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Mechadon
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Thanks Tango :). Yea the green mountain was really weird at first, but it's grown on me the more I see it in-game. After much pixel pushing though, I was able to make a version of the mountain using the desaturated greens (and some browns). Is this better, worse, or about the same?. It still clashes with the super saturated Doom blues, but maybe not quite as bad.

@Raptomex: Your specs are higher than mine, so that is a bit shocking to see slowdown. But if its the same amount of slowdown I experience, its nowhere near unplayable levels (well, I can't say for sure with Brutal Doom loaded), and it only crops up for me in certain areas (like the first big overlook in MAP05). At any rate, if you run across any area that is just completely unplayable due to slowdown, let me know :)

Old Post 02-21-13 06:14 #
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esselfortium
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I think it was much better before, with the more saturated green. It might be a bit cartoony, but it looked better than the current colors and went better with the saturated blue.

An alternate option might be to grayscale the mountains, or even make them blue themselves. Realistically speaking, a sky so strongly colored would probably have an effect on the stuff below it, and gray would probably be the closest you could do to approximate the tint within the Doom palette.

Old Post 02-21-13 06:20 #
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Demon of the Well
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I agree that the lush, verdant hills in the the first version looked better (and less lo-fi) than the more subdued second version. One of the things that has struck me about Vela Pax over the course of the screenshots you've been posting from time to time is how it seems, by design or by nature, to emphasize the boldness of the color in the Doom palette, even if we tend to remember Doom II itself as being relatively brown and (intentionally) dreary, by dint of the texture schemes that tended to dominate within it. Even if it looks a bit "Sonic the Hedgehog" if you really stare at it for bit, that first sky certainly seems like it fits this general aesthetic pattern (even if it's one that's mostly in my head!) better. I will admit, though, that the sky for map 04 from the recent round of shots does have kind of a "razzleberry sherbert" thing going on, heh.

As far as swapping the pistol for a rifle goes, from your descriptions, it doesn't sound to me like it's going to be so jarring that it would unduly skew the overall weapon balance away from the traditional scheme you're aiming for. It'd also hardly be unprecedented, considering, just as one example, that Huy Pham changed the pistol (which he also hates, according to that WAD's readme) in DVII to akimbo pistols which behave in much the same way you've described the rifle as behaving--that is, faster than the pistol, but still definitely subordinate to the chaingun. Whatever else various people might say about the play in DVII, I don't reckon many speak of it as "that WAD with the weird weapon balance." If the architecture in Vela Pax is going to be as gargantuan in scale/scope as it looks (and as I feverishly hope), a hitscan weapon with a decent rate of fire and a relatively high degree of accuracy (with the trigger fully depressed, in contrast to the 'stutter' technique I'm sure we all use a lot for the chaingun) at range will probably fit right in, anyway, and shouldn't change the classic weapon pecking order as long as its damage output isn't too high. Oh, and I say that as a player who generally prefers the traditional weapon/monster behavior to a lot of quirky rebalanced stuff.

Old Post 02-21-13 07:32 #
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Gez
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Mechadon said:
Is this better, worse, or about the same?

Much, much worse. Now it looks completely palette-raped.

The only thing I'd reproach to the first version is how sharp the contrast is between the blues and the whites in the sky; which also make it look like there was more color depth there which was lost. The green ground is perfectly fine and anybody who objects to it is wrong. :p

Old Post 02-21-13 10:48 #
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Mechadon
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I appreciate the feedback on the sky guys. I really wasn't sure what else to do with it. I did try to add some E1~ish mountains, but I ran into pretty much the exact same problem of them harshly contrasting against the really strong blues. I'll try out greyscaling the greens and see how that looks, but if it doesn't work out, I'll just stick with the normal greens :)


Demon of the Well said:
If the architecture in Vela Pax is going to be as gargantuan in scale/scope as it looks (and as I feverishly hope), a hitscan weapon with a decent rate of fire and a relatively high degree of accuracy (with the trigger fully depressed, in contrast to the 'stutter' technique I'm sure we all use a lot for the chaingun) at range will probably fit right in, anyway, and shouldn't change the classic weapon pecking order as long as its damage output isn't too high. Oh, and I say that as a player who generally prefers the traditional weapon/monster behavior to a lot of quirky rebalanced stuff.


