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As I know from longterm observation, one of the things that the Doom community really likes is when a new Megawad pops up out of nowhere. Even better: When it's almost done! I have been working on this in all calmness for the last couple of years, not telling anyone in public that I resumed the project, because I had been very wrong about the release date once before (~2004) and didn't want to make this mistake again. So here it is:
I have a 33 level megawad here. And it will be released in 2012!
About the story
A hidden UAC base on Phobos: Not satisfied with their achievements, scientists have developed a new kind of teleporter, capable of not only sending things through space, but also through time and into different dimensions. There were two prototypes of this machine but one morning, one of them was found missing! Needless to say that one lone marine is sent through the second device, to find out where the missing prototype might be and who is behind the theft...
-33 new Levels from scratch, that have never been released (with the exception of two demo levels a decade ago)
-Explore four wholly differing realms, ranging from medieval castles to dusty tombs, to a sinister space station, and apocalyptic and hellish regions never seen before!
-Lots of references to pop culture: Subtle (as well as not so subtle) allusions to those fantasy, adventure and space operas you all grew up with!
-ACS scripting in all levels to bridge the gap from classic Doom gameplay to wholly innovative puzzles and mechanics.
-Voice acting! (yay! :D)
-A fistful of Realm667 assets thrown in: Just enough to enrich the experience, without digressing too much from the classic doom gameplay.
-Music from all classic Doom games, Hexen and Hexen 2, Quake2, Duke Nukem and more, to always create the right mood, whether you battle through dungeons or tech bases.
-Slow and consistent ramp-up of assets and difficulty. If you want to see Plasma Rifles, Arch Viles or Cyberdemons, you have to play far into the game.
-Supports ZDoom and GZDoom.
-Jumping and Crouching supported (but not mandatory).
-Designed for a Singleplayer experience, ITYTD to Ultra-Violence supported.
-Multiplayer (Unfortunately, I had to cancel my coop ambitions at some point, because ACS scripting got too complex).
-Nightmare! (It's untested. I might do a Nightmare!-patch later on, though)
-Icon of Sin typed final level :D
The design history
I began this project in 1998 as a megawad for Final Doom's TNT episode. Back then, I didn't really have the means to modify Doom beyond doing new levels, so the extra textures, music and skies of TNT appealed to me. I worked on this until 2004, by the end of which about 60% of the levels were completed. I then took an extended break from the project but never had plans to abandon it altogether. In 2010, I resumed the development of DTS-T, now working with Doom Builder 2 and switching the IWAD from TNT to Doom2, as well as the engine from Doom95 to ZDoom.
Being a software developer, the possibilities of ACS scripting greatly appealed to me and during the design of the remaining 12 levels, the scripting got more and more complex from level to level. I have spent the last couple of months revisiting all 33 levels, unifying and smoothing the experience, adding ACS scripts to the older levels where originally crude classic Doom mechanisms were in place. I "beautified" all the spots that looked way too "1994-ish", added voice acting to the levels and threw in weather effects here and laser beams there to further intensify the experience. I decided that a ZDoom exclusive mod should allow jumping and crouching and spent weeks making all 33 levels robust for these movements.
Despite being ZDoom exlusive, DTS-T still is supposed to have a classic touch to it. Most of the time, you will only encounter the classic Doom and Doom2 monsters, although I did add a few surprises here and there. In many of the older levels, I mostly use ACS scripting to guide the player a bit, for example in cases where a switch does something far away. Later on, there is a bit more scripting: There are complex puzzles in some of the levels; there are conveyor belts; there is a time limit on one level and in another level you are required to kill every single monster to get teleported out, rather than finding a physical exit. There is a slope here and there but most of the time I used conventional architecture. And of course there is voice acting in every level. Nothing intrusive and skippable most of the time, the voice acting is supposed to guide you through the story and create a bit of atmosphere.
I am currently playing the game over and over, balancing things, fixing the last ugly spots. My brother is going to play through the finished game soon, giving me final feedback. DTS-T is just a couple of weeks away from release.
DTS-T was built to have a slow and steady ramp-up in difficulty. The first couple of levels are fairly easy, about KDITD difficulty. The difficulty then ramps up to about Doom 2 level by the middle of the game. The final chapter is probably a little above Doom 2, maybe somewhere between TNT and Plutonia, with the hardest levels scratching Plutonia difficulty. It never gets unfair, though, and stays below Scythe difficulty. This is my personal perception, of course, and might be perceived differently by other people.
Game overview with screenshots
It all starts on Phobos, where the super-secret DTS-Device waits for you to step through! I used patrolling marine actors, as well as the scientists from Stronghold to breathe life into this introduction level. The level borrows some room concepts and texture choices from E1M1 to be in line with how the original Doom starts out. It was created in 2012.
The first chapter throws you into the medieval realm of Blackshire. I used fog and Jon Washburn's wonderful weather effects to create a dismal atmosphere. These levels are the oldest of DTS-T, having been created around the year 2000. Needless to say they went through a couple of revisions since then. They are simple and quick to play through and should set you in the right mood for things to come...
Chapter II sets you into the realm of Gogypt, where I used egyptian and gothic themes. Discover ancient temples and sinister cathedrals. Tan-colored fog and dust clouds create the right atmosphere in the outdoor areas. These levels were originally created between 2000 and 2002. The episode is similarly short as the first one but is also progressively harder than Chapter I, with Revenants and Cacodemons joining the fray.
After castles, tombs and temples, the marine travels into the far future. I built a UAC space station with 6 decks, each deck being one level. A part of the episode also plays out on an asteroid.
I designed these levels in 2003 and 2004. The episode is substantially longer than the first two and also a bit more difficult.
The final chapter of DTS-T takes the player to the so-called Apostruct. This is a hub level from which the player travels to individual levels. The reason for the hub is to give the player some choice of the order in which he plays the levels but the levels themselves are played in a linear fashion. This is the largest, most difficult and also the newest chapter of the game. I built the levels between 2010 and 2012, after a five year hiatus from the project. Some levels have a hellish theme to them but I explored totally different styles here and made heavy use of ACS scripting in some. There is a lot of variety in this chapter but each level in itself has a very consistent theme. If you play on Ultra-Violence, you're in for a good challenge once you reach the Apostruct!
Last but not least, a screenshot from one of the two secret levels:
I hope you like what you see and I'm looking forward to your comments. I will keep you updated about the project and a release date here.
Last edited by Deathmatcher on 12-02-12 at 20:32