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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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Nice 
The maps are pretty much superb. At first I thought that the theme was a bit weird (not a fan of crazy texture combinations), but it is used consistently and it mostly works well.

Roman1 definitely felt like two maps fused together in the middle. You have this impressive, very 3 D front piece that's a little like a remake of e1m4, and then the very DOOMy part after that. Like the first part somehow ran out of juice.

Roman2 is excellent, although the gameplay basically consisted of "press five buttons" and "kill X amount of monsters". The layout was neat. The feeling was neat. The music was, for the most part, neat.

I did not find "the platform to the roof" on the first playthrough, even after some looking around, so I went "WTF?" and quit. That broke the experience. A "hello folks" to the playtesters here.

I found it now, but you can only expect Quake veterans to notice the bubble sprites in the "water". Anything that you want the player to find (and you want the player to find this, because otherwise they can't proceed and will become pissed), should be pretty big and visible. The messages in general were not descriptive enough ("opens elsewhere" doesn't cut it).

Roman3 was again very impressive architecture and layout, but the gameplay was a bit over the top, especially the boss fight.

The summoner teleports too quickly and is unpredictable, and I think the c********* model isn't Quake-y at all. If you aimed at being ridiculous, you did it. :)

I gloriously simply switched on god mode for the entire pack, because I thought I knew what to expect, and that's what I got, too. It's just not my cup of tea. I think that on Easy skill, players should be allowed to just take a walk in the park and take in the architecture while shooting the occasional monster.

Please allow players to turn off the music, like in This Onion. It was much better and got on my nerves less than in the Halloween map, but after a while, in each map, I wished I could turn it off, although I like the Doors. The music sounded weird in Fitzquake(SDL) - like lots of little underruns. One of the reasons I played in Darkplaces.

The mod part of the pack was certainly very impressive. I liked the blaster, especially since it had a matching skin, but you should make a new model for that, too. I liked the wand this time, because it was immediately clear that it was useful against zombies (still, weapons (and monsters) taken straight from other games feel a little like a compilation patch to me). It was a bit confusing that there were so many different weapons - why have both the SSG and the crowd controller in a map?

I like the design of the powerups. I noticed the Tome of Power (and I think a ToP weapon powerup system can work very well in Quake), but since I was totally in Godmode at this point, which has to do with the general gameplay, I wasn't really motivated to play around with it and really figure out what it does. Compare Hexen2, which gives you the first ToP very early when there aren't many monsters around, so you can experiment and see what it does. I think that's smarter than giving it in the middle of a crazy horde combat map. In general, you should consider giving the player some sort of test area, or shooting range, to get to know all the new stuff.

The book thing was underused this time. :)

I'd prefer armour shards instead of the coins.

Played in Darkplaces, since in Fitz the lighting seemed to look all stripey, at least in the startmap.

Comparing the pack to RMQ, it seems almost like the opposite, since fighting monsters in RMQ is gererally a quicker thing (with the more powerful shotguns etc) and hence horde combat doesn't feel quite so abusive. ARWOP combat feels a lot more like Quoth.

-> Nice. Please think of the kids next time. Having some people who are not from the Quake community playtest it would probably be beneficial. 
 
Hmm, nevermind, the FQ lighting issue was that I use mh's lit files and Fitz loaded id1/maps/start.lit and used it for your start.bsp, producing this:

http://www.quaketastic.com/upload/files/screen_shots/arwop_litbug.jpg

... 
 
Just finished the final battle in godmode because there is no way I could have managed otherwise. The final boss took ages anyways, I already thought there was a bug and it was unkillable... Needless to say that I found it annoying and frustrating. :(

THe architecture and flow is great, I love the style. The monsters not so much. Especially the hell hounds were bugging me.

The hook model felt a bit out of place to me. But hey, Quake's weapons/items are weird anyways. I liked using the hook in the final map to stroll around and find secrets.

The music was super super super annoying in the second (and I think also the last) map. Since it has almost no dynamics there is a constant wall of noise hitting your brain. 
 
Yeah, I have to agree about the music.
Annoying indeed.
Also I'm not sure if the game is beatable on Hell mode. I've got no more ammo and shitloads of big monsters do deal with. I doubt I can take down a Shambler with the hook, not to speak about that boss. And I always get frustrated when I don't know how it works. I mean, does the spawning ever stop ? If it doesn't, the game can become un finish able. 
Tim WIllits, Interviewed About Quake 2... 
...once said something along the lines of : "We could easily write monsters that hunt you down and kill you without mercy, but I don't think tht much people would find such a behaviour that much fun. The whole point of FPS is that you have to be able to win..." 
 
