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The DWMiniwad Club plays: Remnant, Mercury Rain, Breach, Ray Mohawk's Manic Monday, Grime, and ...takes breath... Return to Daro

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Hallo,

yes of course, good selection. I tried a few rounds in remnant on UV but didn't made it that far. I am stuck at about 20% of the map. @Nine Inch Heels: But what means "RJ" in this case?

MfG

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Posted (edited)

@KickAss Rocket Jump(ing), it's a sub-genre inside "Doom Platforming" in which you exercise the mechanism of rocket-boosting yourself sideways in vanilla or high like Jessie, James and Meowth in ZDoom-based source ports, though not as dramatic.

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1 hour ago, galileo31dos01 said:

high like Jessie, James and Meowth in ZDoom-based source ports, though not as dramatic.

I don't know how dramatic the scene is that you are referring to, but I'd say traversing like 5000 map units with a single large jump, or gaining +20,000 map units in height in some cases is actually pretty dramatic for "Doomensions™". ;-)

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Rocket jumping, found this on another board. Tried another few rounds and made it up to the arch-ville in remnant.GZDooM, UV, Pistol start

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7 hours ago, Nine Inch Heels said:

I don't know how dramatic the scene is that you are referring to, but I'd say traversing like 5000 map units with a single large jump, or gaining +20,000 map units in height in some cases is actually pretty dramatic for "Doomensions™". ;-)

 

Sure, but do you say "I'M BLASTING OFF AGAIN!" everytime you reach that high? ;)

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Posted (edited)

Guess I'll have the honour to start! Remnant immediately caught my attention back when it first appeared here on Doomworld, with a clean thread and some inviting screenshots so I added it to my "Doom stuff I want to play at some point" file, however I never got back to it. Well, now's the time!

 

Remnant

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HNTR-PS, no saves, 100% everything

 

Hot start, but since we have two switch shooters instead of one the enemies die quickly enough. After this initial fight I checked the automap and was greeted with a monster count near 800, this will be interesting. Moving forwards we find ourselves in a weird "void" zone, reminding me a bit of MAP25 of Alien Vendetta. Back inside the level a huge circular room appears in front of us, with hitscanners shooting at us from every angle.

 

The next area has conveniently placed barrels to create a ludicrous amount of gibs, you can also collect a rocket launcher which you'll get to use a lot. From the ruins you can go outside and it can be a bit overwhelming at first, but fortunately progress is done mostly in a linear fashion and every area has a distinct look, so it's hard to get lost. Soon we arrive at a small room containing a berserk and it's obvious that grabbing this item will trigger a trap, the invulnerability was a godsend since at this point I was out of armor.

 

I actually recorded my only death after this, since I thought it'd be a good idea to go to the next section with 35% health. The following attempt I made sure to be a bit more careful and backtracked to refill my health and armor. Afterwards there's an arena fight that rewards you with a megasphere and a plasma gun, both will be useful for the large monster wave that follows. The "hub" area is unlocked a bit later, from there you can go for the red and blue keys.

 

The path to the red key is easier since there's only a few traps that are easily dealt with, especially if you found the secret BFG9000 (which makes most of the level trivial and is unlocked following a sidequest for four purple "sigils", cleverly hidden in the map). The blue key requires activating four blue "sigils", each one triggers enemies to spawn so be careful. After collecting both keys you can access a maze area that I didn't really like, felt a bit like filler.

 

Don't fret though as afterwards we'll face a Cyberdemon, well concealed behind trees. At this point I was interrupted by my phone ringing and paused the game, still unaware of the Cyberdemon's presence. As I returned to the computer I looked at the screen and spotted a rocket coming at me, so thanks phone :P. I proceeded to two shot the sneaky boss and triggered the next area, where the strategy is to circle strafe and spam the BFG.

 

The two cardinals (a new enemy, basically a flying Cyberdemon that fires a quick volley of four rockets) that appear can be threatening, but it's surprisingly easy to get them to infight and then you can just finish off the other. I appreciate that it's possible to backtrack before facing the Master, which I did to grab a supercharge and a megaarmor that I left behind. After crossing an invisible bridge we get to the Master's hideout.

 

Its attack pattern is menacing, but if you have the presence of mind to notice two switches on the sides it makes the battle extremely easy, since they raise pillars behind which you can take cover. There were three enemies that failed to spawn in for some reason. All in all, an extremely well crafted level and very good looking. Secrets were fairly easy to find and I really enjoyed the purple sigil sidequest, even if the reward was a bit overpowered, at least for HNTR. The maze area and the sections that follow it disappointed me a bit, but it's still a remarkable first effort by Aurelius, looking forward to see what he comes up with next!

Edited by Andromeda

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Urgh I think I might have to abandon my attempt of playing Remnant unfortunately, I just have too much performance issues, regardless of if I use GZDoom (hardware renderer) or prBoom+. Which is a shame as I was looking forward to playing it.

