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    The /newstuff Chronicles #94


    Liam

    Hey DEWMERS, I've overcome PC problems and ISP problems both to make the scene once more with what I'm pretty sure is the biggest /newstuff update in the history of homeschooled Canadians. In fact, we guarantee that after usage of the /newstuff enlargement pills your /newstuff will reach a staggering 20+ wads and 60+ maps long!

    • Zdoom SpinSpyder Collection by Dan Crowley (SpinSpyder) - - A 11-map Doom 2 deathmatch wad kicks off this huge update, the contents of it ranging from 'mediocre' to 'd**k'. The most balanced and enjoyable maps come off rather generic and ugly (Map01, Map06, Map11)... and a few major blemishes otherwise make this levelset hard to take seriously. For one, while this wad has 'Zdoom' in its name and mentions Zdoom in the text file, only two maps that I can remember actually use Zdoom features and the features used are very very irritating and very very unnessecary (PARTICLE FOUNTAINS!!!). Two of the maps back to back each offer a rough estimate of 512x512 space to DM in (Map08 and Map09), which really puts me in question of the mapper's skill, dedication, experience, or sobreity. There really isn't anything here that you can't see or do in other, better DM wads. Requires ZDoom (kinda).
    • Steeple Chase by M. Eyre - - Heretic map ahoy! That wascally wizad D'Sparil always seems to be a step ahead of you; after being banished to the outlands for however long you were banished to the outlands (I don't know, Heretic 2 was really lame) you come face to face with the Serpent Rider at the bottom of a gigantic tower only to find that he has harnessed the ancient power of 'teleport linedefs' to jump all the way to the top. You know what you have to do. Steeple Chase replaces E2M7 of Heretic. The 'going up' gameplay here reminds me vaguely of Doom 2 Map29. Of course this is several times more challenging than Doom 2 Map29, there's quite the army to deal with here and disciples can get particularly annoying given the amount of space they have to fly around undetected. This is a nocturnal map and there isn't much in the way of lighting so many of the visuals are shrouded in black but what you can see of it is satisfying if a bit square. For Heretic fans this is a definite worthy download. Requires advanced Heretic port and sinful.wad. Must be played with jumping enabled.
    • Mount Olympus by Spike - - Dark, brooding, and an exemplification of the visual candy possible with JDoom specific editing, Mount Olympus (Doom 2 Map11) takes you on a tour of a base turned torture chamber, while ambient sound and beautiful dynamic lighting enhance the experience (to think, all those nice big words for a teaser map, heh). Rather than using sector-based lighting all the time, torches and lamps are placed creatively and JDoom does the lighting. That may come off as an excuse not to use the more tiresome 'real' method at first, but the end result is very beautiful when executed carefully.The texturing is great and makes for a perfect moody tech/hell combo. There isn't much of a challenge to be found however, which is even worse when you consider this is supposed to be Map11 in an upcoming megawad and not a stand-alone start-from-scratch Doom map. Check it out if you have JDoom handy.
    • Sphagne's Wads - Either this guy is trying to look productive or his mom drugged his Froot Loops because I know that if a sane, honest person was going to release thirteen wads ALL IN ONE DAY they would bother to make them into a megawad or at least put them all in one zip. To counteract this infringement on common sense I'm going to write thirteen separate reviews (WHO'S PRODUCTIVE NOW SUHFAGNEEH). No, they aren't extremely short and extremely generalized, put your contact lenses back in. All sins will be forgiven however, these wads are awesome. Almost every one sports a thought-out and connective layout, sometimes linear, sometimes nonlinear. The details and architecturing are simple but never unpleasant. Many of these can provide a tough game even for experienced Doomers. Dig in, you can't afford to miss most of these. All of them replace Doom 2 Map01 with the exception of 'Cavemen', replacing Doom 2 Map07.
      • Afterlife - - A moody nighttime map that casts you as a spirit fighting your way through an infested city and an overtaken watership to your place in heaven. The map looks just ace; this is the sort of map I just enjoy running around in after everything's dead. The feeling of a dark netherworldish realism is communicated perfectly within the limits of the engine without coming off silly or 1994-ish.
      • Avenger - - A very large and very challenging covering a variety of themes, not the extent of which are a deserted western town and a strange E1-esque base. Avenger sports a very nonlinear and connective layout ala the original Doom maps, and lots of neat architectural goodies spice up an otherwise bland map.
