Eight maps, all set in Ravenholm, with one simple objective: Escape.
Look out for traps, hiding places, and anything else that can save your neck.
Each map offers something different and fresh, so make sure you take your time and enjoy the screams!
- Title: RavenholmVille
- File Name: hl2-ep2-sp-mc-ravenholmville.7z
- Size : 69.7MB
- Author: George Campbell, Rob Martens, Lifelost, Abraham Lee, Dan Jordan, Alastair Toft, Jim Partridge and Darren Weekes
- Date Released: 19 April 2014
Download directly into MapTap [69.7MB]
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Download to your HDD [69.7MB]
You can still use it with MapTap to install it once you have downloaded it.
- Copy the ravenholmville folder into your SourceMods folder.
- Restart or start Steam.
- RavenholmVille should now be listed in your Library tab.
If you require more help, please visit the Technical Help page.
The file above comes with eight grid view icons. To use it, select “Grid View” in Steam (top right corner). Make sure you have saved the image to a location on your computer – you can’t use it from the compressed archive directly. Right click on “RavenholmVille” and select “Set Custom Image”. Then browse to where you saved the image and choose it. Then click “Set Image” and that’s it.
Of course, you can create your own custom image if you prefer.
The entries within the mod are listed alphabetically by the map’s name, except for the last entry which is the bonus map:
Burial by George Campbell
Exempli Gratia by Rob Martens
Life Lost Town by Lifelost
Over-Run by Abraham Lee
Rabbitholm by Dan Jordan
These Peculiar Demons by Alastair Toft
Welcome Holm by Jim Partridge
Bonus: Power Struggle by Darren Weekes
If an entrant included a ReadMe file it can be found in the ReadMe folder.
The winner and runner up will be decided by public vote, which is at the very bottom of this post. Closing date is Saturday 26 April at 10:00PM GMT. If there are any irregularities, I will make the decision myself.
After the announcement of the competition a PP reader called BFG9000 made a $50 donation and Salamancer donated a copy of Darksiders.
Prize fund is as follows:
Runner up: $5 and Darksiders.
Third Place: $10
Click on the tabs below to select the size of screenshot you would like.
All sizes are the same screenshots, just in different resolutions.
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
6Last 7 days
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Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 13 Users
Average: 2 Hours, 28 Mins
Shortest: 2 Hours by ihonnyboy
Longest: 3 Hours by Maki
Total Time Played: 32 Hours, 8 Mins
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WOW, where to start? Well, let’s start at the end. Overall, I thought the quality of entries was excellent and this is perhaps the best competition in terms of general quality. My only issue is that I hate Ravenholm! Why run a competition like this then you ask? Well, it’s not about Me, it’s about what people want and they seem to want Ravenholm maps.
For those that don’t know, the last map in the mod is not part of the actual competition. It’s a bonus map and something I will try to do for all competitions from now on. The map was built over a much longer time period but still within the limits of the theme.
I managed to view out of some maps and others had little errors, but let’s be honest here. It was a competition with limited time and being too picky is silly.
I am pretty sure you will enjoy this mod and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all the entrants – you guys did a great job.
I will now briefly, review each map in the order of the screenshots, which are based on the maps name..
The first 5 screenshots. This is perhaps the simplest of all entries but does a good job of creating a labyrinth setting. It need either testing or more testing because once I managed to jump over a moving gate and hang around with the Gman. All in all, quite fun to play but just not polished enough.
The next 10 screenshots. This was amp of three parts for me and they all seemed too separate. The first part really just gets you to the main area, which I felt was almost perfect. It’s essentially a huge puzzle and a little more action in there and that in itself could have been the entry. The last part felt as if the author had added a finale but not because it seemed right, but because it was expected. I definitely enjoyed this one but again, it was not focused enough.
The next 10 screenshots. This is a strange one because on the first play through I just ran past most of the map and finished within minutes. The problem is there are a few nice little traps you can use, but only if you take your time and explore. Certainly not a bad entry, but probably should have controlled the player’s movement more.
The next 15 screenshots. This was a lot of fun to play and had a really nice ending where you had to wait for the cable car to arrive. I had to play this a few times with different tactics to ensure I survived. To me, that’s a sign of a great level. For pure gameplay, this is one of the best entries.
The next 30 screenshots. Well, as the title of this mini-review says, this is the bonus map and it stands out from the rest, both in its scope and polish. Right from the moment you leave the first room, you can see there’s a lot of gameplay involved. I played this slowly and methodically but I got stuck once not realizing where I needed to go and when I did realize and took a while to workout how to get there.
Like many mods before it, this map requires you to power your escape method, but it needs three power nodes working before you can use it.
The ghost shotguns were great but I don’t know what that gave me, if anything. Without doubt a fantastic map and it seems a little unfair that Darren doesn’t get a prize for his hard work.
The next 20 screenshots. Technically, this should not really be in the competition, but after discussing it with Dan I decided to allow “special Circumstances” (R.I.P Iain M. Banks) to accept it. It certainly has it’s flaws but it also has some great touches. The finale is very hard but the very last part is a blast too.
The next 25 screenshots. This was an ambitious entry and overall was very well put together. I am unsure if I cheated but I seemed to have been able to jump a large section of the map. There’s a part with a large yellow sheet of iron that you can use to climb onto the roof. From here you see out of the map and can avoid a really cool section.
Anyway, this was very well built and gave the player plenty of play time. The finale was nicely done and I finished with just enough health to feel it was a tough fight.
The final 15 screenshots. Alyx AND zombines! What more could you want? This is a very polished entry and keeps you on your toes for most of the map. Plenty of variety and attention to detail. The custom textures guide the player and stop them from wondering what they had to do, although I played without them the first time and it didn’t cause me any issues.
For many, I would guess this could be the winner, but I have to admit I think I enjoyed Rabbitholm a little more, despite its flaws.
2 Hours, 15 Minutes
The post title has a spelling error; “Ravenhom” instead of “Ravenholm”
I didn’t play it yet, but I once had my own Ravenholm map idea for this contest. Wasn’t much Zombies, it was mostly Combines, and it takes place outside of Ravenholm, trying to get up to Combine outpost where they were shooting artillery canisters in the poor town, and shut the place down before the town gets even more difficult to escape.
RavenholmVille is a collection of six strong entries and one bonus map themed around that infamous place we don’t go to anymore. This was a great competition and all of the entries are worth your time. Expect several hours of fun here!
“Burial” by G. Campbell
Rating: Play it Later.
This one wasn’t too bad. Although it starts outside, you eventually head into a sprawling interior maze. The recurring theme of this map is finding cranks to operate the generators which control the doors and the elevator. You’ll face a variety of Zombies in narrow, dark corridors while doing so. Your ultimate goal of getting the elevator to work isn’t very well highlighted, so my exploration of the maze felt aimless. I wasn’t a fan of the meat hook room because not only do the hooks swing around and get in the way, but they are also integral to breaking open a vent which is a mechanic the player is never shown beforehand. I ended up having to repeat this section twice because when I fell from the duct, the crank I was carrying didn’t. Another quirk is that because the doors close slowly, it’s possible to jump over them and get yourself stuck in a place where you can’t reopen them. Combat-wise, it’s nothing but Zombies with a surprising amount of backspawning and the level as a whole is too dark. I feel the corridors definitely could have been widened a bit, if only to differentiate the main road from the arterial paths. The outdoor areas were also quite bland and I never felt like I was in Ravenholm. Remarkably, one of the more memorable parts of the map was the eerie ambiance that played while you crawled through the vents.
“Exempli Gratia” by R. Martens
Rating: Play it Later.
This one gets points for an interesting start. It’s a nice, sunshine-filled apartment. In Ravenholm, you ask? Well, yes. It seems like some scientists have been observing us… or we’re really into bright light therapy. Either way, all is not as it seems and we hear a cry for help and start wandering into the traditional dark Ravenholm. This level revolves around a large processing plant of some kind. This level has some definite problems with messaging. When we find the large generator, we pull the lever and twist the dial, but it’s not clear at all what’s going on. I assumed I needed to find a valve wheel and it took me quite a while to find it, and then even longer to understand how I was supposed to reach it since the level is structured in a contrived way that prevents you from manually getting there. And even then, I’m not entirely sure what I did to free the wheel. Shooting it did nothing, but throwing junk at it did.
