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Virtue has seriously outdone himself.
At first, I was like "Academy v3, well, ok..." when I picked this out of the inbox. After playtesting, it feels like an honor to be reviewing this map.
If there were ever such a thing as evolution, this would define it. Players of The Academy v2 won't recognise much except the core fundamentals. Everything has changed, yet at the same time so much remains the same.
Firstly, I'll start with the main chamber. I had to use noclip to access this, as it's initially locked, hence the screenshots not being taken in spectator mode.
This room fits the theme of a council chamber perfectly, in every sense. As well as having the Jedi theme, it also has some unexplainable academic edge to it, some element I can't quite isolate. Needless to say, the architecture is great, and is quite possibly the best I've seen in a Yavin Temple map for ages - it's simple, yet at the same time visually pleasing. Not one mis-aligned texture to be found - this is the point where I realised exactly why this map had taken so long: Virtue's gone over it with a fine-toothed comb, and then gone over it again with an even finer one. There's really not much to say about this as the screenshots will say enough, except that the view over the courtyard looks good and gives it that "campus" feel.
Leading off from the main chamber are the security rooms and a sparring room. The sparring room is essentially the same design principle as the equivalent room in v2, except that much more attention to detail has been given to it. Again, it's what you'd expect.
The security room is simple - it just has buttons to lock down parts of the academy. Typical Rebel base design, yet still very well constructed too look the part almost impeccably.
Next is the battleground. Believe me when I say that you won't recognise it. It has been translated from a walled-in enclosure into a large outdoor area. The terrain looks as good as it can in Q3 engine, there's good use of lighting and effects, and the area is littered with weapons - leading me to believe that the majority of combat and lessons takes place out here.
Across the battleground you'll find a small ruin with an elevator. This leads into what appears to be the dorm area. Several rooms are down here: medical room, bar, strategy center, and a few storage rooms. Everything is, again, well-designed and error-free. What impressed me most was the strategy center's layout - it hits the spot exactly, and I suspect that a little inspiration was likely taken from real world sources. My only grievance is that the music in the bar is still present, and there's no way short of deleting the mp3 to make it shut up (you can tell that I dislike that song, huh?) - which is a shame, as it clashes with the great BGM. Interestingly enough, this underground dormitory area is also a training zone, although I suspected it may be since only RP'ers would really have much use for many of the areas (except the bar - that can universally be used as a "Safe Zone" in any type of server).
Now... Ah, wait, screw it, I'm too lazy to keep switching between spec and ingame modes.
Ahem, now let's move on to the central courtyard, possibly my fave area. This is almost the same as v2, which is good, because it's a little bit of the original in there, but what makes it stand out is the adjoining "Hall of Fame" area. As well as being possibly the most aesthetically-pleasing part of the map, it contains memorials which count as a way of honoring the people who made the Academy what it is - quite sentimental, and hell, those guys deserve an honorable mention for giving up most of their free time for the benefit of a gaming community which on the whole generally doesn't appreciate the sacrifices that have been made for them by many.
Most important of all is the memorial to Vladarion - I'm glad that's still in there. An in-game memorial to an in-game friend. Nerdy? Hell yes, but really, who cares? Honoring someone you knew well and cared for is the right thing to do, and a friend is still a friend whether you know them as a human or as an avatar. Again, another display that we're all still humans behind the keyboards, and that can only be a good thing.
OK, this review is getting long. Too long. Let's move on before Inyri starts making wisecracks about Oscar acceptance speeches or some such nonsense... >_>
The classrooms are the core of the map, naturally. The three sparring rooms are still intact and very much unchanged aside from the removal of the viewing areas. What is really new now, is the stairways leading to elevators. These lead up to the second floor, where there's a brand spankin' new classroom built for all kinds of classes. It's got seating (which, in non-RP terms, means "Go stand over there so you don't get in the way!" :p ), and the glass walkways make it easier to see what's going on around the room. Jutting off from here is a supply room for healing, and a sentry room for defensive training (which I have to admit, I took a few lessons in myself while playtesting >_> ). All in all, everything a Jedi will need to train themselves, I guess.
The final room to cover, is the bridge room. I loved this one, and now with the addition of multiple levels, I love it even more. Why? I dunno, I guess I like combat in these environments. Must still be jacked in to the Matrix or something. (By the way, Ghost is WAY cooler than Neo. And Enter The Matrix should have been much longer than it was.) Er, yeah, this room is still fun for combat, and if you like, you can even simulate Revolver Ocelot-style pistol matches a lá Metal Gear Solid. ;) All in all, a fun little sparring room.
