The DWmegawad Club plays: TNT: Revilution

This megawad looks very promising. I have a feeling that this might come out before Devilution, which would be weird and it would ultimately beg the question, which one should be the official TNT2 and which one should end up as the TRCP? Either way, I'm looking forward to the completion of both megawads as I like the original TNT.

Oh, Ragnor, since you've come and talked about some things about Devilution, Revilution, and even Convilution, I'd like to know, aside from Drake O'Brien style maps, were there any plans to implement puzzle-solving mixed with grandeur level design like in Jim Flynn and Bob Evans? I know neither of those two contributed to Evilution, but they seem to be up there with Drake O'Brien as mappers of the 90s who made adventurous behemoths. I have a bit of a liking for Bob Evans' maps, but I prefer Jim Flynn more as I'm a huge fan of his unique architecture and gameplay scenarios that his Titan Series, Enigma Episode, and even his Eternal Doom maps all shared. I know I have expressed my dislike for Drake O'Brien's maps, namely Administration Center and Mount Pain (the latter for being so cheap with the placement of chaingunners, lack of health, and virtually no place for cover in the outdoor section), but Central Processing is an exception since I like how well it was designed.

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Map 05 -- Graveyard Shift - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Jaws has said that this map is intended as a nod to John Wakelin, author of "Human BBQ", map 02 of Evilution. This is most apparent in the sparse, somewhat bare architecture with Petersenesque broadstroke texturing, though some of the more elaborate smaller structures and oases of more representational detail situated in austere sector-deserts of abstraction (i.e. the arch-vile's BK kiosk and the little computer room on the south side, respectively) also communicate the kinship. While the overall visual presentation here is certainly more primitive and 'objectively' underworked in comparison to anything seen in the earlier maps, the change is not entirely unwelcome--it's a very understated, cold-looking setting of concrete, stone, and rust, and I was glad for a respite from the visually loud 'mud and blood' look for a few minutes. A minor detail, but the level's opening area is also the best showcase so far of the episode's endearingly bombastic skybox, with the view of certain, uh...'heavenly bodies' seeming to peek over the hills beyond the stairway leading past the SSG's ledge being a particularly diegetically colorful coincidence.

The most notable bit of play here--and the only notable bit of play, really--is the opening fracas, the flavor of which is almost entirely lost during continuous play, I would imagine. The map loads with the player immediately under fire from a battery of mancubi, and there's very little recourse but to run out into the heavy stack of terraces comprising the opening yard in search of arms and resources, which can quickly become a rather involved endeavor on a blind run. Armor is practically nonexistent, emphasizing Doomguy's frailty, and while the tools you need are in fact present (read: SSG, in this case), they are not simply handed to you, meaning you need to use your wits and evasive capabilities in order to gain the early foothold, something of an IWAD-era take on the broader concept of a 'hot start.' While it's easy enough to crumble under the weight of attrition out here, your performance in the first few minutes is indirectly measured again later on as you begin to forge into the warren of corridors beyond the blue key's kiosk, where there's a certain monster-based wall on progress if you were too inefficient with ammo in the early game (read: spent too much time using the basic shotgun in direct fights). Get past that courtesy of momentum or through emergent resourcefulness (remember kids, the chainsaw is not always just there for yuks, regardless of contemporary wisdom) and you'll soon enough be rolling into the strangely roundabout exit sequence with little of note going on. Ammo count also spikes drastically in the final minutes of the map, suggesting a mind towards a player not actually fighting most of what's outside in the main yard until the final pass back through it en route to exit. The whole design's a mite spare for this to reliably pan out, I think, and the corridor-sweeping action in the back half of the level's not particularly memorable, so I reckon the level's at its best while you're first learning how to handle the opening. Once you've got that down (read: you've figured out how to grab the SSG within seconds of mapstart) the rest reads more like a museum exhibit on Wakelin's aesthetic sensibilities than a really vibrant gameplay experience, and so I'd reckon this is one of the weaker early game maps. Then again, I never really cared for "Human BBQ" either, which certainly has its supporters, so maybe it's just me.

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Tarnsman said:

As long as the HOM isn't visible on screen you could have 500 segs for all it matters. All a seg overflow does is render the excess segs as HOMs. 500 segs would probably lag vanilla doom to fuck but it won't crash the game.

Ah, I see. Though I knew all it did was create HOMs, I had naturally assumed there was some sort of cost for it that would tally up, so it's nice to know it's not as strict as the VPOs.

T-Rex said:

I'd like to know, aside from Drake O'Brien style maps, were there any plans to implement puzzle-solving mixed with grandeur level design like in Jim Flynn and Bob Evans?

Gonna toot my own horn a little bit and say that while they're not nearly as grand as Evans' work, both MAP16 & MAP22 have some optional puzzles that I'm quite proud of.

