ToxicVille

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

15th April 2017

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

It contains 18 entries.

The focus of this theme was clever and interesting use of the radioactive toxic goo from Half-Life 2.

Basic Details
  • Title: ToxicVille
  • Filename: hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c2-toxicville
  • Size : 264MB
  • Author: Paws, HighFire, Ttiki, Osko, Mark AKA Strontvlieg, Dats Ridonkulous, Lucia, ethosaur, Dirk Destiny, 1upD, Minesweeper, Tiop, Sockman, Егор Стрельников, MistaHeita, Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar, Clément Baticle AKA Klems, Saints Sasha
  • Date Released: 15 April 2017

Download Options

Download to your HDD 264MB]
You can still use it with Gauge once you have downloaded it.

Manual Installation Instructions

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

  • Copy the hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c2-toxicville folder into your …\Steam\SteamApps\Sourcemods\ folder.
  • Start or restart Steam
  • RTSL.THC17.C2.ToxicVille should now be listed in your “Library” tab.
The Hammer Cup 2017

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

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

The Hammer Cup 2017 Prize Fund

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

Theme Details

When the Combine took over Earth, environmental issues were ignored, we think it’s fair to say. Half-Life wouldn’t be Half-Life without a good dose of corrosive, radioactive goo for zombies to splash around in.

We want you to create the most fiendishly hazardous, nasty environments you can and create some ingenious methods for the player to fight or puzzle their way across that space.

Toxic areas are all about restricting parts of the level that the player can use as they solve the puzzles and fight their way out.

Antlions, Combine, Zombies plus any other enemy, NPCs, etc. can all be thrown into the mix for this one but please make sure the radioactive goo plays a key part in the level design.

Over the years we’ve seen lots of different spaces where toxic goo appears. Poisoned lakes, abandoned factories, waste ground or even in the city itself.

Your entry map can be inside, outside or a mix of both. DO NOT limit yourself to the same situations that the games used toxic goo for. Create something new!

Update: we are specifically talking about the classic yellow/green toxic goo found in HL2 and the Episodes. That toxic sludge should feature in your map – but how you use it is totally up to you. We’re hoping for new and interesting twists – be creative!

Entries

Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself:
Ups and Downs by Paws (First time entrant)
Rebel Takedown by HighFire (First time entrant)
278 by Ttiki
Detour by Osko (First time entrant)
Inconvienent Pollution by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
Tunnel Vision by Dats Ridonkulous (First time entrant)
Toxic Fields by Lucia (First time entrant)
Sludge Hole by ethosaur
Drain the Swamp by Dirk Destiny (First time entrant)
Floodgates by 1upD
Uplifted by Minesweeper (First time entrant)
I Need Water by Tiop
Waste Management by Sockman
Water Back by Егор Стрельников (First time entrant)
Escape From Dirty Sewers by MistaHeita (First time entrant)
Blight Town by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
Antlion Farm by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
The Crossing by Saints Sasha (First time entrant)

Reviewing

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

Winners and Points

I am pleased to announce the winners:
First Place Osko with Detour
Second place Clément Baticle AKA Klems with Antlion Farm
Third Place Dats Ridonkulous with Tunnel Vision

Honourable mention to Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar with Blight Town (it very nearly came third).

Full details of the scores can be found on the official The Hammer Cup 2017 score sheet.

RTSL Community Voting

For this year’s The Hammer Cup, a public vote will have equal importance as the Judges’ vote.
The voting for ToxicVille closed Monday 1st May 2017. Thanks to all who voted!

Menu Music

Brane Scan by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

Release Versions

Early Access – This Version. First Release.
1.0 – This release: Contains updated maps (Sorry, I forgot to record exactly which ones.)

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 and my personal introduction video into .bik format.
Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar for creating the chapter images
Kyle White AKA K12T6 for creating the background map.

Custom Gridview Images

This release contains no gridview images.

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] no later than the deadline.

Sponsor

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

Videos

Coming Soon.

Screenshots

Coming Soon

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

12 recommendations, average score: 4.58 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.41 (what's that?)
Total Downloads
  • 2,383
    Overall
  • 5
    Today
  • 17
    Last 7 days
  • 82
    Last 30 days
  • 2,383
    365 days
Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 16 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 15 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 3 Hours, 60 Mins
Shortest: 2 Hours by crowbar
Longest: 5 Hours, 45 Mins by Unq
Total Time Played: 63 Hours, 53 Mins
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98 Comments

  1. I’m excited to see ToxicVille is out so soon after the deadline. With 18 entries, it will probably be a while before most of the reviews come in. My initial impressions are that this is going to be a very memorable mapping challenge.

  2. once again, upon extracting the ..7z, I get a massive spam of warnings telling me that pretty much all the custom sound files are corrupted, and therefore were not extracted.

    I’m using the free program “the unarchiver” anyone have any idea why this is happening? it’s done it for the last 2-3 mapping contest’s I’ve played

      1. can’t use Winrar, my gaming comp is an MBP, and 7z doesn’t have an OS X download,
        I’ll try Keka, but I’m not to hopeful,

        the kicker is, that this used to work, it’s only with the last 2-3 mapping contests where it’s no longer working

    1. Using 7z, no problems spotted.

  3. Ok, I want to post this POV and this dev comment for my map 278!
    I’ll make a review of all the map, this is just for some comment for my map if you are curious!
    So let’s begin!

    278

    I take lot of fun time to make this map. I really like to do the voice acting, it was my first time, and I think it’s the first time I talk in English on the Internet. Sadly, the conversion hammer editor, in-game was a bit disappointing because we couldn’t hear anything in the game… And also for other stuff like my custom voice line would work for the first map, but in the second map, the custom sounds won’t play, and when in the second maps the sounds work, in the first map they wouldn’t work again…
    Besides, the level design was for long in a corner of my head, waiting for a map like that! It’s not the best, but I like it!
    The idea for the first test chamber was from one of my last map I made, where a maze was flooded by water. Then, for the second test, I take some ideas from the original Portal alpha game… Sadly (again) in the dark room, you were supposed to hear for the Giger levels. When you were on edges, the Geiger should have played his sound, but the cube maps were here to destroy everything… My fault, I forget to have them in the states to have nothing in the reflection…
    And finally, the third last and hardest test was a toxic combat floor… I shouldn’t have added all of this fast zombies makers… After you complete this you arrived at the strip weapon station, and your gravity gun becomes to mega gravity gun, for a sort of present, after this horrible battle… Then you discover the “toxic goo Rainer” that can kill zombies, then you enter the final stage!
    You kill all the zombies, the activator/deactivator fences are activated.
    This idea was for a long time in my head too. So I want this idea to come in my mod, that’s why you get the second map!
    And after that a cinematic, the end, finish!
    So, I’m a bit disappointed on some side, but I’m happy with another one. Hope you’ll like it!
    PS: Sorry for the lightning bug you can encounter, don’t know what the problem really come from and how to solve it, sorry…

    So there you have it, pretty much all the thing I want to say for my entry!
    If you have any question, ask me in reply and, thank you for the future review you’ll make!

    1. Lucia

      Can’t wait for more reviews by you! 🙂

      1. If by lighting bug you mean the textures being shiny, it’s a problem with the cubemaps. I had the same problem, you just have to type “buildcubemaps” into the console.

        1. No, no, with the dynamic light that is ‘clips’…
          If you haven’t got this bug, well that’s great!
          After, for the subject of the cube maps, last time on DefendVille2, I’ve got some missing texture. But, now there are more “correctly built” but no perfect at all! I really need to work on them. And I’m pretty sad, on the test chamber n°2. In the last mini-chamber, the no-lightning one. I forgot to add cube maps in this stage, so I completely broke the idea of this chamber! You can see the path due to the reflection of the goo, or you was supposed to hear for the Geiger levels!
          A bit sad.
          But hope my map will be good.
          And that you will like it!

      2. And, the last reply, I’ll soon publish my review! I go to bed at 1 am this early morning… Because I tried to finish all of the maps. I finished them this morning, and I wrote my review!
        3 long hours…

  4. Finally! Will start playing it in few minutes. It`s so amazing to see new mappers coming to join hammer cup, good luck to all of you!

  5. Holy cow 18 entries! That’ll take some time to play through. Is this a new record?

    1. In reality, the Playtime is approximately of 3 hours! Judging by my Play Time walkthrough!
      And 3 hours if you play in aggressive mod!

  6. Brian C

    Just did a little “Pitch-in” to help with the prize Money!! Thanks Guys!!

  7. Play It Now!

    So, here we are, the second hammer cup challenge, ToxicVille!
    I’ll directly go into the review of each map.(lol)
    I know, this review come really quick after the release… But I played so hard, to quickly make a good and detailed review of each entry! I want this review to come quickly because there are a couple (a lot) of new entrant for this competition, and the theme was pretty hard. In a way that, it was difficult for every of us, I think, to make a good and original use of the toxic goo!
    So don’t worry, I “timed” myself while I was playing, and I try to discover all of the detail in each map! And if you are not convinced, I played the mod 2 times, just to be sure!
    Warning: If during this reviews you think I criticize the other without making a better thing, you need to know: In any case, I would criticize just for the love of saying bads thing to other people!
    I know I mark some entries very badly, but it was their first time, and, for me, this mark do not mean anything! The thing that counts in my reviews is the comment within it! So please, don’t reply to this comment just to say I’m a noob at mapping, and that I’m a not kind person(to be polite)!
    The like of each person on this planet is subjective! There are some entries that I didn’t like, but you may like them! And There some I liked wich you probably won’t like!
    And the last thing before beginning. LOD = Level Of Detail !
    And again, the last thing: Sorry for my bad writing English… I’m a baguette after all!

    Upds and Downs
    It is great!

    Ok, this first map is really small, but really fun to play.
    The level design is not bad, the LOD is great. However, the cube maps aren’t built… Okay, this is just a little detail but it can help a lot on the view about a map. And building cube maps in a map with goo can be just good for your maps.
    This gameplay mechanic is funny, and in a bigger map, it could be even funnier, but I understand, in 2 weeks, it’s hard to make a big map!
    Total play time:5 minutes 14 seconds
    difficulty: easy

    Revel Takedown
    It is okay

    I’m sorry to be so cruel but: The level design is horrible… But I can understand you are a new mapper! But the map is really too easy, you shouldn’t give all that weapon to the player at the start… And the Toxic goo wasn’t really present…
    Yeah, there was a lot of it in the middle of the no-man land, but there was too much car in it where you can simply walk on them…
    But continue like that, with some practice you can do so much better! CONTINUE!!!!
    Total play time: 1 minutes 28 seconds
    Difficulty: too easy

    278

    If you want some dev comments, search in this comment section for my name! I already post one comment!
    Play Time: 19 minutes 44 seconds

    Detour (first time)
    It is great!

    Osko, could you please tell me. Was it your first time on hammer? Because the level design was really beautiful, marvelous, gorgeous… the lighting was great too, the LOD was fantastic the map in itself his a pure diamond!
    The uses of the toxic goo are not really original so a bit sad about this point. Your map should have been in a “BackTrackVille”, but she is okay in the ToxicVille…
    The gameplay of the entire map is fun, and the old elevator that goes down really slowly, and waves of zombies that come to you. A big classic, but a good one!
    Playtime: 17 minutes 16 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    Inconvienent Pollution
    It is good

    This map is fun to play, but it doesn’t have new gameplay elements…
    The goo is present, but not in a real original way. I just don’t allow some areas of the map to the player. The level design is pretty good, the LOD is not that fantastic, and in some place, there aren’t any detail…
    The battle at the end was cool, with the player in one side of the map, and the soldier on the other side. In this case, this is a clever move because it force the player to save magnum or crossbow amo, to kill the combines on the other side!
    Nothing more to say. Still fun and cool to play!
    Continue like this man!
    Play time: 7 minutes 33 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    Tunel Vision(First time)
    It is WOW!

    Ok, this map is great!
    The level design is great, the LOD is great too!
    The uses of the goo are cool, with new gameplay elements.
    I love the idea of the dwarf. It was cool, however, if you lose him in the goo, you’ll have a biping and visual help, but it is a bit bad. Every time I lost him, I try to re-found him, and I died.
    The map is pretty big for a 2 week and first, try map in this competition!
    I think you have already map before this Hans Meier, because if you are new in the Source mapping community, you are already an expert…
    However, I found myself trap at the end. I didn’t get the Ggun, and I took the dwarf to the battle zone. When arrived the time of the helicopter, I found myself stuck… You should have blocked the way to the player. You should have made
    a system where you need the gravity gun to access this part of the map!
    And, I think I don’t really understand the end… Did we die? Did we get drown in the goo? But the dwarf’s dialogs were funny!
    I have nothing more to say, just play it!
    I’ll give it an “It’s WOW!” marks because, for me, this map have the best goo mechanics!
    Play Time: 16 minutes 51 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    Toxic Fields(First time)
    It is okay

    This map is a bit of a mess. I didn’t really know where I have to go. So I go in one direction and found a button, press it, head canister fall with lots of head crabs in it. but couldn’t know what I have activated…
    The level design is bad. not from a mapping view, but from a navigation view. It looks like a gmod duplication thing that player make. With lots of containers… I don’t want to mark it as “It’s Bas”, but it’s not good…
    I really made this level correctly at the second try! And that was hard! One of the things is, you hide something important, too well! That’s why I got stuck! And, the combine moment at the end. It was not bad. I think
    if you were here for DefendVille2, you could have done something great!
    But hey man, it’s your first try! Don’t be desperate, continue like that, then you’ll make incredible maps! Just practice, play lots of well-made mod, looks how the maps are made…
    Also, make some trigger_autosave… because when you do 80% of the map and you are killed by a head crab, and you are sent to the beginning… Harg, so frustrating. And if you don’t know how to make them, make text, like you’ve done. But placed them before the end, in multiple places! Not at the end where you have just to jump in the car!
    Play time: 19 minutes 26 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    Sludge Hole
    It is good

    Besides the strange environnement, this map is fun to play!
    The level design is cool, and the LOD is great.
    The final battle is cool, however, the helicopter does strange things sometimes. And, at some moment, get too far from me, and launch bombs under it. This was a bit strange, but the rest of the map is cool!
    And, in the second try of the map I found myself an big idiot! I understood that I have to go back to the beginning where there are lots of rockets!!! Sorry about that! And that’s why it’s better to try maps a second times!
    Warning I found a bug, in the map transition, when you go into the mine, there is a door at the entrance. When you exit the mine, the door has disappeared…
    I have nothing else to say… The goo is used normally, just for blocking the player. The mine was a cool, displacements were well made. But they looked strange in this big room, where lots of combines shoot at you when you are creating a props path on the goo!
    Play time: 9 minutes 50 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    Drain the Swamp(first time)
    It is okay

    This map is not really beautifull but, the toxic goo uses are great! I Really liked them.
    However, I don’t really understand the 2 test chamber. I try to unlock the door but nothing happened… Then I climb up the ladder, I saw the NPC, I try to kill it multiple time, I try to enter his room but nothing happen… A bit sad!
    And warning: Don’t use big wooden crate! The player can’t pick them up without the Ggun… You’ve placed something important behind a bunch of them… This was really frustrating!
    So next time, place normal crate!
    Play Time: 10 minutes 40 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    Floodgates
    It is great!

    The continuation of COUNTERMEASURE! And it’s pretty great! The level design is cool, besides the last room, it was a bit strange. The LOD is great, nothing to say on a mapping skill view!
    Now, about the Toxic goo uses. They were good. Some cool gameplay mechanics. Really like to play it!
    After, I don’t have a lot to say about this one…
    Play Time: 5 minutes 17 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    Uplifted(first time)
    It is great!

    First, I spawned, and I see the map, and I was like, ok, first time, but good LOD and Level Design!
    Good lightning… Nothing to say again about a mapping view!
    After the toxic goo is used by simply blocking the player… and to have the player to take some objects and create a path!
    Warning: At the beginning, there is a ladder you can use. However, the top is blocked by a trap. But if you press “use key” on the top of the ladder, you’ll get through the trap, and “break” the game.
    Play time: 1 minute 40 seconds
    Difficulty: easy

    I Need Water
    It is bad

    I know, I’m a not kind person. But hey, it’s normal to get an “it’s bad” marks when you are beginning.
    This was your first try into this competition, and I think, one of your first time with hammer. The beginning was great, besides the 3D skybox. (an office in the middle of nowhere, with lots of cliff around it… a bit strange…)
    But the end… the end… I understood nothing of what I was supposed to do… And I picked up a little plastic barrel, throw it at the rocks, and the rocks break… Be logic plastic barrel like this can’t break stone like this!
    So, continue like that, practice, play mods and learn how the maps were made and you’ll make good ones in the future!
    Play Time: 4 minutes 36 seconds
    difficulty: medium

    Waste Management
    It is bad

    Need some explication in maps like this. You spawn in the middle of a desert, with a strange building in the middle of it. then you turn a valve, then goo goes away, then zombies and antilon, then water come from nowhere, then it doesn’t get infected by the toxic goo…
    The level design and LOD are bad… The end was pretty much cool to play, but, in my opinion, there is too much antilon and zombies in some places… But the goo tsunami was really cool!
    I think you are a new mapper. That’s why I didn’t give you an “it’s dire”, however, continue to practice!
    Don’t be destroy by the comment, they are critics to help you! You can think we are yelling at you but no, we help you by telling you what to upgrade in your mapping skills.
    So continue mapping please, I think you’ll make some good ones later!
    And please, don’t turn metal and concrete floor into displacement!
    Play time: 7 minutes 23 seconds
    Difficulty: Hard

    Water Back(first time)
    It is okay

    What I like about this map is all the uses of the goo. They are not really original, but there are plenty of them! The mapping in itself is horrible, but it’s normal for a new one!
    There is a little story, and that’s cool!
    So, continue like this, practice, learn how maps of mods are made, and you’ll become a good mapper!
    Play time: 11 minutes 10 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    Escape from Dirty Sewers(first time):
    It is good

    First, we spawn, then you see the mapping skills and all of the great LOD!
    However, don’t spawn too much poison zombies when you just give to the player a crowbar and a grenade… And plays with lightning, to tell the player where he must go! Because I was lost several times, not knowing where I have to go…
    After, the level design like I said above is really great!
    Play Time: 6 minutes 51 seconds

    Blight Town
    It is great!

    We can know who made this map without knowing is name!
    We can found the mapping style of Crowbar
    The level design is good, and the LOD too!
    The uses of Toxic goo is simple, but with some mechanics that are cool. So, the toxic goo is well used!
    Nothing to say about your map CrowBar!
    Play time 10 minutes 28 seconds
    difficulty: medium

    Antilon Farm
    It is good

    First, too much antilon. And too much poison antilon! When you are on a little elevator like this, in the beginning, don’t spawn too much of them… It’s really too hard!
    After, your map is pretty beautiful. The LOD is great. the map is pretty big!
    The used of the real toxic goo is normal! But your new mechanics with the explosive antilon things is great and really well think! However, the really big antilon thing where you must walk on them to stay out of the goo is pretty bad. Due to their spherical model, the player falls and get kill in 2 seconds by the goo. I found it really hard to play with them!
    After, the map in itself is a gem! The little story was cool and cute! The final battle wasn’t too hard, and you give plenty of supplies for a good balanced!
    Really, continue mapping, I want to see what you can do with another theme!
    Play Time: 23 minutes 24 seconds
    difficulty: hard

    And finally:

    Crossing(first time)
    It is good

    The mapping skill is great, the LOD is great as well!
    Maybe you use too many zombies in some places, and you didn’t give that much ammo to the player… And please, if you don’t give many supplies to the player. MAKE TRIGGER_AUTOSAVE!!!
    After that, the uses of the toxic goo is simple, and I would love to see more of them in contact with the player! you could have placed it lots more times in your map.
    But the rest is cool, the end was really hard for me, (maybe because I was tired…) but it was cool and good! And the only time you use the toxic goo was a pretty clever move!
    Play Time: 7 minutes 23 seconds
    Difficulty: medium

    In conclusion:

    Some really good entries! Some bad entries! A good theme!
    Thanks if you read of all this! I write and play the new maps really quickly to make a quick opinion because this theme was really original and I was really impatient about the other entries!
    To all the mapper, continue!
    For the new one, continue practicing and see ya next time!
    On this word, this is the end of my biggest review of all time!
    If you have any question about one of this review, reply this comment!
    Thank you if you have read all of this word above!
    Goodbye,
    Agur,
    Adios,
    Au revoir,

    1. Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll go to sleep!

