PhaseVille

for Half-Life 2: Episode Two

13th October 2018

Video games always feature various styles of gameplay. In this challenge we asked mappers to create a map that flowed through 3 phases. See the Theme Details section below for full details.

The resulting maps range from average to fantastic and the different interpretations of each phase is fascinating.

Get ready to play through 15 new maps!

Basic Details
  • Title: PhaseVille
  • Filename: sdk-2013-sp-tlc18-c4-phaseville.7z
  • Size : 202MB
  • Author: Jason Gimba AKA Maki, Mark AKA Strontvlieg, RockyB, AnonymoScoot, krassell, Jean Knapp AKA XBLAH, 1upD, Reid Laxdal AKA Mr. Sakamoto, Fwog Bootew, Sage J. Fox, matt71490 AKA Event Horizon, AKAJacob, Richard Greenslade AKA Greenman, Ilya Busha aka Ildarion
  • Date Released: 13 October 2018
Important Notes

Please read these carefully BEFORE playing.

  1. The bonus entry features the Stasis Crystal – a new gameplay feature introduced earlier this year. If you haven’t played a mod with this in, please play the Multiverse learning Center map FIRST.
  2. The Warlock Den requires players to use the secondary attack to change the bugbait mode.
  3. Facility 34 features a button to stop the one-bladed fan. Don’t be a fool like me and miss it!
  4. The bonus map, Hositalisation, was submitted only 9 hours after the deadline.

Download Options

Download to your HDD [201MB]

THIS VERSION CURRENTLY CAN NOT BE USED WITH GAUGE. SORRY

Patch 1.1 – Download to your HDD [5MB]

Patch 1.2 – Download to your HDD [4MB] Patch 1.1 Must be installed first.

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-c4-phaseville” folder into your “SourceMods” folder.
  • Restart or start Steam.
  • RTSL.TLC18.C4.PhaseVille 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:

PhaseVille-Review-Template.txt

Thank you.

Theme Details

The tagline of Half-Life is “Run. Think. Shoot. Live.” You should know that but not everybody does. That’s where the name of this website comes from.

One of my favourite Villes was RunThinkShootLiveVille. It allowed mappers a chance to create small sections, each with a clear objective; both for the mapper and the player. Each phase was clear, precise and compelling.

For this challenge, we would like you to choose one verb from each phase and blend them into a seamless whole map:
Phase 1: Find / Escape / Ride
Phase 2: Solve / Fight / Evade
Phase 3: Drive / Descend / Chase
Phase 4: Live / Die / Fate Unknown

We are looking for natural flow between each phase. You CAN NOT change the order of the phases.

You are allowed to replace ONE of the verbs in the first 3 phases with one of your own choosing. That’s one replacement total allowed, and it’s optional – so if you like the list you can stick to those choices.

Each phase CAN (optional!) be a different size than the others. Imagine your main phase is Descend. You can have two, smaller, but still clearly defined, earlier sections that are really just preludes to the main one. Or you can have each phase the same importance as each other.

Let me explain the final phase. This can be as short as you like. If the player lives, then make that explicitly clear. Have them walk off into the sunset or something similar.

If you choose to let the player die, try to make it fit the context. Make it mean something.

If their fate is unknown, choose that because you have a good reason, not because you couldn’t decide what to do.

If you haven’t already, then we recommend playing RunThinkShootLiveVille to see how previous entrants approached it, but don’t be limited by their work or copy it!

Name your map something OTHER than the 4 phases. For example, FindSolveDriveLive is NOT acceptable. It’s actually a good name but there is the possibility that another entrant will have the same name. Create a simple name that sounds interesting and relates to the content of your map.

There is one new rule this time [about affecting other maps], so please, please please, read all the rules carefully.

Stasis Crystal

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.

Full details can be found on the challenge announcement page.

Deadline

The deadline for submission was 11pm GMT Monday 24th September 2018

Entries

Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself:

Multiverse Learning Center by Dalannar (Tutorial map, not part of the challenge)
Found by Fwog Bootew
Relic 17 by RockyB
Mutual Place by Tabajara77
Hidden Variables by 1upD
Hunted by Richard Greenslade AKA Greenman
Break In by Sage J. Fox
Warlock Den by krassell
Pit-Stop by AKAJacob
Last Train From Ravenholm by Reid Laxdal AKA Mr. Sakamoto
Facility 34 by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
Prospekt Blues by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
Off-World Relocation by Jean Knapp AKA XBLAH
Attack of The Killer Combine by matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
Singularity by AnonymoScoot
Bonus: Hospitalisation by Ilya Busha aka Ildarion

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: Mutual Place by Tabajara77: 87 Points
  2. Second: Prospekt Blues by Maki: 86 Points
  3. Third: Off-World Relocation by Jean Knapp AKA XBLAH: 78 Points

Note: Abraham was unable to judge and score this challenge due to personal circumstances. Dolmo has kindly stepped in as a replacement judge.

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

Judges

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

Community Poll

Time for you to share your thoughts! Vote for your top 3 PhaseVille maps. Poll closes 30th November 2018.

Which are are 3 favourite maps from PhaseVille?

View Results

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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.

Credits

Niker107 created the Mertz Module models.
Dalannar created the Multiverse Learning Center map and Salamancer created various custom textures for it.
Thanks to all of you for working on such short notice!
Caleb West AKA CW3D: https://soundcloud.com/user-747330145 created the extended remix of Brane Scan originally by Kelly Bailey from Half-Life 2

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

Steam Grid View Images

There are 3 custom gridview image included in this release.
To use it, switch your Steam Library view to Grid View. Right click on RTSL.THC2018.C4.PhaseVille and chose “Set Custom Image”. Click “browse” when a small windows appears and navigate to your SourceMods folder and the “sdk-2013-sp-tlc18-c4-phaseville/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

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.C4.PhaseVille 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_c4.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.

Playthrough Screenshots

Coming soon.

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

7 recommendations, average score: 4.86 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.12 (what's that?)
Total Downloads
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    Overall
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Meta Review Data
Statistics based on 7 comment(s) with meta review data.

Installed:
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 7 Users

Time Taken:
Average: 3 Hours, 29 Mins
Shortest: 2 Hours, 30 Mins by crowbar
Longest: 4 Hours, 30 Mins by Winterman
Total Time Played: 24 Hours, 25 Mins
If you believe this release is missing important tags, please suggest them in a comment?
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29 Comments

  1. Phillip says Play It!

    It’s always fun to start a new Ville. In some ways better than other types of mods as you know you are going to get a variety of map entries.

    This release contains some average and some great ones. The review below is based on the maps submitted before the deadline. The maps you play may differ slightly.

    Found by Fwog Bootew
    It is good

    This was pretty fun to play and certainly longer than I expected. I found the initial phase a little underwhelming and the ride aspect could have been more fun. The design of the cart restricted the view too much and it was simply possible to crouch and avoid any damage.

    As much as I did quite enjoy it, I found each area quite annoying and the use of the helicopter dropping bombs just overkill.

    I nearly stopped at the part with the toxic waste as the right-hand ladder did not function and I got stuck at the bottom. Fortunately, the author had put autosaves in some good places.

    The final battle was too easy, even for me.

    All in all, a good level with some nice touches but it felt too much like a group of areas joined together rather than a flowing whole.
    Playtime: 23 minutes

    Relic 17 by RockyB
    It is okay

    Loved the start. It’s always nice to play something a little different and this was. Returning to my apartment gave me a jump and I truly was curious. The “jumps” left me wanting more and the main section was well-built, although I panicked a little when the battery simply disappeared.
    The section section could have been fantastic but really was almost no fun to play. The ending left me more frustrated than anything.

    All in all, a clever entry that had some good ideas but it almost feels as though the author cut it short.
    Playtime: 10 minutes

    Mutual Place by Tabajara77
    It is great!

    From the moment you start playing it’s clear that a lot of effort was put into this. Everything feels right. The citizens talking to you, the size of the areas etc, all go towards making the map feel real. The combat is fun, but you can play at your speed, which I always appreciate.

    The join between areas is well done and the Gman leading you is timed to perfection. I particularly enjoyed being teased with the crossbow.

    All in all, a very enjoyable and well-built map.
    Playtime: 26 minutes

    Hidden Variables by 1upD
    It is good

    I’m not a fan of ship or underwater settings, so this map had to work hard to convince me and it did. The situation was defined and I had my objective. I took my time and never felt rushed. The underwater sections gave me enough time to look around without dying, which I appreciated. The combat in the main hall was quite interesting with the humanoid enemies disappearing every now and again. I felt it could have been a little more challenging though.

