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DOM-Highdale 
Map Info


 
File Namedom-highdale.zip
Authorscarface
GametypeUT2k4 Double Domination
Date Added04-27-2004
File Version1.00
File Size9.58 mb
Player Count6-10
Map DescriptionNone
Review Rating8
User Rating8.5
Overall Rating8



 
Review


ReviewerIronblaydeAwe Score: 3.0/3
Date05-14-2004Build Score: 2.5/3
Review SchemaCast Score: 2.5/3
User Point: 0
Overall Score: 8/10

AWE: 3.0

Damn, this is one sexy map. Even if you hate Double Domination so much that you'd rather be sexually assaulted by a rhinoceros than play one game of it, you should still download this map right now, just to see some truly excellent visuals. The author's level summary names the locale as "the garden of the Chinese emperor," and certainly it's not another rehash of a tired theme. The whole map looks refreshingly different from any other UT2004 map I've played, owing in large part to the more than fifty beautifully done custom static meshes the author has created for it: detailed Oriental architecture, rope bridges that span the cliffs, a few decorative hanzi, and lots of new greenery and rock formations. Even the Domination monitors are custom-made. These meshes are skillfully arranged on a monster piece of terrain to create a gorgeous and immersive environment.

The little BSP that's used is exactly as it should be: it constitutes a framework for which static meshes provide the final details, and they work perfectly together. In some maps, you can find places where it's clear from the drop in detail that static meshes have given way to BSP geometry, but in Highdale, you'll never know the difference. The textures are again custom-made, setting the map even further apart from the pack, and the alignment is seamless.

Lighting is excellent. The only light source in the map is the sun, and the author has pulled off the effect very nicely. The major part of the lighting is done with white lights placed at intervals about the map, and then it's accented by reddish sunlight actors high overhead, with subtle red and orange highlights placed in appropriate locations, as well as some greens and blues around the river and the waterfall. They all combine to create a very pleasing overall effect, neither boring nor overdone.

Pretty much the only visual aspect of the map that I wasn't crazy about was the river. The shoreline is rather jagged at times, and there are creases visible in the river itself. Some are stationary, and occur where one fluid surface meets another (the river comprises five of them). The others are part of the environment mapping the water uses; the cube map isn't seamless, so you can easily tell where one face ends and another begins. There's an Unreal logo on a grate at one end of the river that looks pretty bad, too. Aside from being out of place, it looks like someone just grabbed a low-res promo image and did a very poor cutout job on it; the edges of the letter are uneven and there are even a few stray pixels completely separated from the logo. Oh, and while the waterfall is fairly cool, it looks a little too much like that thing from The Abyss. But these are picayune complaints indeed compared to the mastery on display in the rest of the map. Truly outstanding work.

BUILD: 2.5

The author has done what he could to optimize performance. The fact that it's an outdoor map largely precludes the use of zoning as an optimization tool. The central bridge is the map's only non-open-air structure that can be entered, and it is outfitted with zone portals, but the author attempted to seal off three zones inside the structure and only one of them works. The effect of this on performance is totally negligible given the simplicity of the would-be zones and the great complexity of the map as a whole, but it's still something for the author to keep an eye on.

There is a fair number of antiportals employed in an effort to cull unnecessary geometry, and they seem to do their jobs when players are out towards the edges of the map, which is certainly a good thing. I suspect that a handful of these antiportals may be superfluous, but there aren't enough to negatively impact performance, so it doesn't matter. The problem is that in the center of the map, anywhere along the axis defined by the two Domination points, the layout simply doesn't allow for a lot of occlusion. You can see clear across the map, and so performance is going to suffer in those areas, particularly when you're at one Domination point looking outward. The map's total poly count in those areas regularly tops 200,000, and sometimes gets as high as 250,000. A few of the map's emitters are dropped as you decrease your level of world detail, but the impact of this effort is trivial; turning my world detail from high down to low didn't improve my framerate at all. Ah, well. There's a price to be paid for all that beauty.

Bots seem to navigate the map pretty well. With so many cliffs and bridges around, there's lots of room for error, and the author looks to have been pretty careful about it. There are dozens of JumpSpots that teach the bots how to climb to the upper regions of the map where lie the Domination points, and even a couple of lift jumps. Once in awhile I saw a bot take a fall he probably wasn't planning on taking, but for the most part the path network is pretty solid.

The only other thing I'd mention here is one instance of somewhat dodgy collision. Spawn points are, as usual, separated by team, and on the ridge above the red team spawn points, there's a place where it looks like a double-jump should easily carry you between a cliff and a tree over to the next landing, but there's a collision volume blocking you from doing so, so you just slide down the cliff instead. There's a similar occurrence on the blue side, but the landing on the opposite side is too far to reach with a double-jump, so I didn't find myself trying to use it much.

CAST: 2.5

Aesthetics are good, and the technical side looks good, but is it fun to play? Sure as hell. The layout is asymmetric, but very similar on each side. The two control points are on the top level of the map, and can be reached from either side. Point B is somewhat easier to reach from the ground level because it's got a lift where Point A has a long staircase instead, but it doesn't give one team an advantage since the PlayerStarts are approximately equidistant from the control points.

