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AlexMax

The /newstuff Chronicles #288

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Hey peeps. Alex here, with another fashionably late set of reviews. Tons of things to review, including the submission of the GPLed Doom Source to idgames (hooray), but unfortunately only a select few are worth playing, in my opinion. Whatever. Man, I suck at writing introductory paragraphs when I don't have an agenda to shove down peoples throats.

  • Balls - Checkmate
    ZDoom and Risen3D - Solo Play - 1467 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Holy hell, where do I begin? This map is probably the first map I've reviewed for newstuff that I've actually flat-out hated. It's not just because this map looks like complete ass because of the lack of regard for Doom's sense of scale and the use of textures that look like complete ass when used on that scale. It's not just because this map has almost zero testing done on it, as I was able to fall down and get stuck in many many places in the map. It's not just because, intentional initial demon horde aside, this map places you in completely fucking unfair odds with not big enough weaponry and not enough health to go around. If I could pin one problem on this map, it is that the map maker assumed that the player has prior knowledge of the map, and knows what to do and where to go. I'll be blunt, there is zero flow in this map. That's really the only explanation for how disjointed this map plays, the fact that you are never quite sure which direction is the 'right' way and the fact that so many vital switches are in non-obvious places means that you'll probably be as lost as I was, even though the map itself isn't that large. There were tons of rooms with no obvious purpose, and more than once I broke sequence because the author forgot to put an impassible line somewhere, probably because he knew how to beat it and didn't THINK about what us mere mortal players might do. And to add insult to injury, he made a Risen3D version of this shitheap. Well, if Risen3D needed any more justification for getting killed off, maps like this certainly work. Forget not downloading it, you're probably doing yourself a favor by not even looking at the screenshots. It avoids the shithouse for the sole reason that it looks like the author spent some time on it.

  • Doom source code, under the GNU GPL - id Software
    doom.exe (literally, lawl) - n/a - 369 KB - (img)
    Yes folks, this is the famous Doom Source code release, now available for your viewing pleasure at idgames. You can find more information about the specifics of this release here but long story short, this is not really the 'true' final version of the source as some people might incorrectly assume. This is actually the source release of the linux version of Doom, dubbed "Linux Doom 1.10", that was essentially a straight port of Final Doom 1.9, with the proprietary DMX sound library ripped out and replaced. It then went through a code cleanup phase, courtesy of Bernd Kreimeier, which actually broke compatibility with the original codebase in subtle ways, before being released as the product you see here. Well...not quite the product you see here, the source available here is licenced under the GNU General Public License, where the original release was released under the Doom Educational License. But anyway, if you ever wanted to see what the first released codebase looked like, take a gander...though if you can get it compile is another question entirely.

  • MDM 7 - Ed C.
    ZDoom - Deathmatch - 6543 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    This is a curious little mapset, surprisingly it doesn't quite work right in either Skulltag or ZDaemon, so you need to play this with the most recent version of ZDoom, an odd target platform if you ask me. I suppose you're spared the Jack Bauery...at least for the moment. Anyway, the maps themselves look quite nice, but the layouts themselves are a mixed bag, none of them outstanding. You have your ordinary perfectly symmetrical arenas, which are...well...I'm not a huge fan of them, but whatever. Then you have your more freeform maps, and probably about half of them have connectivity problems or just strange-feeling connectivity. The weapons themselves have gotten an overhaul, and I have a sneaking suspicion that the shotgun might be preferable over the SSG at medium range, but as this was a ZDoom map, I was unable to test with Skulltag bots. I suppose this is a pretty OK set of FFA maps, but probably not worth the trouble of getting a few friends together to play ZDoom together with.

  • Omniverse's Weapon Rebalance - Shawn Huckabay
    BEX Supporting - Deathmatch - 2 KB
    This 'weapon rebalance' WAD is intended to rebalance the Doom Marine's arsenal away from what many people see as an imbalanced, SSG heavy balance to a more intuitive balance. I suppose it's an interesting change of pace, but based on the intentions of the author, I kind of feel like his intentions are misguided. The problem is that he seems to assume that Doom 2's arsenal was broken in Deathmatch the first place, when in reality it is more 'unique' than broken. I suppose it might make FFA games on poorly designed maps a little less spammy, with the modifications to the Rocket Launcher, Plasma Rifle and BFG, but anyone who is serious about trying Doom 2's multiplayer would be doing themselves a great disservice by using this as their primary means of playing.

  • Wuffy Skin - ravage
    Skulltag - Deathmatch - 650 KB - (img)
    A werewolf skin for Skulltag. It's a decent-looking skin, and looks like a new skin instead of a reskin of anything else I've seen, so it gets points for that. Good to use if you're a furry I suppose. Or if your name is ravage.