    The underwater suit overlay was pretty simple but enough to make me believe I had a different suit on. I would have liked to have faced some interesting situations now that I didn’t have to worry about breathing but alas that sections ends too early.

    All in all, I did enjoy this map but felt the enemies and environments were not taken advantage of enough.
    Playtime: 14 minutes

    Hunted by Richard Greenslade AKA Greenman
    It is bad

    It’s never nice to right reviews that say you don’t like a map. The author went to the trouble of making and submitting it, but I just can’t bring myself to like this. You can see out of the map almost immediately, and I am not talking about the invisible doors. The whole thing felt empty, rushed and quick. of course, the author might have used only a very short time to make it, but as a player, all I care about is what I play, not how long it took to make.

    All in all, not a very good map and wasn’t much fun to play.
    Playtime: 15 minutes

    Break In by Sage J. Fox
    It is okay

    Wait, what! A Portal cube and woman? Gotta be one of the weirdest things I’ve seen in a mod for a long time. It set the scene quite well. The puzzles to enter the crypt was really nicely done and the respawning petrol cannisters was sensible. The general feeling of the map was quite good but like a few maps in this mod, the ending was too abrupt. I did like the final scene though.

    All in all, quite an interesting map to play, but not one that really excited me.
    Playtime: 15 minutes

    Warlock Den by krassell
    It is great!

    I spent 21 minutes and I couldn’t get out of the first room. I had to ask the author for help. USE THE SECONDARY FIRE! Once the map starts properly, it was great. A very clever way of adding new mechanics. Phase 3 was a little disappointing but the map could certainly be expanded into a mod itself.
    Playtime: 21 minutes

    Pit-Stop by AKAJacob
    It is okay

    I speed ran this. I don’t know why but as soon as it started it just seemed like this huge area that didn’t invite me to explore and take my time. I’m glad I did. The idea of a snowy, cliff Combine base seems pretty cool but the whole thing is too blocky. Nothing feels real and proportional. I get a little annoyed at a room full of ammo and the HEV, so that didn’t help.

    To be honest, I couldn’t really tell you the phases as it just seemed like one buig RUN!

    All in all, I didn’t particularly enjoy this map.
    Playtime: 16 minutes

    Last Train From Ravenholm by Reid Laxdal AKA Mr. Sakamoto
    It is okay

    The start was certainly intriguing but became convoluted in what I thought was a silly way. There was some humour in the middle, but overall it was not very well lit and only quite fun to play. The final text became unreadable as the screen turned white.

    All in all, I had high hopes that quickly faded.
    Playtime: 11 minutes

    Facility 34 by Mark AKA Strontvlieg
    It is good

    The prison section was acceptable but didn’t really excite me, until the appearance of the manhack crates. That was wonderful. It allowed some interesting situations where the player could be aggressive or defensive. The central spinning area was just too difficult for me and I died so many times that I lost count. I cheated to get past that part. On another playthrough I found a room that allowed you to stop the fan blade and now I feel stupid.

    All in all, this map contained some cool ideas and they joined together nicely but that jumping area spoiled the overall impression for me.
    Playtime: 13 minutes

    Prospekt Blues by Jason Gimba AKA Maki
    It is WOW!

    This is a perfect example of quality of quantity. 9 minutes of high-class action. Everything is beautifully lit and designed, the gameplay is interesting and the final section shows the author really knows how to introduce new ways of killing the enemy!

    Definitely a map you will want to replay.
    Playtime: 9 minutes

    Off-World Relocation by Jean Knapp AKA XBLAH
    It is great!

    The conceptual grandness of this entry was its outstanding feature. You play through some very detailed Combine areas and I had a lot of fun. The whole area is fun to play as well as challenging. I apologise for the short review but let me finish by saying that Jean has created what I consider to be his best map.
    Playtime: 11 minutes

    Attack of The Killer Combine by matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
    It is okay

    I recognized the author of this map almost immediately as one areas looked very familiar. The author seems to have developed his style and is reluctant to change it, which is a shame because I believe his maps are let down not by his technical ability but design choices.

    It felt too much like simply going from room to room and having something strange happen to you. I liked the idea of the de-saturation but with most of the area looking the same it was hardly worth it.

    Playtime: 8 minutes

    Singularity by AnonymoScoot
    It is okay

    I believe this lacked beta testing. I managed to go the wrongway at the beginning and got to the part where I need the GG. Anyway, I actually enjoyed this map more than most of the other maps. I really liked the ambience. Too many areas were right-angled rooms that spoilt the feeling of a Combine location but it was still fun to play. I don’t know whether the author knows that the final puzzle can simply be avoided or whether the route I took was a reward for checking first!
    All in all, a nice change of pace and style.
    Playtime: 14 minutes

    Bonus: Hospitalisation by Ilya Busha aka Ildarion
    It is great!

    This was submitted just 9 hours after the deadline and it’s such a shame it didn’t get submitted in time. It features the longest gameplay and I had a blast playing it. There are two sections, the inside and outside, and I have to admit I rushed the outside section.

    This map also features the Stasis Crystal which was used in a cool way.

    I think this is my favourite map of the whole bunch. It’s worth a second or third playthrough!
    Playtime: 30 minutes

    Summary

    This is another highly succesful theme and mod. There are some great entries and I enjoyed most of them. I would struggle to decide what each and every phase was from all the maps, but they were all inventive.

    As always, thanks to the authors for submitting their entries.

  2. Play It Now!
    FOUND
    It is okay

    This map consistently crashes for me during the gunship battle, even in the updated version where this is supposed to be fixed. Visually the map is not bad, but a little all over the place, inconsistent, and the lighting could be better. The entry immediately starts with a long “elevator” ride, but this part simply doesn’t work. You can ignore a lot of enemies, you can spam the medkit container to stay at maximum health all the time, and later when the chopper attacks it becomes really awkward. It’s impossible to avoid damage from the chopper, because there is always gonna be some mine under the thing that will damage you, so it’s a race against time, you have to kill the chopper as quickly as possible and keep spamming mines. It’s also simply boring, because you can’t move for a really long time and just point and shoot.

    After this section another combat section starts, but the author used “vortal combat” as the music for some reason, which doesn’t fit at all, since you only fight a few enemies here and there. A garage door explodes, but the combine behind that isn’t even facing outside, but is fighting zombine instead, so what blew up the door? That is the main problem of this entry, everything is so artificial. The physics puzzle with the ramp was really awkward. Giving me a rocket launcher with infinite ammo against a few headcrabs and zombies is really pointless. The there is the gunship battle, which is a fairly simple and standard battle, but then the entry crashes. It’s not the worst entry, but I didn’t enjoy it.

    RELIC 17
    It is okay

    When the text “Good, I’ll come back later” appears on the screen, I have no idea what I am supposed to do and just have to guess. Intuitively I could just wait until the laundry is finished, but obviously the entry wants me to do something else, which I can’t know. So since the only option left is to go back, I do that, but it’s not intentional. The first phase of this entry is “FIND”, but I never felt like I found something, because I never was looking for something. I just randomly stumbled upon something I couldn’t identify. Besides, the whole laundry part doesn’t seem like it contributes to any of this.

    The valves to turn off the steam don’t rotate, but are actually buttons. There are small physics props lying around that aren’t marked as debris, which means I keep getting stuck on them. The conveyor belt isn’t really a conveyor belt, there is simply a trigger_push. Things like that make the entry feel unpolished. The second phase is “SOLVE”, but there wasn’t much to solve, the puzzles almost solved themselves, since there isn’t much I can do anyway, I just do the only thing I can at the time to progress. The valve puzzle is the only one that really qualifies as a puzzle, but even that was too simple for my taste.

    The “DESCEND” phase takes place in an interesting enviroment, but I think it’s too short. The author writes in the readme that he couldn’t spend more time on the map because his dog passed away (really sorry for you), so it’s completely understandable why the ending was so abrupt, but at the end I have to judge what is there. The “FATE” phase is basically non-existant and is just implied.

    Personally the phases were too independent of each other for my taste. I couldn’t figure out if there was more meaning to the whole entry, but it was compact and interesting. Visually it’s solid, with a few small problems here and there like weirdly aligned textures. A solid entry that is worth playing.

