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    The /newstuff Chronicles #510


    • DUMP Episode 2: Dump Harder - TerminusEst13 (et al)
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 70.97 MB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      With the intention of getting better at mapping, TerminusEst13, after he involved some friends, decided to actually try to do something: make a speedmap, and then polish and refine it later. The first episode of DUMP (Doom Upstart Mapping Project) was born. After seeing that the result was successful, and after the suggestion of making the project open, the second episode of DUMP started, and signups were opened in the forums. 17 levels were made for the first episode, but the second one received 68 maps.

      The main goal of the project (like the first episode) was to encourage newbies to make a complete and playable map, going for Zandronum/ZDoom compatibility (you can also shiver at the idea of more than 60 ZDoom maps made by newbies, but we'll talk about that later). Actually, a few people who partook had some experience mapping already, but the majority of the contributors are first time mappers, or didn't map very much before.

      The main level of the wad is a big hub where we can choose what map to play; each map has a preview screenshot near and a teleport to get into the map itself. Pistol starts are enforced, and once a level is completed it can't be played anymore. There's a boss map to end the wad that's unlockable after you beat a number of levels, a number that changes according to the difficulty level. The boss battle and the ending were really funny, I must say.

      As you can expect, like the average community project, this wad is varied in quality, themes, and isn't a consistent product at all; in the end it's a collection of totally unrelated maps. And if you look at the big picture, the variety is even more prominent here; while some people went for the more classic themes/styles/gameplay, others tried to do things quite different from the usual. And the ZDoom features were used rather well in all the wad; there weren't obnoxious or ridiculous usages, aside from few stealth monsters in a couple of maps. Two guys also made two maps with invasion-type gameplay, where they didn't succeed well. Also there's a lack of jokewad stuff; the only map I felt had some good humor in it was MAP13: The Shores of Heck, and every time you start a map you can briefly read a funny quote from the author. But otherwise the tone is mostly "serious". Also, having a soundtrack composed mostly of MOD tracks was a nice touch for the mood of many maps.

      Lets make some shoutouts to what I think are the best offerings of this wad:

      -MAP19 Lack of Depth Perception: it's a bit rough sometimes actually, but the gameplay was really fun.

      -MAP25 Welcome to Hoppishi Temple!: quite reminiscent of Epic/Epic 2 for the theme and the style.

      -MAP28 The Volcanic Oasis: basically it's a volcano, and it's done rather well.

      -MAP30 Valley : a really cool setting of a dam-like complex, has a cool adventurous feel.

      -MAP45 The 4th dimension: it does quite well with its floating structures.

      -MAP48 Green and Purple (the first half): this one was really good, though the section of the monsters waves was very underwhelming.

      -MAP51 Crowd Control: cool complex of buildings.

      -MAP52 Temple of Waves: nice usage of stock textures for making the particular setting.

      -MAP57 Black Metal Fortress: some interesting custom textures in this one; it's long and sprawling, but it was also a nice adventure.

      -MAP59 Price of Failure: maybe the gameplay isn't exactly great, but the atmosphere sure is.

      This bunch of maps: 07, 23, 24, 26, 31, 36, 37, 43, 46, and 53 did a good job too, though I didn't think they were as successful as the others; nonetheless, many of them are really interesting. On the opposite side of the spectrum, there are these maps: 14, 16, 39 and maybe the secret one; those are the worst maps of the wad, though they aren't really different from the average bad map you can find on /idgames. For all the other maps I didn't mention, they are just average maps; they didn't have anything really interesting, but they weren't terrible either. There are two not very good trends in this mapset: awful pistol starts, and uninspired cyberdemon final battles. Pretty much almost all maps start with making you using the pistol against imps and zombies; the problem is that on many maps this drags for too long. Even worse, many times you will have to fight barons, hell knights, revenants, and even mancubuses with a shotgun and chaingun only; the good weapons come really late. Sometimes the balance of monsters/health/ammo doesn't seems very right, like if the map wasn't tested very much. And the cyberdemon battles for the most part seemed unnecessary.

