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Quake Speedmapping Pack 199: Collaboration!
Quake Speedmapping Pack 199: Collaboration! Five levels made by teams of two mapmakers!

Promo Image: https://imgur.com/a/SZN8RXe

The teams:
Mystery of the Hidden Temple by Burnham and Yoder
Cerberus Depth by Elithium and Greenwood
Cosmic Onslaught by Greenwood and Ing-Ing
Depraved State by JCR and Newhouse
Dragon Shrine by Pinchy and Ionous

Download it here: http://www.quaketastic.com/files/sm199.zip


FIX!!

http://www.quaketastic.com/files/sm199_fix.zip
SM199 
Downloading this pack now....
Expecting good gameplay.
The promo image shows good stuff. 
Critique 
Reposting my critique of each level here for posterity.


Mclogenog/Nostalgick
I generally enjoyed what was there, but gameplay felt really static for the most part. The main benifit of Quake as a game over Doom and even newer shooter titles is the level of verticality, and save for a single ogre I can't really think of any notable vertically-inclined fights in the map, which goes against it imo.
I loved the look, there's a few clashing textures like the buttons and the green metal but what works really looks good, I enjoyed the descent into the temple and didn't notice that wasn't the end of the level. I had a small problem with the ending where the Shambler is spawned in the middle of nowhere, so your only real option is to back out and play the corner, which is never fun.



Ing-ing/Greenwood
Good to see Greenwood back again, but unfortunately I can't say i'm the biggest fan of this one. The weird, blocky geometry, incomprehensible textures, monsterspam, and lack of ammo in the beginning made for a super convoluted and confusing level. I did like the freedom and the progression style, I cheesed an encounter or two with the Rocket Launcher and some neat jumping.
If only the rest of the level was as good as bits like the platforming, or lavabox.



elithium/Greenwood
I enjoyed my time with this one a bunch. In the demo you'll see me hop on a bunch of discussion points, little design considerations for next time that I feel weren't a problem in your last map (Elithium). Things like signposting, abstraction of switch function, keys vs switches and theming. Other than these slight problems, overall super fun level- felt like something from the original quake slightly prettied up and shipped off. Really interested to see what you have for us next time Elith/Greeny.


NewHouse/JCR
What can I say, simply an amazing slice of sandy-esque Terracotta terror! Felt as fleshed out as a jam map, oozing style and genius encounter design left and right. Devious traps, cool mechanisms, and really nice arena combat for the middle and end of the level. There's no demo in the zip since i'd already sent it to ya'll- but I love it.
Definetly the star of the pack here imo.



Pinchy/ionous
Super fun mini-romp! I could totally feel each mappers influence there, as small as Ionous' contribution may or may not have been (too humble). I got lost a little bit in the middle there, but that was honestly simply my incompetence plus a family member chatting to me while I was playing.. so no black marks there. Pinchy's style is growing on me I believe, as toned back as that execution might have been it still had that open feeling, well done encounters and a sweet package overall. 
 
So far I played through Mystery of the Hidden Temple and Cerberus Depth. Keep in mind that I suck at pathfinding (and gaming in general, so skill 1 throughout) and prefer small, concise experiences over elaborate, huge maps. I didn't record demos because watching me play is a waste of time. ;)

I also loaded Cosmic Onslaught and Depraved State. I'm unlikely to complete CO due to its layout and gameplay premise but I want to finish DS. It's a little too dark and too chaotic and I (again) had difficulty progressing but I like the setting so I'll do my best FWIW.

Mystery of the Hidden Temple by Burnham and Yoder

I really dig the Olmec vibe of the entire map and the abundance of lianas, webs and such. Button operated platforms enabling access to only one path at a time were really cool. I'm on a fence if isn't a little too puzzley for Quake but it was fun nevertheless.

What I found super clever is how triggers were placed in such a way that geometry always occluded enemies teleporting in from a monster closet. First ambush of this kind resulted in my death but from then on this became an interesting gameplay element consistently sprinkled here and there that made the entire map pretty unique.

Unfortunately the same geometry that made ambushes fun caused me to have problems progressing. I was unable to find the path to the well and a final chamber w/o opening map in TB and inspecting its layout. Zombies all over the ground floor weren't enough of a hint for me to focus on the upper spaces apparently. :(

What was missing, I feel, is someone attacking from the bridge leading to the well. This would focus my attention further. Funny thing is that I saw this bridge from the spot where the key can be found but assumed it's a decoration and/or secret area only (and I rarely go searching for secrets).

