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Bloodshedder

The /newstuff Chronicles #329

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Help out with The /newstuff Chronicles!

  • Outpost of Hell - DeathMatch - Ismaele (Alberto Sposito)
    doom2.exe - Deathmatch - 44983 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: prdarkfox
    Another cross-shaped DM map, with a very heavy gothic touch to it (not to be confused with the GothicDM series of maps). It looks great, but usually when you're gunning down your friends you want something that flows well, right?

    On my lonesome romp through the map, I came across a few things that sort of irked me. I feel that a good map shouldn't have many or any dead-ends, and certainly no secrets whatsoever. While the TXT file tells you generally what they are, I think it's a bad idea to include secrets for fear of scaring off new players.

    When they discover how to get to the BFG on top, it will be very tough to dethrone the guy because of how small the map is. Fortunately there is a fair enough amount of cover, but still. At least upon the start you have easy access to a variety of weapons, so the fighting will be intense even if the server has only two players. Any more than four and I'd call the map crowded.

    While I did mention the file will work just fine in Vanilla, the MIDI file is just that -- a MIDI, not an MUS file. The music won't work on anything that isn't ZDoom (or similar). [Ed: Incorrect, Doom 1.9 supports MIDI music, not just MUS.]

    You should try the map before you take my opinion, however. This is solely based on "best guess."

  • Arena of Death V1.0 - Craig J. Dudle
    Limit Removing - Deathmatch - 66041 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
    A goofy urban-styled deathmatch map on Map12. There are only a few weapons (I found one shotgun, and one super shotgun). There's some serious height differences, but essentially most of the map takes place either on ground level or on the catwalks in between buildings.

    There are a few monsters littered about, but not much. There's some imps in the caged windows of buildings, Doom 2 Downtown style. There is also some SS Nazis in a Wolfenstein themed building.

    There's a little too much to explore in this map for a deathmatch wad. It might make a bit of fun for a duel if you're into search and destroy missions. But aside from that, due to the lack of weaponry and simple layout, this map doesn't serve as an award winning deathmatch wad.

  • Secrets of Hell - Terry
    Skulltag - Solo Play - 360891 bytes
    Reviewed by: Craigs
    There really isn't much to say about this map. It's a room. There are 2 doors. One of them can't be opened or reached for that matter, and the other one just kills you when you press use on it, and then makes some really annoying laughing noises. So you go forward and you are suddenly teleported about 2 inches from where you were before. A zig zag set of descending steps starts forming before you, and after the staircase is complete, the steps start lowering one by one a few pixels. That's it. It just keeps doing that over and over again until you finally get tired of it and exit. There's also a message that flashes over and over again in the right corner of the screen displaying your status. The status messages are either happy, diggin, fartin, shittin, or calooby. Unless you have nothing better to do then just watch a flight of stairs slowly sink into the ground one step at a time, you should probably just avoid this one.

  • Diet 32in24 - The 32in24 team!
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 3268088 bytes - (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: JohnnyRancid
    Ah yes! The 32in24 team strike again bringing a series that's just about as legendary as the Gothic DM series. (If not more)

    I display here today to explain the significance of Diet 32in24. Unfortunately, we don't have 32 maps here, but instead a 16 map set. Less maps = less of that excess body fat, of course. It's a single player mapset with plenty of monsters and a fairly decent difficulty. I died at least once on just about every map except the first. All the maps have enough health to keep you alive for the most part. The maps definitely tend to have a feeling of more than one person working on the same maps. Many maps are just simple layouts with detail jammed into it to make you forget that it was initially a corny map. It uses mostly gothic and quake-ish textures, which is odd for the types of maps it features. (McDonald's grease processing plant, movie theatre, shopping mall, etc.) There are also some pretty entertaining advertisements littered around each map, making parodies of Doom-related nonsense and community members.

    Aside from that, I don't have much to complain about. There are tons of monsters and enough health and ammo to leave you fighting them without much frustration. A real great slaughterfest this is which is what I adore so much in maps. The style of just random maps with lots of monsters and ammo has a Slige/Oblige style that appeals to me, only the maps look much better. A definite recommendation by me.

