|I got this Metallica CD and Maiden T-Shirt||February 21, 2014, 8:17 pm|
I got this Metallica CD of their first album Kill 'em All (it's my favourite!) for only US $10 with 2 extra songs: Blitzkrieg and Am I evil?, both of them are covers, originally by Blitzkrieg and Diamond Head.
Here is a photo (WARNING: BIG PHOTOS!):
And this Iron Maiden t-shirt that has the Futureal single cover (originally a poster that came with the single) made by Derek Riggs (BIG photo again):
|I've Been Playing My Old Maps...||February 20, 2014, 4:44 pm|
... And I've realised that, basically, they're unplayable shit. I like them because I know them and have a full understanding of what was going through my mind when I made them, but there is no reason why anybody else should play them.
This is specifically for Scourge and Warpzone. As I've never really thought this stuff through before, I figured I'd indulge in a post-mortem. As I can't imagine my rambling tl;dr (and it definitely will be both of those things) will interest anybody other than me, I've opted to stick it here in blogs rather than put it in the main forum. Here goes...
My main observation was that, in my ignorant naivety of the wider Doom community and it's products, 10-15 y/o me was basically reinventing the mid '90s, right down to big chunky sector furniture, nonsensical, opaque progression and rampant but entirely impotent imagination. Chuck in my fascination with the "newly discovered" jumping ZDoom 1.22b offered when I found it in a rare foray online and you've got a very uneven, mostly poor playing experience. I like that I had the ideas and was so keen to chuck them all into DEU 2 (and later Doom Builder, at MAP18 of Scourge and onwards), but I definitely needed more experience.
Likewise, I like that I put new artwork in them. Yes, the INTERPIC for Scourge is hilariously bad, but the TITLEPIC for both projects is serviceable, in an MSPaint-y kind of way (I'm pretty proud of the meteor strike on the Scourge TITLEPIC, even if the base and cliff are piss-poor). The Armoured Baron from MAP31 of Scourge is a pretty minor edit and I only fucked up the face on the A1 sprite (since rectified in other distributions of the monsters) whilst the Ignis Locus in Warpzone is pretty original, even if the from-scratch sprites are pretty poor.
Special touches like the MAPINFO and scripted "credits" map in Scourge, plus the invisible pickup that snatches all of your cells (and some) in Warpzone also things I'm glad I did. The absence of music in Scourge was relatively wise, as putting on your own in the background works... I rather misused Tom_D's cool metal track in Warpzone though, as it definitely isn't intended to be heard on loop for over an hour straight...
Anyway, on to the bulk of the offering - the maps!
Scourge basically splits into 5 chunks, so I'll analyse those:
MAP01-MAP06 - I think I'd just finished learning all the technical stuff from Hank Leukart's Hacker's Guide to Doom and wanted to make a series of levels. Each map leads on from the last to an extent, aside from the transition from MAP05-MAP06. The "story" is goofy, but did allow me to frequently change setting (something I do still to this day). I'd say these maps show a lot of beginner-isms, what with the inescapable damaging pits, very "broad-strokes" visuals that just about do the job and simple play and progression. Overstocking is a major problem, as is the start of MAP04 with it's convoluted spiral-descent thing where you have to start again at the top (and press the switch twice) every time you fall over the side, all with a load of crushers on the stairs and some very damaging lava at the bottom.
Highlights here include a giant, surprisingly lethal horde of zombiemen in MAP06 that is a lot of fun to chaingun; and MAP05 is kind of fun, even though it mostly looks like arse (I kind of like the outdoors bit). Lowlights are basically all of MAP04 and things like difficult-to-hit Revenants in MAP02 and inescapable pits in MAP01.
