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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: MAYhem 2019 & Alienated

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Posted (edited)

MAP01

FDA, 2 deaths, final time: 7:01

 

OK, so I none of these monsters are familiar to me. Scary. Every monster is scary. The worst are some kind of blue lights that cause an instant death (?). Anyway, these things were responsible for my first death. The skeletons are amusing. I didn't find the weapon which uses "fuel" so it was SSG/chaingun fest, not very enjoyable, I don't know what you can achieve with these monsters, but they seem to encourage cowardly play. I didn't like the visual theme either, with the exception of a hall with hanging lamps (cool stuff).

may19_01_vdgg.zip

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MAP01

 

Alright... First map in the set took me nearly 6 minutes to finish, because I missed the switch that would lower the bars to the "annex", meaning I went astray, looking for a clue as to where to go next. Not the mapper's fault, though, because I was near the switch early on, and even saw it, but I retreated once I saw the blue orb in the center hall, and then I was busy killing stuff, at which point I forgot the switch existed in the first place. Now add that I ended up looking for some obscure or hidden switch/trigger/whatever elsewhere once my progress came to a full stop, and, well... Hilarity ensues...

 

 

Getting lost came with its perks, however, because I managed to find the secret rocket launcher (But never used it, *facepalm*). This begged the question where the flamethrower (plasma rifle replacement) was, or if it even existed (on UV or otherwise).

A look at the map in the editor suggests that there is no weapon 6 to be found anywhere, so let's try "find and replace" mode... Nope, weapon 6 doesn't exist, not even for MP, but the ammunition for it does.

 

 

At any rate, I eventually found the switch that would unlock the rest of the map, which of course triggered an ambush. The weird thing about this ambush was that at least one of the two locations where monsters would spawn in seemed to be weirdly staggered, so I had to "ping pong" between the main hallway, and the room to the east of it in order to not get stabbed in the back, or run out of things to shoot.

A look at the teleport closets in the editor a bit later showed why the release of this ambush is so slow. I'm not sure I'm really sold on how slow it is, because for one it doesn't do a particularly good job at stopping "speeders", and on the other hand it also may annoy UVmaxers.

 

 

So now we have another fight with swamp monsters, and some other unsanitary ingedrients that could be disposed of nicely with the more powerful chaingun (Did I mention I found the damn RL? :P), and right after there's already the exit. Weird thing about this fight was that these pits with the skellies in them never raised for me. At the time of playing the map I wasn't even sure they were supposed to raise at all, but I kinda felt like they should have, because as it were the skellies and such in these pits were nothing but harmless fodder which didn't impact the fight at all.

It's at this point in the writeup that I decided to crack the map open in the builder to see what was supposed to happen, if something was meant to occur there to begin with (Turns out there was nothing that was supposed to raise, instead barriers were meant to lower). Personally I would have raised these pits to threaten players more.

 

 

All things considered, the monster placement at large is very laid back, and so long as you don't trip into one of these blue orbs, and get atomized, the map doesn't put up much of a fight. Having said that, it suits its position as an opener quite alright. You get a chance to observe and fight a good chunk of the new monsters, too. Visually I don't think I have much to say here, you either like the texture scheme or not. I will say though that I liked how the map had some dark areas to it, which added a little bit of atmosphere.

 

Things I find debatable is the ambush I've already mentioned, alongside the notion that the map might make for a few "sudden deaths due to blue orbs" that could come across "disruptive", given how little the map demands otherwise.

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13 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

Let's get in the mood real quick:

 

 

 

MAYhem '19

 

Map 01 -- Spiteful Hall - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets

Interesting selection for a first map. I can imagine a number of different -- and some competing! -- reasons why it may have been chosen, but if I had to guess at one it would be that it wastes absolutely no time in wetly gobbing the new creatures at you, like a llama with a lisp (or, Occam's razor: it's very short). We begin outside of a nameless edifice, decidedly charnel in aspect, with no foyer and an unlit hall leading away into the distance, which is surprisingly moody despite the very plain visuals. I like the way this is done: rather than starting out in front of a door, or in a quiet cemetery or something of that nature, we begin the game looking at that long dark hall, already peopled with several different kinds of creatures, some more familiar in aspect than others. Seeming to draw one in, to beckon, to join the danse macabre.

