Another year has passed. So what? Not like I did anything interesting in 2011. Unless I did? OH YEAH, I did a lot of things, like going on trips, to parties, meeting new people, taking a ton of photos, drawing, but especially mapping. Now that I have a somewhat decent intro, I can start to talk about my mapping year.
2011 started off pretty well, with a mapping competition on PlanetPhillip.com, Rooftopville, where our goal was to create an interesting rooftop scenario, similar to Half-Life 2's where the player has run away from the combine.
When I joined in, the competition was nearing it's deadline, so I had to create a level(s) in just three weeks. This was the time when I learned to use scripted sequences and events. At first, it was difficult to tell Hammer exactly how I wanted my character to move in the world and how the action should develop, but my efforts were rewarded in the end. This was probably my first map that had proper gameplay elements.
The map was pretty well received, but the majority pointed out that it felt unfinished or not polished enough. Here is Phillip's comment, extracted directly from PlanetPhillip.com :
"Perhaps the best start of all the entries, this colour-corrected map starts with a bang! It was fairly short and did what it was supposed to do and that was make me play on the rooftops. The path was clear in each section, perhaps too clear, and some action was easy to avoid. The final battle was too plain and vanilla, and it was even possible to jump around the corner and get out the map.
All in all a good entry but not polished enough to win."
Afterwards, I took a long break from mapping, about three months. Somewhere in April, after the Valve ARG and Portal 2's release I was ready to get back into Hammer and resume work. I decided to improve and master the displacement technique. Over the next months I tried different things with displacements, gaining more and more experience.
By the end of June I was already planning to release a map and was working on several other projects. On 8th July I released a small gungame map for Counter-Strike: Source, fy_plybox, which was very well received by the community. As of now, it has 967 downloads and a rating of 9.61/10 (based on 13 ratings).
fy_plybox introduces a new and exciting environment for Valve's Counter-Strike: Source, featuring fast paced rounds that take place inside a warehouse specially designed for close quarter combat. The map has a uniqure feel to it and an extreme attention to detail, further enhancing the visual experience. On the other hand we have the gameplay experience, which can get very tense at moments when you're the only one left and knowing that your enemy could be right around the corner. Your victory is not only achieved by skill, but also by choosing the right weapon for this kind of combat and keeping yourself constantly moving.
As summer was nearing an end, a new mapping competition on PlanetPhillip.com was arising, gravitygunville. As the name suggests it, we were only allowed to use the gravity gun as a weapon/tool. This competition proved to be a bit difficult for me. I spent about two-three weeks working on several designs until I found one that pleased me, which was a simplistic, more abstract design.
Gravitygunville was a competition in which I really wanted to participate, not only because the grand prize was 100$, but because the maps were being judged by three professional level designers. I did not have any hopes of winning, but on 8th October I was surprised to find out that my entry was selected as the grand winner. One thing I regret is that I didn't make the level longer. I would have certainly loved to add a few more puzzles and possibly some action sequences.
After the competition was over I started working on two other maps for two different mods and I am still working on them even now. I decided put more effort and make sure that they will be part of my best maps. As you can see, they are far from done.
Right before the year could end, an event on Facepunch, entitled "The Two Week Mod", motivated me to contribute with a level for it. However, the level was never finished, but it certainly won me some experience.
It's been a truly great mapping year. I've learned so many new things, from layout designing to releasing a map. One thing is certain, making maps is really hard, but worth it in the end. There's nothing more rewarding than seeing other people enjoy something you've created. Even though I would have liked to show you all my projects I cannot, because I have simply lost track of some. Here are a few I found worth showing, but not talking about.
P.S: This is the second time I write this whole article from sctrach, because I accidentally closed the page after I had finished the first one. Better click "Save Blog" before something else happens.