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esselfortium

Back to Saturn X E1: we love fixing bugs

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Even PC Doom had its quiet moments though, and its soundtrack was generally darker than what most community mapsets are offering.

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True Color. Also, don't forget to set doom2.wad as your base resource at the top. Otherwise it will all come out as black and white.

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Oh, good to know! Thanks.

However, it seems Cacodemon corpses that have already been placed in the levels as well as the blood splats they make still use BtSX's palette.

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They still use BTSX palette, but don't contain any purple / miscolored artifacts, right? That's probably because Smooth Doom doesn't replace those particular graphics. If you insisted on turning them to classic palette, you'd have to import them from the IWAD into your copy of Smooth Doom and convert to PNG too.

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This is going to be an odd request, especially from a newcomer, but since the release of Ancient Aliens' soundtrack I've been wondering would it be possible to release BTSX EP1&2's complete soundtrack as well? I'm aware James Paddock released the tracks he has done for BTSX EP1&2 but I would like to hear more from other artists who contributed to the soundtrack. Is there anything of sort that is preventing this from happening or did the team made the decision to release the soundtrack after all episodes are done? Just curious. Either way, the team who did BTSX's soundtrack are great and I'd love to hear more great tracks from you all.

Oh and shoutouts to Jimmy for generously releasing the tracks he's done for free.

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Thanks for the kind words. There should've been a nice complete soundtrack package put together, the only reason it hasn't been done is because one song is being revised and another song is being added. In the new version that's coming out at, um... uh... at some point.

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The midis are right there in the wad, you can easily export them with slade. If you want mp3 copies you just need to convert them (e.g. with xmplay).

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Which sound card (or emulator) thereof is best to use to get the "right" experience with the music? OPL2? OPL3? GUS?

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Viscra Maelstrom said:

Neither, because i assume all the songs were developed with the Microsoft wavetable in mind.

This is correct :)

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I actually just spent a chunk of last night ripping the entire soundtrack for the BTSX episodes. It took me ages to get Windows Media Player to play the MIDIs as they sound in-game (turns out my default MIDI output had been changed to something other than Microsoft synth, but Win7 doesn't let you get at that, so I had to download a 3rd party program to fix it) and even then, none of the free converter programs I tried would keep the sound intact after conversion. I ended up just queuing the playlists in Media Player and recording them straight off my soundcard using Audacity. (Manually splitting them apart into the individual tracks afterward.)

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Salt-Man Z said:

I actually just spent a chunk of last night ripping the entire soundtrack for the BTSX episodes. It took me ages to get Windows Media Player to play the MIDIs as they sound in-game (turns out my default MIDI output had been changed to something other than Microsoft synth, but Win7 doesn't let you get at that, so I had to download a 3rd party program to fix it) and even then, none of the free converter programs I tried would keep the sound intact after conversion. I ended up just queuing the playlists in Media Player and recording them straight off my soundcard using Audacity. (Manually splitting them apart into the individual tracks afterward.)


I'd be interested to hear them as they are intended, as I am not using Windows. If you are prepared to share your rips, that would be great.

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Since the MS wavetable synth is based on a neutered and gimped Roland Virtual Sound Canvas, something that emulates an SC-55 is going to sound close to the intended experience. Just make sure to find a shitty emulation of an SC-55. :p

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I'd be happy to upload my tagged mp3 conversions (scc1t2.sf2) for download, if people want them, and if the btsx crew signs off on it.

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kraflab said:

I'd be happy to upload my tagged mp3 conversions (scc1t2.sf2) for download, if people want them, and if the btsx crew signs off on it.

Same here, with similar qualifications. Shoot, though, that's like 4 hours of music; talk about a hefty download.

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Hey there,

I just finished BTSX1 yesterday and wanted to post some thoughts and feedback on it. I have more to say than can fit in an /idgames review so hopefully it's ok to post here.

It's an incredible megawad. The quality level of both the maps and the music is uniformly very high. Thank you so much for all who put effort into creating this in their spare time!

Cool:

  • Awesome music. Stuff like James Paddock's Yaw, Escape Velocity or Coal are just stunningly good. Many more good tracks too, those are just the first that come to mind.
  • The difficulty is just right for me on UV. The early levels starts off somewhat easy and slowly ramps up across the entire megawad. The encounters feel mostly fair, where if you are a really good player you have a chance to survive ambushes the first time around. That's not to say things are easy. MAP13: I'll Replace You With Machines starts with an evil Arch-Vile scenario when you have just a shotgun (I pistol start every level). I totally ran dry on ammo on this level, needed to backtrack to find secrets.
  • Great balance of exploration and combat. The structure of the levels is fun to explore all on it's own.
  • There are definitely some longer levels but they are worth the effort. MAP12: Underground Initiations took me 40+ minutes and is one of the most epic Doom maps I've ever played. It is massively sprawling, non-linear and interconnected. When you think you are nearly done, an entire new half of the level opens up! Honestly many Quake 1/2 maps are less impressive from a layout and structure standpoint - it's a mindblowing accomplishment.
  • I also really enjoyed MAP18: Cyclone Utilities (Remember Your Birthday) which is also very long but balances that by the fact that the yellow key is totally optional. If you do go for the yellow key, you need to undertake a massive quest for it. I think this is a very cool case of creating both a large/medium-size level. I have to wonder whether the original plan was to put a secret exit on this level though? Seems like that would be the perfect payoff for the optional yellow key quest.
  • The new textures/palette are really well done and give the megawad such a unique, quality feel.
Not-so-cool:
  • Yes, the textures get a bit repetitive as it's mostly the same techbase stuff. The only big visual variant is the overgrown final level.
  • The first half of the set is a good mix of long, short maps. In the latter half of the set most of the maps are very long which can be fatiguing.
  • MAP19: Bingo Pool Hall of Blood does not really fit with the theme of BTSX1 at all. I understand it was a late addition but I really don't know why it's in this WAD. The open cityscape style just does not mesh with BTSX1 from a gameplay or architecture standpoint. I think it would be fine as a secret map but it is extremely out of place in MAP19 slot.
  • I feel like sometimes the encounters are too forgiving in letting players retreat. I mean, often I'd trigger a huge ambush but could fairly easily just run back and safely eliminate many of the demons. I think locking doors behind the player, used sparingly, would have ratcheted up the tension of these encounters. This was used on a few maps, but extremely rarely.
  • It isn't compatible with gameplay mods like Smooth Doom, I think because of the new palette? This isn't a criticism of BTSX1, just a frustration I ran into because I prefer to run everything with Smooth Doom now.

