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    The /newstuff Chronicles #170


    Cyb

    Hello, Little Faith here. For some odd reason the admins of this place are under the delusion that I have the capacity to review the latest fruits of the doom editing forefront. I won't hold it against them. Afterall they do not have knowledge of my woefully inadequate dooming skills. Anyway, this week has quite a bit of wads, some of which are of the extremely interesting kind. Of course I am "fashionably late" as everyone else. Primarily because of B.P.R.D and his darn hidden switches. Wasted half a night on those. Secondly because I am a moron, and don't know how to take screenshots in Legacy,

    • Rubén's Deathmatch 1 - Rubén Alonso
      Zdoom or Zdaemon - Deathmatch - 30,2 KB -
      A little deathmatch ditty for Zdoom, with a somewhat weird layout. Essentially you are duking it out on top of some large pillar-like structures connected with stairs rising out of a big abyss. The interconnectivity is superb with several tactical teleports and all weapons sans the melee ones are offered with copious amounts of ammo. The only real cover are offered by the height variations so I guess this wad will make for a fast and furious gameplay. Average doomers will probably sooner or later overstep and will be sent plunging into their doom. This is where this map's greatest weakness lies. As this wad is Zdoom specific I reckon it would be rather easy to set the abyss floor to kill players on impact. Unfortunately the author has chosen just to make it a regular hurty floor. This could make for some awkward interruptions where one player just waits to be killed by the lava. It could potentially destroy 1 on 1.

      Grove - B.P.R.D
      Any port that can handle a huge amount of stuff simultaneously visible - Single Player - 574 KB -
      It's time to torment your framerate again. The original known as B.P.R.D, the guy responsible for Equinox and the Nuts series, strikes again with a wad that will frustrate both player and computer. This wad has a completely different tempo to his previous works though. It does not have the oceans of monsters of the Nuts series, neither the grand battle royales of Equinox. In fact there is only 61 monsters on UV difficulty and barely enough ammo to deal with them (unless you find the super super secret). What this wad offers you is trees. Lots of trees and darkness. You will be fighting your way through dense vegetation with only the starlight from the breathtakenly beautiful red sky.

      This is probably one of the most evocative wads I have seen lately (and that says quite a lot with stuff like Cyb's Void and Virgil's Claustrophobia floating around). B.P.R.D has managed to conjure forth a real sense of place in this utterly surrealistic small world. You really feel lost in an unknown forest at night. Weird structures suddenly emerge from the foilage, all with their own quirky logic. The whole thing is accented by that wonderful red starry sky (makes me think of the old adventure game Loom). This wad as a whole is more like an adventure game. Puzzles and exploration take precedence while the few fights are of less importance and usually quite easy.

      This wad is shock full of quirky details and imaginative contraptions, most if which shall not be spoiled here, but I think one needs to be mentioned. In this level you will not have the luxury of a fully automated automap. No, you'll have to make do with a good old paper one, and one that looks like it has been made by a 7 year old at that. It is even a bit inaccurate at times. Really sets the dreamy naivistic atmosphere of the map.

      All is not completely well, however. B.P.R.D is blessed with a complete lack of common sense when it comes to mapmaking. It makes him able to unravel wondrous worlds beyond all rhyme and reason. Unfortunately it also means that he is prone to make his maps nearly unplayable at times. This wad, though fantastic, suffers too. Basically he wants us to go on a switch hunt.. ..in a pitch dark forest.. ..with a crummy little toy map. That might have been okay in itself, but then he also hides barely noticable switches at the outer periphery of our vision! A lot of you will be royally stumped.

      Nevertheless this will be my candidate to the Wad of the Week

      Mythical Terrain - Pumpkin Smasher
      Legacy etc - Deathmatch - 15.6 KB -
      Behind this rather pompous title hides a little deathmatch level for Legacy mostly consisting of a big courtyard. There are two small side tunnels, but otherwise the only source of cover is the middle pillar that also houses a teleporter leading to a goodie room with two other teleporters. The weapons are fairly well spread out, and all firearms, but the BFG is present. There is not much detail to look at, the walls are utterly plain, but the author has bothered to lay down a few paths on the turf. If it bears any notice there is no exit switch present.

