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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Realm of Chaos 25th Anniversary Edition

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Posted (edited)

Map19 - Port Fury -- Steve D and Cammy

 

There's some good stuff in this map, but I think it needs fine-tuning. First, let's look at the map history.

 

Realm of Chaos, 1996

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Realm of Intensified Chaos, 2014

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Realm of Chaos 25th Anniversary Edition, 2023

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Monster Count on UV

RoC       -- 180

RoIC      -- 151

RoC25   -- 534

 

For once, the RoIC version has the lowest monster count, but that's because I eliminated the original start and expanded the port area for a more nautical feel. By contrast, Cammy tied the original start to the port area to increase cohesiveness, which IMO works really well.

 

The combat is much like the original in the opening areas, though Cammy changed the Plasma Gun secret and turned what was a Megasphere battle into a Yellow Key fight. Cammy retained the Chaingunner galleries here which were reachable from the area the Revvies come out of, but now they're cut off, so perhaps Cammy should eliminate them or modify the area to be decorative so players don't assume they can reach them.

 

The big change occurs when you reach the port area which is now a cool-looking and heavily populated slaughter arena. I do think a giant cargo ship made of wood is a bit dodgy, tho. ;)

 

This area is where I have my issues. The slaughter fight, if we can call it that instead of an arena fight with a lot of monsters, is structured with a large number of Pinkies on the sides and a middle section that's essentially a fortress with a ton of snipers acting as somewhat mobile turrets. I have a dictum that too many snipers ruin a map because they are antithetical to dynamic gameplay. Because they are turrets on a fortress, you are forced to storm the fortress rather than engage in shifting combat on the ground. There's also a secret Invuln in the central fortress which requires an Archvile jump to reach. This goes against the credo that maps should be maxable for speedrunners. Speedrunners will learn of this feature, but it will be extra work for them to arrange the jump and survive. I got the jump, but it was too hot up there so I bailed. I had no idea that a secret was up there until I examined the area after everything was dead, and by this time there were no more Archies to shoot me up there.

 

Another issue I had was the use of PEs in huge open spaces. This was frowned on back in the '90s because unless you get the PEs in short order, they'll spit out so many Lost Souls that you may run out of ammo. In this battle, I was down to my last PE, but it was guarded by a Mastermind. For some reason, the PE was just floating off to the right of this turreted SM and never left that area. Every time I tried taking it under fire, the SM shredded me with bullets. As a result, killing that PE was a long, grindy, unfun process.

 

Then there's the issue of the crushers that kill the SMs and at least one Cyb -- all of which I had already killed. I personally don't like crushers used that way, since I don't know ahead of time that such things exist. Thus, I devoted all that time to using plasma and rockets to kill the boss monsters and ended up feeling like a fool because I didn't have foreknowledge of the crushers. IMO, the negatives are really piling up on this fight.

 

Then there's the issue of the Caco cloud which appears after you get the BFG in the warehouse. This led to the pointless murder of all those Cacos in that vast space, where they are unable to pressure you at all, much less kill you. The obvious choices are A) eliminate the Caco cloud. No law says you always need fresh monsters when you backtrack into an area.  Or B) have the Caco cloud unleashed when the player enters that arena. It's brutal, but it's the only way they're useful. Cammy might want to hand the player a BFG at the start of this battle if he does that.

 

Other than that, I enjoyed the warehouse battle and the ending, though again I thought excessive adherence to the idea that new monsters must be there when you backtrack led to a bit of slogginess. There was also some extreme viciousness with the Chaingunner trap when you ride the lift back up to where you got the Yellow Key. Very nasty!

 

In the end, this is a map where IMO the standard Doom gameplay was much more fun than the big arena battle, so Cammy might want to consider using beefed-up standard gameplay in the arena rather than the slaughter combat which IMO didn't work very well. All things considered, I'd say that of all our collabs, this is the map most in need of overhaul.

 

Last but not least, the midi, Eagle's Nest, is once again both fitting and great. I like the ominous undertone plus the snatches of sea shanty which tied it to the Port Fury theme.

