Mercs Vs. Aliens - RESULTS!

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Fruity Snacks

Creator of blackholes & memes. Destroyer of forums
Sep 5, 2010
mva_contest_banner.jpg Major Mapping Contest #11


Won't sugar coat it, that was a bit of a rough contest for everyone. It's okay though! We're done and, through the power of the internet (and google spreadsheets) you get the results of the contest, minutes after it's done!

So, without further ado, I wish to present the top 3 for the Mercs Vs. Aliens contest.




Congratulations to the winners, I will be contacting you shortly on how you will be receiving your dosh.

And for those of you worried about feedback, here is the compiled spreadsheet of all the feedback given. Just find the votes that were made, and scroll over to see. The first column was the optional "Comment on whatever you want, section"


L6: Sharp Member
Jan 31, 2014
What is the special surprise you weren't just ready to announce?!

EDIT: Lol I forgot to compliment the winners too. Congrats on everyone who stuck it through this contest, it was really fun to test all your maps.


L7: Fancy Member
Feb 17, 2013
Congratulations to everyone who took part, those who provided feedback and especially our winners. It's good to see that those frantic hours spent making miniature alien robots pop was worth the time Crash!


nothing left
Jul 30, 2014
Congrats! I remember playing Byre, that was pretty fun.

I was hoping for Mudwater to be on there, but dreams never come true. Backwoods was pretty good, sadly I didn't get to play the rest.... :/


L2: Junior Member
Feb 10, 2013
Congratulations everybody who competed! Really great contest, very fun to play the maps and see their themes bubble up over time.

Doktor Richter

L3: Member
Feb 13, 2014
Congrats to all the winners! Loved seeing all the dynamic stuff people did with the UFOs. Really made the maps come alive, and made playing on them so much more fun. Would love to do something like that in one of my maps someday.


Jul 31, 2009
Because I know how frustrating it is, I went through the spreadsheet and extracted all the feedback.

KotH Probed

I don't think much needs to be said for the aliens and their particles. They are amazing to say the least with all the detail that went into them and how well they turned out.

Thematically I feel the map is very strong. It pulled off the farm theme better than most, and pretty soundly explains why there were so many crop circles around RED and BLUE bases.

Gameplay-wise I have a lot of fun on the map. All routes have strengths and weaknesses that can be accented or overcome based on your strengths and weaknesses as a player. Though the aliens dropping from the sky is annoying, especially in key areas, it is very funny when some poor soul gets caught, or when someone new (even yourself) blows themselves up meleeing an alien.

Very fun map overall.

its great, balanced, and well done over all with the gimmick and the little alien robots it deserves to win

Good use of vertical space. Cool use of contest theme

UFO is fun, fun layout.

Center favors explosive classes a little to much.

The map plays well and provides a unique turn on KotH layouts. This seems to encourage lots of combat at or near the CP, not a bad thing. It also seems to be balanced well, made for good back and forth gameplay. Well detailed, and a cool spin on the "Mercs vs. Aliens" them by providing actual alien-robots in the field of play. Excellent clipping on this map, haven't gotten stuck on anything yet, and all the special effects and explosions seem to work rather well.

Experimenting with angled koth layout, entities, game logic, conditions... all amazing!

Out of all the maps I played, I feel this map works well both in gameplay - the unique layout of the map, the general flow - and in theme - the Monoculus-esque teleport into an incredibly well done saucer interior, the spider bots that spawn everywhere.

Layout and dynamic elements are pretty nice. Visual flow could definitely be better, though.

From what I experienced playing through the maps, the core principles of gameplay were best exemplified on Probed. I don't even usually enjoy playing KotH maps and this one managed to make it fun, whether on blu or red. The special events and props used were fantastic comparatively and the end sequence of the ship slowly crashing far surpassed the competition in my judgement.

I thought this map fit the theme of the contest very well. Aliens!

All around beautiful and fun map. Best use of theme in gameplay. I'm too lazy to write more

The gameplay is very fun, forcing players together at the hill while still giving them room to breathe with the alternate routes. Verticality is used well, with rooftop combat being fun but not overpowered. Aesthetics are very nice, and the "harvesting aliens" is interesting and well done. The mothership abduction is a neat concept, but essentially just an annoying sprint to the exit door unless many players are abducted at once. The finale is spectacular and very well put-together.

