Have You Played… My First Quake Map?

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.


Top comments

  1. Barberetti says:

    I did the opposite type of first map. One with everything in it. All the weapons. All the power-ups. Lava trap. Teleporter with 2 different destinations. Shoot switches. Pressure plates. Moving platforms, etc. I remember I couldn't work out how to do the tech door properly, so when it activates, the whole thing slides to the left :D

    It made it onto the cover disk of one of the PC magazines. PC Zone maybe? Something like that.

    Anyway, here you go if you want a laugh!

  1. Grizzly says:

    My first quake map was, confusingly, not a quake map but rather a map for the splendid game Airfix Dogfighter (for those who don’t know, Airfix creates model airplanes – It’s like Re-Volt, but with WW2 – or Toy War 2). And it wasn’t really a map, as Airfix Dogfighter’s map editor was rudimentary: You could only place objects within a set of rooms but you could not edit the walls of the rooms themselves. So instead, you filled the rooms with furniture. Cabinets, chairs, all sorts of things to pop out from or dive under. You added extra weapons, a few enemies (who never respawned or anything). Then, it was getting the LAN to work and off to melt plastic.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      I love how you say “It’s like Re-Volt” as if most people will have any idea what that (awesome) game is anymore. I would say it needs a sequel, but they would only ruin perfection…

      • GWOP says:

        Came across Re-Volt a couple of years back. Such a lovely game.

  2. Rao Dao Zao says:

    My first map must have been for Age of Empires II. Spammed hero units because OMG HEROES! Probably loads of Samurai and Cataphracts on a giant empty plain, some hills and cliffs. No victory conditions, because what are those?

    I tried my hand at UT maps a few times, never got far though. Had some luck converting DM maps into DOM maps for personal use, because I liked DOM but it’s a bit underserved.

    First Warcraft III map… A dodgy little ‘comedy’ cinematic about Jaina being asked to star in a cinematic. The director explodes. Yes.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Oakreef says:

    I made a map for Half-Life 2. It was just a huge box with some soldiers and a gunship but I managed to script the gunship so it would crash into a specific place if you killed it at the right time!

    • Ricc says:

      Mine was also a HL2 level. Basically just a corridor with water in it, and headcrabs jumping you from above left and right. Quite a dick move, when I think about it.

  4. eclipse mattaru says:

    “Two cubic rooms, yeah? Only used three textures, right? One irritating obstacle, remember?”

    Sounds just like half the levels in Dark Souls 2, actually.

    • popej says:

      This guy!

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      Surely the two cubic rooms, one on top of the other, with an elevator leading you from a Windmill room to the top of a volcano room WHAT ARE YOU DOING FROM SOFT I DON’T LIKE SURPRISES WHERE IS THE LOGIC IN YOUR SURREAL HORROR FANTASY GAME YOU ARE THE WORST EVER

    • DrPolito says:

      Made me laugh – although it’s a nice change, when you’ve played DS 1 and 3 too much: “Today, I just want to go straight and beat some guys up with two caesti.” Dark Souls Easy Mode.

  5. jon_hill987 says:

    My first UT2K4 map was a semi recreation of Quake’s DM4. That is as close as I got to Quake mapping.

    My first Doom map sounds like your Quake map though, two cubes and a door between them.

  6. Kefren says:

    Oh, how I wanted to make dungeons in Dungeon Master (Amiga), with towers made up of teeny floors that were mostly staircases, and secrets no-one would find.

    To be honest the main things I made were: games in SEUCK (C64 and Amiga) – some of which were okay, with bas relief effects and everything. Before SEUCK I had a £1.99 game creator for the C64, which made platform games of shootemups and had a horrible maze-like menu interface. Still, I managed to create a version of Chainsaw Warrior where you fought through a park. It had slimes, zombies, mutants, Meat Machine and Darkness (who you killed by touching him, because of your exploding vest). I also made a platformer about Fred The Banana, a character I made up and doodled everywhere.

