Love The Honey Take In Map 2
And the dogs setup are nice too!
Keep on mapping!
That Map 1 Secret!
Ubiquitous, good call on putting the fall damage back to normal -- I wouldn't have laboured the point so much in my last post if I'd known that was already your intention. =P
Also, I finally found the secret in Map 1 when replaying it. I don't want to spoil the surprise for others, but I will say it's the rare case of a secret which is very difficult to find and yet felt 100% worth the effort!
Excellent brushwork and detailing in ways I don't think I've seen anyone do with Quake. At times it felt more like Thief 3 or something. Also really strong visual variety between levels while still feeling like a unified build style.
Some gripes with gameplay and combat while precision platforming, though.
Here's my blind playthrough with commentary: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/466922549
Thanks Mclogenon, it's a great playthrough and I learnt a lot from listening.
There are a few points I can speak to.
All of the textures are on palette. Photoshop's dithering algorithms work wonders, provided you pick an original image that isn't too far off-palette to begin with.
The blocks in the halway on map 1 might look like a bit of a chore to build, but that's okay because I didn't build them. I have some scientific computing software called Wolfram Mathematica that I use for my research and which has its own scripting language. I wrote a simple script to convert height-map bmps into the stepped terrain you saw, so I can actually build that terrain very quickly indeed. You were right to guess that it was inspired by the Giant's Causeway. But the square brushes allow a 1:1 mapping from the square pixel grid of the height map. A gexagonal brush construction would require a more complicated geometric transformation from the rectangular pixel grid into a hexagonal grid for the brushes; I was too lazy for that. But I agree it would look cool.
You were right that the Plantagenets were a dynasty of English kings during the middle ages. The titles of the three maps together with the title of the episode itself all form a reference to one of my other loves in life. But I leave that reference as a puzzle for everyone to work out.
I'm impressed that you recognised David's rendition of Marat. I saw the original in Brussels and it was quite stunning.
I made the library chair in map 3 illusory to avoid the player getting stuck on it in the finale battle. I decided the weirdness of having a chair you could clip into was worth it to avoid a frustrating snag during that fight.
Probably the most contentious part of the whole episode is at the top of the lift on map 2. I think this is a case where I had a grand vision that didn't map onto the way people would experience the level. I wanted to make a cool moment of vertiginous tension where, knowing how high they have come, the player finds themself on the precipice's edge. This was inspired by a part of Bloodborne that really made my skin tingle, where the player must traverse some rafters in a huge library with a very big fall below them. I guess the sensation didn't translate as well as I had hoped to Quake.
I think it's fair to say the art was put before game play. I'm still learning the craft of encounter design (thanks for the great article about door bottlenecks, by the way). I have a habit of building by improvisation rather than planning my map flow, which doesn't help. For now, i compensate with my increasingly baroque brushwork.
Thanks again for playing!
Gameplay Is Nice
but the visuals are all over.
Feels like made by a colorblind.
Textures clashing all over, sorry this looks so weird in places i quit.
The limitations in quakes pallette dont mean you can go overboard with them, you have to choose wisely.
My eyes hurt with all those blue brown red things all over.
kiooter can you post a screenshot of what you mean? I don't recognise your description of "blue brown red things all over". Unless you are seriously exaggerating, it sounds like you have a bug somewhere.
Indeed, I think anyone looking at the screenshots here would think the colour tones pretty typical for a Quake map: https://ubiquitousgame.wordpress.com/2019/07/29/quake-min-episode-of-three-plantagenets/#jp-carousel-428
Or if you can't post a screenshot you can suggest a timestamp from Mclogenon's video that you think looks like it was designed by a colour blind person so I can see which part of the level you don't like: https://www.twitch.tv/videos/466922549
Probably just didn't like some of your custom textures, like the mahogany wood. I say good on you for deviating from the standard palette and trying new visual styles. I guess some people are so set in their ways that seeing a different tone of brown throws them off their seat.
Perhaps you're right, maiden. Honestly, I am not too bothered if people don't like the maps (if anything, I think some are being too kind given how great some other people's maps are!).
But I know the community has gotten a bit of an undeserved reputation for toxicity and childishness. So if someone says "your map looks like it was designed by a colorblind [person]" or "[your map made] my eyes hurt" then I feel like asking that they explain themselves in a way that does not involve hyperbole.
Constructive criticism is always more than welcome.
If I Was Toxic I Apoligize
As i said, the gameplay was spot on.
But the visuals were just to colorful for my taste.
