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Happy Halloween: Small Q1SP Preview, Giant Download!
Here's a Halloween map release from Patrick Martin and myself:


This is a single map Halloween-preview of the upcoming Arcanum project, featuring maps by Tronyn and others, and mod by PM. There's a small readme included, be sure to read it, and especially to set the right skybox. I thought it'd be appropriate to release this map on Halloween, as although it is in Arcanum now it was originally created for a Halloween mapping contest (the other entry was Scragbait's "Fall Cleaning," see how well this map stands up to that). I apologize for the giant download (18MB for one map), but it's basically that or nothing - like the Russians leading up to WWI, PM and I have no plans for a "partial mobilization." I'll try to make a smaller version available in the next while (ie not tonight!). Enjoy.
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this map looks great :)

it's also very hard, like your previous maps, tronyn. too hard :(

i had to resort to god mode a few times with 6 hp/no armour.

having to kill about 20 zombies at the start with the axe was annoying. also, the lightning outside destroyed performance for some reason, so i had to play the map with r_dynamic 0.

i'm not sure i'm really on-board with the wand weapon. because of the way it works, the dps it puts out is essentially the same, whether you are shooting continuously or letting it charge up. the fact it has limited range makes it useless for sniping which is where a weapon like this would have shined.

fighting the necromancer guys was fun. the first one had an interesting tracking/bouncing fire ball attack that was fun to dodge. fighting the 6 necromancers with the acid spit was less fun. the only way up onto the upper tier is on the one ladder (which you have to jump on each rung to climb) so if you fall down (as i did) you are relegated to shooting them from below resulting in a boring fight.
if the vore hadn't been there, i would probably have been inclined to stay on the upper tier instead of jumping down.

still, all in all, it was fun, but could have the frustration level cut down by giving a little more health in general.

Why The Wand Works As Is... 
The point of the wand charging is to light up overly dark rooms and to add extra damage to the first shot in a series of shots. The player who wants the highest damage rate from the wand should fire it continuously. It is possible to match the damage rate with charged shots only, but you need precise timing to shoot at the moment the wand charges fully each time.

The short range of the wand works as intended. Most monsters in Quake stink at long range fighting. If the wand has long enough range for sniping, then every time the player encounters monsters incapable of fighting back, the player would be wise to swap to the wand and plink away, just to save ammo. Encouraging or forcing the player to use an overly weak weapon frequently is probably a bad idea. That said, if the wand is to replace the shotgun, the damage rate and range of the former must match or exceed the latter. 
Encouraging or forcing the player to use an overly weak weapon frequently is probably a bad idea.

Yes. This was a minor flaw in quake 2's design. If people can do something that isn't fun but that gives them an advantage in a game, they will do it and rightly blame the designers when they don't have fun. 
hm, i always felt long range sniping with the shotgun was just another aspect of the game. it can be boring if there's too much of it, but sniping a couple of monsters here and there doesn't bother me that much. 
We've Removed It 
And to be honest it's kind of tedious playing with normal Quake weapons now. We have tailored them to our preferences, but the above mentioned type of counter-gameplay logic is much less.

Still a long way to go though. 
Re: #54 
The thing about the shotgun is it has limited ammo. The player can snipe until his shells run out. The wand in the arcdemo has unlimited ammo. If it has long range, then most long range fights become pointless. The player just stands there and shoots monsters for about a minute before moving on, without wasting any resources. 
Re: Shotgun 
Yes, the ammo is the difference. Quake2 blaster has no ammo cost. Quake / Quake 2 shotgun can be used to snipe, but you always have the question in your head "would this ammo be better used in close combat?" Especially since the SSG gives a better damage/ammo ratio.

The quake axe has unlimited ammo too, but you use it with the tradeoff of having at melee range. 
Tronyn & Patrick Martin 
are the new necros & Kell...

So what we have here is unbalanced combat guided by one new toy, two old toys, and one very badly excetued gimmick, in a map where the standard of geometry is largely undetailed and a little out of proportion, with distracting music layered over the top. Yep, that's the spirit of the late nineties nailed down quite nicely. Except that this is 2009, honey. Almost 2010...

You'd think that having to get up close and personal with a zombie to kill it would be a good idea, and yeah, it is, except that it just doesn't work here, with the number of zombies that you have to face, so there's unavoidable damage there. Some of them are in places that aren't easily enough reachable, meaning yet more unavoidable damage. And on the occasions where you don't have to kill them to progress, you need to take care of them anyway, otherewise there will be even more unavoidable damage as you try to kill something else. Unless you make that something else get angry at a zombie. But then, why are you the only one who can gib zombies?

