|Posted by super on 2018/01/15 04:22:50|
I have two small maps within this Q1SP release. I've spent a couple of days this year creating these maps as a way to get back into the SP mapping groove (I released a small map back in early 2016). One of the maps ("Reign of Ra") is more of a standard Q1SP map, whereas the other ("Fatal Steps") is more of a bonus skills/challenge map with several small staged fights. Feedback is always appreciated, and I hope these two maps combined can help get 2018 Q1SP mapping off to a good start. Each one has been designed for easy/medium/hard skill levels. Feedback and demos are appreciated!
"Reign of Ra" - rofra.bsp
This is a small-sized interconnected Egyptian map. It is built around a central atrium with a looping layout for progression. Average playtime will probably be around 10-12 minutes. (40/43/46 monsters, 1 secret)
"Fatal Steps" - fatalstp.bsp
This is a small runic-style "skills" type of map that focuses on movement and timing in fights. There are a series of small skirmishes that will test your in-combat movement in such a way that precise footwork is a requirement to completing the level. I hope "hard" skill lets the map live up to its name. This map was slighly inspired by an old Doom map (can you guess which one?) and one of the setpieces is a direct reference. Average playtime will probably be around 4 to 5 minutes.
Both maps have stock id1 gameplay and are also Winquake compatible. They have been tested with Winquake and FitzQuake 0.85.
Rofra is pretty interesting. Nice interconnected design. Feels a lot like a deathmatch map. Build quality is good and the layout has a lot of potential. The textures are repetitive and the designs are square - something to work on next time. The gameplay needed more health and ammo, I didn't get very far. Shows plenty of potential tho.
FatalSTP is a good map for people who are having too much fun playing Quake and want to curb their enjoyment quickly.
Reign Of ARGH
Rofra: As Shambler said, interesting and has potential, but requires you to play almost literally perfect to win. Ammo is tight as hell and health is even tighter, and you did an excellent job making sure the Ogres land their grenades consistently without having to use z-axis awareness. Awfully dark in some areas and the enemies are hard as hell to see in those- remember, entities are lit by the brightness of the ground they're on, not the actual light sources. Definitely feels like more of a deathmatch map, like the center area was built first and the hallways tacked on to go from A to B to C and back to A. MORE AMMO. The Shambler fight was telegraphed as hell the instant you find the nailgun. I liked the starry sky. Jumping to press a button is minor but really weird, maybe lower it a bit next time or make it shootable. 10:37, 1/1 secrets, 46/46 kills.
FatalStp: Actually easier than the previous map, or maybe just because it was so much shorter? Huh. Took a few tries but it was relatively easy once you figured out what to do, demo is split into two parts due to lava shenanigans. Missed the Doom reference entirely due to a lack of knowledge or memory regarding Doom. 2:04? That doesn't seem right, but that's what the demo says, 0/0 secrets, 12/12 kills.
All demos on skill 2, available here
I'll discuss "Fatal Steps" first.
I don't know of any releases similar to this. Most non-standard Q1SP maps are more exploratory or trick-jump based, and I wanted to see how a real small combat-based map would fare. It you can circle-strafe and "dance" the monsters along with knowing their attack patterns and timings, then it's easy. It was more of a fun test, and does not play like your standard combat. Thankfuly Spud's demo was what I was looking to see so that I didn't have to most my own, but I can see how Shambler found it extremely polarizing. It wasn't a normal Q1SP. Personally I love challenge maps like that and see them as truly fun to test limits. To each their own.
Perhaps there isn't really a niche here for these types of "skill" maps, but I'll continue to make them for myself and perhaps release a small collection in the future for those who may be interested, and a pack would provide more gameplay options rather than just all movement-based like this one was. Something for me to think about.
Regarding the "main" singleplayer map:
From the deoms I can see that the button isn't as obvious as I had thought. I thought about doing a walk-on pressure plate instead, but I wanted something visible to help draw the player's attention. It couldn't be shootable because I wanted the player there for the fiend to jump to. Something for me to look into.
