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MajorRawne

PSX Doom - a discussion, in some depth, just sayin'

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Greetings everyone. I am working on a "Doom the way Williams did" guide for myself although Dark Pulse or any of the GEC team will be able to humiliate its humble lack of knowledge. (And hopefully will.) There are a number of things that I feel PSX Doom does well, and which differentiate it not only from the looks and gameplay of PC Doom, but also in mood. I play PSX Doom specifically because I want the sense of melancholy fear. I play PC Doom if I want to loudly blow shit up. Both versions of the game offer something different. This is why PSX Doom and Doom 64 still enrapture people today. If they were just the PC version, why would anyone bother?

 

Obviously the following is subjective and maybe not even useful, so feel free to troll me and say it's pretentious. Oh and it is more of a style guide:

 

(Note: UDoom means PSX Ultimate Doom and FDoom means PSX Final Doom. Just generic "Doom" or "PSX Doom" refers to UDoom, Doom 2 and FDoom equally)

 

Map order - In Ultimate Doom, the maps gradually descend into hell. The skies get scarier, the map names become biblical. It feels as if the player is building towards a frightening conclusion. In Doom 2 and FDoom, the maps are typically larger, typically industrial and more challenging to play but there is less emphasis on going to hell. The later maps become more complex and unfriendly and it feels like it's building to something grand. Instead of specifically hell, they exist in some weird alternate dimension that you really need to get out of. (cf Wormhole, Monster Condo)
 

Spoiler

 

Special and possibly controversial discussion on which maps Williams cut - It is hard to argue that Williams did have their own style and this affected which map choices they made. The emphasis seems to have been on offering a fair challenge at a moderate difficulty level with only a handful of "WTH do I go now" maps and as few gimmick maps as possible (they kept the excellent Dead Simple, but binned Gotcha!). We know from the incredible GEC project that Williams could have included almost any map they wanted. We also know they were fearless in stripping maps like Pandemonium and Halls of the Damned to make them work. It appears that by the time they got to Doom 2 and FDoom, they had learned that maps didn't always need drastic changes. Now this leads into three hot debates:

 

1. Why did Williams push Plutonia out in favour of the Master Levels? Well this is my subjective opinion, but the perceived Chaingunner/Revenant spam of The Plutonia Experiment (yeah this has been discussed to death but is relevant here) does not fit in with PSX Doom's gameplay style at all. The included Master Levels do fit and are arguably improved from the originals with creepy music and darker lighting.

 

2. Were any of the cut levels actually missed? Now this is super-subjective and liable to get me in trouble again, but I do not regard any of the maps cut from PSX Doom to be anything special and I think PSX Doom might have been worse off with them included. This is because they either present something we've already got in PSX Doom; devalue its rare boss encounter maps; are way too long and complicated considering that the game can't be saved; or are simply a wretched hate-poo like The Chasm. (Or maybe they just didn't like Sandy Petersen for some reason - maybe when visiting their office he crouched on tables yelling I AM THE NIGHT HAUNTER!) Going back to the shortened UDoom maps, did any PSX Gamer play these maps on PC and think "Wow, I really wish this pointless, dead end room with hilarious ghost faces had been kept!" Halls of the Damned wasn't that spectacular in either incarnation. PC gamers might be appalled at such cuts, but A) why would you go from the PC version to a stripped-down port anyway, B) what did you expect when you got there, C) there are plenty of surprises for people used to the PC version and D) there isn't a single new, PSX-only map that isn't more badass than a Titan crewed by Angry Marines.

 

3. (Totally irrelevant but WTH) With all the above in mind, was PSX Doom 2 a better prospect to play through than the PC version?

 

 

Atmosphere - If players did not want their Doom experience to be 99% mood/atmosphere, they would not play the Playstation version. Players cannot save their game and so are better rewarded for creeping through the levels watching their back at all times. Always emphasise fear over pain. 100-gun ambushes might be hilarious on the PC but PSX players will curse the seed that spawned you. Your aim is to scare the player witless and remind them that they are the only human there. No help is coming; there is no switch to blow the devil's head up, no demands to meet up with alpha team, no orders from HQ. This attack on the human realm is happening for no reason other than hate, carnage and spite. There is no love, no laughter and no hope. If the player feels any of those positive things, and is not feeling scared and alienated* at the same time, you are doing it wrong. Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere. See also Music, Coloured Sectors and Darkness Falls.

* alienated as in they're trapped in a hostile environment surrounded by enemies, not fed up with shitty map design.

 

Music - This has a HUGE impact, probably the most of anything you can do, and will change how the player behaves. For example, Deimos Lab is quite bland when you think about it, but when you combine it with this piece of music, it really is a match made in heaven - or hell - turning an average map into survival horror which WILL intimidate most players. Instead of wondering how an empty series of corridors made the cut, they are creeping along, imagining wind howling down the tunnels and dreading some unspecified horror that might jump out at any moment. Hellish sounding music is typically reserved for hell themed maps (e.g. Hell Beneath or Mount Erebus wouldn't play on a map like Hangar or Plant - in fact Hell Beneath isn't even used in the mostly tech base FDoom, believe it or not). It seems that the instruments were chosen specifically to create drawn-out sounds rather than actual melodies. The tracks are designed only to scare and isolate the player, and their emotional impact may be the mapper's most powerful weapon.

 

Coloured sectors - Don't abuse it, but make sure you use it. This is the PSX engine's one advantage over the PC engine and if used well can be fantastic. Examples range from obvious (coloured sectors for the keycards) to the sublime (yellow or red tint when outdoors beneath a blazing sky). I really don't understand people who don't like coloured sectors, it makes such a difference when used cleverly and not spammed. PSX Doom typically sticks to red, yellow, green and blue. It VERY rarely uses purple and somehow it's hard to imagine them using hot pink, if such were even possible. Try to save weird colours for special occasions as they will likely have quite an impact. Also, unless you are making a nightclub which btw has already been done, avoid different coloured sectors next to each other.

 

Darkness falls - Many or most PSX Doom maps are gritty and creepy, with shadowy areas and broken lights (DON'T ABUSE FLICKERING LIGHTS). You are not recreating a jaunty run and gun game where every single sector is set to max brightness, you are recreating a slow-burning exercise in dread. The player shouldn't come out of the start room blasting and laughing, they should be in there, hiding in a corner, like a little bitch, for ten minutes.

 

Inescapable nukage pits - There are virtually none of these on PSX Doom. The player can't save. Don't do it. This means you.

 

Monster Deployment - Most PSX maps feature a number of weaker "minion" monsters, typically Imps, Pink Demons and various types of Former Human. These are frequently backed up by Cacodemons and/or Revenants. Doom 2 monsters provide extra muscle in Ultimate Doom, one of the joys of this game. You almost never see boss-tier monsters. After Ultimate Doom, Barons become rare. In FDoom the most powerful monster types are extinct. And yet many levels are still challenging and intimidating. This may be because more thought went into choosing monsters for each map due to A) RAM limits and B) the inability to save games. This creates a more focused gameplay experience with the player forced to mow down hordes of weaker enemies as opposed to gameplay halting because fifteen Cyberdemons just popped up. Something about the choice of weaker monster types with sparing use of mid-level monsters just creates a weird cohesiveness. Dead player decorations are unused in PSX Doom.

 

Monster Deployment and VRAM limits - Dark Pulse has explained elsewhere that a map can be 1200kb at max size including the map itself (which also includes player starts and all obtainable items) PLUS monster types. Each monster type takes up a specific amount of VRAM. That amount of VRAM does not change regardless of whether you use only a single monster of that type, or 600 of them. Every monster type can have a flag set for it to be a Spectre variant or a Nightmare variant, which Williams largely chose not to use. It does NOT use additional VRAM to make some or (God forbid) all of your monsters into Spectre and/or Nightmare variants. Nightmare monsters have their health doubled and their colour palette changed but are otherwise identical to regular monsters - don't abuse these features, and remember that Spectre-flagged monsters are easy to see (and, often, hear) on PSX Doom. There is not much chance of a Stealth Arachnotron surprising anyone, but... it just looks cool, dammit.

 

Warning about monster use - Dark Pulse has discovered that monster types take up VRAM allocation just by being placed in a map, REGARDLESS of which difficulty level(s) they appear on. Eg if you wish to use Barons on Ultra Violence and replace them with Cacodemons on lower difficulty levels, your map still consumes the map's size in kb + the Baron's size in kb + the Cacodemon's size in kb + (whatever other monsters you choose), whether you play on I Am A Wimp or Ultra Violence. You really need to think about which monsters you want to use, and whether your map needs to be so grand and elaborate. PSX Doom can handle vast numbers of active monsters - the main problem seems to be levels of map detail. However, choosing lots of different monster TYPES may mean you need to simplify the map's design.

 

Warning about map detail - The more detailed your map is, the more restricted you may be for monster variety, due to the VRAM limit. Very detailed maps are still possible, but can cause FPS to grind to a halt (low FPS has always been something moaned about by PC players and not so much the console crowd, but no-one wants to play a slide show). Far-reaching views tend to crap out; clever placement of walls, or shortening/removing windows, can help a lot. Don't expect the player to simply use an overclock option on the emulator - IMO any person who works on a project should put 100% of the effort in and not rely on the player to sort it all out. (This is where modern gaming is going wrong)

 

Texture Choices - One of the more dramatic changes from PC Doom to PSX Doom is cohesive and consistent texture usage within each map, due to the draconian VRAM limit. This pleases my aspie senses. Some textures may only appear in a single type of map (eg computer screens and grey/blue walls in techbases) or even just a single area of a single map (the weird stripy brown walls in Crater?). Don't overuse weird or eye-aching textures. The colours for walls and flats either blend together well, or contrast in an eye-pleasing way. You don't go from a computer room to an open room with hideous-looking vine walls as you frequently do on the PC. (Why are there vines growing inside a base?) There is little or no texture abuse in PSX Doom: no ceilings made entirely of lights, no colour clash except where a secret is being indicated, no mishmash of colours raping the player's eyes. Also, PSX Doom virtually always uses green nukage, red blood or lava as damaging floors. It is rare or unheard of for these to be used as non-damaging floors and it's equally rare for floors to damage you without also using these textures. Be consistent in which ones you use as damaging floors and how much damage they do - for example, does a pool of blood really do more damage than lava?

 

Crushing ceilings - Don't be the tard who uses inescapable crusher traps. The only one I can think of in PSX Doom is in The Marshes. In fact, I can't think of any crusher traps in PSX Doom that unfairly punish the player without warning - many crushing ceilings seem to have been removed.

 

Well, that's today's magnum opus, hope you don't all hate it!

Edited by MajorRawne

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19 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Map order - In Ultimate Doom, the maps gradually descend into hell. The skies get scarier, the map names become biblical. It feels as if the player is building towards a frightening conclusion. In Doom 2 and FDoom, the maps are typically larger, typically industrial and more challenging to play but there is less emphasis on going to hell. The later maps become more complex and unfriendly and it feels like it's building to something grand. Instead of specifically hell, they exist in some weird alternate dimension that you really need to get out of. (cf Wormhole, Monster Condo)

Aside from the fact that Episode 4 in Doom is supposed to be you coming back to Earth and realizing Hell has taken over, and that approximately the last third of Doom II is supposed to be Hell again, but yeah, otherwise accurate. :P

 

Doom II actually briefly had named Episodes in SETUP.EXE before they were removed - MAP01-11 was "The Space Station," MAP12-20 was "The City," and MAP21-30 was "Hell." However, since those were also later removed, whether or not you can canonically consider the last third of it Hell or not is a question for debate.

