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CapnClever

Heretic Doom II-ification mod (fishing for interest)

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I've been studying Heretic for a while now, at first 'cause I was planning to work on some demos for it, and I've been struggling to come to terms with its inferior gameplay. Did Tome of Power completely destroy weapon balance? Are the enemies really that boring? Maybe I just want it to be more like Doom. But then I realized: I'm not comparing it to Doom, I'm comparing it to "Doom II: Hell On Earth". To be fair, it still loses out to the original game in a few ways, but Heretic is undoubtedly more appealing in a universe without the SSG.

With that in mind, I bring you my current idea for a project:

Heretic 1.5: The Outer Worlds

The concept is really basic: to provide Heretic with an upgrade for its original in a manner similar to Doom II's upgrade for Doom. Stuff like:

  • A new weapon that fills a glaring hole in utility (like the Super Shotgun)
  • Several new enemies to expand on encounter variety (like Revenants, Archviles, and Pain Elementals)
  • New textures to better fit the new aesthetic themes (not that Heretic needs an excuse for new textures)
  • New mapset layout: this could mean one giant 32-map set like it was in Doom II, or it could still be laid out episodically, but something to keep players guessing is the focus
  • One or two new items, as needed to support encounter potential (Megasphere does this, though it could be argued that this item didn't necessarily improve design)
The above is the bare minimum, and effectively what Doom II gave us. At the same time, this should be considered a vanilla-like project: something you can imagine Raven/id doing with the technology (though not necessarily the limits) available. While I expect the initial work to be in ZDoom or EE (out of convenience), the idea of making this as a conceptual sequel should be expressed throughout all design elements. (As a super-lofty goal, a partial conversion that either plays on top of HERETIC.EXE or requires a new executable would be pretty cool, but that's obviously not in the plan. At most I want a mod that might be able to do that.)

Unfortunately for Heretic, there are already problems in the game's formula that ought to be addressed, and I'm considering several additional adjustments. In no particular order:
  • Item pickups are practically the bane of emergent gameplay. Giving the player a powerup in the right conditions can satisfy unique situations, but allowing the player to choose when to use that powerup a great potential for disappointment, both for the designer ("I gave them this item to make the fight appropriately challenging but they decided to hoard it and the battle turned into a massive slog") and for the player ("this encounter looked like it was going to be hard so I activated my item, but it turned out to be a slaughter and I wasted half the duration"). For a number of items, I'd include instant-consumable variations, which give the designer more freedom in setting up their pieces and the player a clear indication that such an area benefits from the item's use. Of course, we can't completely remove pickups (it's deeply embedded in the concepts of the game itself), though such use-whenever-you-want cases would be recommended for secret areas, rather than out in the open.
  • Tome of Power is just a really hard item to balance. Most weapons are too weak without it and too strong (or too conditional) with it. On the other hand, its removal is unacceptable: if nothing else, Heretic is known as "that Doom game with the Tome of Power". Making a consumable variation (as above) helps balance the conditional side, but there's a good chance that some weapon balance will be required just to make the weapons fun on their own, nevermind ramping up the entertainment of powered weapons.
  • Some enemies (mostly bosses) have several attacks and choose to use them at random. This makes them really hard to place well! Iron Lich has a tornado that's an excellent annoyance, but he might not use it at all, or he'll use it all the time and become insurmountable with the right enemies around, but you can't design around either if there's no certainty in the mater. Changing such enemies to have a predictable attack pattern (even if we keep all their attacks) makes their threat a known quantity and their challenge exploitable, both of which benefit the potential to add to a given encounter.
  • Heretic enemies have weird values for some miscellaneous stats compared to their Doom counterparts. For the most part, enemy mass is way too low, which causes them to bounce around from even basic weapons: this usually slows down gameplay, as the player isn't hitting with as many attacks. Sabreclaw, which is probably supposed to be the Demon equivalent, has a pain chance of 10%! What the heck. Modifying these values can provide small improvements to the overall quality of fights.
Ideally I want to keep the type of changes mentioned above minimal and subtle: the goal should be to work with what's available with the few pieces provided. That said, if there are elements that have a strong, negative impact on gameplay, I'd say we should do what we can to correct them, for the good of the player.

