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dobu gabu maru

The DWmegawad Club plays: Realm of Chaos

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Veinen said:

Map 19: Port Fury

Love the start and the first few rooms, very fast-paced and action packed. The latter parts I didn't really like that much except for the final building. And yes, I agree that the outdoors area is way too empty for it's own good. Died in the red key hitscanner ambush so I suppose I gotta give props for the design there.


Awesome demos, Veinen! After watching all these, changes I plan to make in Map18 include 2 more Mancs (for starters) in the Manc trap on UV, a 2nd Archie in the "Swastika Nukage Room," teleporting monsters at the cross-shaped nukage fight, and blowing out the big Compspan area to have a new tech room with numerous enemies including, possibly, Archies. The HK on the big pedastal will most likely be replaced with a Revvie, and the HKs in the secret rooms -- which will no longer be secret -- may be replaced by something else.

The main changes in Map19 will be more heavy monsters in the open area, along with some rock or concrete formations for cover. There will be more Chaingunners on the ship, lurking in the crate "containers". Not sure how much I want to change the warehouse fight. Unlike most of you, I like those battles and they usually leave me bleeding because of all the Wolfies and Lost Souls. It's the unpredictability of the Lost Souls that really makes it delightfully annoying for me. ;D

I really appreciate all these demos you guys are doing. Thanks a ton!!!!!

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Hellbound is very very samey, with little to no interesting gameplay moments. The author placed monsters just because Doom maps usually have monsters, not because he had tons of fun situations in his head. I don't recommend it at all. IMO and all that, most people will probably disagree with me, I guess I'm just losing interest in "traditional" Doom wads since I've played too many already.

esselfortium said:

If you guys want to do it, though, we've got version 1.0 pretty close to ready and could prepare a release candidate or something so you can be beta test guinea pigs!

No, prepare E2.

22 - -fast demo - Ugh, more boring somewhat ugly prisons at start. It gets better as you reach the more hellish parts though, but the map relies on hitscanners and imps too much. Not very threatening when you have so much good weaponry around. Huge ammo stock before a pretty simple blue key trap looks particularly hilarious nowadays.

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Memfis said:

Hellbound is very very samey, with little to no interesting gameplay moments. The author placed monsters just because Doom maps usually have monsters, not because he had tons of fun situations in his head.


See this was why I was sort of reluctant to vote on it (and also the fact that the author loves to use lots of Duke 3D midis). Although I'm generally okay with some samey gameplay, it kinda drags on. I do want to know what the more hellish levels would look like though, so I guess this was a valid reason for me to vote for it.

MAP22 Nova Akropola (whatever that is...)

SteveD said:

What did you think this was, a Carnival Cruise? ;D


Bah! A cruise is way worse! Now I'm not one of those people who was stranded on the Triumph, I just don't like boats. I like water though.

And as far as the start goes, I handled it pretty well. Got my berserk, used it and the chaingun to clear away opposition. Hell, this wasn't too bad, way better than that start of Port Fury. My only problem stemmed from enemies rushing in from the big door south. The whole northern area is optional, and has some neat prison touches. The big courtyard area wasn't a hassle, going inside the next big door (sure are a lot of these here as well) and in the blood pit wasn't bad too much either.

Teleporting to the south, my reckless urge to run past everyone rears its ugly head. I went to the left side with the walkway and quickly picked up my yellow key, at the cost of much health due to annoying cacos. Getting the red key was a little better for me, fun chaingunning zombiemen there, and I see the little boy blues are back as well! Two adjacent secret sectors after the key, in this weird hell area lead to a plasma gun, and then I leave. Back in the center eliminating the enemies was fine cause they are all low-tier monsters. That big marble room in the south was, empty mostly, but I got really socked by sniping mancubi and revenants there. This room could use more zazz overall. On the right is more marble, there's an area sort of like The Pit with spectres in the goo and enemies behind windows. They decided to play hit-and-run from me those guys. Rockets got the better of them, and my final key resides behind two locked doors along with a lot of cell and rocket ammo. Oh, and more blue guys when I leave! (and imps too)

Recklessness once again gets me as I open perhaps the final large door. A cyber, a vile, and one chaingunner (who somehow wandered into the area) were here. I wanted to kill everyone quickly so I rushed the vile, then the cyber, and somehow, that didn't turn out bad. Neither did the actual exit. Overall, it's a good/okay map that had mostly light combat, a somewhat rough start, and a few optional areas behind the start. Marble area was kinda cool but probably needs some improvement. Final Time 8:22.

