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Quake Christmas Jam 2021 Released
It’s finally here. Twenty-five maps of Arcane Dimensions goodness, confined to a 1024^3 unit gameplay area.

Download it here:

https://www.moddb.com/mods/arcane-dimensions/addons/xmasjam2021

The lineup:

Ghosts of Christmas Past by Sock (start)
Father's Hand by Chris Holden
Wither Wonderland by Greenwood
The Library of Forgotten Dreams by Grue
Santa's Fragtory by Heresy
Microcosmosophy II by Ionous
Video Kojima by Ish
The Lost Rook by JCR
Five Bulls A-Beating by Krak
Dichromatic Abomination by Krampus
Midnight Mass by Magnetbox
Yule Be Sorry by Makt
The Ash Keep by Mememind
When there were Wolves by MrTaufner and RadiatorYang
Cleanup For Santa by Mykee
Possibility is not a Luxury;It is as crucial as bread! by Naitelveni
Rust Clot by Omni
Snapchip Shatter by Pinchy Skree
Holiday Puzzle by Repator
The Town Inside a Snow Globe by Riktoi
Sewer Santa by Riktoi
Wintry Quadupola by Riktoi
Yuletide by Scythe
The Endless Winter by Scythe
Realm Of the Carpenter by Textfish
Bee Home for Christmas by Wiedo

Thanks to all who contributed to this event, and to Sock for doing a huge amount of behind-the-scenes work to get this project complete.

Happy Holidays to all, and enjoy.
 
Holy frijoles that's a lot. 
Merry Christmas! 
Wow, fantastic work everybody. Thank you Ionous and Sock, and anybody else who had a hand in this behind the scenes. Excellent Start map by Sock as you'd expect. Finding Nightmare was a bit easy and at one point I accidentally activated Chaos mode, which is something I'll intentionally try at a later date. I've decided to work my way through the maps anti-clockwise.

Yuletide - Scythe
Nice clean brushwork and texturing, slightly at odds with what I know of Ogres but that just adds to the mystery of the "Ogre Cult" idea, which I love. Let me know if you ever expand on this concept because I have a cool concept for a boss level ogre. Gameplay was nicely paced in this level, though it didn't provide much of a challenge on skill2 -- some higher up ogres raining grenades in to the central atrium near the end would have spiced up the difficulty nicely.

Yule Be Sorry - Makt
Who doesn't love a pun title? Nice reliance on the uberaxe in the early stages kept me on my toes. After spending a while in that dark indoor arena the outside reveal was a nice moment with some good architectural detail. I'd prefer a bit more signposting re: the edges of the level, thankfully I had the foresight to quicksave before diving over the edge the first time but I wasn't so fortunate when I went straight through the red armour secret and plumeted to my death! :P In terms of gameplay progression there are some remarkable similarities between this and my entry (Perhaps the limitations of four years of 1024^3 mapping are starting to show!), though I feel the difficulty on this one is much better balanced than my attempt. I limped through the final battle on 4 hp but then the Tears boss just seemed to disappear, so I can only assume he fell foul of an ogre grenade from above!

Library of Forgotten Dreams - Grue
I have to automatically deduct 1 point from my non-existent scoring system because red windows should always be shootable and it's right there at the start just begging for some buckshot! :P Anyway! I love an arcane library, and this one's pleasantly dilapidated. Amazing work on the skybox too, it seems to go on for miles. Unfortunately AD's janky ladder code gave me a closer look than I wanted on more than on occasion, so some sort of safety barrier would've been useful when you get on to the roof. I had a lot of fun secret hunting on this map, as many of them are tantalisingly just out of reach and require some perilous platforming. I got 5/7 of them so far, but I'm not sure what the long secret passageway behind the bookcase was about. I was expecting to have to go back down to the start (the red window room) at some point, but this didn't seem to occur. I really enjoyed the gold key pickup fight. The quad was a bit weird, in that it triggers a really tough battle, so it's easier to just not pick it up and you can still exit. Guess it's one for the 100%ers out there! I'll definitely be returning to this level as I feel there's more to discover.