 

Wormhole was fucking excellent, by the way. RIP Ty.

 

19 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Special and possibly controversial discussion on which maps Williams cut - It is hard to argue that Williams did have their own style and this affected which map choices they made. The emphasis seems to have been on offering a fair challenge at a moderate difficulty level with only a handful of "WTH do I go now" maps and as few gimmick maps as possible (they kept the excellent Dead Simple, but binned Gotcha!). We know from the incredible GEC project that Williams could have included almost any map they wanted. We also know they were fearless in stripping maps like Pandemonium and Halls of the Damned to make them work. It appears that by the time they got to Doom 2 and FDoom, they had learned that maps didn't always need drastic changes.

This was actually due to the cut-down Atari Jaguar levels being used for the original Doom episode, like they were in most console ports of the time (the same maps were used for 32X and 3DO as well, I believe - SNES was the one contemporary port that was an exception). Those maps were already pre-cut down and optimized for a console environment; they simply reused those (with perhaps a little bit of re-texturing).

 

The Williams team would definitely have been responsible for anything for the Ultimate Doom, Doom II, and Final Doom stuff, and that's why those are less cut down and reduced. Also helped that the PSX hardware was the most powerful one of its time, save for the Saturn if programmed well (we know Jim Bagley had a 60 FPS hardware renderer at one point, after all) and the N64 (but of course, that console got a unique Doom experience and not a port), so that meant that less cuts were needed compared to other consoles and thus the maps could be somewhat more faithful to the originals.

 

That said, I'll definitely agree they cut down on most of the cruft. Key words, "Most of." I could've gone without seeing, for example, Spawning Vats or Limbo (and wouldn't have minded seeing Slough of Despair on a port that wasn't the SNES version - fun fact: That's the only contemporary console port that had that map). 

 

19 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

1. Why did Williams push Plutonia out in favour of the Master Levels? Well this is my subjective opinion, but the perceived Chaingunner/Revenant spam of The Plutonia Experiment (yeah this has been discussed to death but is relevant here) does not fit in with PSX Doom's gameplay style at all. The included Master Levels do fit and are arguably improved from the originals with creepy music and darker lighting.

 

2. Were any of the cut levels actually missed? Now this is super-subjective and liable to get me in trouble again, but I do not regard any of the maps cut from PSX Doom to be anything special and I think PSX Doom might have been worse off with them included. This is because they either present something we've already got in PSX Doom; devalue its rare boss encounter maps; are way too long and complicated considering that the game can't be saved; or are simply a wretched hate-poo like The Chasm. (Or maybe they just didn't like Sandy Petersen for some reason - maybe when visiting their office he crouched on tables yelling I AM THE NIGHT HAUNTER!) Going back to the shortened UDoom maps, did any PSX Gamer play these maps on PC and think "Wow, I really wish this pointless, dead end room with hilarious ghost faces had been kept!" Halls of the Damned wasn't that spectacular in either incarnation. PC gamers might be appalled at such cuts, but A) why would you go from the PC version to a stripped-down port anyway, B) what did you expect when you got there, C) there are plenty of surprises for people used to the PC version and D) there isn't a single new, PSX-only map that isn't more badass than a Titan crewed by Angry Marines.

 

3. (Totally irrelevant but WTH) With all the above in mind, was PSX Doom 2 a better prospect to play through than the PC version?

  1. Probably partially for that reason, but also partially because many Plutonia maps were loaded on the bestiary, and as those of us on the GEC project or tinkering with the GEC tools have figured out, that's literally impossible to do with the limited RAM of the Playstation. Plutonia maps also tended to be fairly complex beasts, making use of trickery regular maps didn't (that invisible bridge in Well of Souls comes to mind) and with relatively complex level designs - all stuff that's really bad for running really smoothly on a stock Playstation.
  2. I certainly missed Slough of Despair and Dis (and I at least got to rectify the latter :P). Warrens would've been fun to do at least a PSX take on, even if we used the PSX version of Hell Keep (and admittedly I'm not sure why that level got the axe, either). And Hell Followed was also a pretty bad choice to cut IMO, Dr. Sleep was definitely one of the better level designers of the day (again, RIP), and I would've loved to take that had it not already been claimed when I found out about the project. For the Doom II side, lots of people probably missed Downtown but why that got cut was entirely understandable (the vertical height nightmare of the PS1 renderer), Gotcha! was obviously cut because you couldn't have the Spider vs. Cyberdemon fight, and much of the other cuts were either Sandy Petersen's usual wandering map, or the Wolfenstein stuff. But I'm somewhat biased because to be honest I kind of dislike the feel of Doom II compared to Doom and Sandy Petersen's level style compared to Romero's - superior bestiary and weapon/item stuff, of course, but the levels were pretty damned dull after the first half or so (and even at times within that first half), and of course, the soundtrack only had one or two good tunes and a LOT of repeats. Hearing "Dave D. Taylor Blues" for the third time isn't going to make me like it any more.
  3. For me? Hell yeah, despite the cuts in levels, monsters slightly, and so on. It actually feels better to me with the PSX atmosphere than the PC one.
19 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Atmosphere - If players did not want their Doom experience to be 99% mood/atmosphere, they would not play the Playstation version. Players cannot save their game and so are better rewarded for creeping through the levels watching their back at all times. Always emphasise fear over pain. 100-gun ambushes might be hilarious on the PC but PSX players will curse the seed that spawned you. Your aim is to scare the player witless and remind them that they are the only human there. No help is coming; there is no switch to blow the devil's head up, no demands to meet up with alpha team, no orders from HQ. This attack on the human realm is happening for no reason other than hate, carnage and spite. There is no love, no laughter and no hope. If the player feels any of those positive things, and is not feeling scared and alienated* at the same time, you are doing it wrong. Atmosphere, atmosphere, atmosphere. See also Music, Coloured Sectors and Darkness Falls.

* alienated as in they're trapped in a hostile environment surrounded by enemies, not fed up with shitty map design.

Club Doom would like to have a word with you. :P

 

There was the option for linked multiplayer (or are purposely ignoring it here for your point). Two Playstations, two TVs, two copies of the game, but yes, you did have multiplayer in both Deathmatch and Co-op forms. But that was also the ONLY help you were getting (no 3 or 4 player options unlike, say, Quake II on PSX), not many players actually did this, and the rest of your section holds pretty much true. :P

 

19 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Music - This has a HUGE impact, probably the most of anything you can do, and will change how the player behaves. For example, Deimos Lab is quite bland when you think about it, but when you combine it with this piece of music, it really is a match made in heaven - or hell - turning an average map into survival horror which WILL intimidate most players. Instead of wondering how an empty series of corridors made the cut, they are creeping along, imagining wind howling down the tunnels and dreading some unspecified horror that might jump out at any moment. Hellish sounding music is typically reserved for hell themed maps (e.g. Hell Beneath or Mount Erebus wouldn't play on a map like Hangar or Plant - in fact Hell Beneath isn't even used in the mostly tech base FDoom, believe it or not). It seems that the instruments were chosen specifically to create drawn-out sounds rather than actual melodies. The tracks are designed only to scare and isolate the player, and their emotional impact may be the mapper's most powerful weapon.

Easily the part of it that just about everyone who's played the Playstation Dooms or Doom 64 acclaims. Without this, these would be interesting ports of Doom to console (or in Doom 64's case, a whole new "set of episodes"), but with it, they became very different games entirely, hands down. Aubrey set the tone for some future scary stuff with these soundtracks, I think - some might argue he created "dark ambient."

 

19 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Coloured sectors - Don't abuse it, but make sure you use it. This is the PSX engine's one advantage over the PC engine and if used well can be fantastic. Examples range from obvious (coloured sectors for the keycards) to the sublime (yellow or red tint when outdoors beneath a blazing sky). I really don't understand people who don't like coloured sectors, it makes such a difference when used cleverly and not spammed. PSX Doom typically sticks to red, yellow, green and blue. It VERY rarely uses purple and somehow it's hard to imagine them using hot pink, if such were even possible. Try to save weird colours for special occasions as they will likely have quite an impact. Also, unless you are making a nightclub which btw has already been done, avoid different coloured sectors next to each other.

No, hot pink isn't possible.

 

image.png.b44519e0736132dffbdafe8252e56b42.png

 

If it ain't one of those colors, you ain't making it in PSX Doom. You do have some pinks (sort of), but certainly no hot pinks. All in all it's a decently versatile color set, but this is indeed why you primarily only see RBGY - because that's the bulk of the palette.

 

Also, there's definitely some limitations with it due to it being sector based - keycards, for example, you actually can't flicker the light in time with the keycard animation, so I tend to have them statically lit or something, but yeah. It'd be a lot easier in Doom 64 where you could have Macros that will change the sector color after you grab the item, but no such luck here in PSX Doom.

 

20 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Inescapable nukage pits - There are virtually none of these on PSX Doom. The player can't save. Don't do it. This means you.

But you do have passwords. (Also this is somewhat mitigated on modern stuff, since emulators have savestates, meaning this really only remains a problem for those attempting to play it on actual hardware.) Still generally a good idea though.

 

20 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Monster Deployment - Most PSX maps feature a number of weaker "minion" monsters, typically Imps, Pink Demons and various types of Former Human. These are frequently backed up by Cacodemons and/or Revenants. Doom 2 monsters provide extra muscle in Ultimate Doom, one of the joys of this game. You almost never see boss-tier monsters. After Ultimate Doom, Barons become rare. In FDoom the most powerful monster types are extinct. And yet many levels are still challenging and intimidating. This may be because more thought went into choosing monsters for each map due to A) RAM limits and B) the inability to save games. This creates a more focused gameplay experience with the player forced to mow down hordes of weaker enemies as opposed to gameplay halting because fifteen Cyberdemons just popped up. Something about the choice of weaker monster types with sparing use of mid-level monsters just creates a weird cohesiveness. Dead player decorations are unused in PSX Doom.

Dead player decorations don't even exist in PSX Doom. I was forced to swap out eight of them in my work on Master Levels: Bloodsea Keep.

 

A lot of this does have to do with memory limits. You can't just go willy-nilly on your monster types and casually plonk down a Cyberdemon when you feel like it, so you have to make use of getting creative with whatever monster types you have room for in the level. Not being able to save games was almost certainly a secondary consideration (since, again, you do have passwords), but the memory limits definitely get you thinking about how to pull off an "equivalent" challenge. They're one of the trickier and more nuanced fine details I come up with while working on the GEC project, for sure.

 

20 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Monster Deployment and VRAM limits - Dark Pulse has explained elsewhere that a map can be 1200kb at max size including the map itself (which also includes player starts and all obtainable items) PLUS monster types. Each monster type takes up a specific amount of VRAM. That amount of VRAM does not change regardless of whether you use only a single monster of that type, or 600 of them. Every monster type can have a flag set for it to be a Spectre variant or a Nightmare variant, which Williams largely chose not to use. It does NOT use additional VRAM to make some or (God forbid) all of your monsters into Spectre and/or Nightmare variants. Nightmare monsters have their health doubled and their colour palette changed but are otherwise identical to regular monsters - don't abuse these features, and remember that Spectre-flagged monsters are easy to see (and, often, hear) on PSX Doom. There is not much chance of a Stealth Arachnotron surprising anyone, but... it just looks cool, dammit.

