UPDATE 1.1 IS LIVE

This should work fine on any Alkaline version. Tested most extensively on vkQuake. Co-op is available but not tested.
You can download Alkaline 1.1 here.

I started this level a month into learning how to map, and spent the next 8 months tweaking and improving it as I learned the ropes. This means that it might have some nice ideas, but it's poorly optimized for slower systems and has a few design issues. But overall, I feel pretty good about the end result.

For the design, I based it on the Dark Souls 2 DLC Crown of the Sunken King, but sci-fi instead of fantasy. If I follow through on the original plan, this will be level 2 of a 5-level episode. That may or may not happen. If people like this enough, I'll at least make a second map for the temple itself.

The music in the map is streamer-friendly. It's "Flow" by Anna Centauri, downloaded from FreeMusicArchive.org. Used with Creative Commons license CC BY-SA 4.0, no modifications. | License | Link to the song |

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Submitted by
Aesopolis
Downloads
319
Views
1,306
Release date
Oct 16, 2022
First uploaded
Last update
Rating
4.46 star(s) 13 ratings

Latest updates

  1. Power Structure 1.1

    This is an updated version of the map, including a few bug fixes and additions. The rune key is...

Latest reviews

Really nice build quality with this one! Some parts of the progression initially I found confusing, but after understanding the "lay of the land," I had zero problem on a second run. Quite impressive for a second map. Some of the battles seemed a little unbalanced for a first run on normal, but again, things were no problem on repeat play. The custom music was rather nice too. Of course, I am a sucker for a map that uses Alkaline ;)

Look forward to seeing more from Aesopolis!
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
Thanks, Greenwood! I'm working on how to clearly communicate progression to players. But also I'm starting to experiment with more open ended level layouts. Glad you liked it!
I really loved the loop design. Realising I'm scaling a structure I've previously climbed inside of is a great feeling. The buildings and brushwork are fantastic.

The ending is extremely abrupt and anticlimactic. Combat challenge, environmental narrative, sense of progression are incredibly strong in the early game, but come unstuck towards the end. "Helipad doors open" indicates the great strengths of the map: you've been navigating this huge facility and discrete areas can be referenced by name. That kind of descriptive referential confidence is completely absent from the last leg of the map — you just climb a tower and exit. The combat is incredibly tight in the first half, but becomes vague and scattered in the conclusion.

I feel like this could have been relatively easily solved by having a boss fight or arena to unlock the exit, a bit more brushwork and lighting distinction to the area, and a panoramic view.
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
Thanks! You are spot on about the tower at the end. That last building is my least favorite (though with my favorite secret). The core layout was set early, and I didn't have the willpower to redesign it at the end of development. When I make level 2, I'll come back in and improve on this map. I think a total renovation of that last stretch is due. It's clearly the weak link of the map.
Absolutely stunning visuals and level of detail, I can only admire your determination to chisel it out for 8 months - personally I can't work on single map for more than several weeks, up till that point it's either "finish it or leave it"... I also loved the music and overal "feel" - cyberpunk vibes are really heavy here.

Combat encounters were good, pacing was great, spiderbots annoying as they should be, complexity of navigating through the map - acceptable :)

Few downsides (subjective, of course):
- poor optimization (maybe a matter of my ancient PC but it dropped frames at certain points - was it fullvised?)
- lift-button logic was sometimes weird, it would be more streamlined to ditch the buttons and use lift triggers (low / high trigger)
- found a few stuck-points, overlapping / missing textures here & there (nothing gamebreaking)
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
I did fully vis the level when I compiled it, but the level isn't built well enough for vis to have a noticeable impact. You're almost always too close to a door or window that leads outside for the game to hide anything beyond the walls. I want to toy with it more later, see if I can improve it. But I've heard Ironwail runs it better, if you weren't already using it.

Yes, the lifts are weird, and there are a few minor texture issues I missed. You're 100% on this. One day! I'll at least do a nice update on the map when I make its follow-up. Gonna package those together so they link.

