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baja blast rd.

A book about any wad of your choice

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A 200+ page book about a wad is about to drop, covering a lot of specific topics about that wad with insight and care. Which wad would you most hope it's about? Why do you think that wad is especially well suited to extensive writing? 

 

edit: or any Doom concept/topic really if you have one that isn't a specific wad. Try doing overviews or chapter-level mock-ups. 

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Sunlust (lol)

 

Not gonna pretend I'm some sort of hardcore sunlust fan here, but sunlust simply has a LOT of stuff to talk about. Its combat/visual design, how it "invents" new theme effectively with existing textures, environmental storytelling, and its overall pacing/introduction of slaughter/combat puzzle gameplay towards new players. It's overall a fantastic labor of love.

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Also try doing mock chapter-level summaries. What I might start with for Nihility.

  • conclusion: what you might take away from it, as a player; new, more subtle angles about why it's really good 
  • intro: a sensory, descriptive tour of Nihility's experience and why it's so cool and appealing (very personal perspective)
  • big picture overview, plus light comparing and contrasting of approach (not quality), with other notable e2 episodes
  • a thorough background on the Shores of Hell theme, along with some Doom alpha and beta
  • rekindling fear in Doom, modern wads that try to recreate the fear that '90s players experienced with Ultimate Doom
  • Nihility's assets and design choices, the logic and ideas behind them, and their defining and typical uses 
  • prelude: author background, the "cool stuff made by people who aren't DW regulars" tradition
  • the visceral experience of fighting and exploring in Nihility (very personal)
  • immersion and sense of place...how that works; the visceral experience of simply existing (personal again)
  • a deeper, more zoomed-in dive into some of the coolest, creepiest areas (if other chapters don't heavily do this)
  • craft...how the experience is made in terms of deliberate, intentional design choices
  • craft...a look at static design choices like lighting, texturing, with some (approach, not quality) comparisons to other wads in this tradition
  • historical look at aleatoric and unusual scores in Doom, and the subtleties of how they are used here 
  • dehacked philosophy: a deeper dive into how the custom enemies work, and the meta they create along with the regular enemies
  • survival: how to beat Nihility while having fun and not taking too many deaths; discussion of the design of Nihility's more dangerous situations
  • completion: how to approach exploring and secret hunting (conceptually, rather than, like "here's where all the stuff is")

 

Still have room for an appendix with map-by-map overviews but I kind of want to avoid that format being primary here because map-by-maps are far from the only way to discuss a wad. 

 

Here's another for Fractured Worlds.

 

  • a brief history of Ribbiks-inspired design, how FW borrows from Magnolia, along with some SD20x7, and builds on that tradition 
  • concept in Doom encounter design, and how Fractured Worlds excels at it
  • the post-Miasma appeal of "optionality" in gauntlet map design
  • how FW's achieves some of the wildly creative void aesthetics in a while (and breaks that style of design out of the rut it was in)
  • Fractured Worlds's setpieces and encounter design approach, deep dive on the major ones
  • strategy/meta talk, some really deep dive How Tos for the hardest encounters
  • full map strategies (special guest co-writer, someone like Vile or David A -- sort of a roundtable of strategies maybe) 
  • smol cybs and their appeal
  • appendix: inspirational centipede (with a gif of that m32 fight as a visual pun) -- how IG heavily inspired Ribbiks but then got inspired by him lmao
  • experiencing Nirvana
  • secret chapter: on those encounters. going full circle, this chapter is literally secret and you have to send a demo or video of yourself having played this fully to get it :^)

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Cultural Exchange: Custom Content For The 1993 Video Game Doom Through An International Lens
By Dr. Lotsofwords Q. Nomates, PhD
Buy Now: Kindle Textbook ($179.99)

 

Or more specifically, an analysis of how non-English-centric Doom communities (French, Brazillian, Russian, Japanese...) have gone in their own unique and fascinating directions that are very different from the styles forged in the US, UK etc. Could probably delve into bigger topics like the language-induced isolation of online subcommunities, but that would require someone who's extremely knowledgeable about geopolitics, world history and their effects on the online landscape, and those people probably have slightly better to do than wax lyrical about Do You Like Caco right now.

