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This guide is aimed at level designers who want to create their first Arcane Dimensions map and release it to the community.

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It can be overwhelming at first when starting to map for Arcane Dimensions (AD) because of all the extra features and the wide selection of available monster and items. At the heart of AD is original Quake which means that any Original map can and will work fine. Start by creating a map with limited resources and a small foot print and then gradually add new AD features once the map is working.

Map Layouts

Always start a project with a small map footprint

  • Levels will naturally grow in size over time, so always start small
  • Larger maps can be difficult to finish because they will require more testing
  • A small well planned map is better than a sprawling layout!
  • Plan secrets as you create the level and they will feel more natural
  • Design architectural spaces to compliment monster designs
  • Don't be afraid to move stuff to a temporary map if its not working right
  • Add plenty of environmental sounds (wind, water, lava, wood or metal)
  • Regularly seal and compile your map and test for scale and layout issues
  • Watch out for map, monster and light symmetry and try to break it!

Mod Features

AD has a very (very) large collection of features

  • Not every feature needs to exist in every single map!
  • Focus on certain features that compliment your map style and design
  • Hint at new features at the beginning, like showing low gravity


Plan and Use Breakables in your AD map

  • Monsters will smash through breakables to get to the player
  • Always use a consistent design (visually cracked or broken)
  • Show the player what is breakable at the beginning
  • Breakables can use models like vase or pots to hide items
  • Always use the style key to define all the defaults

Small Collection of Monsters

Start with a small collection of monsters

  • Do not include every monster class in a single map!
  • Always pick a melee, range and flying monster type
  • Mix and match different types to create challenging encounters
  • Monster types often compliment each other in attack and movement
  • Create patrolling monsters to add movement and living spaces
  • Monsters cannot climb 32 map unit steps, however a player can!
  • All boss monsters require a special minion cache entity to be included in the map
  • Think about and plan for monster jump triggers, they are the ultimate player surprise!
  • Plan for Chaos mode (all vanilla monsters can be randomized)

Vertical Space

Build plenty of vertical spaces (for monsters)

  • Hunter Ogres (new armour versions) can aim up or down at the player
  • Create extra space for Gaunt and Gargoyles as they hover above the player
  • Vertical spaces can create emotional responses; low =oppression and high =safety
  • Use trigger_monsternojump to help jumping monsters to get through narrow spaces
  • Use trigger_monsterturret to force monsters to use range attacks like a turret
  • Use trigger_monstermovespeed to turn on/off monster turret abilities
  • Use trigger_monsterpassivestate to turn on/off passive monster behaviour

Developer Mode

Always test your map with developer mode 1 active

  • Enable developer mode by default in your quake.rc file or use a special config file
  • Look out for stationary yellow diamonds, they means an item or monster is broken!
  • Other colours; Blue =delay spawn, Green =nocount, red =nightmare, white =no zaware
  • All path corners are shown with direction and angle arrows to help show movement
  • Path corners with red arrows pointing up are dead ends or final destinations
  • Always check the console for error and warning messages (check red highlights)
  • Get other people or friends to test your map and record demos

Test Maps

Play all of the official AD test maps

  • The best documentation is a working example map!
  • All of the test maps are available to load into your editor
  • The fgd or def files do have lots of extra info about entities
  • The fgd or def files can be opened in any text editor
  • There are extra test maps specially designed for version 1.8.1

High Skill Levels

Plan for higher skill levels like Nightmare and Evil

  • Nightmare skill (3) level can spawn extra monster or items
  • Nightmare+ monsters can attack more often and are faster projectiles
  • Consider placing extra cover for nightmare+ hitscan monsters
  • Evil skill (4) level always starts the player with the shadow axe
  • Use triggers to detect if the player has the shadow axe
  • Many monsters on evil skill can one shot kill a player!


Coop features available in AD

  • Use forward coop spawning points for larger maps
  • Items can be given or denied using extra coop entity keys
  • Plan for locked in arena encounters and coop player access
  • Many new impulse commands are available in quake.rc for testing coop


Worldspawn (map entity) has many new features

  • All AD maps should use no_item_offset = 1 (AD fgd or def default)
  • Define fog parameters on worldspawn if using fog triggers
  • Player weapons, ammo, armour and hp can be changed on start
  • Water alpha (liquids and portals) should be defined on worldspawn by default
  • Check particlemax limit is correct if using lots of particle effects
  • Store the compiler options (sun, dirt and bounce) on worldspawn
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