    MUTUAL PLACE
    It is good

    The entry makes good use of existing enviroments from the main game, without it feeling cheap. The station at the beginning feels lively, but I don’t like how you have to walk towards the combine that is blocking the path which then lets you through for no apparent reason. Why did he block that path in the first place? How am I supposed to know that I am supposed to go there (other than that it’s the only place I can go).

    The readme unfortunately doesn’t tell me what the phases for this entry are, but I guess the first one is “ESCAPE”. I also have to suspend my disbelief too much when there is only a single combine soldier that is escorting three people in a small elevator. The ambient music from the beginning of the entry still continues even after you are rescued, but I don’t think it fits anymore after that part.

    Moving around the part with the fan on the tiny ledges is awkward. I really love how the combine architecture is woven into the normal human architecture. The second phase is “SOLVE” and I think it’s a success, even though it’s a little too short for my taste, but I like how you have to reuse the same puzzles element again.

    The way the player gets access to the suit is really cool, but you are stuck in that room for way too long until the map progresses. It also doesn’t provide interesting combat when the door finally opens. A lot of the combat is “peek around the door” style combat, which is too simple if it’s the only type of combat. The music is chosen well for the first encounter. However I don’t like how another song starts right after this section. That is too much, and I don’t think the second song fits.

    I like that the entry doesn’t give me too many supplies, but often too many enemies are crammed into tiny spaces, and sometimes you even get ambushed from behind for no reason and with no warning. A lot of sections here feel like they are pretty much copied and pasted from the official maps. Even if they are built from scratch, I am presented with the exact same combat setups as in the official game, often just not as polished or balanced.

    The room where the combine soldier barricaded himself with an explosive barrel seems completely random and artificial and I don’t understand why the author decided to have this. The sewer section is detailed really well, but it becomes monotone after a while. I don’t know what the second and third phase is supposed to be. This whole part also started to become boring honestly, because there isn’t much I can do, I just follow the path.

    The Half-Life 1 reference was a little too obvious and I hoped that the entry subverts my expectation here. The ending also seems completely random. It is presented well though.

    HIDDEN VARIABLES
    It is good

    The entry makes it very clear that the first phase is “FIND”, which is good. The doors which open with valves take a little too long for my taste. You also get stuck in a weird way when those doors open. Right at the start you can shoot the combine soldiers through the window, creating an awkward situation. I don’t like the music the entry starts with, but it’s nothing I would rate it down for. The valves you have to find are positioned a little to simplistic for my taste. I would have prefered if each of them had a small puzzle and weren’t just lying around. What is the point of spreading them at that point.

    The entry creates a good cargo ship atmosphere, but it’s a little too simple visually most of the time. The lighting often isn’t great, but overall it’s acceptable. The diving suit doesn’t look like one, but at least the author went through the effort of actually changing the look of the HEV suit, making it clear that the diving suit is something else. The combat section afterwards could have used a little more cover, but at least the amount of enemies feels balanced. This whole area clearly recreates a section from Half-Life 1, which by itself would be very unspectacular, but the enemies also can go invisible just like the black ops assassins, which is cool.

    The entry switches a little too abruptly between songs for my taste, but the individual songs fit their sections well. The entry has clear phases, but they don’t feel independent of each other, which is good. I don’t know if I like the ending yet, because when the entry simply kills the player at the end, it just feels like the author is showing me the finger for no reason, but in this case the author at least had a cool idea for a finale and obviously it was one of the possible phases for the end, so I’ll let it pass for this entry.

    Overall a good and compact entry.

    HUNTED
    It is okay

    The fog values are simply incorrect. There are definitive values for each skybox which you can find in the valve developer community. There are a lot of places in this entry where you can weirdly look outside the playable area. Sure, maybe the author didn’t have enough time, but why didn’t he simply block off these gaps in the walls with a random wooden plank or something like that. It’s so extreme that almost feels intentional.

    Weapon placement is really random. It’s really easy to miss the Magnum. There is no clear goal or flow through the level. When the combat starts way too many enemies are spawned and most of the time you are forced to fight them through tiny chokepoint which is really dull. The author also used the song “Vortal Combat”, I couldn’t think of a less fitting song for this simple fight, it doesn’t deserve it, especially considering how abruptly the fight ends (just like it started). The ending feels random and unsatisfying, but the cutscene is okay.

    BREAK IN
    It is okay

    The soundscape at the start feels very out of place for this graveyard area. The displacement work for the floor is really weak, it doesn’t look good and makes movement awkward. The author also used the worst grass texture that is available in the game for some reason. I don’t like the first puzzle. The author wants me to destroy the wooden planks, but I don’t get explosives for it, I get gas cans. These are normally not used to destroy things in the enviroment, only to burn things.

    The weird fire place doesn’t help, because it’s so abstract. I’m sure there is some barrel prop with a proper fireplace that would be way better, but even if not there are way better solutions. The second fireplace that isn’t burning implied to me at first that I have to light that one up, because it is so abstract.

    I like the skull heaps in the crypt area, but the crypt was a little too clean for my taste. It is extremely easy to miss the crowbar, because the placement is so awkward for no reason. When you ring the bell there is no feedback that something happen, so you just have to guess and go back down the ladder. The author really cheated with the phases in this entry. The first phase is supposed to be “LEAP”. I guess that is just the intro? You don’t even see the leap, it’s just implied in the fade from black.

    The second phase is “SOLVE”, but as I said the puzzle isn’t well made and it’s just a single puzzle. The third phase is “DESCEND”, but I don’t see a descend except when you go down the ladder, but that tiny section doesn’t qualify as a phase for me (but technically it does according to the rules). The “FATE UNKNOWN” phase at the end is more like the author didn’t knew how to end the entry, so something random happens.

    WARLOCK DEN
    It is okay

    Oh man what a map. I like how the player is introduced into the map, but the map itself didn’t work for me at all. It’s a cool idea to give the player different abilities, it’s something I haven’t seen before, and in theory these abilities should be fun to use, especially because they are so powerful, but that is exactly the problem. Every time I used the ability with the exploding grenades, I had to pray that I don’t get caught by some random grenade, because there are just way too many that fly around the entire map. You can easily drain almost your entire health bar because you were simply unlucky with a single grenade explosion that launched another grenade towards you. And the thing is, it’s completely pointless that these abilities are so powerful, because the enemies die much earlier anyway, and there aren’t that many enemies.

    If this was a big open enviroment with tons of enemies, this ability maybe would make more sense. I’m also not a fan of the amount of abilities. I think some of them are not that useful and unecessarily pollute the ability pool, which you have to keep cycling through. This becomes tedious and discourages me from trying the other abilities again, so I stick to the simplest and easiest ones that help me through. Maybe the author realized this problem himself, because they are millions of healthpacks around this map, but that’s just fighting the symptomes instead of the problem itself.

    I also don’t think it’s a good idea to make health the resource for the abilities, since when you have very little health left, you have to simply kill yourself, since there is no option to fight enemies without spending health. Maybe a cooldown for the abilities would be better, maybe that would even encourage me to use other abilities, I don’t know. At first the map also doesn’t tell you how to switch spells. The vortigaunt spell is completely unrealiable. The armor spell is tedious and unnecessary. Using the bullet shield spell and switching back to the damage spell takes so long that instead you could just use the damage spell immediately and kill the enemies instantly. I like though how each spell has a sound which plays when you switch to it.

    The explosive eruption spell is basically the same as the first damage spell, only a little more extreme, but also more consistent, which would be great, if it didn’t cost so much health. This spell in a simpler form should be the standard spell to damage enemies. Because of these problems the combat in this entry simply was awkard and inconsistent. I would like to see this mechanic again though, but polished, balanced and refactored. Visually the map is solid. It isn’t detailed that much, but the level of detail is consistent and the lighting is good. The enviroment also is uncommon and reminded me of Quake. I wonder if the author did playtesting, I wonder how the author plays this map. An entry with lots of potential, but disappointing.

    PIT-STOP
    It is okay

    The “ESCAPE” phase in the beginning is extremely short and feels like it’s there simply to fill the requirement for this challenge. The combat enviroment afterwards is a little awkward, but I like it. There is a lot of verticality, the amount of enemies seems reasonable and I get the weapons to deal with the enemies. It’s definitly not perfect though. Visually the entry is extremely simple most of the time with a few exceptions, but it has a lot variety for sure. I’m not a fan of how music starts right at the beginning and plays for most of the map. It isn’t there to accentuate a certain moment, it’s just there. The soundscape often doesn’t fit.

