The Hammer Cup 16: Challenge 2: LiberationVille

Welcome to the second mapping challenge as part of The Hammer Cup 2016.

Theme Details defines Liberate as

  1. to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.
  2. to free (a nation or area) from control by a foreign or oppressive government.
  3. to free (a group or individual) from social or economic constraints or discrimination, especially arising from traditional role expectations or bias.
  4. to disengage; set free from combination, as a gas.
  5. Slang. to steal or take over illegally: The soldiers liberated a consignment of cigarettes

That’s exactly what we want you to do! Build a map that allows the player to liberate something of your choosing. The “something” can be a person or people, an item, or anything else you can think of!

Pick any of the definitions above. We particularly like the fourth regarding the “COMBINation”.

Maybe the City 17 rebels are trapped and need your help. Maybe Alyx has been captured. Again.

Maybe you’re a car thief. Maybe you impulsively hoard garden gnomes. Maybe Barney has borrowed your crowbar one too many times.

The options are wide open, as long as you can liberate it!

As always, ask as many questions as you want, either via the comments here or privately if you prefer.

The map will be judged on how well it fits the theme AND the elements listed below.


The deadline for submitting maps is:

Monday 7th March 2016 11pm GMT

That’s 19 days, with 3 full weekends.

General Advice

DO NOT GET TOO AMBITIOUS. If you can’t build it in 2 weekends then think smaller.

Something is bound to delay your progress. Leave time for testing, bug fixing and polishing!


I highly recommend The Beta Testers Collective.

Of course, you can get anybody you want to test your maps, but the BTC are very good at it and provide excellent feedback.

General Rules
  • Maximum two maps per entry.
  • 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 and RunThinkShootLive.Com the right to release the map as part of the LiberationVille.
  • Maps must not appear on ANY other website 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_thc16c2.bsp
  • All entries must be sent to: no later than the deadline.

Steam games will be awarded to the Winner and Runner Up.

Points for The Hammer Cup

Points will be awarded for The Hammer Cup. The details below are subject to change if all three judges agree.

See the official points total (Google Docs: Spreadsheet)

Places: 36 points for first, 24 for second, 12 for third and 12 points for each entry. For example, second place would receive a minimum of 36 points; 12 for entering and another 24 for placing second.
Bonus: 0,3,6 or 9 from each judge, then divided by three in the following categories:
Design (layout, foreshadowing, secret areas, concept etc)
Visuals (lighting, textures, etc)
Sound (ambient sounds, voice acting, special effects etc)
Gameplay (flow, exploration, 3 dimensions etc)
Misc (g-man sightings, humour, seriousness, scares etc)

Check The Hammer Cup 2016 for full details of the event, including the prizes etc.

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Help me create more and better content - please support me on Patreon


  1. “hat’s exactly what we want you to do!”
    Typo detected!!!!

    Also I really like this one, Got a couple of ideas, just need to pick one now.

  2. so I have an idea for a map. The combine are looking for an “item”, but you have to find it first and take it with you before they do. Does that fit the theme? The item I’m thinking about is not really imprisoned or something like that, just hidden and you and the combine just found out where the location of it is.

    1. yep, that sounds okay, although you could easily add something to make the player fight a bit to get it. Even a locked door that needs to be circumvented somehow would be better.

  3. Been looking forward to this! Really good theme. Very open-minded but still focused on one area. Now, to spend some time thinking so I can begin as soon as I get home.

  4. The first thing I did was open hammer, make the natural exterior, and then turn it into a displacement so I could subdivide it. So the coast cliffs are not a issue here.

  5. So Liberate can mean steal something, but would it be okay if the player were to retrieve something that was stolen from them? To actually steal back an item that was stolen from them?

  6. Does the player has to liberate something or can the player have something liberated from them. E.g. defend the Gnome horde Gordon has.

