For this competition, entrants had to create an area from which the player must escape.
This “Escape” is most probably accomplished through the solving of some puzzle and/or combat.
The area can be a room, a series of rooms or even outside. The concept is that the player must find a way to move outside of the area.
I was hoping for some clever puzzles, hopefully environmental in nature and not some obscure and impossible to solve button pressing sequence.
This mod contains 3 official entries, one extra entry and a bonus map made over a longer time period.
- Title: DiamondDogsVille
- File Name: hl2-ep2-sp-mc-diamonddogsville.7z
- Size : 18.3MB
- Author: Nick Boeckman, Joseph Williams, The_Blazer, Joseph Williams & Jim Partridge
- Date Released: 19 June 2014
Download directly into MapTap [18.3MB]
You MUST have MapTap installed before using this link. You will need to launch the game through Steam.
You can still use it with MapTap once you have downloaded it.
- Copy the DiamondDogsVille folder into your C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\sourcemods folder.
- Restart or start Steam.
- DiamondDogsVille should now be listed in your Library tab.
If you require more help, please visit the Technical Help page.
The file above comes with 5 grid view icons. To use one, select “Grid View” in Steam (top right corner). Make sure you have saved the image to a location on your computer – you can’t use it from the compressed archive directly. Right click on “DiamondDogsVille” and select “Set Custom Image”. Then browse to where you saved the image and choose it. Then click “Set Image” and that’s it. Installation with MapTap will not automatically set the custom image.
Of course, you can create your own custom image if you prefer.
The entries within are listed as they are in the mod:
Cube Maps by Nick Boeckman AKA dino_yoshi13
Timely Escape by Joseph Williams AKA Dysprogue
Industrial Revolution by The_Blazer
Indyo by Joseph Williams AKA Dysprogue
Bonus: Monoxide by Jim Partridge
If an entrant included a ReadMe file it can be found in the ReadMe folder.
The winner will be decided by a public vote below. The closing date for votes is 29 June 2014. Indyo and Monoxide are not part of the voting.
1st Place: A $10 Steam game.
DiamondDogsville by Christiaan Bakker.
The PlanetPhillip.Com intro video was made by Spartan301
Thanks to Christiaan Bakker for helping to create the VTF materials.
Also, thanks to the authors and The BetaTestersCollective.Com for testing the mod package.
This is a pure puzzle map. You are required to move cubes around predefined slots.
Screenshots: 1 to 5
This requires the player to perform certain actions at specific times. Miss the time and you miss the chance to escape.
Screenshots 6 to 10
A more open and bright area than the previous two entries. There are a few puzzles to solve before you can escape.
Screenshots 11 to 20
This is an extra entry that was added to the mod after Joseph saw my tweet about the lack on entries.
Screenshots 21 to 25
This is the bonus map and was map over a period of about 20 days. It features some amazing areas with plenty of puzzles and combat to keep you guessing.
Screenshots 26 to 35
Click on the tabs below to select the size of screenshot you would like.
All sizes are the same screenshots, just in different resolutions.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
2Last 7 days
13Last 30 days
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 13 Users
Average: 1 Hours, 13 Mins
Shortest: 0 Hours, 30 Mins by Daken50
Longest: 1 Hours, 40 Mins by Rob Martens
Total Time Played: 17 Hours, 8 Mins
This release is currently not in a collection
If you believe this release is missing important tags, please suggest them in a comment?
Obviously, the reviews below contain spoilers.
Overall, this was a average competition. I really thought the theme was open enough to produced some clever maps, yet focused enough to get some clever puzzles.
I have to admit I was hoping for more natural environment style puzzles than I got because I was scared of getting a Portal-style map.
My favourite puzzle is the padlock puzzle from Industrial Revolution.
I’ll be honest and say I didn’t really enjoy this very much. It became a little repetitive after the first room and was never very difficult. It’s so hard to not make the comparison with Portal, i.e. the plates where the cubes must be placed and that always has a negative connotation for me.
I think the visuals let this map down. It’s just too dark and gloomy. The actual gameplay, besides the Combine soldiers just standing around, was very good and having to play it a few times before you are able to escape is exactly the kind of map I like.
Had this been set in a trains station like City17 then it could have been fantastic.
This map combines great visuals with some interesting areas and ideas. The way to open the padlocked areas was very cool and the combat near the end was also a clever chance of pace.
This was my favourite from the 3 official entries.
It wouldn’t be fair to be too hard on this entry as Joseph was very kind to even send it. Even though the visuals are not to my liking, the actual gameplay was generally fun and the finale is certainly a challenge.
This map play as beautifully as it looks. There are some nicely crafted puzzles and enough combat to make it challenging and fun.
One sensible aspect is the variety of puzzles included and I feel that is important in a small focused map. Cube Maps shows that even s nice puzzle can become boring quickly if it’s overused.
1 Hour, 20 Minutes
It’s a bit early to give my analysis of my own maps, I’m actually interested to see what people have to say about them.
These reviews WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS you have been warned.
I actually enjoyed this map, the puzzle was simple to grasp but harder to master as it should be and it got a good amount of game play time out of relatively little space.
There is an issue that the cubes catch on the detailing around the cube pipes and in one instance the cube got irretrievably stuck due to this a nodraw brush or func_clip_vphysics brush entity lining the insides of the pipes could have fixed this issue.
The puzzle was largely the same through out but for me the mazes were different enough to keep it entertaining, though the later addition of headcrabs was kind of irritating especially seeing as the black ones can’t kill you and you can kill them by dropping a box on them. I think I would have been more in favor of using the goo as an additional player obstacle that you use boxes to traverse. (which was what I thought when I first saw the goo.)
If the author had more time I might suggest more environmental detail though the mazes themselves have a certain aesthetic appeal and all the puzzle elements have a strong visual language that is easy to understand.
The map is decent it was enjoyable but there is room definitely for improvement.
