CrossoverVille Mapping Challenge

25th November 2015

I have to admit I was planning on AntlionVille but by the time I had finished Antlions Everywhere I was sick to death of the freaking things. I am sure there will be an AntlionsVille in the future but not this time.

There were some really great theme/challenge suggestions made by people and, again, some are sure to happen in the future, but the one that really caught my eye was CrossoverVille. I am going to open it up to a wider range of games though.

Hope it inspires you!

Theme Details

I want you to make a map that crosses over between a Half-Life game and another game. Now, when I say crosses over, I mean uses something from that other game. It could be a location, a story element, a gameplay style – almost anything.

The map should start with a black screen, onto which appears the map’s name. Ideally, the end should fade to black with the name of the game it uses as inspiration appearing in text.

In addition, I would like some subtle G-man sightings and/or at least one secret area.

The crossover could be between the Half-Life games themselves or other games.

I DO NOT expect mappers to use new textures or models etc. I fully understand this is not fair within the time frame. In fact, NO assets from other games are allowed unless legal.

The winning map will be the one that uses a clever crossover but is also well-made and fun to play.

As always, you can post your questions and doubts as comments or if you prefer a private reply send an email.


The deadline for submitting maps is:

Monday 14th December 10pm GMT

That’s 19 days, with 3 full weekends.

General Advice

DO NOT GET TOO AMBITIOUS. If you can’t build it in 2 weekends then think smaller.

Something is bound to delay your progress. Leave time for testing, bug fixing and polishing!


I highly recommend The Beta Testers Collective, but they are resting an may not be able to work within the time frame.

Of course, you can get anybody you want to test your maps, but the BTC are very good at it and provide excellent feedback.


This time the first prize won’t be games, but a set of three HL/Portal inspired prints. The winner will have to buy the frames, but I think it’s a better prize than just a game.

There might be second and third place prizes depending on the number of entries.

Judging Criteria

I, along with an anonymous judge, will choose the winner and announce it a week after the mod’s release.

General Rules
  • Maximum two maps per mapper per entry.
  • The map must be original and not have been released publicly before.
  • The map must run in system with only Ep2 installed
  • By entering the competition you grant PlanetPhillip.Com and RunThinkShootLive.Com the right to release the map as part of the CrossoverVille Mod.
  • Maps must not appear on ANY other website before the release and for one month after the release of the mod.
  • No assets from retail games other than HL2, HL2: Ep1 or HL2: Ep2 are allowed.
  • Other assets are allowed with written permission from their original authors, which MUST be included in the entry.
  • Phillip’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into about it.
  • The map MUST have a proper name.
  • The map MUST have a proper filename: MapName_cov.bsp
  • All entries must be sent to: [email protected] no later than the deadline.
Bonus Map

There is no bonus map for this challenge.

Final Thoughts

Get the basic concept working before polishing the visuals. Make sure it is fun to play.


  1. Darren Duke

    Just the other day I was wanting to create a Half-Life level based off of the “Glowing Sea” in Fallout 4, I think I’ll try my best to participate.

    1. GREAT! It’s always nice to see new modders entering. Good Luck!

  2. OJJ

    I have an idea that could work in a HL2 level, are HL2 styled remakes of levels allowed?

    1. Yes, Sir, they are. Although, simply remaking a location in HL2 in EP2 isn’t really what I am looking for. You should add a personal touch to it somehow.

    Need idea, Fallout 4 is too generic of a choice, Source based game is no fun either.

    1. Idea found, I like how it sounds on paper, but is going to be a pain to detail in that stage. Time to go full crazy up to the deadline

      1. Don’t go full crazy, go full sensible.

  4. Salamancer

    I’m a little confused as to how the judging for this competition will go. I could crossover levels from Bulletstorm (for example), but unless you (the judge) had played Bulletstorm, how would you assess how well the map fits the theme?
    Indeed, would you have a precognitive bias towards locations from games you *do* recognize? I feel as though levels inspired by mass-appeal games such as Super Mario Bros. or Pokemon (as an example) would fare better than levels inspired by more obscure games, like Psychonauts or Skullgirls (again, an example).

    For that matter, if you weren’t intimately familiar with the game and level, would you even be able to tell the difference between a regular map and a crossoverville themed map?

    Don’t get me wrong, I like the theme. It’s inspired me to go for one idea as a mapper, but I fear as a player the theme tie-ins are weak unless you know the source material for each entry.

