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    The /newstuff Chronicles #129


    Cyb

    Okay folks, due to some personal matters, Hyena was unable to preform his reviewing duties this week, so this week we have guest reviewer who you may have heard of, Tormentor667. So, onto the reviews:

    Well, some might ask "Why does someone like Tormentor667 do the /newstuff chronicles this week!?", well the answer is pretty simple: I have never been pleased with the reviews from some of Doomworld's staff reviewers and some might also know that long and resultless discussions between reviewers and wad creators ended up in flame wars and else because nobody was able to find out if the review-job can be done more objective and nobody was able to find out if it is really that hard to avoid subjective opinions on wads. This week I got the chance to see, if the reviewers have been right or wrong. So, here we go...

    • Death Revealed by Mattias Johansson
      doom2.exe | SP | 141kb |
      This set of 5 maps is indeed very nice. The ammo and monster balance is very good although the ultra-violence skill level is almost not beatable without cheating. The texturing and layout of the maps vary and so you can find everything from metal rusty areas to gray verdigris parts. The level of detail is also very good but sometimes flats and walls don't fit together and look ugly, also the fact that you have to load 5 wads has a negative effect on the rating but overall it's fun and playable.

    • Congestion Control 2 by Karthik Abhiram
      enhanced port | SP | 903kb |
      It was really a pleasure for me to plax this second part of the Congestion Control series - twice. The map design is absolutely amazing and took my breath away and the Final Doom midis fit this outstanding environment perfectly. Although the textures seem to be chosen randomly for a newbie doom eye at the screenshots on Karthik's page, the complete setting of this map looks great if you are really into it and play the masterpiece of work. The ammo balance is great and the monsters have been placed very well and... heh, I don't have to say much more, just play the wad if you don't want to miss a great Doom achievement.

    • Chiptune Doom2 by Bill "Bloodshedder" Koch
      sourceport with tracker capability | n/a | 1,46mb | n/a
      This wad is a straight music replacement file which replaces all the 32 Doom2 midis with tracker-format files. The special thing about this is the fact, that the music sounds now like those old NES and Commodore music formats, also called "chiptunes" and if you are really into something like that, you will like it and I have to admit, most of them sound very well. Btw, I prefer the mp3 versions...

    • E1Style by Job
      doom2.exe | SP | 48kb |
      If you don't read the txt file, you might think about a Chris Hansen type-of retro map but: "This is probably best described as a cross between e1 style and Doom2 midgame levels". The map is pretty decent but it doesn't fit today's standards in detail. Unfortunately it's also a bit short. It took me about 3 minutes to finish it all up but the ammo and monster balance is very good.

    • MA_Desolite by Ed C.
      doom | DM | 177kb |
      The map takes advantage of some of the latest ZDoom features like skyboxes, slopes and 3d-bridges. The map itself is designed very well built without any faults of eye-killers and looks damn pretty good. Texturing consists mostly out of episode 1 textures and that's why it acts very retro. It's mid-sized and therefor a very good fragging arena for 2 to 4 players, it might also work very well with bots because of the easy map layout.

    • Shadowcaster by Stephen Clark
      doom | SP | 1,5mb |
      This one is a new adventure in the world of heretic, a 1 episode replacement for 9 maps for ZDoom Heretic. As far as I am not into Heretic map editing that much, I can only say that the maps look awesome and are fun to play neither they are detailed or not. Ammo and monster balance is very good throughout the complete episode. The only points which striked my eyes have been some special large areas without any changing colors or textures and without a small bit of detail (check screenshot 3 so you know what I mean). But overall a very good achievement for today's newstuff.

    • Zar by Jeremy Statz
      doom2.exe| DM | 60kb |
      A very nice and decent Doom2 style map which reminded me at first a bit on the "'O' of Destruction". The map is designed very well without any misalignments or textures/flats which doesn't fit together and that's the reason why it looks so good without being heavily overdetailed. The monster and ammo balance is great and the map itself is very fun. I recommend this one to all of our Doom2 old schoolers because it would fit the doom2.wad perfectly.

    Finally I can say (because now I know it at first hand) that it is really not that easy to review wads because every reviewer has special feelings about styles, textures, monsters, design and type and that's why it is almost impossible to avoid a subjectiv touch in one or more wads. But I also can say that, with the usage of our treasury of words, the reviewers can attach their personal opinion within a review without undercharging enough room for someone who reads the review. So, thx Cyb and Doomworld for this lesson and the chance to learn something about reviewing wads :)

    Greets Daniel "Tormentor667" Gimmer

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    lolz

    I bet ling messes with the db again to get fp

    EDIT: oh yeah

    fp! props to all logged in trolls

    (thanks grazza)

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    Good reviews. :)

    So far I've tried DeathRevealed and Zar and enjoyed both of them. I do want to try a few recordings of DR. I did one of Zar and emailed the author but the address is incorrect.

