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Grazza

The /newstuff Chronicles #183

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There's nearly two weeks' worth of wads this time, so there is more than one reviewer. We used an incredibly complex algorithm to decide who reviewed what. We could explain how it worked, but then we'd have to kill you. Anyway, the highlight is undoubtedly Deus Vult, a product of more than 600 hours' work by a newbie mapper, believe it or not. However, we'll start with the leftovers from last week, reviewed by The Ultimate DooMer and Cyb...

  • D-Gun Weapon Set #1 by Ralph Wueltener
    69kb - source port - n/a
    A wad that replaces 4 weapons, but has a little trouble with the firing sprites (ie. not replaced). Oh, and one weapon is invisible (until you fire it). (Review by The Ultimate DooMer)

  • Dropzone by r.e. lubbelinkhof (dutch devill)
    58kb - Doom2.exe - SP/DM - 1 map - (img)
    A small brick map from a new brick (not really, heh) mapper. Detail isn't too bad for a first attempt, and it goes nicely with the sky, too (atmosphere). However the map is as easy as they come - nothing tougher than Phobos (except for a pair of hell knights) and more than enough stuff down to help you out. Not bad for a first attempt, but a bit lightweight. (Review by The Ultimate DooMer)

  • Nym v1.0 - LogicDeLuxe
    ZDoom - SP - 90k - (img) (img)
    This is a quick little wad which will probably annoy you a bit unless you love 'trivial mathematical pseudo-games' as Grazza put it (where's Fredrik?). The map is small and underdetailed and revolves mainly around two areas, one with a couple cacodemons and a cyberdemon, and one where you play an old math game called Nym (or Nim) which may be familiar to some of you computer science folks out there. Once you know the trick to the game it's impossible to lose, but if you have no clue what you're doing then the little marine guy will kick your ass unless you get really lucky. After that you kill the cyberdemon and exit the map. Nothing too exciting or pretty, and the gameplay is kind of weak, but if you have nothing to do a nice game of Doom Nym will fill the time nicely (including when the marine takes forever to kill his demons). - Cyb

  • Doom: The Heresy v0.07 Alpha - John "DrFrag" Mullins
    ZDoom (but works with others) - SP - 90k - (img)
    Uh. Okay I'll be honest. I didn't play this wad, and frankly I don't really give a flying crap. Apparently it takes your Heretic iwad and makes the Heretic episodes into Doom episodes, I assume by replacing textures and things (it includes the util DM2CONV.EXE which does exactly that I believe). If you check the screenshot the archive includes a crapload of files including a bunch of batch files and some scattered wad files. I'm sure it could have been made a lot more compact, and as such I'm sure a lot of people (myself included) won't bother playing this because we simply can't be bothered (that also said, I detest batch files). On top of that, uh, I honestly don't care. Now since I totally pulled a deathz0r feel free to flame away (that's a joke of course, you should all blindly agree with me and then send me money). Just play Deus Vult instead. - Cyb

  • Deus Vult by Huy Pham, AKA Converted Doomer
    6,198kb - limit-removing port - SP - 4 (or 1, or 5) maps - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img) - (img)
    Deus Vult is certainly extraordinary. This would have been an ambitious project for a team of experienced mappers, yet this is Converted Doomer's first ever wad. Six months ago, he was a newbie mapper, asking newbie editing questions in the Doomworld forums. He states that he has spent more than 600 hours making Deus Vult, and I suspect that is not an overestimate.

    Most of what I had heard about Deus Vult revolved around it being the biggest map ever made for Doom, as if its principal aim was to bring everyone's computer to a grinding halt. I therefore got a pleasant surprise upon downloading it - it had been split into four manageable-sized chunks, and they are surely among the most beautiful maps ever made for Doom. Map03 and Map04 in particular are breathtaking. If you do nothing else with Deus Vult, watch stx-Vile's demos on these two maps (they are included in the zip file) - it will only take half an hour of your life (while he takes the lives of about 2000 monsters...), and provides a first-rate guided tour through these extraordinary creations.

