The /newstuff Chronicles #435
Classic Doom - Posted by Bloodshedder
- 18 Comments
Let me guess; one of those reviewers doesn't know how to properly appreciate a WAD that you liked this week. Want to do something about it? Instead of complaining in the comment thread like you always do, perhaps you can make a difference and write some better reviews than those idiots up there. The /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Put that Doomworld Forums account to constructive use, because you need one to submit reviews.
Shut up and Bleed - Chronoteeth
Doom 2 - EDGE - Solo Play - 29224178 bytes -
Reviewed by: CorSair
This is a gameplay mod that has traits of survival horror labeled on.
First of all, if you prefer fast-paced action, minimal strategy, good monster and ammo balance (not the map), then you are the wrong person to introduce to the mod. Because it is everything of the opposite.
Like the gameplay mechanics. The player feels like moving in molasses, so large maps can feel longer than they should. Plus the fact of being slow makes dodging ranged attacks even more painful. Crouching is another bad choice for avoiding shots, since it takes some time to crouch. To compensate, jump height has been increased. With that, the player should be able to get past obstacles, and if need be, get out of bad situations if cornered by monsters.
The player is also quite limited with ammo, even with some large ammo packs. To rectify, every monster drops some loot, with varying types and amounts, and maybe new weapons (boss enemies give new guns and ammo for them). Even when you have all weapons maxed with ammo, it is possible to have some ammo problems.
With those two things, the player needs to think of good spots to fight and abuse corners and obstacles in order to eliminate enemies. Dying is really common, especially if the player is not careful or is trying some bravado.
A few technical quirks to note:
The ammo counter only shows your Colt, HK-VP70 (slot 2 weapons), shotgun (slot 3 weapon) and Winchester (slot 4 weapon) ammo, which is really annoying by trying to guess the ammo you have and the max you can carry.
Reloading can be a bit annoying, especially with shotgun and rifle, since they take one by one to reload. Even if you use only one shot.
Stimpack and medikit pickups can be taken, even with health being 100% or over. Recommended to avoid picking those up if you want to save them for later.
By time you play, you get wide array of armaments, from slots 1-0... and every slot has place for two weapons. I am not going to list up every weapon, but if you want to know what weapons you get in this mod, open up the .wad and check the DDFNOTE.
What you should know is that you have kick as a secondary attack, which is not dependent on weapon (although reload disables it for a moment) and propels enemies away from you. It is really important, since it can, if well timed, stop an enemy from ramming on you or getting that important space to move about. But it is really weak, only worthy for the knockback.
As for enemies, we get some replacements for each of them. I don't know much of the Realm667 bestiary or their functions, but in here, they can be really nasty. Kamikazes, sudden rammings, backpedaling, forward lunge that doubles melee range... Most of the enemies have some tricks up their sleeves, making them either more dangerous than they really are worth, or requiring some thought about how to fight them. As an example, Malbouges are a really difficult enemy to fight, since they take loads of damage (three full grenade launcher shots, if lucky), and on top of that, their primary attack can be hard to dodge. Since there is no wind-up, it is possible to get some players caught with their pants around their knees. Or the slow Satyrs. If you piss them off enough (I hope you didn't use shotgun on that corridor!), you will get rammed. That is, if you can stop it. This is just a small example of enemies that can be rather difficult, or even unfair.
In summary, Shut Up And Bleed is very difficult, demanding and unfair, to a certain degree. Even with those negative things, it still attracts me to survive the level. If you want another type of gameplay mod with high difficulty, try this one.
PS: Pics are played in Whispers of Satan.
Half-Life transitions - Ethan Watson aka GooberMan
N/A - ZDoom - Solo Play - 14299 bytes
Reviewed by: Creaphis
A set of scripts plus example map for creating seamless level transitions in ZDoom. Thanks to some functions new to ZDoom and GooberMan's ACS work, when the player triggers a level transition, his position, momentum and direction are all saved and then plugged into the new map. All the player sees is a brief hiccup as the map loads. Nifty.
Shooting Gallery! - James Mcolaso
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 60051 bytes -
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
One big room with 5000+ enemies. Chaingunners on the floor with Keens looming over their heads. A pile of invul spheres will probably cause some FPS lag, and one sound will start the onslaught of chaingunners against themselves.
