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Paar

Doom II: The Chasm of Sinful - A map with focus on verticality (Release)

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Posted (edited)

Looking forward for you review, if there's any.

Edited by Paar

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Posted (edited)

FDA, skill 4

 

I'm posting this mainly to show that the level plays smoothly even in a 'classic' sense, without the conveniences of mouselook and height-corrected actors and such. There is one minor technical change I would suggest for the benefit of PrB+ / Chocolate / etc. users: throughout the level various hanging corpse props are 'solid', and can block player movement (from well out of visual range, generally) at odd times and places. Users of classic ports will be accustomed to contending with infinitely-tall monsters, even in the context of a highly vertical layout, but not so much with these prop items. Not all ports/play modes allow for a universal infinitely-tall objects toggle, and so flagging these hanging corpses as passthrough/non-solid would be a net gain for the whole playerbase.

 

From a design perspective, it was my feeling that the map is successful in its goal, treating the vertical traversal aspect as its defining trait. It's moderately populated at most, and the majority of engagements are quite small, but never dull due to smart placement in the context of the vertically complicated surroundings, and quite nicely judged from a healing/ammo standpoint as well, not so tight as to seem miserly but measured enough to spread out weapon usage evenly and to prompt one to consider a balance of offense and defense, many uncommon/interesting considerations presenting themselves in this type of environment. The eclectic Deimos-style hell-pit visual theme also serves the design cleverly, I thought, the wide variety of textures and materials used in any given viewcap help to highlight the more unusual or 'athletic' avenues of movement.

 

To that point, there *is* a several-minute stretch in the middle of the recording where I'm lost and search fruitlessly for the way forward, and it takes me some time to get back on game once I do pick up the progression trail again (my fumbling in the crusher room makes me wince a little). In hindsight, I feel that this is mostly on me, though, and not a fault of the map philosophy or the like; the thing I missed doesn't even have anything to do with platforming/climbing or the like, and the level's progression profile is generally free from dead ends (that is, areas or rooms you can go to which serve only to flesh out the map, versus having a direct role in reaching the exit), which I should have been more keenly aware of by that stage of play. The overall goal of the level -- to get back up again -- is very clearly visually communicated throughout.

 

I did feel that the non-secret megasphere near the end of the level was a bit gratuitous (especially as it's followed by another combat armor just 3-4 minutes later), and would suggest it be a soulsphere instead  (for skill 4). Likewise, just a few more rockets in the middle stages of the level would be my preference, but these of course are basically just nitpicks. Quality work overall, thanks for the Doom.

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I played the map in Crispy, skill 4 and finnished with just one missing secret. Toggled infinite height as soon as I was blocked by hanging corpses several feet over my head.

 

The narrative through textures is executed pretty nicely. I felt threatened by the cramped space and meticulous details as much as monster traps. I thought the irregular geometry worked well for the theme (these sticky camouflaged metal trims were my only concern though), but as might be the case, it also compromised some of the bigger monsters, like every arachnotron was in a position that didn't allow it to make use of their plasma spammy ability, or the end-of-level cyberdemon, which admittedly felt tacked on. There was one particular pain elemental who appeared in an enclosed area I'd already cleared before (room with secret blue armor), that was kind of odd. Cacodemons were the stars of the more open areas, no doubt of that (uh, and, the zombiemen early on annihilated me almost twice).

 

I agree with DotW's sentiment about the megasphere and rockets. It could go well to replace a handful of shell boxes for rockets, since shells were more than enough to keep my stock full throughout the middle-last stretch. 

 

So I enjoyed my time. Extra +1 for using the map30 music in a well fitting context. 

 

additional minor stuff:

 

- Odd texturing in the revenants closet in the last room. Irrelevant if you never jump to that place, but I wanted to add it.

- I didn't find any way to backtrack from this last room. Might be deliberate and that's alright if so.

- Missing "CWILV00" (title on tally screen). It's usually extra rewarding (on a psychological level) to read the name of the map you just beat (:

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Posted (edited)

Thank you both for such a detailed review, it means a lot to me. I guess the map could be a little harder on skill 4, but I didn't want to overwhelm anybody. I have made my previous Heretic map quite hard and a lot of people complained about that. In the end I wanted for this map to be a pleasant experience with high enough challenge that wouldn't force you to load very often.

I admit the Arachnotrons are possibly oddly placed as I really wanted to use them (I just love their death sound) and didn't have many places I could put them in. It's definitely better to place them on a higher ground. Maybe I could spawn them with the Mancubi when you hit the bridge switch.

Monster and ammo balance is always a tricky part. At first there was a lot more ammo starvation and you really needed to manage your ammo properly. However I asked myself if it is a good idea to make a level for a shooter where you cannot shoot stuff. So I've put a lot more ammo in there, mainly for shotgun. It's true that rockets are scarce but that was an intent as it could make many encounters way too easy. At the same time you eventually end up with so much energy cells that the rockets scarcity doesn't matter. Maybe I could rebalance the ammo count a bit and put more rockets there and less energy cells. And possibly a littles less of shotgun shells.

