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HYMN: Final Release, finally!

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Pavera said:

Damn! I just sent you the final version of my map (finally), too! Though, I know I took my sweet time to do so. Though, I noticed that the beta has a really early (first version) of the map loaded which is odd because I definitely submitted an updated version at one point that actually made into an alpha 3 that Xaser posted a while ago. The differences between what I wanted for the final version and that version were pretty minimal, so I kinda backburnered it cause I figured you had that version.

Okay, I will work on submitting a new version.

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Bugs I noticed:

* E1M6 contains numerous two-sided lines facing outward into the void. This kinda screws the nodes up and makes this map perform much less efficiently.
* FLAT508C is a Patch yet it is used as a Flat. While some ports support mixing flats and any other type of texture on any surface, some do not support using a single patch as a discreet texture.

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Beta (v3) Release

-texture pack .WAD and .TXT removed.
-all open sector and overlapping linedef errors removed, with the exception of the harmless overlapping 'errors' in Xaser's level.
-E1M1 updated (sorry Pavera!)

Please double check this and search for anything wrong with it. If no one can find any errors I will make another attempt to upload it to /idgames.

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It's not yet on the Doomworld database as of this writing but your previous upload was already accepted on gamers.org and is in the /newstuff folder.

EDIT: Actually it is on Doomworld now. Must have just updated.

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Hey, I spotted some texture misalignments on my map, they're not very obvious but I'd like to fix them before the WAD gets a final release.

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As it was mentioned in the original thread, just a quick reminder for any HYMN contributors (or anyone else that might be interested in making Heretic maps) that want to submit a map to Blasphemer, please make yourselves known. Either in the IRC channel, #blasphemer on irc.zandronum.com or on the forums.

New maps are ideally preferred. Existing maps may be accepted (providing they're made from scratch and 100% original), although they will likely need to be retextured and modified a bit anyway.

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Beta (v4) Release (seriously! it better be done now!)

What's new?
-finishing touch-ups to E1M6
-levels numerically organized in Slade 3, hur!

Please double check this and search for anything wrong with it. If no one can find any errors I will attempt to update HYMN at /idgames.

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i don't even thinked about multiplayer in my map, feel free to add the necessary slot for it.

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Well well... looks like a new community project happened during my absence. And for Heretic no less. What a nice thing to come back to.

So, now that I've spent my entire morning playing through this:

On the whole, it's quite a good project. Each level has some redeeming quality, usually many, and I enjoyed playing through all of them, whether it was because the gameplay was fun or because the level was simply good to look at.

Unfortunately, it seems I'm a bit late to this party to offer any suggestions for fine-tuning the design and texturing, so I'll cut straight to some potential gameplay/visual problems.

Jumping accessibility: There's a few areas that can be reached by jumping which probably shouldn't be. In most cases, it's not much of a problem. However, right near the beginning of E1M2, the exit can be immediately accessed by jumping from this ledge into the hole in the wall, allowing the player to skip nearly the entire level. Similarly, in E1M4, the exit can be accessed by jumping from this platform directly into the teleporter, allowing the player to skip over half of the final area. I realize the project wasn't designed with jumping as a focus of the gameplay, but you have to realize most people will be playing with a port like ZDoom, and even if you don't build it into the gameplay, you should at least consider preventing situations that jumpers can take huge advantage of.

Clipping Bug: In E1M3, there's an invisible pit to the left of this cage. Here's me falling into it, and here's me at the bottom of it. It's inescapable, even with jumping. I haven't checked to see if it's from bad nodes or incorrectly defined sectors, but there's no complex architecture that shouldn't be easily fixed.

Midtextures Through Floors: Again in E1M3, there are some midtextures descending very deep into solid floors. Here and here are two examples. Similarly so with some of the trees outside. A few pixels usually aren't much of an issue, but these ones going 24/32+ pixels deep just look buggy. Either custom-cut the textures or give the floors in the map a slight height change.

Also on the subject of E1M3, a small border sector with a lowered sky could be used to prevent this texture from jutting up into the sky like the inverse of the midtextures above. And then, while this thing looked nice, it quickly became a pain when I realized I had to run past it after pressing switches on the other side of the cavern to lower those lifts. I ran into it 6 times, missing the lifts every single time because of it, before I finally no-clipped my way onto the ledges.