Pointless and boring.
Not Over - cappeca
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 479929 bytes -
Reviewed by: Creaphis
Five solid maps by cappeca, a strong first showing to the /idgames Archive. This is meant as a screen test for more work to follow; the title could be a hint to that effect.
I'm going to call the gameplay style "extermination" because if I coin some terms now I get to use them later. There aren't many traps here and it never turns into full-on slaughter, but it quickly escalates from killing small clumps of imps to cutting through hordes of mixed monsters in frontal assaults. The ammo count will only get low if you accidentally drop some when your backpack explodes. The maps often look barren - ceilings are particularly neglected - but the environments are well-designed for the desired gameplay and the layouts flow nicely. Picking up a key always gives you a shortcut to the place you're supposed to bring it.
This set feels more than just a bit like you're visiting the world of the Doom comic. At first, I found myself arbitrarily increasing the challenge by berserk-punching imp hordes, being the berserker-packin' man and a half that I am. In the next level I swapped that out for eighty pounds of heavenly joy when the hitscanner hordes got too big, even for my great communicator. Darkness is often exploited for gameplay purposes, and you'll run into lots of those invisible sunovas, so remember the old adage: "Might makes light!" You'll also find a few plasma rifles, just in time for some big-mouthed floating thingies to die to the sugar-sweet kiss of heavy ordnance.
Note: cappeca tested this wad in GZDoom and Doomsday, but these maps appear to use only vanilla line-actions and should work in any limit-removing port, possibly even Doom2.exe.
Mescalina / Mescaline - Eye del Cul
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 165217 bytes -
Reviewed by: Creaphis
Mescalina is an interesting theming experiment: a mixture of flesh, metal, wood and stone, piled high into a wide-open jungle gym. Roam around, collecting weapons and keys in whatever order you please. Jump off ledges and find ammo caches. Kill stuff. Sometimes monsters bunch up in places where they're awkward to fight, but you can always get at them from another direction. Also, you don't have to worry about running out of opposition, which is what usually happens in maps like this; fresh meat teleports in frequently, and without warning.
This map has a couple lines of symmetry, but it's a decent example of justifiable copy-pasting. Each section of the map was modified to make it play differently from the rest. Occasionally I'd lose my bearings due to most of the map looking the same at a glance, but considering the project's goal of being "trippy", I think Eye del Cul would consider that a plus.
This wad gets bonus points for the text file story, something you don't often see in our cynical maturity, and for the unusual music track, sadly uncredited.
An Idgames Troll Walks Into A Bar... - Michael Jan Krizik (valkiriforce)
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 148378 bytes -
Reviewed by: Obsidian
Dang, it's been a while since I reviewed something. Hopefully I'm not too rusty. Anyways...
"idgamer.wad", or "An IdGames Troll Walks Into A Bar" (one of the more interesting wad names I've come across) is a single map wad by our very own valkiriforce. I've noticed a few maps by this particular Doomer scattered over the Wads and Mods forum and while fairly hardcore, they usually tend to be quite enjoyable. I actually gave this very map a playthrough before it reached /idgames. Well, tried to give it a playthrough: my computer was plotting against me at the time, so it was kind of tricky to play Doom. But I digress.
The general theme is a Downtown-esque city style level, and a good looking one at that. I actually didn't know that this was a vanilla map until after I played the map, which in my opinion makes this even cooler. I mean, look at it! It's not a conventional city by any means, but it manages to look nice while still remaining relatively austere. There's a few new textures thrown into the mix as well, but they never seem to scream anything other than "Doom", unlike some textures you'll find in other wads.
As for the gameplay, well that doesn't disappoint either: it never seems slaughterish, but it'll still get you if you become careless. The Mancubus and Hell Knight sequence is in my opinion the bit that stands out the most, being probably the largest ambush you'll come across: the thing I like about it is the drastic change in dynamic it introduces to the map (i.e., "OMG, monsters are roaming the streets!). The other traps are relatively well made, but this one is for me the most prominent. The dual Arch-Vile finale I found a little bit lacking considering the rest of the map, but all things considered it's a minor quibble.