    Clearly, not everyone will like the gameplay. The aim was to make something akin to Hell Revealed and Alien Vendetta, but on an even grander scale. If you didn't enjoy playing the later maps in those two megawads, there's no way on earth you're going to enjoy playing Deus Vult (even then you may find parts of it just too much, maybe the colossal lava cavern in map02). The strongest influence is without doubt Alien Vendetta's map29 ("Fire Walk With Me" by Anders Johnsen) - the whole feeling of the later parts of Deus Vult is similar, and there are some areas that are based on ones in that map. Deus Vult really gets into its stride with the hell-themed areas; the more tech-themed parts early on are less convincing, and have slower gameplay too. If you do want to tackle Deus Vult, then my advice would be the same as for the tougher maps in HR and AV - get to know the layout very well beforehand. In the heat of battle, you need to know where the power-ups are, and where the ambushes take place, and you won't have time to do it by trial and error. Health and ammo are in generous supply, but with such mayhem all around, death is only ever a mistake or two away.

    There are new textures in abundance, and they are used very well alongside the defaults. There are some "funneys" here and there, but I won't provide any spoilers. Don't worry, there's no impse, but other long-established Doomworld in-jokes appear. This is just a minor component though; this really isn't a joke wad. Some other images presumably relate to the wad's name; Deus Vult ("God wills it") refers to the idea of evil being done in God's name. Even so, I would have left present-day politics out of it myself.

    It's clearly wad of the week, and one of the year's biggest releases - in every sense.

  • r.e. lubbelinkhof's maps
    This is a series of nine single-map wads by Mr Lubbelinkhof (who appears to dislike capital letters) that appeared in /newstuff this week. The first (dropzone.wad) was reviewed by Ultimate DooMer above. At first, I was going to say that all these maps suffer from much the same problem: very little health and limited ammo, leading to boring gameplay, since extreme caution is needed throughout even when you're meeting relatively weak opposition. Most of the maps seem to be more or less speedrun-only (and even that is hardly feasible in some cases). Then I realized - these maps are meant to be played one after the other, as an episode (of which dropzone is the first, and works well for that purpose). In which case, they should have been released as a single wad! I'd still criticize them on the grounds of poor playability from pistol starts, but at least you'd have the option of carrying ammo from the previous map in that case. So, I loaded them all up together, and played them as an episode, and my reviews are based around how they played in that case. Note that one of the maps (dfortres - map09) was REJECTed due to a bad upload.

  • the mokum_xxx by r.e. lubbelinkhof
    98kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map (map02) - (img)
    First of all I should clarify that despite the xxx in this wad's name, there is no pr0n in it. The map starts with an irritating wait for a 30-second door, though if you strafe-run from the start, you can escape before it closes. This is rather a tricky map even when starting with plenty of ammo, and it really needs more health. The central area is deadly due to all the hitscan enemies, so some care is needed there. Towards the end of the map the odds get more in your favour as long as you find a few useful secrets.

  • the guardian by r.e. lubbelinkhof
    177kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map (map03) - (img)
    I guess this one is just about possible from scratch, but it would be horribly difficult. There's just no health. Otherwise, it's quite an exciting map, but let down by its symmetry/repetition and the many teleporters. It is hard to see much logic in which teleporter takes you where. Some more colour-coding would have been very welcome.

  • the bloodpool by r.e. lubbelinkhof
    129kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map (map04) - (img)
    Like the previous maps, this one features a lot of yellow stone, some green marble and quite a lot of blood. I think it is possible to get stuck without the red key and unable to get back to the area where it resides.

  • cursed camelot by r.e. lubbelinkhof
    78kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map (map05) - (img)
    A change of scene now has us storming a citadel with a moat. It's not quite what you'd call a castle, but it looks OK. I was going to say that you'd have a fighting chance from a pistol start, thanks to a secret megasphere, but looking at the yellow key trap, I think that's still a bit far-fetched.