This map was really good and mostly satisfying to complete. The environment was visually interesting and this helped to keep me engaged as I searched around figuring out my environment and how to use it to make my escape. The puzzle elements had a very visceral feel and they worked well. The conveyer belt was somewhat misleading but apart from that the first area was excellent.
After you get through the fire escape the map goes down hill a bit. The combat feels a bit tacked on and without much room to retreat or kite around your attackers quite easily flank you which is a bit annoying and then you get the gravity gun puzzle which I solved by accident in a few seconds. The ideas aren’t as strong and having just gone through a door with an “EXIT” sign above it this additional little bit hurt the pacing a bit. Had the map ended at the door I would say it was excellent as it is I’d say the map is good, over all I enjoyed it and frankly the quality is pretty astounding given the time limit.
This map was decent. Probably the best of the pack but then again it didn’t have the same time constraints. (Though still fairly significant time constraints given the size of the map) It was generally fun to play, the big section based around the radioactive goo felt a bit long and to be honest I had to go in twice because I forgot why I went in in the first place. The fan blocking puzzle doesn’t always get blocked which means this is a point where the player can get permanently stuck.
The car park section was cool and the combat in these sections were enjoyable, well laid out and satisfying to beat.
Jame’s brush based boat makes a return in this map unfortunately it doesn’t really handle well enough for the environment it was put in and maneuvering it felt janky and a bit unpredictable, I fell in the goo a few times and I didn’t really feel like it was my fault. (though it may have been)
The section that is the cover photo for this competition is a little difficult to work out exactly what is happening at first (this is quite a visually busy scene) but my impression is that when the elevator hits the water the water and the cars get electrocuted, however I didn’t get electrocuted by standing on cars during this event so either the puzzle didn’t work properly or I didn’t get the significance of the elevator.
The final battle also felt a bit short, I fired a few rockets and then game over, I win.
As with most of James’s maps what it does right it does very right, when the puzzles work they’re fantastic! Little details around the map make you chuckle (the floaty gnome got me). The combat is well paced and well designed and on the whole so are the puzzles and the bits that let the map down would be awesome if the author had a bit more time to implement it properly Monoxide 1.1 would be something excellent whereas this is just good.
A solid map pack I think these competitions definitely benefit from the addition of the bonus map but even so there are a few interesting and quite different interpretations upon the theme.
Yeah a redux version might be a good idea… Will check my schedule…
Overall, I think this was an interesting map pack with some very different types of scenarios. Below are my comments on each map:
Setting a map where things have to happen on a set time is a very interesting idea, and works very well in some scenarios. However, I’m not sure that you actually pulled off the time critical sequences as well as they could have been, especially once the combat started. It would be interesting to handle the combat in the same way the other events happened. But just setting everything to work out correctly time wise isn’t very easy.
It was also annoying to walk up to each lambda symbol to learn when things were going to happen. I think a message just displayed to the screen about the next event would have worked better.
Finally, I think the aesthetics of this map worked rather well. I could tell what areas could be blown up with the gnomes, and at the same time the layout of the map proved to be an interesting challenge.
Aesthetically, this is the best of the competition maps, as the warehouse layout allows for more light to be introduced to the area. I also think the actual way the first puzzle is implemented works very well. It is very easy to work out where to go with the first puzzle right away, you just have to figure out how to get there then.
One thing that confused me the first time I played through this map was trying to find a crowbar to get in the room above, only to realize that it was behind a powered lock (for which I thought I had to use the crowbar to get to because of the padlock. I think I ended up moving every box and gas canister in the first two rooms before finally finding the igniter. I don’t know if there would be a better way to actually signpost that puzzle however.
Indyo Death Temple:
Yes, it definitely is a death temple. I died about 12 times playing through this map. I think there may be too many fast zombies once you begin the combat sequence, and I ended up getting surrounded so many times that I just died before I had a chance to fight them off. My advice for anyone playing this map would be to retreat to the ammo crate when fighting the fast zombies, as that feels like the only defensible place on the map.
This was created as a quick map to help boost the number of maps located in the pack, but the main problem is that the map feels like it is intentionally trying to kill you.
Being the bonus map in this pack (well, I guess there really are two of them), there was an excellent amount of game play located in the map itself. I also really liked the aesthetics presented through a good portion of the map, although the end of the map in the flooded room was very confusing to me.
I didn’t realize that I could step on the cars, as I figured they were metal cars sitting in electrified water. I spent some time trying to find a second stepping stone so that I didn’t get electrocuted, but of course one doesn’t exist in this puzzle. It also appears that you don’t get electrocuted by any of that area, as even when I was standing in the water I didn’t get electrocuted.
The map I created for this competition. Yes, my map certainly did feel slightly like portal with having the cubes and buttons opening doors. And perhaps my map would have been better suited for use in portal than it was in HL2.
With the headcrabs, the idea was to lure them to jump into the goo, simply by having them set up to jump and moving out of their way before they bit you. I also used the black headcrabs, as opposed to some other enemy, simply for the fact that they can’t kill you, also allowing the player to ignore them completely if they really wanted to. The first one was probably about the only one that didn’t make complete sense, but I had plans to just have the headcrab try to jump across the pit, which it would fail and instead jump into the goo, dying in the process.
My map aesthetically probably could have been a ton better. I planned on spending the last weekend working on the aesthetics of the map more, but I ended up having to ignore that as well as the ideas I had for an escape sequence from the map because of a family emergency.
I am definitely aware that my map had lots of room for improvement, and with more time, I probably would have done more with the theme than what I accomplished here.
1 Hour, 15 Minutes
you have a stool at hand plus the concrete corners as stepping stones so this was doable even if the cars would’ve electrocuted you
I’m generally not a big fan of puzzle gameplay but I decided to give this a go anyway.
Contains a good, solid puzzle mechanic wich gets more complicated as you go on. But even though its a good puzzle, its not fun at all. Once would have been okay, but the map focuses on this one mechanic.
