My, how time flies...for those curious individuals among you, Old Stuff Chronicles' five week hiatus was induced when my computer processor failed. In the five weeks since, I have managed to raise enough money to purchase and build my new system and, with the resurrection of my online persona and computer, so too is this feature article reborn. It is good to be back...enjoy.
The level set previously discussed, way back in mid-May, was Paul Schmitz's Artifact set. Schmitz's set was notable for several reasons, but my primary reason for selecting Artifact was to illustrate the desire of an author to release and re-release alternate versions of the same map, all in the never-ending quest for perfection. Today's selections, by old-school editor and author John 'Dr. Sleep' Anderson, follows a similar precedent.
Several of you may recognize the name 'Dr. Sleep', or perhaps even John Anderson. Among a number of home-brewed DOOM releases (which are to be the focus of this article), Anderson had the privilege and the talent to contribute to Ultimate DOOM's Episode 4 (And Hell Followed, E4M7) as well as several maps to id Software's DOOM2: The Master Levels. Anderson's talent, which caught the attention of id Software, was first showcased in Crossing Acheron and Dante's Gate.
While something to look at and play, Anderson's maps did not begin as models of perfection. Rather, like the aforementioned Schmitz set, they slowly evolved over the course of months and years into their present shape, being slowly altered to better suit the growing confidence and strength of the author and the tools at his fingertips. To quote Mr. John Anderson directly...
"Dante's Gate was one of the first original DOOM levels back when all of this mania started in the early part of 1994.. There were only a handful of levels at the time - all of them constructed with DEU, by the way - and Dante's, I think, was a particularly good first-effort (or so I'm told), especially since I paid attention to such things as texture alignment at a time when it was all done by hand. There were no feature-laden editors to do everything for you, and I think it's for this reason that Dante's has stood the test of time - plus, I've revised it here and there to keep it in the public view."
Those of you wanting a feel for how these maps have grown and matured, I point you toward early incarnations of Crossing Acheron and Dante's Gate, both for Ultimate DOOM. Other alternate builds of the maps in question can be found from a variety of sources, such as early CD-ROM compilations of DOOM(2) levels...amongst other hidden treasures.
Thus, with that in mind, I urge you to step into the nice little world that John 'Dr. Sleep' Anderson has taken the time to carve out for us, and enjoy...Sleep's efforts are certainly worth the download and have stood the test of time, having a place amongst the true classics that DOOM(2) offers.