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Q3SP: "Map On The Edge Of Forever" By Sock
Screenshot :

sock says: "Here is the final release of a map that some of you may have seen over the last 8 months via the mountain of screenshots I have drowned this forum in and wondered 'what is going on here!'. It has been a very long journey for me with countless builds and months of building but thanks to all my friends it has been an amazing experience. :)

"As always, constructive comments are welcome and if you have the chance to record any demo's please let me know because I would love to see how you played the map. I do understand that this will not be everyone's cup of tea because it has a very strong puzzle element but take your time and try to resist the urge to noclip around the place. All the source files and a detailed explaination of the map will be released next week. The website does contain some help on how to find things if you are really stuck!"

Zip File : (49Mb)
Website :
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Also, I don't know why the morons hate the puzzles either.

Read this:

Re: Engine Limits 
I know the ins and outs of the engine, i was wondering what specifically you ran into. You got quite far with it, that's why I just expected more. After reading q3w, I'm quite interested, a writeup of the problems you ran into and the rebuilds you did would be quite interesting. 
Loved It ! 
I made the whole map in about one hour. This map is really great, I loved it ! :-)

Can't wait for the sequel. When will it be released ? 
You posted:

Read this:

Yeah, I read it the first time you posted it. It's pretty well-written and makes some good points. Are you Randy Smith?

I don't want to get too deep into it, partly because I was being a bit tongue-in-cheek with my "moron" restatement. I'm pretty confident that no one here is a moron. Probably. But also because this thread is about sock's map, not the theory of puzzle design. That said, I can't resist making a few quick remarks. Sorry sock...

�Exhaustive searching� is a player behavior that I interpret at design failure � if your players have to search exhaustively, then clearly they don�t really know what to do and you need to improve the design.

But what if exhaustive searching is what a particular puzzle is about? I enjoy searching! If the environment is an interesting one and I find interesting things, I'm the guy who takes twice as long to play some games as other people since I wander around and look in all the nooks and crannies. Is that weird? Well...yes, but there are other people who also enjoy exploring.

You could replace "exhaustive searching" with any game behavior (sneaking? shooting? hiding? solving puzzles?), and the statement would still be right in some cases, but very wrong as a blanket statement or general rule.

Slide 16: Are players dumb? No. <--Yes they are. Lots of people are dumb, and while gamers aren't necessarily a perfectly representational slice of the whole, I think it's still close enough. Call me cynical.

Hell, in the exhaustive analysis of the first room in Portal (slides 119-130), Randy points out that there are a couple of ways to get stumped on that puzzle, and I'm sure that a few people did. Those people probably shouldn't be playing puzzle games, and I'm sure as fuck not going to design puzzle games for them. Which brings us to:

Slide 28: the >99% rule Sorry, but I disagree completely with this. Are you going to tell me that >99% of Portal players solved every puzzle in that game? By themselves? Without looking at walkthroughs? Nope. Didn't happen. Hell, Randy himself (if that's not you) admits to getting stumped, and he's obviously a puzzle game kinda guy. Same with the Myst/Riven/etc. series. Same with any number of great puzzle games. I don't really think that it ruined those games' reputation for quality...

Sorry, I could say more, but this already ended up longer than I intended.

tl;dr - This map rocks, sock rocks, puzzles are cool, some people are dumb and/or not good at puzzles.

(also, Spirit, that's just mean--I was all excited there for a second) 
I'm Not Randy Smith 
I think by search exhaustively he means 'but with no reward'. Empty rooms are kind of tedious unless you find odds and sods in them. Not the blue key, but small stuff. Could just be simple stuff to mess with, like the playgrounds at the start of HL2 - was a complete waste having them in plain view.

Lot's of people are dumb, but like you say, if they're playing a puzzle game then some idea of puzzle solving or expectancy can be assumed. On the other hand assuming that anyone playing your map is a retard who couldn't find their arse with an atlas isn't going allow you to make a good map for them. I think - might be completely missing the point.

