and the combat was tough but fair. The map was of great quality, and the only flaw I saw was that one vent cover was transparent on one side.

    For me the winner was Blast Pit followed by Nova Exchange. If Nova Exchange didn’t have those spawning enemies and instead made you solve more puzzles, it might have been the best.

    Thanks to everyone who submitted entries. Hopefully the next contest will have more.

  7. Play It Now!

    Nova Exchange:
    At first I really didn’t like this one, I mean it was good, but the ending kinda soured the taste, but once I “checked tape” and watched Daz play it, I though it wasn’t half bad. It was a little rough around the edges at the start: lack of fog, bad antlion navigation, infinite enemies, weird thumper generators. But his map was huge! I can totally see why some parts didn’t get all the attention they needed. I was surprised I only had moderate frame rate drop at the start (before I lowered my settings). The parts were woven together well as well, with the air exchange and Depot providing focal points, though I felt it odd we never really visited the main air exchange “cone”. The map had some interesting layouts, and used a lot of vertical space. There was also some neat combinations, such as the use of the water on the beach to kill the antlions. The soldier combat was also really fun, the author made great use of ledges and unique combat space geometry to provide something new. I couldn’t say as much for the other enemy types, though. The infinite zombies you face in the “sewers” felt weird. I felt like they should of only become infinite once you started the jumping puzzle. And I liked the antlion chase experience, but I felt like it could’ve been communicated better: such as the antlion’s coming in only after you’re in the space, so you can already see that hole in the wall that’s highlighted. Maybe have soldier’s running away to communicate the objective. The space was also very dark for a chase sequence. I won’t go on about the final gunship bays (which looked amazing), I’m pretty sure that’s already been covered by others.
    Something else I noticed: since it replaced a chapter, I didn’t really get a sense of the world in this one. What I mean is, in Nova Prospect you see the subtle change in the combine’s tactics as they fall back and go on the defensive. You also notice how they’re desperately trying to track/control he player as well as the antlions. This stuff is mostly communicated through the pacing, the overheard radio chatter, the overwatch announcements, and the soundscapes. But in this map I don’t really get that feeling. “Ok, I turned off the thumpers…somehow…and now the antlions are going to attack…right?” Instead they scream for a little bit, and than they don’t show up until way later, despite turning off thumpers all over the place. Same thing with the combine encounters. II encountered the first group, and than the second, and i expected them to try harder and harder to cut me off, now that the know I’m here in their base, yet they lose my “sent” for some reason. I figure it was because I ran into the “sewers,” but the environment was so open and similar to earlier areas, it didn’t seem that way. They felt more like gameplay “bits” strung together than a world.

    Delayed:
    I really like the premise of this one. I always wanted to do a map set in the “flattened” city 17, and this map does it perfectly. I felt it a little odd that Alyx wasn’t affected by the radiated area, but I didn’t mind too much. The first puzzle after the blast was werid, but after that the map got better. I liked the idea behind the guard fight. The twisting nature of the tunnels makes you unsure of where he’ll be next, and the stream of antlions keeps you occupied, making it harder to dodge. I did think the fact it was The Guardian was an odd choice. I get the green skin, and the defensive behavior, but the poison headbutt and lack of some ai cues (like roaring and “warning” animations) maybe the fight feel…off…at first I thought I had to just avoid it (because the set up was so similar), but once I realized it was bleeding it click for me. The part after this was fantastic. The strider chase was brilliant, and the little scripiting flourish of the “bridge” collapsing was cool. I actually hadn’t noticed it at first, and that was what made me rate this above Nova Exchange. I felt it was a little short, though. Undoubtedly, this one took a lot of time on visuals alone. I’m surprised how well this setting was done. I hope other mappers can be inspired by this and try it themselves, now that we have a bar to aim for.

    Blast Pit:
    Not much to say. This map oozed quality.I only have two niggles: one is the pacing of the rocket control room. I can see how it’s meant to be done: you turn on the power, and than stumble across the controls, and that’s how it happened for me and Daz, but I still feel like the control room should’ve been first. The other niggle is the generator room “puzzle”. I like the explosive barrel solution, it requires you to observe your environment, and it’s “intro-ed” by the barrel in the mud, but I felt like it could have been something more. Maybe a counter weight to lower an elevator or something. Just something involving the gravity gun. The other puzzle was fantastic, though. I always wanted to do a “follow the pipe” puzzle, but I had never imagined something like this. Brilliant feed back, gameplay, visuals–well done. The combat was outstanding too. There was a nice introduction of enemies, from an APC driving by, a strider standing up, to a zombie coming out of some trash. The soldier combat was fun too, I liked the fighting between the trees, and the ending fight after the strider was a lot of fun. It had this 360 feeling as you tried to keep track of incoming threats. And the placement of the APC behind the fence maybe the car fight more challenging than your average “kill the turret” fight. To top it all off, the map makes a nice loop with the car, that drives you right through the small compound you were in.