  • the underworld by r.e. lubbelinkhof
    98kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map (map06) - (img)
    Lots of blood, pain elementals and mancs at the start. If you're lucky you'll telefrag a few of the mancs; you can also make use of the fact that the manc alcoves are inaccessible to the lost souls, so you can provoke infighting from there. It's somewhat tedious though.

  • lost monastery by r.e. lubbelinkhof
    126kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map (map07) - (img)
    Back to the yellow stone look, and an interesting map07. You'll need to carry a fair bit of ammo from the previous map to avoid a lingering death.

    baron's lair by r.e. lubbelinkhof
    76kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map (map08) - (img)
    An attractive map with lots of green marble and some quite intricate architecture. I even managed to complete this one from a pistol start (and no saves), but it needed a fair amount of luck. The start is really rather brutal.

  • the hellhole by r.e. lubbelinkhof
    85kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map (map10) - (img)
    No surprises design-wise here: more yellow stone, green marble and blood. And it's just about playable from scratch. If you like dodging. A lot. A tight and tricky map.

    In conclusion, these maps have the makings of a rather good episode. But in order for them to be much fun, they need to be joined together in a single wad, extra health added throughout, and a good deal of playtesting done to fine-tune the gameplay. The architecture and concepts (flow, traps, etc.) are already good, though a little more variety in the themes would be welcome.

  • Smelnick Deathmatch by Danny Melnyk
    159kb - Doom2.exe - DM - 4 maps - (img)
    The first of these four DM maps is the same as "Smeldeth", which I reviewed in /newstuff Chronicles #177. It appears to be unchanged. The remaining three maps were, according to the text-file, made earlier, and "a little less good". I didn't notice much difference in quality (the wood and stone theme is consistent throughout), although map04 is certainly rather simpler. The BFG in map02 is trickier to reach than in map01, which should make things more interesting.

  • Afterhours by Josh (EarthQuake) Simpson
    420kb - Zdoom + Doom2 - DM - 3 maps - (img) - (img)
    Here we have three pleasant and clean-looking DM maps for Zdoom. The three scenarios are all rather different: a spaceship, city/rooftops and a natural outdoor environment. A number of Zdoom features are apparent, most obviously slopes. In map01 the bigger weapons are difficult or risky to obtain (the BFG requires a walk along a very exposed walkway, for instance). In map02 it is possible to jump between the buildings in several places - jump pads assist here and there. Map03 is a rather simpler affair (lots of slopes, but little else), though the sky is attractive.

  • Brains! Part 2: Monochromatic Stains by Shawn Huckabay
    3,798kb - Zdoom + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - (img)
    I'll start off by praising Shawn Huckabay for giving full details of the various resources he used, and for including copies of their text-files. All very proper and correct. However, I can't say that I especially enjoyed playing the map that he has used them in. Perhaps it was inspired by the famous "They Hunger" mod for Half-Life, as most of the enemies you face are slow-moving zombies with no ranged attack. However, apart from near the start and at the end, you can dodge most of them quite easily (and need to, since the ammo supply is low). The weakest part of the map, gameplay-wise, is the full minute you spend just running around one area while monsters spawn. There is no reason to waste ammo on them - all you're doing is killing time. If you have explored an underwater area before collecting the yellow key, you should have little problem reaching the exit, despite low health. The map is quite atmospheric, and if you like Quake's brown colour scheme, then you might even like its appearance. Overall not too bad, but the gameplay and decor are both a bit drab.

  • MasterOFDeath's Deathmatch Base by MasterOFDeath
    18kb - Legacy + Doom2 - DM - 1 map - (img)
    A small and rather plain DM map. It is designed for Legacy, but does actually work in Doom2.exe. In fact, it looks a bit more interesting that way. The Legacy features used are a 3D walkway and some water in the passage leading to the BFG. In Doom2.exe, they are both absent, but you can still get across the gap that the walkway spans by using a strafe-50 jump. Either way though, I can't imagine too much DM ever being played in this map - there's just too little substance to it.

