RoachQuake, Ver. 1.2, by David M. Pochron
A mod for Quake 2 that makes the BFG turn your opponents into roaches!
Elder God Ruins — Author’s Note
If you haven’t figured it out by now, “Elder God Ruins” is a remake of my favorite Q1 map, “Elder God Shrine” (E4M3). The former map is now in ruins, but despite these significant changes I have gone to a great many lengths to make this map play like the original on Q2. Dimensionally, the map is exactly like the original map – all the rooms are the same size, everything is in the original positions of the Q1 version. Note that this map does not use any decompiled Q1 map material. (This map was started long before WinBSPC existed.) I used Quark to jot down the basic room sizes of the original on a piece of paper, then I blocked out the map with large brushes. I then used the hollow tool to simply turn each block into a room or hall, deleted the overlapping end sections, and resized them so they all connected and didn’t leak. I then studied the original map in quake to see how all the room and hall details were layed out, and simply added them in. (The original E4M3 is really a simple map – most of the details like the ceilings are duplicated everywhere in the level and are symmetrical, so once I knew how a detail worked it could be repeated again and again.) In fact, getting the original map with all its details only took about a week’s worth of work in the entire project. Making the map look ruinous is what took most of the time afterwards!
The first changes you’ll notice is the fallen ceilings and crumbling walls. The reason I decided to restrict some of the halls with these objects was it became possible during playtesting for someone with excellent railgun skill to dominate the map because of the long straight nature of the hallways. These fallen objects will give players some places to duck behind if they are being chased by someone with that weapon. Also helpful is the ability to duck into the old light fixtures/windows that were in the old map. The glass has been shattered, and you can duck into these to wait for your pursuer to pass you by and you can turn the tables on him and shoot him from behind.
The biggest changes are the graveyard and the exit room. The exit room’s exit has collapsed into a large chasm that formed after the destruction of Shub-Niggurath. It’s very impressive to look at, but this doesn’t really affect the play of the map as there is no useful items in the chasm. (The chasm was really designed for the “Weapons of Destruction” mod so players could have air to air jetpack battles. There’s lots of room in the chasm for that, and the lava at the bottom makes things very interesting as players will have to keep an eye on their jetpack fuel! :-)
The graveyard is the other big change in the map, and it does change a bit how the map is played. In the original, the only way to the graveyard was through an underwater passage. I noticed however, that this didn’t make any sense, as the graveyard butted right up against the hump where one of the rocket launchers was located. So, I opened it all up, and now that hallway overlooks the graveyard. In order to make sure the underwater passage was still an important feature of the level, I place a backpack in it.
The other layout change is the addition of the “dig” area where the miners originally uncovered the entrance to the Elder God Shrine. Some items are located here, but the biggest asset is it give players the ability to cross over from one side of the map to the other quickly without having to use a rocket jump in room below. It also allowed me to open up one of the hallways and get some sunlight into there.
Weapons placement is matched as closely as possible to the original map. The rocket launcher, grenade launcher, super shotgun, machine gun, and chaingun are direct replacements for the original Q1 weapons. The hyperblaster is used to replace the two places the lightning gun was located. To round out all the Q2 weapons, a railgun (as previously mentioned) was added to the dig area and a BFG was added in a hard to reach spot in the new and improved graveyard area. (This map has so many places to duck and hide, however, that only beginners should be Ammo placement is mostly the same as the original map. I had to add grenades separately since rockets don’t work with the grenade launcher as they did in Q1. Additional power cells were added because of the extra power requirements of the power shield items.
Speaking of which, the ring of invisibility was a bit of a problem. I solved it by substituting two items for it – in two of its locations I used the power shield, and in the other two I used the silencer. (Both very useful, IMO.) Health is pretty much the same as Q1, as is the two instanced of megahealth. An adrenaline was added to help combat the effects of accumulative quad damage in Q2. (See below.)
The quad presented an interesting problem. Early playtesting showed it was possible to acquire “infinite quad” because the original map has so many quads (5 of them!). Because Q2’s quad’s are accumulative, a good player could simply get into a pattern and keep building up quad damage time until they had several minutes of constant quad damage on. This was unacceptable, so I removed two of the quads. One of the quads (in the graveyard) was turned into an invulnerability (which the original Q1 map had none of) in order to combat quad hogs. The other quad (in the red armor room) was turned into a bandolier to give players some extra ammo to combat anyone trying to hog the backpack. If all this sounds complicated, it really isn’t. This is just the result of 9 months of playtesting while I’ve been working bit by bit on the map. In any case, server operators can turn off all the powerups if they like, though my feeling is the abundance of powerups in the original map added to the overall enjoyability of that level.
If you’ve ever played the original, you know that the rocket launcher is king (as is the case in most Q1 maps.) In the ruins, firing the RL down long hallways isn’t going to be very effective (unless the server is running a Q1 rocket mod). There really isn’t a “top” weapon in this map, as I’ve modified the map enough that anyone should be able to effectively use the weapon they are most comfortable with. (Aside from the blaster and regular shotgun, of course. :-)
There are no weapons secrets in this map, only one easter egg that refers to another Q1 map. (You’ll know it if you find it. ;-) Since everyone knows the secrets of the original map by now, I took them out. (It didn’t make sense for “ruins” to have working secrets, anyhow.) All the raising floors have been replaced with ladders, and the teleporters have been replaced by Company(tm) teleportation equipment. :-) The lava hall moving floor fell apart years ago, but the expedition crews bridged the gap with difficult to navigate metal beams.
The lightning is mostly the same as the original. However, since the original light fixtures/windows shattered long ago, the expedition crews installed mine lights everywhere. I wanted to use ArghRad to light the outside, but it didn’t create the harsh interior lighting effect I got with id’s QRAD3 program (which I wanted for the ruins), so the outside is lit with several small lights to give the appearance of sunlight.
Because this is a modified Q1 map, players should get good performance on just about any system. (Most of the work was done on this map while I still had a Voodoo1 accelerator.)
In closing, although this map is visually different from the original, after working and playtesting it for so long, I still think I’ve managed to capture the feel of the original without simply duplicating it verbatim. If you want to make an exact duplicate of the original E4M3 map, I am releasing the .map file at the point which I was finished reconstructing the original. You can then recompile it into a version that looks just like E4M3. Note, however, that this .map doesn’t have any lights and doesn’t have many textures other than the brick, so you’ll still have a lot of work ahead of you if you want to make an exact copy the original. The .map file is located at my web page. (See top of this document.) Eventually, I’ll probably release the .map file for the ruins as well, after I see how well the “Elder God Ruins” goes over with gamers. Feel free to comment to me on it after you’ve played it!