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    PlanetQuake | Features | Rants N' Raves | Enough With the Factories Already
   

Enough With the Factories Already
Do we have to battle in just factories?
  — by Pappy-R and The PQ Pack

Custom maps have been one of the constants in the creative community, and I personally think that there's nothing like a great new level to add spice to your favourite FPS. This week's rant comes from Lyta_79 and it's a call to the map making community for some new houses to frag in, and he's fairly specific about what he'd like to see and not to see next. Take a stroll down Rants n'Raves street with us as we look at the issue at hand. Enough With the Factories Already

I love Q3A and Planetquake and espically LvL. PQ and its network of Quake pimps are my sources for my daily dose of Q3 stuff.

That said I must protest the flood, of biblical proportions, for "factory" levels. Enough! I get it! In the future we will all be living and playing in huge factories colored brown, red and gunmetal. No wood, no stone, no glass, just industral levels with harsh neon lighting.

I can only get on the 'net with a 56k crippled by my University to 28.8. When I do surf the 'net with our school computers (taking a 100MB zip disk with me) it irrates me that everyone seems to only think of factories (with castles a close second). Levels like "The Doom that came to Dunwhich" and "DangerCity" are so well done, when I first played I felt like I walked onto a multi-million dollar movie set (and security was gonna come for me any minute now...).

To all you mappers out there, a challenge: give us maps that are fun, colorfull and 70-99% factory free. I know the limits of the QuakeX engines (tan, brown & browner) but come on! Malls, old west, medieval europe & japan (been done I know), Space stations, Forests etc. Get out of the factory and show us what ya got!

  — Lyta_79 (when I can conect @ 28.8).

Well wha'cha think about that one? Hold your horses now and wait for the staff to take pokes at the topic before you start writing in like bandits. This week we have a surprise order for staff responces with Ash kicking in right off the bat. No, Ash does not get preferencial treatment being my right hand and clan mate. If anyone did in this it would be Hellchick, my fabulously talented boss. But I digress, let's get on with the show while I order Hellchick some long overdue flowers.

I definitely agree with what Lyta_79 had to say, but for a totally different reason. While there are a ton of factory maps out there, I really haven't gotten tired of them yet. I feel that the "factory" style just lends itself really well to the game engine. After all, you can make really good levels that are relatively boxy, because... well... factories are pretty darn boxy. So when a mapper sticks to a motif that just lends itself well to mapping, you usually get a pretty good level that is easy on the r_speeds. May not be too original, but I pick my favorite maps more by gameplay, connectivity, item placement, and the like more than by the decor. So if a great map is done with some rusty dirty textures, then I love it... even if it's the same rusty dirty textures I've seen a thousand times.

However, the greatest part of what Lyta_79 had to say was the suggestions: malls, old west, medival Europe and Japan, space stations, forests, etc. While some of those suggestions have been done, I really love it when a mapper shows the impressive skills to make the connectivity and gameplay of a great map, and then dress it up as something completely original. Maps like Japanese Castles that would be fantastic maps with any decor, but instead of just having any decor, they have fantastic and original decor... those are the really great maps.

So if you're a mapper looking to show the community your talents, then you should take heed of Lyta_79's advice, it could really take your mapping to the next level.

  — Ash

Sounds like the same thing only different. So far a call for the different themes is the order of the day, but we won't really know for sure untill we're all done. In an effort to reach the "all done" stage, let's give an ear (or eye) to Will, my Serious Sam partner in slime.

First off, let me say this while the opportunity lends itself. The LvL kicks ass! Not only do they provide superb reviews and critiques of all maps that come down the chute, but they create community with their beta forums and XML feed. Keep up the good work! [Pappy slaps Will back on topic]

OK, on to business. I certainly see Lyta_79's point, but I'm not so sure I agree 100%. Creativity is never a bad thing. Challenging mappers to get crazy is something Iíll lend my vote to. And it's true that you don't see many mappers coloring outside the lines to try something new. A forest map would seriously rock some hiney if done right, but will we ever see one? I would like to think so, but wouldnít hold my breath. What I have been seeing is people taking new angles on the tried and true themes. Here's where I differ in opinion from Lyta_79.

There has been an onslaught of very nice maps lately. Maybe it's because I have been watching for coolness a little more now than I have in the past, but that's the way I see it. Take a look at H2SO4 by Krash. When this map came out, my jaw dropped. The layout is unique, it has a cool fog effect, and it has a turquoise overall hue as opposed to red, blue, or brown. It's a different take on the everyday map. I think it's all about perspective. I prefer playability to eye dazzle, so theme isnít as important to me. But if themes are what you like, I would suggest you try a good mod or total conversion. You can get whole new worlds that way.

Now if we can just get server admins to run custom maps...

  — Will

All hail server admins running custom maps! That's a biggie, and something I think we'd all love to see going on. Now we have gameplay over looks, with looks being a nice "feature" to a level and not a must for liking and disliking the level in question. Do you still remember what you planned on writing in? Hold that thought a while longer as we now peer into the scary place we all fear, even just a little, the mind of Hellchick.

Next up, more PQ opinions, including Pappy himself...


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