Inaccessible Items: In E1M9, these items are placed in a small crevice that the player can't step down into. As far as ZDoom is concerned, this makes the items inaccessible, and the player will keep running over and over them but never picking them up.

Exit Switches/Floors Used For Non-Exit Areas: As a general rule of thumb, the deep blue teleports and wall switches are meant to signify an exit. It's been that way for nearly 2 decades in the original game, and almost every custom level has followed suit. Unless you want to trick the player into thinking they're taking an early exit, I'd recommend against using them as decoration or as standard switches throughout a level. E1M5 in particular did this with some exit gates in a secret near the beginning.

Anyway, those are the only big-time issues that jumped out at me during first play-through. I wish I'd been around earlier in the development for more alpha-testing feedback, but since it looks like you're trying to wrap it up, I'll leave it at that.

Nice job. Will probably play again soon.

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My computer crashed and a bunch of other stuff. I've been out of the loop and off the grid for about a month. Apologizes all around. I'll fix my map.

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Egregor said:

Apperently its been updated on /idgames for a few days now. Woops!

Not sure if it's already been reviewed for T/nC or not. It says "Status: Locked, cannot be claimed", but shouldn't be too bad even if they did review the older one.

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Sorry to bump this after so long, but Egregor and Cacowad have discussed updating HYMN with Cacowad's revised version of E1M9. Since this thread was never closed, I felt the need to post the notes I never sent anyone before it was released.

When I quickly looked through my last notes for HYMN Beta4, I saw most of them were minor clean-up issues that didn't affect gameplay. When I started playing through HYMN again, I realized that my Beta4 notes were NEW things I had found and that there were issues from the Alphas that were never addressed which carried through into the final release. There are easy ways to break E1M2 and E1M3. Those, at least, should be fixed. Some of these notes are from the later Alphas.

General notes:

Duplicated textures MIDVINE7 and MIDVINE8 in wad.
Entry for E2M1 still in LANGUAGE lump.

E1M1 - Port Pavera
Good starting level. Very nice. Liked it a lot. Maybe too much swag in the outdoor secret area, unless it's meant for the next levels and not this one.

Sector 279 and 316, right next to sector tag 5, are 64 units high. Ophidians are taller than that, so none of them can leave the switch area and attack you. Peek out and duck back strafing makes for semi-easy kills. Same is true for sector 249, next to the Green Key Door. Sabreclaws can come through the Green Key Door, Ophidians can't. Was that intentional? If not, sectors need to be raised.


E1M2 - Pathetic Reprimand
Sector 171 and 756, the step just east of sector tag 2 - the step is too narrow. The Knights and Golems in the room can't leave the building to attack you. Was that intentional? If not, step needs to made wider.


Sector 379, the connecting passage just east of sector tag 13, the angle of the passage is flat enough so that some deaf Sabreclaws and Gargoyles can see down the passage past the barrier into sector 390, activate, and run down the passage up against the sector tag 13 barrier. It takes a while, but you can kill them with the Gauntlets through the space next to the barrier. Was that intentional? If not, the passage needs to be angled closer to 90 degrees (or more) so nothing can see around the corner.

Iron Lich area - Sludge next to Ice. Ice next to lava? Looks odd. Sludge not tagged as damaging. Ice not tagged as low friction. Is that true across all levels? I think I've seen a sludge "green version of ice" flat that can be used as a transition to regular blue ice. I guess a frozen/ice version of lava would be called "rock".

The fight on the stairs exiting the cavern Blue Key Door freaked me. I wasn't expecting attacks from in front AND behind me IN THE DARK. Used up a lot of ammo on that one.

Green Key Door, sector tag 26, is tagged D1 OpenGreenStayOpen. There is one S1 linedef tag 26 which opens that door, but three W1 linedefs tag 26 which close it. Problem: you can hit a W1 to close the door, go back, hit the S1 to open it, then hit another W1 to close it forever. If you get knocked off the balcony by the Knights or you use the hidden switch to get the secret before you use the obvious switch to raise the stairs to the Yellow Key Door, you're stuck. You can't get back through the Green Key Door to finish the level. Since there is no DR OpenGreenStayOpen, suggest adding a covered switch next to the Green Door. The cover should be D1 OpenGreenStayOpen. The switch under it should be SR OpenDoorStayOpen, tagged 26 to the Green Door. Also change the other S1 OpenDoorStayOpen tag 26 in the monster closet to SR and remove the D1 tag from the Green Door.