Edited by Steve D

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Posted (edited)

I have to respectfully disagree on how well the combat worked in Cammy's version of that map. I felt that Port Fury was a highlight of the anniversary edition. I generally prefer a slow burn, incedental dungeon crawling adventurous style of gameplay and map layout as opposed to lock in arenas and slaughter fights, which is why all of your maps in Realm Of Chaos were my favorites, but in this case it was a perfect setting for a big crazy over stocked battle. The chaos erupting everywhere and the full cast of demons made for what I found to be an enjoyable experience. The pain elementals and archviles inclusion offered the player a purposefull goal to achieve as the bulk of the fight really takes care of itself and its more about the size and scale of everything that to me really sets the atmosphere here instead of the difficulty of the encounter. And perhaps I just enjoy killing demons more than your average marine so I very rarely find the clean up at the end to be tedious or time wasting, I am indeed playing this very game to occupy and waste time, and though its not something you are likely to find without foreknowledge, I can appreciate the inclusion of a mechanic to crush some of the bosses that can be utilized if one so chooses upon replay of map. I can agree that the invuln secret is for the most part useless but I dont mind it at all because secrets just for the sake of secrets add just one more dynamic to a level and give a reason to explore the scenery for a little longer then if you just follow the progression of the map. I am almost positive I was able to hunt it down without ever even considering an archvile jump, though next to impossible to pull off during the big fight, if you work your way up to the control room of the frieghter you can make a running leap over to the secret area. As for the caco cloud released after the warehouse, I really liked that not only was it a way to re-use the environment but it was an entirely different scenario to the first. Something about a massive wave of cacos floating in just has an epic feeling and adds a majesty to the situation despite the fact that they are easily disposed of and having already completed the main attraction they make the backtraking rewarding while not being overly time consuming. Alltogether all of these various pieces felt like they took full advantage of the maps architecture and made for what I found to be a very memerable experience in a location I will be only too happy to revisit. Thats my take and Im holding to it, what to one person seems like a complete failure that needs rebuilding from the ground up can to another be a perfect achievment and stand as a monumental success 😀

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@Insaneprophet Everything you said up there is a perfect example of the old adage, "Different strokes for different folks." We are not all the same, and we do not all approach maps with one ironclad view of how they should be, and that's the joy of human nature.

 

For me, I have my preferences and, given that this playthrough is of RC1.5 of RoC25, what we have here is a beta-test, and the goal is to provide Cammy with enough critical but helpful commentary to make improving these maps easier. That's why I'm doing these long-winded articles. ;D Cammy will read all these comments and decide for himself which advice to take and which to discard, based on his vision of the maps and what he wants to achieve.

 

Clearly, different players saw things differently, and it's unfortunate that no one this month -- except me -- appears to enjoy long, slow-burn exploratory maps that go hard at the end. To me, that's all an example of rising stakes, you make things a bit harder as you go along, and then bring the hammer down at or near the exit. Sometimes players who like to go saveless dislike long, hard maps because if they die at the end, they have to start over or abandon the map. I do not consider the plight of saveless players when I make maps, though I'm aware of them and the potential issues that arise. If you play my maps saveless, then as the old saying goes, "You pays your money and you takes your chances." Don't come crying to me if you keep dying. ;)

 

I'm not a slaughter player or mapper, though I'm influenced by that scene. As such, while I understand the appeal of things like watching monsters infight or blasting away at lots of monsters who can't really hurt you, I truly believe that it's better to make gigantic fights both dangerous and efficient in order to avoid massive clean-up operations. This is the conundrum for mappers who want to achieve difficulty through masses of monsters, because it often turns out that big fights can be nerfed, as is the case for almost every slaughter fight in this mapset; the Plasma Gun fight in Map06, the slaughter fights after the Blue Key fight in Map18 that you can simply run away from, the fight we're discussing in Map19, and the Blue Key fight in Map22. Every one of them is dead easy even to someone like me, a keyboarder, though keyboarders in general shouldn't be underestimated.  Watch a speedrun by SAV88. He's a keyboarder and he can dance on the head of a Baron. Another keyboarder is our very own @dobu gabu maru. Think about that when you play Sanity Is A Prison in RoC2. :))))

 

Bottom line is that I advise Cammy to make the slaughter fights more difficult and less nerfable. IOW more like Alien Vendetta. And my advice to you, Insaneprophet, is to keep this version in case Cammy changes this fight, so that you have a nice fun version the way you like it.