Its not exactly clear on what you are supposed to do. You are forced to read tons of information while a clock of some sort is ticking, gives you no time to think, it starts right away. I didn’t finish this map since I was confused on what my goal was. Took me a good while before I understood. Its a fine mechanic, but the cramped enviroment brings it down.
This is the best looking map in this competition and also contains some creative puzzles. The combat feels unecesarry though, the rooftop-ish area does not seem designed for combat, just puts a bunch of combine in your face, a smg grenade solved that problem for me.
I really enjoyed this map. The visual style was really Quake from the good ol’ days and I liked the look of it. I didn’t feel like I was going the way the author wanted me to go but rather exploring a old temple, wich was a great feeling.
I can’t really put my finger on what I didn’t like. The overall atmosphere felt really…barren and dead in some way. The gameplay and puzzles were great though, I had to stop and think several times.
So, the winner for me would be Industrial Revolution. Indyo would have won if the visuals was just a bit better.
—-Cube Maps by Nick Boeckman AKA dino_yoshi13
Introduces each mechanic nicely and gives the player time to learn how each part works before increasing the complexity. The poison headcrabs were a nice touch and luring them into the toxin pools was fun. Loved the pressure plates, they felt just right.
I never really felt like I was escaping from anything!
—-Timely Escape by Joseph Williams AKA Dysprogue
This map has some cool individual ideas but gives no time for the player to comprehend them before starting. I felt rushed right from the start due to the very prominent ticking of the clock and the lambda sign with the time warning on it.
The explosive laden gnomes were the highlight for me 🙂 Very nicely set up.
My least favourite thing in the level was the time mechanic. You can completely ignore it yet it is presented as being super important. There are too many times to remember and the result is that the level devolves into confusion when events are set off seemingly from nowhere.
The lambda clues is a neat idea but I think there were way too many of them. The first room is especially guilty of this! This first room should have really been spread out into a larger section of map that would give the player more time (heh) to understand each new mechanic.
—-Industrial Revolution by The_Blazer
Loved this one. The classic single room – multi puzzle arena is done well here. The player must explore each area of the warhouse and work out what to do and in what order in order to proceed. Each individual part of the puzzle was well sign posted and it was fun connecting all the dots.
My only gripe with this puzzle section is that it got very, very easy after you accessed the crowbar. You can essentially go onto autopilot as soon as you pick it up! I would have liked a secondary and even perhaps tertiary progress blocker that the player would have to work out and collect before being able to proceed.
This was probably my favourite map of the pack.
—-Indyo by Joseph Williams AKA Dysprogue
Very Quakey! With a hint of Dark Souls 🙂 I didn’t care much for the puzzles in this level but the set up and execution of the combat at the end is very good. I just wish there was more ammo around the level at the end for the fight as you feel pigeon holed into staying near the ammo crate.
—-Bonus: Monoxide by Jim Partridge
Some really nice puzzle elements in this map and I liked the parking garage aesthetic a lot! The initial fan puzzles I felt were a bit fiddly (ie. getting the spool out of the fan room was a pita) but everything from there on out was great.
I thought the ending was a bit of an anticlimax though! But overall a fun map with a nice balance of puzzles and combat.
1 Hour, 10 Minutes
Agree with the above. Industrial Revolution best of the bunch but thank you so much for the bonus map, really enjoyed it.
I enjoyed playing these maps, and my notes are as follows:
Cube Maps was nice looking but got repetitive really fast. I wanted to have the headcrab fall into the water by using buttons and removing the bridge it was walking towards me on but couldn’t get that to work. So I just stood in front of the water and then stepped aside.
Timely Escape was painful to play, mostly because of the pause key modification. I use the “p” key for Previous Weapon almost always, so this disrupted my gameplay. Also after playing the map I had to reset my configuration back to how I normally play. I found the timed aspect and the many hints around the map confusing.
Industrial Revolution had interesting puzzles which really weren’t that difficult. I did like the first lock puzzle the best and thought it was clever. The only real drawback to this map is that once you get outside if you run really fast you end up making it to the painted wall at the edge of the map!
Indyo had some interesting puzzles. I liked the wheel and large platform challenges. The combat with all those zombies was kind of a detractor as there was too many to fight off effectively without scrambling away to retreat first.
Overall my favorite was Industrial Revolution.
The bonus map Monoxide had really good puzzles and was fun to play. I struggled with the fan puzzle for a long time as the metal beams got sucked up behind the fan and there was nothing I could do to retrieve them or escape the room. Replaying the map provided the solution the second time.
Sorry about that, I chose p for pause partly because it’s easy to remember and partly because I figured no one would use it, it’s way on the other side from WASD. I’ll bear that in mind for future maps then, never screw with key bindings.
I think a big source of confusion in Timely Escape is the soft fail state, instead of ending the game for players who fail the sequence, the light bridge comes up the idea being that there should be enough to do in the first area to keep them occupied (especially because you’re able to jump over the first fence) and when the light bridge comes up there’s a lot of enemies and quite little cover so the approach will be slower than if you had succeeded the puzzles meaning you’re less likely to get the good ending (which is incidentally “En route to White Forest”) but it’s still not impossible.
Though the optimal route is up and over the wall next to the gnome in the beginning room is important to note, it is the same texture as the other breakable walls and it has the same rebar model as the other breakable walls (rebar with a bit of concrete on it) these walls are breakable with any explosion.
Also an important thing to note is that a gnome explodes every minute and that the sequence is blue, green, red, orange (the sprite colors parented to the gnomes) Also a huge oversight on my part is that the ticking you hear at the beginning isn’t the clock (the hint is purely meant to mean that you don’t have much time) the ticking is coming from the gnomes and it’s a good way of helping you locate them. (It is louder than I wanted but I set the volume to 1 out of 10 so I seriously don’t know what’s going on there)
I had originally intended to create a more robust starting area where you did have infinite time to figure out what was going on (though technically with the pause key you do) I didn’t end up having time to do this with work, life and horrible .bsp corruptions getting in the way.
