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Bloodshedder

Not Taking Forever

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Brian "skadoomer" Goodsell writes about the redesign of the site for his Foreverhood modification. He has actually released version 1.0 for download, while beginning to rebuild the mod as Foreverhood 2.0. See the site for more.

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This is one of the few things I've played that left me breathless just because of the sheer deranged atmosphere. That's also before I was aware of the good/evil choice as well.

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I would consider this, Foreverhood Episode 1 (since episodic content is all the rage this year). You're right that there is not a lot of gameplay to be found here, it is largely a visual masterpiece. I got stuck once I grabbed the axe, and then after 20 minutes of mindless wandering realized a darker texture needed to be chopped.

Call me shallow, but the atmosphere and environment is so beautiful in Foreverhood, I don't even care that I spend most of my time walking around. The plethora of new textures is astonishing and they are put to uses I never thought possible in the Doom engine. The giant mushrooms, the absolutely stunning trees with branches spread in all directions, characters, the seamless blending of textures and environments to create a unified world, I could ramble on all day. The three distinct worlds are each so unique a single screenshot would tell a player instantly where it came from. The swamp, the machineworks, the dust land, each creative and fleshed out to give the player the full experience the author desired.

Short? Depressingly, yes. Short on Combat and actual game experience? Yes. Yet, Foreverhood is still one of the best Doom projects I've played all year, and for that matter, ever. I used to hold Batman Doom as the visual apex of Doom editing, but now it would take something of astounding quality to surpass Foreverhood as the most astonishing work I've seen produced in this aging engine.

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I've gotten to the axe in Dusty Valley and I have to say it has been an enjoyable experience so far. It definitely pushes the limits of the engine and looks beautiful to boot. I'm glad that the author chose to release this rather than trash it, never to be seen again.

I don't understand how you can say it's lacking in the gameplay department, however. Exploration, aesthetics and storytelling are all parts of gameplay and the experience. The fighting so far seems to be very exciting and fun, and the weapons feel fresh, even if they are from Hexen.

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insertwackynamehere said:

it makes my computer crash :( tried the batch AND tried running the instructions in the batch from the Run prompt. My computer just restarts :(


Version 1.1 will be a code update for zdoom 2.1.5 compatibility. Hopefully this will fix the 96x problems people have been having.

I don't understand how you can say it's lacking in the gameplay department, however. Exploration, aesthetics and storytelling are all parts of gameplay and the experience. The fighting so far seems to be very exciting and fun, and the weapons feel fresh, even if they are from Hexen.


True, but this is basted on doom which most people enjoy because you kill stuff, collect keys and solve puzzles. Currently its story first, level design second and gameplay third. Because all thoe elements where developed seperately, they don't work as tightly as i would like them to.

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Yeah, but the thing is I am not looking forward to this to play a doom clone. I thought the pace of this suited the world quite well. Just watching the bizarre environments unfold around me was awesome. My complaint is that it ended too soon and at points it did feel fairly linear, but given it was an early/old part of the game I can let it slide.

Naturally I want a GZDoom compatible version. Yet this still looks impressive in software which i find very cool so it's not a high priority.

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Ska, I'm not sure why you feel you need to rework this into a new mod. This first part feels entirely fleshed out, like a beginning installment of a longer game. Why not put more work into finishing the second half of the game instead of fixing what most people agree isn't broke? I think Snarboo and baztard makes a good point, this isn't Doom and it plays the way it's supposed to, explorative and story driven.

I would like to see this reduced to a single wad file for easy use with the latest ZDoom, so I don't have to keep an entire folder for Foreverhood (maybe 2 downloads, one with everything, the other with just the wad and documents). Also, make the axe part a bit more intuitive.

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Scuba Steve said:

Ska, I'm not sure why you feel you need to rework this into a new mod. This first part feels entirely fleshed out, like a beginning installment of a longer game. Why not put more work into finishing the second half of the game instead of fixing what most people agree isn't broke? I think Snarboo and baztard makes a good point, this isn't Doom and it plays the way it's supposed to, explorative and story driven.

