The Hammer Cup 2017 Overview

4th January 2017

Hello and welcome to 2017!

I am very pleased to announce that RTSL will be running another Single Player Source Mapping Challenge Event and this post explains everything you need to know.

Instead of assuming everybody reading this knows all about The Hammer Cup, I will start by explaining it. And move onto the details.

The Hammer Cup Overview

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.

The Hammer Cup Background

Back in 2010, I started running mapping competitions. Over the years, they waxed and waned in popularity and entries.

Then at the end of 2015, I decided I would combine a year’s worth of challenges into one series with much bigger prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.

In fact, the winner of The Hammer Cup 2016 won a brand new NECA Gravity Gun valued at $250.

More information about last year’s The Hammer Cup 2016, can be found here.

At the time of writing, there are 44 challenges, with around 200 maps. You can see all the challenge mods here.

As of 31st August, these were the stats:

  • 563 Recommendation Images
  • 2895.1 MB of files
  • an estimated 68.5 Hours of Playtime

Each challenge starts on a Wednesday and generally lasts 19 days. That’s 3 full weekends. It starts on a Wednesday to give entrants time to think and plan for a few days before they have time to actually start mapping.

There is a theme for each challenge that is only announced on the challenge announcement.

Once the maps have been submitted, I compile them into a stand alone mod.

All the challenges have the “Ville” suffix. I choose this because at the time I started the challenges FarmVille was popular and I wanted something to help identify the final mod. I have continued to use the suffix and now feel it gives the mods some unusual branding.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.



The first challenge theme will start 11am GMT Wednesday 18th January and finish 11am GMT Monday 6th February. Full details will be given in the announcement.

Whilst I’m not going to set the rest of the dates now, THC2017 will last the whole year this time instead of January to June – starting mid January and finishing in December. There will be time in between official THC2017 challenges, for stand alone challenges too, including at least one Black Mesa challenge.


5 challenges: 4 of 19 days (that’s 3 complete weekends) and one of 26 or 33 days. The longer challenge will probably have a more detailed or complicated theme.


All challenges will be for Half-Life 2: Episode Two. This means that a map must work with only EP2 installed.


I will run a donation campaign again and hope to reach 500 Dollars. I would love to offer actual prizes like last year’s Gravity Gun, but the reality is that cash via PayPal is so much easier and the winners would get more money than if they had actual prizes.

In fact, here is the fund:

There will be 3 Grand Prizes: First, Second and Third overall places. The exact distribution of funds will be decided upon nearer the end of the event.

I am very embarrassed to admit that I still haven’t given prizes for each challenge from last year’s THC2016, but I will do that on my return in mid January and email last year’s individual challenge winners to arrange some prizes.


For each individual challenge, there will be a random Steam or Origin game given to the winner only.


There will still be three judges this year, two the same from last year and one new. I am very pleased to announce that Jim Partridge is our new judge. Jim has his own series on the RTSL YouTube channel called Critical Jim and whilst he hasn’t made many videos recently they are still very popular. In addition, Jim has made and released a few great mods: Aftermath, Deep Down, Daylight, an entry in RavenholmVille and finally a bonus map in DiamondDogsVille.

In no particular order here are the judges:

  • Me, PlanetPhillip, owner and operator of RunThinkShootLive.
  • Don AKA Unq, well known modder and streamer.
  • Jim Partridge.

There will be changes to the judging process used last year.

There are 3 judges AND community voting, which will only be open to members of RTSL. The Community Place Points (CPP) will carry the same weight as the Judges’ Place Points (JPP).

Voting for the Community Place Points will last 7 days after the release of the mod. Any suspicious voting will be deleted.


Unlike last year, each section will be judged as proper sections rather than bonus points.

Scoring each section is as followings:
0: Terrible
3: Adequate
6: Good
9: Fantastic

The 0,3,6,9 is used to avoid decimal points scores for each section.

Each judge allocates points for the following sections: Design, Visuals, Sound and Gameplay.

All entries will receive 12 points for entering.

Judges and the RTSL community will also select their top three places and allocate 36 points to first, 24 points to second and 12 points to third.

