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Q3SP: "Map On The Edge Of Forever" By Sock
Screenshot : http://www.simonoc.com/files/maps/q3/moteof_final.jpg

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 : http://www.simonoc.com/files/maps/q3/moteof_final.zip (49Mb)
Website : http://www.simonoc.com/pages/design/maps_q3/moteof.htm
So, Quick 
How does one record a demo in Q3? I use ioquake3 but that should not matter. 
Recording A Demo 
You need the map loaded first and type the following and restart the level:

g_synchronousclients 1 (will autocomplete)
record (start, automatic naming)
stoprecord (finish)

The zip does have a full run through demo of the map in 4 1/2 minutes if you get stuck or just want to see it complete. 
Spoiler Alert! 
Here is the link to an utube video run through of the entire map completing everything. This is really for people that don't have Q3 installed and want to know what is going on with this release.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYm-AGRx2Gg

Be warned, this run through will complete everything and spoil the entire map showing all areas and secrets. So use this link with caution if you want to play it at your pace. 
 
Gorgeous.

I wish one could save. Quit now to catch the sun outside even though I "only" got ~septa of those things. I writing this like this so people do not get spoiled by scanning over it. Will say more once more played it. 
Awesome 
Very unique and beautiful concept map, and superbly done. I love the style and textures, and of course the excellent construction (clean brushwork and lots of small details).

I'm not much of a fan of those button-based logic puzzles (yeah, I'm too dumb for them), but I managed to solve them fairly well - mostly by random pressing. It's great how the machines work, the effects and all. Finding the last skulls had me stumped for quite a while, because I wrongly assumed the skulls in the main hall are placed in a progressive order and thus kept looking for in the wrong places. Increasing the brightness helped a lot, although the general light level is fine.

Maybe there could have been even more puzzle variation - if that's possible with Q3A and it's supposedly limited set of functions.

WTF at the ending, though. I spend ages in that cave trying to find a way out, when there apparently isn't (judging from your walkthrough video)?! The voice didn't help. There should have been some visual clue to make this absolutely clear to the player. Or is this the ultimate puzzle? A meta puzzle, so to speak.
Not that I'd have the right to complain - after all, I made players wander around a (Q1) puzzle nightmare myself...

Here is a demo. Be warned, though: it contains long periods of not doing the right things and not searching in the right places. Plus the entire end debacle. If there's some sort of 'fast-foward' option in Q3A, make sure to use it.

I will have to noclip around the map and take a look at the source some time, too. 
Reinstalling Q3. 
Right now. 
A Shame... 
... there are no monsters... otherwize, it is fucking brilliant !!! 
Lovely Demo 
@negke, thank you very much for the demo :) I watched all of it! (there are no fast forward options with q3) A couple of times it felt like I was at a panto because I was shouting ... 'its behind you' when you were looking at buttons.

I wanted to know how you got stuck and it was because you turned the HUD off completely. I used text messages to tell you (the player) want is going on and you missed the end message ('to be continued ...'). I did not mention here in the news text because I did not want to duplicate all the stuff on my website.

I really liked the console messages you typed, it made the demo feel really personal. Thanks. :)

@JPL, yeah it is shame, but this was partly about trying to push the vanilla Q3 in a new direction.

Also EVERYONE, please check the top part of the map infomation page on my website before you start the map. It will help alot. 
Ohh, I See 
I feel stupid now. When you said cg_drawstatus, I disabled cg_draw2D instead. The centerprints would have been helpful to me.

A couple of times it felt like I was at a panto because I was shouting ... 'its behind you' when you were looking at buttons.
Hah, yeah. I know this feeling. In a map like this (one that doesn't focus on simple killing), the 'author-player perception devide' becomes even more evident.

So, sorry for having you endure all the unnecessary parts of the demo. In Q1, you could have increased host_framerate to speed up the playback. But, well, the way it is now, one could say it's not only the player experience that borders on the Edge of Forever. ;) 
Nice 
Great work sock, I loved it. It obviously wouldn't have been half as enjoyable if the map wasn't gorgeous to look at, just wandering around was fun.

