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Phobus
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I did say I was going to do this, so here we go at last :P

MAP01: Brutal for an opening map, what with the high-damage hitscanners teleporting behind you when you're poorly equipped and simply not expecting things like that to happen. The low health also really encourages dying once about halfway in so you can do a better-prepared run to allow a little room for error. Couldn't find one secret, but as it's so early in I figured it wouldn't hurt.

One of the secrets seems too obvious to count as one, but I could guess it could be theoretically missed if you were dead set on backtracking tio the red key.

The map looks pretty nice though, so that's good! Shame the music doesn't fit the atmosphere at all :\


MAP02: Feels a lot easier due to the higher supplies (particularly taking secrets into account) - you don't need the rocket launcher, but it makes life a lot more comfortable and the map pass by quicker. Especially as there's 2000hp of beef between you and the exit switch! The earlier part feels quite bullshit, what with all of the hitscanners. Then you get teleported into a group of them. Even with the secret invisibility and all of the green armour laying about, I took some real pain clearing that room.

Very dark map, but it still looks alright. So far I've not played anything great, but it's early days and things are escalating very quickly.


MAP03: Confirms a previously unvoiced suspicion of mine - playing on UV continuously in ZDoom (so I can use mouselook to lead my shots and chaingun snipe effectively) is going to leave me a bit over-stocked as far as ammo is concerned. MAP02 gave me a lot of surplus, so although ammo probably is quite tight from a pistol start (judging by the slight depletion of my overall ammo pile from start to finish) I had loads to throw rockets and shells around where I liked.

This map is another dark one with surprisngly tough opposition, although the open spaces and ample supplies minimise the challenge. I feel as though I've already seen most of the enemies Doom 2 has to offer (no Archies, Arachnotrons, Cyberdemons, Spider Masterminds, Nazis or Keens yet, but otherwise the gangs all here!) so the quick escalation has continued. Music didn't seem so out of place this time, compared to the previous two maps. Quite liked the extensive sewer secret and the way the invulnerability is weakened by the distance needed to cover before it really being of use after picking it up, making the short time limit even shorter!


MAP04: Feels like the shortest map of the lot so far, thanks to the high damage output the player can do against the densely populated but relatively low-health enemies (highest health is 500 in the rare Hell Knight) and the actual tiny space it takes place in. The view at the end is pretty nice and again the music seems pretty appropriate. Matt534Dog seems to have a thing for darkness, dense monster placement and hitscanners. Secrets tend to be quite rewarding, so that's helped contribute to my being well-stocked so far. Maps tend to be visually quite brown, although with all the darkness it's closer to black half of the time!


MAP05: The late phobosdeimos1 gave us someting very different to the previous 4 maps. It's a lot less refined in terms of architecture and aesthetics, much brighter and very forgiving. There's about 3 secrets in the map, 4 SSGs and about 3 soulspeheres too, I think, plus a blue armour. Absolutely loads to deal with 80 or so enemies, even if they are largely Hell Knights, Revenants and Cacodemons. More music that I liked, but I'm still yet to play a map I'd consider memorable here.


As MAP06 is a valkiriforce map with 165 monsters in it, I'll leave it for a time that isn't half one in the morning, particularly as I'm sure it'll have a lot of chaingunners in it.

Last edited by Phobus on 02-10-13 at 01:24

Old Post 02-10-13 00:38 #
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Capellan
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Map12

Ugh.

Packed with distant hitscanners at different elevations from you. Strike 1.

If you go through the teleport at the base of the descending column before all the monsters are dead, and you don't have the red key, you may have to restart the level. Strike 2.

Super-cheap Cyber at the end. Strike 3.

Old Post 02-10-13 07:20 #
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cannonball
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Map12 - Alpha Tower by Matt534Dog / Marnetmar / Pottus
Right large level, sometimes it looks nice, sometimes not.
Red key area is too easy, the descending column fight just doesn't pack a punch and took pretty much no damage whatsoever.
Blue key area, the start of it with the chaingunners is horrible, took 80% of my health and left me with no armour for the rest of the level, no cover, just really cheap. leaves you on edge for the rest of the map.
Exit cyber, wow..... that's the only wad which has a worse cyber placement, not only do you put him in a cramped space, YOU MAKE HIM TELEPORT ALL OVER THE FLAMING PLACE, NOT COOL!!! :(
This map has some nice qualities but will make any speedrunner want to hire a hitman to put down the authors who put them through so much agony, that cyber will ruin 99% of runs up to that point and given you will have been playing for 10-15 minutes beforehand that is just cheap and nasty.
In the end that last fight will be the only part I remember from this map, I'm sorry but please change that final trap
Oh I missed one kill due to a baron in the rocket launcher room falling off his platform, those should be fixed as well

