Abstraction – Map Labs Test Tube #3

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

4th May 2019

The latest Map Labs release is another Test Tube – a short challenge that only ran the weekend. The theme was to create an abstract map.

As always, if you’re interested in learning more about Map Labs and maybe even participate in their upcoming challenges, visit the Map Labs Discord!

The challenge recieved a solid 14 entries and 2 bonus maps, here they are!

Basic Details
  • Title: Abstraction
  • Filename: sdk-2013-sp-mlc-abstraction.7z
  • Size : 153 MB
  • Author: Gvarados, Mark AKA Strontvlieg, AkaJacob, Adam Clark, Jakob//BambuSource, JanKaszanka, White_Red_Dragons, Aleksandr Lavrinovitš aka alex_mmc, LordDz, Quinton Swenski aka Squidski, Skorly, Adakam, Steven Cabbage, Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon, HighFire, Dot Operator, FRAG
  • Date Released: 3 May 2019

Download Options

Download to your HD [153 MB]

Sorry, this version cannot be used with Gauge.

Manual Installation Instructions
  • Make sure you have the Upcoming branch of the Source SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer installed in Steam and run at least once. (Properties – Betas – select upcoming from the dropdown list).
  • Copy the “abstraction” folder into your SourceMods folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • Abstraction should now be listed in your Library tab.

Reviewing

If you decide to use the Per-Map Opinion Images, feel free to use the file below as a template:

Abstraction-Review-Template.txt

Entries

Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself:

Dride by Gvarados
Past Apparitions by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
The Mill by AkaJacob
meat by Adam Clark
error map not found by Jakob//BambuSource
Essence. by JanKaszanka
At Doom’s Trigger by White_Red_Dragons and Aleksandr “alex_mmc” Lavrinovitš
Abuse by LordDz
Invert by Quinton “Squidski” Swenski
Shake by Skorly
Contrast by Adakam
Stratosphere Fight by Steven Cabbage
Time Destroys Everything by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
Watched by HighFire
Climbing the Eidolon by Dot Operator (bonus map)
FRAGments by FRAG (bonus map)

Community Poll

Time for you to share your thoughts! Vote for your top 3 Companion Piece maps. Poll closes 20th May 2019.

Pick your favorite 3 Abstraction maps:

  • Watched by HighFire (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Time Destroys Everything by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon (19%, 17 Votes)
  • Stratosphere Fight by Steven Cabbage (11%, 10 Votes)
  • Contrast by Adakam (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Shake by Skorly (9%, 8 Votes)
  • Invert by Quinton 'Squidski' Swenski (8%, 7 Votes)
  • Abuse by LordDz (4%, 4 Votes)
  • At Doom's Trigger by White_Red_Dragons & Aleksandr 'alex_mmc' Lavrinovitš (3%, 3 Votes)
  • Essence. by JanKaszanka (7%, 6 Votes)
  • error map not found by Jakob//BambuSource (7%, 6 Votes)
  • meat by Adam Clark (9%, 8 Votes)
  • The Mill by AkaJacob (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Past Apparitions by Mark AKA Strontvlieg (4%, 4 Votes)
  • Dride by Gvarados (10%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 35

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Screenshots

WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
Each map has 5 screenshots.

1600 x 900

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Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Maybe
Play It Later
Play It Now!

2 recommendations, average score: 3.5 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.25 (what's that?)
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 5 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 5 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 1 Hours, 25 Mins
Shortest: 0 Hours, 30 Mins by Bendy
Longest: 2 Hours by DeanAmythe
Total Time Played: 7 Hours, 6 Mins
If you believe this release is missing important tags, please suggest them in a comment?
Jump to a review
Play It LaterMaybe?

7 Comments

  1. Play It Later

    Some of these reviews will be quite short due to me not wanting to spoil too much about the entries.

