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    PlanetQuake | Articles | Viralis Preview
   

Viralis Preview
The Burial Grounds comes out big with their second map pack for Q3A!
— by Pappy-R


 - click for full size image
More than a family. A family with firepower!

Introduction

The Burial Grounds community is releasing their second map pack for Quake III, titled "Viralis", and it's so close you should be able to smell it. As I write this, I have a copy of the almost 60 mb, five map pak, but you don't, but yours is coming so don't worry. Let's take a peek at what this is all about while you either wait for the release or for your download.

The five level pack of maps sticks to a theme, a thick theme based on talisman and the elements. Gleaned from the available comics (more on that in a sec), there's power to be had or avoided when dealing with the five elements that make up our physical existence. Earth, fire, metal, water and wood can either exist in harmony (good) or if unbalanced, in conflict (bad!) and it's the unbalanced state we need to deal with. That's a good thing though since conflict means battle, and this is Quake 3, which means big ass guns.

Theme aside, the map pack is the work of four authors, Finko (doing two!), StormShadow, Psion and Jax_Gator who have all done amazing work creating very playable Deathmatch maps while adhering to the theme and goal of visually pleasing, violent arenas. The levels all strike a different chord for play style, but they all seem to mesh with graphical style and a flair that can only be described as "professional quality" work. My hat's off guys! For a close look, lets ask the project lead on the pack, Jay aka dmschaos, some questions on the development and final product.

Interview

Pappy: First Jay, introduce yourself a bit to the readers. Who are you and what do you have going on in the Quake community?

dmschaos: Hi, my name is dmschaos, and I'm an quakaholic....Ooops that's the other therapy session. Really though, I'm just some guy who runs a gaming website and a Quake 3 server. I just happen to have been doing it for the past 4 years or so. It's become quite a great community at Burial Grounds, and I'm just happy to be a part of making it a cool place for people to hang out.

Pappy: Did the first BG map pack's quality and success inspire the second, or was it always something you wanted to get out there?

dmschaos: I knew right after the first pak was released that I wanted to do another project, I just knew the original BGMP team would kick my ass if I asked them to start another project right away! hah! They needed a break, and I needed to formulate my plan to get them back on board for the next bg map pak.

Pappy: The themes play a heavy role, can you tell us a bit about how "Viralis" came to be?

dmschaos: One of my only disappointments about BGMP1 was that the theme for the pak really never came together like I had hoped. We had a neat idea, but it never really worked out as planned. This time around, we really spent a lot more time in the pre-development stages cooking up our theme. Once the main subject of the theme was realized, we just started brainstorming more and more ideas and details to make it work with the maps. I could spend all day explaining the theme, or you could just take a look at the three comic pages we've put together, which explain the basic theme for you. (Page 1 | Page2 | Page3)

Basically, we took some fundamental ideas from the Feng Shui practice, and formulated them to work with our theme.

Pappy: Did the authors have any troubles working together on a consistent theme, or did it add to productivity, or have no affect at all. Also, how was the team selected?

dmschaos: The team really put in a lot of time and effort making this theme work, and it really shows. Each map is very unique to the theme. If you take the time to look around and understand what is going on, you'll be blown away by the detail and how well everyone incorporated the theme in to the maps. The theme definitely did not hinder productivity, if anything the opposite is true.

Essentially, the team from the first pak was asked if they would like to come back for round two. I then scoured the level editing forums at BG to see who was producing maps, and also who was offering their feedback and expertise to the rest of the BG community. psion seemed highly motivated to be a part of the team, and so he was selected as well.

Pappy: The pack was in the works for a while, longer than planned. Was there anything about the project itself that extended the development cycle or was it just that nasty old scheduling and real life stuff getting in the way?

dmschaos: We really didn't have a clear cut "release date" in mind when we started this project. I figured it would take as long as the first BGMP, maybe even a little shorter, seeing how we were "pro's" at this now. However, we took a lot longer in the pre-development stages of the pak, and we were slowed a bit by a member of the team having to drop out due to some real life issues. There was also a lull in development where we all just seemed to get busy with real life, and probably a little sick of the project. Once the long grueling beta testing was nearing an end though, spirits began to rise again, and we were right back on track.

Pappy: What one word would you say describes the pack?

dmschaos: Finished!

Next: Ten new shots from Viralis!


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