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Jimmy

Making the mastermind a better monster

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I've been wanting to make modifications to the mastermind in my own personal resource wad, but haven't put a ton of thought into it yet. personally I find the mastermind being hitscan really annoying, and have been intending to begin my tweaks by, at the very least, giving her a really rapid projectile attack instead. beyond that though, I'm not sure. I think it would be cool to have another boss monster in the game that has little more depth than a standard "dodge this hitscan/projectile," but maybe trying to make the mastermind break this mold is trying to fit it into something that would be better suited by an entirely new monster (in ZDoom at least, where you can add unlimited monsters).

 

in any case, I think shrinking the monster's radius is a pretty great start. that thing is fucking huge

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Good topic for a longtime SMM defender. Although I disagree with the "push-over" statement, it is a monster that is too prone to fail for many reasons. However, I don't think of her or the cyberdemon like bosses, that's in the past, they're much better as regulars or high-tiers, or in specific gimmicky scenarios. If you're looking for versatility, first change is radius from 128 to 82 or so. That solves most of the common problems with getting stuck or using whale-sized rooms for just one. The rest is personal choices. I would reduce pain chance to 10 (tics?) which is very effective, although for a tanky hitscanner others might find it too cover-forcing, so 20 should be good. No changes to the health points, 3000 is already enough imo, even the cyberdemon could have the same health. Facetarget could be 10 instead of 20, like former humans, so BFGing is more risky than normal, though I never touched this. And that's it for me. If you want a mid-tier spider, there is the chaingun spider which is being used in MAYhem 18 purple edition. 

 

A very good example of spider-bosses is Dimension of the Boomed, they have all the changes mentioned above plus 2000 hp instead of 3k, no splash immunity, and plasma shooters, so they cannot infight with each other. Worked great because of the context, which is highly important for any monster. Antares also modified her for Struggle, I think she shoots ultra fast plasma bolts or something barely avoidable. Or else look at Valiant, the lack of splash immunity might sound like weakening the monster, but Skillsaw put her in specific roles so she can work how he intended. So yeah, it's always usage, but those modifications of mine, specially the hitbox reduction, favor her a lot. 

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For an upcoming (ha!) mod, I've made the Spider Mastermind into a normal-coloured Arachnophyte, without the FLOATBOB flag. I've kept the health, pain chance, damage, etc. as-is, but reduced the radius to 60 and height to 88 to fit the sprites. This makes the mobility pretty high and turns it into a much more dangerous foe. In an added twist, I've kept the radius immunity but avoided the see and death sounds being projected across the entire map (and for the Cyberdemon, too) so they can be in the map without announcing themselves.

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5 hours ago, Jimmy said:

If we wanted to make her more widely useable as a middle-tier monster, perhaps on par with the baron of hell:

  • Decrease health to 1000 or maybe 1500, but keep resistance to radius damage
  • Shrink sprites by maybe 20%
  • Reduce radius considerably, perhaps to arachnotron size or smaller, even
  • Reduce pain chance just a little bit

I don't see myself using a "midtier-SMM" that is still unwieldy where instead I can fit in a couple chaingunners (yet), I'd certainly like to give it a shot, but I don't have high hopes atm. Making it fit in places better is a good idea, but in my book SMM is already midtier, so why nerf it even further?

5 hours ago, Jimmy said:

If we wanted to make her more threatening as a "boss" monster:

  • Increase health to 4000 to put her on par with the cyberdemon
  • Remove or shorten the delay before she fires her weapon
  • Reduce radius just a little bit so she can be placed more effectively
  • Reduce pain chance quite a bit

4000 health means it's still a two-shot with BFG assuming people can get close enough. Even with reduced pain chance and less attack delay people are gonna be able to "storm" it with BFG, I would think. Also, more bulk doesn't make it more dangerous per se. Reducing attack delay to "0" is something I'm horribly against, because first reflex for most players then is to camp it down, which can make fights feel "static". I'm all for less pain chance, and easier use by way of smaller hitbox, but the SSM's core problem are different ones.

1. It just gets rekt by BFG, and there is no reason not to rush it down if you can get close and have the cells for 2 large blasts.

2. It is an infight magnet, and will die to basically any mid-sized pack of revs, or at times even imps, especially if it gets stuck.

 

Those are the two points that I would think need dealing with aside of "size considerations". If you can make point blanking it with the BFG harder by editing that monster without turning SMM fights into a cornercamp fest, then I'm all for it, but honestly I'm not sure how that's gonna work outside of either ZDoom shenanigans for secondary attack at close range, or taking the hitscan away, and replacing it with more dangerous projectile patterns or something.

