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Darch

Preacher - final version on idgames

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Darch said:

I was waiting till somebody mentioned the random starts

Ahem... Well, this isn't the thing I noticed, quite an insight. Interesting, can't remember seeing anything like this before.

Darch said:

and demonologist just hated everything

This is my usual way of playing most Doom maps, yes.

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I wanted some more Doom after Requiem this evening, and so I gave the two PreacherV02 maps a shot--didn't play that 'Dust Storm' map from before you switched to Boom (the pinky stampede is a cool idea though, it's been a long time since I've seen someone try that angle) figured I'd just as well wait for it to be reformatted as well.

Skill 4 FDAs for maps 01 and 02.

A few comments:
Map 01 -- I don't think this is without merit/potential, but I would agree with Demonologist and Scifista and yourself that it's not as good as the other one. The greyscale visual theme is interesting in itself, but I think Scifista's right that some of the simpler assets (like the big checkerboard flat around the chainsaw area) clash a little with the textures with more depth and grit, like the masonry/building textures that comprise a lot of the walls. Not a huge deal, though, I'll bet you could tweak it just by shuffling textures around a bit, and I suspect experimenting with having more actual color in the sky might pay dividends, as well.

On the gameplay front, you can still do the kind of stuff the mapset aims for here--that is, you run around like a loon and scrap with the whole neighborhood in a more or less unplanned way--but the pace seems like it bogs down more from time to time. I would attribute this to two factors: the bigger monsters tend to hang around in the smaller indoor areas where they don't tend to move around or contribute a lot (in fact, the map's generally smaller scale and more congested architecture in contrast to map 02 probably has something to do with it as well) while it's mostly smallfry and a handful of cacos that attack in the central outdoor area, meaning that the player tends to end up controlling the central area (which is the most interesting battle location) first and then just sort of cleaning out the side areas. Also, that traversing so much of the map and also collecting stuff involves waiting for switch-actuated lifts and platforms gives the sense of flow/movement through the map something of a herky-jerky quality, simplifying this with usepress lifts and maybe some triggers might help, dunno.

I think you can do a lot with the layout and also the somewhat piecemeal/low-tier weapon/item placement that Demonologist mentioned by adjusting the monster composition so that the player faces a higher concentration of weaker monsters throughout the duration--the somewhat limited elbow-room and many-tiered topography kinda limits what big monsters can do (although there are some good turret opportunities, like the arachs that block the bridge at the end), but the prospect of tearing through pack after pack of imps and zombies (with some rev and caco presence for zest) is a far less laborious undertaking with lighter armament, and also makes the RL more fun to use. If you worry about running out of guys too quickly, just teleport a bunch more into the map when the player picks up keys or something--a much more corpse-laden layout will let the arch-vile (or viles ;) ) at the end do their work well.

All that said, the only thing in the map that I categorically disliked was that bizarre shield mechanism protecting the arachnatron on the column near the yellow key--it makes it take ages to kill him (especially if you've not picked up the RL yet) and limits his ability to attack nearly as severely. Just plain unnecessary.

Map 02 -- This one's quite cool. The theme/setting stands out as something pretty unique--something like if Dore painted a dusty spaghetti-western necropolis, a theme I would very much like to see more of. Only piddly thing I can of here is that there's probably room for a few more trees or impaled bodies or the like in the desolate desert scenery surrounding the big tower.

It plays well, too, and so I don't actually have as much to say about it. I didn't die in my FDAs and so I didn't realize that the player's start point in the maps is semi-random until reading about it in recent comments here, but upon finding that out I went back and replayed the map, got a different start point, and had fun the second time too. Again, interesting concept, especially if it's going to persist over the whole mapset (probably makes it tougher to balance though, explaining the platformer-style 'crap scattered everywhere' style of item placement you've used).

As far as issues go, well...the map's fun, no doubt, but it's really not particularly intense on UV skill in its current form, and maybe even feels just a mite underpopulated given the scads of open space on the western side. Since Preacher is going to be a multilevel mapset I really don't think you need to sweat trying to make every map insanely chaotic (plenty of time for that in the late-game maps, if you're so inclined), but you could probably turn loose quite a few more monsters after the player breaches the tower, easily, without actually impacting overall difficulty much (it's a really spacious area). Flying enemies from the desert in the west and fireball-throwers on the eastern bluffs in addition to the groundlings you've already got porting in might be good. There's always a bit of a caveat with flying enemies in big/tall spaces like this since they'll sometimes get knocked clear to the other side of the map, and in Boom there's a possibility for infinitely-tall issues (I doubt they'd be much of a factor in this particular map), but eh, it's worth the spectacle, I say. I actually like the way the spiderdemon is placed in this one so it corners you in that cove, but you could easily make the encounter a little more pressuring by, once again, porting in a few cacos to fly through the windows from behind while the player is concentrating on spidey.


