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psyren777

Xarathustra map set

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Voros said:

99 cents!
Upload it to moddb!
Or gamefront!
I don't have that kind of money. Especially to download one file.
4shared is good too.

I can't download anything on gamefront.
Moddb maybe... but 4shared make me wait!
Prefer Sendspace.

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I think this will be the final version, if no one finds anything major wrong with it: https://www.sendspace.com/file/ucnlzw

Three new maps, for those that played the earlier version.

Caleb13 and Scifista, may I add your names to credits for checking and testing? (and/or anyone else that can give feedback)

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Don't mention me in credits, I only gave you one general technical advice, without actually downloading your map at all.

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Thanks, but that wouldn't feel right. I just played the maps - once - and took some screenshots along the way.

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Wow, over a week now, and still no feedback?

(Maybe if I sign up on a file hosting forum I can find some Doom players! hahaha...)

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I put up a short review of your map on DWS's TWID article for the week ending in the 22nd of November. I'm trying to remember more right now but I went far overboard on the pics and now there's only one for me to look at. But I'll look at it again when I get back on my laptop and have something to look at for memory's sake so I don't wind up talking about another wad thinking it was this one. But basically what I wrote before was that they weren't the most beautiful maps, but did have a lot of cool-looking, memorable spots. And they also took a turn for the slaughter at some point, with giant mobs of lower tiered enemies and whatnot, though I cant exactly call that full on slaughter.

Anyway, enough of me rambling about my bad memory, I'll give it a quick check to refresh my brain and put something up here for you. Mind you, I just got home from a friends bachelor party so it's a wonder I'm still moving, heh.

*Edit*
Ok, I'm a bit too tired to play through all these maps again, but here's an FDA of a level I remember liking: FDA. Pardon my drunk playing.

I really liked this map for some reason. Perhaps it's the opportunity to take 6 different paths that are all the exact same. More so, I think, it's the monster placement and the way that they all work with their environment.

One problem with many maps here is that you load them up and see 300+ monsters, with one having 999. These are some big maps that are gonna demand a lot of time. But this problem is compounded, to me at least, by the slaughter-ish parts with tons of enemies for no real reason. You can get away with a horde or three of imps, zombies, revs even, but a horde of barons and HK's is nothing more than a "there go all my rockets" sort of thing. I think that barons and PE's are the toughest monsters to use correctly because they are specialty monsters suited for very few roles. MAP13 had problems with both. There were 2 PE's with a mancubus I saw through a couple windows with nothing to do but spit out skulls and soak up shots from the mancubus. The skulls had nothing to do but block my fire from hitting the PE's and mancubus and attacking each other. As far as the hordes thing goes: I'm not an expert, just a guy who's been doing a lot of studying as he plays and reads what others type, but it seems to me that the key to a nice horde encounter is how engaging it is vs time invested. A horde of zombies and lower-tiered enemies can be mowed down and I don't care who you are, that's just fun, heh. A group of revs can take a bit to go through, but the homing projectiles are so deadly that it's almost difficult to screw up. Thanks to Id for making such great monsters (and game in general). On the other hand, a horde of HK's, especially in a narrow hallway like in MAP13, is only threatening if you do not have a power weapon and barons are only there to soak up more rounds than the HK's, which makes them damn-near useless (it would be better to have less ammo and replace them with HK's). Though, I will say that I agree with groups of 1-3 HK's and 1 baron, assuming the player has little-to-no power weapons/ammo for the simple fact that at that point it becomes important for the player to pick his target, saving the full-on baron for last. Now, that map is also pretty non-linear, so perhaps my view was distorted by the path I took and my one perspective; with that in mind (and just in general) everything I say should be taken with a big grain of salt.

Going back to that last map and what set it apart for me was the low monster count and that the monster placement just made sense. That's not to say that the other maps did not have good thing placement, but perhaps it's something I just don't have the words for now. Still, from what I played of these maps they were fun!



And these were the thirteen pictures I had taken of spots that I thought looked really cool in these maps, though there were others (these were just the thirteen I couldn't part with; there were over 20): (I'm gonna post these here because this thread needs some screenshots anyway) As a quick aside: if my thoughts seem a bit out-of-order, I filled in the descriptions for these pics backward, so... I hope it makes sense ^^


Title Pic


Cool-looking room. Not a lot of architectural detailing, but I like the detail work that was done here. The raised floor bordering the acid with the acid texture on the inside wall looked nice. As did the tech-boxes, the random columns and that little window over there. All together it paints a nice picture.


