The Loop Complex

for Black Mesa

3rd March 2018

Here is the first mapping challenge in the Mesa Cup.

The release contains 5 entries.

For this challenge, entrants needed to create a map whose main layout is a loop: the player had to return to where they had started. As usual, it was the journey that counted.

For full details of the announcement, please see the original theme announcement.

Basic Details
  • Title: The Loop Complex
  • Filename: mesa-cup-c1-the-loop-complex-updated.7z
  • Size : 42.40MB
  • Author: Derek Jones AKA Taz AKA Taz, JamaicanDave, supernocho AKA Nick, Elvio Santangelo AKA Darakuu, Maki​
  • Date Released: 03 March 2018

Download Options

Download to your HDD [42.40MB]

Gauge Users

Sorry but Gauge currently doesn’t cover Black Mesa maps or mods.

Manual Installation Instructions

If you require more help, just ask, but please read and follow the instructions carefully or watch the video first – thanks.

  • Locate and open your Black Mesa installation folder. For example, mine is D:\SteamLibrary\steamapps\common\Black Mesa\.
  • Open the mesa-cup-c1-the-loop-complex.7z file.
  • In it you will see two folders: bms and platform.
  • The platform folder contains a file which will overwrite a file in your installation. This is NOT a problem, but if you are unhappy about this follow the Optional Step below.
  • Optional Step: In your Black Mesa installation folder, open the platform folder, then open the resource folder. Rename GameMenu.res to GameMenu-original.res. This means your original file will not be over-written – but honestly, it’s not a problem.
  • Copy the bms folder into your Black Mesa folder. You may receive a message saying that you already have the same folders in there, don’t worry, you are only adding new files, so just say YES.
  • Launch Black Mesa
  • You now have a new menu item: BONUS MAPS (That’s what the GameMenu.res files was.
  • Select BONUS MAPS.
  • This will bring up a new window.
  • Select the Mesa Cup: C1: The Loop Complex folder.
  • You will now see all the entries and can select them in any order.
  • Play and enjoy!
Entrants and Map Names
  • Another Route by Derek Jones AKA Taz
  • Cold Storage by JamaicanDave
  • Conflicted Interest by supernocho AKA Nick
  • Emergency by Elvio Santangelo AKA Darakuu
  • Oasis by Maki​
Judges

Dolmo The Douglas, Crowbar, Chon Kemp (Crowbar Collective), Ben AKA trumanji (Crowbar Collective) and Phillip are the judges for this challenge.

The Winner

This was a tough challenge to judge. Full details of the criteria used can be seen on The Mesa Cup homepage.

In First place with 99 points is JamaicanDave for Cold Storage
In second place with 98 points is Maki for Oasis
In third place with 65 points is supernocho AKA Nick for Conflicted Interest

Full details of the scores, including a breakdown of the categories (but not by judge) can be found on The Mesa Cup: Public Google spreadsheet.

Reviewing

If you decide to use the Per-Map Opinion Images, please either watch the video below or use the SPECIFICALLY created the-loop-complex-review-template.txt file. Thank you.

ReadMe files and Map sources

The compressed archive contains the readme files for each entry as well as the VMFs. These are included for educational purposes ONLY and MUST NOT be use for ANY other use.

Release Versions
  • 1.0 – First version of release – Some missing textures, the author has been contacted by had not replied by the time of release.
  • 1.1 – Simply called “updated”. Has no known issues.
  • Playthrough Videos

    Coming soon.

    Panoramic Images



    Artistic Screenshots
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    Walkthrough-Style Screenshots

    WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers. All images 1600×900 pixels

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    Reader Recommendations
    Avoid It!
    Think Twice
    Maybe
    Play It Later
    Play It Now!

    7 recommendations, average score: 4.71 (out of 5), standard deviation: 0.2 (what's that?)
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    Meta Review Data
    Statistics based on 11 comment(s) with meta review data.

