Mugwump's Xmas Jam 2017 Late Review, Part 1
I know, I'm late to the party, but I wasn't around when this was released. Besides, better late than never as they say, right? Anyway, all demos were recorded on skill 2 using protocol 666.
A very nice mini-AD-style medieval map. I enjoyed the vore+zombies combo, had fun trying to direct vore balls towards the zombies. On the downside, the 2 secrets are not exactly secret. They're pretty much in plain sight and their access is obvious. I do hate when secrets are too hard to find but the opposite isn't exactly rewarding. The final arena fight could've lasted a bit longer. One quibble regarding the lighting, which is otherwise very good: your torches and candles don't flicker.
Note: 4/5. Demo
, 61/61 kills, 2/2 secrets.
I loved this one! Not bad at all for a return to mapping after such a long time away from the scene... As a matter of fact, the title could perfectly describe the general reaction to your map. Got some splendid architecture and texturing, challenging & varied combat, creative scripting and an awesomely dark atmosphere sadly hampered by a lack of music - seriously, it takes only a couple of seconds to select a track. The "Merry Quakemas" surprise party was both funny and a harsh bitch-slap! Ending the map on a mere trio of lame-ass dogs after such a hectic throwdown was a bit anticlimactic, though. Might have better put zero enemies in there, or at least a decent one like a vore or a shambler.
Note: 4.5/5 (would've rated 5 if it had music). Demos
(I died once, so I had to reload a quicksave, hence 2 demos), 155/155 kills, 9/9 secrets.
I love ikwhite, so kudos for using this not so common texture set. This is basically 3 open spaces stacked upon each other, with pretty decent architecture, especially on the upper floor. I noticed some misaligned textures on that floor's latticed windows, and just like 5th, you forgot to apply a flicker style to your flames. Combat is essentially arena fights and not much else, not exactly my cup of tea. Question #1: Why the hell would the GK gate be marked as a secret? It opens with a regular key! Question #2: Is grabbing the GK through the closed bars the normal way to get it or is there an actual way to open the bars?
Note: 3/5. Demo
, 42/42 kills, 2/2 secrets.
Mugwump's Xmas Jam 2017 Late Review, Part 2
Not quite sure what to think of this map, honestly. The first part is blocky and undetailed as fuck but plays rather well. On the other hand, the lava cave looks much better due to the rockwork but is insanely tough. Evidently, the gameplay needs some serious balancing. Oh, and once again, we got a combo of no music track selected AND
flames not flickering... BUT
with all that said, the map does
have potential, and should you decide to refine it and release an updated standalone version later, it could become a very enjoyable map. Speaking of enjoyable, I loved the bit where the base guys came flying in to eradicate the shambz like common pests. BTW, what's with that crying baby sound we can hear occasionally?
Note: 2/5. Demos
(I kept on dying over and over in the last section, sometimes by my own dumb hand TBH, so my playthrough demo is split into 5 parts, sorry), 45/45 kills, 2/2 secrets.
I had hoped that the title was inspired by the great original Andersen tale, not by that Frozen crap, but oh well... (seriously, if you haven't read the tale, do it. It's very (VERY!) dark and heart-wrenching. Frozen just sucks major assicles.) Anyway, I didn't judge your map by my opinion about Disney's
movie. First off, design is top notch. The textures and skybox are excellent and you did a good job modeling Olaf and the ice bitch's palace, if only that the latter might be a tad smaller than in the movie. I loved the transparency of the ice blocks. The cave section was nice if a little cramped. The snowflake hunt would've been more enjoyable if they weren't placed in such obvious locations and the subsequent quad run could've been slightly more hectic: the 2nd wave falls short with only 4 scrags to pulverize. The final shambler surprised me good the first time around. Kudos for the piano melody coming and going. While it's not very quakey to say the least, it does fit the atmosphere of the map pretty nicely. Does it come from the film's OST? A word (or two) about the lighting: Congrats for thinking about making torchlight flicker but you do realize that candlelight comes from flames too, right? And some phong shading to soften the angles on the snow wouldn't have hurt.