That 99% rule is stupid, yes.

Still haven't reinstalled Q3, sorry for the double post thread hijack. 
I Forgot My Demos!

What I really loved about this map was that I did not know that the skulls were more than secrets. Finding them made me feel smarter than "the other players" thus leading to great gratification and happiness. Feeling smart is a huge factor in such games/maps, just look at Deus Ex or alike games (also Portal).

There could have been more different puzzles but hey, I had fun. Looks are bonerific. I missed saving, paused every now and then and I would have had more patience if I knew I could come back later. 
Awesome, I watched your three demo's and yes it is shame there is no save function but the engine is MP so no code! :P

A couple of things about your demo that I am curious about. Did you notice that the switches had lights on them? That when the switch was active the light behind is on and when it does nothing the light is off?

This is something I have noticed alot about most of the demo's I have seen. I don't think anyone is connecting the light clue. I played HL EP2 today and I noticed they used green and red on lights to show when something is on or off. I think only having a white as on and nothing as off does not register as different functions to anyone. I think everyone is expecting the red/green traffic combo.

I also noticed that you got frustrated with the metal chains and the yellow coil machine. After a while you just ran around randomly hit buttons in a circle to see if you could solve it. Was it confusing what each button was doing? Were you expecting the puzzle to be solved quickly? (I got the impression you were in a hurry to complete the map)

When you were doing the lower puzzles with the batteries, you spent a long time trying to use the central button again and it was locked down and the light was off. Did it look useable? Did you notice when you used it the first time the light went off and the switch got locked down?

I think this is something that everyone suffers from with puzzles and probably because of other games that buttons always have single function. It is rare to find a button in a game that can be used multiple times and I think this is why everyone is assuming there is a third button for puzzle 2.

@ijed, I can't believe you are pimping that puzzle presentation link and you have not even played my map yourself yet. :( 

I got frustrated looking for the last skull and gave up. But I want to see those caves... so I weakened and checked your site for the location (thanks btw) so will be going back in soon. 
these are the notes i wrote a few days ago, CnPed in here.
i also recorded a demo with ioquake3 but i can't find it now. o.o

i had to cheat to find skull #2. i also love how this map looks. ^_^

the atmosphere reminds me of myst. very cold and lonely but this map really highlights the shortcomings of the quake3 engine for ambient sound. it doesn't seem to attenuate volume correctly and just cuts sounds off when you get too far.

for the skulls:
what happens is that you find skulls along the way to the ending teleporter which is fine. you're busy solving puzzles and exploring new areas.

currently, it feels like the progress rate moves along at a steady clip until you get to the ending teleporter, and the slows down while you search for skulls.

what sucks is after you solve all the puzzles and get the teleporter working, you have to go back to the start and start looking for skulls again (assuming you didn't find all of them) after you've already explored the whole map.
it would have been cool if the generator that powers the teleporter also turned on some pointlights to highlight the skulls and secret buttons a bit more so that on your second run through the map (looking for the final skulls) it would be easier.
this would keep the rate of progress up (instead of slowing down while you search all over for skulls).

visually, there's like nothing to really find fault with. fantastic textures, great texture alignment (especially on those thick wooden beams on the ceilings). great detailing on the floor tiles (must be like 25% of all the tiles are pushed up or angled in some way).
i wish there were a few more outdoor areas so you could see more of the exterior of the castle. the castle looks so badass, it almost feels like a missed opportunity that you can't see more of the outside walls and such. i'd have loved more wooden walkways hugging the exterior.
lighting is top notch, good contrast between indoor and outdoor without indoor being too dark.
the hydraulic sound for the tall lifts seemed out of place though. i'd have thought grinding gears or chains would have made more sense.
the books and pipes/electrical conduits really add to the detail of the place. i love the way it feels like this place was quickly converted from an old information repository to some kind of arcane generator/dimensional gateway.
also, the final caves section is downright beautiful. i really wish you had expanded on that a bit more and done some more caves with bigger areas and such.
the 'to be continued' is very anticlimactic. :S

thanks for a high quality map. ^_^ 
i could have swore i selected the q3a icon. :P 
Got It 
Yeah, the caves are nice, but short...

