When you see DM-Outpost6 (2-4 players-maybe 6) for the first time, you get the feeling that the author, Heiko Dreyer, has been making maps for 'at least' a weekÖ..he has. Here is a list of other maps by this talented author: DM-VRiker, DOM-Westcastle, AS-RactorCore, CTF-Riot, DM-MagmaPit. What 'makes' this map is the attention to detail and the architecture, what 'breaks' it is the bot-play.
The architecture is out of this world. Speaking of 'world,' you'll see it gracefully panning by along with some space debris (tumbling asteroids) when you peer out of openings in the floor or ceiling. And speaking of floors and ceilings and walls, etc. just wait until you see the detail! Wow! I dare you to find a boring spot on the map. There ain't none. Heiko says in his Readme file that it took him "about 1-2 days, 2 days for testing" to complete this work of art. Is that a misprint? I couldn't make half of it in a week even if I didn't sleep a wink. You'll find: Elevators that move 'both ways' and triggered by button proximity, 'masked' catwalks (one that will take you to your death if you're not careful), red caution stripes to guide you, a multitude of shapes, tight places that won't hang you up, z-axis fragging, great item placement, ceiling fan tucked away, polys low in 'most' areas, lifts 'tagged' correctly, invisible walls around lit console lift buttons so you don't run through them, trigger/dispatcher/special event combinations, super connectivity, zoned for performance. I mean, if you don't slap me I'm going to keep going on and on.
The textures are mostly from the default Starship package, and, like I mentioned before in other reviews, are very hard to work with. You really have to know what you're doing by using the right combinations of base and lighting to bring it all together. Mr. Dreyer has done this, period. But with all maps of this caliber, I'm going to 'dig' and find any little thing that I can wrong with it, just so I know it was created by a human being. What bothers me are some of the light fixtures: The 'Lights' group that came with the Starship package stinks, as far as I'm concerned. If you use a 'Light' texture from that package, then try to set it to Unlit, the white part that is supposed to be the light looks bright like a lit light should, but so does the detailed dark texture around the white part of the light. About the only way I've found to make these lights believable is to cut out, then reinsert the white part of the texture, then select the white to be Unlit, and the detailed area around it, not Unlit. (or add an Unlit sheet) But then you start getting into more poly counts when you do this, so it becomes a Catch-22. You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't. Not all lighting fixtures appear this way in this marvelous map: some look fine, some look dull when they shouldn't, and some look dull when they should, as if the lights are turned off. I noticed that the author set some 'Light" textures to "Bright Corners" I assume in an attempt to make them appear 'on,' but if that was the reason, it didn't work for all the lighting fixtures.
Since we're discussing lighting, let's look at lighting techniques: The author created yellowish lighting around the yellowish parts of some textures, which correlated the light/texture combo perfectly. Lens flares are placed not everywhere, but only in a few areas where the lights appear to be exposed to outer space. Subtle lighting is used throughout, a red crooked hallway, and other small detailed adjustments help to put you on a space outpost -and not in a washing machine.
Music, ambient sounds, lift sounds, and gunfire fill all the nooks and crannies of this 'keeper' to heighten the senses and keep you coming back for more.
Okay, I've saved the worst news for last: The bots have some trouble with this layout. Most of the time, they work very well, and keep you on your toes. But, at the bottom of an elevator, I kept seeing bots run smack into a lift post, then just try to keep on going. Their legs churning at the floor in vain, attempting to run to -who knows where? All you had to do was run up behind them to gib the suckers to oblivion. Another area of concern is where 4 health vials are located: There is a little corner hallway room with 2 pair of vials, and I once noticed a bot trying to mow over the wall after it grabbed the vials, and another time one was stuck up on the little inlaid part in the same location trying to plow a hole into the wall. They will not turn back around, so they become sitting ducks. This doesn't happen that often, and it's the elevator where they seem to have the most problems, but you do get a good workout, nonetheless. Another area that seems a little iffy, is where an elevator comes down: If you happen to run off the lift, you end up on this round ledge instead of your desired destination. You can just jump down from here, but I'm not sure what would happen if a bot found itself perched here. I never noticed one stuck, that's why I called it 'iffy.' I also never noticed a bot use the elevator trigger setup to ride up, but they will hop on a lift to ride down.
So, after all this keyboarding, let me just say that the map would be exceptional for online gaming, and still plays well with AI, but a slight amount of tweaking could make this one near-perfect. Note: The level screenshot doesn't do the map justice.