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New Q1SP: Temple Of Quake By Esrael
Since Spirit is even more useless than I am, this is now up on Quaketastic: Temple of Quake, a new SP and DM level by Esrael.

An around medium-sized runic temple with a graveyard surrounded by rocks. It is somewhat unique in that the level can be finished fairly quickly, but in order to visit all areas and get better equipment it requires exploration and secret-hunting.

This is Esrael's first attempt at mapping. Using Trenchbroom, the author went nuts on terrain which caused some problems for compiling. The original release was leaked, boxed and unvised, in addition to exceeding some stock Quake limits. Since the map map source is included as "public domain", I took the liberty of fixing the aforementioned technical problems. The rest remains unchanged.

Screenshot Screenshot
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Cool Map, But... 
it's too easy to find the exit. And we can't get back for exploration. This map feels unfinished. 
Very Challenging 
In all the right ways. I like maps that encourage exploration, and this fits the bill. The biggest danger in this map I believe, are the spike shooters which did kill me several times, especially on the slow platform ride.

I found only 4 secrets legitimately, the fifth I found using noclip which progresses in the second demo, but I proceed to complete it normally, until I die again. But at that point I defeated nearly every enemy. For the majority of the first demo, you might want to put it on fast forward as its a lot of me looking around for the secrets.

A terrific first map Esrael, I really liked this one, and it actually encouraged me to find secrets, even though I'm terrible at it. You show great potential :D For those of you brave enough to discover all ten secrets, good luck to you, cause this ones a doozy.

Zipped demo's of my playthrough on hard skill. First demo is after I died a few times (mostly from that spikeshooter trap) so I had a feel for the map already. The second demo is after I found the gold key secret and proceeded from there.

http://qrf.servequake.com/~orl/misc/orl_tofquake.rar 
 
Nice map, but I got the silver key, killed the shambler, and then... what? The lights goes back off, the bars are removed, but nothing else happens. I have no idea where to go now. Stuck at 11 enemies and 4 secrets.

The floor on the water exit from one of the secrets isn't reachable enough, I kept swimming without the player jumping out of the water. The only spot where I managed to jump out of the water is on the wall in the back.

I liked the architecture, although the texturing could be a bit improved. The encounters are also nice, with a few cool surprises. 
Wait 
One person said finding the exit was too easy.

One person said they are stuck.

Oh I gotta download this now. 
 
That comment of yours made me want to try, Mankrip, and its quite good. Thanks, Negke for finding it and sharing.

Even more considering its a first try. It has many parts that look like a first map but they are well executed for the most of it. It is challenging, even though i have to consider i barely have played for a year, and i found myself searching frantically for health, but it is on the good side.

I didn't explore much on the first run, and found only 4 on the second try, unfortunately, which made me more curious about the rest.
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/tofquake_v2_coce.zip

It hits the right spots on exploration, and the secrets, those i found at least, are well executed, except maybe one, that i think requires rocket jumping in an already quite harsh spot, and another that i don't get how i managed to open it.

On layout is good and in some parts it works very well more for the combats than for looks and the traps add an extra good spice to it, even more in the big room. On the other side, is a bit cramped and hard to navigate in some parts.

Brushwork is a bit random: sometime overboard on the rockwork, too much as on many parts it would look better with less faces, and on others is good, even if a bit simple in composition. Some texturing meed some fixing but it's OK, nothing infuriating here.

combats are all enjoyable, but i would put some more health packs for skill 0 and 1, as its very common to be below 50 most of the time.

*Mankrip: that's strange, it should open a door between the lights going back and the bars going down. Did you maybe nocliped before? That could activate a trigger chain in a bad way. It's the only thing i can think of. 
Author's Comments 
I see negke's put up the map here as well; in addition to Quaddicted. Only now did I notice. Thanks a bunch, negke! :)

And thank you, Orl and Cocerello, for uploading the demo runs. They were entertaining to watch and provided me with valuable input on how new players interact with the map.

@Orl: Agreed on the spike shooters. Even if I, as the author, know their locations intimately, I often make mistakes in the heat of battle or just get lazy at trying to avoid them. :)

@mankrip: Yeah, I know which water exit you're talking about. I had thought about making it easier to get ashore, but I think I remember some of the original id maps having some shores that were also hard to get to, but after years of playing the maps, you've just developed a "muscle memory" on knowing where to always climb ashore, without even really thinking about it. Same goes for my map. I had learned that the best way to get up from the water was from the left side, so during subsequent play-tests I just automatically, out of muscle memory, got off from the left. I thought the occasional tough water exit is kinda part of the "vanilla" Quake experience, so I just left the difficult exit there.

