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AS-Damnation_r 
Map Info


 
File Nameas-damnation_r.zip
AuthorZouave
GametypeUT2k4 Assault
Date Added06-17-2004
File Version1.00
File Size13.67 mb
Player Count8-12
Map DescriptionNone
Review Rating7
User Rating8
Overall Rating8.0



 
Review


ReviewerIronblaydeAwe Score: 2.0/3
Date06-25-2004Build Score: 2.0/3
Review SchemaCast Score: 3.0/3
User Point: +1
Overall Score: 8.0/10

AWE: 2.0

Imposing in its vast size, AS-Damnation makes an impressive sight. According to the map's introduction, the setting is a thermoelectric dam on Fornacis, and it certainly looks the part, with massive stone and metal edifices rising out of a river of flame and surrounded by angry, volcanic mountains. The macrostructure isn't the only thing that looks good; most of the detail work is attractive as well, and evinces a great deal of effort on the author's part. There are some rough edges here and there, as on a few of the walkways where trim is absent, and on a number of the custom meshes that are a little too simple in construction to be entirely convincing. Many of the other custom meshes are perfectly fine though, and most of the map uses stock content, which has the author has assembled into a visually pleasing whole. The only bad part about the use of stock meshes is that there are some places where they don't quite fit the shape of the map, and some ugly overlapping results. This is most obvious on the metal railings in the room with the three main generators; rather than assembling some corner segments to join the rails seamlessly, he has placed two straight sections that overlap one another at each corner, and it's not pretty.

There is a bit of strangeness to be found in the way the author has textured his BSP surfaces as well. In most cases everything looks fine, and in some places it's obvious the author went out of his way to make sure that textures line up properly, such as on the walls of the second level of the main generator room I mentioned above. But in other places, like the walkways and first-level walls of that same room, there are many striking alignment mistakes. Also, the auxiliary generator room has some strange texture choices in it. Those vertical streaks of purple energy that dance erratically on the walls aren't particularly attractive, and the blue electricity coursing through the floors seems too sedate. Thus the author manages to hit both extremes in the same room but at least there's a balanced element as well; I do like the electricity that's being produced by an emitter along the ceiling, even if its coloring is perhaps a little too solid.

The map's lighting is adequate, but no more. The most obvious problem is the frequent appearance of surfaces both outside and in that receive little or no lighting. Outside, there is sunlight coming down from the skybox, but it doesn't do a sufficient job of lighting everything out there. There are still a lot of surfaces that appear black, for example on several of the arches that line the approach to the first objective. Inside, the author has employed very faint zone lighting to stave off the too-deep shadows, and it works, but it hasn't been used everywhere. The auxiliary generator room, for example, doesn't have any zone lighting, and there are some black surfaces around. (Incidentally, that zone isn't sealed off properly, so zone lighting wouldn't work as it is even if the author had tried to include it.) Although I appreciate that the author has provided light sources for all his lights, it should be noted that it's often useful to place a few low-brightness Light actors in a room where shadows would appear too dark otherwise. The Unreal engine doesn't take into account the fact that in real life, light would reflect off the surfaces in a map, so sometimes you have to cheat a little to get a realistic effect. Finally, there are a few places that simply have bad coloring. The lowest parts of the dam are a good example; there's one spot down there that's a horribly bright white, and is surrounded by concentric regions of yellow, orange, and then a weak-looking orange-red.

BUILD: 2.0

Assault maps test mappers' technical skill like no other game type, and the author is clearly up to the challenge. All of the extra work an Assault map demands has been well executed, from the destruction animations for the various objectives (not to mention the destruction of the dam itself at the end of the map) to the excellent cinematic sequence that takes you through the map, complete with custom voice-overs. I do wish he'd gone a little further on that note, though; since he was willing to get someone to voice the introduction, it would have been nice if he'd also included replacements for the generic announcements of "Defend objective!" and "Move on to the next objective!" Ambient sound is lacking as well. There's a very quiet, distant rumbling sound to be heard outside, and some mechanical/electrical effects near the reserve generator, but too much in the map is conspicuously silent.