      Overall, despite having some low moments and being a mixed bag in quality, I enjoyed this wad. There aren't outstanding maps, but with the ZDoom stuff the authors managed to make many really interesting things, and I think that the general result is good. It's cool to see many new people trying, and now DUMP 3 is currently in development I guess. There's some stuff that's worth checking out here, though you have to dig a bit.

    • Woodlan School - Unknown
      Doom 2 - Single Player - Vanilla - 116.13 KB -
      Reviewed by: Csonicgo
      Imagine: it's the mid-nineties, you're in high school, and you've carried with you the shovelware Doom CD you snagged at the local computer store. You discovered the packaged map editor for Windows the night before. So when no one's looking, you rush to the computer lab. You install it, set it up, and realize you have opened Pandora's box. Hooray! You can make levels now! Infinite replay value!

      So, naturally, what will your first real map be? Why, your school, of course! Then upload it with the brand-new Internet thingie, so everyone can see it!

      That sounds like a recipe to get the feds at your door today, but before two morons decided to shooty-shooty-bang-bang, schools were prime targets for a kid with a map editor. And why not? It's a place a kid would know well, it's orthogonal, there isn't much height variation, and what's cooler than seeing your own life in a video game?

      The problem with that question is the answer. It's usually not very... good. Don't get me wrong, the notion that you can replicate real-world structures in Doom is a very compelling one. But gameplay-wise, is it worth it?

      Alright, enough terrible introduction - this is a map of someone's high school. Jack Thompson has nightmare boners about these kinds of levels. After all, a school in a "murder simulator" is just asking for trouble... post-Columbine. But before? No one gave a fuck about it. So go wild!

      And then you load it up and start a new game and... Oh. PA High this ain't. Lighting is nonexistent. The only plus is that it shows how massive the structures can be in Doom. This is a huge map... on the surface. Dig a little deeper and you notice it's very, very dull. It's not for lack of trying, it's just that some schools don't make for good levels. Schools in America are very utilitarian. Some were built during the Great Depression with blueprints normally used for prison camps. But all that aside, this school does not a good map make. Just a bunch of hallways, few open areas, and a lot of rooms with one monster or nothing in them at all. What a load.

      So the gameplay is: Run into room. Kill things. Go to the next room. Kill more things. Go to the--yeah. It was about fifteen rooms in that I felt like a disgusting mass murderer, even though they're demons and this is a friggin' video game.

      Highlights are: a very dark gymnatorium, a cafeteria (with NOTHING in it but a few barrels to simulate trash cans), a courtyard filled with pinkies, and a little "locker room" area. There's even a public speaking room. I know 'em when I see 'em. And, everyone's favorite: teleporter stairs to another floor! They even went as far to model the outside of the school to simulate that you, indeed, are on the second floor. Cute.

      The only "tough" area was the start, because of mid-tier monsters near the start area. But you're given a super shotgun. The only time I had any challenge is when I loaded up deathz0r's OMGWPNS and set the monster multiplier to 4. Ow, my ass.

      Speedrunners will love this one: the exit is on the other side of the map, and you don't have to enter the school - just run around it and hit the switch. So that means you're supposed to go inside and kill everything, then go outside and "exit". PROTIP: before you play, make sure your manifesto is ready to go!

      So why did I review this abomination? Why did I actively look for this and submit it to the /idgames archive? Well, it was one of the first maps I downloaded. Ever. So I have a little bit of affection for this map. Yes, I know, that sounds awful. Given that most of the maps I liked to play in the 90s were school maps, I really wonder if I was supposed to be the insane guy who lost it in high school with a sawed-off. What the hell is wrong with me? Was I just too lazy?

      This map was unknown for quite some time. I still can't remember where I downloaded it the first time. Mad Butcher on Doomworld Forums was gracious enough to find a copy of it and send it to me, and for that, I am grateful. Another terrible map enters the archive, and I couldn't be happier. It's a shame that the map isn't as good as I remember, when I would godmode all the time and play with the arrow keys.

      You can skip this one, but I have a strange attachment to it. This is a time capsule for me, so check it out, if only to see what those "first" maps were like. Maps like these aren't made in the current era, unless you consider LA Worlds maps as qualifiers!

