Welcome to the ninth major TF2Maps.net contest: Mann vs Machine. MVM has only been out for a few months, but already we've seen what people do with the mode when making custom maps, and the way strategies have evolved on the 3 existing official maps. We've seen new waves made, both trivially easy and deviously hard. And now it's your turn. Summary You have about 2½ months to create a Mann vs Machine map with fully functional entities and at least one custom population file. It is up to you to determine how difficult your population file is, but it is advised you remember that players like to be challenged. Rules Must be a completely functioning MVM map, including at least one population file. Collaboration is allowed. It's a coop game mode, so why not? You may collaborate with one other person only. Maximum of two entries per author. One person cannot take full or partial credit for more than two maps, no matter their role. Each entry must have a thread posted at least two weeks before the end of the contest in the Contest Entries subforum. This is a community event and posted a thread encourages feedback, participation, and friendly competition. Maps without a thread posted before or on February 4th, 2013 will be disqualified. Must use the standard game mechanics/system as official maps. Must be able to spawn 6 RED players. More spawns are recommended (the official maps have more to vary spawn location). No directly copying any existing map, whether made by Valve, you, or someone else. Inspiration and ideas are fine; copy and paste is not. You may not recycle your old maps into this one. Other things that should be mentioned to avoid confusion: Custom content is allowed. All publicly released content will not count toward a collaboration. More than a "few" custom assets for a specific map from a single author will count as a collaboration; the first "few" won't be. This will be enforced on a case by case basis. "Publicly released content" means content that is available for download and use by anyone, at least one month before the submission deadline. TF2M Staff and Officers are allowed to win. Contest judges are not. Deadline The contest will end February 18th, 2013. Submissions will open one week before the deadline. Check your timezone! Countdown! After the deadline closes there will be a 72 hour grace period to fix any critical errors and mistakes. This will be handled on a case by case basis. The grace period is not "extra time", it's a safety net to prevent crashing servers and broken map logic. Late entries will not be accepted! Make sure you plan ahead and avoid the risk of having 2½ months of work get disqualified. Judgment Procedure Eligibility: Maps will be checked and disqualified when the contest ends if they do not meet the rules. Depending on the number of entries, there may be a preliminary vote to make a set of finalists. Don't worry, we want to judge as many maps as possible; we just also want to keep it realistic for judges and players, especially considering the time investment for MVM maps. Judging Criteria Gameplay & Balance (30% of final score) - Is the layout intuitive? Are battles created in the right areas? Is the map scaled properly? Are pickups well placed? Waves (30%) - Are the waves fun? Do they progress linearly in difficulty? Can you beat the waves with varied teams? Aesthetics (20%) - Does it look good? Does it evoke a theme or place? Are any materials or models out of place? Performance & Technical (20%) - Is the map well optimized? Is it well clipped? Is the filesize excessive? First Component: Popular Vote One thread will be made where votes will be posted to. The first post will contain a template vote which voters will copy and paste as their reply, changing the numbers to reflect their opinions. In that thread, voters will have the opportunity to grade each map for all categories, from 1-10, as well as giving a short summary if they wish. The results of each vote, after the judging time is over, will be calculated together to get an average rating for each map. Users MAY NOT grade their own maps. The goal of the popular vote is to get an overall rating for each map based on everyone's impression of how fun it is. It prevents judges' votes from counting too much, and makes sure the winners are indicative of our entire community's feelings. Second Component: Judge's Votes There will be a panel of judges. Anyone who feels they have the expertise to provide a higher-than-standard level of feedback should send a PM to me (Seba) with a statement about what you feel qualifies you before February 11th, 2013. Once the site staff have decided on whether or not to accept your application you'll be contacted and will gain access to a new judges-only forum when signed in. The judges' own entries will be disqualified from winning; they will receive marks but will not be eligible to place in the final rankings. Judges may review their own maps but their rating will not be calculated into the maps total score. Judges will playtest each map considerably on their own, via the TF2Maps.net server or private servers. Each judge will rank each category on a scale of 1-10 and include a write-up of their decision making process per map. The judges' ratings will be averaged for each map. Each step of this process will be publicized. The goal of the judges' vote is to get a professional look at each map, with a high degree of scrutiny that the mapmakers can use to improve their skills in the future. It prevents a tyranny of the majority, wherein people vote on maps in a popularity contest, thus making the rankings fairer. The judge's average ratings will be multiplied by a factor of .5, and the popular average ratings by a factor of .5. This means a 50%-50% split. They will be added together to achieve the maps final ratings. The maps' ratings will be published, the ineligible maps (like the judges') removed, and then the final rankings posted. The final rankings will determine the winners. Prizes The authors of the top 3 maps will each be presented with a Map Maker's Medallion! In addition... First Place Any game on Steam ($60 max value) AND 6 months of VIP donor status Second Place Any item(s) from the TF2 Valve Store ($25 max value) AND 3 months of VIP donor status Third Place 1 month of VIP donor status If a winning map is the result of a collaboration, the authors will decide how the maximum prize money will be split between them (both authors will receive the full length of VIP status). Prizes are subject to change. F.A.Q. Q: Can you explain the collaboration rules a bit more, please? A: Sure. You can submit up to two entries to this contest. On each entry, you can collaborate with up to one other person. You can collaborate with the same person twice, or two different people. If we discover three or more people working on one map, we will deal with the situation on a case by case basis, resulting in at the very least the map being disqualified, and maybe all authors disqualified entirely. Collaborations can be in any way you desire: one person can only write the population file(s), or one person can make custom assets, or one person can build the layout and the other can artpass, or anything you can think of. It is up to you. Q: How many waves need to be in my population file? A: Doesn't matter. If you think it's fun, do it. It could be one very long one (like Wave 666) or several more intermediate ones or anything and everything in between. The choice is yours! Q: Who do I contact if I have specific questions about the contest? A: Seba, through Steam or forum PM.