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deathz0r

The /newstuff Chronicles #244

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Welcome to another installment of the fantastic world of /newstuff! In this week of Doomy-flavoured goodness we have a total of eleven new zips to discover, excluding the typical /oldstuff (har har, geddit) submissions and ports that have already been uploaded three times before. We have a mixed bag of Single Player, Deathmatch, Capture the Flag and even Last Man Standing. Oh deary!

(EDIT 08/02/05) I apologise for the lateness, but I had uhh, personal reasons. Let's just say I'm not in a particularly happy mood right now.

  • CDoom - Carlos Guariglia
    ??? - ??? - 42kb
    Uh... this WAD does not appear to be functional at all.

  • E1M3: Toxin refinery - Dutch Devil
    ZDoom - SP - 465kb - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    The first functional WAD to be reviewed this week is a remake of E1M3 that seems to fit perfectly into KDiZD; too much attention given to detail, not enough to gameplay. When I was playing through this map, the thought that was going through my mind was that the intention of this remake was to show off how much better one of the original maps will look like if it was remade using ZDoom's features. The amount of health is very limited at the start, which can be very frustrating for lower-skilled players (and even myself, as I died before I was able to get past the first door) into not wanting to play this map at all. Fortunately it becomes trivial when you go past the second door, but the high difficulty level at the start and the excessive "oh look at me, I can make pretty walls" really brings this WAD down a fair bit.

  • Kaiser's Strife Script Compiler - Kaiser
    Strife/ZDoom - N/A - 39kb
    This program allows you to create custom conversation scripts that are frequently used throughout Strife. Pretty frickin useful for creating custom Strife levels or even ZDoom wads that are geared towards dialouges and stories, plus it includes sample scripts as well!

  • Kaotic - Jacob H. Orloff
    "ZDoom" - SP - 28kb - (img)
    This WAD is really bad overall. The texture theme varies between each room, and the gameplay is particularly dull. Avoid

  • Morbid Scream - Walter "Daimon" Confalonieri
    Doom.exe - DM - 514kb - (img) (img)
    Now, I'm known to be a lenient man towards deathmatch levels, but this map is not a worthy level to deathmatch on against your friends. The layout is pathetic, there's way too many places to hide/camp, and there's some really, really weird use of ceiling heights (see second screenshot). While this map is suited for at least six people, I wouldn't ask five other people to play against me in this map.

  • Motor Rail: EFTPB - I'm me
    Boom compatible - SP - 398kb - (img) (img)
    Whoever the real identity of "I'm me" is, I'd tell him to learn how to make maps that don't suck. There's an overabundance of cells, and I did not encounter any other types of ammo when I played this for a grand total of five minutes, before I came to the conclusion that this map is a masterpiece of crap.

  • Pistol Whip - Edward Dassmesser
    ZDoom - SP - 75kb - (img) (img)
    Pistol Whip is an... unusual level to say the least. The use of textures are literally eye-gouging, but the only thing to save this WAD from belonging in the shit pile is the fact that the only weapons you can use in the entire level is your pistol and fists. Now, if you're a Tyson freak you'd be screaming in joy and glee, but us normal Doom nerds would find this map incredibly boring and dull to play.

  • Sanity Bleeds "Demo" - Vile1011
    ZDoom - SP - 2.8mb - (img) (img) (img)
    It's a shame that this planned megawad was cancelled, as it had the potential to be a high-quality ZDoom that is original (take note KDiZD authors) and sure as hell interesting to play.

    Moving on, this two-level "demo" contains an intro map and the first gameplay-oriented map. The intro map is confusing if you don't bother reading the text file, as it took me five minutes to realise that you had to press the 'Use' button in order to get past the first line of text. Once you get past that, you progress through a nice blend of interactive and cutscene-oriented dialogue, and then you move onto the first real map. Although the map is unfinished and plagued with unaligned textures, the overall detail is very nice and the gameplay is somewhat challenging, as there is a limited amount of ammo and health laying around. The monsters are not particularly tough, but you do encounter a fair amount of them in each area. If the unaligned textures were fixed, this would be an awesome map to play, but there will be a large amount of nitpickers who will endlessly complain about them.

  • Skulltag Community LMS Project Version 2 - Various
    Skulltag - DM/LMS - 3mb - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    The biggest (and currently most successful) project to come out of the Skulltag community is this incredibly fine masterpiece. Included in this WAD are fourteen levels created by various authors (which uses the non-standard map title format of STLMS** instead of MAP**) which all have beautiful detail and amazing gameplay to boot. The layouts are flawless, with great weapon, health and powerup placement, connectivity between areas and decent-sized areas to battle your weak foes in. The themes between each map are not consistent, and have a broad range going from tech, base, hell, forest, even a sea oilrig-type level! The music replacements for each map are also appropriate, as they help enhance the fun atmosphere that this WAD radiates with. All levels play perfectly fine with at least eight players (as it was discovered in last week's Friday Night Fragfest), and most can even handle twenty players without anyone suffering from claustrophobia. If there is one single flaw that I have to point out in STLMSv2, it's that STLMS03 does not contain a Player 1 start, which means it's not viewable in Single Player. Definitely the WAD of the week.

