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tourniquet

Miasma [on /idgames]

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Hi, one large and complex map i made during the last few months. Difficulty should be more on the challenging side, harder encounters are mostly optional though.

Some pics:



Complevel 9, Tested in Prboom+ 2.5.1.4 & Zdoom 2.7.1

Final Version

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Hi; came home from work, saw this, downloaded the SHIT out of it, got about 450 monsters in on UV, and immediately had to come back here and embarrass both of us by gushing about how, so far at least, this may be one of the best god damn maps I've ever played. It's like Ribbiks got drunk and banged Jade Earth, with some Speed of Doom and Death-Destiny's Disturbia with bits of Purified Extract of Doom Happiness (tm) mixed in!

...Or maybe I'm just really tired from work and I need to go to bed. Either way, this is fucking WHOOOOO!!

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Whoaa!!! Can't wait to get done work so I can play this!!

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YEAH I was waiting for your next map! Will edit this post with feedback as soon as I'm finished. I just finished with the rocket launcher fight and all I have to say about that is that you're a very, very mean person.

Just finished it at 50 minutes, but only have 60% kills... gotta snoop around for some switches! I NEED MORE!

Alright! 1:17 is my time, though it probably took an hour and a half including deaths. Let me prattle off my opinions below:

First, I'll start with the one negative aspect about the map: encounter design is all over the place. I think this is in part due to how much incidental combat there is jammed into the map, but even the setpiece encounters range wildly in difficulty. The insurmountable king of them all was the Mastermind fight, as it took me like... 15-18 tries in order to work out an efficient method for corralling the nobles. What stumped me before that was doing the battle past the manc platform with the RL, as I could not find viable way to kill those AVs protected by the revs up above. Meanwhile stuff like the black cardkey fight I got on my first try, and even the ominous final battle was neutralized on my second. I know that the order you go through the map has the potential to change how the encounters will play out, but there were still numerous fights that left me scratching my head wondering "wait, that's it?" (like after you hit the silver switch, or quite a bit of the green skullkey cave) I still have fun with little Dooming exercises like that, and I would hesitate to call the map "easy", but in the face of the Mastermind challenge I can't help but feel the balance is askew (and yeah it's optional, but there really isn't a way to know that until you beat the map)

Thankfully, that's my only complaint.

Miasma is a technical masterpiece and it's exactly what I was hoping it would be when I heard you were working on another map. While playing it, I think I came to the realization that you're perhaps the most talented Doom architect to date, only rivaled by Mechadon. Seriously, the sheer, unparalleled craftsmanship cannot be understated here. This emerald palace is rich with mobility, lively verticality, breathtaking nonlinearity, interconnecting sections, asymmetrical details, and perfect texture use that it leaves me in awe. Despite your Ribbiksian leanings being readily apparent, the difference is the brutish way you implement and decorate the map, trading out the sexy curves for more angular, disfigured, and jagged lines. Whereas your "mentor" is more inclined to showcase the beauty of geometry, you make each room vie and struggle for importance, the individual walls and ceilings at odds with each other. There was a similar concept in Anaemia, but I feel this little detail epitomizes your style—whereas most authors would simply put in the green texture and call it a day, you opted to fit it at an angle, condensing it with inlaid walls that—if continued—would crash into and devour one other. It makes your maps feel alive, volatile, and aggressive with their space (but not in a way that obstructs gameplay luckily). While most slaughter-mappers can trace their inspiration back to Insane_Gazebo, I think you're the only one I know that specifically draws upon his late career works (Obsidian Nightmare, Hive Mother), where the madness festers not in the atmosphere, but the very architecture itself.

The nonlinear gameplay is great too! For as much as I enjoy the gauntlet-style maps being produced nowadays, it always fills me with glee to play through a massive adventure where I'm constantly hit with moments of "oh, I could've explored this avenue instead!" The design of the map feels more organic and less contrived this way, coming across as a toxic outpost overrun with nasties that Doomguy must mercilessly root out. Since many of the encounters are so open, it provides more flexibility in the gameplay, letting me skirt past some engagements or enemies and save them for later. There isn't any fight that I disliked or that left me lukewarm—even the vicious mastermind battle was fun to try and figure out, realizing just how my positioning could funnel the nobles out at certain angles better. While the final battle wasn't as momentous as I thought it would be, I greatly enjoyed the elevator ride up the tower, as the corpses on the platform provided for some dynamic gameplay depending on where the AVs would come out (all my rev bodies were in one corner so I had to courageously defend it). Overall, it's a really smart, gorgeous map that's just a hell of a lot of fun to play and admire, and it's definitely something I want to see more of on the horizon. Good stuff!

Oh, and I caught this teeny tiny misalignment :P

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Started having a go at this, looks bloody amazing. Think I will play it properly later on a lower difficulty, a bit harsh on UV in places. Also all the keys are the same grey colour, dunno if that is a bug or part of the design, but it makes things a bit awkward.

