Getting Hard to Keep This All Under Wraps…

So…let’s talk Quake.

I subtly hinted at making a Quake level for NewHouse’s Dark Saga expansion as far back as June 21st, when I posted my little writeup on the Unofficial Quake Level Design Handbook. Two weeks later, and I decided to stream building the fucking thing for the 4th of July (VOD still available!). I’ve since mentioned it directly on here in passing and shared the news with some more distant but still friendly internet people. It’s safe to say my original goal of being the surprise guest mapper for Dark Saga has been utterly foiled by myself.

Really, when I started this, I had just been treating it as a favor for a friend who stuck by me even after I left the scene. I had to relearn how to love Quake because the nerves, the embarrassment, and the hatred of people turning on me and me making a few rather virulent fucking enemies had ruined it for me. I always resolved to return to it at some point, but it was hard to find the motivation to when I was busy with other, less emotionally taxing projects.

Thankfully, I think I’ve been able to let go of it all. I mean, I’m still never gonna go back to the scene, fuck that, but I still genuinely love the game. I’ve never played a shooter with better movement than Quake. I’ve never played one with the unique vibe of Quake. The guns feel great, the monsters all require a trick or two to avoid death at the hands of, the look is great, especially in a software renderer, and there’s some genuinely fantastic custom content out there.

So alongside trying to gather up some of my favorite custom levels from yesteryear so I never have to look back there again (dopa‘s still fun, I don’t care what anyone says), I’ve been working on a new map. I’m calling it Arrogant Erratum, and it’ll be the final one in the first episode.

Seeing as a major theme of the first episode is dreams, I figure it’s only fitting that this map would be a sort of revisiting of not just older maps, but also my older maps (though you’ll have to find it >w>). After you walk out of the miserable void you spawn in (disarmed, by the way), you end up in the start map! Not the Dark Saga‘s start map, the original one. So of course, you being a veteran, you probably immediately take the hard hallway and expect to get right on with it.

The spawn area in Arrogant Erratum
Totally just eyeballed all the geometry and it fit together first try. Was hype.

I wouldn’t be so arrogant, my friend.

That’s not to say it’s all rehashes, of course. Seeing as I left before I could really capitalize on whatever ideas I had brewing, I’ve been trying to fit those (and some new ones) in, one per chunk of level. The first half is the more traditional Quake stuff, taking you through knight-infested sewers, and the second half starts with fighting bioluminescent ogres underwater and only gets stranger from there.

I’ll be posting progress updates from here on out as I continue to build this thing. (Only been a month,,,) There’ll still be a full postmortem on my main site after it’s all said and done, and NewHouse has given the go-ahead to release a standalone id1 version of this level, sort of a director’s cut with the original enemy placement and balance and missing any tweaks he wants to make this fit better into the episode. That’ll stand as my possibly my final contribution to the Quake scene in any capacity. (Nothing’s set in stone I suppose, but I’m already putting off more stories, an album, finishing an EP, learning guitar, and learning to draw for this. One thing at a time.)

Back when I built “Temple of the Strange”, I had no clue what I was doing and no intention of anyone else ever playing that level. Though I build this one with more experience and a more keen eye, I’m back to building things pretty much exclusively for myself and my friends, and I’m enjoying the hell out of it.

Have some more screenshots so far. Remember, Quake is good for you.

The spawn of Arrogant Erratum
Don’t get lost now…
The sewers in Arrogant Erratum
These sewers were meant to be an optional path until I accidentally put like two weeks of work into them. It caused me to refactor the entire level to make this a main section, and given how much I like how it came out, I don’t regret a thing.
The "Anoxia" portion of Arrogant Erratum
Spot the reference!
The flooded wing of the castle in Arrogant Erratum
Life hack: skip the lights, just do "effects" "4" on all the monsters in your level.

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