Old Post 02-10-13 10:45 #
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Phobus
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MAP06: valkiriforce delivers the best-looking (in terms of architecture, detailing, theming and brightness levels) and largest map so far! Plenty of chaingunners, as I expected, plus a lot of shotgunners. Music is pretty nice and suits the non-linear and dynamic level's explorative nature and slower pace. I suppose the one detractor I was having here is that I've played so many valkiriforce maps that I know to take things slowly and pick off/ambush the hitscanners at a leisurely pace to ensure I don't get overwhelmed. I even anticipated a lot of the out-of-nowhere hitscanner ambushes (only the three chaingunners on the way back from the red card caught me off guard).

I quite liked the usage of the resurrecting imps myself - particularly as only two of them kept coming back and the "solution" to that "puzzle" was nearby. Probably one of the better valkiriforce maps I've played and definitely my favourite in this set so far.


MAP07: This one has to be by Matt534Dog - it's a 5-minute experience in a compact and densely populated map and relatively unforgiving on health due to the high damage output (unless you find the secrets - then suddenly it's prety easy) and absolutely tons of ammo laying around. Not a bad map and certainly the kind that makes a megaWAD compulsively playable (short, sharp shocks that you can easily retry with no real sense of lost progression or wasted time).

Additional good news! I now have a plasma gun I might need later!


MAP08: purist's Panopticon is large, spacious and my new favourite for the set so far. From the exposed starting cages through to the climax at the end I had fun and enjoyed the towering, imposing architecture. Details such as layered texturing and windows every where made the huge walls and open spaces still look good and the use of height variation was both enjoyable and something that made me glad for mouselook, given how high some of the chaingunners ended up being on their trip through the teleports. Speaking of teleports, I think these were well used here and made the start seem very chaotic and unpredictable.

I really liked the music for this map and thoroughly enjoyed myself throughout the play time. The secrets tended to be pretty clever and fit the theme of large open spaces well too, with only one or two little closets used :)

Last edited by Phobus on 02-10-13 at 12:57

Old Post 02-10-13 12:20 #
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BaronOfStuff
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MAP11:
A little on the easy side in a consecutive run, but by no account a bad map. A tad too symmetrical in places resulting in a couple of 'autopilot' moments (clear one side, move to the other and repeat process), but a clean design, room to manoeuvre when required, and no bullshit keeps things going smoothly. It is possible to find yourself wandering around in circles while trying to work out where to go next, but not for any stretch of time that invokes boredom.

Unless you're exceptionally crap at navigating Doom maps.

Odd that the exit only requires any two keys though; is this an intentional thing, or an oversight?


MAP12:
Oh wow, the difficulty suddenly shot up. Okay.

This one was pretty good to fight through for the most part; 330 monsters really isn't as many as it seems when they're used like this (a mix of strengths, not just LOLMEATSHIELDS), and on my first attempt I got through in around 23 minutes -- a reasonable time, all "switch and key" things considered. I was expecting a Cyberdemon during the descent, but thankfully the beast never materialised here. Good. Speaking of the descent, it's in all honesty a bit tedious; just stand in place blasting away with the Plasma Rifle. Almost everything gets melted on the spot before it can move enough to let the next monster through, and it's only the end that really sets a cause for concern... for all of three seconds. That BFG just murders what does manage to break through. Shortening this section (or speeding it up) and reducing the amount of fodder that invites itself over would be an improvement.

Now, some really bad stuff. There's something of an issue with Hitscanners frequently being used badly... come on, guys, it's 2013; there's no need for this sort of fake difficulty anymore. It's been done more than enough times over the last two decades, and nobody likes it. I can just about tolerate having Chaingunners at a range where autoaim is absolutely useless, but at least give us some fucking cover at the same time. The start of the Blue Keycard 'quest' in particular is simply an inexcusable design choice.

Also, back to the topic of Cyberdemons. That Cyberdemon at the end is a dick move. Real fucking cheap. Maybe I'm just cursed by some sort of patented Bad Shit Generator, but that fucker immediately steps forward, teleports, and starts opening fire before it even finishes shouting at me (scoring a fucking tonne of damage in the process). Not really sure why this fight is here; it's just a cheap and nasty way to end things, and not in the least bit legitimately challenging. Replacing it with something like two Arch-Viles would be preferable; still incredibly harsh if unprepared, but not a 99/100 chance of 'lol u ded'.

