Aerowalk2 (209k) Mattias “Preacher” Konradsson | web | 2-8 FFA
Deathmatch Heaven // DeFrag // GameFreaks.net
This level is simply Preacher’s old Q1 Aerowalk with a Q2 makeover. His conversion is almost flawless. The space is built from 4 tiers that spill into a single atrium. We enjoy the same kick-ass layout although his construction differs ever so slightly. For instance, the baseboards that run around the bottom of the walls in the atrium are inset. These may have been governed by his texture-set but are a welcome touch. This level is not a cracker-box ladies & gentlemen. Preacher certainly knows what a real map entails. He gives us a well thought-out architectural design in which the support columns are very much an integral part of the entire structure. The little angles where a column meets the separate floors are phenomenal.
Atmosphere & Lighting
Overall, the mood seems a bit subversive & darker than the original but brings a heightened-awareness to the mix. There exists no ambient sounds that might overpower the tell-tale footsteps of your adversaries. This level was made for only one purpose in life, intense-deathmatch. I don’t feel quite the immersion as I do in other levels due perhaps to the lack of ambience. One certainly feels at home though as Aerowalk2 is comparable to Final Showdown in regular Q2 regarding theme. Lighting is consistent throughout the plan & lends a bit of electricity to the air. The majority of lighting is white & non-sourced. This seems a bit unrealistic but the intensity-level is adequate. When he adds the blue-highlighting on the stairs, walls, & teleporters the effect is almost a sterile-like atmosphere.
Style & Textures
I cannot fathom the application of an alternate texture-set. Every texture is consistent with the next. The Strogg obviously designed this outpost from hell very meticulously. I did find however a few instances of misalignments though. If you look at the recessed-lights on the wall-panels near the GL, the brush-subtractions could have extended another couple units to the right. The walls are not exactly ornate, bleak you might say. But you would rather have a fast level right? I counted a solitary Strogg-emblem level-wide to break up the monotonous metal-panels. Additionally, only two separate ceiling-textures are utilized. The cuts in the ceiling sure opened it up a little though & the space-environ is well suited to the metallic-style & complements the entire level nicely.
Weapons, Ammo, & Items
I’ve ran this level so often in the last year or so that I can’t think of any improvement to weapon-placement. All of the weapons make an entrance but the BFG & MG. In many cases, ammo or armor sits on the spawn-pads. This ensures some very interesting situations. If you absolutely need that armor, you run the risk of being telefragged when playing with alot of people. You will not be at a loss in finding adequate firepower though. Often a decent weapon is only a few feet away from any given spot while ammo is plentiful enough to support 6 players without engaging in dreadful blaster-fights. The Body-Armor is fairly difficult to reach but is worth the effort. Another great feature that is very prevalent in custom-levels today, is the addition of weapon- placement indicators under every weapon-spawn. I love those as they add detail to the floor & yet another tactical-element to gameplay. When you see your foe running for that SSG, simply throw a rocket down there. By the time he gets to it… wham! The Mega-Health is in ready view of all from anywhere within the atrium as it sits flat on the floor just up a ramp from the pit itself. This doesn’t seem to present itself as a sucker-item which might draw fire though because it can be obtained very quickly. In such a fast level, its acquisition over your adversaries can mean the difference between life & death.
Balance & Gameplay
Two one-way & two dual teleporters further enhance the already great game-flow. Connectivity is top-notch & with the famed vertical-element, one can routinely deal two tons of death-from-above. Even though there are so many sniping-points from up high, these become irrelevant when playing with more than 4 people. There is just too much action. When Aerowalk2 is coupled with a mod that supports a hook, everything is thrown out the proverbial window. Tactics employ quick & evasive maneuvers from one tier to another or throwing rocks into the bowels of the atrium. Frag-counts run very high with only a few players. Least we not forget the single trigger-push that blows you from one of the middle layers, up near the RL & CG.
Technical & Presentation
W_polys average around 250 in the outskirts, 300-500 in the atrium, & top 600. Clip-brushes are not necessary due to the way Preacher implemented his trim-work. I think I only ran into one or two clips. There are a few spots that you can hang on, but again clips would have been out of place because the sides of the openings in question were just too wide. If he would have added clips to these, you would be unnaturally pushed to the side as you navigate through. There seemed to be some extraneous brushes but were probably needed as fillers during his Q1-Q2 conversion. Also if you run a hook-enabled mod, you can hook to a far-corner inside the blue teleporters & drop down. I don’t really consider this a bug, but a prime camping- spot, inside the teleporter! I did find a rather nasty bug though. If you navigate from the SSG through the tele while moving straight-ahead at all times, you just simply… crater. I don’t know what to make of this so if any of you have ideas, please email me. Unfortunately, the text-file that accompanies the map is rather sparse. I yearned for his compilation timings & brush information. There is a typo in there as well with the reference to Arghrad which he cast aside for humor’s sake. It is my opinion that he should have given us a bit more effort in his documentation.
Aerowalk2 has run on our Custom-server for over a year & remains a corner-stone of the rotation. This frag-fest comes very highly recommended considering the fact that it plays so well, looks good, & tastes great! Custom-level servers usually are not frequented by too many players at once. Thus, a smaller level like Aerowalk2 should be one of your mainstays… A