Anyhow, you get the wheel and plop it on the pipe and now the cool looking machine springs to life and starts grinding away. And you’re asking yourself, now what? Headcrab canisters and gunfire go off outside and you get ready for a battle which never happens. At least not yet. No, the player is expected to throw something into the machine to break the blades so a lower tunnel can be reached. There’s no obvious thing to throw in there. I chucked a sawblade inside and it destroyed the whole machine. Crawling through the ducts of the machine, we end up in a final arena with some rebel friends and a large Zombie battle. There are lots of peripheral buildings here which contain tons of items, but the player isn’t given a chance to get their bearings before the battle starts and since the main area is so open, there’s not a compelling reason to duck into the buildings in the middle of the battle.
Overall, the grinder felt like a missed opportunity because in keeping with the themes of Valve’s Ravenholm, it’s one giant trap.
“Life Lost Town” by Lifelost
Rating: Play it Later.
This map actually gives you a basic setup – you’re out of food and you need to get out of town. This level does a good job of replicating the Ravenholm setting. In fact, perhaps it does it a little too well. It’s a hodgepodge of fire traps and spinning blades placed in haphazard ways that don’t really benefit the player. Midway through the level, you’re presented with our unwelcome friend, the battery puzzle. What’s weird about this one is that it’s completely optional. I wandered through a nondescript tunnel at the edge of the town while looking for batteries and, surprisingly, ended the level. So, what was the battery puzzle for? Apparently, it electrifies the (nearly endless) spawn closet that the Fast Zombies appear from. This backfires in so many ways. For one, because there’s a constant flow of Fast Zombies – and there’s no obvious correlation between the batteries and electrifying the floor – they aren’t going to run around collecting batteries. And for two, having to kill a dozen Fast Zombies one at a time kind of sucks when ammo is tremendously scarce. I’ve never been great at the whole Gravity Gun sawblade trick – I always end up losing the blade after a couple rounds – but this level practically demands it.
All-in-all, a strange level that ultimately feels incomplete because it never leads to anything. It just… ends. Like this review.
“Over-Run” by A. Lee
Rating: Play it Now!
Wow! This was an excellent map and the winner of this competition for me! You know the sign of a great entry when it can actually stand on its own. Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest, executed extremely well, and that’s what this map delivers. Don’t let the starting room deceive you, with its ugly shadows on the wall. This surprisingly lengthy map takes you all around a section of Ravenholm on a quest to find an escape route. I liked how the Gravity Gun was emphasized so much. The combat had a lot of variety and was pitched just right to not be totally overwhelming based on the tools you have at your disposal. I think my only negative comment about this map is that I never found a Crowbar. Also, the crate stacking section was a bit dodgy.
But it’s a fantastic map all told, and I thought it was kind of amusing how it shares a similar “overhead train finale” as Power Struggle.
“Rabbitholm” by D. Jordan
This level looks nice, but I feel it tries to go for standout moments at the expense of gameplay. In particular, it insists on having massive, large scale battles with dozens of enemies, but the actual process of dealing with all of them is tedious and frustrating at times. Two areas stood out as being memorable – the first is landing in a room with dozens of Fast Headcrabs running around. It’s totally nonsensical, but the pile of Headcrab corpses on the floor was a sight to behold (would make for a good “What the heck is that?” visual in another map), as well as the neat trick where you see the shadows of Fast Zombies in the light against the wall before they come around the corner.
But I wasn’t a fan of the rest. First, there’s a tall warehouse room where you’ll need to use the Gravity Gun and planks to replace broken stairs. This goes about as well as you’d expect with Steampipe’s exceptionally broken physics. Make sure you look up before you waste too much time on this – there’s a long board up in the ceiling that trivializes this whole section. Shortly thereafter is a nasty battle with dozens of Headcrabs of all varieties spawning constantly from dispensers. One bite from any of the Poisons and it’s all over. Winning was more about luck than skill. This is repeated again in the final battle where Poison Headcrabs are randomly tossed around among every other kind of Zombie and it was a similar mess.
“These Peculiar Demons” by A. Toft
Rating: Play it Later.
I don’t have a whole lot to say about this one. It’s a good, long map, but no one moment really jumps out at me. Unlike the rest, it tried to do a new kind of trap and I liked that, although it was only used once and it was a bit dark to show it off. Your goal is to reach the church and you end up circling around the whole thing to get there. The buildings are easy on the eyes, but bland. Like Burial, I had a sense of “What’s this place supposed to be?” throughout much of the map. Two exceptions were exploring the crawlspace underneath a “house” and the surprising Combine structure. I also liked the part where you had to use one of the spinning Ravenholm traps to open a blocked passageway, as well as the final standoff at the church. A quality entry and my third place choice.
“Welcome Holm” by J. Partridge
Rating: Play it Now!
Compared to the others, this was a rather action-oriented map. As in Partridge’s Deep Down, Alyx accompanies you for this entire map. She ends up doing most of the work, in fact, since you don’t have a gun at the start and even then, ammo is fairly scarce. I liked the car trap down the hill and wanted to see more of that. Grigori is dead, but left notes for you to blow up Ravenholm, which involves reaching the other end of town and igniting some gas tanks. Strangely, you bump into a group of rebels at the end and have a large zombie battle. This goes on for too long because the respawning becomes really obvious – the Zombine always appears behind the forcefield, the Fast Zombie from the arched wall, etc. The end was a bit odd – it’s hard to appreciate the destruction of Ravenholm when all you see is a narrow car tunnel.
There are aspects of Ravenholm this map touches on that others surprisingly didn’t as much, such as the graveyard. But there are some sloppy visuals here – doubled up props, some less detailed areas, misaligned textures and weird push button doors that seem out of place. And then there’s Alyx in general – a friendly face accompanying you the whole time. Basically, this didn’t have a strong Ravenholm feel for me. The map never had a chance to establish the strong, moody ambiance that’s so iconic to the environment.
Still, the emphasis on action was refreshing after most of these maps had a slower pace, and there were no problems with the gameplay itself. It was a lot of fun to play, so I have no problem calling this my runner-up entry.
“Power Struggle” by D. Weekes
Rating: Play it Now!
Finally, that brings us to Power Struggle, which wasn’t part of the competition but a bonus work which was made over a longer period of time. It’s easily the best map in the set. I had the opportunity to try it out during development and it was great then and it’s even better now. Power Struggle contains everything you’d want in a Ravenholm map. Eerie visuals, tripwire traps, a slightly maze-like layout and lots of things to use with your Gravity Gun.
Incidentally, Darren appears to do a great Phillip impersonation at the very start. 🙂
(Estimated time played: ~3 hours)
“Also, the crate stacking section was a bit dodgy.”
What are you talking about? I don’t remember putting in a crate stacking section.
You know where you have the truck with the floodlight in the back? There’s a locked door to the left of barbed wire fence, with a couple fire escape ladders behind it. I ended up stacking crates to get over the fence. I’m not sure if that’s what I was supposed to do, but nothing prevented me from doing it and I ended up opening the locked door from the other side.
It’s entirely possible there’s a really obvious way out that I totally missed once I became fixated on stacking crates. 🙂
Yeah, there’s another way via the other side of the building, but hey: stacking crates works! I guess this is what happens when you make a “find the entrance puzzle” 😉
Awesome set of entries! They all had some great parts. I might get a little nit-picky in the following reviews–I know there’s only so much you can do in a time limit–but this is so the mappers can learn for later.
-at first glance the map seem pretty bland.
+interior spaces are nicely detailed
+Its a neat challenge being ambushed by three zombies without any useful phys props around. Doing the crowbar dance can get boring with one zombie.
-Back spawning: this happened several times in this map, but the first one was the worst. I’ve gotta to say, though, it was used to good affect. The three zombies that come from behind gives a nice sense of being overwhelmed, but it could have been done better.
+The catacombs were a cool setting, I got stuck going up a stair case once-and died-but other then that setting was great.