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5 minutes ago, Horus said:

Urgh I think I might have to abandon my attempt of playing Remnant unfortunately, I just have too much performance issues, regardless of if I use GZDoom (hardware renderer) or prBoom+. Which is a shame as I was looking forward to playing it.

Have you tried GLBoom+? That's what I used and apart from a bit of lag on some more demanding areas it ran fine on my toaster PC :P

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15 minutes ago, Andromeda said:

Have you tried GLBoom+? That's what I used and apart from a bit of lag on some more demanding areas it ran fine on my toaster PC :P

 

GLBoom+ doesn't even load properly on my laptop, it is incredibly slow to startup and takes like half a minute just to change a menu option. prBoom+, on the other hand, runs smoothly on startup and in most levels...

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Remnant

 

- On replay, I found HMP clearly better than UV. It feels more refined, dropping the hitscan abundance in every fight by a lot, while being 90% as intense in the horde-based encounters. If you normally only play things once, then I guess UV is fine, but I played this a couple of times for other reasons first, and then for this club, so that pushed me to prefer HMP by a healthy margin. I think a lot of people might prefer HMP for their playthrough anyway; the first room could be a litmus test. All of this is not really a knock against it, because HMP is clearly developed as much as UV is. But yeah, I'm just feeling somewhat 'guilty' now :P. Because with hindsight, I should have mentioned this in its top-10 write-up already. I'll push for a sentence or two informing the HMP/UV choice to be edited in -- not just for newer or more irregular Doom players, but also for those who want a less energy-intensive outing.

 

- The mix of good visuals, good map design, good concept stuff, and good technical wizardry is where Remnant excels. There are a lot of things like the secret-BFG sidequest, the four sigils, the beautiful way the lake early on rises into layers of land, not to mention cl2 voodoo doll stuff (which is imo not that important but still neat), etc. The layout is very cool. It's massive and endless and interconnected, feeling like an entire world -- all those megamap tropes -- but it somehow also feels compact and very intuitive. That sort of dual philosophy is reflected in the fact that it's a huge map, yet it's 'just' a two-key map. You always feel like you're accomplishing something, too; it's not like you need keys for that. In this case, there are some climactic fights, a notch in spectacle and intensity above everything around it, spread out in the early stretches before you get the keys. Combine the rest of the clever secrets, all the optional nooks, and it might be the strongest map of 2019 at that group of things (including all maps from sets, too) -- or if not #1, then pretty close. 

 

- Visually, the outdoor areas are the best here imo. The building architecture shines when you're out there too. If I were to be really nitpicky (honestly I'd find a bunch of stuff to nitpick in basically every high-profile release last year -- even Lost Civilization, which was my absolute favorite thing :P), I'll point out that indoor areas aren't always as perfect with texture transitions and seam borders as some of the best stuff with similar design principles (Xaser's higher-detail stuff, BTSX e2, Eviternity, etc.), and that indoor composition is sometimes garish. The outdoor areas felt basically beyond reproach though. 

 

- For a broad approach to playing, I'd say mix it up: take it cautiously and clear out hitscanners where you can (especially on UV); but then also play aggressively and combine hordes where you can. A notable example: after you return from the plasma rifle void zone, you can beeline for the cyber fight and then come back later and clean up the groups outside, now bunched-up, way more efficiently. If you aren't going to replay the map, that doesn't matter, but since I did some times, it does for me. In the mazy circuit leading to the two cybs, I basically just kill the bare minimum while rushing to the two-cyb enclosure, because it all gets swept up in the big BFG fight later. The fact that these are all possible (and well, clearly intended) makes up for a lot of UV's hitscan oppression, even though it does require work to figure out when it's correct and when it's bad. 

 

- Imo, the last big area is certainly exciting but I've come to feel it'd probably be best off with a megasphere on both HMP and UV. It would not make it any less scary with those cardinals flying around, but would minimize the danger of being flukily one-shotted by those dudes. I don't think I've had that happen to me but I'll just use the logic, "I've played basically every Ribbiks map and he'd put a mega in an area like this." It's more of an anti-nonsense cushion than a survival necessity.  

Edited by rdwpa

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5 hours ago, Horus said:

GLBoom+ doesn't even load properly on my laptop, it is incredibly slow to startup and takes like half a minute just to change a menu option. prBoom+, on the other hand, runs smoothly on startup and in most levels...

 

Are you using 2.5.1.4 or 2.5.1.5? If the former, you could be having trouble with the older SDL, so try upgrading (and if your mouse sensitivity was n in 2.5.1.4, make it 2n in 2.5.1.5). If not, I'm not sure what the problem would be. 

 

 

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16 hours ago, rdwpa said:

 

Are you using 2.5.1.4 or 2.5.1.5? If the former, you could be having trouble with the older SDL, so try upgrading (and if your mouse sensitivity was n in 2.5.1.4, make it 2n in 2.5.1.5). If not, I'm not sure what the problem would be. 

 

 

 

Yep it's exactly that, thanks!

