GravityGunVilleTwo

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

17th April 2018

Without the Gravity Gun, Half-Life 2, its episodes, and many many mods would be very different. It was revolutionary and a LOT of fun to play with.

This challenge features the gravity gun, and adds some new functionality which was optional for mappers to use.

You play through a variety of settings and ideas.

Basic Details
  • Title: GravityGunVilleTwo
  • Filename: SDK2013-GravityGunVilleTwo.7z
  • Size : 96.8MB
  • Author: Dalannar, Ian Spadin AKA Idolon, Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon, OctaGear, Dirk Destiny, Sockman, Conner Bray AKA Bedlams​, purplestakan, Malavek, Alexandru AKA melc311
  • Date Released: 17 April 2018

Download Options

Download to your HDD [96.8MB]

THIS VERSION CURRENTLY CAN NOT BE USED WITH GAUGE. SORRY

Manual Installation Instructions
  • Make sure you have the “Upcoming” branch of the Source SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer installed in Steam and run at least once. (Properties – Betas – select “upcoming” from the dropdown list).
  • Copy the “sdk-2013-sp-tlc18-c2-gravitygunvilletwo” folder into your “SourceMods” folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • RTSL.TLC18.C2.GravityGunVilleTwo 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:

GravityGunVilleTwo-Review-Template.txt

Thank you.

Theme Details

Half-Life 2’s revolutionary weapon was undoubtedly the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator. You can call it that if you really want to.

But to us it’s the Gravity Gun. A simple concept, executed perfectly in the game – and the perfect tool to demonstrate the physics engine. We learned the basics in Black Mesa East, experimented with its lethality in Ravenholm, and used it from then on for exciting activities such as stacking crates, tossing barrels, pushing around poor headcrabs, and eventually making Combine soldiers into personal ragdolls.

We want you to create a map that features the Gravity Gun. In addition to the Gravity Gun, the player may obtain and carry the crowbar and only one other weapon. Note that this restriction is on Gordon’s standard weapons – so objects like hopper mines and Magnusson Devices do not count as the other weapon and may be used freely.

This time there’s a twist: our latest research has developed a new function for the Gravity Gun. By finding and attaching a rare Stasis Crystal, the now-enhanced Gravity Gun has the added ability to freeze an object in space. Don’t worry, it’s not permanent – but the object will remain in stasis indefinitely until you use the Gravity Gun to move it again.

Use of the Stasis Crystal is optional in this challenge.

Mappers can give players the classic Gravity Gun or the Super Gravity Gun – and both versions may be enhanced with the Stasis Crystal.

We envision the Stasis Crystal having many uses, from blocking, reaching areas, puzzle-solving, attacking, defending and probably many others.

We’d love to see what you can do with the Stasis Crystal, but the regular old Gravity Gun is fun too. Wow us!

So, to summarise:

  • feature the gravity gun
  • adding the new stasis crystal is optional
  • the player may also get the crowbar and one other weapon beyond the gravity gun
  • we’re really looking forward to playing with the grav gun in whatever kind of maps you can dream up and build!

Full details can be found on the challenge announcement page.

Deadline

The deadline for submission was 11pm GMT Wednesday 28th March 2018

Entries

Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself:

Multiverse Learning Center by Dalannar with textures by Salamancer (Tutorial map, not part of the challenge)
Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
Ashtown by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
Banshee by OctaGear
Fuel Me Once by Dirk Destiny
Citadel by Sockman
Climber by Conner Bray AKA Bedlams​
Collector by purplestakan
Echo by Malavek
Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311

The order of the maps was generated via random.org

Winner and Points

Remember, the judges scoring is based on the final map submitted BEFORE the deadline. The actual released versions of maps and therefore the ones you played, may differ significantly from those initially submitted.

Here are the top three places.

  1. Winner: Citadel by Sockman: 83 Points
  2. Second: Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon: 81 Points
  3. Third: Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311: 77 Points

Full details of all the points can be found on The Lambda Cup 2018 Public Points Spreadsheet.

Judges

Phillip, Don, Dan, Crowbar and Abraham are the judges for this challenge.

Community Poll

Time for you to share your thoughts! Vote for your top 3 GravityGunVilleTwo maps. Poll closes sometime in May.

Which are your favourite 3 entries from GravityGunVilleTwo?

  • Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311 (38%, 22 Votes)
  • Echo by Malavek (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Collector by purplestakan (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Climber by Conner Bray AKA Bedlams​ (0%, 0 Votes)
  • Citadel by Sockman (19%, 11 Votes)
  • Fuel Me Once by Dirk Destiny (7%, 4 Votes)
  • Banshee by OctaGear (5%, 3 Votes)
  • Ashtown by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon (2%, 1 Votes)
  • Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon (19%, 11 Votes)

Total Voters: 58

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More About The Lambda Cup 2018

The Lambda Cup 2018 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 Lambda Cup homepage.

Release Versions

0.9 – Developers’ and Judges’ Version. First versions of maps. Version used to judge the entries.
1.0 – THIS RELEASE. No known issues. Well, yeah, a missing texture and some sounds, but we will get it fixed soon.

Credits

Niker107 created the Mertz Module models. Dalannar created the Multiverse Learning Center map and Salamancer whipped up a number of custom textures for it. Thanks to all of you for working on such short notice!

The RunThinkShootLive.Com introduction video was made by Jeff Muñoz (ThatoneJeff)” and he also significantly helped with logo design – thanks Jeff, you ROCK!

Caleb West (CW3D) created the extended remix of Brane Scan originally by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

Steam Grid View Images

There are ten custom gridview image included in this release.
To use it, switch your Steam Library view to Grid View. Right click on RTSL.TLC18.C2.GravityGunVilleTwo and chose “Set Custom Image”. Click “browse” when a small windows appears and navigate to your SourceMods folder and the “sdk-2013-sp-tlc18-c2-gravitygunvilletwo/steam-gridview-images/” folder and select the image of your choice.
You can of course, create your own image and use that.

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3

General Entry Rules

PLEASE READ THEM SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY.

  • Download the Submission Template and use that to submit your entry. The only exception is if you intend to submit only a map with no custom content – in which case you can just send the map (bsp), the graph file (ain), your mapname_readme.txt, and optionally the map source (vmf).
  • End your map with a point_clientcommand firing this exact command: disconnect; startupmenu
  • Maximum two maps per mapper per entry.
  • The map must be original and not have been released publicly before.
  • The map must run in system with only Ep2 installed
  • By entering the competition you grant PlanetPhillip.Com and RunThinkShootLive.Com the right to release the map as part of the RTSL-THC2018-C2-GravityGunVilleTwo Mod.
  • Maps must not appear on ANY other website before the release and for one month after the release of the mod.
  • No assets from retail games other than HL2, HL2: Ep1, HL2: Ep2 and Lost Coast are allowed.
  • Other assets are allowed with written permission from their original authors, which MUST be included in the entry, preferably a link to a public page that shows permission has been granted, in addition, custom assets AND MUST BE ABLE TO BE USED IN MONETISED VIDEOS.
  • All files submitted MUST be in lowercase and any custom assets must have unique names, both folder AND files.
  • Entrants are requested to send their VMF files in with their entry. A section in the ReadMe.txt file will make it clear that they are for educational purposes ONLY and MUST NOT be used as the base for other levels without prior permission of the respective author.
  • 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: entryname_tlc18_c2.bsp
  • Submit a mapname_readme.txt with your entry. Even if it is just your name and your entry, although you should try to create a proper one.
  • If you do not receive a confirmation email without 24 hours of sending an entry, contact Phillip IMMEDIATELY.

In addition, any custom content must be able to be used in monetised playthrough videos posted on the internet.

