AQ2 25th Anniversary Map Making Jam

Chat about new maps, mapping in general, and mods to AQ2 (including new game modes!)
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United States of America darksaint
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AQ2 25th Anniversary Map Making Jam

Post by darksaint »

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Has it been 25 years already? :o

The AQ2World Team and Discord is hosting a map making jam, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the mod we all know and love. This forum post will contain the rules and will act as a method for sharing information. New posts in this subforum can be created to share updates and news about you and your teams' map progress.

Relevant links:
AQ2World: - #maps-models-skins channel
Quake Mapping: - #quake2 channel

  • Start Date: August 5th, 2023
  • Submission Deadline: September 30th, 2023
  • Category Voting Date: October 1st, 2023
  • Category Winners Announcement Date: October 6th, 2023

What is a "Map Making Jam"?

This "jam" is an event that invites mappers from all communities for voluntary participation in creating new maps for Quake II, specifically Action Quake II / AQtion. It differs from a contest in that this is not a competition, it's a collab! These maps can be a part of the AQtion release in Steam after the submission date is ended and will be distributed to the various map sharing sites all over the web.

Basic Rules
  • You cannot copy or decompile another map as your submission. This must be 100% from the ground up new. You may use inspirations from other maps, like the helicopter from mesto, but they cannot be copied directly.
  • All assets must be licensed for use, so no assets from baseq2 or any other licensed assets from other games or media. The maps and assets will be distributed via the AQtion distribution, remote download servers, file sharing sites and such, so we must adhere to licensing in order to legally do so, examples:
    • A Coca-Cola sign is a licensed trademark and as such we can’t use it, but a look-alike Caco-Calo sign in a similar font is protected under parody/fair-use laws
    • Music in the map can’t be licensed music, TV show themes, etc.
    • If you purchased a ‘mega sound pack’ that provides explicit license that those assets can be used in a commercial or free-to-play game, those are allowable.
  • Group entries are allowed.
  • Multiple map submissions are allowed, but each one must be submitted by the final submission date.
  • The AQ2World team reserves the right to deny submissions or disqualify entries for any reason.
    • All submissions and entrants adhere to the following:
    • All assets and files in the file submission can and will be distributed in any method; via Discord, forums, remote download servers, the AQtion distribution in Github, and so forth. This is to ensure there are no problems getting the map out to everyone who wants to play it.

Minimum Requirements
  • The map must load in modern Quake 2 engines (q2pro, Yamagi, etc.) and play without major bugs, missing textures or other assets, and maintain quality r_speeds on modest hardware.
  • Custom assets in folders named after you (the mapper), your team, or the map name
    • Good: sounds/mymapname/cool.wav
    • Bad: sounds/cool.wav
    • Pertinent files and folders in lower case
      • Good: textures/directory/brick.wal
      • Bad: textures/directory/BRICK.WAL
      • However, if your map references another map’s texture in another directory that is UPPERCASE, this is allowed. Refer to the map’s original README or contact the map author directly to verify the author’s permissiveness on this.
    • Provide the following file formats for textures:
      • .wal and .jpg for non-transparent textures
      • .png for transparent textures
    • The files zipped up into a .pkz file (a zip file renamed to .pkz that contains everything needed to play your map, with the correct directory structure)
      • .bsp files go in maps/yourmapname.bsp
      • .wal, .jpg and .png texture files go in textures/yourmapname/
      • .wav files go in sound/yourmapname/
      • .pcx and .tga skybox files go in env/
      • .txt files (map README) go in mapdocs/mapname.txt (see thread below for mapdoc format)
      • No extra files (models, screenshots, etc.), Post these to the forum thread


The overarching theme of Action Quake 2 is ‘an action movie without the cost of a ticket’. For example, you wouldn’t necessarily make an old castle as an AQ2 map, but if it was the Schloss Brunwald from Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, with familiar rooms from the movie, that would be more in-theme. Similarly, ultra-futuristic, extra-planar/extra-dimensional themes tend to be outside of the theme scope of AQ2, but if it’s related to an action movie or show, it may be acceptable. If in doubt, ask!

