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Design Theories 1
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Q1 SP design theories 2.

These two pages contain some detailed design theories, which suggest how to make a high quality Q1 SP map, by analysing the various aspects that contribute to high quality Q1 SP maps. They are written as general guidelines (which the exception of Theory 0 which is an absolute rule), and it's the overall quality of the map that is important, rather than fitting in with any specific suggestion here. They are also written solely from a player's (and a critical reviewer's) point of view, not a mapper's point of view.

Choose a theory:
Theories page 1:
» Theory 0: The basic golden rule of mapping.
» Theory 1: What makes a proper Q1 SP level???
» Theory 2: Common flaws to be avoided in Q1 SP levels.
» Theory 3: What makes a map look good???

Theories page 2:
» Theory 4: What makes a map play well???
» Theory 5: Other aspects of Q1 SP map quality.

Theory 4: What makes a level play well:

As with architecture a LOT of individual aspects contribute to a map having good gameplay, and of course, gameplay is even more important than architecture is. It's not easy to specify what makes gameplay good without huge lists of examples, but the various aspects can be pointed out to give some indication of areas to pay attention to.

1. Overall balance:
Overall balance, at it's most basic definition, is the balance between easy and hard - getting the level so that it is hard enough to be challenging, exciting, and satisfying to complete, but at the same time easy enough to be survivable, reasonable and playable for most players. Obviously there is a lot more to balance than that - as the following aspects reveal.
» Easy to hard progression:
Arguably the most important aspect of gameplay to consider, if only because at least 90% of custom maps fail in this area. All it means is that the map should progress from an easier start to a much harder finish - this produces the most fun and satisfying gameplay. It's very important to take the following into account: At the start of the map, the player will have a shotgun, no armour, very little room to move, and a need to stay healthy for the rest of the map. At the end of the map, the player will have more weapons, some armour, often most of the map to manoeuvre in, and it does not matter at all if they finish with 1% health as it is the end. Therefore, the monsters and combat situations should be balanced according to this.
» Final climax:
A big spectacular ending to a map is good - it gives a sense of accomplishment, it sticks in your mind and provides a lasting experience, it produces excitement. This is common to most forms of media - we like to have impressive and memorable endings to things. So a level should have some sort of impressive and challenging ending, whether involves spectacular architecture, brutal violence, extreme cunning or any combination of those.
» Not offputting at start or elsewhere:
The level shouldn't have any unfair sections that are impossible to overcome on first attempts and generally induce a desire to give up on the level. This is particularly important at the start of a level, when the player is undergunned, and is not yet immersed in the level and the desire to complete it. Offputting situations could include "too" hard fights, sections that require trick gameplay, instant death traps, situations that are not survivable without prior knowledge, and more.
» Challenging:
The level should be challenging - it should require the player to struggle and really put some effort into overcoming it. Quake is all about fighting, so the player should have to fight and be tested in the normal repetoire of fighting skills (aiming, moving, dodging, reactions, tactics, weapons choice). This produces the most satisfaction at completing the level, as well as excitement playing it.
» Fair and reasonable:
However, the level's challenge should be tempered with fairness, so that it is not unpleasantly hard and overwhelming for the player. It is very hard to define what gameplay is reasonable or not, but for each situation, the player should be challenged and usually take damage, but should be able to survive, given the previous combat situations - preferably when playing the map for the first time.
» Skill settings:
Of course, the major problem with balancing the difficulty of the level is that people have different skill levels - some find Quake really hard, others find it really easy, and there is a whole spectrum inbetween. It's a gnarly situation when a combat is exciting and fun for one player and frustratingly unfair for another. So, the best way to ensure a map's gameplay will have the broadest appeal is to ensure it has proper and effective skill settings - so that players can chose the appropriate difficulty. The skill settings need to make a real impact on gameplay, whether they affect monster types, monster numbers, or items.