I would like to see this reduced to a single wad file for easy use with the latest ZDoom, so I don't have to keep an entire folder for Foreverhood (maybe 2 downloads, one with everything, the other with just the wad and documents). Also, make the axe part a bit more intuitive.


If it makes any difference, I agree. Other than a few little things here and there, Foreverhood 1.0 does indeed feel like the opening part of a game. I don't think it needs to be replaced, but if you insist...;p

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Beautiful. I won't bother explaining all the things that make this amazing because I can't begin to do it justice.

The only thing I think could be worked on is the combat. It got tedious fighting the same enemy that just kept coming. I had much more fun simply exploring and talking to everyone.

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Scuba Steve said:

Ska, I'm not sure why you feel you need to rework this into a new mod. This first part feels entirely fleshed out, like a beginning installment of a longer game. Why not put more work into finishing the second half of the game instead of fixing what most people agree isn't broke?


Perhaps I should be clearer on my intentions with this. Currently that is the direction I’m going in, however when the second half of the game is finished, I’m going to re-tweak the first part. There are two reasons for doing this:

1) The story.
Because you can take both sides in the game, building up the nightmeres character within the first section was basted totally on the perspective on the sequas (the taller talking guys wearing robes) and to some faint extent, the nuus (those bouncing squid guys). Ultimately the game splits at that point that it ended in the demo, where you can choose to fight on the nightmere's side or the world’s side. Having the player understand that choice is something that needs to be driven through by an evenly balanced story. Currently it feels very one sided.

2) the pacing.
I read an article in Game Developer which focused on the power of pacing. Currently the actual gameplay you find in the mod doesn’t appear until midway in the second map. In my mind that takes too long. Don't get me wrong, leading the player through story first does work (ex. half-life), but it detracts from the re-play value. The dialog only goes so far before it becomes repetitive, and ideally I’d like the player to be introduced to an actual weapon sooner as opposed to later.

Now don't get me wrong, I love the mod I have released. It is not by intent that to state a 'reworking' of this playable version that I will be deleting in entirety any maps or events. I just believe that things will be changed in terms of event sequences for the final release.

I'm also doing a re-write of the code for two reasons. Primarily I have new content to add in for the second half of the game. Things like new weapons, new monsters and new abilities are making their way into the code. Secondly, this code was written largely in a sleep deprived state and has some visible flaws. For example, the player can't transition through maps in the hub (and yes, it is supposed to be a hub). This is because I mucked things up with the dialog storage that broke the functionality of the talking actors. In my mind, fixing these issues sooner than later wouldn't benefit just the current release, but the final release as well.

I would like to see this reduced to a single wad file for easy use with the latest ZDoom, so I don't have to keep an entire folder for Foreverhood (maybe 2 downloads, one with everything, the other with just the wad and documents)


Planned.

Also, make the axe part a bit more intuitive.


Easy fix. If you talk to the green nuu after receiving the axe, he tells you where to chop. I think making him spawn a glowing exclamation over his head when the player receives the axe will clarify the confusion in this area

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I see what you mean Ska, there needs to be more about good/bad in the game. I didn't even know there were two sides until Tom_D pointed it out. There needs to be different dialogue depending on your path and a REASON to want to be bad. The whole story I got said I am good and I must protect these poor people from evil eye... I had no reason to turn on the people I had been getting to know. I was disappointed when I climbed to the top of the waterfall and talked to 4 handed woman and she said the exact same thing... I thought she might be attempting to protect the little ones.

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I think the good vs bad theme is planted pretty well in this intro. Sure, you start out meeting the first person you see and they tell you how it sucks that the eye is taking over. But at the end you get to talk with the eye. or rather it talks to you and you start thinking what you should do. I still don't really know where I am, and for what reason I am saving these creatures. Other than that they are cuddly and talk cute. :p

It seems you wanted to play them out against eachother. Good vs bad that is. Unless you are aiming for a "who is right?" conflict- You don't really need any other reason for playing as bad other than playing as bad and see what happens. People will probably play both anyway.

