Powder Keg (a barrel of gunpowder) is a collaboration between Van Ricketts and Chris Good and remains one of the most popular Quake custom levels, despite its simplicity. It began life as fribdev1, and there are a great many versions in different texture sets and with slightly altered structures, including one in red brick (fribdev1_3.bsp), an egyptian/desert themed version (fribdev1_2.bsp), a light cobalt blue style version, and so forth.
Design notes from the original version by Chris Good (De Venator) are as follows:
“Small deathmatch map, designed for 2-7 players. Frib designed the map, laid down the brushes, and placed the items. I (De Venator) took it from there.. completely retextured it, added the light, did a few general alterations, added clip brushes, and handled the playtesting. You could try playing duel on it but i dunno how it will go...its meant mainly to be just a small fun dm map. The original plan was to release the 3 different textured vers and ppl could just rename the map and use whatever vers they wanted, no matter what vers the server was running. The new QW v2.2 has killed that idea though :(..so umm play it on lan .. be the server op and choose what ver you want :). Of course you could still use whatever vers you like if you are playin on a normal quake server or ver QW 2.1 server.”
The fribdev editions are betas, there are four official releases of the final level in different texturing styles in a similar manner to the fribdev editions. The last three versions are identical in structure, but the standard edition (PKEG) of the level includes an extra section accessible via one of the connecting corridors on the ground floor.
The first version (PKEG) uses blood red skies, teleport portals taken from the DOOM series and chalky white stone walls. The second (PKEG1) is the most popular of the three and is themed around Gloom Keep but retains the fire red skies of the first, the third (PKEG2) uses the same textures as the first and the fourth (PKEG3) is a blue stone style version. The only common element between the versions is the blood pits found in the map on the ground floors, which are protected by heavy iron grills.
Although there are so many different versions of the level, the real reason that Keg is so popular is its gameplay, which is top notch. As mentioned above, the original version (fribdev1) was significantly reworked as pkeg.bsp in order to fix a number of design bugs, which are described in the level's text. Van's commentary from the final official version of the level reads:
“This level is a remake of the pre-existing map fribdev1 - powder keg. It was created in order to eliminate the numerous clipping bugs present in the original map, including the fucked up, illogical, impossible, dirty great big disgusting QW 2.3 ONLY clipping bug O' death at the RA.
Why bother? I still play this level a lot, so does ZzJohnzZ & co, and
hopefully even some other people. These clipping bugs shit me, especially the QW 2.3 one, which I could do nothing about... QW 2.3 was released AFTER my map was released, and it BROKE my map, goddamn it. So I fixed it.
I didn't have the original source files, so the map has been rebuilt
from scratch... it is a very simple map though, so that only took a couple of hours. I resisted the tempation to make a lot of changes to the map... the gameplay is IDENTICAL to the original, because it was already perfect, and there are only a couple of very small changes... mostly to accomodate different texturing, and in one case, to provide just a bit more detail (at the MH).
In the Powder Keg tradition, there are not one, not two, but THREE
different versions to choose from. In each case the level is identical, but the texturing is totally different. Pick the one which suits you best, or mix and match, there should be something there you like. I always loved the original textured version, so that has remained, but rather than re-doing the other 2 versions in the original fribdev1, I whipped up two new versions. Both use primarily textures from Heretic2, which I doubt have been used in Quake before, and they certainly do look the business.
I have included the original fribdev1.txt in the pkeg.zip archive, so that De Venator recieves proper credit as co-author of this map.”
The basic pkeg* layout consists of two large hexagon style rooms with open ceilings and windows over several levels, connected by a series of passages and walkways. Although the layout is incredibly simple it rewards strategic and thoughtful gaming, and is a popular deathmatch level found on many Quake servers that's well worth downloading if you haven't already.