2. Combats and combat situations:
The nitty gritty of combat - the fighting, where and how it is done. Without reeling of a vast list of examples, it's not easy to give specific details of what makes a good combat/ combat situation - it's an area which requires strong ideas, testing, playing around and tweaking, as well as perhaps experience of other good Quake combats.
» Varied gameplay:
Variety is the spice of life - and of Quake gameplay. So it's good to have all sorts of different combat situations to keep the player interested and test the full range of their playing skillz. Doing the same style of fighting repeatedly just gets boring and uninspiring, so different combat styles should be explored. For examples, see the types of combats below.
» Exciting and fun situations:
Well, the combats have to be fun and exciting! It's there aren't any firm rules as to what makes a fun and exciting combat, but it is likely to involve a combination of movement, plenty of shooting, good monster use, a challenge, some cunning, and all set in an appropriate combat area.
» Staged combats:
Staged combats involve the map having combats that are specifically set up and designed, rather than just placing monsters in the map with little thought for the resulting combat. Having a combat idea or design produces more interesting combats than random combats. Again, it's hard to specify what makes a good staged combat, but having a strong idea or theme behind the combat is important, as well as good monster choice/usage.
» Dynamic combats:
I.e., combats that involve both the player and monsters moving a lot. This is a good thing to include due to Quake's style of monster - most Quake monsters need/want to get close to the player. Equally, it is possible to fight most monsters in the open without being outgunned - due to the lack of instant hit weapons. So open combats which involve a lot of running around, dodging, circling and avoiding hordes of blood thirsty monsters tend to work particularly well in Quake maps.
» Other types of combats:
Aside from dynamic combats, there are many other styles of combat to explore. Not always easy (or indeed necessary!) to categorise, but examples would include: brutal close up combats, shoot and duck combats, running combats, sniping combats, tactical and planning combats, shock and reaction based combats, highly 3D combats, multiple monster combats, stop/start combats and many more, and combinations of various combat styles. There's no saying which sorts of combats work best in a particular map/situation - they should be explored and tested to find which are most fun and effective.
» Interesting use of architecture:
The architecture obviously plays a major part in combat, and it makes combat more interesting if the architecture is well used. Architecture that can have an effect on gameplay includes that which gives you cover, that which forces you out into the open, 3D designs and structures, use of water, lava and slime, architecture that is dangerous on it's own (the latter should be used with great care). All of these can spice up combats if used effectively and carefully.
» Architecture easy to fight around:
Although the architecture plays an important role in combat situations, care must be taken that it does not inhibit or adversly affect combat - for both the players *and* the monsters. Architecture that is awkward to fight around, such as cramped areas, lots of detail that is easy to get stuck on, narrow walkways, overuse of slime/lava/dangerous scenery, is best avoided.

3. Monsters:
Hey, these are the things you actually fight, so it's important to pay attention to how they are used to make combat good, exciting but not overwhelming.
» Good monster choice:
You need the right monsters for the map overall - this mainly includes having monsters that fit well into the map's theme (no Knights in bases, for example), and making sure the monsters will be effective and fun to fight in the map. It also includes striking a good balance between small "cannon fodder" monsters, medium "staple" monsters, and large "mini-boss" monsters. Sticking to a strong theme, awareness of what each monster is like to fight, and tweaking the monster choice are the most important things here.
» Effective monster usage:
The monsters should be used well, and placed in situations where they are taking advantage of their strengths, and not being hampered by their weaknesses. Particular attention needs to be made to how the monster reacts, how close combat orientated it is, how manoeuvrable it is, how avoidable it's attacks are, whether it needs to be used in numbers to be effective, and whether it has any unusual advantages or disadvantages. Of course, using monster effectively must be tempered by not using it *over-effectively* - it would be easy to use some monsters to make them almost certain to kill the player, so the player needs a chance to fight back.
» Awareness of monster fights:
One amusing feature of most Id games is that different monsters will fight each other if they accidentally get attacked by another monster. In almost all levels, a few monsters will fight each other or can be made to fight by the player - this obviously reduces reduces their effectiveness, but also can be a source of humour, and an effective way for the player to resolve a combat. It's important when using monsters to be aware of any monsters that might fight each other, and whether this would be detrimental to the gameplay.

