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19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Each week a single map is discussed here in detail.

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Subject: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 19 Mar 2018, 16:42

Map Title: Temple of Soquatre, the Evil NaliGod
Author: Jean "El Chicoverde" Rochefort
From: Shamu Quest
Filename: sancient1.unr
Music Files: Unreal4.umx, Newmca7.umx




Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uA4YYfuX044
Part 2: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WwLVw_wSJaY
Part 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bvrtiXImfv8

Synopsis: You enter the massive temple of an evil god, and you're not welcome here...

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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 24 Mar 2018, 16:54

Still the most epic temple map in Unreal ever, and one of the most memorable Unreal maps made, but my full thoughts on this are already in my second opinion review.
Formerly Mman

UBerserker
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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 24 Mar 2018, 18:36

Gotta say, not sure if MOTW would be worth continuing since the rate of posts is very low. Maybe let's just focus on newer released maps only from the next month.

This map is one of my favorites of the old era, overplayed a decade ago because it was: big ass ruined temple with a lot of details around, quite frantic gameplay and memorable layout, Unreal4.umx, somehow more feasible to finish than the other Shamu maps (dark large-ass terrain maps are very stressful). I constantly tested MCoop pawns here since the size was so huge, you could play as a Warlord and have fun around.

It also has however a crapload of bad things: Biterfish in your face, the terrible Manta fight, the traps, the terrible sound design (the screams especially), Dasa's music replacing Erosion, texturing againg horribly, too many Skaarj Troopers, figuring out what to do with the monolith thing and so more.

A really well-built and memorable map for its age, something where the positive stuff are so overwhelming that you'll always remember the map as really good, completely ignoring the huge amount of flaws.
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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 25 Mar 2018, 06:23

UBerserker wrote:Gotta say, not sure if MOTW would be worth continuing since the rate of posts is very low. Maybe let's just focus on newer released maps only from the next month.



I think it might be good to consider that everything that has been said about most individual maps has been said, what I thought was a good idea was alternate discussions about campaigns and things like music. Though, people need to participate, this is true. I think similar ideas like the ones you guys were coming up with that were divergent discussions is the way to go going forward.

I especially enjoyed talking about team projects I was a part of personally and reminiscing on things I hadn't thought about for years. Maybe discussions about SP mappers or teams could be cool, like dedicating a week to the total works of people like Chico instead of just one level, let people discus what made the guy so important to the scene. There's lots of mappers that have left us years ago that have made a lasting impressions on the Unreal levels that followed. ]

-----

As for this level, I hesitate to say too much about Chico's work nowadays because it's so hard to divorce my nostalgia from gameplay elements that maybe haven't aged as well as the magnificence of what has been described as "Chico ruins." Screenshots say a lot though.
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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 25 Mar 2018, 16:44

A prime example of conceptual grandness, not only because of the scale, but also because of the connectivity of the rooms over several floors. The progression through the map is really interesting, as you often have to look for alternative paths since everything is so wrecked. Speaking of this, never have I seen a better Unreal map depicting a collapsed and abandoned temple. Despite this, the texturing and the brush composition show their flaws, but it is acceptable. I didnt have too much trouble with the monolith, but I was suprised that the map was over shortly after that. I thought you were supposed to kill it (by the help of 3 Nali priests) in order exit the temple? Maybe this was implemented for the large scale campaign that chico had in mind.

Combat is probably the weak point. There are just way too many ASMD shooting Troopers, sometimes even Snipers (when you dont have one of your own) to really elevate this level to a high tier map. The pupae "challenges" were fun, but kind of underwhelming when every regular fight is actually harder. The inclusion of Invisibility and Amplifiers made the walkthrough way more interesting giving you more options in your approach. One more Invivbility in the latter half wouldnt have hurt, though. :D

@MOTW: I generally like Prophets idea. Talking about authors specifically could turn the discussion in directions previously less covered, such as influences, mapping style and design philosophy or so. On top of that, I would like to suggest a MOEOW: Map Of Every Other Week. :B Often enough, I miss posting in a thread because I dont immediately refresh my memory by playing a map again. Oftentimes it is the weekend I get to play a map or pack and then I might wait another day or two to write my opinion, which could already be too late by this point. That was one of the strengths of the Large Pack discussions, since you had a whole month to post something. If it is a smaller pack, or a map, this bi-weekly approach would suffice in giving people more time, imo.
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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 26 Mar 2018, 08:02

Aha, this one! :D

I have a lot to say about this map, but will try to stick to what isn't already written here.

