Well, I know its been just about forever since last I wrote anything for my favorite web site, so I have dusted off the ol’ quill and ink bottle to give you once again; my take, on the recent events of our mod’s evolution. I think I’ll start with the maps of 2.6 today. Arguably one of the finest releases in some time is ut_reykjavic. Now I am a huge proponent of melee style maps and this one certainly does the trick. The FPS is always reasonable, the game play is smooth and flawless. The spawn points aren’t very interesting as one team ALWAYS spawns by the dumpsters (usually blue) and the other team spawns in the buildings or in the courtyard lil better. However, the combinations possible for movement to contact with the enemy is as varied as you could want, and you close FAST! Nothing worse than spawning a full 30 seconds to a minute away from contact with the enemy in a TDM brawl. For those of you who like to sit in the wings with the good ol’ G-36 or similar sniper type rifle, there is ample target practice as you don’t have to wait long seconds for possible targets, peeps are all over the map all the time. The perches are very good too, being able to cross a rope stretched from one building to another is a great idea as it gives you infinite surprise run-n-snipe locations without forcing you to be trapped on one building where the enemy knows where you are the second they re-spawn: “ala” ut_metro. Yah, yah I know, Metro has a few to, but not enough, more on that later:) Overall I would give this map a 9 or 10 rating out of a possible 10, but the spawn selection dropped it down to an 8. understand that I am talking about TDM, the only game-type I talk about.
Now I already mentioned ut_metro so here goes. Pfffft. There was a lot of work put into this map… I will say that, however that was as far a positive statement as I will give. I think we already had a map that was beautifully done (similar to this one in beauty) with incredibly long distance shooting competitions, and many places to perch and hide. ut-paradise comes to mind, for those of you that remember the contest map-pack released with 2.3 this is basically a metropolitan copy-cat. There are those that play TDM who like nothing more than a place to stay out of harms way with a scope, this is the map for them, but again, if you enjoy TDM for the melee combat and instant respawns, this is a yawner and I would recommend a /callvote map ut_casa command in your console. Overall I give this map a rating of 5 and that’s being generous because it is so pretty, but needs a lot of work still; more approaches, not so one dimensional (sniper heaven) maybe an underground approach “ala” ut_subway, now that would be a marriage made in heaven.
Now here is another of my favorite insta-frag maps that is strictly melee style combat: ut_turnpike. Gawd-Almighty! This is a fantastic blood- n- guts, petal to-the-metal, kick ass, gorefest! Sure there is the lone sniper spot in the window overlooking the storage area spawn, but that’s quickly nullified with a nade lob, and maybe one looking all the way down from the parking lot spawn towards the storage area spawn, but other than that my oh my! This map has everything a melee combat expert is looking for, multiple avenues of approach, serious cover slash corners slash rooms, protuberances (desks garbage cans etc..) FAST movement to contact and limited areas or opportunities for “camping” due to the wide range of approaches for every single square foot of arena! This map was designed very well, little or no packet loss (that might just be my machine) fast FPS, gorgeous, and very efficient, every bit of space was utilized. Overall as a TDM map this one rates a solid 10 for a melee bloodbath, even the spawn points are fine as you have at least three choices of direction (just to start!) from your respective spawn and within nanoseconds you have three more choices, go around a corner walla: three more choices again. Movement to contact is extremely exciting, I always have to have a cup of coffee after that map just to SLOW my heart rate! This is a Gem, second only to ut_casa in near perfection for a fast classic melee map (and maybe even tops ut_casa cuz its so new to me right now). Whew, had to have some coffee and break right after I finished the above paragraph, just thinking about it got me wet!
Ok, now lets get to an often maligned but definitely challenging map, I am of course speaking to ut_lava. Now I have to admit that the very first time I played this map (while it was still in rotation on servers) I think I was -30 frags . Whew, what a mind blower, never heard a peep about this map, just waiting for a rotation after a round and WAMMO! Holy shit what’s this? After I got over my initial shock and disgust at my score, I went right to the task of mastering it. I fired it up on my private server and went to work. I soon mastered the movement and was able to determine the best way to score any points is to go around the outside edges of the map and get to the center, then maneuver your way to one of the middle two lift’s, this way you could peep around either side and get a look-see at the enemy’s half of the map and have good position on them if they stayed on their back wall. even this isn’t enough, the best way on this map to get a kill is to ensure you have height, it’s much easier to be looking down on the enemy from the height of your lift then the depth of it. However, after its all said and done and you blow away a few peeps who haven’t figured out the right tactics to use it’s not a whole lot of fun. Aside from the gratification of being one of the few in the positive side of the kill to death ratio, its basically a time for you to sit and listen to players complain, bitch and moan. Before the release of this map I hadn’t heard the map: “ut_shootingrange” mentioned in ages, suddenly this map was drawing instant comparisons, to wit: “HOLY SHIT!!! WTF IS THE POINT ALREADY?” Followed generally by a: “so and so has disconnected” text message. Overall this map draws a 10 in imagination but a lowly 2 in game-play, challenging yes, fun not really. This will be a forgotten map altogether before long until the next time a map of similar “WTF” comes along for people to draw comparisons to.
