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-_DLD_-

[WIP] Doom: ReloaDLD - Updated 9/14/11

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v0.1.2 Download!

All screenshots related to this project.

I've always wanted to create a WAD, or even a MegaWAD, but I never managed to. This is my umpteenth attempt at a big project. I've completed a major project in the past (30 level StarCraft 1 Campaign), so I consider this as a next step in creative work.

Doom: ReloaDLD is a mixture of a vanilla and modern WAD. It requires ZDoom to run, but it should look and play much like a classic WAD. Think of the WAD as Vanilla that requires ZDoom to play. As such, jumping and crouching have been disabled. The only reason that this is not a vanilla WAD is that I'm using new monsters, MAPINFO, and want to have the option to go have more than 32 maps if necessary (the original plan is to have 4 episodes, each 7-8 levels, plus a secret level, Ultimate Doom style).

I'm not going for anything hyper-detailed or anything, just something basic as a throwback to the classic style (I'm also apparently the umpteenth person making a WAD like this this year, heh).

As for difficulty, I'm making the difficulties very meaningful. Skills 1-2 are fairly easy, skill 3 is actually pretty hard, and skill 4 is ultra-hard. Play skill 4 at your own risk. To be honest, the way it's turning out, skill 3 really feels like skill 4 would, so keep that in mind before plunging into UV.

I'm around halfway done the first episode (though it's episodic, it's for Doom 2), so I figured I'd post my work here for testing/scruteny. Since I'm not the best mapper in the business - far from it in my opinions - I'd like feedback on anything and everything. Monster placement, level balance, appearance, detail (though I'm going for classic-style, I can't completely throw detail to the wind, it has to be effective even if it is simple!), etc. Anything, really.

The episode is half-finished, with the first 4 levels being completed and the boss level being done as well. The secret exit is there, but unfortunately due to some major complications, I wasn't able to do anything with my secret level, so it isn't included. I think now I just want to convert the Wolfendoom monster DECORATE entries into standard ones, that can be used in my WAD without the use of scripts for everything. I'm hopeless with that sort of thing, so help would be appreciated.

Features that I'm going to focus on:

* Vanilla-style feel.
* New monsters for added challenge. I mean come on, there are only so many ways to set up a Chaingunner trap.
* Boss monsters!
* Extreme use of difficulty settings. The settings should keep anybody from the Doomer that can barely scrape by Doom 2 on HMP to the champion nerd that UV-Maxes Hell Revealed for fun entertained.

In this alpha build that I've uploaded (v0.1.2), you'll find:

Episode 1 - Hellsville, the Demon Metropolis

MAP01 - City Limits 1 2
MAP02 - The Dump 1 2
MAP03 - Jake's Apartment 1 2
MAP04 - Sewage System 1 2
MAP05 - Power Plant 1 2
MAP08 - City Hall 1 2

Each of these levels should be completely functional and playable with no crippling bugs. Remember, ZDoom is required due to some custom monsters and ZDoom lumps.

I was reluctant at first to post anything until I had a whole episode done, but since I'm so inexperienced I figured it would be a good idea to get some strong feedback mid-episode.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy my work. Props to anybody that can find the secret exit (although it doesn't go anywhere yet)!

Video of me playing through MAP08:



Sorry it's been so long on the update; I guess I really am a slow-ass mapper. I tried something very different with MAP05 and I'm hoping it will go over well.

Updates

- 9/14/11
* Added MAP05 - Power Plant
* Slightly modified the monster behaviour and gemometry of an area of MAP04. Players should find this section of the level easier to complete.
* Fixed various minor texture errors.
* Missing par times have been added. All existing levels should have them.

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If you work under ZDoom, you might do something more detailed stuff. ZDoom gives a lot of possibility to the detail.

However, pictures are interesting. I hope the WAD itself will be interesting too.

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Aside from the handful of new monsters, is there anything else that requires ZDoom in the wad?

Don't take this the wrong way, but after a quick look at the levels , it looks like the new monsters add nothing and could be substituted for original bad guys with no impact at tall. Indeed, they aren't even approaching "barely used" in quantity either.

As an example, Map03 features a window with two chaingunners and two rail gunners, in a line behind it; if all four were chaingunners, nothing would change.

