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    The /newstuff Chronicles #198


    Grazza

    After the rollercoaster ride of the last couple of months, with busy weeks alternating with empty ones, we now have something that seems quite unusual: a normal, average week of /newstuff. A reasonable selection of new wads, some good, some less good, and a fair amount of variety. There are no really colossal releases this week, but certainly enough to keep most of us happily busy for a few days.

    • Arctic Research Center A1 by Jimi
      8,921kb - jDoom + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - - -
      This is a very impressive jDoom map. In appearance and feel, it seems more like Half-Life, and the monsters have a Skaarj (Unreal) look about them. The ambient sounds are mostly excellent, and create a good atmosphere. There isn't much variety in use of textures, but that seems appropriate to the theme. The lighting effects seem to me well done, though that will depend on your system. Action-wise, the wad does not last very long, but is quite challenging, due mainly to the lack of health, and also because you're fighting unfamiliar enemies using unfamiliar weapons (I imagine that learning about the enemies is meant to be part of the fun, but I think one spoiler will be welcomed: they can revive each other except if one is blown apart). You need to perform a few tasks, and while there are some on-screen messages to guide you through them, there is little indication of where you need to go next, and you might end up using simple trial and error. Also, the scripting is a bit weak, as you can get old messages coming up again after you have completed the task to which they refer. Note that you get all the weapons at the start, so cycle through them to see what you've got. Ammo is mostly supplied in backpack-type lumps, and you can't carry a great deal, so it is easy to pick them up wastefully. The supply is quite generous though, so don't get too worried about wasting some.

      Some technical comments are in order. Firstly, note that you need to have models enabled for this wad to look even remotely the way it was intended. Installation is made quite easy by the inclusion of a .ksa file. There are no instructions included for how to use this though, so I'll explain: you put Arctic.ksa in kicksprofiles\ and Arctic.pk3 in Data\jDoom\ (these paths are included in the zip), and then in Kickstart, choose Doom II, and then under Add-Ons, select Arctic Research Center A1. You'll also want to put -pwadtex in "Add to the command line" in Other options (otherwise, some information screens won't display correctly). You'll need quite a powerful computer to run this wad smoothly; that's true for jDoom generally of course, but the various special effects (e.g. particles) in this wad aggravate matters significantly.

      Overall, I can certainly recommend this wad if you like jDoom and are looking for something a bit different.

    • Exquisite Corpse by 12 mappers, led by Linguica
      351kb - most limit-extending ports + Doom2 - SP - 1 map - -
      This map had an unusual method of construction, with 12 different mappers each making a square 1024x1024 block, and these blocks were then joined together. Each mapper was given only the bare essential information about the neighbouring blocks (heights and textures), so it is surprising how well this map works. There are few really abrupt changes of theme (Blackfish's hell-style firewalk area being the glaring exception), and I doubt you'd guess the method of construction unless you looked at the automap. For the most part, the style is techbase, though naturally the level of detail and "mini-themes" vary significantly (crates and nukage both make an appearance). Ling's starting area is wide-open and features some grandiose views, while Shtbag's block features his usual tight corridors and a surprise cyber. Generally, connectivity is a lot better than you'd expect, and the level of challenge is fairly consistent throughout - on UV it is a moderately difficult map, though never insanely so.

      The intention was for this map to work with any limit-removing port, and the text-file claims that it is otherwise fully compatible with Doom2.exe. This isn't the case though; it needs to be a limit-removing port that does not allow linedef effects to work with sector tag = 0. This is a compatibility option in Eternity and Prboom. jDoomers are, AFAIK, out of luck, unless there is some compatibility option hidden away somewhere. (The problem that causes this is mentioned by WadAuthor's "check map" option. I don't know if this error is due to the map's method of construction, or if it was present in an individual section.) Having said that, it is possible to exit this map - and very quickly too - in Doom2.exe by using a little suicide exit trick (see my demo). The window that I slide through (as a corpse) is on one of the boundaries between mappers' areas, so they couldn't have known that this trick would be possible.

      In conclusion, I would rate this as an interesting and almost entirely successful experiment, and the resulting map is definitely well worth playing.

