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Not Jabba

The Wayfarer (WIP Heretic Episode, new 4-map beta!)

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Sick screens. There's not enough new content made for Heretic/Hexen IMO. Even though they've always taken a backburner for me personally, they deserve more content for sure. I'll have to remember to check this out.

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Played both of the maps on QZDoom, really like them.
Nice usage of the green and blue theme in the second map. Never thought that my small map would have an influence on a bigger and better map. :)

Sigil of power is a great addition, especially if you (like myself) lack Tomes in your inventory and need those 15 seconds to plow down atleast half of your enemies.

There is a bug in which wand's firing sound doesn't play at all, but the tomed one works fine. Thought it had to do something with QZDoom but I had the same problem in Zdoom and GZdoom when tested.
Not a bug but there's a bookcase that is wider than the rest which makes the edge appear cut off (Don't know if it's intended that way or not).

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Dr. Morbid said:

There is a bug in which wand's firing sound doesn't play at all, but the tomed one works fine. Thought it had to do something with QZDoom but I had the same problem in Zdoom and GZdoom when tested.
Not a bug but there's a bookcase that is wider than the rest which makes the edge appear cut off (Don't know if it's intended that way or not).


Thanks for catching that stuff. You're right, the sound is missing -- sorry for not catching it sooner, but I tend to play with sound effects off/music on. It's because I replaced the wand with a new version that uses a custom attack, so I lost the sound that was hard-coded into the original attack. No problem though, I figured out how to fix it.

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Looks cool on the overhead (and in shots) -- definitely not noobish in that regard at all, in fact more sophisticated than most things released in a given year. Was this balanced for skill 4 or skill 5?

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I've only played the first map but I really enjoyed it.

Normally I play Heretic with either the Doom Weapons in Heretic WAD or the Descent into Heresy mod as both give the weaponry a kick up the butt. It's nice to see a slight change to the weapon specs without changing them too much. Do you intend to make the staff useful. I've always found it to be totally useless in the vanilla game.

Anyway, it's always great to see more Heretic stuff. Thanks. :)

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Very cool, it's nice to have more Heretic maps.

Man there's some subtle secrets. The one where you've got to repair a sarcophagus took me a while to notice.

There's a few places you can reach through jumping in MAP02 and then you get stuck, or see stuff you're not supposed to see.

The first:

Spoiler


You can jump from there:

The second:
Spoiler



You can climb these rocks if you start with a running jump from a slightly higher patch of land:

Finally, not a bug per se but since you're making it for ZDoom:
Spoiler


These crenelated wooden structures would look better with slopes. Here's how to set them up:

Perpendicular lines are 181:Plane_Align back to front. (Some lines were flipped.)
Diagonal lines are 118:Plane_Copy, using the "share" argument only (back to front, or front to back, as needed).
Result:



Maybe you don't want to make the architecture look "ZDoomy" and I can respect that, but crenelated arches just look wrong to me, unless there are stuff made with texture and details to really sell the idea that they're meant to look like this, instead of forced to look like this because of engine limitations.

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To maybe be a bit rude, but I'm not convinced the yellow sky looks good in any of the screen shots posted so far, as it kind of looks a little dusk like, but the lighting on the map doesn't match it.

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rdwpa said:

Looks cool on the overhead (and in shots) -- definitely not noobish in that regard at all, in fact more sophisticated than most things released in a given year. Was this balanced for skill 4 or skill 5?


It's balanced primarily for skill 4. Skill 2 is intended to be extremely casual. Skill 3 is basically a toned-down version of 4; I found it quite comfortable, but E1M2 did kill me a few times when I did a full playthrough. I've never even thought about skill 5, but if you've got suggestions for improvement there, let me know.

Average said:

Do you intend to make the staff useful. I've always found it to be totally useless in the vanilla game.


I'm planning to add a Berserk-equivalent artifact, but it didn't make it into this release and probably won't appear in E1M1 and E1M2 anyway. Once it's added, I'll consider damage changes to both the Tomed and un-Tomed weapon. Also, the Tomed staff now works against ghosts.

Gez said:

There's a few places you can reach through jumping in MAP02 and then you get stuck, or see stuff you're not supposed to see.


Thanks for finding those!

I'm aiming for a level of construction/detail/features that's loosely equivalent to something like Boom, with the addition of Decorate. I'd rather not use features that change the appearance of Heretic, such as slopes, but I'll try to find another way to make those arches look cleaner.

Vermil said:

To maybe be a bit rude, but I'm not convinced the yellow sky looks good in any of the screen shots posted so far, as it kind of looks a little dusk like, but the lighting on the map doesn't match it.


If a lot of people dislike it I'll consider a change, but I'm happy with that sky and chose it because I think it supports a pretty wide range of base light levels. I feel like skies in general are pretty flexible; Valiant E1 has a night sky and very bright ambient light.

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Haha, it turns out that I'm unfamiliar enough with Heretic that skill 5 doesn't matter; map02 is already quite challenging on skill 4 for me (I have to practice fighting clusters of Dark Bishops). I noticed that you can't hold down fire with the ethereal crossbow. You have to click for every shot. That was somewhat uncomfortable. Fun stuff so far.

