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New Q1SP: "Curse Of The Golden Skull Key" By Naitelveni
Poster [instead of screenshot]:
http://www.mediafire.com/convkey/5cc9/5mel25mq2ap954uzg.jpg?size_id=8

Map Download [also including poster]:
http://www.mediafire.com/file/jcomo55ebkf3n73/CurseOfTheGoldenSkullKey.zip
[Requires Quakespasm, not Fitzquake]

The map is an ID1 map and my first solo release. I was influenced by the original maps in quake. The diffuclty is very hard and at times punishing of mistakes. It takes me around 10-15 minutes to finish the map.

Build time was about 8 days with 2 days of bug fixes, balaning and tweaking. The poster took me 2 days. About, 10 hours of work.

THank you: Ionous and Khreathor for beta testing, Vondur for helping me with triggering. and the mapping help community here at func.

Thank you for playing, Good luck and have fun!

Edit: Screenies!
http://i.imgur.com/2FnkNun.png
http://i.imgur.com/3m86aFd.png
http://i.imgur.com/UwzAUAR.png
http://i.imgur.com/sztNgr0.png
Quite Hard, A Bit Confusing, But Good 
Proper Quake vibe in this one.

It's a bit dark, has some strange design choices in a few areas and a few rough edges but I enjoyed myself here. Skill 2 is definitely challenging, and the map throws some novel combat scenarios at you. Some of them do feel a little cheap however. Mostly when you are teleported somewhere and are surrounded by enemies ;) 
 
Demo - Skill 2

Still need some balancing at the end. I finished it with ~7 HP and 0 ammo. Had to lure final shambler away from exit, because he was blocking it and I couldn't axe him with 7HP...
Maybe ammo shortage is because of my my shitty skills, idk.

I agree with Daz, being teleported and instantly surrounded by enemies is not cool ;)

Visually map looks good! You just have to work more on enemy encounters and some balancing with your next map. 
Cool Gonna Play Very Soon. 
Not sure about the need for an advertising poster, but hey maybe it could work:

https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-49uRtoeUYDo/WM60N84FAZI/AAAAAAAAAmU/YdofPBIYvHYrZrSoRcexK-B6MhfEnqOIwCLcB/s1600/curseofTHEposter.jpg ?? 
Hardest Easy Map I've Played For Awhile... 
...I agree with Daz, proper Quake vibe.

I'm not a fan of using wall texz for floors.

Glad I got to know the main atrium layout thoroughly first time through, as it meant I knew exactly where to go for safety when the attempted arse rape occurred at the end.

Good use of out of the way spots for ammo...just nowhere near enough of it.

I didn't get back to the armoury, not sure why as it would've helped.

Non-sourced lighting added to the old-skool effect but some may not like it.

Khreathor's last comment hits the spot. 
Excellent Map ! 
Unique visuals and animated features. Strong map. 
Some Screenshots For Those Wondering What The Map Looks Like. 
http://i.imgur.com/2FnkNun.png
http://i.imgur.com/3m86aFd.png
http://i.imgur.com/UwzAUAR.png
http://i.imgur.com/sztNgr0.png

About the map: Good stuff, only complaint is that it's a bit too dark in some places, but the gameplay is pretty fun. Good job. 
Thanks Breezeep 
 
I Saw The Poster 
And thought I was looking at a book cover... It is cool and all, but as others have said, maybe some screenshots too.

I'll have a look at the map soon :) 
Played On Nightmare Difficulty 
Architecture and designs were very nice and also the mood in overall. A bit dark in some places, almost drop down accidentally because I didn't see the edge.

I had a lot of problems to stay alive, run out of ammo constantly. Had to use save games a lot, and also switch to god mode at the very end. Thankfully I managed to glitch some enemies like shamblers to shoot lighting on the floor in some parts so they didn't kill, but if they run towards me and I was on low health I basically couldn't do anything. I have couple shells and just grenades.

http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/goldenskull_nh.zip 
Wow. 
Really fun map. Was quite surprised given how it was apparently really hard and challenging and finishing with 7 HP etc (I finished with 100/100, about 30 of each ammo type?). I had to check part way through that I wasn't on easy skill as it wasn't the brutal gruelathon I expected at all. Instead it was fairly challenging, exciting in several places, but really good action. I liked the scale for the gameplay as it gave you plenty of room to move and dodge and stuff, similarly the ambushes got the pulse raising but almost always gave an escape route or good space (something that is really important). Also getting a good hoard of weapons was nice, the last arena felt a bit like Doom4 style with solid enemies, constant movement, and high powered weapons. I liked the scrag horde too.

