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Rook
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Recently I've been working on a mapset for Doom II, having spent a good few months tentatively teaching myself some basic mapping. To give myself a bit of a break, I've been working on a short Heretic map over the last few days and as I've recently (finally) signed up here I thought I'd share it. This is the first map I've ever released so I'm anxious to get all the right information in this post!

It's called Viridian Vault as it is based on blue-green textures and set underground (inspired, I know). The map is primarily intended for single-play but there are co-op starts - difficulty settings are also implemented. The ending and alliterative title can both be seen as an omen of sorts as to what to expect from my Doom II maps. I have only tested the map in GZDoom at present, but it should also work fine in ZDoom and Skulltag, I believe. It'd be great to get some feedback about this so I can keep learning.

Two screens below:

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y122/rookuk/Doom/VVscreen1_zpsd2b6feee.jpg

http://i4.photobucket.com/albums/y122/rookuk/Doom/VVscreen2_zpsc9eebb75.jpg

// Download v2 //

You can download the map, which replaces E1M1 of Heretic, HERE. UPDATE 15/06/14: Link fixed.

Important: To play the map you'll also need the Baker's Legacy texture pack which can be download from Realm667 here. A big thanks to everyone involved in making this excellent set which made this map great fun to make.

Last edited by Rook on 06-15-14 at 12:38

Old Post 11-10-13 20:56 #
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walter confalonieri
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looks pretty cool!

Old Post 11-10-13 21:07 #
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StupidBunny
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Good stuff, nicely balanced so far. I haven't beaten it yet so I'll have more comments on layout and stuff when I have.

Old Post 11-10-13 22:07 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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Short but good, you should /idgames this if you haven't already. (Kinda bummed it's ZDoom-exclusive, though, nothing against the port but I didn't take notice to anything that required ZDoom, unless the custom textures are PNGs.)

Died twice, once against the ophidians, another time being good at Doom Heretic and eating my own rocket explosion in the same place. Got all kills in the end, but I missed an item and two of the secrets. I found the hard-to-miss secret with the quiver and shield.

Some thoughts:

Any particular reason why the gauntlets are so well guarded?

I personally would've preferred to see more items, they're part of the fun of Heretic, as clunky as I find the inventory system to be (which isn't an issue with ZDoom anyway).

I'm not a fan of that green switch texture you use earlier in the level, it blends into the green walls too well. I'd go with black everywhere, for contrast.

The crusher was timed perfectly, both for catching an unsuspecting player, and for killing that one golem, heh.

Edit:

Heretic always uses strict yellow -> green -> blue key progression, so getting the blue key second just seems wrong, heh.

Last edited by Dragonsbrethren on 11-10-13 at 23:22

Old Post 11-10-13 22:48 #
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Da Werecat
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Even shorter than I thought. Missed 1 item on medium skill. Nice stuff.

Old Post 11-10-13 23:01 #
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Rook
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Thanks for taking a look everyone!


Dragonsbrethren said:
Any particular reason why the gauntlets are so well guarded?

I personally would've preferred to see more items, they're part of the fun of Heretic, as clunky as I find the inventory system to be (which isn't an issue with ZDoom anyway).

I'm not a fan of that green switch texture you use earlier in the level, it blends into the green walls too well. I'd go with black everywhere, for contrast.

The crusher was timed perfectly, both for catching an unsuspecting player, and for killing that one golem, heh.



These are really helpful thoughts Dragonsbrethren. I guess the only logic behind the gauntlets part was just to create a bit of a minor setpiece by having an ambush which makes the gauntlets useful (in the same way that demons often appear after you find a chainsaw in Doom maps). Maybe it would make sense to add extra health to that area so the player doesn't feel excessively punished? I'm open to other suggestions, though.

There is an item in one of the secrets you missed (a secret I thought was pretty easy to spot actually) - I suppose I find items a bit harder to work in as I don't understand Heretic as well as I do Doom. I may see if I can squeeze more in.

I see what you mean about the switches - I'll switch (aha) those out. I'm a bit confused as to why some of the switches in the texture pack - or at least things I think are meant to be switches - don't seem to animate properly. It seems like anything that doesn't say ON/OFF in it doesn't work, even though I'm sure they're meant to be switches.

I'm glad the crusher seems to work... it needed modifying as originally it was certain death if you got caught in it!

There aren't any ZDoom-specific features per se but I believe the textures are in PNG format which is the issue. I wasn't originally planning to upload to /idgames as I thought it might be too short a WAD, but if people think it's worth it I'll give it a go after I've made some changes and corrections.