Note: 4/5. Demo
(I fucked up with my demo naming and there was a good chunk of my blind playthrough missing, so this is only a second playthrough, sorry), 32/32 kills, 3/3 secrets.
That's all for now, more later.
Not my best map but was fun to do and I am proud of the end sequence. Never worked with AD so figuring out entities and trying to make something of high quality was challenging in this jam. I failed on the gameplay front. My kids are my play testers and they are too good in general which affects my gameplay balance.
To answer your question about the baby... the baby is in a manger in the final area. It was a Christmas themed jam. In fact, the map is called Remains in a Manger. :P
I never play Quake with music. I prefer sound design (although I do Quake music tracks sometimes.)
Couldn't make out what exactly was upon that rock from down below. I thought it was some sort of pedestal with a button to press on top to open the door or something. If you watch the demos, you'll notice I spent some time scratching my head trying to find the activator switch for the lift until I haphazardly tried to blow the thing up.
As for music, you may not play with what is nonetheless such an integral part of Quake's unrivaled atmosphere (booooo!), but others do and selecting a track number is literally a matter of seconds, which is why it matters in my appreciation of a map. The player shouldn't have to play a track manually - those who play without music have it disabled in their options anyway.
But my creative intention is for the player to hear my sound design!! In this case, the babies' cries. In fact. if you play a song in my 100b4 map you will ruin the experience completely. In that case, I added an atmospheric drone as a music file.
Unless One Replaces Trent's Score
with hardcore techno or metal, methinks the cries would still be very much audible. That said, you do have a point. I guess you should warn the player in your readme about that sound design aspect of your maps and that they're meant to be played without music.
Mugwump's Xmas Jam 2017 Late Review, Part 3
Wow, what a map! What. A. Map. Very beautiful - apart from that fucking opaque surface water, that is. I mean come on, we're not in 1996 anymore! But this detail aside, it's everything we can expect a modern Quake map to be visually: great architecture and an ideal choice of textures to dress it with. It's challenging too. And I mean C-H-A-L-L-E-N-G-I-N-G!
Often times on skill 2 I felt like I was playing nightmare. Good challenge is fun, insane challenge... eh, not so much. Not to mention the fact that some secrets are very hard to spot and I would have needed their supplies during my playthrough instead of after everyone was dead... Oh well, I guess I'm gonna enjoy playing it much more now that I know what to expect, but this blind playthrough was very brutal. The music you picked was perfect for this map. I think it may be the one NIN track that conveys the most tension, and boy did it work! I loved the story in the form of diary logs a la Unreal. Too bad you lacked room to implement all of it - this calls for a sequel! Maybe make an episode with this map serving as ExM1? You put in a huge
amount of work for a jam map. I'm not saying jam maps should be given less care than standalone releases, but if you had gone for something simpler for the jam and saved this map for a standalone release, you would've had the time (and space) to inject all your ideas in and Etemenanki would've shone even brighter in the pantheon of Quake masterpieces. You might want to consider something slightly less ambitious for your next jam map. Oh BTW, almost forgot: there's a waterfall_loop.wav sound missing. It would have been nice to actually hear the waterfall.
Note: 4/5 (not more because of extreme difficulty). Demos 1+2
, Demo 3
, 125/125 kills, 10/10 secrets.
Beautiful architecture as always. I love the surreal design. Did you take inspiration from R'lyeh the sunken city? Combat is largely on the much-too-tough side: it took me countless tries to beat this one - the 6 demos are only the tip of a much larger iceberg! I don't mind a little toughness but when it's starting to feel like a chore, it's not fun anymore. And unlike Ionous' map, the extreme toughness doesn't come from not knowing the map, so this can't be fixed by subsequent playthroughs. Another thing that wasn't fun at all: making an almost impossible slope jump the one and only access to the top floor. NOT COOL!
Also, I could have used some more health and armor.
Note: 3/5 (4 for visuals, 2 for gameplay). Demos
, 82/82 kills, 4/4 secrets.