--------

MAP05: When you play through Jaws's maps, it will become immediately apparent that he has a penchant for two things: strict ammo limits and specters. I mentioned this back in the Revilution thread, but having only experienced Jaws's Monochrome Mapping Project contributions prior to this, his mapping style has clearly received an upgrade. Gone are the boxy corridors and ho-hum monster placement—Jaws knows how to put the pressure on the player from the start and that the specters thrive in the dark recesses of the blue key station. I think this, combined with the earthy green & brown color combination, makes the map probably my favorite out of the first ten map block. I still think E1 is packed with great maps, but this one is a phenomenal blend of "classic" and "modern", showcasing what (I think) a "TNT sequel" would actually entail.

(Regarding HMP, you should probably add a bit more shells around the AV-protected BK guardpost—I ran out of ammo twice and had to chainsaw a bunch of specters)

MAP06: Jaws is probably going to provide the history of when I joined/what I did 'n stuff, so I'll primarily comment on the maps themselves.

The running theme throughout every map that I worked on is simple: if the map doesn't need to be linear, I'm going to open some doors and make it nonlinear. Having worked on NOVA & NOVA II previously, I've seen and played plenty of narrow base crawls, so I've grown kinda sick of fighting my way through mostly nondescript room after room. The original version of this map was quite exemplary at being bad: both red and blue wing paths were mandatory, there were no mid tier monsters besides cacos, you had to fight through an ungodly amount of monsters before getting the SSG, and there was no rocket launcher or plasma gun! Combine this with some pretty toothless traps and a bizarre lack of health in its final third, and this was a map ripe for "worst level of the wad" nominations.

I did what I could to try and streamline it, adding in a couple surprise monsters and stuff to discourage door camping (like the soulsphere, locking gates, revs to bum-rush the player, and of course—a classic dobu fight™—the berserk-guarded AV). After I had finished it, Jaws is the one that went through and added windows/outdoor monsters in order to make the facility feel substantially less stuffy. In the end I think it's an alright series of corridors to blast through; personally I feel that every other map I worked on is far superior to this, though I'm sure by the time we get to MAP16 I'll be the only one to think so :P

Also, if you're curious what this map looked like before I got my cold, calloused hands on it, here's the old version.

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T-Rex said:

This megawad looks very promising. I have a feeling that this might come out before Devilution, which would be weird and it would ultimately beg the question, which one should be the official TNT2 and which one should end up as the TRCP? Either way, I'm looking forward to the completion of both megawads as I like the original TNT.

Oh, Ragnor, since you've come and talked about some things about Devilution, Revilution, and even Convilution, I'd like to know, aside from Drake O'Brien style maps, were there any plans to implement puzzle-solving mixed with grandeur level design like in Jim Flynn and Bob Evans? I know neither of those two contributed to Evilution, but they seem to be up there with Drake O'Brien as mappers of the 90s who made adventurous behemoths. I have a bit of a liking for Bob Evans' maps, but I prefer Jim Flynn more as I'm a huge fan of his unique architecture and gameplay scenarios that his Titan Series, Enigma Episode, and even his Eternal Doom maps all shared. I know I have expressed my dislike for Drake O'Brien's maps, namely Administration Center and Mount Pain (the latter for being so cheap with the placement of chaingunners, lack of health, and virtually no place for cover in the outdoor section), but Central Processing is an exception since I like how well it was designed.


Revilution was meant to be the "TRCP" more laidback equivalent. Devilution had permission from Ty Halderman himself to carry the TNT2 name (Saw the email myself), so it is the proper sequel :)

My favourite mappers from the older era of mapping are Sverre, Jim Flynn and Drake, so there definitely were large maps planned around puzzles (Megamur liked this stuff, he added a huge optional area to one map, there was a mineshaft where if you brushed against any of the wooden beams, the mine would collapse on your head (ie the support beams broke), although I dont recall many getting past the concept stage before I got plucked out of the team. The more immediate goal was getting more sector desks and machinery and stuff into the maps, which was a definite "TNT" thing, and darkening up the E2 maps carried over from Devilution. Never played a Bob Evans map actually >_>

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MAP04: Blood Factory
94% kills, 3/4 secrets

Not sure that I've played a Doom 2 SteveD map before, get to find out how he uses fun stuff like revenants and AVs, hooray...

Fun beginning, I took a lot of free damage from the hitscanners and so ran ahead looking for health, grabbing that berserk a bit too quickly without seeing the revenants in the nearby cubby hole, heh. The portion of the map after the blue key took a nosedive for me though as it only gave me the SSG to deal with enemies at distance or on higher ground - and shooting mancs or revenants across ravines and up ledges is not fun. Then the amount of stuff in the crusher area made me give up on fighting and start scrambling for the RL, which thankfully I found on the ledge nearby. Ending battle wasn't too shabby, I liked that the AVs are deaf and hidden at first, giving a more careful player the advantage (whereas just freaking out and rushing around will likely activate both and kill you dead). Big negative mark though for not having a way back to the rest of the level from the end, though, at least none I could find.