    The combat in the room with the red carpet is even more awkward. It reminded of a certain section from Half-Life 1. Infinite rockets make fighting the soldiers trivial. The placement of the crate in relation to the APC makes this fight also awkward. I never felt like I “DESCENDED” anyway, even though that’s supposed to be the third phase. The indoors soundscape was extremely loud and annoying and again, doesn’t fit. There is a jumping puzzle later that wasn’t a problem for me but I’m sure some people will really struggle here, it didn’t have to be so extreme.

    The combat in this entry is never great, but also never bad. The problem is there is way too much combat, I got combat fatigue really quickly and it kept going on. But I want to emphazise that this entry was more enjoyable than many others from a gameplay perspective. The relation between the different phases is completely out of proportion. The “FIGHT” phase is like 95% of the map, that wasn’t the idea behind this Ville.

    LAST TRAIN FROM RAVENHOLM
    It is bad

    The citadel music from episode one fits surprisingly well for this ravenholm-like enviroment. The music was way too loud though. The first “PHASE” of this entry felt awkward. The enviroment doesn’t flow. The enviroment also doesn’t look great, but it’s not bad. The second phase is “FIGHT”, but you can easily avoid most enemies. The ambient music from the beginning still continues here and stacks with the new song, which is awful. Then the entry ends really abruptly. And then, like some of the other entries, the final phase “LIVE” is just implied. That doesn’t break the rules, but it’s boring.

    FACILITY 34
    It is okay

    Missing cubemaps. I just randomly pressed E on everything because I didn’t know how to get out of the cell. Whoever I’m playing obviously would knows about the hole in the wall, but I didn’t. The enviroment in this entry is solid. I don’t like the steam at the rotor thingy, because to me it’s not clear what that will do to me. Apparently steam kills you instantly. Why isn’t it fire or electricity? From this side it also looks like you have to jump on the rotor while it’s facing you, and then jump onto the opposing platform while it’s facing there, but that’s not the case. That was misleading. I don’t understand what’s the deal with the manhacks in the crates. Fighting manhacks is really trivial anyway when you have the gravity gun. The entry has a good ending, but it was way too short to be really satisfying.

    PROSPEKT BLUES
    It is good

    I like the new voices for the combine, they fit. I also like the “Don’t move … I mean it!”, even though it’s not really something a combine soldier would say, it gives you the right hint of what you are actually supposed to do. The way you break out of the thing is nothing new, but I haven’t seen it in Half-Life before. It took a little too long in my opinion, but it’s a cool idea.

    Once you break out though I didn’t understand what I’m supposed to do. Why does the Vortigaunt have the Antlion ball in his hand? Yeah, vortigaunts can extract those, but this is a shackled vortigaunt and besides, there is no indication whatsoever that his hand is interactable.

    I also don’t understand why the combine soldier is just looking at you and doing nothing. When someone breaks out of their cell there is usually a huge alarm and lockdown, but here it’s like “ah he broke out, whatevs”. When you throw the ball into the room, the soldier is stunned with the antlion stuff immediately, independent of where you actually threw the ball. I guess this was to remind the player that this is a thing, but it just added to the awkwardness of this entry.

    Visually it looks exactly like you would expect a prison level from Half-Life to look like, but I find this aesthetic extremely boring, especially because we have seen it so so many times already. The fight against the Antlion Guardian doesn’t work at all, because you can simply climb up the ladder. It’s also unclear why you can’t simply shoot the guy. Didn’t the author expect players to do this? Or did he think that since you are not supposed to kill this type of guardian in the main game, players wouldn’t try so (but you actually kill it in the main game by shooting later, so how should I know).

    The entry is technically well crafted. The music is implemented properly and is a little dynamic, but it has too many awkward aspects to be satisfying. Unlike many other entries though this one implemented the theme the best in my opinion, each phase had a clear part in the entry with enough length to justify their existence.

    OFF-WORLD RELOCATION
    It is WOW!

    Wow. Simply wow. By far my favorite entry. There are so many incredibly impressive areas in this entry and most of it was combine architecture, which usually is really boring in mods (but not in the main game). But let me start at the beginning.
    The start was a little annoying, because the sounds of the combine shields stack and it becomes extremely loud. Plus there is a constant beeping noise from the camera.

    This was really hard to endure. Then it was a little hard to believe how the combine soldier handled the whole situation, coming alone instead of with a group, turning his back towards the rebel, it was a really artificial situation that could have been handled better. It’s cool though how you break out together with the other people and they are your companions throughout.

    The first song isn’t well implemented, starting when there are only a few enemies and continuing to play while I’m exploring. What immediately catches my attention is how the author tried to make every single room look interesting, have interesting angles for the walls and ceilings etc., and it really looks like proper combine architecture. Quickly you enter a room where you can see a huge vista which looks incredible, especially the skybox (is that from the ending of Half-Life 2?).

    The rollermines were a little awkward to deal with and the gunship didn’t really do much honestly until you fight it properly, but even then the fight was extremely simple. I’m not sure if I like that the rebels have blue outfits, since everything in this map was blue, but I know they are supposed to look like prisoners and the author didn’t have much choice.

    Some of the combat is a little dull where fight soldiers before they even pushed out of their spawning points. The elevator area which resembles the elevator from Half-Life 1 was extremely impressive, my jaw dropped. Such a giant, majestic construction that you rarely see in Mods and even in the main game. There could have been done more with sound though. The combat keeps being awkward.

    The final area is another giant, majestic area and the portal or whatever that is looks amazing (well I guess it’s just an opening). Again though, awkward combat. Unfortunately the final song starts playing while the music from before is still going on which is horrible, and the music slider doesn’t do anything, because the author didn’t implement the music properly. I had to save and load to stop the music (if the music was implemented properly, the music would still play after loading btw).

    The ending is awesome and extremely satisfying. Unlike many other entries this one had clearly defined phases that you could really see without reading the readme. Best entry in my opinion.

    ATTACK OF THE KILLER COMBINE
    It is okay

    I don’t understand the point of the intro. Besides, this entry wasn’t created by RunThinkShootLive, so I don’t think you could say “RTSL presents”, but that’s Phillip’s problem. The voice when you interact with the monitor is way too loud.

    I like that the entry doesn’t give me too many supplies, but often too many enemies are crammed into tiny spaces, and sometimes you even get ambushed from behind for no reason and with no warning. A lot of sections here feel like they are pretty much copied and pasted from the official maps. Even if they are built from scratch, I am presented with the exact same combat setups as in the official game, often just not as polished or balanced.

    There is a lot of z-fighting in a lot of places. In my version I had a lot of missing textures. The texts that float in the air and explain what you are supposed to do are really easy to miss, especially when the author gives you the option to take different routes, which means you simply couldn’t see some floating texts.

    There is apparently a mechanic where you can move in the dark to not get spotted. This mechanic is pointless, since the zombies are way too slow anyway to ever be able to catch up with you. When the floating texts start to explain the obvious, like the hole in the wall, it starts to become ridiculous.

    Some later sections have some good horror vibes, but it never feels like it has a purpose. Visually the entry is okay most of the time, with some dull areas, but also some cool visual tricks later. At one point combat starts against combine (5 minutes into an entry called “Attack of the Killer Combine”). The music here is completely unfitting and way too loud. You fight a few soldiers in a tiny room but the author decided to use the most epic music from the original game.

    At some point it really starts to become ridiculous, I hope the author at least had fun creating this entry, but I hadn’t fun playing it.

    SINGULARITY
    It is okay

    This entry is missing autosaves, which is always a huge pain in the ass, especially because they are so trivial to implement. The combine architecture is fine, but I think the author took a few too many liberties at some areas, while some other areas really look dull. The terminals and consoles on the walls aren’t implemented properly, with the ripping animation when you try to pull them with the blue gravity gun.

    The entry remakes the energy ball puzzle from episode one, but in a much worse way. The railing of the bridge is in the way sometimes, the receivers are sometimes placed awkwardly, and it’s simply the exact same puzzle with no new element. It doesn’t even become harder and harder like in the main game, or mix it up with combat. The next part is also simply copied from episode one, but again in a worse way. The things that suck you in are placed so closely to each other, I never expected that I can stand inbetween them, especially because the hitbox of those isn’t clearly defined.

    Once you realize you can stand inbetween, this also becomes trivial. After that, another puzzle from episode one, and again in a much worse way. Instantly killing the player for touching a single energy ball is such an unreasonable punishment for such a small mistake. In episode one you could also use the door to this puzzle as a shield, which you theoretically could do here too, but there is a weird vent that makes it annoying to carry the door with you and it’s too inconsistent anyway to risk getting one-shot from those things.

