Maric’s Maps

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Here are my thoughts on the lesser-played Marics CTF maps. Some of them I had played before on Railwarz, but for the most part I just played through them for the first time yesterday. I am not commenting on the established hits (Mayhem in the Middle, Ride the Dragon, Ride the Dragon Lite, The Pit, and A Variation on the Blues) because everybody knows those maps are awesome! These were my favorites:

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marics_ctf1.bsp – All That Devides – This is the map I am most interested in playing again. I would describe it as Neurotica meets Lush meets Albino Black Sheep by Jester (pre-cursor to The Oscillator it’s that crazy space station map from the Tastyspleen Railz server). In the notes on the map, Maric thanks someone named RUST- our rust? I don’t know. The jump pads are great for quick escapes during intense combat. The two bridges connecting the bases reminds me of Neurotica: quad spawns on the lower bridge, red armor on the upper. Angry pointed out that there are CTF rules against using “in the wrong place” to protect the flag from capture, which may hurt this otherwise fun map’s place in server rotations. My favorite part for whatever reason is the oval window in base where the megahealth respawns.

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marics_ctf4.bsp – Facing Dragons – This is a fantastic small map that introduces one of marics favorite CTF tropes: the spire-topped tall tower base with the stained glass dragon window. These “dragon bases” appear again and again in ever larger maps throughout the Marics CTF maps, but for me this is the most pure “dragon base” map. We played 2v2 and housefly sniped (he wasn’t missing!) successfully from the high floor of the dragon base while I ran flags. In the text file for Marics maps, his given name is “Shon M. Shaffer.” Maric’s old website which was reportedly a treasure trove of maps and info, “maricscabinet.com” is gone from the internet entirely (even from internet archives / WayBack Machine.) When you google, “Shon M. Shaffer,” you get the author of recently published fantasy novels for young adults called the “DragonTree” series. I wonder if Marics making maps with words these days!

[edit: WORM has since confirmed the dragon connection. “Yes….one and the same. Maric = Shon = Maric.”]

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marics_ctf5.bsp – Too Many Crates! – This is actually NOT one of my favorites, but it is well named. “Way too big with too much BFG and too many crates,” just doesn’t have the same ring to it!

marics_ctf8.bsp – The Valley of the Shadow – This map is wicked fun on Railwarz (as is marics_ctf4.bsp) and that’s how I was first introduced to it. That said, it plays really well for Q2CTF as well. I like how you have to make a calculation with each flag run: to take the longer, winder outer route, or the narrow inner route with the horizontal window where you could get railed from the other side. I like how the bases have a kind of layered bowl shape, with the 2 doors in are very narrow. Fun to defend the flag!

marics_ctf11.bsp – Rooftop Capture – We played 4v4 on this and it was a lot of fun. Small map, unique textures. Not a lot of ramps or curved surfaces so you have to get kind of technical with movement. The crate jump into base saves so much time, and is only built for those who know to set the right FPS. Fun small map, and if it’s a little hardcore, that’s a good problem!

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marics_ctf13.bsp – Antagonism ON the Heights – My second favorite “dragon base” map. Take the same dragon bases as before, and stick a giant mountain between them! I like that you have to choose to go around the mountain on the path, or you can try a Spiderman flag run grapple on the high walls of the mountains. The inner route is where the good stuff is, but also where the spam is.

marics_ctf16.bsp – Underneath – This is the map where the bases are connected by a long winding cavern. Good railwarz map, but i have to say, I had a blast playing regular Q2CTF on it! I love maps that force you to bunny hop / move fast. I like how linear it is in terms of weapon progression (railgun only in base, at the ends of the long worm hole, etc) and the quad really adds a je ne sais quoi. I guess quad damage spices it up a little! The quad is in the largest room of the map, with ledges that are perfect for railing / spamming. This map is fun for 1v1 and probably even better with more. It’s like Outlands, but underground and without all the bullshit.

marics_ctf17.bsp – Stone Simple – This is a variation on Underneath. Angry nailed it when he said the layout is similar to Mcshimley: Basically the two bases are back to back, and connected through 2 separate winding caverns that give the overall map a clover shape. That means you may chase FC down the wrong cavern tunnel. It’s everything I liked about Underneath, but this one is weirder, no quad, and not good for 1v1.

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marics_ctf19.bsp – Higher Ground – This should be named, “SUPER PIT!” It’s like the Pit (marics_ctf18.bsp) but without the Upper tunnel, and therefore the pit itself takes on more paths and more complexity. It’s like a deeper, weirder pit. This map reminded me of the layout from, “The Oscillator,” in a good way, at first you’re like, “Bummer man this is big and complex,” and then 5 seconds later you totally get it and it’s actually easy to navigate and plays small.

marics_ctf20.bsp – Defensive Anxieties – This map reminds me a lot of Renegades (stdctf1a.bsp) except that there are these HUGE ramps leading out of the base to the large rectangular middle room where quad spawns. I found those ramps to really make the map, and I can totally see how they would give a defense anxiety.