That's a lot of words about gameplay but it was good. The only real issue I had was once you're on the upper levels and you drop down, it's tedious to get back up. The GA secret teleporter should have been low down for that. Also the health packs accessible from the double vore room....with a pack of voreballs behind you, you're not getting those first time so have to trek around the top again. On the subject of which the 2 vores and the slime raft ride might have been a bit too hard without the secret SNG??

Design was good, some real strong styles with the yellow cube lights on the angled....things. Good design hook that. The upper area above the swamp quite pretty impressive too. Other areas were good but sometimes didn't keep the theme going as well, and sometimes the large areas of plain textures were a little bit bland. Maybe this was because the scale felt slightly large - maybe if everything had been scaled down to 90% of the current size, it would have looked better. Also, too many crates, fun to hide items behind but a bit repetitive.

Basically it's mostly really good and a lot of fun but the 10 hours fucking around with a poster should have been spent refining the aesthetics and player path a bit to make it truly great.

Demo: http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/goldensham.zip 
Congrats On Your First Solo Release 
Haven't played the whole thing (yet -- see below), but here are some first impressions (SPOILERS):

It looks nice. You've learnt a lot since SOOFA, and it shows. I liked SOOFA, but this looks a lot more professional -- yet it still has that distinctive aesthetic touch that your maps have. There are certain things that could still be a little better, such as some slightly dodgy texturing here and there (e.g. a crate with a misaligned side, and the radiation warning sign near the slime river, which has a panel cut off mid-texture on both sides), and for my personal taste, the coloured lighting is a bit too saturated. Overall, though, the map looks good.

Not a fan of the gameplay, though. There have been two instances -- so far -- where I found it unfairly hard on skill 1.

One is where your are sealed in a small room with two Vores and no cover. I did manage to survive that encounter after a few tries, though, so maybe I'm being unfair, but it still felt inappropriate for skill 1.

The second instance is the ride on the raft on the river of slime, where you are then attacked while only having that tiny moving platform on which to move around. That kind of setup annoys me anyway, but what really bugged me was that you are then faced with a Shambler as well, and there is no way of avoiding taking lots of damage. The only way I managed to survive that encounter and kill the Shambler was to use the Quad secret, but then I was stuck on the Quad platform, and the only way off was to jump into the slime and die (which strikes me as poor design).

This is the point where I gave up. The only way I can see myself maybe surviving that encounter is by starting the map again from the very beginning and making virtually no mistakes up to that point, and I didn't have the patience for that.

I know you deliberately made the map hard, so maybe I'm simply not the right target audience for it. 
More Feedback ... Sorry! 
(SPOILERS)

Having read Shambler's comment above (#10), I gave this another go. This time I had more health at the beginning of the raft ride, and I survived by grabbing the quad and then immediately hoping back onto the raft (it took a few tries to do this). I finished the rest of the map and found 4 out of 5 secrets, excluding the SNG mentioned by Shambler in post #10.

What I noticed this time around, is that if you don't find any secrets, you are only given the regular shotgun, regular nailgun and grenade launcher. Both the SSG and the SNG are hidden in secrets, and I suspect it's impossible (or at least nearly impossible) to survive that raft ride without either having the SNG, or using the Quad secret.

And if, for the sake of argument, you do survive that part without having found any secrets, you're still stuck fighting really powerful monsters with only the regular shotgun and regular nailgun (and the GL, to be fair) -- which is doable but tedious. It's as if the map wasn't designed to be played without finding the secrets, and that feels like bad design to me (unless you're deliberately making a map like dwsecret, sm104, xplore or the explore jams. As this is a regular map, it should in my opinion be perfectly playable without the secrets; they should add another dimension to gameplay, but not be required).

Ok, so as I was writing this I thought I should check to see if I hadn't just stupidly missed certain weapons, and I noticed (while noclipping through the map) that there is also a lightning gun. But it's so hidden away that it might as well also be a secret. And if you don't drop down to that area, you don't get another chance to get the LG, because once you pass through the teleporter, there's no way back. There's also the rocket launcher in the armoury, but there is no clear indication as to when that opens, and the map doesn't seem to lead you back to it -- again, this might as well be a secret.