I had forgotten that Huy added that akimbo Pistol in DVII. My intentions are pretty much the same as his though, I believe. I do agree with you that buffing the Pistol's behavior, so long as it is still sub-Chaingun levels, shouldn't hurt the overall gameplay ecosystem. The Pistol always felt very awkward and too underpowered (the Doom 64 pistol being a slight exception...though I think it just has better aesthetics with pretty much the same behavior). The only thing is that I don't really have any control over the accuracy of the gun, barring the first shot. I don't know how it works, but it will start to apply spread if you hold down the fire key, just like the Chaingun does (might have something to do with hitscan and Refire? Is there any way around that in dehacked?). But if you use it like many players use the Chaingun for sniping...that is, controlled bursts for pinpoint accuracy, then it is pretty good at sniping low-level monsters. I have considered removing the Refire codepointer though, and making it more like a semi-automatic weapon (which might force accuracy, but I haven't tested it...and it would require a fire key press every time).

By the way Demon of the Well, I really appreciate your detailed response!


Gez said:
he only thing I'd reproach to the first version is how sharp the contrast is between the blues and the whites in the sky; which also make it look like there was more color depth there which was lost.

I'll have to look at it again, but I'm fairly certain that it has more to do with the short ramp-up to the light blues/white in the blue range. That has actually been the bane of my attempts to create the MAP01 sky. I guess I could tweak the blue range, but I was hoping to avoid touching the palette if possible. All that said, yea I do think there should be a bit less contrast between the blues and the whites.

Last edited by Mechadon on 02-22-13 at 04:15

Old Post 02-21-13 23:50 #
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Raptomex
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Mechadon said:
Thanks Tango :). Yea the green mountain was really weird at first, but it's grown on me the more I see it in-game. After much pixel pushing though, I was able to make a version of the mountain using the desaturated greens (and some browns). Is this better, worse, or about the same?. It still clashes with the super saturated Doom blues, but maybe not quite as bad.

@Raptomex: Your specs are higher than mine, so that is a bit shocking to see slowdown. But if its the same amount of slowdown I experience, its nowhere near unplayable levels (well, I can't say for sure with Brutal Doom loaded), and it only crops up for me in certain areas (like the first big overlook in MAP05). At any rate, if you run across any area that is just completely unplayable due to slowdown, let me know :)


It's not unplayable by any means but it's odd when you have a smooth framerate with many other wads. It's no big deal I can just play with GZDoom. I have so many source ports installed there are always other options. I just use Zandronum for Brutal Doom.

Old Post 02-22-13 04:16 #
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Da Werecat
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Brown desert mountains need some cleaning up from red and orange spots, IMO.

Old Post 02-22-13 13:48 #
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Katamori
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Mechadon said:
Is this better, worse, or about the same?.


It's awful I think. Please, don't use it, looks like floating vomit below the sky.

Old Post 02-22-13 14:29 #
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Tango
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Katamori said:


It's awful I think. Please, don't use it, looks like floating vomit below the sky.



or maybe... floating sky above the vomit?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Old Post 02-22-13 19:25 #
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Mechadon
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Da Werecat said:
Brown desert mountains need some cleaning up from red and orange spots, IMO.

Yea, I noticed that shortly after posting the shots up. I cleaned up the spots I could find and I also added a bit more detail to the flatter gray areas.


Tango said:
or maybe... floating sky above the vomit?!?!??!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

Or maybe, the entire sky is vomit! Blue and green vomit sky!

Heh, so yea, I've reverted back to the saturated green mountain foreground for the MAP01 sky for now :P

So I was messing around with my Rifle/Pistol tweak, and I decided to try removing the Refire codepointer to give it have pinpoint accuracy and make it "semi-automatic". But I must have misunderstood how the Refire codepointer actually works. It does give the weapon perfect accuracy, but it will still fire automatically with the fire key held down. This is actually a good thing as far as I'm concerned, because having to press the fire key over and over to get perfect accuracy was sort of a trade-off in my opinion.

The only thing is, I'm not sure if there are any unforeseen consequences of doing this. It gives me the behavior I want, but will it cause any issues?

Old Post 02-23-13 01:42 #
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Mechadon
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Someone over at the ZDoom forums asked if I was going to make new key sprites. I did think about it but I wasn't sure until it was mentioned. So I made some new key sprites the other day.

http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/pics/screenshots/vela%20pax/keeyz.png

The keycards are inspired by these Doom 3 keycard sprites. I couldn't come up with a very interesting design so I sorta...stole that design :P. Actually its more of a fusion between those and the vanilla keys.

The skulls are just something I pixeled out really quickly and they are somewhat inspired by the Doom 64 skullkeys.

