TrapVille

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

TrapVille AKA AdmiralAckbarVille

Welcome to the fourth challenge from The Hammer Cup 2016, which has a Grand Prize of a NECA Gravity Gun, plus other prizes for second and third places.

This mod contains 9 entries, each with their own style and setting.

The theme for this challenge was a trap. The player could be the one setting it or caught in it.

Basic Details
  • Title: TrapVille
  • Filename: hl2-ep2-sp-mc-thc16-c4-trapville.7z
  • Size : 172MB
  • Author: Niker107, Erik-Silver Toomere, Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy, Crowbar, Ethosaur, Alex Marcu, Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofscones, Rekurer, Derek AKA 1upD
  • Date Released: 10 June 2016

Download Options

Download to your HDD [172MB]
You can still use it with Gauge once you have downloaded it.

Manual Installation Instructions
  • Copy the THC16-TrapVille folder into your …\Steam\SteamApps\sourcemods\ folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • TrapVille – THC16 should now be listed in your Library tab.

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

Authors and Entries

This is the order within the mod.

A Quick Drive Through by Niker107
Artificial Recharge by Erik-Silver Toomere
Bridgehead by Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy
Compromised by Crowbar
Confineholm by Ethosaur
Lost Mines by melc311
Reshetka by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofscones
Mayan Mystery by Rekurer
Make Earth Great Again by Derek AKA 1upD

Winners and Points

Winner: Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy for Bridgehead
Second Place: Niker107 for A Quick Drive Through
Third Place: melc311 for Lost Mines

Full Points Allocation

Bridgehead: 73 points
A Quick Drive Through: 60 points
Lost Mines: 46 points
Confineholm: 33 points
Reshetka: 29 points
Compromised: 27 points
Make Earth Great Again: 27 points
Mayan Mystery: 26 points
Artificial Recharge: 23 points

Your Chance to vote for your top 3 favourite maps.

What's Your Top 3 Favourite Maps from TrapVille?

  • Make Earth Great Again by Derek AKA 1upD (15%, 8 Votes)
  • Mayan Mystery by Rekurer (6%, 3 Votes)
  • Reshetka by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofscones (40%, 21 Votes)
  • Lost Mines by melc311 (32%, 17 Votes)
  • Confineholm by Ethosaur (26%, 14 Votes)
  • Compromised by Crowbar (13%, 7 Votes)
  • Bridgehead by Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy (43%, 23 Votes)
  • Artificial Recharge by Erik-Silver Toomere (4%, 2 Votes)
  • A Quick Drive Through by Niker107 (57%, 30 Votes)

Total Voters: 53

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TrapVille Teaser Trailer

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12 recommendations, average score: 4.08 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.58 (what's that?)
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 12 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: 1 Users
Manually: 11 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 1 Hours, 58 Mins
Shortest: 1 Hours by crowbar
Longest: 2 Hours, 42 Mins by NapheriAU
Total Time Played: 23 Hours, 39 Mins
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80 Comments

  1. I hope i can join the next ville because i wanted to enter this one but i got strange bugs so.

    1. Bad luck. Fingers crossed for next time.

  2. Probably one of the most enjoyable themes to work with so far, even though my map was a bit short I think I improved in some aspects from my previous maps.

  3. Played about half the entries, in no particular order. Pretty rough so far. Some are just so blatantly broken and unfinished that I’m not sure why the authors bothered.

    1. I had a problem with the first two in order where I could not further progress anymore, I was hoping maybe the entrants had fixed this by the time of release but I guess they didn’t have time/never bothered.

      First is with Alyx, for me at least she does not open the gate after killing the combine (That is what she is supposed to do, right?) Otherwise I spent 30 minutes just looking around for another way out, even getting a message by the mapper itself saying please don’t leave the map (which I must admit was kinda funny)

      The second one was obviously unfinished since I saw dev textures and stuff, problem here was lack of guidance and I never found a way out of the building (assuming there even was one) Doors was also bugged and didn’t open, even though I saw combine poking trough them.

      The rest of the maps where pretty ok. Mine probably wasn’t anything spectacular but I felt satisfied with it.

      1. the map with Alyx was glitched in the first release of the dev version, but was fixed in the second, at least it worked for me there. So it should be ok in the final release too no?

      2. Are you playing the released version? I had it tested by a new person, i.e. that is somebody who hadn’t had any dev version, before release and it worked for him.

      3. In the first map I had the same problem with Alyx. After getting rid of the combine she was in the shed on the right and wouldn’t come out of it no matter what I did. I completed the level using noclip for the gate and Alyx joined me in the upper rooms but without a weapon.

        After completion I played the level again but this time attacked the combine from outside the shed. After the battle Alyx was outside with me and when I went over to the gate she came over and opened it for me. I guess the glitch depends on where Alyx is after the fight.

      4. Having a problem with getting the handgrenades you need to destroy the device on the second floor of the building. On my last attempt, I was only able to get one handgrenade, you need two. Combine is supposed to drop two.

  4. OJJ

    ‘A Quick Drive’ was pretty fun, the first map in it being really well polished, the second map however was very abstract in comparison and was a bit uncanny about how it suddenly went from a realistic environment to a crazy off-the-wall environment. This was probably my favourite entry out of the lot.

    ‘Artifical Recharge’ was a bit of a trip for me because I had an idea almost identical to this on in my mind where you could get to an objective via the rooftops or streets but decided against doing it because it was way over my head, this kinda pulls the idea off, for about a minute then it completely falls apart, on the rebels side I planted the bomb and 2 APCs fell through, only one of them died and then I couldn’t do anything else. The Combine side is also broken, after killing everyone in the sewers I went down to clear them out then a door opened and I got to a roof (full of dev textures, infact the background Citadel is covered in them, not sure why nodraw wasn’t used) anyway next thing that happened was that despite being combine, Barney acted friendly to me and then I had to shoot down a gunship and then the map ended, either I sequence broke somewhere or the endings got mixed up. (I also got trapped in the elevator shaft)

    ‘Bridgehead’ I wasn’t really sure what to do after I got the battery, I eventually spawned in an RPG to take down the gunship because the rebel with an RPG had a terrible aim and refused to keep firing after a few minutes. The town is pretty cool but it isn’t used for much.

    ‘Compromised’ VERY HARD, there’s not any rest from the attacking enemies and there are mines everywhere, had to Buddha, the rain also doesn’t match the skybox or lighting and it feels like a last minute change. Had a bit of a laugh at the sped-up music when the gunship appeared because I felt it suited me panicking that there was more fighting to do.

    ‘Confineholm’ I really thought this was a ‘Crowbar’ map when I played it, infact I guessed wrong on which map was Crowbar’s map twice when playing through this mod. I guess it’s because it’s similar to Raven Mansion from BackTrackVille where you’re taunted by Grigori then have to fight him in an old man-made structure. On its own merit however it’s pretty fun but it’s hard to find out where to go on a few occasions, the courtyard especially, the Grigori boss-fight was a little unfair however since there was no cover to hide from him and he has the NPC equivalent of a 357 on him.

    ‘Lost Mines’ I liked some of the traps, some of which I think were taken from the HL2 beta, the fact you only get a gravity gun and crowbar really make you rely on them, some of them were a little painful to pull off however like the fan in the vents, you’re trying not to die from the fan then suddenly you’re being attacked by 5 zombies at once and can’t escape because they surrounded you. The stacking puzzle was also a little painful but only because I think I took the wrong prop to try and get it done.

    ‘Reshetka’ I found this entry very painful unfortunately, there’s really dark areas where you can barely see, platforms that fall away under your feet in the darkness, tripmine explosives that I couldn’t find a way to avoid, sparse checkpoints and some areas where I got lost or turned around. I also don’t remember anything that I would specifically call a trap aside from the end but that had nothing to do with the gameplay.

    ‘Myan Mystery’ This map was pretty neat, a bunch of fun little self-contained puzzles and objectives, I know it was probably to do with problems that would arise from it but I found it weird how you could only use one set of dynamite on one spot and not another spot that required dynamite. The area outside is good looking and has a lot of atmosphere, aside from the grass which has a few messed up sprites, not sure what’s happening there and after doing all the puzzles I wasn’t sure what the purpose of the water tunnel was because nothing really happened during that segment.

    ‘Make Earth Great Again’ Out of place and awkward ‘Political commentary’ aside, the traps and puzzles in this level are pretty clever and fun, the thing that brings down the gameplay the most is the combat, which is in giant wide-open environments with no cover or breaks in the action. The environments aren’t particularly great either, with giant flat spaces or toxic water that just floats in a void.

    Overall, a pretty bland collection with only a few moments of fun to be had which is a shame considering some of the hard work that went into it.

    1. (On Bridgehead) just when you think you got every bug…

      I’m actually surprised you took down the gunship, it’s supposed to be invulnerable after the first hit.

  5. So marnamai didn’t make it? :/

    1. Marnamai had to focus on his level design test that he had to submit for a job application. Let’s all hope he gets the job! Maybe he’ll even participate in the final challenge, too.

  6. Maybe?

    Sadly, I wasn’t that impressed with this map pack. While there were a couple stand-out maps, overall, I didn’t have too much fun with it. I also feel a lot of entries missed the “trap” element, instead favoring large-scale ambushes.

    A Quick Drive Through
    It is good

    This is a two-map entry. The first map is good. Right away, you will notice a great forest scene reminiscent of Episode Two. Joining you is Alyx, whose dialog is used well throughout. She pretty much needs to be there because otherwise the flow of the map is very confusing. The route doesn’t go where you’d intuitively think it would and some mechanics, like shattering Combine glass, conflict with what the player would expect. The race to the exit is both clustered and confusing. Unless you know what you’re doing, you’re going to have a boss hovering right on top of you the whole time.

    Unfortunately, there’s the second map, and this is where things take a downturn. Visually, it doesn’t compare at all. The meandering bits at the start, despite the basic-looking geometry, are sufficient for gameplay. But the giant cylindrical room where you face the boss is a mess. Platforming while getting shot at and having to carefully sidestep around obnoxious things that block your path – on already narrow platforms – was frustrating. The transition from ladder to ledge to door, which has to be done twice, is very finicky. The player will be tempted to jump to the door from the ladder, but find it impossible thanks to Half-Life 2’s narrow door widths. You have to manually dismount the latter, run on the narrow edge, and leap through the door. It’s not fun. The end bit tells you exactly what you have to do and while the explanation is funny, it’s not great from a gameplay standpoint.

    One other thing about this map, and it’s something several entries in this pack suffer from, is a weird choice of player weapons. In this map, you get a Gravity Gun, but no Crowbar. You encounter a lot of rooms filled with crates and not being able to quickly bust them up is pretty annoying. On top of that, the first groups of enemies don’t even drop their weapons. I don’t understand why it had to be this way.

    Artificial Recharge
    It is dire!

    Put simply, this map is broken. Also, obvious dev textures indicate this map wasn’t finished. It tells you to make a choice between taking the High Road or the Low Road. The High Road has you fighting alongside the Combine in the following battle with Rebels while the Low Road reverses it. Take the High Road, because both times I tried, the Low Road would glitch and nothing would happen after the bomb went off. The High Road isn’t much better. After you finish off the rebels who staged the bombing, there isn’t much guidance. You can go into the apartment building and kill off the other rebels, but to what end, it’s not clear. I did reach an ending, but I’m not sure what led to it, and the level reloaded itself. This map likes to kill the player for falling into a completely survivable area, a problem that notably occurs in Reshetka as well.

    Bridgehead
    It is good

    I tested this map for the author during development and one of the comments I had was that there wasn’t an opportunity to get used to the battle space before the battle started. I suggested doing a Camp 43-style setup where the player explores around an empty camp and pieces together what happened there before the trap is sprung, thus making the “trap” element really clear. In the final version, we have a weird battery puzzle where the battery is on the other side of the level and the whole thing is just… odd.

    But okay, once that is taken care of, you basically have a New Little Odessa-style battle with lots of Combine Soldiers, Dropships and a pesky Gunship. It’s fairly fun – the Dropships are well positioned, Manhacks are skillfully used to make things feel chaotic, and I especially liked the rappelling Combine – but you never understand what you are working toward. So, the whole thing feels a little off to me, I’m sorry to say.