MAP07-MAP14 - Very conceptual here, but with a greater overall competence. This section is where I started bouncing off of the limits of DEU 2 and really experimenting. This means MAP07 has a poisonous atmosphere in all caves and the starting room, MAP08 is all about pushing through foliage in an outside area, MAP09 is mostly dark and centred around a pit, MAP10 has you approaching the least well-realised castle in the history of Doom, MAP11 sports a bullshit Indiana Jones jumping sequence (followed by crushers), MAP12 features a dichotomous secret, MAP13 is all about the build-up to the second cyberdemon encounter of the map and MAP14 has a very dark building that can be lit in a couple of ways (all in aid of raising a really big bridge to access a flood of Demons).
The problem here is that a lot of these creative ideas (and others not mentioned) aren't executed particularly well, will probably be frustrating and are in very 90's maps that have lots of square rooms, symmetry and thin corridors. On the flip side, texturing is surprisingly consistent for me through this bit and the fights don't tend to be too bad (then again, it is Doom still). Secrets are fairly varied here, but usually just leave the player with stacks of health, armour and ammo, or supply things that aren't particularly useful (like a chaingun just before a Spider Mastermind fight, in MAP08).
I'd say the gunplay in certain parts of each map here is probably the highlight, whilst the lowlights really stand out, like the nonsensical way you get into the main part of MAP12, the afore-mentioned jumping sequence in MAP11 (and stuff like the blue skull needing to be jumped at). This'd probably be a fair source of ideas to reuse if I were to do another "Coils of the Twisted Tale"-style project (which used a checklist of ideas from my Old Map Compilation) but is probably the most likely part of the map set to stop the average player in their tracks.
MAP15-MAP17 - Here I'm aware of the limits and am consciously working within them to produce better quality stuff. However, I'm also joining sectors on either side of doors, still putting in plus-size sector furniture and, particularly in MAP15, having a lot of square rooms linked by narrow corridors. I'm pretty proud of the puzzles MAP15 and MAP17 have (for the secret exit and to cross the nukage respectively), although MAP17's one is pretty damn opaque. MAP16 probably plays the best out of these three, with Doom E2-style monster usage (with chaingunners and Hellknights) through most of the map and a reasonable teleporting horde at the end of the main tunnel. However, MAP16 and, to a much worse extent, MAP17, misuse barrels and do have a couple of rooms just stuffed full of enemies that are only really going to kill each other. I was definitely picking up some stuff from Evilution here, but not much of it good, IMO.
Aside from the visuals, which largely need work, I'd consider this a reasonable baseline for quality if I were to do a simple one-man-megaWAD again in the future.
MAP18-MAP21 - Having discovered Doom Builder and the practically unlimited editing ability that it and ZDoom 2.0.63a seemed to offer me, I immediately set about making larger maps. Theming here is all over the place, but with more architectural complexity than before, so the overall aesthetic was improved, I'd say. MAP18 makes use of secret tunnels and ways around monsters, which was a fairly interesting experiment, although it also is a fairly square sprawl of a techbase (more TNT influence, I'd suspect). MAP19 is remarkably big and goes from a reasonably clean techbase layout filled with ideas to a large Hell section that progresses through a few themes, whilst MAP20 is full-on progression through Hell (pretty much a continuation of MAP19) and MAP21 is sort-of an Icon of Sin battle, but really just a switch hunt with an Icon spewing twin sets of spawn cubes out in the background. I'm pretty proud of these maps, even though they do have some odd scaling issues and still have a few naff ideas.
Highlights are the final battle on MAP20 (a slaughter that is built up to in a revisited area) and the reasonable visuals for MAP21, I think. Lowlights would be the "turn on the lights" room in MAP20 (the damaging flickering light sector on the switch that you go there for isn't great, either) and the stupid maze in MAP18... A lot of the conceptual stuff in MAP19's techbase section definitely isn't worth having, too.
MAP31 - hyper-detailed (by my standards) but plays like crap, with lots of little bits to snag on, mostly cramped rooms and very dense monster placement. The final switch puzzle is pretty sadistic too. I suppose the odd room probably looks good, rather than cluttered, and the Armoured Barons at least make it interesting, but I'd probably say this is better off skipped.