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Ragnor said:

Revilution was meant to be the "TRCP" more laidback equivalent. Devilution had permission from Ty Halderman himself to carry the TNT2 name (Saw the email myself), so it is the proper sequel :)

My favourite mappers from the older era of mapping are Sverre, Jim Flynn and Drake, so there definitely were large maps planned around puzzles (Megamur liked this stuff, he added a huge optional area to one map, there was a mineshaft where if you brushed against any of the wooden beams, the mine would collapse on your head (ie the support beams broke), although I dont recall many getting past the concept stage before I got plucked out of the team. The more immediate goal was getting more sector desks and machinery and stuff into the maps, which was a definite "TNT" thing, and darkening up the E2 maps carried over from Devilution. Never played a Bob Evans map actually >_>

Ahhh, okay. It's just really going to be so weird at the thought at how likely Revilution will be out before Devilution. Oh, well, guess it happens, lol.

Sverre and Jim Flynn are without a doubt one of my favourite mappers of the early years of Doom wads as well. It sounds very interesting how there was going to be a good quantity of Eternal-scale maps for Devilution and Revilution before they were axed out in favour of smaller and less cryptic affairs. Sounds like a very clever yet fiendish trap Megamur planned out. Thought you woud have played a Bob Evans map since you have played Eternal Doom. Well, if you're a fan of epic story-driven, atmospheric, brainstorming adventures like those of Sverre, Jim Flynn, and Drake, Bob Evans's maps should be right up your alley. Take a look kmxexll's review of his Odessa Series for all of the maps he did, which includes as an added bonus his two Eternal Doom maps.

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Yep, I have them all downloaded, just haven't had the time or energy to play them. Getting my ass kicked by a revisit to Plutonia right now, theres a lot of classic megawads and other older works on my list too, Odessa and Eternal Doom are high up on that list (Last time I tried to play Eternal Doom, when it was the megawad club's time to play it, my laptop's harddrive failed after playing the first level, oops)
_____

Unfortunately, I dont have any inside looks on the history of Map 6, despite being a Kykamap and carryover from Devilution. Nothing ive seen or read about it rings a bell in my head, so it must have been one of the more average forgettable maps. I'd rather not play the beta (I've had enough betas to last a lifetime) to remind myself either, so hopefully I'll have something interesting to say about the next map from Revilution's pre-Eris days, whichever that is

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oops. sorry for the clumsy editing.

forgot to post about

MAP02 - “Geothermal” by AD_79

small base in the mountains, with lava around. made use of berserk, and flattened the final ambush, although it's easy to get distracted here. nice map!

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MAP05: Graveyard Shift - Jaws in Space
Time: 9:41 (45:55) | Deaths: 9 (14)

Bucket's The Night Train provides the soundtrack to this map, ending up in a very different map slot to where it was supposed to be, but I'll talk about that more when we get there. Along with MAP17's TaraNTulas, it's my favourite Bucket MIDI in the WAD, and certainly fits the hectic nature of this map.

This map seems to have been toughened up a hell of a lot since I first saw it, and I can't say I'm a huge fan of those changes. Coming in from the last map with no armour and little health left me at a disadvantage to begin with, and it feels like since I last played this, a bunch of mid-tier monsters were randomly inserted into the map and the ammo/health placement was left unchanged. For the majority of this, I had fuck all ammo and even less health, to the point where I attempted rushing at a chaingunner with the chainsaw.
That didn't work out, heh.

This wasn't to the point where I wanted to tear my hair out though, so I can't talk about the gameplay too negatively (spectre usage was pretty annoying here though). I think it would be fine with just a little more health and ammo being given out. Hell, even a berserk pack and a green armour near the start would go a long way.
Visually the interiors of the buildings are pretty plain, but still aesthetically quite pleasing. I think the general darkness of the level helps quite a bit in that regard; a carryover from the map's origin as a candidate for episode 2. Or maybe it was E3 and I moved it to E2 because it didn't really exhibit the themes we wanted for E3.

Anyway, an ok map on all fronts, but not without some moderate peeves for me. I personally don't remember TNT for this kind of gameplay, so it feels a bit more like Plutonia in TNT's clothing.

6/10

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MAP06: Communications Relay - XenoNemesis, Kyka, dobu gabu maru, Jaws in Space
Time: 10:50 (56:46) | Deaths: 2 (16)

A lot of authors here! Communications Relay is the first relic of the project's turbulent development, as Ragnor said, coming from the TNT2 days. This one might even have been available in one of the TNT2 demos from around 2012 or something, but my memory that far back is a bit hazy.