    • Mutiny Monday - Nabernizer
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 355 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      Mutiny Monday is small episode for Doom 2 with four maps. I guess that it's one the first works by this author by many things; the chaotic and not very polished visuals and the overabundance of ammo and monsters just smell of amateurism, though there are many interesting things. Strong point is that it seems that there's a clear idea behind this wad for a more story-driven progression, even if for a few maps. We start in a techbase that guards a teleporter, then we make a small trip to a flesh cave, then to return to big and sprawling hub-based techbase. The last level combines the IoS with a Spiderdemon for a boss fight. Overall the levels have the usual themes and use the stock textures with some wacky attempts at realism sometimes. Combat and visuals are not always really good, but the music selection was well done. It's an interesting wad with a quite nice adventurous vibe.

    • The Grim Fortress - Subucnameth
      Doom 2 - Single Player - Boom Compatible - 156.67 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      The Grim Fortress is single level for Boom-compatible ports. The theme is classic hell fortress, and the map looks quite nice even though it's also really uninspired. It would have been fine if the gameplay wasn't so boring. There aren't many monsters actually (less than 100 on UV), and they are all mid-tier ones, but the problem is how the combat is made: flat shooting galleries with the SSG as the main weapon. Although the level is all right from a technical standpoint, I don't have any reason to recommend this slogfest.

    • Vents - Born to be Mild
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 69.97 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      Vents. Like the title says we have to go through few vents, and crouching is required. After the initial rooms where the author at least tries to do something, the map gets progressively bad and becomes more bland as you proceed. At one point the author himself literally tells us that "that part was rushed"; I would say all the map is rushed. Very basic visuals and combat. It isn't something that is worth trying.

    • At Warehouse Station - greyscale83
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 110.18 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      At Warehouse Station is single ZDoom map. The layout is quite compact and the places are almost cramped, though they didn't feel annoying. Visually it is good; there's a nice amount of detail, and the station (with a train too) is well done. Gameplay will have some nice traps and it will also use restricted places. This is a good standalone level overall.

    • UACWarehouse - Born to be Mild
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 329.38 KB -
      Reviewed by: Not Jabba
      UAC Warehouse is a basic beginner techbase level that tries to throw as much as possible into too little space -- you get six different guns to fight just 60 monsters, and you have to find three keys to get through a handful of rooms. It doesn't feel like there's a whole lot of rhyme or reason to it all, but the author has done a decent job with the fundamentals -- there is little texture misalignment, no bugs, some light variation, and some semblance of a layout. Wall textures are sometimes used as doors, which is annoying, though at least it's pretty obvious where they are.

      The wad has a couple of modified guns: a reskinned, slightly more powerful pistol, and an assault rifle that replaces the chaingun. The latter has a recoil that pulls your gun barrel up whenever you shoot but doesn't correct itself after you stop shooting, making the level annoying to play without a full 3D mouselook setup. There's also a suicide bomber enemy, although only three of them appear in the level, so they don't add much.

      It's a decent first try, but don't expect too much.

    • Ring of fire - Thomas Nijman
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 13.58 MB -
      Reviewed by: Liberation
      Ring of fire, a ZDoom 12-map wad made back in 2006, featuring ACS scripting and Decorate monsters. Brilliant.

      Over the twelve maps I only enjoyed map05, and "enjoy" is probably pushing it. The fact that you jumped out of a window and into the street made me smile, and I liked the air vent system also, which was cool.

      However, the rest of the wad was rather hard work, with scripted cut-scenes (that suck) which you can't skip, and a lot of the levels have rather strange layouts and sometimes you can miss areas (which isn't the end of the world), get lost, get bored, not find keys, or all of the above.

      Monster placement was straightforward, predictable, and dull. The overpowered extra monsters just cheesed me off; some of the monsters just filled the screen with projectiles, and to be honest, I just put it on god mode after awhile.

      I did see a few good ideas here and there; the Build engine-style wall explosions I liked, and a few decent(ish) uses of slopes as well.

      I do not recommend this map set. It's just hard work, very dull, and the storyline was total tripe.