      1. If anyone ever get to play my map (Escape from sewers), please consider to record a .dem file and leave a link to it at my steam profile page. Because I really curious how you could get lost there; all the work that was puted in the lighting was aimed to actually guide the player: the closed passages was marked with red light, and the main path – with dirty-greenish or blue. Maybe that because the grenade was misleading and out of place – it’s actually the result of randomized Item spawn, so I leaved it be because it could not only help you clean the room from poison crabs if you need it, but also spawn another health kit if the game thinks you need it most. All in all, send me your .dem and I’ll figure out where I fked this up

        1. Thank you for your reply!
          I get stuck in this map the first time I played it. However I found the way at the second try!
          But I’ll send you a dem file to show you where I was blocked!

        2. Nah forget about .dems, they are broken and Valve not gonna fix them

          1. I’ll have my blind playthrough up eventually.

    2. I’m glad you liked Floodgates! If you don’t mind my asking, which room was the one you said was strange? What was strange about it? I want to learn as much as I can from this entry before I have to start thinking about the next one.

      1. Thank you for your reply!
        I get stuck in this map the first time I played it. However I found the way at the second try!
        But I’ll send you a dem file to show you where I was blocked!

      2. Thank you for your reply!
        The room that I found strange is the big one, at the end, when the goo rise, and go down. You see? I found it a little strange because it looked a bit empty. In big room like that I would have liked to see a little more details on the wall and on the ceiling.
        So, I hope this reply will help you a bit understand my review.
        Thank you.

    3. Hi, maker of Tunnel Vision here. Thanks for your input. It’s always hard for the player to keep track of a hold-able object and not lose it in the goo, so I did my best to prevent the player from losing it. Despite having people playtest my map before release, nobody looked over the Gravity Gun. This is by no means their fault. I sent an updated version of the map to Phillip where there’s a heavy object on the battle activator, so that the player absolutely needs the gravity gun to move the object and start the fight. This version won’t be graded by judges.

      1. Thank you for you reply!
        For the thing of the dwarf, it’s the fault of the sprites in the source engine that does strange things !
        And for the “Ggun” update, that a good think!

    4. Ah, thanks for your in-depth review. Yes, the detail is indeed a bit inconsistent throughout the map. This is especially the case in the backyards of the houses you pass through after the helicopter has been shot down. Some decals and displacements could have made this section somewhat more ‘alive’. And indeed, the toxic sludge hasn’t been implemented in a very original way, especially compared to some other maps in this competition.

      1. Thank you for your reply!
        Indeed, your map was good, and I think, if you practice a bit for the next ville, you’ll make something really really good!
        Just, practice.Work on the little details. Play with the decals, as you said!

    5. Lucia

      Hey Ttiki,

      I was there at defendville 2, and I think I made the best map I’ve ever made (so far) over there! Although there were some really big glitches with striders not moving in the last minute. So I in the end didn’t submit it. (I wish I would’ve known you can still send it in late) but well. Thanks for your critical review! Yes, there were a little many containers. It were some really stressful days and the deadline was killing me. I tried to avoid containers at first as much as possible, couldn’t really doe later on. And also I did try to add trigger_autosaves, but they crashed the game when you died (for some reason).

      -Lucia (maker of Toxic Fields)

      1. Ho, ok. Sorry for your DefendVille problem, I would love seeing them…
        However, I can understand. If you are late, this can be really stressful, but you did it in time.
        Now, with your comment, I see the map differently, and BTW, it’s not that bad, it’s really good actually!

  8. Play It Later

    This is quite a turn out and probably one of the longest Ville mods to get through. It’s taken me two days to get through it all and write up my thoughts. I enjoyed it for the most part, but it is worth saying that when you’ve got 18 different people working to a similar brief, you’re going to see a formula repeated often, for better or worst. That said, there is some very good stuff here and I applaud those that took it that little bit further to include funny or genuinely thrilling moments.

    Note for the first timers: Welcome. Please don’t think that I’m targetting you specifically with negative reviews, but if you’re new to mapping then the best thing would be to hear some honest reviews of your work. Only then can you improve. Also, I’ve never released anything in the Source engine, so take my feedback with a pinch of salt. 🙂

    It is good
    Ups and Downs

    This certainly wasn’t a bad little map. I like that the first puzzle used the whole space and required a little bit of precision jumping. I almost dismissed the second part with the zombies, thinking I could just run past them all. Then to my surprise, the fast and poison zombies appeared and kept it interesting. The fast zombies were a real problem, knocking me off the narrow wooden plaforms and into the sludge, meaning I actually had to deal with them. Overall, it was nice, but felt very short.

    It is bad
    Rebel Takedown

    Gonna go out on a limb and assume that this was a first timer. I basically ran through the open area at the start after immediately sniping the machine gunner. Then the huge open interior meant I could take out the rest of the combine with the crossbow as well. The last two took themselves out with their own grenade. I think I completed this in about one minute. I would say that the opening area would have been a lot more interesting if there were enemies that kept you on your toes like the Hunters or Fast Zombies. As it stands, I just ran down the one side and straight into the back door of the building.

    It is bad
    278

    Despite thinking that this might be another first timer, I’m gonna have to be honest. I didn’t enjoy this… at all. I didn’t really get what was being said at the start as the voiceover was far to quiet. Then, the section with the climbing and platforming was excruciating. It reminded me of those counterstrike jump and surf maps that I generally avoid like the plague. Then, a cutscene showing a door that unlocked which went on for far too long. The puzzle section that followed wasn’t too bad except for one major issue. Why the hell would you use breakable boxes for this? Punting or launching the box with the gravity gun would trigger a hard fail, rather than say, respawning the box? Absolutely infuriating. The section full arsenal of weapons, fast zombies and flooded toxic room was again insanely frustrating. Godmode on. Then the section with the super gravity gun was a little pointless. Finally the massive room full of sludge with the zombies all spread around it was boring. This is generally just a map filled with everything I hate…

    It is WOW!
    Detour

    Like something straight out of Episode 2, I saw my goal immediately and got a glimpse of the area I was going to be traversing. This map was sublime with plenty of frantic moments against Fast Zombies and Zombines. Then when I finally thought I had made it, I come under fire from a Hunter Chopper that wasn’t even there for me, but the zombies I had already dealt with. Awesome. After a short fight with the chopper which actually came crashing through the roof of the god damn warehouse and took out another section of the floor! After that I had finally come full circle, back to my car and off into the tunnel. Fantastic!

    It is okay
    Inconvenient Pollution

    Inconvenient is the word. The toxic sludge was just kinda there, it never really felt like the map was focused around it. Having said that, I actually enjoyed this little map. It was a little bit basic but it rewarded exploration and the battle at the end was quite a lot of fun but not really challenging. Otherwise, there’s not really a lot more I can say about it.

    It is WOW!
    Tunnel Vision

    Well, an inanimate object is now one of my favourite characters in this mod. I never quite got the whole Companion Cube thing, but this little guy? He’s awesome. Excellent use of the Gnome throughout this map, requiring his ‘assistance’ to bypass several security systems as well as unlocking extra ammo and turrets in the final battle. Some nice use of the sludge in this map, mainly during the final battle. My one critisism was that the final battle seemed to drag on for a while and I don’t know if I eventually triggered something accidentally or if it was just on a timer. Regardless of that, I loved this entry and the ending is absolutely fantastic!

    It is great!
    Toxic Fields

    Now this is a map that revolves around toxicity. I love that some areas even the air was harmful. Not only that but I was about to explore every inch of the space because of the generally open feel to the whole map. One area where this falls short is the combine ambush at the end. Because of the angle that they attack you from, it’s difficult to determine when they will come into your line of fire and the shotgunners especially have a major advantage in the small space. Overall though, I really liked this one.

    It is good
    Sludge Hole

    I have recently made a point of intentionally avoiding weapons unless I need them. In this case, the crowbar, gravity gun and a selection of weapons at the start of the map. I left them all behind. As such, the remainder of this map was extremely difficult. Is that my fault? Yes. Should the mapper prevent that from happening? Absolutely. Regardless, I was able to complete this level without cheating and actually had a good time doing it. It’s quite amusing that you can completely submerge your car in the sludge and not take any damage at one point. The enjoyment factor of the map fell apart at the end however. The hunter chopper posed little to no threat after I made it back to the base as it simply hovered over one of the buildings. I then had to run back and forth gathering up rockets to kill the thing which quickly became extremely dull.

    It is dire!
    Drain the Swamp

    I’ve got to be honest… I have no idea what is supposed to be happening here. I ran around for about half an hour in the second area before I gave up. I can see the problem I’ve been given, but the solution escapes me…

    It is good
    Floodgates

    Hey, a cutscene! I appear to have been taken hostage by some rebels wearing MSPaint camoflague… OK then… It’s nice to have a little bit of story in one of the entries, other than the usual narrative design that gives the illusion of a plot. Having said that, the gameplay throughout most of this map is a little bland. The final challenge where you have to race against the malfunctioning flow control was quite enjoyable, but I was ill-equiped to deal with the distant combine so I ended up simply sprinting to the end from the second to last safe section. Not too bad, but not amazing.

    It is good
    Uplifted

    This one took my by surprise, but not in a particularly good way. The first section was pretty good and the goal was clear, following the cable to the generator and then backtracking. The think I liked most about it was that it was just a case of finding the next safe perch and jumping to it. No awkward fiddling with crates and spools which mostly irritates me. Backtracking was again a breeze and then running along the walkway only to be knocked back down. But then I went through the door, round a corner to a dead end. I was confused briefly, before getting kicked to the menu… Huh, that was it? It just ended a lot sooner than I expected, but overall was an attractive and fun little map.

    It is okay
    I Need Water

    Another WTF moment for me. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to be doing in this map. I guess the goal was to destroy the glowing green dirt things? However, the map ended without me needing to do that? I like that I only really had the crowbar and Gravity Gun, and the opening office areas were quite nice, if a little empty. There’s also a really out of place texture from Half-Life 1 that appears frequently throughout the map and… it’s just odd. The whole map is a bit odd really. I’m just not sure what my goal was… even after I had apparently completed it. I certainly never got any water, so I guess I still need some.

    It is okay
    Waste Management

    This one was just straight up weird, but I liked it for the most part. I like the idea of the waves coming in lifting you so that you could swim above the toxic waste. There was one indoor section where I had no idea what I was supposed to do. Attempting to go out through one of the pipes killed me instantly, but I couldn’t see any other way so I noclipped out. The section after that with the sludge rising up and down was a little unusual, but then the finale running from the wall of feces was amazing. It reminded me of classic games like Crash Bandicoot and Empire of Steel where you’re outrunning a boulder or a massive gas explosion respectively. An unusual little map, but I liked it overall.

    It is bad
    Water Back

    Another one I simply did not enjoy. Starting out with very little health and immediately getting attacked by Combine soldiers. Less than ideal. Then you’re forced across an expanse of toxic sludge with only a couple of reliable props which needed to double as a weapon against the zombies which kept springing up? Not fun. The combat areas after that leading up to the airboat were massively open and I simply ran past them. Even the mines were too open and a lot of the fights I ended up just strolling past. Finally, when getting the airboat fueled up and ready to go, the same problem occurred. Massively open areas which made avoiding the incoming fire way too easy. Right at the end, I’m not sure what is supposed to happen. A strider fires it’s particle cannon at a combine APC for some reason and my controls get completely disabled. I just sit in the airboat getting slowly pummelled by hunter and strider fire before dying. I tried this about five times to see if it was a glitch and the same thing happened every time.

    It is great!
    Escape from Dirty Sewers

    It does exactly what it says on the tin. This was quite a gorgeous little map, considering the setting. There was a couple of awkward moments at the start, specifically involving killing a couple of poison zombies with only a crowbar, not knowing where to go and a few of the jumping sections were frustratingly fiddly. For the most part though, I enjoyed it. When the combat properly kicked off it was a lot of fun, even if it was a little short lived.

    It is WOW!
    Blight Town

    “I bloody knew it!” I actually cried that out loud when Crowbar’s name appeared at the end of this map. This is simply bloody amazing. I absolutely loved every single moment of this map. The setting is absolutely breathtaking. An ancient ruin deep within the wilderness, built around a wonderful shallow pool. Combine rule has not been kind to this place and the water has become putrid and toxic. I could not stop grinning when I completed the final puzzle and the waters ran clear. The battle that followed was the icing on this exquisite cake. The map which moments before was restricted and unforgiving became a glorious open arena. I cannot quite put into words how awesome this feels to play, so just go and do it.

    It is WOW!
    Antlion Farm

    Another fantastic map! I always love it when you find an unlikely ally against the combine. This map also contains one of my pet peeves in that you have to build your own stepping stones across the toxic pools, but it’s done so well that I didn’t mind it here. The lore of this level as well is something that fits right in with the Half-Life universe. It makes you think about how low the Combine will go. This map is simply breathtaking through and through in terms of its size, design and gameplay. It knocks the nail on the head in every single aspect and was an absolute joy to play. Well done.

    It is okay
    The Crossing

    This one wasn’t too bad but there were some unusual gameplay choices. The various doors when the fight breaks out with the metrocops, locking and unlocking seemingly at random. Then there was the one room which was essentially just a big killbox, filled with metrocops. The overall goal is to cross the toxic river, but this only really serves as your objective and it never really factors into the gameplay. It wasn’t too bad, but it just felt a little bland to play through with the action not really ramping up beyond metrocops and manhacks.

    1. Thanks for taking your time to review all those and give feedback. In my map, waste management, there are two valves that you’re supposed to turn in the indoor warehouse section. One lets you reach the other, which lowers the goo. I put lights on the valves to try to draw attention to them, but I guess that wasn’t enough. Thanks for the feedback though, I’ll definitely use it for future maps!

    2. Hi, maker of Tunnel Vision here. Thank you for your review. I mentioned in a previous comment that I placed a heavy object on top of the fight activator so that the gravity gun is required. This version was submitted to Phillip and will be included in a future update of this Ville. I do believe the final combat sequence needed some tweaking, but this never happened due to time constraints. The fight does feel quite repetitive, as though the player is expected to do something aside from “holding them off”, which I suppose could have been communicated better. Thanks again.

    3. First of all, thank you for your review!
      I know that I have a big problem to make a fun and easy map to play, and I’m so sorry about that!
      I’m already playing lots of the best Ville entrant of the past year to see how the mapper guides the player throughout the entire map!
      And how the difficulty is made!
      And a last thing, I post a comment, where I listed some problem you report in your reply! So if you want some answer, you can check it out !
      So again thank you for your constructive reply!

      1. Again, sorry for the re-reply but.
        If you have any help for me, to get a little bit better with those bad points, could you please tell about them! Any help is appreciated!
        Thank you.

    4. Thanks for your review. Well, I’m glad to see my map (Inconvienent Pollution) didn’t cause notable frustration and confusion. This is my number one priority when fabricating my maps. However, this leads to a rather reserved gameplay and thus my entry doens’t really shine in the competition. Also, the fact that my capabilities with Hammer are still very limited is also a contributor to not stellar level-design overall.

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

      1. Sorry about that Phillip. I’ll have to copy that template over to Google Drive since I write the reviews in the steam overlay while I play the maps. 😛

  9. asterixer

    Thank you for all the modders to make it possible to play HL2 mods over the years. So i spent 10$ to support that great work! Keep on modding!

    1. Thank you for your donation.

  10. Play It Now!

    Cool ville. Lots of maps. This is great.
    Interesting theme and interesing entries.
    This mod would benefit a lot from an update to various maps, some maps would only needs a few tweaks to make them glorious.

    Ups and Downs
    It is good

    Nice little map, a bit too short. The puzzle at the beginning was a bit tiresome because the water was much too slow to rise up. Otherwise it’s an OK puzzle. Not too great since it only involved pressing buttons, I would’ve liked physic stuff.
    The detailling is great outside but bad inside. Don’t use white lights as it gives a pretty bland look. Areas that are walkable (floor, catwalk) should have more contrast, and should be lit more with warmer tones. Areas that are not walkable (ceilling, walls) should be darker and have colder tones. Try using spotlight to cast interesting shadows on the walls.
    In the puzzle room alone there is 5 textures on the walls. Using too many textures is bad, you should stick to a few textures (4/5) then try to break up the space with geometry. You can increase the scale of a texture to avoid the repetition. It’s ok to put a scale of 1.0 if the surface is far enough. Protip, you can increase the scale and set a random orientation to the goo to make it look nicer. With a wiser texture choice and more interesting lighting the map would look a lot better.
    Why do you give the bugbait if there is no antlions? Originaly I thought the whole zombie area was done badly, as in too much space and no real challenge. After replaying through I realized what the button was for and the area made a lot more sense. I would’ve placed the button ABOVE the door (not below) with a clear sightline to it. Add a glow (use a sprite with the right render FX or a point_spotlight parented to a func_rotating) and an alarm when it’s opening. Then emphasize the door somehow so the player know it’s an important part of the scenery. The introduction could’ve used the door somehow, show the citizen going through at the beginning or something. Maybe a more important character would’ve been better, 1 or 2 rebels rather than a single unarmed citizen, or maybe Alyx, just to draw the player in a little more. Just a thought.

    Rebel Takedown
    It is dire!

    There is no ai nodes in your map. Without a proper node graph the NPC don’t know where to go and how to get to the player. It’s very important to include one in your map.
    Here is some links to learn about nodes, you can google “source SDK nodes tutorial” or whatever, you’ll get tons of info on that. The nodegraph can be used very effectively, you can make fast zombies climb, the antlions will jump automatically, etc. It’s even possible to enable/disable a path with input with the info_node_link.
    https://developer.valvesoftware.com/wiki/Nodegraph
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r3jgAIsbySg
    The text at the beginning was not necessary.
    Don’t copy and paste like that, it’s very obvious. ESPECIALLY when you do it 20 times over. Though it was fun seeing all those props flying with a grenade.
    Don’t add a physic weapon that is not pickable. It’s very confusing (especially when there is like 20 of them, very weird). In my first playthrough, I did not spawn with any guns and I thought I had to pickup those.
    There isn’t much to do either, next time you can try hiding some supplies crates here and here. I quickly ran out of health.

    278
    It is okay

    The first walkway is nice with the fog and all. The detailing is ok in some places and ugly in others.
    It’s very, very big. So big it’s extremely boring to walk through. Good thing I have noclip bound.
    The platforming section was not fun. Don’t try to make it hard, try to make it interesting. I’m a pretty good player, I spent lots of time playing KZ/Quake and it was hard even for me. The trigger push especially makes it very fiddly.
    The colored crates puzzle did a good job of teaching new mechanics progressively. But why is there colors in the first place? It didn’t made sense. It only made the puzzle more confusing. This is basically a battery puzzle.
    You can make the crates invicible, or use a prop that don’t break. Or you can respawn the crate. This is better than reloading when your break a crate. There were no threat to the crates, what was even the point?
    Using more crates to make a path to pick up a crate was sort of OK. Then doing it 3 times over was not. You could’ve made 4 different paths, added fire or laser that can break the crate. Or make it so the crate break when it touches the goo. I dunno.
    Why do you remove the suit then give it back? The fast zombie fight was unfair. There is no need to add an invisible brush and remove it when the door is fully open.
    The super gravity gun makes everything very easy. Especially against zombies. The fight afterward was pretty appalling. Too many zombies to fight through. What does the button do?
    Putting yourself as a beta tester does not count. Si tu veux un beta tester (ou des conseils) tu peux m’ajouter sur Steam, j’ai rajouté un lien vers mon compte sur mon profil RTSL.

