Isn’t it always the way – you have no Half-Life 2 maps to play and then nine come along all at once!
It’s a Trap! PlanetPhillip’s AmbushVille Competition ReleasedModding & Development
AmbushVille is the latest in a long line of mapping competitions hosted by PlanetPhillip.com. For this instalment, the requirement was to “create a scenario where you are ambushed by Combine Forces” within a ten day time limit. It looks like this was a theme that got mappers’ imaginations firing, as the competition has provided 9 brand new maps for us to play, including one by LambdaGeneration’s very own Daz.
Well done to all the entrants; designing a complete level in this time span is not easy! Every map provides a unique interpretation on the theme and are all worth a try. Overall, most Half-Life 2 environments are represented.
Some of the highlights include Factory Condition, a tense standoff between rebels and the Combine in a city square. This provides some challenging moments although the night time setting can be a little too dark. Next we can head out to White Forest in Radio Tower Ambush, which showcases a very detailed environment for a challenging but fun confrontation involving a Combine APC (although I had some problems with it crashing). If you’re feeling ready for a chase, go back to the city in Rapid Raid, a short, fast-paced journey beneath the streets. One of my favourites was Third Watch (pictured), which takes the player through a vast, open forest environment which is incredibly atmospheric and provides some great gameplay opportunities. Finally, things take a turn for the surreal in Train Stopping, a funny but very ambitious level with some unique ideas. Phew! And that’s not even all of the entries!
Of course, there can be only one winner, and Phillip has chosen… (imaginary drum-roll) Lost at Sea by Daz! The map allows players to explore a seemingly abandoned sea fort, which may not be as empty as it first appears.
UPDATE: Click here for a retrospective from Daz on the challenges he faced in creating this entry.
AmbushVille is available now to download and requires Half-Life 2: Episode Two. It is just the first of the 3×10 competitions, so stay tuned to PlanetPhillip.com for the chance to make your own map for the next in the series.
An idea is starting to form in my mind… Daz is obviously a very talented mapper, and interestingly he began with the aesthetic side of things instead of the gameplay, which would suit me just fine.
My friend Erik is also extremely good at mapping, but he takes quite a while and his workload is usually immense, so I’ve long thought of maybe adding another collaborator to The Adventures of Hercule Cubbage. I can’t really find the time to discuss it right now, but if Daz were interested in helping me out, I’d like to talk to him about it in the (probably far) future.
I’ll pass it on, Daz recently published a development article too you might wana check out, also if you comment there he will likely see it. Sounds interesting though, you are wanting more custom maps for the comic? Ever considered doing it yourself?
A friend and original supporter of LambdaGeneration, Inaki made a Portal-Puzzle maker style editor for HL2 which looks extremely useful for making maps which don’t need much interactive detail.
I did read the article, hence my interest. The comic, as I believe I’ve told you, has been planned out from start to finish for a long time, and I’ve known for a while that the latter half will depend heavily on custom maps. The thing is, they need a lot of detail and to look extremely faithful to the original Half-Life 2 maps, something that Erik sadly cannot always accomplish, nor would a simpler editing tool suffice.
So far, Erik’s been grand and always up to the task, even if it required a lot of time and back-and-forth between us, but both of us have agreed that he alone can’t do everything, especially for the scale that the end of The Adventures of Hercule Cubbage will probably demand. So yeah, I’m not exactly on a recruitment drive, but Daz does seem like an interesting candidate. If you would be so kind as to let him know and if he’s interested, I’ll be in touch.
Oh, sorry, forgot to reply to one of your questions: yes, I did consider making them myself, but my attempts at Hammer in the old days were always fruitless and nowadays I just can’t afford the time needed to do so. I already struggle to find time to pose and edit the comic itself, so it’s much better to have friends willing to cooperate on that. I’m not excruciatingly demanding and I allow quite a lot of creativity in said requests, just as long as they stick closely to what you’d see in Half-Life 2, so it’s not too bad for either party.
I just read the mapping article on this, gona go download it!