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Suitepee
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Map 13: Tan Temple (UV/Pistol start. 100% Kills, 69% Items, 28% Secrets)

http://youtu.be/hHZpIuMOic0 = my playthrough of Tan Temple.

An interesting puzzle-esque map by Scypek2 here.

This map is quite short but has some interesting 'puzzles' to get around if you want to finish it.
You start out in a room with a black cross "switch" on the wall (these crosses will form most of the switches in the level, so get used to seeing them), and a nicely lit arrow on the floor pointing out to the player you should press the cross stupid! The opened door on the left reveals a nice 'gravel' waterfall of sorts, and to the right (where I go first) is a small room with another cross switch that lowers a lift. Above is Imps and the chaingun, down below is Spectres and the sound of an Archvile somewhere. Shudder. The switch below lowers a wall with several shotgunners beyond (chaingun rapid fire mode activate!), and then an interesting light and lowered torch prop reveal as you step into the room yourself. Nice.
Ahead is the visual highlight of the level for me; a set of precarious platforms across a "gravel" texture flowing river of sorts, with a pesky Revenant on the other side. Luckily I snipe off the Revenant with minimal difficulty (whenever I see Revenants in far off places, I get "Stalker" flashbacks. Never again!), and the chainsaw and grey rock on the other side don't lower just yet. There's a bizarre sliding 'torch' thing at the end of the gravel river, which looks odd and I don't consider investigating by diving in. Perhaps somebody else found this to be one of the 7 secrets of the level.
Pressing against the nearby gravel wall lowers it, revealing two chaingunners from either side that come from a "cobweb" texture(?) which catches me off-guard because I thought they'd be solid textures and not entirely walkthrough. Up ahead is a room with a hole in the floor surrounded by torches that acts as a teleport to another hole surrounded by torches, and contains the main rewards of the level; the three skull keys and the BFG up on high platforms!

A nice 4 medkit health pool is down below, with Imps and Lost Souls on tree guard duty nearby. This circles around towards the initial gravel waterfall, so it's time to tackle the riddle of the chainsaw river sphinx! Basically you press the cross switch to the right, this lowers the chainsaw permanently but the gray rock is on a timer so you'll need to dash across the platforms to enter the teleporter! Timed platforming and Doom don't usually mix well, but I did this on my first try and didn't feel too clumsily-executed. Your reward is the blue skull key. Two to go! Through the other teleport in the reward room is some shotgun shells that leads down to the ledge where the chaingun was; leaving here triggers a Revenant and Pain Elemental to emerge above. Both are easily dealt with due to their lack of threat up in a tight area, in a bit of questionable enemy placement. Coming back in there reveals a berseker pack just out of reach, which I didn't figure out how to get. I go back into the initial teleporter room now to find the door that requires three keys to open, which is nicely decorated on the sides with the human keycard equivalents. A couple of chaingunners off to the side, then it's time to press the cross switch in this room. Doors open left and right, and off to the left I go to deal with Cacodemons, shotgunners and another Revenant.

Remember that Archvile you'll have been hearing for the last few minutes now? When you go onto the grey block around the pillar here it turns out to be a slow-rising lift, and then the pesky Archvile shows up to resurrect your dead demon friends. Luckily the lift has a rocket launcher on it, so you'll use that to blast him to kingdom come! Thanks for reminding me of that one finale in Quake, Scypek2! Then you kill a bunch of Spectres in a tight area (and I find a secret backpack in a dead end), and after that is puzzle number 2; the teleporter evasion maze! Several Barons are on platforms nearby overlooking a flat maze of grey squares on the floor. Touching these teleports you back to the start of the 'maze', so you'll need to employ some slight touches to navigate this interesting area. Eventually you'll bump into the teleport gravel block at the end and get the red skull key. One key left to go!
Going through the right door in the initial teleporter room takes you to a room full of crushers and a few smartly placed pillars. One crusher guards some Megaarmor that seems hard to get without being crushed yourself, then a slow set of 3 guard the way towards three other slow crushers that guard Super Shotguns! Three other crushers with arrows indicate an exit, but it's a wise idea to press the tan cross switch on the wall to trigger a Mancubi and another tan switch on the other side to appear. Flicking this switch reveals the correct teleporter to go through via the arrow on the floor staying lit next to the correct crusher. (don't know what happens if you pick the other two...) The orange skull key is now yours! And no I didn't figure out how to get the BFG.

Time to escape this temple of Doom. Opening the three key door reveals a strangely textured monochromatic 'static' void of sorts; go through that to the final area. Flick a cross switch nearby, and it's time to recreate the boss battle of Gotcha!, as both a Cyberdemon and a Spider Mastermind emerge from lowered walls. There's a Healthsphere nearby also. The room's blocks also spell out something like 'CLICH'(?, maybe CLICHE or CLICK?), as another secret indicated by a candle takes you back to the initial teleporter room if you wish to explore backwards. Spider Mastermind wins, but in the celebrations I accidentally shoot my SSG at it and kill it, declaring myself the winner! I then step on the grey 'EXIT' marked on the floor that closes out the level (and you have to wait for the tan blocks around it to lower as you triggered the Cyber/SM switch).

Overall this was an interesting technical level. Visually it was alright, and I especially liked the use of the gravel texture for the flowing waterfall/river, as well as the gravel spherical-esque skybox (which you'd notice if you looked into the 'hole in the floor' teleports). Gameplay-wise the enemies provided little threat with plentiful health/ammo around, but the use of interesting (if not overly difficult) "puzzles" was a bit of a different flow to a Doom level than I'd seen previously in the Monochrome Mapping Project. This kind of variety I hope to see a bit more of before my time with the project concludes.

