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Aug 30th, 2016
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  1. As requested, I have prepared feedback for several of Open Arena’s official maps as of 0.8.8. My experience involving several of these maps ranges from quite limited to nonexistent, so I can only provide informed criticism for a selection of them.
  3. I am an Open Arena player and not a mapper, so I intend to focus my feedback primarily on the effects of recent changes upon each map’s gameplay, rather than upon the more technical considerations presented by such changes.
  5. --am_galmevish--
  7. The link you posted to the new version of this map is broken. However, the 0.8.1 version, at least, is quite popular among the North American Free for All community. This map’s predisposition towards Rail usage (as well as any map’s, for that matter) could be somewhat offset by the addition of a Plasma Gun at either side of the map to coincide with the Rail Guns at either end. Also, the addition of some Armor Shards would not go amiss.
  9. The general layout of this map, while simplistic, is fun and enjoyable, whether for a packed server, or one or two players.
  11. --ctf_compromise--
  13. I haven’t played the new version of this map, but I believe the fog was eliminated, which is a drastic improvement.
  15. --ctf_gate1--
  17. Generally speaking, the current version of this map is fine, especially as far as weapon and item placement is concerned. I’ve never been fond of the walkways between columns, as the platforming makes for good movement practice for new players and adds an extra degree of personality and challenge to the map, but the walkways don’t exactly hurt anything.
  19. --czest1tourney--
  21. Weapon layout –
  23. The Grenade Launcher next to the barrier should be returned to the platform across from the Mega Health, as it was in the previous version. Its current location is too conspicuously nearby the jumppad leading up from the bottom level of the map, meaning that the jumppad will be nearly always polluted with Grenade spam, and the huge clear barrier will protect the spammers from being Railed from below. This Grenade Launcher should either be replaced with another Lightning Gun or removed completely.
  25. The lower level Rocket Launcher should be returned to its original location currently occupied by the Red Armor. It will undoubtedly be abused in its current location, given its proximity to nearby spawn points and various death pits. It should be replaced with the Shotgun from the middle level, which will be much less easily abused on the bottom level where players can defend themselves without immediately launching their targets off the side or into the lava. As it stands, the Shotgun’s current location is too close to a spawn point and will make it too easy for people to shoot other players off the side as they spawn. Adding a Plasma Gun to the lower level is also worth considering, as it would allow players more protection from campers at the Rail Gun area with less physical alteration to the map.
  27. The BFG should be removed. Mainly because it’s the BFG. But also because only experienced players will be able to access it, which will give them an even greater advantage on this already challenging map.
  29. Item layout – I very much like the inclusion of the Personal Teleporter on this map. It would’ve been a welcome addition to the original version as well.
  31. The Battle Suit is a poor choice for an item on this map, as it reduces the amount of damage a player takes without reducing the amount of knockback, thereby drastically increasing the likelihood that a player will be knocked off the map or into the lava rather than actually killed by his opponent. I would recommend either replacing it with either Flight or Invisibility, or else removing it altogether. (I say Flight because, as with Battle Suit, it would allow for freer movement around the map, but without the danger of the user being knocked off the side or into lava with one hit. Also, players will Rail Guns would keep Flight from being abused, which wouldn’t be the case with Battle Suit. Invisibility, meanwhile, would obviously do its part in dispelling campers while also not dramatically increasing one’s likelihood of death by falling. Flight would probably be better in this case, though, given how cramped the map can be in certain places.)
  33. The Red Armor should be removed in favor of more Armor Shards, which should be distributed more evenly across the map. One or two Yellow Armors is acceptable as well, but Shards were really the unsung heroes of the previous version.
  35. Physical design – The general layout of the map is fine, but the design of a few key places is by far the worst aspect of the new version of this map. There are two main offenders, but quite a few more that need addressing as well.
