Best Gameplay Mod
I love this particular Cacoward, not just for the fact that it honors a previously-unrewarded niche of the Dooming community that's grown tremendously over the past few years, but also because every year since its inception, somehow, there's been that one release that practically steals the 'ward on its own. That's not to say there weren't other strong contenders - GMOTA, Doom RPG, and DoomRL Arsenal come to mind - but DemonSteele kicks so much ass that it takes the cake and eats it too. Or however the cliché goes.
Let me start by stating what DemonSteele is not: It is not a gameplay "mod." Calling it so would be like calling Hexen a Doom gameplay mod by virtue of the fact that it uses the same engine and basic monster AI, because by all accounts, DemonSteele is such a massive rewrite of Doom's gameplay style that it's practically an entirely new game. The gist of it is this: you've got style, you've got a badass sword, you've got a single-digit number of "life tokens," and you're up against a friggin' ocean of bastard nasties and their zillions of projectiles. Excited yet?
In more detailed Terms (no pun originally intended), the mod places you in the shoes of Jung Hae-Lin, a veritable badass blessed by an Archangel and in possession of the Kharon, a demonic blade that absorbs the souls of fallen foes. The gameplay is a geyser of frantic action, with our heroine wielding the Kharon in one hand and a firearm in the other. This allows for some sick synergistic combos, letting you slice baddies up close while raining grenades on unwary souls from afar. Guns have limited ammo, but your sword makes mincemeat of enemies and its soul-absorbing abilities have some hidden benefits (increased melee damage, for one) that encourage you to get up-close and personal.
The changes don't stop there, though; the most drastic departure from Doom's gameplay and the one that gives it its "more than a mod" status in my eyes is the revamped health system. Instead of hitpoints, you have a number of "life gems" that each protect you from a single hit from any damage source. Enemies have been rewritten with this in mind, with laser-toting zombies, archviles that spew projectile spawners, and ghastly Pain Elemental replacements that flood the screen with nefarious souls. The net result of this is an arcade-style blastfest the likes of which haven't been seen since Action Doom, and the sum of its parts is such that one would be hard-pressed to make a direct comparison between it and any other mod - or game. It's not quite Devil May Cry, it's certainly not vanilla Doom, and it's something else than its arcade counterparts... it's sorta like describing Dr. Pepper. DemonSteele tastes like DemonSteele.
The final word is that this is an experience you've got to see in action to believe... preferably from behind the keyboard. DemonSteele is an absolute blast, a must-have in any newschool Doomer's collection, and a shining beacon of modding prowess that folks like myself ought to be healthily envious of. Hell, DemonSteele nails that high-stakes, high-speed style of gameplay I was shooting for with Psychic so well, I must say I've been bested in my own arena. And I wouldn't have it any other way.
Kudos, Sir Term, for a mod well done.
- Released project with the longest "development time"
Doom 2 in Name Only
It's no accident that Controversy is often found courting the Mordeth Awards. That blasted whore will jump into bed with a luckless new sucker just about every year, and it's usually the guy with the longest... well, development time, you know? Reading through parts of the thread for this year's winner, as I'm sure many of us already have (oh you dramaphile, you!), I was prepared to be reminded of just how deep the well of absurdity can go when a project's heavily delayed. Rarely is it as simple as a couple of procrastinators holding back release for a month or ten. Well, in this case, it was mostly that... and then the next bit: The subsequent forwarding of a release date to meet an arbitrary number, cutting out critical playtesting time that could have been used to better the final product. We're through the looking glass, people.
From a purely traditional point of view, however, Doom 2 in Name Only takes home the chocolates without an inch of contest. Conceived in late 2012 by Ella Guro as a project that invited the designer to "remake [the IWAD maps] as you'd hoped they would be, based on the name," d2ino was eventually forked over to Eris Falling for management and then held hostage by a talkative, flaming skull in the twilight of its formation. Although it's only been a little over two years since the whole saga began, it's safe to say that the project is truly a d2inosaur* in terms of active development time.
Whether Doom 2 in Name Only will be best remembered for its barmy arguments and reputation or for the maps contained therein remains to be seen, but the serpentine statue of Mordeth will forever remain in testament to one of the most belated and bemusing projects in recent years.
Mockaward - Best comedy wad of the year
Bloody hell. We just can't keep this award away, can we? Despite the complete absence of noteworthy comedy wads in times past, we suddenly found ourselves swimming in considerations for this year's award. Though we got a clear winner in the end, it looks like the Way of the Mock will never die, no matter how much we all want it to.
- 1337 Doomer
Loud, garish, gaudy; words typically associated with modern Doom maps. Modern sourceports gave us the expansion of linedefs and the ability to render Doom in true-colour allowing artists to create unconstrained projects beyond anything imagined in the 1990s. But like any technological revolution, it was bastardized. Maps became egregiously large, lens flares appeared on every torch, weapons were rendered as high definition true-colour PNGs, and authors began incorporating shades of violet in their maps... a colour, that purists will tell you, has no place outside of transparency indexing! This explosion of neon-sex Doom palettes and ZDoom scripting culminated in the bastard wad, Brutal Doom; the explosions were bigger, the lens flares flashier, and blood literally rained from the ceiling. Maybe, through delicious irony, it is fitting that the most banal project of the last ten years is titled "Brutalist Doom".
