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[ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 12 May 2013, 22:45
by Teridax
Map Title: The Triamid Ruins
Map Author: Turboman
Platform: U1/UT
Reviewed By: Teridax

Summary: Pulls you in and doesn't let go.

Main Review

The Triamid Ruins was the winner of the 10th Anniversary Speedmapping Contest. It won the contest handily, with the judges giving it a score of 84% and the community vote averaging out to 88%. Originally, it was only two maps; the final release, however, is three maps consisting of a playable intro map, the main map, and an ending flyby. Accurately described as "70% bigger than before," The Triamid Ruins is comparable to Waffnuffly's The Last Fortress in its scope and scale. The pack is a reminder as to why Turboman is one of the best mappers around.

Arriving at the Somalian moons

As in the original map, the player takes the role of an archaeologist on an assignment to investigate some strange ruins on a distant moon. Things don't go as planned when you find that the team you were supposed to meet up with has mysteriously disappeared. Naturally, since you're already on the ground, you get stuck with the task of learning what happened to your colleagues.

The story is greatly expanded from that of the original contest map. You'll find records left by the missing archaeological crew detailing what they've learned about the ruins, along with rare "...I heard something behind me" type messages, and eventually you learn about the ruins' origins and purpose. Spelling and grammar are fine for the most part. There are a few typos here and there, but nothing so serious that it makes the messages unenjoyable to read.

This place has seen better days!

The architecture of The Triamid Ruins is top-notch. There wasn't a single boring location in the entire pack. Turboman is truly innovative in his use of decorations, making tree trunks out of squid gibs and using shards of glass to give areas extra detail. The pack is chock-full of "holy crap" moments, and it's fairly easy to forget that you have a mission to complete while exploring the vast ruins. At times I was fondly reminded of games like Metroid Prime.

The Triamid Ruins' greatest strength is its atmosphere; lighting in pack is fantastic. In every area, it was well chosen and makes the pack all the more breathtaking. With a pinkish-purple sky and a number of moons and suns in the backdrop, the player is constantly bombarded with a sense that they are on an alien moon. The pack has a lot of cool scripted events, and to quote Mr. Prophet's review of Liberation of Na Pali, "you truly get the impression that at any point, the level can come alive and swallow you." Ambient sounds were frequently used in the ruins so that there was rarely a quiet moment (except for when there was supposed to be). Dynamic ambient sounds were not used, but the atmosphere doesn't suffer for it.

The best underwater hallway you'll ever see in Unreal

Out of everything The Triamid Ruins had to offer, I was most impressed with the texturing. Turboman was able to take a variety of textures from different texture sets and combine them in a way that was convincing. Beyond that, he makes use of a number of rarely used textures that make it even more impressive. Texture alignment is very well done, but there are a few areas where the floor textures could have easily been aligned.

No map pack is perfect, and The Triamid Ruins is no exception. From a technical perspective, there were a few problems. The ship that drops the player off flickers due to its complexity. There were two instances where BSP holes blocked my advance, but it was possible to get around them without too much trouble. Considering the map's detail and scale, it runs surprisingly well.

Deep beneath the ruins

Enemies mostly consisted of "critter" type pawns: mantas, flies, tentacles, and devilfish are the main foes you'll encounter. The monsters may manage to do some decent damage, but it is generally easy to recover lost health. Aside from the liberal amounts of health available, there are opportunities for the player to get three superhealths throughout the pack, so taking damage is practically a non-issue.


Even though it's not really amazing on the gameplay side of things, everything else in The Triamid Ruins is fantastic. The atmosphere and scale will pull you in, and it won't let go. It's a testament to some of the amazing things people can make for a 15 year old game. It pushes the Unreal Engine to its limits, and even though there are some technical ramifications for that, the pack is so engrossing that it doesn't matter.

Architecture - 10
Texturing - 9
Lighting - 10
Sound - 10
Technical Execution - 7
Conceptual Grandness - 10
Story Construction - 10
Story Implementation - 10
Gameplay Awe - 7
Gameplay Balance - 7

Review Score: 90%

Download Links: ...

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 14 May 2013, 00:08
by TheIronKnuckle
[email protected]! we have another one that can contend with shrakitha without surpassing it! (jokes)

Personally I think the gameplay was fine, non-standard, but perfect. The map is more about exploration than shooting, and what it chooses to do it does extremely well.

good reviw, and good selection of shots. I'm surprised you didn't actually put one in of the triamids

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 14 May 2013, 15:25
by Teridax
I wanted to include shots of the triamids, but I just couldn't do them justice. :/

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 14 May 2013, 18:41
by Buff Skeleton
Good review and score. This is one of the best maps I've ever played; the use of color alone is staggering, and the textures all feel like they've been given a new lease on life since they were used to unconventionally. And the architecture is pretty much perfect for an alien ruin.

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 14 May 2013, 22:48
by Turboman
Wow, nice review there, must say i wasn't really expecting a 9 on this!

I have to say that i'm quite happy how the map turned out to be, i enjoyed working with the default unreal stuff and attempting to make something crazy out of it. I'm glad people enjoyed the map as it is despite its meager gameplay(combat) offerings.

Coincidentally, but i've been working on a slightly updated version of this map since this weekend.
It's no significant change to be worth going through everything again, but it just fixes some of those really glaring issues (224-225 crash, flickering ship, hard-ass to find objective in first map, unreachable items or enemies that are stuck).
I just need to test it some more before i decide to release it, but it's not worth any re-review ;)

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 18 May 2013, 03:28
by Delacroix

A mirror. Please add it to the startpost next to the other one, if you would ;)

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 18 May 2013, 15:20
by Teridax
Added more mirrors.

Here's a pretty cool review of the pack over at the abandoned workshops:

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 26 May 2013, 15:32
by Doublez-Down
I must need a new video card. This map tends to lag a good bit on my machine, and in areas where it doesn't seem like it should.

Maybe the node count is a touch high or something? The intro is top notch though - love it.

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 26 May 2013, 16:08
by UBerserker
It lags here too, probably map-related.

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 27 May 2013, 20:36
by Turboman
Teridax wrote:Here's a pretty cool review of the pack over at the abandoned workshops:

Nice! I didn't expect this map to reach beyond this humble small community here, getting coverage there is great! I love that site.

Unfortunately the lag is due to the somewhat shoddy zoning in combination with plenty of meshes, older versions (anything but 227) don't handle object culling so well, so at places where nothing seems to be in place, the game actually attempts to render hundreds of meshes at once... sadly something I wasn't really able to solve easily (the only way was to cut the map up into pieces).

I'm actually still about to release a slightly updated version, I sorta got too busy to test this thing on my own though, anyone with 225 care to get around (maybe in coop?) sometime to see if it works?

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 08 Jun 2013, 06:08
by redeye
I believe the lag should also be a consideration for a score. (no engine excuses)

I still have to finish this, I got a long way now I can't tell where to go, I left comments in the release thread for some possible fix-suggestions, but turboman didn't seem to respond.

It is all quite cool I must say, and a nightmare build, so the maps gets a ten since the whole thing is not one big ass HOM.

Re: [ut] [u1] Custom Map Review: "The Triamid Ruins" by Turboman

Posted: 08 Jun 2013, 07:42
by makemeunreal
I remember the map :D
Very good architecture.
I should try it out again.