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Tarnsman said:

BTSX E1 is still in Beta


So it is, but I just wanted to use this opportunity to thank you and alfonzo for all the laughs on Map27. Oh my, I was rolling on the floor for real, well, okay, actually I was leaning out of my chair laughing my guts out. ;D

That was really choice commentary, and I knew this was coming because that map is so horrible. No need to list the sins again until its day comes up here in the club, but I wanted to inform you that, yes, it was the second map I ever finished. Machine Gun Etiquette was the third. Of the maps I originally did for RoC, Map23 -- Ancalagon -- which is actually me misspelling the name of a prehistoric mesonychid carnivore, Ankalagon, was probably the last. Map06, Splatterhouse, was intended to be Map01 of another project I started after or even during RoC, and was slapped into RoC 7 months later, in May of 1997, because Ty Halderman said Slava's original Map06 was too much a ripoff of E1M9. I wasn't even finished with the map, but it got shoved in there a day after Rob contacted me. At least it was structurally complete. You can blame Sean Birkel and the influence of Fava Beans for the big difference between Splatterhouse and the earlier maps.

As always, I enjoy your shows. I can truly feel the impact of shitty design as you guys go through these maps and react and talk about them. Map27 -- sheesh -- progression is virtually incomprehensible in that one. And so damned ugly, but ya know, it has to be revised like all the others for Realm of Intensified Chaos. My plan, gut everything up to the Big Stone3 Platformer Room and build an entirely new map around this core of hideousness. And then at the exit, add a crazed area using the special tags. I can't wait, I really can't. It'll be fun. ;D

Anyway, just had to get that off my chest.

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Even though it doesn't sound like my sort of thing Hellbound deserves the next slot IMO. Concerned could be October or an exception could be made and we could do two moderns in a row. It would be a shame if come Cacowards any of the main nominees have been overlooked by the club.

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Map22
The drab prison with its boring layout, textures and lighting is a poor first impression for this map; an impression that is not improved by being followed up with high, distant hitscanners over wide open spaces. Stop doing this, Steve: it encourages slow, cautious (dull) pay.

The hellish areas are an improvement (despite the presence of hitscanners on ledges), with the red room beind my favorite. I unleashed everything at once and then killed them all in a fun brawl.

The section to get the blue key felt like padding, to be honest: it was pretty dull and didn't add much to the level.

End game: I ignored it and went straight to the exit.

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Hurricyclone said:

MAP22 Nova Akropola (whatever that is...)


New Acropolis. I'll have a better explanation when I write the commentary.

Hurricyclone said:

That big marble room in the south was, empty mostly, but I got really socked by sniping mancubi and revenants there. This room could use more zazz overall.


Yes, that area could indeed use more zazz. I left it open so the Mancs and Revvies would have a free-fire zone, but nowadays I keep thinking of structures, including lowering columns with monsters, maybe even a Cyb. I'm still thinking about it. ;)

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Hellbound is a WAD I've been holding off on playing in hopes that the Club would tackle it, so I reckon it gets my vote over Concerned or any of those other alphas/betas. That being said, if BTSX E1 is now essentially ready for its public re-debut, I'd happily play that one, as well, as I quite enjoyed 2 of the 3 maps I sampled from an old beta, and so have high hopes for it in general (and even moreso E2 and E3). Given its odd length, we would need to find a WAD to partner it with like we did with Stardate/Monochrome, but I'm sure we could come up with something without too much trouble in that regard.

Map 21 -- Prison - 99% Kills / 100% Secrets
If nothing else, this is a highly memorable map, apparently...I haven't played RoC in years and years and years, but I remembered this one quite clearly. Despite the mixed reaction it's getting, I think it's one of Berkowitz's better maps--apart from some of the strangely chosen door textures and a bit of suspect Baron usage, it looks okay and has some enjoyable battles.

While some might find the typically Berkowitzian oversized rooms a bit bland to the eye, I reckon it's actually one of his best-looking maps. It sticks to a coherent/consistent texture theme to a much greater degree than most of Berkowitz's other maps (and indeed, more than most of the other RoC maps in general), certainly--grey-green stonework, iron bars, and large quantities of blood, with bits of marble here and there. I can see where some might feel its texture theme is too consistent, but given how schizophrenic most other RoC maps are in this regard, I think it makes for a nice change of pace. Moreover, whereas most of Berkowitz's maps have been rather squarish in shape, this one is much more curved and more noticeably symmetrical in parts, giving it a different feel. It certainly helps to establish a setting, which is then complemented by details like the various tiny cells with hanging corpses (or are they?) in them at odd spots all around the sweeping walls.

