FusionVille

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

22nd December 2017

This mod features 17 individually created entries to play, each using the idea of combining at least 3 themes from the list below.

They are set in a variety of locations and have multifarious gameplay ideas.

This could be one of the best Villes ever!

Basic Details
  • Title: FusionVille
  • Filename: hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c5-fusionville-v1.7z
  • Size : 357MB
  • Author: Highfire, Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar, Sockman, 1upD, DangerRanger, Ethosaur, Viridian, Sir Tokialot, Niker107, cwook, Strontvlieg, ThatsRidonkulous, Clément Baticle AKA Klems, Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon, Sylvain Menguy AKA leplubodeslapin, Ildarion, marnamai
  • Date Released: 22 December 2017

Download Options

Download to your HDD [357MB]
You can still use it with Gauge once you have downloaded it.

Manual Installation Instructions
  • Copy the “hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c5-fusionville-v1” folder into your “SourceMods” folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • RTSL.THC17.C5.FusionVille should now be listed in your “Library” tab.

Reviewing

If you decide to use the Per-Map Opinion Images, please either watch the video below or use the file below:

FusionVille-Review-Template.txt

Thank you.

Special Releases Review Giveaway

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
On 22nd January 2018, one lucky reviewer will receive a copy of DOOM, courtesy of me.
The review MUST use a recommendation image, Meta Review Data and be of sufficient length. It will be a random draw.

Theme Details

For this challenge we want you to pick 3 themes from the 2016 and 2017 Hammer Cup challenges, and creatively combine those themes into your perfect fusion map.

So for FusionVille, we want to you pick 3 of the following 8 themes (we’re not including AnyVilleVille in this) from all the Hammer Cup challenges and mash them together in your map:

  • Chasm
  • Liberation
  • Backtrack
  • Trap
  • Defend
  • Toxic
  • Bridge
  • Teleport

Below are details for each theme and summaries of how the themes apply to FusionVille:
Chasm: a chasm (a.k.a. canyon, gorge, abyss, rift) must feature in the map
Liberation: the player must liberate something (person or people, item, whatever you can think of)
Backtrack: the player must play through an area, then later retrace their steps through that same area, but the area must have changed somehow (an invasion, explosion, earthquake, time travel, etc.)
Trap: the map must contain at least one trap that the player sets, has to avoid, or of course gets caught in. This can be a simple ambush but we’d love to see more creative and elaborate traps too.
Defend: the map must have a major defense sequence where the player has to defend a location from attack. This should not be the only event or sequence in the map, as there will be two other themes to feature. DefendVilleTwo’s 5- minute preparation time and manual start option are NOT required in this challenge; but the defense sequence must be a key part of the map.
Toxic: the classic HL2 yellow/green toxic sludge must play a critical part in the map
Bridge: the map must feature a bridge of some type, and the player must cross the bridge at some point
Teleport: teleportation (of the player, NPCs, or physics objects) must play a major role in the gameplay of the map

Deadline

The deadline for submitting maps was:
Monday 11th December 2017 at 23:59 CET
CEST is Central European Summer Time. Phillip’s Time.
Make sure you check your local time conversion.
That’s 33 days, with 5 full weekends.

Entries

Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself:

The Collapse by Highfire
Raid by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
Takeover by Sockman
Finale by 1upD
Houses by DangerRanger
Slime Dump by Ethosaur
Railway by Viridian
Exavalue by Sir Tokialot
Choice Machine by Niker107
Drainage by cwook
Questionable Sewers by Strontvlieg
Tectonic by ThatsRidonkulous
The Shadow over Ravensmouth by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
ActiveTransport by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
Wake up and run by Sylvain Menguy AKA leplubodeslapin
The Crossing by Ildarion
A Hero Once More Pt2 by marnamai

The order of the maps was generated via random.org

Winner and Points

First place: The Shadow over Ravensmouth by Clément Baticle AKA Klems – 94 points
Second place: A Hero Once More Part 2 by marnamai – 93 points
Third place: The Crossing by Ildarion: 91 points.

Congratulations to the above and to all the entrants. This was the closest finish ever!

Full points for each entry can be seen on The Hammer Cup 2017 Spreadsheet.

Judges

Phillip, Don and Jim are the judges for this challenge.

Community Voting

Community voting is now closed. Thanks to all who played and voted!

More About The Hammer Cup 2017

The Hammer Cup 2017 consists of five mapping challenges, each with a different theme.
Entrants will receive points for each challenge they enter.
At the end of the event, the best 3 points totals from the challenges they entered will be added together for each entrant.
These totals will decide who wins the Grand Prizes.
This means that entrants do NOT have to enter each and every contest to win the grand prize but they will need to have entered at least 3 challenges to have a chance of winning the grand prizes.
For more details visit the Hammer Cup homepage.

Release Versions

0.9 – Developers’ Version. First versions of maps. Internal Alpha version
1.0 – THIS RELEASE: First public release. Some maps have been updated. Review template is included

Specific map Notes

Some authors have included a readme.txt file, which can be found in the readmes folder.
Here are notes for maps with either no readme file or when authors wanted to highlight something.

Tectonic: Enable HDR for an optimal experience, but not required. Music created by Zeddy.

Active Transport: Keep in mind that there is a pile of trash bags that will give you radiation damage. For some reason, particles and smokevolumes were not working in my map. Keep this in mind while you play my map.

The Collapse: One or more textures on this map have been created with images from Textures.com. These images may not be redistributed by default. Please visit www.textures.com for more information.​

Drainage: This is the first map I’ve released, although I’ve been messing Hammer for years. I started late in the contest, so everything you see was made in a week. It probably would’ve been longer and better detailed if not for that. Thanks for playing!

Finale: Special thanks to Connor “Izkavan” Wlodarczak for providing the voice of Malachi.

The Crossing: Can you survive the train crash, reunite with your squad, defend yourself and reach the save haven? Known bugs: If you encounter endless slow motion effect after playing my maps please restart your game or simply type “host_timescale 1” in the console.

ExaValue: Sir Tokialot- Mapping, TopHATTwaffle- Textures from realworldtextures2, IMakeLevels- Voice Acting​

Credits

The RunThinkShootLive.Com introduction video was made by Jeff Muñoz (ThatoneJeff)” and he also significantly helped with logo design – thanks Jeff, you ROCK!
Brane Scan by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

Steam Grid View Images

There is one custom gridview image included in this release.
To use it, switch your Steam Library view to Grid View. Right click on RTSL.THC17.C5.FusionVille and chose “Set Custom Image”. Click “browse” when a small windows appears and navigate to your SourceMods folder and the “hl2-ep2-sp-thc17-c5-fusionville-v1/steam-gridview-images/” folder and select the image of your choice.
You can of course, create your own image and use that.

General Entry Rules

Maximum two maps per mapper per competition.
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 & RunThinkShootLive.Com the right to release the map as part of the Ville Mod.
Maps must not appear 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_ABC.bsp (ABC is replaced with the code for the mapping challenge)
All entries must be sent to: runthinkshootlive@gmail.com no later than the deadline.

Sponsorship

This challenge was not sponsored. If you are an individual or company and interested in sponsoring a challenge, please contact Phillip (runthinkshootlive@gmail.com) to discuss the options.

Panoramic Images

Coming Soon.

Videos

I’ll be uploading my blind playthrough of the judges’ version entries soon.

Playthrough Screenshots

Screenshots coming once I have played the mod.

Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Maybe
Play It Later
Play It Now!

12 recommendations, average score: 4.67 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.56 (what's that?)
Total Downloads
  • 3,159
    Overall
  • 2
    Today
  • 20
    Last 7 days
  • 106
    Last 30 days
  • 3,159
    365 days
Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 14 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 13 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 3 Hours, 43 Mins
Shortest: 2 Hours by 1Lucia
Longest: 7 Hours, 40 Mins by leplubodeslapin
Total Time Played: 52 Hours, 5 Mins
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30 Comments

  1. Personal Favourite

    (This introduction was written before playing any of the maps) The idea of this ville is good, and I hope to see some good maps. I myself am a level designer and I am always looking for good looking maps. Sometimes, the map might be not that good but the looks are good so I still like it. If that seems like an uninteresting review for you, go ahead to another one. (I will not only review the looks though, don’t worry.)

    The Collapse by Highfire
    It is okay

    The design was okay at first, the combat unfair and not fun. I didn’t get what happend in this map at all, I don’t get what villes we’re combined. The combat later on in that warehouse was way too dark. I couldn’t even tell what weapons I had in my hands. The combat again wasn’t fun and the lighting seemed to be glitched a little. The combat afterwards with the combine soldiers between the cars was pretty fun. Knocking the cars against them was enjoyable, the APC fight wasn’t at all. It was boring. You picked up grenades and threw them against it until it exploded. The Helicopter fight was even worse. It was just flying above the forest and was Carpetbombing with no pause. About every 25th grenade actually reached me so I could try to throw it against it. In the end I ended up killing it via commands because it was really not enjoyable. The map was a combination of (I think) Chasmville, and more I don’t know. Overall an Okay map..

    Raid by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is great!

    This was a pretty good looking map. It also was very open, which was really awesome! The combat was also fun, and the Combine soldiers and metrocops also used cover, sometimes they just crouched in the open and had some glitched movement. But that was fine. The map was actually fun and the mix was (I think) Bridgeville, Liberationville and Backtrackville. (I’m not sure about bridge)

    Takeover by Sockman
    It is good

    Looks good, combat was enjoyable, but I didn’t really have an idea what I had to do. I found out by random. The mix was (I think) Liberationville, Backtrackville and Chasmville.

    Finale by 1upD
    It is great!

    Wow! This was a mix of Toxicville, Teleportville, and Defendville. The design was pretty good, the combat was fun. What I didn’t like is that there wasn’t enough health around the map. Soldiers should’ve dropped them more often especially at the last level. One thing you can’t ignore on this map is the Story. The story that went over lots of villes this year! Awesome idea!

    Houses by DangerRanger
    It is good

    Bridgeville, Teleportville and Toxicville mix. Good design, but a little short.

    Slime Dump by Ethosaur
    It is good

    The looks on this map were great! The zombie combat was pretty fun, and the airboat drive too. The ending parts felt a little rushed (as stated at the end of the map, it was rushed)

    Railway by Viridian
    It is WOW!

    Wow! This map was the most fun so far, and the design was very nice! Some unique puzzles were in there too (I think). This map was a mix of (I think), Toxicville, Defendville, and Bridgeville. It also had some Cromulentville parts. The combat was fun and fair, one thing I could critize is that there wasn’t enough health at the defending part. But else an epic map!

    Exavalue by Sir Tokialot
    It is okay

    Teleportville and Defendville, the third one I can’t guess. The design of this map wasn’t that good, neither was the combat. The ending was something different than your usual map, but overall it’s meh.

    Choice Machine by Niker107
    It is good

    What an awesome idea! Sad that it wasn’t finished, but this was a nice attempt! The visuals of course weren’t the best, since the map is incomplete. But wow!

    Drainage by cwook
    It is great!

    Very fun! Not much to say here, the combat in the first bits wasn’t that good though, it was just enemy spamery. The combination was of Trapville, Backtrackville, and Toxicville.

    Questionable Sewers by Strontvlieg
    It is good

    Liked it! The combat was fun, some cool puzzles, and the design was not too bad! A combination of (I think) Teleportville, Defendville, and uh.. don’t know what else.

    Tectonic by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is great!

    The level design was beautiful, and that custom music was fitting. The battle at the end with the Gunship was pretty boring though. The rest was awesome though! This one was a combination of (I think) Chasmville, Toxic and the uh.. I don’t know..

    The Shadow over Ravensmouth by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
    It is WOW!

    Wow! The second one I rated “It’s Wow”. And that’s because this one deserved it. This has to be one of the coolest maps I have ever played! The story was awesome! SPOILERS AHEAD!: I don’t know how that last boss battle was made, was that a custom NPC? It was so cool! Loved this one! Good job Klems!!! SPOILERS OVER!!! I don’t know which this one was a combination of.. (I think) it was Toxicville and maybe Backtrackville? I don’t know a third one.. maybe HalloweenVille.. but HalloweenVille wasn’t one that you could choose.. so..

    ActiveTransport by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is good

    The design was okay, the idea was good but it got annoying quite quickly. This map was a mix of (I think) Backtrackville, Teleportville, and defendville. The later parts were fun and the combat was okay.

    Wake up and run by Sylvain Menguy AKA leplubodeslapin
    It is good

    The looks on this map were awesome! But I also have no idea what this was a combination of… It was defendville and else? I don’t know. But the map was really good! It was intense to get chased and the combat was fun. SPOILER: The ending was dramatic!

    The Crossing by Ildarion
    It is WOW!

    I wish I could give it an even better rating. Ildarion, this was an awesome experience. This seems like an own mod. I had fun through the entire 2 levels. This one is so far the best one of them all. It was perfect. Think about something being good in a half life level, yea it’s exactly that in this map. Do you like a mix of Bridgeville and uh… Bridgeville, Awesome combine fighting, APC’s and APC’s? This one is for you!

    A Hero Once More Pt2 by marnamai
    It is WOW!

    From the looks, this is no doubt the best map. The combat was very fun. This map gave me this Half life 2: Downfall vibe. Very awesome! It is not perfect, but close to it! SPOILERS: being able to control the Combine mortar was awesome! I’m really asking myself how it was made. If I figure it out I will definently also use it in a map of my own! Great map Marnamai! This map was a combination of (I think), Bridgeville, Liberationville and Defendville.

    Summary

    4 It’s wows. This mod was way better than expected. Download it! Now! Play it! This was the best ville this year!

  2. Play It Now!
    The Collapse
    It is bad

    Right at the start the map throws combat at the player where he is forced to cower in that tiny chokepoint which is the door, while the enemies are spread out and have lots of cover (which is good). If the player had similar cover to the enemies, and if there was a little more build up before this fight, it could be a good fight.

    I don’t understand the next section. Apparently a collapse is happening, but it’s not shown, there is just a level transition. Why not start at the second map immediately then? Besides, the second map has so many visual artifacts and glitches, the author clearly couldn’t handle the scale he was trying to achieve.
    I can appreciate when someone is ambitious, but you have to be able to deliver too. A good small scaled map is much better than an ambitious map that is bad and long.