  37. The first main offender is the wall on the middle level by the Grenade Launcher. It is largely superfluous and not much use at all in its upper position, as it protects campers from other players as much as the other way around. It makes it harder for players to shoot at Rail campers, and it makes it highly difficult for players to strafe downwards towards the Rail Gun area at any considerable speed, especially when other players are present. The barrier should be either removed or relocated permanently to the lower level of the map, where a hypothetical Rail camper currently has a clear and open shot at people who will be spawning in that area without much of a way to defend themselves. Instead of having the buttons at the bottom control the wall’s location, maybe they should open the grates underneath the Rail Gun area (which could be spread out to make more dangerous).
  39. The six central jump pads in the middle of the map are the second main offender. They are way too long and are basically just horrible. The one in the corner by the Rocket Launcher is nice and should be kept, in my opinion, and the ones leading to the Personal Teleporter are fine as well. But the ones on the middle level are atrocious. They need to be shortened considerably, as players from the bottom-most pad flying upwards will more than likely collide with them and be sent careening either into a lava pit or into a wall. But mostly into a lava pit. Also, in addition to being too long, the two pads facing each other immediately below the Mega Health bounce the player too forcefully for him to control his own movement and descend downwards to the bottom pad (and thus upwards to the Mega Health), as was possible in the original version.
  41. The “hood” covering the jump pad leading up to the current location of the Grenade Launcher should also be returned, as it prevented players from flying out of the tunnel and to their demise off the side of the map.
  43. The lava pits should be made either much more narrow, or be given walls to make them more easily avoided. I’m all for lava pits, but the construction of the rest of the map just makes these sadistic.
  45. --kaos2--
  47. This was a good remake, with only a minimal amount of adjustments. Adding the effect to the portal across from the Red Armor is helpful because many new players are unaware of the portal’s existence and find it only by accident. The changes in lighting were subtle and improved visibility without diminishing the atmosphere.
  49. --oa_rpg3dm2--
  51. The 0.8.8 version of this map seems virtually identical to the original. It still needs more spawn points, as it currently still has only four, which is far too few when a server has more than just a handful of players.
  53. --oa_shouse--
  55. The 0.8.8 version of this map seems virtually identical to the original. Could probably use more spawn points as well.
  57. --oa_spirit3--
  59. The 0.8.8 version of this map seems virtually identical to the original. The spawns in the middle where there are no weapons (but probably plenty of enemies) are dumb. Needs more Free for All spawn points, because yes, people do play Deathmatch on it. Don’t ask.
  61. --oasago2--
  63. The new version of this map is close enough to the old version to hardly justify its small but somewhat deleterious changes. The coloration is interesting and, I would assume, an attempt at curbing the washout of the original. It doesn’t really help much in some cases, as with Tony, for example. But as the chief aim of OA3 is to alter character visibility and visuals, I doubt this will be a factor worth considering.
  65. The main problem I have with this map is in the new location of the Rail Gun. If you’re in your own base in CTF, and an enemy flies in, kills you, and grabs your Flag, and you spawn far away on the Rail platform that now contains no Rail Gun, you have no way of preventing the enemy from leaving with the base with your Flag. As it currently stands, you would have to run across the old Rail platform, drop down to the Rocket Launcher, and then Rocket Jump up to the new Rail platform, all before the enemy can clear the bridge into his own base. There is simply no practical way to do this. The Rail Gun should be returned to its previous location. Camping will always be an issue on this map, and trying to stifle it should not take precedence over preserving the map’s core elements of gameplay.
  67. Also, I don’t really understand why the steps to the bridge were made steeper, but as this map is basically the Holy Grail of original Open Arena maps, a good rule is that changes to its design should only be made when absolutely necessary.
  69. --oa_koth1--
  71. The 0.8.8 version of this map seems virtually identical to the original. I just hope no one gets clever and decides to build an invisible wall across the rooftops or remove the giant Liz statue. Especially if Liz gets cut from OA3.