Okay that's a lot of words, but this is a really big project and I'm just one guy with basically no experience. It's going to require lots of sprite work, mapping, patching, the works, and that's not even considering I have no idea what all these new things are going to be. Mostly I think it's a really cool premise to take Heretic and Doom II-ify it, and would be willing to learn a ton of modding facets to see it finished. So, this thread is to see if anyone would want to even work on a Heretic project of this magnitude. Roughly, I'm expecting a lot of iterations before there's significant progress to the project as a whole: try out some additions, make a concept map or two to see them in action, repeat. Even before that, if you have ideas regarding what direction to take the new content, I'm all ears.

Last thing: I'm also not expecting this project to get off the ground any time soon, if only because it's, y'know, Heretic. Still, if you see some dumb mapset by me in the near future, this post is what I eventually hope to achieve.

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It would definitely be possible, either through ZDoom or Dehacked (if there is a variant for Heretic, because I'm not sure about that) to make the Iron Lich launch a tornado upon spotting the player and/or upon its death. I wonder if that'd make the enemy a little more threatening?

Anyway, this is a really cool idea for a project - I've always found Heretic promising, superior in music and ambience to Doom, but flabby in terms of weaponry and to have a fairly same-y bestiary, with the flying wizard dude and the axe skeleton providing most of the value.

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I like the discussion about how to make Heretic better but I doubt an unofficial Heretic 2 will come out of it, as cool as the idea of a double headed crossbow sounds. :P

If you really want this project to happen, you'll have to do most of the work yourself. Put a lot of love and attention into the things you know you can do, and leave the things you cant to be sloppy messes. The contrast between good and bad in your project will be apparent and the help will come. A simple wordy sales pitch doesn't work on people here anymore unfortunately.

It sounds cool. Heretic can be pretty awesome but I definitely agree that there are very situational things in the game that makes it less sturdy than Doom is. I dont know if I have the energy or enthusiasm to make an entire megawad/partialconversion of it though.

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Just forget about HeHacked, it wouldn't possibly allow even just a fourth of what you're talking about. It's a complete dead-end.

What you want to do is possible to implement in ZDoom, and later you can add 3DGE (Heretic support is pretty close to finished) and even later in Eternity (Heretic support is waiting on a lot of other things to be finished first). But HeHacked? You can't change how monster attack functions work so you can't make bosses predictable; you can't add a new weapon; you can't add a new anything else; you can't change level progression; you can't you can't you can't. Just forget about it entirely.

As for general remarks on Heretic: Heretic has a more chaotic, less predictable gameplay than Doom because it has more randomness everywhere. Monsters may drop ammo, or they may not. They may drop powerups, or they more likely may not. Boss monsters have several attacks that they'll chose randomly. The ability for players to keep powerups in inventory allows to compensate for the randomness -- since everything is so much more random than Doom, you can get a playthrough where the player is screwed, and to prevent this from being randomly unfair that's when you can use a quartz flask or a chaos device.

Speaking of chaos device: never design a Heretic map that assumes a player cannot backtrack. Don't close doors forever. Don't rely on suddenly trapping the player in a room. Don't use once-only teleporters. Always assume a player might decide to use the chaos device to get out of a trap.

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Sounds like an interesting idea. I'm definitely in favor of the new content ideas (i.e., your whole first bullet list), but I'm not sure I agree with the sweeping gameplay changes. I *would* really like to see enemy mass increased, though -- the constant enemy hit propulsion is my least favorite thing about Heretic.

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Gez said:

Just forget about HeHacked, it wouldn't possibly allow even just a fourth of what you're talking about. It's a complete dead-end.

What you want to do is possible to implement in ZDoom, and later you can add 3DGE (Heretic support is pretty close to finished) and even later in Eternity (Heretic support is waiting on a lot of other things to be finished first). But HeHacked? You can't change how monster attack functions work so you can't make bosses predictable; you can't add a new weapon; you can't add a new anything else; you can't change level progression; you can't you can't you can't. Just forget about it entirely.