  • The Supply Base by MasterOFDeath
    27kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img) - (img)
    This map has a rather serious error: the door to the exit is marked as if it needs the red key, but in fact is opened using the blue key. This, combined with the fact that the blue key can be grabbed, means the exit can be reached in just a few seconds (see the first screenshot). The grab on its own might be viewed as deliberately allowing a speedrunning trick (in fact, it makes it quite a nice level for Pacifist), but the two together are just sloppy mapping. Anyway, if you ignore all that (or are going for maxkills), it's not a bad map. Small and simple, but a reasonably interesting challenge. Plenty of health (if you find a secret megasphere), and enough ammo to get the job done (and the berserk helps). The action hots up nicely at one point too.



    Re-release
    Just one this time, but it's an interesting map if you like a good challenge.

  • Starport v1.7 by Dave Wilcoxson
    173kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map - (img) - (img)
    A tricky map with a well-balanced ammo and health supply (i.e. fairly tight but not excessively so). The foes you meet early on include a cyber and an archie, so you need to be on your toes. Good strategy or good luck are recommended, and there are some very useful secrets that you'll want to locate. There is a lot of nukage, but a generous supply of rad suits. A light-amp would have been nice for one area, though you can use the invul for that effect (you don't need to "waste" it for the cyber fight). Even when you know your way around, the map remains quite a challenge, especially if you try to rush through it. The wad contains a number of replacement graphics, and I think they work quite well.

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omg, it's THE EYE

edit: okay, I played through a bit of DV and what I saw looked nice enough but the gameplay was very dull as it seemed to just be huge room after room of 5,000 enemies. Not my thing, I guess. I'll check it out on nomonsters one of these days though, some of the stuff in it looks pretty neat.

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Deus Vult has certainly caught my interest... very unique from what I can see from the screenshots. Nice /nc this week, very nice.

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I claim SP! Interesting /newstuff this week. Heh and a big one to

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Looking awesome to the maaax. :D I'll have to check some of these out. :D Especially that Deus Vult, that looks amazing. :D

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i playtested brains 2 when he was working on it. you're not meant to play it thinking "doom", it's meant to be scary/creepy/etc. just like they hunger wasn't meant for you to think "halflife".

also, dark tranquillity's monochromatic stains is king.

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EarthQuake said:

Wtf is with this R.E. Lubbelinkhof?
Couldn't he have made a megawad instead?



Of course he could. The sad thing is that his maps will be split across all directories so nobody will be able to piece it together when they are removed from /newstuff. Maybe someone here should do it (after asking him for permission of course)?

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Relica Religia said:

I must be the only person around here who finds DV's gameplay enjoyable.


i'll probably never be able to finish it (that cat and mouse scene with the 4 cybs is a "HOLY FUCKING MOSES" type thing), but i enjoy it too.

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What happened to Cleanwad 1.48? It wasn't reviewed!

I did get it to /incoming on Wednesday, but maybe that is too late with such a huge load of stuff to review. Anyway, anyone who still uses Serge Smirnov's CleanWAD or otherwise has a need for a standalone WAD cleaner, read on :-)

After releasing a basic update a few weeks ago, I have completely rewritten it with a new engine for my own use, but figure it might be useful to other people. (Serge included the source code in his original distribution; which is just as well, as he seems to have totally disappeared from the DOOM Community).

It recognises modern source-port-ism's, such as BOOM colormaps, nonstandard map names like D2CTF1 and QD01 etc (that's down to YOU, HotWax of ZDoom Forums, hope you're satisfied :-) ), HeXen behaviour lumps, OpenGL lumps and such like. The handling of structured lists has been vastly improved and the user generally has much more control over how the program recognises oddities like Heretic and HeXen screen pages.

I will always upload the latest "official" release to /incoming, however the latest "stable enough for day-to-day use" build can always be found at http://freespace.virgin.net/mc.howe/index.htm.

Have fun (yeah, like anybody would be interested in a program that is nine years old :-) )

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Wow there's a lot of screenies with monsters (frozen), why is that?

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Heh, I liked brains2. It's not spectacular but it's at least different, and a little fun. I look forward to the next installment.

