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About zodiac

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  1. zodiac

    CAMARO.WAD a single map for doom

    Just want to clarify that linedef actions 125/126 should be fine to use. They work in Doom 1.9 (Ultimate Doom), you can see 126 right in E4M1's dark room with the sarges. I confirmed it for custom maps running in Chocolate Doom now to be 100% sure and it works there as well. If you think it feels less like Doom E1-3 using them that's valid though. You could loose wandering monsters behind the level the way some of the later Romero maps do as an alternative with pretty similar effects on the fight.
  2. zodiac

    CAMARO.WAD a single map for doom

    Definitely a good first entry. I liked the feel of the exploration, with the level opening up as you play. I didn't mind most of the secrets - I wouldn't have found the radiation tunnel one or the drop wall right before it, but they don't give too much benefit compared to the other. The one I didn't like was the 1-time lift. I actually saw it, but was still fighting and didn't make it back in time - not strictly needed, but disappointing that you can do a lot right and still mess it up. As far as pure exploration, my favorite areas were the spider room, which just feels ominous with all the dead marines, and the underground cave with the soulsphere on the red rock. Both evoked an Episode 3 feel while still being fresh. The net effect was that the map still felt original, and the homages like the crate room and Halls of the Damned tunnel seemed like fun callbacks rather than dominating the experience. As far as combat and balance, I'd have liked to see more open combats for straight fights, and more tricks for the close encounters. In the corridor fights you mostly just shoot what's in front of you. As one really good example, the bunch of specters right before the spider room don't do much but eat punches, but if the area was open enough for them to try to surround you, the slime behind you gives a real damage threat - you couldn't just keep backpedaling, and they become harder to see in the darker corridor. The sheer amount of beating a few cacos or several demons/lost souls in areas thin enough that they come one at a time from the front is the weakest part of the wad. One easy trick is to have attacks from multiple directions. You could loose a couple specters on each side instead of several in front, or warp an enemy to threaten a camping spot from behind. I did like the Barons at the end - that's good use of cramped terrain, and leaves enough room to be a pressure fight. It would have been cool if they could go on the teleporter though, so that if you think laterally to try telefragging them you could save the resources. You could use a monster-only teleport to get them back in the end room if you don't want them chasing you into the starting area. That's because while health and armor was plentiful, ammo is tight if you try to max the level. I did, and I literally had zero and chainsawed the last 100 health of the final Baron. Whether that health and ammo balance is good depends on what you're trying for, but if it's trying to match Doom 1 probably a bit more ammo and less armor in particular. The other really stand-out fight was the crate room - it made me miss the secret, but it perfectly captured the episode 2 feel of running around with a big mess of imps and demons in tow, and the specters/barons/cacos gave the fight some teeth. There, though, I was able to think laterally and let the crusher do most of the work, which was great fun allowed by the level design there. The cacos were also good in the blue key room, where they'll fly up over the pillar for a good surprise attack. Less so in the skinmetal cage room, where they're stuck while you fire rockets or whatever into them. Progression-wise I'd have liked a lot of the non-cell firepower to show up a lot earlier, at least in secrets. There's enough demons early on that an early berserk would be welcome, since with no SSG it takes a while to wear them down. An earlier rocket launcher isn't needed, but would be fun on clusters of imps and possessed - you'd limit the total impact with the low ammo count until right before the Spider Room visit. The chainsaw is basically useless since you can't get it until the very end. You could slot some of these into early secrets instead of the health, armor, and invisibilities. I didn't mention them before, but without many Sarges, their benefit is limited. If there's a specific direction you want to take this map I could give more feedback. If not, I'd rather see another map revised from the original wad. Some of these issues are less a concern if the other levels are more open, and this was supposed to be 'the claustrophobic one', like E3M3.
  3. zodiac

