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Ministry of Death ? $comment_count ?>
"Snotman" | | 4.73MB | 05.03.00 | Duel | site |

The Garden Architecture - The premise for this piece appears to be an ill-omened cathedral. Massive ornamented spires and a main facade overlook the meditation garden. Covered galleries flank the garden winding their way to the interior of the structure. Worshippers can also use a large operating door in the main facade for more direct access. These three routes open to a spacious central nave, replete with vaulted ceiling, ambulatory and the Fog of Death for those who wish to ignore the collection plate.

Lighting and Texture - Visual contrast is solid as you move from stark steel tones in the garden to a more subdued torchlit brimstone haze in the interior. Sourced, ambient and transitional lighting mesh seamlessly throughout. Tetxure selection is kept to a decent minimum providing a consistent, believeable scheme.

The NavePerformance - Brushwork appears to be quite economical. Still, the polys present a realistic model of the selected subject. Detailed constructions and curved surfaces are sparse but used effectively to help convey a real-world feel to the piece while keeping your processor off its knees. Use of clippers is just about right allowing you to explore, although you'll encounter a slight hitch entering the single teleporter. FPS numbers were good so expect great performance. (Screens courtesy of Snotman)

Weapons - RL, LG, Rail, Plasma Gun and the Shotty.
Armor - 1 each RA and YA. 4 Shards.
Health - 2 Green Orbs and 6 Yellow Orbs.
Items - 1 Personal Teleporter along with alternating Haste and Regeneration runes.

Author's Comments - A major part of our mapping project is to understand what forces are at work that influence or restrict how players interface with the pieces authors build. To help direct player comment I asked Snotman to describe his approach to basic design elements:

How did you approach the architecture?
As usual KMLTOURNEY1 never turned out the way I expected. I did however have a clear idea of what kind of gameplay I wanted when I started; a mixture of open courtyard, tight hallway and platform and jumppad action. Aesthetics was important to me too as I try to build maps that have gameplay AND looks, in that order.

Gameplay is primarily what steered my choice of design but I also had to make a number of large layout changes to keep the gameflow balanced and for other technical reasons. The teleporter was added to make the gameflow more circular and to give anyone trying to hold the main platform in the hall something to think about.

What about weapon/items selection and placement?
Unlike some tourney maps, I wanted to include most of the weapons to allow players to use their strongest weapon and pick the "right tool for the gib err ... job"=). The RL in the middle of the courtyard forces players out in the open to get that staple weapon. The RG is placed where it can nicely cover the main hall and the platform with the powerups.

Ammo is placed to force players to move around the level to get it. The two small health items in the YA room were placed there as an audible cue for player location, and the Personal Teleporter also acts in this way and adds another dimension to gameplay.

Did you "build in" any play directing features?
Wherever possible I tried to avoid situations that created unfair advantages, with the possible exception of hiding on top of the Jesus statue=). I hoped that the two levels and platforms in the main hall would generate some nice RG action.

Any intangibles or extras?
I wanted to add palpable atmosphere to the game so I added some new "horror" sound fx and the "big evil dude" game commentary. The latter can be quite amusing at times when you've just nailed your opponent bigtime and the big guy gives out a good old belly laugh!

The Bottom Line -
The author's done a great job all-round building this map and I think it's a solid candidate for competitive play. I urge you to grab it and give it a spin. After you've had a go at it, why not stop back by and give some constructive feedback. We value your input as well. Comments generated here, and on subsequent maps we present, will help further define baseline design considerations for our in-house mapping project. Thanks.

Initial impressions
Comment by on 08:23, Monday, 08 May 2000
I've just played this map about 4 times against the DOOM bot on Hardcore and it was really fun. Mind you, I was using the latest build of promode ;-)

Being an agnostic, I loved the "Ministry of Death" theme and got a real laugh out of the new sounds. Visually, this map is absolutely stunning :).

Gameplay-wise, it's very different to what "pro-gamers" usually play in tournaments. Here are my thoughts:

For some reason, competitive gamers do not use powerups or the personal teleporter (PT) in tournament games. You might imagine that they should, because it adds new dimensions to the gameplay. But they don't - so a map designed around powerups is potentially unbalanced when they're disabled for competitive play.

What tends to drive Q3 "pro" tournament games (imo) is control of the RA, subsidiary armors, and MH, if it's available. Basically, if you have more of these than your opponent, then other things being equal you will survive more contacts than they do.

In vanilla Q3A, since there are so many strong weapons around and they spawn every 5 seconds it's harder to design gameplay around weapon control and denial, unless you limit available weapons. So most players will get kitted up pretty easily and go hunting for the RA and MH. When they have those items under control they will more aggressively look for and force a contact.

If the Rail Gun is in a map, that changes things dramatically, because it becomes a matter of keeping out of sight and sneaking shots around corners. If a good Rail player sees you in the open - you're dead. I'm not sure how this would impact the RG and the central platform but my guess is someone with RG could control that open space pretty easily. I'd like to see this tested out of course with some really good players :).

Overall, this map striks me as a really fun map to play, but not perhaps one that "pro-gamers" would find meets their needs. That being said, it still might *work* with powerups turned "off", because of the location of the RA. I hope some decent players give it a go and provide us with some more comments here.

Some thoughts
Comment by on 11:07, Monday, 08 May 2000
Ok, I must admit I haven't actually played the map, so my thoughts might not be completely accurate. However, I agree with Hoony about most things, except that I believe powerups don't fit a duel map.

