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First Wad: Hell Gate

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Interesting screens, I''ll be checking this out tonight. Is this a boom map?

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What does boom map mean? Sorry, I'm new here :)

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The map format. Is it Doom 2, Boom or UDMF? You can see this when you open the map in Doom Builder (in the drop down).

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It is Doom 2. Thanks for your interest in the wad!

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Looks interesting.
I take it since it's your first WAD that it's simply a level pack and doesn't involve any new weapons or monsters?


If so, I'll work it into the WADs I'm going through while playing Wild Weasel Presents: TERRORISTS and CJ's Neutronian Chaos

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I've had a short play on Ultra-Violence. Bout half an hour, up to the Yellow key fight.

To sum my negative feelings up on this map in short words, I would say it feels a lot like a slaughtermap that's missing the health and ammo availability to encourage the slaughtermap playstyle. Also TOO MA̞̼̗͇̺̥̮͖N҉̗̬͕̪Y̷̢̻̹͚̟̥̦̳ ̨̯̠͖̬̻̲̙͇͠A̸̪͉͖̺͎̻͇͍͘͠R͓̫C͏̭̗͍͙͇H͇̱͖̀ͅV̺̥̻̞̱̭̞̤̺͡Ḭ̵̶͔͔́L̵̛͇E҉̸̧͈̗̳̦͖̗̲̪͈S̲̺͚̳̤͓͠.̬̪̩̰͈͝͝. and a couple of places where it seems like lava damage is mandatory are both just not nice with the lack of health supplied.

However, in terms of actual level geometry, It's interesting. The grating over the lava river you have to drop down confused me for a minute because I always assume that texture is impassable when it's used, but aside from that I'm liking the use of space and even a shootable switch that isn't just for a secret, it's for proper level progression. A couple of the rooms have some nice detail without going overboard, but again, the encounters in them are a bit blergh. Especially with the Mastermind who seems to have to be fought from a doorway.

 

I'll have a bit more of a play of it tomorrow, see if I can finish it, and maybe give a few more thoughts.

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Here's my fourth attempt (excuse the rusty gameplay, I'm not used to how the mouse behave there).

I got locked by jumping back to the starting area before I collected any key (you will see). You might want to make the bars beside the Blue door open from behind, using a switch, walk line or something.

 

So far it's interesting, though I'm not fond of the RL room that you can cheese followed by a trivial Spidermastermind room. So far a lot of the time I just trigger infighting and stay behind a door to let them kill each other.

 

Some misaligned textures (in RL room for example, or the marble walls by the lava river, near the Blue door corridor). Also pay attention to doors' and frames' ceilings: a door with a marble bottom is weird for instance :-)

 

Another issue I encountered in complevel 2 is that rockets disappear on the marble pillars or rocks on the balcony with the Blue Key. You might want to revert the linedefs there everywhere the direction doesn't make sense, or I can't abuse infinite actors as much as I want :P

 

Overall architecture is very impressive for a first wad, keep at it! I like the idea for the Blue Key too. I might play it more thoroughly after you polished it a little.
 

locked.zip

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Posted (edited)

@AschTheConjurer Through my own tests, I actually never had any ammunition problems assuming that the player utilizes a little infighting. There is not enough ammo to where you can just use super shotgun the whole time; I wanted to encourage the use of minigun and dissuade BFG spam. Although, to be safe, I can definitely add some shell boxes and a few more cells early on to make fights feel more interesting and fair. In hindsight, I also agree that it is probably a good idea since there is a good amount of lava to have a few stimpacks lying about. And about the mastermind, he was an afterthought for that room. I will more than likely change up the fight in that room to where you should not have to hide in the hallway to survive. Thanks for your feedback!

 

@Kira OOPS! The locking after not getting blue key is a bug. Thanks for spotting that! I will work on a fix right away! Thank you for catching the misaligned textures as well. I am unsure of what you mean by RL room but I do agree the mastermind room needs work. He was an afterthought for that area. I want to encourage the player to go and fight rather than sit behind the door. I will play around with where and what enemies are present to encourage the player to come out.

 

Also, I am not sure what you mean by the disappearing rockets part. Could you elaborate?

 

Thanks for playing!

Edited by Logs : wording

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Posted (edited)

@Logs By "RL room" I meant the room where you get the Rocket Launcher, sorry.

 

As for the "disappearing rockets", if you play in complevel 2 (Doom 2 compatibility) the rockets will just get sucked inside the wall instead of exploding. You can imagine how that is a problem. I think you have many of them around the structure I talked about, but probably elsewhere too.

 

To fix this, you must switch the linedef's direction: it must point to the exterior of the wall. On Doombuilder and variants you just have to press "F" after selecting all the lines you want to reverse IIRC.

