3×10: Competition 3: MovieVille

13th December 2013

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

For this competition, you must create a map that is inspired by a movie or movie scene.

There are no limits to map(s) size or playtime. You can set the map in any environment that you want.

Please see the rest of this post for full details.

Judging Criteria

The winning map(s) will be the one that uses a movie as INSPIRATION for the map in the most novel and interesting way. I am NOT expecting EXACT recreations of movie scenes.

I want a movie to provide inspiration for your map, that’s all. The map can be action, story-driven, anything, although the player must be able to move around.

Shooting or puzzle solving is NOT required.

If you have any questions, either email me directly or post them here as comments. DO NOT wait until you are nearly finished!

Attention to detail is very important in this competition. I would much prefer smaller but highly polished maps than larger, less polished maps.

Beta Testing

Please contact Ade, the leader of The Beta Testers Collective, a free map beta testing project, to have your map tested. I fully understand that 10 days is very short but even one playthrough by somebody new is enough to highlight issues. She can be contacted here: [email protected]

Sponsor and Prizes

This competition is sponsored by SteamContests.Com who are kindly donating one $5 Steam game and I will also be adding another $5 Steam game. At this point I don’t know if the winner will be able to chose their games or if it will be a random selection.

Special Rules

Please ensure that your map works on Steampipe.

Special Rules

For more information on Steampipe, please see: Steampipe and the Current Issues, this FacePunch Mapping Thread and this Steam Community thread. You could also try a web search for specific issues.

In the 3×10 announcement, The_Blazer wrote “Specifically, the Source SDK tool is now entirely disabled, and Hammer needs to be launched from Steam > steamapps > common > Half-Life 2 > bin. It


  1. Definitely didn’t expect this theme but I’m glad you went with it, I’m looking forward to some very interesting entries

  2. Phillip, do “other assets” that require written permission include works released under creative commons licenses like this: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

    I would like to use some music selected from Newgrounds, and the majority of authors there post under that license. I would still inform the author and leave attribution in an included readme file, I just wanted to know if this would be okay for the mod, legally speaking.

    1. Yes, that’s fine. I put that rule in to stop people using clearly copyrighted material.

  3. Ade

    I’m (wishful) thinking: cinematic explosions and destruction, heavy npc scripting (which doesn’t necessarily include voice acting). I’m hoping for 0 combine soldiers to kill!

  4. First thought: Oh no.
    Second thought: BRAINWAAAAAVEEEEEE.
    Going to participate, expect the expected: loads of shooting.

    1. Now that I’ve tinkered on mine for a few hours the more I think about making it a modern game and letting the player play for 5 minutes and make the rest a cutscene.

      1. For Freeman’s sake don’t. There are already enoungh commercial games that do this (*cough*Metal Gear Solid*cough*). If I understood things right, the movie simply needs to provide an inspiration.

        Plus, I think that everyone knows that movie plotlines and scenes can’t be recreated closely in Half Life 2 because there is simply not the right content and creating/implementing your own in 10 days is out of the question. If you are getting inspiration from a scene from a WWII-related movie, it is very hard to create an Allies VS Axis battle simply because there are no Allies or Axis models for ingame characters (you could steal them from DoD but that would break the rules, and if you swapped the regular models with your own, it would affect all the maps in the competition which is definitely not nice). Instead, you would be better off replicating the scenery and maybe the attack scheme (where the Axis defensive positions are, where the Allies attack from etc…), but redo the battle “plotline” itself as a fight between Combine forces and the rebels set in the Half-Life 2 universe.

        1. Yep, that settles it, invisible walls and random deaths if you straggle too far out the play area and refuse to follow your NPC buddies!

  5. Although I think that most entries will be inspired by action scenes, I am really looking forward for some that don’t.

  6. George

    Sounds good. Unfortunately I will not be able to join this competition because i’m away from the computer visiting family for the Christmas holidays.

    I look forwards to the submissions.

    Good luck all!