I'm more a programmer than anything else, so I was thinking more along the lines of, say, forking Chocolate Doom to make a brand-new executable that'd specifically make use of the WAD. On the other hand, more people would want to play it through something like ZDoom anyway, so I'd rather not spend a ton of time in the beginning just to make it less accessible. Good to know nothing short of compiling new source would theoretically work on that front, though, thanks for the heads-up.

Gez said:

As for general remarks on Heretic: Heretic has a more chaotic, less predictable gameplay than Doom because it has more randomness everywhere. Monsters may drop ammo, or they may not. They may drop powerups, or they more likely may not. Boss monsters have several attacks that they'll chose randomly. The ability for players to keep powerups in inventory allows to compensate for the randomness -- since everything is so much more random than Doom, you can get a playthrough where the player is screwed, and to prevent this from being randomly unfair that's when you can use a quartz flask or a chaos device.

Speaking of chaos device: never design a Heretic map that assumes a player cannot backtrack. Don't close doors forever. Don't rely on suddenly trapping the player in a room. Don't use once-only teleporters. Always assume a player might decide to use the chaos device to get out of a trap.

I'd be more inclined to dig into Heretic's random philosophy if they'd manage to provide enough opportunity to threaten the player even under the worst conditions. Disciples, Undead Warrior ghosts, and to some extent Weredragons are the biggest threats in the game, and they don't even compare favorably to Cacodemons and Barons: the rest tend to be either fodder, meat shields, or second-rate turrets. Even the bosses are a joke if you give the player just a little room to run around. The right encounter design helps, but I imagine it's really hard for Heretic mappers to get any sense of their maps when so many of the consequences are out of their hands.

Basically, there's a heap of randomness applied in weird spots that cause random ammo starvation, even when ammo like Dragon Claw only shell out 25 for the big packs, but then enemy damage is consistently quite low (barring the aforementioned threats). Usually the worst-case scenario is chipping away at stragglers with the Elven Wand and running past the rest, because you can totally do that much consistently without hitscan enemies. Many of the gameplay decisions strike me as bizarre, and it really forces me to question if they tried to challenge the player, or simply threw stuff at them and hoped it was hard. I mean hell, some people consider Black Plague easier than Smitemeister if only because it improves the consistency of available ammo! Shadows of the Serpent Riders tends to be harder just because it takes longer to kill 50 ophidians instead of 50 nitrogolems, but neither end up putting you in a life-or-death position.

I'll start by trying to make the most of the unmodified content as-is, but I'm not expecting it to mesh well once I can get around to crafting monsters that are actually nasty. And also, just because I think I have a handle on Heretic's pros and cons doesn't mean I do: I'd love to know where I'm completely wrong on the subject.

Not Jabba said:

I'm definitely in favor of the new content ideas (i.e., your whole first bullet list), but I'm not sure I agree with the sweeping gameplay changes. I *would* really like to see enemy mass increased, though -- the constant enemy hit propulsion is my least favorite thing about Heretic.


The first list are the "definitely"s: everything else is a "maybe"s. Ideally I could Doom II-ify Heretic and it'd be just as awesome, but I'm not that optimistic given what I'm starting with. You could say I'm trying to put Heretic in a position that would theoretically make it want to be mapped by more people, for the same reason that 100x more mappers choose Doom II over Doom (and quite possibly why classic Doom has continued to stay strong for 20+ years). Even if I pull this off, I'm not expecting to influence more than a couple people with the changes, but if I can look at it and say "yeah, this would've made Heretic last longer in the limelight back in 1995", then I've done a job well done.

Anyway, still wondering if anyone would remotely be interested in making maps once I can start building up content: not even polished stuff, just gameplay to see how new pieces can be used. Expect ZDoom, but no jumping or crouching or advanced mouselook (still want it to be vanilla-esque).

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I'm down for making maps once some of the essential new features are in. I loved Heretic in my earlier years but have avoided revisiting it as a mapper or player due the concerns I've heard about (and because I'm still engrossed in Doom 2). But I think it'd be fun to make some maps to play around with the new monsters/weapon(s).

