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Gwarl

Hell Keep redux v1.0.0 on idgames

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Hi! I quite enjoyed playing through your map. I hope more people give it a good look! Here's some video commentary, hope it's useful to you.
 

 

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Posted (edited)

This is a really hardcore map with great arquitecture and decoration that reminds me a lot of Sigil. I just love every room, specially the one with the SSG and the way you obtain it. The sense of survival is present since the very beginning. Maybe the only thing I would change is adding a copule more of medkits at the start, just because its the beginning (maybe you did, I only tested it on Ultra violence). The map gets way better at the ending where exploration is almost mandatory.

 

---------SPOILERS FROM THIS POINT-----------

There are more than one way to reach the exit. One of them is to find the invisibility in the Pinky stable and skip the final arena or find more supplies in nearby rooms to comfront the enemies. That's my favourite part of the wad. Gives it replayable value. I still haven't completed it 100% so I'll replay it more times. It invites you to memorize it and get better everytime you play it. It has some frustrating moments but it's that kind of frustration you're looking for in this kind of levels. Overall a very nice map with cool soundtrack. Recommended for those who wan't to suffer a bit in hell. 

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I love the animation of this blood fountain

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53 minutes ago, Helm said:

Hi! I quite enjoyed playing through your map. I hope more people give it a good look! Here's some video commentary, hope it's useful to you.
 

 

Hi! Thanks for playing. I'm glad you enjoyed it; couple of thing to respond to -

 

The chasms of no secrets need fixing, I thought the ledges would be inaccessible but it didn't occur to me to actually try walking along them. When you were complaining about the off-centre door, the flat tiling beneath the door was screaming at me to fix it. Also yes seems I missed a couple of off-map sectors when tagging things not on the map, thanks for pointing that out.

 

The monster teleport sequence you criticised; I deliberately made a traditional closet with teleport sounds to alert the player it was happening - you asked 'where are they teleporting into?' then promptly forgot about them before returning to the immediately previous area.

 

It also got a cackle when you gave me props on not using the teleport trap trope when I knew you were heading right in to one. I like that one though I'm keeping it in there.

 

I winced when you missed the blue key. I had raised it to be visible from from the opening area, to telegraph that the blue key is on top of the tower, but it's only from certain angles that you can see it, and then the player isn't shown the blue key upon reaching it unless they look up, so it's probably better to show they key to the player when they arrive. As a side note I'm sort of glad you missed several of the secret areas on this playthrough.. I'll give you a hint, when you asked 'why *here*?', you were supposed to ask yourself that. I was really surprised though when you found what I thought was the most subtle secret on the map, looked inside for a split second then moved on without comment or ever going back.

 

The yellow key opens a goodies chamber but isn't needed to finish the level, as in eg E1M3, E2M2 etc

 

I think you missed the point of the invuln. You fought your way up the tower first, then took out the arachnotrons and got the invuln, but it's possible to do it the other way round and be invuln climbing the tower. Doing the tower first is also fine because you can then grab the invuln and teleport to the mancubus room, which you'd already cleared, or push through the other blue door from the opposite side you approached it, or if you already cleared those areas you can run straight through into the the exit area and be white for it

 

It might be a little too easy because I'm not great at doom, I miss a lot and get hit by fireballs, but I would recommend you give UV a try (I can't beat it personally) and explore a bit more - you might need some of the goodies there, including the supercharge. There's supposed to be some value in repeated playthroughs, like figuring out the above spoiler, and there are some loops in the level that let you play things through in different orders.

 

Thanks for playing and reviewing! I'll upload a fix later on.

 

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15 minutes ago, DoomRevolver said:

This is a really hardcore map with great arquitecture and decoration that reminds me a lot of Sigil. I just love every room, specially the one with the SSG and the way you obtain it. The sense of survival is present since the very beginning. Maybe the only thing I would change is adding a copule more of medkits at the start, just because its the beginning (maybe you did, I only tested it on Ultra violence). The map gets way better at the ending where exploration is almost mandatory.

