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vdgg

Skill level 6 speculation

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Since Nightmare! is too easy for some players such as Henning, it would be useful to be able to choose another skill setting.

Skill 5 = -fast monsters + respawn + double ammo + monsters attack immediately
Skill 6 = ?

I'd say monsters with double HP + damage taken by the player is doubled.
(Hello Maes, a revenant rocket does max 160 HP damage now)

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ZDoom lets you define custom skills. You can have up to eight skill levels in the menu (the engine supports more, but the menu code doesn't, heh).
http://zdoom.org/wiki/MAPINFO/Skill_definition

You can do pretty interesting things with it. Replace zombiemen by sergeants, and sergeants by chaingunners. Replace imps by hell knights, and hell knights by barons. Diminish the ammo factors to give you less ammo. Increase monster speed. Increase the damage factor so that monsters hurt you more. Prevent monsters from entering the pain state. Etc. You can do a lot of things to make the game harder.

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How about "Tome of Powered" enemies? Fireballs leave an afterburn, rifle bullets pierce armor, commandos don't recoil from damage, the cyberdemon leads his shots, lost souls can charge right through you, demons can bite whilst moving, etc. etc.

But not just "more HP/player does less damage" because that's just boring.

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Some thoughts...

Time limit.
Less ammunition.
One HP for the doomguy.
When the music starts to reapeat itself for the fourth time, you die. (Lol)
No savings allowed at all.
When dead, you start the game at the beginning.
Slower walk/run.
Starting every level with only your peeshooter and chainsaw that has limited fuel.

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Just let Jodwin edit any map to his own frugal ammo standards and hey presto, you have your "skill 6" ;-)

No further handicaps compared to UV/Nightmare, other than the knowledge that ammo has been balanced to the last bullet, and the slightest mistake will mean that you'll be tysoning around corners or eating that 80 HP Revenant rocket in the face, after all ;-)

Also, make maps whose outcome depends on pure luck due to e.g. having to SSG Archviles without cover, without retreat, hoping that you get those 2/3 times that flinching works ;-)

TL; DR: if you want a hard map, painstakingly bean-count ammo, health and armor to the last unit, and introduce mote luck-based factors (these could be arbitrary ammo pickups, bonus durations etc.)

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remove pain chance + -fast + -respawn = oh god how do I stop the chaingunner rape? Speaking of removing pain chance, it'd actually make the spidermastermind pretty decent ...

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How about a difficulty that removes the BFG from the game? They could be replaced with plasma rifles.

-Remove the backpack from the game.
-Replace sawed-off shotguns with regular shotguns. Yes I am going to call the "super-shotgun" a sawed-off.
-Zombiemen explode like a barrel if you get too close to them.
-BFG's explode if you try to pick them up.
-The pistol shoots at 1/4 of its original rate of fire.
-Chaingunners fire rockets out of their chainguns instead of bullets.
-Revenants fire 14 homing missiles at a time.
-Archviles can summon new monsters at will.
-Cyberdemons fire BFG blasts that also spawn a Cyberdemon, telefragging the player.

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Reaper978 said:
-Replace sawed-off shotguns with regular shotguns. Yes I am going to call the "super-shotgun" a sawed-off.

That's a good one.

-Chaingunners fire rockets out of their chainguns instead of bullets.

Why waste chaingunners? Imps, zombiemen or sergeants should fire rockets.

-Archviles can summon new monsters at will...

...including more arch-viles, with a high probability, around 25%

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vdgg said:

That's a good one.
Why waste chaingunners? Imps, zombiemen or sergeants should fire rockets.


An old mod, "Obituary" does that with "bazookamen", but they end up blowing themselves up all the time ;-)

Monsters with quasi-100% damage hitscan attacks would be a PITA too...imagine hordes of railgunners.

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A real Skill 6 would just turn whatever map you're currently playing into Deus Vult Zero.

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Xaser said:

A real Skill 6 would just turn whatever map you're currently playing into Deus Vult Zero.

For some weird reason, this reminded me of the mirrored maps in an April's Fool version of ChocoDoom.

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Some of these are starting to sound like MattBratt's ideas.

Obviously there are many ways that the game can be made to play a little harder, but giving monsters completely different attacks or other such drastic changes to the in-game behaviour seems out of keeping with the way the existing skill levels were implemented.

Also, we should consider that some differences between skills 4 and 5 are in the player's favour: more ammo, faster infighting and in some cases the fact that the monsters don't move around so much can help a lot. So skill 6 should offer something to the player's advantage too, as well as a number of things to make it harder. On top of that, the changes shouldn't make normal situations into unavoidable instant death traps (the original iwads remain playable on NM, after all).

So let's consider what could be changed that is in keeping with id's approach:

1) By analogy with the difference between skill 1 and skills 2-5, the amount of damage taken by the player could be increased. Maybe by 35%? Much more than that and some situations can quickly become unplayable.