    Installed:
    Using Gauge: Users
    Manually: 10 Users

    Time Taken:
    Average: 1 Hours, 17 Mins
    Shortest: 1 Hours by vancanucksfan
    Longest: 2 Hours by PlanetPhillip
    Total Time Played: 14 Hours, 7 Mins
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    Jump to a review
    Play It Now!Personal FavouritePlay It LaterPhillip says Play It!Personal FavouritePlay It LaterPlay It Now!

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    20 Comments

    1. Well, it looks like the Mesa Cup’s underway now! Seeing that there’s only one other Mapping Competition for Black Mesa, I’m excited to see more. So let’s get started!

      Another Route by Derek Jones AKA Taz

      It is good

      Despite the fact there isn’t much combat to begin with, there still isn’t any ammo for the guns besides what you have when you pick them up, which is somewhat strange. There’s also text on-screen telling you the mission objective, which could’ve been done better. The level’s still well-made, with nothing really being bad in any way, and I liked the guard telling the player about the possibly-missable vent. A minor nitpick is that the area after the elevator falls has two “missing texture” textures on the level geometry around said area.

      Cold Storage by JamaicanDave

      It is great!

      JamaicanDave has made another great map! The goal was clear (without resorting to the text-on-screen method of the above entry) and the final fight was great fun to play. I enjoyed it from start to finish.

      Conflicted Interest by supernocho AKA Nick

      It is good

      I’m… confused. The goal here isn’t shown at all, but the level has decent combat, if a bit too many Alien Grunts. Then, the final fight ends without warning when some unknown person screams and the map… just ends. The design is also decent, but the ending really doesn’t make any sense. It’s still a good map, however.

      Emergency by Elvio Santangelo AKA Darakuu

      It is okay

      This is the weakest map out of the bunch, thanks to bad design decisions like not making an important button flash red or green and using what looks like an unbreakable vent cover for a door. It’s still a decent map, but nothing really feels polished.

      Oasis by Maki

      It is WOW!

      I don’t give out an “It’s Wow” unless something makes me say those words, and this DEFINITELY did that. Fighting with an Alien Grunt was something I didn’t expect, and I honestly have to wonder how Maki was able to do that. Another cool thing was that unlike the other entries, there was an area that you accessed after the loop, instead of the entry just finishing once you looped back. The battles were all very satisfying, and this is definitely my favorite entry in this Mapping Competition.

      Summary
      With a Mapping Competition as great as this one, I think the future of Black Mesa mapping is looking bright! I’m looking forward to what the next challenge in this cup will be, and good luck to everyone participating.

    2. Play It Now!

      Well, it looks like the Mesa Cup’s underway now! Seeing that there’s only one other Mapping Competition for Black Mesa, I’m excited to see more. So let’s get started!

      Another Route by Derek Jones AKA Taz
      It is good

      Despite the fact there isn’t much combat to begin with, there still isn’t any ammo for the guns besides what you have when you pick them up, which is somewhat strange. There’s also text on-screen telling you the mission objective, which could’ve been done better. The level’s still well-made, with nothing really being bad in any way, and I liked the guard telling the player about the possibly-missable vent. A minor nitpick is that the area after the elevator falls has two “missing texture” textures on the level geometry around said area.

      Cold Storage by JamaicanDave
      It is great!

      JamaicanDave has made another great map! The goal was clear (without resorting to the text-on-screen method of the above entry) and the final fight was great fun to play. I enjoyed it from start to finish.

      Conflicted Interest by supernocho AKA Nick
      It is good

      I’m… confused. The goal here isn’t shown at all, but the level has decent combat, if a bit too many Alien Grunts. Then, the final fight ends without warning when some unknown person screams and the map… just ends. The design is also decent, but the ending really doesn’t make any sense. I still find it to be a good map, though.

      Emergency by Elvio Santangelo AKA Darakuu
      It is okay

      This is the weakest map out of the bunch, thanks to bad design decisions like not making an important button flash red or green and using what looks like an unbreakable vent cover for a door. It’s still a decent map, but nothing really feels polished.

      Oasis by Maki
      It is WOW!