Finally, not map-specific, but I assume that most of the information panels on the statusbar are just a placeholder in this early build, but assuming you're sticking with the Blood cultist for the Doomguy (Preacherguy) face, there is almost no visual distinction in his face's battle-damage in the 40-79 percent range--maybe just an extra pink pixel in his right eye, that's it. Not a huge issue, but some players just like to quickly glance at the face to get a general idea of their health status (I've heard it argued that it's quicker than looking at the numerical value--I can't really say myself since I tend to play either with the Boom HUD or with no HUD at all ;) ), and his mug is not particularly informative in that regard.

The set's already looking really cool, best of luck moving forward with it.

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Thanks for the FDA and feedback! I've made several changes to the gray map, removed lots of unbalanced player starts, and exchanged high HP monsters for weaker ones. There's also more ammo, and some buttons were replaced by walkthrough triggers. Hope this makes it faster and less frustrating.

About the shielded arachnotron, it was one of my favorite mechanisms! At least I've never seen that before. I would have explored more this idea though the map, but ended up using it only once. I wanted the player to worry about that arachnotron for a little more time, as it was guarding the key. Suitpee complained about it, too. For now I'm keeping it, but might consider removing it if it pisses everybody too much, heh.

Also, I added some more blood to the hud face at the states you pointed, hopefully it will be easier to recognize the health status.

I'm working on a new map, guess I'll upload these changes in the next version.

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Finished another map for this. An easy / short / introductory map for slot 01. Just to introduce the mechanics and, more importantly, the cross that replaces the switches.

And apparently I can't take a project seriously without adding ridiculous sounds to it, so there are lots of sounds replacements in this version.

Scifs mentioned the maps not having names, they are in a dehacked file now. PRBoom ignores it at the intermission screens, but displays them in the automap. Other ports are fine, I guess.

Also, made several gameplay changes at the black and white map (Pale Town) that is now at slot 03. Slot 02 is the Dark Tower.

Well that's it, here's the download link:
confrariadacosta.com.br/doom/preacherv03.zip

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Darch said:

Scifs mentioned the maps not having names, they are in a dehacked file now. PRBoom ignores it at the intermission screens, but displays them in the automap. Other ports are fine, I guess.

In fact, standardly, DEHACKED level names only affect the automap. To replace level names in the intermission screen too, you need to create the respective CWILV** graphics in a graphic editor (possibly using Doom Writer) and put them into your wad. ZDoom generates intermission level names automatically from MAPINFO.

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Oh, I could swear I had seen a map name in the intermission screen at some port, but now I checked and it only shows in the auto map, you're right. I'll replace the names when I find a fitting font, thanks!!

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Darch said:

I'll replace the names when I find a fitting font, thanks!!

You're welcome. And when you happen to find a font, I can recommend using Bitmap Font Writer to easily assemble the names you need.

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Played the first map and had tons of fun. Really dig the art style and the new weapons. Gameplay was excellent, I enjoyed the pressure the monsters was putting on me and running around in the map looking for supplies. I can't think of anything I didn't like at the moment and I look forward for the second map. Nice work!

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Nice maps, I recorded some FDAs for you:
http://www.mediafire.com/download/727sp5qiitwkyca/preacher-mouldy-fda.zip

I really like the open layouts, and the difficulty is at just the right level to encourage some running and gunning. Great fun, everywhere you go there are forks in the path and weird lifts going up and down, and enemies are everywhere (thankfully mostly weak ones). Was quite surprised to see a cyber on the first map, thats the only death I suffered though, and cos the maps are so non-linear you can play them differently every time. I also like the generous health spread all over the place, and ammo is well placed too.

The only thing I didn't like was the music, not just because i didn't like it, but it seemed to drown out all the other sounds and distracted me from the game, even when I turned the volume down a bit.

Anyway, yeah, excellent stuff.

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Hey, thanks for the feedback and fdas!

mouldy said:

the difficulty is at just the right level to encourage some running and gunning.