Here's a really shitty demo of me playing, lots of me being lost and not understand basic puzzles.
http://born-robotic.net/stuff/balmoteof.zip

Again, awesome brushwork and texturing.

SPOILERS :
Is the tower you see in the first teleporter the actual level, or did you build a fake version? (Forgot to noclip to check).
I was almost convinced the back teleporter was bugged, felt sure I should be able to go through it. I think it wasn't obvious enough that it was locked. 
Smoke And Mirrors 
@Bal, yeah the image you see in the first portal is a model based on the actual level. I wanted to make the portal believable by pointing it at something which is not static, that is why you can see a generator device working in the lower window.

I am loving the demo everyone, I am watching all of them regardless of how much wandering around you do, getting lost and checking out the details. Also any ingame feedback is amazing as well. :) 
Instaling... 
Q3 for this =D 
 
Make this single player Q1 and I will totally cum for you sock. Or rather I won't if you'd prefer it, but will if you don't. 
Hmmm. 
for some reason it crashes for me with hunk_alloc error 55383388 something... wtf??? 
Spy 
make sure not to read the readme or look at the website 
Actually I Didn't Read The Readme At All 
 
 
The default value is 'com_hunkmegs 56' and it needs to be changed
to the following 'com_hunkmegs 96'


aha, i'll try ... 
Just Emphasizing... 
...that this is awesome.

Great job on the final, sock!

And, yeah, if it's not too late, and you still need to post this in other places, I'd post about the page and reading the read-me in the initial post.

I wouldn't have included a demo. But I'm an asshole like that... 
So I've Changed The Com_hunkmegs Value To 96/128 
but havnt succeed, the console still says com_hunkmegs 56 default 56
latched 96, so how to enable hunk96, vid_restart doesnt help

ps. i'm not familiar with QIII 
Restart The Game 
 
I've Just Included 'com_hunkmeg 96' In The Command Line Of QIII 
and voila it works now 
Another Crash 
When I get to the generator, my display driver (for some unknown reason) decides to crash. This sin't a hunkmegs issue, as that's high enough already. Anyone else getting this?

I'm liking what I'm seeing so far, though... 
Demos 
Played it, got stuck a lot of the time but I enjoyed it. I'll post more of my thoughts in an upcoming review. Still have a game and doom wad review to do first though!

Recorded a demo. Typed stuff in the console while I played but none of that seems to show. On occassions I'm away for a few mins (reason I split the demo in two files) So yeah, if you're patient and don't mind me wandering around aimlessly and the few 'silent' moments, enjoy my demo.

http://taw.duke4.net/quakisdemos.rar 
Btw 
thanks for the map, sock! 
Still Watching ... 
the demo's and it is really good to see what everyone is doing to find stuff. Some clues about how I created the hidden stuff:

* If you find a skull, it won't be mirrored somewhere else.
* Switches and buttons are always close together
* Always look up! (Lots of people don't do this)

@Zwiffle, if the Q1 tools were more modern with detail brushes, model support and better lighting, I would play with Q1 SP again.

@pjw, I did the video for mapcore people mostly, they won't have Q3 installed. The demo in the zip file was a poke to you, to finish your speed run! :P

@Spy, if you get the map running I would love to see a demo.

@Lardarse, that section of the map is really heavy on client traffic. Are you sure you using the latest version of Q3? 1.32B or C

@quakis, very cool demo, watched it all. I assumed when you spinned around really quickly after finding stuff it was because you were happy you got it or frustrated? 
Yeah 
Both really. I do odd things like that even in a game. Hope I didn't make you dizzy! The part with me trying to jump and couldn't do it properly (Q3 movement is too slippery for me) I just do that fustration spin + shoot... or when I'm happy I solved a puzzle. It's a habit... XD 
 
here is my demo
I liked walking through the map
puzzle solving is not my favourite part

http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/demos/Ankh_on_edge.zip 
 
@Spy, if you get the map running I would love to see a demo.
http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/demos/moteof_final_spy.rar

here's my demo, its a bit jerking and not completed :( ('bout 45min) me wandering around the level, i wish to play more maps that style of gameplay 
Sock 
just completed it and it's very impressive! the best level in the last few years in terms of atmosphere and overall style. and it's so cool it's not useless dm level noone gonna play, but something unique! cool puzzles there, true gift for quake secret fetishists :)
can't wait what's gonna happen next in this weird realm! 
Just Finished It... (Some Spoilers) 
(had to install q3 for this)

the good:

