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Topic Starter Topic: Q (phdm2) - BETA 2 *UPDATE #4*

Insane Quaker
Insane Quaker
Joined: 31 Mar 2009
Posts: 490
PostPosted: 09-21-2009 11:19 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Hi everyone,

Q (phtourney1) is my first tourney release for Q3A. It's a fast little space map that uses evil1/2/3/8 and base textures with a skybox by Hipshot, and if you look at it from a bird's eye view, you should see a big question mark (more info. in readme). A couple of months ago, before LevelMakers died, it went through a short beta there, so some of you may have seen this before. Over the last few weeks I've been finalizing and I think it's ready for one more beta before release. Let me know what you think. Since this map is almost complete, I'm most interested in item placement tweaking, but I'm still open to experimentation with floorplan changes, so don't be afraid to suggest anything - big or small. I've also added the .map file in case you feel like messing with anything on your own.

Thanks for downloading!
-pat

Download Latest Update: Link Change Dates: Oldest < 9/21/09, 9/24/09, 9/28/09, 10/1/09 > Newest

P.S. Look for the secret!

Screenshots:

Image

Image

Image

Image

View a Slideshow

Still to work on:

- The only brushwork still to do is the railing along the LG. I want something more significant than what is there right now - maybe spotlights. It's hard to add height here though, because I can't really add depth without getting in the way of gameplay.

Questions:

- I tried putting using particles for the engine smoke at the bottom but they totally killed framerates. Anyone know of a good 2D smoke animation as an alternative?




Last edited by Pat Howard on 10-02-2009 03:15 AM, edited 4 times in total.

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The Illuminated
The Illuminated
Joined: 08 Sep 2000
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PostPosted: 09-21-2009 01:08 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Wow amazing level, I love the details. :)

Got some technical suff for you:

Missing textures in game, no console error message, not sure why I will have to check later on a clean build to make sure. One is on the corner of the cable going to the digit pad thing and one beside the '?' teleporter below. There is a console box besides the teleporter which has the missing texture on the top of it.
Ok found the texture, I quickly opened up the map file and checked, it is the same texture in both places. No def in shader file for it either.
evil6_lights/e6tinylight

The glass on the control tower is double sided? does it need to be? Solid texture behind the glass and can't see both sides unless clipping around, so might as well leave as cull default. The texture on the secret door is back to front on the outside. Have you thought about replacing the Q3 logo screen thing floating in the sky with something else? maybe a lost themed image? The goodies in the secret area are too much, especially a RG! Switch it for another YA maybe? Once a player has the RG it will be spawning killing for a while :/

Also one other quick thing, change your shader file to your map name or something unique, there was another mapper called Q and your shader file might cause conflicts with his maps. Will not be too much hassle to do a quick search/replace in your source map file for any specific shader stuff.



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Grunt
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PostPosted: 09-21-2009 02:10 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Looks nice Pat - will give it a run thru later.

I'm using the same skybox by Hipshot in a Enemy Territory map - looks great at full size (1024 * 1024)

Nice secret! :cool:



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Insane Quaker
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Joined: 31 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: 09-21-2009 07:38 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Thanks for the feedback, guys.

@MrLego, nice, I just downloaded the 1024 version for this map too.

@sock, thanks for pointing out the little technical nitpicks, you are very observant when it comes to this kind of thing. I fixed my file names and the missing textures today. I also converted lots of TGAs to JPEGs so the overall pk3 size is smaller. I'm gonna make a few more changes and then update the link tomorrow.

Now about the secret: Before I made it, I knew it had to be something that wouldn't get in the way of this map's competitive nature. I only added it because I didn't think anyone could realistically go for it in the heat of a tourney match. Not only does it take a few seconds to pull off, but also the activation sound is global and runs for ten seconds before the secret is even accessible. So it's time consuming to get there AND your opponent knows your going for it. I think this is enough to keep people away in the serious games. Still, I might look into doing something like what sumatra did in his latest map with the alternate mapconfigs. That way if the CPMA players want more security than an unwritten agreement not to go for it, they can just play without items in there.

-pat




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Who's that man, Mommy?
Who's that man, Mommy?
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
Posts: 5151
PostPosted: 09-21-2009 11:14 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


very cool style - nasa-like :up:
i'll try it in the next days




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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 02:39 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Amazing map... looking at it you ask yourself, why has no one ever done it before. Very detailed tech style that reminds me of Star Wars in a few areas, and the whole sky rocket platform of AEon Flux. The skybox works *really* well with the whole theme.

This is pretty much the first time I got extremely slaughtered by the bots, not because they were that skilled, but because I constantly was looking at the many interesting details in the map. I love those "rooms" you placed behind the fans, all the cables, fans, grates, generators...

Question: When you use the "RL-AP-JP" you hear wind sounds when you fly to the YA, is this new? Never noticed this in any map before, if it is not. Update: You actually trigger the sound *on* the player, and have it timed for the flight time... very very cool!

Bots: The bots never seem to use the med level TP in the floor (maybe add a floating 5H here to "trick" them to use it), they also avoid the RL-AP-JP, possibly because there is nothing *in* the air for them to pick up?

Weapons:
  • I kinda miss the RG as a "default" accessible weapon. As you say the secret will normally not let someone live long enough to activate it in the first place.
  • The LG, IMO, is not really that useful due to it's limited range - standing up at the YA you cannot get anyone near the LG or RL. Might be better to replace the LG with the PG.
  • Though two weapons RL and LG so close together, hmmm... don't have a better idea, alas.
  • I miss a weapon up where the YA is.
  • Since there are so few weapons, the MG suddenly becomes a *very* important long-range weapon. You placed MG ammo in several areas, maybe that could be expanded on, i.e. add a few more boxes in the other remaining areas as well? Update: You placed enough MG ammo, the bots kept picking it up, therefore I overlooked it.

