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Q3SP: "Map On The Edge Of Forever" By Sock
Screenshot :

sock says: "Here is the final release of a map that some of you may have seen over the last 8 months via the mountain of screenshots I have drowned this forum in and wondered 'what is going on here!'. It has been a very long journey for me with countless builds and months of building but thanks to all my friends it has been an amazing experience. :)

"As always, constructive comments are welcome and if you have the chance to record any demo's please let me know because I would love to see how you played the map. I do understand that this will not be everyone's cup of tea because it has a very strong puzzle element but take your time and try to resist the urge to noclip around the place. All the source files and a detailed explaination of the map will be released next week. The website does contain some help on how to find things if you are really stuck!"

Zip File : (49Mb)
Website :
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Both really. I do odd things like that even in a game. Hope I didn't make you dizzy! The part with me trying to jump and couldn't do it properly (Q3 movement is too slippery for me) I just do that fustration spin + shoot... or when I'm happy I solved a puzzle. It's a habit... XD 
here is my demo
I liked walking through the map
puzzle solving is not my favourite part 
@Spy, if you get the map running I would love to see a demo.

here's my demo, its a bit jerking and not completed :( ('bout 45min) me wandering around the level, i wish to play more maps that style of gameplay 
just completed it and it's very impressive! the best level in the last few years in terms of atmosphere and overall style. and it's so cool it's not useless dm level noone gonna play, but something unique! cool puzzles there, true gift for quake secret fetishists :)
can't wait what's gonna happen next in this weird realm! 
Just Finished It... (Some Spoilers) 
(had to install q3 for this)

the good:

- top-notch environment art

- good secret-hunting gameplay

- nice scripted events (doors, fx, etc.)

The bad:

- centerprint messages were often terse and unclear (example: "activate generator" -- which one, there's like 15 generators in this level!)

- overall, i don't feel (with the exception of puzzle 1) that the puzzles were satisfying to solve; i generally solved them by trial and error.


- Puzzle 1 felt the least arbitrary because the timing element was intuitively hinted at by the visual/audio fx. I was pleased when i figured it out.

- puzzle 2, in retrospect is just puzzle 1 without the timing element, which maybe says it should have come first. But for some reason i didn't realize the solution would involve hitting the same buttons multiple times, so it was more of an accident when i solved it (just ran around pushing everything.) Now that i've played the level through again, i realize there is a sort of "fill the power meter" mechanic that should have been indicated with a stronger visual. Perhaps 3 bars isn't enough for a power meter to make sense, maybe 5 would be better?

- puzzles 3 and 5 were basically the same puzzle, and when i saw them i guessed what they were, but actually solved them by luck on the first two button presses, without having to do a serious attempt.

- puzzle 4 was another arbitrary one, not that hard but my strategy was just to try different sequences of buttons until the generator thing changed into its next state.

Skulls: I found 7 of the 10 skulls without using the website. The three i didn't find were #1, #2, and #8. I should have found #2 and #8, because i was looking at other doorways for the exact type of trick you used for #2, but apparently not that doorway. And as for #8, i actually spent time looking through each hole in the balcony, and just somehow didn't look at the right angle to see the button.

Final thoughts: This was a frustrating map, it took me probably an hour of running around to almost solve it (except 3 skulls.) In a way, this is close to the feeling of playing any classic text adventure or myst-style adventure game, you spend a lot of time beating your head against walls.

I sound pretty negative, but i'm not sure it's actually a bad map. It might be a success, but it's so unusual it's hard for me to evaluate it. I think it has areas that it could improve on, but i'm somewhat at a loss of which improvements would be the right improvements. I guess my short list of things to look at would be: 1. more feedback in the puzzles so the player can begin to understand the mechanism, so they are less likely to solve it without knowing why, 2. visual design of puzzles should call more attention to the functional bits and less to random ornamentations. 3. help the player focus by only giving one new puzzle at a time? 
I think that's probably same way most people played the map. I'm actually glad the puzzles could be solved like this (trial and error approaches as countermeasure to frustration).