  • No Swiping - Th0r
    Skulltag - CTF - 143 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Th0r's second attempt at CTF mapping is a noble effort, but doesn't really separate itself from the other dime-a-dozen CTF maps coming out of wannabe mappers. I suppose the problem is that the map's layout itself is a little pedestrian. There is little maneuvering; with open hallways and wide open spaces there are no interesting battles to be fought here, and the winner is the one who can run the flag the fastest, which isn't really that hard. The catwalk surrounding the flag is also too cumbersome to maneuver around in, and I guarantee pretty much all capping runs will come in the front gate and come out one of the side exits. The texturing isn't bad, but it isn't great either, and I have no idea what the "NO SWIPING" thing comes from, but it's kind of creepy to be honest. Th0r shows promise, but he's going to have to try a bit harder next time to appease the CTF godfather.

  • Untitled - Wills
    ZDoom - Solo Play - 531 KB - (img) (img) (img)
    This jokewad chronicles some stupid rivalry between the ZDoom and Skulltag forums, kind of like Aliens vs. Predator, in that whoever wins, we lose. The jokewad is reasonably well made; I didn't notice any problems with the scripting or anything, but not only one-hit kill grey marines were really annoying, the script was three times as such, because you can't skip it. Apparently, it tried to have a coherent, albeit silly story but the story part was the part about this wad I LEAST liked. The ninja-imps put a grin on my place, and the chips challenge level came out of nowhere, but honestly I was ready for it to end when it did. Worth a look if you like jokewads, but if not there is nothing to see here.

  • Vae Victus 2 - Derek "Dittohead" Braun
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1740 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Finally, a decent mapset that stands out through this throughly mediocre week. And my, what a pleasant set of seven maps this is. The difficulty is reasonably tough when you first start, but as you continue on it gets ratcheted up several notches until you're facing really really incredibly tough odds. I had way too many close calls to count, and health and ammo were given out in very measured doses to ensure I was always on my toes. So...as you can probably tell, the battles are a blast. I also really liked how interconnected the layouts were; once you had all three keys, getting from one end of the level to the other is a snap. The architecture is amazing as well, but to be honest I did find that some parts had too much little detail, and I would sometimes get hung up on it, but nothing too bad. There were also a good many passages that I felt like I was choking up in, that I didn't have enough room to maneuver around in, but I kind of suspect this was more of a function of gameplay than an oversight. Also, I did notice a good number of misaligned textures as well, and they kind of stood out when you found them, but not enough to really count points off for. And some of the windows had sills that were way too low, in my opinion, which resulted in my disappointment and surprise when I wanted to jump out a window that I couldn't and vice versa. Overall, though, this is a solid set of maps, and they are my pick of the week. Play it.

  • Damnation Awaits the Wicked - Rex Claussen
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 171 KB - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    This is a quaint little Single Player map that for some reason the author decided to place in MAP28. Whatever. This mapper seems to have a huge hardon for symmetry, as a large portion of the map seems to be mirrored around various points, but in spite of this it manages to be reasonably navigatable, and I was never lost for more than a minute or two. It was reasonably difficult on Hey Not Too Rough, and I never felt like the odds were stacked unfairly against me. My one suggestion to the author would be to lay off the copy-paste geometry, but relatively speaking, it's not that bad, especially compared to some other maps by other mappers I've seen. Overall, it's fun while it lasts, so if I were you, I'd give it a go.

In the updates side of this week, Tormentor also updated a good number of his maps. Fixed bugs, supposedly, too bad there appears to be no fix for cut-and-paste architecture and soul-crushingly-bland gameplay. Also, someone updated a revised version of the ZanZan Doom Total Conversion that works with GZDoom instead of ZDoomGL, so if you're a fan of that TC, you might want to check it out. But of course, we can't leave this week without a visit to...

THE GODDAMN SHITHOUSE

Maps so bad, they had to be separated from the rest of the batch and put in the shithouse. You don't want your map to end up here.
  • Gamarra's story: Part II "In the Blue" - Giulio Galassi
    Dean had to deal with this clown last week, and I'm not being any less forgiving here. A bunch of blue rooms next to each other. Boring...

  • Wine's Luxury Grange - Ruba
    Nice job Ruba, two for two in terms of maps of yours that end up in the shithouse. A pointless series of battles, with an especially annoying battle with a cyberdemon with an obligatory BFG cache.

And I think that about wraps it up for this week. Remember kids, the word on the street is --REDACTED-- and you best not forget it.

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FP!

Well, four does begin with F.

A few nice looking sets here. Will have to check them out.
I wish a screenshot of Ruba's map was posted. Those always crack me up.

Chrono_T said:

The swiping thing is from that blasted kids show Dora the Explorer. Nice newstuff too.


Yeah, so the map is creepy for a different reason I suppose.

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Not Rex's best work but as usual, a fun little play.

Rex should join CC3, as his maps in the first two installments were brilliant.

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Finally, Doom's source code has been released! Now I can implement jumping, mouselook and Quake-style key bindings in my favourite game. Perhaps I can even fix those pesky visplane overflows!

