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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: MAYhem 2019 & Alienated

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30 minutes ago, obake said:


Here it is. I hope some of you guys try it out, to see if it is indeed better


Just a stupid run through the whole thing: newMAY19_01.zip

(uses may19_v1.3.wad as resource)


I get that there's some more smaller scale detailing and such. But what the large outdoor area really needs is "large detailing", by which I mean stuff like rocks in the distance and such. It's still very "box-y" which could be solved with minimal effort.


The ambush after the switch still seems "limp", and I decided to occupy myself with something else while waiting for stuff the warp in. I think it needs to work faster. The vampire in the RL secret I really liked, not sure why you replaced it with an imp. Also not sure why you removed the last swamp monster in the exit corridor.


Also, in terms of ammo placement, there still is fuel for a flamethrower that I didn't seem to find. And in the final fight, the box of rockets up on the ledge that is only accessible from the exit corridor? I think that is better placed in a more convenient spot. During normal play it might as well not even be there, it only counts for something when the map is played a few more times, and players know they can rush for the ammo safely.

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Posted (edited)

Map 09


So here we have some manner of resort for the necrophiles among us.


Another map that employs instant player teleports to facilitate its gimmick. I have to say that I don't like how the gimmick is "activated" here. Basically it's the same map, but twice, with different thingplacement. The result of this is that it's possible to play one half of the map without even finding an SSG/Chaingun/RL, which is basically what happened to me on my first playthrough, which is so boring to watch that I don't feel like zipping and uploading it, really. Also, the instant teleport kicks in with monsters around, which comes across very weird. I wish these instant teleports were possible in several spots across the map, rather than just one, ideally with some manner of indication to make it feel "more controlled".


As for gameplay itself, putting aside the potential of running around and about with shotgun and pea-shooter, it's fairly tame, leaning towards unexciting. With so much room to evade, and no serious threats at any point in time, it's all down to "keep moving and shooting, and you're a demi-god".


The visual side of things here is neat, I didn't really find anything that I thought needed some more care, even though the outdoor parts of the map don't quite match the interior of this condo in terms of fidelity.


Overall a neat looking map that is let down a bit by its gameplay.

Edited by Nine Inch Heels

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Considering yesterday's map (MAP08, The rats in the well) was my contribution to this mapset, i wanted to leave some thoughts on the map, so i hope that's okay to do here


Not gonna lie, this was a tough map to make, it was challenging to find what role the new monsters could play, i had a bad case of mappers block for a long time, and also i wasn't familiar with the textures, i haven't played blood yet, but i noticed on a playthrough that some of the textures i used for decorations were actually doors... Oops.

At the start the only thing i planned was the name of the map and the idea of starting the map going down a well to set the mood. I didn't set out to do a map on some old underground tunnels and canals, but after playing a bit with the textures and doing a bunch of rooms that theme emerged and seemed natural to do. 80% of the time i was doing the map i had this castlevania midi playing in the background to set the mood and get inspired, and i would had used it for the map if i hadn't found eris falling's fantastic track. As for the gameplay itself it was hard to balance things, i struggled finding what role the new monsters played and what was the proper way to use them. Because of that i might have overused mummies and made the map feel more grindy as a result. For the last arena, i had to scale back a bit what i had planned since it was made close to the deadline, i originally had put some chainsaw zombies, but after hearing some feedback about how going there with no flame fuel was a death sentence i removed them (but kept them for coop play hehe). If there's one thing i feel worked well was the layout and map progression, at the start you can explore most of the map, and some set pieces reveal themselves in those areas as you make more progress, to make the player figure out where to go next i added some monsters just to catch the player's attention were to go next.

In the end im satisfied with the map, i wish i could had gotten a bit more feedback at the time to fix some of its gameplay shortcomings, and it seems at the time of this post, things are a bit quiet for this map as well hehe, but the resources were cool to work with and it was fun figuring how to use them in a way that was fun to play, specially with the monsters. In the end what i want for this map is people to have fun in it, and enjoy the spooky atmosphere



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8 hours ago, obake said:

I figured I would share an improved version of my map in the thread, not to replace the beta playthrough, but to let those who've already played the beta to see a better iteration. My goal is improved monster placement and more detail. I've especially worked hard on texturing.


This new one will (probably) be final in the actual release.


Here it is. I hope some of you guys try it out, to see if it is indeed better.

When I load it up I am not getting the wad's textures. Just the white and grey squares

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9 minutes ago, Horus said:

When I load it up I am not getting the wad's textures. Just the white and grey squares

That's because it has no textures in it, and you need to load the other mayhem19 wad alongside to make sure everything displays proper

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9 hours ago, obake said:

I figured I would share an improved version of my map in the thread, not to replace the beta playthrough, but to let those who've already played the beta to see a better iteration. My goal is improved monster placement and more detail. I've especially worked hard on texturing.


This new one will (probably) be final in the actual release.


Here it is. I hope some of you guys try it out, to see if it is indeed better.


Plays much more like a level 1 now, definitely removed my frustrations with the map. But I also agree the monster warp-in is still too slow, and could have a bit more meat to it. As for the vampire removal, I prefer it removed like you've done because I didn't really like the fact that you are presented with a monster that can kill you / severely harm you quickly right from the off on a level 1. Were this to be a level 3 though, my objection to that vampire would probably go away. Personally I would raise the pit floors, since that area doesn't really add anything. Or alternatively make the player enter the room at the pits and have to take the lift up. But overall yes this version is a improvement.


And thanks for the tip @Nine Inch Heels


MAP08 - “The Rats in the Well” by DMPhobos


When I first saw this map name, my mind was instantly cast to the similarly named ‘Rats in the Walls’ from Requiem. But this map is nothing like that Requiem map. You start outside then drop in the well. There was a noticeable flicker as I dropped down the well (not sure how easy this is to get rid of). Then once you’re underground it’s a steady difficulty curve, clearing out the initial area is pretty simple as long as you’re not reckless. Things don’t really get difficult until you get the red key, but even there the rocket launcher is a big help. Then the battles in the descending arena at the end are pretty fun, and you’re introduced to mother brain (which I didn’t even have to kill, the mummies did it for me). In general a fun map but I would say there is way too much shotgun ammo. Dethrones Chrono as the best map in the set so far for me.


MAP09 - “Baron Loqui’s Summer Resort” by Impie


Well, this map is something different I guess. The map presents next to no difficulty in terms of monsters (I should add I’m playing continuous here), with the challenge more on the puzzle side as you work to press both switches to release both keys within each of the two almost identical realms. Generally not a fan of these type of maps but this one is pretty simple once you get the concept, with just enough monsters to tide the player over.

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37 minutes ago, Horus said:

When I first saw this map name, my mind was instantly cast to the similarly named ‘Rats in the Walls’ from Requiem. But this map is nothing like that Requiem map.

The name is indeed a reference to 'The rats in the walls', not the Requiem map, but the lovecraft horror story of the same name (keeping with the 'horror' theme of the set). Since i haven't played Requiem, i was completely unaware that there was already a map named like that and had i knew before starting i would had chosen a different name hehe. It was a complete coincidence

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MAP08: A positively phenomenal map! It has gorgeous architecture, a moody texture scheme, and offers a lot of fun for being in such a dank and nasty place. The first little bit of the map is probably the slowest and most grindy—the player has to shotgun their way through most foes bit by bit, and since most of the enemies are fairly bulky they’ll be taking territory from the demons at a slow pace. But it’s fairly entertaining, especially since the setting is so open and low on hitscanners that it doesn’t feel like the player has to do too much corner hugging. The fight for the yellow key is unremarkable but everything after that is pretty frenetic and action-packed. The archvile in particular threw a nasty little wrench into my plan: I made a beeline for him but since I’m not used to this monster repertoire, I didn’t expect to strafe into a battalion of bats when I tried dodging him, promptly ending my life.

