3×24: Competition 3: EndVille

28th June 2013

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

And so it continues.

This is the third and final competition of the 3×24 Mapping Competition Series.

It is unsurprisingly called EndVille.

Full details are below.

3×24 Introduction

This is the third and final part of a mapping competition series of 3 events, each lasting 24 days – that’s 4 complete weekends.

Each competition has a detailed theme and had the possibility of each entrant continuing on from their previous entry or just submitting a stand alone entry.

There was approximately 8 weeks’ break between each competition. The exact dates and times are below:
Competition 1: 11:00pm GMT Fri 11th January – 11:00pm GMT Sunday 3rd February
Competition 2: 11:00pm GMT Fri 12th April – 11:00pm GMT Sunday 5th May
Competition 3: 11:00pm GMT Fri 28th June – 11:00pm GMT Sunday 21st July

If a mapper enters all 3 competitions then they have the opportunity to polish all three entries and release as an updated mod.

The objective is to provide mappers with a global framework for a proper mod, with a beginning, a middle and an end.

Once the next competition has been announced, mappers are allowed to make small modifications to the end of their last entry, but nothing too significant. Larger changes will be allowed if they enter all 3 competitions.

To ensure that entrants didn’t simple continue working on their mod, there are some thematic elements that provide additional design decisions. This made it difficult for them to simply create something and then try to “fit” it to the announced theme.

EndVille Theme Details

The map must start with a BANG! Assume that this part of the map is after the main section of a mod, where the player has just performed the “reason” for the mod. It continues with the player having whacked the bee hvie and all hell has broken lose.

Your objective is to GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!

New entrants can start from a fresh area and invisible walls in the beginning will NOT be penalized.

It’s not important HOW the mod finishes; the player can escape, can get captured or even die – it’s up to you.

As mentioned above, in order to stop people creating their map “out of competition” time, the map must also include the following features:
1. The map must start with with the player learning where to go. How that happens is the mapper’s choice. It doesn’t have to be voice acting, so don’t limit yourself.
2. One huge “drop” must be included, although don’t think it means some difficult jumping section.
3. There should be plenty of exploding barrels.
4. There must be a least one secret area, either visibly obvious but difficult to reach or hidden in some way.
5. The ending should convey some emotion, so consider using a cut-scene and/or new music.

Standard 3×24 Rules
  • Maximum two maps per mapper per competition. (Updated from one)
  • The map must be original and not have been released publicly before.
  • The map must run in system with only Ep2 installed
  • By entering the competition you grant PlanetPhillip.Com the right to release the map as part of the 3×24 Mod.
  • Maps must not appear before the release and for one month after the release of the mod.
  • No assets from retail games other than HL2, HL2: Ep1 or HL2: Ep2 are allowed.
  • Other assets are allowed with written permission from their original authors, which MUST be included in the entry.
  • Phillip’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into about it.
  • The map MUST have a proper name.
  • The map MUST have a proper filename: MapName_pp_3x24.bsp
  • All entries must be sent to: [email protected] no later than the deadline.
Special Notes

Mappers are encouraged to include freely available assets, including textures, models, sounds and music. This will help the map stand out from other entries. However, the actual experience is much more important than simply including lots of new stuff.

Final Words

I will announce prizes later.

As always, if you have any doubts or questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.


  1. MisterAddy

    Cool, I completely forgot that this was starting already. My map from the previous competition is (finally) nearly finished and just needs some detailing, testing and voice work.

    That said I probably won’t be entering this one, partly because I will be away from home for a while and also because I would rather focus on getting the preceding one done. Even so I might still come up with some stuff, and as I have said before I will still be releasing it all as a whole mod.

    Anyway, best of luck to the entrants, and I hope some new people give it a go because the rules could give some great opportunities for fun levels.

  2. I have not entered the last 2 competitions because the lack of motivation. I will try to enter this though

    With the “drop” does that mean, like the floor breaks down under the player, thus making him/her fall into the underground?

    To give example. Could this map be the classic base-is-about-to-explode-you-must-leave-or-you-will-die-ish?

    The beginning, does it have to be IN YOUR FACE kinda thing, not a second to think? Or maybe some dude over a radio tells you that the place will be overflowing with combine in 30 seconds, giving the player time to think and survey the enviroment?

    1. With the “drop” does that mean, like the floor breaks down under the player, thus making him/her fall into the underground?

      It could do, it just some HUGE hole the player has to avoid somehow.

      To give example. Could this map be the classic base-is-about-to-explode-you-must-leave-or-you-will-die-ish?

      Yes, that could work too.