In summary, Scourge is a lot of ideas (some good, some not) and mostly poor execution. The mostly bite-sized maps and pretty easily overcome resistance would probably be good were it not for all of the other obstacles to progress.
Warpzone was originally made as Scourge MAP31 (my "bigger is better" obsession in DB had really gotten out of hand here) but was replaced with a new crappy map focused around teleporting so that this could be polished up and improved a bit from what it was (yep, this map used to be [I]worse[/I] than it is now!). I'd say the major flaw with this map is that it was built entirely for looks and then I tried to shoehorn game play in afterwards. Some bits didn't suffer too badly (although are largely too densely populated for the weapon availability) whilst others, particularly the monorail station bit near the end, flow like treacle as a result.
Again, some bits look good, others have chunky sector furniture and other bits are just cluttered to all hell - for example the bit you access through the red key switches is barely navigable. Speaking of navigation, the central hub is kind of helpful, although it is remarkably easy to miss some of the triggers that move the "objective markers" up and down and it is very easy to get all the way through hell only to find the final bit is locked off because you didn't do the entire southern techbase first... Which means you've got to do that damn jumping bit again. However, if you want a rocket launcher you're going to hell and trying not to blow yourself up on the ambush that triggers.
We've got enemies rising out of solid floors, big areas packed with enemies, small areas stuffed with enemies, tiny little corridors that are constant streams of light resistance, a cyberdemon you'll probably be taking down with the chaingun and single-barrelled shotgun, a Spider Mastermind that will probably do nothing useful, if it even teleports in at all and shed-loads of enemies hidden away in little nooks and crannies. This one mixes style-over-substance with a very 90's mentality WRT progression and some inadvisable stinginess with weaponry.
So what can I take away from all this? Well, basically that my two most-ambitious-projects-ever were undertaken way too early and really suck as a result. I know I can do ideas and I know I'm both technically capable and a lot more experienced with producing game play these days, so maybe I owe it to myself to get a new 20+ map episode out into the world and perhaps a megamap or two (the Escalation series will cover the latter). Maybe I should go limit removing with said megaWAD to make it less prone to wild ideas and an extended development cycle...
Well, if anybody made it through all of this, well done, I guess! Thanks for taking the time to hear an old hand ramble on about what forms his experience today. Maybe we'll see a Phobus megaWAD worth downloading some day.
|Any boxers out there?||February 20, 2014, 8:30 am|
|With a need for exercise and to keep myself occupied I'm considering joining a community boxing club. Anybody have some tips for me?|
|How to stop having a boring life!||February 19, 2014, 7:40 pm|
You know what I love? Writing nearly 40 pages worth of dialogue only to have GZDoomBuilder crash. You know what I love even more? Realizing that the last time I saved was on page 7. I know all of you want to experience the same amount of ecstatic pleasure that I am currently experiencing, and I can tell you how right now!
Never! Don't do it! If you save anything, your life will be boring! Don't you want the excitement of being able to do it all over again? Of course you do! But why stop there? You can find new and exciting ways to deliberately crash the editor so you can have all the fun and excitement of doing whatever you were just doing again! You can set up glasses of water precariously all over your workspace and "accidentally" knock one of them over! Or two! Or three! Hell, why not just knock them all over? They make an extremely satisfying sound when they shatter and will most certainly fuck up whatever you were working on, causing you to not only get to redo all your hard work, but buy a new computer! Doesn't that sound like fun? Of course it does!
Stop having a boring life, follow my instructions now! No, I'm not bitter about anything, why would you ask?
|10||February 19, 2014, 1:34 pm|
Well, almost. But if I don't make a "I've been on DoomWorld for ten years" thread now I might forget about it in two months' time.
|and everything turns to shit||February 18, 2014, 10:36 pm|
Fucking hard post to write, but I guess I better get it out of my system. Went to work a few weeks ago leaving girlfriend in house, prior to her going to her own work. Lah de dah, everything is nice nice. I assume my GF brushed her teeth at some point.
