When I cannot sleep I often spend the small hours of the night creating brushwork concepts. These are not about game play, layout or design but about mashing, twisting and warping shapes together and seeing what cool things happen.
Brushwork concepts are like sketching or doodling on paper but instead of creating something from one view point it is a 3D object that can look and feel different from many sides. It is about trying to find harmony in shapes and creating new style directions.
This new map for Quake is made from several brushwork experiments mashed together to form a story of events. The construction is designed to show the player location history by revealing layers of details stacked on top of each other.
Many of the locations are designed to be revisited from different heights and angles and there are several key points where the view is setup to show where the player is going to be next.
The map flow is not linear and there are several routes which can bypass large parts of the map. This means that the map can be replayed several times and new routes can be discovered. The downside to this strategy is that the player can get easily lost or turned around, but the map is small enough that the feeling of being lost should be minimal.
The map features many unique locations from large rocky canyons to clean white brick interiors bathed in stain glass light to dark dirty underground caves riddled with mine carts and tracks. All these different themes are linked together with a story of how the place evolved from a simple church with a white tower to the present day gold tipped monstrosity.
To show the player how things have changed, the start area (where the player skill is selected) is the Ivory Tower before the gold rush. A simple church layout with a couple of small caves. I thought it might be fun to play with the time theme and show what happened to the canyon area instead.
The skill levels are selected from different routes / archways in the start area with easy, normal and hard on the ground floor and the nightmare portal close to the exit. For players who like to explore there are items to find via some jumping challenges. Once the skill has been selected the map will restart and everything should be setup correctly.
Each skill level has different monsters types, in different positions and can be played progressively for a different experience of the map. All weapons, ammo and health are the same on all skill levels. It is assumed the player will be more frugal with ammo/health consumption on higher difficulty settings.
The final room contains three floor/ceiling crushers which are button operated. They are designed with a dual purpose (crush or cover) and give the player a choice. They can either make the fight easier by crushing enemies or creating cover to hide behind from long range enemy attacks.
No Quake map would be complete without secrets and this map is no exception. There are ten secrets which range from button finding to player movement (jumping) skills. No secret requires rocket/grenade jumping to be reached and the mechanism to operate the secret is often within close proximity.