  • Tagzonez - Jacek 'Illdo' Dobrzyniecki
    Skulltag - DM - 11kb - (img) (img)
    Now, I'm aware that the author of this map does not natively speak English, but for the love of god, do not use ghetto writing for titles ever again. It is horribly wrong and it makes this WAD bad for the following reasons:

    1) It portrays the author as a retarded 13-year old male who has just reached puberty
    2) It makes the map sound like something that's 'hip' and 'trendy', and also horribly gay
    3) It's a disgrace to the English language

    Please keep these points in mind when you make another map Jacek, as it's not hard to spell words like 'zones', 'steps' and 'maps' and anything else that ends with the letter 's' properly.

    As for the level itself, it sucks.

  • Turrents CTF - Jules "julz_D" Spindler
    ZDaemon - CTF - 119kb - (img) (img) (img)
    Typos aside, this Capture the Flag map is unique for the fact that it has turrets embedded in both bases, which can be used to effectively defend your base from incoming intruders. However, I found that the inside of the bases themselves were very dull and extremely symmetrical. If you take away the turrets in this map, then this level literally becomes an uninteresting CTF map. The detail is ok, but nothing too spectacular, or horribly bad either.

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fp

Nice kzid baiting there.

BTW, my understanding of the "Cdoom" wad is that it works only with Cdoom 2.05, and it contains the resources needed to run Carlos's wads for his port without requiring an iwad.

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Pretty nice ns this week ^_^

sargebaldy said:

Nothing for me this week. I wish someone in the community still made vanilla/Boom-compatible maps.


*cough

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Woot, newstuff! That LMS map pack really does kick a lot of ass. Everyone did a great job on it, and it turned out extremely well :) Definitely give it a look if you haven't already.

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I waited a week for a two sentence review(Kaotic). Gee thanks man. I guess i'm just disappointed in myself. I thought I did alot better with this map, but it just sucks as bad as my last one. *Sigh* I guess a beginner mapper shouldn't submit anything to /newstuff until they have an Evilution wad on they're hands.


Thanks for even booting it up to look at, Good reviews on everything else though.


-SlatheDoomer

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Pistol Whip was my first (real) attempt at creating a level for a 3D game, so any advice you may have to offer would be welcomed. Something more specific than "eye-gouging textures" would help this new-born mapper to evolve a bit. Even after I released it, I have continued work on it, added a few things, and unfortunately, the story was not in the text file I uploaded. (Basically, the only thing you need to know is that a military base is in the process of being demonized, and halfway through the level, a demon starship crashes into the base.)

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SlatheDoomer:

I just played your level. Frankly, I think the reviewer's got a stick up his butt a bit too far.

The level was no where near as bad as he describes. A few suggestions, however, that I have learned:

Never, ever put a cyberdemon in a one-level wad release. Never. Just don't do it.

Lower-Unpeg the door track textures. Then they won't travel up with the doors

Soul Spheres and Mega Spheres (also Blue Armor) should be given out sparingly, if at all. In a secret area, perhaps.

The inclination to make a room with a crapload of monsters and give you a BFG may be overwhelming, but resist the urge! (And keep in mind you can only ever show 64 things on the screen at once in Doom II!)

You placed, I think, too many weapons in too small of a level. You really shouldn't go through all 7 weapons in one level. Again, use sparingly.

Large empty rooms are not interesting. Condense or add more interesting things, like displays, eye-candy, you know, anything that makes it less barren.

Are all three keys really neccessary to this short of a level? Instead of having a button release a key right next to the door, why not just have the button open the door? Or, if you want the player near the door when it opens, just have an obstacle in front of the door which the button removes.

Vary varried monster choice and placement. Good for larger levels, but for this small of a level, watch it. Don't want to get too many different types.

The "Exit" in lights at the end was a little tacky. We know it's the exit. That's what the exit door is there for. We all know what that means.

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Now that I've taken a look at E1M3: Toxin refinery, I have to say that, despite what the reviewer says, it's quite good.

I've never played a remake of a level before, and it was an interesting experience, though at the end, I saw that I found only 33% of the secrets! How many more were put in!?

Yes, this was amazingly well done detail-wise. The look of the level is absolutely stunning by my standards (I haven't played many WADs other than Doom.wad and Doom2.wad) and the gameplay is, contrary to belief, also pretty good. I did not die immediately, nor anywhere else throughout the level, but perhaps that is because I played it on only moderate difficulty. I can't complain though. It seems like a very good addition to the level archive, at least, in my eyes.