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Old Post 06-21-13 19:13 #
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Getsu Fune
formerly Hurricyclone


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*sigh* I'm stuck on MAP15. Can anyone help here? I'm at a part where there's a white bridge over black sludge which I assume needs to be raised some way, but I can't find how to raise it anywhere. It's close to the beginning of the map, there's a shotgun on a pedestal and two blue teleporters nearby as well. Hopefully schwerpunk (or anyone who has completed the map so far) can help me. I don't want to use noclip only to break the flow of the map, that's why I ask.

Old Post 06-22-13 03:10 #
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schwerpunk
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Hurricyclone said:
*sigh* I'm stuck on MAP15. Can anyone help here? I'm at a part where there's a white bridge over black sludge which I assume needs to be raised some way, but I can't find how to raise it anywhere. It's close to the beginning of the map, there's a shotgun on a pedestal and two blue teleporters nearby as well. Hopefully schwerpunk (or anyone who has completed the map so far) can help me. I don't want to use noclip only to break the flow of the map, that's why I ask.
Picking up the shotgun triggers a script that will raise the first half of the bridge.

These are named scripts (a recent feature), so it's recommended you play with the latest version of G or ZDoom.

Old Post 06-22-13 03:55 #
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Demon of the Well
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Map 16 -- Town Hall - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
This was the worst of Jaws in Space's maps. From reading the Monochrome project thread, I gather that he (Jaws) doesn't seem to think much of it either at the present time, and it's not difficult to see why--it has all of his weaknesses and none of his strengths.

The texture used here is grey cement, although Jaws has once again opted to include the color green via nukage, as in his two silver maps. Some of the inner reaches have a lower light level, but lighting is for the most part flat, lacking much in the way of pronounced contrast that Control Center and (to a lesser degree) Support Storage had. The main area, presumably the titular 'town hall', has an open roof and is relatively spacious (two things that are rare in Jaws' mapping), but otherwise the standard of construction is more in the usual JIS idiom--a concatenation of mazey right-angled corridors. If you measured the distance along the vertical axis between the map's tallest point and its lowest point, I suspect you'd see a much larger spread than is typical in Jaws' maps, but since you spend most of your time in his usual stuffy boxes and narrow corridors it's easy not to notice.

The stronger point of Jaws' maps in this set has generally tended to be thing placement, particularly ammo/weapon/artifact placement, which by fortune or design has managed to wring some surprisingly tactical gameplay out of the simplistic, Wolfenstein-y layouts. Unfortunately, Town Hall pretty much tosses this one bright spot out the window. Thing placement here looks like it was simply vomited out, or done by a blindfolded person picking spots on an overlay of the map. Ammo, barrels and monsters dot the landscape in haphazard array. The main area has a number of invulnerability spheres, which I assume was supposed to speed up the process of slogging through the higher than normal demon concentration in the area. The finale is a cyberdemon packed into a room with a bunch of mancubi and pillars. It's all very haphazard and incoherent. Oddly, the only real fight structure we get is from the 100% symmetry of the monster closets (and their triggers) in the town hall area, and that's not exactly a good kind of structure.....

Not much went right with this one, and it looks like Jaws more or less gave up on it while he was doing thing placement. One of the lowlights of the set, certainly.

Old Post 06-22-13 08:16 #
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Capellan
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Monochrome Map07: Brown Room
I liked this more than others. On continuous play, the level was quite straightforward, even entering with quite low health, as I did. I used pretty much used only the chaingun while playing (since it was the only thing I was getting ammo for) and completed it on the first attempt.

While it's nothing to look at, I thought architecturally it wasn't bad. The author does a good job of making interactive walls obvious, by more subtle means than writing "door" on the floor (a slightly darkened sector at the end of a hall, for instance), and none of the fights seemed too unfair. I notice some complaints about a lack of cover against the mancs, but on HMP I did not experience this. Maybe only having 2 to deal with rather than 3 was a factor, but there was a decent piece of cover near the teleporter into the area, and the curve of the hall on the other side also made for a good position.

Found the megasphere, then got AV-jumped into the exit. I knew about the lift to get up there, but Mr Vile insisted :)


Monochrome Map08: Tessel Dose
Not good.


Monochrome Map09: Coagulation
I enjoyed this quite a bit. I think it looks good, with Membrain working with the monochrome palette to create an interesting environment. I also generally liked the gameplay. It wasn't hugely intense, but bubbled along quite nicely throughout.
A good exploration of how to construct a functional, more or less conventional Doom level, without straying out of the monochrome constraints to the degree that many others have.


Monochrome Map10: Mono Asbest
A significant improvement on Fractal's last offering, this is map09's smaller, more confined, Zdoomified cousin. It makes pretty good use of the 'shades of grey' texture set, though some of the doors in the map are a bit hard to spot, and I completely missed the 'r' and 'y' to mark those key doors. Gameplay was largely pretty easy. I kept waiting for the hammer to fall every time I heard a monster closet open, but it never did.

Last edited by Capellan on 06-22-13 at 12:35

Old Post 06-22-13 08:32 #
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Getsu Fune
formerly Hurricyclone


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schwerpunk said:
Picking up the shotgun triggers a script that will raise the first half of the bridge.

These are named scripts (a recent feature), so it's recommended you play with the latest version of G or ZDoom.



