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The Mesa Cup 2018 – Challenge 3 – The Surface Complex

Who can forget the moment when Eli Vance says that you must reach the surface and get help? Up until then we had just been wandering around and causing trouble (and a resonance cascade). Now we had a real goal – something to get us excited. Reaching the surface proved harder than expected but BOY! was it worth it.

For this final Mesa Cup challenge, we would like you to create a level that features a Black Mesa surface area as the prominent element.

The first two challenges have had maps that were set mostly underground, so now it’s time to get some fresh air. Your entry can be set completely on the surface, or a mixture amongst inside, underground, and surface areas. The main goal can be to reach the surface itself if you like, or the level can take place entirely on the surface.

We would love some foreshadowing as well as a WOW reveal moment, but the details are up to you.

This challenge lasts longer than the previous two; you have 5 full weekends to create and polish your entry. Please get someone to playtest it!

As always, let us know if you have any questions, either here in the comments, in the SMC Discord RTSL Challenge channel or directly to Phillip if you would like a private reply. If you ask the SMC channel, accept only Phillip’s, Don’s, or Crowbar’s answer. Whilst the regular members probably have an idea of what we’d say, it’s not official until one of us says so!

Deadline

The deadline for submission is:

11pm GMT Monday 5th November 2018


5th October 2018 7 Comments

The Mesa Cup 2018 – Challenge 2 – The Tram 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

Trams and trains are iconic in the Half-Life series of games. Black Mesa especially has memorable tram sequences – starting off with the incredible atmospheric opening train ride. But there’s also the entire On A Rail chapter, and the short but crazy ride at the beginning of Apprehension.

For this challenge, we would like you to create a map that features a tram. The type of tram and how it is used is completely up to you. The player does not necessarily have to ride on the tram, but the tram must play a key part in the map.

We’re pretty flexible on what counts as a “tram” for this challenge – generally, something that can be ridden from point A to point B that isn’t just a simple elevator. What’s more important is how it’s integrated into the map and the gameplay. Maybe there’s a cool sequence witnessed by the player as they sweep by on a BMRF tram. Maybe there’s some clever tram-to-tram firefights. Surprise us!

Deadline

The deadline for submission is:

11pm GMT Tuesday 21st August 2018


1st August 2018 No 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