The Playstation itself has 2 MB of RAM, but some of that RAM is used for other things - chunks of it are used for the two screen buffers, the palettes for the level of course, and the HUD/Status bar faces are also always loaded into it at all times. The remaining 1.5 MB or so is what we get to use - level data, 16 flats, a variable amount of sidedef texture space (24 64x128 textures, which varies depending on if you use any 16x128 or 128x128 textures), and the remaining 640K of RAM is where all the sprites for weapons, enemies, etc. get used, but at least these can be paged in and out depending on need. (The sound engine also has memory, but the SPU has 512K of dedicated RAM, so it's usually not a problem.) The GPU itself also has a 1 MB VRAM limit, though that is mostly alleviated by being able to page the sprites in and out.

 

Note that despite what I said earlier, the 1200K figure is definitely unrealistic for all but the most basic of maps (as in, a literal square). Gerardo's assessment of a SPR file being approximately 800K as a limit is more plausible for a real map; a simpler map could perhaps go a bit higher.

 

20 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Warning about monster use - Dark Pulse has discovered that monster types take up VRAM allocation just by being placed in a map, REGARDLESS of which difficulty level(s) they appear on. Eg if you wish to use Barons on Ultra Violence and replace them with Cacodemons on lower difficulty levels, your map still consumes the map's size in kb + the Baron's size in kb + the Cacodemon's size in kb + (whatever other monsters you choose), whether you play on I Am A Wimp or Ultra Violence. You really need to think about which monsters you want to use, and whether your map needs to be so grand and elaborate. PSX Doom can handle vast numbers of active monsters - the main problem seems to be levels of map detail. However, choosing lots of different monster TYPES may mean you need to simplify the map's design.

I'll get into the map aspect in my next point, but yes, this much is true, and it's one of the things that can hold you back if you're not careful. A Cacodemon that only appears on the hardest difficulty still gets loaded into memory on the lower difficulties, and this will force you to make some choices. It's primarily why monsters that only appear on higher difficulties (especially if there's only one or two in the map) are prime candidates for me to cut unless they're just totally essential to how the map feels.

 

20 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Warning about map detail - The more detailed your map is, the more restricted you may be for monster variety, due to the VRAM limit. Very detailed maps are still possible, but can cause FPS to grind to a halt (low FPS has always been something moaned about by PC players and not so much the console crowd, but no-one wants to play a slide show). Far-reaching views tend to crap out; clever placement of walls, or shortening/removing windows, can help a lot. Don't expect the player to simply use an overclock option on the emulator - IMO any person who works on a project should put 100% of the effort in and not rely on the player to sort it all out. (This is where modern gaming is going wrong)

Very minimally. The map data is often less memory usage than a single monster type's animations for all but the most weakest of fodder (Lost Souls, Zombiemen, Shotgun Guys are comparable in memory consumption). That said, the point about detail and how much you can see killing your FPS is indeed true, but for anyone playing on an emulator where you can overclock the CPU, it's also negligible, and I think only the real diehards who'd want to experience it "as it was back in the day" would actually want to play it with the choppier/inconsistent framerates - I'd certainly not recommend it for actually enjoying the game. I still try to make sure the maps perform decently on stock-clocked hardware so I will know how it plays on an actual Playstation though.

 

20 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Texture Choices - One of the more dramatic changes from PC Doom to PSX Doom is cohesive and consistent texture usage within each map, due to the draconian VRAM limit. This pleases my aspie senses. Some textures may only appear in a single type of map (eg computer screens and grey/blue walls in techbases) or even just a single area of a single map (the weird stripy brown walls in Crater?). Don't overuse weird or eye-aching textures. The colours for walls and flats either blend together well, or contrast in an eye-pleasing way. You don't go from a computer room to an open room with hideous-looking vine walls as you frequently do on the PC. (Why are there vines growing inside a base?) There is little or no texture abuse in PSX Doom: no ceilings made entirely of lights, no colour clash except where a secret is being indicated, no mishmash of colours raping the player's eyes. Also, PSX Doom virtually always uses green nukage, red blood or lava as damaging floors. It is rare or unheard of for these to be used as non-damaging floors and it's equally rare for floors to damage you without also using these textures. Be consistent in which ones you use as damaging floors and how much damage they do - for example, does a pool of blood really do more damage than lava?

Well, the red blood is definitely not harmful in Neurosphere, so sorry to burst your bubble there. That aspect is just as iffy in PSX Doom, since that's literally just setting a sector type. Hardcoded "this texture causes damage" type stuff wouldn't kick in until Hexen and that was so they could use another sector effect while still causing damage. (That said, the PSX version of Hexen was also pretty atrocious, so...)

 

Most of this really just comes down to versatility though. I try to keep my textures close to the originals for my maps; in some cases I've had near-perfect conversions, and in others, I've really had to compromise. DisHanger, and Neurosphere came off particularly well with only minor adjustments; Open Season wasn't bad but had some altering, and I've definitely compromised a lot with Bloodsea Keep. And I don't even want to get into Tech Gone Bad which will almost certainly need both some serious texture variety cutting, as well as geometry removal itself in all likelihood.

 

As a good rule of thumb, "normal" skies are a luxury, as they will eat a whopping 1/6th of your ENTIRE texture space (256x128) - this is why you see the fire sky quite a lot actually, as it's a mere 64x128 in terms of memory usage. So are any big door textures or the marble face textures, as those are 128x128. 64x128 and 16x128 textures are your friends simply because they use the least memory and let you have the most variety.

 

Flats, that's pretty easy, since you only get 16 per level. If you can't use it in lots of places, you probably shouldn't use it at all; if it's something that's used only sparingly, unless you've got plenty of leftover room for flats, you should probably replace it.

 

20 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Crushing ceilings - Don't be the tard who uses inescapable crusher traps. The only one I can think of in PSX Doom is in The Marshes. In fact, I can't think of any crusher traps in PSX Doom that unfairly punish the player without warning - many crushing ceilings seem to have been removed.

Crushing ceilings definitely got used less in PSX Doom, but I can't think of a major technical reason as for why since it's a simple sector effect, and most maps don't really hit a limit on moving platforms/lifts (of which a crusher would technically count against, I think). That said, yes, that's the only case of an inescapable crusher trap that I'm aware of.

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I feel like PSX Doom's pacing is way better, the way it presents new weapons and new monster encounter's earlier than PC Doom. Some might say putting a BFG in E2M3 is really front loaded but honestly, the changes is part of what makes PSX Doom worth a damn. 

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What annoys me a little is that blue in the color chart is not expressed as other colors (in-game). If you choose a dark blue, then it will turn out also very dark. The light blue is too bland.

Speaking about framerate drops, translucent walls will slow down gameplay a bit, especially if you have many of them on large areas. So it's better use them in closed areas.
 

10 hours ago, Dark Pulse said:

Flats, that's pretty easy, since you only get 16 per level. If you can't use it in lots of places, you probably shouldn't use it at all; if it's something that's used only sparingly, unless you've got plenty of leftover room for flats, you should probably replace it.

And even more that 16. As we know usually, the other flats will also appear on sky if the limit is exceeded. And here a little trick - if your map didn't have a sky you can use more flats, though they will use space which reserved for textures. As example use VRAM viewer cheat on Mill from PSX Doom ME beta 2, and you'll see that.

And yes, we can use this thread for such discussions rather than filling GEC ME thread.

Edited by riderr3

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On 4/6/2019 at 2:57 PM, Dark Pulse said:

 

 

  1. For me? Hell yeah, despite the cuts in levels, monsters slightly, and so on. It actually feels better to me with the PSX atmosphere than the PC one.

Club Doom would like to have a word with you. :P

 

There was the option for linked multiplayer (or are purposely ignoring it here for your point). Two Playstations, two TVs, two copies of the game, but yes, you did have multiplayer in both Deathmatch and Co-op forms. But that was also the ONLY help you were getting (no 3 or 4 player options unlike, say, Quake II on PSX), not many players actually did this, and the rest of your section holds pretty much true. :P

 

Easily the part of it that just about everyone who's played the Playstation Dooms or Doom 64 acclaims. Without this, these would be interesting ports of Doom to console (or in Doom 64's case, a whole new "set of episodes"), but with it, they became very different games entirely, hands down. Aubrey set the tone for some future scary stuff with these soundtracks, I think - some might argue he created "dark ambient."

 

No, hot pink isn't possible.

 

image.png.b44519e0736132dffbdafe8252e56b42.png

 

If it ain't one of those colors, you ain't making it in PSX Doom. You do have some pinks (sort of), but certainly no hot pinks. All in all it's a decently versatile color set, but this is indeed why you primarily only see RBGY - because that's the bulk of the palette.

 

Also, there's definitely some limitations with it due to it being sector based - keycards, for example, you actually can't flicker the light in time with the keycard animation, so I tend to have them statically lit or something, but yeah. It'd be a lot easier in Doom 64 where you could have Macros that will change the sector color after you grab the item, but no such luck here in PSX Doom.

 

But you do have passwords. (Also this is somewhat mitigated on modern stuff, since emulators have savestates, meaning this really only remains a problem for those attempting to play it on actual hardware.) Still generally a good idea though.

 

Dead player decorations don't even exist in PSX Doom. I was forced to swap out eight of them in my work on Master Levels: Bloodsea Keep.

 

A lot of this does have to do with memory limits. You can't just go willy-nilly on your monster types and casually plonk down a Cyberdemon when you feel like it, so you have to make use of getting creative with whatever monster types you have room for in the level. Not being able to save games was almost certainly a secondary consideration (since, again, you do have passwords), but the memory limits definitely get you thinking about how to pull off an "equivalent" challenge. They're one of the trickier and more nuanced fine details I come up with while working on the GEC project, for sure.

 

The Playstation itself has 2 MB of RAM, but some of that RAM is used for other things - chunks of it are used for the two screen buffers, the palettes for the level of course, and the HUD/Status bar faces are also always loaded into it at all times. The remaining 1.5 MB or so is what we get to use - level data, 16 flats, a variable amount of sidedef texture space (24 64x128 textures, which varies depending on if you use any 16x128 or 128x128 textures), and the remaining 640K of RAM is where all the sprites for weapons, enemies, etc. get used, but at least these can be paged in and out depending on need. (The sound engine also has memory, but the SPU has 512K of dedicated RAM, so it's usually not a problem.) The GPU itself also has a 1 MB VRAM limit, though that is mostly alleviated by being able to page the sprites in and out.

 

Note that despite what I said earlier, the 1200K figure is definitely unrealistic for all but the most basic of maps (as in, a literal square). Gerardo's assessment of a SPR file being approximately 800K as a limit is more plausible for a real map; a simpler map could perhaps go a bit higher.

 

I'll get into the map aspect in my next point, but yes, this much is true, and it's one of the things that can hold you back if you're not careful. A Cacodemon that only appears on the hardest difficulty still gets loaded into memory on the lower difficulties, and this will force you to make some choices. It's primarily why monsters that only appear on higher difficulties (especially if there's only one or two in the map) are prime candidates for me to cut unless they're just totally essential to how the map feels.

 

Very minimally. The map data is often less memory usage than a single monster type's animations for all but the most weakest of fodder (Lost Souls, Zombiemen, Shotgun Guys are comparable in memory consumption). That said, the point about detail and how much you can see killing your FPS is indeed true, but for anyone playing on an emulator where you can overclock the CPU, it's also negligible, and I think only the real diehards who'd want to experience it "as it was back in the day" would actually want to play it with the choppier/inconsistent framerates - I'd certainly not recommend it for actually enjoying the game. I still try to make sure the maps perform decently on stock-clocked hardware so I will know how it plays on an actual Playstation though.

