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Am doing part 2 of Realm of Chaos livestream right now! Hopefully SteveD will come on down again to provide mapper insight, and all are welcome. Sorry for the last minute change of location, but opportunity struck.

Will do a writeup of part 2 of Realm of Chaos after I finish tonight's livestream!

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Got all caught up last weekend then promptly got busy as hell, ugh. Okay, first two levels I already played and took notes on but didn't do writeups, so they won't be as accurate as if I had just freshly played:

MAP20: Teleporter Central

Short and bloody map, and pretty fun. There's a bunch of teleports at the start, but this belies a simple layout - it's three main sections, split into two parts each, with a key to grab in each one. The battles here are actually pretty well-designed for a 1996 map, with good monster variety and the sweet spot of having enough to chew through without being a slog. Item placement is a bit overstocked though... way too many shells, and I think I found three RLs throughout the map.

The Cyberdemon battle at the end though is lame, and I think there was a huge missed opportunity to have him teleport around. Instead, he walked onto a column and promptly got stuck when it raised. Oh, and then the bizarre ending... why leave me at 12/12 with all my weapons? Just weird. Still, decent map. 3/5

MAP21: Prison

So uh... did we got back to doing the Monochrome Mapping Project? Because that's what this map feels like, with nothing aside from ROCK1 and GRNROCK everywhere with some blood floors and red sky.

First area is somewhat boring... just tons of imps and the odd hell knight, with some toothless demons getting stuck in between the many, many doors. God these doors. So many doors. The dark hallway is actually kinda cool, and the lone revenant here is used well. The entire western section is easily avoidable. Why should I stick around and bother fighting barons in blood?

The tower area is alright, with some nice vertical gameplay. And then we get another dumb "level ends at 11 hit points" ending. Why?? 2/5

MAP22: Nova Arkopolo

This really feels like two maps. Everything pre-teleport is pretty bad. No real theme (textures scheme varies wildly from area to area) and everything is fullbright. There's one room that is just literally a rocket launcher on a pedestal with a switch right next to it that lowers said pedestal. Okay.

After the teleport though, things really kick up. Get a nice large temple, with lots of vivid colors. Red key felt like it was sort of tucked away in a secret area, but that's just me. The blue key has a strange ambush where you get a bunch of rockets, cells, and a BFG... and then you get ambushed by imps and SS. Uh, okay. Obviously the ammo is there for the Cyber/2 AVs at the end, but still feels weird. And then there's a pointless tail at the end with a long hallway and a few chaingunners that kinda undermines the last battle. 3/5

Okay, off to play some more maps.

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MAP23: Ancalagon

Nice IWAD look and feel in this map here, right off the bat with the red brick and tan floor. Easy start, a few hitscanners and some imps, now a hell knight, blow him away and... is that a cacodemon fireball? What the WHERE DID THEY COME FROM!?

Pretty much a theme throughout the map, lots of good ambushes from different directions and opening up new traps throughout the level as the player is forced to move back through old areas. I'm really a fan out the layout for the first half of the map, though the second half drags a bit with too many linear hallways. It plays well, and there's nothing too tough, though a few ambushes can get the blood going (such as the big manc/hell knight swarm late in the map). Most of the fixes this map needs are stuff like all the floor rule violations and texture alignments. There's also a Duffism we saw in MAP18 with a room with a central pillar with switches, and the player needing to raise bridges one at a time to the central tower. Here, the demons in the pit are completely pointless. And then there's that UNMARKED EXIT!!! MINUS ONE POINT FOR GRYFFINDOR 3/5

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Map 28 -- Fortress of Death - 97% Kills / 100% Secrets
Hmm, while there have been a number of playtesting oversights in RoC previously, this map was the first time I personally encountered bugs that actually negatively impacted my enjoyment of the map. The setup of doors, standard lifts, and switch-built lifts just beyond the red door is highly prone to a number of different malfunctions--I broke the map on three separate occasions (using different compatibility settings) before growing weary of this part and simply IDCLIPing through the problem areas. Naturally, this kind of thing tends to sour the mood a bit, independent of any of the map's other aspects.

Which is a shame, as moreso than any other Pestov map, the Fortress of Death at least has some challenge and a bit of meat to its action. Indeed, it appears that Pestov is actually trying to actively kill the player here--there are crowds of monsters in small spaces, underhanded monster placement in general (like that narrow earthen corridor with windows along one side designed to make you catch a hell knight spell in the back from halfway across the map while you try to power through the cacos choking it), a number of deadfall traps, harmful blood that must be navigated with only a very limited supply of radsuits, etc.

More in keeping with Pestov's past maps, this one does feature another obvious IWAD homage: Abandoned Mines, in this case. While I generally don't care for this kind of open pastiche, the map does play very differently from DooM II's map 26, so it's not so bad. Kristian mentioned that this map also reminded him of 'Island of Death' from Memento Mori, and I agree--while it doesn't really play anything like that map, either, its recurring use of small cupolas with barred windows that look out over the water or to other parts of the map are heavily reminiscent of MM 29. Incidentally, and on the downside, one of these views featured some hell nobles that started splashing around down at the base of the cupola, another prime example of using high HP monsters as timesinks. My patience was a bit thin at this point after the map had malfunctioned several times, and so I just ignored these, explaining my 97% kill score. Pestov also departs with that beloved architectural construct that shall now forever bear his name, but while it's violent, it's also a mite stupid--just a crass demo of the infighting mechanic, basically.