Then there's the ruby wand, which is an interesting backup weapon (which you do need, due to complacent ammo placements in the early part of the map), which can do SSG levels of damage per hit given time, with knockback that will maybe buy you enough time to recharge. Except that you're plunged into almost darkness after you fire, meaning that it's hard for you to aim for a follow-up shot or dodge anything that you didn't hit. And yes, if you're going to insist on placing zombies like you did in that map, then it does need to gib zombies. On a direct hit, at the very least. With more reasonable monster placements, it might not be necessary.

The chainsaw doesn't improve kill speed enough to be worth it, given that the axe can already be used at faster than the traditional rate by repeatedly clicking (a necessary change, because otherwise the zombie encounter at the start of the map is an order of magnitude more unreasonable). The riot controller is as excessive as always, effectively delivering 2 SSG blats for 2 ammo instead of the more usual 4, making the normal shotgun now completely useless. Obseleting weapons is a bad idea. Normally, the shotgun has the advantages of lower spread and ammo conservation; the riot controller's mass of pellets makes the spread no longer an issue, and ammo cost makes conservation a non-issue as well.

Overall, I'd say that this offering is about as good as Quoth plus any recent map that uses it. Which really isn't saying that much. But it speaks volumes about where the Quake community is headed, right now...

At least it's short. That's about the only good thing that I can find to say about this. 
Time For Some Coffee 
if you're going to insist on placing zombies like you did in that map, then it does need to gib zombies
Zombies short range attacks would be no fight against long range gibbing. And though infighting doesn't kill zombies, it was useful to get them on their back, and then take out as they rose. It was good to get up close and personal with these slaggers instead of chicken fighting them with a GL as is the norm.

Re the axe and shotgun... These two weapons have been hackneyed to death, and their models and effects were only passable 13 years ago. I won't miss them one half second.

At least it's short
Too hard *and* too short. Maybe you should go play Quake 2
heh, well thanks for the feedback, although there are definitely better way maps than this map in Quoth (and actually in Arcanum if you'll believe it). We'll be tweaking the gameplay; it's a good thing we released this as a preview (it was a last minute decision). Not sure about being called honey. Anyway if you're depressed about the Quake scene you can always play something else or wait for ijed's project to come out. 
Weapon Comments 
The chainsaw is about 50% stronger than the axe. Chainsaw has a rate of 120 damage per second, while the axe in the arcdemo has a rate of 80 damage per second. Aside from that, the chainsaw feels Doomy and the one from Zerstorer feels Quakey too.

Quick note about the axe. You do not need to click the fire button repeatedly to make it swing faster. All you need to do to swing faster is hit something.

I was tempted to power down the Riot Controller. In fact, I considered changing the weapon to an automatic shotgun, which can be upgraded back to its original function with an Equalizer powerup. However, purists who like the Riot Controller from Zerstorer and other paks that use it would probably be howling mad to see this beast of a weapon changed too much. 
I find zombies to be a binary monster. With a grenade or rocket launcher, zombies are not a threat. Without a launcher, zombies are indestructible unless the player finds a quad or lures a shambler or vore over for some infighting. Also, any other monster that infights with a zombie is as good as dead. Either the zombie gets pinned indefinitely, which means the other monster is locked down attacking the zombie, or the zombie will eventually kill the attacker. 
Riot Controller 
i just think the whole weapon is stupid because it fires two shots consecutively, whether you want it to or not.

da fuk, like i can't let go of the trigger or something?
it would be a more interesting weapon if, for example, it fired it's double shots only if the fire button was held down. if you try to fire two shots but seperately (letting go in between) it would fire slower.
like how the plasma rifle in doom/2 has a long cooldown animation so sometimes it's better to just hold the trigger down, but can make the choice difficult if you're trying to conserve ammo.

also, i felt the wand was a missed opportunity w/respect to zombies. having a ton of zombies is fine if you can deal with them, and the limited range and ramping damage of the wand is conducive to that kind of thing: you can't just blast zombies over and over as it takes time to build up a charge and the range is limited, so you must enter a zombie's threat zone before you can blow it away. a mistake of firing too soon (before a charge is powerful enough to gib it) punishes the player with lost time (it will fall to the ground and you have to wait for it to get back up).
this will make fighting multiple zombies in tense situations more difficult because you'll need to time your wand shots in the heat of battle without being overpowering since zombies are still fairly weak monsters. 
I see your point on the Riot Controller. Still, if I changed how the weapon worked, it would not feel the same. Could be better, could be worse. (On the other hand, allowing the player to shoot one, two, or however many shots he wants would make monster weapons code easier for me to write.) If I had a gripe about the riotgun, its combination of good damage rate and ammo efficiency makes it dominate the game a bit too much, similar to the super shotgun in Doom2 and Doom3: RoE. Despite its faults, the riotgun was fun in any mod it appeared in.