– the bridge once enabled can’t be disabled by taking the cube off the button
– needs cubemaps built I think as buggy was too bright, found that ironic
– nice puzzle map, specially the 3d ones, but didn’t really feel I was escaping from anything, just passing from one area to another and I don’t enjoy text on screen much
– speaking of text on screen, I cba to remember ALL that info and numbers
– the weak wall cannot be broken with crowbar?
– as I moved the 2nd gnome from the table the ticking sound was still on the table haha
– I threw it in the little room to blow the chair and open the door but no dice, is there any other way in that room or was it just a distraction to add time to gameplay and to make player start all over which is kind of unfair…
– took the first train and hopped across to get slaughtered by the combine that drop ZERO HEALTH! (twice) as I didn’t find the turret in time and I actually forgot it would be hacked at God knows what time
– invisible wall for the rpg, n1
– some stuff on the wall as I take the last train kills me, I think it was part of the gate that opened
– oh but we finally get to see that clock that’s making all this noise!
– a stressful little map, what can I say, it did make me feel like I escaped a storage room and a train station…
– the distance between the spark maker and the door is too long, I’m left with 40hp, I think the big barrels explode much later than those little ones
– neat new puzzle for the ggun
– oh abrupt ending as we free roam, at least add something to find in the forest, like a laughing, exploding gnome 😛
– but did feel a bit like I escaped that warehouse, as I finally got out
– now this looks weird, obscure and unpolished but let’s see that gameplay!
– oh yea, died in water, twice, I hate the fact that I have to get air after every lil action I do in there
– I don’t see a way to get to the 2nd crank?
– ohhh thats cus damn textures are so alike and didn’t see the extra path, a lil variety in there and better lighting would’ve helped; but I liked the use of barnacles to get higher
– damn gnome pushed a rock on me!
– waat it says movieville on some wall… oh I see
– rotating thing hurts like hell if not sitting on it right and omg hordes of fast zombies, and boy they sure know how to throw my torch to the ground before I can burn them
– phew! finally finished THAT, tho not sure what that was
– is that bonus or bones in the title 😀
– strider makes a funny new noise
– I didnt see the purpose of the 2nd fan at first
– OH a soda machine that gives nades, how sweet
– stuck in the parking lot 🙁 later on I saw the vent, such evil to hide that
– I believe I broke a trigger as I see a mid air shotgun after the weight puzzle (and mid air rifles)
– a doll, thats what I need from the dispenser…
– ah I see they’re meant to spawn when I cross the vent, but that still looks bad, wish you would’ve used testers but I’m fkn tired of telling you that you need more testers… because this actually was a little game breaking for me, I thought I was stuck due to the broken trigger and just didn’t care to look for a way out of the lift for a long time
– we finally get to kill the strider in the beginning, that’s nice
overall it didn’t feel like an Aazell map, textures and layout seemed a bit out of place or unfinished/unpolished, and the action just went from one area to another with no ties, no story and again didn’t feel like I was escaping anything.
The winner for me, after hard debating would be the short but sweet ‘Industrial revolution’ as the first entry didn’t feel like I escaped and the 2nd was just too frustrating to play AND re-play.
1 Hour, 28 Minutes
Aand of course I forgot again to recommend it, it could be Played Later, as I didn’t play it right away and I don’t feel I missed out on much. It felt more polished than most Villes, but again it felt like the maps did not really do the title justice.
Yeah lots of bugs this time. I ran out of time due to a trip to the US last week. That’s the problem with having a set timescale.
I also have to admit I felt less attached to this release, less interested…
To get into the shotgun room you need a smaller gun. You can conceivably use the 357, the regular pistol or (if you make it up the stairs) you can use the smg. Looks like I really needed a more engaging way of telling the player these times because they are kind of important if you want to get the most out of the map. I think probably another minute and another gnome in the start area would have helped so the player can see the process in action again though the down side is that if you didn’t acknowledge that there was a detonation sequence that would also be confusing.
Looking at it again I’d probably have a voiced intro video sequence explaining the different times and events and then start you in a room where the player can start the count down, my concern (and why I didn’t do this) was that this would set a false precedent for the rest of the map and make the player think they had control over the bombs, I did also consider this, a sort of watchdogs style hacking explanation but this would require a switch board for the bombs and I felt that back tracking back and forth (especially when it came to combat) would not be practical or fun.
If I enter the next competition I think I’ll have to try and stick to something a bit more conventional but at the same time I don’t want to do something that I’d find boring to make.
How will a smaller gun help? There’s a chair blocking the door, the visual language is really confusing me.
Also bear in mind that when you add time constraints PLUS a ticking clock all throughout it’s harder for players to think properly instead of just rushing through, trying out their first instinct, so should either be dead obvious what to do or don’t bother. I really hate games with race against time.
It’s a wooden chair, you shoot it and it breaks. The reason for the side objectives is to give the player something to do should they get stuck on platform one, the assumption being that they had already seen the blue gnome blowing up the wall that they would then see the green gnome and try it again on the next break wall. But yeah, without sufficient time or affordances to get your bearings it doesn’t really work.
So an exploding gnome doesn’t break the ‘wooden’ chair, but one bullet will? and same gnome breaks a wall that a crowbar can’t break?…
Sorry, I was assuming you failed to get the gnome through the window. (maybe I should have put a grate in or something) Assuming it was in the blast radius it should have blown up, I tested it myself to check and yes the chair will blow up. I think the problem is likely that because the explosion entity parented to the gnome is actually a little bit offset from the gnome it’s possible the explosion happened in a wall however when this bug appeared for me (after submission) it did damage both sides of the wall the wall in question is thick enough for the explosion to happen inside the wall so even then the explosion should have happened both sides of the wall.
In short: I’m not sure what’s going on there but it’s not by design.