Really, it was one of Pestov's better maps, and in terms of difficulty felt more like a legitimate late-game offering than 'Burnt Guts' did. Its mechanical faults certainly hurt the impression it made for me, a bit, though.

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MAP29 The Fountain

Disclaimer: No cyberdemons were killed or even harmed in the playthrough of this level.

As good ol' H_C (that's me) knows, this is a very memorable level. And not just for its slot, but also because of the definite impossibility of getting max kills. There's just too many cybers that open up in the north. And then four cybers in the marble exit area. There's just not enough munitions (or hell, even space) to have me kill them all! So, I focused on killing every monster that wasn't a cyber. On UV there is one cyber that can be killed, just before the key which reveals the rest of the level.

The start is CRACKLEmania. A very weird open area of sorts with CRACKLE textures all over, in a sort of "The Spirit World" fashion, but more open. One windy hallway just to the left when you first enter the open area leads to an archvile, a PG and some ammo for it. That hallway is a bit nauseating cause it's so long. There's another hall in the northwest leading to an unguarded rocket launcher. Berkowitz at least tries to make it hard, but with the openness, there really wasn't much problem for me. Prying the red key from some mancubi I then head into a marble octagon room which serves as our hub in The Fountain. So this area overall is pretty much the same throughout with some big flies around.

Behind the red door is a marble circular area of sorts. There are imps and hellknights, along with some kind of puzzle. It's a four-switch ordeal where I jump to each raising platform, open up the side with the marble face, kill whatever was in it, then press the switch. Rather boring if you ask me. A large open area with FIREBLU opens with revenants in very large cages. Those guys were a pain; I ran for the key, and got smacked by those guided rockets. And their cages were way to big. It would be cooler if there were cybers or spiderdemons in there, as the cages are big enough. Two ammo depots on both sides, apparently in the left depot, there is a go-through wall seeable inside the depot. There's another go through wall where the archvile's depot was, which has teleports to the cages. An okay area overall, not my favorite encounter.

Behind the blue door is one long ass lift. And just when we were done with crazy height variations, they rear their ugly head in the REDROCK hell area that was to come. Imps in windows were kind of a headache to take down. I payed attention to getting rid of the ones on the highest windows first. Then it was liftarama. More nausea as I brought down each lift just to go forwards to the final lift that'll lead me to the next switch (there was a surprise chaingunner somewhere). It raises a bridge leading to a massive staircase with various monsters. Then, two switch presses with two more very slow floor lowerings. Real boring, wish I had popcorn near me, I coulda watched something while the stupid things lowered. There was a revenant and then a spiderdemon on HMP (spider and cyber on UV), not to mention an invulnerability. Also there was an arachnotron firing behind the inactive boss brain, similar to two levels from Icarus. Grabbing the final key opens up the large cyberdemon pen (Fuck it! Imma outta here! :D). Obviously not gonna fight all these tyrants, but I took the time to get one final secret before running back to the hub. Overall, the REDROCK area was the coup de gras here, with extreme height variations, lotsa imps in cubbies, the liftarama that goes past each one, and the massive staircase leading up to the key and lotsa cybers (not forgetting the boss brain that shoots plasma of course).

Leaving the level involved a bout with a pain elemental then a teleporter, leading to the final marble area with some interesting exit linedefs, and four cybers outside! Again, not gonna bother, just gonna exit! It's definitely impossible to kill them all with no goodies, the tight space, and having some exit linedefs closeby. Final Time 6:49.

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MAP28: Pestov decides that he’s had enough of playing nice and plops us down into a fierce pistol start, putting three chaingunners in our face before we can even say “hello”. Even after that doomguy is flanked by barons to the left and revenants to the right, and picking up the SSG angers some big red abominations. I died a lot trying to get through here as I was playing very fast and loose instead of patiently, throwing caution to the wind in hopes of that the RNG gods would smile upon me.

Honestly, I think this is my favorite map of the whole megawad. It has really frantic, tough gameplay with lots of revenant use and good health placement. The damaging floor really makes traversing the central hub tricky and the teleport ambush in the RL blood pit is my absolute favorite encounter thus far... it's a blast to work through as your rockets are the best weapon to use but the arena is so small that you need to first corral the enemies, which is difficult due to the perched hitscanners and ever diminishing timer on the radsuit. Brilliant stuff. Map looks great too, with a host of smaller details and nice texture use throughout.

Of course it’s far from perfect, as the big slaughter arena is reduced to nothing more than a joke, both in enemy placement and munitions, and a handful of enemies are placed quite poorly (like the two lost souls caged behind you at the start—why?). Some encounters felt cheap too, like teleporting into a spectre's mouth when you go to get the yellow key and the imps down in the darkness being able to claw you before you even jump down. But overall the map left a significantly good impression on me in my book, and along with “Splatterhouse” and “Above & Below”, this is another map I think that easily stands the test of time. Shame about that slaughter arena however.

MAP29: Berkowitz is as determined as the rest of the team to make a hard map, and throws us deep into the sinister abyss. Like with Pestov’s last map, this one is toughest from pistol start, essentially requiring you to rile up dozens of demons in the search for some better arms. Personally the map falls apart after the dark outset, as it slows down in pace with various switch hunts and a very long, boring journey through the large red room. There’s no real final challenge either as you can dart into the nearby exit, and the number of cybers Berkowitz expects you to fight is just laughable. In the end it feels like a map with some good ideas that eventually goes sour as the author experiments around with it.

