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Quake Expo 2008 Articles by Tronyn (August 2008)
Day 1 Article: Top 10 Base Maps. 08/15/2008.
This series of four articles will be posted over the first four days of QEXPO. Each day's article will focus on one
of Quake's original themes, divided roughly by episode.
I will simply take a moment here to explain my criteria. I
will not claim objectivity; I don't think one can be objective in any art of any kind. Neither, however, will I say
that these are not some of the very best, if not the definitive list of the best, maps in their respective themes.
I'm not going to make it so subjective that to anyone who disagrees I say, "Well, this is just a list of the maps
*I* like - and you can't argue about how much *I* enjoy a map!" This list is a precarious mix of objective appraisal
and personal appreciation. I do have biases, which will certainly become evident as people read the list, and I
have not played everything.
I did try to go through both my own map collection and several online archives and review
sites in compiling this list, but some of the maps are inevitably maps that I found incredibly memorable and interesting
the first time I played them, and that I never subsequently forgot about. Some of the maps are hopefully unexpected
surprises; maybe I have highlighted maps that others have forgotten about or never even heard of. The list may not
be definitive or even intended to be definitive, and certainly many people will protest "Where's X on the list!" or
"He totally forgot about Y!" This is fine, this is actually part of the point of the article - to generate discussion
not just about the merits of maps, but about themes and classifications.
Day 1 Article: Top 10 Base Maps
Each of Quake's four original episodes begins with a base map, establishing Quake's science fiction background.
The excellent mission pack, Scourge of Armagon, also begins with a series of bases. Many mappers also make their
first map a base map - several of the maps on this list are actually Q1SP debuts. Other than the Base map e1m1,
all of the maps found in Quake's first episode, The Dimension of the Doomed, more properly fit into the themes
of other episodes - e1m3, e1m4, and e1m5 would fit nicely into Episode 2 (medieval), and e1m6, e1m7 and e1m8 would
fit into Episode 3 (runic). Therefore, the first theme in this list is base - although, not all bases are on earth.
10. Slave: Slave to a Machine by RickyT23
This recent Quoth2 map uses Daikatana textures (the futuristic set, not previously seen in Quake if I recall correctly),
and basically plays out like a smorgasboard of evil scifi. The visual style is somewhere between Doom3 and Quake2, with
dark, detailed hallways (although not cramped) as well as outdoor base sections reminiscent of Quake2's outdoor areas.
Quoth extras are well used, including destroyable crates throughout and the awesome cyborg Ogre. There are tons of high-level
enemies - shamblers, fiends, vores - throughout the map making it a real challenge. The route can get a bit confused, so
pay attention to the signs on the walls and make sure your brightness level is sufficient to see them.
Theme: Dark Scifi (Daikatana E3)
Similar To: Doom 3, Quake 2
9. Could: And All that Could have Been by RPG
This map is probably the best use of Speedy's "Speedbase" textures, a dark, metallic and curvy set. The architecture matches
the set - it is dark, metallic, and uses plenty of curves. The lighting is dark but well-sourced, making this base a little
moodier than the average. The ceilings and walls are also covered with detail, giving it a pleasingly cluttered look. The
massive use of enforcers makes the map challenging, although it's easier than many modern base maps which use Quoth additions.
Four secrets will keep you exploring this interesting, dark base.
Similar To: Vaguely similar to Tiddles' industrial maps, but darker
8. LUNSP1: Concentric Devastation by Lunaran
This massive base map is decked out in modified Quake2 textures, with a gray-blue scheme, giving it an
original look. The use of low-angle curves on beams, as well as white lights everywhere, contributes to the
map's original visual style. The map is a mix between massive base sections (one featuring a very nice
extending bridge) and rocky caverns and canyons. The caverns can get a little repetitive, but the base
sections are consistently interesting to look at, with a variety of areas from huge open halls to tight
atriums. The highlights of the map are the route to the gold key, and the finale chamber. Modified base
enemies throughout provide a challenge, and an encounter with an old friend makes the end satisfying.
Similar To: Quake2, but bleaker
7. APSP1: The Final Threat by Than
This map was quite large by the standards of its day, although these days it's more of a medium-sized map.
Than's very professionally built, textured and lit base map is one of the best uses of the IKBASE texture
set ever. The entire map is constructed very tightly, with curves everywhere and a complex, satisfyingly
interwound layout. Furthermore, the level progresses through several distinct sections, including a giant
outdoor courtyard of rock and slime, and a particularly cool portal section. The map is also one of the best
uses of spotlighting, which is used throughout to accent the curved walls. In terms of gameplay, it may
seem a little tame compared to today's standards, but the megaenforcer's appearance, and the inclusion of
non-base enemies in strategic spots ensures that you can't relax much.
