This is the Read category

A collection of text posts, including Poll Questions, Text Interviews with moddersand Phillip’s Blog. All posts are written to encourage friendly debate and discussion.

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The Extreme Team Experiment Mapping Challenge

This experimental mapping challenge has two aspects.

A Team of Two

For this challenge, we would like you to find a partner and work with them on the entry. As part of your entry, you MUST include a readme that states what each person did.
Your partner does NOT have to be another mapper, but can be. They could be an environmental artist, a modeller, a sound/music artist, a texture artist – it’s YOUR choice.
It’s impossible for us to define or check how much each partner does, but we would like to feel it’s a minimum of 70/30. Meaning that the junior partner does at least 30% of the work.

Phillip’s Note: “Remember, the Experimental Mapping Challenges (EMCs) are a chance for mappers to try something new. Not just in WHAT they produce but HOW they produce it. I would like to think that in a few years time, mappers who entered the challenges can say that they learnt, improved and benefited from doing so. Working in a team is something that people often have to do, sometimes against their will, but it can be a useful experience.”

The Theme: Extreme

For this challenge, we would like you to take one aspect of Half-Life, Half-Life 2, Ep1 or Ep2 and take it to the extreme.
Firstly, that doesn’t mean simply adding hundreds of enemies or set the whole map a standard vent.
We accept that thoughtless and over-use of any aspect of any game can produce boring maps, so the judges hope for clever intepretations of the theme.

You may set your maps in whatever location you choose and they can be as short or as long as you want. Think carefully about the three games above and try to find some aspects that will produce some unusual and interesting maps.

Here is an example, although we hope you consider other things.
Exploding Barrels. Imagine a map whose only form of attack was with exploding barrels. Perhaps the enemies are behind defenses that your weapons can not penetrate or maybe barrels must be placed against walls to progress. Or even a puzzle where the barrels must be placed in certain places to allow a chain-reaction. That might lead to some fun maps.
Simply adding lots of exploding barrels to a level is not what we are looking.

You just have to find an aspect that interests you and take it to the extreme. Remember, this is an experimental mapping challenge and therefore it is about pushing the limits. GOOD LUCK!

Deadline

11am UTC Monday 16th April 2018


6th April 2018 No Comments

Have you submitted your status report to the administrator today? – Fan Fiction Event

I am pleased to say that this fan fiction event seems to have been a success.

7 reports were received, each with a differing style and tone.

The link to the PDf is below, along with a poll for you to vote for your 3 favourite entries.

Thanks to all who entered. There will be another fan fiction event in May.

Read the Reports.

Left-clicking the link below will open the PDF report in your modern browser. Right-click, to have the option of saving it to your computer. It’s approximately 184KB.

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


1st April 2018 8 Comments

April 2018 – General Chat

No doubt, there’s a bunch of “Half-Life 3 Has Been Announced!”, “Exclusive Half-Life 3 Screenshots!”, “Valve announces Half-Life 3!” etc but we are all too wise for to fall for those.

In fact, some of you might even avoid the Internet all together in the hope of not being disappointed yet again.

Sometimes the timing of news releases can have us doubting but the reality is that not everybody pays attention to April Fool’s and therefore inadvertently add to the strange news stories released.

I might have something to announce today and unfortunately it has to be today, so no doubt you’ll question its timing.

Anyway, enough of that.

As I write this, I still have another few more days off and hope to do some behind-the-scenes work on the site, including getting the multi-tags feature working again. I’ll also trying to open J.A.C.K. and starting doing some mapping again.

That plus my monthly promise to finish Wolfenstein: The new Order!

What about you, what do you have planned?


1st April 2018 8 Comments

Donation Drive 2018

You’ve seen the title and have guessed the purpose of this post.
I am asking for your money.

Running the site is not the issue really, I get money from my Patreon pledges each month and that covers the running costs and provides some of the prize fund for the challenges.

There are other costs, like games I buy for prizes etc, but nothing that is really a problem.

However, as the mapping challenges have become bigger, so have the prizes and with a combined prize fund of almost $1500 this year, I need to make this post.

The Crowbar Collective have provide most of the prize fund for the Mesa Cup and I can’t thank them enough for their support.

That still leaves the Lambda Cup to fund.

There are two options to donate. Firstly, you can use the PayPal Donation page and secondly you can donate via the button below.

Donate

If you do donate, thank you very much, it is much appreciated.


30th March 2018 7 Comments

March 2018 – General Chat

Spring will soon be here. I kinda like the rain and cold though because when I am at home most of the weekend on my PC, I feel less guilty than if it’s warm and sunny. I feel as though I have an excuse.