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

Please note that the panoramic images are 4MB each.

Fuel Me Once
Asylum
Citadel

Videos

Coming Soon.

Playthrough Screenshots

WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
Screenshots shown here have been taken from the Judges version and may differ slightly from the version you play.
They are also in alphabetical order, same as the maps in the judges version, and therefore will differ from the order you see the maps in the public version.

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Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
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Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
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Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3 Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
Reader Recommendations
Avoid It!
Think Twice
Maybe
Play It Later
Play It Now!

9 recommendations, average score: 3.78 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.84 (what's that?)
Total Downloads
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 10 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 10 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 1 Hours, 53 Mins
Shortest: 1 Hours by Salamancer
Longest: 3 Hours by The Rabbit
Total Time Played: 18 Hours, 47 Mins
If you believe this release is missing important tags, please suggest them in a comment?
Jump to a review
Play It LaterPlay It LaterPlay It LaterPlay It LaterMaybe?Phillip says Play It!Maybe?Think TwicePlay It Now!

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37 Comments

  1. I only see the tutorial map (Multiverse Learning) choice, all others appear greyed out? I was going to e-mail but then thought if others have the same problem it would save them writing you too.

    1. You have to complete the Multiverse Learning Center before the other chapters will unlock. As far as I know this will be the case in all the future challenges of The Lambda Cup. It is done so that players will be taught the new mechanics before playing the actual entries.

      1. Thanks, makes sense! I didn’t know. I must have skipped over the reading to get immediately to the game!

      2. I kind of got through that, but at the end I had to no-clip…this ones a challenge for sure, I did get the gravity gun bit, but trying to stack and stick stuff that was on a climable angle was hard, maybe I should have settled some drums down first. Anyway, that’s as far as I’ve got for now, I didn’t get the key bind bit for a while to activate the crystal, but I did read the notes on the walls and that was a help. So, into the teleporter. (I’d love to see someones walkthrough, see how they got on)

        1. I did a small walkthrough of the training map for you, I don’t think it’s a good one but it is what it is.
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q_9RBrelCB0

          1. thanks, I’ll have a look when I’ve woken up..

          2. Darnit, the crystal for the Gravgun doesn’t appear nor do the new crabs. Except the first one on the table… (I’m on Mac as you know). I’ll have to skip this Ville 🙁

            1. I’m afraid you would have to miss out on every upcoming Ville then. Each one will have more new content then the last and that means more stuff that’s not working. Our coder is working on getting it to run on Linux but there are no plans for Mac right now.

              1. Thanks for the info. I’m gutted as the Ville’s over the years have always been fine. I’ll keep trying them of course, perhaps I’ll get lucky 😉 Until then I’ll keep my fingers crossed many *maps* are released (still got lots to try) as these are usually guaranteed to work 100%. Cheers mate, appreciated.

  2. Will there be a Linux version? The use of the Sourcetest/HL2:EP2 server.so and client.so does not work this time (“freeze gun” and mechcrabs are missing).

    1. I’m gonna be completely honestly on this: It is not really our job to get the Source SDKs and features running on systems that aren’t supported by it. Unless we find somebody who will specialize on that matter it is very unlikely we’ll make extra Linux versions since there is more than enough to take care of for each Ville already.

      1. asterixxer

        I tried the client.so and server.so from Source SDK Beta 2013. There is no Support for The Freezing and no support for the mechanical Headcrabs.

        Did you add something to the windows versions?

        1. I’m not quite sure I understand your question. What do you mean by did we add something to the Windows version? Also I think it should be obvious that the SDK 2013 client and server .so don’t work with the new features because they don’t have the updated code base in them.

          1. asterixer

            Was the codebase for this files made by valve, or made by someone else? I thought it was enough to activate SDK 2013 Beta (which is available under Linux)?

            Who modified the client and server.dlls to add these new features? Maybe someone can add these features if the source coude is available for the OSX and Linux Players.

            1. Well, technically you were right with the way you wanted to get things working, though in the case of the Villes it is different.

              The codebase is done by our in house coder Mr. Mazur. He said it’s going to be made for Linux at some point but I don’t have any more information to share on that subject.

      2. The source SDK supports Linux – but the mod don’t (the client/server.so are missing for linux).

        About the “added things” – the mod contains the new mertz module and the mechacrabs (they are not included by default)

        If help with Linux is required I would offer help (while I’m not good with coding in C++, I do know about Linux).

  3. Play It Later

    I’ll be talking about specific gameplay elements quite frequently, which could constitute as spoilers. The only one I’ve tagged as spoiler was an outright solution to a puzzle.

    Whilst this competition saw the introduction of a new mechanic, in the form of the Mertz Module, I fear the entrants weren’t given enough time to properly experiment or explore the possibilities of the new gameplay it could create.
    This means that the best maps in the pack don’t use it at all, which is a big shame.

    The tutorial map by Dalannar was a triumphant success, I’m very happy to have been a small part of its creation. The aesthetic is great, and the way both new gameplay elements are introduced are both sensitive in pacing and presentation.
    The final puzzle for the Mertz Module may have been the best way the module was used in the competition. Dalannar has managed to make tutorial levels fun and memorable, and I’d be very happy to see MLC levels used again in future villes.

    Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
    It is great!

    Idolon again shows exceptional talent in creating neat and confident maps with great pacing and flow. The mood is great and there is a lot of diversity in its gameplay. It can be hard to make zombies compelling to fight, but the map pulls it off.
    The map employs good use of loops, vertical-ness and landmarks to make exploring the environment fun.

    I felt as though the “Gravity Gun” theme was reasonably supported, although I felt as though there weren’t enough interesting props to use in many of the encounters. A puzzle which asks the player to prop-stack to get over a fence also felt a little… archaic?
    It was a shame that the map doesn’t innovate on the use of the Gravity Gun, especially missing the Mertz Module, but it’s foundations are solid with an even coat of polish on the entire experience.
    Overall a great play on both runs I did, definitely one to play on hard.

    Ashtown by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is bad

    The map unfortunately docks at least 2 points for it’s exceptionally poor performance and missing assets (textures+sounds). The aesthetic is ambitious, but inconsistent.
    The futuristic buildings and flying cars look really great, but single rooms look particularly odd. There were some odd visual and gameplay inclusions, particularly around the elevator near the end. On my first go-through I couldn’t work out how to get the HEV, and managed to progress without it. Additionally failing the ladder jump at the elevator merely gets the player stuck, requiring a reload.

    This entry used the Mertz Module, but I don’t think it managed to create anything interesting from it. The two puzzles it was used for didn’t really explore new possibilities.
    The combat was fairly decent at parts, in particular punting the cars around against the soldiers was definitely a highlight, especially when the cars would pile so high that the enemies were unable to return fire.

    Some interesting premises, but too rough around the edges.

    Banshee by OctaGear
    It is okay

    Banshee is an odd one. Visually it’s quite pleasing in areas, but there’s a lot of odd choices made in its gameplay. The first I noticed was the inability to destroy crates or pick them up with +use, and the fact doors would inexplicably lock behind you.
    There is no combat present in Banshee, relying on exploration and puzzles to build up its gameplay. Navigating the areas was interesting, but the puzzles fail to create any new gameplay, despite giving the player the Mertz Module.
    For instance, there is a puzzle where the player freezes a crate to bypass a crevasse, which I feel like is just prop-stacking to climb a wall, but with an extra step.

    There’s not really anything “wrong” with Banshee, the author clearly shows great skill in building up environments, but the experience feels notably uninspired.

