TutorialVille – Create a Tutorial

8th August 2015

I recently published a post looking for Feedback on the Future of Mapping Challenges and ihonnyboy suggest having a tutorial directly linked to the theme.

It crossed my mind to run a “TutorialVille Challenge” but I didn’t want it to be competitive, although if enough people want it I could easily change it into a challenge.

The Objective

To create a tutorial for intermediate to advanced modders.

Your tutorial will be used as the basis for a future mapping challenge. This means it has to be broad enough to be followed a range of abilities but also focused enough to allow interesting maps to be made from it.

The Topic

I am not going to even guess as to the types of topics a tutorial could be created for, except to say that it needs to be used by mappers who will be creating single player maps that run in Half-Life 2: Episode Two.

The Target Audience

I will not limit the difficulty level of the tutorial, although I will re-iterate it should be suitable for “Intermediate to Advanced”modders.

The Format

I will allow two possible formats: video and HTML.

If you decide to create a video, don’t worry about making it look professional. Make sure it is well structured and easy to follow. Fnacy fades and dual screens, won’t make it win. Quailty of the concept and an easy to understand presentation is what is important.

If you don’t have a YouTube or similar account, you can upload it to a file sharing site and I can upload it to the RTSL channel.

If you decide to make an HTML tutorial, just keep it simiple. You won’t be judged on the design of the page. If you don’t know how to make a HTML page, don’t panic. I will accept a text file, with attached images.

Essentially, the difference is either video or text/images.

What is most important is explaining the concept clearly.

Getting Feedback and Help

Now, let me be clear. I will assit in any way I can. If that means recording a voice over for a video I will. If it means creating the HTML page from text/images I will.

I will proofread and check anything I can, but I can’t test the validty of the actual tutorial – I’m NOT a modder. Ideally, you should get other modders to help with that.

You MUST include a basic map

I would like all entries to include a map that demostrates the concept being explained.

The map does NOT need to be polished. It can be simple dev textures etc. Its function is to compliment and demostrate the tutorial.

The Deadline

I want people to take their time with this. It’s not a challenge in the sense that you are competing with others. If every entry is good enough and suitable, then I will run a mapping challenge with them.

The deadline for me to receive the tutorials is Monday 12pm GMT 30th November 2015. That’s 3 and a half months. Plenty of time I hope.

I will be running regular mapping challenges between now and then so hopefully, it’s something you can work, leave and come back to.

Final Thoughts

This is an experiment. Based on feedback from this announcment, I may change the rules or details. It is up to YOu to make sure you stay up to date with any changes. They will be posted HERE in the main post, as comments on this post and as tweets on the RTSL feed.

Please tell your friends, coleagues and even your enemies about this. As I mentioend earlier, unlike mapping challenges wher the less entries I get the better for the people who do entry as they have more chance to win, in this case it doesn’t matter. If a tutorial is good enough it “wins”. So, please post on any mapping forum or site you visit. I’ll post on the main ones, but generally, they don’t receive much attention.

I haven’t really thought about “prizes” but I will try to give a game per suitable tutorial. It’s not much but it’s something.

Please feel free to use this post as a place to post WIP details. You could even ask for thoughts on a proposed concept or post a partially completed tutorial and ask for feedback. Let’s try to make this a community effort, with everybody helping each other. The better the tutorials the better the final maps made from them.

If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas, please post them as comments and I will respond ASAP.


  1. Great idea Phillip! I really like this “call to arms” sorta thing for tutorials.

    I was considering doing one a while back about advanced assault tactics, so knowing people will actually look at it is a nice incentive.

    I do remember talking to Jim Partridge about a collaborative video or something discussing mapping with combine soldiers, maybe he’s still up for it…

    1. I can’t take ANY credit. It was YOUR idea.

      Actually, that reminds me, I need to add that I will publish ALL tutorials submitted. Although, I have still to decide exactly how to do that.

      Also, that’s a good point about working WITH another person. I’ll add that too.

      1. Well, I meant that making it a “ville”-esq thing was a great idea.

  2. Well, I’m going to throw this back at the community – is there any topic YOU think I ought to cover? Any burning questions you’ve always wondered about?

    1. Mr.Walrus

      @Maki & anyone else who’d like suggestions:

      I’d love a tutorial on how to enhance the atmosphere of a location- how to effectively use sound, textures, lighting, geometry, AI interaction, foreshadowing, anything really, to create a truly immersive experience. Maybe not just a general run-down on things like “red lighting = anxiety, blue lighting = sadness” but rather an explanation of what you specifically use as little tricks to get a mood across. What in particular do you do to bring the player into your world?

      I imagine an “atmosphereville” where people would try to create as immersive a world as they can, figuring out how to get the player to buy into a setting- how do you make a busy open-air market feel busy? How do you make a treacherous mountain path seem especially high-up and dangerous? How can you make people feel claustrophobic and lost?

      In some ways I feel like atmosphere is possibly the single most important aspect of a map or mod, and also one of the most overlooked. While some of it seems very simple (like color theory applied to map lighting), other parts not so much. Some maps, mods, and games just have an incredible atmosphere that draws you in, while others even if still good, just… don’t (think about how immersive HL2 is compared to many other games). There must be a science behind it, and I want to know more about it!

      1. That would be a pretty big (and rather unfocused) tutorial. If you had to break it down, it would probably be in parts like:

        – Lighting, including lighting effects like “god rays” and shadows.
        – Decals and overlays.
        – Handplaced ambient sounds, soundscapes and soundscripts.
        – Ambient storytelling with props.

  3. I like this idea.
    I think one thing I and others would like to understand more about is all of the physics entities. They can be pretty complex to work with effectively, and can produce great things if done properly.

    I might delve into learning about them and end up making a small tutorial on them. Maybe.

  4. I have an idea, but it maybe breaking rules in 2 ways:

    1. It’s more of a formula/theory for pacing stand alone maps.

    2. There is a map that already shows this theory off (but I can do a map to demonstrate the bare bones of the idea).

    1. If you think it will help modders, then go for it. However, can you actually see a theme based of it?

      1. Definitetly. It will be that mappers will use the formula as a basis (it can be hugely iterated, as it can boil down to 2 stages) rather than be given a specific theme. It’s more of a “feel” that they have to give players (I will explain when I post my entry). This won’t cause huge leniency for the mapper however, as the map would be mostly combat based with specific combat at specific points (again I will explain).

  5. Is anybody working on a tutorial?

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