    The second combat section is much better, but still flawed. The enemies have cover, but they don’t use it. Are there info_node_hints? The author should look up “Standoffs” and implement those (many people don’t use them). The bigger problem though is when the reinforcements come. There are way too many enemies as reinforcements and in the third phase when the enemies rappel from the ceiling, there is no warning, they come and destroy me immediately. If you play on hard difficulty you can’t sustain random damage like that.

    The APC fight was really bad and tedious, and became annoying extremely fast because the shooting sounds is looping in the exact same pattern over and over again. The chopper never stops carpet bombing, so there is never room to breathe or think. Although sometimes it goes to a completely different place and starts bombing that instead for some reason.

    I think if the author focused on a much smaller map, tested and polished that, try to get as much playtime as possible from every single enemy, he could make a good map. Polish and testing is what is lacking for this map. I appreciate how the author lined up the music to the reinforcements.

    Raid

    Developer commentated playthrough of the map:

    Takeover
    It is okay

    The displacement work here is really solid, especially for such a big enviroment. Places like these are great, because the player can see all the areas he will visit from the start and create a mental map. I don’t think that the textures choices are the best, but the bigger problem are the indoor enviroments, which are really bad to be honest. They don’t follow metrics, proportions, anything. Floor textures are used for walls at one point. Also the level doesn’t feel like a real place, because we are in this canyon area, but there are buildings and electricity cables and such, which seems really weird to me. There are doors that open to tiny ledges without any railings or something. If these indoors sections didn’t exist, I would give this map a good rating for it’s visuals, but the indoor sections drag it down a lot.

    The combat also has problems. It starts alright by giving you only a gravity gun with a few rocks against some metrocops. This could be better though if there was some sort of cover for the metrocops and if they were a little more, if they had more space to move around in. They just stand in their spot and wait for the player to kill them. Later the level spawns some metrocops at a very high distance. If you just continue the path you are supposed to go for just a few meters, they are already out of range to shoot you, so they just look at you, not even considering how artificial it is that they spawn at a section I conquered earlier, with no explanation.

    Later when you liberate the rebels a big fight starts, but this one is also not ideal. There isn’t a lot of space to move around, barely any cover. The fast zombies are dead before they can do anything, because they appear one by one against me and my buddies. When the combine soliders come out the door, they are all clumped in that tiny chokepoint. This isn’t good. Later there is a standard gunship fight, but I didn’t like this neither, because the gunship, again, barely has any space to move around, so it more or less just floats at its position, while the player easily can reach the rocket crate without moving into a dangerous position.

    The ending of the map felt very arbitrary and unsatisfying. To trigger the ending you have to wait for an NPC to open a door. That NPC can get stuck or take a really long time to come. This is something modern military shooters did a few years ago, it was the worst time for the FPS genre in history.

    Finale
    It is bad

    This map has so many issues, I don’t know where to start. The author is ambitious, I’ll give him that. Apparently this map and all his previous maps tie into one big story, but I wonder, what is the point? Does the author really expect people to remember the previous maps? Without knowing them it’s impossible to understand anything that is happening in this map, although I honestly doubt that even if you knew the previous maps you know what is happening in this one. The voice that keeps talking to me is barely hearable anyway, I maybe understood three words out of 200.

    The main chasm area actually looks really cool from a distance, but close up all places are very empty and dark. The map is extremely symmetrical and monotone, which is extremely confusing and simply boring. Everything has this dark blue combine metal color, and the worst thing is that you have to spot dark blue combine soldiers at very high distances that stand in front of dark blue walls. You press a button to flood the area with goo, which feels extremely arbitrary. Why do we flood a place that looks like a combine facilty with goo? Where does the goo come from? Why is there a button in the middle of the open inside the combine facility to flood that same facility? Some of the enemies that spawn afterwards spawn inside the goo, which kills them instantly.

    There are some other enviroments too, but these are all really bland and with bad lighting. At one point you liberate some rebels or something, but they really have trouble following me. I had to go back to them multiple times so they follow me again. I didn’t check, but I’m sure the nodegraph is broken. There is one teleporter which is also used by the NPCs. These NPCs teleport into each other, and it is really easy for the player to get stuck here too. Sorry, but problems like these are simply unacceptable. After this the defend part starts. This was the worst part of the map. You do the exact same thing on each floor. Enemies spawn at HUGE distances, which means they need so long to reach me, which means the turret has more than enough time to kill them. All I have to do is throw back the occasional grenade. There is zero cover for anyone. It’s really dark again.

    There are even two sides the enemies could come from, but they only come from one for no reason, not that this would save the combat. One of the terminales later randomly explodes and kills me instantly. When the helicopter spawns it flies into the goo first, which is extremely awkward. It starts shooting almost immediately while I’m still in the open. On hard you take tons of damage here. All the health chargers are pointless, because they are in view of the helicopter. All of this feels so unorganized, it surely wasn’t playtested, not that you need playtesting to spot these problems. I hope the reason for these problems is that the author ran out of time.

    The helicopter fight is horrible. The helicopter doesn’t move at all. It’s a completely stationary fight that takes AGES. Suddenly enemies spawn from multiple sides, but I have no cover at all, and if you spent your ammo for your long range weapons, you are screwed, because the item crates only give health. After I defeat the helicopter I go into a teleporter and get teleported into the toxic goo and die … WHY? Oh! Because I have to go the other way, of course.

    There really is no excuse. The author should have cut like 50% of the content in this map, maybe even more (since it’s just copy pasted anyway), and instead focus on smaller areas, polish those, TEST those. The author is ambitious, but can’t deliver. At this point I’m wondering if the author just makes the maps for himself anyway. This concept could work if the maps worked by themselves too, if the other maps weren’t mandatory. But for people who played all maps it should have extra layers. That is how you should approach this concept.

    Houses
    It is okay

    Not a bad map. It has a few issues, but was fun to play. The beginning was really confusing, because the hole in the floor looks climable, and it looks like if the door is leading to the same room as the combine, which is why I didn’t go there at first. Visually the map is alright, but some walls have weird textures and the lighting isn’t amazing.

    The combat is not bad, but there is no nodegraph apparently, because enemies are completely stationary. There are interactable doors that have no handle, which is a no-go. Doors with no handle are not supposed to be interactable. The ending was also confusing and the map wasn’t that long, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

    Slime Dump
    It is good

    My favorite feature of the map is the enviroment. It looks good, it’s really big, it’s a nature enviroment but some combine architecture and a few human houses are mixed inbetween. That’s really good. The lighting is also solid. Unfortunately that is way weaker in the second map. The cave looks much worse than the very good looking cave of the first map, but also the combat and gameplay of the second map is weaker.

    Suddenly enemies with AR2 are rushing me, even though there is no cover for me or the enemies. Why are so many people seemingly obsessed with AR2 enemies? There is a shield you can get stuck in if you go the other route first. The antlions are alright, but I don’t like how they always spawn simultaneously, that is really artificial and awkward. They also unburrow too close to the player in my opinion, and they unburrow from rocks, which doesn’t make sense. In Half-Life lore the antlions dig these caves with the spit from the workers, they can’t burrow through the rocks.

    The first map was much more enjoyable. It had better pacing and the combat was solid. The map lacks some bigger, more choreographed fights inbetween though. The escape sequence was nice, but the APC keeps shooting rockets, even when you are past it. It’s impossible to do something against the rockets that come behind you and they do lots of damage.

    Without the weak second map I would maybe give this map an “IT’S GREAT” rating, but overall the second map drags it down too much.

    Railway
    It is great!
    It is dire!

    I must give this map two ratings, because until the final section it was great, but the final section was honestly disgusting. In the end the map starts a defend section, but it is so out of proportion. The level throws a million combine soliders at you, they keep coming from the same places and it just keeps going on and on. It’s extremely monotone, tedious, frustrating and boring.

    After a long time there is a second phase which is even more ridiculous. It’s not that hard, because the level makes you overpowered to deal with overpowered odds, but that is exactly the problem. In this section you probably kill more combine soldiers than in all other maps combined.

    Anyway, let’s talk about the good parts. Visually the map is solid, but rough at some places. The combat is also really solid most of the time. The train section could be a little better. The train moves a little too fast, so I have no time to breathe and think, it turns into a mindless turret shooter. If the train was a little slower, the section could be designed differently, so the player would have to make meaningful decisions when to stop the train and when to continue.

    Because the train is so fast and keeps doing these super hard 90 degree turns, that section also can be frustrating when you play it for the first time, I couldn’t immediately register every enemy and kill it. But it was a fun section nonetheless. Later there is a section with a gunship, but the gunship doesn’t move at all. Then we arrive at a section with hunters, but that fight also wasn’t ideal. After this fight it took me AGES to find the right path, so long that I found a secret instead.

    Exavalue
    It is okay

    A very empty map with unrealistic geometry at times, but the clean look and decent lighting make it look better than some other, more “detailed” maps. The first defend section was alright, enemies attack the player from different sections at different times. But again, the room was completely empty. Zombies should have gotten some props to throw at the player.

    At one point there is breakable glass that uses the texture for unbreakable glass, no-go. Later there is a goo section, but I couldn’t figure out how I am supposed to cross the goo without taking damage, but the thing is, you can just sprint and jump past all enemies and obstacles (even on hard).

    The final defend section was alright too, but again, lacking cover and the room being completely empty. Some areas of the map also were too dark. The forest at the end looks really good and could be a (random) reward for beating the map, but the text on the screen that tells you it was a trap ruins it. Besides, that is a cheap way to have the “trap” theme.

    Choice Machine
    It is okay

    I like the idea, but I don’t like the execution. Some permutations are so meaningless, for example choosing “Teleport” simply makes enemies teleport instead of spawning inside the goo, while other choices like “Chasm” or “Toxic” put you in completely different enviroments, but then the author technically just made two maps and you can choose which one to play. That isn’t really a meaningful decision, it’s just more work for the author.

    This idea would in my opinion only make sense if there was one big area, but which has lots of different permutations. You would think a map like this wants you to replay it multiple times, but the intro sections makes that a little tedious, since it’s just walking without a suit (so you walk really slow).
    The map obviously is unfinished, but that’s obviously not an excuse to not give the map less points, so I’m still gonna criticize things like the enviroment being really empty and obviously having dev textures and such.

    The chasm section of the entry is really cool, although there is only a single color, which is also the same color as the ladders. When I played it for the first time I missed an important ladder. In the trap permutation there are traps that are unfair (unless it changed since I played that permutation). The toxic section has really long paths you have to go, which can be boring. There are good parts too, like the boat chase sequence, but for every good part there are two bad parts, and yes, the map is unfinished, I know (as technically most of the other maps of this Ville).

    Yes, I’m criticizing that the map itself says that it’s unfinished.

    Drainage
    It is okay

    The detailing and lighting of this map were alright, but very rough. Same with the combat, it was fun, but I don’t think it’s as optimized and polished as it needs to be. Enemy timings and numbers should be a little tweaked in my opinion. The part with the floating platforms later was extremely awkward, and fighting two gunships simultaneously would have been really unfair, if the rocket crate wasn’t also the only place that is safe to stand at, making the fight completely pointless. You can just chill next to the crate and the gunships can’t shoot you. Besides, the sounds of both gunships stack and become extremely loud and annoying. And the pointless G-Man quote at the end can’t miss of course.

    Questionable Sewers
    It is good

    I’m not sure if I like that the author reused the rotor from his previous map. What I don’t like is reusing puzzle ideas from TeleportVille, but that’s just a minor complaint. The map is compact and well crafted, but not very long. The sewers areas look good, like real Half-Life 2 sewers, but obviously sewers aren’t the most exciting area. Other areas of the map don’t look as good. There is some steam at the start that kills the player, it should push the player away instead. The final battle was alright, but too static.

    Tectonic
    It is great!

    The map uses a lot of custom music which I can appreciate, but I’m personally not a fan of the music. It tries a little too hard to be epic, even though the situation isn’t that spectacular. It also doesn’t blend with the game as well as the original music. I wouldn’t rate the map down for that, but I think I’d still prefer the original music from the game.

    The city enviroment at the start was very blocky I think, it looked a little weird, same with the lighting, but it is impressive that the author built this whole street with buildings only for the intro. The street crashing didn’t look as cool as it could, but for a Ville it looked more than good enough. In the lower area there is some goo, but the author used func_dustcloud instead of smokevolume, but dustcloud looks really bad unless you replace the texture.

    I like the navigation in this section, climbing over all sorts of things. I also like the hidden goodies here and there. The defend section afterwards is well crafted, unlike most other entries honestly. It’s not overdone, I’m not spammed with enemies, and the author uses different enemy types that attack from different places at different times with warnings every time.

    The combat sections afterwards were crafted even better, but in very generic enviroments. That is still better than a lot of entries though. What drags the map down is the gunship. It was tedious and boring. It can shoot the player only from one place, it keeps flying away so the player has to wait for it. Meanwhile a super exxagerated song plays that doesn’t fit in my opinion.

    The Shadow over Ravensmouth
    It is WOW!

    My goal with my own map was to win this challenge. I never put so much effort into a single project like that map. Then I playtested this map and it was immediately clear that Klems (and marnamai) is playing on a completely different league. What I admire the most about this level is the consistency. Gameplay, visuals, atmosphere and everythings blends so well into each other. Klems’ maps always have an arc, a beginning, middle and end, and they are much more satisfying to play because of that.

    I love the town, I love how diagonal and round it is, not perfectly organized, although at some places the author achieved that with some cheap tricks. You won’t notice them though unless you look really hard. I love the mysterios aspects, how every citizen has something to say to the player that makes him feel uncomfortable. The map even had a real antagonist, which is very rare.

    Gameplay wise it doesn’t have the most depth, but it didn’t need that, it was compact and fast paced enough (after the big event). There even is a final boss which was cool, although I don’t like how it’s not a threat unless you get close. It feels a little artificial, but the author made that completely in the editor, didn’t he? For that it is really impressive.

    ActiveTransport
    It is bad

    The map is filled with “details”, but it looks really bad. It feels like the props are randomly placed across the map instead of carefully placed. The lighting is extremely weird with hard cuts from pitch black to super bright all the time. The map has the cheapest backtracking I’ve ever seen. It simply keeps teleporting the player back to the start and forces him to play the same section again with very tiny changes. I don’t know what the author did, but the whole map is rendered at all times, as if the whole map is func_detail. The map runs really bad. It’s full of confusing and awkward moments. The final defend section of the map is also not good. You can see the enemies spawning, you can leave the combat space while the defend section is going on. The single turret is keeping all enemies away, they just keep shooting it instead of pushing it. When the enemies spawn they spawn in a clump and you can immediately snipe them with that blue cube, like playing bowling. Another author that is way too ambitious, but that should focus on much smaller maps instead.