Microcosmosophy II - Ionous
Microcosmosophy. Am I saying that right? Anyway, this is a pretty impressive use of 1024^3! Lots of very intense close quarters combat and surprises around every corner. r/quake are going to hate this one because of all the spawns, but what do they know? With all it's doors and 38 secrets, I feel like this is a timely tribute to advent calendars. Or maybe it's a bunch of little Quake dioramas? I dunno, it's some kinda thing, but I like it. Clearly a lot of thought went in to each little area. I had a few niggling annoyances, but nothing too game breaking. I guess it's understandable in such tight spaces that I'd lose a bit of health to platforms, but some clipping could have saved my poor head. I feel like Quake needs a 'trigger_nudge' that subtly pushes players out of harms way on lifts. I also think it would have been helpful to have bars go across one-way teleporters because I kept trying to use them the wrong way. The big spike traps were a bit annoying. I found an "Agony Tome" after clearing the exit, but I'm not really sure what to do with it, so this is another level that I'll definitely revisit, not least because I only got 15/38 secrets and 220/308 kills. What a monster map! 
Merry Christmas! II 
Realm of the Carpenter - Text_Fish
Some people say Quake's "too brown". I say they ain't seen nothing yet. Should I review my own map? Probably not, though it was interesting to come back to it after a week or so with slightly fresher eyes. It needs more ammo in the early-mid stages. I enjoy running up the curvy slopes ploughing through low level monsters, but if you've run out of nails you don't really get that satisfaction. With hindsight, I'd also re-think the Nour boss encounter. I don't really like Nour because it feels like a bit of a sponge, so I either needed to override its health, or use a more interesting combination of lower tier flying monsters. There's an intermittent bug where some shells on a moving platform are uncollectable. I'll be interested to see how people react to the snipers lurking in windows and behind book-cases. I enjoy them, but it's probably different if you don't know they're there.

Wintry Quadupola - Riktoi
Nice visuals surrounding an unholy nightmare killroom. It feels like some sort of arcane arctic observatory, which is a nice theme. Gameplay-wise I'm not a huge fan of this sort of thing anyway and I was only able to complete it by trial and error rather than skill. On one occasion when I thought I was doing pretty well I then ran out of ammo whilst certain vital trigger-monsters were still out of reach of the axe, which was sadly game-breaking and required a quickload. I also don't like poison. I'd say adding some respawning ammo and removing any poison attack monsters would have made this a lot more tolerable. Lovely brushwork though.

Sewer Santa - Riktoi
Riktoi's been busy I see! From the start this was much more enjoyable than Wintry Quadrupola, and I too was very excited to meet santa, because he's so beautiful and smells lovely. The rolling oil drum thing was a very fun little mechanic. Unfortunately on my first run one of the pushable boxes fell through the floor of the crusher and I was unable to proceed but it worked fine the second time. I would have enjoyed using the crusher on all those damn spiders.

The Endless Winter - Scythe
Ooh another double-mapper. Where do you find the time!? Lovely wintry atmosphere from the get-go. Seeing the knights huddled round a fire instantly made the environment feel cold but lived in. Gameplay/progression was short but sweet, and I appreciated the quad to help me take out Nour but it could use another one or two combat encounters on skill 2 I think.

I should take a break now, because 25 maps is a lot of maps, but I've had a blast so far. Thanks mappers. 
Merry Christmas III 
Possibility is not a luxury - Nait
Holy macaroni, look at that cool skull! In-fact this entire map is chock full of stunning brushwork from start to finish. I don't wanna blow my load too soon, but I feel like this might be the visual highlight of this year's pack, and if it's not then I'm very excited to see what is! Exploration is thin on the ground and combat feels a little lacklustre in that it's just a bunch of mostly identical cannon fodder thrown in to an arena with little-to-no verticality. I feel like horde combat only works well in Quake when it's guiding the player rather than just surrounding them. Gameplay wasn't the goal of this map though, and with visuals this enjoyable, that's okay. I'd love to see a Quake collaboration between Nait as environment artist and somebody else as level designer.