A fairly basic-looking room, I liked the way this spot looked. You can see the neutral colors darkened in the background while the lights are a more eye-catching red.


This might have been the first room in this wad that really stood out to me. Even though the design is basic once you take into account that everything was symmetrical and could have been copy+paste'd from one set, as a whole it just looks awesome. The texturing here was what set it off.


There was another cool-looking room with more of those blue lights on the ceiling, but I liked this shot better because they were more special here, being less of a prominent feature in this room. I really liked the texture choice for those alcoves the imps are on; very efficient way of making it seem more interesting. I like how the only real, vibrant colors in this room were the blue lights that were lit up (higher brightness), while everything else was darker (lower brightness).


Really nice-looking area to kill demons in. But as with most of these shots a tiny bit more detailing would go a long way. But the texturing was awesome!


Man I love those lights... This room was just a solidly designed room.


Not a lot of little detailing, but from far away those walls look really cool. Great job with the color scheme here; between the sky, floor, and walls everything is white, black, and brown with a little green thrown in. It all meshes together very nicely.


funny little room


Great POV! It's not that anything else looked highly detailed or really great, but those shells beckoning the player up towards the unreachable (though at this POV that is not known) BFG. This is aided by the 2 adjacent structures running parallel to this POV, with the structure behind the BFG tying the focal point up nicely. Never mind that the player start is actually in front of the camera past the shells, heh. Still, without jumping off in the beginning, those shells are a nice beckoning over to the nearby shotgun and start of the maze.


Great color scheme in the detail-work. The bright blues and reds contrasted nicely with both one another and the dull greens, browns, and greys of the rest of it.

This spot looked really cool and that structure reminded me of that one NRftL level.


I liked this concept for a secret map. Thinking about it being a replacement for a Wolfenstein level makes those blue bricks feel right at home. Really I just liked the colors here, though the metal steps look cool too and it's important to have those neutral colors present. This secret map had a really cool layout as well.

I suppose aesthetically-speaking the only major downfall of these maps were the orthogonality of everything. Just about everything was a square. Aside from that, I think a little more detailing would go a long way. But that's not to say that they weren't really sweet as is; that's just my observation after being spoiled by the brilliance of so many talented mappers. This was especially true, however, in the first couple maps. Though I will say that I loved the way you textured these maps.



If I had more time I would properly play through the rest of the maps to completion, but I just don't have that kind of time. Still, I would recommend this map set to anyone seeking a good way to pass the time as it was good fun!

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Hey, I played some of this a time ago (the older version) and I liked, it's fun! But I need more time to play all the levels. For some reason I didn't like the new opener as I found the elevator map better as a MAP01.

When I have time I will try a more in-depth look.

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Thank you so much, Fonze, this was much more than expected, and I was unaware of your nice writeup at DWS. I was mostly interested in bug finding, stuck things, misaligned textures that stand out, switches and tags that don't work. I don't play with jumping, so there might be places to get stuck for those who have it enabled.

Your gameplay advice is great input also, though I've never been very good at designing that part of a map. Maps are tested to be completable from a pistol start, so if you come from a previous map fully loaded, there will be a surplus of ammo and health, and I have no idea how to balance that. Hordes of enemies stuffed in everywhere they can fit is the way I like it, (mass carnage) but you are right. Using fewer bad guys with better placement would certainly be more difficult. Not sure how to fix this either. A feature of the map being interlinked is that there is usually more than one way to approach a horde, and thus, more than one way to battle.

As you mentioned, thanks to the genius of Id for designing the awesome enemies. Getting the placement and timing right for them to do what we want is a skill I'm still learning. Most often I do use HKs instead of Barons, as they are just a waste of ammo (unless that durability can help fighting other enemies.) PEs are a designed nuisance. If you don't find/destroy them quickly, you'll be swimming in a sea of Lost Souls. Again, there's more than one way to confront them. Try rushing head in from the door on that map, rather than looking through the grating. The Mancubus isn't fast enough worry about, and two of the PEs will usually get wasted by the crusher that is activated.

No scenery and basic structural design is also planned to be the way it is. Sorry for being too old, from a time when high node/thing count could really slow down the playability. I like maps clean and simple, without detail, like the classic Id levels. Decorated by enemy dead, and nothing to get stuck or hung up on when strafing.

@ Noiser: Sorry for replacing map01. I thought it was too fast to be dropped into so much, and wanted a more relaxed start. (Took me like 10 tries to get past the first elevator using Brutal Doom, so I thought it was too tough.)