Glad to hear that, that's the pace I'm trying to input since the first version, but wasn't very successful.

mouldy said:

The only thing I didn't like was the music, not just because i didn't like it, but it seemed to drown out all the other sounds and distracted me from the game, even when I turned the volume down a bit.

I started this as a musical project, but since 90% of the people who played it didn't like the music, I think it's time to drop this concept. I'll write some church organ riffs in good old midi format.

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Hey, I gave the new map 01 in v03 a shot, skill 4 FDA here.

I like this as an intro map. It's quite easy, but doesn't really obey standard map 01 placement/fight tropes and so it still manages to shock and surprise--I reckon I did a genuine double-take when I hit the red bible-switch, let me tell you. The secret is really weird too, at first I didn't see the point but then I remembered what happens upon exiting the maps in preacherv02.wad, and what didn't happen when I finished here, another neat layer that might encourage secret-hunting from a certain type of player who may not normally bother. Before the action really starts there's this charming sense of curtains going up on a stage as some basic items (tommygun, green bible, etc.) are shown to the player as views on the main playing area are also revealed. Lots of personality there.

I see additions to the assets, as well--the BFG replacement is really cool-looking, and the cultist babble when wielding the berserk fist is more amusing than it has any right to be. I reckon the "usefail" sound will probably get really old over the course of a playthrough, though, might want to replace that with something a little more neutral/grey/white noise--perhaps the dull "thud" Caleb's boots make when he lands from a jump in Blood, something like that.

Finally, for what it's worth, I strongly feel that you should keep the TPB music in the game (perhaps with the base volume reduced a little in post), especially since it's presumably the music that's informing the aesthetic flavor and other aspects of your mapping process in this case. If nothing else, it's always interesting to see which track a mapper picks to go with which map, even moreso when the music's not expressly intended for Doom, as in this case. If all else fails, you could release two versions of the WAD when you're finished, one with the TPB music and one with alternate midi selections for those who find the core selection too distracting--wouldn't be the first time someone has taken that tack, IIRC.

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Thanks for the feedback and FDA DOTW! Well played, you figured out the boss fight right away.

New version is out, with one more map and some changes:
confrariadacosta.com.br/doom/preacherv04.zip
(the new map runs at slot 04)

I've changed the usefail sound so the talking won't repeat when pressed multiple times, and will happen less often. I see your point that it will get old in a bigger mapset.

Speaking of which, I had planned around 5 maps to this, due the filesize of the MP3s, but with MIDIs I think it could be a bigger episode, maybe ten maps. I've made 5 midis, one for titlescreen and one for each map. These are my first midis, so now people have a good reason to dislike the music. I will still work some more on them, for example, map03 track doesn't properly loop, because the program I'm using (sekaiju) decided that all instruments will be set up only on compass 2, and everything will sound like a piano on compass one. So I started all tracks at compass 2 :/

Enough with midi complaints, here are some shots of the map (MAP04 - 40 Days in the Desert): Hope you enjoy!

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Cool, here is a FDA for map04

http://www.mediafire.com/download/i6tywkkh41saznr/preacher-mouldy-04.lmp

I love these maps, very unpredictable and fun. This one seemed a bit on the easy side, there was so much health everywhere I never felt in much danger. It was over suspiciously quickly too, I felt like there was some stuff I missed somewhere. Nowt wrong with short maps though.

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Thanks for the feedback! Nice FDA, it was quite easy indeed. I only tested it myself, sometimes it's hard to tell what items a player will find or miss, I placed it at slot 04 because I thought it was the hardest in the set so far :P I will remove some power ups on UV, and maybe add some more monsters. But yes, I like short and easy maps :)

And Demon of The Well, I forgot to mention, I considered making a MP3 version for myself, probably when the set is finished. I'll certainly share it if I do, although I'm having lots of fun writing these midis. Not to speak about filesize :)

And Scifista, I never watched this movie, I stole that idea from somewhere else ;)

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Hey there's a new map for this project:






It's hard, but beatable, there's a demo included to prove it :P

Also made several gameplay changes to maps 03 and 04, they're harder, but more balanced, I hope.

download: (new map on slot 05)
confrariadacosta.com.br/doom/preacherv05.zip

This maps also come with scifista's golden seal of approval.

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Bloody great news, going to play this later on. I really dig the screenies.

