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U.O.D.

Den of the Arch-Lord (New screens)

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Greetings, gentlemen. I'm new around these parts, and to mapping in general. I've been a doom enthusiast since I first saw my older brother play it years ago. It always astonishes me how alive the Doom community still is. Only now have I decided that I want to make some of my own maps. I've created a map and I wanted to get some input on it. I thought this would be a good place to get some critique.

Download: http://wadhost.fathax.com/files/archlord_1.zip

NOTE: Requires ZDoom.

=================
Changelog 10/7/09
=================

-Map format converted from ZDoom(Doom) to ZDoom(Hexen).
-Some simple scripts implemented.
-Various aesthetics improved/fixed.
-Red Key room reworked AGAIN.
-"Easy" difficulty has less monsters.
-Number of Arch-Viles reduced.
-Blood maze reworked.
-Secret BFG removed.
-Some monster closets removed.
-Ammo balanced out according to Ultra-Violence.
-Final Boss area completely redone.
-Final Boss has slightly more health.

=================
Changelog 9/25/09
=================

-Difficulty Settings implemented.
-Monsters increased on Ultra-Violence.
-Revenant walls in Cyberdemon battle area removed.
-Other Player starts added.
-Some textures fixed.
-Red Key Room changed a bit.
-Spider Mastermind battle area opened up more.
-Overall ammo adjusted.
-End Boss fight altered to maximize difficulty.

=================
Changelog 9/18/09
=================

-MP3 replaced with MIDI.
-More ammo/health added to map.
-Various monsters replaced and/or increased.
-Secret SSG replaced with Blue Armor.
-SSG placed in marble pillar room.
-Teleporting Cacodemons removed from Yellow Door access area.
-Red Key room redone.
-Invisibility Sphere secret removed.
-Second BFG added to map.
-Spider Mastermind battle area redone.

Screens







Please give any feedback you can.

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Interesting map. I like the layout and architecture, simplistic but mostly good-looking. Now the bad part ... gameplay. Going in I thought it was pretty easy up until the first arch-vile, nothing wrong with that but I was expecting more. I thought this was going to be a short to medium map though so I was pleasantly surprised it was longer. For 30 minutes or so I enjoy what you put out, excepting the blood/marble maze with lost souls, which could have used a few shotgun shell drops instead of stims. The blue key trap is particularly nasty but cool. Then, the problems arise.

First the battle with the spidermastermind in front of the red key. That edge is too fing small to me. Please round the edges and pull it another 16 units out, I beat the spidermastermind on my second or third try but because of some ridiculousness I will explain in a minute I had to go at it at least 10 more times and most of those were because I kept falling off halfway through killing it. I was okay with the switches and the fight itself, but the hard lava and awful teleport location hurt.

Next up is that ridiculousness I was talking about. Now, I HAD found the bfg secret in the blood/marble maze, and thought 'that was a newb mistake, there's not much I'm going to need it for and I can deal without'. Well apparently I can't. And from my playthrough I saw no more bfgs, secret or otherwise. The arch-viles teleporting in when you flip those 2 switches for the red key are undodgeable. I have no idea how you could possibly pain state it with a shotgun or plasma reliably enough to survive 2 encounters to run TO the door and POSSIBLY escape its sight. And that invisibility sphere secret in the area does not help.

From then on I went iddqd and it's pretty apparent you need the bfg or more ammo then you get, with mass barons and hell knights with 2 arch-viles in one fight, some more masses of lower tier units and mancubi, then what looks to be an interesting fight with another spider mastermind that would benefit immensely from being a solid block instead of a maze of walkways. I didn't really tell much from the fight after the teleport back to the marble, but it looks interesting. Then a fight with the cyberdemon and some support was looking good, but obviously the bfg needs to be there.

Now the final fight, I could tell absolutely nothing about, as I was iddqded, had no bfg, and don't think that monster is a great idea for a boss after the cyberdemon and 2 spidermasterminds I already killed. Seems more mid-level to me.

That ugliness out of the way, for the better parts I'd like to suggest removing the impassable lines when you first fight revenants, and push them back a little so you can't see them and chaingun lure them out. Invisible walls break the immersion pretty well -.- Also remove that block monster at the top of the stairs which lead to the area the yellow key door is. It's not really needed.

tl;dr I liked the beginning but needing a bfg IN A SECRET (no matter how easy to spot) is a bad idea. Without that the map becomes unplayable around the red key area and on. If there actually is a bfg in plain sight and I was just being retarded and missed it, I apologize.