  • Knee deep in the crap - turbo edition - Walter "daimon" Confalonieri
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 230827 bytes
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    The name of this wad suggests that this is some sort of jokewad, but in reality what you're getting is a short run through a reasonably proficient single level. There's a couple new monsters placed around this small base, as well as some stealth monsters that pop in at bad times to chip away at your health. The health and ammo are pretty tight and the base has mostly light resistance with a few mid-level baddies thrown in.

    Overall, this isn't a bad level and is worth a look, something you can play through quick and enjoy while downloading a larger wad.

  • Once upon a time in Doom Universe - Walter "daimon" Confalonieri
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 2248316 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Remiel
    A set of six speedmaps compiled within two weeks. The moment I started it up, ready to fire guns, the first thing I thought was "Oh God, the translucent lights." MAP01 is plain, short and very small, yet there are 76 translucent light fixtures, with the starting room more or less being a bare T-shaped block with 46 of those fixtures stuffed inside of it like it was a Thanksgiving turkey with a size deformity, not just going over the fine line between "Tormentor667" and "try playing THIS without GL rendering, sucker" but firing itself across the line from a cannon. The level itself consisted primarily of shooting 66 zombiemen with the pistol for two minutes, then exiting the level. This set gets progressively better, thankfully.

    After finishing, I was rewarded with an intermission. They're in-between certain levels, filling you in on what I think is a story; when I tried to read it, I blanked out and found that once I came to I was doing something else. I pulled through once and got to enjoy lines like "The only answer from that mong is that the killer is a certain THAMUZ. He said can he his really strong power, and he lives on the WATER FACTORY at 2 miles beyond this station. So, you get the boat and you go for kill him!" and "Ah, holy shit! You found THAMUZ, but that vile ran away from you and your epic tactits knownledge."

    Additionally, several custom monster graphics were used for this WAD; the pistol zombie for its thousandth appearance, Cyb's Snake Imp, Vader's Lord of Heresy, an Alpha Lost Soul edit by neoworm, a death animation for the Imp (unsourceable), and a (hilariously poorly aligned) gib animation for the sergeant by nexar2 from the ZDoom forums. (The player, zombieman and Imp have it too. They resultantly polymorph into sergeants when gibbed.) None of these people are credited in-game or in the readme. However, everyone else whom was responsible for the resources used in this WAD was, yet that changes nothing about half of them still having their work handled with as much care and tact as being loaded into a box which was thrown across rooms at walls to get it where it needed to be.

    The entire mapset is plain and open, mostly in working order, nowhere on the hard side -- overall perfectly tolerable save for a few minor problems: the recurrence of The 64 Unit Wide Hallway and translucent light fixtures (they appear less sillily after MAP01, but they're still on low ceilings and in one instance the floor), the appearance, often in enclosed spaces, of custom monsters that shoot blazing fast projectiles that hit like half a rocket, and the most powerful foe ever seen in Doom Engine and boss of MAP05: the lift that the author forgets to tag to the switch meant lower it down so the player can get back out to the rest of the level.

  • BGPA Missions Liberation - Nigel "Enjay" Rowand
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 36482823 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    Enjay's BGPA Missions Liberation is a total conversion, and requires the latest version of GZDoom to play (currently the 1.1.04 version download is disabled due to some technical issues). It takes place in a fictitious setting where the Incas have been committing genocide against the British, and it's your job to infiltrate their HQ to find out where the head honcho is, take him out in his fortress, then blow up a bridge to disable the train service. The setting is based upon an actual place (outside of Burghead, Scotland).

    As you play through the beginning map, you'll notice that it is quite dark, though you're given a flashlight and some other tools to find that you can use to help with the light situation (flares). You first fight through a beachfront, then into the woods. Once there, you arrive at the headquarters where hot and heavy fighting ensues as you try to wrest the porta-comp from the Incas, during which you can make some use of one of the sentry guns on the first floor to kill off a massive horde of reinforcements. Once you escape, you'll find yourself navigating through dense forest following the path where ambushes and more heavy defenses lie. You then arrive at the train tracks and follow them to reach your destination, the target bridge and the fortress. From here you will make the long trek through the heavily defended fortress and eventually meet -- and kill -- the objective leader. That's only half the fun though, as the entire map is flooded with poison gas, as well as tough cybernetic monsters that bar your escape. If you somehow manage to escape, one last pocket of heavy resistance will distract you from setting charges on the bridge and will keep on spawning as you go; just set the charges and get out.

