04-02-01: Carnage Absolute
by Jef “Poopy” Shockley
Another relatively new map debuts as Quake 2 Level of the Week here at PlanetQuake. Released in January of this year, comes the level, Carnage Absolute by Jef “Poopy” Shockley, who is quite a talented level designer with previous Quake 2 experience and numerous levels to his credit . Jef attempts to bring a sense of “reality” to the Quake 2 engine in Carnage Absolute. This is “something I think is missing in most of the Q2 maps out there today, with the exception of AQ2 maps” says Jef. But this level is far superior to in all aspects to that of Action Quake 2. Keep reading, maybe you will agree this level has that “real world” feel to it.
It is rather well known that layout and game flow are the most important factors when it comes designing a successful level. Carnage Absolute provides an astounding layout which offers gamers one of the most balanced levels I have had the pleasure of being fragged in. The design allows for a fast and furious pace, which gamers must remain on the trigger around every corner and up every lift. There is no time to stop and enjoy the simple pleasures of looking out the window. Like the bombed out city laying in rubble, you too will find yourself dead.
Carnage Absolute features an “extensive use of the Kingpin texture set for that “warm-n-fuzzy” feel as ya get a rocket up yer butt” says Jef. Those textures only begin to scratch the surface. Many professional quality textures are common throughout this industrial warehouse setting. The predominating texture which seem to tie the map together is a two tone red brick and concrete texture found in nearly every area of this level. Mix in alternating wall coverings and floors, along with unique signage and rusted in industrial equipment and you have the makings of a superbly textured level. In all my dealings with real world environments, it can be a challenge to use textures which can coexist and mesh together in a given environment successfully.Carnage Absolute is a testament to that.
Ambience plays a big role in an environment, this is no more true than creating or recreating a real world setting. Lighting really accentuates what is good [which is nearly everything] in Carnage Absolute. Darkened corners and dank hallways are aglow with a moderate amount or light which helps to balance out the level. The main atrium, with its vaulted ceiling is rather well lit, though the use of white flood type likes which draw attention to the high level of detail used to create this setting. The level becomes a living breathing entity as based on the assortment of sounds which are heard. Be it the low, continuous rumbling or the buzzing of fluorescent lights, sounds create a unique ambience, most of which is not evident when in the heat of battle.
In the test playing I did, a few things became evident. First, the main, multi-leveled atrium seemed to attract the most attention, which some of the outer hallways remained a bit quieter, nonetheless, the level really did provide solid game play. No tricks or secrets in Carnage Absolute just a straight forward level, which gives any Quaker what they are in search of, a high quality, well design map. One final item of note from the readme.txt dealt with lower end machines possibly seeing a performance decrease, as some areas are a bit more poly intensive, to achieve a higher level of detail. Bottom line, it doesn’t matter. I would put this level up against some of those “old school” levels. Definitely make room for Carnage Absolute in your Quake 2 directory.
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