The verdict? "An Idgames Troll Walks Into A Bar" is an excellent map that I highly recommend if you're looking for a decent challenge. The only downside I can think of is that it didn't come with more maps! :-P If I were Scuba, I'd probably give this...
Three Flippers and a pair of goggles. I'm not quite sure what that equals in regular person terms, but I think it's high enough for this. Well done Valkiriforce. :-)
Lock N' Load - Jordan AKA Canofbacon
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 8335504 bytes -
Reviewed by: Creaphis
I don't want to spend more time reviewing a map than it took the mapper to make it. So, I won't. Download this for two ugly but playable minutes of whatever dampened emotions it provides.
ZDoom is required for the titlepic and the 8MB MP3 track. Mazedude's remix of "Into Sandy's City" makes a humorously epic soundtrack for this unambitious level.
Bossed - C30N9
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 3100526 bytes -
Reviewed by: Creaphis
Bossed is five maps for ZDoom by C30N9, each leading up to a boss battle with one of the denizens from Realm667's bestiary. The maps themselves are small- to mid-sized romps, increasingly hostile towards the end of the set. The environments are simple but vivid - the sort that develops when the mapper has coloured lighting at his disposal and isn't afraid to use it.
Each map has custom monsters aside from the titular bosses, and this mostly works in the wad's favour. Dark imps and cacolanterns keep you on your toes with their ramped-up projectile speed, and the hectebi send you running for cover. However, there's a green lost soul with an identical attack pattern to the original but which takes more than one SSG shot to kill, something nobody ever wanted. You have to fight them with one shotgun or the other, wasting shells either way, since no other weapons are available until MAP03. Also, to avoid the whole chore of dividing new monsters into species, C30N9 has disabled infighting across the board.
The boss battles are charming and respectably challenging, largely because of the little dudes that show up to help the big dude out, since on their own the bosses could be killed with the SSG, circle-strafing, and not too much hassle. The fifth boss is the exception to that rule, as I never quite figured out how to evade an explosive, tracking projectile as fast as a strafe-running player.
As an aside, it's always hard to know when jumping is intended in a ZDoom wad. (This really should be required information in the upload template.) For this set I assumed it should be disabled when I found a yellow key on top of a short pillar in the first map. It's trivially easy to jump up and grab it, letting you skip a fair chunk of the map, so I turned jumping off and continued as intended. Then I found the first jumping puzzle. Okay then. You can also SR50 jump onto torches in MAP02 for a similar skip.
** LOSTTOMB ** (The Discovery) v. 1.2 - Barry L. Levitz aka Sinbad
Ultimate Doom - Vanilla - Solo Play - 925024 bytes -
Reviewed by: Creaphis
Barry L. Levitz did us Doom historians a favour by writing the date in the readme. It's right there: "3/28/96 version 1.2." I had high hopes for this level; the text file weeps with a creator's passion. Unfortunately, it's pretty terrible. Or, at least, it seems to go out of its way to make a horrible first impression. My first few attempts had me gunned down by hitscanners in the exposed starting area, then wedged between a cacodemon and lost soul in the next hall, then crushed by a trapped ceiling in the middle of a staircase. These deaths all occurred within 20 seconds of typing "idclev12."
The other thing you'll notice right away is that your ears are bleeding. This wad features sound replacements, all of which are way too long and muddy to be useful sound cues and blend together into a thick soup of noise. Fireball impacts sound off with a heavy bass-drum "boom," painful in combination with the thudding percussion in the music track. It sounds like STOMP just can't get their shit together.
If you can get past all that, you enter a cryptic layout of large arenas, switch puzzles and teleporters that have to be entered from the right direction. It feels vaguely like a primordial Eternal Doom, though that might be just because that project used some of the same sounds - with more restraint, luckily for us all.
Operation 2000 - Jordan AKA Canofbacon
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 10998993 bytes -
Reviewed by: Creaphis
Operation 2000 is Canofbacon's second map, "Lock N' Load" being the first. Let's all explore his artistic development together. The MP3 track is now a 16 MB Guile theme, twice as large as the previous one, so that's progress.