  • AQ2 is a multiplayer-focused game, so no monster spawns, but world hurt brushes are welcome (spikes, lava, slime, spinning fan blades of death, etc).
  • Additionally, there are no 'powerups' such as quad, health packs, invuln, etc. An .fgd file will be provided in the post below to use.
  • Besides the standard weapons, players can also kick (jump into another player will automatically kick) and punch (similar to swiping a knife at a player) for close-range combat. Kicking will also remove the weapon the target has equipped and make it fall to the ground (exceptions are knives and MK23 Pistols). Kicking doors will open them, and if someone is standing on the other side of that door, they too will be kicked across the room.
  • An AQ2World banner supplied by the AQ2World team to be displayed somewhere in the map, designer’s choice on location and prominence. Links to the image (in .png and .wal format) will be in this forum thread.
  • No illegal or morally ambiguous assets will be included, such as but not limited to
    • Pornography
    • Gratuitous gore (some blood is ok)
    • Gratuitous drug use (cigarettes, alcohol is ok)
    • Language, this applies to sounds as well (let’s keep it PG-13?)
    • General rule to follow is would this be a common or expected element in an action movie?
    • The AQ2World Team reserves the right to reject assets that are found to be inappropriate for any reason

Common themes
  • Offices, office buildings, furnished with tables and chairs, with an exterior and interior
  • Cityscapes, streets and alleyways, climbable ladders and drain pipes
  • Mountain bases, lighthouses, churches, hotels, lodges, casinos
  • Jungles, deserts, beaches, parks, carnivals, circuses
  • Encampments, jails/prisons, rival gang turf, railyards, airports
  • Neighborhoods, markets, subways, arcades, garages

Movie examples (some of which have already been done but new and improved versions are welcome) -- think of places where action movie scenes are filmed and how action heroes traverse the areas
  • Nakatomi Building from Die Hard
  • Jungles from Rambo, Predator
  • Casinos from Casino Royale, Ocean's 11
  • City/street areas like Heat, John Wick


AQ2 has several game types, branching out from base Deathmatch and round-based Teamplay modes. Some maps are more suited to one mode over the other, but the map should support both.
  • Other game modes supported, but played far less than DM or Teamplay:
    • CTF (with item_flag_team1 and item_flag_team2 entities)
    • 3 Team Teamplay (generally requires more spawnpoints to be fun)
    • Tourney (1v1)
    • Domination (capture and hold areas)
    • Espionage (goal-based Teamplay maps)
  • Minimum 6 spawnpoints (to support DM and Teamplay modes)
  • Appropriately sized for a variety of player counts; generally maxing out at 16 players, but playable with 4-6. Mega-sized maps are discouraged; quality over quantity!
  • Frame rates should be consistent and high enough to ensure smooth playability on a wide spectrum of systems. Check your r_speeds !
  • Submissions should have proper collision and spawn placements completed as this is very important for gameplay testing.
  • Use .wal for texturing in the editor, and provide a .jpg file as well of higher definition (Tip: Start with the jpg, convert to wal using Wally)
    • Example: The file textures/yourmapname/street.wal will be 'upscaled' to use textures/yourmapname/street.jpg if the player's client is setup to prefer higher definition texturing.

  • Before choosing your map name, verify that the map name does not already exist. Unlike some mods, AQ2 doesn’t tend to specify the game mode type in the map name (Example: duel_q2z3, q2dm10), the filename tends to be the name of the map (Example: urban2 is the second map in the Urban series of maps). For a full list of existing mapnames, review this file ... aplist.ini
  • As is tradition, all maps must come with a map docs file describing the map, tools used, assets referenced, and so forth. An example map doc will be posted on the forums.

