RMQ developments

From the desk of gb…

There have been interesting developments in RemakeQuake lately.

For one, we’ll be switching away from the demo releases to a tighter development cycle that allows less slacking and expands the focus of development into some areas that have seen little progress. This is good, because it makes the project more likely to be finished. The June 22nd demo will happen though.

For another thing, there is a tendency now to have episode specific content that becomes ever more apparent and is starting to affect things like weapon/gameplay balance in each episode. This is because there are strong individual interests especially among level designers who are at the same time episode leads. It’s easy to see how this prevents any sort of global (art) direction. This has been criticized, rightfully so, but it is highly unlikely to change.

It’s quite simply the case that episode leads deliver a lot of content without getting paid. Hence, people are going to want their pet peeves and they have the leverage required to get them. A contributing factor is the ongoing tweakage of things like shotgun damage. Eventually it’s very tempting to have your own shotgun and thus be done with it. Another factor are the differences in mapping style and gameplay preferences in each episode.

These differences manifest themselves as faster/slower overall pacing (weapon damage plays into this), more/less “gimmicks” (puzzles, traps, grapple, elements from other games), direct homages to other mods yes/no, tighter/sparser monster placement, grouping of enemies / consistency of monster groups, higher/lower overall monster count, and so forth.

On top of that are the episode-specific player characters that we decided upon long ago. These are probably, to some degree, symbolic of each episode’s tendencies, consciously or not. You have Episode 1’s Quakegirl, the female counterpart to the original Quakeguy. Of course she is reminescent of both Quake 2’s Athena and, unsurprisingly, Lara Croft. The episode is full of traps, puzzles, grappling, and stuff that is pretty untypical of old Quake. Then you have Episode 3’s player char, who is basically an elite soldier. The episode is, unsurprisingly, combat heavy and oppressive (not without charm though). Episode 2’s main char is quite at home in its medieval castles, and the feel of the episode is accordingly classic Quake with hints of classic Quake mods and the most remarkable setpieces in the game. You see where this is going?

The global weapon lineup will be altered in each episode by replacing some of the standard entries (both spawn weapons and pickups). As it looks, each episode will have replacements for different slots. For example:

Episode 1 will probably replace slots 1, 2 and 3 (ie replacements for axe, shotgun and double-barrel shotgun).

Episode 2 will replace slot 4 as well.

Episode 3 will replace slot 1, 4 and 5 at least.

This might not be the end of it yet. It’s diverging. It remains to be seen how far it diverges. The only alternative is a strong central control. But that’s not happening I think. It’s possible that you will only ever see central control in a project when you start handing out paychecks.

I’ve been watching this game for a while now. It will be interesting to see it play out.

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