4. Items:
And this is what you use to fight the monsters with. So a careful balance needs to be struck having too few items and making the player really struggle, and having to many and the player finding the map a walkover. How and when the player recieves items is also important - most maps have items spread fairly evenly with a smooth progression of getting items, but a few have large caches spaced out through the map with little inbetween. Either way seems to work well, as long as the items are chosen and positioned carefully.
» Weapon/ammo balance:
It's important the ensure the player *just* has the weapons the need and nothing extra that would make the gameplay too easy. Awareness of each item's strengths and weaknesses, and their effects on each monster in the map is useful here. For ammo, it is essential that the player has enough ammo to complete the map, as using the axe really sucks, but not so much ammo that the player can waste it all by not having to aim or plan. A good rule of thumb is to provide plenty of weak ammo (shells, and nails [unless the player has the Perforator]), and much less powerful ammo (rockets, cells).
» Health/armour balance:
This is what the player needs to survive, therefore there should be enough to allow them to surive, but not too much so they can approach combats recklessly. There's no set amount of health and armour a player should get, it simply depends on what combats there are and how much damage the player is likely to receive - tweaking and testing is important.
» Careful use of powerups:
Power ups can make combats easier, give the player extra stuff to use tactically, and make things a lot more fun with some powerups. Of course, since some powerups are very powerful, they should be used only rarely to avoid making combats too easy. The map author needs to be aware of how useful powerups are in each situation, and also the weaknesses of each powerup (losing armour with the 666, for example). They can spice up gameplay, but need to be used and positioned carefully.
» Careful use of secrets:
The use of secrets has some similarities to the use of powerups - they both are things that can spice up gameplay, but can also make it too easy if overused. In particular, a careful balance needs to be struck between having secrets that make combats too easy, and having combats that are too hard unless the secrets are found. A useful idea is to have many secrets that give weak items (health, ammo, weak armour), and few secrets that give strong items (weapons, strong armour, powerups). A creative idea worth considering is to have secrets that don't actually give any items, but give a tactical advantage, for example, being able to scope out future combats, escape from monsters, or gain a better tactical postion.

5. Traps:
Traps mostly fall under the category of "dangerous architecture", specifically architecture that is made dangerous by the map author to test and challenge the player in some way, or to make the situation harder and more damaging to them. Although traps can be a lot of fun, they can also be by far the most frustrating part of a map if used innappropriately, so extreme care needs to be taken when including traps.
» Monster traps:
These are the best sorts of traps: traps which don't kill you or get you damaged by scenery, but unleash monsters on you, whether they appear out of nowhere, or whether you suddenly get dropped into them. Why are these good??? Because they put you straight into combat which is good, and they give you a fighting chance which is good - and monster traps are usually non-fatal and exciting.
» Less damaging traps:
Something worth considering in a map is traps that don't damage you much, but just penalise you a bit, be doing some damage. Good examples are nail/laser shooters, and low damage spike traps. These are good for testing the players wits without killing and frustrating them, particularly if they are used in appropriate situations, for example security measures in bases, or portcullises in castles.
» No instant death traps:
There is no point whatsoever to traps that kill the player instantly - they are always detrimental to gameplay. They are cause unwanted restarts, repetive gameplay by having to replay the map, do not properly challenge the player, and are unfair and highly frustrating. In general, instant death traps should not feature in maps. Traps that do kill you, but give the player plenty of warning and time to use their skills to escape, are fine as long as they are used well.
» Escapable traps:
This covers traps that *do* benefit gameplay by giving the player chance to escape, but a challenge to recognise the trap and escape. The classic example of this is the spiked wall on E1M6, The Door to Chthon. This is a fatal but slow moving trap, that requires the player to run away and kill monsters to escape the trap, but is obvious and gives the player adequate time to do so. That is just one example, and there are many other styles of trap that could be escapable and thus fun because they provide a fair challenge.