The elevation is high around the edges of the map and low in the center. You can climb to the upper regions of the map using that lift and staircase I just mentioned, a bridge in the center of the map, or a number of jump pads masquerading as tree stumps and fungi. (Instead of the usual particles that emanate from a jump pad to show the direction it'll send you, these have little butterflies flitting out of them and disappearing into the wind. Very nice touch.) With all the abrupt changes in elevation, there is plenty of potential for fall damage, but it shouldn't take long for you to learn how to circumvent that. There always seems to be a gentle angle you can break your fall on, or a conveniently located jump pad.

All the conventional weapons – no Redeemer, at least not that I found – are in here, including the Classic Sniper Rifle for you Lightning Gun haters, but the map's openness makes the long-range weapons the most useful. (This was the first map I've played in some time in which I failed to get the Flak Monkey award!) Health is very scarce, so be careful out there. There are a few Shield Packs to be had, one at each end of the map; a random big-powerup generator down in the river; and a bare handful of standard health pickups. Not enough to keep yourself in good shape for a long time. Thankfully, it doesn't take long to get from the spawn area to either Domination point.

Although the general bot pathing is good, the bots don't seem to do so well at the specifics of Domination. There are six AI scripts to be found, one at each control point and four scattered throughout the map. None of them are linked to the defense of a control point, and as it turns out, there are some good places where they could have been used. I might have junked the scripts out in the middle of the map, and certainly would have had at least two scripts at each control point flagged specifically for use in defense of that point. A few SniperVolumes could have been used with secondary defense points as well; you can see the Domination points from one another, even though they're about 7,000 UUs apart as the crow flies. There's some fun to be had with the Lightning Gun there.

The other item of note is that the bots use the same path to the control points most of the time. It's the quickest, but it also leaves them vulnerable for a brief time, as it terminates in a jump pad that sends the bots through the same arc every time. You can sit at the top of the ledge and rack up a ton of head shots in no time. Human players will of course adapt and compensate for this, but in botmatch it gets a little old. Perhaps a few carefully placed AssaultPath actors, or some kind of scripts to make the bots more aware of the defenders they'll be up against, could have ameliorated the issue somewhat.

FINAL SCORE: 8.0

If you haven't downloaded DOM-Highdale already, do it right now. There's no excuse not to at least take a look at this tremendous piece of work, even if you're not into this game type normally. Despite a few shortcomings in the botmatch, and low occlusion resulting in some very hefty poly counts, this is the most fun I've had playing Double Domination for UT2004 thus far. Scarface has done a truly exceptional job putting this map together.









 
Map Comments


sandorski
04-26-2004 01:18 AM EDT
Rating: 8 
This is a geat map! Very original and consistant theme.

marka
04-26-2004 03:47 AM EDT
Rating: 8 
Very origninal, good visuals and gameplay.

Syrtis
06-08-2004 07:07 AM EDT
Rating: 8 
Agreed, this is a very cool map.
A must d/l even if you aren't a fan of DD, worth a look.

nacon
04-26-2004 10:35 AM EDT
Rating: 10 
One of the best UT2004 DOM Maps. Cool Design und a lot of new Static Meshes. 10 Points !!!

Toothpick
04-27-2004 05:55 PM EDT
Rating: 10 
Oh my god!
What a great map!! :)
Normally I don't like DOM very much, well, this map makes me like it! :D

10/10, absolutely!

chankie
04-28-2004 01:37 AM EDT
Rating: 7 
Good gameplay, nice layout.

The graphics are well done, and was thematically coherent in general. However, I thought there was a bit too much frill. Would have preferred less "decoration"--e.g., no unreal logos. The decorations could be a little distracting, and detracted from the coherence of the theme.

Overall, good gameplay, but a bit too many extraneous elements graphically.

kingmango
05-01-2004 03:00 AM EDT
Rating: 8 
this map is hard to find... still looking Found it. Played it. Liked it. It did chug though. Too many complex collision models? But a fun layout and well put together no errors did I notice in the twenty or so minutes that I played it. Bots are pretty good, though they ALWAYS take the same approach once they get near a control point.

Dermion
04-28-2004 12:16 PM EDT
Rating: 7 
Looks really nice. Gameplay is ok. The bridges could be wider. Doesn´t run well on lower-end machines, does it?

D-7
04-30-2004 05:35 AM EDT
Rating: 8 
Screens look very nice. Seem like the best custom dom map since the CBP.
Edit: tried it. Very good one. Runs a bit slow on my system, though... (15-20 fps) I esp. like the mushrooms and the butterflies. Nice details! Too bad that the water looks too quicksilver-like.

Mad Irish Mapper
04-28-2004 06:36 PM EDT
Rating: 8 
Like this one a lot, and to the above, yeah it ran fairly well even on my crappy computer (I was pleased).

An excellent domination map to add to a gametype sadly lacking in them.

Gargorias
04-29-2004 08:25 PM EDT
Rating: 8 
Very enjoyable!

