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RonnieJamesDiner

Pour one out for the Light Amp Goggles

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Austinado’s mapset Supercharge Final Catharsis contains an interesting gimmick map dedicated to light amp goggles.

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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, Horus said:

Austinado’s mapset Supercharge Final Catharsis contains an interesting gimmick map dedicated to light amp goggles.

 

I don't think I actually finished that set, I'll have to check that out. Thanks!

 

(/edit, I'll have to check it out when there's actually a download link, heh.)

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38 minutes ago, RonnieJamesDiner said:

Looking at the stats on doomwiki, it’s interesting to see how seldom they were used in the IWADS – as little as 5 in Doom II, and actually none in The Plutonia Experiment (this hadn't dawned on me before).

It's even worse than that when you consider their distribution across maps - three of the five light amp goggles in Doom II are in one level, Refueling Base, and four of the eight in Ultimate Doom (nine on ITYTD/HNTR skill level) are in E2M6. I do like their usage in E2M6, though, with that one maze-like section with the wood textures and the blinking lights. They really feel like a powerup there, and having it wear off on you can be terrifying. To an experienced player, though, the powerup lasts far too long and the dark section is too small for that to ever be a concern. Same with the one in the dark room at the end of E1M5.

 

Bury My Heart Knee Deep also used light amplification in an interesting manner. Inspired by Metroidvania games, the map gives you "permanent" upgrades in the form of large groups of powerups that are needed to traverse certain areas, and one of those is a set of light amp powerups that you can unlock to deal with a pitch-black area.

 

Perhaps a map could use caches of light amplification goggles combined with pitch dark areas to put time pressure on the player or force them to balance how far they can explore with being able to escape in one piece... but rad suits and damaging floor are more commonly used for that purpose.

 

Candlemass uses light amplification with its monochrome palette for a neat gimmick:

Spoiler

It's given to you when you press a switch labeled "Press this switch to go blind instantly." instead of making things easier to see, the light amp goggles turn everything white, making it difficult to navigate.

 

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IMO, a good use of the light amp goggles is as a power-up for use in an area with lots of flickering and flashing lights.  They're actually often much more useful in that situation than in areas that are merely dark.

 

Another good use for them is dark areas with lots of spectres - full bright makes life a lot easier then, especially if the map forces you to rely on the rocket launcher.

 

I used both of these cases in Doom 404 :)

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On 7/29/2021 at 4:55 PM, Shepardus said:

Candlemass uses light amplification with its monochrome palette for a neat gimmick:

  Reveal hidden contents

 

 

Yeah, that was a good chuckle to make. :P

 

I've bemoaned the lack of lite-amp usage in community maps before, to the point of making it a theme in the Abyssal Speedmapping Sessions every now and again when I can get away with it: the Partial Invisibility occupies a similar niche, although that at the very least affects combat in an interesting way (Scythe MAP27 remains an excellent example of what you can do when you get creative with its unique behavior). Only problem is that I'm yet to walk the walk and properly use it in more regular maps myself, so I appreciate threads like these to remind me of its existence.

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This thread reminds me of one particular section in Doom 64's MAP06, where there was a bunch of platforms with a really dark football-shaped pit underneath them. Inside that pit resided many Spectres, which can easily chewed off your butt if you fall into the pit. That's one of those instances I wish a light amp goggles was in my disposal.

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Their real problem is how ugly they make maps look.

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It's too bad they dropped the dedicated COLORMAP range, instead going with the fullbright range 0. A different look would have made it more interesting. Or heck, why not a different palette, like the radiation suit? Either way, you could implement some neat gimmicks based on details that are only visible with the goggles: since the Doom palette has several redundant colors, you could rearrange it so that you have some colors that are deliberately identical except when using the right COLORMAP range (or palette level, either way). Then you could have invisible patterns drawn this way using both variants of a given color on a texture, and when you pick up the goggles, blammo! suddenly the invisible pattern becomes visible. The game Shadowcaster used this gimmick (just once, though) where you had to use your cat-man's form special vision to avoid mines that are invisible otherwise.