Cushion fall: I had the feeling you die *very* quickly in this map, it might be good to add a few "cushioned areas", to reduce the health drain a bit, due to all the vertical action. E.g. up where the YA is, to cushion the RL-AP-JP fall, and possibly also for the jumps from the YA down to the SG.

RL-AP-JP: Maybe place the MH up in the sky, to motivate the player and the bots more to actually take that JP, and put a 50H were the MH presently is. Since you die so quickly in this map, extra health should not hurt the game, IMO.

Sparklies: The Q3 billboard bobbing thingy shows quite a few sparklie edges, not sure this actually can be fixed though. Update: Checked your .map source, this is tricky.

Secret: Kinda fun, but "wastes" triangles in several areas that normally will not be played "at all". I am wondering if either you might want to release two maps, one with the secret and one with lower r_speeds without those areas. I also wondered if the secret area under the main platforms could not be used to expand the playing field, probably not, too cramped down there.

Did you reduce the friction on the pipe with the LG? You seem to grind along there, kinda cool. Update: You used the common/slick shader for this, neat!

Did not check the .map file... but less stuff "under" the map (i.e. under SG) should/could be visible? Hinting is quite unforgiving in space maps, so you may already have tried everything possible. Update: One might be able to improve hinting a bit, see by post below, but as you said not by much.

To me this map screams to be played in instagib for optimal fun :)

Just some thoughts...




Last edited by AEon on 09-22-2009 09:25 AM, edited 1 time in total.Reason: Updated several things after more tests and a look at the map source code.

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The Illuminated
The Illuminated
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 04:18 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Pat Howard wrote:
thanks for pointing out the little technical nitpicks

bah, missing textures are not nitpicks! >:(

Pat Howard wrote:
Q3's collision detection whacks out and you get stuck in the patch

You have created player collision with patches, just checked your map file, not a good idea. Patches have no depth and the client can easily pass through them between snapshots. Create a smooth clip wall 32unit deep behind the patch, this will catch the odd case.

Just had a quick look at your digit pad logic, nice, very cool. I assumed you would just do a basic code check but you even check the typed in order is correct. Very cool. :up: My only concern is the size of the box you are have all the logic in. Could easily squash it smaller and place it within the player area. The compiler works out the lightmap grid density based on the min/max dimensions of the portal area, that box so far out, will be included in the min/max.

The combat is very fast and brutal, reminds me of dm17 because it is so open and there is literally no where to hide or recover. Personally I would open the lower section to players via drop downs or jumps off the side, lower platform/railings like in an oilrig setup. Shift the secret thing to only the control room and maybe a drop down to the lower section where the teleporter is with goodies suspended in the chute drop down. It seems a real shame to not use that lower section.



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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 04:52 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Since you actually released the .map, I took closer look:

pk3 suggestions:
  • Place all your textures in textures\phtourney1.
  • And the sounds in sounds\phtourney1.
  • Rename q.shader to phtourney1.shader, and merge the skybox shader into it as well.
  • Personally I'd put the skybox textures in env\phtourney1.
  • You can delete the Thumbs.db files.
I mention this because I did all that manually - i.e. also fix the paths in the shaders and the .map file. To avoid placing files all over the place in my developer baseq3 sub-folders.

Hint Brushes... (please note, even after years, I am still learning this as well)
  • I noted you explicitly created a caulk hull (floor mostly)... elegant.
  • Your "dust_puppy2" brush could also be made detail, and about 7 8-sided small deco brushes could also be made detail.
  • Wordspawn: I would recommend adding the key _blocksize with value 0 0 0 to worldspawn to completely circumvent any automatic cutup issues. It seems to be the reason for some geometry showing under your caulk floor, I think. And you could use the message key to give your map a nice name, when Q3A loads the map.
  • You placed several horizontal hint brushes, on various heights, as I understand hinting you should also place such a x-y-plane hint brush face right *under* the caulk floor, to "cut off" any geometry under it.
  • The vertical hint brushes usually are placed right on the edges of the caulk floor, makes sense... only a few of those faces that should be hint are actually skip, this may also be causing issues. Unless you have tested this and found it to be a "bad" thing, I'd place *all* the vertical hint brush faces right on the caulk floor edges, some presently aren't.
  • I am not sure about placing several hint faces on the same brush... wasn't that also an issue?

Hope that helps.

Update: Test compiling... holy cow, your PassagePortalFlow takes ages (q3map2 vis stage, 50 minutes!)... must be all the hint brushes, since almost everything else is detail... hmm... or is this the huge volume of the maps outer caulk box? ...




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Insane Quaker
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Joined: 31 Mar 2009
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 10:16 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


AEon wrote:
Update: Test compiling... holy cow, your PassagePortalFlow takes ages (q3map2 vis stage, 50 minutes!)... must be all the hint brushes, since almost everything else is detail... hmm... or is this the huge volume of the maps outer caulk box? ...


It's the horizontal hint brushes. I don't know why they were doing that. I just took them out and stretched the hints from floor to ceiling and it takes like 5% as long to compile. Working on hints now, I agree they could be better. This is kind of a tricky map to block off though. I often find myself staring blankly at my caulk floor wondering what to do next :dork:. I need some kind of strategy. I'll update later.




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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 10:52 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Pat Howard wrote:
It's the horizontal hint brushes. I don't know why they were doing that. I just took them out and stretched the hints from floor to ceiling and it takes like 5% as long to compile. Working on hints now, I agree they could be better. This is kind of a tricky map to block off though. I often find myself staring blankly at my caulk floor wondering what to do next :dork:. I need some kind of strategy. I'll update later.


