review: tdl – The Death Lair by Trinca

A mixture of metal and medieval, shaken– not stirred.

Yeah, that was lame.  But this map isn’t.  What we have here is a failu– ok, I don’t know why I’m quoting films.

What we have here is a solid map combining q1met and medieval textures.  This map looks like it would feel right at home in quake’s second episode, only it would outshine all the stock maps due to it’s clean brushwork and overall polish.  From a technical standpoint, this is probably Trinca’s best map.

The theme is consistent throughout.  Trims are used heavily to good effect which is what makes this map look so polished.  I can’t recall seeing a single misaligned texture.  Well, I guess I’m not counting the weird ‘operating table’ texture which was used as a wall decoration when it’s clearly meant to be used on a horizontal surface.  There are tools and a magnifying glass (??) sitting on it which make it look stupid when it is used on a wall.

Lighting is well done if maybe dark in some areas.  I can forgive this as I’m still using a CRT monitor when most have LCDs and LCDs tend to be brighter with less contrast.  For example, I had built the first half of ne_tower with an LCD display and when I brought it onto my CRT, I couldn’t see anything at all.  I ended up feeding a global command line to brighten everything up again and then everyone said it was too bright. o.o;;

Anyway, there are no unsourced lights here.  Everything has an emitter with nice spotlights alleviating the texture tiling.  My one complaint is that the yellow spotlight texture doesn’t use any fullbrights which makes it look dull.  I checked out stock quake, and it turns out that is how the original texture was like, so it’s hard to fault Trinca in this case.  I would have liked if he had replaced the yellow pixels with fullbright yellow though.  Same goes for those blue strip lights.  I guess I only noticed this because I ran in to the same problem with one of Kell’s metal textures where I had to redo it to use fullbrights.

Gameplay is smooth without any insane fights or annoying ambushes.  That’s not to say there aren’t any ambushes or close calls, but that Trinca exercised restraint this time around.  Gameplay is much more balanced than some of his earlier maps and he even provided a quad for the ending which caps the whole map off with a bang.  I suppose if you don’t take full advantage of the quad, the end may be quite difficult. Certainly not impossible but surely not as fun.

The map follows a linear route but allows a bit of freedom as you can pick up weapons in a slightly different order.  On the other hand, if you don’t pick up the weapons in the correct order, you can be under-gunned in successive areas and you’ll have to back-track anyway.  Because of it’s compact nature, I never got lost after picking up the two keys.  I always knew how to get to the correct key door.  Some locked bars open up as well to speed things up.

Texture choice, as noted above is a mixture of medieval blocks, wizard floor tiles and metal.  In some ways, it makes me feel that this is how quake’s ep2 would have been like if the iD mappers had more time on their hands and more advanced mapping tools and compilers.

This map is decidedly unambitious.  It’s sad that that word has negative connotations because in this case it’s the restraint that is this map’s strength.  It’s not trying to be the next big thing, it’s trying to be a solid, well built map that is fun, and it succeeds quite handily at that.

I guess it’s too early for my other blog post to have influenced the outcome here, but this is exactly the sort of thing I was talking about.

Thanks, Trinca. :P

Direct download from Quaddicted
Release Thread on func_msgboard

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trinca
    Jun 26, 2010 @ 22:30:31

    Awesome work, you rock



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