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Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

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Ironword
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Subject: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 07 Oct 2019, 11:45

UnrealSP doesn't have an appropriate forum for my post, so I guess this one's as good as any. A few years ago I toyed with the idea of writing an article on Unreal SP mapping history, but I really don't know enough about it and the necessary research would have taken an insane amount of time. Unfortunately I came rather late to the table; I got Unreal used in October or November 1988 and it was my first PC game ever, so I didn't even know there was such a thing as custom levels for download until sometime early 1999, and even then I was only an occasional/casual downloader. So I only got there in the middle of those early days, and even when I did arrive I didn't have sufficient gaming experience to know what was happening. Therefore I've ended up dropping this project because to do it justice would require a lot, and I mean a lot, of research. As it stands, the tiny bit of writing I did do is highly speculative; substantiating it with evidence would require statistical tabulation and in-depth, chronologically ordered playtesting of lots of those early maps (probably taking at least a year of sustained effort), and interviews with UT multiplayer run-and-gun enthusiasts. RL simply ain't gonna let that happen.

But given the impending doom of UnrealSP.org, and the uncertainty surrounding this community's future, I figured I'd go ahead and post my initial coupla paragraphs just as a tribute to the great experience you folks helped create. What do you think (historian Delacroix especially) of my chronological interpretation re the early arc. Is it spot on, totally wide of the mark, or somewhere in between--did I hit it on the head, or did I fall flat?

Here we go:

=========================

The last quarter of 1999 was a transitional period, one which saw the end of Unreal SP mapping's exhilarating quantitative heyday. At this point the many dilettantes who had pumped out one or two inferior missions were abandoning the tough SP road for the far easier multiplayer task represented by the newly released UT; and mappers who had the fortitude for true SP work were finally settling into their craft.

But let's step back for a moment and revisit the very beginning. The innocent enthusiasm of SP mapping's childhood began toward the end of March 1998, when user-created maps first began to appear (about a month after Unreal was released). This period lasted until Myscha the Sled Dog's Level Design Charette was held in July 1998. At that point Unreal single-player mapping entered its dizzying teens. Stimulated by the contest, custom SP maps shot out like minigun bullets for another year and a half, reaching an all-time high which began to taper off toward the end of 1999. Was that a positive or a negative development? Certainly the twilight of that exuberant adolescence marked the scene's attainment of early maturity. UnrealSP custom mapping was finally coming of age. The Tower of Shrakith'a, winner of the OzUnreal Level Contest in September 1999, is a fine example of SP user mapping's youngest adulthood. At that point talented designers, having worked their way through major but middling efforts such as Decyber Duel's Legacy (February 1999), had ascended UnrealEd's steep learning curve and were beginning to produce work of true merit. But in an irony that might well be viewed as unfortunate, the number of Unreal single-player maps being produced was about to plummet drastically.

Why did the quantity of user-created SP maps take a nose-dive just as the quality was finally reaching a near-professional, ahem, level (at least in some cases)? The early learning curve had, by attrition, done much to discourage the horde of Toms, Dicks, and Harrys who had churned out forgettable debuts and even outright wastes of time, never to return after producing such disappointing results with disproportionately time-consuming labor in the notoriously difficult and largely undocumented UnrealEd/UnrealScript. Even more importantly, Unreal Tournament loomed ever larger on the horizon. Much of the initial enthusiasm for custom SP levels, an enthusiasm which characterized the entire Unreal community in the earliest days, had been due to the infamously weak Unreal support for multiplayer modes. Gamers who preferred live multiplayer shootouts--former Quake and Doom fans come to mind--had a poor outlet for their proclivities, and while they beseiged Epic with complaints about the multiplayer aspect of Unreal, for the time being they had to fall back at least partly on the SP experience. But the SP experience posed its own problem. During that moment in Unreal history, the true fan who stuck with the game (instead of leaving it behind for its main competitor, Half-life) had probably played through the original campaign five times or so, maybe more, and had played through RTNP (released May 1999) at least two or three times. These fans, whether they preferred multiplayer or single-player, badly needed more SP maps. Demand for custom SP maps therefore encompassed the entire Unreal player base. These circumstances probably encouraged the multiplayers who had an inclination toward mapping to turn out an SP adventure or two when otherwise they would have produced nothing but DMs or CTFs.