    Detour
    It is WOW!

    My favorite map of the mod. With a few tweaks and more playtest it would be perfect.
    The beginning felt intuitive and was impressive. You’re driving your car. The road is blocked and there is a crane behind. You need to get to the crane to unblock the road. There is stuff around you that you can see but cannot get to yet. It felt like THAT ep2 map. The one with the bridge and the zombies. My first instict was to walk on the railing beside the bridge but I was met with a invisible wall. But I guess there isn’t much that can be done about that.
    The gameplay was handled well. Good ennemy placement, some memorable moments, lots of optionnal content. It had a good rythm, the pacing was perfect. The grenade puzzle area could be a little more easier to walk through. The first time I played through I picked the grenades, went back to see the way blocked, then went back to the grenade crate and threw the grenade, and went back AGAIN to go through the elevator. It was a bit tiresome. The elevator fight was nice, but why did I had to re-start the generator? First playthrough I wasted all my bullets before realizing I had to re-start it. Then I surrounded myself with crates and waited it out. Second playthrough a zombine grenade killed my when I stepped inside the elevator and after the gate were closed.
    It wasn’t always obvious which way was the way forward. The hatch on the floor was a bit hard to see, this could’ve been easily fixed by using a translucent texture, using the vent prop, or emphasizing the hatch with a bright color. Or simply putting wooden boards instead. Don’t ever use func_breakable for breakable wood beams, use the brown wooden beams props instead. The player is conditioned to see those and try to break them; it’s a part of the HL2 language. You can change the color of the wall behind the beams as well, to make them more obvious by contrast.
    The helicopter fight was great. I liked how the arena changed with the fight. My only complaint is that the roof isn’t completely open and don’t always give a clear sightline to the helicopter, which makes the fight a little less enjoyable than it could be.
    Maybe less weapons and more props could’ve been more fun.

    Inconvenient Pollution
    It is good

    Map was okay-ish. The scene at the beginning was dark, nice way to start a map. The rest of the map didn’t felt as dark so it was a bit out of place. I did not see the mirror, I thought it was just a hole in the wall. Use the “debris” flag on small props. I liked how there were some item crates here and here. The pacing was ok. I liked how the combines shoot you across the goo, even though they were too far to be much of a threat. The environment was almost identical to your previous map. Same buildings, same color, same thing, it’s really a shame. Also the map (just like the previous one) is a bit flat, as in there isn’t much height difference.

    Tunnel Vision
    It is great!

    Great map. The gnome gimmick was weird but fun. In a more serious situation this could’ve easily been some sort of battery/device. It was taught properly. I would’ve liked to see some feedback on whether or not putting the gnome in the thing did something. I’d add some sparks or a sound when you insert the gnome. You can teleport the gnome and disable its motion to make it more “snappy”. Going back for the gnome was not fun. The gnome should’ve been buoyant. The combat at the end was a bit too long, the helicopter fight could’ve been more fun. It was a bit annoying to try to hit the helicopter around the bars, I ended up hurting myself quite a lot.
    The lighting was a bit flat. Try to use less light, use more light_spot. Straight up copying the barnacle/crate minigame from EP2 was cheap.

    Toxic Fields
    It is okay

    At first I was excited about the toxic green barrel but it was barely used. This map is very messy. Lots of different colors, props, textures and invisible walls. Try to use less stuff, make the way forward more obvious by putting wooden boards on the floor to make a path for the player to follow. It’s unreadable. I broke the map in my first playthrough by jumping on a container. There were some buttons scattered here and here, they felt out of place and I don’t think they were necessary. I liked the shantytown theme, I was a bit jealous of not thinking of that earlier. The combines at the end were obviously spawning from nowhere. I don’t think you even needed to put combines in that map, they felt out of place and a finale against zombies would’ve been more fun in my opinion.

    Sludge Hole
    It is good

    Why is there grenades in a box at the beginning? Vey confusing. Nice map apart from that. The pacing was ok. It was a bit dark. I liked how you got back to the beginning to fight the helicopter. The antlion tunnel displacement was pretty ugly. You obviously know how to use subdivide but you don’t use it everywhere. Learn how to make everything with quads, try to make every quads roughly the same size, then subdivide. There is a nice sightline to the objective at the start but it’s behind you. I did not notice that in my first playthrough, it’s a shame. This could’ve been easily fixed by tweaking the player start, by forcing the player to walk on the pier for instance.

    Drain the Swamp
    It is bad

    Blocking the way forward with crates and having to use the crowbar to get to the plug was a cool idea. I did not understand the second puzzle though. I think I broke it by jumping over the railing. The second room was much too big and had lots of empty space. It’s boring to walk somewhere only to realize it’s a dead-end. Then doing it several times over for a puzzle trying to figure out what to do is even worse. Also that translating goo was very weird. The texture repetition is very obvious, try to add some details (pillars, beams, windows), some spotlights, etc. All walls are lit with the same uniform white light, it’s very flat and ugly.

    Floodgates
    It is good

    Good job sticking to a story and doing the voice acting. I don’t like dialogues too much to be honest, but that’s just me. The crates breaking when you step on it felt unfair, especially without much health. The intro was nice and did a good job of putting you into the action. I liked the fight with the rising goo, it was great. The goo could’ve been slower and the ceiling less high. This would’ve made the fight a bit more fair, more paced and made the whole area look nicer. Disable the collisions on those ladder props as they tend to get in the way. Use the “debris” flag on small props.

    Uplifted
    It is good

    Nice little map. The detailing and lighting was great. Gorgeous colors and shadows at the beginning. I liked how you used the space, you go down, then up, then down again. The space itself was a bit bland, it’s basically a straight line. I don’t have much to say since this is very short, but it was pretty good for how short it was.
    I don’t think the text at the beginning was necessary.

    I Need Water
    It is bad

    I liked how you introduced a new gameplay element progressively. This was done well. The puzzle themselves were not very interesting. Breaking toxic green stuff with a plastic barrel is not very intuitive. I don’t think the antlions were necessary, maybe you could have introduced them in a proper finale. These red pipes in the center of the map were gorgeous but barely visible. In my opinion if you only gave the gravity gun it would’ve been more fun. The colors, texturing and lighting is very bland. There were some red wheels in the last room but I’m not sure what they were used for. Also that’s not how you use subdivide, break everything into quads and keep the seams aligned, then subdivide.

    Waste Management
    It is good

    This is obviously a beginner’s map but it’s actually pretty good. The tide mechanic was smart. The ending was awesome, I think I shat in my pants a little when I saw that huge wave coming straight at me. Nice use of poison zombies and antlions at the end. Nice spotlights to direct the player. I felt relieved when I got to the ladder. One (big) complaint however is that you relied too much on the same mechanic. The first tide was nice, then against the antlions was a nice twist, but it dragged on too long after that. That part with the antlions especially was much too long. The long sprint from the wave also was more of the same, huge corridor where you do the same thing over and over. Try to think of more clever combinations. Your displacement work is too messy (especially since you expect the player to sprint on them, they’re kind of annoying to walk on), use bigger power for the displacement and use the smoothing tool. Same as other beginner’s maps above, it’s very ugly, the lighting and texturing is too flat. What was that huge rotating thing exactly?

    Water Back
    It is bad

    This map is waaaay too big. This makes it a chore to walk through. As with 278, good thing I have noclip bound, otherwise I would not have bothered. The idea of picking up the gascan was cool even though its placement didn’t made any sense. There is lots of dead-end and useless space (one to the right when going toward the valve, another in the mine in front of the gascan), try to avoid those, especially when the map is so big. I liked how you ran away with the airboat, it was cool. The ending broke, I had to call exitvehicle with an ent_fire to continue. Also it’s spelt “airboat”. Same as with other beginner’s map, the mapping is very blocky and the lighting very bland.
    Noclipping through the map I can see lots of area that are detailled but are not walkable. Why is there a ladder next to the metrocops? Why is there an accessible building near the APCs? These area are clearly unreachable. There is way too many APC, this can kill performance, and they are barely visible anyway.

    Escape From Dirty Sewers
    It is great!

    Very pretty. Awesome ambience. Everything is so well done, the sliding reflective goo, the fog, the lighting, the soundscape, everything. With the architecture and secrets it felt a bit like Quake, that was great. Too bad the gameplay is kind of obnoxious. Killing 2 poison zombies with a crowbar? Strafe jumping to get to a vent? Then pixel walking on pipes to move forward? The metrocops were cool tho. I found 2 secrets, the door and a battery crate at the beginning. Don’t use displacement to make arches as the texturing gets weird, you can do that with brushes just fine.

    Blight Town
    It is great!

    It was a cool map! I missed the gravity gun. The combines not attacking straight up was a nice twist. I think the buttons could’ve been more obvious, I missed it in some places. If you know an element will be featured in your map a lot it can be worth the time to make a custom prop. I liked the architecture, it was great to look at. I liked how you made a path through the goo by raising stairs, lighting torches and what not, it felt very “souly”. Clearing the goo was cool. It lacked a proper bossfight/climax, these hunter were not very threatening. How about a big baddy that get released from the gates at the end? When you kill it the goo turns to water and you can display “Victory Achieved”, proper dark souls style. There is some performance issues by the way, when you look at the whole map the FPS dip to 50. My computer is NOT old. This is a 2004 game, this shouldn’t happen. The whole map is a giant box which does not help things. Maybe you can play with the fade distance. If I disable water entities reflection it get a little better. Some sort of ominous 3D skybox would’ve been much better, instead of that boring cubical cliff. Think Ash Lake.

    The Crossing
    It is good

    Okay-ish map. Draining the goo was memorable. The combats were not too great. I got through the part with the wheel and door without killing a single zombie. I just ducked under the door. The part with the metrocops and trains could’ve been more fun, but it dragged on a bit as you had to run for quite a while between the trains. Nice ramp up of the action with the music and metrocops chasing you, this was well done. The metrocops bits were good, the zombies bits not so much. Maybe focus on 1 kind of ennemy, take inspiration from the canals level. The 3D skybox is full of buildings that cannot be seen. Keep in mind the 3D skybox is always rendered. The citadel model is better with some fog on the sky_camera. The red brick building in the center is great! The other not so much. There is lots of wall with the same repeated texture over and over. Try to search references on google image.

    Antlion Farm

    My map. This did not went as well as zombie defence. I struggled to find a good twist on the goo theme, and to be honest I don’t think I did. After spending a few days trying to think of a theme, I choose the antlions and combines. I don’t usually spend time on a morale or a story, so for this theme I tried to improve in that area. Paradoxically I think this is what I did best. The story was not so clear right from the start. My first idea was that the combines would be exploiting antlions to make some sort of weapon or energy source. The goo, as a byproduct of the exploitation, is being released into the antlion nest. After investigating the area and seeing some nasty combine stuff, the player puts an end to the exploitation and, by doing so, helps the antlions. I originaly envisonned a proper boss fight against the antlion guard where you would be given the bugbait to use in the final showdown against the combines. It was named “Antlions Uprising”. In the first iteration, the antlions were attacking the combine installation. This made the whole story confusing. After thinking this through I realized everything would fall into place if the antlions were instead trying to escape, the guard in particular. The story would be much more effective and rewarding if the player directly helped the antlions by opening the gates. This made for a rewarding finale that I’m pretty proud of.
    I knew I needed custom props so I spent a few days making those before even starting the map. I did the same thing with zombie defense, always set up your entities beforehand in a zoo map and try to create interesting combinations. I cannibalized the EP2 forest rocks, added particles, made a new texture, copied the antlion worker shader, and made a custom surfaceprop for the sounds. If you make custom content I suggest you do it right away, to force yourself to use it throught the map. I did playtest very early (a week before the deadline) with a rough version of the map, without the strider fight. This allowed to highlight some huge issues. The goo platforming section, while I thought it was good, was glitchy and not fun at all (I tried to improve it but it’s still far from perfect). I had to increase the jump height via the surfaceprop to make it easier.
    The part with the antlion guard went through several iterations. Originally the guard had several explosive antlion thingies to throw at you, but the playtesters thought you were supposed to use them to kill him, so I removed those. The “stealth” behavior was completely accidental, but I thought it was nice so I went with it. This is not common in HL2 and I think this is not communicated clearly enough. In the first version the guard could spot you above the ledge and fight back. I added a web and stalactites to break the line of sight, so the player has the opportunity to stop and observe its behavior. This is also a hint that you can hide behind the stalactites on the ground.
    The puzzle is kind of stupid. I needed to break the pace with a classic HL2 puzzle. I had this idea of an antlion queen being tortured by a combine device. You would try to destroy the device, and at every steps of the puzzle the toxic goo would rise and make the room increasingly difficult to move in. The queen was too ambitious so I settled for grubs being electrocuted. The antlion poop dispenser is here to reinforce the training for the final fight. I ran out of space and couldn’t make an interesting enough place. The rising goo barely changes anything. meh
    The strider fight went throught lots of tweaking as well. Originally you were only given the gravity gun, but after some feedback I caved in and allowed the weapons to drop. I tried to think of something involving the goo but I really could’t find anything interesting. On top of that this wouldn’t fit the theme of the goo being released in the nest. Originally there were only 1 button on the elevator, but I realized the player could get stuck if he decided to drop down at the end (for whatever reasons). So I added another button to call the elevator back. This meant the ramp was now a legit way of going through the boss, so I added a dispenser on the ramp and some supplies. This would give something for the strider to shoot its cannon at.
    I ran out of time in the end (the strider fight was made in a few days, it’s a bit rushed compared to the rest). It was like 2 hours before the deadline when I started the full compile. I did not anticipate the combine metal being so reflective, and the map looked like shit with cubemaps, so I did not include those. If we can update our maps I have a version with the proper reflections. But I’d prefer to wait for feedback before making any further changes.
    I’d like to thanks my playtesters (L-P, leplubodeslapin, K12T6) for suffering through a rough version of my map, their feedback was invaluable.

    1. [escape from sewers]
      The crowbar was there to break the vent, not to kill zombies – that’s definitely a tedious process. What led you to idea of killing them? My vision was that armed only with crowbar, player will try to avoid combat, and poison zombies will throw headcrabs into you trying to push you out from ledges into slime (in most cases that was instadeath, and this is why it may be not quite fair). Strafe jumping was intentional. Do you think its bad? I’m planning to update this map, how can I improve this area?

      1. Actually in my first playthrough I did not bother with the poison zombies and got through that part more or less like you envisioned, so maybe I was a bit unfair. I personally like strafe jumping but you can’t expect every players to know about it (especially in a “casual” game like HL2). I would make the poison zombies unreachable (add green goo between them and the player, add a NPC clip so they don’t wander off) so the area becomes “try to reach the vent while avoiding incoming black headcrabs” and less “move around the zombies trying to get to the vent”. I would also make the vent more obvious by adding a yellow light inside the vent. Make the ledge bigger and remove the pillars, make it more treacherous with physic boards and obstacles, etc. You can spawn the poison zombies when the player is looking at the vent, this would ensure the player knows the position of the vent before being attacked by zombies.

    2. Thank you for your constructive reply!
      For the thing of the first walkway, I wanted a big thing to introduce the player. To make he feels, he is in a big combine, or alien, or laboratory thing.
      For the detail. Could you please tell me, what details you found good, and what bad. Just to help me as a mapper!
      For the too big walkway, I totally agree with you! But it’s too late in the development that I figured out they were too long and too big…
      I’ll practice jumping section if one day I need to build one!
      I’ve got inspired by a lot of game for the linear learning. I wanted an invisible tutorial like we can found in Half-life²! And I had color just for me, to play with the filter entity. I never really play with them, so I wanted something fun for the player, and interesting to built for me. For the breakable crate. Thanks for this part. If I need to remake a thing like this, I’ll use another prop, or I will respawn the crate, I won’t reload the game!
      I do not know when to stop, so I made to much that are repetitive and that boring. I’m sorry. I’ll work on this point!
      I remove the suit because the player could have used his light, and in this section, normally, you should have used the Geiger level to know where to stop… But with the cube maps, it broke everything…
      For the zombie combat, I wanted a big battle like this, but that one of the point where I’m really disappointed at me… I should have worked a little bit more on it, but I decided to work on little details.
      For the super gravity gun, I mentioned it in my developer comment!
      And for the button, it activates the acid rain that can kill zombies. In this case, it hurts them a lot, but don’t kill them!
      Et merci pour ta proposition de beta-testeur! Je pense que je vais t’ajouter 🙂

    3. Thanks, that’s some super useful feedback about door readability and the approach to texturing and lighting.

      The original design had the goo level rising after you pressed the button which is why it goes incrementally higher in a semi circle from the button to the door but I ran out of time and went for pools of goo the zombies could push you into instead. In hind site simply inverting the height change might of made it more readable and feel more like a mad dash.

    4. Hec

      Gosh, I’d absolutely loved your map, and I want to thank you for releasing it, man! Honestly, I think is one of the best things I’ve played in many years.

      I know you didn’t intend to make a story plot for it, but it doesn’t matter, the story is great inside the gameplay! I actually felt like this strange feeling only HL2 brings when you play it, and you release by yourself how the CMB are mercilessly ruling the earth.

      The combination of the CMB Building and antlions was absolutely great.

      I voted for your map, I hope you can release an HL2 mod sometime soon man! I think is going to be great.

  11. Mr.Breen

    am I blind? I can’t see Klem’s review anywhere but it like says there is a review by him.

      1. Mr.Breen

        Thanks Phillip, you are the best!

  12. Some of the old faults are back like red ERRORs where missing models are and red/black checkerboards where missing materials are. Trying the existing cures has not worked, so, what is a half-lifer to do?
    This has been noticed on the past two competitions.

    1. Everything is working fine! Try reinstalling half life 2 episode 2! Everything should work with ep 2 installed on your computer!

      1. Well, now it getting strange. I re-installed HL2E2, went to the first map of it and the black/red checkerboard was there too! And when Alyx went to use the gravity gun the map crashed back to the Steam game screen.
        That was on my daily system, XP. So, I switched to the Win 7 machine and it did exactly the same thing!
        Now the BIG question…do I have to do a total re-install of Steam?

        1. have you tried to verify the game cache? that usually works.

          1. Did the cache refresh on both XP & Win 7. But it still seems eerie that Episode 2, by itself, crashes on both machines. My question remains, do I have to re-install the entire Steam game?

    2. Unq

      If you still see ERROR props, please point out the maps you’re seeing them on and where (screenshots help too). It should all be fixed by the final ToxicVille release.

      1. It seems that I’m a charter member of the Shoot-Yourself-in-the-Foot club. I fixed it by first, moving the Win 7 Sourcemods folder out of the way and re-installed Steam completely and re-initialized Half-Life 2 E2, then played it and it worked quite well. So, I did the same on the XP machine with duplicate results…then loded ToxicVille and VOILA! All is normal.
        In retrospect, over the years I must have done the “shooting-in-the-foot’ by simply cutting and pasting Steam, rather than re-installing it. Oh, I still got the upgrades, but I must have violated some ancient Steam law by not doing things, let’s say, kosher.
        Thanks for your hints, guys!