    Compromised
    It is okay

    Compromised is a good looking level. It’s interesting to see rain used in an environment like this, although I would have liked to hear it too. Unfortunately, the gameplay is a bit of a mess. For most of the level, the player is penned into a narrow city street with cars. There are lots of Hopper Mines around, which are resupplied by Scanners, and while they are useful for killing the Sniper at the beginning, you are immediately expected to start taking cover and running around when Combine Soldiers, Hunters and finally a Gunship show up with no breaks in between. So, not only is the space small, but it’s littered with deadly land mines. And not enough health. And ammo for a weapon you don’t get until the end.

    Suffice it to say, this level is brutal and I ended up activating god mode during the Hunter wave. I really had no choice. If the arena was 2-3 times as large, and the player had a few seconds between waves to resupply and maybe remove some of those Hopper Mines, it would have been vastly better.

    Confineholm
    It is good

    This is a decent and well-planned map whose main issue is that, because it relies entirely on Zombies, it’s not particularly interesting. Father Grigori’s gone crazy again (isn’t that always the way?) and you have to survive his Zombie island. There will be a lot of Crowbar swinging. Some key gameplay mechanics, like the lever, could have been called out much better. The level looks good, especially in the caves.

    Lost Mines
    It is great!

    This was probably my favorite entry in the pack. Instead of putting the player in a trap, it’s following the Ravenholm concept of traps in a forest setting. I’m a sucker for Episode Two’s forest scenes and, like A Quick Drive Through, this was a good looking one, especially with the unusual dusk or early dawn lighting. Like Confineholm, it’s focused primarily on Zombies, but since you get some different ways of killing them, the repetition is minimized. It’s interesting how instead of building to a crescendo encounter with Zombies, it takes a slightly different route and becomes more of a get-out-fast moment.

    Reshetka
    It is okay

    Oh man, where is my flashlight? Like the author’s previous work, Pigeonholm, Reshetka does some interesting things with lighting. Glowing fauna and strange hues play off the at-times surreal architecture. But it’s not much fun to play. You’re expected to carry around flares through dark places. do platforming, and have no suit throughout. It culminates in a frustrating rising water scenario which barely gives you enough time to reach the end even if you know what to do. And since you have no suit, you’re doing this casual jaunt instead of running, which feels wrong on every level. Then it ends, rather abruptly.

    Mayan Mystery
    It is bad

    Like Artificial Recharge, this map seems broken. I was never able to find the third brain and, to be honest, I’m not sure I could have found the second without a leap of faith. I did manage to finish it by noclipping myself onto the elevator. Man, this level does some annoying stuff. Killing the player with an instant death trap while they are reading the objective text you put on the screen is just awful.

    Make Earth Great Again
    It is okay

    it’s hard to know what to expect with a name like “Make Earth Great Again.” An obvious play on the Trump campaign’s slogan, it comes across like a non sequitur. And, in fact, that’s pretty much what the level is. A non sequitur. It’s just a confusing sequence of events involving Alyx, a helicopter, a gas station filled with Breen memorabilia, a trash compactor and an old castle. And there may or may not be a weird upskirt moment with a cross-eyed G-Man. It culminates with a surprisingly brutal battle against numerous shotgunners. Too weird for my tastes, insomuch as I find the Combine propaganda angle to be an interesting one.

    1. You think a generator on the other side of the map instead of a battery would’ve helped the flow of bridgehead? And then the gunship hits on the way back? I know exactly what you mean. Something about the structure of it doesn’t feel right. Maybe its the view as the player exits the tunnel, or the trap isn’t direct enough. I do admit, though, even if it did felt odd, the camp 43 suggestion was really helpful. The down time did wonders for the feel of the assault.

      1. I totally get your gripes with Reshetka, but I don’t deserve the false claim to having made Pigeonholm. I’m rather the author of the not so decently faired Rebel Island and Pilot maps.

        1. Huh, I had it in my mind that you did Pigeonholm. Oh well. I’d fix it, but I can’t. 🙁

      2. I think what makes it awkward is the player’s point of entry into the area. Is it our camp? Someone else’s camp? Why are they telling me to install a battery? I haven’t been here before. And it happens during combat too, so it’s a strange objective to have. If the Combine weren’t there at the start and we were preparing for an invasion by closing the gate (and therefore needing to find the battery), it probably would make more sense, but on the other hand, it wouldn’t feel like much of a trap either.

  7. Play It Later

    Some of the maps in this Ville were broken, some felt really cheap, but most of them still had something about them so that I never felt like wasting my time. At least 2 maps really shine and make this Ville worthy by themselves.

    A Quick Drive Through by Niker107
    It is great!

    The map is not perfect, but it was a lot of fun and had great moments. The escape sequence was really well done and was really satisfying to play. The second half of the map was a bit too artificial and unrealistic for my taste and is kinda disconnected from the first half, like they were from 2 different authors, but it’s fine, cause the bossfight was kinda cool. There were a few annoying places in the fight, but overall it was fun and satisfying.

    There was one thing which is really weird to me. After you go up the elevator you can hear Alyx get captured or something, but then the map throws two puzzles at you. The first time I played this, I was stuck at the second puzzle because I didn’t realize that I picked up some grenades. So I’m sitting there for a long time trying to figure out what the solution to the puzzle is while Alyx is just chillin outside?

    There is a lot I could nitpick about this map, but that’s just because it is long and has a lot of different elements. Overall a great map.

    Artifical Recharge by Erik-Silver Toomere
    It is okay

    This map was interesting. I like the idea that you can choose to play the same scenario from two different angles. It actually makes sense for this Ville, because the objective was to create a map with a trap where either the player is the one who sets the trap, or the player is the one who gets trapped. This map does both. Unfortunately it is broken in some areas and I couldn’t complete it. When the APC crashes through the floor, it was hilarious to see that it was still alive and shooting from that weird position.
    It’s ambitious and has a lot potential, but too much doesn’t work about this map.

    Bridgehead by Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy
    It is WOW!

    If I reviewed the maps directly after the first playthrough, this wouldn’t get such a high rating I think. There are some weird aspects about this map. I was never really sure what I am supposed to do, sometimes making progress felt random. On one playthrough the rocket launcher NPC died, but I couldn’t find the rocket launcher. On my first playthrough I couldn’t find the rocket ammo crate for a long time, and after finding it I realized why. It simply doesn’t make any sense why there is a rocket ammo crate there, which you can only reach with the help of the gunship itself. I don’t like artificial things like that.

    Other than that though I loved this map. This is the best scenario for Half-Life 2’s combat. It felt like those battles in bigger areas in Episode 2, which really were the pinnacle of Half-Life 2’s combat encounters. The village or whatever you are in is really nice. It feels realistic, it is big, but compact, it encourages exploration, has secrets, I loved it. It looked good enough, but not great though. The space of the map was used really well. Attacks from a lot of different angles. Nice atmosphere too.

    Compromised by Crowbar

    After the devastating reviews for my last map, I lost motivation to work on another, but then I thought that I want to participate in all five challenges (for some reason), so I decided to make a map anyway. This time I wanted to make something small and simple though.

    The final version of the map is really different to a lot of plans I made, and that is mostly because I spent too much time playing the new DOOM :). I didn’t wanted to “waste” so much time on the map. Because of that the map lacks some important playtesting, which could easily fix some of it’s problems. I’m still proud of what came out of it at the end, but it’s my least favorite map of my maps.

    Maybe this will get better reviews from most people, because it is more classic Half-Life 2 gameplay, unlike all my other maps, but on the other hand it is very punishing which can easily become frustrating. It wasn’t supposed to be that hard, I just didn’t do any playtests and thought it will be fine. Never underestimate playtesting.

    Confineholm by Ethosaur
    It is good

    Making good combat scenarios with normal zombies is hard, I tried that myself some times, but this map could easily improve by throwing more of the other zombie types at the player. I got stuck the first time, because I didn’t find the lever. The one trap where that thing falls down on you is just unfair. The first time I sprinted up there, so the moment that thing got triggered I was right under it and it killed me immediately, I didn’t even see what killed me.

    The final fight was ridiculous, because you have no cover at all, and also I knew that you will have to fight Grigori before he actually got hostile, but until then you can’t shoot him, so that was a bit artificial. Overall it was satisfying to play and had it’s moments, but nothing too special. Nice atmossphere though.

    Lost Mines by Alex Marcu
    It is good

    What I kept thinking while playing this map is that the traps felt pointless. The first time I played it I didn’t even see the lever to trigger the first trap, but the reason most traps feel pointless is because there is no real threat anyway. You could kill the zombies easily with the crowbar and in that one room where you can kill the zombies with the washing machine, it is actually much faster to just use the crowbar. Still, using the traps was fun, because physics!

    Visually it was really good. What really confused me was the gravity gun and crowbar hanging on that wall. I also didn’t expect that you are supposed to crawl through that hole in the wall, the first time it felt like I’m cheating. Overall not that satisfying, but fun and well made.

    Reshetka by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofscones
    It is okay

    The main problem of this map is that it was way too dark most of the time. Flares don’t generate enough light. Doing a jumping puzzle in such darkness, which also has fake platforms was just frustrating and almost made me skip the map entirely. The water section was also just unfair, because you have to have perfect timing to survive it, I bet every single person died there on the first try.

    The geometry was weird and a lot places felt unrealistic. The ending was hilarious, I killed the 3 combine soldiers while the screen faded to black, and they didn’t even fight back. It also doesn’t connect to the rest of the map at all. Maybe the author has a story in his head where it makes sense, but it isn’t potrayed well to the player.

    Mayan Mystery by Rekurer
    It is okay

    This map gets a plus for using a unique setting, but it doesn’t do much with that setting outside of being annoying. The traps in this map were ridiculous. They come out of nowhere, are extremely hard to see, and make no sound at all. Most of the time I didn’t even realize what killed me or how I triggered it. Then I realize that giant spikes were coming out of the floor the whole time.

    I also didn’t understand what the point of the dynamite was. Couldn’t the map work without that?
    There was one trap which might be broken. The floor starts to break, but it doesn’t work, it’s hard to explain what happens, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who that happened to. I didn’t know how to get back from there, so I had to use noclip. The map was too dark too.

    The map is not terrible, most of it’s problems could be fixed really simple. Just make it brighter, make the spikes not pitch black and give them sounds when they trigger. Also the dynamite felt pointless, so you could remove them entirely and the onscreen text too.

    Make Earth Great Again by Derek AKA 1upD
    It is okay

    This map was just weird. Making progress felt really random. The geometry is extremely unrealstic and it doesn’t look great. It has it’s moments, but overall it’s not great. The AI completely broke towards the end of the map, the enemies didn’t attack me, some couldn’t move. The map was just weird. Still gets an “OKAY” rating, because some work went into it, and that shotgun trap was cool 🙂

    1. Hey Crowbar!

      I enjoyed your map a lot, it was a very nice idea, although it would have worked a bit better if the area was slightly larger (So you didn’t feel so damn constricted).

      I loved how the combat came in different waves, first some combine soldiers, then the headcrabs, hunters and finally the gunship. Mixed with the mines it made for some very interesting combat.

      My only complaint is that, I played on Hard difficulty, and holy shit do you need to place some more health kits on the map. There was barely 1 or 2 I could find, and that was after smashing all the obvious crates around.

      Otherwise, great short entry from you. I enjoyed it.

      1. thanks dude! Yeah if I had done even just one or two playtest sessions I would see these problems immediately. As I said, I keep underestimating the value of playtesting.

        1. Well mate, if you want a somewhat thorough playtester, hit me up on steam. Just search by my name here, and I’ll appear (Although my current steam name is Erigo, so add that one).

          I’d love to help you out through testing.

          1. can’t find you :S
            can you add me?
            Click on my profile here on RTSL, there is a link to my steam there 🙂

  8. Hey Philip, can you update my name for Lost Mines to melc311 please? Thanks.

  9. Maybe?

    I’ll do a short quick review since I finish it all today. Some of them are good, while some of them are just so-so.