    Around that time I also learned a bit of Basic and created a Choose Your Own Adventure on my C64. All text-based, but the colour of the text changed on each screen (and some seemed incredibly atmospheric). It was post-apocalyptic, where you woke up from cryogenic suspension to find a dead world. You explored and found a car, then set out to survive. It was pretty good. I spent a few days on it, got the first encounters working, but then the game refused to save to tape and I didn’t realised. Turned off the C64. It was all lost (somehow it had over-written the previous versions). A classic for the ages, now so much tape noise. I decided ot start writing books instead.

    • Shar_ds says:

      Ahh, I was about to say that my first proper level were in Starcraft or Half-Life, but no, I had SEUCK as a kid and spent ages with it! No idea what I made, I’m sure it was rubbish, but I enjoyed it!

  7. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    No but, I played my first Half-Life map – a room with test versions of the stuff I learned in the Hammer editor tutorials – a door without walls, a ladder and elevator to nowhere, etc. Then you went down a sloping, yes SLOPING, hallway to another room with some doors textured like prison cells and a couple of Combine and …that was it. The plan I drew on old graph paper was AMAZING though. So many sloping hallways, they’re definitely not corridors ok.

    I also played my first UT map, a rectangular room with columns running down the sides a la that scene in the Matrix, that led to an enormous box I was going to traipse with interlocking gangways but the size of the room killed my RAM.

    And I played my first HL2 map, the one I’m actually proud of, a surprisingly accurate recreation of my flat at the time. My girlfriend was genuinely impressed. I looked at the hours it took to make (dozens) and the length of time it took to explore (about 30 seconds) and realised level design is bullshit and I really don’t have the patience.


  8. Premium User Badge

    gritz says:

    My first DOOM .wad was going to be an X-Com total conversion. Because X-Com and DOOM were awesome and combining them was going to be awesome and I was going to do it all on my own even though I was a child.

    I gave up when my attempt to reskin a Cacodaemon as a Cyberdisk in MS-Paint (circa Windows for Workgroups) didn’t turn out as nice as I’d hoped.

    • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

      Assuming you are no longer a child, you should totally do this it sounds awesome. I would definitely play it (probably not pay for it though, that’s cool right?)

    • ThePuzzler says:

      You can fight the Doom monsters in the X-Piratez X-Com mod…

  9. Barberetti says:

    I did the opposite type of first map. One with everything in it. All the weapons. All the power-ups. Lava trap. Teleporter with 2 different destinations. Shoot switches. Pressure plates. Moving platforms, etc. I remember I couldn’t work out how to do the tech door properly, so when it activates, the whole thing slides to the left :D

    It made it onto the cover disk of one of the PC magazines. PC Zone maybe? Something like that.

    Anyway, here you go if you want a laugh!

    link to quaddicted.com

    • demicanadian says:

      Oh my. I remember this one! It was one of those maps that EraserBot didn’t like that much (too many switches, iirc), but it impressed me with all them traps.

      • Barberetti says:

        Glad you liked it!

        Yeah, I’m pretty sure I never tested it with bots. I think Reaperbots were the only ones around back then, and they aren’t the brightest of the bunch.

  10. noom says:

    First experience of mapping was making a big square room for Doom. Friend and I did so at his house when we got hold of some shareware mapping software. We arranged some exploding barrels in the shape of a bomb. Deeply satirical stuff.

    I went on to make a fair few doom maps, destined to only be played by a handful of my friends. Later came Duke Nukem 3D and the joyous smoke and mirrors of the BUILD engine, with maps sadly consigned to a similar fate.

    Next up was CS 1.6. Made 4 or 5 maps of gradually increasing quality. My last – sadly unfinished – map might actually have been described as pretty by the standards of the time. Some of those are still floating around on the internet… maybe people play them sometimes. I really wouldn’t know.