Awesome! I still haven't beaten it on UV yet myself. Good luck :)

 

PS - I still haven't played sigil; now my map is done maybe I have time

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for responding and I'm glad you got useful feedback from my playthrough. Whether a tester will feel compelled to do a completionist playthrough or not, I think, is valuable for you to watch as the map maker as well. When you reach the exit and you go 'eh, close enough', that's feedback in itself. When I rewatched the video as I was uploading it I noticed so many places where my attention just gets shattered and I half-explore a space and never go back to it, too. Don't take this as a slight against the map, the older you get the less your brain can keep up with microtasks in an open map like this. 

I will definitely give it another go on UV and try to get all monsters and secrets. You've made a good level! 

As to your skill level, I think that's where my desire for tighter encounter design comes from as well. It may sound a bit strange, but I want you to get a little bit better at Doom so you can appreciate the encounter design in slightly more difficult wads and pick ideas from them for your own stuff. There's a thread somewhere in this forum with a skill progression wad selection to get you up to speed if you ever desire to embark on a self-betterment quest. However, worth saying: there's people who aren't doom gods who appreciate map sets that are not for doom gods, so don't get dissuaded even if you decide to focus more on the adventure than the combat ballet.

edit: btw teleport traps are fine, it's just not my favourite thing but it doesn't mean they're the wrong thing to use. And it's kind of fun that it's monster closets and THEN teleports in the same closets. It's quite a minor thing, nothing to worry about :)

Edited by Helm

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This looks great! Bookmarked for later. I'll post you a gameplay video.

I skimmed some comments above (trying to avoid spoilers) and can definitely identify with creating an exploration-themed map inspired by the storytelling in the first Doom game -- that was my goal with Hell's Farthest Shore, which I posted in January. This looks like my kinda thing.

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55 minutes ago, Gwarl said:

Awesome! I still haven't beaten it on UV yet myself. Good luck :)

 

PS - I still haven't played sigil; now my map is done maybe I have time

Dude you need to play Sigil! It's 100% that style of level design, tight corridors, Barons everywhere, meager ammunition, a mix of marble textures with red rock caverns... totally you! 

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31 minutes ago, DoomRevolver said:

Dude you need to play Sigil! It's 100% that style of level design, tight corridors, Barons everywhere, meager ammunition, a mix of marble textures with red rock caverns... totally you! 

This started as a Doom1 map E3M1 but then I decided I wanted the pain elementals and then it became a Doom2 map.. my agony over the SSG led to that room - glad you liked it! But yeah, now I have my own vision of a tiny slice of hell in doom manifested in a wad file I can go see what Romero has done recently - quite exciting.

 

BTW, an extra medkit *was* added to the outside area because of UV testing - it's the hardest part of the map getting inside at the start (the ending is messier but you have more to work with) and always has been - I think this is okay because if you're trying to beat a map without saves the beginning area is the least frustrating to die in, as you lose less progress, and each run carries the tension of trying to build on a good start without having to keep going over easy stuff you've done before.

 

Think I might go record a couple of UV demos

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An awesome remake of a mediocre map. Played on UV, tested in GZDoom 4.5.0

 

Gameplay

Very fast paced from the get go, but fair to the player in the way encounters are designed. I especially like that you mostly make use of The Ultimate Doom's enemy roster, which adds a bit more to that UD feel. The only problem I have with the encounters is the final area, with the arch-vile. It is incredibly awkward to eliminate him, as the door only opens by pressing a switch, and it is difficult to actually hit him. Ammo is also a bit scarce in some areas of the map, so I'd recommend adding some more shells and bullets.

 

Layout

The map seems to divert from the source material, in that there is more height variation, and the architecture of the map is a lot more impressive, considering the use of (mostly) stock textures. No real complaints here.

 

Texturing and detailing

 Texturing may need some work, but is generally solid throughout. The map's detailing in certain areas is extravagant, putting strong emphasis on the hellish atmosphere and imagery of episode 1.

 

Bugs

There are a lot of misaligned textures. I managed to get screenshots of a few, but I'd recommend going through the entire map and looking for misaligned textures. Some doors aren't lower unpegged. I don't know if this was intentional, so let me know.

https://imgur.com/a/s1UsRNn

https://imgur.com/a/XxJhuTQ

https://imgur.com/a/eahoGRI

https://imgur.com/a/te2lo6i

https://imgur.com/a/7AJFjWJ

 

Conclusion

A map with fast paced combat and visually appealing take on a less-than-stellar IWAD map. Really good stuff.