Sorry for being so negative. I don't mean to tear down your work; rather I mean this as constructive feedback. 
 
total_newbie:
It was actually constructive feedback, and i do appriciate it.

The raft part is going to kill you if you arent stacked with armor and ammunition. i played the map on nightmare and without secrets, ofc as the author of the map it was fairly easy.

The difficulty of the map for me was a design choice, I knew it was going to devide alot of people. and most of the feedback is that its too hard. I do recommend that if it feels difficult shamelessly play it on easy! I actually played Arcane Dimensions on easy when i played it for the first time because i wanted to enjoy the game and not die constantly, and for my second play thru of AD i played on hard.

Im very happy that you enjoyed the visuals! In the boxes copy pasting sometimes missaligned the the texture even thou i had texture lock on. and i was fixing those errors alot, seems like i missed some! As for the floors, Episode 1 used the bricks on floors and i took the idea from that, it thought it works, but again many of you dont think it works that well.

The orange light is dominating in the colored lights, there is some light magenta at places. but the ornage light is more saturated, I've actually adviced against saturated coloured light my self at one point, but here I thought it worked.

Thanks for review Total_Newbie!

Shambler:
Glad you enjoyed the map!
I was on a tight timeline, i actually missed my original deadline, i was aiming for. 1 week of buildtime and the poster. There are some areas that show this, the boxes that are placed for most of the map are a sign of this, an easy remedy for empty rooms. The slime outdoor area could have been designed to be abit smaller and the last fight area was also hastily built.
Its nothing im really that unhappy about, but if I would have set my self a longer deadline i would have set my self higher standards.

Breezeep: Thanks! :)

DaZ: you played very well! most players die atleast once!

NewHouse: thanks for playing m8! Too dark for YOU?! I thought it would have been too bright for you. :D 
 
Lighting was good in general, there was just one part in a top section where I didn't even see the edge and I almost fall down, and knowing how long route you need to go to get back up ;) 
About Skill Settings... 
I'm glad you didn't take my feedback the wrong way.

The bricks-as-floors comment wasn't from me; I didn't mind it myself. :)

I do recommend that if it feels difficult shamelessly play it on easy!
--> I purposefully play all maps on the same skill setting when assessing and comparing them. My current personal skill level is such that normal is the difficulty level I'm comfortable with (with respect to the vast majority of maps) -- so if a map is far too hard or far too easy for me on normal, that for me is an indication that something may be wrong with the map. To put it another way, if I have to switch to "easy" in order to get a "normal" level of difficulty, then "easy" is too difficult in turn (and would have been too difficult e.g. for me, back when I was an "easy"-level player).

Of course this is not an exact science and some maps are harder than others and that's fine, but I still think that there is a certain range of acceptable difficulty for each skill setting, and that saying a map (or in this case, certain sections of a map) is too hard on skill 1 can be a valid criticism -- and that asking the player to switch to skill 0 is not the solution.

I actually played Arcane Dimensions on easy when i played it for the first time because i wanted to enjoy the game and not die constantly, and for my second play thru of AD i played on hard.
--> Yeah, but see, that only works if the maps have been properly balanced and calibrated for the respective skill settings. You wouldn't have been able "to enjoy the game and not die constantly" if the AD maps were too hard on skill 0.


But that's just my opinion and maybe I'm completely wrong. And of course I respect that you see things differently. 
 
Nait,remember me?
I'm gonna try your map. 
Reload Selectah. 
Okay so I read some more comments and it got me thinking that maybe I was pretty lucky on my playthrough, i.e. I got 4/5 secrets including the crucial SNG and Quad ones.

I replayed it without getting any secrets AND without using the stash AND doing the "Shambler sewer tunnel" first in the final arena (harder cos both Shamblers are aggroed when you exit that tunnel), and died once and that was in the SK door room because I'd stupidly got hit by a Fiend twice outdoors and messed up the Ogre ambush. The DBS / GA secret is REALLY hard to ignore as you see the shootable switch so many times.

Anyway the rest of it went fine. Lost a total of 90 AP+HP on the raft ride (you get a GA before so I started on 100/100). Exited with 100/100, 60 shells 50 nails 30 grenades 0 cells. I might have struggled as a first playthrough but then if I struggle I'm going to actively hunt for secrets. As it was I forgot about the ambush after the SK door teleporter and the knight ambush in the Vore sewer tunnel and they were still fun.

Oh, I spotted another progression glitch - the bridge stays closed after the raft ride so you can't re-collect any spare ammo there.