The hint brush faces cut through the existing portals, normally defined by the structural geometry, thus creating more portals, well doubling the number for every one that gets cut in two. So such horizontal hint brushes are pretty evil. I am not completely sure why you actually needed those, one was pretty high up, and one was way below any geometry, IIRC.

As I mentioned, there are a few weirdnesses when looking under the SG, but nothing really significant, so you probably cannot really optimize much here. If you like I could try placing the brushes from scratch, simply for comparison (and send you a hint-brush-only .map file)... I am still trying to learn new tricks to better hint brush Sock's AEsafe.

You could expand the caulk skeleton, e.g. when standing near the MH, the walls towards the RL, should pretty much block all that part of the map. Only a pretty localized optimization... but might be something to look into.

Something I was wondering about... i.e. how to reduce the brush counts (you loose detail that will not be visible to the player most of the time anyway):
  • Your "jet drives" have these "sun shades", well actually metal plates angled out, probably to cool the jets. Most of those point outward of the playing area. Only a player who actively jumps out of the map, e.g. RJ, to die in the void, will ever see them. You could close all those off.
  • Same is true of the far side of the bobbing Q3 banner. If you closed the far side, i.e. removed the grate there, you could caulk all the fuel canister brush far sides.
But this changes your map... might not actually be worth losing those details.

The map plays well enough on my P4 2.54GHz with ATi X800 (old PC!), even with the 20K r_speed on the ES (Environment Suit) platform, are still fluid enough.

Be sure to use _blocksize 0 0 0 though, q3map2 cuts though the maps origin and every 1024 units (12 huge portals created alone by that, all of them "portal-noise"). And you might like to try the Plugins / Portal Viewer (if you have not been doing that in GTKradiant all along).

Update: Did a quick full vis compile, with _blocksize 0 0 0. Cuts the compile time from 50 minutes to 52 seconds, woha!




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The Illuminated
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 10:54 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Pat Howard wrote:
I need some kind of strategy. I'll update later.


Reduce the map footprint, you don't need a void so big for a small platform size. Q3map is subdividing the space too heavily, plus you got crazy big hint brushes. If necessary create a funnel void so the player falls towards the lower center and dies. Also I am sure by having your logic stuff linked to the main area is not good, split the button brushes and use relays. You have a duplicate panel in your trigger box linked to the main panel in the map, point the buttons at relay entities back at your logic stuff.



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Mercenary
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 11:05 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


AEon wrote:
Update: Test compiling... holy cow, your PassagePortalFlow takes ages (q3map2 vis stage, 50 minutes!)... must be all the hint brushes, since almost everything else is detail... hmm... or is this the huge volume of the maps outer caulk box? ...



really?? i compiled the map in less than 15 seconds, including lighting...
now when i make everything structural.. im able to compile the map (in test) in about 17 minutes. passage portal flow took forever.



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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 11:08 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


sock wrote:
Reduce the map footprint, you don't need a void so big for a small platform size. Q3map is subdividing the space too heavily, plus you got crazy big hint brushes.

So the empty space does matter... I fixed this for AEdm17 (thinking the empty area is bad, making the box too small actually)... ever since then I was thinking I had made a mistake, but this map proves it, large empty areas are "evil"...

Update: More compile tests... turned the few brushes left to detail (not the caulk skeleton), cuts vis compile time down from 52s to 28s, and the cluster number from 90K to 60K. Caulk roof of control room now flush with the walls, also reduces number of portals.




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The Afflicted
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 01:12 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Seems, that some nice work is being done on crippling compiling times. :sly: Everything I noted when playing your map has been mentioned already (missing texture,...) but there's one thing that I had big trouble with: being on the lower level (secret area) I couldn't achieve getting inside the box providing those 4 med kits, because there's one brush at the front top of this box holding me back. I know it's stupid to get the other two med kits if you already have access to both med kits a few units in front of it just by pressing space once, but still wanted to mention it. By the way: Since I'm one of those guys who keep looking at every single brush of a map (if it's worth it and yours definitely is) and thus deliberately jumping into the void, I had to laugh pretty hard when one of id's secret stock textures became visible whilst falling down to death (that "cute" grinning hairball-thing).
[.lvlshot]not available any more due to spoiler alert :owned: [./lvlshot]
:olo:

EDIT: Inserted lvlsht
EDIT2: deleted lvlsht at Pat Howard's request.



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Last edited by monaster on 09-24-2009 05:19 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Insane Quaker
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 07:12 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


^^^Ahhh! Spoiler alert! @monaster, you should take that pic. down just in case some other people haven't found it yet. BTW, I hide dust bunnies in all my maps, :). Oh, yeah, and you actually can get into the top vaccine compartment. You just have to jump and then crouch in.

Tons of feedback here, you guys are great. All of this is really helping a lot. So where to start? I guess I'll begin with the hints as I did those today. It looks pretty messy but it works very well. I think I have the lower level drawing about as well as I'm going to get it. Basically I started by giving the jets their own leaf nodes and then filled in the rest of the caulk floor space. Then I made splits along the major edges of the caulk floor (i.e. where parts of it jut out for the engines and bouncers) and the map now seems to draw pretty intelligently. I also detailed the spare structural brushes that I remade after conversion, evened out the ceiling of the control tower caulk, set _blocksize to 0 0 0 (thanks for those suggestions, AEon). and got rid of those horizontal hint brushes, so now the vis compile is a lot faster. The horizontal hints were the product of some faulty hint logic on my part. I actually kind of enjoy trying to figure out the optimal hinting strategy for each map. It's like almost like a level design mini-game, which can be refreshing. One last note: I'm not sure why this hasn't occurred to me until now, but I can also get away with creating a caulk floor for parts of the upper levels too. It won't be nearly as effective as the lower level but it won't hurt to try.