2) By analogy with the differences between skills 1/2, 3 and 4/5, the thing placement could be different. However, this would mean altering the map, so it's a bit of a non-starter at an engine level. Some people have suggested multi-player items being active, but that can also mean a lot more power-ups and ammo.

3) By analogy with Quake's Nightmare skill, the projectile-firing monster AI could be adjusted to make them aim at the point where the player is headed, rather than his current position. I think this has credibility as something id might well have implemented if they had taken the Doom engine further. It's also a nicely ambiguous change, as once a player gets used to it, he could start using it to his advantage in certain situations. There could also be a feature re-implemented from an early id engine: demons/spectres could (at random) use their Doom 1.2 style of attack instead of their normal bite (harder for the player to anticipate). Similarly, Arch-Viles could use the original BFG attack on a random basis (say 1 in 8, based on the gametic).

4) By analogy with the difference between skills 1/5 and 2/3/4, the amount of ammo pick-ups could be adjusted. But how? Maybe to 150% of normal? (i.e. less than normal NM, but still enough to compensate for the respawned enemies.) As a benefit for the player, how about making health potions and armor bonuses count double?

5) By analogy with the changes in monster reaction times and attack times, there can be adjustments in these. But what, given that skill 5 already cuts them down drastically? The revenant's "move in to attack" distance could be reduced or randomized (making it harder for the player to exploit), and the archie's attack could be made quicker from targeting to the explosion. The archie could also be made more likely to attack and less likely to resurrect (because there will be plenty of monsters around in any case). Revenants could fire homing missiles with a greater probability (e.g. 1 in 2 rather than 1 in 4). Pain chance could be reduced across the board, and the threshold for them to change their target could be increased. Again, there is some ambiguity here, as this could also help the player in some situations by leading to faster infighting.

6) Respawning could be adjusted to make the monsters more likely to respawn faster. And maybe a random element: they can respawn either where they died or in their original location. After all, the biggest challenge on NM is the randomness (and that the player must often think on his feet, rather than rely on a plan conceived fully in advance), and this would increase this factor.

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Grazza said:

6) Respawning


Allow Archviles to resurrect other archviles, cyberdemons and spider masterminds ;-)

To balance this, make them normal retaliation targets like any other monster.

Also, increase blast damage from rockets, add blast damage to every fireball, but also make monsters not immune to it.

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Grazza, most of mine were intended to be absurd and ridiculous. Your suggestions for difficulty seem plausible enough, but you mention yourself that certain things can't be increased too far or it will become impossible, like the player taking more damage. Besides, I honestly think the player takes quite enough damage in Nightmare.

Nightmare has the interesting characteristic of requiring the player to rapidly finish the map, or else the respawning will end up killing you and\or using up all your ammo. Speedrunning actually seems to be the ideal solution to Nightmare. Perhaps difficulty 6 could have a different focus, rather than just increasing the ridiculousness of Nightmare.

One could swap gameplay modifiers for other ones. You could remove respawning, but increase the amount of damage monsters can take before dying. This would change the focus from the high-speed requirement that I mentioned above.

Maes said:

Try playing "The sky may be".

I'm going to get around to that soon.

That's a good one.

Thanks.

Absurdities:

-Pain elementals spawn mini-cacodemons that grow into full-size cacodemons if given enough time
-Revenants actually fire two rockets from their two launchers (The horror!)
-Spider mastermind can create arachnotrons
-The Archvile can leap huge distances
-The Cyberdemon has a jetpack he can use to fly through the air
-Cacodemons bite your head off if you get too close, causing instant death
-The Archvile can throw monsters at the player
-The Archvile can target himself with his flame attack, allowing himself to effectively rocket jump and enhance his jumping ability that much more

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skill 6 = archviles can raise each other and the boss monsters; Every monster moves faster, not just the demons and spectres; monsters will no longer infight; + respawn faster; + increased AI.

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Reaper978 said:

-Revenants actually fire two rockets from their two launchers (The horror!)


Makes me think of Legacy of Suffering. I gave up after I encountered a tiny room that repeatedly teleported in sets of four double rocket revenants.

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Grazza said:

3) By analogy with Quake's Nightmare skill, the projectile-firing monster AI could be adjusted to make them aim at the point where the player is headed, rather than his current position.

I don't remember that happening. Instead, Quake's Nightmare is a mixture of fast attacking and hugely decreased pain chance.

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Many of these suggestions sound plausible enough.

I personaly wouldn't mind seeing some kind of damage multiplication factor based on the par time of the level. It wouldn't necessarily make it altogether harder, but it would make for some drastic gameplay change: Reaching the par time (say 5:00) would increase the damage taken by x2, and subsequently anything over that would increase it further. Perhaps even make it such that the monsters that are killed lower the total time expired, but that once again they also respawn! This would promote some real arcade style high scoring, where you see how long you can hold on to a level by slaying monsters before the damage becomes too much to handle, and you simple have to reach for the exit switch.

