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chungy
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I've taken up maintenance of Freedoom, and I would like to hear what people would expect from the 0.7 release. I've been looking through the old topics, but I can't find anything definitive about plans, so let's throw up some ideas here. You may of course agree or disagree to anything, but keep it civil :)

A few ideas Cato and I came up with over IRC (you are welcome to come up with new ideas):
- Vanilla Doom support. Rationale: the Boom target made sense when the project started, it was the de facto standard in Doom ports. With Chocolate Doom here, however, it would be nice to have an entirely free IWAD for every Doom port out there, including Chocolate Doom and any other port not compatible with Boom.
- New maps for everything -- partly because of a vanilla target, also because the current maps are pretty bland. Need something new!
- Ultimate Doom target. Catoptromancy wants this, I'm not sure it's reasonable at the moment; being it'd mostly be reusing all the Doom II resources though (just five exclusive maps; Doom II MAP30 can't be reused, and Doom I ExM8 levels need to be original). This would be good for Doom I PWADs.
- Finish all the sprites/textures. "FREEDOOM - GRAPHIC NOT YET DONE" is annoying. :<

Last edited by chungy on 12-16-08 at 22:09

Old Post 12-16-08 04:23 #
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AlexMax
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MikeRS said:
- New maps for everything -- partly because of a vanilla target, also because the current maps are pretty bland. Need something new!


Has repurposing the existing maps been considered? Honestly, I think the maps as they stand could be okay with a few modifications, but they lack polish in spite of using boom, especially in terms of space (the levels feel really 'tight' without a lot of space to maneuver)

Not that I think they should push vanilla limits with the eyecandy, but take more of a 'use less to do more'.

Last edited by AlexMax on 12-16-08 at 05:24

Old Post 12-16-08 05:01 #
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chungy
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EDIT: heh, Alex edited his post before I finished writing this

* Whatever works best for getting Freedoom done. The history of Freedoom's contributions, however, would probably make me prefer having it done by a few good authors that can get it done in a reasonable time frame. No real deadlines being set, but if Freedoom 0.7 can be out in the next few months, it would be great :)

* Creative maps are preferred, but nothing too over-the-top. The levels should be well-designed for all the skill levels, beatable by inexperienced Doom players on Hurt Me Plenty (if they need to restart the level a couple times, that's OK). I would think the best design is also to gradually increase the difficulty as the level number goes up. Don't increase the difficulty too much, but the upper maps might need some experience (the kind you'd get from playing the first part of the game) to actually beat them on Hurt Me Plenty.

* Not entirely sure, but a consistent theme, even if fairly loose, would probably make a lot more sense than random styles everywhere.

* Haven't thought about this, actually. IMO, FreeDM actually has the better levels of the two IWADs, though it might have to be replaced (I'm not sure, seems to run in Chocolate Doom, but I haven't thoroughly tested it).

Old Post 12-16-08 05:28 #
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Catoptromancy
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Besides maps all that really needs done for a udoom wad is adjusting the Makefile and build cfg. I have managed to mostly make one already. Nearly all maps will be placeholders, but 1 new texture can be added to advertise the need for mappers in the placeholder maps. Will be mostly for pwads for .7

.7 needs everything. Many maps can be edited to be vanilla.

The skill should be harder. The inexperienced players should be playing on HNTR, HMP for most people and UV to challenge the best players. It gives the most people the best challenge.

Map names are hard-coded, so maps that are made with the name in mind should fit the theme. My Map24 has a deep chasm and still looks nothing like the original id map.

FreeDM is not vanilla at all at the moment, but will be extremely easy to fix for nearly all the maps. I have already started fixing up a few of my old maps for FreeDM, and removing the boom teleports from existing maps.

Old Post 12-16-08 07:41 #
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chungy
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Catoptromancy said:
Map names are hard-coded, so maps that are made with the name in mind should fit the theme. My Map24 has a deep chasm and still looks nothing like the original id map.