Unreal Tournament changed all that, putting the kabosh on SP mapping's adolescence and forcing it to grow all the way up. Why? Greatly anticipated by run-and-gun multiplayer enthusiasts, UT began to siphon the demand for Unreal SP maps and thereby to diminish the number of those maps even before its November 1999 release: multiplayers no longer began SP projects for which they would soon have no need. Those heady days in which SP was king would never come again for Unreal. But was that really a tragedy?

In fact, the puncturing of the artificial SP balloon that had been created by poor multiplayer support was all to the good. Multiplayer knuckledraggers were no longer weighing down the overall quality of SP maps with a generalized lack of attention to intelligent plot, gameplay, and puzzle-driven or scenario-realistic level design. As a result, the remaining bad jobs became more obvious and the real designers could shine that much more brightly. And those designers had continued to polish their skills along the general arc followed by SP mapping itself through childhood and adolescence into ripening experience. The era of the genuinely polished epic quest was about to dawn.

==================

...and of course at this point some of you folks were beginning to get teams together to create ONP, Xidia, etc. Anyway, whaddya think about my main (as I say, highly speculative) thesis re the forced multiplayer "balloon" and "genuinely polished" epics mostly post-1999? Hogwash, or a stab in the dark that hit the target through sheer luck?

Ironword
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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 21 Oct 2019, 11:46

Er, OK, as of now I've gotten 145 views for this post but not a single reply. This tells me that I've put my foot in it rather badly somehow or other. I didn't mean to offend--as I said in my introductory comments, this was meant as a genuine tribute--but it certainly doesn't seem to have struck people as such. So if I don't get any response in another week or so, I'm just going to delete it. Sorry for any bad feelings it may have caused. They were wholly unintended.

User avatar AlCapowned
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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 21 Oct 2019, 12:58

Don't read too much into a lack of responses, it's just that people (myself included) aren't posting much anymore.

As someone who learned about Unreal SP mapping even later on than you did (at least around 2004, if not later), I can't speak to your post's accuracy, but it was an interesting read. I missed out on the development of most of the major releases.

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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 21 Oct 2019, 14:01

Ironword wrote:Er, OK, as of now I've gotten 145 views for this post but not a single reply. This tells me that I've put my foot in it rather badly somehow or other. I didn't mean to offend--as I said in my introductory comments, this was meant as a genuine tribute--but it certainly doesn't seem to have struck people as such. So if I don't get any response in another week or so, I'm just going to delete it. Sorry for any bad feelings it may have caused. They were wholly unintended.

I'm a player, not a mapper so I don't really see anything where I could provide any input, but it is interesting reading material for me.
I once found something (no idea where) about the development history of the 3D games (not solely Unreal related). I'll look for it and if I find it, I'll post the link here).

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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 21 Oct 2019, 16:35

An interesting read for me as well, so thanks for that. I came very late to the community, but have quietly assembled knowledge on the history of Unreal/UT community mapping, and would tend to agree with your analysis.

Perhaps it is a bit unfortunate that Unreal Tournament came so soon, with energy diverted to MP but on the other hand I think that kept these UE1 games going for longer. It's not like Unreal could rival with Doom and Quake anyway - they came much earlier, before the explosion of online MP and their relative simplicity (especially Doom) meant people were less daunted by the prospect of mapping new content.
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radios
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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 21 Oct 2019, 20:48

it's very unfortunate that Unreal2 got dropped so fast, that had some really awesome graphics!. I think it being dropped made people lose interest in Unreal!.. sort of what happened to Half-Life2 it just got dropped, bumming people out after many promises it would be continued..

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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 21 Oct 2019, 22:44

I thought I had replied to this earlier but it seems I forgot it! D: I cannot "confirm" your theory (if it is possible at all anyway) as I entered the community in 2007, but it was certainly a very interesting read with a convincing thesis. I'd like to read more from your perspective, if you would want to write more. For example, what is the relationship between oldunreal and unrealsp? How did 227 contribute to that later on? How big was the impact of ONP on SP mapping? And, can you speak of "schools" as in groups of people having differing approaches to mapping (I'm particularily thinking of a "German" school under unrealed.info, that may be known for giving "unfiltered" feedback)?