I was really rooting for you guys to find the secrets while watching the demos! It felt like watching a player getting close to scoring at a game of football (or whichever game of your choice) when I saw you guys getting close to cracking a secret.

(MILD SPOILER WARNING, VAGUE HINTS TO SECRETS)

I think the most satisfying "goal" to see Orl score on his demo was the one with the grenade launcher; I was screaming "GOOOOOAL" inside! :D I was worried I had made the secret too difficult, but as long as at least some people discover it, I'm happy. The secret area can actually be entered by rocket/grenade jumping regardless; the switch triggered with the grenade launcher just makes the entrance visible and accessible without rocket jumping. Cocerello was onto something in his run, seeing something weird there and shooting at the entrance.

There were also times of great disappointment in the demos, as though the football (or whichever) player had just barely missed his goal. One such case was with a secret that was inspired by a secret in E3M4, but with a little twist. Orl had shot one of the required triggers to unlock the secret. He had even shot the other correct trigger several times, but unfortunately his approach was incorrect. Cocerello had the right idea, but he wasn't trying the right one.

Anyway, seeing you guys miss the secret, Orl very narrowly, made me wail out of disappointment inside, not so much for you not cracking the secret, but for me not giving enough clues to help pinpoint the correct triggers. Come to think of it, I never was quite happy with that and a couple of other secrets. They require too much of a "brute force" kind of approach in order to find them, kind of like finding some of the more random push wall secrets in Wolf3d. Maybe not that level of obscureness, but you get the point. 
Quake Grave 
Esreal, I assume you know this but for those who don't, ArrrCee did a run of this on his YT channel 
Not Bad. 
Some cool designs in this that show a lot of potential. I liked the starting area and the SNG secret. Some of the interior halls were cool too although a bit long. The coloured lighting was OTT in places but that's easy to tone down. I never got the GK, so skipped half the map with the SK. The SK trap was extra-annoying. The final combat was good tho, hard but okay as a finish. 
Esrael 
Yeah, watching demos with lots of secrets has that effect and keeps one all thrilled. In my case i had a similar experience on mapjam2, as i made the map quite branching for Quake standards.

On the other side, your comments about the demos made me want to try it again, so here you have, my first (you already saw this one), third and fourth attempts. No second one, sorry but that has only me finding by chance the way to the Quad. This time i got to 8 secrets but couldn't fathom were the rest could be.

http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/tofquake_v2_coce.zip

If i were to add to my comments, i retire my comment for it being too much detailed on rockwork, for those overwater caves and after the ''boxes'' on the right side of the area after the gold key door.
I love those caves, even though i do think that the ample one could get a bit better navigation and lighting. On the other side, there is several places were lighting is an issue, even though i played on a pitch black room and raised the gamma, like the jails, the aforementioned cave or the way to the lone zombie, and the secrets rewards are mostly unneeded for the player that finds at least half the secrets. 
Yay, All The Secret's Found! :D 
@dumptruck_ds: Yup, found out about it after seeing ArrrCee's review on Quaddicted. Mighty entertaining and rewarding to finally see someone else play my map for the first time. Thanks for informing me, though. :)

@Cocerello:

Thanks a lot for the demo uploads, they were fun, rewarding and educational to watch! With these uploads, I've happily witnessed you and Orl find all the secrets of the map. Yes, Orl had found the rest of the two remaining secrets that managed to elude your wrath... ;)

And, to be honest, one of the secrets wasn't really that hard. ;) Looking at your demo runs, I noticed that the thing RELATED to the secret kept stealing your attention (and ammo) that it distracted you from looking at the whole picture. I'm not sure if I recall your view ever actually centering at the thing that really mattered, because of the distraction.