    Fuel Me Once by Dirk Destiny
    It is okay

    Fuel Me Once feels like the antithesis to Banshee in the way that it manages to use the Mertz Module in a few cool ways, but lacking a lot of polish.
    To begin with, the large door and ladder puzzles were heavily inspired ideas, undoubtedly one of the best ways the Mertz Module was used in the ville. The exploration of the environment is fun, and the visuals overall are passable if quite cramped and contrived. Fighting the headcrab/zombie enemies was a decent use of the Gravity Gun.

    The combat in the second half was a little lackluster however, I felt that the enemies took a little too long to come in and there wasn’t enough space, or variety of architecture, to fight them in.
    If the combat was a bit tighter, and if the map was quite a bit larger (and given space to breathe), then it would probably be a PIL.

    Citadel by Sockman
    It is good

    Citadel pulls off a decent atmosphere and manages to make some novel use of the Mertz Module, another map without combat.
    The rapid-fire puzzle gauntlet works well to reduce mental burnout, and is compelling to keep driving forwards. Having said that I did have to take a break halfway through this one.

    Unfortunately, whilst the map introduces a few puzzles that explore the Mertz Module gameplay quite well, there are a lot of puzzles which use it as an inconsequential gimmick. For example there are lots of puzzles where the player must redirect lasers into receptacles, like as found in Portal 2, where the Mertz is used to freeze the cube in midair in order to intercept the laser.
    This doesn’t really explore the Mertz Module well, the gameplay would be identical without the Mertz Module if the laser panned across the floor, allowing the cube to redirect whilst being placed upon the floor. I feel like half of the puzzle elements within are like this.

    Having said that, there are a couple of genius concepts which explore the freeze gameplay very well, puzzles which at their core are only made possible by the new mechanic. These were great “aha” moments.
    SPOILER: Using a frozen cube to intercept another cube coming from the spawner, preventing it from hitting a button, was my favourite

    The visuals are reasonably good, especially in the intro, and there is a good “wind-down” at the end.
    I personally got a bit burned out on this entry, there was a bit of “filler” in the puzzles, but the good puzzles were very clever and inspired.

    Climber by Conner Bray AKA Bedlams​
    It is dire!

    It appears as though little time was devoted to this entry, taking less than a minute to complete.
    The addition of hunters did not work with the environment, left to wander a tiny corridor without proper noding.
    The end goal was very unclear, the visuals were very basic, and the Mertz Module was used in a fairly barebones, if acceptable, way.

    If this entry was a bit longer, and explored more gameplay themes, I may have enjoyed it more, but there just wasn’t enough substance to it at all.

    Collector by purplestakan
    It is bad

    I don’t think my review for this map should “count”, as I was unable to really play it. I could not find the second gas canister at all, and could not work out how to progress past the pit, requiring me to cheat in both cases.
    The second half, with the fuel canisters and the snipers, was more enjoyable and polished (I especially liked the mad dash away from the flames), but neither used the Gravity Gun as a gameplay element.

    Echo by Malavek
    It is okay

    Both visually and in gameplay, Echo exists in two halves, something I’m sure was caused by time constraints. There are moments of high visual quality, or decent gameplay, rapidly broken up by bare environments and questionable gameplay.
    Fighting the zombies and the antlion guard was fun, and a decent use of the Gravity Gun and environment, even if the latter fight was far too cramped for the fight. Leading an antlion guard over hopper mines was something I haven’t seen much of, and was quite amusing to see.
    Fights with the antlions and soldiers, and the battery puzzle, were notably poorer.

    Echo was inoffensive, but felt like a rushed product, without much inspiration behind it.

    Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311
    It is great!

    Finally, my personal favourite, and one I was able to test in an earlier state.
    Visually Asylum is pretty great, using familiar but effective prison motifs. The pacing is sensitive and uses the Gravity Gun quite well.
    The highlight of Asylum is the ability to punt open sliding doors in a “game show” style, in which melc311 hides all manner of things behind. Opening these doors feels great, as they feel heavy and satisfying, lending itself to a simple but addictive gameplay loop.
    Whilst this entry does not use the Mertz Module, it does manage to open up this interesting and novel use of the Gravity Gun.
    If this gameplay mechanic was made more of a focus, perhaps making the second row of doors key to the critical path, and then introducing a Mertz-Module puzzle with the doors later on, it would be an easy Personal Favourite.

    It balances a great mix of combat, puzzle and exploration alongside the game-show doors, with some of the most natural inclusions of manhacks I’ve seen in a while.
    The final combat area feels a little rushed, which I’m almost certain it was, but melc still shows great skill in the fact that it’s still a challenging and fun fight, requiring frantic and accurate use of the Gravity Gun (or running away!).

    Puzzles involving tripwires or electrified floors are fairly simple and formulaic, but still feel good to solve.
    Whilst Asylum does not use the Mertz Module, it strikes the cleanest balance between gameplay innovation and polish. The sliding doors mechanic is something I want to see explored and elaborated upon.

    Summary

    Overall the Gravity Gun theme, and the Mertz Module, is not well represented in this ville. However there are many entries which are at least worth checking out, and Urban Decay and Asylum are fantastic maps when standing on their own.

  4. I worked on an entry for this challenge but unfortunately I ran out of time to complete it. It’s a shame I didn’t get to enter, but I’m looking forward to seeing all the other entries.

    I made a video showing the concept for my map just in case anyone is interested:
    https://youtu.be/l8hFQeHt4Jo

    1. Wow, that would have been a great map.

  5. Play It Later

    I’m sad that the overall map quality is not as high as in previous villes. But that means
    there are new mappers, who will improve in the future!

    Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
    It is good

    While the gameplay was fun and the gravity gun is used well I found it a bit too easy at many cases – it was not to hard to run away from many of the zombies. Lighting was used well to show entrances.

    Ashtown by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon

    In the beginning visuals were great – fancy and cool. Unfortunatly they were very slow to nearly unplayable.

    The visuals later have a unfinished look but were still very slow – I somehow failed the first “test”. What do you have to do? I also “failed” to get the HEV – without, fighting the combine is somewhat hard.

    I won’t give it a rating because it feels unfinished to me.

    Banshee by OctaGear
    It is okay

    Some puzzles (with Mertz mod) but nothing more – well thats it. Having the flashlight would have been nice.

    Fuel Me Once by Dirk Destiny
    It is okay

    While beeing fun it is to short. The puzzles especially, the one where to build a staircase were fun. The fight at the end (was there more I skipped?) was easy but nice.

    Citadel by Sockman
    It is great!

    Nice combine themed portal-like cubes and laser puzzle. It is a great showcase of the Mertz module. I once broke a level (a cube got stuck in a vent) when to block the cube to fall down but could reload a save.

    Climber by Conner Bray
    It is dire!

    It’s bad. Some points:

    – Light is too bright, at first it looked like it is missing complete light, so the game showed the fullbright but this wasn’t the case.

    – The texture choice is strange, at best – a red carpet like texture for ground and many walls, the outer walls are in a brick floor (not wall) texture.

    – The hunter fights were absolutely useless without and without tension – with close space and objects available it was over after 2 to 8 seconds. Because of the limited space, it is possible to finish the map without facing both at a time

    – By grabbing a few objects, one could directly go to the exit, without fighting the second hunter.

    The basic idea of fighting in closed space (may be in a small labyrinth?) and later building bridges over the walls could bring a great result (maybe you improve this map and release it independently later).

    Collector by purplestakan
    It is okay

    Ok, but a bit short, and i found a few bugs when you have to “refill” the generator, the fuel cans must be used for a specific position. The gas and later the sniper sequences at the end are both fun to play, while the later is a bit hard.
    Otherwise it has good look but it is missing some lightning effects, and the ending is a bit apprupt.

    If you need help:
    One fuel can is on the second floor (the elevator worked for me), the other one is in front of the “generator”. To cross the bridge, use the one on the second floor.