I nearly had my fill of the map by that point (I felt like it offered me a sizeable action-packed adventure), but the descent into skeleton hell was probably the highlight, as I was completely unprepared to be bamboozled by so many boneheads. It took a couple tries since I was obstinately trying to rocket my way through the crowd, and I appreciated the addition of the masterminds later on in the fight, though they largely just serve the purpose of infighting with the mummies (who, by the way, always seem to be the last ones left in every brewhaha). This was a great map and an energizing experience—I think the only thing I wanted was some kinda progression through the actual well, as some of the zones were blending together in my mind (totally forgot where the red key door was as it blended right in!)


MAP09: I think this map is the strangest thing I’ve ever seen. We’ve seen plenty of maps that do the dual “normal world <-> hell world” bit, but how about one with the… exact same layout twice? I admit I was definitely confused for a while, especially when a bunch of new enemies and weapons happened to show up. It’s kind of clever in how effectively it fools the player, but it also feels like it’s lacking in something more… like, all it really did was force you to clear out the same area twice, just with a mildly different monster composition.

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Map 07


Particularly liked: 

- Ending stretch: mummy/AV trap, satyr trap -- one of the few really good uses of this monster so far -- and then skelly fight at the end.


Didn't like: 

- The orb gotchas. None got me, but I have already explained my distaste for them. 
- The blue key door is 64-wide, in front of one of the denser groups of low-tier monsters in the map. This part would play more fluidly if that door was twice as wide -- or perhaps two 128-wide doors that open. Good rule of thumb: it's hard to go wrong by making openings larger (:lewd:).

The rest was all okay.


My issue with the early stretch of Mayhem '19 is most of its maps play similar roles: intro maps, less-ambitious stopgap maps -- most with visual design that is rough, unpolished, or bland. None are too bad in isolation -- there is a limit to how unpleasant 3-5 minutes of well-intentioned Doom can be -- but the cumulative effect of the adjacency isn't good. Pair that with custom monsters and assets that are at times a drunk cook's stew, and the output so far has been... meh.


But it does get better... 


The next map was originally in a later spot, but I requested it be moved up. It is the first map that truly hooks the player.


Map 08 


This one is indeed neat. Quality all around. It is a testament to the richness of the atmosphere and skillful use of sightlines and obscurantism, of transformations and tricks, that I didn't realize how small the layout was while playing it. The incidental combat has a very satisfying flow and momentum to it. The monsters clamber out of the dusty shadows very much like the titular rats. Health tends to be placed further into enemy territory than you'd want to go if wounded and spooked, or behind pillars and corners where you don't know what else might be lurking. 


The bestiary we get to see is quite varied, and much of that works aesthetically in part due to staging: fliers pouring cinematically from high cabinets; vampires lurking around altars; the 'ghost' clade of monster dwelling in haunted regions or among their black-robed hitscan brethren; the hounds roaming freely in dusty areas; the swampcubi dormant in subterranean zones. Last but not least, the blue orbs don't exist, which is one of the most viable ways of using them!  


The setpieces are all plump and satisfying, like a juicy... anyway... the finale in particular is well staged. As a counterpoint, I did not run out of rockets against mummies and such, because I tended to go more chaingun-heavy during the incidental bits and used a 'soften 'em up with rockets; kill 'em with peas' approach against the later hordes.


- The Necro secret is borderline unmarked. Sure, the gore decorations are different around it, which is a clue, but any home decorator worth their salt is scattering their corpses asymmetrically when there isn't a ritual to be conveyed, just because it looks more natural -- so I thought little of it, and wasn't in a wall-humping mood.


- Staging of secrets is a slight knock. It is serviceable, don't get me wrong, but out of six secrets, only one is really clever. The rest are straightforward pushwalls, in most cases without a spatial-awareness or 'an area has to be here doesn't it' sort of component that can make pushwalls more engaging than 'try humping here, or notice a texture is different.' 


- The deafness of monsters in the final area is unconventional, but I do like that element. If the fight is balanced around that, which it seems it is, I would suggest placing additional fuel beforehand, just a bit more, to make the alternative possibility of waking everything up more viable. The point is that the player might end up waking everything up unwittingly during a first attempt. 

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Map 10

So I've been playing all these maps twice, once in GZDoom with Ultra Crispy (except for map05, which I played with Final Doomer's JPCP class) and once in PrBoom+ at complevel 11. When playing this map with UC, I got to the secret with what would normally be a flamethrower, and the ensuing horde of skeletons made me think "oh I bet this goes so much better with the flamethrower," but then I went there in PrB+ and it was still pretty tough. This is my interesting story.

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Map 09 

The crux is identifying the warp gimmick -- specifically, that there is one at all. When you realize there is a main reality and an alternate one, you will intuit how to tease out the knot of progression. Fail to realize this, however, and you will spend time wandering in confusion.


Playing this one after "Rats in the Well", I feel it leaves a fair bit on the table: 


- Combat. It's not the map's focus, sure, but I can't help but feel a standout encounter would do lots of good. Placing one in the exit area would be an elegant way of exploring the duality gimmick: perhaps completely different monsters in the same relative positions in each area. In either case, the terrain in both cases could be more nuanced than what it is now -- a big open yard that lets you freely circle-strafe. 


- Aesthetics. It's not ugly, but the design is uniformly understated, full of unexplored possibilities. The staging of the warp also plays into this -- it's completely nude. That makes it look like a totally arbitrary location that happens to need revisitation, rather than a place of cosmic import. It is arbitrary in that the story the concept is telling would be no different if the spot were anywhere else. Imagine it being dressed up as a rift in spacetime, accordingly designed, or as some enchanted or haunted zone, or anything really... That might be cool. 


Map 10 


This is a solid map. The place depicted is a squat fortress with lots of 90-degree angles and modest height variation, and outside of a few touches it is very workmanlike. But concourse is very neat throughout, scenes are well composed wrt color and texturing, and lighting is well done. So despite the very low-key visuals, it's at a good level of competence, among the highest so far. 


I found a good deal to like about the action here: 


- Secret flamethrower area. Some Dobu-friendly platforming leads into an amusing panic-spam fight. Keeping your cool not only helps you survive, it helps you save flamethrower ammo for later. 


- Tight traps such as the imp/chainsawer fight upstairs. 


- The first half of the blue key trap.


- The red key trap, in theory. When it works, you are encouraged to run around the playspace while all sorts of bad influences try to corrupt you, and it is an exciting-enough fight. 


But many aspects could be better: 


- There are a lot of perched hitscanners present at map start, especially in the second area. Most don't add anything but extra nuisance and cleanup. I see the player being encouraged to roam aggressively as a positive. Those oppose that. 