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SlatheDoomer
I thought I did alot better with this map, but it just sucks as bad as my last one. *Sigh* I guess a beginner mapper shouldn't submit anything to /newstuff until they have an Evilution wad on they're hands.

Don't be so hard on yourself, I'm quite harsh when it comes to reviewing maps as opposed to everyone else that writes /newstuff reviews. Trust me, I've seen a lot worse.

durnurd said:

Something more specific than "eye-gouging textures" would help this new-born mapper to evolve a bit.

The main problem with this map is that the theme changes within every room, it goes from grey textures to marble textures, to brick textures etc. Keeping it to a similar theme throughout most of a map is known to improve the detail quality, since it doesn't seem like the mapper just randomly placed textures just for the sake of having every single texture crammed into one level.

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I reviewer generally doesn't give advice on how to fix something, he just takes it at face value. Constructive criticism is helpful, obviously, but it's not something that should be expected from a reviewer, IMO.

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durnurd said:

Pistol Something more specific than "eye-gouging textures" would help this new-born mapper to evolve a bit.


That's as maybe...but as a reviewer has a heap of stuff to sift through (as well as having personal problems which I wish Deathz0r the best of luck with) it's not always easy to wirte out reams of advice for each author.

Check out the idgames ratings, there's usually one or two little useful snippets there among the pre-pubescent abuse.

And if not, just take anything the reviewer has said on board and just see it as practice. No-one's going to stop you or hate for keep trying, but there's no way a reviewer is going to lie to spare your feelings...if they say something's good and it turns out to be a heap of turd, they'll look like an ass.

Keep trying and good luck with future projects

Not much of an interesting week again, still need to take a look at that Skulltag project though, looks pretty good.

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Oh, wow, great reviews. Let's just bash the KDIZD team for doing something they like instead of trying to suck up to you, and while we're at it, let's also criticise that E1M3 remake for having too much detail.

After all, everyone knows that bland looks are the pinnacle of great level design, right? And of course, a lack of detail would automatically have meant a gameplay improvement, too.

As for "I died when I tried to play this level"... cry us a river. Dying *does* happen when you play doom, y'know? Also, you might have noticed that there's other skill levels besides "Ultra-Violence" - they're there for a reason. It might not sit well with your ego, but maybe you should give those a try, too, if a level is too hard for you on UV.

Seriously, I always thought t/nc was supposed to be a reasonably objective overview of the new stuff for this week, posted in order to allow everyone to avoid the bad wads and play the good ones without having to wade through all the crap themselves. Maybe you should try to focus on that instead of furthering your personal vendettas.

Sorry, but... sheesh. Really.

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And maybe you should show gratitude that people actually bother taking spare time to write reviews for people to sift through

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sargebaldy said:

Nothing for me this week. I wish someone in the community still made vanilla/Boom-compatible maps.



*double cough

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I stink at mapping :( E1M3 Toxin refinery was a complete flop, I had this feeling it would.
I wasn't even sure if I should release this map, I hope to do better on my new one.

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dutch devill said:

I stink at mapping :( E1M3 Toxin refinery was a complete flop


Not true, and don't take just a few people's comments as representing everyone. I enjoyed your attention to detail, and had fun playing through this map. A little work on the gameplay and this would be awesome! It's given me a few ideas for things to try in my maps. I'm just getting started in mapping, and I truly stink at it so I know what I'm talking about when I say you don't stink at mapping.

I look forward to your next release.

Peace out.

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Schneelocke said:

Oh, wow, great reviews. Let's just bash the KDIZD team for doing something they like instead of trying to suck up to you, and while we're at it, let's also criticise that E1M3 remake for having too much detail.

You CAN have too much detail. Ever heard of the "fiffy" series of WADs by King REoL? Certainly you've heard of Gothic DM?

After all, everyone knows that bland looks are the pinnacle of great level design, right? And of course, a lack of detail would automatically have meant a gameplay improvement, too.

Perhaps if he hadn't put so much time into detailing the map, he would have concentrated more on the gameplay. Wouldn't you rather play something that had good gameplay and so-so detail than something that looks like it's straight out of Doom 3 but plays like shit?

As for "I died when I tried to play this level"... cry us a river. Dying *does* happen when you play doom, y'know? Also, you might have noticed that there's other skill levels besides "Ultra-Violence" - they're there for a reason. It might not sit well with your ego, but maybe you should give those a try, too, if a level is too hard for you on UV.

Misquote, AND taken out of context. Notice what he really said: "I died before I was able to get past the first door." Making levels so difficult that you end up dying within the first minute of play from a pistol start, no matter if you even suck a bit at Doom, is frustrating as hell. And unless you're playing Hell Revealed, you normally don't expect difficulty like that straight off the bat. EDIT: Also note the post below this one: this WAD had no difficulty settings.

