LambdaBuilds: Escape From Black Mesa Level Design Competition

Greetings, scientists!

What is your favorite time of year? Ours is HALLOWEEN.

We are excited to announce our Halloween Level Design Competition called LambdaBuilds: Escape From Black Mesa, a collaboration between LambdaGeneration and ModDB. We are obviously big fans of both groups, and have been wanting to do a level design competition for some time. So what better way to mix our favorite time of year with two really great communities?

To kick off the festivities, Black Mesa is 75% off until Sunday!

Theming: Eerie Escape Room:

We want contestants to come up with their best design for a Black Mesa themed Escape Room. Maybe you are trapped in a science lab with horrifying Xenian creatures? Maybe you are stuck in the rubble after the resonance cascade? Maybe Gordon finds himself in the middle of a cactus maze and has to escape?

Don’t be afraid of sticking to the classic Black Mesa style, but don’t be afraid to be creative either!

While the theme of your map should be eerie, it’s not necessarily “horror”. You don’t need gallons of blood or terrifying creatures to score points, We are looking more for a creepy, unnerving, or foreboding atmosphere. Can you creep us out with just the level elements? Can you make us uncomfortable without resorting to combat against various creatures?

While the focus is on the feel of the map, neither blood, combat, or other horror elements are against the rules!


We here at Crowbar Collective love to see creativity through constraint. It is where some of our best ideas came from. You may have an idea for a really large, sprawling escape room but, given the scope of this contest, it may not be your best interest to try and tackle the whole thing. Pick a simple and compact idea and find creative ways to elevate it to the next level.

Scope is one of the most difficult aspects of design to manage, and it is way better to keep it simple and build things up instead of having to pair stuff down at the last minute (ask us how we know…).

So, all that is to say, we appreciate simple designs, reuse of space, and finding clever ways to reuse what is already in the game.


1st Prize:
  • RTX 3070 TI
  • $100 Steam Gift Card (USD)
  • Custom Black Mesa Mouse Pad
  • Black Mesa Display Box
2nd Prize:
  • GTX 1660 Super
  • $100 Steam Gift Card (USD)
  • Custom Black Mesa Mouse Pad
  • Black Mesa Display Box
3rd Prize:
  • Corsair Keyboard
  • $50 Steam Gift Card (USD)
  • Custom Black Mesa Mouse Pad
  • Black Mesa Display Box
Important Links and Information:

Check out the for complete rules, judges, and details.


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