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Dragonsbrethren

Fatsmack!

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Fatsmack! is a vanilla Doom 2 map with Romero-inspired visuals. Named because of the hilarity that happens when you put mancubi behind revenants.

It's been working on this off and on for about a week now and figured it was ready for some testing. I probably went overboard with the health and armor, since the first versions didn't have enough, but I'd definitely like some others' opinions before I upload this to the archive. The map is only set up for single player on UV right now.




Fatsmack! Test 1

Fatsmack! Test 2

Edit: It's in the MAP02 slot.

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Hey, I meant to record an FDA but I typoed on the commandline, oops. First attempt I died to the demon swarm, it's not often that demons alone get anyone but there were enough of them there. Second attempt I beat it, missed out on a lot of secrets and some items but it still wasn't too hard. Third playthrough I went trying to max it but still couldn't find 4 secrets. From a quick peek in DB it looks like they weren't too important in terms of bonuses.

I do think there is too much health overall, on my second play I missed the early soulsphere guarded by the Baron (I didn't see the steps connected, somehow), got hit by Hell Knights embarrassingly often, and shot a rocket point-blank into a wall in the last area and still came out more than fine. That many mistakes and I should have been sweating at least a bit.

The big thing question I have in terms of balance is that BFG secret, without it the map would be quite hard (especially if you don't get the plasma rifle secret, which was IMO harder to find) but with it everything is pretty easy from that point forward. It was a fairly obvious find so maybe it's OK to assume people will get it, otherwise maybe put the another plasma rifle somewhere near the end and move that megasphere.

I liked the flow of the level, the general non-linearity and abundance of secrets were cool. Yellow key door was an interesting choice, the first time I hit the exit switch I felt like I had missed a lot of the map since I didn't have a second key. Looks and feels pretty Romero-esque, I feel like if it weren't an homage it would look too thematically scattered, but that was how it was done in doom2 so OK!

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Thanks for the really detailed feedback! Sucks about the FDA, but I think you described everything well enough that it doesn't matter.

The demons are surprisingly effective. In my initial concept, two alcoves behind where the imps are in that area would open when you grabbed the key and let out two arachnotrons. I'm so glad I never got around to doing that, because those demons have nearly killed me every time I play the map. (For a bad decision that did make it in briefly, grabbing the key also released an arch-vile into the first outdoor area. Quickly dropped that idea when there was a wall of revenants on your return that you had to whittle down with no room to maneuver.)

It's funny you mention the BFG being easier to find than the plasma gun: I figured the opposite would be true, and actually moved the BFG from being where the plasma gun is now to the outdoor area. I wanted something to put out there - it was originally an invunerability sphere, I figured the player could grab it, kill the spiders, teleport to the blue key, and fight the demons with invunerability. In practice, it ran out too quick, so I changed things to how they are now. Now I'm reconsidering that change. I actually thought most players wouldn't find the BFG secret since they'd run into the alcove, hit the switch, think it was what lowered the platforms rather than a walkover trigger, and never try hitting it again. Guess I was wrong. :)

Originally you got the plasma gun where the second rocket launcher is now. Well, that's not entirely true, the area where it is now is where I originally planned on putting it. When I actually got around to designing the eastern path through the map, it came out significantly larger than I had expected, with a lot more monsters than the western half. Not only that, the cacodemons saw you a lot earlier, so I needed to arm you with something powerful right away. The plasma gun was a logical choice since I typically don't like to give the same weapon twice, but after I designed the area that now houses the BFG I changed my mind and decided to include a second rocket launcher. Based on your feedback, I'm considering changing that back now.

I definitely think I went overboard on the health in this version, I had significantly less in previous versions, and always found myself needing more in testing. Armor too, when I was grabbing screenshots I think I actually skipped two green armors, so I'm really providing too many now. I don't grab secrets while playtesting (though that soulsphere with the baron isn't really a secret unless you take the western route at the start, never backtrack, and miss the sound of the wall opening in all of the commotion), so I was probably working with a little less health. I'll dial it back a bit for the next version, hopefully strike a nice balance.

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The thing about the BFG is that since you can see it, you know that you can get it somehow. Throw in some repeatable switches with out-of-view door sounds and it becomes pretty obvious IMO. It did take a bit to actually work out how to get the BFG, but it was a pretty clear goal to work towards.

Contrast with the plasma rifle area, where I first thought "yellow key door, will head this way later when I get the key" and didn't bother searching around there for secrets or anything at all. Actually I forget if the PR was even there or not, I just know I missed a bunch of secrets/areas around there on my first win, partly because I was expecting to have to backtrack there.

