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an_mutt

Return to Necropolis

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Return to Necropolis is a 9 map episode replacement for Doom II in Boom format. This mapset is a spiritual successor to my NOVA II contribution, Crumbling Necropolis, and will for the most part feature design ideas which follow from that map - namely, non-linear gameplay, large sprawling layouts, and low to mid-tier difficulty gameplay with some deviations into much more difficult conflict (depending on how deeply you dig into particular nooks and crannies). There will also be a lesser number of smaller, more gimmick-orientated maps. All maps will, hopefully, achieve the feeling of rich atmosphere and engaging, explorative locales!

You can download a two map demo here!!

Screenshots:

http://imgur.com/wZjnGbF
http://imgur.com/c2feqDs
http://imgur.com/3K0xHK4

Thanks for your time and attention, etc. etc.

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Cool. I didn't get much sleep and probably will play badly, but I can't resist. :)

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Interesting. That nova map was so epic, I can imagine 9 of them being enough doom to fill a whole megawad

Bonus points already for super aleste music

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Sweet, just in time for my article :)

Will enjoy playing this later tonight.

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Just played through the first map, excellent stuff. Took me 46 minutes, think I found most stuff. Great fun.

Here is something strange a couple of imps were doing:

Breezeep said:

The music used in the first map is from Ninja Warriors, actually.


I was talking about the title music, but since you brought it up, I'm not sure if that map01 music is long enough to fit a 46 minute map. I mean it didn't drive me insane, but see what other people say about that maybe.

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What a pleasant surprise! Loved your original Crumbling Necropolis and it's nice you took the theme and made something bigger with it. Will play this for sure.

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Thanks for the kind words, fellas. I'll be hoping to have a few more maps in your hands before too long - I'm using these first two maps to sorta test the waters and get a better feel on how I should progress from here.

mouldy said:

Here is something strange a couple of imps were doing:
https://www.mediafire.com/view/?w0v8cg9ib8ysfqw

god damn it, I swear I fixed this already. It just keeps happening!

For the music, I'm definitely aware of how much of an issue repetition can be. I'll see how things go with this track, although I personally really enjoy it.

Also, I feel the need to point out that I'm responding to a comment on maddening midi music that was made in a post by Mr. Going Down. ;D

Spoiler

I kid, obviously!

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Hah, you like that sky so much you turned it into your logo huh? :)

Looks good, I will play this when I can.

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I can't decide if that reminds me of Duke 3D or the first Marathon, but either way it looks lovely :)

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Excellent Mr. Mutt, glad to see your still working on the successor for the best map of Nova 2. Looking forward to giving it a try later.

Pretty long FDA with saves for map01, ~10 Deaths if i counted right. There's also a 10min break towards the end when i needed to answer the phone so prepare to FastForward.

That was a fun trip, almost gave up on finding the RK glad i didn't otherwise i had missed the best parts. Loved the "flood the starting area" gimmick and the subsequently nukage run. Very interesting and varied traps, i think the one with the lowering platform, right before everything gets flooded and of course the cyb encounter were my fav's. Great job.

Gonna give map02 a try soon.

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an_mutt said:

Return to Necropolis is a 9 map episode replacement for Doom II in Boom format. This mapset is a spiritual successor to my NOVA II contribution, Crumbling Necropolis...


I'm sold. Can't wait to play this!

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Just finished map02. Lovely scenery and cheeky soundtrack, really stylish. In fact it was so nice to look at I almost forgot the horrible stingy pistol start. There are also some rather nasty traps that seem to demand a bit of foreknowledge, which isn't so bad in itself, but this map is so totally linear after the previous one that you don't get that freedom to try going somewhere else if you keep getting hammered.

But yeah, I instantly forgave all its sins when I saw the spiral crusher. Also that dark secret section is very cool, even if the trap it unleashes is certain death.

Here are a couple of imps up to no good again:

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Alright, played through MAP01. Was surprised that the main path only granted me about half of the kills, so I went back and completed the red key path—always appreciate large optional romps. Couple things:

- Always fun to play new things by you, but perhaps the setting/texture choice is currently too similar to Necropolis? I mean there’s not much you can do about it now, but the visual presentation isn’t quite as striking since it feels kinda like a “been there done that” kinda thing. Could still be impressive for those that are unexperienced with the original, but it's still something to keep in mind for the future. Hopefully the underground cave of MAP02 is more my style.

- The medikit next to the first berserk pack is wholly unnecessary; I’d rather see more medikits along the “raised damaging pool” path than all the healing items bunched together near the start.

- The ceiling here is really flat and needs some kind height adjustment or just something to distract the eyes.

- Teleport pads that you arrive to and can’t warp back from need to be a different color (maybe a dark gray?). Usually you do a "light glows" effect for those that are active, but it’s much simpler to use a different flat to convey that they’re “off”.

- PE at the yellow key encounter is useless since the bars block the Lost Souls it can spawn.

- Likewise, the PE that pops up here is just asking for you to camp there and punch its face in. Would work much better as a cacodemon.