?_There’s one point where you come across a corpse and Alyx’s face appears…is she supposed to be dead?
+There’s this nice scene where you see a poison zombie behind a grate and he throws a headcrab at you and then runs off. I don’t know if the author intended this to happen, but it was a neat effect and made me wonder “Ok, when am I going to run into this guy again?”
+The long vent was interesting, some might think its boring, but the seeing through the grates created some intrest.
-I SEE DA ZOMBIES, BUT I CAN’T SHOOT THE ZOMBIES! The grates were cool, but the fact that you couldn’t shoot through them was a little odd–I mean, seeing a bunch of explosives next to zombies makes you just want to shoot them!
+The ambiance was great, I was never certain when or where zombies would appear.
-At the end I kinda expected more, the author had this neat inter-connecting layout. It just begs for a hold out sequence.
+I like the beginning, having the player start in this fake house gives it the map a sense of mystery–A feeling that prevails through the map. I wish the fake house could have been elaborated upon a little more.
+I like the citizens in this entry, the idea of the player gathering survivors from Ravenholm and leading them to safety just sounds cool.
+I really like the lighting and ambient sounds in this entry too, I was so tensed up that when I saw a dead headcrab on a crate I shot it!
+Another coll moment was when I found a shotgun and the citizen following me took it! I didn’t mind, though: I had the phys cannon 😉
+I really like the puzzle, especially the “navigation puzzle” of having to jump through the windows, it had me stumped for a while.
-The roller-pin-grinder-things just falling off seemed a little weird, maybe if the machine opened up when it was powered and there was a fan in there it would seem better.
+I really like the ending, It had this neat “alamo” feeling to it; a shame the zombie couldn’t break down the door or climb up to the windows.
Now this is an interesting entry. I like the open nature of it, but the ending need some sort of “gate”. Be puzzle, combat, or something. I actually wondered through the tunnel while exploring. Halfway through the tunnel I thought “Wait, what if this is the end-” then I got sen to the main menu. I like the exploration tangent to get the shot gun, and the electric fence is an interesting idea, but it requires to many batteries. By the time I got them all over there I had killed the fast zombies with the rotary blades. The map was nice to look at though!
-/+ you get this cool vista at the start, but you don’t have time to enjoy it
+The visuals are great.
-There’s an unbreakable board in the first room: Why?
-The attic was interesting…it’s a cool setting, but forcing the player to crouch seemed odd. Add on top of that the fact that many of the boxes were unbreakable. It was a serious case of “level designer says no.”
+The fast headcrab garage was cool. I wish there was a better way to kill them all then just running or crowbaring the lot. I did have a fun time throwing chairs over the edge of the balcony trying to squish them. When they got on the broken stairwell I started panicing!
+The scene with the projected texture was cool. I wonder how he did it because my flashlight didn’t seem messed up.
-/+The stacking puzzle was a little bit frustrating because I kept falling down a floor. It can be difficult to climb up phys props, I learned this in my entry. Finding the solution did give me an “aha!” moment though, I think A short cut form the first to second floor would have helped.
+The headcrab ambush(from the canisters) was pulled off well, but I felt there was a little too many.
-The finally music faded out before the finally was over, it made me wonder if I’d missed something. The ending train ride was nice, the fast zombies slowly started catching up to you!
These Peculiar Demons:
+Ambient sounds were great
+I like the headcrab you see run down the hallway with the blinking light.
+A soon as you get outside the objective is obvious: get to the church.
+The saw blade launcher was cool, too bad it didn’t slice the zombies.
+I really like the part where you go two knock down two wooden boards and a zombie and poison headcrab ambush you. You have to quickly react to an unexpected situation.
-The music at one point seemed out of place. It just didn’t fit the situation, and the poison+fast zombie fight just didn’t seem like it needed music.
+The combine section was cool, the “moving through the innards of a machine” feeling was pulled off well.
-There’s this one point where I fell down a pit that really annoyed me. I actually dodged the trap, but an invisible wall stopped me. I was on the edge of the hallway floor wondering why I wasn’t moving forward. Then the fall actually hurt me, and I clipped through a pipe!
+The finale made up for it though. I stepped up to the church and looked around; I realized I had been circling the church the whole time! Great job A. Toft.
-The ending was abrupt, I would have loved to “clean house” with Grigori.
+The lighting’s better then when I last play tested it.
+The custom soundscape is good.
+I really like grigori’s home base too. I hadn’t realized what that was till my second time around
+I actually found a crossbow secret this time! Partridge does a good job of hiding items everywhere.
+I like the optional zombie horde rooms. Most of the time Alyx was nearby, so when ever I opened them I got to see her cool DI animations.
+I really like the fast zombie fight in the field. Its cool to just sidestep fast zombies as they lunge you.
-the force field the zombines come from blocks bullets! I couldn’t save the last AR2 rebel 🙁
-its kinda weird to have to holdout segments right after one another.
-/+I felt like the map need some tension building moments, just creepy areas without enemies. As it stands it seem like enemies are paced in such away that the level designer gives you just enough time to recuperate before the next fight. It doesn’t cause combat fatigue, though. Now that I look back I realize why those tension building segment aren’t there. I think the map is supposed to be a “Ravenholmified” version of the hospital in episode one.
-I feel like Alyx could have been expanded upon. Again, I understand the limited time frame. She doesn’t speak as much as you expect her too, I understand that the author can’t make new lines, but perhaps a “here they come” would have been a nice touch when the holdouts start. (A quick side note, the “this place is a death trap..” seem a little out of place). There’s one point where Alyx says “Gordon!” in a concerned tone. It took me awhile to realize she was talking about Grigori. I think moving the scene to Grigori’s home base and perhaps having the player turn on the lights could have helped me make that connection. Or an ai_scripted_schedule so the game knows when the players looking a Grigori, Alyx is nearby, and there aren’t any enemies around. Also some unused lines for Alyx ep1 can be found on gihub, so the author can check there for some more dialog (sorry, that sounded a little authoritative, these are all suggestions).
+At last, A Daz map I can play blind!
-/+The intro’s a bit of an info-dump, but Daz does a good job of reminding the player everything throughout the map.
+Visuals are great, obviously.
+I like the grenade trap, I had this idea a while ago (inspired by the dishonored traps). I don’t know if this was intended or not, but at one point a zombie punted a grenade from the trap! Gotta love that ai.
+The ambiance is great, I don’t know if the soundscape is custom, but its a good choice none the less.
+I like the vista you get of the town when going on the roof tops.
+This map also does a good job of making me tense. Soon after exiting the church I heard the distant zombie howl. I freaked out and ran inside to grab the nearest radiator!
+There’s also this cool hub affect you get form that yellow staking puzzle building.
-Weird doors: Some of the doors didn’t have a handle. I honestly didn’t expect the church to open. A couple of the doors were phys boxes too, so when they opened they kinda just moved slightly. One door in particular was hard to get open.
+The brick vent was cool, I like the little details scattered inside it.
-At times I was uncertain about the “correct” way to go. Sometime I would back track to check another place, then upon my return I realized there was a short cut around the corner!
+The shortcuts were cool and plentiful.
+I also found all the secret shotguns, so I ended up fighting alongside the ghost of father Grigori. THIS was really cool. Sadly I felt it made the finale fight a little too easy. When I reached the cart I thought “is that it?” I expected a bigger ending. The individual fights were more frantic then the finale.
Great job to everyone! I had a tough time picking a top three, but in the end I chose Welcome Holm, These Peculiar Demons, and Exempli Gratia.
Thanks for the feedback, good and bad!
— The longer the elevator ride lasted, the more annoying it seemed. The vista doesn’t show you as much as I’d have liked, and doesn’t point out or direct the player towards anything important (like a landmark to head towards), so it was unhelpful to drag it out.
— There board being unbreakable is an oversight. Oops.
— The attic is an example of “too late to change.” It only worked while crouching, but I ended up not having time to lower the roof to make crouching necessary. And after designing the layout through the debris I discovered that HL2 didn’t offer nearly enough logical, unbreakable debris to clutter the space with. Level designer reluctantly says no.
— Who says you have to kill the headcrabs in the warehouse?