Just want to say that me actually forgetting to build the cubemaps on the map itself was a complete accident. I actually had decided on the name quite early, as there are cubes, and it’s a map. It also went thematically with the way Valve likes to use terms in different disciplines of science for their chapter names. But a little irony never hurts anyone, if anything it might have made a few people laugh once they realized it.
P.S. I think the lights on the buttons looked much better with the cubemaps not being built.
I just got up from my chair and kicked myself in the behind, as I said I would, for missing out on DiamondDogsVille. Great book, great theme, could have done wonderful things, failed. I did nonetheless get a chance to sit down to the mod this weekend, so I’ve got a review.
I must admit this is my least favorite of the entries, since the puzzles aren’t really environmental, and what puzzles there are are a bit repetitive for my taste. It’s still well put together for what it’s meant to be, I especially love the cube tracks. It’s a clean look with only simple geometry and two textures, and I like seeing people piece together their own visual themes. Different from anything in Valve’s standard repertoire, but built using only the assets they gave us. Miigga does that sort of thing, his maps always have a striking look to them, and this seems to be along the same lines.
I’ve always hated time limits when solving puzzles. I’m not completely hardline about it, but generally I feel “timing” and “puzzle” don’t belong in the same sentence. Timing is for action, logic is for puzzles, and blends of the two don’t tend to do it for me. This map, curiously, grew on me anyway when I played the second and third times. I very much enjoyed figuring out how to tackle the various alternate routes. I’m sure I’d have felt differently if I’d gotten hopelessly stuck, but the map still takes my number two spot.
The combat seemed tacked on at the end, and I’m disappointed I didn’t actually get to revolve the industrial equipment (there’s a very visible set of teeth on that crane body), but this is definitely my favorite entry. Supremely chill Pacific Northwest color palette, like the Episode 2 forest maps but with a splash of red brick, great use of dust motes, satisfying puzzle in the igniter, an earthy, lived in, convincingly “warehouse” aesthetic by way of the texture and decal choices, and a solid sensation of needing to find my way out after having been trapped in the building. Would have been fun to poke around the forest a little more, but I had a grand time anyway.
I felt kind of dead in the water, appropriately enough, when it came to diving through that hole, I think maybe there could have been a bit less debris down there to get caught on. I liked the theme of this one, Indiana Jones meets Quake. It’s rough around the edges, but luckily I have something of a fondness for that in and of itself. If I were you I’d drop two or three fast zombies at the end, and possibly throw some more health the player’s way, but despite cheating my way through a tricky section I had fun. Very impressive considering it’s an extra map by an author who already submitted an entry.
My only issues with this one are a couple notable periods of confusion about what to do next, and the difficulty I had maneuvering objects here and there. Not deal breakers for me, personally. The vending machines were adorable, working gizmos put a map in my good graces automatically! The ending was anticlimactic, sure, but Strider battles can be tedious at the best of times, and after the ages it took me to figure out the earlier areas I was glad there was no big showdown. Some gorgeous orange light in that one garage segment, that whole area looks amazing, and excellent touch with the elevator carrying shocks with it: it turns what could have been an ordinary, run of the mill environmental hazard into a clever set piece. I didn’t end up needing the spool to get past that part, since I could just sprint, but it’s great attention to detail that put a smile on my face.
Not a massive collection of maps, no, but I felt warm and fuzzy throughout this mod, so I’d say Play It Now. And then go watch me do the same thing: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoGPuWBXfT0e2kJv1qTK4ekwCAGl395T7
1 Hour, 40 Minutes
Love your vids Rob.. very fun to watch… but I end up yelling at the screen as you often miss my well laid clues!… not sure if i’m getting it right or not lol
Have I not mentioned I’ve been diagnosed with Dumb? It’s a daily struggle.
Glad you like the videos anyway! Watching demos and videos of my RavenholmVille entry has made me sympathize with your perspective, I find myself cringing and/or yelling when people miss things I thought were obvious. But I’m sure we’ll all figure each other out one of these days/years/decades.
Glad at least some people enjoyed Timely Escape. I think perhaps I should have had a hard fail state after the player misses the train because as it is it seems this confused people.
Also I should definitely have stuck with giving the player an unlimited amount of time in the start area my reservation with doing so was that it would set a false precedent for the rest of the map. The trouble is that though the alternate path does mean that you don’t actually fail it is less fun to play.
Had I been able to work out how to do custom textures I think the start room would be better, there are things that diagrams are simply better at communicating than a whole bunch of text though the wording on some of the hints is REALLY misleading and for that I apologize. I didn’t even think of the barricade being thought of as a tower, I kind of realized after I submitted that the phrase “the clock is ticking” may be misleading after I submitted (it’s actually the gnomes) and of course “this wall looks awfully weak” was way too subtle for a 1 minute time limit, “blow this wall up!” would have been more appropriate. Had I found time to do beta testing I’m sure issues like this would have come up. I actually thought I had made the toilets flushable but I guess not. Though I did put a small Pulp Fiction reference up there, so that’s almost as good.
Anyway if anyone is interested in either of my maps the .vmf files are in the mod files. (I saw that people did that for Ravenholmville and I thought it was a neat idea)
That barricade isn’t what I’d call a tower, normally, but it’s a structure built up vertically, and the lambda hint is attached to it. Combined with it being hard to see the actual tower from that spot, the hint saying “this” tower instead of “that” (EDIT: Oops! Just double checked the video, it does say “that”, it just didn’t register when I was playing. See my earlier reply to Jim where I mention that I’m dumb), and the pressure of time, I just assumed it meant the thing right nearby.
It looks like you did almost make the toilets flushable, but the func_buttons you used somehow had their default “Use activates” spawnflag unchecked, just like the Damage and Touch options, leaving no way to actually fire them.
Thanks for the source! I love nosing around other people’s work.