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Yeah, the plasma gun's behind the yellow door, plus there's a secret teleporter that will take you there, and telefrag the baron in the process, without needing the key. The little room with the imps right at the start is supposed to tip you off, you can see the lift in there, and if you look at the automap it perfectly aligns with one of the two little alcoves without torches in the first outdoor area. Maybe I'll throw a broken stone texture on that wall to make it clearer for players who don't use the automap for things like that (I don't myself, actually), or move the yellow key forward/up so that you can also see it from the start.

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...OK, I didn't even realize there was a yellow key until you said that just now. I just assumed it was a fake-out and the only way to get there was the teleporter.

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This was a really sweet vanilla map. Well worth a play.

Couple of minor things:

-Perhaps went from too easy to pretty hard without much in the way of a transition. (Also the ammo situation early on was, like... lots of ammo, and then, it just kind of gradually diminished for later when I really needed it.)
-I managed to find the plasma gun, but apparently without triggering any secrets. I was a little disappointed, as I figured I must have triggered 2 or 3 to get it. (I didn't find the yellow key, just somehow found my way in without it.)

But otherwise, really good level. I liked the texturing and the general layout.

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Strange, I may have forgotten to set the door to the teleporter as a secret, but I was certain I did the lift into the area with the revenants. This is why I usually do a playthrough with the annoying secret revealed sound enabled in PrBoom-plus, but I forgot to turn it on this time.

Ammo is another thing I was concerned with, what were you running out of and where? I know I ran out of shells a couple times, but I added a bunch of pickups to the demon closets since then. Plasma might not be balanced good anymore, I haven't really tested that much. I'm really thinking about just putting plasma back where the second rocket launcher is now, and changing the rocket boxes on that side into cell pickups.

Where do you think the difficulty ramps up? Just the end arena? I might make that section a bit easier, it's borderline for me without secrets right now, but if others like it the way it is I figure I'll just balanced HMP around my preference instead of UV. That arena was actually the last non-secret area I added, the map was originally going to end after the hell knights (who were barons at the time), but I thought it was a pretty weak finish for a stand-alone map. Once you release the mancubi/achie, you can flee back into the TEK area and take potshots from the window, might be a bit easier that way.

Thanks for the feedback. :)

Edit: Looks like I had that backwards about the secrets. I forgot to tag the lift, but did tag the door to the teleporter. Problem is, you can't actually get that secret right now, I'll have to fix that.

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Here, have an FDA.

Hey, neat map. I didn't find it to be particularly difficult, but there was enough action and some fairly clever ambush scenarios to keep things moving. I think you have a natural knack for working with a lot of tight little knots of overlapping corridors/lifts--I generally like more open space and large scale myself, but I found this consistently engaging. It's the sort of map where the network of secrets and unfolding realization of interconnectedness in the installation becomes a main draw, and the somewhat idiosyncratic way said secrets are handled emphasizes this. By 'idiosyncratic' I'm referring to the way early on I found a lot of areas that seemed like they'd be tagged secret in most maps but didn't actually register as such, until it eventually dawned on me that a lot of the real secrets would be hidden within these 'preliminary' secrets. On the flipside, a couple of the secret tags seemed rather paltry to me--for example, the little hatch that lets you look in on the big demon ambush (thereby informing you of its presence, and thus making it considerably less dangerous when it actually springs) is cool and all, but tagging that tiny little sector as an official secret seems a bit much.

As for my two cents on weapon placement, frankly I think that the way you've positioned heavy weapons (BFG, plasma rifle, rocket launcher) in the current version sounds preferable to the old/alternate placement you've described that you also considered. The BFG is very handy but in no way even remotely necessary to stand a good chance of survival--I best used it on the demon trap, but lacking it I feel I could have also dealt with it using the SSG/berserk fist. There might be a little more call for the plasma rifle vs the arch-vile/other monsters in a closet near the blue key, but again, I feel that SSG/rockets would be sufficient to handle the matter, at least for someone that has opted to play on UV. Oh, and that arch-vile you mentioned that you took out....I think you should put him back in, at least on UV. ;)

Can't say about health, I hardly needed any of it, but of course I found several of the secrets, which skews things. Ditto armor. I can say that there probably are a few too many cells, secret or not...in fact, it occurs to me that something you might consider is swapping some of the non-secret cell pickups for more shells or even a few rockets (although I felt the map's rocket balance was perfectly fine), which might even out the difficulty a bit between a run that finds no secrets and one that finds several.