And Steve Polge once commented along the lines of AI and behaviors with something like : "The challenge is to make a creature appear intelligent when it's only alive for 2-3 seconds after the player sees it. It's tough." :) 
I Couldn't Do It 
I couldn't finish the game on Hell skill.
I kept killing the smaller enemies but others would appear again. It's a shame, the whole pack seems very well playable on Hell skill except for the end game.

Has anyone actually tried the game on Hell skill and finished it ?

I'll try it again from the start of the last map later,I'm a bit bored with it now. 
Well, Having Got There On Hell Skill Is A Mean Feat 
...I wasn't able to beat Nightmare for the same reason. On hard spawning stops after final boss' death. On Hell I barely Made it through the 1st room of the 1st map, got bored and quit. 
Ideas 
maybe we should make ammo respawn on Hell mode.

Notes for the update of this pack: music optional, add roman2 platform message.

Notes for Arcanum: music optional, and I'll make the gameplay much less about hordes (ie, not my usual style of monster placement).

Thanks for the feedback, especially gb that was a lot of really helpful detail. 
Response 
I could not find the underwater platform on my first play through roman2. I was a bit too impatient and did not see the bubbles, so I thought it could have been my fault for not taking time to look around. The platform message did not help me either.

In roman3, during testing before the cube spawner was added, I thought the cyberdemon by himself was too easy. With just him in the arena, I could turtle on the high ledge and shoot at the cyberdemon from above, using the floor as cover. We thought about giving the cyberdemon special abilities such as teleportation, but that felt too gimmicky and ruins the Doomy feel. Eventually, we settled for the cube spawner, which adds more monsters continuously and yet another nod to the Doom games.

Also, in roman3, there used to be a quad damage instead of the tome of power. However, I abused the quad like the munchkin I am by luring the summoner, who teleports after you, over to the quad. Then I fry him in an instant with the quad lightning gun.

I originally made the coins (and gems) as maximum health up items like the adrenaline for Quake2. In fact, I wanted various treasure items to work like experience points and as a score of sorts similar to classic arcade games from the early 1980's, when the point of those games was to live and get a high score. When I joined Tronyn during Indian Summer development, I offered them as armor and health powerups similar to potions and helmets from Doom. That has stuck since.

I will try to get a new viewmodel for the blaster. No guarantees though.

Hell is meant to be unfair. Like Nightmare skill in Doom, monsters never stop respawning. With that said, Doom gave double ammo for its Nightmare skill. I should increase ammo yields similarly.

Tronyn, please keep hordes, at least on Hard. Hordes rock! This was one thing I liked about Doom more than Quake in the early years, before engines with expanded limits came along. 
Yet Another Undocumented Feature That Should Have Been Mentioned... 
Impulse 17 toggles the music. 
Have To Say 
I REALLY like your usual style of monster placement!

The final combat was definitely too hard in this pack. But the insane difficulty level in your shit is an important ( and in my opinion integral) component of your, uh, maximalist style, which is as close to my standards of perfection as possible... other than CZG maybe.

I guess it would be cool to have an easy 'easy' difficulty. But PLEASE keep the horde insanity intact for normal skill levels and upwards.

Also - love the music, but agree that optionalizing it is a good idea. 
How About This Idea? 
Maximum ammo limits that vary by skill, and maybe by map?

For instance, Easy gets 250 everything, Normal has standard limits, Hard and up get the ammo limits as seen in Roman.

Also, with a powergaming mindset, which would you prefer: 200 nails and 100 rockets as in standard, or 250 nails and 50 rockets as in Roman? (I would take the extra rockets myself.) 
 
Your style doesn't need to change, just the balancing of the skill levels. Luckily, there are skill levels in Quake :)

Differentiate them more. Especially, have a much easier skill 1 and a ridiculously easy skill 0. For people with Zero skill ;-)

You don't really lose anything by doing that. 
Finished It... 
Good stuff as always, Tronyn and PM. The architecture was phenomenal! I especially enjoyed the music and the horde combat. On Normal, there is plenty of ammo, health, and eye candy to make it through until the end.

