I'm posting this thread to state my opinion on a topic that has been grating on me for some time, and hopefully see some discussion on the subject in a way which can benefit how wads are made.
Let me first state I have a great degree of respect for all mappers who choose to put time and effort into keeping the Doom community not just alive, but thriving and in a state of continual evolution. My thanks and cheers for every one of you.
My issue is with what I can see as a trend of 'Vanilla wads'. My definition here isn't about compatibility with Doom2.exe (though it is loosely related), but with the creation of 'standard' Doom levels with the Stock textures of the original game.
It drives me up the wall to see talented mappers invest their time into making maps with limited detail and the textures that, honestly, I'm sick and tired of seeing over and over again. I played a lot of Doom back in 1994 and have revisited Doom 1 and 2 occasionally since. If I want stock Doom textures, I'll play the stock Doom. Texture packs like CC4-tex are available and I seriously implore mappers to utilize it, or any other textures that may be available. This doesn't mean all wads must be full of non-stock textures, even something as relatively simple as Ribbik's wonderful Stardate 20x6's purple theme is enough to give a stand-out presence.
Let's also talk about layout. If I see a level called 'Administration' 'Computer Complex' 'Nukage storage' or something else so mind-numbingly tedious that I've seen over and over again then I will simply skip the level. Can we accept that it is 2013, and with the very rare exceptions, wads should make an effort to be 'modern' and learn from the recent improvements in mapping, layout and detail we all enjoy?
I don't think it is enough anymore to make the first few levels of your wad a techbase with roughly 60 - 80 monsters on UV, with the same textures we've seen since 1994 and the limitions of that same engine. Limit shit like that to novelty wads, or at least lets ensure that, as a community, these releases are rare enough to appreciate and are not just a sign of lazy thinking and abandoning originality for nostalgia.
To give an example of the type of 'modern' mapping I enjoy, let me point to Vanguard. Here is a wad that, though tragically unfinished, is marvelous both in its texture usage and in layout. First levels are a mixture of Scythe's punchy game-play, well used textures and wonderful, connected layouts. Later levels merge well done architecture with new texture themes (orange) and slaughter-ish game-play that modern Doomers have come to enjoy as a challenge when well done. Every part of it feels like the combination of original doom game-play and mapping techniques that should be on offer in 2013.
With all this in mind let it be said that I still want 'vanilla' game-play. I'm talking about Speed of Dooms, Vanguards, Combat Shocks not ZDoom's relative extravagance. Doom's game-play is its strongest point, not its textures and not its limitations. Be creative, give us something different to look at. Let me see more wonderful architecture, modern map designs, better textures. These things are important in making me feel like I'm not just playing 1994 maps with the same tropes: run and gun techbases, long winding 'urban' levels and red-rock hell levels.
Am I talking about any wads in particular? Well I could name wads like Jenesis and Reverie which made me feel like I might as well have just been playing Momento Mori with a few exceptions (Alchemy). This may sound unfair, and perhaps it is, I don't claim to put my opinion above the talents of the mappers who have produced these wads, which have proudly received Cacowards.
Let me see Scythe game-play, AV mystery and challenge, Sunder architecture, Scythe 2 episodic texture themes, Vanguard variation and mapping. Let me see different themes backed by wonderful textures. Let me see Doom's game-play done justice by the years of mapping and game-play experience displayed by all the hard work and effort given by its mappers (including those who I have unfairly disparaged) and not limit ourselves time and time again by vanilla design.
This post is not meant to offend, merely raise discussion and hopefully (and selfishly) provide more wads which I and I hope others enjoy playing. All of it reflects only my opinion and assumes nothing on the part of others. I welcome any and all discussion on the topic.