My third Quake map is another multi-level arena, a bit similar to my previous map Smell It In The Street. I made it for Speedmap #210 (SM210), a weekend map jam on the Quake Mapping Discord with a theme of "overgrown" by jam runner Naitelveni.
For this map, I think I did a bit better with combat design. The arenas are a bit more open and free than before, and the encounters have a bit more purpose and push. I also make heavy use of Copper v1.11's improved ogre aiming, fiend jumping, and trigger_monsterjump spawnflags.
|initial layout sketch|
While I'm OK with how the combat gameplay turned out, I'm not very happy with the visuals and architecture here. It feels a bit generic and aimless, and throwing some last minute ivy everywhere felt like surrender. I probably should've spent more time painting the ivy texture, but fighting with the Quake 1 color palette at the end of the project was frustrating. I think this is an instructive example of how gameplay-first blockout approaches end up forcing the design into a weird corner that makes it hard to resolve art problems later on. I should've started the art pass earlier.
This lack of art direction was compounded by my first attempt to use the default id1 Quake textures. I don't know the textures very well, and this experience has convinced me that ignorance was bliss. Unless you build your levels to be fairly dense and compact to conform to the small texture dimensions, with lots of trim and segments everywhere from the very beginning, then these textures look terrible. So I did an emergency re-texturing halfway through this project and switched over to the Makkon set, which is much more forgiving with long stretches of wall.
Unfortunately I didn't have time to rebuild anything, so I just copy-and-pasted some arches, pillars, and trims everywhere and hoped that felt cohesive enough. This type of construction is often a warning sign, a desperate cry for help. But spamming details can never compensate for a fundamental lack of vision or poor overall spatial composition! Next time, I have to make a more concerted effort to interrupt my initial gameplay blockout to do some art development.
Surprisingly, I think my haphazard first attempt at cliffs and rocks in Quake feels OK. It has a chunky Halo 1 vibe to me. I kept my construction very loose, and relied mainly on copy-and-pasting rock chunks and skewing / clipping / vertex manipulating chunks to create variations. This careless workflow is only possible with Trenchbroom's excellent brush geometry validation. In Valve Hammer Editor or JACK, I would've just kept getting errors or compile bugs. Trenchbroom is a champ.
Overall I can live with what I was able to build and I learned a lot, but it's definitely not my best work.
But don't let my glowing self-recommendation stop you from playing this. There's a bunch of other great maps included in the pack. To play, go download the SM210 map pack. Make sure you also download and install Copper v1.11+, as well as a modern Quake client like Quakespasm.