In late 2001, after a summer spree of cranking out HLDM level after HLDM level, I was getting restless and looking for some other projects to work on. A Counter-Strike map was tempting, as was the call of the more advanced Quake III community, until I spotted a new level + texture back by Kevin “Relic25” Roberts. He was building the Alien-inspired level for a new Half-Life mod – something called “Natural Selection.”
If you’re familiar with my past work, the rest is history. I went on to make ns_eclipse for NS v1.0, and ns_veil for NS v2.0. They became the most popular NS levels over time, often ranking #1 and #2 in active player count, and helped establish my career as a professional game developer. Lessons I learned in developing these levels still pay off today. Some people’s eyes still perk up when I mention them, and over a decade later community members have seen to it that these levels will live on in Natural Selection 2, as seen in Shawn Snelling’s re-make of Veil.
It’s taken a couple years, a couple layouts, and one hell of a Python script, but… Cubes. They’re done.
Partner-in-cubing Matthew Breit has his in-depth writeup here, with an even longer look at the CubeSpew™ script that created the cubes still to come. I’ve provided my own write-up and screens here.
Man, cubes. Next up will be the release of Starhawk, followed by my personal time going towards koth_roundhouse for TF2 and resurrecting an older, larger version of lun3dm5 as kfs3dm2.
The Cube Challenge results are in over at MapCore – Bender (pictured above) came in second to Minotauro’s HL2DM level, “Zest,” and ahead of Robert Yang’s HL2: Episode 2 level, “Tintern” (both pictured below) It was a close vote at the top between Bender and Zest, but I’m pleased to have such a strong showing having built a map for a game relatively few people own.
The voting this time around allowed members to vote for up to three levels, which I think aided some of the issues we had with voting during the previous challenge. I gave my three votes to Zest, Tintern, and vfig’s level, “Escherish.” The third vote was a tough call with some very closely matched entries, but I had to give the nod to some of the crazy tricks vfig pulled off in his level – many of them similar to the portal tricks I used in Bender.
I definitely recommend checking out as many of the entries as you can within the scope of your game collection.