    Post Your Mapping Tips

    For anyone just starting, I'd say the most important thing is to work on making a single good encounter. If you have a map of great fights put together poorly, it will still be decent. If the fights themselves aren't fun then any time spent in them is a net minus, so unless you have great exploration bits it will probably end poorly. Once you can make a good encounter, think about how you arrange the them. You want things to generally get harder, so that the big finale is also the toughest fight, but at the same time you want to have some breathers in a longer level - either exploration or just a fight that's not quite as hard. This is also how you build a specific mood. For example, if you have a really tough fight that leaves the player low on health, you can create tension by adding relatively low-key exploration in gloomy areas. The further they go, the tenser it gets, wondering where the health/whatever is and if the hammer will drop. The player knows that the farther they stray from 'cleared' territory, the harder the fight back could be. On the other hand if you rarely stage encounters and use open layouts, you can build a mood of either wonder, if the map is strange or visually impressive and the encounters are laid back, or slow-burn pressure if the wandering bands are hard enough to keep threatening you. The former is the Doom 1 style, with E1M7 and E3M6 being good examples. A really good recent example of the latter is Cannonball's Demonic Deviations Map 02, where the movement of cacos and revenants will force you to alter your plans until you can scrape together the supplies to win. The other part of this is that to keep the player on their toes, you need to strive not to repeat yourself. If every single item springs an ambush, it's predictable. Likewise, if every encounter uses the same major threat it gets old, one of the reason chaingunners elicit groans when poorly used. On the other hand if you throw in a couple sniper chaingunners that seem like the target, but the real threat is the horde of demons/cacos that will block you from reaching open terrain, it serves as a great fake - here the chaingunners can actually distract part of the horde if you use them. The problem is that you quickly run out of truly unique encounters. The trick is the old saying, "history doesn't repeat itself, but it rhymes." You can do something that twists a previous idea just enough that it seems fresh. In the previous demon rush example, now the player will be looking for ambushes where the chaingunners are the threat and ones where a mass of enemies will block them off. So to get a third encounter out of the same setup, you make the chaingunners the main threat, but put an invisibility in a harder-to-reach area that requires your best demon-dodging skills - maybe it's in a smallish 512-wide room with two entries, enough that it will fill quickly if you dawdle, but can escape out the second archway if you bait the main crowd to the first. Of course like rdwpa said, know when to break the rules. Sometimes two brutal fights back to back is just what a map needs. A secret is that if you don't know when to break the rules, you can just try it both ways. Then you'll know ;). It actually can help to think of a level plan like a drama: Just replace 'Act 1 Highpoint' with 'Mid Map Cyberdemon Arena' and you're in business. And even foreshadowing works! The one thing Plutonia's Hunted did right was showing you the 14 Archviles right at the start, a great 'holy shit' moment that the rest of the map sadly didn't live up to. This also applies to pickups. If you see a BFG on a high ledge with raised halls behind it, you know you need to get higher, a motivation as you go forth and explore. You're weaving a drama with your gameplay, a level story that will make your map memorable.
  4. zodiac

    Why haven't there been more indie Doom clones?

    I agree that retro shouldn't mean half-assed, but that has nothing to do with pixels and chiptunes. I find low-poly models horribly unattractive; you have to get at least to Unreal 2 quality before I'd prefer them to Doom sprites. And for 2D platformers I'd take truly good pixels like oldschool Sonic over 99% of anything. As an indie dev time and cash are always limited, and retro is a good way to split time between presentation and gameplay. Honestly I still think the gameplay is what's often lacking - even in the Wolf clones, I can't recall a moment as striking as the original Wolf's Tom Hall level where in the final room you find the zombies have gone berserk and killed the guards, or as devious as the Romero one with a ton of little wood-paneled passages that enemies flood into from the barracks where the key is. As far as why less Doom clones, I think a lot of it's because the style's not as well known nowadays. I know plenty of gamers a couple years younger and when then think classic FPS they think Halo, Deus Ex, or Half-Life 2. Ideas like mobility as defense, dungeon-style exploration, and hordes of enemies weren't really in their lexicon until we talked. And if the part of Doom you like isn't one of those three, you can probably find something else - Battle Royale-types for pure openness, TF2 for fast multiplayer, and anything AAA game if graphical realism was the draw.
  5. zodiac

    What kinds of things need improvement in Doom?

