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Ter Shibboleth - A New Quake Episode
Presenting a new Quake custom episode, Ter Shibboleth. You will traverse through new environments including a tropical hotel resort, a far east structure nestled on the edge of a cliff, and a western mining town. Each map is designed to be as non-linear as possible, so don't be afraid to explore and take different routes as you progress. While each map can be played with a shotgun start, the episode was designed to be played from start to finish. Saving periodically is encouraged, you will face hard encounters.

This episode MUST be played with the customized Quakespasm engine that was included in the release of ad_sepulcher (Quakespasm 0.92.2-qss-r7-admod). It has been included in this .zip as well for convienience. Any other engine has not been tested and probably will not work as intended. The next official Quakespasm release will be version 0.93.0, and will have the ability to run these maps without issue, so you have the option of using that instead once it is out.

While also stated in the readme, I will repeat it here because it is important.
sv_protocol 999 must be used at all times. Likewise, gl_farclip must be set to 100000 or higher. Quake's soundtrack is also recommended. All skill settings are available. You will more than likely encounter framerate drops when looking at far distant scenery. I only hope it will not hinder your experience when playing.

Map sources and texture wads used are included in the .zip for your convienience.

Demos are always appreciated, but not mandatory.

I give great special thanks to EricW for assisting me along the way with this episode, for if it were not for his expertise and development tools these maps simply would not exist.

http://www.quaketastic.com/files/single_player/Ter%20Shibboleth.zip

Please enjoy the episode and be sure to share your thoughts. I look forward to hearing from you!
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I just played through Blastocyst and it was a blast!

SOME SPOILERS AHEAD

were the puzzles too confusing or too abstruse to make it through the map entirely?

No, they were fun and made me want to continue playing. I do love puzzle maps, though, so this was right up my alley.

I think two things really help prevent frustration/confusion:

1) The fact that the player is always fairly locked in, so even if you're not immediately sure what to do next or what that last button did, it doesn't take too long to figure it out (since you don't have a sprawling map to run around in, wondering what to do).

2) The visual cues -- in particular the blinking tubes that connect the teleporters, the arrows that show you where to go, and the large images on either side of the large room, which make it very clear which way the room is oriented at any given time.

The only part that had me stumped for a while was the slope jump, mainly because I really didn't expect that mechanic to be used. But when I figured it out it felt satisfying.

What I didn't like so much was the final area where you move through a large spinning structure. It's very impressive visually, but it made me feel nauseous. I would have preferred if that special effect were used for a short sequence (like a wind tunnel or something similar) as opposed to a space you have to navigate and fight through. 
Spinning Blastocyst Room 
Was one of my favorite parts! Opening that door to see it the first time was one of the best suprise moments in a Quake level ever.

Puzzles were well done. Felt like Portal in quake which was great! Cues were helpful. The ramp jump had me going for a bit too tho.

That and just about every 10secs in Scarabrus was another surprise. Good fun overall. 
The Slope Jump 
Since Ionous' stream showed him struggling with the ramp jump, I silently updated the map to add a narrow step next to the switch, so you could jump normally and not rely on the slope.

That and a few tweaks and fixes in shib3, Sun. 
Plumdanglr 
I'm a metal-head not a chav.
I fucking hate chav scum so I'd rather not be compared to one thanks. 
 
Yeah the Blastocyst puzzle room was great. I also was stumped by the slope jump for a bit--I saw the button but kept trying to look for a different way to jump to it. The other part that held me up for a bit was the part right before where you have to to the timed two-button press to gain access to the next area. Although I thought I hit it the first time, I think I just barely missed and I assumed I did. 
He's From Lancashire Enough Said. 
Dunno if they have chavs in the 3rd world. 
Shambler 
I hope you choke on a yorkshire pudding. 
Bring It On Motherfucker. 
Haven't had a yorkshire pudding for ages :( 
^ Is That A British Code For Some Disgusting Sexual Fetish? 
Orl, impressive release! Very unique and entirely different from anything we're used to. I applaud the approach of disregarding conventions and make something in this scale and themes.

