Five Rooms of Doom: (32/32) - now on idgames

I'll fix up my map when I have time. Only I will be making any fixes to it. It's mapped on the Map20 slot as I am sure we took slots to begin with.

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Well people, here it is. It took about a year and seven months, but at long last, the first beta of "Five Rooms of Doom" is here for your playtesting enjoyment!

http://speedy.sh/sJ62R/5room-beta1.rar
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz8OfXBjllJxc0c5XzRvaTZyR0E/edit

The final order of the maps can be seen in the first post. I tried to order them a bit by difficulty and monster count, but it wasn't always easy. Episode 3 especially was a pain since the monster count in the maps there go through the roof compared to the earlier episodes. I hope the arrangement will please everyone.

I hope all music is in the right place as well, this is the first time I did any editing like that, so I hope I did everything correct.

Now, all that's left is to play, play, play and notify me of any errors your keen eyes can spot. Thanks for everyone who participated, and to those who didn't, I hope you enjoy the result!

Happy DooMing!

PS: Some title picture would be nice, as well as having the names of the maps in the intermission screen and on the map. I'm not an artist though, so if anyone can make up a good title picture, that would be appreciated! As for map names, I don't know how to change this, so if anyone would be willing to teach me, or to do it themselves, that, too, would be appreciated. =)

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MAP05 has a sky texture instead of the sky, means you can shoot it and it will leave traces and dust when shooted upon.
MAP06 has tons of missing textures and flats, it also uses textures as flats too because when I tested this on Zdoom there were less missing textures. I even tried with the cc4-tex.wad and it still got same results.

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I spent a couple of hours with this on HMP, in ZDoom. Just beat map 08, after which it was time for a break. I like it so far, here are my playnotes:
- map01: Cool layout, special rooves & nicely edged floors. Its so dark and damp in there I feel like an old rotten sardine who woke up in a tin can from whenever the last world war was. Nice ammo gauge blipping, shotgun mostly empty.
- map02: Texture missing above and behind blue door. Otherwise neat and consistent.
- map03: A bit early to get the double barrel IMO, at least outside of secrets. Thematically on track, fits the others like a glove.
- map04: Neat encounters, like the caco-ambush in there. Perhaps a couple of too many rockets by the mancubus pillar? Running high on shotty shells throughout now, even if its only HMP. Altogether, the episode has by now definetely established a very Romero'ian musk. Good use of height-varied window sections and such.
- map05: one-sided (and x-offset) texture alignment of the midbrown texture on the central bridge section. Unmarked exit area. Otherwise, nice little "infinite viewdistinace" hallway w/ appendix.
- map06: missing step-up textures to the immediate right. Personal preference alert (feel free to ignore): The map looks fine but might look better without the mid-textured obviously wafe-thin beams in the ceiling, or with these beams aligned in the directions of the sky ceiling rims. Just a thought. Could definetely use a more marked ending though, mini-boss like, to highlight the fact that its the last map before the first intermission text update.
- map07. All of a sudden the surplus ammo comes in handy - saved up ammo stores are now quickly emptied, which is nice. Overall, the health-balancing has been _very_ tight up until now. I like the last encounter with arachnids. Unless there is no technical reason to do otherwise, I strongly recommend this and map 06 swap places, for better pacing/climaxing-to-fit the default narrative.
- map08. A _very_ nice watery canyon layout. I bow my hat. The long runs around plenty of fresh air are a great change of theme, emerging from the previously established poisonous, dark, dank infested space bases. At this point its like you emerge to the surface, after having fought your way out of some subterrenean doomsday bunker, positively Fallout'ian. I spent a long time on this map, longer than the other ones, mostly due to having to get intimate with the complex map layout in order to locate the largely just map-camouflaged red key trigger, but that's fine. Level design as an artform.

A pleasant ride so far, varying between pleasant deja-vu's and the odd new surprise, like the winged barons and neat semi-translucent windows that tend to camouflage the type of creature skulking around behind it. The limited number of rooms seem to lead to short uncomplicated key hunts, which sets a tidy pace throughout. I'm curious how this will turn out before the end.

EDIT: Oh, and I died quite a bit. First on map 03, then a lot here and there. Good toughness.