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http://www.twitch.tv/dopelives/c/2651669 = part 2 Realm of Chaos on-demand.

Once again SteveD managed to join me for some more Realm of Chaos hijinks. I clear out maps 15-24 in this playthrough, including both secret levels. Thanks to SteveD and Kristian I'm now aware what a "Pestov Platform" is!

I'm still enjoying Realm of Chaos. While there are some "ho-hum" levels in this megawad still (e.g. The Wolf's Hour), each level continues to be its own entity, and most of it is interesting enough to sustain my interest in playing onwards. That being said, there does finally seem to be a consistent theme transition from MAP21 onwards so far, with Hell being the general theme instead of a mish-mash of whatever the heck you want in each level. Difficulty remains not very challenging, aside from a few hairy traps; perhaps a pistol start run of each map would have produced more challenging encounters, but on some maps even that would have made little difference, since some maps seem to be over-generous with health and ammo drops. Instant traps still seem to be the order of the day here, and although I'm getting used to them now they still manage to irk me on occasion.

I'm looking forward to the finale of Realm of Chaos for next time, to say the least!

Brief analysis per level: (from what I can remember)

Infestation: Found the secret level here thanks to pointers from SteveD and Kristian. Nice big rooms, loved the pyramid finale.
The Mansion: Nice brief mansion level. Easy to acquire super secret level, although missed if you rush the exit door. Teleporter trap in middle of house irksome, dealt with fine despite.
Nowhere To Hide: Having the monsters all come out at once might have made this more challenging, otherwise simple enough level.
The Wolf's Hour: Oddly cluttered start, yawn level otherwise.
No Escape: An alright level I suppose, liked the Cyberdemon window stalker. And that you could go out and deal with him!
Dead Radio: This wouldn't have looked out of place in the Monochrome Mapping Project, reminded me of Jaws In Space! An alright level, but perhaps the weakest of SteveD's efforts.
Port Fury: Explosive start! SteveD sandwich! (back to back SteveD levels) Nice big outdoor 'ship' area despite lacking monsters. The return of the 'Wolfies', a beloved SteveD monster type....because they have machine guns.
Teleporter Central: Like the name suggests, it's all about teleports. The ending reminded me of Duke Nukem E1M2, most unexpected 'death' exit.
The Prison: Beginning of the Hellscape theme transition. Reminded me of Dropoff. Didn't so much like the 4 door parts due to awkward backpedalling when Baron shoved in one's face. Nicely done level otherwise, despite the second 'death' ending in a row.
Nova Akropola: SteveD sandwich part 2! Glad for the berseker pack at the start of this one given the last level's 'death' exit. Nicely decorated level, with some tricky moments contained within. One big area felt kind of wasted though, nothing happening within it.
Ancalagon: Another nicely decorated level, with yet more tricky traps within-ish. Odd use of secrets here, reminded me of Fava Beans!
Burnt Guts: Liked the symmetrical reveal, otherwise a kind of "meh" level for me.

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MAP24: Burnt Guts

Looks-wise, I actually like this map (apart from the use of FIREBLU later on, that texture is horrendous). The outside area has a lot of character and the sort of look that stands out. Unfortunately, the combat is pretty ho-hum. Upon stepping outside and hearing the sound of lifts moving and Barons screaming I was thinking I was in for a good ambush, but no, they just appear in the towers above posing little threat. Mow down some hitscanner riff-raff, a few revvies and mancs, and you're done. The chaingunner behind the yellow door almost seemed insulting, especially after the slow, far-away monster ambush on the key. Not bad, but probably would've been better in the first 10 maps due to short length. 3/5

MAP25: Castle of the Hellknights

Another strangely short map, one that doesn't really feel like a castle and thankfully isn't a 1monster wad of Hell Knights. Though they do make up a fair amount of the monsters here, which is nice, as it beats Castle of the Revenants or Castle of the Chaingunners or Castle of the Pain Elementals.

So, tough start with little room to manuever (and a fake Icon of Sin that probably freaks people out) followed by lots of tiny corridors with monsters in them. Despite the low monster count (55) there's even the requisite colored door hub, though the doors pretty much only open up into one room or closets. I do feel like giving it another point just because I really liked how the Icon of Sin's jaw opened up and we got to fight inside of it's guts, but the map is just so ho-hum with too much skinny corridors... 2/5

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MAP29 - THE FOUNTAIN
by Rob Berkowitz

Oh if I'd have known that the pitch-black egress of the previous level was foreshadowing (pun not intended) for the first part of this one. After a handful of genuine attempts to tackle the first area, I'm not too proud to admit that I used IDBEHOLDL until the marble hub area because NO, STOP IT. An archvile with no cover in an area that opens up a cache of monsters elsewhere in seriously low light levels? If I could headbutt Berkowitz for that one, I would.

The rest of the level isn't as bad, thankfully. There are two main areas, a green marble one which is okay-at-best and a red stone one, which I thought was pretty awesome.

Green marble is a slow starter, with raising platform action as you gain supplies to tackle the map. After the fourth one, an area lowers with large cages containing a fingerful of revenants which did nothing to slow my grabbing of the blue key then exit.

Red stone area ostensibly starts as a shooting gallery of imps, the back of which is an Icon face grinning stupidly at a ziggurat gauntlet of E1 enemies, the peak of which is a Mastermind... and then a Cyberdemon; with enough BFG and invulnerability sphere to deal with both. Awesome. And then, they yellow key is grabbed and all holy hell roars at me opposite the Icon's face in the form of maybe a dozen CyberBastards from whom I flee with aplomb. I make it to the exit, and a few more are rising at me from the windows. Scary, but not dangerous.