Some minor issues:
The room with the Computer Map secret could do with a better visual hint. I know that the secret itself can be detected by looking at the Automap (something about that doesn't quite seem right, considering the prize), but I'd say that the chances of looking at the map to check this one place are on average pretty low. Perhaps retexture normal walls here to BRONZE3, with the secret wall being BRONZE2? It would still be reasonably well-hidden, but not so obscure that only 1% of players find it.

Control sectors can be seen if the Computer Map is acquired. This isn't really a scoring or gameplay problem; it just looks lazy on the Automap to see a bunch of boxes.

Are sectors 69, 70 and 158 supposed to be damaging? Seems somewhat inconsistent with the nearby sector 157, and every other floor using this flat (BLOOD1), unless it's because of the Tech Pillars being responsible (in a visual context, which is fair enough).

Old Post 02-10-13 13:16 #
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Phobus
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MAP09: Good music, poor map. Lots of symmetry and cramped areas. Even the frequent usage of hitscanners and Arch Viles isn't particularly threatening, thanks to the environments. Only the very obvious but unavoidable trap before the yellow key card has some real damage potential, but it'd be easy to just kill the Manc before stepping forwards (like I did) and then sprint to the teleport (I stuck around for 100% kills and took the pain instead) in order to walk away from that one relatively unscathed. Not the worst map I've played, but I'm glad it was only short.


MAP10: Yeah, I can see why people didn't like this one. It's a bit of a visual departure from the previous 9 maps, due to the theme it sticks to (it could probably pass quite well as a MAYhem 2012 "Metal Hive" map, TBH), but that isn't the problem. The problem is that it's cramped. Like, 64-unit wide corridors cramped. Even the more open areas are so stuffed full of enemies and decorations that they feel cramped. Chuck in the near-absolute darkness quite a few of the rooms and corridors have, the items that you will end up wasting because they're in the way and the oddly upbeat music and we have an annoying experience. I missed one secret (and therefore one monster, it seems) - not sure what more there was to give, as the map already hasa megasphere and soulsphere in secrets, plus two green armours and a blue one and it focuses primarily on the SSG and plasma rifle, which are the two obvious weapons for most encounters.

It does look good though, I'll certainly have to concede that.


MAP11: I just knew this was a valkiriforce map! Symmetrical areas, brown, lots of hitscanners (some sprung on you almost instantly), a reasonably high level of architectural complexity for the vanilla limits and plenty of switches and moving parts. I managed to successfully not find a single secret this time, which sucked, but as I didn't need them and felt I'd done plenty of exploring by the time I'd gotten to the exit, I just left it.


I have to say, I like the .WADs story-driven nature, what with the relatively consistent theming and sense of progression from the intermissions and map environments. E1 was pretty forgettable, I'd say, with a sharp climb in difficulty to begin with and then fluctuations based on the mapper. Music has largely been uninteresting or even ill-fitting though, IMO. The episode has stuck to the theme of old/decrepit tech bases well, but perhaps been a bit too dark overall for my liking. This subterranean city seems like an exciting idea and MAP12 looks set to be a bit of a slog, with 300 monsters and 3 mappers chipping in. Let's see how the city welcomes new guests...

Last edited by Phobus on 02-10-13 at 14:29

Old Post 02-10-13 13:34 #
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LordK
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BaronOfStuff said:
The room with the Computer Map secret could do with a better visual hint. I know that the secret itself can be detected by looking at the Automap (something about that doesn't quite seem right, considering the prize), but I'd say that the chances of looking at the map to check this one place are on average pretty low. Perhaps retexture normal walls here to BRONZE3, with the secret wall being BRONZE2? It would still be reasonably well-hidden, but not so obscure that only 1% of players find it.[/B]


I immediately noticed that there was something off about that wall. Maybe it was something about the shape of the room and the fact that the room seemed empty and unnecessary so I had a gut feeling that there might be a secret there.

Old Post 02-10-13 14:48 #
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Phobus
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MAP12: Yeah, I also found the automap secret without any real prompting. Just kind of intuitively thought to check that 64-unit wide wall that lined up to the grid in an otherwise non-orthogonal room. I also found that teleporting shock cyberdemon at the end of the map to be bullshit, although not as badly as the room of hitscanny death that faced me when I teleported into the blue keycard area. Good thing I'm pretty cagey when it comes to save/loads or this map would've pissed me right off with those two fights :P

The exterior area is a great example of towering and imposing architecture that looks nice in the vanilla limits. Interior areas were a bit more architecturally complex and a lot less orthogonal than most of what came before, but less impressive too. There's a few decent panic moments (like the imp ambush in the darkened corridor) as well as the aforementioned bullshit fights. Once again, darkness is a bit of an issue in some areas. I'm also pretty certain that missing the red key must be a very easy thing to do, given it's on the opposite side of a teleporter from the very obvious BFG or the invulnerability, which are where one would gravitate to when the floor has stopped its descent. Quite easy to have it covered up with a corpse too, what with all of the enemies there. The blue key area also didn't seem to fit with the rest of the map much at all.