I don't remember how the original played, so I'm not sure what changes dobu and Jaws made here, but I have to say this is pretty good. The secret yellow key allowing the megasphere was a great touch and that put me in a pretty good place for the rest of the map - it was also cool to find another set of yellow bars later on for additional supplies.
Regards the invulnerability sphere (this is aimed at Mr. Keleher), I pushed on further, ignoring it at first. After I died to that final fight, I again cleared everything up to the floor drop trap then went back to get it, and there was plenty of time to clear out that area and the small annex with additional monsters, all with the rocket launcher. Very fun stuff.

Quite an easy map, though that's a welcome drop in difficulty following the previous two maps, MAP05 in particular. Visually I'd say its on par with MAP03, definitely nailing the TNT look here. Music is pretty good too!

8/10

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MAP04 - “Blood Factory” by Steve D
Certainly feels more old school in terms of the visuals here, not that it is a bad thing for sure. The traps can be quite vicious at times but there is always enough margin for error. A couple of gripes here were the trap on one of the secrets was a bit too cruel here, the second is the final fight, it just doesn't quite hit the spot for me as monsters can get stuck up those paths to the exit room.

MAP05 - “Graveyard Shift” by Jaws in Space
I really like the start which has you scrambling for weapons and cover, lots of pressure but plenty of opportunities to get the monsters to in-fight, beyond the red key this map kind of slumps a bit as the combat gets a little repetitive and after the pressure at the start, the difficulty drops off the boil somewhat with spectres and zombies being the dominant foes. So mixed feelings on this one but plenty of good here to be fair.

MAP06 - “Communications Relay” by XenoNemesis, Kyka, dobu gabu maru, Jaws in Space
This certainly feels like an older entry as the map does remind me of some of the older alphas of TNT2 with the rather long corridor crawlers. This one is rather straightforward for the most part with a lot of simple traps though I can see some of attempts to build some more interesting encounters in here. This one had me low of health for the majority of the time though there was plenty of stronger weapons and ammo to dig me out of various tight spots. Whilst this one isn't as memorable as other maps so far, this certainly was fun to play.

The following map is my first in this set so whenever people are happy to move onto it then I will post some development info.

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MAP06 Communications Relay

Four authors huh. From my experiences with past levels that had more than two authors (Icarus MAP30 and STRAIN MAP14) did not catch my appeal as much. This though, was all right. I don't remember playing it from the previous beta that I went through though. Nothing extremely tough, although I was not expecting certain traps to be opened as early as they would. The whole southern section has two areas with red and blue to it, the red is a bit more rewarding with the plasma gun and the hidden yellow key. What's with archie out in the open there though? And speaking of such, quite a few windows to keep exposure up. Combat is enough to keep on the toes aside from the early-springing traps, and it's pretty good overall. An invulnerability made the home stretch a breeze.

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Map 5 is Graveyard Shift by me :D it was accepted into Revilution in early May 2015 by Kyka, it marks the last map that he accepted into the project. I joined Revilution on March 1, 2015 with the intention of only making map 32. At the time I was getting annoyed working on Ultimate Doom in Name Only so I signed off on that project for good & looked for something else to work on. I found Revilution, the OP of kyka's thread listed maps 30 & 32 as being open to submissions, but after inquiring about them Eris Falling informed me that really only map 32 was available. I sent Kyka & Ragnor PMs to understand what direction they wanted me to take the map & I then got to work on Europa. Progress on that map was going very slow & I wasn't really happy with the results, but 2 month's later on May 1st Kyka made a post looking for 2 small maps that would appear as map 2 & 3 in the wad. Needing to take a break from Europa I quickly repurposed one of my UDINO maps & sent it off to kyka where he swiftly rejected it for being too big :D Undeterred I pulled out an old sketch for a John Wakelin styled map that I was going to submit for Final Doom the Way ID Did. This sketch actually provided the base for both Map 5 & Map 13, the image above makes the general layout look like the start of map 13, but if you flip it this way Graveyard Shift becomes immediately recognizable. I don't know if you can read any of the writing, but the setting for the map was supposed to take place in some kind of cemetery with gallows, tombstones, & mausoleums, but the map theme was reworked to make it feel like an E1 techbase instead. Also since the map almost felt too short when taking the layout from paper to editor I threw together the entire area past the red key door as a way to flesh out the map a bit more. The maps name was originally just Graveyard, but I never revealed the map name until Eris Falling moved it to Episode 2 where I changed the name to Midnight Shift, & then shortly thereafter to Graveyard Shift on account of the moody midi & all around dark atmosphere of the map. Upon submission the map was accepted by Kyka & was to appear as map 2 of the project when Revilution was finished, but he felt that he needed to make a few changes to it first. There was a bit of back & forth between us, until May 28 when he disappeared. I ended up removing a number of kyka's changes, but the monster closest, & the tunnel near the exit are his doing, as is the backpack secret. Once Eris Falling took over one of the first things he did was move this map from map slot 02 & put it into map slot 13, where it stayed for over a year. Map slot 5 was the last of the E1 slots to be filled, Dobu Gabu Maru stepped up to the plate & made a hard as balls cave map, I had forgotten to tell him about keeping a theme going for maps 1-7. Anyways some rearranging of the maps occurred causing this map to return as an early E1 map. I'm pretty happy with how this map turned out, my favorite part being the little model next to the switch that indicates that the blue key is now accessible.