    Wake up and run
    It is good

    A really good looking map, but it’s very short. That’s not entirely bad though, because that means it is really compact, only filled with good moments. The single combat section was a little rough, because too many enemies spawn out of nowhere simultaneously, while I’m in the open, and there aren’t many places I can go to for cover. The escape sequences is well crafted and it is clear that author very carefully tweaked the timings and such to make it fair. The map only gets an “IT’S GOOD” because it is so short.

    The Crossing
    It is great!

    Visually extremely impressive, but gameplay wise very awkward. I have no idea how the author built all of this in the time we had for this challenge. The map has enough content for three maps. I would like if the entry was more compact though, not all areas have the same quality. Player guiding isn’t optimal, but I like navigating through the collapsed bridge in interesting ways. Combat was solid most of the time, but in the second map it was awkward fighting APCs with mines, and it became a little tedious.

    The train section is where the map lost me. It was very frustrating. It was really hard to see enemies, they could shoot me really easily, and on hard the APCs do tons of damage immediately. It became so annoying that I used God mode for the first time to get done with it. But again, other areas of the entry are so impressive. If it was more compact and more polished it would have gotten an “IT’S WOW” rating.

    A Hero Once More Part 2
    It is WOW!

    Unbelievably well crafted as always, especially for a ville map. Very rarely the map shows signs that it was made by a single person for a 3 week challenge, and not by Valve. The entry takes you to surprisingly many places, which is good for variety. Combat is always fair, but maybe too fair, I never felt challenged. The mortar is really cool and fun to use, but has more potential. My favorite area of the entry was the combine place. For a long time I learned to hate combine architecture, especially in mods and custom maps, but in this entry it got some new twists (inspired from Episode Three concept art?) that made it exciting again. Honestly I don’t have too much to say about this entry, it was just damn good. Maybe you could criticize that the map played it too safe. There is nothing new. It’s just more Half-Life, damn good Half-Life.

  3. Oh boi, oh boi, oh boi. Gonna play it as soon as I get home, hope you all are excited as much as me.

  4. Personal Favourite

    This has got to be one of the best villes ever, if not THE best ville ever. Almost every map has something interesting to offer, and some are of a quality that has never been seen before in the Villes. Definitely check it out!

    For these reviews, I will try to be as vague as possible, so as to not spoil anything. This may make it hard for me to speak specifics about the maps, so for those who have played the ville already, please bare with me.

    The Collapse by Highfire
    It is okay

    This map didn’t really do much for me. The beginning fight sequence felt way too open, with too many enemies at once. One of the combine fights about three fourths of the way through the map was quite fun, but I didn’t enjoy much of the rest.

    Raid by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is good

    This map had some of the best combat in the Ville. Office spaces and contemporary cities surprisingly lend themselves well to metrocop skirmishes. Even though it wasn’t exactly anything novel, it’s still quite fun. The only major issue I had with this map is that I could barely run it at 15 fps, but that is more of my potato computer’s fault than the mappers.

    Takeover by Sockman
    It is good

    Not really much to say about this one. It never took a large dip into quality, but never really took a large peak into perfection. Certainty worth playing through once or twice, but as with the last map, it’s nothing groundbreaking.

    Finale by 1upD
    It is bad

    I didn’t get much out of this map at all. Granted, a lot of that might have to do with the the fact that it was barely playable on my vegetable I call a “Personal Computer”, but even despite that, it didn’t offer much to make it worthwhile.

    Houses by DangerRanger
    It is good

    Pretty great for a first map, but nothing special compared to the rest this ville has to offer. Lots of the problems I have with this map are congruent to the problems I have with my own maps, so I feel as though I am in a position to be more tolerant of the authors current vices. Certainty worth playing through, at least one time.

    Slime Dump by Ethosaur
    It is great!

    In the SMC Discord, Etho seemed to be quite disappointed with this entry. As such, it was with some trepidation that I started this map, but it is actually quite fun! It might have lacked any “X-Factor” to set it apart from all the other entries, but it was very enthralling from start to finish. I swear, any map Etho makes somehow seems to be gold, regardless of the development hurdles. Regardless, good job with this map!

    Railway by Viridian
    It is great!

    I playtested this map, so I might be a bit biased, but I really enjoyed this map! The train ride reminded me of Half-Life 1’s “On A Rail” chapter, which is definitely a plus in my opinion. Once you leave the train, the map becomes much less fun, but it was still an enjoyable experience overall.

    Exavalue by Sir Tokialot
    It is good

    Honestly, I expected this map to be much worse than it was. However, this map is actually quite fun. The visuals and sound design were decent, the puzzles were engaging (albeit quite easy), the only place this map seemed to fall flat for me was with the combat, which felt somewhat uninteresting. Still a decent map though, so be sure to check it out.

    Choice Machine by Niker107
    It is great!

    As with Etho’s entry, Niker really underestimated his work on this map. While the visuals might be unfinished and lacking, but the idea is F A N T A S T I C. If this map was completed entirely, I would say without a doubt it was the best in this mod. Definitely give this one multiple playthroughs.

    Drainage by cwook
    It is good

    This map didn’t have much to it, but it was still decently fun from start to finish. The large room with zombies at the beginning felt kinda pointless, and the gunship battle was a bit too difficult imo, but the rest of the combat was at the very least passable. Overall, pretty good for a first entry.

    Questionable Sewers by Strontvlieg
    It is great!

    The only thing holding this map back from being a 5/5 in my opinion is the length. From start to finish, his map is TONS of fun. The setting was very creepy and atmospheric, while the combat sequence at the end was very entertaining. Also, I love how the author used sprites (or, at least, I think they are sprites) on health/suit chargers to make them look more realistic. its a small detail that really ads to the overall visual appeal of the map. Great job, Strontvleig.

    Tectonic by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is WOW!

    Yet another map that has amazing atmosphere and visuals. I honestly find it hard to believe that this map was created with majority HL2 assets, but that does appear to be the case. This map also had great weapon progression, which is something that a lot of maps forget about. I don’t want to say much more about this map, so as to not spoil anything, but this is definitely one of the best maps in this challenge.

    The Shadow over Ravensmouth by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
    It is WOW!
    It is WOW!

    I give this map 2 “Its wow’s” because this was BY FAR my favorite map in the challenge. In fact, I would go as far as to say it is one of my favorite Half-Life maps ever. The way Klems throws you into this world is very engaging, and the tension lurking around every corner never quite seems to let up. Not only that, but the boss fight was AWESOME. I have no idea how in the heck Klems made that thing, but it was CREEPY. When I looked up and saw its head descending down upon me, I screamed. Seriously. I play a lot of horror games, and I haven’t felt the urge to scream at a video game in YEARS. fantastic job, Klems. Can’t wait to see what you can think up next.

    ActiveTransport by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is dire!

    Ironically, right after the best map in the mod comes the worst. I will go into more detail as to why when I make a development commentary video, which I will post here. Until then, be sure to check out the authors of the music in this map, which is the sole redeeming quality of it:

    https://www.jamendo.com/track/5346/larmes

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O6Q_qPcYWvA

    Wake up and run by Sylvain Menguy AKA leplubodeslapin
    It is good

    This map used an idea that I do not think I have seen before in a Half-Life map, besides in regular HL2. The “running” sequence of this map was quite fun, but it took a dip in quality once you got weapons. I still enjoyed it through-and-through, but it isn’t anything I plan to play again.

    The Crossing by Ildarion
    It is WOW!

    For starters this map looks GREAT. Just like tectonic, it has a perfect balance of fun gameplay and engaging atmosphere. It really felt like you were back in Half-Life 2’s world once more. While it didn’t do much to depart from what you expect in a HL2 map, it was still perfectly executed from start to finish.

    A Hero Once More Pt2 by marnamai
    It is WOW!

    Yeah, no surprises here, everyone knew that this map was going to be great. The mortar mechanic was really cool, and the map was visually quite stunning. The end fight was very entertaining, which is often times where HL2 maps begin to fall flat on their face. Not really much else to say about this one, but its definitely worth your time.

    Summary

    Overall, one of the best villes. Again, sorry if I did not go into too much detail with these reviews, as I wanted to keep them spoiler free for those who have not played the mod yet. For those of you who have not checked out the mod yet, do so NOW! It is definitely worth at least one playthrough.

  5. Railway help requested, I’ll use spoiler format with the question;

    After the hunters, I get inside the building, push the green button on the wall which goes solid green. Nothing seems to happen, no doors open and can’t see a way to get out the way I got in.

  6. Its an Obvious Choice its either gonna be marnamai or Klems.
    Thats my vote 😀

  7. Maybe?
    The Collapse by Highfire
    It is bad

    This map needed more structure. It was full of combat, which in some places worked really well and was really well set up but then there was the scenario with the APC and the grenades. There is nothing fun about destroying an APC with grenades in a field of cars. The chopper fight was cluttered. Even if the player could run into the warehouse, there were too many alternative factors and movement obstructing objects. If the chopper stayed within the players reach when it was dropping the mines and it started out dropping fewer mines, then the battle could have build up but instead it was hectic from the get go. As mentioned previously, if structure was added and game play elements other than combat, the map could be taken in the right direction but currently as it stands, the map lacked the necessary features to make it a contender.

    Raid by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is good

    Raids had most of the necessary features to make it a good map. The layout was intuitive and made it clear to the player what they had to achieve. The combat was exceptionally done compared to most maps in Ville contests. The way the combine metro cops did not attack you immediately at the start is how it should be done in many scenarios. Though it may not have appeared like it, there was a lot to explore. The bigger battle in the building with the gravity gun seemed less inspired and would have benefited from changing the combat up. The final battle with the hunters/chopper was fairly well orchestrated. There was enough space for the player to manoeuvre and find ways of killing the hunters and the chopper stared out by only dropping 1 mine every few seconds and building up to dropping a whole load once it had been hit a few times. This is how it should be done and it made the experience a lot more fun and fulfilling.

    Takeover by Sockman
    It is okay

    The main premise for this map was simple and easy to understand. An easy break out and rescue mission. In terms of combat, the good thing was the fact there were physics object to throw with the gravity gun. This made it a lot more enjoyable than just using standard weapons. The player however did receive certain weapons which seemed like a waste for instance the crossbow should have been given to the player at the end rather than near the beginning. The waves of enemies was not overly challenging but there was still some fun to be had keeping the citizens alive. It appeared however that the mechanic of keep them alive or game over was needless. Overall, the map could have included a whole lot more that combat to make it an interesting and fun experience.

    Finale by 1upD
    It is bad

    As it should be understood, This map is the last of a 5 part story but by itself, it does not hold up in terms of narrative. The map should have been more game play focused with more to do other than moving the toxic goo up and reaching the higher levels. The combat was generic for the most part and the concept of moving the goo up could have been better executed. The final battle with the chopper was really badly done. There are a few ways this could be fixed. First off, the combine soldiers don’t need to be there whilst the chopper is. This allows the player to focus on the chopper making it more focused and keeping the player in a mindset were they are aware of all that is going on. Another is to have the player move location during the fight. The chopper could destroy the first turret gun the player uses forcing them to another one. This keeps it dynamic whilst not changing the game play concept too much.

    Houses by DangerRanger
    It is okay

    This map was fairly simplistic on the surface but it included a few obstacles and challenges for the player to partake in. First off however, the door that are used in this map look like the doors that you cannot open. The doors need handles to signify that they can be used. Otherwise it get confusing. The inclusion of things like the making combine shield bridge and the roller mines made this map much better than it would have been without.

    Slime Dump by Ethosaur
    It is good

    Well, very rarely do we get a map were the title perfectly sums up the quality! (Okay, that was my attempt at humour I will stop now.) This map created an atmosphere that is rarely seen in these mapping challenges, thus making it quite entertaining to traverse. There were hints of humour in it, especially with the combine coming out of the restroom shack. As the player started along the ridge after the house, the cave that lead to the second map could be seen. There was a light in there making it look strangely attractive to the player and encouraged a sense of exploration. The rest of the first map did well in challenging the player and creating a fun experience. The second map however seemed counter intuitive. A smaller second map with a definitive ending would have been better than the looping method that was shown. Overall, the map was fairly enjoyable and one of the better ones in FusionVille.

    Railway by Viridian
    It is good

    This map introduced a train system that was fairly unique from what is seen usually in these mapping challenges. The idea of driving the train so far until it reaches a barrier of sort, then doing something to remove the barrier was successfully implemented. The whole train section was quite a bit of fun and could have easily gone on longer. There was a gunship section but it appeared the gunship did not follow the player on the train. If that section was to be properly utilized, then the gunship should either follow the player or the player should not be allowed to progress until they have destroyed it. The second map seemed to drag on. The idea with the window shutter and the sniper was well implemented but the final battle went on far longer than it should. The boxy layout did not make it fun or engaging to be fighting tonnes of soldiers or hunters. Overall, the map had its fun and exciting moments and things that need worked on.

    Exavalue by Sir Tokialot
    It is okay

    The map was spilt up over 3 main sections which were clearly the themes chosen for the challenge. The teleport section at the beginning was fairly simple for the player to learn but the second part of the section was confusing and it did not making it clear what the player had to do. The toxic section would have hugely benefited from having the gravity gun and some spools to jump across making the map challenging. The defend section was not bad with the combine soldiers being well paced out. This entry could have added in more game play here and there to making it more interesting and even making the battle at the end more intense.

    Choice Machine by Niker107
    It is okay

    There are a lot of concepts packed into this entry. The idea of the player getting a choice of theme is unique but there were a lot of issues. Initially, the very first part before the choice seems pointless and needless. The thing were you push it to the door then push the button is not very user friendly and quite irritating to manoeuvre. In the actual “Theme sections” there are a wide range of things to do like fighting zombies while jumping over toxic waste. Riding cube boats while fighting the combine or jumping in a “mirrors edge style” area. This was a noble thing to try but seemed far too ambitious for a mapping challenge like this.