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Soundblock said:

- map08. A _very_ nice watery canyon layout. I bow my hat. The long runs around plenty of fresh air are a great change of theme, emerging from the previously established poisonous, dark, dank infested space bases. At this point its like you emerge to the surface, after having fought your way out of some subterrenean doomsday bunker, positively Fallout'ian. I spent a long time on this map, longer than the other ones, mostly due to having to get intimate with the complex map layout in order to locate the largely just map-camouflaged red key trigger, but that's fine. Level design as an artform.


Oh, the switch that releases the trap bars? Yeah, if it was more obvious players would skip the fight and hit the switch. Perhaps if they find it on an early attempt they GET to skip the fight on latter attempts. It glows! Should I make it more obvious? Otherwise, thanks for the kind words.

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The blue door in map03 can't be opened from inside so if an unknowing player doesn't run out before the door closes, he gets stuck.

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Egregor said:

Oh, the switch that releases the trap bars? Yeah, if it was more obvious players would skip the fight and hit the switch. Perhaps if they find it on an early attempt they GET to skip the fight on latter attempts. It glows! Should I make it more obvious? Otherwise, thanks for the kind words.


If I recall correct, it is one of several switches that use the same texture, so when running around the organic caves looking for a way in, it can be easily missed. Not sure I'd want to be responsible for having messed with the map though, but if a lot of people report being slowed down on that map, you might want to look into it. Its a nice map to be momentarily lost in, for as long as it lasts, so I certainly don't have a problem with it. Besides, if the maps start taking longer to complete as the episodes play out (not untypical for megawads), then it is a nice foreshadowing of that pace change, though I am not sure if this will apply to this project since all maps stick to the meandering-limiting 5-rooms rule. In general though, I'm a lot more for letting fights be optional these days than what I used to be - like the revenants at the end of map 03 - I happily charged for the exit-switch when they popped out! Its kinda rare I try for 100/100/100 when plating Doom these days - since there is now such a wide variation of good maps to chose from. Its very far from broken anyway, so you might as well not fix it!

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The text file says limit-removing ports should be enough but map04 uses boom actions:
- the switch that lowers yellow key
- the raising stairs that allows the player to leave the nukage area with the soulsphere
(maybe more, didn't get further yet after encountering these)

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Keyboard_Doomer said:

The text file says limit-removing ports should be enough but map04 uses boom actions:
- the switch that lowers yellow key
- the raising stairs that allows the player to leave the nukage area with the soulsphere
(maybe more, didn't get further yet after encountering these)

MAP16 goes even beyond these as I see.

Curiously, I gave it a run until my map, MAP17. The phenomenon of using two clashing Where's All the Data? editors messed up quite badly with the textures, rendering a good percentage of maps showing off white and light gray checked sidedefs quite sometime. However, if most maps were only affected in about 5-10%, the harm this dylettantism caused goes above 30% in my map, making it unenjoyable. I don't know who's responsible for the maps' fate right now, I'm willing to correct these, but I'm a bit afraid it doesn't work like so.

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I don't understand what is causing all these texture errors. I changed nothing about the maps you all sent in, I simply saved them all together in one wad, and add in the music for those who used new music.

Rest assured, however, that I will be going through each map reported to have this problem to fix the wrong textures.

EDIT1: Map 17 has been fixed.
EDIT2: Map 02 has been fixed.
EDIT3: Map 05 has been fixed.
EDIT4: Figured out how to change the names of the maps on the map screen and the intermission screen! All maps now show their proper name. Will work on map 6 next.

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MAP13 has a couple of BOH stuck in each other inside the exit room.

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maps 2 and 27 wont run on zandronum due to missing sidedefs. they DO run in gzdoom, though.

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joe-ilya said:

MAP13 has a couple of BOH stuck in each other inside the exit room.

Okay, thanks for mentioning that. I'll be sure to sort that out when I get around to it.

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MAP32 has some missing textures as well, in the Commander Keen alcoves.

