Welcome to... Abandoned Airbase Zone!
Prepare to die get lost...

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This is a level from SUGOI 2 (SUBARASHII), the one people might remember as the gigantic confusing airport. How has the level has been updated for 2.2? Let's find out!
  • More polish
  • Less confusing routes (hopefully)
  • A fancy skybox
  • An entirely-new secret path
  • EVEN MORE SECRETS
  • An emerald-hunt-style secret level - a preview of Act 2
  • Twelve emblems: 4 stat-based, 2 sonic-only, 6 global

This level is very special to me. Though it was included in SUGOI 2, its history stretches back a lot further. If you care to read further about the history of the level or the influences that went into it, or if you’re just in the mood for a text wall, feel free to read the spoilers below.

The idea for this level started a long time ago, in the 1.09.4 era. I was randomly browsing an empty server that had loaded an old multiplayer map pack when I came across a match level, Abandoned Mine Zone, with roughly this theme (see the influences section for details). I fell in love with that level. I tried and tried to make a singleplayer version of it, but I simply didn’t have the skill or the imagination to pull it off. After all, it was about the second or third full level I’d attempted to make after I completed my first map, Hidden Sanctuary Zone Act 1. I got as far as a tree in a square room with a cracking floor before giving up, thinking it would take too much tedious detail to make a base look like ruins.

The level basically remained as an idea - really more of a feeling - until SUGOI 2 prompted me to, well, shut up and get on it. By then I’d been thinking so much about what I would do that the level essentially poured right out of my head. The majority of it was made in one month, and I’ve been polishing it off and on in my random spare time in the years since then. I guess that’s the 80/20 rule for you. The majority (80%) of the level was made in a minority (20%) of the time. Even now I don’t feel like it’s "finished". If the engine and time would allow me, I would’ve had even more sprawling interconnected rooms branching out from the center, with secrets-within-secrets, more detail, more ruins, more polish. There are some themes I think I could work with indefinitely, and this is definitely one of them. But it’s gotta release eventually and I think it’s at a good point right now. I hope you agree.

I guess you could say that the main influence for this level is a feeling, one that’s hard to describe. This feeling has been represented in a variety of ways in my life so I included some examples below as an attempt to explain it:
  • This playlist I put together for the purpose of this post, especially the song Clocks by Coldplay: Abandoned Airbase Playlist
  • The old DSZ2 theme, obviously. I read a complaint that this is a water-level song but it's in an air level. But I think this song was actually composed with an air level in mind! (someone confirm me on that one...?)
  • Bright slanted rectangles of sunlight on an expanse of carpet in a brand new house
  • Concrete architecture on a crisp spring day
  • The first day of full sunlight after months of overcast. The kind that makes you want to reach your arms to the sky and soak it all in.
  • Wandering through random empty creative servers on Minecraft when the game was in its infancy, seeing the beautiful yet lifeless buildings. C418’s music is also a big source of this feeling.
  • BlueZero4’s 1.09.4 maps. The atmosphere in those levels influences me to this day.
  • Dark Souls. By god, Dark Souls. The interconnected world of that game revolutionized my philosophy of level design. On the chance that you played my few past levels, you’ll notice that they’re all incredibly linear and had little to no secrets. This one is the complete opposite!
  • The end of Nitric Citadel zone, especially the pillars and helipad motifs. It's amazing what those elements did to lift the mood of that level.
  • Last but not least: Abandoned Mine, an old multiplayer level from Some Dude’s multiplayerfusion levelpack from 1.09.4(mrtf_multiplayerfusion.wad). When you see this level, you’d be forgiven for thinking that all the previous influences are hogwash and that I’ve basically stolen my level idea from this map. And you’d be a little bit right. When I first explored this map as a kid, my jaw was on the floor. It was such a clear expression of the aforementioned “feeling” that it forever left an impression on me. I knew I HAD to make a singleplayer level with its theme. If I knew how to find Some Dude, I’d thank him profusely and ask him if I could include his level here as an unlockable or something. If you’re out there reading this, Some Dude, this level is dedicated to you <3

Here's a couple of screenshots from Some Dude's level. Opening up 1.09.4 again to play this thing left me a little underwhelmed. It's amazing how much 2.2 has raised the bar for content.
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Even with all these examples, there’s no way of guaranteeing that you’ve had this feeling in your life. To me, that’s the job of good art. It’s not even really about the level, it’s about the connection. The level is an attempt to deliver the same feeling to you. If you’ve had a similar feeling in your life, and if I’ve done a good job at infusing it into my level, then maybe we can share that feeling for a brief moment. And if not, then that’s fine too. Hopefully you can simply enjoy playing an open exploration-based level.

You’ll have to forgive me if this all sounds insufferably sentimental or artsy-fartsy, but I’ve been thinking about this stuff for a good portion of my life :P

With all that out of the way, I hope you enjoy the level as much as I enjoyed making it! I recommend your first playthrough with Sonic. All the emblems are obtainable by Sonic, and playing as him will make navigation a little easier.

Oh, and if you’ve never played the SUGOI 2 version before, I have a bold request for you - please record your first playthrough and post the video here if that's possible for you.

The level is notoriously confusing, somewhat purposely so, and even though I’ve worked at making it a little easier to navigate, maybe it’s still too confusing. If I see where you get turned around or frustrated then I can fix up any common pain points. At the end of the day, it's much easier for me to see where you got lost, rather than you telling me.



Thanks for playing!!!!!
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Author
Ice
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Even though I got hella lost on my first playthrough years ago, this is still one of my most favorite solo maps. It's got this really "lonely" tone to it that makes exploring it so interesting. Really nails the "long abandoned place" feel. There just aren't a lot of maps like it.
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