 

The actual proceedings are all a lot more gonzo than my poor imitation of Vincent Price-ian soliloquy may suggest, mind. Once you step inside, the place veritably shits monsters at you, all capering and cavorting together in a tangled mass of fangs and claws and horns and other, more *unsavory* appendages. On a visceral level, it really hits home with that shock of the new/unfamiliar, moreso than in any other MAYhem of the past several years, and in that sense it continues to play to that sense of drawing one into the game's world. Very short in progression, the level can be played very fast (on my trip I did immediately find the rocket launcher, and used it judiciously), and probably reads best precisely as a sort of dazzling whirlwind tour, before you have time to digest too much. Having such a motley mélange of creatures does potentially afford one the opportunity to hang back and study/learn them for future maps, but for my part I have left this level knowing what very little of them actually do, save that the blue wisps are evidently "lost soul x barrels <3" and that the skellingtons are going to be doing a lot of merry little jigs at my expense.

 

On a more analytical level, then, very little of the placement is particularly effective, or even seems to follow any particular pattern of coherent logic, either in a broad encounter-framing sense or with respect to the roles that the new enemies would seem to naturally fill, given their attacks and modes of locomotion and such. Most of them are found in disorganized, highly heterogeneous mobs that promptly infight with one another at the drop of a hat; the few who do tend to stick to their own are, ironically, the human(?) cultists, who wield firearms, and thus also infight with one another at the drop of a hat. Later creatures are placed where they are fundamentally less effective or outright ineffective (flying caco-lanterns in the exit antechamber with the wisps behind them, assorted beasties trapped in pits on the side of the area too deep for them to fire out of, etc.) or where their fields of fire continue to overlap and interfere, making the whole surprise party writ large something of a grand bungle on their part.

 

For my part, too busy scarpering about ooh-ing and ahh-ing and MY PRECIOUS!!-ing at seeing a Blood-themed Doom set, I paid most of the creatures in main halls, central chamber, and rear 'auditorium' very little mind, except to notice that the cluster of skellies near the main switch were able to get their shots off fast enough to hurt me despite my pulling the trigger first with the RL, and that basically all of the initial crowd and most of the new arrivals warping in on said switchpress were all soundly spanked by one certain red-robed, floatin'-and-showboatin', Nosferatu-ass-lookin' motor-scooter who'd been sleazing around in there since the outset. Whatever unwholesome thing he does must be super-effective, but I don't know what that is, because when he finally got around to noticing me I promptly blew him up with the RL, mid-scarper, without missing a beat. In sum, given the opportunity to do so, I have thus far learned basically nothing, and while I feel at least *some* of that is on the disarrayed, almost random monster placement, a lot of it is surely on me (and my precious). Cue it promptly coming back to haunt me.

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Since I have a map in this project, I suppose I'm obligated to help playtest it. Plus it'll be fun seeing how other folks use the monster repertoire, as it is quite large and versatile.

 

MAP01: Not a strong opener, in my opinion. The map itself is fine, but the bigger problem is that the map is not inclined to introduce the monsters to you, as much as it is to serve them to you mixed together in a bloody puree. As soon as you start there are three different monster types directly ahead of you (skeleton, imp, invisible imp), and the map continuously just throws different monsters at you with no rhyme or reason. It's a shame too because a lot of them are pretty fun and surprising enemies (like how the armless Pain Elemental now explodes upon death), but the map geometry doesn't really do much to showcase their abilities. The blue orb is placed carelessly next to the homing bat disciple, and further in the map the new cacodemons are likely to blow up the orbs themselves and infight amongst each other, negating their threat altogether. I think an opener for a Doom set chock-full of new baddies can start strong and showcase a lot of them off the bat, but this map doesn't set out to do that—it's just kind of a standard Doom map with various enemies swapped out for the new ones.

 

Only serious thing I'd recommend is placing some of the health goodies at the north section of the map over to the east side of the map, as there's like, only a stimpack over there. Also get rid of all those enemies in that silver gunk to the west—or at least make the floor raise or something so they can get out. As it is right now, they only waste ammo (better yet, make them cacodemons so they can fly out!)

 

MAP02: BOY howdy did this map get on my nerves. Thematically, it's great! You got yourself a spooky town split in half by a dim forest, and the whole area is overrun with a bunch of nasty baddies. My problem with it—as anyone that has played the map could guess—is that there's not goddamn health in a city map that's crawling with hitscanners! There's what, a SINGLE medikit for the entire first half of the map?!?! And then two for the latter half? And this is just MAP02! Providing three in the first half (or two medikits, one stimpack) and three in the second half would be a very nice fix for this, because as it is right now the player has to hug a lot of walls in order not to get whittled down, which is especially obnoxious since the map is very fickle with its shotgun shells. Beyond that the invis sphere is there just to irritate the player during the cthulu fight (and the fight can be activated without picking it up, so how about deleting that powerup?), and I like the arach cube as an exit challenge, but the three archviles beyond that? Not so much.

 

It's such a shame too because this could be a strong contender for an opener map since its atmosphere is on-point and it doesn't go crazy with the new baddies (cacos are in the RL pit, cthulu guys are penultimate battle, mostly everything else is low tier), but damn does this map need to be more lenient with its goodies.

