Dark Tide :: Finally Released

The best castle map ever made. That boat let me know it's a Lutz creation.

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The map is perfectly playable in prboom-plus... if you use mouselook and crosshair. You can turn those on in combination with complevel 9 and even demo recording. The hitscanners on all those ramparts and towers are a massive headache without aiming up, so don't hesitate.

 

Congrats on the release, Lutz!

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Such a massive and complex map, in just 6 months? Impressive ... After the passage left the feeling that for a moment I returned to Eternal Doom III. Although I passed through it only once, there is something here that makes me recall it. Due to the abundance of hitscanners at altitudes, the gameplay in open spaces is quite dangerous. I really liked architecture into each other separate locations. You can try to run through, leaving behind the monsters fighting each other, run into a random turn and hide. Usually in other map this, at the first pass, ends with an imminent death, but I was lucky (sometimes). No less fun later to meet monsters in the mazes of map, knocked down in dense piles. There is a real non-linearity here. It's interesting that I found all the keys before, actually the door they open. In many other maps, usually on the contrary, around only locked doors and "???" what to do. I accidentally missed a room with BFG, but this did not stop me from successfully completing the level. In general, by gameplay and visuals this is very strong work. Highest ranking in my collection. Someday I will definitely get acquainted with the rest of your works.

 

Doom_Font_Green_Arrow.png First Demo Attempt - GZDoom 3.2.0, 35 mins

 

Blue_5_5.png - Visuals (5 / 5)
Blue_5_5.png - Detailing (5 / 5)
Blue_4_5.png - Gameplay (4 / 5)
Blue_5_5.png - Atmosphere (5 / 5)
Orange_4_5.png - Difficulty (4 / 5)

 

Green_5_5.png - Overall Rating (5 / 5)

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8 hours ago, dew said:

The map is perfectly playable in prboom-plus... if you use mouselook and crosshair. You can turn those on in combination with complevel 9 and even demo recording.

Uh... surely this must be a mistake? You can't add new gameplay mechanics into existing complevels. I know pr+ allows mouselook but only as a visual effect; you still aim horizontally unless autoaim detects something. If you can aim, not just look, but aim up and down manually while recording a version 202 demo, that is a serious bug. It destroys backward compatibility and defeats the entire purpose of the complevel system.

 

Sorry to potentially derail the thread but this made me boggle. At least in a quick test I recorded a cl9 demo with mouselook enabled in pr+ and played it back in another engine that supports boom demos, but not pr+-style mouselook, and it looked normal, no mouselook obviously but the rockets took expected paths. So, panic over maybe. But still @dew what do you mean exactly? Have I simply misunderstood you?

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14 minutes ago, RjY said:

I know pr+ allows mouselook but only as a visual effect; you still aim horizontally unless autoaim detects something.

I don't know how far back it goes, but pr+ absolutely can write/read mouselook pitch into extended-format demos.

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17 minutes ago, Linguica said:

I don't know how far back it goes, but pr+ absolutely can write/read mouselook pitch into extended-format demos.

It seems you've misunderstood. I guess I cannot have explained this properly. Indeed pr+ can write out and replay mouselook pitch in demos with the extended footer. But it is only a visual change in the rendering of the player view; it has no effect on the game world. The player's aimslope is still the same independent of freelook pitch. Or so I believed until I read dew's post.

 

To avoid further misunderstanding perhaps an illustration is in order. The classic example of freelook abuse does not work in pr+:

JgZfUli.png

I can certainly look straight up at the exposed brain and put a crosshair on it, but the rockets travel horizontally regardless.

 

But for this map we are told freelook is necessary and to not hesitate to aim up. Why is that, when it has no effect other than shifting the view? So I worry, perhaps it is having an effect: dew is one of the community's best playtesters, he certainly isn't so unobservant that he can test an entire giant map with freelook turned on and yet fail to notice it isn't actually helping him aim any better at out-of-range targets. So pr+ freelook must be having a gameplay effect that can be recorded in v202 demos that I am seemingly unable to reproduce. But if so, it's fatally broken, because those v202 demos will desync on every engine that can play Boom demos, other than pr+.

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Take the source port discussion into another thread if you want to continue it, we don't need to derail Lutz's thread any more than it already is.

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21 minutes ago, RjY said:

But it is only a visual change in the rendering of the player view;

You're wrong, you can enable vertical aiming since 2.5.1.4.

