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Woolie Wool

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  1. Is the midi for E2M3 an arrangement from a Gran Turismo game? It sounds very familar but I cannot figure out where it originally came from. E: found it, it's the car dealer music from Gran Turismo 3.
  2. That's the best part, especially the incredibly anticlimactic, absurd chord it ends on.
  3. I think re-adding quicksaves is necessary for this to be a truly useful port.
  4. Woolie Wool

    Woolie's PWAD reviews (latest: njma01.wad)

    I've got another largely forgotten oldie for this week, this one being "Enjay's Marine Assault" from 2003. Taste that delicious early ZDoom cheese. 🧀 Enjay's Marine Assault (njma01.wad) Author: Nigel “@Enjay” Rowand Release date: July 18, 2003 IWAD: Doom II Format: Classic ZDoom (played in ZDoomLE 2.8.1f) Completion time: 20 to 40 minutes Layout: 2 | Visuals: 3 | Combat: 3 | UV: 3 | Overall: 3/5 Download: https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/Ports/m-o/njma01 Doom scenarios where you find yourself fighting against other marines, outside of multiplayer deathmatch, had fascinated Doom modders virtually since the beginning. I made a crude attempt with Dehacked in 1995 and again in 1999 or 2000 (fortunately both attempts are lost to history), and DMARMY3.DEH was a fixture of later releases of Dehacked, even undergoing multiple revisions. However, it was “Enjay's Marine Assault” from 2003 that is the most famous and probably the best of all the “evil marines” mods from the early days of the Doom community (think about this: in a year this ZDoom wad's release will be twice as close to the release date of Doom shareware v0.99 as the present!). It was a major showcase for the ZDoom engine's burgeoning capabilities at the time, and provided a lot of the resources I used to make my own Mutiny gameplay mod for ZDoom in 2007 (not to be confused with Mutiny the community map set headed by 40oz; playing Mutiny with Mutiny loaded is not recommended). I had fond memories of “Enjay's Marine Assault”, but also had not played it in a very long time, and never before on UV. The map begins, as did many ZDoom wads of the time, with an ACS scripted cutscene in which a dubiously animated marine officer gives you your mission briefing a line at a time. Your job is simple—infiltrate the four guard towers of a genetics research facility guarded by corrupt ex-marines, and plant explosives in all four of them, like the airbase level from Return to Castle Wolfenstein, so dropships bearing loyalist marines can land and secure the base. It is ridiculously cheesy by modern standards, not even rising to the standards of the character animations from Wing Commander in 1990, but it gets the job done in the scrappy tradition of early Doom modding, where ambition always exceeded skill and having the audacity to even try was the better part of achievement. It's also a fairly short cutscene and can be skipped if you want, which is a luxury not all contemporary ZDoom productions afforded to their cutscenes. Note that I played this in ZDoomLE on the Athlon, and while it ran great, the same is not guaranteed for modern GZDoom. For older projects like this I always recommend ZDoomLE, ZZDoom, or other ports based on the old ZDoom 2.8 codebase. Enjay provides a number of a different skins to help tell different types of marines apart. While “Enjay's Marine Assault” was a flagship ZDoom release and used a very early version of its (in)famous DECORATE definition system, this is still a Dehacked mod at heart, with the enemies and the one new weapon (a railgun, just like the one from other old ZDoom wads like Assault on Tei Tenga or Securitron) all being defined in Dehacked with Boom and ZDoom extensions. While this keeps a lid on special effects and gimmicks (like I unfortunately employed profusely in my own Mutiny), it also means “Enjay's Marine Assault” offers no real surprises (if you've ever used a ZDoom railgun before, anyway); everything on display here comes straight out of either Doom II or Hexen, just tweaked a bit. Hexen provides the destructible computer monitors that produce a shower of broken glass, and the inventory hand grenades that are based on the Fighter class's flechettes, and have a similarly obnoxious bounce physics, behaving as if they're made of Silly Putty. Many of the textures, especially the iris-style doors in certain key parts of the map, come from Strife, but they lack the special sounds and seem jankier