Wall Worm Level Design Contests

Started by wallworm, January 16, 2015, 01:01:56 PM

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As a way to start getting more people to explore the tools in Wall Worm and 3ds Max, we are now starting a regular level design contest. Each contest will have its own specific criteria, such as theme and special requirements. Unless otherwise stated, each will also use the following rules (which are subject to change at any time).

Wall Worm Level Design Contest Rules


Anyone is eligible to participate in Wall Worm Level Design Contests except for primary members of Wall Worm development.

Levels can be developed by individuals or teams.

Forum moderators are now allowed to participate in the contests. However, forum moderators are restricted from moderating any threads for competitors if the moderator is also participating in the thread's contest.

Content Requirements

All levels submitted to the Wall Worm Level Design Contests must meet the following requirements:

  • Each level must be an original work.
  • The submitter must have legal rights to use the work.
  • The majority of the design must be done inside 3ds Max.
  • The original MAX file(s) must be submitted to Wall Worm for review.
  • The level must be exported to VMF and Compiled via Wall Worm.
  • Levels cannot be finished in Hammer. They must be finished in 3ds Max.
  • Levels started in Hammer may be finished inside 3ds Max for the contest provided that the level was not already finished in Hammer.
  • Levels may use assets (models and textures) that are part of the target mod, but at least ten percent (10%) of the assets in the level must be custom assets developed by the contestant(s).
  • The documentation for the level (both in downloads and online) must include information about the usage of Wall Worm and other sponsor software in the design of the level.
  • Those contests that start with base scenes provided by Wall Worm must adhere to the usage restrictions provided in those contests. (Some contests will provide a base scene that contestants must mold into their own unique level. The base scenes have copyright restrictions.)
  • The level must abide by the Plugin Restrictions below.

Allowed Plugins

Because Wall Worm must review the original file, the scenes must be accessible to the Wall Worm machines. This means that the submitted files can only have plugins that Wall Worm has licenses for. If there is an instance of a plugin in the level that causes an error when Wall Worm opens the file, the entry will be invalidated. This means that instances of plugins not defined below must be converted into editable_poly (geometry plugins) or TGA (textures). All other types of objects must be removed before submission.


Submission of a Level for the Wall Worm Level Design Contests start in the forums. Each contest will have its own board. A contestant must start by posting a new thread about the level in the board. Contestants are encouraged to discuss their progress and share screen shots of unfinished work, but doing so is not required.

Once the level is finished, the contestant is required to post a link to download the final product (either via the author's website of the Steam Workshop). Upon submission, the contestant must post screen shots of the level in the level's thread and email an archive of the original files for Wall Worm to review. These files must be viewable by Wall Worm in-full, meaning that all of the assets and plugins must be available to Wall Worm.

To send an archive, users must use the 3ds Max Save As... Archive function.


All submissions remain the copyright of the original author, but the submission gives Wall Worm the right to use the level in promotional material, including advertisements, educational videos and graphics.


Prizes are determined in each specific contests.


The deadline for each contest is set in the given contest. Deadlines are based on Eastern Standard Time.


Judging is based off of the specific conditions in each contest. Judges are not allowed to participate in the contests. The following are guidelines.

  • Playability
  • Originality
  • Artistic Quality
  • Performance
  • Theme representation (if contest is themed)

The following items are areas that will give bonus points for judging:

  • Create at least one element of your scene with a sponsor plugin (demo versions allowed)
  • Custom Sky created with Sky Writer.
  • 3D Skybox using Wall Worm's 3D Sky functions.


The general rules have been updated. Now forum moderators are allowed to participate in the contests.


I would like to participate in a future contest to keep myself motivated for future projects, and to challenge myself even further.


Glad to hear. I'll arrange a contest in the next few months with some cool prizes. I'd love to see at least 10 contestants participate. That the first contest was such a failure in turnout is a sign of how hard it is to get the Source Engine level designers to step outside the Hammer box--and to how poorly I've shared how exciting it is to build Source levels in Max rather than Hammer. The last several videos and documents I've put out are an attempt to share what can be done and teach the community how to use Max for BSP levels.


I have updated to base contest rules in anticipation of a new contest coming soon. Changes include:

  • Updated the Allowed Plugin List
  • Removed requirement to use sponsor plugins. Now usage adds bonus points for judging instead of being required.
  • Removed requirement to make a 2D sky with Sky Writer. Now usage of Skywriter adds bonus points for judging instead of being required
  • Removed requirement to make a 3D sky with WW Sky functions. Now usage of 3D sky functions adds bonus points for judging instead of being required
  • Reduced percentage of required custom props to 10% of unique props in level

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