— The projected texture is like a magic trick that only looks right from the correct angle and you can’t risk doing it twice. It works from a distance until your flashlight and the projector are both illuminating the same wall. Most people back away from the approaching zombies, but if you get closer to the wall you’ll see the system break down. Your flashlight light basically turns into a square of light.
— I’m similarly unhappy with the gravity gun warehouse, both in terms of the layout of the space, and how you move through it. It also feels random and haphazard, and I would have liked something more methodical.
— For some reason, the finale music refused to loop for me. Oh well.
Hi All, This is Great!! How does one use the custom textures in Welcome Holm? Thanks!
Grab the welcomeholm folder from the textures folder in the mod.
Paste it in ep2 textures folder and restart hammer. You should then see them in the editor… I can make you some custom ones if you like… Or teach you how..
I was looking forward to this pack as Ravenholm is one of my favorite, most memorable parts in Hl2. And the result is impressive, the competition levels are all very good, especially considering the short amount of time the authors had. Each level has at least one nice idea or feature in terms of mechanic or theme, and most of them look very good, too. They all had some proper Ravenholm vibe to them. And pretty much all of them followed the same low-ammo approach (at least initially) with a focus on melee/physics combat.
I enjoyed them a lot – so nice work to everyone involved and thanks for the treat. Can’t really decide which of the maps is my favorite, I’ll probably have to replay them. Here are some demos of my first runs in case you’re interested: http://negke.fov120.com/files/RavenholmVille_negke.7z Expect derping and noobing, though!
By the way, it still says “AssassinateVille” in the Readme at one point.
Definitely the simplest entry, not much to look at; especially the outside area looks very bland. The puzzles were okay, though I kind of was too witty for them – or for my own good, rather. In the first generator room, I didn’t realize all three levers were usable; instead, I figured I had to jump over the grate as it closed which resulted in me being locked out and having to noclip back in. As for the third generator, I didn’t spot the handle at first and instead thought I had to stack crates in order to get up the ladder. I grabbed a crate in the ‘storage’ room (even though there were other crates near the ladder, just around the corner), but it ended up on the other side of the grate after the Gman prank, and when I returned the crate had disappeared.
There’s at least one area where zombie spawning is visible which feels silly.
Note graph out of date warning when loading the map.
Visually, the level looks functional, not many fine details, but it seemed okay for what it does. The start room is cool, Portal-style. I managed to jump over a fence and out of the level while looking for secrets, heh. I liked the puzzles in the slaughter house. Took me a moment to figure out, but not too long. However, I would have wished for some better visual feedback for the machine – wasn’t really clear it had switched on properly until exiting the room. I somehow expected steam to come out of it and flow into the pipe above. Maybe the conveyor line should have started right away, not only when touching the trigger above.
I derped a little in the end fight, though it was a fine battle overall. The side building is a nice touch, it offers an alternative option for the fight. Somewhat sudden ending after pressing the button, though.
Life Lost Town:
This one looks very good and is probably the most tense in terms of gameplay due to the extremely limted resources – unless I missed the crowbar. The traps are nice, although unfortunately I played in a conservative way and threw the exploding canisters directly at the zombies instead of using them to ignite the fire traps (only realized afterwards this might have been the intended way). The ending was very abrupt.
Again, a great-looking map with an atmospheric start. Suprisingly long. Good if linear progression; layout seemed nice, though maybe fences would have been better than boardwalls to make the whole thing look/feel more connected. Combat was fun, low ammo initially, then tight arena fight. The tram ride at the end is nice, too. A “phew, escaped” feeling, but at the same time you’re not quite sure if’s really over, yet – finger’s crossed you’re not forced back into the mess below. And all the while you’re still under attack with spiders being hurled at you and fast zombies jumping toward the tram. Cool mix of tension and relief.
I must have goofed and managed to miss the gravity gun. This made the map quite tricky. The headcrab garage is a cool scene (“please don’t fall down!”) and the headcrab horde fight in the backyard was quite a jolt, too. I particularly liked the fast zombie encounter where you see their shadows before they actually attack. The end fight was hard for me and I found it quite annoying, although I also played poorly and shouldn’t have died as often as I did (in my defense: I was distracted by someone during this and some other maps). It seemed to me this map had little to no ambience, all very quiet.
These Peculiar Demons:
A map centering around the church is a nice idea, though I felt this one could have been designed in a more hub-like fashion. Very boxy construction, quite a bit of backspawning iirc and little health. The blade puzzle was finicky, because the room you find it in has only such a small door and window which makes it awkward to get out. The combine parts are cool, a nice change of scenery, and a reminder of the ‘bigger picture’ of the game. The ending felt fairly sudden, or I just missed the preacher or whatever happens when his audio starts as I was outside the church and still fighting some zombies.
Great style and excellent Alyx scripting. Some good traps, too. Shame one of the headcrab rockets doesn’t have a proper crater (displacement brushes etc). At first I didn’t realize I had the gravity gun, so I crowbar’d around for a while and let Alyx do most of the work. The signs felt like a bit too much exposition overall, or at least somewhat heavy-handed. Would have prefered either more visual storytelling hints at what to do, or something like custom voice-over (although I realize that’s a bit much to ask from a competition map).
Awesome map, but (I don’t tire to mention this!) I hate the new haunted shotguns that were changed from barely visible to “Hey you! Look here!!!” style because of a debatable assumption on players’ general approach to collectibles in maps.
I just watched the first half of your Over-Run demo, and it seems like everyone is missing the crowbar 😉 I guess its my fault, I should have highlighted the door better.
Just watched your demo of my map. Using just one well placed barrel you managed to break the whole area with the wooden buildings and go through it backwards. You even bump into a few of the unspawned zombies. A really bad oversight on my part!
This was a fantastic competition, thanks for running it Phillip. All the maps were fun, although you might get Ravenholm overload if you play them all in one go. 😉
First of all, my entry was “These Peculiar Demons”. If some of it seems a little rushed, that’s probably because it was. I think I was a bit too ambitious given the time that I had to work on the map, so lots of things got overlooked. Case in point is Phillip’s method of exploiting the puzzle with the yellow metal panel; I hadn’t considered that and I’m sure it would have come up had I done proper testing.
There are a few places I would have liked to have made more detailed, as well as adding some kind of 3D skybox to make the town seem more believable. More importantly though, the ending with Grigori was sort of thrown together so it might not work properly every time.
In any case, I enjoyed taking part in the competition and I hope people still enjoy my entry.
Here are some quick reviews of the other entries.
As Phillip says, this entry was quite simple, but I felt it was still effective. The outdoor area didn’t quite fit the style of Ravenholm, but the combat was at a good level and I liked the puzzles with the gates.
● Exempli Gratia
A very cool introduction, reminds me of something from Portal 2. The machinery at the centre of the map was nice, especially breaking the rotors to go through it. I wasn’t too sure about the battle at the conclusion, the side buildings were superfluous seeing as you could avoid the Zombies quite easily.
● Life Lost Town
I felt like I missed something whilst playing this map, as the ending is simply an unmarked tunnel in one area. It seemed like there was another battery puzzle I should have done first. Speaking of which, battery puzzles can be a good way to encourage exploration, but here all the batteries were basically in one place. What I did play was fun though, especially luring several fast zombies into the same propeller.
I think this was my favourite of all the competition entries, in particular how the map’s ending is done. It creates the perfect mix of tense and panic-filled moments that suit Ravenholm best, even once you think you’ve escaped you still have to stay on your toes. The layout and pacing of the overall level was good, and I think the difficulty was just right.
Some cool moments; getting an overview of the town at the start was nice and I liked the area in the attic. As mentioned by another commenter, the scene with the projected texture was a neat trick – I just wish the Source engine would let us do that kind of thing properly. One issue I had was that I didn’t understand the intended solution to the room with the broken stairs.
● Welcome Holm
This feels like a side mission to Deep Down and it is a similarly high quality. The only problem was that having Alyx with the player (and rebels too at one point) somewhat deflates the fear-factor and ambience of Ravenholm. The more action-packed take definitely works well though, and having notes left behind by Grigori was a great idea.
