Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: SKULLTIVERSE

Recommended Posts

22 hours ago, TJG1289 said:

Map 13 - Necropolis
I don't know what the clue was for the bulk cell

It's behind the only wood panel with blood on it.

Share this post


Link to post

Necropolis - Myolden

This is a truly a fantastic map. Myolden reallly knocked it out of the park this time around. Necropolis is atmospheric, visually-appealing and a fair challenge.

 

There are two (and a half) things that stand out to me about this map: the combat, the visuals and the music. Starting with the first, I found the encounter design to be excellent across the board. While no fight in particular stands out as especially original or note-worthy, they are all immaculately crafted: clearly-telegraphed, well-composed and generally enjoyable. Myolden once again demonstrates their grasp of space insofar as it pertains to encounter design. Crowd-control, either through careful application of rockets, or well-timed use of the SSG, forms the core of most fights here. HKs, Revs and Imps form the bulk of the map's sizable host of nasties, and the author knows well how to make use of each monster's strengths.

 

Visually, the map is a treat: well-lit, cleanly textured, with an abundance of simple but effective inset detailing. Additionally, despite being an entirely combat-focused affair, Necropolis is possessed of a certain sense of place. This feeling is primarily engendered via small details, such as the caco-closets in the RL room, which fade gradually into darkness, and via off-map detailing, both of which imply a greater space beyond the play area. This combined with the beautiful midi (which, to me, is strongly reminiscent of the profoundly atmospheric Master of Orion 2), gives the map its sense of place.

 

Spoiler

The afore-mentioned caco-hole. No, not that kind, ya freak.

WkANjwi.png

 

Off map areas go brrr.

JrumD7A.png

Wot8P2M.png

 

All in all, another great outing from Myolden. I look forward to seeing what DW's resident sadistic penguin does next!

Share this post


Link to post

MAP14 - “Sanctuary of Horae” by Shawny

 

Another map pretty much centred around heavy waves of monsters, this one more akin to Map12's very open playspace. This is the one where I was trolled by a secret. Now Shawny is very nice to provide a secret invulnerability this is quite frankly easy to spot. However I found this during the middle of the first wave, so I thought "You know what, I will leave this for now and pick it up later". Now the next fight where you also pick up the rocket launcher locks one area, yep the one where the secret is. Well it was a worthy use of a god-sphere to mop up a grand total of seven enemies. :P

Well what can I say, this one was decent enough, though I do yearn for a bit more incidental combat at this point. Visually, a bit more chaotic but nothing that jars in any way. The map offers a challenge, but never too difficult to beat, I found the pain elementals to be more troubling than the archviles that always appeared at a time when you can funnel them into a more secluded spot. This was better than the first map made by this author, though visually map01 probably had more going for it.

Share this post


Link to post

MAP15 - a Crack in the Skull (HNTR, blind, continuous w/ saves)

 

Spoiler

MAP10 had absolutely nothing of Eternal Doom in it when faced against this entry.  Truly baffling, brilliant, beautiful, and mysterious.  Fantastic realization of a fantastic concept, and i'd love to play a WAD full of maps like this (though, one where the maps would actually be fun to play, like this one, unlike two thirds of ED itself, to be totally honest.)  This map takes place in two dimensions, two different times player goes back and forth between, one in the past when the temple was blooming, and one in present day, with the temple in ruins, and they are accessed mostly through portals.  The secret level would, this is pretty safe bet, be accessed through the RSK skullgate, which is in the past dimension.

 

Just like in Eternal Doom the combat is mostly incidental, but not inconsequential, without setpiece encounters, which suits my playing style perfectly.  Unfortunately, i was unable to unravel the mysteries of this map to the extent of obtaining the RSK, and was thus forced to use the blue skullgate, and simply continue from MAP16, and idclev'ing myself to MAP31.

After the part in the video, i spent about an hour more on the map (indeed, i love this map), and managed to find switches to get entrance to a room with the switches and three Arch-Viles, and also gained access to the second portal and lowering the bars in front of its room, but none of this brought me closer to figuring out the RSK.  i have no clue what i'm missing, having run through the map dozens of times.  i'm either missing something very simple, or something entirely novel.

 

As with most of the mappers involved in this WAD i haven't been familiar with El inferno's work before, but hopefully i'll run more into his maps later.  No stats because in a map like this they're irrelevant, especially since i wasn't able to crack it, and i'm feeling lazy on account of that! 

 

Inspired.

 

If anyone would recommend me any WADs in spirit of Eternal Doom and/or this map, i'd appreciate it.  i even only learned about Eternal Doom IV from this thread, so it's possible some such exist?

 

 

MAP31 - Sanity Control (HNTR, blind, pistol start w/ saves): K 97% (105/111), I 92%, (76/82),  S 50% (2/4), D 2, T 36:26

 

Spoiler

My reward for knowing how to idclev is this elaborate techbase map, whose size belies its actual content, as it feels like every inch has been made use of, like a few maps before (MAP10 and MAP05, at least.)  There's nothing particularly secret about this map, except that thanks to its cramped design it does have an unusual atmosphere, and i don't think it's at all ill-fitted for its slot, despite lacking perhaps the expected 'gimmick' (or possible too that i just didn't recognize it.)  Generally speaking, i am not fond of these kinds of to my mind over-detailed maps that always end up looking restless, but in this case it works, because of its placing.

 

The map starts hot, as i'm immediately assailed by a group of Imps, while the SSG has been placed close but out of sight, so i'm blissfully unaware of its existence as i take them on with the rusty pistol, losing about half of my health in the process.  Not recommended - and were i not such an upstanding doomer i'm sure i would've restarted the level (not sure why i didn't, to be honest).  There's also an immediately available Mega Armor, and yet a Soul Sphere visible but out of reach for later.

 

The first route i take leads me to the RSK, placed out of reach, and i think a secret (i wouldn't know, i didn't get my hands on it), needed for the super-secret exit.  On the way there are a lot of hitscanners, and perhaps one Revenant.  The combat is not overtly hard, but the damage sneaks upon you unawares if you're not careful, but admittedly, there's also a good amount of health available.  On pistol start, ammo was only once a problem, as most weapons will be available before one much misses them.  The RSK path ends up being a dead end, and so i return to start and find the other route, accessed by a quasi-hidden switch.

 

It opens the door to a room with a baker's dozen Imps, guarding both a Plasma Gun and an elevator.  The elevator takes me up to a nice hallway, with open window view to the beautiful nightsky.  Little do i notice the view also hides Sargeants in darkness upon towers, against the stars, before i hear their grunting, after first killing everyone in the hallway.  Lovely design, and always effective.  The YK is available here, guarded by a single Revenant who kills me in the hallway, as he seems to only know how to shoot homing missiles.  Technically i dind't die, but i took three of them in the face thinking i could duck them, and loaded a save instead of continuing with 15% health.  The YK opens the door to the area where the BSK is located - a room at the other side of the base with open windows to the outside and inside the base.

 

Grabbing it launches a small ambush, an AV seen from the window in the next room, and a single Cacodemon emerging from a monster closet.  The funny thing is, i'm now out of ammo save for rockets for some time.  First i try to return the same route i came, but there is an Arch-Vile, in quite small space, not easy to kill at all, and instead i suicide by RL.  Change of plan, i jump from the window to the next room, and kill Archie from a different angle, from relative safety of a larger room.  The beginning area now has a few Revenants, and they eventually come after me as i scour for some ammo. 

 

A new route has opened in the meanwhile, giving me finally the Soul Sphere and also the Plasma gun seen earlier, and the last enemies i find to kill are two Imps from a monster closet.  Or so i think, as there's a rather nasty surprise of a small flock of Lost Souls, not in kill count, on the way to the Plasma gun!  Nice touch.