    • Hordes of Chaos II by Christopher Emirzian (Udderdude)
      1,259kb - ZDoom + Heretic - SP - 5 maps - -
      Here's a treat for those who enjoyed Udderdude's first installment of Hordes of Chaos: five more maps for Zdoom+Heretic, featuring large numbers of monsters, including the bad guys from Doom, to mow down with the Heretic weapons and power-ups. Udderdude more or less recommends skill 3, and warns that skill 4 is very tough (if you try it, remember to make good use of the powered-up gauntlets to gain health and save ammo). Differences in the palette make the Doom monsters look a little different, but the conversion of these monsters into Heretic is definitely a success. Themes this time are: town, water, fortress, temple, and cathedral. I can't say I regard the use of time-limits as a very good idea though. Some people like to play at a more leisurely pace. Also, I got stuck (i.e. in a room I couldn't get out of) in E1M1. That might have been my own stupidity, but I really didn't see a way out.

    • Phobos Revisited by ReX Claussen
      824kb - ZDoom + Ultimate Doom - SP - 9 maps - -
      Here is a full replacement for Episode 1, with each map very closely and authentically following the style of the map it replaces, and in large part also following its layout too. For my taste, this is a bit too close to the original - it smacks of mimicry more than tribute. That's not to say that these are simply edited versions of the originals though (far from it) - just that too little comes as a surprise. The gameplay balance is rather tighter than in the originals - there is more danger and you will need to use the ammo a little more carefully, but still there is little to challenge seasoned Doomers. The maps are a little less free-flowing than the original E1 maps - there are quite a lot of switches to press, and you are more often shut into an area. This all makes for more linear gameplay, and perhaps reduces the replay value. There are also switch hunts now and then, which makes the maps less fun than they might be.

      The text-file claims that this wad is fully compatible with Doom.exe, but was only extensively tested with Zdoom. This struck me as an unlikely pair of statements, and sure enough there is a major problem on E1M2. You can exit the map without encountering it, but there is a secret area that if you visit, causes the map to break down, leaving the player trapped. For that reason, I have described this wad as requiring Zdoom. It's possible it works with other ports, but this is unverified.

    • Squad Leader by Blue
      409kb - EDGE 1.28a + Doom2 - SP - 3 maps -
      An interesting little 3-map set for EDGE, where you lead a team of friendly marines to perform a series of minor tasks. However, the lack of health and small amount of ammo lying around discourage much in the way of heroics by the player, so you'll probably find that you're not so much leading your squad as persuading them to lay down their lives, so you can wander along after them and pick off any remaining resistance. The best and most interesting/varied map is the second one. The first is a straight in-and-out, while the third (and last) is a kind of boss battle, where you spend a while just running around (I'd recommend seeking out the archie and feeding him a few rockets a.s.a.p.) while everyone else kills each other. The final boss seems be impervious to everything except hitscan weapons (I could be wrong about that, but that's how it appeared), but fortunately there is plenty of ammo and it doesn't have as much health as you'd expect. Design is quite simple overall (the second map is a tech-base; the other two are outdoors), which is probably a good thing given that EDGE runs quite choppily for most people at the best of times. Note that cheat codes are disabled, as I discovered when I decided to try to warp to map02 to take a screenshot.

    • DSLVL2: Lost Mining Base by DarkSoul
      117kb - limit-extending port + Doom2 - SP - 1 map -
      This map seemed to promise more than it delivered. At the start, it felt (to me at least) that there was going to a huge fight in immense underground caverns. However, it is quite a short map, all the action is sedate, and there are no traps or surprises. Ammo is well balanced, and health should not be a problem (in fact, I could imagine this map being done Reality-style), even though there isn't a great deal of it lying around. Architecturally, there are some nice touches, such as the railway lines, but the caverns are a little bland, and the structures are visually unexciting. Overall though, it's certainly worth playing. Note: it plays on map02, despite what the text-file says.

    • Nuclear Caverns by Jason Benson
      35kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map -
      Following last week's "Gothic" by the same author, here we have another somewhat drab and dark, mostly underground affair. If you miss the secrets, then health and ammo might be a little tight; if you find them, then you will have quite a surplus. There is a nasty revenant/barrels trap (it lacks surprise value, but even so it is possible to lose a lot of health there - there is a very safe way to negotiate it though), but otherwise the biggest threat to your life is a little sunken area just before the exit from which you can't get out (there is also a stuck mancubus beside it). Otherwise, the design is competent but unelaborate. For some reason, it plays on map03. I'd suggest playing it if you've nothing better to do.

