Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
Vermil

How did ID settle on 20 (21) master levels?

Recommended Posts

It may be buried around these forums somewhere, but did ID ever state why they went with 20 individual levels (21 including the secret one) for the Master levels as opposed to say 32 or another mega wad like Final Doom? 

Share this post


Link to post

They probably wanted the expansion out by a certain time and those were the levels that met their criteria in that timeframe. Some of the rejected levels were stuck on the Maximum Doom disc.

 

1995 was a busy year for Doom:

-Doom v 1.8, 1.9 released

-The Ultimate Doom released

-Doom 95 for Windows released

-Doom II for Mac released

-The Master Levels for Doom II released

-PS1 Doom released

-SNES Doom released

 

Share this post


Link to post
10 hours ago, famicommander said:

Some of the rejected levels were stuck on the Maximum Doom disc.

Which is weird, as there are way more than enough maps of the same caliber as the Master Levels to bring it to 32 (or even more).  

Seems to me someone was rushing their homework to get it done on time. 

Share this post


Link to post
19 hours ago, famicommander said:

Some of the rejected levels were stuck on the Maximum Doom disc.

nitpick: Master Levels and Maximum Doom were the same disc :P

Share this post


Link to post

I guess @Soundblock can shed some light on the master levels process. From the outside (and what little IRC gossip I still remember) I recall thinking it seemed kind of haphazard and rushed, with authors mostly wrapping up half finished stuff rather than starting from scratch, due to the time constraints.

Share this post


Link to post
19 hours ago, Maximum Matt said:

Which is weird, as there are way more than enough maps of the same caliber as the Master Levels to bring it to 32 (or even more).  

Seems to me someone was rushing their homework to get it done on time. 

Look at the bright side: It gave you a few nuggets of corn in that smoking pile of shit.

Share this post


Link to post

it always irks me that its 20 seperate wads. I far prefer the PS3 version (RIP) approach, where they became a campaign. Some ports even support that specific wad from the PS3 version :p

 

I always liked to add in the other levels from the master levels authors that were parts of series, like Soundblock's other cabal maps, Jim's other Titan maps, Dr Sleep's original two inferno maps, etc. iirc, I managed to get it up to around 32 that way

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/18/2019 at 8:39 AM, Dark Pulse said:

Look at the bright side: It gave you a few nuggets of corn in that smoking pile of shit.

That is actually the perfect way to describe Max Doom lol

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/16/2019 at 11:48 AM, famicommander said:

Some of the rejected levels were stuck on the Maximum Doom disc.

 

 

Some of the other levels that the Master Levels authors did prior to the project (e.g. Dante's Gate, Crossing Acheron, The Interdiction Zone) got scraped onto the disc but these aren't "rejects". To quote Sverre in the previous comment, "to be considered, maps 100% had to be unreleased on what internet there was back then, cover discs & such, thus forfeiting the possibility of the Maximum Doom entries taking part". This is distinctly different from the rejects that we know exist from Klie, Mustaine, and I guess Sverre based on his interview for The Master Levels. The thing that intrigues me is Kvernmo's comment of a mystery author who was "let go" and which is how he ultimately made it into the lineup:

 

Quote

Anyway, Shawn did take a look at the levels and when one of the designers currently working with him was "let go" or something like that, I was given the green light.

 

Share this post


Link to post

Yeah Sleep was already well fortified as the best out-of-house mapper at the time, though I personally had Jason Hargreaves as a close second (I unsuccessfully tried to locate Hargreaves via his university for a potential Daikatana team hire, lol).


I pitched Shawn what I had at the time, so all 7 Cabal levels are technically ML rejects - not that the project would have fit more maps from anyone, for reasons already mentioned.

 

1 hour ago, kmxexii said:

mystery author

 

I'm afraid he'll forever remain a mystery as it's only a few years back that I talked to Shawn about it, asking if there was any chance of the maps having survived somewhere, which he was sure wasn't the case. All I know about him is that he was supposedly a young kid at the time and that he got pulled out of the project by his father, who didn't approve of his activities.