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CapnClever said:

  • Item pickups are practically the bane of emergent gameplay. Giving the player a powerup in the right conditions can satisfy unique situations, but allowing the player to choose when to use that powerup a great potential for disappointment, both for the designer ("I gave them this item to make the fight appropriately challenging but they decided to hoard it and the battle turned into a massive slog") and for the player ("this encounter looked like it was going to be hard so I activated my item, but it turned out to be a slaughter and I wasted half the duration"). For a number of items, I'd include instant-consumable variations, which give the designer more freedom in setting up their pieces and the player a clear indication that such an area benefits from the item's use. Of course, we can't completely remove pickups (it's deeply embedded in the concepts of the game itself), though such use-whenever-you-want cases would be recommended for secret areas, rather than out in the open.
  • Tome of Power is just a really hard item to balance. Most weapons are too weak without it and too strong (or too conditional) with it. On the other hand, its removal is unacceptable: if nothing else, Heretic is known as "that Doom game with the Tome of Power". Making a consumable variation (as above) helps balance the conditional side, but there's a good chance that some weapon balance will be required just to make the weapons fun on their own, nevermind ramping up the entertainment of powered weapons.


I've never been as into Heretic as Doom, but I think you're definitely on the right track here. The concept of an inventory of "use when you want" items seems similar to the recent debate over Doom's backpack, except magnified even moreso since the items are different and more powerful than the weapons. I don't think the ToP is necessarily hard to balance, but I would agree that Heretic's weapons are underpowered. Too many of them feel like I'm just hitting things with a wet noodle, every fight feels like the single shotgun or chaingun versus barons in Doom.

My own approach would be to up most of the weapons, but also try to even them out (so avoid balance where the plasma gun/BFG are far superior to other weapons, for example) and then have the Tome turn weapons into those super-powerful BFG weapons, to use on bosses or huge slaughtery crowds.

Of course there's also the easy answer that Hexen is basically the Doom II to Heretic's Doom, though it has more features and some different gameplay ideas like character classes.

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Gez said:

Just forget about HeHacked, it wouldn't possibly allow even just a fourth of what you're talking about. It's a complete dead-end.

What you want to do is possible to implement in ZDoom, and later you can add 3DGE (Heretic support is pretty close to finished) and even later in Eternity (Heretic support is waiting on a lot of other things to be finished first). But HeHacked? You can't change how monster attack functions work so you can't make bosses predictable; you can't add a new weapon; you can't add a new anything else; you can't change level progression; you can't you can't you can't. Just forget about it entirely.

Actually, yeah, it can be done - Weird coincidence: I've had some recent success modifying Heretic+.exe to modify a monster attack. I can't say more right now, other than to say that, if there's a will, (and a specific list of what to change), many things are possible. If it starts to look like the OP's vision is materializing, I'd be interested in investing some time to get some of these things going.

I've always loved Heretic and Hexen - the whole medieval thing and whatnot. I would like to see castles, underground caves, ancient ruins, palaces, secret mountain passages, forest adventures, etc. Heretic and Hexen could be so much more.

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+1 Gez


To OP:
I like what you are saying man. To start, I agree 100% that it is a blunder to compare Heretic to Doom 2. It is in many ways more similar to Doom 1 and should be compared as such. Moving on from there, I also agree with you that it would have been nice for Heretic to have received the ole Doom 2 treatment. I think Heretic's biggest problem comes down to its enemy set; there are too many that are too similar.

That said, there are some things I wanted to comment on:

For starters, I must applaud your Vanilla-compat desire. Still, I am sad to see something like this go straight to zDoom; no offense to the folk that develop that great port of immense convenience, I just like the idea of better compatibility and you are more likely to wind up shutting out Vanilla later on when you put in a bunch of DECORATE work only to find it's not possible in Vanilla. Getting to that; you would absolutely have to modify the .exe to make this in Vanilla. I would suggest starting there and then moving to zDoom's DECORATE afterward, as Vanilla will be your bigger obstacle. I understand you might want to reach more people in the short-term, but to make things that are probably not possible in Vanilla, in zDoom while claiming they will be made for Vanilla later, will turn off at least one of the three people who might map with something like this (Heretic).

