Map Labs is an ongoing anthology of Half-Life 2/Source Engine levels, all designed for the various Map Labs mapping challenges. Currently touting dozens of maps across a multitude of competitions, we're just getting started.

  • Every qualified entry sees a release through this page until the Steam version goes live. Once on Steam, all entries will receive an achievement for completion! This is retroactive, so maps before the Steam release will still have achievements.
  • Enhanced engine base with numerous code fixes, constantly being built upon and improved.
  • New enemies, such as the terrifying Lost Souls and Shadow Walkers - with more to come down the line.
  • Additional weapons not available in stock Half-Life 2, such as the Stunstick, Flaregun, and S.L.A.M.
  • Community-contributed enhanced content, from new music to improved assets.
  • Additional tools for mappers, such as viewmodel overrides and increased projected texture limits.

Map Labs is a continuous and ever-growing series. Currently released Map Labs include:

  • Map Lab #1 - Halloween Horror with 8 entries
  • Test Tube #1 - One Room with 15 entries
  • Map Lab #2 - Episode One with 7 entries
  • Test Tube #2 - Companion Piece with 8 entries
  • Map Lab #3 - RunThinkShootLiveVille 2 with 14 entries


New competitions are hosted regularly, with new opportunities to join in all the time! You can use the links below to follow us and join in future competitions:

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RSS Articles

Alas, season one of Map Labs has come to a close with Test Tube #5. With the past competitions asking mappers to create advanced maps, we thought we'd scale this one back to just dev textures.


Orange and gray squares and blocky geometry may not be the most impressive thing to look at, but it's an essential step in creating the remarkable levels you see throughout Source games. But what if there was an entire theme about just that step? What's what we decided to end Season One of Map Labs with; Blockout! Mappers had three- err, four days to create the most impressive blocky geometry map they could. This competition received 13 entries and 3 bonus entries, totaling 16 brand new Half-Life maps with a whole lot of orange!

Third place was taken by Skorly, with "City of Confusion". This map is visually stunning, starting with one of the most impressive vistas we've seen in Map Labs to date. And it's made of like, three textures. With a surprising amount of detail squeezed out of the brushwork, this map sends players into a strange city infested with combine to save someone dear to them.


"twisted_gravitea_" by Jakob // Tea steals second place with its twisted gravitea. I mean gravity. Using some clever mapping, this level sends players on a stroll across the floors, walls, ceilings, and in-betweens of this abstract, Portal-like course. What it may lack in depth, it makes up for in creativity and ingenuity.


First place goes to "Desolation" by iiboharz and Jackathan. This map has everything. Great visuals, fun combat, some light platforming, easter egg dolls that catch everything on fire, tight level design. It's all-around a great map and absolutely deserves winning.



As always, here's a score sheet so you can see how every map in the competition was scored. If you'd like to read or share reviews of entries, join our Discord community! We have a dedicated channel for it.



We've made it! 10 competitions in a single year, with some off-season competitions for some extra flavor. The team is taking September off, and we've canceled the previously-scheduled Wrap-Up to give everyone some time to cool down before we come back for Season Two on the 4th of October - where the sixth Map Lab competition will be judged by Tyler McVicker from Valve News Network!

Thank you to everyone who joined in on Season One, whether you were an entrant, player, PCGamer journalist, streamer, YouTuber, or just someone in our Discord who seemingly never plays any of the competitions but is just as excited as everyone else. You've all made this a great first year, and we can't wait to deliver another.

There's something else! Moving forward, assuming everything goes over smoothly, we will no longer be releasing competitions on ModDB. There aren't any issues with ModDB, this place is great! But we're hoping to launch the Steam version of Map Labs very soon, with all of Season One with it and with Season Two being added in over time.

As always, if you're interested in joining Map Labs make sure to follow us on Twitter and join us on Discord. People who enter get a special role that turns their name green! Thanks for reading, hopefully our next article will be to announce the Steam version!

Chris Marshall
Co-Founder of Map Labs

Map Lab #5 - Half-Life: Abridged Results

Map Lab #5 - Half-Life: Abridged Results

News 5 comments

The scores are in for Half-Life: Abridged, our fifth mainline competition.

Test Tube #4 - 1,000,000,000 Units Results

Test Tube #4 - 1,000,000,000 Units Results

News

We ran a small challenge for making small maps. Here's our small article about it.

Map Lab #4 - Think Tank Results

Map Lab #4 - Think Tank Results

News 1 comment

The results are in for our fourth Map Labs competition, asking mappers to send us puzzle maps!

Outcome of Test Tube #3 - Abstraction

Outcome of Test Tube #3 - Abstraction

News 2 comments

The results are in for our third Test Tube challenge, which we ran over the last week or so.

RSS Files
Test Tube #5 - Blockout

Test Tube #5 - Blockout

Full Version 1 comment

Mapping challenge were entrants were to make dev texture maps.