@sock, I've reduced the size of the hull for the level and for the trigger system and moved the trigger system directly above my map. Lighting should be faster now. I'm not quite sure what you mean about linking the buttons by to my main map. Just to make sure we're on the same page, the duplicate keypad that you're seeing is actually grouped with the real keypad. It was only added to move the source of the default door and button sounds out of earshot of the player to make room for my custom sounds. If I added all of this into my main area, the caulk would block projectiles (which would look weird), the player might see plasma cells flying above when the keypad is shot, and it might be tough to get rid of the default sounds. It's just for compile times IDK if it's the best idea. If it has a larger purpose that I'm not grasping, just try to explain it to me like I'm a six year old and I'll do it :).

I also renamed the shader file, texture folder, and all the shaders and to "phtourney1" so hopefully I'll avoid any texture conflicts. Speaking of textures, I glued some trim textures together in Photoshop so I could merge some trims that were layered on top of each other. I also converted any unnecessary TGAs to JPEGs for smaller DLs.

With the technical stuff almost out of the way, I'm really looking forward to some more gameplay discussion. Although I currently feel that the RG is way too powerful for Q, and that things are way too open for the PG to be effective, there is still plenty of room for discussion about other things. @AEon, give the LG a little more time, I find it quite useful. I also like the power of the MG, it keeps people from sitting by the RL and spamming the other two weapons because you can just peg their health down with MG fire from a distance and make them move.

What do you guys think about cushioning the soft-looking textures? By soft I'm talking about the green diamond padding and the black foam on the giant question mark. You wouldn't lose health when going off the double bouncer for the YA or when jumping from the top level to the mid level. Also I could cushion the platform that the MH sits on. I'm starting to like this idea.

EDIT: I'll post an updated link tomorrow so you guys can check out the changes.




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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-22-2009 11:28 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


I had a suspicion that you had experimented with the hint brushes a lot. I tried to "hint on the fly" with the goal to make the engine *not* draw *anything* under the caulk floor, and boy did that fail. To place perpendicular hint brush faces along the edge of the caulk floor alone does not work, you keep seeing the jet funnels and the items right through the floor. So, you really did a very good job of getting all that blocked. AFAICT this cannot be optimized further.

About the LG... you are right, it works, so it should stay the way it is.

Could you explain the idea behind the phtourney1_bot.map?
It looks like a simplified map, were only the relevant parts of the your map were placed for the bots. Probably speeds up the .aas compiles?




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Insane Quaker
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PostPosted: 09-23-2009 03:19 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


AEon wrote:
AFAICT this cannot be optimized further.

Actually I've got it working quite a bit better now than I did in the version you have. I want to work on a few more things today and then I'll show you. The reason you keep seeing the jets is because they are right on the edge of the caulk floor and it's very easy to see over the sides in these places. This is what made the whole process so tricky.

AEon wrote:
Could you explain the idea behind the phtourney1_bot.map?

phtourney1_bot.map is a separate bot map used for the fixaas process. Bots run about 10x as fast and play way better since I implemented this feature. I actually couldn't get it to work at first, but Sock helped me troubleshoot. Here is my batch file that I used for a final compile. Let me know if you want me to comment it.
Code:
@echo off

DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1.aas"
DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1.bak"
DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1.bsp"
DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1.prt"
DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1.srf"
DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1_bot.bak"
DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1_bot.bsp"
DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1_bot.prt"
DEL "C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1_bot.srf"

set Q3_PATH="C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena"
set COMP_PATH="C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\q3map2\q3map2.exe"
set BOT_PATH="C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\q3map2\bspc.exe"
set MAP_PATH="C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1.map"
set GEN_OPTIONS=-fs_basepath %Q3_PATH%

%COMP_PATH% -meta %GEN_OPTIONS% %MAP_PATH%

set MAP_PATH="C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1_bot.map"

%COMP_PATH% -meta %GEN_OPTIONS% %MAP_PATH%

%BOT_PATH% -forcesidesvisible -bsp2aas %MAP_PATH%

ren "C:\Program Files\Quake III Arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1_bot.aas" phtourney1.aas

set MAP_PATH="C:\Program Files\Quake iii arena\baseq3\maps\phtourney1.map"

%COMP_PATH% -fixaas %GEN_OPTIONS% %MAP_PATH%
%COMP_PATH% -skyfix -meta -v %GEN_OPTIONS% %MAP_PATH%
%COMP_PATH% -vis -v  %GEN_OPTIONS% %MAP_PATH%
%COMP_PATH% -light -fast -filter -super 2 -bounce 8 -patchshadows -v %GEN_OPTIONS% %MAP_PATH%

%BOT_PATH% -optimize -reach %MAP_PATH%

pause


Later,
-pat




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I'm the dude!
I'm the dude!
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PostPosted: 09-23-2009 09:03 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Yay! A fellow batch file monkey! :)



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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-23-2009 02:12 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Would it be OK to use the wind sound idea you invented for the RL-AP-JP for a JP in SolarAE? I would be using my own sound file.




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Insane Quaker
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PostPosted: 09-23-2009 03:54 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


AEon wrote:
Would it be OK to use the wind sound idea you invented for the RL-AP-JP for a JP in SolarAE? I would be using my own sound file.


Yeah go for it. I'd be surprised if I am the first person who has thought of something like this.