    • Toxic Pit by Jason Benson
      37kb - Doom2.exe - SP - 1 map -
      This mostly linear map features a dash through a toxic pit or two, through a library area, and then back through the same areas and onto the exit. There are also some of Jason's trademark dark areas, but most of the map is bright enough. There are some pits that you can't escape from, but that's not as annoying as it would be in a long map. Again, I can only recommend playing this map if you've run out of top-quality wads to keep you busy.

    • Snowball's Chance by Stephen Galvin
      57kb - Zdoom + Doom2 - SP - 1 map -
      This map is strictly Zdoom-only (though there's no mention of this in the textfile), presumably due only to map errors (Wintex reported the blockmap as having a negative filesize). I needed to rebuild the nodes before this would run in anything other than Zdoom, but then it didn't seem to work properly for one reason or another. Anyway, it's quite an ambitious wad for a newbie mapper, and it shows promise in some respects. However, it's borderline whether the map is worth playing. The "action" starts with a tedious switch-hunt, and proceeds casually until you release a big pack of demons, which you must then race (you don't have enough ammo to fight them - at least not at that point). Marine vs demons in a footrace is normally a one-sided affair, but you're slowed down in some rather clumsy ways, mostly by slow lifts that have no purpose other than to delay you. You even need to use one such pair of lifts before the race is on, so this is purely dead time. You need to know your way around the map, and the various shortcuts that open up, in advance. Once you know the route, it's not so difficult. I'd recommend getting the chaingun (using the red key), as this helps thin out the demons in the critical areas. I recorded a help demo in case you need to see how it is done.

    • Shdoo by Jimi
      50kb - jDoom + Doom2 - SP - 1 map
      Here, as he has done several times before, Jimi offers us a wad that uses some Doomsday features for cosmetic effects, but where if you play the map outside Doomsday, every sector is a damaging sector. Why he does this is a mystery, but it limits his audience without gaining anything. The map itself is pretty trivial. You need to press two switches in order to open up the exit. There are some monsters in the way. You get weapons and ammo. Revolutionary stuff. It's hard to believe this is by the same guy who made Arctic Research Center A1.

    • Black Diamond Ranch by Assphalt
      30kb - port with jumping + Doom2 - SP - 1 map -
      A small and not especially enjoyable map. It's very cramped, very linear, and the design is uninspiring, with little evidence of much logic behind its construction. You need to jump to get one of the keys (or maybe it's possible with a grab - I couldn't manage it though). The start might prove a bit awkward if you don't find the secrets, but otherwise the gameplay lacks difficulty, and is fairly short.

    • Lizardwar by Cliff AkA LizardCommando
      1,133kb - EDGE, but works with any exe - graphics replacement -
      This is a graphic replacement, which replaces the weapons and enemies with cartoon-style lizard-themed ones. If that excites you, then I guess it's a must-download, since the graphics look about as excellent as cartoon-style lizard-themed Doom graphics could look. It should work with any port or Doom2.exe (for that, you'll need to give it a valid DOS filename {e.g. lizardwr.wad} and use deusf: deusf -app lizardwr.wad).

    • IMMORAL CONDUCT: LIZARD EDITION by Cliff AKA Lizardcommando
      3,228kb - EDGE - weapons mod - 1 demo map -
      This is a version of Immoral Conduct, modified for use with Lizardwar (see above).

    • The ZDoom Monster Resource Wad (v3.0) by Several
      3,722kb - Zdoom 2.0.63a - new monsters + 2 demo levels -
      This new version fixes bugs and add new monsters: Plasma Elemental, Maelstrom, Cacolich, RifleZombie, and SpreadFireZombie. The maelstrom is an especially nasty little guy.

    • Weapon pack 14 by Daniel
      460kb - dehacked - weapon replacement -
      Yet another weapons replacement from Daniel. This features new graphics and sounds, and also changes the appearance of the revenant. There is a major difference in the way the BFG works: the traces are emitted from the fireball, not from the player. It is now also a much worse weapon to use at point-blank range.

    • Alpha Guns 05 by Luiz Eduardo
      101kb - weapons mod
      This provides some weapons from the alpha version of Doom, the unmaker and a knife from Arctic Wolf.

    • Tesla Cannon by Luiz Eduardo
      7kb - weapon mod
      Replaces the plasma gun graphics with those of the Tesla Cannon from Blood.

    • Unofficial Hectebus Concept by TheDarkArchon
      690kb - ZDoom 2.0.63 - monster concept
      An update of a file that appeared last week. It now includes a test map.

