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50 Shades of Graytall

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50 Shades of Graytall is a project designed around creating maps with interesting architecture and gameplay despite being limited to a selection of arguably hideous textures. Started in response to a silly post made in the Editing forum which led I and several others to attempt maps using the (slightly edited) rules in the post, hoping the result would be decent. Eventually opened up to the community and here we are! Hope you enjoy the maps and if you don't hey Doom projects cant be graytall the time


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50 Shades of Graytall is a seemingly improbable success of a project that was born when Gez I believe jokingly suggested a texture theme composed of a pair of Doom 2's awkward misfits -- GRAYTALL and FIREBLU -- and a texture designed for basically one purpose (it's in the name): DOORTRAK. And then miraculously, Someone actually did it. 

 

Naturally its restrictions would seem to consign it to the garbage bin, but it worked out very well, becoming a darling of the community (but not of livestreams).  

 

Part of the reason 50 Shades of Gray worked so well visually was that despite the apparent memeiness of the theme, the chosen assets complemented each other quite snugly. GRAYTALL, with its obnoxious off-center red strip and that ugly arrow-like splotch, is tricky to get a handle on as a mapper, but with some anger effort spent on alignment, it gives you pretty red borders, either around the original gray core or freestanding, with can be fit to planes of arbitrary width. FIREBLU is an eyesore embodied, but with its purple-blue scheme, it comports well with the red strip of GRAYTALL -- in big picture terms, it functions as a splash of color among the other two desaturated materials. DOORTRAK is a crime painted '90s style over vast surfaces, but over sleekly shaped smaller ones it's not so bad, and something about being the only dark texture means that eventually your mind starts to perceive it as shade and contrast itself, rather than "this ugly thing customarily used for doors." 

  

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Add a very pretty primary skybox -- all inky blue and pink-tinged splotches, all stars and comets and nebulas in a spacebound sky -- that is fittingly sort of a "serious" take on FIREBLU in spirit. Add each mapper's ability to choose one texture to use for floor and ceiling (usually ones that meshed with the texture theme in some way). In the end, the working materials were ultimately quite harmonious in their minimalism.  

 

The project head Marcaek was also picky about what maps he accepted, sending rougher work back to the drawing board or in some cases serving up outright rejections (especially to work sent in batches by one particular person who likes to chuck lower-effort maps at every community project within earshot). That makes him kind of the bad guy, some might argue, but strict QC is often a necessary evil for ensuring quality with open submissions. 

 

Handed all of these elements with few defined rules or instructions for making it all work, the varied cast of mappers (which, looking at the roster again, has a suspiciously high number of "big names") did their own thing, in different ways, which was the final element of the magic gluing it together.

 

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The typical 50 Shades map is fairly short and to the point, almost as if motivated to end before your eyes started yelling about the overexposure to FIREBLU, but of course Mechadon threw a curveball by being himself, with a long odyssey that is honestly little different from his usual sprawling feat of relentlessly intertwining architecture and crazy interlocking angles, just with these textures instead. There are abstract little gameplay-oriented maps that focus on punchy, kinetic action in varying molds -- pistol-and-shotgun pecking early, a brief and hyperviolent BFG romp late, and every degree in between. Some mappers attempted to reach into other dimensions entirely, fashioning surrealistic art pieces that compensated for the narrow palette by concocting something out of nothing -- as with Dobu's exploiting negative space in the form of invisible sectors, and NoisyVelvet being, "Hey, HOMs are a texture too!" Of course there were crates. Contrasting the natural lean towards abstraction is a bit of stubbornly playful representation: castles, faces, giant stick figures crafted out of sectors.

 

In sum, it's good shit. 

 

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galileo31dos01

· Edited by galileo31dos01

  

Done with these settings:

 

- GLBoom+ 2.5.1.4. complevel 9

- Ultra-Violence

- Continuous combined with pistol start mindset.

- Saves every 10 minutes or dobu's traps so.