    The weaponry at your disposal is quite good for the most part though, including a powerful pistol (which has an upgraded version that acts like the Super Shotgun), several automatic guns, a good shotgun, 2 grenade launchers (one that that shoots flame grenades), a rocket launcher, a powerful shotgun that uses plasma ammo, a railgun, and of course a couple super weapons to round out the arsenal. Ammo for the common weapons is overall quite plentiful, with some of the powerful gun ammo mixed in here and there. But you'll often times have to expend most of what you have on you to deal with larger enemy groups. You also get several melee weapons—from fists and feet to a baton and an electric shocker. You can also pick up frag grenades and hold them in your inventory to support your assault on heavily-fortified Inca hordes.

    The enemies for the most part are the Incas themselves (military-trained humans, ex-hitmen, etc.), and also include some mechas and some odd flying machine contraptions, as well as some automated defense turrets in spots. There are also some bionic enemies that you'll face towards the end after you kill the leader. The oddest thing I found were the Stealth Imps that act as the last line of defense just before you get to your assassination target. While the enemies varied somewhat, the vast majority of the enemies are hitscanners, or fire projectiles that travel at high speeds, which is a downside to this wad. The Incas are also quite aggressive and move around a lot, and make excessive use of crouching. Fortunately, not all news is bad; as you progress through the wad, you'll find sonic grenades that can be used through the inventory to temporarily stun enemies.

    As for the maps themselves, they range from average to good. Sections of the dense forest map and the train tracks section are not particularly pleasing to the eyes, but the fortress map was quite well done. And while the first few maps are dimly lit, you are provided with enough tools to make lighting reasonably sufficient.

    Overall, this is a good total conversion to play, and I recommend you give it a playthrough and judge it for yourself, though you might want to tone down the difficulty a notch or two because of the nonstop hit-scan party.

  • UAC Main Arena - shinobi.cl
    Boom Compatible - Deathmatch - 204085 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: prdarkfox
    This map is very small. Not necessarily cramped, but this is an arena-style map with a sparse amount of cover and a couple of (rather neat) touches to it. Standing on a red button with an arrow on it will make the directed-to platform drop for a short period so you can pick up whatever is on it in a hurry. See screencaps 1 and 2.

    What makes the map all the more interesting is that the items change with each skill level. On UV there is a BFG on the slow-moving lift (another good idea to MAKE it slow... that can really unbalance the match otherwise), or in HMP a Soulsphere.

    As I stated earlier, the map is very small. The TXT file recommends only 1 on 1, and I would have to agree. You add even one more and you won't even have a chance to fire upon respawn.

  • FLANAGAN - TimeOfDeath (Chris Balch)
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1366311 bytes
    Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
    This map is not something you need after a difficult day, because you're not going to relax. To put it simply, Flanagan is one great arena with yourself put in the center among accurately positioned pinkys. You kill 'em, push walls, they open, and hordes of demons overflow upon you.

    The place looks moody and epic; the map is decorated in Quake-style with appropriate textures and architecture. When you leave the inner part of the arena, you'll find yourself on top of a very high rock, with some other rocks around, crowned with demons. It may seem too difficult at first, but generally you just have to pick up megaspheres, invulnerability and cellpacks in time, not forgetting to bring down the Arch-Viles at first. Although it is not going to be easy, it is entirely possible.

    The map also contains a couple of interesting secrets and is accompanied by a nice melody composed by the author. Unfortunately he forgot about the 8 character limit for lumpnames, so you'll have to correct the name of the music in MAPINFO in order to hear it.

    If you miss good slaughter-maps or good Quake-ish maps, surely this is what you want.