There's a fix for that

Old Post 12-16-08 08:02 #
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andrewj
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Hey, nice to know that FreeDoom is moving forward again :-)


MikeRS said:
- Vanilla Doom support. Rationale: the Boom target made sense when the project started, it was the de facto standard in Doom ports. With Chocolate Doom here, however, it would be nice to have an entirely free IWAD for every Doom port out there, including Chocolate Doom and any other port not compatible with Boom.

100% agreed from me, a true IWAD replacement should work with the original EXE.

I also think that FreeDoom should ship with some binaries (a source port). Like with OpenArena, unzip it and double click to play. For FreeDM the obvious choice is Odamex, though for the single player game it's debatable [in another thread I suggest].


New maps for everything -- partly because of a vanilla target, also because the current maps are pretty bland. Need something new!

I think the best policy (for all resources including maps) is that anything can be replaced if somebody makes something better.


- Finish all the sprites/textures. "FREEDOOM - GRAPHIC NOT YET DONE" is annoying. :<

I believe all the textures and flats are done (DOOM 2 at least). It's mainly monster sprites and sounds that are lacking.

Old Post 12-16-08 11:09 #
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fraggle
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I think it would be best to stick with supporting Boom-compatible ports, at least for the time being. At the very least, if Vanilla support is wanted, it would be best to rework the existing maps to be Vanilla compatible. Although it's obviously not complete, a lot of people have contributed maps and it would be a real shame to just throw them all away. Some of the maps are bland, but there are also some gems in there.

But that's just my opinion, it's up to you.

EDIT: I've been thinking about it, and I take it back. As the aim here is to renew the project, which has been stagnant for several years now, this kind of target may be exactly what is needed to get things going again.

One thing that would be nice is if there was some kind of creative direction to the project. Perhaps it would be wise to decide on a story to build the levels around?

Old Post 12-16-08 12:14 #
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chungy
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If Cato pulls through on his Ultimate Doom target, would anyone object to removing the shareware target? I don't see any reason why it would need to be there (arguably, it didn't really need to be in the last few releases anyway ...)

Old Post 12-18-08 09:55 #
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myk
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I agree a certain creative direction, a DeHackEd patch and Doom v1.9 compatibility would all benefit the project. You could also give each IWAD a subtitle according its part in the story. For example:

Freedoom: The Worms Invade
Freedoom 2: Cosmic Infection

Old Post 12-18-08 10:30 #
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boris
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I don't really see a reason to remove Boom support just because of Chocolate Doom. It's been supported by a lot of popular ports for years.

However, if you decide to throw all existing maps away and start from scratch please make sure to add some theme to the "hubs", not just random maps put in sequence.

Old Post 12-18-08 17:48 #
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jute
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Any chance of reusing the old demon sprite (perhaps recolored) for a different enemy? I always liked that thing.

Old Post 12-18-08 19:12 #
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AlexMax
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Ajapted said:
I also think that FreeDoom should ship with some binaries (a source port). Like with OpenArena, unzip it and double click to play. For FreeDM the obvious choice is Odamex, though for the single player game it's debatable [in another thread I suggest].


I'm torn on this idea. My selfish side says that packaging Odamex with FreeDoom would be a cool idea to increase its userbase. But is Odamex mature enough to be a solid single player dooming platform? To me it still feels extremely half finished.


boris said:
I don't really see a reason to remove Boom support just because of Chocolate Doom. It's been supported by a lot of popular ports for years.


For what its worth, when I see a news story about someone porting Doom to something 'odd' like a digital camera, it's usually vanilla doom and not even something like prboom. This is an IWAD we're talking about, not just another megawad. It should go out of its way to be lowest common denominator.


MikeRS said:
EDIT: heh, Alex edited his post before I finished writing this


Sorry mate, I looked back on my post and realized that my points weren't as sequential as I thought, and also I didn't want to appear like I was being too unreasonable in my 'requests'.

Last edited by AlexMax on 12-18-08 at 20:35

Old Post 12-18-08 20:19 #
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chungy
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AlexMax said:
I'm torn on this idea. My selfish side says that packaging Odamex with FreeDoom would be a cool idea to increase its userbase. But is Odamex mature enough to be a solid single player dooming platform? To me it still feels extremely half finished.