    Next is Congestion Control 2, then Shadowcaster, then .... :)

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    Nice reviews. A few comments:

    I thought the ammo balance in Congestion Control 2 was quite poor - there is way too much. From the amount of ammo lying around, I thought there was going to be some mega-finale with 10 cybers and 100 revenants. Nice map though, no question.

    Shadowcaster is a re-release - it first appeared nearly a year ago. Definitely worth playing.

    E1Style is fun, and was intended to be for speedrunning - I think it succeeds in this aim.

    Death Revealed looks kind of interesting. Not sure if it really stands the intended comparison with Hell Revealed though.

    The idea "objective = good; subjective = bad" is a bit simplistic; these reviews would certainly be worse if all subjective content were removed.

    I miss the "props to all logged in trolls!" comment, even though I've no idea what it means.

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    One thing: speaking from experience in the mechanics, composition and appreciation of chiptunes, the chiptune WAD really doesn't stay true to the chiptune aesthetic at all. For one, the drums are WAY too hi-fi to be from just about anything pre-SNES, and pretty much destroy any impression of the "true" chiptune experience that can be garnered. The composition of the other parts is generally competent (especially map09 and map07), and makes pretty good use of arpeggiation to fill out chords, but for the most part doesn't really take advantage of some of the things that can be done with the format. The samples also aren't really true to the format, at least to the NES mechanics: the NES sound system basically consisted of two squarewave channels, one triangle wave channel, one noise wave channel (which is mostly used for cymbal and hat-type stuff), and one PCM channel (which is basically a digital sample channel that's primarily used for percussion but has been known to be used for bass and orch hit samples). They sound more like two permutations of a saw wave and a sine wave (might be a triangle wave, can't really tell); plus the samples have this irritating little click at the beginning sometimes, and that's something that can easily be fixed in IT's sample editor. They also sound a tad detuned from each other.

    Recommendations: get some cleaner, more accurate samples (try any of Virt's chiptunes for samples that are dead-on for the Konami sound), use the noise and PCM samples to do more "true" drums, and change things up a bit with the composition. Overall it's a competent job for what it is, but it's not truly in the chiptune style.

    If the author wants more feedback, he can try posting a link to the files on the forums at vgmix.com - it might be a good place to get some really substantial feedback from people experienced with the practice of chiptune-ing.

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    These were the most non-abrasive reviews I've ever seen. I miss the excessive wad trashing of the usual reviewers.

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    Cacodreams said:

    And there goes my question: what has changed in Shadowcaster?


    Not much - just some changes to take advantage of bug fixes in the newest versions of ZDoom. The manikin puzzles are back to normal after the bug which stopped you from pushing them while invincible was fixed, the gas pod gauntlet is also back to normal after crushed pod behaviour was fixed, and a mapinfo has been added so ZDoom users get all the new text now. Oh, and I've now put signs in front of all firemaces so if any are not there in ZDoom (damn firemace bug), you know that they're missing and you can summon one instead. (they should all appear in vanilla though)

    Onto this week's reviews - good to see some non-abrasive reviews from someone other than myself, and although a tad short the quality is there.

    Some nice maps this week as well - Congestion Control was really great, E1Style and Zar were enjoyable, and Death Revealed is certainly a blast - a real challenge, both skilfully and tactically. Definitely worth playing if you're a HR fan.

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    What port where the screenshots taken in? looks like JDoom to me but i dont use that port too much so cant tell..heh

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    I found out that reviewing wads neutral is not that easy at all but I tried my best with leaving enough space for everyone else to the wads (f.ex. without using words and sentences like "this wad really sucks" or something like this).

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    Wha? Zar was released years ago, it's a got a review on Team Insanity. Heh oh well. /me downloads Shadowcaster

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    deathbringer said:

    What port where the screenshots taken in? looks like JDoom to me but i dont use that port too much so cant tell..heh

    They are in jDoom. Minus the models.

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    Ah, /newstuff chronicles!

    munch munch munch

    hmm, could use some connotations, but not bad.

    munch munch munch munch

    EDIT, the word munch is really hard to type, you guys gotta try it...

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    WTF where's the flamewars? :P

    You did pretty damn good there Tormentor. :)

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    Linguica said:

    why would i do something so retarded

    Do you really want to open that door?

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    insertwackynamehere# said:

    They are in jDoom. Minus the models.


    It could be ZDoomGL, as Shadowcaster doesn't work in Doomsday. (unless he fired up JHeretic after playing it with ZDoom and took the screenies then) I hope he didn't play with JHeretic, or he wouldn't have been able to beat some of the puzzles...

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    Well, I just got through playing Zar. Took me three attempts (seven if you count the four it took for UV) , but they were time well spent (Dooming, anyway) :) I like it, it has an oldschool Doom2 feeling to it that many of today's maps try to emulate, but somehow fail to do. The texture/flat scheme is a little fruity at first, but it all somehow falls into place. The level is a good challenge on HMP and suprisingly difficult on UV. The layout is simplistic, although all three keys are used (and I should mention that you are never left in the dark after you hit a switch or cross a linedef, something always happens, not all times good) but that's good in my eyes: you don't need a 4000 sector map overflowing with detail to make a good level, and Zar proves that.
    All in all, quite a nice little map to pass away the time. I like it.