- The timed blue key switch that opens that one door has a timing that’s waaay too tight. I had to clip through the door and was really confused if there was an easier way or something.

- A chaingunner at the bottom of the lowering column of damaging fluid? Really? Considering that there’s no cover around, it just feels like a dick move, and the original drop into that area was hard enough as is.

- The soulsphere on the “raised damaging pool” path needs to be a rad suit. That run is far too aggressive with only 2 rad suits for the whole thing and almost no rockets for the player to use. Like I said before too, there needs to be smidge more health peppered along the path too (or maybe the additional rad suit would take care of my health problem, I dunno).

- I agree with mouldy that the MAP01 midi is a bit too much. It’s fine for a map that keeps pushing you forward, but its high-energy blaring is not conducive to secret hunting. I wound up muting it when looking for the red key.

- Finally, the SSG needs to be on the main path. I’d ideally switch it out with the green armor located here, since the player still has a good 50% left of their original green armor when they bump into it. I strongly suggest doing this because the berserk pack is basically a melee-range SSG, and there’s no reason why so much of the map should be forced to be played as a Tyson experience. It’s good to leave that option there for the Tyson players, but it’s such a hassle to whittle cacos/mancs down with the SG and swap to the fists any time pinkies/revs appear. On top of that, the SSG being present at the cyber battle isn’t some great boon to that fight either—it’s been a long time since I’ve outright skipped an encounter because I got frustrated, but after running/skipping so many foes without a radsuit down in the damaging pool, that fight was just too much for me, especially since I was out of rockets and a PE was at the top of the map infighting with its children and creating more chaos. Honestly, for as much effort as that path requires, I might suggest changing the SSG there into a BFG or backpack or something, because the SSG as a reward is laughable.

Other than that, most everything else went smoothly. Main path was plenty of fun and I appreciated that it was harder to get lost in than your NOVA II contribution. Plays great for an opener to the set, but that red key path definitely needs a bit of tuning.

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This is the best couplet of maps like these (exploration-centered, lots of incidental combat, etc.) I've played all year. In map02, I died stupidly in the crusher thing where two AVs are released and have been meaning to replay that one before giving feedback on it, but yeah, good stuff. I got through map01 without deaths, doing a lot of the optional content, but had a 25%-health moment, so maybe the "low difficulty" part is overstated. :P I guess many of the encounters on paper are, but playing a long map without saves always brings with it an element of needing to not do anything truly stupid, which increases the difficulty in itself.

Only things that stand out in the way of criticism -- and this is more a thing about my own idiosyncratic tastes, so other commentators need not feel compelled to contradict me and say "Well, I actually LIKE that" :D -- is map01's music, which I eventually had to IDMUS out of, and also the fact that the rocky areas in both maps are quite homogeneous, in a way that when I looked at it in GZDB to confirm made me think "Hmm, all you need to do to make a large exploratory map is to make 80% of everything out of rocks?" That's not to say it's committing the main sin of all-rock maps, that of laziness -- there are clearly things like shadows and gradients and stuff that would take time --- but the net impression of many of these parts is "rocks and rocks and more rocks, it'd be nice to have an additional building or two". But cool maps.

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I gave this set priority over playing Ancient Aliens tonight, and it turns out MAP02 was worh it. Gloomy caverns, haunting music, clever fights, and an early SSG all led to me having a damn good time—no problems with health, ammo, or radsuits on my end. Couple of things of course:

- Should this shotgun be an SSG? It makes no sense to give the player that before having them fight an AV+2HKs, and having it be an SSG makes sense for the following fight. IMO you could change the other SSG to a chaingun.

- So, I dunno if you seem to have a personal grudge against barons or have swapped them out for another enemy or something, but this spot is the perfect place to put a baron instead of an easily dodged archvile. Might need a bit more room, but the baron could work to pressure the player if they stay upstairs or push them out into the battle downstairs.

- This switch here should be placed more obviously in direct sight of the lift, especially since it's necessary to progress through the map... there was a nearby secret that also used a lift and that one felt exceptionally easier to find than this one, which was odd.

- After the exit is found/lowered, I recommend starting a crusher to kill all the imps in the spiral room's windows, since fighting them is a bit of a chore (it's only dangerous if you decide to rush it)

- Lastly, a minor thing: see this switch here? A general philosophy I try to follow is to have the "active" movement correspond with the resulting action. So when Doomguy pulls that lever down, it'd make most sense for the platform to lower instead of the other way 'round... just an internal logic that makes more sense to me.

Great work. As nifty as the spiral room was, my absolute favorite part of the project thus far is the secret western section. It was one of those areas I stumbled into by complete accident and was blown away by how huge it was and cool it looked—really excellent work there (great AV surprise too). Definitely looking forward to more of your stuff; I like how the maps aren't too lengthy but do demand a sizable investment, ensuring that each level/setting remains memorable. Interested in seeing how you'll mix it up over seven more maps.

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