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FusionVille 2 – Map Labs #10 Mapping Challenge Announcement

You’ve wanted it! We’ve wanted to do it! Perhaps the best Ville challenge ever finally returns!

FusionVille 2 is the next full Map Labs mapping challenge and it starts now! FusionVille 2 runs through Monday, August 31st. Get mapping!

Theme Details

The original FusionVille required mappers to combine 3 of 8 given themes from previous challenges. Same thing for FusionVille 2 but with a twist – you must pick 3 of the 10 given themes and fuse them together… drawn from past Villes and from past Map Labs!

  • Bridge
  • Toxic
  • Teleport
  • Liberation
  • Vertical
  • Episode One
  • Two Rooms
  • Think Tank
  • Companion Piece
  • Back on Track

Here’s the official announcement (click for full version):

FusionVille 2 Announcement

Deadline

The deadline for submission is Monday 31st August 2020. With an extra 3 days after that for bonus (non-judged) maps.


31st July 2020 12 Comments

CromulentVille 2 – Map Labs Test Tube #7 Mapping Challenge Announcement

The most infamous Ville returns! The next Map Labs Test Tube (6-day) mapping challenge starts now! CromulentVille 2 starts now and runs through Monday, February 23rd. Get mapping! (You get an extra day on the front end cause the theme was guessed correctly in the Map Labs Discord!).

Theme Details

Just like in the original CromulentVille, mappers must create a weird, silly, strange, bizarre, surreal, peculiar, etc. map. That is, a perfectly cromulent map.

Here’s the official announcement (click for full version):

CromulentVille2 Announcement

Note the optional Bonus Challenges, just to add even more cromulentness to the maps.

Deadline

The deadline for submission is Sunday 23rd February 2020. A whole week this time!


16th February 2020 6 Comments

RunThinkShootLiveVille 2 – Map Labs #3 Mapping Challenge Announcement

Hey, you didn’t really think we’d never have another Ville challenge, right? Geez Louise!

Chris & Toki (the Map Labs folks) have really stepped up, filling the void that RTSL left once we started to wind things down late last year. This is the third “full” Map Labs Challenge – though they’ve run a couple of Test Tube (smaller) challenges in the vein of the Experimental Mapping Challenges here. Most of them are available right here on RTSL, and all are on the Map Labs ModDB page.

I’m happy to partner up with Map Labs for this challenge. May they keep the cool Half-Life challenges going! Perhaps there will be more crossovers like this in the distant future…

The Map Labs Discord just opened up for business. Head there to keep up with Map Labs, find out about new challenges, and maybe volunteer as a beta tester!

Theme Details

Just like in the original RunThinkShootLiveVille, mappers must create a map linking 4 distinct sections:

Section 1: RUN
Section 2: THINK
Section 3: SHOOT
Section 4: LIVE

They’re pretty self-explanatory, but we’ll let the official announcement fill in the details (click for full version):

RunThinkShootLiveVille2 Announcement

Note the optional Bonus Challenges, just to add some spice to the maps.

Deadline

The deadline for submission was Monday 8th April 2019

Prize

Map Labs typically doesn’t have prizes for the challenges, other than special roles on the Discord server for placing in the top 3. But I happened to have a spare copy of Raising the Bar in decent shape kicking around, so I’m offering it up to the winner.

Raising the Bar


8th March 2019 13 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 Winners

The Lambda Cup 2018 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 3 prizes – and we announce a couple of special prizes!


2nd February 2019 7 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 5 – ReplayVille

Hello and welcome to Challenge 5, the final event in the Lambda Cup, a series of five Source single player mapping challenges.

Theme Details

For this challenge, we would like to you create a map that is fun to replay – or that specifically rewards you for playing through again. Variety is the spice of life, so offering the player different experiences during playthroughs is key.

One way to do this is by offering the player choices. Choice of path, or weapons, or companions, and so on.

Randomness can also make significant changes to the experience. Random enemy locations, random timing of attacks, or even random map layout changes that can lead to interesting playthroughs are all fair game.

Ideally the player’s choices or any random elements will impact the playthrough and offer variety on a replay.

