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New Q1SP: Grendel's Keep By Distrans
Distrans writes: The Travail prequel level Grendel's Keep is finally ready. Some old screen shots are here. Special thanks to negke for riding me until its release. This level is dedicated to Droog_Andrey.


Special note: requires the Travail mission pack to play.
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Still like the cheesy 'oh, I'm playing a game' thing. 
I just see a camera as a nice replacement for 'a door has opened'.

Still it points to a weakness in the design of the gate/button puzzle if a player can't tell that the button opened the gate. There are a lot of ways to do this without a cutscene or a text message, such as:

- place the button so the players can see the gate open from their vantage point as they press the button.

- keys and locked doors -- these are nice if you can't put the button and gate near each other -- players know what a key does so that when they get one, they know what sort of gate is now accessible. "I got the silver key, now i know i can open a silver door." Works best if they already found the silver door.

- train players that buttons of type X open gates of type Y -- this requires that X and Y have a consistent visual design and function in a consistent way. This is a more general version of the key/door thing -- they pushed the button and they know which distant gate was opened (because they learned the pattern already.) Also works best if they already found the gate.

- place fresh gameplay behind the opened gate -- either new monsters or uncollected items. They function in two ways: 1. players naturally move towards and engage monsters / collect items, 2. the fact these monsters/items haven't been dealt with yet is a clue that the area is a new, unexplored part of the level. A good example of this is in e3m5 (and Antediluvian): each wind tunnel in the main hub room has an ammo/health box in it, so that when you return to the hub, you can be sure you haven't travelled through the newly opened tunnel yet since the item is still there. 
Follow The Enemy Road 
Forgot To Mention Last Time 
my thoughts on the map are here

it's a great map with only a couple of problems, thanks for the map :) 
i like the cutscene method. mexx8 was the first map i remember using it that way.

the point about it being a weakness in puzzle design is valid, but much of the time with door & button scenarios it barely consitutes a 'puzzle'; more just a way of spreading out the game-path, not necessarily requiring a great deal of thought/logic from the player 
..thoughts on the map to follow when i've played it. which i will. at some point. 
Cool Map. 
In almost all areas. Just a bit dark tho. Like everything else. 
Played It Earlier 
think it could have used some more ambient sounds. it definitely put atmosphere before gameplay (not that the gameplay was bad) and that atmosphere would probably be enhanced by some subtle eerie sounds to go with the dark shadows and visceral features

the bit with the biosuit & the blood - i had to turn fullbright on just to see the tunnel! was swimming around thinking i had to get up the pipe somehow. better visual clues down there would have been nice

there was a turning up to the SKD i kept missing too (probably just me being a spanner) - resulted in me backtracking to an earlier point where i inadvertently met that tank-commander style boss thing from below and could twat it with grenades without being hit back

played on normal, managed to stay alive and only really got in the red when a spawn exploded in my face. end battle was tense but over pretty quickly. balance just about spot on throughout

nice work! no epic by any means but well worth a blast :) 
Travail soundtrack
Quake soundtrack 
Ambient Sounds != Music 
This map feels warm and snug for me.

You say you get lost. But why do you hurry? Enjoy this place, it is friendly, don't you see? You know, sometimes I turn "notarget" and just become a wayfarer.

BTW, is it possible to reach the "Very Skilled!" secret without grenade/rocketjumping? 
Yes. It Is Possible. 
And, I completely agree with what you say. 
Thanks One And All... 
...some fine encouragement and some good learnings to be had here.

I should've curtained off the walkway to the SK door and just had a few windows for player orientation when they came back around. (The SK button would be very redundant then.)

The alternate routes should've been open the whole time and high level weapons or power ups used to reward exploration. Monster placement and patrolling could have made approach from either direction challenging.

I need to trust myself that I've made each area distinct enough that if I have a couple of alternate routes people will recognise they've been somewhere before when they double back.

I need to worry less about speed runners.

The variation in lighting is problematic these days due to wide variation in cards. That I only got one neg, may mean I got pretty close to the right balance for the greatest number of cards. Sorry rj. As far as ambients are concerned, they were in - then out - then back in - and finally I stripped it back to what I thought was just above the minimum required....this was a conscious ambience building decision. Silence can be creepy too.

necros and I could probably have a discussion about particles and never agree, but I do agree that the Travail coders should've been encouraged to give an extra clue to damage (like necros' flying bits suggestion). I don't see the mod being developed on from here, and apart from a cracker of an idea for a map by negke, I don't think any one is planning any more maps, so changes like necros suggested will probably never happen.

