Senior Multiplayer Designer
Dec. 2005 // Quake 4: Capture the Flag
As Quake 4 map pack work got rolling, the call went out for an additional CTF level. Of the three designers on the map pack, Matthew Breit and I were both sitting at one contribution apiece (Q4DM9 and Q4DM10, respectively) with fellow level designer Mike Majernik having already put together two with Q4Tourney1 and Q4CTF6, leaving Matt or myself to take on the new level. After considering a battle to the death for final map rights, we settled on a tag-team effort.
CTF7 began with my midground, which I started by constructing the rail platform and main entrance structure for each base. From there, I pieced together brushwork to represent a series of tiered paths crossing through a large cavern space. As those connections developed, we decided to go with a double-atrium midground and stay away from a 2Fort style level.
Matthew was particularly pleased with a CTF base he had built for a Raven speedmap during some QA downtime in Q4's final days and we discovered it lined up very closely with the work I was doing in the midground. We had our flag bases.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the map ran worse than we expected and required significant overhauls, particularly in my towering atriums. While I was home on paternity leave, Matt had the unpleasant task of the final performance optimizations, which involved stripping out what had been darker and more moody lighting in only accessible areas throughout the atriums (as well as more varied blend textures on the rock meshes), leaving the area looking quite barren with much of the lighting coming from a single massive light to reduce overall draw calls.
While it was disappointing losing much of the visual polish in my areas, Matt's tighter base areas needed much less optimization, and came together as one of the best-looking areas in the game.
Tremors was initially selected for release in the "Quakemas" map pack in December 2005, then included in the final Quake 4 1.1/1.2 patch. You can see more of Tremors at lunaran.com
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