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Okay guys, Keeper of Jericho here to give you the second beta.

http://www.speedyshare.com/FpGy2/5room-beta2.rar
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bz8OfXBjllJxRFgzQTRoSXVqclU/edit

Things that were fixed:
- Missing textures should show correctly now.
- The stuck BoH in map 13 have been unstuck.
- The ZDoom-only textures in map 06 should now show in non-ZDoom ports as well.
- Unstuck some Cacodemons that I noticed were stuck in walls in map 29.
- Changed the required doom port in the text file to Boom-compatible and gave a notification of map 16.

Things that were added:
- The names of the maps now show up on the intermission screen as well as the auto map.

If there are any other bugs you find or any missing textures I overlooked, let me know!

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Well, there are still some design and gameplay flaws to MAP17, maybe I'm gonna take things into hand and redo some minor/major problems.

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Cell said:

Well, there are still some design and gameplay flaws to MAP17, maybe I'm gonna take things into hand and redo some minor/major problems.


Well, I didn't touch any of the gameplay or existing textures, I only repaired the textures that were missing. For gameplay adjustments, I need to wait until we get more feedback from players.

EDIT: Fixed a few errors that caused the game to crash when trying to load map 06 in prboom and prboom plus. I reuploaded the file to include this change.

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The vital part I'm trying to point out is that the best would be me correcting all those faults that have been occurred during the compiliation, because I could know how I imagined the map back then. Actually, I also came accross some texturing bugs, but the most essential part is at the ambushes, since some of the mosters are unable to teleport once some other monsters or the player himself steps onto the spot and the conveyor belt carries it further, then it gets stuck on the other side of the ambush sector. I made a half-baked solution to evade this, but now I have to finish it - and some other gameplay nitpicks as well.

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Do feel free to polish and fix as you please, I only did it myself because I figured people just wanted to see the project finished already. But if you want to do it yourself, please, by all means, go ahead. ^^

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Keeper of Jericho said:

Do feel free to polish and fix as you please, I only did it myself because I figured people just wanted to see the project finished already. But if you want to do it yourself, please, by all means, go ahead. ^^

So did I.

I was willing to do some looks-cleanup (especially at the starting area and surrounding, since I found out you corrected the now non-existent "ROCK3 1" to ROCK31 - which is also a texture - instead of ROCK3) and install all ambushes a so-called "fail-correcting device", so monsters now will teleport sooner or later. I also made the broken wooden door's hole a bit taller and wider, since complaints about not being able to fit through have arrived back then, and also added some non-damaging platforms to the Megaarmor secret which I was also told about not being practical. A radiation suit for the two (three) easier difficulties was added, too - on UV and NM, one will have to trick with the platforms in order not to get hurt.

"Flawless" rate goes between 95 and 99 percent by now.

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For those interested, here's Part II of my beta playthrough. Still playing off my beta1 save-game, since the new changes are so far cosmetic. Hope there's a useful comment or two in here. Ignore me if I'm out of bounds.

- map 09: I find simple and slicy layouts like these to be fun and unpredictable, the map plays well. I thought the tree in the blackest room was an unmoving monster for a second. Spooked me. However, the double UAC logo on the shiny gray door breaks away from the texture coherency so far. Is there a 128 wide door texture that'll fit here instead? It is tempting to suggest swapping mapslot places with the previous map here, in the interest of consistentcy, since this and current map07, plus current maps 08 and 10, have more stylistically in common and could do well sitting next to each other, for thematical coherency. Hereby suggested anyway.

- map 10: VERY good looking map. So neat and tidy that I at any time half expected to be swept away by some giant broom in the sky.
... 1st archvile was really creepy, nice corner battles in that area, I splashed myself plenty with the RL before emerging from the abodes victorius, a harem of rescued princesses at my tail.
... After a strobing inferno of reloads I eventually managed to out-smart (and, out-luck) the 2nd archvile. That's one of the very best (and hardest) puzzle-battles I've played through, but its probably going to stop a lot of players in their tracks. Its a good thing you can "steal" the keys without doing battle - due to the non-responsiveness of the blue and red pillar-doors, in spite of having the keys, one is likely to return and do battle anyhow. The difficulty/duration really peaks here, compared to the previous maps. I would at least suggest throwing more non-secret health - I was already on 2% coming in to this area. Something to let you survive at least one archieblast would be good on HMP - the clusters of hovering revviemissiles usually get you anyway. Loved toe stepping through those teleporters though - backstepping and fenceweaving with smoking revenant missiles flying around your head!
... The 3rd archie got me cornered and with the help of a freshly res'ed baron crammed me back into my tin. Got him on the reload though, anticipating his arrival, as with the 4th.
... This map maximises the most out of the literal project description, going all out on all five rooms, above and beyond the call of duty in som cases, really challenging the ramifications of the (by now much amended) 5-room "rules". Its fun to play a map so carried away with its own creativity, even if its close to going overboard.
... Confining restraint and explosive freedom in equal measures. Took me about an hour to beat (50 minutes on the interim clock), missing 50% secrets from a perfect score, and I really felt like I had gone to some otherworldly palace to do combat with some high and mighty hell rulers. Class act.