 

All this time, i've found one secret, which yielded the CAM.  i know of two others, the RSK and a Megasphere visible in a cage, in one of the hallways next to the BSK room, which i suspect would be accessed from the end of the BSK room but without any idea how to open it.  After the video recording, i still returned to this map to try again, and indeed found one secret in the middle section, totally unremarkable i forget what was in it (berserk?), and a secret shootable switch on a wall close to the RSK, but whose effect remained a mystery.  Probably opened another switch somewhere that i could not find.  Well hidden, and i look forward to seeing from somebody's video how the others were accessed.

 

An enjoyable long romp, and a humbling one vis-a-vis the obscurity of the secrets.  One more map in the vein of Eternal Doom in this WAD, in a sense.

 

MAP32?  i played it until about one third of the kills, but the uncontrolled chaos became unmanageable for me :D  As usual with shawny's maps, i enjoyed the design, the way the areas were opening up and the combat was sequenced again, were design features that i haven't seen before, but am too old and slow to start unravelling such a scene with Arch-Viles running loose, and save-scumming simply isn't much fun.

 

 

Rankings.  (And it's worth noting, it's increasingly difficult to maintain this in a meaningful way, much harder than expected, as there's so many aspects to consider.)

Spoiler

MAP15

MAP12

MAP06

MAP01

MAP08

MAP14

MAP03

MAP04

MAP31

MAP11

MAP02

MAP10

MAP09

MAP05

MAP13

MAP07

 

Edited by dei_eldren

Share this post


Link to post

GZDoom/Blind/UV/Continuous/Saves

Map 14 - Sanctuary of Horae - Shawny

100% kills and secrets

Time: 14:06

 

This level is a big open area with 2 main encounters of multiple waves. There's some hitscan when you first start, but picking up the rocket launcher and the plasma rifle triggers the encounters. I was kinda surprised by the length between the teleporting waves. When I was going through the first one after grabbing the RL, I was surprised when more monsters starting coming in around the time I thought I was wrapping up. The biggest threat of each encounter is the archies that show up in the final wave and starts resurrecting everything you've already killed. There's 2 secrets in this map. One of which is an easy to find invul, that I saved for the final wave of the second encounter. I had to save it since this path gets blocked off for a bit but reopens eventually, which helped deal with some of the leftover revs and mancubi I had wandering around. I'm still not entirely sure the logic behind the soul sphere secret. I was able to figure it out, I just don't know how I was supposed to figure it out. I just started randomly shooting wall textures, and one wall that looked the same to the other ones I was shooting cause the soul sphere to lower. Not complaining; I have 200% health for map 15 now. I do wish this map was more like Shawny's map 01 and not just a giant arena. I'm more of an incidental encounter type. That being said, this was pretty fun. Nicely detailed too. Also, did the floor change to snow during the second encounter?

Share this post


Link to post

I think it might be a good idea to put a hint for finding secret exit on MAP15. Read the spoiler at your own peril.

 

Getting the red key card:

Spoiler

After unlocking the blue skull key, go into the present and jump through the window from where you found the yellow key card. After being sent into the past, go look for revealed switches inside the buildings.

 

Getting the yellow skull key:

Spoiler

You don't need a yellow skull key. Instead travel to the future where wall is cracked enough that only red key card is necessary.

 

@TJG1289

Horae is the goddes of season change, and the map does indeed change into summer and winter mode when you activate the waves.

Share this post


Link to post

MAP15 - A Crack in the Skull

hmp/continuous

 

What a terrible first impression for such a great map. I spent the first 5 minutes walking around in circles trying to figure out how to make any progress, and why some of the rubble doesn’t create stairs like it should lol.

And I never figured it out. I ended up noclipping to the super shotgun, assuming that’s the correct way forward, and the level opened up smoothly from there. 

 

But honestly if I ignore that issue, then this map is pretty incredible. It’s such a well realized concept of a temple in two different points of time. The architecture is on point, as is the texture use. This level gives me the strongest sense of adventure out of all the maps in the wad so far.

 

I’ve been giving points of comparison to other wads for all the recent maps, so I guess I’ll continue that with this one. When I first spawned, I immediately thought that the surroundings look like map16 of Sunder, but more rocky than wooden. The alternate version of the temple, that’s not ruined by time, on the other hand reminded me of the green section in Warp of Time from Hellground.

 

The gameplay in this map compliments the atmosphere very well. It’s clearly not the main point of attraction, so it’s not really hard, but never a cakewalk either. It’s pretty sporadic, with a bigger fight once in a while.

 

I kinda suck at finding secrets, so I never figured out how to get the optional keys. Oh well. I guess I’ll have to warp into map31 with a cheat.

 

I still don’t know what makes the ssg room accessible, but I feel like once I figure that out, this map will just get better with every replay. It’s ambitious, good looking and fun to play.

 

Order of preference:

Spoiler

MAP09

MAP15

MAP11

MAP07

MAP10
MAP04
MAP05

MAP13

MAP12
MAP01

MAP14
MAP03
MAP02
MAP08
MAP06

 

Share this post


Link to post

MAP 15 – A Crack in the Skull by El inferno

PrBoom+ 2.5.1.4, UV, Continuous, blind run w/saves

 

MAP15 is a slot that traditionally gets a busy agenda in the typical MegaWAD: it is halfway through the map set, meaning it should either establish the highest difficulty of the first half or instate a new course for the second, and it conceals the exit to the secret level. In Skulltiverse, this level received even more tasks: it closed the “ruins” chapter, it hosted several progression and exploration puzzles, and showcased a time-travel gimmick à la Wormhole, doubling the size of the playing area. The project was ambitious and the result was an immersive, sometimes astonishing creation, but after spending a lot of time in its stone meanders, trying to uncover all mysteries, I came to the conclusion that there were significant flaws that transformed a glorious experience into ruins.

Spoiler

713095300_SkulltiverseMap15_01.jpg.fc763dfc14582be3f6c4977b6c4eb5ce.jpg

That was also the core concept of A Crack in the Skull: a building of former greatness turned into a derelict place, shattered to debris, flooded by muddy waters, and covered by dried out vines. A location of sublime brown colour, where a sparse opposition posed minimal resistance and the worst threat came from natural obstacles: crumbled masonry, fallen bridges and stairs, stuck elevators, sealed rooms, jammed doors and mechanisms. Everything contributed to create a maze of one-way paths with some hard to access areas, something I found fascinating during the early exploration. The YK remained unreachable to the other side of the ravine, then suddenly, I found a semi-hidden room with a FIREBLU portal…

Spoiler

96766673_SkulltiverseMap15_02.jpg.32fdc56b29f305d59f220d1c5bd2b667.jpg

FIREBLU has been historically associated with time-travel in Doom, as introduced by Ty Halderman in his famous TNT:Evilution MAP04. It was amazing to set foot in same place, but in a past time, when it was an ornate palace girdled by the same peaks and ravine, not as barren as in the present, and with the bridge still crossing the river. Trying to reach the YSK led to an abrupt return to the present, which was rather shocking but finally earned me the YK. There was no way to use it in the present though, so I made another trip backwards in time and began unlocking new areas. Combat remained sedate until I grabbed the BK on a pillar, triggering a rather dangerous combat set piece with Mancubi appearing behind me and a thick wall of Pinkies and Imps just ahead in the water. An Arch-Vile oversaw the bridge area with little cover, so I decided to take out the Mancubi first with rockets, then manage the rest. This was probably the most interesting combat situation of the map, on pair with the ambush in the hall with gothic windows, thanks to Cacodemons joining the Imps from the outside.

 

Unfortunately, the regular progression was over by then, since the BSK could be grabbed and crossing the nearby FIREBLU gate sent the player directly into the Skullgate and to MAP16. That was obviously not my desired conclusion, so I reloaded and began a long search for a way to take the RSK and leave through the enigmatic Red Skullgate. Here I encountered a problem which prolonged the quest indefinitely and ultimately changed my enjoyment into sourness. After 40 minutes, I knew every sector of the map, but I came to hating those one-ways and the time I lost in fruitless search. The secret Megasphere chamber, a spiteful trap that I found repulsive, almost broke my determination. I had figured out everything, but not how to take the Blur Sphere and open the way to the RK.