6. Inspiration:
This is the icing on the cake - the ideas that take "ordinary" good gameplay an turn it into something special. Again, the ideas of the map maker are important, as is tweaking and testing. These aspects aren't needed for *good* gameplay, but they tend to play a role in *great* gameplay.
» Tension and violence:
Really this is more a part of atmosphere rather than gameplay, but getting the player into an apprehensive or violent state of mind can effect how they experience gameplay - getting their heart racing, whether through a scary and unnerving atmosphere or through massive brutal combats. This is quite a complex idea to explain, but it revolves around where the combats are placed in the map, how they are set up, what happens before, after, and between each combat.
» Surprises and shocks:
This is what happens after you get the player tense and scared - frighten the hell out of them =). Surprises and shocks can include many things, such as monsters teleporting in, coming out of hidden doors or jumping from dark areas, things exploding or collapsing, dramatic changes in the scenery to produce combats. Of course, there needs to be a balance between getting the player in a very dramatic situation, and giving them the opportunity to survive and fight back.
» Inspirational and original combats:
Another concept which is impossible to define - following on from staged combats, this is the next step up. It basically means the map author has very strong ideas that have been rarely used before, break free from the cliches of Quake combat, and make creative use of monsters, items, and architecture. Again, this needs to be done carefully as there is a fine line between creative ideas and gimmicky ones - and gimmicks should be avoided at all costs!
» Trick gameplay:
By trick gameplay, I mean anything that is not in the usual repetoire of running, shooting, collecting keys/pressing switches and minor exploration. Trick gameplay usually requires some sort of puzzle or challenge other than those normal gameplay aspects - it is rather easy for trick gameplay to be offputting and frustrating (or perhaps even impossible for some players), but it can also be used effectively to add to normal gameplay. Useful trick gameplay could include using traps or dangerous architecture to kill monsters, using monster infighting to resolve combats, major exploration, combats that are orientated around prior planning, running past monsters, or trick moves, etc etc. As with all these ideas, such gameplay must be used carefully to avoid ending up as an annoying gimmick.
» Mini-climaxes:
Having a climax at the end of a map should by now be a standard idea - however, for extra excitement, mini-climaxes can be spread throughout the map to keep the gameplay hot and add variety to more normal combats. Since these would be partway through the map, they should be less challenging than the final combat, and the player should be able to continue to survive the rest of the map after them - other than that, the concepts for the final climax apply to mini-climaxes.
» Making player feel clever:
Probably the hardest aspect of gameplay to pull off sucessfully, because it requires the map author to estimate how other players will react and experience the gameplay. It's also hard to define, but the end result should be that after the combat the player thinks "Man, I'm amazed I pulled that off, I must have m4d $ki11Z and cunning!!!". After all, the whole idea of maps and gameplay is to make the player feel good and satisfied - and if combats can be set up that makes the player feel special, that is great. However, I have no idea what would make such combats - it's likely cunning, tactics, and the opportunity for the player to plan these beforehand would play an important role.

Theory 5: Other aspects of Q1 SP map quality:

