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Rubicon 2 Released!
Rubicon 2 is a new Q1SP experience with three large single-player levels, plus a custom mod featuring new enemies, sounds, textures, mapmodels, hazards, and more. It should run with any Quake engine, but for the optimal experience I recommend Fitzquake or any derivative engine such as Quakespasm or RMQ.

Screenshots / Readme / Download (9.5mb)
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Beautifully Detailed, Solid Gameplay 
The opening map has a lovely feel with references of E1M1 and the extra help on the menu is a really nice touch. First time I have seen that done in custom content. I was surprised but I read the readme file so was prepared, I thought! :)

The first map is breathtaking on detail with particle effects, ladders, railings, hatchways and boxes littered at odd angles everywhere. The lasers are a really nice touch with the key doors having colour coded panels next to them to keep the visual language consistent.

The game play is up close and personal most of the time and the layout is like some crazy rabbit warren, weaving all over the place. There are several main routes that go through water for no apparent reason, which seems odd, especially as the theme is tech and it is trying to maintain scale and a believable environment. This was highlighted by the fact you had arrows on a wall point down into the water. I imagine because without the arrows it would not have been obvious to go down.

After I got the gold key I was lost and wandered around looking for the gold key door for a while. The flow of the level worked well in some places but felt disjointed in others. Played on easy so I could see the place and enjoy the visuals more first time through the maps. The set pieces (especially the dam) was amazing, I loved how you progressed from one side to the other.

Map 2 started out with weird flow, you arrive on a platform with water below and no natural route down? There is a lift, but it set to go up all the time. There are teleporters but all of them are locked, did not make any sense. Eventually jumped down and found the half pipe tunnel (looked amazing) and worked my way through the complex. It was very dark inplaces, could not see some mobs.

I liked the concept you did for the turrets, especially later on when you put mobs on top of them as well. The initial presentation of the turret was perfect. The turning speed was not too fast which gave me time to look around for clues. Eventually when I found the trick I looked up and saw there was huge diagrams on the walls! doh! Very cool idea and probably more important to me, it was presented to the player really well.

Again the environmental detail, architectural shapes and flow around areas was amazing. I especially liked the final gold key building, the exterior looked like it could physically stand up. Having structures that look believable with a good choice of materials really helps to sell the whole environment immersion.

Map 3 started out weird again, jumping down some huge hole in the ground to water below. It was a nice touch having the door close after a certain time limit. The map felt a lot bigger and certainly had a nice feel of epic space to move around in.

The only map to kill me a couple of times and cheap deaths as well, falling off ledges while fighting with no railings around. :/ Probably the best implementation of the flame guy because when it was introduced it was up close and personal (even thou the map was huge).

Lots of weaving up and over and plenty of 'Oh I was down there' moments. The level detail was nice and the crane was a cool surprise. Most of the rooms had beautiful architectural shapes (angled support beams, high ceilings, solid supports). I laughed when I got to the final room, I was thinking 'I bet I will get locked in here with lots of enemies' and it happened right on cue!

Overall an amazing release for Q1 with a strong theme and solid gameplay. Plenty of down time between encounters and occasional surprises. I certainly will be playing this map pack several times on different skill levels!

The only problem for me was the textures, they looked too low-resolution. It was made worse by the fact that everything is so close to the player. (small spaces). Coupled with the level of detail, it felt disjointed. Tech maps in Q1 are like the uncanny valley of game visuals, they are trying to be modern with human scale detail (keyboards, doorways) but it all feels too low resolution and clunky. 
 
are you playing with texture filtering? if so, try disabling it. might feel more "high-res" than the blur. 
Default Settings 
I was using the default settings for FitzQuake. I checked the readme file and it did not suggest any other settings. I downloaded the textures (wad file) to see what they looked like and they are Q1 size, which to me is low-resolution. As said previously, the game play and level design were awesome, I was just expecting some external high resolution texture pack and did not find any. 
 
thanks for the feedback, sock. I knew map 1 had weird layout, but was suprised to hear that you thought the hub room of map 2 was strange (forcing the player to drop down.) I guess I like exploration, and I like "interesting" traversal in maps, so I take it to extremes in my own levels, which I think is a positive, but sometimes produces rooms where the way forward is unintuitive, which I should try to improve on.

Surprised to hear a complaint about textures, I guess since you are more of a Q3 person you are used to higher res as a default. I have considered making a higher res texture pack for rubicon2, it probably wouldn't be that hard assuming I can find the time to do it.