The SSG-type addition; I think it would be best made a physical attack, if an extra weapon is possible in the first place. There aren't enough player attacks which are physical; this new power weapon should have the disadvantage of not being able to hit ghosts in order to compensate its power. This would also make for more engaging gameplay, being that the player will have to change weapons and use something other than ole faithful for a decent chunk of the mobs. Might be better to repurpose the mace, much as a shame as that would be. Then again, I really like the feel of Heretic's weapons, so I may be a bit biased. Still, Heretic's mobs have relatively medium-low health across the board, so most go down quickly, especially with efficient and often item use.

Heretic already has a revenant in the Nitrogolem. The main problem is that the projectile doesn't have a good turn radius. This should be tweaked.
Funny side-note here, kb1 recently found that success with modifying enemy attacks and after seeing its capabilities, I believe that a Pain Elemental -type monster should also be possible. I was thinking a fire-gargoyle spawner for extra fun. I really, really want an Arch-Vile-type monster, too, but I do not think that will be possible in Vanilla Heretic as resurrection is never defined or present. If an Arch-Vile-type monster were doable, theoretically an item to resurrect a dead player should be doable, too, which would be interesting given the player can be made un-resurrectable from being gibbed. How it would be activated is anyone's guess, but items can perform the same actions, it seems so far at least, as enemies and vice versa. That's also about as far as I got to thinking about new items.

Heretic needs new textures, badly. 99 is crazy-low to work with and offers little chance for nicely detailed areas with good texture variation across a large set of maps. Single maps and small sets can look great, though.

I also like the idea of one or two more items, but you will be limited in Vanilla what you can and cannot do. Speaking of items, I totally disagree about the problem with items being that the player carries them and activates when he pleases. That's one of the biggest draws to the game; it adds such depth to the game that was unfortunately shamed by more than a couple repetitive monsters and not enough variation within setups in maps. The strategic implications of having those items to use whenever is, granted, another detail to screw up, but if done correctly, really makes for a fun time. It's not the mapper's fault if a player is too dumb to use their items; a good Heretic map should require good item use and management on BPPT. Taking that choice away from the player is bad. For example, the shadowsphere is the perfect item to have handy when a team of UW's come up, while also still retaining a small use against other monsters. Also, as Gez said, that element of randomness is woven into the game, which certainly necessitates inventory. As for just insta-use variations, that's not a bad idea, but keep in mind those limits when talking about Vanilla. At this point I should recommend you look into Heretic+. Make sure to make a copy of your .exe to use with this and place them both in a separate folder with a copy of your iWad.

The tome of power is perfect; it is up to the mapper to create situations which demand its use. The biggest problem items, imo, are the invul ring and the wings. Hello speedruns, lol.

You just have to plan for all attacks to be used, as those monsters have high enough health to just assume that. Also, you can't plan a hundred games on something random, so once again it just comes to plan on all being used. The IL is a fun monster to place, but his whirlwinds get really screwed up when there is more cover. You have to think about each enemy's role; the IL is meant for medium-to-medium-large, fairly open areas.

I don't think you should modify things like pain chances, especially to nerf already easy enemies, but I do think you should modify things like health, proj speed, movement speed, and damage to either buff or specialize monsters to fit more clear roles.



Now, some of this stuff I say from a bit of personal experience doing something very similar to this right now. I like most of your ideas and you seem down-to-earth, so if you want to consider joining me PM me about it and we'll talk further. Otherwise, I wish you luck and will look forward to your progress!

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I recently played through heretic episodes 1-3 (stuck on e4m9 at the moment). Some observations:

  • it's very slaughtermappy which is interesting
  • weapon 7 is shit, in both normal and tome incarnations. Replace with impunity
  • I generally get bored of the crossbow which doesn't have enough stopping power, I'd agree. You need something (like the SSG) which can stop a mummy in one shot (like a doom demon)
  • The lack of ammo sharing between weapon 2 and anything else means you never need all the weapon 2 ammo that gets dropped. If the tome'd weapon 2 was a bit more powerful you might use it (and the ammo) more.
If I were embarking on a project like this I would seriously consider starting with Hexen, which is by no means perfect, but has a lot more interesting stuff to work from.