- top-notch environment art

- good secret-hunting gameplay

- nice scripted events (doors, fx, etc.)

The bad:

- centerprint messages were often terse and unclear (example: "activate generator" -- which one, there's like 15 generators in this level!)

- overall, i don't feel (with the exception of puzzle 1) that the puzzles were satisfying to solve; i generally solved them by trial and error.

Puzzles:

- Puzzle 1 felt the least arbitrary because the timing element was intuitively hinted at by the visual/audio fx. I was pleased when i figured it out.

- puzzle 2, in retrospect is just puzzle 1 without the timing element, which maybe says it should have come first. But for some reason i didn't realize the solution would involve hitting the same buttons multiple times, so it was more of an accident when i solved it (just ran around pushing everything.) Now that i've played the level through again, i realize there is a sort of "fill the power meter" mechanic that should have been indicated with a stronger visual. Perhaps 3 bars isn't enough for a power meter to make sense, maybe 5 would be better?

- puzzles 3 and 5 were basically the same puzzle, and when i saw them i guessed what they were, but actually solved them by luck on the first two button presses, without having to do a serious attempt.

- puzzle 4 was another arbitrary one, not that hard but my strategy was just to try different sequences of buttons until the generator thing changed into its next state.

Skulls: I found 7 of the 10 skulls without using the website. The three i didn't find were #1, #2, and #8. I should have found #2 and #8, because i was looking at other doorways for the exact type of trick you used for #2, but apparently not that doorway. And as for #8, i actually spent time looking through each hole in the balcony, and just somehow didn't look at the right angle to see the button.

Final thoughts: This was a frustrating map, it took me probably an hour of running around to almost solve it (except 3 skulls.) In a way, this is close to the feeling of playing any classic text adventure or myst-style adventure game, you spend a lot of time beating your head against walls.

I sound pretty negative, but i'm not sure it's actually a bad map. It might be a success, but it's so unusual it's hard for me to evaluate it. I think it has areas that it could improve on, but i'm somewhat at a loss of which improvements would be the right improvements. I guess my short list of things to look at would be: 1. more feedback in the puzzles so the player can begin to understand the mechanism, so they are less likely to solve it without knowing why, 2. visual design of puzzles should call more attention to the functional bits and less to random ornamentations. 3. help the player focus by only giving one new puzzle at a time? 
 
I think that's probably same way most people played the map. I'm actually glad the puzzles could be solved like this (trial and error approaches as countermeasure to frustration).

One thing I realized while playing the map is how much I act/proceed in predictable patterns when facing problems such as puzzle mechanisms and hidden buttons that I can't immediately solve. For example, I looked at the ceilings quite often (usually something most people don't do), and when I didn't find the remaining skulls, even searched areas multiple times out of sheer helplessness. 
Sorry For The Fugly Monsters, Had Them In The Dpmod Dir 
At First I Was Like Wow, But Then I Was Like Meh 
i agree with what metl said, but approached puzzle 1/2 in reversed order - then it all made sense. Some puzzles felt arbitrary and there weren't enough of them. Searching the skulls was random at best and frustrating at worst -- secrets should always be hinted at in some way. i had to refer to the solution for 3 or 4 of them, mostly the ones were you had to be in the one square meter of space to see them. see demo. http://www.mediafire.com/?zjoddwnanwt At the time i found them all, I was too frustrated to appreciate the ending.

Centerprint messages do reduce the immersion quite a bit, and were unclear, like metl said. in-game screens would have been much better.