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Posted (edited)

MAP02

FDA, 1 death, final time: 15:11

 

Oh, so MAP01 didn't introduce ALL the monster yet ;) The first part reminded me a bit of games a la Lands of Lore. Nice atmosphere, too bad I'm blind and I was running cluelessly as the blue key was there at all times. My first attempt: my health dropped to 14% straight away, so I didn't enjoy the gameplay. Where's the health? The second attempt was better, found berserk, chaingun, etc. The second "city" had some nice gameplay moments. I saved rockets just in case the exit was fake and I was right, though I wish I had saved more... Survived the arch-vile trio, so I think I did well. Another amusing monster is that one which has baron death sound and flashes when firing projectiles.

may19_02_vdgg.zip

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Map02

 

Okay... 10 seconds in and I knew everything about the map I needed to know. Hitscans used with reckless abandon, tight on health, stingy with shells, and consequentially a gameplay pace that makes a sloth look like a sprinter.

 

Managed to find the berserk, which turned out useless except for the health reset. It's not like you'd wanna punch all the shotgun cultists here anway, so a simple soulsphere would have been more attractive.

 

Grabbing the blur in the second half can already result in a more than 70% health loss, and with no medical supplies anywhere near this cluster of scanners, it's a dicy endeavour at the best of times. Nevermind that you also can't reliably hide behind buildings because of the hounds, or move from one cover to the next because of how the stairs here get in the way of movement.

 

Between all the dice rolling against scanners in the open there are some fights in (more often than not cramped) buildings, most of which feature, guess what, more hitscanners, and a few projectile monsters here and there.

 

This map doesn't need more health, it needs less scanners. The sheer amount of RNG that gets induced by all the hitscan makes this a map I'm not going to play twice. Real shame, because the theme is nice, but damn dude I just can't be arsed to endure this slog.

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It's been forever since I participated in a Megawad Club. Getting into mapping, for me at least, means doing due diligence. Time to playtest!

MAYhem 2019 playthrough settings

 

Spoiler
  • UV, though I might switch down to HMP if needed for time/skill reasons
  • PrBoom+, complevel 9
  • My standard keyboard/mouse setup, with no jumping/crouching/lookspring/whatever-ing + WASD to strafe
  • FDAs on occasion; if a map opener looks particularly promising, I'll start recording

 

MAP01 - “Spiteful Hall” by Obake

 

With naught but damaging tang behind you and a spooky scary hallway (or two) ahead, the set starts off at the hop. I like finding the alternate hallway and secret early in succession, but the above posts hold true for me. There's a sloppy mix of mixed encounters all-throughout, with some of the new monsters either making hardly an impression or pissing you off with sudden deaths. Honestly, I can't see myself warming up to invis-o-imps placed in low brightness areas. Spectres at least give you time to react. These guys fire fast enough that you want to read their silhouettes, but often can't before a really strong projectile singes you. Dying unexpectedly from the first of them encouraged to use the other path, which ended up better.

 

It's a decent opener, yet I'd rather boot up Blood and suffer through its opener on Extra Crispy. Threats in that first map at least take time to develop and down you in plain sight. There's definitely some scale to Spiteful Hall at its hub spoke and oddly-designed pew room, but I prefer the room-to-room horseshoe progression from Blood's MAP01. "Scrappy" describes this one well, with how disconnected the immediately accessible areas contrast with the cavern like they got smooshed together. I love how you get an early RL but still have to deal with a trappy SSG placement which discourages firing rockets. Then comes the cavern with its very front-loaded threats, needlessly barricaded skellingtons, and uneventful exit.

 

All that said, I think there's enough room here to spread monster introductions out and improve flow. More space in the early halls to avoid (or even see) monsters, plus converting the warp trap into something more endemic to the setting, would help a lot. Definitely add an earlier green armor, too; I'd put it right at the sector-lower switch for emphasis.

 

MAP02 - “Murskville” by DukeOfDoom

 

Now here's the Extra Crispy Blood I know: endless hitscan hell with brutally tight resources.

 

Maybe add some stimpacks and extra shells to the SG pickup branch? Or how about cover closer to you when the archie trio arrives? It feels a bit like if McGee finished an Ultimate Doom E4 map by Petersen but ended up shoehorning it into a newer FPS. I'm fine with hitscan attrition so long as there's well-spaced cover spots to dash between and the resource needed for tanking. Aside from that, the map feels less spatially intricate than its precursor, with predictable interiors and geometry accompanied by okay-ish fights. The hounds-and-hoods trap toward the end made me run around until I realized the superiority of camping around corners, rather than engaging the enemy like I could with more space and affordances.

