I’d like to start off by giving a big thanks to everybody who took the time to nominate a map. You guys are awesome, we had a massive variety of maps from a whole bunch of mappers, both new and old. We had an amazing assortment of maps from outright wacky, to atmospheric, to intricate. I’d like to mention that if your map didn’t get shortlisted this year, be sure to build and nominate a map next year, the judges will change every year, so even if your style didn’t suit this years judges, there is a chance that it will suit next years.
Best Vanilla Map
Right off the bat let me start with apologies, due to the rushed and unthorough nature in which I used to sort the nominated maps, one map; Egyptgington by Negke, missed out on this category and was instead moved to best expanded limits map category. As it was discovered after the maps had been shortlisted, it could not be included and as such Negke’s map potentially missed out on winning this category. I’d like to extend a formal apology to Negke, I’m sorry. – Shamblernaut
Furthermore, when this category was created, I had expected nominations that would execute in DOS / Win / GLQuake without any further intervention either by command line or mod. As nominations came flooding in it became obvious that very few maps would meet this strict restriction. Rather than run the category with only a couple of eligible maps and after some discussion with the judges, the decision was made to allow maps into the category so long as they didn’t crash upon launch in WinQuake (after increasing memory size), even if they didn’t play correctly in that engine. These maps were tested by the judges in more modern engines. In order to resolve this in future years I’ll do a better job of communicating the entry requirements, or if the community sees fit, tweak the category to “vanilla quake feel”. Keep your eyes peeled for the debrief thread on func_messageboard after the dust settles on the awards to have your say regarding this matter.
This category was very tight, judges discussed back and forth, playing the maps many times until a winner was found. The three shortlisted were Unholy Ossuary by Miss Bubbles, Well Of Lost Souls by Miss Bubbles, and Unknown Kadath by Redfield.
The Winner is: Unholy Ossuary by Miss Bubbles.
Unholy Ossuary is a medium sized Episode 3 inspired dungeon romp. The player moves from section to section of tight (yet manoeuvrable) hallways and rooms, playing through this moderately challenging map. One could be forgiven for not realising that this is not a vanilla map, it feels very id in nature. Included are some nice id style geometry details and some fun challenging monster encounters and ambushes.
Judge comment: Unholy Ossuary accomplishes a retro feel while also being a ton of fun to blast through! The pacing is great in this one and it feels as if MissBubbles took a page right from id software! It’s just really well done, old fashioned Quake!
Judge comment: Unholy Ossuary is a truly vanilla and classic experience borrowing loads of inspiration from id1 maps. Compact spaces, fair encounters. Well of Lost Souls, while a remarkable map, had 2 instant death traps that werent clearly communicated as such which could result in forcing a full restart of the level.
Judge comment: Unholy Ossuary feels like id at the top of their game. A good balance of abstraction and detail, of encounters and aesthetic, and of tension and calm.
Most of today’s maps exceed the standard Quake limits in some way or another, and each year we see more and more insanely good map. Clearly this category was tight for the judges. The three shortlisted maps were, Egyptgington by Negke, Shattered Soul of the Scarabrus by ORL, and The Forgotten Sepulcher by Giftmacher and Sock. Each of these maps were brilliant and creative in their own respect, however there can only be one winner.
The Winner is: The Forgotten Sepulcher by Giftmacher and Sock.
Every so often a map comes along that exceeds expections and sets a bar for the rest of the community. This intricately connected and detailed map oozes charm and character. The addition of the new monster_boil adds a new cautious element to gameplay, rushing through this map becomes dangerous, as does wandering without paying proper attention to your surroundings. The boils can be used to explode breakable geometry to find secrets, or to hurt or kill other enemies. Proceed with caution lest you get blown up.
The fiend cull is a fun part of this map, finding the secrets is always fun too, and there are no lack of secrets in this map. You’ll need to have a significant amount of time invested in order to play this map, if it’s too much you may need to use saves and play it in multiple sittings. You’ll find books of lore scattered around the place as well as the odd fishing ogre. Also, beware the bog lord.
Judge comment: With The Forgotten Sepulcher, Sock made a map that blew the dungeon doors off their hinges! It’s a whole new experience that is not only beautifully crafted but will inspire other mappers for years to come!
Judge comment: Sepulcher wins this category as it truly defines “Expanded Limits” by having required a custom Quakespasm build in order to run.
Judge comment: Forgotten Sepulcher plays like an entire episode of Arcane Dimensions contained within a single map. It’s gorgeous, highly detailed, and mind bogglingly massive.
You can download The Forgotten Sepulcher from Quaddicted. Requires Arcane Dimensions.
Again, in best map visuals we have another very tight competition. The three nominees were Mensis Keep by Breezeep, A Warm Welcome Home by Bal, and The Drowning a City Fell Victim To by Muk0r. Each of these maps are beautiful in their own right. But each has very different themes. Of course comparing and finding a winner amongst vastly different themes is no easy task. However in the end a decision was made.
The Winner is: A Warm Welcome Home by Bal.