Seriously, I always thought t/nc was supposed to be a reasonably objective overview of the new stuff for this week, posted in order to allow everyone to avoid the bad wads and play the good ones without having to wade through all the crap themselves. Maybe you should try to focus on that instead of furthering your personal vendettas.

You understand the concept of a review, right? A review, by its nature, CANNOT be totally objective. It would be a simple description, not to mention incredibly boring and unhelpful. Reviewers are here to tell us what THEY thought was good about a WAD, not necessarily to speculate about what OTHER people would like. After all, you're always free to check out a WAD even if the reviewer disses on it, or you can vehemently hate the WAD of the week, whatever it may be. By all means, form your own opinions.

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Can people guide me to a wad that has outstanding gameplay, like a wad thats fun to play more than once.
Cause getting gameplay right is something that I have problems with.
And gameplay is for me the hardest part to get running smoothly.

If it makes any difference there is an shotgun availible on the lowest skill level in the start room.
I didn't had problems getting past the first door with a pistol.
My next map will have difficulty settings, I learned my lesson now ;)

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dutch devill said:

Can people guide me to a wad that has outstanding gameplay, like a wad thats fun to play more than once.


Scythe 1/2, Strain, Icarus, Memento Mori 1/2 to name a few of my favorites.
Btw, I have tried to play Titan426.wad through since release but somehow I think it´s overloaded with all the decorate stuff, although it looks really nice I can´t bring myself to finish it.
Maybe you should try to focus more on classical gameplay, but that´s just my opinion.

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gravitar said:

Btw, I have tried to play Titan426.wad through since release but somehow I think it´s overloaded with all the decorate stuff, although it looks really nice I can´t bring myself to finish it.

Decorate stuff?? there is none of that in there, just some recolored doom stuff.
Yeah it sucked a bit because of the stealty monsters in there.
I could remove them and upload it again but I don't want my wad in there twice.
Can my other wad get replaced somehow, if so then I can change some things to improve gameplay.

Thanks for your suggestions I tried scynte1/2 allready awsome work btw, and have a look at the others too.

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You can upload a new revision of a WAD, and just make sure at the top of the text file you specify it as an update to a WAD already in the archives.

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Bloodshedder said:

Wouldn't you rather play something that had good gameplay and so-so detail than something that looks like it's straight out of Doom 3 but plays like shit?

Nope. Gimme the pretty thing, I've been playing Doom for 12 years... it's all the same, only the looks change.

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Why is gameplay and detail separated?
Why shouldn't I eat chocolate when I drink lemonade?

Gimme pretty map AND good gameplay.

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Nmn said:
Why shouldn't I eat chocolate when I drink lemonade?

Hmm, well, I'd rather combine chocolate with milk or coffee instead.

Gimme pretty map AND good gameplay.

I'd say the aesthetics of a map will be determined by many factors, including detail, game play, overall layout, large scale architectual relations and specifics, texture usage, lighting, thing placement, music, and so on. Each of those elements will be judged by the users and beholders, yet none of those can be defined as elements that dictate what a "pretty" map is (in quotation marks because it sounds more like the word we'd use to classify a lovely girl, a bright jewel or colorful bird as appealing, but not always a DOOM map.)

Since a game is played, any map that plays badly has a negative aesthetic element, just like bad dancing is unappealing. It's simply displeasing to wade through a boring or unbalanced map, no matter how neatly the textures were aligned or how many sectors were used to make a hallway.

Things don't look better because they are detailed; they look different. Some people will say they look better, some worse, and some that whether or not it was detailed isn't relevant, and what really matters is how it looks (good or bad.) Anyone who equates the amount and depth of details to better appearance is as mistaken as he who considers "detail" necessarily a game play issue, or more so.

A very simple map can be very good, and a very detailed one can too, but they can also both be a waste (and not just because of obvious or trivial things, like ammo balance and texture alignment,) each in their own way.

"Detail" was especially impressive back when it was new, after Boom allowed it, or even before that within the framework of the original engine specs as map editing tools became more powerful and DOOM's secrets were fully unveiled. Now it is still possible and easier to do (both because of the even more efficient tools we have and because of our accumulated experience.) And nowadays those making maps for the sake of detail are pretty much in the past; that novelty has already been explored and on many cases its becoming hackneyed and obstructive.

For anyone who does not easily get bored of fun games, there is no reason to think new techniques and possibilities will make previously existing ones obsolete. The re-use of old techniques and elements in a new environment is always possible and healthy in any active practice.

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Gameplay stands above detail I know that, but its not easy for me and probably others to get it just right.
Playing an detailed level is nice but if gameplay is unstable, the looks of an wad can't save it anymore.
Of course I want both a fair ammount of detail and good gameplay, but getting to the point that they both work well is something I have to work on.

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