    A Quick Drive Through
    It is good

    First part of the map is actually quite good, got that power box puzzle and some actions. Then here comes the strider, I thought that I need to use the explosive barrels to deal with it. However, it turns out that I need to bang the door open. The door itself is blocked by a lot of woods and they didn’t look obvious to shoot down.

    Second map is about some jumping stuffs. HL2 ladders can surely screw a lot of thing up, and this happens heck a lot when I was playing this. After jumping up to the top and feed some grenade. Alyx comes in and it’s over.

    Compare to the other map, this one not that bad.

    Artifical Recharge
    It is okay

    This one took me the most time to complete it(about 45 minutes). The map start with 2 routes. Either play as a combine or a rebel. When played as combine, I had a little problem with it. I went into the vent behind the elevator and got stuck in the kitchen, and the kitchen door just can’t be opened. I have to restart the whole map. Also playing as combine didn’t give me any medkits, I always got killed by that last rebels. Finally, I killed that rebel with 1 HP left.

    Playing as rebel is much better. Although the guy keeps shooting behind that shield and we can’t fight him back, just need to survive long enough to shoot down the gunship.

    Still, this one is not the worst.

    Bridgehead
    It is great!

    It’s a good one, actually it’s kinda fun. First we need to find a battery which is on the far side of the map. Then comes in a lot of enemies, plus some scanners to disturb you. However, there are a lot of health and ammo so it’s not too hard. RPG crates took me some times to find, and we cross the bridge and finish it(w/style)

    By far the best one.

    Compromised
    It is good

    It’s kinda like the arena type of the map. The hoppers are everywhere, and there’s even a sniper. It looks impossible at first, but after you kill the sniper, everything looks quite easy…until the hunter part. I need to lure them out of where they came from and get the RPG, it’s quite intense and I like that.

    I’ll say it’s a good arena map.

    Confineholm
    It is okay

    It’s a castle map with bunch of zombies inside. I basically just ran past all of them. Nothing to say about this one. WhenGrigori attacked me I actually got surprised, feed him some shotgun shells.

    It’s something like test chambers, I think?

    Lost Mines
    It is good

    The mine itself appeared in later part of the map. I was expecting some antliions to pop out. Then it turns out to be I didn’t use my pistol once. There’s some nice traps laide though.

    It’s WE control the traps.

    Reshetka
    It is great!

    This map doesn’t involve any combat but gives player some creepy atmosphere. 90% of the map is really dark and need to use flares to navigate the way to go. Makes it even creepier. The final part is really intense when you race with the water and try not get killed. After that, it ends.

    Maybe a bit short, but I enjoy it.

    Mayan Mystery
    It is good

    It’s an Indiana Jones map lied with a lot of traps. Unfortunately, there seems to be a chamber that has a glitch with the falling floor. I need to load it a lot until the floor is high enough for me to jump back. Collect some ‘stuffs’ and map ends.

    Not going to say about that ‘stuffs’.

    Make Earth Great Again
    It is bad

    Remember I said that Artificial Recharge is not the worst. This map definitely got itself the last place. Don’t mention that title, the overall gameplay is really bad. The enemies with shotgun won’t even move(at least one with baton can). Which makes the final fight funny. That shotgun trap looks cool by the way.

    I hope the author can fix AI problem.

    Conclusion

    It’s neither the best ville competition nor the worst. As I said, some are good and some are just normal.

    In my opinion, Bridgehead and Reshetka are my 1st place.

  10. Can’t wait to play this 😀

  11. Maybe?

    So we come to the 4th Challenge in THC2016. Like last time, there was a huge opportunity here to make a stand out map and think up some brilliant ideas. Sadly this challenge was actually just as disappointing as BacktrackVille. There were maps that tried to deliver good ideas but allot of maps fell short of anything near to fun. The lack of valve level maps may be due to some of the better mappers being absent from this contest but I get the impression that this challenge is full of maps that if given more time, the mappers could really turn them into something special. I do however think “A Quick Drive Through” Is my winner but I am also impressed by “Confineholm” and I have seen a huge improvement from Ethosaur over THC2016. With that being said, Thank you to each and every one of the mappers who submitted their maps to the challenge and remember, If at first you don’t succeed, Try Again!

    A Quick Drive Through by Niker107
    It is good

    A quick drive through was a very well thought through map with plenty of challenges and puzzles. I really liked the first encounter with the combine and being met with Alyx saying “It’s a trap” The surroundings of the map (The forest) looked great and the interiors although not as developed, were well designed to guide the player through so you always knew what to do. The map kept me entertained and the boss battle was tense. The room that it took place in seem “Unrealistic” but this does not matter as the main goal was defeating the strider. The map is not “Valve quality” but achieving that would be difficult in a 19 day contest and what has been put into this map is amazing. After playing all the maps a few times over, this one comes out as one of the strongest.

    Artifical Recharge by Erik-Silver Toomere
    It is bad

    The concept to this was a great idea although doing it in a 19 day mapping contest was maybe not a good idea. It’s obvious the mapper was rushed for time as there were dev textures everywhere and empty rooms. When I took the high road, sometimes I wouldn’t get an HEV suit. I kept jumping down the whole as that seems like the logical thing to do. It wasn’t clear were to go and when I did see the door, there was no pointer on what my aim was. There was a lack of health kits and a lack of direction. It was hard to spot the vent shaft in the elevator and when I did take it, it leads to nothing. The low road also lacked direction and I ended up being followed by a dozen rebels. If given more time, I am convinced the map maker could pull off this idea.

    Bridgehead by Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy
    It is good

    Bridgehead was quite a well developed map. It certainly strays from the road of “Normal” in terms of Half Life 2 maps. Even though nothing was really explained, it was clear what each goal was and what was going on. Each wave provided a challenge and the bridge breaking was a great idea. The village looked very nice and it was great that it was filled with enough supplies. I do however think another area in the map would have been beneficial as staying in the same environment for a long time feels stale. Otherwise not much else can be said about it other that it’s a good Mid Tier Entry.

    Compromised by Crowbar
    It is okay

    This map looked very good and the intro was super cool. I do have a few issues with this map. One of which being the confined space with little cover. If there were more place to get cover from the enemies then it would of encouraged more methodical play instead of “spray and pray”. There was not a lot of health so maybe if more of the combine dropped health than that would have been fine. The last point is the two hunters. Fighting one is hard enough but fighting two with the weapons the player gets given is really difficult and drove me to using the almighty God mode! Otherwise a good looking map with a challenging boss fight!

    Confineholm by Ethosaur
    It is good

    I really enjoyed this map. It was fun, it had challenge and humour. The level design was sufficient and well designed so the player always knows where to go. The traps were well thought out and well executed and there was a sufficient amount of health and ammo. The only small issues with the map are the lip sync issues with Gregory at the end and the battle at the end was a bit open and sudden. I would go as far as to say this was a top tier map and a really enjoyable map.

    Lost Mines by melc311
    It is okay

    My first impression of this map was that it looked decent and had “Alright” game play. As I played it again, I got board very quickly. This map is missing allot of perks that should be in a Half Life 2 map. It was challenging at certain points but there were no memorable points in it. If it had a few challenging puzzles and better fight scenarios, it could be allot greater. It’s not the worst map by any means but it just needs that extra kick to make it enjoyable.

    Reshetka by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofscones
    It is bad

    This map physically looks good. The thing that lets it down is how dark many parts of it are. For playability, a map should be brighter even if set in a dark place. The map had little challenge and it did not give me any enjoyment. The good bit of game play was the water rising challenge at the end. I think if the map had some more challenging puzzles then it would have been good but currently as it stand, it’s a good looking map that is not fun to play.

    Mayan Mystery by Rekurer
    It is bad

    This map was another case of a good idea but just not fun. There was also a lack of direction as the first time I played it, I spent 10 minutes in the staring area looking for a way in. The dynamite was a good idea but it just needs to be accented a bit more. Collecting the brains seems like a chore but with traps in the way, it encourages the player to be cautions. The map looked good for what it was and with a lot more challenge could possibly be enjoyable.

    Make Earth Great Again by Derek AKA 1upD
    It is bad

    This map is a bit plain as you start in a large open square of ice with a petrol station in the middle. Moving through it, it’s clear what the traps are but some of them are a bit strange like the one with the pressure plate and the long box after the turning shotgun. I’m not sure if you were supposed to get a gun but all times I played it I could not get past that puzzle without cheats. There were too many zombies in one room and the combine soldiers were really difficult at the end. The map was confusing but implemented some good traps.

  12. so, i’ve downloaded it, and am in the process of extracting the file when this error pops up:

    “could not extract the file “THC16-TrapVille/sound/custom/hiddenswitch1.wav” from the file “hl2-ep2-sp-mc-thc16-c4-trapville.7z”: the archive file is corrupted”

    um….should i be concerned?

    1. OJJ

      If it’s corrupted then re-download, if everything else installed fine then you only have to worry about missing sounds.

  13. Play It Later

    Intro: not bad, some good maps in this bunch, some not so good maps, lets start off with the first one

    A Quick Drive Through
    It is good

    not bad, real pretty, short, simple to the point, the beginning was a bit of a shock, “suddenly there were Combine” and me with only a crowbar and ZPEMF, oh well, plenty of Explosive barrels!

    Artificial Recharge
    It is bad

    could’ve been good, buuuut…
    too many citizens + enclosed spaces = annoyed player, who desperately wishes he could kill the bloody npc
    not to mention that when i blew the road out from under the APC’s, one of them didn’t DIE, and so it kept shooting at me, even though it was upside down

    bridgehead
    It is WOW!

    this one was tough! not to mention awesome! i really liked the layout of the village, it wasnt ‘flat’ it was really well layered, with different ways to move around, i do wish that the textures used hadn’t been the default HL2 Highway 17/Coast textures, but oh well, it was still a good map :3

    Compromised
    It is okay

    eeehhhh…..it started out cool, but then wave 3….and that was when i had to switch to easy, because CP’s, PLUS Headcrabs PLUS Manhacks PLUSHopper’s is absurd, and with such a limited space, all i could do was run in circles, and hope they killed each other off

    Confineholm
    It is good

    i liked the whole “Aperture Science” feel: test chamber, after test chamber, but instead of adorable little shooty-turrets, it’s full of slightly more adorable headcrabs!
    it could have been a little more challenging though

    Lost Mines
    It is okay

    meh, this map had so much that could have gone better it looked BEAUTIFUL, but it was lackluster, because there
    a) wasnt enough combat
    b) not enough puzzles
    c) i only encountered 2 real ‘traps’

    Reshetka
    It is great!

    only one reason i’m not giving this a “It’s Wow”
    it was just…too peaceful…now, i’m the first to admit, that i don’t find a map enjoyable unless i get to shove a shotgun (or a 357) down a Zombie (or Combine’s) nose, and pull the trigger, so while this map was GLORIOUSLY beautiful, i mean, this was Portal 2 levels of beauty, (i’ve often hoped that someone would make a map based inside White Forest Base, and this is the closest thing i’ve seen!)
    so 10/10 for atmosphere and style

    Mayan Mystery
    It is bad

    uhhhh…….why am i collecting Strider Brains…?

    Make Earth Great Again
    It is okay

    so, aside from the OBVIOUS shot at Trump, (i prefer to leave politics out of gaming, thank you very much) this map was rough it looked like the author got too ambitious, and might’ve started a bit late,
    and another thing that annoyed me, is that nothing would attack me! with the singular exception of Zombies, and a group of stunstick wielding CP’s i encounter near the end, all the hostiles ignored me, i was SO UPSET! i had a shotgun, and loads of ammo donors, but no one fought back!
    i did like the tripwire shotguns, those were a nice touch!

  14. In my review I’ve ranged the maps from good to bad. So I’ll start with (in my opinion) the best map:

    Bridgehead

    It is great!

    This map is centered around a large area containing a village. In this area, you’ll get attack by Combine forces from basically all sides, but there are also plenty of supplies and many oppertunities to retreat and attack. Gameplay and visuals are both great so I consider Bridgehead the best map in this Ville … !

