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    The /newstuff Chronicles #12


    AndrewB

    Eight new WADs in our slightly-delayed, weekly presentation of the goodies found on CDROM.COM...

    • Taste For Blood by Edward Mullins - A three-level deathmatch WAD for Doom 2. Although these levels are small, which seems to be more or less a positive for most DMers, they look pretty decent, with good map quality. Even some puzzles and tricks here and there. And there's even some decent music replacements to remove some of the tedium of the classic Doom 2 soundtrack. Requires ZDoom.
    • Ghostbusters Doom by Thomas Stovicek - Not to be confused with the Doomworld-hosted Ghostbusters Doom 2 Total Conversion, this 6-level Partial Conversion looks quite impressive. Lots of ghosts, ghouls, and neat weapons, as well as a couple of special effects such as exploding walls, and invisible teleporters. There's even some Ghostbusters music installed at no extra charge! The sounds are spooky as well. Overall, very nice! It sets a very distinct mood. ZDoom recommended.
    • Tricks & Traps by SDS - Just another single map for Doom 2. The size of the map is quite large, but alas, the level design and detail fall quite short of today's standards. Well, at least there's some Heretic music thrown in there, which suits it a little better.
    • Deus Ex Wasabi by Prower - A single map for Doom 2. Very large, open areas, with a lava-based theme, much like Mt. Erebus. Although not too terribly crazy in detail, this level still looks nice. It plays well, although easy even in skill 4. More than enough ammo to go around. Should be entertaining. Requires ZDoom.
    • Toon2b by Sparky - Well, this version B updated WAD easily falls into the category of one of the strangest ever. Some cartoony sprites are put into this WAD. As well as a couple of new textures, a bunch of new sounds, a complete music replacement. Oh yes, and 32 levels, albeit the quality of said maps remain a little shabby. Be wary of those sounds, though. They're a little rough around the edges.
    • X-mas Deathmatch by Tormentor667 - This is pleasant enough. A deathmatch WAD for Doom 2 with all the warm cozy Christmas cheer. Some new textures, sprites, weapons... Some cheery Christmas music, and all the white fluffy snow you can handle. Get in gear for the Christmas mood, and download this WAD!
    • The SpawnSQwad 2000 by Various Authors - A 32-level deathmatch WADpack for Doom 2. Combining deathmatch levels from all sorts of WADs, this megawad turns out to be pretty good. The level design in said levels are mostly good. Perhaps ideal for hosting on a csDoom server. Quite interesting!
    • Doom Dorks by Sparky - A partial conversion for Doom 2, with various cartoon characters and sounds inserted. Be warned, though! Some of those sounds are rather unclean.

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    You missed out the lemmings doom thingy! Don't blame you actually. Also prower's level doesn't require zdoom, its a boom map.

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    Yes. I like it. Took me shade over 16 minutes in UV. I guess I'm not a Doom god like Maonth there :P Anyway, it was fun. I wish he'd taken more time to bitch it up a little though. The map would be much better with a little more atmosphere. Icing on the cake as it were.

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    Guest Mattrim.

    Posted

    ...a level like Deus Ex Wasabi makes it possible to pinpoint exactly how little prower was responsible for in the brilliant collaboration with Derek MacDonald, prwrsv07.WAD.

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    Glad you guys (sans Mattrim) liked it. 8 minutes and 43 seconds, Maonth? That's fast, heh.

    Mattrim, don't worry, I'm incorporating tons of useless detail into my next map, just for you.

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    Hey, yous guys, try out Taste For Blood, created by Edward Mullins, one of the newly recruited sprite artists for SkullTag. As AndrewB mentioned, there's music replacements to add a little different flavor. He also put in some different sprites for added variety. I'd say give this wad a shot.

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    Guest Mattrim.

    Posted

    prower: I am not looking for 'tons of useless detail'. As stphrz said, the map would benefit tremendously with a little more atmosphere. Some texture alignment wouldn't hurt, either.

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    1) doomdork.zip - nothing to do with me.
    2) toon2b.zip - this megawad is by David (Pepe) Hopkins 2, I only fixed some bugs.
    3) lemmi11d.zip - AndrewB missed this one; I uploaded this bugfixed version to cdrom.com last week - sprites have transparent backgrounds now, and the tiny Lemmings don't shoot from way above their head now :)

    We all appreciate your efforts Andrew, but how about a bit more accuracy, hey?

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    I found prower's level playable. On the flip side of the coin I don't find any gothicdm's above the original much good at all.

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    If you want to take a smack at mattrim I don't think you should necessarily criticize gothic2. Perhaps his Amber Series. It's not a good idea to compare SP to DM that directly either. And I don't see how not one gothic2 map was as good or better then the original. I don't think Andrei Romanov was the difference between gothic1 being the greatest and gothic2 being nothing great.

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    Guest Mattrim.

    Posted

    Jon: Non sequitor? Nah. DOOM is good. I like bananas. I fail to see the relevance of your 'comparison' between Deus Ex Wasabi and GothicDM(2). Are you meaning to imply that my involvement in a well-known series of levels somehow invalidates my opinion, or...?

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    Fish: erm I am not having a dig at Mattrim, I'm not having a dig at anyone really, just stating my opinion. I didn't even remember that Matt was involved in GothicDM+ when I wrote it.

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    Guest q.pixel[rex]

    Posted

    A lot of maps are playable, as long as the difficulty, weapon balance and health is all in good #s. But look at the second battle with the flock of hell knights...that's playable, and many crap SP wads offer that also. You need more than just good balance...especially with maps like Tantrum, Jagermoder (pardon my spelling), and An_Coop around. Areas are reused, monsters are CONTROLLED (popping out of doors, teleporting in) and players are forced to fight from spots other than the initial location of confrontation. Just about every fight was ssg/chaingun in a large open area in Wasabi. And to top that off with texture misalignment, horribly managed sky, and ugly scenes...I can hardly bring myself to think that prower has actually improved his design skills. The previous Seventh wads were much better with a nice flow and more varying fights.