While I like the overall effect, it sure as shit isn't anywhere perfect, of course. Most of the lighting in the 'outdoor' areas is flat/fullbright (I myself have always felt that the sky in Hell does not necessarily need to be a particularly strong light source, despite its bright, glowering appearance), and there is something of a verisimilitude faux pas in that while the large western cell in the symmetrical starting area has a view of an 'infinite horizon' beyond its barred window just like all of its counterparts, the rest of the map beyond this area wraps around in that direction, and thus should be visible from the aforesaid window. Of course, given that this is Hell, if we use our imaginations we can get around this--for example, maybe the prison is materializing from the aether just ahead of the marine as he passes through it!--but I somehow suspect this was just an oversight and not an intended feature. Finally, in the later areas many of the iron bars are passthrough. This doesn't negatively impact gameplay since the player can't reach said bars, but does sometimes betoken situations where monsters fall through the bars as they perish, again something of a mild error in verisimilitude, although I reckon there aren't going to be many folks that give a tin shit about something so trivial, in this case.

The main attractions are the two big fights that open and close the map--the big brawl with the teleporting imp squad in the early cell block, and the battle with assorted walking/flying/crawling beasties in and around the circular panopticon tower later on. I quite enjoy both of these--the monster count is a bit more appropriate for the space afforded (whereas most of RoC's other largescale battle setups have tended to have too few monsters in too much space), and both fights encourage the player to be very volant and dynamic, rather than being a curmudgeon and hanging back to plink at the demons from a doorway (although you can still pull this approach off in the first fight if you really set your mind to it). The stuff connecting these two fights isn't as good--I like rocketing cells full of imps, certainly, but that group of Barons down in the blood trench are nothing but a tedious ammo sink, given that an unnecessary blocking line prevents any of them from actually climbing up onto the walkway to pressure the player. About that, ammo balance is actually pretty darn good in this map, with just the right amount of rockets and shells in particular...at least if you aim for maxkills. I failed to hit that goal because one commando survived when the map ended for me, but it was fun trying. Incidentally, again, I personally don't have any problems with the special exit type being used twice in a row.

As I suppose the amount I've written about it suggests, I like this map, despite its flaws--it has some engaging combat and a coherent sense of place, which in tandem are generally enough to entertain me. I did see a small bug, which may have something to do with the compat settings on my leisure configuration, given that nobody else has reported it: in the central cage (with the secret BFG) in the big cellblock, upon teleporting in there I saw a hell knight and an imp both stuck in the floor, with their sprites rendering 'through' it, unable to attack me.

Steve: I'm glad you got some enjoyment from the demos, as that was how I tried to play them--in a somewhat loose, stunt-y way that would give you something to watch besides ordinary roomclearing. The smart way to play is not always the most fun way, or at least that's how I feel. There's some really ugly shit in these last two (for example, my persistently poor performance vs. revenants in map 19), but what the hell, it was fun anyway.

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MAP 22 - NOVA AKROPOLA
by Steve Duff

"Grab the zerk as soon as you can!" was Steve's advice for this one. I don't roll well enough with others to take orders, so I calmly SSG'ed the first twerp I saw and then got the berserk pack in front of me. Because it was my decision to do so this time. I'm a rebel, fuck the police.

What can I say? The opening 'gate to hell' section was probably the most standout and nastiest bit of the entire map; after the initial clearup of what looks to be the last human facility (hope the maps don't prove me wrong on that one) you're greeted with platform imps-and-barons and perched chaingunners. There's some cautious cleanup to be done, and then a time-limited switch-and-jump to get into Akropola itself; via pillars-in-damaging-goo and a teleport.

Akropola is a boring place, where revenants wait up high yelling insults over to the fatty mancubus duo opposite. There are a couple of side areas, one with the yellow and red keys and the other with the corresponding doors; for former red brick, the other green marble.

Red brick area I kinda liked. The initial area has a winding climb up to an explosion of imp and cacodemon activity, and this was fun to shotgun down as I struggled to keep footing. Red key area less so, the blinking darkness meaning that about half of my spent ammo was missing the target.

Green marble area bored me a bit; I was glad to see the back of it when I got the blue key and BFG. And in both areas, Steve really loves those SS soldiers; their distinct and unique blue uniforms gaudy and clashing against the red, but complementing the green. Beyond the blue door is a Cyberdemon (easy, loads of room) and Archvile duo (would've been more interesting, but there is a metric shit-ton of cover). Then a semi-unmarked (because we all know what the sky-floor teleporters mean) exit and I'm glad it's over.

Sorry Steve, worst map of yours yet.

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Well then if Essel says BTSX is okay, I'll vote for that since I just played Hellbound recently.

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I rage quit map22 :P
Only so many times I can be killed by chaingunners who are positioned 2 million light years away
Will try again later.