    Echo by Malavek
    It is good

    Good, but a bit short, and visually nice. One (the normal antilon) fight’s space was a bit too small (in my eyes). For me the SMG1 was not needed (and had to much ammo). Visually appealing, especially the start area (with a minor but negligible performace impact).

    Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311
    It is great!

    Great – a nova prospect themed map with a great design (it really feels like the original one), I did not require the SMG1.

    If youd need help (where to go immediatly at the start):
    Open the first door with a “blast” from the gravity gun.

    Summary

    The overall map quality was not bad – but not really good either (with some notable exceptions). All in all a good mapping theme – interesting puzzles can be mad with the stasis crystal.

  6. Play It Later

    The Gravity Gun does not earn my like much because of how it feels rather unsatisfied to kill stuff with blunt force trauma rather than peppering them with bullets. I have to say the Mertz device idea really catches my eye when I saw it in the announcement, so let’s see what this Ville has to offer.

    Urban Decay
    It is great!

    Why is a pit there at the beginning? A schmuck trap? But that is very trivial for what this map offer. The map gives you the Gravity Gun and the revolver as weapons, which did their jobs quite nicely and balanced since the only kind of enemies here are zombies. The town really gives off Ravenholm atmosphere. The only other issue is that my character won’t pick up the Gravity Gun when I first found it. I had to progress a little bit, before backtracking to get it. Spamming E did not help.

    Ashtown
    It is bad

    The rain itself is very poorly optimized. My laptop that can run games these days smoothly even get low frame rate problem. The map is very empty and just…..nothing. When you look behind the hotel, you can see an untextured building. The building with green light to the right of the hotel is very distracting yet you never get to see it again. I can see that you can jump through the broken gate, but the invisible wall says no. What I was doing anyway? The progression is very random, like I was a test subject in a totally-not Aperture Science lab. And I somehow ended up escaping and uh…. go into a building that has zombies? The only reason I did not give this DIRE because it is still “playable”.

    Banshee
    It is okay

    This is a puzzle map. Well, the puzzle involves you stacking props to reach a location. There is nothing much to say about this one. The location and visual feels OK. But there are some problems here. The vent does not use the breakable model, but that is very nitpicking. I appears to be unable to grab any props outside the “gap” while I was standing inside it. And this map can be complete without even getting the Mertz Module at all. It is there, but nothing requires me to use it.

    Fuel Me Once
    It is okay

    This map started off somewhat confusing to me, I thought that the gas is on the other side of the ramp, so I started using the Mertz device to build a bridge to get there. Turns out it has invisible walls. I had to look at Dolmo’s playthrough to make sure that the metal gate puzzle is not intentional. I was like: “Are you serious? Are you kidding me?” It was quite hard, I cannot click to freeze it fast enough. Some headcrabs later, the building stairs puzzle was a nice touch. I did not know that I was stopping the gas from leaking, it looked like water to me. The same puzzle from the start returned, except in this case it’s a very, very slim ladder. I had to pull out some marksmanship

    to nail the shot. The fight was kind of anticlimatic, I heard a dropship and it just deployed 2 Hunters. I was expecting a squad of Soldier to show up.

    Citadel
    It is great!

    Another totally-not-Portal map. But this time it is even more like it with laser-powered doors. This map incorporated the Mertz device, and it did quite well on that. The puzzle escalates in difficulty quite nicely. Well done. Thank god, the lasers just tickles you because I think I burned my face and legs with it.

    Climber
    It is dire!

    Oversaturated amount of light, very tiny space (with two Hunters to fight as an insult to injury), no clue where to go. What is this?

    Collector
    It is bad

    Well, it was OK for the first minute. For me, it later turned into an unpolished mess right after the generator. The gas cans somehow must be used in specific parts. Then I found myself jumping towards the broken walkway I was not supposed to jump. I could clearly jump that, but the ledge bounces me off every time I did it. Then comes the falling platform, it was so cheap. It came out of nowhere and lowered my health significantly. (From 95 to 44) After that, there is no way to heal myself. The gas room puzzle does not make sense, I’m not sure if fire can make boxes explode. And I find myself running from the snipers multiple times. I did not know I was supposed to use gas cans to get rid of them since I did not know it counts as explosives.

    Echo
    It is good

    The start was eh….good, I guess. Broken floor returns here. The normal Antlion encounter gave me too little to none area to move: the exit of the vent. It has nice pacing though. From Antlions to zombies to Soldiers. The area with the zombies was too dark. The fight with the Antlion Guard was nice, although the arena could have been bigger. The SMG is not needed that much, I felt like I could plow through the Soldiers with the remaining mines and explosives. Onscreen saving message is…. informative.

    Asylum
    It is great!

    Well-paced, well done. The door punting was welcomed, but I don’t get it why does it applies to every doors. The combat was excellent, especially the shower room fight. Really rewards exploration and solving puzzles in a careful way. (Saving explosives from blowing up to be used in later parts.) A recreation of Nova Prospekt but in an “asylum” instead. Minus point for white door at the end though.

    Conclusion

    This Ville was alright. The Gravity Gun was not the main star of this show that much as I expected. The Mertz device, even though appears in a few maps, was fun to use. I expect most of the maps to be puzzle maps which I will struggle to solve. But I guess it takes a different mind to do that. The Asylum takes the number one spot for me, followed by Urban Decay and Citadel.

  7. 2JEL

    Disappointed that it does not work for linux.

    1. You should go complain to Valve for the lack of support. As I said before it’s not our job to get things running on unsupported systems nor did it say anywhere that it will work on Linux so I don’t know why people are always getting their hopes up. Anyway, our coder is working on something this weekend.

      1. Anon_1642103

        The entire HL series is fully supported on Linux and MacOS. You are adding “windows only” features to that environment. And, you are doing it to a key feature of RTSL, the Villes. Even though I have enjoyed and appreciate the great work this site does to advance the HL modding community, I believe you are moving in a bad direction. Please check with Philip to see if the site motto should be “Finishing HL is just the beginning — if you run windows.” (If any mod or map developers read this, please accept my sincere thanks for your past and future gifts. Great work!)

        1. I understand your frustration about not being able to run the latest Villes on Macs or Linux machines.

          And whilst the full range of HL games are both mac and Linux compatible, the newest version of the Source engine (SDK Base 2013 singleplayer) isn’t.

          Valve has left its community in the dark and unsupported for many years now. It has not added anything new for the modding community for even longer.

          The reality is that 97% of Steam users use Windows to run their games.

          At RTSL we hope to provide modders with new content to use for future mods but to do that we have to use the latest engine.

          We hope to provide what Valve hasn’t and that is support for Mac and Linux but you must understand that it is not our immediate focus.

          We have only just gained access to a Mac machine and can start on that right away.

          Please let me know if you have any questions.

  8. Play It Later

    This contest brought an interesting set of entries and I’m sure presented some challenges for the mappers. I loved the new gravity gun option for freezing items and wish that it was used in all of the maps. For the maps that did use it, I could always either climb somewhere I wasn’t supposed to be or run into invisible walls. Normally I really dislike invisible walls but in this instance I can see why they needed to be there. If you have 2 large enough objects like pallets you can just keep climbing upwards with nothing to stop you.

    My favorite map was Citadel. The setting was terrific and the puzzles kept me interested. Urban Decay and Asylum were also pretty good. A lot of the other maps were really short and sometimes had no real ending which was a shame. Ashtown had some very interesting visual effects like the rain on the windows and the transports flying overhead, but those things caused my computer to become very laggy. It also seemed like there were a lot of unfinished areas.