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6 hours ago, Jimmy said:

 

  • Allow her to change speed on the fly? Say if the player is far enough away, she accelerates.

 

Please discuss!

 

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Her chaingun attack is actually far more deadly at close range than the Cyberdemon's. The issue is that she stops firing the moment you leave her eyesight and it takes her a while to fire again once you emerge, making it easy to close the ground.  

 

At the end of Foursite I came up with fight against her that played to that idea. Not really replicatable as a common enemy, but was a decent demonstration that her attack is actually pretty deadly (forgive the texture filtering in the video, I was naive as to its ugliness)

 

 

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I've always been quite fond of the Spider Mastermind, especially its intimidating sounds. For me personally I think the size of the monster is the biggest issue, because as you've said it has to be mapped around in a way that's quite restrictive. Recently I played Back to Saturn X E2 MAP09, which I think uses one well.

 

It makes sense to me that the BFG is effective at close range and it'd be a shame to lose that, I think - but I wonder if a secondary defensive tactic that kicks in at short range could be a useful addition. For example, a kind of stomp or psychic attack that pushes the player back into chaingun range.

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1 hour ago, Bauul said:

 

 

That's a cool idea, I like seeing the SMM used in puzzly ways like that. I don't have any wisdom to drop here, but this is a really interesting discussion that's certainly food for mapping thought. I will say I was really impressed with DOTB's modified plasma mastermind (godlike mapping in the set generally, too). 

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When I hear about dangerous spiders the first thing that comes to my mind is poison. So maybe the mastermind could turn the floor under it into slime (kill it before the whole room becomes a radioactive zone).

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Really, the only thing the big moma needs is a diet course. She holds a unique role in the roster, just like cybie, and that's being the by far most dangerous sniper in the series. Really, if you want common combat brains, use her children, or chaingunners. A monster isn't bad just because it's harder to use or has more specific function. I mean, Icon of sin parts have served many maps well.

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With zdoom, you could give her an attack that spawns small spiders. Or what about make it so the Mastermind has a variant that walks on the ceiling?

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On some of my maps I've used her at moving platforms at the distant range. More or less challenging way.

One of the interesting purposes I've seen is the Bad Dream of Master Levels where she served as blocker.

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Make it a multi-tier boss.

 

1. Same as the spider mastermind.

 

2. The legs fall off, but the center remains. A few seconds later, tank treads emerge and it's somewhat faster. This part will shoot mancubus-like fireballs.

 

3. The center falls apart, but the brain remains. Then it rises up and starts flying around on its jet propelled platform. This part will psychokinetically cause rocks to materialize around the brain and then launch them at you (+/- 5 degrees or so) in a rapid fire fashion. Rarely, it will fire a BFG shot, but it will take a second or two to charge up to give the player time to prepare for it.

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Suggestion for Spider Mastermind:

  • Reduce radius to 64 (around half of original) and height to about 90. This makes spidey more versatile and also a bit less exposed to BFG tracers
  • Increase HP to 4000
  • Increase movement speed to that of Cyberdemon
  • Reduce pain chance to that of Cyberdemon
  • Replace its Chaingun with a Plasma Gun (faster projectile but not hitscan and more damaging than that of arachnotron)
  • Optional: Give a BFG attack with slow rate of fire and a initial pre-fire animation (warning player its about to fire)

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count my remake bosses of my wad? xD

 

the spiderboss and the cyberdemonboss

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ZDoom feature wise,
I mean you could always bring back the original plan to give the Mastermind the cut secondary attack iD originally intended it to have, which was meant to be (apparently) some sort of telekinesis lifting the target up for a short while also shooting them. 

 

Doom-magic2_1.png

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Maybe the imbalance isn't the Spider Demon, but the power of the BFG?

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If you wanna throw a wrench in the BFG strat you can use the telekinesis idea as @XLightningStormL mentioned.
Another alternative is turning the Mastermind into less of a traditional boss monster and more like a walking bigass tanky artillery piece? Imagine a trench-like level with a big tower in the middle or at the end, with the Mastermind on top, raining down something big and scary down on you. Like a massive multiple-rocket-launcher, a super-shot-gun-mancubus fireball wall or just a BFG. You'll always be too far away to have the BFG one-shot it, and you have to keep moving to even shoot at it.

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2 hours ago, Vermil said:

Maybe the imbalance isn't the Spider Demon, but the power of the BFG?