 

v_aim.png.92f3e842ed12e19a566f86119c974f4b.png

 

 

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FDA.

Great map with interesting architecture. There's a lot of snipers on this map though waiting for player in dark corners, in many windows and on castle walls, but they're more irritating than dangerous, considering how much health pick ups there are on the map.

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This was a brilliant map, I loved the aesthetic and most of the gameplay. My first impressions when booting this map up explain my frustrations in the gameplay department: "WOW! This looks amazing; but sniper hitscanners everywhere? That's not fun."

 

I toned the difficulty down from UV to HMP and the intro section wasn't any easier at all, which was a bit of a let down personally. I focused a bit more and found a couple of safe spots from all the hitscanner sniping which seemed to come from every nook and cranny. Getting past the start allowed to me get a bit of momentum and enjoy the map more.

 

Once I started getting into the flow of the map I was having a lot of fun, tackling the interesting encounters, some of which are tough but fair.

 

All in all once I'd dealt with most of the sniper-like hitscanners the map became immensely more enjoyable, if I could suggest any changes, I would remove the chaingunners from the windows and ledges on HMP and below. They really whittle you down.

 

The visuals throughout the map were very beautiful and inspiring! Thanks for the effort put into this map!

 

Spoiler

Not sure if you'd want to do anything about this, but I managed to unintentionally skip the trap trigger on the boat's key linedef, I didn't walk off the ledge so it didn't trigger until I returned later to see if I'd missed anything.

 

Edited by Dragonfly

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What a great map! You can be sure I take some inspiration to my castle map from here! Played it on HMP, died a lot mostly to too many chaingunners as said on posts before. But I'm not too good player though. Didn't found any of the secrets. Ending battle was good. Architecture, detailing.. just great. After finishing the map I loaded save and just wandered around looked detailing and if I missed something.

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Thanks for the feedback, folks.

 

2 hours ago, Dragonfly said:

 "WOW! This looks amazing; but sniper hitscanners everywhere? That's not fun."

I focused a bit more and found a couple of safe spots from all the hitscanner sniping which seemed to come from every nook and cranny.

Personally, I tend to be a very cautious player -- I hide and duck and run between safe spots.  My goals for this level were (a) play around with the resource pack, and (b) create a map WITHOUT safe spots, or at least one in which you never feel you are untouchable.  As a result of the second goal, I probably went a little overboard with the hitscanners (although you should thank @dew that it is playable at all).

 

Glad you thought it least looks good :)

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16 hours ago, Beginner said:

FDA.

Great map with interesting architecture. There's a lot of snipers on this map though waiting for player in dark corners, in many windows and on castle walls, but they're more irritating than dangerous, considering how much health pick ups there are on the map.

Oh wow, that death... the HK really rubbed it in, heh.

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Excellent map. This massive castle features everything we love about Eternal Doom (in terms of atmosphere, exploration and non-linearity) while not being overly complex or annoyingly puzzly, and there's sufficient ammo this time (compared to Hellscape). The docking area is particularly nice :)

Played on UV with ZDoom. Snipers can indeed be irksome, particularly faraway Chaingunners, but there's nothing too bad if you're careful.

I wish a map this size would have had a couple more secrets, but oh well, it's good as it is.

Found some texture misalignments here :

uPhC4ok.png

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Hi Lutz!

 

I've been excited about this map ever since you posted your early screenshots of it. A magnificent work of art this map is! You're gonna need a lot of help in the gameplay department though. It just doesn't flow well. You've got way too many monsters. There's so much eye sugar that I just want to have a look at it, but all of the combat sequences stretch way too long. The monsters just become a nuisance. In my playthrough it took me almost 4 and a half minutes plugging away at everything in the courtyard before I even entered the first room in the castle. 

 

Every location where there is a weapon, you're surrounded with monsters by which the given weapon is least effective with. The super shotgun room is a chore with all the hell barons and suspended cyberdemon. The plasma gun is physically blocked by a hell baron, the rocket launcher is in a room full of sniping hitscanners, etc etc.

 

When you're placing monsters think of them in these ways:

 

1. Actors on a movie set - Imagine the doom guy as the hero of an action movie. It wouldn't be a very good movie if it was a gun fight where he's shooting at puny henchmen for hours. You have to build up suspense, direct the player to what he should be looking at and what stunts he's supposed to do for this action scene. When monsters are awaken with every step, it just drags each scene out much longer than it needs to be, and if there isn't a clear strategy meant to be used with each monster encounter, the movie is going to look like clumsy improv, bad acting, and lame script. The beautiful set design and CGI effects don't save the movie.