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for the review! I appreciate the feedback, glad you enjoyed it.

 

First thing I want to say is that there are front and back doors to the archvile's post in the final area - the front door is deliberately a bit awkward to encourage finding the back one (and because earlier in testing I had a tendency to just rush him up the stairs to cancel him with plasma and not have to deal with him, which meant he never got to participate much) - it's opened by a switch, located nearby matching the symbol on the door. Helm managed to cheese him from the second entrance in his video, the geometry of that tower may need some work.

 

Thanks for the screenshots; I tried to align things but I can't spot them all I will fix these too. Noticed I forgot to do the whole  lower outside of the main tower.

 

Un-unpegged door sides are a mistake it's my personal bugbear I tried to do a sweep of all the doors to be sure before I uploaded but I might have missed some.. I'll fix that one at least.

Edited by Gwarl

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2 hours ago, Gwarl said:

This started as a Doom1 map E3M1 but then I decided I wanted the pain elementals and then it became a Doom2 map.. my agony over the SSG led to that room - glad you liked it! But yeah, now I have my own vision of a tiny slice of hell in doom manifested in a wad file I can go see what Romero has done recently - quite exciting.

 

BTW, an extra medkit *was* added to the outside area because of UV testing - it's the hardest part of the map getting inside at the start (the ending is messier but you have more to work with) and always has been - I think this is okay because if you're trying to beat a map without saves the beginning area is the least frustrating to die in, as you lose less progress, and each run carries the tension of trying to build on a good start without having to keep going over easy stuff you've done before.

 

Think I might go record a couple of UV demos

To be honest I also tried to do a Doom 1 map when I was making Initiation Temple, but I always end up missing so much the Pain Elementals and the SSG as well as other stuff from Doom 2 xD So I totally understand you. But I gotta say Doom 1 has some really cool textures that I miss on Doom 2, specially the tech walls.

 

And yeah that makes sense now that you say it. 

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Hell Keep redux

 

Ultra-Violence || Zandronum || HG_S-Doom

 

Status:

Deaths → 1 (Killed by Baron of hell)

Saves → 1

 

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(I killed almost all of them, and never ended up using the sphere of invincibility...)

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This map has been quite long, really exploring these kinds of maps are torture for me, maximum if you must find secrets, I am very grateful that a large part of the secrets are in places very close to each other, and that they have not been put an excess of enemies on the map, the truth is that I quite enjoyed the good architecture that this map has, and the structure placed in each of the places that I have visited, very striking and very varied, quite a lot of positive things to tell the truth . With the aspect of the fighting, it is where this Wad stands out the most, there are hard confrontations that really make you spend a lot, but a lot of ammunition, fortunately, the map had the necessary ammunition to be able to use it and kill almost all the enemies with whom I have come across the entire route, here there are many enemies to be found, and it is appreciated that a boss has not been placed in the parts where there is more space. In general, I had a great time here, even though it took me a long time to find a way out... but it was also very entertaining to kill all the demons and see how great the decoration was in each area, as well What a great job here, and I'll be waiting for your next maps, buddy.

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Posted (edited)

Very nice work, it plays great, I like the tight ammo balance. There one bug though: spectre 576 never became active and didn't teleport out even after noclipped there so it could see me. And the plus-shaped hall with green marble walls leading to the exit could use better texture alignment.

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Thanks to everyone who played, I've done a lot of texture aligning - everything people called out here and other stuff that wasn't. I've got all the bugs mentioned here. I've made some minor cosmetic changes to the level, most significantly to the somewhat bland room in the centre of the map (the only area which didn't earn itself a screenshot ITT). Gameplay wise I've tagged a lost soul deaf, tagged some linedefs to block sound, moved a cacodemon and moved a linedef trigger which should emphasise the room that just got a makeover.

 

I want to do a sweep of the outside are again to try and tidy it up more visually (it was a real pain to do but the odd bits of sky wrapping are bothering me now) and I might put some more work into the finale, then as long as it's bug-free I'll upload it to the archives maybe on the weekend.