We love our Doom pageantry, but Brutalist Doom is the counterweight to ten years of source ports. Titled after the architectural movement of the same name, Brutalist Doom embodies the same counter-culture spirit. Every texture has been painstakingly replaced using Doom's concrete patches. The palette has been softened to match the dreary atmosphere leaving the few non-cement elements cold and lifeless. Critics have decried the movement as "cold-hearted", "inhumane", and "hideous" but Doomers take note: those themes are the very core of the game we love. Brutal Doom attempted these with profanity, executions, and blood... lots and lots of blood. Yet the most effective means for conveying our beloved game's emotions runs counter to the last ten years of modding. Brutalism, as a style, was a response to the past's optimism and care-free spirit. So too is Brutalist Doom.
Mapper of the Year
Josh "Joshy" Sealy
My fellow Australians, chalk one up on the board! This year's recipient for Mapper of the Year is a humble artisan of his craft and one of the most inspiring level designers in the community, and although you'll probably find him to be a perfectly friendly and forthright guy in person, you'd never guess it from playing one of his creations. They're just murder, you see? Pop-up, bastard brilliance.
In 2010 Joshy teamed up with Darkwave0000 to create the modern classic Speed of Doom, earning himself and his accomplice the honour of being cursed upon by speedrunners, and accolades from even the most fledgling players of the community. Quite honestly, the man could have retired thereafter to sit in the hall of fame with the rest of Doomworld's mapping honchos... but it's in 2014 that he succeeded in doing what only the most committed of well-known artists can: he reinvented himself. Sure, there's still the same Sealy hallmarks that we've all come to love and love to hate, with poison ivy spilling out of every other project, but when faced with the task of reviving an incomplete collection of maps to create Resurgence, Joshy bettered himself in order to get the job done, never once losing sight of the idea that you should strive to learn and improve no matter how high the praise. With every radical gameplay idea I've come across in his works, whether it's being cornered in the lava trench of The Courtyard or having my head bashed in against the siege lines of Mount Katoomba (New South Wales represent!), I am reminded of this ideal. Such admirable qualities and the end result of his efforts, as well his awesome contributions to Back to Saturn X, are what earns him one of this year's most prestigious individual awards.
...And to think he might still be on the brink of hanging up his boots. Joshy, that's the easy way out: fireking says no cheating!
Espi Award for Lifetime Achievement
Top Ten - Page 1
- Going Down
- The Adventures of Square
- Back to Saturn X: Episode 2
Top Ten - Page 2
- Shadows of Cronos
- Monster Hunter Ltd. 1/2
Top Ten - Page 3
- Mayan Mishap
- Urban Brawl: Dead of Winter
- Thy Flesh turned into a draft-excluder
- 32in24-13: A Thanksgiving Without Burgers
- Rage CTF
- Best Gameplay Mod
- Mordeth Award
- Mapper of the Year
Did You Know...
December 10th marked the 21 year anniversary of DOOM?
Did You Know...
January 4th marked the 0 year anniversary of Urban Brawl: Dead of Winter?
Did You Know...
Mordeth and Millennium were still not released in 2014 despite over sixteen years of development?
PLAY THY ROLE
Gameplay mods, by their nature, have always been a bit of a mix-and-match affair as folks pair their favorite weapons with their favorite maps. However, it's not every day one runs across a pair of gameplay mods that together overflow the sum of their parts.
That said, it's absolutely worth checking out the positively asskicking combination of Kyle873's Doom RPG Mod and Yholl's DoomRL Arsenal. The former completely rewrites Doom into an RPG-FPS hybrid, complete with levels, stats, skills, and shops to let you tweak your character to your heart's desire, while the latter brings in a big chunk of the Doom Roguelike universe including classes, mods, and insane weapon combos. The net result is a total revamp that actually almost makes Doom's recent association with Bethesda make sense. Try it, fool!
Runners-up... for the Mockaward?
As hinted at in the 'ward preface, this year saw the release of more than one noteworthy candidate for the fabled Mockaward. We don't have an "official" runners-up section for such nonsense, but we'll give 'em a mention nonetheless.
First off is Sgt. Shivers' hyper-realistic Laundry 2: Dry Hard, a bone-chilling extravaganza of blood and monsters that pits you against the nefarious... uh... bad guys. Just be sure to bring an extra pair of shorts along for the ride.
The second mention, WOOO 2, is a Mock2-esque Shitty Adventure™ filled to the brim with whatthefuckery. Though it's overall a mixed bag with some "meh" bits, gemturds like "Slopeway to Heaven" (pictured) and "Chugger" make it worth a wank-through.
Pelican of the Hour
This year's hotly contested Annual Pelican of the Hour award goes to... an actual pelican! We've come full-circle, folks, and are completely and totally not out of ideas for this sidebar column whatsoever! See you again next year when we replace this section with something completely different!
I'm still bored!
Build a map like Salvador Dali
drunk and marooned on an island near Bali
no barons or hellknights or chaingunners party
Salvador, Salvador, Salvador Dali
Post your maps in the Cacoward thread. Deadline is January 21st 2015.
<Alfonzo> they'd better submit me a map or I will get supermad!
The Cacoward host-bots would like to extend a super-warm thanks to Bloodshedder and the Doomworld staff for their support, the Doomworld community for nominations and being cool, Scuba Steve and Quasar for submitting not-lazy guest blurbs, and Esselfortium for overseeing the entire operation with his all-seeing eye. Happy 21st to Doom! May we all enjoy a beer or twelve in celebration.