    I would have liked to see a map where the player had to climb up a great distance by using the gravity gun mechanic for freezing items, like maybe up the side of a mountain or building or something like that

  9. Maybe?

    I was originally working on an entry for GravityGunVille2 (I can assure you it was going to be drastically better than my last map), but due to a terrible cold I could not finish it. Nevertheless, I still played through and recorded the whole thing.

    I have made a full playthrough with deaths cut out, located here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_siYVtOrFk

    Multiverse Learning Center
    It is great!

    [Philip: if this shouldn’t be here please remove it.]
    This tutorial was a lot better than I expected. There was a lot of detail added to it, the concepts were explained well and it didn’t feel like a generic, boring ‘do this now this’ tutorial. The sketches and signs were made well, and made great additions to the map. This could have just been a couple of rooms showing what the new components do (similar to the ‘zoo’ developer map, but with more detail) and finished up, but the creator decided to step up a little and add some lore, more interesting puzzles and detail. If more tutorials are made for future RTSL challenges, I look forward to them.

    Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
    It is great!

    This entry was quite enjoyable. The atmosphere was nice, the map was very detailed and the combat was well-made and fun. Two tracks of custom music were added, which was quite impressive. My biggest issues with this map was the underuse of the gravity gun (the only thing you really need it for is pushing the car) and the hordes of zombies that sometimes just weren’t fun to fight. The map was generally quite short as well. Nevertheless, I still think this was one of the best entries in the Ville.
    Yes, I’m aware of the death hole.

    Ashtown by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is bad

    (I know you’re reading matt. I’ll try to go easy on this.)
    I can see the potential in this map, but there are a multitude of issues that plague it. The obvious one is optimization. On an Intel Core i7 4770k with a GTX 970, I had drastic frame drops and some sections of the map were barely playable. There are also a multitude of map-breaking bugs scattered around the map; the HEV suit container does not open despite the animation playing, and the elevator at the end of the map does not work. The texturing threw me off a little as well; during the gravity gun puzzles, the ceiling texture was black with stars scattered throughout it. If it was intended to be a sky, it was obvious it wasn’t. I spotted a few leaks here and there, most notably around the beginning of the map on the streets.
    Another major issue is the filesize. The map was 200 megabytes. For reference, all of Undertale, including the assets (textures, sounds, music, etc), scripts, the full GameMaker engine and everything else in the game is around 400 megabytes. The largest map in GravityGunVille2, Citadel, is only around 34 megabytes. (Tip: you may want to use a source repacking tool, like CompilePal in combination with PackBSP to reduce filesize drastically).
    I’m not giving this It’s Dire; I only save that for ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse (no cubemaps, node graph out of date, leaks and no skybox/obvious cutoffs) maps and troll maps. I can see effort was put into this. However, this has major map-breaking issues that need to be addressed before it can score an It’s Okay or even an It’s Good.

    Banshee by OctaGear
    It is okay

    This map was…. Okay. Not really much to say about it, honestly. The environment was nice; it had good prop placement and nice puzzles, but the map in general was simply bland. Having no combat is completely acceptable as long as the rest of the map is stimulating, but in this case, it wasn’t. The only ambience sound-wise was a looping alarm, which eventually just got a little annoying. The primary puzzle was just a variation on the overused ‘make a bridge with frozen props’ puzzle, which isn’t very fun or creative.

    Also: ‘You escaped savely ~’.

    Fuel Me Once by Dirk Destiny
    It is good

    This map was good; if it was a little longer it’d score an it’s great. The coast environment was quite nice, and although the primary puzzle was still a variation on the prop bridge puzzle, it was still quite enjoyable. The combat was okay, although killing the hunters was quite easy.
    There are a couple major issues with this map: First of all, the playerclip across the ramp was not obvious and I died a couple times to it. The gate you’re supposed to go through looked like it was part of the environment (this would be okay if the alternative wasn’t dying). I also took a couple minutes to find the switch for the fuel dispenser, as I assumed it was just part of the prop.

    Citadel by Sockman
    It is good

    This is so close to being an It’s Great map, but there’s one major issue: design. The puzzles were quite fun and creative, bringing in something new after all of the ‘prop bridge’ puzzles. However, the atmosphere was bland, with one looping sound and ambient track, and a combination of only using a few textures over and over and using the same cube for each puzzle made the map a little dry.
    The puzzles themselves were great, but not exactly superb. They were fun, but relatively simple for the most part; for example, sending a cube out of a window, freezing it and grabbing it from the other side. The last puzzle I got through by quickly grabbing the cube away from the laser and out of the door in the short window I had. I’m not sure if that was intentional. The pure white section at the end of the map also took away from the experience. In general, despite the lack of detail it’s worth a play and is the longest in the ville.

    Climber by Conner Bray AKA Bedlams‹
    It is dire!

    Remember when I said I’d only use It’s Dire for ‘four horsemen of the apocalypse’ maps and trolls?
    Guess what: This is both!
    (I also saw the author boasting before release, stating that this would be by far the best map of the Ville and his personal best map.)

    Collector by purplestakan
    It is good

    This map started off quite well. The design and atmosphere was very good, the headcrab placement made for interesting combat and the whole thing gave off an eerie vibe. I got stuck on the gas puzzle for longer than I’d like to admit (this was my fault; I kept using the wrong canister for some reason), but was still a good concept and let you explore the area a bit more. The music speaker activated by the switch in the control room combined with the atmosphere really freaked me out, even though it was an (obscure) radio sound packaged with HL2.
    And this is where it starts to get bad. After activating the switch, you need to go upstairs to a now-open door. However, this wasn’t obvious, and I died a few times as the gap between the two downstairs bridges wasn’t very large and looked jump-able. This could easily be fixed by simply keeping that door closed. The door upstairs leads to another bridge, which breaks as you step on it, causing you to fall to the other side of the downstairs bridge. However, there is a critical issue here: you take fall damage, and it isn’t avoidable. If you’ve taken too much damage beforehand, you have to either cheat or restart.
    You are then lead to an area filled with gas pipes. This area also fails in good level design, as after activating a switch a pipe explodes without warning, and causes you to take some more (almost) unavoidable damage. By the time the explosion was done I had around 13 health. This explosion opens a door, which leads you outside to a few combine snipers. You throw a gas can at these, you proceed to another building and within the hallways of the building the map just… stops. There’s no warning or fadeout whatsoever: it just ends. I took a look in hammer to see if this was a mistake, but it seems to be intentional. This is a bad way to end a map, and leaves it without a conclusion.

    If the map was extended a little more and the unavoidable damage was removed, it could deserve an It’s Great. It seems as if the last segment of the map was rushed through.

    Echo by Malavek
    It is good

    This was short but sweet. The prop placement and atmosphere was nice, and the combat was done well. The battery puzzle was a little annoying, as using the flashlight to find small objects gets dry quickly. The Antlion Guard fight was well made, with just enough space to move around while still not being too open and easy. My total playtime for this was close to 9 minutes; a little short, but not too bad.

    Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311
    It is great!

    I’d say this is the best map in the Ville. It took me some time to figure out how to open the first door, as opening it with the Gravity Gun wasn’t very obvious. From there, the map was great. The combat was well made and well paced, the ‘turret hallway’ was fun to navigate, and the secret doors scattered around with extra resources worked well. The prop placement was done well, adding both atmosphere and allowing utilization of the gravity gun. Once again, this suffered from the white room syndrome at the end, but otherwise: if the map was just a little longer, it would definitely deserve an It’s Wow.
    (One minor issue: props shouldn’t trigger the tripmine explosives around the end.)

