Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
You must have played my first Quake map. You’d know it if you saw it. Two cubic rooms, yeah? Only used three textures, right? One irritating obstacle, remember? I never released my first Quake map or showed it to anyone but I’m sure you will have played it, it or a Quake map much like it – maybe your own first map?
I think first I learned that players could make Quake maps themselves from PC Format magazine. (I hadn’t yet started on cheery RPS fanzine PC Gamer because the Format cover disc’s free paint, music, and 3D creation software worth £££ were going to launch my career as a serious digital artist.) The very idea of it sent me dashing to the printer to swipe paper and start drawing up plans. Later, the magazine had a two-page Worldcraft tutorial and the shareware on the cover disc. I was in.
Start with a void. Create a big block within that void. Hollow the block out. Load up the texture browser and marvel at all the different textures Quake has. Look at all them! Pick one with a bit of blood. No, bit more blood. That’s the one – granite or metal or whatever splashed with blood. That’s cool. It suggests bad stuff happened in this, my amazing first Quake level. It’ll really set the mood. Make you wonder what sort of bad stuff happens in this blue-grey cube. Maybe there are… monsters.
But not yet. No, lull them into a false sense of security. Put some spooky skinned face lights on the walls, because that’s proper spooky, but don’t actually show any monsters. That’s it. This room is perfect. Next cube- wait, a corridor. A corridor connecting to another cube. But there’s more! What if this room contains a treacherous bridge, one with sections missing and deadly spikes below. Oh! I saw the perfect bloody metal texture for my deadly spikes.
You’ll see the bridge from the corridor but once you enter… slash! A bloodthirsty Death Knight is lying in wait! What do you do now? Holding the key to turn around take ages so can you fight the Death Knight? Do you flee? Can you cross the treacherous bridge while under attack? What if you fall? Oh yes, this is quite the devious scenario! Time to test this fiend!
Oh god no, why is this all so bright, why does it run at 5 frames per second, what’s a leak, why- ah stuff it, I’ve learned the basics and am ready to start on my masterpiece. My second Quake level shall kick off a full episode!
I never released the map but you must remember playing it – it, or another very much like it. Perhaps it’s one you made. Please tell me about it.