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Wow.wad 

  • background on meme wads to come before, and how wow.wad got so popular and well known
  • infamy in map design over history (other than Terry wads specifically)
  • a meditation on popularity as a concept in wads, why some wads get 10x more well known than others
  • contemporary reactions to it
  • HOM sweet HOM (a chapter on HOM usage in constructive ways, e.g. 50SoG map06)
  • the play experience (a one-sentence chapter)
  • history of speedrunning this, ""strategies"" used to get the World Record time, plus a reported account of Juancho and Decay's duel
  • effort in Doom mapping -- why lower-effort wads like this sometimes come to be
  • benchmarking: how fast could you theoretically design Wow.wad with different editors over history, including scripting editors
  • wow.wad's lines of "influence" -- or more, like, "other people who independently did similar silly things for similar reasons"
  • tracking down a precursor to wow.wad
  • why the speedrunning community likes small silly maps (Experiencing Nirvana, Noye, D5DA, etc.) 
  • an incredibly long meditation on the hanging body thing

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I would legit put down money for a book about Suspended in Dusk. I am very much aware that it can never come to pass, but one can dream.

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Not a book, but a movie. Michael Bay and J.J Abrams present: Aliens vs. Predator vs. Terminator vs. Jason vs. Hell vs. Steven Seagal vs. King Kong vs. Godzilla vs. Mothra vs. the Death Star.

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56 minutes ago, baja blast rd. said:

going full circle, this chapter is literally secret and you have to send a demo or video of yourself having played this fully to get it :^)

Sounds so Magnolia.

 

Spoiler

A pretty cool idea. What about you only get to play secret maps after sending demos, an excuse to get people maxing stuff. ;)

 

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Alien Vendetta's development seems like a very interesting topic to discuss in further detail as to me it seems like the first real modern megawad. Also, when I first saw the title of this thread, I was thinking it meant expanding on the story inside the wad and in that case I'd say Valiant or Ancient Aliens.

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So a large, highly detailed essay that holds your attention for several hours…

So it’s Sunder then…..

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Scythe through Scythe X. Would be a fascinating read. Second option: an Insane_Gazebo memoir on the Sunder beginning, hiatus and return.

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A full art analysis of Mock 2: the speed of stupid.

 

Written by 25 different authors. Everyone left after page 50. The rest is written by a monkey with a typewriter locked in a dark room.

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toon2b.wad, frame by frame, including a full exegesis of how that .DEH was meant to work

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The Plutonia quadrology, or hexology, or whatever number they're on now, mostly because I'd like to see how different people have interpreted the 'style' of Plutonia over time and I can't really be asked to play through them myself. 

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A moderately cheat-y answer:

A combined effort to explain the roots and appeal of wads that base their gameplay around unorthodox/gimmick concepts. ie: cyberdreams, avj.wad, cybercontrol, noye, d5da1 & 2, maps that are heavy on precise or otherwise difficult platforming, puzzle wads.

Including hit sections of:
- lack of visual aesthetic, why that is common (many wads with unorthodox focus don't look especially extravagant, or even look straight up ugly)

- history & appeal of pacifist gameplay (both in intentional pacifist-designed maps and in more normal maps)
- in-depth dive into avjs (single, double, triple, the one where you get stuck running against a wall and keep momentum)

- death slides

- learn to love the red screen (rocket jumping)

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Eviternity sounds like a good book on how every heaven or episodes are different, but they are connected I hope from the same heaven.

 

 

 

 

 

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“Wake up babe, the new Omnidump just dropped!” “No one cares, just let me sleep dammit!”

 

Good grief, it’s been a while since I’ve posted one of these. Brace yourself, dear reader: this is gonna be a biggie. Enjoy!

 

***

 

Great thread idea, though I find it impossible to nominate a single set, heh. If coerced, I would most likely choose one of the following in this context (though would doubtless pay actual money for quality tomes on all of them):

 

No End In Sight

An obvious choice from my perspective, as anyone remotely familiar with my posting habits can attest, both due to my simple adoration of the set and, more importantly, the many interesting ‘narrative’ threads one could pull together through discussing it, since a straight-forward descriptive piece would be of little value to me. By way of example, one could easily fold in a discussion of the ‘TWiD movement from which NEIS ultimately stems, not to mention the retro / retro-revisionist thought underpinning that; one could also include an analysis of the two lead mappers’ styles and histories, as well as the evolution of said styles over the course of the set’s development. I could go on, but I think the point is clear: this wealth of meta-material, and the resulting opportunities for interesting digressions, serves to enhance the potential value of the piece beyond the contents of the set itself.

