Where do I start, community maps have been around for a very long time, my first foray into multiplayer source games was on a community map. Specifically on TF2 of all places, all i remember was it had a LOT of orange and was called cp_orange, in fact a fair amount of any source engine based community map used this colour, along with a bunch of grey. I’d like to think this is because valve used the colour orange in their source engine logo, but I think a more logical answer is that it provides a very good contrast between players and the environment.
However not all maps used this format of picking a solid colour for it’s environment, and TF2 isn’t the only game to have custom maps either. Left 4 Dead has em, Counter Strike has em, and even Half-Life had it’s share, so much so that games like CS and TF2 exist because of them. But most importantly these community made maps weren’t just maps, they were magical places that allowed for memories and wonderful times to be had. They didn’t even have to follow the games base game modes, some created game modes of their own, from surf, to KZ they made games that might not ordinarily appeal to you into something so much more.
cp-orange however will always be the map that introduce me to the world of community maps however. Not just because it’s the first one i played, but because it has at least five different variations of the map, to the the extent that I think people are as enamoured with the maps general philosophy as Aabicus is with those orange chickens. And these variations aren’t just in TF2 either, I’ve seen a couple in Day of Defeat: Source, and even one in CS:S but that just goes to show that some maps don’t need to have fancy looking vistas, or beautifully crafted alleyways, if it plays well and is fun then it’s a good map in my books.
There are downsides to community maps however. For one you need to play on an unofficial server that someone is running out in the world somewhere. Which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t decide that they’d fill it with a ton of plugins that take forever to download and are mostly just a nuisance in general and slow your PC down a ton.
Other than that community maps are a fun and fresh way to play your favourite source game(s), which is why I love them and will hopefully continue to love them in the future.