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ThinkingWithPortals’ Portal 2 Summer Mapping Initiative

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Yes, ThinkingWithPortals is giving you the opportunity to step in GLaDOS’s shoes and create your very own lovingly built, excitingly lethal test chambers. Hammer may not be as versatile as those tricky little panels, but hey, it’s something!

ThinkingWithPortals’ Portal 2 Summer Mapping Initiative

Here are all of the rules and requirements, which you must follow:

All maps must adhere to the following rules and requirements. Failure to do so will result in your map or maps being disqualified! Have question about rules? Post about it on our forums.

  • Maps must be submitted no later than June 6th at 11:59pm EDT.
  • Both Singleplayer and Co-op maps are allowed. You may submit one map of each game mode.
  • Maps cannot contain custom assets of any kind. No exceptions. Spend your time working on your puzzle, not making models, textures, sounds/voices, or other extra content.
  • Maps must contain both an Entry and an Exit elevator, the style of which as appropriate for your map theme. 1940’s Aperture maps can use the old style elevators, destroyed Aperture can use the destroyed looking elevators, and so on.
  • Maps must be able to be completed without using engine or portaling glitches of any kind.
  • Entries must be uploaded to the Download Database and uploaded in a compressed file format (such as ZIP, RAR or 7z).
  • Entries must include the source VMF.

Keep in mind that just because your level is difficult, doesn’t mean it’s that fun. Contra was one thing, “Gruelingly Difficult Portal 2 Map #67” is entirely another. Players of all skillsets will be judging and playing the maps. They’ll be… “playjudging”. Hehe. Speaking of playjudging, you are free to do not only private testing, but public testing as well! There’s also some judging procedures:

Maps will be checked and, if necessary, disqualified when the submission deadline ends if they do not meet the contest rules. Maps will be judged based on several factors, including:

  • Puzzle complexity
  • Visual appeal and attention to detail
  • Innovation and imaginative design
  • Adherence to an overall theme (1940’s Aperture, destroyed Aperture, etc.)
  • Overall fun and playability

Choosing a certain theme or game mode will not affect the outcome; the best maps will win.

The prizes include an “Ultimate Portal 2 Gift Pack”, which presumably includes all of the Portal 2 themed merchandise available in the Valve Official Store. Then again, in theory, you could e-mail Chet Faliszek and just ask him for an autograph, and because he’s Mr. Awesome, he’ll send you everything, but then you haven’t actually won the contest, so it’s sort of… void. The winning entry will be spotlighted on the official Portal 2 site, and on You’ll become famous! Tour the world, telling everyone to play your map, at threat at gunpoint, if all else fails.

So, got the time and the mapping finesse? Why not try it out? What’s the worst that could happen? ThinkingWithPortals shouldn’t send hired guns after you if your entry was terrible, so failure should be risk-free.

Okay, seriously now, do give this a try. Check out the links below for more information.

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  1. I guess Valve has no more Ideas, so they get them from us now? … Why not?!

    • More like Valve has so many ideas they’d rather move onto them than continue to work on something they already slam dunked.

      And given their long time community support I think it would be cool if this becomes an official map pack/dlc of sorts but I imagine thats up to the quality of entries.

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