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Paar

Heretic: The Mysteries of Underville [RELEASED]

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Fantastic. Heretic doesn't get as much love as it deserves.

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Oh, boy, here we go. I could not have chosen a better map to reintroduce myself to the heretic scene, since my style is a bit similar.

 

i'mma drop a (very failed) demo here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1jVHeeoby5My2TuZh_oYGk9KU3Lc_oOVR

 

Played on HMP, i basically got the crossbow and died right after opening the big building.

Gonna be honest here: the opening suck big time, the player have little to no agency at all on what is going on: no ammo, no artifacts and an handful of (non respawning) gasbag makes Cacowad sad.

That said, lets take the jerk hat off and start doing some constructive criticism.

 

The very beginning: allright, we got a little cutscene, cute. We start off with some imps, nice, the ammo clearly isn't enough so we use gasbags, nice.

The problems starts immidiatly after: a cave in happens and we get trapped on the balcony, i tried to nope out of there but the cave in did it's job well, resulting in my first death.

All right, my fault, but from that time onwards i always skipped the opening, and oh boy if i was right to do so.

 

The pit: So, now we move to the biggest offender of what i played. At this point, if we killed all the imps in the previous area, we ended up with some scaps of ammo, otherwise we have around 80 shots. Not so bad i'd say, if it wasn't for the infinite mass of imps (and sniping golems) that we have to confront.

Let me do a premise: infighting is good (in moderation) and having no spots to camp is also VERY good for the pace of the game, but this is ridiculus: infighting is all you can do in this situation, the gasbags are nearly useless and pretty hard to detonate safely under the constant fire. The setup isn't bad per se, put at least 3 respawning gasbags (one where the nitrogolems are, and two above) and some timebombs (3 should be enough, add more for lower skill levels) and the problems will naturally go away (sort of, but at least it will be more engaging for the player).

 

After that i died some more to explore the map, until i got a rough understanding on what to do and where to find those damn timebombs (bless them). The part up to the crossbow is good, nothing to say, you even put a nice secret to make the encounter a bit easier. 

After that the ammo starvation was starting to take a tool on me, i entered the main building with basically no ammo and very little shiled left due to my use of bombs, only to be greeted with even more mobs and more ammo starvation, i died right after, having triggered two (apparently) big encounters with no ammo at all.

 

Thats were i stopped playing: i will play more of it even if it means lowering again the skill level. I can't just stop right here, can i?

 

EDit: apparently you can't pause when opening the menù? is this intentional?

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First, thanks for playing and reviewing, it means a lot to me.

 

When I fired up your demo I knew exactly where the problem was and it is my fault. You see, I wanted to streamline difficulty levels a bit so I made three custom ones - easy, normal, hard. From the demo you posted I immediately knew that you were playing on hard. I assume that you used "-skill 3" command line? Well, that's "hard". Your problems with high enemy number and ammo starvation is exactly the thing I was aiming for hard difficulty (it's even in the description in the first post). The biggest issue with this is me not communicating this well enough in the first place. That being said I didn't know this would be a problem. So I suggest playing the map with "-skill 2" command, I am sure that you will enjoy it much more.

 

I have tried replicating the issue with the game not pausing when in menu but everything worked fine.

 

I hope that the initial bad experience with the map won't put you off and you will give it another chance. I am sure that the best the map has to offer is yet to come.

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8 hours ago, Cacowad said:

Another (failed) demo:

This time i saved quite a bit, i hope it works. Another thing:i forgot to say i'm playing with zdoom 2.8.1

 

Unfortunately it doesn't work, it gets desynced right at the beginning. Did you play it on normal difficulty? Was the pacing better?

 

8 hours ago, Liberation said:

This does look ace, great work! Will try and have bash soon.

 

I look forward to your feedback!

Edited by Paar

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A very long map that was pretty tight on ammo at the start leading to me using a lot of infighting there, but eased off a bit as the map went on, though I still deliberately used the staff on nearly all the Sabre Claws for instance.  I never found the Dragon Claw or got the Phoenix Rod; if I had, the ammo may have been a lot less tight.

 

I kind of felt the blue door area was kind of tacked on and may have been better moved to an offshoot of the area the blue key was in (as the teleporter seemed a bit out of place); but it was cool to be able to lure both the Iron Liches to the locked side of the blue door so I could shut them out.

Edited by Vermil

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How could you resist killing those liches. For me it's one of the most enjoyable things in the game (still hating their tornadoes though). Thanks for playing, I hope you had a good time.

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5 hours ago, Paar said:

 

Unfortunately it doesn't work, it gets desynced right at the beginning. Did you play it on normal difficulty? Was the pacing better?

 

Welp, i messed up by not restarting from the command line :P and no, i continued on the hard difficulty (i like maps where i need to manage my resources). On second tought i might have switched to normal difficulty accidentally, since i only got one maulotaurus on the underground city.

Spoiler

Screenshot-Heretic-20181029-122615.png

 

Well, all in all it was a good ride: the ammo starvation and scavenging aspect got me hooked, but let's get things in order.