    Drainage by cwook
    It is okay

    The main goal of what the player had to do was made super clear at the start of Drainage. The maps layout was a basic loop system that worked really well. The combat was done well for the most part and it even included fun features like the exploding barrels were, even if they did not make much sense, were still fun to use. The battle with the gunships was not too difficult and could have been made more enjoyable by hosting it in a bigger space with the gunship have a wider area to manoeuvre.

    Questionable Sewers by Strontvlieg
    It is good

    A fairly simple entry with some basic concepts and puzzles yet still fun and enjoyable. Each puzzle was intuitive and required a thinking process. The puzzles like the gravity gun and chair puzzle, the grenade teleporter puzzle, and even the initial loop to stop the steam were all implemented in a fashion that made it simple yet fun. The combat was not bad with the final defend section being not too challenging but still giving the player plenty to fight. Overall, the map was basic, but basic in a way were it was fun and enjoyable.

    Tectonic by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is great!

    The premise of this map was quite unique and probably the best concept for a map in this challenge. The concept of the street falling into the ground and then having the player move over it was brilliant. The combat was well done for the most part and it had a variant in enemy types and even included a boss fight that was a bit different from what is usually done. The way this map was detailed made it feel fully authentic. Especially in the parking lot area. The route to go was made clear and the fact it had the gravity gun to punt stuff at zombies and other enemies made it much better. If more maps were done like this, the mapping scene would be a lot more enjoyable.

    The Shadow over Ravensmouth by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
    It is great!

    This map created an atmosphere that is rarely seen. It left the player asking questions. There were things to see around the island that were strange and ominous. It managed to tell the story of the evil vorigaunt who liked to sacrifice humans but it told it in such a way that it never actually explained what was happening. It just gave the player hints and the player had to work it out. The mansion stood apart and almost was set up to make the player want to go in there. The running escape section was well orchestrated and the boat sinking was quite amusing. In the mansion, the mechanic with the crosses was a nice addition and the tentacle monster was a surprise to behold. The final battle felt somewhat clunky with the cross occasionally falling into the toxic go making it difficult to retrieve. Overall, this was a strong entry and a contented for the winner.

    ActiveTransport by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is bad

    This map was confusing and whilst the combat was not bad, it did not make much sense. The concept of going back to the start but getting given the necessary tools became tedious very quickly and the final defence section was fairly boring. The way the mechanics present themselves are easy to understand however. The map however just needs a bit more to do and less teleportation back to the start.

    Wake up and run by Sylvain Menguy AKA leplubodeslapin
    It is okay

    A basic running escape map that has all the necessary concepts for be fun. It was short and in this scenario, that detracted from the map. It was good that the player could dodge the sniper and the turret. The cog puzzle was not badly done either with the loop being implemented well. The hunter part at the end that requires the player to jump out of the window is cool but somewhat not very obvious. Overall, the maps running section could have been longer with a lot more obstacles to overcome.

    The Crossing by Ildarion
    It is good

    This map was fairly lengthy and it became very tedious to traverse and certain points. The bridge section had far too much down time and seemed to be super slow moving. Things picked up with the driving section which was quite enjoyable but the final train section was not very well designed in terms of shooting the APCs. I understand that the draw distance had to be low for optimization or other things but there were times were it became impossible to pick out the APC. The same issue happened with the gunship. Overall the map included both good and bad concepts making it fun in specific scenarios but overall quite tedious.

    A Hero Once More Pt2 by marnamai
    It is great!

    The narrative was clear and the aim was simple but this map had a wide range of game play elements that made it fun and enjoyable. Each puzzle was laid out in a way were the player could piece everything together easily but it was still challenging. The mortar was a nice inclusion with it being clear on how to use it. The final battle was a good way to end it with the mortar being disabled by the gunship, forcing the player out of the cover. All in all, the made was a really strong entry and definitely a contender for the winner.

  8. lj4linux

    It’s not a review, it’s only a comment:
    BEST CHRISTMAS PRESENT EVER!
    Thanks!

  9. Play It Now!

    And here comes the final Ville to end the year. The fact that the competitors can pick 3 Villes to mess with and the time for them was longer than usual really got me hyped. And with this Ville the number of great and good entries really made this Ville worth playing.

    Collapse
    It is bad

    This map starts you off in a very small chokepoint to be sprayed by a group of SMG-wielding policemen. Thank god that they weren’t Soldiers. It was no fun, also you are frozen for a good second when the map starts. The “collapse” does very little to the story to the point that it was unnecessary.

    The second part was a little bit better, but the waves leaves you little time to prepare in between. The APC fight was confusing, I have no idea what to do? Like throw a grenade or fire my SMG grenades? Because I tried the latter in my playthrough and saw Dolmo do the former.

    The helicoptor fight has the same flaw in maps like Urban Disarray and Inconvenient Pollution. The helicoptor bombarded a very small area, leaving you panicking to pick up the bombs while avoiding other bombs that are exploding. You’re learning, HighFire, keep going!

    Themes: Chasm, Trap (?), ???

    Raid
    It is great!

    Crowbar’s maps are known for how challenging and hard they are. Reminds me of a quote from Rainbow Six by Ela. “It’s a brutal, dangerous world out there. Chaos is my home…and I will make sure you will never escape it.”

    One thing that I like about this map is the fact that the positioning of the enemies and weapons are almost believable. For me, personally.

    The enemies use props as cover! I like this one also, since it made the fight inside the Police Department (?) felt more real. It is also where you would know that it’s Crowbar’s map due to the fact that the music’s pacing corresponds with the situation. (Taking a break for example.)

    The backtrack got me good. You actually have to listen and memorise a single sentence to figure out where to go. I was running around like a headless chicken frantically running from the chopper and headcrabs. The final fight was kind of hard, but I think it was my incompetence that I only had 44 HP once I got there. Also, sometimes the chopper would get stuck on the gas station roof when crashing, trapping you in the endless finale.

    Themes: Liberation, Trap (?), Backtrack

    Takeover
    It is okay

    This map is solid and descent but also kinda bad. For me, personally, the visual is kind of boring to look at. I also kind of unable to explain this but I feel like there’s something wrong with it. That’s not gonna affect the score of this map for me much, however.

    The combat was also solid but I have to agree with Crowbar, they felt like animated targets. There is no cover for them and they barely moved.

    Now, the defend part of the Ville. There was no challenge, at all. The Fast Zombies appears one by one, when the next one shows up the previous one would be already dead. The Combine can be completely wiped out with the RPG since there is only one entryway. A tiny chokepoint. The Gunship also barely moved, making it a stationary turret in the sky.

    The ending was quite shocking.

    Themes: Chasm, Liberation, Defend

    Finale
    It is bad

    And here it is! The finale of 1upD’s saga! [sighs] It was such a disappointment. I was so excited how his series is gonna end. You tried man, but I can’t stand this.

    First off, some of the voices are barely audible. I have a feeling that they have something to do with the story, but to deliver it this way…..I don’t think it’s the best way. The map is also very predictable in layout, like it was copy-pasted. The NPC seems to have navigation problem. Out of 4 NPCs, only 2-3 would follow me through the teleporter.

    The map was also insanely dark. You can barely see the Soldiers coming, you would not see them at all if it wasn’t for their goggles. But this was helped since every defence situations are the same anyway. The darkness also made acid barely noticeable when it reach the floor you’re standing on.

    Next, the Chopper boss fight. It was so uncreative. You are a sitting duck cowering behind a very small barrier from the Chopper with waves of Soldiers attacking from behind. The health chargers also leave you exposed to the gunfire, also there’s not even a single place to get armor. It was insanely tedious.

    Also, the teleporter that teleports me directly into the acid…..JUST WHY?

    The ending was also confusing. Maybe the voice was not clear for me to understand. What did I really do? What did I accomplish? Where’s the scientist?

    I hope you try to do a better saga for next year, 1upD.

    Themes: Defend, Toxic, Teleport

    Houses
    It is good

    A nice map. It was short but a nice experience. It was nice overall, but there are some flaws.

    Doors without handles must be locked doors, lack of checkpoints, stationary enemies.

    The ending caught me by surprised too. Nothing much to say here, really.

    Themes: Bridge, Toxic, ???

    Slime Dump
    It is good

    It’d be better if it was finished, but very good overall. The pacing of the environment felt natural and believable. And very detailed, on the first map. The visual is also beautiful.

    The encounter with the Soldier at the outhouse was hilarious. I was like: “Was he doing what I’m thinking what he was doing?” Crossing the acid lake was a little hard. For some reason, the wooden cylinder thing cannot keep you on for long. You will trip over the moment you step on it.

    The second map could not hold a candle to the previous map. The lack of detail suffers greatly here. Also, you can get stuck in the forcefield for some reason. I don’t know how to jump onto an opening on the cave wall so I noclipped. Disappointed that it is unfinished, but still, well done!

    Themes: Toxic, Chasm, ???

    Railway
    It is good

    This map is quite long but also good. The first part somehow felt like a more fun version of original On A Rail from Half-Life. The part where you are stuck in a loop with a lot of policemen shooting at you felt like an action movie for me.

    Up until the Gunship part, where the fun started to disappear. Just for a while. The Gunship doesn’t follow the train and will shoot you from the distance as you desperately take it down by one rocket after one rocket. Why would you need to spawn it on the train instead of just giving it to the player.

    When you are ambushed by the Soldiers and Strider somehow was hard, your HP would get rinsed by the time you enter the building.

    That trap room. Oh my God, it got me so good. It was so creative and clever.

    The fight with the Hunters brought the fun back a little bit. Then there was the Sniper whose encounter can be easily exploited should you take a rocket after the Strider fight. The defend part brought all the fun back. Sure, it was pretty much a Zerg rush and has little supply for health and armor. I enjoyed every moment of it just because it was chaotic.

    Themes: Bridge, Liberation, Defend

    Exavalue
    It is okay

    The map design was very simple, but solid. The components of the teleporters were well introduced and clear. The acid room could use some props to jump on and the gravity gun. Having to run and jump through the acid barely harms you for sure, but it feels like you’re not doing it right. Now for the defending parts, both of them were OK. But the room for the second one was unnecessary large. And I think I missed the Shotgun and had to pick it up from a dead Soldier.

    The ending is a lazy excuse for trap theme.

    Themes: Teleport, Defend, Trap

    Choice Machine
    It is okay

    Don’t get me wrong. The idea was very clever, too bad it is unfinished. I also fell out of the map once. The intro could be shortened since it is unnecessary for a map with replay ability in mind.

    The chasm part is kinda tedious, personally because I dislike platforming like this. The toxic part is OK to play. I assume the forcefields were intended for liberation part.

    It’s not finished but the idea is very, very creative. I’m begging you, please finish this.

    Drainage
    It is good

    This map has a very loud and clear objective from the start. The way from beginning to backtrack was done well. Also, I really like the exploding barrels trap. Despite the fact that it doesn’t make sense at all.

    The part that I like most is the acid river part. I really like the concept of floating platforms. You can even push them around by gravity gun! But it thew me off that you cannot get up, once you have fallen into the river.

    The Gunships were easy to destroy since they were flying really low, so there was no challenge. Also, why GMan at the end? Overall, a good map.

    Themes: Backtrack, Toxic, Bridge (??)

    Questionable Sewer
    It is good

    A questionable sewer indeed. That is somehow connected to a teleporter lab/base. The sewer pretty much felt like one. I also like how the Teleport theme plays out. The Defend part could have done better since there is two entrances in your face, very close to the teleporter.

    Themes: Defend, Teleport, Backtrack (??)

    Tectonic
    It is great!

    The map already started strong. The fact that you have just escaped from getting captured only to see a chopper and an APC outside legitimately made me scared.

    Now, after the street collapsed (for some reason) things got better. Climbing the debris and obstacles was somehow fun. But the small room with Antlions though, I don’t know how to get rid of them. The defend and fight scenes uses different kinds of enemy so you will not be facing only 1-2 types of enemies. It was done right.

    The Gunship fight was good, since you don’t camp at the rocket crate and just shoot rockets. There are enemies to keep your attention away from it.

    This map has 2 flaws. One: Every time I reload a quicksave/autosave, the AI becomes permanently disabled. Forcing me to start over. Two: The Gunship takes way too long to get in range of the RPG, it was tedious to wait.
    Themes: Toxic, Chasm, Defend

    The Shadow Over Ravensmouth
    It is WOW!

    This…THIS! Is the true winner of this competition! The influence of H.P. Lovecraft is strong with this one. It already started off unsettling when NPCs not wanting to talk to you. Then it kicked off with a chase sequence, I had Outlast 2 chase theme playing inside my head.

    After seeing the horrific ritual, I grabbed my guns and started “baptising” every population of this town. All the while channelling my inner Father Grigori. It was annoying to have to shoot the crates opened. But you have enough ammo for that, always. I think I missed the Crossbow, a way of baptising left neglected.

    The boss fight was simple yet executed well, it left me in awe. It was cool too that you actually have to die to end the story.

    Also, coincidentally, it is the 13th entry in the selection menu. I feel something’s fishy is going on here.

    Themes: Backtrack, Chasm, ???

    ActiveTransport
    It is bad

    The map’s pacing felt……random. You are in the street, then in the sewer, then somehow there’s a clean room with crushing walls.

    The backtrack idea felt cheap and tedious, you just pop back at the beginning for the level to change and get better gear. Also, what’s the cube for? It looks important. It feels important.

    Also, the ending puts me in the middle of nowhere? What?

    Theme: Teleport, Backtrack, ???

    Wake Up And Run
    It is great!

    A short, but sweet entry. The chase at the beginning was so intense, then you run into a turret and a sniper. Then some policemen shows up, then more turrets, then a Hunter! I felt like the enemies are spammed with a good purpose, and they served it right. To keep the pressure on the player. Well done!

    Also, I think you have godmode on until you get the crowbar.

    Theme: Chasm, Bridge, ???

    The Crossing
    It is great!

    The map is so detailed, and HUUUUGE! It felt like the creator has a grand scheme up his sleeves. This map is so filled with action and awesome moments. You will go gunblazing across the bridge and then regroup with your rebels and have an awesome train fight.

    The train chase is cool as f**k! Like, WOW! Just WOW!

    However, it would get a WOW! from me if it wasn’t for difficulty spikes. Sometimes, you take too many damage at once. Sometimes you may not have enough health to reach next area. The APC chase to the train was frustrating, where you must go to is filled with unavoidable hopper mines. Not to mention that the APC can screw you up in more ways than one. Letting it catch up to you will make you die from the machine gun, outrunning it will make you run into the mines and they will soften you enough for the next APC to finish you off.