      The beginning, does it have to be IN YOUR FACE kinda thing, not a second to think? Or maybe some dude over a radio tells you that the place will be overflowing with combine in 30 seconds, giving the player time to think and survey the enviroment?

      No more than 30 seconds.

  3. “1. The map must start with with the player learning where to go. How that happens is the mapper’s choice. It doesn’t have to be voice acting, so don’t limit yourself.”

    Could you please elaborate on what you mean by this? If all hell has broken loose and the objective is to “GET THE HELL OUT OF THERE!”, then I would imagine that learning where to go isn’t some sort of a lengthy process, but rather something that happens quickly. This still makes me confused, because isn’t the player pretty much always “learning where to go”?

    Clarification might help.

    1. What I am talking about is giving the player a clear indication of his intended destination.

      We don’t always know where we are going in maps, we just keep moving forward until we find something.

      I’m looking for some signal, view or message that tells the player what to reach. The “boat in the dock”, the “Tunnel over the hill”, the “doorway near the APC tank”.

      Knowing WHAT you have to do (Get the hell out of there!) is different from knowing WHERE to go. HOW he gets there is part of the fun of playing.

      We always knew in HL2 that the Citadel would be our destination, but we didn’t have any idea of HOW we would get there.

      Hope that helps.

  4. Sounds interesting. All of my exams are over now so I don’t really have any excuses to not give it a good shot.

    I assume with the drop, it means the player has to fall a reasonable distance and land in water? Or does it mean a very vertical area the player descents gradually?

    1. The player doesn’t have to fall or descend at all. Just include a HUGE drop that the player either has to make OR avoid somehow.

  5. Amidnarasu

    I’d like to join another mapping competition (participated in a few on Interlopers a long time ago), but last I heard, Hammer and the Source SDK were broken from the Steampipe update (yet another thing I enjoy that Steampipe has destroyed). I’ve been afraid to touch Source SDK because of this. That and my perfectionism ruins it for me.

    And tbh, the only thing I’m good at in mapping is architecture, so I don’t think I’d get very far in this. Interlopers” contests were mostly for show, not gameplay.

    1. Well, perhaps this comp could be the time to extend your skills.

      Start with the architecture and see if you can add some interactive elements. All that matters is that you have fun, while learning something new.

      1. Amidnarasu

        It would be nice to try something new, and get out of my comfort zone. I don’t map as much as I used to, mostly because of the aforementioned perfectionism.

        But like I said, this whole Steampipe mess has made me afraid of touching Source SDK again. Same goes with trying to play any mods for HL1 and HL2. I’d hate to consider giving up mapping and playing mods, but I feel this is just becoming too much trouble to deal with anymore.

        But I hope it doesn’t come to that; I really, really do. I love playing mods, and they extend the life of the games. I also have so many map/mod ideas, and I would like to at least try to get them out in some form.

  6. Greenman

    Steampipe beta broke source sdk, yes; Displacement textures are inverted, textures missing and missing texture checkerboard on most 3d models in the hammer viewports (And some 3d models are missing alpha channels, for example shrubs are not greyish plane type thingies)

    Some of us including myself are still able to use the SDK launcher to use a working version of hammer, however they are now phasing out the launcher all together so we don’t know how long this will last.

    1. JG

      I can confirm those issues. For what it’s worth, I decided to be proactive about it and signed up to enter them into Valve’s GitHub, which is where they seem to be collecting bugs. If you are having issues, they are encouraging users to enter bugs there or comment on existing ones.

      2D opaque checkerboard on props, 3D solid alpha channel:

      Inverted displacements:

      This is just my impression, but it seems like Valve has few people working on this and they are slammed. Unfortunately for us HL2 fans, there are far more TF2 and CS:S tasks at the moment, which probably explains why they seem to have priority on SDK updates. Particularly since all the games have different Hammers now, this is probably a pain to update.

      I noticed that the inverted displacements problem is fixed in the Source SDK 2013 Hammer, which was just released. I don’t know how you configure that one to build Episode 2 content, but it seems like a more recent version of Hammer that might be ported back to Ep2 at some point.

      1. MisterAddy

        I am still using the SDK launcher from the Steam tools menu, and everything has been working as normal. I have not opted into the Steampipe beta though.

        I had a quick look at the “2013” Hammer, but I couldn’t see any benefits since nothing is broken for me…?

        1. JG

          Good news! Yesterday, someone at Valve took both of the bugs. The inverted displacements one seems to have been fixed in yesterday’s Hammer update. The checkerboard one is slated for a future (likely next) update.