 

Another problem with the light amp is that it gives everything the same light level, so it completely kills contrast and makes levels look more boring. But this didn't have to be the case! See, the engine already supports a conditional, player-centric light level increase: gunflashes. You could have had the light amp goggles give off a +64 light level (would have been the rough equivalent of an A_Light4 function since internally light levels are divided by 16, so A_Light1 actually gives you +16 light levels and A_Light2 gives you +32). That would preserve most of the contrast lighting (only stuff at light level 192 and higher would become fullbright) while still making things much easier to see in all but the darkest areas.

 

I'll note that either of these approaches would have been perfectly feasible in 1993 since they're basically just stuff the Doom engine already does, using features it already has. It's just they're not used for the light amp in particular, but they could have been -- and in fact, it was the plan originally to give the light amp a dedicated COLORMAP range, I'm sure that if they kept it we would have had plenty of gimmick levels using the invisible color contrast trick to make light amp puzzles.

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I like them. Fullbright visibility is definitely a massive advantage (hello, dark areas full of Spectres), so as far as usefulness goes, it serves its purpose.

 

But I agree with Gez that just bumping up the brightness a few levels instead of fullbright would have been a great option. Would also make more sense, since you really can't amplify much, when there is little to no light to begin with. As long as it would make completely dark areas somewhat comfortably navigateable of course.

 

Also, Invulnerability can often serve the same purpose with its... interesting color palette.

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I love the idea of bumping the light up 32 - 64 units rather than garish fullbright. Heck, I think add the fullbright flag to monsters and items would also be a great alternative, or maybe a combo of the two. That would help immensely while still not totally uglifying areas that are meant to be dark.

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A map in A.L.T., I think it was MAP22, has a clever use of the light amplification visor, where there's a switch puzzle that's easier to do if you DON'T pick it up. The numbers are of a darker gradient on the floor, but you can't see this if it's fully bright.

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Posted (edited)

One of the best usages of it I can remember is in MAP05: Time Gate from Eternal Doom, where it renders an area with rapidly flickering lights much more bearable to traverse.

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I remember not so long ago I came to the same realization, that the Lite-Amp Goggles only appear on like a few maps in all the IWADs.  I think I've only used them in like one of my early maps, undoubtedly in a place where it wasn't useful or necessary.  It's amazing that even the idbois seemed to realize that they were not that useful and made the map look shitty when worn, and I think to this day are regarded as a bit of fluff that aren't ever going to save your life and will kill the mood of the map instantly anyway.

 

I always thought the easiest way to save the gogs would be either A) what others have said, where it just applies a +64 or so bonus to the lighting of each sector; or B) some kind of green "night vision" filter or something.  Like the invulnerability sphere technically makes everything fullbright too but you hardly notice because of how weird and abstract the inverted B&W makes everything look (which, as an aside, I actually like it better when the sky doesn't change too).

 

I might try and find a spot to use the Devo glasses somewhere in my ongoing-ish mapping project, but it's just as likely I'll end up using those frames for some dehackery elsewhere and then turn the goggles into a tree or something.  I've tried them a couple times because I'm a simp for rare and overlooked items/enemies/textures in games but honestly I just can't get over the fullbright thing.  I guess these ones are rare and overlooked for a reason.

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Posted (edited)

...Or... and hear me out here... we could all just make levels that look great at fullbright.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

...I'll see myself out.

 

 

ᴵ ʰᵒᵖᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ᵃˡˡ ˢᵉᵉ ʷʰᵃᵗ ᴵ ᵈᶦᵈ ᵗʰᵉʳᵉ

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Ah, ya'll are the best! Already a fair few good examples here, I look forward to trying some of these. The idea of using the fullbright effect of the light amp to actively screw the player over and hide important details, escaped me entirely - I love that. And maybe I'll finally get around to trying Eternal Doom, if even just to experience MAP05, heh.

