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Q1SP: Binding Tower
Binding Tower

Description:
Ominous silence surrounds a forgotten tower in a forest glade. Death Squads quietly patrol its surroundings, ready to unleash hell upon any visitor. You have just arrived in yet another distant world ravaged by Quake. This is my second published map and my first attempt at making a map with some outside forest areas. Enjoy!

Map download:
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/single_player/maps/bindingtower2.zip

Screenshots:
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/bindingtower_a.png
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/bindingtower_b.png
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/bindingtower_c.png
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/bindingtower_d.png

Map Information:

Game: Quake (id1)
Single Player: Yes
Co-op: No
Deathmatch: No
Difficulty: Yes
Editor: Trenchbroom 2.1.0
Textures: quake101.wad
Tools: ericw-tools 0.18.1
Engines tested: Quakespasm 0.93.1


--- moderator's note ---

link to new map and screenshots have changed 10th june.
Cool Second/first Map 
Great details, great atmosphere, great gameplay. This one was fun to play.

https://youtu.be/6k58r_nj_To 
Enchanting Forest ! 
From the Tim Burtonesque ambiance to the most intriguing trees, everything oozes fineness here. Very hard to describe this map without spoiling all the nice visual touches, original gameplay mechanics and unique use of old id1 standards. I thought 'What a nice map to introduce Quake to kids...' (and I mean that not in a childish way !).I played through this intricately crafted little gem with a constant smile on my face. What a charming map ! 
Congrats On Your Second Map! 
I had a Pan's Labyrinth moment when I went from the forest through a cave to suddenly inside a castle! There were a number of thematic surprises like this I enjoyed. Definitely would enjoy some more in this world and this feeling :)

Mechanically, the encounters were a little simple, but the quad damage section was fun! Managed to clear all the enemies in that area before the quad ran out.

Well done! 
A Lot Of Fun! 
I loved the theme of this map. I'd love to see more. It had such a great atmosphere. My only issue was it was too short! :) 
Excellent Map! 
This is a great one, well within the Quake spirit.

I love that kind of "Out Of This World" style! 
Thanks! 
I'm glad you guys like it and thanks for the kind words. Going to try to improve my visual style and world building, but also focus on adding more gameplay mechanics and better encounters in the future. Oh and thanks for the video wizardbeard, was fun and useful to watch. 
If You Improve Your Visual Style Any Further 
I'm afraid I'll have to play without wearing pants.

Really though, this map oozes style. Hard to believe it's all id1 textures other than the skybox. Love the little visual flares like the ground fog and the bobbing pillars and the general trail through the trees areas. Difficult enough without being annoying on Hard difficulty, although I may have chosen the wrong route to go about playing because it would have been much easier had I found the grenade launcher early- not that that's a bad thing, it ends up being a seventh-hour upgrade after frantic shell-and-nail fighting prior. Multiple "oh holy shit" moments, like teleporting into the hub area. Secrets are good enough to not be blatant while still allowing a secret-blind numpty like me to find most of them (other than the red armor, which I'm assuming needs some crazy parkour that I wasn't up to). I did die once towards the end after getting a bit too ballsy with a Shambler. Here's a few (out of practice) skill 2 demos
Wow 
Truly a five star effort! Great visuals, I couldn't believe that it all was vanilla textures. Different areas didn't clash, but flowed into each other very smoothly. I was really excited to explore the map and non-linearity wasn't confusing and only enhanced the atmosphere. Other great visual achievement is the brush forest that doesn't look like ass :)

Ammo was well rationed, I finished pretty close to 0 on skill 2. Very fun quad run, fair and challenging monster placing overall. Those early vores were scary :D In a few cases the map just reveals a shambler directly in front of you, I'm not very fond of this setup, very easy to counter and frankly it's been used too much by mappers in general. Secrets are probably the weakest part of the map, red armor one was pretty good, others were kinda obvious.

Here is a skill 2 demo. Really looking forward to your future maps!
http://mgrankin.xyz/quake/tower.zip 
A Miracle 
I have actually posted a demo

http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/bindingtower_drew.zip

Good map. Nice setting and vibes.
Didn't find red armor. Some slight derping.
Agree there could have been a few points with more robust gameplay, theoretically. That being said the overall vibe is one conducive to somewhat less taxing gameplay. It really had a nice exploratory feel to it.

