21/08/2006 @16:19:29 ^18:08:23


Better that than "three base cocaine"!!! (groan)

Testing Facility

Testing Facility is a large, complicated techbase map. Its appearance is flawless. In fact it is one of those maps where you think there's too much detail! There's a lot of attention paid to lighting. There's overlapping floor and ceiling detail, which is hard to do* (unless I suppose your editor does it for you, which it might)

The map is very easy though. There's a few places where it raises the monster density and if you're not careful you might find yourself low on ammunition but there's not much in the way of large monsters. It's a token archvile map - there's exactly one and you can pretty much guess when it's coming. At least it is free to move around but by then you'll be armed to the teeth and it won't present a problem.

I will mention the secrets because they are hard. There are seven, but many depend on each other so you have to find the start of the chain as it were. On my first play of the map, I missed all of them. But I still finished it because like I said the map's a bit easy. I did however find two areas that looked like secrets but weren't marked as such, which was quite odd. The large outdoor plain to the north of the map isn't a secret, although from the way you find it you might expect it to be one. Oh well.

But in summary download this now because it's great.

*I notice that sort of thing because, well, put it this way, in Elixir there should be a row of lights over the bottle machine but there aren't because the machine was complicated enough already and it would have been too bothersome to get all the linedef and sector splitting to work properly. In other parts of the map there are a few smaller lights overlapping some stuff on the floor - e.g. crates in the lift corridor, toilets in the ladies' - that shit took ages to do properly and nobody fucking notices when you do do it. Anyway enough ranting. My point is, look at maps with both floor and ceiling detail - in general you'll see they manage to avoid overlapping. That's what I mean.

Techbase 6

I found our second base map Techbase 6 on its author's homepage, where it is described as "unreleased of course". That being said it is on the internet and can be readily downloaded so I'm going to post about it!

What you get is an E1-style techbase. Well-detailed and lit, and with a layout that is interconnected well. The scenery outside the first room is inaccessible but adds a feeling of being part of a bigger place. There's a big pit of nukage and a yard outside, where much of the map's action takes place.

Gameplay is tight - there's a high monster density and not a great deal of resources. I made as much use of the berserk box as I could, let the cyberdemon do a lot of the work for me, then shot it in the back while it was distracted.

Techbase 6 is well worth playing and certainly should be released properly!

The Outer Base

The Outer Base (text file**) is our third base map. It's vaguely styled as episode 1, though with more grass and episode 1 never had so many curved walls. The architecture is excellent, with particular mention going to the texture alignment, which is flawless even with the curved walls. I don't know how much of this was due to the author and how much is due to editor automation, all I know is this shit would be nearly impossible in Yadex.

It plays fairly typically, you just follow your nose until you get to the exit. Okay so it is linear but you get plenty of forward glimpses that draw you on. "What's that" "I wonder how I get up there" etc. There is plenty to shoot at. Although the text file asserts that you only have "as little to fight them off as possible" there's no great ammunition shortage, but you can't be wasteful either.

Sadly however even though with one author and four, count them, four beta testers nobody thought to run this shit in anything other than ZDoom, so guess what. There are at least two lifts that don't lower because they don't have proper tag numbers. It is most frustrating to run halfway round a map only to get stuck because of - depending on your point of view - author/tester laziness/ignorance, or ZDoom's Internet Explorer-like combination of ubiquity and tolerance of badly-formed input.

So with that in mind I can't recommend you bother playing this, which is a shame because other than the bugs it's a very nicely made map.

**Doomworld's /idgames frontend for some reason doesn't even include the text file for this pwad. I must say once the frontend was great. I sung its praises when it was first made. But recently, I've been getting increasingly sick of it. It has a number of annoying bugs (e.g. it doesn't update its own data if somebody reuploads a wad) and/or missing features (it'd be better if you could make links out of the zip filename, which is predictable, rather than a meaningless identification number - I'm sure this would lead to fewer broken links in /newstuff articles) There's no source so you can't submit patches. The staff themselves seem unwilling to make changes (or indeed do anything at all - see how often the front page updates these days)