Well the toilet thing is a bit embarrassing something as vital as that should have been the focus of my test runs 😀
I made a similar mistake in Indyo, there’s a breakable wall that should only be breakable by trigger but I forgot to check that box, It’s a part of the gnome challenge so figuring most players wouldn’t experience it I didn’t spend much time on it.
Quite a nice competition. Would have been nice to have a couple more entries, but I couldn’t enter myself so I can’t complain!
● Cube Maps
Pure puzzle gameplay, but it stays just complex enough to be interesting. For it to win I would have liked to see a little more development of the idea, but it was still fun.
● Timely Escape
I found this map too overwhelming as there are a lot of different elements all introduced at once, especially with the clock ticking from the very start. The hint text is not really something that was designed to be included in maps, and is more for developer purposes.
● Industrial Revolution
This was my favourite of the competition maps. The puzzle with the explosives was particularly good and the visuals were good. My only criticism would be that the combat area didn’t really work – the battle could have been moved to the very end, if it was needed at all.
Personally I don’t enjoy this type of map, I prefer levels to have a more “realistic” setting so this was never going to be my cup of tea. Still, I won’t complain too much as I understand this was an extra entry that wasn’t made for the competition.
Another great map from Jim Partridge. I am glad that we are still seeing new puzzles in Half-Life 2. I particularly liked the fan area and the electrocuting elevator which was a good way to add a time constraint to the puzzle. This map would have worked as a stand-alone release.
Adding recommendation, sorry!
So glad you liked it!!!
Well first let me say, that though this was an entertaining competition, with many interesting and fun entries, I can say for sure that none of the entries except one, made me really feel as gamer, that I had “to get the heck out of there!!!” so well that been say I can proceed reviewing the entries one by one.
Cube Maps by Nick Boeckman AKA dino_yoshi13
Here we have a portal like entry. That’s it. The whole concept flows around rooms like chambers where you have to use cubes in order to activate the exit door. No big deal really, was kind of boring actually and it never, even in a million years made me feel that I had to get out of that place, maybe adding some time to done the puzzles or the player dies, would have added this one a bit more challenge but I guess many gamers could’ have hated it. For me this was the weakest entry.
Timely Escape by Joseph Williams AKA Dysprogue
I can define this entry as “exasperating”, for me it was very annoying to hear that freakin tick tock all the time, besides, I really didn’t understood the map at all, I mean I know in the lambda signs are information, but if you place more than 10 enemy soldiers shooting right in front of your face, you really don’t stop to see what a stupid lambda sign has to tell you!! come on man!! don’t put that dynamic in any combat action map!!! That kind of pissed me off as just got me confused and then suddenly without any advice that main door opened and the light bridge which crossed the rails gave me access to a close and fun combat against the CMB, so that kind of saved this map, also at the end I had the jalopy ready escape, but also never in this entry felt that I had to forcedly escape at all cost, I even had time to noclip the map to see which areas I just couldn’t have access by foot. This is after the cube entry also in the ones that I didn’t like.
Industrial Revolution by The_Blazer
Yeah this map has beautiful visuals, and some clever main puzzle to solve, in order to escape the main industrial warehouse. besides that the combat is very, very poor, I mean, more than the one I expected it, because I thought I would combat some CMB soldiers and even some Hunters in that huge warehouse, but nothing happened, once you reach the roof and get free the Gravgun that’s it end of the map, I also really didn’t like this entry as never made me feel I had to escape out of there. Tough I’d place this entry in the 2nd place.
Indyo by Joseph Williams AKA Dysprogue
I would have voted this entry to be the winner of the competition. Why? Well is simple. Because despite is not a very polished map regarding technical skills, the whole dungeon-catacomb concept was pretty cool and this was THE ONLY entry that made me feel that I didn’t like that place and that I really had to get out of there, also built the whole map placing the zombies as the main enemies was very cool and outstands from the rest of the maps. The ending was pure rush, and very fun to play, also I felt it that I really NEDED to escape form that map!! The light at the end of the map was a cool touch after being in a very dark scenario. Maybe, as I am also a L4D2 gamer, I’m more used to fight zombies though the fast zombies are more difficult to battle than the L4D common hordes, what I’m trying to say is that this entry kind of reminded me to the L4D campaigns at the end of the map, after all L4D is all about ESCAPE and is just fun to escape a map when you have lots of zombies at your back, is just about run and get the hell out of there…
Bonus: Monoxide by Jim Partridge
Very nice bonus entry, that offers just the perfect balance between puzzle solving and combat.Though I’m glad this was not in the competition, because despite its beautiful design, it also never, never made me feel that I had to escape from that scenario, also the end is kind of lame, I mean you kill the strider, but never really escape anywhere!!! so I guess the message is close to the old cliché: You can’t escape from this blah, blah, blah map…
In conclusion this was a nice competition, though is not as good as the previous ones, this was so focused on the puzzles more than it’s focused on the combat so I didn’t like that part. I hope Phillip some day could hear my suggestion of make a more conventional competition, I mean more combat and mapping design than puzzling stuff, and by that I am thinking in a kind of “Urbanville” or “City#(number)Ville” so imagine battle in nice cities or wreck cities, that just pure HL2 spirit, I think I’d like to see something like that some day as I’m sure we could have some excellent combat entries.
1 Hour, 20 Minutes
Well this is just a PD NOTE. I guess the “Indyo” map was out of time in this competition so is not between the availability to vote for it.
So as the rest three entries really didn’t were of my liking, I will reserve my vote and I won’t vote for any of them. I guess the winner it’s going to be Industrial Revolution, which is OK; technically deserves the wining position, but the atmosphere of that entry and the rest 2 entries were pretty poor.
Seeing as Indyo is more straightforward and traditional from a design perspective (no significantly branching paths or substantial deviation from conventional Half Life 2 gameplay) I did suspect that it may be most peoples favorite of my 2 submissions which is partly why I wanted to finish up Indyo for this map pack because it is quite different from Timely Escape and it does fit the theme quite well despite not initially being designed for this theme.