What about you?

Anyway, yes, let’s address the pink with green spots elephant in the room: I have only just posted the March chat (Wednesday 21st March 2018).

Shame on me for A: not doing ti and B: for not noticing until somebody emailed me.

What plans do you have for the final 9 days of March? Me? Well, I have some unpaid leave from the 29th until the second week of April, and I hope to do a thousand things but will be lucky to do 5.


21st March 2018 24 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 2 – GravityGunVilleTwo

Hello and welcome to the Lambda Cup, a series of five HL2:Ep2 single player mapping challenges.

If you are new to my mapping challenges, please see the event’s homepage: THE LAMBDA CUP 2018 as well as the CALENDAR of the mapping challenges for the entire 2018.

Theme Details

Half-Life 2’s revolutionary weapon was undoubtedly the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator. You can call it that if you really want to.

But to us it’s the Gravity Gun. A simple concept, executed perfectly in the game – and the perfect tool to show off the physics engine. We learned the basics in Black Mesa East, experimented with its lethality in Ravenholm, and used it from then on for exciting activities such as stacking crates, tossing barrels, shoving around poor headcrabs, and eventually making Combine soldiers into personal ragdolls.

We want you to create a map that features the Gravity Gun. In addition, besides the Gravity Gun, optionally the player may obtain and carry the crowbar and only one other weapon. Note that this restriction is on Gordon’s standard weapons – so objects like hopper mines and Magnusson Devices do not count as the other weapon and may be used freely.

This time there’s a twist: our latest research has developed a new function for the Gravity Gun. By finding and attaching a rare Stasis Crystal, the now-enhanced Gravity Gun has the added ability to freeze an object in space. Don’t worry, it’s not permanent – but the object will remain in stasis indefinitely until you use the Gravity Gun to move it again.

Use of the Stasis Crystal is optional in this challenge. Mappers can give players the classic Gravity Gun or the Super Gravity Gun – and both versions may be enhanced with the Stasis Crystal. We’d love to see what you can do with the Stasis Crystal, but the regular old Gravity Gun is fun too. Wow us!

So, to sum up:

  • feature the gravity gun
  • adding the new stasis crystal is optional
  • the player may also get the crowbar and one other weapon beyond the gravity gun
  • we’re really looking forward to playing with the grav gun in whatever kind of maps you can dream up and build!

Deadline

The deadline for submission is 11pm GMT Wednesday 28th March 2018


1st March 2018 16 Comments

The Beautiful Indoor Experiment Mapping Challenge

Gameplay is obviously one of, if not the, most important aspects of video games, but how a game/map/mod looks is very important too.

Various styles fit various settings, but great lighting and attention to detail are always important.

For this challenge, we would like you to create a beautiful indoor map. It can be a map where the player roams freely or is taken on a ride (literally or figuratively).

No outdoor areas can be accessed or even seen. Windows can be included but preferably blurred or at least inaccesible. What we mean is that players must not be able to look out of windows, but windows can be used for lighting and effects.

No gameplay is required, although of course it is allowed.

The player can be allowed to walk through the map and discover things for themselves or the view can be controlled via physical barriers or point_viewcontrol.

What’s important are lighting, setting, and emotion. We want atmosphere. Think style over size.

The judges hope for interesting architecture and cool details. In fact, you could even create one room, but of course that one room must blow us away!

Scripted sequences can be used to make the map feel alive and flesh out the scene.

When players finish your map, they should sit back and say “wow!” Also perhaps: “I didn’t know indoor areas could look so awesome!”

Deadline

11am GMT Monday 26th February 2018


23rd February 2018 9 Comments

February 2018 – General Chat

Please accept my apologies for being a few days late publishing this post.

Anyway, now that January has gone we find ourselves in February – don’t be surprised, you knew it was coming!

I did not accomplish most of what I had hoped to in January and will naturally transfer it to February, along with some new stuff. Probably by December, I’ll have 11 months worth of tasks to accomplish!

I will definitely finish Wolfenstein: The New Order this month. NO! Really, I will.

What about you, what have you planned?


5th February 2018 13 Comments

The Mesa Cup 2018 – Challenge 1 – The Loop Complex

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.

Theme Details

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.


1st February 2018 4 Comments

The Hammer Cup 2017 Winners

The Hammer Cup 2017 consisted of five mapping challenges, each with a different theme.

Entrants received points for each challenge they enter.

At the end of the event, the best 3 points totals from the challenges they entered were added together for each entrant. These totals decided who won the Grand Prizes.

Read to find out who took the top 5 prizes – and we announce a couple of special prizes!


31st January 2018 2 Comments