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Ed

Smothered Hope (SP/Boom) Final Version!

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Screenshots

Download via Dropbox or Mediafire.

Single-player, Boom compatible map. Texture credit to Nick Baker. This is a just-about-done beta version, so please keep a lookout for any bugs. Pretty old-school, straight forward map. I didn't spend a lot of time sweating the small stuff, so don't expect too much of a sector orgy.

Enjoy.

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Aw, was hoping for a Skinny Puppy soundtrack. Anyhow, FDA: http://www.doomworld.com/vb/attachment.php?postid=1287833

Goes until I get stuck (or can't figure out what to do) in the yellow key area. I think I was supposed to hit a switch before falling down there?

Loved the visuals, good texture use and I'm a sucker for dramatic lighting. Only visual bug I'd noticed that would be worth fixing, minor as it is, is this crate which is a bit wide.


I'm a little dazed tonight so I made some really bad decisions/movements, got stuck on corners a lot, wasted ammo etc. Had I been in the right frame of mind, I think I would've found this pretty easy. Anyhow gameplay wasn't bad but didn't wow me, I liked the layout and everything else enough that I enjoyed it overall. Will go back and try again later.

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Cool map. Forgot to demo it, but got through on my first try, no saves. Going to the blue door after getting the blue key had a little more backtracking than necessary IMO, but that's just me.

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How I beat this on my very first try is anyone's guess. It's a good looking map at any rate, although it feels kind of easy: most of the monsters teleporting in were low-tier and the final battle ends up kind of toothless if you make the Cyb kill the Archies. Didn't find any of the secrets and I missed one monster. Cool map. :)

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Cool map Ed, very stylish. I too really liked the extreme lighting changes, I think most notably beyond the blue door and that one corridor. Gameplay was not very challenging but gets the job done I guess. Felt more like a map concentrated on exploration and atmosphere anyway, or maybe I was just in the mood.

Here's my FDA, UV naturally and no deaths. How to get the Soulsphere remains a mystery to me...

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I guess you again spent months on designing the map and then did monster placement in like 30 minutes. Rather lazy and uninspired gameplay for the most part, but I still had some fun because everything looked pretty nice. Some of the monster teleporters were quite slow btw.

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Spectacular looking map with expertly built layout, fantastic texturing and imaculate ligthing! As usual, your strong sense of visual design is simply amazing!

I played on HMP, died once by a sneaky AV attack from behind and finished it in 25:44 min. Kills was 102%, Items 94% and Secrets 0%. They were a bit too difficult to figure out for me.

These days I usually have more trouble with levels on HMP than on this one. It felt a bit easy. Mostly because the health was readily available and there were a ton of shells so I could walk around with the SSG most of the time, even blasting lonely Imps with it.

The most dangers comes from the Revenants and Arch Vile(s). The Mancubi are just bumps on the road. They are too big and too slow to be any threat at their current positions.

I took a couple of screenshots of some areas with some things I noticed:


Misalignment


Misalignment


Those blinking lights in the ceiling look a bit weird to me


This COMPSTA2 texture looks crappy compared to the COMPSTA1 down the stairs at the end of the room

Basically, I only have minor gripes about this level. It's an extremely solid and top quality level!

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Thanks for the feedback guys. I've updated the links to a new version with some bug-fixes, gameplay adjustments.

Memfis: The bulk majority of the map I built in about 4 days. I found a thumb drive with it in a very unfinished state from a few months back. You gotta give me some credit, I have at least 1-2 hours sank into the gameplay :)

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Very cool map! The architectural style, layout and even the music reminded me heavily of your BTSX E1 map. :P Sweet stuff.

Have to say I've not been terribly of a fan of the textures you've used here (sorry Nick!) but I have to say you've used them very effectively with this map. Makes me think twice about them, and wonder if I could put them to good use too.

Gameplay was decently challenging on HMP (perhaps with the exception of the cyber fight which was kind of a pushover), I'll likely give it another shot on UV for shits and giggles. Replay value! :D

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Ha, yeah, I was digging around a Metal Midi Archive page from the internet of yore and found a track that sounded pretty similar to the BTSX track. If I soundtrack a map myself, I record some household appliances, drop the recordings down 4 octaves, apply a generous amount of distortion and reverb and lay a wavetable synth string melody over it then call it a wrap.