This came up in IRC; it's an interesting idea, but it might show allegiance to a specific port, and there's also other things to consider. I'm partial to Chocolate Doom myself, also mostly out of selfishness, it doesn't overload the user with options -- it's just vanilla Doom on modern operating systems; the one issue that might be a problem is its low-resolution might turn off new users. PrBoom has been suggested, but it's got options out of the wazoo to confuse new players.

Perhaps a high-resolution fork of Chocolate Doom, just hi res and nothing else, might be nice.


Sorry mate, I looked back on my post and realized that my points weren't as sequential as I thought, and also I didn't want to appear like I was being too unreasonable in my 'requests'.

No, it's not a problem, in fact I like that kind of discussion. This is the people's Doom, I'm just going to be the guy that sets deadlines, compiles it, and releases. If you don't speak up, how else will your preferences be understood? :)

Old Post 12-18-08 20:50 #
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myk
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MikeRS said:
This came up in IRC; it's an interesting idea, but it might show allegiance to a specific port, and there's also other things to consider. I'm partial to Chocolate Doom myself, also mostly out of selfishness, it doesn't overload the user with options -- it's just vanilla Doom on modern operating systems; the one issue that might be a problem is its low-resolution might turn off new users. PrBoom has been suggested, but it's got options out of the wazoo to confuse new players.
I say, include Chocolate Doom (if anything) with a clear note in the documentation explaining it is like the original Doom engine and that there are many other mostly enhanced ports and modifications of the Doom engine for people to choose from, offering links to places where people can get source ports.

Old Post 12-19-08 03:50 #
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fraggle
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myk said:
I say, include Chocolate Doom (if anything) with a clear note in the documentation explaining it is like the original Doom engine and that there are many other mostly enhanced ports and modifications of the Doom engine for people to choose from, offering links to places where people can get source ports.
Users can't read, and if they could, they wouldn't want to. If people download a combined package it's going to be because they just want to try out "Freedoom"; they aren't going to care about alternative engines that they can use, and so on. I do agree that the majority of people will probably be turned off by the low resolution of Chocolate Doom in this day and age, and even though I'm the author, I think it's a bad choice. I think PrBoom is probably a good choice, as it's mostly faithful to the original Doom, and freely licensed. It does have a lot of options in the menus but the default configuration is sane enough; I don't think it's worth going to the effort of creating a "hi-res Chocolate Doom fork". If completely necessary, it would be easier to create a "cut-down PrBoom" - adding hi-res support to Chocolate Doom would actually be quite a lot of work.

Incidentally, this is another reason why having a combined package with an executable included is a really good idea. People shouldn't have to read about the difference between a game and an IWAD file; all they want is a download link. Chances are that there are probably loads of people at the moment who visit the site and just leave because they can't be bothered to work out how to install the thing.

Old Post 12-19-08 12:59 #
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Catoptromancy
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fraggle said:
heh


Thats exactly was I was going to post but was too lazy. Freedoom will also "be" the exe included for alot/most of new people.

Many of those new players would probably prefer Doomsday just for the graphics. I do suggest a prboom download. It comes with GL and software exes, which should be easy enough.
Somewhere close to download link mention that players can use both exes.

There is a prboom launcher I think only comes with prboom-plus. That should have the option(check box) to load up glboom.exe, maybe even call option "high res graphics". Simple enough for the newest players that have no idea what a wad or GL is.

Old Post 12-19-08 13:10 #
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Jon
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My "vote" would be to keep boom compability and package a combined prboom/freedoom download, after talking to proff/e6y/rjy about the idea.

I've setup a nightly autobuild of freedoom for the new maintainers: http://free.doomers.org/ .

