here they are!
neat stuff safari:
most promising newcomers
the other sidebar stuff (speedrunning, multiplayer, wiki stuff, etc) is a bit harder to summarize, but worth checking out too!
Excellent articles everyone. Cool that Randi got the lifetime achievement award; I still use Zdoom to this day, so I owe her a lot. I'm really glad to see the expansion of the gameplay mod category, given that it seems like a fairly popular and broad venue, despite only being able to receive a single award. I also like how some new music was covered in the side bar, as well as the strides in speedrunning. It's kinda funny that as the Cacowards march on they continue to spiral out of control, until we reach the point where the side-bar is going to eclipse the main articles in words, or we inevitably create a dozen new niche categories. Just goes to show how expansive the community is, and how difficult it is to properly honor everybody involved.
I think for me, the only project that I'm sad to see missing was Moonblood as it's a hell of a sturdy one-man megawad, all with new music to boot (which at least was mentioned). That said, I haven't played most of the other winners/runners-up from this year, so Moonblood's absence isn't something I feel incensed by. Competition was all over the place this year, with a surprising amount of single maps/short episodes making it into the running. I'm also sad to see kmxexii too pressed for time to survey the Doom landscape this year, but I mean this in the warmest way possible; I just miss his voice being part of the committee. I really need to find some time to play through Brigandine, Water Spirit, Dark Tide, Disjunction, Counterattack, Maskim Xul, Alfonzone... the list goes on.
Lastly, thanks for the plaudits :) I think like anybody that maps, you get to a point where you fantasize about winning awards for the current project you're working on, and eagerly await the day when you finally get "recognized". But similar to Buddhist teachings, you get closer to achieving your desired outcome the less you stress out about it. When I was plunking away at my NOVA maps back in early 2013, I was definitely thirsty for praise, especially since I had no idea what I was really doing "right" or "wrong" with Doom. It felt disheartening to contribute a map that took months to work on and receive little to no feedback regarding it (most of it came from playtesters, who often [rightfully] primarily look for issues). Fast-forward five years and now I predominantly work on maps that are somewhat immune to streamlining, created as bizarre projects in order to push my own boundaries or realize an unconventional concept. It's kind of funny that here, where I consider my work to be at its most rigid, is where I get the most feedback; back in 2013 I would've loved for Iron Exuviae to get recognized and discussed, whereas now I'm kind of surprised when anyone mentions my maps being their favorite from a set.
The advice I want to pull from this experience is to tell both new and old mappers to keep going. Recognition is really brutal to earn, because if you don't make an especially strong first impression (like floatRand), it can feel like you're invisible on the forums most of the time. But if you've been here for over a year, I can assure you that you're not—everyone has a particular habit and style of mapping that reveals itself gradually, like folding a sheet of paper into an origami animal that is uniquely you. Go ahead and take pride in the little bits of praise; one of the greatest impacts for me early on was having someone random on this forum tell me they liked a map I contributed to Panophobia. That tiny bit of encouragement still means more to me than compliments I receive nowadays, because it was so formative—it told me that I wasn't working in a vacuum; that what I had worked on could be considered "cool". It's those minuscule exchanges that stick to us and propel us to move forward, and it's what's going to matter at the end of the day more than any grandiose fantasies you'll have about imagined accolades or uncontested popularity. Don't give up; keep on pushing that boulder.