The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 1 – CoastVille

1st January 2018

Hello and welcome to the Lambda Cup, a series of five HL2:Ep2 single player mapping challenges.

If you are new to my mapping challenges, please see the event’s homepage: THE LAMBDA CUP 2018 as well as the CALENDAR of the mapping challenges for the entire 2018.

Theme Details

The word “coast” is very evocative. Long walks on the beach, pretty little seaside towns, high cliffs with waves crashing against them.

We would like you to build a map that has “coast” as its main setting. We leave the exact type of location to you but here are a few ideas.

A port used for storing and loading containers, a beach with little coves to explore, a re-imagining of Lost Coast, a cliff wall with caves and walkways, and finally a map where the player has to work their way along the coast through outposts.

Driving maps will be accepted but please think carefully before choosing this type of gameplay – it often involves a lot of work for very little player interaction.

We have purposefully chosen this theme as we feel it is open enough for all standards of modders yet also offers the possibility for many types of interpretation.


The deadline for submission is 11pm GMT Monday 22nd January 2018

The RTSL-Mod-Template

This year, each challenge will have a new mod template that entrants should use to build and test their entries (highly recommended). If you just want to build a map that runs under “regular” Episode 2 that is fine as well, but you won’t be able to use any new features (see below).

The template is packaged as a mod and allows entrants to easily test their work and the new features and fixes.

It will contain any new content, as well as fixes, for example the antlion worker flash bug, but must be used with the “Upcoming” branch of the Source SDK Base 2013 singleplayer engine and users MUST use the SDK Base 2013 Hammer.

Please CAREFULLY follow the instructions in RTSL-Setting-up-the-dev-mod.pdf located in root folder after downloading the mod template.

We DO NOT guarantee that each challenge will have new content, so please don’t expect it.

Mazur has made miscellaneous changes to the codebase, for which I would like to thank him.

Please visit the RTSL Mod Template page for more details and to download the mod template.

The MechaCrab

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

I am very pleased to announce that in this challenge, and all future Lambda Cup 2018 challenges, entrants have the MechaCrab available for use. It is not mandatory to use the MechaCrab in CoastVille, but at the very least we hope mappers take the time to experiment with them and offer feedback and possible improvements.

RTSL Graffiti

Single Player First Person Shooter Maps and Mods for Half-Life 1, 2 and Episodes 1, 2 and 3
The RTSL Graffiti is included in the mod template. Use of the textures is not compulsory but it would be pretty cool if you used them. Please see the post linked above for full details, but if you didn’t know, you can use them in any non-commercial mod with a credit link to the author.

The Lambda Cup 2018

The Lambda Cup 2018 consists of five mapping challenges, each with a different theme.

Entrants will receive points for each challenge they enter, and each challenge has individual prizes as well.

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.

There have been significant changes from last year’s Hammer Cup, especially regarding points and judging criteria. I HIGHLY recommend reading the full details here: THE LAMBDA CUP 2018.

General Advice

DO NOT GET OVERLY AMBITIOUS. If you can’t build it in about 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.

General Rules


  • Download the Submission Template and use that to submit your entry. The only exception is if you intend to submit only a map with no custom content – in which case you can just send the map (bsp), the graph file (ain), your mapname_readme.txt, and optionally the map source (vmf).
  • End your map with a point_clientcommand firing this exact command: disconnect; startupmenu
  • Maximum two maps per mapper per entry.
  • The map must be original and not have been released publicly before.
  • The map must run in system with only Ep2 installed
  • By entering the competition you grant PlanetPhillip.Com and RunThinkShootLive.Com the right to release the map as part of the RTSL-THC2018-C1-CoastVille 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, preferably a link to a public page that shows permission has been granted.
  • All files submitted MUST be in lowercase and any custom assets must have unique names, both folder AND files.
  • Entrants are requested to send their VMF files in with their entry. A section in the ReadMe.txt file will make it clear that they are for educational purposes ONLY and MUST NOT be used as the base for other levels without prior permission of the respective author.
  • Phillip’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into about it.
  • The map MUST have a proper name.
  • The map MUST have a proper filename: entryname_tlc18_c1.bsp
  • Submit a mapname_readme.txt with your entry. Even if it is just your name and your entry, although you should try to create a proper one.
  • If you do not receive a confirmation email without 24 hours of sending an entry, contact Phillip IMMEDIATELY.