Spoiler

1253345702_SkulltiverseMap15_03.jpg.d4a7a29dd01d7bb03bc9c5f279d0829b.jpg

I spent time in Doom Builder, trying to understand, and I concluded there was something wrong with an invisible line that was supposed to teleport me from the present window to the past, picking up the artifact and opening a secret closet. The correct way to progress was strafe-jumping from the YK ledge through the window, but I would never have figured it out if @ViolentBeetle had not spoiled it. There was no reason to jump to an empty window that could be crossed from the inside for no effect. It made no sense at all. If the access from the ruined room interior were removed, maybe someone would attempt the jump, knowing that there was an unreachable pickup in the past.

 

I resorted to IDCLIP, then I entered the RSK chamber and faced its annoying ambush, which was difficult only because of the impassable force field that prevented me from entering the chamber with the Hell Noble host and outmanoeuvre them, the Arachnotrons and the Pain Elementals. This trap felt preposterous and artificially constructed. At least it offered another Megasphere to compensate, but the Red Skullgate was meant to be another death exit…

Spoiler

2076167434_SkulltiverseMap15_04.jpg.16a38f6181e82452c80d2093172d6845.jpg

The compulsory stay exacerbated the things I disliked about the map: the monotone brown of the present ruins (too bad there are no brown Demons to fit the palette; they would be nicknamed "Brownies"), its time-consuming one-ways, the annoying impassable line at the RSK fight, the not so impressive decorations of the palace in the past (could have risked some more colour), and the Arch-Vile pain chance Russian roulette by the secret Megasphere. The map was close to excellence until I started searching for the secret exit, then a missing link made the whole structure fall apart. @El Inferno put a lot of creativity and technical prowess into this level, which was a milestone for the MegaWAD and a memorable entry notwithstanding the shortcomings, with a remarkable time-travel narrative and a compelling exploratory element.

Share this post


Link to post

Map14:

stv14FDA.zip

My first death is in the demo (almost survived), the rest is in the video.

 

Usually, I enjoy maps that are constantly hectic like this one, so it's hard to put my finger on exactly why I found it so consistently annoying. Maybe it's the constant shortage of rockets I experienced, as I was never quite sure where or when ammo was going to spawn in, it often turned out to be inaccessible because of where the monster horde happened to be, and the archviles are very troublesome in such an open environment where they're so difficult to take out due to lack of rockets and being surrounded by other enemies. I was frequently sniped by them with seemingly no way to get to cover in time because the layout was so open, or I was concerned about running into a wall of monsters (or invisible walls as seen at 8:40 in the video). I'm sure these problems are alleviated greatly by foreknowledge and good routing, but I feel the map leans too heavily on that for my liking. I'd probably enjoy it more with double the number of rockets, or without enemies spawning invisibly in distant parts of the map just because a certain amount of time passed.

 

Edit: I tried it again, this time going for the plasma gun first, which I previously didn't know you could do. I definitely think the map plays better this way since you then have an additional weapon for the more difficult rocket launcher wave. I intentionally avoided the secrets until the end, they're fortunately not necessary just to survive, but they obviously help, and I imagine the invulnerability could be put to some pretty fun use for UV-Max speedrunning. Unfortunately, two enemies failed to teleport in, as iddtx2 revealed. In my previous playthrough (the video above), there was a missing enemy, which I assumed was in a secret I hadn't found, but now I think it too was probably stuck somewhere unreachable to any player. If this is as common as it seems, it's a serious problem for UV-Max speedrunning.

Edited by Pseudonaut

Share this post


Link to post

Map 15 - A Crack in the skull by El Inferno

This may be my favorite map design of the whole wad. It took me an hour or two just to complete this map the first time I played it, there is just so many cool details going on.

 

A long abandoned fortress set atop a gulley, initially there is not much life in this decaying corpse of crumbling brick and vegetation. The player eplores the initial map through various holes that have formed in the structure, and it only once the player finds a hidden time portal that the map truly comes awake. Transforming from a dismal brown present to a much greener and complete past. The past version of the map looses a lot of its decay, has much nicer and cleaner detailing, and a lot more monsters. The player will be shifting between the two time periods for the rest of the map trying to recover the blue skull.

Combat wise, this map is fairly clean and proper with its monster excecution. Ammo is a little on the lighter side but easily manageable. The main feature is the map itself. Finely crafted and oozing with detail, especially in the past. The monotone palettes initially seemed like a blended mush, but over time i came to appreciate it. Not only does it still convey all the features they need to, but it also goes with the theme of the map, a long forgotten structure eroding away, long has the intricate brickwork just crumbled into undiscernible rubble. 

 

The secret exit is very mixed for me however. Ignoring the blur sphere window jump which is a bit esoteric, but not anywhere further off from plutonia 2 requiring an archvile jump to access the secret exit. No my main issue is that the rest of the pieces are very tricky to discover (as shown by the need of hints, and my first playthough I never got it after much searching) unless you REALLY pay attention to the map, which is genius in itself. All of the secret sections you need to access in the past, are actually tunnels and areas you move through in the present, just as decaying holes in the walls. Very clever but something i only learned after a couple playthroughs. Also I barely survived the archvile room by sheer luck, since the first time I didn't know about the clever gimmick of this fight, which is using the central pillars to do perform a game oversight and negate the arch-viles explosive damage. All great stuff but very obsucre and i wouldn't expect the average doomer to notice the hidden tunnels, know how to deal with the arch viles, and to sr50 to the blur sphere from the past.

Also props to the red skull arena. It may be a bit tough, but the boom "block player only" line in the arena is such a clever bit of mapping that i appreciate entirely because of the mapping restrictions from this project, as that area the demons come from was outside the allowable player area, so this was a genius bit of mapping to make it so the player couldn't access the area but the demons could.

Overall i really enjoy this map, even if the secret exit is very tricky. Maybe not my favorite overall from the WAD, but my favorite just on map design.

Share this post


Link to post

Time to catch up.

 

UV | Continuous | dsda-doom 

 

MAP12: Ruins

Ammo was pretty tight here, and the chaingun was nowhere to be found. I wasn't really a fan of the archvile teleporting away to the other side of the map to start resurrecting things, and just kind of groaned every time the sides got repopulated with enemies to snipe at me. Not the worst map, but it's tough when it has to be compared to the stellar last few maps. 

 

MAP13: Necropolis 

It had a similar feel to Myolden's other map in the 9th slot, and I think I prefer that over this. However, this was still a fantastic map that I enjoyed playing. Myolden is a mapper I should keep tabs on. 

 

MAP14: Sanctuary of Horae 

It felt like the stream of enemies was never ending here. I wanted to kill all of them but I was down to around 10% HP and had no idea how to get the soul sphere so I decided to just grab the blue key and duck out. Still a fun map though. 

 

Spoiler

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

MAP13: "Necropolis" by Myolden

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 2/4 secrets

 

Between the metallic cave aesthetic, the well-tuned ambushes, and the Final Fantasy Tactics midi, this map almost seems like it'd fit right in as an early-mid Sunlust map. This map contains one of its trickier fights right at the start, leaving you with a shotgun before jumping down into a cramped area filled with demons. My plan was basically just to get to the SSG and run back to the corridor you jumped into, using the end of it as your foothold. It's a relatively safe spot to shoot from, and the mancubi tend to cause an infight at some point along the way. 

 

The next room has a few switches to hit to progress, with each one causing some amount of chaos in the room you're in. There is one switch especially of note that teleports half a dozen chaingunners onto the pillars above you, which are pretty much guaranteed to take down a big chunk of your health if you don't expect them. The room after functions similarly, only possessing a more vertical layout, with a bit of black liquid at the bottom and more monsters on ledges at the top and pillars outside the area. It also gives you the plasma which, in combination of the nearby cell pack secret, can make your life a lot easier in the coming moments. Once the fights in this room are done, you can get to the blue key, which traps you with revenants in a claustrophobic room with just enough room to circle-strafe and plasma. A couple of mancubi guard your way out and then you're done.