    A Quick Drive Through

    It is good

    Good map with that EP2 outdoor feeling to it and generally good gameplay. Alyx seems to respond well to the environment and circumstances. The final giant indoor area is a bit odd and navigating can be a bit painfull as jumping through small doorways can be tricky. Despite these minor issues a good map … !

    Compromised

    It is good

    Small map but with interesting gameplay. You’re under heavy attack by the Combine and to spice things up mines are dropped around you from time to time. Luckily those mines can be hurled towards those pesky Combine forces with the Gravity Gun. Takes the third place for me.

    Confineholm

    It is good

    Bit dark map but with interesting lighting due to open torches. You’ll encounter a large number of zombies who can be dealt with in multiple ways. Father Grigori is also around and poses an additional threat … ! The final battle with Grigori is a bit broken as you can simply shoot him from afar while Grigori doesn’t move and doesn’t shoot back due to large distance.

    Lost Mines

    It is okay

    Visuals and atmosphere of this map are decent though gameplay isn’t stellar. Enemies are spread rather evenly throughout the map and never pose a real challenge and there isn’t really a ‘climax’ in the form of a boss fight. Lost Mines certainly isn’t bad but doesn’t impress either.

    Make Earth Great Again

    It is okay

    Odd map that contains a variety of sometimes clever traps and rebel-esque folks that work for the Combine. Combat can get though now and then as shotgunners move in closely. Visuals aren’t the greatest while I consider the gameplay to be acceptable. Alyx looks like she is having some sort of seizure while in the helicopter at the end of the map … !

    Mayan Mystery

    It is okay

    Take a little bit of Tomb Raider, a bit of Half-Life 2, mix ’em up and you’ll get Mayan Mystery. The idea certainly isn’t bad but suffers from a not so great execution; deadly traps activate without warning a darkness poses a real problem too from time to time. You don’t have a suit so flares are the only way to light up the darkness. Ends up barely in the ‘Okay-region’ for me.

    Reshetka

    It is bad

    Map looks well-detailed and designed, but damn … that darkness … ! Also in this level no suit and thus no flashlight, so you’ll have to rely heavily on flares. The rising water near the end poses a hard to beat challenge and is somewhat broken; during a playthrough, I fell into the water but fell out again underneath the water brush, forcing me to load a previous save.

    Artificial Recharge

    It is bad

    For me the worst of this Ville challenge. It seems time has worked against this map with a lot of dev textures, some very obvious edges of the map, and lots of rebels blocking small hallways while not contributing to the fight. The map is essentially broken but despite this I managed to complete this map, though it took me over 40 minutes. I think some additional work and polishing could work miracles for this map … !

  15. Play It Now!

    Some nice high quality maps and some not so playable. “Compromised” being just too much in a confined cluttered space. “Artificial Recharge” too many glitches and “Mayan Mystery” just unplayable! Or maybe that is just me!

    Quick drive through.
    It is good

    Good mod, nice gameplay. The strider confrontation was very intense but I actually survived on my first attempt! The only issue was my inability to drop, pick up and launch a grenade with the grav gun! I had to cheat after numerous failed and frustrating attempts. A well thought out boss challenge!

    Artificial Recharge.
    It is bad

    This mod was too constricted and too buggy for any decent gameplay. Nice idea but failed execution.

    Bridgehead.
    It is great!

    A nice little combatville. Hard fought and fun, except the gunship that took ages to shot down. With the blown bridge I was expecting to cross the ditch on the tree, but it did not work for me so I noclipped around the map to see if I missed something and dropped on that bank and end! Very nicely paced combat with just enough supplies.

    Compromised.
    It is bad

    Too, too much in a tight confined area! It was just too frustrating and I got tired of it. One can only take so many red screens!

    Confineholm.
    It is great!

    Gregory the nutter is back in a delightful zombie game! This was fun and easy to play. A nice little map with Gregory’s trademark traps and banter. Here you get to smash more zombies with crowbar and grav gun launched barrels than the usual shotgun! And a mine with zero antlions; Yipeeee! The boss fight seemed a little short, I just stuck my shotgun in Gregory’s face and blam!

    Lost Mines.
    It is good

    Zombies smashed, electrocuted, diced and minced in another, this time brighter zombie smash! You tend to bait the zombies into traps in this one as you work your way out of the mine, past those pesky sentry guns. Another excellent slice of zombie fun but lacked the humour of the previous map!

    Reshetka.
    It is WOW!

    Dark, treacherous little climbing exercise. Very pretty in the gloomy light and the illumination of those bright blinding flares. A tricksy place with traps and some head scratching is needed after you take or are forced to fall into the void! Lots to activate but the last door is where sheer pace is needed to outrun the rising water. I got it done on my forth attempt. A nice little puzzler with a surprise ending; and I did not say a nice one! Quite exceptional for a small map.

    Mayan Mystery.
    It is dire!

    I got hardly anywhere but dead in this annoying map, even the first pitfall proved a dead end! I could not figure out what was what and I caved in, like this mod did! Pity because the outside of the temple has great ambient effects and sound and some nice textures.

    Make Earth Great Again.
    It is great!

    Actually a very accomplished map with some good combat puzzles and traps. I was surprised looking underwater for a glowing key by of all things a trash compacter and I was in it! The rotating shotgun zombie trap was a nice touch along with those surprise crates of zombie! Of note are the stairs weird textures, almost hypnotic!
    The open courtyard supplies plenty of cover as you engage the combine and very uncivil defence all with their red armbands. There is a final wave as you wait for Alyx and the helicopter, but you are well armed first. Nice to see it in use again, but the ride home is cut short! Another good combat map.

    Conclusion.

    A good collection of trap style maps. QDT traps you with a strider and felt very unique; if only I could have got that grav gun grenade launch combo I would not have had to cheat! Confineholm & LM gave you zombies to lure into various death traps along with Gregory’s great humour!
    Reshetka added some Lara Crofting in the dark with some added mental challenge. And speed when the water rose! Now that was a trap!
    Bridgehead and the strangely titled, MEGA, (ha just got that!) gave you excellent combat battles; the latter with zombies and puzzles too!
    A pleasing collection of maps, with just a thrice of less successful examples.

  16. Play It Now!
    Quick Thoughts

    First of all, it was great to play all 9 entries of TrapVille.
    Of course I feel a bit weird that this Ville isn’t so good as previous, but let`s make everything clear.

    A Quick Drive Through by Niker107
    It is great!

    Always and always! I love works of Niker, there are awesome. Atmosphere, design, idea of trap are great. Except 2nd save, I have small feeling that these two saves differ from each other. Boss fight gave me thoughts of HL1 (if you understand me :3). Totally “It`s Great”!

    Artificial Recharge by Erik-Silver Toomere
    It is good

    Loved idea of two roads(aka paths). Player is able to choose playing Combine or Rebel. Each road has it`s advantages and disadvantages. Of course I saw some WIP places, but they aren`t making entry worse. Weird was APC which felt and continued shooting. Ending, in my opinion, somekind of cutted, just fading screen 😛

    Bridgehead by Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy
    It is WOW!

    Just as in original HL2. Everything looks gorgeous. Design of the level is perfect, looks familiar to coasts of HL2. At the start when I got to open coast, I felt a bit lost: to many houses and don`t know where to go. Firstly I couldn’t find RPG ammo crate, but understood why this light was there. Killing all enemies, falling tree and…stealing APC?! Wow, liked this. All in all, fantastic entry!

    Compromised by Crowbar
    It is great!

    Everything in this entry is great. Beginning is so epic that I loaded new game 3 times. All fights are balanced. Just 2 thing which, in my opinion, could be better: 1)Street size, maybe a bit wider because can`t fully run from shooting enemies. 2)Whole place of the game, I mean all things happened on one street with no progress except killing hunters and taking RPG. Still, entry looks great, also liked the remix of hl2:ep2 song.

    Confineholm by Ethosaur
    It is good

    Pretty good entry. Idea of crazy(as usual) Father Grigori and creepy castle with zombies is great. Of course atmosphere in this horrible place is awesome. Can`t imagine to be trapped here, oh yes, traps, I liked them. In boss fight I couldn’t shield but it is easy to win even at hard difficulty. Good job, Ethosaur.

    Lost Mines by melc311
    It is great!

    Design and atmosphere are at high level. Traps, traps and traps. Playing this entry gave me good emotions and I thought that is some part of Episode 2. Sad, it is short and ending is a “white light at the end of the tunnel”. Great job, melc!

    Reshetka by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofscones
    It is WOW!

    Something fantastic! Creepy, too creepy. While playing this entry I was ready for screamers till end, but there were none of them xD. Design is perfect, didn`t saw any bugs or problems when was playing. “Race” with water is amazing, no time to look behind, RUUUUN! Weird that at the end when elevator goes up, I can kill combines.

    Mayan Mystery by Rekurer
    It is good

    Whole entry is good, maybe could be better. Design is good maybe progressing is really fast. Player is solving puzzles and avoiding traps with no problems. Still it is mystery for me why we needed that skull…

    Make Earth Great Again by Derek AKA 1upD
    It is bad

    Uhm, only one entry which had lack of design.

    No atmosphere at all. Idea is good but the way how author realised it is bad…

  17. Heinz

    It was Saturday morning between 1 and 2 o’clock am, when I arrived back home of visiting an old friend from youth times.
    Me falling in a hole, because it got boring, I decided to have a look on RTSL and found “TrapVille”.

    Thx to all mappers for another small pearl of the “Ville” -series and thx to Phil for releasing it here.

    Have a nice week all

  18. asterixer

    Myan Mystery is not running under Linux. You cannot open the first door.

    1. Did you click on the dynamite on the floor then click on the door?

  19. Hec

    I have a problem withthe main screen, not “new game” option appears how can i fix this?

    1. Only thing I can suggest is to delete the folder and try re-downloading the file.

  20. What estimated date will be the last challenge? You haven’t updated the dates yet for Trapville or Challenge 5 on the cup site.

    1. It’s scheduled for June 23rd. The THC16 page does lag behind, though. If people were expecting that page to announce the comps, they’d have missed every one of them completely!

      1. Ah hehe, thanks for the reply.

  21. Play It Later

    A Quick Drive Through

    It is great!

    I liked this entry a lot, and my main problems with it are more polish oriented (not visual polish, the outdoor bit looked really good)—which is understandable, considering the limited time. My main problem with it was it lacked a certain amount of build up and pay off. It had a lot of interesting and great moments, like strider entrances, fighting with Alyx, zombines killed by turrets, but sometimes it felt like it hit an idea/encounter/setpiece and then didn’t fully let it sink in. The biggest example I can think of is the strider chase. It’s just long enough for your thought process to go like this: “Wow! This is pretty…oh, it’s over.” It’s almost like taking the chopper chase in ep2, have the bit where you meet the chopper before getting in the car, and then immediately doing the last leg of the chase where you ram the gate to the rebel base. The only time I feel like a set piece is given its full stay is the final fight with the strider. I did have some problems with the platforming, though I’d imagine that’s a time constraint and lack of play testing issue (since I did that way better the second time), and the fact you let the strider in the building makes me feel it should have had more buildup and foreshadowing, but that I idea I felt really “stuck.” That’s the part of the map I’ll remember the most. One last nitpick is Alyx. She was well done, and the voice lines fit the situation (though a bit too much gesturing, if you ask me), but her lines felt a little…off in the second map. I’m not sure, maybe it’s because fighting with her felt a little cramped, or maybe because her emotions didn’t completely line up with the player’s (“nice move”? I just opened a blocked door!). For example, the “why zombies?” and “we don’t have time” lines: “why zombies?” would’ve probably felt better after the swarm in the crank room and the “we don’t have time” line wasn’t really necessary. Why don’t we have time? Is it because we need to deliver data to white forest? Is that what we’re doing? I don’t feel any time pressure. So, um, yeah: “I wish the epic moments lasted longer” and “Alyx was better than most, but not as good as valve” is actually good critiques to have for a ville map, that meant everything else “felt” right.