    The train fight was frustrating too, the APCs are hard to see due to the fog. It is good for optimization but not for gameplay, there’s also too little medkit and no armor at all for something like this.

    Theme: Bridge, Chasm, ???

    A Hero Once More Part 2
    It is WOW!

    The sequel to one of my favourite maps from 2016 Villes! I was so excited when seeing this in the chapter selection! The map was solid like the prequel. Sadly though, Cubbage is not seen in action.

    The mortar was fun to use and I just finished playing Call of Duty! It doubled the fun for me! Also, the area near the first mortar kind of reminds me of a flaktower from WW2. I don’t know, maybe I’m freaking out here.

    The ending fight was just right and a good way to end. Not intense like the first one, but still good.

    Themes: Bridge, Trap, Liberation

    Conclusion

    What a great way to end the year! This pack is filled with good and great maps. Must play, really.

    Now my top three votes go to……The Shadow Over Ravensmouth as Number ONE! A Hero Once More Part 2 as Number TWO! And Wake Up And Run as Number THREE! Honourable mention to Raid and The Crossing for coming in so close! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, folks!

  10. Darkicus

    With manual installation the model for Frederick (entry 4: finale) seems to be missing. Due to the missing model I’m unable to complete the map.

    The voice file paths are also incorrect leading to missing audio (the folders Frederick and Malachi are capitalised when the game asks for lowercase, renaming the folders fixes it but the volume is very low).

    The large toxic chamber also generates an immense drop in frames when not occluded.

  11. Personal Favourite

    I had an enormous amount of fun playing these entries. Some were of the highest quality and the variety was excellent. Here are my winners:

    #1 – A Hero Once More Pt2. – a really fun and highly polished map with a nice setting and good combat. The use of the mortars as weapons for the player put this one over the top – well done!

    #2 – The Crossing – a great couple of maps where you work your way through a collapsing train bridge and end up fighting on moving trains themselves. Very enjoyable

    #3 – The Shadow over Ravensmouth – this map had terrific atmosphere and a nice story. The underground section was really beautiful and the reaction of the townspeople when you try to talk to them in the beginning sets the mood nicely.

    Honorable mention goes to “Tectonic”. This was a really nice map that needed some more polish due to some bugs. I got an “AI Disabled” message when I reloaded the map which is unfortunate. Also, the gunship at the end got stuck out of the player’s view after I hit it with the 2nd rocket and I couldn’t finish the fight until I noclipped around to get a shot at it. With a little bit of work on this map it would be terrific as well.

    This was a really nice set of entries for this contest and I will definitely be playing it again.

  12. Personal Favourite

    This was my favorite Ville. Not only were there a huge number of maps to play, many of them were of really high quality. Furthermore, several were both very long and very good. So much quality play time!

    I played in order and used my own ranking system to remember. There are so many great maps and ratings may be more a reflection of preferred styles used. I especially enjoy big bridge puzzle maps and suggest a theme for a future Ville that could use these plus tall buildings/ledges etc.
    “ Fear of HeightsVille”.

    I narrowed it down to my top 4 picks.

    The Crossing 10/10: The first of two excellent maps that featured a big high up bridge. What I particularly liked about this one was the complex/slightly confusing numbers of paths to take, and the placement + variety of enemies. There was one spot on the bridge where it was really difficult to figure where I was being shot at from.

    A Hero Once More 10/10: The other map featuring a big bridge also had complexity and variety. In some ways it was superior in design but overall I enjoyed The Crossing a bit more.

    Raid 9/10: Another magnificent Crowbar map. The only thing I don’t like in any maps is having to listen to talking, as its never loud enough in this game to overcome other sounds. Or put another way, I won’t turn up the sound too high for my liking to compensate.

    Railway 9/10: I liked the visuals and lots of action.

    If this is a sign of what the 2018 challenges will be like, I can’t wait!

  13. Maybe?

    FusionVille is a very mixed bag of entries. Overall I felt like the theme was followed much less than in other villes because it was often hard to guess which three themes the mapper was trying to fuse together in their entry. Even for the best entries it can be hard to tell. And, no doubt, some maps were made without ‘Fusion’ in mind and then slightly changed or adapted to make them fit three of the themes from the list. I also would have preferred if it was made mandatory, from the beginning, to have your three themes listed at the beginning or end of your map, as I felt it detracted from the experience when I played some map and couldn’t even tell what it was meant to be getting at.
    Personally I’d say that, for the average player, only the top-rated maps from this challenge should be played. With such a large number of entries, it can get quite boring moving from map to map, and I think it somewhat ruins the experience. The reviews can help decide which maps deserve your time.
    Nonetheless, it’s great to see how much work all the entrants have put in, my congratulations to everyone who managed to submit their work, especially if they are proud of it, and I’d even argue that’s more important than getting good reviews.

    WARNING: Spoilers Below.

    The Collapse by Highfire

    [No Rating] The Collapse is an okay map, but it has many problems. The first is being attacked by a swarm of soldiers as soon as you exit the room you spawn in. I specifically managed to get stuck between the door and its frame as I tried to back up in the room and close the door behind me (but that’s only due to silly awkwardness rather than a flaw in the map). A big issue with the map (and surprisingly many other maps in this competition) is the lack of proper lighting. The flashlight doesn’t really reach that far, so most of the time I had to shoot into the darkness into roughly the same spots as where I was being shot from. The weird chasm that appeared out of nowhere and disappeared just as quickly also seemed out of place, and I still don’t understand what the plot of the map was meant to be. I wasn’t able to finish the map because (I think) I couldn’t find a way to destroy the APC. The map might also be lacking autosaves (at least in the Early Access Version), but apologies if I am wrong.
    Despite all this, it is nice to see HighFire making progress in his mapping, and The Collapse is already much better than something that he would have released a year or two ago. Good job for entering another competition!
    The only theme I could guess for this entry is Chasm, but I’m not convinced that it’s a significant part of the map (other than in terms of size).

    Raid by Abdulhamid ayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is good

    Playing Raid, I couldn’t make much sense of what was going on at the very beginning, but things became clearer as the map went on. Overall, it’s a nice map visually, but there was a lack of detailing in some places (especially on the streets), and even then there was visible static prop fading (like half a street’s distance away). There was also a performance drop that wasn’t noticeable itself, but made the movement feel just slightly less ‘snappy’. I’m honestly not sure what caused such a crash in performance, as it feels like Source should be able to handle much more than what we can see in Raid.
    Gameplay-wise, I can’t complain. The pacing in the map is done well and so are the fights, although shooting metrocops with a pistol and not getting killed isn’t too difficult. I also like the way the player returns from the final building after the citizens are saved – it’s a nice change of atmosphere.
    However, I wasn’t able to finish the map as I was conditioned to only pulling the switches out with grenades (I think), so I never got the idea to pull the switch leading to the horse statue using the gravity gun. I did run around for about 10-15 minutes avoiding the helicopter fire but then had to quit.
    My guess for the themes is Liberation and Backtrack, and I’m not sure about the third theme.

    Takeover by Sockman
    It is okay

    Takeover is a map of very nice displacement work, but kinda bad brushwork and lighting. I like the idea and most of the gameplay is alright, but the areas could use a bit more detailing. I’m not particularly a fan of the gunship fight, either; I don’t remember there being any unique aspect to it. Also I think all but one of the rebels that I was saving died, so… maybe they should’ve been made immortal, to make the player feel better? Just seems a bit strange ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
    The twist at the end also seems to come out of nowhere, and I think I’d have just preferred a fade to black with the rebels going “Hurray, you saved them! [but maybe not really]”
    Overall, Takeover is alright. My guess for its themes is Chasm, Liberation and Backtrack. However, Defend and Bridge could probably fit it as well.

    Finale by 1upD

    [No Rating] As with The Collapse, Finale’s lighting is extremely dim. For most of the map, I could only tell where Combines were by their glowing eyes and by seeing where I was being shot from, and this doesn’t make for particularly fun gameplay. Escorting the rebels after they were freed wasn’t particularly fun either as they should think more on their own instead of having to be pushed. I think I had to nudge the Kleiner-type character into the room he was meant to go into before he would do his scripted sequence. It seems that the author put a lot of effort into the story, but it’s very hard to follow along because I don’t remember where we left off (because I played the other challenges a long time ago) and it’s really hard to hear what everyone is saying. The voice of the presumably evil guy that appears in midair isn’t set to play everywhere and ends up being very quiet and not understandable.
    During the final boss battle, I got damaged a lot by the toxic sludge on the first level as I didn’t even know what the button did and the arena was too dark to see anything. At the final level, I spent about 5-10 minutes jumping around the arena in circles, trying to find what I have to do. I thought that I had to break all the console boxes, but those don’t seem to do anything at all even though they look like they lead to progression. I was going to quit the map before I found the helicopter turret, but after I did the final boss battle became much less interesting as all I had to do was shoot for a bit, then duck, then shoot for a bit, then duck, for roughly a minute or two. In general, the final battle had an interesting premise – having the soldiers try to turn off the toxic sludge by running up to the button, but it wasn’t too difficult or fun because of the darkness.
    My guess for the themes is Liberation, Toxic and Teleport.

    Houses by DangerRanger
    It is okay

    Houses is a mixed map. In general, the gameplay is fun, but there are some obvious issues. In the map most (if not all) doors are brush-based, and there’s no way of telling between doors that can be opened and those that cannot. Generally, you’d just use prop_door_rotating for all doors within the player’s reach and lock the ones you’re not using, with a wall behind them. Or just use brush doors for locked pathways and entity doors for unlocked ones. There was a tall room with a catwalk leading to the next area, however the only way I could tell of getting up there is by stacking barrels (which isn’t particularly fun). This also contradicts the fact that the generators, which look like they could be stood on and used for climbing, are completely clipped from the player. Visually the map was alright, but I think there could be a few more buildings outside of the playable area (in the 3D skybox, perhaps) to make the location feel more realistic. The ending was also clearly unfinished and I think, as with Takeover, I would’ve preferred a simple fade to black rather than having a meaningless ‘twist’ at the end.
    My guess for the themes is Toxic, Teleport and Backtrack.

    Slime Dump by Ethosaur
    It is great!

    Slime Dump manages to be a long map without sacrificing gameplay. There was always something to do in this map and both the environment and the variety of enemies the player faces are very nice to see. The visuals are finished and a reflect a lot of work being put into this (although the second map, as expected, is a bit less impressive in that regard). The map suffers a tiny bit from the darkness syndrome that has affected other entries, and could have been made a bit brighter.
    As for smaller nitpicks – there is no autosave at the end of the big toxic lake section, so after I got killed by the zombine near the airboat (I don’t remember how) I had to go through the whole section again; the big area to the right of the airboat, facing out from the garage, seems like the way the player should go, but is instead just a place to find the gnome (which confuses me as it seems like a waste of space); there was at least one force field that was turned on but which had the turned off skin; it was unclear whether the airboat was meant to be taken with us or abandoned during the second map; web doors don’t make a sound when you open them; and I think it could be made clearer that the player should follow the pipes in a central-looking area with pipes, instead of doing something in the middle. It’s also a massive shame the ending had to be rushed because I quite enjoyed the map.
    My guess for the themes is Backtrack and Toxic. Not sure about the third theme.

    Railway by Viridian
    It is good

    Railway was quite a long map with an interesting premise – that the focus of the map would be on a train and the player travelling using the train. I was excited by the opportunities with such a map and wasn’t disappointed as it made use of the train whenever possible. It’s also quite visually polished and the environments are well built. The train could go on a bit longer between the stops, and in the rectangular section with the metrocops it might’ve been going and turning a bit too fast, which made it harder to aim. Still, the first map is mostly fine.
    However, it has a lot of issues in the second part of the entry (mainly in the second map, which I assume was rushed): I love the addition of the rocket ammo crate to the train, but the gunship didn’t actually follow the player along the bridge (at least in the EAV); the fog is, in my opinion, too strong. Unless z clip plane is used, it should be kept very light even at great distances; and I like how the tunnel in front of the player gets destroyed in the strider battle and also that the strider destroys the rocket crate, but the battle itself wasn’t too fun in my opinion.
    In the buildings area there are a few nitpicks like the steam not actually reaching the other side of the room but the player getting hurt on the other side regardless, and the trap room being completely binary and kind of unneeded. I thought when I got into it that there’d be a cool way of making the player feel awesome by having them escape in the nick of time, but turns out you just get blown up if you enter the room.
    The end battle might’ve lasted too long (I think a good length would’ve been going until the first two spotlights were finished), and yet there was no music at first two spotlights and it only started at the very end. Also related to the issue of length, there might not have been enough supplies for the final part of the fight, so I found myself constantly trying to get a few more health kits or batteries. Also I wasn’t sure if I was defending anything other than myself in that fight, I guess the player was just stuck until the rebels would arrive. And the last thing is: the rebels said “We fought them off!” before the Combines stopped coming, and even at the very end there were still gunshots and the music kept going.
    My guess for the themes is Trap, Defend and Backtrack.

    Exa Value by Sir Tokialot
    It is okay

    Despite Exa Value’s blocky and beginnerish look, it’s a nice map. I like the mechanic of having to assemble parts of the teleporter before you use it, and although it sometimes wasn’t obvious which parts I actually needed to take (as they might’ve appeared stuck to the table), it’s nice that they were all unique. A big problem with this, however, is that there is no clear indication of when the teleporters can be used (there might be a sound but I don’t remember one). The easiest solution to this would be just placing a blue glowing sprite in the middle of the teleporter that turns on when it can be used. The ending wasn’t particularly well planned as there was barely any good cover in the final fight and I ended up running about in the huge space while fighting the soldiers; there was also no clear showcase of the fact that the portal could be used, as with the previous teleporters; and the fight ended before the music did, and that could’ve been timed a bit better.
    As for smaller stuff: I liked the custom brush-based doors, I actually think those would look pretty cool as models; there didn’t appear to be any autosaves (at least in the Early Access Version), although this could be my oversight or may have already been fixed in the public version; the quiet and really fast-paced VO at the beginning was barely understandable as there was a lot of info and not a lot of pauses; there probably wasn’t a need for a second map but it’s good practice of changelevels anyway; and the ending sequence felt a bit weird.
    My guess for the themes is Defend and Teleport. Not sure about the third theme.