- The play experience is full of what I'd term as 'cruft'. For a relatively short map, a lot of your time is spent waiting for short lifts. The southern lift near the blue key pedestal is one you ride twice -- and would be better off shallow stairs instead. There are many superfluous roundabout mechanisms: e.g. by the time the exit rolled around, hitting the switch in that chamber and having to go back up to the 'fortress' felt tedious. There are four lone rockets scattered around the BK-lowering switch (fine) and three rockets in cubbies on the eastern side (was kind of annoyed). None of this stuff is egregious on its own, but when you add it all up, I felt it. Imagine the pour soul who decides to hop down to grab the fuel near the exit, but doesn't find the secret, and then has to go all the way back around. Even with the flamethrower secret that roundabout was feeling annoying to me. 


- The berserk secret is not exceptionally useful unless you happen to get there with low health. (And I don't want to have to save it and ride that lift yet again.) So it's worth considering adding a backpack or something else to that area. 


-  The second half of the BK fight. I didn't appreciate having the mob of hitscanners flash in and suddenly drain 50+ HP from me in a second, even with my chaingun out and spamming them down instantly. That wave seems to be very decoupled from skill. There are medkits, sure, but it doesn't feel good. Similarly, the golems appeared and once scratched me immediately because I was standing next to it, which was irritating. 


- The last fight is cool but perhaps more pressure on the side you are in -- more skellies perhaps -- would make that more exciting. I found I could hole up and kill most of that side quickly, and then the fight resembled a chokepoint battle. When you are forced to use the full arena, or when you do that on your own initiative, it's a pretty fun fight. 

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MAP08 - “The Rats in the Well” by DMPhobos


My FDA attempt ended quite miserably, so I stuck to saves on this one.


Let me get my complaint out of the way: there's definitely resource famine in the climactic fight sequence. The amount of fuel given to deal with large, fast, tank-tier globs of enemies in a space this tight feels inadequate. Resorting to the RL for quick kills went both ways, ending me tens of times just from splash damage. Most of my problems revolve around the final batch of enemies, where the lack of space and resources added up to a very frustrating experience (and I've beaten tight slaughtermaps before, so it's not an issue of unfamiliarity). The silent set-up helps out here, though. Even with <50% health (mostly full armor) and practically no fuel, I found a pillar to camp by and spam rockets for a few seconds before the central sector clogged up, giving enough of a window to zip by. It still took more luck than I feel necessary to carve out space just to dodge the skellies and mummies, all while avoiding splash damage. The pressure felt good at first, but devolved into tedium and exasperation at the lack of affordances for players who didn't come into the fight completely topped off.


All that said, it's a great map right before that. Your characteristic sector-heavy detail style works well for the texture set and map premise, giving a lot of depth to a deceptively compact series of rooms. I wish more came of the drop into the well, which offered a lot of lighting contrast and mystery compared to the relatively balanced "catacomb" underneath. Secrets were easy to find, but often useful based on their proximity to fights, and the progression felt seamless. The robe mooks, both ethereal and chaingunner-style, have a lot more effective use here, the former haunting secret hunters and the latter introduced as effective punishment for avoiding cover. Mother-arachnorbs seem lost in the shuffle of the final fight, but I look forward to how they're used in other maps.


Highlights for me:

  • Initial entrance into the crypt, where a subtle and well-hidden trickle of incidental hitscanners, chainsawmbies, arachnorbs, and skellingtons pour out of alcoves further in before catching you off-guard
  • The chainsawmbie greeting you at the RK steps, anticipating a tricky entrance to the office section with its arachnorb turrets and head-honcho encounter


MAP09 - “Baron Loqui’s Summer Resort” by Impie


The silent-teleport mechanic stands out well enough, signaled by a suspicious SSG pick-up surrounded by books and candles, but it still led to some confusion and wandering on my end. More obvious differentiation between the manors would have helped a lot, both for clarity and variety outside of different thing set-ups. For example, I had to mess around with the outside switches to learn that a hedge sector had risen in one manor and not the other, delaying my BK grab. 

Layouts are both fun to mess around in, yet I'm already hankering for a mansion map on par with Blood's, just confined to Boom's limitations and advantages over Build. This was fun for a bit, but just too simple, straightforward, and less imaginative with its teleports than MAP03 or MAP07.


FDA DEMO at bottom.


MAP10 - “Stony Brook” by A2Rob


rdwpa covered the main things to fix, so I'll add that, fun as this one is, it feels both like it's appropriated from a restrictions-based project and a deathmatch map in the making. I really love interconnected, compact maps teeming with closets and machinery hidden in plain sight, but this one lags in pace and suffers from too many lifts. Lots of pillars and outcrops made it too easy and tempting for me to camp, and the abundance of incidental turrets meant little to me outside of modulating ammo use. Chainsawmbie use, however, strikes me as more effective than in the other maps so far. They're expertly used near the start to jolt you into action! Most of the trap set-ups are good. I detest the second half of the BK trap for throwing so many hitscanners at me with practically no cover, forcing me to either use all the medikits in quick succession or potentially restart the map.

Something I'd amend: platforming to reach the lift-lower switch in the second arena feels cumbersome, accentuating the issues of using 3-second-delay lifts all over. Yeah, if you get it right the first time, this won't mean much, but reshaping the platforms would help some players cross this easier and feel less frustrated.


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I guess I'll contribute to this since I just happen to be playing this wad the same time this is going on


MAP10: I liked the layout of this one and how there was one central area with small offshoots to the sides. As far as combat goes, the fights that jumped out at me the most were the BK fight and the fight after the red key. I died a couple times in the BK fight to those rock guys. They pack quite a punch. Once I had 100 health and one took me down with two swift punches. Quite a spectacle.


As for the RK fight, I got cornered once, but decided it was best to lay back and pick off those skeleton guys with the RL from a distance. At first I thought, "wow this is all you have to do?" I didn't realize that there were four chainsaw guys bearing down on me from behind and they gave my butthole a good sawin'. Also I didn't even realize there was an archvile either until very late in the fight after most everything was dead.


One thing I noticed about this map was the use of the bats and I thought they added a much needed variety that the other maps were missing. It was cool walking down a hallway and seeing a crowd of bats turn the corner and chase me down. Hopefully the maps further on use more of them. There were also quite a few surprise chainsaw guy traps that I loved. Just the situation of seeing a guy with a chainsaw sprinting down the hall at you was very entertaining.


As for the progression I liked that the map relied on the use of raising pillars to progress you through the level, rather than just opening plain-ol' doors. I also appreciated the fact that you could walk around and discover where all the key switches were and generally what they did before even grabbing the respective keys.

Overall a good map that I enjoyed!


One thing about the wad overall, I don't really like the projectiles that the skeletons and the vampires use. It's really hard to tell when they are both being fired because they don't have loud audio cues. A lot of the time I found myself getting hit by random projectiles that I didn't even know where there. They are also substantially difficult to see which doesn't help.


Also the difficulty seems pretty jagged, what with the end of map08 and all, but I guess it's to be expected in a community project.



Edited by Arbys550 : just a small but embarrassing spelling error

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MAP11 - “Maudlin” by Obsidian


FDA demo on bottom. Technically a DNF run, but I figured it'd be a waste to retry when I'd practically reached the exit. Shame about those plasma-skulls fucking your shit up while you have nearly zero cover.

So, uh, wow, it's like Richard Wiles and Malcom Sailor challenge maps thrown into a blender (we ought to host witch trial on Obsidian for this necromancy!). I usually appreciate this kind of puzzle map more than prefer it, but there's a lot of rough edges. Perhaps that's the point; perhaps I really dislike that approach, since it makes this the worst starvation grindfest of the mapset so far. Start trap with the satyrs and vile at least give me an obvious ammo-retention puzzle that I love, but everything starting at the major vampire/hitscanner fight gets on my nerves. Before that, systematically dealing with skellies, hitscanners, and the mummy atop the library felt rather good.