 

To your reply Shepardus, I forgot about that light amp cache in Bury My Heart (it's been years since I played it, and it was only the one time). It fit the Metroidvania style very well though, as another necessary (er, important) tool for navigating a new portion of the level. The E2M6 example is of course noteworthy and one of the better uses in the IWADS - I can't argue its effectiveness there, and it's a nice reward at the tail end of that segment, but all the same, I still think it takes away too much from one of the most atmospheric and creepy areas found in Doom 1. The Baron skulking around in that section still makes my sphincter shrink up to this day, every time he comes lumbering around a corner in there!

 

4 hours ago, Gez said:

Another problem with the light amp is that it gives everything the same light level, so it completely kills contrast and makes levels look more boring. But this didn't have to be the case! See, the engine already supports a conditional, player-centric light level increase: gunflashes. You could have had the light amp goggles give off a +64 light level (would have been the rough equivalent of an A_Light4 function since internally light levels are divided by 16, so A_Light1 actually gives you +16 light levels and A_Light2 gives you +32). That would preserve most of the contrast lighting (only stuff at light level 192 and higher would become fullbright) while still making things much easier to see in all but the darkest areas.

 

This is just such a wonderful idea... that it genuinely makes me wonder why they didn't go this way with the powerup. Like you say, they had everything they needed in 1993 to make it work. Perhaps the item was added late into development and they simply didn't have the time or willingness to make it more interesting/subtle. Bumping the light levels up by 64 would do everything the goggles do now, while still preserving most of the contrast made in the level design (it would still even lessen the harsh effect of blinking lights, which as many people have commented, can be one of the best reasons you'd want to pick up the goggles in the first place). Love this!

 

Your thoughts on making the powerup show bits of the color palette that are otherwise "invisible" to see, to reveal hidden symbols, etc. is also really fascinating. It reminds me of the fact that the GZDoom version of the Light Amp Goggles actually reveal the "Stealth" monster variants, which I always thought was ripe for opportunities (I've yet to capitalize on it, though). This is also giving me incredibly evil ideas, such as making certain projectiles - like the Revenant homing rocket - only visible with the goggles, hehe. Even making the Keys only visible while under the effects of the goggles could make for some interesting progression, where you essentially have a key "hidden in plain sight", but the player generally needs to find a pair of goggles first, in order to discover where it's sitting.

 

Doomkid's idea of simply just forcing the monsters and items into fullbright is also an interesting one! And maybe only bump the sector light level up by 32, or something. I like that!   

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3 hours ago, RjY said:

Huh, interesting.

I actually deliberately avoid picking them up for the most part because of the way they utterly destroy the atmosphere of a level. I really don't enjoy using them.

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I much perfer when authors use something new and modded instead, like a torch that just brightens the area or something. There is potential there for new things for sure. Make a Japanese landscape and replace them with paper lanterns that hover beside you or something.

 

I think a lot of the powerups that were created for DOOM were sketchy or not implemented as well as they could have been. Night vision doesn't need obnoxious screen effects. Invulnerability doesn't need obnoxious screen effects. Partial invisibility rarely feels useful, especially in OG DOOM/DOOM 2. Berserk could've used a cool sound effect instead of turning everything red. Like LordEntr0py said, I hate night vision and avoid picking them up. I can't stand when I'm forced to. If I have to pick them up, I'll stand still until they wear off, because they are so downright ugly that they instantly kill any mood or atmosphere.

 

The way Heretic and Hexen handled items is proof that powerups and pickups can still make you feel powerful without being irritating. I feel that more experimentation with pickups could improve the modding scene, but it seems to be something a lot of people don't think about, even when mapping out ultramodern things in gzDOOM. I think that pickups are rarely utilized to their fullest potential, especially since all the tools are readily available to make new ones.