 

Another very fun map by Myolden. May be my favourite in the wad so far.

 

MAP14: "Sanctuary of Horae" by Shawny

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 2/2 secrets

 

A somewhat slaughtery map, taking place in a single large arena. It starts with the area being comparatively sparsely populated with hitscanners, and an SSG and chaingun to equip yourself with. From then, the map contains two routes that both populate the arena with hordes of monsters, coming in scattered waves. The rocket launcher route is the far more devious of the two, as it brings archviles into the mix. Despite this I would take the easier plasma gun route first, even if it caused the arena to have more corpses for the archviles to resurrect I would just feel more equipped to deal with the threats when I had a plasma gun and a hundred or so cells left over.

 

One thing I find neat about the level is that there are "ammo stations" dotted around the map that have ammo teleport in along with the waves of monsters. I thought it was a neat mechanic having you track them down to restock as the hordes pour in. Even so, the map is pretty tight on ammo, so you have to be careful not to waste pickups, which can sometimes be difficult as you don't have a backpack and often times you will end up with multiple pickups stacked on top of one another. The map also has an invulnerability secret, but it gets blocked off when you unleash the far more difficult rocket launcher wave (it is down the plasma path), so I wasn't able to get much use out of it. 

 

A fun little slaughter. The archvile waves added quite a bit of challenge, even upon completing the map I felt like I was missing a bit of strategy in dealing with them and I may have lucked out a bit. 

Share this post


Link to post
2 hours ago, DFF said:

but the boom "block player only" line

 

The setup actually uses silent "monster only" teleport lines very close to the impassable line, giving the illusion of a "player-only limit" line while the hell knights and barons evade that limit in front of your wide open eyes, except such a line type doesn't really exist in boom afaik. I admit I felt the urge to take a deep look at the stuff in the editor after finnishing the map, because that is indeed cleverly -and evilly- well done. 

Share this post


Link to post
8 hours ago, ViolentBeetle said:

Getting the red key card:

  Hide contents

After unlocking the blue skull key, go into the present and jump through the window from where you found the yellow key card. After being sent into the past, go look for revealed switches inside the buildings.

 

 

Obscure for sure, but in hindsight, what else was there to do?  i'll never miss that trick again..  more out of the box thinking for Doom maps is welcome.  The blursphere was a brilliant item to use for that clue.

Edited by dei_eldren

Share this post


Link to post
1 hour ago, galileo31dos01 said:

 

The setup actually uses silent "monster only" teleport lines very close to the impassable line, giving the illusion of a "player-only limit" line while the hell knights and barons evade that limit in front of your wide open eyes, except such a line type doesn't really exist in boom afaik. I admit I felt the urge to take a deep look at the stuff in the editor after finnishing the map, because that is indeed cleverly -and evilly- well done. 

 

yeah thats why I put it in quotes. First thing i did when playtesting the map in beta was to crack it open and see what was going on. It peaked my interest when i couldn't access that area but the monsters seemingly could.

Edited by DFF

Share this post


Link to post

map13: "Necropolis" by Myolden


General observation: the second episode is starting to pick it up. I heard that e2 and e3 are the best, so I am looking forward to that. 

 

In "Necropolis," Myolden understands what he likes about combat gauntlets. Rather than using the more genre-typical "one arena, one or two fights" structure, every  major arena is a "fight dispenser": a few skirmishes and brawls layered into a tapestry of chaos. It's sort of like the outdoor eastern space in map09 by the same author, but almost every area in "Necropolis" works that way. Pain elementals and archviles and hitscanners are shockingly rare for a "challenge" map, emboldening you to not clear every straggler before dispensing the next wave; and squishy monsters like imps are featured heavily, giving you soft targets to push through if you're hemmed in by the mess you make. 

 

A general misconception I've seen is that "fun" and "challenge" are separate entities in Doom. While that might reflect people's enjoyment of the game subjectively, I don't think it's true as a matter of principle. Fundamentally, "rocketing hordes of imps with lots of space" and (one of many random examples) "dancing around a group of hell knights, in a cramped-enough space that you're under lots of pressure, but with enough space to pull off exciting little maneuvers" can lead to similar feelings, even if one might be designed to be straightforwardly fun, and the other might require active participation from the player to be fun. Or even if one's payoffs might be audiovisual (gibbing imps or zombies, BFGing hordes to smithereens, watching cybs get crushed) and the other's might be abstract (pressure, tension, suspense, processing info and reacting, reading situations and improvising strategies -- to name some). And in a map with a few imp hordes to gib or slice through with SSG or plasma, the most pure fun moments I had involved just being under pressure and having to react. 

 

map14: "Sanctuary of Horae" by Shawny

 

The placid setting and fantasy music and scattering of monsters might resemble the opening of a longer journey, but then you remember you're playing a confinement project and 260 monsters have to go somewhere. Soon after, the truth is unveiled: this is an invasion map. Well, sort of. 


That "sort of" is one of my favorite things about the structure. Rather than the usual timed waves alone, there are a lot of other side bits, and in fact there are not just one but two timed invasions. These fit together very smoothly. While the first half was happening, I ended up feeling pressured to search out better weapons, which naturally got me to kickstart the second half while a lot of monsters were still roaming. (It was only when I looked in the editor after that I realized there were two phases.) 


While the action is hectic and messy and fun, if I had a preference, it would be a couple fewer archviles, maybe swapping in more pain elementals for those. The archies aren't really oppressive or unfair, but they do restrict your options a bit; the way they can appear suddenly when you're out in the open, coupled with the modest health, curtailed much of the freewheeling spirit I'd want to play such a map with. 

 

As in Shawny's opener, lighting and detailing is strong. This one is even quirkier and more creative in design, one of the few reasons Skulltiverse is channeling "JPCP" energy to me. Much like JPCP had Big Concepts like the comic book automap, or Nanka's fruit map, the theme and overarching concept here relates to the four seasons. The titular "Horae" are apparently "the goddesses of the seasons and the natural portions of time." Each quadrant is detailed to fit a season, and halfway through, it snows. As with map11's transformation, that is really cool (this time that also doubles as a bad pun). 

 

htYIdFP.pngwxTVW77.png

LMOCXTR.pngqdoHmHn.png

Share this post


Link to post

MAP15 - A Crack in the Skull

UV | Continuous | GZDoom and Vanilla+

 

This map had a grimdark, decrepit dungeon aesthetic to it that made for an interesting change and plays around with the two dimensions gag similar to Wormhole from TNT or that one map from Going Down. Progression was the only thing I disliked about this map. The combat, traps and eerie atmosphere were cool, but trying to figure out how to navigate the map itself was a bit of a chore. Especially with that one bit that very much looked like a strafe-run jump I was supposed to do and thought I wasn't pulling it off correctly and wasted a lot of time literally banging my gormless noggin against a wall. 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

@Book Lord
That review is pretty much spot on, thank you so much.
I would just say that the scripting is not as complicated as it seems.
(I am not that mapping tech-savvy).
Timing is done by "door close open after x seconds" on the conveyour belt with a voodoo player doll.
The texture change is just a "change texture and effect". The notable thing here is that this process is done
when player is trapped in one of the side room when player can´t see the process happening.
In fact plyer should be busy fighting baron/knights. So it is like when loading screens are masked by elevator rides etc. in games.

 

18 hours ago, TJG1289 said:

I do wish this map was more like Shawny's map 01 and not just a giant arena. I'm more of an incidental encounter type.

Yeah, we kinda both. Not saying I don´t like what I have done, but I am more of a exploratory type myself. The fact is that for this
project my brain went "we doing combat stuff" and that was end of that. Hopefully next project I will be able to utilize both.
More interesting stuff I did in Hellevator with combination of some more combat focused maps from this project.
And also, yes as was pointed earlier, the "gimmick" of the map is that there is "season change" each arena.
 