OK, so did you guys conspire to make the player suffer with a series of overly hard maps or what?! That's 3 in a row now. I WANT TO HAVE FUN, DAMMIT!
A word of advice when you make horde fights in small arenas: you do not
want to hinder the player's movements with obstacles like columns along the walls or these fang-like structures. One central pillar to shield the player from vore balls and shambler lightning would have been a much better
idea. Also, a few seconds of calm in the beginning to let the player get his bearings before unleashing hell upon his head would've been nice. Other than that, the architecture looks quite good if very simple. I liked the outdoor section and the secret for a very much welcome change of pace. I have no idea where the last enemy was hiding his ass but I eventually managed to kill everyone in sight, yet this jerk prevented me from 100%ing the map. Oh, and again, no music, grrrrr! If you watch the demos, you'll see I found a bug: I fell into one of the lava pits on the bottom floor but took no damage when I was inside, only a little bit when I surfaced.
Note: 2/5. And that's very
, 40/41 kills, 1/1 secret.
Wow, that's a dark one! A little more light wouldn't have hurt in places. Architecture is very nice, maybe some more texture variations needed - then again, with the overall darkness, this is not really an issue. Combat was good, certainly not unfair, supplies were very
tight (I wish I had found the YA secret sooner, when I really needed it). The skull guardian/ring of shadows system to open the path to the exit was clever. All in all, a nice little oldschoolish map.
Note: 4/5. Demos
, 47/47 kills, 4/4 secrets.
Mugwump's Xmas Jam 2017 Late Review, Part 4
I'm normally not too fond of "realistic" design in Quake (if you can call realistic a house which floor plan looks more like a maze, but you know what I mean) but for some reason, this map feels like a Blood map - I almost expected to fight cultists in their hoods. I don't know if this was your intent but I enjoyed that. I wasn't sold on the exteriors (BTW, unlit windows that give off light, really?! Why not using transparent windows?) but once I got inside I was hooked. Lighting's a bit odd, though: candlelight is too orange, I think. I'm a sucker for strong colored lighting but only if it makes sense, and this dark orange everywhere hardly does considering the main light sources - and it gets a bit tiresome after a while. A little more variety wouldn't have hurt. Combat difficulty was spot-on: this is exactly what I expect from skill 2. All the twists and turns kept me on edge, not knowing what was waiting around the corner to jump at my throat. The final arena was almost a breeze with the quad, but if you don't find it I guess you're in deep trouble! Secrets were nice and not too hard to find, and those too reminded me of Blood. All things considered, this is a good little map, perfectible yet enjoyable.
Note: 4/5. <a href="path">http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/xmasjam_pritchard_mug.rar</a>, 74/74 kills, 5/5 secrets.
What can I say? The trademark Sock style and building quality at the service of a short and silly fun romp where you murderize the Coca-Cola poster boy, his reindeers and the elves? Gimme gimme gimme! I wish this was a bit longer (well, I recorded the demo in QS, so I'll at least have to play this again in QSS to enjoy the extra snow). The Twisted Xmas monster models, especially the reindeer and Santa, seriously need to be updated, though: they really clash against the gorgeousness of the scenery...
Note: 4/5. <a href="path">http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/xmasjam_sock_mug.rar</a>, 33/33 kills, 3/3 secrets. Fun fact: add 33+33 (66), then 3+3 (6). It makes 666, the definitive proof that Santa=Satan!...
This one is basically a boss map. Visually surprising, using some textures I had never seen before - and I certainly wasn't expecting to see these bottomless canyons in a 1024³ map! Looks pretty good except for the brick corridors between the starting area and the exit, which are a bit too blocky and undetailed IMO. Gameplay-wise, there isn't much to quench the player's quaking thirst with only 13 monsters to butcher. I wouldn't have minded a significantly longer experience... And if you manage to find the quad, well, this goes even quicker! Secrets are nice, not overly hard to find - took me a while to figure out the aforementioned quad secret, though. I'm not sure if this can be called a bug but if you kill the boss too quickly, before he even has a chance to awaken the 3 statues, it then becomes impossible to 100% the map because they'll never wake up. Bummer. I recorded two demos: in the first one, I thought I had somehow broken the map because of that quad "bug" and the strange visual glitches that appeared when I noclipped to the farthest end of the canyon, so I recorded a 2nd one where I "properly" wait for the boss to awaken his minions in order to achieve the 100%.