1. Atmosphere:
Atmosphere - the general pervasive tone or mood. In this case, the general pervasive tone or mood of a level. Having an strong atmosphere is a Good Thing™, it gives the level a sense of place - of actually being somewhere, and it draws the player in and heightens their appreciation of the level. It's hard to say what gives a level atmosphere, as it is more of a feeling rather than something physically in the level, but the following aspects should be considered.
» Focus on a specific atmosphere:
Exactly what it says - creating a specific and distinct atmosphere, rather than an ill-defined or vague one, will give a stronger and better feel to the map. Of course, various atmospheres could be chosen to suit a map, for example it could have a decaying and grimy atmosphere, a desolate and bleak atmosphere, and eerie and tense atmosphere, an magical and awe-inspiring atmosphere or many others. But it should stick to one distinct atmosphere and feel.
» Doing what Quake does best:
Although it would be futile to dictate what atmosphere a Quake map should have, it's important to recognise the general style of the game, and try to create an atmosphere that works well with it. In general, Quake is a "negative" game - i.e., the atmospheres and feelings that work best with it are negative ones. For example, scary, dark, unnerving, tense, shocking, foreboding, disorientating, violent, evil, grimy, dirty atmospheres all work better for Quake than cheerful, bright, clean, familiar atmospheres. It is also possible to create convincing Quake atmospheres that are magical, intriguing, awe inspiring, exciting etc etc, but obviously these don't contradict Quake's style.
» Lighting:
Lighting is very useful to add atmosphere to a map - or more often, darkness is! Areas of darkness and poorly lit areas can add real tension and fear as to what is lurking there, as well as accentuating architecture, and enhancing an already "dark" atmosphere. Equally, light and contrast can be easily used to create a dramatic atmosphere. However, it's important to avoiding going too far - fulldark areas are really annoying for gameplay, and fullbright areas look horrible - subtlety is important.
» Sounds:
Sounds also add well to the overall atmosphere, and come in two flavours. The first is the ambient sounds such as wind, water drips, computer hums etc etc, the second is the sounds monsters and entities such as doors and lifts make. The first lot of sounds are the most useful for creating atmosphere - not easy to specify how they should be used, but obviously they should be used appropriately to the theme of the map, and in the right areas to enhance that theme. The sounds of inanimate objects should also be chosen to fit the theme, and the monsters can be placed so that they can be heard - for example, hearing a Shambler breathing or a Fiend grunting in a nearby room can add to the atmosphere.
» Surprises:
Surprises can really enhance a "negative" atmosphere, by heightening a players fear, tension or disorientation. Most "stuff" in a map can be used to surprise a player: for example, monsters appearing, lighting changing dramatically, large areas of scenery changing, explosions and probably sounds too. All of these can increase the feeling a player gets from a map - usually a feeling of "AAARRGHH!!" =). Of course, since often these surprises will involve some unexpected conflict, it's important to make the survivable and strike a balance between excitement, fear and fun.
» Theme:
Theme and atmosphere are intrisically interlinked: you cannot have a convincing atmosphere without a good theme, and a good theme will enhance the atmosphere - possibly vice-versa too. The moral is, aside from the necessity of a strong theme for a maps looks, it's also necessary to give the map a sense of place, a feeling that you are somewhere, and the atmosphere that comes with that. As mentioned before, this doesn't have to be an established or "normal" theme, as long as there is a theme, and the map presents a convincing whole.

2. Story and mission:
A story and a mission is not necessary for Q1 SP maps - appearing on the map, killing the monsters, and finding the exit will suffice, as long as it's a good map of course. But an interesting or entertaining story (that provides some background to the map) and a mission (that gives you something more important to do than merely exiting) can enhance a map, and make it more interesting and worthwhile for players.
» Using the Quake theme, or a convincing alternative:
Firstly, it's very important to be aware of Quake's distinct theme and style, and to make a story that works with the overall style of Quake. Although fitting into the Quake background ""story"" might also be preferable, a completely different story is fine as long as it works with the Quake style. For example, a story of you visiting the depths of hell, or clearing out an alien infested base, or being sent back in time to destroy a demonic castle - all these sorts of ideas would fit perfectly with the Quake monsters and map styles.
» Background of map:
That's what a story is there for, to provide a background. So it should do just that - fit in exactly with the map's design, explain the map's existence, and give the map and the playing of it a purpose. In this case, doing a good job of explaining the map is far more important than literary skills - it doesn't have to be a very convincing explanation (this is Quake after all), but it needs to fit well with the map itself.
» Expansion on Quake ideas:
This is one possibility for a story, but not the only one. Quake has an extremely simple ""story"", which makes it very easy to expand on that story, and still fit in with it. It's not that hard to give a map a background that relates to the original game, and it's possible to give it a very good and convincing background that still relates to Quake - it's a nice touch to have a custom map linked to the original game, while improving on it.
» Overall goal and sub-goals:
This is the other job of the story, and of course an aspect of the map design itself, to provide an overall goal that is more sophisticated than just exiting the map, and/or to provide sub goals on the way that make getting to the exit more interesting. It's hard to specifiy what goals/missions can or should be used, but the following genres of goal are most common: destroying things, shutting down things, cleansing areas of monsters, more complex ways of opening doors/raising briges/lower lifts etc, performing more complex tasks to proceed to new areas. The basic idea of getting to the exit probably wouldn't change, but it can be enhanced and disguised with more convincing tasks to perform on the way - and the story would give a reason for it.