For example at 1:42 in the stream, there are two brick textures right next to each other which represent totally different styles imo. Blue and brown.
The brushwork around 13:13 is awesome.
Around 21:55 there is another mashup of totally different sets i dont like that much.
In the end one cannot argue about taste at all i guess.
Still liked it, and keep on making maps!
Hi kiooter, thanks for coming back to explain. I'm sorry you didn't like the style. You're right, of course, there's no accounting for taste. I made things in the style I like but you're obviously under no obligation to like them.
Thanks for playing and for the comments.
OK, I've only played the first map so far, but I wanted to comment on it while it's fresh in my head.
I really enjoyed it. Yeah that particular brick juxtaposition mentioned above is a little off :-) but largely it's a good-looking and interesting environment.
It gave me an odd but nice feeling of a very old-school and new-school map at the same time. Old-school because of some of the narrow doors and hallways (and generally more Quakeguy-sized scale to places and objects), thin supports/rails here and there, and some plain square tunnels. New-school because of the cool bits of surreal "field of squares" brushwork. And:
The use of textures showing some old-master paintings was an interesting choice. It sounds like you have something thematic up your sleeve w.r.t. those, but I just liked the way they both fit into the atmosphere and also "popped", even if they didn't make much sense as diagetic pictures in the environment. Choosing paintings that are strongly about the use of light brought some interesting lighting effects into those rooms -- psychologically anyway, since I don't think you actually added any light entities to reflect what was going on in the paintings.
Anyway, it's fun to run through a quality creation that was driven by a slightly off-the-Quake-mainstream vision. As I mentioned above, the detailing was uneven, but some rooms were pretty nice and I expect you'll find a consistent level. FWIW I don't mind the narrow hallways when used appropriately -- and I think that e.g. zombie-grenading in narrow hallways is fine and good -- but narrow doorways I am less keen on.
On to the next maps soon. :-)
Finished map 2. Fun use of scale! It felt like a pretty epic journey/escape.
I'm glad you had patched out the extra falling damage. :-)
A couple of critiques:
1) I don't mind and can even enjoy some first-person platforming, but I think it's a faux pas (particularly in Quake) to require the player to _land_ in a fiddly way, i.e. to have a small target zone that can be overshot with really bad consequences. The fun in Quake-style platforming IMO is figuring out a route and then in executing the take-off in the right direction, but controlling the length of the jump super-precisely can be more frustrating.
(Having gaps to fall into as you get off a lift is also pretty bad.)
2) A small thing, but: I think you should make more use of "rotted" health packs. When I'm getting chip damage as I go along it can almost feel unsatisfying to only have full health packs available to use.
An excellent map trio. Nice layouts with a classic quake feel. Here's my playthrough with my thoughts: Video Playthrough
Third one completed. I'm not going to type a lot this time, but yeah more good work... you've got a real talent for presenting the feel of a journey through a gigantic but knowable space. A little bit of backtracking (with new monster spawn breadcrumbs), a little bit of paths crossing over each other, it almost all works really well and I feel that Quakeguy's fitbit is setting new personal bests for his step-counts.
Keep it up!
Johnny Law, thanks for playing and taking the time to post your thoughts! I can't really argue with any of your comments, but glad that you seem to mostly have enjoyed the experience.
Oh for sure. Threads like these are a useful place to surface critical feedback, but that doesn't mean that any of the nitpicks ruined the experience for me. It's a super-fun map set.
Fixing The Crash-on-save Issue
Ubiquitous, I noticed that some of the commenters on Quaddicted reported that the engine crashes when they try to save on the second or third map. I can confirm the same issue affects the start map, too. The reason this happens is that the "wad" strings in those bsp files are very long. (You likely know what the "wad" string is, but for any reader who doesn't: it's a semicolon-separated list of the paths of the wad files that the compiler is supposed to use when compiling the map.)
There's a historical bug/limitation in the engine whereby the value of an entity key gets copied into a fixed-sized buffer, so if the value contains too many characters, it'll overflow. The "wad" string is stored as a key of the worldspawn entity, which is why this is relevant.
Based on previous reports about other maps, it seems that whether or not this causes a crash is platform-dependent, even when using e.g. QuakeSpasm on different platforms. I haven't looked into the issue enough to be able to tell you why that is.
It's been a long time since I've properly looked at the code in the engine that's relevant to this, but from casting my eyes over it briefly, it looks like the original character limit was 255 characters. In QuakeSpasm 0.93.1 this appears to be bumped to 511 characters.
