It's an interesting process doing music for these levels - oftimes you'll think a particular piece of music fits, only to reach the end of the level and have the vibe be completely different to what you had in mind. It's a matter of playing through all levels, finding the right tone, and constructing something that approximates 1/3 the length of the level - that way, the player doesn't get too bored of it by the time they've done the level.
At this point the main build is getting close to being done, it's mainly a matter of finishing the music. I say 'mainly', but that's actually the biggest slice of the pie in terms of time-taken. So this is a bit of a reveal on the levels included in the next release.
My ratings on the levels so far:
Grendels Blade - I sort of kinda dislike this level, a bit. It's not that the atmosphere and the visual architecture aren't great. It's just that it reminds me of a certain Fighting Fantasy book, 'Creature of Havoc'. That book was so drastically hard that you had to make the correct decision every step of the way, or you would fail. And then, in the early editions, there was a bug in the paging meaning that it couldn't Actually be completed. Grendels Blade is not so mad, but it has a whole load of secrets that you won't discover except by being very inquisitive, and of course you don't get the 'full ending' unless you find every last one of them. And the architecture is structured in such a way that it's difficult to fit the structure of the level in your head, the whole thing kind of feels maze-like. Even completing the level relies on chance to a certain extent - there is one detail I only noticed because I'd rocket-jumped my way to the top of the level, and that detail is necessary in order to complete - of course, you don't have to go to the very top to notice it, but it helped. And, even then I haven't completed the 'full ending' as yet. 5/10, or 7/10, depending on whether or not you intend to reach the hidden ending.
Tears of the False God - Similarly, ad_tears has this 'find all the things' mechanic to reach the 'real' ending. I'm a bit over that by this point, but I love the level, really I do - the music is great (not mine - SimonOC picked his own for that one), the architecture is nice and the texturing is very un-quake-like but entirely suitable. New enemies are great and add a lot of variety. It was a lot of hard work getting all the texturing working right for the smaller objects for this level but it's getting there. If I have to look up a walkthrough to reach the real ending, that ending is not really worth my headspace, not nowadays. But even reaching the initial ending is worth it - great level. 8/10.
Akalahka - My favourite - the atmosphere of being in a floating fortress, stacked atop a void, is wonderful. I'm really happy with the music I came up with for this one. Hardcore gothic architecture. 10/10.
Nyarlarthoteps Sand Castle - Again, very happy with the music for this one. The level grew on me, particularly once I fixed up and inserted the additional HD textures which were missing in the HD texture packs available for it. Surprisingly satisfying. Not too long. 8/10.
Annihilith of Abhorration - the first of the non-AD-canon levels, this is deep yet small, with some great map structure and visceral scenarios. Fun. Not too atmospheric or clever, but fun. 6/10.
The Forgotten Sepulcher - It's surprising after all the hype that this isn't actually my favourite level - far from it. It is a brilliant and intensively horror/gothic map, to be sure, but it neither grabs me the way Shade's refinery does, nor does it entirely suffuse me with atmosphere the way Akalahka does. It is a great level, and inventive, and I put the most work into it's soundtrack out of any of the pieces. 7/10.
The Faults Within - A remake of quake's original e3m2 level, 'The vaults of zin', this is a tricky and interesting, but not overly demanding level. It has some nice surprises. 6/10.
Shade's Refinery - A balls-to-the-wall industrial scifi level, this is just a lot of hardcore dumb fun, without any real darkness/horror. I enjoyed it immensely. Visually and architecturally it's not that satisfying, but it's good. 7/10.
The Tomb of Fenrir - Honestly, I had to replay this one just to remind myself of what happened. It's pretty short, standard quake fare and nothing much to write home about. But it is nice to have something that feels a bit more like classic Quake in the mix. 6/10.
Again, those are just my surface impressions, your mileage may vary. There is also a secret level, which I won't say much about, save to mention that I had a particular feeling about it and was glad to find that it was justified when I played it. 7/10. The music I've done for that one is a piece which I never got round to finishing back in '98, and only rediscovered this year. The bits from 45secs onwards are all new:
Quakespasm is an interesting in-progress engine. It's just starting to get to the point where it supports more of the 'high-definition' stuff like FSAA. Of course, it doesn't -tell you- where those options are in any concrete and clear way, but you can find them, if you look. It doesn't tell you that the default sound samplerate is 11025, and the only way to notice that is to listen, and again, it doesn't tell you what the command line option for changing that is. A fun fact is that from a psychological standpoint, the higher the audio fidelity the higher a viewer also perceives the visual fidelity to be, but the inverse does not apply ie. increased visual definition does not crossrelate to perceived audio definition.
At any rate, it's coming along.