Old Post 11-10-13 23:21 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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Played again and found the two secrets I missed. I found the dragon claw on my own (funny considering it should be the harder of the two) but overlooked the tome again and only noticed it on the automap after I was in the final area. (Even though it would've been useless at that point, I'd suggest adding a way to raise the bars so you can backtrack, for completionists.) It's funny, though, I didn't even take notice to the claw orbs the first time I played. I guess the dark lighting hides the tome.

For the gauntlets, the problem isn't being punished too much, it's that I'm not using them at all. You can trigger the trap without picking them up, and even if you do pick them up, you've got enough time to run past the golems and switch back to the crossbow. The golems are only a threat if you actually try using the gauntlets. I took more damage from the knights guarding the quiver and shield, just because you don't realize you've released monsters when you hit that switch.

Since that is such a nice setup you have for them, I'd suggest swapping their placement with the yellow key. The elaborate setup works for the yellow key, and the tighter setup where the key is now would probably be tougher with the gauntlets.

For items, since it is a small map you definitely don't want to add too much. Another flask couldn't hurt, and maybe put some time bombs in the arena-type area at the end. Artifact placement's pretty tricky, seems like vanilla Heretic always just gave them to you when you were "supposed" to use them, which was another reason I never really took to the inventory system, I just prefered Doom's instant powerups.

Good call on the crusher. The way it is now, you lose a nice chunk of health and are on guard for the rest of the map. If it killed you outright, you'd just avoid it the next time.

Old Post 11-11-13 00:05 #
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kristus
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Always nice to see more Heretic maps. Even though this one was a bit on the short side and I don't care for the texture resource used.

Old Post 11-11-13 04:59 #
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plums
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Hey, just had a chance to play this.

First of all it's the greenest Heretic level I've ever seen ;). I appreciate that Heretic's texture set is quite limited, however I feel like you didn't really make the most of your required texture pack. For a multi-level episode it would be a neat idea to have each level a specific colour! But for this single stand-alone level I would have simply preferred the normal Heretic look.

On that note, it doesn't feel like a "traditional" Heretic level, but more like a Doom level using heretic.wad. It's hard to explain the difference, artifact use is one feature like Dragonsbrethren said, but there's more to it. Maybe I'll have a go at explaining tomorrow, too tired tonight :p

All that said I really did like it, it was short & sweet and more Heretic maps are always welcome. I liked the crusher, and I really liked the Tome of Power balance - you get three hard but far from impossible encounters one after the other, and you can either use the Tome early and hope to get through more enemies, or save it until the harder ones. And you don't need much foresight either: I've played a few maps where a single Tome of Power is provided, and has a specific encounter where the player is expected to use it - but the player has no real way of knowing this in advance.

I thought the gauntlet resistance was fine, it gave you something to use it on right away. Ammo balance was good overall, with no secrets being strictly required but making things quite tight if the player doesn't get at least one.

I didn't find the dragon claw at first, so I went back after exiting and looked around. This revealed a bug - the crusher activates a sector in that hidden area, complete with missing textures.

Old Post 11-11-13 06:29 #
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Rook
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I've just uploaded a second version of the map - the link in the OP should now take you to that new version. Here's a summary of changes:

- The gauntlets of the necromancer and yellow key have switched places
- One or two additional items have been added
- Broken crusher tagging has been fixed
- I've made a slight overhaul to the texturing in places to make it a little more varied and play up the underground aspect
- The final switch now also raises the nearby bars, making a completist run much more convenient
- Added a few cobwebs, stalagmites and other minor aesthetic changes

Thank you to Dragonsbrethren and plums particularly for all the comments - with these changes I've tried to follow your advice as far as possible. If nothing is horribly broken in this second version I'll upload to /idgames when I can - it's not perfect or a huge first release but it'll be good experience to get something small up there first I think.

plums, yes I know what you mean about both the textures and the Doom feel. Probably because I'm such a latter-day player I don't really get on that well with Heretic's (or Doom's) core textures and I often find custom ones easier to align and generally design with. Heretic's gameplay does have a kind of indefinable quality, for sure - I don't think I can explain it. I'm so much more used to Doom gameplay and mapping (inexperienced as I am) that it's inevitable this map has a very Doom-esque feel. I'm just glad that people can have a few minutes of fun with it, as it'd been a good learning experience for me.

Old Post 11-11-13 15:49 #
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plums
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Cool, I like the update. I personally had no problem with the gauntlets where they were, but switching them doesn't hurt anything; all the other changes were a definite improvement. This time I just hit all the switches in that final room and ran around shooting until everything was dead, which was fun.

About the green: It's improved here a bit. One thing I didn't really talk about is that even though Heretic's textures are limited the stock levels manage to create a few contrasting, distinct areas in each map. With everything green here, there's not much contrast and I realized I missed out on a lot of other architectural details. The colour change in the crusher area definitely helps.