      Phocas Island - Chris "Chopkinska" Hopkins
      Zdoom - Single player - 826 KB -
      Now this wad by Chopkinska (AKA KoRn) is a really fine piece of work for a first time author. This guy knows his Ultimate Doomer when it comes to making large open landscapes and he knows his Alien Vendetta when it comes to populate them, and he has a few tricks of his own to add to the mix. This wad maroons you on a rocky island shore and leaves you to search for a boat in order to escape. Of course you don't just wander down the beach until you find one, you will be forced to go a bit more in-land in order to work your way another piece of shoreline. On this journey you will be accosted by a veritable army of hell-spawn and not-wholly-humans, who do not respect your humble wish of passage. A series of dark caves must be traversed and a large citadel/temple-like structure with extensive underground vaults must also be explored in order to reach your goal.

      The Zdoom effects are used non-intrusively and quite stylishly in this level. The rolling waves at the shore are pure genius and the music that change when you enter different parts of the map aids to establish an atmosphere. His landscape is lush and invites to adventure. The caves are dark enough to make them dangerous, but are fortunately not so labyrinthine as to be annoying. In the citadel/temple area I really think the author's originality shines through. The gothic vaulted architecture is seen before, but not in this minimalistic red/white/black colour scheme. It really makes various architectural features stand out instead of being drowned in your usual boring green marble.

      The action is good and consistent throughout the level. Medium strength monsters are used wisely and the raw power of a shotgunner/chaingunner posse is not underestimated either. I like his use of cacodemons. They are often situated in places where their aerial mobility can be used instead of them just being dumb meat shields.

      All in all, a newcomer with a capacity for great things to come.

      Q3 - Tier 1 - Todor "Curunir" Pichurov
      Zdoom - Deathmatch - 60 KB -
      A Doom 2 recreation of 3 maps of Quake 3's first tier. I haven't played Quake 3 myself so I cannot say anything about how well they match the originals, but plagiarising the levels of a tried and true deathmatch game should result in something at least somewhat playable, and they look rather nice with a clean crisp Doom 2'ish texture theme. Not especially detailed, but neither underdetailed. I reckon that Map 3 would be the funniest to play with the circular walls to dodge and weave between and the height variations. None of the levels has any exit switches if that has any significance.

      Unrest - Dr. Zin
      Should run with anything - Deathmatch - 40 KB -
      A small deathmatch level with a somewhat odd design. The author claims to have playtested it with bots and found it fun, yet I remain somewhat sceptical. There are many narrow passages and to make matters worse some of them even end in lifts that need switches to activate. A bit of a no-no in deathmatch levels. Generally the whole level is awfully cramped with very few opportunities to dodge anything. Graphically it is rather neat with a nice "basy" theme.

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    I would just like to reiterate that Little Faith did these reviews, not me, even though it's my name on the newsitem :P

    Also I was supposed to review a Hexen wad in newstuff since Little Faith doesn't have Hexen, but I didn't have time, so that should be included in next week's newstuff for all to behold etc etc.

    edit: and I fixed the error below too

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    Also if people complain that I didn't review Carnage Galore it is because I don't own a copy of Hexen to run it.


    I consider reviewing wads on the basis of looking on them in a level editor a bit too sketchy.

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    Aww, only single player wad for me to play is grove, and I tried playing it several times prior to this. Maybe I will try to at least encounter the first monster this time.
    *lowers details so computer can handle the trees*

    Deathmatch levels are not my intrest.

    Heh, you are right that I was inspired by Alien Vendetta for monster placement.
    I had a much different layout for the monsters, then during breaks I started playing AV (again, but this time all the way through on UV) and I thought to myself while playin "I want my level to be like this".

    Blah

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    Played grove earlier this week, it's a good one. Took 2 hours but I liked it.