In addition, any custom content must be able to be used in monetised playthrough videos posted on the internet.

Submission Details


  1. Enter well BEFORE the deadline. I will accept all late entries as bonus maps.

    Last year, I was flexible regarding entry deadlines, but NOT THIS YEAR.
    Even 1 minute is late!
    It is also WHEN when I receive it NOT when you send it.

  2. Read the General Rules above
  3. Please follow the submission guidelines, included in the submission template carefully.
  4. This submission template must be used UNLESS you are sending in just a BSP file.
  5. Upload your compressed file (rar, zip or 7zip), using the Submission Template to a free file sharing service.
      (Try,,, or mediafire)
      Please avoid Google Docs – it’s often difficult for me to download from them.
  6. Send an email to [email protected] with the following details:
      SUBJECT: TLC2018-C1-Entry name
      BODY: TLC2018-c1-Entry name (Not filename)
                   The name you want used for credit. For example “Phillip Marlowe AKA PlanetPhillip”
                   Link to compressed file (or attach it to the email if it is small enough)

In addition, any custom content must be able to be used in monetised playthrough videos posted on the internet.

Submitting a chapter & background menu image

Entrants are allowed to submit their own chapter image.
We do not guarantee to use it though.
All that is needed is the image – you do not need to create the VTF, unless you want to. It should be 17Kb.
It’s not compulsory but it will be appreciated.
This can be done up to 7 days after the deadline.

1. Image should be 16:9 ratio.
2. JPG or PNG is best.
3. Weapons and HUD MUST be removed.
4. Neither too bright nor too dark.
5. The FOV can be changed. I use between 75 and 90.
6. Visual effects can be added but be sensible.
7. No text must be added.

1. The chapter images are small. Some images look great full screen but look meh when small.
2. Don’t spoil the map for the player. I find something near the beginning is better, but not always.
3. Don’t spend hours trying to get it perfect. Often people use it for reference only.
4. But, if you can find the right angle and lighting, a good chapter image can get players excited. Do not neglect the promotion of your work.
4. Funky, weird or strange generally don’t work. Keep it simple.

Final Thoughts

With this challenge, we intended to allow open maps, but still have options for small, indoor areas.

We hope mappers find interesting ways to use the given theme and as always we look forward to playing the results!

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. Hmm… Displacements have never really been my thing. I’ve also begun working on a map of my own not long ago. Trying to see how far I can go with the previous 3 states of matter theme. Hope to get it ready for playtesting soon enough.

    Anyway, best of luck to the entrants and happy mapping! It’s always nice to get our hands on new content.

  2. I don’t understand your question.

  3. NiceDude

    Nice! cant wait. Does it necessarily have to be a seashore or can it be a riverside?

    1. It has to be against a sea, but I am sure with some creative thinking you could include a river somehow.

  4. Will we be allowed to use Lost Coast content at all?

    1. Yes. The Lost Coast assets are mounted in the mod, so the content is there. If you use the Mod Template and follow the guide you will see Lost Coast assets in your Hammer editor. Otherwise you can mount Lost Coast yourself for Half-Life 2 Episode Two.

  5. Anon_1593989

    In sea should be ichthyosaur

  6. That mod template thing is too complicated.. won’t be participating, I love the idea of Coastville but that mod template thing isn’t for me. Yes I know there is a direct tutorial on how to do it but that is way too much effort, I liked the concept of making a map and getting it in a mod, but now that you have to make an entire mod yourself to submit it’s too hard.

    This isn’t hate, this is (supposed to be) constructive critisism. Please go back to just sending maps to the Email.

    1. You don’t have to use the mod template. If you create a normal Episode Two map like always it will still work. The new enemy is optional.

    2. You don’t have to make an entire mod by yourself, just a new configuration in hammer. On top of that, standard EP2 maps are compatible with the mod, if you don’t want to do any of that you can make a regular EP2 map like before and it’ll work just fine.