    Drainage by cwook
    It is great!

    I was too engaged playing Drainage to actually take notes of its gameplay, so that’s a good point! The visuals of the map (apart from the huge plain walls on the outside) are generally nice and the gameplay was fun. I like the whole map, but the highlight of it for me were the little physics platforms at the bottom of the toxic river that the player makes their way to in the end. They can glitch out a bit, but I think they make a very interesting new environment to explore. Though, at the end, I wasn’t sure of the justification for two gunships instead of one fighting the player, other than “two is better than one!”. Regardless, the boss fight was fun to play through. The lift that appears at the end to get the player up though is also kind of unrealistic and I think it’s a cheap way of getting the player back up. A retractable ladder activated with a lever would’ve done a better job.
    My guess for the themes is Chasm, Backtrack and Toxic.

    Questionable Sewers by Strontvlieg
    It is good

    I haven’t written down much to say about Questionable Sewers. The teleport mechanic isn’t new, but it’s nicely executed nonetheless. I quite like the atmosphere and detailing of the map, and in general it was fun to play.
    The ending arena is also nice to look at, however, I think for a Defend-style battle it’s not too exciting.
    My guess for the themes is Defend and Teleport. Not sure about the third theme.

    Tectonic by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is great!

    Tectonic shocked me a lot. I was not expecting something like it at all. I’m a sucker for ruins, and going through tilted and destroyed buildings is always awesome, and I love how the name of the map instantly makes sense. The use of custom music in the map is also very nice. Overall, I just really like it – I think the gameplay and visuals are both great.
    However, the ending of the map feels kind of unfinished, or at the least it’s not very fun. I like the unique aspect of it, but in the end running back and forth between the ammo crate and the gunship (that you can easily miss and have to wait for if you don’t get your timing right) is just boring. It could’ve been made possible to jump straight down from the second level from the ammo crate instead of having to run all the way back, unless there is a way that I didn’t notice. Also, I wasn’t actually able to kill the gunship normally because it got stuck at the top of the map and I had to noclip over to shoot it the last one or two times.
    The only theme that I can guess for Tectonic is Chasm. It’s a great map, but its ending could be improved.

    The Shadow over Ravensmouth by Clement Baticle AKA Klems
    It is WOW!

    This map straight up blew me away. I was able to playtest it before the deadline, and even then I loved the atmosphere of the island. I spoke to every citizen I could, and back then, before the music was added, all I could think about was that something screwed up was going on there and I didn’t like it. I looked through the church door, as many others probably have, and I noted the bit of ‘worldbuilding’ going on; what surprised me more is Klems’ addition of the scripted sequence that makes a citizen close the door in front of the player if they get too close. At this point I thought I knew what to expect from the story and continued playing with mild trepidation. After I finally found a citizen who shared my mindset, the creepy gameplay turned into a wild chase sequence where I had to keep moving to stay alive, and then I found myself in the place I probably ought not to have – the church (surprisingly lying in a pile of rocks, despite the fact that I broke through a wooden floor, there’s a weird kind of magic going on here).
    After a skillfully ‘animated’ and equally creepy sequence, I found myself with two firearms but no melee attack. Personally, I think this is a really interesting concept and it definitely made me change the way I play.
    The manor segment didn’t have action, but it was a nice build-up to the shock of finding myself in an alternate world. The transition was done very skillfully and I wasn’t expecting something like that to happen at all as I didn’t pass through any obvious teleport. The seamless transition made the second part of the entry for me.
    As for the final boss fight, I still have no clue how Klems made the bullet deflection effect on the vortigaunt or the actual boss as I haven’t looked at the source file of the map yet. The fight wasn’t too difficult, but it was still interesting and felt new. I like the use of a previously taught mechanic in it, too.
    Overall, this is an awesome map, as expected from Klems at this point. Great job!
    My guess for the themes is Liberation, Trap and Bridge? Although I’m not sure on this one.

    ActiveTransport by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is good

    Active Transport’s concept is really interesting and I personally got hooked in the map as soon as I realized what was going on. In general, I liked the gameplay, and I think the visuals were fine (although the detailing and lighting could use a bit of work before the Defend section).
    Speaking of, the Defend section seemed kinda out of place and even the author himself appears to claim that it was only put in so that ‘Defend’ could be used as one of the themes.
    My guess for the themes is Backtrack, Trap and Defend.

    Wake Up and Run by Sylvain Menguy AKA leplubodeslapin
    It is WOW!

    This is probably not the score most would give Wake Up and Run, but I loved it. It’s much shorter than all the others, but for me it manages to be the perfect short map. I’m a big fan of escape sequences in maps, and doing stuff without a suit or weapons, and this entry happens to have both and executes them brilliantly. But more than anything else, this map’s atmosphere is what hooked me. It’s detailed to the perfect level, the lighting is great, and the whole location makes me feel like I’m actually there.
    I also really love scale, and somehow this map pulls off height and distance nearly perfectly. The building feels like it’s suspended 20-something stories above the ground and the street looks tiny. It might just be the 2000 units separating me and my bone crushing death, but I choose to blame the designer for the lovely feeling. Awesome map.
    My guess for the themes is Chasm, Backtrack and Bridge.

    The Crossing by Ildarion
    It is WOW!

    I wasn’t too surprised by The Crossing’s success as, before I played the Early Access Version, I kept being messaged by marnamai questioning who could’ve made The Crossing and constantly asking, in a nutshell, “what is this map??” So when I began playing the entry, I was expecting some grand and unique new gameplay idea or something similar, but instead it surprised me gradually, more and more as I played. About halfway through the map I found myself massaging marnamai with stuff like “It’s STILL going?!”
    When the ‘Onboard’ section began, I actually thought that the map had been misnamed and it was actually named ‘Onboard’, meaning that was its end screen… But no, turns out there was another section to this entry, and one that’s (mostly) equally as exciting as the first! Although fighting the APCs was quite difficult and sometimes I was unsure how to not get killed by them, I made it through… to the next section, where we had to fight between two trains. If this map isn’t the definition of “too much free time”, I don’t know what is.
    I really like the recurring themes of motion and encountering APCs in this map. They are basically the first enemy we see in the map, and almost the last, and they appear all throughout. I think it’s an interesting ‘theme’ to have, and the map actually made them appear as though they’re ‘smarter’ and more dangerous than they are in Half-Life 2, which I think is a major success.
    Overall, Ildarion did an amazing job and this map is beyond shocking. However, the only theme I could guess for this one, from memory, is Bridge. Not sure about the other ones.

    A Hero Once More Pt2 by Maarten Frooninckx AKA marnamai
    It is WOW!

    Unsurprisingly, marnamai’s map is constructed to the highest level of quality and I don’t think there’s much I can say here. It’s a map with a well made layout and thought through level design, good visuals, and several unique mechanics. The fights and puzzles are fun, Cubbage’s character is reflected in every way possible, and the conclusion is satisfying. A great map to finish on (I can’t believe the order of entries was picked by randomness).
    My guess for the themes is Chasm, Liberation and Bridge and I think marnamai is probably the one entrant that has made his themes as clear as possible, which deserves extra recognition.

  14. asterixer

    I had to lowercase all the files for Linux otherwise i have Pink Walls in Crowbars map.
    I had an error in crowbars map: The Last part with the helicopter: Im able to run in the tunnel. The Cmbine Energie Wall cannot stop me. Maybe its a Linux Problem….

    1. 2JEL

      I’ve noticed that a lot of mods are not working 100% on linux anymore. I would not call this a “Linux problem”, but lack of support from Valve for the Linux platform.

    2. but all my files are lower case? I just checked
      Do you know which files you had to change?

  15. Play It Now!

    For this review, I considered themes as a motivational idea that helps the authors to find creativity more than something that should be evaluated. For my map (Wake up and run), this is how i used the themes (which are Trap, Chasm and Bridge by the way) because it only helped me to find ideas.

    The Collapse by Highfire
    It is okay

    This entry feels like the author had ideas of combat section he wanted to build, with a bit clunky connections between them. The collapse is a bit weird and that long bridge with black texture all around the player doesn’t really work well but place a bit of pacing between the first combat and the rest of them.
    Each section is clearly defined and the player always know which target it has to eliminate. The combat with many ennemies coming from all direction puts pressure on the player and it feels great to be able to survive it through, but the other combats do not work well : the first fight doesn’t clearly define what the player is supposed to do not to get exposed and quickly killed, the APC is just really weird because of the rolling grenades and not movable cars everywhere and the helicopter is just not fun to fight against (no clear cover, cars are useless and annoying).

    The author probably should have spent more time making the combat more fair and give more options to the player.
    In any case, there’s geometry at good scale, script works fine and an attention to detail has been put on some places. Good job for that and try to do better next time ! 🙂

    Raid by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is great!

    That’s a big map with exploration and combat. As someone else said, the story could have been told better (in order to understand why the player is looking for hostages to rescue in the city and why does it matter to take down that horse statue).
    There’s obviously a great work on combats here with combat spaces with a great sense of scale and movement and ennemies are using that efficiently. I loved the combat in the office building because it’s really about accuracy and headshots with the pistol, a lot like Counter-Strike (which i find cool). I only disliked the helicopter in the end because it was probably a bit too difficult :
    – Maybe not enough healthkits
    – Just enough phys props to kill the hunters, a bit more would have helped maybe
    – The helicopter shouldn’t shoot that much at the player while he’s focused on the hunters, maybe putting it even further away to make sure the player will focus on the hunters would help
    – Most of the covers aren’t good covers because you can get shot through very easily (thin walls with the helicopter on the side that can shoot at the player from both side of the wall, or destroyed cars with lots of holes and that you get shot through)
    – Citizens are useless against the helicopter and annoying for player movements
    I’m sure with more feedback/playtests it would have been improved a bit and that would be enough. Satisfying to get through though.

    The level of detail is fine for such a big map but the lighting is really poor and easy tricks could have been used to make it more appealing (starting with the light_env that has bad angle values). I really liked the story telling with the corpse everywhere and the citizen getting shot in front of a wall. Oh and i loved that army of headcrabs !

    I got lost a few times but that’s understandable. In the end i was still able to finish the map without cheating. I didn’t have much of a performance issue (framerate wasn’t perfect but OK).

    It’s a great map and lots of work had to be put into it to get that result in just a month. Great job!

    Takeover by Sockman
    It is okay

    Great to see dialogs, didn’t understand them really well but I got the idea of combines and canyon :p
    Navigation was good with an appreciated verticality. But how you built the map with displacement and subdivide is way too obvious i think, you should put more time into it and avoid using cubic brush as a base.
    Unfortunately, i wasn’t able to finish the map after i shot down the helicopter, the door didn’t open (saw that on a video) and it was quite frustrating to run around for 20 minutes, trying to glitch the map for nothing.
    I like the idea of going down to an ennemy base and fighting for both zombies, combines and a flying ship inside of the canyon.

    Finale by 1upD
    It is bad

    I liked the idea of the multiple levels with different lighting colors that you can see early.
    Navigation was a bit confusing at first because everything is in double.
    The geometry of that place was cool but didn’t make much sense to me, there’s that weird mix of concrete and combine architecture and why are metropolice here in the first place. Why is that toxic water rising ? Why would the player do that ?
    Still, it was fun to kill ennemies with the rising toxic water ! 🙂
    It was really dark and flashlight was mostly useless because everything was too big.
    The helicopter was unbearable, it hurts way too much, covers are too far away from each other and that only machinegun takes ages to take it down. The health devices are traps because they’re exposed to the helicopter and you lose more health than you gain.

    I liked the defense combats because it’s always fun to see turrets you’ve placed carefully take down every ennemy. But it’s 3 times almost the same stuff :/

    And there’s that teleport machine that teleports you inside of the toxic water and you got to die, that’s just really annoying. And these teleporters don’t even really serve a purpose, it’s not like the player gets far away you just get from one level to the one above it.
    I’m sorry but i just didn’t enjoy playing on the map 🙁

    Houses by DangerRanger
    It is good

    Level design was nice, it felt a lot like Half-Life 1 because of the size of each places. The level of detail was great, and a lighting with sharper shadows would help a lot to make it look really cool. I liked the idea of the combine forceshield used like light bridges in Portal 2. The combats were really nice and properly designed with the right amount of pressure put onto the player. The ending was just weird.
    Autosaves were missing, which is always annoying :/

    Slime Dump by Ethosaur
    It is WOW!

    Immediatly, this map has a good atmosphere with the prairie, that architecture in the background and that really cool green toxic goo. It looks really cool, this valley just works really well and it’s perfect that the player goes back through it through the goo with the hovercraft in the end of map 1. I obviously liked the scripting of the guy taking some free time in the toilets and being surprised by the player coming.
    The lighting is neat, just fits really well. I loved the amount of zombies the players is facing (more than usual but not overwhelming).
    I also loved the mix between organic stuff/antlions with citadel/combine stuff.
    And in general i love this kind of navigation when you recognize the place but go through it a different way.
    I’ll just consider there wasn’t a second map because it was obviously rushed and was probably not necessary :p
    Really good job !

    Railway by Viridian
    It is good

    This map made me think a lot of Half-Life 1 in the beginning with that train and these stops you make from time to time. I liked that puzzle with these very angular turns and the one you have to flip, the blocky geometry was actually quite funny.
    You can very easily get stuck and move out of bounds.
    The ship didn’t come really close and wasn’t too much a threat. Moving on the train isn’t enjoyable, you should clip it so that it’s fluid and easy. I didn’t really understand if i was able to kill that strider or not, because i sort of had everthing for but got killed everytime with that stupid unavoidable laser that instantly kills the player, better run and go to map 2 !
    Some fights afterwards were annoying because the player only has close range weapons but ennemies are at middle-long range. The toxic doesn’t seem to make damage. The trap was just irritating.
    I wasn’t able to find how i was supposed to get inside the defensive position, so i nocliped it. And that defense combat was really cool with lots of ennemies but lots of allies too. Be careful of that structure in the middle because its collision are just off. The ending with the gman was cool too !