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If the vote lands on Back to Saturn X episode 1, how about filling some of the other days in the month with something shorter? If I was being cheeky I could suggest the slightly-flawed Sinister Intention (by yours truly) but yeah. I'll be game for either that or Concerned (which is on my 'to do').

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cannonball said:

I rage quit map22 :P
Only so many times I can be killed by chaingunners who are positioned 2 million light years away.


At last! Revenge for E3M3!!!!

Sorry, couldn't resist. ;D

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SteveD said:

At last! Revenge for E3M3!!!!

Sorry, couldn't resist. ;D

I should not have saved at 2% health in the previous room :P

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cannonball said:

I should not have saved at 2% health in the previous room :P


Yes, that can be troublesome. One bullet and you're done.

My advice for Map23, when you see the human barbecue, if you're at 2%, don't save, go back and find some health first. You won't last long otherwise. :P

I haven't played Map22 yet, so I'm guessing you must have saved at 2% before taking yet another one-way teleporter. Sorry about that. I don't do that kind of thing anymore.

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SteveD said:

My advice for Map23, when you see the human barbecue, if you're at 2%, don't save, go back and find some health first. You won't last long otherwise. :P


Two human barbecues, to be precise.

I just played now to write it up; my Tuesdays are busy, usually. I can just swagger in tomorrow and post. :)

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oops, I totally gave up on this wad due to having so much other stuff to do. Looks like you are deciding on next month's wad, I played through hellbound recently and it was a real treat so I wouldn't hesitate to recommend that. Also I am interested in cannonball's new wad so either of those would get my vote.

Shame I couldn't keep up with this one.

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Map 20: Teleporter Central

Short and bloody map. I found this extremely fun to play through even though the amount of health in the map is borderline ridiculous which in turn means the map is very easy. Especially if you take the baphomet route first as that means you'll be armed to the teeth for the rest of the map. The set piece battles were all very enjoyable massacres with the yellows key fight probably being he best of the bunch. It lacked an archvile or four though :p I mean it's not like there isn't enough cover either and they would certainly add some punch to the battle. Watching the entire imp ambush turn into a bloody mess without me taking a single hit was also extremely satisfying. They got their revenge on the next map though... The basis of the cyber fight is really interesting but the massive amounts of health in that area makes the duel seem nothing more like a speed bump. Didn't have a problem with the ending since I'm a pistol starter but I can see why continuous players wouldn't appreciate it too much. FDA, no deaths but includes the highlight moment in my RoC playthrough: getting hit by two Rev rockets simultaneously in the narrow corridor section when failed to back enough to make it even possible to dodge them.

Map 21: The Prison

Meh, not the greatest map but not the worst thing ever either. Visually very monotonous and lacks memorability big time. Very prison-like though so it's definitely exactly what was advertised in the map name. Gameplay is pretty average too although the difficulty here is moderately higher than that of map 20. Central arena was nicely designed though since the imps were able to fire at the player from all directions and rushing for the doors would leave you in a vulnerable position for a second. No thanks for pitch black corridors and I skipped most of the curving walkway due to ammo troubles. The circular courtyard was also okay I suppose and while two special exits in a row is suspect, it didn't really bother me much here either. Here's the FDA for the sake of consistency.

As for next month, Bsck to Saturn X looks very interesting from the little I've seen of it so I'll vote for that if it's an option.

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As there are a lot of picks for BTSX, the mapset currently is at 21 maps (+3 hub maps), then we would need another wad to plug the remaining days. Unless of course BTSX episode 1 has acquired more maps since it's beta release back in December.
If it is still 21 maps we could also play an ultimate doom episode for fill the remaining 9 days.

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Map - 16 The Wolfs Hour.

Nicely detailed, was confused by the non damaging green goo and this did cause me to get lost early on in the level as I did not want to venture into it.
Archvile early on could have been a major problem if I hadn't spotted it immediately.

Maze skirmish was done surprisingly well.

Map - 17 No Escape

No this was one hell of a butt ugly level, however the gameplay very much makes up for it.

Archvile he hell knight bodyguards was very well done, as was the RUN corridor. (Going to be some controversy over this, but I think it was a good effort.)
Spotted some bad textures here and there, and unmarked exits are a no no, but otherwise very good.

Map - 18 Dead Radio.

Detail was quite charming, it had that 'this looks realistic but dosent' vibe that lets face it doom oozes it from every pour.

Gameplay was a bit slow a first chucking imps and former humans out like an Episode 1 convention, but then hots up using well place mancubi, revnants and barons as its powertools.
Would play again.