 

So all is cool and I'm happy you spoke up, because there is another opinion out there on Realm of Chaos -- the 1996 original -- which is very different from what you see in this thread. If you search for it in Files, you'll see that this old warhorse has a 4-star lifetime rating. This is actually an increase over the 3.5 it had circa 2013, but even that rating was astonishingly high considering all the flaws in the material. I suppose some of it is simply nostalgia, especially for people whose first megawad played was RoC, but I think it also speaks to the reality that some people enjoy '90s jank, not to mention the quirkiness of '90s maps or maps by noobs even today. It's the kind of thing you see by people before they learn how to do it right, so you get cool shit like Slava's teleport ladder in Map08. It's just fun, and if you enjoy traditional Doom gameplay -- trudging through armies of hitscanners and Imps, plus a dusting of Cacos and other mid-tiers, then RoC is fun to play, as it still is, for me. And just as you stand by your views on Map19, so I stand by my views on RoC. :)))))

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48 minutes ago, Steve D said:

Clearly, different players saw things differently, and it's unfortunate that no one this month -- except me -- appears to enjoy long, slow-burn exploratory maps that go hard at the end.

 

I mean, I enjoyed that element of these maps. You're not alone.

 

This made me realize too that I never really chose a favorite map. I didn't really think about it too much because I was playing pretty casually. But now that I think about it (after reviewing my notes), my top three would be MAP18, MAP23, and maybe MAP06? I don't know, there are a couple others (MAP19 maybe?) I could name for the third. But they all more or less follow that description (among other things).

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Posted (edited)

@Steve D you are dead wrong about that. Map 09 is my favorite map in the first third by a long stretch for good reason but that's because it hit a note of good pacing that the later maps just didn't quite match, but they certainly weren't bad Ancalagon  especially and even perhaps Map 22. I actually probably agree with you more than I don't on Port Fury but on the other hand, it is quite the sight. The pinkie BS was something I think I noticed too.

Edited by LadyMistDragon

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Posted (edited)

Map27 - Venom - by Steve D and Cammy

 

Now we come to my last gargantuan article for RoC25. Happily, it's for a map I enjoyed, though it can be said that I enjoyed all of my collabs with Cammy despite sometimes finding fault with this or that aspect of the gameplay. Cammy will fine-tune the maps and the next versions will be even better than what we have now. 

 

Back in 2013, our good friend @cannonball called it when he said that Venom looked like someone's 2nd or 3rd map. It is in fact the second map I ever completed, and to my surprise, it was fairly well-received in the 2013 DWMC thread. Now let's take a look at the map history.

 

Realm of Chaos, 1996

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Realm of Intensified Chaos, 2024, unfinished

RkVdsjU.png

 

Realm of Chaos 25th Anniversary Edition, 2023

vgsd5Zu.png

 

Monster Count on UV

RoC      -- 276 

RoIC     -- 142

RoC25  -- 392

 

Once again RoC25 has the highest monster count, though the original map was pretty well populated, too. In the RoIC version, I eliminated the side quests for keys, which chopped out a lot of monsters. Cammy's version is very purist when seen from a top view, but there are a lot of nuanced changes to visuals that really improve the looks in spite of Cammy retaining most of my original, haphazard texture choices.

 

I found the combat entertaining throughout. Most of the early sections followed my combat scenarios, but a really fun change is when you're going through the first sets of doors and a Revvie teleports behind you when all you have is the single shotty, pistol, and chainsaw. This makes fighting a Revvie in tight spaces both unnerving and entertaining and earned Cammy his first Steve D pelt of the map. The only part that seemed sloggy to me was the Red Key battle, which is well telegraphed and has an obvious nerfing strategy, which if pursued, turns the full-wall trap into a shooting gallery that takes a little time to complete. Perhaps the Spectres and Imps can be replaced by deadlier monsters.

 

The Blue Key leg is much more interesting and, to answer a question from @LadyMistDragon, the drop-floor trap was an original 1996 feature. The difference is that it was a lift and the monsters on the sides were Sergeants instead of the Imp horde. IMO, Cammy's trap is much better and a far more entertaining fight. It killed me twice until I found the right strategy. Fun stuff!