Ah, now I know what it is that I did wrong! I didn't actually pick up the shotgun, and apparently running over it didn't trigger the bridge. Problem was, up to that point I had been using the chaingun the whole way considering there being only zombies and imps running around, and wasn't bothered with using the shotgun considering the ammo given. I also noticed that a door near a rocket launcher (after the blue teleporters) didn't open until I picked up the launcher.

By the way, I'm using GZDoom v. 1.7.1. I originally played this in v. 1.4.8 until I realized that several maps (including this one) would crash GZDoom every time it tried to load the maps.

On to the review then:

MMP MAP15 Whiteroom
This was a great map that was only marred by the fact that actually picking up weapons/items was what triggers things as well as a few "dormant" monsters around. That being said most combat here was very much similar to the previous level, lots of easy enemies to SSG/Chaingun through, but with several biggies to keep the blood pumping. There was also a shortage of supplies aside from monster closets as well as ammo pedestals, so I played a little more conservatively. The part where "this room serves no purpose at the moment" made me laugh a little. I had a little trouble finding the switch to get the red key, also the hallways before it I don't think I triggered every monster out. I ran through those hallways to the red key room, killed everything there, and lured the hallway monsters there so I can have it easier on myself. But it took me awhile to realize the chaingunners were next to the switch to lower the key.

Having enemies in a "dormant" state kinda pisses me off though, like the archvile guarding the yellow key, I never knew when it would awaken. I missed about four monsters, demons in their teleporter holds in a "dormant" state like the archie, but I never got around to figuring out what awakens them. Oh well, at least I liked the level and it proved to be a neat challenge. Final Time 8:48.

Old Post 06-22-13 14:59 #
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cannonball
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MAP16 - Town Hall by Jaws In Space
Wow oh well. Looks like the monsters and items were applied like throwing a can of paint. Massive lol factor here.
Invulnerabilities everywhere, power-ups, monsters strewn all over the place. Lots of random 1994isms including the very tall door and random thin corridors connecting random places up.
Yeah this was hilariously bad but I enjoyed it in a way which I didn't for a few other Jaws in space maps. Probably because it's easy and some of the encounters made me laugh like the imp pyramid.

Old Post 06-22-13 20:51 #
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Veinen
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Map 15: Whiteroom

Pretty good map this one too. Definitely shares some similarities with Membrains maps as this map uses the same black & white color scheme as Membrains trio. While it is more simplistic than those three comparables it does have a few unique features like that dark alley with the monster closets. Overall the visuals are okay, doesn't really stand out in a good or a bad way. Use of lights was good, although the darkest areas were almost annoyingly dark in GZDoom.

Gameplay is alright as well and is very much in the same vein as many of the previous maps. That is, lots of lightweight monsters that come at you in small packs and if you play conservatively enough they pose little threat. My default playing style is very aggressive which resulted in a couple of unnecessary deaths but after changing my approach a bit I had no major problems. The action was relatively continuous but I do agree that the hallways felt a little empty at times. But yeah, it's a good map overall. Pales slightly in comparison to Shortwave but it's still one of the better maps in this wad.

Map 16: Town Hall

Geez, this map is just all over the place in every possible way. Everything seems very haphazardly put together and since the gameplay is overly easy, mindless ssg-fest, this map has very little going for it. Except for the imp pyramid, imp pyramids are great! Hilariously strange, like that long ass diagonal corridor that seems to serve no purpose whatsoever. All over the place describes my feelings about this map so well that I don't think it warrants much else to say. Needs a lot of work.

Old Post 06-23-13 01:17 #
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Getsu Fune
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MMP MAP16 Town Hall

Party like it's 1994!

Wow, this was just...ridiculous in every sense of the word. A berserk pack right at the beginning to start things off, as well as an easy chaingun and secret right where I was at. There's various monsters all jumbled into rooms, with barrels in many places. The invulnerabilities and megaspheres in seemingly random places? Makes battles a tad easier, but still those zombies still managed to get my ass, and there was pain and suffering throughout. Fucking hitscanners, even when I'm willing to punch 'em in the face with berserk they always get me. A number of things interest me, including a nukage-filled cargo area with many monsters. And then there are the monster closets at the beginning of the level and the area where the plasma gun secret is, both of which give the level a "Refueling Base" feel. Maybe that's what Jaws In Space was going for, but I'm not too sure. That imp pyramid was just novelty as well, a BFG in front allows for easy cleansing. Oh, and did I mention the almost obligatory cyberdemon fight at the end? Yep, that too. It's almost as if we were having an old school type of thing going on here, with all these things strewn together. And it overall was not a good experience in my book. Final Time 6:30.

Old Post 06-23-13 03:13 #
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dobu gabu maru
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Monochrome
MAP14: Membrain’s final map is another solid one, switching the theme this time to scaling a large mountainous structure in the middle of the map. The linear peekn’shoot outings from Abstraction Complex are mostly gone as enemies constantly have the terrain advantage over you, forcing a careful play until you have enough ammo to wipe them from a ledge. The only spot I died at besides the opening was the SSG area thanks to the handful of nasty hitscanners, but otherwise I’d say this map has a nice difficulty. However, like all of Membrain’s maps, they’re litered with the weakest Doom units first and foremost with a sparing use of the heavier bastards and no archviles :(. Due to all of his maps being close together, containing very similar enemy compositions and all having the black + white theme, there is a bit a fatigue of playing them so closely together; I really do feel like this megawad would benefit from a little more sparsity in mappers, although it looks like the final stretch is full of new blood.

Oh well. Good on Membrain for solidifying himself as a very competent mapper in my head from now on.