  7. Allright, I’ll post a few updates if I can. I’m afraid I may lose a couple of days because of Christmas holdidays but I want to give this competition a shot anyway.

    DAY 1

    I was quite conflicted on the movie to choose, because I had 2 different movies that deal with similar things but in different ways. I ended choosing what I think will make for the most powerful gameplay opporunities. I am definitely not going to follow the movie closely. Following the plot is a no-go because Half Life 2 just doesn’t have the appropriate content for that. Following the actual action is a no-go too because, Half Life 2 being a first person shooter, it indeed relies on shooting and gravitygunning to create fun gameplay, which the movie doesn’t have much of. Instead, what is the main “feature” of the movie on a conceptual level will be part of the map and will be translated from concept to actual gameplay. I am also planning to add at least one brief sequence in the map which will be quite similar to one in the movie.

    Today I mainly decided what the general setting and purpose of the map will be (By purpose I mean the player’s final objective), and sketched down some “concept art” that doesn’t really deserve that name (More like poor drawings of how I envision the environment).

    Tomorrow I hope I will be able to create an initial playable part and a prototype of a game mechanic I want to implement. I will keep the environment sketches in mind when designing gameplay (without letting them distract me too much tough) so that if I manage to finish something by the deadline it will be much easier to put it in a realistic setting.

  8. Wazanator

    Hey there I actually made a replacement tool for Source SDK Launcher. You can learn more about it here http://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=198444877

    Hope it helps someone out!

    1. Hey Waz. I saw this on /r/hammer a while back and it looks pretty neat. As a new mapper, I have no idea what most of it means, but it looks useful (and better than launching from the bin folder).

      I’ll give it a shot after this competition.

  9. Well, I’m sending my map out to the BTC tomorrow no matter what condition it’s in, but I’m hoping to get something figured out before then.

    I’ve looked everywhere, but can’t find a tutorial on either Combine snipers or Combine mounted guns. Either one would work at this point. Can anyone give me the rundown on how to create one of these?

    Other than that, the map is coming along nicely.

    Thanks in advance, everyone!

    1. JG

      This tutorial at Interlopers also covers mounted guns in great detail:

      The key entity is a func_tank, which is used for most mounted gun setups at is usually set up to fire AR2 (Overwatch Rifle) projectiles. There are actually a couple notable variations on this, however. The func_tankairboatgun has the same functionality as the Tau Cannon mounted to the Airboat. This means it is able to take down some armored enemies, like Combine APCs and Hunter-Chopper, which the normal func_tank cannot. Striders and other “Synth” enemies are immune, however. Another amusing one is the func_tankrocket which basically lets you fire RPG rockets like a machine gun – it’s quite hilarious, though I’ve never found a practical use for it. Perhaps if you’re trying to do an over-the-top 1980s movie? X)

      I don’t have too much experience with Snipers, but there’s not a whole lot to them, really. It’s a relatively simple entity with a ton of adjustable parameters. Have a look at:

      1. Ah, thank you JG. This is exactly what I was looking for. I’ll definitely start my searches on Interlopers next time.

    2. Quick post-test update:

      After receiving feedback from many members of the BTC, I’ve concluded the map needs to be trimmed quite a bit due to the complexity of fixing what is currently broken. Fortunately there were entire sections that made no sense or were weird/boring, so they are ripe for cutting.

      Therefore, the final map is going to be quite small. I am expanding the mechanic testers seemed to enjoy the most and removing about two thirds of the initial space I had created in favor of a much more tightly packed experience.

    3. I have encountered a potentially catastrophic error! The suit refuses to equip in game. I have tried placing it directly on the player and using a game_player_equip. Even if I place the suit somewhere else in an attempt to pick it up, it does not even load.

      I’ve checked everything in the layers panel and the entity is recognized in the entity browser. If anyone has any clue what could possibly be going on, please chime in. Thanks!

      Now back to Googling this like crazy.