I won't go too hard on this guy because I have the feeling that these wads are the product of an honest effort. He seems like a decent, affable guy, who's just making easy two-minute maps and experimenting with features as he goes. This one has new textures, a pistol replacement and Realm667 monsters. He just doesn't care the slightest iota about architecture. If you don't either, great! Here you go.
Super Mario 8-Bit - Michael Jan Krizik (valkiriforce)
Doom 2 - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 18554 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Stating that you created a map "out of boredom" is never a good way to advertise it, so you'd be forgiven for skipping this one without trying it. Why do people put effort into making something good, then effectively tell you not to bother with it?
If you don't play it, it will be your loss. Valkiriforce put together a short and extremely brutal map which you may find testing on Ultra Violence. I found it to be deceptively difficult and you need to think about your progression through the map as there are various "routes" which lead you to the same place, but expose you to various degrees of battering and reward your exploration with powerful weapons. Go easy on the plasma though. You'll need it to kill the guardian of the exit switch.
There's a fast-paced remix of the Super Mario theme which will get the blood pumping even before you emerge into the first demonic crossfire (of which there are a few). The map itself resembles the classic image of Mario, but other than these things and the red-and-blue scheme of the map, you won't feel like you're playing anything other than Doom... but when Doom is this much fun, who cares!
Soulcrusher 1.2 Update - Alter-zero
Doom 2 - GZDoom - Solo Play - 4553073 bytes
Reviewed by: Creaphis
This is a bugfix patch for Alter-zero's Soulcrusher, meant to replace "scmain.wad" from that package. Check out /newstuff #433 for a sniping, dismissive review.
Random Imp Generator - blackthrones
Doom/Doom 2 - ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 432654 bytes
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Blackthrones had a brilliant idea. Why not take all the new Imp variants from Realm 667's bestiary, then combine them into one add-on for any of the original Doom games, thereby providing variety and maybe some extra challenge? Well it works and it definitely makes things more interesting because we now get random Imps. Every Imp in the game has a chance to spawn as a different type of Imp. In practice, it doesn't make too much difference since none of the new Imps possess obnoxious powers, but it's a good start.
It would be good to see something like this done for the rest of the monsters. One problem is how many of the Bestiary's monsters (apart from the Imps) are designed to be as hard as possible. It would be harder to add in randomised variants without destroying game balance; imagine facing Hectabus monsters from a pistol start on Dead Simple, for example - they'd murder you and bum your corpse. Or Thamuz (a super-powerful black Cyberdemon) outside the Tower of Babel. You'd need more than rockets and a soul sphere to do him over.
Blackthrones made minor tweaks to a couple of the Imps, nothing most people would notice, but it shows his dedication (and he gives full credit to all sources). If he or someone else could do the same to the other monster variants in order to rein in their stupidly powerful abilities, we'd have a variant of Doom 2 that would kick serious arse.
Shadows of Iscariot - Fragmare (Ian McPherson)
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Deathmatch - 163677 bytes
Reviewed by: walter confalonieri
"Shadow of Iscariot" is a short, fast-paced DM duel arena (tested in FFA with 4 bots in Zandronum) with the Overworld Quake texture pack in it.
The layout is very fast and short, with lots of interconnections that lead to the short yard where the players get stocked in very easily, giving a chaotic gameplay mood to the DM experience (almost in FFA with bots).
Music gives the right supernatural feel to the level; the only complaint about this level is the music is too smooth and vanishes over the screams and shots of your opponents. Oh, and there's a BFG in it, even if it's kind of a "secret weapon", but it's easily reachable for any player. Personally I'm not a big fan of this gun in DM maps, but if you like it...
Overall, it's a cool DM map that needs to be tried, so download and give it a shot!
Thesis - The Mechanix Union
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 108810 bytes -
Reviewed by: Creaphis
"Thesis" is a duel map inspired by, and I quote, "essay driven insanity." The Mechanix Union doesn't specify what kind of essay it was that drove him (them?) over the edge, so just in case he's an English major I'll spare him the question of what exactly the leering faces in the sky symbolize.