 

2. Think of monsters in terms of events - normally when I make a map, before placing any monsters I think of what kind of events I'd like to see, or what kind of action I'd like to provoke my player to do. I want player to do x, and when he does, make something happen. For example, lets say I wanted monsters to hide behind walls and come out on cue when the player opens fire. I'd place all my monsters behind corners where they wouldn't be able to see the player no matter where he was, then use something like a single chaingunner to tease the player into shooting (since they can deal a ton of damage if not killed immediately) You might have to forfeit a lot of great sniper spots that monsters would look cool in for the sake of giving each main room in the castle a special event. It was a real bummer to me that there was a blue key on the wooden ship, and when I got it, there wasn't some sort of cacodemon swarm boss battle type thing to deal with for taking the pirate's booty.

 

3. Sacrifice monsters for speed - Doom is a fast game and we like to go fast. We like to look explore and scope out the area. Monsters distract us from doing that, which is a shame because there's a lot of great stuff to look at in this map. There are at least several areas that are better off without any monsters at all. There's also a lot of sniping monsters that severely drag out the gameplay. Could you perhaps replace some of them with teleport destinations and summon them in through teleport ambush after the player backtracks to the place later? Or maybe sink them in pits and rise them out of the floor when the player gets closer to them? The player has to make a pretty good bit of progress before he starts acquiring useful weapons. It would probably be best to provide the bulk of the monsters after these weapons are acquired.

 

Sorry if this review is kind of rough, but I feel like the combat in this particular map really takes away from the experience. Not many people can make such good looking maps like this, and the when the gameplay is grindy, boring and prickly, it really stands in the way of the player wanting to soak in this kind of atmosphere.

Edited by 40oz
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I had a first look around, and overall this is quite an enjoyable map if played in a leisurely paced way. The persistence of some of the hitscanners can be a problem in spite of freelook though. I skipped some of the early ones that I couldn't get in my FOV when using PrBoom+, which seemed to be a good decision, since I could get back at to some of them later down the line due to how the map is made. Overall the map seems reasonably generous with health, possibly due to the presence of hitscans just about everywhere, but they've never felt so numerous that I deemed it necessary to do a chaingun-tap-grind-from-cover anywhere for the most part, and even when that happened for convenience's sake it was over relatively quickly.

 

In terms of ammo I played more conservative than I usually would, especially in terms of "higher grade ammo", which seems to be the intended way of doing things. The cybie with his Barons certainly was well suited for getting an infight going to save lots of shells, for example, and there's also zerks to grab, so firepower overall seems ample enough without allowing for wasteful spamming, which I consider to be a good thing.

 

Monster density is relatively low in comparison to the map's size, but it still works out well without beeing either boring or too hectic.

 

Visually this is without a doubt a nice piece of architecture to look at. The theme is executed well, from my POV, and the surrounding is believeable. In terms of custom sounds I almost got hit by a rocket because of how accustomed I am to the default SFX, so I needed to learn that lesson, but I learned it fast lol.

 

Yeah. What can I say? I probably wouldn't want to maxrun this map at top speeds, but when I want some beautiful geometry with mostly relaxing combat, this will be one of the maps I will go back to. That said, I think this is a map many people will enjoy, and I would honestly like to know what @galileo31dos01 has to say about it, if he gets around to playing it, because this might be right up his alley.

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I did a blind playthrough on UV in PrBoom+:

 

 

I never really felt hamstrung by the lack of freelook. Just needed to take some extra time and find the right spots to snipe stuff from. The deliberate sniper cleanup stuff is definitely not my favorite thing to do in Doom, but that pace did seem somehow appropriate for the architecture and visuals. The only time the hitscan snipers truly annoyed me was right at the beginning, before entering the castle. After that, I didn't feel much pressure from them, since they didn't get many angles on me and cover was always close by.

 

The biggest headscratcher for me was the lack of a custom midi. Even if D_RUNNIN wasn't beaten to death inside my head, I can't imagine that it would be an appropriate soundtrack for the map, especially since it's a long map. I muted the music, and I thought it ended up being nice and atmospheric that way. A quiet, somber midi would have been great here.

 

It's a beautiful map and was fun to explore. Cheers.