DIDN'T VOTE: Probed was a cool concept, but the map layout proved to be frustrating with a single sentry able to cover most entrances to the point.

DIDN'T VOTE: koth_probed_b6 is well put together but suffers from a number of balance issues around the capture point. The highground adjacent to point allow the defenders to control any and all access to the highground. This punt the attackers at a constant disadvantage as they have to fight uphill into tiny hallways to start contesting it. Aesthetically it is clean, if a bit lacking in intersesting shapes, most buildings are rectangles.

DIDN'T VOTE: I also liked koth_Probed_b6 in general and for the "easter egg" bonus map on board the alien ship, but the map layout was nothing exciting and I don't quite like the aesthetics.

I will say that this map was amazing. I loved almost everything about. I really liked the alien abduction with the fighting on the ship, as well as the reward for getting out. Also liked how it played seemed to work well as a 90 degree koth map. The finale was what really blew me way. Did Michael Bay create the final explosions? There was a exploit where one could launch stickies into the spawn through a high up window, so you may want to check that out.

Pros: Balance, height, special effects, cool concept (UFO thingy)
Cons: Gameplay is eh (all routes mostly the same-ish)


No one who voted left any feedback :(

DIDN'T VOTE: This one was really good! The two control points made the map competitively distinct when compared to other arena maps; I only wish that the map wasn't as fast-paced and rounds could last longer. Other than that, very fun!!

Pros: Detail, balance, height variation
Cons: Arena

DIDN'T VOTE: This map has extraordinary attention to detail. The barns and shacks are amazing, with the lighting being very well done as well. The duel capture points are a neat little twist to prevent campers as well. My issues are in that the map is extremely small, to the point where I sometimes only last 5 seconds before being killed by someone who crossed the map. Shame the finale got busted, but it does look very well done when functional, especially with the whole place lighting up. Regarding the green glow, it would probably look better if it took place during night, but it's still nice. The mothership tipping over looks a bit wonky, but is acceptable.

DIDN'T VOTE: arena_byre is cleverly mirrored, the gameplay is quick but the small map size makes games with more than 6 or 7 players rather unwieldy. The aesthetic design is impeccable with its use of lighting to highlight areas, but the gameplays downsides at high playercounts hurts this map a lot.

KOTH Kalamity

I really enjoyed this map a lot (despite having a dislike for KotH) for many reasons:
- The detailing is -very- nice
- The balance is very thumbs up, can't see any problems
- No really bad sightlines or any similar major issues
- Lots of route variation
- Lots of height variation

I felt however these could've been improved on:
- Spawn area could've been better. The routes seem *very* stretched out, and there's not much leading you to the left and right routes as the middle one is much closer and much quicker, even if the others do take you to places with more height advantages.

Suggestion: Routes out of spawn could've been streamlined and the side ones could've been made more appealing)

- Detail is very cluttered. It doesn't feel like there's much theme going on, or any kind of texture palette.

Suggestion: Change some similar textures to use the same one more [except in areas the eyes should be drawn to] (there's several of brush structures that use textures that are completely unique within the level that distract the eye)

- Detail feels very half-finished (I know the author was kinda stuck for time near the end if I remember). Detailing is nice in the areas within gameplay, but there's nearly no out of bounds detailing (like little rooms you can see into in indoors areas, or the fact that there's no detailing on top of the cliffs).

Pros: Gameplay, balance, height, special effects
Cons: Unfinished detail, routes

DIDN'T VOTE: Kalamity was a fun map to play on. I found it's layout to be enjoyable and great regarding different points to counter crowded areas. The water in the center was misleading though, as I expected it to be deep enough to put out fire. The lower areas suffered from lighting issues, with some corners being so dark I could barely see who was attacking me. Regarding lighting, once or twice the control point's glow was so bright I mistook an enemy as a friendly. Detail wise it's very nice, almost too simple, but nice nonetheless. Gotta say though, the finale was extremely silly and a bit confusing regarding how the mothership got hit.