Nice hacks and tricks. I enjoyed the maps, although I had some serious ammo problems towards the end of shib3 and all throughout 4 and 5.

The levels look cool in the sense that the styles is so uncommon for Quake which is refreshing. Of course, the construction is fairly crude in many areas, but I suppose with the huge scale it's impossible to finetune things to the last brush and texture. Not complaining. I thought it was a bit of a shame the buildings were so empty and samey. Some variation (individual detail) here would have made exploration more rewarding. Again, I understand this would have made the pack even harder to finish. This way it's more about setting and scenery.
Disappointing most of them appear to be unvised. I realize a fullvis would take ages, but still -> func_detail the hell out of it and it should be okay?

Nice how it all runs on ID1, though I felt like it could have benefitted from just a little more monster variety in places. Still fun for the most part.

Shib1: fairly straight affair - unless one missed the GK which seems easy as it's tucked away unprominently in one the rooms. This level would have had potential for all kinds of visual story telling by means of unique details in the rooms and events on the beach. The bridge vista is awesome. Shame it cuts off at the sides, but nothing you could do about it. Felt like the girder beam secret could or should have been part of the main progression; running around on the roof tops is nice.

Shib2: kind of odd but nice puzzle map with a mind-blowing finale. I found the puzzles to be managable, no frustrating situations, and it's cool (and required) to see/realize what's going on and how things change on floor/ceiling.

Shib3: Great style and shapes. Seems like it has quite a bit of unused potential, though. Like the temple front was made mainly for the vista and then only populated for gameplay. The stuff in the distance is cool. Never used F11 more than in these maps. Progression can be confusing if one doesn't realize the importance of the central house, because the key doors are somewhat hidden inside.

Shib4: my favorite level of the pack. Very weird and original style and architecture, and cool vista that reminded me of Dark Souls somehow. At the same time, it's very awkward to play. I managed progression for the most part, but had ammo problems and there was pyshics crap likely related to problematic construction.
This may be something for ericw to look into: I had clipping issues on several lifts that would block and return even though I didn't touch any obstacle. Also why the hell does F10 close the game without confirmation?

Shib5: Proper western theme, pulled off well. Very consistent. I enjoyed the nonlinear exploration. The terrain, especially the transition to the skyline looks very natural. Shame the buildings are largely props with nothing inside. Again, this would have been a perfect opportunity for some visual storytelling to reward explorers.
Gameplay seems to rise and fall with the route one takes. Like I said, ammo (and health) was a problem for me, and the grunts chipping away at me from the distance. Also, FFS, clip those mine cart rails next time!

By and large, a nice surprise and refreshing chance of scenery. GG

Demos 
Go To Console: 
unbind f10 
Its A Good Thing Demos Compress So Well 
3GB's of demos at only 86MB.

Terrific job Negke, very enjoyable to watch from beginning to end. And it looks like this time around you were having a good time, which I was very glad to see. Your little quips are always fun to read as you play.

To address some of the criticisms:
Yes, the rooms in maps 1 and 5 are by and large very samey and copy/paste. Reason being is I didn't want to spend too much time creating individual designs for each room. The goal of the project was to step away from the absurd detail I put into previous maps. And while it may look bland, it was sort of the intention.

I would have loved to have the golden gate bridge stretch off much further, but that is as far as the 999 protocol would allow. I did try to create the illusion of it stretching into infinity, but I couldn't get it to look right, so I stuck with what I had.

No trouble at all with map 2. Besides getting stuck briefly on the timed double sided ledge button puzzle, you passed it with ease.

You had no problem memorizing where the silver and gold key "doors" were in shib3, which I'm certain made progress for you go much more smoothly. And avoided all the raining rockets like a pro.