Tell you the truth, the one thing I think you should change above all is the WAD's name, haha. I'm sure folks will like it whatever you call it, though.

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I think when you press something it looks more convincing if that something moves a bit. For example, switches play a little animation when activated. So maybe it would be a good idea to make the red torch lower when you press it to open the blue armor secret (so it would look like you activate a mechanism of sorts).

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Memfis, I agree, but in that area I wanted the fire flicker effect to by synced across all the torches, and raising the torches would mean making it into at least three sectors, which would all flicker randomly. So unfortunately I can't lower the torch unless I gave up on the lighting effect there. I'll try it anyway, though, might look cool with desynced flicker.

Demon of the Well, thanks for the demo! This was really fun to watch, and I noticed some issues that I completely overlooked while playing myself. I think I need to get rid of that raise by lowest texture action and do the rising platforms with raise to highest, make everything there one time use. I never used that line type before, I wanted to, but it's just inconvenient as a WR type. I don't think I ever tried lowering them when they were already at their lowest, either, dat EXITDOOR.

With the lift to the yellow key made more obvious, I don't think I'm going to change any weapon placement. I'm happy with the BFG's little area, and there's nothing else to really put in the plasma gun's place. Plasma's nice, but like you say it's not really needed for the map. I'll consider bringing that arch-vile back, he might work better if I release him on the side with the hitscanners and imps, fighting the revs was just annoying without plasma.

Also watching that, it's even more clear that there's way too much health. Somehow I don't really take notice to all the medikits when I'm the one playing. I can probably swap some for stimpacks and just remove others. Also, that soul sphere in the arch-vile room isn't supposed to be there, I thought I deleted that before I uploaded but I guess I forgot to.

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I just gave it a play; didn't think to record a demo, although I beat it pretty easily without dying, despite only collecting 22% secrets (Plasma rifle without the yellow key, one blue armor + invis, and the one that gives away the Pinkie trap... after I had already gone through that trap).

Anyways, I'd agree that there's a hilarious amount of health and armor in that final arena that is totally unneeded (I didn't grab the Soulsphere until all that was left was the very last Arachno). I did not find the BFG secret, but the map is really easy without it. The big Pinkie trap only managed to take about 20 health off of me; I figured that the blue key had to be trapped as hell (I've been playing Alien Vendetta recently, so I'm more surprised when I grab a key and there's not some huge trap, heh), so I had my Plasma Rifle out, ready to go.

I don't know that I agree with DotW that the Arch-Vile should be re-added, but something should probably be done to make the outside area exciting again after grabbing the blue key.

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Dragonsbrethren said:

Strange, I may have forgotten to set the door to the teleporter as a secret, but I was certain I did the lift into the area with the revenants. This is why I usually do a playthrough with the annoying secret revealed sound enabled in PrBoom-plus, but I forgot to turn it on this time.


Yeah, I didn't check thoroughly what I did, I just noticed that at the end of the level I had 0/9 secrets found. THought I would mention it.

Ammo is another thing I was concerned with, what were you running out of and where? I know I ran out of shells a couple times, but I added a bunch of pickups to the demon closets since then. Plasma might not be balanced good anymore, I haven't really tested that much. I'm really thinking about just putting plasma back where the second rocket launcher is now, and changing the rocket boxes on that side into cell pickups.


Too many rockets early on, too few later on when I really needed them. (For the area north of the blue key and the final open area with the revenants in each corner prior to the exit.)

Where do you think the difficulty ramps up? Just the end arena? I might make that section a bit easier, it's borderline for me without secrets right now, but if others like it the way it is I figure I'll just balanced HMP around my preference instead of UV. That arena was actually the last non-secret area I added, the map was originally going to end after the hell knights (who were barons at the time), but I thought it was a pretty weak finish for a stand-alone map. Once you release the mancubi/achie, you can flee back into the TEK area and take potshots from the window, might be a bit easier that way.


Same places I was running our of rockets. The two archs that appear on the level were hard to deal with bcause I only had chaingun and shotty ammo, and even these I had to conserve. If you can't kill the arch quickly, he can just rezz indefinitely and wear out your ammo supplies.

Thanks for the feedback. :)

Edit: Looks like I had that backwards about the secrets. I forgot to tag the lift, but did tag the door to the teleporter. Problem is, you can't actually get that secret right now, I'll have to fix that. [/B]


Feel free to make more levels. This one was really good.