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Map28 (Continuous) – Fortress of Death by Slava Pestov – Kills – 97, Items – 100, Secret – 100. Time 28:40. End Health 145, Armor 0. Death Count - 4

Map28 (Pistol Start) – Fortress of Death by Slava Pestov – Kills – 97, Items – 100, Secret – 100. Time 24:28. End Health - 96, Armor - 48. Death Count - 8

I’ll agree with Kristian and say I wanted to like this one more than I did. It’s nice-looking in most parts and it’s difficult, at least on pistol start, but IMO, much of the difficulty is because of ammo-starving the player. I found most of the fights to be static and dull, lacking the flow found in Map26 if you decided to jump down “Below.” Also, Slava relied on squinchy spaces and weird angles to add danger to objectives you had to accomplish, making much of the action a simple PITA for me.

The map was trivially easy on continuous play, as is almost every map in the megawad. Because the ammo/monster balance is so tight, all you need is a little excess to just romp right through this thing. The ammo setup in the map is also very weird, where you end up with a shitload of rockets when almost all the fights are in your face and what you really need is more shells and bullets, and an early Zerk would’ve been nice for the surpassingly jagoffy yellow key trap. This trap was nothing more than easy slaughter on continuous play, but was a SteveD-killer on pistol start! ;D I always ran out of both bullets and shells with 1 or 2 Spectres left, and I had no chainsaw or Zerk! Me not happy!!!!

The start was surprisingly easy for me on both run-throughs. I was really worried about it on pistol start, but it proved simple to kill a Chaingunner or 2, since 1 was always wasted by infighting, and then race for the SSG and kill the Cacos. The hard part on pistol start was the Revvies. I wasted a lot of ammo on them that haunted me later, and I did get killed once by a homing rocket.

The rising-floor puzzle for the first HK was tooth-grindingly tedious, but at least I didn’t break it on either run, and it offered a nice view of the water and outer yellow-key area.

Going through the red door was one of the toughest events on pistol-start. My health was low and I think I died 2 or 3 times before I finally killed that Revvie, and after that I got killed again by the dropping-floor trap – you know I gotta love that! – when I foolishly tried to force the Imps like I did on continuous, but I didn’t have enough health to take any hits, so on the next try I backpedaled and chaingunned all the zombieboys before taking on the Imps. This was maybe my favorite part in the whole map as it was good old-fashioned tough Doom play.

Much of the map after this is a blur of squinchy areas I didn’t like in Slava’s Sensational Switch-Hunt. Maybe the worst part of all this was the “mines”-type area with low ceilings, rock walls, wooden beams to get stuck on, and a switch you had to hit again and again to clear an obstruction before you can leave. Ugh! My only “real” death on continuous came when I misjudged a fight against the Revvie in Sector 98, which leads into that mines area.

The teleport trap in the blood pool was not bad, and the sudden darkening of the area was cool, though we should remember that this is an outside area which, apparently, suffered a sudden eclipse of the sun. ;D

It was a jagoff move to put the switch that opens access to the final Pestov Plartform on the wrong side of the teleporter on a damaging floor. I ran right past it on continuous and had to open the map in DB2 to figure it out.

The rest of my continuous deaths occurred in the slaughter arena because I got distracted watching the brawl and one Cyb or another always got enough free time to rocket me. Only when Barons and PEs wandered through to attack me, forcing me to fight, did I wake up and survive. ;D On pistol start, most of my deaths were associated with the red and yellow key battles and, in the case of the yellow key, their aftermath.

So in the end, this map has a lot to recommend it. It looks good, and it’s reasonably difficult on pistol start. OTOH, Slava, as usual, is maybe a bit too clever with the gimmicky stuff that tends to annoy some players, me in this case, and rather than flowing design and combat, we get constrained design and straight-ahead combat. I guess I still like his Tricks ‘n Traps homage the best.

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Map29
Dreadful.



Edit: sadly, the WAD? playthrough seems to lack the end of map28 and all of map29. I bet that was some quality ranting.

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Map 29 -- The Fountain - 90% Kills / 100% Secrets
An unusual choice for map 29, this. I'm surprised I didn't really recall it from my past playthrough of RoC, as its strangeness certainly left an impression on me this time. Hurricyclone already described the challenges of this one's various areas in detail; there's not a lot more to say about them, because most of the setups in this map are of a gimmicky sort where there's really only one way to handle them. This is a bit of a downside, for sure, but I think this is one of those maps that's not really about the action per se.

What this map does have is atmosphere. In construction it is very identifiably Berkowitzian, with vast, tall rooms painted in 1 texture and often no more than 1-2 flats. Other aspects of its execution are handled in such a way that the overall picture strikes a very different chord, however....for one, it is very dark throughout much of its expanse, which drastically changes the instinctive impact of greatly oversized spaces like Berkowitz tends to use. Additionally, whereas a lot of Rob's past maps have been formed largely out of rectangles or other standard shapes, The Fountain is characterized more by strange, irregular shapes, and where orthogonality and symmetry do show up, it is in some very quirky applications, e. g. the northern red masonry area.