 

This leg also has one of those secrets where you hear a door and have to run like crazy to find it before it closes. When you first hear it as you're heading to the full-wall Chainguner trap -- a personal fave -- you actually can't get to the secret area. Instead, you have to go all the way through the Blue Key adventure, and then remember that you heard a secret door somewhere, and then go back down to the lower level, trigger the door, and run like crazy up stairs to grab the secret before the door closes. It's a good one, too, giving you a Mega and a BFG. There was a much tougher example of this type of secret in Map18, where grabbing a Soulsphere involved hitting a switch, racing past computers, seeing a wall of scrolling light descend, and pray you can straferun to land on the lowered sector before it rises. I personally hated that secret, and once I saw how it worked, I clipped for the secret rather than try 50 times to make the jump. This type of secret is part of the original game, and it's a feature I strongly dislike. Nuff said. ;D

 

Once you have the Red Key you can finally get through that door and enter what was IMO always the coolest room in the map. In my version, the side galleries are lifts that are lowered by pressure plates down in nukage. Cammy made them immobile and added stairs for easy progress. He also made the room look much better. It's very dramatic now, and with a Cyb on a central pedestal to increase the threat level. Honestly, I think the original is more dangerous. Here, you get a column to hide behind and you can go up to a gallery level, slide along the wall, and kill King Cybie with your Plasma Gun. There's no fighting on the toxic floor and no need to go down there to get the heavy weapons. This leaves us with only the upper-level fight, which is very easy but still engaging.

 

From here we enter the Pyramid Room, and what a huge improvement Cammy has made. IMO the room looks great, whereas the original was quite ugly. It was changing the pyramid texture, using a lot of dramatic darkness, and adding the fenced lavafall which did the trick. I'm thoroughly satisfied with this room.

 

The fights in here are spicy but less dangerous than they at first appear. I died twice to the Masterminds and Arachnotrons, but in the end, I generated enough infights to weaken the Spider Queens and take them out after they had already mowed down a bunch of thugs, including the deadly Arachnotrons. Those Masterminds were in the original, but as mentioned elsewhere, were Multiplayer Only. With the Masterminds dead, the climbing battle on the Pyramid was easy enough, but the end battle was really nasty. I was stunned when 2 Masterminds teleported in behind me. Luckily, I was able to back up, which provoked infighting between the Spider Queens and a Cacoswarm. The Cacos took out one of the Spiders and left the other so weakened that I killed her with a single SSG blast, which was very satisfying owing to the Spider's excellent death animation. I actually died twice in this battle because I impatiently tried to charge past the surviving Cacos, of which there were many. It didn't end well for me. :D Once I was able to restrain myself, I was able to kill the Cacos and enter Into the finale of the Exit Battle, which I defeated on the first try. I still had lots of cells, so I was able to crush the Archies and Barons, and even the infamous 4-Archie trap found me well-stocked, so I terminated them with extreme prejudice.

 

So that's it, a frantic end to my oldest map in the megawad. Kudos to Cammy for his major improvement to the looks of this and all my other maps. Cammy also stayed very true to the original spirit of this map and the others. This map also has one of Cammy's most beautifully sinister tracks, Spiraltongue, which perfectly sets the mood of this dark adventure. IMO one of the best BGMs in the OST. In the end, Venom isn't the toughest map around, but it's an action-packed adventure through Hell with gameplay that's engaging and challenging enough to keep me interested.

 

In the end, I'd probably rate this as about equal to Map09, and both of them right behind my favorite, Map23, which is an incredibly immersive and beautiful exploration map with some occasionally nasty gameplay. I look forward to seeing the next round of revisions, and I plan to play through the entire megawad.

 

Some shout-outs:

 

@Insaneprophet - Nice job finding a way to jump from the ship's bridge to the secret Invuln in Map19.

 

@Ralgor - Congrats on playing through the whole megawad so quickly, and leaving short but helpful commentaries on the maps. I should have remembered that you liked the slow-burn exploratory maps, since I read all your comments. Oh well, just another senior moment. ;D I'm also flattered that all of the maps you listed as faves were by me and Cammy. You are truly a person of sophisticated taste! :)

Edited by Steve D

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34 minutes ago, LadyMistDragon said:

@Steve D you are dead wrong about that. Map 09 is my favorite map in the first third by a long stretch for good reason but that's because it hit a note of good pacing that the later maps just didn't quite match, but they certainly weren't bad Ancalagon  especially and even perhaps Map 22. I actually probably agree with you more than I don't on Port Fury but on the other hand, it is quite the sight. The pinkie BS was something I think I noticed too.