  73. --oa_shine--
  75. The 0.8.8 version of this map seems virtually identical to the original. One of the best Open Arena maps. The only problem I have with this map is how spawn points are centralized around different items, so in many respects, whoever spawns first has an advantage. Accessibility to the top region of the map should never be impeded in the slightest by invisible walls or suchlike.
  77. --ps37ctf2--
  79. This version is virtually identical to the original ps37ctf. From what I can tell, the biggest difference between that version and this one is improvement in lighting, along with a couple readjustments of item locations. I believe the online community as a whole prefers the Red Armor as it is located in this version of the map; i.e., floating in the water halfway between Rail Gun bridge and the very bottom of the pool below it (as opposed to actually sitting on the bottom, as in previous versions). Also, the Nail Gun has been moved out of the far corner, to make it less easy to prevent people from reaching it via Rocket spam.
  81. My only complaint with this version of the map is that the ridge running along the upper part of the walls was removed, taking not only a good chunk of the map’s charm with it, but also a sneaky way into the enemy’s base as well.
  83. --ps9ctf--
  85. The 0.8.8 version of this map seems virtually identical to the original. All versions of this map are too heavy on the Team Arena weapons. If these were removed in whole or in part, the map would be excellent.
  87. --pul1ctf--
  89. The 0.8.8 version of this map seems virtually identical to the original. This is another truly great Open Arena map, and is probably tied with ps37ctf as being the best. I personally rank it slightly lower because ps37ctf is better for Deathmatch.
  91. Replacing the Grenade Launchers on the sides with Plasma Gun would probably improve the map, since Plasma Gun would upset some of the camping that is inevitable on such a Rail-friendly map, and because Grenades aren’t very useful on this map anyway, except in maybe one or two areas.
  93. --slimefac--
  95. With all due credit to the designers of the new version of slimefac for their attempt at trying something fresh, I have to say the 0.8.8 version is truly pitiful in terms of gameplay and flow. The original slimefac, with its rapidly respawning Haste powerup, generous supply of jump pads, and its circular, multileveled layout, was a fast-paced slip-and-slide dash through lava and explosions. The new one feels clunky, blocky, and confusing. Removing the danger of falling in lava removed approximately 80% of the fun. And I had to actually look for the Haste, which is probably the single most important element of the map. The powerup is sitting on a ledge in a corner behind its original location, which means that the player has to actually go out of his way to obtain it, completely destroying the flow of the game. And it spawns too infrequently to be of much use anyway. I have to say that of all the new iterations of Open Arena maps, this one is by far the worst. Words cannot really describe how much of an abomination this new version is compared to the original.
  97. Honestly, the only thing I would have changed about the original is the location of a few weapons, and maybe the addition of one or two more. Switching locations of the Lightning Gun and the Rocket Launcher is one suggestion. Replacing one of the Shotguns with a Plasma Gun or Grenade Launcher is another. I haven’t tried out either of these suggestions on a populated server, but I imagine they would be more palatable than this complete overhaul would be.
  99. **Maps Not Listed**
  101. --czest1dm--
  103. I didn’t see this one on your list, but the new version has several issues that need addressing.
  105. Design - the round platforms in the middle of the map should be shortened so that a player may climb them as in the previous version. They provided an access point to other areas of the map via the adjacent open windows, as well as allowing for a slightly higher standpoint from which to survey or fire upon the surrounding mass of players. They also made it easier for newer players with less experience with Rocket jumps to access the upper-level map walkway between the LG area and the blue spawn area on the other end of the map (where the Rockets are located in the current version).
  107. The invisible walls blocking access to the rafters above the Red Armor area, the rafters above the Mega Health area, and the rooftop above the topmost walkway (and the former RL location) should be removed, as they inhibit the various hiding places that constitute the map’s most endearing aspects.