One last Heretic-ism: you did the switches "backwards" from how they are done in the stock levels - the "lit up" texture is always used for activated switches. No big deal though.

Anyhow idgames uploads are still down; if you want I would help you convert this level to be stand-alone and vanilla compatible, since you have a few days.


EDIT:


Rook said:
I'm a bit confused as to why some of the switches in the texture pack - or at least things I think are meant to be switches - don't seem to animate properly. It seems like anything that doesn't say ON/OFF in it doesn't work, even though I'm sure they're meant to be switches.


Switches are defined in the ANIMDEFS entry in the texture pack. Anything without an entry there isn't treated as a switch. For vanilla engines, the switch names are hard-coded, which is a bit of a problem with Heretic since there are only two switch texture pairs.

Last edited by plums on 11-11-13 at 17:54

Old Post 11-11-13 17:13 #
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Rook
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I had a peep at the texture WAD in Slade 3 (which is still kind of like black magic to me at this stage) and it looks as though yes, there are a lot of switches not included in ANIMDEFS - oh well, there was enough to be getting on with.

Ah, I didn't realise idgames uploads were down. If you could help with vanilla- and standalone-ness that would be great - thanks plums.

Old Post 11-11-13 19:55 #
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Gez
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plums said:
One last Heretic-ism: you did the switches "backwards" from how they are done in the stock levels - the "lit up" texture is always used for activated switches. No big deal though.

Personally, I think it's better design to have the lit up switches be those non-activated. It makes them easier to see, so the switches that the player still need to hit kind of stand out.

Though that's mostly true for dark maps.

Old Post 11-11-13 20:23 #
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plums
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Gez said:
Personally, I think it's better design to have the lit up switches be those non-activated. It makes them easier to see, so the switches that the player still need to hit kind of stand out.

Though that's mostly true for dark maps.



That's a good point, although it makes more of a difference in a port which has brightmaps on textures IMO. In any case there's nothing wrong with bucking convention, I just wanted to point the convention out.


Rook said:
Ah, I didn't realise idgames uploads were down. If you could help with vanilla- and standalone-ness that would be great - thanks plums.


You and everyone else. This is the thread to watch: http://www.doomworld.com/vb/wads-mo...rocess-changes/

And ew, I thought Doom Builder would make at least an attempt to convert linedef types between map formats, but it looks like no such thing happens. This will take a bit longer than I thought...

Old Post 11-11-13 22:16 #
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plums
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OK, 90% converted. The remaining 10% requires some editorial decisions and so I leave it up to you!

http://www.mediafire.com/?ar55crsdqq3bnne

Doom Builder auto-detects this as a ZDoom file, possibly because it has a BEHAVIOR lump, but it's definitely a vanilla Heretic level.

What needs doing still:
  • Almost none of the linedef actions you used have exact vanilla equivalents, so I went with what is closest: doors are slower, the crusher is weaker, etc. You might want to change these, or move things around to compensate.
  • Of particular note are the bars that lower once you enter the blue key room; a quick player can back out before they close, getting stuck. (This is also a problem for multiplayer.)
  • In vanilla/chocolate Heretic, you can get a visplane overflow by pressing the switch that reveals the weredragons/lich, and turning so you see both the exit door and the raised blue key door. Fixing this might be tricky, perhaps you just want to note it and recommend the wad for limit-removing ports.
  • You should double-check to make sure I haven't messed up any textures, etc.

I will go over what I did to convert it, a little later. It was more work than I thought it would be, but still not very much given that it was a small level, and I did learn a few things about level conversion.


edit: Here's what I did, mostly using SLADE, but not how. Ask for details if you want.
  • Got a list of textures and flats used, using TexSpy from here. Doom Builder will also give you a list, but it doesn't separate textures from flats, which is needed in a vanilla level.
  • Copied the textures from bak_leg.wad into vvault.wad. Textures (patches) go between markers called PP_START and PP_END, flats go between FF_START and F_END (only one F on F_END). Textures used as both need to be copied twice and renamed in one list, I chose to rename flats, replacing the first letter with F. (This led to some funny names like FOODSL07 and FETAL64 :D ) There are supposed to be several tools to do this automatically, but I couldn't get them to work, and given the short list of textures it was just as easy to do it manually.
  • Change all flat graphics to be 64x64.
  • Convert graphics into Doom gfx / Doom flat. It seems like the textures in bak_leg.wad used the Heretic palette or something close, because I didn't notice any colour loss.
  • Created a TEXTUREx lump based on Heretic's texture entries, with the added textures.
  • Change most short textures to be 128 px high.
  • Replace the patch in the LAVA* textures with the DORELEC* ones, or whatever they're called.
  • Replace SW2 switch patch with the SW50 ones.
  • Use the find & replace function in Doom Builder to replace textures and flats; change offsets of the SW2 switch textures.
  • Change the map type to Heretic in DB.
  • Change all the linedef and sector effects by hand, using two instances of DB, one with the vanilla level and one with the original to compare.
  • Fixed what I presume was a small bug: the brazier in the Dragon Claw room was only showing up on Hard.