    I don’t know what the phases are supposed to be, the first one seems find, then puzzle and then? It seems like the puzzle phase is 80% of the entry. At the end the player just dies, because.

    BONUS: HOSPITALISATION
    It is okay

    The entry throws rollermines, zombies and a sniper at the player simultaneously, which feels extremely awkward and artificial. The rollermines are especially a weird choice since you have nothing to deal with them, except exploiting the enviroment in awkward ways. After that you reach the main area where most of the fighting of this entry is going to take place. This whole fight was so incredibly long, it outstayed it’s welcome long before it ended.

    What makes it worse is that the objective in game is to wait for the thing to charge, but actually the player has to hit invisible triggers to make the entry progress, which is completely non-sensical. If I get an objective like that, I should be able to just wait, because that is the objective, but I have to hit arbitrary triggers so new enemies spawn. The fight was also just really dull and tedious because so many of the same enemy type spawn simulatenously and clumped, so you can deal with them easily with explosives and such.

    In some phases you get attacked by combine soldiers, as if the soldiers planned their attack together with the zombies. The layout of the arena has potential though, it just wasn’t used well. It’s a relatively big space with small and big cover and rooms that loop into each other. Once you get a rollermine to throw, the whole fight becomes trivial. The entry also doesn’t make sense narratively, why would triggering the charging of the Mertz module trigger all these zombies? In the original game a zombie horde like this always was triggered by a loud sound or machine that starts or something like that.

    Another problem is that there is no indication of the progress of the charging procedure, I couldn’t tell if the map is stuck or the thing is still charging, because nothing is changing. This is important for many reasons. It shows me that something is happening and I can tell how much longer I have to survive (but it never felt like survival anyway, cause most of the time I’m just waiting). The final nail in the coffin for this fight is that there are simply WAY too many supplies.

    A good thing about this entry are the visuals. They are not always consistent or realistic, but it looks good. The jumping puzzle later is awkward. The stacking puzzle is even more awkward. It never feels like I’m doing the right thing, but rather cheating, abusing the mechanics. The later fights in this entry are much better, where the enviroment is also used better. The APC is again awkward though. At least the entry has clearly defined phases, which is a plus.

    1. In the review for Attack of The Killer combine there is a part about copying and pasting sections from the official maps. Ironically that part is a copy and paste mistake by me. From “I like that the entry…” until “… not as polished or balanced”.

    2. ildarion

      Regarding “Hospitalization”: the stasis crystal is charging by the timer, not triggers, but I have failed with its durability, my apologies. Also, there is a progressbar near the activation button, may be It was a bad idea to use it there. Hostile rollermines inside the skywalk can be dumped to the hole in the floor. Well, I`ll find some more testers for my future entries 😀

    3. The gunship section in the Found map repeatedly crashed for me too. Shame as it is otherwise a fun map to play.

  3. Fantasitc Ville! My new favourite. Well done everyone who entered. Amazing work.

    1. nah its a disaster gameplay wise

  4. Play It Now!
    Found
    It is good

    Mapping challenge starts of good! This was a fun entry. The Ravenholm style was used and it looks really nice. There is one phase where you will be in some sort of cart. There is a Chopper dropping way too many bombs on you. It’s hard to throw the bombs back because of the pieces of the cart that are in the way. There was also one time where I could see the end of the map. The mistakes aside, this is a good entry.

    Relic 17
    It is bad

    Sorry but I didn’t really enjoy this one. You find a mysterious object which teleports you to different places. These places are basic in terms of design and gameplay. There is one place where you have to turn valves. These are normal func_buttons, so the valve doesn’t even turn. The entry ends abruptly and that’s it. I wanted to get to know at least something about the mysterious object, but nevermind.

    Mutual Place
    It is great!

    Very fun entry. The world feels alive thanks to details like Combine Soldiers running through the halls. The combat is great, the levels look great. I didn’t like the fact that you had to fight four Combine Soldiers with only a crowbar and a pistol in the beginning though, but that’s over so quick it doesn’t really matter.

    Hidden Variables
    It is okay

    This entry introduces some cool new enemies. These are Combine Elites but in black and they can become invisible. Pretty cool.
    At the beginning of the entry you need to open some doors with valves. There was one underwater, I opened it and there was another door with a valve, and another one after that. I tried to get to the end but I kept drowning. It made me a bit frustrated, and after about 20 tries I gave up. You were actually supposed to get a suit from the other side of the level. This suit makes you unable to drown. I went through all the doors underwater and at the end a giant Ichthyosaur jumpscared the crap out of me and that was the end of the entry. Not really a satisfying ending.

    Hunted
    It is bad

    Invisible doors, blocky areas… not a good entry. You can see the end of the map everywhere. The combat doesn’t really work because it’s mostly flat rooms. Sigh…

    Break In
    It is good

    This entry was a bit short but it was cool. You need to break into a spooky house. The entry starts of with a cool puzzle. After that you get some spooky stuff and then it abruptly ends. I liked the final “cutscene” though.

    Warlock Den
    It is great!

    Every wanted to play as Harry Potter in Half-Life? This entry makes use of a very cool “spell” mechanic. You can throw a pheropod and it will activate whatever spell you have selected. Using a spell costs health, so you need to use them wisely. Creative idea and well exectued.

    Pit Stop
    It is okay

    This entry has plenty of playtime but has plenty of flaws as well. First of all, the areas look pretty basic and blocky. There is way too much ammo making the combat really easy since you can basically kill all the Combine with your crossbow. It’s still fun to play though.

    Last Train From Ravenholm
    It is bad

    Did not enjoy this entry. The design is very basic, I even noticed that some brushes were not aligned so you could see the skybox through the floor/wall. There was one part where you had to throw a grenade through a vent into a room to do… something? It’s really hard to throw the grenade into the vent, and even when I managed to do that the grenade would not roll out of the vent. I managed to get the grenade in the room a couple of times, but it still did nothing. I ended up noclipping. Shame.

    Facility 34
    It is good

    Even though it’s simplistic, I enjoyed this entry. It had some good puzzles and combat. There is a crate which contains 5 manhacks. When the crate is destroyed the manhacks deploy. This is used pretty well in my opinion.

    Prospekt Blues
    It is great!

    Amazing entry. Fun combat, fun puzzles. Level design is great as well. The skybox also got alot of attention, something some entries on this challenge are forgetting.
    There is one part where you need to wait for an elevator to come up, while you wait you need to spend some time with a Antlion Guardian. I just avoided the Guardian by simply climbing up a tower. The final battle was also really cool and was also a smart puzzle.

    Off-World Relocation
    It is WOW!

    My favorite entry. It looks amazing, it plays amazing, and it just IS amazing. The final battle is well put together and is a great climax for an amazing map.

    HEADER:

    Attack of The Killer Combine
    It is okay

    This was a bit of an odd entry. The horror and combat part were done well but the transition from the one to the other is very abrupt. It has alot of missing textures at the beginning and there is text floating around which you can easily miss. It was almost like I was playing in a Monthy Python movie.

    Singularity
    It is okay

    This entry is basically the Citadel part of HL2: EP1 but more empty and bland. It still looks cool, but there is nothing going on other than you walking around doing puzzles. The final part is you going through a part where Energy Balls go from one side to the other. If you hit one, you are dead. This part is very long and tedious so you will rely on quicksaves here. I’m not sure how many times I have used the word “abrupt” now, but here the word can be applied to the ending.

    Hospitalisation
    It is WOW!

    Had a blast playing this entry. Not once was I annoyed or distracted by a flaw. This entry gives you plenty of things to shoot. There are ammo boxes for your SMG and Shotgun so you won’t suddenly run out of ammo. After a lot of combat you get some puzzling and then you get some combat again. Non-stop fun!

    Final Thoughts

    This was a successful mapping challenge. We got some really good maps here. If you will excuse me I will now take a break because I have been typing this review for over 45 minutes.

  5. I retract my previous comment of it being the Best Ville I played.,

    Attempted to livestream it earlier – Game breaking bugs in the first 3 maps so I just gave up.

    Found – Constant game crashes when you engage the Combine gunship – happened a few times during my playthrough before the stream… 4th attempted it worked. Hoped it wouldn’t happen during the livestream. Happened twice and skipped. Map is not fictional – game breaking bug.