The map's geometry is also constructed well. The brushwork is mostly excellent. All of the visible BSP work is well done, but there are a few places where the zoning could have been better; specifically, there's a superfluous zone or two, at least one place where a zone portal would have been appropriate but isn't included, and at least one portal that fails to seal off a zone correctly. Similarly, there are many places where antiportals would have been most welcome but are missing. These two things together hurt the map's performance a little in some places, but frame rates should still be decent for most players. Finally, getting back to the world geometry for a second, static meshes' placement is very good throughout the map as well. The only problem there is that some meshes' simple collision volumes are a little off. This is particularly noticeable on the large segments of piping that run along the approach to the first objective; you can plainly see players running across an invisible surface significantly above the surface of the pipe. The k-DOP collision model that's being used is all right for the pipes at their original sizes, but in this map their dimensions are multiplied threefold, and multiplying their dimensions multiplies the inexactness in the attendant collision models as well.

And now the bad news. This map definitely would have had at least a 2.5 Build score if not for one thing: there are some serious flaws in the bot pathing. When the map begins, the bots are in top form, and they come screaming towards the first objective with single-minded determination. Once it's complete, however, determination turns to abulia in the blink of an eye. They start playing like they're in a deathmatch, as though killing their enemies is the only thing that matters, and the next objective is just something to be done in passing if the opportunity should arise. They do usually complete the second objective sooner or later, but it gets worse after that. The next set of objectives requires the attackers to destroy three generators, with an optional objective thrown in as well. Bot behavior here is very odd. For one, bots seem to always go for the optional switch first, and don't stop to shoot at the generators even if their paths to the switch lead right past one that's completely undefended. That's a minor issue, though, compared to the real problem: when the bots spawn, sometimes they turn around and run backwards through the entire map! This isn't an occasional occurrence either; it will happen several times in each game.

I'm not sure what the source of this problem might be. The only thing that immediately caught my eye about the pathing in the editor is that the author has used AssaultPath actors where BlockedPaths should be. If I'm not mistaken, disabling an AssaultPath doesn't remove that node from the network completely; it only disables the AssaultPath's special functionality. That doesn't explain why bots would want to run backwards through a map in the first place, though. The abrupt change in behavior after the first objective is complete seems to suggest that something in the way the objectives are ordered might be amiss. I did find that the first objective's DefensePriority is set to four, and the second objective jumps right down to two; there aren't any objectives with a DefensePriority of three. I have yet to try my hand at an Assault map, so I don't know if a gap like that would throw off the bots, but it seems possible.

CAST: 3.0

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to infiltrate and destroy the dam. From your insertion point inside a small factory building, you must fight your way across an open-air bridge leading to the complex that houses the dam's generators, and throw a switch that opens the door to the auxiliary generator room. Next you head inside, and must destroy the auxiliary generator. Once it has been destroyed, a set of doors opens on the far side of the chamber, allowing access to another pathway over the river of lava, which leads into the main generator room. There are three generators therein which must be destroyed. There's also an interesting optional objective at this point. At the top of the generator room is a switch that opens a hangar containing a Goliath tank that you can use for the final objective. The catch is that you must throw the switch before destroying the generators, or else there won't be any power to the hangar doors. Once the main generators are destroyed, it's time for the final assault on the dam itself. You must place explosives on each of three main support pillars in order to rupture the dam. The approach to those pillars is dangerous as the defenders have a few Minigun turrets at their disposal, but if you completed the optional objective in the main generator room, then the Goliath is available to level the playing field.

AS-Damnation succeeds wonderfully at providing an engaging game of Assault. Yes, the botplay is deficient, but given the popularity of Assault, and the dearth of user-made maps for it (not including those ridiculous Hellbender/Scorpion races), you should have plenty of chances to play it online. I've seen it on a few servers already, so thankfully I had the opportunity to test the map online as well as with bots, and it makes for a hell of a fun game. It's easy to succumb to the dangers of making an Assault map that can be defended too easily, is too difficult to defend, or has the potential for exploits that bypass the intended gameplay paths, but the author has deftly avoided all of these problems. Most of the objectives are well-balanced even considered individually, and if a few of the others favor one team or the other, it all balances out in the end. For instance, the auxiliary generator can be difficult to destroy since the approach is something of a "choke point" as I've heard others describe it, but I hesitate to use that phrase since it is perfectly assailable for determined attackers. It just might take awhile. And the very next objective, the destruction of the main generators, seems to favor the attackers slightly, since there are three separate targets (plus the optional switch) which must be defended, and they're pretty large targets, so they can be hit from many places. The final objectives can be tough to defend if the attackers have the Goliath, but then, the switch to access the Goliath in the first place is easy to defend. The availability of weapons and shields all works well, the spawn points are perfect, the distances between objectives are excellent... in sum, most everything works just as it should.