Obviously the big problem in shib4 was getting crushed by the platforms. Sadly from what I had learned over time, and by Ericw, this is and always has been a Quake problem tied to framerate. Even at 72 fps, you will still get crushed. Host_maxfps MUST be set to 60 or lower to ensure it doesn't happen. It sucks, but sadly there's nothing I can do about that. With that said, it was understandable you noclipped and god-moded your way through some of the map.

Despite being always low on health and ammo up to map 5, you managed to persevere and complete it. Shib 5 is designed so that, if one route seems to difficult, there is almost always another path you can take that might be easier.

Again good demos Negke, thanks for playing it all the way through! 
Golden Gate Bridge 
Why not use fog? That's what struck me first, how your exterior lighting looks almost fullbright. Fog would help immensely. 
Tidbits Of Information 
Now that most everyone has had a chance to play the maps or at least watch them livestream, I'll share some info.

As much as I really did not want to, I had no choice not to vis maps 3, 4 and 5. Even func_detail'ing everything, the maps were still just too big and open for vis to have any affect. Not even a fast vis would make a difference. If anything, all it would do is increase the .bsp size by about 100MB or more.

Ericw can corroborate, as he has been attempting to vis shib5 for the past several days, though I give him credit for trying!

Inspirations for each map are varied from different video games, television shows and real life locations. Shib1 was actually based on a dream I had, where I wasn't on a tropical island, but a bridge largely resembling the golden gate bridge towered above me, stretching from left to right as far as I could see, and was so tall it extended beyond the clouds.

Shib3 is mostly just my admiration of Asian architecture, and not from any real life location. The same goes for shib5, just inspiration from other games and movies that used a western theme that I wanted to see be made in Quake.

Shib4 is as many have guessed, largely inspired by Dark Souls. Specifically towards the end of Dark Souls III, in two areas called Kiln of the first flame, and the dreg heap. The twisted and bizarre structures was to see just how Lovecraftian a Quake map can be. But more associated the map with Alice's adventures in Wonderland, which I can certainly see the resemblance to. The 'floor' texture is a birds eye photograph of a town in Syria that I heavily edited to make it look like it would be impossible to exist in our reality. http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/AFP_Getty-521723796.jpg

And finally, many compared shib2 to Portal. But shib2 is entirely inspired by an old, somewhat obscure 1996 game called Blast Chamber. The concept of the game is you the player are placed in a large cube, and are tasked with solving the cube, or chamber's puzzle. And to do so, you must rotate the chamber, which makes the ceiling the floor, and vice versa. Just look up any video on Blast Chamber and you will see the inspiration I took from it.

And as far as the many, many rotating objects I used throughout each map, you should credit Scampie for figuring out how to do that in id1. :) 
Ohh! I Love.. 
..real-world settings in videogames so this is heaven for me:)

But why people always think Quake engine could not manage these types of maps ?! It's an engine like the others.. only more dated!
If we saw few of these in the past is only for mappers fault, laziness :) 
Komagame 
It's not that real world settings can't be done in Quake, its more that there isn't really a desire for them. Most are comfortable with Quake's familiar themes. 
 
More than that, I think Quake's otherworldliness is precisely what makes this game still unique to this day, and it would be a bit of a shame to defile it with bland real-life settings like soooooo many other games do. Quake is a laboratory for creativity, abstraction and experimentation and that's how it should be. From what I've seen, your "real-life" maps in this pack are not defiling anything though, so congrats for pulling that off. All other RL settings I've seen before in Quake were just plain and boring AF.

Blast Chamber
I remember playing the demo on PlayStation back in the day. Was nice, but not enough for me to buy the full game. 
QuakeInjector Can't Download This 
QuakeInjector's download progress bar is stuck at 0% and waits forever without giving an error. 
Han 
You should report this to Quaddicted instead of here. 
 