I found a non-functional secret:

 

Spoiler

HqfIFKz.png

 

Not close enough to use the switch, nor is it a shoot-switch. Let me know if there's a different solution built in already.

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Posted (edited)

Easy enough to fix going forward. I also looked in the editor and figured out that MAP02 secret, which works as intended.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, PasokonDeacon said:

Not close enough to use the switch, nor is it a shoot-switch. Let me know if there's a different solution built in already.

 

In the bathhouse, there's another switch that opens the secret area your marine is looking at in your screenshot. Once you get into that secret area, the switch you are talking about can be used to get back out of the secret area. Also take heed of the bathhouse plaque "Caution: Do Not Drop the Soap!".

 

Apologies - I missed your later post where you worked out the map02 secret for yourself.

Edited by tmorrow

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Map 02 -- Murksville - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets

As it says on the tin, a decidedly dismal "town" map with a rather nasty case of subsidence. I'll bet insurance rates are positively *awful* here. Sort of reads like an idtech1 backport or 'demake' of a Blood user-level, naturally enough, though the presentation and layout are both a bit on the primitive side by either standard. M-town consists of a smattering of shoebox-y little buildings, most more accurately described as one-room cottages or shacks rather than 'houses' proper, with conspicuously larger building in the south of town, with mirrored reception areas (gendered changing rooms perhaps?) and a large, mostly empty blood pool in an odd auditorium sort of space, with remote shuttered windows. Odd....guess we know where all of the public works budget (and every other budget, judging by the sorry state of the rest of these hovels) went. Map progression involves poking around in the various buildings (nearly all of which are open from the outset) until you happen upon a key to allow you access to the northern "business district", where you'll repeat the process a second time.

 

The sort of slovenly, depressing Doomcute representational style on display here is not without its charm, surely, and most of the secrets remind of callbacks to Blood and other Build games, where instead of pressing on an off-textured wall or such instead you fiddle around with 'mechanical objects' or props in the environment -- registers, deskpads, etc. In a sense the gameplay sort of reads like a parody of Blood as well, where proceedings are made (theoretically) dangerous by a great abundance of gun-toting enemies (getting a better look at them now, I *really* like the look of the black-hooded pistol-cultists, by the by); these guys don't hit any harder than Doom zombies, but the infamously withering wallop packed by the cultists in Blood proper is here simulated by providing the player with very, very little healing (proportionately speaking), an almost comical lack of it of past the halfway point. This can be easily overcome by temporarily shifting into cover-shooter mode, but a realistic first attempt for many players will be to get all banged up in the opening gunfight, survive that fight, and then just die to a staph infection or a stubbed toe or a particularly hurtful verbal insult sometime later on because you never do quite recover from those early injuries.

 

You quickly become rather heavily armed (can't say I noticed a shell shortage myself, it begins with shotgunning the laser-cube-thingie on Main Street and ends when you pick up the shell box from the Murkmart steps all of three seconds later), and clearing the buildings is a generally mindless affair, at least until you discover that the town's communal shed is chock-full of Cthulhu (as they indeed often tend to be, in my personal experience), though even that's no great disaster if you happened to be cynical/distrustful enough to edge arund the blursphere pickup just beforehand. The gotcha! at the exit is surprisingly mean-spirited, particularly considering the aforementioned dearth of healing which characterizes the level, though I can't entirely resent an ostensibly spooksy outing managing to be startling, if only for a moment.

 

Protip: Don't let Dracula upskirt you in the swamp.

 

Beta feedback: recommend more healing, I don't think the increased hardship/inconvenience the current balance poses really benefits the map's atmosphere or goings-on in any significant way. Using a blue armor instead of a green armor on the crate at the start may be a compromise, as well (though I'd suggest one or the other for skill 4, not both).

 

Error: the sign above the northeast building in the "business district" is misaligned.

 

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I admit, I have a bit of mapping sadness from the reception so far. That said, I understand I can improve since it is still in beta form. My main issue is the monster setups. I will likely remove the blue lighting balls and introduce the other monsters in a better way.

 

Thanks for all of the reviews, everyone! I can't wait to hear more people and what they think, as well. :)

 

 

 

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First, technical notes, @dobu gabu maru I read in the OP that the WAD is Boom compatible, thus two previous demos had -complevel 9. I think I didn't miss any experience, but who knows? Anyway, afterwards, I read the complevel discussion and also the text file (mayhem19.txt). The demo below is -complevel 11, but my message is: if "11" is indented or required, it isn't written clearly enough.

 

MAP03: FDA, 6:24.