What stands out for me in this map is the easily accessible BFG. My knee-jerk reaction was "that's OP!" but upon sober-ish second thought I think it could work. The tight passages and sharp corners give a skilled duelist plenty of places to hide from a BFG's rays, and with no cell pickups (aside from a plasma rifle) the pressure is on the BFG user to make his shots count. That'll be doubly tricky when there are rockets flying at him from the other side of the map. The rocket/BFG snipe-off could make "Thesis" feel kind of like Doom 2 MAP01, but also completely differently since here you have a few options for getting (1) behind your opponent, and (2) the drop on him. This is the kind of DM map that could give root to high-level strategic play and head games if given enough time and attention, which is probably true for most of them.
Certain Death - Serge Jaeken
Ultimate Doom - Limit Removing - Solo Play - 218815 bytes -
Reviewed by: Membrain
This little beauty starts off with its boot stuck halfway up the player's ass and keeps it there for two decently-sized, Shores-flavored maps with just the right amount of detailing. Let's start off with the bad. Firstly, pistol-starting either map puts you in a position of having to pistol several spectres to death, which is more tedious than fun. Beyond that, however, no objective criticism can really be laid against either map that can't be contrasted with intelligent design choices.
All that, however, is really just nitpicking, as these maps are really quite wonderful. The difficulty is definitely punishing on UV, though certainly manageable, and while the author starves the player of health packs most of the time, it never feels like you just can't go on. I can't brag about my prowess as a Doom master, but there's something to be said when you're kept at 10-30% health for almost the entirety of two maps. Granted, this is mostly because the first moments have the sharpest teeth and you spend the rest of the map making up for it. One item of note, which may be of concern to certain players, but did not greatly affect my opinion, is that this is most assuredly a shotgun/chaingun fest, as no higher-tier weapons appear in any significant amounts. I spent most of the wad toting a select few rockets to employ against the sporadic Baron encounters, but I found no plasma gun or BFG. I tend to prefer the usage of the hitscan weapons, so this was no major loss for me, but do be warned.
Visuals are splendid throughout, with the first map predominantly grey with splashes of green and red, perfectly highlighting the hellish incursion through the base. The second map feels a little more like a sewers level, with more liquid and brown metal/wood than anything else. (Speaking of which, I really enjoyed the way the lifts were designed. The supports on the sides added a lot to the aesthetics.) Both maps have good-to-fantastic lighting, with certain areas set to a particular ambient mood almost exclusively with light.
Overall, this gets two massive, blood-soaked thumbs up from me. It's really nice to see episode 2's tropes be played with so masterfully and with such meticulous balancing. Good show!
Forsaken Overlook - Matt Tropiano
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 761722 bytes -
Reviewed by: Creaphis
"Forsaken Overlook" is Matt Tropiano's entry into the "Secret Santa Imitation Project", in which he was selected to make one map in the style of lupinx-Kassman. A truly exemplary review would compare this map to lupinx's work to see if it achieves that objective. This is not that review.
As soon as you load this map, you know you're in for a treat. A flowery parchment in the form of a custom texture beseeches thee to seek the "sword of power." Then you dive right into a pleasantly frantic punching spree. After that, the gameplay mostly consists of slowly dismantling your opposition as you push forward into complex areas, guarded by everything in Doom's bestiary. There are also plenty of ambushes along the way. You'll want to take your time, both to appreciate the work that went into the architecture, and to not die.
The setting is what Doomers refer to as a Gothic castle, even though real Gothic architecture is known for more curvature and fewer engine limitations, surrounded by craggy islands in a blue sea. It's intricate and compelling, without the gloom that usually pervades these castles. The author clearly took his inspiration from vibrant swords-and-sorcery fantasy rather than grimdark shooters.
There's a lot of good content here no matter how you slice it and it'll chase those pesky suicidal thoughts away for the next 45 minutes at least, even longer if you check out Matt Tropiano's blog for a "postmortem" about the map's creation.
10Tomb4 - Obsidian
Doom 2 - Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 632483 bytes
Reviewed by: jacnowak
Two short maps with custom Egyptian textures that follow the 1024x1024 size rule.
The first map is a cramped network of small rooms with a fair amount of switch hunting. Architecture is nicely detailed and the map is cleverly designed in that you revisit the same areas many times but they change constantly - something rises, lowers or opens all the time. It's all a bit confusing but I think the "mysteriousness" correlates well with the Egyptian tomb theme. I think it's a nice implementation of the 1024x1024 size constraint. Monster placement could be a bit better though - played it on UV and it was easy, except that ammo is sparse and I had to bypass two last monsters and head straight to the exit because I ran out of all ammo and didn't want to fight the mancubus with the fist.