  109. Weapon location – The RL should not be in the blue spawn area, as it is rife with columns, walls, and other spawning players. That particular location is impractical because there is no way to use the weapon without incurring considerable damage to oneself, especially if that is the first weapon one obtains (which is likely, due to the multiple spawn points in that area).
  111. The lower Rail Gun spawn should be returned for two reasons: first, the only occupant of its original location in the current version is a box of Rocket Ammo, which seems hardly useful given its proximity to the Rocket Launcher itself. Second, the only Rail Gun spawn in the current version is in the balcony above the elevator, which makes camping in the balcony infinitely more likely and infinitely less preventable.
  113. I like the removal of the Rocket Launcher from the edge of the wooden walkway to the more secluded location under the roof, as it places one in less danger of the inevitable balcony campers.
  115. The Shotgun spawns should not be changed from the original version. Their replacement offers no improvement upon gameplay and makes the map feel less balanced, as freshly spawned players are less able to readily defend themselves.
  117. The Lightning Gun spawn point in the middle of the map (originally where the Mega Health lay) is a poor choice because (1) given the layout of the map, players will be unlikely to congregate in the middle of the map as they would on, say, oa_shine, since the map offers more protected areas where players will be less exposed to campers, meaning that the most overpowered weapon in the game (second only to the BFG) is left lying unguarded in the middle of the map. And (2) there are no weapons nearby for freshly spawned players to use to defend themselves against the onslaught of LG users who will be ravaging all the nearby spawn points, which means the map is depending upon Rail campers in the balcony to prevent this.
  119. Item placement - Putting the only Mega Health by a spawn point over a pit in a far corner of the map means that it might as well not even be included in the map at all. It should be moved somewhere else or returned to its original location.
  121. If the Quad Damage has to be moved, its location and that of the Mega Health should be swapped. While the value of placing the Mega Health immediately in front of a spawn point is questionable, placing the Quad Damage in a small room on a table when the only nearby weapon is a Rocket launcher two rooms away makes even less sense. Placing it in the middle of the map where the Mega Health had originally been located where it is less out of the way (in the current LG location) makes far more sense given the general layout of the map.
  123. Bottom line – Blocking access to hiding places removes much of the charm of the original. Rail abusers in the balcony will be able to camp there indefinitely, as there is no Rail Gun on the ground level to use against them. And keeping most weapons away from spawn points (except for LG) means that newly spawned players will be easy prey for those who have accumulated any degree of armor and weapons.
  125. --oa_minia--
  127. Please don’t add any more walkways to this map. In fact, please remove them. All of them. Same goes for the assortment of various wall projections, random metal railings, pointless stairways, and unnecessary ledges. I’m not going to bother trying to figure out how to arrange the weapons and items layout in a vain attempt to fix this catastrophe of a map. Seriously, everything about the 0.8.8 version of this map is just awful. It’s cramped, dark, and difficult to navigate. For future releases, please just stick to the old, simple, harmless one.
  129. If improving upon the old version was desired, all that needed to be done was adding a Rail Gun so that both sides of the map would have one, and adding another Red Armor to the other side for the same reason. Symmetry is the key to that map, and designing it as though a tornado passed through it somehow didn’t help.
  131. --oa_dm3--
  133. This is a good map as is, but there’s a part of the map in the server room, where players need 125 fps to clear the stack of servers to reach the Rail Gun (as opposed to going all the way around to where there’s a gap). Either adding a gap to the servers on the side near the Mega Health or else lowering the stack of servers would improve this map dramatically for players on older systems and those who are unaware of the maxfps trick.
  135. --wrackdm17--
  137. For what it’s worth, I believe the OA team will be making a huge mistake by removing this map in OA3. This is a classic map that enjoys colossal support among players. Entire servers have been devoted to running this map 24/7. I read somewhere that FromHell plans to remove it. Please don’t.
  139. --------------
  141. That’s all for now. I tried to keep my bias towards older maps to a minimum in order to give as objective reviews as possible.
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