      I don’t give out an “It’s Wow” unless something makes me say those words, and this DEFINITELY did that. Fighting with an Alien Grunt was something I didn’t expect, and I honestly have to wonder how Maki was able to do that. Another cool thing was that unlike the other entries, there was an area that you accessed after the loop, instead of the entry just finishing once you looped back. The battles were all very satisfying, and this is definitely my favorite entry in this Mapping Competition.

      Summary

      With a Mapping Competition as great as this one, I think the future of Black Mesa mapping is looking bright! I’m looking forward to what the next challenge in this cup will be, and good luck to everyone participating.

      1. I had a summary, but I can’t see it on my review so I’ll repost it here.

        With a Mapping Competition as great as this one, I think the future of Black Mesa mapping is looking bright! I’m looking forward to what the next challenge in this cup will be, and good luck to everyone participating.

    3. Personal Favourite

      What a great set of maps! It’s too bad there were only 5 but they were quite good. Perhaps this means only the more advanced mappers are willing to tackle BMS maps? There were no weak entries so I suspect that might be the reason.

      For me Oasis is my favorite and Cold Storage is a close 2nd. Although Cold Storage had a larger amount of play time and exploring, the concept of playing as an ally of the Xen creatures put Oasis over the top for me. It had a great ending too.

      Great contest idea Phillip – I hope there are a lot more like this.

    4. Play It Later

      I’ve been lurking around the site for a few years now and only feels right that I start leaving some proper reviews rather than comments. The Loop Complex contains a mixed bag of maps, which is to be expected for a 3 week mapping challenge. I certainly recommend you give them all a try, there’s about 60-90 mins worth of Black Mesa goodness to be had. I won’t review my own entry, Cold Storage, but will say I feel it still needs a damn good tweak and polish.

      Another Route by Derek Jones AKA Taz
      It is okay

      This map isn’t bad but isn’t great either. It’s visually quite pleasing, if lacking in polish and consistency. Lighting was atmospheric and there were various effects (flames, sparks, flashing lights). Use of sound was sporadic, with some areas feeling rather neglected. I’d describe the combat as functional rather than spectacular, but I appreciated the effort put in to varying the encounters. The enemies weren’t just standing around waiting for the player to turn up. A lot of weapon pickups were missable, including the crowbar, and it was possible to get quite far then get stuck due to lack of armaments. A basic objective was presented at the start, however the Looping accomplished nothing. I could have just stood at the beginning and waited for the lift to re-open.

      All said I had a bit of fun playing this entry.

      Conflicted Interest by supernocho AKA Nick
      It is bad

      Sorry this map was rather so-so. I felt it had numerous issues. The lighting is white and overly bright, sound was almost non-existent, some of the combat encounters were poorly balanced and there was no objective or obvious purpose behind the loop. However my biggest gripe is the large amounts of copy and paste from the official maps, simply stuck together in a different order.

      The zombie throwing the security guard to the ground near the start amused me though, as did the cowardly guard at the end getting his just deserts.

      The overall layout wasn’t bad, I liked the general theme and the conflict between the HECU and aliens was a nice touch. If there was more original brushwork I’d probably have given this an It’s Okay rating.

      A few suggestions: Add some soundscapes to your map to give a constant background sound. Use coloured lights (light blue and light yellow/orange are good starting points) and lower the brightness. If the player is going to fight Alien Grunts make sure you give them plenty of suit energy and give some forewarning turrets are nearby rather than have the player run blindly out in front of them.

      Emergency by Elvio Santangelo AKA Darakuu
      It is okay

      This map also falls into the not bad, not great category. I felt it was quite boxy and lacking in detailing. The lighting was ok for the most part and overall the environments had an interesting variety (vents, lift shafts, offices, glowing radiation, electrified water). There appeared to be very little in the way of sound. It had a few nice scripted sequences and the enemy NPC’s weren’t just standing in the open for the player. The xen teleports were a bit comical as the npc’s all came from exactly the same spot one after the other. Combat itself was a bit hit and miss, and as far as I can tell there’s no crowbar. Personally I believe the player should always have this to avoid the possibility of running out of ammo and being completely defenceless. I didn’t see any obvious purpose to the looping, and the end with the garg was a little disappointing, being nothing more than running for a few seconds to a room then fade to black. There was no proper level end command.

