Map pack rating: * * (out of four)
Bot Support: Yes New Textures: No New Music: No Gametype: Duel
Game_freak444's "Lava Duel Map Pack" is an exercise in mapping, a time where the author is testing out different techniques to learn of their effect. I can see each map progress differently. It's an honorable attempt to create simple maps that are still enjoyably playable by anyone. Each of them are small, fiery red lava maps intended for close-quarters dueling, except for the fourth one in the set, which gives you more room to move. Had these not been lava maps, they would be much less likable, but the author knew that this was his best bet to get people to download them.
I know that they are simple starter maps because there are still simple aspects that lack. The levelshots do not work, and this is because it's not understood that although each map exists in a seperate file, they are not necessarily seperate maps. PK3 files are treated similarly to the way that they would be treated if you took every single PK3 file in your base folder, extracted it into one place, and then zipped it back up again as one single PK3. The levelshot folder of the maps contain what are supposed to be the splash screens, but they are named "shot00xx.jpg," which is not telling the game to what map it is regarding. If I extracted all the maps to one place and zipped them up as one PK3, the levelshot folder would just contain a bunch of anonymous screenshots. The solution, of course, is to name the splash screen levelshot picture files the name of the map so that the game can identify to which one each shot belongs—map "lava_duel" should have a levelshot named "lava_duel.jpg."
Another simple essential that was missing was good music to fit each map. Default music was used, default music that just didn't go with them. The only music that barely fit with the map was that which was applied to lava duel two, which I think was the rancor scene music from the under-rated "Return of the Jedi." The other maps used curiously cheerful music. If I were pitted against a deadly enemy across a narrow catwalk above spitting fires of lava, would the game do well to accompany me by playing this happy, leap-for-joy music? The best music that could fit would sound energetic, epic, and dangerous. "Battle of the Heroes" from the Episode III soundtrack might work.
All textures were default, which is okay for maps like these. It still looks all right just in these maps to use Raven's monotonous "blah" textures. Consequently, and also because no new music was added, these four maps are fitted into 2.25 MegaBytes. That's pretty small for maps, and could really serve as quite useful if dial-up users got tired of the default maps and wanted to play against some bots in a lava pit.
From a mapping quality standpoint, one of the most unattractive flaws with these maps is that lighting is faked. Shadows are unnatural, dark black blobs, and when I walk into them, I don't actually walk into a shadow; I walk onto one. However, the author did execute one nice effect, which was that whenever the map restarted for another duel session, rocks would fall from the ceiling. This added to the atmosphere of the map which was originally so poor due to the smiling music. I liked the fires decorated around the map, and I liked the narrow catwalks which really added to how careful you had to be when dueling here, but I did not like that the author apparently didn't learn how to make the lava appear to flow until the third map in the pack, without going back to parts one and two to give the lava in those some life.
A few things seemed randomly placed for only moderately successful effect. Certain parts of the maps, specifically the ceiling in map three, tried to be circular but instead achieved an angularity that just didn't look good. I really think, even if the FPS got taken down, that curves would have been better here. Also in map three, a statue in the lava and bones in the catwalk were placed there, but they just didn't make sense there, because there was only one of each. There was no symmetry.
The largest problem with maps three and four is that their more expansive nature causes them to lose the immediacy of the danger that was achieved with maps one and two. Other than that, I can see these maps as great for training. The conventional duel wouldn't work, but if you need practice for better footing without regards to advanced mapping, I suggest you give this pack a look.
*********************************** Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy *********************************** TITLE: Lava dual map pack AUTHOR: Game_freak444 E-MAIL: [email protected] =================================================================== CREDITS: =================================================================== INSTALLATION INSTRUCTIONS: Unzip into your gamedata/base folder. =================================================================== DESCRIPTION: A pack of 4 duel maps with um... lava. =================================================================== I am not responsible for anything these files may do to your computer. Use at your own risk. =================================================================== Known Bugs: A bot got stuck on nothing once(map 2), bots fall in to lava on map 4 more often then the others. =================================================================== Authors MAY use this level as a base to build additional levels(just mention the author). THIS LEVEL IS NOT MADE, DISTRIBUTED, OR SUPPORTED BY LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY. ELEMENTS TM & (C) LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY.
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