--

There will probably be 3 more maps added, 15, 16, and the other secret level. Not even sure about that though, as running out of ideas and getting burned out...

One of these days I'd really like to complete a megawad, but just can't seem to do it with the big maps I like to play. :(

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psyren777 said:

Thank you so much, Fonze, this was much more than expected, and I was unaware of your nice writeup at DWS. I was mostly interested in bug finding, stuck things, misaligned textures that stand out, switches and tags that don't work. I don't play with jumping, so there might be places to get stuck for those who have it enabled.


You're welcome man; it was my pleasure! As far as bugs and such go, I didn't find any, but then again how hard was I looking for them? (not hard) Still, there was one misalignment I noticed right at the very beginning of the map set. When you spawn, there's a chainsaw in front, stairs on the right closer to spawn than the chainsaw, with some columns separating the areas. That first column right after the stairs is misaligned in the back, though the front was aligned and the three linedefs were all aligned with one-another. I think it would look better with that to be aligned on the back end, just because of how it winds up fitting (the problem is a 12 or 24 pixel-wide wall on the front side) the column. Idk though, maybe you went for the lesser of two evils there already, but if that's the case I think a little trickery with the texture in question to compress it or a different texture entirely would do better. Idk, itd be easier if I had a screenie to post here, but I hope that came out as clear as I thunk-it-ed it.

Your gameplay advice is great input also, though I've never been very good at designing that part of a map. Maps are tested to be completable from a pistol start, so if you come from a previous map fully loaded, there will be a surplus of ammo and health, and I have no idea how to balance that. Hordes of enemies stuffed in everywhere they can fit is the way I like it, (mass carnage) but you are right. Using fewer bad guys with better placement would certainly be more difficult. Not sure how to fix this either. A feature of the map being interlinked is that there is usually more than one way to approach a horde, and thus, more than one way to battle.


I think the best way to gauge gameplay is to play many maps and study your own reactions to how stuff makes you feel. Then follow the thoughts through to completion, as sometimes emotion will cloud your judgement in the moment. At least that's how it is for me. For monster placement I like to think about it like a game of chess against an unknown opponent who will make moves that are also unknown. You gotta plan for stuff and most of the time that's impossible without either great knowledge (which I don't have yet either) or extensive playtesting. At this point you need to know what makes you tick so you can step out of your own gaming shell and try to do things purposefully different. Sometimes I place monsters in reverse, from the exit to the start, to get a better hold of the balance of the map, though I cant say I always follow through with that, because sometimes you start with an encounter and work from there, but for some reason doing the things backward seemed to really help my playtesting and decrease the chance for stupid oversights, which I certainly make from time to time. I almost always pistol-start maps these days because I think it's expected unless otherwise noted that pistol starting is at least possible/balanced for. I really liked the interconnectedness of these maps, btw. The layouts were nice! The more a map is nonlinear I think the more it becomes important to playtest it and constantly strive to do something different. That's about the only way I know to really balance stuff out. Problem is, when a map has 400+ monsters, how many times can you, as the creator, who has already put in so much time making such an epic map, playtest the thing? I think you should make a few smaller maps to balance out the large ones.
One way to balance out ammo, aside from making ammo tighter in the previous level, is to take away the backpacks. That one item is the worst culprit in unbalancing maps for continuous play. Aside from that, make cells and rockets less abundant and bullets and shells more abundant. Because let's face it, 200(+150) bullets go quick and as long as shells are not coasting above 30 the only real benefits are the already aquired weapons, a little extra ammo and perhaps some armor, at the cost of perhaps some health. Until players like me save the SS til the end and then hit the exit, heh. It can't be perfect, but it can be done. You know the problem; the only solution is to find out which packs of ammo to reduce/replace/delete, which can only be done at this point through more playtesting. This is another reason I like to go backwards with the encounters; to make sure that they're all beatable with nothing but the guns provided (and usually I'll also go for "with no ammo," but it sucks having to waste all your shots before every playtest, heh). On one of the tutorial threads Ling recommended testing with IDFA and counting the ammo you use to determine a good starting point, which I think is an awesome idea.

As you mentioned, thanks to the genius of Id for designing the awesome enemies. Getting the placement and timing right for them to do what we want is a skill I'm still learning. Most often I do use HKs instead of Barons, as they are just a waste of ammo (unless that durability can help fighting other enemies.) PEs are a designed nuisance. If you don't find/destroy them quickly, you'll be swimming in a sea of Lost Souls. Again, there's more than one way to confront them. Try rushing head in from the door on that map, rather than looking through the grating. The Mancubus isn't fast enough worry about, and two of the PEs will usually get wasted by the crusher that is activated.