(I think the narrow elevator platform on damaging floor gimmick is a bit overdone by this point though,)

Anyway sorry I've gotten behind, work life got kinda hellish (and not in a good way.) Family pet has fallen very ill :( and going on holiday for around 5 days tomorrow.
Will try and finish the megawad for you fine fine ladies and gentlemen.

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MAP22 - “Nova Akropola” by Steve Duff
Tried again and seemed to not suffer too much.
The nazis return in drones around two of the keys, the areas always seemed to be either flat corridors or so obnoxiously large it was ridiculous. The sniping zombies was probably the worst thing, plus the demons I felt no reason to kill. There were still some good things, the central area looks kind of neat, I quite liked the cyber and archvile combo but this was quickly dispatched.
Still a better map than many in this set so far.

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Tompig said:

Anyway sorry I've gotten behind, work life got kinda hellish (and not in a good way.) Family pet has fallen very ill :( and going on holiday for around 5 days tomorrow.
Will try and finish the megawad for you fine fine ladies and gentlemen.


Sorry to hear about your family pet, Tom. I really hope it gets well. And enjoy your holiday.

Your comments are much appreciated. :)

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Map 22 -- Nova Akropola - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Taking a bit of inspiration from Berkowitz in this one, Steve? It has a lot of big open spaces with simple, plus-size structures and broadstroke texturing. Also like in Berkowitz's maps, we see a number of imp hordes and projectile-throwing monsters used as turrets here, although the SteveD fondness for hitscanners (including more completely casual use of SS troopers) is also in evidence. Is it fun? Hmm, well, I think it can be, depending on how you play. More on that later.

There's kind of a weird thematic disconnect at play, here, much like in Infestation--the player starts out in some kind of wacky visitor's center, with a reading room, a restroom (what is that one sleazy sergeant doing in there watching all of those imps?), and something that's either a jail or an imp-petting zoo (??). This complex sits next to an abstract teleportation center of some kind, which deposits the player in the titular acropolis, a grand old marble shrine in a large stone yard, with more abstract areas in the key wings. So....it's like a tourist trap? A visitor's center built next to an ancient landmark....in, uh, Hell? Whatever. The juxtaposition of representational and abstract architectural styles is also strange, but memorable. Now, it must be said that a lot of the lighting is, typical for RoC, very bland, and a handful of areas are simply eye-rapingingly ugly (e.g. the plasma rifle secret with curving walls comprised of misaligned bits of static firewall texture), but on the whole I don't find it a visually offensive map by the standards of the time, bearing in mind my relative fondness for oversized areas in old maps. I guess the shrine itself does feel conspicuously empty, though...perhaps some kind of altar or other visual centerpiece inside of it would help to spruce things up.

The large scale of the main areas is one of the defining aspects of how the map plays--unlike in the port from map 19, the opposition is placed in such a way and to such a degree as to actually be relevant this time around. Many have commented on the use of high, distant hitscanners afforded broad fields of fire by the size of the rooms--this is often viewed as cheap, but I don't think this holds water in this case, as the open terrain allows you to utilize Doomguy's unearthly speed to close the distance and/or get out of said fields fairly rapidly. Sure, you can hang back and carefully peck everything to death, but in some cases this is probably more risky than a more aggressive approach (at least on UV), and in most cases is certainly less fun. The acropolis itself, I think, is a good example of the idea that sometimes in Doom a given scenario's funfactor elides as much from the player's temperament and style (and perhaps willingness to temporarily eschew said style) as from the design of the area itself. I certainly wouldn't say it's above reproach, by any means--very few things are!--but it's certainly an area that can be either rather slow and tedious or fairly exhilarating depending on how it's played.

I do like the potential for extreme violence that setpieces in the key wings provide (particularly the red key wing), but one observation I would have is that the map could really use more rockets (perhaps a couple of cases initially found with the launcher itself, something like that). Few weapons are more satisfying to use efficiently against groups of little guys, and having a few more of these babies would further enable a more aggressive playstyle, which I maintain is what works best in this map. This would also help clear up the monster-turreting in some of the areas, which tends to bog things down. The revs and mancs in the titular area seem reasonable to me, but in other parts we see nobles filling this role, with the early Barons in the grey masonry yard being a particular sticking point--their high HP combined with low numbers and basic (but highly damaging) attack make them perhaps the least fun-conducive monster in the Doom bestiary to use in this role, and yet so many mappers past and present seem to actively use them in just this way, for some reason. I feel similarly about the specters down in the blood pit in the marble annex--they don't (and can't) make any real contribution, they're just another timesink.

As with map 21, while there are many significant flaws here, there is also some fun to be had, which is par for the course for most of Steve's maps in this, I guess. On to Ancalagon...

