|File Size||16.2 mb|
|Map Description||"Desperate was I, and deeper I delved Into the forbidden and profane.|
My lust for wealth began to sublimate
Into murderous perversions of flesh and hate.
So many innocents I partook from the village...
...they served me well."
Gilles de Laval de Rais, a 15th century Frenchman, is thought to be the precursor to the modern day serial killer. "The Pious Monster" was an aristocrat, a soldier and a raper, torturer and killer of many innocent children.
|Reviewer||Ironblayde||Awe Score: ||2.5/3|
|Date||04-17-2006||Build Score: ||2.5/3|
|Review Schema||Cast Score: ||2.5/3|
|User Point: ||0|
|Overall Score: ||7.5/10|
Now here's a map loaded with atmosphere. Based on the infamous Gilles de Rais –- a 15th century aristocrat who was eventually convicted of torturing, raping, and murdering hundreds of children -– DM-TCMP-Gilles makes an imposing sight, and a singularly appropriate venue for a good old deathmatch. I've always liked castle maps, and Axeman pulls this one off in fine style.
What really surprised me about the map's architecture is how extensively the author has used BSP. Most levels use BSP geometry for the skeleton of the map, and rely on static meshes to fill in all of the details. But Axeman uses BSP for detail work too, and it's pretty impressive how well it works. The map looks excellent and has enough detail to impress; in fact, I didn't realize how much of the geometry was BSP until I looked at the wireframe. The textures, some familiar and some new, are all very appropriate choices, and work together to provide a consistent and engrossing theme.
Don't let me give you the impression that static meshes have been ignored, because they certainly haven't. The author simply doesn't rely on them to the usual extent. He still uses plenty, many of them custom-made, to put the finishing touches on the map. The whole of it is executed well enough that I'm having a lot of trouble picking out individual things to talk about. Everything from the lofty towers to the subterranean dungeon where Gilles kept his victims (and his Flak Cannon) seems of one piece. That kind of unity is difficult to achieve.
The lighting's pretty solid, too. It can be difficult to keep the lighting interesting in a map like this since a castle can't realistically have as much variety in its light sources as, say, an industrial map. But the author manages admirably, making good use of shadows throughout the map. The only things that bothered me here were a few small, inexplicable spots of reddish coloring on some of the higher walls, and the fact that the outdoor lighting gets maybe a touch too bright in places. Some of those surfaces directly exposed to the moonlight reach full brightness, and don't look quite as convincing as they would if there were a little more contrast present.
As I said earlier, the amount of BSP present in this map is unusually high -– almost three thousand brushes of it altogether –- and the author has done a great job with it. I didn't spot any misaligned brushes or other errors anywhere. The level is correctly zoned as well, and has a few antiportals to cut down further on overdraw. I didn't have any performance problems even on the highest detail settings.
Bots play the map flawlessly as far as I can tell. I've played and observed quite a few games with them and never saw any confusion or hang-ups. There's no place in the map they won't go, and they perform more advanced maneuvers such as ramp dodges and lift jumps as well. The lift jumps seem to get used especially often, and are definitely a nice touch, particularly for those of us who play offline frequently.
The author's use of audio furthers the map's atmosphere. Ambient sounds are everywhere, though there aren't many distinct sound effects used, which is fine, though perhaps the overall soundscape would have a little more texture to it if the author had varied the pitches a little on some of them. Triggered sounds also occur here and there, the most notable of which is the villainous laughter that can be heard when a player runs past a certain point in Gilles' dungeon. The music is especially fitting, I thought. It's a definite change from the usual Unreal deathmatch music, and helps give the map an aristocratic flavor.
Gilles' fortress has pretty solid gameplay to go along with its impressive atmosphere. To start with, the map flows quite well, and has BlockingVolumes applied to all of its little recesses so you won't get stuck anywhere. There aren't any awkward spawn positions or obstacles that are difficult to negotiate. In short, there's absolutely nothing that gets in the way of the game.
For the most part, the map is split into three levels, two above ground and one below. Each is quite extensive -– you can fit eight players in here if you want. Although the various levels are connected to each other in several places, those connections often take the form of lift shafts or small openings for jump pad paths, so the levels are not quite as interconnected as one might hope. I would have preferred to see more points at which players on different levels can see one another. There are a few places in the map where this happens, like around the Double Damage, and in the room near the Shock Rifle, but for the most part there's not a lot of z-axis play happening.
The item placement seems to have been pretty thoughtfully done. All the weapons and other pickups are located in appropriate parts of the map and are placed right along the main line of travel so you don't have to slow down to collect anything. Well, there are a few ammo pickups stuck in windowed recesses near the Shock Rifle, but that's not a big deal. I'm not quite sure how I feel about the placement of the Super Shield Pack either, which is down in the dungeon right near the Flak Cannon, with a collection of seven ammo pickups arrayed around it. It seems like too much, and indeed you sometimes see bots congregated down there, not because of any fault in the pathing but because they're after all that candy.
My few misgivings about the gameplay are minor, though. I had a lot of fun with it, and played it a lot more than was necessary to write this review. A lot more. Perhaps the more hardcore players out there will be a little more critical of the map in this regard; I'm honestly not sure. But I think it's one of the more enjoyable deathmatch maps that I've played in quite some time.
