Hangar Perimeter

Hangar Perimeter


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

I took over Hangar Perimeter and Interior Hangar from original designer Bob Bettenberg after his departure from the company and was responsible for them through the remainder of development.

At the time I took over the level, the initial layout was in solid shape but the map needed a full visual pass. Bob's first pass made the best of the available content at the time, but in the time since artist Nichol Norman had knocked out a stellar new base texture set. One of my first tasks was giving the level a proper visual and lighting pass in the new style.

The new visual pass also gave me a chance to work in some style consistencies with Corey Peters' Air Defense levels and the post-hangar MCC Landing Site.

I was also responsible for a majority of the AI scripting and combat in the shipped level. The level introduces both the Strogg Gunner and Marine shotgun, and while both reveals were placed a little awkwardly, Bob's tightly wound layout is a perfect fit for the shotgun and the Gunner made for a great end-of-level appearance and continued nailgun+grenade mayhem in the following Interior Hangar.

While this level stayed more intact than its elevated successor, the engine room at the center of this map was the subject of significant re-builds and re-designs before finally being left at a simple two-button "puzzle" to melt glass. The constant revisions and changes left the room a bit haphazard looking compared to its surroundings.

Another late addition to the map was the new folding bridge to link the second hangar through the large cavern to the end of the level; layout-wise this was a shoehorn addition, but I was pleased with the resulting combat featuring a brief shooting gallery finished with a Berserker charge. My biggest regret with this connection was losing the low ground entrance to the level's final room, weakening the position of the final Gunner in what had been a more intense showdown before.


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Hangar Perimeter 2/6 Hangar Perimeter 3/6 Hangar Perimeter 4/6 Hangar Perimeter 5/6 Hangar Perimeter 6/6

Level by Robert Bettenberg and Andrew Weldon
Additional scripting by Chad Bordwell and Pat Williams

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Q4DM11: Skeleton Crew

Q4DM11: Skeleton Crew


Mar. 2006 // Quake 4: Deathmatch

As with Q4DM10, DM11 began with a single idea, in this case the windowed corridor containing the grenade launcher and its surrounding jump pads and adjacent overlooking platform. From there, I moved inward to construct the large central platform and surrounding connections. A little over-the-shoulder design from Tremors cohort Matthew Breit helped flesh out what would become the south railgun corridor and a couple other lingering bits on the west side of the map, at which point we had a winner.

The level layout remained mostly unchanged, but the original item layout for this level was considerably different, featuring the rocket launcher atop the central platform, additional armor, and a complete lack of the railgun. In testing, however, the rocket launcher position (plus a couple extra jump pads - one from the lowest level near the final rocket launcher position, and one from the final shotgun position) turned the area into a bloodbath, leading to its replacement by a single armor piece. id appreciated the attempt to go rail-less, but requested that we re-add it. This was the right call, as the rail made for extra excitement in the long outer corridors, particularly with the overlook from the nailgun room down the rail corridor.

My wife was pregnant through much of Quake crunch and was finally due the first week of December, just as map pack work was wrapping up. With my son's imminent birth, I piled together my vacation, paternal leave, and holiday break to take all of December off, leaving the final pass on the level to Mr. Breit. He also took care of a few lingering issues, including a visual pass to the nailgun room and an excellent layout tweak in removing the back jump pad up to the armor platform, replacing it with an open hole that dropped down into the shotgun hallway.

Matt was also kind enough to fit in one last request from me as I was enjoying my newly-expanded family - changing the various ship ID decals throughout the level to read "RCW-121605" - the initials and birth date of my son.

Skeleton Crew was included in the final Quake 4 1.1/1.2 patch in March 2006. You can see more of this level at lunaran.com


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Q4DM11: Skeleton Crew 2/6 Q4DM11: Skeleton Crew 3/6 Q4DM11: Skeleton Crew 4/6 Q4DM11: Skeleton Crew 5/6 Q4DM11: Skeleton Crew 6/6

Level by Andrew Weldon and Matthew Breit

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Q4DM10: Outpatient

Q4DM10: Outpatient


Mar. 2006 // Quake 4: Deathmatch

As work wound down on Quake 4's single player, many of our designers started doodling various MP map ideas during downtime between bugs and new builds. One of my early drafts featured a long narrow accelerator pad to a floating quad damage overlooked by a railgun platform. When the call came for maps for the post-release map pack, that draft became Q4DM10.