Question for the crowd: if I did make a high-res texture pack for rubicon2, what res should it be? I'm leaning towards 2x res, since the higher you go the more jarring it is to see high-res images on low-res geometry, and the monster and item skins are jarring too. And if you try to fix the monster skins, you end up highlighting how bad the UV mapping is on those guys. So then I need to fix the UV mapping... 
 
I think high colour is more important than high-res. Wouldn't go more than 4x, 2x sounds OK (agree with you about the jarring aspect of it - I find that even skyboxes look "wrong" in Quake maps). 
Metl 
4x pls :) And monster skins for your unique monsters or all of them. And be sure to include hi-res assets skins too. I'll definitely re-play. Cheeky to ask for normals :S 
 
2x should be fine, yeah. 
Texture Density 
@Metlslime, I do enjoy exploring levels but the theme of your map was tech (human scale architecture), which implies at least the possibility of realistic foot routes. One of the two initial routes could of gone downwards via a curved staircase to the lower floor. The lift on the other side was not obvious because its default was up. IMHO artist theme should have an impact on layout because you want the environmental immersion which comes from the art and sound.

Unless you are planning to use the texture set again, I would not do anything hi-res. Once you start upgrading one part of the visuals, all of the others pieces look odd and disjointed. This is the art problem with any of the current Q1 mods, texture density across all assets has to look the same. Otherwise the technical limitations of how the assets are put together starts to look obvious. 
Moster Skins 
Grunt is barely ~60 units hight, the skin is 200 units high... draw your conclusion. 
 
What conclusion do I draw from that? At higher screen resolutions you'll see all of those extra pixels as you get closer to the grunt ... ?? 
"could Of" 
AAAAH!




... sorry. 
"could Of" 
AAAAH!




... sorry. 
... 
 
But If You DO Remake Textures 
Make them as high resolution as possible, and then scale them down and release the high-res ones for others to use (in other projects) as well! ;-) 
Wow. Nice Work 
I have to admit that I've not played any Quake in ages, nor done any mapping, and was aware that there are a few relatively recent releases that I should check out, this being one of them. Since today has been a rare PC gaming day, I just spent the last hour or so playing through Rubicon 2 (on normal, because it's been a while).

Great architecture, great lighting, nice work on improving the ambient sounds, fucking nice textures that work great with the lighting (I especially liked the white concrete and rusted girders on map 2) and the gameplay was awesome too.

At first I thought the new enemies were a bit pointless because there are similar enemies in Quoth that you could have used, but they flamethrower guys were much tougher here due to the fact you continue to burn for quite a while after you get hit. The flying guys were a little less annoying than BOBs, and the walking dustbin enemy was quite fun to fight in numbers, and despite his cuteness (especially the one that had fallen over on the training course in map two) managed to fit in quite well.

Oh, I also liked the recurring laser platform set piece. Nice way to completely obliterate my health... actually, I figured it out pretty much instantly the first time I saw it, but there were a couple of times they were combined with grunts etc. and I got owned. Still lots of fun, and reminded me of something I wanted to put in a base map a few years ago but didn't (it was similar but used nails and you had to pop a grenade down to turn it off. Was inspired by HL2 floor sentries).

I don't think I ever felt lost during my playthrough, which is amazing considering how dark and similarly textured the maps are. I think the way you lead the player around with lighting, enemy placement, textures and set piece architectural areas worked great.

Some of the areas in the game really felt like they were inspired a lot by the first half-life - particularly CZGs map and the main atrium with teleporters and the big tunnel in map 2.

Anyway, great, inspiring work. 
Glad You Enjoyed It Than! 
 
Sublime 
Well, I've got years of Quake releases I need to catch up on, so I figured I'd start with this pack.

Not much for me to say apart from if I could give a standing ovation over the internet, I would, so just imagine me standing up and clapping at my monitor. (I'm only wearing pants, if it helps).

Releases like this only remind me that Quake is truly immortal; if Quake's not old after 16 years - and maps like these prove that it's clearly not - then it never will be, and that's a comforting thought, especially when this is living proof that you don't even need to deviate from the classic Quake gameplay to create little nuggets of gaming gold.

I'll admit I played on easy; whether that was because I'm becoming a much more casual gamer as I get older (and I think a lot of us undergo this change, tending to be less tolerant of frustration or grind than we were as young 'uns), or whether it was because I feared years of Quake abstinence had dulled my sk1ll0rz, I'm not sure.

Whatever the case though, the gameplay grabbed my attention enough that in the end I regretted not whopping the difficulty up a bit more. Ultimately, it matters not - I had an enormous amount of fun as there was still enough challenge to keep me on my toes, and the timeless Quakeiness of key/button/door interplay with looping layouts was as gleefully cunning and satisfying as it's ever been.