than Strife's own behavior, suggesting they were hacked in before ZDoom got official Strife support. There's also a custom palette of the sort that was just beginning to become fashionable at the time, with more intense greens and a “cool” blue range similar to what would later appear in wads like Simplicity and Back to Saturn X. As befitting a wad where you fight marines, most of your opposition will be hitscanners, although some of the more powerful weapons like plasma rifles, railguns, and even a “rocket launcher” using repurposed revenant missiles, appear in marine hands. The marines are much faster than most of the Doom II bestiary, and can be quite dangerous to face in open areas, but crumple more or less instantly under fire from the heavier weapons like the SSG, plasma rifle, or rocket launcher. These enemies are bolstered by several types of robotic enemies using sprites from Duke Nukem 3D and Strife, which provide a more traditional Doomy challenge with their slower movement, higher health pools, and projectile-based attacks. “Enjay's Marine Assault” is a fairly difficult wad for 2003, though this is mostly due to the scarcity of health and armor pickups; health lost in the early stages of the map will not be recovered quickly and the courtyard in the middle of the map will suck your health dry if you are slow in traversing it, with hitscan, railgun, and plasma snipers scattered liberally on the cliffs above. By modern standards, this level isn't much to look at, but it did the job at the time. “Enjay's Marine Assault” is a map of two halves connected by the central courtyard, with a big concrete base area in the west, and the caves and guard towers in the east. The base is surrounded by rocky badlands, and the barren rocky cliffs surrounding the central courtyard ringed by gray concrete curtain walls strongly reminds me of the Mobile Infantry base on Planet P from Paul Verhoeven's film adaptation of Starship Troopers. It imanages to convey some atmosphere, but is annoying to play, both due to the aforementioned scarcity of health, but also do the boxy room-door-room-door layout; a lot of your time here will be spent camping doors and hallways connecting large square rooms with little to look at other than the occasional computer console row sticking up out of the floor. There is virtually no architectural detail or non-orthogonal geometry; it's about as basic as level design gets. There is a bit of colored lighting but it feels half-assed, affecting only a few small areas of the map and being in saturated primary colors. I also have to issue a demerit for the Terminator 2 theme midi; in addition to being one of the most overused midis of all time, it is also not long or complex enough to carry a map the size of “Enjay's Marine Assault” without getting repetitive. “Enjay's Marine Assault” should take a competent Doom player about half an hour to complete. Though it doesn't shine as a map in the harsh light of 2022, it isn't terrible either, and gave me a good ZDoom nostalgia trip for its duration, especially considering how the “fighting marines” theme has basically died out in the years since I released Mutiny 3 way back in the Obama years. Personally I think that's kind of a shame, especially considering the advancements source ports have made and the greater facility modern modders and mappers have with them compared with 2003. If there's anybody with the passion and skill to make the next marine wad happen, maybe “Enjay's Marine Assault” will provide them with the inspiration to take the idea up where the ZDoom elders left off. For everybody else, it's a fun little novelty, though not much more than that.
  5. Why not make those map lumps autoload, along with nerve.wad itself if Tartar sees it?
  6. Sick, is that UMAPINFO? Sick, is that UMAPINFO? One thing that carried over from Ye Olde Eternity's "improvements" is the changing of the A_CPosAttack to play DSPISTOL instead of DSSHOTGN, do you plan to change that back? Also, and this is a more long-term idea, but have you consdered eventually replacing Allegro with the reconstructed DMX from gamesrc-ver-recreation, or with a different sound driver entirely, assuming one exists? I have always thought Allegro was a weakness in all the Boom ports. E: I've been stress-testing with modern wads, and both Avactor (avactor.wad) and Ancient Aliens (aaliens.wad) "crash" (quit to main menu/console) on loading map01. Avactor vomits forth a large number of texture errors and Ancient Aliens gives a midi error.