In retrospect I agree with some comments about a few of the trickier locations. The raft would be a pain if you fell off - although it is a good size to begin with. Providing a YA there and a GA later would have been better, as would a teleporter by the Quad platform. The 2 Vore room could have had 1 vore on normal and 1 vore and the exit open on Easy.

I think it's small tweaks that could improve things, not big changes.

The DBS as a secret is fine, if you miss that one you should give up playing Quake full stop.

Nait for a short build time this is really good. The end room combat actually feels deliberately designed, for example. I also like that is is very Id style but also pushes the design a bit.

Definitely keep the mapping going! 
*Edit*. 
Shambler tunnel LAST in the main arena. 
 
Very childish shambler* 
 
Where that last poster mix post went? 
 
Yes like Shambler I finished with 100% health and a LOT of rockets, almost full cells and nails. I was mostly using rockets for the last 30 enemies. There were a number of hairy moments though, but in particular having you on the raft with the Shambler above - no cover, no sng for me, in fact I was lucky to even spot the dsg. Without that the level would have been a real chore, so next time out I'd definitely recommend not hiding it in a secret area. The sg is no fun for a full level that's challenging as it is.

But yeah so escaped the raft on 2% health haha. The 2 vores trap I avoided since you can pickup the gk without triggering the trap. Realised that after the first time they killed me and the exit door opened anyway.

Plus a couple other Shambler reveals (with no cover and no sng) were painful. Otherwise it was all pretty good, nice old skool style I could imagine this being in the game. Just keep working on that detail, it's not at Sock level yet. 
 
Demo on nightmare, no secrets:
https://www.mediafire.com/?c2dc7oe7q6zf1as

I Will dial down the difficulty tomorrow and reupload the map. 
 
Thank you~ will definitely play more, if it is a bit more packed with the ammo. 
 
Finished on hard. No deaths, plenty of ammo by the end but I used a bunch of cheap infighting (especially in the last area, getting ogres/knights/fiends in a big brawl).

I think most of the times you used Shamblers were 'cheap', ie damage was unavoidable, especially on a first playthrough. Having a shambler drop on you in a room with no cover isn't particularly entertaining, even if you can shambler-shuffle :) Worst example being the one in the raft section. Zero cover, I'd used my nail ammo up by that point and I couldn't even get close to zone it.

The Vores were good though, there was room to kite the balls and then a way to quickly detonate them. Only played on hard though, on nightmare maybe it's different :p

I'm also one of those who are against putting powerful weapons in secrets, especially in a map that is trying to be nasty too. I think I almost skipped the Lightning gun, and that kind of thing is what leaves you with vastly different play experiences. I'm terrible at finding secrets, and hate them being an important thing for finishing stuff :) 
 
Oh, I liked the look, very classic. The floor texture thing wouldn't have bothered me but it's when you use the same texture for the floor and walls in the same area. Looks weird. Lighting was also a bit flat imo, could have used some more contrast and shadows, especially in the large room at the end. 
Dark 
perfect 
LG Isn't Really A Secret Tho. 
You look down, you see zombies and a fuck load of ammo.... 
Also.... 
I don't think the difficulty needs toned down on skill 2 at all, except perhaps the armour swap I mentioned.

However I had a brief look on skill 0 for a speedrun possibility, and it seems almost as hard on that, so better skill settings would be good. 
#27: Shambler 
You don't see the LG itself, though, and more importantly, (1) you don't see any obvious way back up -- so you don't know if dropping down isn't going to force you to take a detour to get back to where you were -- and (2) you don't know that the map never gives you another chance to visit that area.

So although a player might see the zombies and ammo and choose to drop down, it is (for the reasons above) an equally reasonable choice to keep moving forward at that point. And then you're forever stuck without that LG (and without knowing that it was there). 
True Dat. 
We might be getting into the realms of nit-picking discussion for the purpose of this short-build-time map, but these are issues which are good to get explored for general mapping principles e.g. don't put too many high tier weapons in secrets, and consider what players might miss (and maybe how to signpost them to explore enough). 
 
"the map never gives you another chance to visit that area." <-- main reason. It is assuming the player will go that way first, rather than being curious about what's through the door and then getting locked in. You could force the player to go through the area with the LG then into the next area with a switch or a key and you've changed little except avoiding the chance of some people missing the LG.

"I don't think the difficulty needs toned down on skill 2 at all, except perhaps the armour swap I mentioned."