Map 6 is Communications Relay by XenoNemesis, Kyka, dobu gabu maru, Jaws in Space it was accepted into Devilution by Whoo way back sometime before December 2011. It was a post by Kyka in December 2011 where this map first gets mentioned, kyka states that he is nearly done updating 2 XenoNemesis maps. I don't know the extent of Kykas edits to this map, in fact this is the map in Revilution that I probably know the least about. I tried to get more information about it from XenoNemisis, but after waiting for over a year now I get the feeling that he isn't going to respond to my PM. This map almost got away with not having any changes made to it, but last month Dobu sat down, changed up the flow a bit & redid some of the monster placement. My only contribution to the map was adding the outdoor elements & giving the map a name that fit with the story text I wrote. I added the outdoor areas as I though it would help make the map feel not so confined & hallway oriented, plus I still wanted a unifying theme running across maps 1-7.

Map 7 is No Man's Station by Cannonball, it was accepted into Revilution by Eris Falling near the end of September 2015. Not sure what the story behind this map is really, I'm sure Cannonball will let us know. It's one of the few maps where I didn't have to go out and ask someone to make a map, I assume Cannonball just wanted to help us out after Eris Falling took over & new map slots were opened up. Cannonball also released a second small map like this for the project, but Eris & I rejected it for not resembling a TNT map at all. At this point in the playthrough you might be wondering why such a short map ended up as map 7, I wanted to mix up the maps based on size and difficulty so that there wasn't a gradual increase in difficulty, but instead variety all throughout the wad. Plus cannonball put every weapon in this map except the BFG, so it appears later for that reason too.

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MAP05: Graveyard Shift
100% kills, 1/1 secret

This map pulls no punches, plopping four mancs in front of the player, forcing him to run and discover his only weapons are a chainsaw and a shotgun. I was enjoying the use of the chainsaw early on, but as the map went on the ammo started drying up and I was forced to use the chainsaw for almost the entirety of the blue key leg of the map... lots of reloading there, as chainsawing hitscanners or mancs, especially at low health, is really risky. Upon grabbing the blue key though, the player is in a good spot (healed back up, green armor, plenty of ammo) which I think contributed to the final section feeling like weak filler and anti-climatic. And the lone secret being a backpack that a pistol starter can't take with him is just mean! Really dig that curvy corridor going southeast from the blue key hut for some reason.

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Graveyard Shift
by Jaws in Space.

Phew, I started this level with only 3 health and boy did it make me work to make it back.

We open with a bunch of Mancubi staring you in the face, so either get shooting or get moving huh?
Arachnatrons lie in the courtyard, chain-gunners attempt to snipe from all the way across the map if you give them the correct angle, oh and watch out for sneaky-beaky lost souls too.

This might sound quite overwhelming but I found the difficulty level to be engaging and fun, you could never let your guard down but I don't think I'm going to wake up screaming tonight either.

Visually sadly this level is nothing to write home about. (Sort of forgivable due to how much monster placement is utilised, oh and for the GORGEOUS sky that is used yet again.)

Really would like to see thing gameplay in a more atmospheric map, still hoping for such a match made in heaven as we've seen the mega-wad provide both fantastically, yet unfortunately not mixed both perfectly together at the same time as of yet.

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MAP06 - “Communications Relay” by XenoNemesis, Kyka, dobu gabu maru, Jaws in Space
gzDoom - UV – pistol start/no saves


Lots of different looking sections in this smaller scale base. Mostly tight corridors mixed in with slightly more open boxed rooms. They all kind of blend well together except for the red and blue areas that were very much quarantined off with the switch and one way doors. The middle parts were toxic (radioactive if you will) so that was an added element of difficulty I enjoyed. The ambush of Cacos and Rev on the blue side were way harder than the lone Manc in the red area. Good stuff though to make a player scramble.

One of my favorite visual aspects of this map is the multiple views to the outside areas from the inside. It gives this base a feeling of really being somewhere. Almost floating in a big lake. There's even an AV hanging out on a cliff at one point. All of those window views and little extra details help make this map stand out from all of the other base designs in this first episode.

Couple of early Revs can really make this beginning stressful. Thankfully that door is optional at the start. I think I counted 3 different pick ups for the RL and two for the PG. Love it when optional paths don't punish you for going the wrong way. Thumbs up.