  7. Woolie Wool

    Woolie's PWAD reviews (latest: njma01.wad)

    And one more for this weekend, the one I was actually planning instead of the spur-of-the-moment choice of "Emerald Ambush", a review of the (formerly?) famous UAC Ultra. UAC Ultra (uacultra.wad) Author: Jamie "@Super Jamie” Bainbridge and Jon “40oz” Vail Release date: March 28, 2010 IWAD: Doom II Format: MBF compatible, -complevel 9 (played in MBF 2.04) Completion time: 1.5 to 3 hours Layout: 4 | Visuals: 5 | Combat: 3 | UV: 3 | Overall: 4/5 Download: https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/Ports/s-u/uacultra UAC Ultra was the talk of the Doom community about 10 years ago. Its striking and to this day still unique aesthetic caught the eye of nearly everybody, rocketed project founder 40oz to celebrity status in the community, and made it a shoo-in for the 2010 Cacowards. Its singular (one might also say single-minded) commitment to its aesthetic laid the groundwork for all sorts of major projects that chased a distinct and instantly recognizable “look”, from Ribbiks’ Stardate series to recent sets like Pagodia and even perhaps Eviternity and the OTEX texture megapack that it served as the vanguard for. In that regard, its fall from grace has been quite extraordinary; people bring up even such flawed, often crude wads as Memento Mori, Hell Revealed, and even my problematic fave Eternal Doom (I will never forgive id for ruining the search results for everything Eternal Doom related by naming their most recent Doom game Doom Eternal) as Great Wads and argue whether Doom community newbies should or should not play them as part of their Doom education; the few times I’ve brought up UAC Ultra on Doom-related Discord channels, I’ve gotten a mixture of “yeah, I remember that one”, complaints about it being overrated, or pure indifference. Indeed, in every other regard but its look, UAC Ultra is an incredibly conservative and unfashionable wad by modern standards—grinding, largely static corridor shooting with none of the high-level tactics and frantic swirl of motion that have become Doom’s most celebrated qualities. This wad is unrelentingly dark, I recommend turning off the lights in your room and playing at night or with curtains drawn for maximum atmosphere. To be fair to UAC Ultra, its aesthetic is quite masterfully crafted. From a purely visual and textural standpoint, the setting of a hostile, irradiated Mars housing a massive, decrepit techbase complex is masterfully realized. UAC Ultra commits to the look with utter dedication; every map, every room, every texture on every wall is dedicated to ramming it home as emphatically as possible. UAC Ultra’s Mars is a dark, grim, harsh place where the player feels decidedly unwelcome, even if the actual challenge factor of most of the maps is fairly mild (but there’s a big exception, which singlehandedly boosts the UV difficulty score from a 2 to a 3, and is also the best map in the whole wad, which I’ll get to later). It’s also, however, a very repetitive and monochromatic setting; everything, down to the status bar, is either the dark browns and grays of rusted metal, the deep reds of the Martian volcanic rock, and the blazing oranges and yellows of the Martian sky and the especially hot, scary-looking lava texture that also seems to double as molten iron. The look reminds me both of Doom 64 (which at least had a lot of psychedelic colored lighting to offset its monochromatic textures; UAC Ultra, as a software-rendered Boom wad, does not) and the seemingly endless string of red levels on Mercury, Mars, and Io that comprised about a quarter of Descent. And unlike Descent, there’s none of the cool purples and blues of “Callisto Tower Colony” and “Titan Mine” as your reward for sitting through all the red and gray; in UAC Ultra, those colors are all you get for the duration. UAC Ultra also uses the original Doom palette, so it can’t cannibalize any of the cool colors in the palette to add some more variety to its infernal hues. One nice (and in “Skagway”, quite stress-inducing) touch is the fact that exposed outdoor areas will damage you over time, forcing you to use radiation suits to survive under the baleful, burning sky. Repetition aside, the textures look really good. Few of them seem to be truly original, with the majority coming from recolors of the original IWAD techbase set, Quake, and some mods for the latter, but the edits are all well-done with few rough edges or editing mistakes. The texture alignment is also very good, though the rectilinear architecture has few areas where good alignment would be difficult to pull off. If nothing else, UAC Ultra does an excellent job immersing you in its setting, so gritty and harsh that you can almost feel the baking heat and smell the rust-choked, sulfurous fumes of this man-made hell. There are