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Like plums, I was hoping for some Skinny Puppy here. ;)

Played on GZDoom, UV. Here are my stats; Kills - 100, Items - 100, Secrets - 100. End Health - 189, Armor - 118. Death Count - 1. Bullets - 82, Shells - 28, Rockets - 4, Cells - 4

Nice big Quake-style techbase. As a techbase, it basically turns into a corridor-shooter, with most of the time all enemies ahead of you for shooting-gallery action as well as a few door-camping and corner-abuse moments. This was a bit repetitive, I thought, and only dangerous if Revvies and hitscanners were ahead, whereas Imps, Demons and Arachnotrons were all toothless. I appreciated the early opportunities for some single-barrel ballet with Revvies, always a bit of a tense situation for me. I also had zero luck throughout the map trying to get Mancs and Revvies to infight. Those damned fatsos just refused to shoot when I wanted them to. ;D

Gameplay did rev-up a bit as you went along and the opposition got a little more fierce. Indeed, my first attempt saw me get into a bit of trouble in the middle section of the map, where it seemed that the plentiful health of the early section had more or less disappeared, and chip damage from hitscanners had dropped me to 24% by the time of the sneaky Archvile attack from the rear, so unexpected because that might have been the first behind-your-back trap of the map. Although I eventually defeated that Archie, the situation was grim and, after a few more adventures ahead, I chose to start over.

Whereas I had played aggressively on my first go, I was a bit more cautious the second time, as it seemed that aggressive play was punished for someone at my skill level, i.e., not very good. The second run was a breeze using more effective tactics, though I did save-scum to try alternate strategies, for example, that one long hallway anchored by an Arachnotron that opens up traps to your left. After defeating that hallway the first time by luring the Arachnotron towards me for some SSG-blasting, I saved my game and tried several runs to start infights. It wasn't easy, and really, wasn't the best thing to do, but in the end I saved a bit of ammo that way.

The Blue Armor secret was pretty cool, and similar to a secret in some BTSX map. Indeed, once I realized I had played your BTSX map -- which I greatly enjoyed -- I was eager to try this one. Getting back to the secrets, the Soulsphere took a lot of wall-humping to figure out, but once I found it, I asked myself why it took so long. :D

The blue key battle had some nice multi-angles to it, though the opposition was a bit weak.

You finally got me on the second run in the crazy end-fight. Finally, I was getting attacked from multiple angles by difficult opposition -- primarily those 2 Archies. I at first saw only one, and after I killed it, I thought I was out of the woods, but then a second one showed up behind me. I almost -- but not quite -- got away from that one. On my second try, I didn't take the Cyb bait, and instead raced to the rear so I could get myself behind both Archies. I killed the first one in the curving hallway near the red door, and then blasted through the enemies until I saw the second one coming down the hallway that blocked Cybie. After dusting him off, I was able to kill Cyb with a plasma gun that, IIRC, had only 200 cells. Surprised the hell out of me when I took him down after seeming to miss him a few times.

I'm sure objections can be raised to having the Cyb unable to walk down that hallway and get at the player. I'm guessing you used him as a lure to distract the player while you sprung the real trap with Archies, but it does make Cybie a sitting duck once the dust has cleared.

There are other issues you may or may not wish to address, depending on your vision for this map. First, effective height variation was a bit minimal, by which I mean variation that allows the player and monsters to attack each other from various heights. Usually, the sectors were too tall or too deep and their size was too small for any kind of wild action. Also, there didn't seem to be enough cross-connections in hallways to allow attacks from multiple angles, or to create prowlers that might surprise you at some point. Instead, the map seems very linear.

Of course, I tend to prefer wild melees, so keep that in mind. In any case, I thought the action was decent enough for a Map01 of a mapset that would get more difficult as it went on.

I'll end my lengthy bombast by saying that the map shines in its appearance. It really is exceptional, and beautifully lit, and conveys the sense of a large, grimy industrial facility. Good stuff!

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Hey, an Ed map. It's not the one I was thinking it would be (that one has more of the flesh growth from Putrefier in it, you showed some screenshots of it a while back), but best not to look a gift horse in the mouth. One more little FDA (skill 4) if you like, probably doesn't tell you anything you don't already know at this point. Takes me about 20 minutes, no deaths/all secrets, although I lose some time looking for a way into the soulsphere secret and then stumble onto it later by accident, not unlike the guy who just happens to lean on the sconce that activates the revolving bookcase in every turgid TV mystery ever.