The following note was made after playing Alpha2c.
I'm not sure that the addition of the Green Key added anything necessary to the level. It may actually have hurt it. This is only E1M2, after all. What I liked about the level before was the non-linear quality. You could get the Blue Key and the Yellow Key in either order. Didn't matter. Then you needed both keys in the final room to lower the two walls to the exit. Now, you HAVE to get the Green Key in order to get the Blue Key. The fact that they're so close to each other in the same area also bothers me. To be aesthetically consistent, what you'd need would be a third area off of the final room accessed by a Green Key Door with a third switch to lower a third wall to get to the Final Switch. A way to do this would be: The current Green Key would go back to being the Blue Key. The eastern Green Key Door area (while very nicely designed) would be moved and attached to the western Green Key Door area at the player start. The player start Green Key Door would be changed to a non-key door which would be opened somewhere else and would contain the Green Key instead of the Blue Key. The linedef tag 17 teleport in the final Blue Key Door room would be changed to a switch which lowers the third barrier to the Final Switch. You would get to the sector tag 17 balcony with the second switch from a new teleport behind a new Green Key Door. All three keys would be in three separate areas and only be used to access the Final Switch from three separate areas. I guess technically, to be OCD, the Blue Key Door in the Iron Lich cavern should also be non-key and opened by a switch after you get the Blue Key.

I like that I can now get up to the balcony where the Knights are. Nice use of the double-sided switch. You see the backside hidden switch from below at the beginning, but by the time you get up there, you've forgotten about it. Very nice. I also wanted to get to the top of the waterfall where the Disciples are. Maybe that could be a secret or somehow connected to the Green Key.

I like having the switch raise the stairs to the Yellow Key Door, but I wish I could see the stairs rising so I'd know what the switch did. Don't think there's a way to do that without re-designing the stairs and that's not necessary. They look good as is.

E1M3 - Badlands
Teleports in starting room lava do not have teleport glitter.

Outdoors, Sector 130 - Lava sector not tagged to cause damage.

I'm not sure I like that the teleport in the lava in the southern secret room automatically leads to another secret. Because I went through the doorway at an angle and landed in the lava. Maybe only entering the teleport from one direction, say the south, would lead to the secret. Teleport base texture could be different than the others and not METL5.

Sector tag 35 - Need switch at top of lift, so you can escape if you ride it up.

Sector tag 44 - Can get stuck inside lifts. The switch inside the small lift and the walls inside big lift (all linedef tag 44) are tagged as WR LowerLift. Should be SR.

Cavern areas arround the yellow key seem a little dark. I would expect hot, bright lava to increase general light levels, at least for lava sectors. Since wad is ZDoom, could some light levels be transferred to lava?

In the room with the Yellow Key, the closet the Disciples are released from - missing front side lower textures from wall when the lifts drop. Covered by lift, editor won't flag the error. And if you enter their alcove to get the stuff, you're stuck. The linedef switches to lower the columns from inside, linedef tag 51, are facing the wrong way. Also, teleport sectors in lava are tagged to cause damage (You can't actually enter the sectors, just a clean-up issue).

In the far west room - it took a few tries, but I was able to legally strafe-run around that little corner to get to the area with the switch to lower the bars, linedef tag 15, after scoring the Ovum. The small "bump" on the corner was obviously added to prevent that. Tagging all the small "bump's" linedefs as impassable and making it taller might help, but it's also possible to land on top of the stalagmite and strafe-run the corner that way. It made the teleport and the new ice area unnecessary. Also, the original teleport landing spot is still there from before the new area was added. That's just a clean-up.

I like the new ice area, but the Knights in the towers are not very useful. The E one can only hit you (sometimes) before you get to floor level and the W one can't hit you at all because the crenelated wall is in the way. You can pick them both off with the Wand or the Claw from the upper level before you jump down. Even though the frozen water is white ice instead of standard blue ice, it should probably still be tagged as low friction (or not, depending on what's consistent with the rest of the wad). Also, the teleport should probably be tagged as monster-block. I telefragged something when I left the area. Also2, the teleport leaving the area (linedefs tagged 54) does not have teleport glitter.

The yellow and green brick wall which you need to lower - all the yellow brick sectors are tagged D1 OpenYellowStayOpen. If you 'use' the wall instead of switch, either the switch has no effect, or if you've already lowered the wall, the yellow brick wall suddenly appears again and can't be gotten rid of. Same effect as "Lower Floor to Highest Adjacent Floor" to make a monster pop up in front of you. Didn't know that was possible with a D1. Can't finish level. Need to remove tags.

