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Screenshot of solarfall
Title:Solarfall (80cee863476e1a12f38c3a6891ffbee4)
Filesize:1275 Kilobytes
Release date:06.07.1999
Additional Links: Quake Map HotelTEAMShamblerUnderworldfan's
Type:Single BSP File(s)
BSP: ✔ • PAK: ✘ • PROGS.DAT: ✘ • Custom Models/Sounds: ✘

Walkthrough demos:
All secrets + easter egg, but little skill and no sense of direction...
As above -- but less talk, more derp.

Files in the ZIP archive
Files in the ZIP archive:
File Size Date
solstart.bsp543 KB29.06.1999
solarfall.txt5 KB10.09.2003
solfall.bsp2382 KB05.07.1999


Large Wizard/Ebon Fortress level. Comes with a start map.

Tags: wet, blocky, vertical, large, wizard, start, blue, planetquake-map-of-the-week

Editor's Rating: Excellent
User Rating:
4.2/5 with 39 ratings
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Sielwolf 8 July 2008, 2:28
This map has some unique secrets, gameplay is decent.
MikeTaylor Registered 17 June 2014, 16:16

Off topic, but ...

Does anyone remember a very atmospheric map where you work your way down a series of underground walkways, constantly expect an ambush but there are no monsters? Then you reach the bottom and press a button or ring a bell or something, the monsters all appear, and you have to fight your way back up. I downloaded Solarfall thinking it was this one, but it's not. Anyone remember what it's called?

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 17 June 2014, 16:41

That sounds a lot like one of the Zerstörer maps, if I recall correctly -- at least when played without the v1.1 patch.

MikeTaylor Registered 17 June 2014, 23:31

Yes -- brilliant! It's zer1m6, True Love Waits, by Kandyman. Many thanks for helping me to re-find it. (Shame that, I think, you have to play through all of Zerstorer to that point for the map to work properly.)

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 18 June 2014, 4:38

You say that as if replaying Zerstörer were a bad thing (I don't think you need to replay the preceding maps for it to work, though).

Glad I could help, but these comments are rather spoiler-ish for people who have not played Zerstörer yet. Pity it is not possible to delete comments from Quaddicted...

MikeTaylor Registered 18 June 2014, 11:20

Well, I've never been a big Zerstorer fan, to be honest. It's probably my biggest deviation from Quake-fan orthodoxy. I get that the atmosphere is unique and the new weapons were innovative at the time, I just don't find most of it much fun to play.

The reason I said you need to have played earlier levels is that, having reached the temple, I can't get up onto the altar to grab the thingy. So either there's a secret way that I've forgotten, or I need to rocket-jump and I don't have the equipment.

Hopefully this thread will be more of a teaser than a spoiler for anyone who's not played Zerstorer.

MikeTaylor Registered 18 June 2014, 11:30

Anyway, on to Solarfall: I like its looks, but the play is weak -- kind of predictable and repetitive. And it suffers worse than any map I know from the tendency to get stuck on lumpy architecture when trying to manoeuvre away from monsters. That said

I replayed this because it's Vondur's first published map. He of course went on to much better things, including The Castle of Koohoo (which scores very high for atmosphere) and Adamantine Cruelty (which is the all-time great sewer map). But this ambitious first map falls short of its aspirations and earns only 3* from me.

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 18 June 2014, 12:24


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Whfg whzc ba gur nygne. Vg frrzf bayl gb jbex sebz gur sebag naq abg sebz gur onpx (jurer gur jrncba/fhccyvrf fgnfu vf).

Naq znxr fher lbh ner cynlvat jvgu gur i1.1 cngpu. V erzrzorerq va gur zrna gvzr gung jura V svefg cynlrq Mre, vg jnf jvgubhg gur cngpu, naq gura mre1z6 orpbzrf hapbzcyrgnoyr, nf tenoovat gur "guvatl" (ybir lbhe anzr sbe vg) qbrf abg gevttre gur rkvg onpx hc gb gur erfg bs gur ohvyqvat nf vg fubhyq (V xarj gur cngpu cynlrq fbzr ebyr; whfg pbhyq abg erzrzore juvpu jnl nebhaq).

Decrypter here.

MikeTaylor Registered 19 June 2014, 0:27

Thanks, Icant. (Hope it's OK to call you Icant.) With that in mind, I will make sure I have the patch and then replay just that one level.

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 19 June 2014, 1:45

Sure, feel free to abbreviate my ridiculous alias. I wish I had thought of something cleverer at the time, but, you know... (at least "Icant" sounds better than "Youcant" when said with an RP or related accent).

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 19 June 2014, 20:03

As for Solarfall: I agree to a large extent with MikeTaylor's assessment.

For a first release, it is very nice. It certainly looks good (if perhaps a little on the bland side) and I particularly like that shifting wall at the start and the paternoster-like lift later on.

On skill 1, though, the map is noticeably underpopulated. On skill 2, it plays much better (and I say this as someone who virtually always plays on skill 1 and sometimes skill 0), but even then, the gameplay is a little uninspired.

The secrets, on the other hand (at least two of the four) are overly arcane. I only managed to locate all of them after obsessively scouring the map with and without noclip.