DIDN'T VOTE: koth_kalamity's split spawns and nearly reachable flanks so close to the point really wrecked the gameplay and balance for me. Aesthetically it was okay but not complete.

CP 3Some

The 3CP format played well, the scale felt good (not too large, but large enough for decent variation in combat) and the architecture style was really nice (I'm a sucker for well-used vent ducts). There were a couple of areas that felt a little tight (the fences on the walkways near the first point) but nothing game-breaking.

Pros: Gameplay, balance, originality
Cons: Concept of map going around a cylinder hurts gameplay (routes), heights (feels really flat in some parts, particularly around just past A and B)

DIDN'T VOTE: 3some is my second favorite. It was very fresh, fun and imaginative, but the overall layout is pretty messy, and the map is slightly overscaled IMO.

DIDN'T VOTE: cp_3some_b1 to be honest I only got to play its formative stages, not the final b1, however the versions I played weren't to different from the product I saw on a listen server. Aesthetically its just incomplete, and in gameplay it feels stretched.

DIDN'T VOTE: This map is extremely unique and fascinating to play on. Next to Nucleus, I haven't seen a circular map that's fun to play on. The control points are decent, although I find B and C rather difficult to defend. B for it being tucked in a corner that allows for Blue to hold it very well, and C because there's almost too much physical noise all throughout the area. I've had a few times where a Demoman hidden ontop the center core thing wrecked us since we couldn't see him at all. I like the idea of the big open room, but there should be more detail in the upper areas, and less stuff blocking the main fight area. Finale was cool, but didn't make very much sense in my opinion.

PL Snowycoast

I how the gate blocks off both Red and Blu from getting to the second half of the map until the 2nd point's capped. I think this would be pretty fun as a 4s map because it's not too too long, I could see it as being UGCs first traditional-payload type map for 4s.

DIDN'T VOTE: I was very close to picking this one... if the push for last wasn't impossible for Blu (you can only go through chokepoints if you want to get to the final area).

DIDN'T VOTE: pl_snowycoast_b1 was sort of like inari in that each point didnt feel like capturing an area of importance although it did a bit better than inari in that regard. Each point is a tough fight to capture or hold, very fun to play. Its aesthetically pleasing , but contains a manner of techincal errors, literal ERROR models sitting in plain view which hut it a bit.

Pros: Balance, sightlines, height, detail
Cons: Some lazy detail (out of bounds not detailed), finale seems out of place and odd, no 3D skybox, lots of very bright snow?

DIDN'T VOTE: Snowycoast is my third favorite. Didn't get to play it much tho. The first and second points are harder to capture than the last ones. Aesthetically the best of the contest.

DIDN'T VOTE: Snowycoast was a very enjoyable map. It's layout was fairly fun, with the choke points near the B and C point feeling natural and similar to official payload maps'. The map felt fairly detailed as I don't recall any parts feeling too bland or boring. The final push is absolutely garbage for red team though, as once blue gets control of the middle building then red's essentially finished due to their spawn point. The flanking spots throughout the map are comfortable and natural however. The finale was neat, although it felt a bit silly having a big hole in the side of the UFO. Perhaps making it an open hatch or hanger door? I really enjoyed this map despite my few playtestings on it, but the final area is a REALLY glaring issue however.

PL Inari

Optimisation is a bit poor around final. There are a few exploits allowing people to exit the map and generate points, and the area around second is maybe a bit too open. Detailing is nice, and there are lots of unique spaces.

Execution of the theme is very good overall. The finale feels super cool. The particle effects and lasers are really nice. All the barns spaces feel natural and like they could exist in a real barn, there's also plenty of variety and opportunity for all classes to gain interesting hight advantages by using the spaces wisely.
There could be a few more bells and whistles with the ground door opening.
There could be a little more tie-in with the aliens theme, I almost never see the mothership on this map and don't notice any other alien themed parts to it.

DIDN'T VOTE: I was pretty close to picking this map, if it weren't for the large open areas (especially between checkpoints 2 and 3) and the framerate problems (just merely looking out into the cornfields of the 3D skybox agitates my FPS well, and the laser in red's final spawn charging up at the end of the round is absolutely horrible).

