BIG Poll Monday

Hope everyone had an enjoyable and relaxing Easter Sunday. Mine was filled with Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and tamales. Great Easter Sunday brunch, I am sure. Spent most of the weekend attempting to install Windows2000 Pro onto a 45GB IBM HDD. Thanks to BladeKiller, RabidCow and Iain, for putting up with my bitching and complaining for over 12 hours! For some reason, I am not able to get my Soundblaster Live card working correctly. The Device Manager shows no conflicts, yet there is no sound being emitted from the speakers. So it’s back to square one I guess. Tried my current sound card, a Diamond MX300. Same results. So, if you think you have an idea, I am willing to listen to any and all ideas.

Now onto what you came here to see. I was able to obtain a copy of Urban Station thanks to PointyGit. While I have only spent a few minutes on the level it is quite an impressive level. Still found a handful of problems spots that are easily corrected. I am sure this will be a post-Beta 2 Urban Terror level you will be playing in the near future. The most impressive area in this map has to be inside the station. The ceilings are quite breathtaking. Here are a few bonus shots from Urban Station being used in build_10 of Beta 2:

[SHOT #1] | [SHOT #2] | [SHOT #3]
Spoke to NRGizeR yesterday. It seems among his work on his upcoming levels for Beta 2, we is also beginning to put together tutorials for mapping for Beta 2. You have seen and most likely used his work which can be found here on The 6th Floor. While the details are still a bit sketchy, these tutorials will probably focus on the new entities, functions and surface parameters mappers can user to give their levels a more realistic feel to them. Also expect to see some sample maps to work from. More details as I receive them.

Another mapping question which has been touched on before, but I feel the need to bring it up again. Scale, you know how anal I am about getting the correct scale in a map. Level developers are always asking, “How do I determine scale in QERadiant?” The answer is simple. Check out this link which is available from Claudec on Quake III Arena Player Specifics. It should answer most all of your questions regarding measurement and size for your mapping pleasure.

Completed another review yesterday, which debuts today over at PlanetQuake, as the Quake 2 Level of the Week. While, many of you are not interested in the content, the level did feature some stand out texturing from [H F X]. If you are in dire need of quality textures, check out the work from evil_lair. For those who dabble in creating their own textures, evil_lair has some good tutorials to help you out.

The results are in from the last Bi-Weekly Poll. While I am not one bit surprised at the top answer. We should have thought it through better, than any answer with ‘Counter-Strike’ or “1337 liek jeff K’ will always win. Well, check out the rest of the answers and take the new 6th Floor Poll which begs the question, “What do the members of Silicon Ice Development do in their free time?

Citadel by Shon “Maric” Shaffer

04-16-01: Citadel by Shon “Maric” Shaffer

After going AWOL last week, the Quake 2 Level of the Week has returned to PlanetQuake with another “rising” review of the best levels available in the world of Quake 2. There seems to be a fairly dedicated group of level designers who insist on designing the best all around levels for Quake 2. Most of them toss around beta versions, ideas and valuable feedback to those in the Quake 2 mapping community. This week’s selection is a recent release from Shon “Maric” Shaffer called, Citadel which was release on April 13, 2001. Just in time for some Easter fragging!

What makes Citadel unique is the vertical component on which the layout was designed. “I made this one and gave up on it due to high r_speeds. I then remade it and gave it up due to long compile times. A friend, BadDog talked me into finishing this version.” The main focus on this level is a immense, concrete structure which rises into the starry night sky. The design is built around six different levels, each existing on a different horizontal plane. The Citadel itself has four different levels on which to occupy. The final two planes are the ground level on which the structure is constructed, including the two extended jump platforms and the lower suspended walkway which surrounds the depths of the Citadel.

To complement the layout, Maric broke away from the standard Quake 2, brown textures and decided to use those of [H F X] created by evil_lair. Using textures of this quality is what separates average maps from great maps. We always stress, layout and design, but this is a prime example of a map which would not look as impressive as it does, if Quake 2 texturing was applied. The texturing is a combination of greys, each with their own characteristics, which complement the next very well. The texturing really is brought to life by the cool and soothing white and blue light effects see throughout the entire level which creates an unparalleled ambience.

The level is brought to life by the addition of many ambient sounds. One which really casts an eerie sort of feeling is that which can be heard on the extended jump platforms. If you listen closely through the howling wind, [and when under heavy fire, you won’t stop to listen] it sounds as if hundreds of souls are crying out of those who used to occupy this fortress. A very interesting sound, which fits very nicely. There are also the standard complement of Quake 2 rumbling and mechanic sounds, which like the texturing gets monotonous, but still is better than no sound at all.

Citadel supports all of the Quake 2 weapons, items and power ups which are scattered around every part of this level. Some weapons to take note of, the grenade launcher which rests at the apex of the structure with multiple rounds available for you to reign down upon unsuspecting gamers. One level down, on opposite sides rest the BFG and Quad Damage, which seems to require little skill to obtain. Aside form these two weapons, everything else is quickly obtained. There is first aid and medkits, along with an assortment of stimpacks and armor shards which will help to health your injured body after talking massive damage. At the base of the citadel, positioned on each corner you will find a rocket launcher, chain gun, the mega health and red body armor.

Unable to get some real gamers to “ph34r my rail skillz,” I enlisted the support of the every so helpful bots for a demonstration of game play. Much of the attention focus around the two extended jump platforms, which allowed the bots to access the middle of the citadel and take comfort in the rail gun, for those who successfully made the jump to center of the citadel. Beneath these platforms, you gain a few weapons and some items. The teleporter transports you to the top of the citadel, where it seemed instead of getting telefragged, everyone seemed to get stuck on each other. I am unsure if that was a bot problem or a level design problem. Overall the game play was very tight. Designed for 1 v 1 deathmatch, the level is large enough to support 4 to 6 gamers comfortably. Then again, Quake 2 gaming is about being in your face, so the more, the merrier.

Like some of Maric’s previous levels, I have played and reviewed, this one does not disappoint. Definitely check Citadel out. Yet another wonderful level for the world of Quake 2, which seems to be turning out levels with a high degree of design, layout and playability. So head over to Maric’s Quake 2 Levels and grab Citadel.

– Download: marics37.zip
– Author: Shon “Maric” Shaffer

Level of the Week Comments? Mail Oswald.