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Liam
the Bard formerly known as the Bard


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Four new wads have made their way into /newstuff this week in an attempt to keep you from playing a more modern game. Have a look.

Mines by Bryant and Kevin Robinson - - This one's a very nice-looking deathmatch map running on Doom 2 Map01. Mines sports a very linear layout for a deathmatch map so people into 'arena-ish' maps will have to alter their strategies a bit. Zdoom features are used rather creatively to add a few gameplay twists to the action. Uses graphic and sound replacements from various games and wads, including Duke Nukem 3D and Unreal Tournament. Requires Zdoom.

Hextest by Peter Rodriguez A.K.A VileSlay - - Hextest is a single-player map running on Doom 2 Map01 and it is also the author's first attempt at a Doom map. The map takes place in very gray UAC base, filled with large, empty hallways and relatively few monsters. It's quite short/easy as far as doom maps go and the key you need is usually close nearby its corresponding door. There are a few blatant HOM errors and texture misalignments at the beginning. However, VileSlay did a good job of staying away from Cyberdemons/Spiderminds and secret areas with a BFG and 300 cells.
BIG GUNS by Gregory Dick - - Yet another single map replacing Doom 2 Map01, BIG GUNS takes place in a Doom 2-esque Hell. The map is relatively small but still takes a few minutes due to the large amounts of very tough enemies (knights, spiders, revenants, etc.). The map is playable but rather frustrating seeing as how the author seems to be a big fan of the ever-popular Rocket-Launcher-Battles-In-Cramped-Rooms-And-Hallways-Against-Huge-Groups-Of-Big-Demons. The fact that the Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind are both used doesn't help anything.

The Underground by Alex Parsons - - The second of a series of maps that was started with 'World's End' last week, The Underground is a single map running on Doom 2 Map01. This map forces you to fight your way through a claustrophobic nukage-filled cavern stuffed with imps and former humans. I found the ammo/health balance to be very good, although the lack of dodging room may frustrate you and the map's light level may tempt you to type IDBEHOLDL. It's also easy to get lost if you don't watch where you're going, although teleports to the main part of the map are in appropriate places. May cause VPO.

Old Post 05-26-02 06:26 #
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mewse
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FIRST POST!!

Old Post 05-26-02 09:50 #
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Zaldron
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Woah, mewse.

Nice week. Not great, but at least those sound like fun.

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Old Post 05-26-02 09:53 #
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magikal
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Liam,what's this thing you've got against Cyberdemons and SpiderMasterminds?If they are sensibly placed,as they are in Industrial(last week} and Big Guns they are a fair challenge.
I like VileSlay's map for example but it took me two minutes to complete.Big Guns is an exercise in mastering the use of the Big Guns of Doom2,the Rocket Launcher,the SSG and the BFG and its' gameplay is as tight as a fuckin nun's c**t.Did you realise that?
Or are you a fuckin' wimp?Cummon Doom's not just about how it looks,people don't spend months honing the gameplay just to have their maps dismissed at a whim:(

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Old Post 05-26-02 11:38 #
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Zaldron
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magikal said:
Cummon Doom's not just about how it looks

/me looks at calendar.

Oh, most certainly.

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Old Post 05-26-02 13:30 #
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Fredrik


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DOOM levels are all about the looks.

I mean, consider an average level with OK gameplay but with no detail or visual FX at all.

Some people will play the level and then forget about it.

Then remake the level with hypercomplex detail, mind-boggling architecture and perfect texturing. Keep the same gameplay.

I'm sure people will remember it then.

Old Post 05-26-02 13:49 #
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myk
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I think that a forum section dedicated to /newstuff would work out much better then the sunday /newstuff news. I can imagine it can be a hassle for the /newstuff guy, especially if a megawad or many maps are released; the resulting preview or review will most likely be crap, it's already just "on the fly" when there's but 3 or 4 maps to mention.. Instead, the thread could be open for anyone to review any pwad that is presently in /newstuff, any day of the week. There could still be a listing of new pwads on sunday, to inform people, with minimal info (EXE designed for, screen shots, # of maps, author, etc, and maybe a first impression, but not more). In addition to giving the list, each sunday doomworld would remind doomers they can discuss and review new pwads in the /newstuff section.