Ok, we have now cleared through the new ones, lets look briefly at the upgrades and see what we can see. I learned a long time ago not to wet my panties every time Oswald posted a new map or an upgrade of an existing map. Reason being?: One word…Rommel. Most everyone will agree that the upgrade to Rommel was pretty darn exciting…for about a day. At the end of the day however; you were still faced with…Rommel. This map is excellent for CTF, but for TDM and even TS, it got old a long time ago.The face-lift helped just a bit but let’s face it the tunnels are only there in CTF, so what is the point? Again, another nice map, but it’s time to send it the way of ut_sliema and company from that pack.
Ahh, almost forgot, the maker of that map is one B-BQ, whom we all know, worship, and love…He left a little surprise from coinbird in his map that you will only be able to see by going to spec mode and clipping through the walls of the tall bell tower, that is all I’ll say…go find it yourself:) Anyway (or: “I digress”, for my sophisticated readers, of which I’m guessing crazyeddie isn’t one…did you figure out what tacit means yet sweetheart?”…:) The map’s ut_uptown, ut_docks, ut_riyadh, and ut_twinlakes all received a facelift for the exciting release of 2.6.
Let’s start with ut_uptown, I have always loved that map, and it has certainly improved in game performance by removing quite a bit of useless space; i.e. part of the lower level of parking garage, as well as one story of parking garage. both spawn points basically lost one story worth of structure, this has led to the mapper being able to add some other goodies without affecting game-play to much. It’s easy for me to say that this map already rated a 7 before I ever saw this upgrade, but now I’d give it an 8. It still requires some serious system draw and it can get choppy in a hurry even on the best of servers, but you cant beat it for a classic that still has lots of playability in it.
I guess you could say that ut_docks is still ut_docks, the noob tower is back up of course, Oswald or Crazybutcher got pissy and blew it up sometime before the release of 2.3, but SID was kind enough to rebuild it so we could all enjoy a good laugh from the sign at the top…right before we play “catch the shiny bullet”. SID was also nice enough to leave a big pile of lumber that wasn’t used in the construction, right by the upper door, this allowed some of us who like to “sneak and swim”, have a much better chance to perfect our swan dive technique without being “air assisted” by a helpful enemies SR-8 round…thanks guys & gal’s. The only other major change of note was the addition of some open rooms by red spawn, right being the bus stop. I dunno why they did that…but it’s different:)
I have only one thing to say about ut_riyadh….ughhh. I never loved the old ut_riyadh and this one isn’t doing much for me either, its about as much fun as ut_sands.
And finally, ut_twinlakes. I kinda always liked the first twinlakes, other than one or two servers, it hasn’t been added to many map rotations in TDM mode which is a shame. I know, I know…I have been giving sniper maps a hard time. But this one is somehow very different. You can snipe to you hearts content, or there is enough cover and concealment to go tactical melee all day long, it’s one of those rare map’s where you can get enough space to sneak around and behind a pesky sniper and sneak up close enough to slit there cowardly throat before he/she ever knows your there…ever notice how that tends to deter sniper fire?…very effective…hehe.
The glaring difference in this map is apparent the second you open it up…..we aren’t in Kansas anymore toto…where before we had a vast snowy/hilly wasteland, we are now in the midst of a forest of towering evergreens, new bridges and sawmills, and fences around the A-frame cabins. this is by far the best re-do of any of the older maps I have yet seen done, sure Riyadh was impressive, but it’s still Riyadh….bleghhh. This version of twinlakes is quite amazing in terms of change, I could just stroll along without ever firing a shot: and dream I had a pair of cross country ski’s on…it’s that nice. It plays very nice for it’s size as well, doesn’t eat up the FPS as bad as you might think (another reason Rommel must die) and is pretty consistent; even with heavy traffic. I would only have recommended one change to this map, string some rope across the trees and make it an aerial threat as well, what peep isn’t going to hit the tree’s to get a little leverage over the enemy in a forest like that? I give this map another 10, this redo was simply incredible, yet another map that is so good and so underused by the community.
Well, that is about all there is folks, I’ll see you all around the pub’s, ware my sting:Þ
PS – news of the week: I joined a clan called -XD, watch for us to climb the 2v2 rankings on OGL TS.
Quote of the Week: in honor of a great gift given to us by a wonderful storyteller and a patient (for once) Hollywood producer who gave us faces to put in our head for the reanimation of a wonderful tale: I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like; and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.
-J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
This is certainly a true statement coming from me to you as well:P
As always, you may E-mail me with any complaints, gripes or bitches about the content of this column, please do not bother Oswald, firstname.lastname@example.org
MightyJoeYoung aka Vivian