  13. In drain the swamp I wanted to make a puzzle that was logical but not obvious. Looks like I made it impossible. Sorry to everyone who wasted time being frustrated 🙁

  14. Personal Favourite

    This was a great contest with an interesting theme and lots of playing time. Some of the ideas that people came up with were quite clever. My favorite entry was “Tunnel Vision” with the terrific use of the gnome. I thought “Antlion Farm” was second best even though it wasn’t really focused on the contest theme . “Detour” was also a good entry but lost points because the elevator fight scene was ridiculously difficult and I got stuck in the area by the crane the first time when the metal door back to the warehouse wouldn’t open.

    Overall really well done and thanks to everybody who contributed their maps.

  15. ToxicVille is quite a mixed bag. There are maps of all different levels that try many different things. I actually enjoyed playing this Ville and there were a lot of maps and moments to remember. As I always do, I would like to thank those who entered ToxicVille. Thank you for spending time mapping maps and keeping the HL mapping community alive. Special thanks to the first time entrants. Welcome to world of Villes.

    Ups and Downs by Paws
    It is okay

    Ups and Downs was a map of two sections. First was the rather cleaver and well designed puzzle and the other was the “get to the button while fighting zombies”. The puzzle was set out very clearly with ropes going to the lights above the door and clear changes when each and every button was pressed. It required the player to move around the room and think about what their next action would be. The combat part was fairly simplistic as it consisted of zombies and headcrabs but that was fine as there were plenty of things to keep the player busy while getting to the button. Again the button was clearly marked and visible to the player so there was no hassle there. The variation of zombies was good. Simplicity is the word to describe this map which is definitely not a bad thing. The overall goal of reach the woman on the other side was easy to understand. To be fair, I wish all maps started with a woman calling your name and then waiting for you until you finish fighting zombies in toxic goo!

    Rebel Takedown by HighFire
    It is bad

    This map was fairly basic and a lot more could have been done to offer challenge and decent game play to the player. It seems rather pointless with the rebels there when there is a high chance of them taking out the headcrabs and then dying to the combine soldier on the roof. The player should be the one to take out the majority of enemies and the letting the player dispatch of the headcrabs would make it better. Having writing of screen telling the player what to do is fairly pointless. It is easier to show what the player has to do through the environment. There should be more challenge on the outside part. In my video analysis, I had the idea that part of the ground was only toxic waste and you need to jump on the cars to get to the other side. If more combine were to be added, the area would need to be shaped to fit a more combat orientated style. On the inside of the building, Its way to open for combine combat. Combat needs to be two main things, fun and thought provoking. The inside needs to be more enclosed with combine placed strategically so the player can engage them from a sensible place. At the moment it feels like a wild free for all. Over all the map needs some work but a lot can be learned from it.

    278 by Ttiki
    It is bad

    278 was a very unorthodox map with many arcade like concepts. First off, it was good that it was split into 3 definitive parts. The 3 parts however could be more refined. The first jumping section was torture to complete the first time. The player does not have time to learn the mechanics. It is mostly trial and error. It all happened too fast so my suggestion would be to delay the rising goo and when it is time for the floor to break, give the player a sign that something is about to happen and that they need to climb. The things that move the player by themselves (?) are often inconsistent with one of them sometimes taking the player up or sometimes just pushing the player right off. Mechanics like these need to be consistent to prevent the wrong notion on how they work and further wrong interpretation of the mechanic. The “cutscene” showing the player the other door is pointless. The door being accessible could have been done in first person mode with the door to the current room opening and a flashing light above the new section or anything other than a “cutscene”. The box part was in theory a good idea. I am sure portal was an inspiration. I do however think more could have been done. The ways to get the boxes were either very easy of very counterintuitive. The third section with the combat was quite messy. In the room where you have to fight the zombies while waiting for the door thing to go down, the amount of zombies was way too high. 3 fast zombies would have been a lot and if they were spread out over time then it would have given the player time to think about positioning and whatnot. Using the upgrade grav gun was a unique thing but the section it was upgrade in had nothing different in terms of combat. Actually, if the player had the upgraded grav gun in the room before, it would have been more effective. The room where you have to kill all the zombies was slow. There should never be writing on screen telling you what to do. It takes the player out of the game and can often cause confusion. The map sometimes has a good atmosphere and I especially liked the bridge part at the very beginning.

    Detour by Osko
    It is great!

    Detour did so many things right. It incorporated elements from Half Life 2 and the episodes. All these things were small aspects but they made a huge difference. Everything seemed fun and it was enjoyable to navigate the level. The aesthetics were amazing in terms of a Half Life 2 Map. It had a boss battle at the end with a chopper. Parts of the floor could break exposing the player to toxic goo meaning the player had to constantly be on their guard watching not only for the chopper but also for the floor. Along with vent crawling, grenade puzzles, and situated combat, the map made good use of space. You could see many locations that you would be at later. The narrative of “get the car across the bridge” was easy to follow and achieve. This map had a few shortcomings in the form of navigation. There were times were its difficult for the player to understand the progression path or even outright miss things. I am sure IMakeLevels is still raging about not finding the vent on the floor of the infamous kitchen. Overall this map is definitely a top 3 map in my rankings and was a joy to play.

    Inconvienent Pollution by Strontvlieg
    It is okay

    Inconvienent Pollution had a beginning section which led the player through a street and then a few buildings. It had a few puzzles, vent crawling and “exploration” where the player could find hidden items. All these things were good but there is nothing to hook the player in. When the player gets to the second section which is the main battle section, there is a sniper. This sniper battle could have been more of a challenge as it was really easy to get out the door and to the side without the sniper getting a shot on you. The sniper should be much further away with the player slowly working their way towards it to get a decent shot on it. The battle with the combine could have been cleaned up more. The battle across the toxic waste was slightly too far away to affect the player and if there was any combine across there when the combine elites came, then it was just annoying. It was good that there was a variety of enemies to fight like combine elites and hunters. The chopper battle could have been more dynamic as it was almost too easy to take it down. Overall the map is a mid tier map that could be worked on a bit to make it that little bit better.

    Tunnel Vision by Dats Ridonkulous
    It is good

    Tunnel Vision was quite a unique map. It had a lot of decent game play mechanics so as the player was constantly thinking. The gnome mechanics were well incorporated and opened the door to a whole range of new features. A lot of the flow was roundabout kind of play were the player put the gnome in a slot, uses its feature then goes round and opens the next part. The combat during the first sections was decent and there were plenty of barnacles to deal with. At the final part, the waves were a good idea. The chopper battle could have allowed the player more space to more rather than the little space they have. This is another battle that needs to be dynamic. Overall, this map was fun and it introduces cool features.

    Toxic Fields by Lucia
    It is okay

    Toxic Fields was a very cluttered map. It had some great things like a bit of exploration and things to find but overall, navigating it was rather difficult. It needed to guide the player through the level and make the flow simpler. The first 2 times I played, I jumped over things and got to the end although I thought that was the way. The zombie combat section could have had fewer zombies and more focused fighting. There was a section with a lot of zombies that jump up when you enter it and this is in no way good for the map. If fighting the killing of zombies is short and fun, then it will be more enjoyable. The combine section was a great idea as the player is locked into a certain space. This space could have been slightly bigger with the combine coming in at a bigger interval. Overall, this map had its cool moments but lacked the flow and navigation to make it a top tier map.

    Sludge Hole by Memethosaur
    It is great!

    This map was a good example of backtracking. It was kind of based on the riding shotgun levels of episode 2. The aim of the map was fairly simplistic as it is written on a board on the wall. This is a cheap way of telling the player what to do yet a more effective one than text across the screen. (Well done Etho.) The driving section was not that long but it still had its usual combine interventions and zombie “hit and run”. In the second map of this entry, antlions and acidlions are introduced bringing yet more variation in combat. It had ToxicVilles token “get across some toxic waste using spools and other random objects” The combine ran out when the player was at their most vulnerable meaning the player had to act quickly but it still gave the player a chance to react accordingly. Once the player makes it back out of the cave section, there is a hunter waiting to greet them. The urgency is good as it puts pressure on. Once the player has got back to base, they have to fight the chopper. It is one of the more dynamic chopper battles seen in ToxicVille. It gives the player a rocket launcher to fire rockets as well as the standard detonating bombs that the chopper drops. Over all the entry was basic in a good way but it also had a variety of enemies and things to do. Sadly it held the mapper back from making my most anticipated mod while he saw fit to make this instead. The fog was also not done too well in Sludge Hole…

    Drain the Swamp by Dirk Destiny
    It is bad

    This map was very basic and did not have too much to it. It consisted of two main sections and a connecting corridor. Initially, the part where you have to find the crowbar and then break the crates to find the plug is all right. The second section is rather confusing. What should happen is, you turn the valve and the toxic waste drains, then you have to get to the door before the man comes and turns the valve to make the good come back. This is a good idea but there was never enough time to reach the door and when I jumped over the railing, the door was looked. The logic that should have been there was not. Overall, the map should have probably been made up of a number of smaller sections with combat involved and clearer direction.

    Floodgates by 1upD
    It is okay

    This map tries to incorporate story which it’s always risky to try and in this case, it did not add to the map. It was easy to get the idea of what was happening but it sounded like part of a much bigger storyline that doesn’t get explained. With that aside, there was a short section at the start with a bit of toxic goo jumping but in felt very uninspired and needed a lot of work. There was also combat with some combine soldiers who were running down a corridor. These combine should be spread out and require the player to adjust their position accordingly. After all that there is a “main section” with a mechanic where the toxic goo would rise and fall over a period of time. There were 3 towers that the player could scale to get to safety. As well as all that, there were combine soldiers around firing at you. This section was really good as it required the player to think, run and kill the combine. There was plenty of cover and time for the player to get from tower to tower. After that section, the map is practically over. Over all, the map needed more little mechanics that were fun rather than a long section leading up on one singular fun section.

    Uplifted by Minesweeper
    It is okay

    Uplifted was a really strange entry. (Summery) At the start, you learn (through writing on screen) that you have to turn on the power to the elevator to presumably “progress”, so you do that by crossing toxic waste on spools and boxes with the occasional zombie attacking you. This part wasn’t bad and fairly quick. You power the elevator for it to take you up to the next level. You run along the walk way, fight some combine and a metro cop kicks the door open where the generator is. The walk way breaks and you got through the door after killing the enemy and the map ends. (End of summery) This struck me as odd because this goes against the map logic. The narrative was painted around the elevator. I would have thought the map would end when the player got to the top floor on the elevator. Instead, the ending is where the power generator is? This is very counterintuitive. Why have the elevator there at all? It seems pointless if the ending is right next to you when you are turning on the generator. My solution to this would be to just have another generator or another challenge where the stairs are along the walkway. This would turn on the elevator again and get you up to the top floor. Then you could have a boss battle and end the map. Other than the logic of the map, the visuals were really effective and quite high for a Ville map. As for combat, the zombies were placed well and the combine could have been placed in positions that would make for a good fight.

    I Need Water by Tiop
    It is bad

    This map does not have too much to it. The aim to re purify the water because the combine can’t be bothered. There are valves everywhere that you can turn and green and red lights about but none of them are linked as it appears. In the final room, there are two valves and a light that seems to change randomly. You get attacked by an endless spawning antlion while looking around. In the pipe however, there are these “rocks” and by destroying the rock, you can win the level. This makes sense as earlier on in the map, you have to destroy some rocks in front of a door. This acts as the learning mechanic but it is too vague for the player to link both them and the one in the pipe.

    Waste Management by Sockman
    It is okay

    Waste Management was a simplistic map where it was clear what was to be done throughout the map. The combat with the zombies was underwhelming. The mechanic with the water rising was a good idea. It could have had less zombies and further to go to the valve. It is also not clear that you have to break the metal grate in the pipe. Making it a different material that crowbars usually break would sort this issue. The toxic waste rising was also a good idea but more could have been done to help the player learn what height it went up to. The bit at the end with the toxic waste chasing you was a fantastic idea although it could have had fewer enemies and more slime to jump over to make the section solely about the player’s ability.

    Water Back by Егор Стрельников
    It is bad

    Water Back was a good attempt at adding in interesting mechanics but it did not quite cut it. The standard “jump on objects to get over the toxic goo” was long and boring. At the airboat part, there was needless writing on the screen. The fact it did not have any fuel could be shown with a noise or something rather than game text. The mines looked alright but the gas can was hidden in a really counterintuitive place. The combat at this point was underwhelming and could easily be avoided. The Airboat ride itself was far too short and the area was far too open. At the end, of course there was the bug were the player couldn’t move so I used commands to get to the other side without the boat. Fighting the hunters was easy with the rocket launcher but there was only 1 APC to hide behind when taking on the strider. Overall, this map needs a lot of work to make it something that the average player will enjoy.

    Escape From Dirty Sewers by MistaHeita
    It is good

    This map is the map that inspired me to make the “Fan made trailer” I have on my channel. It has so much atmosphere. It is a nice map that makes use of space well. The combat was not the best combat ever for instance, near the beginning; you have to take on black headcrab zombies with a crowbar in a enclosed space. The player should have a firearm of some kind for these encounters. Fighting the Combine was usually too close quarters with the exception of when the play has just received the key card and they come out the door. The navigation was good and the player has to constantly jump and make sure they don’t fall in the toxic waste. Overall the map had so much atmosphere, had a clear aim but needed the combat to be tidied up.

    Blight Town by Crowbar
    It is great!

    Blight Town felt like an arena shooter game. This is not a bad thing. The player can quickly learn what they need to do by going around and pushing the buttons. Some buttons to light the torches are guarded by enemies whilst one is guarded by hoppers. It is refreshing to see a variation in this respect. I was very arcade like in that it did not follow an average Half Life 2 map and it was open world in the sense that you could move to any part in any order. This freedom is nice to have as a player. There was plenty of health and other items to get and the combat seemed balanced. Overall, there is not a lot bad to write about this entry. Its different, but in a good way.

    Antlion Farm by Klems
    It is great!

    Antlion farm was really interesting to play. The idea of the concept is good. There are a lot of visually interesting things to see. The way of getting across the toxic waste in the caves was interesting as you only had one item to stand on. The toxic waste coming out of the pipes was a nice touch but the first part with the guardian was confusing. It is unclear whether or not you are supposed to use the two yellow things to get across to escape or just let the guardian hit you across. The elevator ride was a great visual and build up to the final battle. The final battle however was a complete mess. There were way too many combine around the place to make it fun or thought provoking. The player should either have to concentrate on the soldiers or the strider. Not both of them at the same time. The combine should have been there at the start and the strider should have been introduced much later. After which there should be no more combine spawning. Overall, most of the map was well design and if the final battle had got cleaned up, then this could be a top map.

    The Crossing by Saints Sasha
    It is good

    The crossing had so many good things in it. To start with the negatives, most of the combat could have been more regimented as the combine soldiers in the map are not placed all too well. There were also points when there was zombie overkill. 1 or two zombies would be fine but there was a room with a lot more than that. Now, this map did a lot of good things. First off, it made use of space. As soon as you came out of the beginning area, you could see the exit. The map then led you round the level through the section you can see throughout like the dam walkway and the train yard. Another good thing was the combine at the beginning. The fact you don’t have a gun means that you cannot shoot him. This makes the map more like a living world. It makes it more like a scenario that would happen. The navigation was good so the player was traversing the level at a really good pace. If the combat was made much better, this map could definitely be something great.

    So that is my review. I will not give the whole Ville a “recommendation” as its too difficult to group the maps together under one rating as they are all so different.

    1. Thank you for your reply.
      So, for the first part. I note the fact of delaying the goo and leave time to the player to learn the mechanics. Actually, I decompile all of the Half-life² maps, and I’m analyzing how the maps were made, and how they push the player to a new thing, with leaving the time to learn and all that kind of thing!
      For the thing of the conveyor, I should have told the player what they actually do. This is totally my fault and I should have worked on them harder… Sorry :/
      For the cinematic, it was just to tell the player, what door to go after the test. I should have speed up a bit the cinematic BTW.
      Like I said in my dev comment, yeah this part was taken by the portal early alpha.
      And again, I take note about the fighting zone. It’s actually one of my biggest problem in hammer. Playing with NPC’s that are enemies to the player… And I do not really know when to stop…
      And for the final sequence, I’ve got a gameplay mechanics with the force field, that activate and deactivate the suit, to be protected against the goo. So I decided to make this second map!
      However, I do not really know what test I should give to the player. So I came up with this (bad) idea!
      So again, thank you about your reply, and your report! I’ll do my best next time with your help!

  16. Play It Now!
    Ups and Downs
    It is good

    I liked this one. Good design and mechanics and the onslaught was a surprise lol. Very frantic but I enjoyed it even though I thought that the fast zombies didn’t suit the environment – I kept getting knocked into the slime! But this small map offers some good action.

    Rebel Takedown
    It is okay

    Well, this was short and sweet. Very sweet though, if incredibly amateur … but perhaps it’s the authors first map? Well, it’s great fun even if the content isn’t there. Perhaps zombies littering the outdoor area would have worked here along and distant structures with snipers to enjoy picking off? Anyhow, it’s pretty noob and I’m sure many will dislike it but it’s nice and worth a play. I played it twice lol. Work on this – I want more please!

    278
    It is bad

    Damn those lonnnnng corridors and then the quite voice… It was a panic as the toxic was rising and fast too but this was no slippy-slidey fun. Sorry, but frustrating is the word. I almost hated this level!

    Detour
    It is great!

    Absolutely superb this although sometimes I was left scratching my head for a moment or two. Brilliantly done with just the right amount of action (ignoring the big battles that is for now). I also really loved the map design and seeing the road blocked and then the crane … throughout the design was awesome and well done.
    What I didn’t like was the zombie invasion part which was agonisingly OTT. That elevator was the slowest the world has ever seen and really killed any enthusiasm I had. It took me several attempts which was good in itself but it was just too much, for too long, and I was glad when this was over. Umm I dunno why I didn’t like that, but it didn’t work for me.
    The next battle was AWESOME. The floor breaking up etc, etc.. Superbly done. However, when running to my car, I was disappointed that there wasn’t a few combine popping up or even a sniper somewhere, but hey.. overall, a great map (almost a PF)!!

    Inconvenient Pollution
    It is okay

    I quite like the old skool simplicity of this but, overall, it didn’t seem to work well. It’s got some nice action but little to capture my explorational desires, nor did I find it particularly well detailed. The sniper was a bit lame, but I generally enjoyed the action here afterwards. It was a great idea battling across the toxic slime and the chopper was easy to kill but that doesn’t bother me because I’m sick of battling these at the end of people’s maps! lol

    Tunnel Vision
    It is great!

    My favourite map so far and I don’t normally care for puzzlers but my little gnome friend is superb! I loved his sense of humour 😉 but the volume needed to be a bit higher. The map design and integration was astounding – I loved playing here!! I’m glad the puzzles weren’t boring too, a good balance. The action throughout was also superb and never OTT. Also loved my gnome’s warning when the zombies were coming – classic!! However, what stops this map from being a PF of mine was the ending. I know there’s gotta be some climax to any map but this kinda went on for too long and was very hard too (for someone with my skills lol). IF it would have ended there then I’d have been 50/50 but then the chopper came and this drrrrrrragged on and on and on and on! (Oh and my frame rate often dropped to a near slideshow during these end parts).

    The ending ruined what was quite literally a fantastic map. With a little MORE light and a different ending, this would have been a perfect 10. But it’s still fantastic!

    Toxic Fields
    It is great!

    Wow I loved (almost) every second playing this map. So open and a large area with a great design. It was fun trying to plot my way through the grunge and hopping over stuff. I loved this! However, I did feel the flow was a little lacking and I made my way to areas which didn’t lead anywhere, but then again I am an explorer at heart!
    I didn’t care for the zombie ambush because it was so OTT. I mean, all those zombies in one tiny area? Well, I chickened out and stayed hidden inside the vehicle to club em from a distance!!! There also seemed to be an area after this but I didn’t know how to access it so went back to the force-field building, where I was set upon by lots of soldiers. This was okay but didn’t seem to work well within the environment – I think lots of slow zombies would have been superb!!! Perhaps also with the ability to climb up and finding a crossbow to play with… hmm!