I wasn't timing myself because I was working on it in spurts as I did other things, but I'd guess it didn't take me much more than an hour in total. A more complex level would be vastly longer to convert.

Last edited by plums on 11-12-13 at 00:48

Old Post 11-11-13 23:16 #
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walter confalonieri
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short, fast-paced and pretty cool map imho!

Old Post 11-11-13 23:53 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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plums said:
For vanilla engines, the switch names are hard-coded, which is a bit of a problem with Heretic since there are only two switch texture pairs.

You can have more than one switch image on each texture, though, so it's not that big of deal. Especially since Heretic almost always insets its switch textures, unlike the Doom IWAD maps.

Old Post 11-11-13 23:55 #
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plums
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Dragonsbrethren said:
You can have more than one switch image on each texture, though, so it's not that big of deal. Especially since Heretic almost always insets its switch textures, unlike the Doom IWAD maps.


Derp, of course. I've even been poking at tnt.wad recently and that still didn't cross my mind. Oh well, for this level that only used two switch types, just replacing one was good enough.

Old Post 11-12-13 00:30 #
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Rook
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Walter - glad you liked the map!

Thanks so much for the conversion job plums - I wouldn't have known where to begin with that.

Regarding the remaining issues you mentioned, I've had a bit of a think about them and have already made some changes. I think the linedef actions are fine - I did decrease the height of one or two trap sectors so that enemies are released a little more quickly. I also haven't noticed anything wrong with the textures.

I've toyed with moving the linedef which closes the bars in the final area to make getting stuck outside at least a bit more difficult - as you say I think to fix it fully could be tricky. As for the multiplayer issue, I think it's easiest if I just reinforce when I upload that the map is really only designed for solo play.

The visplane overflow is a bit unfortunate - again, I think you're right in saying that recommending limit-removing ports is the way to go.

I'll keep playing around with that final area a little, and will then upload to /idgames when I can. I'll be sure to credit yourself and Dragonsbrethren for all the help you guys have given me.

This has been a great way for me to learn - I'll be bearing everything about this map in mind as I carry on making my Doom II mapset. That will consist of probably about ten broadly-defined arena-style maps. Due to the style they will be quick to play, but it will be a significant step in terms of project size nonetheless.

Old Post 11-12-13 20:19 #
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plums
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Welcome! I did want to say that, if you prefer the map with ZDoom features, you shouldn't feel like you have to downgrade it to vanilla-compatible just because I spent some time fiddling with it. Half of the work was getting the right textures extracted, and that would still be of some use in releasing a stand-alone wad.

Old Post 11-12-13 20:28 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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Yeah, don't feel forced to go vanilla. I didn't take notice to the timing or anything, but figured you used all standard Heretic door/floor/crusher actions. (I'm still really surprised the final area VPOs, though, it doesn't look that complex.)

I checked out the newer version linked above and it seems pretty good.

Old Post 11-12-13 20:46 #
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Rook
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I seem to remember that the only reason I wasn't mapping in vanilla in the first place was that the PNG textures didn't show up! So because the map doesn't make use of any clever ZDoom features I think it does make sense to go in that direction - that's how I am working on my Doom II mapset, just standard linedef actions.

Old Post 11-12-13 20:52 #
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Magnusblitz
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Nice little level, and would work well as an E1M1 or E1M1 if the monsters/weapons were lowered a bit (i.e., no Phoenix Rod, no lich, etc.)

I like the green, and I think you've done a good enough job of including other colors so that it's strong but not overwhelming. I agree that it feels more like Doom, but that's unsurprising. And that's not a bad thing, either (I personally find the Heretic weapons severely undertuned, and the gameplay to be a bit of a slog because of it).

My one complaint is that the yellow key trap is pretty toothless... the golems can't step up the stairs, and they don't shoot projectiles. So you just sit back and shoot them with your wand/crossbow easily.

I almost ran out of ammo (missed the Dragon Claw secret at first) but was able to get through without having to do something crazy like resort to using the Gauntlets on the Lich. Heh.

Old Post 11-12-13 21:02 #
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Dragonsbrethren
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Oh yeah, speaking of textures, I forgot, does this texture pack have a blue variation on the green light you use in places? If so, I think a blue one behind the blue key would look good.

Old Post 11-12-13 23:21 #
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