  • Gravity - Alexander "Eternal" S. (aka Deadall)
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1341496 bytes
    Reviewed by: Jekyll Grim Payne
    This is not something we are used to seeing often. This wad contains two maps in a rather abstract style, purposely ascetic but very detailed in some aspects. It features absolutely amazing architecture, neat lighting effects and nice pretty straight gameplay, filled with short but tense fights. Surroundings are very impressive, unusual, 3D-looking and surely really beautiful. Vast territories covered with grass and strange pools, green hills in the background, surreal and charming hanging constructions, doors of unusual shape. You walk around thinking something about Alice and the rabbit hole and can't stop enjoying this place. Why are you still reading? Go get this work of art, now!

  • Hell Caverns - Daniel Steinert
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 35388 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: prdarkfox
    It should be noted that this is the author's first WAD for Doom II. While some of the texture choices—or at least expressing some tutti frutti in the beginning rooms—make most of the starting rooms look bland or downright ugly, plus the teleporter sectors are terribly misaligned. At least for the author the bad things end there.

    Despite some lack of cover for the hallways and canyons, the map doesn't really suck. From a detail perspective, it's sorely lacking, but if one were to gauge this map on its gameplay potential, there are lots of good fight in this. The quests weren't much to call home about, though.

    Just work on the mapping detail, man, but you've got some serious potential to make some very fun maps in the future.

    If you can stand early efforts, I certainly would recommend this one as such.

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I couldn't help but notice that Traysandor didn't use OpenGL to play Enjay's GZDoom wad. I would have thought that the sprites of Enjay's avatar would have been enough of a hint (I'm pretty sure they're placeholders for 3D models that are used when it's played in in GL)...

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Thanks for the flansygans review. About the song, I didn't realize there was an 8 character limit, but I was able to hear it in ZDoom 2.2.0 and ZDaemon. Maybe I misunderstand??

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esselfortium said:

I couldn't help but notice that Traysandor didn't use OpenGL to play Enjay's GZDoom wad. I would have thought that the sprites of Enjay's avatar would have been enough of a hint (I'm pretty sure they're placeholders for 3D models that are used when it's played in in GL)...

They are indeed. Plus, that WAD makes extensive use of 3D floors. It should be close to unplayable with the software renderer in some parts.

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Thanks for the review. I assume that the actual review playthrough of my maps would have been done with GZdoom otherwise, as Graf said, it would be almost unplayable. The review certainly says that GZdoom is needed. 3D floors are used extensively. The Inca headquarters, for example, is a multi-floor house made almost entirely with 3D floors. The bridge and other significant areas are also made from 3D floors. Models are used extensively too and, without GZdoom, they simply don't appear so half the scenery would be missing. It's a shame that the screenshots don't show it properly but, whatever.

To answer a few points:

Hitscanners: Yup :) I guess my favourite types of enemies are human-like low HP enemies with reasonably realistic weapons. So, that's why the WAD is packed with them. I like them and my mates do (it was my mates who played the original live action game and who the levels were originally made for (some of them are in the final screen picture) ). The gameplay is not meant to be like Doom. In fact, many of the enemies are on patrol paths and run from cover to cover, rather than chase the player, and some sentries will respond if you shoot their mate, rather than just standing there next to his corpse waiting to be shot, like normal Doom bad guys, etc etc

Enemies ducking: Unfortunately, they don't. Zdoom has no way to change the height of an enemy during play, so the sprites may look ducked, but they are a constant size (usually what I thought was a good "average" when comparing how much time they spend upright versus ducked). So, all that ducking does it make them harder to see, but not necessarily harder to hit. I was mainly trying to get the impression of that crouched-over look of enemy soldiers running from cover to cover that you see in movies and games.

The hitscan sentry guns are nasty - very nasty. They can be killed by shooting the gun directly, or killing the Inca operating it. They may be nasty, but most (if not all) have either a secret route or a vantage point that allows you to kill the operator easily without getting too exposed to the gun itself.

Difficulty: Personally, I wouldn't find the hard setting too much fun most of the time either. The difficulty setting should be set so that medium is a good choice for most players. The ridiculous setting is not Nightmare BTW - its a tougher version of hard, but no respawning or fast enemies.