Some rough edges and some overly flat surfaces/ some sticky architecture too.
would recommend and I could see myself loading this up again soon to poke around and try to get that red armor! 
Well Done! 
Skill: 1
Time: 27:34 (That last secret was a nice curveball.)
Secrets: 5/5
Kills: 95/99 (Nothing else showed up.)

Great job! Simple combat, striking visuals (dem trees, look in on the wishlist thread and tell how you made them work.) Well done with this, and I hope to see how you improve on this. 
Excellent 
 
Good stuff man.

As a critique I'd say that there were a couple of spaces that had the "disconnected big box room" sort of feel.

However for the most part the aesthetic was super strong and I really enjoyed the slightly-more-vivid-than-vanilla use of light and color. I always enjoy a good green Quake map. :-)

The brush-based trees and terrain were cute and reminescent of other past attempts to push Quake content into more natural forms. I guess my brain takes them in as something intended to be representational rather than realistic and it's all good.

Most of the secrets became pretty much non-secret as a result of the "hit the face texture" mechanic being eventually presented as something required for progression (IIRC).

I liked the moderate multiple-path stuff, and the minor bit of climbing around on rough terrain to get to goodies.

Keep it up! 
Aesthetically 
the biggest turn off for me was the final void area where the bounding boxes of the black room were quite visible 
 
What a great map, a lot of nice details.

Most of the secrets became pretty much non-secret as a result of the "hit the face texture" mechanic being eventually presented as something required for progression (IIRC).

Yeah, this is my only major problem with the map. I suck at secrets and any non-obvious thing needed for progression kills the pacing for me.

There are two instances of this here. One to lift the bridge from the water, but that's at least marked as "hit here" so it's my problem that I'm blind. But the face-triggered train was a massive problem for me.

Also, one missed opportunity for awesome detail was the aforementioned bridge lifted from the water. Subdividing it into smaller parts and making them lift at a different pace would fit nicely with the theme of tiles randomly scattered across the map.

But, again, having said that - I wish I had the skill. Great work! 
Hmm 
I've not finished this, in fact I haven't even gotten close (got wiped on skill 2 twice), but I already have some Observations™:

- Absolutely amazing how this was done with just the id1 textures (and a skybox), and the extended map limits

- Great balance between tiny details (i.e. broken tiles, stony pathways) and the big picture (the everpresent, overwhelming trees, and the big curving posts straight from an old folklore tale

- (Could still have been improved by ditching the outer layer of black trees and painting them over the skybox instead)

- Loving the focus on exploration, did not expect this kind of map from the early screenshots

- I was expecting a moderate stroll through a medieval world but got the full Elder World treatment very early on!

Two mediocre demos... so far! 
Very Cool Map Indeed. 
The blend of standard Id1 textures, a pretty strong Quakey vibe, with the whole dark fantasy fairytale design....works great, really nice. Fits well but with an intriguing atmosphere of it's own that keeps you exploring and enjoying. Gameplay was fun and varied and well-balanced, keeps you on your toes without any nastiness.

The one criticism is that some areas (early side areas of the excellent outside bit, and red tower interior for example) were a bit bland in design and lighting compared to the good bits. Stronger designs there or trimming them down a bit would have enhanced the overall quality. But overall, really good and memorable. 
Ooops Forgot. 
https://www.twitch.tv/videos/438583868 playthrough here from 46:25 
 
Totally cool map, I would've liked to see the forest areas expanded more! I loved your choice of textures and brushwork. It was a nice map overall!

Playthrough 
Great Map! 
I love the atmosphere. This is what my imagination hoped minecraft would feel like. 
Holy Moly This Was Fun 
gameplay 5/5
Visuals 5/5

i loved this map! 
Played Through This On Hard Skill 
Here's the demoes: https://www.dropbox.com/s/miipjuzawslxvgg/spipper_bindingtower.zip?dl=0

I can only second what others have said: Really fun map, great atmosphere and enjoyed the exploration.

It really inspires me to mess around with some forest theme experiments myself. 
Full Video Review/critique/showcase/commentary/something Here 
 
Great map, one of my favorites of recent times. I'd like to know how you did that ground fog effect. 
Func_illusionary With Alpha 0.5 
 
 
This was fantastic! Lovely details. Excellent use of the black texture, this map really gets back to the roots of vanilla. Just such a fun gem! 
Late Reply 
This is a really late reply, but I’m so happy you people like the map, and thanks for the feedback and demos!