I loved most things about the maps, so I'll mention just a few:

- Weapon restraint. Quake is at it's best when you don't have the SNG, RL or LG in your inventory and it was great to see these maps hold back on that (for the most part). Similarly I liked the way your weapons reset in the hub, so that you could enjoy that delicious weapon progression again on the next map.
- Map themes - the maps combined to create a cohesive whole yet each had a really strong secondary theme that individualised them - whether it was the sublimely awesome dam in that one map, the half-lifeiness of the other metl map, or the czg-ness of the czg map...
- Flamethrower dudes were by far my favourite addition to the bestiary as they had a truly different type of attack to what we've already seen, but I liked the others too; Floyd had a surprising amount of personality for what's essentially a tin can.
- The steam blast traps were brilliant - I've never seen a better use for Quake's sprites - and an honorable mention goes to the flamethrower on those dudes too - the effect works really well.
- Textures, sounds and br�shv�rk - 'nuff said :}

A million thumbs up. :} 
Than/Kinn: 
thanks for the lengthy feedback.

- than, apsp1 was actually a direct inspiration for rub2m1; I really liked the feeling of traversing a big spiraling layout that looped around a center, so I tried to recreate that with the main tower section.

- part of the reason I didn't use quoth enemies is quoth didn't exist when I started making this pack. But, I'm glad I wrote my own code because then I could add specific features I wanted (steam traps, lasers) that wouldn't have been available otherwise. Once Quoth was out I tried to make my flame guys play differently, though, so they didn't seem like clones.

- I've had a few comments that the maps were "Half Life inspired" and I haven't even played the game! I guess I should (I did enjoy HL2 though, so the same kind of influences could have reached me through there.)

- Kinn, I agree about the low-end weapons, I feel that especially in a base map with low-HP enemies, the big guns are too overpowered, unless you turn it into a horde map. I feel like smaller, tactical encounters feature the enemies better, since each enemy matters.

- I wish I had used the steam traps more; what you see in there was basically the "tutorial" encounter to introduce the mechanic; I was planning on following up later with more of a puzzle (i.e. multiple valves, multiple pipes, where you have to observe which pipe goes where.) But that got cut for scope; maybe I'll build something like that for my next map... 
Nice 
It's always great when people complement your work, but the best complement is when it inspires the work of someone else. Very happy that apsp1 was an inspiration!

I agree with you guys about low end weapons being more fun, but if the ammo is kept low for the real powerful stuff (RL, shaft) and there aren't enough nails to make the SNG a staple or it is introduced later, this can also work. I also know pretty much exactly how long to hold down the fire button to kill any enemy with the SNG after all these years of playing, and it's very satisfying. Anyway, no problems with Rubicon 2's balance in this regard.

Anyway, like I said, Rubicon 2 was really inspiring stuff, and I'd love to make a map using the progs and textures if I get time.

By the way, this is perhaps warrant for discussion in itself, but are there any modern games that have this kind of level design (or design similar to typical Quake maps)? I can't think of a single game, but I haven't played that many recently; SS3, Duke, Bulletstorm and Rage are about the only shooters I played recently, and none of them had particularly interesting level layouts or vertical maps. Level design seems really dumbed down these days, or has very different objectives at least.

I heard Crysis 2 levels were quite vertical. 
 
I wondered about that last year, still haven't found any game like it. http://www.celephais.net/board/view_thread.php?id=23795&start=4444&end=4461

Prey maybe but I really did not like the demo. 
Than: 
they're not exactly the same, but I feel that Metroid Prime and Dead Space both share some commonalities with Quake, in terms of level design. The Metroid series especially has inspired Rubicon 2. I would say that Dead Space has too, but I didn't play it until R2 was almost finished. 
Ooh 
yeah, you are right about Metroid Prime!

Dead Space was pretty nice from what I played (about half of it) and I do seem to remember the route passing through a couple of areas multiple times. 
LD In Current Games 
I know it's old and it's a massive oversimplification but there's more than a hint of truth in it isn't there?

http://rampantgames.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/BITmX.jpg 
 
eh, i've seen that before. the problem is, those two images are not comparable. one is a representation of gameplay, the other is just a 2d map.
it's just a stupid picture.

besides, if you analyze the route of that doom map (or whatever it is), it'll come to nearly the same as the other side except minus the cutscenes. 
Replayed 
Man, this would make such a bitching Q2 unit. 
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Website copyright © 2002-2017 John Fitzgibbons. All posts are copyright their respective authors.