I tend to generally like small fast-and-frantic maps (Doom has entire projects dedicated to that, e.g. Scythe or Coffee Break) that don't let you always fight on your own terms or with near full HP/ammo. I like how that will get players on the "edge", and then they're forced into hectic situations to get more health/ammo. In this case, I deliberately put short ammo for the first 2-3 minutes or so to entice the player to jump down and fight before they're truly comfortable to. For what it's worth, easy and normal have more health and ammo so the map can be played much slower.
While it's counter-intuitive, staying mobile and avoiding sniping the "higher" monsters does wonders to helping complete this map. I don't want to feel like I'm singling you out Spud, but you used 25+ shells on trapped fiends and sniping some of the upper ogres that weren't an immediate threat. Add that ammo back and you're never close to really going empty in the first half of the map. The map does not reward for pre-emptively killing monsters you haven't "reached" yet. Maybe that just isn't an expected design paradigm.
Y'all both played on hard, but both medium and easy have more ammo and health in each map. I thought people usually play maps on normal, and then go to hard if they want a challenge, but maybe I have a different philosophy than others. Do most people here just jump into hard skill rather than upping the skill if a map is too easy, or lowering skill level if it's difficult?
Either way, with how these maps possibly "break" some standard gameplay assumptions I didn't know what kind of feedback to expect. I definitely feel it would be better for me to perhaps release 4-5 rofra-sized maps at a time, so that their combined gameplay is that of a larger release from the bigger names here. Maybe there is a niche for smaller individual map-pack releases other than speedmaps/jams. Maybe there isn't, and solo releases are expected to be more epic. I personally don't have the pateince to build a 5000+ solid map with curvy architecture and trim on every face, but smaller/simpler maps are no problem. I do enjoy playing and admiring the massive maps Sock et al produce, but building those maps isn't for me. I'm also aware standards for architecture are like this in 2018, but I'm fine as long as the quality is id1 quality or better.
Either way, Shambler and Spud, I appreciate the comments. I'll look to release a group of maps in the future with beta feedback (to avoid small issues I saw in the demos) and more total gameplay time that's more worthy of a news thread.
Test Early, Test Often...
...using a different tester at each stage.
I Generally Play On Hard.
Because 90% of Q1 SP releases seem to be well-balanced on that skill level for me - including some that are supposed to be HARD on Hard.
Skill 3 run, no deaths. It seems the trick is not to waste any ammo at all, and somehow know in advance where the ambushes are going to appear (some I guessed - bridge ambush - some I didn't - Fiend in dark escape corridor). I would have had more fun with 20% more health, 20% more ammo, and the NG and GL (no need for GL ammo, just collect off Ogres).
BTW I like the theme, size, small design, layout etc. I'm a big fan of small but detailed / convoluted maps with small numbers of monsters but cool designs. The Xmas Jam pack did a great job of that. I think it's great to stick with this sort of size and work on the architecture and gameplay balance, I'd welcome more maps like that.
the gameplay of the larger map was ok, I found the rooms maybe a little bit too boxy tho, the smaller map looked nicer
This is my blind playthrough of Fatal Steps =D
Quick, fun, brutal. I died a few times fighting the shamblers, until i found a safe spot to shoot them =D
Perhaps there isn't really a niche here for these types of "skill" maps, but I'll continue to make them for myself and perhaps release a small collection in the future for those who may be interested, and a pack would provide more gameplay options rather than just all movement-based like this one was.
For what it's worth, once I got a hang of dying repeatedly I enjoyed them a lot, and would look forward to more releases in the same type, albeit with some more fit'n'finish. Challenge/trick maps are always fun, just look at how popular rocket jumping and straferunning/bunnyhopping maps have become over the course of the Quake series.
I don't want to feel like I'm singling you out Spud, but you used 25+ shells on trapped fiends and sniping some of the upper ogres that weren't an immediate threat. Add that ammo back and you're never close to really going empty in the first half of the map.