Bal’s xmas jam map, A Warm Welcome Home starts the player off inside a crate perhaps a nod to the fact that this jam had a 1024 unit size restriction. After the player breaks out of the crate they’re presented with what seems to be a simple hallway, however upon closer inspection even this hallway is filled with detail. A void to the right of the player filled with a white light that in which pipes extend down and become obscured. As the player progresses through the map, portions of the map collapse, unveiling more details, and exposing more gameplay. The player moves across the map several times, but the map never feels boring or static, as things are always changing. Quickly the map appears to flood as more pipes burst and as the player completes portions of the map. Bal has expertly matched textures to one another and has nailed the mood of the map perfectly.
Judge comment: This year, I think that Bal takes the cake with his A Warm Welcome Home map. I think it pulls off the best feeling of being Quake (dingy and dirty) while also adding in visual flair that looks natural to the setting. It’s also very impressive how the visuals change within the map as you progress, so this base evolves as you play it and it’s quite a visual feast!
Judge comment: A Warm Welcome Home is a cool map, and a feast for the eyes beyond a nice skybox and some pretty lighting. Transformative in many ways, spaces get re-used and meaningfully changed through destruction, particles, and secrets. It manages to resemble a modern game in aesthetic detail while still feeling distinctly Quake. Screenshots alone do not capture what Bal has accomplished here for Best Visuals. Remarkably rewarding sights – without flash or gimmick – on a solid foundation; give or take a few earthquakes.
Judge comment*: Regardless to my being excluded from judging this category, I feel that Bals map goes above and beyond visually by being dynamic. The map changes as you progress and makes revisiting areas a new experience. Things break apart and change the layout in that area. Bals lighting and custom textures seal the deal for me.
Judge comment: A Warm Welcome Home is beautiful and cohesive space. It is chock full of lovely details that breathe life and tie areas together in a thoughtful way.
* This judge did not take part in the decision to make this map the winner as he was nominated for this category; regardless, he wanted to include his comments regarding the map.
You can download A Warm Welcome Home via Quaddicted.
Naturally gameplay is integral to maps, and this years nominees have not disappointed. The mappers have adeptly crafted interesting experiences and encounters. This years nominees are Nyarlathotep’s Sand Castle by Sock, The Forgotten Sepulcher by Giftmacher and Sock, and The Brimstone Mine by Giftmacher. Each of these maps presented an interesting and fun experiences each worthy of winning. Naturally though, this cannot be the case.
The Winner is: The Brimstone Mine by Giftmacher.
The Brimstone Mine takes the player through Mine, library and building complex, which appears to be suspended in the sky. Giant propellers seem to keep the structure aloft, while various knights, orgres and lovecraftian beasts stalk the halls. The Brimstone Mine has great encounters, tricky secret hunts and is fun to navigate, never really feeling too cramped. It isn’t an overwhelming experience and is quite digestable, with a playthrough taking less than an hour.
Judge comment: While The Brimstone Mine is a beautiful map that is really well built, its gameplay is what really shines through. It’s expertingly paced with a good handful of alcoves to explore, traps to avoid, secrets to find, hordes to fight… It’s got everything a Quaker is looking for in a neat little package!
Judge comment: Brimstone Mine made excellent use of compact spaces harking back to the “corridor shooter” roots of Quake. It packed enough gameplay and secrets to be digested in a single ~30mins to 1hr of gameplay.
Sepulcher and Sand Castle required much more time to be invested in order to fully experience all the gameplay and secrets.
Judge comment: Brimstone Mine provides a variety of encounters, environmental challenges, and secrets. It employs the extended Quoth features to great effect and I thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
You can download The Brimstone Mine from Quaddicted.
There were a fair few nominations for Best Oddball map this year. Clearly there are a fair few people who are adept at implementing their strange ideas. The three maps shortlisted were, Blastocyst by ORL, I Was Happy in the Haze of Drunken Hour by onetruepurple, and Shattered Soul of the Scarabrus by ORL. Interestingly these maps were tied so we had to bring in a fourth judge to cast the deciding vote.
The Winner is: Shattered Soul of the Scarabrus by ORL.
ORL has created an enormous void map with floating, twisted, and perverted geometry. You’re greeted with a message saying “In this world, Shamblers and Vores are significantly weaker” and a view of distant giant towers. You soon get to test this weakness out, quickly dispatching a Shambler, on your way to a bridge that presents you with a choice of directions. Both paths are filled with strange Lovecraftian, yet unmistakably Quake geometry, interesting encounters and traps, or ambushes.
One notable visual element that was included by ORL was the use of “wonky” slanted brushwork with angled monsters. This can truly give the player a feeling of vertigo or disconcertedness.
Judge comment: Upon entering Shib4, I thought I was in a somewhat ordinary Quake map but within a couple minutes, I realized it was anything but ordinary! The brown bricks are deceiving as they contain all sorts of mysteries, mazes and nightmares and you’re watched by a giant eyeball the whole time you try to sort it all out!
Judge comment: Shattered Soul of the Scarabus is huge in scale, strange in atmosphere, and non-Euclidean in many places. While very weird(to the point of making me physically uneasy at times), it is still very playable and enjoyable.
Judge comment: Shattered Soul of the Scarabrus is a fever dream mixed with an acid trip. Tall, looming structures and long lines of sight with a sprinkle of map hacks.
Judge comment (tiebreaker): This is nightmares made reality. Architecture branches out in impossible directions, as if the masonry on the horizon was an organic growth.
You can download Shattered Soul of the Scarabrus from Quaddicted.