I don't think the episode is on Quaddicted yet. 
Hughe 
I think my machine won't respond to this large maps 
Metfoks 
you have to set sv_protocol 999 and gl_farclip 100000 in teh console, and reload the map 
 
I tried several farclip 256000/10000, but it only chunks a full unvised path
Did You Set Sv_protocol 999? 
set that, then reload the map and it should work 
 
Looing clear at the "path" screenshot it reads
using protocol 666 (FITZ) +Fte2(OX2A).
Also reloaded it with that statement. 
Beautiful Set 
These are the first custom Quake maps that I've ever played. When I first saw the screenshots, I was blown away, especially by shib2 and by the pagoda.

The map design was unreal with how intricate it felt at times. They maps were enormous but they never really felt tedious. There was a ton of detail to keep things looking interesting. Shib4 was mind-bending and honestly way more unsettling than anything in the original game by a long shot. The twisted, distant landscape in the valley below alongside the twitching eyeball watching in the distance did wonders for the atmosphere. When the difficulty ramped up, I genuinely started to feel uncomfortable with the looming threat of monsters combined with the landscape.

The western map was an incredible finisher to an already unbelievable map set. I especially liked the ending with being able to escape the confines of the map and walking out into the far distance.

I encountered a few bugs that made me really frustrated at times but the maps were so good that I had to keep going. On elevators, especially within the crusher in shib4, I would get crushed by invisible forces. Sometimes elevators would get jammed due to bumping into some unseen obstacle if I didn't get outright killed immediately. I also found some invisible walls in shib5 but those weren't a big deal.

Also with probably 90% of custom maps that I play, the ammo supply is criminally low and this was no exception after shib3. I lost my save after completing shib2 so I had to do a shotgun start thereafter, but even if I had kept all of my accumulated weapons and ammo, it wouldn't have helped at all by shib4 and shib5. Shib5 especially had an extremely low amount of ammo relative to the amount of monsters in that map. Sometimes it was fun to manage my supply and I was forced to be extremely meticulous with my aim and ammo choice. However, there were too many moments where I had to rely on infighting in order to get through. I don't think adding more ammo would have hurt but I'm a newcomer to custom Quake maps so I guess I'm not in a position to judge right now.

All in all, I pretty much credit these screenshots for really getting me into the game when I never had too much of an interest in it in the past. The game play ended up living up to or even surpassing the screenshots. The maps were not only a treat for the eyes but they were extremely well-designed. Looking forward to seeing more of your work in the future. 
Thank You So Much Poorchop 
It was heartwarming reading your review, and the fact that you choose this episode as your first custom maps as opposed to the many, many other wonderful choices by the community, it really feels like an honor.

I am aware of the elevator squish bug and the only remedy i can offer is to set your frame rate to 60. Even at 72 the spontaneous crushing still happens. Sadly this is an issue discussed for a very long time with no definitive resolution. As for the invisible walls in
shib5, they were more than likely put there to stop you from going
places you aren't supposed to go under normal circumstances.

The episode has been criticized for being very stingy on ammunition, which i guess is by design, but given the choice now i would have added more.Although each map can be played with a shotgun start, they are meant to be played chronologically, so when you get to shib3 you have a lot of rockets in your inventory ready to be used. The fact that you managed to get through the maps with a shotgun start is very impressive, and shows you have a considerable amount of skill.

I'm just very overjoyed you had a good time with the episode, that's what makes all the hours of hard work pay off. Thank you. 
Just Streamed This On The Quake Grave Tonight! 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xtgA5T3uHoE

Sorry I'm so late on this but I did say I would play it, so here we are!

Okay so first things first, the maps are beautiful! I can't discredit the look of these at all (though the warehouse in shib2 is a little ugly and shib3 has that one house with the really ugly wallpaper ;).

It's also apparent that you put an absolute ton of time and work into these and you're very passionate about doing something new/different in Quake. Good on you!

While beautiful, I do however have some issues with the actual game play in this pack. please keep in mind these are meant as constructive criticisms. Think of these thoughts as thoughts from an average player because I am a very average player.