MAP15: schwerpunk's single effort in this project is an enjoyable one. Despite having the same color schemes as Membrane he distances himself with his layout and enemy placement, throwing in a lot of monsters throughout the long hallways and twisted corridors. I thought it was a stroke of genius to have black floors be damaging but unfortunately this wasn’t a consistent threat, making me guess at what floors would probably be harmful or not. Ammo and health are of painfully short supply now and then if you’re like me and tend to run around multiple paths, and in the end I was reduced to running past the barons into the exit (never found the SSG). It was all well and good though; no moments of suffering through frequent save n’ reload like Hansen’s infamous map, barring one room with a bulk of hitscanners from the distance. I wouldn’t say the monster composition is the strongest in the set so far, but it’s really admirable and puts up a decent challenge. Good.

MAP16: Despite the bad rep this map has gotten so far, I had fun with it. Yeah, it's weird, has a bizarre flow, doesn't play too well and is bipolar between corridors and massive open areas, but I feel like it had a nice "welcome to Doom mapping!" similar to what Hurricyclone pointed out. It forced me to move around and at least look for ammo to fight the hordes with as opposed to overfeeding me with cell and a BFG, and some of the boxy, square layout was appealing to me personally. Definitely a welcome change a pace.

Last edited by dobu gabu maru on 06-23-13 at 04:27

Old Post 06-23-13 04:08 #
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cannonball
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MAP17 - ZdLightCrap by gggmork
This map is pure win :)
The level continuous warps around, firstly the central area where the sectors seems to raise and fall as they please. The layout is pretty simple but becomes more complex as more a more walls are triggered to lower. The combat is pretty good here with a decent cyber fight thrown in the central area. Once you get your bearings the map is pretty easy, but the fact you get some well designed ambushes and fights it becomes a lot more enjoyable.
Then you get some complete crazy shit like the room of bouncing items and the exit sequence which is gggmork through and through.
Only one texture is used for entire map I believe with any detail coming mostly from the light variation which is done well here.
Great job here, probably the favourite map of the set so far.

Old Post 06-23-13 10:58 #
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Capellan
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Monochrome Map11: Outpost Gamma
In an ordinary wad, with ordinary textures, this is a middling-OK level.

In Monochrome, this is a complete failure. It does nothing with the Monochrome concept. It's just a middling-OK Doom level that the author hasn't bothered to texture.

Old Post 06-23-13 12:38 #
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Veinen
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Map 17: ZdLightCrap

Awesome map. The warping central room is visually one of the best spots in this wad so far. Other than the that the map is very simplistic looking but the height and light variation makes up for it big time. Especially loved the way gggmork uses lighting to create details out of nothing. Just generally a great looking map.

The gameplay is very enjoyable as well. True, the combat in this map is on the easier side but still, it managed to keep me interested for the entirety of my playthrough. Ambushes were nicely designed and the scarcity of ammo forces the player to keep moving. The Cyber got stuck when the central room warped so that fight didn't exactly go as intended but I like the basis of that battle. As for the craziness in the end, I loved it. Some hilarious stuff, a room full of bouncing items is not something you expect. There might be some who don't appreciate such things in a serious map though and I can understand that but I don't have any problems with it if it's nothing too stupid or annoying. But all in all, it's a really nice and a rather unique map by gggmork. Good work.

Last edited by Veinen on 06-24-13 at 13:37

Old Post 06-23-13 22:20 #
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Capellan
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Overnight, I've been thinking about my review of Outpost Gamma, and I think - at least as of map11 - that this is the key problem with MMP's levels. Many of the entries are just regular maps (of varying quality) that haven't been textured. The ramifications of having limited textures haven't really been explored, they've been sidestepped. Map11 ("well, I'll just use a plain silver texture and a silver switch texture") is simply the most blatant example.

Old Post 06-23-13 22:39 #
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Getsu Fune
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MMP MAP17 ZdLightCrap

You know it's a gggmork level if he puts something derogatory in the title, like crap. But this isn't crap...

Very abstract yet at the same time very enjoyable. gggmork puts out the good fights here, as well as good weapons as well. Best of all, I could play a little more recklessly with given supplies and nonlinear layout. I didn't have too much trouble at all. The cyber fight was kinda bad though in terms of him getting stuck when the main area goes upwards. The room of bouncing items was just novelty, but I don't get why when I grab a key it somehow is still bouncing around. Also, the "Whee!" thing where you bounce around tends to get on my nerves as I was going to the exit. The text at the end was funny but it took awhile to move on, and I'm impatient. Other than those things this might just be the most enjoyable map so far, beating both MAP05 and MAP14 in terms of awesomeness.

Final Time 7:57. Technically that should be a minute or so less, but thanks to the scripts and text, (grrr) it was lengthened.

Old Post 06-24-13 04:20 #
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Demon of the Well
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Map 17 -- ZDLightCrap - 100% Kills / No Secrets
Start DooM. gggMork map loads. Weirdness ensues. Not that this was unexpected, or anything. This is just what most folks that have seen some of the author's past creations will expect--a dimwitted map title, vast open space, a heavily conceptual flavor, and some very outré scripting, amongst other Morkisms. In other words, it's ridiculous and demented (some might even say...."retarded"), yet strangely compelling.