      • Blood Runners - - This one sends you upstream a river of blood and into an infested Doom 2-ish base (which appears to do something like control the river's flow but that doesn't matter). Very progressive, intense gameplay here; the map gets more and more challenging the further you get and the ammo/health balance is perfected for Ultra-Violence.
      • Cavemen - - Yet another large tech base, this time built into a twisty and turny orange-brown cavern. The architecture in this map stands out above all else, as you fight through the tunnels and caves you'll see the rooms and structures that make up the tech area appearing to be perfectly embedded into the rock, and beautiful nocturnal outdoor scenes immerse you in the game even further.
      • Death Cycle - - Death Cycle is a compact map that covers a variety of different themes and texturing motifs. A network of tiny rooms, corridors, and alcoves are compressed expertly into a circular area that takes up some above 2500x2500 units on the grid. Of course, with so little dodging room, you'll find that a fast trigger finger and quick wit are nessecary if you're going to shy away from your quicksave button.
      • Hell Harbour - - This one looks like something out of Doom's Episode 3 if you ask me. Hell Harbour takes place on, well, a green brick 'Harbour' floating on a sea of blood and carrying a heavy cargo load in the form of crates, the backbone of FPS game design! You'll need to call on your straferunning and strafejumping skills to get to and from most major checkpoints in the map (keys, important switches, etc.).
      • The Living End. - - A refreshing Episode 2-ish tech-temple theme rears its head in the beginning of The Living End (it settles into more consistent texturing during the later half), a map which supposedly takes place at the end of the river Styx (and I might add that the river Styx is quite a bit less dark and forboding than I expected). Unfortunately though, that's all that makes this stand out amongst Sphagne's other releases; it's one of his dullest architecturally and also one of the easiest.
      • Mothership - - Uh, a mothership! Docks, control rooms, waste pits, the whole deal all embodied in glorious hack 3D. Beautiful quasi-realistic detail and a variety of visual styles and structures make for yet another winner.
      • Secret Lab - - This is another theme-blender; the 'Secret Lab' is apparently made up of all varieties of wood, rock, marble, and metal. This is one of Sphagne's earlier maps and it shows in the sub-par (for him at least) architecture and the use of *choke* S.S. Nazis.
      • Space Station - - Blast your way through the inner works of a (consistently textured!) space station constructed with stylish black and brown. Think of a less... er, choppy version of Erik Alm's Europa3.
      • Stronghold - - A very very grey map that forces you to clear out a couple of ASHWALL tunnels and valleys in search of way into an extremely unevocative marble keep. This is one of the dullest of Sphagne's set visually, and lacks the intense gameplay he's shown himself capable of incorporating into his maps.
      • Symphony of Death - - This marble/metal complex is one of Sphagne's first wads. Most of the early action centers around a small marble hallway and the map comes to a head in a great hall larger than Map30 and packed with mancubi, cacos, arachnotrons, and a Cyber up front to top that all off. Not halfway interesting compared to the guy's other releases this week.
      • Trojan - - You've been snuck into a castle textured with stone and brick of all varieties, and now you have to find your way to the main gates. Whilst exploring you'll come across a library, a kitchen, a bedroom, and storage rooms that account for the cheesiest realism attempt Sphagne has made yet.
    • N.D.R. 3 by Tom Hooke - - If you look over here, you'll see a fairly straightforward single-player Doom 2 map textured very very brown. N.D.R. 3 replaces Map01 and struts on stage wearing tired, linear find-the-key gameplay in a collection of claustrophobic stone tunnels and overcrowded crate rooms. Most all of the action can be found in just four or five rooms of the entire map, two of which contain an irritatingly placed archvile making what fun there is even less fun. This is the kind of thing I expect to see when I pull some random wad from in-span. It's only a fifteen-minute play or thereabouts but with all the other cool junk reviewed this week I'd let it go.
    • The NEW DOOM by Ernie Stockham, Brian Davis & Others - - This is a 31-map (Map01-Map28 + Map30 and secret maps) megawad for Doom 2 and whether it's a joke or not I'm not even going to justify its existence with a review. If you want to know what you're getting into take a gander at the text file and screenshots. That's all.