Arakon
04-30-2004 06:24 AM EDT
Rating: 9 
Awesome visuals and layout, but unfortunately kinda wasted on domination.. just no time to explore and look at the level.
still, a definate must-download.

hampel
04-30-2004 02:55 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
OMFG!!!! the most beautiful map in UT history so far!!! I cant believe it - it's just awesome!!! don't know wht to say, I'll give you a 9.5 :)

rommel
05-01-2004 05:36 PM EDT
Rating: 10 
omg this map is really pretty ;)
10 points for the good gameplay and graphics!

Manticore
05-02-2004 10:59 AM EDT
Rating: 9 
All of the above.....

[WoD]Mephisto
05-08-2004 03:55 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
omg this map looks great! i've never seen anything like it. its like walking around in a fairytale! only drawback was the framerate, but who cares with such a map ;)
but even if it ran great it would still be a 9, cuz a 10 means perfect, and no map is (there's always things to improve).

Ironblayde
05-13-2004 04:29 PM EDT
Rating: 8 
Outstanding work! My review of this map should be up very soon, as soon as someone gets around to approving it. :)

GRAF1K
05-14-2004 01:14 AM EDT
Rating: 8 
An amazing map unfortunately wasted on Domination. Oh well.

souldividersjosz
05-14-2004 04:16 AM EDT
Rating: 9 
OMG this map is too good to stay only DOM... Scarface, think about making this CTF and/or BR too, that would make this map very much more known in the community as well as way more respected IMO.
Even though I never play DOM this map owns, send it to Cliffy!

Shao
05-14-2004 07:45 AM EDT
Rating: 9 
excellent map

Sm_the_Cool
05-14-2004 07:53 AM EDT
Rating: 9 
Very cool awsome use of graphics and well it would be recommended because it is, well unique.

nightshadow
05-14-2004 09:02 PM EDT
Rating: 8 
very awesome theme! unique! i had two problems with it though:
1. it ran bad. too much stuff in too small an area.
2. weapons are a bit sparce

but other than those, it is a very awesome map

Klasnic
05-17-2004 07:37 AM EDT
Rating: 9 
Awesome map - like the other guys I haven't played DOM too much but chanced giving this a peek. Looks like a work of art. Plays every bit as good and comes highly recommended :D

KosaPL
05-17-2004 09:04 AM EDT
Rating: 10 
Fatal map :P:P:P

sulkava
06-06-2004 05:44 AM EDT
Rating: 1 
pfffff.
Gameplay sucks very much.
It's only the look that's why people give's ten's

Fuzzy Logic
06-06-2004 06:30 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
Oh dear - there's always one... ;)

Excellent map with stunning visuals. Everything about it looks right. I don't much care for DOM so I changed it to DM - plays OK.

Elegy
06-08-2004 11:03 AM EDT
Rating: 6 
nice graphics.. but poor gameplay

rocketeer
06-09-2004 08:16 PM EDT
Rating: 10 
Stunning; ran great even on my dell I8200 with a 32 meg geforce 4 go, (2.4 P4 mobile CPU). Keep up the great work.

SilverHairDevil
06-15-2004 11:16 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
Great theme. Great waterfalls. Great gameplay. Bad canopy. Makes me actually want to play Domination for once. Sulkava's on ecstasy.

Draco
06-20-2004 03:05 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
Great looking map.

M@estro
06-22-2004 03:20 PM EDT
 
looking good

^ScreeN^
06-23-2004 12:43 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
Awesome map, worth the download.

Trynant
06-24-2004 06:44 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
I agree with the review, but in the review schema user reviews are supposed to add one point or take off one point if the map is fun or not. And this map is fun. 9.0

julian141
09-25-2004 03:13 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
i'm apsolutly speechless. its a damn good map!

T0mbr41d3r
01-27-2005 01:11 PM EST
Rating: 8.5 
It looks amazing, took me some time to get to the first domination point though.

G.Lecter
01-28-2005 01:32 PM EST
Rating: 7 
Gameplay was not good for me:
- Framerates are low.
- There is very little action, especially around DOM-A.
- Some jumps seem possible, but I fall when I try to do them.
- I don't like so many jumpads. They make the jumps too high, so they are quite confusing if I try to move, I did not got any place using some of them...
- No healthpacks!!! players should leave the point that are defending to get some packs when they have little health...
- I don't like the stair texture (not important)
However, the map has its good things:
- Assimetrical layout.
- The tower with the sniper rifle works fine.
- A completely new & nice visual theme.
In my opinion it gives poor gameplay, but this is the best custom visual DOM map I have seen these days and it is worth the download...

RayZidane
01-28-2005 03:10 PM EST
Rating: 7.5 
great map , with some japanese theme...pretty fun map Overall...I think the guy who gave 1 should be ban...

Sicko Teddy
01-28-2005 10:37 PM EST
 
YO- the GUY above! -
You can't force people not to be jelous of what others can do! :)))

dePHILL
04-05-2005 11:10 AM EDT
Rating: 9 
this map is great!
i can justb say n1!!



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