The Second Quake Halloween Jam is here!
Autumn is nearly upon us, and with it, Halloween! What better way to celebrate the best season of the year than with a Quake mapping jam? Continue reading “Announcement: Quake Halloween Jam 2019!”
A month ago I challenged the Quake mapping community to make a good sewer level. 11 mappers answered that challenge and together made the Quake Sewer Map Jam!
The sewer jam also includes 3 custom audio tracks and a custom mod with a few new tricks by Khreathor!
Let’s say I’m making a level for a classic first person shooter. To start, I build an arena and add some monsters. I don’t want the player to be attacked as soon as they start the game, so I add a hallway to one side of the arena and start the player there.
My level is simple, but I’m happy with what I’ve built, so I invite a friend to playtest. My friend walks along the hallway, enters the arena, and alerts the monsters, all according to plan. Then things go wrong. Instead of fighting in the arena, my friend steps back into the hall and fights from the doorway as the enemies funnel in. Instead of a dynamic gun ballet of dodged projectiles and swirling destruction, my friend has turned my level into a shooting gallery: dull, safe, and slow. Continue reading “The Door Problem of Combat Design”
In preparation for Quake Sewer Map Jam, I’ve gathered a bunch of references from my favorite sewer levels in games. I also recorded a playthrough of the Dunwall Sewers from Dishonored. I intend to record similar videos for these levels below as I have time in the coming weeks.
If there are other good sewer levels you think I’m missing, let me know!
I am also interested in knowing more about the development process behind these maps. If you happen to know who worked on these levels—or if you worked on them yourself—let me know!
Level design by Elisabetta Silli
Mirror’s Edge team credits
Level design by Davis Standley
Level scripting by David Shaver
Titanfall 2 team credits
Level designs by ???
Lighting art by Tomas Lidström
Wolfenstein: The New Order team credits
I’ve started a series of videos analyzing the level design and environment art of sewer levels in video games. In this first episode, I walk through the “Dunwall Sewers” level from Dishonored (2012).
Several concepts recur throughout the video:
If this has you inspired to make your own sewer level, the Quake Sewer Map Jam starts tomorrow!
Everyone hates sewer levels.
Too often they are cramped, repetitive, and disorienting. They limit the range of gameplay systems and require one right way to play. They are the antithesis of playgrounds and sandboxes. At their worst, a sewer level drags with no end in sight and stretches a game thin.
Yet, there is an appeal to sewer levels that is so hard to achieve:
How do we solve these conflicts of design? How do we take a sewer level—which everyone hates—and make it good? This is the goal of the Quake Sewer Map Jam. This design problem is the theme.
If you are up for this challenge, here’s what you need to know:
The jam begins July 28th and ends August 31st at 1 PM Eastern Standard Time.
My hope with the longer deadline is that more people can participate as they have time. I don’t expect anyone to use the whole month+ on a sewer map. Please pace yourself and reduce scope if you run short on time!
Also, if your map only took you a few hours, you are still welcome to submit it! There is no barrier for quality so long as your map is playable start to finish.
Yes! Newcomers are encouraged to participate! Sewers have a lot in common with traditional tabletop dungeon design, so this should be a great opportunity to pick up the tools.
If you aren’t sure where to get started, most of the talk about Sewer Jam is taking place in the Quake Mapping Discord, so stop by and we’ll be happy to get you started. Or, if this is your first time mapping for Quake, here is a Quickstart Tutorial.
If you want to stick to vanilla id1 features, that works too! The progs add features, which you can ignore, but they don’t alter any of the standard features.
We’ve gathered some textures from id1, Daikatana, and a few community packages into the sewerjam_wad.zip. I hope these textures provide a starting point for some ideas, but you are welcome to use different textures.
Please name your map “swjam_[username]”. For example, my map would be “swjam_yoder”. If you build the map collaboratively, please include both names.
Once you have completed your map, you can send it to me at AndrewYoder@live.com or on the Quake Mapping Discord. If I don’t reply within a day, feel free to nudge me again.
Please also include a readme file, and consider including the “.map” file so other people can open your level in the editor and learn from your design.
Your map should draw on the ideas of sewer levels, but there is flexibility. You can make a canal, a cistern, or water treatment plant. It may also help to think of a secondary theme. What does a blood sewer look like? Or a sewer in space? What kind of sewer would you find under a dark mage’s tower? All of these ideas are welcome!
Your level exit should go to the “start” map.
Despite a mess of design problems, sewer levels are rich with theme. They are also a place to practice the subtleties of our craft. Over the next few weeks, I will be writing about some of my favorite sewer levels, like the two pictured above, and why they work. I may also write about the sewer levels that failed and why.
I know sewers make for a bizarre theme for an event, but I hope you all will join me in showing what a good level a sewer can be!