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Looks like some good classic-esque Dooming to me. I'm quite happy for it being for ZDoom just due to the MAPINFO and new monsters - it's my own preferred method working too. Good luck with the project. I'm hoping to undertake something this ambitious myself one day.

I'll download it at some point and give you some feedback.

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Vermil said:

Aside from the handful of new monsters, is there anything else that requires ZDoom in the wad?

There is a script in MAP08 that has the exit door open when the boss is killed. I plan to use such scripts very sparsely in future levels as needed (I actually edit with ZDoom, Doom in Doom format except for MAP08, which required Hexen format). Each of the episodes are planned to have a different boss monster and each episode is planned to include a new regular monster or two.

Since it's in a Doom 1-esque episodic format, the secret levels will be split up and I plan to include 1 per episode, so I'm relying on the MAPINFO lump for this.

I basically think of the WAD as a vanilla WAD that has to be played on ZDoom.

Phobus said:

I'll download it at some point and give you some feedback.

Thanks very much, I hope you enjoy it! =)

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The screenshots look sorta flat. But, because the name is so impossible to say, I might have to give it a go anyway

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I'm fairly new to mapping and taking screenshots of said maps (I probably did a horrible job of taking them), but I'm fervently hoping they look and play okay.

As for pronounciation, the title is a pun on The Matrix Reloaded, so I just say "reloa" followed by DLD (pronounced as individual letters). =P

I'm taking a short mapping break to hopefully soak in some tips/feedback that I can use to further my craft as well as tweak my existing maps (I believe I spent a month of off-and-on work to produce these 5 maps), but either way I'll probably start to grind out MAP05 tomorrow while MLG is going on.

Since MAP05 is going to be called Power Plant, I was thinking of relying heavily on lighting and switch effects, but at the same time I want to avoid making it feel like a switch hunt map, because the previous level is a nonlinear switch hunt map.

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I've played through the first two maps and am most of the way through MAP03. The only real issue I've seen is in that screenshot. Where you have enemies stuck in the ceiling, they can't move until their hitbox is fully out. It's also quite obvious with all the lifts in that library room in MAP03. To avoid this just raise the ceiling up by around 64 units and then put in some upper textures to dodge the HOM.

Gameplay-wise it's been alright. The way I took the first map meant I was a bit low on ammo until I got the berserk secret and ended with a load of ammo leftover - due to the way the map is shaped and somewhat open with windows at the start the load of ammo at the end is inevitable.

Secrets have been quite well hidden (perhaps too well, as I never seem to find them all) and the overall gameplay is pretty tough on UV. The railgunners feel a bit cheap to me, as they never miss. However I've not found them too much of a problem to deal with as long as I don't stand out in the open like a fool. The Nightmare Demons from Simplicity are a welcome addition, as they're fast enough to harry the player.

MAP02 has been my favourite so far - I can't say I'm really enjoying MAP03. All the rooms full of monsters that you have to battle through doorways is a bit tiresome and the pitch-black maze room was rather tough. However, the biggest problem I had was the library room, where it's quite easy to get backed into a corner without enough ammo or weaponary the beat back three revenants, for example.

I'll keep going through and see what I think of the other maps.

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I really didn't like MAP04. Don't think I'll be bringing myself to beat any map that has you spending that long unprotected in nukage with no real space to avoid damage. Sorry about that.

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Thank you very much for the feedback on my maps Phobus!

Inc tl;dr post. I'll try to cover all of your points and discuss them. Sometimes I'll type my train of thought when I was designing certain parts

Railgunners - I like using them to add a new dynamic to the gameplay. They are able to miss, but it's really tough to dodge railgun shots. They basically encourage better usage of cover and strafing, since their shots can go through other monsters. I'm trying to avoid being totally unfair with them, though.

Nightmare Demons - I'm glad you like them. They're a part of my mapping style when it comes to adding difficulty. Instead of plain old "you fought 12 Imps on HMP, so now you fight 20 on UV!", I can keep the monster count of a pack roughly the same, just substitute Demons for Nightmare Demons instead. Kind of like "these Hell Knights are now Barons" philosophy except extended to a broader range. I'm attempting to use this technique to replicate ultra-hard gameplay without resorting to "oh hey, another slaughter map that releases packs of 50-100 monsters at a time".