Of all the maps in the project, this is the one that is most truly and faithfully "monochrome"--it uses only a single texture, that being the faxpaper white texture previously mentioned. All of the visual depth elides from sharp lighting variation and from the nature of the structure itself. While in a dormant state (e.g. when the map loads, before the player does anything), the map looks like nothing but a collection of rectangles with a few miscellaneous shapes tacked on, but in truth it's a marvelously dynamic structure. The main room is a grid of platforms that raise and lower based on timed or contextual scripts, meaning that it possesses several possible shapes. These mutations allow access to the side corridors and other areas, which are inaccessible while the main room is in its default state. It looks like something that would be incredibly easy to break, but it all ran extremely smoothly while I played--almost to the point where it seemed like it had an actual AI--making for a very memorable experience. As far as I'm concerned, just seeing this thing in action was more than worth my time playing it, and indeed, probably compensates for some of the weaker maps, as well.

It isn't perfect. I want to stress that I don't really care, in this instance, but in the interest of thoroughness I'll point it out anyway. The actual combat is just average--far from terrible, far from great. Some of the actual battles are pretty decent (e.g. where the arch-viles are encountered), and nothing is terribly slow or unreasonable, but the overall combat feel of the side areas suffers from them being so largely symmetrical, in terms of thing placement as well as structure....at least the corridor battles have a slightly different feel to them depending on whether you happen to take the ascending or descending route (either is possible, given the way the central room works). My favorite part was when the back wall mutated into a sort of stylized maw and unleashed a cyberdemon and some other assholes, who I then got to fight on that unpredictable shifting floor. Sometimes this works out brilliantly, adding legitimate danger to that cyb, and sometimes it just sort of breaks, with him ending up stuck/helpless caught on the terrain, but the coolness of when it works kind of outweighs the silliness of when it doesn't, for me.

...and then there's the outro, which involves keychasing (literally) in a rubber room, a monologue about the Special Olympics and black project-tampered fast food, and then some backtracking so that Doomguy can slowly propel himself out of the map via buttgas. Now, I may have the intellect of a child, but I unfortunately don't have the heart of one, and so I was not particularly amused by any of this. Regardless, the meat of the map/the idea behind it is cool enough that in the end I've come away from this map with little but a feeling of goodwill towards it.

Last edited by Demon of the Well on 06-24-13 at 06:21

Old Post 06-24-13 05:57 #
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dobu gabu maru
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^ As someone who appreciates verisimilitude in a map, I was wondering what your impressions would be of this one.

Monochrome
MAP17: Well, ggg never fails to dazzle. Funny enough, despite the needlessly complex start, there’s a handful of good fights here that rely on nothing more than just the Doom 2 enemies being sneaky bastards, and I’m ecstatic to see my tall naked yellow friend lighting my heart ablaze once more (♥‿♥ ✿). Seriously, the lack of his presence (besides MAP15) was getting me worried. The cyber cubby is a bit too dark to fight in (or find ammo for that matter), and after that is a good laugh out loud moment that I can’t help but feel is going to be one of the things I take away from this megawad. Thanks ggg for that… je ne sais quoi ending.

Old Post 06-24-13 06:54 #
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Demon of the Well
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Capellan said:
Overnight, I've been thinking about my review of Outpost Gamma, and I think - at least as of map11 - that this is the key problem with MMP's levels. Many of the entries are just regular maps (of varying quality) that haven't been textured. The ramifications of having limited textures haven't really been explored, they've been sidestepped. Map11 ("well, I'll just use a plain silver texture and a silver switch texture") is simply the most blatant example.

I don't think the issue (or my issue, anyway) is so much that many of the maps don't do really conceptual or idiosyncratic stuff with their aesthetics/thematics per se (although some of the maps later in the set will put on a show for you in this regard, if this is what you're looking for), as it is that what they do with it is often not remarkable enough to compensate for their weaker aspects. I agree with you that a lot of them are more or less ordinary maps, mind. This in and of itself is not a problem--DooM 'ordinary' is something I've cherished for years and years, after all!--it's just that a lot of them are not very interesting simply as ordinary maps. That is to say, they wouldn't play all that well no matter how they were textured, because the fundamentals of their layout and gameplay design are tepid. Checking in on the MMP project thread, it seems that the WAD was sort of pulled in different directions as it was being made--some of the authors viewed it as an experimental venue where playing with the permutations of the monochrome concept was the main point, and others viewed the monochrome concept as a means to the end of distilling map design down to its fundamentals (layout/flow, placement, gameplay/progression concept, etc.).

The maps that I've liked most were those from the latter camp (for example, Membrain's maps); even though they aren't terribly striking in regards to the monochrome aesthetic, they are solid maps at base level, and don't suffer too much as a result. Many of the other maps don't have this fundamental soundness, leaving them in a position where the relative novelty of the monochrome aesthetic is all that they have to lean on....and it's a lot harder for this unusual aesthetic to compensate for weak gameplay/layout than it is for solid gameplay/layout to compensate for a plain aesthetic. It's not impossible--for example, I sort of liked map 02 despite its mostly bland layout/play just because the atmosphere of it struck a chord with me--but it's definitely an uphill battle.

dobugabumaru said:
^ As someone who appreciates verisimilitude in a map, I was wondering what your impressions would be of this one.

Well, I most appreciate verisimilitude in the sense that some Doom maps (of many different styles) have an ephemeral sort of sense of place to them--they feel like a cohesive location with a particular identity, even though they may be essentially abstract/unrealistic in form. Sometimes 'realism' (sector furniture, layout patterned on the layout of a real place, etc.) can aid in creating this feeling, and often, it doesn't. This Morkmap we just played is, of course, totally abstract/unrealistic in almost every way, but I think its central concepts (the dynamic room and the light-varied all-white aesthetic) give it that feeling of identity, despite its utter lack of verisimilitude in other senses. In addition, in reference to what I typed to Capellan just above, I think that ZDLightCrap, irrespective of its overall dementia, is still a map that uses the monochrome aesthetic to emphasize its other qualities, rather than one that tries to use it as a substitute for other qualities, and so it's cool in that way, too.

