The Hammer Cup 2017 – Challenge 2 – ToxicVille

22nd March 2017

Hello and welcome to the second challenge for The Hammer Cup 2017.

Below are the details.


As always, if you have any questions, you can either post a comment or if you require a private reply, send Phillip an email: [email protected]

Theme Details

When the Combine took over Earth, environmental issues were ignored, we think it’s fair to say. Half-Life wouldn’t be Half-Life without a good dose of corrosive, radioactive goo for zombies to splash around in.

We want you to create the most fiendishly hazardous, nasty environments you can and create some ingenious methods for the player to fight or puzzle their way across that space.

Toxic areas are all about restricting parts of the level that the player can use as they solve the puzzles and fight their way out.

Antlions, Combine, Zombies plus any other enemy, NPCs, etc. can all be thrown into the mix for this one but please make sure the radioactive goo plays a key part in the level design.

Over the years we’ve seen lots of different spaces where toxic goo appears. Poisoned lakes, abandoned factories, waste ground or even in the city itself.

Your entry map can be inside, outside or a mix of both. DO NOT limit yourself to the same situations that the games used toxic goo for. Create something new!

Update: we are specifically talking about the classic yellow/green toxic goo found in HL2 and the Episodes. That toxic sludge should feature in your map – but how you use it is totally up to you. We’re hoping for new and interesting twists – be creative!

The Hammer Cup 2017

The Hammer Cup 2017 consists of five mapping challenges, each with a different theme.

Entrants will receive points for each challenge they enter.

At the end of the event, the best 3 points totals from the challenges they entered will be added together for each entrant.

These totals will decide who wins the Grand Prizes.

This means that entrants do NOT have to enter each and every contest to win the grand prize but they will need to have entered at least 3 challenges to have a chance of winning the grand prizes.

Full details can currently be found here: The Hammer Cup Overview.


The deadline for submitting maps is:

Monday 10th April at 11PM GMT

Note, that’s an extra 12 hours than normal. It is 11 AT NIGHT AT LONDON UK TIME.
Make sure you check your local time conversion.
That’s 19 days, with 3 full weekends.

General Advice

DO NOT GET TOO AMBITIOUS. If you can’t build it in 2 weekends then think smaller.

Something is bound to delay your progress. Leave time for testing, bug fixing and polishing!


We highly recommend getting your map beta tested by somebody you trust. Do this early in its development if you can.


A random Steam or ORIGIN game will be awarded to the winner.

Judging Criteria

Each entry will be judged on Design, Sound, Visuals and Gameplay.

The judges are looking for cool and fun uses of the toxic goo.

General Rules
  • 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-THC2017: ToxicVille 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 or HL2: Ep2 are allowed.
  • Other assets are allowed with written permission from their original authors, which MUST be included in the entry.
  • Phillip’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into about it.
  • The map MUST have a proper name.
  • The map MUST have a proper filename: MapName_thc17_c2.bsp
  • All entries must be sent to: [email protected] no later than the deadline.
  • If you do not receive a confirmation email without 24 hours of sending an entry, contact Phillip IMMEDIATELY.
Final Thoughts

The judges feel that by using the toxic goo as the main element of the map, modders can create maps with negative areas that limit and challenge the player.

If you have ANY questions, please don’t hesitate to ask, either here in the comments or by email if you prefer a private answer.


  1. Very interesting idea. I’m sure there will be entries that come up with quite creative concepts of using toxic slime in environments in ways that we haven’t seen before.

    Sadly, I can’t be really ambitious at all for this challenge, since I’ll only get my computer in working state in April (it’s broken at the moment).

    Good luck to anyone who participates!

    Personally, I need to brainstorm over this really hard, since right now only Canals and the Underground Tunnels come to mind.

  2. Ok, I promise, I will not made a bad maps like last time! And if I made a bad map I promise I’ll shut hammer down!

    However, about the Ville in itself:
    I was surprised when I saw this Ville. First of all, it was pretty hard to think what you can do funny with this toxic goo. But I think some of us will have good ideas and will made really good entries. Can’t wait to see what everyone will do!
    I want to say Thank you to you, Phillip and to the other judges for this surprisely Ville, it will be fun!

    1. Unq

      The only way to improve is to keep mapping. Don’t give up!