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Remnant

 

So yes, glBoom+ 2.5.1.5 worked, so thanks for the help Andromeda and rdwpa! I must have played the opening few sequences like five times lol. I played this one on UV, and died quite a lot, particularly as the map went on. 

 

The map starts off quite modest, sure it introduces you to the texture set, but the opening room is not that elaborate and nor are the enemies in it. And then slowly, bit by bit, things ramp up. And overall, this map is very impressive on the visual front, first really kicking into gear where you enter the large circular area with all the silver baron statues around its centre, and then in its outdoors, using a lot of height variation and decoration. This map is ultra-detailed, and loading it up on UDB it's not hard to see where the performance issues came in on other source ports, this map is drowning in linedefs! All this detail would probably take me 10 years to make lol

 

And once you reach the outdoors the combat does start to pick up, which in general throughout most of this map can be described as a bunch of medium-sized teleport traps, forcing quick thinking and agility from the player. Ammo is generally well rationed, with shells and chaingun ammo generally plentiful but rockets and plasma harder to come by, forcing the player to think carefully as to when to use them. Sometimes, too hard to come by, there were a couple of arch vile battles that were really difficult, with hitscanners forming a neverending shield against the arch vile. Camping, as I found out a few times, was generally punished.

 

Progression was mostly intuitive, a couple of times I got briefly stuck but then I'm not always the most observant of players. Certainly the 'find the four sigils' message was pretty useful. As far as secrets go I found 50% of them, which I'm happy with. Some of the secrets I found resulted in a fair bit of backtracking, which sort of dissuaded me from trying too hard on that front.

 

I did like how the map unfolded towards its finale. Once you have the two keys, you enter this large circular space that sort of gradually opens up bit by bit as the player progresses, with a bunch of challenging battles along the way until you reach the centre. The dual cyber battle was really tough, but well done I think, it can't be cheesed at all and you have to be very careful using plasma on the cybers.

 

Only then did the map proceed to what I would call 'slaughter', giving the player the BFG (I think one of the map's strengths is that it waits until the end to do this) and all-out carnage proceeds. I have to say this is probably my least favourite part of the map, it just felt like 'hold down shoot on the BFG' whilst circlestrafing round the outer perimeter. 

 

It doesn't end there though, with a much smaller battle against the final boss. Except really the boss itself is not a threat, far more of a threat is the enemies that spawn in the central circle and on the two side platforms. One could say an anticlimax, but then on the other hand, I'm not a huge fan of overpowered overly agile boss monsters, so this satisfies me.

 

Overall, even if I have some minor gripes, I have say this map is a heck of an effort, thoroughly enjoyable, and undoubtedly worthy of its Cacoward

 

Demo attached if anyone gets really bored :P

0remnant.zip

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I'm not going to bring a review on Remnant because I haven't finished it and I'm a bit lazy about playing big maps no matter how good they are. I had played a part of the map several months ago and it was impressive visually and technically. If this map was in Eviternity, it would probably be one of the best .

 

On the other hand, my only reproach on this map is probably the exterior decorations a little too messy for my taste. My PC is a little slow, I had slowdowns.

 

I have a question for @Aurelius: When did you start mapping?

 

Although you are a newcomer to the Doom community, I have the impression that you are a mapping expert. At least, I've seen screenshots of your map in collaboration with the Mapwhich project and I have to say that I haven't seen anything as impressive. 19,000 sectors lol.

 

I have a strong doubt that you started mapping in 2019, if that's the case I say bravo.

 

Edited by Roofi

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Excellent reviews everyone, and extra thanks for @rdwpa for having Remnant as part of the DWMiniwad Club!

 

I really appreciate hearing thoughts on the map, what I got right and what things I might improve on in the future. I'm certainly hoping my upcoming stuff will be as entertaining. 

 

@Roofi My first Doom maps were made in the early/mid 2000s as a teenager, though it's hard to say exactly when. I did make a map or two for my friends to test in high school, but they were very IWAD-like and nothing significantly memorable. I had done Wolf3D, Duke3D and AVP2 mapping to some degree before that, and had made a GameMaker game with a friend back in elementary school (wish I still had it, it was surprisingly fun top down puzzle game, considering how old we were). I started doing some Quake mapping in 2014, but ultimately only made one level. I've always been fascinated by level design, but never did more than said individual levels, with many years in between when I didn't even touch an editor.

 

For the most part, I did start mapping in 2019. In fact, it was the PC Gamer article about Eviternity that made me go "oh, that looks interesting" and decide to fire up Doom again after many years. I played it maybe halfway through, and was like "wow, this is really cool", and felt a sudden urge to try some Doom mapping. I also wound up finding OTEX 0.9, so I started playing around with it. I made some maps, nothing finished (I shared some pictures of these on DW), while struggling with creative blocks and lack of ideas. I finally did publish a small UDMF map on DW in the summer of 2019, but it was mostly ignored. In fact, due to the lack of feedback I almost decided that maybe mapping just isn't for me, but then JohnSuitepee played it on stream, gave some good pointers and said he liked it. I think without his playthrough and comments I might not have continued. Then came Hurt, another huge inspiration, and kinda pushed me to try doing something majestic myself.