3. Exploration/Secrets:
Traditionally, single player is thought of as pretty much a linear affair. And in some ways it is, you have an entrance, you follow a path to an exit. However, it's not that simple: SP gameplay can involve non-linear progression and multiple routes to the exit, as well as secrets and side areas to explore - Id's own maps feature a surprising amount of this. Done in moderation, exploration is a lot of fun and adds interest to gameplay.
» Progression through the map:
Balance is probably the most important aspect as far as progression goes: a balance between having areas and routes to explore, and having a reasonably clear path to follow so that the player does not get lost, confused and frustrated. Ideally, the player should be nudged in certain directions towards the exit, but also given a few different ways to get there, and some other areas to explore.
» Non-linear goals:
Essentially, having a number of tasks that are needed to complete the map, but that do not have to be performed in a set order. This gives the player a sense of freedom, that they can explore and chose what they have to do without being herded down a single path. This also adds to the replay value of the map, because they can chose a different routes to follow in the future. It's very important that if multiple routes are included in a map, that they are equally balanced as far as items and combats go, so that a player is not penalised for chosing the "wrong" path.
» Side areas and exploration:
Another way to add some exploration and choices to a map is to include side areas that the player doesn't have to visit at all, but can do so to get some items, to explore, or just to kill more monsters. Of course, without knowing how to reach the exit, the player may enter side areas believing they are the right route - which is fine, that's all part of exploration.
» Care with backtracking:
Often in maps, the player will need to backtrack over areas he has already covered, for example, returning with a key to a previously seen door. This is a normal feature of maps, but care must be taken that it does not become tedious, since the player will be going through exactly the same areas he's already seen. Some ideas could be: keep backtracking to a minimum, have the backtracking occur in a different part of the same area (for example, on a previously inaccessible ledge), and having monster reinforcments to keep the player occupied.
» Complex secrets:
Another area of potential exploration, and one that avoids the risk of getting the player lost and confused on the normal route to the exit. Often secrets are small and simple side areas, triggered by simple hidden means. However, far more complex secrets can be included, where the player can do a lot within the secret (including fighting, perhaps), and may have to do a lot to open the secret. Since the secrets would be clearly secrets and not the main route, the player can choose whether to explore or not in this case.

4. Experimentation/Originality:
A simple "shoot monsters, find exit" map is fine for Quake, as long as it looks and plays good. But there's also the possibility of including more radical and imaginative ideas for gameplay, archictecture and design - map making is an activity that's only constrained by engine limits. However, like all aspects of the map, any radical ideas should be used carefully, and only included to benefit the map overall - not just for the sake of it.
» Fitting in with Quake and engine limits:
Of course, any radical ideas must be constrained by the engine limits, and also the style of the game itself. The engine has limits on the map size, number of entities, size of open areas, number of polygons, etc etc, and including radical ideas that exceed those limits will make a map unplayable, or unable to run at all. Fitting in with the game style is harder to specify, but it's important to be aware of the specific way Quake plays and feels, and make sure and radical ideas work with that, rather than contradict it and be ludicrously out of place.
» Purposeful experimentation:
If weird and experimental ideas are included, they should be included for a strong purpose, one that clearly benefits the map. For example, a futuristic map with low or even fluctuating gravity would be a fairly original idea - and if it was a cargo ship that had spun out of orbit when some Quake forces had boarded it to release captured Quake monsters, that would a strong purpose for the original idea. Or a map consisting on islands floating on a sea of lava would be quite radical - and if the story was that you were escaping a demonic world and a demon lord had fractured the land in rage at your escape, that would be a strong purpose.
» Original map styles and themes:
This is perhaps the simplest and most sensible way to include original ideas - make a fairly "normal" map, but give it a theme or look that is unique and original. This enables the map to be original without compromising gameplay or risking the original ideas ruining the map (though clearly the map should stick well to the new theme). This is an area in which deathmatch maps excel: there are plenty of DM map makers who have blended themes or created new ones, and thus give their maps a very original look, but because they have done so with textures, details, styles etc etc, their maps retain sensible gameplay.
» Avoidance of gimmicks:
This is what original ideas must be tempered with: they should not end up gimmicky, silly, purposeless or detrimental to the map. There are a lot of custom Quake maps that have radical designs in that are nothing more than pointless gimmicks, and consequently ruin the map. This should not happen, and any radical ideas must be used very carefully.