Pros: Detail, special effects, balance
Cons: Sightlines, sightlines, last point is basically badwater, nothing in the map feels iconic (unique areas, cool finale areas, landmarks etc.)

DIDN'T VOTE: Inari WAS my top choise, but after multiple replays I got bored of it. The somewhat flat map felt open and empty (exccept for last)

pl_inari_b2 is a nice playload map, but I don't really see the Mercs vs Aliens theme playing a major part.

DIDN'T VOTE: This map is very pretty with it's simplicity, definitely reminding me of some of the simpler official TF2 maps. The flow of the map felt very natural and balanced as I never really saw one team having a certain advantage over the other. The buildings and rooms felt natural and made for good battles and flanks when needed. The surprise at the end was very unexpected! I adored the fact that the whole final badwater-esque area was hidden. Really adds to the poorly disguised spytech feel. Detailing on the wooden buildings were superb as well. This map isn't without it's flaws though. There were a few parts where it just felt long and empty, and some of the windows seemed really silly with their height/openness. I did not enjoy the treck from Blue spawn to the payload before the forward spawn was active, or the walk back up to Red's first spawn. The finales were grand though. I snickered at how violently the UFO explodes with Red's ending (although the UFO/alien stuff just seems kinda there), and adored the implosion/explosion with Blue's. Absolutely rad for either team that wins.

DIDN'T VOTE: pl_inari is a well made payload, but it just feels very samey. Until the last point. The map is entirely a facade for the giant super base at RED last I get it, but each point has no draw, they are just points in a field. As BLU I just dont feel like I am capturing something of value, just pushing a cart through a barren waste. The last point is awesome, but the first 3 points feel like a slog.

PD Watergate

Pros: the map is a lot of fun to play on - it's literally Team Deathmatch while still having a specific goal. It's a fun, hectic, cathartic experience, which is all I really need from Team Fortress 2.

Also, the detailing is fucking amazing.

On a side-note, Player Destruction is a custom gamemode I think has potential, and I'd like to see more maps use it in the near future. (I also like it as an alternative to Robot Destruction, which I'm not quite as fond of.)

Cons: the control point, while not the main focus of the map, still felt very out-of-the-way and was quite hard to attack. It may have been better to have the control point be on the boat in the center of the map, making it more noticeable and easier to attack (which makes more sense, in my opinion).

Some of the upper routes were also a tad hard to navigate, particularly when transitioning from the windows to the wooden boards. I'd frequently fall into the water. That was kind of annoying.

Nice custom gamemode, nice aesthetics, fun gameplay, overall a nice change of pace and packed with things to do

Custom gamemode was not only balanced, but incredibly fun and unique. Detailing was complete and beutiful with few bugs. Finale was epic, as well.

Gameplay: I've played the map several times so far, in two different communities' servers, and it flowed well. Map might be a bit hard for Heavies, but the UFO's levitation beam makes a nice surprise entryway onto the capture balcony even for non-jumping classes.
The "PD" format might need a few more explanations, maybe as a spray in spawn, questions such as "do we take the gathered money to the capture point, or does capping the point spawn more money?"

Balance: It felt pretty balanced.

Aesthetics: I love the aesthetics.
"Does it fit the Mercs Vs. Aliens Theme and follow the Mothership destruction rule?"
Watergate and koth_Probed_b6 made the best use of the theme, I feel.

Technical: I'm not a mapper. But the map didn't crash on me and wasn't obviously laggy.

DIDN'T VOTE: Very nice on many levels. I honestly can't name any bad parts of the map, and I wouldn't be surprised if this map wins.

DIDN'T VOTE: While I feel the layout of the map is fine and suits the gamemode well, it suffers from a lack of...instruction, I guess. It's all well and good to say "Oh it's simple to understand once you play it a bit" but sometimes people don't even give it that much time. The detailing is well done and feels unique and ties in the theme quite well with the saucer occasionally flying through and dropping off money etc.

Pros: Detail, height, special effects, custom mode
Cons: Custom mode needs work (every round is an absolute roll), confusing (what does the point do?), snipers annoying sometimes

Watergate was ok deathmatch, not much to say about this. Maybe the water in the middle split up the teams too much.