 

Edit: another problem I can think of is that in Doom 2 compat, the archvile before the rocket launcher room can generate ghosts if a monster is crushed by the door. Maybe you want to make it always open with a S1 action at the switch to prevent this bug from happening.

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Here's a complevel 2 first demo attempt: HellGate_fda.zip

 

Did not finish: died at the yellow skull trap, and I don't feel too bad about it, because it's pretty deadly. ;) I wish I had been playing with saves, because I was enjoying it but didn't want to do all that stuff again. Spotted a missing texture or leaky sector while going down the fleshy stairs.

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This is much better, good job :-D

 

I do like how you reworked Rocket Launcher room and the Spidermastermind fight. They make the player more proactive.

A few screencaps for odd door ceilings flats and a misaligned texture in RL room:

 

Spoiler

doom19.png.779408058e38ec6d0631ae879e61017d.pngdoom20.png.585a16c3be0ac9879efdd05976c10825.pngdoom21.png.7f5e840dd575e6671282ec541f8ebb8f.png

 

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Posted (edited)

The rocks there still absorb rockets:

Spoiler

doom23.png.81c2c4210308660e532efac92dea1f0f.pngdoom24.png.f886ddada9bda9f03c048f13b43b81cf.png

 

And I noticed a shells box floating in Prboom+. This is the kind of oddity that warrants checking with more than ZDoom:

Spoiler

doom22.png.ec76cd1cf1788ba038270d67dbca63fc.png

Maybe too much ammo now? I need to finish the map properly to truly tell.

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@Kira Sorry I couldn't get back sooner, I have the 24 hour post limit. I just changed the couple remaining weird/misaligned textures. I also moved the box of shells slightly to hopefully avoid having height issues on different ports. However, when I play the wad, the wall that has rockets go through for you hit the wall just fine for me and leave explosion texture. I am not sure why that is. Regardless, thank you for your immense feedback through all of this!

Screenshot_Doom_20190521_152709.png

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5 hours ago, Logs said:

However, when I play the wad, the wall that has rockets go through for you hit the wall just fine for me and leave explosion texture.

That's because you are testing with ZDoom and the behavior is different than the compat you are working in. It happens with Doom 2 engine behavior (complevel 2 on something like PrBoom+). Since your audience is likely going to play and speedrun using PrBoom/PrBoom+, it's a good idea to playtest with it. Though the board members here are already doing the bug hunting I guess :P

 

Same applies for floating items. Things don't behave the same way outside of ZDoom, which explains the discrepancy between your experience and mine.

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Wow, if this is your first map, I am impressed! It got this wonderful action feeling, and nice scenery too. Big open spaces, plenty of ammo, and just enough health to keep you alive. I love the way you forced the player to be smart. For instance, trying to kill every monster you meet on the way is not a good tactic, so you are really left with the fight or flight question often here. Sometimes, the best you can do is to kill the monsters, and clear the areas, other times, it's better to escape and let them infight, or wait until you have a better weapon. All in all, an amazing map! I also love the way you can see the balcony from the beginning, and then later you enter it. You know maps can be boring if they are too linear. They can also be frustrating if it's just a big maze. You found the perfect balance between those two too. It was difficult! I died many times, but eventually, by saving a lot, I managed to finish the level

 

A big thumb up from me!

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@Kira So when trying to fix the discrepancy betweeen ZDoom and PrBoom in Doom Builder, would I open the map up in the Boom format then or am I missing something? When I open in Boom vs Doom 2 formats, the linedefs show up the same on both. However, after testing with PrBoom+, the rockets do indeed hit the wall but leave no explosion texture. Below is what my linedefs look like in that area for Boom format. Thanks for your help

 

@FanTazTiCxD Thank you for all the kind words! It is indeed my first map; I've been working on and off with it for about a month before releasing it. I love the nonlinear maps, so having an area the player can see early but not get to until later always felt good to give a feeling of progress for the player. And of course, giving the player options with how to play a fight is always a goal. Thanks again and I am glad you enjoyed!

 

DBPic1.png

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@Logs No, changing format in editor is just going to complicate things so keep it in Doom 2 format :P. You must test it directly with PrBoom/PrBoom+ or similar vanilla "accurate" port with the proper complevel (2 here). This is important if you make a wad compatible with these. If you hate playing with that kind of sourceport you can always let people like me find the issues for you though, but keep in mind said issues exist.

 

Judging by your editor screen, you fixed the problem at some point :-). PrBoom+ won't render decals for rocket/bullet impacts so it's fine.

 

I reached the Yellow Key area by the way. This is very, very cruel!

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@Kira Gotcha. Thanks for the help! And yes it is called Hell Gate for a reason >:D

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https://www.twitch.tv/videos/430392734

 

This was the last wad covered in this playtesting stream. I got frustrated un-necessarily at times, but this seemed...alright for a hard/dickish design kind of map. I'm not the best judge of these kind of maps to be honest, but take from the stream what you will in terms of feedback.