    Agree with all of this, if you want to chase the player your choices are revs or demons, which isn't ideal. If I had to pick just a handful, I'd add: A fast, higher-damage but still weak imp-type enemy. Having something that the normal shotgun and chaingun work well on is great for weapon progression on adventure-style maps. An equivalent of the Green Cyberdemon, but with brighter projectiles (rockets can blend in, especially if there's now several of this type of monster A demon bug for melee. Flying lets it get over terrain, and a sting attack animation would just look cool. I'd give it increased reach vs. standard melee, so you need to make a quick decision to either back away immediately or try to kill it before it finishes. The weak, suicide explosion lost souls as what pain elementals spit out, so it's a tactical choice to leave the PE Weapons: use the Valiant Pistol/Chaingun with 600 ammo, but also make the pistol the one that's accurate for sniping so it's not useless (flavor as a rifle if you like). Give the standard zombies the faster pistol too, that makes them just enough of a threat to use. Items: I'm going to be unoriginal and say I'd take the ZDoom-optional invisibility where monster don't see you unless you make more noise, and a shorter quad damage or a 30 sec double damage. (a 30 second quad on a BFG is pure overkill). RNG: I'd like to see projectiles deal reduced damage if they nick you instead of hitting head on. A 'glancing hit' might deal half damage, like how a near-miss with a rocket deals about half with its tracers. To calculate glancing you could check where the hit would be if projectile and player moved one more tick: closer to the player centerpoint is more damage.
  6. zodiac

    Worst Doom Level

    The only IWAD map I really hate is Aztec. A series of thin corridors followed by one cheap cave where difficulty is purely due to autoaim having a range limit and lacking Heretic's rudimentary manual aim. Easily the worst room in the wad, and unlike Final Frontier, where at least the start was suitably hectic, I didn't find anything in the rest of Aztec to redeem it. For TNT I dislike a lot of the wad, but I'm honestly surprised by the picks I'm seeing in the thread here. Yeah, the corridors in Habitat were boring, but at least it had the cool secret and vile spawn both at the start. Lunar Mining and Quarry didn't even have that, and Steel Works was just tedious. Agree on Last Call though, easily the worst Icon level in the IWADs, and I don't like any of them. Metal seemed be pretty middle of the pack - not great, but still in the top half of TNT. Yeah, you really need the invisibility in the final room, but honestly I found it first try and never had an issue. For the rest I have no real hostility, but there are several in Doom 1/2 I don't care for and tend to stop playthroughs at or skip due to boredom E2M5 E3M1 - fortunately I can just start on M2 with the warp cheat E4M4 - I actually usually just play E4 up to map 3 and call it a day E4M7 - instant doors were cool 20 years ago, now it's got nothing Map03 Map14 - architecture was cool 20 years ago, there's much better now Map15 Map17 Map23 - The barrel gimmick doesn't save the rest of the encounters, none of which interest me much. Map31 Map32 In Doom 2 I have a distinct preference for Sandy Petersen maps - Barrels of Fun and The Citadel are the only normal levels of his I'm not a fan of, while the others struggle to bat 50/50.
  7. zodiac

    Which difficulty do you play at [2018 Edition]

    This will be pretty conditional; answering as a data point for any mappers looking. 1. Always start on UV unless forewarned by the readme/post. I'm middling player, so Ribbicks-UV is beyond me. 2. Depends. If I'm making progress with repeat attempts, no harm no foul - in fact I prefer this level of challenge. But true grind? I loathe it. If I'm getting nowhere after a dozen wipes, if I'm wasting minutes on end mopping up trash like 100 Hell Knights in a big arena, or the traps feel positively unfair, I'll either skip the map or go down a level (repeat as needed). If there are multiple levels in the wad and no readme warning I always skip ahead first to check if it's a fluke or a trend. 3. Depends. In Doom PWADs I almost never use UV -fast. On the id IWADs I sometimes play Nightmare. In Heretic I play almost exclusively on Black Plague, which is only marginally harder than UV -fast thanks to no respawns. 4. I prefer not to save, but on large or hard maps I do after each encounter unless I forget. If I'm stuck on a hard part, I want to retry right from there while it's fresh in my mind, not after 5 minutes of easier stuff. 5. I play continuous if I like the wad progression. If it's a megawad and I don't like the current level I'll usually warp until I find one that looks interesting and pistol start that. On replays I warp to specific levels fairly often, pistol starting by default. Takeaways: I greatly appreciate hard maps with thoughtful difficulty levels, especially if UV is made for uber-Doomers. On the other hand I'm pretty skip-happy, so feel free to put a few crazy levels in a big wad.
  8. zodiac

    SlaughterMAX. Now on /idgames!