 

That’s not to downplay the value of discussing the individual maps of course, the majority of which could be the subject of a cacoward-length writeup at minimum, with the cream easily deserving their own Omnidump or equivalent. One could comfortably fill half of a standard 200-page paperback with just individual map analyses (some 30,000 words’ worth going by the average word-to-page ratio of 300/1), with the remainder consisting of various digressions and foundational material.

 

Personally, I’d have the book structured like so:

  • Introduction: sets the stage and provides a brief outline of the set. Includes a ‘Meet The Mappers’ aside.
  • Background: contains a condensed history and examination of the ‘TWiD movement, its goals, its priorities and the practical manifestations thereof; the state of Ultimate Doom mapping circa 2011 is also discussed.
  • DTWiD With NT Characteristics: covers the first episode of NEIS on a map-by-map basis, interleaved with asides covering NT’s prior works, the origins of NEIS as an offshoot of the DTWiD movement, and the history and general attributes of KDiTD-style wads before NEIS.
  • The Point of Divergence: covers the second episode of NEIS on a map-by-map basis, interleaved with asides covering Xaser’s pivotal role in the set’s evolution and the history and attributes of  TSoH-style wads before NEIS.
  • A Different Sort of Hell: covers the third episode of NEIS on a map-by-map basis, interleaved with asides covering the concept of alienation in the interactive medium and the history and attributes of  Inferno-style wads before NEIS.
  • Thy Limits Removed: covers the fourth episode of NEIS on a map-by-map basis, plus an aside on the history and attributes of TFC-style wads before NEIS, and the interesting ways in which the set interacts with the TFC theme.
  • Epilogue: conclusion followed by a personal retrospective on the set. Includes a segment about the abortive NEIS2 and Syringe, as well as a dissertation on the immense potential of the set’s design philosophy in a D2 context.

 

Note: when I refer to ‘map-by-map’ structure, I am not implying an isolated set of mini-reviews. Rather, I would ideally like to see various continuous threads of analysis be carried over from section to section, so that by the end of the book the reader would be left with a comprehensive understanding not just of the maps themselves, but the threads of design that link them all into a cohesive whole.

 

The Blockbuster Megawad Quartet

Okay, this one is kind of stretching the premise of the thread a little, but allow me to elaborate. First off, definitions: what is a “blockbuster” megawad, and which instances thereof constitute this mysterious “quartet”?

 

“Blockbuster'', from my perspective, is a label used to describe wads with a certain set of characteristics, best exemplified by the works of skillsaw, starting with Vanguard and reaching maturity in Valiant. These characteristics are, in no particular order: a flair for the cinematic, usually taking the form of technically impressive, almost Hollywood-esque set-pieces and climaxes; extremely refined and distinctive aesthetics, underlined by easily recognizable themes (e.g the Lunar theme from Lunatic and Valiant, or the egyptian / mesoamerican theme from the first episode of Ancient Aliens ); fluid, dynamic combat punctuated with often dramatic set-piece encounters; a heavily-modified bestiary and sometimes armoury, with an emphasis on game-changing new monsters; a strong sense of consistency across all domains (visual, mechanical, narrative etc), and finally, a heavy emphasis on accessibility and broad appeal, achieved through the attractive nature of all the above characteristics and carefully-balanced difficulties which cater to a range of skill-levels and tastes.

 

Note: there is significant overlap between what I refer to as ‘blockbuster’ style content and ‘modern’ style content. I do not wish to go into detail here regarding my thoughts on what constitutes this ‘modernist’ movement; suffice to say that I would consider the ‘blockbuster’ genre to be a subset of it.

 

Based on these definitions, there are four megawads that I am aware of which meet most or all of the criteria, and which are, as a result, the foremost examples of this approach in the popular imagination (or my heavily biased totally objective perception thereof). These are, in order of release: Valiant, Ancient Aliens, Eviternity and Tarnsman’s Projectile Hell. Each of these is a masterpiece in its own right, fully deserving of the thread’s premise. Why, then, have I lumped them all together? Simple: the complex relationships between these juggernauts, as well as their massive influence on the public consciousness, are almost as interesting to me as the individual sets themselves. Ideally, I would want books on all of them, arranged as a series which follows up on points raised in earlier entries as they become relevant, ordered like so: a tightly-interconnected duology or even double-length volume covering Valiant and Ancient Aliens, followed by a volume each for Eviternity and Tarnsman’s Projectile Hell in order of release.

