01/09/2006 @13:15:21 ^13:17:49


was when I wrote most of this update (hence the weirdly short time interval)

This week's /newstuff

Ogre Labs - yeah, this again. It finally got reviewed, and reviewed positively. Basically you should have already played this as it's really good. Not much else to say, I've covered it twice before already. I've no idea why the /idgames frontend doesn't include its text file though. That thing is so broken and nobody seems to care...

Maze of Frustration - a 4x4 grid of square rooms with teleporters in the corners, hence 16x16 teleporters. They all teleport to different squares. You have to find the square with the blue key then the square with the exit. How very annoying!

Well, that's what you're meant to think - a third square has a switch in it that lowers the walls between all the grid squares, and suddenly the map becomes a great deal more exciting! I shall spoil the route

  1. You start in the top-left square. Run forwards to pick up the super shotgun, then left in the direction of the arrow. On the automap, south, then southeast.
  2. You should now be in the square with the exit door, one row down and all four across from the start. This time ignore the arrow, and run forwards and left (north on the automap)
  3. You should now be in the square to the immediate west of the previous one. Run forwards and to the right (west on the automap)
  4. Hopefully, you've gone one more square west and two squares south, to the bottom row. To your left is an arrow pointing at a switch. This lowers the walls and now you can go to town!
  5. To exit the map, having pressed the button run two squares north where you should find a blue key. Two squares east of this square is the exit door which you've already seen.

Alternatively you can go straight to the blue key square without lowering the walls.

  1. Follow steps 1 and 2 above to get to the square immediately to the west of the exit door square.
  2. This time run straight across the square to the opposite corner (southwest on the automap)
  3. You should be two squares to the west of the exit door square; the starting square is immediately to the northwest of your current position. You should also see the blue key in front of you. Pick it up.
  4. There are only two functioning (red) teleporters in this square. Choose the other one, the one you didn't come in by. This is to the southwest of the blue key and is also pointed to by an arrow. Although don't pay too much attention to the arrows in general, they're mostly just random.
  5. You should be back in the exit door square so just go for it.

Of course this is much easier if you actually see someone do it, than it is to follow my instructions, but still. There's only four or five squares you actually have to visit, and one of those you start in. I enjoyed this level. It seemed to prove its point, which was that the /newstuff guys are easy to annoy or something. I'm not sure... There's this whole thing with /newstuff, people hate getting bad reviews, the reviewers revel in being, uh, "honest", people release wads that try to troll them (all started by the andrewb series, if I recall correctly), it's all stupid. There's too much celebrity, people just release wads to get them reviewed, it's become a whole institution and in some ways ruined things. Just play the damn wads and stop complaining about everything and letting random people off the internet colour your opinions. All I personally need to know is if the wad will run with rboom/PrBoom and what maps it replaces. Ugh...

Batma - a long run through an S-shaped tunnel. Pretty dull. Each down-piece is a 10% damage slime pool so you have to balance the health hits with the occasional stimpak you get. Then right at the end just when you're not expecting it a load of cacodemons come out of the walls and scare you with their noise! I didn't manage to get 100% kills, the cyberdemon kills the cacodemons but I messed up fighting the cyberdemon. I did notice that it had quite good lighting and was generally detailed more than you'd expect a map like this would be, but really it's only interesting for speedrunning.

3x-play and 99ways

I was looking for something in an old wad that I couldn't remember the name of, so I went through looking for names of old wads I played. Apparently I played these at the end of 1999 but apart from a couple of bits of 99ways I have no memory of them. This is very unusual and unsettling. The one thing I definitely do remember is that 99ways map03 was the first time I saw DIY's infamous collection bug, as the red key is thing #0. I played the map just after DIY was Boom-enabled, and it took nearly a year and a half before I fixed the damn thing (and only a week later there was a release of DIY that also fixed it - how frustrating)

Triple Play is a single map for Doom 2. Being from 1995 it is quite simply constructed without great amounts of detail, but that's okay, it's not at all bad. It could use some theme consistency though, there's base-to-wood transitions and libraries all in the same map.

It's quite compact but makes you backtrack a lot. You get the blue key from by the yellow door, then go all the way round to get the yellow key, then back again. Then you get the red key and back all the way round once more. When you do this it repopulates the map with various monsters, including two archviles which turned into some of the most efficient resurrectors I've known (I finished the map with as many as 120% kills - it's not often you see above 110%)

So it's pretty tough, especially for a map made in 1995. However having said that there are a lot of secrets, nearly all of which I missed. Obviously that would have made it easier.

In fact I went back and played it again, having knowledge of the map. Knowing where the secrets are helps a lot, there's absolute piles of ammunition, you get the guns earlier, and the yellow key and door can be pretty much omitted (unless you want maximum kills) Oh and this time the resurrections went up to 267/217 (123%)

99 Ways to Die gives you three castle-styled maps, again for Doom 2. They are easier to play in a row, but you can do them from pistol starts if you want, you just need to employ more strategy. The text file proclaims that "the appearence of the levels (texture selection, alignment, lighting, etc...)" and indeed these maps were known for their lighting back in the day apparently. I find this rather amusing, as while it is true that there is a great deal of extra sectors employed for graded lighting purposes than you might expect from a wad from 1996, the texture alignment in those places is by and large all zero. As a result, the brick walls look awful. Also don't use 255 everywhere in outdoor sectors as it looks flat and dull.

But looks don't matter so much as how it plays. Well, as I said it's pretty trivial in that regard. There are a couple of situations that can be slightly tricky if you run in all guns blazing but mostly it's fine. Doing a run of all three maps is trivial, I found myself rarely dropping below 100% health and armour. Pistol starts are slightly harder in a couple of places but with a tiny amount of care and knowledge of the map it's still easy.

Much of the maps are optional. The first two have yellow-locked areas that don't even need to be entered, although if you do you get more ammunition and health. This contrasts with an almost total lack of secret areas - although all three maps start you off in a secret area, I suppose just so that doom2.exe doesn't say "0% secrets" - the only genuine secret is on map03 and it's too thin to walk onto without going up the next step (cf Doom2 MAP15, etc.)

Unfortunately it doesn't stop there, all of the previous problems I've mentioned don't stop you from playing the wad but this one might. On map03 the teleporter that takes you to the exit area doesn't work as the exit point's flags prevent it from spawning on skill 4. This might put you off playing more than dubious claims about texture alignment. The easiest way to fix this is with a hex editor, unless your wad editor isn't so damn stupid that it can't save a map back into the original wad and insists on saving a "patch wad". Anyway, go to 0x593E1 which is the file offset of thing #45 in map03, where you should find 5 16-bit integers in signed little-endian format:

18 F5 18 05 2D 00 0E 00 03 00

This is a teleporter exit (0x0E, 14) at position (0xF518,0x0518) [(-2792,1304)] facing northeast (angle 0x2D, 45) Change the 0x03 (flags hmp, hntr) to 0x07 (flags uv, hmp, hntr) Dead easy!