    That's where my reference to helldrop.wad came from btw. look on cdrom.com if you're actually interested...

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    Prower's map = yuck.

    Reasons why it's not good:
    1. Everything is open, makes it too easy.
    2. Everything is square.
    3. Plain, ugly. (structures & textures)
    4. Texture misalignments all over the place.
    5. No concept of lighting.

    Reasons why it's good:
    1. Doesn't crashed in Boom.
    2. (......)

    Get busy child!

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    Pixel's got a point. prower's deus ex wasabi has simple merits like playability. But I've played 100's of wads that exceed it's gameplay as well as architecture and layout. With a DOOMcd of 515 megs of zips what makes this distinguishable from everything else I've seen? Nothing, really. If your an avid doom SP player then it's worth the run thru but it has little replay value.

    Coming from anyone else this is a step in the right direction. But after prower's seventh series this does seem like a step backwards.

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    you know what you've gone and done now, don't you, by telling your times for Prower's map? you've made me want to go and beat them. and i have a dang competition to be playing. bastards! :)

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    Shows you how radically different people think about what makes good SP.

    Personally, I think SP maps that are "choreographed", and coerce you to some linear path with precalculated events are rather boring. Takes away any atmosphere. I prefer nonlinear maps, where things are chaotic and I can expect to find monsters at different places every time I play. I'm not saying prowers wad was all all that good, but atleast it had some of that and therefore enjoyable.

    But I guess you prefer it the other way around do you.

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    Afterglow, I don't even think you played the map. Practically NOTHING in there is square. And easy? Jigga please, play on higher than skill two.

    Mattrim/pixel/Swedish Fish, yes, I realize the architecture was probably only id standards. However, the goal wasn't to create Gothic2 eye candy, it was to make a very fun level that kept the player moving until everything was dead, while taking advantage of those enormous outdoor areas that the Doom engine does so well. In that respect, I think DXWS succeeded.

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    I take it if a wad in the newstuff doesn't show up here - means it wasn't good enough? -Damn - well - that sucks. Christ, the level wasn't *that* bad.... Oh well....

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    Cool wad - I liked the center of the level whre you have to jump around those fire rock thingies to get to the teleport. And the lighting at the blue key place was realy cool. Never seen lighting so fluid... too bad it wasn't used in a more creative - atmospheric way - instead of just being randomly placed... - but it did look good. I beat the level in under 3 minutes. More fun to blaze through than hacking away at all the monsters... I made a recording of it - not too exciting - but I uploaded it to schmolze.net/jacobi - you can also get my LostRefinery.wad which didn't make it to the newstuff.

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    I found it really really easy. Sorry.

    And not too much to look at either :|

    But I didn't get bored playing so I won't complain too much.

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    can we use the right system? :). make it clear what you're talking about - either a 100% kills and 100% secrets completion or just a speedrun.

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    Guest q.pixel[rex]

    Posted

    Aardappel: That's the WHOLE point! That's why it's such a challenge to make extremely fun and balaced maps that are also non-linear (btw, Wasabi is very linear...except you can go off course and get lost then quickly find your way again =)

    The 2meg monster "Hunter" on my harddrive is 100% nonlinear, if your drew a "connect the dot" figure of the game flow, it'll be around 15 nodes with 2-3 lines connected per node...THAT's the level of non-linearity. That's also why it takes so long...to make sure the map stays playable no matter which way the player goes (though difficulty does change according to the order you take)...that's also what makes playtesting takes so long, you need to test as many ways as possible and also discover new paths that are easier or faster ;-)

    Prower: Unfortunately, keeping the player moving while pounding on monsters is boring. (again, MANY wads over that) Especially when it's so open that you dodge 9 out of 10 projectile that flies at you. Revenant rockets' homing abilities are worthless when you have that much dodging space.

    Good gameplay should look more like this:

    1. Varying shape of field, player must decide which direction to dodge...moving one direction could be easier, but could hinder furthing movement (corner, pillar) and another could have more enemies present...

    2. Endurance is not a fun thing to be tested in..."how many hellknights can you hammer down before you die?". Fights like that become simply tedious...sure it's challenging to fight 10 barons but it's so boring.

    3. Find ways to make a fight hard OTHER than a large monster count...monster location helps, instead of jaming all of the monsters right in the players face, at least make them sneak up or surround or fight from a different elevation...so much more fun that way. That's a huge problem with wasabi...all of the monsters were just "bam! in your face!"...something better would be "bam! in your face! bam! rear-ended!" (sounds cheesy I know)

    so prow, wasabi was a success in gamebalance, and partially in gameflow, but not gamePLAY...

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    Completely non-linear? To me that means, it should be possible to finish that map by bypassing 85% of it all together. It also means that you need not hit one single switch or find one single key or solve any puzzles to access the exit. Maps need some degree of linearity imo. I mean you spend a lot of time and work really hard to make a good level. You want to make sure the player sees most of it least :) Anyway, I think the best solution is a combination of techniques to provide variety. In some fights, the monsters are controlled. In other cases, things are hectic and totally out of control. Some fights are in wide open areas where the player can charge around however he likes, picking his own targets or trying to set up infighting amongst the monsters. Others are in tighter spaces where it's tougher to evade or respond to surprise attacks. Some confrontations should provide tactical challenge, others could serve merely to scare the piss out of the player. Give the players plenty of choices on where they can go, but still have some overall structure or order of things. Otherwise you risk creating a giant maze. Getting lost sucks :)

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