    • Lego Base - Original Cut by Russel Pearson - - Hahaha, well I'll try to avoid calling it an excuse to make really really square architecture. I guess you'd know what to expect visually, especially after seeing the screenie, so I'll cut straight to the way this map plays. You know that gesture where you hold your hand horizontally and shake it a bit, but giving that weird whiskey face at the same time so you're like 'pretty good, but ehhh...'? Yeah, that. I give it that. Really I like the layout, it's connective and nonlinear, which you'd think would make for an ace map coupled with the perfect ammo/health balance but the frigging archviles just ruined this map for me. Monster placement is a skill and obviously Russel didn't spend enough time on the field after school practicing with the viles; these bastards tend to just POP OUT from behind a corner at random when you're already trying to deal with a herd of mancubi and imps. I died way too much because of a rogue vile I couldn't reach. Oh yeah, if you've played the first Lego Base you'll recognize this, it's an earlier version of that slightly more playable release.
    • SEKKUSU by Mystic (Andrew McKie) - - Sekkusu replaces Doom 2 Map01 with a slick color-coded tech complex. The lacks of distinct architectural structures and detail is made up for by the visual style offered by the textures, sprites, and the absolutely beautiful use of Legacy 3D (at one point in the 'red' area I thought I was walking on a mirrored floor). The map gives off this whole 'futuristic dance club' aura with the bright coloring and the transparent floors; I'm not sure if that was Mystic's intention but if he tells me otherwise I won't hear him because I'll be jamming out to whatever crazyassed EBM groups they play in futuristic dance clubs. This one gets extra points for being nonlinear, there's no one direction you have to go from the start of the map to get to everything you need to get to. This adds a slight feel of exploration to the map, particularly in the early parts. Sekkusu's major flaw is its consistency. There's different colored areas with different shapes and structure but really this has the same motif going for it from start to finish. Personally I didn't find this to take that much away from the map however, and if you want one more reason to give this one a go, it has a multiple-story DM arena set aside from the normal map. Requires Doom Legacy.
    • The Stronghold by Draconio - - Drac's first of three DM maps released in time for this update, The Stronghold replaces Doom 2 Map01. The map consists of a fairly square grey arena with an RLS, chainguns, shotguns, and green armor in each corner, catwalks wrapping around the edges and a large pit taking up space in the middle that's blocked by a low ceiling. You teleport into said pit from the fenced catwalks but unfortunately the only way out is via lifts, and although they don't have a long way to travel, the three seconds you have to sit idle is plenty of time for your opponent(s) to get a fast, easy frag. This is made even worse by the fact that there's no major reward down there, just more average weapons and more green armor. The map is balanced (for the most part), but due to its symmetry, clutteredness (bad ffa map) and that one major design flaw I wouldn't waste my bandwith hosting a server for this map.
    • Subterranean Prison by Draconio - - This one is a bit more interesting than The Stronghold. Subterranean Prison runs on Doom 2 Map01 and takes the fragfest to a large open-roof arena made up of two squares connected at the corner. Pillars in each square area are topped with an SSG or an RL and can be reached via teleporters in a one of two series of small hallways added to the sides of the map. Chainguns can be snagged after a trek up a long ledge on either end of the arena and then brought to 'prison cells' for sniping purposes. It's still a symmetrical map but manages to stay fun with its unique and connective layout. I still might not use my bandwith for a Subterranean Prison server but hey I'd probably join one.
    • Computer Core by Draconio - - ...and here's the third. Doom 2 Map01 replaced with a single grey room full of obstructive blocks and hugged by watery hallways that lead into weaponry rooms. Yes it's symmetrical, and yes it unfortunately lacks the interesting map design of Subterranen Prison to make up for that. Probably the worst thing about this map is how most all of the weapons are kept solely in the storage rooms put aside away from the spawnspots; this really encourages camping in ffa and turns those games into control contests ala Quake. I recommend you try out Subterranean Prison and leave this one and The Stronghold sitting in /newstuff.

