The designs in this pack are awesome. Highlights:
1. Great variety of themes.
2. Strong themes in all maps. Like really strong.
3. Great atmosphere in many maps. Some of them are so creative they actually feel like little introductions to new games.
4. Use of the restrictions really effective for interesting, explorative, convoluted layouts on a smaller scale.
5. Use of the restrictions also good for interesting scenery surrounding the map, some really cool atmosphere-enhancing non-gameplay designs.
6. In short the vibes are spot on, the maps are often very cute and really engrossing. I think it's been a great exercise in just how good small maps can be.
7. Secrets good too.
(I haven't gone into specifics here as it's pretty obvious which bits have been so effective. The less creative maps have still be good and stylish in their own right too).
The gameplay is a bit more problematic overall, with a lot of maps being unduly hard, not in a "git gud" sort of way, but with some recurring and specific issues:
1. Maps are very difficult to get through first go due to a combination of "health-chipping" encounters mixed with fierce AD monster encounters that if you can't predict them or really save health for them are often insta-death.
2. The AD monsters in a cramped environment are harder than usual, I do think AD maps have been previously been used in larger scale maps with more player manouverability options, and this hasn't been taken into account here.
3. I'm guessing that due to the size of the maps, that mappers and playtesters have been able to play them repeatedly (unlike testing a 600 monster map) and thus have become very familiar with the play situations.
This has made several of the maps quite gruelling but the designs have been exciting enough to keep me persisting. Long live small scale maps!
Awesome map man, Really solid theme. Thoroughly enjoyable.
I played on nightmare, I thought that the density of enemies and choices of enemies were really good. Maybe a tiny touch too easy, but this criticism would be nitpicking. The gameplay was probably one of the most balanced in the pack.
I missed a lot of secrets. I'm not sure if this is because I'm rubbish or because they could have been conveyed a little better.
Did I mention how much I liked the theme? The outdoor area was excellent, and I really liked the tip-of-the iceberg vibe to the building. Especially the descent from house to basement / storeroom to unfamiliar rooms / evil worship place.
Great map, thanks :)
I Will Say...
...one slight gameplay frustration with some of these was actually an effect of how nice the designs were - I kept getting entranced by the vibes (did I mention i like small convoluted strongly themed maps) and forgetting to quicksave....
Map De Bal.
Difficult to say anything that already hasn't been said about this gem of a map - such a highly polished, well built place. I played in normal QS, so no fancy volumetric fog-like particles, but I didn't mind. It looked really good even though thematically it was a fairly nondescript base.
My one niggle is the usual videogame-y progression felt a bit out of place: for example, there isn't much logic to pressing two pillar buttons to activate a small lift next room. Usually in Quake this matters practically never, but with this level of professionalism it was a little odd.
Very well done map, hope the next one comes soon!
The trademark high difficulty is back. I managed to fit within just one demo this time, even though I still played very sloppily.
The map does kind of show that it was made quickly before the deadline, though it's rather well done. I think I would have preferred subtler lighting, as I'm not fully convinced the dark monster skins fit very well with the white stone.
The outside area kept teasing me.
I liked the books.
Nice map overall!
Another map that could have done with some more time, and some moodier lighting.
This map somehow felt simultaneously small and too open at the same time. It was nice to have those tiny lifts everywhere, it reminded me of E4M8 in a way. It also makes me want to revisit my dm4 remix in this theme... :qthink:
I did like the revisiting of areas (though some more consistency would be nice, rather than making it sometimes a door opening, and sometimes a hole in the wall blowing open) and the twist on the ending.
Somehow I failed to connect the map together thematically (as seen in me tragically failing the ending).
A decent map, all things considered!
well i played some of the maps and i must say that i'm impressed with ionous map, it's like a textbook case of reusing spaces.
Ionous Map Manages To Pack A 4096 Layout Into 1024.
So well done. The starting bit was a gem with 32 monsters fitting in fine to one tiny area. I actually had dreams about this after trying it the first time (and, ahem, ragequitting the zombie trap after forgetting to quicksave......)
Also a textbook case of using... textbooks
Oh Yeah I Didn't Read Those Fucking Things.
I liked finding them tho....
Xmas Bal V2
Somewhat much easier on a second playthrough finding all the secrets, there's a lot of loot and tactics to manage it for the beefier ending. Although the super-secret was a bit of.....bundle of fun.
Xmas Ionous V2
Somewhat much easier on a third playthrough finding most of the secrets (the last two I couldn't actually see how they could fit into the uber-compact map), there's a lot of loot and tactics to manage it for the difficulty spikes.
As usual, I liked this to bits. Good vibes, and surprisingly light-on-single-shotgun gameplay.