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Here's a new version based on the feedback you guys offered:

Fatsmack! Test 2

  • Less health, less armor, a little more ammo. There are probably too many rockets now; I thought the amount was about right in the last version.
  • Added some more detail to the map and fixed some little oversights.
  • Sound blocking on the lift from the eastern half of the map outdoors. This stops the monsters above from being alerted when the demons activate it via walkover trigger.
  • Made the lift trigger in the room beyond the yellow door block monsters again, so the spectres aren't released if you go into the secret with the revenants.
  • The soulsphere in the hollow wall behind the barrel before the blue key is now a light amp. Honestly this probably isn't the best change since it'll probably run out on you in the middle of fighting the demons, but I'm not sure what else to do with that secret.
  • The megasphere after getting the BFG is also a light amp, the hidden light amp is now a soulsphere, and there's a berserk pack in the other alcove, allowing you to get 200% health.
  • I put a second arachnoturret outside to keep the first one from getting lonely.
  • The arch-vile after the blue key is back too. I really need feedback on this, as I've said I'm not a fan, but I like the idea of refilling that area with monsters. I might replace it with simple monster closets, though.
  • Changed the door to the blue key area to open fast. While I personally prefer big doors to be slow for aesthetic reasons, this prevents monsters from being able to open it without a block monster flag. This lets them chase you inside the base when you return later.
  • There was a bug with the ceiling in the room with the hell knights, where it'd raise when you crossed the rising bridge in the outdoor area, a remnant of some old behavior. It's gone now.
  • The raising/lowering/opening sectors in the final area are all one time use now.
  • There's a non-secret plasma gun in the arena now.

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Played the new version.

One thing that didn't change, but bothered me much more this time than in the first iteration is the rocket-to-shell balance in the early parts of the level. The single biggest threat in the level isn't the hellspawn. It's blowing myself up on my own damn rockets. The early parts of this level have a glut of rockets but basically no shells, which isn't exactly convenient or fun for fighting in such close quarters and with so many tight right angled narrow corridors. Why not add replace one of those RLs with an SSG, and add more shells?

The new Vile... urgh. It's just another chokepoint to plow through. Also, the new Arachno is kinda ineffective (you can blast him through the window while still in the narrow hall and take both of them down one at a time anyways).

I still don't really know why there's a BFG in this level, but I can't figure out how to get to it anyways, so maybe it doesn't matter.

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I'm agree about the archie, I'm probably just going to release some more zombies and imps there so there's a semblance of action in that area on the return trip. I might be able to tweak the spider placement a bit to make it more of a threat, I noticed its shots clip the wall sometimes.

I can put more shells in the beginning, I guess I never considered it since I do okay with the rocket launcher and chaingun there. I don't know if I really want to give the SSG that early, I think I give it right when you start needing it now.

The BFG is in the map to entice you into a secret area. You certainly don't need it to complete the level. I like mostly linear maps with lots of optional areas; the BFG only exists as a justification for one of these areas that serves no other real purpose.

Thanks for the feedback. I'm sitting on another version here that fixes a few more minor things (the switch out of the BFG secret is the most noticeable one), but I'm not going to bother uploading it yet since it doesn't change gameplay significantly.

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Hey, meant to play through this new version earlier, sorry. I think the changes are for the better, generally. Not sure about the new archvile either. Well, with the BFG, it doesn't matter much. I don't see him as much of a threat without it though, more of just a roadblock, maybe another potential for blowing yourself up with rockets at worst. Losing the megasphere in the BFG section was a good idea, for sure.

I'm not an amazing player in general, and I definitely play better when I'm not going in blind. That said I found this map much easier now that I know it, and I think that has to do with knowing to use a lot of rockets in safer-to-use areas in the start. Looking over my earlier comments I think my perception of the map being "quite hard" without any cell-ammo weapons was because I relied on shells for too much, and had a deficiency of weapons that wouldn't blow up in my face in places.

However, I also feel like maps don't always have to be that hard to be fun. I think there's enough interesting things here that I enjoyed it even if it seems a bit easy.

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Yeah I've already pulled out the arch-vile and now teleport in some zombies, imps, and cacos instead. (I'd have rather done closets, but there's just not enough space for them in that section of the map.) There's also a new secret inspired by 40oz and Cynical's posts from the other day, which lets you get the SSG early. I also did a first pass for difficulty and co-op. Once I get a few tests in, I'll upload a new version.

And I agree on not having to be hard to be fun. The number of times I've loaded up E1 and blasted through it despite it posing absolutely no threat anymore is testament to that. I would like the map to at least be a little challenging, though.