I wasn’t consciously referencing it but I can definitely see where you’re coming from with the L4D comparison chucking down a couple gas cans and alerting the horde is right out of that playbook.
Glad you found at least one of my maps somewhat enjoyable 🙂
Also it’s a fair point about Timely Escape not feeling like a place you have a particular need to escape, the original idea was for a sort of holding facility for prisoners going to nova prospect so the idea was to escape the fate of the herd. This was the original reasoning behind the light bridge activation, it was an automated system to herd citizens across which would be more fitting to the theme but citizens would likely have gotten in the way of game play and for what was essentially visual fluff would have taken too much time to implement properly, so that was cut.
Also the accompanying stealth mechanics simply didn’t work, (the idea was a “to cross the line is death” scenario where combine would agro to you (with stun sticks) if they saw you while in a restricted area but I couldn’t get that to work. So I focused around the time aspect (which originally was less about speed and more about planning.)
LOL, I hadn’t noticed you were the creator of both entries, that got me very surprised, so is even cooler to see how you are a versatile mapper, that’s pretty cool!!!
So yeah, now that you have explained the issues about timely escape, I can understand the map more, it seems that you have to constrain the concept, but it was a fun battle to play in there!!
Many thanks for offering those nice 2 maps! 😉
When Phillip and I discussed the theme (which was my idea), my concept was never to create an escape map. The idea was, enter an area, you can see the exit, but how do you get there….
Hence the reason I created a whole series of areas with this theme in mind.
I hoped it would encourage people to submit small but well designed areas with one entrance and one exit.
I think it was lost in translation a bit.
Still, glad you had a good time playing it.
Oh, I can see now, you know, when a developer answers you is so much better as I can now see the whole picture, I mean, more in context I can understand the whole entry better, and then I also like from your map the transitions within and the parking being the core of it where the action happens and you battle the CMB in there is a very nice touch too, I would have liked to get out from the garage where you kill the strider and just escape using the rail tracks but it was just a minimum detail, after that the whole map is brilliant, and I also agree that it can be used as a stand alone mod release, so yeah maybe you can add some more maps to proceed from where we left the dead Strider.
I really enjoyed this map pack because it was calming, yet never got boring due to interesting puzzles.
This was my personal favourite. I enjoyed the puzzles, as they started off simple and got a tiny bit more complex, but never too hard. I enjoyed the bgm that was playing throughout, as other maps always seem to lack this. Making the headcrabs leap into the water was fun ^^
I did have to play this a couple times because it’s not really clear what you are supposed to do. I constantly felt pressured because of the ticking and not knowing if the combine were going to shoot me or not, as this information wasn’t given until later. There should be a ‘skip to explosion’ button in the beginning for players who have to replay it so you wouldn’t be forced to wait. Also, it was unclear where to go to finish the map. I didn’t know you had to escape with the jeep before the door closed, so I just drove around in that small area because the door had closed without me knowing that you had to drive through it.
A great looking map, and the puzzles were unique. I would have enjoyed it more if there wasn’t much combat. A headcrab here and there should have sufficed. The environment was ‘calming’, then you climb a ladder and suddenly get shot by many combine. The end battle was enjoyable, though
The map was a bit dark and lacking ambiance, but it was fun when you get to activate the hunters and watch them massacre the zombies. It was a bit confusing, and if you fell at one point, you had to go through the entire part again. Not my type of map, but the moving bits and having to avoid crushers reminded me of parkour maps, which I really love.
This map I thought flowed pretty well, with subtle combat here and there and puzzles to solve. Could have used some bgm, though. Overall a good map.
What’s a BGM?
BackGround Music. I’d assume. Of course it might be Big Gun Malarkey or Banjo Guided Missile for all I know, I’m not exactly down with the kids myself.
BanjoGuidedMissileVille is going to be the next mapping competition.
This actually reminded me of Portal, but only with cubes. It doesn’t add a lot of difficulty later, apart from having LAZ0RS which activate other paths for other cubes. I like this one because it was different from the others.
Here, I really like the concept of timed bombs, but it’s not executed as well as I expected. There were a lot of glitches, the environment was bland and there wasn’t a lot to it.
This was my favorite entry in this competition. The puzzles were unique, the map looked great and I had a lot of fun playing it. I guess the only problem I have with this map is that it gives you too many weapons for like 5-6 enemies.
This one, I fairly enjoyed. It’s sort of like a HL2 meets Quake hybrid, with the castle-ish maps and the death traps. The end was a real challenge even though I did it without the SMG.
I don’t really have a lot to say about this entry. It looks beautiful, the enemies are well placed (with a few exceptions), and that’s it.
I really liked this competition, but if some of the entries were a LITTLE bit better, than this would get a Play It Now.
Another fabulous “Ville” competition. Of course after the Ravenholm excitement its going to pale in comparison. It still was highly entertaining and I thought pretty close in the rankings as well.
The bonus Monoxide was the most enjoyable to me, but of the 3, Industrial Revolution was also my choice. In terms of visuals and gameplay, Cube didn’t have enough I thought, but it was “cute” and enjoyable all the same. Indyo was very frustrating as others have mentioned, but a larger project and I enjoyed it (after checking back here for hints in others commentary).
Thanks to all for making these!
1 Hour, 30 Minutes
Has anyone been able to get this work with Linux OS?
Perhaps an oddly-named competition, but still a solid one. I thought all of the maps had something to offer and we get a nice mix of puzzles throughout the pack.
My favorite is Industrial Revolution, mainly due to the setting (felt like it belonged right in the Half-Life 2 world) and the absence of pressure. You get to explore the warehouse and figure things out without the pressure of time or attacking enemies. A solid puzzle map.
I also really liked Monoxide, the bonus map. It did a great job of mixing puzzles with combat (and other threats) and everything flowed together really well. It didn’t feel like a “set” of puzzles and that’s why I really liked it, plus given that James had more time for the map, it’s polished and overall a great play.