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Thanks for the reply, it's always nice to see something like this. I'm glad you had a good time! :)

Regarding your MAP18 question, several different progressions were tried on it at different points in development. It started as a strictly linear affair. At some point Simon created an experimental version that made the three keys accessible in any order. The optional paths were a change I made at some point after that to reduce the map's length, give it some new places to discover when replaying, and improve the pacing of the episode. (You can exit the map with only the yellow key, skipping the other two.)

MAP19 was added with the specific intent to be an outlier, while still fitting in as a plausible place in BTSX E1's world. It was the final map built for this release, and as the only map built with full hindsight awareness of the rest of E1, it could be considered a response to the attributes E1's other maps ended up having in common. I wanted it in there to further vary the episode's pacing and fill some niches that weren't covered by the rest of the maps.

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grahf said:

It isn't compatible with gameplay mods like Smooth Doom, I think because of the new palette? This isn't a criticism of BTSX1, just a frustration I ran into because I prefer to run everything with Smooth Doom now.


This happens with any gameplay mod which uses a new palette. There's a palette-only wad for btsx e2 which you have to load last, it might also work with e1, I'm not sure. Or there might be an e1 one out there. It wouldn't be too hard to make anyway, just copy paste the relevant entries into a blank wad.

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esselfortium said:

Thanks for the reply, it's always nice to see something like this. I'm glad you had a good time! :)

You're welcome!

Regarding your MAP18 question, several different progressions were tried on it at different points in development. It started as a strictly linear affair. At some point Simon created an experimental version that made the three keys accessible in any order. The optional paths were a change I made at some point after that to reduce the map's length, give it some new places to discover when replaying, and improve the pacing of the episode. (You can exit the map with only the yellow key, skipping the other two.)

Interesting. I really like this idea and I'd like it see it used in Doom more on long maps. Some people want to run-and-gun through a map quickly, so having an optional area just for those interested in more exploration seems ideal. Though of course it is a lot of effort mapping all that extra stuff that not everyone will see... Regardless it is a wonderful map and I was waaaay too curious to exit the level without the yellow key :)

MAP19 was added with the specific intent to be an outlier, while still fitting in as a plausible place in BTSX E1's world. It was the final map built for this release, and as the only map built with full hindsight awareness of the rest of E1, it could be considered a response to the attributes E1's other maps ended up having in common. I wanted it in there to further vary the episode's pacing and fill some niches that weren't covered by the rest of the maps.

I read some of the earlier criticism about BTSX feeling 'samey' and I think they have a point somewhat, but IMO it is alright to be 'samey' if what is similar is really good maps and a well-executed style. So for me a style changeup was not necessary but thanks for explaining why you did it.

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Map 19 worked really well for me since it was an unexpected style change and I just love those kind of city maps. It does a good job of adding variety to the episode. As far as Smooth Doom goes, you can either convert everything in it to .png format which will stop any palette clashing or just roll with it like I did and enjoy the cool purple effects on the monsters.

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Viscra Maelstrom said:

Neither, because i assume all the songs were developed with the Microsoft wavetable in mind.

esselfortium said:

This is correct :)

Just registered to say how much I like your music, Michael. James Paddock's and others who contributed, too. I'm using this sound font for MIDI: http://osdn.jp/projects/sfnet_androidframe/downloads/soundfonts/SGM-V2.01.sf2/

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Hello,

I just registered to say how much I am enjoying this megaWAD.
It's like Half-Life & DOOM level design mixed together.

The textures got sweet contrast and pastel-ish colours.
Also the music tracks are really cool, with varied styles and sounding successfully great on standard set of GM instruments.

Great work all over, thanks for the time you've put into this.

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After lots of work and even more procrastination, BTSX E1 is finally out of its severely overextended beta period!

/idgames downloaf: https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/megawads/btsx_e1

A shortlist of the most substantial updates:
• New MAP31: Optical Hopscotch by Skillsaw! (The Hard Way has been moved to MAP32)
• Explosive new final area added to MAP17: Navigating Flood Regions (also I overhauled its midi to be good instead of bad)
• New final area added to MAP18: Cyclone Utilities (Remember Your Birthday)
• Various gameplay tuning given to many levels, including MAP06: Mix Up The Satellite
• Probably a bunch of other things I'm forgetting at the moment :)




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