 

Well, the red blood is definitely not harmful in Neurosphere, so sorry to burst your bubble there. That aspect is just as iffy in PSX Doom, since that's literally just setting a sector type. Hardcoded "this texture causes damage" type stuff wouldn't kick in until Hexen and that was so they could use another sector effect while still causing damage. (That said, the PSX version of Hexen was also pretty atrocious, so...)

 

Most of this really just comes down to versatility though. I try to keep my textures close to the originals for my maps; in some cases I've had near-perfect conversions, and in others, I've really had to compromise. DisHanger, and Neurosphere came off particularly well with only minor adjustments; Open Season wasn't bad but had some altering, and I've definitely compromised a lot with Bloodsea Keep. And I don't even want to get into Tech Gone Bad which will almost certainly need both some serious texture variety cutting, as well as geometry removal itself in all likelihood.

 

As a good rule of thumb, "normal" skies are a luxury, as they will eat a whopping 1/6th of your ENTIRE texture space (256x128) - this is why you see the fire sky quite a lot actually, as it's a mere 64x128 in terms of memory usage. So are any big door textures or the marble face textures, as those are 128x128. 64x128 and 16x128 textures are your friends simply because they use the least memory and let you have the most variety.

 

Flats, that's pretty easy, since you only get 16 per level. If you can't use it in lots of places, you probably shouldn't use it at all; if it's something that's used only sparingly, unless you've got plenty of leftover room for flats, you should probably replace it.

 

Crushing ceilings definitely got used less in PSX Doom, but I can't think of a major technical reason as for why since it's a simple sector effect, and most maps don't really hit a limit on moving platforms/lifts (of which a crusher would technically count against, I think). That said, yes, that's the only case of an inescapable crusher trap that I'm aware of.

 

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Aside from the fact that Episode 4 in Doom is supposed to be you coming back to Earth and realizing Hell has taken over, and that approximately the last third of Doom II is supposed to be Hell again, but yeah, otherwise accurate. :P

I "kind of" got this when playing it but it felt rather more vague than in Ultimate Doom. ironically, the sense of progression from the mortal realm into the weird Hell dimension which we see in Ultimate Doom is also my favourite feature of Alien Vendetta, and is something I look for when playing megawads.

 

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Doom II actually briefly had named Episodes in SETUP.EXE before they were removed - MAP01-11 was "The Space Station," MAP12-20 was "The City," and MAP21-30 was "Hell." However, since those were also later removed, whether or not you can canonically consider the last third of it Hell or not is a question for debate.

 

Wow... I did not know that. Was any reason given for them not breaking it up into episodes? And to possibly rehash a point, I feel that the lack of things being broken up simply make the game flow more naturally. The issue with Doom 2's hell maps is that they were simply brown buildings with a red sky, that's not my idea of hell. At least we didn't get the ridiculous "my poor murdered bunny, I must avenge you!" Not only did that create Doom's greatest WTF moment, it would have totally destroyed the mood on PSX.

 

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Wormhole was fucking excellent, by the way. RIP Ty.

 

Oh, agreed, it was creepy as hell and you could skip loads of it, but somehow the map was badass enough to get away with this. My comment was not meant to imply that I didn't like the map.

 

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That said, I'll definitely agree they cut down on most of the cruft. Key words, "Most of." I could've gone without seeing, for example, Spawning Vats or Limbo (and wouldn't have minded seeing Slough of Despair on a port that wasn't the SNES version - fun fact: That's the only contemporary console port that had that map). 

 

Wow, I absolutely loved PSX Spawning Vats and prefer it to the original purely due to the atmosphere. You start in a fairly wide cobblestone corridor then boom, there's a Baron, better hide in this ratrun... omg... can I do this level backwards?? The tighter texture choices make the map more cohesive, you don't run from one random area to the next. Co-op was fun because you can literally go in two directions and meet up after ten minutes of hearing nothing but carnage from the other screen, and both choices are fun, a bit like Refuelling Base actually.

 

Limbo sucks arse playability wise but there is no doubt it benefits from some very cool and under-rated music. Co-op is hit particularly hard as you need rad suits, so it's possible to somewhat "tardlock" [TM] things by dying in the tunnels. I've never cared for the original Hell Keep or Warrens (I had to look Warrens up) and feel the PSX Hell Keep is a superior map while remaining short and sweet, but maybe a few shorter maps would have spiced it up a bit, who knows. I wouldn't have minded them booting Fortress of Mystery out; I used to play this game with my brother and four or five friends, and we all went "EH??" when it ended so quickly. Pretty sure the map author said this was his best work, which was another "EH??" moment. Slough of Despair... well it looks actually pretty good on the GEC Youtube stream, so yeah. I literally do not get the love for Downtown, many people think this is one of the best maps and was also brilliant for DM? It was done much better in the Hell Revealed megawads. Seeing King G swearing his way through those is good entertainment.

 

You have no idea how many times I wished Aubrey Hodges had done the music for horror films. As Above, So Below absolutely terrified me. It would have been nightmare porn with Hodges behind the keyboard.

 

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But I'm somewhat biased because to be honest I kind of dislike the feel of Doom II compared to Doom and Sandy Petersen's level style compared to Romero's - superior bestiary and weapon/item stuff, of course, but the levels were pretty damned dull after the first half or so (and even at times within that first half), and of course, the soundtrack only had one or two good tunes and a LOT of repeats. Hearing "Dave D. Taylor Blues" for the third time isn't going to make me like it any more.

 

It's funny because Petersen designed my all time least favourite maps, and Nirvana is roundly criticised. But he also did some of my favourites (I absolutely adore Nirvana despite what others think). Refuelling Base is epic on co-op if you split up at the start, Suburbs is epic, Factory is incredibly atmospheric (due to the music and city sky) gets a pass but I don't really like it, but he dropped some proper stinkers (thanks for The Citadel mate, I loved every minute of the hour and a half spent crying in frustration). Romero was indeed the king of this contest, his were shorter, sharper and much cleverer in how interconnected everything felt.

 

Will answer everyone else's points when I get chance... my apologies for making this thread super-long.

 

 

Edited by MajorRawne

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4 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Wow... I did not know that. Was any reason given for them not breaking it up into episodes? And to possibly rehash a point, I feel that the lack of things being broken up simply make the game flow more naturally. The issue with Doom 2's hell maps is that they were simply brown buildings with a red sky, that's not my idea of hell. At least we didn't get the ridiculous "my poor murdered bunny, I must avenge you!" Not only did that create Doom's greatest WTF moment, it would have totally destroyed the mood on PSX.

Probably that since Doom II didn't do the whole "Let's dump you into a clean start every 8/9 levels" deal, there really was no need for the episodes.

 

That and the intermissions were unevenly spaced for that as well - happening when you're entering MAP07, MAP12, MAP21, after MAP30, and before MAP31 and MAP32.

 

So basically it became kinda pointless to them I guess.

 

4 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Oh, agreed, it was creepy as hell and you could skip loads of it, but somehow the map was badass enough to get away with this. My comment was not meant to imply that I didn't like the map.

Didn't assume you disliked it. In fact it's hard to think of people who didn't like Wormhole's premise. It could be done in a way more advanced way nowadays of course, but as-is it was a great map. One I also would've done for GEC if it hadn't been part of PSX Doom. (I got to bag Hanger and Open Season though, and that trio constitutes my favorite maps out of all of TNT, so hey.)

 

4 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Wow, I absolutely loved PSX Spawning Vats and prefer it to the original purely due to the atmosphere. You start in a fairly wide cobblestone corridor then boom, there's a Baron, better hide in this ratrun... omg... can I do this level backwards?? The tighter texture choices make the map more cohesive, you don't run from one random area to the next. Co-op was fun because you can literally go in two directions and meet up after ten minutes of hearing nothing but carnage from the other screen, and both choices are fun, a bit like Refuelling Base actually.

PSX made Spawning Vats better, but as an actual, fun map, it's kind of the drizzling shits. It was literally the first level ever made for Doom, so a lot of it is retreaded Tom Hall stuff - not that Tom Hall couldn't do decent stuff (indeed, Refueling Base in Doom II also started as one of his levels and it's one of the levels I actually really like in that game), but just that as a level I simply couldn't "feel" it on PC. Lots of wandering, felt a little haphazard at times, and a lot of that is due to it being a polished-up alpha level (literally).

 

Also doesn't help I don't care for the music on that map. Feels out of place and way too "whimsy", when literally every other song on E2 is fantastic. (Save for E2M3 which lazily reuses the intermission track, but my first experience with that level came via SNES Doom, and SNES Doom used E2M2's music in its place - E2M2 itself was cut from that port.)

 

4 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Limbo sucks arse playability wise but there is no doubt it benefits from some very cool and under-rated music. Co-op is hit particularly hard as you need rad suits, so it's possible to somewhat "tardlock" [TM] things by dying in the tunnels. I've never cared for the original Hell Keep or Warrens (I had to look Warrens up) and feel the PSX Hell Keep is a superior map while remaining short and sweet, but maybe a few shorter maps would have spiced it up a bit, who knows. I wouldn't have minded them booting Fortress of Mystery out; I used to play this game with my brother and four or five friends, and we all went "EH??" when it ended so quickly. Pretty sure the map author said this was his best work, which was another "EH??" moment. Slough of Despair... well it looks actually pretty good on the GEC Youtube stream, so yeah. I literally do not get the love for Downtown, many people think this is one of the best maps and was also brilliant for DM? It was done much better in the Hell Revealed megawads. Seeing King G swearing his way through those is good entertainment.

Yeah, I like that track too.

 

PSX Hell Keep is really a garbage map. Neat in that it was original, back when the idea of original, new maps on a console was a fresh idea, but as an actual map, it's, well, lackluster - very boxy and square and borderline a level you could do in Wolf3D if Z-Axis was a thing. It runs well, but that's about the only real compliment I can give it.

 

You're right about Fortress of Mystery being what Petersen considers his best work, because it served a concept of introducing infighting to complete the level (though personally I've admittedly never completed it that way). For what it's worth, it's definitely a short map, but I don't think it looks bad.

 

4 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

It's funny because Petersen designed my all time least favourite maps, and Nirvana is roundly criticised. But he also did some of my favourites (I absolutely adore Nirvana). Refuelling Base is epic on co-op if you split up at the start, Suburbs is epic, Factory is incredibly atmospheric (due to the music and city sky) gets a pass but I don't really like it, but he dropped some proper stinkers (thanks for The Citadel mate, I loved every minute of the hour and a half spent crying in frustration). Romero was indeed the king of this contest, his were shorter, sharper and much cleverer in how interconnected everything felt.

Petersen did do some levels I like. Halls of the Damned was great. But a lot of his maps, if not done carefully, could look inconsistent as hell and devolve into "find where you got to go" key hunts. Romero's work was definitely better in that regard.

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Damn - I got Hell Gate and Hell Keep mixed up, I was referring to Hell Gate. PSX Hell Keep always struck me as one of the most exciting and challenging maps. Try it from a pistol start for extra lulz. Regarding Petersen: it's tricky because looking with more depth at the maps he made, many of them are classics. Courtyard and Suburbs give the PSX their only real large-scale battles. His maps were generally super-atmospheric (this is partly because all maps were more atmospheric with Playstation music and lighting). I did not know Spawning Vats was the first ever map. EDIT: So much for "Don't ever upload your first map!"