And Ogres would have worked great in this map.

You'll never get this kind of visual fidelity in Q1, but it'd be great to see some 'proper' SP done by you. Don't take that the wrong way - the map is a lot of fun. Have you looked at any SP engines?

Agree with Necros that a couple more outdoor areas would have been good, and probably more / better than Q3 sound as well - more wind especially to enhance the mountain peak theme. The creaking wood was nice.

And the light skulls on 2nd run is a good idea. 
More Comments 
I liked the four chains / yellow machine puzzles - that's one of the cleanest mechanics I've seen in a while. Reminds me of lunsp1. Although that didn't work so well because it was combined with a boss. (For that a 'practice' version of the puzzle beforehand would have helped)

I tend not to conceptualize puzzles well. So will probably rob the idea :)

The double door leading to the orrery was confusing because of the 1 more message, I assumed the other button would be back down the lift so went wandering. Realised later, but that seemed odd. Maybe having either button there but broken, or a cable leading inside would have made the link quicker.

Did I mention it looks great? 
i actually liked the 4 cylinder puzzle the least because thematically, it's contrary to every other puzzle.

every other puzzle involves powering something up, whereas the 4 cylinder one involves removing the cylinders. i understood what i needed to do almost immediately, but it feels like i'm going against the grain removing power from something. 
I only noticed the light feedback on the switches later. Then it all became easier.

The metal chains and the yellow coil machine are a type of puzzle I really cannot stand. Not enough patience or will power.

The last door to the "planetarium" was a bit mean because I still assumed the skulls were secrets and thus I was searching for a normal button to open it.

I suck on puzzle games. If I play Monkey Island the maximum I can solve myself are maybe 4-5 puzzles in the whole game. I still love playing with a walkthrough though. :) 
Missing Demo 
@necros, I would love to see that demo you recorded, maybe IOQ3 dumped it under your user directory instead?

The Q3 sound system is broken in many ways, no volume control, cannot turn off ambient sounds, only on! Sounds rarely fade, just get cut off by portals, doors and button cannot have custom sounds and no channel priority for VO etc. I can understand why the sound system was rewritten for D3 because it lacks so many features.

I like the idea of changing the level after the first pass through. :) It certainly would of been cool to update locations with new details to highlight things better. Not sure how dynamic lights would of worked in the Q3 engine. I think it would of been easier if there was some particle effect coming of the skulls on the second run. A light ray or particle dust projecting from the skull downwards.

I have also noticed that people keep re-shooting the buttons (with the bulls eye symbol on it) over and over. I assume this is because no one knows if the buttons are in an on or off state. It would of made more sense to add a shader effect to them to make them more obvious what state they are in. I am sure it would also making finding them easier. This would of been good for the second run through.

The most frustrating thing for me is how the map hit so many limits and you can feel that at the end when nothing much happens because it technically cannot. The original floor plan for the map was at least twice the current size, but I hit the brush limit early on and had to scale everything back so that the areas I had were detailed enough. I always had my fingers crossed whenever I did a compile and wondered 'will this compile!' which is a stupid situation to be in.

@ijed, I have mapped for SP professional on Warhead and Wolfenstein. I know the process and have spent much time going crazy with AI placement and trying to get them to do the right thing. This map is a grand experiment into environment puzzles and trying to create a themed art style.

The door for the orrery should of had a broken wooden beam at the top so people looked up and noticed the button in the background. The door lacks any clues of what to do and the message of the switch outside is misleading because there is only one switch, not two as defined before.