There's no need to make guesses about why I stopped coming here JPL, it just stopped being fun. Things seem to have changed a fair bit since then, and no doubt I'll drop in after next release to get some more honest, useful and valuable feedback.

See you in the soup! 
Nah Nothing's Changed :) 
but glad to have you back dis.

Still havent played this, main comp is still dead unfortunately. But downloaded and ready to go. Hopefully this weekend.

Any more in the works? 
The variation in lighting is problematic these days due to wide variation in cards.

True that�s a huge problem, graphic cards and lots of different clients don�t help in hour work!

But never the less, this map is pure art, excellent game play and the combination of the textures are small and effective!

Played several times but didn�t record a demo... :| but I will when my kids let me be at computer for some pleasure moments of Quake that is rare :(

Glad to see you back Distrans u rock! 
"our" :( 
Once Again... screens 
There were screens but they were so dark they crashed ppl's monitors, so were taken down.

Did I say this was a cool map? I liked it. Very Zer style which is a good thing. Good exploration, good combat, I didn't get too lost. Teles opening up were useful. I got some secrets, they were fun. Didn't manage to get a quad run tho. New monsters were used well not overused, which was nice. Nice to have base monsters and a healthy smattering of proper monsters, suited the map and kept it fun. The big red thing, fuck knows how you kill that, I just ignored it, but that was quite cool because it gave backtracking and exploring some tension. I think that scenario could be explored....a bit like a roving hazard. I died once at the end because I was struggling to see monsters, I think the end was fairly fair though. It was quite dark as was the rest of the map. Did I mention it was a bit too dark? 
The map looks much much better than on those screens! Thanks god that skybox was dropped.

I really love it. The part where the juggernaut slowly stalks you was just great. The darkness was a huge part of the atmosphere for me. 
There's no need to make guesses about why I stopped coming here JPL, it just stopped being fun

Sorry if I misunderstood what you sent me over email a couple of months ago regarding the fact you "abandonned" this place, but I felt you a little bit disappointed after the Ruined Nation release, and about the comment made at this time...

Anyway, it is good to see you are still onto the Quake scene, and it would be ashame if you decide one day to quit definitely.

As I said: I want more map like yours !! 
the Ruined Nation release, and about the comment made at this time...

i went back to the thread just to remind myself what was actually said

god speedy was a cock 
lighting was spot (haha) on for me. just the right level to see clearly but not remove atmospheric shadows. 
> 1. players naturally move towards and engage monsters / collect items,

not really, as I pointed out before this isn't true for all players. You cannot rely on this. It's amateur psychology really.

I tend to not immediately shoot when I see an enemy - I usually wait if anything else happens, and there might be other enemies around that I didn't kill earlier.

You're assuming a "must kill them all" mindset here, which not all players have. Especially if a map is mostly about the atmosphere and the monster isn't an immediate threat.

Also, Quake monsters wander after you, so if you don't kill something immediately it might already be out of the doorway it was supposed to act as a signpost for.

Items, yeah, I tend to pick up megahealths etc. much more than I tend to kill enemies on sight. Keys are probably the strongest signposts you can use, pents maybe too. With Quads, again I tend to not pick them up immediately.

I didn't press the big red button in Willem's one map, for example, because there didn't seem to be a need and I decided to explore a little further before using it. Hence, I missed the super shotgun in that map. You can't really blame this behaviour on the player - the player is not a lab rat who behaves in predictable ways. This is really proven over and over again when new games are released and players always do unexpected stuff.

Spawning a grunt in a doorway isn't really a sign post. A red button all alone by itself is more suspicious than anything, hence certain players might NOT press it. It could mean anything, or nothing. Items are a much better way to signal the player. I recommend health, keys, armor, weapons and powerups. These things are player magnets. Monsters aren't always.

Switches likely work to draw the player in that direction, too. Players will usually inspect switches. Pressing them is another matter - I usually only press buttons immediately if I think I know what they do, for example if I was told "find 2 buttons", but if encountered all by themselves, they can just as well belong to a trap.

I will press a button if I run out of things to do, as well, because that usually means I should press it.

In short, you shouldn't speculate on the player always killing everything on sight, especially not in horde maps. The "enemy trail" tactic has to be done really well in order to work, you can't just put an enforcer in some obscure passage and assume the player will move towards it. What if it's killed from a distance, the player might never investigate closer. 
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