    I originally was gonna give it a “Play it Later”, but I realized each map gave something fun: two maps brought a new environment ( a rarity these days) and one map brought a well rounded experience.

    NOTE: I recorded demos for each map. If the mapper’s wanna see them just message me, comment, or email or whatever and I can give them to you.

  8. Play It Later
    Nova Exchange

    This one got off the a bad start for me with the Sandtraps style opening, to be honest I ran out of patience quickly and just dashed for it while batting the antlions away with the gravity gun, I also felt that not giving the player a more offensive weapon to deal with the antlions if they did touch the sand was ungenerous.
    Other complaints are the 2 major clown car moments; the zombies in the storm drain section and the antlion area after the snipers which was particularly frustrating, these unfortunately were my presiding memories of the map.
    I did like the aforementioned sniper area, which I feel more could have been made of, and the author definitely made some appealing environments to explore with some nice secrets and cool touches like the moving crane. Sadly the gameplay never really shone for me.

    Delayed

    Best thing about this map was the visual wow factor of the outdoor areas, seeing the citadel blasting dark energy up into the sky from the edge of a vast crater was an inspired moment, as was the entrance of the strider.
    I was hoping for more of a chase at the end, the author had made this incredible wide space which reminded me of James Herbert’s graphic novel The City but you were able to just cruise through it to the finishing point feeling totally unchallenged. It’s a shame because the surface was the most evocative location in this map.
    I liked being able to blast through concrete with the gravity gun, I tend to think the gravity gun looks like it should be more powerful than in usually is, so that pleased me a lot. I thought the car puzzle by the radioactive pool was obtuse though.
    Cool location, really nice idea but again I just didn’t have that much fun with it.

    Blast Pit

    This was my favourite of the 3 entries.
    I loved the way the author created little moments like the door slamming behind you as you enter the facility like something from an old haunted house movie, the first zombie to pop out of the water in the generator room which really got me, even the false scare with the dead headcrab in the vent.
    Loved the combat, especially with the Hunter at the end, the blast pit made a great arena for that.
    The gas pipe puzzle was brilliant, clear what you had to do but intricately designed.
    Niggles now; I think the strider is a poor substitute for the tentacles but that’s hardly the author’s fault.
    I finished the map by walking across the radioactive goo and past the APC on foot, I feel like I was probably meant to use the car, if that was the case more of an effort should be made to guide the player back to the car, because none was.
    I got outside the map by using a sheet of corrugated metal to make a ramp and climb inside the protruding pipe by the truck at the far end of the radioactive goo area, I hadn’t seen that the explosive barrel had made a gap in the fence and genuinely thought it was were I was meant to go so I ended up underneath the map, shame as it would’ve been a nice place for a secret cache of items.
    Also in the radioactive goo area, your footsteps made the same squelching sounds on the banks and islands as they did in the goo, which had the strange effect of making me feel very unsure of what I was standing on or in.

    Overall I was disappointed by the contest, mainly because I thought it was a great theme that gave a lot of creative freedom (I was also hoping I think for a custom BMS map perhaps) so I was hoping to see more entries. Still what we get are 3 very ambitious and imaginative entries, I think the first 2 were more ambitious and maybe too large, were as the 3rd was comparatively modest in scope but far more polished. Definitely worth a look.

  9. Hoi people,

    playing Nova Exchange I have a purple shine on walls,…

    (see http://oi61.tinypic.com/2m43zvb.jpg)

    Can I solve it?

    1. 6 days later & no reply?

      I’m having the same, plus it’s running slow as heck. Too slow to play in fact, though I’m trying and have go as far as the snipers.

      If anyone else can at least point us in the right direction it might help, please….

      1. I’m off to work now, but when I get back, I promise to add a proper reply.

        1. Well, have just played through the Nova Exchange one, and had to lower every setting to it’s lowest, but in spite of the pink/purple surfaces everywhere, thoroughly enjoyed it. If I can figure out how to get the pink/purple to go back to what they clearly ought to be, then I might well play this entry again. Funny how when you shine the flashlight on them they show up as they ought to.

          Is too late tonight to go for the next ones, but I do hope I can go back to much higher settings……

          1. Please accept my apologies fr not replying. Have you tried playing Ep2 recently?

            1. Steam says I last played it at the end of March, but I guess that could have been a mod or map (?)

              I’ve not had any issues at all, until the Transmissions mod a couple of weeks back, but virtually every time I start Steam up it has to go through all the updating thing, and my PC is about four or five years old now……

              Still, after getting full marks on Lost Coast with what I’ve got, it’s disappointing to have to lower settings to play something that’s based on a game that’s been out for so long.

              I’ll start up Ep2 for a chapter or whatever, but never had the pink/purple textures apart from a couple of times ages ago on an odd mod here & there….