MAP01 - Do you suggest that I redistribute ammo on the map? The way I tune the maps is that they rely a little on the player finding the easier secrets in UV only, so careful ammo management as well as having barely enough to scrape by without finding secrets is sort of built in. HMP is far more forgiving when it comes to ammo. Which secrets did you find? I tried to design them so anyone that stops to look closely at certain things or thinks about the right stuff such as "what did that switch in the small maze do?" (Berserk secret). I'll put the secrets in spoilers at the bottom of the post for the first 3 maps.

Also, do you think the map had decent flow?

Secrets guide:

Spoiler

1. There is a switch at the right side of the mini-maze, possible to miss if you take the left path first. This opens up the Berserk pack at the start of the level. Clue: wtf did that switch do?

2. There is a secret room full of Health bonuses as well as a green armour. Clue: the wall is the only wall that has a ton of bullet holes/grime on it, the others are pristine.

3. Shotgun + Box of shells. Clues: one of the windows has a Shotgun guy. Since he drops a Shotgun, there might be a way to get to him. Also, the wall behind him is the only wall out of the window section that has a lamp on it. Get to this secret by stepping on a trap door. The clue for that is the ceiling is a different texture.

MAP02 - I'll fix that pillar thing you mentioned. I think it was my favourite map to work on out of the set so far.

Secrets:
Spoiler

1. One of the crates in the mini crate maze opens up to reveal a chaingun and some ammo. Clue: there are 3 Health bonuses where the secret is. Also, those boxes are a different colour than the rest.

2. There is a blue armour at the exit lift. Clue: if you look to your sides while going up the lift, you'll see a crawl space on the left that leads to the armour. It's sort of a habit of mine when I go up lifts as I think it's a more commonplace secret type.

MAP03 - Which rooms are you talking about when you referred to the doorway thing? The only big ones I can think of were the hoard of Zombiemen at the start (basically a free mow down with a shotgun) and the Imp pack in the "junction room" up the stairs. I tried having the lifts the way you recommended them in my lift puzzle, but I couldn't figure out a good way to make it so the player isn't trapped up there, since the wall switch is for opening a door. Should I try putting them on one of the long sides of it? Also, do you suggest doing anything to the Revenant trap? I believe it's 1 Revenant per difficulty level, so on UV you get the full 3. I figured it was fine since there's a lot of ammo in the lifts/cubbies.

I tried to make that maze a sort of tribute to E1M2's little optional maze. I threw in a semi-secret pair of goggles to make it a bit easier. That being said, do you have any suggestions for how I could improve the maze?

Is there anything else I can do to improve the map's gameplay? Is my layout not very good? Bad monster placement?

Secrets:
Spoiler

1. There is a Berserk pack hidden in the Zombieman hallway. Clue: it's an out-of-place wall texture.

2. In the library there is a secret room that contains a Chainsaw and some ammo. Clue: one of the wall switches behind a lowering book shelf opens a door that you can hear close. You also notice it's a repeatable switch. The secret is accessible once you open up the blue key.

3. In the maze there is a pair of goggles that is marked as a secret, though it's in plain sight. Clue: the area it's located in is a bit more narrow than the rest of the maze.

4. Again with the maze, there is a Computer map. Clue: there is a different wall texture.

5. Hidden Backpack behind the starting door. Clue: no big clue, really, but this room opens up once you hit the switch behind the red door. It's very obvious if you found the map.

6. Soulsphere at the end of the level. Clue: another "plain sight" secret, if you take the time to look to your left as you leave the building you'll see it tucked away in a corner.

MAP04 - Ah, the big one. Oddly enough I spent by far the most time on this level, probably longer than the rest of the maps combined. Which parts of unprotected nukage are you talking about? The only really big nukage area is the maze, where I threw in about half a dozen RAD suits. I also have a RAD suit open up in each area before the maze. That being said, what would you suggest to improve the level? I'm open to anything and if my train of thought on making certain parts of the map plausible were wrong I'd love to know. I want the nukage to be a major theme and threat, but not frustrating enough that people stop playing my WAD.

Secrets (except the ones related to the secret exit!):
Spoiler

1. In the first room, there is a RAD suit. Clue: it's the only patch of wall that touches the nukage that doesn't have the green nukage stuff at the bottom. This clue is recurring throughout the level.

