The battlegrounds of Alien Arena: Warriors Of Mars

Alien Arena: WOM will have a number of completely revamped levels, plus a few new ones.  In this post I’ll give the rundown, with a picture of each, and a bit of background and description.  Since in my previous post I mentioned Dynamo, I won’t list that one here.

 

Deathray:

 

Deathray is the quintessential Alien Arena level.  It was initially designed in 2009 as a showcase for as much weird alien crap I could fit into one map.  Having a very Tim Burtonesque feel to it, and a very dynamic design(reminiscent of The Campgrounds – q3dm6), it quickly became a favorite.  It did however suffer from some rather obnoxious design flaws, so in it’s reincarnation several areas were redone completely to alleviate them.

 

Turbocharger:

 

With 3+ tiers of vertical play, a circular design with connecting loops, teleporter, and a vaporizer tucked away Turbocharger has been a staple of the game since 2008, the first of the Generation 2 maps to be built.  It’s now re-imagined with a dirt floor littered with wrecked cars, debris and a more gory, bloody atmosphere.

 

Extermination:

 

Extermination was the last level added to Generation 2, during a period of level design that focused on post apocalyptic themes.  For the new version, the palette was significantly changed, terrain was added to replace brush dirt piles, and an even more sinister look was created.  Another of Alien Arena’s more dynamic, vertical playing levels, with a more complex layout than most.  This map also has a CTF and Tactical version included.

 

Dismal:

 

Showing variety of palette and theme, this level sought to use a combination of frozen piles of ice/snow and a cool blue fog to go along with the areas of electrical current running under the floors and in the ceilings.  With cryogenic chambers placed througout, along with blood everywhere, it’s clear this massive level has been the scene of intense warfare.

 

Babel:

 

One of several “ish” maps, this was initially inspired by UT2k4’s “Dm-Inferno” in concept and theme.  The layout was a bit different though, and in this iteration, the theme has been re-imagined after the release of Doom 2016 gave me new ideas.  Always a popular map, it’s very open, and fast layout have now been augmented with new terrain technology, impressive lava effects, and dramatic lighting to make it one of the games most stunning visual experiences.

 

Neptune:

 

The theme and central room were inspired by UT3’s “Ocean Relic”, but the layout is wholly original.  Typical room looping was employed for a dynamic flow, and a more unconventional central elevator make this one possibly the game’s most chaotic in terms of action.  Swimming sharks, caves with crystals, and wet, mossy surfaces give this level detail that surpasses most.

 

Wasteland:

 

Wasteland is an all-new level for WOM.  Comprised mostly of terrain based architecture, it has areas of totally desolate post-apocalyptic decay, replete with crashed flying saucers, weird metal contruction, and signs of Martian infestation.  Wasteland is a rather large map, and by design quite open and vertical.  With an almost unlimited number of routes, the gameplay is easily the most unpredictable of Alien Arena’s levels.

 

Bloodfactory:

 

Back when Alien Arena was getting some heat for it’s level designs in regards to duel/competitive gaming, the one level that seemed more praised was Bloodfactory.  The level was revamped in 2011, and gets another overhaul for 2016.  Using new terrain technology, decals, and better textures, this popular level gets brought into Generation 3 with subtle style.  It’s gore, hanging meat, and violent nature are less subtle.

 

Crucible:

 

Crucible is one of Alien Arena’s oldest designs.  Created initially in 2004(as “Tourney3”), it’s layout was re-imagined in 2008, then revamped again in 2012.  It is a small, but somewhat confusing(intentionally) layout, that plays extremely fast and furious.  For the new version, the palette was changed, and it’s design cleaned up for better flow.  Terrain tech is used to augment it’s lower sections, static meshes are used to give the upper rim an infusion of tech into it’s overall gothic theme.

 

Violator:

 

Another of Alien Arena’s oldest level designs, this is now the fourth rebuild of the map.  First introduced in the summer of 2005, this level was rebuilt completely from scratch in 2007, then again completely rebuilt from scratch in 2011.  This is the only level in the game that has had this many “from scratch” rebuilds.  The Generation 3 version of the map features brush architecture being replaced with static meshes, and conversely smooth clipping brushes that vastly improve the way it plays.  The lighting and shadowing are dramatic.  This map comes in CTF and Tactical flavors as well.

 

Frostbyte:

 

Another of the games terrain based levels, this map comes in CTF only.  It’s main section is an open, snowy wasteland full of swaying pine trees, rugged hills and falling snow.  There are multiple teleporters into each base that lie underneath of it all.  The bases were expanded upon in this iteration, now the 3rd, incorporating multiple escape routes.  The bases are worth another screenshot, since they are pretty spectacular in their own right.

 

 

These large undergound areas may have a familar look if you’re a fan of UT3.  Back when Epic posted in their community forums that they were not going to create UT4, and encouraged the community to create the “Spiritual Successor”, I thought I’d re-create UT3’s CTF-Coret for Alien Arena.  It seemed like such a perfect map for Martians to be running around in, it was, in my opinion the greatest CTF map I’d ever seen.  I loved Coret…so I started working on a section, creating new assets that were based on that, though not entirely faithfully.  This project became a bit cumbersome, so I really just started using it for tech/screenshots, etc.  The assets I created I eventually redid a bit to look a little more original, and used them throughout the entire game.  Hating to waste the section of map, I started redoing it to be more original, and adding in cool post apocalyptic items and cryogenic tubes with Martians, and eventually got the idea to use them to expand the bases in Frostbyte.

 

Purgatory:

 

Purgatory was created in 2009, during a phase of being heavily inspired by UT3 themes and layouts.  The main room was inspired by a map whose name I do not recall, though eventually it didn’t resemble it all that much.  In it’s new iteration, the map makes heavy use of new terrain tech, as well as static meshes, and a bloodier, more detailed theme.

 

Annihilation:

 

Annihilation is a work in progress.  This shot is the tactical version, which is completed, but the deathmatch version will be dramatically enhanced.  Post-apocalyptic themed, it was added in 2011 along with several other similarly themed levels.  The layout is not hugely complex, but it does afford for a lot of different routes, and very dynamic, fast game play.  Very well suited for duel or small FFA action.  There are also plans for this map(and it’s fused in brother, Impact) to be converted to CTF as well.

 

Gauntlet:

 

Lastly, we have The Gauntlet, another of Alien Arena’s longest surviving levels.  Initially this map was a re-creation of UT’s Dm-Morbias/Gael (and later, Morbias Station), but with some twists like an open pit in the middle with a red fog of death that you could fall into if not careful.  It was then changed, along with it’s name (Chasmatic) to a more hi-tech look.  Gone was the open floor in the middle, replaced with lights under the floor that had a see-through grate.  It was revamped again, with the lower section contracted, and the hole, now filled with slime instead of red fog of death, using raised stairs to the platform with the double damage powerup.  Fostered partly by old codgers wishing for the good ole days of Gauntlet, the map was redesigned, with the lower section being returned to a wider size, and the open fog of death pit brought back in it’s original intent.

 

That’s it for the levels, and there will be one more update for Qexpo 2016, I hope people have found all of this at least a little interesting, and maybe revive some interest in the project.  I’ve actually used all of this personally as a way to re-examine some of the work, and try to improve upon it.  Some ideas have already presented themselves(and even been implemented already in the case of the Rustbot).  It’s been 3 long years since Alien Arena has had a release, and it’s nearly an entirely new game in many ways now.  It’s far from just a cosmetic overahaul, and in my final post I will detail more of what else has changed, and what is forthcoming.