This post was written by Scampie and published as part of the Advent Calendar 2013 at the 6th December.

Classic Custom Quake Deathmatch Levels

Merry Quakemas! I come with a bounty of classic Deathmatch levels made by the community back in the day! This is an unsorted list of ten favorite deathmatch levels of mine, plus some mentions of how the author/map influenced the level design community. This isn't a top ten, and I'll also note that I specifically decided to leave out Aerowalk and Blood Run, two maps which I believe all Quakers already know about. I also decided to limit myself to 1 map per designer, and only maps which were released before the year 2000. So without further ado, let's get to it!

spinev2: Spine Version2 by Headshot

Headshot is a well known mapper in the level design community, and if any designer deserved to have all his maps listed it would be him, not only was he one half of the Dapak team which raised the bar for Deathmatch levels, but he also created one of the earliest level design forums, Qboard. Spine was the 'official' map for Qonference '98, a German Quake Tournament, Version2 builds on feedback from players and is a much stronger map. Action on this map flows well between each area, and 2 rocket launchers ensure the carnage.

rapture1: Imminent Boom by Danimal

The other half of the Dapak team, Danimal made some great maps back in the day which influenced many future level designers. Need an example? I've been told that this was the first DM map to ever feature markers under weapons so you would know where they would spawn, which is now almost a standard feature! Besides that bit of trivia, this map is a great idbase textured DM map, with 2 major rooms that connect and flow into each other, and a Quad in slime, making it dangerous to grab without completely giving away your position.

naked5: Kinky Afro by Gandhi

No, that's not e1m2 in the screenshot, it's naked5: Kinky Afro! e1m2 is considered a great teamplay map, which horrifies most quake mappers as it's designed for single player. Gandhi, who not only is a great mapper but was also a member of a top Quake clan, was perfectly positioned to make a e1m2-like which was designed intentionally for deathmatch! Likely the most strategic gameplay of maps on my list, with lots of water and elevator sound cues to tip off players.

zed: Zed by Vondur

I believe Quakers these days better know Vondur for his fantastic single player Quake maps and his contributions to the Nehahra mod, but for me, Vondur will always make me think Zed. This rubicon textured industrial base is 2 floors of pure carnage, split into connected 3 rooms. Lots of teleporters make the players zip around the map, making it hard to truly lock someone down. A really neat feature is the floating rocket launcher, which you can grab via a wind tunnel or by ramp jumps.

strafin6: Quake Addiction by Peej

Just prior to Quake3 being released, the entire community was drooling over screenshots of curved surfaces and large gothic architecture. Peej took those bits and combined them with his own style of moldy green textures and created this excellent map. A large major room dominates the map, with 3 floors of twisting and turning up and around. One of Peej's signatures is also present, a 'dead end' where the red armour is kept, making it a risky move to collect safely. Peej was also a well known figure in the level design community, being one half of the Peej'n'Frib mapping news site, and later making the forum Qmap.

efdm9: Tangerine Dream by Mr Fribbles

The other half of the Peej'n'Frib crew, Mr. Fribbles created many fine levels in his Electric Fish DM series. Always one to experiment with unique looks and layouts, this map is a large orange industrial facility pumping out slimey green water. Play meanders through several different areas, from the large outside area with the Quad and rocket launcher, to the tighter interior areas where the red armour is stashed in a pipe. Be careful of the water if you play in single player, you'll be in for a fishy grave! >(((º>

baldm6: Scrap Metal by Bal

Some people might remember the Quake3 conversion Bal later did of this map (or remember Bal's other awesome Quake3 maps), but this was the original, and an excellent Quake map. The textures used are a set made by Pox, a Mac Quake modder, and were very rarely used, was is a shame because this level shows how great they can look, especially with Bal skillful texture alignments. Gameplay centers in a large open area with several 'buildings' of smaller rooms.

pinion2: clockwork by Retinal

Retinal is a mapper I believe better known for his Quake2 deathmatch levels, but don't let that fool you, his map clockwork is Quake excellence through and through! Decked out in cistern bricks and trimmed with metal grating, this map has a unique look to it, my favourite bit being the red pluses which mark the corners of the floor to give a subtle hint as to where edges are. The layout feels almost like a snaking hallway that wraps around itself in a few places with a couple teleporters, and there are double rocket launchers provided to knock players into the single lava pit in the map.

edc: Eternal Dismemberment Complex by Tyrann

When this map came out, it was absolutely mind blowing that so much detail could be done in a Quake deathmatch level, and the use of Quake2 mining textures was fantastic. This was the first glimpse level designers got at Tyrann's new lighting compile utility, which made possible much more softer and nicer lighting than previously possible in Quake. The level itself plays like a dream as well, with multiple hallways winding around 2 major rooms and a basement area, with a couple teleporters and an elevator to boot.

ultrav: UltraViolence by Escher

Italian mapper Escher released this great Egyptian themed level in June of 1997, just a couple months after the release of the Dissolution of Eternity expansion from which the textures were taken. The level is made up of a large multi-floor room, with a few smaller rooms off to it's sides with teleporters, creating a very cat and mouse chase style of gameplay. Ultraviolence features an interesting mechanic to get the Quad; at one side of the bottom floor of the main room there is a button, and it opens a teleporter to the Quad on the other side, so trying to get to it is sure to cause a collision of rockets and gibs in a mad dash to get the Quad!