1. I agree with everyone else on the ammo issues. We need more to take out the baddies!

2. This may or may not be very important to you but it's worth mentioning; the pack doesn't feel cohesive together. In the first map, I love the sillyness of the Quake monsters supposedly having a vacation at this resort and beach and the Quake guy comes to ruin it for them. You leave in a boat and I'm expecting to arrive in the next area, coming from water and a broken boat or something to that effect, but then we're randomly whisked away to the middle of a warehouse? It's a very strange and abrupt change. But then the rest of the pack works in kind of the same way too, so maybe it's cohesive in its in-cohesiveness?

3. The maps to me feel like they were made huge for the sake of being huge; it definitely feels like form is being chosen over function. My opinion, and I doubt it's a popular one here, is I just plain don't care for gigantic maps. Once a map is hitting the 170 or more range of enemies, it's too much. I know Arcane Dimensions did this on a few maps but the thing to remember about those maps is that they largely always had some kind of event or "carrot on the stick" attraction there to keep you going and interested.

Shib1 felt like a really good pacing and set up, Shib2 was different enough in its approach that you forget about the pacing and amount (plus that last area with the spinning thing was very cool! Though i did get completely stuck on one of the puzzles, not sure what i did wrong there). However Shib 3 - 5 were not very fun for me.

Shib 3, while pretty, was very tight in the buildings and they look very similar on the inside so it gets a bit mazey. Ammo started getting short, the rockets started raining down and the Shamblers got to be many. This was one that started out very strong but ended with me being a little frustrated.

Shib 4 I got to and enjoyed the first bit of it, but it was so large and so short on ammo that, to be honest, I didn't feel like dealing with it after what happened in Shib 3. I ended up noclipping around to check the map out. It looks like there were a lot of great ideas in there but by then I didn't have the patience for it, especially with Shamblers and Vores everywhere and no ammo... even if they were weaker.

Shib 5, Gorgeous! But once I saw the enemy count I was out. Almost 300 enemies, and mazey mines -no thanks (though you get points for the shambler cut out! that was awesome!). Again, I no clipped around and realized that this map would be a much better 6 map episode in its own right. Imagine traversing through several western themed levels; The Good, The Bad and The Shambler!

I apologize because I know this is long, but in closing I would just say, I would focus more on the gameplay side of things next time. Have a few more Quakers get in there and test things for you because in the end, I just didn't have a lot of fun with this after the first 2 maps.

But please make more maps for sure! You obviously have a lot of talent and passion and your potential for map making is very very promising!

Again, just the thoughts of an average Quake player! =) 
ArrrCee 
Thank you for taking the time to play through the episode. I watched your stream and it was very enjoyable, though I do have some questions regarding some of your criticisms. First and foremost, while I appreciate you playing through the episode you didn't seem all too thrilled about it from the start. The general consensus was you as well as the watchers were more looking forward to playing through the one hundred brush competition maps instead of this. It seemed like the only reason was because you felt obligated to, and had a sense of "Lets just get through these maps so we can get to 100b maps. I may be totally wrong on that.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean when you say the maps are too big for their own good. Could you elaborate on that? As far as lack of secrets, I guess in my 12 years of mapping I never got the memo saying all Quake maps NEEDED to have secrets in them. The reason I ommitted secrets in map 2 was to have the player focus strictly on the puzzle segments, and not worry about finding a secret that might confuse their train of thought. As for none in map 3, I just couldn't find an appropriate place to fit them.

As far as letting the player know what kind of experience they are in for as you mentioned toward the end of your stream. Well, what more can I say from my original post that won't spoil anything? As for the maps being very inconsistent with each other, that was intentional. Not a popular choice it would seem.

But I don't want to be all negative here. I completely understand and respect that large open maps aren't your cup of tea, a lot of the community feels the same way. This episode departs from many of Quake's usual mannerisms for something risky and different. Suffice to say it didn't win over a lot of people, but that was to be expected. I know you said it was important to think of the player first while mapping, but I will confess. I was thinking of me first, and my excuse is now that Quake was able to create such large limit removing maps, my long time ideas could finally be a reality. And to the person who said BSP2 abuse, these maps are what BSP2 was made for!