    Exavalue by Sir Tokialot
    It is okay

    This map was working fine and i was easily able to play it from start to finish. The key puzzle is mainly solvable because every player knows original DOOM and other old games with this kind of puzzle, otherwise i’m not sure i would have been able to solve it that easily (mostly because you can’t even tell that it’s a key, just a blue/red stuff). Architecture is a bit weird and simple, lighting is simple and too dark in some place (for me). The defense section works and it’s suprising to see combines exploding the roof to get to the player (wtf ?!).
    It wasn’t a huge pile of fun to play but it worked fine and that’s something ! 🙂

    Choice Machine by Niker107
    It is good

    It seems like this map started with some sort of joke as a starting point but end up with a prototype of something that could be really great ! I like how it turned out to be a “simple” combination of families of choices (2 main maps + other options), maybe the choice menu could have been made around this idea of a main theme and then options to avoid writting rules that are just so hard to understand at first and it would have helped for the player to remind what choices he made during its play session.
    I really liked the animations you made with the player falling down from time to time.
    I liked mostly the toxic level with these boats that drift away and many ennemies coming to the player, it was nice. Loved when i had to throw a grenade into the combine boat, was really fun :p
    I disliked the idea of the traps because you just can’t defuse them, even though they’re really obvious.
    Also, it’s a really long map, i would have thought that because there are a lot of combination of maps that can be played, then each playing session would have been short but it isn’t.
    Obviously it’s not finished at all and it’s more a proof of concept than a real map, it can be really frustrating/irritating and it’s really simple, the player can easily fall outside of the map, texturing and lighting are too simple but i liked the concept and that’s already a huge amount of work done for this map in 1 month !
    Good job !

    Drainage by cwook
    It is good

    I liked the beginning with that crate you can take to climb into the vent, this kind of secret reminds me of HL2. Good job on that slope that makes a turn in brushwork, not easy 😉
    I liked the combat you get once you backtrack and i loved the fact that for once, the trap is FOR the player and not against him (and it’s awesome to make that thing explode !)
    The floating platforms are really well made because they do feel unstable but yet it didn’t fall apart, even during that fight aginst the 2 ships. This fight seems really hard at first but then you exploit a strong position and you survive through it quite easily (which is both cool and uncool).
    I also like that the player can see where he is, where he’s going and that in the end you finish in the toxic water just below where you started. Too bad that there’s a magic elevator that just appears when you’ve killed both ships but that’s okay. Good job on this one.

    Questionable Sewers by Strontvlieg
    It is great!

    Nice puzzles right at the beginning, getting a crowbar from a skeleton is always a reassuring idea 😀 It’s also a way to get the pistol and it all makes sense, it works great.
    There’s a bit of pixelwalk that is from my point of view not good (it really feels like a bad idea to walk on these pipes ^^). I liked that puzzle with the chair you can move once you get the gravity gun.
    Great detailing with the spiderwebs, you don’t get to see this kind of detail often.
    The idea of teleporting a grenade reminds me of Klems map from TeleportVille, which is a cool idea.
    But why would there be a teleport machine in such a neglected place ? But it’s still a nice way to introduce a game mechanic.
    The defense room has a great atmosphere with a nice lighting. Maybe you could have something that tells you how long you’ve survived so far and how much time you still need to resist. It wasn’t too difficult, it looks like it should become way more difficult but it remains quite easy, but it quickly ends.
    It’s a solid map with good work on detailing and grahics. Works really good.

    Tectonic by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is WOW!

    It’s great when the player has an idea like breaking a lock with a brick but knows it’s never been done on HL2 but should work … and it does ! Small details like that always work for me. Great atmosphere on that city and the collapse was impressive even if highly unlikely to happen in real-life :p
    And afterwards, the collapse buildings and stuff being crooked is just amazing. Navigation was fine.
    Also really liked the idea of getting the crowbar with gravity gun.
    The defense combat was cool with only gravity gun and crowbar.
    Level design was great with some appreciated workarounds, with an appropriate complexity in combats.
    The ending fight against the helicopter worked really well too with waves of manhacks and combine, it just worked really well and was really enjoyable !
    Another good thing was the custom musics, it really helps a lot to make the level more unique.
    Really nice stuff !!

    The Shadow over Ravensmouth by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
    It is WOW!

    This is just like the perfect map possible for such a challenge :
    – It’s an open map that you get to explore in the beginning and then fight through it but with a really different approach
    – It’s qui te long but doesn’t feel like it takes ages to finish,
    – It’s beautiful but not too much effort has been put into detailing but more on architecture and lighting
    But even after saying that, it’s still incredible to be able to build such a map in just a month. It just work so well. I loved the mistery there is in the beginning when you try to speak to everyone in the city and that church seems to be the center of the problem. The escape was just great, not hard at all but you can feel the pressure with a good amount of citizen trying to murder you. I also loved the fact that the player doesn’t have a melee weapon to destroy the crates and has to “waste” ammos on them. And there’s that crossbow that the player can find or not, doesn’t really matter that much. Props helping the zombies to hurt you a bit at distance was also really good.
    You just get to let the map guide you and it will just be great from start to finish.
    And that ending was just … wow really surprising and impressive. That boss wasn’t such a threat in the end because you get to learn the mechanism of keys that you have to find, put in place and then turn to activate stuff before. And once you know that, you just have to be mobile. So it’s a bit too simple but it’s alright really. I just loved it, amazing work klems!

    ActiveTransport by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is good

    I quite liked the concept of starting over again and again, but i also liked the fact that you don’t have to redo what you’ve done before. It’s a bit weird why you get teleported at first though, all of a sudden.
    Careful with the gravity gun, you can really miss it easily and get stuck afterwards.
    I had glitches that others already talk about but it wasn’t game breaking.
    I really liked that atmosphere with the heavy breathing behind the door and right behind someone trying to open a locked door, scary 😀
    I also loved the musics, reminds me of tophattwaffle old tutorials 🙂
    Didn’t understand the ending, i guess it’s been cut because you didn’t have time to finish the map.
    Still, good job !

    Wake up and run by Sylvain Menguy AKA leplubodeslapin

    Nope, not reviewing my own map !

    The Crossing by Ildarion
    It is WOW!

    This is tough because on one hand it seems to be incredibly huge and never ends, but on the other hand i’ve never been able to finish it even once (at least 5 tries). I got this issue where, if you die you get this “ai_disable” message and ai is indeed disabled. Even with godmod, i eventually fall and there’s that fade that makes the map unplayable, and i can’t just load the map from the 2nd bsp because i spawn randomly… So sorry, i just can’t play it properly.
    BUT, from what i’ve been able to play : WOW that’s impressive and messy as combat should be ! It feels very organic, both for combat and navigation. But you don’t get lost, there are lots of ennemies but you find a way to succeed and survive through it. I liked the traps with turrets because you have just the right amount of time to defuse it (throw away the turret or anything else). I loved the explosion, i loved the fact that i’m sort of able to push and knock down an APC, amazing !
    The shooting from a train with machineguns to APC was really weird because of that fog, but that infinite loop of train moving forward was really well made.
    Amazing work here, i just can’t really play it fully and that’s really frustrating 🙁

    A Hero Once More Pt2 by marnamai
    It is WOW!

    This map works just really well too, at least for the most part. The introduction clearly explains the player about the mortar and the combine invading the place. The infiltration sequence worked fine with me, it’s true that a crossbow shouldn’t be too loud and it all makes sense. The underground sequence had a great design, you don’t get stuck and you get to learn the place. The mortar sequence was top notch with the combat in the ruins afterwards.
    The elevator was a big weird (no damage, badly animated, and a vent right here seems odd). But then the architecture just like inside the citadel was really good, it explains all this huge combine architecture the player have seen from the outside. I haven’t played the ending sequence properly and it looked a bit weird to me : i stayed hidden in a train with unlimited AR2 ammo and killed every ennemy instead of using that mortar :/ And destroying that last ship was a bit easy and the map ended quickly.
    About other stuffs that were great : the lighting, the fact that the map rewards the player looking for stuff, the epic architecture…
    It’s clearly an enormous amount of work put into this for a 1 month challenge, with a lot of great ideas, starting with that mortar obviously. Amazing work !

    Summary

    Wow this whole contest was something !
    I’m not really a fan of the fact that there has been 17 entries because you don’t pay enough attention to each map and you don’t consider the insane amount of work put into every one of them. It would be better to play 2 or 3 of them each day.
    Anyway, it took me a lot of time to write these reviews, i hope it will help a little bit and congratulations everyone for this crazy contest !

  16. Play It Now!

    Gee, that came out pretty quickly after the last one. After the last four Villes in the cup, I’m definitely looking forward to what we have for the last one. Here I go!

    The Collapse by Highfire
    It is okay

    Looking at my TeleportVille review, I was probably too harsh on Highfire for the possible map copying, but this time I do have some complaints and good things to say. The beginning did set up the bridge(?) collapse well, but assuming that this is ChasmVille, BridgeVille and SomethingElseVille, the Chasm/Bridge was more of an afterthought, being a straight platform that you walk across, and the third Ville used wasn’t really there. There’s a weird light that moves around one of the walls, and there’s just a blank area past the tunnel where the APC comes out, which I guess was supposed to be for an ending, but defeating the Chopper ends the map, so it’s pointless. But the combat was decent and the beginning was done pretty well, so it’s just… decent.

    Raid by Abdulhamid Cayirli AKA Crowbar
    It is good

    Honestly… this map was kinda odd in some places. There were good fights, sure, but there were also cars that fade in from the distance and some weird music cuts when moving up floors in one of the big buildings, and I had no idea how to move on after the Chopper started attacking until I watched the developer commentary and saw the gravity gun being used to open the last forcefield. After being conditioned throughout the map to use grenades, I was expecting to have the Chopper drop bombs or something so I could move on. But when most of my negatives are nitpicks, you can tell this map is still good, but there’s nothing too special to make it stand out.

    Takeover by Sockman
    It is good

    This is a pretty well done map. There’s nothing special, but the chasm looks great, the combat, while simple, was still fun, and The ending was… it was actually pretty out of place. If there’s any real complaints, it’s that the voice acting is a bit hard to understand(“Vlad is here”?), the door that opens for the ending takes forever to be opened, and it’s a bit short. But besides that, it’s a good map.

    Finale by 1upD
    It is good

    What a way to end the map… series? This one features a good deal of action, and the voice acting is great as always. The defending was somewhat easy, but managed to be challenging near the end. Really, everything was done well, besides a rather boring Chopper fight and many rooms in the first part being rather empty. Oh, and that instakill teleporter was just mean.

    Houses by DangerRanger
    It is bad

    Uh, okay… There was a hole with a ladder that just ended with black staring at me in the first room, doors that don’t have any sort of doorknob on them are openable, and the combat is somewhat overwhelming. And I don’t think there’s any autosaves, either. It just wasn’t fun to play. Plus, Manhack spam isn’t fun. Ever. I only really felt like ToxicVille was being represented here.

    Slime Dump by Ethosaur
    It is good

    The first half was pretty good, and the touches like the Combine in the outhouse were funny and neat additions. The airboat returns, too, but I feel that the gun was completely unnecessary. The second half brings the whole experience down, being very short and having a rushed ending. It was fun, though, even if there wasn’t much combat.

    Railway by Viridian
    It is good

    The first map was really great, having some neat combat and an okay gunship battle. Then the second map comes and just… exists. There’s a trap room for no reason, and there’s a steam vent that I don’t know how to turn off. Bypassing it with Noclip just gives me what looks to be a defense section, only for there to be a green button that does nothing and nothing else indicating a way to start the defense. If this were just the first map, it definitely would’ve earned an “It’s Great” from me, but the second map just drags the experience down.

    Exavalue by Sir Tokialot
    It is okay

    Well, if it weren’t for remembering that using the use key on anything suspicious usually is the answer if you’re stuck, I would’ve been stuck at the first teleporter. Having to assemble a power generator for the teleporter isn’t very clear, since the red part looks like a button. There’s a section with toxic goo that you have to take damage in, which is never a good thing. The rest of the map is fine, with okay combat and puzzles, but the ending just comes out of nowhere and feels shoehorned in in order to use TrapVille.

    Choice Machine by Niker107
    It is great!

    Wow. The amount of work put into this must’ve been huge. There’s quite a bit of variety in what you can select, and everything is really well done. The only reason why it isn’t “It’s Wow” is because of the dev textures and being able to walk out of bounds in some areas.

    Drainage by cwook
    It is great!

    Somewhat short, but makes up for it with fun combat and a cool use of the gravity gun. Also, fighting two Gunships was surprisingly manageable.

    Questionable Sewers by Strontvlieg
    It is great!

    The puzzles were the star of the show here, for sure. They were fun and required some thinking. The combat was okay, though, not really posing much of a challenge.

    Tectonic by ThatsRidonkulous
    It is WOW!

    Oh my god that was amazing. The music, the fights, the hidden supply crates… Everything just came together and worked so well! The final Gunship battle had more challenge than a normal one, since there were other enemies that you had to deal with as well, and the elevator fight was just amazing. This was just such a fantastic map.

    The Shadow over Ravensmouth by Clément Baticle AKA Klems
    It is good

    This one was weird. There’s a Vortigaunt that I guess is leading some sort of cult and I have to stop him from summoning a giant… finger? Then I get locked up in an insane asylum. What? I liked the concept of not having much ammo, but the final battle against the Fingerthing(TM) was kinda frustrating. You have to wait for the thing to lift up fully before turning the rune thing, but if you don’t then you get annoyed by the constant burning sound and you get damaged. And then the acid starts to rise, and it’s possible to get trapped in between the Fingerthing and the acid and die without being able to escape. The atmosphere was spot-on, but it was kinda meh in execution.

    ActiveTransport by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is okay

    I never quite understood what was going on or what the cube thing was supposed to be. I understood why I got teleported to the start, but it was still just odd to suddenly be brought back to the start. The defense section was also pretty underwhelming.

    Wake up and run by Sylvain Menguy AKA leplubodeslapin
    It is okay

    The start was really promising, reminding me of Schism from ChaseVille. For once, snipers weren’t annoying, and I liked the idea of not having a suit when dealing with stuff like snipers and turrets. Then… I was given a Hunter and was supposed to know to run through a window with unbreakable glass to escape… and end the map. It’s just so short and the Hunter bit makes no sense that it leaves me with little to say besides what I liked.

