Hello and welcome to the Mesa Cup, a series of three Black Mesa single player mapping challenges.
If you are new to my mapping challenges, please see the event’s homepage: THE MESA CUP 2018 as well as the CALENDAR of the mapping challenges for the entire 2018.
For this challenge, we would like you to create a map whose main layout is a loop: the player must return to where they started. As usual, it’s the journey that counts.
Laying out a linear level that loops back is easy; using space efficiently and creating an interesting path for the player that feels non-linear is what we’re looking for. Foreshadowing of upcoming areas, taking advantage of the vertical axis, and opening and closing off (gating) areas as the player progresses (without making it feel like a maze) are key skills for FPS level designers.
Constructing a complicated level that has you simply finish where you started is a loop – but it’s not a very creative one. Including a reason for the loop goes a long way toward adding believability to your map and helps tie everything together. Think of Questionable Ethics, where you need to get through the main lobby door but have to make a big loop to eventually grab a scientist to open the door for you.
For more information about Loop design (and more examples), see here Valve Developer Community Loop page.
Originally, we planned this mapping challenge to be on the beta branch of the engine, which has some very cool lighting effects. However, it seems that the beta branch is causing a few issues for people, especially those with AMD processors.
After careful consideration, we have decided to run the challenge using the PUBLIC (non-beta) version of the engine. However, once the new engine goes public, there is a very good chance that older maps will have to be recompiled to work. That is why we have stated in the rules that the VMF MUST be included in the entry. That way, we can update the mod to ensure it works with the latest version of the game.
The Mesa Cup runs throughout the year and any delay or use of the beta branch could cause too many potential issues.
We apologise for the inconvenience and slight delay of this challenge announcement. We hope you understand.