      1. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for us! Just remember to make sure it’s fun to play lol…

        1. I think, i’ve got a little idea that you’ll like πŸ˜€

  3. Does it HAVE to be the classic toxic goo that deals exponentially-increasing damage until you’re dead? Can it be something else in the environment that is toxic?

    That said, this IS an interesting challenge. Freedom of environment and gameplay but with a mandatory feature, this is how I like ’em.

    1. Unq

      [edited to clarify]
      Yes it must be the classic HL2 toxic goo. See Jim’s response below.

      The real key is being creative with it. Go beyond what HL2 and the Episodes did!

    2. Personally I think the toxic goo we all know and love hasn’t been given enough attention in the ville series so far. I think it adds a very specific element to the gameplay and that’s what I wanted to see people play with when I proposed this theme. If we were to expand the theme i think we could get way of track and it would be very difficult to judge the results.

      The idea behind these kinds of challenges is to see how people can use an existing element creatively.

      1. I agree with this. It’s interesting to see how people interpret the theme, but in this case, I want to see how they can use the HL2 toxic slime creatively.

    1. Unq

      How do I favorite this comment

      1. Excuse me, I ran out of jokes.

    2. I consider it my duty in life to make mistakes so that others don’t have to. I accept the burden of that responsibility for the benefit of humanity and gamers specifically.

  4. Ah, fascinating theme. Already got an idea how to execute the development of my entry for this Ville, but due to full time work and all that I’ll have to – once again – aim for a compact fabrication. Gonna try to implement some environmental puzzles and not rely entirely on combat. The first Ville in THC2017 yielded just 24 points for me, so one of my goals now is to score significantly higher … !

  5. Woo great Ville idea! This will be my first ville entry and really first complete map. If nothing else it’ll be a good learning experience.

    1. Glad to hear this has inspired you to make and release something.

    2. yeah toxic slime certainly does lend itself to puzzle building… think you’re on the right track!

  6. I’ll think about this theme this week-end, but I don’t find it that inspiring right now. Are we forced to use the toxic goo (as in that guzzling green slime from HL2) or is the theme more broad? (ie: gas clouds, lots of black headcrabs, even the radioactivity from the core in EP1 would count as toxic)

    1. Yes, we, the judges, interpret “Toxic” as being the goo found in the games and seen in the header image.

      1. yeah… the point of this is to demonstrate a good understanding of a gameplay element and how it can be used to create challenge and fun for the player… turn those lemons into lemonade… or lemon shaped explosive devices to burn someone’s house down!!!


      2. So very tight theme compared to DefendVille, seems like a nice change, makes us think more about matter itself

      3. So using something else than the goo to create “toxic” stuff won’t count? Or maps where you don’t come in direct contact but still based around a toxic theme, similar to the cut Air Exchange chapter of Half-Life 2?

        1. Unq

          Correct in your first sentence: it must be the ugly yellow/green toxic sludge from HL2. Hopefully you can use it in an interesting way!

          1. Well sure wish I could make something for this ville! I’m busy finishing the AI + ragdolls of the Ichthyosaur, Combine Advisor, roaming Sniper and many other enemies for my HL2 mod though. Also gotta finish up viewmodels for weapons (including Alyxgun, Annabelle…), voice G-Man etc. So yeah…

  7. Interesting! I am looking forward to seeing what ideas people dream up.

  8. Unq

    Update added at the end of Theme Details to clarify that we’re talking about the classic HL2 toxic goo.

  9. 1lucia

    So, I am not allowed to use props from other games like CSS?

    1. Unq

      Correct, only HL2 and Episodes 1 and 2. You can use community-made props if you have permission.

      1. 1lucia

        well that’s sad, css had the perfect prop D:

      2. I just want to chime in and add that Valve has stated numerous times that they didn’t care if source mods re-used assets from other Valve games. If you’re worrying about legality, that’s not an issue. I understand why the rule is here though.

        1. Do you have sources? To me what you said seems very obvious, but people keep saying the opposite. I’d really like to use CS:GO & Portal 2 Assets.

          1. I’ve heard people have sent e-mail to Valve and they answered the positive. I don’t have a straight source, but it’s at least completely legal to do so with SFM as long as it is free, as seen here under the question “Can I make money with this tool?”. Of course making a video is different than releasing assets with a free mod. If legality is the issue here (not visual language/consistency) it wouldn’t hurt to send an e-mail to Valve to clear that up.