 

I always felt the intermission graphics and texts were pointless anyway. On PC Doom, you see a bad quality map of some locations that don't go together and do not in any way resemble the actual levels, so they might as well have chopped it. Same goes for some crusher floors and moving lifts, as in PC Containment Area. These are not really needed as they add nothing to the gameplay and if anything slow it down. There doesm't seem to be any explanation given by the Williams team about removing other crushers though. Must be, as you said, because PSX Doom is itself based on an inferior port.

 

One of the counter-intuitive things about PSX Doom is the size of the skies. As you say, the animated fire sky takes up less space than a standard, non-animated sky. As a non-programmer that sounds weird.

 

As for Dark Pulse's points about the music in PC Doom, well speaking as someone who takes things way too seriously (and being rather shallow here), if I was presented with a soundtrack whose titles were Donna to the Rescue and Shawn's got the Shotgun it would have been rejected in favour of The Broken Ones and Mind Massacre. If you were making a Hollywood blockbuster, who would you ask to write the songs, Scouting for Girls or Muse?

 

B-Dawg: Agreed, something just "works" in the way the game throws things at you. It's a pet hate when you play a set of levels and you get everything straight away, or see the bosses on map 2. What Williams did was cleverly put higher level monsters in situations where they aren't much threat, eg Pain Elementals in tight corridors in UDoom, and were sparing about using them, rather than turning UDoom into "Doom 2 v1.0".

 

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And yes, we can use this thread for such discussions rather than filling GEC ME thread.

Agreed, this is the geek-out thread :)

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PSX Doom is a very interesting experience. It shows that retro graphics aren't a hindrance to great atmosphere and are still capable of filling players with dread. And it is the only retro console with Final Doom maps. And that's actually how I first played those maps.

On 4/7/2019 at 7:17 PM, Dark Pulse said:

Halls of the Damned was great.

I hate "Halls of the Damned" with a burning passion. Screw that stretch of toxic waste with medkits designed solely to drain your armor, screw that maze, and screw that crushing ceiling!

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3 hours ago, LadyVader1138 said:

I hate "Halls of the Damned" with a burning passion. Screw that stretch of toxic waste with medkits designed solely to drain your armor, screw that maze, and screw that crushing ceiling!

The toxic waste stretch isn't that bad once you've done it a few times though. The crushing ceiling definitely got me a few times, but it keeps you on your toes. And yeah, you dread the maze - but that's great atmosphere, especially on PSX.

 

The REAL thing to be mad about is the thing they cut out of the PSX version - the false exit.

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I actually agree with LadyVader1138 in that I don't much care for Halls of the Damned, but didn't want to say anything bad about a popular map! I hate forced nukage runs and feel the map is already long enough on PSX. It does have a ton of atmosphere though albeit it is very bland looking. Can't actually remember the PC version though.

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7 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

I actually agree with LadyVader1138 in that I don't much care for Halls of the Damned, but didn't want to say anything bad about a popular map! I hate forced nukage runs and feel the map is already long enough on PSX. It does have a ton of atmosphere though albeit it is very bland looking. Can't actually remember the PC version though.

It's definitely a bit bland in the hallways, but only so much you can do with layouts like that I suppose.

 

PC version is definitely a bit extended though.

 

E2M6_map.png 

Compare to console:

 

Jaguar_doom_map14.png

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I just watched them one after the other on Youtube and it didn't really feel like there was much difference in gameplay (including the stuck monsters), except that I would rather play the shorter version. The original map seemed like the mapper got carried away somewhat adding corridors and rooms that didn't need to be there. What was strange is that the Pc version is much darker although this is rendered needless by two lite amp goggles which may not even be there on the PSX.

 

What's fascinating is how clever the modifications were to these maps. Someone who'd played the PC version first might resent the missing bits but to me the maps all feel complete. Their shorter playing time is compensated for by the game's slower pace. Did Pandemonium really need its missing room, do maps fall apart without their crusher traps, did Containment Area really need 50% more crate maze?

 

There are more maps which could have been cut down or eliminated completely, such as The Citadel, Monster Condo and The Factory. The Factory is incredibly atmospheric, just not much fun to play, and the other two feel like a pointless slog. Every single PSX exclusive map brought something to the table so it's a shame that more of them couldn't replace the weaker Doom 2 maps. It would have been nice to see some in Final Doom as well; I'm currently waiting on Hyde to respond to a question about Final Doom.

 

Dark Pulse, which cut maps do you feel should have been included? Do you think there should have been some exclusive levels in Final Doom?

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SNES Doom used the PC layout for that map, so count that port as well, and since that was my first Doom version, I couldn't help but be disappointed by the lack of false exit and crusher room. Honestly, to me they make Halls of the Damned less imposing - the only thing you really have to fear is the maze area (which was done exceedingly well). That said, Sandy Petersen definitely could've done that part of the map better, but I think they could've trimmed it a bit while still including those rooms in some fashion. The one-two punch of False Exit -> "Fuck, I have to go into the maze after all" is great, and it's an experience you entirely miss on the Jaguar-based versions of the map (which the PSX version is).

 

Pandemonium's cuts were fine, as what it did cut weren't stuff that was all that essential to the map's flow. (And they actually removed a damaging pit you couldn't get out of by making it so you could get out of it).

 

Containment Area, that's a thornier question. The crate maze getting reduced is probably the right call (but it comes at a cost of you having considerably less ammo, since the secret with two boxes of Shotgun Shells also got axed). Removing the western marble hall/slime river... okay. But removing the crusher hallway and yellow keycard room is something I would've kept, and despite their "uselessness" I think an argument could've been made for the strobing lights and their secrets as well. Without all this, it basically turns a pretty circuitous map into a very linear one - it certainly plays faster, but you also lose something in the process, and to me, preserving the map's "feel" is something I try to preserve wherever I can.

 

The Citadel was fine; its biggest sins were a couple of bugs and (of course) that it could run somewhat shakily if a lot of map space was in view at once. Monster Condo is actually a pretty decent map in my opinion. And I generally liked playing The Factory quite a bit.

 

As for cut maps? Well, I've gone on record regarding Slough of Despair, Hell Keep, Dis, and Warrens. I wish Hyde would've included Hanger and Open Season from TNT, which is why I primarily did those maps. Stronghold from TNT might've been an interesting (but potentially annoying) add. As for Plutonia:

  • Plutonia might've also benefitted from Well of Souls (although they definitely would've needed ways to do the invisible bridge - but we proved it was possible)
  • Caughtyard would've been a fairly quick and easy add (aside from the whole RAM problem, anyway - so monster consolidation to save the day)
  • Hunted could've been great if they replaced the Archies with Spectres/Nightmare Spectres (as I suggested way back in the GEC thread and I think whoever did that map ran with the idea)
  • Neurosphere I wound up doing and NME I wound up requesting but someone else got it/did it
  • Slayer could've probably worked with some monster consolidation
  • Cyberden would've been pretty fun (and nightmarish) with some consolidation and if they'd allowed for an invisible texture (same problem as the bridge in Well of Souls basically).
    • You'd think with Randy's love for Revenants he would've found a way to put this in, but with the catch being it always exits to Go 2 It, and you probably should do both secret levels if you're gonna do one, and that there's no way to do that map justice on the PSX, that might've been what killed it - well, that and they were gearing up for Doom 64.

As for exclusive maps? I'd argue that really Doom 64 is basically the equivalent of "exclusive maps." Hyde said Final Doom was basically just a quick cash generator, and their effort was definitely focused on Doom 64 production at that time (or was about to be). A few exclusive maps would've been nice, but so would more maps have, period - Final Doom PSX ultimately wasn't even a full 32-map replacement, and after the 59 levels of the original PSX Doom, getting barely half of that in the Final Doom package would definitely have been seen as a letdown by many - especially since the back of the case misleadingly said "over thirty" instead of exactly thirty. I'm sure I'm not the only one who tried looking for more maps and found none.

 

To be fair, it wasn't the only version that suffered from that problem of misrepresentation on the case - Saturn Doom is notorious for claiming "60 levels" in initial pressings before later ones corrected it to "over 55", taking screenshots from the PC versions of Final Doom (i.e; not only graphical misrepresentation, but those maps aren't even in the game!), and claiming there was multiplayer via linkup in the North American version (it wasn't, but it was in Europe), plus claiming the game was singleplayer only in Europe (it wasn't, as just mentioned).

Edited by Dark Pulse

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Hyde said Final Doom was basically just a quick cash generator, and their effort was definitely focused on Doom 64 production at that time (or was about to be).

Damn, I wasted a question to Hyde then. It seems odd that they didn't add more maps to it since this was Williams' paid employment, they had extensive experience of doing it and they created the tools, so it is hard to imagine that they didn't have time to sort something out. This leads to the question of exclusive maps. Every single PSX exclusive map (IMO) was worth it and there surely must have been other Williams maps already kicking about. Someone in the GEC thread also stated that FDoom contains new textures such as crates which were ported across from the PC but never used. I'd say the intention to do more must have been there in the beginning.

 

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As for exclusive maps? I'd argue that really Doom 64 is basically the equivalent of "exclusive maps." 

Gonna have to apologise for some comments here:

 

There should be a general Doom 64 discussion thread where converts can bring non-converts into it. As previously stated, I used to play Doom with a large group of friends and only one of us liked Doom 64. It was a case of carrying the theme too far: the textures and sprites were awful and people rage-quit the first map due to being unable to find the switch. The music seemed to lose its personality and sounds like one long track. And despite effectively being a next gen title, it seemed more limited than the PSX version with fewer monsters, fewer levels and I still can't believe people aren't screaming about the desecration of a Doom without a deathmatch. I'd rather have a complete game than scripting that makes a suit of armour kill you. Hopefully someone can bring me round to Doom 64's merits one day, but it would need to be a good argument unfortunately. The "long lost secret" is intriguing though - didn't it turn out to be a jpeg of someone's face? 

 

In terms of Go 2 It, it felt a bit Fiffy for me (apologies to the legion of Doom Gods who now want my head to replace Romero's). Big maps full of boss monsters and/or high level monsters don't do it for me and never have. Maybe this would be different if those types of map existed on the PSX. To be fair, it is hilarious that a map from 1996 can do what a game from 2016 still can't do, but what Williams should have done instead is replace it with a Threshold of Pain style map. Not only would it have fit the FDoom theme of large and complicated maps, it would probably have been badass. 

 

EDIT: Imagine if someone remade a Fiffy map in PSX format... what a challenge that would be!

 

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Saturn Doom is notorious...

While I knew that the port was supposed to be a bit crap, I didn't know about any controversy. That'll be worth a look into.

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42 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

Damn, I wasted a question to Hyde then. It seems odd that they didn't add more maps to it since this was Williams' paid employment, they had extensive experience of doing it and they created the tools, so it is hard to imagine that they didn't have time to sort something out. This leads to the question of exclusive maps. Every single PSX exclusive map (IMO) was worth it and there surely must have been other Williams maps already kicking about. Someone in the GEC thread also stated that FDoom contains new textures such as crates which were ported across from the PC but never used. I'd say the intention to do more must have been there in the beginning.

Well, again, the time Final Doom came out (October 1, 1996) is also when Doom 64 was being worked on (released March 31, 1997), so basically at this point presumably Randy/Tim/Danny were all busy working on stuff for Doom 64. Doom 64 changed dev focus, after all, going from its concept of "Hell through time" to something more like the original Doom, so no doubt there was a bunch of levels and stuff that were worked on that got scrapped when the theme changed, and requiring new maps to make the new theme work.

