Well, the Maps Labs folks went ahead and created a theme we here at RTSL talked about many, many times – but never dared to do. A theme based only around puzzles. Here is Think Tank, and the theme summary is exactly that – create a map focused on puzzles.
As always, if you’re interested in learning more about Map Labs and maybe even participate in their upcoming challenges, visit the Map Labs Discord!
The challenge recieved a respectable 10 entries and a bonus map. Here they are, enjoy!
- Title: Think Tank
- Filename: sdk-2013-sp-mlc-thinktank.7z
- Size : 329 MB
- Author: Nawor, DeanAmythe, Ian Spadin aka Idolon, Skorly, Aleksandr Lavrinovitš aka alex_mmc, PercyVader, Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon, RockyB, Felix F, Adam Clark, Mark AKA Strontvlieg
- Date Released: 7 June 2019
Sorry, this version cannot be used with Gauge.
- Make sure you have the Upcoming branch of the Source SDK Base 2013 Singleplayer installed in Steam and run at least once. (Properties – Betas – select upcoming from the dropdown list).
- Copy the “thinktank” folder into your SourceMods folder.
- Restart or start Steam.
- Think Tank should now be listed in your Library tab.
If you decide to use the Per-Map Opinion Images, feel free to use the file below as a template:
Listed as they are displayed in the mod itself:
Ascent by Nawor
Barrelbrain by DeanAmythe
Crown Shyness by Ian ‘Idolon’ Spadin
The Hall of Souls by Skorly + Aleksandr ‘alex_mmc’ Lavrinovitš
The Dropper by PercyVader
Rooms of the Afterlife by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon
Water is Cold by RockyB
Bunker Blitz by Felix F
melon by Adam Clark
Laser Treatment by Strontvlieg
Crown Shyness (bonus puzzles) by Ian ‘Idolon’ Spadin
Time for you to share your thoughts! Vote for your top 3 maps in the mod. Poll closes 30th June 2019.
What are your top 3 Think Tank maps?
- Laser Treatment by Strontvlieg (11%, 6 Votes)
- melon by Adam Clark (4%, 2 Votes)
- Bunker Blitz by Felix F (4%, 2 Votes)
- Water is Cold by RockyB (19%, 10 Votes)
- Rooms of the Afterlife by Matt71490 AKA Event Horizon (9%, 5 Votes)
- The Dropper by PercyVader (2%, 1 Votes)
- The Hall of Souls by Skorly + Aleksandr 'alex_mmc' Lavrinovitš (15%, 8 Votes)
- Crown Shyness by Ian 'Idolon' Spadin (25%, 13 Votes)
- Barrelbrain by DeanAmythe (6%, 3 Votes)
- Ascent by Nawor (6%, 3 Votes)
Total Voters: 22
WARNING: The screenshots contain spoilers.
Each map has 5 screenshots.
1Last 7 days
12Last 30 days
Using Gauge: Users
Manually: 6 Users
Average: 2 Hours, 32 Mins
Shortest: 1 Hours, 20 Mins by ZippyS2
Longest: 4 Hours by vancanucksfan
Total Time Played: 15 Hours, 9 Mins
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A puzzle-centric mapping competition. It’s got some good, some meh, but honestly nothing really bad at all. Mediocre at worst. Which is a surprise. Let’s see what puzzle-laden maps lie here.
A simplistic map, although not a bad one. It had you scaling a large tower-like structure, with some really neat architecture involved. I really like the design of the building. The puzzles are very simple, essentially falling into one of three categories: Push block puzzle, block matching puzzle, and death maze. There’s also occasionally some platforming involving fans, but they’re not really puzzles.
They’re all decent mechanics on their own, but they feel like they need more expansion and intermingling. We see this a bit, but nothing really complex or interesting enough to be worthwhile. Another note for the map’s author: Hold back on the AR2s, please, they can hurt a ton in large numbers, even from a long range. That soldier at the beginning is also really random and hurts the atmosphere.
This map is an odd one, from the design of the puzzles to other design decisions. But let’s start with the basics. This is a map all about using explosive barrels to bypass obstacles. This is done in various ways, but the actual level design leaves a bit to be desired, primarily due to the fact that you can do things out of order and leave yourself a bit confused, as I did originally.
It’s also quite easy to do puzzles in ways the author didn’t intend. Using an explosive barrel to break the door you’d need a crowbar for, using another to bust open a door which would’ve otherwise required a timing puzzle, or using a bar to stop a moving barrel in water, rather then doing the intended method of jamming fans. There’s also random use of weird push doors rather than the regular ones, which are kind of jarring, as well as a weird… metal floor death pit? It doesn’t look lethal, but it is. Visual language needs work.
