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.
We just wrapped up another challenge at MapCore: the Cube Challenge. The goal of this challenge was to build a level completely contained within a 1024x1024x1024 cube (based on id Tech scales and adjusted proportionally for other engines). We ran a similar contest back in 2007, but I never finished my entry and was itching to release something this time.
One thing that bugs me about these dimensions, though, is that horizontal and vertical spaces aren’t created equal. Unless you fall back on ladders, elevators, or teleporters, covering a 128 unit vertical shift requires somewhere in the realm of 256 units – 25% of the horizontal bounds allowed in this challenge! As a result, many levels tend to fill every possible inch of X/Y space, but often can’t utilize the full 1024 units on the Z axis.
I decided I wanted to take a crack at this in Prey. I’ve long held that Prey is the best of the Doom III engine games; it remains one of my favorites this generation, and I’ve always wanted to experiment with some of the crazy level design possibilities opened up by variable gravity and seamless portals. The result is “Bender,” which is now available for download.
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The polls are closed and the results of MapCore’s 20 Brush Challenge are in! I hoped for a better fate for “Don’t Mess With Hexas,” if only in the gameplay category, but it was a difficult field and I just didn’t get the votes against some really great competition.
Most of my votes went to the often-mentioned-here Matt Breit and his entry, “Ludonarrative Dissonance.” It’s a gorgeous level in screenshot form, but you really have to see it in motion – his teleporter, jump pad, and dodecahedron face textures are animated from unique pencil-drawn frames, creating a look not unlike that of the classic video for Take On Me. Matt has talked about wanting to do a full map in this animated pencil sketch style and you should encourage him to do so. It’s awesome.
Duncan “ReNo” Blair’s “Monotone Heights” pretty much destroyed everyone else in the community voting across all categories, which is what tends to happen in contests he’s entered over the years (I was, however, fortunate enough to once fend him off in a single category of an old Snark Pit competition with my HLDM level “Odin’s Guard“). We may have to ban him from future challenges if he keeps this up.
It’s been a while since we did a challenge like this at MapCore, but it may not be long before we roll out another one. We’re discussing some possible options for the next challenge now, and will probably start gearing up for another one in 2-4 weeks. Join us!