I was inspired thematically by the final lighting pass to the Medlabs level in the single player game. I loved the idea of a tighter interior level in that style, using the (relatively) clean and very bright second-pass Medlabs textures to aid visibility.

The level's layout started as just two very simple ideas, the first being the rail/quad overlook, and the second being an outer loop that ramped up from the lowest level all the way to the top. With the first draft of the rail platform and accelerator pad in place, I began working on the loop that would link the two, and eventually become the grenade launcher area. While cramped, the area features great drop-down, over/under, and end-around ambush opportunities, and I consider it among my strongest deathmatch layout elements.

The opposite atrium, while still fun, lacks some of the excitement of its counterpart. I attempted to create a larger more open atrium, but the fun of the grenade launcher area came from its tight quarters and brutal weapon loadout. The nailgun and yellow armor are valuable assets, but the area would have benefited greatly from a set of tighter connections both in gameplay and visually, as the very horizontal Medlabs walls don't hold up as well stacked vertically.

Among the last additions to the level were the sets of blue pipes that curve into the ground. These were ramp-clipped to provide ramp-jump shortcut opportunities, but in hindsight their shape doesn't provide the expectation of that movement mechanic. The idea would have been better executed either as it was in Q4DM11 or by better integrating a slope instead of a curve into the surrounding geometry.

Outpatient was released in March 2006 with Quake 4 1.1/1.2.


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Q4DM10: Outpatient 2/6 Q4DM10: Outpatient 3/6 Q4DM10: Outpatient 4/6 Q4DM10: Outpatient 5/6 Q4DM10: Outpatient 6/6

Level by Andrew Weldon

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Interior Hangar

Interior Hangar


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

Like Hangar Perimeter, I took over Interior Hangar from original designer Bob Bettenberg and was responsible for the level through the end of development. The level was in similar shape as the first Hangar level when I came aboard, with its layout generally intact but in need of a visual, scripting, and combat pass.

The original version of this level was considerably larger, with an additional floor above the current playable space. This area and its story objective were both trimmed out, leaving the level's primary objective at the destruction of the two hangar bays. Fortunately this was a fairly clean cut, and I was also able to easily re-purpose the elevator into the level's exit, which then connected back to the center of Hangar Perimeter's entrance room at the start of MCC Landing Site.

The original combat pass to the level saw players move all the way to the central fuel tank area with Viper Squad, then return to the beginning of the level. This left players passing through the fuel tank area three separate times and doing a significant amount of backtracking. To remedy this, I pushed out the connection from the first room to the fuel tank area to incorporate what would become the "lights out" and turret sequence added by Jim Shepard.

Despite the cuts to the level, the fuel tank and hangar battles remained a fun combat area to put together. Players can choose to clear either hangar first, and I set up the central fuel tank combat to react to this by activating different AI tethers for incoming enemies depending on which hangar players are exiting.


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Interior Hangar 2/6 Interior Hangar 3/6 Interior Hangar 4/6 Interior Hangar 5/6 Interior Hangar 6/6

Level by Robert Bettenberg and Andrew Weldon
Additional scripting by Jim Shepard and Chad Bordwell

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Q4CTF7: Tremors

Q4CTF7: Tremors


Dec. 2005 // Quake 4: Capture the Flag

As Quake 4 map pack work got rolling, the call went out for an additional CTF level. Of the three designers on the map pack, Matthew Breit and I were both sitting at one contribution apiece (Q4DM9 and Q4DM10, respectively) with fellow level designer Mike Majernik having already put together two with Q4Tourney1 and Q4CTF6, leaving Matt or myself to take on the new level. After considering a battle to the death for final map rights, we settled on a tag-team effort.

CTF7 began with my midground, which I started by constructing the rail platform and main entrance structure for each base. From there, I pieced together brushwork to represent a series of tiered paths crossing through a large cavern space. As those connections developed, we decided to go with a double-atrium midground and stay away from a 2Fort style level.