    3. I thought the same at first, but (Phillip please clarify if I misunderstood) I think the plan is that you set up the RTSL mod ONCE and then develop ALL your contest maps using the RTSL mod, but still just email the map to Phillip. The idea is, I guess, that this way, everyone can work with this updated code or whatever advantages come with it. The only actual change I’ve noticed so far is that it now says the VMF file MUST be included.

      I was rather outraged, too, at first (and I hate the idea of having to set this up because I hate change in general), but if this works the way I think it works (Phillip? say something, please?), then it’s not as bad a change as it seems.

    4. Nothing changed in this regard. You still need to send .bsp’s. The template is here just to test if your stuff works in realities of new engine branch, as well as opportunity to test and use ville-related content without packaging it.

    5. Sorry for the delay in replying. We are currently creating a submission template. Essentially, the Mod template is optional and gives you access to new things. All entrants will be required to use the submission template to ensure that building the mod is as straight forward as possible.

      The only exception will be when a single BSP and optional entryname_readme.txt is supplied.

      We hope to release the template no later than tomorrow.

    6. The submission template is now ready. I have updated the details in this post and in the lambda Cup 2018 page.

      To summarise and clarify:
      1. You do not need to use the mod template – it’s optional but gives you access to a new enemy.
      2. You can still send a single BSP as an entry. However, if you send more files you MUST use the submission template.

      Let me know if you have any questions.

      1. Thanks for clarifying, Phillip.

  7. “It is also WHEN when I receive it NOT when you send it.”

    This doesn’t make much sense. How do you expect mappers to be responsible for delays in the e-mail delivery? Or if they send the e-mail when you’re asleep or away from the computer?

    I’m not being intentionally dense here – it just doesn’t make sense.

    1. I don’t think it is unreasonable to say that. All deadlines are when something is received not when it is sent.

      I understand that users have no control over how fast something is delivered but you take that into account when sending it.

  8. Happy New Year Phillip!

    What a great idea for a challenge!

    Ya gotta love a Doomsday clock,, 🙂

  9. I’m getting an error with this mod template, and basically when I open up hammer it tells me that “BaseHeadcrab” and “Parentname” on line 7 and 11 are unidentifiable in the fgd file. I followed the tutorial carefully and I still get this error. Any help?

    1. The download is outdated for some reason. It will be fixed asap. I contacted the admins.
      You dont have to follow the tutorial again, just replace your mod folder when the new download is here. Sorry for the trouble.

      1. The download has been corrected. Please download the mod template again. If you already did all steps of the tutorial you dont need to do them again.

  10. Unq

    Just updated the rules to clarify that you don’t need to use the mod template if you’re only sending a map with no custom content.

  11. Hey, if we get to use our own little mod base thingy for the ‘villes, I’d propose to add some HD content/code fixes if it’s possible. I know that some HD texture packs are distributed with fairly permissive licenses (similar to non-commercial attribution, and we could always ask the author), and the Valve Developer Wiki is full of interesting code fixes, such as one that would allow mappers to use dynamic shadows without having to disable the player’s flashlight.

    1. Unq

      We may consider HD content in the future. The key is that we still want people to be able to just make a regular map and have it work under the RTSL mod as it evolves.

      For bug fixes and enhancements like you mentioned, yes they are open for consideration – so if there are others you think are important please let us know.

      1. I actually have quite an interesting fix, although not really important. The Combine pain sounds. Similar to Metrocops they used to say certain lines when getting dropped to a health breakpoint or simply make a grunting noise when getting hit. I don’t know when exactly that feature got lost, probably with the Orange Box Update like some other stuff. You can still see the respective voice lines when looking into the sentece.txt in the scripts folder of hl2. Search for COMBINE_COVER, COMBINE_TAUNT and COMBINE_PAIN.

    2. As long as we’re changing the binaries, one thing I’d like to see integrated is the loose-loading of VCD files, as covered on the VDC’s “scenes.image” page. That would get rid of the nuisance of having to recompile a scenes.image if people wanted to use choreography. I don’t know if the provided code actually works, though.

      1. Anon_1595870

        The faceposer is pretty broken anyways, I don’t think you can get anything working there correctly..