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That was really good, i can't add much more than was already said except i wish i registered an fda for those two.

About the gameplay changes:
-The wand is really good, so good in fact that it rivals the claw, wasn't the fact that the ammo become really scarce for wand and plentiful for the other. Being able to stunlock almost every enemy is quite good in some close encounters.

-Crossbow: being able to occasionally two shots knights felt excellent. Both the spread and the choice to not make the additional sidebolts big ones make it's ups and downs really clear, and i like it. The tomed version is really satisfying to use against crowds.

-Could not really get a grip about the hellstaff, i got it really late and just used the old "spray and pray" against the hordes at the blue key, so i couldn't really tell the difference.

-The sigil is a nice way to say "Hey, use me here!", but don't really add much imho. It maybe prevent tome abuse in certain parts of the map? can't really tell.

-The waredragon still feel like a piece of paper, this may be due some weird rng i got, but it get really demolished by the new crossbow. On paper 300 health is a big number, so i may need some more time with the mod to assert what is going on there.

Overall it was a refreshing experience, as the game felt a little more fast paced than usual. Those two maps were excellent and i will wait for new updates!

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rdwpa said:

I noticed that you can't hold down fire with the ethereal crossbow. You have to click for every shot.


Wait, really? What port is that? The refire works for me in ZDoom, but keep in mind that it's slower than the original Crossbow.

Cacowad said:

The sigil is a nice way to say "Hey, use me here!", but don't really add much imho. It maybe prevent tome abuse in certain parts of the map? can't really tell.

-The waredragon still feel like a piece of paper, this may be due some weird rng i got, but it get really demolished by the new crossbow. On paper 300 health is a big number, so i may need some more time with the mod to assert what is going on there.


The Sigil mainly gives me (and other mappers who use it) better control over combat situations, but I like still having occasional Tomes around to give players some options. My favorite thing about the Sigil is that it last so much less long than the Tome; with the Tome, I found that it was almost impossible to balance a large-scale battle like the one in the Green Key area, because it lasted long enough to clear out every enemy with ease. With the Sigil, the player has to actually strategize how to use it most effectively.

The Weredragon isn't meant to be a huge change, just a tweak. I'll add a real tank enemy in later levels.

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Ah, I see. Hmm, okay in that case, the long reload is what is bugging me. It feels out of whack given the animation; there's a period during which the bow is completely 'frozen' (which is also what I misinterpreted in this case).

Mostly for future comments, I'm using GZDoom 2.2.

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Suggestion for the arches:

Spoiler



Simpler geometry. Gives the impression of something built with stone facing over a wooden armature.

In fact, even better:


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I've made a quick update that fixes the issues people have brought up so far, plus a potential sequence break and a couple of possible player exploits. Rdwpa, the Crossbow animation should hopefully be more intuitive now -- the delay is the same, but the animation doesn't freeze anymore.

Get it here. The link in the OP is also up to date. The next beta should be through E1M4 -- hopefully around June.

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Looks great! I haven't had time to actually fire it up for more than a minute. I downloaded it the other day and forgot it was zdoom only, so tried it in crispy and got

R_FlatNumForName: WOODWL not found
Obviously you aren't targetting !ZDoom anyway but I thought I'd report it as it might mean a missing texture somewhere.

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Jon said:

Looks great! I haven't had time to actually fire it up for more than a minute. I downloaded it the other day and forgot it was zdoom only, so tried it in crispy and got

R_FlatNumForName: WOODWL not found
Obviously you aren't targetting !ZDoom anyway but I thought I'd report it as it might mean a missing texture somewhere.


Looks like that texture is present in the wad, which is good, because I use it all over the place. The reason Crispy is giving that error is that Baker's Legacy, the main texture pack I'm using, is set up to only work with ZDoom/Hexen map formats. If it were a Doom wad and I were aiming for Boom compatibility, I would have to mess around with creating texture lumps, which sounds hard and annoying -- but fortunately, it's a moot point.

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Glad to hear that the staff might become a bit more useful. :)

I'm not sure if it's something you're interested in but have you seen the staff animations used in OSJC's Heretic mod? The animation really adds to the energy of the weapon.

Also, since this WAD is for ZDoom, have you considered sharing it on the ZDoom forum? Perhaps you'd get some more feedback there.

Bonus question number 3: Would you mind sharing the solution to the muted sound error on the tomed weapons? I often use Doom Weapons in Heretic 1.1 but that mod suffers the same problem. I'm completely ignorant as to how these things work but I fancy loading it up in SLADE and fixing it. :)

PS: Loving the sky. I've been playing the WAD in GZDoom with bloom and ambient occlusion and it looks gorgeous!

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Average said:

Bonus question number 3: Would you mind sharing the solution to the muted sound error on the tomed weapons? I often use Doom Weapons in Heretic 1.1 but that mod suffers the same problem. I'm completely ignorant as to how these things work but I fancy loading it up in SLADE and fixing it. :)


All I had to do was add in a new line of Decorate code to play the sound, right after the line that executes the weapon's attack:

GWND D 0 A_PlaySound("weapons/wandhit", CHAN_WEAPON)

That's the same sprite reference used for the attack itself, a 0-tic delay so that it plays at the same time as the attack, and an action that plays the Wand's hit sound on the weapon sound channel.