- map 11: OK, things are definetely getting tougher in this wad. Love this urban sprawler, but the author could easily halve the number of cacos for HMP. Took me a long time to break the initial siege, good seep-trough of monsters that eventually whittle away even the much padded shotgun supplies. Probably the most spacious map I've played actually, but that might be saying more about how much I've been keeping up with limit-removed maps than anything else. Also, once you realise the player isn't free to roam all the way to the end of the horizon, the size become more manageable. Nice overview running along the wall tops. A HOM is visible when running east along the south city wall. Nice jump from 1% health to 200/200 after securing the megasphere.

- map 12: Nice blend of the urban and outdoor styles that are establishing themselves after abandoning the initial bases. Night style atmosphere great (I never played through the CC projects, they arrived ina Doom slump of mine, so this is a first for me under that sky). Nice use of long-medium range space. Entertaining cybo, like the local factory overseer, merged to his machinery. The hellknights almost got him. I would have marked the exit more obviously, I ran in there to take cover from the fight happening outside and involuntarily ended the level.

- map 13: Only partially successful in creating a nice and busted up ruinous atmosphere, due to some sloppy alignment/over-ambitious geometry. Above all, I wish there were more aligned UAC logos, especially in the initial outdoor courtyard. Nice and original revenant pit, I had to jump in there and was double-jumped when the bosso showed up - that fit well as a follow-up from the cybo last level and was a nice place to finally get my hands on the BFG.

- map 14: pretty straightforwards - less compartamentalised 5-room layout, where it seemingly integares into one space. A Doom elevator of type I really like in here - one with several exits along the way. (keeps you guessing). The first archvile might seem more devious if he had a monster-only teleporter to take him somewhere near where one of the two arachnids just perished... Biggest gripe is that the music on this level plays very loud compared to the music on the other levels, for reasons unbeknownst to me. This is a shame, since the next track is REALLY sweet, and a player who turned down the volume because of this one's loudness might muffle out the next track.

- map 15: Nice, tight, weighty and solid. Enclosed spaces done well, thematically tidy. Something eerie about it that I can't put my finger on and that can only be a nice thing. Bullseye soundtrack, one of the best Doom midis I've heard actually. Still playing this and loving it. The level feels positively haunted, with a strong lid-on atmosphere. Great, without needing to be being grandiose.


General notes: It might be a good idea to state somewhere whether the wad is intended only for "paladin" style play (using only original Doom controls), or whether it supports "rogue" style play (jumping and ducking allowed). I'm playing the wad paladin, minus mouselooking to get an overview here and there, but I've noticed that I could have grabbed quite a few more goodies along the way if I had "gone rogue". Wasn't sure I'd be stuck in a pit somewhere if I had jumped in the wrong location...

Finally, the original music interspersed throughout deserves special mention for livening up the journey. I would put one of those track over D_RUNNIN on MAP01, if it was my call, to boost the first impression of the wad.

Map 16, here I come!

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Sorry for vanishing from the face of the Earth (well, Doomworld, at least). FWIW, I've got an update to "Region X" brewing. Not entirely sure if the version included in the betas has difficulty flags set yet, but this one does; more to the point, since it got moved to MAP20, and is thus the last map in episode 2, I decided to have some fun with Sky Transfer linedef specials and make the final room have episode 3's sky instead :P

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All right, I got demos brewing, done in PrBoom+ -complevel -1. Every map is first attempt, and I try with no saves, though I don't guarantee it. Also, when I die first time, it's all downhill from that point.
Link: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/z2ryor6y8el05uh/AABw3qLsfh6ZIp7QLgOho-Eea

Here's some critical problems, list updates as I go:

ATTENTION:
Folks, if you got actions right in front of door, I would suggest you to check them so it won't block the only route out!