But while it’s odd and definitely feels rough, it’s not that bad overall. Keep working at it, Dean, you’re getting there.
Simple puzzle solving, at it’s finest. This map is no frills, all puzzle. No story or anything like that, just a series of puzzles based off the same concept that escalate in difficulty, testing your knowledge of how to allocate space. It was very enjoyable to play through, and the bonus maps are the reason for my time on this challenge being longer than my usual. Very good map, excellent use of subtle non-verbal tutorials.
A Doom/Quake inspired romp, who does the exact opposite of the last one, and shoves tons of text in your face. Text with really poor grammar at that. Doom 2016 was excellent in terms of story, because is was simple and it wasn’t in your face for 95% of the game, so you can get right into the action. It feels completely unneccessary. And on the puzzle front, it’s very mediocre as well. The map is good, but it doesn’t really have anything resembling a good puzzle.
This is the worst map in the list, because while Hall of Souls wasn’t really a good fit for this competition, at least it was enjoyable. This isn’t. It’s complete trial and error, leading to a really hard to spot pressure plate puzzle, followed by random Combine coming out of nowhere. Technically, it’s fine, but design wise, this is horrendous.
Nobody likes constant trial and error. That doesn’t make you think. It just wastes your time.
Regular HL2 into a weird neon-themed glitching puzzle world. It’s alright, generally, but I found it fairly boring to get through. End section feels a little tacked on in terms of puzzling, but eh.
Very good map. Incredibly unique artstyle for a HL2 map, excellent puzzles and uses of perspective. Only gripe I mgiht have is the author really should distinguish between one-touch levers and ones you have to hold down. Was confused for a couple puzzles because of this.
Short and mostly simple. The camera puzzle was neat, and I think could be expanded on, but otherwise, it was quite bland, and as the name implies, fast. Not a fan. Not horrible, but could definitely be better in terms of length and puzzle variety.
Interesting concept. Homicidal melon out to get you, but man, that voice acting is incredibly quiet. Can barely hear them. Puzzles themselves are fairly simple, but don’t offer much in terms of guidance, mainly in where one should be going. The end of the “Slime Room” especially. Quite simple though, not much in terms of puzzles, though that might be the joke.
Ending is alright, but it feels like it needs more meat to it.
Well, you can tell right from the start that this is a Stront map, with their heavy usage of lens flare and habit for sewer-like interiors. Looks excellent though, reminds me in places of a Miigga map. The puzzles are simple, but a decent expansion from one to another. Excellent use of the zombie’s punt, as well. Wish I saw more people using them like that so they’re actually deadly.
Aside from the abrupt end, I have little problem with this map. Well done.
So, that’s Think Tank, an excellent entry in the growing Map-Lab roster. Highly recommend a playthrough.
2 Hours, 30 Minutes
Hi, creator of Barrelbrain here.
Thanks for the feedback. You mentioned doing puzzles in a way I didn’t intend; the things you mentioned I was aware of, but I thought that, since they still require thinking, I’d leave them be.
Blocking the barrel with the metal bar between the fans was at first the actual solution to the puzzle, but one of my playtesters did it differently (blocking the fans), and I thought I’d expand on that solution while leaving the possibility for the original solution in.
This doesn’t mean your criticism is invalid.
This entry started off nice, but it went downhill later on.
There are several mechanics in this entry, we have moving walls, fans, lasers and cubes. The moving walls and laser puzzles were the most fun, because they required actual thinking. The puzzles with the cubes aren’t really puzzles, they are just “follow the line and put the cube on the pillar”. The fans that push you up were cool, but many of the parts where these are present are pretty simple.
The map looks decent overall, but the last parts feel kind of rushed, with more simplistic areas and blander lighting.
One part in the map is not even a puzzle but it was for some reason included anyways; it requires no thinking whatsoever, it’s litteraly just a shooting range with a revolver. Not to mention that if you run out of ammo for the revolver you need to restart, because there is no ammo crate.
Overall, a bit of a mixed bag, I liked as many parts as I disliked others.
This is my entry so I won’t rate it. Personally I think it’s an okay map. The final puzzle had some physics issues with the metal bar, which was my main hindrance while making the map. I had to kind of rush it, because school was also pressuring me in the final week.
Short but incredibly sweet. The puzzles take inspiration from The Witness, but the creator uses it a little differently, making it quite unique.