EDIT: a quick look with DB2 of your map shows only 1 bfg. Nice. Also I forgot to mention, I tried your map with prboom first, and didn't hear any music so I assumed you used a mp3. I open it up in xwe though, and it turns out it's mus. I have no idea how it's supposed to be compressed, but before your file is 3.45 megs, and after deleting this it turns out to 1.18 megs. No midis of that around? 2 MB isn't much by today's standards but that's still 2MB of virtually wasted space. Here's a site with the midi, just right click e3m5 and chose 'save link as' and you'll get your midi. Will save a LOT of space.
http://www.doomaniax.net/music.htm

Also when checking exactly which level that music is from I found the SSG secret, which considering isn't anywhere on the map normally either is a bad idea too.

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Yeah, I was wondering if the BFG as a secret only was too much. I know being able to frag multiple monsters at once is important for horde maps.

I know balance is the primary issue that needs to be addressed here so thank you for the input.

Also thanks for the link to the midi.

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Sorry to rip you out like that but it needed saying :P I understand this is your first map posted here, it looks awesome for that and plays well until the red key stuff, but I think it got away from you after that. Fix the problems and I think it'll turn out great. Also what editor are you using to add in the DECORATE and music? People say SlumpED is good but I use and have gotten used to xwe, although I don't do DECORATE. Mostly boom stuff with textures lately. Anyway keep working at it and keep mapping, it's fun stuff when it works out :D

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No this stuff definitely has to be said. The last thing I want is an unplayble map. I'll be updating the first post with any stuff that will be changed.

Also I used XWE. It seems to be well recommended. Took me a little while to figure some stuff out but it paid off when I got the MAPINFO to work right.

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Nice job on fixing this up, I was only disappointed you took out the red key spidermastermind completely :( I liked that fight, a lot more than revenants instead. Also are those wood pillars really the only way back up out of the lava? They're very exposed, and whenever I fell in I usually died or was left with so little health I just loaded my save anyways. And the BFG is a bit off to the side, my first time seeing it I just passed it and did fine before coming back to get it. Maybe a little more incentive on the front edges to stop for it? Speaking of bfgs, the secret one still has a ton of ammo, which I took again and probably messed up the rocket ammo balance for a while. Which reminds me nice work on the marble/blood maze, felt a lot better. Consider changing the megasphere secret to soulsphere though, I only took it sometime before getting the yellow key when I really needed it.

On the yellow key area, I liked the fights, a lot better balanced with the bfg, and the mancubi closets were cool. I think the spidermastermind fight suffered though, too many arachnotrons and the pillars, especially the big teleport pillar, got in the LOS too much. I had more trouble with the arachnos than the mastermind.

Next the cyberdemon fight, I though it was good but the arch-viles messed me up a few times before I figured out the trick -.- And now for the last battle, actually having the bfg for it was nice, a little too nice. Besides some high-damage attacks there really wasn't anything interesting about it. Just spam bfgs while the thing got stuck behind pillars attacking me. I think expanding the arena then adding ANOTHER one would be great, but unfortunately kind of kills the idea of an 'arch-lord'. Maybe expand the arena and replace the cells from the cyberdemon fight with rockets, would force the player to use bfgs wisely or not at all if they wasted ammo on the cyberdemon. But then the player might have no chance if he has no bfgs at all .. hmm. Suggest copy/pasting the arena fight to a test map and figure out how much plasma is enough to keep it interesting without throwing the player to the lion with nothing but his skin. I think I might actually do this myself, this monster interests me >:D

Sorry for tl;dr-ness.

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Well I could easily just add a second one and rename it "Arch-lords." :P

But I'm glad the map is finish-able now. Spider Masterminds seem somewhat flawed as a boss enemy to me. They can pretty much be obliterated with one point blank BFG blast. Also their pain chance is high enough that you could unload the Plasma Rifle on them and escape with only a little damage or even none at all. Same as using the Chaingun on an Arachnotron really.

About those pillars, I had a hard time making the lift's visible but not completely obvious. So I said screw it and just made them wood. The red bricks don't have any matching variations like the green marble. I suppose I could always make a similar texture myself.

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I prefer using SUPPORT3 for lifts mostly, they look out of place sometimes but mostly work. If you changed those wood pillars to brick and made the lift inside with SUPPORT3 it'd look better. Kinda like this; http://i38.tinypic.com/2ii9a29.jpg

On the spidermasterminds, I really liked that first fight, so if you bring that one back then make the yellow key all arachnotrons or TWO masterminds it might work. Would have to test it though.

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Bump.

I don't mean to bump but I really could use some more feedback. Also I'm considering adding a few levels onto this.