 

42 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

There should be a general Doom 64 discussion thread where converts can bring non-converts into it. As previously stated, I used to play Doom with a large group of friends and only one of us liked Doom 64. It was a case of carrying the theme too far: the textures and sprites were awful and people rage-quit the first map due to being unable to find the switch. The music seemed to lose its personality and sounds like one long track. And despite effectively being a next gen title, it seemed more limited than the PSX version with fewer monsters, fewer levels and I still can't believe people aren't screaming about the desecration of a Doom without a deathmatch. I'd rather have a complete game than scripting that makes a suit of armour kill you. Hopefully someone can bring me round to Doom 64's merits one day, but it would need to be a good argument unfortunately. The "long lost secret" is intriguing though - didn't it turn out to be a jpeg of someone's face? 

Well, there's a couple reasons for this.

  • The N64's achilles heel: Cartridge space. This was fairly early in the console's lifetime (it only came out about six months beforehand on September 29, 1996 in the US), so cartridges were still fairly small. Doom 64 was an 8 MB cartridge and uses about 7 MB of it; to approximate a PC version's worth it would've needed about 16 MB (going off the size of doom2.wad being 13.9 MB). That did indeed lead to a few monster type cuts. Later games got up to 64 MB (Resident Evil 2, Conker's Bad Fur Day), but this early in the system's lifespan, 16 MB cartridges may well have not existed - and if they did, they were very expensive. Cart space is the #1 reason for cuts in Doom 64, and is why a lot of stuff wound up missing. It's a bit of a shame, as with a 16 MB cart, they might've been able to include everything, also helped by the N64's 4 MB of RAM. (If it had come out a little later, there's also the possibility it could've supported the RAM expansion and given a whopping 8 MB to play around with, but Doom also would've been running head-on into the first generation of true 3D FPS games as well.)
  • Textures were limited in some ways but not others. 64x64 textures were the norm due to the N64's limited texture cache, but any one of those textures could be mirrored horizontally, vertically, or both for free, meaning you could easily make a 64x128, 128x64, or 128x128 texture out of anything. This is different from PSX Doom where you had fixed texture sizes of 16x128, 64x128, or 128x128 (not counting non-fire skies which are 256x128). N64 Doom also paged out textures and flats, unlike PSX Doom, meaning you could have more variety, and the higher amount of RAM also allowed you to use more. So while the texture resolutions are technically inferior, in practice most of the inferiority is in the height department, and most textures actually mirror quite well in order to render this negligible. Flats were always 64x64 even in PC Doom, so it's moot in that sense. Switches also tended to have multiple frames of animation, compared to PC/PSX Doom's rather simple "on/off" setup.
  • Sprites were actually superior to their PC counterpart in a technical sense, as was the game in general. The game ran at a 320x240 resolution IIRC, and the sprites were made from (at the time) high-poly models, and at a higher resolution, that was then filtered by the N64's three-tap bilinear filtering. As sprites go, they were quite high-rez for the time - wouldn't really see stuff on that scale spritewise in many games until stuff like Guilty Gear X came out a few years later, running high-rez sprites in a native 640x480 mode.
  • I don't know how those people had problems finding the Switch in the first map, it's not like it was particularly hard if you were remotely used to Doom. Maps like Breakdown would've driven them nuts though.
  • I admittedly would've liked a longer SP campaign, yes. Technically you got 29 maps instead of the full 32, assuming you went through all the secret levels. The good news is there was more secret levels (four to be precise), and you actually gained some really neat stuff for completing Hectic (although its trigger method was definitely not obvious at all - but that's what a good super secret level should do). That said, they did say they wanted to add more levels, but cart space also limited this.
  • On Deathmatch: Aaron Seeler has gone on record saying that their thinking at the time was, being DM purists (where everyone had their own screen), that split-screen deathmatch, where you could see what other players are doing/where they are, would've killed it. Then Goldeneye 007 came out and proved everyone dead wrong. It was a regret of his. The dev team did begin doing an MP-focused sequel (called Doom Absolution), but it got canned early on due to industry beliefs that the Doom engine was past its prime, and the team moved on to do the N64 Quake and Quake II ports. Hyde said corporate meddling played a role as well.
  • The "long lost secret" was apparently a message of love, according to Hyde's post. "In the room with the final hidden switch on a column, it fired a series of Darts from the distant wall you were facing when the switch was triggered that were setup in a pattern with initials and a heart in between."
42 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

In terms of Go 2 It, it felt a bit Fiffy for me (apologies to the legion of Doom Gods who now want my head to replace Romero's). Big maps full of boss monsters and/or high level monsters don't do it for me and never have. Maybe this would be different if those types of map existed on the PSX. To be fair, it is hilarious that a map from 1996 can do what a game from 2016 still can't do, but what Williams should have done instead is replace it with a Threshold of Pain style map. Not only would it have fit the FDoom theme of large and complicated maps, it would probably have been badass. 

Go 2 It is more of worth in a historical sense for essentially creating the idea of a slaughtermap - a map where ridiculous odds get thrown at you and your job is to simply make it out alive. But to do it justice would definitely require more RAM than we get on the PSX, so while we definitely have an approximation in the GEC project, there's only so much you can do when boss monsters take up tons of RAM and leave not much room for anything else. To do it better, we'd need a rewritten engine of some sort, since there's no way we can simply add more RAM. :)

42 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

While I knew that the port was supposed to be a bit crap, I didn't know about any controversy. That'll be worth a look into.

Saturn Doom is arguably the greatest console Doom tragedy. Picture a near-perfect port of the PC version, all maps included, no cuts, running at a silky-smooth 60 FPS. That's exactly what Jim Bagley had coded up and presented to John Carmack.

 

Carmack then shot it down because as a side effect of the tech of the time, the Saturn (along with the PSX) had signficant amounts of affine texture warping depending on the angles stuff was viewed at. Carmack told him to write something up closer to the PC's renderer. This meant foregoing the Saturn's fast VDP processors for the most part, and running a software-based engine that ran on the main SH2 CPUs of the Saturn, presenting a port that would be rendered much like the PC version - but at a framerate that was, needless to say, not so great.

 

Due to the limited amount of time to get it out the door after that, they basically then just took the PlayStation stuff and used it. Indeed, a lot of the stuff that's not there (like the LIGHTS lumps that dictate colored lighting) are actually in the Saturn version's WAD file, entirely unused.

 

To his credit, Carmack did do a mea culpa on this a few years back, and said that in hindsight, he probably should've let Bagley experiment more and see if another solution could've been come up with. But it turned what could've been THE contemporary Doom port into a pale imitation and a footnote.

Edited by Dark Pulse

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Good Lord, you know your stuff. The GEC Master Doom project is very bad for my aspie side, as it has brought my lifelong obsession with PSX Doom screaming back into prominence. And it feels good!

 

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Go 2 It is more of worth in a historical sense for essentially creating the idea of a slaughtermap - a map where ridiculous odds get thrown at you and your job is to simply make it out alive.

 

I definitely take your point, but weren't Fiffy and the gang making slaughtermaps before Final Doom was even announced?

 

You did a good job of making me want to look at Doom 64 again. Maybe I am in a minority here but I consider it to be more limited than PSX Doom. This sounds a bit mad in light of the N64's hardware but it lacked the levels, it lacked monsters and multiplayer. The maps all seem to look the same. Going from PC to PSX would have been a culture shock, but going from PSX to N64 was like going to a different game in some ways. What happened to the missing 1MB of space on each cartridge? You said Doom took up 7MB on an 8MB cartridge.

 

The reason no-one could find the switch is it's a small decoration on a brown wall among a maze made of brown walls. I need to play the TC to see it again. Also... are there actual, proper Hell levels in Doom 64? I remember purple skies and lots of fog, perhaps the franchise's first steps away from the Hellish theme?

 

It must be agonising for Doom 64 fans to know that a MP-capable game was coming and got binned. If someone said PSX Final Doom 2 was in development... gaah. I agree that splitscreen deathmatch hurts (every game of Goldeneye we ever had degenerated into everyone sitting in rooms firing lasers at the doors for ten minutes, wow this is fun), but it's better than nothing. Today's world seems to think MP aspects must be shoehorned into everything. Gran Turismo and Fallout, anyone? Hyde already said in another thread that there was no way to measure popularity of linking Playstations so maybe they thought no-one bothered.

 

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 Doom 64 changed dev focus, after all, going from its concept of "Hell through time" to something more like the original Doom, so no doubt there was a bunch of levels and stuff that were worked on that got scrapped when the theme changed, and requiring new maps to make the new theme work.

 

Well the time travel aspect was already old hat and Romero made such a good job of it that clearly the Doom 64 team felt their efforts wouldn't compete... ;)

 

One point you made about Doom being perceived as outdated. While I get this, well, how can a good idea be outdated? People are still laughing at Laurel and Hardy 100 years later. Modern humour is about the "hilarious" use of the F-word on television. Not Going Out does this several times for example. Nobody will be watching Not Going Out in 2119.

 

Doom still has a thriving community, and a better one than most. And think about the games that tried to replace Doom. Goldeneye was the best attempt but what about Duke Nukem 64? (Damn, Nintendo's naming convention makes my piss boil.) Alien Trilogy? Countless others long forgotten? Where are they now? I think the idea of things being outdated is an invention of the media. Doom was superseded in looks, but not in thrills. Its modern iteration is fearsome fun to play, but is it as replayable as the original? Can you have 1,000 Revenants on you at once and fight monsters from the Aliens franchise? The media does this with cars as well. A car that's been around for 5 years is "long in the tooth" despite having had a facelift, suspension revisions, new engines and a better sound system. What is it replaced with? A car with the same name, similar design, but bigger and with more weight, that's just cost you thirty grand when your old one cost twenty. But who cares, they'll just tell you to buy the Volkswagen anyway. Ka-ching!

 

While we're at it, the Saturn aspect smacks of a power-play. Here's Carmack, the most intelligent and insane aspie who ever lived, with a mind none of us can conceive, who saw a fully working and potentially magnificent port of his game. Carmack gave advice which butchered the port by preventing it from using the console's advanced features. Poor old Jimbo's masterwork was screwed up and nearly gave him a breakdown, and another nail went in the Saturn's coffin lid to boot. "Hey guys, buy our new console! It fucked up Doom!" Then a few years later Carmack appears cap in hand: "Gee, I done messed up", just at the time when no-one cares any more. There is one thing I do agree with: Carmack definitely knew what he was doing...

 

EDIT: Why would Carmack, ace programmer, shoot his own property in the foot? Well if he genuinely is an aspie, and he knew he was on another level from others, then it depends on what his primary motivation was. Getting filthy rich? He seemed to want enough money to fulfil his hobbies and further his career. Not amass piles of it that he can swim in like Scrooge McDuck. If he was his own primary focus - his drive, his creation, his superiority - then it would make sense for a person with Aspergers to focus on that and damn the consequences. Hence, when threatened by another programmer who could work miracles and would no doubt become a sensation in his own right, it is logical that Carmack might have sabotaged that programmer. Carmack already had enough money, and he would remain untouchable, a league apart. A conspiracy theory of course, but it fits.

Edited by MajorRawne

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6 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Someone in the GEC thread also stated that FDoom contains new textures such as crates which were ported across from the PC but never used. I'd say the intention to do more must have been there in the beginning.


Even not just ported from PC, it's a special 64-wide crates expected to be used to diversify a small number of crates which initially in PSX Doom (three varieties). Same with the computer panels, e.t.c.

The main goal of the developers/publishers was to create a playable game, even if some maps were removed. If they had set the main goal - adding all the missing maps, I have no doubt that this would have happened. But business is business, the game had to be sold and the development of another game began.