As it is now, people discuss the new pwads when the sunday news appears; but with an open forum system they could start as soon as the pwad gets to /newstuff.

I think it would ease the work of the "newstuff" guy (who will still be able to review.. what he likes instead of everything) and will improve the reviews and opinions given, as it will be discussions between equals instead of (late) opinions about the pwads in relation to the hasty notes the /newstuff guy posts each sunday.

A note about "detail": its quite irrelevant if you're working on a DOOM map (as in not a port, unless its DOOM III, heh) and keep in mind that a designer only has a limited amount of time to spend on his maps.. more on detail and whatnot will certainly mean less on "gameplay." Take Carmack's example; DOOM III won't initially have great multiplayer support because he prefers to work on the new tech and the scary single-player action...

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Old Post 05-26-02 15:00 #
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Fredrik


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Myk's post
WADs and mods?

Old Post 05-26-02 15:44 #
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magikal
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Fredrik said:
DOOM levels are all about the looks.




Not true at all.Take a look in the Polls,Eye candy vs fun factor....eye candy 23%,fun factor77%,nuff said.


Fredrik said:
I mean, consider an average level with OK gameplay but with no detail or visual FX at all...ETC

Different context and I agree.But I'm not talking about maps with average gameplay.I'm talking about maps with thoughtful and challenging gameplay where an enormous amout of time and effort has gone into making sure that the ammo/health balance is correct,monster numbers and placement is precise,architectural proportions and distances measured so that the challenge is mentally stimuating and fair.A game of Chess is a game of Chess regardless of the appearence of the pieces,but that's not to say it isn't important.
Fred think about it like this...if you took all the time you spent on Vrack2(which I absolutely adore btw), making it look so good,and spent it on how the game actually plays you'd know.But you do know because you had some exceptional players do the playtesting for you and it shows.
Liam I don't envy you your job, but you can't let personal preferences cloud your reviews.Objective and not subjective please.
Myk..some great ideas there.

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Last edited by magikal on 05-26-02 at 16:04

Old Post 05-26-02 15:59 #
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Fredrik


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Perhaps it's just me, but it seems that no one cares about a crappy looking level even if it has wonderful gameplay.

Though I agree that a so-so looking map with kick-ass gameplay might be better than a kick-ass looking map with so-so gameplay. Depends on the case and of course what taste you have.

Old Post 05-26-02 16:03 #
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magikal
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Fredrik said:
Though I agree that a so-so looking map with kick-ass gameplay might be better than a kick-ass looking map with so-so gameplay. Depends on the case and of course what taste you have.

And that's my point,yes we all like good looking maps,but there are are many who prefer better gameplay.

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Old Post 05-26-02 16:09 #
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Fredrik


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The best is always a combination of both ;)

Old Post 05-26-02 16:09 #
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magikal
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Fredrik said:
The best is always a combination of both ;)

Yes,and that's why Vrack2,for example,is so kickass.
But on the gameplay front you only have to look at the reception Alien Vendetta received when it appeared.

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Old Post 05-26-02 16:16 #
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Fredrik


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Well Alien Vendetta is very good looking...

Old Post 05-26-02 16:27 #
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boris
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Fredrik said:
Well Alien Vendetta is very good looking...

Not the first couple levels.

Old Post 05-26-02 19:01 #
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Fredrik


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Tarin said:

Not the first couple levels.

The first are OK...

but mind that they are for doom2.exe...

Old Post 05-26-02 19:07 #
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magikal
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Fredrik said:
Well Alien Vendetta is very good looking...

