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Bloodshedder

The /newstuff Chronicles #335

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Give us a hand with the reviews, would ya?

  • Clavicula Nox - Aluqah
    Vavoom - Solo Play - 6508477 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Creaphis
    This has been sitting in the review center, occasionally claimed but ultimately unreviewed, since early November. Tsk tsk tsk. Clearly, you need Creaphis' help more badly than he thought.

    According to the textfile, these twelve levels are based on the game Nox, which Wikipedia informs me is an "action role-playing game" from 2000. Now, as this is a mod for an FPS, and it uses resources from every game except for Nox, the connection is mostly spiritual. Luckily, this also means that you don't need to know a thing about Nox to enjoy these maps.

    Unfortunately, the first level is a bit of a rocky start, both literally and figuratively. You begin the game in a rock-walled valley, equipping a sword with unwieldy timing, fighting footmen that have an inappropriate attack sound. Your other weapon at this early stage is reusable throwing knives, which are fun and effective, except that when you run out of them you don't switch weapons automatically. Progressing through this first level is difficult, because you need to immediately adapt to a new set of combat "rules." I'm sure all of you are intrinsically aware of Doom's rules, such as "dodge to the left when a mancubus first fires," and "when fighting a revenant in a hallway, hug the opposite wall." Well, that won't help you here. Instead, you must now quickly discover - through trial and error - which monsters are surprisingly agile, which monsters can reflect your attacks, and which monsters fire projectiles that are faster, stronger, and subtler than you're used to. But hey, adapting to new monsters is half the fun, right? You're damn right it is, and, from this point on, the wad only gets better. There are a couple other technical glitches I could pick on, but that would be unfair to a project that is, otherwise, well constructed.

    As a whole, this wad (or more correctly, pk3) explores those tried-and-true fantasy settings: caves, medieval buildings, and the great outdoors. That and the Raven resources make this something like a Herian 2 for the next generation, except unlike Herian 2, this project doesn't stop at graphical replacements and actually changes how things work under the hood. I already mentioned that the monsters are new, but that's not all - this mod features a very well-conceived and well-implemented weapons system. In addition to a few new weapons that have their own ammo, a common mana pool is shared by a few more weapons and a healing power. Mana is recharged from potions and at certain map locations. As this mana is shared, you'll have to put some thought into how best to use it, but there's usually plenty to spare, so you won't have to think too hard. Now, I'd best shoehorn in one more point about the weapons, which is that you find them once. If you miss one, you're screwed, and if you attempt to play each level from scratch, then you'll be playing like Mike (i.e. Tyson). But don't panic - all the weapons are in plain sight somewhere. You won't miss any. I promise.

    A T/nC review wouldn't be complete without a description of the visuals, so here it is. The maps are simply sectored, for the most part, and few areas are particularly complex or grand, but slopes, 3D floors and deep water are used abundantly and effectively. Texturing is very good, and when it isn't, it's good enough. A few other aesthetic touches are added in, such as weather effects and signs that are readable when you "use" them. These various elements all blend together in their own way, and create levels that really are quite attractive.

    So there you have it! It's fun. It's different. Download it and play.

  • Realistic Weather for Cold as Hell: Special Edition - Jon "JonnyFive" Washburn
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 4558 bytes
    Reviewed by: Wills
    One of those "either you know you want it or you don't" wads. This is an add-on for the recently re-released "Cold as Hell" that adds enhanced weather effects so you can kill demons in even more snow. One of the biggest complaints with the original CaH was the fact that the weather effects slowed many computers to a crawl; JonnyFive took care of this issue, along with others, in the re-release. But just in case you have a computer that can handle enhanced effects with no trouble, you might as well grab this if you already have CaH.