So, an entry will receive 12 points for entering, 36 points / 24 points / 12 points / 0 points Judges Place Points, 36 points / 24 points / 12 points / 0 points Community Place Points, and as many points as have been allocated in each section by the judges.

Here is an example: The Hammer Cup 2017 Scoring Example.

Community voting WILL NOT allocate points in each section. Voters will simply select their top three maps from the entries. This has been set like this to avoid making the community voting too complicated.

Here is an example of how the community would vote: The Hammer Cup 2017 Community Voting Form.

Here is an example of how the judges would see the community voting: The Hammer Cup 2017 Community Voting Results Example. THIS WILL NOT BE VISIBLE TO VOTERS AND IS SHOWN AS AN EXAMPLE ONLY.

The Hammer Cup 2017 Page and Event Overview

I will be creating a new “The Hammer Cup” section on the site to replace the current one which is slow and difficult to update. I will also create a specific 2017 page which will contain pretty much the information presented here but will also have details of each challenge and links to the scoring spreadsheets.

The Featured Image

The featured image on the top of this post, is taken from Jason Gimba’s MAMH entry from LiberationVille.

Final Points

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. Please use the comments section below to ask questions, make comments or suggestions. If you would like a private reply, please email me: [email protected]

Thanks for reading and let’s hope The Hammer Cup 2017 will be even better than last year!


  1. Sounds great 🙂
    And just in time. Today I will complete my own project, Mega City One, which means there is no excuse not to participate.
    But I think Ill focus on compact and simple maps.

  2. JamaicanDave

    I rather enjoyed following The Hammer Cup last year and am glad it’s making a return. I do suspect some mappers suffered burn out and think spreading it over 12 months is a good decision.

    Here’s hoping for another successful competition.

  3. Yay! For some reason I’m really looking forward to making a few fun (and hopefully good-looking) maps for THC! It’ll provide motivation for mapmaking.

    Can’t wait for the two weeks to go past.

  4. Sounds pretty awesome!

    I hope we can have more Black Mesa entries here this year as we’re getting close to Xen.

    1. Phillip_on_holiday

      There won’t be any official Black Mesa entries because THC2017 is for maps tht can be played in Ep2. There will be a separate Black Mesa challenge this year though.

      1. Yeah, I’m aware of it. I meant the website actually rather than THC2017 Challenge with “here” word 🙂

        1. Phillip_on_holiday

          Well, if modded make maps, I’ll post them here.

  5. OK, sounds good. Looking forward to it … !

    As an amateur mapper, the given feedback in 2016 has taught me a lot about gameplay, visual language and general aesthetics. I’ve found out that things like big stacking puzzles, hidden crucial items, and spamming of enemies are basically a big no-no when maps are meant to be released for a wider audience. I’ve also found out that fabricating small but relatively detailed maps within a month or so suits me better than making a bunch of large, ambitious but under-detailed maps. Thus, in 2017 I’ll focus on compact maps with at least reasonable gameplay.

    Btw, best wishes for 2017 … !

  6. will participants be able to vote? Before they obviously were allowed to write reviews, but now the community has a say in the final score, so obviously for someone who just wants to win, the best choice would be to choose his own map as nr1. I’m sure most people here wouldn’t do that, but still 🙂

  7. Pretty exciting! I really hope each theme will really be well-thought out. Last hammer cups themes where pretty decent.

  8. Oh wow! 100 dollars donated already!

  9. Very excited to see what comes out of this.

  10. Can’t wait to participate to this. I’ve been mapping now for a long time, knowing basic and advanced features of hammer. I wish good look to all entries and hope for the best for all.

  11. Bastion

    New monitor is on the way (hopefully today because it’s four days late) so just in time, looking forward to getting back into HL2 mapping.

  12. Woop Woop, time for a fun year of challenges!

Leave a Reply

Comment Formatting Guide

Well formatted comments are much easier to read. Please copy and paste the HTML Tags to use in your comment

  • HEADER: <div class="fix"></div><div class="sbe3">TEXT HERE</div>
  • BOLD: <strong>TEXT HERE</strong>
  • ITALIC: <em>TEXT HERE</em>
  • SPOILER: <span class="spoiler">TEXT HERE</span>