This contest was started by Tronyn with Elek's blessing as a challenge to create a map or maps in the style of Elek's Coagula series: Namely, a set of open structures floating in a void, suitable for both single player and deathmatch (as Coagula was originally intended as a deathmatch map.) Six entries - two by Tronyn, one each by me, Dilvish, Necros and Starbuck - were received, but Starbuck had to bow out due to compilation problems.
The long delay in releasing was partly due to Starbuck's vising woes - even on the toughest systems, this step was tipped to take over a week - and delays in judging by Xenon, Fern and Grindspire.
Since I participated, this won't be an exhaustive review, just my comments.
The pak file's altered progs.dat contains code that removes corpses - essential for good framerates here - and code that allows trains to be restarted, at the request of Necros.
Space Cadet The start map
The start map is a metal-Oblivion thing sitting in a starry void. Once past the skill select buttons, you can either walk straight into the original Coagula maps, which Elek has strung together, or turn aside and visit the contestants.
Turn right, and you'll meet the third-place tie-makers: On the left, Dilvish's I See Dead People, and Tronyn's Terracotta Terror. Turn left, and you meet the fifth-place tie of Necros' The Emptiness Without on the left, and Tronyn's Star Scream on the right.
Keep going, and right at the top is the entrance to the first place winner...
Crisis After Crisis I believe I am your daddy
The architecture is solid and compact. Basically, huge vertical walls hold three levels together around a central void, all connected together by overhead copper rails. Many of these have lights countersunk in them, so everything is generally well lit and you can see where you're going.
SP gameplay is straightforward button-pushing, but instead of opening doors, they explode instead. A nice change and in keeping with the in-your-face horde gameplay which only lets up right at the end, since the last wave really is a bit too far away to do significant damage. Two secrets are nice, but not really required.
I See Dead People by Dilvish
Dilvish here makes a very loose spiral around a few vertical elements coated in his own black and white techy textures and a rich red flooring. Ambushes and a few goodies are concealed in the vertical supports and weapons are suspended over holes in the floor.
The SP play is brutal - mainly because the weapons don't get lit, so you can't see them very well - and DM is no doubt a blastful. The end game is challenging, but you can dive over the side to escape.
Terracotta Terror by Tronyn
The gameplay is much more balanced than Star Scream in that I was able to get much further. It helps to get some infighting going at first, of course, and two secrets towards the end come in handy.
Star Scream by Tronyn
The other Tronyn entry is notable for its toughness. Scrags appear every time you do something important, and to be perfectly honest I found this map the least enjoyable to play, repeatedly dying very soon after opening the first gate.
The architecture has a curvy path looping around various towers in a starry void, bedecked in metal and Doom hexagonal textures, but there are some noticeable texture misalignments and a lift rising through a floor.
The Emptiness Without by Necros
Necros decided to concentrate on the SP side rather than deathmatch, and produced a unique map: Instead of being an open structure of paths and towers, he produced a huge stony "island" floating in the void.
The architecture is mostly id metal, and on an epic scale, with vast sides of rock yawning onto the void, adorned with metal structures. Holes in the rock also offer a chance of falling to one's death. Some of the setpiece areas here are truly impressive, and some secrets (I only found three of the six) are very nicely implemented indeed. The final train trip and battle is well worth the journey.
In my opinion, Necros deserved fourth place, but as deathmatch support is very poor it was marked down.