    1. Unq

      The player should be doing the liberating. This is a nice idea but is not the intent of this challenge – it’s more suited to something like DefendVille (in case that challenge comes around again). πŸ™‚

  7. Another great theme.

    I feel I have a good idea for “who” should be liberated, but not the “how do we actually get to this point?” X)

  8. Cant promise anything, but I think I will give this challenge a go! Wish me luck.

  9. Going to need a couple people who can do voices.
    Please email me here if you can help

    1. Pinged you an email πŸ™‚

  10. General

    I have an idea:
    Gather gnomes on your way to final goal, when the gnomes is placed in a specific place ( drop in a well or something ) player will be rewarded with items. Some other like melons ( which fragile ) would grant extra stuffs.
    Not a mapper, so anyone can use this idea if interested.

  11. New power supply in on Friday, will get to enjoy mapping without the constant power failures.

  12. Can someone help me , It seems that ladder are broken for me , they just don’t work :\

    1. You’re using the 2 ladder entities , right ? The ladder texture brush is only for css /csgo/dods

      1. Thanks , It was really strange because I only used it in csgo and It wasn’t working now πŸ™‚

        1. Be sure to use the following entites
          func_useableladder for the ladder itself, will make it functional in hl2.
          info_ladder_dismount so the player does not die a horrible death trying to detach themselves from the ladder.

  13. man I really want to use a small audioclip in my map which is from a really old game, as an easter egg/homage/reference, call it what you want, but I know we are not allowed to do that, even if the soundclip is just 3 seconds long and the game is from 1996.

      1. YES! haha thanks! πŸ˜€

  14. soz, im a noob. but do i just send the maps for the competition to your gmail?

    +JUST ep2? and not hl2 + ep2? (cause when i set hammer configuration to just ep2 it sorta crashes)



    1. Yes, send them to my gmail, unless they are too large, in which case use a free hosting service. I also suggest including a short readme.txt.

      Make the map with whatever configuration you can and we’ll figure the rest out later.

    2. If you need help with fixing Half-Life 2 Episode Two’s Hammer Configuration let me know, I’ll see what i can do to help you!

  15. can anyone give me a tip on how to light a place which is an abandoned underground place, like ruins or something like that, where I can’t put lamps and stuff like that. I have holes in the ceiling in some areas where daylight comes from, but I need to light other places somehow.
    I will look at the underground areas of Episode 2, maybe I find something useful.

    1. Some things i can think of. #1: Lanterns. #2: Torches #3: Antlion Grubs
      Hope these things help you!

      1. hah I actually just put antlion grubs in my map (for a different reason), but I forgot they also emit light! Valve maybe faced the same problem, thats how they got the idea for the antlion grubs maybe πŸ˜€

        Torches hmm. Would fit the scenario, but torches would never burn for so long would they, same for lanterns, but a lot of games use torches and lanterns in similar enviroments hmmmm.

        Good suggestions anyway!! Thanks.

        1. Some things i know valve used.
          #1: Fire (like wooden pile, Barrel, Torch)
          #2: Lanterns (could be Oil powered or something)
          #3: Generator (powering a Flood light, or some type of light)
          #4: Antlion Grubs (Just for fillers of light, The texture used in EP2 actually reflects the light.
          #5: Antlion Hives (Like the one the Vortigaunt uses to get the ‘Extract’)
          #6: Antlion Guardian (he emits light around him!)
          #7: Construction Lights
          #8: Sunlight (But you said you used this already)

          1. thank you! This helps me a lot.

            1. Remember Crowbar anything reflective needs cubemaps!

              1. I always put cubemaps in my map anyway πŸ™‚
                but thanks for the reminder, other people might forget it πŸ™‚

    2. How about glowing crystals?

      1. that’s a cool idea, but too crazy for what I’m doing in my map.

  16. Well, I don’t really have the time, but I’m very intrigued by this one. I might try to come up with something small, but don’t expect much.