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Someone else review his wad already, it's a good level but can still benefit from some more advice =/

Right now I'm working on my own maps, I might take a look at it again but probably not soon.

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Here's a demo of me getting my face gnawed off by one of your revenants: sr1968ee.zip (525.13K). I recorded it in Eternity Engine 3.35.92, so you may need the same to play it back.

Good stuff: I love your choice of music, one of favorite Doom tunes. It really conveys a heavy sense of gloominess. The lighting is quite good, as are your texture choices. The details you added were really good too.

You still have 3D Mode start things in the map. Don't forget to remove them before the final release.

Nitpick: The misaligned textures in sectors 98,99,100, and 101 stuck out for me. This is not a big deal, and I assume you intended to fix them later anyway.

Gameplay is good, and you've done some interesting things with monster placement IMHO. I will definitely be playing more.

I really think you should test in more than one engine (I use at least 3). If you are using ZDoom only features, then say so explicitly. If you are not using engine-specific features, then your map should work fine in PrBoom and Eternity, and maybe even Chocolate.

People should also know which IWAD to use and which maps were replaced. I don't think I am the only one who reads the TXT (am i?)

Thanks for making such a nice map. Looking forward to more.

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Thanks for the input. I watched your demo and saw some of the misaligned textures. I though I had fixed those in the early build. I'm not surprised I overlooked them though.

I also saw that the walls with the Revenant's didn't trigger when you went around the pillars because I forgot to put a linedefs there. I'll be sure to fix that.

I also saw the sky isn't SKY3 like it's set in the MAPINFO. Is it that custom MAPINFO is ZDoom exclusive?

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U.O.D. said:

I also saw the sky isn't SKY3 like it's set in the MAPINFO. Is it that custom MAPINFO is ZDoom exclusive?


I don't honestly know since as a beginning mapper myself.

I design my maps for DOOM.EXE and test on DOOM.EXE because I know my maps should work with all ports that way. I also test on Eternity, PrBoom and Chocolate because I know from experience that certain obscure map bugs manifest themselves differently in the ports than on vanilla.

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Using odamex here, so all zdoom stuff should work fine. This is most certainly not going to be my favorite wad anytime soon. The very opening moments of the wad don't even make sense...are you supposed to have to jump into the damaging sludge just to get to the next part? It seems like just about everything is supposed to be a big secret, and that gets irritating very, very fast. I'll give it another go in awhile but so far, it's most certainly not my mug of root beer (to hell with tea cups, dangit!).

EDIT: Also, it fails to load in Vavoom:

Script error, "mapinfo" line 2: Invalid command {

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Up until about the red key in the last version was pretty solid gameplay, only after that did it get a little wonky. I'll try to go through it again, but the changes up until then are unnecessary and actually make it worse imo =/ (haven't gotten past the first vile pillars though, so still 1/4 the map to go before the red key).

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Eponasoft said:The very opening moments of the wad don't even make sense...are you supposed to have to jump into the damaging sludge just to get to the next part?]


I'm not sure what you're referring to. There shouldn't be any damaging sectors that you have to go through to get to other areas.

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Found a couple of misaligned textures in the blood maze. Linedef 1553 for one. I'm sure there's another but I can't seem to find it in DB. There may be more.

One thing I noticed is that you are placing ammo directly in my path, forcing me to pickup when I don't want to. Players have told me they don't like it, and I agree.

I noticed that you said, "Won't run" in Eternity. Why not? If it runs fine in PrBoom then it definitely should also run in Eternity. They are both descended from the same branch of the sourceport family tree. I played in Eternity and it did run. I haven't made it all the way through yet though, so I can't say what you may have in there that might cause trouble for Eternity.

If I can work my way through it, I'll try to record a nice demo for you :)

Edit: It seems a little too rough on skill 1. Throwing a chaingunner in my face during the first encounter out the door is pretty harsh. I did notice that there were fewer imps on the pillars of the third room though. There is plenty of ammo though, provided I can avoid picking it up.

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Hm. I don't think a lot of ammo is directly in the player's path except in some areas. But that's something to consider.

And if you can run it in Eternity that's great. When I ran it it wouldn't load, but that was a little while ago. I should double check.

And pertaining to the difficulty, it's supposed to be harder than an average map. Hopefully nothing about the map is unfair. That's one of the things I'm aiming to iron out.

EDIT: I tested Eternity again and you're right it does run. Just not correctly. I think some of the MAPINFO parameters can only be read by ZDoom. The boss monster doesn't load either.

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U.O.D. said:

I'm not sure what you're referring to. There shouldn't be any damaging sectors that you have to go through to get to other areas.

