Lunaran.com Matthew Breit Level Designer | Texture Artist
Westfront - Westfront Facility
Aug 05, 1999
Before there was Quake3, there was Half-Life, in which time I actually built things in Hammer. This was the second map I ever tried to release, uploading it to Sierra's old multiplayer portal WON.net where it immediately vanished without a trace because I did nothing to market it whatsoever - I had contacts and in-roads in the Quake2 community at the time, but none whatsoever in the world of Half-Life. This raises the question: if a map is finished and uploaded, and there's nobody around to play it, is it still released?
I remember this map's design being entirely improvised. That normally doesn't bode well for a map, but the basis of Westfront's design - a broken donut of space around a structure that sprawls into and merges with that space - naturally produces loops and navigational choices no matter what the designer chooses to do with it. I later recycled the layout, mirrored and modified, in a Quake speedmap ('Teleporter Madness').
This map actually was thoroughly tested with live humans. HLDM and other games on a two-person LAN were a staple of the summers of '98 and '99 for me. The map is the perfect size for 2 players, as long as they play the way my friend and I enjoyed playing: with a lot of cat-and-mouse hunting and seeking. The warren of passages contained within this small space makes it easy for players to miss each other by inches or catch each other from a dozen different angles. The amount of armament, however, is far too high (my approach to item placement at the time was still 'find somewhere to put all of them'), ensuring that most encounters were merely the briefest exchanges of explosives in the face of HLDM's already paper-thin protagonists.
Requirements: I was savvy enough at the time to merge commonly stacked textures to reduce r_speeds, but not enough to understand packing the .wad into the .bsp. Doing so requires qcsg compiling from source, and the .rmf is long gone, so you'll have to leave the included westfront.wad cluttering your valve/ directory.