    Relic 17 – Battery glitches on the conveyor belt.. meaning it’s not ejected. Game breaking bug.

    Mutual Place – No way to progress after you deactivate the fan and shoot the combine coming out from the door way on the right. Worked fined during my initial playthrough. But not this time.

    Again, a game breaking bug.

    After the epic failures of the first 3 maps I just gave up – which is a shame as there was some decent stuff in there… but far too buggy… combined with a patch released a couple of hours ago to patch another couple of maps later in the Ville.

    Testing people… testing.

    Will record them properly and publish over the next few weeks/months…. but pretty much a disaster gameplay wise.

    Testing….

    1. Don`t give up on the first maps. There is a lot of good content in the later entries.

      1. Oh I know.. apart from bugs it’s an excellent mappack… amazing stuff. Had no issues playing it ealier today apart from the crashes on Found. But just a disaster livestream wise.. crash bug on #1, stuck battery on #2 and evil door blockage on #3. Never encountered that many bugs on a Ville before. Also, Xblah, you created something special there.. I bow to your mapping powers. This potato isn’t worthy

        1. Hoi, that little door blockage isn’t a bug Mr. Potato. After defeating those Combine soldiers and the CP units, you can break down those wood props/barricades blocking the other double doors. No major bugs so far in 3# (Mutual Place)

          Hope to see your playthrough!

          1. Metal benches and no gravity gun don’t mix.

            1. “a disaster gameplay wise”
              what do technical glitches have to do with gameplay?
              Disaster?
              You really can only think in extremes.

              1. You’re funny. I’d call any game breaking bug a disaster gameplay wise… wouldn’t you? Far more disruptive than over using silly fog effects for example 😉 But what would I know!

                1. A game breaking bug is a game breaking bug. It has nothing to do with gameplay. Something on a technical level went wrong. Design isn’t involved in this at all.

                  1. That’s fine, I understand your position/opinion on the matter… but for me gameplay involves actually being able to play the map… and despite of map design and the level of playability if something occurs that breaks the game, or you can only progress by using console commands then I personally consider that a b*tchslap regarding gameplay.

                    In another note, bugs aside, this was an amazing Ville, and I think the entries have been judged harshly, probably because of the increased standard of Ville map entries the last year and this competition.

                    Look at Ville from last year or further… it’s amazing the difference in quality, for the better.

                    In this Ville, even the few “basic” maps from people who are new to mapping or didn’t spend as much time working on them provided decent maps. There”s not a single map in this release I would consider bad (apart from bugs) – all were very enjoyable to play, and I wouldn’t consider any entry a dud.

                    It’s great to see the standard increasing so much over time, especially in this day and age so well done to all.

                    Sooner RTSL gets a couple of Mods published on Steam as planned with a collection of decent maps over the years (there’s approx 30 decent maps that qualify in my opinion) the better. Should aim for release a week before the Xmas holidays – when people have time to play etc.. If there’s anything I can do to help, even financially to cover the costs of getting it on Steam let me know – more than willing to help if I can.

    2. I can confirm that the gunship battle in Found repeatedly crashed for me also.

  6. Might attempt another livestream if/when the maps are playable

  7. 2JEL

    So many new maps and mods are no longer linux compatible

    1. probably because the new villes are based on source sdk 2013 singleplayer

  8. Play It Now!

    A highly successful competition overall I think. Lots of enjoyable content to be found as well as some new and interesting gameplay ideas.

    Found
    It is okay

    I do enjoy the setting of Ravenholm usually so I went into this one with fairly high expectations. I found the train ride at the start underwhelming to be honest. I hate being so constrained. The helicopter battle was a challenge but enjoyable. Unfortunately I could never complete this map as it crashes every single time during the gunship battle at the end.

    Even so, a decent entry. Some good puzzles and combat with the awesome Ravenholm setting. Real shame that it kept crashing. I’ve never seen the ending :[

    Relic 17
    It is good

    A pretty clever entry. I like maps that have a bit of a slow build up like this one. I guess there wasn’t much actual gameplay wise at the start, but I like being able to explore environments freely. The first jump was a surprise and I later realised where I was having previously tested the map. The puzzles all seem to largely work well, but the conveyor belt was seemed a little strange. The descend part of the entry was very trippy, it’s just a shame the author didn’t have more time to work on it as it was short. The readme explains why and the author has my sympathy.

    Another good one overall.

    Mutual Place

    It is great!

    Some strong environmental work in this one, but the changes between them seemed a little strange for me. The first place seemed very well realised and there’s a quite a few things going on in terms of NPC’s etc. Really loved the ambush on the Metrocops as well and it was a good way to kick things off. Enjoyed grabbing the suit, especially after the fiddly little fan area. The combat in general was strong.

    Whilst the entry is good flow wise from a gameplay perspective, the changes in environments were a little jarring. Kind of like Half-life 2 in miniature going from the Trainstation to Nova-Prospekt like that. The catacombs with G-Man was a nice change of pace after a lot of fighting. We’re then treated to a nice cutscene at the end as well.

    Can see that a lot of time went into this one.

    Hidden Variables

    It is good

    Another good choice of setting. Not a fan of underwater settings usually but still, I never got frustrated or anything with this. Was interesting to explore to be honest. The author also went to the effort of changing up the skin of the diving suit which was a nice touch.

    There are a few little niggles though. It takes so long to open the doors with the valves and I don’t know why. Could also have done with a lot more cover during the firefight on the deck of the ship.

    Overall the setting and environment were the strongest points of this entry, but I don’t think the author took advantage of it as much as they could have done. Still enjoyable to have a poke around it though.

    Hunted

    It is dire!

    This was my entry and I didn’t give it nearly as much time as I should have done really. I didn’t actually have any idea in mind overall when I started. All I wanted to really do was try and make a soviet style apartment block/building. Everything else was literally cobbled together and it shows. I simply didn’t plan out an actual experience/full map. I knew it wouldn’t be received well but having seen the other maps in the pack, it stands out even worse than I’d have thought it would have done.

    Break In

    It is great!

    Portal cube costume? Awesome. This was another pretty short map but honestly, I loved it. The puzzles were all solid (The bible with the secret button hidden in the altar etc) and made finally finishing it feel satisfying. This’d be great if it was fleshed out even more. I really want to know what happened after that ending.

    Warlock Den

    It is great!

    Some great new mechanics in this one that I picked up instantly. I did find some of the combat a little tricky (Mostly fighting up the stairs because it’s easy to damage yourself) to be honest. Still, I got through it in the end though. Again, this is something that could be expanded upon. Very clever design IMHO.

    As I said earlier though, it is a little easy to damage yourself with some of the spells. With health being the resource as well, it just makes it even worse. Usually plenty to go around though so the author likely knows this.

    Overall, very original and a well crafted entry.

    Pit Stop

    It is okay

    Combat fatigue. There’s a lot of map here but a lot of it is combat and I got combat fatigue fairly quickly. If you love fighting Combine, you’ll love this entry. I think the author could have done a bit more with some of the enemies like the APC (You get infinite rockets at that point so it’s pretty simple). The environment is also straightforward as well but I like that it’s winter themed. Not a lot of resources in Half-Life 2 to implement that sort of thing so props for trying.

    I’m not sure how much of this map I missed but I couldn’t get the hatch to open in the little fenced of area despite doing everything I was supposed to do.

    There’s not a lot more I can really say about this one really. It’s very combat heavy so some will like it and others won’t.

    Last Train From Ravenholm

    It is okay

    I explained earlier that I enjoy the Ravenholm setting so I won’t repeat myself talking about the environment etc. Took me a minute to work out the grenade puzzle (Was trying to get under it) until I saw the other vent on the roof of the hut.

    Combat wise the zombies didn’t really do an awful lot, they’re easy to run around. Also had some music stacking near the end as well. Bit of platforming then before a pretty abrupt ending. I don’t think i’d have enjoyed it as much if it wasn’t set in Ravenholm.

    Facility 34

    It is good

    Who doesn’t like a prison break? I did have some cubemap issues but I just fixed them myself. I did think that you could break out behind the poster but it wasn’t very intuitive having to bump into it. I also struggled with the fan area. I could jump on it fine but I’d then die randomly as it spun. I found out later it can be stopped.

    The manhack crate was a nice idea and used well. Finally, the ending was also good. Not abrupt or anything like others. A nice view of newfound freedom. Just let down a tiny bit by the jumping puzzle and a weird easter egg as well to be honest.