    Dride
    It is good

    I liked the setting in this entry, the green sewers. Gives the map a unique vibe.
    The puzzle at the beginning was nice and relaxing to make you get used to your environment. Immediately dropping the player into the green water was also a good idea, otherwise I probably would’ve tried to avoid it, thinking it was toxic.
    After completing the puzzle you start fighting Antlions for a while. You are later fighting a Guard in a small arena. This fight was a bit meh for me, I thought the amount of Antlions swarming me was a bit much, and I even saw some of them spawn in in front of my face.
    During this fight I also got a lot of damage from something I didn’t see coming twice, one time a ladder fell on my head from behind, and another time a explosive barrel fell on the floor in front of me and exploded, making me lose a lot of health.
    There is also a lot of smoke in the arena, which looks cool, but when you stand in one of them you can barely see anything around you.
    After this there is a bit of Zombie fighting which isn’t too hard, you are given plenty of ammo, and the entry ends after that.
    Overall, I liked this entry but the Guard battle could’ve used some fixing.

    Past Apparitions
    It is okay

    As soon as the map started, I knew it was Strontvlieg’s map. Not only because it copied the start of A2B Trajectory, but also because Strontvlieg has a easily recognizable style, grey tones with vertical lens flares on the lights.
    I thought the entry itself was good, but it was really short. I know the Stront only had 3 days, but still.
    This would be less of a problem if the gameplay made up for it, but it’s not really special. There are small puzzles, but players have done these so many times before they don’t require any thinking. Other than puzzles, there is one enemy in the entire entry, which can be defeated easily. It’s a Zombine that hits a barrel and it flies at you while it’s on fire (another element from A2B). I managed to grab the barrel and throw it back, so this whole encounter lasted about 3 seconds.
    What I liked most here is the story. You are in an area that has been nuked, and you see past events happening. This was really well done. I also liked how the past events have green tones, so if you see something green you know it’s from the past immediately. Seeing a woman from the past standing there, crawling in a vent close to her and hearing her commit suicide, and then seeing a skeleton lie on the floor sent shivers down my spine.
    Overall, shallow gameplay, excellent storytelling.

    The Mill
    It is good

    I can’t really talk about this entry too much without spoiling it. The great thing about this entry is the sudden “twist”, and it is amazing and really unique. It lacks visually, but I don’t often mind that in such a short mapping challenge.
    The map was really well designed around its mechanic, not punishing the player too much for making a mistake.
    Overall a great entry that fits the theme and is really creative and unique.

    meat
    It is bad

    Can I please have a talk with the creator of this entry about his/her/its mental conditions?
    As a vegetarian I can not relate.

    Error Map Not Found
    It is okay

    A joke entry that I got some laughs at. It fits the theme, and ends with an important message for society.

    Essence.
    It is okay

    Like the HalfQuake type map here. Gameplay consits of multiple “tests”, like jumping, running, and walking to buttons.
    It’s all nicely done. The part where you jump from one black platform to the other, while you have to wait for a white wall to pass so you can see where the platforms are was a nice idea, but I had no clue as to what platform would collapse under your feet and what platform wouldn’t. This made this part into a quicksave-quickload cycle for me.
    Overall a decent entry which takes full use of the theme while also implementing ACTUAL gameplay.

    At Doom’s Trigger
    It is good

    Love the setting here, with all the cubes. Gameplay was well constructed. Didn’t like the parts with the lasers though, you can’t exactly predict where they come from so you will be killed cheaply.
    Also found a part where you can jump out of the map, near the end.
    Overall a nicely done entry with good visuals.

    Abuse
    It is good

    A well done entry. The slowmotion can be a bit annoying when, for example, reloading your gun but overall it doesn’t hinder much.
    The entry has a deeper meaning and it’s all really well presented.

    Invert
    It is okay

    A disorientating mess, in a good way.

    Shake
    It is great!

    Had a lot of fun playing this entry. It’s like a FPS from the 90’s, allowing for Run & Gun combat. There are a lot of pickups lying around, really reinforcing that you should play aggressively.
    The abstract part of this map would be the visuals I think, it’s a weird looking place.
    Definitely one of my favorites here.