Even if you don't have the BFG, its size means you could hide behind a corner and you could still shoot it (for best results, use a hitscan weapon). It needs to be smaller, or better yet, the vulnerable area should be smaller, like only the brain portion could be hurt.

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It's likely too troublesome to ever implement but allow her to do a high jump to hunt down or land on to kill the player.

 

It would be a dramatic screen shaking landing.

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as a boss monster, i would say its biggest problem is the attack. bosses like cyberdemon can become challenging to avoid simply by reducing space player has to avoid in, there isn't much you can do when it comes to hitscan attacks, and necessitate cover (or something that lets you walk over the fight like a BFG or Cop ious amount of Health pickup), but when cover isplaced into the fight it become very easy to avoid damage because the monsters have no way to put pressure on player behind a wall.

 

however, is one simply remedy for this problem: other enemies. as wolfenstein 3d shows us, bosses with basic and simple to avoid attacks (given the boss arena) can be made dangerous with addition of other enemies. however, unfortunately for this boss, doom's infighting system makes it very difficult to compliment the fight with enemies who benefit most this boss and instead of the player, and the boss itself would be rather superfluous addition to the fight, its attack is not too much more dangerous than average hitscanner and all it really brings to fight is "something to kill last".

 

so, at last, i think the best way to make her worthy as a boss (without completely reworking the boss's attack) is to make the boss immune to damage from other non boss enemies and also to make it incapable of damaging other enemies. since the boss's attack is rather lacklustre perhpas could be make it more dnagerous (imagine if it fired super shotgun attack each "pulse" instead of regular, something to give it more presence) and finally i think it would be good if it could resurrect enemies like an arch vile (but with much longer range), so the boss won't become crippled by loss of minions.

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On 10/27/2018 at 3:47 AM, Chezza said:

It's likely too troublesome to ever implement but allow her to do a high jump to hunt down or land on to kill the player.

 

It would be a dramatic screen shaking landing.

There's a similar effect done in one of the Realm667 monsters. I forget which one but its a big spider themed boss.

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On 10/24/2018 at 8:18 AM, Nine Inch Heels said:

I don't see myself using a "midtier-SMM" that is still unwieldy where instead I can fit in a couple chaingunners (yet), I'd certainly like to give it a shot, but I don't have high hopes atm. Making it fit in places better is a good idea, but in my book SMM is already midtier, so why nerf it even further?

4000 health means it's still a two-shot with BFG assuming people can get close enough. Even with reduced pain chance and less attack delay people are gonna be able to "storm" it with BFG, I would think. Also, more bulk doesn't make it more dangerous per se. Reducing attack delay to "0" is something I'm horribly against, because first reflex for most players then is to camp it down, which can make fights feel "static". I'm all for less pain chance, and easier use by way of smaller hitbox, but the SSM's core problem are different ones.

1. It just gets rekt by BFG, and there is no reason not to rush it down if you can get close and have the cells for 2 large blasts.

2. It is an infight magnet, and will die to basically any mid-sized pack of revs, or at times even imps, especially if it gets stuck.

 

Those are the two points that I would think need dealing with aside of "size considerations". If you can make point blanking it with the BFG harder by editing that monster without turning SMM fights into a cornercamp fest, then I'm all for it, but honestly I'm not sure how that's gonna work outside of either ZDoom shenanigans for secondary attack at close range, or taking the hitscan away, and replacing it with more dangerous projectile patterns or something.

 

You could make the SMM like the Archvile in that no monster can target it, so that would eliminate the SSM being an infight magnet.  You could also make it similar to the Shambler in Quake that takes only half-damage to rockets, but for the SSM, make it take only half damage from plasma.  

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6 hours ago, Master O said:

 

You could make the SMM like the Archvile in that no monster can target it, so that would eliminate the SSM being an infight magnet.  You could also make it similar to the Shambler in Quake that takes only half-damage to rockets, but for the SSM, make it take only half damage from plasma.  

When you start making different bad guys partially immune to certain weapons you could get a lot of confusion.

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I've always considered making a tweak for it where its "melee" state blasts out a couple dozen speeding, homing BFG shots at you just to fuck with people.

Besides that, I'd say to make it like an Arachnotron, but give it a custom plasma projectile that moves much faster and maybe even make it fire two of the plasma balls at once like the Arachnotron in Doom 64. Have some fun with editing and give those a little bit of curvature spread to make it a little harder to dodge. Retains the potential fucking from fast firing while making it a little worse because, well, harder to dodge since there are two moving around in the air.

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