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16 hours ago, 40oz said:

[ Many well-reasoned criticisms ]

Rest assured that I'm not making light of your statements, but I think this comes down to a case of "different strokes for different folks."  I'm reasonably sure I understand what you are saying...but I happen to disagree with pretty much all of it.

 

In short, my Doom experience is primarily shaped by the original Doom IWAD, because that was my first experience with game and the level-set on which I was weaned (I turned 15 in '93; call me old, 'cause it's true).  I would argue that the monster placement in this level is much more akin to the monster placement in those levels (particularly in E1), in that:

(a) for a majority of UDOOM, there are monsters in every space;

(b) once awakened, most monsters can wander freely across the level (or the spaces in which they are confined touch a large portions of the rest of the level);

(c) there are very few set-piece battles or grab-the-thing-in-the-empty-room-and-stuff-happens (notable exceptions include the E1M3/E1M6 key traps and E1M9 teleport area).

 

One of my most significant DOOM memories is wandering through E1M7 freaking out while listening to the heavy breathing of the former humans/sergeants on top of the computer console in the middle of level (I kept missing the elevator, so I didn't know where they were).  As I mentioned in response to @Dragonfly, I wanted to recreate that feeling of constant vulnerability -- I don't want to the player to know where guys are or the origin of that next shot.  Honestly, when playing other PWADs and open a door to see a large, empty space with a key/bonus/weapon in the middle, I sigh a little inside; I know the teleport trap or monster closets are primed and ready, and that's just not my favorite experience.

 

Also, I'm curious on the route you took through the level -- there are at least 4 plasma rifles and even more rocket launchers, so you mileage is definitely going to vary depending on which one you grab first and what you have seen along the way.  I don't expect you to play this again given your initial reaction, but if you do, try a completely different path and see if it's more to your liking (though there are monsters everywhere, so your first point is always going to relevant).

 

Anyway, thanks for the comments; glad you at least liked the visuals.

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I wish I could like Lutz's post twice. Anyway, it seems 40oz's main complaint is the slow and annoying cleanup of the start area. I'm going to take the blame here, since I pushed Chris to add that blue armor to the start position. Before that it was practically impossible to pull that off, because you would just die of accute lead poisoning inside of 30 seconds like it was a Sam Peckinpah movie. It was one hell of a start. Now you get certain liberties thanks to your 50% damage reduction cushion, so you can certainly abuse them and decide to make the game a slow grind. But I hope it also gives you the option to just power forward, muscle the CG/manco room and deal with the snipers from more reasonable vantage points. Which, I'd like to believe, is a totes legit 90's "make your own luck" approach.

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I would agree that this map is very much in how you play it -- there is no need whatsoever to sit in the courtyard and try to snipe everything, and the multiple placements of every weapon really fit with the nonlinearity and complexity of the layout, making the gameplay more emergent rather than clinical. I think the layout is the best thing about the map. I have the same issues with some of the gameplay (the turreted hitscanners that are often difficult to see) as a lot of other people, but I'd back Lutz up on this being a "different strokes" kind of thing. I'm not sure you could remove the frustrations without sterilizing the map to some extent.

Edited by Not Jabba

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For the sake of clarity, I hope you know that my long review was not meant to be a jab at your ego, even if it comes off that way. I wrote it because I have great respect for you as a mapper and having played this map and not having a lot of fun with it hasn't changed that in the slightest. I'm not frustrated, disappointed, or doubtful that any other maps you choose to make in the future will not be any better. It's a lot like when you pull a delicious pizza out of the oven and you're drooling and starving and can't wait to eat it but it's just too damn hot and for some reason, it won't cool down. There's a lot in this map to talk about but I had to lean on some generalizations for sake of brevity. To write about it in more detail would:

 

1. Consume a lot of free time

2. Would certainly be exhausting and frustrating to read for you

 

I've been spending a lot of the last couple months musing about a complicated problem that's difficult to explain. It mostly lies in the disparity between what is perceived as fun by a new player versus what is fun to the author who knows the entire map the second he begins playing it. I think it's more than possible to preserve the ghastly feeling of dread for what lies ahead. I've played many maps that achieve it without insulting the player's intelligence with cliche tricks. I understand how important it is not to turn the map into something that's not fun for you. Your memory accounts for a particular feeling you had while playing E1M7. But the facts remain that E1M7 is quite easy by today's standards. The monsters can be very quickly paved through. People don't play it the way you did when you first played that map anymore. It also has a load of those "do thing; then consequences" type ordeals if you care to look for them.