Graphics were great, although (q3's fault probably) scale was an issue sometimes from some perspectives. I wish lighting had more contrast. 
Also 
i would have loved some more complex machines using the elements introduced in puzzles 1-3, 
Spirit 
what the mod is it? 
Demos 
@Ankh, @spy, thanks for the demos :)
@Vondur, thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
@metlslime, cool, ok. I thought it was good considering I was working with a MP engine. 
Quake Version 
I'm using the recent ioq3 build, which I think is 1.36, on Windows Vista, with hunkmegs 192. 
 
I played with ioq3 1.36 linux-i386 Apr 12 2009 and encountered no problems, I think.

spy: dpmod with some model half-assed conversions from the Shambler's Castle Doom3 mod. It was just for fun. Does not work at all since there is only the one SP spawnpoint. ;) 
_Amazing_ Work Of Art 
Great game too :-) Had to quit last night with 8/10 found. 
Nobody Has Patience Anymore 
@metlslime, I am not sure why you are really negative about this map. Q3 has no scripting language, no logic entity types, no variables, no dialogue system, limited sound abilities (no volume, cannot turn off ambient sounds) and only two state moving objects with no toggle feature! What sort of puzzles were you expecting?

The first puzzle to be built was the generator with the outside decking. This was more a test of entity chains and trying to create a complex scripted sequence. It featured button mashing and each stage involved a greater amount of buttons than before. I stopped at three because most people get bored with anymore and wanted to move on. I thought it was interesting visually and with all the custom sound made sense as each stage changed the appearance of the machine. It is not a logic puzzle but a scripted event.

The second puzzle to be built was the chains and later on the metal block with steps around the side. Vanilla Q3 can only work with two state devices. A door is either open or closed and that really shits on the chance of complex puzzles. So I decided to prototype a lock with 4 tumblers to see how much fun it could be to try and unlock. Eventually I found that if each switch affects 3 parts at once then the puzzle could be a little more interesting.

I tested this puzzle on a couple of friends and it nicely highlighted the problem, it was easier to run around the room randomly hitting stuff until something happens. Not one friend hit switches and watched what happened, they prefered the headless chicken approach. I asked everyone why and they said 'It was not instantly recognisable what to do.' This puzzle rests on strong visuals and probably could of been designed better but I still think that people just don't have the patience anymore.

With Puzzle 3 and 5 being completed by random chance I decided to create what is puzzle 2 (you call puzzle 1) and make something that is less about random button mashing. So I decided to create a battery you charge up to open a door. I thought that a dead battery being charged up would be interesting visually as well as cool to highlight the door being locked. So I setup an entity chain that stores the battery state and forces the player to keep the battery level charged with switches. Initially had 4 levels but it was too complex so decided on 3 so people won't get bored constantly going back and forth betweem switches.

All the people that I tested the new puzzle on could not complete it. No one could understand the idea of charging something up via switches and just wanted to run around randomly mashing buttons. So I added loads of visual clues, cables merging into one, cables to the doors, lights on the switches, visuals on the battery etc and eventually some people got it. Even now it is the only puzzle that most people get stuck on and it makes me wonder about fps puzzles. I don't think anyone has the patience for them anymore.

Eventually I made a dumbed down version of this for puzzle 1 which does not drain the charge from the battery so everyone can just complete it with random button mashing. This puzzle does have a timing element hinted by the coils above, but hardly anyone understand it. I think this puzzle highlights that people in general don't look up!

I will admit having puzzle 1 and 2 next to each other is a design fault because most people think they are linked. I even had testers trying to run from room to room to try and solve them together! That is why the generator in the big window room is a gated area so that people did not wander too far to find stuff.

I also setup all the switches to have lights on them so people could understand when they were active but this seems to be ignored because I still see people hitting the switch. Some switches I actually lock in down positions but due to entity limitations could not do it for everywhere.

The center print text is all the engine offers for dialogue or feedback. You are right about the text content being awkward but the text developed over a long period of time.