And to the person who said these maps were more like a screenshot pack, I can accept that. Visuals for these maps was my top priority, and gameplay was not necessarily an afterthought, but yes more time could have been devoted to it.

I can understand you stopping when you did. It is a long map pack, and by map 4 or 5 you are pretty burnt out, especially if you are doing it all in one run. You are also the first person to my knowledge to discover the fake shambler in the mine tunnels. Glad that got a chuckle out of you.

I'd also like to point out at how good you are with remembering where things are. Many players have gotten lost trying to find the key doors most prominently in map 3, whereas you remembered exactly where they were and had no trouble getting to them. I was surprised by that.

To sum everything up, I'm sorry that the episode was more frustrating to you than fun, but I am glad you gave it an attempt. I've read comments where people see the screenshots and immediately are turned off refusing to even touch it. You stuck through it as long as you could, and thats all anyone can ask for. 
Redfield Goes West 
Had to play through Shib 5 Across the Tattered Amyclaean after seeing the stream.

I played it months back, but had some performance issues, and never recorded a complete demo in the end.

Here is my fantastic run through:
http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/redfield_ter5.zip

Loved it. When I first saw the screens I thought, how did Timesplitters 2 get into Quake? I was humming that stupid Western track from the TS2 the whole time.

Don't take the criticism to harsh. The theme and visuals are completely unique, never been done before. And not many would be able to pull this off. Yeah the gameplay and balance is off putting, but you recognize that.

Look forward to more. 
@KenChennar 
Hi Ken!

I'm always thrilled to play Quake! =)

I apologize if anything came off as negative during the stream, it's all in good fun. As far as starting this stream off hoping for something else, You'll notice that the viewers ask why we're not playing something new, so that is why I started out with saying that. I knew people would show up and ask why we weren't playing the 100 brush release and the reason was because Quakers are very excited for that release and had been asking about me playing it ever since it was in development. Now that it's out, I think that's what everyone was expecting.

Truth be told, I had completely forgot about this map pack until some of the guys mentioned it in chat recently. I thought, oh wow, I promised to play that so I figured it was a good time to do so. =)

When I speak about these things, they are really just my opinion and I like to think that I normally speak from the players perspective. Though I will say that I've been told I suck at Quake, so many of my observations may be due to that. I'm just an average player here and giving my perspective on things.

So, to elaborate on what i mean by maps being too big for their own good, there are a few things to take from that. Say we're looking at Shib3, when you go into each building, much of the floors and hallways are pretty cramped. Because of this, there is a knight or other enemy around mostly every corner. This tends to get a little tedious, grindy and feels too big for it's own good because if there was one building like that, it wouldn't really be a big deal, but if you have to do that 2-3 times, it gets old for me. You could remove a building and I think it would actually add to the map. In this case, less is more.

If you look at a map like Shib5, it's too big for its own good because that's personal preference (like most of my thoughts). I feel like a focused episode for a setting like that would just work better then one huge map.

This is just my opinion obviously, but Quake maps should always have secrets. I don't think the main game hase a map without even one secret, even the hub world has the nightmare secret. Unless your map is super straight forward, then I guess that's fine. I talk in the stream about throwing the player a bone now and then. It's how keep the player interested in the map. Secrets, Events and Landmarks (there are more things too but I'm just trying to describe things quickly) all play a role in keeping the player going. I think that's why we've seen the trend of newer maps having a huge number of secrets, because they're fun to find and it feels good to hear that secret chime sound.

I'm not trying to dissuade you in anyway shape or form. I love having mappers making maps, period. While this may not be my cup of tea, there are obviously other players who adored it. I also think it takes guts to release something that goes against the norms. Anything you created here is better than what I could create, no doubt!

Again, you're obviously a very talented and passionate map author and can make some beautiful and dazzling things, I think they just need a little more focus on gameplay, consistency and what the player is looking to get out of it.

Going forward, I'd be more than happy to play through anything you're working on if you ever need input or another set of eyes.