Yes on the whole it is,but there's no great amount of detail because as you say it's for Doom2.exe.But on the gameplay front there are some supurb levels, and that is what most like about it,just have a look at the demo package that's just been released!

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Old Post 05-26-02 19:21 #
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Fredrik


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magikal said:
just have a look at the demo package that's just been released!
When I get some time, I will... :p

Old Post 05-26-02 19:27 #
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cph
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fredrik said: Well Alien Vendetta is very good looking...


magikal said:
Yes on the whole it is,but there's no great amount of detail because as you say it's for Doom2.exe.But on the gameplay front there are some supurb levels,


Yes - most of the AV levels aren't exceptionally detailed but are still good looking. Incidentally, the most detailed level from AV is probably MAP21, which is the one level with really lame gameplay in the WAD.

Still, detail != looks, as any number of old levels prove; The Reactor (Requiem MAP08) is undoutedly an awesome level in looks and gameplay, but it's not madly detailed. Detail is a recent fashion in Doom levels, one way of achieving a good look but far from the only one.

It's fair to say that you usually need a level to look half-decent as well as good gameplay for it to be really enjoyable. While you can make good fights in a featureless square room (that trap at Nirvana comes to mind), you run out of variations pretty quickly. Similarly without some kind of theme and a half-decent attempt at lighting, a level is much less likely to be engrossing to play. So while there are a few classic levels that look lousy (the classic BARREL, and Resistance is Futile (Hell Revealed MAP22) come to mind), they are the exception rather than the rule.

Old Post 05-26-02 20:34 #
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magikal
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cph said:



Similarly without some kind of theme and a half-decent attempt at lighting, a level is much less likely to be engrossing to play. So while there are a few classic levels that look lousy (the classic BARREL, and Resistance is Futile (Hell Revealed MAP22) come to mind), they are the exception rather than the rule.


Yup the atmosphere created goes a long way as to how enjoyable a level is to play and as you say detail is not the only way to do this.
Funny you should mention 'Resistance is Futile'... one of my favorite maps.Have a look at my page for lmps of Resistance is Futile,Big Guns and Industrial and judge the gameplay in each if you get the chance.

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Old Post 05-26-02 22:45 #
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Opulent
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Hey Magikal, I never knew you had demos there.
I'll check them out when I have a chance...

Old Post 05-27-02 00:20 #
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The Ultimate DooMer
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Different people have different tastes, some prefer detail over gameplay, others prefer gameplay over detail. Personally, I don't particularly mind if a level doesn't look spectacular, as long as it plays really well 'cos at the end of the day, the important thing is that you enjoy playing it.

(Also, if you build levels for doom2.exe you only have a limited number of sectors/things to play with in order to avoid the savegame buffer, so the right balance is needed there)

Old Post 05-27-02 11:02 #
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Fredrik


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Well cph is right, detail != looks. I've seen some maps that try to look good by using 500 sectors per room, but fail because the detail is not used with the same level of architectural aestheticism that I have in my levels.

Old Post 05-27-02 11:57 #
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magikal
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Fredrik said:
Well cph is right, detail != looks. I've seen some maps that try to look good by using 500 sectors per room, but fail because the detail is not used with the same level of architectural aestheticism that I have in my levels.

Yup that's where artistry comes in.If you don't have that artistic flair it doesn't matter how much detail you put in a map,it'll still look crap.
But there's also artistry in the gameplay of a map,only it's not so easy to see,because it's not immediately visible.It takes a little more time and effort to realise it's there,and again that's my point if we are swayed away from realising the artistry in the gameplay of a map,by negative comments, before we even try it...that's a great loss and Doom merely becomes an 'also ran':(

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Old Post 05-27-02 13:12 #
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A level with a particular style of gameplay/appearance in mind will only please a certain type of player...you either like it, or you don't.