@Spirit, the lights on the switches should of been more noticeable, that is a design fault. I see now that green and red is the best solution (after player HL2-Ep2) and it makes the switch state more obvious. I think this is where the frustration and randomness factor comes into play. Nobody seem to notice the light state and just keep bashing buttons until something happened and then does not understand why. 
The Demo Didn't Work? 
SPOILER= I know I kept on looking at the buttons, but also at the second lift hole because of where the previous had been. I knew there wasn't a button there but checked every time I passed by anyway.

Same for the holes in the wooden flooring - I checked every one carefuly.

...grand experiment into environment puzzles and themed art style success. 

Beta Files 
Screenshot :
Website :

This is mostly for someone over at Q3W, but I am posting here just in case someone else is interested. I have uploaded all the old beta zip files to my website and quickly put together a web page for it with download links and a quick paragraph on the major changes in each beta.

@ijed, I was talking about necros's demo file going missing. 
I have also noticed that people keep re-shooting the buttons (with the bulls eye symbol on it) over and over. I assume this is because no one knows if the buttons are in an on or off state. It would of made more sense to add a shader effect to them to make them more obvious what state they are in. I am sure it would also making finding them easier. This would of been good for the second run through.

i found i did this a few times at the end. probably more out of frustration, but many times it was also a case of "just to be sure". if the texture changed or something to signify it had already been shot (the way the skulls retract and the light goes out) it would have been better. (but i shot some skulls a few extra times too :P )

also, i searched my entire harddrive from *.dm_66 and didn't find a single one, so it seems like ioquake3 only 'said' it was recording, but actually didn't. :P 
So I have played your SP (with enemy) stuff then.

I understand the sentiment about having to mess with AI... but I tend to enjoy that more than getting stuff right visually.

Horses for courses. On the edge is too obviously a labour of love to not want to see the second part of though. 
Version 2

What is it, Version 2!!! (The defrag release)

* Added defrag timer triggers to map. Start - first set of pillars in Guardian chamber, Finish - 'to be continued message'.
* Changed texture on secret buttons (Painted red to stand out more)
* Changed light behind switches to blue. (Should be more obvious)
* Fixed the broken fog brushwork on the front of the portal model!
* Fixed overlapping brush in puzzle room 5. (top beams)
* Fixed texture on 45 degree light fixture in puzzle room 5.
* Fixed light leak on puzzle room 5 wall. It looked like a secret wall panel.
* Changed all the light map density values for puzzle room 5.
* Fixed wood colour errors on electric generators.
* Removed light switch on shortcut between lift 2 and teleporter.
* Removed light switch on generator in lift shaft 1.
* Added broken second switch panel to top of lift shaft 2.
(Hint to player to look for the button instead)
* Broke wood beams on portcullis leading to orrery.
(Should be able to spot the button easier)
* The lights behind switches in the first room switch off quicker so players notices difference
* Changed most text messages to be less confusing about subject.
* Re-recorded a new demo showing complete walkthrough again.
* Re-arranged the order of the skull-o-meter to hint at locations better.

The list above is mostly cosmetic stuff, but a couple of people wanted to play the map with the defrag mod. I thought why not help them out with an update and also fix some stuff relating to feedback at the same time!

New Linky : (49.1Mb) 
thanks for the correction, megaman.

found the demo buried in users/.../... (in a hidden folder, no less)
as a note: when i got to 9/10 skulls, i ran around for a long while searching until i cheated and looked at your site for it's position. if there's a fast forward, use it. :P 
Wow, thanks for the demo, it was cool to watch it. You did not talk/type much but it was good to see what you did. The last skull you could not find is the one that I always forget to collect as well. I noticed you tried to find skulls in mirror locations, this seems to happen with everyone. Not sure why we all do this either. 
There's a puzzle psychology at work that has general rules. Beyond that GUI presentation - re-hitting switches (even when you know nothing will happen), checking similar locations and so on.

Thanks for the update. 
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