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Vorpal

Epitaph (dm/duel)

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Posted (edited)

While he wasn't a particularly prolific mapper, I've been a bit of a Michal Mesko fan ever since an_coop 1/2. His contributions to gothicdm and gothic2 also stood out in terms of playability despite me being very critical of those wads. However when it came to his Epitaph (map05) of Crucified Dreams, there were too many sins to be forgiven and it was awful to frag in (albeit an amazing work of art to stare at). Still, my intuition was always nagging at me for years that it was a great layout, if only it could be streamlined for actual play instead of the visual wow-factor.

 

So I finally decided to get my hands dirty and bring the map down to its bones. I have 0% permission to mess with the map, but it is not out of malice but as a fanboy's tribute that I did so. What I present is a vanilla doom2 map with stock textures chosen for contrast for visual aid, brightness increased way up for visual aid, floor-detail-bumpiness removed, item balance overhaul (thanks @dew  @AlexMax @Decay !), and some other misc. The original item balance is retained on skill 1/2.

 

Is it a good dm map? I don't know, that's for others to evaluate, but at least now you will be able to see wtf you are shooting at 😉

 

txt  zip webpage

 

Before and After stuff (higher resolution at my page on the whorld whide wheb)

epi1_th.png

epi2_th.png

epi3_th.png

Edited by Vorpal : holy hell spelling

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Well, it's not very probable that a DM wad would naturally spark a discussion on DW, so let's help it a little and poke the hornet's nest.

 

Crucified Dreams was a hot mess, a steaming pile of manure. And the only DM wad to ever win a main cacoward, because it looks pretty. There's precisely one map in all of crudream that I genuinely like and recommend: Lee Szymanski's map11. It may be a bit expansive and slow for what's considered modern standard in Doom dueling, but it's a rock solid Quake-themed DM map. The rest? Dysfunctional layouts with inept placement masqueraded by fancy detail.

 

Scuba's mention of Afterglow going over the mapset and pimping the shit out of it is ironically the perfect encapsulation of why it failed so hard. No one ever playtested these maps for real, because someone would've spotted they're not fun to play. Pistol spawns everywhere, wide-eyed fear of balancing maps around the SSG and the BFG, poor man's interconnectivity that doesn't promote fast and intuitive movement... But there sure was 8 years of detailing behind the project! So on top of the bad decisions, you also get bumpy floor detail that throws off your concentration, wall decor galore to get stuck on and immersive lightning, or should I say darkening.

 

All of that is anathema to DM players. They want interesting map ideas, but grounded on established conventions (pistol spawns are an anachronism, maybe unless you know what you're doing very, very well). They don't hate the pretty, but the pretty shouldn't be the busy, because DM is all about fast movement and when you move fast, that grainy hyper-detailed dark detailing will become a headache-inducing mess that also hides the opposing players to your poor eyesight. DM players aren't married to the vanilla/greenwar-style, but the colour scheme and bright lighting just so happens to help with establishing sit-rep.

 

What I describe is no rocket science. Vorpal isn't known to be a DM mapper, but he still instinctively homed on the most painful issues of this particular map. We helped him with the nitty-gritty of the DM item/spawn balancing, but I'd say he made the most important changes by himself: cleaning up the visuals and removing the plasma teleporter connection. For the lazy: where the bfg is now, there used to be a plasma and a teleporter waterfall (made of like, a billion linedefs) to elsehwere. By removing that connection, the map got imbalanced, and it helped. We further pushed it by adding the BFG, because it adds this ... "gradient". One side of the map is "hotter", it has better equipment, but it's more awkward to move in. The other side has weaker stuff, but it's roomier and slower. This is an interesting dynamic that you won't see in a perfectly interconnected (or even symmetrical) arena. It's fun, because it introduces repeatable standoffs that you learn from over time instead of just random encounters at a random map spot. Brain gets engaged.

 

I dunno if this map has a bright future, but I personally like it. I wonder if other crudream maps could be salvaged in a similar manner. Two months ago I'd probably laugh at the idea. Also, I'm not implying mere vanillification of resources and detail, because that's the superficial level. The problems run deeper, and perhaps vorpal got lucky with his pick and some other are beyond repair. I'd love to know either way. (hint hint?)

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6 hours ago, dew said:

I wonder if other crudream maps could be salvaged in a similar manner.

 

In terms of layout (I'm ignoring item balance for this argument), I don't think any other maps could be salvaged aside from the already mentioned 11 which doesn't need salvaging. The rest is basically my-first-dm-map single room arenas, or symmetrical (can't tell where the fuck I am in a symmetrical map), or too massive, or just too hallway heavy... there's even 2-3 maps that are literally just a hallway.

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I took a quick look at it and it's certainly an improvement. I like the texture mashup aesthetic.

 

A couple notes:

 

- There are a few weapons on spawns that are not flagged on easy skill for some reason.

- There are few places with buggy nodes. The first one I noticed was to the right of the plasma entry where I could walk right though the wall. I rebuilt it and I could no longer walk through walls.

 

I'm sure there are more maps in Crucified Dreams that could produce some good results. However, I feel they would require way more work. Chopping up, pasting parts around, and deleting a lot of lines.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, hobomaster22 said:

- There are a few weapons on spawns that are not flagged on easy skill for some reason.

 

I've provided two completely different item layouts (original crudream and newfangled overhaul). So this is intended unless you are referring to something more specific that is wrong.

 

Quote

- There are few places with buggy nodes. The first one I noticed was to the right of the plasma entry where I could walk right though the wall. I rebuilt it and I could no longer walk through walls.

 

Sounds like a port issue, I test in vanilla/chocolate. Maybe you are using an out of date port that has not incorporated the the blockmap fix which zokumbsp uses (this map was built with zokumbsp).

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Nothing to add that Dew didn't already cover, so just chiming in to say keep it up. I would have liked to have sit in on some of those playtesting sessions.

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10 hours ago, Vorpal said:

 

I've provided two completely different item layouts (original crudream and newfangled overhaul). So this is intended unless you are referring to something more specific that is wrong.

 

 

Sounds like a port issue, I test in vanilla/chocolate. Maybe you are using an out of date port that has not incorporated the the blockmap fix which zokumbsp uses (this map was built with zokumbsp).

 

I missed the original item layout in the post.

 

The nodes are bad in Zandronum and ZDaemon which are the most popular multiplayer ports. I also get the same bugs in prboom. The only port it worked in for me was Chocolate Doom.

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