    Contrast
    It is bad

    Remember the first test in Portal, where it teaches you that cubes should be put on buttons? Add a staircase and you have this map.

    Stratosphere Fight
    It is okay

    This entry’s main gameplay was combat, and it was… meh. The first enemies are Soldiers, some of which are so far away that you can just headshot-snipe them with your revolver while they have no chance of even firing back. The Soldiers that do get to fire at you are very easy to defeat as you have infinite AR2 and RPG ammo.
    After this a Gunship comes flying in and for some reason two music tracks are now playing through each other. Gunship is not that hard to take down, you have two healthstations and two suitchargers so you are not even going to come close to death if you keep using them.
    After defeating another Gunship the map ends and for some reason now three tracks of music are playing through each other.
    Overall an entry with combat that is way too easy.

    Time Destroys Everything
    It is great!

    An entry that fits the theme perfectly AND has great gameplay?
    Good concept executed very well. Bit on the easy side, but enjoyable nontheless.

    Watched
    It is bad

    So you are in a room. You have almost every weapon in the game. You press a button. Zombies spawn. Music plays. What would you do?
    In my case you start shooting Zombies for 10 minutes until you run out of ammo and ask people in the MabLabs Discord server what I am supposed to do. Apparently you are supposed to backtrack to the beginning of the level, which isn’t shown or hinted to the player whatsoever.
    Since this part is basically the only thing “happening” in this entry, there aren’t any other features to redeem it.

    Climbing the Eidolon
    It is good

    Really nicely done entry. The Platforming was great and the combat against the Headcrabs was decent, as you could make them jump of the tower.
    This kind of felt like a Human: Fall Flat level to me, with abstract white platforms, obstacles to overcome, etc. Sounds weird but that is just how it feels to me.

    FRAGMents
    It is okay

    Liked the “level building itself in front of you” in the beginning. Gameplay itself consists of some platforming and fighting 10-15 Lost Souls in one room. That’s kind of it.

  2. Maybe?

    Oh boy, abstract maps. Now, I don’t have a problem with abstract maps, but it’s more whenever they come up, they’re usually lacking on the gameplay side, or simply interpret “abstract” as completely random and silly for the sake of it.

    There’s a few exceptions. The “Phobia” series is a good example of mixing strange environments and actual gameplay fairly well. But a lot also fail at it. Let’s see what side of things these fall on.

    Dride
    It is great!

    Probably the least abstract of all the maps here, but honestly the best of them. I really like the colour theming here, the sickly green-yellow really makes an otherwise normal looking map look quite different. The boss battle was a fair challenge too, and I liked the destruction of the arena afterwards. A generally good, if a bit short map. I would’ve put the boss and arena closer to the end, though. It sort of trails off afterwards.

    Past Apparitions
    It is okay

    I mean, it looks nice, for the most part. But there’s not much really here. Brick into glass, open vent, put wheel on door, shoot barrel, the end. That’s a summary of the entire map. There was an interesting concept with fallout and radiation at play, but it’s not really explored upon or used as an excuse for more crazy things to occur. Feels like the start of a map, rather than a full one. Definitely weak.

    The Mill
    It is good

    A silly boss-fight featuring a rotating island and lasers. Quite humourous, liked the idea. Definitely could’ve used some escalation with each part you break though. It’s basically the same hazard three times.

    meat
    It is okay

    A map with no real gameplay. Just a somewhat unsettling looking through-line. I have very little to say here, as the map speaks for itself, really.

    error, map not found
    It is bad

    I couldn’t finish this map. I have no idea what to do with the eyeball room. Not much really there otherwise, I just couldn’t figure it out.

    Essence
    It is okay

    A map that reminds me a bit of that one abstract section of Afraid of Monsters. Mostly okay, but that platforming with the rows of platforms seems like a stupid amount of trial and error. Otherwise, not bad.

    At Doom’s Trigger
    It is dire!