The v1.3 e1ubi maps have the following character counts for the "wad" strings:
- start: 566
- e1m1ubi: 500
- e1m2ubi: 714
- e1m3ubi: 717
So that seems to explain why e1m1ubi doesn't crash QuakeSpasm but the other three do (or at least, can).
I can think of a couple of ways that the "wad" strings might be made shorter to work around this problem:
1. Relative paths could be used for the wad files instead of absolute paths. Ubiquitous, I noticed from the readme that you're using TrenchBroom: you should be able to choose relative vs. absolute paths at the time you add a wad file.
2. Alternatively, you could make the string shorter by not using multiple wad files. If you're comfortable using command-line tools, ericw's tools include one called bsputil. You could do e.g. "bsputil --extract-textures e1m2ubi.bsp", which will create a new wad file, "e1m2ubi.wad", which contains only the textures used in the map. You could then change the map file to use only that one wad file.
(As a third alternative: it should be possible to strip the "wad" string out of the finished bsp file, however that feels hacky, and if you recompile again, you'd have to remember to do it again.)
If you've any intention of fixing this and releasing an update, there's another bug I noticed in e1m3ubi which I thought you might want to fix: one of the "bottomless pits" in the dungeon doesn't have a trigger_hurt at the bottom of it. It's in the first room of the dungeon, the one with the cells on both walls.
P.S. looking at the "wad" strings in those files: I'm not sure that changing them to relative paths would necessarily help, because I'm not sure where the wad files are in relation to the directory where your compiler gets run. So, possibly option 2 would be more useful?
Thanks! I would otherwise have had no idea how to fix it. I am away right now, but will look at fixing this when I get back. Your option 2 shouldn't be a problem for me.
New Version To (hopefully) Fix The Save Bug
Using the suggestion of iw, I have produced a new version (1.4) that should hopefully fix the save bug. It can be obtained from Quaketastic here:
Can confirm that with the latest version, it's possible to save in all maps without crashing QuakeSpasm. And the entity keys are short enough that they should be fine for all engines. Good job!
I've recently been working on some bugfixes for progs_dump, and I've been using these maps as additional playtesting material to check that I haven't broken anything (obviously the third map uses some custom features, but the first two maps seem to use only the stock pd features?). So I've played through them a bunch of times, now.
I feel like my original post in this thread was too negative, or at least, not positive enough. There's a lot to like in these maps. I very much like that they have a distinct personality about them, especially with the environmental details that one doesn't usually see in a Quake map (the paintings, rugs, upholstered furniture, etc.). And, the interesting details don't stop the gameplay being authentically Quakey.
My favorite bit of visual design is in the second map, where there's the cosy seating area with chairs and a table and a bookcase on a balcony that's teetering over an abyss. That's a wonderfully surreal scene.
Here's a question that occured to me while replaying: modern Quake engines allow the use of external true color textures as opposed to paletted textures; did you consider using this for the paintings? I wonder how it would have looked?
Thanks, iw, for the kind comments. The fix for the save error was particularly useful because now I can easily incorporate the same fix into any future release.
Surreal is exactly the vibe I had in mind with the scene you described. The reason I put a bit of extra detail, e.g., into the wing chairs is because I knew the detail there was important to sell the atmosphere.
To be honest, it never crossed my mind to use 32 bit textures. I've developed a pretty routine workflow for processing textures into the quake palette using a combination of Photoshop and TexMex. I guess my worry would be that the high depth textures would look a bit out of place in an otherwise 8 but world. But for textures that stray far from the default quake palette, it might indeed be the best approach.
8-bit Vs. 32-bit
Yes, whether things would look too out-of-place would be my concern, as well. I think that, as with any modern Q1 extension, use of 32-bit textures would need to be judicious.
There's some evidence that suggests to me that 32-bit textures are acceptable in some contexts:
* Players don't seem to complain about all of the maps that use 32-bit skyboxes, and many maps rely on those colourful skyboxes for visual effect. On the other hand, the skybox isn't part of the level geometry, so maybe that's why it doesn't bother people?
* One map which has always stuck in my mind for using external textures well is Necros' ne_marb
. It uses external textures to transplant Doom's green marble textures into Quake. It's been a long time since I've played it, but my recollection is that the difference between playing with the external textures or without was striking. (N.b. this was one of the first Quoth maps, and IIRC the external textures were included with Quoth itself, not in ne_marb.zip).
But, neither of these are exactly the same case as the artworks in these maps. So, I don't have much of a point, just thinking out loud!
Going To Be Playing Through This In About 90 Minutes.