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kb1 said:

Actually, yeah, it can be done - Weird coincidence: I've had some recent success modifying Heretic+.exe to modify a monster attack.

Strictly limiting yourself to HeHacked and not using any other sort of method to edit the exe?

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Fonze said:

For starters, I must applaud your Vanilla-compat desire. Still, I am sad to see something like this go straight to zDoom; no offense to the folk that develop that great port of immense convenience, I just like the idea of better compatibility and you are more likely to wind up shutting out Vanilla later on when you put in a bunch of DECORATE work only to find it's not possible in Vanilla. Getting to that; you would absolutely have to modify the .exe to make this in Vanilla.

If you modify the exe, it's no longer vanilla. As far as Heretic is concerned, if you want to change the gameplay, there's no greater, no better compatibility level than ZDoom. You don't have a Beretic that could be used as a widely accepted standard for all Heretic ports. You don't even have widespread HeHacked support like Doom ports have DeHacked support. Stop trying to think Heretic is just like Doom so you'll be able to make a Heretic addon that will be played with PrBoom+ on some complevel.

(And stop putting a cap to vanilla, it's not a name. There's nothing called Vanilla Heretic like there's a Chocolate Doom; it's just an adjective used to mean unmodified.)

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Gez said:

If you modify the exe, it's no longer vanilla. As far as Heretic is concerned, if you want to change the gameplay, there's no greater, no better compatibility level than ZDoom. You don't have a Beretic that could be used as a widely accepted standard for all Heretic ports. You don't even have widespread HeHacked support like Doom ports have DeHacked support. Stop trying to think Heretic is just like Doom so you'll be able to make a Heretic addon that will be played with PrBoom+ on some complevel.

(And stop putting a cap to vanilla, it's not a name. There's nothing called Vanilla Heretic like there's a Chocolate Doom; it's just an adjective used to mean unmodified.)


True, but it helps me to find places I've used it and I have much more respect for vanilla maps than others. I used it in this case, and capitalized it as well, to make it more clear. Grammatically correct, maybe not, but you know what I mean. Of course modifying the .exe is no longer vanilla, but then again, don't we still call Doom wads with a .DEH patch vanilla? Strange coinkidink there, as DEHACKED changes the .exe. For that reason alone, I'd say it's enough to call Vanilla its own category independent of the state of the .exe, equivalent in importance as Choco and certainly worth capitalizing. At least in this context when used as a category. If not, then we need a simple, easy to understand way to convey what we call something which runs in DOS under a modified .exe that would also apply to every "Vanilla" wad with a .DEH patch, since you know, they use a modified .exe file.

Heretic doesn't play with PrBoom+, so I don't think it'll play in that (yes, an over-literalization of what you said, but you get my point). You don't know what has been done so far, so maybe stop making assumptions. Now as for the future, other ports are working on Heretic support and we'll just have to cross the compat-bridge for them when we get there. In the meantime, mappers that do these things for Heretic will of course have to program their changes in at least 2 different formats, one to play in Vanilla and one to play in zDoom. That's not counting EE and Doomsday support either. Just because something isn't easy doesn't mean it can never happen; where there's a will there's a way. But these changes must be found and made possible first and foremost in Vanilla, or at least in vanilla format.

Quick last thing: kb1 wasn't referring to HHE with what he spoke of. Though from what I understand, much ado about nothing as either way you change the .exe to achieve the results.

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Gez said:

Strictly limiting yourself to HeHacked and not using any other sort of method to edit the exe?

No, I modded the .exe with a hex editor. It's the same result as you'd get with HeHacked, except I changed an area that HeHacked doesn't provide support for.

Having a DOS/DOSBox mod, a Chocolate mod, and a ZDoom mod that all do the same thing would provide the widest audience. Nothing wrong with a goal like that. In fact, it's a pretty responsible way to release a game.