    Played the first couple levels, peeked at the rest, then tried 32. Loving it so far, great job everyone! Question @Killer5: on Map32, is there a subtle clue that I missed as to which quadrant holds what, or is the intent to memorize the direction? I picked Revenants first after clearing the zombies. It ended badly ;).
  9. Done through Map04 now and loving it! My favorite part so far was the tactical play at the start of Map03 - do you go for the chainsaw or rush by, and then what do you use your rockets on? Will play through more as I have time, really looking forward to updates on this.
  10. zodiac

    Your thoughts on Plutonia

    I don't deny Plutonia's influence, and when I said individual levels were great, I mean it. But if you're going to have a megawad it implies you want something more than just releasing cool levels - pick any or all out of levels generally growing harder, themes being grouped into episodes, training you to progressively learn their tricks, or offering variety so as to be compelling played in chunks instead of single levels. The id wads aren't perfect here, sure. I'd go as far as to say that given one random Doom 2 level and one random Plutonia, Plutonia almost certainly wins - more chance of something close to what you expected. But played through as a whole, id wads make out a hell of a lot better than Plutonia. Let me give a concrete example: take maps 26-29. In Plutonia, 26 is jungle-theme, a callback to the first 'episode', and difficulty wise is in the middle of the four. Then you get 27, hell-themed and the hardest map on UV except maybe Go2It. Then you're back to the Sewers in 28, largely with easier versions of 27's teleport on grab traps. Finally you have 29, a big hell city, easiest and most dispersed. That's bad no matter how you cut it. I could see 26-28-29-27 for inter-level story: down into the bunker, through the sewers to the city, and then on to the finale. I could also see going 28-26-27-29 to break up the trap levels with breathers but increase their difficulty with each wave, classic arcade design. And I could see moving 26 and 28 to earlier in the set and subbing in other Hell levels for consistency, the way Doom 1 was stricter there. If Plutonia did one of these, or some other I've overlooked, that would be good design and a matter of taste if you agree. But it's not clear to me that any of this was considered - I think it likely that there wasn't time given the tight dev schedule, and that by definition is bad megawad-wide design. Doom 2, in contrast, gives you 26 as mines + Hell rooms, more of a 'city' feel, and is easiest. 27 is 'wood hell', in Ultimate Doom E4 style, and 28/29 are just plain hell. They ramp difficulty purely 26 < 27 < 28 < 29. And as far as play variety you get the two cramped Romero maps, still with more distinct encounter types than Plutona 27/28, split by one with wide-open fights and then one that primarily gets you with tricks. And looking to modern megawads, I see much more similarity with the id wads in terms of total progression. To just name two that seem widely applauded, Sunlust cleaves to Doom 2's general progression of 'more difficult, but using themes for variety', while Valiant explicitly holds to Doom 1 style episodes. And yes, in encounter design they're more children of Plutonia than Doom 1/2, but in megawad design they wisely stick with id. @GarrettChan, as far as fair vs. unfair, are you really fine with things that are patently unfair instead of just notably harder? If what you're objecting to is the old meme of perfect smooth difficulty curves I'd agree 100% that that's bullshit, but I draw a strict line between a fair but tough difficulty spikes and a truly unfair bit, where you don't learn, just lose progress. So in Plutonia Map 16's red key, where new arachnatrons and revenants and some other stuff all teleport in, it's a spike in difficulty for those sort of traps compared to what came before, and even in my recent playthrough I died there. But redoing it, I had to actually strategize, and thus become a tiny bit better than I was before. Whereas for Map 27, my only flaw was that I came from the left side of the key (absolute east on the map), thus couldn't turn fast enough to face the chaingunners when I heard the bark - and before that I wasn't sure where they'd show, anyhow. I guessed wrong, so I died. Or to call out Doom 2 where a callout's needed, the teleport into an imp cross in Doom 2's Map 12 is even worse - teleport on low health and you just die. That's not struggle and strategy, that's just unfair.
  11. I'm curious, what are you seeing that's sketchy? I've had better experience with it than either of the above - Dropbox will sometimes halt my uploads and downloads (rare but annoying), and Mediafire is worse than Datafilehost with popups for me (I have a popup blocker, but MF sometimes gets through).
