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 Beautiful Indoor Experiment

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 2 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 10 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

The One Billion Units – Experimental Mapping Challenge

The 1 Billion Units EMC.

Mappers are allowed to enter a map with a maximum cubic unit capacity of 1,000,000,000 Units. That is more or less 1024x1024x1024 or 20 metres x 20 metres x 20 metres in the real world.

The X,Y and Z dimensions can be anything the mappers’ want but the maximum total cubic size must not exceed 1,000,000,000 Hammer units.

The map must only have one area – not split into various parts.

This is the maximum volume of the map, NOT the area the player can reach.

VMF files MUST be submitted with each entry for easy verification. Within that space, the mapper can do anything they want.

The maps will be judges on clever, efficient and inventive use of the space.

No extra credit will be given for submitting smaller maps, but we may be secretly impressed.

Deadline

11am GMT Monday 29th January 2018


26th January 2018 6 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 1 – CoastVille

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

The word “coast” is very evocative. Long walks on the beach, pretty little seaside towns, high cliffs with waves crashing against them.

We would like you to build a map that has “coast” as its main setting. We leave the exact type of location to you but here are a few ideas.

A port used for storing and loading containers, a beach with little coves to explore, a re-imagining of Lost Coast, a cliff wall with caves and walkways, and finally a map where the player has to work their way along the coast through outposts.

Driving maps will be accepted but please think carefully before choosing this type of gameplay – it often involves a lot of work for very little player interaction.

We have purposefully chosen this theme as we feel it is open enough for all standards of modders yet also offers the possibility for many types of interpretation.


1st January 2018 46 Comments

January 2018 – General Chat

Good Morning and welcome to 2018.

You have chosen or been chosen to start this year with a love of Half-Life.

No game has ever affected you in such a way.

Other games have pleased and excited you, but not in the same way Half-Life.

Half-Life can’t be replaced by shiny graphics or VR.

Half-Life is and will always be your favourite.


1st January 2018 34 Comments

The Lambda Cup, The Mesa Cup, Experimental Mapping Challenges, a Special Challenge and the Calendar.

Much, much later than expected or hoped but I am pleased to announce exactly what is happening next year regarding the mapping challenges.

I will give a brief summary of each event and a link to that event for everybody interested to read the details.

It’s been a lot of work and there are still plenty of things to finalise but I am sure it will be worth it.

Calendar

Right, let’s start with the overview. I have created a calendar (which took WAY longer than expected), which contains all the events. Each event has a link to the main page as well as the individual challenges of each event, except for the EMCs.
Homepage: CALENDAR

Lambda Cup

The Lambda Cup is the new name for the Hammer Cup. I changed it because I wanted more flexibility. It’s more or less the same as this year, but the points, prizes and judges have been improved. The Suffix for these events will continue to be “Ville”.
Homepage: LAMBDA CUP 2018

Mesa Cup

The Mesa cup is a series of 3 mapping challenges built for the retail version of Black Mesa. The Crowbar Collective will official support the Cup, but more details on that soon. The suffix for these events will probably be “Zone”.
Homepage: MESA CUP

Experimental Mapping Challenges

Hereby now known as EMCs, the challenges will last either 50 or 72 hours and be focused on very specific ideas and concepts. The suffix for these events will probably be “Ism”. The homepage for these events does not contain much detail yet. The calendar also has “potential EMC dates”, in cases modders want a weekend mapping objective.
Homepage: EXPERIMENTAL MAPPING CHALLENGES

Special Challenge

I can’t say much about this yet, but you will see from the calendar that it is the longest mapping challenge of the year. Stay tuned for details.
Homepage: SPECIAL CHALLENGE


17th December 2017 7 Comments

December 2017 – General Chat

HOLY HEADCRABS!

It’s December already – where did the rest of the year go?

I’m hoping to finish everything related to the mapping challenges for next year, plus I also hope to start a new updating event, similar to 100 Summer Days of Nostalgia but smaller in scope and commitment.

I’d also like to start a discussion about the possibility of creating a story-based RTSL EP2 SP mod.

Anyway, what have you got planned?


1st December 2017 49 Comments

November 2017 Classic of the Month Livestream

I am ashamed. Ashamed I haven’t played nearly as many Half-Life 2 and Episode 2 mods as I should have. So I’m trying to rectify the situation bit by bit.

So November’s Classic of the Month is Mission Improbable by Magnar Jenssen. Yes, I’ve never played it but come join me for my first time through!

I’ll be streaming Sunday at 11am Eastern US Time (4pm in the UK, 5pm Central Europe).

As usual the stream will be on the RunThinkShootLive YouTube Channel. See you there!



25th November 2017 5 Comments