These vast, dark, strangely shaped spaces, coupled with a general lack of any kind of significant monster density, afford the whole a distant, surreal, lonely feel, in contrast to the mood of grandiose infernal oppression that many other map 29s tend to shoot for. This is perhaps best encapsulated by the room from which the map takes its name--a small, understated blood fountain in the center of a spacious marble vault, empty except for the numerous tortured human shells hung from the ceiling. Nothing ever really happens here; it's just a simple hubspoke, a quiet, forgotten corner of Hell.

There are many aspects of the thing that are, as Capellan says, dreadful--mostly pertaining to gameplay setpieces. Still, I'd be lying if I said I didn't rather enjoy the map's strange atmosphere in spite of these.

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MAP28 - “Fortress of Death” by Slava Pestov
Ah this map, will give a huge variety of different emotions, from rage to joy, facepalming to hilarity. This map has it all.
I didn't have too many issues with ammo, the start is interesting as it will kill you the first two times, once you know where everything is, you can use the awkward start point to your advantage.
Radsuits are used sparingly which I think is a good thing in this case.
There are a lot of cramped spaces which don't make for good gameplay. And that lift past the red key can game over you if you don't pay attention.
The blue key fight was hilarious, one fist pump and watch all the bestiary slaughter themselves :P
I rather enjoyed this map overall, some for the right and wrong reasons.

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Capellan said:

Map29
Dreadful.

Edit: sadly, the WAD? playthrough seems to lack the end of map28 and all of map29. I bet that was some quality ranting.


I noticed that, too. Did they decide to skip to Map30, or did the footage get munched somehow?

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Demon of the Well said:

Map 27 -- Venom - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
First off, the customary (and final) UVMax Demo. It's silly and scrappy (including at least one Good-at-Doom moment), but then, so is 'Venom.'


Thank you for another enjoyable and informative demo. And indeed, I am greatly cheered to know that the red key Spectre trap nearly got you, because when I saw your first demo, I realized I had no chance whatever of killing you in any of these maps. That you were nearly dusted by one of the first traps I ever designed leaves me positively gleeful! ;D

The playfulness of your demos is once again in evidence as you engage in risky behavior to get one monster to kill another for you. For example, the Caco that kills a pesky Sergeant in the red fleshy area, and better yet, the dance on the ziggurat where you drew the homing rocket of a recently-deceased Revvie onto a luckless Imp. Choice stuff! I get a chuckle out of things like that.

Of course, watching a player of your caliber just gets the design machine in my head thinking of ways to kill you without being completely unfair and making the maps unplayable -- at least on UV -- for players of my skill level. There may be no way out of this except to trust the comments of better players than me in calculating how UV should be designed. I would then pump up HMP to what I would now consider UV, and HNTR would be more like HMP.

The RoC maps all show evidence of being designed by mappers who are not also top-flight players, because RoC reached a plateau of difficulty and stayed there, and it hit that plateau early. To me, Map09 was my hardest map in RoC, and also my favorite among my maps. What I would like to do in Realm of Intensified Chaos is make maps whose UV setting makes players like me cry, yet still want to continue, and which will, at least occasionally, dust a player like yourself, but failing that, at least keep you turning and in a state of some distress as to whether you will make it through.

I'll let you know when I'm done, I hope by this winter. I can at least hope that everyone who provided demos for these maps will have a pass through the new versions, because all of you are better players than me and I want to see if I can at least discomfort you a bit. ;D

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Oh my fucking god, I managed to delete my two-map review yet again so here's a quick summary.

Map 28: Fortress of Death

A decent-to-good map. Central area looks really good and the combat in that area is very enjoyable as well. Teleport battle in the bloodpit is particularly cool. The start is way too obviously ripped from The Abandoned Mines and it is tough for pistol starters but that's just good. Tunnel parts suck hard although that one HK that can fire at your back is indeed a good one. Slaughterfest arena is good for comic relief but not for much else. Another small gripe is that the switch that opens up the said area is fairly hard to spot. But yeah, Slavas final contribution is a solid map overall with decent challenge. Demo.

Map 29: The Fountain

A big yet way too sparsely populated which makes this map simply too easy for a map number 29. Another one of those maps that changes in texture theme from room to room with no logic too. The hub area is pretty, otherwise not very memorable visually. Has no tough spots combat-wise and nothing very memorable in that department either. Ends with a slew of Cybers but no ones going to even try to fight with them anyway so not much to comment about them. Does have some atmospheric elements like DotW mentioned and the composition of the map is sort of a calm before the storm -scenario but it doesn't hold enough appeal to be a very good experience overall. A disappointment for sure. Nevertheless, here's the token demo.


Map 30: Apocalypse

Well, technically it isn't the 30th just yet but I'll do this now anyway. Maybe I'll even give some incentive for the speedrunners in this thread... ;)

I like it. I'm not really much of a fan of the traditional Icon of Sin maps with elevator and all so the design here was a pleasant surprise. Basically this map is just a gigantic cube with a four-faced Icon of Sin in the middle that spews hellspawn at a respectable rate IF you give him the chance. The objective for the player is to press three skull switches at different ends of the map to open the entrance to a tower with a view straight to the Icons exposed brain.

There's pretty much two rather different ways to complete this map. One style is to be silent all the way through the map in which case it becomes a cakewalk to complete since the Icons vomit a monster only once in a while and the monsters themselves wake up only when they see you. If, however, the player opts to do some shooting, all the baddies wake up and the Icons start spawning monsters much quicker. It's still not that hard if you're not interested in maxkills but it's something at least.

