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A gaming and technology blog by TWHL admins Penguinboy and Ant. A music blog by TWHL users Ant and Hugh.

Competition 26 - Map a Puzzle

Competitions > View Original Brief

I truly cant emphasize how sorry I am for how long this took. Beyond that, congrats to the winners :D


The Results

trophy map pic Unnamed, by hlife_hotdog



Without doubt the most stunning entry both in terms of puzzles and presentation. An extremely wide yet coherent array of challenges and themes accompanied with great visuals and atmosphere. Perfectly-tuned, diverse, well-paced and featuring some of the most fun puzzles I've played in Half-Life, this entry has everything you'd want in a first-place winner. Top-notch effort.


This entry got first place without a second thought. Of all the entries, this was the only one that truly accomplished what we asked in the brief in terms of puzzle design and looks. The lighting was generally great, the theme worked nicely with the puzzles, and the entry sported some pretty great and interesting entity setups. What impressed me the most was the fact that he accomplished his entry without a heavy use of "you fall, you die" traps. Even the lava in the lava room didn't kill the player, which was nice. Every puzzle gave the player a second chance without loading bars, leaving the annoyance at a minimum. I would gladly play through this entry again. Well deserved.

trophy map pic Unnamed, by zeeba-G



A bit short and mostly concentrated around one puzzle, this entry featured one of the most creative contraptions I've seen in a Half-Life map. Even if somewhat hard and slow, the puzzle was entertaining and very well-presented. Wrapped in great visuals, care for detail and great ambience, this is one worthy second place winner.


While this entry revolves completely around a single puzzle, the design of the environment around it is very nicely done. The puzzle itself was a little harder than it should've been I'll admit, but it was true to our puzzle requirement in the most true sense of the word: It is a puzzle with a very nice wrapper. The ambience, terrain (exceptional for goldsource), and the few effects shown in this entry were great. The Zelda style treasure chest was a wonderful addition.

trophy map pic Lost Canyon , by IMUS



Third place was the hardest to choose, as many entries turned out to be more-or-less equal at this point. This one, even if not fully utilizing the graphic and technical potential Source has to offer, stood a bit above the rest. Having a vast, sort of epic feel to it and a decent variety of puzzles, it was fairly fun to play. Most challenges, however, were very easy to finish or had bugs, reducing the entertainment value. A well-deserved bronze trophy.


This entry won third in the sense that it was the only other entry that still had thoughtful and accessible puzzles in it. The puzzles themselves were fun, although plagued by bugs and small annoyances at places. My largest complaint with the entry was that could've made a better use of the source engine. While I realise it was a dungeon, the lighting was maybe a little too down-bringing and uniform for my source tastes. The lack of prevalent physics, which I really wanted to see, prevented me from enjoying it as much as I would have. All in all, a good entry. Congrats.

And the Rest...

Dark Tree


Puzzle-wise, one of the most interesting entries we had. Visually – ugly as f#@!. Getting to explode stuff is always fun and mostly doesn't require much thinking, yet Barrel Destroyer comes in and changes that completely by throwing in some smart puzzles in the mix. A creative, fun and original setup struck down by poor aesthetics. Nearly made it to third.


Personally I found this entry to be a "diamond in the rough" sort of a thing. The puzzles were satisfying, but oh man this entry could've looked better. If only more time was dedicated into making it look better, and the player was given maybe a little more of a direction at times, this entry would've definitely placed.




Given there was a special “Weirdest Entry” award, this one would take the cake. Even if presented and designed somewhat adequately, The_(c)Striker's entry really lacked clarity and plain logic. Showing good effort, quite entertaining, yet completely random and a bit bugged, this entry fell quite short of third place.


The sucking up in this entry was humorous and entertaining. The puzzle brief might've been misread and interpreted a little though. The two maps were essentially a "wtf?" fest in which the player made his or her way through the map without actually knowing "how" they were getting through the map. It turned into a situation where if the player had somewhere to walk, they would simply walk in that direction and find themselves in a completely different room. In Agreement with Daubster: if TWHL had a wierdest entry award, this would've definitely taken it.




With an interesting theme chosen, this would have stood a decent chance against the winners if it were properly finished. Pretty creative, yet lacking polish, buggy and a bit confusing, this one simply needs a bit more work.


This entry was very tough to play through. The lack of player guidance and the repetitive look contributed to the fact that I constantly lost my sense of direction. I can tell some work did indeed happen here, but this really should've been worked on a bit more. Tetsuo's concern in releasing this highly unfinished entry to us does confirm one fact: Having a life doesn't help your competition chances, hehe. I realise this is a little harsh, but it must be reviewed. It is unfinished, so anyone who plays this should know not to disrespect his mapping skill. It happens to us all eventually.




SickBay fell short of others due to its short length, few puzzles and simple visuals. A pretty average and generic map. Played well, resembled some of the areas seen in original Half-Life well, yet wasn't in any way spectacular or interesting.


This entry was a little generic, but not bad by any means. It was a little short, the puzzles were few, and the architecture could've used a little work at places. This was a good entry, but it simply lacked distinction.




This entry was by far one of the most disappointing ones. Having poor visuals and some of the weirdest puzzle design choices, lacking coherence and focusing more on combat than on thinking, it showed very little of Ghetto's mapping potential.


This entry was entirely too combat oriented, ridiculous, and illogical. Why on earth would you find a computer console in the middle of the air vents that controlled the fire doors: and then have to destroy them rather than "use" them just to get the doors open. At times it would simply piss me off. This entry didn't include a health pack that wasn't hidden in one of its secret rooms, which was a very bad design choice. I found myself constantly out of health. Where this entry lacked puzzles, it had douchy fight sequences. Neither me nor Daubster felt a sense of depth in theme or location, and neither of us could think of a reason the military was crashing through windows to fight us. The teleporting rooms at the end of the entry prevented me from actually playing through this entry completely. Those rooms in particular were annoying and frustrating with the constant trial and error. All that being said, the architecture was actually good at places. A lot of work went into this entry, which is a real shame. We're sorry to have wasted your time, but this entry really and truly did lack all the sophistication entailed in the great replayable and classic puzzle maps.