Matthew was particularly pleased with a CTF base he had built for a Raven speedmap during some QA downtime in Q4's final days and we discovered it lined up very closely with the work I was doing in the midground. We had our flag bases.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts, the map ran worse than we expected and required significant overhauls, particularly in my towering atriums. While I was home on paternity leave, Matt had the unpleasant task of the final performance optimizations, which involved stripping out what had been darker and more moody lighting in only accessible areas throughout the atriums (as well as more varied blend textures on the rock meshes), leaving the area looking quite barren with much of the lighting coming from a single massive light to reduce overall draw calls.

While it was disappointing losing much of the visual polish in my areas, Matt's tighter base areas needed much less optimization, and came together as one of the best-looking areas in the game.

Tremors was initially selected for release in the "Quakemas" map pack in December 2005, then included in the final Quake 4 1.1/1.2 patch. You can see more of Tremors at lunaran.com


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Q4CTF7: Tremors 2/6 Q4CTF7: Tremors 3/6 Q4CTF7: Tremors 4/6 Q4CTF7: Tremors 5/6 Q4CTF7: Tremors 6/6

Level by Matthew Breit and Andrew Weldon

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MCC Landing Site

MCC Landing Site


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

MCC Landing Site bridges the gap between the Strogg Hangars and the first briefing aboard the Marines' command ship, the Hannibal. The level is a combination of one part Air Defense Trenches, one part Interior Hangar, one part Convoy, and a new landing site by Roger Cordes.

Without the aid of a level streaming or layer system, this level proved an interesting beast to work with. We waited as long as possible to combine it, but even then any geometric change to any level involved had to be manually propagated into this level (which became even more fun in the late stages of the game after the Xbox 360 and German SKUs were split into their own branches).

My main responsibility in addition to maintaining the combined level through release was scripting the trench combat and building out and scripting an expanded combat area leading to the cannon control room. In addition, I also helped script the big gun sequence and parts of the Hannibal's landing.

Both this level and Hangar Perimeter featured new weapons delivered to players, but while Hangar's shotgun was a much stronger workhorse through the duration of the game, the grenade launcher in MCC Landing was a much better fit for its first use, with shells bouncing nicely in the confines of the opening trench battle, and giving the opportunity to lob shells at clustered Strogg Marine fodder down the long corridors leading to the control room.

My favorite scripting touch in this level was among its smallest - when in the Air Defense cannon, a small battle erupts in the trenches between the Strogg and three Marines. As the door explodes, the Strogg Marines ragdoll with directional physics impulses and the Marines in the trench each flinch according to their position and proximity to the blast.


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MCC Landing Site 2/6 MCC Landing Site 3/6 MCC Landing Site 4/6 MCC Landing Site 5/6 MCC Landing Site 6/6

Level by Mike Renner, Andrew Weldon, and Roger Cordes.

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Construction Site

Construction Site


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

Construction Site (while actually mostly void of construction in final form) is one of Quake 4's vehicle levels and features the Marine walker. The level, like the hover tank levels, was a later addition to the game, added in the wake of a series of cuts to replace a series of shorter vehicle sections spread throughout other levels.

Despite movement physics issues and struggles with the "vehicle only" Hornet and Roller enemies, the walker boasted impressive firepower with its machinegun and rocket pod combo, and was a satisfying means to mow through the game's normal ground units.

In addition to combat placement, my responsibility on the level also included re-builds to much of the level for visuals and performance, performance in particular once we learned how material-batched draw calls affected performance on the Xbox 360 renderer.

A new addition was the Harvester boss fight arena at the end of the level. The Harvester's ranged cannons were brutal against the slower walker on open ground, so I worked in some lower elevation crossed by elevated pipes to provide players with some obstacles and cover as they move through the area.

To make the area a bit more interesting, I made the overhead sections of each pipe destructible. This allowed players to absorb the Harvester's devastating rocket attack, but only once or twice. In addition, if one hides the walker into the small pocket between the pipes, the Harvester will target a section of pipe and destroy it himself. This opens pathing into the lower section, forcing players to make a quick escape to prevent an unpleasant fish-in-a-barrel death.


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Construction Site 2/6 Construction Site 3/6 Construction Site 4/6 Construction Site 5/6 Construction Site 6/6

Level by Ford Dye and Andrew Weldon.
Terrain by Ford Dye and Roger Cordes.