    Summary

    In all honesty I’m a little disappointed in this Ville. Most entries weren’t bad, but at the same time most were bland and generally not very enjoyable. There were a couple goodies stuffed in here, but I’m not sure it’s worth a full play. The gravity gun was also quite underutilized. Citadel is a good example (but a little on the extreme side) of what the maps should have been more like. I still appreciate the effort put into these, and I’m excited for the next one (and the upcoming 2-month Special Challenge).

  10. This might be a little bit strange, but I get a weird crash when I try to open the options menu to resize the resolution. When clicking on it, the game freezes, then starts STEAM VR for some reason, and then it closes. Additionally it starts the Oculus Home program. I’ve never seen such a strange bug, but it would be cool if it would be fixed.

    1. Do you have an Oculus? This is the most common reason it happens.
      Try starting your game with -autoconfig, it will reset your video options and should get rid of that.

    2. OMG I have the same problem! Everytime I press on options on any source game it opens steamvr.

    3. Yes, I have an Oculus. I tried the “-autoconfig”, but it didn’t help unfortunately. I still got to play the mod though, because I was lucky one time when it didn’t crash. But I hope this wont happen in the next THC-Map-Packs. This sure needs to be fixed, PHILLIP. 😉

      1. I don’t think there’s much we can do about this VR thing. It’s a new issue caused by Valve for whatever reason and this happens with all Source games running on the 2013 engine.

  11. Phillip says Play It!

    It’s always hard with “two” Villes not to compare the second with the first. This mod should have been different as it included new features: the MechaCrab and Mertz Module.

    I won’t deny it and say I was disappointed overall with the entries. Some themes excite mappers, other excite players. This seemed to do neither.

    Here are my comments and playtimes for each entry.

    Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon
    It is great!

    The lighting and setting that this map begins with interesting. I was curious to explore this tunnel and hopefully find its secrets. There’s a section near the beginning where the atmospheric sounds switch on and off too abruptly and I was worried that the map wouldn’t be polished but I seemed to have been wrong.

    The general design of this map uses the gravity gun well and puts it in a real situation instead of a portal-type puzzle one.

    There were a few areas that the player could get to that should have been blocked, but that’s always a problem when objects are required for progression.

    The final battle was nicely done as it seemed fair but challenging. I particularly enjoyed the music.

    All in all, a very well made map that looked and sounded good, and played well too.

    Playtime: 26 minutes.

    Ashtown by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is okay

    The first thing to talk about here is the visual style. It’s harsh and has high contrast. It’s good to make things look different from other maps but I didn’t like the neon glare. The map areas look empty and plain in many cases.

    The main gameplay style is puzzle based and I had a little trouble collecting the gravity gun. After that it’s just a case of understand what to do and doing it.

    I know people will say that the obvious thing to use the gravity gun for is this sort of thing and sometimes this sort of thing is fun but in this case (lots of “this” in this review – God damn it!) I didn’t enjoy it very much.

    Overall, I think I understand what the author was aiming for but not only didn’t the mix of visual style and gameplay excite me but also the mix of visual styles within the map caused me to question the design choices.

    Playtime: 15 minutes.

    Banshee by OctaGear
    It is okay

    For me this is a map where the author can build environments but lacks experience in building experiences. I felt the visual language of the map lacked direction. Many times I was left wondering where to go and waht to do.

    Why did the power come on when I collected the gravity gun? How was I supposed to know that the vent, that looked blocked, was now open after I turned on the power? What if I had fallen into the gully before I had collected the Mertz Module?

    The mertz module was used in a very reasonable way to reach an area that would have been impossible with it, so that was good but overall I can’t help feeling that I was fighting against the mapper instead of against the environment.

    Playtime 10 minutes.

    Fuel Me Once by Dirk Destiny
    It is great!

    Putting aside my love of clever names, I felt this entry used the theme and Mertz Module really well. I particularly like the placement of the gnome as picking it up immediately showed the player that the door moved. This might have been obvious in other ways too, but I just liked this way.

    The scene once you pass the door is the kind of thing that gamers expect to see: areas to hide, areas to run, objects to use as weapons, especially with the gravity gun. It had limits but openness. Of course, this is where you save as you know that things are about to get interesting.

    In fact, the actual initial combat in this area is quite minor and the real combat comes later, but it’s the set up that’s important.

    Eventually, we find ourselves with a movement and flow puzzle. The room itself was well designed but the lights on the valves seemed a little harsh to me. It gave it that amateur look we so often see with bright colours.

    Anyway, once you solve the puzzles and the ladder one was very nice, you find yourself back outside and then the real party starts.

    To be honest, it was a little too easy for my liking but balancing fights can be difficult.

    All in all, I felt that this entry had a simple yet realistic setting and gave the player some clear and fun objectives.

    Playtime: 17 minutes.

    Citadel by Sockman
    It is great!

    As I mentioned earlier in this review, sometimes Portal-type maps can be fun and this one was. However, with such a specialised gameplay style, this only works if the player enjoys puzzles. I do but my favourite ones are the one set in standard settings rather than “puzzle arenas”, like this.

    Now it sounds as if I didn’t enjoy this but I did. As each “chamber” was passed the difficulty progression was balanced really well. Obviously, that means that each chamber was more complex and challenging. As they went on I started to enjoy them less and less.

    The map finished at about the right time for me and I was left with a feeling of accomplishment rather than bordem.

    In summary, I very good entry, that was really well designed and built but I certainly couldn’t play too many of these maps in one sitting.

    Playtime: 45 minutes – two sittings.

    Climber by Conner Bray AKA Bedlams​
    It is dire!

    My mapping challenges are to encourage, challenge, limit, push and help modders become better. Sometimes entries are less poished than their creators would like. Sometimes entrants are new to mapping and use the challenges to force them to actually release something. In all cases, benefit is gained.

    However, and I hate to say this, in this case the entry was a complete waste of time, both the author’s and the players’. It’s possible to get stuck right at the beginning but punting the pallet too far away from the player. Sure, that’s a stupid thing to do, but that’s not the point.

    The visual aspect has no redeeming features and the gameplay is unimaginative.

    I really don’t want to sound horrible, but this is without doubt, in my mind at least, the worst entry for any challenge.

    The author needs to make maps and be inspired by other maps and map makers but not enter things like this in a competition. It can only server to discourage them. Unless of course it was entered as a joke in which case, nobody but the author is laughing.

    Playtime: 3 minutes and that was too long.

    Collector by purplestakan
    It is good

    I’ve already complained about not being shown where to go and what to do by the mapper in previous reviews and I feel that this map suffers from the same issue. There’s no indication of what action causes what other action. It took me ages to understand that two doors are opened by providing the generator with gasoline not one. Before that I tried sending the lift up and dropping down into the floor below. It’s possible but there’s nothing there.

    Then, in the room with the large cylinders, it again took ages to understand I had to start a fire by using the now red-lit panel – which I do not feel is intuitive.

    Eventually, I understand that I need to run like heck to escape the snipers only to find the most abrupt ending imaginable. What a disappointment.

    All in all, the start seemed interesting but I’ve left with a feeling of frustration.

    Playtime: 25 minutes – half of it spent retracing my steps in case I missed something!

    Echo by Malavek
    It is okay

    At first, I thought that the Combine button saved the game and I was thinking “That’s a neat idea. It keeps it in universe.” Alas, I was wrong. My biggest issue with this map was its combat. There’s a section with an antlion guard that is a total waste of time. Not only is it not set up very well, but it’s no fun or challenge at all. Immediately after, a door opens and three Combine soldiers just stand waiting to be killed. There’s another two not long after.

    The outside areas are very plain and the frequent autosave slightly annoying.

    I feel that the author tried to include too many ideas and none of them seemed to work out very well.

    All in all, I didn’t have much fun with this one.

    Playtime: about 15 minutes.

    Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311
    It is great!

    This was a little confusing at first because the first door needing to be opened with the gravity gun was not made clear. After that, the same mechanic was used quite well. The prison or asylum is well made and fun to play around. The boss battle was not as satisfying as the area led me to believe and the ending was also a little frustrating but overall I did enjoy playing this.

    Playtime: 12 minutes.

    Summary

    As nearly always, a mixed bag of entries. Some did what I hoped they would do and use the GG in realistic situations and others didn’t. Obviously, we hoped for more use of the Mertz Module and perhaps we will see that in future challenges and even independent releases.

    There was not one standout entry or clear winner for me, so it will be very interesting to see what the other judges think.

  12. Unq
    Maybe?

    This challenge was a little underwhelming but the last chunk of Hammer/Lambda Cup challenges have been just awesome so this had a lot to live up to. Still worth playing, and hopefully mappers will continue to experiment with the Mertz Module in future challenges.

    Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon

    A nice solid map here. I liked the mix of the crowbar and magnum at the start, it’s an unusual combination I think and I personally save magnum ammo as much as possible in HL2 so I was crowbarring the hell out of everything but it’s a great backup weapon to have. And I generally really liked the use of the grav gun here – yes, there’s one stacking puzzle but otherwise the enemy selection and pacing really lends itself to grav gun combat.

    The map had a good mix of areas (would’ve loved to see a more fleshed out trainyard though!) and the pacing was well done. I liked the finale although it felt a bit cramped – but that added a bit to the challenge given that some of the items there were explosive. Good use of sound & custom music too.

    Ashtown by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon

    This map had some interesting ideas but also serious issues. Of course, the performance was really poor in the opening city area. I do appreciate the vision for this area and thought it did look really cool – but at the cost of decent framerates. And some of the visual language is really puzzling. For example, there are some areas highlighted in an odd red light that are totally unimportant, but the bizarre button on the ceiling was fairly unobtrusive and I got stuck after getting the gg since I never noticed the button.

    But beyond that, the largest flaw is probably the lack of a theme or consistent ideas here. There’s an odd mix of encounters here with not much flow among them, and then once you get the AR2 there’s little incentive to use anything else. Add to that strange decisions like not making the short fence by the car jumpable – even with an object frozen to jump on – and those sparks in the middle of the elevator ride and you have a very strange experience in this map. My main advice would be to decide on a theme or setting and explore that fully – this map instead feels like an amalgamation of pieces and ideas that don’t really work well together.

    Banshee by OctaGear

    Pretty short puzzle map here. I liked the setting for the map and the consistency of the areas you go through. I also liked the use of the freeze module, and the puzzles included for it were straightforward and nothing out of the ordinary. I found the ladders to be trouble – like the one to get out of the pipe trench was really dodgy and it was hard to get out of there easily to go back and get the freeze module.

    Pretty much all I have to say about this map. Some nice ideas but there isn’t much meat here.

    Fuel Me Once by Dirk Destiny

    Another (mostly) puzzle map here. I generally thought this was a decent map, but I have to admit I was stuck on getting the garage door at the start open – it just didn’t occur to me to ‘grab’ it with the grav gun (I kept trying to punt + freeze and it just didn’t freeze high enough). It’s not a huge problem but it doesn’t work like any other door we’ve come across before. I did like the fuel room set of puzzles (first rinse out the toxic sludge, then send the fuel through the pipes). It might have been communicated a little better but I thought it was well laid out requiring the freeze module in at least one spot.

    The judges’ version had a flat road leading to a tunnel with a black wall, I’m glad this was updated to include a jump that you could only clearly make once you got the buggy fueled and running.

    Citadel by Sockman

    A real gem of a puzzle map here. Yes, it’s Portal-inspired. But the author really explored the different ways to build puzzles using the freeze module and I thoroughly enjoyed this map. I do wish the Combine architecture was a little less blocky but overall it looked good. And the lasers could have used some sprucing up, with sprites and sounds to help give them presence. But the puzzle design is spot-on here, with good ramp up of difficulty as you proceed, and a reasonably complicated finale.

    Its main fault is that it’s deserving of a much better title.

    Climber by Conner Bray AKA Bedlams‹

    Sorry, there’s not much in this map worth salvaging. Not the design, the combat, the layout, certainly the look, anything. It’s too basic and not worth your time.

    Collector by purplestakan

    Some strange choices made in the design of this map. It’s mostly puzzle with the exception of the 2 snipers in the final area. I can’t say I enjoyed this map much, as I said due to the strange choices. First, only one of the buttons in the elevator works (why?) – which took me a long time to figure out. Then there’s the completely makable jump over the chasm, if it weren’t clipped off by the mapper. Why?
    This kind of stuff really breaks immersion and really frustrates players.

    At least in the sniper area there are a couple ways to handle the situation – either run and try to break through the prop barricade quickly, or poke around and find a few gas cans you can use to take the snipers out. It’s a decent idea buried in a map of not so decent ideas.

    Echo by Malavek

    First, I have to say the SAVED… notifications right on top of the crosshair are obnoxious and unwelcome. Otherwise I found this map to be decent. I didn’t like the battery puzzle in the dark when the batteries were just in the 2 preceding rooms. The destroyed train area was cool but in general in this map I felt totally overpowered. There are multiple sets of health/HEV chargers, and that train area has about a dozen explosive objects – so if you’re clever you can just take those with you after the guard encounter. This really trivializes the combat with the Combine. This map was pretty coherent and well put together, but it could use some more tuning in balancing the combat.

    Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311

    Pretty good map here. The main nitpick I have is the first door you have to go through. It didn’t occur to me to punt it with the grav gun to open it, again this is something I don’t think we’ve done before in the HL2 games. This could have been communicated better simply by having the door ajar. Beyond that, this is a solid Nova Prospekt style map featuring a good mix of puzzles (e.g. how to approach the turrets) and combat. I especially liked the final battle, 2 hunters initially felt like too much but there were a lot of options given to the player in that area.

  13. Think Twice

    I’m shocked to be giving a Ville challenge this bad a score, but between obtuse puzzles, tired nods to Portal, a new gameplay gimmick that’s less fun than a paper cut, and one map that doesn’t even run, there’s just nothing to recommend here.

    The Mertz Module is the new gameplay mechanic du jour. It lets you freeze objects held by the gravity gun in place. Use it to lift gates and pin them out of the way; lift ladders into place to climb up to platforms; or pin physics props in place to use as platforms in jumping puzzles. If that sounds tedious and entirely un-fun, that’s because it is. The best maps in the pack are the ones which didn’t use the Mertz Module at all.

  14. Urban Decay by Ian Spadin AKA Idolon

    The entry is decently paced, starting slow with simple crowbar-driven encounters until the player acquires a gravity gun, ramping up to an suitably climactic fight against waves of various zombies in an fairly cramped room. Aesthetically, the area is divided between the immediate environments appearing appropriately Ravenholmish while being somewhat awkwardly situated in the middle of more metropolitan surroundings. The overall gameplay involves snaking around and through two large buildings, dipping in and out, and eventually ending up back at the other side of a sewer grate from the beginning, providing a decent enough set of bookends to the experience.

    On the whole, the map is attractive and enjoyable. It doesn’t try anything particularly ambitious (and does not include the new, optional Stasis Crystal upgrade for the gravity gun) but it is well made and feels like it could comfortably stand as part of a larger chapter.

    Ashtown by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon

    This entry is a confusing mishmash of aesthetics: old world eastern european, combine reappropriation thereof, and also brightly-lit skyscraper sci-fi. Despite depicting continued combine control, the bright whites and flying cars don’t match the established combine style enough to suggest that it’s an extrapolation of their rule. I might be overthinking this. Aside from the main avenue vista, the remainder of the map appropriately uses more conventional Half-Life 2 style environments.