  12. So first I will say that the Baron -> Archvile change outside was great, the attack animation is long enough to duck in the door where you now get the red key, so it's 'think fast' instead of pray. That alone makes things a lot more enjoyable, and the revenant placements were good additions. On the other hand the finale isn't really harder, you can still corner dance near the door against the spider. If you want a tense fight, you'd have to force the player outside, but also think hard about the arena/boss combo. If you have a spider in the slime you'll need cover there, because if the player can get behind the pump they'll chill there, so it's easier to repeat the demon fight, just with some cover. Alternately, a slime fight vs. a Cyber plus revenants is good fun - if you're on a timer thanks to the rad suit, you can resort to the 'Homing Rocket Express' to get extra damage on the Cyb. Just in terms of optimal play, the map rewards door camping - most rooms are easier to solve by sitting outside of them and killing the threats. In the yellow key room especially, you can either take a lot of damage since you lack a chaingun, or you can dash outside, kill them at the door, and then grab the berserk after absorbing 1-2 hits. Likewise with the thin approach, it's really not practical to fight the outdoor archvile near the pump instead of at the door to the RK area. You can, but since it will res more monsters that way it's not in your best interest, and there's too many guys inside the YK door just to skip past it. A few detailed critiques that stick out on replay: There should be more of a landing outside the red key door, so you can flee the room quicker if you're baiting enemies. Also, I *really* dislike the techno-pillars there, they block the natural 'dodge on ledge' too often. I'd prefer a Sarge instead of a former human outside the red key room for consistency and a bit of ammo before you've built up a stock. Meanwhile I had a ton of everything later on, so if you want tension, strip some of the rest later. Still think the corner between first coming outside and the area where the red key is is a bit too narrow After having tried several strategies against the demons in the slime, I'm sorry to say that backing into the corner near the space door and killing 1-2 at a time with berserk is the best strategy, but boring. You can circle the crowd, but there's a few too many to reliable kill by circling them quickly - a few that take 3 punches instead of the average 2 and you have to back away + loop to not get cornered in a bad spot. Alternately, giving the rocket launcher before this (but still with the limited rockets) would give more choice to manage it. The archvile in the little closet gets stuck on the door too much to be a threat - a wider door would help. The Baron across from it could use a blinking light or something so you can see it sometimes and aim better, again because you don't have rockets. It's not a threat unless the archvile can force you into the slime anyways. Except for the Baron down the elevator from the closet archvile, I'd replace other barons with hell knights - 1 in the cage, 1 in the Yellow Key room, and 2 in the SSG room. Didn't say it before because you'd stuck to Doom 1 monsters, but now that the cat's out of the bag, why not. To end, I want to say three things. First, I think improving some of the key encounters will need map geometry changes more than enemy mix. The specters in the slime near the archvile closet, for example, will never be a threat because you can raise the platform without exposing yourself for long, and the area is so narrow you can punch them out one at a time. If there were no closet corner at all, just a wall switch, you could warp a threat behind you and there'd be a choice of through the specters fast, or back to the room where you'll need to deal with the warper plus risk the specters spilling into the big room. Second, if you have a firm idea of the second map, it may be more worthwhile to just rework the finale and release this. Things like the revenants and the instant pop-up imps already add some fun and challenge to earlier segments, so just go out with a bang and release. Personally, going to another map can give me fresh ideas for an old one. Last, I forgot to mention, but in ZDoom there's a Hall of Mirrors on the new green wall. I think GZDoom automatically fixes this kind of HOM, so if you use that you might not experience it.
  13. @Chris Hansen Funny you should post this, I was also thinking of a 25th anniversary tribute. Mine is more Doom 2 style, aiming for the classic id feel. I finally have enough progress to show: Tunnel Access The Deadly Seven Highrise Hang Left The last one is playable, a short & crispy challenge to start the City segment after finishing the last 'episode' by death exit.
  14. zodiac