Hellscrag's "The History of UnrealSP.Org" for the 4th Anniversary (which can be accessed via the legacy page) is also worth re-reading in that regard. We should find a Historian to uncover all the details via discourse analysis and stuff. :D
Prisons of the Unforchers Retold - more info: https://www.unrealsp.org/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4565

Ironword
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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 22 Oct 2019, 14:23

Folks, many thanks for letting me know that I didn't screw up somehow. I'm still hoping Delacroix or Hellscrag or Mister Prophet or some other veteran can either confirm, deny, or modify my thesis; I'm a big boy and can handle severe criticism of the ideas--that's no problem. My fear was that my assessment of Legacy as an undeniably major but still "middling" effort, or my admittedly hyperbolic characterization of "knuckledragger" multiplayer types, had gotten folks mad; it was just meant in all good fun, of course, though like most good fun I think there's a grain of truth there... ;) But opinions may differ and that's fine. I just thought I must have crossed too far over the line. Glad to see that I didn't.

Anyhow:

@Sat42:
Thanks for your quasi-confirmation of my take. Yes, I tend to be neutral on UT's arrival; I think that SP and multiplayer cater to very different tastes. First-person SP shooters, despite the action, will always attract a more thinking type of gamer; it's kind of a specialized niche that caters to folks who want to really sink their teeth into a game, and deal with puzzles rather than just run-and-gun. But this type of gamer also wants to be right up close and personal rather than distanced from the action the way you are in a strategy game like WoW etc., or even a third-person game like Diablo. So IMHO there's a specific type of gamer that gravitates to first-person SP shooters: a gamer who likes direct in-your-face action but who still wants to think, at least sometimes. That's why I see Half-life, and not UT/Doom/Quake, as Unreal 1's real competitor during those early days. But Unreal 1 was good enough to weather Half-life; fans of one tended to also like the other, even if (like me), they still preferred one over the other and didn't do much custom-map downloading of the one they liked less. But they still bought the other game and played through it, thus giving the other game the necessary commercial support. As I note below, it was neither Half-life nor UT that destroyed Unreal SP commercially. There, we were our own worst enemy: Unreal 2 did that.

@ radios:
I agree about Unreal2, but for different reasons. Warning: I'm about to go off on a rant here because this issue really touches a nerve for me. OK, here goes. Grayson Edge & whoever else was involved really were at fault; they dug the game's grave when they decided to make it pretty much unrelated to the Na Pali/Skaarj sector of the Unreal universe, and especially when they neglected to employ a real fiction writer to give them a plot. (I don't claim to know anything about the development team's decision-making process, and in all fairness maybe Grayson was only a mapper and had no input on story arc and therefore doesn't bear any blame for this; but it's pretty obvious that whoever was in charge of the game's architectonics never consulted with a professional writer or even someone with an MFA teaching creative writing at the local community college.) Yes, the graphics were excellent, and you fought a few Skaarj, but that wasn't enough for anybody who'd fallen in love with Na Pali. Of course we all loved the great skyscapes and gritty, ambience-heavy interiors of Na Pali. But those groundbreaking graphics made such an impact because they supported a plot we cared about. Fairly simple, true, but as Sat42 pointed out, still more complex than what Quake/Doom had to offer. We were desperate, marooned prisoners struggling and bleeding in our epic struggle to get free of the planet and to help the poor Nali whenever we could, and then there was the awesome music to underpin it all. The music for Unreal1 is IMHO the best SP game music ever. I will never, ever forget my entrance into the mines of Rrajigar with that subdued but eerie dive in the music--you all know what I'm talking about, it's kind of like a whispered scream--signalling that I was truly about to descend into the bowels of another world. Unreal 2 had absolutely no moments like that because it didn't have the plot and it didn't have that same quality of music perfectly matched to the environments. After 3D graphics cards came along, graphics began to be taken sufficiently for granted that graphics alone couldn't carry an SP shooter; the substance became more important. And Unreal2 didn't have much of the latter--or at least no genuinely Unreal substance, because Unreal SP is all about Na Pali or at least the Skaarj's takeover of that planet.