Atom #2 - ABC

Atom #2 - ABC

Full Version

In this mapping challenge entrants were to base their map off one letter of the alphabet in some way or another.

Map Lab #5 - Half-Life: Abridged

Map Lab #5 - Half-Life: Abridged

Full Version 6 comments

Is the Half-Life series too long to replay? We've got you covered.

Test Tube #4 - 1,000,000,000 Units

Test Tube #4 - 1,000,000,000 Units

Full Version

Mapping challenge were entrants were to make maps that were 1 billion units or less.

Atom #1 - Blade

Atom #1 - Blade

Full Version 4 comments

24 Hour mapping challange where entrants were to make a map based on the word "Blade".

Map Lab #4 - Think Tank

Map Lab #4 - Think Tank

Full Version

A collection of maps for a puzzle-themed challenge, tasking entrants to take a break from exploding Combine soldiers to instead explode our brains.

Comments  (0 - 10 of 13)
Twitcherus
Twitcherus

Full Walkthrough:

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ChrisMarshall Creator
ChrisMarshall

Hi, just letting you know that your title is mislabeled! That's Atom #2, not Map Lab #5. Thanks for the video, though!

Reply Good karma+1 vote
Re-synthesizer
Re-synthesizer

"Map Labs" is a bundle of separate downloads -- consisting of about 4 different themes ('Halloween,' 'thinking,' 'combat,' etc.).

There is much 'miss' and 'hit' among these 4 downloads: Some maps are pretty long, others quite short.....some maps provide very creepy ambience but feel very incomplete and are mostly far too short (esp. "Halloween").....others have too many 'script errors,' etc.

All things considered "Map Labs" are unique and creative...and with the totality of their pros and cons I rate "Map Labs" a 7.5.

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Re-synthesizer
Re-synthesizer

My impressions are that I experience many "GUI" and other 'script errors' whilst playing Half-life 2 user-made mods that nearly all other Half-life 2 gamers don't experience near the fraction of.

I've 'attempted' to ascertain the root cause of this -- but so far have been unable to: I 'quasi-regularly' do "verify game or tool files" (by going into 'properties') and this hasn't corrected these issues. Today, I completely uninstalled all Half-life 2 applications that I own (HL2, Episode 1, Episode 2, and "Lost Coast"....as well as all Source SDK tools and servers which I had installed)....as well as my actual "Steam" application, itself...then I 're-installed' "Steam" and all 'Half-life 2' applications and associated tools. A strong 'hypothesis' of mine was that somehow my Half-life 2 applications and/or Source SDK tools had become 'corrupted' over time by means of constantly installing and uninstalling Half-life 2 user-made mods.........and that the only way to correct this was by means of completely 'uninstalling' all Half-life 2 and Source SDK Tool apps....and then 're-installing' them as well as the "Steam" application, itself.

So far, this hasn't corrected these issues.

After 're-installing' all Half-life 2 and Source SDK files today, .......when playing the "Map Lab #1 - Halloween Horror" game.....I STILL have no HUD or crosshairs whatsoever, nor a flashlight, even after using several different HL2 'cheats' to attempt to get a HUD, or crosshairs, or flashligh. I briefly looked at a Youtube video of someone playing this map recently, and sure enough, it appears that you're SUPPOSED TO have a HUD, flashlight AND crosshairs in the gameplay of "Map Lab #1 - Halloween Horror."

In other Half-life 2 user-made mods which I play.....often I will lack either a flashlight or crosshairs (and less often a HUD).....and youtube gameplay videos of these same mods that I am playing clearly demonstrates that I am supposed to have these GUI items on screen.

I also seem to experience FAR, FAR more 'script errors' (doors not opening -- forcing me to utilize 'no-clip' cheats' to progress through maps) than other Half-life 2 'gamers' do.

Does anyone have any suggestions or hypotheses as to why I am experiencing these 'glitches' so often......and how to 'correct' them?

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Toki_ Creator
Toki_

I know for a fact that several of the Halloween Horror maps have disabled certain elements like the HUD and the flashlight for a more immersive experience. For example, The Sun Vanished disables the HUD, flashlight, crosshairs and slows the player down. Shadow Walker 2 doesn't disable anything, I recommend you loading up that map and see if you actually have issues with things being disabled when they aren't meant to be.

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SweetJuleka
SweetJuleka

Will you add any Enemies and Weapons from Half-Life and/or the HL2 Beta?

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ChrisMarshall Creator
ChrisMarshall

No plans for beta content, but we are planning to implement more HL1-era content in the long run.

Reply Good karma+2 votes
Darkpsy
Darkpsy

Excellent looking maps! Great job putting this together.

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A.765.H
A.765.H

Came from RTSL, very nice maps, will be playing through the rest of them soon.

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Zippys2
Zippys2

Phillip will be proud for this :)

Reply Good karma Bad karma+7 votes
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Jan 31 2019 by alex_mmc

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