An exciting new fan-made Quake singleplayer map pack explores the Internet's favourite architectural style, Brutalism. 35 maps offer all sorts of concrete hells, ranging from housing estates and Control-esque facilities to otherworldly ritual spaces and straight-up murderholes. Having spent much of my early thirties skulking around the Barbican, I really enjoyed this variety of Brutalist experiences. And the monstermurder. The monstermurder's fun, too. Here, come admire how pretty the hub level is.
I really, really like that hub level. The shapes! The ominous blocks for selecting difficulty level! The cross-crossing! The effigies of benches and bins! The secret playground buried in the depths! What a perfectly unsettling opening.
Organised by "Makkon", the Quake Brutalist Jam map pack was made by 34 mappers across two-and-a-half weeks. That leads to a wide range of styles and experiences that I've enjoyed exploring. Step through a white door, and who knows what you'll find?
Some maps are straightforward Quake maps, your usual corridors of keys and murders. Some are giant spaces or mazes to explore (and do murder in). One is a huge battle through wide city streets with dozens upon dozens of enemies. One is, I think, a nonviolent explore-o-horror story with multiple endings and some giant secrets I have only glimpsed by being a naughty noclip cheater? I am keen to figure out that mystery.
It's interesting what different mappers do with the jam's themes of Brutalism and concrete. Some go sci-fi, some go fantasy, some go horror, and some are perfectly mundane. Several build housing estates or offices, echoing the common real-world use of Brutalism, albeit dragged into a hellish void. Some go for that Control-y otherworldly vibe where the normality of concrete amplifies the oddity of the things within, spaces not built by humans yet unnervingly meant to feel familiar to us. Some draw inspiration from prestigious Brutalist cultural institutions and designer houses. Others are plain ol' Brutalist industrial spaces. Some maps have that unreal pristine concrete, forever gleaming in a utopian vision complete with green walls of plants. Others lean more into the eventual reality of concrete, crumbling and collapsing, exposing rebar.
It's a good map pack to walk through different takes on the complicated legacy of Brutalism (a lot of which is, y'know, that it looks cool). Also, the murder is fun, and it's often pretty.
I really like modern Quake maps formed from those same old angular Quake building blocks but using modern processing power to show many, many more of them. Giant constructions and dizzying vistas that would've melted a Pentium 90. Perfect for Brutalism, too.
Download and credits are this-a-way. The pack is made to play in Quakespasm, a community-updated version of the Quake engine. I don't know if it works with Bethesda's fancy modern Steam version of Quake (which they're still updating, recently adding Threewave CTF); I used Quakespasm. It also incorporates Copper, a mod which polishes Quake with some small tweaks and bug fixes.
Disclosure: Robert Yang, who has written for RPS about Quake and level design, has a map in this pack.