    The second and final map I couldn’t finish. It’s not that I was stuck, but more immensely frustrated. Firstly, the map is just basically: Cube, the map. Which is the SECOND time i’ve been immensely frustrated by a HL2 Cube-inspired romp. I think the map is mostly okay, aside from how you get to each Cube, which is just dumb. Instead of just using ladders, it uses this super finicky fan-like system, which is hard to control, especially when trying to enter a small hole. And this process needs to be repeated for each room. Many of which are on time limits.

    It’s got effort put into it, but it’s just not enjoyable to play whatsoever and it holds it seriously back from any kind of good rating.

    Abuse
    It is bad

    Drink alcohol, shoot invisible people with weapons while in slow motion. That’s it. I don’t really get the point of this. I have nothing to really say.

    Invert
    It is bad

    This is exactly the kind of map I was speaking of. The map with random, silly things for no inexplicable reason, and then ending it with a really weird question. No real gameplay, just walking. My god, this Test Tube is just Cromulentville all over again.

    Shake
    It is good

    A Doom/Quake inspired level. Very arcadey and generally pretty fun. I liked the Elites being constrasted by only firing the spheres. That could be a cool idea for an enemy in general. Not much to say, it’s just a neat Doom-like level. Not bad, if on the easy side with all the energy orbs to go about. Definitely one of the better ones here.

    Contrast
    It is okay

    Interesting use of lighting that is done in something like 30 seconds. Needs more meat to it, but it could be a neat concept if expanded on in different ways.

    Stratosphere Flight
    It is good

    This is the kind of map I was looking for. Gameplay with an abstract background and arena. Really short though, and most of the soldiers are dropped off outside of their effective range onto islands. Has potential, but needs a little more to it, more waves and escalation, I think. Maybe a Hunter or two.

    Time Destroys Everything
    It is good

    Interesting premise. Has a good through-line throughout, staying abstract, but within reason. Interesting callback to Postmortem. Not bad overall. My favorite part was probably the menu screen at the end. A neat touch to end a neat map.

    Watched
    It is okay

    Short map clearly inspired by Halo and the mission 343 Guilty Spark. It’s not really long, just a big room, elevator, and a button room after that. You go through one time with it empty, then come back with zombies and headcrabs everywhere. It’s not long or hard, it’s just… there. Definitely could’ve had more to it.

    Climbing the Eidolon
    It is great!

    A big ol’ weird tower filled with headcrabs. Very simple. Climb the tower by going up and down it’s curious design, grab a suit, n’ get to the top. I like it. The various wires and support beams make it look more like a real structure. Well done, one of my favorites here for it’s simplicity.

    FRAGments
    It is bad

    Started interesting enough, then devolved to flaming skull manhacks with some weird fellow’s face on them. I don’t even know what I expected at this point.

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————–
    Overall, this Test Tube was pretty weak, especially compared to the rest. Definitely expected a bit more, even with the time limit. Perhaps the next theme will be better. Can’t win ’em all.

  3. Yeah is abstract themes this time. Now i don’t have interesting with some maps, they just usually lacking at gameplay or just simply weird.

    Dride
    It is good

    This entry probably is good above other maps. At start you fall to the sewer, wow i like environments here, the green water i thought it was a toxic.
    The puzzle is good, your must threw some bricks or a barrel, which takes a take time to open the gate.
    After done the puzzle. Ok is battle the Antlions, later you fighting the Guard, the amount spawn the antlions is fair challenge not really hard, and music battle is good too. Later the explosion barrel is a bit annoy took me some health, the arena afterwards collapse is good and i liked it.
    Lately i made to up to last arena. The Antlions and the Zombies fighting, but is not hard to take them out, and the entry end with citizen high pitched sound was made me laugh.
    Overall good entry i recommender to play it.