 

Phew, enough DOORTRAK for a year... I mean, a very well done megawad consisting of a special limited texture selection and diverse gameplay. That this is product of a meme in the community is out of my knowledge, since 50 Shades was launched way before I registered in the forum. Joke or not, the concept is intriguing: only the popularly acclaimed "ugliest" textures to create interesting maps, focused on what mappers can do with such strict rule so their creations are appealing in every sense possible. Because we are here to judge, I'll say the results are really impressive in general. The mappers involved brought tons of ingenious ideas to contrast each texture and make the best of them. I'm someone who wasn't very familiar with these three textures, more specific with DOORTRAK and GRAYTALL, until now. The first one has to be my least favourite, it's exclusive to doors, borders and certain structures like the tunnel in NoisyVelvet's map, which was combined with hall of mirrors in a very creative way. On the other side, GRAYTALL covers the majority of layouts' walls. It's partially plain as a single texture when its red stripes are too near from each other, in my opinion, not so much when they're spared or only the gray part is visible. However, the usage is generally decent due to light variation, the darker the better, also contrasted with FIREBLU's striking visual, the last texture that stands out in every context. There're also a few flats and ceilings to add some extra colour and some neat pitch black shadows, but another important complement is that amazing space sky. Whoever did it deserves an award, I absolutely loved how some mappers exploited it as either a texture replacement for switches, or simply the void. DGM's map is an example where it can be appreciated in its essence. The music selection isn't listed in the text file for some reason, I can say many are recognizable at first "glance", then others more speedy or chill midis according to the case, generally fitting. 

 

Gameplay is serious business. It's the kind that keeps you on your toes pretty much all of the time, and entails acquired skills to play on UV. The interesting part is that each map was designed by a different person (minus a collaboration map), therefore the diversity, many of which I have experienced their content before. For those who are new to the mappers involved, you'll get to find their names in the tally, or else on the internet. Naturally, I had expectations of what some of the mappers were capable of. The strategic set piece encounters from Ribbiks' map 12, or Mouldy's introduction into the slaughter-ish camp in his map 08, are examples of nothing to be disappointed at. Same for Mechadon's massive map 10 which serves fantastic non-linearity for days, and Joshy in his classic hectic start followed straightly by slaughter including a couple nonsense intermissions (more specifically, pain elementals in the open). Jimmy's remake of Entryway is a fun starter, easy to take your first steps into the new world of unpopular-only textures. For the rest of mappers, I had a few vague conceptions of their styles in other community projects, that after playing this megawad I will be able to recognize them. I know Xaser likes to play with circular very tall towers, his map is a huge infinite symbol whose gameplay is partially engaging, like the RL vs. pain elementals trap. Dobu Gabu Maru must have been an archvile in another life, otherwise it's out of my knowledge why such a mean-spirited map. It's ingenious, let's get that straight, the way he created architecture out of the sky and shadows and all that intricate geometry, which is put to maximum devilish reasons, and I liked the frantic setups even if it was near impossible to feel comfortable in the limited available space. TimeOfDeath did a decent boss map, the mix between resource and layout tightness. His etiquette two-(BFG)shots incidental mini setups against cyberdemons is present, they only persisted in the same exact contexts more than I like to see, but there're more variants of hard setups to experience too, and includes a full view of the mister of your dreams, or nightmares (I'm talking about the giant dude at the end, ok?)... On another side, there're some ups and downs from the rest of maps. I have to praise NoisyVelvet for such a great exploratory level, including the aforementioned tunnel of hall of mirrors, and a creepy face at the end. I also dig Megalyth imposing FIREBLU room with several setups for pressure-inducing. The one by Marcaek (not the credits map) left a sour taste in my mouth at first, since I'm not a fan of running away from monsters all the time. It gradually turned more palatable as I became more comfortable with the concept. Breezerp did a solid short BFG-spamming map, even though it's not my type of gameplay. Those by Quakis, Alfonzo, Ezormer and shockblast4 are somewhat similar, in regards to progressive difficulty and resource management, all of them enjoyable in their own way. Last but not least, the bonus map, a throwback into the old-school style of congested rooms, which can only be understood after a full playthrough. Don't try this map blind without a sense of exploration, if you have touched any Hell Revealed wad before you'll know what I'm talking about...