Edit: Also, the arch-vile isn't naked. He's just wearing one of those form-fitting, full-body leotards, because his vocation in Hell (when he's not reducing you to a screaming mound of cinder) is as a performance artist, and he needs to stay in top form. You hear him going "ha ha HA ha!" when he's off by himself because he's rehearsing his jaunty stage-laughter for a role in the Infernal version of Rent or (mancu)Puss in Boots.

Last edited by Demon of the Well on 06-24-13 at 10:12

Old Post 06-24-13 09:57 #
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mouldy
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How are things in the megawad club? I've been absent for a couple of months, any plans for next month's adventure?

Old Post 06-24-13 10:45 #
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Suitepee
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Been working this weekend, so sorry for not updating in a bit. I'm probably resigning myself to being behind the curve from now on, but I'll continue to provide my writeups regardless and just hope to not be too behind!

Map 14: Shortwave (UV/Pistol start. 100% Kills/Items. No secrets.)

http://youtu.be/bySbdcLDGGU = my playthrough of Shortwave.

Membrain concludes his trilogy of contributions with a sadly familiar finish.

I'm going to blunt and quite critical of the mapper (sorry!) on this one, since Membrain brings very little new to the table on this map that wasn't mentioned in my writeups on Coagulation/Abstraction Complex. What I will say is that this level starts out with a great & tense opening flourish as you're mobbed from all sides (mostly Imps from above) for the first few minutes of the level, right from the get-go. With just enough ammo/health around, having to dodge many fireballs from above is a great gameplay opener for me. And there's some interesting monochromatic visuals also on this level, especially the pillars and supports. I think this level has the best architecture out of the three Membrain maps. There's also 200+ monsters to deal with. Sadly, this frantic opening is the only interesting part of this level for me. The rest you can check off some kind of "Membrain mapping checklist":

-Pain sectors with dark green/grey glows to them, that you'll have to go through at least one to proceed: check.
-Opening of the level is perhaps the most frantic, followed by a comfortable stroll throughout: check.
-Red switches (well ok Coagulation had candles) with instantly activated platform lowering/rising that you'll need to press several of to beat the level: check.
-Only having chaingun/SSG/shotgun to use as weapons: check.
-Minimal armor use throughout the level: check.
-A disappointing finale that contains no real threat whatsoever: check!

Basically you climb a tower with a staircase that has a few blocks in the way which are removed via several switches located throughout the level, then fight two Arachnotrons at the end once you press the switch atop the tower.....in a huge area where you can easily pick them off from any angle you like. D'oh! Entrance and exit have the same "void" effect from Abstraction Complex. There's also no secrets on this level, which I find a bit odd.

Overall, Shortwave had a great frantic start to it. After that it felt like trodding across over-familiar territory with minimal challenge that had decent gameplay flow and use of monochromatic visuals, but nothing impressingly different from Coagulation/Abstraction Complex. I liked Coagulation because it had that neat technical thing with the switches, but what did Abstraction Complex and Shortwave provide? Not much I can think of to be honest, that I haven't seen done better on other MMP maps! Heck, FractalXX did three maps for this project and despite having some similarities, all 3 felt and played different!
I like the simple flow and visual potential of Membrain's maps, but next time around could you perhaps bring some creative ideas lke you did in Coagulation if you're going to work on a possible MMP2, so that all your levels feel different somehow?

EDIT: Now I think about it, Membrain's levels feel more like they belong as part of a 'Membrain' mapset rather than individual levels as part of a community project. The style is averagely good but there should have been more interesting gameplay things within the levels since they're standing on their own feet rather than being part of a continual flow. And yes, I think Coagulation was the best of his 3 maps here.

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Last edited by Suitepee on 06-24-13 at 16:43

Old Post 06-24-13 15:44 #
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cannonball
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MAP18 - Monochromatic Nightmare by Phendrena
Mixed feeling about this one.
For the good stuff, the layout is good for a city themed map and actually the 3d floors work quite well for this theme in particular. I had no issues navigating the map unlike Alfonzo :P
The gameplay on the other hand, I don't know what happened here (maybe I missed a couple of things), but two things to point out was fight half a dozen barons with a shotgun and a cyberdemon with the chaingun. I had a rocket launcher but precious little rockets. It just made some of the combat rather dull and overall the gameplay was a little lacklustre with very little threat throughout.
There were a few jokes in this map, but monster distracted me and I missed whatever punchline there was :(
Also I chose the yellow door at the end so someone else can do the red and blue and see what happens.

Old Post 06-24-13 17:38 #
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Getsu Fune
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Decided to finish this one kinda early:

MMP MAP18 Monochromatic Nightmare

First of all, Phendrena, I hated the music. Sorry, I had to turn it off, it was driving me nuts. :p

As far as the level goes, the name says it all. It was pure black/white and it worked very well. There were plenty of room-over-rooms, nice effect, but it's a nightmare when trying to use the automap. That secret armory at the beginning was really helpful, thank you for that. Progression of combat was manageable, with the basic monsters being mainstays again, although they seem to show up out of nowhere sometimes which was surprising. No real challenges other than navigating the Downtown-esque area for keys and switches, that was the true nightmare. The last part with the arena, I don't know if going into a different door (I chose yellow for some reason) would be a very different fight. For me, I hid in a corner and SSG'd everyone. And then it took awhile before some barons showed up and then I grabbed the supercharge and ended the level. So in the end this level was fun, but a nightmare to navigate around, and I backtracked a little to get more supplies since I may have used up quite a lot. Final Time 12:05.