I liked the look of it, liked some of the game play and am impressed by the vertical scaling... It's a map that's probably quite memorable, but overall I'm still not enthusiastic about it. Very glad to see the "destroy the tower" idea actually implemented though :)


One thing I remember a lot of people saying about this map set before it came out is that they were really looking forwards to it, as it because it's a game play oriented vanilla map set (in contrast to something like DTWiD, which was more about acheiving a certain look and feel). I can't say I'm seeing this. So far it's been a clear case of sticking to themes, with game play not really feeling like a focus to me at all. Obviously Razen's map is the worst offender for style over substance, but MAP12 kind of gives me that vibe too, as does the focus on story progression and theming. Half the time the game play is basically just grinding through the wall of enemies between you and the next door or switch!

If you can judge a .WAD by it's first third, this is by no means a great. A lot of cramped maps, really dense monster placement and ammo/health balance issues, the only thing really breaking it up so far is that the mappers are quite varied (valkiriforce in particular standing out with his slower paced and more exploratory maps).

Old Post 02-10-13 15:07 #
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mouldy
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12 - Alpha Tower by Matt534Dog / Marnetmar / Pottus

This is a strange map. There is a lot of very large architecture going on, but its mostly just scenery - the play itself takes place in smaller areas. Some of the gameplay was a bit hit and miss, that is to say the player gets hit and the monsters can't miss. People have already mentioned the room of chaingunner death and the bullshit cyberdemon, other moments I have issue with were the yellow key cavern of darkness (trying to shoot imps and spectres you can't see), and the blue key room where suddenly everything is shooting at you through the walls while more enemies block the exit so you have to dodge crossfire from every angle with zero cover. Surviving these moments was mostly dowwn to luck. People have complained about the lift setpiece but I didn't mind that so much, blasting away at a steady influx of meat is one of the things I enjoy about this game. But yeah... I think this will be in with a chance for least popular map of the wad unless something horrendous comes along. The explosion at the end was nice though.

Old Post 02-10-13 22:41 #
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Capellan
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Phobus said:
game play oriented vanilla map set


Can you give a brief summary of what this actually meant / what people were expecting? I don't really want to read through the whole Interception thread to find out :)

Old Post 02-10-13 23:06 #
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Kristian Ronge
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mouldy said:
But yeah... I think this will be in with a chance for least popular map of the wad

I wouldn't be too sure ...


Map 13 -- Underearth
A delightful cavernous marble/brick palace. The fights are very nicely set up, the health and ammo balance is overall good (though health borders on generous, and towards the end you're given a lot of ammo), there are some neat traps (the demon fight was fun!) and the progression is simple yet not dull. Add to this some very cool sequences -- the building staircase and the rising walls in the marble hall with ensuing hectic fighting -- and you have yourself a great little map with immensely enjoyable gameplay. It all looks slightly plain but aesthetically pleasing, and there's some attention paid to lighting. The soulsphere secret was great: requiring a keen eye but not requiring guesswork. Surely, it could have been slightly more challenging, but I was so happy blasting away monsters that I couldn't care less. I'm trying to come up with some complaint but I really can't, this is just a solid old-school map. --5/5

Old Post 02-10-13 23:12 #
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Phobus
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Capellan said:


Can you give a brief summary of what this actually meant / what people were expecting? I don't really want to read through the whole Interception thread to find out :)


Well, what I read into these comments is that we'd have maps designed primarily around game play. I don't remember reading the Interception thread TBH - I just remember the comments being left in those "what megawad are you anticipating most?" threads and others.


As for what "maps designed primarily around game play" means... Subjective, obviously, but to me it's maps where the fights, exploration, kinetics and progression are the main feature. As an example of this, imagine a square room. It's boring. Now, if you were doing what these guys mostly seem to have done, you'd detail it up (symmetrically, naturally) and have the player come in through one door, leave through the only other and have symmetrical monster placement. If you were gunning for game play first, you'd probably have one wall be a ledge or have a pit near it so there's some height variation, put in some features to one side that enemies can pop out from behind and have two options on how to leave the room. Rather than a nice-looking square, you now have a battle that has a range of threats in a varied environment. Or you'd just not have a square room to begin with, because you'd be designing architecture around combat, puzzles or channeling the player towards goals.