 

From what I understand he was working on 4-5 levels that weren't finished, but I have no exact data on that whole chapter. No names of levels, people or nothing. Unless an id harddisk with them on it are unearthed at some point in the future, humanity will never know. Shawn seemed pretty sure they were history anyways.

 

You could say, my gaming career was brought about by one hard-working boy's misfortunes...

Share this post


Link to post
35 minutes ago, Soundblock said:

From what I understand he was working on 4-5 levels that weren't finished, but I have no exact data on that whole chapter. No names of levels, people or nothing. Unless an id harddisk with them on it are unearthed at some point in the future, humanity will never know. Shawn seemed pretty sure they were history anyways.

 

It's an interesting enigma. Dragonsbrethren unearthed a binary file from one of Romero's id dumps with a list of Master Levels-related PWADs in it as well as some unrecognizable names, including a curious JSFXX naming scheme. There's also a JSF01 on /idgames dated in early '95 but no way to correlate the two details.

Share this post


Link to post
52 minutes ago, kmxexii said:

 

It's an interesting enigma. Dragonsbrethren unearthed a binary file from one of Romero's id dumps with a list of Master Levels-related PWADs in it as well as some unrecognizable names, including a curious JSFXX naming scheme. There's also a JSF01 on /idgames dated in early '95 but no way to correlate the two details.

 

Heh, interesting. Been wondering if he ever finished any & released them or made a clean cut with DEU. :)

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, Soundblock said:

I'm afraid he'll forever remain a mystery as it's only a few years back that I talked to Shawn about it, asking if there was any chance of the maps having survived somewhere, which he was sure wasn't the case. All I know about him is that he was supposedly a young kid at the time and that he got pulled out of the project by his father, who didn't approve of his activities.

 

From what I understand he was working on 4-5 levels that weren't finished, but I have no exact data on that whole chapter. No names of levels, people or nothing. Unless an id harddisk with them on it are unearthed at some point in the future, humanity will never know. Shawn seemed pretty sure they were history anyways.

 

You could say, my gaming career was brought about by one hard-working boy's misfortunes...

In a way, that's actually kind of sad. I mean, it's not your fault at all - but it's definitely an interesting "What-if" for how fortunes just might have changed, sometimes not even through your own actions, but that of others.

 

That said, man, am I having a bitch making Bloodsea Keep run on the PSX Doom engine for the GEC project. I hope you forgive my cursing of your name, and my (currently) 21KB changelog from the PC version of the map to the PSX one. I'd be honored if you took a look at it once Beta 3 came out! If you'd like I can throw you the current changelog, since I otherwise don't post them publicly until the levels are in a public beta build.

 

Actually kind of curious as to how you feel about PSX Final Doom if you don't mind my asking - you and Jim Flynn were the only two mappers from the Master Levels that didn't get a level included on the PSX version. Jim's were obvious why (he loved his heights), but you, AFAIK it just boils down to monster variety, and that can be dealt with to an extent. Obviously the project proved that porting the geometry is for the most part technically possible. Possibly a better question for @Hyde though, since he said he ported all the PSX Final Doom maps. Might've just come down to not enough time?

Share this post


Link to post

^

Yeah, seems we'll only ever be in partial control of our destinies no matter what we do, or there would be less freedom of choice to go around I guess.

 

I'm unfamiliar with most all of the console ports of Doom, though I've noticed that my maps are often given a miss when ML content is included. I know that for one version in particular, lack of vertical ability of the port was likely to blame for Mephisto's Maosoleum & TEETH omissions, since those (the latter in particular) relied a lot on verticality. I used to figure architectural choices were to blame for the omissons, I tended to work close to the contemporary visplane engine limits - it's not until recently I'd even considered monster variation being a factor, but from the memory consumption dissertations I've seen on here about it - I understand Archvile's omitted entirely from some ports because RAM, so I guess it's possible.