    Sadly after that I drifted away from map making, due to a combination of adulthood and FPS burnout. Was a damned fine creative outlet for a while though, and I still miss doing it sometimes…

    • Michael Fogg says:

      I made an attempt at modeling my schoolhouse in the DN3D version of Build, with imaginative features such as classrooms all filled with pole dancers or pig-cops, but I could never quite wrap my head around how was I supposed to do a stairwell and have a second floor, and soon abandoned the project. It was such an excellent deployment of smoke & mirrors that I never realised its true nature through multiple playthrougs of the original campaign.

  11. CelticPixel says:

    My first map was made in Hammer for HL1. I made a single section of a stairwell then just copy & pasted it until I got bored. You started at the top and made your way down with the enemies getting tougher and the weapons getting better the further down you made it. I didn’t know how to end it so the bottom floor was flooded and you were just expected to drown yourself. Solid bit of left field games design there!

  12. Premium User Badge

    Qazinsky says:

    I know I was drawing maps on grid paper for Doom, but the first editor I actually sat down and made them in, was BUILD for Duke3d. Man, I remember making corridors that turned around and crossed over themselves so that you clearly crossed where you just have walked, without seeing that corridor!

    Then I made some Half-life maps, mostly for The Specialists, no real maps, sorry. Just small simple maps for LAN uses, including an arena with a control room, hurry through the door, close it with the button on the inside, then sit behind bulletproof glass and unleash platforms and moving lasers above lava on your foes with the control board.

    • Premium User Badge

      particlese says:

      Build was a seriously demented and powerful editor. I spent many hours playing Tim Conneen’s “Confession”, “Fragway” (loosely based on the highway concept in Asimov’s “The Caves of Steel”), and “Stupid SE 0 Tricks” maps, where he abused a certain aspect of the engine (or several?) to great ends and trying to figure out how thy heck he did what he did. And trying to figure out what in blazes hi and lo values (or something) were and what the magical keyboard shortcut was to change them. In the end, I think I made half of my parents’ house, completely static and devoid of anything interesting.

  13. Monggerel says:

    My first map was in Jedi Academy. It was a multiplayer level with bits and bobs and ends hidden behind bogey walls, with scripted NPCs and a secret rancor room and a secret dueling room that had 0 gravity and a starry black texture so you’d swordfight in deep space and a juice bar with a stormtrooper for a bartender and a gambling pit where you couldn’t quite gamble but you could sit around and look cool and a command center that let you release crazy traps like an avalanche of Wampas and the dreaded Galak spawner hidden behind the room hidden in the waterfall that you could only get to if you survived a lava pit and you could only survive it if you had lvl 3 force rage and the textures were like some japanese garden, deep warm reds and such against cooler blues and grays and plenty of tan and it was a grand project all told

    My firstand only actual map was a small, square metal room with two platforms in it. I basically copy-pasta’d the standard duel room from Jedi Outcast.
    I kept it around for about 3 years.

  14. MadTinkerer says:

    I never got into Quake mapping because I was too distracted by RPG Maker, which didn’t care whether I had dial-up or broadband. In fact, I missed the entire golden age of multiplayer shooters even though I enjoyed Half Life and Serious Sam and Unreal II.

    In 2007, I finally got a computer capable of running the Orange Box games, broadband internet, and a copy of The Orange Box. Portal was the first 3D game I made a map for. The nice thing about Portal is that it makes even empty boxy rooms interesting, especially if they’re big enough to fling around in.

  15. Premium User Badge

    particlese says:

    My first Quake map was probably a single box with default walls and just a spawn in it. Or maybe just a platform standing in the glitching void. Subsequent maps, though, oh man!

    I had a map where you had to jump across platforms moving across a pool of lava. It was annoying, it was awesome, and it was allegedly based on Frogger.

    Then I had a map where…actually, I think that might have been it for Quake 1. I lost my Quake 2 maps, but I had a couple which were actually pretty neat but mainly composed of tricks and traps that a friend and I plotted to use against other friends or online randos. The others were all based on dreams and were — for me — strongly evocative, but they didn’t extend very far beyond what I remembered from said dreams and would probably have been pretty boring to anyone else.