The difficulty and how it builds up is very well done, you will have lots of “Aha!” moments.
The visuals, setting and atmosphere are good. Very calm and relaxing.
Overall, a unique entry, with great puzzles, and good visuals.
I want to rate this entry with an “It’s wow!”, and under other circumstances I would, but I can’t here. This entry is not based around puzzles. It’s pure combat. Yes, there are a few puzzles here and there, but these are so small, I can’t really count them.
It’s a shame really, because this entry is fantastic. Good visuals, great level design, amazing gameplay/combat, fantastic music… but no real focus on puzzles and on making the player think.
As you may already guess from the title of this entry, this map drops you into a large, well, dropper, and you have to make your way through the correct path. This is done mostly by trial and error.
Trial and error is not making the player think. Dying because you guessed wrongly. It is annoying and frustrating.
To top it all off, you get to fight Soldiers and Hunters with cinderblocks.
Overall, the only thing that this map made me think, was “Well, this is a lot of horseshit”.
Another cool abstract map from Matt. It uses the Portal formula, but with Matt’s style it becomes more original and unique.
The puzzles themselves weren’t that impressive though. They’re pretty easy, and it just feels like “do this to do that”. An example of this method (not a puzzle from this entry): you grab a cube, put it on a button. A wall opens with another button. You grab another cube and put it on the button. It doesn’t really involve thinking.
Overall, a well made abstract map, which could’ve had some better gameplay.
The thing you will notice immediately is this map’s great style, with its blacks and whites.
The puzzles were fun and creative, apart from a minor few. Some puzzles use your sight as a mechanic, I mean, have you seen that stuff before somewhere?
I had the feeling that the earlier puzzles were harder than the later ones. Would be better if some were placed at another point in the map to have a more linear difficulty growth.
Overall, a fantastic entry with lots of creativity, great artstyle and fun puzzles.
Short entry, but not very sweet. First off, I was confused at first what I was supposed to do. I saw a valve attached to some pipes, and lots of HL2 players will mark that as a point of interest. I removed a pillar underneath the lid of a giant garbage can, and that made me able to get to the valve. I thought this was a nice and well implemented puzzle, but it turned out that the valve was there for nothing and you couldn’t interact with it. I was confused by this, as the lighting was pretty bright near the valve, basically being a giant arrow to it. Shame, because the “puzzle” with the garbage can lid was pretty good. The actual puzzle is just using a prop to get onto a small room.
After this there is a very easy “find the valve” puzzle (if you can even call it a puzzle), some platforming and then you are done.
Overall, a shallow entry with not much to it.
Yeah this really weird map style is pretty cool and funny, but the gameplay should be good as well. And that’s not the case here.
You have two “puzzles” in this map, one where you go through a small cave and press some buttons, and one where you have to smash glass. The first one is bad for obvious reasons, it’s simply pressing buttons without any thinking involved. The second one is bad because you have absolutely no clue that you have to smash the glass. It’s not even a seperate glass texture, it’s part of a wall texture.
After these two “puzzles” you meet the melon, and you get an ammo crate with pistol ammo even though you don’t need your pistol at all? Either way you simply climb up a ladder, press a button, and done. That’s all there is.
Overall, an entry that succeeds in its style and looks, but barely has any gameplay, and the gameplay is not good.
Well… it’s usual Strontvlieg quality (that means it’s good). The visuals are great as you would expect from him, but I thought some places were a bit underdetailed.
The gameplay is quite simple but it is really enjoyable and fun. The main mechanic is a good one and it is utilized pretty well throughout the map.
I don’t have many negatives with this entry. Some negatives I do have I know were fixed in the updated map Strontvlieg sent in, but they haven’t used that version.
Just posted a review, but it’s not appearing?
Despite fears surrounding the theme, this was a very strong Map Lab that had some truly great entries.
I really liked this map, and it was a good one to set the mood for the competition. Despite a few strange choices at the beginning, such as the combine soldier chucking grenades at you, this was a solid puzzle map that was very good at teaching the player new mechanics before experimenting with them. Even though a few of the puzzles weren’t too clear and some mechanics were only used once, I still enjoyed multiple playthroughs of this.
This was a really nice map, both visually and gameplay-wise. The mechanics were taught to the player well and it was fun to figure out what to to next. I also liked the element of danger the barrels created. While the last puzzle was a bit finicky, it was fun to finally solve. The map left me wanting more.