 

Where we left off: after the offputting start, we enter in the "main" building. This time i managed properly my ammo, so i ended up with around 30 crossbow ammo, more than enough to clear everything inside and get the quiver. I jumped into the elevator without looking back. This part is where things got interesting for me: a lot of optional (?) areas with a lot of interesting things inside to explore; every building was it's own little adventure and i liked it a lot, and finding the claw was a big help.

 

I promptly ignored the maulotaurus after dying trying to lure him into killing himself with the respawning gasbags, and moved on to the yellow key. Ammo was scarce but rnjesus helped me with some drops from the waredragons. This area is dope, not too cramped to be a problem to navigation while providing a lot of makeshift cover, very nice.

 

The blue key area: this is a big area allright. The trend to make little adventures for every small area continue, and i'm enjoying it, died a couple of times while exploring, but it wasn't so bad. Also from this point onward i never actually needed to manage my ammo too thighly, there was always plenty (that is, if you don't miss very often). Rnjesus was very kind to me, deciding to drop me 2 tomes, pretty satisfied with that.

After getting the blue key, we wrap around the entrance and get to the teleporter, nice, nothing to object here.

 

I used the tomed wand to destroy the liches, and it was good. MOVING ON.

 

Spoiler

Screenshot-Heretic-20181029-122522.png

The final fight was really good, like really good, i was pressured from every angle (floor included), while having just enough space to move. Nice way to end the map.

 

Just a final nitpick: put some "end level" particles near the exit switch, i somehow got baited into thinking the empy area was going to get filled with mobs the moment i pressed it.

 

Last words: Overall i liked it, it went better as the time progressed, and in particular i liked the underground city and the final fight. The start need a bit of polish, put some form of agency to the player that isn't "wait for the mos to kill themself from infighting" since imho is pretty boring, even a couple of early bombs and some respawning gasbags would do the trick.

 

(ps: as a side note, as i noclip trough the level to remember stuff, i noticed that there was a gauntlet hidden near the elevator, since i got a couple of tomes i could have been really fun to drain-tank some sabreclaws for health. I also had a invincibility ring all that time, but never used it, i never find the right timing to do so.)

Edited by Cacowad : words are hard

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3 hours ago, Matthias said:

 

You know, I also released my Heretic project recently

https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/heretic/Ports/iraik

:)

 

Great, I'll give it a try when I have some time.

 

2 hours ago, Cacowad said:

This part is where things got interesting for me: a lot of optional (?) areas with a lot of interesting things inside to explore; every building was it's own little adventure and i liked it a lot, and finding the claw was a big help.

 

Those are indeed completely optional. You're right, every building was created so it could be self-contained sub-level, so to speak. In almost all instances you're provided with a preview of the reward and it's completely up to you if you want to explore or ignore it.

 

2 hours ago, Cacowad said:

Just a final nitpick: put some "end level" particles near the exit switch, i somehow got baited into thinking the empy area was going to get filled with mobs the moment i pressed it.

 

At first I wasn't very fond of adding blue sparkles around the exit switch as it's texture should be self-explanatory. But then I tried removing the switch completely and putting blue sparks into nearby boats and must say that the result looks much better!

 

2 hours ago, Cacowad said:

Last words: Overall i liked it, it went better as the time progressed, and in particular i liked the underground city and the final fight. The start need a bit of polish, put some form of agency to the player that isn't "wait for the mos to kill themself from infighting" since imho is pretty boring, even a couple of early bombs and some respawning gasbags would do the trick.

 

Happy that you liked it. The open area at the beginning is the first thing I did when creating the map and it shows. I certainly got better in later parts. I have revisited the area several times before releasing the map and made some changes and it has certainly improved but it's still not perfect. At the same time I wouldn't say it's terrible, just not as good as the rest of the map. I have added two time bombs right after the section with collapsing ceiling, they should come handy when disposing of all those gargoyles.

 

Very good and thorough review, thanks a lot.

Edited by Paar

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I really liked this level, and I played it on medium. However, ammo WAS tight and the second half was a bit difficult, I died multiple times and I'll admit I resorted to using the 'resurrect' cheat. Besides the shortage of ammo, the map was well made and had a nice use of new textures. I really felt like I was in an udnerground, abandoned Oogle society under the mountains!

 

Now to try "It's Real and It Kills."

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5 hours ago, ShadesMaster said:

I really liked this level, and I played it on medium. However, ammo WAS tight and the second half was a bit difficult, I died multiple times and I'll admit I resorted to using the 'resurrect' cheat. Besides the shortage of ammo, the map was well made and had a nice use of new textures. I really felt like I was in an udnerground, abandoned Oogle society under the mountains!

 

Now to try "It's Real and It Kills."

 

Thanks for the feedback!

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I have updated the link with newer version of the map. If you downloaded the previous version and haven't played it yet I suggest downloading the new one.

 

Changes:

  • Fixed a ton of misaligned textures
  • A little easier beginning with fewer monsters and more options how to kill them
  • Minor changes to monster placements
  • More details in some areas
Edited by Paar

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