Other people seem to argue something like a big, ugly slaughter map is "game play oriented" because the looks weren't given any time, which isn't the same thing as what I'm saying at all. It turns up often enough in /newstuff comment threads that it's worth mentioning as well though.

Valkiriforce's maps seem to be a bit more along the lines of what I mean due to the range of ambushes (well... the ones that aren't just chaingunner monster closets anyway) and the exploratory nature of the maps, even with all of the symmetrical rooms and encounters. Purist's map seems like a good example to me too, but he's said he made the architecture first and happened to throw in and tune game play that works afterwards, which obviously is the opposite of what I'm saying.

I guess my main point here is that I came into this expecting a finely-tuned and well-crafted game playing experience (whatever that may be) due to the hype I'd read around the forum and I'm just not getting that at all. Admittadly none of this hype was from the project lead, so maybe I should have held back forming any opinions or expectations until playing, but it's human nature. You hear things, you're swayed by them in some way :\

Old Post 02-11-13 00:08 #
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Capellan
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Phobus said:
If you were gunning for game play first, you'd probably have one wall be a ledge or have a pit near it so there's some height variation, put in some features to one side that enemies can pop out from behind and have two options on how to leave the room.


Fair enough. That's pretty much how I approach level design anyway (and has been since I worked on MM2, at a rough estimate - before that, I was more theme-focused in my approach).

As an example, the western hall in CC4 map06 - it's a decent size room, and it has:
* minor enemies dotted around the floor
* several pillars and an altar for cover / obstructions
* a baron in a raised cage at the northern end (which makes good cover once he is dead)
* windows in the western wall that cacos can snipe through
* a window in the eastern wall that more minor enemies can shoot through.

You enter from the northern part of the eastern wall, and can exit through either a door in the southern wall, or the northern-most window in the western wall.

Once you do exit the room, there's a canyon with a platform on the far side. The platform is densely packed with imps. Not so coincidentally, there's also a rocket launcher nearby for you to grab.



I can see the argument that some of the maps in Interception haven't had very dynamic encounter design, especially in the last two maps, but I think there have also been good moments. The second teleporting monster trap on map01 worked pretty well, I thought. And - despite it being symmetrical - I found map09's two archviles in a circular passage to be nicely frantic.

Old Post 02-11-13 00:25 #
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Magnusblitz
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MAP12 - ALPHA TOWER

Man, I really wanted to like this map, especially at the start. I love all the super-high architecture, it really gives a map flavor and sets it apart. Some of the best maps that stick in my mind over the years are ones with large fortress-like or mountain-like set pieces where you can go both outside and inside the building, such as Alien Vendetta's MAP11 "Nemesis". So definitely a point in favor. Unfortunately, as others have pointed out, there's some bad design pieces here. I got the yellow key, and was going to go through the teleporter to the blue key area, but decided to explore the other yellow door first, got the red key, and hit the exit completely bypassing the blue key area. And I'm glad I did... that opening room with chaingunners is just rough. And then it's followed by a ton of revenants and hell knights...ugh. The red key area also has the hardest part at the start (with the revenants), the actual tower descent was almost boring due to the ease of being able to sit and just hold the trigger on the plasma gun down. Didn't even need the invulnerability. This may be partially due to the fireballs from the enemies flying above my head due to the falling floor, not sure if that's a Zdoom only thing or if it happens in vanilla too.

And then that Cyberdemon... what terrible placement. Even with a BFG, fighting him is difficult, because he'll teleport right behind you and start firing before you can turn. The room is too cramped to really avoid rockets. I ended up just hitting the switch as quick as I could, ducking through the columns, hitting the explosion switch and then ducking back out while waiting for the level to end before I could eat rockets. Really a big "fuck you" to the player rather than a fun encounter.

Also, while I like darkness, I think some parts were too dark - the yellow key cavern, and the hallway with the teleporting imps. Gave me flashbacks to Doom 3, and that's not a good thing. Also, I didn't like how the teleporter after the teleporting imps is designed to only open when the player goes to the end of the hallway; I saw that it was the same way I came in and started back-tracking instead of setting off the trigger to open the teleporter and turn the lights back on. Need something there to make the player want to go there.

Old Post 02-11-13 03:50 #
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BlackFish
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MAP11
-I didn't need all 3 keys to get to the final room, yay! (Meaning, I got the red and yellow but didn't figure out how to get the blue).
-Very low health here. I got used to it but there could have been more as I progressed (Final room was fine though).
-A lot of revenant dodging 101 happens here. Good revenant placement.