In addition to the cool name, this was an amazing map. The mechanic was fun to figure out and the visuals and sound design were stunning, creating a relaxing atmosphere. While there wasn’t much of a story, this map didn’t need one as the puzzling spoke for itself. The bonus levels at the end also provided a very fun challenge. The only thing I can really fault this map on is that there’s not much replayability once you’ve figured out all the puzzles, but I’m sure with time this will be a fun one to come back to.
This map was wild. You’re first greeted with a block of text before being instructed to leave a room and escape back home. While the puzzles on this map are quite basic, smiting demons is a blast and the enemy choice leads to very fun gameplay. The music was very good (although somewhat repetitive) and the visuals were awesome. The end bossfight was quite underwhelming as it takes a while to actually figure out what what you’re supposed to do due to hitreg issues, and at that point it’s over in a matter of seconds. Overall, I can’t help but feel this would have been suited better to a different competition.
This was my inaugural map. I made a developer commentary explaining myself for this atrocity: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grxiLuAg9TQ
I really enjoyed this map. The opening looks beautiful and the twist is pretty cool. The sound design is great as you go through the puzzle rooms, building up a sense of dread as you wander through the halls, giving you the feeling that something is horribly wrong. The puzzle mechanics are taught to you quite well, even if the puzzles themselves are quite simple. The story is very good and the moments of humour are well placed. I really like the ending of this map, even if it is somewhat abrupt.
This is a visually stunning map, looking like an optical illusion in contrasting blacks and whites. The gameplay is very fun due to the creative puzzles, reminding me at times of the game Monument Valley. While a couple of the puzzles are a little finicky to get right, this map more than makes up for it with its creative architecture and mesmerising sound design. This is a very unique map and one that deserved to win.
This is a short and simple puzzle map that’s quite a bit of fun at times. The visuals are quite nice (if a bit bare) and your objective is straightforward enough. However, it seems to easy to skip or miss large areas of the map, and the puzzles are pretty standard Half-Life 2 puzzles. The ending is nice but a bit too abrupt. This was one of the only entries that remembered to include a strider brain.
This is a very enjoyable, if bare map. The writing and performance of the melon map is very funny and is the selling point of the map. The puzzles were simple although sometimes unclear. The visuals were very good in the slime room but other areas left a lot to be desired. The ending was fun but underwhelming. Funderwhelming.
This is a greate entry, done in such a way that you forget that you’re playing a puzzle map. The laser mechanics are taught to you right at the beginning and they’re fun to weaponise against the zombies you fight. The visuals on this map are gorgeous and create a great (if depressing) atmosphere. I also like the inclusion of the stunstick, even if it doesn’t make much of a difference.
Overall, ThinkTank was great and there isn’t a single entry I wouldn’t recommend playing (except maybe one of them). We can all thank our lucky starts that there were no sawblade puzzles in this lab. It would be a real shame if the next lab were to be centred around sawblades….
Yep solve puzzle this time. Most some this mappack had some very creative puzzle, some is bad. I’m very surprise it, now let’s get start.
The main this map is push the block and color matching, this map is not bad. Start with a large tower, i like design of the building here. But are necessary to get many Crowbar, Suit and Gravity Gun?
The puzzle is very simply not a challenge, while you had solve block color matching, push block and the fans jump. I think the enemies holding the ar2 was not a good idea because they’re at long range they can hurt you much damage, but i find some 357 to kill their, if they holding smg it would be good. The fire maze puzzle was a good one but wait! Is a death maze, if you careless you can be die instantly.
The map end was from stargate inspire, but i guess this map is good at design and visual, but some puzzle need more intermingling.
The map design is quite okay but puzzle was bit weird, has to say the puzzle was so very easy for me. The main of this puzzle just a barrel puzzle solve, explosive door and bust the door with crowbar, also the death pit with electric was a bit weird…
The last puzzle is one i liked it, put a mental bar to jamming the fans to open the way for barrel well sometime the bar was stuck to the fans. Overall a nice map but the puzzle need to work, and language too.
The puzzle in this map was finest, hardest and very cool design, visual map even so story but still good anyway. The puzzle was a bit hard for me in first try because i don’t know any clues but later i know how the map work then i play the bonus map one the puzzle more difficulty now i spend some time to solve this.
I recommend to play this if you want to spend more time to knowledge this map work.
A map quake/doom inspire design lever really good but i think puzzle wasn’t good to fit this themes. Start with the many text about the story took a time to start, problem here is the grammar they need to rewrite back.