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Thanks folks, Archi and Ribbiks allready helped me with playtesting but more feedback is very welcome.

mouldy said:

Also all the keys are the same grey colour, dunno if that is a bug or part of the design, but it makes things a bit awkward.


So all have the same color? What port or you playing on, i may agree that the gray and black keys are a bit hard to distinguish (i probably will swap one of both) but there should also be a pair of green keys.

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played v00, can't recommend it enough.

absurdly striking map, a tourniquet release is definitely something I've been looking forward to :). Took me a bajillion years to find all the secrets first time around so I'm curious to see what layout tweaks made it in. Lots of interesting fights, I found them all quite manageable on UV. The optional MM fight or the final tower area were the standouts as my favorite.

an aesthetic I find particularly interesting is the motif of switches "closing" into the wall, makes it seem like this building is alive, or something...

but yeah, great map! the mixture of set-piece proto-slaughter and exploratory elements is right up my alley.

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tourniquet said:

So all have the same color? What port or you playing on, i may agree that the gray and black keys are a bit hard to distinguish (i probably will swap one of both) but there should also be a pair of green keys.


Right, I played in zdoom in software mode. I didn't get as far as seeing any green keys, but I found all the others and its hard to distinguish between them, especially since there are 4 to collect. I guess black ends up looking like a dark grey, and they all flash in 2 shades of grey as well which doesn't help. The switch markings were also hard to distinguish depending on the lighting (even the green markings look a bit grey in low light), and one was telling me i needed a red key..

Not sure gray and black are a good choice for keys given the map is mostly those colours, but I can see now you did that to keep your colour scheme consistent. If no one else has a problem then don't worry too much about it.

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Octavarium said:

It's like Ribbiks got drunk and banged Jade Earth, with some Speed of Doom and Death-Destiny's Disturbia with bits of Purified Extract of Doom Happiness (tm) mixed in!


Wow...that sounds pretty amazing.

Really though, this map had me at "tourniquet."

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mouldy said:

and one was telling me i needed a red key..


You have to change the compatibility options in Zdoom to 'Boom' in order to get the Hud messages right. I'm certain theres a way to change that via Decorate but my knowledge about it is literally zero

Guess i'll change the key colour even if you're the only one that complains about it since it's a good point.

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Seems like a really nice map from what little I played. Gonna do a proper playthrough next.

Got stuck (I assume) in a secret in my initial playthrough though. Check out this nomo demo where I replicate it: https://www.mediafire.com/?0u5zn6294bwnhe5

I'm like 95% sure that I wasn't supposed to be able to activate that switch from ground level.

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thanks mr mutt :)

Veinen said:

Got stuck (I assume) in a secret in my initial playthrough though. Check out this nomo demo where I replicate it: https://www.mediafire.com/?0u5zn6294bwnhe5


Cheers Veinen thats a very nice find, gonna fix it.

@Dobu, merci for this excessive review, i certainly agree that encounters vary from quite difficult to kinda underwhelming. My main motive for this is probably that the map was supposed to be the first in a set of 3 and i didn't want to start with an endless chain of tedious encounters right away. But since development is very time consuming and exhausting and i might want to do some other things besides this i decided to release them separately. I also kinda liked the idea of adding some breather parts between the harder setpieces.

The silver switch, bridge battle was just an anyoing wave of teleporting mobs in earlier versions, probably the weakest encounter and no fun at all. That's why i nerfed it.
MM fight is my favorite in the whole map, it's more a matter of crowd control and perhaps you need a bit of luck with distracting the nobles but due to the optionality i kinda insist to not touch it again unless there's a major grievance :p

I'll probably do some more difficulty adjustments but for the moment i wait and see if some more feedback arrives.

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To be fair I'm not really complaining about the MM fight's difficulty as much as how it stands out in contrast to the rest of the map. I think it's probably the best encounter too, given that it forced me to study the geometry to see if hugging one side of the arena was better than another. And yeah, the bridge battle is silly, but it can be entertaining in an impromptu way if you try and stay up above rather than clearing out the cacos down below—it's one of those situations where making the fight harder on yourself also makes it more fun. I think the difficulty imbalance is more of a systemic issue rather something that can be finely tweaked (as many solutions would require locking the player into certain fights, like with the cyberdemon one on the way to the MM fight), so I'd treat it more as a nitpick to be potentially addressed in future works.

Good to hear there could be two more adventures in the works. If you do go through with making them, I'd love for you to bundle the maps together just so they're in one convenient little package I can play—I assume we're going to see different color schemes?

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Oh yeah they all differ in colour scheme and gameplay. Perhaps i'll finish the second one sometime this year since i allready have a layout. Not sure if i ever find the patience to do the 3rd one, right now it's just an idea that might be too exaggerate, even for me.

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I literally made a big disappointed noise when Underhalls greeted me upon finishing the map, so yes, I'd very much love to see more. :V

(I'm not posting much in depth as I frankly don't know where to begin. It seems like a few other posters have got the whole praise side of discussing this masterpiece covered anyway!)

edit: also I just want to note that the music selection is also basically perfect, seeing as nobody else has commented on it yet.