Truth be told, the only custom wads I had (partly) played before releasing Remnant were Eviternity, Avactor, Valiant, DotB, Hurt and Maskim Xul. I had very litttle experience with Doom wads beyond those (minus some individual wads I had played in early 2000s that I can't remember), so I was mainly making stuff up as I went along and spent a long time reading through DW threads about vanilla specific tricks. Deep into development, I started to get anxious whether people would even like it, and at some point just wanted to get it finished and see what happens. Needless to say, the reception Remnant got was beyond my wildest dreams.

 

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4 hours ago, Aurelius said:

I finally did publish a small UDMF map on DW in the summer of 2019

 

Link? Kinda curious

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Here's the link:


The description really shows how out of the scene I was, but I suppose that's normal for newcomers.

 

Anyway, don't wanna derail this thread any further since there's a lot of interesting maps coming up! 

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Mercury Rain

 

So the text file describes this map as 'short and slightly puzzle-oriented'

 

As you start the map, pitch black covers the screen until it clears away leaving the level itself, revealing a skull & slime-infested area juxtaposed with tech base-ish buildings. The only real challenging part of this map is the very start when you are faced with a revenant right away. Once you kill it, the rest of the map is a breeze, with the only other challenge coming from a few inconveniently-placed revenants combined with not so much chaingun ammo. 

 

Otherwise, the map is a standard key hunt, the twist being the switch for each key removes forcefields of that colour. The puzzle element most likely comes from the hint in the text file 'Try killing all the skull growths, and hitting all the switches'. Well I killed all the skull growths, and it unlocked a hidden area full of strangely-shaped trees, a weird robot and a megasphere. Not convinced I found all the switches, as I left the level missing a secret (the other three secrets I got were two soulspheres and a rocket launcher).

 

Overall, I can't say this map was for me. If you like exploration, this map is probably for you. For me, I prefer more combat challenge.

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Breach

 

On the face of it your standard nukage-based techbase, but with a twist – every so often, you teleport across the void to the dark recesses of hell, and sometimes, hellish features penetrate the actual techbase itself. No actual combat takes place here, but it acts as more of a mood-enhancer to preview what you’re about to face.

 

A map high on the secret count at 10, and like Remnant I found half of them. The ones I found weren’t particularly hard to find, but I guess the others evaded me…

Difficulty wise this is harder than Mercury Rain, but still pretty easy, especially with the secrets. I did die a couple of times down to my own carelessness (mainly after hitting save, funny that).

 

The map length depends a lot on the player, an aggressive non-completionist can probably complete this map rather quickly, on the other hand, a more reserved completionist can spend quite a long time on this map. I guess I was somewhere in between.

 

Overall, I thought it was okay.

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Played Mercury rain by Jimmy last night, a really fun map, pretty "back to basics" style with that touch of modernity typical of the author from his early works like Jenesis. The layout is pretty interconnected by the various section (that can be reached deactivating all the forcefields, thing that can be done by switching a key locked switch) and the new things are pretty cool, like the exploding poison trees (?) and some other new decorations, mostly taken from Skulltag and Realm667. It's a pretty good map!

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Posted (edited)

All I know about this level is that it won a Cacoward, I don't really remember the details from that writeup that I read so let's jump right in!

 

Breach

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HNTR-PS, no saves, 100% everything

 

From the time it took to load this level, I can tell it'll be extremely detailed. I was right, lots of intricate detail but done in a manner so that it never gets in the way of the player, which I like. There are some neat touches that show the corrupted side of the techbase, like the fireblu silo and the flesh bridge on the way to the blue key. Excellent work on the shadows and the lightning as well! The progression is fairly non linear though restricted to about two paths at a time, which helps in keeping the player from being overwhelmed and allows for a more attentive look at the surroundings, essential to find the secrets since most of them are quite subtle.

 

Each time you approach an important section you're teleported to a "void" area, a cool way to change things up a bit. You can just skip the monsters found in these subsections since they'll teleport into the playable area anyway, but it's worth to have a look around and appreciate how simple they look in contrast. I especially like the telefrag sequence en route to the blue key, similar to Memento Mori II MAP18 but in a more stylish fashion, having you teleport into cages containing monsters and finally delivering you at the next section after telefragging a baron of hell. 

 

In terms of combat it's fairly light throughout, with the most threatening encounter being shortly after the yellow door as all the doors bust open - there's a decent amount of space to manoeuvre but the area fills rather quickly with monsters. Other than that, there's a few traps but nothing really challenging. It's clearly a more exploration centric level, which allowed me to play at a reckless pace and still managing to arrive at the exit with full health and half of the first megaarmor. A solid effort, I enjoyed it a lot!