    Ok ok, so I had to clip to get the red key, big deal.

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    Epyo said:

    Played grove earlier this week, it's a good one. Took 2 hours but I liked it.

    Ok ok, so I had to clip to get the red key, big deal.


    That specific one is also completely unfair.

    There is a tiny little symbol, similar to the one on the barrier hidden at floor level in a small recess besides one of the flashy crystals. It is almost impossible to spot unless you know it's there.

    I found it via a level editor.

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    Does Grove require jumping? As far as I can tell it does (and not Legacy either, as you don't seem to jump high enough in that; Zdoom was the only port I tried where it seemed to work). Am I wrong? I'm thinking of the first switch to get out of the starting area.

    netnomad: The normal rotation still applies (in theory, at least). It's just that Ultimate DooMer has until a few days ago had computer problems (this was due to be his week), and there is as yet no permanent replacement for deathz0r. I'm doing it next week (171), and am due to do 174, 177, etc.

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    Jumping is NOT required.

    In fact this wad contains no port-specific features at all.



    Regarding the first gate, try look around a bit in the house, more specifically at the bookcases.

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    How can grove be so amazing and be, quite possible, one of the worst wads I've ever played in my life?

    I spent the ENTIRE time playing the level on map mode becaus it ran like CRAP! This maybe good for a laugh or two in a NUTS wad... but in a real, could be enjoyable, map... this is ridiculous. CUT DOWN THE TREES!!! THIS ISN'T NUTS10.WAD!!! The atmosphere is amazing! It was so fun running around and seeing fascinating locations... stuff you'd see in your dreams... in a Map.

    Unfortunately, this wad is unplayable, and loses all fun factor when I have to run around staring at the floor.

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    I just had a fiddle with Grove in doom builder, added a bit of void space in the large gaps and the framerate improved a fair bit. Would it be out of my place to upload a copy somewhere?

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    I played it by using IDDT twice and running around with the automap on. I didn't play it for very long, though.

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    Scuba Steve said:

    stuff


    I agree 100%, grove is damn near a work of genius, but I can't stand playing it for too long because the framerate is really choppy (I may try playing fullscreen at like 640x400 later).

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    Try it in GLBoom - better framerate and not as dark (if you've got good OpenGL support, obviously). It often seems to work well in maps with a very large number of "things".

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    chilvence said:

    I just had a fiddle with Grove in doom builder, added a bit of void space in the large gaps and the framerate improved a fair bit. Would it be out of my place to upload a copy somewhere?



    Ask Foofoo, AKA B.P.R.D

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    I dont know if its worth it, I had to remove the map lines to get the nodes to compile correctly again. Otherwise I kept falling through floors.

    Is it normal to draw lines crossing over other lines without joining them by a vertex? I always thought that was a no no

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    Urrfff... Just 2 single-player WADs...

    I like the level "Phouse Island" and it's very big! ! ! 1000 Monsters+...

    The best single player level that I've never seen. :)

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    Grove is nice but frikin' insane. Come on, 8fps is unreasonable.

    Phocas is very nice.

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    pritch said:

    Grove is nice but frikin' insane. Come on, 8fps is unreasonable.

    Phocas is very nice.

    Stop hiding from us pritch!

    And yeah Grove is damn atmospheric... shame about the frame rate though. Also maybe a little on the dark side for my tastes :) took me ages to work out how to get out of the house area too.

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    Is it normal to draw lines crossing over other lines without joining them by a vertex?

    It works, though some nodebuilders handle it better than others. I've always used Zennode or WARM, and of the two WARM handles this particular scenario much more efficiently. What builder are you using?

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    chilvence said:

    I just had a fiddle with Grove in doom builder, added a bit of void space in the large gaps and the framerate improved a fair bit. Would it be out of my place to upload a copy somewhere?


    Better still, have one-sided lines with Line_Horizon constantly sticking close to the treeline texture all the way round the edges of the playing area, and also as columns inside the gaps that are not accessible (unless you've already done that).

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