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Thanks for the demo...you should've used the BFG, heh. Definitely makes the spiders easier.

You managed to avoid springing a trap by going out of the plasma gun section the opposite way I expected, which is cool, I'm not going to change anything there.

I put in a cannon fodder zombieman so you'll always wake up the "deaf" spectres. That area was a bit of a mess in earlier versions, since the monsters below the area with the secret teleport would always lower the lift with them, and chances are you'd end up waking them up that way. Now that the lift stays up, you can sneak up on them by going through that area "backwards" which wasn't intended.

---

No one's pointed it out, but for a while now I've realized you can cheese the demon fight by just hitting one of the switches for the lifts that block you into that area before you grab the key. You can hang out in one of the two safe areas blasting away, or just leave without killing anything. I just reworked that area:

Instead of three lifts activated at the same time, the large steps are now a lift that's always raised, and the other two are just barriers (that still work as lifts on the back side, for co-op/DM). The switch to lower the barriers is in the computer alcove with the green armor (the same one you can fire into via a hidden door), so you have to fight through demons to get to it. You can still ride the one lift up and stay out of harm's way, and I'm not sure if I should try changing that or just leave it. Honestly I can't think of any decent way of handling it that wouldn't leave you trapped if you went into that area early.

Unrelated to this, I also widened the area behind the lift a bit, so the mancubi have an easier time getting out if you try hiding off to the sides.

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I downloaded from the first post and accidentally played the first version. Here's how it went, UV, GZDoom, frequent save/reload, keyboard only.

Kills - 86% Items - 73% Secrets - 11%. Time - 30:17. End health - 200%, Armor 21%. Death Count - 4

I thought this was an excellent map, very fun to play. The look was bland IWAD at first, obviously drawing on Underhalls for inspiration, which is one of my fave IWAD maps, and bland isn't necessarily bad, IMO. Fights were pretty easy at first. The early Zerk was much appreciated for all the Pinkie-punching fun this map provided.

When I went up to the long upper hall with all the rocket boxes and Medikits, and just chaingun-blasted everything away with ease thanks to all the barrels and infighting, I was frankly beginning to wonder if this map would be any good at all. It was too easy, almost a joke. Fighting the Cacos up there was super easy, too. My first death came after I rode the lift down and misjedged some Pinkie and Chaingunner fights, and then killed myself shooting rockets at some Revvies up above. D'oh!

The blue key area was where things really picked up. I liked the room itself, and the whole-room glow effect. The fights in the upper corridor were pretty sweet, if a bit predictable with the Revvie + 2 HKs on each side, then the fun infight with the Revvies and Mancs. The Archie/Revvie trap was a real shocker that damn near took me out the first time. In fact, I opened a saved game so I could do better. After all that, I got killed the first time I grabbed the blue key by the Pinkie/Specter swarm, because I had the SSG in my hands and got cornered by all the meat. I was ready the second time with my fists and punched 'em all out with relative ease. That was a fun fight, though.

I found the secret that unleashed the PEs -- a cell charge pack which was useless to me since I never found the BFG or PG.

From this point, the only fight I objected to was rocketing the HKs on the platform leading to the exit. They posed no threat whatever, so were just a time/ammo sink.

I died twice at the exit, first time because I killed myself trying to door-camp the side Revvies with the RL. One more "Good at Doom!" moment there. ;D So I went kamikaze and that worked much better. I then foolishly unleashed the Archie/Mancs while I still had Cacos and PEs to kill, and got dusted. Next try everything went pretty easy.

Overall, the map turned out to be fun and fast-paced with some nicely-timed traps and some good-looking areas, particularly the blue key room and the exit. I'll try to play the revised edition tomorrow.

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An idea for those two Arachnos that spawn into the exterior hallway... how about placing them at the ends of the hallway (on the hallway itself, that is), one on each end? With a bit of geometry restructuring, you could probably force the player to choose between "deal with some inconvenient Arachno crossfire or jump in the radiation", and create a neat battle out of it.

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SteveD: Thanks for the feedback. Saying something looks bland isn't exactly flattering, but if you look in a map editor, the blue key area has about the same amount of detail as the earlier areas. It's just an example of a more detailed texture making an area look, well, more detailed. I definitely prefer it to the sector clutter of most detailed maps. I'll see if I can work something into the starting area to spice it up a bit, though. Maybe some more lights or something.

Cynical: Good idea, I'll see what I can do when I have the map open in an editor in front of me.

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