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AwesomeO-789

Taggart Strikes Back Part 1: A WAD From First Time Uploader

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Taggart Strikes Back is my first WAD I've uploaded here on Doomworld, I have practiced making WADS before but haven't uploaded them, I feel this might be a decent first upload. The original plan for the WAD was to make it an 8 map WAD but currently I'm working on another project over on Hitman Forum which, frankly, I'm more interested in and will take up more of my time. Anyway, here are some details:


STORY:

Taggart Strikes Back is the story of space marine Flynn Taggart. Taggart has been killed, but luckily before he died he made good use of one of the old cloning facilities on Earth, abandoned after the UAC completed the construction of their new facility. Taggart's clone has no idea how or when he died, the last thing he remembers is activating that cloning machine. Armed with only a pistol, Taggart must uncover the secret truth behind his death and just what the hell is going on around here.


GAMEPLAY:

Taggart Strikes Back's gameplay is focused mainly on combat, with a few puzzles thrown in for good measure. In Taggart Strikes Back you're always moving, there is little cover to take advantage of and there is always more than one way to complete a mission.


MUSIC:

One of the things I was tampering with during the making of this WAD was context sensitive music. I thought this'd be a cool idea to incorporate into the WAD and I think I accomplished my goal well. While this feature doesn't come into play until Map03, I think it's a nice taste of what's to come.


I hope you enjoy my WAD, I know it may not be the best thing in the world but I did put a lot of effort into and had fun while I was playing it. MAP01 and MAP02 aren't particularly good but I hope you all can find some joy in the other two maps, which I personally believe are the two best things I've made during my time in Doom Builder.


ADDITIONAL NOTES:
-Requires Doom2.wad
-Should be played on GZDOOM/Zandronum. Tested on GZDOOM.
-No support for co-op or deathmatch
-Difficulty levels make little to no difference
-DOES NOT WORK WITH MOST MODS - THIS MAY BE DUE TO ME PICKING HEXEN FORMAT (sorry)
-RECOMMENDED PLAY WITH FREE LOOK ON AND AUTO AIM OFF

WAD WITH CUSTOM MUSIC (RECOMMENDED): https://www.mediafire.com/?eb940hblk14rrbc

WAD WITHOUT CUSTOM MUSIC (DESIGNED FOR PEOPLE WHO DON'T TURN ON MUSIC IN DOOM): https://www.mediafire.com/?33xv14hp4acfhz4

IMGUR ALBUM HERE:
http://imgur.com/a/T4Dnm

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I played through MAP01 on UV. I feel kind of hypocritical about what I'm writing here, since I've never released a map, but here are my thoughts.
It's not hideous, but there are a lot of odd design choices and misaligned textures. Were you going for a pure techbase theme, or a base that's been corrupted by hell?
The trap where you press a switch and two chaingunners teleport in behind you is too unfair. Either only have one chaingunner, have them teleport in further away from the player, or allow for some cover after the trap is sprung.
One thing I noticed that was really jarring was that you didn't use door track textures. This looks odd because then you have for example a metal texture abruptly ending and a wood texture starting.
Also when you put a switch on a line, make sure it's not tiling vertically.
I don't know why you used GZDoom for this map. I didn't notice any special effects or features that required the use of an advanced source port other than using flats as wall textures and that short script at the end of the map.
As for gameplay, it was alright. I didn't notice any unfair fights other than that chaingunner trap. If anything, it was a little too easy, but that can be forgiven if it's meant to be a MAP01 replacement.

Overall, I'd say it's a mediocre map. Nowhere near the worst I've ever played, but nothing about it is interesting.
I recorded a demo but I don't know where in the demo's forum to post it since it's not a FDA.

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Tosi said:

I played through MAP01 on UV. I feel kind of hypocritical about what I'm writing here, since I've never released a map, but here are my thoughts.
It's not hideous, but there are a lot of odd design choices and misaligned textures. Were you going for a pure techbase theme, or a base that's been corrupted by hell?
The trap where you press a switch and two chaingunners teleport in behind you is too unfair. Either only have one chaingunner, have them teleport in further away from the player, or allow for some cover after the trap is sprung.
One thing I noticed that was really jarring was that you didn't use door track textures. This looks odd because then you have for example a metal texture abruptly ending and a wood texture starting.
Also when you put a switch on a line, make sure it's not tiling vertically.
I don't know why you used GZDoom for this map. I didn't notice any special effects or features that required the use of an advanced source port other than using flats as wall textures and that short script at the end of the map.
As for gameplay, it was alright. I didn't notice any unfair fights other than that chaingunner trap. If anything, it was a little too easy, but that can be forgiven if it's meant to be a MAP01 replacement.