The skulls are designed to be hard to find, if they were easy to find the map would be completed in 10 minutes. That means if you hate exploring or trying to find stuff then yes, you will hate playing this map. I did try to make things easier with the buttons and skulls all being the same style. The design fault is that I did not hint to the player that they are suppose to shoot them.

I am sure I do sound angry about my post above but I cannot understand how anyone expects complex puzzles from vanilla Q3. I thought what I did was impressive considering what there is to work with. I certainly don't expect everyone to like what I do, but I was assuming that people would judge it based on what the vanilla Q3 engine can offer. 
I'm Looking Forward 
to working out how much patience I have :)

Probably ownt get to it for a few days though. 
Sock: 
My only complaints were about the puzzles, and I tried to give a honest account of a player's experience solving them for the first time, coupled with a designer's attempt to understand what happened and what could be improved.

It's really hard do do something this unique, especially as a mod because you are dealing with players that don't have prior knowledge about the game mechanics you're using, plus they are bringing in expectations from the original game (which is a different genre.)

But hopefully (if you make a sequel) you can get something constructive out of my feedback and don't think i'm just dumping on your level for the fun of it. 
Also... 
maybe you misinterpreted, but the "bad:" section only contained those two bullet points, not the entire rest of the post. 
You Are What You Play 
@metlslime, yeah I read you response as a couple of good things and then the rest as bad. I certainly don't think you are dumping on my map for the fun of it, I just did not expect what you said within the context of the Q3 engine.

I totall agree that people bring their gaming experience baggage with them while playing any map. I saw people (in the demos) randomly shooting stuff after they worked out what the buttons look like. Hardly anyone was looking up or observing what is going on around them. Some people were running around at break neck speeds that even I could not see what they were looking at or doing.

But I do need to stress that this map is not a MOD, it is just a map that can be run with the vanilla Q3 engine. This is the root of the problem when it comes to how complex and interesting the puzzles are. This map relies on what the default engine offers and does not create any new entity types or engine features. I am simply using what the engine offers and trying to see if anything interesting can be made from it.

In hindsight trying to twist the Q3 engine to create puzzles was probably a bad idea. The engine is just a skeleton of functionality that on countless occasion squashed my ideas for machinery. I wanted machines that could rotate, twist, open, build, develop, have GUIs and proper player interaction. None of this is going to happen, which why there will not be anymore to this series. It is just a once only experiment that taught me a lot of interesting points about puzzles.

* Always try to contain puzzles to a small area so people don't spend alot of time running around trying to figure what is going on. When people get frustrated they wander off and try to find if something else is missing.

* Use prefabs for all working components and teach the player about them gradually. For example the two switches in the first room and the door was locked so that the player finds them, recognises them and if they see them again knows what to do.

* Always put interactive information at player height because no one is going to look up or down. I really hoped that game minded people would be different, but everyone is the same. Nobody stares at the top of a building while trying to find the front door! :P

* Try to hint at what is going on with strong visual colours that stand out from their surroundings. Originally I had the working parts of the machines painted in subdued colours, but no one knew what to look at and frustration set in really quickly. 
Puzzles How To 
Sock 
What technical problems were you running into? I thought the whole point of q3a was to show that 'scripting' was basically turing complete?

Re: players don't look up or try to understand the puzzles... watch my demo. :)

I had a hard time with puzzle 1, because the 'active electricity' effect was too subtle for me to suggest different states.

too bad there's the 1024 entities limit, or it would be awesome to write a simple scripting language -> logic gates compiler 
Ijed 
cool presentation. Very interesting to read 
Yeah 
It's nothing new, but it fills in all the gaps. 
 
sock, have you considered taking this map into DP to get access to q1 progs entities? 
Source Files 
Editor : http://www.simonoc.com/images/design/maps_q3/moteof_source3l.jpg
Web : http://www.simonoc.com/pages/design/maps_q3/moteof_source.htm

The map source file is very large (10Mb) because I have included 200+ ASE files with relevant map files and a few of those are linked together to form other files. The ASE naming convention is a bit strange but the level was developered over 8 months with 156 map versions so some stuff will probably be in the wrong place. I recommend you turn on camera clipping in the editor, otherwise you will not be able to move the camera around.

