Slipgate Labs: Progress

Getting down to it: Broke the map up in phases and structured the gameplay of each phase. This includes the main tasks/objectives, like what the player is required to do in order to progress. For example, find a key, press a button and so forth. These maps also show the main setpieces or hotspots that should attract the player’s attention; a 3D scan image of the old Shub-Niggurath, an anomaly sucking bodies and debris through the ceiling, an outdoor setpiece with a helicopter pad/tower (and heli), and a room with a large Herd banner and various insignia related to that ominous cult.

Phase 1 has no combat, no enemies. The player also has no weapons. All that’s there to do is to find a key, absorb the atmosphere (with lots of ambient sounds, contrasting lighting, two setpieces and some hopefully interesting environments) and then pass on to Phase 2. A key feature of RMQ is demonstrated: custom keyitems. Besides this, there is some more technical foolamancy that could be called features, but it should remain unobtrusive. This is the first map of the episode (and if one plays the episodes in order, the first map of RMQ) so I figured we’d ease into it lightly.

Phase 2 still has no combat. Instead, it now presents a puzzle. The goal is to teach the player one of RMQ’s new features, pushables. We do a lot more with pushables than just push them around, and some of this will be shown here. So you could say that Phase 2 introduces a core feature, plus some secondary features like the rotating bridge and again ladders. The player hopefully figures out that they have to get a crate from the upper level and move it into place (puff, wheeze, sweat!) so they can follow the huge signs to the bridge controls and press the big red button. Note to self, try not to spoon-feed everything to the player. The player is a dunce? After watching our guinea pig playtester (=peg=) for a while, I’m not so sure anymore.

Following Phase 2 is the large outdoor area, where not much is happening during the first playthrough. It is, well, large. That’s kind of the point since original Quake was very limited in this regard; the new RMQ engine (RMQe) allows us to build *very* spacious outdoor stuff, though. After the player properly mocks the ETQW or Crysis influence here (you just wait until you come back), they arrive at the main entrance (pictured here in earlier updates). Phase 3 kicks in.

Phase 3 is a progression through several small obstacles, from locked doors (with a button close by) to ambushes by small groups of enemies, the first encounter with an automated ceiling turret, using a vehicle to smash through a door, and generally finding your way around blockages and debris in more or less creative ways (the player has no grappling hook yet – the grapple is a true game changer and allows for radically different ways to progress in a map, but this is just the beginning).

There’s a series of somewhat themed rooms (the generator room, for example) and most notably a Herd shrine. At this point in the game, the player can’t make heads or tails of the goat-head logo. This is a good thing, it means you will live… for now. The corresponding cultists aren’t encountered until much later.

Phase 4, which is the actual slipgate area, is missing. The plan is to require several keys, which are hidden in random places throughout the entire map. That should make for some exploring. There are more than enough obscure side rooms without obvious functions where a key can be hidden… the place is large, after all.

The final stone will be the replay. It would be a shame to not explore the options for combat in such a big level, right.

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