Old Post 12-19-08 13:58 #
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myk
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fraggle said:
I think PrBoom is probably a good choice, as it's mostly faithful to the original Doom, and freely licensed.
It's less free than Chocolate Doom (has id-based graphics in its WAD), it throws two executables at the player, and has messy and outdated documentation. It's also maintained less than Chocolate Doom. As for defaults, there are engines with better ones, such as Eternity (which is probably better than PrBoom for other reasons too, such as having a console).

Ports with additional features are especially necessary when one uses mods; many even require them. And in that case the user is assumed to go package hunting (possibly for various ports, as the WADs demand). Besides, Chocolate Doom's potential issues (such as no free look or jumping) encourage people to try other source ports, when they aren't satisfied.

If you're really concerned, one solution is to add a special Freedoom notice to Chocolate Doom on startup (which can be disabled from chocolate-doom.cfg or by hitting some key while the notice is showing) that explains it is like the original Doom engine and that there are many other mostly enhanced ports and modifications of the Doom engine for people to choose from, showing a simple URL to a source ports page on the Freedoom site.

So while I think Chocolate Doom could work just fine, PrBoom is not better, but maybe Eternity seems like a good choice, if it doesn't have any other issues I haven't thought about.

Old Post 12-19-08 14:00 #
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boris
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Maps aren't really a problem anyway. Getting good sprites is much harder.

Old Post 12-20-08 12:13 #
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Fredrik


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boris said:
Maps aren't really a problem anyway. Getting good sprites is much harder.
Seconded for truth. Everything else is a non-issue.

Old Post 12-20-08 12:43 #
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NiGHTMARE
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There's one major problem with aiming for vanilla-compatibility, and it's that you're going to significantly reduce the number of potential mappers. The reason being, there are a *lot* of Doom mappers who simply do not want to put up with the hastle of working around the various limitations present in the original .exe.

A great many modern Doomers have never even had to put up with these issues, so they may not realize how frustrating it can be. Even amongst those who were around since before the source was released, there were those who considered such issues to be the most annoying aspect of level creation for Doom.

Of course, there's certainly nothing wrong with an individual mapper or mod team aiming for vanilla-compatibility, but for a project like Freedoom that's supposed to something the entire community can contribute to, IMHO it's really not a good idea at all.

So dump Boom features, certainly, but please don't re-implement the limitations. Modding is supposed to be something that you enjoy, not something that makes you want to bang your head against the wall.

EDIT: Just a thought, but if you really are desperate for there to be a set of vanilla compatible Freedoom levels, why not make it a side project?

Last edited by NiGHTMARE on 12-20-08 at 14:10

Old Post 12-20-08 14:04 #
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Jon
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Fredrik said:
Seconded for truth. Everything else is a non-issue.


I'm not sure how going for vanilla-doom compability and throwing out the Boom-requiring levels will make any difference to the number of sprites.

Old Post 12-20-08 14:31 #
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myk
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Boris is saying that no matter what, the project will end up with all the levels. I agree with this, as many people produce Boom levels and many produce vanilla levels. On the other hand, sprites and sounds are hard to make and are what really stalls the project, and being incomplete also drive off the mappers.


A good number of people love Chocolate Doom or the original executables. Making the levels for Boom will force these to use an engine they don't like as much. Vanilla levels work just fine in a Boom engine, or anything.


NiGHTMARE said:
EDIT: Just a thought, but if you really are desperate for there to be a set of vanilla compatible Freedoom levels, why not make it a side project?
Or vice versa. A more embracing idea would be to make one game Doom compatible, the other Boom compatible.

Old Post 12-20-08 14:36 #
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jute
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Fredrik is right, of course. So: any chance of reusing the old demon sprite (perhaps recolored) for a different enemy? I always liked that thing.

Old Post 12-20-08 14:44 #
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Creaphis
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Freedoom could be packaged differently for different people. For people who are absolutely new to Doom, I think it should be packaged in accordance with Fraggle's "users can't read" sentiment. PrBoom seems like a good default port to me. Even though it isn't still actively maintained, it's stable and will remain so for the forseeable future. Also, if we actually managed to get a full set of sprites for FreeDoom we would probably be able to replace whatever non-free graphics are in Prboom.wad. I think. I haven't looked to see what's in there.