    Prospekt Blues

    It is WOW!

    It’s always nice to hear some new voice acting. The combine effect for it was pretty spot on as well. I liked how you go about initially breaking away and out of the pod. Guard doesn’t seem to care much that you broke out but I’m just being a bit nit-picky here.

    It’s very well made with plenty of attention to detail. Nova Prospekt is looking pretty sharp here. The combat is fun, the pacing fine and the ending satisfying. No map is perfect but nothing here really stood out in terms of negatives. Nice skybox work as well.

    Off-World Relocation

    It is WOW!

    Superb use of combine architecture throughout even though it’s not my favourite style. A lot of time and dedication put into this entry I think. Takes a little while to get going and the soldier turning his back didn’t quite work as well as it could have but it served it’s purpose. Great work on the outdoor skybox as well (Especially near the end)

    I like how the citizens keep going and fighting with you. Makes you feel like just another part of a larger mission/event. Could have done without the rollermines (I just hate dealing with them to be honest) but it’s a minor thing. Was also pretty cool to see some Stalkers up close, don’t see that a lot in mods.

    Enjoyable ending to top it all off.

    Attack of the Killer Combine

    It is good

    This was pretty nuts from the word go (Hammer editor in game? :o). I also had some missing texture problems with this one. At one point you can see through water to a room in another part of the map. It’s a shame because combined with the colour correction stuff, it could have looked pretty nice I think.

    I liked some of the psychological/trippy sort of horror moments. Not much going on with the combat though. Bit of a fun entry really with a wacky ending (Cool!). Very different to the others.

    Singularity

    It is okay

    I think this one lacks autosaves? It really hurt the pacing of it for me having to go right back to the start if I died. Lots of puzzle stuff but not implemented terribly well. Very different sort of pace to most of the other entries. The style is nice but could do with a bit more detailing.

    Felt kind of empty throughout. Bit of an odd ending as well.

    Hospitalisation

    It is WOW!

    Excellent environment work with this one and some good use of music as well. Never lets up between combat and puzzles but I didn’t get frustrated or fatigued by it. I just enjoyed playing it really.

    Never seen the stasis crystal before. It’s great that these competitions feature new gameplay elements like that.

    Not much more I can say. I can’t pick out a stand out moment as such, it was just a complete experience that was fun to play-through.

    1. “Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them”
      – Bruce Lee

  9. Play It Now!

    *Couldn’t think of intro, sorry*

    Found
    It is good

    The start, ESCAPE, gave me some fake sense of urgency. It told me to run, but it was awkward after realizing that the threat were just 2-4 zombies. Did I also locked myself in a box? From the gas puzzle itself, I can already guess whose work is this. (Oh wait, what? Not the same person?)

    The elevator/cage ride was a mixed bag for me. It was fun to spectate the battle below, but it really dragged on. You also just need to shoot some barrels and keep an eye out for supply crates to stay alive, however the crates seems to give me more health than ammo.

    The Chopper fight was very overkill, is it a carpet bomber or something? The explosion can hurt you if a bomb happens to land under your cage.

    The bridge across the toxic vat was a little too easy to solve. Then comes the final battle, it was OK. I was spared from game crash from what others have experienced. The rebel helicopter looked OK too.

    Relic 17
    It is okay

    “Good, I’ll come back later.” ….So what do you want me to do now? It can be returning to your room, but some people won’t get it. I mean, I could have just wait. After returning to my room, someone has been eating dark energy ration and a mysterious object appears.

    It is a good concept to keep solving puzzles to reach the object, but it ends when it starts to get interesting. There are also some unpolished lighting too.

    Mutual Place
    It is great!

    Every progress of this map flows nicely. The train station feels very alive, decorated with NPCs with dialogues. The combat was solid and things kicked off nicely. Even though I could use a little more ammo at the beginning.

    The transition into the sewer/catacomb was weird and random, in my opinion.

    Hidden Variables
    It is good

    It appears that 1upD is really digging into Borealis/Epistle 3 concept lately or is it just me. The Combine Assassin(?) are introduced quite nicely and fit right in the universe. Although, I have to say the diving suit could be more obvious. I spent a good chunk of my playtime getting into the bottom of the ship with my HEV suit. The ending could be better since when I was supposed to die, I was clearly avoiding that thing.

    Hunted
    It is bad

    So…one of my NPCs went completely AWOL as soon as the mission start for some reason. The AI path seems to be broken. My Medic blasted a Zombie a few times, and then she ran off to the room next to for no reason. The telltale signs are also used wrong. The wooden barricade you busted down at the beginning used same texture as the others. One of them is on a door with Lambda symbol next to it, tricking me into thinking it is a point of interest.

    The fight was not designed well. The Combine swarmed me quickly and I was reduced to shooting through a doorway. Then the ending came with so many flashes I could barely see the message.

    Break In
    It is good

    Kid, this is why you don’t break in when you are off for Trick or Treat. The puzzle was just fine for me, though the fire-in-the-barrel looks awkward. The map could be extended, it left me wanting to see more.

    There is no feedback after ringing the bell. What did it do anyway? The ending also feels…..random.(?)

    Warlock Den
    It is great!

    That was it?! I was merely getting started! The spells are so much fun and hilarious to use! It’s so awesome! I feel like summoning Vortigaunts and Antlions could be better. Some of them got stuck, some just stood there.

    Pit-Stop
    It is okay

    Too. Much. Combat. Like seriously, give me some downtime. The FIGHT takes up like 80% of the map! Boy, I guess Gordon was confiscated his HEV suit since I found one right in the random room. I feel like the progression feels very random. You’re in a train station, now you’re in an apartment, now you’re in a bombed-out shelter, now you’re on a cliffside! Not to mention some parts of the map are just empty. I really hate fighting on the ice floor, it’s very slippery.

    Also, despite already equipped with guns, the mapper still gives you cinder blocks to break a window.

    Last Train From Ravenholm
    It is bad

    Is this map trying to kill me or something? Because it really looks like it. The first task, getting the Crowbar dragged a little too long, in my opinion, compared to other tasks.

    The falling platform was so much of a cheap death. The level is also near pitch black. There are way too many zombies in the lot. The platforming is too punishing because there’s no way to get back up in time.

    One thing that I like is the Citadel Core music fits in well with Ravenholm atmosphere, but it stacks with other songs and became annoying. Oh yeah, and the ending was abrupt.

    Facility 34
    It is okay

    For me there was some weird missing texture reflection at the start. The whole in the wall was barely obvious. The combat was solid overall. I really like the crate of Manhacks, but I feel like the creator underused its potential. Gotta hand it to the scene at the end, so lovely.

    Prospekt Blues
    It is great!

    Maki strikes again, people! I like the voice acting, spot on. The introduction could be better, I had no clue that you have to throw in the Bugbait. It was also weird to see the Guard acting like nothing happened when he saw me breaking out.

    Evading and fighting the Guardian was cool and all, but why is this Guardian invincible? Also, you can cheese the first encounter by climbing the tower.

    Off-World Relocation
    It is great!

    Superb. This map’s score already skyrocketed when I realized I’m in Combine Overworld! The phases flows nicely and it was great fighting alongside other prisoners. The ending was a moment of awesome in itself!

    It would get a WOW from me if it wasn’t the damn AI pathing and unable to deal with grenades on the elevator.

    Attack of The Killer Combine
    It is okay

    You know, I really had no idea what theme this map is trying to go for. The intro was great, until those missing textures killing the mood significantly. I appreciate the black and white tone, but as I said the map itself doesn’t know its own identity.

    The stealth part is pointless, you don’t get any sense of real danger since the enemies are all normal Zombies. First it tries to be some sort of noir, then it tries to become horror, then for some reason it decides to f*ck it and went on full action. I am disappointed.

    Singularity
    It is bad

    Not much of a fan of walking simulator where barely anything happens. It is really dull and empty. I think I almost fell asleep! The final corridor with rubble is actually passable but the map will tricks you into an impossible-to-beat energy balls transfer. Oh, no checkpoint and you die at the end for no reason!

    Bonus: Hospitalisation
    It is good

    It was a good map, but it sure has some problems. The evade part was too hard for me, I barely escaped with 1 health. The zombie horde is UNGODLY LONG!! Like just stop it already!

    Then I, for some reason, was given godmode. I couldn’t even turn it off. I tried by console and it didn’t work. The chase at the end was nice but the sniper is a huge annoyance. Good map, though.