I have one comment though. As Hoony said, a good railgun player would probably be able to defend the RA room easily, and this would perhaps cause some problems. As I see it, the other player would sooner or later end up around the RL/YA area, just trying to get as many YAs as possible before he tries to attack the railgun player. This isn't a problem with the map actually - rather a problem with q3 itself. I believe such "hide and seek" gameplay would be rather boring to spectate.

But as I said, I never actually played the map, and I'm not a good duel player. I'm looking forward for demos that proove me wrong, though I believe such demo will be recorded with Pro Mode ;)

// Khaile

Comment by on 02:26, Tuesday, 09 May 2000
I found pretty much the same problems with this map that Hoony and Khaile did. It looks really pretty and all, but the RA room is awfully defendable with the Railgun, which isnt the type of gameplay that I like to play or watch. The Railgun is cool and all, but its better to design with combination attacks in mind since they are much more interesting and spectacular. :) (especially with instant weapon switching in Pro Mode!)

As far as powerups go, Hoony is right in that they add new dimensions to the gameplay.. However, these are not particularily good or fun dimensions. ;) For the most part they just imbalance the game. You might as well deduct a frag from your enemy's score every time you pick up the personal teleporter.

If a mapper wants his map to be taken seriously by competetive duellers, then please leave the powerups out. ;) On the other hand, powerups are perfectly fine for Team DM maps, but only the Quad Damage and the Battlesuit. Haste and Regeneration are viewed as silly by the Team DM crowd (and many of the competetive CTF people as well!).

On powerups
Comment by on 17:09, Tuesday, 09 May 2000
Just to clear up what I said about powerups. I *don't* think they should be in a 1on1 map. But I can understand why someone might think that they would "add a new dimension" to the game.

Powerups tend to *ruin* 1on1. Why's that? Well, take Quad as an example. Quad was the first powerup we saw, in Q1. When duels first began to be played, players used Quad (remember those DM2 demos with Romero and Killcreek?). But after a while, gamers decided somehow that Quad just make it too easy for the Quad player in 1on1.

With good players, if one of them got Quad there was little skill involved in the frag, no challenge in aiming etc, and it just got boring. The game also turned into "camp the Quad", since Quad was such a totally dominating item. So a long time ago, gamers seemed to universally agree that Quad in duels was bad.

I know Quad and the battlesuit are used in Team DM - it's different there :P.

With the other powerups (Regen and Haste) they are just viewed as too "gimmicky" to be in a serious competition map, and they don't even appear in Team DM maps. This is just the way expert gamers have come to view what makes for a serious, competitive map. Hope this helps.

Just an idea...
Comment by on 23:42, Tuesday, 09 May 2000
I had this small idea... how will the gameplay change if you switch the RL's and RG's locations?

I just mean that you would then have the weapon to enter the other half of the map, rather than having the weapon to defend the one you're already in.

Comment by on 07:00, Wednesday, 10 May 2000
This map is way to symmetric to provide interesting gameplay and the powerups should be left out. The one good thing i noticed when playing the map is that the relative lack of health actually is very good for strategic purposes (compared to q3dm13 that in a very sad way is destroyed by the braindead abundance of health)

Comment by on 10:02, Wednesday, 10 May 2000
but it sure looks good =]

Why is symmetry a bad thing for a 1on1 map?
Comment by on 18:14, Wednesday, 10 May 2000
Everyone always says, that T2 is "too symmetrical" etc. Perhaps we need to explain why this is a bad thing. I have noticed that quite a few mappers use symmetry as a design theme.

I have never talked with anyone about why symmetry is bad so I would like to hear some other views please :).

My view is that it makes the game boring and too predictable - two halves of the map are the same as each other. This doesn't just mean it's *visually* boring, but it means that the gameplay is the same in both sides - it's just that you do the same stuff turning "right" instead of turning "left". It also means the map is *much* more predictable - if you guess your opponent is heading for the other side you know they will get there at about the same time regardless of which route they took, because both routes are the same. It also means if they aren't in "this half", they must be in the "other half" or on their way. If there was a "third" half then the probabilities would be more interesting etc.

Another potential problem with symmetrical maps is that you can constantly run away from your opponent?

I must say, in respect of "Ministry of Death" that while it is symmetrical it is not perfectly so (like T2). The two routes on either side are different. It is comparable to T2 in that you have two main rooms (the RG/LG room with fog 'o' death and the RL room) at either end of the map with symmetrical routes to them on either side (plus an extra route in the middle).

on symmetry
Comment by on 04:29, Thursday, 11 May 2000
Yes, symmetric maps are bad mainly because they in a sense only are half as big, and therefore boring and simple. Hoony pretty much summed that up. What i really wanted to mention was that symmetry might be a very good thing too. Good examples of this is the middles of q1dm6 and q1dm3. Those have some symmetric areas that really looks cool, but those areas isnt bad for the gameplay, because of the smart implementation of symmetry. In a way they are symmetric without being symmetric :).

First Map ?
Comment by on 22:31, Thursday, 11 May 2000
Stunning Visuals and excellent brushwork. Decent item placement and above average gameplay. Next one ought to really turn some heads Kevin....well done:)

Comment by on 20:21, Sunday, 14 May 2000
The level is seamless. This is easily one of (if not THE most) professional usermade levels out to this date.

The gameplay is not that lacking FOR NON-COMPETITION. However, for the higher level of skill? - I must agree that the map's symmetrical layout ails it's attempt to rank as a serious tourney level for the pro-duellist. We need more levels with a non-symmetrical layout.

Look no further than the best duel map of all time : Q2DM1, and also Q3JDM9.

Nevertheless, "Ministry of Death" is a map which will stay on my HDD for a long time to come. Fantastic piece of work.

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