    Artificial Recharge

    It is bad

    This one was obviously unfinished, so some of the guidance is off, the difficulty is askew, and I think the rebel half of the map got the most attention. But let’s ignore most of that and look at the map as a whole. I really like the concept as a whole, two main ways of playing the map, a building with multiple exits and entrances, and building to building urban combat. I picked the high road at first (which I felt like that should’ve been the rebels, but that’s a personal taste). And the scene of marching down the street with several combine was great, but then it started to fall apart. Thematically, the strengths of the combine are technology and numbers, and once the trap was sprung I never got that feeling (ignoring the fact there was little health and rebels are bad enemies), my first time through all my allies were slaughtered, the apc wasn’t all that effective (I’ve encountered a glitch in the past with its machine gun and player allies), and the rebels rushed and sniped me. Subsequent play throughs didn’t go nearly that badly, but I typically ended up breaking the map or dying stupidly with the 3 guys I had left (there was also a bad auto save where I had no suit). The rebel side was better: I liked planting the bomb and being able to prep an ambush. After that the guidance starts to break down, but at least I lived (despite a mounted gun without a spotlight) and was able to “finish” it. My main problem here was the sheer number of active ai. I got a lot of slow down on my potato pc, and it was actually quite overwhelming, visually, to see so many rebels packed in a room. So, yeah, I like the concept, though the execution past the trap wasn’t so great.

    Compromised

    It is bad

    Agh. This one frustrated me, like I-have-to-put-the-game-down-and-play-it-another-day kind of frustration. After my first play through (and lowering the difficulty to normal) things went better. But my first time? I got knocked down to 20 health by the sniper, and then never recovered. I know, technically, it’s possible to kill a sniper without taking a hit (and I did it on this map later), but the stress of low health, running into unexplored territory, and bad clipping, made this extremely difficult. The environment is just too cramped, and not enough care was taken into easing moving about the space. I kept getting caught on junk props, under railings, or just narrow objects, like poles. The enemy waves, while diverse, needed some work. The headcrabs felt like a little too much in this space, and the metrocops that spawn above and behind needed more warning. The fact they have the high ground and have smgs (the most accurate metrocop) means the player needs to know they’re coming. I will say, though, I like the start. You get to briefly see the space you’re going to be in, and it’s been awhile since I’ve fought a sniper. I kinda wish the author had included their vmf, since I thought the dynamic music was a nice touch, and I’m curious how it was done.

    Confineholm

    It is okay

    A new setting, cool. I thought this one was good. Some classic zombie action as you face trials set up by our old friend from Ravenholm. There was some neat interconnectivity (seeing areas before you get there) and some simple, yet satisfying back tracking, but I felt like the map never took advantage of its setting. It’s an old castle in a cliff side! Maybe have some zombies climb up the towers, or have fast zombies leap through the windows. The closet thing I can think of was the rolling wine barrel—which I did not expect to explode. I also kind of wish there was a little more to the “button hunting”, but *shrug* I don’t really know how that would go—maybe just have the fact you were looking for a button (instead of blindly walking forward) more obvious. Oh, and the fight at the end was…interesting. I’m not a huge fan of fighting allies, but at least he had his slow firing shotgun, and he did provide a “boss battle” at the end.

    Lost Mines

    It is okay

    Visually, this one looked really good. I liked the feel of the forest mining town. It’s similar to the mining town in Ep2, but that one was more of a mining “city.” I liked the use of physics traps, and I think my favorite is the washing machine. It’s not often you see people really take advantage of the physics system, and while this was nothing spectacular, it was cool to have a spinning washing machine of death. The level design was good too: it never felt too linear, and the opening area has a nice winding layout. I also appreciated the use of zombies to show threats. My one complaint, though, is the map never really hit a crescendo. The closet was probably trying to avoid zombies while getting pulled down the wind tunnel. Perhaps if the turrets at the end had a little more meat to them, kinda like in the hospital in ep1, or maybe if there had been some zombines to mess up the player’s “rhythm”. So yeah, a good map, but the lack of a high climax kinda hurts it.

    Make Earth Great Again

    It is great!

    This was an odd one: retextured enemies, big blocky castle, framerate drops, and a large open area. This map did a good job of introducing new and interesting traps. I especially liked the shotgun one (something I’ve been trying to do myself for a while). I also really liked how you slowly opened up the starting area (after you got captured). One thing that bugged me, though, was the lack of a gravity gun. Yours weirdly blows up at one point. Now, I liked the gameplay of trying to lure zombie into hopper mines, but it would’ve been nice to be able to reprogram the mines yourself later. *shrug* for all I know there’s another gravity gun hidden somewhere—there was one room I could never figure out how to get into. The highlight, though, had to be the ending shotgun holdout. While I’m normally apprehensive about using more than one shotgunner, this wasn’t too bad, but I can imagine it’d be a lot more frustrating on hard or with more inexperienced players. I just wish there had been some central cover to pop in and out of, as well as some more room to max range the shotgunners. The main reason this is the highlight, and probably one of my favorite moments in the entire map pack, is that you get to use the traps against the combine. I think that’s a pretty awesome feeling: getting to take the traps that have been harassing you the whole time and “turning the tables”. For that reason alone I think this map was the best map in the pack.

    Mayan Mystery

    It is okay

    Another unique one. At first I remember enjoying this one, but then on a replay I remembered I had forgotten the low parts. I liked the setting, it felt very mysterious, and I liked the idea of navigating these ancient ruins with flares, though I wish there had been more flares, but I guess that’s something play testing would’ve found out. I kinda wish the author didn’t have to resort to text with the brain collecting, but that’s just a nitpick. I really liked the brain above the giant pit. At first you don’t know what to do once the plank randomly breaks, but then when you look down you notice the flares guiding you to the answer. I wasn’t a big fan of the brain in the spike room. At first I didn’t know what killed me, but on respawn I noticed the scorch marks on the floor. I liked the fact the traps were labeled, but I just wish it had been more intuitive what was gonna happen. After that brain, the falling floor glitched out. I didn’t know what was supposed to happen there, and I ended up having to turn on fullbright to get out. After those rocky starts, though, there was some nice presentation with the mystery of the temple, the boulder chase, and the ending cut scene.

    Reshetka

    It is good

    This one was…strange. I liked it, but there were a couple things off with it. Firstly, I felt it did a couple things better that Mayan Mystery had tried; the flares are the first thing that comes to mind. Like that other map, it too had a nice sense of mystery, though I never really got a good guess at what had gone on in this…waste facility? The map also does a good job of giving you a goal once you enter that main atrium, open the exit door. After that, things get fuzzy. I liked that when you turned on the power it lit up the next room, showing you where to go. The powered doors that locked also made me feel the place was a lot larger, and that if I had played differently, and waited to turn on the power, I might have found some secrets. Though, after that it gets strange. We turn off the power again? So we can open the door to get out? And then pull a random leaver—does that open the exit door? How did the door at the bottom of the pit open? Did we turn on the lights just so we could see? It felt strange and only half made sense in hind sight. After that, I liked the climax of the water rushing to get you, but my one complaint is that you have to start running as soon as you enter the room. I think it would have felt better if the player could just barely make it if they started running as soon as the alarmed turned on. And then you get captured by combine, I guess they turned the water pump on. So, yeah: I liked this one, it was rough around the edges, but I think it executed on some ideas well and had a good atmosphere.

    Demos
    dropbox link
    Hopefully my naming scheme for each one is understandable. This is all first time playthroughs, so sometimes I forget, and the one for compromised is unfinished.

    On a side note on my entry:
    I’ve learned alot so far from the feedback. To be honest, bridgehead was a somewhat ham-fisted attempt to experiment with a new type of locale and use some of my arena map musings. The battery puzzle was added last minute, and I relied to heavily on players catching every little hint of what was going on. To be honest, I needed to move the entrance to the complete opposite side of the map. Though, the rocket connection would still be a bit of a stretch. Really makes you kinda appreciate some of the level design valve does–and how often a citizen tells you what your objective is. One of the biggest “issues” in this level, though, is balancing for skill gaps (this is partly due to the broken dropship guns I had to make a work around with). I made sure to allow for multiple play styles, but I didn’t make sure to allow the experience to be the same between skills. I tested this map on hard, but that doesn’t mean everyone at my skill level will play on hard–it has really made me split hairs. Anyway, I’ve learned now, that the best way to account for skill levels is reinforcements. Not staggered waves, but pacing in such a way that it still sorta flows together (because increasing enemy density is not the solution). Sadly, travel times were a big issue here, and made timing difficult.

    1. The way I did the music is simple.
      I extracted the track from the game and then edited it in Audacity.
      I made 4 parts. Each part is a section of the track looped. So I took the first section of the track, deleted the rest, and looped that section for a long time (because making sounds loop in Source is annoying), then saved that as a file. Then I took the next section of the track and looped that and so on. For the final section I increased the pitch and speed of the track by 10% or so.

      So at the end I had 4 seperate sound files which start and stop at the start and end of each wave.

    2. Here is the vmf if you want it:
      https://www.dropbox.com/s/0wcvbqsewf6gu6n/compromised_thc16c4.vmf?dl=0

      you can extract the custom sound files from the bsp

  22. I’m intrigued. All my praise, and apparent downfalls come from the darkness that I included in the map. Some people love it, some people hate it. Same thing for the final race against the water at the end of the map. I think that I can mark this one off as, mixed feelings.

  23. Play It Later
    A Quick Drive Through
    It is great!

    I really liked this entry. Every area required quick reactions and thinking outside the box. Throughout the map your only weapon is your gravity gun, and you are forced to make quick decisions using the environment as your weapon. I did encounter some issues with the second map, namely the final strider battle. The path required to beat the map felt unnatural and as if i was “breaking” the map, as it required you to use geometry on the walls as your platforms. The battle itself worked well and really felt like I “trapped” myself by letting the strider into the building. Overall this map worked really well, but could have used some extra time for polish if it wasn’t for the time restraint.

    Artificial Recharge
    It is bad

    I really want to like this map. The concept is unique, having 2 ways to play. However, it is obviously unfinished. Neither “choice” seems to have an end, even killing all enemies results in the game just sitting there, requiring me to reload the map. As well, the difficulty is quite harsh, with way too many NPCs bundled together to create a barrage of bullets that will drop your health to near 0 in seconds. And if you do die, half the time the reload doesn’t quite work, leaving you with no suit or weapons. The rebel path seems to be much more polished, with a unique start, requiring you to plan a bomb to trap the combine, but the combine route is not so great. After leaving the main complex, you walk down the street, the floor below you collapses, and half the time you fall in and hit a kill trigger, causing you to have to try again. I really liked the concept, but the map needs a lot more work.

    Bridgehead
    It is good

    I enjoyed this map. The level is very open and has lots of buildings to explore and to use as cover. As the map progresses, the difficulty increases and you find yourself jumping in and out of each building, getting health and shielding yourself from the combine’s fire. At times the rebel NPCs just wander around and do nothing but get shot, but most of the time makes intelligent decisions. The final gunship battle was unnecessarily difficult, as no matter where I looked I couldn’t fine a RPG ammo crate. So overall this is a real good map.

    Compromised
    It is okay

    This one was cool, if not a bit to sharp in difficulty. The start was really cool, a sniper firing at a fellow rebel and watching her body fall through a window in slow motion. Then, using cover to make your way up to the sniper, finally throwing some explosives through it. After that, though, the map becomes much more tedious. With very little health and lots of fire, you constantly take damage without knowing where the enemies are, requiring lots of trial and error. Plus, its easy to get cornered, having 2 hunters after you while you are stuck at the end of a corridor. The visuals of the map are cool, from the slow mo start to the constant downpour and rain effects. The dynamic music is also a nice touch, getting more intense as the map goes on. This short map is fun, if not a bit difficult and I enjoined playing it.

    Confineholm
    It is great!

    This map had a simple premise. You are trapped in a castle and the crazy owner is throwing traps and enemies at you. I really enjoyed avoiding the traps and finding each hidden button. As you go through the level you catch glimpses of where you need to go and then have to find the way to get there. The “final boss” was also cool. He dealt a lot of damage, but he also reloaded really slowly so it balanced out. I had a good time with this map.

    Lost Mines
    It is great!