The darker wire wall maze with spectres, hitscanners and later after the BK an AV joins to compliment a very nerve racking section. Had fun with the precariously placed barrels towards the end. I like that kind of optional environmental challenge. I managed to save them for the chaingunner/lights off ambush. KABOOM!! Glad I saved the hidden IV sphere for the last switch before the exit. Point blank rockets for everyone at the end was a lot more fun then squeezing around all of the green fireballs in such a tight spot and then dealing with a Manc and all his lil buddies.

The musical bridge Viscra Maelstrom put together for his track used here, Contempt (I Hate You), was really enjoyable. Otherwise it's just kind of mechanical crunchy tune that keeps things grinding along.

Found all but one secret. Curse that damned yellow key! Must have been one of the less obvious secrets. I went back later and face palmed. (Of course it would be hiding right there!) Oh well. Fun map. Not too hard, not too easy. Just right.

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Thanks for the pictures Demtor, now I remember that map. It was one of the only maps that had almost nothing wrong with it, I remember it being "Yes, this is certainly a map" and not finding it too memorable. Hopefully Dobu's work has made it more memorable

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On the picture in demtor's screenshot 2 posts above, the chaingunner on the far right has an imp stuck up his back side on HMP

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Map 07: "No Man's Station" by cannonball

This feels a bit like a map designed for an earlier slot, but pushed up, and maybe beefed up in terms of monster composition to fit. It's also kind of bland aesthetically, lots of browns and not much of either lighting or color shading contrast, nor anything of an external vista. cannonball's maps tend not to be exceptionally complex visually but they are usually textured in the brighter colors prevalent in Doom I -- white, red, blue, green, light brown -- and I think that is the key difference here. That texturing works a lot better with this sort of minimalist design.

Gameplay is simple too but satisfying. Maybe there could be more spice, though. The start scenario is cool with the imp swarm. Last fight is somewhat of an anticlimax, however. It could use a slight repopulation, say, when the switch to access the red key is approached. I guess SteveD's map is a bit early for map 04, because that is what I'm comparing some of these maps to now.

There's a minor bug with the lift tagged 3. More sectors than needed are tagged, so it's possible to get some HOMs visible. Hitting both switches in succession is how I tried to unlock the secret at first, so discovering this wasn't a case of me deliberately trying to break things. (Btw I don't really see any reason for this lift not to be a fast lift, or for the central bridge that rises to not be a lift for that matter.)

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Oh Steve, I forgot to mention that there's some tutti frutti on Linedef 50--changing its offsets to 0,0 should fix that.

MAP07: I think it's fairly easy to tell this is an early-style cannonball map, since it's missing the modern touches of brilliance you'd see in Draft Excluder/Return to Hadron. Classic cannonball can still be plenty of fun though, and this map serves as a quaint little breather from some of the meaner stages in E1. Nothing too fancy or notable here; the cannonball we all know and love will be back in E3 ;)

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MAP05 - “Graveyard Shift” by Jaws in Space

without carryovers, the start is the most difficult part here, by far. i got killed here twice after getting caught between the damn spider legs and specters i suppose. after getting the ssg, it becomes much more straightforward. you have to keep moving in order to get ammo, through a mostly dark base map, with enemies appearing from the shadows. ends without a bigger showdown.



MAP06 - “Communications Relay” by XenoNemesis, Kyka, dobu gabu maru, Jaws in Space

there are two zones with those strange damaging round lights from the shores of hell, where one can get the rocket launcher and the plasma gun. these are the more entertaining parts, as the map gets more heavy on dark corridors later. it took me some time to find the blue key area, as it was behind such a dark corner i didn't notice. still, the fight there was entertaining, as the most trouble comes not from the monster closet, but from the archie on the way there, who will send a lot of undead your way if not taken out quickly. found the secret yellow key - nice ide to offer an optional course.
good map, although not particularly memorable.



MAP07 - “No Man’s Station” by cannonball

got imped to death right at the start. ok that's for playing without headphones and not coming out, because there were so many of them. two pairs of revs berserk punched out, then there's an open space that can be cleaned surpringly easy, while i expected some more enemies to teleport in, so it ends a bit unexpectedly.

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Damn, this weekend got busy!

It looks like all the returns are in for Map04. First off, my thanks for the Keleher FDA, which was one helluva fun ride. As much as I love watching people die in my maps, I also enjoy the hell out of watching players manage to just barely survive. Those were some awesome twists and turns, and several times you were one hit away from death, so congrats on making it through. Definitely put a smile on my face.

