My First Quake Map - In The Abyss

Hey everyone,

I’ve just started Quake mapping in Trenchbroom this past November and immediately got to work on my first map. It started as me just learning the program and experimenting, but then I started just building a map. I wasn’t going for anything visually impressive, but rather focus on making a basic but fun level. I still tried to give it an underwater lab theme though.

I’d like to hear people’s honest thoughts: what they like, what they don’t, what can be improved or changed to make the level better, if there’s balancing issues, how I can improve with future levels, etc. Seriously, I’d love to hear what people think and appreciate the time you take to play my level and provide some feedback!

A warning though, I’ve only tested the map in the two newest versions of quakespasm so I don’t know if there will be any issues in previous versions or other programs.

You can look at some screenshots here:
and download the map here:
Of course I uploaded a version that had an issue with one of the doors, but I quickly fixed it. Fixed version is in the download URL now.

I hope you like it, but even if you don’t, I hope you can give me some good advice. Thank you!

Nice map for a first entry, in my opinion. Feels rather empty and minimalistic, but it is a good map. There are some interesting tidbits in terms of environmental storytelling, but the scenery, remained rather abstract to my perception - just one of those “base” maps with a little spice on top of it, y’know.

I played on “Normal” difficulty and the map felt swift going, without too much of a curve, nonetheless there were some very interesting combat encounters, particularly with the Vores.

I think there is an overabundance of weapon availability in your project here.

For the issues: area; you can see that the waterstream touching the pool, creates given anomaly. location; I thought the light turned on upon the protagonist entering, but it appeared only a flicker effect. I feel like the environment could benefit on some degree of interactivity. doors; lack the sound effect. ambush, lacks better meaning with the use of Fiend. Perhaps you should put a Shambler in there, so that the protagonist got shot in the back while running towards exit. If that is unfeasible, maybe entirely skip the thing?

// Linked screenshots will be deleted in the following weeks.

Thanks for the feedback triple_agent. I’ve already made an update to my map using what you’ve said. I was going mostly for a standard base look with some spice like you described it, but it definitely could use a little more detail, so have added a bit more to some of the areas that also added a bit of geometry.

You also stated that you selected “Normal” difficulty, but I actually haven’t implemented any difficulty changes because I wanted to start with just one version of the level designed for people with plenty of Quake experience, but also something decently challenging but not incredibly so. I made resources a bit more scarce, with different placements, added/changed enemies to some encounters, and spaced the weapons out a bit more. I like the balancing more now. I think I’ve successfully made it more challenging without being unfair, but that’s not up to me to say.

I’ve also added sound to that door, which I can’t believe I forgot because I must have reminded myself a few dozen times that it still needed it, put it off for later, then never got back to it. Well… I finally did thanks to you pointing it out.

I’m glad you brought up the issue with the final encounter as well as it was definitely the one I was least happy with also. I think the added geometry to the room as well as changes to the enemies there have improved it.

Here’s a download for the newer version:

Thanks again for the feedback, I do think it helped me to improve the level. And feel free to share any new thoughts on the new version if you’d like!

The level is more difficult now. Only gripe with enemy placement I have, is that you tend to make Fiends fight uphill, which renders them rather quirky, as they get easily stuck in those corridors you put them in.

The final fight, is more interesting with those additional environmental conditions that you added; only thing that makes me wonder, is the purposefulness of the two medpaks and two nailboxes in the final boss closet - but perhaps, with some use of tactics, they could be handy to someone in shortage.

For technical issues; I would not really call and a very good texture alignment - or texture choice.

There is z-fighting above the monster closet in location.

Fiend shown, spawns too high; hanging in the air.

Apart from these, the door right next to the silver key collectible, is marked as requiring the silver key to unlock. I think it is feasible clue but unnecessary; you could trigger these doors to open only once the silver key has been collected. Then, the player will associate just one passage with the silver key; unless you have reason to create a silver key trail in your map, using the silver key multiple times.

Regarding the two Vores scenario; the player may skip to collect the rocket launcher, which would render the entire combat opportunity, wasted, since the doors leading out of the flooded place are not locked. Think whether it should be mandatory to open them via button, located where the rocket launcher is. Think also whether the rocket launcher, is a necessary collectible.

Could you also tell me what does geometry represent in the room given?

I think that I played your map enough for now. I wish you luck on your progress in ‘Quake’ mapping!

Y’know what you could do with the boss closet that has a Shambler in it, to make the location more purposeful? Place there a button. What kind of button? The button that unlocks the second gate leading to exit. You see, the first gate is unlocked near a gold key collectible. That is fine, just do not let the player see from that point there is a second gate right after the first one, to be unlocked, in order to exit - until they reach the place, see it; which triggers the Shambler. I think this could give the final fight some more meaning.

Thanks again triple_agent. Don’t worry about playing it more if you don’t want to, playing it even once is more than enough for me and your feedback has been excellent! I really appreciate it.

I made some changes to the final fight again, so now that closet is small and basically useless now and moved the items from inside into smaller closets within the main area. The closet on the farther side now also has a button needed to open a second door similar to what you suggested so the player is required to cross the enemies’ paths in order to open the second gate. May not be super logical, but I think it makes the encounter more engaging.

Also made fixes to the textures you pointed out and it definitely looks better I think.

I removed the silver key sign from the door next to it and instead put a message that triggers telling the player they can’t open it from the first side.

I also added a button near the rocket launcher to open the flooded basement’s exit like you suggested and spawns the vores so now going up there and engaging with one of my personal favorite encounters is essential.

And finally, to answer your question about the weird geometry. It’s meant to be a sort of pen that held fiends and as you can see they broke out and it is now open. Realistically, it probably wouldn’t hold them, but it was just more of quick idea I had and is in there as an afterthought.

Thanks again for giving it your time and your feedback has definitely helped to improve the level a lot.

Updated level here:

Maybe then put some inactive zombie corpses inside there or some gibs - or maybe a dead Fiend - to suggest this was meant for holding any kind of livestock? Perhaps the entire area, could bear signs of a bloody breakout.