  • Daggerfall Textures - Taradino Cassatt
    n/a - n/a - 2354612 bytes
    Reviewed by: MasterOfPuppets
    This is a resource wad filled with textures (including skies) and flats from the Elder Scrolls II: Daggerfall. Strangely, all the patches and flats turn up as monochromatic blobs when viewed in a lump editor (well, I only tried with SlumpEd), but they appeared in all their colorful glory in editor and in game. For those of you who have not played Daggerfall, the best way I can describe the textures included in this wad is colorful and similar to Heretic's resources. They are quite diverse, ranging from grasses and foliage, natural and worked stone, bricks, wood, metal, art-deco, ice, and a few blood-splattered or demonic (daedric?) extra bits. Appropriate for medieval or gothic themed maps, but otherwise not quite at home with Doom's aesthetic. A worthwhile resource wad.

  • ShadowCaster Textures - Taradino Cassatt
    n/a - n/a - 299699 bytes
    Reviewed by: Wills
    "150 textures from ShadowCaster" is a good way to put it. I feel like I'm repeating myself with reviewing these endless texture packs. Almost all 64 x 64 and not really that useful.

  • Rise of the Triad Textures - Taradino Cassatt
    n/a - n/a - 336621 bytes
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    266 textures from Rise of the Triad. As ROTT had some high quality textures, it should be easy to find some good ones to use with Doom tech maps. They convert to the Doom palette well. That's about it!

  • Legend of the Seven Paladins Textures - Taradino Cassatt
    n/a - n/a - 635540 bytes
    Reviewed by: Wills
    Exactly as the author says: "268 textures from Legend of the Seven Paladins, including some skies". They don't seem to fit in with Doom's gritty atmosphere, but I'm sure someone can use these textures.

  • Fate Textures - Taradino Cassatt
    n/a - n/a - 1511520 bytes
    Reviewed by: Wills
    "355 textures from Fate, including some skies" is a good way to put it. They aren't that good, but what can you say.

  • Player Class Switch Proof-of-Concept Demo - DuduKrazy
    GZDoom - Solo Play - 364589 bytes
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    This is a small proof-of-concept that lets the player switch to another class. The only included class appears to be a clone of the Descent ship, where you can fire plasma balls and concussion missiles, and also fly around. It's pretty simple, you just use the item (looks like a radio) and there you go. You can go back to being plain old Doomguy by hitting Y. It's nothing more than a proof of concept, so don't expect anything amazing.

  • Plutonia 2 - Plutonia 2 team
    Final Doom - Solo Play - 5375859 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Traysandor
    Before I get started with the review, if you wish to play this wad as it is intended, you will need a legal copy of Plutonia.wad. If you do not have one, you will need to obtain a copy of Final Doom, which can be purchased through select online stores, or through Steam/id Software.

    Plutonia 2 is a direct sequel to the original plot of the original Plutonia, and picks up where the plot left off. For those of you who have played the original Plutonia and beat it many years ago, you will see some familiar-looking areas as you scout around the 32 action-packed levels. Plutonia 2 also keeps the same feel of the original, while adding a lot of new content to the experience. Also added to the spice of the mix is that Plutonia 2 is completely compatible with the vanilla and DOS versions of Plutonia, and can be run without any source port if you choose to do so.

    Speaking of action-packed, Plutonia 2 is full of action around every corner, especially so on Ultra-Violence. There won't be too many dull moments as you navigate through the levels, and while not quite on the means of Hell Revealed-style difficulty (though many levels have at least 1 HR-style moment, especially in the later and secret levels), Plutonia 2 is very much a wad built having veteran Doomers in mind. Fortunately, I consistently found enough ammo and health to deal with the monsters most of the time.

    As you might expect with a megawad having been in development for so long, the detailing and mapping are very good for most of the levels, with most of the maps being medium to very large in size. And although sometimes it can be confusing to navigate in a few spots (especially the large maps), for the most part it didn't detract from the overall experience much. And there are truly some great looking areas, much more than the 10 screenshots I took of various levels.

    Overall, this megawad lives up to the rave reviews that many Doomers have given this set of 32 levels. I recommend that you play through this megawad and experience it for yourself; you won't be disappointed. It certainly lives up to the standards set by many of the great classic-compatible megawads of the past (such as Memento Mori, Scythe, etc.), and it's pretty likely that come December 10th, this wad will stand beside 9 others as the best wads of 2009 (or at the very least win the Mordeth Award). It also may be the greatest single WAD ever released for Final Doom, and you may want to consider ponying up a few bucks to get a copy of Final Doom, if just to play this great megawad on a source port.