EDIT: missed Cannonball's post. Sorry, I took the yellow path too.

Last edited by Getsu Fune on 06-24-13 at 17:54

Old Post 06-24-13 17:45 #
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Membrain
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Suitepee said:
Been working this weekend, so sorry for not updating in a bit. I'm probably resigning myself to being behind the curve from now on, but I'll continue to provide my writeups regardless and just hope to not be too behind!

Map 14: Shortwave (UV/Pistol start. 100% Kills/Items. No secrets.)

http://youtu.be/bySbdcLDGGU = my playthrough of Shortwave.

Membrain concludes his trilogy of contributions with a sadly familiar finish...[/review]



This is a great review. I really appreciate the effort put into quantifying the map's issues and showing where improvements may be made. Of course, due to the project being as it is, the switch/visual style of the map does suffer a lot, but seeing that mentioned alongside the gameplay issues shows a really good understanding of what makes a Doom map play well, or not so well.

I'll definitely be taking a lot of notes about these parts of your reviews, Suitepee, as I find them to be some of the best around. For the next project, hopefully the different themes will make each map able to stand out while still feeling like a part of a larger whole. (I've got a few ideas for making minimalist switches that are still themed, btw.) As for me, personally, I'll be varying up my weapon and monster placement, and also adding in a lot more in the way of monster traps, -good- secrets rather than wall humping, and a lot more in the way of rockets and plasma weapons, as well as using the more difficult monsters in better ways. (It's pretty easy to tell which weapons are my favorite and also what sort of gameplay balance I'm most comfortable with. Archies, Barons, and the two boss monsters barely ever appear, which is something I'd like to work on for my imminent projects.)

While the MMP thread would probably be better for this, I'd like to get a test of the waters here. Out of curiosity, in what fashion should switches be... well, switched up for the next project? With the inclusion of a new texture pack, doors and lifts will probably make more appearances, but switch hunts are hardly ever fun. Likewise, are there any varieties of gameplay that people would like to see more/less of?

Old Post 06-24-13 17:58 #
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cannonball
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Hurricyclone said:

That secret armory at the beginning was really helpful, thank you for that.


I'm not amused :P. I officially want to punch that smiley face in the.... I guess face. That secret would have come in handy.

Old Post 06-24-13 18:00 #
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Capellan
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Demon of the Well said:
some of the authors viewed it as an experimental venue where playing with the permutations of the monochrome concept was the main point, and others viewed the monochrome concept as a means to the end of distilling map design down to its fundamentals (layout/flow, placement, gameplay/progression concept, etc.).


I'm happy with either goal (though the latter will probably appeal more in terms of actually playing them). My point was that as of map11, most of the maps haven't delivered on either objective. Map01 did the first objective, though I didn't like playing it. Membrain's map did a good job of the second. Most of the others have fallen short on either front, IMO.

Old Post 06-24-13 20:17 #
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Demon of the Well
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Map 18 -- Monochromatic Nightmare - 97% Kills / 75% Secrets
Hey, music! Good to hear some again (actually, I tell a lie, I've mostly been IDMUSing to the inoffensive muzak from "Abusive" while playing through this). Don't recognize the tune, but it sounds like it comes out of an old sidescrolling action/platformer.

Oh, right, the map. Well, that start room sure is something. Opening up with an optical illusion lets you know from the word go that this map is going to focus most of its efforts on playing up its monochromatic theme. It's mostly black and white here--that is, solid, untextured black and solid untextured white, rather than the softer, subtly-textured newsprint tones that many previous maps have used. There's also a flat B&W brick texture, a few written messages addressed to the player, and maybe a couple of others. All of the structures are very cuboid and simplistic (though some use floor-over-floor), and in combination with the stark, depthless B&W color/texture theme, the map manages to look at least superficially striking, and more than superficially unique. There are a few hiccups in that the ground texture and the occasional liquid textures one occasionally sees are much more high-res and present a jarring contrast with the buildings and other structures, but that's a small complaint.

How does it play? Eh, well, it hardly knocked my socks off, but it wasn't broken/unreasonable. As has been noted, it's a sort of simplified DooM II E2 city-esque map, most which boils down to a keyhunt. Lots of directly-placed basic monsters in small groups, few traps (the secret Baron squad was kind of neat, I guess, but completely nonthreatening), and then your choice of short teleporter-wave survival arenas at the end, though at least there's some height variation. I also failed to find Dave's Secret Armory at the start, meaning that much of the proceedings were some basic shotgun/chaingun exercise for me, although I did find the other three secrets and thus eventually recouped most of the weapons I missed in that way. It wasn't the guns and stuff I'm disappointed I missed, though (hardly really needed them), but rather the one-time buttons that allow you to swap a lot of the white in the rest of the map for red, yellow, or blue. Actually, truth be told, I think it looks best in black & white, but it was a neat idea, all the same. Asked to choose my fate at the end, I opted for the blue door; I still got the cyberdemon at the end, but where Cannonball and Hurricyclone reportedly got nobles beforehand, I got a big 'ol pile of assorted zombies, which might've been arguably worse, except that I was heavily armed.

I encountered one non-crucial bug: On Ultraviolence, the two small ammo closets on either side of the first yellow door each contained a dormant (motionless/invulnerable) pinkie demon. No matter what I did, I simply couldn't get these dudes to wake up and attack me.