DIDN'T VOTE: Watergate is pretty fun, but feels a bit unfocused and a bit more like a glorified king-of-the-hill map.

DIDN'T VOTE: Can someone say Dishonored? This map is gorgeous, with it being one of the prettiest maps in the contest. It's wonderfully detailed, but despite that it's not too distracting at all! Hard to really see when playing, but the background silliness the UFOs do is really amusing and interesting, especially the rare nuke event! Sometimes the particles would glitch out leading to it not being tilted with the mothership when destroyed. Gameplay was a wonderful twist off of classic death match which I haven't seen before. Makes it really want to value your life. The bar was very silly, although it sometimes led to some undeserved victories as a few people controlled it, leading to them harvesting the points while people disregarded it. I wouldn't mind seeing the Bar not give points, but maybe occasionally granting the controlling team an extra point or two when an enemy is killed. Love the glitch where occasionally a robot spawns with just 1 HP and just kinda sits there. I found a few spots near spawn that were useless and confusing when I completely disregarding the wall signs. The finale is probably one of the best in the contest, right up there with Probed! The voicelines were silly, unfitting, but silly. I never saw what destroys the mothership though even though I hear missiles fire. Great map for sure, but sadly the highground control point and large vertical scale really weighs it down.

CP Mudwater

Fun layout, great scenery, and a short round length that felt just right.....

DIDN'T VOTE: Mudwater is a very interesting map. Last I played it before the contest entry version was early alpha, and it's nice to see how it's progressed. The detail in the map is beautiful, and I really enjoyed the lighting as well. Blue spawn was a little strange but bearable. For a map called 'mudwater', I didn't see very much water asides from the death pit on a nearby cliffside (the water also flowed the wrong way into the wall). The layout was a bit confusing as well, as I found myself going in circles around A point. The finale bummed me out a bit, as the RED laser just kinda pops when Blue wins, and with Red the laser just kinda bumps the skybox. Very fun map still.

PL Invasion

Solid artstyle, fun gameplay.

Balance of points seems a tad off, the 2nd point is a little hard to attack, but doesn't feel impossible, 3rd point seems easier to attack than defend.

Optimization could use a little work

Has some weird sightline angles.

DIDN'T VOTE: pl_invasion_a3 was an interesting venture into less linear payload, but I felt it had an overabundance of flanks across too large an area. This greatly hampered the flow of the gameplay and made team balance rather erratic since RED could all sit at the objective, but BLU could be 100 leagues from each other in different hallways. Aesthetically it wasn't too impressive, aside from the last point. The last point really drew the eye, but it was also far too large. As it is, its much too large a pit to properly draw players down to the objective.

DIDN'T VOTE: the push for last was a joke (the sightlines and long walk times reminded me of Balloon Race), but other than that, not bad.

Pros: Gameplay, balance, concept
Cons: Detail, height (last point), engie feels bad at last

DIDN'T VOTE: cp_mudwater_b3d has decent cap gameplay, but the majority of the routes between each point feel like mazes, constantly trying to push BLU team left and right over and over just to get through a single building. The gameplay and balance both suffered from this. Aesthetically, the map was very dark and did little to vary the amount of color, it was mostly drab brown throughout with little to draw the eye.

DIDN'T VOTE: The wide open last area in invasion is a breathe of fresh air in terms of scale, but some of the back routes feel underused, even in very populated games.

DIDN'T VOTE: Invasion is a fantastic map... For the most part. I really enjoyed the gameplay for a good chunk of it, mostly when I was Blue. The final area looks absolutely grand, but would fit better in a single player game as Snipers have WAAAY too much control. When there wasn't any though, I had a fairly fun time jumping down to defend or rescue the cart. I feel the final area would make a sick interior to an enormous spytech base however, similar to pl_cranetop's ending as it would give more excuses to add logical cover. The flanking areas for the final push felt a bit maze-like and big, but passable. Since the detailing isn't finished, I highly recommend perhaps changing gears to something more spytech-y and underground to give a cooler atmosphere. I can't really recall much of the first few points as blue usually pushed right through them. The finale was fantastic and humorous, as it makes the explosion effects look very natural. Plus it's not everyday you see a giant bomb shot out of a cannon.


