If you don't mind I'd like to try and make a run through it in the original file, to retain the original ammo counts and have the time played tally up right when and if I reach the end of map 30. If I get stuck, I'll check that file, or wait for beta 3. A missing texture or two won't spoil the broth.
EDIT: My beta test report, pt. III:
- map 15 (cont.): There are no items in the secret to the right of the exit room, at least not on the setting I'm playing (HMP). I could really use some ammo at this point, as I was down to single digits in all categories... First level where I had to resort to secret hunting to replenish ammo store. Found 4 out of 8 and moved on.
- map 16: Freaky start, I dig it! Seems the most advanced map in the features section thus far. I haven't played through a map with slopes before, and there's some nice sector effects I'd like to look later, to see how they're done. There seems to be no way out (and no damage taken), after getting blown off the map and into the small red chamber, following stepping on the sky after running for the switch on the wall in the outdoor area (I had reloaded last save to continue). Also note that you currently have to freelook to shoot the switch on the wall - putting the switch down a notch, onto default gun elevation is probably better, at least if encouraging players to use standard controls. The slope texture on the stairs becomes misaligned after you're locked into the room where the red key drops (cool encounter there). Since the map is so nicely aligned everywhere else, how about creating a lowered buffer-sector below the two side-by-side switches (one requiring a red key), so that the currently half-sliced monitors don't go into the floor? Also, how about a revenant in the room next door from there, so that the chair in the control room don't seem out of scale? The map carries a convincing sci-fi setting throughout - I felt like I was in some small UAC orbital space station. A bit like a fully detailed version of the hovering base in Mercenary, if anyone ever played that.
- Map 17: Immediately, nicely detailed and convincing ancient brickwork. Feels like I've time-ported to the bowels of a gothic keep. Hollowed walls and composited tiles set the bar high for expected detail throughout, and it delivers about tenfold. Rich organic caves, on themed with map 08, these type of caves are really hard and time consuming to do in any engine. Best library I've seen I think, and I'm a huge fan of in-game libraries - I've built a few myself. The barons have a lot of personality and authority, always a sign of a good level. A plethora of tasteful special effects throughout - the rusty midbronze style chandeliers are great, to name one. Pretty lenient liberties are being taken with what I'd consider a conventional room count, but with this much atmosphere I'm hardly complaining. Every creature has its function and place in this sooty underground keep, and it wouldn't be out of place if each of them had an NPC name floating over its head. Would love to play a whole episode of this, more RPG'ish, all-intentional playstyle. Generous ammo count - unlike the other map, this actually feels like the HMP setting I'm playing it on. Oh, and was the only archvile in the map _supposed_ to insta-die on teleporting in? That left me a bit stumped. The lack of a big boss fight at the end is quickly amended by being greeted by a Spider Mastermind roar at the onset of the next map. Masterclass Doom mapping on display, I have a lot to learn from maps like these.
- Map 18. Shootfest! After conserving ammo its nice to go nuts a bit. Open and airy map that ties in beautifully with the previous one. I almost fell out of my chair when the barons showed up with their entourage, fastest draw of the BFG so far! This map is the perfect contrast to the previous map, opening up to digestible yet challenging gameplay scenarios.
- Map 19. The thematical pairing of maps is helping this megawad retain its coherency, as with this map's similarity in initial layout to that of map 10. This plays very differently though, and seems almost impossible at first, though it helps that your ammo meters are all maxed, coming in. Is this even doable from pistol? Could be toned down for HMP at least, but it is a very very entertaining fragfest once you get into the fray and start tagging down the big hellions. I would definitely have added more health around the times you get keys/teleps. A frequent death-reloading map, but it is rock solid in design and execution. Tight as the eye of a needle. Good use of foreboding foreshadowing, with the packs of archvile-backed revenants lying in wait throughout. I have to say though; by the time the dynamic duo at the end showed up, I already felt like I had done enough to beat the map and charged for the exitswitch. The 5 Rooms wad kinda goes officially hardcore at this point. I again wave my white flag of HMP difficulty, and hope it is made abit easier on lower settings, to avoid clogging players from the later maps.