Even though the gameplay in Monochromatic Nightmare was only so-so and probably won't draw me back, I still got some entertainment out of seeing this map's take on the monochrome constraint.

Old Post 06-25-13 00:53 #
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dobu gabu maru
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Demon of the Well said:

Well, I most appreciate verisimilitude in the sense that some Doom maps (of many different styles) have an ephemeral sort of sense of place to them--they feel like a cohesive location with a particular identity, even though they may be essentially abstract/unrealistic in form.



I understand; I was relating that you, like me, enjoy when a map has a “feel” to it, that “sense of place” that enriches the experience beyond traditional gameplay (whereas ggg’s goes out of its way to accept itself as just a fun dopey doom level). And the archvile always struck me as more of a hellish businessman than an artist; something like a banker of the beelzebuck or a redrock real estate dealer. As such it would be more fitting for him to be naked, his body laced in Satan’s finest gold to show off his natural brilliance.


mouldy said:
How are things in the megawad club? I've been absent for a couple of months, any plans for next month's adventure?


You're missing out on an interesting mapset to say the least. I think it's a good time to discuss next month's megawad, and to make it simple I'd prefer us to choose between only a few in order to narrow down the options. As such, I'm deliberating between
- Hell Revealed
- Realm of Chaos
- Vile Flesh
- Kama Sutra


I'd prefer we play HR before Kama Sutra so we can get a better perspective on what KS works on, but I'd be fine with playing either Realm of Chaos or Vile Flesh as well. I'm confident SteveD will vote for Realm and Demon will vote for Vile Flesh, so I'm interested in how the others will sway. As always, if there's a 5th contender everyone wants feel free to throw out your voice (Scythe?), but keep in mind that its currently a policy of the club to alternate between new and old megawads per month.

Monochrome
MAP18: This is probably the only time we’ll have two R-Type songs used in separate releases within a month’s span. Anyway, Phendrena’s map is a… unique one. There’s a solid texture composition here that, despite being two colors, probably contains a mess of flats. Lighting isn’t really utilized in order to keep up a sharp dynamic between the two extremes, which can often lead to some eye-straining moments (like an infamous tunnel the player runs down). Not only that but the pure white rooms were also taxing on my gazing gobs of blue, forcing me to squint as I strode through the area. There’s plenty to shoot here, and while not entirely difficult for most of the map there’s at least plenty of hitscanners to chip away at your vitals. Sometimes though, like with the elevator to the yellow door room, they can be obnoxiously arranged.

The end showcases a moment of brilliance with a “choose your own highlight” that presumably features unique battles in each one, which is a very cool twist and the room itself looks great with black and the primary color of choice. Unfortunately, all three have the same layout, and even worse is that I never found was never given the SSG. I liked all the fights in the blue room up until the cybie appeared, and then began my stagnant SG duel with the lumbering brute as I orbited around him. Taking a cyberdemon down with an shotgun is not fun and would’ve been improved immensely by at least an SSG warped into the room. Overall, felt like a very middling map to me—it had neat ideas and an unusually strong "color" scheme, but fell flat and continues Monochrome’s unfortunate curse of “bleh”.

Also, the textures are a little too busy and it reminds me of Fractal’s first map, which doesn’t give me the notion of “monochrome”.

Old Post 06-25-13 01:19 #
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Getsu Fune
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dobugabumaru said:
- Hell Revealed
- Realm of Chaos
- Vile Flesh
- Kama Sutra




I'd play Realm of Chaos.

Old Post 06-25-13 01:46 #
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Capellan
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Realm is an opportunity to mock .... uh, I mean "critique" ... SteveD's maps, so it gets my vote :)

(also, Vile Flesh compares itself to Eternal Doom, which is not a positive for me, and the others are slaughter-heavy AFAIK)

Old Post 06-25-13 01:52 #
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Veinen
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Map 18: Monochromatic Nightmare

Hmm. Well this is an interesting map, a bit different than anything we've encountered so far. This map gives us a whole new visual style with it's untextured black&white building blocks, and I quite like the way it ends up looking. Most of the rooms have one dominating color, be it black or white, while the other one provides the edges. When black dominates, everything looks fairly good and inoffensive but those brightly colored (yellow in my case, not a good choice) areas were annoying to say the least. Also those few slabs of grey liquid and that one grey piece of wall that leads to one of the secrets don't really fit with the style in my opinion. The doors and lifts were text-marked but they were sort of professional looking and fit with the environment so I didn't really have a problem with it. Those optical illusion -spots looked neat too.

The layout of the map is also a new one as it is a city-like level with lots of open space and large buildings. The buildings are very simple, mostly consisting of spacious, blocky rooms in multiple floors. The gameplay in this level is rather pedestrian. It's a pretty easy map once again, although I did manage to find the secret armory so that might have had something to do with it. There are over 300 monsters on UV but it was very hitscanner-heavy again and no fight was really that challenging. No deadly traps either with the exception of that one ambush near the start that starts with a joketext and reveals a bunch of hitscanners on two sides, took some serious damage there. I also got sneak attacked multiple times in the outdoors area by wandering shotgunners and zombies, that's always a good thing if playing casually. I too chose the blue door at the end and got some more hitscanners to plow down. The fight was very meh for a finale, plasma rifle did quick work of the opposition since the baddies teleported to the room almost one at a time. The whole map could have used some more enemies to be honest since many of the inside areas felt very empty. A pretty good map nevertheless, I did enjoy playing it and would probably enjoy revisiting.

Old Post 06-25-13 04:15 #
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