Uncroaking “Necrophilia”

Been working 14 hours straight on e1m3rq, “Necrophilia” yesterday. It’s been a while since I touched it, so it had a piercing stench all over it, and it was pitch-black and not very funny. 😉

There was much cutting of superfluous little things (including side areas), and simplifying the routing to get the player down to the challenge (moat bridges) as quickly as possible. All combat was removed from the first minute or so of the level, but increased later on, making Necrophilia the most combat heavy map in Episode 1 at just under 200 monsters, at least half of them zombies. Let the gibs fly.

In The Temple of Aliit'k

I also enabled the coloured lighting. Eep – the fact that it was still black-and-white goes to show you how long this map rotted in a dark corner of RMQ’s SVN. I was pleasantly surprised how comparatively little time it took to polish it up – routine paying off? Anyway, it’s looking halfway decent now, about 85% done, and it’s very playable.

The Moat

The moat area was just too dark; if you can’t see anything, gameplay suffers, and you’re giving away a perfectly good part of the level because people just won’t notice much about it, except that it was dark, they got lost and there were zombies. I guess that’s a lose-lose situation. So it’s usually better to have more light than less.

It’s not that easy to light such a spacious area in Quake, except with sunlight or minlight. I went for sunlight, which takes away some of the dank feel, but in the end it’s a game and must be playable, so I’ve got to compromise and I’ll err on the side of gameplay if necessary. So let there be light.

Quake is still a pretty dark game, and you can’t do a terrible lot about it. Part of it comes from the lightmaps – you can’t brighten a texture with light, you can only darken it with shadows. So there is just a finite brightness there – you don’t have a lot of headroom with your lighting. The textures themselves are also pretty dark, which further adds to the problem.

Your only option to introduce contrast is to make most of the map darker, in order to make the highlights stand out more. This is one of the reasons why Quake is best enjoyed in a darkened room (and on a TFT monitor, in my opinion).

e1m3rq Impressions

The map includes three challenge rooms, where you do puzzles or similar things to reach switches at the end. I decided to let the player choose which one they want to open, albeit without knowing which is which. 😉

Apart from that, ijed says it’s pretty open and also pretty challenging which is probably a good description. There was mention of scary, as well, which isn’t something I intentionally went for, it’s more a result of the pacing I guess.

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7 responses to “Uncroaking “Necrophilia”

  • =peg=

    Heh, I can’t see much in them screenies indeed, but they still look very quakey to me, so good job! 😀

  • kneedeepinthedoomed

    For me they are dark, but not too dark. Are you on a CRT?

  • =peg=

    Yeah, CRT.. I copied one of ‘m screenshots to an image editor and bumped the gamma to 1.5 but still couldn’t see much really (except the image got uglier ;))

    Guess it will look better on TFT, but.. TFT = 60 Hz + low res = meh :/

  • =peg=

    Mind you, I should check it in-game to see if it is actually too dark.. can always adjust gamma/brightness/contrast in-game to compensate..

    When I take screenshots, they always end up looking much darker then the actual in-game image.. so kinda hard to judge it on screenies alone..

  • kneedeepinthedoomed

    Gamma was already bumped to 1.5 on these screenies.

    I guess it’s still too dark then. The map is noticeably darker than the others, which is due to almost no sky and light sources being limited to a couple torches and a lot of candles… and the colour.

    The other maps all have sky windows, or at least more white light sources. Hmm, I might turn up the _sunlight3, or really put in local minlights, as ijed suggested already.

    I can also tweak the torches to be whiter.

  • =peg=

    Going with 1/x or 1/x2 on the fall-off (delay) might help here and there.. extending the reach of the torches without increasing the overall brightness too much.. can result in some unintended bright spots where the fall-off radius of two light-sources overlap.. so it takes some testing and tweaking.. (as is always the case with lighting I guess 😉

  • kneedeepinthedoomed

    All the torches should be delay 5 already… I’ll tweak some of the candles and add some other light sources.

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