      Still I got some enjoyment from this map.

      Oasis by Maki
      It is great!

      Saving the best until last – this map was simply great. This was a highly polished entry with some very creative twists. I really liked the arboretum styled visuals, there was no boxiness to the geometry and the greeny/ golden lighting made me think of the jungle. Audio was nice, with the use of music particularly good. An objective was presented at the start and the looping back had sense and purpose. What really made this map standout was the twists on standard gameplay, which were for the large part pretty intuitive. I don’t want to spoil too much, but will say it starts with a rare stealth section, has some unusual companions and a final battle against an atypical enemy.

      If I had to nit-pick it would be the stealth at the start was a bit unpredictable – on my first play through I made it all the way to the lift without being seen, but could then never repeat this on subsequent attempts. The boss at the end would usually (but not always) take a bit too much punishment for my tastes. And finally it would be nice to try and communicate early on who your new buddy is. Honestly though these are nit-picks, and may well have been out of the authors hands.

    5. Phillip says Play It!

      Many aspects of Black Mesa is still new to me. MAny of you may know that I haven’t played the game or mod yet. I am waiting for xen.

      This means that occasionally, this that seem really cool to me might be part of the game or might be mapper’s ideas.

      Some aspect of the game’s mechanics trouble me, but I am certainly becoming more accustomed to them.

      I’ll be honest and say that I hoped for more entries than 5, especially with prize money available, but what we do have is some good qaulity entries. In fact, unlike many other challenges, there are no bad ones here, at least in my opinion.

      Another Route by Derek Jones AKA Taz
      It is okay

      I quite enjoyed this. The start seems reasonable and there could be a few ways to go. The barnacle dropping down just as you collect the crowbar seems too set up, but I supposed they could be triggered by movement or sound, but it still begs the question, how the heck did it get there.

      Now, the biggest frustration was the room with the steam in it. That’s just freaking annoying. I mean, seriously, I go all the way down there, get injured and for NOTHING! That certainly didn’t put me in a good mood.

      The second lift took me ages to find was working, so maybe a sound or light would have drawn my attention to it.

      The combat in the lower levels was fine, although too often the zombies were in a line and all at the same height. I would have like to fight somethign that could attack me from besides the same level I was on.

      Coming back to the beginning was nicely done, but where did that zombie come from?

      All in all, a fairly good level but nothing really stood out as clever or exciting.

      Cold Storage by JamaicanDave
      It is great!

      Oh Boy! What a ride. Visually this was quite samey, but essentially it was set in the same department, so that’s fine. I did die a LOT and I’m not sure why. JamaicanDave continues to spawn enemies and I feel they are becoming a little predictable. The route was superbly designed and I really felt he got a lot of use out of a limited area.

      There was plenty of variety in enemies, with the absence of humans, but that all made sense, so that was cool.

      The final battle was really fun and I figured out a way to stay safe – hide in the specimen containers!

      All in all, a fantastic entry and a lot of fun to play.

      Conflicted Interest by supernocho AKA Nick
      It is good

      This review is based on the initial submission which had an issue with the mat_specular and/or cubemaps. The initial area is open and explorable, with no immediate action. In general, I like this approach – it gives the player time to understand where they are.

      Once a weapon has been collected, and no further progress was possible until then, the areas felt real and there were a few different ways to approach each combat situations. I always like it when alien forces are engaged with human forces and this was the case here.

      There was only one way through the complex but it seemed convoluted enough to not feel too linear. There was a nice variety of enemies but the final battle seemed a little too contrived. I’m not a fan of aliens simply spawning in in waves.

      The ending was quite annoying as I thought I had lost and would have to start again. In fact, I thought that perhaps I was supposed to protect and save the security guard, which I had not been doing at all.

      Overall, I enjoyed this map as the variety of situations kept me interested. I am unsure how the name of the map relates to any objective I may have had.