Map 03: Once you get in the blue door room, and the door closes behind you, you can't get out, due to linedef action blocking at the door.

Map 08: The yellow door which leads to red key pillar is inaccessible.

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Soundblock: If you're reading this and KoJ doesn't release the third beta before you reach MAP17, try the map from the link I've provided in my last post. That would have it to work properly.

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Folks, let me reiterate: Check that certain linedefs don't block routes that makes players stuck! (Excluding IDCLIP, but it won't count in demos.)

Map 16, with that crushing hallway, you hit switch, you can't get out.

Dunno if I mentioned it:
I can't seem to get map names in the intermission screen or in the automap.

So far, quality has been diverse. Mostly it's been decent. Personal recommendations: Maps 01-04, 08, and 10. Perhaps 12 too.
And especially map 17. Gameplay is pretty good, map looks awesome. Probably the highlight. (Maps 18-32 still not played, so I might change the highlight. Possibly.)

Low points of the megawad:
05: And how I am supposed to kill Cyber with 80 plasma gun ammo? And with meager weapons? Gimme that goddamn SSG. At least map 12 gave one. And with work, map would look pretty good.
11: I like to be surrounded with enemies and getting overwhelmed. But this is just terrible. Maybe I didn't find stuff I really needed.
13: No, not really impressed, both in architecture and the gameplay. Nice try, though.
15: Tyson map. I don't have patience for that. So pistol starters, who can't handle berserking, skip please. And it's not low point, more like something I can't handle for now.

Demos still in that same link. Will continue today for more.

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oh, hi, long time no see...

to corsair: map 22 and map 30 may not work in -complevel 1 due to the fact that there are A LOT of unnecessary linedef\verticles. i started cleaning them up, but i only finished map 22 (is a really boring procedure).
i may play the entire thing on hmp since now i have some free time, but i can guarantee nothing...

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Soundblock said:

- map 14: pretty straightforwards

No it isn't, it almost always gives you two patches to go, sometimes even 3!(The castle entrance and the lift) and there are even bonus places that you can go to if you want.(SSG, LS alcove, chaingun alcove)

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CorSair said:

Dunno if I mentioned it:
I can't seem to get map names in the intermission screen or in the automap.

What port are you playing from? I personally admit to have playtested the entire #17 from ZDoom, only relying on the limitations of the editor's Boom format and the allowance of the CC4 texture pack (thus it needed to be repolished in the recent days).

So far, quality has been diverse. Mostly it's been decent. (...)
And especially map 17. Gameplay is pretty good, map looks awesome. Probably the highlight. (Maps 18-32 still not played, so I might change the highlight. Possibly.)

Well, thanks! ;) My personal highlight is #8, overseeing the fact that I got lost in it, very nice work. #10 feels a bit too detailed and busy, but at least it doesn't affect gameplay and looks nice altogether, so that's great, too.

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Cell said:

Soundblock: If you're reading this and KoJ doesn't release the third beta before you reach MAP17, try the map from the link I've provided in my last post. That would have it to work properly.


If you don't mind I'd like to try and make a run through it in the original file, to retain the original ammo counts and have the time played tally up right when and if I reach the end of map 30. If I get stuck, I'll check that file, or wait for beta 3. A missing texture or two won't spoil the broth.


EDIT: My beta test report, pt. III:

- map 15 (cont.): There are no items in the secret to the right of the exit room, at least not on the setting I'm playing (HMP). I could really use some ammo at this point, as I was down to single digits in all categories... First level where I had to resort to secret hunting to replenish ammo store. Found 4 out of 8 and moved on.