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clueless
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PostPosted: 09-23-2009 05:02 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Actually all JPs in Quake 2 make a wind sound and you can't remove/change it.



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The Illuminated
The Illuminated
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PostPosted: 09-23-2009 11:20 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Pat Howard wrote:
With the technical stuff almost out of the way, I'm really looking forward to some more gameplay discussion.


It is almost impossible to change the gameplay at this point because the level is finished, the only things left are the technical issues. Sure you could tweak the item layout, move stuff around, add health/shards, but overall the map layout is pretty much done, unless of course you want to start adding more architecture and gameplay space.

Im going to be brutally honest here, so don't take this personally. The map is labelled a tourney but it plays like a FFA. The layout is one arena with roughly 4 platforms and virtually no cover. It is essentially a space map for RG/RL action, a quick lunchtime combat with multiple friends just running around fraggin and dying very quickly. It is not a tourney because the underdog player has very little come back (a good player could control the YA/MH), there are no secondary weapons, no additional armour (only 1xYA) and no recovery area, it is just a cage fight.

Ideally if you want a tourney style space map you are going to need a second area/arena, which brings me to the underside of the level. It is currently being used only for the secret and that is a great shame, you should open this up to gameplay, share it with the secret, not make it exclusive. Allow players to spawn down there, collect secondary/duplicate weapons, recover and then challenge the other player to the top ground. Constantly spawning and dying in a single area gets frustrusting quickly, especially if you play 1v1 (tourney mode).

If you want to tweak the current item layout I would recommend removing all ammo near the top YA, it is currently a perfect camp spot. Switch the SG/MH around so that the MH is in a wide open area and harder to defend. Remove the SG and add a second RL instead and switching the BS/+50h for a second YA, it would upset the current YA/MH combo and replace SG/MG ammo with small health/shards. If you really want a BS in the map, float it up high in the air so you grab it from the double JP thing in the corner. This would give you duplicate primary weapons, duplicate armour, plenty of small armour/health and the MH in a wide open contested area.

Personally I think you should release it and move on, the map is a really nice FFA space platform which plays fast and looks gorgeous. It is really nice you thought of a theme and spent a lot of time moulding this around the gameplay with all the various details in the map. What you have made is certainly something to be proud of and I am sure it has taught you alot of new cool tricks with regards to construction and technical issues.



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clueless
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PostPosted: 09-24-2009 12:34 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Good to see that this one is being finished!

Absolutely agree with what Sock just said and I think I already told you something very similar a while ago at Levelmakers: the map is very cool but with that layout and the QUAD in there, don't even think about getting cpm players to play tourney on it.

Great map and theme! I'll play this one with 2 friends in the afternoon and I haven't done that for a long time with a q3 costum map (I blame qlive).

Btw: the launchpad that takes you to RA (that looong jump) will throw you into the void unless you keep pressing back while in the air. Intentionally? I'd remove that.



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Last edited by dichtfux on 09-24-2009 02:33 AM, edited 1 time in total.

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Veteran
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PostPosted: 09-24-2009 02:30 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


I also agree with everything sock already said. Gameplay is fine but it is no tourney map at all.
Btw I noticed two minor errors while hopping along the platforms:
First the map missed a texture. The cable going up from the keypad misses its texture on the small brush connecting the horizontal and vertical cables (in short the 90° turn).
Also there's something wrong with your sliding blast door next to it. While standing in the door frame facing the door, I could sometimes see the sky right through it as it has completely vanished.

I made some screenshots if you need more visual guidance, but have no access to them at the moment since I'm not at home.




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Insane Quaker
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PostPosted: 09-24-2009 08:01 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


I'm gonna post twice; once about the minor update and then I'll talk more about the recent gameplay discussion in a separate reply.

Link updated (check first post). Mostly performance stuff. I spent a lot of time hinting this map the last couple of days and I'm really happy with the results. The map draws incredibly well considering how open it is and I definitely underestimated the potential it had for vis blocking. I've included the .map files again in case anyone wants to take a look, but I don't really expect anyone to dive into that crazy mess of hint brushes and be able to make sense of it. Also compile times are pretty long again due to the new structural walls. There are still a few trouble spots where there was little to nothing I could do to help framerates, but overall the map should feel a lot smoother.

Bots have also been improved a bit. They use the double bouncer a little more and they generally cover the whole map better. That is, except for the teleport. I've basically given up trying to get bots to use the TP appropriately. Because it's such a small dropdown, they are too scared to use it naturally, but when I add even the slightest bot roam, they fall in love with it. Honestly I don't really think they need it and I'd rather they use the double bouncer more when they are over there anyway.

Cushions have been added to the textures that I thought looked soft or padded (green diamond textures and black texture on the giant question mark). Also, the drop down to the MH is now cushioned too. I do hate how surfaceparm nodamage takes away the landing sound of the player. It gives me a headache for some reason. You cratered too much before though so it was worth it.

Missing textures are gone (I think), or at least I have not found any more.

A few hall of mirror bugs have been fixed.

@spirit, are you sure about the double bouncer? It seems fine to me. I've moved it back just a bit anyway because I had some extra room.

I think that's it for now. I want to add a little more geometry but I think I'm going to save that for the final release. Let me know if you find any bugs of course.

EDIT: Some things I forgot to mention...
- Put clip brushes behind clip patch on floating Q3A banner.
- Made the empty area as small as I could. Unfortunately I wasn't able to change the height too much because I need enough distance to keep players from hearing default door/button sounds by the secret.
- Renamed shaders, though I'm gonna have to do that again now...

-pat




Last edited by Pat Howard on 09-24-2009 12:05 PM, edited 2 times in total.