    Past Apparitions
    It is good

    This map is good for some part, for late i realize this was Strontvlieg map because i know his mapping style. Start element from A2B and the end was there too. Now the part i don’t like is the map too shorted and puzzle was a cheap which i know i was solve everytime in past, i know he has a short day to do it.
    The thing i like is story of the map, the paper in the wall tell the happening in the past, the city was destruction by green nuked for unknow reason. And the suicide by a woman when i went out the vent.
    Overall is a nice entry good storytelling, but need improve at puzzle.

    The Mill
    It is okay

    Yeah unique boss fight and weirdest i ever fight too.The great thing about this entry is the rotating arena you fight that thing, wow the laser is deadly too because you hit you died instantly.
    Ok i like the boss and the idea of the map, but can you reduce the damage of the lazor.

    meat
    It is okay

    What is this no gameplay and no combat. Just meat meat and meat, well i think the creator didn’t eat some vegetarian.

    error, map not found
    It is bad

    What i can say this map? Yep a joke entry i think. I can’t solve the puzzle at the eye room at the end i see important message for society this day.

    Essence
    It is good

    Remind me HalfQuake. The gameplay is good like run, jump and choose.
    The part black platform while i must choose right platform to process. But i have no clue what platform is right i died everytime at this part.
    Overall a good entry to try hard.

    At Doom’s Trigger
    It is good

    Cubes vibes wow i like this setting here. The visuals and gameplay and music is well done though. The part i don’t like is laser and second arena you went down, i can’t exactly know where laser came and strike it. And the second cube you can fall some trap and killed, a cheap dead way. I also found a way you can get out the map made me bit of laugh.
    Overall this entry was good to play.

    Abuse
    It is okay

    Ok i don’t get this, slow motion kill invisible thing. And alcohol is good or awful well you know it 😉

    Invert
    It is bad

    This entry is no combat or else, you just walking and see disorientating mess, the point this map is the choice to destroy a tool or a mod. LOL

    Shake
    It is great!

    I like the Doom or Quake level reference, i had alot fun with this entry and love how gnome was a key. The combine shot these orbs was bit tough but i know i had a gravity gun.

    Although no boss battle, but this entry was fun to play.

    Contrast
    It is okay

    I can say is too short like 20 second to complete, no combat no gameplay just easy put the box and push button to get out like Portal.
    I also found a room credits only can access by noclip.

    Stratosphere Flight
    It is good

    This map i was looking here, awesome abstract and fight arena.
    A little problem is the combine is too distant to shot them but with many ammo in your suit that’s not hard to take them out. Later you fight the gunship there is two gunship but is not hard. After defeating the gunship, the map end but was too abrupt.
    For some reason the music battle with gunship and the end music was combined make the music track weird.

    Time Destroys Everything
    It is good

    Interesting entry good the abstract was done to fits this theme. And payback the Postmortem. Wow is not bad. A good entry to play.

    Watched
    It is okay

    A large map and i got confusion while playing this map. You go to elevator and down i get into the big room i press the button and many zombies spawn it. I thought something will happen in the room but the question is not until you realize this was a backtrack map. You was go back to elevator. And you see many zombies at your face.
    After you defeating all of them you go back the start and the map is end.

    The map could’ve had enjoyable on it, but sorry this still a weak entry.

    Climbing the Eidolon
    It is great!

    A big abstract tower with filled many headcrabs there, but this was a decent entry though the entry is bonus one. All you need was climb the tower collect weapon and the suit, the elevator was bit long to wait.

    FRAGments
    It is bad

    Interesting at start, but later was a mess. You teleporter to the big arena with a weird face textured and the 10 or 20 skull like the manhacks attacking you and only give you a crowbar. That’s weird fight :V

    ———————————————————————————————————————————————————
    Overall this test tube is weak than i thought, rest the maps need improve the gameplay and environments. I hope next test tube or competition will be better.

  4. Can somebody please post the solution for the eyeball room in “Error Map Not Found”? I am stuck on that one and would like to finish it.

    1. Throw the small cube against the “models” folder. Throw the small piece against the “materials” folder. Then, place the finished cube on top of the plate and you are done.

  5. normande.

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