Overall, I'd say it's a mediocre map. Nowhere near the worst I've ever played, but nothing about it is interesting.
I recorded a demo but I don't know where in the demo's forum to post it since it's not a FDA.


I'll go ahead and say MAP01 definitely isn't the best one in this WAD. MAP03 and 04 are, in my opinion worth working your way through the shit to get to. This WAD is almost a showcase of my progression in mapping (sorry that sounds so pretentious). As you play further along more and more scripting is used which makes for more unpredictable and challenging gameplay. Level design gets better and features like the context sensitive music I mentioned in my first post gets introduced. Thanks for playing btw.

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I will play through the rest of the maps later. I like playing through newbie maps since I'm working on my first real map right now, and beginners often come up with ideas or architecture that you wouldn't see from an experienced mapper. Whether it's good or bad, the "outsider art" nature of these maps helps to get my creative juices flowing.

Is each map meant to be played from a pistol start? I'm not sure how to start recording a demo from a saved game or if that's even possible, so I was going to play from a pistol start.

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Tosi said:

Is each map meant to be played from a pistol start? I'm not sure how to start recording a demo from a saved game or if that's even possible, so I was going to play from a pistol start.


It's not meant to be played from pistol start, but I have tried it and it is possible IIRC. I doubt I'm as good as anyone else on Doomworld (hell, I play on Hurt Me Plenty most of the time) but I did die quite a bit when I tried pistol starting my maps.

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I gave this a try in GZdoom 1.8.09 on UV and I noticed some problems:

Map02: sector 123 shouldn't be secret.

Map03: Wall textures of plasma gun crushers shouldn't move.

Map04: this one was quite buggy. The crate with "rock I've never seen" can be pressed several times, and doing so will create an inescapable pit. When I opened door to this rock room, I inexplicably sank into floor. Also, I was't able to finish this map, I found no way how to progress after I rode up the elevator in the rock room. I tried pressing and shooting everything in both rooms, but nothing happened. There are many misaligned textures in these rooms, too.

Spoiler

Many puzzles were interesting, it was refreshing to play maps like these after a while. However, they were very easy - my health once dropped below 80% in Map01 and then never went below 150% thanks to all those health bonuses. Ammo was quite plentiful too, I didn't have to use the chainsaw at all.

But in any case, I hope you plan to expand this.

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Caleb13 said:

I gave this a try in GZdoom 1.8.09 on UV and I noticed some problems:

Map02: sector 123 shouldn't be secret.

Map03: Wall textures of plasma gun crushers shouldn't move.

Map04: this one was quite buggy. The crate with "rock I've never seen" can be pressed several times, and doing so will create an inescapable pit. When I opened door to this rock room, I inexplicably sank into floor. Also, I was't able to finish this map, I found no way how to progress after I rode up the elevator in the rock room. I tried pressing and shooting everything in both rooms, but nothing happened. There are many misaligned textures in these rooms, too.

Many puzzles were interesting, it was refreshing to play maps like these after a while. However, they were very easy - my health once dropped below 80% in Map01 and then never went below 150% thanks to all those health bonuses. Ammo was quite plentiful too, I didn't have to use the chainsaw at all.

But in any case, I hope you plan to expand this.


Thanks for the feedback! I'm definitely thinking about revisiting this once I'm done with other stuff I'm working on, perhaps rebuilding the original maps from scratch and making them harder. Glad you enjoyed the puzzles, I thought it'd be nice to change up the gameplay a little. As for all the "invisible holes" in MAP04, I looked into fixing them but alas couldn't find a solution, didn't know about the one with the crate though. There were a ton of changes to that outside area, I may have deleted a vertex or two.

Solution for rock puzzle, hopefully this helps. If not do report back and let me know what happened.