 

Here's an experiment to try. Save this map under a new file name. Open the new wad and wipe all the Things off the map. Start over with a clean slate. Have a run through the map with no monsters in it. Just stride through the map, go where you like to go naturally. You'll likely gravitate towards areas where you have a bunch of comfortable floor space to move around in, or where you can get a good look at the architecture you're most proud of. Take note of these locations to create some sort of linedef action there. The windows burst and the chaingunners light you up! The hell knights rappel from the ceiling! The cyberdemon rises from his slumber! Whenever the player finds a moment of comfort, you snatch that feeling away. Start populating your map starting with these 'events.' The gameplay will really make the map come alive. Leave the rest of the areas alone. No monsters is sometimes better. The player, unlike you, doesn't know what lies ahead. The unsettling feeling of suspense will creep in when he's used to plugging through hordes of monsters. Now he's left with his own imagination and ambivalent anticipation. 

 

The reason this is important to me is that I made a similar mistake with UAC Ultra 2. I was sure players were weary of the usual gameplay tropes, and it sickened me to bore people to death with the same formula. I tried to think ten steps ahead to really shock them, surprise them, and force them into a mode of play they may have never experienced before. The reality is that most players were very confused, misguided, and weren't having fun. I know you're a smart guy and what I described in the previous post sounds like a very stale cookie-cutter formula you wouldn't dare entertain, but the truth is that these are the roots that made Doom have mass appeal in the first place. As simple as it seems, it actually gives you far more control over the player's experience than what you have here.

 

I'm not saying this all because I want to make you feel bad. I think there are a lot of monster encounters in this map that say to me that you're thinking too far ahead of the working fundamentals of fun, engaging gameplay. When there is a lot of it, it feels like the map was made almost by two different people. One who is far superior at map building, lighting, and detailing, than any other, then later some scrub steps in and comes in and starts putting monsters all over the place. I'm writing this because I love what the first person did here and I want to assist the second one so they can work better together as a team.

 

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17 minutes ago, 40oz said:

I'm writing this because I love what the first person did here and I want to assist the second one so they can work better together as a team.

I probably shouldn't talk on behalf of Lutz, but at this point I can't help but think that your idea of "help" is not something that is gonna be going anywhere. It's not like this map has been made and released within a few hours without any playtesting whatsoever. The author made a map that he likes such as it is, and isn't that what really matters?

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Analogy time: 40oz's posts here are a bit like critiquing a horror flick by saying "tone down the horror, because horror is bad," from someone who doesn't like horror movies, and then giving filmmaking tips to John Carpenter.

 

Serious time: I gave this a play and loved it. This sort of "go where you want, but don't stay too long or you'll get shafted" gameplay is hella well done here, and the intro areas to me shouted "run for the hills; you aren't strong enough to handle this yet!" instead of "lol yer stuck!" That kind of stuff is awesome, IMO.

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What am I supposed to do with the resources linked? Just put them in my load order?

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2 minutes ago, Gideon020 said:

What am I supposed to do with the resources linked? Just put them in my load order?

Yup, load the wad plus the resource pack, then it should all work just fine.

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4 hours ago, Gideon020 said:

What am I supposed to do with the resources linked? Just put them in my load order?

There is an example command line in the text file -- you need to load one .WAD before the other to see @Mechadon's awesome sky.

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14 hours ago, 40oz said:

[ More respectful stuff ]

Believe me, @40oz, I have very little ego wrapped up in Doom level creation (@Xaser -- awesome compliment, but I am not John Carpenter), and you did a remarkably good job of expressing your critiques in very respectful and appropriate way, so no insult taken.  At the end of the day, I made the map I wanted to make; some people like it, some people don't.  I've said this several other places around the forums, but I make maps because I enjoy making maps, not because I want/need people to *play* those maps (in fact, this sat on my hard drive for 6 weeks or so because I was too lazy to upload it), which makes it all the more awesome that you took the time offering insight into how you think this map could be improved.

 

At the moment, I'm dorking around with a similarly free-form E1-style level, and I will absolutely entertain adding some more cinematic encounters.

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Fair enough. Much respect. It shows in your work that you really enjoy the process, particularly in parts I would normally get exhausted from working on. Its always very impressive.

 

Someday I hope I can best you in some sort of beautiful mapping competition, but at this particular moment I still have a lot of catching up to do :)

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