      Emergency by Elvio Santangelo AKA Darakuu
      It is okay

      Bright. That’s how I would describe the colours. Bright red, bright blue, bright green. For me, that’s too much. A little more subtlety is better. I had a lot of fun playing this and the whole route was nicely done. A couple of times I thought I had been lucky in regards to reaching areas I was supposed to get to. For example, the area with the two guards, I knocked over the ladder and thought I was stuck. The other was the area with the two alien grunts.

      Anyway, I managed to get through but I could imagine not everybody was so lucky.

      One thing that bothered me was the vent cover that you couldn’t break near the beginning but later on the headcrab did. That doesn’t seem fair.

      Killing the gargantua was too easy, just one mine. Also it had this hall of mirrors effect and the first time I played it I just ran down the other way anyway. MAybe that should have been blocked. Which BTW, that section just didn’t feel real.

      In summary, a fun map to play that was detailed enough for me to be slightly surprised when I got back to the beginning.

      Oasis by Maki
      It is WOW!

      WOW, just WOW. Well, not just wow, but you know what I mean. This map,as all of Maki’s map, is top-notch. It’s self-contained, meaning that it feels like it has a beginning, a middle and an thoroughly satisfying end. I’m certainly not qualified to offer advice to him, so won’t bother.

      The map is quite possibly the best Black Mesa map I have played. Remember, this was built in three weeks!

      The route through the complex seems logical and real, with a variety of situations to keep you interested.

      The beginning introduces a completely new game mechanic, at least for Black Mesa as far as I know and the final battle is really well-crafted.

      To sum up, this is a map you will no doubt replay at least once and probably more.

      Summary

      So, did I enjoy playing them all? Yes, I did. Some are better than others but I honestly enjoyed them all to varying degrees.

      If this is the first challenge, then I am highly excited about the other two.

      GO PLAY THIS NOW!

    6. Minor point: Installation instructions need amending to comment on the 4 (not 2) folders.

      1. The two other folders are not needed to play the mod, that’s why I left them out of the installation instructions.

        1. I was concerned that this challenge might only work with the retail version, but no, it’s fine.

    7. Personal Favourite

      I love Half-Life 1. The setting, the variety of enemies, being right in the thick of things when it all goes pear shaped. It always interested me far more than Half-Life 2’s bleak, Eastern European post apocalyptic aesthetic.

      This is ultimately why, despite it’s flaws, I truly enjoy Black Mesa. Not only that, but now that the custom maps and mods are coming out, it feels like it did back in the late 90s when I would grab a couple of new mods off of a PC Gamer CD. It feels fresh and exciting.

      So what does the first Black Mesa Ville have to offer, and how do I feel about it? Read on to find out.

      Another Route by Derek Jones AKA Taz
      It is okay

      While at first glance this entry looked solid, it quickly started to lose its shine. There are a large number of floating props, either a few units off the floor or away from the walls. It also includes a number of gameplay gripes of mine. The player is able to progress without the crowbar and there are areas that offer risk with no reward. One such area contains steam jets, a zombie and an unbreakable vent. Pointless! Also, towards the end of the map requires stacking crates to get to a vent, which isn’t so much of a problem, but the physics for a lot of the objects appears to be really floaty. This is likely a fault of the game, but it’s up to the mapper to test this and use something else in their place when they act unusually.

      Emergency by Elvio Santangelo AKA Darakuu
      It is good

      Not a bad little map to play through. The environments seemed a little bit nonsensical overall, by which I mean they either didn’t make much sense layout wise or felt a little bland in places. It felt like a videogame, rather than an actual place. That said, the gameplay itself was pretty good. I especially liked the tense moment right at the end, but it was resolved far too quickly in my opinion. One gripe would be the lack of a crowbar, which is essentially the players only real “feeler” in the Half-Life games. I kept firing off rounds accidentally as I would hit the 1 key expecting to select the crowbar.

      Cold Storage by JamaicanDave
      It is great!