Thanks for the suggestions. I checked out OSJC's mod, and I don't want the staff to be that frenzied, but the animation frames do look better than the original (poke poke poke poke poke), and I should be able to make it work as normal with one or more of OSJC's animations.

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Hey Not Jabba, I had the chance to play this on BPPT; good times :)
 
A few balancing things I'd like to note before getting to the maps:
 - Idk if I was supposed to jump in this, but I did at the beginning before deciding later on that I prolly wasn't supposed to. In a way I made the beginning much easier on myself since I wound up finding the armor right off the bat, but in retrospect it wouldn't be too bad to run all the way around to get the armor before firing.
 - I liked the new power and boosted speed of the Elven Wand; it made the beginning portion much less tedious than it had first seemed as I searched for a weapon. Speaking of, excellent use of time bombs in the beginning to help take out the big guys faster. Also, I was happy to see many tomes throughout this level. Tomes=good. Still, it's hard to get over the feeling of using what my brain considers to be a "weak weapon" for so long as a primary weapon. But I do love Heretic's wand; especially tomed, it's so satisfying to use.
 - I also like that you made the tomed staff hit ghosts; that's the way I always felt it should be. In all honesty, I wouldn't complain if you upped the tomed-staff's damage to some degree to make it a viable choice in combat.
 - The crossbow I'm a bit ambivalent about. On one hand, I really did not like the main fire of it; too slow and the wide spread makes the weapon more of a small-group-type of weapon. One the other hand, that slow speed only made the weapon that much more appealing to tome because when tomed it feels fast as Hell in comparison to its non-tomed state. You didn't list that the tomed version was faster than the non-tomed version, so Idk if that was intentional or not.
 - While I didn't get to use the Dragon Claw yet, it felt about the same as it normally does. Personally, I think the DC should be (slightly) nerfed to match the other weapons usefulness more closely; something like not hitting ghosts (though that would defy its "magical nature") or lower damage. I think something more agreeable, though, would be to lower its damage and up its fire rate, making it closer to Doom's CG and reducing slightly its fantastic sniping ability. This would also differentiate it more from the Hellstaff, but then again so would not hitting ghost monsters... *grumbles*  heh.
 - The weredragon is going to be most separated from the Undead Warrior when the player has a shadowsphere and thus ghost abilities, or when paired with ghost mobs because while the UW's shots are only physical, the weredragon's (beasts) shots are magical. For this, I think it's almost best to just avoid use of one or the other altogether, save portions where their main separating factor is useful. Not to say their stats should remain almost identical, but perhaps instead of keeping the beasts relatively low threat and high health, perhaps it would be better to bump up their threat level also. In all honesty, the 80 health you added wasn't much and could likely stay, but consider upping their damage, projectile speed, or firing behavior, such as a faster fire rate or more aggressive, frequent shots fired. Maybe even a bit more movement speed to bump them up on the priority list. Most monsters in Heretic don't need much in the realm of added health though, as the biggest thing people seem to complain about with Heretic is 'the tedium of killing single, straight-shooting projectile monsters with weak-feeling weapons.'
 - General monster damage and balancing felt right; I didn't notice too much worse of a situation with regard to damage-taken, aside from the lack of health in the map and I didn't notice much difference in enemy drops, but then again ammo was abundant, plus I was playing on BPPT, so I didn't have much need to notice that. And apparently I didn't, heh.
 
Ok, on to the maps:
I recorded an FDA and made it into a video, which I put up on YouTube.
 
