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[IDEA] Gustav Holst "The Planets" Suite level set

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So... I love me a good themed map set, AND I love the work of art that is "The Planets" by Gustav Holst. Would these pieces work well as the background in a Doom map set? Perhaps we can get a little artistic here and attempt to map the mood, texture, and emotion that each movement in the suite has in the form a map.


"The Planets" has been hugely influential on the state of modern movie scores. There is hardly a track in the original Star Wars that doesn't use a motif from one the movements. "Mars the Bringer of War" is easily the most famous piece. The Death Star trench run scene almost copies a bit from "Mars" beat for beat. "Mars" is considered by some metal fans to have "the first heavy metal riff". https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wNeLR_X9mM

It really rocks.


Some movements are slower and quieter, but I still think they could work. Players should probably turn down the sound effects a bit to let the music guide the action ;p.


Ancient Aliens really opened my mind to how well Doom adapts to strange (dare I say alien) landscapes and music. Doom is abstract. When one maps Doom levels, they play with the raw forms. They can instil excitement, hope, fear, and wonder with a minuscule fraction of the computer resources that most game engines require to bring similar results. Because Doom is abstract, it can bring forth emotion more abstractly. Make Jupiter proud and sculpt that CLAY!


The only other wad I can think of that uses classical/symphonic music is the notorious THE SKY MAYBE... I respect that wad, but my vision for "Doom: The Planets" would intend to bring beauty and a sense of the sublime, not madness.


Can I say V A P O U R W A V E AESTHETICS? Let's not overdo it though... pls.


I am not the mapper for such a project if this was to become popular. I have only dabbled in map-making.


Midi's probably exist for all of these movements. Free mp3's exist of course. A decision would have to be made if this is a Boom-compatible or a full GZDoom project.


The intermission screen music could be the audience applauding the musicians, and the conductor (player?). 


There are seven movements in "The Planets", so seven maps. Earth and Pluto are missing. Still, I like the idea of covering all the planets. Earth ...plus Pluto... that makes 9 maps. Perfect number for a Doom episode. There have been several projects that add Earth and Pluto to the suite, with varying results. We will use the original order of the suite, then Pluto, and then finish with Earth... Below is my recommendations, for inspiration or whatever. 


I: Mars the Bringer of War

A fitting start. Mars certainly has brought a war of sorts. One can't spoil "Mars" on a short, small, easy map. The player is rather unequipped for the amount of monsters, but there is ample opportunities to get some big infighting mosh pits going.

Mars? Satan? Or YOU? Who really is "bringing the war?".

Big, epic, and rough, map01 will get players interested in the rest of the suite.


II: Venus the Bringer of Peace

Peace was never an option, but after this map you would be willing to settle for it if the demons would cooperate. Get ready for the burning love of the archvile. Sweet but sickly.


III: Mercury the Winged Messanger

Short, fast, and flighty. Lots of verticality with an encouragement of movement. War has come to the planets! Peace has failed! Jupiter needs to know the news as fast as possible!


IV: Jupiter the Bringer of Jollity

Grand, magnanimous... jolly. One can imagine Jupiter's crib to be the same place the Norsemen claimed was the Halls of Valhalla. Come, there is drink (blood), food (power spheres), and merriment (lots and lots of rancorous monsters). This map should make you proud to be a Doomer.


V: Saturn the Bringer of Old Age

A huge change of pace compared to the previous map. One can sense the age of the Doom community as one plods through. We have come a long way...


VI: Uranus the Magician

Tricky old bastard! Uranus is so full of traps that it would make doom2 map08 blush. He is fair however, and only terrorizes you for his own amusement. By the end of the map, you will feel all topsy-turvy and sideways...


VII: Neptune the Mystic

Mysterious. That's all I can say.


VIII: Pluto

Pluto is not originally in the suite. Here are some potential options. 




I prefer "Ode to Death". The fact that it was made by Holst also helps its case.


IX: Earth

Earth is also not originally in the suite.



I prefer the second link. It works well as a mashup send-off for the suite.

Alternatively or in addition, a metal version of "Mars" appears! Hell as come to Earth! Or did you bring it with you? Another good send-off.



Thanks for reading this. I hope the Doom community continues to make its amazingly creative works. Whenever I get tired of the noise that exists in the rest of the gaming sphere, I retreat to Doom and Dwarf Fortress.

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I love this idea! Holst's Planets - 'Mars' in particular - is epic. I see a red rock and brick/flame/Hell themed map that starts dark and empty and then - about a minute in, when the music builds - unleash hell... From then on, frantic death to ensue...


You could maybe do some neat GZDoom stuff to trigger certain monster or environment events to coincide with some of the powerful stages in the music of each movement? That would be epic if you could time certain things like that.





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@smeghammer You're right! Especially if the map is designed as one big arena, having sectors raise/lower, enemies teleport, are even things like the skybox changing in response to the musical shifts could be great. Probably best used with Mars and Jupiter.

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Uh, Pluto is a dwarf planet and not a fully fledged one. I bet Holst predicted that when he ended his series on Neptune.

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I like the song Jupiter, esp when the two timpanists play their bits and need to nail each drum to perfection and then re-tune during the breaks. Uranus is epic too and Mars is very well known and used as the inspiration for many soundtracks.

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1 hour ago, Impboy4 said:

Uh, Pluto is a dwarf planet and not a fully fledged one. I bet Holst predicted that when he ended his series on Neptune.


Pluto (dwarf planet or otherwise) was discovered in 1930, Holst composed the planets suite in 1916 (I love Google...) so I guess he predicted the non existence of a planet? That's very zen...

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Mars was my inspiration for MAP30 in Revilution. Sadly, classical music is a bad fit for MIDI. I could see a Prince-like pastiche working, probably. 

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Mars would definitely work. Jupiter, eh, I can see it. The others all would need a damn good rewrite, and maybe pack along a good soundfont for those who got a decent midi player set up.


As for Earth, I'd honestly vote for Fanfare For The Common Man, maybe something more rock-y like the ELP version:



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Venus and Saturn for me,  melancholic affection and wise, brooding loneliness. I'd actually like try a Saturn map, in the tones of Back to Saturn Episode 2 interlude maps, but A: I'm working on my own thing and B: I'm just not good enough (yet...). Still a cool idea.

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On 11/15/2020 at 10:12 PM, Negostrike said:

You REALLY should play PLEIADES.WAD, at once


Excellent recommendation, thanks. Just downloaded it - looks really cool.

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