    Summary

    THAT was a long trip! It is an OK competition for me, I enjoyed most of the map. My First Place goes to……Off-World Relocation! Second Place: Prospekt Blues and followed closely by The Mutual Place! An honorable mention for Hospitalisation and Warlock Den!

  10. 2JEL

    Has anyone else received the models/torso/fast_torso.mdl missing error?

  11. Heinz

    I just wanna say thank you to all mappers, this challenge was awesome to play. Me and my mates had much fun for several hours. Have a nice week all.

  12. A fantastic Ville that happily consumed hours of my time. Thank you all for making this.

    So many words have been said that there’s not much more to add. The ratings so far were surprising to me in some cases, however everything depends on personal taste/what’s important/not to the individual. My ratings in a 1-10 format, top to bottom;

    Hospitalization 9/10
    Mutual Place 9/10
    Pit Stop 8/10
    Warlock Den 8/10
    Found 8/10
    Off World Relocate 8/10
    Facility 34 7/10
    Last Train from Ravenholm 7/10
    Hidden Variables 7/10
    Prospekt Blues 6/10
    Attack of the Killer Combine 6/10
    Singularity 6/10
    Hunted 5/10
    Break 5/10
    Relic 4/10

  13. Play It Now!

    A really nice set of entries. Overall I thought the quality was very good. I only had problems with the “Found” entry (it kept crashing during the final battle) and Hospitalization (crashed when I died once). There was one entry with some graphical issues but most were solid.

    I really enjoyed the diving suit in “Hidden Variables” and the clever weapon in “Warlock Den”. The escape pods in “Off-Word Relocation” were also interesting. It was great to see the authors trying new things here.

    Overall a great set of entries and this was definitely a PIN for me.

  14. Play It Later

    This competition had a lot of great entries, but there were also a lot of simple/average ones. This competition also holds a personal record for me since this is the Ville with the most “It’s WOW” ratings I’ve given in total, so that must mean something. I do think that the Phase feature could have been implemented in a better way in some entries. Despite this, most entries were fun to play, despite their shortcomings.

    Found
    It is good

    I can’t say anything more than “It’s Good” here because the map kept crashing on the gunship battle. I tried 4 times and it still kept on crashing. Other than that though, this entry isn’t too bad. The geometry and the lighting were simple, but one plus is that the maps actually made you feel like you were in Ravenholm again. The fights were enjoyable, though at first it seemed so chaotic and fast-paced, I must have missed some weapons there. Other than that, it was a good entry (at least up to the gunship battle).

    Relic 17
    It is okay

    This entry is a bit strange, and I admire it for that, but there’s not much else. The mapping and the lighting looked very basic, so I assume the mapper is a beginner. As for the phases, I didn’t really think they were well implemented here though; as a result the map lacks some variety. However, the idea of the relic and the layout of the maps were really good and he/she definitely has potential to become a better mapper. As for the phases, I didn’t really think they were well implemented here though; as a result the map lacks some variety.

    Mutual Place
    It is great!

    Wow, what an entry! This one is quite lengthy, but nonetheless very fun to play. It’s like a “what-if”/alternate scenario for HL2, and it borrows elements from both the beginning portion of the game but also the Nova Prospekt one. Technically speaking, the mod (that’s pretty much what it is) looks and plays great. The layouts were really well done too; City 17 felt like City 17 and Nova Prospekt felt like Nova Prospekt. Overall, this entry is one of the better ones from this competition.

    Hidden Variables
    It is great!

    This is another great map! It didn’t really look like it belonged in the HL2 universe, but that’s certainly not a terrible thing since it introduced other original ideas. The invisible Combines were definitely an interesting addition, but they also require some skill to eliminate. The mapping and the lighting were great, but the layout reminded me of a certain chapter in HL1… It was still fun to play through it though. Overall, this entry is really good and definitely one with a lot of original ideas.

    Hunted
    It is okay

    While this map was fun to play, it wasn’t that great technically speaking. The mapping wasn’t the best – sometimes you could see outside the map – the enemy placement was a bit unfair and I noticed some invisible walls which can’t be a good sign. Some of the scripted sequences were cool I guess, but that’s pretty much it. It’s not really long either.

    Break In
    It is good

    This map could have won a WOW rating from me, only if there were more things to do. From the beginning I thought I was going to love this map, and I kinda did, but I also didn’t. The mapping and the lighting were great and the atmosphere was quite spooky, but other than that, there wasn’t anything else to do in this map. There is no combat and the puzzles aren’t really that hard to solve. Overall, this map could have been better in many ways, at least for me.

    Warlock Den
    It is WOW!

    WOW. This map is so awesome in so many ways. Not only is this concept really well implemented in HL2, but it’s also great as a map itself. Everything is very well lit and very well textured and the layout is just what you need for a concept like this. This is definitely one of the best maps in this competition!

    Pit-Stop
    It is okay

    I was thinking of giving this map an “It’s Bad” rating at first, but the more I played it the more I enjoyed it. The biggest problem for me is the mapping and the lighting; they weren’t terrible but they were far from perfect. This is another entry that looks like it was made by someone who is new to mapping, so I wish luck to him/her too, because I was really impressed by the scale of the map and the feeling of actually progressing. Still, there were a few visual glitches and sometimes it could get annoying, but the enemies I thought were really well placed and the whole thing was fun to play through. Overall, if it weren’t for some major problems, this map could have been something far greater.

    Last Train from Ravenholm
    It is okay

    This is the defition of an “alright” map. Technically it’s not terrible, it definitely makes you feel like you’re in Ravenholm, but it’s a bit too simple and blocky at times. The whole thing felt short, and that’s why you’ll get through most phases in no time. The puzzles were fun and one actually took me some time to figure out. The combat was simple stuff and the last segment was simply okay. Even though this was a fun map, for me it definitely isn’t perfect but it’s not too bad either.

    Facility 34
    It is okay

    There’s not a lot I have to say about this map. I thought it was a really simple, but fun map that was mostly good technically speaking. The enemy placement was great and the combat was really fun, however you could sometimes find way too many supplies and weapons which were mostly not needed, since this map was really easy and not too long. The beginning was a nice ode to a very famous film and I also found a very strange and dark easter egg. In short, this map was really fun, but nothing special.

    Prospekt Blues
    It is WOW!

    Yes, this entry was THAT good. I just loved everything about it, the mapping, the atmosphere, the lighting, the setting, the combat, it’s all very well done. The level also gives you a sense of progression, which is also a plus. The phases were implemented really well and the whole entry was really fun to play from beginning to end, it almost feels Valve-like. I highly recommend this entry and it’s definitely one of the best entries in this comp.

    Off-World Relocation
    It is WOW!

    Another WOW entry for me. This one, apart from having an excellent scenario, really fun and engaging combat and amazing mapping and atmosphere, also has an epic feeling to it; if you play this map you’ll understand what I’m talking about. The one minor thing I didn’t like was that near the end, there were 2 tracks playing at the same time, and it was kind of annoying. Despite this really minor issue, this entry is another one of my favorites here!

    Attack of Killer Combine
    It is okay

    This whole map is a huge “Huh?”. At first I thought “Okay, I know where this is going”, but the more I played it, the more frustrated I became. It’s like the map didn’t know what it wanted to be, and I understand that’s kind of the point, to be different, but it’s not really well done here in my opinion. Also, the gameplay feels really empty; the combat is okay, but you are given way too many supplies for the amount of enemies you fight. The mapping wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t great either, and I found a lot of visual glitches on this map. At least some of it is kind of original.

    Singularity
    It is okay

    This was the most bland entry in my opinion. The mapping isn’t terrible or anything, you do feel like you’re in the Citadel, but other than that, there’s nothing to talk about. There are barely any puzzles and absolutely no combat, which makes zero sense since this is the Citadel we’re talking about. Also, due to the map’s weird layout, you’ll do a lot of pointless walking, where nothing is happening. It gets an “It’s Okay” rating for me because it gives me a strong Episode 1 vibe.

    And last, but definitely not least…

    BONUS: Hospitalisation
    It is WOW!

    I honestly didn’t want this entry to end. I liked it that much. This entry has stellar gameplay, amazing mapping and atmosphere and just plain fun combat. The whole entry feels Valve-like in its execution in every way you look at it. Not only that, but there’s also a lot of variety in this map, so it’s definitely not just about walking around or simply shooting bad guys. This entry is a MUST and if it was an actual entry rather than just a bonus map, then it would be my favorite.

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