The map is compressed into a small space in the editor so that the light grid has a better density on surfaces. I have included map compile options in the readme file and it works fine with q3map2 version 2.16. All the Q3A logic stuff is high above the map and is colour coded via textures to show the different functions used. Once I get a free moment I will sit down and go through some of the logic stuff because unless you are into scripting or coding it will be very difficult to follow. 
Skeleton Engine 
@necros, just use the source files I have just released.

@ijed, that is a nice presentation, thanks for the link. :) I liked the examples he showed for puzzles (portal/thief3).

@megaman, Q3 is just a skeleton of functions and it is really hard to do anything but DM stuff with it. You got 1024 entity limit across the map, 255 brush entity limit (doors, buttons). Two state movers that cannot toggle and rotating objects that don't stop moving and draw regardless of portals. A sound system with no volume control, no channel support or priority on sounds playing. No message HUD/text system besides center print. There is a good start! :p 
I Wonder 
Would it be theoretically possible to spawn a bot in a cage outside the playing field and push him around with doors and platforms (possibly clones of existing machines) in order to create additional puzzle setups? For example, I could imagine a dial-like puzzle - you know, like those games where you have to turn several dials in opposite directions to move a ball or chip around. Something along these lines. 
Re: 51 
i don't really know anything about q3 mapping or dp, i only mentioned it to see if you were interested. :S

the puzzles were a mixed bag for me. i understand that q3 has an extremely limited selection of scripting entities but it was still disappointing at times that some puzzles were easier to solve by just randomly hitting buttons.

also, just thought i'd mention this map looks absolutely fantastic. :) 
On My Play List For Sure 
Was already in the Sock "fan club" but I like what I've read about all the comments on the idea of this map. 
Re: #45 
That slideshow sums up a lot of what i would suggest to improve the puzzle design. Given the technical limitations of Q3 the puzzle mechanisms may not be able to change, so the best avenues of improvement are visual -- call attention to important things, limit distractions, improve feedback, emphasize state, represent identical function with consistent visual design, etc. -- and layout -- restricting player movement to focus their attention on a single room/puzzle at a time.

(many of these principles are already present in the level, e.g. consistent use of lights on switches, consistent use of the portcullis-needs-two-triggers mechanism, the only question is could they be pushed even further.) 
I Don't Know Why You Morons Hate The Puzzles 
They seemed pretty good to me. The one that arrqf gur gvzvat gb punetr gur onggrel hc threw me for a while, as V jnf ybbxvat sbe n guveq fjvgpu naq qvqa'g guvax gb gel gur svefg fjvgpu ntnva... so that took me a few minutes. It was during this time that I noticed that gur fjvgpurf yvtug hc jura gurl orpbzr npgvir, which would've helped with the one that causes it to crash for me. It might just be my computer that has issues with that area. Strange...

I don't know why... but I expected it to be longer. I would've liked something that was twice the length, or more. But given how this place reacts to puzzles (this map and 768_negke), it was some way beyond your audience...

I look forward to the sequel. Even if no-one else here does... 
I Do. 
Loved your work, Sock. I'm not a MP guy, subsequently not a q3a guy, so just the concept of SP q3a is a winner, by me.

The Looks are absolutely gorgeous, as you know, and puzzles, well, apporachable, I think. Beside that, you provided LOTS more hints than anyone else here does on their own maps as how to beat the sucker.

Great job. 
Loved It... 
and not for the sweet visuals alone ;) I enjoyed the puzzles, too -- I especially liked how the triggers/switches went inactive after they were completed -- but a few of the skull and target placements were a bit tough to find.

Great job all around, Sock! 
Lardarse 
Nice way of doing spoilers on this board! Good job!

...course, if we could get some kind of spoiler tag, that would be even better (and save the few seconds it takes to translate). Hint. Nudge.

