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AndrewB

The /newstuff Chronicles #44

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Seven new WADs this time, all bundled up in our weekly presentation of the new things found in Newstuff.


  • Lhet by Luke Hutchings - Here's something interesting. A three-level WAD for Heretic. Mostly built with single-player gaming in mind, this one is pretty impressive. It's unfortunate that it's as difficult as it is, or else it would be a very enjoyable three maps. Large monsters and gross lack of ammunition aside, this one has some tricky puzzles and beautiful outdoor areas. Very much in the spirit of Heretic. Not any overpowering detail. About as much detail as Heretic itself provides, it's just right.
  • A Really Big Hole Full Of Monsters by Busted Corpse - Just one single-player map for Doom 2 this time. Nothing too special. Get the key, go to the next room, get the key, go to the next room, and so on, if you're able to survive the onslaught of monsters. Lots of very ordinary shapes in this map. Misaligned textures, and no theme at all whatsoever. Enhanced DOOM port required.
  • A Really Big Hole by Busted Corpse - This is the deathmatch version of "A Really Big Hole Full Of Monsters." Monsters have been removed, as well as key-activated doors. Still not very good for deathmatch.
  • Castle Of Eternal Carrot In The Sky by Fredrik Johansson - An extremely detailed castle in the sky map for Doom 2. This map is one huge castle, with the entire map often visible all at once. As a result, it will bring the frame rate of most computers down to an unreasonably low level. If this map is actually playable, it has some incredible difficulty to it. Lots of wide-open areas with hordes of monsters, and not enough ammo to deal with it unless you know exactly what to do. It has a pleasant MIDI music replacement, though. Enhanced DOOM port required.
  • CH Retro by Christian Hansen - One single-player map for Ultimate DOOM, running on E1M1. Fans of Episode 1 will love this one, done in a very elaborate E1 theme. Hallways and rooms, connected in a very intelligent way. You will find yourself doing a lot of moving slowly, peeking around corners. The health and ammo balance is superb, making for a very exciting map.
  • The Ultimate Crosshair by Colin Mitchell - This is a very simple WAD, one that has a custom crosshair graphic. It has some colored lines and dots which mark the various "maximum inaccuracy" areas for certain weapons. Requires Doom Legacy.
  • Ugh DM 1 by Fredrik Johansson - A single deathmatch map for Doom 2. It employs a very simple pattern that is found in many deathmatch maps. A square room in the middle with passageways on all four sides leading to a hallway which surrounds the rest of the map. It has some texture replacements, some very nice usage of slopes, and a plasma gun in the middle that is only accessible part of the time. It has a decent metal MIDI music replacement as well. Requires ZDoom.

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My own experience of "castle in the sky" maps is pretty bad. I did one such in Nightwing but it ended up looking good but severly unbalanced and kinda weird gameplay. Doom maps works best with series of interconnected rooms with occasional large areas, I think. Huge open areas are slow and may play in any possible way, and it probably won't do as you intended.

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Guest Zeurkous

A very good map. It really looks like E1.

De Zeurkous
-----------
Friggin'Machines!

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Guest Captain Napalm

Was a bit to high for my taste, thus giving it the look of an E1 map but not the feel...

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Guest Zeurkous

I think not! But you are right, there are too many monsters. But i got the feel of E1 alright.

De Zeurkous
-----------
Friggin' Machines!

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Guest Captain Napalm

I never said it was difficult, just the difficulty was too high for an E1 map.

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Guest Zeurkous

Sorry, i did not understand u correctly ;)


De Zeurkous
-----------

Friggin' Machines!

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I thought CH_Retro was superb. I'm a big Ep1 fan, but these days it is pretty easy.

Getting a map that gets the feel right, but ups the stakes a little in the difficulty department is a genuine pleasure.

BTW, difficulty settings are implemented according to the text. You don't have to play on UV.

I really liked Ugh DM 1 too. The layout was pretty traditional, but the use of slopes was very well done and the plasma gun force field was also well implemented. Put a few Zdoom bots in, sit back and watch them repeatedly suicicide in the forcefield. LOL.

Anyone else notice there is a pallete included that modifies dark blues towards a more cyan kind of colour and a few of the reds seem more orangy/yellow too?

The "Carrot" looked superb, didn't noticably slow my machine down at any point but after a while I lost interest because the gameplay wasn't to my taste.

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Fredrik seems to use that palette for just about everything he's involved in :) For example, it's also in RTC-3057.

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I thought Ch_Retro was supurb.

I sky castle actually would probley be a kick ass coop map, I hae 750 Duron 256 ram and it slighty chugged here and there, so unless your system is a tad slow coop would be difficult.

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I think CH Retro was just right. In fact, it was even *gasp* playable without cheat codes! Maps really shouldn't be much more difficult than this.

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Guest BlackTerror

I just BARELY made it through on UV, and I was under 20% health for a while there. And actually, I thought the map seemed real familiar, almost E1-like, but the design of the level was somehow different.

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CH Retro was probably just a teensy little bit square, that is, too many 90° lines. I think that's what makes it feel, just a tiny bit off from Episode 1. It seems that pretty much every E1 map had a turn off to a 45° angle every now and then. That helped confuse your sense of direction just a little bit. Not too much, just enough to leave an enjoyable tease on the brain.