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Excellent, love these maps. Here is an FDA for map05

http://www.mediafire.com/download/653fum3brb1rr9t/preacher05-mouldy.lmp

Yet another fun map. I died several times but made it in the end, though I left 45% of the monsters behind. Very cowardly, but there was enough dirty tricks that I didn't want to explore too much without saving. Took me a while to realise the monsters were teleporting up and down the steps, sneaky. That blue key trap was a bit terrifying. The other 2 I just grabbed and ran away to the exit, but I like having that option. The custom sounds are hilarious by the way.

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Fell behind on this one, but I've played all the missed maps. No FDAs this time, sorry, just some thoughts.

New map01 was cool, very nice cyb scenario here, initially I didn't know how should I fight him, but then looked into his alcove. The power of prayer has freed us! Nice exit with a graveyard, I like those. And yeah, kudos for using big baddies so early and thus successfully breaking the silly map01 cliché. I love me my tough map01s.

Replayed m03, had much better experience this time. Dunno, maybe I was in a bad mood when I played it back then when it was made. Still somewhat slow-paced but not bad overall, theme also looked more consistent (looking under different angle, heh). My apologies for harsh tone in the past, I'll behave.

Map04 was very cool! I won't deny that I died a number of times while wrecklessly running around, but I really do like the chaos this map has to offer, this type of run 'n' gun gameplay when the player is under fire all the time and is forced to move for supplies while frantically clearing out opposition on the go with whatever he/she manages to get a grip on atm has always been very fun for me. Good work! Also nice Epic vibe, even though it features a lot more curves, heh.

Map05 was nice. Great architecture and feel, deceptively slow initially, but with some hectic scenarios and high pace possible. Good cyber usage here, the one roaming the upper exterior level manages to put a definite amount of pressure with his presence, and so does the one in a blue key room, especially if you manage to lead quite a tail of various freaks in there like I did (including the second cyb, haha), and I don't regret. Cool stuff.

I also have to admit that cultist/Caleb sounds, while kinda whacky thanks to Doom's multiple sound behavior, still create an interesting and charismatic character, mad fanatic pretty reminiscent of father Gregory from Half-Life 2, only less human and speaking Cabal. Fun role to take. And man, those powerup sounds, do you have any idea of how hard it is to shoot while laughing like an idiot?..

Please continue this! And who knows, maybe we'll see some bigger encounters later on...

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I the idea and level design is fantastic. I don't think I've seen anything like it. I really like the screenshots, can't wait to give this a go.

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Please tell me I'm not the only person who can't seem to download this: every time I try to follow the link the connection times out.

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@Obsidian: check out if this alternative link works for you:
http://s000.tinyupload.com/index.php?file_id=81294136436081116720

@moudly: thank you as always for the feedback and fda!!

@Gangrel: tx for the motivation!

Demonologist said:

My apologies for harsh tone in the past, I'll behave.

Please don't. Your feedback helped me to fix several things on that map. For example, I was trying to make as many starting spots as possible, which lead to unbalanced starts. I would have kept this bad concept to all subsequent maps, if no one warned me. So, please keep your honest criticism, I'm really ok with it.

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I thought this was a new project because it is at the top of the WADs and Mods page but it looks amazing so I'm going to give it a go!

EDIT:

Looks awesome! it took me a while to figure out how you got the lighting here, I can't wait to play through this!

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Hello, I've been playing this again. I seem to have missed a version while 'indisposed', but I should be caught up now. Here are some FDAs (skill 4) for maps 04 and 05 of V5; I believe I've played all the others previously.

Map 04's interesting because it introduces an element of player control in the initial 'pick 1 of 3' weapon selection, before the issue of the 'random' start point factors in. Maybe it's just me being thick, but looking at the three cages at the start it didn't occur to me that I might only get to take 1 weapon (initially) instead of all three; if it had I'd probably have picked the tommygun instead of the RL. It all worked out okay, though, and given the variable nature of each run at these maps I don't think it's really much of a problem if other players don't realize they're making a limited choice. Incidentally, attentive players can get off to a stronger start by 'grabbing' chunks of ammo out of each cage even after being locked out of them, but none of the actual weapons seem reachable in this way, probably for the best.

Each key having a small ambush attached to it is sensible enough of an idea, but they seem pretty minor in comparison to the furor of cleaning out the level's general population. I think you could probably get away with introducing more monsters after the yellow and red keys without bogging the map down much; the YK guys appear far away and from only one direction, another vile or two coming from different direcitons (e.g. back by the prayer book weapon, etc.) might go down well. Incidentally, the tri-level spiderdemon turret in this map works much better than the blink-shuttered arachnatron turret in the earlier black/white map, IMO, cool way of using a very difficult-to-implement monster. ;) Random idea: how about a pair of switches on plates inside of the turret that let the player manually move it to a different level while inside? If you port in a bunch of extra monsters all around it on getting the red key, instant 'holdout' scenario.