It could be as simple as automating a [SPOILER] prompt before the text in said tags, and then setting the text in question to the background color to force the reader to highlight...

Also, I don't know why the morons hate the puzzles either. 
ROT13 Is Simple Enough 
There's even a Firefox plugin that will translate it for you... 
 
it would have been nice if you made the whole paragraph rot13 though...

http://operawiki.info/BookMarklets has a nifty bookmarklet for it. :)

pjw:



! :-) 
Pjw 
Also, I don't know why the morons hate the puzzles either.

Read this:

http://www.4shared.com/file/237525207/3108c2d7/RSmith_GDC09_PuzzlesAsUI_ForWe.html

:) 
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 ? 
Ijed 
You posted:

Read this:

http://www.4shared.com/file/237525207/3108c2d7/RSmith_GDC09_PuzzlesAsUI_ForWe.html


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! 
http://www.quaddicted.com/temp/demo0000.dm_68
http://www.quaddicted.com/temp/demo0001.dm_68
http://www.quaddicted.com/temp/demo0003.dm_68

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. 
@Spirit 
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. :( 
Oi! 
http://www.4shared.com/file/239328830/fddac1fc/demo0001.html

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. ^_^ 
Hm 
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. 
AAARRRGH ! 
I WANT MORE ! NOW !!

Hehehee! 
Beta Files 
Screenshot : http://www.simonoc.com/images/design/maps_q3/moteof_beta_all.jpg
Website : http://www.simonoc.com/pages/design/maps_q3/moteof_beta.htm

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 
Its 
dm_68 
ReRead 
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 
http://www.simonoc.com/files/maps/q3/tn_moteof_final2.jpg

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 : http://www.simonoc.com/files/maps/q3/moteof_final2.zip (49.1Mb) 
 
thanks for the correction, megaman.

found the demo buried in users/.../... (in a hidden folder, no less)

http://necros.quaddicted.com/temp/ne_moteof.zip
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 
@necros 
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. 
Yeah 
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. 
Medieval Court 
metlslime,

on your web site :

http://www.simonoc.com/pages/design/maps_q3/mcourt.htm

there's a superb moody map. Why can't we download it ? I would love to play it. Pppplease ? 
That's 
Not a metlslime map nor is it metlslime's website. 
Medieval Courtyard 
@Barnak, The map is just a doodle. It was something I did just to play around with a visual style. The map has no consideration for frame rate or performance and most of it you can see in the screenshots. Once I get some free time I will see if I can get it organized into a zip for download. 
Barnak: 
i just posted this news thread, the actual map (and others on that website) are sock's. 
 
i just nabbed the texture set, btw. great work on those. ^_^ 
Pixels 
@necros, cool. I assume you are going to try to use them in the Q1 engine? It would be cool to see what you come up with. I will keep an eye on the screenshot/beta section of this forum. 
Heh Yeah 
i decided to reinstall quake and get my editor set up and all that stuff... no promises on when anything will show up though, i'm still pretty burnt out on quake mapping atm. 
Crazy Puzzle Logic 
Example Puzzle Logic Image - http://www.simonoc.com/images/articles/puzzlelogic1a.jpg

I have always wondered about the idea of 3D scripting with the logic functions being defined as 3D shapes. A couple of years ago I started experimenting with a small set of entities to see what stuff I could create and the initial tests were a lot of fun.

Eventually the test maps turned into a huge single player puzzle map called Edge of Forever which consequently took forever to finish. Afterwards I was going to write an article about the puzzles in the map and then I realized, no one would be interested, the project was a crazy idea to start with!

After two years of avoiding the idea I recently found the time and energy to finish writing the article on puzzle logic I promised. Funny enough it turned out exactly how I imagined it would ... barking crazy!

http://www.simonoc.com/pages/articles/puzzlelogic1.htm

A big thank you to PJW for helping me with the proof reading of the document :) 
2 Years? 
geez, I still havent played it!! Will get right onto that. 
2 Years? Oh Snap. 
Review
After a quick check through this thread, I never mentioned that I wrote a review for this back then and for all this time, you might have been unaware... Throwing the link here just incase you haven't come across it yet; http://taw.duke4.net/2010/06/quake3/the-edge-of-forever/

Article
Read the article and it was interesting. Good, tidy presentation made it easier to read and diagrams were a nice touch.