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Insane Quaker
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PostPosted: 09-24-2009 09:12 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


I'm glad to finally hear what other people are thinking about Q's gameplay. I am definitely aware that the map is too open. My neighbors and I only fully realized this after the alpha and most of the geometry had been done, so major floorplan changes were not enticing. This is also the reason I threw the RL tele into the map. It was so easy to get pinned down there with absolutely no where to hide, so this was the only escape route I could think of. Wanting even more cover, I tried adding a small lower floor room under the YA with the bouncer going up behind the tower, but that created more problems than it fixed. Even the littlest changes take a lot of time to add when a map is in this state, so I eventually gave up trying.

I hadn't made the leap that openness reduces strategy, and little strategy means dull tourney play. I'm glad you guys have pointed this out. This seems to be the biggest lesson in gameplay the map has to offer. So maybe Q isn't the tourney map I had imagined; I guess I can live with that. It's still fast and unique and people seem to have a lot of fun playing it regardless. So let's start talking some FFA theory, because I want to fully commit to this new game mode.

Sock, I've been thinking a lot about incorporating the secret area as another main tier ever since you mentioned it a few days ago; I have no problem with cramming the whole secret into its first part. However, as you also mentioned today, I've already invested a lot of geometry in this map that I'm very happy with, so I'm going to need very good reason to make drastic changes. Right now there are some things holding me back.

1. The secret area is completely cut off from the rest of the map. You can't see anything else from there. It would need to hold some really inviting items to get people to go. I'm all for adding cover but this is maybe a little too far in that direction, almost unnaturally so, as if I was trying to find a cheap fix for the flaws of the other 3/4ths of the map.

2. Opening up the underside of the map through the floors is a potential framerate killer. Right now I've got it so that the detail down there is blocked most of the time, but that will change if I start adding dropdowns anywhere but off the sides.

3. This change is more of a tourney motivated one. In FFA mode, which I am now designing gameplay for, the problems outlined in #1 would only be exaggerated. Anyone who goes down there would have to leave all that action up above.

4. I'm getting a little antsy to kick this one out the door and start something new. I agree that it would probably be better to learn from this and move on.

Now for item placement...

I'm trying to think of ways to break up the MH/YA combo. What I'd really like is to have these two items on opposite sides of the map, which means one of them has to be where the battle suit is. I'll have to think this through more before I suggest anything, but I know I also want the lower floor to be a more frequent stop. It has a lot more cover than the other areas and if people navigated though the map this way more maybe they wouldn't feel so left out in the open. Perhaps a 50 health and a YA would fit, or some other combo that will spawn in often.

I'm also thinking about putting in a second SG or RL (maybe on the YA tower). Given the map's size, it might look a little silly, but it will probably need it for larger games. I wish I could add a totally different weapon but I don't see any candidates. PG isn't good in wide open situations and RG is way too powerful, as I've said before.

I'll probably post more later after more thought. This unforeseen change of events has actually brought new life to the map in my eyes. It's exciting to finally see some new possibilities for item placement! Especially after nothing was working for so long when gearing towards tourney play.

Thanks for your thoughts, guys - especially Sock, I can't tell you what a big help you have been in the production of this map.
-pat

P.S. "I'll play this one with 2 friends in the afternoon." Awesome! It's really cool to imagine other people actually getting together and playing my maps.




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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-24-2009 10:27 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


I completely understand that you want to get the map out the door, and IMO it is time for it. The more you would possibly add, the more deluded the original ideas will get.

Personally, I'd go for an all-out fun FFA map, some ideas to up the fun a bit more:
  • I know folks will not want to hear it, but the fun part are bots, so if they work well enough, and you as a player find the pathing interesting enough... all is good. IMO, this pretty much works already.
  • You still die really quickly when Hunter has the LG in hand, so I'd skip any of the seemingly differentiated item placement and go for quick and easy survival of the player, who is wide open to attacks... this means:
    • Lots of health and no sissy YA ;).
    • Instead of the YA, use the RA... you never live that long to make the YA really useful.
    • Remove the BS... never found it useful.
    • Place the MH where the BS was, this way this area has more visits, because of higher respawn frequency.
    • The 50H near the BS, move is onto the roofs near the LG (AP destination from the BS).
    • Add a Quad :)... where the SG is, for more action and extra fun frenzy down there.
    • Put the SG where the MH used to be.
  • The map has bounce, but I never really felt the JP up to the YA from the med level (was required). You use the JP near the SG instead, or you use the RL AP JP to get to the YA.
  • I *really* feel that another AP up where the YA is, towards the BS platform would help, give the map an upper level "bounce path". You can then RL AP JP, then YA AP, then BS AP. Fast and furious air travel.
  • YA to BS AP has the RG hanging in the air.
  • You might want to think of another JP hole up were the YA is, to have an alternate way to get "down" without jumping... maybe.
  • The netting, at the edge of the platform near the SG, could also be used as cushion, would make sense IMO.

Note, this is not about sophisticated, but boring tactics, but fast and furious "fun" gameplay.

The med level grates you added have one issue, BTW, you cannot use the RL's weapon splash, on this largest flat combat area in the map. Making the RL a *lot* less useful here. Maybe consider to weapon clip off all those grates, because no one *ever* shoots through the grates in a fast-paced game, anyway.

Observation: Vertical gameplay is usually overrated... most bot fights happen on the med level where the RP is. So that level works well, alas the other "useful" large flat area, the SG lower level is not used much.

Sock, is going to hate my suggestions ;)

Pat, would it be OK if I did an experimental edit of your map? (strictly as a q3w test). I know most of my ideas are not really valid for your vision of the map, but it would be fun to see if my ideas work at all.