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Mercury Rain

 

- Mercury Rain, at its core, felt to me like a meat-and-potatoes limit-removing or Boom map. Its Z features decorate and flesh out the experience rather than truly defining it. I think that is a perfectly fine way to do it, too. 

 

- The custom content comes in a few flavors. Some are decorative and world-building, like the weather system and all the thing props. (These are great, lol.) Some serve conveyance, like the texture announcements that pop up at critical junctures -- enough to make them all fit (if you just had *one* text comment, it might seem weird) but not so many they feel annoying or superfluous. Some also lightly affect the gameplay, like those explosive poison-cloud skulls. Jimmy shows good taste here, which is the important part. All of this stuff meshes with the identity of the map, so nothing felt shoehorned-in to me.

 

- Gameplay is mostly decent, I think. Outside of a chaotic start with a lot of lost souls and hitscanners approaching the spawn from various angles, it's a pretty chill map as long as you're patient about dealing with hitscanner snipers. Overall it's very accessible, but there is room for a "higher gear" too, even if that is as conceptually straightforward as rarely missing shots (a lot of monster placements are very conducive to 'aim' testing) and avoiding taking much damage. Progression is mentally engaging without being obscure: goals are established, in the form of barriers you can't pass, or areas you can see but can't immediately get to, or keys held up in the air, and then you scout for ways to complete the circuit. That is not special to this map of course, but it's a thing it does well. 

 

- If I was disappointed by anything, it's the last real setpiece. With your well-stocked plasma rifle and a lot of space to roam on the bridges, those eight cacos are basically nothing. I also was left wanting to explore the mechanic of the poison-cloud skulls more; there's really only one part of the map that you should bother weaponizing those against monsters. The effect is pretty cool. 

Edited by rdwpa

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When the time comes for Ray Mohawk, does the 'one level per day' guidance apply here as well? Or can we post about all levels at once if we want to?

 

EDIT: Never mind, I see that's answered in the opening post

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Breach

 

- Great map. The core of this map is a "just" a well detailed abstract techbase, and I think the visual design is pretty enough that if it were nothing else but an abstract techbase, it'd still be a masterpiece. But expanding on that core are a host of small narrative inserts. Those are worth a lot. It's not entirely clear what the interludes into void *are*, for example, but whatever interpretation you apply means something. You can look around the wreckage in the first outdoor area and wonder what exactly happened there. Sometimes the story is a change of scenery: from cleaner (although mangled) techbases earlier to a grimier look, featuring brick and metal, in the middle stretch. 

 

- The combat is definitely 'decent' for what it is. If this map were significantly longer, I'd probably start to complain about the lack of anything truly stellar. But I thought most was at least okay, even as if was awkward/static at times. Plus there's good stuff: There are some genuinely surprising traps (a couple early use a certain mapping trick where tripwires are 'inert' at first, and then spring traps when crossed later). The fighting is varied: fights regularly emphasize a species of monster not seen in most other fights, and there is good reason to use every weapon you get. A handful of fights are tactically interesting if you want to do them 'efficiently', like the exit fight. 

 

- During this playthrough, I took a screenshot every time I thought, 'Wow this looks cool.' Album here. Yeah, I ended up taking quite a few of that very last outdoor techy area, which might be my favorite spot in the map. The void areas here are neat not because of the void itself, but because of how the void is used for other effects. Thinking about it, they pack a real punch that way: the void is home to a lot of narrative events; they are a frame for Viggles to play around with a contrasting theme; they are also home to cool visual effects, like faux-3D (an 'all-black' texture is one of the few custom assets included). 

 

- If you play the map, you'll find a lot of spots where stock assets are used in unusual ways to represent something they are not. That's commonly referred to as texture Frankensteining. I think you see it with stock textures (or variants thereof) more than true custom textures for two main reasons: a) a desire for novelty (custom assets often do that themselves); b) we've all seen the stock assets enough that we can recognize highly unfamiliar representations of them, so the 'point' is not going to be lost upon the player.   

Edited by rdwpa

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Time for Ray Mohawk's Manic Monday! Another wad that captured my attention but haven't got around to playing it yet, so let's start.

 

MAP01: House by the Bay (Ray Mohawk's Manic Monday!)

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, HNTR-PS, no saves, 100% everything

 

First off, I like the new graphics seen so far, they manage to retain the vanilla feel but turn it into something a lot different. I especially love the imp redesign, it's ready to spend the day sunbathing at the beach (not that it needs to) :). The bottles of wine (?) serve as the health/armor bonuses and it's obvious which one they replace, which is a small but important detail. The level takes place in a bay with a few buildings and you have to visit them all to be able to exit.

 

The sunny weather invites the player to take a look at the beach and chill, but it's ill advised to do so as the place is littered with hitscanners and imps. After getting out of your house look slightly to your right to spot steps leading to a chaingun, a very useful weapon given the abundant supply of bullets that will help you clear out the outer area. Now you can collect the yellow key in peace and make your way towards the yellow door, behind which lie a lot of spectres that can give you some trouble.