Here is the usual UVMax demo. I rather like how this one turned out, even though the ending battle is a bit on the sloppy side.

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MAP23 Ancalagon

If 19 secrets doesn't convince you that this is a big map I don't know what does. Granted, if other maps had 19 or so secrets they'd be WAY bigger than this though. Area-wise it isn't the biggest map of the set, either Rob's MAP15 or MAP29 is bigger than this. But it seems like this map can compete with those two maps time-wise. I took less time here than in MAP15 though. Heretic considers this to be the biggest map overall, and the time is the biggest of the demopak.

Love the alternating torches presented at the beginning.
http://i.imgur.com/OJ0hKzB.png

I took it quite easy here, using the chaingun mostly, as the enemies consisted of the usual SteveD mantra, many zombies and imps, the occasional hellknight here and there, and another big monster in other places. Wasn't hard. Ammo balance was good too. The level's first half seemed like a switchhunt ordeal as I was going back and forth between areas finding out what opens what. On my way to the first key, I noticed a misaligned elevator. Second key room was probably my favorite encounter, some imps, hellknights, loads of hitscanners with actually good barrel placement in a few areas. It was sort of switchhunt again but not by much. Oh yeah, and also a lot of secret sectors can be triggered here.

Right part of the map: That four-elevator room was quite memorable. If you find secret misaligned doors, there'd be less of a headache going up and down. First elevator led to a hellish area (what are zombiemen doing in the freakin' lava), and the second to a marble place, sorta akin to E4M5 (They Will Repent). Third elevator eventually goes to a big outdoorsy area, reminiscent of Machine Gun Etiquette's outside area, but to me looks less hideous. Best thing is that the lava floor here doesn't hurt. Most of my problems with the level actually were here though, I kill two barons up on that high curved ledge, go up there and find two more barons! Jumping to the hidden passage behind the wall (strangely not a secret), I find cacos, sarges, and chaingunners, one chaingun guy teleports away, I follow him and the fucker riddles me with holes. I eventually leave, go beyond the fourth elevator, do business there, as well as get the final secret sectors (doors were also secret sectors I must add) before finally leaving this place.

Final parts: Please fix the blue gates Steve. I raise a bridge leading to more marbelous glory, in particular a large oval room with demons in a large pit (more crazy heights again). Like before, this sludge is not harmful, and I had fun punching pinkies here. One thing I should note is if you fall without pressing the switch immediately next to you once you enter the room you'll be stuck. That switch raises direct lifts that help get out of the pit. Oh and the area is another freakin' switchhunt, this time with boring bridge raising. Enemies pop up in closets occasionally but they are no biggie (I recall seeing a blind shotgunner in Heretic's demo). The last switch I press opens the exit, but not for long! I had to rush there and get rid of the revenant and chaingunners before it closes! And then I exit. Final Time 15:00.

Overall, this is my favorite of the Steve maps. Good balance of supplies, some switchhunting (not that that's a bad thing), and decent combat. There are a lot of things I wish for Steve to do in the revision. They are:

And put an archvile somewhere plz.

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Jayextee said:

Two human barbecues, to be precise.

I just played now to write it up; my Tuesdays are busy, usually. I can just swagger in tomorrow and post. :)


That puts you 2 maps up on me as of this writing. Right now I'm gonna watch DoTW's demo and try to catch up.

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MAP23 - ANCALAGON
by Steve Duff

This sure is a large map with a lot of backtracking. A. LOT. OF. BACKTRACKING. It's all just kinda numb though, and I don't remember much of it except two things -- the double-human-barbecue section being the standout in the map, looking great with some sneaky hitscanner abuse. There's also a section at the end with the cross-walkway and the eye switches which I broken because I didn't see the switch near the entrance door until after I'd used the one opposite. Not very intuitive, that.

Blue bars should be merged into one sector, didn't like opening them one-at-once.

Not a great map -- have all the best SteveD maps come and gone? :/

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Map23
Not a fan of this. Far too much back and forth, far too much of it along 128-wide corridors full of right-angle turns and not much else.

Lots of set pieces, but with the exception of the double BBQ area, none of it felt very interesting or inspired. There's nothing horrible ... well, maybe the tedious four part bridge thing ... but there's also not a lot that makes you say "cool".

I think a big part of this is lighting: many areas are pretty basic/flat in the lighting stakes, and given how many times you visit them, their drabness stands out.

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After playing through the hell levels in Hellbound, I have to say I'm taking back my vote.

Those levels all felt way too drawn out for me, particularly MAP24. MAP29 felt too, dare I say it, Painkiller-ish. I'm not too impressed overall. Memfis was right about samey combat, although it does get harder in the hell levels. And I'm pretty sure Capellan would hate the length of many of the levels.