    QuArK was the editor I used since it was free and seemed pretty good at the time. I even fiddled around with Quake III’s curved surfaces a couple times. Much easier than Build and the shareware Doom editor I got with a Doom II strategy guide, but still decently powerful, if I remember correctly.

  16. MajorLag says:

    I made that same map, but it was for Half-Life. Then I went on to make a TF2 map that was roughly the size of Texas because I got the scale so wrong in the editor.

    I don’t make maps anymore. Not even for my own games.

  17. Massenstein says:

    For some reason I couldn’t ever get Quake maps to load so I started with Quake 2. Lots of cubey rooms leading to other cubey rooms! One of my such levels had a meat grinder link to i.imgur.com (I can’t believe I could actually find that picture after all these years)

    In another one my clever attempt at elevator turned into a thing that continously dipped you in lava and then crushed you against ceiling. “aargh!” *crunch* “aargh!” *crunch*

  18. Person of Interest says:

    I spent far more time fussing with the Quake map tools than actually building maps. First I had to try every level editor I could get my hands on: WorldCraft, BSP, and many more, before eventually settling on Qoole. Then onto comparing how many hours it took to run qbsp/light/vis with various flags, and comparing the shadows calculated by various 3rd-party replacements for light.exe.

    None of it helped; my first and only real map-making attempt was a wide open area with lots of complex geometry. Totally unsuited for the Quake engine, and our family’s PC was crippled for days as it futilely attempted to compile the map.

  19. poliovaccine says:

    Aw man. I never had a first quake map, it was Thief and Age of Empires II, little would I know at the tender age(s) of 10-13 (I dont remember, sue me) what an obsessive and quite literally schizoid obsession with programming and AI in particular those would precede..! Tho something almost assures me I would have wound up there no matter what

    Later went on to languish over painstaking mods for Max Payne, Morrowind, Mafia.. anything that captured my imagination, I attempted to make into the open world playpen we were all envisioning since GTA3 if not sooner, and basically got with GTAV. I had such a tent pole for that stuff that to this day I actually very much enjoy Thief 4, in spite of being a longtime series fan and being plenty aware of the gripes people have about it, all just because it gives me a Thief game with that damnable open City, replete with rooftop passageways and RPG-lite-ish vendors/NPCs to visit… do you realize how much you have to love a game to learn how to mod it? I bet half of you do… and I bet anywhere from 5-25% of you know what it’s like to love a game so much you keep modding it long after anyone cares about that game or its mods anymore, because dammit *you* still play, and *you* want to see the City with every single door and window connected to a real interior inhabited by properly scripted NPCs!

    …the biggest shame is that I got so used to the idea that nobody cared about Thief anymore that I didnt even bother looking around for other modders after a point – I just made levels fully expecting I would be the only one to ever play them – and so it wasn’t until earlier this year I learned of the existence of the Dark Mod… when I first learned I could have been directing my efforts somewhere useful that whole time, well, I think I shit red, to put it politely.

  20. Spacewalk says:

    My first Quake map was two boxy rooms only one of the rooms had smaller boxes in it. I thought that I was being “meta”.

    • Spacewalk says:

      My second Quake map was for Quess but it wouldn’t load, kept getting errors of some kind. It was set in a dark void and the board sat atop a pair of (boxy) demonic hands and there was a (even boxier) demonic face watching the match from below. It looked shit but it man was it cool.

  21. Kekly says:

    My first quake map was in OpenRA, I’ve made about seven maps trying to get use to the map builder.

    The first from memory was a two player raid map, the first player that hosted the game had the huge base but no construction yard, the second player had to destory the base before player one launched a nuke.

    The second was a mission map that crashed on me attempting to edit it, it never saw the light of day.

    The third and fourth are not very memorable, they where just tests on how the hell to get bridges to work without looking stupid.

    So far, I’ve only uploaded one that I was happy with.
    Shameless plug:
    For the others I don’t have backups sadly.