 

The building accessed by the blue key introduces the heavy weapon dudes, but from here on out it's a stroll to the exit. The last roadblock is the red key room, but you can easily dispose of the mass of enemies inside by shooting at them through the windows. The exit room makes use of deaf enemies, so rush for the switch or be careful and check the corners before proceeding. Secrets were quite easy to find, the hardest one would be the berserk but the demo shows its location. A damn fine level, obviously not as detailed as Remnant or Breach were but it's very enjoyable, with a casual beach aesthetic and neat touches like the posters (Frank Zappa obviously makes an appearance :P) inside the buildings.

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I already shared my opinions on Ray, instead I wanted to talk about Doomkids' disappointment with the fact that, even though he has been involved in mapping and the community, he hasn't improved as much as other members. Maybe it was just venting but if you're serious about it I would recommend this video by Jake Parker.

The TL;DW is the difference between the 10 000 hour and 10 000 minute rule. With the 10 000 hour rule all you need to do is to mess around with the editor and in 20 years you'll become a master at it. The 10 000 minute rule spares a quarter of your life but forces you to learn all the micro skills of your craft; using a magician as an example, he doesn't do any real magic, he does 10 different things at once to create the illusion, and in your case you need to learn all the intricacies of the editor, the concepts of game design, etc.

The results with both of these rules get inconsistent when it comes to artistic endeavors, what with personal preferences and tastes and all that, but it will definitely help in some ways.

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Ray Mohawk's Manic Monday 
 

01

 

The intro map is a compact one that introduces us to the set's attitude right away. It's not taking itself too seriously: in that little starting home, there are posters of Jimi Hendrix and Franz Zappa, cute furniture prop things, and a lot of liquor. Outside, all the imps are wearing luau costumes. Enemy marines are wearing sunglasses. Party music plays over it all. 

On the gameplay front, both of your starter weapons are buffed a lot; the melee weapon is a knife that attacks at a very rapid rate compared to the stock fist, and the pistol is the alpha rifle, which is powerful enough that I didn't mind overlooking the chaingun until halfway through. 

 

All of the above makes a good impression, but the core structural parts of this map, like the buildings, felt pretty bland. Even while keeping the detail level similar, more variety in shape (here, structures are largely square), contrast in materials (mostly a lot of brown, with some marble), their arrangement in the environment, or anything like that, could have added a lot to the presentation. The impression of the design is very 'empty boxes with the cool custom stuff in it'. 

 

02

 

If there's any weapon that is getting a lot of love so far, it's definitely the chaingun, which I was pretty sure was slightly buffed for a couple of minutes. This one is again pretty brief and compact. The monster count is a shade over 100, but you mow everything down so quickly even that is misleading. In the opening map, there was a building where you could jump out of a window after grabbing a key. I thought of that after noticing that a couple important junctures of progression involve dramatic leaps of some sort. 

Visuals again can be improved while remaining well within vanilla limits. For example, messing around with the contour heights of the outdoor rockfaces, and giving the sparser indoor areas some sort of concept identity -- or anything like that. 

 

03

 

- Again lots and lots of imps and zombies. This set has definitely been fond of them. It hasn't grown repetitive for me yet (mixing it up with the occasional mid-tier has definitely helped, in addition to a few souls and pinkies, the B-side low-tiers so far). The maps have also been tiny too. But we'll see if that continues. 

 

- There are parts of this map that feel like a large-scale KDITD

 

- Core visuals are still on the plain side, but I found them more interesting here than in the two previous ones by virtue of everything having interesting shapes. The main outdoor yard is a great example.

 

- The layout is pretty cool here. In-baked redundancy is common -- two ways to get from A to B. Near the blue key door, there is a flight of stairs to a window that offers nothing but a view for observing what is outside down below (potential sniping is pretty limited). Kind of simple but really cool. 

 

- The way the early chaingun secret overlooks a yard you visit later is cool too. I didn't stick around to kill too much (because I'd want something to do when I actually get over there) but it's always interesting when the occasional secret gives you something more than just a reward. 

 

So overall this is my favorite map in the set so far. You're mostly fighting groups of monsters placed into their spots in a way that might seem crude -- but sometimes gameplay design is centered less in overt 'roles' for the individual monsters and more in flow and the player's movement and emergent gameplay that can arise. Like, a neat moment late before the exit: some revvies are in that outdoor yard and I don't have much cover, so to juke their projectiles I use the fodder scattered around. That isn't the sort of thing you can script and get everyone to do, but have enough possibilities like that and some things will work really well in some fights for some people. As a map, it's not really that much different than 01 and 02 but it does enough better to feel fully realized. The sound replacements are starting to remind me of '90s sets like Squadron.