            1. I’m fairly certain its fine as long as you keep Source assets within the Source engine. Where you start running into problems is commercially releasing Source assets on another engine, say UE3 or UE4

      3. 1lucia

        Why can’t we use props from other games? As that one person said it, Valve dosen’t care πŸ˜›

        Probably because you want the maps to look hl2 style, but can’t we atleast use 1-2 Props from other games?

      4. 1lucia

        Why can’t we use props from other games? As that one person said it, Valve dosen’t care πŸ˜›

        Probably because you want the maps to look hl2 style, but can’t we atleast use 1-2 models from other games?

        1. And I think they don’t want us to use model/ textures from other games to keep the files size not Bis as hell…
          And like you said, too keep a hl2 feel.

  10. Oh no. I have NO idea where to start. How do I do this? I was just saying that I was going to start entering THC, and the first thing I get is this… oh god. Well – I might try! But I doubt you will see this. I might stream some creation of it but.. oh god.

    1. Go play the bits of games with goo in them or other peoples mods with goo in… should give you some inspiration…

      1. It kind of goes without saying that Fallout is one of the better examples of gameplay involving toxic elements. It’s right there in the name. Particularly the unsettling Glowing Sea in Fallout 4.

    2. Please don’t get discouraged by the theme, in fact, that’s how you experiment and learn new things, Just don’t give up so fast.

  11. 1lucia

    Is it allowed to modify a HL2 Props texture, and use that?

      1. Not wanting to be a buzzkill but shouldn’t packaging such content in the BSP be required? If you just put a replacement asset directly in the game files it will override the default for ALL maps in the mod IIRC, as opposed to properly BSPzipping it which will only cause it to be loaded by the intended map.

        1. Not if he decompiles the model and changes the directory that it accesses its materials from. Then he can just recompile the model under a different name altogether and nothing will conflict anymore

          1. 1lucia

            Yea I actually scrapped that idea doe. The CSS Model can really not be replaced and I will not do anything else, lol.
            Unless someone want to model for me, or actually, just change a bit of a texture.
            (Actually, the CSS model is only a reskin of the Oildrum model in HL2)

            1. @ 1lucia What exactly is the custom oildrum you wanted? I’m not super great at making textures but it sounds interesting for this Ville, maybe I could try to make it.

        2. Unq

          Yeah, I should have been more clear. You can’t replace a default model or material or whatever that will affect other maps. Either pack custom content into your bsp or give it a unique name or folder.

          1. Can you give enemies custom models for a map as well? Made one for Civil Protection that can use the revolver and use the proper shotgun fireing animations instead going into default position when he shoots. Actually I planned to have whole custom eneimes but this would require an edited client.dll (if I remember right) and I’m not sure if that’s allowed in a Ville.

            1. @Koneko

              I am very interested to hear what Phillip says about this. Can the old Episode 2 source SDK still be compiled after Steampipe? I would imagine to make those changes you would want to use the Source SDK 2013, but Villes use the Episode 2 engine instead. I am also curious why that is, since Source SDK 2013 mods are free…

              Does the custom model for the Civil Protection officer change anything about the default behavior? If all it does is add new animations for the shotgun, maybe Phillip would let you include it.

              I like putting custom models on Combine soldiers and rebels because you can specify a different model for those NPCs to use in Hammer, that way I don’t have to replace any files to add custom skins.

              1. Yes, it only adds shotgun fireing animations (the weapon holding animation was already there for some reason) and doesn’t change the behavior. I know that you can specify a model for npc_citizen and npc_combine_s, though is this possible for npc_metropolice as well? The model does look a bit differently colored so I don’t want to replace police.mdl for the whole Ville.

                1. @Koneko

                  That sounds really cool. Perhaps you could pack the .mdl into your BSP? I had issues with packing before where a replacement asset I used would not unload in others maps after it was loaded… Not sure how to fix that.

                  How does the CP officers’ AI work with the shotgun? I’m curious how that would play, since soldiers only fire with the shotgun at close range and metropolice probably don’t have that restriction.

                  1. Actually, when CP use a shotgun they pretty much behave like a Combine soldier. They won’t shoot from a distance and rush at the player, however a bit less aggressive and less tactical.