 

As for checking out the Bloodsea build, I've never run PSX Doom, or any other console Doom build, so I'm in the dark on how to get it up and running and where to get the files. I tend to pick one port and stick with that, during the spells that I'm active firing up Doom. The reduced detail version of the maps & cast don't excite me greatly tbh, but the inclusion of certain extra effects unavailable in the original are always neat, though I generally find the end sum markedly lesser (checked my MLs out recently with hidfan's neural upscale though, which was a treat). If you can point me to how to get it up and running and I don't derail for lack of know-how along the way, I sure wouldn't mind checking it out.

Share this post


Link to post

As for the file named d2wads, I am wondering if that file named chiron-5.wad (its inclusion in that list may prove it was originally designed for Doom II, rather than being originally designed for The Ultimate Doom) is actually the original version for Doom II of what became E4M7: And Hell Followed for The Ultimate Doom, before than being edited in order to get rid of the resources which are exclusive to Doom II. And, of course, if that file still exists somehow / somewhere. Who knows?

Share this post


Link to post

Since we're discussing the list in Dragonsbretheren's post here instead of bumping that thread... while it's possible that deadlock.wad refers to the Scott Harper level that can be found on /idgames nowadays, it also happens to be the name of a map that Soundblock made for Hexen. So now I'm wondering, could that have originally been a Doom level that got converted?

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, SiFi270 said:

Since we're discussing the list in Dragonsbretheren's post here instead of bumping that thread... while it's possible that deadlock.wad refers to the Scott Harper level that can be found on /idgames nowadays, it also happens to be the name of a map that Soundblock made for Hexen. So now I'm wondering, could that have originally been a Doom level that got converted?

 

Don't know what reference that is, but my little Deadlock sprung entirely out of Hexen.

 

That's where I found out runspeeds/player reach extents were different in multiplayer, as a pixel-perfect jump across a chasm could be made in SP, but not in deathmatch mode.

Share this post


Link to post
7 hours ago, Soundblock said:

I'm unfamiliar with most all of the console ports of Doom, though I've noticed that my maps are often given a miss when ML content is included. I know that for one version in particular, lack of vertical ability of the port was likely to blame for Mephisto's Maosoleum & TEETH omissions, since those (the latter in particular) relied a lot on verticality. I used to figure architectural choices were to blame for the omissons, I tended to work close to the contemporary visplane engine limits - it's not until recently I'd even considered monster variation being a factor, but from the memory consumption dissertations I've seen on here about it - I understand Archvile's omitted entirely from some ports because RAM, so I guess it's possible.

Well, TEETH got included in Beta 2 of the Project, so you can actually see a PSX-ified version of it right now if you wanted to. @mr-around took care of TEETH, while @Đeⓧiaz did Bad Dream (although that wouldn't have been too hard to make work, compared to TEETH). In addition to that, Black Tower has been in as well (since the first Beta), and I know GEC are supposed to be handling Mephisto's Mausoleum. (I might request to take a stab at it if they don't.)

 

Height is definitely a problem we have to deal with - mainly because on the PSX, it will stretch textures after a single vertical tile, so no specific span of wall can be more than 255 units high. You can get around that via some trickery (like making a new wall span one unit in), but there's some other interesting quirks of the engine that have to be accounted for. To use Bloodsea Keep as an example, the Shotgun Guy foyers and the near-end crusher rooms, I have to get clever with those, because you can actually see the ceilings if you're "outside" the room but some geometry from it is being drawn. Currently the Shotgun Guy foyers are fixed, but the crusher rooms are one of those things where I've got to still do some adjusting. (Trying to get the map finished this weekend, in fact, since Erick would like to push out Beta 3 around the end of the month.)

 

And yes, there's some very tight memory limits:

 

On 6/17/2018 at 12:07 AM, Erick194 said:

PSX Doom:
Max Things   = 6553
Max Linedefs = 4681
Max Sidedefs = 2184
Max Vertexes = 8192
Max Segs     = 5461
Max SSectors = 16384
Max Nodes    = 2340
Max Sectors  = 2340

 

PSX Final Doom:
Max Things   = 6553
Max Linedefs = 4681
Max Sidedefs = 5461
Max Vertexes = 8192
Max Segs     = 5461
Max SSectors = 16384
Max Nodes    = 2340
Max Sectors  = 4096

In addition to those: 16 flats maximum, and enough texture space for approximately 24 64x128 sidedef textures.