Old Post 02-11-13 03:58 #
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Sp00kyFox
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MAP11
really not much to say about it. beginning areas were too symmetrical but still ok. the exit arena is only scary at the first look, but if you know where to go you can just blast your way through the four mancubi which block the way to the switch. no need to pay any attention to the other monsters.

MAP12
the looks were nice. the design definitely matched the story, with the city of hell and the power tower.
but oh well.. here are the design flaws. the teleport into a big room full of hitscanners without any cover, the blue key trap and the already mentioned all over the place teleporting goddamn cyberdemon.

but I have to disaggree with cannonball. at least with the bfg the cyberdemon is pretty easy if you know this map. while running to the disappearing wall you can shoot the first bfg shot so that it just hits when you're standing right in front of him. the pain causes him not to teleport and you can finish him off with another shot.

the slaughter lift on the other hand was really great fun, although I think the invulnerability was unnecessary (played on UV).

Last edited by Sp00kyFox on 02-11-13 at 07:44

Old Post 02-11-13 07:05 #
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cannonball
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I really have to disagree here, the solution is pretty much rushing the cyber, this has about a 90% chance of death, the cyber can get the first shot very easily (I tried this), plus when you inflict pain on him he will immediately fire (you either die or back off, if you back off, he will teleport behind you), my only option was to either get the cyber to teleport into the exit room and chaingun him whilst sitting on the spawn point or let the cyber teleport onto the top platform and hope I can nail him with the first shot (this I did in the end). I'm sorry but this fight is completely luck based and will seriously pee off anyone who is doing this map from scratch without saves.

Old Post 02-11-13 07:26 #
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Sp00kyFox
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yeah, you're right. I tested this scene again and even with the anticipating bfg shot you're still gonna die with high chance. guess I was lucky one time with this tactic.
even though it's appropriate storywise to guard the kill switch with a cyberdemon (or even more minions of hell) the execution is just stupid.

Last edited by Sp00kyFox on 02-11-13 at 09:33

Old Post 02-11-13 08:07 #
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Capellan
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Map13

A solid effort this, though it's not one to stick with me. Fairly standard marble and rock kind of complex, with the few unusual elements - such as the very high building staircase - feeling more like mapping gimmicks than natural parts of the level.

Difficulty was pretty forgiving, and I exited with plenty of health and armor.

Spoiler:
(which based on the start of map14, I'm going to need!)

Old Post 02-11-13 08:16 #
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Demon of the Well
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Map 12 -- Alpha Tower - 104% kills / 100% secrets
Ah, seems I enjoyed this one more than most of you. As soon as the map loaded, I knew I was in for a change of pace, as the tall tower, large blood pond, and huge demon-faced entry gate--all in a quiet yard with nothing going on in it--made an immediate impression, standing in stark contrast to most of the previous maps, which have tended to be small, concise, and even cramped. Noticing the HUD readout of a monster count of 330 (almost triple any other map so far) was also pleasing--finally a lengthy engagement (or maybe just one huge clusterfuck)! Apart from a few bare brown corridors, visually I think the map is quite striking, conveying a strong sense of place much as 'Iron Jungle' did--the verticality of the structure, the spacious nature of most of the corridors, the imposing towers and massive canyon beyond the playable area, the juxtaposition of light (e.g. the walkways around the main tower) and dark (the spacious cave where the yellow card sits back deep in the shadows), and the explosion of the towers in the distance at the close all make for a memorable tour....though I wasn't really feeling the music this time.

