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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Deathless

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Reminder to play/write about M7 & M8 maps on the same day in order to make an Ultimate Doom megawad fit within the monthly schedule.

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Yay, this should be a good one.  I've wondered, aside from being able to pump 3 episodes of this out in just 9 DAYS!  How did Jimmy come up with the names for the maps?  I sit and think on what to title one map for weeks...

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Nothin' like a good Ultimate Doom megawad. GZDoom, UV, continuous, freelook, Ketchup v5 gore. 

 

E1M1

Simple classic opener, with a body count of only 30. We have some height variation and windows allowing for peek a boo sniping and there's the odd zombieman or two who'll snipe you from above.  Don't have to wait long for the shotgun as we've got a few shotgunners roaming in what is otherwise a small, compact map. Good opportunity for barrel fun at the start, splattering those zombiemen and imps, also sniping that barrel in the base through the window resulted in more righteous gibbage. Almost blew myself up in the process lol. Pretty fun and looks good too. 

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I won't be participating for the whole of this wad, as I feel I need a bit of a break from the DWmegawad club. I hope to join in for one or both of the last two episodes though.

 

That having been said, I did take a look at E2, and ended up playing it right through on UV continuous. It took 1 hour 47 mins, and I didn't actually die once. I'm not anywhere near to being a top level Doomer, so this suggests to me that the wad may be very much on the easy side, unless of course there's a dramatic step up in difficulty later on. It also suggests that anyone wanting a serious challenge should be thinking about pistol starting (and I did notice that ammo, health and armour are all provided in generous amounts). Don't get me wrong - the maps were pleasing to play and looked good, and I've no complaints except for not being very happy about the fact that a certain pickup in map 6 was  mandatory for progression. Great end of level screen as well, by the way!

 

EDIT: LOL, I've just seen Jimmy's comment in the other Deathless thread regarding pistol starts v continuous play in this wad....:)

 

Edited by Summer Deep

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E1M1

Good opener.  Only riff-raff for bad guys so far, which is fine for this slot.  Lots of opportunities to splatter enemies with barrels, which is always a plus in my book.  Not sure I like the re-coloured soul sphere, but it sure didn't stop me picking it up :)

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I've just finished recording and am currently uploading the first episode, scheduling the videos to publish daily.  I won't spam my video links in this thread but I will watch each one on the publishing day to refresh me and give my thoughts if I have any worth sharing.  So far, I just want to say, 9 days is impressive for this, even if the rest of the month was spent fixing things, each one of the maps I've played would have taken me days or weeks to complete...then I am still a novice at mapping ;)

 

E1M1: Quick and easy, lots of barrels, nice soulsphere redesign.  I always like being able to see an item I'm going to want through a window to give me incentive to explore to get to it.

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Yeah, Deathless is fairly easy to complete, well, deathless. :P For those wanting an extra challenge, consider enabling -fast or -solo-net, or both.

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1 hour ago, Jimmy said:

Yeah, Deathless is fairly easy to complete, well, deathless. :P For those wanting an extra challenge, consider enabling -fast or -solo-net, or both.

I like a good easy wad here and there, myself.  It's one of the main things I was looking forward to with this one :)

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I've played the first release of this , and I found it to be an enjoyable wad. A real accomplishment for 9 days work!  While it may seem easy at first, it does amp up ;) I won't spoil anything though.

 

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BTW what does -solo-net do?  It sounds like it adds the coop stuff to solo.  If so that's a pretty cool thing I might use in the future.

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Solo-net emulates a multiplayer game for one player.

I'll be making a real come back this month, as I haven't finished Deathless yet, and it's definitely worth another run through.

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4 minutes ago, Aquila Chrysaetos said:

Solo-net emulates a multiplayer game for one player.

This is what I thought, yea I believe I could amp up the difficulty in a lot of wads I've already played with this.  But I believe a lot of wads add a lot of extra resources for coop as well right?  Not just more monsters?

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Depends on the mapper, really. Most times you can expect extra weaponry and ammo if there are extra monsters.

I'm confident Jimmy covers all aspects of cooperative balancing (unlike me, I deal with coop by ignoring it), so you can expect extra resources to deal with the extra monsters.

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E1M2

I will finish E1 in RC4 (because I've already played a fair bit of it), and then use the newer version for E2-E4.

 

Another solid techbase map, with an IWAD nod by making a red key the first pick up of the episode. I'm not a fan of the use of BROWN144 on walls more than 128 high: it doesn't tile right and looks a bit naff. Otherwise this is clean and tidy. I like the startan-in-startan inserts. Pinkies join the fray but don't really have much chance to really threaten, here: especially since I am carrying over the chainsaw from the first map.