  • Unidoom Deathmatch X - Clan Unidoom
    Multiplayer - Deathmatch - 6797219 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: TheMionicDonut
    In a year which the multiplayer Doom community was dominated by other new school game modes, whether it be Capture The Flag or whatever Unreal Tournament rehash the good people at Skulltag have just made, one wad dared to show that there was still life in a good old fashioned Deathmatch. The name of that wad was UDMX, and it did just that. In abundance. It gives me great pleasure to introduce this wad to you.

    So without further ado...

    UDMX is the fourth and supposedly final chapter in the Unidoom DeathMatch, or UDM "trilogy", a series which, in its earlier iterations, had set the course as well as the standard for Deathmatch maps in the new millennium. But I'm not afraid to say that UDMX takes the cake for the best pack of the bunch. This has everything you could possibly imagine in a DM megawad: boasting a brand new, gorgeous color palette, an amazing soundtrack, literally THOUSANDS of textures and flats, and of course, maps to showcase all the aforementioned goodies. There are thirty-two of them, every single one is a treat for the eyes, ears, and I'm sure if I could go and take a bite out of one these maps, they would taste great too.

    But it doesn't matter how good a map looks, sounds, or tastes if it plays like crap. Thankfully, this is not the case in UDMX. The minds behind this wad are none other than clan UniDoom, which contains an array of the finest mappers the community has to offer. Ralphis (Action Doom 2, zdctf map04), RottKing (Cacoward winning Dynamite DM and CChest3 map12), and AlexMax (countless CTF works) are just a few of the people who put effort into this wad, and with people like them working on this, it's pretty hard to go wrong. While there are a few maps that, when it all boils down, always goes to the man with the "bigger stick" and turn into just another endless race for the BFG in Free-For-All matches, every map flows well and plays fast paced and frenetic, just the way Doom was meant to be played. Particularly amusing are the aptly named "Flashback maps": a handful of maps in UDMX from all three previous volumes of UDM that have been remixed, revamped, retouched and redone to make for an even more fragtastic experience. What truly amazes me about these maps is that, despite obviously being a redone version of an old map, how uniquely playable the map is in itself. The wonders truly never cease with the UDM series.

    This will, however, bring me to one of the double-edged sword qualities of UDMX. While the maps themselves are simple and easy to play, a large amount of them contain tricks that will give a benefit to those who know the map. Sure, it is all well and good to reward learning the map, but some of these tricks are outright off the wall and require you to know people who know the tricks and ask/watch them endlessly, or you would have to crack open DoomBuilder to see how to get these obscure Megaspheres or Invisibilities. MAYBE that's just a personal qualm, but I find it to be rather obnoxious, and would believe that others feel my pain.

    That and the BFG rush maps (a few of which seem more duel oriented anyway) aside, I am head-over-heels in love with this wad, easily the greatest Deathmatch wad 2008 had to offer. UDMX is virtually flawless, and will, without a doubt in my mind, be a gem in every online Doom player's collection for many years to come. It nearly brings a tear to my eye to hear that there will probably not be another UDM wad, as I can only help but wonder how the folks at UniDoom would be able to top themselves, but am not at all worried that they would if they wanted to. For now though, they can rest easy, knowing they have made a masterpiece. I can say with the utmost confidence that this is and will be the only contender for this year's Multiplayer Cacoward. But you, my fellow Doomer, need not wait until December to take my word for it. Stop reading this review, click the link at the top, pay a visit to your favorite multiplayer port, and have a look at UDMX for yourself. You will NOT be disappointed. So what are you waiting for? Do it NOW!