The end, however, was way too much for me -- especially with my machine ch-ch-chugging along. It felt like too many things were being introduced at once for me to make sense of them. I did like the teleporting Hexen baddie and thought he could have been your final boss. Maybe the other guy would have been easier in a separate arena.

Top notch!!!

P.S. I missed those big roman numeral models from the scraps *sniff* 
 
yay, finally had a chance to load this up.

got through the first map and like half way through the second.

very cool so far. a little haphazard with the themes, but it still works pretty well. fun fights and the guns are cool and new. the last fight at the end of map1 was pretty tough though, but i managed it on my second shot.

excellent so far! 
 
infinite spawning enemies = bad.
especially with a big boss to defeat.

i sat for ages picking off the minions so i could take on the cyberdemon 1 on 1 before i figured they were endless, by which time i just popped god mode on. ending is indeed too hard... although having just played alistair in painkiller, fuck that was a bitch of a battle as well!

should have just removed the ledge to prevent sniping him off, and had a 1 on 1 with the hideously skinned cyberdemon. its only a fraction of the entire pack though, so not a big deal. overall it's very good! 
The Beta Finale 
was just the summoner followed by a dragon, which i enjoyed.
... 
Idea ... 
Maybe it would be cool if the spawn cube could be destroyed. To stop the spawning of new enemies. Then it would still be very difficult but at least you can clear the field in a (relatively) peaceful manner.

Anyway, I really loved this pack, thanks guys,great work ! 
Ooooh! 
I like that idea Ron. But I think to destroy it you should need to use the grapple hook to get behind it and do something, to make it a bit more about exploration rather than just standing in a safe corner bombarding something with bullets. 
 
And a new model, Tronyn's head on a stick. 
Laugh 
Then he'd be immortalised like Romero. 
Good Job 
Loved it. Played on easy. Didn't find any secrets. Going to play again on harder level and look for secrets. Didn't use the grapple but it was cool as was the bow. Wish it had more ammo (the bow). Still fighting the big guy at the end.
Layout was fantastic. Nothing not to appreciate.
What a way to start 2010. 
Nothing Much To Add 
but what a great new year's present! Thanks guys.

I played on easy and found the horde combats were a reasonable difficulty, and I could carelessly blast through some of the less populated areas. Anyone else try to chainsaw the line of scrags outside the castle in roman1? :)

I loved the music also, and the gruesome texturing. Still have to beat the end boss and try some higher skill levels. 
Finally Got Around To Finishing This - Good Show! 
Things I Liked:
- Excellent unique theme. Bloody Roman Hell Metal has never been done before to my knowledge.

- Wide open epic architecture. I'm a sucker for this stuff. I can easily see that this was done over a 10 year period, too (not a bad thing - it's great that all this mappery gets a proper release).

- The wand was quite fun to use. Limited range, low fire rate, infinite ammo, special fire mode - it's well balanced and eases ammo pressure considerably in the latter half. I was blasting all kinds of enemies with the powered-up shot once I got the hang of it, and the knock-back is cool as well.

- Challenging but not insanely hard. Played on medium, did not die much at all until the final boss. I guess I just do not have the white-knuckle, split-second reflexes to deal with 50 bajillion enemies attacking me all at once.

- Extra monsters, mostly good. The nail ogres stood out as the most used and best addition, as they really mix up closer range combats. Gremlins were only used once? I thought that was somewhat odd. Flying imps were somehow more enjoyable here than in NSOE - I think they had previously left a bad taste in my mouth from their respawning in nsoe2. And surprisingly, z-aware grenade ogres did not annoy me nearly as much as I thought they would; I think that's because these ones occasionally under- or over-shot me, as opposed to some others I've seen that have impossibly perfect aim every time.

Things I did not like:
- The weapon order. Why is the uber-special crossbow, with something like 10 shots in the whole game, placed between the super-shotty and nailgun? The following happened to me several times: I'm stalking around corners with the SSG out, then come across fiends or some other close combat monster. I flick my scroll wheel up one notch which usually brings out the nailgun, and start firing away. But in this mod, I switch to the crossbow and waste a precious arrow before I realise I've got the wrong gun out. What I'm saying is, the crossbow should be after the lightning gun, or somewhere way up there, in weapon order.

- Also, why does the Super Nailgun replace the normal Nailgun?

- Did not like the fire-spitting dogs, I thought they were ill-conceived and the skin was terrible.

Don't let these relatively quite minor annoyances detract from the overall awesomeness here. One of the best of 2009 for sure. 
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