Your entry could be a hub-type map where the player must achieve an overarching goal by completing a number of smaller goals. The hub area would lead to various points where the player performs an action that has consequences in the other parts of the map. For example, the player chooses to clear a building of zombies first and then attempts to pass a city street which has a sniper. Because there are no zombies left, the player finds it harder to reach the sniper since they are the only target left. If the player had attacked the sniper first, they would have found a shotgun which would have made it much easier to kill the zombies. But, because the sniper was killed first, they would find a lot more zombies in the building than in the first scenario.

In this case, “hub” doesn’t necessarily mean a map with corridors and portals – the hub area could just as easily be a crossroads in the forest, for example. “Hub” here just means a central area connecting to a variety of areas, where the player can make choices about how to proceed. If there is an overarching goal, it should be clear to the player – and ideally the smaller goals tie in sensibly to the larger goal. (Think of Blast Pit, where the player had to turn on the oxygen, fuel, and the power in order to fire the test engine to proceed past the tentacles. It’s not a good example for replayability, just for how an overarching goal can be linked to smaller goals).

Your entry could also be one where the player has to find the “correct” route in order to complete the map – along the lines of ChaseVille or some of the maps in the recent 72-Second Experiment. But keep in mind that it should be fun to replay – not frustrating and almost certainly not time-limited.

Or perhaps the player learns something during playing your map that allows for a totally different approach on a replay.

For this challenge the usual limit of 2 maps is removed. However, please don’t take that to mean you should build 10 maps.
We have removed this limitation to allow interesting “jumps” to each section, IF the mapper chooses to create a hub-style map.

As always, if you have any questions or doubts, please ask. If you want a private answer, please send an email to RunThinkShootLive@gmail.com – NOT planetphillip@gmail.com. Good luck!

There is one new rule this time [about affecting other maps], so please, please please, read all the rules carefully.

Deadline

The deadline for submission was 11pm GMT Monday 17th December 2018


16th November 2018 20 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 4 – PhaseVille

Hello and welcome to Challenge 4 in the Lambda Cup, a series of five Source 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 tagline of Half-Life is “Run. Think. Shoot. Live.”. You should know that but not everybody does. That’s where the name of this website comes from.

One of my favourite Villes was RunThinkShootLiveVille. It allowed mappers a chance to create small sections, each with a clear objective; both for the mapper and the player. Each phase was clear, precise and compelling.

For this challenge, we would like you to choose one verb from each phase and blend them into a seamless whole map:
Phase 1: Find / Escape / Ride
Phase 2: Solve / Fight / Evade
Phase 3: Drive / Descend / Chase
Phase 4: Live / Die / Fate Unknown

We are looking for natural flow between each phase. You CAN NOT change the order of the phases.

You are allowed to replace ONE of the verbs in the first 3 phases with one of your own choosing. That’s one replacement total allowed, and it’s optional – so if you like the list you can stick to those choices.

There is one new rule this time [about affecting other maps], so please, please please, read all the rules carefully.

Deadline

The deadline for submission is 11pm GMT Monday 24th September 2018


31st August 2018 4 Comments

The 72-Second Experiment Challenge

Let me put it simply: You have 72 hours to make a map with EXACTLY 72 seconds of playtime.

We often talk about how it’s better to have shorter, more polished maps than longer weaker ones. By “polished”, we do not just mean visuals (lighting, textures, environmental art), but also gameplay, interaction, storytelling, soundscapes etc.

You can make your map action packed or only have a few interactions. It could be a beautiful scene that the player walks through and relaxes, a non-stop gunfight, or anything in between.

For example, you could create a map that can be finished in 72-seconds but only if done perfectly. That would allow replayability in trying to find the optimum way to complete the map.

You can simply submit a map that can be played in one 72-second sitting.

There is an OPTIONAL template for you to use, that fades in from black, lasts 72 seconds and then fades out. The fades last 1 second each. Mappers may extend the “black screen” time at either or both ends of the map, to display text.

Ideally, we would like the text to be kept to a minimum. Everything should really be contained within the 72-seconds gameplay.