About 'Super Secrets'
So these are really hard to pull of successfully, although I think Bal's map did a really good job of surprising the player with the secret. In most cases it seems the player will have to go backtracking and find missing secrets/things in order to unlock the 'super secret'.
It seems difficult to figure out where to place such a secret, if it is placed just before the ending it would seem logical, but if the player has missed something in the unlock sequence they may ignore it and finish the map. If it is placed near the beginning, the player will still have to backtrack to unlock it.
I think the mapper can make a conscious decision that the super secret will require backtracking, or it is there to encourage replay of the map. This is what I tried to do, by placing many monsters in the secret, and because the player has to backtrack to unlock it I hoped they will either explore more, or do a second playthrough. I agree with @Spud, I can see that this is not a perfect setup and maybe the super secret should be more natural to find. Does anyone have any examples of great super secrets in other maps?
Anyways this jam was really awesome to play through because of the diversity in the map themes. It was almost in some senses a theme-less jam.
@57 Re: Natural Super Secrets
Does anyone have any examples of great super secrets in other maps?
Given that this mapjam requires Arcane Dimensions be installed to play, it seems fair to mention the maps in AD itself, four of which include mod-relevant super secrets, that being the runes to collect. Two I'm gonna single out are ad_mountain (Firetop Mountain, by sock) and ad_cruical (Crucial Error, by mfx).
Firetop Mountain has already shown up multiple times in this thread (and I misspelled it as 'Lavatop'- whoops!) and is an overall great example of how to make a super secret- setting the player on a side-quest that runs alongside their normal level progress from the instant they see the first ghostly Knight at the map entrance, telling a neat story along the way, and most importantly, giving hints to how to progress towards the secret even if they miss a step or the initial apparition. The path is constantly changing as well- one second you're just looking for ghosts, then it's finding skeletons in the vents, then it's an arena fight as you get to watch the spectres make their way to the hidden room, etc. and it's all completely optional, with mini-secrets along the way like the Widowmaker shotgun.
In contrast, Crucial Error has its entire super secret route only available if you find the 'end point' near the start of the map, that being the locked door hidden behind a breakable vent in an air duct. However, unlike every other instance of a breakable vent in the map, this single vent has no visible crack giving the player a glimpse to the other side, and it's entirely likely they won't even realize it's breakable as there's a Grunt directly in front of it who will absorb their fire- if you're good enough to not miss a shot, you probably won't deal enough damage to break the vent. Worse, if they do manage to break it, the previous precedent demonstrated in the map- that being "breakable vents are marked with a crack" is broken, leading to an inquisitive player having to smack/shoot every single vent texture in the map (of which there are dozens if not more) to make sure the same trick wasn't pulled again. The secret itself is just a tiny room with a rune in it, unlocked by finding some computer chips- if you don't find the room itself first, the chips don't spawn in the map and you don't even get a hint that they exist.
There's a portal error in my map. When you walk over the bridge towards the small room with the window that reveals the ring, the upper metal tile on the ramp disappears. No weird brushwork involved, or any errors in the QBSP output, so there's no reason this should happen?! No such issue with the XT utils. Any idea what's going on there?
Argh, sorry. I see it - will look into it.
What A Workout
I didn't realize a Christmas theme jam also meant the hardest maps ever! But I loved it. A great job to everyone.
Demos for each map, hard skill. Not all a first run, but played each time until I could get through it in one sitting.
Updated With A Bonus Map From Sock
Is an Xmas sock the same thing as a stocking? Anyways, this was a really neat little map. I love the use of the Twisted Christmas monsters, and it was kinda funny how they would explode. All the rocks and woodwork looked really good too. "My dear boy, you saved me!" Gets me every time...
A S(t)ocking Stuffer?
It's still Christmas somewhere in the world, right? Looks great but I don't think anyone is really expecting anything else given the map author. Found two secrets on the first playthrough but had to record a second demo because shenanigans and found the third secret (the megahealth) on a second playthrough. Wasn't expecting to save Santa so early. Also, the first secret (nailgun) has a kind of wonky secret trigger, I think- it counts as finding it when you jump towards the button, apparently, not when you actually activate it or when you enter the nail room. Demo here.
Unrelated side note: I noticed AD1.7's notes mention the shotgun damage has been rolled back to default Quake values; wasn't that part of the appeal of using the projectile shotguns, doing just a bit more damage compared to the normal hitscan ones?
I really liked this map. Short, but fun. Nice little enemies. Excellent attention to detail. As you saw on stream, I played on nightmare... Could have been a touch harder. Wish this had've released with the pack T_T
Great job man,
Nice map. Wondered what the xmas monsters were going to be. thought they might have just been re-skins of the current monsters rather than the models from that crazy xmas mall map.
Here's a demo
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