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Not to be argumentative, but I'd say based on the screenshots that Deus Vult's textures are its real highlight... there don't seem to be any great architectural feats in that wad besides making something so huge (such as that lava area) look decent. I'm not saying the wad doesn't look nice (the first shot told me that much)... but just what about this wad is "beautiful?"

I'm a bit biased against AV/HR-style maps though, so... there isn't any way I'm playing that without cheats or -nomonsters. :-P

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Epyo said:

Wow there's a lot of screenies with monsters (frozen), why is that?

Zombie.deh :) It turns the player into a zombie (by setting initial health to zero), so no weapon is shown, and the monsters don't react upon seeing the player (but you can still trigger events). I think it can help to get better screenshots, assuming you don't want the screen full of fireballs.

Blackfish: I took three large screenshots of Deus Vult (note the file names) so that I could show both the large scale of the architecture and the high detail of the textures simultaneously.

Martin Howe: CleanWAD was mentioned in /newstuff Chronicles #177. I don't generally mention new versions (be they of wads or tools) unless there are major changes in functionality or it is wholly new to the archive.

netnomad312 said:

there isn't any way I'm playing that without cheats or -nomonsters. :-P

As I suggested in the review, you can watch the demos. No monsters, no cheats; you just let someone else do the hard work. :) The zip contains Max demos on all maps, including two by stx-Vile, winner of Compet-n's Golden Cyber for Best Player 2003. If you just want to see and hear teh cat, watch a map04 demo.

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Grazza said:

Zombie.deh :) It turns the player into a zombie (by setting initial health to zero), so no weapon is shown, and the monsters don't react upon seeing the player (but you can still trigger events). I think it can help to get better screenshots, assuming you don't want the screen full of fireballs.


zdoom's freeze mode (type freeze in the console) is much more effective, and allows for more dramatic screenshots, I find :)

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Converted DOOMer said:

Instead of looking at the shots, why don't you download it and play it?


SCHOOLED.

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Deus Vult is a great feat, I will admit. I very much enjoyed the hellish landscapes and the custom artwork.

With that being said, I find the gameplay to be a little boring. Its just constant shooting, at all times. It actually came to a point where my "trigger finger" got tired from clenching the mouse. And this is while I was playing coop. I don't even think I want to try it on Single Player for it is ridiculous.

A good wad, no less. Just wish it was balanced.

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Grazza said:

Martin Howe: CleanWAD was mentioned in /newstuff Chronicles #177. I don't generally mention new versions (be they of wads or tools) unless there are major changes in functionality or it is wholly new to the archive.

Ok, thanks for that. As to "a major change in functionality": well I did hope that a completely new engine, several improvements and a few new features would count :-). Seriously, I should have highlighted it nearer the beginning of the text file.

Well at least people know about it now :-)

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ok, WTF? When I was finishing up The Supply Base, I thought I fixed all those key bugs, and when Godcells playtested it for me before it was uploaded, he didn't report any bugs. I haven't had any bugs with the exit door myself, it ran just fine. Strange. Oh, and the screens of Deus Vult look alright, but I havent played it yet. Looks alright.

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Relica Religia said:

I must be the only person around here who finds DV's gameplay enjoyable.


Naw, you're not. DV just rocks.

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BlackFish said:

why the heck are the screenshots in 1600x1200? ain't that a bit much?

800x600 is enough.


Quite the opposite. 1600x1200 is just the right size for screenshots - that way, you actually get to see the details (or lack thereof) the level has to offer.

You can always scale down the screenshots if you want smaller versions, too (modern browsers allow you to do this automatically, even).

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Schneelocke said:

Quite the opposite. 1600x1200 is just the right size for screenshots - that way, you actually get to see the details (or lack thereof) the level has to offer.

You can always scale down the screenshots if you want smaller versions, too (modern browsers allow you to do this automatically, even).


agreed. 800x600 fails at an amazing rate, unless you're playing a game that sits more towards the high-end of your computer- in my case, anything made after 2001.

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Having tested several incarnations of Deus Vult, I look forward to seeing how it ended up turning out. And seeing whether I have the patience to legitimately beat it. :)

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