Spoiler

Open the crate in the first room and then collect the rock by pressing the interact button on it. Make sure you've killed all the monsters so the elevator door opens, go up into the second floor and press the interact button on the FRONT of the red structures (there is a reason to this, I'll look into finding a more efficient way of keeping the player from activating the other sides later). Interact with all four of the red structures and the lights will turn on.

Edit: Thanks for letting me know about that secret.

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I played MAP02. The gameplay was a lot better than MAP01, there was actually a challenge. The rooms are still too blocky and rectangular. It also needed more height variation and interconnectivity. Some windows between rooms would have been nice. The little arena at the end could have been a little bigger, and maybe some cover for the player added.
The chainsaw thing was funny the first time, but overstayed its welcome. I'm not a fan of lots of scripting anyway, unless it's really well done. It gets kind of annoying to have text popping up while you're trying to fight off hellspawn. Scripts that teleport or spawn monsters are alright, although I don't like having the monster count change throughout the map, so I'd prefer them to teleport in rather than being spawned. Going to play MAP03 now.

Edit: I completed MAP03. It was definitely an improvement over MAP02. Still a lot of misaligned textures and some rooms were pretty bland. The little "puzzles" were neat. I liked the one with the demons. There was a pretty big spike in difficulty compared with the previous two maps, and the monster count was a lot higher. I like the idea of the BFG breaking after the boss fight since it seems like it might keep the rest of the maps from being too easy.

Edit 2: On MAP04 now. I got stuck on the rock puzzle because interacting with the rock just keeps lowering the crate walls until I get trapped and I can never collect it. I'm using GZDoom 2.0.05.

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Tosi said:

Edit 2: On MAP04 now. I got stuck on the rock puzzle because interacting with the rock just keeps lowering the crate walls until I get trapped and I can never collect it. I'm using GZDoom 2.0.05.


I just downloaded the latest version of gzdoom and tested your issue. The trick is to lower the crate and then collect the rock without moving. Never move forward onto the cratetop texture or you'll get stuck. If I keep trying to interact with the crate to lower the walls as you described after collecting the rock, it does nothing.

Basically; collect the rock without moving onto the crate texture on the floor. I'm sorry this is such an inconvenience but this issue will be looked at and hopefully fixed when I come back to this map.

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I decided to give you some feedback on level 3, as you said levels 3 and 4 were the best ones. I tried playing from pistol start on UV but there wasn't enough ammo or weapons so I did idkfa. I took some screenshots - http://imgur.com/a/bHkt5. I used ZDOOM.

I thought you did some creative things on this level, like needing the demon to walk up the stairs to trigger something and spawning a barrel that blows up a wall. I think you have to be careful with this type of thing though, because they aren't "normal" things to do in doom, so the player may not understand what they have to do. For example, I got stuck in the room with the candelabras for a few minutes because I didn't know I had to "use" the candles.

I like the blood waterfall/pool. Using visually memorable features in your levels is a good way of helping the player remember where they are and get a sense of the space they're in. The shape of the geometry and lighting can also be used to create memorable spaces.

I played through without the music (because I forgot to turn it on), but I went back and listened afterwards. It sounds awesome, and I like the riffs and sounds. One thing I didn't like was how up and down it was, going from full on metal to relatively quiet sections quite quickly, and when the music changed between areas it was quite jarring. I think what works best in DOOM is picking one "feeling" per level, and keep the music fairly constrained around that. Have you got your music on soundcloud or something? It was pretty cool.

The fights in the map were fairly standard. By playing with the shape of the space you can move around in, you can force the player (and monsters) to be have more interesting movement patterns, and create more interesting fights. For example you could put pillars in a room, or have monsters at different heights, or have narrow areas.

The whole level seems to be the same brightness. You can use lighting to change the feel of different areas, make certain places stand out more, hide things, and just generally make the level feel more real.

There were some texture issues throughout the level. Be particularly mindful of where textures meet - these "seams" often look better with another texture or detail acting as a division - for example SUPPORT2 often gets used between textures in the first episode of DOOM1. The geometry of the level can also help create a distinct boundary between textures - instead of just having one texture blend straight into another, you can have an indent in the wall, a pillar, or something else that makes the change in texture seem more natural.