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    fp? :p

    Edit : Well here's some actual content in my post. :P I played 3 maps so far, all of them are good

    dslvl2.wad : Cool stuff, I liked this one. It's somewhat challenging in that you don't get armor and can be hurt easily by the bigger monsters. I only died once, at the final area.

    excorpse.wad : What last week's zDoom Community Project should've been. Awesome gameplay that flows smoothly, and totally open-ended map design. Plus tons of stuff to kill. I really liked this one. Have yet to beat it :P

    phobos-v.wad : Some nice map design here, they really feel like the original E1 maps. Difficulty has been upped somewhat from the originals, which is good. If you like oldskool, you'll like this :P

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    Good week :) I like the JDoom map, for some reason it seems so cool to me. This is odd since I never really liked JDoom.

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    You should be able to play the Shdoo map with other ports if you can disable boom generalized sector effects. And it was an old(about 1 year old) map which I never before uploaded to idgames archive...

    Oh yeah, great reviews :D

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    excellent jeorb there, Grazza; just the way TNC should be.
    Excorpse was fun to play... now onto Arctic and Phobos-Rev...

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    Equisite Corpse looks really great and was quite fun to play !

    But what really made my day was Phobos Revisited !!
    As I said before I love E1 and this tribute is really good indeed. And in my opinion, it does NOT mimic E1, it is a great levelset in its own right.

    The design is more detailed than the original, gaining an atmosphere of its own thanks to new windows and doors where you don't expect them.

    The secrets are on the harder side, but you still know they're out there, so you know where to look for them. I finished E1M2 with 66% secrets although I could swear there was nothing more to find.

    The best E1 remix around for quite a while.
    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm back to the game !

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    Grazza said:

    The text-file claims that this wad is fully compatible with Doom.exe, but was only extensively tested with Zdoom. This struck me as an unlikely pair of statements....

    Actually, the text file says: "Phobos Revisited has not been extensively tested with source ports other than ZDooM." It was in fact extensively tested with ZDooM and doom.exe. I was unable to replicate the problem in the "secret area that if you visit, causes the map to break down, leaving the player trapped". It sounds like it's a problem that occurs with doom.exe but not with ZDooM. Please PM or email me the specifics and I will fix it to the best of my ability.

    EDIT: I had forgotten about that secret area, and had not tested it with doom.exe. [E1M2 was my first map in that set, back in Nov. 2002, and I originally tested it with ZDooM, but when I went back to test it with doom.exe I had forgotten about that secret and I didn't test it. Evidence of my forgetfulness is found in the secrets.txt file, from which the secret is entirely omitted.] I will fix this and upload the fixed file soon. Many thanks to Graf Zahl for pointing out exactly where the problem in E1M2 lies, and to Grazza for pointing out the problem in the first place.

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    Grazza: I noticed that speedrunning shortcut on excorpse but I left it in on purpose because hey, why not.

    Nice demo though, I used an archvile blast to push me through, but your bullet riddled corpse slid through exquisitely as well :P

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    So far I have only played daniels weapons mod and Squad leader. The weapons mod was kina boring, I didn't really like it. Squad Leader was really cool, however. Very hard, and I had some fps issues in 1 or 2 places, but fun. A nice little demo of some of what edge can do.

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    SBC must be a rerelease from years ago, judging from the layout of the text file, the map look-and-feel and the fact that the author's Yahoo profile hasn't been updated since 1998. The negative size is the BLOCKMAP structure. The reason the map seems ZDoom-only is because ZDoom can dynamically build nodes and such when loading a WAD.

    Removing the BLOCKMAP with WinTex, loading the map into DoomBuilder, fixing a zero-length lindef and recompiling fixes it. Still the main error in the map was the act of creating it. What a load of utter tosh. Long corridors, boring architecture and apart from a couple of demons, hours to waste just trying to find enemies to kill. One for the recycle bin, I think :-(

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    Regarding SBC, it is only from version 2.0.51 that Zdoom has ignored the blockmap, so if the map is unchanged from a version from years ago, then at the time it was first created, then it presumably wouldn't have run with anything. It crashes in Zdoom 1.22 (for instance) in just the same way that it crashes in other ports.

    ReX: Seems you are now aware of the specific problem. Sorry if I implied the wad hadn't been tested at all with Doom.exe. I suppose I reckoned that testing with Doom.exe would have included at least a run through it with nomonsters visiting all secrets. If this problem is the only issue that has slipped through and it was otherwise thoroughly tested, then this episode is a truly great release for the hardcore fans of the original game.