 

I’ll now go through each of the four sets, and highlight facets of the broader topic which I would like to see discussed in depth within the context of each volume. Do note that these asides are not comprehensive in any way, and are to be taken more as examples than anything else. Also, a deep examination of each of the sets themselves in their respective volumes is to be taken as a given, and shall not be discussed here. Without further ado:

 

Valiant: this would be the most backward-looking of all the volumes, since its subject is arguably the first true instance of the ‘blockbuster’ style as I have defined it. I would like to see all of skillsaw’s past work discussed in relation to the subject wad, as well as any direct inspirations behind the various elements of its design and presentation. I would also like to see an examination of the features and origins of the deceptively minimalist texturing style that underlines not just blockbuster wads but the entire “modernist” movement of which Valiant is an essential component. Similarly, an exploration of the set’s particular blend of dynamic and encounter-based combat would be of great interest to me, since, again, this approach has proven highly influential.

 

Ancient Aliens: this volume would be the most focused on its subject, as opposed to the meta surrounding it, since Ancient Aliens is in many ways a spiritual sequel to Valiant and thus inherits much of its surrounding context. The main meta-tier aspect that interests me is the interaction between the many guest mappers and the set’s resources and design priorities, which would make for an interesting aside. Amusingly, I would be inclined to throw in a call to action of sorts at the end, exploring the vast untapped potential of AA-Tex in an attempt to encourage its use in future wads, because I find the lack of such content to be both baffling and profoundly disappointing (no, I will not ‘do it myself’. Don’t @ me).

 

Eviternity: this volume’s meta examination would focus on three main avenues: the subject wad’s relationship with Valiant and Ancient Aliens; its era-defining implementation of OTEX, and its massive popularity beyond the confines of DW and related spaces. Of the quartet, Eviternity has had the greatest influence on my day-to-day Doom consumption, having inspired a wide array of OTEX-powered episodes with a similar emphasis on consistent aesthetics and modern combat. Thus, I would find an in-depth examination of the set’s design philosophy very interesting.

 

Tarnsman’s Projectile Hell: this volume would probably be the most interesting of the four from my perspective, due to the deeply subversive nature of the subject wad. TPH is the only one of the quartet which fails to meet one of the ‘blockbuster’ criteria - specifically, the set’s eponymous creator opted to eschew the broad appeal cultivated by the other three wads in pursuit of his own madcap vision, while still taking a great deal of inspiration from the genre-defining Valiant. The result is a very interesting dialogue of sorts between two of the greatest craftsmen in Waddom, one which I would love to see examined.

 

TNT2

Now, this one is really pushing the bounds of the exercise, but hear me out: a single, large volume covering the evilution (heh) of the three TNT2 megawads, as well as the endless drama surrounding their near unprecedentedly lengthy period of development, would be bestseller-tier shit. Of course, such a tome would have to wait until the eventual release of TNT: Forever (formerly, Convilution), but I shan’t let that get in the way of my speculating within the already speculative premise of the thread (I’ve reached the point of nested speculation lol; speculation squared, one might say). At any rate, the wide range of involved persons and broad timespan would warrant an inordinate number of interesting digressions on design, covering multiple epochs of mapping.

 

Lost Civilization

I would love to see a travelogue-style piece on this one, examining each map individually from a mechanical and aesthetic perspective, with a particular focus on discerning the possible real-world inspirations behind many of the set’s jaw-dropping locales, while simultaneously building a general understanding of the wad’s design philosophy.

 

Sunder

While I am nowhere near competent enough to play this set (nomo wandering sprees aside), the sheer, staggering brilliance of the piece itself, combined with its immense influence, is well worthy of an ultra-deep exploration. If such a thing were to materialize, I would devour it in a heartbeat.

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I want a book about custom WADs in general. Reading about the history of custom Doom content and how different Doom communities across different regions have shaped over the years.

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