Now, what the hell is this map? There's a trick used over and over again about switching ...... (no spoilers), but it gets annoying after a while. The first map which has generous health supply, yay! Overall, a very gimmicky map, which, due to its super linearity, I'm less likely to replay than the previous two...

may19_03_vdgg.zip

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Map 03 -- Entryway??? - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets

Taking a bit of a different tack, Walter provides us the first of the set's maps (and hopefully not the last) to lean more determinedly into horror/suspense proper, vs. the more loud/brash guns & guts action focus of the first couple of maps. Generally, IWAD homages/tributes really don't do much for me, but I have to admit that the dead silence and crumbling afterlife take on those iconic first few steps here kind of got to me, nicely done. Outside of the first room or two, the resemblance to the classic Entryway becomes vaguer and vaguer, eventually disappearing altogether, though something of the general feel of its rhythm remains, though by any measure this is a more slow-paced affair by far.

 

The general concept of the design is that, as you walk through the silent, empty, corpse-strewn base, you occasionally spontaneously 'slip' back into the otherside or nether-realm wherein the trip began (this itself raises a lot of interesting questions to the map's story in microcosm, for those who care to ponder these kinds of things), usually slipping back out again shortly thereafter. The analogousness in structures and settings between the two dimensions or realities or whatever they are is often fairly intuitive, though occasionally the effect can be appropriately disorienting. Nevertheless, progression itself is literally as simple as a county fair 'haunted house' attraction; just keep walking forward and you'll make it out soon enough.

 

Given the flavor and apparent intent of the general design, it's understandable that the combat here is very sparse, though in a sense I kind of felt that it's not sparse enough, and in the later stages of the level, where it's more frequent, pulls the map away from its interesting/unusual atmospheric conceits and towards more of a standard "traditionally trivial map 01 combat-tutorial" feel, which is as underwhelming in this aesthetic idiom as it would be in any other. This is one of the challenges of horror in Doom, of course; there are any number of ways for an imaginative designer to create a spooky atmosphere, but carrying a sense of tension through encounters without either underplaying the threat or moving too far into a genre-shift action focus is definitely easier said than done. 

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Switching over to complevel 11 as of this entry:

 

MAP03 - “Entry̷͉͂w̶͍͝ă̶͕y̶̛̥” by Walter Confalonieri | 100% kills, 100% secrets

 

Such a premise really lives and dies on minimalism. The stark silence at the start, both visual and aural, makes for great contrast, followed by a set-piece house of pain. I feel like, as a portal to subsequent themes in the WAD, this does a great job of screwing with your expectations, especially if you don't play many maps with silent teleport tricks. I just wish there was more of a threat level to compensate for the low enemy count, or some environmental puzzles/hazards to break up the pacing. Zipping between other dimensions while moving forward, unimpeded for the most part, started to get monotonous. So while I think the map's just short enough to avoid overdosing on its conceit, there's not a lot of substance here yet. Perhaps play more with the "corrupted realities colliding" theme? That's doable even without UDMF portals. Also, secret placement is very straightforward and predictable, something that disappoints me. It's a decent experiment altogether!

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Posted (edited)
14 hours ago, obake said:

I admit, I have a bit of mapping sadness from the reception so far. That said, I understand I can improve since it is still in beta form. My main issue is the monster setups. I will likely remove the blue lighting balls and introduce the other monsters in a better way.

 

Thanks for all of the reviews, everyone! I can't wait to hear more people and what they think, as well. :)

 

 

 

I think the level is a bit ambitious in terms of the plethora of monsters it introduces, though I can see why you took that approach. You get into lethal monsters straight from the off, such as the vampire on the raised alcove that dishes out quite a lot of damage - and the blue orbs really frustrated me, until my dumb ass realised you could shoot and destroy them (I thought at first they were like the dreaded 'ghost monsters'). Then they were fine after that to be honest. I do agree that an insta-death monster like that might be a bit early for level 1. Like @Nine Inch Heels I missed the switch at first, but I also felt it was down to my own clumsiness rather than the map design.

 

Level 2 was really tough and prompted me to switch from UV to HMP for level 3 onwards. There really wasn't enough health in the BK area when the baron replacements swarmed you. I also thought the area in general was too small and it made their attacks really hard to dodge, especially given how quickfire they were. Comparatively the 3(!?) archviles were more forgiving. Actually earlier in the map I thought the health was okay.

 

Level 3 was really disorientating, I can see what Walter was trying to do, but to me the constant silent teleports just completely disrupted the rhythm of the map and was irritating. Then half way through it finally stops and a result the map gets much better, even if it was a bit run and gun through corridors.