If a multiplayer port is also going to be included, it should be kept in mind that "users can't find your IRC channel and ask for a game" so Skulltag or ZDaemon might be better choices, though then we have non-free material in wads and closed-source ports again.

Old Post 12-20-08 17:56 #
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chungy
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fraggle said:
Users can't read

That's rather pessimistic, I'd think it's not quite as true as you think... and even if it were true, it'd just strengthen the case for Chocolate Doom (the article is about UI simplicity, of all things). Either that, or you can name a port where the advanced options are hidden away in a console, and keep the basics available in the UI.

myk said:
It's less free than Chocolate Doom (has id-based graphics in its WAD)

Debian solved that issue already, they build the PWAD without the Wolf3D/Doom/Quake resources. As for the rest of the post with a notice being prepended to Chocolate Doom (or any other port), this is probably better left in the README (say whatever about users not reading, but if they desire something better, they should be reading documentation anyway).

boris said:
Maps aren't really a problem anyway. Getting good sprites is much harder.

This doesn't change anything; the rest of Freedoom is going to be worked on of course.

NiGHTMARE said:
There's one major problem with aiming for vanilla-compatibility, and it's that you're going to significantly reduce the number of potential mappers. The reason being, there are a *lot* of Doom mappers who simply do not want to put up with the hastle of working around the various limitations present in the original .exe.

And limiting it to a port-specific set of features, even one as common as Boom, is bound to have issues of compatibility. For example, Doomsday doesn't support Boom extensions, and it's probably the most popular port which doesn't. Vanilla levels work in every port, or at least they should (if not, file a bug with the port maintainers). Besides, the current levels are mostly crap IMO; it's quite possible to get superior levels with a vanilla target.

Plus, Freedoom will of course be compatible with PWADs just like the normal Doom is. There's no reason that mappers can't continue to show off their skills will port enhance through the use of PWADs.

NiGHTMARE said:
EDIT: Just a thought, but if you really are desperate for there to be a set of vanilla compatible Freedoom levels, why not make it a side project?

Unnecessary extra effort. Either there's 32 levels (or 37 with an Ultimate Doom target) being developed, or 64 (or 74) levels for two projects.

Creaphis said:
Freedoom could be packaged differently for different people.

Why? This just makes more unnecessary effort...

Creaphis said:
If a multiplayer port is also going to be included, it should be kept in mind that "users can't find your IRC channel and ask for a game" so Skulltag or ZDaemon might be better choices, though then we have non-free material in wads and closed-source ports again.

No non-free ports would never be considered for packaging with Freedoom. This not only excludes Skulltag and ZDaemon, but also ZDoom (and derivatives like GZDoom), Legacy, and a few others. Odamex would probably be the best contender, though it still has a few issues, and I'd personally rather wait for it to reach 1.0 status at least.

Last edited by chungy on 12-20-08 at 23:18

Old Post 12-20-08 22:46 #
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Catoptromancy
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Iwad replacement or standalone TC?
No boom, dehacked or anything that crashes doom2.exe.

Old Post 12-20-08 23:23 #
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NiGHTMARE
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MikeRS said:
And limiting it to a port-specific set of features, even one as common as Boom, is bound to have issues of compatibility.


Seems you missed this bit:


NiGHTMARe said:

So dump Boom features, certainly, but please don't re-implement the limitations.




MikeRS said:
For example, Doomsday doesn't support Boom extensions, and it's probably the most popular port which doesn't. Vanilla levels work in every port, or at least they should (if not, file a bug with the port maintainers).


Actually, there are several vanilla editing tricks that don't work properly in Doomsday (3D bridges for example), due to it's hardware renderer nature. And it's not a bug, it's a feature :P.

Also, there's a simple solution for Doomsday fans who want to play Freedoom: use Risen3D to play it instead! Or Skulltag or GZDoom, for that matter. People who limit themselves purely to one port are idiots, IMHO.


Besides, the current levels are mostly crap IMO; it's quite possible to get superior levels with a vanilla target.