As DotW said, I enjoy watching FDAs, first for the entertainment value, second for what I learn from them. Recently, rdwpa was kind enough to make FDAs for the latest iteration of my Shotgun Symphony maps, and in the process revealed some epic fails in a couple of them. It would be much more difficult for me to understand these failures if I was reading about them. Watching the FDA I could feel the flaws, for example, I'd say to myself that it just wasn't right for rdwpa to plink away at so many Cacos with the single shotty, which happened because I didn't put enough rockets on that path.

DotW provides his usual brilliant FDA. I've been blessed to have DotW FDA or demo virtually all of my maps, including my very first one from May, 1996, which I plan to re-do sometime in the future. Demon of the Well is a phenomenal player, and once I realized how good he was, I dedicated my mapping to killing him. ;D This is an enormously difficult undertaking for a player at my low skill level, because I had to put myself through the ringer testing massive brute-force traps of 100+ monsters along with dickish close encounters. I actually quit one of my own maps in despair after dying 54 times, and realizing I couldn't possibly survive the final battle in the state I was in. As for DotW? He successfully FDAed the map with no problem. Made me feel like the puny toad I am. :D DotW has a remarkable ability to assess a combat situation in what seems like milliseconds, and to almost always do exactly the right thing to emerge victorious. We're talking serious badass. However, after years of effort and over 30 maps, I finally took him out in 2 small, vicious Ultimate Doom maps, so to some extent I finally have that out of my system.

I wanted to make these remarks in a separate post, and handle the story of Map04 in my next, to avoid having a single super-big skyscraper of text. So basically it comes down to, "Thanks, guys!"

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One last note about MAP05, someone else may have mentioned this but there's a very obvious texture misalignment in the room with the switch that opens up the blue key hut.

MAP06: Communications Relay
100% kills, 6/6 secrets

I got brutally murdered on my first attempt, as I opened up the door with the two revenants behind before going ahead to get the SSG, and then when I did grab the SSG I I got cornered between the revs and chaingunners and quickly murdered. The fact that the door feels like a "DO NOT OPEN" makes me think that it should forcibly open if the player ignores it and moves into the hallway instead, as punishment. :) In fact it turns out that the whole southern section is simply an armory to acquire the larger guns early, which is nice. On the whole this map is very much a more old-school linear "adventure" map where you don't know what's coming next (being unable to see it due to a closed layout) and the rooms often vary in flavor, which I very much like as long as it keeps me entertained, which this certainly did. Lots of low-level and medium-level enemies, but up close and personal, so it plays quick and bloody. Which is good, since I could easily see it being sloggy with different monster/weapon usage as Dobu alludes to. Lots of fun secrets to look for to.

Only complaint would probably be the pointless monsters placed on the ledges outside the level proper... the AV outside the red armor wing feels especially surplus.

Another typo: "location" is misspelled on the intermission screen before MAP07.

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Map 06 -- Communications Relay - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets
Cool midi here, I even kind of like the upbeat, daydreamy tempo change a little ways in, unusual for me.

As for the map, well......this poor thing is something of a Frankenstein's monster at this point, bearing the marks of four different mappers, none really working in sync, but each layered atop the other in what is essentially a noble--if more or less futile--resuscitative effort. Or perhaps a better analogy would be a malbirth, a stunted, misshapen thing artificially kept alive via the wonders of science. I don't know Xenonemesis or anything concrete about his mapping style, but I do know something about Kyka's, and if you were to ask me for an educated guess, I reckon the core of what we see here in terms of layout and pacing is Xeno, with aesthetic gussying up done by Kyka--the studious, checkerboard style of inset detailing in walls and crisp blue/grey/fluorescent texture scheme being notable calling cards of his, especially in his numerous maps for this project. This map is essentially nothing but squidgy corridors with a very uniform physical scale and a persistently stuffy feeling, courtesy of the persistently low ceiling; according to Dobu, in its original form the entire expanse is also mandatory. Kyka's own maps tend to have a ton of linear rail-jaunts in them, as well, but he also likes to have the tunnels periodically feed out into big airy junctions or other spaces with a more conceptual slant, and we see essentially none of that here other than limited sawbones-ing in the thing-placement dept., done by Dr. Dobu. So, in sum, I think what we see here is essentially the work of a very inexperienced mapper (or perhaps one using a markedly inferior/limited editor, I dunno), with the work of three (more established) others piled atop.