Imagine all the great plotlines that could have been pursued in Unreal2. First think of some of the good stuff which was produced by player mappers, e.g. ONP or 7 Bullets. But even setting that aside, if Unreal 2 simply had to go planet-hopping, then why not make it part of a Skaarj-human war, with Prisoner 849--as the only genuine expert on the Skaarj--being the lead covert operative, running a series of black-ops missions deeper and deeper into Skaarj territory as the Terran Federation (or whatever) closes in on the Skaarj home planet? Of course, the government would have had to regain your trust after it tried to kill you in RTNP, but when they realize that you're really the only person who knows about the Skaarj (and the Nali) up close and personal, they'd promise immunity to all charges, etc. etc. As a covert operative, you could be working with a couple of Nali shamans who could help you with their ESP teleportation and telekinesis powers as you go from planet to planet kicking Skaarj and Krall butt, liberating Nali slaves from prison camps, and fighting new types of Skaarj and Skaarj allies. Some of the new enemies from Unreal 2 could have been worked into that scenario as Skaarj allies, but the whole thing should have revolved around the real Unreal universe. And in a poignant twist, your Nali partners would sacrifice themselves to save your life when an op goes wrong just before the final phase of the invasion. Then you'd go into your final battles fighting mad (and maybe with some new gadgets or weapons using tarydium just developed by Terran scientists working together with the Nali).

And imagine that final phase, in which you have to lay the groundwork for the Terran Marines' invasion of the Skaarj home planet. You'd have a series of four or five crucial sabotage missions, and then in the final map, as the Marines begin to drop through the atmosphere (a la Halo), you'd discover some really nasty surprise the Skaarj have waiting and you'd have to battle through five normal queens and then the uberqueen (shades of the Aliens franchise) in order to get to it. One interesting twist might be to code that battle so that there's actually no way you can win it alone without cheating--the uberqueen is just too powerful--so the secret to winning the game is to radio for help and give your coordinates so that a heavy-infantry marine detachment in powered armor can get to you and blow up the uberqueen with their really, really big armaments. And that would be one spectacular boom!

Anyhow, something like that, or at least another highly atmospheric Na Pali adventure, was what we were all hoping for. And boy did we not get it. I've played various games, but I have to say that Unreal 2 is the biggest gaming disappointment I've ever experienced because I had such high hopes for it. You can't really make the comparison with Half-life 2 because that game actually fulfilled expectations, and everyone wanted yet another sequel. Half-life 2 was so successful and popular that fans are still pressuring Valve for a full sequel, and every three or four years a gaming mag or an important gaming site writes a big article about the matter (for a recent example, from just last year, see e.g. https://www.techradar.com/news/gaming/h ... rs-1290663 ). We could only wish that Unreal 2 had done the same thing. --Although, rather ironically, I recall a gaming podcast back in 2015 or 2016 citing anonymous sources within Valve as saying that Valve leadership was too scared of the huge expectations for a Half-life 3, and that's why they keep putting it off indefinitely because they think that no matter how good a Half-life 3 actually is, it will inevitably strike fans as disappointing because hopes are simply too astronomically high.

Well, maybe those Valve executives were thinking of Unreal 2, because that is in fact precisely what Unreal 2 did. It was the exact opposite of Half-life 2: it dumped our expectations into the toilet and flushed 'em right on down into the sewer, never to be seen again. And that's why UnrealSP died commercially. It's a massive testament to the original Unreal1 team and their fantastic achievement that a solid group of gamers remained fans of Unreal SP even after that, but without new commercial projects in the pipeline, there's no way to get a really large number of new fans and keep the franchise alive. Therefore Unreal 2 must stand as not merely just one more lost opportunity, but a lost opportunity of heartbreaking proportions. I WAS there for that, played it when it came out, and read the disappointing reviews in the magazines (web sites weren't all that important yet) and agreed with them. And that, unlike a lot of my "speculative history", is a firsthand eyewitness assessment.