The "stealth imps" (actually they are KDiZD shadows) may seem out of place, I understand that. I considered not putting them in but the game is based of a bigger role playing scenario and the Incas have made some pretty immoral deals with dark, evil forces. In the live role playing scenario, Robertus Smith was guarded by some "unearthly" creatures and that's why they are there outside his office.

Cyborgs respawning at the end. Again, this was due to the real-life event and is a reasonable representation of what happened. The players had to run about 1/4 of a mile in full NBC suits and respirators whilst being chased by delayable, but not destructible, cyborgs and then place some "plastic explosives" (actually, it was salt dough LOL ) on the bridge. If you find a secret cave, however, you get an invulnerability item and, provided you are quick, you should be able to set the charges and escape pretty easily before the invulnerability runs out.

[edit]

If anyone is really interesred (unlikely) here are some screenshots taken at similar locations to the review screenies, but in OpenGL

http://www.rowand.myzen.co.uk/bh/dwbh/dw01.jpg
http://www.rowand.myzen.co.uk/bh/dwbh/dw02.jpg
http://www.rowand.myzen.co.uk/bh/dwbh/dw03.jpg
http://www.rowand.myzen.co.uk/bh/dwbh/dw04.jpg
http://www.rowand.myzen.co.uk/bh/dwbh/dw05.jpg
http://www.rowand.myzen.co.uk/bh/dwbh/dw06.jpg

[/edit]

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Now that I've played Gravity, I've got to say: it's quite something. The gameplay is distinctly Eternal's - every time you walk through a door, a monster hiding around the corner wakes up, so it gets a bit predictable - but that's alright. Aesthetics are great and self-consistent, and I appreciate the effort that went into making textures with diagonal shadow lines to give the second map a consistent light source. However, what would really complete that effect is a sun in the sky texture; instead, the sky is uniformly bright. I'd like to see more 1024-wide sky textures with a definite progression from light on one side to dark on the other. For that matter, the only sky I can think of that does this at all is in Nuts 3 (where the effect is very awesome).

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Gravity is certainly quite stunning. Some very, very well implemented things in those two levels.

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It's good to see some of my music circulating around. However, I wasn't informed of its use, but I was credited, so thanks for that.

I'll admit, part of map32's music is taken from a Municipal Waste song, so you might want to credit them too. :P

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esselfortium said:

I couldn't help but notice that Traysandor didn't use OpenGL to play Enjay's GZDoom wad. I would have thought that the sprites of Enjay's avatar would have been enough of a hint (I'm pretty sure they're placeholders for 3D models that are used when it's played in in GL)...


I know, but unfortunately my computer can't handle OpenGL graphics, so any wad I have to play requiring the graphically advanced ports such as GZDoom, I have no choice to play in software mode (Otherwise I get pretty much nothing but white walls). I did as best of a job as I could to keep the Enjay logos out of the screenshots for the most part, and I gave a pretty fair review, as I didn't think most of the graphical issues I was having with the wad were the author's fault anyway.

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Oh, well, in that case I'm amazed that you were able to give the WAD as much of a play as you did. I'd have thought that it was virtually impossible to play properly without GZdoom.

There are large areas where 3D floors are integral to the levels and progressing beyond those points would be difficult without the floors. It's not just the graphics that require GZdoom, the architecture of the levels depend on it in a number of places. There are quite literally hundreds of 3D floor lines in the levels.

A large number of the textures and other graphics use their own palette. I've never even looked at them in the Doom palette. I suspect many of them simply won't look right at all in Zdoom. And, of course, I made quite a bit of use of dynamic lights - particularly as "tools" for the player to use. Again, they simply won't work in Zdoom.

Also, it is quite possibly one of the most "model-heavy" releases for Doom that has not been done by Wim Sitters (he's still in a league of his own). There are models everywhere, right from the start point through to the end.

It's really not intended to be played on anything other than GZdoom. If it is played in Zdoom, half of what the mod was about simply won't be there.

