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Survival

A map for Quake III Arena by Eraser. Published 11 May 2013.
Download from: Google Code

Note: this map requires EntityPlus version 1.1.4 (or later) to play

The most surprising thing about this EntityPlus offering is how it appears to go straight against the single player philosophy of the EntityPlus mod itself. There is no story or narrative that this map ties into. While obviously there is a starting point, there's no end point to work towards. There are no real goals that progress you further into the map. In fact, the map is so small that you can run around all of it in under 60 seconds. The layout is more like that of a conventional deathmatch map than what we've come to expect of EntityPlus.

While the map does not offer a traditional single player experience, it does stick to the single player idea in that this is a challenge that you're about to face alone. But instead of progressing through a more or less linear set of rooms, corridors and hallways, the map is designed more like a multiplayer offering. Enemies are there in the form of bots. The twist is that bots will spawn in groups, or waves. A wave consists of a number of bots, all of which have to be shot down in order to progress to the next wave. A message appears to warn you to prepare for the next wave before the announcer voice counts down from three to one and the next wave of bots is spawned into the map. Each wave is more difficult than the previous, due to there being more bots or the bots carrying more powerful weapons. There are 15 waves in total but once all 15 waves have been defeated, the map will revert back to the first wave, but this time increasing the overall difficulty by slightly increasing the bots' health.

This wave based setup means that there is no real ending to this map. In theory, the player could go on defeating waves for ever. These bots shoot back though, so death is an unavoidable eventuality. To create an artificial endpoint, the map makes clever use of EntityPlus' method of simply respawning the player into the map after dying. While in more conventional EntityPlus maps this is relatively without consequence (other than losing some points on your final score), in Surival, dying really brings you one step closer to your end. The map basically gives you five lives, neatly listed at the top left corner of the HUD. Each time you die you'll respawn in the map, but a life is lost. Once all five lives are lost, the challenge ends and the game cuts to an overview shot of the map displaying the familiar EntityPlus end-game scoreboard.

In the map, you start off with just a machinegun and a whole lot of ammo for it (999 to be exact). You can spray bullets at your heart's content, but you'll be wishing for a more powerful weapon soon enough. After you've beaten the fifth wave, a gate opens that reveals a small alcove that holds a shotgun. This weapon "upgrade" comes in handy to quickly pick off bots at close range. Play through another 15 waves and beat wave 5 for a second time, a new gate will open that reveals the grenade launcher. A useful tool to take care of the waves that spawn larger numbers of bots close to each other. The third and final gate reveals the Rocket Launcher, a weapon that, by the time you can grab it, really comes in handy because by now, the bots will prove quite a bit harder to kill due to their increased health.

The whole map is set in a medieval looking castle courtyard. There's the castle wall with a large gate that closes off an open courtyard. Plants, flowers and some boulders are littered across the grassy surface and two large trees provide some cover to hide behind. A stairway leads up to what looks like the beginning of the main road deeper in to the castle, but another smaller gate is closing off the way. However, it does provide access to what looks like a cosy inn, complete with fireplace and a table set with some plates. Across the inn there's a large church. The church offers access to an underground tunnel that leads back to the courtyard where a staircase will bring you back to the surface.

Every single texture in the map is a custom texture. No stock Q3A textures can be found in here. The textures are also of a relatively high resolution which gives the whole map a very detailed and crisp look. Extensive use of decals breaks up the monotiny of texture tiling that can happen with large plain surfaces. The geometry is relatively plain but is adequate in combination with the texturing and lighting to bring a believable realistic environment to the game.

While this map has no narrative or plot twists like Testing Procedures, it should provide a bit more replayability due to it's arcade-ish nature. The only goal here is to score the highest score possible, so why not go and try again to achieve yet a higher score? It also shows that with a bit of creativity, you can create quite a different experience with the mod than just the traditional single player set up. And that is, perhaps, the most inspiring part of this map.