Note: 4/5 (I considered rating it 3.5 on grounds of "damn, this is much too short!" but ultimately decided against it due to its unexpected design). Demos
, 13/13 kills, 3/3 secrets.
Sorry for the copypasta fuck-up...
Thanks for taking the time to look at my map. Interesting opinions, and you play very carefully compared to how I play (so much so that the enemies that spawn after you take the SK actually caught up to you near the end of their path!).
I do admit that the exterior of the house is a bit lacking. I didn't do transparent windows because of the snowdrifts in the textures - recolouring them to give off an "illuminated" appearance was something I should have definitely considered though. The rock work + trees around the exterior ate up most of the time I spent on that area... and a fair chunk of the work I did on the map in general.
I think in general terms of the lighting it did become a bit monotonous after a while. I would like to try and be a bit more creative with it if I did it again, but I'm still not sure what I'd do other than swapping more lights out for the blue ones I used on the '2nd level' of the map.
Also, fun tidbit, I've never played Blood - though I am of course aware of it and have seen videos of it, any inspiration was purely subconscious :P
Well, thank you for taking the time to watch my demo so long after the dust has settled and for commenting back on my review - so far, only dumptruck and you have done so.
Yes, I'm a cautious player. I've been burned enough rushing into rooms all guns blazing only to end up eating a mouthful of lead or whatever. I certainly am not a triggerfinger god, I know my skills and play accordingly.
On the lighting, well, you could have for example alternated candles and torches, with the latter giving off a slightly brighter tone. And there's a lot more light textures than blue ones to use in Quake... I believe there would also be something interesting to do with recoloring the existing candle+torch models - I've been thinking about this for a while but I'm no texture artist. I remember Unreal had differently colored versions of its torches, with a natural yellow flame, a red one, a blue one, maybe a green one as well... I've always missed this variety in Quake ever since I played Unreal for the first time. Let's be creative!
You definitely should try and play Blood sometime. It's a great game!
Thanks for the demos! Reminds me again I desperately needed a light on the button that lets you into the palace; I can't count the number of times I've noticed that in other people's maps, but when the time came to put my money where my mouth is, it totally escaped me.
I agree about the blocky corridors at the start. My plan was to chip some corners, pop out some individual stones, carve some alcoves for the candles, and generally "weather" the place, but between a swiftly tightening schedule and the fact that the brick pattern doesn't line up with any grid settings, I decided my attention was best spent elsewhere. If I had my druthers I'd make a custom stone texture with the same overall color, but whose mortar lines fell on 16 or 8 unit multiples, so it was more flexible to work with.
Regarding the length, again, I agree, but there are a few reasons for that:
-First, even with a three month limit, I'm just not experienced or skilled enough to put together one of these big action- and enemy-packed tour de force maps so many people can crank out like they're nothing, so I decided not to stretch myself.
-Second, assuming I could make maps like that, the original idea of the jam was to make an advent calendar of sorts, with 24 maps which would be released one a day through December, leading up to Christmas. I figured that with a 1024 unit cubic limit, most mappers would make smaller, lighter fare, and I didn't want to bug everybody with a heavy map they couldn't finish comfortably the day of its release, leaving them behind as subsequent maps piled up.
-Third, I knew that whether sorted by mapper nickname or by filename (i.e. ItEndsWithTens or xmasjam_tens), my entry would be released well into the event, and by the time they got to me people might be ready for a less intense level and/or a boss fight.
-Finally, my biggest reason, I wanted to challenge myself to build a map within the 1024 unit limit that didn't feel like it was that small. I imagine I failed, but my working theory was that too much gameplay, too much geometry, too many enemies, etc. in such a small space would only call attention to the fact that "wow, there's a lot of stuff in a small area", which would remind you the map was cramped, and tend to encourage the line of thinking that small maps can't play as well as big ones. My hope was that by not increasing the density of experience, for lack of a better term, you'd lose sight of the map's dimensions until the end. Mind games, I guess, I love that kind of stuff.