Did seem pretty lightly-populated and unthreatening to me, although I did like the way it escalated a bit at the end, avoiding an anticlimax. I'm surprised I didn't get lost but for a brief moment of disorientation....generally I'm pretty good with navigation but the tangles of heavily interwoven hallways and shortcuts piled upon shortcuts in your maps seem to have that effect on me at times. For what it's worth, I reckon this is the kind of map that could probably benefit from having some extra trash monsters strewn around early on....wouldn't actually impact the overall difficulty much, and a more insistent stream of weaklings issuing from distant parts of the complex could serve as a convenient navigation guidepost while also making the combat feel a little more consistently meaty.

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SteveD: Rest assured, Skinny Puppy's early grotesque, alien aesthetic is almost always there in spirit in any artistic venture in which I apply myself.

My frame of reference for contemporary gameplay is rooted firmly in the late 90s. I'm about 95 years of age in Doomer years. These demo files are great, but they really reaffirm how much I play Doom like a grandma with cataracts.

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@Ed: We are from the same era, and as long as you keep architecting maps like this, cataracts and all, I'll keep playing them. ;)

Glad to know Skinny Puppy was on your mind when you made this. I plan to edit their track "Basement" for one of my maps, getting rid of the voices. I also use a Laibach track in one of my Realm of Intensified Chaos maps. I'm not necessarily a huge industrial fan, but some of it hits me right.

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Thanks to everyone that tested this map and especially for the demo files, which were very helpful in carving out the gameplay. The links have been updated to the final version. Lots of changes, some minor voodoo-doll scroll scriping and some visual enhancements throughout. The final fight definitely has teeth now.

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This map certainly takes some beautiful screenshots thats for sure, but I'm afraid I'm a little leaning toward Memfis' side of the argument. Not to say that the map is bad by itself, but I think the attention to the visuals also implies a similar level of attention given to traps and choreographed fights, and there's little evidence of that. It's not really fair to assume that, I know, but the way many monsters seem to be just wandering around instead of confronting the player in an organized plot to kill him feels sloppy in a map like this, even if it would be perfectly justified in a classic 90's megawad like Memento Mori or STRAIN or something.

It's not too easy, and it's far from hard, the ammo/weapon balance is there, there are some traps here and there, and the level is very interconnected (albeit a bit disorienting at times) but it's certainly a casual stroll. From a player's perspective, it looks strange that things like computer monitors on the walls, and ceiling lights and other obscure no-impact-on-gameplay objects are adorned with light gradients and detail sectors, while things like "The First Super Shotgun In The Level" are just laying in the dirt, or first encounter with the archvile takes place in a hallway instead of some kinda satanic-influenced room etc. I could go into more detail if you'd like, and I hate to bash a map that you clearly put a lot of effort into, but in general a player is looking for an experience in which extra attention are given to things the player is going to interact with, while places of little interest like hallways and rooms with little combat are left to dry. From the looks of it this map tends to celebrate wall and ceiling details. You have the skills, there's not a soul that would doubt that on these forums, but this map shows that your attention to detail is a bit misguided when it should be focused on emphasizing exciting gameplay elements, and go a bit more minimally on other unimportant areas.

I'm think my best suggestion for future maps would be to practice making a basic complete layout first (versus connected detailed rooms, which are less malleable in case you need to change things), placing monsters and weapons in the rooms. When testing the map and playing through to completion, make note of important gameplay factors, like when the player first encounters a new monster, when he gets access to a good weapon, a powerup, a key, etc. then think of ways to celebrate the contents of the rooms. A special monster could be hiding in the dark and when awoken, could step out of the shadows into the light, frightening the player. A nice weapon could have a special pedestal it sits on with lights shining on it to tempt the player. A locked door could be adorned with a variety of colored walls to indicate the color keycard it needs. etc.

I could give you more tips if you'd like. Everyone knows you're very talented and the criticism you get may seem kinda harsh, but it's because we want to help you become the greatest mapper there ever was, and at times it may sound as though we're neglecting the good qualities of your work. We're just afraid to admit you're better at something than we are :P

Here's a FDA if you'd like to watch, but I got lost a few times, and couldn't figure out how to get the Blue Key.

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There's a long line of mappers ahead of me that would qualify for that title, but I appreciate the sentiment.

As far as criticism goes, I take almost all of it with a positive attitude. There's the occasional 'detailed / modern mapping is killing the Doom community' jabs that filter through, but that kind of criticism is more caustic than constructive. If someone takes the time to play a map that I've made and offers insightful advice, it's incredibly helpful for me to improve as a mapper.

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