 

All PSX Doom textures are 128 high and either 16, 64, 128, or (skies only) 256 wide - and yes, skies must fit in the same space, so a normal sky eats literally 1/6th of your entire VRAM for textures. Switches need a 64x128 texture for both the on and off phase, so a single switch also eats 1/12th of your texture space, effectively. It very quickly becomes a game of "How to make it look as visually appealing as possible while reducing the texture set as much as I can."

 

As for monster variety, it depends on what types you use. Low-level stuff like Imps and Zombiemen are pretty light on memory, but start throwing down a Mancubus, a Baron, etc. and you very quickly burn through your memory limit. Thankfully, however, it's only counted against per-type as opposed to each Thing taking up a new slice of memory - so effectively, if you put a Baron in a map, it's not going to matter to the game whether it's one or twenty (but in turn, when looking to convert and cut down a map for the PSX, it also means single monsters are the first to go, at least for me - needless to say, the Mancubus-triggered secret in Bloodsea Keep didn't survive as-is, but a pretty good workaround was invented). A Cyberdemon and Spider Mastermind combined would exceed the VRAM for the monsters, and any map that has either of those is going to squeeze in maybe 2-4 other types of monsters, at maximum.

 

Needless to say, Bloodsea Keep required a good bit of sacrifices, especially on the monster variety part, but also the textures, because you used a hell of a lot of textures for variety. There's a whole paragraph in the author notes dedicated to this topic. :)

 

Definitely does make you appreciate the hard work that went into not only the officially released maps, but also the cut-down versions on the PSX. I've tried pretty hard with mine to keep them relatively faithful... but with a few surprises here and there.

 

7 hours ago, Soundblock said:

As for checking out the Bloodsea build, I've never run PSX Doom, or any other console Doom build, so I'm in the dark on how to get it up and running and where to get the files. I tend to pick one port and stick with that, during the spells that I'm active firing up Doom. The reduced detail version of the maps & cast don't excite me greatly tbh, but the inclusion of certain extra effects unavailable in the original are always neat, though I generally find the end sum markedly lesser (checked my MLs out recently with hidfan's neural upscale though, which was a treat). If you can point me to how to get it up and running and I don't derail for lack of know-how along the way, I sure wouldn't mind checking it out.

It wouldn't be too hard; probably the easiest method currently is BeetlePSX/BeetlePSX HW via RetroArch. This guide seems to be pretty decent (you can ignore the "Creating CUE files" part unless you're dumping games), and there's also Youtube tutorials if you're more visually-inclined.

 

In a nutshell, you'll just need a compatible controller (anything XInput will work, Dualshock 3/4 will also work with programs like DS4Windows), the BIOS files (mentioned in the first link; just Google them - the official LibRetro page for BeetlePSX mentions the checksums of verified good dumps), and of course, the actual hack itself (which has its latest up-to-date version provided right here on Doomworld). You then just make sure you load the CUE file with the BeetlePSX/BeetlePSX HW cores, and the game should simply run from there if everything got set up right.

 

Some things to note:

 

1) PSX Doom has a relatively high framerate compared to other ports of the time, but intense maps can make it chug - even the officially released maps could dip down to about 10 FPS. The game logic runs at 15 Hz; the max framerate is 30. You can actually overclock the emulated processor to eliminate the FPS dips, but this may introduce a few problems - namely, Doomguy's physics are actually tied to the framerate. This meant I had to move the yellow skull key in Bloodsea Keep; if I kept it where you'd originally put it and people chose to overclock the framerate, Doomguy literally can't run on top of the bookshelves because he'll fall too fast. :)

 

2) Most of the cuts are actually to the original Doom episode; they're based off the reduced Jaguar mapset. Episode 4 and Doom II have less cuts. Final Doom on PSX is actually a mishmash - most of the Master Levels made it (save for yours, Jim Flynn's, and I believe one of Christen Klie's), but a good bunch of TNT Evilution maps got axed, and I think literally only six maps from The Plutonia Experiment were officially put out. Of course, the project is rectifying it as best as we can for restoring the "lost" levels, and we're naturally pushing the engine as hard as we can on that front, so for at least the GEC project, you will generally see levels remade as faithfully as possible to the originals, maybe with a tweak here or there.