That was the mindset I'd settled into sometime in September, and although the jam changed character over the following months, I felt it wise not to change horses mid stream, especially to something I had no confidence in myself to make, so I stuck with the tiny map.
My apologies for the 100% problem, I think I noticed that partway through but for whatever reason decided not to do anything. I think I might have been worried that waking up the stone monsters forcibly, after the Eidolon's death, would distract people's attention from the key cage having opened up. I could have had them only wake up after you grabbed the key, but then there might be too many enemies at once, and it would suck a big one to die right after you killed a boss, especially to some lowly hell knight. I still could have come up with something, I imagine, but again, it was down to feeling my attention was needed elsewhere as the deadline approached.
As far as the visual glitches, see further up in this thread where mfx asked about the same thing, I went over my vanity easter egg in detail. :)
Thanks again for playing! I appreciate the score, but 3.5 is probably more fair, don't feel bad.
Thanks For The Extensive Reply, Rob!
I'm just not experienced or skilled enough to put together one of these big action- and enemy-packed tour de force maps
I wasn't saying that you should have made a 700+ monsters behemoth, but just twice more enemies wouldn't have hurt. These corridors and caves did feel a bit empty.
I wanted to challenge myself to build a map within the 1024 unit limit that didn't feel like it was that small. I imagine I failed
Seeing these bottomless canyons, I wouldn't say you failed. The scenery feels big, it's just somewhat underpopulated. For example, there's no enemy at all until you first arrive to the exit room (in which there's only one guard). Not only are these corridors undetailed, but they're also deserted. Putting some action in there might have drawn the attention away from these big brick walls full of nothing. Those stacked crates also were the perfect opportunity to hide a few spiders inside.
Ha, you should have seen the test build I sent out! There were zero monsters until the boss, in an attempt at foreshadowing and tension building. I thought initially it would be a fun gimmick to turn things around, and instead of increasingly difficult hordes leading up to a boss fight, to start with the boss fight and come down off of that. Not my brightest idea, but I needed a hook to keep myself motivated to finish.
Testers did, naturally, consistently miss the exit button, walk right past the pit, and end up confused, so as a concession I added one enemy. The poor schlub with the sword is, in combination with the animated candles, the light, and the ammo pack, supposed to draw attention to the button, but I can see how he's unsatisfying all by himself. I worried about making the level too light on combat, but also worried about going overboard and having too much activity blasting you right in the face the moment you start the level, or potentially getting players wedged in a hallway between too many enemies. More experience in mapping will no doubt teach me the right balance, but I was too timid to try anything more in this jam than I did.
Spiders, though, holy shit I can't believe I forgot about those. If I'd remembered they were part of AD I'd absolutely have added some to the level, no question. I'm kicking myself now. God damn it self. >:(
Thanks for the kind words. The lack of transparent water was intentional; with its silver sheen, the water presents a vaguely magical quality which tied in better with the atmosphere.
I tend to scale my difficulties up; who really plays on easy anyway?
I don't even recall what I used for music. I may have just asked one of my betas for a suggestion.
This map only exists in a 1024 box. I enclosed off the area in editor, and forged a layout within it. I wasn't exactly overflowing with ideas for this one; I barely had enough to fill the map. The only thing I wasn't able to fit in was all the story pieces; ideally I would have fit twenty in. Oh well. Works well enough as is.
Every map I make tends to be too ambitious. See jam, underwater, and countless other events I've bowed out of. Definitely something to keep in mind for future events.
You're welcome, and thank you for the reply.
I have absolutely no clue what I did (wasn't even aware that I did anything!) but I replayed this map and the water surface is now transparent! Go figure. And TBH, I do prefer it like this... ;)
who really plays on easy anyway?
I've forgotten the names but I do remember a few guys over at QuakeOne (and possibly even a couple here) who play on easy...