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While I noticed the whole good vs. evil thing, what interested me the most was what "the eye" says to you at the end. It seems as though you're from the eye's world. If I make the character rejoin the eye's side of the war, I would hope I'd get to learn more about him or her background.

I'd have to say that this is the stuff I'd like to see with Doom source ports, something that's nothing like Doom at all. I'm looking forward to the finished wad.

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Just finished "chapter 1", and I have to say I'm very impressed. It's so beautiful and captivating and I want to learn more about this world. I often would go into places I probably wasn't supposed to, especially in the badlands world, as there were many things to jump on and explore.

I think I understand what you mean, Ska. The worlds, while very beautiful, are somewhat static. Outside of communication, the axe and tree, combat and the mushrooms, there wasn't much to manipulate. That being said, it was still a great experience, and a great introduction into the Foreverhood. I think this chapter should sort of standalone, as a tutorial and introduction.

When you do refine the gameplay, please, under no circumstances, ruin the beautiful and slow pacing at the very beginning with unnecessary combat or puzzles. I loved the slow build into the combat. It made it a very enjoyable experience, and helped to immerse you into the game. Just because this is a game doesn't mean you have to introduce us to every part of it right away. Exploring is probably going to be the most important part of this, so it's best to let the player do their own thing at first, then gently guide them into the game like you have done, so they can make choices and become part of the world.

I can't wait to see more of this. Keep it up!

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Scrap McGees Alice!
Scrap Void!
This is going to be the best mod for doom evar!

But you should resolve some bugs.
For example i had a "nice" HOM while chopping away at the tree.
And the place where the axe should be i had an actor overflow.
You have this plattform with the axe and some ghosts flying away from said plattform. But i can see the spawning spot.
Wont crash zdoom, but rendered it unplayable(~2 fps) on a K7-3000+(!) while looking at them.
Tested with newest zdoom SVN compiled under Ubuntu 6.

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Bastet Furry said:

For example i had a "nice" HOM while chopping away at the tree.


Yes, I came across that one, too. Also, it would be nice if it wasn't possible to kill the mushroom pieces you're supposed to move around... :)

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those floating heads are a BITCH.

This TC is the best I have ever seen. It only feels like doom in the "engine" aspect. other than that, it's a brand new game. PLEASE do not change anything completely, this is perfect! Just finish the 1.0 story. :P

Bastet, you're supposed to use the Zdoom that came with the TC.

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Csonicgo said:

PLEASE do not change anything completely, this is perfect! Just finish the 1.0 story.

snarbooWhen you do refine the gameplay, please, under no circumstances, ruin the beautiful and slow pacing at the very beginning with unnecessary combat or puzzles. I loved the slow build into the combat. It made it a very enjoyable experience, and helped to immerse you into the game.


Sorry to say the intro will be changed a bit. It needs to happen to fully explain the story that will be present in 2.0.Since the mod does give the player the decision to choose which side they ally themselves with, i need to build both worlds in the same gray light. Right now it is very one sided since you begin by talking to the creatures from one side before you even get a chance to understand the otherside even exsists.

I'll try and compromise if people think i'm going too far off the deep end.

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skadoomer said:

Right now it is very one sided since you begin by talking to the creatures from one side before you even get a chance to understand the otherside even exsists.

Yes, agreed!

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first impression:
FEH1 is great. Mindblowing, maybe like a drug drip (have no experience with that but...). Like a strange dream.

After playing:
Good.
But: Spawning enemy heads in my back really suck. Killed me many times.
Endless spawning sucks, too.
Caves are not safe.
Too much of the same colour sometimes.
Too many climbable paths. You get either nearly lost or you climb and jump and do stuff but reach a dead end then and gain nothing.
Mushrooms, talks and landscape: great.
music: great, but after the 1st head attack too long repeating.

I'm looking forward for more of that kind.

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Cacodemon said:

Too many climbable paths. You get either nearly lost or you climb and jump and do stuff but reach a dead end then and gain nothing.

I liked that, gives this thing a freelancer touch.

BTW: Are there any real freelancer wads out there? I mean wads that absolutly arnt beating you trough the map with a crowbar? I mean something like The Elder Scroll but in Doom.

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