Snap to Grid: Dusk Mod, ATW3, and More!

May 28, 2008

Following up on the smash hit that was the initial installment, ETQW Mapping‘s Terry ‘Salteh’ Seidler once again deploys his all-seeing editing community observer telescope for another episode of Snap to Grid.

In this latest chapter, we take a look at the very cool Dusk mod, which seeks to combine the thrill of being chased by a horde of hungry Strogg zombies with the excitement of getting the heck away from them. There’s also a round-up of some of the maps currently floating around the editing forums, complete with download links and such. On to the words!

Dusk Mod

Dusk is a ‘humans-vs-zombies’ type mod for ETQW, with the Strogg playing the role of ‘hungry for human food’ zombies. The objective for GDF is to escape the Strogg by repairing a vehicle (Bumblebee or Trojan), and getting all GDF players off the map. Strogg vastly outnumber the GDF, but do not have any weapons and can only use just their spikes. Players can join both GDF and Strogg teams, but bots will usually populate the Strogg team. This means you’ll often find yourself on the GDF team fighting alongside other human players trying to escape the horde of bots. The mod supports eight of the stock maps: Area 22, Canyon, Island, Outskirts, Quarry, Refinery, Salvage and Valley.

After reading the introduction you might think escaping a bunch of Strogg bots is easy – they’re only armed with spikes, so what harm could they do? The GDF start off with a pistol and a knife. No machine guns, no grenades, no health packs and little ammo. Bots seem to learn where you are or want to go, and they’re almost always chasing you. There are different classes just like in the normal game. Strogg Oppressors are very fast but have low health, Infiltrators will try to steal GDF uniforms, and Technicians provide the Strogg with spawn hosts. Aggressors move slower than other classes, but have four times the normal health and a deadly one-hit kill spike.

Still, all you have to do is run to the Escape Vehicle and hit it with your pliers… right? Before you can start repairing the vehicle you need to charge your pliers using a ‘Repair Pack’. These packs can be found scattered around the map. One charge is good for a 1/4th or 1/5th repair, so the GDF have to find at least 4 Repair Packs to repair the vehicle.

Yes, you’ll have to go out against an army of hungry Strogg, armed with only your pistol. There are more of them and they are faster and tougher than you, but not all is lost! Weapons and other items spawn at semi-random locations on the map. You can find grenade launchers, machine guns, rocket launchers, proximity mines, grenades, repair packs, health and ammo. Once players have picked up a few items they’re a bit more capable of fighting off the Strogg. Die and you’ll drop all the items you picked up, forcing you to find new weapons after you spawn, or try to sneak back to the spot where you were killed to pick up your old items. GDF players generally travel together to avoid this fate.

TinMan is currently hard at work getting an update out for 1.5, while adding new features at the same time. The new version will feature increased spawn times for Strogg, allowing the GDF some breathing space by clearing out a bunch of Strogg. This does not mean the mod becomes much easier to play, because bots will now less often give up chase. Better chasing Strogg make the game slightly harder for lone GDF players: “…the longer chases with more zombies make it hell…”

For future, far, far away versions of the mod the teams and vehicles will be reworked further, hopefully making the mod even more fun and increasing the team balance. “Most importantly the zombie team needs more love, to make up for all the things I took away from them.” New objectives (and even campaigns) may be added for both teams, bringing the vehicles into play earlier in the game – turning them into high risk, long term goals. Dusk is constantly evolving, there is a lot of stuff being worked on and nothing is set in stone, but we’re looking forward to the next release of the mod. We thoroughly enjoy playing Dusk and expect to continue doing so for a long time.

What’s new and cool?

While there were no awesome new maps released the past few weeks, there is a lot of cool stuff on the forums. Here’s a little overview of new and cool stuff from the Showcase Your Work forum over on the Official ETQW Community Site.

Violator is continuing his work on the Estate map, adding new buildings, foliage, map objects, improved gardens, craters and other small details. The map’s terrain has been improved, new location names have been added and thanks to LOD groups the framerate across the entire map should be much better now. Alpha 2 just been released, so go to the forums and download that map!

Want new enviroments to play in, with custom textures and new buildings? Yun_Ziao’s map Ji Min Temple may offer exactly that. It features a Chinese temple complex, with the layout of the map mimicking the real Ji Ming Temple in Nanjing.

Zig-Zag’s The Tower looks interesting, and I can’t wait to see BerenAndLuthien’s map Brimstone. Both should be released in the summer of 2008.

Perhaps the most pleasant surprise of all was Mordenkainen’s beta release of ATW3. Despite it still being in beta stage, it already feels like a very solid and enjoyable map… and it looks pretty too! The night atmosphere is a first for ETQW and works really well in this map. Some areas may be a little dark at the moment, but it’s only a beta. Overall, the level of detail is great, the map looks good and well thought out.

Follow the links below to visit the specific map threads:

Terry “Salteh” Seidler serves as Splash Damage’s Mascot and regularly feeds the tapirs over at ETQW Mapping.