 

04

 

Ouch, I found this a messy experience from pistol start. (Can't vouch for continuous play. It's probably a lot smoother there.) Good improvements would be: 

 

- It's a cliche, but fewer doors and hallways, so you aren't camping hitscanners for much of the action. (There are a lot of 'windows' but those feel functionally like doorways you never cross, in how combat plays out around them. That is especially true when it's a really good idea to kill hitscanners behind them.)

 

- A lot less strict health. (Heh, fine @Fonze, sometimes I complain about this too. :P) In this map I was really pushed to camp and doorpeek, especially early before the freebie soulsphere.

 

- A change-up from the set's hitscan-centric placements early on in the map would have worked too, since those accentuate the negatives of this map's layout. Those two pillars in the start area and the perimeter behind the railings feel like a prime opportunity to mix it up with projectiles and maybe a PE at some point. To the map's credit, you do get to fight archies around there. 

 

- This is more of a 'maybe this would help' thing, but the chainsaw might be best off with a buff. When you consider how strong the knife is, the stock chainsaw is hardly even worth picking up, except for maybe the cacodemons. 

 

05 

 

Okay, back to a map more at the quality level of 03. This one has a flowy layout where you criss-cross over the huge central room a handful of times, once for each key. Every major area you'll go is hinted at in advance, sometimes well in advance of you even understanding how it's possible to get there (the yellow keycard, for example). You get the first free SSG of the mapset, although with the more powerful early-slot weapons I don't think I missed its absence yet. 

 

The set's more challenging battles in the main open space are staged really well for the set's aims. We know, yeah, you can use revvies and PEs and archies and chaingunners as threats in huge spaces if you don't want to do full-on macro slaughter, but it's also important to not just slap them in crudely. All of those fights have lots of tactical wrinkles here, like the right amount of chaingunners and just enough cover so you can get momentum and gun them down quickly without being overwhelmed. The vile fight is designed to let you roam around nearby areas for cover and safety, and is about finding good moments to pop out and kill the vile when other monsters aren't meat-shielding for it. 

 

06

 

This is a pretty straightforward map in a lot of ways, and until you hit the RK door it could realistically be one of the downbeat maps like 02 or 04. My main takeaway, though, was that the berserked knife is *amazing*. The knife has its melee attacks not just sped-up but also clustered around the same tic, so one 'stab' does a lot of damage. I ended up knifing a baron down in two hits, which was spectacular. There are quite a few monsters in this map you can kill with the knife, but a lot where that either is impossible (due to turretting) or a horrible idea -- Doomguy is still very fragile against gangs of hitscanners. So the map doesn't really play out as a Tyson gimmick map. The dynamic was 'yeah I have to chaingun most of these or something, but every time I have an isolated mid-tier I'm going to stab it.' You have to work for maximal amusement, which I personally have no complaints about.

 

Later on, past the RK door, the set gets into its first lengthy change-up from the fodder-heavy combat that has dominated to this point. And to answer a previous question, I didn't get too tired of that mode. One because the maps were brief (from pistol start, my exit times summed to around 40 minutes), and two, more importantly, I'm guessing that the new early weapons extended the 'novelty window' quite a bit. If I had the stock pistol and fist, I have to imagine it would have gotten old for me a lot sooner.

 

One weird fight: the yellow key room is loaded with an archvile and various hitscanners and those don't pose much of a credible threat. I was bit confused by that one. You just double back and clear them out through the window. 

 

Overall

 

Gameplay, with one glaring exception, was quite well done. Other strong suits that I didn't mention in individual maps: 

 

1) The predominantly hitscanner-heavy groups are offset by very generous resources at times. No-strings-attached blue armors and soulspheres worked really well here.

 

2) The SS Nazi replacement added lots too. It's something between a zombie and sergeant/chaingunner in general threat level. The main benefit seemed to be that sergeants and chaingunners could be used more rarely while maintaining a very credible danger level. 

 

3) In 02/03/05/06, almost no fights felt like unnecessary cruft (and 01 was more 'introduction to the stuff', so that can be forgiven). This is a big part of why I said 'quite well done' instead of just 'decent'. The gameplay design in this set is less about individual encounters in isolation, and more about pace/flow and how it all fits together, so getting everything in a map right (or close to it) counts for a lot.

 

4) SSG/RL/BFG are pretty secondary here, yet I hardly missed them. Design around the 1/2/4 slots (and to some extent the single shotgun and plasma rifle) was very strong. I would not have wanted more SSG/RL, either, because I can boot up plenty of sets that do run 'n' gun with those well already, but in comparison very little that uses the chaingun so well or, say, has a super powerful melee weapon. 

