Friday, July 11, 2014

Operation Eisenfaust: Origins Level 8 & Level 9

Level 8 is called The Library, though as Balames pointed out in his walkthrough, the level is not *just* a library. The player starts off in a prison area, which leads to an execution area where you can either silently take out each guard using the knife or you can blast them all away with the chaingun. It's in this area that you will find the first key, which leads you to the library behind the first locked door. This titular library can be seen as the main hub of the map, the central area where the player keeps returning to. Hence why I named this level The Library.

It's one of the oldest levels in the mod. From very early on, I wanted to create where the level was build around a central, large library. And that is the part that survived the shift after I decided to scrap some of my older levels. You see, when I decided to scrap the levels, I still went through them to see which parts could be salvaged. In the case of this level, the prison area and the library remained while the rest got redone. I think this might be one of the last instances where a scrapped level got edited and made it in.

It's also a very treasure-heavy level, as books are the replacement of the various treasures used in the original Wolf3D. And there plenty of books to be found across the levels and behind secret pushwalls. Speaking about secret areas, this level has one of the biggest that few might find, as it requires a wire cutter that can only be found behind a pushwall. I'm a big fan of such large, secret areas. Apart from adding replay value to a level, from experience I know that it is also very rewarding for a player to uncover such a large, secret portion of a level. It feels like opening up a new, uncovered world, one which few might discover. Opening up a pushwall with some medkits behind it might be a relief at times, but it's opening up a pushwall,  with what feels like a whole new level hidden behind it, that is the most rewarding.

Level 9 is the last level before we enter the snow portion of the game, and it's somewhat of a special level: you have to cut the telecommunication wires before you can exit the level. This mission based approach makes the level stand out, and I wish we had used it more often during the game. There is only one later level that has this approach, but still: it feels like a missed opportunity to stray away from your typical Wolf3D gameplay into something different. Lately that has been the approach for me: to take the Wolf3D gameplay and twist it, to do something different with it. I think that is the way to go for mods.

One complaint heard while this mod got beta-tested, is that this map isn't particulary realistic. 'Why would there be a garden in the middle of the camp?'. Fact is, I'm not that concerned with realism during mapping. Sure, features such as floor/ceiling textures and parallax skies dictate that your designs stay somewhat realistic as opposed to the more abstract designs you can create while doing a vanilla Wolf3D mapset. But I'm not recreating anything, nor is 'realism' a consideration for me. 'The Garden' was more of a nod to Bond villains, in that it would totally be something for a Bond villain to have a lavish garden in the middle of a death camp. It was meant to illustrate that this mod is not to be seen as realistic or as representational. Opinions about this differ within Team Raycast with regards to realism, but I'm personally not that concerned with it. In fact, I would say that it is a somewhat overrated concept. You're making a game, not a documentary.

You can download Operation: Eisenfaust Origins HERE.

You can watch Balames' playthrough of level 8 below;

And you can watch Balames' playthrough of level 9 here;

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