Finally, my finding the 'secret exit' has nothing to do with my capacity for cleverness (which is essentially nonexistent), and everything to do with the fact that its location is telegraphed pretty clearly via line colors and such on the PrBoom+ automap, even though the lines comprising the actual secret area are flagged as hidden.

As for map 05, I liked this one a whole lot, definitely my favorite since 'The Dark Tower.' The free berserk pack at the start really made it for me, but as per usual it seems like it can be made to work smoothly in all kinds of different ways, especially with some foreknowledge. Fine job with the balance too, I played like a total jackass and nearly lost my life on more than one occasion as a result, but was always able to recover after a bit of frantic scrambling, probably just how one would want it to be in maps of this type. Lots of secret stuff I didn't find as well, so there's definitely a sense of intrigue.

A few minor technical/aesthetic things:
* There's a texture misalignment on the brace wall behind the pentagram portal that takes the player into the map proper.
* There's a sizeable slimetrail visible in the outlying non-playable area if you look northwest while standing near the SSG. I think I looked at it a couple of times in the demo.
* The very spiteful revenant trap protecting the necrostaff/soulsphere cache is spoiled somewhat because the revenants' sprites partially clip through their tiny closets into the visible area before the trap is sprung. Given the way that bit of geometry is situated in the layout I'm not sure what could be done about this...you could eschew the closets and teleport the revenants in right behind the player instead, but even the few extra seconds that introducing them in that way could take would drastically reduce the trap's lethality. I dunno, lots of folks probably won't even notice, perhaps just best as a Leave It In (TM) sort of thing?

I guess the block of hell knights that are released upon picking up the red key seem like a somewhat uninspired encounter (and not much of a threat or deterrent since they're so easy to run away from), but I'm not sure what I'd replace or supplement them with....maybe port in a number of flying monsters around the central pit and the outer walkways in that part of the map, something like that? Other than that, though, I don't really seem to have much to say about this one other than "good work", I guess all I'm truly missing at this point with these maps is Those Poor Bastards. ;)

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Hey, thanks for the feedback! Your fdas are impressive, you make everything look easy.

About map 04: I try to keep away a bit from the "grab key = trap" cliche, so sometimes a key will only be guarded by some monsters, without much punishment. But I understand it might feel a bit easy for a player like you, although I'm tuning this mapset way harder then anything I've done before. About the secret exit, I'm aware it can be seen in the automap, but din't know how to hide it properly. That's why there's no visible tips in the walls, it's locked by all keys and you have to find another secret to get back to that area. Now thinking of it, you weren't supposed to find it in your first play! heh

About map 05: At the revenant trap, I think if a player is so observant to notice that, he can be rewarded with further knowledge of what's going to happen :)
And the HellKnight horde, the idea was releasing a mass of high HP monsters that the player wouldn't be able to deal immediately, given the low ammo nature of the map, and they would slowly chase the player through the map. There's also a little puzzle element, you can lead them to some crushers nearby. I don't know if it worked well and I agree it could be better, at the end it feels more like "Oh, look, hellknights". I'll try to think of something.

And I fixed all bugs you pointed! Thanks!

@and Nerdturtle, thanks man, fixed that HOM, don't know how it remained unnoticed for so long!

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I played the maps, and record some demos too!
For map 03 and 04 isn't a proper fda as the first time I played very bad and I wanted to redo it.

I really like the maps! Both visuals/themes (they are awesome) and the gameplay. The monsters have a good control of the maps with their positions and they have a good freedom to move; cleared areas keep beign repopulated and even when you have some weapons you never feel safe, also the various traps do a great job with this.
I love the new sounds!

In map 05 there are homs on the pillars that lower when you pick up the yellow key, only the ones near to the windows.

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Thank you gaspe! Sorry I took so long to reply, I'm having very little free time lately, so unfortunately dooming had to be put aside last month. But I've watched all your demos, they were all well played and provided great feedback for every map.

Today I was able to map again a little bit, I'm veeeery slooowly working on another map for this project. I really don't want to leave it unfinished, but free time is really tight now, hope to see your fdas again when it's done.

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