    This map really required you to use your environment. There are swarms of zombies but you have almost no ammo, so you have to look for and find traps to fight them off. My favorite moment was a washing machine tied to the ceiling. As you hit it with your gravity gun, it spun faster and faster and swung around the room, obliterating any zombies that come near it. The ending was probably the weakest part of the map, with a half dozen zombies and some turrets, but the zombies come for you instead of walking in front of the turrets, making them almost useless. However, the map overall was really fun and I had a great time.

    Reshetka
    It is WOW!

    This map really amazed me. The architecture, the luminescent plants, the clever use of flares to light your way, this map is defiantly a favorite. This map involves no combat, no suit, only you, your crowbar, and your wits. The most challenging part of this map is defiantly the water puzzle, it gives you just enough time to get through, causing high tension and trill. I really loved this map and would love to see more.

    Mayan Mystery
    It is good

    This is another combat free, environment interactivity heavy map. First off, the sound design of this map is fantastic, from the puttering of the rain and chirping of insects, to the intense thunder, it really sounded like I was in the middle of a forest. And the visuals were fantastic. Lots of grass and trees, and heavy fog to give it a mysterious look. Inside the temple, you have to dodge traps, some of which you cant see and get hit by unexpectedly, but overall are fun to dodge. A recurring theme is to plant explosives to open up new paths, however one later on would not trigger and I got stuck, having to result to using noclip to get through the wall. This map was fun to play, but could use more polish.

    Make Earth Great Again
    It is bad

    This map is obviously not complete. The premise is interesting, you get captured by the combine and have to escape, but execution is anything but well done. The map is not finished, it is not clear as to what you need to do, and most enemies do nothing but look at you. I really wanted this map to be good, as I liked the idea a lot, but it needs a lot more work.

  24. Play It Later

    The penultimate mapping challenge of The Hammer Cup 2016 has finally arrived! And it’s not the best, sadly. As DolmoTheDouglas mentioned in his TrapVille round-up video, there are probably a few reasons behind this. By the 4th competition, it can be hard to keep yourself together, especially if you have participated in every single challenge before it (kudos to Crowbar and melc311)!
    I wanted to provide my demo files for this competition so that authors could see how I played their maps and judge their own work accordingly, but sadly, I have recorded demos in the developer version of the mod, and they do not appear to be compatible with the final release. Sorry for that.

    As usual, I’ll leave my own entry out until the end, and it will be more of an author’s note rather than, quite narcissistically, a review of my own work :p
    Keep reading for that!

    WARNING: Spoilers Below.

    Artificial Recharge by ESToomere
    It is okay

    It’s always hard to judge a map which isn’t finished. I can understand the direction ESToomere was going in, and I know this will sound exactly like what many other people have said, but taking on the task of creating two separate gameplay choices, especially for a competition which lasts less than 3 weeks, might not have been the best idea.

    The gameplay of the map isn’t too interesting. Mostly, you just have to shoot the opposing force in a building full of unlit, empty rooms, tight corridors where you can barely move, and, of course, the aimbotting / always-in-your-way rebels. The concept of having the player be one of the Combine isn’t new, but I still like the way it’s done in most maps. There is, however, a huge problem, which mappers can’t really fix. It’s that rebels have been programmed to win. Literally. In terms of AI and tactics, they are much dumber than the Combine (mostly so that the player could control rebel fighters as they wish), but these buggers have a damn good aim and (I think?) more health than Combine soldiers, simply because in the singleplayer campaigns of HL2 games, the player has to win most of the time. The only way to fix this issue is replacing some of the game’s code, which I believe not many people can do; but it’s still a shame that the High Road is, by default, harder than the Low one simply due to the game’s programming.

    The actual fight isn’t the only problem in the map. Developer textures are everywhere, and you can’t help but laugh at the Citadel made from floating, gray blocks. I am not sure how exactly the map is made to progress, but I had to noclip several times on the Low Road because I simply couldn’t find a way to continue the map. I’m not saying the path that the player takes should be overly obvious, but if there even is a viable path you could take, it should be more noticeable. I can imagine a lot of people got stuck while playing this map. There also doesn’t appear to be a rocket crate anywhere for the final boss fight, so you quickly end up running out of ammo and failing. There aren’t really health kits or chargers anyway, so I was unable to complete the High Road without spawning extra supplies through the console. I also don’t really like having certain doors open in front of me on their own, while others cannot even be interacted with. Just have doors which are unlocked, locked, or something inbetween, don’t make them autonomous. Having them open on their own based on some arbitrary trigger / time frame isn’t good.

    If I judged only one part of the map, it would undoubtedly get an ”It’s Bad!” rating. Regardless, I like the concept and I believe the map deserves a higher mark than that. Perhaps it would’ve been better to finish and polish it and then release it a bit after the deadline as a bonus addition.

    Bridgehead by ihonnyboy
    It is great!

    Bridgehead was very fun to play! The tiny details of the village are nice, the introduction is nice, I liked the gameplay which comes at you in waves, and it’s all balanced well in my opinion. Having to explore the village a bit before activating the assault is a good feature, as it lets the player get accustomed to the place they will be fighting in shortly before the bridge collapses. Granted, I might’ve spent a bit too long wandering around the village, killing every zombie and wasting every single item crate I found that I might’ve had a bit more trouble surviving later on. However, this and Lost Mines are the only maps I have completed without dying a single time. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the experience was still challenging and fun in my opinion.

    I do also love how falling gunships and helicopters always provide a makeshift way for the player to progress, and this map is no exception! The ending is certainly not one I could’ve expected. Speaking of the final boss fight, I also really like how the rocket crate ends up hidden in a shed that I ran past so many times during my playthrough. Good job on that!

    Overall, an amazing entry that fits with the TrapVille theme really well. Big thanks to Abraham for submitting this into the competition!

    Compromised by Crowbar
    It is good

    This entry came out incredibly difficult and even impossible to complete at times. The wave format is similar to Bridgehead, but the space you are allowed to traverse is much, much more limited, restricted even more by the inclusion of mines. Navigating the street can become really hard, as you don’t have a terribly big window of time to clear out the pesky hoppers that are laid all over the place.

    The reason why arena maps are enjoyable is: the player is meant to have a lot of options, and one of the biggest factors is the space in which we are allowed to move. It doesn’t help, either, that the mines take about a second or two to grab properly, and those seconds can be enough to get you killed. The ”impossible to complete at times” bit is due to the small amount of item crates. If you look at Valve’s maps, they usually spread a lot of them all over the place, and the player rarely has to hover around the 1-15 HP mark. Trying to kill hunters or, even worse, a gunship while you have less than 20 HP isn’t fun. Perhaps adding some sort of extended roof in places would be a good feature for hiding from the huge flying robot with a scary gun on its face.

    Now, it’d be foolish to end this review here, as this is, admittedly, Crowbar’s best-looking map so far. You can see that the visuals took a lot of effort to produce, and seeing all the details that he has put into his map is great. The headcrab canisters even break up the ground and leave rocks around when they arrive at their destination! These things would only be added by a mapper who pays attention to the tiniest pieces of their work. And of course, how couldn’t I notice the dynamic music? I did hear very vaguely what the map would be about before playing it, but hearing the custom music effects confirmed my suspicion that this was indeed Crowbar’s map, and this concept seems to have only been produced by him so far.

    Overall, this is a good entry. It could definitely be improved if more people playtested it and if there was more time before the deadline. I’m looking forward to Crowbar’s entry in the final, 5th challenge of THC2016! Participating in every challenge would be a true feat.

    Confineholm by Ethosaur
    It is great!

    I can’t say many bad things about this map. The setting fits the theme really well, I like the lighting and dark areas, the traps are mostly what you’d expect to see in a medieval castle, but nonetheless they’re done quite well. The castle might feel a tiny bit blocky, but the caves look great. So, I think if Ethosaur detailed the first part of the map a bit better and fixed the glowing fog in the distance, it would be perfect. The only other thing that confused me slightly was the boss fight. I did react to it as soon as I saw the threat come up, but I guess I’m just too used to Grigori being our ally. His voice lines made it sound as though he was guiding, not taunting us. Nonetheless, a great entry for TrapVille.

    Lost Mines by melc311
    It is great!

    This map is probably one of my favourite ones from this challenge. It looks extremely good, using the traps I was given felt fun and I am extremely disappointed that I missed some of them! The lever at the beginning is barely noticeable, and I am sure that melc has probably already been told this many times, but just placing a few brighter lights near it or a cable coming from the contraption itself would definitely make more players notice it. Personally, I did notice it, but I decided to kill the zombies first and then see what it does, because I didn’t get that it was the trap that I was meant to trigger! This is mostly due to my own stupidity though. The generator which electrified water was pretty straightforward, so my favourite trap in this map is the fan blade. One thing that confused me about that, though, is the fact that zombies got sucked in so fast. When I saw the zombie fly into the other end of the pipe, that told me, as a player: the same will happen to me if I go in front of it. So I was stalled on what to do for a while, trying to pass to the other side first, but turns out it just sucks me in a lot slower than NPCs.

    A great entry made by the only other person (besides me and Crowbar) who has participated in every challenge of THC2016. I really wish to see melc enter the final ville!

    PS. It is also the only entry I have not died a single time in, alongside Bridgehead.

    Reshetka by Agameofscones
    It is great!

    Mostly, the map felt a bit weird, with the whole underground water treatment facility (presumably), the radioactive-looking plants, different hatches and doors, etc. The use of flares without a flashlight is done alright, so I never had a problem with that. Some of the map’s elements like rotating three valves or pulling three levers and constantly turning power on and off felt odd. Really, this whole map can just about be summed up with the words ”very bizarre.” Yet, somehow, I really enjoyed playing it! And the final escape felt fun. I managed to finish it on my second attempt, and I think all parts of it are placed in front of the player in a fluent way, so even though I understood all the ‘mini-puzzles’ before me as I was running, the water was a bit too fast on my first go for me to keep up. But the huge room and pipes releasing water is a view that I didn’t mind seeing again! The ceiling there was absolutely beautiful in my opinion. Also, the custom door models are a great addition.

    Overall, a bizarre, weird, odd, but fun entry. In-fact, I think I’m starting to see a pattern in Agameofscones’ map designs! XD

    PS. Just curious: why did you decide to use the Russian word ‘Reshetka’ (ie. ‘grate/grid/lattice’) for the name of your map?

    Mayan Mystery by Rekurer
    It is bad

    I really didn’t enjoy this entry that much. Most of the map felt really blocky, and even though I appreciate the use of custom textures, circular ancient designs don’t really fit onto big, square brushes. I was never really against lacking a suit and using flares to see where I’m going, but the areas with pitch darkness should’ve had more flares, and some of the gaps made me quite uncertain about whether I could jump them or not. The spikes-rising-from-the-ground traps seemed really cheap in my opinion: putting them into lit areas is understandable, but placing one at the very beginning of the map when the player has no flares and no way to see it? On my first playthrough, that just felt like a random kill trigger in the middle of the room, so adding a slicing sound or something similar would make it more noticeable.

    Regardless, I understand that this is most likely one of Rekurer’s first maps, so I wish for them not to be discouraged by this review but to take their mistakes into consideration to make better maps in the future. Sending your map into a competition is a good move to get better, even though listening to negative criticism can be an annoying thing to do (as I can certainly relate to that feeling).

    Make Earth Great Again by 1upD
    It is okay

    I’ve held off writing a review for this one for awhile because I don’t really know what to write here (and also it’s hard to write a descriptive review after you’ve done that for 7 other maps). I can see that the author tried to put a storyline into this entry, even including custom textures and some skins for existing NPCs, but some people have said that the plot makes fun of Donald Trump’s… ’saying’ or something? The thing is, I don’t really like hearing about politics, and I dunno what to feel regarding stuff like this being included in mods. Either way, it’s clear that a part of resistance fighters now work for the Combine to ‘Make Earth Great Again’. I’m not sure where in the HL2 timeline this could take place, though. Probably after Episode 2, as we do land in the arctic with a helicopter, after all. I’m not too sure why a medieval castle would be in the middle of the arctic, so perhaps… choosing a place like England as your location might’ve been a better choice?