No doors seem to work in the room you start out in, so it looked like the only place to go was through the window (where the switch is to lower the pillar that has the megaarmor on it) and jump in the window where the pentacle teleport is (where all the imps teleport in). Could be a port issue though.

Oh btw, it seems to work in EDGE, but I don't know how well since my system doesn't run it very well.

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U.O.D. said:

Hm. I don't think a lot of ammo is directly in the player's path except in some areas. But that's something to consider.


Specifically, the third room where the imps are on top of the pillars. There are shell boxes blocking both the entrance and the exit of that room, plus the super shotgun and shells right in the middle of the room. Then there are more shell boxes in where the hell knights are waiting.

It is way more ammo than I need at that point, and it is wasteful to pickup a shell box when I can only take one unit. Those shell boxes blocking the entrance and exit would be better placed somewhere near the blood maze IMHO.

Spoiler

I do think that the bit where the archvile is escorted into the imp-pillars room by a horde of demons is too much on skill 1. It is a fantastic setup and I enjoyed the surprise, but it's much more work than I would expect for skill 1. Also I don't expect to encounter archviles, revenants, and mancubii so early when playing on skill 1.

U.O.D. said:

I tested Eternity again and you're right it does run. Just not correctly. I think some of the MAPINFO parameters can only be read by ZDoom. The boss monster doesn't load either.


I'm sorry to say that I've never done anything with MAPINFO myself so I can't offer any guidance. The best I can do is link you to the Mapinfo page of the Eternity wiki. A lot of Eternity's docs are on the wiki, but I don't think all of them yet. You might also try asking in the Eternity forum about the parts that don't work the way you expect them to.

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@ sparerib: You're seeing ammo essential to skill 4 but not to skill 1,2 and maybe 3. This is a problem I need to fix in my maps too, I just haven't gotten around to it yet -.-

@ epona: the skull switch out the window is gun activated =/

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Yeah I figured it out while playing it again. :)

OK, this is really a mixed bag. Architecture-wise, it's pretty cool, especially the last room. But the enemy placements can be really bad. Six arch-viles in a single room? C'mon, that's ludicrous. Two in the same cramped room are bad enough but six in a cramped room is pwad deletion. If not for the great architecture, I've have already deleted this one...but it has quite a few nice things to admire so it gets to stay. :)

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ArmouredBlood said:

@ sparerib: You're seeing ammo essential to skill 4 but not to skill 1,2 and maybe 3.


I figured as much. I still think that blocking doorways with ammo is not good practice.

Edit: Submitted too quickly :(

Eponasoft said:

Yeah I figured it out while playing it again. :)

Your confusion brings up a good point though. If the map is designed for a port that allows jumping, then players will want to know if they are expected to jump or not. I have not yet encountered any part of this map that requires jumping. It is worth mentioning in the TXT.

Eponasoft said:

OK, this is really a mixed bag. Architecture-wise, it's pretty cool, especially the last room. But the enemy placements can be really bad. Six arch-viles in a single room? C'mon, that's ludicrous. Two in the same cramped room are bad enough but six in a cramped room is pwad deletion.


Monster placement issues aside, I really like this map quite a lot. The architecture is very well done, and some of the traps and setups are great fun. Egads those freaking chaingunners jumping out of the walls really tick me off!

Fix the placement issues and we have a very worthy wad.

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I'll give the map a second try later but i ran out of ammo at the door near the megasphere and i couldn't find anymore ammo. But nice layout so far.

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ArmouredBlood said:

@ sparerib: You're seeing ammo essential to skill 4 but not to skill 1,2 and maybe 3. This is a problem I need to fix in my maps too, I just haven't gotten around to it yet -.-


Indeed. I've only adjusted the monster level in the difficulty settings. Ammo and health isn't altered. I guess that needs to be addressed.

Eponasoft said:

Yeah I figured it out while playing it again. :)

But the enemy placements can be really bad. Six arch-viles in a single room? C'mon, that's ludicrous.

Spoiler

The blue key room is a trap room. You have to get to the other side without triggering the doors with the Arch-viles. If you misstep you die. [/B]

sparerib1968 said:

Your confusion brings up a good point though. If the map is designed for a port that allows jumping, then players will want to know if they are expected to jump or not. I have not yet encountered any part of this map that requires jumping. It is worth mentioning in the TXT.


Jumping is locked through MAPINFO. If it works right you shouldn't be able to jump. I did plan on mentioning it though.

Anyway I'm glad to have gotten more responses. About the monster placement, what specifically could be changed?

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In the very first room, you have a secret that appears to require jumping...unless I'm missing something else. Jump through the window opposite of the gun-switch...

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