                    1. @Koneko That sounds interesting… Definitely want to try fighting CPs with shotguns and stun sticks

                      To answer your question, I don’t think that metropolice npc has a model override you can use… Which is disappointing

                  2. Hm… disappointing indeed that they have no model override. And how to pack the .mdl into the BSP I honestly have no clue about. Already had to completely cut out my Toxic Hydra because it needed a custom client.dll (since it’s a whole new enemy). Was mailing Phillip about it and he said custom client.dlls are not allowed in Villes. So yeah pretty unlikely I will include my entry. By the way, if you’re intressted what the Toxic Hydra was, you should look up the cut Hydra enemy of Half-Life 2 (unless you know it already). Difference between that and mine is… well it’s toxic! In my map they came out of the goo and their attacks had to be dodged until you find secondary for the AR2 to kill them. What I could try as last attempt is making them into a prop_dynamic or something. But can’t promise anything.

                    1. Assuming there’s an attachment point on the hydra model…. what if you parented a trigger hurt to the prop dynamic attached via the attachment? Then you could have a trigger multiple that plays the attack animation when the player is nearby.

                      It wouldn’t be nearly as cool as the custom code…. I don’t know if it’s even possible. Still, I really really want to see this toxic hydra!

                    2. I’ve had luck creating a tentacle by using a chain of parented func_tank. The func_tank can be aimed at the player/target with the SetTargetEntity input. The last func_tank can have a parented trigger_hurt or something. The default target when no player is visible can be parented on a func_rotating to make it seem more alive.
                      This is lots of work to make it fun though.

                  3. @1upD Yeah it really ain’t nearly as cool as the custom code. In fact, it is totally broken and no fun at all. The attack animation doesn’t work, it instant kills the player, couldn’t get the poison effect to work… etc

                    1. @Koneko That’s super disappointing… Maybe you can reuse the toxic hydra in a mod re-release of the map?

                  4. Don’t think I’ll release the single map as a mod. It’s all part of something bigger that I’m working on (you can look at the modding skills on my profile for some details about it, if you are interested. Info is a bit outdated though). Basically everything is still in very early stages and for sure not ready to be released any time soon.

  12. I waiting. Think peoples make cool toxic maps.

  13. I’ve got a little question.
    Can our entry have multiple level?
    Because my first part of the map is pretty big, and if I want to make my second part of the map on the same level my computer will explode…

    1. “Maximum two maps per mapper per entry.” – Taken from the General Rules section of the original post πŸ™‚

      1. My bad, don’t correctly understood this rule XD
        So sorry.
        Anyway thank you for your reply

        1. No need to apologize man. Good luck on your entry!

          1. Thank you.
            I hope you’ll like it! πŸ™‚

      2. I’ve been wondering about the wording of the β€œmaximum two maps per mapper per entry” rule.

        If one entry has four mappers, it can have eight maps?

        If one mapper has two entries, they can both have two maps?

        What if one mapper has two entries but they both have two mappers?

        I realize that these are all edge cases and it probably has never really come up…

        1. Whilst I have never stated that teams can enter, nobody has ever expressed an interest in that. Yes, if a mapper entered two sepearate entries, then both could have two maps. If said mapper was trying to get around the rules by trying to be clever I would simply not give them any points.

        2. Unq

          It’s better stated as one or the other: “Two maps per entry” or “Two maps per mapper” – although the second one can also mean that one mapper enters 2 separate maps.

  14. Should the level be set in Half-Life universe?

    1. Unq

      It doesn’t have to be.

  15. As soon as i seen this i thought of Research and Development! the Cart ride with the toxic goo and obstacles to knock you off the cart.

    anyone else?

  16. Almost there … πŸ˜€
    Can’t wait anymore to play the entries of others!

  17. gonna try something….. probably gonna be generic.

    1. lamelurker


  18. Hi, I’m completely new to this, so I was just wondering if there’s anything special that needs to be done to or included in the BSP file.

  19. Phillip_on_holiday

    No, not unless the map requires custom assests. Does it work in a system that just has episode two installed?

    Once I test the file, I will contact you if there’s a problem.

    1. Thanks, that’s great to know.

  20. I started looking into lip synching, choreography, and closed captions. It turns out it’s a lot more complicated than I expected.

    From what I understand, in order for the game to use closed captions, I need to compile a .DAT file. What if other mappers use captions as well? Do I just turn in the uncompiled file?