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5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

I definitely take your point, but weren't Fiffy and the gang making slaughtermaps before Final Doom was even announced?

If you mean the author of REoL TOUGH, the WAD itself is dated to 1998, so needless to say, that's definitely a couple of years after Final Doom's release, much less announcement. 450 monsters is definitely pretty damn high for the time, but Go 2 It was no slouch itself - 206 in SP, 228 in MP, and the MP additions consist 100% of adding another 23 Cyberdemons to the map.

 

You'd have to give an example of a level earlier than that. Remember, Final Doom was released on June 17, 1996 (so yeah, those TNT and Plutonia levels were definitely very hastily added - not even four months later before they hit the PSX), so you'd need to give a pretty good example of what could be considered slaughtermap gameplay from around that time. I'm not saying it's impossible (and I certainly don't know of every map under the sun), but I'd say Go 2 It has a pretty good chance of claiming that crown.

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

You did a good job of making me want to look at Doom 64 again. Maybe I am in a minority here but I consider it to be more limited than PSX Doom. This sounds a bit mad in light of the N64's hardware but it lacked the levels, it lacked monsters and multiplayer. The maps all seem to look the same. Going from PC to PSX would have been a culture shock, but going from PSX to N64 was like going to a different game in some ways. What happened to the missing 1MB of space on each cartridge? You said Doom took up 7MB on an 8MB cartridge.

The levels were definitely more geometrically complex and diverse than what you could do on the PSX engine. The N64 simply had more powerful hardware and more RAM. Let's put it this way - I won't know for sure until Erick finishes hacking it, but I'm very sure that we will have to do a lot less compromising on monster types and geometry on the N64 engine. (What we will have to do is retexturing, unless we can make a lot of the textures used in PSX Doom either tile nicely in 64x64 dimensions, or cut them up into separate textures and use alternating sidedef segments to essentially fake it for those textures that don't tile so nicely).

 

Monsters you've got a point on, but again, cart space killed it. Something Erick might be able to fix, since to fit in more than 32 maps we will definitely need to expand the ROM at any rate, but that'd require us being able to insert new code for the monster types, new sounds for them, new models in all the cut monsters' cases, etc. Not impossible, but will definitely take more work than merely porting some maps will.

 

As for what happened? Nothing "happened" to it. It's simply unusued. You can see for yourself if you grab the ROM and any hex editor. A little bit of Google-fu will easily net you both. There's a couple different versions (V1.0 and V1.1), but only minor things got shuffled around in the 1.1 release (namely a copyright screen... that wound up unused), and while there's some variation due to the multitude of different dump formats for N64 games, there is a point where eventually the game stops using the space - everything after that is all 0x00s (a common null value, along with 0xFF). The remaining addresses in the ROM are thus completely unused.

 

(In other words, I was actually wrong on how much was used vs. unused - the unused space is equal to about 225-230 KB, which means that the game actually uses about 7.75 MB of that 8 MB cart. Considering that a map for Doom 64 is also about that size, they really couldn't even fit an extra level in, unless it was extremely basic or something probably, or anything more than a handful of graphics maybe.)

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

The reason no-one could find the switch is it's a small decoration on a brown wall among a maze made of brown walls. I need to play the TC to see it again. 

Even though it was an obvious switch flanked by two exit signs right behind an imp in the final room, but okay...

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Also... are there actual, proper Hell levels in Doom 64? I remember purple skies and lots of fog, perhaps the franchise's first steps away from the Hellish theme?

The Hell levels are considered to start with MAP09: Even Simpler, with the sky very red and ominous clouds. There's some variation from map to map (MAP13: Dark Citadel actually goes back to the starry sky), but by and large things get more and more hellish from there on.

 

MAP22: Burnt Offerings is particularly noteworthy, and is very much like the PSX fire sky in that sense.

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

It must be agonising for Doom 64 fans to know that a MP-capable game was coming and got binned. If someone said PSX Final Doom 2 was in development... gaah. I agree that splitscreen deathmatch hurts (every game of Goldeneye we ever had degenerated into everyone sitting in rooms firing lasers at the doors for ten minutes, wow this is fun), but it's better than nothing. Today's world seems to think MP aspects must be shoehorned into everything. Gran Turismo and Fallout, anyone? Hyde already said in another thread that there was no way to measure popularity of linking Playstations so maybe they thought no-one bothered.

It was definitely little-used compared to split-screen. The last revisions of the original PlayStation (the PSone models) dumped the serial port entirely. The list of supported games isn't even terribly large - 53 games out of 2,850 according to Wikipedia.

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Well the time travel aspect was already old hat and Romero made such a good job of it that clearly the Doom 64 team felt their efforts wouldn't compete... ;)

Unless you're referencing to Quake's mishmash of themes, Diakatana didn't come out until 2000, well after Doom 64, and indeed when the N64 was nearly obsolete itself. (Though Daikatana did make it to the N64 as well!)

 

I know you're joking, but try to make your jokes make sense. :P

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

One point you made about Doom being perceived as outdated. While I get this, well, how can a good idea be outdated? People are still laughing at Laurel and Hardy 100 years later. Modern humour is about the "hilarious" use of the F-word on television. Not Going Out does this several times for example. Nobody will be watching Not Going Out in 2119.

There is a bit of a difference between classical humor that will retain its charm through the decades, and commercially viable, though, and that's what you didn't catch.

 

Doom, as an engine, simply was not commercially viable anymore by around that time, and BUILD was breathing its last gasps as well. I mean yeah, now they're both opensource and hobbyists tinker with them and make entirely new games from them, but the sense of them being something you could bank a Triple-A game on... no, that ship had sailed pretty much. Everything was going true 3D, and by the time Doom 64 came out, Quake II and Unreal were churning the waves on the PC side of things, and stuff like Goldeneye and Turok were redefining FPS on the N64 itself. Technology was moving fast.

 

Making another game like that with a dated engine would simply have looked pale compared to a fancy, full-3D engine like those. It was a smart business decision overall. Just like how a modern-day Laurel and Hardy or Three Stooges act just won't hold up today, but it can be appreciated in a nostalgic sense, and rightfully considered classics.

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Doom still has a thriving community, and a better one than most. And think about the games that tried to replace Doom. Goldeneye was the best attempt but what about Duke Nukem 64? (Damn, Nintendo's naming convention makes my piss boil.) Alien Trilogy? Countless others long forgotten? Where are they now? I think the idea of things being outdated is an invention of the media. Doom was superseded in looks, but not in thrills. Its modern iteration is fearsome fun to play, but is it as replayable as the original? Can you have 1,000 Revenants on you at once and fight monsters from the Aliens franchise? The media does this with cars as well. A car that's been around for 5 years is "long in the tooth" despite having had a facelift, suspension revisions, new engines and a better sound system. What is it replaced with? A car with the same name, similar design, but bigger and with more weight, that's just cost you thirty grand when your old one cost twenty. But who cares, they'll just tell you to buy the Volkswagen anyway. Ka-ching!

Well, again, you are separating the usefulness to a community of fans versus financially viable. Could you make a game on Unreal Engine 1 today? Sure (though it'd be a bit hard since we don't have the source for it...), but even then you'd be purposely targeting a very retro aesthetic. Making a new, Triple-A title with it would be financial suicide; even Unity would thump you in graphical prowess.

 

That's why a lot of projects that use older engines tend to be hobbyist or indie devs. You can definitely make great experiences with even an old engine, because in that sense the engine is still more than viable to provide a fun game, and if anything it's a better choice because it's simpler to develop for due to the simpler tech behind it. But it also means definitely making some tradeoffs that can also hurt the bottom dollar, and in the end, any work of art produced for an audience is about making its production cost back and gaining a profit. If you can't do that, you either had better be making the game for cheap/free (which is an awful lot to ask of many people unless it's a slow-burn project and/or done on the side), or you are going to basically just burn money.

 

Games by smaller studios are about passion, but remember this is 2019, where it's trivial for someone to put a game up on Steam or almost any other digital storefront like itch.io or whatever. In 1996/1997, the idea of hobbyist game devs or small, independent studios that could self-publish digital copies simply didn't exist. You needed a publisher who would handle the packaging, production costs, the media costs (CDs were cheaper but still cost per-disc), etc. and they weren't going to sink money into a product that they feel at least won't have a chance of making their money back.

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

While we're at it, the Saturn aspect smacks of a power-play. Here's Carmack, the most intelligent and insane aspie who ever lived, with a mind none of us can conceive, who saw a fully working and potentially magnificent port of his game. Carmack gave advice which butchered the port by preventing it from using the console's advanced features. Poor old Jimbo's masterwork was screwed up and nearly gave him a breakdown, and another nail went in the Saturn's coffin lid to boot. "Hey guys, buy our new console! It fucked up Doom!" Then a few years later Carmack appears cap in hand: "Gee, I done messed up", about the time when no-one cares anyway. There is one thing I do agree with: Carmack definitely knew what he was doing...

To be fair, blaming Doom for Saturn's failure is a bit much.

 

Sega in general completely fucked up and misunderstood that just because they had teams who knew how to properly wrangle multi-chip processors using assembly into a cohesive project (due to all their years of arcade board experience), that everyone else did, when a LOT of developers were actually more used to more monolithic systems and coding their projects in C and had little to no experience in pure assembly or multi-chip systems. There's actually a really good video on this that I watched not too long ago that compared some Sega Saturn ports of Model 2 Arcade hardware games - some by Sega, some not, and you can definitely tell which ones were done by Sega and which ones got farmed out. Long story short - Sega basically bungled things so terribly that they didn't have a prayer - lack of good SDKs, intricate know-how of harnessing processors in assembly to get the most out of them, and the cool new kid on the block being very eager to get anyone on board that they could while having an excellent SDK and a program being coded in C not having much speed loss compared to assembly. But I digress.

 

To get back to Doom, Carmack simply really, really hated the affine texture warping the PlayStation and Saturn both had, because this was the era where consoles were 3D, but didn't have the grunt needed to apply "proper" texture mapping and so used approximations. (Carmack is no stranger to cheating things himself, mind - Quake III Arena's "Fast Inverse Square Root" is a good example, but it also did stuff in a way that would be nearly imperceptibly wrong compared to the correct way, unlike affine texture warping which is extremely obvious.) I think the N64 was actually the first one free of this, and it had significantly more powerful graphical hardware than the PS1 or Saturn did.

 

PlayStation Doom itself had rendering hacks done to negate the affine texture warping by basically rendering all geometry into pixel-wide strips and then assembling them to make it seem like a seamless polygon, much like how the PC version renders columns. This is why the FPS rate in PSX Doom fluctuates so heavily - yes, this prevents the affine warping, but it also means the console is immensely pressured on fillrate, and it simply can't get this all done in time to maintain 30 FPS in scenes where it must draw lots of walls (without overclocking the CPU, anyway), while later games like Quake II on PSX have no problem maintaining a pretty damn solid 30 FPS gameplay while also minimizing affine texture warping despite being an actual 3D game engine (it's actually present if you look carefully, but generally managed through LOD techniques).

 

Of course, the major difference is PSX Doom came out two months after the PlayStation was released - Quake II came out four years after the launch when most devs had a hell of a lot of PlayStation experience, and that itself was nearly two years after the original PC version came out in December 1997.

 

It's why I'm hopeful that when Erick finishes his reverse-engineering, he might be able to rewrite or improve some of the code so we can all have a much more enjoyable PSX Doom experience, but I feel he should definitely release an unaltered source as well (so that we have a clean baseline).