Rust Clot - Omni
Excellent theme choice, and the opening room gives some nice tantalising glimpses in to the future. Gameplay is a bit so-so in the first few minutes but then really opens up when the jump boots let you out of the start area. I really enjoyed the combat setups down in the basement -- I don't recall ever shooting that many fish before. Fishing Ogre would've had a field day on this map. Some of the combat up top was challenging and there was a good supply of ammo and powerups to get through it, but waaaay too many lost souls and they kind of nerfed the fun of the quadjumping by constantly getting in the way. I only killed 179/256, but I think this is because I got bored of shooting fish. :P

Midnight Mass - Magnet Box
Somebody's been huffing the communion incense. This was a trippy ride with oldschool, almost fullbright visuals and a vaguely sacrilegious narrative that only really kicked in about two thirds of the way through but was a fun change of pace. There are niggling issues of polish throughout such as buttons that should be single-use and a lack of general "sign posting" to guide the player, but combat was fun and occasionally challenging without ever feeling unfair. If you've got to trap me in a room with shitloads of monsters, give me that sweet Quad, Pent & Rocket Launcher tryptich and I'll forgive the spammy combat design. 
Merry Christmas IIII (Roman Numerals Pfft) 
Video Kojima - Ish
"Quake as a PS1 era Stealth game..." is one helluva pitch for a Christmas map. The stealth aspect took a bit of trial and error, but it came with a good perilous feeling that kept me interested in exploring alternate routes. Once combat gets going it's very close quarters and had some tricky moments especially during the escape section. I enjoyed the underwater fight, which is something that doesn't occur enough in games these days. Visually there were some nice touches throughout, culminating in a very nice Millenium Falcon at the end. I'm guessing this map was actually full of Metal Gear Solid references, but that's a series that passed me by, so it's a Millenium Falcon and I'm sticking with that.

Santa's Fragtory - Heresy
69 monsters. Nice. I guess this map casts the player as Santa operating his Fragtory, which is fun but I feel bad for all the little kids getting gibs in their stockings this year. All the traps were well designed and fun, though I found myself just kinda spamming the corner pushers because I couldn't get my head round which one to use at the same time as running away from monsters. Switching back to the old hitscan shotgun would have been a good idea for this map and made the traps feel a bit more responsive. Visually this map is very nicely polished, with good use of varied light levels and some impressively lethal looking rotating teeth. 
Textfish 
Thanks for playing. You’re right on both points; I should have spent more time on the lifts and section exits, but I’ll admit I was burned out by crunching on this for almost two weeks.

As for the tome; look for the secret ‘level’. This is a full E4 tribute, and you never found the E4M8 section. 
Merry Christmas IIIII 
Ionous, thanks for making! Those were my only very minor complaints so kudos for getting such an epic level done in such a short time. I look forward to going back in search of E4M8.

But for now I shall resume my unnecessarily long and rambling reviews!

The Ash Keep - Mememind
Pretty simple layout with a fittingly ashen colour scheme. The use of giant murals at either end of the arena is nice. I'm still not sure what the floating rock was about, but I was disappointed by the lack of any goodies atop it! There was some enjoyable combat mixes, though the "push the button to reveal the next button" mechanic got a little repetitive. I feel like the environment should change in some way with each button, to mix things up a little. Gameplay potential opened up nicely with the introduction of the grapple, which will never not be a fun thing to use in any game, and the scale of this arena suits it well. Unfortunately it rendered the penultimate battle with the golems a bit too easy as you can just spam them from on high, so it might've been good to have two of the golems raised up on the catwalks, or spawn a few crossbow knights on the roofs to keep the player moving.

Cleanup for Santa - Mykee
Giant lego frogs. Collectable candles. Consider me intrigued. Judging by the title and the intro message I assumed I'd be cast in a sort of Winston Wolf style "cleaner" role, but happily Mykee seems to have gone for a less subversive Christmassy tale here. The candles were a fun way to lead the player, though I feel like spreading them right out on to the roof as well as earlier sections would have helped make progression a little less linear. I enjoyed the cheeky shortcut on the security guard's hut because it's always fun to feel like you can climb the walls in Quake. I dunno what all the lego's about, but I like it.