On the whole, I'm pretty satisfied with these new key sprites :). Both sets were made from scratch by the way. I've pretty much ran out of graphical things I want to replace without getting crazy. So I suppose mapping is mostly all that's left at the moment. Well, unless I redo the sky textures for the umpteenth time :P

Oh also, I'm going to toss the bex patch here so you guys can check out the Rifle behavior. Feel free to give your thoughts on it. And if anyone knows if there are consequences of removing the Refire codepointer from a weapon, please let me know.

vpbex

Old Post 02-26-13 07:57 #
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Avoozl
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Nice keys, I kind of figured you based the keycard ones on Doom 3's even before I read below.

Old Post 02-26-13 08:14 #
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Katamori
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Amazing sprites! Use them!

Old Post 02-26-13 13:29 #
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ducon
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The purple dildo is missing.

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Old Post 02-26-13 19:11 #
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Mechadon
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I got some motivation to map finally, so I decided to start making bug fixes and tweaks to the finished maps before diving back into MAP04. I finished up my tweaks to MAP01, which took me quite a while. Aside from the small changes, I decided to redo some areas. In particular I redid the exit area entirely. I can't remember why, but for some reason I cut back my original plans for the exit area when I first finished the map. And the end result was sort of an anti-climatic finish to a gigantic level. It was quite pathetic, even looking back on it after finishing it. So with about a week's worth of effort, I rectified that problem.

Here are some screenshots:

Slightly revamped areas worth noting
http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/pics/screenshots/vela%20pax/Screenshot_Doom_20130313_021409.png
http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/pics/screenshots/vela%20pax/Screenshot_Doom_20130313_021616.png

CRATES
http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/pics/screenshots/vela%20pax/Screenshot_Doom_20130313_021650.png

New exit route leading to the chamber
http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/pics/screenshots/vela%20pax/Screenshot_Doom_20130313_021446.png
http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/pics/screenshots/vela%20pax/Screenshot_Doom_20130313_021502.png

The "control room" which houses the switches to open/close both teleporters (for those of you who have played the beta)
http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/pics/screenshots/vela%20pax/Screenshot_Doom_20130313_021512.png

The main chamber, which contains both teleporters. Now with proper scale and foreboding :D
http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/pics/screenshots/vela%20pax/Screenshot_Doom_20130313_021530.png

The entire map has had some lighting adjusts made to it, mostly to make it a bit darker and more contrasted in indoor areas. Also I added a bunch of new secrets, for a grand total of 20! As opposed to whatever it was in the beta, I can't remember. It was still a lot of secrets...but now there are more!

From this point I'll be fixing up MAP02 and MAP05, although they won't take me nearly as long as MAP01. For the most part, they are just getting bug fixes and tweaks (MAP05 got some major visual facelifts not that long ago). Eventually I'll get back to work on MAP04, but you guys will definitely get some screenshots when that happens :)

*edit*

I almost forgot, I took some before/after DB shots of the exit area. It should give anyone not in the know just how much of a difference it is between the old and the new exit (or you could just play the beta :P).

Exit Before | Exit After

Last edited by Mechadon on 03-13-13 at 07:45

Old Post 03-13-13 07:35 #
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Ribbiks
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played the beta a bit back, these are some of the best looking maps I've seen using (pretty much) all stock resources. You have a very distinct detailing style, lots of 'peeled' away ceiling bits. also fantastic use of lighting throughout. I'll be keeping an eye on this for sure.

Old Post 03-13-13 07:58 #
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Demon of the Well
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Looks superb, Mechadon. The sense of scale is humbling, the color contrasts are rich, and the lighting is evocatively moody. I haven't even played the map and I can still get a sort of sense of place from that base; really impressive.

By the way, I'm glad you were able to accomplish what you wanted to with the rifle substituting for the pistol. I tried out the test patch for it you posted previously on a recent single-map upload to the archive, and it felt fine. I don't mind Doom's pistol, myself, but I didn't find the feel or speed of the rifle offputting--didn't take me long to get used to, and I imagine one would appreciate it even more in big maps with considerable distances....like the ones in Vela Pax.

Old Post 03-13-13 08:28 #
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SFoZ911
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Played the first map, it was a beast. took me about 2 hours to complete it at max. really fun map to explore, lots of routes and areas to discover and the enemy encounters was very balanced and fun.

the design was absolutely superb.

Old Post 03-13-13 12:58 #
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BloodyAcid
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Wonderful. The lighting and pure architectural detail looks amazing!

Old Post 03-13-13 16:39 #
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Mechadon
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Thanks guy :). I'm trying to work a bit on my lighting so I'm glad to hear you guys like what you see. I'm thinking about doing the same to parts of MAP05, although I may not if it turns into a nightmare (with the bazillion light transfers that thing has...).