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So many good ideas... so much potential. It would be a lot of fun to see this actually get done. I can't play on Nightmare, but all the great ideas (especially Grazza's) make me want to actually see this in action. In addition to the Nightmare settings I propose the following list:

  • dramatically faster revenants and imps movement and attack
  • Revenants shoot double rockets at a rate of 6 per second
  • Imps have a meaner melee attack
  • AVs have shorter attacking time
  • When the archvile has no monsters to revive and you're not currently visible to it, it summons monsters at will: 80% of the time any monsters in the boss cube minus the archvile, 15% of the time another archvile, 5% of the time... woo hooo! a boss monster of its choosing! (space allowing).
  • AV can summon corpses placed at start of level by level editor.
  • Archviles revive two to three monsters at a time and their reviving time is reduced by 1/3 (ie, 50% faster). On occasion they will revive 4 monsters at a time, especially during their desperate mode.
  • AVs can only revive one archvile at a time and it takes as long to do as original revive time
  • During their desperate mode, they sometimes will revive two at a time (25% of the time). All revive times are increased as follows: boss revival time same as normal revive time. AVs revive 50% faster, and all other monsters twice as fast.
  • monsters have bad memories: instead of no infighting, rather, they forget their soreness at the other monster after about 3 seconds, lolz, and return fire at you again.
  • Monsters can move and attack at the same time.
  • 20% of the time, dead monsters come back as arch-viles.
  • Double health potion/armor helmet pickups (I really like this one).
  • Zombiemen and Seargents have an additional 10 hitpoints.
  • Zombiemen now shoot from shotguns (50% faster than Sergeants did).
  • Seargents now shoot double barreled (as fast as shotgun guys shot
  • shotguns) 7 pellets per shot.
  • monster ammo drops doubled (so 4x what you get on skills 2-4).
  • Mancubi and Cyberdemons' attack volley is doubled before refiring (ie, series of 12 fireballs instead of 6/ and 6 rockets instead of 3) and rate of fire is increased.
  • All monsters' pain chance is reduced a little (not lulz amounts), especially Spiderdemon and AVs.
  • Boss's hitpoints doubled (this includes John Romero's head, but not Barons of Hell... or should it?
  • Archviles hitpoints increased to 1000.
  • Cacodemons shoot a stream of electro-fire balls.
  • Pain Elementals shoot out lost souls as fast as your chaingun.
  • Lost souls can change direction mid-attack when they miss their target.
  • When demons are not chomping down on you, they now burp lost souls every once in awhile at random (Tricks and Traps has a whole new meaning).
  • squished monsters (blood pools, whether placed by mapper or from crushed corpses) revive as either AVs or Pain Elementals
  • Each time a monster is revived by an Archvile, its hitpoints and damamge are increased by 25%.
  • Monsters respawn faster (still within a randomized timeframe). When Par time is reached and each time its doubled, monsters respawn slightly faster
Don't give up!
  • Megaspheres and Soul spheres work like Quake's megahealth... but in the opposite direction (the health [and armor with the megasphere] is slowly going up by 1. This effect lasts until either your health or armor drop below 100--at which point this bonus effect stops. With the Megasphere, as soon as one goes below 100, both stop).

  • base max ammo capacities are increased as follows:
    Bullets: 400
    Shells: 100
    Rockets: 100
    Plasma: 300
Not going to clutter up my post by acknowledging all the people I borrowed ideas from. This list is what I would initially like to see. :)

[offtopic]I was thinking a funny mod would be if a seargeant or chaingunner is revived, they pick up their weapon if its still there (no ammo generating by Archviles) but if their weapon is no longer near them, they get revived without a weapon, and have to resort to feebly punching you.[/offtopic]

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Hellbent said:

[offtopic]I was thinking a funny mod would be if a seargeant or chaingunner is revived, they pick up their weapon if its still there (no ammo generating by Archviles) but if their weapon is no longer near them, they get revived without a weapon, and have to resort to feebly punching you.[/offtopic]

How about making it even meaner? Disarmed zombies can pick up regular weapons from the map, with zombiemen having poor accuracy and rate of fire, sergeants having intermediate skills and commandos avenging their own death quickly with a new weapon.

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hervoheebo said:

How about making it even meaner? Disarmed zombies can pick up regular weapons from the map, with zombiemen having poor accuracy and rate of fire, sergeants having intermediate skills and commandos avenging their own death quickly with a new weapon.

Hah! I like that. And the player would get a message when the former human picked up a weapon: "Zombieman got the BFG!" Oh shit....

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