This level, like most of my levels, started out as an experiment I was conducting with the build editor and engine. I wanted to see if it was possible to create smooth polygon hills, and by the time I had finished, it looked like a fun level. The original theme was, "Psycho Nazi Amazon Commandos from Hell Invade Gilligan's Fantasy Island." I was going to put in a bunch of wav's and other stuff (like a bell tower at the top where you could hear a bell ringing and Tatoo saying, "da plane! da plane!", but I had too many other levels I wanted to do and Duke3d's grp file editing was a bit more involved than I cared to spend time with. Well, that and once I actually started playtesting the level it was too fun to stop playing to go back to editing it.
I know the L.A. background sucks, but I couldn't find anything cool to put in at the time, and I don't even notice it anymore because I'm too busy trying to kill or not be killed. The gameplay on this level is quite fun. Several things keep it very interesting. The jungle contains a few goodies (like the jetpack) but it is a nightmare to get around in it. The caverns and the underwater tunnels provide alternate ways to get form one place on the map to another, but they are not the easiest way to get around because they are dark and confusing. If you use them correctly you can pop out next to an opponent and surprise him with a rocket in the back, though. The funniest thing about this level is the rocket battles that take place on the hillsides, though. The trick is that you are facing downhill one moment and looking down, then you suddenly turn around to fire and if you don't re-aim, kaboom! hahahahahha! One of the other fun things to do is, in a game with a large number of players, get the jetpack and night vision and start bombarding the island from above with rockets... woooowooo!
One other note: This level is a bigroom. What this means is that the framerate chokes a little if you play in high res. If you are one of those people who think pretty pictures is more important than action, you might as well not waste your time with this level, because you will very quicly start whining about the framerate if you play in any vidmode other than 320*200. Until CPU's are capable of about 10 gazillion MIPS, something has to be sacrificed in order to do special things. I'm willing to sacrifice resolution in order to play a fun bigroom map. If you aren't, then this isn't the level for you.
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This the layout of the map. It's a bigroom map as you can see, but now that the CPU standard has gone way beyond what I had at the time of creating this monster (I had a 486-DX2/66, 8MB RAM) it now runs great on a P133 or similar equipment. (in low res...) The duke "top-down figure" in the middle is not proportioned correctly, so the map is a lot bigger than that icon makes it appear to be.
Here's a rough animation of the cool explosion sequence I put in. I LOVE explosion sequences! This one is triggered when you blow open a crack in the wall at the bottom of the well, which opens up a big underwater path between the Cave, the well (at the top of the big white rock) and a small pool where the stream drains into the ocean. The explosion took about 4 hours to perfect, and the idea is to make it look like large pieces of exploding junk flew out of the underwater tube. If you play this one in a netgame, hehehe, the explosions will nearly freeze the game while they are happening, but it's fun anyway, especially if you caught some fool in the explosion, muhahahha!
Here's the boat that travels around the island. It's mostly an anti-camp device, since being under a parallaxed cieling causes it to occasionally shoot rockets at players. You can get an idea of the scale from the size of the holoduke standing on it. There's also a shrinker gun on the boat, so if you're stupid, err I mean brave enough to get on the boat, you can get a decent weapon.
The island is nicely shaded, and the shadowing makes it appear as if the sun is setting on the left of the screen. Because Duke darkens stuff that's far away, it's hard to see the details from a distance, so I used the chaingun to light up the dark side of the island. You can actually see a lot better when you're standing there on the ground.
This is one of my methods of twisting the Build engine to create cool effects. The black wall is actually a floor that's tilted all the way up. It's also tagged as a water sector. When you step through, you are silently teleported inside the cavern. It took a lot of tweaking of the size and angle of the door to find the perfect combo where duke could run through and 1) consistently teleport and 2) not get squished. It still messes up maybe 1% of the time, but it works perfectly the other 99%, and considering that Build wasn't intended to even do that, I'm very happy with the results.
This is part of the cavern. The waterfall you are looking at is one of the ways to get into or out of the cavern. The other side of this entrance is where the stream forks just before flowing into the ocean. You can see the 3 entrances to the cavern in the overhead view. 1) the waterfall, 2) the indentation in the south side of the white rock mesa, and 3) just below and to the left of the Duke in the map. There is also an underwater tube that you can use to sneak around between the cavern, the small pool in the ocean, and the top of the mesa. Be cautious, though, because the underwater tubes are just long enough that you have enough time to get back out of the water on the other end before losing your breath, and they are (purposely) very disorienting.
This is the other side of the island, lit up by the ripper machine gun. the big green U-shaped thingy is the jungle. It has 3 entrances that use the same trick as the cavern to simulate a room-over-room effect in Duke3d.
Be careful not to get lost in the jungle, because it's very easy to do. This is only a small part of the jungle. As you may or may not be able to tell, there are a ton of trees in it, and it makes navigating through it a major pain, especially if you're one of those spoiled types that can't handle playing a game in 320*200. Among the goodies you can get in the jungle are the jetpack and devastator ammo. In the small bay just outside the jungle is the night vision. If you grab the night vision, the jetpack, and the devastator or a rocket launcher, you can go outside, fly up, turn on the night vision (to see everyone very easily) and play mad bomber.
Duke goes dancing with the babes on the peninsula. This pic gives you an idea of how big the island really is.