● Power Struggle
I have to say that the extra time Daz had to make this map really shows – the map looks fantastic, especially when you get to view the whole thing from high up. The open layout is great and the story matches it well. The sound and visibility of the “capacitors” is a clever design method to stop the player getting disoriented from their objectives. Somehow the idea of collectibles doesn’t seem too out of place in a bonus level. Definitely the best map of the lot, but it’s not really fair to make a comparison!
2 Hours, 15 Minutes
>>>WARNING<>MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD<<<
This is a simple map, the initial outdoor area is pretty poor in terms of visuals if I have to be honest, so I'm kind of happy that the author preffered to stick with claustrophobic indoor tunnels. The gate mechanic is nice but I feel that it could have been used to a better effect. Combat is tightly packed and gameplay is at times a bit confusing. The lack of autosaves makes this map frustrating if you forget to quicksave, which is NOT a good thing. You should never, ever rely on the player quicksaving the game himself, because he could quicksave a moment before getting killed, or get in the habit of quicksaving every half-second making the map boring. Not exactly a good map but still entertaining in some parts.
Fairly nice map. The visuals are good although not particularily elaborate or fancy. The beginning is a total stroke of genius, you start all like "Wasn't this Ravenholmville?" and then you go "Oh crap, this is not good". Gameplay-wise, this is a good map, some things are obscure at first but they gradually get light shed on them as you progress. I really like how the map mixes puzzle and combat together without making the whole thing unbalanced or frustrating. The meatgrinder and steam puzzle reminded me of the Saw traps for some reason. The final part is also quite nice, while the arena isn't very inventive or original and I would have liked to see some traps, balance and difficulty are well done. It seems that there is some kind of story going on, with the Combine trapping you in their own version of a Portal test chamber, but in the end the course of events doesn't make much sense, especially since the map just ends with you meeting the last rebel and the screen fading out to black. All in all a good map, original in some parts and less in others, but good nonetheless.
This is a strange map. It is good, graphics are nice, although the bright outdoor lighting kind of ruins the atmosphere, and gameplay is fine too. NPCs moved particularily well in this map, much kudos to the author for that. However, it appears that the entire "free-roam" outdoor area after where the battery puzzle is located can be skipped altogether by simply making a beeline towards the tunnel. Giving secondary objectives is fine but if you spend time setting up the logic system for four batteries you should really make it part of the solution to the map. Because of the possibility to simply escape by skipping the entire free-roam area, this ends up being a very short map. Despite this, the map is in the end is still good and fun to play, and the use of music from one of the best soundtracks in the history of gaming is much appreciated.
Like the previous one, this map has atmosphere and visual problems due to the unnaturally bright moonlight. My best guess as to why this happened is that mappers looked at the ambient_generic values from the official Ravenholm maps and just copypasted them into theirs. This doesn't work, the original Ravenholm is filled with tall buildings that block off direct moonlight to only leave the very dim ambient lighting in many areas. This map doesn't do this, result, it is too bright in most areas. However, while atmosphere is disappointing, the general quality of architecture and good detailing all around the map is pretty good. Where this entry really shines, though, is gameplay. The map does a fantastic job of using every Hammer Unit of geometry available for good-quality gameplay, creating a cramped, claustrophobic yet fun arena where you are constantly dashing from spot to spot to avoid the horde of zombies, scavenging for explosive barrels and physics objects to throw at the zombies using the gravity gun. Speaking of that, the map also nicely rewards exploration with extra ammo and objects that really come in handy during the final showdown, and each bullet fired from your SMG feels powerful and hard-earned. While this map fails at atmosphere, the gameplay more than makes up for that and the result is a great, fun entry.
Wow. Despite the silly name, this is one hell of a map. I am truly impressed by what the author has managed to do in 17 days. This is a map that gets atmosphere right, lighting is well-done (the projected texture with the fast zombies is awesome!), just bright enough to let you see while still conveying the idea of a scary, dark night. Music is also well-used. Architecture and detailing are also very good. Gameplay-wise, this map doesn't disappoint. While it is quite hard in some places, combat is fun and varied, especially thanks to the "late" acquisition of the gravity gun that really highlights its offensive capabilities. Talking about variation, this entry is incredible creative in creating original scenarios. From the fast headcrab-filled building to the final escape (where we also get the possibility to shotgun some fast zombies in the face as a reward for all our hard work, which is a nice touch), there is not a moment where you think "oh yeah the typical x type scenario". A truly fantastic entry, top-quality visuals, atmosphere and gameplay.
Gameplay before graphics, right? Visually, this map does just about enough to avoid being downright ugly, but the architecture is still simplistic, detail is sparse and oh god the lighting. Yet again, overly bright outdoors that look like as if the G-Man gifted Freeman with an owl's night vision, so there is not much atmosphere going on. However, I will admit that the complete absence of weapons at the beginning does convery a feeling of powerlessness, which makes the map mildly scary until you acquire some weapons. Gameplay, however, is very good. As I said, there is weapon progression and every new weapon obtained feels powerful and useful, ammo is limited enough to make the gravity gun a meaningful and important tool. There are also some sharp toys to play around with, and I like how there is more to them than just "press lever to slice zombies in a 5-meter radius around the propeller". Story is pretty basic and nothing special, but even its mere presence is much appreciated as it gives the player drive to keep moving forwards. Music is well-used and I like how the author managed to integrate some Combine presence without making it look unrealistic or nonsensical. Zombies have some spawning problems, sometimes popping out of thin air as you turn a corner, but apart from that, combat is well-done and balanced, particuarily the final arena. All in all, this map could be considered one of the best gameplay-wise, tying with Rabbitholm, which is a bit more original but not nearly as long. It's a real pity that visuals were not completed in time, though, but I appreciate the decision to prioritize gameplay over just making stuff pretty in the 17-days timeframe.
This is another very good map. Visuals are perfect, while moonlight is still very bright, the abundance of buildings, cramped areas and well-placed artificial lighting help reduce the problem – this is the same way it was done in the official maps, and it works. Gameplay is good to, having to rely on Alyx to take out the zombies where there aren't any physics props around at the beginning is an interesting scenario; however, she does have a few problems following the player around, she always ends up following you correctly but is a bit "laggy" in doing so, for example, if you enter a corridor or tunnel you have to get over half way through for her to follow you, pretty incovenient when said tunnel is filled with zombies and you don't have a shotgun. Apart from that though, she fights nicely, doesn't get stuck, and is of great help. Her scripted dialogue manages to come across as natural, and there are some incredibly smart uses of this feature, for example, after you read the message from Grigori she remarks that you don't look very good, almost like she can see your face through your monitor. I really how the author managed to tie in his own story with the original Half Life 2 storyline. The course of events and the way they are told to the player feels natural and realistic, and I will admit that I feel really sad for poor Grigori. This feeling is also enhanced by the skilled use of lighting color in the room where you learn how he decided to hang himself. The final task that Grigori asks you accomplish really gives you an important reason to complete the map and gives it a more "serious" and "important" feel. A fantastic map with very good storytelling. This is the winner for me.
If it was part of the actual competition, this would have probably been the winner. Amazing visuals, good lighting and true Ravenholm feel here, all packed with high-quality and original gameplay. The grenade tripwire trap is a fun mechanic and I like how it gives you the choice to grab the grenade and deactivate the trap or keep it and use against the zombies. The story is well-done, the final sequence on the tram thingy gives a great feeling of accomplishment by showing you all the places you traversed to earn your escape. Also, "to be continued"? Holy hot damn yes!!!
All in all, this competition contains a good number of quality entries with a lot of gameplay variation. While only some of them grasp the true feeling and atmosphere of Ravenholm (for God's sake do NOT set your environment's brightness to 50 just because Valve does so!!!), all of them are fun to play and provide a good but not frustrating challange. Because of this, I give this competition a "Play it now!.
2 Hours, 20 Minutes
I am very pleased with how ravenholmville turned out. For the first time I enjoyed all of the entries in a planetphillip competition, which is quite surprising. However I have to apologize to the people who’s entries were later on in the mod. While I thought the theme for this competition would be a good one, after a few entries it just became boring. I somewhat lost interest because all the maps looked and felt the same, and as such some of the maps felt like a chore. I still enjoyed all of them, it’s just that the later ones I sort of tried to speed past because I felt I had played them before.