 

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December's pretty busy for me so I was thinking of taking the map off, but these maps look nice and bite-sized so I'll probably take part. Thinking about playing through and posting thoughts episodically though at the end of the week.

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So with last month's NaNoWADMo out of the way and at least semi-successful in terms of my own project, I now more time to play.  :)  ZDoom, continuous play, Hurt Me Plenty I mourn for no one., with saves as and when I choose.

 

E1M1: Contagion

 

So this is pretty cool, with an entertainingly jarring juxtaposition of Doom's E1M1 music with Doom II's noxious brown slime and an atmosphere that owes more to the latter than the former (until the very end and the oh so familiar exit room anyway).  The new soulsphere graphic is a distinctive one, orange and fiery rather than blue with a lil' face in the middle, and putting it in a highly visible spot encourages the player to engage with it, confirm just what this unfamiliar orange sphere is, and also serves to direct the player's attention to the mapper's particular language of secret clues and tells.  Short and sweet overall, it works nicely as an introduction to the project.

 

E1M2: Laid to Rust

 

This is a fun little techbase, with a lot of odd angles, incidental elevation changes, and transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces crammed into a compact footprint that consequently manages to feel bigger and busier than it really is - a good use of limited space and development time, though really one of those limits is more self-imposed than the other.  One of the things I'm having to learn here is that the brown slime is not the same beast as its generally benign Doom II incarnation but is just as dangerous as its green Doom counterpart - gotta pay attention to those POISON warning signs!

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E1M3

Techbase III: The Techbasening. Not that the original E1 wasn't a whole lotta techbase, mind you. One thing I noticed with this map is that it felt a lot quicker and easier to reach the secret exit than the normal one. Though frankly, if I played the WAD again, I'd go to the normal exit so I could skip M9, so maybe it's deliberately more effort to reach the non-secret ending?

 

Also, that switch for the secret exit looks awful. At least indent it with support3 trim or something.

 

 

E1M9

I didn't much like this map when it was in Doom 2, either. :-P

 

 

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Remember when I said I'd post at the end of the weeks? I LIED. Playing on ZDoom, mouselook, UV, continuous (since Jimmy said it was designed as such), save/reload frequently.

 

E1M1: Contagion

100% kills, 2/2 secrets

 

Pretty quick and breezey starter, I like having a few spots to use barrels to blow up enemies. Small fry also means feeling free to use the chainsaw. Decent KDITD style layout with lots of windows and inter-connectedness, though it somewhat goes to waste with such a small monster count. The soulsphere replacement looks fine but I can’t say I dig the new color.

 

E1M2: Laid to Rust

100% kills, 3/3 secrets

 

Green pillars? Berserk pack? In MY E1? Well I never! JK, I know it’s not supposed to be a DTWID project, and they fit fine. While the texturing is mostly classic E1, the architecture feels different, which keeps things feeling a bit fresher actually. Another easy quicky, though here it seems more likely the barrels will be used against the player rather than the monsters.

 

E1M3: Sluice Gate

100% kills, 3/3 secrets

 

Some larger outdoor areas and a bit more substantial layout, nice after the two blink-and-you’ll-miss’em-maps. I liked the switch before the red key that revealed the demons across the courtyard, as well as the fact I could hit the barrels to kill them (something auto-aimers might not be able to do from above). I agree that the secret exit switch texture choice is ugly. Also I see that Jimmy apparently is not one of the anti-backpack contingent, though it likely matters less when one author is controlling the ammo as opposed to worrying about differing authors in a group authorship setting. And yeah, the easy-to-reach secret exit should make for some fun speedruns... I got under :30 on second try (taking time to grab a shotgun to kill the spectre in the exit room), I'm sure others could do much better.

 

E1M9: Gods

100% kills, 1/3 secrets

 

Cute port of MAP20 into E1 I suppose, but yeah, can’t say I’m a fan. It is a little more involved than the regular MAP20 though since you need to open the doors to let the enemies out (the SMM especially will likely stop and just shoot you if you don’t move quickly enough) as well as lower the partition between them. The after bit with barons and cacos is also a bit lame and feels backwards in terms of monster difficulty. And I was a little disappointed to have the secret RL I found at the end of E1M3 so quickly replaced... getting the secret one with two rockets feels special and makes me wonder when I'll use them, having ~25 rockets and 180 cells in a plasmagun makes that a lot less important.

Edited by Magnusblitz

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E1M2

Another pocket-sized offering. Again we have plenty of windows to snipe baddies and barrels through and a view of the green armour secret. That's one of my favourite E1 tropes, the teaser secrets that just encourage you to explore, and the reward feels all the more greater. I came in at 200% health so was hesitant to pick up the berserk, but seeing as the threat is pretty low at this point, save for a couple of plinks by shotgunners outside the window at the start, I decided to grab it anyway to splatter those demons and save me some shells. Hell, was great fun to splatter most of the imp population aswell. 

