Screenshot from Quake

More Sand Than Oil is my contribution to Quake Brutalist Jam 2.

Atmosphere and visuals were my focus for this one. I brought it to life with some custom rain sound effects, as well as blending sand with concrete brutalism. Of course, throwing in a few references to Front 242 didn’t hurt either.

I have to admit that playing the first Quake Brutalist Jam was one of the things that made me pursue Quake mapping. I’ve played mods for Quake for a very long time while lurking just outside of the community, but never thought that about making my own. Then, I was presented with a stunning collection of art pieces that people were bringing to life inside this old game.

I found and downloaded Trenchbroom, and I was hooked.

Some notes on inspiration and my process for this map follow below.

The main hub area was drawn off of the Three Fists Monument in Bubanj Memorial Park in Serbia. From there, I built out the surrounding walls and doors.

I liked the look of the sand texture (all from Makkon’s set of Quake textures) coupled with the concrete. After deciding on that look, I wanted to do more with the sand from a gameplay perspective. My idea was to have some rooms where the sand level lowered or raised, inspired somewhat by the same mechanic in Spec Ops: The Line, from which I also borrowed the idea of a tower sunken in sand. I settled on having a couple rooms where the sand would lower, revealing the path forward, and allowing those rooms to function as an arena that the player would be locked into for a short time.

While building the layout, I tried to balance the look and atmosphere with gameplay somewhat closely, pairing dark basements with brighter areas exposed to the outdoors, and utilizing pits and dark corners as points for monsters to ambush the player. As I’ve gotten more experience in building maps for Quake, I began thinking more in terms of loops and lines of sight. In the end, I felt like I pulled it off pretty well here. The most challenging part of the process was leading the player from the silver key to the silver key door. My solution was to give the player a Quad and lead them towards the door with some breadcrumb enemies that spawn back into the hub.

Putting the ending together was another challenge, mostly because I felt like I was running out of steam at that point. I didn’t like the idea of just having a big ending arena fight, though I sketched out ideas for one, so I once again decided to use my ideas with the sand and a sinking floor.

Now, I’m pretty happy with how this all came together! Being part of this was a great experience, and I highly recommend checking it all out.

If you’re new to Quake, here’s a handy guide on Slipseer for setting it all up.