By the way guys, while I'm in the mind set to work on the finished maps, if you guys have any further criticisms, let me know and I'll work them in, if possible, while I finish up my changes.


Demon of the Well said:
By the way, I'm glad you were able to accomplish what you wanted to with the rifle substituting for the pistol. I tried out the test patch for it you posted previously on a recent single-map upload to the archive, and it felt fine. I don't mind Doom's pistol, myself, but I didn't find the feel or speed of the rifle offputting--didn't take me long to get used to, and I imagine one would appreciate it even more in big maps with considerable distances....like the ones in Vela Pax.

Glad to hear it! I haven't heard anything negative about the change so far, and it seems to work without any bugs (that is, the removal of the Refire codepointer), so I'm pretty happy with it. It should definitely come in handy in situations where you want pinpoint accuracy without having to double-tap the Chaingun over and over (though the Chaingun is still probably, overall, superior in that regard).

Old Post 03-14-13 06:32 #
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mouldy
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wow, that first map is a monster. Still chewing my way through it, but its bloody amazing so far

Old Post 03-14-13 19:52 #
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Mechadon
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Hey thanks mouldy, really glad to hear your enjoying it :D

I just thought I'd drop by and post a semi-quick update about my latest progress. In case you didn't catch my last update, my plans since the MAP01 additions were to go through the other two maps and make minor updates and additional bug fixes before moving back to MAP04. And that's what I've been doing. But as is the case with most things I do, I went and overdid it with my updates to MAP02. Tonight I finally finished some major additions to the map after a month~ish of on/off work. I've still got to do a gameplay pass before it is totally complete, so I'm going to wait to post screenshots until then. For now feel free ogle this silly DB shot:

http://mekworx.the-powerhouse.net/mekastuff/wads/vela_pax/velapax-substruct-wip6-updates.png

The map has essentially doubled in gameplay surface area. Pretty much everything you see starting at the north-west corner of the old map is brand new. I ended up moving the start and exit of the map to those new areas, and I was able to thematically link the start of this map to the exit of MAP01; basically you come out of the same shaped teleporters that you see in the exit of MAP01. The exit of this map will link up with the start of MAP03.

I got a little careless with my additions because I hit the sidedef limit 3 times and the linedef limit once. But I was able to do lots of optimization and carve out enough room to finish my additions. And although I didn't really intend to get this crazy with my additions, I'm pretty happy with how the new areas turned out. Once I finish up adding the gameplay bits to the new areas, I'll be sure to post some actual screenshots and I'll go into more detail about the new areas :)

Old Post 06-29-13 08:23 #
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traversd
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Vela Pax - the other project working to a linedef restriction :p

Love your work M

Old Post 06-29-13 08:40 #
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Dutch Doomer
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Your one hell of a mapper. Never thought screens would scare the shit out of me. You take mapping with stock resources to a whole new level. Really nice work Mechadon.

Old Post 06-29-13 11:46 #
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mouldy
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haha blimey. That first map took me so long to play through it felt like i was living there, looking forward to seeing the rest.

Old Post 06-29-13 16:58 #
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BloodyAcid
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... ... ...

That looks amazing.

Old Post 06-29-13 17:18 #
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Memfis
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Obvioiusly it's too early to say at this point, but I think I will not like the changes done to map02. It had such a neat compact layout but now there is a huge "sprout" that will probably feel totally disconnected from that main structure with all the keys. Plus, seems like it will be very different thematically (looks like a purely indoor area). Oh well, I still have the old release on my hard drive, so nothing will be lost I guess.

Old Post 06-29-13 17:37 #
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Ribbiks
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out of curiosity what are the linedef/sidedef limits for (presumably) zdbsp extended? iirc it's 2^16 for other nodebuilders, but I'm curious what the absolute upper limit (as supported by most ports) is nowadays.

Old Post 06-29-13 18:21 #
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esselfortium
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ZDBSP's extended nodes allow for more than 65535 segs, which would otherwise be hit before reaching 65535 sidedefs. 65535 is still the sidedefs limit in anything that isn't UDMF, but upon reaching that number, Doom Builder will compress identical sidedefs when saving. As such, the actual hard limit is then dependent on the map itself. Lighting gradients, for instance, tend to create a lot of identical sidedefs (lots of lines all facing the same sectors, no textures, all alignments 0,0, etc.) so they usually compress well.

Old Post 06-29-13 19:23 #
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Ribbiks
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eenteresting, thanks essel. that'll be good to know if I ever go crazy like mech and his behemoth maps :)

Old Post 06-29-13 20:26 #
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