    The end jump was nicely done and I was gutted to see the end to a good map.

    With tweaks to a few daft ideas (like the zombie ambush and the soldiers mentioned previously) this can easily be very awesome. Every other part of the game, I loved. What a great design and I enjoyed the look and feel with the grungy colours. The lighting was a little off, darker areas are far too dark imho and there wasn’t enough done for actual atmosphere, a bit of toxic mist or something here and there…

    Overall, I loved playing this map!!

    Sludge Hole
    It is great!

    Another map I liked and a style I didn’t expect. I felt this could have gone on longer and been an excellent adventure! The potential here is huge for such a map. I loved the outdoors scene but I often felt a little more attention to detail could have been added with more extras. It was a little too clean and bear bones in places. Plus many rooms had nothing about them also…

    This map offers a great journey and one I wanted to go on and on, if I’m honest, I enjoyed it that much. The second part had me worried at first when I saw the distant antlions, of which I am not a fan. Thankfully, here is a mapper that knows a constant onslaught of these stupid critters is nothing but annoying. So, to see a couple popping-up every now and then was a huge relief and that alone added to my enjoyment of this adventure. Then when I came upon that huge lump of goo that needed crossing, well, this was tough but it’s a great idea and I loved the crossbow!! This mapper is hitting all the things I love!

    More into the details and we have a winner. An awesome map imho!

    Drain The Swamp
    It is bad

    I liked the name but I didn’t like this map.
    Sorry but I was left wondering just what to do and found it rather frustrating.

    Floodgates
    It is okay

    Hmm that start was really weird, I didn’t get it. I arrived in a room with little about it – and was then clubbed by, erm, nobody I saw… The setting after was good, if lacking details, and I found the sludge through the toxic a bit dull so I was glad it didn’t last too long! The puzzles where nice but everything felt a little awkward and longwinded.

    The end scene going across the rising toxic waters was almost brilliant! It would have been nice to use a crossbow to reach the distant enemies, but an ammo box was nearby and I simply used round after round to kill most soldiers – to save my legs running back n forth! I also liked how the dumb soldier would run out and get killed by the slime… This part I really did like but like the rest of the map, needed lots more to the atmosphere and a little more thought into the environment and equipment.

    I enjoyed this and would love to see it improved!!

    Uplifted
    It is okay

    Arggh I so wanted more from this map! Just like Floodgates, I can see so much potential here. The layout and designs are excellent and I loved the staggered zombie assaults. Basic on puzzles (good) and tasks but that’s okay for a smaller map.

    This needs to be bigger and more to it. Another I’d love to see improved!

    I need water
    It is bad

    Feels old skool and lacks so much detail and any fresh ideas. What’s here is okay and I liked the spiderness of it all, which was different. However, it needs lots more work. And I needed a drink after playing this incredibly short map! 😉

    Waste Management
    It is great!

    Wow I was shocked just how much I enjoyed this level considering it features things I generally dislike : very poor lighting, those damn antlions, and a panicky mad dash at the end!!! Yep, everything I normally hate lol.
    However, even though it looks bad, I really enjoyed this map! Oh and I must congrat the mapper because he used Antlions perfectly – it never became a stupid OTT invasion. Which is just excellent. Loved this.

    Water Back
    It is bad

    Basic and poor looking with little attention to detail. Low on weapons/ammo/health and because of of the lack of details and interesting design each area felt too large and boring.

    The first toxic waste area is far too hard. And the gas can idea was a tough one which wasn’t really necessary. Everything after was OTT, for me. Sorry but I didn’t enjoy this map overall.

    Escape From Dirty Sewers
    It is bad

    Sorry but I also didn’t enjoy this at all. The map was well designed in terms of its layout and some cool ideas, but it was overly dark I thought which ruins the atmosphere.
    I thought the battles throughout where OTT and unnecessarily hard. I mean come on – black zombies – with a crowbar! My first attempt was a bust – I blew myself up as I smashed the crate and automatically picked up the grenade. Because I couldn’t see, I hit the fire button thinking that I still had the crowbar! But then I couldn’t escape because both the zombie and black zombie had my penned in lol. Also needs to be better thought out with regards to weapons, I thought.

    And add a few extra lights. Sure it’s a sewer, but it needed it so bad…

    Blight Town
    It is great!

    I loved how this played out and I never felt safe and comfortable – which had me on the edge of my seat! Great design and ideas and strangely this didn’t feel like a HL2 map, not to me anyhow. But this is no bad thing, and I liked the change plus it was “just enough” in terms of length.

    Hiding all the health and ammo in the grass was a brilliant idea! When the Hunters came, I thought “Ohh no!!” and legged it to the big doors! Behold, they opened and I sneaked through without a battle!! Was I supposed to do this? Perhaps this environment would have been more in their favour than mine anyhow, so I legged it! Other than them appearing, I love this map!

    Good map this and one I think many will enjoy.

    Antlion Farm
    It is okay

    This is one of those moments you realise you’re the only one that doesn’t like what everybody else seems to love!
    I don’t know why but I just didn’t care for the style and playability of this map. It looks pretty decent but I just didn’t feel the love. Sorry.

    The Crossing
    It is good

    This feels like a first time mod to me – but a damn good one. I see lots of potential and many good ideas. I hope the mapper learns and continues on because the design was nice and I liked the sneaking parts at the beginning. The train yard idea was cool but could have been better. Sadly, the soldiers throughout tended to be a little lame and would just stand there like noobs waiting to be shot.

    Yeah, lots of good ideas here and I hope the mapper continues on to get better.

    1. Hi, maker of Tunnel Vision here.
      Thank you for your reply. I’m flattered that my map was close to becoming a personal favorite of yours. I agree that the ending needed quite a bit of tweaking, but that was the part that suffered from time constraints and was made in a haste. Glad you enjoyed the rest if it, though.

      1. Thanks for replying, it’s a truly brilliant map with so much content – I loved it. Except those end parts 😉 but I hope you make many more maps 🙂

    2. Thank you for your reply!
      A lttle bit more of information of the thing I have to work on would help. But I can undertsa

      1. Wow, Phillip, I think I’ve got a bug on this comment?

    3. Thank you for your reply!
      A little bit more of information on the thing I have to work on would help. But I can understand you. I already got some return of people saying the corridor where too long, and I figured that too lately in the dev process…
      But please, could you develop your comment next time. The reply of everyone is very important for us, as mapper.

      1. Apologies, I think it was the idea and mechanics behind the idea of the slippy / jumping once the toxic waste began to rise. This I felt was OTT (being slippy at that point) and that’s what I was basically getting at. Just my personal opinion on something which irk’d me as the player, that’s all. I can see others liking it too however… Thanks 🙂

        1. Yeah, I think I really made it too difficult. I just have to found people to test my map. And to do my homework as a mapper, continue mapping for getting new technics and all that kind of things!

  17. Play It Later

    Spoiler alert for every entry.

    I’m not reviewing every map since there are so many and I’m too lazy. I don’t think I have anything relevant to say about all maps anyway, so please don’t feel offended if your map isn’t here. It doesn’t mean I didn’t like your map.

    Ups and Downs by Paws (First time entrant)
    It is okay

    The puzzle at the start of the map isn’t a puzzle. There is always a clear thing I can and have to do. I don’t have to make any decisions. I press the button, water levels change. I jump on the platform, press the other button. I go up, press the next button. I jump down, press the button to change the water levels again. Jump on the platform and press the final button. It is a clear and linear sequence of actions I am supposed to do.

    Besides, the goo isn’t really important for this puzzle. It could have been done the same way with a lot of other gameplay elements, so it also doesn’t gain any points there from me. The second part of this map was a little more interesting, with a lot of hazards. Although these can easily become frustrating when dealing with tons of fast zombies, it was alright. Not a bad map.

    278 by Ttiki
    It is bad

    This map has a lot of issues, but I still enjoyed it in some weird way. The puzzles are bad, because not only do I have to solve the puzzle itself, I have to figure what the things do I am supposed to interact with. Most of these puzzles also lack goo, but I guess the author wanted to start simple and slowly increase the complexity, but even though he did that, the map still failed to tell me what I’m supposed to do.

    As I said, I still enjoyed the map a little in some weird way. The second part with the rising goo is completely crazy. Slippery thin platforms where a tiny mistake will kill you is crazy and I have no idea what the author was thinking, but it reminded me of some surf or deathrun maps in Counter-Strike.

    Detour by Osko (First time entrant)
    It is good

    This map has too many issues that affected the experience negatively, which is why I don’t give it the best rating, even though it is very well crafted. It wasn’t really fun to play though.
    Multiple times I didn’t knew where I’m supposed to go. Why? Because a floor hatch is hidden and there is no indication about it whatsoever. Why is it hidden in the first place? At a different section the map leads me to a roof, but I’m supposed to destroy some random wooden beam that is not anywhere near that roof, but behind it. There are places which look like you can jump there, but then you get killed instantly by a trigger.

    But even apart from the issues, the map wasn’t really memorable, except the final battle. Before that you have the very usual type of gameplay from Half-Life 2, although mostly exploration based. There is one bigger fight in the middle, but it is set up in a weird way. Enemies spawn in the goo down the ramp, and there is a mounted gun up top to shoot them, but those enemies aren’t attacking me anyway, so what’s the point? Instead I’m fighting mostly fast zombies on a tiny square platform. Not bad, but not amazing.

    Also the goo barely played a role in this map. You jump across it here and there, some enemies spawn here and there inside it, but that’s it. The final battle could be where the goo takes a bigger role, but it doesn’t really. There is a safe spot, which is very obvious, but also just the best spot available, so you can completely ignore the goo. Sure, there must be a safe spot incase the fight goes so long that the chopper destroys all platforms, but that safe spot should be a very disadvantageous position, where the player would only go as the last hope for survival.

    Seems like I’m hating the map, but I’m just pointing out all these issues it has in my opinion, because apart from that it is so well made, and if these issues didn’t exist, it could have been amazing. It’s the potential of the map that is what makes me angry. I’m still giving it a good rating, since it’s just a good map. I feel like this map didn’t have any playtesting, which could solve all these rather small issues (that add up).

    Inconvienent Pollution by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
    It is okay

    I didn’t like the previous map from this author, but this one is way better. The goo might not be implemented in some interesting way, but apart from it it offers solid gameplay. The first puzzle with the mirror was weird. No one will realize that that is a mirror. I just randomly threw a grenade into the room and progressed like that. Also the lighting from the light_enviroment looks bad, but maybe it’s just me. It seems too yellow. Don’t you use values from official maps? (Which you can find on the Valve Developer Wiki, google for “List of HL2/EP2 Skyboxes”)

    Tunnel Vision by Dats Ridonkulous (First time entrant)
    It is good

    I’m not a fan of the gnome, since it’s an overused joke at this point, so that part of the map didn’t win it extra points for me. Although I have to give credit to the author for making it at least a little different with the pitched up voice lines. I have three complaints about this map:

    Multiple times I didn’t knew where I am supposed to go. The levels seem uneccessarily complex (even though they aren’t that complex really). This might also have something to do with my second complaint: The map doesn’t look great. Most places use the same grey/brown textures and there aren’t any landmarks which help you orientate. It’s not a bad looking map, but a boring looking map.

    My third complaint are the puzzles, since like in Ups and Downs, most of the time there was a clear linear sequence of things I have to do, which made the puzzles trivial. They were still fun to do though, especially because of the comments from the gnome, which worked as a reward.

    The final battle could be good, but got tedious fast because of the seemingly never ending combine which keep coming from the same place with the same weapon. Overall not my favorite map but one of the better ones of the pack.

    Toxic Fields by Lucia (First time entrant)

    This map started cool and had a cool enviroment, but it got weird real fast and I died in a later section of the map and there aren’t any autosaves. In a challenge with 18 entries I’m not gonna replay everything again.

    Waste Management by Sockman
    It is good

    This map kept surprising me. At first it might look like a beginner entry, and maybe that’s true, but I love this map. It looks really bad, the displacements are very low resolution and pointy. The textures are not well chosen, most rooms are just big square rooms with bad lighting. But the implementation of the goo is just really good, fun, creative, not polished maybe, but this map deservers a lot of extra points in this regard.

    My favorite moment, although maybe not exactly intended, is when you raise the water to swim “over” the goo, just to be suddenly be in the danger of drowning. I think the author could have experimented more with this. I also love this map because it has a clear progression of complexity and a climax that feels like a climax, that isn’t the usual strider/gunship fight.
    Make more maps!

    Antlion Farm by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
    It is great!

    This map has awesome ideas, cool little details, and felt like a complete standalone map, kinda like “Lost Coast”. My favorite is the part where you find this machine that seems to be harvesting the antlion grubs, which scream in pain. It’s not just a one-time event, it keeps on going until you find a way to shut it down. It kinda reminded me of some sections from Portal 2. I love how the antlion guardian at the start keeps trying to smash the gate. It creates a cool “soundscape” and is an event independent from the player, that makes the world feel more real.

    The goo didn’t play a huge role in this map though, and when it did, it was the boring platforming thing with the gravity gun. If this was “AntlionVille” this map would probably win. My other complaint is the final battle. It could have been amazing, but it becomes tedious and frustrating rather quickly, and the infuriating thing about it is that it could be fixed so easily. Why do I get rushed by a group of 3 to 4 soldiers with AR2 rifles? This weapon can be extremely frustrating to fight if not used correctly, but here I get attacked by multiple of them while they charge towards me.

    When I kill a wave, the next wave seems to spawn immediately. There is barely any room to breath. Simply replacing their weapons with the SMGs would already make this fight a ton better. At the end the reward for the fight still felt satisfying, but it drags the map down a bit, especially since the author completely ignored the goo here for some reason.

    1. oh, one more thing about Detour: I didn’t even find the goddamn ladder at the start! I kept looking around, then jumped over the railing, hoping that I don’t take damage. Already there it felt like I’m doing the wrong thing, which probably tinted my opinion about the map a lot. Just when I watched other people’s playthrough I saw the ladder … Why isn’t there a light? Why don’t you use the white ladder skin? Why is the ladder in the corner? WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?!

    2. Hey, great feedback here! Yeah the strider fight was messy. Only the combine elite spawn with the AR2, the regular ones are using the SMG, so changing their weapons wouldn’t do much. There is a timer that spawn combines every 20 seconds which is why you kept seeing them respawn. I’ve heavily tweaked the strider fight since then and provided Phillip the updated version. The fight is better paced now, the strider has more health and focus on the player only, the combines are only spawned on contextual cues (when you progress through the arena, not on a timer), and the arena changes more during the fight. Hopefully yall forgive me for this mess of a finale.

      1. I only played the Early-Early Access version of your map btw, I totally forgot to replay it.

        1. I’ve sent the updated version on the 20th, so after the RTSL release. Hopefully you will be able to play it alongside jim’s bonus map when the mod gets updated.

    3. Thank you for your reply Crowbar!
      I’m happy you found my map entertaining on some rare point. For the jump, section, I wanted something really basic, goo that rise, however, I really wanted to make it harder, maybe too much. And I’m sorry about that, I don’t really know where to stop. I start a thing, I’m telling to myself, this is hard I’m going to add a bunch of them, but not too much, and at the end, I ended with a map with too much hard thing…
      And, I wanted something punitive, if you failed, you die, because I’m not a kind person and I like to see people dying and raging! I’m sorry about that… They already try to intern me in an
      psychiatric asylum, but they failed, sorry, a bit crazy on point like that 🙂
      For the puzzle part, I wanted a transparent tutorial, first with just the box and the button,
      then, add the color aspect, with a glowing thing in the button to tell to the player where to put the green box, and the red box, then introducing the goo. And I’m really sorry you didn’t really understand the thing… I should have added some explication to this section.

      1. you just need to playtest your maps before you release them 🙂

        1. Yeah, I know, but I haven’t got a lot of real playtester… *snif*

  18. Maybe?

    ToxicVille slightly disappointed me. A lot of the maps sadly used the same mechanics as Half-Life 2 and didn’t do anything creative with toxic slime. I can’t blame them though: despite me absolutely loving the theme of this ville, I wasn’t able to come up with anything that I thought would be worth making either! Hence why I didn’t participate. I’m sure there is potential for very interesting and new interpretations of toxic slime, but equally it is also very hard to grasp.
    Nonetheless, there were a few maps that really stood out and interpreted the theme very well! Though, this isn’t a ville I would recommend playing the moment you have some free time, as there are many others that probably turned out better.

    WARNING: Spoilers Below.
    (My reviews are intended for the entrants and people who have already played the maps, and thus could contain spoilers that may ruin the experience for those who have not played yet)

    Ups and Downs by Paws
    It is okay

    Ups and Downs is alright for a beginner’s map. While the environment is not entirely realistic, I liked the initial puzzle with the three lights; it uses back-and-forth movement well. The appearance of the map is also good! The outside area is convincing and resembles HL2 warehouse / canal areas well, and the little ‘slime maze’ just below looks nice. However, this map’s worst aspect is the zombie battle at the end. Sadly, it felt a lot like zombies were just spammed and, in my case, the only tactic was to try and get to the end as fast as possible and then shoot zombies off while waiting for the door to open.
    Overall, this map’s okay. I hope to see more from you in the future, there’s definitely more potential both visually and in gameplay.

    Rebel Takedown by HighFire

    [No Rating] I believe it wouldn’t be fair to judge this map on the same terms as others. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get anywhere past the first door to the Combine base, and couldn’t get cover in the open space where the gunner was shooting.
    It’s good that you were brave enough to upload the map to the site, and if you work hard on your skill, watch more mapping tutorials and ask around for help if you have any questions, you’ll be able to improve and make cooler creations!

    278 by Ttiki
    It is bad

    I don’t have much to say about 278. The initial corridor that we go through looks like a very interesting structure, and the visual design of the first few paths that we take is great, but after that the map’s quality drops significantly (due to a low amount of detail and general blockyness, both of which can easily be fixed in future maps). Dying at the slime climbing part closer to the end didn’t seem to have much of an impact as I spawned back at the top, but in general the section was fun although somewhat annoying due to the trigger_push used (either that, or glass is very slippery).
    The puzzle section with the crates wasn’t too engaging either. Just getting the crates and putting them into the right holes is the same puzzle that Portal 1 uses for the first 2 minutes of the game. And sadly, the mechanic of jumping on little boxes over a pit filled with toxic goo isn’t new, so the entire puzzle section feels dull. I was also able to cheat easily by pulling the red box just at its very edge, so I wouldn’t have to spend time jumping from box to box atop the slime.
    Finally, the boss fight at the end didn’t actually have any zombies attacking me because they all stood around at the edge and didn’t move anywhere past that, so I simply waited for the door to open and finished.
    As is the case with some other maps, 278 has potential, but perhaps a lack of time or skill didn’t fully flesh out the concept that had been imagined. However, I’m sure that with more work and practice, further creations will be more fun. Good job for participating!