    1. Excellent point and I admit that I hadn’t really thought about that. However, it would be the same if I ran a RealWorldLocationVille. I would just have to research each location and decide. That said, I will try to enlist other judges who have a much wider range of gaming interests than I do. I take your point about more recognizable games and not being familiar with the crossover but hopefully we will be able to see the connection. if not, then it is up to the mapper to include a readme that explains it.

  5. OJJ
    Well I had 5 minutes at it before bed, can you tell what it is already?

    1. Is it Super Mario Bros.?

  6. vizzys

    this is a tough theme imo
    I might participate
    part of me is thinking a 2d game I like, not sure yet
    I agree the player needs to know both games to really sell it

    1. Well, maybe the way to stand out is to use a game element that nobody else would think it. Just make sure you write a readme explaining what the crossover is.

  7. Not to be ‘that guy’ but the deadline and some references to Halloweenville make me think that this pitch has a case of the CopyPastas. 🙂

    1. Be ~that guy”, that’s fine. I’ll go over the text again now. Thanks.

  8. Sounds like an awesome idea. Hope that it turns out great!

  9. Salamancer

    I initially had the great idea of doing Undead Burg from Dark Souls (Firelink Shrine to Bell Gargoyles). Having replayed it, I forgot how ludicrously large and detailed that area is, and how impossibly hard it would be to pull off. You can see parts of the map off in the distance that you don’t even reach for another 5-6 hours.
    Oh well, time to reduce my scope and try again with something else.

    1. Salamancer

      Having said that, if someone did manage to remake it, maybe with a helicopter instead of the drake on the bridge, it’d get my vote easily hands down.

  10. Nev

    What if I don’t know what game I’m crossing over? I have distinct memories of an old FPS I played a long time ago. I don’t know its name, nor do I even remember finishing it. I do know that I really liked the first few maps.

    Maybe someone who plays my map will know what the game is. 😀

    1. Nope, that won’t work. Otherwise modders could just create a situation and claim it was from a game they played and we would have no idea whether it was true or not. You HAVE to know the game you are crossing over from, sorry.

      1. Nev

        That’s understandable. I’ll find something else to cross over.

  11. Zekiran

    eeeeeee 🙂

    Y’know I’ll give kudos to the Gman appearances. Looking forward to seeing what games people choose and what elements from them to mix up. Still kinda bummed that one of the mappers I had some contact with over on deviantart never really finished the map I’d asked for, which referenced my mashup Repurposed. If I had unlimited funds I would so be pouring it on people to make functional maps to play around in ‘my’ world.

    1. Y’know I’ll give kudos to the Gman appearances.

      I stole the idea from you.

  12. Oh man, this is exciting!! I can’t wait to see what comes out of this! Sadly I’m useless in terms of mapping/modding, but I’ll be looking forward to playing them so much!

    I suppose opening it up to stuff beyond Valve was a good idea, although I hope it doesn’t get so broad that people get lost in their own ideas. Also, I really hope it doesn’t just become a case of recreating other games’ scenarios and places in Source – I’m more excited by the prospect of some sort of gameplay element being brought over into Half-Life. Sort of a mix between HL2 gameplay and wildly different gameplay. Maybe a platforming map where you’re jumping from Tetris block to Tetris block, haha! In any case, I have faith in this community and its creativity.

    Good luck everyone, and great mapping!

    1. Zekiran

      ^^ yeah, “crossover” rather than “emulation” I think is the key here.

  13. Wesp5

    Great idea! But I would leave the Gman appearances out for an upcoming Gman ville ;)…

    1. Zekiran

      Though he is best in small doses, like Q or Spike.

    2. GmanVille may or may not happen. Even if it did, it would have to be more than just sightings.

      1. GManVille, where the designers have to determine how the GMan gets around / monitors his potential agents, based on their own speculation.

        I would play the crap out of that. 😛

      2. Salamancer

        How hidden should the gman be? Should he be obscure and missable, or is it a design requirement for the player to see him?

        1. It’s a design requirement that most players will miss him – so yes, a little obscure. I think it’s more fun when you have to be eagle-eyed. Also, nobody said he could only appear once…..

      3. Honestly, if it does happen and it isn’t basically a G-Man Squad thing where every single enemy is the G-Man, it’s a wasted opportunity.

      4. Zekiran

        A Day In The Life Of Gman … rushing through Black Mesa attempting to make sure that all those little pawns are in place, a meeting or two to make sure that the ‘right’ man is in the ‘wrong’ place…

        hehe Like I said, I know he’s best in glimpsed doses. Anything more than just a brief guide through a difficult area would have to delve far deeper into each person’s expectations about ‘who/what’ he is, and that’s hardly a project for a 2-3 week long contest I think.