How do I enter this jam?
  • Register in these forums, you can do so with your Discord account, or other social networks, as well as just your email, at ucp.php?mode=register
  • This main post will serve as the centralized location for news and updates for the jam. Feel free to post questions in here.
  • For your map submission/entry, create a new topic in this subforum, with contact information in case the AQ2World team needs to get in contact with you regarding your submission outside of the forums. Update your post with new information as needed (map name, new people involved, etc.).
  • One week before the jam ends, the team will make an announcement in the various Discord channels and this post to ensure everyone is aware and to get the submissions entered.
  • Following the rules above, the map submission (.pkz file) should be posted to your forum post or to the AQ2World #maps-skins-models channel so that we can validate/test the map. Use this frequently so that testers can test your maps early and often!


Given that this is a Jam and not a Contest, we still do want to recognize those 'best in class' by category. If you do want to aim for a specific category achievement, here is the list:
  • Best Overall
  • Best Looking
  • Most on-theme
  • Best Teamplay map
  • Best Deathmatch map

Those who will be around in the AQ2World Discord will receive a specialty role for their participation in this event.

I have more questions?
  • Post your question here, or visit us in the AQ2World Discord (link at the top of this post) in the #maps-skins-models channel and ask your questions there.
  • For specific mapping questions, it may be best to involve the experts at the Quake Mapping Discord (link at the top of this post), particularly in the #quake2 channel

User avatar
United States of America darksaint
Bringin' the AQTION
Posts: 66
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Re: AQ2 25th Anniversary Map Making Contest

Post by darksaint »

General AQ2 art assets you can use in your maps, for billboards/picture frames/television screens, etc.
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United States of America darksaint
Bringin' the AQTION
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2022 5:19 am
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Re: AQ2 25th Anniversary Map Making Contest

Post by darksaint »

Example mapdocs txt file format:

Code: Select all

TITLE                   : yourmapname.bsp  
AUTHOR                  : author/team name here                 
DATE                    : 09-22-2023
EMAIL ADDRESS           : 
HOMEPAGE URL            : 
.zip CONTENTS           : 


SINGLE PLAYER           	: no
CO-OPERATIVE            	: no
DEATHMATCH              	: yes
ACTION QUAKE II         	: yes
NEW TEXTURES            	: no
NEW SOUNDS                  : no
CD TRACK #                  : no

MAP BASE                :
PREFABS USED            :
EDITOR(S) USED          :
KNOWN BUGS              :
QBSP2 TIME              :
VIS TIME                :
QRAD TIME (-extra)      :


All the people the tested it.

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United States of America darksaint
Bringin' the AQTION
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2022 5:19 am
Location: Ohio

Re: AQ2 25th Anniversary Map Making Jam

Post by darksaint »

Mapping tips for Action Quake 2 (versus vanilla or other mods) and General Map tips

Quick Start
  • This map jam assumes you already know a little bit about Quake mapping, if not, there are plenty of guides to help you get started! Check out the Quake Mapping Discord (link in original post) for questions!
  • If you already have your Quake II map editor setup and ready to go, just download this zip file and extract it in the same directory that contains baseq2, and reference your editor mod to action, else...:
  • Download the latest distribution zip for AQtion for the OS type you will be making the map on, and extract it somewhere (Desktop, Documents, wherever):
  • Your map editor may complain about missing colormap.pcx or missing baseq2 entirely -- please change your configuration to look at the baseaq directory instead
  • The Q2Pro that comes with the distribution zip file is tailored for playing the game, but if you want to test your map using a different client, you will need to rename baseaq to baseq2 or set your startup parameters to change your data_dir/lib_dir, and your map editor accordingly.
  • (Optional) Download the action.fgd file and place it in your aqtion directory ... action.fgd and load it in your map editor to load in action ammo, items and weapons. If you prefer not to use the .fgd file, refer to the table below to determine what item/ammo/weapon replaced the Q2 defaults:
    • ammo_shells : "Shotgun ammo"
    • ammo_bullets : "MK23 Pistol ammo"
    • ammo_cells : "M4 ammo"
    • ammo_rockets : "MP5 ammo"
    • ammo_slugs : "Sniper ammo"
    • ammo_grenades : "Grenades (ammo)"
    • -
    • item_vest : "Kevlar Vest"
    • item_band : "Bandolier"
    • item_helmet : "Kevlar Helmet"
    • item_lasersight : "Lasersight"
    • item_quiet : "Silencer"
    • item_slippers : "Stealth Slippers"
    • -
    • weapon_shotgun : "M3 Shotgun"
    • weapon_machinegun : "MP5 Submachinegun"
    • weapon_chaingun : "SSG 3000 Sniper Rifle"
    • weapon_rocketlauncher : "Handcannon"
    • weapon_railgun : "MK23 Pistol"
    • weapon_bfg : "M4 Assault Rifle"
    • You may get some errors about file formats. This is normal -- AQtion ships with some MD3 formatted models, if you need to be able to see the model you're placing, download and extract (overwrite) the models with the contents of this zip: ...