Locations, events, style of map are all open. The only limitation is the 72 seconds.

Be aware that the minimum AND maximum playtime of the map is 72 seconds. Don’t think that you can create a huge map and allow the player to reach certain points and autosaves. That is not the idea we are looking for.

If your map lasts longer than 72-seconds after the fade-in, it will be considered a bonus map.

Deadline

11am UTC Monday 27th August 2018

That’s 72 hours.


24th August 2018 6 Comments

The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 3 – BossVille

We’ve all been there – reaching the end of a game or chapter and having to face the BOSS. Usually, it’s a single all-powerful enemy. Well, almost all-powerful – inevitably after enough dancing around each other, you find its weak spot and exploit it. Hooray! Not really – it’s totally expected, uninteresting, and cliched.

For this challenge, we would like you to take the idea of a final battle and breathe new life into the scenario. Of course, that’s easier said than done.

We don’t want you to necessarily focus on a single enemy, although you can have that kind of boss if you want. But you’re also allowed to have multiple boss enemies, or one big bad boss with other minions helping. Imagine a pair of bosses working against you and maybe even each other.

Even though this challenge is called BossVille, you don’t have to make a boss fight. We really like the hectic finale in Episode 2, where you had to fend off striders and hunters while driving all over the place. We want to encourage clever twists on the classic boss fight – and we’re definitely keeping an open mind as to what’s acceptable in BossVille. All we’re looking for is a great finale, boss fight or not!

Make the encounter interesting! Perhaps the boss fight has several phases – where the boss changes its attack patterns, or its behavior, or the environment. Maybe you encounter the same enemy multiple times throughout the map, setting him up as the Big Bad and leading up to a great finale fight. Maybe we have to outwit the enemy instead of fighting them?

The core concept of a climactic finale is the key here. Use a single boss in ways we’ve never seen, or come up with your own intriguing final faceoff!

Deadline

The deadline for submission was 11pm GMT Monday 23rd July 2018


1st July 2018 15 Comments

RTSL game coming to Steam!

Right, so I suspect you are A: pretty excited and B: a little confused by the title. Hopefully, after you have finished reading this post you will still be excited but not confused.

I will explain as much as I can, but please bear in mind, that some things will remain secret for various reasons.

Essentially, near the end of this year or the beginning of next year, we will be releasing a compilation of the best maps entered for the mapping challenges over the last few years.

Let me address the use of the word “Game”, it seems that currently the release will be a game in the sense that it will not require the purchase or installation of ANY other Half-Life game.


26th May 2018 14 Comments

Special Challenge – NostalgiaVille

Half-Life 2 has been around for longer than 13 years, but many will agree that the game has still not lost its charm. However, as Episode 1 and 2 came out, people switched their focus to the new environments and gameplay that were introduced. NostalgiaVille seeks to balance out the scale by re-introducing the classic environments of Half-Life 2 in the modern day.

In this challenge, you are given 2 months to create a level set in the early chapters of Half-Life 2 (think City 17 up to and including the Coast, however we find that the City and Canal sections in their pre-Uprising state are the least prominent within usual challenge entries). Don’t feel pressured to work for the whole 2 months, as that would mean a high risk of burning out, but consider the possibilities for the scope and scale of your entry.

A big focus of NostalgiaVille is, well, Nostalgia. The player should be reminded of the time when they first played Half-Life 2, and levels should, to some degree, feel familiar. So feel free to include HL2 Easter eggs, references, and maybe even altered segments of the original chapters in your entries. However, with time, technology and level design practices have improved.

We would like the early Half-Life 2 environments to be used and a level of familiarity in the level design to be kept, but gameplay can be either similar to the way it was in the original game or changed to add new concepts into the old environments, thus combining the new and old in your entry. Keep in mind that even if your map follows the same ideas from the environments in Half-Life 2, it should be polished and up-to-date with modern standards in other design aspects.

Deadline

The deadline for submission is 11pm UTC Sunday 24th June 2018

Prizes

The top 3 entrants will win cash prizes as follows, all paid via PayPal:

  • First place: $300
  • Second place: $200
  • Third place: $100

27th April 2018 26 Comments