 

Level 4 was much better and easily the best map so far. It reaffirmed my decision to move to HMP because it was still pretty tough - but the frustration was gone. Even with a low monster count, the ones that are here do pack a punch - the area where the switch lowers the lift got me a few times. This map also introduces a new monster I really liked - the chainsaw guy. The problem with vanilla is that the melee-only monsters (demons, spectres) are too weak. So a fast-moving dangerous melee attacker like this one was welcome, and prompted a fast retreat on my part. I am playing GZDoom and when the chainsaw guy killed me, it said I was 'mauled by a dog'. A hard map but not in cheap ways - ammo and health was sufficient, and monster choice and placement was fair.

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Map03

 

Quaint, with a dash of weirdness to it. As the name suggests this could have been a contender for an opening map by virtue of size and such, whether a map without a MIDI is desireable for that position is certainly subject to individual opinion.

 

Since there isn't much to discuss in terms of gameplay due to how short the map is, let's talk about the glitch aspect of it. The instant teleports to different "time periods/dimensions/whathaveyou give it a slightly spooky vibe. In and of itself a neat idea, but there's not much of the "glitchyness" present, since the sudden warps feel more like being thrown around in time or something along those lines. It's admittedly not easy to invoke "lilith.pk3 levels of glitchyness", doubly so in MBF format maps, but the concept feels a little undercooked to me.

 

Personally I think if it were set up more like being thrown around in time, with some environmental features worked in, like for example "do X in the past and Y can be reached in the present" kind of trickery, then it would have been elevated a notch.

 

Anyway, I can't fault the map for its original idea, the concept is neat. On the techical side, I guess I'd have to have a closer look at the potential of skipping linedefs in some places, but I suppose it isn't much to worry about anyway.

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Map 04 -- Dull Needle - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets

More conventional in design than any of the first three maps, this map also struck me as a bit sharper (heh) and more focused in design, and would've been an equally natural fit for m01 vs. "Spiteful Hall", in my opinion. Posing a brief quest for a single key, the compact, linear layout draws out progression slightly by being markedly switch-driven, having the player take a short walk up to a blue-locked door to introduce the level's main goal, and then funneling them through a short series of staged encounters before looping back to the locked door. Most major points in progression are marked by small but decently effective ambushes of one sort or another, which apart from the somewhat stilted 'safety-fenced' handling of the starspawn (read: Cthulhu) monster generally make a more considered showcase of the enemies' different abilities than anything seen in the earlier maps. As aforesaid, the progression scheme is very switch-y for something so small/short, but rarely does a switchpress cause anything immediately dangerous to happen (often the danger is tripmined in well ahead of the switch approach), giving the pace a subtly off-kilter feel which plays off decently well against its general simplicity.

 

As far as the monster implementation goes, the star of the show is the chainsaw zombies, absolutely (who perhaps gain a slight edge in impact from this being their actual debut, as opposed to a formal debut). A zombie with a chainsaw is a classic/ancient staple of monster mods at this point, but never before have I seen them be so legitimately threatening. Traditionally/historically, they have tended to walk slowly (though a bit faster than a normal former human, granted), have low damage output even if they do manage to close distance (electric chainsaw vs. gas-powered I'd warrant!), and stand up to weapons fire like a sheet of cotton candy would. The hockey-masked maniacs we meet here, by contrast, move at a sprint, take a really well-aimed, center-mass SSG blast to take down, have a disturbing painstun resistance if you try to suppress them with a faster weapon, and frightening damage output if they get close, something like having a classic chaingunner unload on you at point-blank range. Of the new monsters seen in the set to this point, they are currently my new favorite by far (I both shudder and thrill to imagine what a crueler mapper might do with them), though the twitchy-ass skeletons are amusing for their sudden knee-jerky movements, and I'm still waiting to see what Count Bathrobe is really capable of.

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Thanks for the reviews, sorry if the big part of you found it a little boring...

 

However, this map was made out of a "creepypasta" concept more than a time / dimensions travel, just a thing like "you found a forbidden copy of Doom where you play a slightly different (in this final version, more than slightly. In the first draft of the map, actually, it was way more similar of the original Entryway) version of MAP01, but after some moments you found yourself in strange, scary situations"...

 

But the time constraints and the fact I didn't have so many ideas for my level until... Half of may iirc, it make me comes out this thing. I know that I could be better with the changing dimensions thing, but... I didn't have the idea on how to develop it at the time...

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Posted (edited)

MAP04: FDA, 5:26

I don't think I've ever played a map by NeedHealth, and I was scared by this nick: I anticipated another map with desperate need of health :) It turned out to be the most "normal" map so far, and I enjoyed it. Cacos are used well here and a chainsaw guy was introduced and this introduction almost cost me life. I am kind of getting used to the bestiary and the WAD texturing, even though this map uses mainly bricks, and bricks also have a very standard, "stock" value.

may19_04_vdgg.zip

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MAP03: HMP K100/I84/S100, 11:45

I really enjoyed this map. I thought the dimension-jump is neat, the RL secret was a nice surprise, the berserk pack came in very handy (until you get the shotgun), and there is a good variety of texture use with my favourite part being the mucky tunnels.