But like I said, I enjoyed this map quite much and especially when doing this speedrun-style. It's super simplistic in layout and in gameplay but very appealing in some strange way. I did some speedrunning in this map for my entertainment and ended up with some decent times. Both an UV-Maxdemo and an UV-Speed-demo are included in this zipfile. Maxdemo is 2:38 and the speed-demo is 1:50,40. Maxdemo is just a first exit under Heretics time and could be improved by a few seconds here and there and the speed one is what it is. Too bad I couldn't get it under 1:50 but I really like this demo because of that elevator ride with the Mancubus so this will do just fine :p

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Tarnsman said:

Oh Alfonzo never posted part C


He posted it. But it starts on map30, while part b ends 3/4 of the way through map28.


Map30
I've seen worse IoS maps, play-wise, but few that are uglier.

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Okay, I'll bite:

MAP30 - APOCOLYPSE (sic)
by Rob Berkowitz

Large open area, a few switches on the outsides; usual lift and pedestal (actually more like a balcony) from which to pop rockets into Icon of Sin's brain. If you don't fire a single shot until the rockets are needed, this can actually be sinfully-easy. Voodoo Dolls signify the end, as there's an ad hoc credits roll on the walls of the balcony. Nothing more to say. Realm of Chaos is over, and I kinda liked some of it. Not bad for its age, but I'm not sure I'd play it again.

What's next?

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http://youtu.be/v-8QahJHV7U = promo video for my final livestream of Realm of Chaos.

Thursday 1st August. 7pm BST/GMT. The finale to the varied awesomeness that has been the Realm of Chaos! Will I see something special for the ending? Will I be foiled by another cunning trap? And will SteveD make yet one more appearance to provide yet more mapping insights (please please please please please!) for the playthrough?

All that and more to be answered in a couple of days. Writeup will be on here soon after the livestream. (and definitely not as late as my Monochrome Mapping Project writeup....still gotta do that final level!)

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Suitepee said:

Thursday 1st August. 7pm BST/GMT. The finale to the varied awesomeness that has been the Realm of Chaos! Will I see something special for the ending? Will I be foiled by another cunning trap? And will SteveD make yet one more appearance to provide yet more mapping insights (please please please please please!) for the playthrough?


I will bend every effort to be there, Suitepee! It has been a blast both times, and with luck, Kristian will join us again as well.

This last session was another education for me, since we were able to discuss the impact of mouselook on these old maps, and how I'll need to keep mouselook players in mind for the future. Mouselook made a mockery of The Human BBQ Room in Map23, so one thing's for certain, I'll specify that mouselook is cheating in the text file for Realm of Intensified Chaos. ;D That, plus I'll make things even harder to compensate. ;)

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Jayextee said:

What's next?


I think BTSX E1 won the vote. But does essel need to make a new wad available for that?

SteveD said:

mouselook is cheating


Unless a wad's text file specifically states that it was designed with mouselook in mind, then I consider mouselook to be cheating. (a mild form of cheating, but cheating nonetheless)

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All right, time to wrap things up.

Map 29 -- The Fountain
The club members who commented on this before me have pretty much got this one's number. It's a hellish cavern/temple; oversized and boring to play. However most of it is visually ... if not appealing then striking. That red marble area falls into the almost unforgettable category, and I wish Rob had done something more with it instead of a lift orgy snooze-o-rama and an unbelievaby silly Cyber "trap" (not much of a trap when you hand someone an invuln beforehand) with practically unkillable monsters -- I left all but one Cyberdemon behind, even though it's theoretically possible to kill one, or perhaps a few, more with luck and determination. The map's not really worth it, though. The ascension up to the MM/Cyber fight was probably the best fight here, the rest wasn't much fun. To be fair, there're no bullshit setups, no retarded crusher traps, no map 14 marble rooms, et cetera, so it would be ridiculous of me to complain too much! ;-) What's the point of the megasphere secret? --2/5

Map 30 -- Apocolypse (sic)
By the time this was released there had already been far more interesting variations made on the baphomet scenario. However, this does a fair job at making things exciting; even though it is very plain and a bit by-the-numbers this symmetric arena houses four boss shooters which makes for a hectic experience if you hang about for too long. There's a lot of health and ammo to go by, but you won't need it -- you can rush through the whole thing pacifist style and then win by firing any weapon into the exposed brain (so no hunting for the RL is needed) -- the least efficient is the SSG but it is possible. This end map was about what I would expect if I told your average mapper in 1996 "hey you, make a baphomet map for this megaWAD we're putting together!", and, consequently, about what I was expecting from the WAD before I played it for the first time. --2/5

Overall Impressions
I calculated my average grade to be 2.9375, and that seems just about right. "Realm of Chaos" is, for me, an unquestionaby average megaWAD from days long gone, and looking at it without nostalgia glasses on, I find some good or very good maps, some complete duds, and a veeery large in-between section. I wasn't expecting anything else, mind you. :-)

I appreciate having the opportunity to play through this one, as it has been on my to-play-list for almost a decade. My five favourite maps were map 6, map 11, map 12, map 15, and map 23, with map 12 being the standout. But many maps were enjoyable in most respects! If there is one thing I miss it is challenge ... I could always follow Memfis' example and go through it again with -fast. :-)

Thanks to the other club members for sharing their thoughts, opinions, and, in Steve's case, fun trivia and historical anecdotes about the maps and mappers!