Some of my issues come down to playstyle here. When dealing with resource starvation, I tend to camp and provoke infighting as much as possible, just in case I get screwed not long after. This really bogged down part of the demo as I worked to herd the mooks into just the right position for me to either have them infight or leave me precious seconds to dash in and pick up some ammo. Having some more ammo drop down next to the player atop the steps would give just enough to make the camping more viable, or to encourage a more confident dash into the basement. Elsewhere, like with the bats, I slowed down in order to use all of the pistol rounds I'd saved up, which just aren't that useful against heavies here.

Speaking of heavies, maybe give some more punch to players so we don't have to play Wiles' Crusades right after a relatively fast map? You deal with a ton of mummies, swamp things, viles, turrets, and more, but never get a plasma or SSG to quickly eliminate them. Getting the clever megasphere secret helped a lot, just not as much as, say, a single plasma pick-up before the midpoint would have. RL clearly wasn't enough for me to 'splode even one turret at the end, for that matter. Time, space, and the tools required sometimes are lacking throughout the map progression, such as a chaingun to make bat extermination less of a chore.

I'll give kudos for one thing: making the bats, this map's mascot, scary as hell. They're used in great swarms later on in the map, something I got used to over time. They're a key part of the legitimately scary, survival horror-like atmosphere pervading this map, done better than I'd expect from the best official Blood maps. Stark lighting, claustrophobic rooms, nasty stakes later on in the map--together with a good MIDI choice, this aspect of MAP11 appeals the most to me. Knowing I'll need to try every trick I know to save ammo, however, didn't pay off the way I hoped. Outside of the dual vile trap and, of course, the exit assault, the map tapers off a lot after dealing with the first wave of bats, and I had accrued more single-shotty ammo than I could possibly use. The lack of an SSG to deal with the turrets seems suspiciously absent, given all this. More ammo sooner in the run would have helped more than getting a lot of it too late to count.


While I love the space reuse, varied setting/layout, and some of the encounters proper, it's dull as a puzzle map and loves the Meat Boy brand of "stay perfect or perish" play too much. Some parts felt downright dickish; I like it when maps give me more bite from time to time, but not when it borders or crosses the line of mean-spirited. Still, there's plenty of time to shape this into a map that, while hard and tense (and spooky!), offers  enough wiggle room for comfort.



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Map 10


I didn't enjoy this. And since a lot has been covered already, I'll stick to some issues that I had, without going into too much detail about the map in general.


To begin with, this map, in terms of progression, is unintuitive as hell. How do I get the keys? Where is the next switch? What did the switch do for me? Why are there so many "one ways" in the map which serve no purpose (past a certain point, or at all)? Navigating this just wasn't fun.


Gameplay, leaning towards tedious early on, an earlier SSG would have helped in some spots. And maybe reducing the number of hitscan turrets to prevent (almost mandatory) corner-camping would help. Also, important ammunition such as rockets always placed in niches greatly adds to the feel of tedium that I experienced with this map. At least make something convenient.


Also, texturing:


HOM here:may19_10.jpg.043f714434f7802a92af50e73f45181e.jpg



Inconsistent texturing on the lift there:may19_10b.jpg.a9f0929d2c3b5d1d4b505578b92fd624.jpg


That's my 2 cents on top of what's already been said.




Map 11


Okay, I get that the map wants to make singular monsters more threatening, but it just doesn't come together so well, as all the individual pieces scattered around rarely work in unison to create a proper "stimulus", at least not for longer periods of time.


The sartyrs early on can be shot without repercussions from the stairway, and for that 3 sartyrs are 2 too many, regardless of difficulty settings. The first mummy in the "balcony" is nothing but a simple grind once the floor is cleared, because the vile has no agency in that moment. The swampcubus in the corridor was born without teeth in the first place, and grinding down the "plasma cubes" with the shotgun is anything but engaging. I really feel bad for not having played the map earlier before release, because I'm sure there would have been ways to deal with some of these issues quite easily. I really believe I get what the map was going for on the combat side, but the moment that players worked their way past the actual threat, there are too many loose ends which consume quite a bit of time to deal with, while contributing very little to my excitement.


Progression wise, okay, it's supposed to be "cryptic". But it's really making me a bit sour when progression is difficult to come by (by which I mean easy to miss) on top of the laborious parts of the map. Felt a bit like purposely throwing a wrench into an already slow running machine to me personally.


Strongest aspect of the map would be the visuals. Nice variety in textures, moody lighting, and a weirdly twisted environment as a result. A minor gripe would be the very sharp corner near the start, where the stairway is located, as that wall looks like it's paper-thin (which it is, but it would have been nice if it didn't look that way).




Sorry guys, I'm really not good at giving praise today :/

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Map 11

There's this one part where you're teleported directly in front of two Satyrs that are guaranteed to get a free hit, because of how teleporting briefly stops you. I really think there should a least be a wall in front of them at first, and then have that lower when you take a step forward.



Also, is it me or is one of the secrets broken? From what I can tell, there's a bookcase that's supposed to lower when you walk over certain linedefs, but it seems to be stuck.


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Hot damn this one was rough. I made a demo with saves (An fda i think? Idk if that's the same thing) so you guys can laugh at me playing first time.



I'm just gonna get right to it. I hated the satyr part where they're guaranteed a hit. At that point i had 15 health and I died like 10 times before I decided to look for secrets and I eventually found the megasphere. Also It seemed like most fights in the basement area were handled way easier by retreating to a vantage point, which I didn't like. I'd prefer a map to force you to dance around with the enemies and get your hands dirty. Two examples are the first basement fight, where, after a couple attempts, I decided it was way easier to stay at the door and camp. I think the door should have closed behind you or something. Also the aforementioned satyr part, I literally just jumped down below and shot rockets from a distance, since it's highly difficult to stay up there and fight them. It was kinda boring.


Also holy crap at the beginning there was this stretch of time where there was just no gosh darn ammo! I think it would be better to move some shell ammo from the later parts of the map to the earlier parts because shells were disproportionately abundant at the end compared to the start.


I did like the first fight and the bats though, they were pretty fun to me

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Map 11 


I really love the atmosphere here. Aesthetics aren't designed to wow you, but are pretty sleek and competent anyway. Honestly, after the very first fight, I was prepared to really like this map, but it quickly became very hard to. There are a lot of issues that can be ironed out, I think, so I'll walk through the map step by step. (Spoilered, because this post takes up lots of vertical space.)




The opening fight is solid: AV with line of sight, satyrs hunting you down, barrels to herd them into. With only a few satyrs and ample cover, it's not particularly demanding, but I like the gimmick. Fun enough. 


[Edit: I wasn't motivated to look into threat-defusing approaches like the one NIH mentioned, especially since it was one of the parts I liked, but I think it is important to address that one.] 


Mild alarm bells: I can kill that perched archvile. With just my shotgun. Am I meant to do that? Because it is pretty dull. It also makes the next phase a lot easier, and there is no serious ammo penalty, since ample shellboxes are found in the early portion. So the map is encouraging me to do it. I prefer enjoying myself, though, so I leave it alive. :P 


The small skirmishes in the next room are fine too, especially with the archvile that I left alive complementing them; I do like how those cubes spawn in to cover the previous room. 