Now, because I've made this review extremely wordy and unnecessarily long, I'll summarise:
- Texture Usage: All textures appropriately used and well-fitted. No errors.
- Architecture: A bit plain, very simple, yet still aesthetically pleasing and appropriate.
- Design: Simple, yet elegant. Made for a purpose and suits it perfectly. The theme ties in very well together.
- Creativity: It's an updated remake. The heck are you asking me about creativity for? :p
- Custom Material: Surprisingly, most of this is built with base resources. Congrats on utilising them better than Raven Software could! The few custom resources in the pack are just fine. Some of them could work better, but they're fine for their purpose.
I admit it, I'm gushing with nothing but praise for this. Why? Because it's the best map ever? No, I don't make judgements like that. Because it looks more awesome than any other map? Nope. So why is it then?
Because it works. It's been properly tested, properly tweaked, properly optimised, so on and so forth, and Virtue's delayed the release of it almost indefinitely in order to make sure it was only released when it was ready - something that no mapper seems to do these days.
Overall, this is an improvement in every way over v2, and the Academy members should be proud to call this their "home away from home". Virtue should also be proud for creating something which raises the standard and finally proves that complexity is not synonymous with quality.
Great work, Virtue, and I hope you expand your mapping horizons. I also hope that others follow from your example of thinking purely about the map rather than about the reaction it will get from the general public.
Bot Routing: Yes Custom Textures: Yes Custom Music: Yes Custom Models: Yes
***************************************** *JEDI KNIGHT : JEDI ACADEMY MODIFICATION* ***************************************** Title : The Academy: Version 3 Version : 3.0 Author : Virtue E-Mail : email@example.com Website : http://www.thejediacademy.net File Name : the_academy_v3.pk3 File Size : 25 MB before zipping Date Released : March 5th, 2007 Description : Official Map of the Jedi Academy (http://www.thejediacademy.net). The third map in my "The Academy" series. It's basically a heavily modified and updated version of the_academy_v2, most of the things that were in v2 are in v3, except they either look different and/or have been upgraded. This new version includes: - A Dueling area with three seperate rooms for dueling or sparring. - A main courtyard area for spawning and hanging out - the most central area of the map. - A "classroom" fit to cater for most, if not all of the Classes held at thejediacademy.net - An NPC sentry droid room which is good for practicing aerial attacks or riposite blocking. - A lobby area containing a few of the combo pads from the last map to help people teach/learn combos. - A "pit" room where people can duel or FFA in an area where movement is restricted and one wrong move can mean certain doom. - A large outdoor area which can be used for pretty much anything, a lush environment that can be just as deadly as it is tranquil. - An underground bunker area which is perfect for either all-out-battles (very gunner-friendly) or stealth tactics. - An administration area accessable only through the Jedi Academy's JAE mod's teleportation abilities. The area overlooks the main courtyard, has a private training room and a control room to lock/open various public areas of the map. - A "Garden of JA Fame" area paying hommage to many of the great people who have walked the halls of thejediacademy.net. The area also serves as a memorial to a dear friend of ours named Vladarion, who tragically died in a car accident over Christmas 2003. RIP Vlad, we miss you buddy! Go here for more info on Vladarion: http://www.thejediacademy.net/articles_detail_page.php?f_id=5 - Compiled by Bail Hope of Belouve I would like to thank everyone in the entire JK3 community who have been waiting for this map, for your seemingly infinite patience. I'm sorry that it has taken this long for the map to be released and I hope that you won't be dissapointed. The map is built to cater specifically to the Jedi Academy, but I cannot ignore the huge amount of positive feedback I have either recieved, or heard about, so this one goes out to all of you guys. :D You all rock my socks! Thank you for taking such an interest in the maps, big love! <3 Install: : Unzip the *.pk3 file into your GAMEDATA/BASE folder #################### #Additional Credits# #################### DJ Sith: For Editing the Bar Music and making it compatible with the game and map. Thanks DJ. :D Odan-Wei: For making most of the bar posters. Majno: For the JAE posters in the Bar and the "Jedi Battle" painting in the Staff waiting room. Menaxia: For remembering the exact skin components and colour that Vladarion once frequently used. The Beta Testers: Plankcore, DaMi3N, Carrock, Kaelis Belouve, Setementor, cHoSeN-oNe, Buzz, Hardwired, Jaiko D'Kana and Dash Starlight. You guys are flippin' awesome! The entire JK3 Community for liking my maps. :D --- THIS MODIFICATION IS NOT MADE, DISTRIBUTED, OR SUPPORTED BY ACTIVISION, RAVEN, OR LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LLC. ELEMENTS TM & © LUCASARTS ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY LLC AND/OR ITS LICENSORS.
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