    Detour by Osko
    It is good

    While I was writing my review, Detour started off at “It’s Okay” directly after I played it, went to “It’s Great” when I rewatched part of my demo, and settled on “It’s Good” when I remember the problems it had.
    The gameplay is fun, the visuals are fantastic and completely reminiscent of Half-Life 2: Episode 2’s outlands and their abandoned industrial buildings, and the clear effort put into this map really shows. The combat is great, as is the traversal of the environment. However, I ended up getting stuck a lot (two of the times being due to vents). After I fell into the first underground area, I just hopped over the slime and spent a good bit of time trying to find something there before realizing that I must actually jump over the scaffolding and then proceed to throw a grenade into a vent to open the door which lead to where I needed to go. A second time I got stuck was in the kitchen area down some stairs, where I spent another good bit of time looking for a vent on the floor that I somehow didn’t notice at all. Then I also got stuck in the final warehouse area, also because I didn’t see a vent. I saw the ladder leading to… seemingly nowhere, which made me question my sanity, and I left it while I went to explore every single corner of that damn warehouse… until I came back and realized there was a vent just above that ladder.
    Either way, the ending was… quite disappointing, again using the same helicopter bomb throwing as the other maps. Granted, this isn’t too bad, and I’d have enjoyed it (because of the creative addition of breakable floors) if the helicopter didn’t decide at some point to fly away from the warehouse and start infinitely spawning mines there, where I couldn’t get them. So, naturally, I couldn’t progress in the map and ended up moving on.
    Great map, but has some stuff that could use polishing. Also, I dropped out of the cart that went down into the slime and had no way of getting across other than noclip.

    Inconvenient Pollution by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
    It is okay

    Inconvenient Pollution wasn’t a particularly memorable map for me. The combat often involved either pixel shooting some Combines at the distance with nothing other than an SMG (I believe?) and then just hiding and hopping between cover while shooting Combines that were coming at me. The final boss battle at the end isn’t a new concept either, and considering the limited area I could walk around in, it wasn’t terribly exciting.
    However, the visual design of the map, the town filled with toxic goo, is the thing that I quite like. Even though it’s very simple, it feels like its own little area inside Half-Life 2’s universe, and that’s something I enjoy thinking about.

    Tunnel Vision by DatsRidonkulous
    It is great!

    Honestly, this map surprised me. The main mechanic is very simple, but nonetheless fun and well thought-out. I like how the map progressed, especially at the beginning, and the fights and slight puzzles were also nice. The appearance of the main areas is nice, and the final arena also looks great. However, the battle with the Combine involved a lot of wall covering and waiting. Sadly, the helicopter battle was also very boring. There wasn’t any reason to move away from the elevator, and the space to walk around in was limited. Mostly, I just had to wait for the helicopter to stop shooting while I stood behind unbreakable cover, and then throw as many bombs back as I can to finish it off quicker. Bonus points (remember those?) for the gnome and that ending!
    Also, a few technical issues: as you probably already know, the gnome can’t be picked up from under the slime. I had to use mat_wireframe 1 and hit it with the crowbar to get it above the water and catch it. In this situation, I would suggest making it jump up periodically when in water so the player can catch him. Also, as with many other maps, the moving toxic slime experiences the shadow “bug”, which I’ll say the fix for at the end of the review.

    Toxic Fields by Lucia
    It is good

    I really like the visual design of Toxic Fields. The wreck is amazingly crafted, with bits of walls, furniture, vehicles, and all kinds of things sticking together to make a place for living (presumably somewhere homeless people or rebels used to stay before it was overtaken by toxic slime?).
    However, I must’ve completely broken the flow of the map. I was confused where to go, ended up going to a part of the map I wasn’t supposed to be in (without knowing it), and ended up being even more lost. Sadly, I had to stop because I couldn’t do anything. I’d love to revisit the map and play it as intended though.

    Sludge Hole by Ethosaur
    It is bad

    It’s a shame I must give this score to Etho, but personally I did not find Sludge Hole fun to play. The driving section at the beginning seems a bit pointless, considering how quickly it ends. The bridge jump isn’t placed too well, since there isn’t much space for a run-up. Also, the jalopy uses the jeep sounds instead of its own, which I find a little annoying.
    Regarding the second map, there are a few issues as well. First off, I don’t see a reason for a second map at all considering the little cave area could probably fit into the first map just fine. Second off, I had to pixel hunt the Combine soldiers at the other end of the toxic gap because I didn’t initially spot the cave with the crossbow. Second-and-a-half, pressing the button on the control panel does the sound and shaking again even if it has already been pressed (make sure to check your I/O).
    And finally, the helicopter battle could be better thought through. The battle music started very late into the chase / fight, which seems slightly weird. And the boss battle itself really didn’t allow me to do anything. The rebels pushed the helicopter with RPGs too far away for me to grab any of its constantly flowing mines, and I simply had to wait until they slowly killed it with rockets.

    Drain The Swamp by Dirk Destiny

    [No Rating] Drain The Swamp didn’t make much sense to me. I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do. At first I thought that the slime got removed permanently when the valve was turned, but I was wrong. However, reaching the door on the other side wasn’t possible either, because it was locked (I think?) and the slime came back way too quickly. So sadly, I had to stop, because I didn’t know how to progress.

    Floodgates by 1upD
    It is okay

    Floodgates has an interesting premise. I applaud the use of Faceposer to create scenes, as I know how crappy it can be to work with, and I liked that there was a relatively simple story involved. The concept of the arena is also quite creative! If the area itself was made a bit more interesting, it’d be great.
    I’d say that the map was alright, but it could be polished and lengthened. Also, I’m not sure if sprint was removed on purpose, but – it doesn’t really make the map more difficult or interesting; it just makes the player hop around.

    Uplifted by Minesweeper
    It is okay

    Uplifted is a beautifully crafted map, but the gameplay doesn’t bring anything overly special. It’s a fun experience to go through, however. The metropolice ambush was a neat addition, but there was really no place for the player to go or cover, so I ended up getting brought down to 8 HP by a stream of bullets coming from above, and from two different directions, while I had to try and shoot badly visible enemies through the grating.
    Overall, I’d say this entry is alright. It does use the toxic slime as it’s main element, but for this ville I was against the use of more or less unchanged jumping across props the same way as HL2 does it.

    I Need Water by Tiop
    It is bad

    I Need Water wasn’t really fun to play. Some of the concept ideas (like breaking the crystals to purify the water) are nice, but I found the map very frustrating due to the big amounts of headcrabs all around, getting stuck on things and getting killed by a hurt trigger that’s still active even after the water is filled up (just not completely). The map could be improved if it had been playtested more.
    Don’t take this as an insult though, I only write reviews to help people improve their mapping skill.

    Waste Management by Sockman
    It is good

    Despite Waste Management’s rough visuals, unreasonable locations (water treatment facilities don’t have valves 5m up a wall) and low detailing, I enjoyed playing it. The mechanic of changing water height isn’t new, but it wasn’t boring to go through the map.
    What absolutely sold it to me is the ending. While the wall of toxic slime is incredibly derpy-looking, it was very engaging to run through the sewers. The map’s quality jumped, and the spawning of enemies (and maybe other events?) around me was well performed. The most satisfying bit was getting out onto the surface and seeing the slime flow by, devastating everything where I’d just been.

    Water Back by Егор Стрельников

    [No Rating] As with Rebel Takedown, I don’t think it would be fair to judge this map alongside the others, so I’ll just give my brief overview. Water Back is an ambitious but okay map for a beginner. The journey is well laid out and has a definite beginning and end. I like the fact that the map tries to use different styles, like the EP2 mining cave, (presumably) Outlands and also a beach. And of course, the objective is always clear to the player (mainly getting the airbot), at least making sure that I’m not confused by what I’m actually trying to do in the map. However, one thing that should definitely never be done is a big space filled with toxic slime, and only a few props to use as scaffolding to get to the other side. This is the only part of the map I had to skip because it would undoubtedly have been unbearably boring.
    Good job on uploading it to the competition! As I’ve said for Rebel Takedown, “watch more mapping tutorials and ask around for help if you have any questions, you’ll be able to improve and make cooler creations!”

    Escape from Dirty Sewers by MistaHeita
    It is great!

    Escape from Dirty Sewers delivers both visually and gameplay-wise. The sewers look stunning, with all the fog, particle effects, sprites, lights, and other details. The gameplay was simplistic but fun, although it took me quite a while to find the vent (the one after the crowbar), and I’m not sure how exactly the player is meant to get to it, because I had to jump around the vertical beams and I found it difficult, so I’m not sure that’s the best thing to force less experienced players to do.
    Also, it doesn’t make much sense for the objective to be ‘escape the sewers’ considering we literally entered them willingly at the beginning. And if we’re using them as a detour, ‘exit the sewers’ would probably be more fitting. But y’know, just nitpicking.

    Blight Town by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is great!

    Honestly, Crowbar, you’ve gone quite a long way since Megastructure back in 2015. Good work on your progress and improvements!
    Blight Town is a fun entry to play, with a good appearance (even custom models this time?), level design and use of music. Alternating between Combines and zombies is a clever way of keeping gameplay from getting boring. The use of logs as a way to get across toxic slime also made me smile when I figured it out.
    However, if I were to point out the problems, I’d say that this style is more… RPG rather than FPS, perhaps? Because, realistically, it doesn’t make much sense that the Combine groups didn’t know of my existence until after I attack each one, so these are more like quest encounters. But seeing as this is now a part of Crowbar’s style, it’s not inherently a bad thing, just different. On the technical side, though, there are points at which it’s easy to see Combines spawning in (it’d be neater if they walked out of concealed places and started patrolling), and it seemed kinda off that calm music was playing while I battled the hunters at the end. It’d make more sense to only start quiet music at the very end, when no enemies are left.
    Other than that, great job! This is a solid ToxicVille map.

    Antlion Farm by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
    It is WOW!

    Is there a rating higher than “It’s Wow”? Because Antlion Farm absolutely deserves that rating. This map went above and beyond my expectations for entries in this competition. When I play every map, I write down positives and negatives in a notepad, so I’m just gonna paste that here. This is what I wrote while I was playing Antlion Farm:
    “+ Amazing huge structure, love it
    + Love the addition of the fall and body break sound effects
    + Amazing displacement work
    + Holy shit that scripting, the antlions getting killed, the antlion guard attacking the door that is amazing!
    + OH MY GOD THE CUSTOM EXPLODABLE PROPS
    + THE UNDERGROUND CAVE IS AMAZING
    + Elevator idea was just great
    + Amazing visual design overall
    + THE WASTE DISPOSAL THING LOOKS SO CREATIVE (I’m talking about the three little tubes that spit out slime)
    + I love the antlions doing stuff at the top like showering in the slime and walking about!
    + Seeing Combines in an antlion cave is interesting
    + That… torture thing that they use on the grubs… that is horrible. Genius storytelling
    + It’s good that the antlion guard was introduced early on”

    and, of course, who wouldn’t love the final ascend in the lift and seeing the antlion guard walk up and wreck some stuff? And the strider introduction is also very nicely done.
    But oh no, there just has to be something bad… the strider battle is a great conclusion to the map, with the antlion guard fighting alongside you, and I was already in the mood of revenging the antlions for the atrocities that the Combine is pulling off, but the fight itself was quite weak. It was very easy to die by the almost non-stop soldiers and get distracted, so I only really got enough time to attack the strider once everyone was dead.
    And of course… the worst problem in the map…
    Truly Horrifying
    Other than that; what a fantastic job you have done, Klems! Thank you for absolutely saving this ville for me. I’ll be infinitely looking forward to everything you make in the future!

    The Crossing by Saints Sasha
    It is bad

    The Crossing didn’t really fit ToxicVille because it only used the slime at one point in the map to open up a way to go. And it’s not like we had to avoid it in the first place, since it was just off to the side. The premise of the level was also quite confusing: where are we going, what are we doing? I didn’t even know the button was gonna bring down the toxic slime when I pressed it. And after that, I also pulled an electricity plug that didn’t seem to do much other than trigger an Overwatch alert.
    Also, at the very beginning, there was a warehouse simply entirely filled with zombies and headcrabs, and as far as I remember we only had a crowbar at that point. That’s not good level design, especially with the door that forces you to slowly rotate it open, ensuring the player first has to kill all the zombies.

    Fixing The Shadow Bug

    In reality, this isn’t truly a bug, because technically the lighting acts as intended. What often happens is toxic slime that’s meant to move is obstructed more by terrain before it moves than after, but since its baked lighting is kept the same throughout, shadows that were cast by terrain that’s no longer there remain.
    The fix for this is very simple. Simply start the toxic slime in a less obstructed position (for example, above the terrain), and then lower it to the desired position using a logic_auto. That way, its baked lighting will be fully illuminated even when it’s fully raised.

    1. Thank you for your reply!
      So, thank you, about the report of no details on some point, really appreciated! I’ll fix that next ti
      me!
      For the thing of the conveyor, I wanted something a bit hard that push the player to continue without taking their time. And for the glass, it was the thing I wanted. Sorry, I’m sadic.
      I’ll try to make easier and less annoying thing next time, promise! And if my next entrance is still annoying, you’ll have the possibility to torture me!
      For the puzzle section. Thank you for your bug report, I really try to make the crate impossible to take from the initial Island! Normally, the activator/ deactivator fence, in the second map, would have been used for this section. However, due to a really frustrating bug with hammer, I didn’t include the fences… I should have.
      And for the final battle, I’m sorry, but sometimes, on some try I make, when testing the map with [EH]MagikEuskara, the zombies won’t budge, and they would stand on the edges without nothing happening. I’m sorry about that.
      And thank you for your support. I’ll make my best next time. With a bit of luck, the next competition will be during holidays, I’ll have time to make a really good map!

  19. Unq
    Play It Now!

    Wow, 18 entries! An awesome turnout for what I originally thought to be kind of a humdrum theme (sorry Jim). We got the usual mixture of maps, with some really strong ones in there. This was really a tough one to judge, but in a good way!

    Some maps really made good use of the toxic theme. For others, it kind of seemed like a side thought. And the new mappers really should be able to learn a lot from the better maps in this pack. The look of the toxic goo, for example, varies widely among all the maps – in some maps it’s static and dark and tiled texture is obvious. In other maps it looks great, shiny, sometimes with green fog, and it’s kept to areas where the tiled texture can’t really be seen.

    We had so many first-time entrants and clearly some new mappers, thank you all for entering! And there are really some outstanding maps in this pack. Definitely worth playing.

    Ups and Downs

    This map was split into 2 main sections, and unfortunately they didn’t tie well together. I actually rather liked the first part, where you have to puzzle out how to reach the 3 buttons to advance. Nothing complex, of course, but I was interested because I expected the map to further develop that puzzle idea in the next section(s). But unfortunately the puzzle aspect was over and it was defend-the-really-slow-door time. That was really made pretty easy with all the explosive barrels at your disposal – then the map was over all too soon. I also thought the toxic goo idea just wasn’t utilized that well. Yes, the open sewer-type area with the zombies had slime but it also had plenty of easy pathways to avoid the slime which kind of goes against the concept. I didn’t have any problem with this map (except the instantly spawning zombies when you hit the button), and it was generally competently put together (although the slime in the first area looked too tiled and static) – there just wasn’t much to it.

    Rebel Takedown

    This map was a tale of two experiences for the two versions I played. The first version, you didn’t get any weapons and had to make do with what your rebel friends left when they inevitably died. In the updated version, you’re given a ton of weapons including the AR2 and crossbow off the bat. I honestly can’t say it was an improvement. One version was absurdly hard and the next absurdly easy.

    But beyond that, this map appears to be from a new mapper. It has a very simple design, and didn’t really incorporate the challenge theme beyond setting the map in a toxic field – there wasn’t any gameplay aspect that was affected by having the slime other than making you slightly weave and bob as you approached the Combine base. And once inside, the soldiers just sat there among the shelves and shot back. And in the first (unarmed) version, can you guess how frustrating it was that you couldn’t pick up all the AR2s on the shelves? Yeah, this map is a nice start but really needed playtesting which I think would have exposed a lot of these issues right away.

    278

    An example of where the author was trying to do too much, particularly for a 3-week challenge. Unfortunately the end result of trying to cram in too many ideas is a mishmash of sections and no real cohesiveness – not to mention that each section has its own issues.

    I was completely frustrated with just about every aspect of this map. Why the huge wide long hallways to start? OK, so there’s a horrible platforming puzzle that means death if you make a single mistake since you have no chance to recover. Why physically push the player on some of the platforms to make the jumping harder? And why are the cable spools which are nice stable platforms in most other maps and the game itself, so unsteady and impossible to stand on for more than a second, let alone make a tough crouch jump from? And after developing your crate puzzles, why turn off the lights and then steal the damn HEV suit too? And it keeps going after that! None of these were actually enjoyable mechanics for the player (at least this player).

    Honestly it felt like I was being trolled while playing this. I was fighting the map itself and not the enemies. You clearly have mapping skills, but please concentrate on finding fun situations to put the player in – your map sections feel like trials where you’re aiming to make it really difficult on the player (which in theory is OK, but can quickly lead to complete frustration).

    Detour

    A fantastic map reminiscent of Episode 2’s Freeman Pontifex chapter. From the opening view on the bridge, you can kind of work out your final goal – but this map is a great, efficient use of space and makes your actual path there quite circuitous. It seems this map has a bit of everything, and is overall superbly designed. It’s not flawless however, as others have pointed out. I also have complaints about the instant-death triggers if you go the “wrong” way off the bridge and again off the crane. The kitchen floor hatch needed better highlighting to make it stand out, and perhaps the roof progression could also have been more apparent (though I did find my way through there straight away thankfully).

    As much as I liked the individual parts of this map: using the crane (though I was a bit disappointed I didn’t get any reward for grabbing the green crate off to the side), the elevator defense, and the toxic goo puzzles, I think what stands out the most is the overall layout and design of the map. I love popping up outdoors now and then but still being in the same wide open area with a different vantage point. The finale battle also had a nice twist with the addition of the roof blocking many of your possible bomb throws and the collapsing floor tiles exposing the toxic goo. This map didn’t really center around the goo, but did make pretty good use of it in the different sections. I totally enjoyed playing this map.

    Inconvienent Pollution

    A decent map here, taking place mostly in the city streets which is not a common setting for this pack. I did like this map. It was enjoyable but didn’t do anything that surprising. I did think the green fog over the toxic goo looked really cool though, I would’ve liked to have seen this in more ToxicVille maps.

    It took me longer than I’d care to admit to realize I was looking into a mirror for that first outdoor puzzle. The final battle was pretty decent, although the player is pretty limited in options for cover. Perhaps that could have been improved by waiting on the chopper until after the wall has been blown via some other method, that would open up a lot more area to run around in. Like I said, overall this map was good and I enjoyed it. Good but not great is probably the most succinct way to put it.

    Tunnel Vision

    This map nicely surprised me after kind of a slow start. Once you get to the gnome (love him or hate him) I liked the mechanic of placing him in the recessed alcoves to do something to allow you to progress. And the voices for him were funny and didn’t bother me one bit, they gave him a touch of personality without overdoing it. Most of the puzzles involve the toxic goo in one way or another. I think transporting the gnome could have been done better – for example there’s one area where you jump across some goo on cars and then can double back to a fence – it would have been ideal to be able to open a gate in the fence to grab the gnome so you didn’t have to jump with him over the goo (where he can be easily lost). But alas, there is no gate so you have to go all the way back just to grab him.

    I also really liked the final arena, although an improvement would have been to make the goo flooding times be more obvious. There I was defending the bunker and happened to look across the way and saw the goo was already pretty high, it caught me by surprise. It might have been even better to take this flooding even further, and make the player move vertically, abandoning the bunker, before the elevator comes and the final battle starts. The cat-and-mouse with the chopper was decent, although as others have pointed out you’re really restricted in your options for movement and some more open areas would have been an improvement. Still, I really liked this map and I’d say it was the most fun I had during my first playthrough of ToxicVille.

    Toxic Fields

    I quite liked this map, although it has some serious issues in the pathing for the player – both in not guiding the player at all, and allowing the player to completely break the map by doing something unexpected. My first couple attempts at this map were frustrating, in that I kept getting to a point where I simply couldn’t progress. After suspecting it was because I was bypassing necessary areas or triggers, I played again without jumping on top of much of the debris – and was able to complete the map. I think the author simply underestimated the players and the options they will try (Phillip must be a nightmare on this map). If the map was updated and the player better guided in the required path, this map could have been one of the best. I really liked the density and efficiency of map space – although the density of debris and obstacles does also contribute to confusing the player about where to go next. In order to “properly” play this map, there are a couple of buttons near the start that you have to hit in order, then a new path opens up and from there it’s pretty straightforward – and don’t go jumping up on the cars or trucks or you’ll probably break the map.