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Posted (edited)

I was making a good pace when the thread was started -- 0 write-ups in 0 days! -- but ended up falling behind. So time for some catch-up. ;)

 

Map 01 

 

The gameplay was fine. Fast, briskly paced, good for what it is. I don't need to play another rote shotgunfest against imps and hitscanners, so I like this being in the opening slot. 

 

Where it gets tricky is that many of the sprites in the asset pack don't mesh. This makes using monsters as intermixedly as this map does difficult. I think it was mostly pulled off here. The zoo-like roster is well lampshaded: spectral imps in gloom (half the map lol), skeletons in deep pits (annoying placement though), swamp dudes in swamp, cacolaterns in that exceptionally bright area, vampires in the seminary and a secluded chamber. This sort of thematic approach fits well, considering the map isn't big on gameplay ideas. 

 

The real issue with that is... the spectral orbs don't fit at all. It felt like those corrupted my impression and made the map seem like more of a 'mindless monster stew' than it actually is. Unless there is some enchanted or electrical quality to their environs, it's usually weird for those floaty things to placed on the ground like that. I would design a metallic floor element, or a magical glyph, or something -- even just an old-fashioned warp pad -- to make their presence more 'logical'. 

 

Visually, this one is rough-looking in places, but the darkness holds a lot of the indoor spaces together. Still there is plenty of sloppiness associated with ignoring the logical 'seams' of textures, with rough transitions, and with a few unending seas of one color/texture better off interrupted by at least an 'oasis' of something else. The outdoor starting area is especially primitive. That space definitely needs another visual idea.

 

- In the teleport ambush a monster warped in late, after I'd cleaned up and was leaving. There is no reason for the closet to have 96 map units of space behind the teleport line. There are other ways to optimize this closet, but at minimum, reduce that free space to 32; that is just sloppy/bad.   

 

- Just a general observation: 'hiding detonating monsters behind stuff' is a super obvious idea everyone in CPs with them goes for (suicide bombers, Mayhem '18's explody thingies). I'm hoping there won't be too much of that throughout this set. 

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Posted (edited)

Map 02

 

About the health balance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-rLtbtvR9lg

 

I played the start very cautiously; I 'cheesed' the blue key room by entering, firing, and Abesimpson.gif-ing my way out of there; and I saved the secret berserk in the city until I had to awkwardly backtrack for it from the last area. Throughout there was a lot of camping from hitscanners. So, basically just a lot of the sort of 'metagamery' you'd expect on -fast or something.

 

If that is what you were going for, by all means, keep it, but I think three or four freebie medkits would not only do wonders for how enjoyable the map is, it'd further strengthen some existing (decent) qualities in the map. One or two are logical outside, others could be placed in some 'exploratory deadends' that at present are only valuable if you want to kill everything in the map. Even with those medkits you'd still have to play sensibly -- after all, there is only one green armor.

 

Beyond that, this is a decent map conceptually. A mini-sandbox where every building is worth checking out in some way -- even though only one is truly mandatory. The 'gun store' later on was very cute. I ended up not grabbing the PI until the end, which meant I had to awkwardly press the switch around it, so that is another thing to look at. 

 

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One constant I've noticed is that people completely suck at guessing who did what in collab maps. So my advice: don't bother.

 

There is technically a 'juncture' where a lazy assumption is that one person did everything before that point and one person did everything after, but that's absolutely not the case here -- and would be a boring way to collaborate anyway. I'll  / we'll spill the beans the day of. :P 

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Map 03 

 

Better than I expected it to be. The warp gimmick makes less sense than usual, but if viewed as dream-logic impressionism, it works pretty well. Aesthetically, some of this is pretty rough; in particular, that cement wall in the secret needs to be 64-high or something. This one flies by quickly, and it's hard for me to complain much about a map that is over in a few minutes. Decent intro-slot map.

 

- In the first warp sequence, the teleport lines on the imp island are way too close to the destination. These silent warps preserve momentum, so I went zooming back into the normal realm immediately after warping. Feels like a technical error, rather than desirable disorientation.  

 

Map 04

 

Not bad. This reads like a very traditional bitesize modern Doom 2 map in the post-Scythe-2 mold a lot of people work in, but of course with the customs instead, and I'd describe it as short and inoffensive and mostly satisfying. 

 

It knows when to use one or two monsters for the sake of flow, and when to give you larger groups: e.g. light defense of the SSG room so as to not discourage you from just rushing in and grabbing it, then a group of low-tiers to blast to pulp with them. The three cacolanterns nearing the end felt like a notable mistep in this regard -- two would accomplish the same thing, the third being extra SSG grind. Or use three boners instead if you want a nice little bit of boner handling. 