 
E1M1 was a fun, tough little bastard. The start alone left me in such a bad place that I am surprised I made it through on my first try, but I'll attribute some of that to the easy start I had finding the armor first, which once again Idk if that means I cheated or not, which is kinda a shame.
 - The beginning of this map was just tough as nails on skill 5. I went back after completion and replayed the beginning without jumping and died quite a few times, until finally just booking it all the way around to the armor and heading inside like I did on my first run, except that this last time I died in the crossbow room from health being whittled down. I really enjoyed the placement of mobs to start things off; though I'll note that truthfully there was very little point to the pair of ghost golems in the beginning aside from being intangible to the UW's projectiles (so much ammo no need to use staff), which due to their locations was fairly uncommon. I liked the fire gargoyle placement going on though, and the golems did serve well to give the player a tiny bit of extra pressure as they dealt with the gargs, nitros, and eventually UW's from around the corner. The gargs that are released shortly after the player progresses were missing from the main encounter due to my jumping in the beginning, but came out to surprise me later on. I did miss one enemy in this map.
 - Fairly extreme lack of health in this; I wouldn't have been upset to see just a bit more given. Nothing wrong with a forgiving nature to the gameplay. In my FDA I got to the point of either a drop-off or a doorway and had to make some tough life choices based on having such a poor outlook on the health situation. But the way this map plays is almost like a steady whittling down of the player's health as they try to just survive to the next vial. I noted in my replays that the beginning was much more doable with the armor than without due to the relatively low health to be found in the initial area.
 - Ammo balancing on the other hand was always generous and I rarely had to worry about managing my ammo. Now part of this is due to the difficulty setting, but the enemy set (+gauntlets) and items provided would have certainly made skill 4 easier than skill 5. Sometimes skill 4 can actually be tougher than skill 5 in Heretic, which is amusing to see.
 - Once again I loved the use of items in this map, though a shadowsphere would have been a great find early on in the map to be used against a nice pack of UW's.
 - I didn't find any secrets in the first map... I think. I did find a semi-obscure switch later on in the map, crossbow room I think, which took me to a drop-off behind some columns that lowered and into a large puddle in a cave with lots of time bombs I didn't use, plus a flask which I used immediately. Honestly some more health down there would have been a better sight, but I was fairly happy to not see enemies when it didn't reveal as a secret. Was this supposed to be a secret and just didn't get marked? I would have liked to have found the Mystic Urn room, but I forgot about it fairly closely to after seeing it, heh. Still, by that point in the map (after that nearby trap, I would assume) there isn't much left in the way of resistance to finish the map and make that huge mass of health useful.
 - In my jumping escapades (in the beginning of the map) I managed to fall off into the water. I was thrilled to make it back up from some stroke of intense luck and brief-momentary perseverance, but it was around this point I began to realize I wasn't supposed to jump. Still, might want to do something to mitigate that possibility, either through mentioning somewhere convenient "no jumping," MAPINFO-blocking it, or just adding/removing a few impassible flags to the lines in the area or adding in a teleport back up in case other people are stupidly adventurous like me. Idk, was funny though.
 - The crossbow room was really tempting to just sit at the door and pick off the main threats before entering the room, which ironically the main threats were mostly present upon merely opening the door. Indeed, as the door shut after I resisted the urge to door-camp, I realized that I might actually die from such a brash decision. Luck was on my side though and I lived, but I likely should have died there. More-so, I should have door-camped there. That was kind of a let down in retrospect.
 - The encounter following the crossbow room was a nice little sandwich, but given the low health situation I was in, wound up pushing me back to the doorway for cover. Of course it was my choice to doorway camp there, but given that I never would have survived that without it, Idk what to think. More health/armor would go a long way to encouraging players to do stupid things like rush into the fray and use that book or time bomb(s) rather than run away and use that door. Likewise, I pretty much doorway camped my way through most of the remainder of the map. But part of that was due to the fact that by this point I had recognized that my health was being slowly whittled down through every stupid mistake and not being replenished as fast as it was going. The health/armor starved nature pushed me to be less ballsy than I otherwise would have been. Also, I forgot to use my brain in the room before the exit and totally didn't use the obvious stair to reach the flask, lol. One other thing, on that little sandwich trap with UW's in front and others from behind: that would have been the perfect place for the player to have a shadowsphere, since that one item would allow the player to stand ground in the center of the sandwich and fight the group from the back, knowing that the UW's shots will merely pass through them and making the UW's only a threat once they get into melee range.
 - It was kind of a bummer to get the DC when there was nothing left to kill. In retrospect I hope this wasn't meant for continuous play because I totally canned the autosave file and will be wand-starting this next level.
 - I enjoyed the layout of this map, with plenty of optional area to explore in the beginning of the map, before moving on to the linear nature of the remainder of the map. Due to its linear and health/armor-starved nature, the feeling of having choices waned for me at about the crossbow room.
 - The aesthetics of the map were very nice; I liked the minimalist design while still retaining some cool architecture to look at. The beginning felt super atmospheric which was cool and I liked the lighting cast in from the windows inside the small rooms there in the beginning. Really, the lighting was superb throughout. Texturing was solid which is always a plus. The outside area right before the crossbow room felt a bit plain in comparison to the more-detailed outer (previous) area. Some areas perhaps could use a bit more trim or texture variation with the detailing relative to the main surface, if that makes sense. I liked the look of the final two rooms, but the last in particular, with the big gate and DC+big ammo packs, left me feeling ready for a large fight that never came. Might be good to put in something special behind those large pillars that lower for a little fling with the DC before moving on :)
 - All-in-all this was quite a fun way to kick off the episode; the fun I had with this leaves me in anticipation for chomping into the second map. Great job so far!

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11 hours ago, Fonze said:
 
Hey, thanks for the fda and feedback! The biggest takeaway for me is that it looks like I should probably disable jumping and crouching. As a player, I like just having the option to jump to take non-cheating shortcuts, and I wanted to let people do that, but you're really not supposed to be able to hop over that gallows in the beginning. It felt like most of the things that went wrong in that playthrough were from you jumping, which shows just how poorly I constructed that starting area with respect to player movement -- not a big surprise, since it's the first area I ever made. I patched most of those issues up before releasing the beta, and theoretically I might be able to raise the gallows enough to not be jumpable, but I feel like I'm just going to keep running into stuff like this. I dunno. How high can the player jump, anyway?

It's great to get your perspective on skill 5, which is the one difficulty I didn't give any real thought to. For me, skill 4 seems really good, and it feels like other people have liked it too -- I'm pretty sure there's no way to add things just on skill 5 without also adding them on 4, right? Do you have any tips for how to handle that issue in general? I'll definitely add more health on E1M1 -- E1M2 should be better in that regard, but I'll see what you think.
 