The action has a mostly gentle up/down rhythm to it, with the highlights being the themed fights for each key. The yellow key battle is pretty easy, with the only wrinkle being that one might run right into a specter's jaws while tearing around the cavern picking off imps and revenants--I solved this by luring the specters into the light pouring in from apertures at one end of the room to make quick work of them before dealing with the rest. The elevator battle for the red key is also pretty easy, given the generous placement of cells and the BFG at the bottom of the descent to handily liquefy the arch-viles...some will probably find this part a little tedious, but I enjoy a bit of gratuitous hold-down-the-trigger-for-three-minutes-straight indulgence from time to time, myself. The invulnerability sphere was a bit excessive, I thought--the four supports of the central column provide adequate enough cover from the viles as is, although the sphere is probably a good panic-button for those that haven't seen this sort of setup much before. I will fully concur with the others that the initial teleportation into the blue key area is not very classy. I was lucky enough to make the right choice and ran for the recessed area at the other end, avoiding any mortal damage, and a lot of the hitscanners massacred themselves soon after...but cleaning out the chainers in the overlooks afterwards still felt crass and unrewarding. The presence of a blur sphere, maybe opposite where the player teleports, or perhaps in an easy secret right before teleporting, would do much to mitigate the awkwardness here. The actual blue key battle itself gave me no real trouble, as I saw the trap coming and was able to defuse it by running back into the corridor before many of the monsters teleported and choked it off. It would probably be much more serious if one happened to miss the rocket launcher out on the balcony of the other corridor, which I can see happening to a lot of folks. As for that cyber, well....I don't resent him. I was lucky in that he paused a moment before opening fire after phasing behind me, yes, which gave me time to get into position...but, even if he fires before teleporting, a similar opportunity would be afforded, since most players will know that they have no choice but to dodge forwards, or else soak up nasty splash damage. Close-range cybers don't really intimidate me much when they can't advance and I have a BFG and a ton of cells, and so I made short work of him....I'd call this a cheeky trap, yeah, but I don't agree it represents a fundamentally unfair setup, or a fight whose outcome is based unduly on blind luck (although the situation BaronOfStuff described represents the unfortunate nadir of possibility)--the area is big enough to consistently avoid damage from him if you don't panic and keep the correct distance (not too far/not too close, to toy with the angle of his aim). It'll probably ruin a few blind FDA runs, sure, but I managed to make it through on the first attempt (again, with a spot of luck, mind), so it's hardly undoable. It is pretty clear that the map could be vastly more difficult for a player unfortunate enough to take a bad route, though--I can see a few forks in progression where this seems possible (e.g. whether one happens to stumble upon the SSG sooner rather than later). My luck held out, though, and I made it through just fine.

Overall, I felt this had a pleasing blend of atmosphere and a nice variety of action set-pieces, and it was my favorite map in the set so far, with map 08 and map 04 as close seconds.

Some technical things: On UV, there is a sergeant stuck in the wall in one corner of the room with the small square booth containing the teleporter that deposits you in the blue key section. Regarding the blue key itself, it is quite possible to take the key without triggering the linedef that causes the exit teleporter for the area back in the marble room with the chaingunner overlooks to lower, which might leave some players stranded if they don't surmise that this was supposed to happen while their attentions were elsewhere.

Last edited by Demon of the Well on 02-11-13 at 08:54

Old Post 02-11-13 08:19 #
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cannonball
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Map13 - Underearth by sgt dopey / Matt534Dog
Fine map with a nice theme and some interesting fights, I liked the moving parts in the large marble area which rose up once forcing your route whilst being exposed to attacks from above with spectres hiding in the knooks and crannies. Nothing really bugged me here, the spectres in the dark and blood could be rather annoying, but that's it.
Final thought on map12
The cyber could be replaced by archviles or restrict the cyberdemon by putting block lines on the monster closet, this would make a nasty barrier and a tough fight in a relatively small space but would be a challenge and not cheap like it currently is.

Old Post 02-11-13 10:36 #
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CorSair
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Map 12:
Huge tower area... Looks rather impressive for vanilla.
As for enemy placement, it is kinda mixed ball for me. The blue key area:
Good thing I stocked up with mega-armor and soulsphere. First area took a lot of my health and armor. The revenant trap, I don't know why, but I liked it. And when you grab that blue key... Very devious. Barely alive after that stint.
And the red key... Goddamn revenants. Two on the corners, plus imps pelting you and spectres being obstacles. And the elevator ride, I hate these rides.
And that final part with Cybie... Too tight area, but I actually like this bullshit part on some degree. Keeps player on toes. And if you grabbed that BFG and have fast feet and return that door, it's a trivial fight.

Map 13:

Rather linear map. Looks partially bland on some areas.
Isn't that difficult, but few areas can be rather nasty. Like that dark blood pit. Couldn't see spectres coming.
Not that interesting map, I'm afraid.

Old Post 02-11-13 12:26 #
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Kristian Ronge
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Demon of the Well said:
Ah, seems I enjoyed this one more than most of you.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who liked it. :-)


As for that cyber, well....I don't resent him. [...] It'll probably ruin a few blind FDA runs, sure, but I managed to make it through on the first attempt (again, with a spot of luck, mind), so it's hardly undoable.

Same here, killed it on my first try. I was (apparently) lucky enough to dispose of the Cyber quickly, since it only teleported once (ended up behind me), and I could kill it with a few BFG blasts. What is interesting, though, is that had I died, I would've immediately loaded up the map again.. as I had just done after being killed by the blue key area chaingunners on my first playthrough. There's something about that map which is ... enticing, and I cannot put my finger on it. I wanted to finish it. I do know that I will play the map over many times in years to come, which is not the case for a vast majority of the thousands of maps I've played in the /idgames archive.