Alarm bells again: I'm given a perched mummy to shotgun down. Not a fan. This time it is impractical to skip. But okay, just once. Make that mummy a couple imps instead? 


I think after the rocket launcher, stuff needs serious rejiggering. My contention is nothing benefits all that much from the resource and weapon deprivation the map instills. 


It is worth keeping in mind that I don't have the berserk secret yet. I know now that it is an archvile jump, but that is a rarity and not something I'd just try. To my mind, there might be a secret switch around; or maybe that lowers as a timed lift. So that berserk is very much a 'second half of the map' convenience.


I go downstairs to the sewer portion because the spawn cubes are blocking the upstairs path. The mummies I shotgun; infighting them with the swamp mancs is kinda awkward there. I don't think shotgunning two of them is that interesting. I skip the mancs, even though I do have enough ammo to kill both with my shotgun. Worth emphasizing: this fight is basically shotgun vs. two lone mummies if you can do any spatial relations on the fly, because it is intuitive that the swamp perches are so high that their fireballs won't be able to hit you if you take cover near them. A player who is *really* caution-minded can also just retreat back to the narrow opening and plink them from safety, which is really slow, but possible. Basically what I'm saying: maybe add more rockets beforehand. A full box, perhaps.


In the next room, there is a vampire that lowers sloooowly out of the ground. It scratches me before it even appears. That really needs to be changed. 


The path behind it is blocked. I pick up the rockets and still ignore the swamp monsters, which at least for now seems mandatory. I get rid of the one spawn cube blocking the door and leave the other alive. In the hallway, kill some bats. I do appreciate how those are used here. Bat usage so far has been solid.


Around the bend, there is a swamp monster that is trivial to corner camp with my shotgun. The shellbox indicates that I'm really meant to be shotgunning all this meat. Then there are two mummies, which would be a good trap if they could corner me, but thanks to the gaps around the support pillars that make up part of the floor, they can't, so are fodder for my shotgun. Those are likely easy even for people who have trouble with a skill as fundamental as strafing, thanks to the small pocket of cover where the gate is situated. 


It isn't obvious what that switch does from observation, but fine, it's a tiny map and can't be much else but the barrier I encountered a bit earlier. 


I'm low on health because the map has little and... when I go all the way back, the next fight has lots of hitscanners. I flee the room, and vampires. Back up that narrow hallway for some camping it is. Those two stimpacks aren't enough.


Shells are thin too despite not killing more meat than I had to. With foreknowledge I'd leave the mummies alive and let them infight the vampires at this point. But too late for that. 


I do have rockets but they aren't useful now. 


Time to stand behind the doorway and let hitscanners kill themselves. 


Blue key switch is intriguing. Takes me a moment to figure out what next, eventually stumble across the YK that lowered, which I couldn't pay attention to at the time because it was behind me and a fight was happening. I'm now realizing I hadn't even spotted the yellow key before now. Maybe that stilt should be a bit lower, so that one can see it while in the water.


Behind the YK door, finally, rockets. Time to kill a few things. That archvile finally goes, although it's dull waiting for it to target me so that I can guarantee that a rocket will connect. I do not have enough HP for the vile jump at this point. 


I stumble across the BSK by total accident. That part was impassable before. It gives me an infinitely more powerful secret. So the berserk really is a 'start of run' secret, perhaps on follow-up plays. There is no other time it'd be practical to grab. 

The bats are cool the first time, for the cinematic value. Doing it repeatedly, not so much. It is awkward to get rid of all of them with rocket launcher, and not actually all that threatening. They don't path fluidly through this layout, so you have to look for spots where many are clustered and then shotgun strays down. 


Still though, the combat is not entirely letting me down: the two-vile trap upon return upstairs is pretty fun. 


What I really don't like: this tedious roundabout where I have to ride that chain of lifts yet again, twice. It was mildly irritating the first time, but now the map makes me ride both lifts again... not just once, but twice. Not a fan. 


The ending stretch of fights with the cubes is fine too. 


The rocket secret is the last one I find. It's is a tad obscure, but would have been too late to alleviate the early grind anyway.



Anyway, Obsidian has been successful in this mode before. I felt this one doesn't work yet because the obligatory shotgun grind is dominated by tactical mundanity -- rather than the more dynamic scenarios present in those maps or even the parts that work in this one. A consolation is that an evening of adjustment could easily solve all issues present. 

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MAP06: Chrono

100% kills, 0/2 secrets


A decently-sized map with lots of space, making your way around a large cistern through four distinct areas so you can hit the center switches and unlock the exit. I think there are multiple ways to go from the start, but I ended up going towards the water instead of the blood (which I thought might be harmful, it isn't) and went northwest then clockwise. I like the macro-architecture here, lots of staircases and open jumps across different heights. The texturing is a bit less impressive, especially since some of the spots have some rather large real estate to cover. I'm also not quite sure if there's an intended theme I'm missing here given the name of the map, but each area is distinct which is nice.


Two new monsters here I think, with the floating arachnorbs (which don't really fit the Blood theme methinks) and some floaty shadow hitscan wizards, which are somewhat annoying. We also get a lot more satyrs here (after I think only a random one on MAP03?) and... well, they're really useless given the wide open spaces since they move so slow. I can see them being threatening in a really cramped map but that's about it, otherwise they actually feel beneficial for the player as easy-to-use infighters. Unlike some others I found the SSG early on so I didn't feel under-armed, but I do wish I had found the flamethrower with more than ~10 enemies left. The final fight left something to be desired too.

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MAP07: Mind Screw at the Cemetery Complex

100% kills, 1/2 secrets


This one didn't really grab me, felt like a map that started with a simple idea for a location (graveyard) and then was sorta just made up as it went along without any real plan, lots of it somewhat featureless. The first silent teleport switch also loses something coming after MAP03 already did it, too. I didn't have any problem with the first two blue orb traps (sorry @dobu gabu maru, just because Doomguy can run 60mph doesn't mean he has to) but the one on the tesla coil got me several times because I didn't even notice where they were coming from - the coil didn't seem to activate until I was basically right on top of it. The golem/AV trap also got me the first time, but I found it mechanically interesting (once you know it's coming, though).

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Map 12


Again, I like the atmosphere. I'm noticing that this cluster has been dominated by mysterious gloomy fortifications. This one is textured in broad strokes not much unlike many of the earliest maps, but the design is very tidy. It makes sense that the author is a well known player in the vanilla scene. Darkness plays a big role in the aesthetic, and  also features in the gameplay at certain points.


A general theme is soft movement demands that aren't platforming: nukage pits in and around the starting area, jumps requiring SR40 or good angle selection, that tight pyramid climb, and navigation on around catwalks. (Of course there is platforming, but more in the umm ackshually sense -- running across those generous gaps hardly registers.) Fun stuff.


The balance is stingy. Without foreknowledge, there is a risk of certain parts playing how I'd describe as 'dryly' -- grinding down one or two mid-tiers with SSG, rinse and repeat with another species. A secret or two would be nice, and maybe extra free fuel to reward exploration. Also, I never bother killing that plasma turret. There isn't an effective way to kill it by hand. A mechanism to crush it, tripped after it has outlived its usefulness, would make a good deal of sense. Another potential irritant: the hitscanners that open the door above the minotaur area a first-play irritation, when you might not have the confidence to ignore them. They can take forever to trickle out. 