 

Visuals are definitely the weak link even when you consider vanilla limitations and (probably) a goal of a more oldschool aesthetic. Aesthetics do get a boost from the good theme and custom content, but that alone can't carry things. With visuals there are two broad approaches to consider. (Okay, there are more than two, but I'll bring up two, because they are important here and the contrast is relevant :P.) One is a more abstract craft-rooted approach. Like you have an area and it's not really anything in particular, but it has really cool architecture and design. (skillsaw, Ribbiks, tourniquet, etc.) Another is more of a concept-rooted approach, where areas loosely (or even more directly) represent ideas and narratives and quasi-realistic settings. This set never really does the former, but it sometimes (inconsistently) does the latter, like in spurts in map01 and areas like this in map03, and the shift to marble/fire at the very end. And that's usually where the aesthetics in this set are most interesting. So one possible road to improvement is getting maybe a couple notches better at craft but doing more 'representational' stuff. Maps that are both plainly decorated and conceptually abstract aren't necessarily a crime though, especially if, like map02, they are brief, play decently, and have an interesting setting/structure.

Edited by rdwpa

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Ray Mohawk’s Manic Monday

 

MAP01: House by the Bay

 

And now for something completely different, a chillax kind of mapset (not Chillax, lol) that doesn’t take itself seriously. The difficulty settings have been renamed quite amusingly, and I chose the ‘I seek Validation!’ option :P (maybe, after me going on about the difficulty of Mercury Rain and Breach, there's a point to be had here! :P)

 

So you start off in Ray Mohawk’s little house, complete with posters of cultural icons like Zappa (Doomkid’s avatar no less). There’s a door…that doesn’t work, instead a wood panel acts as the real exit. Outside you are in a beachy environment that shows off some of the mapset’s custom monsters and features. I have to say I love the hula imps. It does clash somewhat though, that the chaingunners remain unchanged.

 

The soundtrack is nice and chilled out, but does loop a bit too often for more liking. The map geometry and design itself is pretty basic, in stark contrast to Remnant, but is befitting to the kind of mapset that it is.

 

MAP02: The Bridge

 

This map tones it down a bit to more standard vanilla Doom features, starting in the familiar techbase room. I usually play mapsets continuous but made the spontaneous decision to pistol start this one. I guess I thought if I pistol started Rowdy Rudy II then why not this too.

 

A nice little secret at the start helps on the ammo front, and also gives you a berserk, though I can’t say I used it that much, mainly due to the large amount of hitscanners and barrels.

 

The ending starts to tone things up a bit, featuring the revenant for the first time and a couple of nasty chaingunner spawn traps. The mandatory red key is marked secret, which is kinda odd.

 

MAP03: We Love Pollution

 

Well not anymore we don’t, the world has been cleaner than ever with everyone couped-up indoors.

 

Anyway, in a way this is a mix of the first two levels in that it combines the techbasey parts of level 2 with the beachy parts of level 1 (the water doesn’t look too clean this time round though, don’t fancy bathing in the water with a nukage fall so close by!)

 

Another hitscanner-dominated map, which the non-secret megaarmor at the start kinda trivializes. I might have swapped it for a green armor personally.

 

MAP04: Little Oasis

 

Map name doesn’t lie, this is a small one that is nonetheless definitely the hardest so far. On pistol start, ammo conservation is essential. Furthermore, although technically you can choose between one of two doors to start, in reality starting with the door to the north is essential as you get a chaingun, ammo and megaarmor needed to tackle the baddies to the east.

 

Giving a chainsaw at the start felt like a mis-step to me, mainly because the knife is so much fun to use and just as (if not more) powerful as the chainsaw.

 

MAP05: Big Room Full of Baddies

 

Again, map doesn’t lie! The room is big and full of baddies! It can be hard to find your feet due to lack of availability of a decent weapon plus armor shortfall, but soon enough you get there. Haven’t talked about it much so far but the soundtrack of this wad really is awesome and blends in superbly with the theme and general gameplay. And I still love the custom imps. Does feel a bit weird having that all blended in with an unchanged mancubus and archvile though. This map was enjoyable.

 

MAP06: The Maw of Industry

 

So final map time, and probably the hardest still, but still very much do-able saveless, as long as you hold your nerve in the quad-cyberdemon boss section.

 

I found the opening huge expanse of poison pretty amusing xD

 

The starting secret is pretty handy in expanding your weapon repertoire and the blue armor, which comes in helpful for the archvile YK section later on. Doomkid continues his interesting teleport trap method here, by teleporting enemies away from you as you enter a door, but not right behind you, but in all sorts of places to your side, making the combat more unpredictable, which is nice.

 

The final boss battle is kind of meh, unless you are a two-shot expert (which is probably difficult to do given that the cybers are turreted and the pit is very tricky to get out of if you fall in) you will probably be using a lot of SSG on those cybers. In fact, my very last bit of ammo was the bit that killed the last cyber. Also there were no block lines on the cyber platforms, although maybe that was intentional to make it goofy, who knows.

 

The last section is such a tease. An IoS awaits! Except no! It opens its mouth and you exit the level.

 

Overall

 

A decent mapset that for the most part plays to its strengths: that is simplicity, personality, humor, a chilled-out soundtrack and fun custom monsters. That said, the mapset isn't without its flaws and it does seem under-detailed in places. It’s pretty interesting playing Remnant and this with the club in the same month because they are so different, and this variety in user content is part of what makes Doom so great.

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