So at the moment, I'm undecided as well.

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Map22 (Continuous) – Nova Akropola by Steve Duff – Kills – 100, Items – 97, Secret – 100. Time 35:51. End Health 98, Armor 55. Death Count - Zero

Map22 (Pistol Start) – Nova Akropola by Steve Duff – Kills – 100, Items – 100, Secret – 100. Time 34:48. End Health - 105, Armor - 110. Death Count - 1

It’s that busy time of the month again, when I fall behind a bit. On top of all that, Pollen Narcolepsy got me last night before I could do the pistol start on this map.

The title Nova Akropola, or New Akropolis, is from the classic industrial album by the Slovenian art collective Laibach, a band that had enormous influence on Rammstein, right down to some of their iconography. Indeed, the first time I heard Rammstein, I thought Laibach had gone the industrial metal route. Perhaps the most approachable of their “classic period” songs is Slovenska Zena, from their Rekapitulacija box set; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iHAS9Qx2yQ which is kind of cheery compared to something like Vade Retro, from Nova Akropola itself; http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s4XVh1CCFRo Most people hate this stuff, so it’s not to everyone’s taste.

Kinda like this map. ;D

As I mentioned in the Map21 commentary, the reason this one starts in a prison is that it’s supposed to represent the escape from prison in Map21, and the final descent into Hell, thus, the thematic variation between the two sections of the map. Of course, I did not continue Rob’s rock-themed prison, so there is really no obvious continuity between the maps themselves. ;D

I paid attention to all the commentary in the forum and in alfonzo’s playthrough, but nonetheless, I personally enjoyed the map. ;) It was not a great map, but the problems can be fixed, in some cases easily, in others through the application of major surgery. For example, Capellan didn’t like the high, distant hitscanners because it promotes slow and cautious play, but as DoTW noted, that’s only if you play it slow and cautious. I go kamikaze on the hitscanners, except for those two Chaingunners perched just outside the first door. It’s the Mancs and Revvies I hide from after the one-way teleport, but in that case, to me, it’s part of the tactics of the game, because it’s often the case on my playthroughs that there’s enough Imps and Chaingunners wandering around that you have to keep an eye on them as you rocket and shotgun the Mancs from behind the pillars. The player also has a lot of options in this area if they choose to use them. The Nuclear Option is to go inside the Acropolis, lower the Manc and Revvie lifts, and see what fun you can have. Admittedly, most players won’t realize that opportunity exists because the lifts are obtuse to retain their secret stash value. Short of that, it’s also possible to go inside the Acropolis free-fire zone, leave the Mancs and Revvies on their platforms, and fight them in a complicated Doom Ballet, which I’ve done on several occasions. Wheeee!!!!!!

Looking at the areas, the start, as Jayextee said, is the best part. The sector outside the first door is the same as the one inside, so once you begin shooting, the monsters outside hear you and come to join the party, plus you have hitscanners all around you trying to prevent your final jailbreak. Continuous players need to grab that Zerk immediately, whereas for pistol-starters it’s just a convenient power-up. I was dropped to 37% on one of my playthroughs, so that area is a success to me. And sometimes I get killed, too, depending on luck.

This is a pretty damned ugly area thanks to the lighting, Floor Texture Rule violations, and so on, as many have noted. I attended to that in the usual way, with darkness and the kind of “bitty” lighting Tarnsman and Capellan don’t like, along with some Marbface spamming. These shots were taken in GZDoom with gamma at 1.09. The dark areas are at 128;
http://s1329.photobucket.com/user/steveduff2/media/RoIC/Screenshot_Doom_20130722_042335_zps8fdbd931.png.html?sort=3&o=14

The cell block area, with starker lighting;
http://s1329.photobucket.com/user/steveduff2/media/RoIC/Screenshot_Doom_20130722_042503_zpsfa5c403b.png.html?sort=3&o=16

I decided to try rounding the corners like Essel does, and in one area I also darkened the ceiling. In this one you can’t see the gradient on the dark ceiling, but it’s perceptible on the floor;
http://s1329.photobucket.com/user/steveduff2/media/RoIC/Screenshot_Doom_20130723_105434_zps5a9d7e7a.png.html?sort=3&o=10

When used with the monkeyshit brown ceiling, it looks ghastly because the contrast is too stark at the edge;
http://s1329.photobucket.com/user/steveduff2/media/RoIC/Screenshot_Doom_20130723_105358_zpsfd5f8a02.png.html?sort=3&o=1

Finally, the two styles in one shot;
http://s1329.photobucket.com/user/steveduff2/media/RoIC/Screenshot_Doom_20130723_105547_zps04a4b477.png.html?sort=3&o=0

Decisions, decisions! ;D

The big open courtyard is a bit too easy. When I make big areas nowadays, I break them up with structure, trenches and so on, which causes monsters to take different paths to attack you rather than the straight-ahead Spectre run you see here. The Spectres, and too many of the other monsters in this area, can’t really harm you, so it’s just monsters for the sake of having monsters. These problems can be easily fixed in revision.

