The Lambda Cup 2018 – Challenge 2 – GravityGunVilleTwo

1st March 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

Half-Life 2’s revolutionary weapon was undoubtedly the Zero Point Energy Field Manipulator. You can call it that if you really want to.

But to us it’s the Gravity Gun. A simple concept, executed perfectly in the game – and the perfect tool to demonstrate the physics engine. We learned the basics in Black Mesa East, experimented with its lethality in Ravenholm, and used it from then on for exciting activities such as stacking crates, tossing barrels, pushing around poor headcrabs, and eventually making Combine soldiers into personal ragdolls.

We want you to create a map that features the Gravity Gun. In addition to the Gravity Gun, the player may obtain and carry the crowbar and only one other weapon. Note that this restriction is on Gordon’s standard weapons – so objects like hopper mines and Magnusson Devices do not count as the other weapon and may be used freely.

This time there’s a twist: our latest research has developed a new function for the Gravity Gun. By finding and attaching a rare Stasis Crystal, the now-enhanced Gravity Gun has the added ability to freeze an object in space. Don’t worry, it’s not permanent – but the object will remain in stasis indefinitely until you use the Gravity Gun to move it again.

Use of the Stasis Crystal is optional in this challenge.

Mappers can give players the classic Gravity Gun or the Super Gravity Gun – and both versions may be enhanced with the Stasis Crystal.

We envision the Stasis Crystal having many uses, from blocking, reaching areas, puzzle-solving, attacking, defending and probably many others.

We’d love to see what you can do with the Stasis Crystal, but the regular old Gravity Gun is fun too. Wow us!

So, to summarise:

  • feature the gravity gun
  • adding the new stasis crystal is optional
  • the player may also get the crowbar and one other weapon beyond the gravity gun
  • we’re really looking forward to playing with the grav gun in whatever kind of maps you can dream up and build!
Brief Background of the Stasis Crystal

This ingenious addition to the Gravity Gun, the Stasis Crystal AKA “Mertz Module”, is named after its original creator, combines the properties of a pink xenian crystal with the Gravity Gun’s orange crystal.

By injecting energy from the pink crystal into the beam, the resulting energy coats its target with a thin coloured layer of gravity-defying particles capable of withstanding any disturbance.

It was later discovered this coat could be disrupted by hitting it with the same particles.

The pink crystal, actual code: Sample PC-3113, was discovered on Xen quite early in the expeditions, but since it was unique, much more research was conducted on the common orange and green crystals. Fortunately, and we don’t exactly know how, the sample managed to escape the Black Mesa blast and found its way to Dr. Mertz’s lab. He had managed to escape but was running a smaller lab than Dr. Kleiner.

The resistance had decided to split what was left of the Black Mesa scientists into small groups to avoid them being captured together.

Somehow, and again the circumstances are not clear, Dr. Mertz managed to discover its special properties and suggested it be combined with the newly created Gravity Gun.


The deadline for submission is 11pm GMT Wednesday 28th March 2018

Random Bonus Prize

At the end of this challenge, a random entrant will win a Steam key for Prey (2017). If the winner already owns this game, a suitable alternate game will be offered. This prize was kindly donated by Don from his small but ecclectic stash of game keys.

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 contains 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 Gravity Gun Stasis Crystal

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

Brand new for this challenge is the Stasis Crystal. It is a special item that is attached to the Gravity Gun once the player picks it up. Once obtained, the Gravity Gun can then freeze any (inorganic) object in space in addition to its usual functions. Players use the tertiary attack key to freeze or unfreeze objects (this key must be bound in the Options menu).

The Stasis Crystal can be attached to either the standard Gravity Gun or the Super Gravity Gun. The Stasis Crystal can freeze any number of inorganic objects (that is, not NPCs or enemies). We hope this opens up new opportunities for clever uses of the Gravity Gun and we can’t wait to see what mappers can come up with!

The RTSL Mod Template comes with the Zoo map, which contains two simple puzzles to see the Stasis feature in action.

Players are also welcome to download the template, install it like any other mod and test it. It also contains a section to play against the MechaCrab and to see the difference between them and standard headcrabs.

Stasis Crystal Credits

A huge thanks to Niker107 for creating and polishing the Stasis Crystal model and the newly enhanced Gravity Gun model, especially on such short notice!

Mappers: How to use the Stasis Crystal

To give the player access to the new gravity gun module, place an item_physcannon_freeze in your level. It’s an item that acts like any other collectable and can be constrained.

Entities of type prop_physics and func_physbox are the only that can be frozen and unfrozen by the new gravity gun module. Both have a new flag that can be checked to make entities, that are motion disabled in the editor, be unfreezable by the new gravity gun module.

Both entities can also be frozen and unfrozen by the new Inputs GGFreeze and GGUnFreeze (no parameters). Entities that are frozen by GGFreeze can be unfrozen by the new module, unlike the DisableMotion input.

Mappers: Word of Warning

With great power comes great responsibility. The limits are those you will set as level designer, consider the amount of props you will provide the player with, place clips or traps (such as combine snipers, environmental hazards) for people who would be tempted (Looking at YOU, Phillip!) to go “off road” and find a way out of the map.

The MechaCrab

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

Following on from CoastVille, entrants have the MechaCrab available for use. It is not mandatory to use the MechaCrab in any entry, 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-C2-GravityGunVilleTwo 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, HL2: Ep2 and Lost Coast 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, in addition, custom assets AND MUST BE ABLE TO BE USED IN MONETISED VIDEOS.
  • 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_c2.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-C2-Entry name
      BODY: TLC2018-c2-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

We hope mappers come up with interesting situations for the gravity gun, whether it’s puzzles or combat or any combination of the two. Ideally mappers will experiment with the stasis crystal and the enhanced gravity gun – but this isn’t required. 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. Hmmm… The mod template and setup video make this terribly tempting to get in on. Pop my Source mapping cherry… to be blunt.

  2. Is the Beautiful Indoor Ville coming out this weekend?

    1. No, probably next weekend.

  3. Whelp, my map sucks, but I’m gonna enter anyway. You can’t improve if you’re not criticized. Also, I’ve seen worse in the previous challenges.

  4. A question on the submission template: should I remove empty folders so it is clear what is there, or is it better to leave them so the structure is consistent?

  5. can’t wait to see what’s in store 🙂

  6. I can find out just about everything about this…except when it’s going to be released…

  7. When will the mod be released for gameplay????

      1. Nice one, really looking forward to it…

  8. Are there judges for this one? If so: Who?

    1. Such a lust for judges! WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!

      the judges are the same as always for the hammer cup 2018. You can find the details on the hammer cup 2018 event page.

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