One thing I realized while playing the map is how much I act/proceed in predictable patterns when facing problems such as puzzle mechanisms and hidden buttons that I can't immediately solve. For example, I looked at the ceilings quite often (usually something most people don't do), and when I didn't find the remaining skulls, even searched areas multiple times out of sheer helplessness. 
Sorry For The Fugly Monsters, Had Them In The Dpmod Dir 
At First I Was Like Wow, But Then I Was Like Meh 
i agree with what metl said, but approached puzzle 1/2 in reversed order - then it all made sense. Some puzzles felt arbitrary and there weren't enough of them. Searching the skulls was random at best and frustrating at worst -- secrets should always be hinted at in some way. i had to refer to the solution for 3 or 4 of them, mostly the ones were you had to be in the one square meter of space to see them. see demo. At the time i found them all, I was too frustrated to appreciate the ending.

Centerprint messages do reduce the immersion quite a bit, and were unclear, like metl said. in-game screens would have been much better.

Graphics were great, although (q3's fault probably) scale was an issue sometimes from some perspectives. I wish lighting had more contrast. 
i would have loved some more complex machines using the elements introduced in puzzles 1-3, 
what the mod is it? 
@Ankh, @spy, thanks for the demos :)
@Vondur, thanks, glad you enjoyed it.
@metlslime, cool, ok. I thought it was good considering I was working with a MP engine. 
Quake Version 
I'm using the recent ioq3 build, which I think is 1.36, on Windows Vista, with hunkmegs 192. 
I played with ioq3 1.36 linux-i386 Apr 12 2009 and encountered no problems, I think.

spy: dpmod with some model half-assed conversions from the Shambler's Castle Doom3 mod. It was just for fun. Does not work at all since there is only the one SP spawnpoint. ;) 
_Amazing_ Work Of Art 
Great game too :-) Had to quit last night with 8/10 found. 
Nobody Has Patience Anymore 
@metlslime, I am not sure why you are really negative about this map. Q3 has no scripting language, no logic entity types, no variables, no dialogue system, limited sound abilities (no volume, cannot turn off ambient sounds) and only two state moving objects with no toggle feature! What sort of puzzles were you expecting?

The first puzzle to be built was the generator with the outside decking. This was more a test of entity chains and trying to create a complex scripted sequence. It featured button mashing and each stage involved a greater amount of buttons than before. I stopped at three because most people get bored with anymore and wanted to move on. I thought it was interesting visually and with all the custom sound made sense as each stage changed the appearance of the machine. It is not a logic puzzle but a scripted event.

The second puzzle to be built was the chains and later on the metal block with steps around the side. Vanilla Q3 can only work with two state devices. A door is either open or closed and that really shits on the chance of complex puzzles. So I decided to prototype a lock with 4 tumblers to see how much fun it could be to try and unlock. Eventually I found that if each switch affects 3 parts at once then the puzzle could be a little more interesting.

I tested this puzzle on a couple of friends and it nicely highlighted the problem, it was easier to run around the room randomly hitting stuff until something happens. Not one friend hit switches and watched what happened, they prefered the headless chicken approach. I asked everyone why and they said 'It was not instantly recognisable what to do.' This puzzle rests on strong visuals and probably could of been designed better but I still think that people just don't have the patience anymore.

With Puzzle 3 and 5 being completed by random chance I decided to create what is puzzle 2 (you call puzzle 1) and make something that is less about random button mashing. So I decided to create a battery you charge up to open a door. I thought that a dead battery being charged up would be interesting visually as well as cool to highlight the door being locked. So I setup an entity chain that stores the battery state and forces the player to keep the battery level charged with switches. Initially had 4 levels but it was too complex so decided on 3 so people won't get bored constantly going back and forth betweem switches.

All the people that I tested the new puzzle on could not complete it. No one could understand the idea of charging something up via switches and just wanted to run around randomly mashing buttons. So I added loads of visual clues, cables merging into one, cables to the doors, lights on the switches, visuals on the battery etc and eventually some people got it. Even now it is the only puzzle that most people get stuck on and it makes me wonder about fps puzzles. I don't think anyone has the patience for them anymore.

Eventually I made a dumbed down version of this for puzzle 1 which does not drain the charge from the battery so everyone can just complete it with random button mashing. This puzzle does have a timing element hinted by the coils above, but hardly anyone understand it. I think this puzzle highlights that people in general don't look up!

I will admit having puzzle 1 and 2 next to each other is a design fault because most people think they are linked. I even had testers trying to run from room to room to try and solve them together! That is why the generator in the big window room is a gated area so that people did not wander too far to find stuff.

I also setup all the switches to have lights on them so people could understand when they were active but this seems to be ignored because I still see people hitting the switch. Some switches I actually lock in down positions but due to entity limitations could not do it for everywhere.