Father's Hand - Chris Holden
Purdy. I feel like if MC Escher were designing 1970's tupperware it might look something like this. That's a good thing by the way. The visuals are very relaxing, and despite quite complex geometry the movement feels smooth throughout which is good because I found myself falling back down a lot during combat. I also kept thinking I'd found a secret, but I still have 0/3 at the end so I'll enjoy going back to explore some more. Gameplay wise, I could have done with a more bombastic final combat, though perhaps that would have undermined the chilled vibes this map puts out.

The Lost Rook - JCR
The title only really made sense to me when I got to the intermission camera, but I like it. Really nice execution of a cool theme. Visuals were largely great, with the possible exception of some of the wooden indoor areas which I found a little brightly lit. All the monsters busting through walls was fun though and kept me on my toes. There's some great Quakey platforming to be had, albeit occasionally made a little difficult by the inclusion of lost souls that just sorta get in the way. I was dismayed to find two Nours, but then after they wiped the floor with me I found the quad on my next run through and they went down easily that time. I don't think the quad was even there the first time, so I must've accidentally activated it? The 4-key mechanic was nice, though for the sake of people who aren't so fond of platforming elements I think I would have advised 4 different types of key so that they can all be collected in one journey. I intend to go back and see if the portal at the top does anything some day because I was sure that would be my exit! 
Merry Christmas IIIIII 
Wither Wonderland - Greenwood
"Now I have a nailgun. Ho - Ho - Ho." This has been the Quakiest of the maps so far both in terms of visuals and gameplay, and I love it for it. It's nice to see the AD monsters thoughtfully mixed in with the old guard, instead of just spammed in instead of the vanilla line-up. I died a few times but never felt cheated, even when it was raining pineapples. Hands down the best fairy lights I've ever seen in Quake too. The music creeped me the fuck out, especially in conjunction with the ticking clock.

Five Bulls A-Beating - Krak
Another pleasingly oldschool map, with a cool DoE castley vibe. The layout invites exploration whilst still effectively leading the player, and combat was solid if somewhat unchallenging. I really like the sad christmas tree. Great ending with clever use of lighting to make the player second guess what's happening. Could do with some more ambient sounds.

Snapchip Shatter - Pinchy
A nice little monastery enclosed in ice. Very cool concept, and a good way to control progression and get more out of the limited space. I'm going to go back for another go at some point because I think I accidentally skipped a section as in the intermission camera I see a golem, some zombies and a quad that I never saw during gameplay! I'd love to see this idea expanded in to a longer map. 
Library Of Spooky Secrets 
I was playing this level on hard, and while still going through the final encounter, the scragmother didn't spawn it seems, and the map told me I could leave. The other enemies were still alive. Loading from quicksave. 
Feedback More Constructive 
xmj21_chrisholden
Beautiful wee map, inspired by "that" Bal map with blues whites and waterfalls perhaps. Best texturing in the pack and nice little design, out of everything in this pack I'd want to see a big level like this. As nice as 1024 levels are, they do leave you wanting a bit more as they're all 5-10mins completion time.

xmj21_greenwood
Nice to see a standard metal map, I haven't played one of these in a while I guess in a jam, since Quake has so many themes you can use now. Pretty standard layout and corridor construction though with ogres around every corner made it tricky in the first half. Once at the top and past those two Shamblers things were pretty straightforward. I could imagine this in the original game.

xmj21_grue
Like this theme for instance, a stable of Quake now. That first view of the outside is amazing. That Shamber raping me everywhere destroying walls was cool. Really nice level and some difficult setups but in the end was just missing some decent weapons to fight with, it was easier just to skip the last big battle. But still maybe the best overall map in the pack as it doesn't really feel like 1024.

xmj21_heresy
Heresy levels are always so awesome. The level of details and texturing is perfect, every level he does is unique. So I'm pretty much assuming this will be the pick of the pack before starting, but this time it's not. Looks really nice but it's a quicker map this time with most of the killing being done with traps that I didn't really understand so just ran around shooting the buttons and floorpads until everything was dead. Looked nice though.