Below is a quick and dirty casual playthrough. With foreknowledge, I thought it logical to blend the first parts together in order to hoard fuel. This is not so hard to survive either, and pretty fun: the satyrs aren't oppressive even in cramped quarters, because they have a slow windup to their attack, bone dudes do low damage. So it looks messy, but you just have to move around. Building up that fuel store eliminates a good deal of potential grind, and the infighting kills a lot of the skellies, making the map play a lot smoother than it did in other ways. 



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Map 12


Fun stuff. This FDA may be entertaining to watch, so I'm sharing it: MAY19_12.zip


First off, I thought at the start I had a shootswitch in front of me, but it wasn't one. Woke up the monsters ahead of time and paid for it. Lesson learned, result: Fun opening fight. Small nitpick: I wish that cthulu thingie was an arch vile or perhaps an occultist, just anything that was less easy to dodge, or maybe something less sturdy.


I get the flamethrower and roll with it. Walls lower, skellies come running in. I'm not here to play with Rottking's boners, so I look for a path to get away from the heat, leaving most of the stiffs standing.


Seems I made the right choice wrt the path I chose to follow, as it leads to a highly desirable green armour, I think the only armour in the entire map, even, besides some smaller armour bonuses.


Toast that next cthulu around the corner, as well the chainsaw dudes. All good. Not difficult, but it goes by fast. Thankfully, picking up a chainsaw too early was something I could avoid to prevent a forced weapon switch at an inopportune point in time.


In the corridor with Papa John's fiery secret sauce I can make short, but satisfying work of the imps, and luckily avoid getting blasted for 45 from the shotgunner. Floating brains are easily dealt with, but I don't mind a little tapping.


Next big room there, no clue where to go at first. The switch I see at first seems to do nothing. Oh look, here's how they get their beef. Fun fight against the maulotaur, nothing too hard either, but certainly worth some "respect". The slow raising platform that would eventually grant me progress... That would do well to move quicker, waiting for it to raise entirely so that I could finally make use of the switch I saw earlier really doesn't need to take that long. If the idea is to force players to deal with the bull for minimum amount of time, there has to be a better way to do this. Making a dash for the switch early, while hoping not to get trampled in the corridor is unattractive enough such as it is, so chances are that switch is getting pressed well after the maulotaur has been fried.


A few quick fights later, none of which were too threatening, I find myself near the red key, below me a pack of skellies. I decide not to try my luck and jump right away, so I "snipe" a bunch of them from above where I'm safe. So far the first time I thought something was actually leaning towards tedious. I had no idea I had to make a jump back there eventually, now my ignorance is paid for with a small grind to thin out the pack of calcium deposits, so that the odds be ever in my favour should I commit to a jump. This is the first time I wish I had a rocket launcher, it would have made this situation infinitely more "sufferable".


The next path I chose to take leads me into a dead end. At least this isn't too unattractive to visit, since I can get some easy shots in on a few imps, and even a vampire. The fuel and some pickups make it worthwhile, too.


I notice the spawn cube is supposed to do some work here, and it may or may not do that depending on chance and whatnot. I suspect that cube is part of the reason why this map has no rocket launcher, as that would make getting rid of the cube too easy. At the same time, the cube isn't really that threatening, since early on it's best to haul ass anyway, and later on the more or less lonely cube is pretty much ineffective no matter what. At best it's one of those "Oh I forgot it existed and tanked like 50 damage that don't matter to me anyway" kind of deals. So, if my guess is right, perhaps use more cubes, but also don't withold the RL to make sure that, for example, some of the calcium clumps can be dealt with more efficiently.


Now the middle path with the large wooden platform in the center, easy climb, easy life. Next up are vampires. Nothing too threatening again, and in spite of taking a hit, I think this is a bit too tame of a scenario, I would like it better if that fight had something more going for it.


From the key-locked door onwards it's all down to smaller and harmless skirmishes. By the looks of it, we're past the climax of this map, and now it's all down to cuddling up and counting mummies and imps.


Gameplay overall: Strong start, some nice fights here and there, and a flaccid finish. Still a fun map in terms of gempleigh.


Visually it's kept simple, but I don't find it ugly or boring to look at. It's diverse enough in its texture choices that it provides a sense of orientation, the lighting helps with the mood, I dug it.

Edited by Nine Inch Heels

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MAP10 - “Stony Brook” by A2Rob

At its core this is a fun level, helped in no insignificant way by the awesome rocking MIDI. Monster placement is generally well done (with one notable exception) and it keeps the navigation through the brook engaging. The battle after getting the RK is well balanced. Where this falls down is on three counts:
(i) The massive HOM in the platform that links the two core parts of the map (the one that Nine Inch Heels tagged). Honestly don’t know how that one got missed
(ii) The (non-secret) lack of fuel. I get that the flamethrower is a really powerful weapon but if you don’t give enough ammo for it then it becomes a bit pointless. The BK battle could have done with some more
(iii) The main secret. Here you get loads of fuel, but it’s also the hardest part of the level, which makes no sense. There are so many skellies that it’s really hard to stay alive. In the end, I managed it by backing into the switch on the right hand side. With 13% health left.


MAP11 - “Maudlin” by Obsidian

This one really packs a punch. Pretty much anything except the opening satyrs can kill you. The horror theme is captured really well here, through the choice of textures and the low brightness, especially in the room with the mancubi. The megasphere secret is really welcome but I wish I found it sooner..! It also contains a necronomicon which is great for continuous players like me, but I can’t think of much use for it in such a cramped map like this one. The teleport into the area with the satyrs is annoying because I could not avoid taking damage to them, which when I was already on 29% health wasn’t helpful. The ever respawning bats were also annoying, took me a while to realise they don’t count as kills. The infernal fireplace holding the red skull key was a nice touch. The fact that this map actually has fuel is good too.


From reading the other responses it looks like some players didn’t enjoy the ammo starvation for pistol starters. While as a continuous player I didn’t have that problem, I can totally see how it would be an issue. I’ve been pistol starting Doom Zero for demo purposes and see a similar theme on a couple of those maps. Honestly it reminds me why I’m by default a continuous player as I don’t enjoy the grind, I like being equipped for my battles.


MAP12 - “Necropolis Under Papa John’s” by RottKing

Now the necronomicon comes in handy, against the boss. Albeit the fact that it saps your health too means it has to be used sparingly. Health-sapping sectors are everywhere here, both poison and flesh, meaning along with the fact that a lot of the enemies were medium to heavy-tier, a lot of saving and loading was going on, and my health was pretty low throughout. One of the hounds is placed too close to the wall, meaning it can attack you before you press the switch that releases it. The SR40 required to get to the RK door was a bit of a stretch. The battles were okay but nothing too memorable. The MIDI was very repetitive, it was probably that which contributed to me just wanting the map to end by the closing stages.

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MAP08: The Rats in the Well

99% kills, 5/6 secrets


Now this is more like it! This is a really well-constructed level, that does a good job feeling like a realistic place with the way it interconnects, and works well in the game sense by providing a decent amount of height changes, being able to see other areas and re-using areas without feeling repetitive. There's a surprisingly big upswing in the monster strength here, but there's also plenty of weapons and ammo provided so it doesn't feel at all unfairly difficult or a bit of a grind (well, maybe there's a few too many mummies). There's a couple of new enemies here, another hitscan warlock that is a bit beefier and damaging than it's shadowy cousin, and some extra-large arachnorbs (which still feel very thematically out of place to me, but I do like their use here in the final fight). My only real complaint is more about the texture resources rather than the map itself, everything here is very tasteful but it's all a rather dull two colors (grey and brown), heck, I didn't even realize the brown-ish water was liquid until I really stopped and saw it moving. I like the Blood theme but I can't help wonder how things would look with some snazzier colors (though of course there's not much you can necessarily do with a tomb). Really good map, definitely my favorite so far.