    I might end up with just sticking to ambient_generics with no captions for dialogue, but it’s a little disappointing.

    1. why do you want captions anyway? No offense, just curious.

      1. Just so people can turn them on in case they have the sound on low or something to read precisely what the characters are saying.

        I guess not that many people play with captions on anyway, so it hardly matters.

        I really wanted to get some kind of system for timing the dialogue without using ambient_generics and timers. I’m still thinking about possibly using sentences.txt and scripted sentences. I don’t know if it would be worth the time investment to try to choreograph new scene files.

        1. For a full mod captions are totally worth it, but for a Ville map? Come on man πŸ™‚

  21. Kind of late to start thinking of this and I have a feeling I missed where it clearly says it, but where do we submit the maps? I know it’s an email but I just can’t find it πŸ™

    1. The email is written in the rules but here it is , to gain time πŸ™‚
      [email protected]

    2. You can send your entry to: planetphillip*AT*

    3. At the top of the post it says questions can be sent to [email protected], so I assume that’s where to send submissions.

    4. Phillip_on_holiday

      Email it to me: [email protected]. If it’s too big, upload it to a free hosting site and email me the link.

    5. Anon_1504367

      Thank you! I swear I read through the post multiple times, but I was seriously sleep deprived at the time.. sorry for being so blind


  22. Well, my map is currently 95% done. Still needs some tweaks here and there and a 3D skybox to complete the visuals. Gotta say I’m glad I managed to produce something coherent despite the lack of free time in the last weeks. At some point during development my entry was at risk due to a serious problem; Hammer flat out refused to load my map due to some invalid brush or something, and I couldn’t figure out which specific brush caused the error. I managed to work around this by decompiling a BSP version of my work and only suffered minor delay.

    1. incase you didn’t knew: You can always use the .vmx file, which is the last successful save (rename it to vmf). You could also look into your autosave folder, but I don’t know how these files are kept.
      You could also edit the .vmf with a text editor like Notepad++ and delete whatever is causing the problem, which I know is easier said than done if you don’t even know whats causing the issue.

      1. Ah, thanks for the tip about the .vmx files. Good thing to know the next time Hammer throws a fit. I did use a text editor to view the broken VMF but all those seemingy indistinguishable lines were a bit much to process I have to admit.

  23. 1lucia

    Need a quick response, does there need to be a game_end at the end of the map?

    1. Phillip_on_holiday

      Doesn’t need it but it would help your score with the judges.

      1. 1lucia

        Yea I did make a game_end, dosen’t seem to work doe

        1. You can use a point_clientcommand and call disconnect.

          1. 1lucia

            I did it with a point_clientcommand, but not disconnect. Rather menustartup force or something like that,

            what should I title the email? Do there need to be any extra informations in it?

            1. disconnect and startupmenu force do more-or-less the same thing and either are fine.

              Follow Phillip’s instructions below. The e-mail doesn’t really need to contain anything except a link to your entry (Dropbox, for example) or the attached entry if it is small enough. You might provide a short synopsis of your map or any other details about it.

  24. 1lucia

    Also, (sorry for spamming) Where do I upload the map?

    1. Phillip_on_holiday

      Email it to me: [email protected]. If it’s too big, upload it to a free hosting site and email me the link.

  25. Kaixo,

    I would like to know if you receive my email with my submission.
    Sorry for that.

    Thank you,

  26. 1lucia

    In what form do we get a confirmation? Do we get a email saying “We got the map!” ?

    Also, I mentioned this in the mail with the map in it as well, at first I sent in the wrong map. Wrong version, I now sent the full version, excuse me for that inconvinience.

    1. According to Phillip’s twitter, confirmation emails will go out tomorrow. That makes me a little nervous because I want to know my entry was received. Oh well, I’m sure Phillip would understand if for some reason the email I sent was blocked or something.

    2. I think Phillip said on twitter that he will send the confirmation emails tomorrow

    3. They way it’s worded seems like it’s just an Email reply back from Phillip and should appear between 24 hours after sending the map.

  27. Phew that was a stressful last few days. But the result turned out ok. I can’t wait to see the other maps!

    1. I’m getting a 404 on your link.

  28. I just found a way for the player to get trapped in my map. That should teach me to get it tested by someone next time.

    1. never underestimate the value of playtests. They will show much more than that.

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