-all of Maric’s maps for Quake 2 are archived by Clan WOS LOXophilia

A Variation on the Blues

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On my day off, I spent time on the Wayback Machine looking for traces of Quake 2 CTF history.

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All I found was the top 20 ranking on the Q2CTF open team ladder from the year 2000. I don’t know if it’s lpb, hpb or combined.

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From the beginning of the year 2002, and the end of the classic Q2CTF era, I found my clan [rcp] (stands for Rare Cat Poop) in second place with a 0-4 record.

Hippies Use SideDoor

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In the fantasy episode of Check, Please! that exists only in my dreams, I get to explain how I feel my pick has a certain gravitas, coming from the manager of one of the city’s best sandwich spots (I am the manager of Xoco.)

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My favorite sandwich in Chicago is found here at Sidedoor: the prime rib sandwich.  There’s nothing quite like the combo of prime rib, horseradish, softly-toasted bread and jus!  Today was one of my first outings since last fall, a picture perfect spring day in the sixties, blue skies, birds chirping.

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Here it’s my day off, it’s early afternoon and I am already back home from an amazing lunch (prime rib sandwich, handmade Idaho potato chips,  lemonade because I don’t drink although they have a fantastic craft beer and cocktail list, excellent service from Scott who talked about Game of Thrones, creme brûlée) with an extra prime rib sandwich to-go in the fridge, kicked back in my chair by the breezy window, digesting delicious Lawry’s prime rib, my brow slightly moist from the meat sweats.

Kuma’s 2

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I have a seasonal defective thing where I spend the winter months entirely on the Internet.  Thank goodness for all the startups like Caviar, Postmates and DoorDash who deliver to shutins like me, even when it’s cold outside!  The fact that I have never stepped foot in Kuma’s Part Deux does not dissuade me from leaving this 5 star review. 

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The hamburger was delivered by Caviar, who did an excellent job because I live on the west side and the burger was juicy, hot and obviously just grilled.  The beef is high grade and gave me a meat high that’s hard to come by when you don’t know how to cook and you’re trapped inside for months. Thank you Kuma’s Part Deux for helping this bear make it through hibernation!

Cat Haircut

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Just in time for mellow temperatures and the first red and green buds on the trees, we have a soft and sweet beastie boy.

  

Etta gave Roly Poly a haircut in the bathtub (captured on video.) Roly likes it!

Bari’s Subs

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One of the all-time great sandwich spots in the city.  The meatball sub with atomic giardiniera alone secures Bari’s permanent perch in the top five best sandwiches of Chicago. 

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This place gets wicked busy for lunch, with a line from the deli counter to the door. Or so I’ve heard: my experiences are always at off hours when I can peruse the fancy imported groceries and spend my well earned money.

  

In particular, I like their selection of soda and sparkling water, their many kinds of angel wings and ornate Italian cookies, and the homemade pasta and olive salads. Delivery to my apartment in the neighborhood is always hot and fresh!

A Decade of 3rdarm.biz

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It’s been more than a decade since Eliot set up this website for me to write on. Big thank you to him for making me a home on the internet. Having an avenue for creativity means the universe to me.

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The first post referenced lyrics from Steely Dan’s jam, My Old School, about California tumbling into the sea. Ten years later, California’s big problem is no water, the worst drought in thousands of years, and the beginning of the future.

Only Time

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My friend Rusty”’ who had the Quake 2 LAN in Buffalo recently posted a video where he sings, “Only Time,” by Enya. My initial reaction was, “So what I think you’re saying in… only time can answer all these questions?”

Upon repeated viewings, I found my attention drawn more and more to the small white horse on the shelf behind the performer. I imagine in its eyes a glint of acknowledgement as we ephemeral caterwauling humans search for meaning in our flashes of existence on Earth.

And yet. Can the small white horse say where the road goes? Where the day flows? Why the heart sighs and cries? No. Only time.

Hope / Fear

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What is your Xoco hope?

To believe that our faces would be recognize as heroes in Xoco. What I hope is that we can overcome the unexpected events.

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What is your Xoco fear?

I fear of becoming too lazy during work time. Inactive when I am needed.

-Ramon “The Future” Eymar Flores’ responses to my Xoco questionnaire

Strength / Weakness

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What is your strength?

The smile of everyone face or their happiness.

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What is your weakness?

Chocolate, duel.

-Ramon “The Future” Eymar Flores’ responses to my Xoco questionnaire

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