  17. I’m offering my services to anyone that needs help with mapping.
    My services are and not limited too.
    #1: Play-Testing Maps
    #2: Tutorials (For Beginners and Advanced People)
    #3: Ideas
    #4: Bug Fixes
    #5: General Help
    If you need any help at all with Hammer Editor, or Half-Life 2 Episode 2 please contact me.
    Skype: Huskyx94
    I will be glad to assist anyone!
    ***NOTE*** I do work 12-hour shifts, i do have 2 kids and a wife, so any time i have to helping you will be scarce but will be glad to do so!

    1. “I do work 12-hour shifts, i do have 2 kids and a wife”
      don’t make me feel bad for asking for advice! XD

      I actually have a weird problem in the hammer editor, it’s probably nothing though. Anyone could help.

      I made a video about it:

      I don’t want my .vmf to get corrupted. I see this glitch for the first time.

      1. It’s not big deal, it’s just viewport glitch in hammer.
        I have this bug whenever I place npc_citizen on map.

      2. It has to do with Refract materials. I think Marnamai pointed out that if you switch to 3D Polygons mode (instead of 3D Shaded Polygons), you can avoid it. But I just deal with it because I like shaded polygons. πŸ™‚

        1. oh so thats why I see it for the first time, because Im using shaded polygons for the first time.
          Never used that before, because I always mapped for CS:GO where you can’t use that πŸ™

  18. Aaaah, Cant work on my map as the PC’s power dies everytime I go to save, I best get my new power supply on friday or I am screwed. :I

  19. can we use original hl2 models?

  20. this is interesting to see what will come up with this is shall anticipate the submissions with much anticipation

    Please Pardon Errors made in this post i tend to post late at night when tired

  21. I have another problem. Does anyone know how to make the “wake-up” animation for the player? I googled it and for Episode 2 it apparently doesn’t work the way you do it for Half-Life 2.

    1. My trick I found is from this website, gives a animation and model for the player to see during the animation I’ll link it.

    2. I have the same problem here, looking for a fix; I know there was a solution somewhere!

    3. Confused Travolta

      You need to copy special model from HL2, and then parent point_viewcontrol to it.
      It was something like “blackout.mdl”.
      It’s also in Ep2 but I don’t remember if it has ‘wake up’ animation (it’s used when you enter a car for example).

      Also it’s hard to work with it in hammer because it doesn’t have any visible model (you can only choose it at 2d views).

  22. I am sadly too busy with school and a csgo map right now.

    Will there be a mapping challenge in July?

    1. You can see all the dates for each contest’s start and end here:

    2. you can see the dates for all 5 challenges on the Hammer Cup page. I believe there will be one challenge every month. To compete you should participate in 3 of the 5 challenges.

    3. Yes, there might be a mapping challenge in July but if there is it won’t be part of the Hammer Cup.

  23. in the map name, at the end do you have to add “thc162c”?

    1. Yes, the file name of the map must include that.

  24. blackdog

    This comes possibly at the worst time ever, as I’m trying to get some job applications done πŸ™ but since I’ve found out about the Cup can’t think of much else. Still bitter I couldn’t deliver an entry for one of the previous challenges.

    Anyway, my question is if the rule: “Maps must not appear on ANY other website before the release and for one month after the release of the mod” includes posting WIPs on other forum/blogs.

    Another thing not very clear in the tournament rules is the scoring system, don’t know if I missed it, but I haven’t seen how many points are awarded for top 3 and bonus categories… when I’ve seen the current standings they looked like nothing I was expecting.

    1. Unq

      Phillip can weigh in if he thinks otherwise, but I think that posting WIPs to get feedback is okay with regard to this rule. I think the intention is to simply have RTSL and specifically the LiberationVille mod be the sole locations where your map can be downloaded & played for 1 month. That said, you might get better results from targeted beta testing, not just posting WIP versions in a forum somewhere. WIP screenshots are good in forums for feedback though.