    That all said, if you do play this map “properly”, it’s rather good. It does lack autosaves and the zombies are a bit overkill in a couple of areas, but overall this is a decent entry. Hopefully the author understands the issues I and other reviewers have mentioned and can address them in future maps.

    Sludge Hole

    Kind of a mixed bag with this entry, composed of 2 maps. I liked the opening area a lot, the view of the huge toxic lake and the waterside rebel base were nifty. The lake and shore looked good but the fog leading to the far side of the lake was somehow wrong and really detracted from the view. You get to take a short drive with the jalopy (even through some toxic goo that looked way too deep to drive through), get to delightfully drive over a bunch of zombies, enter a mine/tunnel through a building, turn off the evil Combine water contaminator, then return to base. You think it’s straightforward, but the appearance of a chopper as soon as you return from the mine gives it a nice twist. Although the map change was really awkward with disappearing doors, this could have been set up much better.

    I have a couple issues with this map. Maybe overall the author bit off too much for a Ville challenge. I thought the toxic goo could have been used better. Yes, the Combine machine you have to shut down is surrounded by it (with some weird lighting) so you have a standard goo-jumping puzzle. But other than that spot and the toxic area that you can drive through, it doesn’t impact the gameplay in any way. You also get permanently stuck in the room with zombies & headcrabs that you enter through a hole in the ceiling. There’s a chair blocking the door that you can punt out of the way, but the door still doesn’t open after that. I did like the overall path of this map, the cat-and-mouse with the chopper, and even the final chopper battle although I think that went on too long. If mappers are going to use that really strong bomb-dropping chopper as an enemy, at least make the fight dynamic. Don’t just make me run out of and duck back into the same spot for cover over and over and over.

    Drain the Swamp

    A short map here, I get the idea this is from a relatively new mapper. You’re facing just a couple of large puzzle rooms – the first one is very straightforward but the second room is more complex, and the puzzle therein is a little obtuse. That said, I did really like the idea of the second puzzle, though the actual execution could have been better (and clearer). It took me forever to notice that the goo wasn’t on a timer – but it was the citizen that was calling it back in after being drained. Once I realized that, the solution was straightforward. But before that, I had been working diligently on building up my set of crates 1 or 2 at a time so I could bridge the slime with some good jumps. Well, it was a plan at least – until I finally saw the red flashing light and the citizen who was behind it all. But then the Combine come, and the ending door only unlocks once you’ve killed them all.

    As is, this map is kind of rough although there are some good ideas behind it.

    Floodgates

    I got a chuckle out of the beginning of this map, where you start fairly well armed and in about 3 seconds you’re weaponless and in prison. I have to say though, playing without being able to see your health is a bad decision. It’s bad in HL1 maps, it’s bad in HL2 as well. I understand removing the ability to sprint, and plot-wise wanting to remove the HEV suit, but from a practical point of view it’s a crappy position to put the player in, especially when there are jumping areas over toxic goo. Not cool.

    But I really liked the final area (and the nifty preview you get from the catwalks above it. I thought the draining/flooding sequence was well handled (and thankfully announced by the vox), and I actually would have liked to have seen that section expanded with more variation in the ‘safe’ places. As it stands it’s a decent sequence of moving strategically and taking out enemies when you have to, but I think that idea could have been built upon to make a really unique map. As it stands, Floodgates is solid but not extraordinary.

    Uplifted

    Uplifted is a physically small but generally nicely designed map. I quite liked the look of it (except the static-looking goo). The gameplay is pretty standard although I liked the efficiency of space and the layout of the map. However I just realized on a follow-up playthrough that you can make it from the start to the generator and back to the elevator without even needing the gravity gun to move things for you to jump on. Yeah, there aren’t really any puzzles per se (you’re told at the start to get to the generator to power the elevator), which might have been a good addition.

    I had a problem with the ending. I didn’t mind the collapsing catwalk (pretty used to them by now) – but it felt lame and cheap that the actual way to the map exit was the door right next to the generator. It would have been more satisfying if you made the player still have to exit the map up high, into the streets via some alternate method that presented itself after the catwalk collapse. Perhaps it collapses into a ramp and you have to fight your way back around the goo and climb the ramp? Uplifted doesn’t do anything out of the norm, but in general it’s a fairly decent if easy map. Unfortunately I did just learn you can glitch through the hatch at the top of the ladder just by pressing “use” on it and end the map prematurely.

    I Need Water

    A fairly short map here. Overall a decent puzzle idea but not really executed that well. You have to clear 2 drains of blockages, both of which are backed up with toxic goo. My main issue what that the map just wasn’t that interesting or fun. I used the grav gun to throw the blue barrels at the blockages (rocks?) to break them up. But in your approach to the drains, you can directly use the grav gun on the rocks to get rid of them – but this idea doesn’t seem to work on the seemingly identical rocks in the drains. Drain 1 is straightforward enough, but then drain 2 throws in barnacles, a tougher distance, and spawning antlions in the mix. Although the poison headcrabs’ ability to knock you to 1 health AND hit you into the goo was misbalanced. It was not too frustrating – the worst part for me was finding just the right angle to throw the barrel to hit the rock hard enough to break it. There was also something weird going on with the green/red indicators for the doors – sometimes I would get locked in one of the supply closets until the door decided to open for me a while later. And the valves were really confusing, were they even needed? A decent start for a new mapper (I think?) but it just doesn’t have enough going for it to hold attention.

    Waste Management

    I did like the idea of using water to wash away the toxic goo – but I don’t think this map was successful in its development of that idea. My first time through this map I found it totally frustrating in the huge open room (never saw the upper valve, and swimming through what looked like a safe passage out resulted in instant death no matter my health which was cheap). Filling that room with water also doesn’t make sense, that room is huge, connected to the outdoors and it just felt too ‘gamey’. Again, the idea in the outdoor part was good, but the execution was poor. The flooding goo was not regular and the player wasn’t given any indication of when it was coming. Add a bunch of antlions and low ammo and I wasn’t a happy camper. The run down the tunnel at the end was nicely put together, except the look of the wall of slime that was chasing you. I can’t say specifically how you could have made that look better, I can just say it didn’t look good as is.

    Water Back

    Sadly we weren’t actually searching for an ‘airbot’ in this map. I kid, I can definitely forgive spelling error especially from non-native English speakers. But we are in search of an airboat and then have to escape with it. A decent if predictable situation for a ToxicVille map, and this map has mixed results.

    I have to say, the opening part was the worst. A toxic pond with hidden zombies, only a couple of spools, and only 21 health to start? A single mistake and you’re dead – what was the author thinking here? It’s too unforgiving. I did like that you had to work to get the airboat going, by finding a gas can – although I got thrown off by the color of the can (in the US it’s always red) so I totally missed it for a long time. I was even thinking that maybe the mapper meant the red propane tanks (perhaps a translation issue of “gas”). But no, the gas can was just a hidden blue can instead. The finale area with the strider and 2 hunters is just confusing. If you go flying over the fence onto the beach, you get frozen inside the airboat and just get killed. If you carefully angle the jump, you can hop out of the boat and actually fight against the hunters and strider – but again, what was the thought here? It’s a nearly impossible battle with no cover. I actually did manage to pull it off once, and got the fade to black and thanks for playing. Overall this map has some decent ideas but once again the execution isn’t really there.

    Escape From Dirty Sewers

    All toxic sewer, all the time. A decent map here that of course takes place in the sewers. Overall it’s a good experience with a couple of major exceptions. My first impressions of this map were awful. On second playthrough I had a much better experience, perhaps because I knew what to expect. In the end it’s still mostly jumping puzzles, but this is ToxicVille after all.

    I do like the low key, weaponless start. It’s an interesting dynamic with the first zombie, especially if you’re trying to get him to break open the Lambda box for you. But the section with the 2 poison zombies – my god, are you kidding? They climb up from the goo rather quietly right after you get the crowbar (plus there’s another immediate zombie that requires your attention). My first playthrough, I got trapped against the bars because I was trying to find a way out – and before I knew it both poison zombies were heading my way and tossing poison crabs. It was a poorly designed encounter, even though now I understand the point was to “run”. But the problem with that is the next step is to make a really tough jump around a pipe, and if you miss – guess what, you’re back down with the deadly zombies. Incredibly frustrating. It did pick up from there, and I overall did like this map, but for a few design choices. It looks nice and is a cohesive experience that doesn’t try to pack too much in.

    Blight Town

    A good map here but one that I have a mixed reaction to. In general it felt way too “gamey” and artificial – hit a button, enemies spawn, music starts, repeat. And at its core it’s a find-the-button map in a flat rectangular arena, although that’s a little reductive since the map itself is fun to play. It does look pretty good, with the above caveat that’s it’s a square toxic lake after all. But the opening vista is cool, and once you get all the buttons and the water washes away the goo you really feel like you’ve accomplished something.

    And I thought the design was solid, the islands are varied and cleverly laid out. And you do face some clever challenges – I liked the idea of tackling the hoppers without the gravity gun, your main choices were speed or shotgunning them away from you after they hopped up. Handling zombines without a grav gun was interesting too especially with the limited space for running away on the islands. I must say I’m not a fan of ‘crowbar’s patented dynamic music’. I think the HL2 soundtrack does not really work well when used like that, in short bits that cut off when the combat is over. Plus did anyone try loading a saved game on this map? Three or four music tracks start playing simultaneously and it’s quite distracting until they finally die out. So overall a good map but not an outstanding one.

    Antlion Farm

    Another superb map from Klems. This pair of maps more or less revolves around an acid guardian trying to escape a Combine facility, and through some of the environments you’ll see in this entry, you’ll understand why. (I can still hear them screaming!)

    Much of Antlion Farm centers around using the gravity gun, although it’s certainly not just a puzzle map. It’s also antlion-heavy (including acid antlions) – and your main way of dealing with them is the gravity gun and the egg bombs you can find scattered around. The puzzles involving the toxic goo were well-designed, particularly the rising goo near the grub farming machine. But I am of a split mind about the finale battle. I think it’s a clever variation on the typical strider fight, and the arena and your progression through it is well designed. The glass barriers allow you to see the strider and plan your next shot while still being protected. But I have a bone to pick about the Combine soldiers constantly spawning from behind the forcefields – they got to be too much! Yes, it’s great that the guardian is helping you and taking care of some of them, but the soldiers just don’t stop coming. I’ve killed 50 of them! I get it! Give me a break for 15 damn seconds and let me get a shot or 2 in on the strider! Arrgh!

    But that was my main nitpick with this map. Otherwise it’s a great experience and even has a minor plot that ties together the great opening sequence, the middle bits, and the epilogue.

    The Crossing

    I liked the toxic canal opening of this map, but unfortunately some of the design decisions here diminish the overall experience. The general idea is to cross the canal (hence the title) – but you probably will only get this reference near the very end of the map; you end up looping all the way around to the same place you started the map just before actually crossing the canal. What I liked: 1) the toxic canal and the method to cross it (find the button to lower the liquid level, get back there, jump across), 2) the train yard – yes it’s straightforward to navigate but I liked it anyway even though it’s nothing extraordinary.

    What I didn’t like: 1) the complete lack of autosaves. I really think Phillip should make this part of the rules of Ville challenges. 2) the horrible zombie room – why? I felt this was cheap and both times did my best to just rush out of the room even though you put a slow-moving door there. 3) the impossibly huge crate in the small room with no doors. 4) the fact that the toxic goo, other than providing a barrier at the start of the map, doesn’t really factor into the design or gameplay much at all. By the way, you can jump right through the window panes right after the zombie room and basically break the map, because you skip the section where you drain the canal. Nice use of sound and music throughout the map though.

    1. Lucia

      Thanks for the awesome review!

      Yes, I didn’t get enough playtesting done on my map. One person I only had, and that one also went the wrong way at first. But I hoped it was only them that would escape. I did add more fences, since before it was even more open. And I will adress these problems in future maps.

      -Lucia (Maker of Toxic Fields)

    2. Thank you for your reply Unq!
      When you said I’ve got to search for making a fun gameplay of my maps, it’s what I’m working on right now! I create littles maps, to see if it’s fun to play. But I’ll do my best for the exit competition!
      And, as you see in my level, I don’t know when to stop, and making things too difficult/ not coherent, and I’m sorry about that. (Workin on that too!)
      So, I hope next time will make a good map, finally!
      Thank you very much!
      PS: For the part where I strip the combine, it was just to make a puzzle where you have to listen to the Geiger level. However, due to some cube maps not placed at the right place, it completely destroys the puzzle…

    3. “patented” dynamic music … hah 😀
      I wish more people would implement this! Especially because its not hard.
      The problem that the music plays again is because the flag “is NOT looped” is unchecked and the sound isn’t stopped anywhere. The sounds don’t loop, because they don’t have the cue things, but when you load a save it replays them. This happens for all “cooldown” tracks (when combat is over).

      Because of this problem I investigated and found out about soundscripts, which fixes most of my problems.

  20. Heinz

    Some of the entries were like Valve Original, but even better…very good challenge this time.
    Thx to all contributors.

  21. patch notes for the fixed version of my map, which will be included in the final release of ToxicVille some time in the next two weeks or so:

    – made logs fall more reliably
    – fixed music glitches
    – prevented players from being able to sequence-break the map
    – increased goo damage in some areas
    – fixed Z-fighting glitch at the south puzzle
    – added subtle text that displays when the player presses one of the main tower buttons
    – fixed being able to look at the map during credits
    – replaced water texture with the one from Episode Two, which looks WAY better 🙂

    I post them incase some of you encountered some of these bugs and were wondering what the hell is going 🙂

  22. Wesp5

    Just a quick question: all maps played fine on my sysrem, but Tunnel Vision always crashes when the loading bar is at two thirds. Is there any reason for that or a way to fix it for the final release?

    1. Unq

      I haven’t seen anyone else have this problem. You might try deleting the node files for Tunnel Vision (in the maps\graphs folder) and try again. Or load the map manually in the console (though I don’t think that’d make any difference).

      1. Wesp5

        I already tried to start the map from the console, but checking your other idea I noticed that neither the ain file nor the sound cache are there for Tunnel Vision. I know that they are build on starting the map, but assuming they were in the original release could this be the cause of my problem? Or does it need other unique files?

        1. Hi, maker of Tunnel Vision here.
          Nobody else has reported this problem, so I am not sure why you are getting it. The only custom content in my map are a couple of decals, but they’re packed into the map file itself. The .ain file should have already been packed into the map file, too; I don’t know why the Node Graph is out of date.

          TL;DR: You’re not missing any files as far as I am aware. There is and updated version that will be released within a week or two, but for a different reason. Feel free to Private Message me through Steam (linked in my profile) and I’ll be happy to try to help solve this issue.

          1. Wesp5

            Okay, I think I’ll wait for the updated version first. This will hopefully go into the final Toxicville release because I want to replay Antlion Farm anyway, as the final battle was just too hard ;).

  23. Play It Later

    Great to see so many entries in one of these mapping competitions. I’d say this was a well-chosen theme that had potential for new ideas, while being familiar and easy enough to encourage new mappers to give it a go. Comments and time-played for each map below. A warning that there are spoilers ahead (such as they are.)

    Ups and Downs (6 minutes)

    I quite liked the look of the map. It was small, with just a light puzzle and an arena, but both worked well and the map didn’t overstay its welcome.

    Rebel Takedown (3 minutes)

    Clearly a new mapper, which is good to see. As such the map contains some big no-no’s, the most egregious being a door made of concrete that you have to touch to open. I did like the way all the shelves get blown over by grenades.

    278 (20 minutes)

    The opening giant tunnel gave the map a nice sci-fi feel. Unfortunately the wheels came off after that. Escaping rising toxic goo is a sound concept, but sliding off one-inch thick platforms wasn’t much fun. Making this section longer (i.e. taller!) but a bit easier would have given it a better pace.
    I only noticed the voice in the background halfway into the map, and couldn’t make out what it was saying.
    Solving a number of puzzles involving boxes was also a decent idea, but the implementation here had two big problems:
    -Stacking boxes to get across toxic goo is something we’ve already done before, and there are no new mechanics here to mix it up. This is a problem that a few of the other maps had as well.
    -Even if placing boxes was interesting, we are asked here to do it multiple times, in areas that are physically the same. Don’t make the player solve a puzzle twice! Once they’ve figured it out the first time, the second just feels like time wasting. The recharging health at least kept things from feeling too frustrating.
    The gigantic room full of toxic goo and zombies that you need to kill to proceed should have been subtitled “Welcome to hell.” Even with noclip turned on mopping up that quantity of zombies is a chore.
    The finale is serviceable.
    The ending sequence is a pleasant surprise, with a credit sequence that has some well-done first person animation to round the map off.
    I know I’ve been very critical in this review. To be more positive, the map clearly had ambition, which is admirable. There were some nice visual touches with the dynamic lighting and having the gameplay ramp up from escaping toxic goo to combat is (again) a sound idea.
    Next time I’d recommend stripping the size of the map back and focusing on a few small encounters with nice visuals. Of course this is much easier said than done!

    Detour (22 minutes)

    A great vista (to use Valve’s parlance) to start the map off. Always love being able to see where I’m going to go before I get there. The visuals are consistently good throughout the map.
    Unfortunately things got a bit sour once the exploration started. The map suffers from a common mappers curse- making the passage to the next area a small and easily-missed hole. It took me quite some time to find the first vent, and the door in the floor of the kitchen later on also took me quite some time to find. You also have to put a grenade through a chute at one point, which I saw immediately but I wouldn’t be surprised if others missed it. The items on this map are hidden in very clever ways that are satisfying to find- but the same principle shouldn’t apply to finding doors that are progress-critical!
    The map really shines in the last few sections. The arena with zombies is small but feels tense, making good use of the space. Using the crane to clear the bridge is a wonderful touch, capping off the ‘detour’ nicely. Very satisfying to toss the cars into the pit you’ve been crawling around in. The final fight with the helicopter is a good finale, although it feels like it could have used more tweaking. The mines blow up parts of the floor to reveal toxic goo, but you can just stand on a large upper platform to avoid this. The platform is exposed and I assume that the helicopter’s gun was supposed to make it a risky place to be, but the helicopter doesn’t seem to shoot aggressively enough. A handful of ground enemies could have spiced things up as well.
    Overall, a quality map with a mix of exploration and well-made arenas.

    Inconvenient Pollution (11 minutes)

    The mispelled title is a rocky start. The starting apartment area and street builds up the mood nicely.
    I don’t usually like having to shoot explosives to blow up walls to progress, as it contradicts what you learn from their usual behaviour HL2 (i.e. doing no damage to the environment.) But I liked the trick here with the mirror. I emptied half a clip into the mirror before realising that I was shooting a reflection, which was a fun moment.
    The map then leads into an arena fight which is competent enough. It builds up a bit, and doesn’t feel overwhelming. For some reason a lot of mappers in this pack happened to use a helicopter with mines as the final fight, but I can’t blame any individual mappers for this! The toxic goo is instant death which is a bit harsh- it would play a bit better if you could dip your toe into the toxic goo to double-check that you aren’t supposed to hop through it.
    The visuals have some repeating elements (the concrete retaining wall bordering the final fight, for example) but look alright.
    A solid entry.

    Tunnel Vision (21 minutes)

    I enjoyed having to break in with a cinderblock, and the late title when the stairs collapse. The puzzles were light and fun- great to see the ‘box and goo’ mechanic used a bit differently! Having a gnome buddy throughout the map worked better than I would have thought. The little guy had some character. The last fight works well, with the destructible cover changing the feel of the arena as it goes on. The last fight with the helicopter felt a bit static. Like some other maps that used the helicopter bomb mechanic as a finale, it could have used something to mix up the fight.
    Overall, a very solid map.