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@Suitepee Thanks for playing! I really enjoyed watching your playthrough. The texture error in the tech hallway is a bug obviously which blows my mind because it was not present in versions 1 and 2 of the map so no idea where that came from. Will release a version 4 that fixes this asap. A tip: You could have picked up the BFG earlier in the yellow key room by skipping along those 2 red pillars right after you pick up the yellow key to instantly start BFGing the archvile. 

 

As I'm sure you can tell, I think I am a slaughter-mapper so I can totally understand your frustration at some parts not being one to enjoy slaughtermaps. Regardless, I found all of your points very fair. Thanks again for playing! Dropped your stream a follow. Looking forward to the next one. Take care! :)

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Alright, as promised my FDA: HGv4_FDA_NIH.zip

 

Pretty nice map overall, have to say though that I think I was quite lucky the SMM got stuck on an arachnotron like it did, otherwise that hitscan damage could have ended me. It all starts pretty innocuous, but as soon as I was in that chainer corridor I basically already had the feeling that I wouldn't oneshot this one in my FDA. Pretty punchy stuff, but I like it for the most part.

 

A few things to consider:
-the opening in and of itself is fine as is, but I really don't see myself shotgunning any of the "starters". If I had a SSG to start with, then maybe I'd be inclined to actually start killing stuff right away, but standard shotgun on a flock of imps, followed up by HKs and a vile even? For me that's a clear skip, which I even did in my FDA. Having said that, the shotgun is only really useful for the 4 sargeants, and past that it's all SSG anyway, which plays and feels much better.

 

-the chaingunner/HK tunnel is pretty nifty, it's a simple setup done well. Giving it a few checks after recording my FDA it generally works out nicely if played carefully, and highrolls are compensated for with medkits. Good stuff.

 

-the BK sequence is cool, albeit maybe not easy to spot, but who cares? :P

 

-the caco swarm I'm not very fond of. Even shooting them when they leave their cubby they end up drifting around pretty much everywhere. Killing off individual drifters in this case can be more time consuming than is fun for me personally. I'm generally not a fan of flyers in wide-open areas because of this.

 

Just like Benjo I died at the YK fight, because if you don't see that coming and get the dance moves right straight away there's no way to win, imo. When shit hit the fan I was thinking that maybe the BFG would lower, which it didn't, and seeing that there's only 1 zerk and a green armour, it couldn't be an AVJ either, because how are you gonna survive after taking 90 damage just to get the BFG? I noticed later that it's possible to climb across the rocks, but at the time I just didn't realize that at all. I ended up giving the fight a couple more tries later from a save file, and I do have to say, I'm not quite sure how reliable that setup is. I found myself getting blasted by the cybs every so often, and if it wasn't that, I was still in for a very nasty dance that could go wrong at any point in time.

 

Let's take a look at this: You expect players to get the awkwardly placed BFG while everything shoots at them, and even rockets that miss the player can still inflict crippling or lethal blast damage. As soon as the BFG is obtained, it's down to carving out space while rockets come flying in, a vile maybe denies area, and you need to not get blocked by anything else there to stay mobile. And you expect all that to happen on 100health/100green.

Ultimately I managed to get it done by waiting for a bit before climbing across, so that I'd have a bit more space around the BFG to begin with, which also allowed me to hide beneath the cybies on one side at times, and even then sometimes an infighting cyb would get the best of me due to an "angleshot" I didn't see coming.

After getting killed in the YK fight I took a look around in doombuilder to see if there's any more surprises of the sort, and it turned out that aside of some fluff and an invuln fueled large battle there wasn't much else. So the way I see it the YK fight is basically the final boss of this map, and as such I think it's important to make sure players don't just die there due to poor RNG. Personally I think the setup is not a bad concept, but I'd probably give the whole fight a bit more room to develop, and more sustain as well as a mega, it'll last longer if you give it a bit more meat, making it a decent skill-check while taking the edge off the RNG a bit.

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@Nine Inch Heels Thanks for playing and for the demo! All your points are very valid. I think if I had placed the BFG on the other side of that rock that it would be more evident to the player to skip across the rocks to get it. And maybe a megasphere too (There are two secrets the player can access before this fight that both give soulspheres so I was hesitant to give more than berserk and green armor because of this). I was never fully satisfied with that fight; I think giving more space would be the way to make it more fair, fun, and interesting of a fight. At this point, after 3 revisions, I think I will take all the feedback from this wad and use it on my maps to come instead of continuing to change things. 

 

Big thanks to you and everyone else that played the wad! Expect more slaughtermaps from me :)

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