Campaign for a friend - thoughts on maps/pacing?

Hi guys,

I’m making a campaign of Quake maps for my friend. I’m using AD/Quakespasm-Spiked, so there are certain maps (Copper mod etc) that I can’t drop in.

My friend hasn’t played Quake since the old vanilla days. My idea is that it will follow the same path as the original - four episodes, 6-7 levels each episode, loose theme per episode.

I want to show him all the wonderful stuff that the community has been up to. Sort of like a ‘now that’s what I call Quake 2020’ compilation. He’s used to modern shooters, so I think he’ll be able to handle the difficulty - but I want to make sure I don’t drop him in the deep end too early.

I also want to make sure there’s a general flow from shorter maps to longer ones each episode.

Where I can, I’ve made a nod towards the original map where a quality remake exists, and it fits somewhat within the flow. He may remember from playing back in the day, so it could be a nostalgic moment for him. I also want each episode to end with a boss fight.

It’s quite sock heavy - in part because he’s great, but also because he makes quite a few maps in the 50-80 monster count category, which helps to raise the pace of an episode gently.

This is what I’ve been testing so far:

Episode 1 (lava-themed, keeps Cthon boss ending)

E1M1 - Detour by Rick Lipsey (func_mapjam 6) (It’s just a killer intro map in terms of atmosphere - possibly too hard tho?)
E1M2 - Candles of the Damned by ComradeBeep (hwjam2)
E1M3 - AD-test 3 by sock (transitions from castle of the damned theme to castle/metal/fire theme, and it’s a great map in its own right)
E1M4 - The Dirge of Despair by Bloodshot (dm4jam)
E1M5 - Grendel’s Blade by sock
E1M6 - Oxyblack Fortress by Heresy

Episode 2 (skull-wizard/medieval theme - it is the realm of black magic, after all!)

E2M1 - Deep Research by ComradeBeep
E2M2 - Wizard library test map by sock
E2M3 - Ogre Bastille by sock
E2M4 - The Underearth by Ericw
E2M5 - Foggybottom by mfx
E2M6 - Necromancer’s Keep by Scampie and Lunaran

Only things that irk me here are the fact Foggybottom is longer and harder than Necromancer’s Keep - but NK feels better as a final boss fight and as an end to ‘The Realm of Black Magic’ in general.

That and the starting base map doesn’t really transition/relate to the wizard library.

Episode 3 (otherworldly/ice/snow theme. Last three maps are all IKwhite)

E3M1 - Dismal Signal by Heresy
E3M2 - A sip of Alkahest by Bal (both these maps ooze atmosphere, and the red sand of heresy’s map transitions to the red sand of bal’s map. There’s also a transition between the same IKblue theme of bal’s map to sock’s map)
E3M3 - Orthogonal Oreo by sock (func_mapjam2)
E3M4 - Pale Signs of Doom by breezekeep (xmasjam2017)
E3M5 - An Angel was heard to call over the city of Celephais by skacky (func_mapjam2)
E3M6 - The Realm of Enceladus by mfx (gorgeous map, ends with an appropriately climactic boss fight)

Is three IKwhite maps in a row too much? Possibly.

Episode 4 (BIG MAP theme - I know it’s not really a theme)

E4M1 - A Warm Welcome Home by bal (xmasjam2017)
E4M2 - Arcane Adamantine by Vondur and Sock
E4M3 - Obsessive Brick disorder by sock
E4M4 - City of Zendar by sock
E4M5 - The Forgotten Sepulchre by Giftmacher and Sock
E4M6 - Leptis Magna by Ionous and PuLSaR

Leptis Magna is a slightly odd choice to end this one, as it’s shorter and more linear than Forgotten Sepulcher. But it does have a cracking boss fight with the sculptor at the end, which feels appropriately epic? Episode 4 feels the most 'big maps I like strung together of the episodes so far.

I’m mulling over whether I should enforce a shotgun start on each map for balance reasons. Especially getting the AD triple-shotgun too early.

I’ve also kept the ‘base map starts an episode’ vibe, aside from episode 1 - should I insert one there do we think? I know Episode 4 doesn’t have such theming as the rest, but the first 3 maps flow very naturally in terms of mood/texturework.

Anyway, apologies for the long post - I’m probably overthinking it, should just have got him to download Arcane Dimensions, and will annoy mappers by the fact I’ve omitted them here. But any thoughts welcome - I know there are so many maps I may have missed.

Just give them something like EoE/Dwell/AD/UDOB and be done with it. Forcing the square peg of standalone levels into the round hole of episode progression won’t end well. I’d say out of all of them, UDOB is the most inviting for newer people.

Oh Dwell is 100% next on his menu if he likes the first taste.

He just needs to sharpen up his skills first - those last two levels are seriously brutal!

ad_test3 is by mfx.

Apologies! I thought all test maps were by Sock.

Anyway, bloody love ad_test 3 - definitely one of the hidden gems of the AD test area.