      The scoring system is laid out on this very page in the “Points for the Hammer Cup” section. If you go to the Google Spreadsheet, you can see the score breakdowns in a nice visual form in the ChasmVille chart.

      1. blackdog

        Sorry for the scoring, I must have scrolled too quickly and missed that. I stand corrected, it’s clear πŸ™‚

        For posting/sharing, it of course makes sense that you want to keep some sort of exclusivity and no problem with that, was just wondering if the sharing screens was going to be argued. Also found a bit contradictory that this is in the rules, but you encourage to have testers and suggest a community in particular (I’ve never been on there so no idea if the testing process is private or public).
        Again, no problem, just wanted to properly understand.

        1. Unq

          No prob.

          Yeah, for the exclusivity it’s mainly to simply ensure the final released map is exclusive to the Ville mod for a short time to help exposure. Of course authors can share work-in-progress screenshots or maps for feedback, and after the month some authors wish to release the map standalone which is great.

    1. Water tower looks interesting. Hope we can climb to the top.

      1. I’ll see what happens, no promises

    2. blackdog

      looks good! cheers

  25. blackdog

    Been thinking of a map in the last few days: character falls prisoner (not necessarily from the combine, was thinking more of an environmental thing) and player has to liberate him/her.

    Just came to mind that “rescue” might be more suitable term; wonder if it fits the theme anyway.

    1. “ defines Liberate as

      1. to set free, as from imprisonment or bondage.”

      so your theme definitly fits.

  26. Welp I can finally say I’ve finished up the dev portion of my map. Combat and what not is paced well, got the liberate part in. So hurrah.

  27. I guess it’s about time I made a post on this thread, even though only 4 days are left in the competition. I’d like to talk about two things πŸ˜€

    Thing β„–1: Testing!
    I wish to help as many people as I can by writing reviews and telling people what they can improve on. Currently, I’m trying to get my map for LiberationVille done as fast as I can, but I could (perhaps) also spare some time for testing, usually on Skype, to let people know if they have any flaws in their map and if they can fix them. Feel free to write me an email or add me on Skype:
    Skype: denekrus

    Thing β„–2: Streaming!
    I’ve sort of hid away from streaming for most of this competition, but since most of the progress on the map is going to be done in the last 4 days anyway, I’ve decided: why the heck not?
    So I’ll be streaming my amazing mapping skillz on my Twitch channel. Feel free to join in and suggest things, but be warned – I don’t want you to watch unless you’re willing to see the map unfold and get spoiled for you. Because I do also want people to experience it for themselves.

  28. Probably going to cut it very close, map should be sent in in the next hour or so. Hope it’s still eligible!

  29. Aaand the deadline’s over. Thank god I was able to send the map before it ticked to 23:01 GMT. This was a fun challenge, especially for me, since it was filled with depression and the questioning of my own sanity. Fun times.

    Good luck to all entrants!

  30. Will the judges or Phill be streaming the entries again like last time?

    1. I will definitely be live-streaming my playthroughs but not before the release of the mod and they will not be the first playthrough.

  31. I’ve got to say, I’ve really enjoyed watching the guys who stream their progress while working on this. At the weekends it’s a good bit of insight while working on my own maps and during the week I can have it as background noise while I type away.

    Really looking forward to seeing the finished product and I hope it’s streamed as well. Wouldn’t mind seeing the reaction to a few parts πŸ˜›

  32. I think Phillip said the pack will be released first and streamed later.

    I also might record my first playthrough, maybe, probably without commentary so it might not be really helpful.

  33. blackdog

    So even if I knew I wouldn’t make the deadline, I spent a few hours this weekend to see if I would make it in time to submit at least a very rough version. Didn’t make it. But I like the idea I had for the progression in the map, so will try to complete it in the next weeks waiting for the next challenge.

  34. Update in case you don’t view the RTSL Twitter – 15(!) entries for this comp! I believe that is a new record, isn’t it? ChasmVille tied the previous one.

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