————-Burial by G.Campbell:
From the get go, it didn’t seem like a very good map. The beginning had basic brushes, and to be honest, quite horrible lighting, especially the one coming from the APC. But once I got into the underground area it quickly became enjoyable. I don’t know how to explain why it felt good other than just I had fun. It was interesting to explore the area, trying to navigate it and dodging around the zombies in such a thigh area. The combat was fun up until the fast zombies. It felt like the area was too thigh for them to properly walk around, and as such they could barely touch me.
The gate controls worked fine, but I think the author missed an obvious puzzle, which would be to have the handles toggle certain gates, so the player had to activate them in a particular order.
That’s what I thought it was when I first saw them, with the wires connected to the different gates.
————-Exempli Gratia by Rob Martens:
The beginning area was fantastic. Leaving the door and looking back just to realize it was all a set-up, while predictable, felt pretty awesome. I also enjoyed looking around the house and noticing the speakers giving off the bird sounds.
As for the rest of the map, again it was enjoyable. I liked the main puzzle. It was out of the ordinary, yet fairly easy to understand how everything worked. The last area I didn’t really grasp at first, everything indicated it was a defense area, but I had no idea what I was waiting for or what the button at the top of the rafters did. The architecture was fairly bland. Didn’t really have a chance to understand what the buildings around me were supposed to be and it also felt a bit too dark. Some more light would have been nice.
————-Life Lost Town by Lifelost:
This one reminded me the most of the actual ravenholm maps seen in HL2. Nice looking area, good ambiance, and generally good design. Unfortunately it seems to end fairly quickly. The shotgun was fairly late, literally to the side of the exit. I didn’t even notice it during my first playthrough. Only revisiting the map a second time did I manage to find it. So that fells a bit pointless. Other than that, electrifying the fence felt great, looking at the dumb zombies jumping to their death.
————-Over-Run by Abraham Lee:
The intro to this one was pretty good. The house you start in looks great, and stepping outside and hearing the same eerily sound that was played in the original ravenholm presentation really made me feel like that was in ravenholm. But, contrary to the previous entry, the architecture and layout didn’t match that feeling. Still, some nice set pieces, such as the hanged man, and the fast zombies reveal. The last fight was good, but it felt a bit contrived that the ‘elevator’ thingy would take so long to arrive.
————-Rabbitholm by Dan Jordan:
This was my favorite of the entries. From beginning to end (excluding the infinite zombie spawning area) it was fun and varied. The beginning sequence, with the three zombies that burst in, while you still only have the crowbar, really sells the idea that the player is the underdog. The attic area was an interesting idea, even if it was a bit annoying that I couldn’t stand up. It needed a bit of polish but it was still fun.
And then the area that really sold the map. The warehouse with the hundreds of headcrabs was by far what stood out the most. And for the best reasons. I have never seen anything like that in an HL2 map (or any other game that I can remember), and it was very fun to play. A very innovative and refreshing set piece that really sold me on an already good map. *clap*
The rest of the map goes on fine until the end, where you are faced with a never ending wave of zombies that spawn right in front of the player. At least I assumed it was infinite because it didn’t seem to end, and there was nothing that I was told to wait for or do. This last part I didn’t like, but everything else was great. And I will definitely be stealing the barnacle in the vents for my own maps in the future xD.
————-These Peculiar Demons by Alastair Toft:
The worst of the entries, but still enjoyable. Unfortunately, by the time I played this entry I was pretty sick of the theme, so I was less inclined to enjoy it to begin with. Compared to others it felt too long and the ambiance wasn’t the best. The last defense area was alright, but the bushes outside the church seemed to bug the zombies, and they kept getting stuck on them. While I don’t really have anything that stood out to me, it was still enjoyable.
————-Welcome Holm by Jim Partridge:
Again like the last entry, I was fed up with the theme already, so perhaps I’m not doing the map justice. Apologies for that. However I can say that I didn’t really enjoy having Alyx as a partner. I’m not particularly fond of having AI companions, yet it seems that Jim likes to use Alyx quite a bit in his maps. Nothing against how it was presented, it was well scripted, I just don’t like having to both rely on Alyx, and not letting her die. Having her on my side also didn’t help to sell the idea that this was ravenholm, as I would guess most people remember ravenholm as being a lonely place filled with zombies.
————-Power Struggle by Darren Weekes:
I was looking forward to this one since I heard this was what DaZ had been working on for some time. The intro was a bit too long but still a fine one.
Like a lot of other maps in this competition, it didn’t look like ravenholm to me, just a copy cat. It still looked nice though, and played pretty well. I knew what I had to do, and figuring out how wasn’t too painful. I felt a bit rushed playing this. Maybe it was due to what seemed to me like constantly spawning zombies, but something was definitely putting on some pressure. I’m not sure if that was a good or bad thing though.
The mechanics used were pretty cool. The grenade traps were awesome, and something I really liked, after disarming the first one, and getting to keep the grenade for myself. The hidden shotguns were also cool. They felt a bit easy to find, but perhaps that was for the best. Having ghost Gregory by my side was awesome, but it was more of a cool aspect rather than a useful one, as everything he did was just slow me down by stopping randomly for no particular reason. Overall I really liked that DaZ had a lot of time to prepare a great bonus map, and hopefully Phillip will ask other members of the community to do the same for future competitions.
Re: the ending of Rabbitholm
The finale horde continuously spawns forever due to some weird issue that I could never figure out, but an… escape route opens up after about two minutes. There is a proper end to the map!
A little over 500 downloads and yet only 6 reviews? Give these authors more reviews! I’m sure they’d appreciate it, and it’s the least you can do for all these awesome, free maps.
– I like the shadow of the fence cast on the wall, but the distant fog doesn’t look that nice
– I actually didn’t know I had a ggun til I saw the sawblades, after already killin a bunch of zombies with the crowbar
– nice way to hide suit!
– long ass vent
– when I shot a small barrel near this boarded door and this zombie, my view got turned for some reason
– I believe zombies just killed gman 😐
– as I was now trapped in the room with the crank, a vent that I whacked didn’t break til after! I made a few steps away from it 😐 ghosts!
– the paths are not that easy to rememeber specially when they keep changing with all the gates opening and closing, but it’s never too frustrating
– a so and so entry with nothing special
– node graph out of date
– like I said before, the weapons just being handed to me is not that cool
– and I never understood the fake setting the player is put in at the start
– but the way to go now in the factory is more obvious
– aaand I die by a random crab shell, didn’t think it would shoot 2 in a row haha
– the ladder is kind of buggy, unless it’s intended to be climbed 1 step at a time
– no idea what the button did; and the ending is dry, but works
– while last entry didn’t really make me feel like in Ravenholm, this 1 does
– the battery in the car was actually the first 1 I found due to the sparking, before seeing the puzzle for it
– I think I finished early by just walking into this dark tunnel?
– ran out of pistol ammo
– found the shotgun, then sounded like I walked over some ammo, I’m guessing it was for smg?!
– it’s a shame that I can’t get to higher levels on the outside of buildings
– as I finished the battery puzzle I realize it was for the fast zombies to be electrocuted, except I ran into them a lot sooner…
– so yea, the end
– the beginning feels kind of empty and dragged out but soon enough we get into the atmosphere
– the shooting we hear in the distance gives a sense of rushing
– the crack in the ceiling to draw the attention to a falling poisonous crab was a nice touch
– a zombie pushed through a window was funny
– seems very non linear as paths make small circles but there’s only 1 way forward in the end
– lots of places to explore, and they’re all rewarded, there are no dead ends
– i can skip a small part by just jumping on roofs from a window, not sure if game breaking, I didn’t continue to check triggers
– the ‘fight the horde while waiting for slow elevator’ has been done before but still has some charm left in it
– the level looks like there still some fighting to be done and I’m actually sad to see it end
– best entry yet
– interesting enough the previous entry ends with me escaping in an elevator, but here I’m put in a new level by an elevator
– ahaha I didn’t know zombies could knock!