Me too man. As long as we know that there is always more to learn and strive to learn it everything will get easier and better over time. Yeah, I didn't make it that far in the map, heh. Perhaps it was the path I took, but my best run on that map had me meet my unfortunate fate at the hands of a mob of revs because I was between the lifts on the bottom (after falling) and only the outer lift worked, so at some point I had to ride the lift up and hello revenant before my screen could see that high, lol. Still, that was a very fun map. You certainly have a good hold on the concept of enemy specialties, though and that does show in these maps all over the place.

No scenery and basic structural design is also planned to be the way it is. Sorry for being too old, from a time when high node/thing count could really slow down the playability. I like maps clean and simple, without detail, like the classic Id levels. Decorated by enemy dead, and nothing to get stuck or hung up on when strafing.


Say no more! I can certainly appreciate that because for the majority of my time playing Doom it was all iWads all the time. I had a feeling that was the feel here, but as I said before, I've been getting so spoiled looking at many of the maps today. Still, I really liked the way you textured everything. To me, most of the detailing was in the well-placed texturing that you did. I also gotta state again that I really liked your lighting effects and matching vibrant colors to them in certain parts. The color schemes here were well-done. All that considered, I wouldn't even think of calling these maps ugly.

There will probably be 3 more maps added, 15, 16, and the other secret level. Not even sure about that though, as running out of ideas and getting burned out...

One of these days I'd really like to complete a megawad, but just can't seem to do it with the big maps I like to play. :(


As I said before, I think you should make some small(er) maps to break-up the steady flow of big ones. This would not only help you to fill-out your wad with more maps, but would also give players some quicker maps to play and would add interest simply for breaking up the monotony. Also, there's always that one short map after that one big one when you beat the big one and are ready to quit, then you see it's a small map coming up, that you decide to play anyway. Kinda like MAP07 of Doom 2, Dead Simple, which is where many people, including myself oddly enough, seem to quit Doom 2. Most of the time I'm ready to quit halfway through The Crusher, lol. But when you hit Dead Simple it's like, why not? Little things to add interest.

I'd love to see this thing fleshed out to a full megawad, but just don't lose hope on these and let them collect dust. If you don't decide to go up to 32, that's fine! Better to be all fun than to drag on anyway, right? When you feel they're ready, /idgames will be waiting and I'll be one happy camper to get an excuse to play through some of these things again (and see what's new that's in store). I hope more people give these maps a download and check em out, cause you've done an excellent job so far!

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Psyren maps, woo! Thank you Santa for the early present. Rylayeh is one of my all-time favorite mapset, to the point I replay it every year or so. Such a distinctive atmosphere, cohesive theme pulling you into the adventure, and that mapping style so different from just about everything else, with complex intertwined layouts, fights on small, twisting ledges overlooking bigger rooms, hordes of cannon fodder monsters making an unrelenting approach.

Only up to map04 so far, but most of the above elements are in Xarathustra as well and I'm loving it. I have to say I enjoyed the green and white fortresses of Rylayeh much more than I do those "standard" techbases; but you manage to find creative uses for stock textures and your particular approach to layout still makes for interesting, unique architecture.

I'm having too much fun to give decent feedback regarding bugs or things to improve, just wanted to share my enthusiasm. :)

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@ Gustavo6046 (and any others interested): I would be honored to consider any map you wish to add. As Fonze says, I need some smaller maps to drop between these and balance it out more. I have been staring at a single sector for the past week and remain uninspired, so I need help, and will give full credit to any contributions. Style doesn't matter, but no special scripts or ZDoom only stuff, and should be technically perfect. All doors, keys, tags, work. No HOM or missing textures. Every map should be created like it was the only one, and tested over and over, then it will have the quality needed. (This is one reason I run out of ideas.)

@Phml: Glad you appreciate the previous work. Nice to know someone enjoys the same type of things I do. I also thought Rylayeh was a superior set to Crimson Canyon, but was not as well received. This one will not have all the new graphic content, but should be the same type of fun, as my playing style doesn't change much.

Other than trying to start a new map, I'm still testing one, (proving to be more difficult than expected!) and another has no monsters yet, but the structures are pretty!

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Was looking through various old posts and found this, holy cow this is one thing I'm really sad I missed out on, and only by a month or so. Is the file still available anywhere or could someone reupload? All download links in the thread seem dead...

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