xmj21_ionous
Just too cramped and confusing, with a real mash of different styles thrown together. Would be nice to see this double the size spacially so you can properly fight a bit more, instead of using the cramped spaces to make it more difficult. A shambler just standing there getting shot because he can't move isn't so good. I only got 160/233 kills as well so missed a lot of secrets, but didn't really need them.

xmj21_ish
I assume this is inspired by Unreal, a cool little scifi base. But confusing to navigate with the different paths and the gold key is impossible to spot on my monitor, it's like pitch black underwater, I had noclip to find it.

xmj21_jcr
Cute little level with lots of double jumping fun, looks pretty. Gameplay fairly basic.

xmj21_krak
Fun little level nice verticality. Design is nice, not the most unique it's a theme done plenty of times before, but gameplay was one of the most fun so far, due to its simplicity.

xmj21_krampus
Well this will be good. Beautifully designed level as always from krampus, only thing I would do is add bit more variation in the textures rather than all the same colour as probably 1/3 of the levels in this pack are grey. This one done with the textures and colour palette of xmj21_chrisholden would be amazing as it's definitely the best layout.
Great way you go up and down the castle. Also like above just good simple gameplay thats easy to begin with but builds up. I only found a handful of the 42 secrets, but they seemed to be the ones that mattered.

xmj21_magnetbox
Ended up skipping this one. Sorry but needs a lot more time spent on visuals. I need to like what I'm looking at to play Quake but this is just a bit garish. 
 
xmj21_makt
Nice little castle map, enjoyed the gameplay.

xmj21_mememind
Is xmas grey this year? I'm not a big fan of gauntlet levels unless the design is amazing, but this one was just plain. Fun still and nice to try out the grappling gun.

xmj21_mrtfradyang
Another level decked out in grey, maybe the theme this year. A bit boxy and I got a bit low on ammo in the middle, but the second half was fairly fun and nice way it leads to the top, I guess the roof at the end.

xmj21_mykee
I gave this one a go as only 27 enemies but looks like a first mapping attempt. Cute sleigh and presents but overall needs more time spent making it look decent.

xmj21_nait
Looks really nice, despite another grey map but it has good construction and lighting, would love to see a full level like this. Nait always does great designs. Just a little on the easy side, didn't actually need the quad damage at the end.

xmj21_omni
If this is a gauntlet map then it's pretty good as it has a few layers and tiers and good progression of combat. Those skulls certainly added to the monster count and kept me running. Nice construction and detailing as well, one of the best looking maps here.

xmj21_pinchy
Continuing the grey theme, pretty simple overall but fun enough.

xmj21_repator
Just a little puzzle room if you're into that sort of thing. I liked the water one but puzzles rooms aren't really my thing.

xmj21_riktoi
Another quick little castle map, similar textures to others as you climb up the towers to the top and nice finale.

xmj21_riktoi2
Looked nice at the start and I liked the barrell thing. Kind of lost interest after the blob thing told me to push boxes around.

xmj21_riktoi3
A fun gauntlet map but the lighting and plain design makes it a little harder to look at. Gauntlet maps really need to have good design as you're spending the whole thing in one room.

xmj21_scythe
A vertical pale palace full of ogres and a triple shotgun, I liked it. No finale but if there was it would break the ogre rule.

xmj21_scythe2
Similar quality to the last level but more variety in enemies, a darker theme and proper finish, so slightly better.

xmj21_textfish
This is one of the best looking and designed, with some good variety in theme, especially when you go into the lava basement. Really nice. Unfortunately it just didn't have enough health and ammo to get through it, I got to about 2% health with nothing but several grenades, maybe I was missing some secret areas that are really needed. I probably shouldn't have wasted all my shells on the gang of knights coming down the ramp at the end, but still don't see how this was possible to finish off what's above with what I had. I must have missed some hidden ammo somewhere.

xmj21_wiedo
Nice idea for a map a honeycomb chocolate kind of thing where you're shooting parts of the inside to damage it. Just needed a lot more polish and less box roomy. But the idea was cool. Got near the top and was told to find a RL I assume, so gave up at that point. 
Everyone Involved In This Jam Did A Great Job! 
Everyone involved in this jam did a great job! Here is my playthroughs:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL-qnqiE69iOKVZsexP780rmhh7PlOmm-7 
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