 

14 hours ago, Pseudonaut said:

I think it too was probably stuck somewhere unreachable to any player.

I am keeping my eye out for this. The monster closet method I am using is not flawless (yet) so I know there is super rare chance this can happen
in certain situation (I guess). The thing is the monsters always got out eventually without any problems from all the times I tested the map. Also from
the recent playthroughs I haven´t notice this problem. However, I have not been testing on DSDA and I heard that happening before so I am taking note.
And since conveyours and probably some behaviors are bit different in various ports I can see this being a problem.
(Also in my other maps uses the same method so we will see. More feedback/data is always good.)

EDIT: I did IDDT the demo you provided and found that, sadly, imp was stuck in the corner. I will probably try to modify
         the sound tunnels to hopefully trick the AI to move back to the conveyour, though I need to be careful not to make it
         worse... or crusher at the end of the wave may work too... In any case that demo recording is very useful. Much appreciated.


Quick notes about the map while I am at it.
The map was "balanced" around player being mobile, collecting stuff, switching weapons, (killing lots of imps with rocket launcher),
defending positions when having supplies to do so. That is why there is not backpack on the map. That being said if the player is active
and uses resources and ammo is smart way there is very little chance of running out, on the contrary if player is playing more passive

style there is a good change the ammo pickups will be wasted and become a bit rare (most people will infight anyway I feel like).
Rockets are in limited demand and hard to get because I know if there was too much player would be just running around with a rocket launcher

24/7 and my goal was the opposite. (Then again, this is all a theory, though from what I have read and seen this is mostly what I was expecting.)

Some ammo spawning indicator could have been implemented but in the end I opted not to after some thought process and embraced

more chaotic and "free" nature of the map. That being said the layout could have been a bit more refined, mostly because Doom AI is

frequently stuck in some places, but that boat already sailed.

The invul secret was designed to a cleaning duty tool as people have already pointed out.
The cave is closed in during both arenas but opens eventually

and that is the time to grab it. When I played it I used it to clean of the Archviles if things went wrong.

And the last thing, since VB is planning on releasing a updated version of the wad after you all are done with it, I have done some minor changes
to the map and the soulsphere secret is one of them. Process of getting it will be basically the same, just the button texture and position will be changed. Also a railing in the cavern after me being stubborn/ignorant for months.

Edited by Shawny : Adding info after inspecting the demo recording.

Share this post


Link to post

Sanctuary of Horae - Shawny

An invasion-style map, eh? I suppose it was inevitable, given the size restrictions. Overall, I think Shawny did a good job here, especially on the visual front (to the surprise of precisely no one), though I do have a few issues with the map. First, though, I'll go over what I like about the map, which is most of it.

 

For starters, the layout is very well-crafted, as it is able to effectively weave various different height-levels into a single cohesive playspace, easy to navigate in haste but not to the extent that simple circle-strafing can win the day. The map is also clearly designed with infinite actor height in mind, since I never found myself "unfairly" obstructed from below or above by Doom's most odious mechanic.

 

Visually, the map is also quite strong, though not to the same extent as the opening level, which, in my opinion, is better composed in terms of lighting and general detail, and also has a stronger sense of place due to its setting being more specific. This map does have a bit more visual variety, though, with a wider range of colours and textures. One thing this map has in common with Shawny's last entry is the visual transformation of the main area as a result of player progression, accomplished here by snowfall, and previously via a change in light level.

 

Spoiler

Nice.

1y73Qy0.png

 

Very nice.

LoSjyUx.png

 

The pacing of the map is also well done, fast but not frantic, affording the player opportunity to plan ahead while still punishing inactivity. For the most part, the selection, number and placement of monsters is spot-on as well, resulting in enough infighting to keep things interesting but not enough to make the map too easy. Additionally, I found the amount of pressure brought to bare on the player at any one point in time to be appropriate for the concept and also for the desired level of difficulty, for the most part anyway. Which brings me to my first complaint:

 

This map did not need Archviles. While I understand the need to add high-priority, time-sensitive targets into the mix in order to force the player to actively engage with the opposition rather than waiting for it to whittle itself down via infighting, I found that the map's Pain Elementals achieved this result more effectively. AVs can, in open layouts especially, be extremely disruptive to the kind of free-wheeling carnage that the layout and pace of the map engenders. PEs apply a similar kind of pressure, but do not force the player to seek shelter at semi-random intervals.

 

My second issue is with the map's resource balance. Ammo is handled pretty well here, abundant enough to avoid grind / over-reliance on infighting, but placed in such a way so as to avoid camping. Health, however is a different story. Personally, I do not believe that a map of this tempo is best served by an attrition-style challenge. The combat is simply too fast-paced and chaotic for such an approach to work. This is not a big issue, mind: a couple of extra medikits and another green armour would solve the problem imo.

 

Still, my overall opinion of the map is strongly positive. Sanctuary of Hoare is a well-crafted experience across the board, a testament to the author's skill.

Share this post


Link to post

I’ve been playing maps early this month and holy lord am I glad it did for today. 

 

MAP15 - A Crack in the Skull - dsda-doom - skill 4 pistol start many rewinds, godmode, IDCLIP, all of it

 

Holy crap.

Immediate reactions are to how beautiful this whole thing is. Before the frustration sets in, that is.

The frustration compounds as you experience the fantastic visuals and the obvious amount of work that went into this, the incredible time-warp concept done so well, but then in practice it’s such a painful, unintuitive mess at times.

The most internally polarizing feelings I've had about a map in a very long time. Thousands of kudos to the author.

 

I’ve posted the hour+ of frustration below, below the map spoilers 

Spoiler:

Spoiler

 

What the HELL is this ‘impossible to reach yellow skull’ nonsense??

I was glad that even though you weren’t meant to get the yellow skull key, it still works and lets you in at least.

 

 

Spoiler

 

 

MAP31 - Sanity Control - dsda-doom - skill 4 pistol start many rewinds

 

Idk what was supposed to be familiar about this map based on the story text. In any case it’s a well-crafted techbase with a good schtick for the super-secret exit.

 

Spoiler

 

 

MAP32 - The Penthouse - dsda-doom - skill 4 pistol start, godmode used

 

A great pick for a MAP32. Combat evolves (devolves?) into absolute insanity. Is this Doomguy’s bed? Doomguy is going to need a rest after this.

If this wasn’t the third in DWMC’s classic “15-31-32” pain sequence I probably wouldn’t have god-moded half way through. I do plan on playing this one legit at some point.

 

Spoiler

 

 

Share this post


Link to post

Map 15 - A Crack in the Skull (UV, pistol-start)

 

I've played a number of El Inferno maps before and I know he really likes to ram home the difficulty. FFD, for instance, was another attempt at a temple map, but was full-on slaughter, combined with a first area extremely difficult to escape. As a rule, his maps fall between well-crafted environments with Sunlust-esque combat with a heavy slaughter focus, or just the latter combined with layouts and ammo placements that just seem thrown together in a few minutes. This one has some aesthetic similarities in common with his previous work, but is otherwise almost entirely different from what he's done before.

 

First, we'll just talk about the map. El Inferno does a magnificent job of rendering a monochrome, ruined temple at some indeterminate point in the future. The random manner in which you can see clear sings of crumbling really adds a lot. Plus the weak enemies you encounter at first really add to the experience. Nothing's working and everything seems blocked off. I spent 12 minutes wandering around before I thought to check out a rubble pile I'd passed at the west end of the map and guess what? Climbing success. This takes you to a platform you probably saw before leading to a passage concealed by cobweb and a fireblu portal. Why crossing it produces the switch sound I have no idea.

 

Either way, you are now in the past! Everything is covered in a greenish shade, the hills outside have a very pleasing appearance to them, and the water is entirely lacking in mud and is instead....black. Don't ask questions, just cross the intact platforms, head toward the yellow key....and prepare to be transported immediately to the past and encounter a nasty ambush! It'll help if you have the Super Shotgun at this point, but otherwise, you'll have to make do with the chaingun and be mindful of the far Manicubus toward the east.