And the hanging bodies... All of them should be a non blocking variants (at least according to Doom Builder). It's weird they are infinitely tall. Maybe I got that wrong. Will try to fix them, at least rearrange them.

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Posted (edited)

Excellent architecture, good texturing. I was very happy when i got SSG) First encounter with AV was unexpected, but manageable. I really like that map gives you the opportunity to beat monsters from one to another closed zone. Not finished to play this map because i still do not found what changes this button (it is repeatable, but doing something single action?). Circled map four times, but not found a way to progress. Also small texture misalingment here.

 

Played in PrBoom+ 2.5.1.7 (GlBoom+ actually)

 

Spoiler

doom01.png

doom00.png

 

 

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Hi, thanks for your input! The button lowers an elevator on the left, so you can descent to the lower area. Hmm, you're a second person who I know got stuck in this area. I guessed the player could hear the elevator moving so it would be clear. It's definitely something to think about, why it's not obvious. I'll be glad if you could share your experience with the rest of the map.

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Yeah, definitely big and detailed map. Great for watching, bad for moving, i stucked almost in every thing. Maybe if it would be more spacious, i wouldn't faced this problem? Who knows. I realize how titanic work was done, and i feel sad to know that it not working in the way it was designed.. That lift) I looked on it twice, but not seen any changes) Good fights, some of them unexpected, some not, good balanced. Final cyb is little bit tricky) Anyway i got entertained, found 3/6 secrets, good map. Good luck in ahead mapping!

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Posted (edited)

Hello everyone.

New user here, this is my first post. 

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this map a lot, and actually think it may be one of my favourite hellish-themed levels ever.

I think you have seriously done a great job with the design, the architecture is impressively nice, and you also managed to make it flow quite perfectly to the point that even if it's a pretty complex level, there were no moments of getting lost and having no idea where to go. I personally found the elevator that the previous poster was talking about very easily. I think you can also see it lower, directly from the platform where the skull switch is located. 

 

Anyways, I really liked the fact that the level conveys both a sense of dread and a sense of epicness at the same time. 

As it is, I think there's a really good balance with the progression of enemies, the difficulty of the encounters, and the ammo and powerups. Fairly challenging, but never frustrating. I personally thought that rockets were enough, but I played on Hurt Me Plenty, not UV. In the final room, plasma will do.

But basically I've decided to join because I wanted to report a small bug that I've came across when playing on GZDoom (version 4.5.0).

If you are a player like me, who likes to explore and backtrack a lot, I found that when you arrive to the room with the crushers and the secret soulsphere, the crushers start grinding and make the door on the upside area glitch. I'm talking about the door in the room where the previous poster got stuck in. I've never done mapping, so I don't have an idea why it may happen, but I think it's triggered by the crushers, because everything works fine before they start moving. From what I've seen, the door glitch also stays there AFTER you have cleared the crushers room, and crushers stop. And this means that if the crushers remain lowered, and you fall down the pit again (because you want that soulsphere for example), you may become stuck in that area 'cause the way through the crushers is blocked and the upper door won't open. I have also attached a small zipfile with a video of it I recorded, so you can see what I am referring to. 

 

Sorry for the long post, hope it can be of any help.

Very good job on the map. Will definitely be interested if you make more!!

 

 

Spoiler

bugreport.jpg

 

chasmglitch.7z

Edited by Asphalt

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Posted (edited)
On 4/25/2021 at 6:46 PM, neurocore said:

Yeah, definitely big and detailed map. Great for watching, bad for moving, i stucked almost in every thing. Maybe if it would be more spacious, i wouldn't faced this problem? Who knows.

 

Well, there was this problem with hanging bodies with infinite height. This is fixed in the next release. But I agree some places could feel a little cramped even though I have expanded some of them already. But it's not that bad, I've played through the level again while testing some balacing changes and it felt alright.

 

18 hours ago, Asphalt said:

Just wanted to say that I really enjoyed this map a lot, and actually think it may be one of my favourite hellish-themed levels ever.

 

One of the best hell maps you've played? You know, I couldn't ask for more. Mission accomplished for me. And thank you for the bug report (and everyone else too), it's fixed now.

 

I am currently working on a new map for this forum's contest that ends on May 3rd. The concept is entirely different but I think it will be fun. After that I want to take a long break from Doom mapping and focus on indie game development in general. My primary goal with this map was to gain experience with level design and I think it gave me a lot.

 

BTW, I have just uploaded a new version of the map, the link is in the original post.

Edited by Paar

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Posted (edited)

hi. i just completed the map in uv. usually not a fan of mix-bash of artistic styles, but in this map it blends surprisingly beautiful. gameplay was a pleasure too with ammo being extremely tight. at a point, was forced to fend of a horde of hell knights, cacodemons and pain elementals with just the chainsaw while dodging missiles from a cyberdemon, all to conserve ammo. overall, making one's way from the bottoms of the chasm to the top while decimating demons was very satisfying indeed. many thanks for the superb work done to make such an awesome memorable experience.