Levels that try to cater to everyones idea of "a great level" or strive for good reviews can end up being very dry and tasteless. They are a widespan commercial effort to say the least. If you like everything "well balanced"...then ride a merry-go-round. Eyecandy is a great thing and definitely has its place in level making....but supports, on top of supports, on top of columns, do not constitute a good level. I've also noticed a gross misuse of the "copy/paste" function amongst those leaning towards detail. A lot of time wasted...unless predictable symmetry and detail are your ultimate intent.

Old Post 05-27-02 22:27 #
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Virgil
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Big Guns:
Frustrating? Are you kidding me?! This map's awesome. This is also the 1st map that I've played that had these particular kind of fights. I know; I DID blow myself up with the RL a couple of times, but that's actually what made it fun for me :D. If there was an SSG there instead, I wouldn't be scared of those hell knights at all. I'd just walk right up to them and introduce them to Mr. Buckshot >:). The only thing that really pissed me off was that crushing ceiling in the Cyberdemon room: it came without warning and I don't think it was necessary. Luckily, I saved right when I saw the Cyber's feet behind the wall... My guess is that the author spent a helluva long time on the gameplay.


I agree with Fredrik: DOOM levels are all about looks. But I think they're also all about gameplay. Why the hell do you think I like DOOM/DOOM II so much? If I didn't care about gameplay, I'd go and continue playing crap like Quake 1/2/3 and Unreal Tournament.

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Old Post 05-28-02 06:55 #
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magikal
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Excellently put Virgil!
Yeah the first half of the map in particular,you have to be so precise with your use of the rocket launcher,it's like a finely tuned piece of choreography.The battles with the demons/mancubus and the barons also are finely tuned, get you tactics correct and you defeat them easily, a couple of lose shots and you're gone.
Gotta agree on the crusher but I did exactly the same thing first time I played it,as soon as I saw those feet...
And that's a great statement,yeah if it wasn't for the gameplay I'd be playing shit like Quake and UT.Actually I do, but nowhere near as much as Doom.

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Old Post 05-28-02 10:04 #
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greg_br549
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yeah....the crushing ceiling was an afterthought....I actually had it where the player could sneak around/behind the cyber and activate the ceiling to crush him...but after a few node builds he seemed to always awaken very easily...so I skipped the whole thing.

Old Post 05-29-02 04:42 #
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Liam
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Constructive criticism greatly appreciated.

I found Big Guns to be a fun map myself actually but it's just not what I think doomers are used to (which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it). In most popular maps I've played the player isn't directly forced to use the RL in such close quarters like in Big Guns. Once I got used to it and stopped blowing myself up I had fun, although the 1000 revenants trap near the megasphere = not funny ;)

On the cybers/spiders magikal, I'd think that when one is plowing one's way through an action packed, fast paced map filled with tactical and intense battles one wouldn't want to have to stop and circlestrafe around a cyberdemon for three, four, five minutes (although the big guns cyber battle was noticably shorter ;). Of course they're a 'fair challenge', but the amount of time it takes to sit around and beat one kind of drags out the map. But I suppose that could just be me. As for your last map, well, I found FOUR cyberdemons and a spidermind ALL huddled around the exit door. Don't take anything personally that you shouldn't, but I don't exactly call that 'sensible' placement.

And once again, constructive criticism appreciated. I try to keep my reviews fair and above all accurate and if I slip up I deserve to be corrected. And you're right Greg, no one mapping style or theme can please everyone, which is why it's great we have people doing all styles of maps on all levels of detail for many different ports.

Well I'm out. G'night.

Old Post 05-29-02 07:38 #
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Well all you people who are complaining about Liam's reviews...remember that that's exactly what these are supposed to be -- reviews. And reviews usually are supposed to be subjective. I'm not saying you shouldn't reply and say your opinion of the wads, that's what the forums are for, but don't jump on Liam for telling why/why not he liked/didn't like a certain wad.

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Old Post 05-29-02 09:12 #
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