Hah, don't sweat it. Killing stuff early is a habit that's hard to break, the urge to get rid of whatever enemies you can see at the moment because by the time you're 'supposed' to fight them who knows how many other mooks have spawned to hassle you.
Do most people here just jump into hard skill rather than upping the skill if a map is too easy, or lowering skill level if it's difficult?
Can't speak for everyone obviously but the general consensus seems to be playing on Hard as the norm- not only is it what the original manual recommends, but it seems the most balanced enemy-behavior wise and Nightmare, while sharing the same entities in a given map as Hard due to the lack of a separate spawnflag (unless using that Nightmare mode entity hack on Preach's website), can affect the difficulty of a map in ways the author didn't intend, for easier or for harder.
Maybe there is a niche for smaller individual map-pack releases other than speedmaps/jams. Maybe there isn't, and solo releases are expected to be more epic.
To hell with the expectations, then. Speaking as a newblet myself, this seems like a fantastic time to get into playing all the Q1SP content being made, but a far worse time to get into making that content unless you're already a veteran. While the tools are easier to use than ever, as you said, the bar has been set so high as to what the standard quality of new maps should be (in no small part thanks to big ol' Arcane Dimensions being popular enough to have articles across the net and even one in the physical version of PC Gamer- when's the last time you saw an article about a Quake mod in an actual magazine?) that it's so easy to give up halfway before even making a fullbright box.
While the tools are easier to use than ever, as you said, the bar has been set so high as to what the standard quality of new maps should be (in no small part thanks to big ol' Arcane Dimensions being popular enough to have articles across the net and even one in the physical version of PC Gamer- when's the last time you saw an article about a Quake mod in an actual magazine?) that it's so easy to give up halfway before even making a fullbright box.
How many times do I have to say it?? There is STILL a lot of value in, need for, and appreciation of, smaller, simpler, but still really good maps. Not everything has to be an epic. Small but good is still GOOD.
It's like, I dunno, eating a triple Michelin star restaurant a couple of times a year, and then thinking "this food is so amazing, I can't possibly ever go down to my local pub and have a nice steak pie and mash because it won't be as amazing". It's bullshit.
Take this map. It doesn't need much to make it great. The layout, size, connectivity, build quality, theme and some of the lighting is already there. Add some more impressive designs*, some wall details, a bit of trim, variety in textures, maybe a skybox, tweak the balance it's a bit easy. Couple more secrets maybe to encourage visiting all corners of the map. It's not that dramatic, it's nothing that couldn't be extrapolated from the mapping skills already shown.
* - and as for impressive designs, id were doing cool frontispieces with angles and curves like the start of E1M5 back in 1996 shareware days.....so really that shouldn't be too much to ask....
Tweak The Balance So It's A Bit Easier.
Feedback From Someone Who Always Plays On Normal
I thought people usually play maps on normal, and then go to hard if they want a challenge, but maybe I have a different philosophy than others. Do most people here just jump into hard skill rather than upping the skill if a map is too easy, or lowering skill level if it's difficult?
Some people definitely do play maps on normal and treat it as the default -- I do, for instance.
Enjoyed these. I don't have much time for playing Quake at the moment so I'm putting off playing bigger and more complex recent releases until later.
Maybe there is a niche for smaller individual map-pack releases other than speedmaps/jams. Maybe there isn't, and solo releases are expected to be more epic.
Like Shambler, I'm also a big fan of this kind of scale/scope and often it's just what I'm looking for. So please do keep releasing smaller maps. I would say they don't have to be packs either.
I personally don't have the pateince to build a 5000+ solid map with curvy architecture and trim on every face, but smaller/simpler maps are no problem. I do enjoy playing and admiring the massive maps Sock et al produce, but building those maps isn't for me.