 

Secret-wise, to begin with, depending on the author, some went for something more exploratory full of secrets, while others dismissed the idea of placing at least one (Joshy, ahem...), nothing wrong with it though. It's wasn't easy to find all of them in the bigger maps, but still fun to be encouraged to explore and find extra portions that covered half of the map. I'm not sure why a couple of secrets in Mechadon's map are not hinted at all, like one required to shoot random FIREBLU, or maybe I needed glasses to detect a tiny difference between all of the FIREBLU walls, no idea. As to the bonus map, well it was expected to have important "mandatory" secrets, but it seems like not everyone moved on from the HR era, by the time this megawad was being made. Just don't go too far if you haven't found the, big thing, yet. Anyway, for favourite maps I'll pick 03, 06, 08 and 12.

 

On the subject of bugs, I found out that in map 08 a random monster from the first ambush might not pop up, could be a pinky or a hell knight. In map 15 it is possible to get stuck in the last step of the spiraled stairs, more specifically the point where a bunch of pinkies teleport in, the step never raised on my first try. There is also an unintentional HOM in the tower of sergeants. Lastly, not a bug per se but I found it weird that the chaingunners in the blue key trap in map 16 were stuck in their cubicles, still able to shoot, because there're teleport linedefs in the borders.

 

Overall, just a lovely mapset I recommend to anyone out there. Be smart and choose the appropriated difficulty, I'm sure lower skills are more accessible to casual players. Also, granted you'll end up loving FIREBLU if you haven't yet. One last thing, try to find the caged dog in map 07, it looks a bit like a floating skull on fire (; . My rate is 8/10.

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Gato606

  

Not bad for a minimalistic project with the challenge of very limited textures palette.  The design and architecture looked nice.  For some reason, the floor and sky texture didn't show properly for me when playing it on GZDoom with the HXRTC mod.  It was enjoyable till the slaughterfest maps appear, I think that broke the balance the maps had on the starting maps.

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Gallic00

  

Was very enjoyable.  The maps were varied in style and gameplay so I was never bored.

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Aldaraia

  

Surprisingly good mapset. Despite my initial expectations, the severely limit texture choices weren't much of a bother for most of the levels. There are times where the minimalist textures almost fade away from oversaturation, leaving you with a heightened focus on gameplay aspects (all which are great). Some maps are maddening, others - masterpieces. I wasn't expecting a space battle emulation in MAP14 though.

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BigDickBzzrak

  
Starts out quite good, but becomes a bunch of goddamn unplayable slaughtermaps towards the end. Meh.

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trrobin

  
A very mixed bag. The textures are obviously unpleasant, which was the point, although it doesn't stop them from bringing down the tone. Gameplay wise, the first levels get progressively better, peaking at the excellent level 10 only to go downhill after that, sometimes quite severely. You're left with an average wad that could have been saved by ending at map 10. Pity.

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Bryan T

  
There's no such thing as "too hard on UV". The only thing I don't like about this is the weird looking doors. It kept me wanting to play, so it gets a 5 from me.

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molten_

  
some maps are creative, and gameplay is decent, but nothing can make those textures look good. sorry.

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Guest

  
Game play is good. The obnoxious textures, or lack there of, are very annoying.

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Guest

  
Didn't like the sky under Doomguy's feet.Made me want to pee.

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mrthejoshmon

  
An ok concept but (obviously) an assault on the eyes. The set does play well and is as fun as Graytall can get, a little bit slaughtery but not too unfair.

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Doomkid

  
I thought the concept was cute and original, and considering the textures given they are wonderful in the visual front. The gameplay was great on some, on some it was just asinine. Some of those maps names made me laugh my ass off though. This deserves a solid 3.5*

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Guest

  
Shitty idea with shitty execution. So tired of all these gimmick wads lately, whatever happened to making something that's good on it's own? The only redeeming factor about this turd is the title screen. -Mr Delilah

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AnonimVio

  
I thought this rocks.