That said once I got over this problem I went through well, accidentally found secret and was able to survive the final battle. I don't think this would be possible without quad though.

All in all a pretty polished map that I enjoyed a lot.

Cerberus Depth by Elithium and Greenwood

I'm a huge sucker for caves, catacombs and castles so I really liked the theme. Some of the set pieces remind me of what I'm trying to achieve with my first map so this validates some of the ideas of mine.

I like the selection of enemies and types of layouts and encounters selected. Abundance of knights made it fun even though I was constantly struggling with ammo which typically frustrates me to no end. Found one of the secrets as it seemed super obvious (wide paths alongside rocky walls are like that, IMO).

Some of the encounters were underwhelming though. Vore can be sniped with grenades from the corner with quake button and Death Knight on top of stairs can be easily dispatched using shotgun if one stands on the stairs near the top opening.

Ogres were rarely dangerous but even if ineffective, lent some credibility in mixed combats. If I'm not mistaken there's a Fiend in one of the corridors. Due to corridor size though it was pretty much immobile and easy to get rid of.

I had problems reaching gold key but ultimately found my way to it without resorting to loading map in TB. Some of the doors were super narrow and hard to pass through. Angled noclips would probably help in those spots. Extra details would help this map some more but it was a great experience still. 
SM199 
Played the whole pack this morning -> https://youtu.be/xB8OtGmVpfI
Good job everyone! 
 
I had a lot of fun playing this pack. My first-run demos for all maps are here:

http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/sm199_iw.zip

The demos are protocol 666 (QuakeSpasm default), skill 2.

I mostly resisted the urge to hunt for secrets while recording, because watching me hunt for secrets would be slightly worse than watching paint dry. I managed not to die, and combat in all maps generally seemed fair.

Comments on individual maps follow:

WARNING: SPOILERS FOR SECRETS

====================

sm199_burnham_yoder

What a nice-looking map! The visual theme was my favourite out of the pack. The brushwork seemed to get good mileage out of the textures, and I really liked how the combination of the skybox and the blue distance-fog created a cool, dusky atmosphere.

The theme of an ancient, buried structure poking up through the desert sands immediately made me think of the Lovecraft story "The Nameless City". Quake's e4m8 is obviously named after that story, but e4m8 never really bore any resemblance to the ruins the story described. This map is much more like how I imagined them.

Gameplay was short and sweet, and I had no problems with the main progression. However, there were two cues at the end which confused me on my first run. I'll explain what they are in case this is useful feedback.

The first thing was the teleporter accessed via the pool that the player falls into when they go below the surface. In my demo, you'll see that I look at this teleporter, and then don't bother entering it. My expectation was that, because it wasn't very hidden, it must just lead back to the surface. However, when replaying the map, I discovered that this teleporter led to a secret! I guess one way that could have been communicated would be to have the trigger_secret before the teleporter, instead of at the destination. Another way would be to have the passage to the teleporter hidden behind a func_door_secret, even just an obvious one with a mismatched texture or something, so that the player would realise that the teleporter leads to something secret.

The second thing that caught me off-guard was the exit portal itself. Because I still had several kills left to go, it didn't occur to me that that portal was the end of the level. I expected that it was going to teleport me somewhere else, possibly back to the surface so that I could kill the Zombies I saw with my new-found RL. But when I entered it, I was surprised to find it was the exit. It would have been cool if this was telegraphed in advance; for example, some of the id maps have a trigger_multiple that tells the player e.g. "Step into the [portal or whatever it is] to exit".

But overall, those were minor things, and this was a great little map. 
 
sm199_elithium_greenwood

This seemed the most traditional map of the pack, with the mostly-id textures, the catacomb theme, and the honest vanilla gameplay.

The gameplay does a good job of mixing several different types of monsters and different types of encounters into a relatively small map.

I liked the various Knights lurking around corners at the start. In the demo, you might notice that I get paranoid about checking around corners after the first couple of times I get sliced up. =P

There were some very good moments where the player's attention is divided between different threats coming from different directions: for example, when I go for the grenade launcher in the demo, and I'm trying to deal with the Scrags, while avoiding grenades that an Ogre is raining down from above, while also trying to knock over the Zombies that are blocking the GL. Good stuff.