I don't even recall what I used for music.
I don't remember the track number but it's the one that starts with the whispers. BTW, can you please provide us with a download link to that missing waterfall_loop.wav sound?
Every map I make tends to be too ambitious.
This fact should be enough of a hint that maybe it's time for you to think about making some standalone releases...? I mean, jams are great and all but if time and/or other constraints make you unable to implement everything you envisioned, I see it as a missed opportunity. Ambition is good for creation, give yourself the means to achieve it.
My Personal Rating, 1-5
4 map xmasjam_bal
4 Map xmasjam_breezeep
3 Map xmasjam_dumptruck
3 Map xmasjam_5th
4 Map xmasjam_ionous
4 Map xmasjam_tens
3 Map xmasjam_mukor
3 Map xmasjam_naitelveni
3 Map xmasjam_negke
4 Map xmasjam_pritchard
5 Map xmasjam_icequeen
4 Map xmasjam_sock
I don't know what's up with the pack that I downloaded from Quaddicted since it seems to be missing Redfield's map but I've been playing through these since I've been starving for more AD content. I've played a few maps so far and they have been pretty damn good.
breezeep: I don't know how you do it but no matter the game, you always seem to produce really beautiful maps at lightning speed. I loved the textures and the architecture of this one. I spent tons of time admiring your brushwork and I spent so much time staring up that my player character probably developed chronic neck pain.
bal: A beautiful, dynamic map with a ton of detail and great use of AD mechanics. It was cool to see breakables used for progression rather than just for concealing secrets behind windows. This map had a lot of character and a sense of adventure with crawling through those tiny shafts on the upper level. The pipes that break and leak water left me awestruck. This looked really damn good in QSS with the smoke effects.
fifth: I gotta be honest, I didn't even realize this was your map. I thought 5th was some person I'd never heard of before. I still haven't pinpointed your style down - every map that I've played from you seems to have differed quite a bit from your others. I really dug this map for the ambiance. The monster groans were freaky so I'm glad some of those were hidden behind a closet rather than having them teleport in. I also thought that monster placement was pretty good, especially that fight with the vore on the bottom level. It was cool to manipulate the vores into gibbing the zombies both here and on the top level. I only wish this map was longer but I understand that's kind of hard to achieve with these space constraints.
muk: A beautiful, elegant map with great use of textures and really nice architecture in a very limited space. The layout makes me think of swampy with a watery bottom area, a few levels of regular solid ground, and then a nice rooftop secret area. The monster encounters left me a bit frustrated at times, like the ambush when you're stuck between two doors . Otherwise this was yet another excellent muk map.
dumptruck: This was creepy as hell and I loved it. The ending was also really twisted, and I loved that too once I pieced together what I had to do. The crying baby was really unsettling and very foreboding. There was some good dynamic game play just like bal's map with walls breaking and paths changing as the player went through them multiple times. Most of your maps that I've played have something really unique going for them, such as the tutorial from 100b4 and the custom music from jam9. I like how you always have something to set your maps apart and the unique feature this time was dastardly in the best way.
Can't wait to play the others, especially with the names on this list.
I Am The Ice Queen!
My map is in there Poorchop, I just broke the naming convention.
Thanks man. I do try new things as often as possible, so that is really nice to read! AD was a whole new ballgame and it was fun to have some enhanced sound capabilities.
Is it ok to use the statue model from this in a map of my own? I e-mailed Mukor asking about it but never got a response.
From Muks' Readme
"Thanks to... khreathor for statue_venus.mdl"
I asked him(kreathor) on Discord. If he doesn't answer here I'll let ya know his response there.
fifth: I gotta be honest, I didn't even realize this was your map.
My style has evolved to mapping using 64 unit thick walls as a base. I try to block out a general space first with different elevations and then detail afterwards.
I think the main exception to this will be my first map q-deck.
Yes you can use it.
I made it based on this scan: https://sketchfab.com/models/708a4166439c45d799f4eaa40d0db70e
So at least give a credit to guy above in readme
Ah, thanks for the clarification guys.