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you know, i TOLD shawn his "rebalancing" wad was crap, but he wouldn't listen to me. he's just mad because i can kick his ass six ways to sunday with just a pistol.

we actually played with it, and you know what? i fucking hated it. it completely ruined the gameplay. all those years of knowing how each weapon behaves gets tossed out the window.

he's a good guy, but like alex said- completely misguided in his quest to "rebalance" the weapons.

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Ralphis said:

I thought the word of the week was odamex


You are correct. Blame Bloodshedder.

Belial said:

Checkmate's wad was undeservedly mangled because AlexMax obviously sucks at playing Doom.


See VV2 and OGRE Labs for examples of levels that, while really fucking tough, are not completely fucking unfair and require looking through the level in Doom Builder to figure out just where in the fuck you're supposed to go. Balls sucked, plain and simple, and I stand by my earlier statements, reguardless of how much fellatio he's getting in his release thread.

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AlexMax said:

See VV2 and OGRE Labs for examples of levels that, while really fucking tough,

Heh, they are barely above average in terms of difficulty.

They aren't are not completely fucking unfair and require looking through the level in Doom Builder to figure out just where in the fuck you're supposed to go.

Balls is rather easy and progression is obvious. You just failed at playing it.

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Belial said:

Heh, they are barely above average in terms of difficulty.

Balls is rather easy and progression is obvious. You just failed at playing it.


you gotta RUN LIKE HELL to beat balls. I found the best thing to do is piss them off and haul ass.

And Mancubi have never ever been more annoying.

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Belial said:

Balls is rather easy and progression is obvious. You just failed at playing it.


No, see, this is where you're wrong. I think what you meant to say is "Holy shit, AlexMax you're so right. Please, have my children." to which I would have responded "No, that's kind of gay, go away."

Funny how you can even give reasons why maps are shitty and some people will still find something to complain about. I'm only surprised someone didn't complain about me earlier.

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If you think Balls is hard, then maybe you should give Hell Revealed or Alien Vendetta another try. Those were some of the greatest megawads ever, but they are way harder than this wad.


By the way, did you read the text file ?

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Pure Hellspawn said:

If you think Balls is hard, then maybe you should give Hell Revealed or Alien Vendetta another try. Those were some of the greatest megawads ever, but they are way harder than this wad.


I am aware of those two harder levelsets and have even played them myself. Unlike this, those megawads were actually fun to play.


By the way, did you read the text file ?


Yes I did. Did you read my review?

EDIT: I suppose I'll post a demo of me running through the level later tonight.

EDIT 2: Actually, fuck that, I have nothing to prove. If you don't want me to hate a map you love and cherish, then you better hope to hell that you miss my weeks from now on. Hey, you could always hope for a review by dean if that makes you feel better. *laff*

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Belial said:

Checkmate's wad was undeservedly mangled because AlexMax obviously sucks at playing Doom.


I played a bit of it when it was annouced earlier. It just falls into that 'giant ugly doom map filled with monsters' category that not everyone likes or even wants to play.
That map has it's own special kind of sucking. It's obviously rushed and suffers alot of design flaws because of that. It wasn't fun enough for me to even finish. It wasnt paticularly hard, just irritating.

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dethtoll said:

you know, i TOLD shawn his "rebalancing" wad was crap, but he wouldn't listen to me. he's just mad because i can kick his ass six ways to sunday with just a pistol.

we actually played with it, and you know what? i fucking hated it. it completely ruined the gameplay. all those years of knowing how each weapon behaves gets tossed out the window.

he's a good guy, but like alex said- completely misguided in his quest to "rebalance" the weapons.


Yea I told him it was a bad idea too. He passionately disagreed with me though. The people have spoken!

I still luv teh omniverse

Also Alex dude, I love you man but you need to shut up. Balls is easy as balls. When you learn to play you come on back around

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I really enjoyed VV2, and Rex's Wicked installment (Damnation.) I am also delighted to have the doom source code for the historical significance.

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Hey, way to be late although you razz on my lateness ALEXMAX!

Untitled: I liked it, but no mulitplayer + lack of uniqueness = cry

AlexMax said:

EDIT 2: Actually, fuck that, I have nothing to prove. If you don't want me to hate a map you love and cherish, then you better hope to hell that you miss my weeks from now on. Hey, you could always hope for a review by dean if that makes you feel better.

Congrats Alex, you officially made CONTROVERSY IN /NEWSTUFF. Join me with a glass of champagne, no?

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Just so you guys know, every time a flame war starts in the /newstuff chronicles, Hitler gets 1 foot closer to getting into heaven.

This is just the review of ONE person people. One person's opinion is no reason to get upset.

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deathz0r said:

Congrats Alex, you officially made CONTROVERSY IN /NEWSTUFF. Join me with a glass of champagne, no?


I love you dean. <3

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