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Demonologist

  
I thought the same.

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Guest

  
I thought this sucked.

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NuMetalManiak

  
yay another mapset that delves into super hard gameplay at a point just like everything else I've played this year. 10, 12, 14, 15, and 16 are great, everything else less so.

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Eris

  
Too hard on UV

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Guest

  
Unusual mapset, only 3 wall-textures are used. The maps live from great architecture, lighting, layout and the authors creativity. The slaughter fights in later maps... ok, I wished these maps were 'normal' maps.

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Dime

  
fireblu seizures hurt body, dis is bad.

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Megalyth

  
These maps made me throw up out of my eyes 0/5

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Guest

  
Is there a different texture pack that will make this look better?Gameplay id decent, but the graphics are awful!

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AD_79

  
Fantastic mapset. also lol at people not being able to handle a little difficulty and rating the set low because of it

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Guest

  
^That's entirely too broadbrushed. Non-slaughter fans will want to play the first 5-7 maps (6 and 7 definitely apply lots of pressure though). EVERYONE should play Map10, it's a masterpiece, period, regardless of having over 800 monsters. You can try lower skill if the slaughter sections seem like too much. 4* for accomplishing maps that look reasonable, Map10, and some other decent outings.

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  • File Reviews

    • By A.H. Sankhatayan · Posted
      This is just an early version of Plutonia Map09. There aren't many noticeable differences up until the final area which is just a simple room with an exit you can walk into right away.   The Plutonia map, Abattoire, isn't among its strongest maps, but the final room is one of the most memorable fights in the set. This version doesn't have it, so it lacks the best part of the final version.    Not really worth playing if you've already played Plutonia. Something something historic value... 
    • By A.H. Sankhatayan · Posted
      Seej is another early slaughtermap from Dario Casali. With roughly 1000 monsters, it surpasses both Punisher and Go 2 It.    Unlike Punisher, Seej manages to keep up its pace. The more open layout and better monster combinations make infighting much less viable and there aren't many safe spots. The item placement is also much more thought out, you actually have to explore the level to find weapons. Powerups and health are also more scarce.    The only time the level slows down is once you clean up most of the 300+ initial monsters, but then you start progressing trough it and Seej pulls its greatest trick. Schutzstaffel! If you are familiar with Dario's Requiem Map23, you'll immediately know what this means. The ghost monster setup is really similar to Requiem, they even both come out from some sort of Blood Fountain. I'm a big fan of using ghost monsters, and they are very effective here. From then, until the very end, Seej never lets down.   The level isn't very nice to look at, since 90% of it is the same brown brick texture, even though the architecture is pretty nice. Although, once you start killing, all the corpses laying around add a lot of colour to the map :)    Overall, Seej is worth playing both as a fun slaughtermap and for its historical value.    
    • By A.H. Sankhatayan · Posted
      Punisher is pretty much Dario Casali's version of Go 2 It.    From the start, the map seems to have more 2 it. The monster count is three times higher, you start getting attacked right away and there seem to be Pain Elementals everywhere. The problem is, once you gain a footing, the levels becomes much easier than Go 2 It. Monster Placement here is very haphazard, meaning that even with fever power-ups, you shouldn't have a problem. This also results in lot of infighting and not the good kind. Most of the population just kill each other even before you get 2 them. Punisher has one last trick up its sleeve though, and that is releasing a load of archviles once you progress far enough, which thankfully makes the map much more challenging again.    Overall, it's a good early slaughtermap. I think it looks better than Go 2 It, but the gameplay in its middle gets too easy, as the monster placement isn't as good as Go 2 It. Then again, it was built in 2 hours.   Punisher is still entertaining and worth playing if you like Go 2 It and want to see Dario's take on the concept.    Also, it has not new music so I suggest throwing some custom midi at it. 20 minutes of D_RUNNIN can't be good for your health.
    • By Zirtonic · Posted
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