 

From this point, the map is finding keys and hitting switches, and finding somewhat hidden passageways. I'm all but finished with Eternal Doom, so this was all second nature. Well, considering I didn't bother looking for the Super Shotgun until I found the bullshit Megasphere trap in the west and died a couple of times, maybe not(it's not really that hard to acquire at all if you're observant of sector geometry). The blue card trap was possibly the most dangerous. You get a rocket launcher and Supercharge to survive the Manicubi quad that teleports in the back as well as a pinkie mob with an imp accompaniment and an Arch-vile on a platform at the far end.

 

Now the yellow key....I had read through BookLord's post but had forgot what to do, other than it involved reaching the window with the blursphere toward the southwest. I went back to the past at least 4 times and spent close to 20 minutes before realizing you could reach the window from the yk ledge in the past. A sequence events is set off that ends up with you possessing the RSK and a nasty ambush involving barons and Hell Knights along with an Archnotron at the back to keep you on your toes. Good luck.

 

I may be skipping Map 31 and 32. We'll have to see.

Edited by LadyMistDragon

Share this post


Link to post

MAP15 - "A Crack in the Skull" - El Infierno (100%K/I/S):

Holy crap, where to start...
... A puzzle map, which, at first,  had its problems, as everyone that come to this map, come with the "puzzle" switch off. There are many puzzle things to do here, aswell as some weird, pixel perfect, Doom platforming. I know this is not for everybody, but hear me out, try to expect something different from what you were playing.
The map itself is an abandoned temple in a "post-apocalyptic" world. Everything is rotten, decayed, broken and abandoned. There are some occasional enemies, and for the most part, nothing is happening, if you want to get out, you'll have to start thinking a little bit outside the box, as most of the time, you'll be squeezing through gaps you would normally think, you are not intended to get through them. After some platforming, you'll find  your first portal, hidden behind some vines. Then, in an amazing (and scary) transition, the map starts kicking, you travel to the past, where said temple was alive, and the landscape lush. Here is where the map actually starts, with monster encounters, ammo and things to do.
Again, finding the blue skull is a challenge all alone. But you'll notice the portal, in the "past" version of the map, is all red, and you see a red skull right from the start, when you get at the middle of it. Not going to spoil anything, but trying to find a way around the red skull, is another set piece entirely. You'll feel like playing Tomb Raider from this point, trying to find secret switches, trying to constantly grab the yellow skull with failed results, doing whatever to reveal more and more to the map itself. The fights inside the "secret" areas, are just painful, and you'll have to act quickly, as there is not much time to do.

This is a magnum opus map, found in a place you would not expect to find it (it's in the same megawad as MAP02/MAP06), and totally feels like something different, is it fair to compare it to the rest? Yes, does follow the project rules at mapping, and gives us an excellent twist. You can make so much at Boom mapping as Voodoo doll scripts and generalized actions let you do. This is like finding your prize inside the cereal box. This won't work aswell as a standalone, as the two particular exit portals make the entire deal.
I think this will stand as the better map of this bunch, unless...

Deaths: 67 (HMP - PrBoom+)

Order of preference:

Spoiler

 

MAP15

MAP10
MAP09
MAP13
MAP11

MAP05
MAP12

MAP03

MAP01
MAP14
MAP04
MAP07
MAP08
MAP02
MAP06

 


I don't know who El Inferno is, and what other maps he made, this may be his only contribution to something Doom-related, but this is certainly, a gem. I wasted many time playing this, and I started playing yesterday, so I'll take my time for the secret maps.

Share this post


Link to post

MAP15 - “A Crack in the Skull” by El inferno

 

Well this is certainly a change of pace. It took a while to grasp the progression with all that rubble around. It is a full blown take on the time travel/visit the past to change the present thematic. You will eventually pick up what is going on and reach the blue skull and exit quite swiftly. There are only really two fights of note here, the first being the blue keycard that suddenly sandwiches you between a group of mancubi and a mass of imps/demons with an archvile overhead. The other is the process of unlocking the blue skull key that puts you in a claustrophobic imp/caco trap. Both were nicely done by the way.

If the progression doesn't bother you then you will leave with around 80% kills and think "This was a very good map".

Now the secret exit, I must confess I made a real hash here, I actually did two thirds of the required puzzle solving but then simply ignored a new area that opened up. This included the jump through the window because at times you just want to do random stuff like this and see what happens... the archvile trap killed me by the way. So the new area brings forward a series of lower floors that leads to a small boxy room. Now, I didn't like this room. I survived it first time but frankly it wasn't pleasant. Having archviles with no cover isn't exactly a cool move to make. Now I am pretty sure you can cut the damage done by hugging those central cubes, but this did bugger all here. Now beyond here you can access the red keycard and unlock the access to the red skull. Now the set up is one that I haven't seen before, again I wasn't overly keen, I think the spiders might be a little harsh in terms of potential of ruining your day, probably better than revenants/mancubi though. So essentially you have in front of you is a wall of meat that you pretty much cannot get behind. A cool trick and the pain elementals later on also provide a serious threat. Luckily on my third try I killed the hellknights/barons quick enough to comfortably clean up the rest.

 

So overall, the map is beautiful to look at, the two time periods offer two different feelings of beauty, one in the past that is your lush temple surrounded by hills/water, the other a far bleaker and ruined affair. Kind of like visiting the likes of the Lake District or Scotland on a sunny summers day and then revisiting on a wet and windy Autumn day. It has its own charm. The combat was in my opinion well paced with enough ups and down, however the path to the secret exit is marred by controversial combat scenarios. Some will love this, some will hate this, for me it was a good map and I highly appreciate the effort put into this one. It is a standout map regardless of your opinion.

Share this post


Link to post

GZDoom/Blind/UV/Continuous/Saves

Map 15 - A Crack In The Skull - El inferno

100% kills and secrets

Time: 36:46

Deaths: 4

 

Smack dab in the middle of this WAD, we get a time-hopping puzzle level. There is a lot of ingenuity to this level, in terms of puzzles, and a few tough fights for the ones who seek out the secret exit. At first, this looks like a dilapidated ruin with only a few enemies to deal with. But explore for long enough, and you'll find your first portal that takes you to the past, where this temple is flush with green and blue water, and way more baddies. You'll notice in this past version that the skull portal is red instead of blue, so if you wanna go to map 31, you gotta get to the red skull. Finding the red skull is easy, getting it is the hard part. Hell, just figuring things out enough to get the normal blue skull is hard enough, as you'll be hitting switches and going through portals in order to manipulate both time periods. In GZDoom, I can see most teleporter lines on the automap, but the one just before the yellow skull isn't on it, so that was a surprise when I got kicked back to the present and had to deal with too many a-holes all of a sudden. Speaking of the automap, I could see a teleporter line through a window, but I couldn't figure out why it wouldn't teleport me until I read a certain spoiler just after my last post here. Very clever, and very nice clue as well. My first death came from this room, when I walked in and got instantly surrounded by imps and outside cacos. Hitting the switches in this room I believe unlocks the bars to the red skull portal and the blue skull, and now we can hunt for the red skull. We need to find a few switches to open up a new path to a pretty unique archie encounter, where you have no cover, but if you use the short pillars in the room, you can use the glitch where all the blast damage gets absorbed into the wall, only causing you 20% damage. Pretty cool idea, and having to deal with 4 archies, a hell knight, and a rev (in waves) make this pretty tough (yay for a megaspehre). Once you finally grab the red card and head back to the present to grab the red skull, we get the final fight that caused me 3 deaths. Small arena with a ton of hell knights, a baron or 2, and 3 arachnotrons behind you. It's very easy to get cornered and/or plasma fried here, and I don't really have a consistent strat for it. You also can't run ahead to where the nobles are, cause of a player-blocking linedef, but they can get to you, which is not something I see often. Oh, and pain elementals show up too. But with them done, you can head back to the past with 7% health like I did, jump in the portal, and death exit (glad I didn't heal up beforehand!). 