I'm not saying it should be easier at all. My point was that the hard parts are only hard due to being a surprise/giving you no cover. In my opinion it could actually be made a bit harder. Generally the map had a lot of open space to avoid damage and not much in the way of evil monster placement in the larger areas :) 
Total_newbie 
I agree, a better solution would have been walkable terrain that the player can clearly see.

There are too many teleporters and a better solution would be to have terrain, but its much faster to setup a teleporter than building terrain. 
Nightmare Difficulty... 
Any hints to how I can activate the nightmare difficulty? 
Much Fun 
Played on easy. 19 minutes, missing 2 kills and 2 secrets, no deaths. Fun map. I enjoyed the variety offered. Didn't get lost. Mission felt clear at all times. Had fun with slopes and explosives! 
Pietroskij 
Visit easy skill door is my hint. :) 
 
https://aww.moe/kq0poc.zip
skill 1 demo

I like the combat and the space to move around while fighting with monsters.
Had fun with slopes and jumping too :)
Killed by last 2 ogres :P 
I Liked This One Alot 
The darkness really sets the tone for this large atmospheric castle. Gameplay on skill 2 was just right, enough health and ammo to squeeze by until the end. And boy did I enjoy that boat ride.

Congratulations on your first and very successful solo release!

First run demo, hard skill: http://qrf.servequake.com/~orl/misc/orl_goldenskull.rar 
 
I have read some comment after playing and commenting.

I liked the raft ride. I thought it was fun but the shambler was over the top maybe.
Also other ambushes were fine with me, always room to escape. The 2 vores in small room were biggest problem.
Died only at the end after being careless.
I think skill 1 was a bit to hard but manageable even on first try.
Keep it up. Good and enjoyable map. 
Good 
Map of epic proportions. Good job!
First run witt one death: https://cloud.mail.ru/public/7Cu1/LjHvGMzWL 
 
Maybe on nightmare enemies has more health? Because I run out of ammo all the time, and need to use god-mode because there wasn't any way I could have survived the ending hall, vores and shamblers, thousand ogres, and you only have shotgun, run out of nails immediately, and soon run out of shells too, just axing shambler? I didn't find sng neither lg. I really recommend balancing ammo a bit more, then this would be a really enjoyable map.

Even though it wasn't polished in that aspect I really enjoyed my time. 
Quake Grave Featured This Map Yesterday! 
The day before he threw out his first April Fools joke. I really thought he was closing his chanel. The only Quake Youtuber still running is Rob Martens, although he's fighting through Retrojam 6. I myself didn't complete this map because I miss- quicksaved and decided to try it again in a while. The double Vore-fight was a quite unfair, I wouldn't have put a knight ambush directly behind. 
 
Good Necropolis vibe here, plus dem cratez!!!

I like the tallness of it all, even if it means taking falling damage quite often. Bit samey-looking in the ceiling parts, maybe could have used some beams or the like to make things look more structural.

I wasn't too fond of the lighting; it seems quite bland, because there aren't many bright light sources, only dim ones. The colored lighting increases the effect, as colored lights are even darker than their normal counterparts (plus the colors don't really manage to improve the visuals here). Without the .lit file, the map looks quite a bit better, in my view.

Don't use BSP2 format unless it's necessary! Slightly exceeded limits still run with the regular BSP format on ports with increased limits. No need to restrict such a map to Quakespasm.

OMG sacrilege! Misaligned wizmet1_2 rivets are an instaban reason. :)

Brushwork tip: if you noclip around, you'll notice many empty compartments behind walls and such, those pitch black enclosed spaces. Try to remove them by either opening them up to the void or filling them with brushes. Things like that can play a role in optimizing a level towards certain bsp limits.

For next time: don't include folders in the zip if it isn't absolutely required. I noticed sloppy packaging in several of the recent releases - a hassle for players and the file won't work in the Quake Injector, either. Just have all files, .bsp/.lit/.txt, in a simple zip, ideally all with the same filename for maximum usability.

Gameplay is as advertised. While I did find the SNG secret, I would have prefered if it had also been available in the open at some later point.
What happens if one falls off the raft and fails to catch up - death? Shame the areas past the bridge and around the slime canal aren't accessible afterwards.

Demo 
Demo 
#42 i fell from the raft and died. quite funny. i managed to get above again, but took a grenade in the face
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/goldenskull_demo_topher.7z 
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