Its neat to read the author's explaination about the ins/outs of their level, decisions made and how certain things worked, especially the complex stuff. I wish more people did this.

Infact, I should get off my butt and do one for my last release. Plenty to write about... 
Thought Process 
@Nitin, If you get stuck there is a demo (completing the map) included.
@Quakis, yeah I saw that a while ago, was very cool, I think I sent you a mail as well. I was surprised to see anyone (from func) review the map because it is Q3.

I do think it is a great shame that hardly any mappers here (func) talk about how they created their maps. I personally find the process of map construction really helpful, especially the fact I might learn some new tricks. I always thought the audio stuff that Valve did was perfect and made me want to play the maps again to see the final thought process. 
Would Be Nice 
to have it on fewer pages. Too much clicking involved to skim over it. 
Love Your Maps <3 
I guess those puzzles in "On the edge forever" are the peak of q3 mapping art.

Could'nt imagine to do something like this myself, would fuck my brain even more up as it is already.

Cant wait to play the "Florentine Libary"! 
 
@megaman, I split the article up into pages so the loads times would be better. Page 2 is also setup as an index, so people can choose which puzzle examples they want to look at next. Besides the page layout, what did you think of the article content?
@wakey, thanks, but The Florentine Library was a concept, it is not going to be released. The current screenshots show everything. 
 
The load times? What is this, the 90s? :) 
 
willem: browsers have limits on concurrent connections. I have lots of trouble on pages with many images like http://www.quaddicted.com/quake/episodes_maps

if anyone knows a fix (no split pages, no javascript) I would be delighted to hear it. 
 
What kind of trouble? That page loads smooth as silk for me in Chrome. 
 
It takes more than one minute to load for me. 
 
Oh, sure, it takes some time but it doesn't seem like a problem is what I'm saying. I don't care if the stuff further down the page is still loading while I'm looking at stuff at the top.

At any rate, I don't care, you do, let's move on. :) 
Several Pages 
Recently my logic puzzle article was linked to some coders newsfeed and got a couple of thousand hits, but I get the impression that most people did not realize that there were several pages. (Someone also commented they were surprised at more pages)

I use the classic word (x of y) at the top of the page and the next button + index at the bottom, is this not obvious enough?

Should I glue the page information (x of y) into the page title and replace the space with a big next button? If people are not finding it obvious that there are more pages I am inclined to think the layout/design is at fault. 
 
sock: To me it's quite obvious there are multiple pages (which is btw a good thing considering how slow your host is). It even says page x of 7 in the header. What you could do to make it a little (even) more obvious is put a "proceed to next page" link at the end of the text field.

Spirit: Uhhh, I wonder why you put everything on a single page. That's obviously overkill as it now has to load all the ~120 dark screenshots at once. Would be better if every episode had a page of its own. 
 
page x of y is fine, but just taking a quick look, the numbers on the bottom of the page don't really stand out.

well... not so much 'standing out' but that it's hard to tell that there is a highlighted page and i can see how someone might just dismiss it as random stuff around the page content without really paying attention to what it says.

i think putting the whole thing, buttons and numbers into a div/table with a bg colour would help. maybe the same colour as your subtitle <td>s (#427342). 
Load Times With Lots Of Images 
You can use CSS sprites for that (google the term). It's usually used for smaller icon type things, but it don't see why it wouldn't work for a page like that too. 
Or 
load the images when they become visible. For non-javascript-enabled browsers, fall back to load all on page load. 
Buttons 
@necros, I see what you mean, the bottom buttons don't look like buttons and just look weird. Probably best to create some frame for them and make them stand out more. I think I will glue the page x of y into the title and replace the page number space with a huge (glowing) next button! I don't want to glue all the pages into one mega page, my host is stupidly slow and people will never see anything load. 
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