  • Not Quite Vegas - Tango
    Limit Removing - Solo Play - 1858089 bytes - (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: udderdude
    A two map set for Doom 2. The first map is the bigger of the two, although it's still pretty short. The layout is decent with a high detail level throughout. The gameplay is a mixed bag. The author seems to be unable to decide where and when to make the map difficult, or how difficult it should be. About 1/3 through the map, you have to fight 2 revenants, about 6 imps and an arch-vile, and there's nowhere to hide behind unless you lure them all back to another room. I discovered through trial-and-error that it's possible to alert the imps and arch-vile but leave the revenants standing (they're set to deaf). Unsure if this is an oversight or if that's how the author actually intended you to win that fight, but it's pretty cheesy. Aside from this one fight, the map is not that difficult at all. You have a bunch of teleporter traps, but they aren't anything that will kill you. Oh yes, there's also a secret area that contains two arch-viles, two cacos, two chaingunners and a bunch of imps .. and your reward for killing all of that? Green armor and some shells. The only reason anyone would go in there is to get max kills. The second map is much shorter, but it's harder than the first map and I feel the gameplay is better overall.

  • Toxic Dump - Swanson
    doom2.exe - Solo Play - 29221 bytes - (img)
    Reviewed by: Sonikku7
    A single 1994-styled level that is rather low on action. The level focuses on getting across a broken bridge by using a lift at the bottom of a pit. However, the lift is locked and the player must explore the rest of the stage in order to find the switch that unlocks the lift. There isn't much detail other than the collapsed bridge and the entire level can be beaten in a couple of minutes. This isn't a bad level; however, this map is probably nothing you haven't seen before.

  • Forest of Agony - Terry
    ZDoom Compatible - Solo Play - 1445592 bytes
    Reviewed by: TheMionicDonut
    Let's look at it this way: the title of this wad is actually quite accurate. It is indeed a Forest of Agony. Painful, tormenting, stupefying agony, but agony nonetheless.

    This quote unquote wad, coming from the infamous Terry, author of the appallingly abhorrent UAC Military Nightmare (even typing the name out nearly brought stomach acid to the tip of my tongue), is a blatant ripoff of Cutmanmike's spine-tingling Ghoul's Forest, only containing more Romero Heads. To anyone else who caught a glimpse of UACMN (my apologies) you know those can only lead to trouble, and not madcap hi-jinx trouble, I mean "I want to kick a puppy" trouble. Shortly after Romero shows up to the accompanying chorus of "WOW WOW WOW WOWWWWW" your screen goes all disco style and you are shaken about the map uncontrollably to the message of "Watch out gost is here". That is all this wad is unless something happens after the first 15 seconds, but honestly, I don't feel like checking.

    That is the entire description of the wad. I have just saved you a minute of time from your life. Please do something useful with it.

  • 32in24 8: DWANGO2008 - The 32in24 team!
    Boom Compatible - Solo Play - 1804608 bytes - (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img) (img)
    Reviewed by: Wills
    The last 32 in 24 I reviewed was definitely one of the best multiplayer wads I've encountered - with clever map design and beautiful detailing, it certainly rocked my little corner of the world.

    Go ahead, load up Dwango5 Map01 (I know you have it on your hard drive). That's what this 32in24 is like - staying very close to the original maps (in many places being completely unchanged) with some minor edits for gameplay's sake. The maps include remixes of The Factory, Underhalls, Toxin Refinery, Waste Tunnels (two of them), and Phobos Anomaly, among others from both Doom and Doom 2. Most of them stay rather true to the originals, with some very interesting additions.

    If you're expecting to be wowed by fabulous visuals and sublime use of textures, think again. With a Dwango-style attitude to mapping comes its minimalistic approach to details. With one or two exceptions, added decoration is scarce - the main focus here is the gameplay. The additions to the maps complement them nicely, in most cases consisting of simple tunnels or expansions of rooms to make play flow easier. The maps tend to be a little better when the editing gets a little more daring, such as the new-and-improved Factory level.

    One thing which was not so apparent in 32in24 7 is that the team has a... bizarre sense of humor. Some things they've done include renaming the maps quite amusingly (see: "Tim Willits' Left Nut"), remake only tiny portions of the original map (the wood part of Map29... I'm not actually sure whether this was a joke or not), a Doomguy HUD edit, and other surprises that you'll honestly have to see for yourself to get the full effect.