 

E1M3

Bigger and more varied architecture await us at our arrival here. The centrepiece is the outdoor barrel/sludge courtyard, with a great viewing/sniping platform/balcony with a switch that releases a number of demons. With the ketchup gore and the numerous barrels, what followed was some gratuitous satisfaction :D A couple of good sniping moments, namely the shotgunner overlooking the yellow key from the start, and those dudes way down at the red key from the aforementioned platform. There is quite a bit of sludge, sort of reminiscent of the secrets in E1M7, including what appear to be mandatory damage sectors at first (i.e. the red door), but the single rad suit and taking the correct path (lucky), I avoided damage. I found the secret exit well before the real exit, and yeah that's an odd choice of texture for the exit switch. Just looks crap. Body count is higher, but it seemed to feel sparse in some places. There is more than adequate health, I believe I counted no less than 3 medikits on the short run from the courtyard to the secret exit. Found all secrets, but the rocket launcher one eluded me for a good while. After much wall humping, I got the light bulb above my head... "let's look around this corner..."  Liked this map architecturally, and some good gameplay moments, but I feel it could've used more opposition. 

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E1M3: Sluice Gate

 

This one's got a really nice layout, with one half of the map consisting of the central (yellow key) room/sludge reservoir with an ascending spiral staircase wrapped around it, and the other half consisting of an open-air sludge pond with walkways and overlooking balconies and rooms; it's got a really strong "sense of place" overall and also in how each of its individual sections functions.  I'm inclined to agree with @Capellan that it's much quicker to reach the secret exit than the regular one, and the variant texture that conceals the route to the secret exit is... perhaps more obvious than intended?  But yeah, this one's a lot of fun, substantial and shooty and creepy as any map using the Dark Halls music track ought to be.

 

E1M9: Gods

 

...Did I take a wrong turn and end up in some kind of Doom-II-in-Ultimate-Doom variation on the Switcheroom concept?  You're handed a plasma gun and introduced to four of the five monsters that aren't a typical part of the E1 bestiary, so this is an unexpected map in terms of how it fits into the anticipated progression, but once you twig to what's going on (and that's apparent in, like, the second room) then there won't be a lot of surprises ahead of you.

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E1M4

I like the combination of stone and earth here; it's a different visual theme to what we've had before, even if it's still more or less a techbase type design. Not sure about those square nukage streams, though. Looks a bit iffy.

 

 

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E1M4: Underflow

 

Short and sweet, with an overall feel that blends elements of E1 (the STAR* corridors toward the start of the map) with Doom II (the nukage falls and brown rock) to create something that's pretty unique.  It's a fast-flowing layout with an emphasis on forward motion.  There's a nice balance between the (heavily telegraphed) packs of demons unleashed on the player and the mixed gangs of zombies and imps that are as likely to fight amongst themselves as to menace the intrepid marine; at no point do you have to be bottled up, grinding your way steadily through a pile of meat (though you can if you choose to).  The threat level is overall pretty low, but at this stage in the WAD I don't know how much threat is really expected.

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E1M4: Underflow

100% kills, 1/1 secret

 

Hmm, didn't quite like this one as much. Could be just because the combat feels piddly since I'm coming into it at 200/200 after the secret map, but I also gave it a whirl after on pistol start and it was still pretty easy without much thought. Just not a lot of opportunities for the monsters to flank or threaten the player I think, lots of dead ends and monster closets opening in spots advantageous to the player - the barrel setup on the first switch is fun, but the spectres coming out of the forcefields aren't a threat as long as the player stands their ground. Also felt a bit boxy, lots of little cube cutouts. The wood textures feel a bit out of place, I guess the idea is UAC was tunneling through some rock and maybe hadn't completed the base yet and was holding up some of the dirt with wood temporarily? Just feels weird for a moonbase, there aren't exactly space trees to turn into lumber.

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E1M5

I'm not generally a fan of the "find all three keys and then open three consecutive doors to exit" motif. I appreciate that it allows the player to explore the map in almost any order, but there's just something about the trio of back to back doors that rubs me the wrong way. Particularly when you're playing a map where there is clearly an optimal route to take, which rather invalidates the 'you can go anywhere you like' benefits of the structure.

 

It is nice to see a map where the light amp goggles are genuinely a great find. That's something I set out to do in a couple of maps in Doom 404, too. Not having them when you do the western section is pretty rough, as I discovered (because naturally, it turns out I did the map in exactly the opposite of the optimal order! :) )

 

 

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