  7. And by the way, Will this competition use steampipe? Because I need to redownload stuff for my Half Life 2 to upgrade and My internet is slow so it would take maybe days to update all the episodes.

    1. JG

      The problem is that it’s not really up to Phillip. If Valve chooses to officially roll out Steampipe during this contest, we’re all stuck with it. Now, if Valve doesn’t, then you are in the clear because ultimately the person making the mod (not the maps in the mod) has to deal with the gameinfo.txt goofiness. On the other hand, if Valve forces the update, you’re stuck with a quirky Hammer (well, more quirky than usual, I should say).

      It’s important to point out that the new Hammer isn’t “broken.” You can certainly make stuff with it, compile it, and expect it to run. But it definitely has new problems that didn’t exist before.

      Either way, lack of communication from Valve is an issue. If they won’t commit to a particular timeframe for rolling out Steampipe, then everyone will just have to “deal with it” if/when it does happen… we just don’t know.

      Much like with Jim’s Deep Down, you only have three choices:

      1. Stick with the old SDK, with the risk that if Valve updates everyone to Steampipe, you will have to deal with the wonky Hammer.

      2. Update to Steampipe, learn the new Hammer quirks (along with most other modders, it seems) and know that your foundation is reasonably secure.

      3. Store an old version of Half-Life 2 and its editor somewhere and work offline. I’ve never had any luck with this – I always end up getting SDK updates even when I tell it not to.

  8. I won’t be able to enter this competition either. Steam updates my HL2 and the episodes with steampipe so I need to redownload about 10gb of missing files. That takes weeks. I didn’t even opt for Steampipe Beta.

  9. Ade

    u only need ep2 tho, right?

  10. Endville!
    Great news!
    I always look forward to these mapping competitions and am very keen to see how it all ends.

  11. Back into the saddle, I guess.

    Aiming for something shorter and sweeter this time. Maybe do some playtesting for once. That would probably help.

  12. JG

    Today is the day – the end of EndVille – good luck everyone! 🙂

    1. Sadly, it will need more than luck! Valve’s steampipe has broken all the old ‘villes installed on my machine, so it’s an extra (high) hurdle to jump for Endville Entrants to sort out a working gameinfo.txt. From what I understand, it depends largely on whether or not Source SDK 2007 has been updated/crippled, as well as whether custom binaries are used (in which case the mod won’t work with steampipe), and if different Users are at different levels of “conversion” then it will be very messy. The last time I checked the steam forums, it was written that even valve’s sample gameinfo.txt was still wrong/out of date so as usual it’s up to Users to figure out a solution to their mandatory mess. Some people are reporting success crafting a gameinfo.txt on a case-by-case process, but it’s by no means straightforward.

      1. MisterAddy

        In my experience, individual maps aren’t affected too badly and that is how they will be submitted. Still I hope all these SDK problems haven’t deterred any more entrants.

      2. JG

        Strictly speaking, gameinfo.txt should have nothing to do with this. As MisterAddy says, the submissions were standalone .bsp files that you would drop in the maps sub-folder. You would build them using the Hammer.exe in the bin folder of Episode 2. At most, you would use Pakrat to include some of the custom files (audio, etc.) in the .bsp itself.

        Now Phillip, on the other hand, would have to worry about gameinfo.txt if he intends to make a formal mod out of this. And honestly, I have absolutely no idea how you go about doing that anymore. I suspect it requires starting with Source SDK 2007 to use the “Create a Mod” tool and then somehow porting that folder over to Steampipe, but I have no clue. For that matter, I never figured out what good Source SDK Base 2013 was for or if it applied at all to this. I always assumed it was for making a new game using Source, but others suggested there’s kind of an overlap with HL2 and mapping for it.

        1. MisterAddy

          I have had some success using the mod structure and gameinfo.txt from “Deep Down” (this is a content only mod I’m talking about), but I have no idea how he got it set up. From what I can gather, the SDK Base 2013 is for creating mods that require new game code for new features.

          There is a disappointing lack of communication about this whole mess from Valve.

          1. Yup. They’re certainly consistent in this regard. I think of it as ‘the silent raised finger” of valve.

  13. Hahaha oh wow, for some reason I thought the competition closed this week, not last Sunday. Given that I was probably not going to be entering anything I guess that it’s not a big deal. Hope people got a few good entries in.

    1. JG

      How would you have ended the tale of the Mastermind? 🙂

      1. I had the beginning and overall skeleton of a map done so you might find out at some point, provided that I get round to finishing it in my own time. Maybe for the final mod submission later on. I’ll try!

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