(Missed the necronomicon apparently, hopefully I'll get a chance to play with it later)


MAP09: Baron Loqui’s Summer Resort

100% kills, no map secrets


Another map using silent teleports as a gimmick, though this one is certainly more subtle (even confusing) about it. My first inclination was when the red imps suddenly vanished when I ran to grab the SSG, and then I clued in after I went back outside and started finding stuff that was different, like a medpack and skeleton where the green armor had been, or "hey wasn't that key blue before?" Maybe that was intended, but I can't help but feel it would've been more interesting if there was a noticeable difference between the two areas, like having one much more decrepit or even just a change in the sky/lightning. As it stands, the overall combat/layout is kinda weak and uninteresting, so having to do it twice (even with the small size) isn't all that engaging.

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Lot of catching up to do....


Map 08 -- The Rats in the Well - 101% Kills / 100% Secrets

I agree with the general sentiment: this is a very good map, easily the strongest to this point in the WAD, and also the first time where all of the new assets -- the bestiary, the changes to the player's arsenal, etc. -- start to come together into something more focused, against the backdrop of a stylishly-realized setting which reads more as a definite location (albeit a very sordid one) than as a collection of abstract geometries painted in Blood textures. While perhaps skewing slightly too heavily towards mummies (who are MAYhem19's closest equivalent to Barons, after all) in larger fights and towards the back half of the map in general to be 100% butter-smooth, the monster usage as a whole shows a great deal more thought and general panache than what has come prior.


Much of the map is open to the player at the start, and there's a high degree of visibility and sound-propagation between its various major chambers, such that many monsters become active largely independent of which way to happen to travel in at first, leading them both to people the many overlooks and irregular avenues of sight with assorted projectile-throwers, and also to pursue you around in surprisingly dogged ways (particularly the faster skeletons). After the initial stages, flying enemies (particularly the arachnorbs) also begin to feature quite prominently; taken slow and steady, many of these appearances are one-and-done--the map in general tends to reveal its sizable population in very distinct waves/pockets after the initial clear--but with skill and confidence nearly all of the goings-on outside of the finale beyond the red-locked door can be 'blended' or combined to many different degrees, in which case the flyers add an extra dimension of unpredictability, owing to the many additional avenues of travel available to them.


The map is also loaded for bear with ammo and weaponry, and I believe is the first in the set to feature the full arsenal, including the berserk powerup and a Necronomicon hidden right at the start, serving as MAYhem19's BFG equivalent. Like the flamethrower, it's immensely powerful, and operates in a more straightforward manner than the BFG, creating a powerful projectile which seems to carry a small but potent blast radius at the point of impact (it struck me that it works much how many new Doomers or non-Doomers tend to initially believe the classic BFG works), making it very effective against most targets and also easy to use. The cost for this dark power is that every use places a significant drain on the lifeforce of the user, essentially trading the BFG's high-skill movement/positioning aspect for a more concrete kind of risk/reward dynamic which places a premium on judgement more than on agility--it's a fascinating weapon in this regard, and it compliments the earlier armaments nicely, rather than entirely overruling or overshadowing them.


As aforesaid, the ammo supply is generally quite generous, and so all weapons have plenty of chance to shine, and for most of the duration you can use what you like, when and where you like, though enjoying the full suite of options is admiteddly predicated to a degree on some secret-finding (most of which are pretty simple/intuitive, IMO). This plays off nicely against the open and relatively monster-navigable layout; in essence, this is a map which offers an engaging experience for many different playstyles, and can also show different facets on successive playthroughs. I've played it twice so far (trying to rush/blend everything as much as possible on the second run) and was thoroughly entertained both times. The openness/variability necks down after the red door, but the tradeoff is a worthy one: the finale of the level features a multistage descent to the well's nadir, with more and more and ever more fiends clambering out of the depths to ravenously swarm your position, which is both deliciously violent and a rather picturesque nod to events in the Lovecraft story from which the map takes its name. Fine work.


Map 09 -- Baron Loqui's Summer Resort - 100% Kills / No secrets

Impie's second map could perhaps fairly be characterized as a new take on the classic "Wormhole" trope, featuring two parallel dimension iterations (or maybe they're timestream iterations, I dunno!) of a single place which overlap just slightly at the seams. In practical terms, yes, this essentially means that the map is comprised of two nearly identical copies of a single small-ish location (a gloomy little manor), each featuring its own set of monster and item placements. It's not strictly necessary to clear both of them in total in order to reach the exit; in fact, if you know exactly what you're doing, you can skip the great majority of one of the two. But there's the rub -- the whole "knowing exactly what you're doing" deal is not so simple a proposition.


To my mind, the map's greatest success is also something which will probably make it a royal hassle for some players, that being just how effectively it masks its main conceptual conceit. While there is a subtle visual tell which makes it possible to pinpoint the exact location of the switchover point between dimensions, said location is hidden rather effectively in plain sight, partway over the threshold of an upstairs room of no immediately obvious significance to general goings-on, either in combat or exploration terms. If you are the type of player to creep forward very slowly and carefully as a general rule, you might well spot the shift as soon as it happens, but if you're moving more quickly it's actually quite well-disguised. I have to admit that it had me successfully gaslighted for a bit at first, as I kept meeting more monsters coming from earlier parts of the house I thought I'd already cleared, but also couldn't seem to find others I was sure I was hearing rattling around a few rooms over. Sooner or later the spell breaks, of course -- corpses in different locations from where I'd left them, pickups not present in both versions of the house, etc. -- but it's a clever little ruse for the short time it holds up, and I give it full credit for getting me all confused as to which version I'd actually *started* the level in.


Examined more exhaustively, the level is something of a one-trick pony, with serviceable but largely unremarkable room-clearing comprising most of its actual playtime, and no real climax or standout encounter of any kind. The layout(s) has enough sophistication in design that you can get to most of the house's major rooms from more than one entrance, though as a side-effect you can sometimes have the warp-point effect ruined/spoiled by seeing wandering monsters blink in/out of existence before your very eyes, depending on who's alive when you happen to make it up to the bedroom. There are two keys (which share an identical position between the two versions of the house, the main puzzle being that the version you start in is the one which houses the actual exit); the yellow is totally optional, which is a nice idea in theory, though it just unlocks a little room with a couple of bonus powerups, not particularly exciting.


Map 10 -- Stony Brook - 102% Kills / 100% Secrets

Something of a homage to "Donnybrook", map 08 of Icarus: Alien Vanguard, this? If so, it's definitely a homage of the classier sort, making pointed reference to the source map and some of its more memorable ideas without overtly lifting or retreading anything (I think it speaks well in this regard that I didn't put 2 and 2 together as regards the reference until I'd already been in the map for a while).


