50-Hour Mapping Challenge – Epistle3Ville

8th September 2017

Hello and welcome to the third 50-Hour Mapping Challenge – Epistle3Ville.

Below are the details.


As always, if you have any questions, you can either post a comment or if you require a private reply, send Phillip an email: [email protected]

Theme Details

For this 50-hour challenge, we would like you to create a map that has been inspired by Marc Laidlaw’s recent Epistle 3 blog post, subsequent fan art based on that piece of writing or any other Episode 3 or Half-Life 3 fan art or concept art. If you use any art as direct inspiration, please link to it in your entry’s readme.txt file.

You only have 50 hours, so what we’re looking for is JUST A TINY SLICE of what you think Episode 3 could have included. Maybe there’s a setpiece that you’d love to see in-game, or a specific combat situation you imagined while reading Epistle 3. Did you see some fan art and say “wouldn’t it be cool if…”? This is your chance!

The main point is that what you make must be inspired by the Ep3/HL3 theme AND be recognisable as such. You can’t just say something inspired you but it’s not obvious how it connects to Episode 3.

This theme is perhaps open to interpretation more than other themes, so if you have ANY questions, doubts etc, do not hesitate to ask for clarification.


The deadline for submitting maps is:

Sunday 10th September 2017 at 11:59pm Central European Summer Time

Check your timezone!

General Advice

DO NOT GET TOO AMBITIOUS. Something is bound to delay your progress. Leave time for testing, bug fixing and polishing!


50 hours doesn’t give you much time but it’s always good to test if you can, especially early in the dev phase.


A random Steam game will be given to the winner.

Judging Criteria

I am pleased to announce that for this challenge that DolmotheDouglas, Niker and Phillip are the judges.

They will select the winner that uses the theme in a creative way and is fun to play.

Optional Assets

Some of the Epistle 3 story takes place in the (Ant)arctic. With that in mind, we have prepared some extra assets (textures, models, etc.) in the Arctic theme if you would like to use them.

The download contains a winter texture pack and the Arctic Combine soldier pack. The textures are named with the wi_ prefix to indicate they’re winter themed – they do not override existing textures.

The Arctic Combine soldiers are a replacement for the Nova Prospekt soldiers. Thus if you want to use Arctic Combine, simply set the entity to be a Nova Prospekt soldier and voila!

These are converted from existing texture and model packs, full credits are given in the download. Please note you are NOT obligated to use the winter textures – we just wanted to give mappers an easy way to make Arctic-style maps if desired.

Asset pack here:
Download the OPTIONAL assets pack [21.70MB]

I can’t thank WALLe_PL and Niker enough for all their hard work. Thanks also go to Don, The Renegadist and DjReplica as well.

Chat about your idea and progress. The judges may visit but DO NOT use it as a way to ask questions about the theme – use this post or this email: [email protected]

General Rules
  • Maximum one map per mapper per entry.
  • 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 and RunThinkShootLive.Com the right to release the map as part of the RTSL-50-Hour MC: Epistle3Ville Mod.
  • Maps must not appear on ANY other website 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.
  • ALL filenames MUST be in LOWERCASE – that means NO CAPITAL LETTERS.
  • The map MUST have a proper name.
  • The map MUST have a proper filename: MapName_50hmc-c3.bsp
  • All entries must be sent to: [email protected] no later than the deadline.
  • If you do not receive a confirmation email without 24 hours of sending an entry, contact Phillip IMMEDIATELY.
Submission Email Format.


1. RTSL-50HMC-C-3-MAPNAME (Not filename)
2. The name you want used for credit. For example Phillip Marlowe AKA PlanetPhillip
3. Link to compressed file (or attach it to the email)
4. Notes you want included in the readme.txt, including links to images or sources that inspired you.

NOTE: I encourage all users to include a proper readme-mapname.txt file but it is not compulsory.


Submitting a chapter image with your entry.

For this challenge, I will allow entrants to submit their own chapter image.
All I need is the image – you do not need to create the VTF, I will do that.
It’s not compulsory but it will be appreciated.
This can be done up to 3 days after the deadline.

1. Image should be 16:9 ratio.
2. JPG or PNG is best.
3. Weapons and HUD MUST be removed.
4. Neither too bright nor too dark.
5. The FOV can be changed. I use between 75 and 90.
6. Visual effects can be added but be sensible.
7. No text must be added.

1. The chapter images are small. Some images look great full screen but look meh when small.
2. Don’t spoil the map for the player. I find something near the beginning is better, but not always.
3. Don’t spend hours trying to get it perfect. Often people use it for reference only.
4. But, if you can find the right angle and lighting, a good chapter image can get players excited. Do not neglect the promotion of your work.
5. Funky, weird or strange generally don’t work. Keep it simple.
6. If you used an image to inspire you, feel free to use that to create your chapter image.