One idea I've been toying with is to have the enemies in the final room not be visible until after you enter it (they're mostly ghosts, so having them rise out of the floor/sarcophagi should be reasonable). After watching you door camp that whole battle, I think I'm going to do that. It's a challenging and fun fight if you run straight for the Claw and have enemies all around you, which is what I intended.
 
Looking forward to your E1M2 playthrough!
 
A few notes:
-These maps are designed for Wand start, and that's how I've been testing them, so you should be fine on E1M2. I normally play continuous though, and I'm allowing for that with the design, which is one reason I decided to go ahead and put that Dragon Claw at the end of E1M1.
-The watery area you drop down into in E1M1 is not intended to be a secret, though it has secrets in it (including one that would have given you a Shadowsphere for that sandwich battle you mentioned). It's just supposed to be an optional exploration/stock-up area. Actually, your end screen showed me that one of my secrets isn't marked, so I'll make sure to fix that.
-In normal Heretic, I always default to the Dragon Claw as by far my preferred weapon because it's the only weapon up through slot 5 that feels really useful to me. The idea of nerfing it seems really counterintuitive. Instead, the idea was to make every other weapon through slot 5 (except the Gauntlets) more powerful to match the Claw. I really like the way they all feel now, and I actually have been defaulting to the Crossbow instead of the Claw, which to me is a really good indicator that nerfing the Claw at this point is a bad idea.
 
 
Quote
 

You didn't list that the tomed version was faster than the non-tomed version, so Idk if that was intentional or not. 

 
 
Technically, that's because it's not a change from the original Heretic. The Tomed version is as fast as always; it's just that the un-Tomed version is slower.
Edited by Not Jabba : Minor clarifications/typos

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I just finished playing it, and other than the bow's extra shots and that sigil powerup, I didn't really notice anything different. I thought the sigil was the actual weapon from Strife and not a mini tome of power.

 

As for the bow, it seems to work a bit like the frost shards. Those two extra shots appear shortly after you fire the weapon, which means if you use it at point blank range, it won't have as much of an impact as if you used it from a bit farther away. If you're too close, you won't get as much damage as you could have. Too far, and some shots might miss. By the end, I was full of arrows and I was using other weapons, mainly the wand to plink those golems and undead warriors off of their perches.

 

I also noticed that you changed the ammo count from the weredragons and ophidians. You probably did the same with the golems, but I didn't notice that one.

 

The maps themselves were quite nice, but some of the secrets were a bit annoying, like the non-secret secret with the mystic urn in the first map. On the last part of map 2, I just hung around the tall elevator and kept hitting the switch and shot everything that rode up on it (sometimes knocking them back down). After I got bored of that, I just ran off and quickly got them all from behind.

 

For the penultimate switch (or the switch with the iron lich right before the exit), I was actually expecting some iron liches or even a maulotaur to appear outside. Considering what weapons you have at the end, that last area could be a tiny bit harder. Maybe 1-2 more iron liches might work. Or maybe remove many of the ground enemies in that outside area and put in a maulotaur instead.

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46 minutes ago, Ichor said:

As for the bow, it seems to work a bit like the frost shards. Those two extra shots appear shortly after you fire the weapon, which means if you use it at point blank range, it won't have as much of an impact as if you used it from a bit farther away. If you're too close, you won't get as much damage as you could have. Too far, and some shots might miss. By the end, I was full of arrows and I was using other weapons, mainly the wand to plink those golems and undead warriors off of their perches.

I'm not sure what you mean. All five projectiles spawn at the same time, but as with the original weapon, the side projectiles are slower than the center one. You deal the maximum possible damage at point blank range, although if you dish out more damage than is actually needed to kill the enemy, some of the side projectiles will pass through the dying body and hit something else.

 

Thanks for the points about the harbor area in E1M2. It dawned on me after the first beta that the lift could be used to screw up the large outdoor battle, but nobody else mentioned it as a problem until now. I'm considering a few possible fixes for that, but haven't thought of anything I'm totally satisfied with yet. Out of curiosity, did you come from the north (the side with the lift), or did you come from the south and just run around all the enemies to get to the lift?

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This message is all out of order; apologies. I typed some after the FDA, then more after the -skill 4 run and am ending with replies, so some things may or may not make as much sense as I think they do.
 
15 hours ago, Not Jabba said:

As a player, I like just having the option to jump to take non-cheating shortcuts,

I am the same way, so I won't directly promote MAPINFO-blocking it, but you should mention somewhere that it's not meant to be used so players know not to break sequence with it.
 
15 hours ago, Not Jabba said:

How high can the player jump, anyway?

I believe it's 24 pixels, plus being able to step up another 24 for a total of 48. Or in other words, picture a 64x64 Doom crate next to a 16x16 tiny crate, stand atop the tiny crate and you can jump onto the big one.

 

15 hours ago, Not Jabba said:

I'm pretty sure there's no way to add things just on skill 5 without also adding them on 4, right? Do you have any tips for how to handle that issue in general?