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Very impressive!

Took a spin through without monsters just to look at everything. Got lost a bit at points, but that could be my own fault (since the monsters can sometimes be a clue as which way to go next). Like mouldy, I played in ZDoom software mode, and I had trouble telling the keys apart (grey and slightly darker grey?) and the ZDoom HUD messages not lining up didn't help (which is the red key?) Maybe make one of them bronze instead?

Also, this stimpack gets stuck on the lift and goes up/down with it. Gamebreaking, I know.

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Had a proper go at it on hmp, its still pretty tough in places. Turns out I had got all the way to the final fight on UV anyway, seems that a lot of the map is purely optional, and I didnt have the BFG that time so had to give up.

A real feat of engineering this is, absolutely gorgeous to look at too. I was totally lost most of the time thanks to the convoluted design, but I didn't care because the surroundings were so scenic. It reminds me of dreams I've had where I was lost in some doom map that keeps opening up new areas to explore. I was forever finding secrets that turned out to be not secrets at all, but actual progression. Of real secrets I found maybe 2.

I really struggled with health on UV, HMP wasnt so bad but there were a couple of moments where I felt like I was fucked if I came out of one battle badly because there was no health to recover for the next one. Part of that is my own sloppiness though, so that really is more of an observation than a complaint. The most difficult fight for me was around the green skull key due to the congestion, I found I had to develop quite specific strategies to overcome that. The final fight gave me problems because I took an unlucky hit at some point and ended on 9% health, then saved thinking that was probably it, but there were more archviles to deal with in the tower. That was definitely a point where I'd have liked to have a health top up! Oh and I just remembered the battle with all those mancs and the cyber opposite, that was a pain. Death comes very quickly in that fight if you mess up.

Anyway, a truley marvellous creation, i dread to think of all the mechanics going on behind the scenes.

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Octavarium said:

It's like Ribbiks got drunk and banged Jade Earth, with some Speed of Doom and Death-Destiny's Disturbia with bits of Purified Extract of Doom Happiness (tm) mixed in!


BOINGgggggg

Will have to play this as soon as I get some time for a longer non-DWMC engagement.

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Magnusblitz said:

I played in ZDoom software mode, and I had trouble telling the keys apart (grey and slightly darker grey?) and the ZDoom HUD messages not lining up didn't help (which is the red key?) Maybe make one of them bronze instead?

Also, this stimpack gets stuck on the lift and goes up/down with it. Gamebreaking, I know.


Thanks magnus, i'll definitely change one of the keys colors.

mouldy said:

I really struggled with health on UV, HMP wasnt so bad but there were a couple of moments where I felt like I was fucked if I came out of one battle badly because there was no health to recover.


Cheers mouldy, perhaps i removed a bit too much health on HMP to compensate the lower enemy count. Guess i'll also add some more inside the tower.

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Demon of the Well said:

Will have to play this as soon as I get some time for a longer non-DWMC engagement.

Strap yourself in—I know you in particular will have a fun time with this one.

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After playing this for a good 45 minutes, all I can say is what a great piece of work this is, fantastic visuals and the gameplay has been really solid, though there are some serious difficulty spikes in there. Right I better find a solution to the mastermind/noble set piece :P

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HUGE, beautiful, HARD. Obvious comparisons to Sunder MAP14 and Stardate 20x7 (without all the purple) and Valiant and maybe D2INO MAP07. This great organic, yet structured, quality to the environment. Wow. I finished with 58% kills, 57% items, 0% secrets and no idea how to find what I missed. There's a Mastermind?

I tried to open the map in DeePSea to look at it and got a Vertex Error; Fatal Error; Crash.

I also noticed that while the Key pickup messages are correct with the new colored keys, I was still getting "Need a Blue Key to activate this object". I noticed the same thing in Stardate 20x7. Is this a ZDoom issue, or just my version of ZDoom? I don't have any other Dehacked running.

Headache-inducing, yet fun. Thank you.

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Absolutely marvelous. I've gone through the level pretty extensively, set up a bunch of save points at the various set piece encounters to practice them and prepare for a UV-Max attempt of this beast. Patiently awaiting a final version.

I do have one grievance though, maybe it's just because I play so recklessly during the initial stage, but the big tower battle right at the exit, after ascending the lift (and dying violently in fire repeatedly before I figured a good way to approach the arch-viles) I was usually left with a very low amount of HP and thus was very unprepared for the release of more arch-viles back at the bottom of the tower. Also was low on some ammo, but that's not as dire as the HP, in fact the ammo was probably a good thing since I had to use my 100 plasma you graciously provided wisely... Maybe at most a soulsphere or even just a few medikits at the top of the tower would be quite helpful before dealing with the various monsters that inevitably get resurrected. Otherwise I guess I just have to git gud and not take so much splash damage from the cyberdemons prior.

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