I have been quiet about choice of next month's WAD(s) and the reason for that is simple: I'm out for August. Sorry. :-)

EDIT:

SteveD said:
I will bend every effort to be there, Suitepee! It has been a blast both times, and with luck, Kristian will join us again as well.

I aim to be there for at least part of the duration!

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I wouldn't worry too much about making life difficult specifically for folks using mouselook in your RoC revisions, Steve...if for no other reason that, in the process, you'll probably have to make things even rougher for non-mouselookers, to the point where some kinds of scenarios will probably stop feeling like legitimate challenges and start feeling like fighting-against-the-engine bullshit. When just playing maps (especially modern ones) casually these days, I normally use mouselook myself, and let me tell you, if a player is really inclined to utilize it to its full practical potential, there's not a whole lot a mapper can do to prevent them from cheesing through situations with it (and this includes even those maps that are designed with it in mind, or indeed, situations in several of the more technically complex engines that followed idtech1). Personally, I was baptized in the fires of Doom back before there were any ports that supported mouselook available, and so am able to play comfortably without it (as you've seen), but even when I have it turned on I don't like that slow, cautious, safety-first, kill-everything-with-precision-chaingun-tapping-from-17-miles-away playstyle that it so readily fosters (but did not create, mind). But, there are many to whom that kind of playstyle seems so natural and logical that trying to preclude its efficacy by design (or even just asking them nicely not to use it) is probably more trouble than it's worth.

Still, I know that player death fills you with glee, so you'll no doubt do as you see fit. One thing, though....if I ever catch you trying to use infinite-tallness as a tactical feature of combat or map traversal, or worse, as a metamechanism at the root of a trap, I will swallow your soul (or maybe just bitch and moan at you a bunch). That's one feature of the engine that drove me nuts back when Doom was new, and it still does to this day, hence I only ever put up with it these days in the interest of demo functionality.

Oh, and I would be glad to give RoIC a try when you have a presentable beta, or the like. ;)

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MAP30 Apocolypse (Ummm...)

Like Veinen, I never was one for IoS maps. Another marbley level much like MAP26, but it's too open and actually too easy. Firing a weapon at any giving moment awakes several boss shooters, not just one, which can explain why they they'd be spawning more monsters. I didn't even bother killing those barons in the pits there, they're just a freakin' hassle to kill. I'm pretty sure the pits they're in are inescapable as well. So I took this on the semi-pacifist way, as Kristian Ronge noted, and as Heretic's demo demonstrates. Went up an elevator, opened a door, pressed a switch, repeat two times. All the while avoiding enemies that spawn in. Then run to the shack at ground level, enter (what's with the voodoo dolls...) take the elevator, then blast the big fucker's brains till they spawn numerous explosions and then I win. Interestingly enough, this can be done without a rocket launcher, I used a BFG. It was over quite soon. At least there was a new graphic with credits of authors names on it (I found your name Steve!) Final Time 1:45 (with 0% kills!) Final Overall Time 3:02:45

Will post final thoughts on the megawad soon either tomorrow or the next day.

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Demon of the Well said:

Still, I know that player death fills you with glee, so you'll no doubt do as you see fit. One thing, though....if I ever catch you trying to use infinite-tallness as a tactical feature of combat or map traversal, or worse, as a metamechanism at the root of a trap, I will swallow your soul (or maybe just bitch and moan at you a bunch). That's one feature of the engine that drove me nuts back when Doom was new, and it still does to this day, hence I only ever put up with it these days in the interest of demo functionality.


Player death is indeed important to me. It's important to me as a player as well as a mapper. For example, I got killed 20 times playtesting E2M5 of cannonball's Concerned. This degree of brutality occurred because he said I took the hardest route -- unknowingly -- where I ended up fighting a Cyb and SpiderQueen with a slingshot and 5 rocks. This was just one of many atrocities I suffered in that map, and while it was horrific on playthrough, it ended up being my favorite map. I want to bring that kind of fun to people in my maps as well. I just pistol-started E1M6 of my upcoming Fava Beansy E1 replacement, and got killed at least 15 times because I played a different way and ended-up in some nasty, spirit-killing situations. I think I'll make that "mistake" a norm. ;D

I guess I just figure that if a player is never placed in a situation where they A) get dusted, or B) worry that they're about to get dusted, then the map will never quite sing.

I think I'll take your advice about mouselookers. Some combination of sudden monster-flood teleport traps and ammo-rationing should suffice to give them the sweats. I was thinking about that when myk was with us for Double Impact, and I watched his demos with their extreme corner-abuse, and I was thinking, sooner or later he has to go out in the open, and then you slam him with a 30-monster teleport trap from every direction. So much for corner abuse! ;D Of course the trap would be survivable if played well, but at the very least, it should generate that "Holy fucking shit!" moment that makes Doom worth playing after all these years. ;)

So every time I watch a demo from a different player with a different style, I think about how to defeat that style without being unfair. If I succeed, I bring out the best in the player and they have fun.

As for the infinitely tall monsters, to be honest I never even think about them, because in Risen3D, that's turned off. Some of the problems you encountered in Map23's red key area were unintentional even at the time, I just wanted some Imps in reserve to harass the player when they were on the lower level, or if they fell into the moat. It was never very effective combat-wise, so I'll just remove that, since for UV-Maxers it's a pain to go and clean out all the Imps on a damaging floor. In any case, I'll keep an eye out for such things, since I don't want my soul to be devoured. ;D

And I'd be honored to have you play RoIC. I'd even beg for the privilege. :)

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MAP30: Darkness. Weapons. A slow rise to a bloody horizon. Four monster spawners. Oh Shit.

