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After the Cyberdemon...

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The Cyberdemon has been our trusty and generally most feared adversary, ever since his echoing footstep caused collective sweat around 1993. We used to have guidelines about how having more than one, then more than a handful, of these guys in a map was bad mapping form. Well, that obviously is no longer the case, after the established arrival of slaughtermaps, first as an accepted playstyle, then as a much lauded (yet still controversial) form.

As the levels of the hell onion keep peeling, who or what, if anything, do you think should be the next step up (down?) in Doom bosses, now that Cyberdemon has started to approach becoming a pack monster, like the rest? What kind of attacks do you think a slightly-to-much (but not non-comparatively) tougher boss should have to make it challenging, yet capable of a fair fight. Is it even possible to create a comparative foe to old Cybo (4000 hp, 110 units tall, triple-shot rocketlauncher and flawlessly awesome art).

It may be an impossible act to follow, but I'd love to hear some thoughts on the subject.

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The Spider Demolisher, armed with a BFG (plus chainguns). BFG is a good step above the rocket launcher, IMO. Better than hitscans, which are tricky and often lead to unfair fights or hide-and-seek gameplay. The only other increased challenge I can think off is spamming tons of projectiles (fast, homing, explosive...), but still in a way that you can dodge them all if you're good (because otherwise the game tends to get unfair again, and annoying, at least for me).

Or well, you can have a giant walking Icon-of-Sin-like monster, who will keep spawning Archviles (or Cyberdemons). That could be fairly challenging, too.

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Doom in general isn't really suitable for bosses I think, even with zdoom's DECORATE you are still very limited by the simplistic AI, which leaves very few options for making difficult single-monster encounters (most or all of them annoying). Perhaps with very heavy gggmork-style ACS scripting you could achieve something...

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scifista42 said:

Or well, you can have a giant walking Icon-of-Sin-like monster, who will keep spawning Archviles (or Cyberdemons). That could be fairly challenging, too.


Maybe something like this?

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I felt like the Hellsmith in Demon Eclipse did a pretty good job of being a solo end-of-episode boss in the mold of the original Cyberdemon. I don't know how much scripting work was necessary for it, though.

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every single monster except the cyberdemon can die to 1 bfg shot. i think that because of this, DOOM really isn't a boss killing type of game since the power of the BFG makes the other weapons kind of useless.

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The cyberdemon is really good at being relatively slow and hurling huge damage bombs at you from anywhere it can see you (which leads to getting hit out of nowhere). The art and sounds are amazing, they're fun to fight (if they are placed right), and the first time you ever saw one you probably shit your pants.

No, I don't think we can do that again or top that. So maybe we could think about different ways to approach the next boss monster- the guy who is harder than the cyberdemon. The plasma marines in scythe 2 are pretty cool. They are fast and agile and shoot constantly, making them pretty deadly although they don't have much health. Flying monsters are another brand of annoying. Homing projectiles like the revenant seems pretty cool, or a projectile that lobbed toward you. The explosion and splash damage of cyberdemons makes them so dangerous (plus occasional one hit kills). So if our new monster is to be harder than the cyberdemon I believe it should have some sort of splash damage effect which is perhaps not as strong as the cyberdemon's.

So far I have an agile, fast, flying monster who does splash damage. In terms of one hit kills maybe it would be cool if it could swoop down and kill you in one melee hit with its talons (cutting off your curious head). The attack being some sort of homing bomb which leaves the enemy in an underhand toss trajectory. 5 shots really fast each one does 25 dmg or some crap. It must stop to attack but moves quickly from place to place between attacks.

Because we're outdoing the cyberdemon we need a comparable amount of health, I guess at least equal health (even though cyberdemon health approaches tedious at times for people who don't 2 shot 100%) to do it justice. It actively hunts like the cyberdemon does but flies so it's more scary. Has to be large though; same size as cyber or wider.

I picture a flying monster that is pretty gross and has mechanical bits with gross guts tubes hanging down from it. Has arms and a gun in middle? Could shoot with mouth like the other flying fellows?. Perhaps one scary large eye in the middle.

tldr
Same health, fast, flying, lobs homing bombs, one hit melee

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Doom in general isn't really suitable for bosses I think


I think it's possible but I doubt anyone would make a boss I would personally be happy with.

IMHO one of the cool things about Doom monsters is how slow and dumb they are... Which makes them predictable for the player (low twitch skill required, strategy alone can get you through some of the most difficult slaughtermaps) and versatile for the mapper (plenty of ways to use a cyberdemon with widely different results).

Most >cyberdemon attempts I see break these rules... Making bosses faster, or throwing flurries of projectiles to the point anyone who's not a Starcraft master is bound to be stuck in a reactive stance, rather than being in control (another thing I love in Doom).

To me, Scythe 2's custom monsters were the perfect example of flawed enemies in an otherwise excellent wad. It felt like deathmatch seeping into singleplayer mode.

Obviously, to someone with quicker reflexes and better aim these might be business as usual and they might be able to play normally; and going the other way someone with very low twitch skill might look at Doom and say "oh, this is all pointing and shooting and hoping for the best, turn-based games are so much more thoughtful". Wherever you sit on the spectrum is largely arbitrary, but I feel for a new Doom boss to truly be good it would have to roughly fit in with the established balance and pace.

I kind of liked the UAC Ultra boss, throwing a bunch of imp fireballs at once. It's easy to dodge, much like the cybie, but it can ruin your day if you stand still, much like the cybie. Perhaps the spider mastermind could have been a more interesting boss done that way, constant stream of imp fireballs until it goes into pain state or you break line of sight, and a ridiculously low threshold for going into fire mode so if you charged upfront with the BFG you'd take a lot of damage.

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I think a boss demon should be only a boss and can only appear on the final map. This is obviously no longer the case for our old fearsome friend the cybie. The following I think is mandatory:

- boss should have lots of HP, to make the fight long (a somewhat OK example in Doom: Survive in Hell map 30 (YouTube of another slower run) - although in this case they just used the sprite of a Hexen boss and he's still not that hard)
- Since the fight is long, it should not only be BFG spam + dodge. There should be some strategy involved. Some IoS maps are good with that (the problem is that they use the IoS). Lots of games have done it well, e.g. World of Warcraft (and even old games like Kontra). A typical theme is having to do/solve a series of tasks or puzzles while fending off enemies to have a chance at damaging the boss once in a while. Another theme is having the boss change its shape and/or method of attack and/or defence at various points of taking damage or time intervals. There doesn't have to be puzzles, as long as the fight is long, challenging and interesting.
- boss should be intimidating somehow, e.g. (1) being large (2) having a strong attack (3) sounding evil/scary (4) looking butt ugly
- The music should change when the boss arrives. It can be quite effective. Those old Nintendo games got it spot on in this regard. :)
- There should be a very cool death sequence when you finally kill the boss, perhaps a nice reward, and victory music. :)

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