5:35 PM – [redacted]: sorry i have so many crates

I introduced one of my friends to Alien Swarm recently. I can tell you one thing: He loves it.

In other news, this friend of mine had been designing a campaign for another game. Unfortunately, neither of us know how to make campaigns for said game, so I offered to make it into an Alien Swarm campaign.

Here I am, a few days after starting the process of mapping. The first mission takes place on a ship and the surrounding docks. Hopefully, I’ll have more screenshots later, but for now, that’s all.

Top five reasons why nobody wants to play your Alien Swarm map

Reason One: TileGen

TileGen is a wonderful technology. It allows mappers to make and release a single set of tiles which can be transformed by the game into any number of playable maps. Sometimes, they’re very fun! In fact, I’d probably have fun playing with a good TileGen set.

The problem is that you probably didn’t make the TileGen set. You probably didn’t even try to find one that not many people have seen. You used the one that comes with Alien Swarm.

No, you say, the map wasn’t created using TileGen! You used Hammer to edit it!

Adding aliens to a map does not make it fun, especially if I’ve already played your map before you started making it.

But you didn’t just add aliens! You added new objectives, like going to random rooms and beating up shieldbugs that somehow came out of dresser drawers!

It doesn’t matter. Your map isn’t worth playing if you used 90% of someone else’s work, which brings me to my next point:

Reason Two: But I Added Stuff!

Yeah, so what? I don’t want to play Landing Bay with extra crap dropped on it. If you didn’t make the whole map (or you and your friends didn’t make the whole map) then it’s not something you should release.

Reason Three: it’s a box with stuff in it.

Although it has now been taken down by its author, there was an infamous map in the Swarm Armory veteran community known only as “my firist map“. It consisted of a box with orange walls, a floor labeled “wall”, exactly seventy identical single-use drone spawners, five identical shieldbug spawners, and some assault rifle ammunition.

Whereas Landing Bay had rooms upon rooms of interesting environments, my firist map contained only one room. And no gameplay.

Reason Four: You made a really crappy description page for it.

It’s really hard to get your entire map into a one paragraph summary, but there are certainly a few incredibly wrong ways to do so. Take this hypothetical map description for example:

hi i maek map and i think thers stuf in it but im not sure if ii uploded the rite file but its reely fun i meen i playd it wiftfhth my frends end thay sed that it was fun thers sum bad guise i think there spit hurts you

Now I have to go outside and scream.

Reason Five: It’s a really bad survival map

I can’t even count the number of times that I’ve seen people try to release maps where the primary objective is “kill 250 drones” and the secondary objectives are “kill 250 more drones”, “kill a drone”, and “step on the exit button”.

Or even worse, you didn’t even put an objective in the map. I’m stuck playing your map until Alien Swarm crashes or the power goes out!


Although I enjoy mapping for Alien Swarm, it’s difficult for me to make a good looking map with an enjoyable storyline. Therefore, I’ve decided to make a map with no gameplay and pass it on to someone who would like to meet me halfway.

Contact me on Steam or Swarm Armory if you’d like to help make this map into a playable campaign.

A plea for sanity by Eva “Faith” Jensen (your local IAF medic)

Eva "Faith" Jensen

Eva "Faith" Jensen

Hi. I’m Eva Jensen, known to most of you as Faith. I’m here to talk to you today about the surprisingly high amount of inexperienced marines that somehow got let out of training too soon and how you can help.

Here are a few of the important things you need to know about me before you step out of the bloodhound:

I’m your only source of healing. That is, unless you find a medkit lying around somewhere, you’re not going to be able to regain health without me. Stay close to me and I’ll help you.

I don’t like it when you shoot, burn, or try to cut me in half with a chainsaw. I already have enough trouble dealing with the swarm attacks. There’s no way I can handle someone shooting a mining laser into my back at the same time as I’m being eaten alive by parasites and bludgeoned to death by a shieldbug.

I have a limited supply of ammunition. Unlike your guns with their resupplyable ammunition and multiple clips, I’m stuck with whatever I bring with me. I can only carry eight heal beacons or an IAF medical gun. After they’re gone, I can’t get more, so running straight into the swarm is the worst idea possible.

Me healing you is not the same as you being invincible. This isn’t a cartoony video game. I can’t heal any faster than you can get hurt. Don’t pull out a chainsaw and run at a shieldbug while I’m trying to heal you. You’re probably going to die.

The most important thing you can learn as a marine is not to shoot your squadmates. In fact, the number one reason missions are failed is because inexperienced marines mow down anything that moves – including their squad’s medic and tech. Teamwork is the name of the game.

I think I have a brainache

Your brain isn’t the only thing that will
hurt after you try these logic puzzles.


HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO okay I’ll stop with the caps

Brainwater Part 1: Shieldbug Wrangler

How would you like to battle this giant bug? But here’s the catch: You can’t hurt it. Can you keep it on the clearly marked mat in the corner for ten consecutive seconds? Your life depends on it!

Brainwater Part 2: Warehouse

Or if you’d rather not help a single giant bug take a nap, why not play around in this fun* abandoned warehouse? As soon as you find the light switch, you’ll know what the heck you’re doing!

* Fun, umbrella, and all related words are registered trademarks of SynTek Megacorporation, Inc.

Brainwater Part 3: Now with masses of heavily scripted aliens!

And now, for a limited time, you can be one of the first people to see never-before-seen screenshots of part 3! Wow, that’s amazing!

Brainwater Part 3: Now with realistic water effects!
Brainwater Part 3: Now with secret-hiding fog effects!

Versus in a coop game

With Brook released and loved by the community, I believe it’s time to try something new. I made a VMF viewer which everyone seemed to like, but there were also things I made that the exact opposite happened with.


For example, I released Arcade as proof that Alien Swarm didn’t have to stay in the same genre of shooting the bad guys. Arcade took Alien Swarm and turned it into a shoot-em-up arcade game with a twist – the punishment for losing is death. Apparently, people don’t take time to look at the pretty scenery. They just want to win and be done with it.

Sarge's Party

8e8 had an idea for a game mode called Sarge’s Party. In this mode, instead of working as a team to kill aliens, the players split up into two teams and race each other to complete a series of obstacles. I took this idea and tweaked it. Instead of a portal for everyone to jump into, I made three side-by-side rooms. The middle room is neutral – everyone starts here. The left and right rooms are the red and blue team start points.

Sarge's Party

Once a room is full – 1 person if there are two people playing, 2 people if 3 or 4 people are playing – the door closes and locks. I’ve tested this with friends from the Swarm Armory IRC and it works well enough to avoid all race conditions caused by two people running into a room that can only hold one more person.

Sarge's Party

When both rooms are full, the barrier preventing access to weapons breaks and the three doors leading to the lanes open. Players can move between any of the rooms in their lane, provided that they complete the challenge in the previous rooms. The outer lanes are identical other than light color.

The center lane is only accessible if there are an odd number of people playing. It allows the “odd man out” to spring traps on either team, but only on one team per set of rooms. The middle lane has no access to weapons and does not spawn enemies.

Sarge's Party

The team that finishes an obstacle second gets an additional challenge in the next room. For example, the first room adds a shieldbug to the second room, the second room sets the third room on fire, and so forth. I’ve built three rooms so far – clearing biomass, killing a series of drones, and destroying a set of rocks with a mining laser – and am working on a fourth – a tattered bridge. If you have any ideas for rooms, I’d be glad to hear them!