 

This is a pretty cool level! Has some nice fights in it, and the time-hopping to figure out progression is fun. Nicely detailed as well. I really dig the contrast between the two time periods. The puzzle of the map isn't really too tough, you just have to be thorough in your exploration.

Share this post


Link to post

MAP16 - Hell or High Water (HNTR, blind, pistol start w/ saves): K 102%, I 100%, S 100% (3/3), T 30:33

 

Spoiler

So we begin with high water, but hell has already begun to reach the surface, as the map begins hot with Cacodemons and Revenants in front, and surprise of a Pinky and Lost Soul from the side.  It's all quite innocuous so far, with only light damage taken, until it's time to empty the adjoining room from the water, and get out into the water-filled courtyard.  More of hell here, and venturing at first out without a care i am soon enough shot to bits by the sneaky Chaingunners from the window i don't notice nor understand where they could be firing from as i focus on the flock of Cacodemons.  On second try, i camp behind the door, having to keep operating the switch up the stairs, to get rid of the Cacodemons before going out so boldly.  The courtyard is filled with an assortment, but it's again quite small and easy to handle compared to what's to come when the water is drained, and more of hell is revealed.  After the main battle is over, i fight the guardians of the switch in one of the buildings very sloppily and die again on a single Revenant.  That won't do later if i wanna make it out of this map alive.

 

Once the water is drained, all hell breaks loose upon the death rock dance hall, the courtyard proper, as broken bodies (ie. Revenants) bring their dates (ie. Cacodemons) with them, along with other hooligans, and for some reason target mainly me instead of having a good time (nah, i loathe dancing, maybe they do too.)  Takes me a few tries but the best strategy is to jump into the narrow water canal below the building floor that runs across the courtyard, and thin the hordes from there, as one only needs to try and duck projectiles and Lost Souls from one direxion.  After it's done, i simply admire the change in the courtyard, now that the buildings are no longer half submerged, and the building housing the YSK earlier visible from one of the windows is now also accessible.  Grabbing it launches a surprisingly modest attack of Imps and hitscanners, as i camp inside the building taking them out.

 

The first fucking Arch-Vile appears in the YSK building, which has a striking effect of changing into a room of stairs leading up to the window at the top.  While that is happening, some Cacodemons appear, forcing me to retreat back to the courtyard, only to have them to have escaped from above to attack me.  Going back, there is now access to a water canal ledge on the side of the courtyard, and from here we go to the next area, where the RSK will be available, with which the BSK can be lowered from its lofty heights upon a tower on the courtyard.

 

The RSK is located in a system of small caves, first guarded by a Mancubus and Hell Knights.  Grabbing it launches a trap of two Revenants and a lot of Cacodemons, with some Imps, and on my first attempt i run outside, which of course is the right choice, but unfortunate encounter with a Revenant kills me, so for my next attempt i decide stupidly to stay inside the caves to kill them with plasma.  i survive, but with only 13% health left.  It would actually have been quite simple to handle them outside of the caves, as there was quite a bit of space, and surviving Cacos firing at me from both sides in close quarters at 13% health while shotgunning them was actually my best gameplay of the map - lasted perhaps 15 seconds!  Nothing like wenn es sein muss...

 

The assault launched with the BSK is the worst one, with Revenants and Cacos running amok, but also Arachnotrons and more Revenants on the water-canal ledge above.  After dying once, i camp inside a building, and then attempt methodically to take out everyone.  The last enemies are on the YSK through which one must pass to get back to the skullgate, including two fucking Arch-Viles, the second one appearing just as it looks like the route is clear.  However, they are not dickishly placed, and there's enough cover from their attacks in the room to survive both at first attempt.  The subsequent secret hunt took me a while, but eventually i found also the switch to lower the the Soul Sphere.

 

From ViolentBeetle's maps so far, this is on par with MAP11, which i liked too, but perhaps this is even slightly easier on HNTR (which i can not be certain of because i played MAP11 on a very bad day.)  The combat was a rough challenge, but getting through all the fights with only one or two deaths is testament to the fact i didn't find them unfair or too difficult for HNTR, like especially in MAP07. 

 

The concept is well realized but felt just a bit incomplete, as it would have been nice to see the draining of the waters also in the caves of the RSK area, but perhaps understandable as there was a time-limit for authoring these maps.  The gimmick elevates the map from being just a romp from one encounter to another to something much more interesting with its altering locations, having thus much in common with the author's MAP11.  In many ways also this map brought me back to both Bourgeois Deathmatch and Zone 400 both by its design- and combat-styles, while naturally being more elaborate and polished than maps in either of them.  After MAP07 i would have not expected ViolentBeetle's style and my taste ever to get too close to each other :)

 

 

Spoiler

MAP15

MAP12

MAP06

MAP01

MAP08

MAP14

MAP03

MAP04

MAP31

MAP16

MAP11

MAP02

MAP10

MAP09

MAP05

MAP13

MAP07

 

Share this post


Link to post

A Crack in the Skull - El Inferno

This is the map that made me fall for Skulltiverse. It is just... brilliant, on so many levels. With this entry, El Inferno knocked the ball not just out of the park, but into the stratosphere. Truly, A Crack in the Skull is the best map in the set, the crown jewel of the Skull Lord's myriad conquests, and a testament to the immense skill of the author.

 

oLRi3HW.png

 

In a broad sense, A Crack in the Skull could be described as a "Wormhole-esque" experience, the latest in a long and prodigious line of dimension-swapping adventures. It is only natural for this theme to appear in the context of a dimension-hopping CP like SKulltiverse, inevitable even. Surprisingly, given the restrictions, or perhaps because of them, this map is one of the most cohesive and well-crafted examples of this sub-genre I have yet played. It also possesses an abnormally strong sense of place even by the standards of said sub-genre, an impressive feat for sure.

 

Spoiler

This off-map detailing certainly helps in that regard.

lwc207k.png

 

My monkey brain be like: where dat river go? Ya know, before logic brain kicks in and says: nowhere, its a river to nowhere...

5sKpDoE.png

 

Every element of the map: progression, combat, visual-design, is executed exceptionally well, each synergizing with the others to create a near-perfect whole. On my first playthrough, I was continuously surprised by the excellence on display. By the time I finally 100%-ed the map after nearly an hour, I was left speachless by the quality of this semi-speedmap. It took a second playthrough (just completed within the last hour) to finally crystalize my thoughts on the map, which I shall outline (in part) below:

 

Spoiler

A fat moodIs that what the kids are saying these days?

fzDkd9e.png

 

At the most basic level, the map's progression adheres to the Wormhole formula (odd to describe the core conceit of this map as such, given TNT MAP04's relative lack of focus on its own theme, but I digress). Inter-temporal puzzle-solving is required, both for basic progression and especially for secret hunting. However, rather than forcing the player to endlessly warp back and forth between timeframes from a single hub, El Inferno instead makes use of a number of carefully-placed warp-points throughout the progression, allowing for easy if occasionally unintuitive transit between the yin / yang halves of the map.

 

This creates a strong sense of flow, in stark contrat to more conventional instances of this particular sub-genre of maps, which oftentimes require of the player a lot of uninteresting backtracking. Doubtless, one could easily spend a great deal of time doing a lot of the same here as well (as I did on both of my playthroughs). The difference lies in the necessity of such backtracking: in this map, such is purely the result of ignorance on the part of the player, rather than anything inherent to the map's design. It is clear to me that great pains have been taken to ensure the player's journey through the map is a consistently interesting one, and I for one believe this effort was invested wisely.

