The Mesa Cup 2018 – Challenge 1 – The Loop Complex

1st February 2018

Hello and welcome to the Mesa Cup, a series of three Black Mesa single player mapping challenges.

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

Theme Details

For this challenge, we would like you to create a map whose main layout is a loop: the player must return to where they started. As usual, it’s the journey that counts.

Laying out a linear level that loops back is easy; using space efficiently and creating an interesting path for the player that feels non-linear is what we’re looking for. Foreshadowing of upcoming areas, taking advantage of the vertical axis, and opening and closing off (gating) areas as the player progresses (without making it feel like a maze) are key skills for FPS level designers.

Constructing a complicated level that has you simply finish where you started is a loop – but it’s not a very creative one. Including a reason for the loop goes a long way toward adding believability to your map and helps tie everything together. Think of Questionable Ethics, where you need to get through the main lobby door but have to make a big loop to eventually grab a scientist to open the door for you.

For more information about Loop design (and more examples), see the Valve Developer Community Loop design page.

Very Important Note

Originally, we planned this mapping challenge to be on the beta branch of the engine, which has some very cool lighting effects. However, it seems that the beta branch is causing a few issues for people, especially those with AMD systems.

After careful consideration, we have decided to run the challenge using the PUBLIC (non-beta) version of the engine. However, once the new patch goes public, older maps will have to be recompiled to work correctly. That is why we have stated in the rules that the VMF MUST be included in the entry. That way, we can update the mod to ensure it works with the latest version of the game.

The Mesa Cup runs throughout the year and any delay or use of the beta branch could cause too many potential issues.

We apologise for the inconvenience and slight delay of this challenge announcement. We hope you understand.

Deadline

The deadline for submission is:

11pm GMT Wednesday 21st February 2018

The Mesa Cup 2018

The Mesa Cup 2018 consists of three 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 2 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 2 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 MESA 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!

Testing

We highly recommend getting your map beta tested by somebody you trust.

Do this early in its development if you can.

Official RTSL Mapping Challenges Discord Channel

If you are a Discord user and want to chat about the event then please feel free to join the official RTSL Mapping Challenges channel over on the Source Modding Community Discord server and get chatting.

General Rules

PLEASE READ THEM SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY.

  • 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 Black Mesa (retail version) installed
  • By entering the competition you grant PlanetPhillip.Com and RunThinkShootLive.Com the right to release the map as part of the RTSL-TMC2018-C1-The-Loop-Complex 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 Black Mesa 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.
  • You MUST include the VMF files in with your 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.
  • Please also include any specific compile parameters you want to be used when the mod is updated to work with the new Black Mesa patch.
  • 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_tmc18_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

PLEASE READ THEM SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY.

  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 I receive it NOT when you send it.

  2. Read the General Rules above
  3. Please follow these submission details carefully.
  4. Send your files directly in the email, unless they are too large. Then, upload your compressed file (rar, zip or 7zip to a free file sharing service.
      (Try uploadfiles.io, filedropper.com, wikisend.com, mega.nz or mediafire)
      Please avoid Google Docs – it’s often difficult for me to download from them.
  5. Send an email to runthinkshootlive@gmail.com with the following details:
      SUBJECT: TMC2018-C1-Entry name
      BODY: TMC2018-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 an entry menu image

Entrants are allowed to submit their own entry 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.

RULES:
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.

THINGS TO CONSIDER:
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 find interesting ways to use the given theme and as always we look forward to playing the results! We’re definitely excited to see what mappers can do in Black Mesa!

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.

Help me create more and better content - please support me on Patreon

Help me create more and better content - please support me on Patreon

4 Comments

  1. Anon_1602655

    “It is also WHEN when I receive it NOT when you send it.” I think there is a “when” too many in there 😛

  2. When you say “When I receive it”, I assume that means “When it shows up in my inbox”, in which case, isn’t that only like a 5 minute difference from when someone sends it?

    1. In general yes, probably even much faster. But you should still try to send it early and not at the last minute before the deadline. Plan your map so that you have some buffer days at the end.

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