      1. Turns out the ground I’m placing the model on isn’t solid enough for the game, because it spawns fine on a flat platform. Could that be because the starting place is slanted? I’m going to try making a special clip platform just for the suit and see if that helps. Posting results here for future web searchers.

        1. Are these the sorts of things that you enjoy or are they just a PITA? I am seriously asking, because I know that you can learn a lot from these but know how frustrating they can be.

          1. Personally I enjoy figuring these things out. And for reference’s sake: placing a flat brush under where the suit should spawn fixed the problem. 😀

      2. JG

        That’s not an unusual problem. Often when you place items right next to the player start, they don’t “take,” despite the fact that the player is standing right on them.

        Instead, you should use the newgame_spawn prefab (which comes with the plain Source SDK), which is in Prefabs HL2. This prefab is set up to give the player everything they will need for default health, suit and weapons in a way that prevents those weird issues from happening. It includes a player start too.

        After you place this prefab, you’ll most likely want to tailor the weapons to your level’s needs.

        1. Switch to Objects mode (not Group). This will let you select the individual entities in this prefab.

        2. Delete whatever weapons you don’t want the player to start with. The two giant “ERROR” models are the Antlion pheromones and the Crossbow – feel free to delete those too if you aren’t using them.

        3. For each of the point_templates (the three block-shaped entites that overlap the player start), go into their properties and clear any red references (these references point to the weapons that you deleted) and reorder the list so there are no empty rows.

        4. For each of the item_dynamic_resupply entities (the dozen-or-so things that look like health kits in front of the player start), adjust the desired ammo ratios. For example, if the player doesn’t start with an RPG, set the Desired RPG Ammo Ratio on all of these to 0. These things all have fairly logical naming – you should be able to figure out what they correspond to.

        One of the useful side effects of this system is, if you look at the Outputs of the prefab’s logic_auto, you can time those however you want. So, if you wanted to display the level’s title, fade up from darkness, and THEN give the player their items, this is how you can accomplish a delay like that. Note that you’ll want a player_viewcontrol to hold the player in place during an intro like that, so they don’t move away from the spawn point under the darkness.

        One more important note – it is possible that you will not have this prefab. It was removed post-Steampipe from base Half-Life 2 (thanks, Valve). If you can’t find it, first search your steamapps folder for “*newgame_spawn*” – if that has no matches, you’ll need to download the Source SDK from the Tools section of Steam (the ordinary Source SDK). Once you have that, the Prefabs are found in steamapps/common/SourceSDK/bin/ep1/bin/prefabs. Copy the contents of this folder to wherever your Hammer is. For example, I copied mine to steamapps/common/Half-Life 2/bin/Prefabs.

        Yet another “feature” of the ill-conceived Steampipe nonsense.

        1. Thanks for the info, JG. I managed to find a fix that will work for now, but will use the prefab in the future since it sounds a lot more useful.

          Speaking of which, how do I get the default prefabs? They don’t appear in the halflife2\bin\prefabs folder. Do I need to decompile a map?

          1. JG

            See above, where I talked about “If you can’t find it.” 🙂

    4. Submitted the map last night. Looking forward to seeing the others.

      This is yet another map that was submitted with the Node Graph Out of Date error. I think I realized last night, after submission, why this is happening. Next time it should not be an issue. Hopefully this does not also mean an AI disabled problem again. In testing it was never an issue, so the hope is that it will all be okay. Fingers crosses on that.

  10. Gambini

    I’d take part of it.

    1. You would, you will or you are?

      1. Gambini

        I’m toying around with a concept. Hopefully I get it done before the deadline.

  11. Ade

    So far only 1 entry was sent for testing. C’mon guys.

    1. Still working on mine. Got my own testers.

  12. Unfortunately I won’t be entering this competition. I found a concept I liked, but got a bit lost trying to implement it. Good luck to everyone else.

    1. JG

      I have a gut feeling there probably won’t be as many entries as previous comps. Between the relative lack of activity in this contest’s thread and the upcoming holidays… and to be honest, the lack of updates… I suspect you aren’t alone.

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