Assuming we buy into my guess that the surface aesthetic of the level was polished up from whatever it was originally by Kyka, and knowing that Jaws built the exterior scenery and its light gameplay element (occasionally a caco will drift over from the hills, and there's a vile shaman dancing around on an overlook at one point, who may or may not deign to put a hex on you, depending on his mood) in an effort to alleviate the stifling, sterile air of the original layout, most of what good there is in the play department should likely be attributed to Dobu, who significantly retuned thing placement, shaping the combat element into something a little edgier than its initial porridge-bland fodder safari, and adding a sort of optionality into the proceedings by making the southern wing a technically optional armory of sorts--brave some claustrophobic traps to get heavier weapons, and so forth--which also contains a very simplistic secret subplot thread, via the YK idea. Noble efforts, to be sure, and the play experience has some limited weight to it in the sense that (on UV) a couple of the point-blank traps can and will kill you if you fail to take them seriously enough; there are also a couple of humorous jabs to add some levity to the otherwise turgid proceedings, most notably the secret berserk pack's boobytrap. At the end of the day, though, all of this TLC is of rather limited impact--IMO, the level was essentially dead from birth, offering very little ground through its stunted geometry, unimaginative layout, and visually/thematically boring setting for any really interesting play elements to take root beyond the duldrums of door/corridor fights, and there was very little that could be done with it to alleviate its fundamental issues, beyond medicating the symptoms a bit. Editorial additions like the reshaping of the progression path and inclusion of heavier traps indubitably elevate the experience some nominal degree from the monotony of its older forms, but at the same time don't really seem to rest naturally with the core design (i.e. the 'optional' stuff is only anything resembling optional if you play using carryovers, most traps fizzle because enemies can only ever come at you from one direction/through bottlenecks, etc.), leaving the whole with a weird impression of artificiality.

I dunno, maybe I really am being hysterically overanalytical here, and maybe I'd feel differently if I didn't know the level's turbulent medical history, but fact is, I do. I reckon that if the map order and roster is still open to change--new maps coming in, old maps going out--this one is probably the decisive runt of the litter of the first dozen or so.

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Demon of the Well said:

IMO, the level was essentially dead from birth [...]

Very apt prognosis Demon—harsh to a degree but extremely true. I find it a fun map but it's definitely one of those that absolutely fails to stand proudly amongst its peers; curious what conclusions you'll glean from the other Kyka & co. excursions.

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MAP07 - “No Man’s Station” by cannonball

This one is rather an easy map,and the difficulty feels right,just shooting bunch of monsters with some cool secrets, it's a short map, not too difficult like the early maps, not throwing powerful monsters early on, pretty nice map.

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MAP07 No Man's Station

This is a cannonball map, that, feels more like a valkiriforce map actually. The metal theme is prevalent and the overall feel resembles how valk's maps would play. Pretty generic actually. No MAP07 tags are used here. Low monster count makes this one a quickie. Don't recall this map either though.

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Ragnor said:

Thanks for the pictures Demtor, now I remember that map. It was one of the only maps that had almost nothing wrong with it, I remember it being "Yes, this is certainly a map" and not finding it too memorable. Hopefully Dobu's work has made it more memorable


Right on. I think that would be that map's (and possibly MAP07 - “No Man’s Station”) bigger problem, and/or perhaps a problem with the whole WAD itself, in that levels like that don't stand out too well. All of these tech bases in Episode 1 really need to have something memorable to them or they risk being forgotten in the shuffle of base after base after base. I've played through Map 12 so far and those two stick out as being the most forgettable. Perhaps that's the intent though. To provide a "breather" in simplicity.

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MAP06: Communications Relay

I'd agree with the observation others have made that this map doesn't feel like it really benefits from its multiplicity of authors; there's a sense of unfocused-ness to it, as though each segment is setting the stage for something grander that never really comes, resulting in a very corridor-heavy map with few rooms that I found particularly memorable. The optional armoury toward the beginning is a nice touch that seems designed to accommodate the differing resources of pistol start players vs. continuous players. Technically it's perfectly proficient but it's a place without a lot of personality.

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MAP07 - “No Man’s Station” by cannonball
gzDoom - UV – pistol start/no saves

The story so far... (spellcheck needed)

A quick trip through a dark metal base with green toxic waste going through it. Nothing too crazy, just a little play in the green muck and a few quirks involving switch hunting to find keys. BK is across a chasm and the RK is tucked away in the corner of a spacious courtyard crossfire before the exit.

I liked the starting structure. Surrounded outside by imps and zombies. The number and size of the forces can catch you off guard if you aren't paying close attention. I liked that. Starting inside, going out, then in and back out again is a fun way to design a base map.

Very glad I discovered the PG secret passage way that lead down a stairway to the toxic floor below. It made dealing with the two revs so much easier than just blindly jumping down in it or trying to cheat with mouselook over the edge, which is something I try hard not to do. My favorite part was the Manc at the top of the stairs making things dangerous with the small frys to get in your way. Simple but effective.

Not a bad map. Not a blow away map either. Just a good lil map with a fun straight forward exploratory angle to it. It was easy to imagine that coming up through the other side to the boxes in the outdoor courtyard was a refreshing treat after all the dark nauseous gas and fumes coming from the fiery sewer furnaces below.

The exit room here feels very familiar but I couldn't be arsed to go back through every exit room I've seen in the last six months to figure it out >_<

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