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A Roman Wilderness Of Pain By PM And Tronyn Released!
Today we are releasing A Roman Wilderness of Pain, the only set of Quake maps to spend a decade in development! These maps went through many incarnations to arrive in their present form as a modern episode. There is an extensive mod by PM with the episode, including new and modified monsters, weapons, and artifacts (see readme for details). This mod also supports NSOE, and can be used to update NSOE as well (again, see readme).

Download (32 MB):
http://www.quaddicted.com/filebase/arwop.zip

Readme:
http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/single_player/arwop.txt

Screenshots:
http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/screen_shots/arwop1.jpg
http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/screen_shots/arwop2.jpg
http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/screen_shots/arwop3.jpg
http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/screen_shots/arwop4.jpg
http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/screen_shots/arwop5.jpg

The environment can be described as "variations on metal/temple/hell." Each map has its own manifestation of the general theme. There is a great start map by PM which is well worth looking around for some secret treasure. There are five skill levels and the episode is pretty challenging so choose wisely.

Thanks to our testers Orl, Spy, Stevenaus, and ijed. Merry Christmas!
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Frustrating 
With my new steam version of Q1 installed I thought I would play through some of the most recent Q1 releases and see how things have changed over the years. I got the impression from the above comments that the map pack was hard, so I thought I would try easy skill first.

I must have a different dictionary definition for the word 'easy' because I was expecting the map to be easy. I spawn into the first map and right there on towers pointing at me are ogres with nailguns. I jump into the water to escape and then a swarm of fish nearly chew my legs off. I eventually get out of water and I am killed by a group of enforcers. Jesus! >:(

I know everyone has moved on with complexity of maps but when did gameplay balance go crazy with Q1 maps. I would understand if I tried hard skill level because it is meant to be 'hard'. Sorry for the rant but this is so wrong, no new players are going to play this!

So I tried again and just run across the bridge dodging nails and eventually through a doorway for cover and I was greeted with a whole troop of soliders while still being hassled by the ogre outside. Eventually I get through the room and started to play the map.

After a lot of frustration with unbalanced mobs I eventually just flick on god mode and coasted through the rest of the map pack. :( Which I think is a real shame because these maps are really beautiful to look at and the layouts are gorgeous. Lots of up and over, vertical cross over paths, lots of show and tell moments of where you got to go. I can see alot of really cool work has gone into the making of this map pack.

My only nit pick is with the AI, nothing was patrolling. All the AI was just static and stuck to the spot. I played through the Q1 original maps and I saw AI patrols and they looked like they were guarding the place, nothing moved in these maps, they just spawned and stared forward. *shrug*

I really liked the map architecture scale and scope and there were lots of interesting locations. I just wish the skill levels matched my expectations of what Q1 maps are suppose to be like. 
 
I feel you, sock. I tend not to say anything because I know that I'm bad at Quake and that most everyone else is a Quake playing god these days. But, yes, maps tend to be insanely difficult these days. 
Yeah 
The difficulty has increased. Most custom maps are harder than the early ones (not to mention stock Quake). And Tronyn maps are something else again.

Quoth maps have to played with caution, too. Especially the base ones. 
 
tronyn's maps are not the place to start with custom maps.

i have found all his maps in general are about 2 difficulty levels higher than other modern custom maps (which are already higher than id maps).
:P 
Yeah 
yeah sorry about that sock my new maps are the last ones you should start with - the horde combat gameplay (if monsters can fit they're generally there) and PM's gameplay modifications combine to make them extremely hard. I should also set the odd monster patrolling, it's true.

my next releases are going to be somewhat toned down. I know I keep saying this. There will be a giant jump from easy skill to normal.

ps I am going to review map on the edge of forever sometime this summer, when I get access to a computer that can run it properly. 
Tronyn 
I believe skill levels should be a natural progression through a map that helps the player explore the map and try different AI encounters. The lower skill levels (easy/normal) should be what they say and that they should gradually ramp upwards to hard/nightmare and not be giant leaps.

AI should naturally scale upward in difficulty, health/ammo should be setup differently and pickups should be moved around. Skill levels are a wonderful way of extending the playability of a map and should be balanced enough that everyone can see and complete the level. I am also looking forward to your review of my map this summer :) 
 
Makes sense if you put it that way. Usually, I'm not inclined to play a map twice in a row, unless it offers something substantially new on the other difficulty levels. Only few maps do that.

I'd definitely like to experiment with this more, though. Making an entirely new game mode is the most sophisticated variety of this idea, but it doesn't have to go this far. Apart from moving items and (groups of) monsters around, you could also open up new paths and change the layout/progression in certain ways depending on the selected difficulty. A map that does this in a very original way is digs' The Parallel Words (basically a 3-in-1 map). Of course, it doesn't have to be used in such an extreme way in regular maps. 
 
I have this theory that horde combat and insane difficulty in Quake maps are an easy way out of deeper problems with the game, and being mainly concerned with environment design over gameplay.

A well done game doesn't need 400 monsters per level to remain challenging or unique. Better AI, more varied monster behaviour, increased usage of traps / puzzles / exploration / "scripted" scenes / extra keys / other gameplay elements, and finally randomisation might go a long way towards avoiding teh horde smackdown. There are other interesting things besides killing 50 scrags. This isn't aimed at you, Tronyn, just a general thought I'm having lately. There is a tendency to either make experimental maps that go overboard with the puzzle stuff, or horde maps that go overboard with monsters. Maybe a middle ground wouldn't be bad - ironically, Id used more traps etc. than most maps today. A trap can be the highlight of a map.