    The Crossing by Ildarion
    It is good

    You know, this map was really shaping up to be an “It’s Wow”… The bridge was stunning and the fights were excellent. There were a few minor issues here and there, but they were just that: Minor issues. Then the “Onboard” section happened, and I just couldn’t beat the map. The APCs are way too accurate and move way too fast and are way too durable in this fight, and it just ruins the experience entirely. I didn’t play past that point, either, so even if this map makes up for it, I wouldn’t be able to see that.

    A Hero Once More Pt2 by marnamai
    It is WOW!

    To be honest, all I remember about this was that there was a lot of combat, and it was amazing. The bridge is great-looking and the mortar bit made me think, “How did you do this!?” It’s a fitting continuation to Part 1, and it’s even better, too.

    Summary

    Wow! Only four maps that were in the lower half of the rating spectrum, and lots of amazing moments makes this one a must-play. The winner for me is Tectonic, which was just so great that I’d easily play it again, with second and third going to A Hero Once More Part 2 and Choice Machine.

  17. Just tried to play Techtonic. A few minutes in I get a message A.I. DI in white letters on the screen. After that all enemies are frozen so no gameplay. Have tried restarting it twice now. Anybody have any ideas what is wrong?

    1. OK after further attempts I have discovered that the A.I. DI message only appears after reloading a save. This only starts to happen after the first earthquake. Is this some built in device to stop us saving and reloading I wonder?

      1. Hello Robolovsky. This is apparently an issue on some maps where the creator would have included any sort of files inside the BSP (which is something you have to do for multiplayer games such as Counter-Strike for example). And the issue is that it forces the console command “ai_disable 1” whenever you reload a save.
        I had this issue on The Crossing but it seems to be random. Maybe, just play the map in godmod to make sure you don’t die and are able to finish the map to the end ! 🙂
        Have fun

        1. Thanks leplubodeslapin. I did some scouting around on Google and eventually solved the problem by typing “ai_norebuildgraph 1” into the console. This only works if you type it in a the start before the earthquake. It seems to disable the nodegraph rebuild on the underground map and the problem then doesn’t occur. Hope this helps any others who may have had this problem.

          1. Which version of the mod are you using, the latest one? We discovered that this is because VIDE automatically packs ain files (nodegraph) into the bsp. But if you have the newest version of the mod and this bug still happens, then you proved us wrong.

          2. A.I. DI
            ai_norebuildgraph 1 : works fine for me.
            I just have to give it in before I load the game by a quick load.
            You have to do it every time you started up the game because it isn’t saved in the saves-themselves…

  18. Play It Now!
    The Collapse
    It is bad

    A strange start that places you right in the thick of it. The oddest thing after the transportation was that annoying valve hissing away!! But wow, now where am I?? A pointless weird walk before finding the weapons… ummm okay…

    This lead through to Combine hell. Wow there was so many and I was starting to run out of ammo. I decided to make a run through this darkness to discover recharge and boxes but why is it so dark here? Especially as there are so many holes in the roof!

    Anyhow this leads out to a respectable wreckage area with a few combine and then an armoured truck appears from nowhere but luckily I crawled and found grenades. This felt like it took ages…

    But nowhere near as long as destroying that Gunship… What an agonising end to a weird map. There’s some nice ideas here but I don’t think it was thought out too well.

    Raid
    It is good

    This starts off to look very interesting but the frame rates are pretty poor too. I quite like the structure of this map, feels bigger than what it is. Good parts throughout and once the forcefield is down (sneaky that) we head off to some offices and a motel.

    The offices are superb with the combine using the objects well to hide behind. Loved working my way through here, reminded me of Prime Target on my old PPC Mac!!

    The motel could have been better seeing as it was mostly locked but the next building offered a great fight. I almost died! Freeing the people is easy but we then needed to find the horse… I think that’s what I heard lol. Loads of headcrabs are launched into town and that’s an amazing sight. However, there’s a gunship to spoil what could have been a great clean-up operation.

    It’s now I feel the map gets lost and I was left wondering what to do plus the darn resistance people keep on blocking me – so annoying!! But the Gravgun is the main reason and just collected so it eventually made sense to use that on the forcefields. But I didn’t like how this was structured tbh, I think the Gunship would have worked IF the Hunters hadn’t have appeared. One or the other imho.

    A good map with a sluggish framerate but nice parts – the offices are superb.

    Takeover
    It is good

    Hey this looks very interesting from the start! Well, after that chicken rebel decides to leave me all alone lol. I liked the limited weaponry and used a rock to kill the guards and soon made a wary drop to kill the next. Collected the crossbow and thought this would be superb in such a great open area to kill distant soldiers, but alas there was none… Well, not right away anyhow and it involves a little backtracking so isn’t obvious really. But I put three arrows to good use!

    Loved the spiderman scene which works well with a grenade and then I dropped a barrel on a spider’s head. Lol ace! But opening the door didn’t go too well. One, I couldn’t get by without closing it. Okay, that might be part of the tale to stop me going back in for safety. But, two, a second later I hear something coming… and got crushed by it!! :S

    Restarted and walked around the corner to top up on health/armour and collected the weapons where the hostages are located. There’s a guard standing there just watching. Instant death for him but I should have been attacked? Rescuing these guys starts of an attack of fast zombies and soldiers before a gunship appears. It was tough destroying that when those resistance guys keep getting in your way and it’s not long before the vital member of the team dies!!! But it’s kinda better to stay in the larger area – where the fast zombies appeared.

    I thought the locked door where the soldiers busted through was deceiving but I backtracked to the other door and suddenly it was lights out! Not a bad little map this one and I think there are ideas which worked well. I’d enjoy seeing something like this modded with a far larger area to explore. Very nice.

    Finale
    It is bad

    Strange start but there’s always an air vent to help you out. However, this transported me to an area that kills the framerate. There’s not much to see but for some reason my computer is struggling really badly and it was actually quite difficult to hit the guard properly.

    Eventually got to the top of this thrilling adventure and hit the switch. Very dark and the framerate is almost like a slideshow. No matter what I did to lower the settings it didn’t matter. That’s as far as I got :/

    Houses
    It is great!

    Interesting start with the soldiers there and I was wondering just how the heck was I gonna get past them! But it does lead through here lol – brilliant!! Sadly I didn’t like the invisible wall as I first figured I could climb up but an air vent is always the answer! Shotgun and ammo!! Yeah!!

    Palettes helped the fall through to an interesting battle but I don’t like how doors look like basic textures, so it doesn’t first occur to try them as there are no handles. Minor but still… because the level design is superb and very interesting. I thought it was funny that I couldn’t exit the following door until after I’d hit the green button 😉

    It’s odd that the soldier doesn’t cross the forcefield walkway but at least this now gives me the chance to destroy the manhacks have their sounds are heard from the start in this area, which was annoying. This eventually leads through to the start and the guards here appear angry! …and it ends. Shame, I’d have loved more from this map in terms of its size to increase the adventure. Good map this!!

    Slime Dump
    It is WOW!

    Brilliant start – I love the old cabin in the woods feel plus the guy bursting out from the outhouse was funny. Great atmosphere so far in this map with large open areas that look great. I can’t help but think it’d be nice to have the crossbow and pick off the guys above…

    Wow this is so scary and fast zombies approach too but now I’m starting to run out off ammo and we’re forced to use the Gravgun, which turns out to be awesome. It keeps on getting creepy inside but I’m sure glad it’s not a constant spawn of Antlions. Good move Mr Mapper!!

    Outside once again and things are so creepy and the acid lake has lots of zombies. I need a crossbow! Lol. Looking at the layout of this swamp, it’s not obvious how to get across at first and I like that. Using the fencing is good but the metal part won’t protect you for long. I hopped across to the island part and damn headcrabs still appear. Getting the ride is a rush to the level’s end! This is such a great map, folks.

    The next level feels like a cheap add-on to the first and I wasn’t sure whether or not to stay in my ride or not. So, I stayed in as long as possible which was lucky… Overall, this isn’t finished and (even as is) is definitely the weaker part of the mod. My rating is for the first map.

    Railway
    It is WOW!

    The first time I played this I really didn’t care for it. Controlling the rail parts and shooting is impossible – so take it slow and clear the area on foot first. This makes it so playable and the train yard area is excellent.

    The leading tunnel part is eerie and I enjoyed every second of this. Flipping the switch to lift the barrier is odd as a soldier appears from nowhere which doesn’t make sense… but everything else here is a blast! Interestingly, I left my rail truck too far in the tunnel so the spawned armoured truck was blocking it when I returned so I have to restore and play this part again!

    The bridge / gunship battle was an odd area. First, the ladder fails and then I’ve got to use the tiniest lumps of land as ledges to get back up. This took some doing and I can see why I got bored of this map the first time around lol. It is doable and just needs you to take it slow and use save game slots!! The Gunship wandered back n forth into view so made for an interesting battle. That rocket chest was unique, to say the least!

    The next part was weird as a Strider popped up from nowhere and leathered me! So I replayed and it never appeared… So I exited the level! Nice.

    The next parts are hilariously superb!!! Wow. I will not say anything more but this mapper certainly had a good laugh making this, I’m sure of it.

    Progressing through is fun and I got to make use of my crossbow too, which is always a welcome change. Great level so far even with that constant repetitive buzzing noise!

    The hunters came and that was done well with the Gravgun and barrels but the music lasted too long and was annoying. Save/Reload time! But I didn’t really get what came next as the alarm was an automated gun with a switch that opened the door out of here, even though I now couldn’t get out – not without losing a little energy at the steam pipe. Perhaps I missed something?

    Oh I liked the little secret area in this part too!

    Anyhow, sneaked by the sniper and I liked this little puzzle with the shield. Even though it didn’t affect the light coming in! Ha. I went back and hit the green button. All hell breaks loose so I hope you positioned the turrets well and be prepared for a long fight. I was running out of ammo at one point and then saw a rebel so I knew something had changed and took my chances to see the open doorway with train. Shame it ends abruptly.

    A fairly okay’ish map which I am ignoring for my rating here. Why? Because the first is legendary and should be played.

    Exa Value
    It is bad

    Odd start. Lots of locked doors and then a weird puzzle before being transported to a different area. It’s quite simple here and not very interesting if I’m honest. The acid hopping was unusual and the later battle boring. Sorry, not a very good map. Odd ending too!

    Choice Machine
    It is okay

    It’s a nice (unfinished) idea but I was unsure how to rate it tbh.

    Drainage
    It is bad

    Some nice ideas early on but I admit that somethings just didn’t feel right. Like the barrels part which did not execute too well, but the idea was quite good. This all leads onto the acid pool parts which didn’t work for me either. Sorry, but this wasn’t a map I “clicked with”.

    Questionable Sewers
    It is good

    This has a familiar feel but is quite eerie too and I’m liking the layout of these areas which are simple but interested. The use of the large fan is superb almost giving me a vertigo feeling lol. Genius use of the water to kill the spiders and then transporting a grenade. Liking this map so much!!

    My main gripe is the lighting which is perhaps too boring and gloomy. I dunno… The end battle comes on all too quick but I must admit it’s staged well and not too hard. Not a bad map at all this and there’s certainly a style and adventure which could be taken further.

    Tectonic
    It is good

    Ohhh what a nice start and how that zombie dies too… I’ll say no more but this is a great start for me. The design is now incredible with a path through that isn’t always obvious but never impossible. Brilliant design.

    The three Antlions don’t move for me. I was kinda glad seeing as I had no real weapon but it was odd. The Gravgun takes ages to zap them so I’m thinking this is a bug? But it ends soon with a Crowbar and a zombie to kill.

    However, now I realise something’s gone wrong with this map as each baddie just isn’t active. It’s like they’re able to make noises but they won’t move to attack you… Some are also invisible and all I can see are their guns.

    I’m gutted because this was a great map until this happened 🙁

    The Shadow Over Ravensmouth
    It is good

    The first half of this map is awesome and flows like a dream from the rushed start to getting tooled-up and killing the zombies/etc. It’s brilliant. But I feel it should have ended there with the ship having not been damaged. Why? Because the parts that follow just aren’t good imho and really let down the brilliance of the first parts.

    Once the fast zombies jumped out of the sea, it should have ended here.

    ActiveTransport
    It is okay

    I don’t normally like maps which transport me back n forth to repeat slightly different areas over and over. But this one had atmosphere, and worked rather well in many parts. I liked the door sound effect which was a bit creepy but what I didn’t like was how dull everything looked. Even outside it was bland and dark… Oh, the battle when waiting for the transporter didn’t work too well, plus the soldiers didn’t seem to clever also. Not a bad map at all but needs work to the look of it along with perhaps reducing the length.

    Wake Up And Run
    It is bad

    I can appreciate the ideas and methods used to design something like this but it’s not why I load up HL2 at all. Plus I found it ironic at the start run – but I cannot run! Not for me, sorry.

    The Crossing
    It is WOW!

    Wow what an intense start and I enjoyed the bridge scenes even if there were some rubble and rubbish, which annoyingly gets in my way. But this is such an adventure, wow is the word. I feel like I’ve been transported into hell and I’m loving it!

    The only part I didn’t care for was the armoured vehicles towards the end. It went on a bit too much for me and then shooting those from inside the train was poor. Everything else however was amazing. Superb!

    A Hero Once More Pt2
    It is WOW!

    Never have I know a map to take us through so many environments. A hero once more indeed.

    This is brilliant from start to end and highly recommended.
    I absolutely loved it!

  19. Hec
    Play It Now!

    So, this was a huge competition! Overall the whole entries were entertaining, and quality varied a lot, so for me, this is not the best competition ever.

    Nevertheless, it was a pretty good one in thematic terms. I mean, most of the maps, when they included the particular topics or gameplay elements, did it great. And at least the three finalists in the competition are pretty great. I didn’t have time to vote but after playing them, I consider any of them, and I mean any could have been a worthy winner.

    So I really don’t feel like leaving my thoughts on each entry, but the 3 which made it to the podium are just memorable. So I only will say The Shadow Over Ravensmouth was great! Such cool environment and the eerie cultist topic was there always, the finale was shocking and I totally didn’t expect it.

    A hero once more, was just mindblowing, such great bridge scene, and realistic combat scenario. Also, I agree that being able to manipulate the CMB mortar from above was a pretty great touch, I’d have definitely voted for this one, as I love hardcore combat!

    The crossing was nice too! the train part was really brilliant! and also realistic.

    Overall this is a great competition that offers you great hours of gameplay! So it will keep you busy for weeks! If you love HL2 combat then you’re gonna love this one. Play it Now.

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