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Q1SP: The Ensnared Horizon By Scar3crow
This started as an entry to ionous' Origins Jam, but I wanted to spend more time with it, and so I did.

94/104/111 monsters, 7 secrets. Meandering layout, only a few areas you have to actually go to in order to exit. The story in the readme attempts to excuse the theme.

Download - scar3crow.com
Readme
Screenshot 1
Screenshot 2
Screenshot 3
Screenshot 4

Hope it isn't too horrible. I promise my next map will have something resembling planning. Slightly exceeds id1 standards, but runs fine in QuakeSpasm. Special shoutout to khreathor for two HOURS of demos.
 
Damn Map 
kicked my derpy butt

Loved the interconnected layouts... hate that I missed all the secrets... really unique doors, traps, E4 areas and set pieces. Weapons and ammo were issues for me. I really needed that GL as you can see. GG! make more maps!!!!!!

demos on skill one - nowhere near 100% 
 
Well this sure was a good Quake map. Strong DOPA vibes in places.

http://www.quaketastic.com/files/demos/otp_scar3sp01.zip

Too lazy for a proper write-up (sorry), so here's a list of possibly contradictory bullet points.

I liked:
- the bonkers mangled layout, I thought only Newhouse had the unique gift to make things like that nowadays, but apparently it can be learned

- the map going from 0 to 100 in terms of action practically immediately

- the visuals, despite being a total haggis, being true to the Quake ethos

- the way to access the double secret with the Quad, reminded me of the YA in E2M1

I didn't care for:
- the progression, which was far too opaque for a level this open ended - the map was not communicating what was happening

- the ammo starvation, I understand Hard should be Hard, but the difficulty shouldn't come from needing to converse nails with the regular Nailgun

- the darkness in some areas, which was excessive, particularly the double Shambler cellar area 
Oh And. 
I did like the crazy angles in the metal areas a lot, I hope your next map is fully metal. 
 
Thanks everyone for the demos/videos and comments, including those who just messaged them to me outside of Func.

Curious to see bugs reproduce in the demos that I had fixed during development, and could not reproduce now. But maybe its an artifact of the playback, as no one said anything during their demos when they happened.

dumptruck - You have an amazing knack for getting into trouble. You got stuck in places that I had specifically set up to give the player more assistance.

otp - Thanks, I do enjoy how Newhouse levels don't feel like something I would encounter outside of Quake. Your comment on the darkness is interesting, as it didn't look to be an issue in your demo? Throughout development I struggled to keep the map lit, without ever being too bright.

Things I've learned from watching a variety of people play this, and receiving notes from others:

- Any signpost mechanic that won't be explicitly messaged needs to be mandatory in the player path before encountering the impacting element (you should encounter the spike shooters no matter what before you encounter the button which disables them).

- Talk to the player, even with cryptic language. Strict symbolism such as raising pillars up can be missed by the player spinning around following pushing a button. They can't accidentally dodge a centerprint.

- Too much ammo is better served with more complex combat than removing ammo. I previously had a lot more shells, but removed a bunch per khreathor's feedback. I failed to note that he is conservative with ammo use like I am.

- What do scrags even do? Seriously, they kept idling in places I had not put them, showing up early to battles, and clipping through multiple brushes. I think any future use of them by me should be either very reserved, or with a mod that attempts to fix their behavior.

- It is easier to force a player out with temptation than with challenge, even a player with almost no resources tends to hunker down instead of making a move for supplies across the way.

- Reward being on the right track for a secret. The YA and Quad were definitely the most commonly acquired secret, and I attribute this to those items, as well as the rocket ammo. Only one person (otp) found the rl secret, as it required a lot of keystrokes with no encouragement that you were accomplishing something along the way.

- I should've just told players at the beginning "sky textures teleport you, some patches of sky have multiple teleporters in them." There's no room for "show, don't tell" in a stand alone single player map when you're trying to be clever.

- Keep cryptic messages for unrequired elements. RennyC had no clue what the "Appease their demons" meant, and actually progressed through the level by sequence breaking. Such phrases are better for hinting at how to get a non-secret upgrade, like the Thunderbolt.

Thanks again everyone, this has been an incredible learning experience for me. Also, otp managed to do some incredible feats in the cellar staying alive for way too long. I'm going to start sketching up another level next week. It might even have some balance to it! 
 
Good map. Regarding secrets, it's the first time I didn't find any during my first run. Nada. Found a few after going back and looking around. In hindsight, some of them seemed a little rough around the edges, like the RL secret which I cheesed off Zwiffle's YT. Why not make the mechanic similar to the pent secret at the beginning? The RA area was another odd one. There is a protruding skull button in the ceiling which I've seen used as a trigger in maps over the years, but here it does absolutely nothing, as if to confuse the player. Also haven't figured out the cells in the small cave by the starting area.

An interesting map for sure. I also didn't mind the layout as it kept me on my toes and things start to fall in place as one progresses through the map. Thanks for your efforts. 
 