  14. Been quite pleased with how this concept is coming together, with just a bit of coding it comes together fairly well.

  15. “We’ve got a new contact, unknown classification!”

    image link

    1. “See how they bait their trap?”

      image link

  16. I’ve ran into quite a massive problem with my map for this competition and I was wondering if there is any mappers that may be able to help me out with a problem or if anyone could direct me somewhere I could find help.

      1. To be honest I don’t really know what exactly is wrong with the level itself I have a few different areas that are all completely closed in but when ever I try to start the level it seems to have leaked, from what I can see every area is completely closed in.
        I have even tried to make a box around the whole level as a test to see if it is working and the map still shows signs of leaks.

        I might need to actually need to send the VMF to someone so they could have a check.

        1. I have a bit of experience with ridiculous leaks, did you check if your compile log has any other errors? Sometimes excessively intricate or downright invalid brush shapes can, in addition to behaving weirdly in-game, cause leaks for no apparent reason. Areaportals and generally bad visleafs can also cause leaks in some cases – fortunately, all of this will be reported in the log. Also keep in mind that only world brushes (not entities) textured on all sides with fully opaque textures will seal the world (nodraw also works of course despite being invisible, but it’s the only exception!).

          1. Thank you very much I’ll try out some different things :D.

            1. I have tried out the checker it says an entity has leaked but when I go to the coordinates it shows me it just takes me to the void in an area not even near the map. I have also tried deleting these entities that it lists and it does absolutely nothing.

              1. To be clear, you’re loading the pointfile and you don’t see any red line indicating the path the leak took?

                1. This is the problem I am having. The point file is in this random location in the void. It is also the point that the coordinate takes me but from what I can see this area is literally empty.

                  Here is a picture for a better idea.

                  1. Actually I just covered up those random floating areas and my map seems to be working again for now. Thanks for the help it is greatly appreciated :D.

                    Edit: I have found out what it was. At some point I must have accidentally dragged the ball things that attach to some entities in the editor (Not sure what they are called) outside of the map.

  17. Florens de Wit

    I think it was In the discussion on wether reviews are ‘dated’ where the focus of more recent FPS’ on graphics and large setpieces was mentioned. My limited personal experience with this type of games is that I find the lack of freedom (‘shooter on rails’) frustrating.
    Nevertheless I would think it would be interesting to blend the worlds of, say, a ‘modern’ Call of Duty game with the Half life universe. Maybe the enemy in the Modern Warfare trilogy could be replaced with combine?

    Just a thought.

  18. Hello , I have a problem about the rule about ‘other assets’ because I have found a black mesa texture pack on gamebanana and I really need to use them . The problem is that I cannot find any way to contact the guy who made them (no steam or email on his profile) and on the submission page he only said to give proper credit . Now I don’t know if I can still use the textures In my map or not . Please tell me Philip , thankssss .

    1. Based on what you told me, yes you can use them. Link to the GB page in a readme when you send me your submission.

      1. Thanks for the response , I will include the readme .

  19. Oh, wow. I’m SUPER late. I need to start working on this. I have a few questions, though.
    – What are the rules on custom assets? ie. custom sounds or materials made by the mapper themself?
    – How do you… submit a map to the competition? You just submit it like any other map using the page and somehow mark it as an entry or?…

    1. Yes, you can make custom assets as long as they don’t interfere with the standard ones.

      To submit, send an email to [email protected] – It’s in the General Rules.

  20. Salamancer

    May have bitten off way more than I can chew with this project, still got two major locations to map out. Here’s what I have so far though:
    Can you guess the crossover?

    1. Zekiran

      I am more than a little tempted to say ‘temple of elemental evil’ but that might just be because it’s one of the few things I’ve ever played. 😉

      1. Salamancer

        If you’d have said that like, 2 weeks earlier, I’d have totally done my entry on a board game.
        I didn’t even think of crossing over with non video game related material, that would have been so amazing. Missed a trick there!

        EDIT: I can already imagine reskinning metrocops to butlers, stunsticks to lead pipes and having one chase the player through a cluedo board.

        1. Zekiran

          lol A Clue game would be awesome. No I more meant the video game version of TOEE because that’s what that circular room reminded me of, early on there’s a tower you explore that leads to a bit of a dungeon.

  21. Any news on the mapping challenge’s progress?

    1. Just taking the screenshots for the chapter images, background and gridview icons as I type.

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