 

Spoiler

Purty floor pattern go brrr

kE8Im85.png

 

Combat-wise, the encounter design here is consistently superb. Space, ammo and health are all at a premium for the most part, forcing the player to take a conservative approach with regards to the incidental combat, while simutaneously requiring quick decision-making and considerable mechanical knowledge for the set-piece encounters. It is rare for a map of this type to have such strong combat, so hats off to the mapper for adressing this common shortcoming with such intense vigor.

 

Spoiler

I love this encounter, mechanically and aesthetically. It is rather brutal, despite only using imps and cacos, and requires knowledge of crowd-shaping and significant spatial awareness to beat consistently.

0LWKSMM.png

 

Visually, the map is an absolute treat. The lighting, detailing and general composition are all fantastic across the board, easily some of the best in the set (no mean feat, considering the competition). El Inferno's ability to render naturalistic structures and landscapes is extremely impressive. The present-day timeframe in particular is a masterclass in hyper-detailed ruined fantasy architecture: every bit of crumbled masonry is placed carefully, with thought given to its relationship to the surrounding geometry, and rendered in loving detail. If I were (even more of) a cynic, I'd call foul on this being any sort of speedmap, given the sheer amount of attention to detail on display throughout.

 

Spoiler

This is downright autistic.

9rwXW4j.png

 

Each of the map's two themes are distinctive enough to succeed even in isolation: the deeply oppressive, saturated brown decay of the present, with its emphasis on the hyper-detailed decomposition of a once-grand structure and round-about, naturalistic progression could easily form the basis of a variety of experiences, from grand adventure to crushing combat puzzle. Likewise, the past, while lacking the raw emotive power of the future period, is aesthetically unique enough to stand out even in isolation, and could similarly play host to a range of experiences.

 

Spoiler

Decay contrasting beautifully against the alien Skullgate.

gNXlSb6.png

 

I absolutely love the subtle greens, not to mention the patterns and inset details. Truly lovely.

S2BCVGg.png

 

Of course, both themes are stronger in tandem than in isolation. The interplay between the two timeframes is subtle, surprisingly intuitive and seamlessly interwoven with the progression. Likewise, the aesthetic contrast is stark, yet natural. Past and present complement eachother perfectly, the latter an intuitive extrapolation of the former, in terms of both layout and aesthetics.

 

Spoiler

Before...

ip7ZQYq.png

 

After.

uqXcwZY.png

 

As mentioned, every individual component of this map is strong in its own right: the progression, combat and visuals are all fantastic in isolation. However, it is in combination that these elements truly shine, and reveal the true genius behind their assemblage. Take, for example, El Inferno's decision to center the bulk of the map's combat around set-piece encounters: one of the biggest issues that Wormhole-style maps face is that their core conceit is, in and of itself, a complete illusion (moreso than usual for the medium, even). Obviously, each part of such a map must exist on the same "canvas" as the other(s), which means that, as far as Doom's simple monster AI is concerned, the player is merely shifting their relative position when warping dimensions, as opposed to entering into an entirely new space. Thus, every alert monster will naturally wander off in the general direction of the player regardless of which dimension they are in, which often leads to monsters congregating on the outskirts of one section of the map.

 

Spoiler

Here, have some eyecandy to break up the walls of text.

W1FFQ0s.png

 

Needless to say, such an outcome could be immersion-breaking to the player and mechanically frustrating for the mapper. El Inferno neatly sidesteps this issue by placing most of their monsters inside arenas, which naturally results in the majority of them being killed by the player before they are even given the chance to wander off. Another instance of synergy can be found between (again) the map's encounter-based combat and genral style of layout: the self-contained nature of most of the fights allows the rest of the map to be as combat-unfriendly and tricky to navigate as the theme demands, without altering the map's desired combat/exploration ratio.

 

Spoiler

Not strictly related, but this encounter is great. Clever, in a dickish sort of way. I approve.

EFxkR4a.png

 

I could go on and on about all the ways in which this map is great, but I think I have made my position clear enough. In summary, A Crack in the Skull is a compact masterpiece, a pocket-sized magnum opus even, easily the best map in Skulltiverse and one of my favourites of the entire year. I cannot believe I had never heard if El Inferno before playing this, and am now very interested in playing more of their maps (if I can find 'em).

 

Edit: here, have yer damned screens. Lucky for you, I'm a raging perfectionist.

Edited by Omniarch

Share this post


Link to post

GZDoom/Blind/UV/Continuous/Saves

Map 31 - Sanity Control - Man_with_a_gun

98% kills and 75% secrets

Time: 26:46

Deaths: 6

 

The text just before this map says that this building looked familiar. I don't recognize the layout too much, but I did recognize the Hellevator in it, so maybe this was a map from it just a little different? I don't really remember much of Hellevator to be honest. This map is a techbase one; one that's fairly challenging. The hot start almost killed me, and ultimately was the cause of half my deaths as I had low health going into the next encounters. I think this map has some issues when it comes to getting around the map. I keep going one way thinking it would take me to the path I wanted, and I'd realize I had to go down a different one. I guess it wasn't intuitive enough to me. The red skull unlocks the Hellevator, and to get to it, you'll need to shoot 4 skinny levers. One is fairly easy to find, just before the lift to the yellow key. The other 3 are a little trickier, with one being in the secret area with the automap. Shooting them lowers the red key, but grabbing it unleashes an archie, a pain elemental, and a few other baddies. That's nowhere near as bad as grabbing the blue skull, which unleashes 5 teleporting archies, hell knights, some stationary revs, and I think the first Cybie of the WAD back in the skull portal. The archies are annoying since they go all over the map. The cybie can't move, so that's not too bad. Couldn't figure out how to get the soul sphere, and that's probably where my last few kills are too. This map was ok. Some tough fights, and nice detailing, but some unintuitive navigation.

Share this post


Link to post

Wow so many fantastic replies, thanks a lot! 

Here's the map progression outline I made somewhere in the middle of development (I learned this tip here):

Spoiler

5ybN7fD.png

Little Bird,

Are You Lost?

 

You can check all my stuff in this thread, but mind you, my "usual" maps are generally more combat oriented and way more difficult. Though the progression is a bit more straightforward most of the time :D

Edited by El Inferno

Share this post


Link to post

MAP15: "A Crack in the Skull" by El Inferno

UV, pistol start, no saves

100% kills, 3/3 secrets

 

I coincidentally hadn't read any other reviews of the map before playing through it, and boy am I glad I went in spoiler free. My initial impression upon seeing the title of the map was thinking it might be a blisteringly paced, potentially slaughtery experience. While I was pretty wrong, the title is still fitting in an eerie sort of way. This map makes use of the common dimensional/temporal sort of gimmick made use of by a fair few maps, most notably TNT's Wormhole. You shift between two versions of the same castle-like structure, starting in one that is brown, ruined, and desolate, while taking trips to the past to a version of the castle that is more green and undamaged.

 

The time periods are executed quite nicely, in the ruined version you have to find a way to navigate among the piles of rubble, and go through cracks and holes in the castles structure, while in the past version there are functioning switches and lifts for you to use (some of which in turn influence the other time period). I also quite like the jarring transition that occurs between time periods, with the fireblu background and crusher noise, especially effective in the surprise transportation before the yellow key. The level also pairs beautifully with the somber Eris Falling midi, it really brings out the feeling of desolation that the future version of the castle holds.

 

Combat-wise, it's less difficult than the last few in my opinion. There are definitely fights in this one that can catch an unsuspecting player off-guard and end their run, but they are mostly the kind of fights that are a lot easier once you expect them. A bit of an exception to the clever secret megasphere fight with the archviles, where you have to smother the blast damage out with the small platforms in the room so that you only take the base 20 damage. Not so bad until the hell knight and revenant are thrown into the mix, where it can get really hairy. Speaking of the secrets and the exit that they hide, I spent a good hour on them and almost did it all by myself... Had to take advice from ViolentBeetle's yellow skull key note though, I got tripped up there. So a little caveat to my run.

 

Extremely well-done and immersive execution of the time travel gimmick. Definitely a very memorable map here.

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
×