    • Computer Mayhem - Carlos Lastra
      Ultimate Doom - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 66.35 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      It's a single level that replaces E1M1. Visuals and gameplay pretty much offer what you would expect from an E1 map. The overall detail is really well done, and it has some nice touches that give a more "modern" look while remaining really close to the classic E1 style. The gameplay was really good, and you'll find the same nice characteristics of a good E1-styled level. Overall it's a good Doom level; if you particularly like E1 stuff, be sure to check this out.

    • The Late Train (Night Train updated) - Sgt. Ender (aka enderkevin13)
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 397.39 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      The Late Train is the updated version of Night Train, and both are single GZDoom maps. I didn't recall playing the previous version, but if this is supposed to be better, I don't really want to see how it was before. Train levels were done before, and much better than this one. There are unnecessary cutscenes and a message when we die tells us that... we have died. You also have a time limit of four minutes to beat the level, and it hasn't a great purpose as the the train is very short. A shit map isn't a shit map without its crappy cyberdemon battle at the end. Avoid, unless you really want to see how to make a poorly designed train level with GZDoom.

    • The Secret Hangar - greyscale83
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 197.53 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      It's a single ZDoom map for Doom 2. It's set in a mountain base where we have to find a way out, and the map does it quite well. The environments are all well-detailed, and here and there you can see some of the special features of ZDoom that are used rather well. You can also admire a cute spaceship at the end. The action was quite good, with a fair use of tough monsters and some traps. This is a very solid level with many interesting things, and it provides some good fun.

    • Another Bad Map - ButterflyGirl
      Plutonia - Single Player - GZDoom - 20.63 KB -
      Reviewed by: gaspe
      Another Bad Map, it's the title of this level and a fitting description of what it is. Some randomly shaped rooms crammed with monsters, and that's all. There are no reasons to play this map.

    • HAZCHEM - Ashicide
      Doom 2 - Single Player - ZDoom Compatible - 27.15 KB -
      Reviewed by: Not Jabba
      Hazchem is the author's first map, and it's a very small and simple techbase. The whole level has just a few rooms with a total of 26 monsters, almost all of which are Zombiemen and Imps, so it's not super interesting. On the plus side, it's fully playable and has no major bugs or texturing problems that I noticed, so the author is off to a pretty good start.

      There are some weird things going on with this level, though. The keys are pretty pointless from a design standpoint, since they're so close to the doors that require them, but the author was probably just trying to learn how to use keys, so whatever. There's a secret that requires you to walk through a solid-looking grate, as well as a door that opens up into a pile of impassable boxes for no particular reason (also, you can open the door from the other side, without the key that it's supposed to require, by pressing on the boxes). The map requires GZDoom because of some kind of error, not because it actually uses the port's features, and as homework, I would suggest that the author figure out what's up with that before making another level that ought to function in vanilla Doom.

      In short, it's a pretty decent first try, but not much of a level unless you're just looking for a way to kill two minutes.

    The /newstuff Chronicles is a usually-weekly roundup of new items uploaded to the /idgames archive, and it is written entirely by community members like you. If you wish to contribute, the /newstuff Review Center is the place to do so. Register on the Doomworld Forums first if you don't already have an account, because you need one to submit reviews. Special thanks goes to the nearly 300 users who have submitted reviews over the past several years.

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    @ Csonicgo, That was the most epic review for the least epic wad ever. Was a good read, I enjoyed it and it made me think about my earlier days and shovelware cds as you called them.

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    It's cool how a review for a single map from 1995 is almost long as a review for a wad with more than 60 maps :)

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    gaspe said:

    It's cool how a review for a single map from 1995 is almost long as a review for a wad with more than 60 maps :)


    Okay so here's my beef with DUMP2: That level select map makes my computer cry. How about an option to turn the matrix 1s and 0s off, please? Or at least reduce the numbers of the things? ZDoom and optimization are on opposite ends of the spectrum right now. I know it's not really the fault of the map, but right now it's enough to put my framerate into the teens.

    Speaking of, why are those things counted as THINGS? I assumed stuff like that was a separate render pass like particles, but these are actual THINGS, green triangles I can see on the automap. Is that the only way to pull that off? if so, 9_9

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    @CSonicgo: and don't forget office/workplace-themed WADs. Those were quite common too, possibly even more common than school/university-themed ones.

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