Thanks for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed it.
Wow, man. For a "sophomore effort" this is something else. Love the yellow-metal aesthetic, especially with this custom music (kind of Deus-Ex-y). I liked the way you set up the route through the map -- good alternation of some minor path choices with bottlenecks, and good use of looking ahead / looking back. Fun secrets and combat setpieces too! Good use of breakables just for "flavor" and for spicing up some combat situations (breakable windows); I'm glad you didn't stick any pickups inside breakables to trigger my break-every-barrel OCD. :)

Some of the finickier brushwork got in the way a bit during the more hectic fights, and there's a couple of technical issues. E.g. I think the only way I found to get to the gold key was an elevator I had to go DOWN but the elevator was determined to go UP; also the ladder up to the SNG lieutenant was very finicky (only seemed to work if I looked straight ahead or slightly down). Other than that though, very solidly put together.

Really just a lot of fun from beginning to end, and the texturing/lighting and custom music puts it over the top. It would be nice if the ending had a bit more to it, but if you follow it up with more maps then all would be forgiven there too!
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
Ah yes, items in boxes...I have night terrors from the trauma of trying to collect things in Fallout 3. Okay, seriously, I did toy with putting items in boxes, but it just stopped compiling. Think I had too many breakables by that point. It's okay, I agree. Quake is more about running and gunning anyway.

I think the most popular gripe has been about the elevators, and I couldn't agree more. I got used to them after probably my 57th playtest, but they definitely need a redo. That ladder never gave me problems, though...hmm... I'm taking notes.

Thanks, Joel!
Amazing map. Great exploration and sense of scale. Some combat encounters can be a bit choppy, and I was pretty strapped for armour across my playthrough, but overall it was really fun! Especially once you hand out the SNG and RL and let the player get to blastin'.
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
Appreciate you! Odd though, I felt like I put too much armor in and almost removed some of it. Glad I didn't! I also debated giving the SNG and RL earlier on, but I didn't want to re-balance the ENTIRE map by the time I make its sequel, so I built it with the more basic weapons in mind. I'm thinking of making the next one more chaotic.
Really cool map. Never met a map with such an amount of breakables. The room with Alkaline artifact was the most memorable for me personally because of all those breakable glasses. Also vore encounter felt new because of breakables surrounding it - breakable covers! As for visuals scale is gorgeus. Jumping around for secrets was fun. Loved all those bridges & ledges. Really cool map. Want more!
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
Thanks, Alex! Glad you liked the vore encounter. I want to use destructible cover more often in the future, it worked nicely but was a bit cramped on that helipad.
After finishing it, I played it instantly again a second time and for that reason I give it 5 stars, the scale on the outside areas is also really impressive nice job!
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
That second playthrough was a huge compliment in action. Thanks, Colossus!
Impressive scale, satisfying to chew through. I can't think of any encounters that really stood out to me, but I enjoyed working my way through the level and experiencing how it all fits together. Definitely felt the DS2 influences!
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
Think that's what happens when I design the architecture before I consider how the enemies fit into it. Live and learn. Just glad you liked it!
I really liked this map in both gameplay and style it has. Detail work on areas is very good. There are some small issues where you can get stuck behind objects or getting crushed by some weird lift brushes, but otherwise it is really neat.

Some secrets were apparently not marked as secrets. Secrets and non secret secrets were fun to find!
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
5 stars from Mazu?! That's a big victory. Thanks! I COULD go back in and try to fix those lifts, but redoing them is too much at this point, and the adjustments just never end. It's not a big of enough problem at this point. For the secrets, I wanted them to either have a gimmick or give you something big, like the rocket launcher. A few items tucked away in the dark didn't stand out to me as worth the trigger. There's also one big, very out of the way secret that's not labeled. So far I've seen one person find it.
Fun map. Loved all breakable windows and boxes. I think it would have been cool to end the level escaping on an elevator up through the hole in the ceiling.
Aesopolis
Aesopolis
Thanks! Yeah, the ending is pretty anticlimactic. If I had originally planned for this to be a standalone map, I would have done something bigger than having you walk into a temple. But this is supposed to segue into another map, so...we'll see how it goes in the future!