The other secret, on the other hand, isn't quite as easy. It is theoretically possible to spot out by its visual cue, but due to the surroundings, it's quite hard to distinguish. I think the secret's actually more likely to be accidentally triggered by surrounding combat than by its visual cue, especially with the help of the reward item from the previous paragraph's secret. ;) This accidental triggering by combat reminds me of at least one secret from the original id maps, from E3M4 once again, actually! :D

Maybe the above writings piqued your interest enough to plunge yourself once more to find the last two elusive secrets. ;D

But concerning the rest of the stuff on your runs:

2nd run:

You said you had accidentally found your way to the Quad. I'm assuming you meant the way to the Quad without triggering the "high places" secret? o: Cool! I was wondering if anyone would find the way to get the powerup that way. :D

3rd run:

Seeing you trying to find the invulnerability secret was pretty funny (and nerve-wracking, j/k), because you were doing kinda the same things as Orl in his run. :D For a moment I was thinking to myself: "Oh man, is he, too, gonna barely miss this secret!" D: But luckily you persevered and kept trying. Inside I was constantly rooting for you and thinking to myself: "Come on, come on, come on, just a little bit more!" :D

Speaking of the "high places" secret, it was funny how you managed to find it with your first, shall we say, shot, at trying to find it. ;D

4th run:

You typed that you couldn't see the door to one of the secrets. Actually, you were right; you couldn't see the door under those circumstances. HOWEVER, if you had been under the influence of a certain... item... you would have temporarily been able to see quite a clear hint of the door's existence... ;)

I loved watching your actions when you were inside one certain secret, how you instinctively switched to the SNG in anticipation of the obvious showdown, but first thoroughly snooped the place for possible visual clues about how the encounter might play out, and yes, visual clues ARE there.

Seeing your runs were quite educative, because when I saw you enter the final battle room with the Ring of Shadows and that one Scrag wouldn't wake up because of it, I realized that I had made quite an oversight.

Seeing you struggle to get to the gold key finally made me realize probably the biggest mistake I had made on the map: the way to get to the key is too specific and requires too accurate timing. Even if players had figured out the secret but had failed to get there because of the secret being too darn particular, they very well might have given up on it, thinking that they'd need to reach it through another way or then just not seeing it worth the trouble. I think that's the thing I regret most about the map.

I'm glad that you ended up liking the effort I had put on the rockwork. As I mentioned elsewhere, I had put a ridiculously unnecessary amount of time on it, but I was quite happy with the end result, especially the rock formations in the vicinity of the "boxes" you mentioned. In the future, I still probably should tone it down a notch. :D

Funny that you should mention the dark lighting. The lighting in the jail and elsewhere was actually a lot darker in the earlier versions of the map. I had originally started the map using another, cheaper monitor, which I had calibrated for a gamma level of 1.8. With that monitor and with that gamma, you could make out vague features on the jail walls even with really dim lighting. But after a few months I got a new monitor calibrated to a gamma level of 2.2, which changed things completely. I could barely see anything in the jail cells and in a couple of other areas. So as one of the last fine-tunings on the map, I increased the lighting in the jail cells and other dark areas, worrying that they'd be too bright, but according to your feedback, I guess not. :D

Thanks again for your feedback! :) 
And Thanks For The Answer 
I think i know where the easy secret is, as there is a highly suspicious place that had me wondering.

You said you had accidentally found your way to the Quad. I'm assuming you meant the way to the Quad without triggering the "high places" secret? o: Cool! I was wondering if anyone would find the way to get the powerup that way. :D

Speaking of the "high places" secret, it was funny how you managed to find it with your first, shall we say, shot, at trying to find it. ;D


Excuse me to get your hopes up, but i said that to avoid spoiling others on how to get to the Quad, but i used the regular high places approach, that's why i shot the door without hesitation on the third run, as i knew where it was from the second attempt. Unfortunately, the one that found that door first was one of the ogres' grenades, not me, so its more like 7/10 secrets found than 8. 
 
Tried to download Orl's demos but the link doesn’t seem to be working: it's sending me a timed_out error message. 
Mugwump 
Thanks! 
 
 
Thank You for your maps Esrael. I love the old school vibe! Thumbs Up.
Please give us more :-) 
Thanks 
I'm glad you like the map (whoever you are)! :)

I have been working on a new map, actually. I just haven't been able to work on it since around mid-July, due to a fire in my apartment.

Things have slowly been getting back to normal since then, however, so I might have time and energy to start working on the map again. This time I'll probably post some WIP versions of the map, as negke suggested, on this board to help me find bad design choices that I've become blind to. 
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