The second map contains the boss battle and it is much more action-oriented. It has only one room - this room has a nice layout though and there is just enough cover provided, so the battle is quite fun. There are two bosses actually, but I will not tell you what kind of bosses in order not to spoil the fun.
Both maps follow a consistent theme and are small enough to be completed in just a couple of minutes, so if you want to make a short break from work you can give them a go!
The UAC Water Refinery - Ogre
Doom 2 - Vanilla - Solo Play - 43225 bytes -
Reviewed by: BloodyAcid
Unlike his past releases, Ogre has turned over a new leaf with his latest release of "The UAC Water Refinery," being a short techbase journey. The gameplay is standard fare, but the base is excessively cramped, giving almost no room for dodging. Although the detailing is all right, there is nothing memorable from the design.
Research Facility - Canofbacon
Doom 2 - ZDoom - Solo Play - 3738201 bytes -
Reviewed by: MajorRawne
Canofbacon returns to the Doom community intent on proving he doesn't create troll wads. I will be totally honest here, I thought Research Facility was simply his latest attempt to troll the archives again. It was only after speaking to Canofbacon that I realised this may not be a troll wad after all, so thanks to the powers that be for allowing this review to be modified.
There are a number of problems with Research Facility. Let's start with the text file. The wad author states that his aim is not to improve upon the unfortunate examples he's already released - instead, his aim with this map was apparently to release something with a smaller file size than usual and he is expecting to use our criticisms (we'll not call it 'feedback') in order to create something better in future.
This strategy is risking flames and accusations of trolling which is essentially how this review started out. Few people in the Doom community would flout the laws of decency by uploading something into the archives if they believe it needs constructive criticism. The archives should be for finished maps which have preferably been playtested in the wads and mods forum. Not everyone may agree with that but it makes sense.
Canofbacon doesn't follow these rules. Canofbacon has become a disciple of Bill Gates himself. Gates, who has guest-starred twice in Doom as Locutus of Borg and a twat in a trenchcoat, would have nothing but disdain for our weird, bushy-haired ruler, John Romero. Romero gives things away for free and used to have long hair, so Bill Gates must have written him off as a hippie. Gates, however, releases unfinished trash (called Windows) that invokes a desperate number of complaints, and expects the paying public to do all his beta-testing, then he simply releases a newer version of Windows which turns out to be crap in a new and fiercely annoying way.
So how bad is this map? Is it Windows Vista or Windows 7 bad? How long will you last before you think "Sod it, let's watch the X-Files"? Let's start with the horrid titlepic, or how you'd have more fun watching that episode of Blossom where she goes on the blob, and you'll find your hand streaking for the ESC key. There is not really much improvement to be found here at all.
As for this being a research facility, all I can think is the UAC desperately needed to know the secrets of belly pork since there are strips of it decorating an entire room (it looks too thick-cut to be bacon, fact-fans). The map is made up of corridors and rooms in old-fashioned style with a few of Satan's bum chums poorly deployed in blocks. The battles pack all the merriment of opening a door over your bare toes although some may have fun during the final confrontation. While the visuals include nothing in the way of eye candy or innovation, there are a few mistakes including unpegged doors and a dodgy sector height. This would be forgivable if the gameplay and environment weren't so bland.
Humanity resists the demon scum of course. Apparently this mission was deemed so important they sent their most heroic warrior to fight by your side: a pistol-toting Marine who runs with all the fire and drama of an old woman recovering from a hip replacement. I bet the demons shat themselves when they saw him coming. He does tend to get stuck in rooms though. I unfortunately had to BFG him, which was incidentally the high point of playing this map. This is yet another reason why I felt this was a troll map at first.
I died embarrassingly during the final Cyberdemon fight, but there is nothing to warrant downloading this map, certainly not while PSX Lost Levels are emerging on the forums. I would strongly, strongly recommend Canofbacon stop uploading stuff to the /idgames Archive and spend more time getting playtesters' opinions on the forum.