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Definitely an exhibit of great editing skills,this level is even better to look at
rather than playing it. Not that much playable, but i was able to survive long
enough to complete it.
There are a few minor bugs, but they are
overshadowed by the awesome level design of the map. The only bad note is that i had to
lower the resolution to 512x384 even on my
900MHz + 128Mb RAM machine to get a decent
frame-rate to play.
Overall a great map.

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Or whatever the name is, anyway, it's a very good map, I didn't mind the difficulty, it took almost an hour to finish with 100% on UV (which I consider being a good thing). Only in the beginning with lots of monsters alive it was a bit sluggish.

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Nice map - lighting isn't too great, and playability sucks (way too difficult for me)

On the lower skill levels, CH Retro is great

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We all want more maps.. some good ones:

Carrot: a bit unusual in gameplay, lots of symmetry, slow at the start but doable even on my lowly P233 so long as I didn't try to gawk from a distance. Not as hard as it at first looks, because there are several handy "safe" areas (tho some don't stay safe forever) and if you're a bit patient you can get the monsters to do most of the dirty work -- I only killed about a dozen of the first 120 or so myself. In fact, don't get in a hurry to kill anyone you don't have to, especially at the end <g> Plenty of ammo and other supplies, but if you're wasteful you can still run short. Minor bug: The first catwalk doesn't always reset if you leave by way of the red teleport. You can go back around and leave by the white teleport to fix it, tho.

CH_Retro: nice balanced map, not really Ep.1 feel but in common with Ep.1, it lets you wander in all directions, with secrets and stashes along all the routes just sufficient to keep you alive and shooting. Design keeps you off-balance and semi-lost without feeling too confusing. Would make a good start to a full episode.

As to the castle in the sky in Nightwing, I enjoyed that, it was a bit unfinished in spots but had some seriously good scares. The previous map fighting among the high rocks is one of the best of its type I've seen.

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Someone made a point about CH_Retro that "maps shouldn't be more difficult than this".

This is something I've ranted about before, and will again -- HARD isn't necessarily FUN. It should be hard enough that you never feel entirely safe, but never so hard that it becomes "WORK". I want to finish a map with a sense that soon I'll want to play it again, NOT with a sense that I've done all the hard work I plan to for the day.

A map becomes "work" when fights become tedious through repetition (too many cybes or barons is a BIG cause of this); when a puzzle takes too long or too many repeat attempts to solve; when I have to be "perfect" and do the route just exactly so to survive... you get the picture.

FUN happens when yeah, I got my ass kicked a few times, but it wasn't just sucker punches or trick accesses or cramped traps full of barons. FUN is looking forward to doing the map again so I can try that other route I noticed after getting my butt fried somewhere else. FUN is "OH FUCK!" because the *right* kind of surprise attack happened, not just because the surprise was "Haha sucker, you're dead".

I love going thru a map and being scared to death of that Vile I haven't yet seen or heard but I'm *sure* is here somewhere (anticipation is far more effective at generating fear than are outright attacks), or getting my shoulder tapped in the dark when I least expect it, or losing track of that wandering pinkie or imp or revenant and coming face to face in the last place I expected to find him.

And if you haven't seen my Infamous ZDoom Rant (which isn't really about ZDoom, but rather about overly-gimmicky design), go, read, think. http://home.earthlink.net/~rividh/asylum/zdoomr.htm

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Some people like to play extremely challenging levels, others prefer to glide through WADs without having the screen turn red screen a single time. This is why it's important to make use of the different difficulty settings that Doom provide. If a level's too hard for you, play on a lower difficulty level.

For COECITS, it's not a very hard level on skill 1. Perhaps harder than the average, but it's definitely not harder than any Doom level on ultra-violence (except the lenght). On skill 4, COECITS is VERY hard, and there's a purpose with it. You see... some players think most levels are way too easy... and I think they deserve to get some WADs other than Hell Revealed to play, right? :)

Unless it is a pile of crappy editing, and the author never even played through it, it's actually not the level's fault that you die, it's you who need to improve your skills. <Or use cheat codes.>

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Actually I thought Carrot's UV was about right *for the design of the map* [1], which is inherently busy, chaotic, and set in a grand scale, and the Marine is clearly invading a territory *owned* by the hellspawn.

[1] That is, if you have sense enough not to try to kill the cybes face to face :) The map produced a nice intuition that if I was patient, eventually I'd find some other way to do in the cybes -- and indeed, I knew what it was almost as soon as I saw the method to do so. Very cool when a map's FLOW works that way.

A map in a different style could require an entirely different population and density, to be "right" for that map. Frex, you wouldn't want to find Carrot's heavier-duty monster mix in an Ep.1 base-style map; that would be wrong for the setting, and the *type* of difficulty such a mismatch creates would soon become annoying or tedious.

Conversely it wouldn't seem right to have nothing but shooters in a big open castle map -- even if you were getting shot up from all directions, it just wouldn't be the right *style* of difficulty in that environment.

Balance lies in having both the right number of critters, and the right mix for the individual map.

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