ne_cath makes a partial ressurection

i found an old backup version which contained the first map from ne_cath.  it had been completed quickly, ahead of all the others and sat in a complete state for quite a while.

although the backup held little else of use for the other maps, ne_cath1 is in a releasable state.  typically, there are a huge batch of minor texture misalignments and micro-leaks (which had been fixed, i guess, after i made the backup), but i’ll probably be able to get it tested in a few days.

in a pleasant twist, the map full vises in only a few hours, even.

i suspect it will be underwhelming, as the map’s pacing is a little off due to it being part of a larger unit.  only testing will tell, i suppose.  if it’s pretty bad, i’ll see about reworking the gameplay a bit, i suppose…

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.

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ne_q1spCompilingGui

my creatively named “ne_q1spCompilingGui” is a sometimes useful GUI.  essentially, it acts as a graphical batch file that will copy files for you, run qbsp, vis and light with whatever settings you want and easily let you toggle command line arguments on and off.

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doom2 sp map update 3

new canyon area

this is probably a better method of showing new areas vs old ones.

here’s the current version of the canyon now.  it’s got some kind of castleish thing down on the bottom right which gives access to some lifts that bring the player up high enough to reach the ledges that lead back up north.

the yellow key is in that small room near the bottom.  they player will have to back-track a bit to get to the yellow door, so i’ll have to open up some new areas or something to keep things interesting.  and likely spawn in another horde of monsters, of course. ^_^

the giant grassy area on the right has no purpose atm.  i want to use it to just connect some areas a bit more just to open the map up a bit.  i may spawn a ton of monsters here and having the opening will allow them to spill out into other areas better…  but i’m not really sure.  i may just leave it as decoration or something.

current plans for expansion…

so the whole point of this thing was to blog the map itself, so here’s my current plans:

i’m currently building around the brown section in this image.  the gameplay of this cavern is pretty much done at this point.

but just to explain a bit:

the player enters this cavern on the right side.  they move to the center and hit a button.  the button simultaneously starts a timer that releases hundreds of monsters out of the teleporter in the middle of the cavern and also unlocks the passageway at point ‘A’.  the player is safe from the gigantic horde of monsters once they start to work their way around the perimeter of the cavern.

along the way, they pick up boxes of rockets that they have to use to thin the horde out (they are safe from counter attack).

eventually, they make it to the brown unfinished area above with a button that will ‘recalibrate’ the gateway ‘to allow human transport’.  uhhh heh, well, it lets them use the teleporter.

it’s not on that image, but the teleporter would take them to some small/medium outdoor area with a completely different theme.  the obvious choice here is ‘hell’ since it’s doom after all.  so either those weird tentacle textures or the brimstone rocks or something.  it’s not really important, the point of it is really just to put some contrast in what the player’s seeing.

anyway, they work through this small area and teleport ‘back to the real world’ (…heh) into the green section.  this is planned to be outdoor, and i’m not sure on the size or exactly how it’ll look.  currently, i’m thinking of like big canyon type thing with a blood river meandering down the center of it.  the cavern is inside a giant mountain anyway, so it should be fairly consistent.

in any case, they pick up the yellow key which they use…

over here.  of note, the area ‘B’ is currently a decoration area, it’s not reachable and just has trees (and a teleporter pad where flying monsters come out of).

plans here are fairly vague but everything past the yellow door is likely to be marb textured with some courtyards.

area ‘C’ is the current start point, but i want to expand that northward a bit with a proper start (instead of just appearing in the hallway inside the map already).

late night mapping

why is it i map faster listening to mc hammer really late at night when i’m tired and want to sleep? o.O

map direction and method

i instinctively map with a method i call ‘tumor mapping’. this really just means i plan nearly nothing ahead of time except for a vague direction i want to head in (ie: “this map is going to be cramped”, “this will be a slow moving but scary map”, etc).
i call it tumor mapping because my maps grow like tumors. you start off with one or two rooms to establish your theme and general feel and atmosphere. from there, you essentially pick random areas to ‘grow’ your map. you pick one corner and you extend it 768 units out. in this new area, pick another corner and extend that another 512 units out.
i can hear the professional level designers scoffing right now. ^_^;
a professional will tell you that you need to plan your map out in triplicate before putting down a single brush (or linedef, or whatever terminology your particular engine uses). they will tell you you need a solid plan of action in mind and you should stick to that plan as much as you can.
they are right. you would not believe the amount of times i map myself into a corner, with no room left to expand or a significant problem with gameplay that can’t be resolved with the current design. but i’ve also found my most creative maps were made this way.
in quake (or any true 3d engine), this isn’t always the end of the world. it has reared it’s ugly head a few times already in doom.

in quake, you always had the option to go up or down and pile passages and atriums on top of other passages and atriums.
doom is different from quake and engines that came after it because it’s not really 3d. the level geometry is bound by very restrictive rules, the most important of which is that one room cannot be on top of another.
this means, if my tumor map grows itself into a corner, my only course of action is to either create a teleporter (not a good solution as teleporters break up the flow of a map) or rework the entire area (this sucks because you are essentially throwing away the time you already spent on that area and it’s very annoying).
on the up side, moving around whole sections of map is much easier in doom than quake. thankfully, after a couple of close calls, i’ve been more careful about it and haven’t had to rearrange significant portions yet.

Sorry for the absolutely ridiculous image quality here…  i had to photoshop the hell out of it just to get it to be intelligible.  -_-

anyway, sometimes planning things out works too.  i can tell you it speeds things up by a lot.

on the left is nesp16, the geocompish map.  interestingly, that map turned out the most compact and efficient (with use of space) of anything i’ve made.  contrast to, say, ne_doom or nesp04 where i just winged it.

and then there’s the happy medium.  somewhat tumourish and somewhat planned.  i think ne_tower was probably the best example of it of maps i’ve released, but ne_lend was also a good example of that mix.  but more just because ne_lend was based off an existing map which was the ‘blueprint’.

i think spontaneity can play a very important role in the creativity of a map.  there’s something to be said for winging it sometimes.

at least in a hobby environment.  you’d probably be shot if you were on a commercial team.