Much has been said already, I agree with general statements like how high Temple of Soquatre scores in terms of conceptual grandness (you can't rate an Unreal/UT SP map higher in this regard, I think). The first time I played it, it took me 2h40min to beat it, and that includes the fact that I had to reload a couple of times at least (got killed at least once, also got stuck in geometry at least once!), it managed to deliver a couple of good frights, and overall given the navigation challenges, the puzzle-like progression in addition to the traps and combat, I consider the map to be frankly a hard one. Fittingly, I will say: Semfry already said it in the past, but the level is notably remarkable in how it manages to convey a certain personality to the Soquatre deity, one of malevolence that succeeds in making you feel like you are not welcome here.

Is this the most epic Unreal temple map ever? If one follows the actual definition of epic, then probably yes, but I am still unsure about whether I would call this the best Unreal/UT temple map. I mean for sheer intent, it probably is, but the texturing has a few too many spots where it is really repetitive in a noobish, immersion breaking way, and yes the brush work - which by and large comes together superbly, that first screenshot in the OP definitely shows one of the most iconic scenes in the whole of Unreal SP - occasionally displays some rather primitive, coarse methods which also don't live up to the level of suspension of disbelief the map generally lives up to. The atmosphere and sense of scale are once again the map's strongest points.

A quick comparison to other Chico temple maps is in order:
- Temple of Soquatre: the biggest, the one with the least compromises and the least professional one with glaring flaws and huge personality
- Temple of Eelhandra: still big, the one that strikes the balance between "leet" visuals which would belong to a more advanced engine and offering the player a long, meaty playthrough
- The Lost Sanctuary of Kalishr'a: the most "professional" one, had to be divided into two maps because of the leet visuals, streamlined gameplay leaves little in terms of actual challenge.

What you prefer is up to your personal history with these games. I am not going to lie, my first experience was with Temple of Eelhandra and as a result that one might be my favourite Chico temple map.
Fun fact: before any Chico map, I experienced Temple of the Sacred by Sarevok and that is still up there with my best temple map experiences!
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Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 26 Mar 2018, 13:14

Sat42 wrote:- The Lost Sanctuary of Kalishr'a: the most "professional" one, had to be divided into two maps because of the leet visuals, streamlined gameplay leaves little in terms of actual challenge.

i like your observations, I just wanna mention that it probably wasnt the visuals themselves that made the maps split. They have 20k and 12k Nodes each, added together still way below the maximum, and also below the Node count of sancient (48k). They either wanted to stretch the pack by saying "Yo, weve got the hugest pack out there!" or it was easier to fix errors that way. Probably a mix of both.

The brushwork between Eelhandra and Kalishr'a seems pretty similar to me which probably stems from Chicos decision to not overwhelm the player anymore with size. Both temples have rather concise rooms in comparison to Soquatre. On top of that, as you already mentioned, they become progressively more linear, and especially in the latest map, less explorative. I thought it was funny in comparison to Shamu quest that all the structures in the latter half could not be accessed. The beginner chico wouldve certainly done differently. Last but not least, the lighting became way better, with a wider range of contrasts and overall less pitch black areas. Good lighting can elevate a mediocre brushwork to a beautiful sight which is why I think you have the impression of more hardware intensive visuals (what I interpret of "leet" :B ) when it, surprisingly, is actually not: The areas of both left hand pictures of the opening post of this thread have up to 300 and 400 Polygons on sight, respectively, whereas Chicos ONP temple barely scratches on the 250 mark sometimes.

Make of that what you will. Btw, the ridiculing term "Spaghetti code" gets a very literal meaning when you look at that trap area in sancient. :lol:
Image
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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 26 Mar 2018, 18:45

editor Dave wrote:i like your observations, I just wanna mention that it probably wasnt the visuals themselves that made the maps split. They have 20k and 12k Nodes each, added together still way below the maximum, and also below the Node count of sancient (48k). They either wanted to stretch the pack by saying "Yo, weve got the hugest pack out there!" or it was easier to fix errors that way. Probably a mix of both.

