25/07/2004-26/07/2004 @01:33:41 ^03:29:16

suddenly the penny dropped

damn that hole in my trousers' pocket

The Week in Doom

Two maps, both for (the Ultimate) Doom. Yeah okay I've not done as much as usual, sheesh.

UNDRGRND.WAD I downloaded this one out of curiosity because it was rated zero on doomworld's idgames index. It's fairly typically messy architecture for an old map. Think oddly shaped rooms, random texturing, odd lighting, too much strobe effect by half etc. Think basically a maze but with frills. It imports a couple of new textures for a bit of extra spice but the most striking part of the architecture is how you appear to start in a tower that's sunk into a hole in the ground, complete with windows looking out onto the rocks.

It's easy enough to play although towards the start there is a secret corridor that allows you to bypass half the level. I suggest you take it but don't go in the teleporter else you'll run out of ammunition, go back and go the proper way instead. Doing it in the correct order will yield plentiful supplies of shells and all the heavier weapons (and having used the secret corridor you'll have a computer map to find them)

Hey okay I seem to have posted way too many spoilers already, so some general remarks to finish off: The map is linear and cramped, but it's pretty fun. Although there are some awkward moments it's rarely overwhelming provided you don't fall into the trap I did. It's nowhere near great but certainly not worth the zero it was given. Give it a go if you're bored I guess.

The Real Wright Junior Senior High School I have really mixed feelings about this one (and you know what that means, it means fucking tons of words) At face value and if you play it as you find it, it's utter shite. I mean it's a map some guy has made based on his school. That's never a good sign. It looks like crap. The floor plan is all very well and might as well be authentic, but it's totally flat (how many schools do you know that don't have an upstairs?) and in fact all the rooms except the big one in the middle are the same height. Either that's because it's supposed to be the school hall or because there's a spiderdemon in it, I don't know. A couple of the walls didn't get their nodes built correctly and you can see through them. There's no decoration whatsoever; indeed in total it uses about five wall textures and two flats (jargon for floor/ceiling textures), all editor defaults. One of those walls is the exit switch. Hidden behind an unmarked, locked, secret door. Fantastic!

If it looks awful it plays even worse. You are given a shotgun and two boxes of shells, then the rest of the level - and I mean the entirety of the rest of the level - is sprinkled with backpacks and medikits. And rammed full of monsters. You can see how he's just put them in, randomly, without any care at all. Many, including the aforementioned spiderdemon - which predictably is sitting on the key you need for the hidden exit door - are stuck to each other and rendered quite harmless (the game engine thinks the movement of each is blocked by some or all of the others, hence none in a stuck group can move or shoot or anything) There are over 700 monsters in total and the skill levels don't reduce that number at all. And having only a shotgun, you very quickly get pinned down in one of the many dead ends, overwhelmed, and torn to pieces.

In short, it looks like arse and plays like a fucking nightmare. So why do I have mixed feelings?

I like large maps with hundreds of monsters. I nearly deleted it, but it having over 700 monsters made me think. I wondered how it would be if I played it with god mode and all guns/ammo. Okay there's no challenge in god mode but after a couple of runs this way I knew it would work without it.

So, suggestion 1. You load the map and before you do anything type IDFA to give yourself all the guns and full ammunition. The halls and classrooms of this - no, I can't say it. It doesn't even look like a school, but the rooms and corridors of this map then become a mass firefight and running battle as you use all your tactical knowledge to avoid getting trapped by monsters and killing as many of them as you can. Use shells on imps and demons and save the rockets for the barons. If you get into any real danger, BFG the entire corridor. It's great fun! Plasma or chaingun sweeps come in handy when the boom-click-click rhythm of the shotgun becomes tiresome and you feel like a change. You never run out of shells because of all the dead sergeants dropping shotguns, and there's all those backpacks too.

Suggestion 2. The problem was that you have to rely a lot on the shotgun, because its ammo is by far the most abundant. But it is slow. I thought, why not convert it into a Doom 2 map so I can use the super shotgun? It doesn't require any texture conversion as all the textures used are in both Doom and Doom 2, all you need to do is rename the map from E2M1 to MAP01. You can do this in a Doom map editor or directly editing the map name in the WAD directory in a byte editor or even by going

perl -pe 's/E2M1../MAP01\0/' wjshs.wad > wjshs2.wad

at the command line. Note the dots on the end of E2M1, so the original and replacement strings have the same length. Then, proceed as before, starting the map and typing IDFA, etc. The super shotgun, being three times as powerful, allows you to remove three or four imps at a time and demons in a single pull of the trigger, far less annoying than the two, or more usually three, rounds the regular shotgun requires.

In summary, this level is total rubbish that just happens to play quite well if you are willing to type in a cheat code at the beginning. Good night.