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Some object counts from popular wads I had to hand. (UV, solo.)

WAD       bserk  rsuit  invis  invul  aumap  light
--------------------------------------------------
doomu        20     48     24     16     15      8
doom2        32     31     26     23      8      5
tnt          19     27     22     12     10      4
plutonia     16     24     11      5      4      0
perdgate     17     18     10      2      5      1
mm           34     31     13      8      9      0
mm2          35     33     19      9     14      7
requiem      26     18      2      4      9      2
hr           17     53     12      5     14      0
av           27     26     13     14      7      0
hr2final     21      7      3     10      4      1
scythe       32      8      9      4      1      0
scythe2      31     11     14      5      0      0
ksutra       40     54     28     11      1      0
pl2          52     27     20      6      5      0
sodfinal     42     28      2     10      2      0
epic2        24      2      6      6      9      0
Sunder        6      0      0     25      0      0
sf2012       29     14     10     20      7      9
dtwid        13     42     19      4     11      3
d2twid       21     49     26     16     16      5
btsx_e1      16     47     10      4      5      1
btsx_e2      42      9     11      8      7      0
sunlust      38     16      3      8      3      1
--------------------------------------------------
TOTAL       650    623    313    235    166     47
%ofTotal   32.0   30.6   15.4   11.6    8.2    2.3


Bonus picture of the four "1"s:
KmCC5dA.png

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4 hours ago, Kyka said:

...Or... and hear me out here... we could all just make levels that look great at fullbright.

 

...I'll see myself out.

 

ᴵ ʰᵒᵖᵉ ʸᵒᵘ ᵃˡˡ ˢᵉᵉ ʷʰᵃᵗ ᴵ ᵈᶦᵈ ᵗʰᵉʳᵉ

 

HA! I see what you did there. It was a very enlightened statement... really brightened my day... 

 

(This terrible joke was brought to you by Smoothandz. Sincere apologies for any brain cells lost during the read of this post)

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Thanks for that list, RjY! Confirms my suspicions that the goggles likely popped up in a few more places than I actually realized, I'm curious how well they're played off in some of those maps. Didn't realize Memento Mori 2 and Slaughterfest 2012 featured quite so many, I've yet to play those wads. 

 

7m8vYhQl.png

 

The fact that Doom 2 the Way id Did uses the exact same number of Light Amp Goggles as D2 itself is just... beautiful. I refuse to think this was intentional, but if it was, that's brilliant.

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Map 13 of my cliptucky maps has one light amp pickup right at the start and you have to beat it before it wears off. The entire map is set in pitch black darkness. Anytime you die it's pretty cool because the lights go out. Super short silly map though but my best attempt of trying to do something cool with those

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9 hours ago, TheNoob_Gamer said:

This thread reminds me of one particular section in Doom 64's MAP06, where there was a bunch of platforms with a really dark football-shaped pit underneath them. Inside that pit resided many Spectres, which can easily chewed off your butt if you fall into the pit. That's one of those instances I wish a light amp goggles was in my disposal.

You're talking about Alpha Quadrant, one of my favourite maps! I think the light amplification visors only appears twice in all of Doom 64.

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Gonna have to mention one of my favorite Doom things ever: Ryath's Bury My Heart Knee Deep. This was a vanilla Metroidvania style 90-ish-minute map that featured the visor as a "permanent powerup." There are several very dark areas with visors behind bars. Once you find the right switch, all the bars open and then there are lots of visors at every dark area's entrance. It didn't fix the visual issue, but I thought it was a cool concept.

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11 hours ago, Doomkid said:

I love the idea of bumping the light up 32 - 64 units rather than garish fullbright. Heck, I think add the fullbright flag to monsters and items would also be a great alternative, or maybe a combo of the two. That would help immensely while still not totally uglifying areas that are meant to be dark.

I believe this is how Blood handled it.

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