And forgot to switch the tap off.
Now I don't fucking know how a human being can just walk out of a building and leave a tap on. She's diabetic; I assume she was in some sort of walking coma. Regardless, the overflow is fucked and the downstairs flat gets pissed all over.
They phone their landlord, who is on holiday in some third world shithole spending all that hard earned rentz moneys on blow and hookers and shit. He is displeased with the fact that his house is sinking like fucking atlantis. He phones my landlady, who tries to phone me.
I is at work. I is not answering phone.
So, she takes her key and enters my flat. And my flat is a shithole. There is a bountiful mountain of pizza boxes. The carpet is a swamp of split beer and fag ends. The roof, which has been leaking for a month now, has let an interesting genre of fungus colonize one of the walls. Speaking of walls, I have spray-painted the word FRAD on the living room wall for some reason that sounded really hilarious at the time.
She has not been up to visit the flat in five years. And the tap is still pishing water downstairs.
She is displeased.
So I get a rage-phonecall after the event. The plumbing is all fucked anyway, has been for years, but maybe I should have squirted some shit down the pipes occasionally. Whatever, problem solved, phone the plumber when I get off nightshift, just don't use the sink in the bathroom.
Aaaaaand the overflow pipe is also apparently connected to the bathtub. Because I don't know, what sort of retarded plumber does that shit?
I shouldn't be surprised. The flat used to be an attic and the plumbing is the most retarded thing I have ever seen. Big holes cut through floorboard to make the bathtub actually fit in, meaning there is less than 50% floor beneath the bath and any spillage flies directly through my neighbor's ceiling and into their coffee. Oh, and the seal on the toilet burst last year and bored a shit-piss hole straight through their roof into the walk-in cupboard. Fuck your clothes, bitches, I defecate on them with impunity for a week until you notice.
Anyway, latest and greatest travesty against the downstairs neighbors has been decreed to be the Last Straw. I am out of there in T-minus two weeks.
Went to council, who will not help me because I have neither a heroin habit, fifteen kids or a prison record. Also they decree that my notice to quit the property is illegal, so won't help me with a council house until landlady provides a N3545435X form or some shit to say yes, I have kicked this fuckwad's lame ass into the street and he is now living in a bin outside of Tesco.
Basically I am staring into the asshole of oblivion and it has farted in my face. Internets look unlikely. Laugh, by all means, but remember;
I WILL BE BACK.
|Are there any members that still have CyBlock™?||February 18, 2014, 8:46 pm|
From what I can gather, CyBlock™ appears to be some sort of post modification(similar to Deathbringer's constant "uuuhhhh" syndrome) that shoves the user's post to the right and replaces it with this message:
Posts blocked from view
for Your Protection™
It also seems to have something to do with Cyb at a guess. :P Any members still sporting CyBlock™?
|Just how Rare?||February 18, 2014, 9:32 am|
Just how rare are some of those older games? I mean, most people know about PowerSlave for the PC, and the only PC copy I've ever seen on eBay is this pricey bub. Even the PSX copies call for a pretty penny. But who decides this stuff? Sealed is nice, but does it warrant $350 dollars? I can't see how, unless it's the only Big Box of the game ever released anyways (And that it's otherwise hard to find the art, and in truth that's ll I'd buy it for).
But then there's all those D!Zone cds and boxes people sell for $50 plus because, why? Because it's a bunch of crappy wads for Doom? And Doom is old, which means it must be worth a lot of money! And I'm talking the cool Shovel Ware's with interesting art, but D!Zone boxes with screenshots on the box or poor looking shopped stuff that displays a proto-Doom 64 screenshot.
And then games like Chasm: The Rift, which fared better than PS critically, but was just about as hard to find: Whenever that shows up, even complete in the box it's dirt cheap compared to some of this other stuff.
