16/05/2012-17/05/2012 @03:20:37 ^05:03:15

Invasion of the Damned

A replacement episode 1 for Freedoom, consisting of vanilla-compatible maps, made because the author believes Freedoom should be a vanilla project despite it having been a Boom project since day one. (This occasionally gets debated on the forums, always with the same outcome.)

E1M1, E1M2, E1M4 and E1M7 are the corresponding maps from Freedoom, possibly modified for vanilla limits. The most interesting is the first, as a vanilla conversion of Freedoom's E1M1, a map which was originally made to show off nearly all of Boom's more exotic features. So, it loses quite a lot in the conversion, but is not bad despite the removals. It's also worth noting E1M7 is completely unbalanced from a pistol start, but the original in Freedoom suffers from that too.

The remainder save for E1M8 are taken from maps on /idgames with appropriately permissive licences ("you may do what you want with this map", etc.) Several of them I have played before and indeed posted on this site.* However, somehow in the compilation process E1M6 was broken and is more or less unbeatable (a floor in front of the exit door was lowered 64 units, creating an invisible pit you can't get out of, covering a large area which must be traversed repeatedly.)

E1M8 is the only map made solely by the author. It is a straight remake of Doom's E1M8 that has more or less identical gameplay and a very similar but slightly smaller layout. (Room of demons and barrels with lift up to computer map, corridor, red-walled lift up to two barons - no spectres though - lowering walls, sector type 11 exit) I have to note this wouldn't get accepted into Freedoom today due to being too similar to the original.

Honestly, with the bugs I can't really recommend this as-is. On the other hand Freedoom itself is full of broken, half-finished maps, obvious placeholders, and almost identical remakes of stuff from the original game, so perhaps it's a parody...**

* I distinctly remember E1M5 (power station), have no memory of E1M6 (outpost) even having played it before which means I must have only played it once or something, and I don't think I ever touched E1M9 before.

** Note to moderators: this is a joke. I help maintain the thing, I should be allowed to make fun!

Mordeth, revisited

It was 15 years old a couple of months ago and is still an amazing piece of work. It seems like a source port PWAD with all the modifications it pulls off, but came out nearly a year before anyone outside of id even saw the code. How the author worked out some of the tricks is beyond me and even now I had to take the wad apart to figure out how the disappearing fog works (although in hindsight I should have known, I think.) However:

The worst part is that the version on /idgames is still the one stuck in the early 1997 pre-source-ports era. The version for source ports on mordeth.doomworld.com is a broken link. If you want a version that works in modern engines, put the filename "mfb97dsf", from the download page, into a search engine. Although having to search around was far more preferable to my memories of using 3ddownloads.

Preview of Jenesis, based entirely off MAP01

Nicely detailed, with a good progression and glimpses of unreached parts of the level, but disjoint. Map splits into individual rooms/areas which don't have much bearing on one another, you work through one and move on to the next. Manages to be deceptively hard: doesn't seem too bad until suddenly you realise you have no health and/or ammunition and should have been playing a lot more carefully.

Monster placement can be irritating: the author likes plutonia-style far-off chaingunners, for instance. At one point there are a bunch on a ledge above your line of fire and too far away for the autoaim without charging straight towards them (I admit this part was frustrating because it killed me after 20 minutes careful play. I cynically noted that it would have been trivialised by using an engine with mouselook.)

The wad seems to have been roundly praised by the community, but that rarely says much. Hopefully it will feature less disjointness and less death-by-a-thousand-cuts later on.