AQ2 Review: Teamdepo by Strag

Teamdepo by Brian “Strag” Vannatta
| Teamdepo.zip | 1.31 Mb | Brian Vannatta | Score: 5.2 | By Oswald |

Ever wonder what it would feel like to be in the middle of nowhere, at a military supply depot that does not exist, according to the government? Like most military installations, the buildings and surroundings are drab in nature, take some time to familiarize yourself with the different areas. This map many take some getting acclimated to, but after further inspection, you realize this map holds quite an ingenious design and unique game play.

Texturing [4.0]
Considering the texturing is drab though out most of the map, Ruskprick always seems to get something extra out of the textures he creates. As Brian notes in the readme text, some of the texturing is “modified” to fit in certain areas. The red brick, light brown wood and cold gray textures seem to dominate most all of the map. There are enough different textures used throughout the facility that they mesh incredibly well. Numerous crate textures are used and quite noticeable, as some don’t fit in. The interior texturing seems to be thrown together with little thought, as opposed to the outside texturing, which seems to have been creatively applied. The high quality, which is used for the exterior, is not matched by the interior decor. The sky textures have been seen before, a dark nighttime sky, dotted with bright shinning stars. This fits the map wonderfully and helps to create a most important aspect of any map. Ambience.

Ambience: [5.5]
This military depot comes alive with a multitude of sounds during the night setting. Sounds seemingly resonate from the entire map, the hum of an electric transformer, the sound of blowing air from an air conditioning unit, the cry of a wolf in the distance and the calling of frogs. The chirping of crickets can be heard whenever outside or near a door or window. This sound is not so overbearing, that it detracts from the sounds of individual player’s footstep of the clicking of sniper rifle. The contrast between interior lighting and darkened night sky is lacking is not very noticeable. Although the use of exterior lighting effects helps to detract form that lack of contrast. These exterior lighting effects help create that darkened night ambience with their cascading glow.

Creative Spark: [4.5]
Based on the read me text, this map was designed solely for team play, which is reflected in the style and overall design. The success of this map is the execution of the game flow, which seems endless. That is a testament to the outstanding layout of the structures and support items, which Brian has created. Team spawn points give players enough room and time to maneuver while setting up tactics to eliminate the opposing force. Teams actually have a few options available to them as they set up their first strike. Initially, the map did not grab my attention, as it seemed a bit drab in nature. Other depot style maps have followed, but I can’t recall any other that has been so successful, so consider this the first, thus well made.

Construction: [6.0]
The author has done an excellent job, in the layout and design of the map. There are a few annoyances, which you will encounter. On the backside of the map, large, red, metal towers rise behind the brick wall, unfortunately, without going into ‘noclip’ mode; you cannot climb the wall to access that area. The other flaw in the design is a hallway next to the stairs on the lower level of the brick building, which is inaccessible because it is filled with crates. Additional access, possibly through the large through the large wooden gates with the ‘STOP’ sign, would have been an interesting addition to Teamdepo. In terms of online play, polygon count maintains acceptable levels. The only area to note a sharp increase is in the corner, near the hum of the electric generators behind the gray building.

Playability: [6.0]
You would not really know it from looking at the map, but the play characteristics are quite unique. Although it became all to familiar round after round, having the majority of the action taking place in the same few areas, such as under the brick building near the loading dock. For the review, teams were set eight players a side, probably a few too many a map of this size. Most of the players chose the SSG 3000 sniper rifle as their weapon, while others went with the M4 and M5/10. As teams spawned in their separate courtyards, some players took off the sniper tower and the interior of the building. Others decidedly took their life in their hands and ventured into the transition area (near the loading dock), where more often then not were met by resistance from the opposing force. Some snipers decided to attack from the building above the water, which made for heavy fire as the opposing team attempted to infiltrate that portion of the map. The crates added a bit of protection. For those who chose the building route, pistols and knives became the ultimate weapons, as the hallways are very narrow, which leave little room for error. The beauty of this map is the ability to get behind your enemy by using a multitude of routes available. Unfortunately, the game flow seems to be interrupted on the backside of the map when the garage door is closed, which is only accessible from inside. This helps to maintain the realism, but disrupts the action and detracts from the score.

6th Sense: [5.5]
Teamdepo seems to be the “original” military depot style map. Since then a few others have be created, similar in appearance but not in play. One word describes the how the action plays. Rock! This map is excellent in all aspects. For a team to control this map, it is almost imperative to control the area surrounding the loading dock. This makes opposition advancement impaired and more difficult. The elevation changes works to each teams advantage, multiple routes in and out of each area keep the rounds fresh as you try and kill the enemy. The interior is probably a bit overlooked, as most of the action seems to take place outside. Throw caution to the wind, the hallways in the brick building is narrow and very tight, leaving little margin for error or escape.

Final Score: [5.2]
[Oswald] Upon first glance, teamdepo looks dull and unexciting, like the barren desert wasteland it is built on. Everything about this maps says it should be a great map, not only visually, but to play on. There were instances which teams would find themselves in similar situations as the previous round, blasting away at their opposition. After further examination, Brian has created a delicate balance based around construction and playability, which lends itself favorably to all gaming styles. A few minor flaws in the layout do not detract from the thrill of the chase. Consider this map a smashing success.
[Ellusion] I have to agree on most parts mentioned; teamdepo is a very good map in my opinion. What it lacks in visuals and overall eye candy, it makes up with an attention to detail and superb playabilty. I would even say the playability borders on frustration sometimes, as balance can shift both ways depending on how you play, never knowing where you have the other team. The only real drawback in the gameplay though, is the few choke points that can easily ruin the fun when the m4 maniacs clash together with a wall of bullets and no chance of escape. As to the visuals, a lot of textural improvements along with lighting could easily have raised this map a few notches up. I suggest the boomstick and some cozy slippers for one helluva tension-filled game.

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