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    Y'know Liam, it wouldn't hurt you to look at the wads with an optimistic point of view... instead of being negative about most of these.
    I appreciate honest reviews... but your tone for like very review is one of someone who just loaded 30 individual wads... err. wait. :)

    good to see /newstuff chronicles back in action.
    btw, there are good demos for several of these are the DSDA....

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    Thanks for the review - i'll look towards making Mount Olympus - and the rest of Episode II, for that matter - a lot more difficult.

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    Epyo said:

    Help! Mount olympus is really really dark on my computer.


    Go to the graphics control panel and increase the ambient lighting radius to 4 or 5 - that should help.

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    I forgot to add turn up your brightness.
    BBG: He may have been using another port.

    NiGHTMARE said:

    Well, you CAN play Spike's wad without JDoom, but most of the activateable linedefs won't work :)


    And it will look god ugly.

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    I just tried it with zdoom and it looked much better. I could actually make out the new textures! It looked really cool. But the blue key door didnt work so i decided not to bother playing anymore. Anyway, It looked and played pretty good.

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    Opulent said:

    Y'know Liam, it wouldn't hurt you to look at the wads with an optimistic point of view... instead of being negative about most of these.
    I appreciate honest reviews... but your tone for like very review is one of someone who just loaded 30 individual wads... err. wait. :)

    good to see /newstuff chronicles back in action.
    btw, there are good demos for several of these are the DSDA....

    He could use some help to reduce the stress. Supposedly he was rushing. Appreicated for the reviews, though.

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    Considering the person or people behind 1337.wad went through the effort of putting together the 30 crappy maps, and even made a mocking textfile for it, I guess it's sort of OK as a joke. This trend is, though, getting old. Hopefully there won't be more uploads like this... I mean, we already had supar1337.wad; now we have the megawad, fine. But we shouldn't make a conscious effort to fill the Archive with garbage. It already has enough, considering the multitude of misguided newbie maps made with shoddy editors through the years. The Archive already has a "no slige maps policy." It might be time to add a "no purposely lame maps" rule. And I don't mean WADs that suck because the maker doesn't have a clue, I mean the "1337" ones specifically.

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    Heh I just realized - anybody remember in IRC about a month ago when Maonth was pimping The Broom Challenge?

    Now, take a good look at that screenshot and then warp to 1337 Map19 and look at the third room.

    HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM

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    Liam the Bard said:

    Heh I just realized - anybody remember in IRC about a month ago when Maonth was pimping The Broom Challenge?

    Now, take a good look at that screenshot and then warp to 1337 Map19 and look at the third room.

    HMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM


    O_O Ripoff.

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    Opulent said:

    btw, there are good demos for several of these are the DSDA....


    I'd like to see Nimrod demos from people used to using legacy, anyone? Can't be arsed to play in that style, but I'd like to see the mod, seems neat from what I've seen, and seeing it through the eyes of a decent player would be more fun than IDDQD/IDCLIPing through the maps...

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    Oh Great. Where do new maps go? I tried to find that Incoming folder on the FTP, but eh eh, no Incoming at all. I send it to news@doomworld.com, telling them there is no Incoming folder, and my email is lost like packetloss. Is this some kind of cheap joke?! Where DO maps go?

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    The only FAQ I can find on doomworld is the game info/faq. If the answer would be in there, that would help, but AFAIK it isnt.

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    myk said:

    Considering the person or people behind 1337.wad went through the effort of putting together the 30 crappy maps, and even made a mocking textfile for it, I guess it's sort of OK as a joke. This trend is, though, getting old.

    Well it had me ROTFLMAO. Given how little TV "comedy" manages to do that, I think 1337.wad has every right to exist. I don't feel we are being inundated by them either. IIRC the last '1337' megawad was THISSUXX.WAD (by Team Suxx), and that was in the days when 1337 was still a number.

    myk said:

    It might be time to add a "no purposely lame maps" rule. And I don't mean WADs that suck because the maker doesn't have a clue, I mean the "1337" ones specifically.

    I can see that the dedicated map makers - those who really do spend 34 months creating a megawad - might be insulted to have the 1337 garbage archived alongside their work. Might it then make sense to have a new "JOKES" directory under "THEMES" (alongside BARNEY, X-RATED, etc.)?

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