Flint I’m glad you think my forest doesn’t look like ass! :D

Oh and you’re right Drew, the visible bounding boxes in the final void area look bad. I changed the map’s fog colour and density before publishing and forgot to take that into account. Should have resized the void room accordingly.

Thuksa, I was warned about those secrets. I could have done them and other things needed for progression better, but I didn’t listen, heh. I’ll learn.

Shambler I agree, some areas like the Red Chamber’s interior look a bit bland. I feel especially cringey about the Red Chamber.

Oh and Fairweather thanks for the full video review/critique/showcase/commentary/something, it’s awesome!

Ipowell, the ground fog effect in this map is a 6 unit height brush with the metflor2_1 texture, turned into a func_illusionary with alpha of 0.2, 12 units above the ground. 
I Liked This A Lot 
Pal, your map was amazing. This forest theme is something you don't see too often in Quake, and here it's so nicely executed. The areas are smartly connected with portals, monsters and items are placed properly and detail is amazing. 17 minutes of my life gone which I am not regretting a bit. I could play a whole episode of maps like this one. Amazing quality! 
Top Notch Map 
I forgot to comment on this until chatting with you just now. This was a really excellent map and I'm surprised that it's only your second. I had a list of things I wanted to say but I don't remember now since I played this weeks ago. However, there's so much good to say about this map that I can pick a bunch of things just off the top of my head.

I did a double take at first to make sure that I didn't have AD loaded when I saw the forest floor fog. It was a really neat effect. I was also interested in the concept of a forest map with flora but I gave up because it didn't seem feasible, yet you pulled it off pretty well.

The flow of the map was very well done. I feel like I had a few options at the start and after ascending the castle, I had even more options as to which portals I could take. The brush work was neat with some interesting geometry and the texturing was excellent. Most importantly, the combat was fun. I'd say you used the right monsters at the right time and the segment where you gave the player a quad and then threw enemies at them was great. I like how it started with a corridor of enemies rushing at you and then opened up into a bigger room that was full of them.

If this is only your second map, then I can't imagine how incredible your next ones will be. You knocked this one out of the park and it's one of my personal highlights. From the texturing to the brush work and the combat, it was all around a terrific experience. 
Finally Played This 
Can't add too much to the accolades above. It's lovely and fun. My only complaint was I missed one of the altars and had to go back and hunt for it after killing most of the monsters which was pretty anti-climactic. Took me a bit of time to find it nestled in an outdoor area among the trees. Was nice to explore the map though and this is a minor note.

I'll be studying this map for sure. Congrats! 
Late To The Party! 
I really enjoyed this map. First run demo is here:

http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/bindingtower_iw.zip

(Hard skill, 125/125 kills, 4/5 secrets)

I played a bit wonky at the start, and got got stuck for a while in the middle, but managed to scrape through.

The things I enjoyed most were (I'm going to echo everyone else here):

* The visual theme was strong and unique (tilting trees, curling archways) and yet it still worked very well with the existing Quake assets.

* In general, the attention to detail was subtle and clever: e.g. the thin layer of mist covering the ground in the forest, the old books piled on the tables (and QuakeGuy's comments about them), the way the diamond-things released by the altars gently bob up and down, etc.

* The layout was non-linear enough to be interesting and to give a sense of exploration and discovery without being overly complicated/confusing. Good job!

* It's heartwarming that all this was achieved using only the stock Quake textures and gameplay (plus some modern engine features, obv.).

I thought the following things had room for improvement:

* The clue to "Burn and light their voice and sight" was too vague for me. =( As you'll see in the demo, I ended up wandering around stuck for several minutes because I thought I must have missed something in one of the other areas. I guessed the right thing to do eventually.

* Health and ammo seemed a bit too tight at the start, and a bit too plentiful by the end.

* This is a minor pet peeve, but the buttons in front of the altars have the red "Q" texture which the id maps always reserved for shootable buttons: this gives the player the wrong cue because the buttons need to be pushed rather than shot. The red "Q" is why, in the demo, I tried to axe the first one I came across. =P

Overall, a great map! I would happily play a whole episode of this. Keep up the good work! 
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