The combat this map is neat, the map has very nice ost but has a bit loud. Gotta love these explosive headcrabs here they can be explo at your face if you kill it. Speaking the length of the map is very long to play it had 3 maps i think. At last map, is it just the optimization of this map too many lightning? And somehow i got laggy, don’t be wrong i had strong pc, the boss battle wasn’t hard only shot 4 crystal at top with the rpg, the puzzle resembling not good.
Even the map it doesn’t have resembling a puzzle, but still a nice map with a action and nice ost track.
I’m sorry but this map can only be described ashorrible. Start with run those cops and no suit WHAT? After jump to the hole well this is worst thing in the map, you have like 0.2 second to think and find right spot to process next hole is redundant. While you fall you can see combine and citizen technically is good thing in this map.
The map ending was fairy abrupt puzzle was fine, if you want spend more time to solve? Play this map if you want to dies many time :V
The map start is okay until it turn into weird puzzle theme , the message text neon or led something tell the aftermath at you, puzzle was okay but later it fairly tedious. Can i say what happen to the character in the end because i feels puzzling.
By far this map is best in the list. Very unique art style black use white color fit to the game. I like the idea of puzzle that’s need use perspective to solve. No doubt the lever puzzle is easy because i know the trick.
All puzzle level is moderate not hard, i recommend to play this map.
A very simply map, i like the camera spot you and close the door and the puzzle was okay, but i think it could be more expansion, problem this map was too short. Ending was get in the car but when you out the factory you can see map had no brush.
The map start was interesting, sorry i can’t understand what melon said is very quiet. The puzzle was simply not challenge. The last room is a strider disguise as gaint melon very nice bossed. Ending was fine but sure the author had change something.
At start i know is a Strontvlieg map. Which use decent color tones and some light glow. The puzzles was easy and i like how you go back and open laser to punt these zombies. The laser part at end was a bit tough but it still not stopping me. Overall the map is very enjoyable to play i wish there will be more map like this.
1 Hour, 20 Minutes
Lol i don’t know but review “The Dropper” wasn’t correct can some one know how to delete this review?
Can someone please give me some hints what Crown Shyness is about? I never played The Witness or other puzzle games so I have no idea what I should do here…
Oops, I just noticed that I accidentally started with the bonus maps. Found the regular ones that show the principle :)!
Its a real shame to miss Crown Shyness, because its being highly rated and I don’t know what everyone is talking about (or how to “get with” whatever I’m supposed to do/learn). To me, it just self defeats itself by design, but obviously others have more knowledge about what if anything is supposed to go on.
Admittedly this focus for a map challenge, puzzles, isn’t my favorite. Anyway the first two maps in this Labs package were superb. On to map 4 🙂
This was a really good set of maps with one exception. Most of them were quite challenging but you didn’t need to be a Mensa member to get through them. Sometimes I had to take a long break and come back to them before I had the “Ahhh” moment of clarity.
Crown Shyness was my favorite even though I initially hated it at first. Once I finally clued into what was going on I felt like I had accomplished something. The bonus puzzles were quite difficult but enjoyable. Water is Cold was #2 for me; I loved the unique setting and puzzles, but sometimes it was hard to navigate around because you couldn’t see as well. Rooms of the Afterlife was pretty good as well, even though it took me some time to work out what to do with the final grenade puzzle.
The only map I didn’t care for was The Dropper. Repeatedly dying until you find the exact sequence to do something is not enjoyable. It kind of reminded me of playing “Dragon’s Lair” in arcades in the 80’s. At least this time it didn’t cost me any quarters.
I liked Barrelbrain but found it a little buggy. I got stuck because I placed the plug end of a wire in the wrong place and nothing happened, and I couldn’t retrieve it. I saw some pipes on the wall that looked like my path over top of the electrified floor but I just died when I tried to jump to them. Also getting the barrel through those damn gates to its final destination was very tiresome.
I think this was a great theme; I suggested it to Philip before when he was asking for input. Now I think I should go play Research and Development again!
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Well, this map pack is certainly something. I always liked puzzles in Source games, especially when it comes to physics. Because of that, I found “Think Tank” as something that I should try and play.
My favorite maps are The Hall of Souls and Rooms of the Afterlife. The first one is Quake-inspired adventure where you just need to kill everyone and get to the end of the story. Puzzles are very simple here (just like in original Quake), but yet have that shooters-from-90s charm. The second one is unique in terms of plot and puzzles. While some of these puzzles look simple, others can be done only in unordinary way. Love that.
Other maps are also good. Even The Dropper, that wasn’t liked by many people, is actually not bad, if you know what to do.
Overall, nice map pack.
2 Hours, 59 Minutes
Didn’t care for it. You may like it.
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