It gets really bad if mods just increase the monsters' HP, knowing full well that the original weapons were balanced against less than that. And then these extra HP are piled on and on by mappers, making maps both more difficult and more boring.

I know most of func_ is mainly interested in the environment, but a cool environment filled with hordes because you're hard pressed to come up with alternatives is suboptimal. The thing is that traps, for example, have to be planned as part of the environment. You can't sprinkle in traps or puzzles afterwards like you do monsters. You have to plan the environment from the ground up to contain that sort of gameplay.

Meaning, when you go down this route, you can't simply go and build cool stuff, then sprinkle in monsters. You have to build cool stuff that contains hazards and puzzles around every corner, THEN sprinkle in monsters.

Another overlooked element is how the player moves through an environment. Having to raise the water level (classic TR's Cistern level, Far Cry's Cooler level) or crawl through air ducts (Ruined Nation had this) to get where you need to be is more interesting than blasting your way through 60 monsters, all the while running along a walkway. Having to blow up walls, or smash through them with whatever equipment is another nice alternative, often used in Far Cry. On top of that, a grappling hook can do wonders as proven by games such as TR:Legend.

What all these things have in common is that they must be planned early, in fact probably while building the layout. You have to adopt a mindset of plan first - build later, instead of build first - fix later.

If I'm not mistaken, this is how it was done during development of Half-Life. And it shows. 
GB 
Yeah 
that's a good point, with this set of maps, I basicaly just joined together disparate architectural sections however they would fit, without planning out a layout ahead of time. I haven't planned out maps on paper ahead of time for a long time and it's probably a good idea. The best id and hipnotic maps had a mix of traps, combat, and most of all they had distinct sections. 
But I Like "teh Horde Smackdown." 
Hordes full of dumb or even fairly smart monsters have their place, and are fun to wipe out as long as the player can get the resources to do so. 
 
I love hords to :)

always fun if there are good weapons like sng or Gl 
For The Horde 
I don't think there is anything wrong with horde style combat (aka doom) but my complaint is about skill levels. They are an awesome way to tailor the map experience and should not be overlooked. It maybe a pain to setup multiple encounters for the same location but ultimately it will be more rewarding for the player to experience the map in different ways. Save the crazy horde style for higher skill levels like hard/nightmare! :P 
 
> Hordes full of dumb or even fairly smart monsters have their place, and are fun to wipe out as long as the player can get the resources to do so.

Yes. That I can agree with. I'm the guy who made armytest.bsp, an RMQ testmap where you slaughter about 100 knights and a couple dragons with quad SNG.

Hordes have their place. ^^ 
Dear Sock 
Different maps, different styles.

I understand where you are coming from, but in some ways it's the equivalent of saying "I don't like water because it's too wet." ARWOP is a ridiculously over the top horde map. That's just what it is, and it's not trying to be anything else. Not all quake maps are (or should be) perfect paragons of balance, scalable, accessible gameplay.

Play Travail next, I remember some good non-horde gameplay in there. 
Dear Grahf 
different skills, different people.

I think you have missed my point, I do like horde style maps I just don't find dying all the time that much fun which is why I like to choose different skill levels. This map does not atttempt to resolve this problem and I would say a fair amount of modern maps have missed that point as well. Sure if the Q1 community has gone the way of hardcore gaming with excessive skill levels then fine.

'I don't like muddy water I prefer something clear and drinkable'

Not all parts of a lake are the same, some are murky while others are clear. When I first start a map, I prefer to try out the waters edge, not drown in the middle of the lake. 
 
most new maps on medium are fine to me.

I guess a simple solution for catering to seasoned players and those not so used to playing quake sp over the years is to leave normal and hard as they currently are (ie hard and extra hard practically) and make sure easy really is easy (rather than normal practically).

There are better solutions, and sock has outlined quite a few (different routes and progression for different skill levels as well as changes in ammo/health/monsters), but I imagine they would take a fair bit more time to implement for what is really not much of a bigger audience outside the regular quake players. 
 
I always play map on hard, and I rarely died but some are to much for me... tronyn map use to kill me a lot :) 
 
In regard to the Hell mode save bug- I switched to Fitzquake (I was using aguirRe's), and it works fine in loading the mode from a save file.

About the difficulty... I'm wondering how many is too many deaths to be fun. I'm having a "hell" of a time even getting to the gold key on the first level, but it'll only be sweeter by the time I finish it. I'm used to running levels without saving partway, so dying is even worse than normal. But it makes you learn how to deal with enemies. 
Dear Sock 
i think we mostly agree actually. diversity is good.

also, thanks for taking the time to play q1sp maps, i enjoy your perspectives. 
Right 
I'm also interested in Sock's direction now - never look at Q1 again or want to make maps for.

Not sure I can explain how I feel about Quake. It's like all day I'm drinking coffee, and then I get home and I can drink a stomach settler. 
BTW I Like Coffee 
 
BTW 
My contract says level designer on it. 
BTW 
Fuck off ijed and get a real hobby. 
BTW 
ijed, drinking kills. 
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