      2. Gilbert

        (sorry for my late answer but I thought there would be no answer…)

        Nova exchange is slow, also by me, I have a new system (1 year, Win 8.1, 16G ram) but I think it is caused by my videocard that’s not strong enough.

        However: should those purple textures also be caused by my videocard?
        (someone knows the cause of this purple textures?)

        1. I trust that everyone did Verify Integrity of Steam files for all of the HL2 games and SteamVR, right? 🙂

          These purple checkerboards are most likely caused by missing or invalid cubemaps. I kind of doubt your video card has anything to do with it, but I could be wrong.

          1. If that should be the reason, why does one player have it and an other player doesn’t ? …
            (there ‘ s a walkthrough on Youtube without those purple shine …)

            1. The author didn’t build cubemaps for the LDR version. The purple sheen will go away if you switch to HDR in the video options (Options -> Video -> Advanced -> High Dynamic Range) and reload the map.

              It’s a common mistake. Half-Life 2 supports both LDR and HDR lighting. Not only does it mean the author has to build lighting for both, doubling the compile time, but cubemaps have to be built twice as well. Newer Source games, like Black Mesa, don’t support LDR at all. Realistically, no one should be running LDR anymore.

      3. Maki

        (in Dutch they say: better late than never – [ I forgot my own question 🙁 ]

        But thàt did it, thank you ! (first you have to exit HL2 and reboot the mod before you loose those purple shine)

        from Belgium!

        gilbert

  10. (sorry, the answer 9.25 is mine, I wasn’t logged in… 🙁 )

  11. Play It Now!

    Nova Exchange

    It is okay

    Like I posted somewhere else above. I wasn’t able to play through the full map, because my computer would keep crashing while playing the map, so my analysis isn’t complete. Out of the parts I did see. There wasn’t much that was too difficult in the mod, but there were some areas that looked interesting. Since it might just be that I couldn’t play through the entire map (and I’ve tried about 6 times now to get things working), I decided to give a maybe, as I wan’t too impressed with what I played, but I might just not have been to the really good stuff.

    Delayed

    It is great!

    Starting this map, you know exactly where you are in the main story line from the main game, that being in the train station where the Strider fight took place at the end of Episode 1, and I have to say that the motivation behind using this setting was very interesting. First off, I think it’s a great job that you managed to get the correct set of weapons from the end of Episode 1, as it really makes it feel like a continuation from the end of the game. I also really liked the up-close view of the destroyed citadel, as it was a rather unexpected moment in the mod. I’m kind of disappointed though that there wasn’t any shaking from the portal storm like there was in Episode 2 though. The other thing that really confused me was seeing the Antlions and how they already had overtaken the area you had to fight through. We just begun to see them in City 17 during Episode 1, so they probably wouldn’t already have a nest in the remains of the city, but I do get that you were just trying to get some enemies that could fight against the player in that area.

    I also managed to record my playthrough. You can see the video here.

    Blast Pit

    It is WOW!

    If it wasn’t for the title, it probably would have taken me a while to actually know this was supposed to be a remake of the HL1 chapter, as the way in which the chapter is presented is so different. However, the map was very effective in giving that same feeling, even though things were very different. The Strider definitely took me by surprise, as it seemed to may others as well. How often do we actually encounter a sleeping Strider in HL2 or the Episodes? Anyways, it still has that same sort of introduction from the original map, while feeling very different at the same time. The two side areas were actually very different in their challenges, however, they both worked very well and fit in with the two different sides from the HL1 chapter. The end battle was pretty hard for me though because I didn’t really know where to go, but also because the first few times I was outside, I wasn’t looking at the falling container the APC shot down from the area you couldn’t get to, and therefore didn’t have a rocket launcher.

    I also managed to record my playthrough. You can see the video here.

  12. Play It Now!

    I enjoyed the Blast Pit and Delayed which were really well made.
    Nova Exchange kinda sucked in my opinion. It really did not look good but played decently.
    Delayed amazed me when coming out from underground and seein the Super Portal from up close.
    Blast pit caused so much nostalgia that I could not stop playing till the end. Puzzle was great and could confuse if you did not see your mistakes.

  13. Maybe?
    Nova Exchange
    It is good

    You know, I really did enjoy this map. I thought it had some great ideas from the start and some nifty ideas in map layout and exploration. Well balanced and fun but….. I did tire of the darkness. OTT for me. But I was sticking with it because it’s very enjoyable. Until that annoying jumping scene – save game – save game – save game. lol but it was nice to complete it. Shortly after this the antlions are back and the map was overly dark as usual and it wasn’t clear where to go etc etc..

    Delayed
    It is bad

    Sorry but I felt delayed after playing this lol.

    Some good ideas but I felt it wasn’t put together in the end well enough.

    I just didn’t like it.. sorry.

    Blast Pit
    It is great!

    Yeah this was nice, probably the best of the bunch.

    Really nice ideas here and the way it fitted together in order for you to progress was nice.

    Didn’t like the Strider though ARGHHH

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