If there's anything I could say against the gameplay, it's that there are a handful of places where it's perhaps a little easy to take fall damage. In particular, there are a few jump pads on the way to the main generator room that will send you flying over some fragments of the shattered bridge, but you'll take fifteen or twenty points of damage when you land. It would be better if there were "jump pads" at the destinations waiting to catch players, or if the trajectories were altered so as not to impart so much altitude. It's not a big deal though, since it's not necessary to use those jump pads. In fact, you don't really gain any time by using them, so they could have been removed from the map entirely without hurting it at all.

FINAL SCORE: 7.0

It's great to see someone release an Assault map that has so much effort behind it, and wherein the effort has clearly paid off. It's hard to believe that the author managed to produce this in just four weeks. I hope we'll see an updated version that addresses the botplay issue, and perhaps includes a few highlights to help the light where it's lacking, but even if we don't, this is a map that belongs on any Assault fan's hard drive.









 
Map Comments


WhiteDevil
06-17-2004 05:14 AM EDT
Rating: 9 
Wow ! this map is nice. The objectives are done well and the theme is unique. Nice touch with the briefing and the custom music fits well with the map. Though the visuals didn't impress me some of the places but the size of this thing increase the score.
This map is close to ownage !

gyokusai
06-17-2004 09:03 PM EDT
 
Wouldn't it be nice if the screenshot links were actually linked to something?

[Admin: its most likely a problem on our side and we are looking in to it, patience my dear]

Edit: THX & *smooch* :-))

Doriz
06-17-2004 03:36 PM EDT
Rating: 8 
never seen such a good user made assault map. Objectives are good and it looks nice too.

Manticore
06-18-2004 03:41 AM EDT
Rating: 7 
Quality work in a gametype that is hard to make good maps for.

daewooandyou
06-18-2004 06:33 AM EDT
Rating: 7 
Nice map, lots of effort as you can see. Keep it up :)

Jebidiah
06-18-2004 03:21 PM EDT
Rating: 7 
Great map! Looking at an assault map in the editor will reveal how complex they are to make, and I'm glad to see that there are mappers out there willing to spend the time needed to create excellent maps like this. The intro cinematic is very well done, and the level is quite fun to play. The only reason points are taken off is for some bottlenecks in gameplay at certain objectives. Bravo!

deathstrike
06-18-2004 05:28 PM EDT
Rating: 10 
this is an excellent map beats all other user made maps right now i am sick of those anoying scorpion races or manta races this map is 100% ownage.

rocketeer
06-18-2004 05:55 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
Hey Zouave Send this one to CliffyB. Man this is sweet. Very very well done. Even my sleezy little 32 meg Geforce 4 440 could handle this one at 1600X1200 with all details set on high. Great opmization.

Keep up the great work.

DBlue135
06-18-2004 09:32 PM EDT
Rating: 8 
It's fantastic except for one chokepoint (right before the first thing you have to destroy) It's so nice to see an acceptable assault map here

nightshadow
06-25-2004 08:58 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
this is an awesome map! i love the old school style. i'm glad it doesn't have vehicals. too many maps with those. the only problem i could see is that the bots don't attack the generators very well.

sulkava
06-26-2004 09:40 PM EDT
Rating: 8 
nice map :)

Kirgon A.K.A Supa_Sniper_Master
06-27-2004 08:43 AM EDT
Rating: 10 
wow my first downloaded level for UT 2004 and it's
a super good map.Top objectives,cool textured ,etc.
no wonder i'm giving a 10 this ruled !

daspadger
07-06-2004 06:41 PM EDT
Rating: 10 
Sorry for the language, but this is a helluva whupass level! It owns0r! (besides why the _r after damnation?)

sandorski
07-07-2004 11:00 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
Very nice, it's gotta opening sequence and everything!