The center print text is all the engine offers for dialogue or feedback. You are right about the text content being awkward but the text developed over a long period of time.

The skulls are designed to be hard to find, if they were easy to find the map would be completed in 10 minutes. That means if you hate exploring or trying to find stuff then yes, you will hate playing this map. I did try to make things easier with the buttons and skulls all being the same style. The design fault is that I did not hint to the player that they are suppose to shoot them.

I am sure I do sound angry about my post above but I cannot understand how anyone expects complex puzzles from vanilla Q3. I thought what I did was impressive considering what there is to work with. I certainly don't expect everyone to like what I do, but I was assuming that people would judge it based on what the vanilla Q3 engine can offer. 
I'm Looking Forward 
to working out how much patience I have :)

Probably ownt get to it for a few days though. 
My only complaints were about the puzzles, and I tried to give a honest account of a player's experience solving them for the first time, coupled with a designer's attempt to understand what happened and what could be improved.

It's really hard do do something this unique, especially as a mod because you are dealing with players that don't have prior knowledge about the game mechanics you're using, plus they are bringing in expectations from the original game (which is a different genre.)

But hopefully (if you make a sequel) you can get something constructive out of my feedback and don't think i'm just dumping on your level for the fun of it. 
maybe you misinterpreted, but the "bad:" section only contained those two bullet points, not the entire rest of the post. 
You Are What You Play 
@metlslime, yeah I read you response as a couple of good things and then the rest as bad. I certainly don't think you are dumping on my map for the fun of it, I just did not expect what you said within the context of the Q3 engine.

I totall agree that people bring their gaming experience baggage with them while playing any map. I saw people (in the demos) randomly shooting stuff after they worked out what the buttons look like. Hardly anyone was looking up or observing what is going on around them. Some people were running around at break neck speeds that even I could not see what they were looking at or doing.

But I do need to stress that this map is not a MOD, it is just a map that can be run with the vanilla Q3 engine. This is the root of the problem when it comes to how complex and interesting the puzzles are. This map relies on what the default engine offers and does not create any new entity types or engine features. I am simply using what the engine offers and trying to see if anything interesting can be made from it.

In hindsight trying to twist the Q3 engine to create puzzles was probably a bad idea. The engine is just a skeleton of functionality that on countless occasion squashed my ideas for machinery. I wanted machines that could rotate, twist, open, build, develop, have GUIs and proper player interaction. None of this is going to happen, which why there will not be anymore to this series. It is just a once only experiment that taught me a lot of interesting points about puzzles.

* Always try to contain puzzles to a small area so people don't spend alot of time running around trying to figure what is going on. When people get frustrated they wander off and try to find if something else is missing.

* Use prefabs for all working components and teach the player about them gradually. For example the two switches in the first room and the door was locked so that the player finds them, recognises them and if they see them again knows what to do.

* Always put interactive information at player height because no one is going to look up or down. I really hoped that game minded people would be different, but everyone is the same. Nobody stares at the top of a building while trying to find the front door! :P

* Try to hint at what is going on with strong visual colours that stand out from their surroundings. Originally I had the working parts of the machines painted in subdued colours, but no one knew what to look at and frustration set in really quickly. 
Puzzles How To 
What technical problems were you running into? I thought the whole point of q3a was to show that 'scripting' was basically turing complete?

Re: players don't look up or try to understand the puzzles... watch my demo. :)

I had a hard time with puzzle 1, because the 'active electricity' effect was too subtle for me to suggest different states.

too bad there's the 1024 entities limit, or it would be awesome to write a simple scripting language -> logic gates compiler 
cool presentation. Very interesting to read 
It's nothing new, but it fills in all the gaps. 
sock, have you considered taking this map into DP to get access to q1 progs entities? 
Source Files 
Editor :
Web :

The map source file is very large (10Mb) because I have included 200+ ASE files with relevant map files and a few of those are linked together to form other files. The ASE naming convention is a bit strange but the level was developered over 8 months with 156 map versions so some stuff will probably be in the wrong place. I recommend you turn on camera clipping in the editor, otherwise you will not be able to move the camera around.

The map is compressed into a small space in the editor so that the light grid has a better density on surfaces. I have included map compile options in the readme file and it works fine with q3map2 version 2.16. All the Q3A logic stuff is high above the map and is colour coded via textures to show the different functions used. Once I get a free moment I will sit down and go through some of the logic stuff because unless you are into scripting or coding it will be very difficult to follow. 
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