Created and released by Preacher in February 21, 1998, Aerowalk is a very popular map — notably in Russia. Due to its wide popularity, it has been ported to many other games. Aerowalk was created using the WorldCraft editor.
|21 Feb 98
Style: ID military base
Player Load: 1on1, FFA 3-6
Weapons: 2 RL, 1 LG, 1 GL, 2 SNG
Armour: 2 GA, 1 YA, 1 RA
Over the past few months, Aerowalk has firmly established itself as one of the favourite duel maps over here (Australia). It’s not difficult to see why… with its big 3D and slick connectivity, Aerowalk lends itself exceptionally well to some seriously intense, free flowing 1 on 1. Whilst a little lacking in the visual department in my opinion (which is not to say the map is ugly, merely missing the “wow” factor), the gameplay shines.
The layout of the map is fairly straightforward, which is not to say it’s “basic” or that it would have been easy to create… I have the utmost respect for Preacher’s talent after experiencing this map. Aerowalk consists of one large atrium, with a network of decks and passageways on the periphery. This basically creates a huge room, with an “outer ring” of passages surrounding it… kind of like a big donut, where the main room is the hole in the middle. :)
Aerowalk is textured in id’s classic “Military base” style. It’s no secret that I’m not a huge fan of this texture set… I find it bland and uninteresting, largely because I’m not too partial to the colour brown. Personal bias aside though, the texturing is very well implemented. The floors are dressed up with the metal sfloor textures, most of the decks rusted, although the floor of the main atrium is textured with the blue metal, adding a much needed splash of colour. The walls consist primarily of huge riveted beige panels, a few different flavours on offer in order to prevent it from becoming overly monotonous. A cheery light blue sky is visible through the occasional ceiling opening. Overall a very solid job, with all textures perfectly aligned and scaled, and no inconsistencies.
Light levels overall are quite bright. Generally speaking, I prefer more dramatic lighting, and I enjoy creating contrasting areas of light and dark. However in this case, the light level, combined with the uniformity of the texturing, means it is generally very easy to see your opponent… which is obviously rather important in 1 on1 play. “My what big eyes you have Grandma… all the better to see you with, my dear”. No hiding in the shadows or any such nonsense on this map. Illumination is provided by the roof openings on the fringes of the map, whereas in the central atrium (and indeed throughout the level) strip-lights recessed into the walls provide the main source of light.
There’s a few “tricks” to learn if one is to fully exploit Aerowalk. The first and most obvious is the rocket jump to the RA… this is essential in duel. The easiest method is to perform a reverse rocket jump from the top of the stairs. Alternatively, simply rocket jump off the stairs themselves, just below the RA (this is useful if your opponent is at the head of the stairs, or lying in wait around the corner near the LG). If you happen to be “rocket jump challenged” or something, never fear… if you die enough times, you’ll respawn on the RA eventually. :)
The second trick is quite useful. Jump down to the bottom floor of the central atrium. Here we have three movement options; the ramp, and two teleports. The first teleport (next to the 2 rocket paks) is the one we’re interested in… this will spit you out into the air, just above the GL. Try this: as soon as you teleport into the air, turn right + strafe right and you can land on the ledge above the GL… giving you fast access to the main RL, and the passage to the LG/RA. This is quite a useful manoeuvre, as it takes you from a relatively weak position to a position of strength rather swiftly. It may be a little difficult to pull off the first time around, but with a little practice it becomes second nature.
Another trick which sometimes comes in handy is the rocket jump from the ramp leading up to the megahealth. As we all know, the quake dude jumps higher off sloped surfaces; naturally it follows that he also rocket jumps higher from a sloped surface. Rocket jumping from the ramp can aid you in a quick escape in an unexpected direction, or simply help to give you the height advantage over your opponent. You can jump up to the SNG deck on the upper level of the map, although if you want to be really trendy you can exploit the air acceleration and end up somewhere else entirely.
In addition to the few tricks I’ve outlined in detail, there’s a number of handy jumps and rocket jumps which will help assist you in getting from A to B faster, or which will help you confuse or pursue your opponent. You’ll find them… get out there and experiment.
Whether you’re playing 1 on 1 or FFA on Aerowalk, do yourself a favour and use dm3 rules. Despite the fact that the map is reasonably spacious, you can cover a lot of ground very quickly, meaning that you can run weapons very effectively. The rocket launchers are only a few seconds apart. Naturally this means the game can turn into a respawn-rape fest rather quickly, and all the mad skillz in the world won’t save you if you can’t get a weapon.
Tactics? Grab a big stick and go the tonk :). In all seriousness though, there really is only one tactic on Aerowalk… get out there and crack some skulls. Apart from the obvious, basic tactics (make sure you grab some armour, and try to control the megahealth), go after your opponent, hunt him down relentlessly… that’s the only way to play this map. You can *try* to play defensively, but you will be on the back foot for the entire game, and no matter which direction you run, the other guy is likely to pop up in front of you in a matter of seconds.
Aerowalk emphasises and rewards aggressive play, and this is a feature I greatly appreciate. Defensive players will find themselves overwhelmed rather quickly, and any attempt to camp or play cheaply will be swiftly dealt with. The circular nature of the map means that there’s no dead ends, and there’s multiple routes from everywhere to everywhere else, especially if you want to get creative (rocket jumps). Thus players have more movement options, and play is less predictable.
The item loadout is perfect for 1 on 1 play. The 2 RL’s (one for each of you, now share nicely boys :), GL and LG are all quite useful here, although the 2 SNG’s are largely superfluous. The GA’s will do in a pinch, although naturally the YA and RA are preferable. I find that armour is not too much of an issue here, you can usually get some YA at the very least. Provided you’re using dm3 rules, getting a weapon isn’t much of a problem either; therefore more emphasis is placed on the actual combat, rather than how well you can run the weapons/camp the armour ala dm6. Ammo is neither limited nor excessive for 1 on 1, although in FFA you might find ammo hard to come by at times.
Navigability… excellent. The structure is uncluttered and the design is very player-friendly – I can’t think of any trouble spots off the top of my head, and I’ve played a hell of a lot of duels on Aerowalk. There’s also plenty of headroom near the edges of the upper decks, meaning those cross-atrium leaps of faith are completely unhindered. :)
In short… you *must* play Aerowalk in 1 on 1. It rocks hard… if you haven’t experienced it, what are you waiting for? Get out there and do it… lan, quakeworld, whatever, just do yourself a favour and play it. This is one of the few maps that I really enjoy in a 1 on 1 game; the non-stop vertical action provides an adrenaline rush that is hard to match. Aerowalk is a definite top 5 map in my opinion… it’s up there with other classics such as ultrav, spinev2 and ztndm3. A superb piece…
Due to its wide popularity, Aerowalk has been ported to many other games.