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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 16 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

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 3 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

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