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Viewtiful-Chris

Hub Levels

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Playing Eternal DOOM IV has gotten me interested in hub levels.

Are there any other good .WADs that feature starting hubs and/or level inter-connectivity such as EDIV?

I think it would be awesome if a megawad had a huge starting area that had portals to the different levels... with more unlocking as you went. Kind of like the castle in Super Mario 64 :P

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Yeah, Hexen is definitely still among the best, partly because of a lack of competition, but also thanks to its own merits.

For another interesting mapset with a fake hub see equinox.wad.

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The one's I can remember are:

Temple of the Ancients
The Darkest Hour (although it doesn't do much with the hub approach)
Cold as Hell
TQTrust
Hell Factory
Cheogsh 2

(not to mention Strife, of course.)

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While these mapsets are overall linear, there are hubs in Ultimate Torment 'n' Torture and in ZPack. In both cases, it was used as a way to cheat the limits because the map would have been too huge otherwise.

Demon Eclipse episode 3 is planned to be hub-based.

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I will echo RTC-3057. That one is amazing.

Also, The Abyss Community Project will feature a hub if it ever comes close to being completed. ;)

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Nomad said:

Also, The Abyss Community Project will feature a hub if it ever comes close to being completed. ;)


Wait, there's an Abyss community project? I'm incredibly interested...

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Gez said:

In both cases, it was used as a way to cheat the limits because the map would have been too huge otherwise.

I recall playing another wad like this, it used linedef transitions like Strife to make MAP01-MAP03 seem like one cohesive area. It was an unfinished ZDoom mapset themed in HR Giger textures and released on idgames because the guy's custom monsters didn't work, probably because the environment was just HUGE open areas. I wish I could remember it.

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HEXEN.WAD


Well of course, considering it pretty much introduced the concept of hubs into the DOOM engine.

But, as is frequently stated, the lame switch-flipping puzzles and running around aimlessly turns me off.

And I also find the combat/action in Hexen far less interesting, what with a focus on melee combat and lesser variety of weapons.

Dang, apparently we really need more .WADs featuring hubs.

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Baby Bonnie Hood said:

Is RTC-3057 done yet?



Only Hub 1. It's doubtful if the rest will ever be done though. The makers seem to have moved on to more modern engines... :(

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Is anyone else getting a problem with RTC-3057 where in the latest zDOOM release (2.4.0) it prints the error "Can't place non-weapon pistol in weapon slots" or something?

Will it work on 2.2.0?

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Viewtiful-Chris said:

Will it work on 2.2.0?


Nope, I had this issue even when I played RTC-3057 a long time ago. The mod depends on a certain instance of case-sensitivity that hasn't been in ZDoom for quite a while. I don't know exactly what version you need to play it though.

This kind of reopens this debate, doesn't it? As I remember it, making this mod work in current ZDoom would require adding one (1) character to a DECORATE definition, but we can't do that because the readme doesn't permit modification. Of course, Shaviro is still around so it's bizarre that he, or someone with his permission, hasn't fixed this yet.

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Creaphis said:
This kind of reopens this debate, doesn't it?

No, that debate is rather sealed. It opens XWE, SlumpEd, DeepSea or a hex editor and implies a silly little edit that fixes the issue, as noted in one of the comments at the database:

ZDoom crashes on startup now because RTC-3057 uses DECORATE features that have been deprecated in recent ZDoom versions. Open the DECORATE file and replace "Pistol" with "Pistol2".

The RTC authors could argue ZDoom broke it, and that it should supply a fix. After all, it sometimes does specific fixes for other add-ons, such as older WADs that rely on old behavior or bugs or adds IWAD support for some mods that can work standalone.

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Creaphis said:

This kind of reopens this debate, doesn't it? As I remember it, making this mod work in current ZDoom would require adding one (1) character to a DECORATE definition, but we can't do that because the readme doesn't permit modification. Of course, Shaviro is still around so it's bizarre that he, or someone with his permission, hasn't fixed this yet.


I've asked Shaviro to fix that, but he said no cause he doesn't want to make an update to just fix one bug or something.

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kristus said:

I've asked Shaviro to fix that, but he said no cause he doesn't want to make an update to just fix one bug or something.


It seems like a fairly important bug in a fairly important WAD though :P

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myk said:

No, that debate is rather sealed. It opens XWE, SlumpEd, DeepSea or a hex editor and implies a silly little edit that fixes the issue...


Fair enough - change "reopens" to "references" or some such. Still, there's no way I could have known how to fix the issue when I first found this mod and I'm still very fuzzy on all of ZDoom's functionality. This is an issue that most interested players will be unable to solve.

kristus said:

I've asked Shaviro to fix that, but he said no cause he doesn't want to make an update to just fix one bug or something.


Weird.

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Viewtiful-Chris said:
It seems like a fairly important bug in a fairly important WAD though :P

Right; based on its importance, and its file size, I'm guessing what Shaviro might have thought: That the ZDoom devs could well add a line of code somewhere, to identify the WAD and make it work fine.

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Fun fact is that they did. It just caused another problem!

Pistol is the actor name for the DoomGuy's trusty peashooter. It's kinda a weapon, as I'm sure you'll agree, even if some might be tempted to make snide comments about its lack of firepower.

RTC decided however to use that name pistol for a new actor. Here ZDoom bombed with the comment that this name was already taken. So after a while, a fix is made to allow mods to override actor names, and RTC gets to get its Pistol. Yeah! Except that RTC's pistol is not a weapon, and that the DoomPlayer (that's you) has a pistol as a starting weapon, and that's the new problem.