- Map 20. First impression: This looks like a better match to fit between current maps 16 and 17. It is green and techy to start with, like the end of 16, and it ends up thematically towards medieval, which is where current 17 is at. At the beginning, the map is by no fault of its own a tad anticlimactic, following on the bloodpounding templestomper precluding it. Once it settles into its own pace, it plays well. The grand hall behind the blue gate is nicely lit, open and spacious, reminding me of Jeff Easley's Monster Manual II cover. Nice bone-headed cybo to take down in there, though I evaded most the chaos by using the blue gate for cover, making sure I'd tagged the Pain Elemental first. I felt like a smart spacemarine, so props. However, the amount of floor-popping monster-sets along the trek around the blue gate structure (also, the path up to the yellow gate) get a bit predictable on the 5th or 6th set of monsters that pop in silently. I would suggest reducing the number of monsters and vary up how they appear a bit. E.g. maybe some of them old-school teleport in (green plasma-puff), and/or have groups be visible in the far distance, then a new set pops-in if you get close in on the ones in the distance. This is of course a general difficulty with large outdoor Doom maps in general, vs. the easier hiding of spawns in a corridor/mazy map, so repeating the same pop-ins can take away from the pace and lean towards grindy. Things pick up though. Fantastic elevator battle to get the red key - its like the Kung Fu Master arcade game of Doom rooms, with sectioned floors you take down one by one. Don't know how you did those up/down elevator switches, but having manual control there is great. In general, this is perhaps the most lenient map in granting ammo and health (minus plasma) so far. The author might want to rein that in a bit. I was regularily dancing over rocket-boxes with 100 in the inventory towards the end, which spells steamrolling on the start of the next map. As far as changing the play order of this map to fit in between current 16/17 or not, I would say it becomes a question of whether to place game balance or theme first. I wouldn't want to create a steam-roll ammocount for current map 17, but visually it sure fits well as a nice gradient transition. The _current_ transition to map 17 feels a bit abrupt, even if the two exit/start areas match up well there (the special start/end gates). But back to this map: If the level is rebalanced ammo-wise, I'd move in between 16/17. Its a good map regardless, but could be a great one if it focused its encounters/pick-ups on the areas where it shines; the dynamic mid-section, the manual elevator and the foresty monster manual II room. Lastly, is the Spider Mastermind area supposed to be marked as secret? It is the only way I found towards the exit. That, and I don't understand the "X" and "v" markings on the exit area, they seem a bit technical, but I jump in nonetheless. In short, this gem could use a bit more polish
- Map 21. Nifty little creepy keep of chaotic evil here. Is that 3D bridge multiplayer secure I wonder? A berserker pack wouldn't go amiss in here, I kept looking for one. Groovy bit of fortress defense neccessary to beat down the monster moats afer you return to the keep from the archvile crypt/encounter. Perhaps put the yellow key in a blackened niche or a glowing sector? I missed it due to hellknight corpses and ran around in circles for a while. Damn near went rogue to jump the stumps blocking the path up to the red gate, but kept calm and did another sweep. Extra health by the very exit-line would be great, and the exit itself could use being mark it with a gate, sign or glowline to help understand when it triggers. Nice craggy mountainous terrain up there...
- Map 22. Woah, perhaps the most convincing outdoor winter setting I've seen in Doom. Crosshairs looks like they might be required in here, though I usually like to play without them, as the paladin player in me think crosshairs smells of playing rogue style. Resisting the urge, I trudged through room 1 the paladin way, eventually winning out this reverse sniping while dodging the packs of hellknights that skulk around the pillar bases like vengeful gladiators escaping the colosseum. The next (VAST, yet free from Moiré patterns) chamber has a really nice subterrenean feel to it, set off by the grand courtyard before it. For reasons unknown I get a whiff of Ultima Underworld nostalgia, and waft around the room dodging fire and taking out immediate threats while looking for clues to solve the key gates. If map 20 was Jeff Easley then this is Gustav Dore. Grand scale and outer edge of range done right, I was constantly looking for that magical auto-aim limit to trigger, and had surprising amounts of fun doing so. The last room spells grandiose and I felt like an ant in there, clinging to my plasma gun like a raft in a flooding river. The very last onsalught though? Ridiculous. I should have gone for the exit like I had a few times before I guess, but I went for it. Emptied my shallow plasma stores + 100 rockets and finished the last 3 with chaingun. Over the top, but optional, so hey. Took an hour and 10 minutes to beat this leviathan of a level. Loved every minute.
- Map 23. Happy to see my map transitions well from the previous location, thematically. Feels a bit empty after the filled up maps that went before it. I see I missed a few maplines on the computer map, and I guess the pit archvile can go back in on HMP. Its certainly not too tough anyway. Here's an updated file, extracted from and built over the beta file, since that already has the right map number.
To be continued.
I'm glad that you liked map 15, wait for map 24 :D
Regarding map 19: I've been influenced by the harder maps of scythe2, alien vendetta, plutonia&plutonia2 and hr2.
I wanted to build a quite small map but a difficult one and I'm glad that it was successful.
Last edited by ForeverViLe on 07-18-14 at 11:29