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    I took the "Shadowcaster" screenshots with ZDoom

    **EDIT**
    BTW, I meant screenshot 4 (without detail), not number 3!

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    Ubik said:
    the drums are WAY too hi-fi to be from just about anything pre-SNES, and pretty much destroy any impression of the "true" chiptune experience that can be garnered.

    I'm aware of this, and because of that I realize these songs may only be considered some sort of hybrid chiptune.

    [. . .] for the most part doesn't really take advantage of some of the things that can be done with the format.

    Such as? I'm willing to hear what more can be done, as I am still relatively new to tracking and pretty much learned as I went.

    They sound more like two permutations of a saw wave and a sine wave (might be a triangle wave, can't really tell)

    The samples I primarily used were triangle wave, several variations of a sine wave, a sawtooth wave, and the one that replaced the guitar really can't be described in the context of any basic waveforms.

    plus the samples have this irritating little click at the beginning sometimes, and that's something that can easily be fixed in IT's sample editor.

    Please explain further. I do have Impulse Tracker, but I composed all these songs in ModPlug Tracker.

    They also sound a tad detuned from each other.

    This I am aware of as well, and wasn't quite sure how exactly to go about fixing the samples in question.

    Thanks for your recommendations. I did post a link to these on the OC Remix boards but didn't get much of a response. I suppose I'll try VGMix next then.

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    Good job of reviewing the /newstuff, Daniel. It's also pretty cool of you to acknowledge that reviewing wads is not an easy task.

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    map03 of death revealed made me want to kill someone. Preferably the author.

    "WOW HERES A TRILLION ROCKETS AND A TRILLION PAIN ELEMENTALS/LOST SOULS HAVE FUN"

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    Tormentor667 said:

    I took the "Shadowcaster" screenshots with ZDoom

    **EDIT**
    BTW, I meant screenshot 4 (without detail), not number 3!


    Hmm. Screenshot 4 looks very red, plus my monitor is very dark so that makes it just slightly harder for me to see. My guess is that you were injured as you took the shot.

    If you plan on reviewing again, allow me to leave a few tips that help me with taking screenshots.
    Some of these may not apply to you (so please don't be insulted if some sound really basic or if they're something you don't have a problem with anyway) they're just general rules I keep in mind.

    1. Be very mindful of things that can spoil a shot. If a monster throws a fireball when you take the shot, try to take it again after the fireball has passed (or hit you). This also includes things like if an item respawns between you and what you're trying to get a shot of (in dm) or if a lost soul quickly leaps in front of you, or numerous other things that can get in the way.
    2. If you're hurt, or are carrying an item that changes the screen colour (like berzerk or rad suit), sometimes it's a good idea to let it fade away. Or sometimes, you might want to include the screen change if it helps to illustrate something (like a level with 10000 cyberdemons hitting you with a rocket at once :p).
    3. If a screenshot doesn't go well, most engines have a "screenshot successful" message, and personally I prefer to wait for those to disappear before I try another shot. I also usually like to avoid any sort of unimportant in-game message like "you got the shotgun", but not all the time. In zdoom dm wads I occasionally like to get screenshots with obituary messages.
    4. Take tons of shots. If you can't decide whether something is worth a screenshot, just take one anyway. You can sift through them later. If it's a shot that's really important, take it a few times (maybe from a couple of angles) and decide on which you like the best.
    5. On occasion, it's nice to have a shot without your big huge weapon blocking the screen. For those shots, most people prefer to switch to the fist because it takes less screen space. But I find that if you switch from one weapon to another it's not too difficult to time the shot for the brief period in which neither of the weapons are on-screen.

    Glad to have you on board by the way. If you decide it's just something you wanted to do once, that's okay. I wouldn't mind seeing you do it again sometime either.
    Thanks for giving it a try.

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    A couple things...

    First of all, wasn't Shadowcaster already released?

    Second of all...where did Jeremy Statz's level come from? The last level I can recall from him was Map 19 of Memento Mori 2.

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    Archvile46 said:

    ...where did Jeremy Statz's level come from? The last level I can recall from him was Map 19 of Memento Mori 2.

    sargebaldy uploaded it. it's a fairly old map but apparently it wasn't already in the idgames archives. but it is now :)

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    I wonder how Tormentor would have done if there had actually been a couple of really crappy wads released this time.

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    NiGHTMARE said:

    I wonder how Tormentor would have done if there had actually been a couple of really crappy wads released this time.


    Didn't you get home yet?
    ...IRC! :)

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    Shaviro said:

    Didn't you get home yet?
    ...IRC! :)

    PM! e-mail!

    Oh well, at least you didn't start a thread about it...

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    Fredrik said:

    PM! e-mail!

    Oh well, at least you didn't start a thread about it...


    NEVER! Mention one dw goer who actually checks email or pm. This is much faster.

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