It is interesting to compare this map with the excellent Adamantine Cruelty where, in my opinion, Vondur gets the balance right: the gameplay is a lot more complex and rewarding, and the secrets a lot more reasonable (without being overly easy).

This is by no means a bad map, and it is certainly historically interesting, given that it is the first release of an accomplished mapper. Plus, the readme is priceless:

"... in the middle of this most hated summer '99 …”

With all due respect to Vondur, 3 plus.

Inspired by skacky's demo with commentary for Metal Monstrosity, I am uploading my own far less amusing demo for this map. Unfortunately it features some bumbling and getting stupidly lost, but it also shows the location of all four secrets plus the easter egg, for those who might be interested.

Cocerello Registered 4 January 2015, 18:35

Played on skill 3 (there is no option for skill 0 :D ), 55/55 killed, 3/4 secrets.

Brushwork is based on setpieces with in-outs which make the map look a bit bland but way better than in the screenshot, it doesn't get too repetitive as there is several, enemies get stuck sometime on them, but as the map is easy, it's hard for the player to get stuck himself. Layout is linear with backtracking and with room to move. Difficulty is around ID maps.

Combats are varied but not too imposing on the player, no feel of hurriedness, no real ambushes, but decent gameplay nonetheless. Amount and placement of ammo/health/armor is very good, lower than ID maps but with more than enough to miss. Secrets are hard to find, and there is the typical Vondur's secret, easier to open than to find.

Overall, considering the year and that it is his first release, it gets from me a 5/5-.

bfg666 Registered 10 September 2016, 23:55

@Icantthinkofanickname "Inspired by skacky's demo with commentary for Metal Monstrosity, I am uploading my own far less amusing demo for this map." Where?

bfg666 Registered 11 September 2016, 0:04

Uhh, nevermind, I just saw the demos chart on the left.

bfg666 Registered 25 September 2016, 9:12

So, I've played this and I pretty much share MikeTaylor and Icant's opinion, except that I seem to have found combat a little more enjoyable than them. Nothing much to add but this: I loved the design of the hallways at the start, it reminded me of Koohoo. Sure, you can get stuck on the architecture but you just have to be a little extra careful about where you step, that's all. It's not that big of a deal. A solid 3.5 translates to 4 kawaii pink hearts.

Also: in the room with the door framed by two small crosses (the one that leads to the gold key room), there are two buttons hidden inside holes in the wall on the sides. They're too deep to be able to press them and shooting them doesn't seem to do anything. If anyone has a clue, please share.

One final note: Solarfall? Uh, why? I mean it's a cool sounding title in itself but I don't see any reason for it in the map and at any rate, it sounds much more sci-fi than medieval fantasy. It would have suited the base theme more.

Lane Powell Registered 25 September 2016, 9:15

Never understood the title either--actually would fit a base map quite well, preferably one featuring a skybox with a dying star being sucked into a black hole. Anyone?

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 25 September 2016, 12:09

Lane Powell (& bfg666), that's easy enough to piece together by reading the readme, knowing that Vondur is into black metal and a quick internet search for "Solarfall".

The readme explains that Vondur was annoyed with the sunny summer weather while creating this map, and thus decided to create a cold "kingdom of eternal winter and darkness [where the] sun no longer rises" (from the readme). A google/startpage/your-search-engine-of-choice search reveals that "Solarfall" is also the title of a black metal song from the same year this map was released, and that the lyrics likewise describe a cold, sunless world.

bfg666 Registered 25 September 2016, 12:15

OK, thanks. Yeah, I admit I overlooked the readme and I'm not much into black metal - except for Burzum - so I didn't know the song.

Icantthinkofanickname Registered 25 September 2016, 12:24

No problem.

Oh, I know nothing about black metal myself; I just happened to know that Vondur likes it (and/or related genres). I simply did a search for the word "Solarfall" to see if it is used elsewhere -- very often map names are references to other works (mostly music or Lovecraft stories). The song was an obvious fit for the aforementioned reasons. :)

bfg666 Registered 25 September 2016, 12:32

Yeah. I still feel it has a more sci-fi ring to it, though.

Solomoriah Registered 11 February 2019, 19:23

Someone complained about getting stuck on lumpy architecture... um, I think that's the point of this one. Was too short, but nice.

Lysander Registered 3 March 2019, 21:59

Beautiful short map with a modest amount of monsters - on Normal anyway. Vondur really knows that less is more when it comes to mapping, and he's really scaled down the intensity of this one and ramped up the atmosphere. The use of ambient sounds is very well done and there are some great environments from stone crypts to medieval tudor and mossy swamps. A very comfortable map to play.

NailIn Guest 25 September 2021, 17:34

Well built for 1999.

Lane Powell Registered 11 July 2022, 5:19

Replayed this alongside all of Vondur's maps. While his first as the clean architecture you'd expect from someone who honed his skills making DM maps, he doesn't yet seemed to have successfully transitioned to SP gameplay. The enemy placement is pretty basic, with no real standout encounters in my opinion, and the map feels a bit underpopulated even on skill 2. It is nice to look at--I like the way the different levels of the map are given distinct themes--but again, nothing really stands out.

Not a bad map overall but not one of Vondur's best. 3/5

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