Sometimes I wonder if the price is justified, like Jurassic Park: Operation Genesis, where even a poor looking PS2 copy has a forty dollar price tag in a modern Game Stop. I guess because it's the only JP game that's a park building sim? A damn good one, too. I dunno, ranting about god knows what.
|How to change blast radius in doom?||February 17, 2014, 9:42 pm|
|Is it possible to make a weapon that has an extremely large blast radius. I mean really large. Is it possible to make an explosion big enough to take up an entire room and kill all monsters in that room? Like a nuke gun kind of weapon? Is it possible to modify the rocket launcher or barrel blast radius to do this kind of action? I would like to make a doom wad where you have a nuke gun or a landmine or a grenade that you fire or throw and it would bring upon a large blast radius encompassing a significant portion of the map.|
|On The Fence||February 17, 2014, 4:55 pm|
I think I'd truly regret calling this an announcement of my official retirement from Doom mapping, but I think I may be coming to the conclusion that it's time to quit kidding myself.
With certain circumstances in my life sucking up my time and negating my ability to pursue Doom mapping as a legitimate hobby, I've been balancing a weight on my shoulders with rather small unfinished projects that I'm struggling to bring to completion. Things are moving at a glacial pace and my future only looks to incorporate more extra-curricular activities in my daily routine, making my absolute favorite pastime look more and more like something that's only fit to be put in the attic and left alone as a distant memory.
A few years ago, mapping seemed to flow naturally out of me, which is where the majority of my body of work came from. I began to concentrate on more complex design strategies in order to construct more unique looking and replayable doom levels. Unfortunately this started shortly before I bought a house and got married and such. If the kind of levels I really want to make were a piece of jewelry at the bottom of the swimming pool, my responsibilities are the air-inflated floaties pulling me up to the surface. My wife would be offended if she saw me describing things that way but it's about time to admit that Doom mapping wasn't much more than a timesink to get myself to the point in life that I am at now. Now that I'm living it, there isn't much room to squeeze it back in. There really hasn't been much room this whole time and anything I've released since shows it.
While reverting to my older mapping style would probably be much more productive, I'd still have the reminder that "I can do better than this" lingering over me as I play through them. I think there are enough mappers here who can create similar enough maps. I'm not really interested in being a part of that category of mappers.
But anyway, it hurts my ego every time I come back to mapping after a long unavoidable hiatus with an intention to create a design that I feel has finally manifested in my mind after many weeks. The lack of regular practice with Doombuilder 2 is clear in my attempt to rectify it when the design comes out sloppy and inconsistent. I begrudgingly close the laptop lid and go do something else. If I find myself a career path that pays much better and has an unusual amount of downtime and low-stress, I may be able to get back into the groove and nullify everything this blog stands to declare. Until then, I feel as though the only other appropriate time to get back into mapping is when I retire and wait to pass away.
What does this mean for UAC Ultra 2? Not sure. For a long time I've been epitomizing UU2 as a way to "go out with a bang" and encapsulate as many of my ideas as humanly possible into a single megawad and live the rest of my life comfortably with the satisfaction that I've exhausted as much of my potential as I could into a final product. Then I'd leave everyone in the community with a sick megawad to play in many different styles with hundreds of hours of gameplay depending on how one chooses to play it. I'd also hope it would stand as a model for what I'd like to see more mappers do with their maps. I can't say I'm pulling the plug on it, but the rate of its progress is mirrored by my motivation to complete it without an optimistic partner or small team to share it with. I hope I can garner enough strength to make my ideas come to fruition, but until then, I've put a pin in it until things change.
In the meantime, I have no trouble checking on Doomworld and posting every now and again. I still have an insatiable urge to kill monsters and fortunately, playing the game and all the new wads that come out for it is significantly less taxing than editing it is. At best, I think tabling my mapping career may be excusable in exchange for offering myself as a mentor for any interested mappers (PM me!) or volunteering myself for a rather minor role in a major project. It breaks my heart to tell myself that it's time to call it quits, and I'll fight with every fiber in my body to keep the candle lit, but I just wanted you guys to know where I'm at.