– it appears I’m stuck in crouch after the vent section and into the attic, maybe intended
– the shadows for the fast zombies were well done!
– interesting door I can walk through 😐
– well someone likes crabs a whole lot but at some point I think enemies just spawn behind me; I can’t explain walking into empty rooms then being attacked from behind… 3 times
– and they spawn infinitely?? til finally there’s a trigger that opens up a wagon
– the zombies at the end are overkill and it seems they are gaining on me? haha
These Peculiar Demons
– so far I feel I’m missing a crowbar, and everything til that point felt frustrating because u show the player ways to use it
– interesting new mechanic with the saw blade, too bad it kind of misses sometimes
– a Ravenholm map without a ggun is kind of meh, uuuuntil we get it!
– I literally saw 3 zombies spawn and 1 poison zombie
– the corridors outside are too narrow imo
– a rotating blade with no fkn switch!! oh I see, after I lost some hp, the switch is not on it, that is so not canon; and can’t be turned off
– again the zombies spawn too early, right in front of me
– made a full circle and now don’t know where to go
– filling a basement with crabs and being stuck in crouch is just evil
– an autosave could’ve been BEFORE pushing the green button and getting killed by a zombine in a tight space, no?
– and of course after loading last save, I know where he will be and I see him spawn
– interesting to see combine architecture here, but I guess it works, it definitely helps if you want to use zombines for variety
– of course if I jump over the somewhat obvious trap I meet an invisible wall..
– would’ve been nicer if the power panel was closer to the door, it’s hard to run thru a horde in time to not uhm die by the trap
– I didn’t notice the rock bolders til after I finished kind of all the enemies, with Father Grigori’s help and I’m wondering why other entries didn’t feature him
– oh a map with Alyx, I kinda missed her
– haha nice new TRAP
– nothing to complain here, this 1 had best gameplay yet, most enjoyable and polished (tho at times felt a lil too low fps)
PS: I don’t think the authors’ names should be put in the titles tho, it might make players biased
– I still enjoyed this even tho I tested it more than once, mostly because I finally found all the shotguns!
– wow the body of a zombie just fell as I opened a door but then I think he started walking? (before some stairs and a line of zombies)
– and apparently the ghost of father grigori is helping me, I wonder if the order of the shotguns matters and if the animation would’ve played in the church or somewhere else
– of course being the bonus map is the most polished and has most new and working mechanics, but I still liked Welcome Holm more, prolly because I already played this a few times like I said
I’m actually amazed of the quality and the amount of gameplay, the duration of each of the entries that the authors managed to push in such a short amount of time. So definitely worth a play!
2 Hours, 43 Minutes
How were you biased by the names?
I agree – I personally don’t like knowing who did what map on the chapter selection screen. Feel free to put that in the readme or the web page, but not there.
When the work of a well-known author is involved, I know I have a tendency to judge it in a somewhat different light than that of a newcomer, in that I’m often more critical of the veteran because there’s the sense that they should “know better.”
not sure if I could’ve voted for a runner up as I couldn’t prioritize them, but mine would be Over Run (hope it’s not too late)
has a saw launcher 11/10 would play again…and i probably will, and upload them to yt
As far as a fav goes, it’s a draw between Life Lost Town by Lifelost and Welcome Holm by Jim Partridge, since Jim scored high marks already in his previous map submission with Half-Life 2: Deep Down, an excellent mod.
With Lifelost, it was a very enjoyable, but short map, with some ‘curiosities’ voiced by other commentators, as far as inconsistencies are concerned. While it IS possible to circumvent the battery puzzle, it is more fun to play it, but you have to play the last battery find very carefully so as not to trigger the flow of the fast zombies.
So let’s say you get the battery puzzle solved and you hear the frazzle of the circuitry being activated; that doesn’t necessarily mean the fast zombies will be fried into crispy critters…some will escape that trap and come to brutalize you if you’re not fast enough to retreat to the safety of the upstairs ‘Whirly-scepter’ — but that would be a spoiler, wouldn’t it?
One of the other glitches was the broken ‘Whirly-scepter’ near the end of the map. It is possible to pick up the blade, but it won’t attach to the motor — whazupwiidat?!?!?!
The other one is the untimely pick up of the Shotgun — VERY late in the map to do any real damage to your foes.
All in all a great submission, though.
Oh, well, on to more modding.
Finally had a chance to sit down and play through the mod, here are my impressions:
Jack Nicholson (though admittedly it’s not my best)
And here are my thoughts on the RavenholmVille entries:
I wasn’t so keen on zombies popping up behind me the moment I passed them, the map was a little too cramped for the number of enemies thrown at me, and I think overall there could have been a few more light sources. I did get a kick out of the meathook/vent thing, along with the way the map had me following circuits that led back through places I’d been. Simple, but effective.
Life Lost Town
I was disappointed I didn’t understand the battery thing early enough to use it; I’d wanted to see what it was before committing to a search for more batteries, but ended up triggering the fast zombies before realizing what had happened. Maybe if it had only required one battery? It’d still be a fun bonus mechanic that required you to pay attention, but not as likely to be overlooked.
The street arrangement was pleasingly Ravenholm, even though I’m not the biggest fan of the setting. The environment light was a little bright for my taste, but I thought you did a good job with your point and spot light sources, they seem to complement each other nicely.
One of my top three, I did think it could use music during the combat set pieces, but I really loved the arenas’ design with their loops, some opening up only after things got heated. I had some enjoyably tense moments of low health, really fun. And, of course, I got to ride in a doohickey. Maps don’t have enough of those.
Another of my favorites, initially I suspected the name meant I’d be weaponless and on the run, luckily I was wrong because I don’t do well under pressure.
Glad to hear the forced crouch in the attic was a simple time issue, since that was a little distracting. I also didn’t do well with the broken staircase puzzle, and ended up using a gravity gun boost with the spool to get up top.
Nonetheless, I didn’t really feel the experience was marred by any of that, or the couple of technical oddities I ran into. The fast headcrab garage was cute, though I’d kind of hoped I’d be setting them ablaze, or at least dropping something on them. I feel like kind of a chump for just sneaking past. The final showdown was great, loved the arena itself too. Felt early twentieth century copper/brick styling, creepy in the dark and classy in the light.
These Peculiar Demons
The wide open layout doesn’t really sell “Ravenholm”, but I’m not a huge Ravenholm fan myself, and I liked the spaces you built. The hub design ties the whole thing together into a nice mini story arc, and that Combine machinery built into the warehouse was spooky, trying to figure out what they were doing in there.
My only major issue would be that the section just after getting the gravity gun saw me going backwards, seemingly against the path I was expected to take, and bumping into a few sleeping zombies. The map played well enough anyway, so maybe if you just had them start awake players could take either path and have things work out.
My framerate was less than stellar through this map, but it wasn’t showstopping and I still had a lot of fun.
I was briefly perplexed at the end as to how to use the flares, but figured it out after a bit and finished up just fine. I felt like maybe I’d have liked the arena at the end more if it had some side passages, something to create more loops I could traverse, but then I did a big open arena too, so what do I know.
I loved (loved, loved) the ability to get Alyx through the entire map, wherever I went, and especially seeing the use of that rare jump animation. NPCs following me where I want to go, showing some sort of competence and accomplishing something useful, are close to the top of the list of things I want more of, and easily pushed this map into my top three favorites.
I appreciate the source, too! I always have a good time digging through the details, I can’t wait to see what I can learn.
I feel like I’m in a wheelchair and Darren has just walked up to me and started doing backflips. Way to make us all look like schlubs, DaZ!
I got disoriented a couple of times, but managed to eventually meander to a good viewpoint to see the capacitors and make my way. Lots of nooks, lots of crannies, mind-numbingly perfect bits of detail everywhere in the form of debris, overlays, props, shadows, colors, everything.
The one complaint I have is with the haunted shotgun thing. I haven’t finished it yet, but it seems to me they’re a little too easy to spot. I don’t think everything needs to be available to everyone right up front, personally, and I’m fine with secret stuff I can’t access first time through. Things I missed the first time I played certain games, only to learn of years later, evoke a sense of wonder I don’t get outside of this medium. I don’t feel left out at all, and would love to know people who are persistent and clever enough to look in the right places of their own volition will be rewarded for that, even if I can’t manage it myself.
