Twist of Fate

core_before_stripping

I sat down and did the heavy lifting with the former e1m2rq level today – this is the last state of the map before the chopping. It used to be slightly bigger than that while it was still part of Remake Quake. The version above had some hinting done and had the outdoor area reduced in scale in order to convert it to q3bsp.

Anyway. I had decided back in February or so to get rid of the entire outdoor area with the towers and castle walls and such and replace it with a new temple setpiece, which I’ve since been working on:

temple_greybox

The core of the level, the original dungeon part, is meant to be located behind the temple inside the hill. So it pretty much needs an entrance tunnel, and it needs to connect to the Catacombs level (former RMQ necropolis) on the other side.

So first off, the entire outdoor part got stripped away (except one house which I want to reuse in the temple area somewhere, so it will be exported as an individual object later.)

core_after_stripping

This looks more manageable, doesn’t it. However, there are a few things wrong with it: It needs a new entry and exit point, since it now conceptually runs underneath a mountain, ideally on opposite sides. There is also a rotating bridge in this level that the player has to collect parts for, and it has bugged me for years, literally, that the bridge didn’t lead to the exit. It just made no sense – the player should collect the parts, the bridge should move and that should be the exit. So the level needs to be mogrified in such a way as to make that happen. The bridge in the above image is in the top left near the black square, and it points to the right (ie inside the level instead of away from it).

core_operation_plan

So I made a plan by cutting and pushing parts of the level around in Gimp. What I came up with involved cutting the map in half, then mirroring the entire left half of it, and matching up the connections in a new way. The entrance would be at the top, the exit at the bottom, and the bridge – yay – would then point to the exit. There weren’t really so many other good options. All right, let’s do that then.

core_op

The OP. This made me feel a bit like Dr. Frankenstein, or perhaps mad Dr. Steinman from Bioshock. After all, the core of this level is 5 years old and this is a quite radical change. But it’s all for the best, right? Ha ha!

core_result

The result.

Moving around in this feels very strange, since the old layout was etched into my memory and now, part of it is suddenly mirrored and the connections are all different. Weird stuff. But the goals were definitely reached.

The original thought with the old RMQ layout was to turn the map inside out – to allow the player to run around outside the level proper, prance around on the roofs which could previously only be seen from the inside, and jump from towers. In a weird way, this latest turning stuff around fits the theme.

If anyone had told me this 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have believed it. Not even 2 years ago.

I still have several earlier versions of this map, of course, so there is a slim chance that the RMQ version will eventually see the light of day as a Quake mod, together with the rest of RMQ Episode 1. But likely only after Schism gets released, since AFAIK they use several of my maps.

After I did the cutting, I must say I didn’t necessarily want to do it ever again. After all, it’s like taking a sculpture and putting the head on backwards. It will need to be done at least one more time, though it won’t be quite as drastic as this operation.

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