  12. the fact that the new Template uses SDK Base 2013 has me worried, because I can’t run SDK 2013, or any of the SDK’s for that matter. Valve never finished porting them over to non-Window’s OS’s, and that’s the only type of OS I have ready access too.
    as long as none of the maps use custom weapons or NPC’s, I should be able to run it under normal Ep 2, but I’d have to fiddle with the game info.txt each time a new ‘ville’ came out

    1. This might be bad news for you because the next ville; CoastVille, will have a custom enemy. It will be interesting to see how this works.

      1. now, is the MechaCrab just a reskin? or is it an entirely new npc?
        if it’s just a reskin that’s fine.
        And even if it’s a completely new NPC I could probably still play the collection if I run the mod under Ep2, I’ll just get console errors warning about an unknown NPC,
        *Sigh* dammit Valve, y u do dis?
        if only someone out there would get the idea to port the SDK’s themselves :-/ (if that’s even possible without pissing off GabeN’s lawyers)

        that’s literally my biggest issue with Valve, not their fear of the #3, but their inability to finish what they start. uuuugh,
        well, we’ll see how it goes

        I would get a Window’s machine, but I’d rather not spend a crapton of money on a new computer just for gaming when my MacBook does pretty much everything I need it to do with minimal (If any) fuss

        1. The MechaCrab is a whole new npc. However if she is connected to any sort of sequence in the map it won’t just be a few console errors you’re getting. In worst case it’s a sequence which is important to advance in the level and if the npc ain’t there then, well, you’re essentially breaking the map and can’t go on.

        2. Wouldn’t a dual boot (BootCamp is what it’s called on Mac OS, I believe?) do just fine? When I assembled my machine a couple years ago, Windows 7 licenses went for around 80 quid, if you’d only use Windows for Half-Life², a partition in the neighbourhood of 150-200GB should do (80GB for Windows, if I recall correctly, and them some headroom for Steam, Half-Life² and maps/mods themselves).

        3. Macs can run Wine, can’t they? From my experience with Linux, Wine ran Valve’s games better than their official Linux ports.

          1. I dont trust Dual-booting, I’ve had bad experiences doing it in the past, and it’s kinda turned me off of that avenue, :-/ if I had a spare MacBook that had a working SSD, I’d dual boot that one, but my previous MB took a power surge from a broken Car charger, and won’t boot even in recovery mode

          2. Wine is something I’ve looked into before, only issue is I have no earthly idea where to start, which version to choose, how to set it up, etc
            my only experience with Wine is with the World of Warships port to OS X, which uses a Wine wrapper. now, that’s obviously not a full Wine client, and is only able to run WoWs. I’ll have to see about asking an old High School buddy who builds custom computers about it, but I have no idea how busy he is nowadays,

            if any of you have experience with Wine and would be willing to assist a semi-competent NEET with installing it, that’d be much appreciated,

            I’m running OS X Sierra, 10.12.6, on a Mid-2016 15-in MBP
            2.8Ghx Intel Core I7
            16gb 1600MHz DDR3
            with an integrated AMD Radeon R9 M370x Graphics card and a secondary Intel Iris Pro 1536MB

            1. I’ve never done it on MacOS. It’s pretty straightforward on Linux, you just go to the repository and get wine, and simply do “wine filename.exe” on whatever you want to run. In Linux, the repository is frequently called APT, and it takes care of the installation and everything. You can think of it like an app store, where you browse through the apps and just click “install” on whatever you want. This system also keeps track of updates, makes sure you have the right version, installs any dependencies, etc. It’s very nice.

              According to the first guide I saw searching on the topic, from David Baumgold, you can run Wine on MacOS, but he recommends you install a program called Homebrew which is essentially like APT for MacOS, and then you use Homebrew to install Wine.

              1. uuuuuuuhhhhh….that sounds like a handful, lol

                well, I’ll give it a shot

              2. how exactly does one use Homebrew to install Wine? do i have to install Wine first? then use Homebrew? or direct Homebrew to the Wineskin Winery installer?

  13. The progress in the discord looks really promising. Can’t wait to play it!

  14. Anon_1599936

    When will you post entries?

  15. Anon_1602097

    When can we expect this to be on the site for download?

  16. Is there a release date for this?

    1. Phillip said on Twitter he hopes to post both CoastVille and the 1 Billion Units challenge this weekend.

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