A beautiful, fun map that I really can’t offer anything else to. Thanks for the source! I’ll be poking around in there for a while, to be sure.
Now! I’ll be back sooner or later with a breakdown of how my map ultimately broke down, but it’ll take a bit to get my thoughts together. For now, enjoy my blind playthroughs of everyone else’s work: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoGPuWBXfT0dio84WimLRnszP3rjIjwl6
2 Hours, 50 Minutes
I made a level design video about Over Run.
Hope some people find it interesting.
OK. So I’d like to start this review, by writing a little abstract of the whole Ravenholmville as a whole. And I think as a whole mod, this is one of the most successful ones by its content and the number of participants on it.
Well, Ravenholm it is not “my cup of tea” or my favorite part in the HL2 universe neither. Personally I consider Ravenholm style maps as narrow ones, sometimes boxy even in the actual HL2 Valve official game, and overall quite hectic in gameplay terms as you have to deal with hordes of all types headcrabs and zombies, they come to you in this narrow European little town streets, as a plague that really becomes a pain in the butt to combat.
That was the cons about Ravenholm, now in the positive part, is a part of the HL2 Universe, where actually environment and atmosphere of the maps counts a lot, and situational combat, you know as to have to set up traps against the headcrabs and zombies, plays a great part in the whole Ravenholm map.
Also, Ravenholm is as far as I know the darkest and most sinister part of the HL2 Universe, indeed in the HL2 beta version, this part was the one which intended to actually “scare” the player, and show the miserable result of the Combine tactics swarming civil towns with those headcrabs missile- canisters that turn the poor earth human survivors into those zombies living a pure hell in the flesh. So overall in environmental terms, the whole feeling of the Ravenholm part in HL2 is dark and miserable, also Father Grigori is the perfect example of this hell the CMB have bring to earth, a man reduced almost to the edge of madness who shouts prayers to those zombie-demons walking around that screwed up town, maybe passing days and nights without sleep mounting those traps to save himself and aid to some people who have the pity or disgrace to pass to that terrible god’s forsaken town…
Well, once I said the things about Ravenholm as a zombie mayhem scenario lets review the entries.
Burial by George Campbell.
I felt this one quite isolated form the whole Ravenholm scenario. except from the first steps into the map, the rest was a cool trip under this apartment- catacombs complex infested with headcrabs and zombies where the goal is just solve some quick puzzles to escape from there via the elevator. Overall it was fun to play and offer some nice zombie-headcrab combat in very narrow areas.
Exempli Gratia by Rob Martens.
Without discrediting the whole work of the author of this map. I have to say this was to me the most annoying entry to play. the whole streets in that Ravenholm map where very lonely, and the map was just centered in this odd zombie trap, that I assumed I had to activate in order to kill the zombie hordes, the simply way to pass to the main town plaza with your rebel companion was stupidly blocked by a sleeping zombie next to that door, so once you activate that meat grinder trap you actually have to destroy it to pass to the next section, I didn’t like that at all, and also there were no escape from there, as the map finished once you have killed all and every single headcrab and zombie in the map once you get to the plaza and the screen slowly fades away in black.
Life Lost Town by Lifelost.
Nice map which offers cool zombie-headcrab combat. though I felt the whole design of the map way too linear, the escape was via a darker tunnel which I consider a crazy thing, I mean if I was there, there is no way I took that escape route, I mean I am into a zombie infested town and you want me to escape through that dark tunnel at night and just walking???? NO WAY BOY!!! if the author had given me the buggy or the jalopy muscle car, and a light at the end of that tunnel to escape, that would have been the perfect end for me. But overall was a nice entry to combat.
Over-Run by Abraham Lee.
This was to me very fun to play and offered a cool route to reach the escape cable-car then wait for it and escape as you see how those zombie plague over run the damned town. That concept was nicely achieved and the gameplay was fitted perfectly to it as well.
Rabbitholm by Dan Jordan.
Was so filled with zombies and headcrabs, it certainly is one of the toughest entries to beat. It offered a cool battle and your goal, reach the train station and escape via train was a great way to develop the concept, content or argument of the map, that was done ok, though I didn’t like I saw spawning zombies right in front of me like one or two times, the escape was pretty cool, and I still prefer to be able to “escape” from a Ravenholm map rather than the boring black screen end once you have killed all.
These Peculiar Demons by Alastair Toft.
This was another entertaining entry, based on a long map divided in some few sections, though I didn’t feel the strong Ravenholm environment or style into this map, the goal was to get to the main church surrounded by that creepy cemetery. Overall is a map which in order to progress you have to climb some roofs and look carefully around, so offered funny traps, as that fixed razorblade cannon, and some puzzles, also it has a plus for me showing some Combine structure trapped in that headcrab-zombie infested place. Though a down for this entry was that there were also no escape, as the finish was triggered once you have killed the last bug around. I guess a escape via a funicular or cable-car device in the top tower of that church would it have been a nice end for this map.
Welcome Holm by Jim Partridge.
The fair winner of the competition in my opinion. Why? well because it developed the whole concept perfectly, I mean Grigori just leave prepared the traps and the bomb to tear down the doomed town just for you and Alyx to trigger it! The Suicide body of Grigori was a cool touch, and the signs on the wall a brilliant detail to this entry, combat against zombies and headcrabs was also nice and the escape fitted perfect.
Bonus: Power Struggle by Darren Weekes
The bonus map was a pretty little Ravenholm style jewel to play! very, very fun, with imaginative traps and puzzles and a cool cable-car escape promising a continuing part to the map, also that kind of Grigori ghost you found inside the church was a nice touch all the way, also the voiced act part was nice and well done, if this would have been part of the competition I think it would have stayed in the first place.
Overall a great competition based on a kind of few explored mapping development scenario in HL2. It is an absolutely Play IT Now! and it made me to realize there’s one thing I hate more than the manhacks in HL2, yep I absolutely hate those poisonous throwing black-venom headcrab zombies!!!!! those are the most vile zombies in HL2 world and a highly deadly threaten if you see one of those in any map you’re playing absolutely kill it immediately!!!
2 Hours, 45 Minutes
I really loved playing these entries. Ravenholm is one of my favorite areas on the HL2 universe, and these maps were justifiably creepy. Great job to everyone involved!
Late to get to play this, but comments anyway.
Just delightful, it feels like a celebration to have 8 maps, all of them good! After the past year when sometimes there wasn’t much to play at all. I’m hoping its a sign there will be more in future.
I was hoping my favorite character Father Gregori would be in all of them, and while it was disappointing to only see him in one and some text and messages in a few others, it wasn’t the end of the world.
My ratings (included all 8) didn’t match the poll, but there was a limited sample there plus some maps’ rankings were very close to others in my opinion.
Power Struggle 8/10
These particular Demons 8/10 (Father Gregori in the flesh!)
Welcome Holm 7/10
Exempli Gratia, LifeLost Town and Burial – very close to 7
Many thanks to all the modders and of course Phillip.
NOTE: Phillip, PIN rating didn’t show, tried a repeat, same thing. Please delete one of these, thanks.
Just bloomin’ great. Most maps truly had that Ravenholm feeling, which is both creepy and awesome. Nothing more said, than JUST PLAY IT NOW!!!
Definitely a successful contest, one of the best. Although from playing these I was reminded that I’m really not a huge fan of Ravenholm in general. I don’t hate it and I think it fits perfectly in Half-Life 2 – I just don’t love it.
All of the maps here have something to offer. My favorites align pretty closely with how the voting turned out, and the addition of a bonus map was fantastic to really solidify the final release and strengthen it overall.
In general I liked how some of the authors did things a little differently. One didn’t give you the gravity gun until well over halfway through. One had you accompanied by Alyx which put a new spin on things. And I really liked Power Struggle’s grenade traps, a minor but clever tweak on a familiar object.
Definitely worth a play if you like Ravenholm, and maybe worth a look even if you don’t. 🙂
They are strong and week here and there. Worth a play through.