The UnrealSP.Org 8th Anniversary Speedmapping Contest was held over a period of six weeks, starting on 21 June 2009. Mappers had six weeks in which to create a playable single player map from scratch, subject to certain rules.
24 mappers entered the competition at or near the beginning of the six week time period. Of these, nine withdrew from the competition when they realised that they wouldn't be done in time, and a further nine never submitted a map but no explanation was offered. Six mappers went on to submit complete six-week maps. A further four maps were submitted at a late stage by four mappers who decided to attempt to build a map in only six hours!
The ten entries were assessed by a panel of four judges and given scores out of ten. The results of that voting are presented here. To ensure maximum authenticity of voting, the judges did not get to see each others' scores prior to the announcement of the results, and were free to emphasise in their scores whatever aspect of level design interested them the most, whether that be design or gameplay.
We are not offering downloads of the contest entries here, as it is likely that all of them will be subject to some improvements prior to their realease as a single compilation of maps. However, the ten entries will still be available for the time being in the Speedmapping Contest area of our forums for readers who wish to experience them in their "as submitted" form.
Note: This article may contain some spoilers, although comments have been edited to remove direct references to key plot twists.
Lead Judge's Comments
Hopes were high at the beginning of the process that this speedmapping contest would give rise to a glut of new content and a renaissance for the development of single maps and small map packs. However, with an eventual release rate of six full maps and four mini-maps, one could be forgiven for being a little disappointed with the turnout.
Over-ambition seemed to put a stop to many of the prospective entries, and led to others limping home at the deadline in a semi-finished state. From the beginning, the message was that the contest was about the building of maps, not the ability of entrants to create / use other custom content. However, some entrants tried to turn their entries into full-fledged mods, offering a gameplay experience made radically different through extensive custom scripting. I feel comfortable in saying that those entrants simply missed the point: none of that extra content was necessary to build a contest-winning map, as demonstrated successfully by the highest-rating entries here. Other mappers simply planned maps that were too big for them to accomplish in the time provided.
Do the results of this contest indicate that Unreal mappers have lost the ability to plan, build and release a simple map that will stand or fall solely on its own merits, rather than the impact of an array of other custom content? I hope not, and I hope that this contest will prove to have been a learning experience should we repeat the contest format in the future. In the mean time the successful entries to the contest, while small in number, offer a diverse range of gameplay experiences and give us plenty to look forward to in the compilation release.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved for making the past few weeks a fun and exciting time at UnrealSP.Org, particularly the mappers and, of course, the judging team, who offered their time to play and review every map submitted to the contest.