@editor Dave:
"if you would want to write more"... alas, no. I was actively playing and downloading custom maps from 1999 through ca. early 2003 (though, as I noted in my introductory comments, I was less hardcore than some; I came late to gaming and was already in grad school, so I never had the chance to play all day during summers like many teenagers and undergrads can). Then because of RL I entered a long period (well over a decade) of only intermittently poking my head into the scene, once every two years or so mainly check on big ongoing projects like Xidia. Once I was completely away for nearly five years and was amazed to find that after all that time, UnrealSP remained alive & well (although I had to re-register because my account had been deleted in the meantime). But as a result, I can't address the issues you raise about Old Unreal & UnrealSP, 227 and ONP's impact, and schools of mapping (you'd have to have more technical knowledge than I do for some of these issues anyway). Although I have to note that I did just read Hellscrag's "History"--thanks for the heads-up, as I didn't know about it--and he does say that ONP was crucial, especially DavidM's lighting technique.

User avatar Mister_Prophet
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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 23 Oct 2019, 20:56

I intended to make a response initially since I directly entered the community precisely at the time you mentioned, as a SP enthusiast adrift in a sea of MP players and mappers. Papa has just been busy. I'll try to make a more meaningful post soon.
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Ironword
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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 25 Oct 2019, 17:30

Mister_Prophet wrote:Papa has just been busy. I'll try to make a more meaningful post soon.
Awesome! Thanks for checking in.

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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 06 Nov 2019, 09:30

Okay so this post is very late and I am not sure who may still be browsing the topic. Apologies for the delay, but as someone who had a copy of Unreal at launch and was into the editor out of the box I'll give you my piece on the state of SP mapping back then from my point of view. Bear with me...this was twenty years ago....

I've shared some of this with others here in the past. I was manipulating .unrs from Unreal immediately after completing my first playthrough and had made dozens silly and stupid SP singles or petty linked maps before I ever moved beyond my local network of Unreal fans (me, my brothers, and one friend who came over to play the game on my crappy windows 98). I was so closed from the community that I didn't even start getting patches for the game until several months after the release (I seem to remember not even being able to rebuild my levels in the editor out of the box due to a launch glitch).

Once I starting visiting Unreal sites and communities it became very clear that interest was in deathmatch, though I did download as many SP levels as I could find. The first levels I remember collecting came off CDs included with PC gaming magazines that had fan made levels on them and for the life of me I never relocated those levels ever again. I just don't think many of them were ever circulated online.The first one I ever I played, I think, was a Skaarj mothership map that's concept was something like a 'what if' about what was behind a locked door that was not able to be opened from the main game's ending levels. I remember feeling very overwhelmed by the idea of playing another person's level and that there could be more to find out there. I downloaded what levels I could and digested the early level making guides that were available at the time. However, just as I was about to start making topics on messageboards to look for other SP fans who wanted to help me make story packs the first articles for what was going to be Unreal Tournament started popping up and all I could seem to find were people who wanted to download and play DM levels. By the time UT came out I was starting to make some myself, and while I still played COOP in Unreal I stopped working on SP levels for a while. Again, this was just how it seemed. I did miss a lot of the good SP levels until much later I should add, mainly because I was looking in some wrong places.

This...was a good thing, actually. I learned more about how to use Unreal Tournament's editor very quickly and joined my first mapping team. This was also when I started publishing my own levels for download. I know some of the early SP mappers on the scene faded away from the game once UT became big and were never seen again. I myself did not release a SP project of my own until four years after Unreal had come out (not for lack of trying. I was on THREE SP team projects that didn't work out for me before my fourth attempt did). When this happened, I had completed six deathmatch levels for Unreal Tournament. My first successful SP mapping partner was a fellow DM mapper, who I had met randomly on a UT server no less. It was around this time when I found dedicated circles of SP fans, namely the fine people on this site. Around this time a door opened for me and all the other SP goodness I had been missing started to manifest before me in stockpiles. I eagerly dove into a plethora of SP content.