      This entry was excellent. The whole map intricately winds around on itself and you often see your destination long before you can hope to reach it. Gameplay was nice and challenging and I was running on 30% health or less for the most part, which made each combat encounter a real challenge. It’s also massive and full of side areas that often reward you with a suit battery or a good chunk of ammo if you explore every nook and cranny. On top of it all, some cool scripted sequences made this feel alive and polished.

      Conflicted Interest by supernocho AKA Nick
      It is great!

      Another solid entry with fantastic attention to detail and challenging gameplay. The environments fit right in with Black Mesa aesthetic and the battles between the grunts and alien forces were entertaining to watch and jump into. Some really nice background detail, such as the sections of the surface complex visible through the blown in ceiling were also a nice touch. Really cool map.

      Oasis by Maki
      It is WOW!

      Absolutely stunning work. Not knowing anything about this map, I instinctively didn’t shoot the houndeye as I noticed it running away. When it was killed by the marine, I blew him away without a second though. Then I noticed the alien grunt at the window. Suddenly, I was thinking back to MAMH, with the friendly combine hunter. “No way.” I said aloud. Sure enough, before I knew it I was storming through the complex with an unlikely ally, having a Hell of a good time. When it all came to an incredible conclusion, facing off against an osprey VTOL and scores of marines, scrounging for RPG rounds and grinning ear to ear. That’s not to mention the incredible attention to detail in the mapping and the fantastic scripted sequences. An absolutely awesome way to round up the whole experience.

      Summary

      This is simply one of my favourite Villes of all time and easily one of my personal favourite releases on RTSL. I highly recommend it to anybody who likes Black Mesa as much as I do. I hope that there are more of these to come and now that I am entering the scary new world of Source mapping, maybe I will try my hand at this one day.

      For now, I shall simply say congratulations to everyone involved. Even the authors whose work I didn’t rate as highly, I hope you take this experience and come back with something even better next time.

      Absolutely sublime!

    8. asterixer

      All maps are running under Linux without any problem. I had doubts about the last one….but it was no problem. Perfekt!

    9. Play It Later

      Another Route
      This map has many small design flaws, like doors with no handles, or doors with the wrong opening sound etc. There are also at least two paths which lead nowhere, not even to some items. The entry has only a single loop, which doesn’t seem to serve any purpose other than being a loop. Maybe I didn’t understand it, but you just loop around for no reason and the elevator suddenly opens? Maybe I did something on the way around and didn’t realize, because the entry isn’t communicating it? Anyway.

      Combat is very basic, with zombies as enemies most of the time, and the few times there are other types of enemies they are used in a very dull way, simply placed in the open. Visually there is some variety, but no highlights. It’s solid. Overall the entry isn’t memorable, but not bad.

      Emergency
      Most areas in this entry are very basic which drags the entry down a little. The entry also has a lot of awkward enemy encounters, because the positioning of the enemies or spawns, or because of the structure of the level. There is more than one loop, but most of them feel random, because they are accidental. That makes the loops artificial though. Was I intentionally trying to get back to the previousa area? Or was I simply lucky that I ended up there again, was I lucky that the vent broke at the perfect position?

      The final loop is a little more satisfying though, because the entry also loops a little narratively. What this entry needs the most in my opinion is a real combat encounter, there are only these tiny encounters with one or two enemies throughout.

      Cold Storage
      A surprisingly long entry, which main problem is the pacing. The whole entry is basically just a build up for the final battle, there are no ups and downs. As you progress you get to fight harder enemies, but these are not real fights, it’s almost entirely exploration. Because of that the map starts to feel a little tedious later. It doesn’t help that the visuals are also really monotone, it lacked variety and especially some visual highlights. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s extremely well crafted with interesting structures.

      The main strength of this entry is that makes the best use of the theme. Towards the end I felt like I explored a real interconnected place. Unfortunately it also became confusing sometimes, maybe it was too interconnected sometimes, or it was because of the lack of landmarks, visual highlights. Still, a success in this regard.