Cube Maps was a good idea and was executed well. The puzzles had a decent difficultly ramp, and the main fault I had with this entry was that it felt so straightforward. I kept expecting to break out of the series of puzzle rooms, but perhaps Portal has spoiled me for life.
Timely Escape had a lot going for it as well, I liked the puzzles and the approach you had to take, as well as the hint system. However, I think the timed aspect wasn’t really well integrated. The player gets a bit overwhelmed at the start of the map, where all the times are listed for the various events. Given more testing and polish, this would have been much more enjoyable.
In all, worth playing especially if you like a bit of puzzling in your HL2 maps. What I liked the most is that mappers weren’t afraid to do something different, which in general I think is a great strength of Phillip’s short competitions.
1 Hour, 35 Minutes
Just like Phillip I think that this was an average, perhaps slightly above average competition.
I had the most fun playing Monoxide which clearly benefited from James taking more time for this. It’s a good looking, quite large map with a nice variety of puzzles and some welcome combat. Offering the quality you’d usually expect from a mapper like James, my individual rating for this would be a PIN/It’s Great. Only weak spots are the ending (a simple fade to black) and that there seems to be no reward for bringing the gnome with you.
Apparently I enjoyed Timely Escape more than others did. Yes, there are a few too many Lambda messages and you maybe have to start the map a second or third time to get a feel for it, but then it plays very nicely. Usually I don’t like time constraints, but IMO Joseph found exactly the right balance to make this challenging without being frustrating, partly due to the fact that this map is sufficiently small, so any failure doesn’t mean you have to repeat any long stretches. The only thing I found odd was that you are not rewarded for actually getting to the train in time. Just leaving by feet or with the car long after the train has left will give you exactly the same ending. I don’t think missing the train should’ve meant Game Over, but I think not missing it should’ve been rewarded in some way. Individually I’d rate this between PIN/It’s Great and PIL/It’s Good.
The other three contributions are all PIL/It’s Good in my book. Cube Maps is pure puzzles, Industrial Revolution is looking very nice, and Indyo has some warm 90’s retro feel. However, CM and IR are too short and at the same time too easy to rise above PIL. I liked the addition of headcrabs in CM, but still this map felt too short and too repetitive. IR has a very nice padlock puzzle, but after that it’s basically autopilot. After the very first impression I expected much more. However, these three mods are definitely worth playing, too, so even if there are no WOW moments in DiamondDogsVille, there’s also not a single truly weak contribution to be found.
Thanks to all contributors! 🙂
1 Hour, 35 Minutes
I’m often the first to moan about this kind of map. I’d load up a puzzle game if I wanted to play a puzzle game. I expect puzzles in HL2 of course but, they’re part of the game, rather than the entire game.
Well, colour me shocked because I actually enjoyed this!
Yep, I enjoyed it a lot more than I imagined. I like the style and the thought which is required to overcome the challenges. I doubt I’d ever play it again, of course, but it was pretty good.
Wow! I actually found this very unnerving right from the very start. Probably thanks to the ticking. I’m sweating already!
This has some cool and unique ideas with how to progress through. However, it’s also too vague at times so I was left wondering and then it was BAM too late. Perhaps too overwhelming much of the time with little indication I found useful.
I really liked the environment designed – very atmospheric. But I replayed more times than I care to admit! One for those who enjoy stress. I didn’t, so now that I’ve played it I won’t play it again! Yikes!! lol
This is pure class. Yep, class!
What a fantastic map and exactly how I would personally expect a puzzler to look and behave in the HL2 universe. I loved the unique and explosive way to unlock the gate – superb!! Took me a little time to figure it out, but perhaps I was too busy enjoying blowing stuff up lol
Moving the metal crate was next but I found hopping on that a little clunky but it worked. The sound effect of it moving kept on playing too – which was annoying. But the only thing I didn’t like about this entire indoor area was that it was then over with. Really enjoyable.
The roof scene was nice and short. It worked well but I’d have loved distant buildings with snipers etc for some crossbow action… but perhaps that’s just me? This lead to the simplest puzzle ever but I got the Gravgun and busted out.
It just ends… I had to deduct a point for that because it let down the entire map imho. Everything leading to this land ending was great and the first parts inside are Grade A!! Shame about the ending then… :S
Fudging around, under water and in the dark…??
Sorry, I cannot stand maps like this. I died far too many times but it wasn’t an enjoyable “must try again” type of death. I found it frustrating and was reminded of Quake for some reason. But underwater and something so gloomy it made Quake look rosy!
Sorry but it’s a meh from me.
An interesting and atmospheric start. Little equipment and a Strider within a devastated part of the city. Little to see and think about after hopping onto the dumpster but I took the leap and saw the exit after a few moments of panic!!
This leads onto a very interesting area. I first thought it’d be a case of just getting across to the other side but there are puzzles first. The initial fan puzzle got me for a few attempts before I sussed it out. But it was setup a little awkward with the bent fencing, I thought. The next puzzle was just rubbish and misleading because I was thinking that there was something here to do but there wasn’t. Nothing more than getting the wooden cable wheel for the acid seen earlier. Argghhh how could I miss this?
Must admit that the acid parts are good. Without liquid wobbles to put me off, and then the guard appears – great stuff!! The car park scene was ace but not seeing the vent … was frustrating!! Lol it got me that!! 🙂 Interesting float that was offered afterwards – take that slow and easy!
Using the car for extra weight was great but this did lead onto a scene where the soldier/etc wasn’t somehow active. I could see a floating gun but nothing more. I still shot them both of course! The next two soldiers were okay – until I killed them!! The industrial part after is excellent. Fancy creeping about under the walkway. Superb!! And then more electrifying water which any well-timed adventurer can easily manage…
To sum up this: It’s well-balanced and fun throughout albeit with a few odd quirks that spoil an otherwise great map.
Puzzles if that is your thing.