 

The gray-and-brown theme is serviceable, and this is definitely the best-looking map yet as far as concourse. Although if you scour for misalignments, you will still find some.

 

I found the blue armor secret late and went ahead and replayed the map to grab it early. I will say: it's somewhat cool that this allows you another way of playing the fights in that region. But... this way of playing it isn't more enjoyable, unless you really insist on diving into the fray. It turns two of the better skirmishes/fights in the map into mostly a horde of stuff that bunches up at the stairs ineffectually and awkwardly. Worth sorting out how that plays.

 

- The chainsaw-dude trap was neat, surprisingly toothsome for a map pitched at this level, although I picked up a chainsaw by accident and that almost ended up ugly, so perhaps place a free one somewhere in the map.

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23 hours ago, vdgg said:

First, technical notes, @dobu gabu maru I read in the OP that the WAD is Boom compatible, thus two previous demos had -complevel 9. I think I didn't miss any experience, but who knows? Anyway, afterwards, I read the complevel discussion and also the text file (mayhem19.txt). The demo below is -complevel 11, but my message is: if "11" is indented or required, it isn't written clearly enough.

Yup this is my b. Since I made a map in Boom format for this it was ingrained in my head that it was for Boom compatibility. The OP has been updated.

 

On 10/3/2019 at 10:11 AM, obake said:

I admit, I have a bit of mapping sadness from the reception so far.

Criticism can definitely be hard to take at times, especially if you have a soft spot for the map and others don't. My advice is just to listen to others, and vow to do better, rather than letting it discourage you from continuing to map. My biggest piece of advice for you obake is just to scrutinize your monster placement a lot more—for instance, what purpose do those skeletons in the pit in the west side of the map achieve? The player isn't likely to fall down there, and they have little incentive to clear the skeletons out. You should be looking at the enemies as chess pieces you can manually position to make interesting encounters out of, instead of meat for the players to chew through.

 

MAP03: Hold up—how the hell isn’t this MAP01? Is it because it feels too much like it should be a map opener? If that’s the case I don’t see much of an issue, because the concept is novel enough to overlook the triteness of “what if it was like a techbase but hell?” Only real problem I found is that the timing on some of the traps here is a bit loose—the player can zoom by the first warp, a lot of enemies teleport in point-blank—but the map is short and crafty enough that some of its linearity and crampness can be easily overlooked (the last blue orb totally got me, I must confess). Only thing I’d suggest is deleting that satyr down in the skeleton pit, as he thematically doesn’t blend with that area (and it’s a good natural introduction to the skeletons, so throwing in another new enemy is a bit dissonant). Good map walter; this is absolutely the correct MAP01 for MAYhem 2019 IMO.

 

MAP04: A fun, bite-sized map with a lot of bloody action. Gotta admit, that wine cellar trap where the floor descends got me good—I was panicking for a good minute there, trying to process all of the enemies I now had to slay (luckily, a lot of them fought amongst each other). Only thing I didn’t quite like was the chainsawman trap, as popping a dude in behind the player is a super rude move, especially when the player isn’t 100% confident on what that chainsaw sound entails (I mean, they can likely guess, but they won’t realize until its too late how fast he is). It’s a pretty fun map otherwise.

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Switching the current MAP01 with MAP03, plus adding some continuity to the MAP01 exit leading into Obake's map, would do wonders for setting the tone and theme for this set. Maybe parts of Walter's map could get some sprucing up to make this work best, given how fancy some of the later maps get.

MAP04 - “Dull Needle” by NeedHealth

 

Never have I hated chainsawmbies this much before. Their introduction, as dobu points out, needs work. Just the one popping out in front of you, then coming in to dish a lot of damage fast, tells the player all they need for later maps. Half of my deaths in this map happened because of his partner in crime popping right behind you with practically no indication. This feels designed for players who find the blue armor secret, which is one of two well-hidden bonuses that shouldn't feel necessary all of a sudden. (For that matter, the berserk placement feels ineffective since you have enough firepower to easily trounce the cellar mooks before the sector drop cuts you off from health.)

 

It's a good map, my favorite so far thanks to economic traps and a more typical ramp-up progression. Some misalignments on brick textures aside, it showcases the new assets well and has some of the best lighting up until now. Weak use of starspawn and chainsawmbies aside, the centerpiece trap makes the case for caco-pumpkin-phobia, and there's more elevation throughout this layout used for blocking encounters and pacing the experience.

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I didn’t really put any thought into map order, but now dobu’s mentioned it, I agree it makes sense to switch 3 with 1. The map’s even called Entryway!

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