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Map Jam 7 - Back To Base Released
Download (45 MB including Quoth): http://www.quaketastic.com/files/Jam7/MapJam7.zip

Screenshot medley:
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/Jam7/jam7.jpg

Map Jam 7 is a single player Quake experience employing the Quoth mod, comprising of a start map - jam7_start - and five technologically-inclined maps.

Thanks to the mappers that took part:
Bloughsburgh
Khreathor
Newhouse
ItEndsWithTens
Ionous

Please remember to record a demo of yourself playing each level. There's a few first-time mappers here, and I'm sure they'd love to get some feedback on their respective maps.
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Demos! 
Congrats to everyone for making the pack, I know I was a bit late in working on a map, but seeing what's in here has inspired me to keep at it.

Demos today are run on nightmare skill to showcase some of the differences.

Ionius
Probably the map out of the pack that captured the feel of the Than's original closest, a tall, waterlogged IDBase map. Excellent quality build throughout. Combat was balanced, the fight at the top of the ladder had a nice escalation without being too much at once. Wasn't sure I was taking the intended route at times, but the overall idea of decent to turn on the forcefields then ascend to cross them was always clear.

Khreathor
Some very creative setups in this map, the increasingly bizarre dispensers being just one example. There was good use of destructible parts in the map, one example where a fiend smashed through some crates as it leapt stood out. Combat was all about the grenade launcher in my run, being efficient with the shots and knowing when to switch it out. Some of the hordes towards the end were challenging but never unbeatable. I was going to complain about certain sections being too dark, but then I found the flashlight and I guess that was an intentional move.

Bloughsburgh
Another map with some very creative ideas. I won't spoil what the new powerup does, but it's a really neat idea executed well, which suddenly opens up the map in new ways like in a Metroid game. Combat was solid throughout, I appreciated the moments throughout where you could take a moment to plan an attack before things kicked off. The scripted moments in the ending fight also work well.

There are two demos, in the first I die right at the very end, in the second I go back and look for secrets after replaying and doing better, but the second demo is long and probably dull to watch. The map has loads to explore, in the end I got 8/10 secrets and 8/9 rings (but I could see the 9th ring from the intermission! Darn it!).

Newhouse
Solid first effort here, well built rooms and corridors, the control room in particular was very cool and atmospheric. I thought the strong coloured lighting looked good most of the time, there were patches of the map that were too dark - mostly around crates, which were hard to climb as a result.

As you might guess from the huge number of demos, combat was really tough. Maybe I didn't find enough secrets but I was running with only the LG and shotgun all map, so I had to tackle most fights by retreating to safer ground, and where I was locked in an arena the first attempt was usually not survivable. Still, got there in the end by the skin of my teeth.

ItEndsWithTens
Certainly the most impressive looking setpiece of the pack, I also thought the lift sequence at the start was really well put-together - reminded me of the Cassandra Calamity. Everything else was packed with gorgeous curves and not a misalignment in sight! The map had an interesting progression, being very open an undirected, but the monsters were placed well within it to not swamp the player all at once, it felt like something was going on the whole time. Like Negike said, it's a shame there wasn't a way to get more gameplay out of the map, but it was a jam so there's never time for everything.

Bonus
A demonstration that there is more that one way to die in the start map. Also spoils how to get to nightmare skill. 
 
It can be design flaw from my part that hard skill modes last section after GK. Only way to survive is to know at least 1-2 secrets, and one location that has a lot of large cell packs, so you have to leave from behind ammunition.. try to save cells no matter what.. it can be frustrating I admit that fact. But it's possible, so don't be scared trying it out after playing it couple times on normal mode - if anybody has that much energy to put in just one map (I guess not many) >_>; 
 
Ionous' map simply felt rushed to me, like there wasn't enough time to realize the idea in its entirety. Which is what I'm assuming actually happened. All the non-working doors hint at it.

What's there is very polished, pretty, and enjoyable, it just ends too quickly. I hope there are plans to expand the map still, like some authors did after previous jams. 
Demos And Feeback 
Ionous: Really liking the architecture here and the overall sheer vastness of the thing, but lighting is a bit flat overall and the layout is obviously bizarre and kind of disjointed due to time constraints. Probably the most normal map of the pack. I liked the use of speedbase in the flooded bits, nice touch.

Khreathor:
Vending machines were a very nice touch that really amused me. Map is dark as fuck but very entertaining to explore, even if it's very simple in the end. It reminded me of Hell in a Can if it was made by Digs. Very creative. A couple of things for your next map: don't use 'shoot me' textures if they're not a shootable button, I'm specifically referring to the zombie area and the computers with the targets on them, and display your key doors better with the keycard/key textures next to them.