Update:
  • I got suck in the Q3 banner when using the AP to get to the BS, twice. Using a patch as playerclip, as Sock pointed out seems to be problematic. You may need to approximate the clipping with brushes.
  • Still some sparklies in the bobbing banner think.




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Mercenary
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PostPosted: 09-25-2009 11:49 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


i think this map would play really well in promode with rl and lg



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Insane Quaker
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PostPosted: 09-25-2009 09:52 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


So all this tourney/FFA discussion has gotten me reading some gameplay guides that I found recently. I thought I knew generally all there was to know about tourney gameplay - boy, was I wrong. I'm beginning to realize that Q, in it's current state, is a terrible tourney map for bigger reasons than just the openness/lack of strategy. My IP (item placement) is totally off. I have a battle suit on one end of the map and an easy MH/YA combo on the other. Health seems to be placed pretty arbitrarily and weapons are stacked in one corner. A total item overhaul is definitely in order. Below you can read about the IP I've been mulling over for the last day or so. (I'm actually not home right now, so I've been doing it all in my head.) It's still a work in progress, but I'm starting to get a feel for the nature of each section of the map.

Before I start, I'll just say once more that I am designing the IP for FFA first, tourney second. Unfortunately the guides I have been reading have been geared towards tourney strategy so my FFA theory is probably a little flawed right now, but here are some observations:

Basically it seems to me like in FFA, many of the same concepts apply, but they really have to be exaggerated to work...

- People won't leave the action to grab a YA.
- Map control is much tougher for each individual player to achieve.
- The penalty for death is much less severe, so things are much less strategic.
- Most people just pick up a weapon and then barrel into the action. Thus, Players are motivated primarily by the weapons.
- Armor comes with greater opportunity cost (missed action) so it is only pursued when easily accessible or during lulls in the action.
- Finally, power-ups are now acceptable, and everyone but the really down players will go for them when they spawn in.

If anyone cares to elaborate on FFA theory, or point out if there are any flaws in my above logic, please, PLEASE do! I'm currently really interested in all this stuff right now. I used to think gameplay was kind of mysterious - something that had to be felt and could only be perfected through trial and error, but now I see it's much more of a science. This is all very exciting. Also, if anyone knows of any good FFA guides then drop me a link. So far I've only read the CPMA competitive gameplay guide and all of Lunaran's stuff.

Okay, now for some Q specific stuff. I've broken the map into sections in order to better understand each area's purpose. Here's a picture:

Image

Sorry you can't see the double bouncer or the curve the RA platform. These are bobbing entities and I had to take the picture outside of the map.

So the RED section is my recovery area. It has by far the most cover (actually, the only cover). It contains a lot of health for the down players - I want at least 100, so right now there are two 25s and a 50. Players also get a shotgun if they spawn down there. The YA is below the drop down, and when combined with the MH should provide a good counter for the RA. I know this is more of a tourney thing, but I think that's OK.

Conversely, the GREEN section is meant for the up players in comfortable situations looking for more power. I have found the LG can be very effective in FFA games when people aren't making as much of an effort to stay out of its range. The RA is in a pretty isolated spot and players who have their weapons/health under control should go for it.

The YELLOW section seems to be the center of all the action. This makes sense I guess, as it's in the middle of the map both on the XY plane and on the Z axis. I must say though that I base this only on recent games with bots. Also, in the version I was playing, there is the RL there, which many players flock to gib each other with. I'm thinking I want one weapon here and not too much health. If players want to recover, they can escape to the RED section via the teleport or to the BLUE section via the double bouncer.

The BLUE section offers players the option to stock up before they enter the action with the MH and the only RL. It's similar to the RA platform but is designed for players who have recently spawned in and haven't committed to fighting yet. It can also be reached directly by the YELLOW section via the double bouncer but I'm not 100% confident that people will use this very much. (See questions.)

The PINK section is really the only place I'm not sure about. It's just outside of the action and doesn't really serve much purpose. Players may be shoved from the YELLOW section into here on occasion but I can't see anyone going there voluntarily. (See questions.)

Questions:

- The YELLOW section, should there be an RL or an SG there? I kind of like having an SG there because it gives the BLUE section more purpose by containing the only RL. Then again having an RL there makes for some pretty crazy fun battles.

- What do you think about health for the YELLOW section. Should there be none at all, giving the RED section more purpose as a recovery area, or would that be too harsh? I'm thinking a 25 or two might be good so players don't die too quickly. This seems to be the center of the "fun" so I don't think having a little easily accessible health is a bad thing.

- One last thing on the YELLOW section: I'm not really sure how many people would use the double bouncer to leave the action and go get the MH/RL. If they want to recover, I think they should have to go to the RED section. Someone mentioned floating a power-up high in the center of the map that could only be reached by this bouncer. I'm not eager to do this, though, as it would take a lot away from the tourney gameplay and only add a little to the FFA. Plus, if I was going to have a power-up, I'd want it to be in an open area with lots of competition between players for it. In this case it's simply the first person off the double gets it uncontested. Any other ideas to give this bouncer more purpose in FFA?

- Hmmm, what to do with the PINK section? I have a line of shards and two 25s in the corner there right now just to balance things a little. It offers a secondary bouncer up to the BLUE section, and a secondary bouncer up to the LG, but it lacks any kind of unique purpose. It's probably the weakest point of the map right now. Perhaps a power-up could randomly spawn in there to create a mad dash from the YELLOW section. That might make for some fun shifts in focus.

Alright, that's it for now. I'm sorry these most recent posts have been so lengthy, but with the change of game mode there is a lot of important stuff to go over right now. Plus this thread seems to consist of a small number of people offering a large amount of feedback so I think it's worth getting everything out there.