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Data Storage Security

Data Storage Security


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

The three towers in Quake 4's final act were actually among the oldest levels in the game, but needed a focused effort from the entire design team to be brought up to final quality. In addition to some small support work on the second Data Processing level, my main assignment out of the six levels was a final lighting pass on what would become Data Storage Security.

Fellow designer Corey Peters had been assigned the main Data Storage level and just completed his own lighting pass. My first instinct was to emulate his settings for consistency, but our lead designer instead recommended that I not limit myself to any lighting style already found in the game.

To play up the 'out of commission' feel for the first pass through the level, I picked a deep yellowish base tone highlighted with spinning red emergency lights and flashing yellow accent lights on the floor. To further ground the level's colors, I added a thin yellow ground fog to simulate haze illuminated by the floor lights, and also gave every piece of glass a subtle dark yellow tint that pulled off quite nicely with the glass' normal map and cubemap.

After players activate the TSD system, hundreds of entities needed to either be toggled or cross-faded to the new "powered on" style. The base lighting for each area was handled by building a poor man's array out of entities, fading out the yellow tones and then fading in the new blue lights. Other objects such as the ground fog, glass tubes, and ground accent lights needed to be left in place, and were handled by a color crossfade (with shader assistance by Roger Cordes). With power restored to the strange caskets on the walls, players were introduced to the ethereal Iron Maidens and an intense battle to escape.


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Data Storage Security 2/6 Data Storage Security 3/6 Data Storage Security 4/6 Data Storage Security 5/6 Data Storage Security 6/6

Level by Mike Renner
Lighting by Andrew Weldon

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Repair Bot Ambience

Repair Bot Ambience


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

My first venture into scripting started as a personal experiment and ended up as a general-purpose system that could be implemented in any level with no additional scripting. Designed for the Tetranode in the Nexus Hub level, the automated Repair Bot script creates a steady stream of ambient Repair Bots who randomly seek targets, perform actions, and move on.

I used this script for an entity-based scripting tutorial on idDevNet.


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Repair Bot Ambience 2/2

Script by Andrew Weldon
Nexus Hub level by Raven Software

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Script Sample

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Machinery

Machinery


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

Without the benefit of a keyframing tool like Matinee, Quake 4 relied on manually scripted motion for many animated set pieces. I was asked to script multiple pieces of moving machinery throughout the game. These are the two most complex sequences I put together, and also my favorites.

The included script sample can be found in scripts/maps/tram1.script.


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Machinery 2/2

Tram Hub level by Jim Hughes

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Script Sample

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Anderson

Anderson's Death


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

Late in the game's development (and after the final VO pick-up session), Anderson's original death sequence had to be replaced. I was asked to hook up the new cinematic, which would also serve as the introduction to the Strogg Scientist.

I worked with animation to plug in the animated camera and characters and also handled the timing of various in-world events using a combination of frame commands (executed on specific animation keyframes) and script. I also scripted the appearance of the Strogg Scientists for the short battle that follows.


© id Software

Anderson

Script by Andrew Weldon
Medlabs level by Raven Software

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Script Sample

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Strogg Flyers

Strogg Flyers


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

Planned as a functioning enemy, an underscaled MD5 mesh and other code priorities kept the Strogg Flyer out of commission. With no code or art support scheduled, I created a functioning "enemy" out of the Strogg Flyer using a static mesh, splines, new projectile definitions, paper clips, and a stick of Juicy Fruit.

I decided to manually script them into Construction Site using the correctly-scaled static mesh, spline-based movement, and a simple entity template. My script later served as the foundation for their use in Aqueducts and Tram Rail.

I'll confess that I may have spent a little too much time finding the right trajectory on the Strogg ragdolls tumbling out of the explosion, but their inclusion added a satisfying touch to successful kills.


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Strogg Dropship

Strogg Dropship


Oct. 2005 // Quake 4: Campaign

Another late-game addition was the Strogg Dropship. Unlike the Strogg Flyer before it, the dropship did come with a properly scaled mesh as well as landing and take off animations, but we needed a general-purpose delivery system.

I worked up a script/entity template that allowed designers to implement the dropships with their own selection of enemies aboard . The only custom scripting required for this setup was the spline movement path in and out of the area.

The combination of spline movements linking to an animation wasn't ideal and left a bit of popping; a sequence like this today would be much better implemented in a tool like Unreal's Matinee that can better handle smooth translation.


© id Software