    The gameplay is mixed. There were often times when I was confused on where exactly I had to go, but other than that the traps are what you’d most likely see in a medieval castle: crushing walls, crushing plates and, of course, rotating shooting shotguns! (Really though, that’s probably the best trap. The Combines do like to improvise, after all!) Having us gradually collect our items again and finally escape our imprisonment was satisfying, but I am pretty sure I solved the final trap in an incorrect way, causing no Combines to change their relationship towards me (and thus, nobody but the zombies and the stunstick CPs attacked me). I think this has also happened to one other reviewer, but I can’t recall who that is. Regardless, after you go outside, you have to use the knowledge that you gained earlier to avoid traps, then survive a final stand before Alyx saves you. Sadly, the final stand in my case was mostly waiting for Alyx instead of shooting at the CPs that were meant to kill me (but I haven’t been able to play through the map without the love-hate relationship bug happening, sorry). I’m not certain why the helicopter started falling again at the very end, but who cares? As long as I don’t have to avoid traps all day, I count that as ‘safe’.

    Overall, Make Earth Great Again is an okay map. I don’t feel like there was really that much of a kick to it, but it presented itself nicely, and the few G-Man cameos were fun. I’m also glad to see new mappers visit RTSL as the competition goes on.

    A Quick Drive Through by Niker107 AKA myself

    [MAP OWNER] Gaahhh, I don’t have the strength to write this. But oh well! Here is my commentary on the creation of A Quick Drive Through!

    NOTE: This is going to be very long.

    As it may or may not be obvious to you, the main concept of the map revolves around the strider encounters. In-fact, I had the idea for this map long before TrapVille was even announced. It was in the form of a post-it note on my bedroom door, and I was originally going to use it for my mod. However, I thought that TrapVille was the perfect opportunity for it to be used and I took it for the creation of AQDT instead. The idea was to have the player enter a village or establishment of some kind shortly before entering a building in which they had to solve a puzzle. After completing it, a strider would appear and destroy a part of the building, forcing the player to run while having stuff blown out to their side. It was actually going to be a lot more spectacular, with pillars destroying the walls of the structure, but I misjudged the scale of it all and the floor turned out to be too small for what I had planned. Nonetheless, I think the strider shooting out the windows looks great, and I’m very happy with how the indoor escape turned out. The inclusion of Alyx was also planned, as she was meant to bring us the car to escape the strider. Pretty much everything about the building was written down, even the small room at the entrance and the elevator (although Alyx screaming for help was my improvisation).

    The Combine ’trap’ at the beginning was meant to distract the player slightly and cause them to think that this was actually the main part of my map (although thinking about it now, that assault might have been a bit too small to even qualify as ‘the main part’). The idea of having the player only use the gravity gun as their weapon is a big part of the entry, and it was first devised when I had to make sure the player wouldn’t try to fight the strider in any way and to make them feel more helpless during the reveal. This in turn lead to having all fights in the map be fought with props, some of which are explosive, and I think this concept also turned out well.

    Now, some people were disappointed with the short duration of the car escape. Trust me, I was too when I was making the map. I misjudged the scale of things once again and, even though I thought I made a track which was long enough, it turned out to span only a few seconds. Adding the fences that the player would have to dodge helped, and it let the strider catch up because, obviously, it doesn’t need to avoid short things like fences. In-fact, the second big problem is actually not due to the length of the track, but the strider’s speed. It does travel quite fast when it’s crouched, but still not as fast as a jalopy. If the player doesn’t stall during the ride, the strider will barely be halfway through, but the tension of it all still makes it seem as though you’re in danger. A few fun facts about the chase:
    1) The second explosive container has a barrel held high up by a few supports, and the strider shoots specifically this barrel because if the player was going too fast, the strider’s bullets would be blocked by the ramp in the middle of the track and wouldn’t reach the actual explosives.
    2) The bullets don’t have to hit for the explosions to happen. It’s all based on timing.
    3) The traps cannot be triggered by the player as the barrels that trigger them are not actually explosive.
    4) Time briefly slows down and lights dim as the containers fall in front of the player to create a dramatic effect (Michael Bay style).

    The second part of the entry was created to change up the environment that the player would fight in and the enemies that would be encountered, making the whole second part located indoors. At this point, the finale of the map had already been written down in my head and I wanted to change up the map’s design by adding zombies as the main enemy before we ’reunited’ with our big three-legged friend. The zombie room could originally be skipped, but I decided that it would be a waste of space and inserted the second orange-valve puzzle into the map, so that the player would have to defeat all the zombies to get to the valve hidden in the item crate.

    This is the first creation of mine which includes a sidekick character (in this case, Alyx), and I had a lot of fun scripting her! Sure, she might feel a bit robotic at times, and I definitely haven’t mastered Faceposer yet, but I have so far enjoyed creating characters for the player to interact with during their playthrough. It makes it feel a bit less solitary, in my opinion. I also tried to make Alyx feel a bit more alive in the second part of the map, reacting to the player’s actions and the environment. I might’ve made her get a bit too emotional when she got separated with Gordon, but I did tweak this in the final release to make it feel less artificial.

    Now, the final boss battle. How did it turn out? Ehh, I think it’s okay, it doesn’t look that great visually, but the gameplay is still fun, in my opinion. I feel like some people over exaggerated not knowing where to go. There is only ever one way you can go, so going backwards and getting confused seems like poor navigation skills to me. I probably should have made the path clearer and easier to follow though. Did I plan the ending exactly as it is in the final release? Well, no. I did know that I would make three ‘houses’ that we would go between, but I thought that for all three, we could just pull a lever to flame the strider up. However, I remembered about ‘the Urby’ (or, at least, that’s what Phillip calls it) – the act of throwing a prime grenade with a gravity gun at just the right time. And I thought I might amuse the RTSL community by making that the final blow. After all, it’s more interesting than just pulling a lever, and it’s also a creative way of killing a strider. I also made the strider hilariously freak out and stop attacking the player once the first two blows are unleashed. That also made it harder to hit with the grenade. The brush around the strider used to be a trigger which detected grenade entities, but that would basically let the player throw a grenade at the strider without using the gravity gun, which’d ruin the point of the finale. In the final release, it’s actually a func_breakable which only detects blast damage.

    Anyway, that’s about it! Here are also two fun facts that I wasn’t able to insert anywhere:
    1) The map took me around 9 minutes and 30 seconds to complete on an average run, so multiplying that by 2 would give me around 19 minutes – the expected time for a new player to complete my map (and the calculation mostly worked!)
    2) In my opinion, this entry actually has multiple traps: the Combine ambush at the start, the strider attack, the explosive barrels on the escape track, the zombie room and the final strider battle.

    1. thanks for the long review 🙂

  25. I just found the two post-it notes that inspired A Quick Drive Through!
    https://imgur.com/a/sqJoW

  26. 4th place huh, not bad 🙂
    I hoped I could at least make 3rd place, but Im okay with 4th.

    edit: wow. I misread “confineholm” as “compromised” xD

    ok im dissapointed 🙁 but I understand

  27. 1st and 2nd place of the Hammer Cup are settled.
    Congratz to Maki and Niker107.
    I could still become 3rd place If I make a really good map for the last challenge and melc311 makes at most 4th place 🙂

    edit: ok depending on a lot of things melc311 could still become 2nd place

    1. Well, don’t forget that only 3 best maps per mapper count, so the real scoreboard is different.

      1. I just realized that…

        my brain cant handle this.

        1. Yes, it is the best 3, but I won’t be displaying that until the scores are in for the final challenge.

      2. well yeah I have actually much much less points than I thought and no chance at all for good ranks.

        I’ll map for Black Mesa or something else instead I guess, why bother with this …

        or this might be a good time to finally start working on that game…

  28. well, I dont want to start this discussion again, but only 4 points for visuals? When everyone is praising my visuals? And with the arguments the judges made last time, this doesnt make any sense to me, but I`ll stop trying to understand other people`s minds.

    At this point the only logical explanation is: the judges have something against me, or the rating system is complete garbage and the points are made up arbitrarily. And yes, saying these things might make me look like an a**hole, but whatever 😛

    1. I’d like to back up Crowbar here, a lacking score of 4 doesn’t reflect his map. Compromised isn’t a particularly pretty map, but it’s definitely not an ugly map neither.

      Personally I’d score it a flat 6-7, seeing as how there is sufficient detail and enough work in the graphics. The rain effect and orangey-afternoon sunlight looks smooth in contrast with the small yard, and there is a good amount of decals and small props placed around to provide a believable setting.

      Only complaint would be the area where the hunters come from is oddly empty, but it should hardly be an issue, seeing as it’s not the primary area the player moves around in.

      1. Just as long as you realise that 4 is NOT out of 10 but a system of average score from the individual judges scores.

        1. Right – I’ve understood now that the scoring system is a bit more complicated than that.

          But an average of 4 out of the possible 9 is still not something I agree with. Crowbar’s map should be around the 6-mark, potentially 7-8 depending on how much leeway you give maps with consideration to their limited creation time.

          1. This is the problem with subjective views, not everybody will agree. I’d love to just let the reviewers here decide the score but it’s too open to abuse. Maybe I can find a way to only allow members who have been a member for more than 6 months to vote.

            1. Yes and you’re absolutely right, but that might also be why (Again, just my thoughts), 3 judges are too little. You’re basing the points on too little a playerbase, and especially if those three judges have very similar tastes you’re asking for a very biased scoring.

              Only having old accounts vote will still be abused, especially when there’s material value to be earned. Some would create accounts ahead of competitions and then use them to score well against themselves. Alternatively, you could (Although it’d be some tough work), give out a personalized “keycode” to all players here that you know would be interested in judging. Perhaps this is based on a previous survey, where people send in their steam profile, RTSL profile and name.

              Then every player submits a review along their personalized keycode, and you have a controlled tally of how many players have votes. Additionally, noone can cheat.

              Also, and I cannot stress this enough, thank you so much for these competitions and for RTSL, Philip.

              While most of the stuff directed at you is criticism and negative feedback, it’s ONLY because everyone wants to see this great site become even greater. So thank you, Philip. I think I’m saying it for everyone when I say that we really, truly appreciate what you’re doing for us.

    2. I have to say , crowbar’s map had some stunning visuals , tho the other entries had some good visuals as well 😀

    3. I would like to back this opinion as well, even though BadPeace has already explained everything better than I could :p
      As I said in my review, I believe this is Crowbar’s best-looking map so far, and I can hardly think of a way to make it look better, other than decorating the back area a bit more. I believe it deserves at least 7 points on the visuals.

    4. It doesn’t make you look like an Ahole, it shows your passion. I can also say we have nothing against ANY modder.

      The scores work like this: Each judge allocates either 0, 3, 6, 9 points for each area: Design, Visuals, Sound, Gameplay and Misc. Then the total for each entry is divided by 3 to give the score.

      Now, these scores are BONUS points. We are not trying to score each individual element on a scale of 1 to 10 or anything. And this is a thing I don’t think that some entrants have fully understood. The points in those sections are just for what the judges think of as special.

      If, and I REALLY stress the *IF*, I run another Hammer Cup next year I will completely re-think the scoring system and maybe even remove the bonus points system completely.

      1. that doesn’t explain anything though.

        1. Basically, Crowbar, what Phillip means is, even if a map has excellent, but generic visuals, it might get 0 points for that category. The points only get allocated if you made something special, like a huge vista that we have never seen before, for example. Your street is unique in its own way, which explains the 4 points, but it is only possible to get 9 if you make something that does not resemble anything else visually.

          So, in-fact, 4 points is a good number, considering what Phillip means.

          1. bullshit. No offense Niker, but Grey Forest got 6 points. 6! MAMH got 6. High Wire got more than 6.
            All of it is EXTREMELY inconsistent.

      2. Phillip. I really hope you do run THC again next year. This years one has been great but seen as it is the first, things are not going to be perfect. But its a chance to try again. And you already have ideas for scoring which most people will agree are great ideas!

      3. Jamaicandave

        It’s worth pointing out the judges final scores and the public vote for top three maps mirror each other pretty closely. The scoring system might be a little convoluted but the results seem fair.

