My fourth released Quake single player map "Daughter Drink This Water" is now out, as part of a community map jam pack called Sinister625 -- where we all made maps that used only 6 textures, included 2 "surprises" (anything more interesting than monsters spawning), and had only 5 monster types, all in celebration of Quake's 25th anniversary this June.
HOW TO PLAY THE MAP PACK
1. Follow this guide to acquiring Quake and a suitable source port (aka game engine) or try the Quakestarter: The Quake Singleplayer Starter Pack (Windows only). Note that Quakespasm-Spiked is currently regarded as the best engine among single player level designers; avoid DarkPlaces, which hasn't been maintained in years. Also note that it is technically possible to get all the necessary game files legally without buying Quake, but for perceived legal reasons, the community does not distribute everything together in a convenient package.
2. Download and unzip the Sinister625 mod, which will already have all the maps and assets configured. Put the /sinister625/ mod folder in the root of your Quake folder, next to the /id1/ folder.
3. Launch Quakespasm-Spiked (or whatever engine you're using) with the mod directory set to "sinister625"... There are two common ways to do this:
- download a launcher tool like Simple Quake Launcher
- OR create a shortcut with the command line parameter -game sinister625... so the full shortcut target line might read something like "C:/Program Files/.../quakespasm-spiked-win64.exe -game sinister625"
WARNING: the rest of this post are my design notes that spoil what happens in the map...
The map is called "Daughter Drink This Water" (a quotation from a book / poem that admittedly I haven't read beyond the title, but I thought the phrase was cool) and it's a large open wintery stone ruins map that initially begins very closed-off, segmented into mini-arenas. As you progress through each fight, you gradually unlock more of the map, until the big finale fight that uses the entire layout.
And that's when some players will recognize the map as Hang 'Em High from Halo 1.
Porting Halo maps to Quake / Quake 2 / Half-Life / Quake 3 is very doable, but still quite a bit of work. First I had to download the original Halo map geometry files, open the files in a Halo mod tool called Adjutant (now known as Reclaimer), and then export the map geometry out to .OBJ. Then I used another tool called OBJ2Map to convert the polygons into Quake-style brushes. The result reminds me of badly decompiled Half-Life maps; every individual face has been extruded into a brush, and to make any of it usable, you basically have to hand-rebuild and hand-merge all the different brushes again. But hey, at least you don't have to guess at measurements. And Trenchbroom has a very convenient "CSG Merge" tool that shrink wraps all selected brushes into a single convex brush, which is great for anything that isn't a rectilinear wall.
Once I rebuilt all the map geometry and started walking around it, I was very surprised by how I barely had to change the map scale or proportions for Quake. Hallways and catwalks were already wide enough, and even some of the same Halo trick jumps still worked within Quake's less floaty jump physics.
My only real metrics changes were widening the 96u wide passages to a Quake standard 128u wide (mostly to make texture alignment easier / help Quake monsters navigate), and then lining up more ramp jumps.
However, adapting this huge open multiplayer arena was very challenging. After some big slaughter map tests, I decided that a more controlled approach was necessary, and segments would also act as a sort of mini-tutorial for learning how Hang 'Em High works. By playing each part of the map in isolation, we can focus on that specific slice and do some fun encounter design within it. It was also a fun chance to play with some dynamic level layout stuff, implemented here as giant doors disguised as walls.
Surprise 1: the giant walls descend, and aren't static map geometry.
Surprise 2: as a finale, the giant overhang / hovering ship crashes down when you retrieve the gold key.
Surprise 3? (bonus surprise?): the map turns out to be Hang 'Em High?
As for my five chosen monsters, I rely mostly on projectile-based monsters to make good use of the big wide cover-heavy layout:
- Enforcers, weak humanoid soldiers who fires dodgeable laser bolts
- Ogres, big chunky artillery monsters who lob grenades
- Fiends, big demons that run and jump, like big fast headcrabs
- Scrags, weak flying monsters who fire dodgeable poison bolts
- Vores, slow strong artillery monsters who launch slow homing bombs
|overview map of Halo 1's Hang 'Em High with weapon placement icons|
|No offense, but Tombstone is definitely the worst version of Hang 'Em High; way too much going on|