The Death Ray by Chris “Sven” Druckenmiller

04-23-01: The Death Ray

Welcome to this week’s episdoe of the Quake 2 Level of the Week, sponsered by PlanetQuake featuring a blast from the past, so to speak. This week’s review takes a page out of the 1930’s for those who ever wanted to build a backyard spaceship and zoom off to the planet, Mungo to battle the evil, Ming the Merciless. Thanks to Sven you can feel like Flash Gordon without every living the comfort of your computer as his latest level, The Death Ray is the prime setting for any Flash Gordon episode. So buckle up there young Flash and get ready to experience this week’s review.

Sven, on the concept of The Death Ray, “The general idea for a ’30s SciFi-themed map came to me in Nov. of 2000 while visiting the parents for Thanksgiving break…My ambition was to create a level that would make you feel like you were Flash Gordon and your opponents were Ming the Merciless’ evil minions…I finally just built the big laser cannon itself and that was a perfect start.” The rest as they say, “was history.” Coupled with the highest quality textures from PlanetQuake’s own, [H F X], this level represents a unique mapping experience, especially when it comes to 1 v 1 deathmatch.

The layout is what you would expect to see in a futuristic base, with narrow, sterile corridors traversing the complex, all of which seem to lead back to where you began. In the case of this level, you usually end up back at the ominous death ray. The level uses many jump pads, which allows for quick and easy elevation change, along with simple, yet effect ramps to access a few areas in The Death Ray.

The main feature of The Death Ray is infact a large weapon pointed towards the heavens which is discharging its deadly ray on some unsuspecting planet. While you can do absolutely nothing to stop it, it does make for a unique on which to build. The same can be said about the area beneath the death ray, which is home to the quad damage. The sign reads, “Power Discharge Switch: NEVER USE!” of couse our first inclination is to push it. Once the switch is throw [our button pushed], two yellow beams of pure energy are discharge, which criss cross over the quad, to help put the “DENIED” tag on those would be gamers who insist on hoarding this power up.

As mentioned earlier, the ambience is quite striking, thanks in part to the high quality textures of HFX. Finding good, quality textures is only half the battle, if you do not use the correctly and appropriately, then all is lost. Foruntanately that is not one of Sven‘s weaknesses. These textures in conjunction with the multi colored lighting provide a foundation for yet another example of how to create a level with true ambience. The only minor complaint is the texture used on death ray itself does not compare .

This week gameplay was not only limited to bots, but a real live opponant. Yet it always seemed I was the one on the receiving end of a rocket or riding the blue rail of death. Nevertheless, 1 v 1 deathmatch provided a fast playing level. As with the 4-6 bots in the game, most of the fragging took place on the upper levels, near the rail gun and rocket launcher which are virtually next to each other. “The weapon and item loadout is roughly the same as it has been for the [previous] levels so far,” says Sven. Yet gamers were able to navigate quickly between rail and rocket and control a majority of the map. Add to that the flak jacket and row of armor shards and you will see why controlling this area will work to your advantage.

The Death Ray is bound to remind you of your favortie science fiction story, but this time it is brought to life, thanks to Sven. This is a very balanced level which will suit the smallest of servers, and provide hours of action for a moderate sized group. As always I enjoy play testing and reviewing, such quality maps as the Quake 2 Community continues to provide. Now off you go to download, The Death Ray.

– Download: sventourney3.zip
– Author: Chris “Sven” Druckenmiller

Level of the Week Comments? Mail Oswald.

Black & Blue by Chris “Sven” Druckenmiller

01-01-15: Black & Blue by Chris “Sven” Druckenmiller

After a week in which I mistakenly got my days out of order we are back to bring you the latest and greatest from the world of Quake 2. I was made aware of this week’s submission after receiving e-mail from the author. While not the first to send an e-mail to me, I look forward to sharing more new maps which are sent to me. This is one of the newer creations for Quake 2 [12-30-00] and is a small 1 v 1 tournament map. The title of the map is Black and Blue by Chris “Sven” Druckenmiller. After a few hours of getting your butt fragged, you will quickly learn why the title is so fitting.

The layout of the map can be compared to a figure eight, as there are two chambers, an inner chamber adjacent to an outer courtyard with an array of corridors connecting the two. Multiple corridors run in both directions which make the inner chamber very accessible, along with providing routes to a number of power ups and weapons. The red armor lies in the center of a lower corridor connecting the two areas of the level, while the rocket launcher is about two stories above, located in a narrow T-shaped hallway with two additional ammo packs. Both items are very easy to obtain. There are two levels which run in a circle through the inner chamber, the lower level has a chaingun and super shotgun at the enterance of the corridor, while providing access via a jump pad via on each side to the rocket launcher. The upper level gives you the effect of running on narrow wooden planks. On this level, you will find a stretch of armor shards and health packets adjacent to one another, with a grenade launcher in between the two.

The outer courtyard is characterized by pool which, “is basically a prefab grabbed from a map I could never get working right that had a predominant Islamic architecture theme. So, the map did sort of start with Islamic architecture in mind, but ultimately I just went with what looked cool” says Chris. Sitting directly in middle on the pool floor is the every so dangerous, quad damage. Directly above the pool a clear, blue tinted walkway spans the length of the courtyard, with the railgun posed in the center. High above, perched on the ledge of courtyard sits the megahealth, which will require a carefully timed rocket jump to reap the benefits of its power.

As mentioned earlier, the map is an ideal 1 v 1 tournament deathmatch map, but I was able to have a successful game with a total of four players. Make sure the weapons stay on, for the best results and gibbage. The action was fast, as the rocket launcher and red armor seemed the be the main attract in Black and Blue. Gamers looking to grab the upper hand and the power ups should try “take the high road” when entering the middle chamber. But remain cautious as the railgun can prove its worthness in the right hands to the unwary gamer exiting the chambe. Overall, a very simple and well designed level.

Black and Blue features a custom soundtrack, “Soundwave vs. Blaster: LL Cool J Radio mix” [courtesy of Tony Bacala], phong shading on curves to give it that “realistic” look and feeling, As Chris states on his web site, “A very Q3A feel in a Q2 map.” The map is also available in two flavors, with music [6MBs] and without music [649kb] for the 56k gamers. This level is sure to draw a crowd, so download it and use it at your next LAN party as the tournament map to find out who is the 1337 one of the bunch! Download Black and Blue!

– Download: sventourney2.zip
– Download: sventourney2_no_music.zip
– Check out the author’s web site: Sven’s Quake 2 Mapping Project
– Author: Chris “Sven” Druckenmiller

Level of the Week Comments? Mail Oswald.