Old Post 02-11-13 17:22 #
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Phobus
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MAP13: Feels pretty linear and basic, with a lot of obvious grid usage and the interesting ideas being used in very simple ways. On the plus side, it's kind of enjoyable even with those flaws and I liked the tune of the music... Just not the sound. Bit too high-pitched for my liking. Basically, it's alright. Easy too, for this megaWAD.

Old Post 02-11-13 18:23 #
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Magnusblitz
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MAP13 - UNDEREARTH

Nice little map here. Pretty linear, and nothing too devious, but there's a couple parts I liked. The demons after grabbing the red key worked well with the room layout - lots of columns to duck around, but also possible for the demons to flank you. Too often people use mass demon traps in locations that make them horribly easy or hard, so this was nice. I also liked the next room right after the red key with the moving marble walls, allowing the player and the monsters to see each other, but then closing them off temporarily. The blood pit was a bit too dark, and I ended up taking a lot of damage, so was thankful for the beserk park (and there's even some imps to immediately punch afterwards). The rest of the map was far too easy, and the plasma gun + two megacells seems over the top for just a few revenants... kept expecting something big to come out. Still, nice little map.

Old Post 02-11-13 20:06 #
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purist
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Map 11 -- The Ocean Outpost by valkiriforce

This doesn't feel like an end of episode map. A grand theme or boss type set-piece would have rounded off episode one nicely.

The map itself is not bad though. It's the polar opposite of MAP10. Wide open, bright and non-linear. I'm not a big fan of the tri-coloured door with scattered keys but at least this map has a twist on the theme by allowing you to pass with only two of the three keys (I fetched them all anyway).

As with the earlier valkiriforce map it is mainly brown, mainly zombie occupied and twists and turns on itself as you hit it's many switches. However, I never felt as lost as in Dangerous Curves mainly because there's no equivalent of that horrid awkward way into the yellow key room.

A cautious approach should be sufficient enough to take care of hitscanners here and higher ranked monsters are not encountered in difficult circumstances. Mistakes however take some time to rectify due to a limited offering of health outside of the soulsphere secret.

The final room felt a little like the afterthought. It's totally at odds to the gameplay in it's preceding areas and, considering it's an all out arena battle, it never really had me scrambling. In HMP all the monsters were confined to the ledges and I felt some ground based monsters that force the player to keep moving would have spiced things up a jot.


I can't complain about episode one overall. None of the maps blew me away but there's no real stinkers either. Atmosphere is generally in check and the theme is generally consistent. I expect the maps to get longer in E2 though, which will be a test to my patience!

Old Post 02-11-13 20:09 #
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BaronOfStuff
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Kristian Ronge said:
...Same here, killed it on my first try. I was (apparently) lucky enough to dispose of the Cyber quickly, since it only teleported once...


*spits drink everywhere*

You mean that motherfucker on MAP12 teleports back and forth?! In that tiny space?! Okay, that is the peak of cheap shit.

Old Post 02-11-13 20:44 #
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Capellan
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Magnusblitz said:
The demons after grabbing the red key worked well with the room layout. Too often people use mass demon traps in locations that make them horribly easy or hard


They're very easy if you've carried the chainsaw over from a previous level. Just sprint to the lift and use the dead end to funnel them onto your blade - it's what I did, and I suffered zero damage from them. (For that matter, you might be able to just sprint for the lift and leave before they could mob you)



purist said:
In HMP all the monsters were confined to the ledges


I played on HMP and I seem to remember a couple of monsters at ground level (I want to say an HK and some imps), but it's been a few days since I played it so maybe I am comflating it with another room.

Old Post 02-11-13 20:58 #
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Phobus
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Capellan said:
They're very easy if you've carried the chainsaw over from a previous level. Just sprint to the lift and use the dead end to funnel them onto your blade - it's what I did, and I suffered zero damage from them. (For that matter, you might be able to just sprint for the lift and leave before they could mob you)

I just danced about with my SSG in the room itself. It's definitely open enough to get away with that pain free.

Old Post 02-11-13 21:36 #
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dobu gabu maru
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MAP09: A bit of a strange map that is quite linear with an okay mixture of enemies. Nothing stands out about it other than the strange gauntlet of baddies when you run to get the yellow key... I like the texture work and small details, but gameplay felt confusing overall. Not a bad map per se, just not one of the more enjoyable ones.

MAP10: One of my favorite thematic levels from this pack so far. Most of the fights are really thrilling (except for the Lost Souls curve) and the strange walls/layout really gave off a unique atmosphere. Stewboy also delivers a great, mesmerizing track for this map too. I'd love to give it more complements but I'm feeling congested, so all I can say is that I really enjoyed it.

Old Post 02-11-13 22:31 #
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