E1M4 - Temple of the Fallen Lords
Like this map a lot. Interesting and fun, but I now officially loathe volcanoes.

Linedef tags 54 show up on the automap as blue teleport linedefs. Kinda obvious. If you tag them as secret, they don't. I actually found the teleport accidentally when I tried to grab some arrows the Knight dropped.

No Iron Lich anymore? Opened map in an editor. Three empty off-map monster closets. I know the big one used to contain the Iron Lich. Were the monsters deleted intentionally or accidentally?

E1M5 - Optifort Prime
Most of the rooms inside the building seem under-decorated. They're very large and very empty. I don't know what they're for. Entire level feels unpolished.

Blue ice not low friction. Seems a consistent choice for all levels.

Sector 89 - Don't know why it's tagged as secret. The switch which opens the door into the area (linedef tag 4) is obvious; not hidden. Also, the sector has an odd shape. Was it meant to have a higher light level and cast shadows? Because the current light level change in the room from 96 to 80 to 64 is not discernable. Shadows like that also need a light source. There are none in the room. And only in the outer room at the far end.

Love that you have to hit the switch 3 times to lower the Blue Key. Took me a long time to figure that out. I ran around forever looking for the two other switches that lower the key all the way.

The Blue Key room has six huge chairs facing the Blue Key. Looks cool, but who are they for? The room is too narrow to be a throne room. Doesn't six huge chairs mean there should be six Maulotaurs in the level? Yikes!

In the east area, the Iron Lich's tornado attack threw me over the wall. A couple of Disciples followed me. Outer walls should probably be higher or tagged as impassable.

So with 5 Tomes available, I powered up the Hellstaff and rained on the Iron Lich and everything else near the Green Key from the surface, standing by the Phoenix Rod. Easy kills.

In the west area, all the Golems come to the bottom of the stairs but can't get off the stairs because the last step is a 24 unit drop and then an immediate rise of 16. Don't think monsters can step 24 units. Easy kills.

In the west area, stood on the gallows, powered up the Phoenix Rod, killed the Maulotaur between the bars. Easy kill.

In the south area, the Weredragons are wider than the maze passages. They can't get out of their alcove. Easy kills.

In the south area, once the Sabreclaws see you, they attack, but the narrow passage means they attack in single file. Easy kills.

If picking up the Green Key automatically opens the green bars and picking up the Yellow Key automatically opens the exit bars, shouldn't picking up the Blue Key automatically open the bars out of the building, negating the need for a switch?

How much testing was done on this level?

E1M6 - Myth Falls
Really like the concept - a lost, abandoned, underground city now inhabited by monsters. Looks good. Kinda D&D. Reminds me a little of Anasazi ruins. Very cool.

Linedef tag 24 is W1 LowerFloorToLowestAdjacentCeiling and is meant to open a monster closet behind you when you leave the front of the platform, presumably when you score the secret. It's tagged to the monster closet door which is supposed to be joined to an off-map sector to make this work. The off-map sector is not joined to the closet door sector, it's joined to the closet itself. The closet door will never open. Need to re-draw off-map sector and join to closet door.

So I finished the area behind the Green Key door - killed everything, flipped the switch, killed everything again. When I finished the level, I looked at the automap and saw I was three kills short of 100%. I finally found them in the Green Key area, in the secret area on top of the central bookcase (sector tag 23). Two Knights and a Golem. Why did they teleport in after I left? I opened the map in an editor. There are 8 linedefs connected to that sector. The only one that teleports there is from off-map and teleported in the two Ophidians I killed. I thought "How the hell did the Knights and Golem get up there and where did they teleport from?" Figured it out. In the off-map monster holding room the linedefs between areas are tagged as impassable, but only before the teleport linedefs. Two of the linedefs between areas after the teleports are not tagged as impassable. So if a monster's teleport spot is occupied, he can't teleport in and moves past his teleport line, say, linedef tag 28. Now he can move into other areas and use linedefs 28, 29 or 23 to teleport. That's how they got up there. Need to fix.

Sector tag 12, the sector that rises so you can make the jump - in the editor I saw that after it rises, it's a lift so you don't have to go all the way around if you miss the jump. The lift doesn't work, I had to go around. No idea why.