 

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Edited by terminator

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Thank you for your kind words, I'm very happy to know you had a great time!

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Hi! Here's an hour of rambles as I go through your splendid map!
 

 

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Posted (edited)

Hi @Helm, thanks for your feedback, I appreciate it a lot. Never thought the map would get such an attention from somebody after that long. I have watched your entire video to the end and after some though and after replaying the level again I came to a conclusion that I agree with your "complaints". But I would like to be more specific.

 

If I got it correctly, the aesthetics felt unnecessarily complicated to you. I have used many texture variants and lot of details because I had this notion that the community demands detailed maps. I know now that it's plain wrong and if I had to do it over, I would use less. That said, I think you had this "problem" multiplied by the fact you used GZDoom with true colors and dynamic lights. When using software renderer everything blends more nicely together and the overusage of texture is not that apparent. Well, overusage may be a strong word as I don't think it's that bad, the level just could be a little cleaner. I've made an experimental map for a local contest recently and because of time contraints I have used a lot less detailing and I think the map benefited from that. And it was more fun to create as I've been making faster progress. That's why if I am ever to do a Doom map again, I would like to focus on vanilla.

 

As I have mentioned in one of my previous posts, I am an aspiring level/game designer and this level served mainly as a practice work, and perhaps as a building stone for my portfolio. That's why your playthrough means a lot to me as I had the opportunity to listen to some in-depth constructive criticism. You certainly gave me a lot to think about and I'm sure it will make my future work better because of it.

 

By the way, you played the map on medium difficulty. You would certainly have more fun on UV!

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oh shit did I select HMP by accident? My bad! 

as to the texturing blending in with software, perhaps, but blending in to what median? A brown-red mush isn't going to assuage the issue with the identity of different map locations. The 'metal2 cave, startan nightclub' concern remains. 

as to community expectation, it's best to push these thoughts out of mind when working on something so personal as a free map for a 30 year old game. Map from the heart, always. 

this IS a showcase of level design acumen as it'll serve you well if you ever talk to anybody in the industry that comes from the doom and quake heritage. 

I'll check out the experimental map, of course! 

I'm very glad to have had a positive impact with the playthrough! 

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Damn Paar, I REALLY hope you're continuing to work on stuff for Doom. I just got finished playing through this map twice in a row, and I absolutely love it in every way. It is extremely fun to navigate and explore, and the enemy placements and engagements are perfect. The weapon pickup progression is paced well, and the ammo amount is just scarce enough to force you have to play smarter. The textures you used, and how you used them were clever and set a great creepy atmosphere. Most of all though, the way you designed the verticality...bravo. It's amazing. I liked that when you said "verticality" that didn't just mean a bunch of elevators. It almost felt like climbing my way to the top of a tower one floor at a time, by taking the stairs, air ducts, scaling the building, any other way but an elevator, and it was great. Each area was almost like it's own map in a way because there was so much to traverse. I'm not the greatest at writing reviews, but this map is F*CKING AWESOME! I highly recommend it, and also recommend trying it out with EVP by ADMERAL. 

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@Shulbocka Hey, thank you for your kind words, really appreciate it. I'm really happy you liked it so much that you were willing to play it again. May I ask what source port were you using? BTW I'm close to finishing another limit removing Doom map. This time it's for Doom 1, techbase style, focused on non-linearity. I'm sure it will be finished in a week or two.

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Posted (edited)

You're welcome, but there's no need to thank me. I thought it was so damn good, it was hard not to play it twice in a row, or the following 4-5 times after that lol. I've been using GZDoom 4.5.0 for the PC playthroughs, but I've also tested it on OdameX 0.8.1 (on original Xbox) and it runs great.

That's awesome news too that you almost have another map ready as well. I'm definitely going to be playing that as soon as you release it, and will offer my feedback on it as well. Thanks again for sharing your work with us, cause I've had tons of fun with it. You got skills brotha. 

 

edit:

One thing I forgot to mention though is that, for me, the midi/music is way too quiet. I only know it's there when there is no action happening and no enemies around.

Edited by Shulbocka : forgot to mention

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Great map! I really enjoyed it, the gameplay and level progression is fun and the architexture and texturing is nice and hellish. Played it on UV on PrBoom (2.5), died a couple of times to the hitscanners on the second big area until I saw the chaingun (guess I'm blind).

The last fight is lethal if you don't know what's coming, there aren't many monsters but the placement, uneven terrain and damaging floor makes it really challeging. I like that. Rushing to the BFG seems the best course of action (after dying several times, haha)

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Another really good level. I'm not the best at reviews so forgive how brief they are, but I really enjoyed this. Quality stuff!

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tbh naming a map "the chasm" might scare some people  ;)  but this one is excellent

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Hopefully it's not as frustrating as Mr. Petersen's map :D.

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