      What I don’t understand is the structure of the final battle. It’s extremely artificial, and it doesn’t help that the room is almost completely symmetrical. Intense music starts, but all I do is fight headcrabs AGAIN. I already had build-up until here, yet the entry still starts with the most basic enemy, and you have to wait a long time for the actual enemies to appear, so I just awkwardly walk around, wait for things to happen. When the real enemies come, they all announce themselve the same way, which, again, feels really artificial. At least it wasn’t unfair, but it definitly wasn’t a satisfying final battle.

      What this entry needs the most are visual highlights and some high and low points inbetween the monotone exploration. It still is a good, well crafted entry.

      Conflicted Interest
      If there wasn’t the cubemap issue, this entry could have been really solid visually, even though at parts it can be a little monotone. It has a visual highlight right at the start though (but who knows how much is simply copied from official maps). The good thing is that you loop back to this visual highlight and have a big combat section there. The problem is that this combat section is flawed.

      Enemies spawn very artificially in strict patterns, the pacing isn’t ideal because it starts with headcrabs for some reason and it also could use a little more ups and downs, it’s a slow linear progression. Even though it seems like there is some space to move around, I never felt safe that it’s worth the risk, maybe it was too open?

      Other combat in the map is alright, but I constantly was on low health.

      Oasis
      I had so much trouble with the beginning of the map. I needed five tries or so, because the enemies kept spotting me randomly. I was behind the desk, crouching and they still snap out of their dialouge and immediately know where I am. It felt broken. I had to glue myself to the wall to not get spotted. I don’t see the point of this other than having some narrative value, doesn’t seem like it’s worth the trouble of implementing a stealth section which is always awkward in Source.

      The map needs a little to get going, but then it starts to become really good. The author reused his idea from MAHM (an entry for LiberationVille of 2016), and idea that resonated very well with everyone. Now while reusing an idea could be seen as cheap, it’s not like there is no work involved with that, and the idea translates very well to Black Mesa, maybe even better than the Hunter from MAMH, since the alien grunts are actual creatures as far as I know and not complete killing machines like the Hunters.

      The entry doesn’t do too much with this idea though, actually barely anything, except fighting marines, where you don’t really feel the participation of your companion. Well, except that the figths are over too quickly, and since there aren’t many fights in this entry, you reach the final fight very fast. The fights until here were still good, albeit lacking variety. The locations were interesting and provided options for the player.

      The final battle is where the entry completely lost me. It was a very long, tedious and frustrating battle. It takes way too long to destroy the helicopter. It also doesn’t seem too polished. Some of the cars look like you are supposed to take cover there, and the entry leads the player to those cars with rockets that you need, but it doesn’t matter how you position yourself at some of the cars, the chopper will still be able to hit you, and even worse it will push you back and you’ll get completely demolished.

      The soldiers that come out of the chopper could make the fight even more frustrating, if you couldn’t simply one-shot them the moment they land with a well placed rocket. It started to become really frustrating when I ran out of rockets. I didn’t know what Im supposed to do. I knew there is probably an infinite rocket crate somewhere because I know how the game works (but entries shouldn’t be designed with that in mind), but the crate is placed in the worst position I could think of. You get access to it when the chopper destroys one of the trucks. A recently destroyed truck is the last place I would look for rockets.

      Finally I want to mention the visuals of the map, because they are fantastic. Not just really well crafted, but also with nice variety with foliage and different types of rooms and such, and the outdoor area with the skybox looks great too. The main difference to the entry “Cold Storage” is that this map actually has visual highlights and variety. The pacing is also a little better, although the entry is much shorter too so it has an easier job with that. Looping didn’t take a huge role in this entry but the few times you loop back were alright, not what I was looking for though.

      If this fight didn’t drag the entry down so much the finale would have been so satisfying. It’s still a really good entry, but it could have been so much better.

    10. AI

      Here is the problem, I put the 2 files in my BM game folder(Steam version) Note: my BM game runs just fine! When I try to run any of the “Loop” files, BM tries to load, but fails and drops back to my Steam main screen!! Never had this happen before, any thoughts???