E1M9 - Domus
See this thread for my notes on the revised map.


E1M7 - Anachronistic Metropolis
Great level. Dense. Tough. Huge. Vast. But not confusing. A TON of killzones where you get hit from all directions. Always-Keep-Moving. Major strategy was to let monsters see me, then run out the gates to the start and take them from a distance. Why no difficulty balancing? EVERYTHING is tagged Easy-Medium-Hard. Good thing there's lots of ammo and lots of Flasks and Vials.

It was 45 minutes before I opened the first door. But the streets were very quiet by that point.

Weredragons set beyond impassable linedefs? I couldn't pick up any arrows they dropped. Waah! And I sure didn't expect them to hit me from across the map while I was standing on a roof, picking up a Flame Orb.

There were a couple of places where I turned a corner and ran into a huge group of monsters just waiting for me on the street. It didn't seem logical, but also felt like Han Solo in Star Wars, so it was cool.

Best thing? Not One Boss.


E1M8 - Sacrilegium Surrexit
Another great level. Green and Yellow keys can be obtained in either order. You need both to get the Blue Key. I got lost more here than in E1M7. LOTS of Bosses.

Maybe some teleport glitter on the active teleports to differentiate them from the teleport landing spots. Different flats for landing spots too.

I like that some monsters take a long time to get to me so that the second and third time through an area something new is there. Keeps it interesting. Much better than just re-populating a room/area on your way back through it.

I like the moving of the switch (linedef tag 1) that raises the castle walls to a spot that lets you see the walls rising. Looks much better.

I like the new wall drops and monster releases when you grab the Yellow and Green Keys. To be truly consistent, you'd have to do the same with the Blue Key. A shame that's impossible.

South of the southern Blue Key Door is a tree with a Weredragon next to it, down three steps from the main level. It can't climb the steps out. Either the steps are too tall or too narrow.

There are three secrets in the level. VERY hidden. And none of them are in the logical places I thought secrets would go. Places I thought would hold secrets:

1) Sector tag 13, monster teleport landing pit. Kept running by it and wondering if there was something down there. 2) The switch that raises the castle walls. I thought "If this switch and the lower window wall in front of it were also lifts, you could lower them and walk right out to the top of the mountain." Both sectors can be tagged to the same lift switch in the room (tag 17). Add a few lower textures and done. 3) If you run at the second Yellow Key Door and go left over the wall, you land on a ledge. If the path is cleared a little, you could walk around the side of the mountain and maybe find a hidden cave. 4) You can get to the south side of the lava gorge by running at the edge as you go down the stairs on the wall. 5) If you run off at the east end of the lava gorge you land on a ledge. There is enough room behind that wall for something hidden.

For two of the current secrets, the only way to find the switches is to look at the automap. The Phoenix Rod secret area opens with a hidden, non-switch-textured switch. Since it's not a defined switch texture, it's silent and does not physically change. I've always hated non-defined switches used as switches when they don't do anything. I'm never sure if I've triggered it, especially if it's far away from its trigger object. Easy fix is to add a non-visible lower or upper switch texture to the linedef. At least it'll make a sound to indicate its use, even if it doesn't have a visual component.

I like the new area and new exit. D'Sparil fight was interesting. It started out frustrating. When I attacked him (after killing his dragon), I pushed him off the edge into the lava gorge. Then he wouldn't come back up. I saw the teleport down there, so I jumped down after him. THEN he disappeared. Using the teleport moved me into the Blue Key area south of the gorge. By the time I ran around to the northern Blue Key area, where all his teleport spots are, he had walked into the gorge again. Every time I jumped down to attack, he disappeared. Eventually, I figured out the best strategy was to stay down there (after first killing all the Disciples and Gargoyles I could find). D'Sparil would always jump down to get to me. The gorge is long and narrow which cuts down his movement. I was always able to hit him with something from a distance just as he landed, usually the Claw, which would make him disappear. Rinse and repeat. Luckily I filled up on ammo before going through the second Yellow Key Door. Kept to the east end and off the lava and killed the odd Gargoyle or Disciple that showed up. If D'Sparil got too close, I used the teleport and tried again. If using this attack strategy was the author's intent, then it's tactically a really interesting and different way to kill D'Sparil. Oh, third time through the level he walked into the gorge teleport, so I was able to telefrag him. Another unusual way to kill him.

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