no flesh shall be spared

mapper ‘sock’ (who’s responsible for things like Map on the Edge of Forever) has recently started playing some modern q1sp.  one of the predominant things that he brings up is that these maps are too hard.

i think that’s pretty indicative of the direction q1sp has been heading in for the past few years and i think it’s a terrific opportunity to see current community maps through the eyes of an ‘outsider’.  it’s also great that sock doesn’t mind taking the time to write up some pretty long and detailed reviews.

a few months ago, i was messing around in qe3 and i decided to take a day to glue together e1m1->e1m7.  during that time, i had to test the map out a lot and it struck me how easy it all was.  i could usually make it nearly to the end without even taking damage once.

i’m actually not all that good of an fps player.  in modern games, i play on easy or normal and i still die every so often.  but i am good at quake.  it’s all down to the subtle things like being able to predict how long to stand in the open to trigger a monster to attack me. or knowing to use the nailgun/supernailgun when fighting fiends in close quarters because the nail projectiles will stop the fiend from dealing damage if it jumps and hits you.

for example, if i’ve got a nailgun and i’m in a tiny room when suddenly a fiend spawns in in front of me, i’m not really concerned.  all i have to do is fire at the fiend while making sure not to get hit by it’s normal melee swing.  if it jumps, it likely won’t do any damage because of the nailgun bug.

deathmatch has long been criticized as being very hard to get into because of the huge disparity in skill levels but it feels like it applies to single player too, except your opponent is now the guy who made the map.

if i made an empty room with a big pillar in the center and a shambler in it, i “know” that this will be a fairly easy fight for the player.  after all, i did give him a nice big pillar for cover right?  i mean, he’s not going to get shot by lightning when there’s a damn pillar there!  i mean, it’s like a basic, obvious skill like turning a doorknob to open a door.

ok, so my next step is to make this fight harder.  well, ok, that’s not that difficult to do, let’s remove the pillar.  everyone knows how to ‘shambler dance’ right?  that’s a simple enough thing, sort of like using your key to open a locked door before turning the knob to open it.

wait a second, that’s fucking hard.  i have no idea how to do that, or even where to get the skills to learn it.  i’ve been living in a jungle and just figuring out that turning a knob opens a door was pretty tough for me.  now i turn a knob and the door doesn’t open, what the hell am i supposed to do?

it turns out i do get hit by the lightning a bit.  in fact, i missed a few of my supershotgun blasts and it took a long time to kill it and i’m down 40 health.

this disparity has to be kept in mind.  sometimes, simply adding more monsters is a safer bet because at least the solution to more monsters is more obvious (kill the monsters fast before my cover is useless) than removing cover and forcing a behaviour that has to be learned (shambler dancing).

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