    After a slow start, the map establishes a decent enough sequence of exploration, puzzles, then combat. Though the Stasis ability is largely ignored just as soon as the player has demonstrated an understanding of it, the combat does allow for some gravity gun flinging alongside normal shooting. Overall this entry is fairly underwhelming. It’s a slow start, a slow conclusion, and little flow through. In some way this map is poorly optimized, stuttering almost the entire way through. It has some other graphical and audio glitches, and I experienced a softlock on my first attempt.

    Banshee by OctaGear

    A modest jaunt that is entirely oriented around using the gravity gun for environmental traversal. The lack of combat helps keep the player stay in the proper mindset, but does result in the entry feeling fairly one-note. This is not entirely a bad thing, as it would likely work within a larger mod as a lower-intensity breather between combat encounters. Visually, the entry is well designed. I particularly liked the triple overgrown silos, but the whole area has a strong sense of place to it, with good detail and ambience.

    As it is, it’s major shortcoming is simply its short length. It ends just as it feels like it’s starting to pick up momentum shortly after the acquisition of the Stasis Crystal.

    Fuel Me Once by Dirk Destiny

    A fairly short entry that succeeds by giving the player a clear goal to start, and largely straight-forward means to accomplish it, taking the player across a beach and to a fuel house, completing a simple but intuitive fuel-routing puzzle in order to get gas back to the pump. While not long enough to overstay its welcome, it does feel a little brief. The journey is decently detailed but extremely short, and two of the three combat encounters are on the lighter side of challenging.

    Overall, however, the map makes good use of its theme and the Stasis module in particular. The introductory gating test is very well done in its elegant efficiency, and using it to make a staircase was surprisingly entertaining. With just a few moments throughout the map, it keeps its relevance alongside the normal gravity gun functionality.

    Citadel by Sockman

    Essentially a series of Portal test chambers (sans portals, of course) set in a series of Citadel rooms. After getting over the slight initial shock of how well the cube, button and laser mechanics have been recreated in Half-Life, this entry settles in for a series of puzzles that make decent use of the gravity gun and the Statis Crystal module. While a lot of the puzzles are strikingly similar, the Stasis ability mixes things up enough with a few new kinds of puzzles to still require some thought and planning. At their worst, some of the trials are simple laser redirection just raised a few feet off the ground. At their best, however, they make clever use of the freezing mechanic in a way that forces you to think an extra step ahead.

    The entry doesn’t quite nail the look and atmosphere of the Citadel, and the singular focus on puzzles means there’s virtually no pacing or variety to speak of. That said, it’s an unexpected pleasant surprise and certainly does not outstay its welcome. Definitely Portal. Definitely not Half-Life. Definitely cool.

    Climber by Conner Bray

    This entry features a short, S-shaped path with two hunters and heavy barrels to easily dispatch them. The Hunters actually seem surprisingly slow to respond to the player’s presence — I’m not sure if their AI is not accustomed to starting engement with the player so close, or if there’s something else going on with that. After moving farther away, they engage normally. The player then uses the barrels to climb to a higher level, and pallets to bridge two gaps to reach a platform. The end.

    This entry is barely a level. It has no lighting, no ambience, no music. The only minor points in its favor are that it entirely uses the gravity gun and makes use of the Stasis ability. Beyond that, the overall quality suggests this to be from a brand new mapper. If so, keep at it.

    Collector by purplestakan

    Collector is attractive but aesthetically scattered and not evenly detailed. It goes from a White Forest-esque bunker to a very Black Mesa-like concrete shaft, up to two buildings and a courtyard that feel more in keeping with City 17. Those individual areas are generally appropriately designed, but the slightest bit incongruous alongside the rest of the map.

    This entry has a good assortment of moments that are sometimes awkwardly presented. The “put gas cans in the generator” sequence is okay, because the player quickly establishes that they are blocked by a number of closed doors. (The entire area already has power though, so any concept of “restore power to open the door” falls flat.) However, the later puzzle in the brick gas room is not as intuitive. Rather than having a clearly defined goal and coming across as “I need a way to open these doors. I’ll make some fire,” I found it to be simply using the only interactive objects until they did something — namely, light me on fire. It’s generally poor form to force the player to take damage. This entry does so twice, with a surprise fall from high enough to cause major injury, and a button that spawns a fire at your feet.

    Overall, though, there’s some exploration, mild puzzle solving, and a nice encounter with combine snipers. With the possibility of some more engaging combat for variety, this might feel like a better, more well-rounded level. Unfortunately, it ends extremely abruptly, just as it feels like it’s starting to pick up steam with the snipers.

    Echo by Malavek

    A decently atmospheric entry oriented around a subway station that has seemingly been repurposed by both resistance and combine. The opening leads into a dark, cramped middle section that alternates between feeling delightfully claustrophobic and tense and just kind of too dark and cramped, before climaxing with an entertaining and challenging boss fight of sorts.

    While the bulk of the map is combat focused, there are two well-timed interruptions to search for a way to open the barrier of the moment, both of which help with pacing immensely. That said, in any other map, I would imagine a fight with an antlion guard in a hopper-filled subway station would be the finale. Here, however, it’s followed by a subsequent fight with several combine that at first seems like it’s about to be an even *bigger* finale, but mostly just presents a few more enemies to kill before the player turns a corner and finds themself at the end.

    As a minor nitpick, the lighting is a little too varied, with the outside appearing fairly flat compared to other areas of more high-contrast light and dark, and still other areas or more comfortable diffuse lighting. Overall, though, Echo is nicely detailed and laid out. The early antlion encounter in particular serves as a nice foreshadowing for the later antlion guard fight. And the route takes the player on a suitably winding path around the station.

    Asylum by Alexandru AKA melc311

    For better and worse, this entry is essentially More Nova Prospekt. It looks great, taking its cue from and adhering closely to the style established in Half-Life 2 in every regard: architecture, lighting, atmosphere, ambience, and the overall tone and feel of its gameplay. Aside from a few novel moments (such as darting back and forward across the cell block to avoid the turrets, including using a floppy mattress as as a shield), a lot of the firefights (and particularly the electrified water room) feel almost interchangeably similar to its canon counterpart.

    That said, the gameplay is solid. It shifts comfortably between combine hallway gunfights, turret avoidance, simple platforming, and full-on combine+hunter combat. While player’s are already quite familiar with the horrors of the setting, Nova Prospekt’s moments of quiet, tense exploration are still missed here. The antlion-directing sequences are not. The addition of hunters in the final shower room fight kicks things up a notch and makes the fight remarkably more frantic and hilariously more fun with the additional of toilets and sinks that can be pulled off the walls and punted into enemies.

  15. Hec
    Play It Now!

    OK so, I have to say that I definitely liked GG Ville 2, more than the first release. You know, I am not a very enthusiast of the Gravity Gun, and neither is by far my favorite Hl2 weapon. So when I played maps or mods center on the Grav Gun I usually don’t like them that much.

    However, this time is different. Because I really enjoyed this whole competition. I guess The Mertz Module was absolutely great in my opinion. That little modification on the Grav Gun made it really interesting and fun to play again, rather than just throwing heavy or blunt stuff to the regular HL2 enemies.

    Overall I enjoyed this competition, as also had a good balance between puzzles and HL2 combat. I also think “Citadel” was a totally worthy winner. I also liked the rest entries on the podium. And the rest of the entries are just pretty well done too! I also liked those which used the Mertz Module, Though I’d like to see that addon in a bigger mod itself.

    So this is for sure a great entertaining competition you should try.

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