I'm not sure that that one brick texture, which is plastered all over the early part of the level, is really up to the task of being used as a main wall texture. I thought the later part of the level, with the dm5-style brick texture, looked better.

Overall, another good, fun map, with the juicier encounters being the high point. 
 
sm199_greenwood_ing-ing

Of the five maps, this one felt like the least traditional (for Q1) in terms of the theme and layout.

I liked that the layout looked bewildering at first glance, but that the progression turned out to be relatively straightforward.

The lavabox building that Fairweather mentioned above was a clever bit of design, being all three of an environmental hazard, a mechanical trap, and an arena combat.

I was surprised that I missed so many of the secrets on my first run. When I played the map again, on Nightmare, I had an enjoyable session hunting for the secrets I didn't find.

I liked the little secret with the box of cells under the staircase: I liked that it requires the player to notice something subtle which is different to the usual "mismatched or misaligned texture" trope.

However, I ran into some issues trying to get the last secret.

The last secret I hadn't got was the high platform with the Megahealth and the gang of Death Knights. I guessed that I probably needed to get on top of the housing surrounding the nearby teleporter, and then jump across the chain of platforms to the big platform with the Megahealth. I spent a bunch of time looking for a secret button or platform or teleporter that would take me up there, but I couldn't find anything. I eventually gave up and turned on "r_showbboxes 1", and then looked at the map file, and I still couldn't find anything. I'm not sure if I'm missing something, or if the player is just expected to rocket-jump to the top of the teleporter housing?

In any case, I did rocket-jump up there, but I ran into another problem. I axed the button that lowers the chain of platforms, and then shot the Ogre at the far end. But before I had time to jump onto the first platform, the chain of platforms raised back into position, and there was no way to get them down again, because the button doesn't reset. The button has "wait -1", but the func_doors used for the platforms don't. So it seems that that secret becomes inaccessible if the player doesn't jump across the platforms straight away, which seems unfair on the player?

But apart from that, I had a good time hunting for the other nine secrets, so thanks for that. 
 
sm199_nh_jcr

This map had great gameplay, with different threats doing a good job of dividing the player's attention: lots of Ogres and Zombies raining attacks down from above while other monsters attack the player directly. It also had some good old-fashioned ambushes, and even had Spawn ambushes which were not completely unfair!

It seems like very few maps place Zombies high up as snipers, and this map proves that it can work really well. I liked that there were cases where Zombies were high enough to be out of range of the grenade launcher, so the player just has to keep moving and avoiding their attacks until later on, when the player gets close enough to finally take the Zombies out.

The texture choices and the spikey brushwork brought back fond memories of some of Tronyn's old releases, like arwop and drysorrow.

Secret-hunting was also fun in this map. I missed a number of the secrets on my first run, but I took the time to find them all when replaying on Nightmare.

All things considered, this might be my favourite map of the pack. Good job! 
 
sm199_pinchy_ion

The soft, warm lighting in this map looked really nice with the textures.

You'll see from my demo that I missed most of the secrets on my first run. I took the time to find them all when replaying on Nightmare, and my feeling is that this map loses something if the player doesn't at least find the secret involving the battlements and rooftop, which was really cool.

On my first run, when I didn't find that secret, the map felt like a somewhat arbitrary set of courtyards and rooms. It didn't feel like it had much of a sense of place.

However, when I replayed the map, and climbed up to that secret, I saw over the battlements, discovered that the whole building was perched on a cliff rising out of lava, and got a good look at the cool skybox. I could also look down at the courtyards and see how they wrapped around the central building. Those things conveyed the sense of place that was missing on my first run.

One negative, though, was that when I dropped down outside the battlements, I seemed to be trapped with no way back up? And the lava was a solid floor, not a *lava liquid texture -- it felt like this area should have been clipped off?

In any case, that didn't spoil the body of the map, which was a good straightforward romp.

I like the tactic of numbering secret areas so that the player knows when they've missed one. Thanks for that. That third secret seemed insidiously well hidden. =P

====================

All things considered, I had a thoroughly enjoyable time with this pack. Thanks to all involved! Looking forward to sm200. 
 
Great collabs! I enjoyed guessing who made what. Here's my playlist for this pack: SM199 Playlist 
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