Lunaran.com Matthew Breit Level Designer | Texture Artist
LunSP1 - Concentric Devastation
Jun 26, 2005
For years I had hung out in the #terrafusion club, source of some of the best Quake1 single player maps and mods the community had ever seen. Still an irrationally huge fan of Quake's simple but intense and infinitely varied combat, I always wanted to make my own contribution to the pool.
I started this Q1SP over the summer of 2001 and completed it in parts over two more nonconsecutive summers, drawing inspiration from my favorite maps like APSP1 for interconnectedness and polish, CZG07b for impressive curving forms, the Quake2 mission pack The Reckoning for visual style (from which I borrowed a lot of textures), and The Well of Wishes for its marvelously fresh and effective nonlinearity.
I did a lot of studying of wishes.bsp and what made the nonlinearity work. I decided it came down to carrots on a stick - each path always quickly leads to a discovery - a unique room, a button with a message like 'A bridge has extended,' new ways into old areas, or locked doors or barriers to be remembered and returned to, all of which inspire you to explore further to unlock the growing list of mysteries. Progress is thus the reward for exploration. I tried to exploit Quake's staple interconnectedness by leading the player through areas with parts that are clearly visible but aren't yet accessible, encouraging him to ply forward and find their entrances or keys.
The second half of the map is an even bigger experiment in nonlinearity - much of it is open at once, and mixed up in all of it are five Enforcer Commanders the player must kill to proceed, and two keys the player must find along the way to access them all. Each kill prints the familiar message 'There are n more to go ...' to reinforce the carrot. Each area was made as unique as possible within the theme to make sure the player never gets lost or loses interest in plugging onward.
Enforcer Commanders are one of a couple new monsters I included for variety. The basemap style ruled out the gothic monsters like knights and ogres, but the size of the map required more variety than just grunts. Thus I introduced a knight amalgam called the Axeman (which just uses the player model in axe mode with a grunt skin applied), the MegaEnforcer (modified from the Zerstorer version to be an Ogre amalgam, with blaster and grenade launcher), and the Enforcer Commander (a mean dude with a particle shield and rocket launcher). Coupled with the universally useful creature monsters like the vore and shambler, this lent a lot of fresh variety to the gameplay and I feel was an important ingredient in the map's success.
The boss combat is a twist on the tired Cthon electrocution puzzle. Instead of two electrodes, there are three, and a gimmick to how they operate which I won't spoil here. Many people who played the map felt the gimmick was far too obscure, difficult to discover while Cthon hurls lavaballs at you, and equally difficult to pull off once you'd figured it out, all of which are painfully valid points in retrospect.
The name comes from what I guess is now a small trend in Q1SP map names. The first two in the series were Damaul6, titled "Bestial Devastation," and an entry of his to the 100 Brush map competition named "Minimal Devastation." RPGSP1 followed a few years later, named "Penile Devastation" because the author has issues. "Concentric Devastation" seemed a clever and appropriate way to capstone LunSP1's circular(ish), interconnected design and architecture.
Modes: Single Player, Cooperative
Monsters: 97 on skill 0, 137 on skill 1, 199 on skill 2/3.
Requirements: A modified Quake engine with an increased edict limit. DarkPlaces and FitzQuake fit the bill. (Fitzquake is reccomended as that's all I tested with).