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Aligned many more textures, fixed some midtex clipping errors in software, made inaccessible by design areas actually inaccessible this time, added some tricky escapes to previously inescapable deathtraps, restructured finale room to make it less skippable (update OP file download).

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Found even more textures to align, fixed some potential bugs for playing without infinitely tall actors - This should be bug free now, if anyone can find any (or more unaligned textures) please let me know.

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Played on UV. Interesting map for sure, I like how it attempts to feel like a single castle, lots of thought clearly went into what rooms were what, a master bedroom, a kitchen, prison cells. There's a lot of variety in terms of the types of rooms throughout. There were a number of misalignments throughout, notably on the interior of the torch inlets near the beginning of the map. There are frequent to texture with no transition as well I also wish that there was a bit more lighting variation, don't get me wrong, some areas are darker than others, but each individual area feels like it has a static light level. The layout was a tad stringy for my liking, lots of thin hallways with the odd room, a bit compressed, besides the cave section. Climbing the tower you see at the beginning of the map was a good touch. And I appreciate the existence of optional areas. The final area could have been pulled off with a bit more finesse, it just feels like you stumble into an area with a few more monsters than your average room, I also found the blocked barons/hell knight near the exit inelegant, there are other ways to block the exit that would not appear so strange to the player. Also there was a strange visual bug in this area where the dirt flat from the ground was bleeding across my whole screen, not sure why it does that. Anywho, I liked the ambition this map represented, though I wish the layout was a bit less spaghetti like, I had fun, favorite part was the archvile tower climb.

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Thanks for playing. Update should fix the texture bleed and align the torch inlets, also fixes some clipping issues on the tower climb and touches up the decore in one of the rooms.

 

I'm not going to apologise for corridors, but I will admit to the finale being slightly lacking in polish compared to the rest of the level, which is sad as it's the finale. I might take another look at it at some point but I don't think that room is a total failure, just like you say, could have used more finesse. I always had the baron there as a 'goalkeeper' and I think I'll keep him, the knights were moved there in the last version update.

 

I'm working on a slough of despair now, at the current rate I'll have my episode replacement finished by 2030, though I might pick up speed - I'll revise this map later, but as a standalone release I'm pretty happy with it overall and probably won't be making many big changes.

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Posted (edited)

Admittedly, I found this one a little bit more frustrating than fun in a lot of areas. Difficulty feels a bit artificial at times with the way you're starved for ammo a lot of the time and are put up against a lot of high-tier demons very early on with little in the way of resources. I found myself having to run away a lot rather than actively engage when it came to some of the battles, especially the final one. That's not to say all the combat was bad as I liked some of your traps. Your level design is really good and I loved the design and intricate layout, the progression's interesting and I can tell you spent a lot of time on it. It's one of those maps that I like to look at, but not play so much heh but that's just me. Regardless, I definitely want to see more from you.

 

 

Edited by Biodegradable

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Posted (edited)

Thanks for playing!

 

Ultraviolence was all my nasty ideas that I thought might be a bit much, I would suggest taking a walk around on hurt me plenty and trying to find more secrets, some of them are nice to look at.. you closely inspected every sewer grate in all of the prison cells *other than* the one that looked a bit funny, for instance.

 

Very much appreciated that you savescummed good use out of that invuln sphere, other people have complained there's literally no purpose to it.. there are several and you found one. I think you might have been able to clear the area without it if you had simply approached through the main door rather than insisting on the side tower (there are three approaches). My surprise archvile did good work guarding the exit. Also there is a BFG on the map, and you walked away from the supercharge :).

 

edit: also well done you're the first person I've seen actually looking up at the soul vortex being sucked back into the sky, it took like 8 voodoo dolls to make that happen

Edited by Gwarl

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Final version is up on idgames at https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/Ports/g-i/hellkeep

Mapwise identical to the last version, but I switched the midi track, changed the map name from entryway and added a par time. There is lightning in the outdoor areas as a bonus for Zdoom/Eternity players.

I'd appreciate ratings/reviews from anyone who played, and for anyone seeing this thread for the first time, now is a good time to play.

There will be more to come from me soon.

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