 

Wow, thanks for telling me about that. Map09 is such a polarizer -- as are many maps in this megawad ;D -- that I forget some people actually liked it. I also agree that the big arena in Map19 looks fantastic!

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Sorry to everyone for my inactivity. 'Twas the season.

 

Thank you all so, so much for playing (and hopefully enjoying) Realm of Chaos: 25th Anv. Edition. I put a lot of work into it and it paid off if you guys had a good time running through or writing about these maps. But of course, if it wasn't for the work of Steve Duff, Rob Berkowitz, Antoni Chan, Slava Pestov, Jason Fowler, Jim Bagrow, or Clint Sago, none of this would have existed in the first place! I'm glad some of you guys went the extra mile and checked out the original wad, alongside which I'm proud for this rework to exist.

 

I know this project has some rougher patches - some of witch are from the original wad, and many of which are my own doing - but I'm excited to keep mapping for Doom. I don't want to say anything definitive yet, but I have a concept for a solo megawad that I'm really fond of.

 

This thread has been an incredible source of inspiration and advice for future changes. Of course, now that the festivities are over, I won't be flooding this thread with every single update I make, but I at least plan to post in here when I've gotten RC2 up and running, and when I've uploaded the soundtrack to my YouTube channel. :)

 

On 12/30/2023 at 9:59 AM, Ralgor said:

The only criticism I can have is the weird phone sounding noise in the MAP21 track, but I'm sure that probably has more to do with my DSDA-Doom config than the track itself. I am interested in what it's supposed to sound like though. What were these tracks composed with?

 

Ha, yeah that sound actually is a telephone, but it's supposed to be played at a really, really low pitch. Microsoft GS Wavetable (which all my MIDIs are composed with and balanced around) renders a sufficiently low-pitched phone-ring sound as a creepy rolling sequence of bell chimes. That's the MIDI device my computer (and most others) are packaged with by default, and it sounds like that no matter what option I select in DSDA. I'm guessing your computer uses a different MIDI device. The phone instrument is used for the same purpose in BTSX E2's ending map, so if you play it, you'll also be sent to the phonerealm.

 

Last little tidbit for now - Steve will be happy to know that jumping from the ship's control room to get to the invuln secret in map19 is indeed the intended way to reach it. I'm not about the AVJ life. :)

 

Happy new year, everybody - and again, thanks for playing! Have fun with Eviternity 2!

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10 minutes ago, Cammy said:

Ha, yeah that sound actually is a telephone, but it's supposed to be played at a really, really low pitch. Microsoft GS Wavetable (which all my MIDIs are composed with and balanced around) renders a sufficiently low-pitched phone-ring sound as a creepy rolling sequence of bell chimes. That's the MIDI device my computer (and most others) are packaged with by default, and it sounds like that no matter what option I select in DSDA. I'm guessing your computer uses a different MIDI device. The phone instrument is used for the same purpose in BTSX E2's ending map, so if you play it, you'll also be sent to the phonerealm.

 

Ahh, interesting. I play doom under linux usually, so using Microsoft's software synth isn't going to be possible. I usually use FluidSynth in both DSDA-Doom and GZDoom using an SC-55 soundfont I found somewhere years ago. There are newer ones available so I might try some out and see if any sound more accurate.

 

This is actually why I wish more composers would just supply ogg files. Many ports support them now, and they will sound the same on every platform.

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14 minutes ago, Ralgor said:

There are newer ones available so I might try some out and see if any sound more accurate.

 

I believe @Lippeth and/or @Doomkid know of a good one - for MSGS, at least!

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RLNDGM.SF2 is known to be the most similar to Microsoft GS. It was recommended to me by Doomkid a few years ago and I still use it whenever gm.dls isn't available for one reason or another. The only differences are minor volume balance discrepancies in specific cases, which may not even be noticeable when playing or listening casually.

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