I don't mind the somewhat boxy aesthetics. While there might be room for improvement here and there (as is always the case), I like the fact that you're consciously sticking to a more "manageable" look. Not every map needs to be drenched in curvy detail. But something I think you can improve upon in future without changing your basic approach would be lighting, which was just a bit too dark in places in the Egyptian-themed map, in my opinion.
As for gameplay: I actually went into this thinking I wouldn't enjoy it. Reading your warning and the other comments it sounded really hard and not like my kind of gameplay at all. Out of curiosity I started playing anyway, thinking I would quit after a couple of minutes and then just noclip around.
To my surprise I ended up really enjoying both maps and didn't find them too difficult at all. Maybe I expected it to be harder than it was because of the other comments, and was prepared as a result. Or maybe it's just because they were well balanced for my preferred skill level (i.e. skill 1).
I wanted to see how a real small combat-based map would fare
Perhaps there isn't really a niche here for these types of "skill" maps
As someone who doesn't usually enjoy overly challenging combat, I really like the idea of very small skill/challenge-based maps like Fatal Steps. If it were any larger or longer it would probably risk becoming boring or grind-y, but it's fun to have a bite-sized challenge like this, where you can easily restart and give it another shot. It's as if it turns the combat into a puzzle of sorts. It reminded me a bit of czg's time challenge map Sky Palace
-- not exactly the same thing, but similar in that it's also a very short, fairly tricky map, which also works, I think, because of the small size and short length.
PS: About Skill Levels
I didn't mean to contradict what others have said about skill 2. I'd say if all your skill 2 players say skill 2 is too hard, there's probably something to it.
I just wanted to let you know that as a skill 1 player, I found skill 1 to be fair. And to let you know that there are skill 1 players around, so your efforts balancing your maps for it are appreciated.
"the bar has been set so high as to what the standard quality of new maps should be"
Despite what it may seem there is no "Quake Standards Group" that will come and hunt down anyone who makes sub >1000 brush maps or what have you.
As long as gameplay is King, any released map is appreciated by the community to some degree.
My blind playthrough of Reign of Ra:
I love all of it, but got lost a little searching for the silver and the golden doors. There should be some textures indicating the doors (like there was in Fatal Steps)
But i really love it =D
Hey dude, I played on stream the other day.
I played the maps on nightmare.
Reign of Ra
Fun little "puzzle" map, a bit simple on textures and geometry than we're used to. But the theme and style worked pretty well. Gameplay was pleasant. I noticed an unmarked secret, which was a little odd, but by no means game breaking.
This one was fun. Challenging, but fun. Very neat brushwork and texturing, and I feel like there was more attention to lighting in this map than rofra. This certainly was a drilled down gameplay focused map. I would have loved to have seen it a touch longer. Great job none the less.
These Maps Are On The Quake Grave
Nice job on these maps, both could use a little tweaking but nothing major.
Fatal Steps - It's a bit short (as you already stated) but that's really it's biggest issue. It wold've been nice to have a few rooms with different trials to experience. The Ogre platform was really thin and was the toughest challenege for me personally because I couldn't see under me. Short and sweet.
Reign of Ra - I love the pacing of this map! I wasn't sure what to think in the first because you fight about 8 enemies as they keep agroing and that's a lot to start out against with a 43 enemy map. But as the map went on, I realized that the rest of it felt perfect. I felt the theme could've been driven home a little bit more and there are some sections that I was able to cheese pretty easily (you'll see in the video) but overall I had a good time playing this one!
Nice job Super, looking forward to more! =)
Lovin Reign Of Ra
I am a skill 1 player and found your map pretty well balanced. I love the theme of Reign of Ra. Please, we need more small maps like this. I do not like the gigantic more recent released maps.
You did a great job. Hope to see more from you.
A Lot Of Fun
I didn't like Fatal steps at all. Yeah it is a good challenge, only the part with the ogres is tedious.
Reign of Ra on the other hand was way more fun.
Can't really give any constructive feedback tho, because I don't have any mapping experience whatsoever.
Anyways, was able to finish both maps on NM difficulty and made a demo for rofra.
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