    Summary? A solid and often funny DM wad well worth playing with your friends. I was a little disappointed that it didn't look as good as the last installment in the 32in24 series. But that's not what the team was going for, and it doesn't keep it from being a blast to play.

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Well, the most major review in here is obviously PL2, and I strongly agree with all that was said of it. It lives up to its reputation and is definitely worth buying Final Doom for; no Doomer's collection is complete without this masterpiece. And I agree that a Cacoward is practically a given.

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Well UDMX is pretty awesome. People should play this one.

I've played some of the maps in 32in24 and I am disappointed by some of them. The Doom II Courtyard and Inmost Den remixes were pretty rudimentary, for example. But there are some pretty fun (and elaborate) ones in there as well. Overall this is a cool pack.

Plutonia 2 is great. To be honest I found Plutonia to be boring after a while. But number 2 here is more playable than the original. I do feel like some of the maps have an overdose of the color brown but... :P

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Yay Newstuff.

It should be noted that map02 of Not Quite Vegas was the original speedmap that map01 was based on, not really a second map exactly.

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I played t-vegas just today, and indeed, there were no casinos to be found. Maybe they were around the corner somewhere. The original speedmap level is a toughie, but punching revenants with the berserk pack is fun stuff.

udderdude said:
The only reason anyone would go in there is to get max kills.

Not a bad reason, really. If all secrets are rewarding, then levels always become easier when one does them max-style. Less rewarding secrets allow more challenging max games while still leaving good amounts of items strewn by in the central areas for direct walkthroughs or runs.

There's also the fact that one becomes familiar with the secrets as one learns about the level, so in the end the level turns out easier both because its secrets are known and because they give clear advantages. This sometimes makes me feel a level is a decent challenge the first couple of times I play it, but somewhat boring afterward when I know of the location of various powerups or caches.

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it's about time Plutonia 2 was on here. It's a VERY hard, and great looking wad. In particular, the transition between maps 11 and 12 was very creative. (map 11 in itself so far is the best looking map!)

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A lot of these texture pack reviews have said "these would look good in Heretic." It's a shame that they're already all Doom-paletted.

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Creaphis said:

A lot of these texture pack reviews have said "these would look good in Heretic." It's a shame that they're already all Doom-paletted.


And that the Doom palette has lowered the quality of some of them quite significantly. :(

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Who cares. Using that stuff is about as legal as warezing the games they are from. I have a hunch that the guy who uploaded all that didn't exactly buy all those games. If he did, he broke all their license agreements. So, if you guys aren't concerned this is ripped junk, go warez the games yourselves and rip it "correctly" for your mods.

The full rips shouldn't be on the archive in the first place, so it's more or less natural justice that they are rather lame.

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I just can't believe someone has taken the time to do all these texture wads. The Daggerfall resources alone are pretty intimidating. I would like to see some more Daggerfall-esque maps, though. I remember ROTTKing doing a pretty cool one for Skulltag.

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myk said:

Using that stuff is about as legal as warezing the games they are from.


Yeah, I already made a sarcastic post to that effect in the last /newstuff thread. But hey, if Ty is abandoning his idealism by hosting all this stuff, why can't I?

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Creaphis said:

if Ty is abandoning his idealism by hosting all this stuff

I'd guess that he didn't notice. A short message to Ty drawing attention to the problem might get them removed. It's his call though, obviously.

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Creaphis said:

A lot of these texture pack reviews have said "these would look good in Heretic." It's a shame that they're already all Doom-paletted.



Legality nonwithstanding, this alone shows how utterly stupid it is to take textures, remap them to another palette and release them.

Oh, and what about engines which can actually use the proper colors?

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I was going to review Clavicula Nox, but Vavoom decided it wanted to crash every time I tried to run it on my PC.

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Grazza said:

I'd guess that he didn't notice. A short message to Ty drawing attention to the problem might get them removed. It's his call though, obviously.


