The last update started with "Happy Birthday" so this one gets "Merry Christmas"
I asked Graeme if I could put his Blitherances page on snafu and he said all right but then he said, no, link to Other Bits instead. It seemed to me like the wrong page to which to link, because snafu is usually for linking to weblogs/journals as opposed to what I rather disparagingly called "a changelog", but, whatever. "Moose Fish" is the title of the index page
Doom Advent Calendar roundup part 2
- Remake of E1M8, originally destined to be part of the Flashback project(*). It is a lot harder, ammunition is tight and there's more barons to kill. Somehow I don't think it looks hellish enough though.
- A small, but surprisingly long, mostly rock and stone, map. It fits within a 1024x1024 square and is by the compiler of the Congestion 1024 project so I suspect it's something he made for that and had it left over or something. It's impressive how much map can be fit into a 1024 square, but, it is cramped. It is also very hard. There are lots of traps, the archvile teleporting onto the lift made me jump and the other one that comes out the wall behind a crowd of revenants all but killed me. But I was very lucky and managed to get all the way to the end, only to die surrounded by large monsters - and the worst part was, I was expecting them and had a BFG...
- This is another map from Flashback, this time, the E2M9 replacement. It is much better than the original, although to be fair it's not hard to make a better map than Fortress of Mystery. This one has plenty of weird architecture and action, most of which occurs in a central courtyard area. It's a good map for making monsters fight each other, but the big teleporters don't go off fast enough.
- This is a map from the as-yet-unreleased tribute to the Talosian Incident. It's bricks and metal, with a lot of fancy lighting, and true to its inspiration, has a lot of doors and symmetry. It is also very hard, being terribly low on ammunition, and the monsters, although not appearing in hordes, are large and difficult to kill. (Apparently the reason it doesn't play so well from a pistol start is that it was to be a map 6 replacement or thereabouts)
- Originally a speedmap, this E1-style base just goes to show what you can do in two hours with an editor that does all the tedious stuff for you! Okay that's probably a little unkind. This map has plenty of secrets and instantly recognisable E1-style architectural features. It's not particularly hard, though some of the traps can catch you off guard.
- Wood and rusty metal surrounds a number of grassy courtyards, and is the constitution of some dungeons here and there. This map is extremely difficult to start off, there is very little ammunition and you really do have to find the secrets.
- Speed Villa. Yeah okay, here's the story: on about the 15th or 16th Torn posted that the project was short by a few maps. I like this project and wanted it to be a success so I messaged him on the forums and said, here, use Speed Villa. I guess I could have given him a map from my unfinished megawad like a few other people seem to have done...
- Erik Alm, author of Scythe etc. probably knocked this thing out in an hour or two and it's still one of the best maps of the year. It's beige brick and metal in style, industrial, vaguely factory-like. The gameplay is as exciting as you'd expect and the cohesion and connectivity are spot on. There's a blue armour and some medikits apparently outside the playing area, the bars in front of them have a tag number but no corresponding linedef. They're not really necessary though, it's not too hard once you know the location and composition of the traps.
- When I downloaded number 21 I ran it and prboom spewed a load of unknown texture errors. Fine. It was my own fault really as I'd been using wget to fetch the wads rather than visit the page. So off I went, and discovered there was a textures wad you needed. I ran prboom with both and the textures wad came up with a load of missing patch errors and whatnot. Oh well. We'd been doing so well up to this point...
- Unfortunately yesterday's map was the first of a small series all by the same author and requiring of the textures wad that breaks prboom.
- Part three of the series, and thankfully the last. There were in total seven maps that flatly refused to work in Prboom and one that had bugs that stop you from finishing it. It's a shame, on the other hand sixteen playable maps is not to be sniffed at...
- To finish off we have a techbase in a snowy landscape. This map looks like a cutdown version of map 7 from Community Chest 2, which given that they are by the same author is not surprising. The "snow" is limited to a cold grey sky texture and some white flats and textures, but is still pretty effective, although Scientist 2 did snowy landscapes a lot more effectively. Damn thing still made me feel chilly, though.
In conclusion I'm glad this project was done and although it wasn't perfectly executed it was a great idea and I hope they do it again next year! My favourites from this half - not counting Speed Villa, everyone loves their own maps - were probably, for both looks and gameplay, 20 and 24. 15 and 17 deserve mention as well, as does 14 which gets the special award for frustration of dying right at the end!
(*) Flashback was to be a recreation of the original episodes of Doom, by Torn, the organiser of the advent calendar project - hence the number of Flashback maps here, I guess - Erik "can do no wrong" Alm, and Espi, author of the acclaimed Suspended in Dusk. It was never finished, although there was a six-level demo released a couple of years ago that was extremely good. Classic Episode standard, easily. There is talk of its revival - we can only hope...