Similar To: IKSPQ4, "The Secret Installation"
6. dis_sp6: Ruined Nation by Distrans
This map caps off the recent trend of Doom3-in-Quake1 maps, recreating the feel of Doom3 almost exactly.
It's highly unconventional, in that it employs a small number of very deadly enemies, dark lighting, and
precious little when it comes to supplies. The lighting is spectacular - subtle colors, smooth textures -
and really contributes to the spooky atmosphere. Tons of wall detail, like in Doom3, and the feeling of cramped,
highly intricate spaces, are also featured. The map is not for everyone, but what it tries to do, it does very
Similar To: Doom3
5. JJSPQ3: Strength. Service. Honor by Vigil
Possibly the most dystopian Quake map ever. This map is fairly old these days, but its unique theme and fast-paced
gameplay guarantee it a spot on this list. Whereas most of the scifi/base maps in Quake depict futuristic installations,
to varying degrees of functionality, this map portrays a rotting, rusting futuristic city (or industrial zone). The bleak,
disturbing urban environment suits Quake perfectly, and the high quality lighting and eerie red sky help the atmosphere
greatly. No new monsters are featured, but quake staples like grunts and ogres fit into the sense of urban decay very well.
I'm still waiting for JJSPQ4...
Similar To: Your favorite dystopia
4. Hip1m3: The Lost Mines by Levelord
There are only a few maps from the earliest days of Quake that stand up to the quality of recent releases, and The
Lost Mines is one of them. Levelord's masterpiece from Scourge of Armagon is flat-out amazing, especially considering the
guy learned how to do Quake mapping in a very short amount of time, having previously done half the maps in Duke Nukem 3d
(which wasn't even 3d!). This map consists of a crazily tilted outdoor area or mine pit, with pyramid-shaped buildings, and
a whole series of mine shafts beneath it. Numerous traps, and of course hipnotic's excellent centroid monster, make this map
one of the best base maps in Quake.
Theme: Hipnotic Base (see hip1mx maps)
Similar To: id base, but expanded significantly
3. SM36: Subterranean Siege by XeN and others
It's fairly surprising that a map compiled from various speedmapped sections could be so good. Previous maps built using the
same method were good (especially "Shut Up Rpg!") but this takes the method into a whole new area. The amount of work done to
change a bunch of rough sections into this final product is impressive to think of. From the highly detailed, multileveled
(and atmospheric) opening atrium, you know you are playing something exceptional. There is detail everywhere - crates, lights,
wall insets, walkways, beams, rock face - and it all combines to give the very vivid impression of an underground base. You
feel like there is a lot of rock above you. There are tons of modified id textures, and a sort of emphasis on red and brown,
giving the map a unique look. The map also features some enhancements like rotation, and the MegaEnforcer.
Theme: Modified idbase
Similar To: vaguely similar to hip1m3
2. OUM3: Mothballed Facility by Tyrann
Tyrann's massive contribution to Operation: Urth Majik is probably the largest and best IKBase map ever constructed. From
the opening cutscene, you know that you're in for a unique ride. This map is highly impressive not only for its size and
quality, but for the fact that it actually _feels_ like a base. There are multiple floors that are logically connected,
canals, functional architecture, and of course, quite a few storage rooms. The whole map is surrounded by a series of giant
caverns that merge with a canyon outside of the starting room. The map is undoubtedly the highlight of OUM, and while it was
released quite a few years ago it can easily hold its own with modern maps. Everything is perfectly lit and textured, and
there is a consist ant challenge from the OUM enemies throughout the pleasing and interesting layout.
Similar To: IKSPQ4, "The Secret Installation"
1. GMSP1: Colony by Glassman
My pick for the best base/science fiction map in Quake is Glassman's brilliant map "Colony" (many of his maps
are named after Joy Division songs). A starry sky, excellent lighting, and strange green moonrock textures
give this map an eerie atmosphere. The new enemies (walker robots) and new sounds (decompression for when a door
opens) add to the unique science fiction feel - this is the most authentic, convincing sci-fi in Quake I'd say.
The architecture is extremely high quality throughout, with a couple of really cool outdoor sections including one
where the start hallways literally stick out of a cliff face, and plenty of highly detailed indoor base setpieces.
The whole thing is textured in a dark, modified Quake2 set, and the gameplay is difficult throughout, with new
enemies as well as old.
Similar To: Quake2, but darker, and on the moon.
2. Mothballed Facility
3. Subterranean Siege
4. The Lost Mines
5. Strength. Service. Honor
6. Ruined Nation
7. The Final Threat
8. Concentric Devastation
9. And All that Could have Been
10. Slave to a Machine
Honorable Mentions: OUM4: Weapons Testing by Fat Controller, Research Facility by Hipnotic, The Sewage System by id
UWF: Many Thanks to Tronyn for this excellent Top 10, check the Quake 1 articles page for all of Tronyn's Quake Expo 2008 Top 10s.