WadAuthor and DeepSea are shareware. In other words, you try before you buy. They use different approaches to shareware -- with WadAuthor, you get a 14-day trial period, after which you are supposed to be unable to use the program. With DeepSea you get no time limit on all aspects of the program except map-making (i.e., graphics, sound, etc. can be managed for free indefinitely). The shareware version allows you to build simple and small maps for free indefinitely. If you want to build more complex maps you'll have to buy the program.
Kim Kitten said:
Are [WadAuthor and DeepSea] free programs, or am I going to have to buy them at some point.....
Is ZDoom Zdaemon? Or are they different things?
Do I really need all of those port things? Or am I ok with ZDoom, I'm kind of getting burned out on suggestions here...
Another very good Windows-based editing and wad managing program is XWE. It's completely free, but it lacks documentation and is really meant for a seasoned wad author. Of these three programs, DeepSea has the best user support, as the program's creator (Jack Vermeulen) continues to enhance and improve it. Also, he often visits these forums and answers questions. Csabo, the creator of XWE, also visits here and answers questions.
ZDooM is not ZDaemon. ZDooM is a source port (i.e., a program that is a modification of the original DooM/DooM2 executable files). ZDaemon is a client/server port that allows multi-player gaming. Here's a quote from their page "ZDaemon: a multiplayer DOOM port that will allow you to play multiplayer over the internet via client/server with in-game joining."
Source ports are obviously not essential for you to enjoy playing DooM. However, they are intended to improve various aspects of the game, and different ports offer different features. The most popular ports with on-going development appear to be ZDooM, Legacy, and JDooM. There are other ports (e.g., EDGE, MBF, BooM, etc.) for which many levels have been created, but I don't believe those ports are under on-going development. As a result, fewer levels are being developed for them.
A few of ZDooM's most widely used features are scripting (i.e., a single action can trigger multiple and sequenced reactions), slopes, deep/swimmable water, 3D bridges, "security"-type cameras, etc.
Legacy and JDooM both offer graphics comparable to games being developed today (i.e., OpenGL standard). Legacy allows room-over-room structures, which is a very important element in creating realism and challenging gameplay.
It's difficult to say, but I think that the most levels have probably been developed for ZDooM, then Legacy, then JDooM. As you already have ZDooM, your best bet is to play ZDooM levels first. As you get more experienced you can begin playing Legacy and JDooM levels, as well as levels for other source ports (I recommend EDGE, which also has room-over-room).
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