- map 16: Freaky start, I dig it! Seems the most advanced map in the features section thus far. I haven't played through a map with slopes before, and there's some nice sector effects I'd like to look later, to see how they're done. There seems to be no way out (and no damage taken), after getting blown off the map and into the small red chamber, following stepping on the sky after running for the switch on the wall in the outdoor area (I had reloaded last save to continue). Also note that you currently have to freelook to shoot the switch on the wall - putting the switch down a notch, onto default gun elevation is probably better, at least if encouraging players to use standard controls. The slope texture on the stairs becomes misaligned after you're locked into the room where the red key drops (cool encounter there). Since the map is so nicely aligned everywhere else, how about creating a lowered buffer-sector below the two side-by-side switches (one requiring a red key), so that the currently half-sliced monitors don't go into the floor? Also, how about a revenant in the room next door from there, so that the chair in the control room don't seem out of scale? The map carries a convincing sci-fi setting throughout - I felt like I was in some small UAC orbital space station. A bit like a fully detailed version of the hovering base in Mercenary, if anyone ever played that.

- Map 17: Immediately, nicely detailed and convincing ancient brickwork. Feels like I've time-ported to the bowels of a gothic keep. Hollowed walls and composited tiles set the bar high for expected detail throughout, and it delivers about tenfold. Rich organic caves, on themed with map 08, these type of caves are really hard and time consuming to do in any engine. Best library I've seen I think, and I'm a huge fan of in-game libraries - I've built a few myself. The barons have a lot of personality and authority, always a sign of a good level. A plethora of tasteful special effects throughout - the rusty midbronze style chandeliers are great, to name one. Pretty lenient liberties are being taken with what I'd consider a conventional room count, but with this much atmosphere I'm hardly complaining. Every creature has its function and place in this sooty underground keep, and it wouldn't be out of place if each of them had an NPC name floating over its head. Would love to play a whole episode of this, more RPG'ish, all-intentional playstyle. Generous ammo count - unlike the other map, this actually feels like the HMP setting I'm playing it on. Oh, and was the only archvile in the map _supposed_ to insta-die on teleporting in? That left me a bit stumped. The lack of a big boss fight at the end is quickly amended by being greeted by a Spider Mastermind roar at the onset of the next map. Masterclass Doom mapping on display, I have a lot to learn from maps like these.

- Map 18. Shootfest! After conserving ammo its nice to go nuts a bit. Open and airy map that ties in beautifully with the previous one. I almost fell out of my chair when the barons showed up with their entourage, fastest draw of the BFG so far! This map is the perfect contrast to the previous map, opening up to digestible yet challenging gameplay scenarios.

- Map 19. The thematical pairing of maps is helping this megawad retain its coherency, as with this map's similarity in initial layout to that of map 10. This plays very differently though, and seems almost impossible at first, though it helps that your ammo meters are all maxed, coming in. Is this even doable from pistol? Could be toned down for HMP at least, but it is a very very entertaining fragfest once you get into the fray and start tagging down the big hellions. I would definitely have added more health around the times you get keys/teleps. A frequent death-reloading map, but it is rock solid in design and execution. Tight as the eye of a needle. Good use of foreboding foreshadowing, with the packs of archvile-backed revenants lying in wait throughout. I have to say though; by the time the dynamic duo at the end showed up, I already felt like I had done enough to beat the map and charged for the exitswitch. The 5 Rooms wad kinda goes officially hardcore at this point. I again wave my white flag of HMP difficulty, and hope it is made abit easier on lower settings, to avoid clogging players from the later maps.

