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valkiriforce

In The Island Of Scarlet Echoes

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I figured I might as well post this as I've been rather uninspired from Doom lately. Something I started at the beginning of October and have been slowly progressing on is an episode replacement for Doom II. I've been in debate about making it either 6, 9, 11 or 13 levels. I guess it largely depends on how I want this to come about in terms of progression and size.

The idea of this episode came after completing an action/adventure game in late September of last year. It inspired me to work on something that draws on a few different sources. For one thing the idea of Artifact.WAD interests me in that it was like one gigantic level connected over three levels. Super Metroid also comes to mind as a game where the entire adventure takes place in a singular location; which calls for backtracking and investigating inaccessible areas seen earlier in the game. The last of which was Jet Force Gemini in which the environments felt very open and alive (i.e. nothing contains the player's movement with exception for never-ending areas like the ocean). It was also something I wanted to consider as me bettering my own habitual mapping process. I'd like to emphasize that these levels are very open, free-roaming maps that feel like the world itself.

The entire episode is set to be the island itself. There are lots of inter-connected areas, places that are not required to explore in order to complete the level, and much more obvious goals as to completing the level (even going as far as to having an interactive security camera showing a locked door being opened).

The difficulty level I'd like to imagine being somewhat of a slaughter-type, but of a much lighter caliber. The tougher Doom monsters would be used more sparingly and the weaker ones being used to a greater length (sort of a "less is more" mentality). As you progress, however, the scale may begin to tip just a little bit; but I promise not to go full-on "BFG-thousands-of-Barons-and-Revenants" on ya.

If this ever gets completed, I'd like to make two separate releases: the first being the vanilla episode itself, and the other being all maps put together in the form of a giant limit-removing map of the island (possibly with some additional features). So far there are only three maps completed, I've been thinking about whether I will work on this myself or possibly work with someone willing to participate.

Again, I started this with the mindset of trying to better myself in my mapping abilities. I know how often my maps have been puzzling, sometimes claustrophobic, and a little under-detailed. But I'd like for this effort to overcome those obstacles. I would still like the levels to be puzzling in a way, but in a much more playful fashion that doesn't leave the player wandering the map endlessly (think Tenements). The only claustrophobic area I have so far is a vent system, but come on, it's a vent system; and not a particularly long one.

Anyway, screenshots (and some of you have already seen them in the "Post your Doom picture!" thread):















Another thing I would like to aim for with these maps is sort of a "moody" atmosphere. No excitable rock/metal tracks or anything, just the blissful nature of the island; which in my eyes (or ears) is a bittersweet contradiction considering the awful inhabitants of the island.

I'm very interested to hear your thoughts/advice and whatnot; as I'm unsure what to do with this project of mine at this point. Even the three levels I've completed I feel are incomplete. I'd like to look through and further detail some areas, maybe alter the encounters and change around the ammunition placement a little bit. I admit my not being inspired lately is also due to not really being in the mood for Doom lately. Of course I wouldn't try to map when I don't have the means to play Doom, but I am curious to hear what you have to say about this; as I usually like to save my projects for when they are almost complete, then post them on here. I may just have to play the original IWADs again as they tend to remind me why I got into Doom in the first place.

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The idea of this episode came after completing an action/adventure game in late September of last year. It inspired me to work on something that draws on a few different sources. For one thing the idea of Artifact.WAD interests me in that it was like one gigantic level connected over three levels. Super Metroid also comes to mind as a game where the entire adventure takes place in a singular location; which calls for backtracking and investigating inaccessible areas seen earlier in the game. The last of which was Jet Force Gemini in which the environments felt very open and alive (i.e. nothing contains the player's movement with exception for never-ending areas like the ocean). It was also something I wanted to consider as me bettering my own habitual mapping process. I'd like to emphasize that these levels are very open, free-roaming maps that feel like the world itself.


This sounds great. I loved Artifact and I love levels like you're describing (when they're done to my less discerning tastes).

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The idea sounds nice, the areas on screenshots don't look very interesting gameplay-wise (a square room, a corridor, a crate maze, some flat area...) but of course it's impossible to judge how they play at this point. It's hard to say much without playing the maps really. And only you can deal with your mapper's block, I doubt you will get any helpful advice. I can only recommend some midis that I think would be suitable for a project like this. Check out the music from Anigav wads (ninadbrv, pppp, 64lemons).

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Well, it's hard to say much that's particularly constructive with things in such an early stage, but the idea you've laid out sounds like something I'd certainly be interested in (particularly the possible limit-removing all-in-one version), as I enjoy very large and/or very open maps, and I'm quite alright with some puzzle play--even fairly intense puzzle play--from time to time, precisely because it's generally only an occasional thing in the realm of WADmaking.

One (purely speculative) surmise that does occur to me is about your proposed "slaughter except not exactly" combat style....if I'm interpreting your comments correctly, it seems that you'd like to use a rather high monster count/body density, but that the great majority of those bodies would be smallfry like imps and the like? If this is so, I reckon you might be well-served in A) setting up at least a few of the fights to prominently feature more powerful monsters (in the name of variety), and, perhaps more importantly, B) pace things out so that marquee fights only trigger as the player makes significant progress towards completing the map, to preclude a situation where someone has essentially killed most of the meaningful opposition on the island and then spends hours wandering about in relative silence trying to figure out how to exit.

Other than that, well....I know that your preferred sources of inspiration tend to be the IWADs and team-based megaWADs of the 90s, but there are a handful of more relatively recent releases based on broadly similar principles to what you've described that might be worth a look--Lainos' "Object 34/Sonar" which is a good exercise in location-based quasi-nonlinearity, the original "Phocas Island" for obvious reasons, and the nigh game-length puzzle/exploration extravaganza that is "Junko" (and to a lesser extent, its smaller, much buggier predecessor, "Crapi"). There are others still, but these are the ones that first came to mind while I was reading your pitch. I certainly wouldn't suggest that you actively try to emulate any of these in particular, but, if you're lacking in a little inspiration/direction, I feel they make interesting examples of different ways in which other authors have tackled the challenge of creating a big, largely open adventure within the context of core Doom gameplay.

Whatever you do, and however you do it, best of luck, as the general premise does sound intriguing.

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"Slaughter" is probably too strong a word. I wouldn't say there are hordes and hordes of imps and zombiemen afoot; just that it takes advantage of the fact that as weak and easy as they are to encounter single-handedly, a group of them could pose a threat under the right circumstances (without spamming said enemies). I guess it's something easier played than said.

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This sounds very intriguing and ambitious. As a fan of your previous work I look forward to this. Are you going to reuse the maps within the episode? That could be the easiest way to create a sense of continuity and place; inaccessible areas (but visible) areas in one map become the main areas in the next map. the screenshots look good; I don't see a need for more detail in them.

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This sounds exactly like the kind of mapping I love. For inspiration you might check out Phocas Island 2 (of course) and gravity.wad, which always feels like a strange open world to me.

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