Also be conscious of texture alignment - often it's best to move your textures so that they match up better with the geometry they're covering. Like having the bottom and top of bricks aligning with the floor and ceiling, or having the "features" of a texture on a flat surface instead of bending around a corner. Also try not to have the same texture taking up too much of the players view or it can become visually confusing, or just plain boring.

The the BRNSMAL texture you used for the fence clips through the floor and looks weird.

A couple of small gameplay things - I thought it was weird in the sections where I could see the monsters, but they wouldn't aggro until I walked into the room. If I can see them and have line of sight on them, why can't I shoot them?

With the blue key, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to jump to get it or not. If I was, I think you need to make jumping a bigger part of your level so that I'm not left wondering when I get to that point. If I wasn't supposed to jump, place the blue keycard in such a way that it's obvious I'm not supposed to jump.

One last thing is I don't like your use of raised floors (bridges). I always think they look like a weird hack in the DOOM engine. I think you could have gotten away with raised floors instead and it would have looked better.

I hope this feedback helps. If you have any other things you'd like feedback about let me know.

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Quineotio said:

I tried playing from pistol start on UV but there wasn't enough ammo or weapons so I did idkfa.


I'll look into fixing this, I usually don't play from pistol start but I can understand the appeal. Sorry hardcore doomers :(

Quineotio said:

I thought you did some creative things on this level, like needing the demon to walk up the stairs to trigger something and spawning a barrel that blows up a wall. I think you have to be careful with this type of thing though, because they aren't "normal" things to do in doom, so the player may not understand what they have to do. For example, I got stuck in the room with the candelabras for a few minutes because I didn't know I had to "use" the candles.


Thanks! I think what I needed to do was let the player know early on that they could interact with some things in the environment. Hopefully I'll be able to work that in for later versions.

Quineotio said:

One thing I didn't like was how up and down it was, going from full on metal to relatively quiet sections quite quickly, and when the music changed between areas it was quite jarring.


I assume you mean the static that plays between songs? I fixed this in MAP04 and if I'm working on audio for my other project mentioned in the topic post I might go looking for some music I could potentially use for the next version of the WAD. MAP04 currently has a "looping" combat music, an end combat music and an ambient track. When I come back to this WAD, every map's soundtrack will work this way. I'll see if I can make a "One track per level" version of the WAD for people that don't like the context sensitive music.

Quineotio said:

Have you got your music on soundcloud or something? It was pretty cool.


I used some royalty free stuff and if I used something that someone owned (i.e music from another game) I'd ask for permission.

Quineotio said:

There were some texture issues throughout the level. Be particularly mindful of where textures meet - these "seams" often look better with another texture or detail acting as a division - for example SUPPORT2 often gets used between textures in the first episode of DOOM1. The geometry of the level can also help create a distinct boundary between textures - instead of just having one texture blend straight into another, you can have an indent in the wall, a pillar, or something else that makes the change in texture seem more natural.


If I remember correctly I fixed this in MAP04, I started using doortrak textures. Looked a hell of a lot more natural.

Quineotio said:

A couple of small gameplay things - I thought it was weird in the sections where I could see the monsters, but they wouldn't aggro until I walked into the room. If I can see them and have line of sight on them, why can't I shoot them?


The idea was that they were arena combat sections that made the player risk going down instead of hiding behind a wall and shooting from cover. I'll try and find a more natural way to do this.

Quineotio said:

With the blue key, I wasn't sure if I was supposed to jump to get it or not. If I was, I think you need to make jumping a bigger part of your level so that I'm not left wondering when I get to that point. If I wasn't supposed to jump, place the blue keycard in such a way that it's obvious I'm not supposed to jump.


You needed to kill all the monsters so the platform could be lowered.

Quineotio said:

One last thing is I don't like your use of raised floors (bridges). I always think they look like a weird hack in the DOOM engine. I think you could have gotten away with raised floors instead and it would have looked better.


Originally I was going to do 3D floors, but I was using Doom Builder 2 in Hexen format as opposed to GZDoom Builder in UDMF format. It was kinda confusing as all the tutorials for 3D floors were usually for GZDoom Builder.

Quineotio said:

I hope this feedback helps.


It did! Thanks a bunch!

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