29/12/2010 @15:53:58 ^20:07:20

I should actually talk about some of these wads I have piling up instead of stupid hacks and the like. Although I want to go on about the incredible regenerating teleporter fog... But first I'll post about the map in which I saw it happen.

Year 23 -The Belly of the Beast-

Disclaimer: I helped a bit with beta-testing this.

Third in the previous series and exactly what you were expecting if you saw the end of the second one - a lava cavern. It turns out to also have bits of an old fortress embedded in it, charred almost black by the heat.

First a minor digression. Doom is a game. As a player, the goal of this game is to exit a map, with a secondary goal being to get 100% kills and so forth. But it works in reverse, as well. If you are a map designer, your goal is to kill the player. You are playing the same game but from a different point of view.*

Year 23 is a map that's trying very hard to kill you.

Seriously you can't move for traps. You do anything and a door to some infested alcove will fly open, or there'll be a huge flash of light and you're surrounded by teleporter fogs and god only knows what else. Most maps just place monsters and expect them to do the work - this one is just a little (read: a lot) more proactive! I was particularly taken by one part where I was sure this wretched switch was going to teleport something in behind me but then it turned out I was standing on an elevator... The author has said one of his aims was to make a map that's hard even if you play carefully and don't try to crash through it like the hero of an over-the-top 1980s action movie. I think he was successful.

The map's construction is very technically competent, even managing to get away with using conveyor teleporters; usually a bad sign, but most of the common pitfalls have been avoided, and I haven't managed to break them and end up with a monster stuck and unable to teleport yet.

The secrets, which number seven in total, are very well hidden. I only found one to begin with. A couple are even chained (that is the trigger for a secret is inside another one)

The only real issue is one of design; the map is more or less split into five sections, a central dual lava river and four others, each housing a numbered switch. And of course, each section is completely disjoint; more or less cut off from the rest of the map.

Also one complaint I heard and can understand although I don't think it's that bad: since you have to do sections I and II before the main area of the map opens up, it can feel like you're not making any progress after the first section you choose since you have to go do another one that's also balanced to be done from the beginning of the map. I thought it was a bit like a co-op level in a way. You want two players to do each of the first two sections by himself.

Oh and just while I think about it, the fortress/castle parts, textured entirely in a dark grey variant of GSTONE, are a bit monochromatic and, well, drab. I think a few more flecks of red in the walls and some glowy things (like the archvile eyes at one point) would have done some good here.

Oh and and (I keep remembering little nitpicks that no-one else would care about) I'm not sure about teleporting in more ammo every so often. I dunno. Bit cheesy. *flash* here's some monsters *flash* and here's what you use to kill them... I don't know why I suddenly decided to mention that, it's just not very Doom-like I guess.

Anyway overall a very good map, the longest of this series so far (with nearly 600 monsters) and probably, all things considered, the best one. Let's hope the next (I believe a Year 24 is planned) is a little more connected!

* Of course you have to be fair about it, else the player won't come back, and then you've both lost. The goal of a map is to have players die in it; if no players come, the map has inherently lost before it has even begun.

Revolting Rocks

A "speedmap done in three hours" by the author of the excellent Base Ganymede (of which there is now also an episode 2, but I haven't finished it yet.)

I wish I could make maps like this in three hours.

It's basically a cave filled with green slime and various kinds of rocks, although there is a kind of a hell temple off in one part where the plasma gun is hidden. Its layout, architecture, texturing etc. are all fine.

Gameplay gets easier the more you do it, I had the idea from its announcement thread that it was very tight on ammunition so I played far too cautiously to begin with. But it turns out that, while you can't waste ammunition, you don't have to be too stingy.

It has a couple of bugs, especially in the blood temple previously mentioned.

Speedmap 1

A small map from the author of Techbase 1 (a.k.a Techbase 6.) Made almost entirely with one brown texture, the point of this map is the gameplay, not the looks, and gameplay to challenge the best of players. It was way beyond me, naturally. Still, it does what it sets out to do. Nothing much else to say. Oh it's a low-ammo and cramped conditions kind of difficulty than an unlimited resources and hordes of monsters kind of difficulty.

Yesterday's Nightmare

A rather nice but apparently completely overlooked (at least by me) map01 replacement from a few years ago. Unfortunately I spoiled myself with this one by reading a comment that likened the map to Alien Vendetta map21, and now I can't see anything else. It does really start off like one of Pablo Dictter's overdetailed corridor maps though.

Then you get out into this open area with these huge and quite elaborate metal columns, which look quite stunning. Thanks to whoever it was who posted a screenshot of them that made me download the map, I guess.

Gameplay is quite tight, there's not a great deal of ammunition, and health especially, so even though the monster resistance is relatively light (mostly zombies and imps and the lesser demons) it's quite easy to get yourself into a position you can't recover from. You have to play just defensively enough for it to get just a little bit annoying. Oh well. There are also a couple of monsters that don't wake up and you can't kill them.

Worth playing though.