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File Comments posted by Caelum

  1. I'm just going to copypaste Szico's review below instead of it being in the file description as JKH doesn't do reviews. Sorry about the confusion.


    User Description

    This map features an extensive graveyard - inspired by Castlevania, Left for Dead 2 and designed for use at Halloween. It's worth noting that this is just a pre-release beta version, as unfortunately, the map was not able to be completed in time for a Halloween release this year. It has a large playable area, but unfortunately the castle is currently not explorable.


    With that in mind, this is not a fully-realized map and there are plenty of areas that can be improved upon for future releases, particularly lighting and texture work.



    At a basic level, this map is designed well. It has many of the appropriate features of a classic videogame graveyard, such as crypt entrances, barren trees, rusted iron gates and a barren rocky landscape, all of which help to realise the atmosphere. That being said, the detail is sparse, and many rooms are empty and void of features. The terrain, whilst multi-leveled, is very flat and unnatural, particularly obvious in areas where it slopes or forms ramps. The most impressive terrain is actually the rocky cliff faces that surround the map (which are non-playable, alas.) So, whilst this is a big map, it is also a rather empty map. In other areas, better architecture (read: the castle) is often obscured by bland and over-repetitive texture-work.


    Score: 5/10


    Textures and Lighting

    This is the main area for improvement when the author gets around to completing this map. It took a good 5 minutes of searching before I was convinced the map hadn't been compiled with full brightness, as the only evidence of any lighting or shadowing was when I reached the underground river tunnels. In all other areas there is no discernible light variation. This leads to the map looking washed out, unrealistic and a bit fake. This has the unfortunate effect of over-emphasising the areas where there are repeating texture patterns, which may otherwise have been less-noticeable. The castle in particular is guilty of this.


    On the subject of repetitive textures - they are absolutely everywhere; the grass, the walls, the ceilings and the terrain, and I suggest the author makes an attempt to introduce some more variation for the next release. One very specific shader that needs looking at is the water. A good rule of thumb is NEVER to use a stock JK3 water shader, as you can make much better and more realistic ones yourself. Another specific shader is the rusted gates - the alpha layer needs reworking as there's a big black border surrounding the transparent edges. However, the sprites on the grassy terrain do help to add some much needed detail.


    The sky shader however, is a shining light in an otherwise lacking area, and really works well with the added cloud layer.


    Score: 3/10


    Level Flow and Gameplay

    The map does well here by providing at least 2 vertical routes through the map - the upper graveyard and the underground river passages. The horizontal layout is otherwise quite linear, i.e. you can run from one side to the other and back again but there's no real route variation (remember, most FFA maps should have some kind of circular route throughout the map). However, there aren't many dead ends or untraversable obstacles, and as this is designed as more of a seasonal specialty map rather than a hardcore FFA, this isn't a huge problem.


    What IS a huge problem though, are the invisible walls. Now, don't get me wrong, clip is the brush we all love to hate, but it does have its place - bordering edges of maps, or to clip stairs and floors. Here however, the invisible clip prevents you jumping over the graveyard walls in many places, forcing you to run around for no real reason - you do have force jump for a reason, why not let us use it? (Particularly as there's no real technical need for them for visibility or gameplay purposes)


    Score: 6/10



    The author did not include the source files with this release, so I can only speculate on the technical aspects of this map. However, it appears that it suffers from the age old problem of actually building a giant box around his map to put the skybox on. Here however, it has less effect than most as the entire map is visible to the player anyway. It just has the effect of adding more triangles to the sky brushes.


    There's also no bot-routing, an unforgivable sin, even for a beta. Not all of us have friends or servers. (Read: lonely reviewers)


    The frame rate is also fine, despite the entire map being drawn at once as the detail is relatively uncomplicated. This may need some work for future releases. One way in which this can be optimised is by using caulk more effectively - many of the interiors of inaccessible buildings are textured. Caulk 'em instead for my love. Finally, there's no item spawns, so I hope you know how to cheat if you play with friends :D


    Score: 5/10



    This map is definitely a work-in-progress with plenty of areas to work at, particularly the general ambiance, which will be brought about by improving the textures and lighting. However for those looking for a novelty to use at Halloween, there's no reason not to give it a go.


    Final Score: 4/10

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