 

3) It's definitely fun after all the work reducing and modifying it to give it that proper "PSX Doom" atmosphere. I haven't actually gotten to that pass for Bloodsea Keep yet (still working on fixing the technical issues, making sure the textures aren't flipped/tiled wrongly, etc.) but I've already got a pretty good idea of what to do for it (and what music track to pick for it). :)

Share this post


Link to post

With regard to the question of the original poster, it seems that Id simply chose arbitrarily that amount of loose levels, with no intention of compiling them into a proper megawad.

 

http://classicdoom.com/hosted/larsen/mlfaq103.htm

 

John Romero:

Quote

The Master Levels CD was not ever intended to be a complete episode, just a collection of the best DOOM II maps by experts. The Maximum DOOM levels were put together because of the success of D!Zone -- we wanted people to buy our Internet scrape of WADs instead.

 

Shawn Green:

Quote

Don't know to be honest... We just decided on 20 :) (well 21, but no-one knew about that ;)

 

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/20/2019 at 4:16 AM, Soundblock said:

to be considered, maps 100% had to be unreleased on what internet there was back then, cover discs & such, thus forfeiting the possibility of the Maximum Doom entries taking part

Only newies allowed ok gotcha

Share this post


Link to post

Excellent thread all around, good work everyone.

 

On 9/19/2019 at 11:16 AM, Soundblock said:

The total number was pretty arbitrary, the main factor being how much time project lead Shawn Green had to spare on that particular side project. A similar level quantity difference as that between Doom II & Doom I guess, especially if you discount the secret levels (& the yet to be released Thy Flesh Consumed, obviously).

 

This is a good opportunity to ask if you have any insight to the production process of Episode 4. I don't want to name names, but let's say one ex id software member asserts that the episode was scraped together over a very short timeframe of 2 weeks or so, whereas another ex id software member asserts that E4 took multiple months from start to finish.

Share this post


Link to post
36 minutes ago, Soundblock said:

From what I understand Shawn had been a bit of a ghost-mapper for Sandy for a long time on the previous games

Now I get to wonder whether or not I blame Sandy Petersen or Shawn Green for the maps I like less in the games. Thanks. :(

Share this post


Link to post
4 hours ago, Dark Pulse said:

Now I get to wonder whether or not I blame Sandy Petersen or Shawn Green for the maps I like less in the games. Thanks. :(

 

Should I ask him if he was responsible for The Chasm? :]

Share this post


Link to post
3 minutes ago, Soundblock said:

 

Should I ask him if he was responsible for The Chasm? :]

It's like you're trying to give me PTSD. :(

Share this post


Link to post
On 9/22/2019 at 11:37 AM, Soundblock said:

From what I understand Shawn had been a bit of a ghost-mapper for Sandy for a long time on the previous games

 

Is the idea here that he was collaborating with Sandy? It doesn't really make any sense for him to ghost-map since AFAIK who authored the maps wasn't public knowledge until a while after release. Unless I'm wrong, that is. 

Share this post


Link to post

^

I don't know the details, but Shawn is one of the few id guys I've talked at length with over the years & at one point he made it clear that Sandy had taken several of his WIP wads & finished them up. Not trying to belittle Sandy's role or anything - from talking to Romero in the late 90's I believe Sandy was the main factor in Doom's unreal statistics balancing (dmg/hp, etc.) - which few games have managed to replicate since, but as only one author is credited per map I'm under the impression that at the end of the day Shawn's efforts in the mapping field were probably underrepresented. All third-hand knowledge of course, so I wouldn't put any more stock in it than that. Those guys have a tendency to have wildly varying versions of the same events, lol.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×