Must download.

Draco
07-08-2004 05:23 PM EDT
Rating: 7.5 
Nice map. Good gameplay.

NiTrOcALyPsE
08-07-2004 03:47 PM EDT
Rating: 7.5 
It's a nice map, it plays well online. Lighting is somewhat dark in alot of areas, but you still have more than ehough to know what you're doing. The only gameplay problem I find is that the three generators are a little difficult to defend. But that's OK if you defend the optional objective, as it makes defending the last part much easier. Gemotery was good throughout the entire map, the outdoor areas were quite nicely themed. The ending scene wasn't fantastic, but it certainly wasn't crappy either.

Overall, it's a good map worht playing.

Moriyosi
09-05-2004 04:58 AM EDT
Rating: 8 
THE GOOD:

A Complete Package. A briefing with full - and appropriate - voice acting. Respectable custom music. Optional objectives. Cohesive structure. Subdued vehicle usage. In short, all the things you'd expect from a professional-quality Assault map.

Looks Good, Plays Good. Damnation_r hits all the right notes in gameplay as well as visuals; balance is generally superb, while the map's design and effects compare highly favorably with its retail counterparts. On this count, it's easily one of the best things to come out of the third-party Assault scene since the game's release.

THE BAD:

Botplay. Starts off well, falls to pieces soon afterwards. Bots are far too fixated on the optional Goliath objective, and will throw all their resources at it until they've accomplished it, seriously hurting the attackers' chances of completing the map. Occasionally erratic behaviour from computer opponents underlines other bot support problems.

The Small Things. If anything other than bot support stops Damnation_r from reaching absolute greatness, it's the small, niggling problems which dot the map. Lighting seems off in certain places, both in placement and color. The explosions which herald the destruction of the generators are far too small for a structure of that size. Occasional alignment errors - for instance, with the yellow-and-black stripes surrounding the two generator-type structure near the third objective - and visible seams mar what is an otherwise visually sumptuous map; the blue-and-black electricity texture used for the conduits near the second objective is also painfully ugly stuff.

THE VERDICT:

Only a few tweaks away from becoming an absolute must-have.

hellfirexq
09-05-2004 01:50 PM EDT
Rating: 6 
This map is great gameplay wise, but am I the only one who thinks that it looks pretty bad? I found areas pretty bland, and the lighting looked extremely amateurish. The lights outdoors are so bright that many areas (like the bottom of the dam) are washed out, which happens when an area is over saturated with light.

Also, bots performed very poorly the few times I played with bots. They had little outcome on the objectives, both offensively and defensively.

This map is good, but could have been great with a lot more effort in cleaning up the visuals and bot play.

CyMek
09-05-2004 02:55 PM EDT
Rating: 6 
Im with Hellfire on this one - it plays OK, but has some serious issues online, and there are little things that are annoying like the jump pads that boost you too far. But thats really not the biggest issue for me. The lighting can be hard to look at in some areas, especially around the second objective, and the greening effect is visible in a number of areas. Also, its not very cohesive, where once again, teh second objective illustrates my point, that the blue and purple are taking away from each other.

he gameplay is average, but there are some seroius choke points, and i have played in game where neither team was able to complete the 3 generators objective due to the cramped halls.

)Hidra(
09-09-2004 11:56 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
im stupid i missed this one!<

i tryed it now .. not so good .. well .. i can make this one a 9 ..

lag at start .. not so good fps ...
Bot are dumb =/ .. REALLY dumb =(

imho .. i can't give a ssault map less than a 8 (exept AS-forteress) =)

goldfenix
09-21-2005 07:55 PM EDT
Rating: 9 
Ultimate map, except the dam didn't really explode, so all that hard work doing the objectives and destroying the generators didn't really pay off. Although it had great content. The last thing I want to add is that the Goliath is kinda pointless in the map... the attackers get to use it only for the last objective, which happens to be the easiest objective out of all of them.



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