Bloughsburgh:
That one came out of nowhere. By far the most creative of the bunch with some really funny ideas and overall good execution. The ladder physics are kind of finicky but that's beyond your control. Loved the exploration aspect in this one, even though I believe a couple of arrow pointers might have been a good idea. Personally I didn't get too lost but I have a naturally good sense of orientation. Balance was overall pretty good and monster distribution was well thought out. Ammo and health were about perfectly scarce on skill 3. Probably my favorite of the pack. It's very original, plays well and has a very bizarre atmosphere.

Newhouse:
Very striking aesthetics that do remind me of the base maps from Doom 64 (mostly due to the dark blue lights), but it's a bit too dark overall. I really enjoyed the fact that the Thunderbolt is the first weapon you find. I liked the silver key dispensers as well, nice touch, even though you should balance their contents a bit more imo. Monster distribution and balance were good... until you nab the gold key, where the map falls apart. You 'force' backtracking and spawn in new monsters (with a very cool Enforcer ambush, by the way) but you don't replenish ammo and health, which is not good. You can't expect a player to play the same as you do since you know the map inside out. I'd recommend either spawning in new items along the way or putting some in monster closets. Secrets were also too hard to find. I managed to get to two of them and found another one but even then it took me quite a while to find it and I couldn't shoot the button because no more ammo. :(
I did not finish this one because I got stuck with no health and no ammo after using the gold key controls.

You should fix that and re-release it, because it has crazy potential and like I said, the map plays fine until the GK.

ItEndsWithTens:
As usual, pretty damn outlandish. Nothing really crazy to say, it played well and looked pretty interesting. Really dug the sort of heart with blue veins, that was original. Maybe not enough enemies.


Very happy to see so many new faces here, especially when they release maps this good and interesting. Keep on mappin'!

Demos: https://www.dropbox.com/s/1fn5vmevg2ufgv6/jam7_demos.zip?dl=0 
Response To Skacky 
I appreciate your points, and it very important to get player point of view as well. I will release fixed/balanced version of the map, not right now, but later maybe this week.. if it's Monday for you already too. It would be very nice to get couple of people playtest it also, maybe I should visit #terrafusion and post test versions there? 
Void Skybox? 
thanks to all involved for my daily dose of quake.
-
that 154 MB void skybox is some kind of hidden elaborate joke? :-)
jakub 
No 
Just to have a pure black skybox, wasn't think about the file sizes, oh well. 
*skyblack 
job done, couple kilobytes :P 
 
Bloughsburgh's map was probably my favorite as well. Nothing like a little bit of well-realized optional exploration to keep me interested. The reward was a little disappointing (I didn't get the reference), but finding everything was rewarding in its own way.

My only gripe is that it's very easy to get stuck in the pipe leading to the final encounter. Next time I won't wear a tie.

I played khreathor's map first, and it was pretty trippy. Was annoyed by darkness at first, but after some time it started to feel like a natural part of the map's charm, much like with the level by NewHouse. Since nails are practically free, navigating in the darkest corridor wasn't that hard, and it was something fresh.

Wrecking the environment while blowing up zombies was a nice touch. For some reason I almost expected the whole place to go up at some point - just to deconstruct the eternal trope of the protagonist mindlessly blasting everything with little to no consequence. 
 
Oh, and the secret items near the gold key seem pretty redundant, at least if you visit the gold door first. 
 
Wow, really good so far after playing just one map. I started the second, but I'll save it for later. I started with the slipgate to the left / first level and finished that. I didn't find the one secret. It is amazing this was made in such short time. The brushwork is beautiful and spectacular. I didn't see a nightmare difficulty selection hidden on the start map. It looks like the first map by Ionous does not have a music track selected. I also noticed on the start map that it looks like there is a texture missing if you look out on the edge of the window to the left toward the left. 
Nightmare Spoiler 
I didn't see a nightmare difficulty selection hidden on the start map.

It's there, if you really need to reach it and need a hint...look straight up immediately before you enter the room with the slipgates. 
Just Watched All Demos 
Notes taken. Already have few ideas how to fix and update weak points.
I'm surprised no one found spawn troll trap :D

dwere:
Yeah you are right, this secret is kinda lame.
Originally this map was supposed to be twice as big.
So if you would get 2nd part of the map (instead of current ending), it would have much more sense.
But my ambition faced reality and I had to cut stuff off to make it on time, but the secret room stayed...

Anyway many thanks for demos and comments!
Keep them coming :) 
Color Correction 
It seems like I really should use indeed normal lights almost white colors and then adding "gels" "color layers" over them. That way lighting should be much brighter. But of course adding value about 50 - 75 up what I used, but those are just my guess - I have to figure out what works in this case. 
Dem Demos 
Negke - I never checked underwater after lowering the generator...that is some crazy z-fighting. I never really used SKIP but now it makes sense where to sensibly apply it as the base of the falls did bother me at some point. I actually am aware of the void light trick, but since Bob was basically the only enemy to be affected I sort of enjoyed the bright red eyes effect for him.