 

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Why would Carmack, ace programmer, shoot his own property in the foot? Well if he genuinely is an aspie, and he knew he was on another level from others, then it depends on what his primary motivation was. Getting filthy rich? He seemed to want enough money to fulfil his hobbies and further his career. Not amass piles of it that he can swim in like Scrooge McDuck. If he was his own primary focus - his drive, his creation, his superiority - then it would make sense for a person with Aspergers to focus on that and damn the consequences. Hence, when threatened by another programmer who could work miracles and would no doubt become a sensation in his own right, it is logical that Carmack might have sabotaged that programmer. Carmack already had enough money, and he would remain untouchable, a league apart. A conspiracy theory of course, but it fits.

Had nothing to do with sabotage or ego or anything like that. Carmack by this point was pushing out Quake and Quake II - the Saturn port of Doom (much less the PSX one) was hardly going to bankrupt id or step on his toes. (Indeed, his actual competition turned out to be Tim Sweeney - and Sweeney won in the end.)

 

Carmack hated affine texture warping, and didn't want the games to get a bad rap due to it. And to be fair, consoles for this time could be atrocious in terms of that stuff, even pretty big-name and famous games (the Tenchu series on PS1 comes to mind as being particularly bad for it). There weren't very many solutions for how to deal with the problem back in the day - hardware-perspective texture mapping cost too many cycles, the graphics processors lacked that sort of correction in hardware (again, except for the N64), and hacks like was done on PSX and Saturn Doom worked around the problem but at the same time ran into some serious fillrate issues, which presented a fairly faithful game visually but meant the framerate would suffer. The LOD-style optimizations that were done for Quake II PSX wouldn't work either, because it wasn't a true 3D engine, so you couldn't have LOD stuff in it really.

 

Basically the choices were "draw it faithfully, but slowly" or "draw it quickly, but textures can warp." Carmack always chose the former, and that's why none of the ports of the era could have the framerates of the original, much less their target framerate usually. By the time most console devs figured out how to mitigate the problem, we're talking 1997-1998 - Saturn was dead, and PSX was in its prime but by now many games were true 3D titles, or 2D ones that didn't have to deal with perspective the way Doom did.

 

For what it's worth, there was also a port of Duke Nukem 3D to the PS1 as well, and you can see a lot of similar problems in terms of texture stretching/warping/etc. especially when looking up and down (just like Y-shearing on the PC). But the framerate is usually pretty lousy and inconsistent - and that's with it trading accuracy for speed. Dig the remixes though (although that's not every level, sadly).

Edited by Dark Pulse

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We used to have PSX Duke Nukem. The controls sucked but the graphics and sound received a significant upgrade IIRC. Duke struck me as the anti-Doom: more complex, slower pace, attempts at creating realistic environments, introduction of smut, etc. They never released the source code, did they?

 

Been wanting to give Doom 64 a go and will try to start some time this week; a very busy schedule doesn't give me time to get into it yet, and it seems like the kind of game you need to dedicate proper time too. The discussion about Sandy Petersen also made me realise that some of his maps were amazing, he is more or less "the Doom 2 guy" as he gave it some of the best and most atmospheric maps, plus I've found obscure interviews where he talks about his mapmaking ethos. He sounds like a genuinely decent bloke with a vision which he stuck to at all costs. It's interesting that he seemed to hate the rest of id Software. From his experience with them, as well as Tom Hall's, and from reading Masters of Doom, they sound like a love them or hate them bunch, not so much the Metallica of the gaming universe, more the Marmite! He also hated Doom 3 with a passion. It will always be a mystery why id Software "misfired" by making the very game they'd rejected. Maybe their bit flipped. Perhaps time to revisit some of Sandy's maps, as his ethos seems more in line with my own than Romero's do.

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For me, the weakest point of PSX Doom was the usage of the Jaguar mapset, and it actually puts me off of playing it.

 

I know for a fact that you can have the original PC Non-Ultimate Doom 1 maps running on the PSX and they work fine (hell, they even work on the 32X port!), because I ported all of them. They play fine, except for Spawning Vats that you need to simplify some staircases so it doesn't crash when you try to restart the map after dying. Because of the limited bestiary of Doom 1, you never run into memory problems with them, either. The only real problem are the textures, you need to replace A LOT of them for some maps and it shows, the maps look less varied and a bit duller, but in general, it's pretty doable. I took the time of burning a CD with every single map (so, 30 CDs total) and played it on the real thing just to make sure it worked fine. Framerate suffers at times, but it's still playable.

 

I have a complete mapset of the original 3 episodes from Doom 1 directly converted from the PC versions plus a couple nice extras for PSX Final Doom ready to go, the only thing keeping me from releasing it is that Erick hasn't released any tools to build a complete image (apparently, doing that is a bit more complicated than they anticipated), the ones he provided work for only one map. So I'm just waiting for that to happen. My conversions are more conservative than the PSX conversions, though. That means that while I colored the sectors in the same fashion as the PSX versions, converted some specters into nightmare demons (because they look awesome) and reduced the amount of health and armor bonuses because they give 2% instead of 1%, there are no SSG or Doom 2 monsters. Considering how easy it is to add certain things, I could add them to provide an alternative version of the mod.

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@CoTeCiO

Quote

I know for a fact that you can have the original PC Non-Ultimate Doom 1 maps running on the PSX and they work fine (hell, they even work on the 32X port!), because I ported all of them.

Oh, the agony of hearing this. Even Containment Area with those weird lifts, in the area that was chopped out for the PSX version? It's nice to hear you exercised some restraint when porting them. Most people want to see nightmare and spectre monsters, but not hordes of them in every single map!

 

Quote

They play fine, except for Spawning Vats that you need to simplify some staircases so it doesn't crash when you try to restart the map after dying.

Why would this crash the map? Is it some sort of memory overload?

 

Can anyone tell me what the final, ultimate version of Doom 64 is on the PC? Is this still Doom 64 Absolution TC?

 

 

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38 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

Can anyone tell me what the final, ultimate version of Doom 64 is on the PC? Is this still Doom 64 Absolution TC?

Doom 64 EX.

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

We used to have PSX Duke Nukem. The controls sucked but the graphics and sound received a significant upgrade IIRC. Duke struck me as the anti-Doom: more complex, slower pace, attempts at creating realistic environments, introduction of smut, etc. They never released the source code, did they?

For the PSX version? Never, but the BUILD engine it ran on got open-sourced about ten or so years ago I think, so there's enhanced ports of Duke and Shadow Warrior. Blood is getting a new port by the Night Dive Studios guys (AKA Kaiser and Quasar). There's a few more games on the engine - Redneck Rampage, Tekwar - but most of those don't have ports. (The source for Tekwar was released, but nobody wants to bother cleaning it up it seems.)

 

For your Duke needs, there's pretty much only one choice: eDuke. It's not like Doom where there's a bunch of other ports - I mean, they are, but everyone pretty much wound up consolidating around eDuke basically.

5 hours ago, MajorRawne said:

Been wanting to give Doom 64 a go and will try to start some time this week; a very busy schedule doesn't give me time to get into it yet, and it seems like the kind of game you need to dedicate proper time too. The discussion about Sandy Petersen also made me realise that some of his maps were amazing, he is more or less "the Doom 2 guy" as he gave it some of the best and most atmospheric maps, plus I've found obscure interviews where he talks about his mapmaking ethos. He sounds like a genuinely decent bloke with a vision which he stuck to at all costs. It's interesting that he seemed to hate the rest of id Software.

Sandy is a pretty good person and there definitely was a "method to his madness." His style focused more on "what plays good" as opposed to "what looks good" which was more Romero's purview.

 

That said, I don't recall anything saying he explicitly hated the id guys? He definitely remarked in one interview how they snarled and snapped at each other - but it was very fast and efficient, but nothing quite on the level of hating them. Really just different styles - id was a bunch of young guns who were highly competitive.

47 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

Why would this crash the map? Is it some sort of memory overload?

Basically. Means he's running right up on the memory limit, so he could either simplify some geometry, or remove some monster types, or shave some decorations. Geometry is the easiest, especially if it won't be particularly noticeable, but it also saves the least memory; followed by decorations (especially if you can make up for them in other ways); and lastly monsters saves the most memory but is, of course, immediately noticeable.

47 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

Can anyone tell me what the final, ultimate version of Doom 64 is on the PC? Is this still Doom 64 Absolution TC?

Hell no. Doom 64 EX. Note it's a slightly more involved process though - you'll need a Doom 64 ROM to generate an IWAD from (for legal reasons). That said, in practice it's nothing a little Googling can't solve. It aims for accuracy, and while it's not perfect, it's really damn close and a lot better than playing on the original cart.

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40 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

Why would this crash the map? Is it some sort of memory overload?

 


In case with Spawning Vats it just because stairs consisted from many lines which consuming more memory.

But in another cases PSX Doom cant handle too much steps or rows of windows simultaneously on the screen, it spewing errors like "FrontZClip: Point Overflow", "LeftEdgeClip: Point Overflow", "RightEdgeClip: Point Overflow".

That's why Master Edition's Well of Souls have barrier in main corridor because of niches with big skulls. And also I had to reduce the number of windows on the River Styx and Final Frontier because of this.

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Thanks for your replies everyone. I *should* have some time to get cracking with Doom 64 EX on Thursday this week.

 

Why specifically would the game crash when attempting to reload it after dying? I assume when you say respawning, you mean restarting the level after dying, as opposed to co-op style respawning? Sorry guys, this is a lot of heavy tech-stuff to learn! XD

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Posted (edited)
31 minutes ago, MajorRawne said:

Why specifically would the game crash when attempting to reload it after dying? I assume when you say respawning, you mean restarting the level after dying, as opposed to co-op style respawning? Sorry guys, this is a lot of heavy tech-stuff to learn! XD

Presumably there's not enough memory left to reset the player and level state to its initial settings, and so it bombs when it tries to malloc because it hasn't cleared the old state yet. And yes, that's what we mean.

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Thanks mate.

 

Where should I go to get an understanding of how everything works from the ground up? Sorry for the immense question, what I mean specifically is that I don't understand much of the terminology. Lumps, BSP, all the technical stuff about how Doom works, how the PSX works in relation to running Doom (and crapping out when it can't run Doom).

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, MajorRawne said:

Thanks mate.

 

Where should I go to get an understanding of how everything works from the ground up? Sorry for the immense question, what I mean specifically is that I don't understand much of the terminology. Lumps, BSP, all the technical stuff about how Doom works, how the PSX works in relation to running Doom (and crapping out when it can't run Doom).

Lumps, BSP, and the technical stuff for how Doom works, your best resource is easily the Doom Wiki. Here's a good place to start for how the engine renders. From there you can easily research the rest of the stuff.

 

PSX, that's trickier, because that's the information we are discovering ourselves, so that info is mostly scattered in this thread. Eventually there will be a "Bible" with that info, but that will require Erick to complete his reverse-engineering, get that info to us Level Designers, and then after experimenting and exploiting, we then need to put that into a nice document for everyone else's benefit. Most of the same basics still apply though - it's just the PS1 definitely has different limits in some areas, and a few exclusive new lumps of its own (namely LIGHTS and LEAFS), but those are mostly technical distinctions that a level builder will take care of.

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I can't wait for this bible. Thanks very much for the link! Fascinating stuff, I'll be a nerd in no time.

 

But I haven't even started Doom 64 yet or even opened PSX Doom Builder again due to real life commitments. The perils of suddenly being popular for no reason that you can fathom! Don't worry, my maps are coming, and these won't be shit!

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