Once you get past the big Marbface door, there’s a slime side room with SP-Hot columns apparently lit by witchfire. Tarnsmen liked the columns but wanted to see them in a more interesting area, which gives me an idea for replacing the whole blue key fight.

This map was really designed around an attempt to “shock and awe” the player when they teleport in front of the Acropolis. You have a big nukage pond in front of you, with Mancs on high platforms blasting you, hitscanners, Imps and Pinkies in every direction, so you have to run or die. Back in the day, this area was super-hard for me, and I often got killed among the pillars because my directional control was spazzy and I kept accidentally exposing myself to fire. Nowadays, I might put Arachnotrons or Revvies in that nukage pool to spice things up. I haven’t reached that stage with this map, but count on it happening, and on heavy monsters in the nukage pool on the other side, too.

I still like the gameplay in this area, since there’s Sergeants and Chaingunners converging from several directions. It keeps me turning and taking damage. But for Realm of Intensified Chaos, the violence level will be amped considerably. Also, as DoTW and others have said, the interior of the Acropolis needs immediate attention, and something will be built in there.

I agree with Jayextee, Capellan and others that the yellow key fight in the red room is the best in this map after the start. I cleared it pretty easily on continuous but fell into the nukage on my pistol run. Here again we have more options, and it’s possible to deliberately fight this room from the nukage thanks to the rad suits. This area also has something the map as a whole lacks, which is interconnectedness, because if you want, you can leap into a side corridor and turn this into a different kind of battle, fighting the yellow and red key melees all at once!

The biggest disappointment was the blue key battle, in large part because of the Cyb in the map, which required the huge stockpile of ammo, and especially that horrible BFG. Reading the comments about this megawad, BFG-slapping comes up again and again as the ruination of fun gameplay. Realm of Intensified Chaos will not have a BFG until just before the end. I used the PG for the big Wolfie/Imp trap on both runs. Without the BFG and the cell charge packs, the PG wouldn’t have lasted long, and I’d have had to use the Chaingun, SSG, RL, all of which would likely cause me to take more damage.

Because the commentary about this section has been so universally negative, the revision will simply eliminate it. That will include eliminating the area with Hell Knights on platforms that DoTW noted. He asked why so many of us mappers put those kind of things in maps, and my answer is, inexperienced player + inexperienced mapper = this area was actually difficult for me in those days. Seriously, back then, this map was extreme to me. Fighting the Baron in that narrow passageway, with HK slime flying through the windows, was nasty! ;D And to actually go out there while the Baron was still alive was unthinkable, because then it could sneak up on me while I was trying to dodge the HK and Imp fireballs, which was a shocking artillery barrage for me back then. Obviously, it’s possible to kill the Imps first, run past the HKs, have the whole blue key fight, come back and run past the HKs and Baron, and exit the level. But that’s not how I thought. My approach to playing was, “I see a monster. I must attack it, and I must attack it now. That is the law, no exceptions except lack of ammo.” So that’s how you end up with horrible, sloggy shotgunning of helpless nobles. It’s kinda funny to me nowadays.

My only death came on pistol start when I got too aggressive with the Cyb and both Archies at once. Kamikaze death!

Even so, I did enjoy this map. It was an okay map to me, nothing spectacular, nothing horrible. It had the cool-looking Acropolis area, and yes, Hellmaker’s copy/paste functions were not impressive, so all those pillars were individually made, each sector was individually deleted, and the area was designed to segregate all the sectors and 2-sided lines to avoid the HOMs and Visplane Overflows so common with complicated areas in Vanilla Doom.

The future revision will have what I hope will be a far more involving battle replacing the blue key trap – a completely new area. The courtyard outside the prison complex will be drastically changed and probably shrunk. Expect way more violence at the Acropolis itself. Once again, thanks for all the comments, they really help. :)

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Capellan said:

Map23

Lots of set pieces, but with the exception of the double BBQ area, none of it felt very interesting or inspired. There's nothing horrible ... well, maybe the tedious four part bridge thing ... but there's also not a lot that makes you say "cool".


The question before the voters, Adam, is did I finally manage to kill you at the barbecue park? ;D

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