Yeah this was quite fun! ... it gives a good impression that it was made with a priority on shaping player action at least as much as making cool visuals. I didn't have any real complaint with the "nonlinearity", as by coincidence or otherwise I ended up seeing the whole map (except secrets) before ending up at the exit.

One critique is that it feels sort of scattered. I don't think this is entirely up to the nonlinearity (but it's related). Trying to put my finger on it, I think it's because there are many distinct areas that all kind of feel equal in importance and most don't seem to be related to each other. 
 
maiden - The reason the rl secret was the way it was, was to provide a secret for people who tended to move around maps like that. As for the red armor secret, the protruding skull was a mistake in design - though the fact that it doesn't have health would be a clear indicator I would think. I've not actually encountered such as a secret trigger before. But I have no regrets on that design, as the skylight provides spatial cues that there is a connection to the west, and to the east, the locked door is to the east as well, and it bears a rune above it. Later when you get through the silver door, you find a room with four runes, all identical, except for one, which matches the rune on the locked door.

Johnny Law - scattered is the best description of it, the map kind of fell together in a haphazard fashion over the course of many, many months. I don't know how to convey when an area is of lesser importance... All areas either have progression, or power band increases. Most of the map is not necessary to beat it either.

Per otp's request, I've uploaded a skill 2 100% kills and secrets run, with a tiny bit of commentary. You can see how much I drunkenly slide against walls when I play, desperately trying to not pick up ammo before I could maximize the value gain. I made sure it played back in QS, but did not watch it to the end. Demo link.

Thanks everyone for your kind words and measured commentary, trying to take it all to the bank. The bank being, back into TrenchBroom, to make another - hopefully more sane and scoped - map. 
Zigiii's Playthrough 
Thank You Otp! 
I was just about to post my playthrough! :)
Nice map as well, had fun playing it! ;) 
 
scar3crow, thanks for this, I very much enjoyed it. My blind first-run demo is here (recorded with QuakeSpasm's default protocol).

I played on Hard, took a leisurely amount of time to hunt for secrets, and ended with 109/111 kills and 6/7 secrets in 37:18. However, I reached two of the secrets by rocket-jumping, which clearly wasn't the intended method. So, I only got 4/7 secrets legitimately.

I thought the map had a nice old-school vibe to it, both because of the textures and because of the non-linear layout. It reminded me of some of the original Doom and Doom 2 maps where the player is dropped into a large, open-ended layout and then left to go where they choose in the order they choose. That's obviously different to most modern maps, but I think it shows a certain amount of respect for the player.

I liked the sheer variety of different details in all the different areas. There were a lot of visually interesting touches, and the variety worked well with the chaotic theme. (I liked the furnace-thing with the pistons; e2m7 reference?)

In terms of constructive feedback, probably the most important things I can think of are:

* The difficulty of combat didn't seem to scale with the player's progression. Combat felt uncomfortably difficult at the start, mostly due to shortage of nails and not finding any other weapons for a while; however, as I got more and more weapons and supplies, combat felt easier and easier, with the final battle being a breeze.

* There were a couple of times where I wasn't sure whether I had "finished" a certain area, either because I wasn't sure what I was supposed to be doing, or because I didn't know whether what I had already done had affected something else in another area. In the demo, you can see I'm confused when I finish the room with the demon-face pillars: because it wasn't clear to me that I'd achieved anything, I just kept looking around the room, thinking I must have missed something.

But, as you can tell from the demo, those things weren't show-stopping problems, and I still very much enjoyed the map overall.

I've tried to avoid reading the other posts in this thread because I wanted to avoid spoilers for the secrets I didn't find on my first run. However, I noticed you said that you could see bugs in demos which people didn't comment on. For the avoidance of doubt, here are things I noticed which seemed like bugs:

* At about 9:50 in my demo, the Death Knight standing on the floating piece of rock appears to be getting "crushed" by it.

* The elevator in the yellow armor secret emerges out of solid geometry.

* I'm not sure if this was a bug or intentional, but in the "basement" area, I was able to grab a double-barrelled shotgun that was on a ledge without getting onto the ledge myself. It's at about 6:45 in the demo. The reason I thought this might be unintentional was that there were other items on the ledge which couldn't be grabbed in the same way. I didn't work out how to get onto the ledge.

Finally, a couple of notes about WTF I was trying to achieve at certain points in the demo:

* At about 24:00, I was trying to land on the thin, angled slope in the rock, because I thought I might be able to use it to get higher up. I gave up after a few attempts.

* At about 35:00, I was trying to see if I could find an entrance to the alcove with the boxes of cells above the sky teleporter, thinking that the entrance was probably in one of the areas behind the alcove. If it was, I didn't find it.

P.S. I liked that one secret door which didn't look conspicuous but where you could hear wind blowing from the other side of it. Not sure if that was an intentional clue, but I probably wouldn't have found that secret without it. 
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