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That does raise a good question: Should you be reviewing levels if you can't play them? If you know GL doesn't work on your machine, why would you chose to review a GZDoom or EDGE level? I know it's cool to be the one who gets to review the "big" releases, but if you can't play it properly... why review it? I know the review of BGPA was pretty fair... but why review it if you can't play it correctly?

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Enjay, you know that 3D floors still hold the player up in ZDoom, right? GZDoom only makes them visible. Which is a big advantage, of course, but the gameplay in ZDoom may not be radically different.

I agree with Scuba, though - if you can't play something in the way the author intends, then it's probably best to let someone else claim that one.

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Mechadon said:

The architecture and lighting [shadowing?] of gravity.wad's Map02 was amazing.

Agreed. I actually just stood near the level start for a while, staring at the buildings, trying to figure them out.

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Creaphis said:

Enjay, you know that 3D floors still hold the player up in ZDoom, right? GZDoom only makes them visible. Which is a big advantage, of course, but the gameplay in ZDoom may not be radically different.

Wrong. ZDoom doesn't have any of the 3D floor code. It is present in GZDoom's software renderer though.

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A wad got put back into the review queue due to what was apparently an unfair review a while back, didn't it? Maybe do that for Burghead, so somebody who can run the level in the intended sourceport can give it a full review.

No offense intended to Traysandor, though.

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Flanagan music played fine for me in zdoom (I've played tons of road rash 2 for genesis btw) and it kinda reflects your chaotic mapping style. I did a demo (attached in demo thread) because jumping/mouselook weren't necessary and I don't use those.
Lots of invulnerabilities/megaspheres but a fun slaughtermap. Hard to tell megaspheres and invulnerabilities apart when the screen is black/white actually, if even possible.
I had to watch your demo a few times to understand the (yellow?) key secret. The weird thing is there's a 'face' switch, but apparently you want to press use to the right of that instead of on it.

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Bloodshedder said:

Erm... I got the idea that he did play it in GZDoom, but in software mode.

He probably did. If he had tried playing it in ZDoom it would have failed miserably.

On the other hand, this WAD so much depends on dynamic lights, 3D floors and models that reviewing it with the software renderer just doesn't give a proper impression.

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prdarkfox said: - in his review of Outpost of Hell - DeathMatch
I feel that a good map shouldn't have many or any dead-ends

With seventeen teleports I'd hesitate before describing this map as having dead-ends. On the downside - eight of those teleports have a common destination which is likely to become telefrag central station.

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Graf Zahl said:

Wrong. ZDoom doesn't have any of the 3D floor code. It is present in GZDoom's software renderer though.

Well! I learn something new every day!

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Graf Zahl said:

Wrong. ZDoom doesn't have any of the 3D floor code. It is present in GZDoom's software renderer though.

Why doesn't it have the 3d physics code though? Certainly it'd be better to have that than to keep using thing bridges etc.

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Graf Zahl said:

On the other hand, this WAD so much depends on dynamic lights, 3D floors and models that reviewing it with the software renderer just doesn't give a proper impression.

In my opinion a port/engine should never have vastly different capabilities between a software renderer and a hardware renderer. Users don't always know the difference, so they can get burned playtng a mod with the wrong one. You should either implement those features in software, or remove software rendering altogether.

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kristus said:

Why doesn't it have the 3d physics code though? Certainly it'd be better to have that than to keep using thing bridges etc.



Better ask Randy about that. There was a thread about that a few months ago where I said I wouldn't mind adding it but since it is basically an incomplete feature I wouldn't do so without his approval. He didn't even bother to answer.

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Ajapted said:

In my opinion a port/engine should never have vastly different capabilities between a software renderer and a hardware renderer. Users don't always know the difference, so they can get burned playtng a mod with the wrong one. You should either implement those features in software, or remove software rendering altogether.

Nobody wants to code dynlights, models and 3D floors in software for Doom. Removing the software renderer from GZDoom would be pointless since there would still be ZDoom and you couldn't reasonably remove the software renderer from ZDoom.

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Gez said:

Removing the software renderer from GZDoom would be pointless since there would still be ZDoom

The fact that "there would still be ZDoom" is precisely why GZDoom could remove the software renderer without losing anything except the huge disparity of rendering capabilities.

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