  • AQ2/AQtion Mapping Guide: ... 4b6e260678
  • breakable glass: assign func_explosive and health/mass to brush. Gun shots, as well as players walking/jumping/being kicked into windows will break them, example:

    Code: Select all

    "model" "*6"
    "target" "brk_glass_window_1"
    "mass" "75"
    "health" "1"
    "classname" "func_explosive"
    "noise" "world/brkglas.wav"
    "volume" "1.000000"
    "targetname" "brk_glass_window_1"
    "origin" "-64 320 256"
    "classname" "target_speaker"
  • For simplicity's sake, start your map's (x, y) coordinates both to 0, so all of your map points are positive integers. This has an effect on how the engine evaluates double jumps.
  • Weapons, Ammo and Items do not spawn in Teamplay modes, they only appear in only Deathmatch
  • Grenades are an ammo item (ammo_grenades) and not a weapon (use sparingly! Grenades in AQ2 are very powerful)
  • Handcannon and M3 Shotgun both use the same ammo type (ammo_shells), all other weapons use their own ammo slot
  • During Lights, Camera, Action!, players are invulnerable, but they also cannot shoot or kick players, this is the 'setup' or 'maneuver' phase where the actors get in positions. Keep this in mind when placing spawnpoints; LCA lasts approximately 4 seconds -- you can cover a lot of ground in 4 seconds.
  • Fall damage is DEADLY in AQ2; even a mild fall can give away your position and break your legs, forcing you to bandage and run. Long drops usually means death. Having plenty of ways up and down tall buildings can make these specific areas of maps more 'friendly' to the player and used more often. Players will tend to avoid areas that you can scale up but not down easily.
  • Leverage uphill slopes and edges -- strafe jumping is a major component of Q2 and AQ2 is no exception; tricky jumps that give players big advantages (protected vantage point, multiple escape routes) will be used extensively during play.
  • Consider the impact of Teamplay Item usage -- currently, the Kevlar Vest is selected 80% of the time for all varieties of maps. Perhaps if maps were designed with this in mind, other items would be more useful and selected more often. For example, a map with a good deal of ambient noise will lessen the impact that stealth slippers may have, but a very quiet, enclosed map may make players choose it more often.
  • The two most-used weapons in AQ2 are the M4 Assault Rifle and the SSG Sniper Rifle, the former is great for rushdowns, the latter for picking players off at a distance. Consider a map design that either caters to these styles of play, or against this style, and perhaps players will choose other weapons to suit the map?


Visual Aids

Here's a video that gives you a glimpse into how the mod is played, if you are unfamiliar with AQ2:

aq_urban.png (7.1 MiB) Viewed 13864 times
aq_gangsta.png (5.43 MiB) Viewed 13864 times
aq_misc.png (9.15 MiB) Viewed 13864 times
User avatar
United States of America darksaint
Bringin' the AQTION
Posts: 66
Joined: Fri Feb 11, 2022 5:19 am
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Re: AQ2 25th Anniversary Map Making Jam

Post by darksaint »

Reserved post here in case its needed
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