Coagula Contest 3 by ericw, gb, RickyT23, spy, Trinca, Willem and nonentity

This is the third coagula contest (I ran the first one, UWF ran the second one), and I'll start by saying that it is actually the best quality out of all three. There are some very nice maps in here, and a good deal of variety as well (though the futuristic style isn't represented this time). The pack begins with a very well-made start map, coag3_start by nonentity. This map uses the texture set from Glassman's Day of the Lords and Necros' The Living End, so it is in very good company. It is very well-built, with lots of abnormal shapes making up some asymmetrical ruins. The purely black void (no skybox), cracked/decaying structures, and atmospheric lighting contribute to an enjoyable suggestion of mystery. Each of the levels can be reached by a portal somewherein these ruins.


This map, Kadath, is a sort of spidery gothic structure suspended in space. There are a lot of walkways, some towers, and cool structures like flying butresses. The skybox is especially nice, epic views of colourful cosmic stars and formations. The combination of the the gothic architecture (quoth textures) with the coagula style and space sky is unique and pleasing; the map is just plain cool. Combat is logical and not overly difficult, although there is a part where shamblers hunt you down that may cause unwary players to die. The openness of the layout is exploited well to produce an interesting challenge. Overall, a very nice map. Score: 16.5/20


This is a sort of remake of id's episode two piece, The Ebon Fortress. Whereas that level took place in a moldy ancient castle in a swamp, this new version consists mostly of disconnected architecture from the original in a space setting. I don't think this is all that effective, as id's architecture is very simple by today's standards, and it looks even more bare when stripped of the sky, water, and rocks that formed its backdrop, not to mention the ceilings/indoor areas as well that provided a little more detail. The map is far too plain aesthetically. The moving platform section I think is still in there, which is kind of interesting in a void setting (I'm surprised more coagula maps haven't used it). Mostly, however, you're just blowing away ogres and scrags, or being frustrated by vores. No offense to the author but surrounded by the other maps in this pack, this map doesn't look like much. Score: 12/20


RickyT23's map is a really cool church structure clad in Kell/other textures. The overall impression is a strong theme of red bricks, yellow wood, and white stone. There are cool details like a chandelier and some missing bricks/broken wall. The architecture is highlighted against a distinct purple skybox. what is even better than the visuals however, is the layout. The layout is logical and progressive, and the interior of the church is a suitable showdown area. After this you get to go on the church's curving rooftops - very cool. Lots of medieval monsters are used - scrags prove tricky in a certain spot, and lots of hellknights are present to harass the player as he moves. Excellent stuff. Score: 17.5/20


Spy's map is a green/brown E1-style castle in space (think The Necropolis, or The Grisly Grotto). The architecture is a little more basic, but this is a stylistic choice rather than a technical limitation. Angles are well used, the map has a very "solid" feeling to it as opposed to the more abstract disregard for gravity on display in, say, ericw's map. The layout is somewhat nonlinear, meaning you get to run around killing monsters and discovering where to go without being put "on rails." The level is fairly short, and the end is really hard, but overall just about everyone should enjoy this map - an old theme in a new style. Score: 16/20


This map is a square arena/structure in space, using quoth textures. It's symmetrical and nonlinear, but not nonlinear in a pleasing way (where the player is given options for routes) but instead the player will just have monsters from whatever symmetrical side he didn't take chasing him. It's a good blast-fest if that's what you're looking for, but the swarms of monsters are kind of predictable. Visually, some spotlighting and texture stacking saves the map from blandness, but detailing (perhaps windows, gargoyles, torchstands, etc) is lacking. when you get to the top level things become even more challenging; this is a good map to run through for a challenge, but not really one to savour. Score: 14/20


Willem's map is very original runic/metal/blue thing. It's kind of remniscent of some of Necros' stuff, or even a really old map whose name I forget by LTH. These are only vague comparisons, however; the map definitely has its own vibe. The architecture is well-scaled, well-judged, and properly detailed. The layout is partially symmetrical but not overly so, nor is it overly linear. Each section is presented to the player logically, and is distinct without either deviating too much from the basic theme, or overstaying its own stylistic welcome. Much of the visual interest is achieved by the use of the ever-cool runic textures over unexpected or unusual angles. The monsters are what you'd expect, knights ogres and scrags, but there are some cool fiend ambushes and a few places where you are attacked from unexpected directions. Lighting throughout is great; I'm becoming quite impressed with Willem, who consistently produces stuff that is simultaneously very grounded in "Quake tradition" (such as it is) and quite unique. Score: 17/20

Overall, this pack says very good things about the state of Quake level design at the moment, as it embodies the peak of a tradition that's been going for pretty much the entirety of modern Q1SP (2002-onward). Though there are a couple weaker maps, they're worth playing and the best maps in this pack can accurately be described as exquisite. The virtues of this form, and of map packs like this generally, are that you as a player get a good deal of variety and nothing that demands an epic commitment. Here you're on tour through various hostile realms of space. Enjoy the ride.

Overall Pack Score: 18/20