I agree with you about the wand in zombie fights. I did not have time to think about that when building the arcdemo progs. That will be fixed later. 
Riot Gun... 
i actually like it. I think what makes it work is that you have a fixed amount of damage that you will do when you pull the trigger, but it's spread over time so you have to maintain your aim during that time period.

It would be interesting to see this taken even further, you could have a lightning gun / rail gun hybrid that does a railgun amount of damage per shot, but it is dispersed across a period of time like the LG, so you have to keep a bead on the target for ~3 seconds to make sure all the damage connects. This would be the same as an railgun when used against slow enemies, but like the LG when attempting to use on fast-moving enemies, with the added disadvantage that you wouldn't want to waste the entire shot on a weak or almost-dead enemy.

Getting back to the the charging-up mechanic, i think the most important part of it is that you can save up damage before you are visible to an enemy, or before the enemy has woken up, then take a shot when in sight. The simplest use of this is that you can have a charge ready before an encounter starts. The other good use of it is ducking in and out of cover, you can use it against enemies that are dangerous when they are in line-of-sight rather than using a similar DPS weapon that requires continuous line-of-sight. wouldn't want to waste the entire shot on a weak or almost-dead enemy.

But, it occurs to me that this would be useful against a clump of weak enemies. (which is also true for railguns, i guess, but only if you can line up the enemies) 
Riot Controller is awesome. Powerful but a slight disadvantage to it, spot on.

Zombies aren't really binary, they just need to be used differently. This is a good attempt, but only an attempt because it doesn't quite work. Give the player some armour or more health or place the Zombies in a more easily lurable place or something and it could have worked fine.

Glad to see it will be tweaked. 
it didn't help that the zombies had increased range. ironically, if the zombies had had their normal crappy aiming code, that fight might have been ok. 
It Was Fun For Me ! 
I disagree with all those criticism..

I enjoyed the map!.. (except for those too much high/out of scale graves) , setting was good (outdoor at last!).

For me the main thing in a level is the setting/atmosphere, and "Arcanum" got it !

Also stay tuned for my first Quake maps 
Binary Zombies 
I never understood why zombies couldn't be gibbed with the axe - it seems logical to me that they should :( 
but only when you swing horizontally. 
Interesting Idea 
I actually completed this without dying on skill 0! I am surprised! :) The thing that drove me completely nuts was the music! I could not hear anything else except the music, no combat, no idea where the AI was, it totally ruined the experience for me. I could not find any impulse that turned it off and don't have any tools to open the pak file and delete the damn music file. I really think you need to make maps without music or make the music file optional download ONLY.

The layout was confusing, kills zombies, cellar magically opens, walk to end of cave and find locked door. Accidently found blue key (entrance was hidden) and then have to walk right back outside to unlock front door. The other blocked cellar entrance should of opened and the blue key should of been next to it.

It would of been nice to find some connection to why I was gibbing zombies to unlock a cellar. Maybe the zombies drop a body part that powers the wand. When the wand is at full strength the player can destroy the cellar door. A map with this type of theme needs something crazy and dramatic, especially something unique relating to the environment.

The zombie/axe thing was ok but it should of been clearer what to do and with a smaller group of zombies at first. I started out with a massive crowd at the front gate and wondered what to do. I have never seen the axe gib a zombie before, so a new gameplay mechanic has to be shown much better. You should also create a new zombie type so that players know there is something different.

I liked the inside choice of routes up to the second floor with the broken stairs. I discovered the button at the top which unlocked the lower door by accident. I missed the riot gun until it was too late. The ladder up to the balcony was weird, especially after I am use to using quoth ladder mechanics. I really enjoyed killing those damn wizards with a chainsaw!

Overall it was an interesting idea which looked cool, had some unusual combat but the crazy music drove me nuts! :P 
this just popped in my head, but i cool way to introduce the axe-beheading zombies mechanic would have been to have a dead marine surrounded by maybe 4 zombies, all with their heads cut off and one of the zombies has dead marine's axe stuck in the ground between the head and body. ^_^

haha brain fart. o.o 
The music file was not inside a pak file, just delete earth.wav 
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