It's *POSSIBLE*, sure, but how much effort will it be, and how long will it take to achieve? Clearly it was difficult enough to attract people who were willing and capable of making good quality maps in the first place... so imagine how hard it's going to be when you reduce the number of mappers willing to participate to the project by half (or more). And that's not even counting the number of maps you're going to have to reject on the basis of quality level.

Seriously, the number of skilled mappers who still work within vanilla limitations is almost certainly in the single digits.

I think the only realistic way to get 32/36 top quality vanilla-compatible levels -- without having a tiny handful of people spend years upon years upon years working on them -- is to mine the archives for the best vanilla-compatible levels which grant permission to be re-used and modified (and which don't use modified propietary resources, or at least none that can be replaced).


Plus, Freedoom will of course be compatible with PWADs just like the normal Doom is. There's no reason that mappers can't continue to show off their skills will port enhance through the use of PWADs.


Right back at you: there's no reason that mappers can't make vanilla-compatible Freedoom add-ons.


Unnecessary extra effort.


That phrase perfectly sums up my thoughts on ensuring vanilla compatibility. Please trust me when I say that many pontential Freedoom mappers will feel exactly the same way.


Either there's 32 levels (or 37 with an Ultimate Doom target) being developed, or 64 (or 74) levels for two projects.


So you're even going to dump those Freedom levels which are high quality (such as MAP07)? Now that really is unncessary extra effort :(.

Last edited by NiGHTMARE on 12-21-08 at 00:24

Old Post 12-20-08 23:52 #
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esselfortium
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I've got to agree with NiGHTMARE and the others who say this is a really bad idea.

If you're looking to improve the quality of the maps, you're certainly not going to achieve that by enforcing limits that will make the majority of the skilled mappers in the community hesitant to consider it.

Boom features are supported by nearly every widely-used port, and has been for years now. Going by what I've seen, most people are just going to play it in ZDoom anyway, as soon as someone tells them it exists. Boom compatibility is the ideal standard for community projects, IMO, as it removes most of vanilla's limitations and allows for an amazing number of new options, while still being supported by most ports.

MikeRS and Cato, do you guys seriously expect that you're going to have better luck attracting skilled mappers to make 32 maps within vanilla limits than FreeDoom has had in the past several years for the most widely-supported sourceport standard there is?

It's less an issue of the extra work created by needing to alter the existing maps, and more a question of how you expect adding extremely strict limitations to encourage more contributions to a project that's already having trouble getting people to do work for it.

Lastly, as someone who's worked on several vanilla projects, I can say that I sure as hell wouldn't want to work on another one. :[

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Old Post 12-21-08 04:02 #
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fraggle
Filled with the code of Doom


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NiGHTMARE said:
There's one major problem with aiming for vanilla-compatibility, and it's that you're going to significantly reduce the number of potential mappers. The reason being, there are a *lot* of Doom mappers who simply do not want to put up with the hastle of working around the various limitations present in the original .exe.
Add me to the list of people who agree whole-heartedly with this sentiment. Although I'd obviously love to have a Freedoom that worked with Chocolate Doom, the number of potential contributors that this would drive away is not worth it IMO. I think "limit removing port" is probably a good compromise.


MikeRS said:
That's rather pessimistic, I'd think it's not quite as true as you think... and even if it were true, it'd just strengthen the case for Chocolate Doom (the article is about UI simplicity, of all things). Either that, or you can name a port where the advanced options are hidden away in a console, and keep the basics available in the UI.

The point I was making is that this should just be a package that can be downloaded and played: while PrBoom has a bunch of frivolous menu items, it isn't that bad: the majority of basic options that new players would want to set can be found relatively easily.

Plus, as I mentioned in my previous post, it would be easier to make a cut-down PrBoom than a hi-res enabled Chocolate Doom. Go download the MBF code some time and search for "if (hires)" :-)

To be honest, if ZDoom was GPL then I'd probably suggest that, although Eternity also sounds like a worthy candidate.

Old Post 12-21-08 04:25 #
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