Correct. My tip might not be the gameplay you want to achieve, but I would trend towards a more forgiving nature for the map. I'm of the mindset that I would rather play Heretic on -skill 5, so this advice you may not want to take for the reason that balancing would necessarily be different. If you want -skill 4 to be the toughest setting, then -skill 5 could be treated as nightmare is for Doom; forgotten ;D That said, to make things easier on -skill 5 would necessarily mean making things easier on -skill 4. My experience with these two maps is that merely surviving a setpiece encounter isn't enough, as there isn't going to be enough health around to begin the next couple; the player must survive fairly handily for the most part with these maps or risk running the rest of the map on low health. I tend to prefer a gameplay that gives the player a good fighting chance even if they barely scrape by an encounter that turned out tougher than originally planned. However, I also like stakes to be fairly high and those 'oh shit' moments where the player has to fairly quickly pick out the key targets to eliminate or things to do, so I think some good pressure from multiple angles is always a good thing, which you achieved well. Perhaps just a tad more monster variety, like bringing in the ophidians a bit earlier into the map, could allow you to tweak the encounters a bit and raise the stakes without going too slaughter or adding many enemies. On the note of adding health: add it in non-setpiece areas to allow the player to recharge between the setpieces, which are typically where the difficulty level is the highest. This will ensure that the player enters the tough spots better off, up to full health, while not negatively affecting the deadliness of the existing setpieces. In the setpieces for this map, though, I think that the health provided should also be moved to more accessible or at least easy-to-find (during the fray) locations. I also think that both maps should have two armors, even if one is a secret, though this would reduce the deadliness of at least one encounter.

 
15 hours ago, Not Jabba said:

One idea I've been toying with is to have the enemies in the final room not be visible until after you enter it (they're mostly ghosts, so having them rise out of the floor/sarcophagi should be reasonable). After watching you door camp that whole battle, I think I'm going to do that. It's a challenging and fun fight if you run straight for the Claw and have enemies all around you, which is what I intended.

This is something that is a bit different from -skill 4 to 5; decent parallels can be drawn in a few places during my runs of M2 when comparing the feel of an area on -fast and at normal speed -slow. I think it's a great idea, provided there is some more health beforehand to accommodate players on -skill 5 being trapped in that room with fast monsters.
 
 
 
I got the chance to play M2 today and got my ass kicked all over the map, heh. Here's my FDA. All demos recorded in zDoom 2.8.1, btw.
 
And once again in a more preferable video form:
 
So the problem of a general lack of health and armor continues into this map, though that isn't much of a surprise after the first. Still, I'll say that some of it is due to me running into projectiles, but some setpiece trap/encounters have like 1 vial of health nearby, which is fairly shitty when one hit can take off a huge chunk of health at random. The gargoyle swarms are fairly deadly, too, given the areas they appear in plus the health situation. So unfortunately I had to turn it down to skill 4 for this one, though skill 5 was certainly a lot of fun. Just would be more doable with a more forgiving nature.
 