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kb1 said:

except I changed an area that HeHacked doesn't provide support for.


Exactly my point.

Fonze said:

Quick last thing: kb1 wasn't referring to HHE with what he spoke of. Though from what I understand, much ado about nothing as either way you change the .exe to achieve the results.

Dehacked is a standard way of changing a certain set of data in the exe, and practically all Doom source ports provide support for its patches. Hehacked would be the Heretic equivalent, except that the data set it can change is more limited than Dehacked's, and it has practically no source port support (only Choco, and even then it's not perfect because of certain Heretic-specific complications).

So. If you distribute a modified exe, it's not like Hehacked at all -- for instance, it won't run in Chocolate Heretic at all since it's, well, a modified exe. And you won't have any of the advantages that using a dehacked patch does for Doom mods.

How many people are playing Caverns of Darkness on the provided exe? A mod that requires a specific, dedicated exe to be played is not a good idea.

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Spoiler

well as long as HHE supports BD
/badjoke

That's all true Gez, but that doesn't fully limit much. Choco-Heretic is something I'm not considering as what I'm doing is not under vanilla's limits and thus couldn't be played in Choco anyway, but for something like this that would indeed be a larger hurdle. Still, if everything were programmed in each port's language (a lot of work, to be sure!) many of these things could be possible to do across the most common ports (once again with Choco prolly being the toughest to implement).

Moving away from van/choc, most everything else has its own set of non-standard language to program in new enemies/functions/whatever, so to need a modified .exe just to play it as close to van as possible is really not that big of a deal; it would effect the superior convenience of zDoom not at all. But that's all not the point, the point is for the greatest compatibility, of which just sticking to zDoom is the worst thing one can do.

Good Heretic material is hard enough to come by that the 4 other fans will find a way to play it in their preferred port if they believe it's good, especially if the zDoom option is always easily available.

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I thinkย the biggest hole in the gameplay is melee combat, a lot of the situations where the super shotgun would be the most effective would be at close range. However, with the medieval theme, you'd think that there'd be a lot more melee combat, however melee combat is just as ineffective in Heretic as it was in Doom. Adding a lifedrain effect to the gauntlets, while making melee combat a little more viable when the tome is active, does little to make it more engaging.

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I think that what you could do is have it so that certain weapons can be melee-focused when powered up, like say, since the wand looks like the front end to the staff's butt end, the wand could be turned into a glaive when powered up, projecting a blade from its gem.ย The dragon claw will still project a ranged attack but it will be a ground-hugging wave of energy that travels slowly, and you'd be getting more power using it as a claw weapon. You can also encourage players to do melee more often by introducing a combo counter that rewards players with more damage and maybe attack speed the more consecutive hits they could score. Other tomed weapon ideas include : Gauntlets that gain a secondaryย kinetic punch ability that turns the target monster into a projectile in addition to the lifedrain ability from the primary attack, Gauntlets now punch instead of zap, but each attack has more power and a much higher stun chance,ย Homing Arrows from a powered up Crossbow, Flamethrower attack that has a wider cone and does not drift to the side depending on strafing direction, chain lighting from the hellstaff and cannonball shots akin to that of Serious Sam's cannon attack.

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Another thing you could do is introduce spell-casting as a secondary fire function that introduces more variety to the combat by adding attacks that are less directed/directable but has more overall power, or support abilities that function as either an aura or an AOE that buffs you and your allies as well as debuff enemies. They would overall be more powerful than regular attacks, but they will consume a lot more mana of the weapon's type and will introduce a risk/reward factor int he form of cast time and casting immobility.

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Oh hey, @CapnClever, you're also the Evolution of the Wad guy! I never made that connection until now.

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Now that this thread's been dug up, I might as well ask whether you got the Heretic sequel project off the ground and are still developing it. I wasn't sure if you had any definite plans or were just brainstorming, but it was such a great idea that I later started working on my own content expansion/rebalance for Heretic. This thread was a big inspiration for me and one of the main reasons I started mapping.

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