Fixing that issue automatically is harder than for other mods. ZDoom allows maps to have their own compat flags (through MAPINFO); so it wasn't too hard to graft a mechanism that automatically gives identified maps a set of compat flags. But here the problem is not at a map level.

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What I imagine is a non-generic RTC-3057 fix that, when the PWAD is detected, looks for pistol in the PWAD and changes it to pistol2 in memory, or something like that. Not that I know how to implement it, as I'm no coder, but I mean a very specific fix which can't be abused by other mods and won't produce unforeseen side effects.

Such a specific fix for a single mod might seem like much to ask, but often it depends on that mod's merits and the effects of not fixing it.

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And so, we see that the extent of effort required by the source port coders is vastly greater than that required by the mod makers to release a fix.

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myk said:

Right; based on its importance, and its file size, I'm guessing what Shaviro might have thought: That the ZDoom devs could well add a line of code somewhere, to identify the WAD and make it work fine.


Actually, there is a lot less politics about this on my part of it. Kristus is on the right path here. It's not that I don't want to fix this, I do. The thing is there are a lot of minor bugs and "imperfections" I would like to fix and a few areas that I would like to improve. While I do think the fault is on ZDoom's side, I'm not unwilling to fix it. I've just always envisioned releasing an updated version with the fix alonside some extensions and a few surprises.

Graf Zahl said:

Only Hub 1. It's doubtful if the rest will ever be done though. The makers seem to have moved on to more modern engines... :(


You're right. Half a year after Hub1's release we set sail on a new adventure with the Doom3 engine. I guess it's not much of a modern engine anymore, but it sure was back then. The initial idea was to work on both RTC and Phobos at the same time and that worked out perfectly until my education ended and I got a job. There was really only time for one mod at that time and the logical, yet painful, choice was Phobos. I can't begin to explain all the errors we made, all the shortcomings of the team or our underestimation of the workload, but we're in a crucial phase right now that will ultimately see the mod through.

What happens after that is anybody's guess. I would love to go back to RTC in some form, but there are a lot of other projects I'd like to explore as well. The chances of me going back to ZDoom editing are slim, but I'm not going to rule anything out. After all, Hub2 was probably only a year or two away from release.

What really pains me, though, is that Hub1 was supposed to be the slow beginning of something much more interesting and comprehensive. The areas and stories we had in store for the other hubs were where things got truly interesting.

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Tis issue arised because the map authors ignored the ongoing development chatter.

Randy had been on record since the initial inclusion of DECORATE to make actor names not case sensitive but this was ignored by the RTC-3057 team. So once this announced change was made (exaxtly one release after the one that was current at the time of this WAD's release, btw.) it just broke. That was in October 2004. So in other words, ever since it was released this mod did not work anymore.

Yes, ZDoom could add a workaround (it would have to be really ugly though because it has to circumvent more than one established rule of actor naming) but I'll be blunt here:

I won't jump through hoops and add hacky workarounds for mods whose makers are just too lazy or disinterested to maintain their work. I sure can understand Shaviro's position but this is a critical issue and fixing this on the engine side is just one big hell of a mess. If it was simple it would probably have done long ago but this godforsaken duplicate pistol that tries to give a Pistol (note the case) just messes everything up totaly. The only way to fix this is to rename the pistol pickup. There's just no other way to do it...

BTW, there's another issue in this WAD that needs fixing: The first elevator you encounter in MAP04 breaks apart after being used first. This is because of a post 2.0.63a bugfix in the elevator code.

The funny thing about this whole mess is that this pistol actor wouldn't even be necessary anymore because ZDoom now can place the pistol as a map item directly.

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Graf Zahl said:

Tis issue arised because the map authors ignored the ongoing development chatter.

Randy had been on record since the initial inclusion of DECORATE to make actor names not case sensitive but this was ignored by the RTC-3057 team.


Well the RTC-3057 team (which would be me) had no idea such talks were even taking place. The word "ignoring" is a little over the top in this case. Had I known it would become an issue, I'd called it something else obviously.

BTW, there's another issue in this WAD that needs fixing: The first elevator you encounter in MAP04 breaks apart after being used first. This is because of a post 2.0.63a bugfix in the elevator code.

The funny thing about this whole mess is that this pistol actor wouldn't even be necessary anymore because ZDoom now can place the pistol as a map item directly.


Yep, there are quite a few things that should be fixed.

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Creaphis said:

Of course, Shaviro is still around so it's bizarre that he, or someone with his permission, hasn't fixed this yet.

Nobody ever asked for permission to fix it. I am not a coder or a programmer, I have a life aside from doing mods in my spare time and I've also got plenty of time-consuming duties within our currently in-development mod, so I can't fix it.
Shaviro is busy working on his duties (even more plentiful and time-consuming than my duties), so asking him to go back and fix something he did unpaid and in his spare time doesn't really seem fair. At least not to me.

I should probably mention that anyone thirsting for a continuation of RTC-3057, could also try and do a "spiritual successor" to it.
The tools are out there, there are forums here where you can ask questions (that's how I learned to modify sprites) and where there's a will, there's a way.
Part of the reason we made RTC-3057 was in an effort to inspire the Doom community to reach for new heights of excellence, and we'd be thrilled if some other mod team sat down and attempted to outdo RTC-3057.

It doesn't necessarily take an army of people to do either, just a few, dedicated individuals who really know what they want and can work effectively together, not letting their ego get in the way.

A free piece of advice: Never let thoughts of "I can't do this" get in your way, just start small and work your way up.

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