Under A Stone Blanket is a singleplayer map for Quake set in a gloomy crypt. It was made with Trenchbroom and the progs_dump devkit.
I wanted the player to feel they had arrived in a tomb as it was being disturbed by other enemies. I also wanted the player to unlock an extra power. This would manifest as a rocket launcher the player uses to destroy bricked-up walls. As an added challenge I tasked myself with creating the map within 1024 x 1024 x 1024 Quake units.
The blockout began as a simple but dense three-tier interior with multiple gates to direct player flow, such as forced falls and destructible walls. When working with a hard size limit, the temptation is to create lots of smaller rooms and tight corridors. But I find that Quake’s speedy combat works best when the player has room to maneuver. For that reason, I kept the ground floor as an arena-style space and the other two floors subdivided into two principal areas.
To achieve the player experience goals, I placed enemy corpses as set dressing and scripted light storytelling beats to suggest in-fighting, like distant muzzle flashes and gib explosions (classic stuff). Monster corpses which spring to life when the player looks away or approaches a coffin also helped evoke the disturbed crypt feel.
Unlocking a power – This was hard to implement, since vanilla Quake does not traditionally use tools, only weapons. I eventually hacked together an imperfect workaround, which allowed certain walls to only be destroyed if the rocket launcher was already obtained.
Player path – the original player path saw our hero working from the bottom floor crypt to the top-floor rocket launcher zone. But testing revealed it was more thematically appropriate to “delve” into the crypt from above. The final path I landed on was an up-and-down flow which pushed the player through areas with falls, elevators, and scaffolds. Bricked-up walls were placed along the path, seeding the promise of demolishing these later.
As with all my Quake maps, I had the help of a great community. Textures are once again by Ben “Makkon” Hale, who also inspired some of the pillar brushwork. Features like breakable surfaces, falling debris, corpse models, candles, and many others were made possible by the progs_dump modding team working on the shoulders of decades of other modders. Extra thanks to David “dumptruck_ds” Spell, Zaratzara, and The Solipsist for playtesting.
I did a breakdown of my thoughts making this map in the following video. But at 40+ minutes it’s not for the casual map admirer. Watch it if you think it might be useful!