 
My thoughts on my FDA (BPPT):
 - For starters, I loved the opening shot: minimal detailing, but to maximum effect; beautifully done! The architecture works well to establish a good immersive feeling as the player begins the level.
 - I liked the non-linear approach to the start; it gave me many choices of areas to die in! Heh, nah but really it gave me some good opportunities to devise a good strategy to tackle some of the tougher spots in the map; unfortunately that was a good amount of places, which meant that doing something like grabbing the armor straight off the bat and heading to tough part #3 would lead to a lack of armor on tough part #2... and #1. The outside portion by the BK door was straight-up too difficult for me on BPPT and I unfortunately had to cheese it to get past.
 - Getting into the map proper, I'll just go with areas as I reached them in my FDA. At the start, I liked the little collection of enemies there; they worked well to get the player into the swing of things while providing a small bit of pressure. UW-turrets were used well. The little supply room seemed a bit less benevolent at first and I wound up not exploring it until a bit later; thinking it would be filled with enemies. Maybe a little happy window there would be nice :)
 - I went and got the crossbow first, then proceeded to the GK area, clearing out the outside ring first. Nice incidental combat along the outer ring, but the symmetry of the mob placement was obvious and a bit expected. Might be good to change the monster set in one of those hallways.
 - I liked the little trap at the DC in the back end of that hallway, but the ghost UW-turrets were a bit undercooked I feel. First off, they're in a dark area, so the invisible part doesn't matter. That leaves only their ability to throw only red axes and their immunity to crossbow side-bolts as their key attributes in those locations, both of which I think are a bit harsh and unnecessary for the encounter. The latter being especially bad since there is no real need to kill them, so they eat crossbow ammo (since you wouldn't want to waste all of your DC orbs) and they don't pose a threat after you leave that room, which you never need to return to. I skipped them. Would certainly be a good idea to give them a way to enter into the level elsewhere if they are skipped.
 - The room with the armor was cool in the sense that it was an easy infighting opportunity, but a bit meh for me since it also encouraged simply waiting at the door for the UW's to walk up and taking them out without the added pressure of the nitro's homing projectiles. I did like the nitros' placement here.
 - The GK room was a bit of a mixed bag for me. To start, I wasn't a huge fan of the nitro placement here; too encouraging to just kill them all. The area looks like a huge trap, plus the GK sitting there. I think they would be better suited as non-ghost UW's that appear when the disciples appear. I really liked the collection of disciples that appeared, as well as the sandwich they made with the player and the sabreclaws that came in and the way that it fit with the arena. The Sigil of Power was perfectly placed for this encounter, but unfortunately just wound up being eaten by the mass of sabreclaws for me and basically left me in about the same situation as I would've been in if there had been no sigil and about 1/4 the sabreclaws teleporting in, in addition to eating most of the ammo for my best weapon against the disciples: the DC. Afterwards, I was left feeling a bit robbed since I entered with far more health than I left with and basically made no progress that helped the dire, immediate situation. All that said, I loved the look of this area; it was beautifully made!
 - From there I went up the staircase by the crossbow in the beginning. I wasn't a huge fan of, not necessarily the monster usage, but something, in that room given the surrounding layout and relatively tight quarters because it's certainly best when approaching from any angle to just camp the doorway and pick off the UW's you can as well as the nitros before entering, but perhaps it's better on a lower difficulty. Looked like there might have been some texture misalignments on the supports columns in this room. I'll call this the "hub room" for quick ease.
 - I liked the dark room going down the stairs on the left side of that hub room, into the area with the vine-columns, other crossbow spawn, and water floor. The collection of enemies there worked well for the area and the area was designed to work well with them. That garg swarm taxed the Hell out of my health, but was well-placed and fun to fight.
 - I liked the little executive room atop the stairs from the hub, as well as the 90's secret desk-switch, hehe. That was a cool little room and I liked the swarm of sabreclaws there; good chance to use some bombs :) This was also the only secret I found, unfortunately.
 - That secret: is the hanging guy hanging on nothing or does he just have Dilbert's tie? Heh. Also, I liked the water pool/fall in the corner, but something about the bottom pool looking like its taking on more water while being physically higher than the surrounding dirt made me scratch my head. I guess that dirt is really dry and thirsty cause that water was coming down fast ;P Nah, in all seriousness, that area looked quite nice.
 - The staircase on the right of the hub room going down into the small, dark area with waterfalls and disciples was kind of crappy. Once the disciples make it to the stairs the player is at an incredible disadvantage, given the changing floor heights and slight curve to the stairway. The disciples might be better suited as something else. Maybe a pack of sabreclaws, some/most of which teleport behind the player, maybe force the player into the room rather than into retreating. The false wall/waterfall in that one room was a bit frustrating, with the UW's firing through it. Those UW's got me for 33 hp, which lead to a frustrated me rushing out of the area and going to activate a flask, only to place a bomb instead. Idk how I didn't die then and there, lol, but it only prolonged the inevitable.
 - It was at this point that I reached the outside area with the BK door off of the hub room. I think one of the key problems with this encounter is that a good few threatening enemies get set off before the player ever really enters the area, which basically means door-camping. Additional problem though, most monsters there seem to hear the player when they fire from the bottom of the stairs, but without actually entering the area, which is a recipe for disassembling the encounter from the doorway. When I first approached this area, there was no point to enter it because there were plenty of threats at the door, so to speak. Afterwards, by the time I killed the wave of disciples, the ground forces around the right hand side began to filter in. At that point I basically gave up and went to another area, to let them all filter into the hallway so I wouldn't have to wait around. I felt kinda shitty doing so, but my health was atrocious and I didn't see any health to grab out there, only enemies and a weapon, ammo, and a sigil pickup, which likely means a big battle, of which I wasn't prepared for. I later came back to this area, cleared the stairs, and died right after entering the area. Didn't expect that gate to close, heh. I then ran back to this area and died again three more times. That looks quite hectic; certainly a good place for the sigil, lol.
 - After another death or two, I wound up running up to the exec room without firing, then going back into the hub and firing, getting sandwiched between the mass of sabreclaws and the UW's+nitros. That encounter actually was quite fun and hectic, which I like, but of course the problem becomes that afterward there just isn't enough health in the level to keep the player going. One huge mistake means so much in a map like this, as does taking on tough encounters head-on. On this note, you could perhaps ramp up the incidental combat's threat/hectic levels to accommodate more health/armor given to the player; up the stakes a bit.
 - Moving along that southern hallway with the two-UW-turret, the trap/encounter in that room at the end of the hallway with the water floor that lowers after hitting the switch was a tight little number. I died on that area a few times before getting something down that would mostly work, albeit with too much damage taken. I liked that area, though; it was nice-looking and a fun little encounter. Not much health to be found though, to my recollection there was just the one vial in the little adjacent room with the lone UW. The following room was kind of the same as with a lot of areas, threats close in as soon as the door is open. It's a shame really and I feel bad for the cheesing I did playing this, but it's hard to rationalize heading into a room with no needed supplies visible and threats already closing in, and that's just the threats you can see; who knows what's behind that corner? Maybe health, maybe more enemies and no health. After finally running in and dying, I didn't see any health :( lol; but I see later that there is some in there, packed away in corners.
 - I noticed the lowered drop-rate for ammo from enemies more in this map; personally, I found it a bit too low for my liking, but it's a very minor thing.
 