Still, it would be good to have a primer on the trick as I only dug it out deep within the mapping thread.

Shambler - Another well played run, and it was nice to see Skill 1 this time! I laughed at your reaction to your first safety net fall and when you discovered you were not worthy haha.

Preach - Thank you for the comments, a big part of some of those secrets to work was due to you! (Jumping through rings and making them phase out, sound entities, etc.) Watching the second demo was not dull as I wanted to see what secret hunting looked like. I read somewhere that the player should always start a level without being immediately threaten by danger...even if just for a few seconds.

Dwere - No demo, but thank you for the comments. There is really no reference...yet I guess. The last secret was also present in "A Horse Named Quake" and I intend to always have it in each of my releases. The last secret is just meant to show you conquered my map in terms of exploration I suppose. I did try to test for getting stuck in the wind pipe but apparently not enough!

Skacky - Wow thank you for the comments! To level with you, "A Horse Named Quake" was directly inspired by your "Dysnystaxis" map. So to hear critique from you is something important to me. Bizarre and exploration was definitely something I was going for when creating the map. I will take time to throw markers or pointers at key points in future maps.

I will further watch and comment on any future demos but for now, a few things I will take from this map:

-More visual language in form of "by example" and texture markers.

-Don't rely on a gimmick too heavily for the main path (Ladders)

-Make NoClip/NoTarget runs looking for texture and z-fighting specifically.

-Try to become stuck in the map even if it seems no player would do so.

-Do not assume players will find secrets, even easy ones.

Thank you all! 
Thank You All Being Honest. 
I just want to thank you all pointing out things that didn't make it quite pleasure to play. I try to be not so blind now on.

I started fixing lighting yesterday, I'm going to make more enemies comes from closets so I can at the same give the meaning where they all come from and also be able to give the player possibility to pick up ammunition from those closets, because simply spawning them to previous areas where they were before could feel a bit weird, and just leaving "enough" cells/shells doesn't work, because people don't like backtracking unless there is no action going on. So maybe it is logical kind of feed the player while giving him more to shoot, going back to find ammo is not good design.

Also things like jumping over one tiny lamp on ground wasn't that great idea, because I didn't explained or made it clear to the player earlier, maybe if I had made one room before everything where you must use something like that to get up boxes.. so now I just place it box so player can just easily go over them and pick up "easy silver key secret".. also I tried to give more lighting to that control center secret button.. I changed two secrets right after main hall door (start of gold key path) where is that blue-ish thing that has couple boxes in middle of it it has one too small button on ground which you can shoot and that opens in front of your nose quad damage secret and in that same place very clear was also rocket launcher secret.. if you jump from top over those boxes that has one door "broken" flashing red lights, there was one button also you can shoot.. so I thought in my head that when player picks up items he could have looked that button that was right in front of their eyes but I guess players are too focused on something else. But I buttons now much bigger and changed texture to "shoot me arrow" button, same what I used in control center area. So there is going to be many changes, but hopefully many of those will make it much more easier to find, when new players want to try it out.

Release will be some kind of 0.5 version, because I had in my plans to extend this map.. but because it has enough length even in this form, maybe it's better to quickly fix and release this attempt as well. I needed to get rid of many parts that were part of the original vision I had, but it really is not that big of a deal really, map works with or without those parts. 
Great 
Using the criticism given to update your map can only lead to a more improved experience.

Looking forward to your re-release and take your time...no deadline this time! ;) 
What A Relief 
Yeah, it feels much different, good luck for your mapping too* maybe in next jam is even more people involved.

Looking forward to your new-content too* 
@NewHouse 
It is great to see this first release that even has difficulty settings implemented.

On skill 0, the player seems to get locked in the control center. The bars open when the final 4 monsters are killed. However, two of them are not present on easy. Even after having killed 39/39 enemies, a centerprint says 'only 2 more to go...'.

This should be an easy fix for the upcoming release, which I am very much looking forward to. 
@parubaru 
Absolutely, thanks for pointing that one out, I didn't even notice. I playtested normal/hard mode only and didn't even touched easy mode I just expected it to work, so I'm terribly sorry something like that happened. But all those will be fixed soon during this week. 
Skill 1. 
Oh the SHAME. 
I Played These Maps 
they were good. 
Skill 0 
Welp, that is life I guess. Hopefully I will not make too much frustrated/angry people towards me because of that mistake I made. Though release will gonna fix at least that, and many more problems it had. 
 
If anybody would be interested playtesting today or tomorrow? I will share it through my google drive. 
Testing 
NewHouse, I would be glad to test the map. 
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