2. In the nukage maze there is a crate room. One of those crates lowers and is flagged as secret. Clue: none, the crate lowers when you go for the Chainsaw + other ammo. It's sort of a reward for exploration.

3. Berserk pack in the left path near the start of the level. Clue: similar to the RAD suit, the common texture of the narrow dead ends that have monsters in them is SLADRIP except for this one. That's a clue that it's a secret door.

4. The Invisibility powerup in the north area. Since it's in plain sight, you just have to climb up the waterfall to get it.

5. Soulsphere in the north area. It's hidden inside one of the slime falls. Clue: all but 1 of the 4 slime falls are solid. It's more of a "by accident" secret. Hiding stuff behind waterfalls is also sort of common, I think, so anyone secret hunting would probably(?) check there.

6. The blue armour in the "hub" area on the right path. It's a "secret within a secret". Find the other secret relating to that and look for the different wall texture within.

7. Invisibility near the end of the level. Clue: one side of one pillar is a different texture. Press it to lower the pillar.

8-18. These are all related to the secret exit, riddled throughout the rest of the level.

Phobus said:

Sorry about that.

You don't have to be, since it sounds like a design error on my part.

One principle that I try to map with (please correct me if I'm approaching this incorrectly!) is to have an underlying motif for my maps, and to try to have that motif change greatly from map to map, to keep my WAD interesting. MAP02 is more of an open level that the play can approach in any way he wants. I try to give the player some freedom in the level. For MAP03, I designed it as one of those puzzle levels. Almost everything important is in plain sight and easy to get to, but difficult to obtain. Random piece of trivia - the first little area of MAP03 is actually based on the flat I live in. The player starts where my bed is. For MAP04, I wanted it to be a nonlinear switch hunt level as well as maze-like, since that's how I imagine sewer levels. It was also a great place to hide my secret exit.

Thanks again for your thoughts and I apologize for such a long post; I'm just trying to learn as much as I can through discussion of the issues you had with the level. I'd love to use some suggestions to go about improving these first four maps.

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The Railgunners work IMO, but they'd be easy to use unfairly. I'd keep with them if I were you, but definitely be careful.

MAP01: I found the berserk secret, although I wasn't sure exactly what I'd done to open it. Also found 3) but not 2). I think the map worked fairly well to be honest. Only problem was I'd ran myself low on ammo by killing everything I could on the outside first. Flow and stuff seemed alright to me, as did the way it resembled The Factory.

MAP02: I didn't manage to find secret 2) - that's fine though.

MAP03: Don't think I found the backpack, even though I knew where it was. Just couldn't get into the room.

I see the problem you'd be having with the lifts trapping the player actually... I'd suggest either leaving the lifts as they are, or making it so the floors lower permenantly but the switches stay standing. It's quite a complex area, so it'll be hard to alter effectively I think.

The doorway issue also seemed present to me when first breaking into the maze and also in the room with the yellow and blue key switches. The two examples you cited are definitely the most obvious though.

I'd guessed at the inspiration of the map from the title - I think the map is laid out alright to be honest, it's more down to the way the monsters work in the environment. In particular, those Revenants can really cause an issue when there's not a lot of space to move in the library room and the masses of monsters in the maze area make it incredibly tough.

To make the revenants easier you'd either need to reduce the number or provide more space to move around them. That area is quite cramped, particularly when there's a few monsters running about. The maze would work better with a bit less resistance overall, IMO. The Mancubus wandering around had me constantly backing in to more trouble which ended up snowballing.

MAP04: I gave up when I had very low health, no radsuit and had been caught by a baron and a nightmare demon, only to have my progress blocked by a 64 unit wide doorway that had cacodemons and imps behind it. As I had no space to move past them and I was stuck in the poison my situation had literally become unsurviveable. I don't think I'd killed more than 100 or so monsters either. The issue really is that I needed more space than I had to get out of the poison with a chance of keeping going.


On a previously unmentioned positive note, I loved the little changes to the text ("Prepare yourself for..." and so on) and your idea of mapping with motifs is a good one in my books. Perhaps I should concede defeat and try again on HMP, rather than babying out because I can't hack it on UV :P

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Thanks for the great reply again Phobus!

