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 Castle Kaahoo (Q1SP)   Information File Size: 9.36Mb
Grand Facade Guard Duty Strafe Shoot and Jump Ascending Layers

 Background Information
What started out as a speed mapping session using the theme of Castle of Koohoo by Vondur turned into a three day mapping session using large amounts of monolithic bricks and experimenting with various ideas of vertical player progression.

The Castle of Koohoo is an eclectic collection of heavily shadowed brick textures dripping in gloomy shadows and painted across vertical slices of architectural festering in murky pools of swamp water. The light from the stars above struggles to illuminate the depths of the castle below and the players journey is punctuated by frequent bursts of enemies coming from all directions.

The textures used in Koohoo were originally from the game Heretic 2 by Raven Software and when they were converted over to Quake a few problems appeared. Most notable are the eclectic colours, heavy shadows and lots of visual details missing, like the incomplete animation groups for buttons and the lack of different sizes for trim textures.

With a limited amount of time to create the map, one way to extend gameplay is to reuse the same area. The was achieved by making the flow of the map go through the front door, loop around on either side and then back across the front area to the exit. This allowed for architecture to be mirrored (saving time) and the player to experience the map from different heights.

Wow Moment The front facade of the castle was designed to be a visual wow moment first followed by a gentle introduction to combat. The greatest mistake for any map designer is to overwhelm the player at the beginning, it is easy to forget that the the player is new to the environment while the map designer knows every detail.

Starting a level for the first time is a lot of information to take in all at once and the pacing needs to be smooth. The player needs to get familiar with the environment, understand where to go and be given a chance enjoy the atmosphere and architecture.

Once inside the castle interior the corridor branches in opposite directions offering a choice to the player. Left leads to a tall vertical space filled with sparse combat and jumping puzzles, while the right is a series of staccato style combat and plenty of ledges to explore. Each side joins together eventually at the top allowing the player the chance to carry on or explore the opposite side in reverse.

Some players can accept the chance to play an area backwards while others think it is broken. This is often dictated by the design of the game where players are expected to be moving forward all of the time and when this situation is changed by the designer, it is labelled as a mistake. Player expectations can often be difficult to change, especially if they have seen a similar situation before and found it was an accident instead of by design.

Behind Bars The left path of the map is one giant vertical room with ledges, walkways and plenty of nail shooters to keep the player on their toes. Monsters are waiting on high ledges to distract the player and let them wander into the line of fire of ground level shooters.

The first objective is to unlock the teleporter on the ground floor by jumping over a pair of locked gates. The locked area is hinted at by a flickering wall light and gaining access is via a jump from the central walkway, which should hopefully hint to the player that jumping is going to be key to this room.

Once the button is pushed, the player is turned around via a monster placed up high and will hear the sound of the ground floor teleport being unlocked. The front entrance doors will be opened if the player has entered this area in reverse (jumped down) so that the second stage can be skipped.

On the second level the player is greeted by a few more monsters and then left to discover the final movement puzzle of jumping between various ledges within a certain time frame. If the player should fall down there are various safety nets around the room to help, a large pool of water, walkways and plenty of light fixtures to reduce falling damage. To speed up the puzzle retry process there is a large teleporter on the ground floor.

Figure of Eight The right path of the map is a large square room with the vertical space above fragmented by large walls, small ledges and a split pair of lifts. The lower floor is a figure of eight with a central spike shooter to keep the player moving around and an obvious locked door next to an glowing floor button.

The combat starts when the button is pressed and one side of the room gradually opens up via a lovely set of staggered doors. The monsters are setup to always start infighting and the player can either watch the spectacle or draw them out to the center of the room.

The real surprise is the second wave of monsters on the opposite side of the room, they are setup on a delayed timer. This creates a false sense of security, as the player will often stand next to the unopened door thinking they are safe. As the second wave is reveals the player will usually panic because the next wave of monsters has fiends and they can be deadly up close. To counter this surprise the player is free to move outside of the area and use the front door as a chokepoint.

Even without locking the player in this area, the combat situation can be deadly if the player does not move around. It just goes to show that the typical gameplay idea of 'locking players in' during combat is not really necessary to create the intensity of a combat situation. If the player explores the area first there is a hidden wall button that will turn off the spike shooters and reveal a way to open the central locked doors for a good prize.

Long Distance Rockets The final part to the map is 'The Rite of Gold' which takes place on the second level of the facade that overlooks the start area. There are monster ambushes on either side, but if the player waits a short while a special set of doors will open allowing the player the chance to surprise the monsters instead!

There is a teleporter shortcut opened on the ground floor when the second floor button is used, but this is such a long distance away from the trigger that most people who tested the map did not see the connection and ignored it.

The final objective is to get the gold key in the upper floor of the building opposite the castle facade. On either side of this building is a button which must be pressed and in a really obvious way forces the player to backtrack (extending gameplay) and fight additional enemies. Once the gold key has been picked up it is a quick run for the exit, past some fiends and straight for the final teleporter where the player began their journey.

Lying on a broken walkway in the middle of the start area is a Rocket Launcher, which when picked up will spawn a swarm of angry scrags far above in the skies and a couple of fiends below. There is nothing quiet like the feeling of firing rockets at long range targets and seeing the smoke and particle trails drift slowly towards pixel targets.

This area contains a couple of fun gameplay tricks and the first one is all about a deadly distraction. While an army of scrags are causing the player to focus their attention upwards, a couple of fiends are roaming around on the ground hoping for a deadly jump attack. The second trick is a long narrow bridge with no cover, a large pack of knights and a hidden shambler. The player is forced to think fast as the shambler creates a hide or die situation and the quick moving knights push the player backwards with melee attacks while the shambler gets a couple of free strikes.

Even thou the map was made in several days I think it captures a lovely ancient feeling with the giant facade and extremely tall interiors. The fact that the player has a choice of routes certainly will add to the replay value of the map and the secrets are tough and varied enough to be worth hunting for. Overall the map was a huge success in using rapid building technics and trying out some new ambush ideas.

 Map Information
Map TypeSP (Single Player) only
Difficult84 - Monsters
DevelopmentThree days
Skybox1960Moon was created with Terragen 3 by me
TexturesFrom Koohoo and re-coloured by me
SourceMap and texture WAD included in the PAK file

-ID software for creating Quake
-Additional map feedback and testing by scampie and Daz
-BSP/VIS Compilers - TYRUTILS v0.14 by Kevin Shanahan
-Light Compiler by Bengt Jardrup
-Coloured light and LIT support by MH
-TexMex 3.4 by Mike Jackman (good for organizing textures)
-AdQuedit 1.3 by Hicks Goldrush (perfect for pak files)

Architectural Concepts -
The Bridge Crane -
Florentine Library -
Shape and Form -
Single Player Maps -
Edge of Forever -
Freeport Docks -
Midnight Stalker -
Backsteingotik -
The Ivory Tower -
The Horde of Zendar -
Metal Monstrosity -
Castle Kaahoo -
One Thousand Cuts -
Fallen From Grace -
Single Player Mods -
In the Shadows -
Arcane Dimensions -
AD Only Maps -
Arcane Adamantine -
Arcane Monstrosity -
Firetop Mountain -
Forgotten Sepulcher -
Grendels' Blade -
Nyarlathoteps Castle -
Obsessive Bricks -
Ogre Fortress (e2m2) -
Slipgate Conundrum -
Tenacious Tentacle -
The City of Zendar -
Multi Player Maps -
Focal Point (QuakeLive) -
Pyramid of the Magician -
Mystic Gemini -
Si'Metrik -
Chiroptera -
Indie Games -
Flipper -
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