    Your thoughts on Plutonia

    Hell yes, fellow Zelda 2 fan, definitely second that others should try it! But other than both being hard I don't think linking it with Plutonia really holds, starting with that I'm pretty 'meh' on Plutonia even after a recent replay, split between the highs and the lows. My feel is that it's a wad every mapper should play so they can see how not to do a megawad. A lot of the individual levels are great, but the whole is worse than the parts. Unlike the id wads, there's no sense of progression. Level themes change randomly instead of in episodes, and even then have such a sea of brown that it got boring. Mechanically, the placement is good, but the same damn revenant traps are repeated so many times that by Map28 I'd kill just to have something else in a trap, even just a Petersen "big box of imps". And like Lut I found the damage vs. non-damage liquids appalling. I wouldn't mind either choice on a single map, but in a wad, be consistent! Swapping water and slime or dropping a radsuit honestly wouldn't detract from the designs. The end result is that even though 5 or 6 maps are in my favorite list, it's least favorite in my 'classic' mix of Doom > Heretic > Doom 2 > Quake > Plutonia (TNT and Hexen have so many issues that I don't even replay them, the former because Revilution has displaced it entirely - kudos, Revilution team!) I also think several of the traps are not fair given vanilla limits. Hidden archviles ressing Chaingunners isn't fun, and neither is corner-sniping CGs because it's suicide to charge a room full of them. Putting threats outside of autoaim range is also bullshit. Looking at you, Aztec Spider Room - that's a challenge that would be over in 10 seconds with Quake 2 aiming, and it feels unfair because of the Doom quirk that enemies aim better than you. The big caged island ambush in Map27 is another version of cheap, in that unless you've died once to it there's not enough time to react, between crowding HKs and the Mancs/CGs on the ledge. That would sting less if the later levels weren't so long. It's on par with Doom 2, but I think that's a mistake. If you want to have 'bite sized challenges' like most Plutonia encounters, a level should be shorter so it's reasonable to speedrun for fun. I loved Ghost Town because it's really only three major encounters, and surviving the first usually gives enough edge to clear the other two. From this it might sound like I hate Plutonia, but other than the progression problem, these situations are the minority. Many of the encounters are good, plain fun, and besides said Ghost Town I also love Abattoir, Impossible Mission, Tombstone, and Bunker, in part because these levels have more exploration. Go2It is fun as the original slaughtermap, and it's influence on that genre can't be understated. The other thing I don't see talked about much is that playing Plutonia in co-op is completely awesome. I have fond memories of running it with my best buddy back in the 90s, and levels like The Twilight and Go2It which were too tough for me to solo back then were perfect when you could treat them as meatgrinders. The semi-linear layouts like Ghost Town or Neurosphere also let you split up and race to clear your zones. I think the key is that encounters usually give either multiple safe spots or an arena, so you're not crowded into one spot. Last, I think it's a plus that the Casali's copied id's open level layouts. As they say, great artists steal, and I rather have even an obvious rip like Neurosphere/Innermost Dens than an original map made of 64-wide corridors and linear rooms like TNT Map29. Or Hunted *shudder*. Great high concept, horrible execution.
  15. Keep at it, you definitely have the core of a cool idea here. If your next map idea is more interesting, go for it, but I'd say this one merits some time tweaking it. A cool idea I sometimes use is to set a speedmapping session just to test new play layouts and not worry about the visuals. As for the Cyb, I cheesed it - after very nearly dying to the Baron in the 'Good Work' control room, I noticed that the little 8-high 'lip' of the slime/blood area blocks its shots, so I could literally sit at the doorway shooting it dead. One more reason to playtest layout, but on this map there's really no way it a lone Cyb can be a challenge: If you jump in the blood pool and it doesn't hurt, there's plenty of room to circle strafe it. We've all beaten tower of Babel. If the blood hurts you, then I was right to cheese it ;). If you moved it up to the courtyard between the yellow door and the good work room, the metal divider pipe will similarly block its shots but not your guns Anywhere else is too small to do anything with it That being said, that last Baron is a worthy finisher on its own and I'd be happy if it ended there. If you really wanted a Cyb, I'd say an easy fix is to reverse the order: give out the rocket instead of a rad suit after the last baron, then warp into a radsuit vs. the Cyb in front plus maybe half as many demons. Now, you're timed by the suit and lose space to the demons, so it feels hard but fair, adrenaline pumping in a good way. You'd probably want a medikit in the corner so you can risk splash damage if your suit runs out too early.