        1. yeah but I never questioned the overall rating, only the “visuals” rating. The polls are for “which map you liked the most”, not “which maps are the best looking”. Maybe I’m wrong, but apparently not, since some people seem to like the visuals. Btw I’m also not saying the map deserves a 9 for visuals, but 4 is unfair IMO.

          Anyway, it’s a bit annoying if you have to secure everything you say with 100 additional comments because people interpret a lot of things in the things you say even though that might not actually be true. I’m not saying that applies to you, just got to that point where it became tedious to talk about this stuff.

    5. For what it’s worth: just some things you might want to consider for your next entry–with regards to visuals, since I never really mentioned them in my review–is that Compromised was a little visually “noisy.” When I think back to it, all I can kinda remember is an orange, white, and red blob (which is a bit of an injustice, since I think one of the buildings was brown, and the building you come from might have been black and white). I think this is partly due to the lack of distance fog on the background buildings, so the “foreground” (the playable space) gets a little mixed with the “background.”

      While I liked your color scheme (which people tend not to do–myself included), it lacked some focus and contrast. Take a look at the sniper nest in Forest Train: the sniper is in a blue outcropping sticking out of an orange building. The blue contrasts with the orange. Another example is the citadel scene in ep1: the citadel contrasts with the orange sky and all the props point to it. I’m still hazy on what the opening vista looked like, but some tilted lamp posts and wires could have drawn lines toward the exit and sniper.

      The cramped cover on the ground floor also created some “jagged” silhouettes. It made it hard for me to know where to focus–think of when valve uses car cover: there’s typically some negative space, or the cars aren’t that different each other (the auto-gun in ep2 comes to mind) (the negative space also helps focus combat, but that’s beside the point). Compromised is packed with detail, but that was a bit of a problem for me. There wasn’t many areas without detail to create contrast. The only area I think that lacks detail is where the rpg is, but that felt to me more like it was due to time constraints, then on purpose.

      I am by no means an expert on this (look at my entry, the lighting is purely meant to light the space), and you’d probably have better luck talking to Maki or Marnamai if asking for advice on what to specifically do. I can normally spot these things after the fact, but rarely when creating them.

      1. yeah thanks for the advice, but those are just “nitpicks” and definitly not something that would take away so many points for visuals. Again, I could point out a lot of other extremely simple maps which got a lot of points for visuals for no reason. Or really good looking maps that got not that high points. My point is, all of it is extremely inconsistent.

        1. Jamaicandave

          I wouldn’t dismiss ihonnyboy’s suggestions as nitpicks so quickly. Colour theory, as in complementary and contrasting colours, warm and cold lighting, is an essential element of good visual design. Same can be said for architecture and prop placement being used to draw the players focus to important gameplay areas and creating visually memorable scenes, whilst still being easy to navigate (especially during combat).

          I’m certainly no expert but a technically accomplished map doesn’t necessarily make it visually impressive or fun to play. Conversely more basic maps can still look good and play well.

          1. that is not the point of this discussion. Of course those are all good points. But from my perspective I look at my map and I look at other maps and what each one got for visuals, and in my opinion all of it is extremely inconsistent.

  29. Hmm, felt a bit let down with only 33 points for this challenge, even if I did my very best in the last challenge I don’t think I would even stand a chance to reach third place. But I will still give it all I got for the final challenge.

    Any chance of a consolation prize, Phillip? haha.

  30. Crowbar – Jamaicandave pointed out that reviewers scores are pretty close to the judges scores. You can’t argue with that.

    Your maps are good, and no doubt are improving all the time.

    I compose and perform songs and upload them to a music sharing website. I get a few nice comments, but nothing like the regulars. Do I feel that it’s unfair? Of course not. People either like what I do or they don’t. I just try to improve what I do.

    1. the polls are for which maps people liked the most. I never said that my map is the best map of all time. I wonder what the poll results would be if it was “What is the best looking map in your opinion?”.

  31. don’t worry, I got over it.

  32. Hec
    Personal Favourite

    Overall I’d say its a fine competition. Maybe a little bit low in quality terms compared to the recent ones. But in my personal point of view is a nice enjoyable one. Possibly you may think and i quite considered it to place this one as the perfect Play it Later… But I liked the action in it, and the combat all the way.

    A Quick Drive Through
    It is great!

    I quite liked this one. Though I expected only 1 map the 2 maps didn’t feel bad at all and that Strider escape was just a classic scene in HL2! I quite felt trapped at the beginning and that eerie Gnome Easter egg was cool.

    Artificial Recharge by ESToomere
    It is good

    To be an unfinished entry, I quite liked the concept. I’d love and I strongly encourage the modder to keep working on it, because once finished could be a great work! In here is obvious that the rebel section is better and more complete than the CMB option to set the defense. The combat was rough and intense and I liked that, though that unfinished entry taste stayed all the way.

    Bridgehead by Abraham Lee AKA ihonnyboy
    It is WOW!

    Really nicely done, and I just loved the combat and the defense strategy in the map. The environment forces you to remain static and die, or move and fight for your life and I just loved that! The combat against the gunship was pretty nice too.

    Compromised by Crowbar

    Here is another really hard one. But I loved that and as I love to battle hunters I also liked this one because of that. Though I died some times, The whole scenario felt perfect for an ambush but here the little great taste is that you can turn the crap situation into your favor bya using some clever moves with the gravity gun. The end is a very classy kill the gunship task.

    Confineholm by Ethosaur
    It is great!

    This was a nice kill the mad bad Grigory guy! The traps were nicely thought and the whole aura of the game felt pretty nice.

    Lost Mines by melc311
    It is okay

    Cool traps to use clever against the zombies in here… Though I felt this quite empty maybe way too much focused on zombies that I missed some more regular CMB combat action you know… Is just the classic escape the map task.

    Reshetka by Gwydion Brain AKA Agameofscones
    It is bad

    Though we have a nicely “professional” map in here. The whole game play dynamic is really bad. The classic: “escape the progressive trap in a map full of hindrances” is applied in here, and the result felt just tedious to play as a gamer. Also the first section is way too dark and then you see that design choice it was taken by the author because you see the damn and useless flares in there, I really dislike that part, i was blind more than 5 times and got killed ridiculously by falling to the dark abyss. Yeah it feels good once you escape the drowning trap situation but then it makes you think: was it worth it??? My answer was NO.

    Mayan Mystery
    It is okay

    I played this one as I was talking on my phone!! 🙂 lol, I see some people really complaining about this one. But I guess the fact I passed this map by talking on my phone didn’t made it way too annoying, I think the most annoying part it was not knowing what to do in the surface part. But once you enter the temple and the water underground the cool thing begins. Maybe some more guidance at first could fix this complaining issues.

    Make Earth Great Again
    It is good

    I liked the D.Trump reference in the title hehe. Don’t get me wrong i really hate that idiot. But in here the whole plot is well fit into the map, infiltrate that CMB collaborator prison and kill all the brainwashed humans which work heart to heart with the CMB. The traps were very dynamic and the whole combat was fun. I also liked the use of the Helicopter on our side.

  33. Play It Now!
    A Quick Drive Through
    It is great!

    A very nice little map set and pretty nice looking to boot. I really like the way that it recycled Alyx’s dialogue throughout, but none of it felt out of place or forced. I also enjoy the way that the tables were turned, even if the final trap for the strider was a little convenient. I must award bonus points however, for the advise given at the top of the silo regarding the grenades. I can assure you I followed them to the letter. Nice work. One important thing to note however, is that the gravity gun does not substitute the crowbar. The section with the room full of crates drove me insane!

    Artificial Recharge
    It is dire!

    I’m sorry, but this is broken. This whole map was a test for me. Would I power through and find a way to finish, or would I put my head THROUGH my monitor? First of all, I voted High Road. I got an AR2 I think a grenade, but I couldn’t check because I got no suit. I then got instakilled during a scripted sequence because I took cover behind the lead APC. So, tried again, killed the rebels and then my squad got really angry at a turret and wouldn’t stop shooting it. I figured I would just go and tip it over myself, dropped the six feet into the lower level and then died…

    Low road it is! This was off to a much more promising start. I got a suit for one thing. Triggered the trap and then got forced into a maze of empty hallways. I say empty. They were full of rebels who did nothing but block me. There were doors that wouldn’t open, despite the on screen text telling me to go that way and the gunship fight wouldn’t start for me. I tried to get down to the street to get it’s attention, fell into another five foot hole and died. I reloaded and eventually fell through the floor for some reason, got the gunships attention and killed it. Then I wrote these two paragraphs while completely filled with rage.

    Bridgehead
    It is great!

    This one started out so positively, I loved the coastal village environment and frantically searching for the battery while the zombies wreaked havoc and the combine assault was tense as all hell. Sadly, it took a turn for the worst when the gunship showed up. I got a good number of direct hits but then I could not find any ammo whatsoever. I spent the next ten minutes running between all the buildings, my health dwindling until I finally thought that I was supposed to flee and ran back to the start. When I got there however, I found several rebels being set about by the zombies from the start, unable to leave the bunker because a car was blocking their path. Turns out one of the rebels was required for a sequence that would reveal an RPG ammo crate. The dangers of bulky physics props. Was very satisfying to finally put that gunship down though.

    Compromised
    It is good

    The map design was lovely, looking like it would fit perfectly within City 17. As for the gameplay, it was challenging to say the least. The onslaught of enemies was fine, but there was no breathing room between the engagements and I was really struggling to find healthkits. I would have thought that their might be a wall charger somewhere, especially before the Hunters and Gunship but nope. I finished the map on 7HP after many many deaths. There just wasn’t enough maneuverability with the cars AND hopper mines to make these battles much fun and by the end I was more frustrated than entertained.

    Confineholm
    It is good

    Why do you hate me Grigori!? I really liked this one. The location was very nicely realised with the coastal caves and the castle grounds above. The traps were all pretty interesting, though I will admit that none of them really caught me off guard. The final battle with Grigori was a little unexpected and he got some cheap shots in at the start, knocking me down to 40HP! Fortunately, he then ran onto the boat… or above it at least, floating a foot or so off the deck. Then he stood there while I pumped a couple hundred rounds into him. So yeah, the ending was a bit weak.

    Lost Mines
    It is great!

    This one was amazing. A lot more like your typical Ravenholm gameplay, this on focused on slaying zombies with the environment. I wish that I’d had the chance to outwit a few more variants such as the zombine and a few more fast zombies. The only fast zombie I saw was lurking behind a crate, but I spotted him early so he got dispatched with a crate to the headcrab before he woke up. Also, a lot of the zombies were snoozing when I arrived and although there were environmental traps I could have used, I found it easier to blat them with a barrel or something. One of my highlights has to be the huge fan tunnel though. I didn’t think it was going to work but… yup. It did.

    Reshetka
    It is WOW!

    Another stunning piece of work. I absolutely loved the slower pace of this entry and that things took a little more thought. Saying that, it was not without its tension. The overall atmosphere was eery and unsettling, all the while your mind is trying to figure out what is down here with you. Then, when you think you’ve found the light at the end of the tunnel, they cut out and you find yourself running for your life. Then, in the final moments you find it was all for nothing. Absolutely loved it and probably my favourite entry in this release.

    Mayan Mystery
    It is bad

    Woo! I gots me a skull. Yeah, didn’t like this map very much. I like that the environment is fairly unique, but it is far too easy for the player to screw themselves over. For example, if you don’t make the second jump in the right hand area, you can’t get back in order to collect the second skull. I had to noclip just to get to it. Other than that, the map wasn’t really all that interesting. I’m not sure what the trap element was. I never felt particularly trapped. If there were traps here, I don’t think they worked.

    Make Earth Great Again
    It is okay

    This map is incredibly silly. I like that it included some custom skins and textures and the environment and plot were certainly unique, if not terribly well put together in my opinion. Even the traps in certain places were pretty clever. One thing I would suggest is reducing the number of shotgunners. Seriously. They hit like a God damn train when you have no suit charge, and I don’t believe there was a single battery in this map. This because all too apparent in the final battle which was relentless and the traps that I had at my disposal were a little meagre. Not too bad, a little bit daft. It’s just fine.

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