DIDN'T VOTE: "Where do I go?", "Oh god the bloom, my eyes!!", "Why is this map so HUGE?", "Can we skip Haleharbor if the vote comes up?"

Pros: The map works
Cons: Gameplay, balance, sightlines, height (very flat, not much height variation), confusing, map is complete rolls, lack of direction, lack of flow, detail


DIDN'T VOTE: I only really played on this map once, but I can see why it didn't really make it into many play testings. On the few rounds I participated in, they only lasted a few minutes, as the enemy team immediately grabbed the intel and won within a minute. It seems like the map is really open and fairly empty, and I recall going through a long corridor as the enemy team was on the lift, only to find a dead end that shows off the laser that destroys the tiny mothership. This map could use a major overhaul on gameplay, however I am not the person to help lead this to greatness. There's no detailing I can judge, but HDR really needs to be worked on or removed. Could be something neat, but needs a ton of work.

KOTH Backwoods

DIDN'T VOTE: The layout is good, but this map needs quite a bit of clipping as well as a more stable framerate (the many particles of the map crate havoc with my framerate, especially that small cloud of fog in the spawn rooms if you look at it directly).

DIDN'T VOTE: I didn't get too much time to play this one, however from my point of view it feels incredibly solid. However, the contest version of the map did dip my FPS a bit occasionally, which was a bit annoying.

DIDN'T VOTE: Fantastically detailed map, probably one of the most immersive maps in the contest. I adore any map that does the swamp set justice similar to ye-olde ctf_bayou. Frame rate issues abound though, definitely one of the major flaws in the map. The finale suffered greatly from this from the gigantic explosions in the skybox right over the map. The gameplay was fairly fun however, as the layout was great with various flanking points and cover all around. The control point itself was very interesting as well. Overall a very good map, but there's almost too much detail to the point where it's distracting such as the random staircase in the spawns, and regarding it's general framerate.

Pros: Jump pads (original), detail
Cons: Jump pads (not fun in areas where battle happens), centre area kinda boring to play on (why take lower route?)

DIDN'T VOTE: koth_backwoods_b13 Very neat gameplay with jumppads but it ruins the games balance. As fun as the pads are they took far too much away from the class balance. Aesthetically it was too dark to really get a feel for it being "spooky" or decrepit, it was just dark.

ARENA Cliffside

DIDN'T VOTE: Ugh; major parts of the map don't load for some reason, you can stand on an invisible ledge near the health pack area, and you can jump onto, survive, and stay on the tracks at the bottom of the cliff. (I was told there was a newer version of the map, but the server didn't put it on instead for some reason).

DIDN'T VOTE: arena_cliffside is just oddly balanced, which hurts it gameplay. The emphasis on big indoor areas just feels off to me. Aesthetically it was poor, in its early stages.

DIDN'T VOTE: This map requires a LOT of work detail wise and somewhat regarding the layout. I really do like the idea of the map taking place on a cliff, although I'd like to see it hang over the cliff a bit for dramatic effect. I had a decent amount of fun on this map, the buildings seem fairly unrealistic and empty, but fun nonetheless. Finale was fairly underwhelming, perhaps using a model on a track train would be more interesting.

Pros: Balance, height variation
Cons: Routes, detail, arena
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L1: Registered
Sep 23, 2014
Congratulations to all the winners and everyone that participated!

I really enjoyed seeing all the maps for this contest and I am please to see Crash has won it :D. The two maps I really liked didn't get in the top three, those maps were cp_mudwater_b3d and pl_inari_b2. I thought they were nicely designed and I enjoyed playing on them, even though it was usually 5v5 or less xD.
I hope everyone that entered a map will keep improving them especially the two I mentioned.

This was the first contest that I have witnessed myself as I m new to this community. I was stunned by how amazing and interesting the layouts, game-modes and detail was. I didn't however vote mainly as I didn't feel like I could honestly decide or figure out what was bad and what was good.

[re-posted from the vote page, mainly because I originally wanted this message posted on this page]
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