5. Modifications/Extras:
Normal Quake maps, which just use stuff from the original game, are perfectly fine - this game is great, and maps that just use what's in the game can be great too. However, there are a lot of single player modifications that could be used to enhance maps - *could*, because sadly the vast majority of the modifications are low quality and do not fit in at all with Quake's gameplay and style. If modifications are used, it's essential to choose mods that are high quality, fit perfectly with Quake, and really add to the map, rather than just being included for their own sake.
» Fitting in with Quake style:
Any modifications added must fit in with Quake's style. You should know the style by know: it's a very strong, very distinctive, grimy, dark, gothic, and violent style. Many modifications look grossly out of place in Quake, but there are a few (Zerstörer and SoA spring to mind), that not only fit in with Quake's style, but actually enhance it. So whatever modifications are chosen, they should do the same, and preferably in a subtle way, where they fit naturally into the map, rather than overwhelming it with modified stuff.
» Extras to enhance map and gameplay:
This should go without saying, but any extras included should be included the benefit the map overall, and not just included for their own sake without thinking about the overall map and their effect on it. Like having a purpose for radical designs, there should be a purpose for including modifications, perhaps to do with the background story, perhaps to do with the theme, perhaps to fill a gap in Quake's army or arsenal. Obviously, mods should enhance gameplay too, by making it more exciting, fun and interesting.
» Use of good, not bad, extras:
Again, this should be self explanatory, but it's essential to chose high quality mods that will enhance the map, fit into the theme, and please the player, rather than low quality and irritating mods that will cause nothing but frustration and disgust. I'm not going to write a list of good and bad mods, they should be perfectly obvious - particularly if the other guidelines in this section are followed.
» How well extras fit into map:
Touched on in above sections, but worth restating: if any mods are used, they should fit into the map as a whole. Ideally, it should all look like one whole map, rather than an normal map with modifications added. If it looks like the modifications have been added, rather than looking like a natural part of the map, then they don't fit in and should probably be removed.

6. Technical aspects:
Finally, a good map is one that is technically good - different to all the other aspects, this is something for the map makers to be aware of and look for, rather than for me to advise and give guidelines for. Nevertheless, these are some important areas that must be dealt with.
» Ensuring there are no errors:
Or at the very least, no errors that affect the playing of the map (for example, some "item in solid" errors won't affect the player at all). It's quite simple for the map maker: they should play through the map several times, check for errors, and fix any that appear. Then they should consider releasing the map, and not before. Since errors and bugs are obvious, tangible things, there's no excuse to leave them in a map.
» Smooth running of the map:
The map must run at a reasonable frames per second, and have suitable low r_speeds. Maps that run slowly are unpleasant to play (gameplay can be ruined), and ugly to walk through as the choppiness spoils the ability to admire architecture. No matter how cool or impressive the map's designs are, if they run slowly, then they must be altered or removed. Again, something for the map maker to check, preferable using a wide variety of settings on their PC, or even better, a wide variety of PCs if available.
Map should work in all Quake formats:
» The map should work in DOSQuake, WinQuake and GLQuake, so that people can play it in the format they want/have to play in. If the map maker can't test the map in GLQuake, then there is little that can be done, but if they do have access to GLQuake, then they should check it in all formats, and preferably in a variety of memory settings too.
» Technically well made:
This is harder to specify, especially since I don't make maps, so I don't really know what makes a map technically well made. However, I can guess that having no build flaws, using no editing shortcuts that affect the map, making sure the map is as clean and as economically built as possible, making sure all potential problems are solved in the most definite way, and other such aspects, would be important to consider. Certainly any technical flaws that affect the player's experience must be fixed.

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