But then wouldn't you have to also include Clavicula Nox, UniDoom Deathmatch X, and 32in24-8 (just looking at this week's newstuff)? They all use resources illegally, as does an astounding amount of other stuff on idgames.

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Don't forget Alien Vendetta, Plutonia 2 (Ultimate Doom textures!), Deus Vult 2, Crucified Dreams and the GothicDM series, etc...

Though to be fair, those don't exist for the sole purpose of being ripped resources, as they're used alongside a lot of original content rather than just being a package of textures from another game.

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Creaphis said:

Oh, harsh. Are Vavoom mods compatible with other engines? GZDoom maybe?


Mostly, yes. But this mod uses a way of defining translucent water that doen't make sense. Apparently somewhere default values are used that are non-intuitive.

Vavoom's system of defining 3D-floors is quite bad, unfortunately.

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It's funny. Last Newstuff I remember there being quite an uproar about a wad not being played as the author intended...

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Which wasn't an issue here, since Creaphis used Vavoom.

esselfortium said:
Though to be fair, those don't exist for the sole purpose of being ripped resources, as they're used alongside a lot of original content rather than just being a package of textures from another game.

Right, and even DOOM included some stuff evidently not taken with permission (the base materials for the cacodemon sprite and for much of the music). The "merit" of these packs is solely that they're rips, and their purpose, exclusively to encourage using ripped materials.

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Indeed, the wad was reviewed correctly, but the comments on ID Games for the wad suggest GrafZahl's comment here was taken by some.

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myk said:

The "merit" of these packs is solely that they're rips, and their purpose, exclusively to encourage using ripped materials.


But this makes no legal difference, does it? A ripped resource in Alien Vendetta is no more or less illegal than a ripped resource in these packs, as far as I know.

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Strictly legally, no. However, if one of these matters ever had to be decided in court (however unlikely that may be) I'm rather certain that someone that just rips stuff from a game to repackage and redistribute it for free use will be dealt with much more harshly.

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Wouldn't it prove useful if the texture wad reviews also had (img)s attached? If not game screenshots, then just some textures patched into a larger bitmap, so I can see what textures are offered, without having to download them.

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myk said:

Which wasn't an issue here, since Creaphis used Vavoom.


Darn right. I downloaded and configured Vavoom just for this.

jute gyte said:

But this makes no legal difference, does it? A ripped resource in Alien Vendetta is no more or less illegal than a ripped resource in these packs, as far as I know.


I think what it really comes down to is "What moral standards should be upheld in the community?" We can be pretty certain that none of these cases of illegal resource usage will ever be brought to court, so what is considered "acceptable" and "non-acceptable" behaviour is really just decided by social norms. The difference between Deus Vult II and these resource packs is that one has artistic merit (so almost everyone is okay with it) and one does not (so some people are ticked).

Even if these distinctions are a bit arbitrary, that doesn't mean they should be discarded. It's best for everyone if we try to remain respectable.

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jute gyte said:
But this makes no legal difference, does it? A ripped resource in Alien Vendetta is no more or less illegal than a ripped resource in these packs, as far as I know.

By that black and white line of reasoning uploading id Software's IWADs to the archives is about the same too, and (being strict) the DOOM games should be banned from circulation.

Personally I tend to discourage all sorts of use without permission, but the more extreme or blatant examples are worse than other (more) minor liberties creative people may take.

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Myk and Creaphis: Good points. That sounds pretty reasonable to me.

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remake only tiny portions of the original map (the wood part of Map29... I'm not actually sure whether this was a joke or not)

Good, all is as it should be!

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I hope this isn't considered a really late post...

Anyways, I had the honor of playing Plutonia 2 in coop with some of the Zdaemon regulars, and I, like Traysandor, don't see 10 more wads being better than that, either. Heck, I don't even know if I see 5....

But yeah, I'm not sure what exactly the Mordeth or Caco awards are, but I assume they're given to WADs for excellence, something Plutonia 2 has full of.

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