AEon wrote:
Pat, would it be OK if I did an experimental edit of your map?


Couldn't hurt, right? I'm looking forward to see what you come up with.

AEon wrote:
I *really* feel that another AP up where the YA is, towards the BS platform would help


There is a very do-able double jump from the BLUE section right to the foot of the curvy bouncer to the RA platform. I think this is more than enough. You're suggestion would make getting the top three most powerful items in the map a cinch.

P.S. How do you tolerate all the color-coding you do? This post was so annoying to format! I should find/replace for future stuff like this :).
-pat




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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-26-2009 12:37 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Thoughts:
  • Every time I try to "simply" change your map I am reminded how complex it actually is. I did a quick test edit removed all the lower plank ways under the map (those really are quite beautiful), removed the switch logic, all hint brushes, and the simply opened the control room. Not sure if this will yield anything useful, though.
  • Just as a thought, a open control room would add some interesting cover, room for nifty items (or a weapon), and via TP you could tactically exit.
  • Simply for discussion... I was thinking about expanding your RED area, e.g. extrude the YA JP, then have a path on that level run around the GREEN area above. The idea would be to give the players more horizontal space and fighting area.

Item Placement:
  • IMO, it should work better if you swapped the RL with the RED SG... that way everyone will go for the RL down there, with a lot of "potential splatter" fun on that level. Plus the SG is the "Railgun for the poor", and is IMO better suited next to the MH up there. Or you'd get RL camping next to the MH...
  • You may try to place some shards and 5H on the question mark (GREEN) to give the player something to pick up.
  • As I commented in another map, the RL and PG are the weapons the bots and usually also players flock to. Since you want to keep action on the YELLOW level, you may what to test using a PG instead of the SG here. This will attract bots to the lower level RL, and also to the med level PG, and finally to the upper level LG. At med range the PG should be quite powerful.
  • You might consider, moving the YELLOW SG (the one that is now a PG ;)), to the RA platform, and add a respawn point there. This way a "outside" player will have a weapon, to enter the action, plus potentially a RA. To make that platform less of a gimmick, enlarging is by 25% might really be a good thing, to give the player there some room, should not be difficult build-wise, and should also not impact the r_speeds significantly, I think.
  • Since the "PG" and the LG are again close to each other, it might be better to place the PG where you have the JP in the PINK area, move the JP closer to the GREEN lower end of the question mark. This would make the area very significant. Presently, you visit the PINK to get the "dangerous" (because near the maps edge) health.

"What do you think about health for the YELLOW section."
Technically you have to count the PINK area to the YELLOW area, since it's all on the same level. Maybe on the way to the AP leading to the RA, another 25H.

Double bouncer - meaning
You are probably aware of this, but the double bouncer is *the* fun feature in your map, so giving it meaning is important to keep the player "liking" to use it. IMO, I would put a Quad up in the sky, only reachable via double bouncer. The MH at the other end (in my IP with SG up there), should be motivation enough to leave the YELLOW area action to replenish health.

Here a possible alternate IP (item placement)... might be over-weaponed... as always every idea is only as good as the next one that comes up:

    Image

P.S. color-coding to me is 2nd nature and is usually just one click, so no problem :)
P.P.S. You are right I checked the AP from the MH in the editor, not a good idea.




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This is not Æon!
This is not Æon!
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PostPosted: 09-26-2009 02:03 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


I wanna get in on this discussion, is the latest version the one in the top?



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Insane Quaker
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PostPosted: 09-26-2009 05:22 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


@Hipshot, no, the link at the top still has my crappy tourney IP. I've been away on vaca. recently so I can't get to my lappy until the end of the day and for a short time only, but maybe I'll get to it tonight or tomorrow. For any other newcomers, just about all the relevant gameplay discussion resides in the last few posts, so don't feel like you're missing anything if you haven't read all the earlier stuff (it's mostly techinical).

I've included the .map files though, so if any of you don't want to wait you could test things on your own.

P.S. AEon, your ideas are giving me a lot to think about. Expanding some areas is starting to look very enticing, though it may ruin the scale and realism of some of my structures, so I have to be careful... Oh yeah, and I'm def. gonna cushion the fence guards. That's a good idea.

Gotta go, later,
-pat




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This is not Æon!
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PostPosted: 09-26-2009 08:18 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Ok. I know you want gameplay suggestions here, but I can't really - I just need to agree with sock here, it's a great level for FFA and you should label it so too. If you release it as a tourney people will probably think it's a "bad" level.

I started taking a look at the level earlier for technical reasons, there's a lot I can help you with here, before you release a final version.
If you don't mind I could look at the source you provided and see how I can help you improve the level technically and also a bit on the graphical side (eg. the sky that has lines, because the jpg seems to be compressed wrongfully)?



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Boink!
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PostPosted: 09-26-2009 09:41 AM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Pat Howard wrote:
Oh yeah, and I'm def. gonna cushion the fence guards. That's a good idea.

As mentioned expanding any gameplay area is strictly "academic" at this point. But it might be feasible, if you agree, to add fence guards on the RA platform, that would be in theme, make the platform larger and a bit safer, but not up the r_speed cost too much.




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Gibblet
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PostPosted: 09-26-2009 10:46 PM           Profile Send private message  E-mail  Edit post Reply with quote


Just my 1st a few minor impressions:

1. Jumping to curved wall to slip along reminds me of quint's map

2. Curved q3 banner makes this lame texture look really fresh :cool:

3. Above clouds skybox is very interest-ing, reminds me of dragon ball z
Where did you download it from zfight.com, if you don't mind?
Maybe I could rip them from your pk3, but you've converted tga to jpg. :(




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