Also, Fake Shambler rules! =) 
Ter Shib Sighting 
Feedback 
Thank you for the demo Redfield, was really nice to watch. You did the smart thing by conserving ammunition through axing weaker enemies and saving for the big encounters. You had a few close calls but you made it out alive and with plenty of ammo to spare too. Well done!

It is not my intention to take criticism harshly. Honestly I don't, even if it may sound that way. The criticism that ArrrCee provided has all been valid. The difficult gameplay mixed in with very large maps and sometimes unpleasant looking visuals is all acceptable.

I just had a few questions regarding some of ArrrCee's critique and he explained it clearly. In the case of shib3 being too big, I tried to make each room in each building unique from every other so it didn't feel tedious. As far as secrets, I guess I try and aim a little higher than just a different textured wall that you shoot to try and find a secret. I like my secrets to be elaborate, one that isn't solved so easily, and I often think of different scenarios for how it might work. Sadly more often than not I'm dissatisfied and I wind up scrapping the secret entirely. I'm not trying to make a statement that I hate secrets or anything, I'm just not too good at making them.

I will gladly accept most criticism of my work, as long as its reasonable. If someone were to say I didn't put in any effort to make these maps, yeah that might get under my skin. But I digress.

Again, I was fully aware from the beginning that when I released this pack it would get a lot confused looks and even some hate. But to see it still being mentioned and occasionally talked about almost a year after its release makes me think I did a pretty good job. 
 
It's interesting how polarizing this map set can be. RC, I don't mean any disrespect - everyone is entitled to their opinion - but I feel like some of those criticisms were birthed from approaching the set with a mindset that is very contrary to the one from which these maps were conceived.

I never found the lack of continuity jarring because it's clear that each map is supposed to be very distinct from the others. Whereas you see a problem with the sudden change of environment, I see talent in the fact that the author was able to conceive such drastically different themes while constantly breaking the mold of the traditional Quake map. If you're taking things at face value, then it's easy to imagine the goons taking a vacation at a resort in shib1 as you mentioned. However, it seems clear to me that shib1 was intended to have surreal qualities to it - the monstrous fragment of the Golden Gate looming in the distance for example kind of gives the map a dreamlike feel, among other factors.

The maps were certainly large but I disagree that they were large simply for the sake of being large. That would imply that spaces were conceived with no particular intention other than to be large, empty spaces. With regard to shib5, the huge space helps bring the western town setting to life. You have distinct environments within the map - a huge railroad system above a giant crater, caves on the perimeter, a small oasis beside a large cavern, and the tiny village area where the final fight takes place.

As for secrets, I don't see their value or utility in some of these maps. Due to the scale of these maps, each one is an adventure. There is plenty to see and so much brushwork plus beautiful textures to marvel over. This provides enough incentive to explore. There is a sense of progression as you tackle these maps. With all this in mind, I never felt that the maps were devoid of anything except ammo.

After listening to some other guys in the community, it's very clear that there is a school of thought that Quake maps all need to be a certain way. Some people seem to think that if a map isn't a base map or a wizard map, then it should be a close derivative of one of these styles. Having finally played a good number of user maps since I initially reviewed this set, I can say that my opinions haven't changed. Ken pushes the boundaries of the modern tools at our disposal and he excelled at environmental storytelling and atmosphere. Shib4 is still so iconic to me with its horror theme and game play shift to a lopsided tower. Some sacrifices probably had to be made in terms of enemy encounters in order for the author's vision to be realized but I still felt that the execution was very much on point.

In any case, I'm not trying to bring any hostility here. I generally enjoy your reviews RC and it's always fun to watch you play through maps. I only chimed in because these maps were hugely inspirational to me and I don't want Ken to forget that his work is tremendously appreciated. When I develop some chops, I'd definitely like to revisit these themes and extend upon what has been started here. 
 
It is different and it plays different compared to most other maps. There is no doubt about it.
Anyway, I had fun the most time I played. Thumbs up from me. 
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