- Map 20. First impression: This looks like a better match to fit between current maps 16 and 17. It is green and techy to start with, like the end of 16, and it ends up thematically towards medieval, which is where current 17 is at. At the beginning, the map is by no fault of its own a tad anticlimactic, following on the bloodpounding templestomper precluding it. Once it settles into its own pace, it plays well. The grand hall behind the blue gate is nicely lit, open and spacious, reminding me of Jeff Easley's Monster Manual II cover. Nice bone-headed cybo to take down in there, though I evaded most the chaos by using the blue gate for cover, making sure I'd tagged the Pain Elemental first. I felt like a smart spacemarine, so props. However, the amount of floor-popping monster-sets along the trek around the blue gate structure (also, the path up to the yellow gate) get a bit predictable on the 5th or 6th set of monsters that pop in silently. I would suggest reducing the number of monsters and vary up how they appear a bit. E.g. maybe some of them old-school teleport in (green plasma-puff), and/or have groups be visible in the far distance, then a new set pops-in if you get close in on the ones in the distance. This is of course a general difficulty with large outdoor Doom maps in general, vs. the easier hiding of spawns in a corridor/mazy map, so repeating the same pop-ins can take away from the pace and lean towards grindy. Things pick up though. Fantastic elevator battle to get the red key - its like the Kung Fu Master arcade game of Doom rooms, with sectioned floors you take down one by one. Don't know how you did those up/down elevator switches, but having manual control there is great. In general, this is perhaps the most lenient map in granting ammo and health (minus plasma) so far. The author might want to rein that in a bit. I was regularily dancing over rocket-boxes with 100 in the inventory towards the end, which spells steamrolling on the start of the next map. As far as changing the play order of this map to fit in between current 16/17 or not, I would say it becomes a question of whether to place game balance or theme first. I wouldn't want to create a steam-roll ammocount for current map 17, but visually it sure fits well as a nice gradient transition. The _current_ transition to map 17 feels a bit abrupt, even if the two exit/start areas match up well there (the special start/end gates). But back to this map: If the level is rebalanced ammo-wise, I'd move in between 16/17. Its a good map regardless, but could be a great one if it focused its encounters/pick-ups on the areas where it shines; the dynamic mid-section, the manual elevator and the foresty monster manual II room. Lastly, is the Spider Mastermind area supposed to be marked as secret? It is the only way I found towards the exit. That, and I don't understand the "X" and "v" markings on the exit area, they seem a bit technical, but I jump in nonetheless. In short, this gem could use a bit more polish

- Map 21. Nifty little creepy keep of chaotic evil here. Is that 3D bridge multiplayer secure I wonder? A berserker pack wouldn't go amiss in here, I kept looking for one. Groovy bit of fortress defense neccessary to beat down the monster moats afer you return to the keep from the archvile crypt/encounter. Perhaps put the yellow key in a blackened niche or a glowing sector? I missed it due to hellknight corpses and ran around in circles for a while. Damn near went rogue to jump the stumps blocking the path up to the red gate, but kept calm and did another sweep. Extra health by the very exit-line would be great, and the exit itself could use being mark it with a gate, sign or glowline to help understand when it triggers. Nice craggy mountainous terrain up there...

- Map 22. Woah, perhaps the most convincing outdoor winter setting I've seen in Doom. Crosshairs looks like they might be required in here, though I usually like to play without them, as the paladin player in me think crosshairs smells of playing rogue style. Resisting the urge, I trudged through room 1 the paladin way, eventually winning out this reverse sniping while dodging the packs of hellknights that skulk around the pillar bases like vengeful gladiators escaping the colosseum. The next (VAST, yet free from Moiré patterns) chamber has a really nice subterrenean feel to it, set off by the grand courtyard before it. For reasons unknown I get a whiff of Ultima Underworld nostalgia, and waft around the room dodging fire and taking out immediate threats while looking for clues to solve the key gates. If map 20 was Jeff Easley then this is Gustav Dore. Grand scale and outer edge of range done right, I was constantly looking for that magical auto-aim limit to trigger, and had surprising amounts of fun doing so. The last room spells grandiose and I felt like an ant in there, clinging to my plasma gun like a raft in a flooding river. The very last onsalught though? Ridiculous. I should have gone for the exit like I had a few times before I guess, but I went for it. Emptied my shallow plasma stores + 100 rockets and finished the last 3 with chaingun. Over the top, but optional, so hey. Took an hour and 10 minutes to beat this leviathan of a level. Loved every minute.

- Map 23. Happy to see my map transitions well from the previous location, thematically. Feels a bit empty after the filled up maps that went before it. I see I missed a few maplines on the computer map, and I guess the pit archvile can go back in on HMP. Its certainly not too tough anyway. Here's an updated file, extracted from and built over the beta file, since that already has the right map number.

To be continued.

EDIT: I found a serious functionality problem with yesterday's np_v02.wad of mine, so the "updated file" link above has been replaced with np_v03.wad, whose difficulty is now closer to its neighbours.

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