I'm trying my absolute best to be careful with Railgunners. They're one of my favourite monsters when it comes to balancing skill levels. So far, them and Nightmare Demons are the monsters that change the most, I'd say. They're much more scarce on HMP (fewer of them, some replaced with Shotgun guys).

I'm glad MAP01 worked out well; it was my first attempt at mapping for Doom in about 5-6 years.

I made the change you suggested to MAP02.

I wanted to keep the lifts the way they are in MAP03 since a big theme I was going for was a puzzle level, and the lift puzzle was the biggest part of that concept. If anyone has an idea to improve that room without changing its functionality, I'd love to hear it and try it out!

Do you suggest I cut down on monsters in doorways? The doorway fights that involve a ton of Zombiemen I didn't really count as door fights, just something fun to do since a shotgun can AoE packs of them effectively. I could reduce their number or just remove the packs or something if you think it would help the gameplay, as 16 Zombiemen bumrushing you doesn't really add to the difficulty.

I think my idea when it came to the 3 Revenants was that since that room had a lot of tight corners provided by the bookshelves, they'd be easy to fight and they'd likely come single-file. Should I swap one of them with a Hell Knight or something?

I'm pretty sure I know the room you're referring to in MAP04. I actually nerfed that room a bit (of the 4 Cacodemons, I made the 2 that appear on all skill settings deaf, so 1 or 2 will come at you on higher settings instead of 3-4). I think it might be difficult to widen the level too much because of the architecture and how a lot of it is intertwined. Should I give players more floor space?

I'm glad you liked my little subtle text changes. It's good to know that my approach to mapping has some merit. I think I've figured out what direction I want to go with MAP05. Lots of switches, but not a switch hunt. Some make the brightness not 96 and others open doors (oh fuck, the power is turned off). As for skill settings, I like to think of HMP as UV, and UV as the difficulty that keeps insane players entertained.

[Edit] One more thing, has my detailing been okay for what I'm going for? "Classic" style detail is one thing, but I don't want to cross the line of using it as an excuse to make my maps ugly.

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The monsters in doorways is alright if it's not too frequent an occurance - as MAP03 stands thats not too bad. The problem is that Revenants have enough health, with strong projectiles to advance between the bookcases enough to overwhelm the player quite easily, so a HellKnight would probably make things worse, as they are even tougher.

As for giving the player more space... I think that'd be very difficult too, as the map is fairly large and compactly laid out already. Widening that doorway I died at (and possibly the corridor leading up to it) would be a winning formula for me. The alternative would be to make that one corridor not nukage, as then at least the player can use the doorway for cover and try to fight through.

Seems I'm not quite as good as I think I am then :P Next time I'm playing Doom I'll load this up in HMP and see how I get on.

So far I wouldn't say any of the maps have been ugly. Some areas (like the exterior parts of MAP02) actually look really nice IMO. I think the main thing is that corridors and some indoor areas look plain - which is better than cramped with unnecessary detail, so I'd say leave things as they are unless you really want to put more time into the looks yourself.

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On the whole skill level thing - I'm attempting to appeal to the widest audience possible. The primary intended difficulty is HMP, as I'm trying to make UV on the HR level, so that way people that get bored with most WADs easily on account of them being too easy won't get bored of this one too. Naturally I do need to make sure it's simply unfair and not impossible.

I changed that area you mentioned a bit. I widened the first leg of the passage by 32 units and the area before the doorway by 64. The passage now looks a little weird but hopefully it'll be fine.

Maybe I should work in a RAD suit in that area or something?

I'm glad detail is fine. I think detail will improve as I continue making maps for this project, since I consider myself highly inexperienced at mapping. Maybe part of it is the texture sets I choose from level to level. MAP05 focuses on the TEKGREN* set, which I think I'll be able to do a bit more with than the SLAD ones.

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Sounds good to me!

If it's easy to get out of that area then we won't need the Radsuit, I think.

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Welp, I've finally gotten off my ass. Time to perform some thread necromancy.

Thanks for all your feedback so far, Phobus!

MAP05 - Power Plant is completed and ready for testing. This level will hopefully feature some fun gameplay that you won't find in your average level. When brainstorming this map, I thought of one of the Scythe maps (I think it was called Lights Out), Doom 2 MAP04, and TNT MAP03. Fun times, hopefully.

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