I used to feel discouraged in those early days trying to work on SP levels. It really did seem like more people cared for multiplayer. Yes, maybe I was looking in the wrong places, sure, but it really did seem like the dedicated SP folks were scattered at the beginning...or they were doing their solo projects alone and weren't congregating where people like me could find them. I remember being frustrated with the early Unreal community, at first, and even remember being told by people on various sites to drop SP and work on deathmatch. Eventually people like Hellscrag became blips on my radar and I found sites like this. Good thing too.

I do think there is merit in shooter history as far as multiplayer goes. In the 90s...it was just a thing that most shooter communities favored multiplayer over SP, Unreal was no different. It seems this hasn't changed much. What happened in Unreal was perhaps normal, though I would argue the SP community had a good run under this title and lasted better than a lot of other examples I could think of. I know for my part the early influence of the budding Unreal multiplayer and UT scene helped me get better at making levels and to be really frank with you most of the people I met who were interested in working with me were DM people, initially. I may not have bothered sticking around long enough to even finish my first public SP projects if not for those folks.
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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 06 Nov 2019, 09:47

On the topic of Unreal 2 and UT2KX.

Unreal 2 had a difficult editor, though it did enjoy a brief SP developer period. I played a couple that were interesting, but I could never get the editor to work properly myself. UT2KX had a thriving mapping community. It was just that I don't think the SP people ever broke that barrier. The guys I had worked with were getting serious about level design at the time and for them it was back to multiplayer, and then UDK. I was a poor learner of the new editor and while I made a handful of levels I never finished any (all DM btw) and ultimately never released them. I think Unreal SP as a community gametype never had a chance to flourish beyond UT, though attempts on Unreal 2 were there. By the time UT2K4 was a thing so many of those talented mappers were either working for Epic as contracted level designers or were making their own Unreal engine projects. The nature of those games changed the rules so much too, you had to do more than learn the editor...you had to know 3d modeling programs, texture making and skinning, perhaps even animating a bit.
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Subject: Re: Skeletal (and speculative) overview of early Unreal SP mapping history

Post Posted: 08 Nov 2019, 00:16

Hi Ironword, this was an interesting read. I can get on board with most of what you say, except for your comment about "multiplayer knuckledraggers". That is an overly simplistic view, to my mind, and doesn't really get to the heart of the matter for me. I don't suppose players who were so multiplayer-focused would have been making SP maps for Unreal anyway. Prior to the release of UT, Quake and Quake 2 provided a much more suitable platform for that sort of gamer.

There's no doubt that, in 1999, the arrival of UT was putting Unreal mapping under threat. UT was exciting and new, a greater commercial success and, before long, it also offered a much more user-friendly level editor. Unreal fans became a bit homeless with so many of the community sites turning their attentions to UT.

I think OldUnreal.com and UnrealSP.Org were both born out of this transition, and between them they saved the Unreal community from being lost in the UT noise at an early stage. The two sites provided a stable base for fans of the original game to exchange ideas and promote their projects. The development of the Oldskool mod was also tremendously important, bringing complete single player support to UT and allowing mappers to use the new editor and game assets for SP work. Many SP mappers (myself included) switched to UT at this point, and while this was not popular with all fans, I think it prolonged the life of single player mapping for long enough to allow the original game to be updated with the development of the 227 patch.

After the initial bumps following the release of UT had been overcome, I think the failure of Unreal II: The Awakening as an effective sequel to Unreal and the lack of single player support in later instalments of the UT series - combined with the greater complexity of producing original visual content for newer Unreal engine games - probably served to extend the life of classic Unreal single player mapping. Had Unreal II been a more successful sequel, then more of us might have tried to move on, but it may also all have come to an end sooner due to the newer games being harder to map for - at least in an original fashion.

I think the slowdown in releases and activity in recent years is the inevitable consequence of players who were there in 1998-2004 growing up and having busy lives with their jobs/families. However, as I mentioned on another thread, my 12-year-old son now plays Unreal and considers it to be better than most more recent single player games he has played - so we're keeping the fires burning, sort of.

My biggest regret is that we never completed Unreal: Battle for Na Pali. I still believe it was the true sequel that Unreal never had. If we had released it, it would have been fertile ground for new custom maps, with an improved rendering engine, huge new texture sets and a wealth of new creatures with great potential for custom use.
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