So yeah, this map stomped me repeatedly into submission. Fun times, but damn the health was just too scarce to keep me going. Good portion of that is because sometimes I fail to realize that I'm not supposed to run into the projectiles, but a forgiving nature to a map is never a bad thing. I really liked the look of this map; lotta really cool areas to explore, which was aided by the fun layout. Good use of architecture and effective texturing, as well as height variation. I loved the view from the exec's room, hehe. That whole area is part of what made the layout cool. I wasn't a big fan of all the fighting on those curved stairways at the hub room, but to some degree that's my fault. As I said, I liked the layout here; the non-linear approach to start things off set a rally nice tone for the map, at least up until I had only one way to go and still no real progress to show for myself aside from a lot of dead monsters and cleared areas. Lotta really cool ideas and work went into making this map and I really appreciate the material to play, especially when it's of a good quality, as this is :)
 
-Skill 4:
Demo
 
 
 - Running this level on -skill 4 is in a totally different ballpark than running it on -skill 5. For starters, many encounters I couldn't approach before could be easily run into, due to the reduced speed of the monsters. I took far, far less damage throughout and while I still found a way or two to die somewhere along the way, possibly a time-bomb-GAD, heh, I have to say that this level felt really easy on -skill 4. Knowing it was balanced for -skill 4 and now running said skill makes the health situation make a lot more sense but brings me back to an earlier thought; 'why not up the stakes?' Give more health/armor to be more forgiving and put in an extra bit of pressure to some of these areas. The map allows for few mistakes, even if -skill 4 is fairly easy to avoid damage. I still think just generally adding some more vials and an extra armor to each map wouldn't be a bad thing. That said, most areas I wasn't a fan of monster-wise on -skill 5 were non-issues here, like the armor room; I simply ran around the outside and took out the nitros before killing the UW's and it felt pretty good and fun. The hub room was better as well, as were the BK door area and the water-lowering-floor area. Helps that the weapons kill them quicker with your changes, too, given that this setting makes the game much slower, reducing threat levels. One thing I would like to mention about the BK door area, even after playing on -skill 4, I'm not a fan of all the health in the area being tightly packed away in a corner the player has little chance of safely reaching until most of the mobs are dead.
 - The more I use the crossbow, the better I like it, but the less it makes me want to use time bombs. I like that in a way, the spread encourages being right up on the monster, much like the SSG. I also noticed that it has a fairly decent chance to kill golems in one hit now, which is also kinda cool. I still hate how slow it is, but in a way that is also good to make it less useful against ghosts, which is something the player's arsenal is lacking in vanilla (since most weapons do well against ghosts, this adds a nice little bit of weapon management against enemy types. I think it's good to utilize Heretic's special features, like enemy/weapon(damage) types, when designing the gameplay, so this was actually kind of a cool thing).
 - Ammo was certainly tighter this time around and several times I ran out of ammo for one or two guns, but I always had ammo for at least one at any given point in time. Makes me think a bit more about the reduced ammo drop rate, but I like having to utilize ammo management, same as weapon management, as long as it doesn't get into the starving range, which this didn't.
 - The waterfall room off the hub room with the 3 disciples wasn't much better on this skill; I wound up still having to fight them in the stairwell, at least until 1-2 were dead at which point I was able to rush in.
 - I liked the BK area; I didn't reach it on BPPT, but on this setting it was pretty fun. The trap was a nice, hectic little encounter.
 - I actually found all secrets this time around; some were fairly difficult, but not in a bad way I think. Perhaps the most involved one was the final one, which unfortunately gives a phoenix rod with 5 enemies left in the map to kill. Speaking of, terrible, absolutely terrible placement of a beast in that dark area. The most difficult one, I think, was the tome secret on the island. I got fairly lucky that I saw the switch texture change when I fired a moment too long, but finding the thing it did was tough. I hoped, and luckily this is the way you made it, that you'd be able to see both switch and effect in the same location and thus I was able to figure it out; I'm glad you didn't make the player shoot it and have to run around to find its effect. The tiny yellow switch for the ovum wasn't bad to find. The shadowsphere secret was a bit tough, but when I saw the unlit torch in the room I went into secret-finding mode and it actually wasn't too hard to find; couldn't tell well that I really hit it though, heh.
 - The ending was a bit of a let down, I agree with Ichor that it could have really used some more meat to cleave with the newfound weapons. I suppose if I entered that BK door area for the first time after getting the BK and thus the HS and PR I would have had a fair amount of targets, but I wouldn't have complained about another large wave of enemies spawning in after killing the lich and ophidians.
 
So my two biggest critical thoughts on M2 are the health/armor abundance and getting the player to want to enter into the room/encounter, rather than presenting intimidating threats 'at the door,' so to speak. That said, this was a good time :) I loved the layout, architecture, and design of this map. I hope none of this came across as really negative or anything; they're both good maps and I'm glad I played them.
 
These two maps were a lot of fun to play Not Jabba; I look forward to the rest of the episode!

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