Final Thoughts

If you have ANY questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, either here in the comments or by email if you prefer a private answer.


  1. Do we need to pack these optional assets into bsp or they will be presented in the mod on release?

    1. Unq

      The assets will be included in the mod download, you don’t need to pack them.

    2. They will be included in the mod.

  2. Brilliant idea- I cannot wait to see what the entries are like!

  3. I’ll award the winner of Epistle3Ville with US$33.33. 2nd place gets a signed nude photograph of myself. 3rd place gets nothing.

    1. Shouldn’t that be: winner gets nothing, second gets signed nude photo and third gets $33.33?

      1. Fraid not – sticking to the Valve policy – 3rd place gets screwed over

        1. Can’t we all just get a nude picture? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  4. Wesp5

    Phillip, why didn’t you make this a full competition or will you do this latter if the results here are good? Because very often the 50 hour competions end up with a lot of rather unfinished looking maps and it would be a shame to waste the HL2:EP3 theme on this!

    1. We can still do a full EP3Ville at some point in the future. The 50-Hour challenge was set for this weekend and it seemed too timely to miss. It also gives people a chance to experiment with ideas.

  5. It seems that the arctic combine isn’t in the resource pack, or at least the one I installed from this site.

    1. Also, is the use of source Face poser allowed? I think the .vcd can be compiled with the map.

      1. Yes, as long as it doesn’t affect other entries.

      2. Could you tell how to do this (pack/compile into the map)? I haven’t used faceposer much before but it would be a huge help.

        1. In a 50-hour competition, I could almost guarantee you have no time for Faceposer.

          However, if you did, you would need to submit the .VCD files to Phillip and, on his side, they’d get compiled into a scenes.image file. Don’t pack them in with the map. Instead, put them in the location within /scenes where you expect them to be.

          1. Too much effort, then. I’d have to re-learn it anyway.

            1. If you’re only using Faceposer for lip-syncing, it is possible to do that and save the lip sync data into the WAV file. Making entire choreographed scenes for this doesn’t seem as feasible.

    2. Unq

      The Arctic Combine is there, it’s texture replacements for the Nova Prospekt soldiers. If you want Arctic soldiers, set them to be Nova Prospekt.

  6. I already know I planned too much. Drew a layout on paper in five minutes but it’s too much to manage.

  7. I’ll probably end up with no map but plenty of self-made prefabs to use in the future.

  8. Can’t wait to play this map pack…..but I have a feeling this Ville will never be released. I don’t know, I just have a set in my head.

  9. I kind of wondered if this would be the theme but I was surprised when it actually was! I feel like this should have been a 19 day challenge at least.

    I have several different ideas running through my head at once but I’m not sure if I can do any of them justice. Since I’ve only got one day, I’ve gotta narrow it down quickly…

    I have a request for Phillip: Could you organize the entries chronologically for this Ville? Certainly many of them will overlap, but some might be the beginning of Epistle 3, or the end. If they’re all in order it’s almost like we’ll get to play through the story.

  10. Other assets are allowed with written permission from their original authors, which MUST be included in the entry.

    That means my own assets are okay, right?

    1. Yes, you can include your own assets.

  11. Halfway through and it seems I’ve planned too many things I’ve never done into my map. I don’t think I’m gonna make it.

  12. Unfortunately, this competition overlapped the weekend where I had to take my ACT, which kind of got in the way of things.

    Also, is it just me, or does the concept of making something designed to be based off of a hypothetical official Half-Life 3 seem like a bad concept for a 50-hour competition?

    1. I agree. It is really hard to put together something worth of “Episode 3” title in such short time (for my standarts at least) – I tried and I couldnt. Oh well, at least now I’m really prepared for Episode3Ville in terms of assets 😀

  13. This is going to be awesome!

  14. I have finished my submission and I am preparing to submit it.

    Ah, it’s been seven hours since the deadline came to pass.

    To those who managed to get their submissions in on time, I’ll be looking forward to seeing your entries!

    1. Submit it anyway and I will include it as a bonus map.

      1. The email is sent, thank you for taking in my map anyway! (As a bonus map, of course.)

  15. Pleased to announce that I have received 10 entries for the RTSL Epistle3Ville mapping Challenge. 1 small naming issue as two entries have the same name.

  16. No matter the winner I’m so super excited to see what gameplay or story experiments other folks fit into these 50 hours!!!

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