The 2014 Mapping Competitions

19th January 2014

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

I thought I would update you on the Mapping Competitions for 2014.

I won’t be running mapping competitions series for a while. Unless they are connected, there’s no real point. So for the foreseeable future, all competitions will be completely separate.

I don’t want to publish a yearly calendar of competitions and commit to something that’s too rigid. That said, I feel I need to give mappers some idea of the schedule to allow them to plan their work.

Therefore, I have decided to run between 4 and 6 mapping competitions in 2014. Most will be 11 days long, but I may try something longer at least once.

The prize will be either a $5 or $10 Steam game for each and I see this as a token prize, rather than something people enter for.

After each competition, I will do my best to create a podcast and chat with a few entrants. I will also encourage mappers to post regular updates of their work in the comments section of the competition announcement.

Mappers who do that will have the chance to join the podcast, even if their entry isn’t one of the best.

I may also try a text based Q&A with questions from PP readers.

I will be announcing the first mapping Competition for 2014 on Friday 24th January at 6:00AM GMT.


  1. When you say announcing do you mean that the competition starts on january 24th, or are you just going to do an introduction to it and reveal the theme later on in the future ?

    1. The competition will start on the 24th with the announcement of the theme. I didn’t want to just announce the comp next week, with no warning.

  2. Fantastic. Looking forward to it.

    Having non-series comps is an interesting change. Is it because there was a lack of consistency in each series as far as which mappers entered?

    1. Well, the original mapping competitions were individual. Then I came up with the idea of having a series and awarding points for each competition, with an overall winner. That proved to be a PITA, so the next comps were three with the idea that if a mapper entered all three he or she could join them together to make a full mod, but again, that proved unsuitable. I then decide to keep the “series” idea but not connect them in any way. All that really happened was that the dates were published in advance. The themes weren’t connected and different people entered the comps.

      What seems to be clear is that people decide based on how interesting the theme seems to them. The 11 days is a fair compromise between having enough time to make something worth playing and not losing interest and motivation. In the past, the 3 month ones haven’t faired any better than the shorter ones. 11 Days included 2 weekends, which is probably when most people work on them.

      If I can create a series of themes that are some how connected then I would run a series again, even in 2014.

      Somebody made a great observation (sorry, can’t remember who it was!) but they said the AmbushVille and DefendVille were quite successful because they defined the gameplay objective. The two other options are enemies/weapons and locations, so if I run six comps, I might have two of each theme.

      1. JG

        It’s a little bit easier to objectively compare maps if they are all trying to achieve the same gameplay goal, so that’s why things like ambushes and defenses work. This is an ambush versus this is a bunch of guys standing in a room.

        To some extent, this applies to enemy-themed comps as well, as long as they can offer a lot of natural variety and don’t get tiresome.

        Last, when it comes to things like DefendVille, don’t pick numbers out of the air. 7-10 minutes is a dreadfully long time and despite how lot of mappers tried to fill it with something (Miigga did it best), the fact that it was kind of picked out of the blue and made flexible later on wasn’t too great. But that goes for anything, like having “at least three elevators in ElevatorVille” or something like that. Don’t go into that kind of detail. I realize it’s an attempt to prevent people from reusing old work, but I honestly don’t think that’s a major concern. In something like ElevatorVille, most of us aren’t going to have an extremely elevator-centric level sitting around in a dusty folder somewhere. You overestimate us. 🙂

  3. Ade

    A location based comp would be interesting imo, I think it would yield lots of entries (but no way to check if their work is recent or not).

  4. Sounds tasty. I think what I want to try for the competitions is create my own running theme that pop up in all of my submissions. (if I have time to work on any of course)

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