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The DWMiniwad Club Plays: [various things]

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What is the DWMiniwad Club? 


It's like the DWMegawad Club, but we'll focus on single maps and smaller mapsets. Where the DWMegawad Club aims to fill most of its days, this club won't, so that you can still maintain an active slate of other Doom obligations.


How will maps be selected? 


I will pick them, drawing almost entirely from a pool of user suggestions. My goal is to maintain at least some diversity in the selections (along vectors like difficulty and art style) -- so I won't simply choose the wads that get the most votes. Please hold your suggestions until the 26th of the month.


How do I participate? 


Play, do write-ups, etc. You can play any or all of the month's offerings. When a set contains multiple maps, you can do a single write-up for the set or one for each map.


What are those dates beside wads? 


To help with organization, the month is staggered: wads are "unlocked" for commenting on a certain day, on which they become available forever in case you're late.


Why aren't the dates spread out evenly over the whole month?


This is to satisfy a balance between keeping discussion tidy while not forcing someone to wait until late in a month if they are only going to play one or two things. If you're playing everything, feel free to stagger out your play more evenly -- you don't have to play a wad on the very day it becomes unlocked. 


What are bonus wads? 


Bonus content might require a lesser-used source port or iwad, involve a niche game mode (such as multiplayer or rocket jumping), or even focus on a gameplay mod rather than maps. It is designated as bonus content to acknowledge that not everyone might want to go to the necessary lengths to play it.


Have you considering renaming this "The extremely unwieldy thread title club"? 





Wad 1 (June 30): Uplink (3 Boom-format maps by Katamori)




Wad 2 (July 4): Woodcraft (1 vanilla map by Roofi) 




Wad 3 (July 6): Crossing Acheron (1 vanilla map by Dr. Sleep)




Wad 4 (July 8): The Eye (1 Boom-format map by Mouldy)




Wad 5 (July 10): Oberon Base (1 vanilla map by Simo Malinen)



Wad 6 (July 12): dead.air (1 GZDoom map by Xaser) 




No bonus stuff this month! 


Previous Threads


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Cool shit indeed, I should try to join in this month. I've been meaning to replay The Eye, especially since the last time I played it my computer could barely keep up at times.

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Some nice, fairly easy maps with a cyberpunk theme, complete with all-blue statusbar. Cyberpunk as an aesthetic in Doom is such a clash of anachronisms; it's a theme very grounded in the 90s, and yet the map doesn't look at all like Doom maps in the 90s did, but it's still Doom so it doesn't look like anything modern either, and the use of MP3 music furthers its distance from "classic" classic Doom.


Anyhow it all works together pretty well. The visuals/aesthetics are the clear highlight of these maps, and they do a good job of getting a retro-future feel across. The open areas in MAP02 and the very end of MAP03 are the highlight, with large techy columns floating in the air. The occasional STARTAN or other stock texture feels out of place in all of this; at some times it seems like it's supposed to be a boundary between the "real world" and cyberspace, but other times it feels like it's... just there? But it doesn't detract too bad.


I've played a Katamori map or two before, but the thing I remember him most for is watching his video playthroughs of Going Down when it was in the DWMegaC, and generally hating the non-stop onslaught of monsters, though I think the pushed through the whole wad regardless. So I wasn't expecting any major gameplay challenges, and indeed there weren't any. But that's fine, combat was interesting enough with a surprise AV now and then, and it's clear that that wasn't the main focus.


Unfortunately the whole thing is soured a bit by the bulk of MAP03. The start is very promising -- nomo exploration and platforming in the dark, and then a Cyberdemon you need to evade -- but once you get into the glowy maze everything just crashes down. It's not just a flat and monotonous looking area, but the glowing gave me a headache, the combat was grindy and trivial (there were like a dozen berserks but I never fell below 100% health), and mazes rarely work in Doom at the best of times. The end section was at least nicer looking, but evading lost souls and PEs until you can exit the map (or just BFGing them all, if you play continuous) is not a very climatic finish.


Apparently these maps were originally supposed to be part of a bigger mapset; the way MAP03 falls flat suggests that it was maybe just finished like that in order to release it.


Anyhow, 2 and a half out of 3 maps were quite enjoyable, so that's pretty good overall.

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+ each map attempts to do something markedly different structurally: m01, small conceptual intro with a 'pick your poison' structure to the content in the big lower area; m02, more of a traditional abstract three-key hunt in the mapset's virtual-reality setting; m03, linear this time, a chain of concepts and concepts and concepts, most being pretty interesting. 


+ an uncommon concept/setting. virtual reality is not entirely unheard of (lupinx-Kassman's second map in CChest4, Valiant's secret map, and Doom 404 by Capellan come to mind immediately) but it's definitely not in the roster of traditional Doom themes. that adds a degree of novelty that makes Uplink more interesting to play. not really a mapset that amazes aesthetically, tiny bit rough in craft in places, but overall it was decent, and the texture combinations and sky choice was pleasing. apparently server data is stored in big collections of UAC crates. 


+ cool MIDIs. map01's is really dancy and catchy; map02 is pleasant and has a techy 'retro Science show' vibe; map03's is great and suits the dark, spooky mood well. 


+ the start of map03 was easily my favorite part of the mapset. the concepts there are pretty clever. just about everything in that half of the map works for me, but my favorites were the monsterless server climbing and the cyber hallway. 


- combat can be grindy. map02 tends to place lots of stuff in front of you that you chew through with the SSG. pinky hordes in map01 and map03 are too big and it seems like they were designed with a bit of naievete -- that technique where you induce a pinky's melee attack and back up slightly keeps them from ever being threatening.


- the entire blue hallway zone is 3x too long to justify itself -- find switch in eyesore maze, reveal block of monsters, repeat several times -- and hurts what would have been a pretty cool finale. 

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