    Toxic Fields (10 minutes)

    The junkyard environment looked appropriately gross. However the map felt a bit aimless, with it being unclear where to go. I ended up breaking the map by accident the first time, and it took a while to realise that I was supposed to press a hidden switch. The gravity gun is easy to miss given how important it is.
    There are some zombie arenas that work well enough. Having an enemy turrent in the mix is an interesting idea, although I pilled it out and couldn’t set it upright after it fell over, unfortunately!
    The trap and fight at the end works well enough as a finale. The text at the end asking the player to quicksave is a bizarre inclusion (doesn’t the map have autosaves?), but I sticked the landing first time so I can’t complain!
    Through the map, I couldn’t shake the feeling that the whole thing was just taking place inside a big box. Not sure why I got this impression so strongly, but I’d guess it’s because from most parts of the map you can look around and see most of the rest of the map. Makes the setting feel smaller than it would otherwise. Perhaps a large structure or ‘island’ in the centre would have made it feel bigger.

    Sludge Hole (5 minutes)

    The dastardly combine are polluting and it’s up to us to stop them! I appreciated having the mission spelled out at the start on the whiteboard, and it’s fun to have the car for a non-trivial amount of time. The outdoor environments look pretty decent, and there’s enough differences in the return trip for it not to feel onerous. Otherwise, not much stood out to me on this map, but I don’t have much to complain about either.

    Drain the Swamp (7 minutes)

    A man in an inaccessible room kept deluging me with sewage when I wasn’t looking. Which is as good a metaphor for politics as any other, I guess.

    Floodgates (9 minutes)

    There’s some serviceable voice acting and scripting, and I liked avoiding the tides of sludge in the final battle. However the design of the map feels perfunctory, with lots of closed and repetitive concrete rooms. After getting the suit I made a wrong turn and thought I had to go back to the start of the map, to break the locks on the doors. One broke but the other didn’t, and it took me a while to realise I’d gone the wrong way. Otherwise, I feel that visuals are the weak point of this map, especially given that there is some competent scripting. More interesting lighting and scenery would have made this map feel much more polished.

    Uplifted (3 minutes)

    A short map with a decent looking outdoor area, with the evening setting giving some colour. There some’s toxic goo navigation. Being dropped back into the same area under fire makes efficient use of the space, but the map ends without any kind of build up or finale.

    I Need Water (7 minutes)

    The office environment is a nice change of pace. However once you go underground the mapping suddenly become very basic and blocky. Trying to grav-gun rocks in the pipes wasn’t much fun. I never really worked out what turning the valves did. For some reason I wasn’t able to climb out of the second toxic pool after I fell in, which was frustrating. All this, and a fade-to-white for the ending, suggests that there was a crunch at the end of this map. However the early areas showed promise.

    Waste Management (11 minutes)

    Not a great looker, this map, but the desert environment adds some interest. The main mechanic of the map is dodging sinking and rising toxins. I found the puzzles and switch-finding at the start of the map unengaging. Navigating the outdoor area was more enjoyable, though there wasn’t much going on except for a few antlions flying at you. The final escape from a wall of sewage was executed well, fun and tense without being frustrating.

    Water Back (12 minutes)

    Unfortunately I didn’t enjoy this map very much. It’s large and open, with fairly basic geometry. There’s nothing wrong with having to get gas before using the airboat, but hiding it in a nonsensical location isn’t the best idea. Especially when there’s a giant corridor to explore that has nothing at the end of it. The final fight broke for me, leaving me stuck inside the airboat. Tossing two hunters and a strider at the player without any cover is a bit harsh. Still, with some practice to gain techniques and iron out the ‘make everything huge’ instinct, I’d say the author here is capable of producing much better maps.

    Escape from Dirty Sewers (6 minutes)

    I have to wonder- is there any other kind of sewer? Still, I enjoyed this map quite a bit. The visuals create an effective atmosphere, and it builds up nicely to a finale with metrocops. Short but effective.

    Blight Town (14 minutes)

    Aside from the repetitive trees in the background, this map looks great. The combat all feels good, with fun arenas that have interesting layouts and plenty of waist-high cover. I liked being able to get the drop on the combine whenever I made it to a new ‘island.’ I wish I’d know that I was looking for switches earlier on, since I pressed one near the edge of the map and then had no idea what it did, or where to go, as I hadn’t noticed the earlier ones. It would have been helpful if they were more visible. Even better would be providing an easily-found one near the start that has the towers in the background, to make the player understand what the switches do. The ending was fun, having the toxic goo dissappear and turning the map into one giant arena was inspired.

    Antlion Farm (22 minutes)

    I find this map tough to judge. The map is brilliant when when it comes to creating an interesting environment and then leading you through it. There are some surprises, neat puzzles, foreshadowing, and buildup to a unique and very fun finale. But for all of this, I found the level design to be very unforgiving. Thinking I had fallen to my death but then waking up in the toxic pit was a great moment, but then I took a step left while admiring the scenery and was immediately killed by the sludge. And then you have to navigate a long tract of sludge using big antlion sacs that are bouncy and very easy to fall off, giving an instant failure and making wonder whether I’m supposed to be trying something else. After you climb higher there is an antlion fight high above the pit, which is appropriately precarious except there seems to be many more antlions flying around than necessary. I fell to an instant death a few times here. And then later, after solving a puzzle the toxic goo starts climbing and you have to escape. Which is fine except it climbs very fast and quickly kills you when it catches you, and the ladder breaking throws you off. It took me a couple of deaths to realise I had to turn around and jump on the rising sacs. I don’t mind messing up and taking damage because I’m not quick or skilled enough, but the number of instant-deaths I had on this map made me feel frustrated. Still, that elevator ride with the antlion guard climbing around you and the strider rising up in the distance is an amazing buildup to the final fight.

    The Crossing (20 minutes)

    The map starts with a decent-looking outdoor area to set the scene, and then has some twists, turns, and zombies in tight underground tunnels. These areas work well, but a opening the door to a room full of metrocops isn’t a very interesting fight. The final fight in the trains is also not very enjoyable. It’s effectively a maze of long linear paths without any cover or room to maneuvre, which makes annoying for both combat and exploration.

    This map pack could be a slog at times, but there were some great moments and it was interesting to see so many interpretations of one theme. Thanks to all of the contestants for entering!

  24. Sorry for this short comment, I do not speak English, but this time there were very cool maps!!!

  25. Play It Now!

    This was a great mod, I had a lot of fun playing it. There are so many entries that I could not finish this in one sitting. After around 5-10 maps with the same theme, it gets boring, so a fresh playthrough helps a lot when it comes to reviewing.

    Ups And Downs by Paws (First Time Entrant)
    It is good

    This was the first map of the contest, and it was a nice map to start with, not too amazing, but not particularly bad. you start by looking at the end of the map, but you do not know that until you get through the map. you then you head down into what looks like a waste-processing facility. There you have to change the water levels on the two sides of the room you find yourself in, so you can push all 3 buttons there. After that, you head outside into an area that looks like a sewer area that would feed into the facility you just left. there you find Headcrabs, Normal Zombies, Combine Zombies, Fast Zombies, and (I think?) Black Headcrab Zombies. by following the path through the sewers, you reach stairs that take you to the Rebel that you saw at the beginning. I think that the rebel should have helped you when you were down in the sewers, but I do not believe it would have helped much anyway. This map would have helped to have been longer.

    Rebel Takedown by HighFire (First Time Entrant)
    It is dire!

    Oh boy, my map, it deserves the rating me (and others) have given it. It provides little gameplay challenge, and the NPCs have no node graph to follow. They get stuck all over the place. This map was a massive learning experience and the subsequent criticism taught me a lot more, like that Run Think Shoot Live is the principle of half-life’s map design and not just a name. I will mention, though that I started building this map on the Friday before the deadline, so I couldn’t do too much.

    278 by Ttiki
    It is good

    Contrary to everything everyone else sad about this map, I actually thoroughly enjoyed this map. I did not like the first puzzle, though mainly because of the end. without that moving platform, I would have had much less of an issue with this map. maybe you should’ve had a platform extend when you got to the top rather than give you the gravity gun and use the boxes and coils. The colored box puzzles were enjoyable for me because it was simple and interesting. the goo in the last couple of floors should not have been radiation damage because the player can heal that damage and just run to the boxes instead of completing the puzzles. the final bit with the zombies can be completely skipped if you have enough health. I did rather like the ending because of the “phew! I’m leaving!” kind of tone of it.

    Detour by Osko (First Time Entrant)
    It is WOW!

    This is my favorite map of this mod. It resembles an Episode two map and has excellent design. However, at the first open area, after you go inside the building, it took me way too long to get into the vent I needed to get in. it was way too high, especially considering source’s physics when it came to creating a stable tower. Another problem I saw others have was the vent in the kitchen, which I found the first time, no problem. Also, at the end, I did not activate the chopper fight. The giant truck was not destroyed, and that made it a pain in the ass to get that car over it. I was annoyed at the time because I thought that was how the map was supposed to go, so I probably should not complain about something that was not meant to happen. Wait…. I just watched a playthrough by Phillip, you’re supposed to move the tanker by the crane, and throw a grenade in the vent to open the door. *facepalm*

    Inconvenient Pollution by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
    It is good

    This map was very interesting, I think the beginning with the citizen killing herself, I think it would have been a scripted sequence, where you walked in just a second too late, watching her take the shot. The mirror was confusing, I found out about it after throwing a grenade into the room, trying to hit the other “room” I thought was there. A lot of people probably were confused, because a functional mirror in hl2 was never seen in the original games. This comment on Phillip’s video about it sums the mirror up pretty well: “A functional mirror in Half-Life? What is this sorcery?” There isn’t much else to say about this map, good combat, usual chopper fight, but the music that signals the end of the map on all of your maps makes me feel like I failed, like it belongs at the fade to black when you lose required NPCs/equipment.

    Tunnel Vision by Dats Ridonkulous (First Time Entrant)
    It is WOW!

    This was one of the best maps of this competition. The one major issue I had with this map was the gravity gun not being given to the player, from what was said on Phillip’s video there was supposed to be a cabinet that held it? At the chopper fight, I had to use cheats to get it so I could finish the map. Also, I had to build the cubemaps myself (playing on dxlevel 81). The ending was great and hilarious!

    Toxic Fields by Lucia (First Time Entrant)
    It is okay

    This map was a bit… odd. When I first played it, I started by playing it correctly, then when I got to the red house, I saw the building that was the power source for the crane that moves the container, and jumped over it, thinking that was where I was supposed to go. I then reached the last part of the map where you fight the combine, but think it is just there for supplies. I then head to one of the compartments that the zombies come from and die because they overwhelm me. I replayed it later and played it correctly after watching a couple of videos. The bad review is because of the lack of direction to the player.

    Sludge Hole by Ethosaur
    It is WOW!

    This map was pretty great, I took my time playing it, I headed through the first building, surprised the combine behind it, drove further was stopped by combine, reminding me of episode 2, killed the combine that ambushed me, let my car through, stopped at the building ,fought my way to the end of the antlion nest-rescue tunnel, killed the elites, headed back to my car, drove back to the rebel base I started, and finally took down that helicopter after a long and amazing fight. This map had a lot of BackTrackVille in it as well as ToxicVille.

    Drain the Swamp by Dirk Destiny (First time entrant)
    It is bad

    This map was VERY confusing. The first part made sense, I had no problems with that, but the second part… how did I actually complete that?!?!? I have no idea how that worked. Very, very confusing, nearly unfinishable.

    Floodgates by 1upD
    It is great!

    This map is great. The main thing that this map has is a story. Continuing from the last map, where you steal the plans to an anti-headcrab device from an ex-military group, but on the way out get knocked out. In this map, they bring you to their prison and seem like they have no idea who you are, only that you tried to steal their plans, and that you are as against the combine as them. The Combine then attack their base, and you escape your cell to find your suit and crowbar, as well as a pistol. They tell you that there was a tracker in your suit that led the combine straight to them. You then repel the Combine’s attack and escape. There’s not anything bad I have to say about this map.

    Uplifted by Minesweeper (First time entrant)
    It is good

    This map is very simple, you have to activate a generator at the end of a long and wide corridor while avoiding (or shooting) the zombies that appear in your path. Once you activate the generator you head to the lift at the start, which brings you up to a platform that you walk across until you meet combine forces that you begin to shoot until the platform you are standing on falls out from underneath you. After that, a metrocop steps out of the door near the generator, who you kill to get through the door, where the map ends. This map feels a bit short and could have done with a bit more detail in the upper area.

    I Need Water by Tiop
    It is bad

    This map was confusing. It starts out pretty straightforward, you are told that the plant has a block in their system, and you are there to clear it out, you head downstairs where you find a room filled with heavy objects and a poison headcrab zombie, you kill this zombie with the objects, and smash the rock behind him, allowing you to pass. You then head through a hallway, through a door into a large room, with a pipe on one end with three rocks like the one behind the zombie. You are supposed to break those rocks, and get across, then head to the next room and do the same, but with antlions and barnacles harassing you. Then the screen goes white and the map ends. My main problem with this is that I broke the rocks only as a last minute “will this do anything?” type question, and it took me a couple of playthroughs to do that.

    Waste Management by Sockman
    It is good

    This map could have used a lot more detail in it. There were some sections with a lot of it, but many sections had little to none. In this map, you venture through a waste processing facility, turn valves to replace toxic goo with water, and escape. My favorite part of this map was the ending. The music was perfect, and the giant wave of toxic sludge coming at you fast, that was great. This is only 3 mainly because of the confusion I had at how to get past the big room with the trucks and two valves, I couldn’t figure out that I was supposed to turn the valves, I wasn’t looking for them, so I didn’t see them.

    Water Back by Егор Стрельников (First time entrant)
    It is good

    This map was very basic in most of it. The map had very little detail. It felt empty until I got to the airboat. The next section was well detailed, and having to find the gas can was a nice touch. Once I got back outside it was less detailed, but it was less noticeable as I was driving fast. Then I got to the stride, and I couldn’t leave the airboat, or even drive! After a few tries, i was able to get out before I was stopped and completed the map. I will have to play it again to see if the bug was fixed, but have some playtesters with other computers try this stuff, you can find major issues like that! (i need to do that too)

    Escape From Dirty Sewers by MistaHeita (First time entrant)
    It is great!

    This map’s LOD was amazing, you could see how much was put into the detailing of this map. I think the poison headcrab zombies were too much for just having a crowbar and pistol. The main issue I had with this map was that the climbing of the pipes to get to a switch was not very well done. It was kind of hard to get onto those pipes, and it was not too clear that that was where I was supposed to go, especially after failing to climb a few times, but making the pipes easier to climb should fix that issue.

    Blight Town by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is great!

    This map was definitely good. You had to jump across little islands in a sea of toxic goo, pushing buttons while you went. The music was great, and the enemies were fun to engage. The main problem with this map was that the aesthetic felt really bland, but that’s just me. Others probably liked the aesthetic more.

    Antlion Farm by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
    It is WOW!

    This map had a lot of great things, including;
    custom props
    custom EXPLODABLE props
    interesting puzzles
    a small but great story
    fighting alongside the Antlion Guard
    The part with Grub Farming.
    This felt like a great Episode one (or two) level. I had a lot of fun. My only complaint was trying to ride the yellow prop across the toxic goo. It was really hard and annoying.

    The Crossing by Saints Sasha (First time entrant)
    It is good

    This map was fun. But the use of toxic goo was okay at best, and it is just there, the map could easily have used something like a door or wall to block off the other side. However, the combat was fun, I loved the train station part, I had a lot of fun playing the map. Also, the toxic goo was noticeably repeating, making it look ugly. Finally, the skybox on the left side can be seen to the “end of the world”.

  26. Play It Now!

    Really good idea with “toxic” map theme.
    Here is really cool toxic maps with toxic fileds.
    I think the best map of this list it’s “Antlion Farm” by Klems, and i
    like this too much than other maps.
    Another horonable mentions is Detour by Osko and Blight Town by Crowbar.
    I like these maps too and this what this best.
    So, really cool maps!

  27. Hec
    Play It Now!

    So, finally, I have time to review the superb longest “Toxicville”.

    I think I’ll try to write an overall review, as we have too many entries, which I think it’s not precisely bad, but also I don’t feel it 100 percent good because the quality of the whole entries actually varies a lot.

    So I’ll only use per-map opinion images in those entries I think are outstanding inside the competition.

    It is WOW!
    ANT LION FARM

    This is for me the deserved winner of the competition. I didn’t have the chance to vote, but if I did, I definitely would’ve voted for this one. Because the whole entry has a strong feeling of the old classic HL2 atmosphere. You know, I mean about the usage of the own HL2 universe itself in order to explain a realistic story inside the map. I just love how the CMB structure concept fits inside this antlion slavery for the only benefit of the Combine. Is just great how the whole story develops in front of your eyes until you reach the end being a friend of the Ant Lion slaved momma, who only has a strong instinct to save its babies.

    The whole gameplay is also clever and innovative, and I loved how those big antlion grub goo paste just explodes when you launch it with the gravgun.

    BLIGHT TOWN

    It is great!

    This is visually a beautiful map.To combat inside a wrecked ruins arena flooded with toxic goo seems to be a nice place to battle. I felt this map more oriented to the puzzle solving, but combat was intense at the end too. Also the way, you purify the ruins with clean water felt like a clever detail.

    DETOUR
    It is WOW!

    Visually a lovely map, with a great almost valve quality mapping. The whole map had great gameplay pacing and is easy to catch the main goal to get rid of those car and trucks obstacle with the crane, of course with some lovely CMB battling in between. I think this entry is a worthy and fairly popular winner, Though to me this would be placed in a second place, due to the lack of a more complex story-telling context.

    TUNNEL VISION

    It is WOW!

    This has a great clever gameplay dynamic built around having that funny and comic gnome companion. The puzzle solving is great and the toxic goo usage is also nicely done. I don’t have much more to say about this entry but to stress that it has a good quality. For me, this would be third in the podium.

    Rest of my notes:

    I just dedicate the rest of my notes to the other entries, which I think had a random-to bad quality. I don’t have really much more to say about this ones as many of them felt like newly creations of its developers, also some others strive good in the mapping creation, but were lack about polishing medium to minor but important details. So I recommend to those developers keep on working on mastering their skills and sure they can release some cool HL2 maps.

    Overall was a great competition and is great to have many maps available to play!

  28. Ups and Downs

    I really like the initial puzzle area in this map. It feels very Black Mesa and is well thought out. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense but then again Black Mesa never did anyway so what the hell.
    Things got a little more annoying down in the basement when the fast zombies appeared.
    Fast Zombies force the player to make personal safe space very quickly and that’s incredibly frustrating to try and do when the majority of the floor is dangerous.

    Fast Zombies make a bee line for the player. The fun is trying to take them out before they get to you. They are at their best in larger spaces with plenty of circular pathways at various heights giving the player a chance to take pot shots at them before they get up close and dangerous. Take a closer look at the fast zombie Ravenholm maps to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

  29. Detour

    Sublime. One of the best Ville maps i’ve ever played. Riffs off of Freeman Pontifax in a big way which is probably my favorite Half Life 2 level with some healthy doses of Ravenholm thrown in for good measure.
    Still a few missteps here though. If I choose not to get into the car on the track I end up stranded at the end of a toxic goo filled corridor. A couple of the paths as you get near to the roof section are hard to spot and it wasn’t clear what I was waiting for during the zombie hold out fight with the generator. Fast zombies seem to lose their pathing pretty quickly during the hold out too…

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