Set in and around a pair of grey stone courtyards each with a raised dais in the center, "Stony Brook" wrings a lot of content out of a small space through efficient and well-planned use of height changes and geometry that shifts over the course of progression. Initially it's something of a rat-run, as you make your way through walled-in paths on the ground level while under fire from cultists and those cube-sentry contraptions, trying to reattain the high ground. This takes a bit of sweat, as you're slowballing it with pistol and shotgun, though once you reach the end of the run your power escalates rapidly, with the rocket launcher and a good supply of ammo for it forthcoming from then on. Just as well, since so much of the early fighting versus the level's initial occupants being framed as turret (them) vs. turret-target (you) is rather dry if you're simply taking it as it comes.


For me, after this initial exercise, the level went a bit quiet, as I was able to reach both daises but not accomplish much more than that, as both bear key-locked mechanisms; it took me a few bemused laps around the level before I spotted the little micro-platforming route to the lionhead switch on a ledge at the northeast corner of the second courtyard. Progression in general is slightly/deceptively convoluted, and perhaps just a mite puzzling, for such a small level (again, it's broadly reminiscent of Icarus m08 in that sense), but this is not something I'm inclined to begrudge it, for my part. Indeed, after getting over that first little hitch, the tenor of the level's encounters shifts markedly from trench warfare to a gauntlet of surprisingly tricky booby-traps, escalating to a lock-in rumble vs. timed waves of demonic entrants on the first dais and then a level-wide mass ambush upon acquiring the red key. I found this escalation in violence to be both genuinely unexpected and also genuinely exciting, and so left the level with a much more positive overall impression than the initial slow/stingy going seemed to betoken. Mappers: never underestimate the power of pacing!


Bonus points for the ridiculous/fun flamethrower secret, though I only noticed it right at the end, myself.

Edited by Demon of the Well

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Map 13


Here's the MIDI in a nutshell:

Basically, screw this MIDI. Okay?



Visually, by and large a pretty impressive map, strong sense of location, pleasant micro detailing, too. However, there are some problems:



Gigantic HOM:















Gameplay next... Not gonna wax eloquently here. It is "uneventful". Here's the problem with "realistic" places: They don't necessarily lend themselves to varied gameplay, this one in particular certainly doesn't.


Corner-camping is your best friend here, and in fact, that's what you'll be doing for like 90% of the time, since there is not a lot of armour available in the map, while at the same time it is loaded with hitscanners to the point where it's almost surprising if there isn't one around the next corner. This map is a crawl, and unfortunately not a particularly enjoyable one, for me anyway. "Crawling the manor" sounds more like it, since I'm certainly not feeling like I'm "storming" anything.


Since health is always being threatened to some degree by the scanners, or some potential (and slightly cheap) "gotchas" (and no, it's not the 4 chainsawers I'm talking about. It's the grey coil in a grey cubby, or the floating brain behind the barrels that can kamikaze on the player, or the 3 orbs + vampire trap at the flamethrower I'm talking about, all of which are 100% trivialized just by knowing it's there, hence it's cheap), I find myself wondering why there even is a necronomicon available so early here. Also what am I supposed to use it on, except for maybe the map's boss? Nothing else around here seems to warrant its use, but alright, fine, I'll keep the book in my pocket until the end of the map.


Let's talk about the use of midtiers and such here for a moment. There are several midtiers in this map, like vampires, swamp monsters, and mummies. Not a single one is actually threatening. They can all be camped down, circle strafed, or trivialized otherwise. I don't mind that the map is easy if played slow, but I do mind that even the fights against midtiers fail to excite entirely. There is not a single moment where any midtier requires methodical play that isn't "plain" to execute. Even the map's boss is nothing "special", given the ample amount of real estate and cover to work with.



Progression wise it is fine, if one does consider the "venue". Running into a temporary dead-end isn't something I mind all by itself, but much like map 10, my gripe here is that it "eats up" additional time on top of grinding down scanners from a corner, shooting caged skellies from a corner, etc... Also it comes with backtracking in an already slow map.

And this here, I never really understood:





So, the room I'm in on that screenshot can be accessed without needing the yellow key. And the room behind this very door can also be accessed without a yellow key. Why does this door need a yellow key then? What is the point of denying passage here, when I can get to the other side anyway? At least let me pass the door from this side. What's the harm in that?




If the gameplay were as nuanced and fleshed out as the visuals are, this map would be an absolute banger. Unfortunately, this isn't the case.


Also: Has this map ever been tested without free-aim and jumping?

Edited by Nine Inch Heels

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MAP13 - “Storming the Estate” by WhirledTsar


Unfortunately, the midi on this one was so bad I had to play it with no music, which really impacted my enjoyment of what is otherwise a solid, if unremarkable, map. It’s also the most non-linear of the set so far. The usual downside I find with non-linearity is lengthy spells backtracking old ground with no monsters, but this map wasn’t big enough for that to be an issue. The map ends with a big vampire boss, that has loads of health but is pretty easy to dodge, so in the absence of other monsters (save a couple of plasma brains) it wasn’t really a challenge to beat.

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Map 13

It seems you can "fix" the midi by switching to OPL. A welcome change of pace after the last few maps ground my face in, but there are some unfortunate oversights. In addition to the stuff NIH posted, there's also this if you're playing in software mode:




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Map 13 


This map is has a very unconventional feel to it, both in the way the layout is designed and various 'mechanisms' that control the action. I found most of that appealing... except one of the more YMMV elements, which is how the interconnectivity is implemented. At times it produces neat wrinkles in progression (the cluster of progression tendrils around the RK are great). At times it is superfluous, and has you sometimes going down a path that doesn't amount to much, only to have to run back around where you originally were.

This reads like a very classic map. You are never accosted by too much in one space, and there aren't many true set pieces. Instead, a combination of weak roaming hitscanners, skirmishes, of encampments of monsters, or spot traps, of support turrets, couple with controlled supplies (namely health), drives the action. At the end you even face the Heresiarch, a mostly unaccompanied boss, in a huge open space. It is banking on unfamiliarity/novelty and perhaps those occasional blue orbs to create most of the danger.


Also, this is among the first maps to make the blue orbs really fit in, and it's no surprise how it accomplishes this: the spaces you encounter those are decidedly more techy (by the standards of the asset pack), generally metallic and silver. 


Aesthetically this map is nice, I'll add, although more attention to lighting could make it really good. Worth comparing to maps 08 and 10-12.  


One last note that midi is... something. 


- I encountered a few errors involving zero-tagged shootswitch-lifts in that upstairs area with the plasma turret, BA secret, etc. Looks like 'tested in ZDoom' :P. 0-tagged Wx/Sx/Gx actions don't work right in the minimum target port; here every single 0-tag sector in the map becomes a lift all at once, which is clearly borked. I'd recommend combing through for any similar errors and assigning tags to linedefs and sectors.  


- There is a ghost in the main yard that is easy to wake up unwittingly. And it becomes really annoying, especially if you don't know what is damaging you. Possibly not gonna happen to everyone, but it's worth making it immune to accidental release by triggering it via a close-up tripwire or secreting it in a corner that isn't visible if you simply run past that area.  


- The secret shellbox-or-bulletbox contraption is use-once, which I don't think adds much but 'quirk value' over making it a straightforward repeatable action, and is potentially annoying. 

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3 hours ago, rdwpa said:

Map 13 



Thank you for the review / criticisms. What does "YMMV" mean? I did test it in prboom, but maybe in the wrong compatibility, ill look into the lift issue. The secret is intentionally once-only, I just thought that would be funny. The MIDI is from Witchaven, also because I thought it was funny.

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