After designing a handful of IoS maps myself, I know how much damn trouble four spawners can be for a player, especially one that doesn’t know what s/he is doing. Unfortunately, three minutes and switches later, you take a comfortable ride on a fleshy lift all the way to a gorgeous view of the quadratic creature’s brain, which you can freely pump rockets into until an ominous scream fills the sky. I’m happy that we don’t have a standard switch -> lift -> shoot -> repeat map but this was a major pushover compared to any finale so far. Only saving grace was the custom texture of the authors’ names on the wall beside the balcony—really cool and honestly fitting part.

Overall: It certainly is an oldschool megawad. I think it holds up reasonably well for the time it was made, but there are a lot of hit & miss maps contained within this set. Personally Berkowitz and Duff seemed to produce a lot of entertaining but single note maps that felt very similar in the end (not to each other, but to the rest of their maps), while Pestov grew as the mapset went on (I barely remember anything from Chan). And, as unlikely as it is, we have another Hot’n’cold Hansen winner, coming from Rob Berkowitz! who gave me the map with my all-around favorite gameplay (MAP26) along with the saddest, most pointless map of the set (MAP32). MAP06, MAP25 and MAP28 also remain among my favorite, with MAP04 being one of the most offensive things I’ve played in the club to date. Everything else was decent but ultimately unmemorable. It might be fun to revisit this again some day, but with an almost limitless number of releases still left to explore, it’s not likely to occur. Took me 5.5 hours to get through.

-

As soon as essel links me the updated BtSX E1, I'll throw up the link come August. And since there hasn't been a lot of say otherwise, Favillesco will be the episode we play after we're done.

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Capellan said:

I think BTSX E1 won the vote. But does essel need to make a new wad available for that?

the team has been scrambling to put together a new, pretty-much-final RC for the past few days, no worries!

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So I've played about 20 maps of the set. HMP, pistol start, no saves. Very little to say that doesn't look like a gripefest. Still, some differing thoughts and some possibly useful feedback. No real order here...

Map 27: "Hey, SSG at last. I have 46/50 shells so I'll come back for it later."
"Backpack. OK I'll snag it and return to that SSG."
(return path is locked) "Damn it."

Guess I'm the only one whose playstyle could end up in such a situation.
Some panic inducing and devious traps present so points for that. I found the map plain but unobtrusive to gameplay.

Map 31: Permastuck

Map 6: I kept dying until I found a secret chamber with some armor. Like the traps and find it neat that this uses no teleporting monster traps. The SSG trap is quite devious and unexpected.

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Map29 (Continuous) – The Fountain by Rob Berkowitz – Kills – 89, Items – 100, Secret – 100. Time 37:52. End Health 200, Armor 200. Death Count – Zero

Based on my memories and the early comments, I decided a continuous playthrough of this one would be good enough. This proved to be a wise decision. Not that I hate the map, but it is dark and sloggy and kinda weird.

This is another super-abstract map from Rob, who always tried to make each map completely different from his last. As others have said, the rooms are too large, filled with lots of fireball monsters who need good luck to hit you at all. One of the weirdest moments is when you find a roomful of Mancs with their backs turned to you, and since they’re all deaf, you can potshot them to death. No great excitement there.

The Hell Knight room in front of the Revvie cage room had a tedious lift puzzle, but this was nothing compared to The Red Slow-Lift Building. What a slog that was. As I was going through it, I said to myself, “Isn’t there a sneaky Chaingunner in here somewhere?” Half a second later, he was raking my back. ;D

The long stair climb to the yellow key was an easy Chaingun Spray of Death against minor league hellspawn until I switched to rockets for the nobles. There follows one of the most silly Cyb/MM battles ever. I guess the tension was related to whether the Invuln would last long enough for you to safely blast the winner. It didn’t, but I safely blasted the MM anyway. As for the Arachnotron in the Baphomet, it never opened fire on me. I do recall getting blown off the top by the Cyb during playtesting back in the day and having to run like crazy to teleport out of the lava. Nothing that exciting happened this time. And after all that, I took the exit. This would be somewhat more interesting on pistol start, given that the PG is guarded by an Archvile, but not by much. IMO, Rob’s most disappointing map in the set.

Map30 (Continuous) – Apocalypse by Rob Berkowitz – Kills – 112, Items – 0, Secret – 100. Time 3:06. End Health - 48, Armor - 48. Death Count - Zero

I hate IoS maps, and there’s no real difference between pistol start and continuous play, so I went straight in from Map29. It turned into a more exciting play than expected thanks to Risen3D’s ultra-aggressive auto-aim, which almost killed me after two “Good at Doom!” moments dragged my rockets into the floor because they were seeking monsters below. I then fell right off the shooting platform and monsters started pouring in through the door. Holy shit, this wasn’t supposed to happen! ;D After hand-to-hand combat with a Revvie and some plasma-splattering from an Arachnotron, I was down to 48% health before I was able to turn off auto-aim and go back up, where 3 rockets put an end to the Boss Brain. I thought the 4-sided Baphomet was a cool idea, but couldn’t help noticing that Rob misaligned the horn on the right-hand side. ;D We can also see that Hellmaker indeed had copy/paste, because the mistake is consistent on each face.

I can’t say that I liked this map, but I did appreciate seeing everyone’s name written in blood on the wall, albeit chagrined by Beau Mullis being up there despite having done zero work on RoC.

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