The brushwork between Eelhandra and Kalishr'a seems pretty similar to me which probably stems from Chicos decision to not overwhelm the player anymore with size. Both temples have rather concise rooms in comparison to Soquatre. On top of that, as you already mentioned, they become progressively more linear, and especially in the latest map, less explorative. I thought it was funny in comparison to Shamu quest that all the structures in the latter half could not be accessed. The beginner chico wouldve certainly done differently. Last but not least, the lighting became way better, with a wider range of contrasts and overall less pitch black areas. Good lighting can elevate a mediocre brushwork to a beautiful sight which is why I think you have the impression of more hardware intensive visuals (what I interpret of "leet" :B ) when it, surprisingly, is actually not: The areas of both left hand pictures of the opening post of this thread have up to 300 and 400 Polygons on sight, respectively, whereas Chicos ONP temple barely scratches on the 250 mark sometimes.

Make of that what you will. Btw, the ridiculing term "Spaghetti code" gets a very literal meaning when you look at that trap area in sancient. :lol:
Image


Yo Dave, thanks a lot for your reply and insights! You make a lot of sense and I agree with your analysis :tup:
Love that mess you highlighted :lol:
Yeah my use of the term "leet" was a way of conveying what I wanted to say quickly and also a nod to that seemingly distant time when "leet speak" was a thing (you know, back when ONP was being developed :) I have a fondness for anything that can help characterise an era, even on such a limited level as the Unreal modding community)
Certainly, I will say that The Lost Sanctuary of Kalishr'a can only rival with the "awesomeness" of the other temple maps mentioned in my previous post if you take both parts together... which is kind of unfair in a way! But it is the most professionally-made temple I have seen so far here (as usual, I have yet to play the highest rated stuff here so my comment is not final). Funny though, Chico's best maps were not the temple ones, but the Nali Mountain Fighters (part 2 especially, ancient ruins as a battleground FTW) and The Volcano as well as that ultimate collaboration with Hourences... IMHO.

P.S.: writing this from an airport, best way to pass the time while waiting for my flight 8)
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.

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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 26 Mar 2018, 19:49

editor Dave wrote:Image


Rofl, I'm expecting old PCs from that age to crash while looking at that shit in wireframe mode. Use Dispatchers (or EventDelayers if you're on EXU), people!

For old processors a nodecount of around 30k probably caused extremely slow and possibly worse rebuilds.
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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 26 Mar 2018, 20:11

UBerserker wrote:For old processors a nodecount of around 30k probably caused extremely slow and possibly worse rebuilds.

I would really like to test if the same map results in a different built when rebuilt on different PCs! Has this kind of thing been done before (with results)?
It is interesting to note, beside that, that in the older reviews, complaints about framerate drops were only made for the first and third map of the pack, not the second one (despite its 48k nodes). The reviews were probably written a few years after the initial release, with stronger hardware being the norm already.

@Sat: Yeah, the Volcano was one of the few set pieces of ONP that will probably last forever in my memory!
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UBerserker
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Subject: Re: 19/03/2018 - "Temple of Soquatre" by El Chicoverde

Post Posted: 26 Mar 2018, 20:49

editor Dave wrote:
UBerserker wrote:For old processors a nodecount of around 30k probably caused extremely slow and possibly worse rebuilds.

I would really like to test if the same map results in a different built when rebuilt on different PCs! Has this kind of thing been done before (with results)?


Apparently a bit true.
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Subject: Re: 26/03/2018 - "Skaarj Tower" by Drew

Post Posted: 26 Mar 2018, 21:18

UBerserker wrote:
editor Dave wrote:
UBerserker wrote:For old processors a nodecount of around 30k probably caused extremely slow and possibly worse rebuilds.

I would really like to test if the same map results in a different built when rebuilt on different PCs! Has this kind of thing been done before (with results)?


Apparently a bit true.


I have experienced this phenomenon before, indirectly, with the UED Game of Telephone map: Prophet's first contribution had a way of slowing down the player's fall in the Demon's Grave with a "slow zone" which was fine but when I rebuilt the map said zone produced nasty HOMs, while Semfry had no issues when rebuilding the map; eventually I just got rid of that zone. So yeah rebuilds depend a bit on what system you are using! P.S.: I found another way to do justice to Prophet's initial drop idea.
Nali: Magic or Telekinesis
Waffnuffly wrote:It's tarydium-doped smoothies. Drunk by the player, I mean. The player is tripping balls. The whole game actually takes place in a large city and the player thinks he's on an alien world.


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