FINAL SCORE: 7.5
I had a very difficult time reviewing this map. For me, at least, Gilles isn't as easily broken down into its constituent parts as most other maps, if that makes any sense. Usually when I'm playtesting, all kinds of details jump out at me right away, both good and bad. This part of the map was done well, and that part wasn't. This time my tests just left me with the general impression of, "Wow, this is cool." It's hard to make a review out of that, so my apologies if it comes across as a bit disjointed.
Overall, this is an extremely polished map that deserves a look from everyone. If the map's readme is to be believed, Gilles went through eighteen beta versions prior to release. Somebody call the Pope, because Axeman evidently has the patience of a saint and deserves to be canonized after he dies. Though hopefully he'll give us a few more maps before that happens.
03-27-2006 08:03 AM EST
|Rating: 7.5|| |
|Verry nice map just the way a nice playing map should be, well done!|
03-27-2006 12:02 PM EST
|Rating: 7.5|| |
|very nice map.|
kinda reminded me of q3a because of the setting and those pentagrams :)
03-27-2006 12:42 PM EST
|Rating: 7.5|| |
|Very cool gothic level! The layout could have used more variation instead of that hallway-square-crossroads style that covers about half of the map; more rooms like the one with 2 healths near the ShockRifle would certainly have made it better. It's a very good one to play though. Looks a bit too dark in some areas and takes a while getting used to it because of that. I love the music track and that evil laugh near the Flak... ;)|
03-27-2006 03:25 PM EST
|Rating: 8|| |
|yeah the music track rocks indeed. it's from the video game castlevania, isn't it?|
the evil laugher adds much to the atmosphere, very good idea.
i love the map description too, because i really love maps with a story behind it.
03-28-2006 03:34 AM EST
|Rating: 7.5|| |
|Well made and nice deco. Worth taking a look at....|
04-03-2006 10:33 AM EDT
|Rating: 8|| |
|i really love the theme, placement and connectivity of this map. |
i was wondering if there's already a map based on the Bathory castle...
05-08-2006 12:46 AM EDT
|Thanks for the comments folks. I appreciate them. I spent a great deal of time developing the theme (inclusive of music and ambient/triggered sounds) so I'm glad that people are responding to it. |
This was my first original layout for a dm map so I'm learning the intricacies of gameplay so my next venture will hopefully improve.
The map's story was devised by my drummer in my old band, Sean Currie, who wrote a spoken word song about Gilles. You can check the readme for links to the song and the lyrics.
To answer a couple questions raised here:
No, the music isn't from Castlevania. It's Myleene Klass' version of Bach's toccata.
And, to my knowledge, there isn't a recreation of the Bathory castle, but I could be wrong. Not sure.
EDIT: Thanks for the great review Ironblayde. I appreciate your thoughts, insight and time. I agree completely with your z-axis and connectivity views. This, again, was my first original dm layout and am still in the learning process of what makes a great layout.
I'm also EXTREMELY glad you enjoyed playing it. To me, that's the entire point of making maps...people enjoying it enough to want to play it.
04-16-2006 11:48 PM EDT
|Great map, I had lots of fun with it. I reviewed this one a couple days ago but nobody's gotten around to approving it yet, so it'll be up... eventually. :)|
04-17-2006 07:39 PM EDT
|I agree with the connectivity and z axis being a bit lacking, but even those are minor issues. I helped Axeman a bit with the placement and in playtesting I found myself playing this map for much longer than I needed to. (much like the reviewer...) I've yet to play this online, but I think it would make a great pub map. Nice work Axeman!|
04-26-2006 11:23 AM EDT
|Rating: 5.5|| |
|Sorry. Terrible layout IMO.|
Seriously, this map is like playing "The matrix (TM)" with flak canon. All the players will use the god damn pillards to their advantage and keep on dodging around side to side. Flak fest, Shock combos, hitscans and 'i-rocket-you-from-behind' is what i've seen playing this map 2 times online with different players all the time.
If the server don't have UT comp (bright skins) on it's terrible, some player models can take advantage of it (I.E. Tamira, Matrix). They are very hard to see, the level feels really dark, and at the same time bright enough.
The layout is too wide, it's like a bunch of walls made for long range sniping, and on the underground area you have the 100A with a lot of flak fest. I think you shouldn't add a jump pad behind the 100a IMO. Also i don't really like the ammo around in a circle in front of the 100a.
The visuals and theme is ok, my first impression was the resemblence with goose][. The lightning is kinda standard, the amp placement is kinda good.
Next time, maybe ou should try adding more hardness to your lightning, or make your textures less darky since you indeed, worked on the lightning. make a layout completely different and please make sure that the players couldn't dodge with pillards spaming this map with the flak canon and shock combos.
04-28-2006 12:19 AM EDT
|"If the server don't have UT comp (bright skins) on it's terrible, some player models can take advantage of it (I.E. Tamira, Matrix). They are very hard to see, the level feels really dark, and at the same time bright enough. "|
Isn't ut04 all like that?
brightskins should be the default right off the stock install IMO.