    Ling: I love it when maps allow speedrunning tricks, and I think you were absolutely right to leave it in.

    I realize that my description of the problem in excorpse wasn't quite right. The "disable linedef effects with sector tag=0" compatibity option only prevents the map from breaking down at that point: the door in question doesn't open (like it is supposed to). Erik's post here is probably more accurate.

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    I downloaded the ICD-Lizard file that was in the link and indeed it is the updated revision. So just to let anyone who is thinking about downloading my mod, the text file that is in the Archives is outdated. The bugs have been fixed. So don't pay attention to the text file in the Archives. Thank you.

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    Grazza said:

    Also, I got stuck (i.e. in a room I couldn't get out of) in E1M1. That might have been my own stupidity, but I really didn't see a way out.


    I didn't get stuck in e1m1, although there is a very easy way to get stuck in e1m5. Once you teleport to the ledge with the snakemen or the one just past it, simply fall back to the main courtyard. The bars that were past the blue door are closed again and the switch to open them was single-use, so there's no way to return other than noclipping.

    Cool wad btw, I enjoyed the first and had quite a bit of fun with the sequel as well.

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    Vile said:

    I didn't get stuck in e1m1, although there is a very easy way to get stuck in e1m5. Once you teleport to the ledge with the snakemen or the one just past it, simply fall back to the main courtyard. The bars that were past the blue door are closed again and the switch to open them was single-use, so there's no way to return other than noclipping.


    Oops. Looks like it was one of D'Sparil's evil traps .. :X

    I downloaded jDoom and ARC A1, and can run it, but the framerate is really chugging at 640x480x16. It's running slower than Doom 3. I'm running an Athlon XP 2500+ and Radeon 9600. Is it supposed to be going this slow? :P

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    The place where I got stuck on E1M1 of HOC2 was in the room with the cacos, gargoyles and barrels. I teleported in there, killed everything, and couldn't find any way out (teleporter didn't function, couldn't open the door). It didn't feel like I had done anything route-wise that I shouldn't have done.

    I don't believe jDoom should be that slow on your system, but maybe it's an issue with that particular hardware. Mine's a 2.2GHz P4 with a 128MB GeForce4 Ti 4600, and it starts to get a little bit choppy here and there at 1600x1200 with dynamic lighting, coronas, etc. Maybe it's something specific rather than a general malaise, and changing one or two settings make a dramatic improvement in the performance you get.

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    I tested out the weapon mods - the only one (aside from icdlizard, which I haven't tried yet since the update) that's even worth mentioning is Daniel's Weap14. The LE mods (Alpha05 and TeslaC) don't even have DEH patches and are just no fun to play with.

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    Grazza said:

    The place where I got stuck on E1M1 of HOC2 was in the room with the cacos, gargoyles and barrels.


    I can't see how that door wouldn't open. If it didn't open, something was seriously wrong. It's just a plain ol' door, it has the repetable flag on it. That's just wierd.

    Grazza said:

    I don't believe jDoom should be that slow on your system, but maybe it's an issue with that particular hardware.


    I don't know, but running the normal Doom 2 maps w/ 3d models and everything doesn't cause any slowdown with the same settings. I got it to slow down a little on map 30 after killing a bunch of guys and looking down at the entire map.

    I can't find any settings in jDoom that magically make it go faster, but I did find ARC A1 slows down the most when I'm looking directly up or down. This might be some sort of zbuffer failure, something that's making it draw the entire map when looking in that direction.

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    HoC2: Best. Ending. Evar. :P

    Is there gonna be another one of these? These have been mostly great so far (the final battle in the first one was ridiculous IMO). You know, you can't beat strangling those damn archviles. It's one of the things we all wish we could do in Doom...

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    Cacodreams was referring, I am sure, to wads that had previously been released elsewhere but were not in the archive.

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    netnomad312 said:

    Is there gonna be another one of these? These have been mostly great so far (the final battle in the first one was ridiculous IMO). You know, you can't beat strangling those damn archviles. It's one of the things we all wish we could do in Doom...


    I'm starting work on HOC 3, but who knows when I'll finish it. There are really no more good maps from the 8-yr old Dark Heretic project for me to re-use, so I'm going to be converting some of my older Doom maps instead. They'll probabally be modified so they aren't so symmetrical and have more room to move around. There will be 4 Doom maps and 1 DH map.

    If anyone wants to donate their old maps for me to turn into HOC maps, go ahead .. I don't expect anyone will want to, though :P

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