      1. yes, are you on the public beta branch? You must use the live version.

        1. AI

          Thanks, that was the problem!! See that proves “Your never to old to learn” (I turned 72 last month)

          1. great stuff…and I thought I was a vet at nearly 64.. 🙂

            1. Wow I find it really interesting that even at such an age you guys are still playing video games! Now I don’t mean to sound rude, but isn’t your reaction time kind of slow when sudden things happen ingame?

    11. Play It Now!
      Another Route by Derek Jones AKA Taz
      It is okay

      This map contained a few good concepts that are a step in the right direction but would require a bit more to make it a solid entry. The premise of the loop was not too well executed and seemed somewhat pointless. The inclusion of the water swimming section gave the player a bit of a challenge but more little items of game play that had the same effect could have been included in the map. The combat was uninspired for the most part although, having the player enter into an ongoing fight between 2 different npc classes is something the map did that was a positive. The other room at the start with the ladder and steam should not have been included as it served not purpose what so ever. Overall, more game play elements that require the player to interact with the map are needed to make it a contender.

      Emergency by Elvio Santangelo AKA Darakuu
      It is bad

      Being able to see the multiple different areas at the start of the map was fairly well done and a good way to help the player keep track of where they are. The combat was mostly dull. Especially with the alien controllers who are best utilized in a wide open environment if their full potential is to be used. The encounter with the HECU in the elevator seemed random and out of place. The aim of the map was not clear from the start and even when the player reached the button, there was nothing telling them that you could push it or what it did. This was also the case with the steel door that slid up. There needs to be something telling the player that they can interact with it. The part at the end with the gargantuan could have been cool if it had gone on for much longer. Overall, the map could have done more to guide the player and included more game play features and better combat to make it fun.

      Cold Storage by JamaicanDave
      It is good

      Within the first few seconds of the map, the problem and the solution to the entire map is presented to the player. Then the player has to find their way around to get to the solution. The combat was well designed as quite often, the aliens would be busy doing other things instead of just standing there waiting for the player. This was especially good in the situations that let the player dictate when the battle began. The map made great use of space and did well in keeping the environmental theme the same but letting the player know exactly where they were. During the final battle, it is possible to run out of ammo and still have enemies out of reach to kill. This meant that the button to finish could not be accessed. Overall, the map guided the player through the level well and created great scenarios for the player to partake in.

      Conflicted Interest by supernocho AKA Nick
      It is okay

      This map built a good environment based upon the questionable ethics theme. The looping part however seemed pointless as the loop had no outcome on the end of the map. After finding the security guard who seemed quite random, he went into the security room in the main hanger but got killed and then the map ended. It would have been more beneficial if he had had an effect on the map. The combat seemed very linear for the most part however there was an instance or two were two different NPC classes were fighting each other making the level feel more “alive”. The sleeping houndeye section could have been more creative in that, if the player made a sound or got even a bit close, the houndeyes attacked. Overall, the map had good elements but a lot of it would need adjusted to bring it up to a good standard.

      Oasis by Maki
      It is great!

      The encounter at the start of this map was well put together. Allowing the player to move around hidden whilst the HECU were getting on with their patrol is a great way of making the scenario fun. The map made good use of space and you were always aware of where you were. The storyline of the Aliens being on your side was arranged very well and felt really fresh. The combat whilst in the interior was for the most part, well orchestrated. The way the rockets were laid out in the osprey battle was great. It made the player move location to pick up single rockets instead of the player having infinite rockets from one location. When the infinite rockets were “revealed”, they were not in a position where the player could camp and take no damage. Overall, the map looked great, had a great premise, made good use of the theme and included many game play elements that were fun and engaging.

      If you want a more “in-depth” review, have a look at the video I put up on YouTube as I go over each part of the maps in more detail.

    12. I released Oasis as a standalone map in the Black Mesa Steam workshop, as “bm_oasis.” It addresses a few issues with balancing, particularly during the boss battle, and fixes some minor issues here and there.

      https://steamcommunity.com/sharedfiles/filedetails/?id=1361283891

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