few signs of traditional Doomy demonic corruption in the architecture, no marble façades or organic growths, but why would the demons bother? They already seem far more at home here than any human being. You’re going to be doing this a lot. As mentioned in the intro, UAC Ultra is an unabashed dungeon crawl, its gameplay and layouts having both feet firmly planted in the late ‘90s. Most of UAC Ultra consists of relatively small rooms, narrow corridors, and junctions where demons can easily be led to their deaths one or two at a time. Only in a relative few setpiece encounters will you find yourself in constant motion; most fights are easily demolished by finding the right spot to camp and using your weapons efficiently. Only the obligatory map07 “Haymaker” and penultimate blowout “Skagway” force the player to get serious about movement and routing. This aspect is another thing that reminds me of Doom 64, though more of Randy Estrella’s sprawling level design sensibilities; you won’t find anything like Tim Heydelaar’s neatly packaged hell fortresses here, and the detail put into the individual areas of a level rarely congeals into a genuine sense that the map represents a distinct space or place. UAC Ultra is mostly experienced as a single unit, levels running into each other in a continuous flow. There is no division of credit between the two mappers on a per-map basis, nor is there much contrast between their respective styles; if there are “40oz parts” and “Super Jamie parts”, they both blend seamlessly into the whole that is UAC Ultra. More likely, it seems that they both freely manipulated and added onto each other’s contributions so neither’s mapping can be extricated from the other’s. UAC Ultra is billed as a Boom compatible mapset, but it uses MBF functionality for the changing skies throughout the wad; it runs fine in DOS under MBF with -complevel 9, and should also pose no problems with any modern source port with Boom features. Its use of Boom and MBF features is very conservative, mostly limit removal, the sky textures, and some very occasional transparency effects, so don’t expect any Phobos: Anomaly Reborn-style voodoo doll scripting or six-key trickery. It comes with an internal Dehacked patch that features a custom monster, the haymaker, which uses maulotaur sprites from Heretic, launches an annoying multi-spread of Mancubus fireballs much like Scythe 2’s afrit, and has a bizarre “skating” gait that is made all the stranger to look at with the blazing speed at which it moves around. I generally dislike Dehacked monsters, and the haymaker is not a particularly good or inventive Dehacked monster; it stands out badly among the otherwise unchanged Doom II bestiary. However, it is fairly rare and not all that obnoxious to fight, so it’s not a serious drag on the wad as a whole. MAP01: Dig (4/5) UAC Ultra's opener is mostly a mood piece, establishing the setting and texture theme while providing a mostly linear shotgun workout in terms of gameplay. Enemies usually come from only one direction at a time, and the threat level is mostly trivial, though the impressive visuals are able to redeem the pedestrian gameplay, especially on a first playthrough. MAP02: UAC in Exile (3/5) "UAC in Exile" starts out in the same vein as "Dig", though fully indoors this time. For the most part this map is a cinch and utterly straightforward, though the warp-in archvile who resurrects a posse of hitscan bodyguards, and the cacodemon/hell knight pincer in the final room can get out of control if the player panics or is not paying attention. The map withholds the SSG on skill levels above HNTR, though there is not enough meat here to be grindy anyway. That’s about all there is to say about this map, it’s An Level with nothing really wrong about it but not all that much right about it either, beyond the visuals. MAP03: Sifting Adjunct (4/5) UAC Ultra begins to show some teeth here, using the tight confines of the boxy rooms and hallways to stage pressure encounters where hell knights and revenants try to crowd the player. The key word is “try”; competent footwork will keep you safely out of reach of raking claws and bony fists, even if a couple of moments can look a bit intimidating to a newer player. The standout area for me was a simple but effective double archvile trap at the red key, where the pillars seem to be placed with just the right feng shui to make the archviles want to take opposite routes around them and pin you in a crossfire. The creepy burning circuitry sky is a nice touch, suggesting the UAC facility is not only vast, but has somehow melded with the geology of the planet itself. MAP04: Pyrolysis (5/5) "Pyrolysis" is the first standout map of the set, some sort of geothermal powerplant deep within the bowels of Mars. The centerpiece of the map is a series of columns with crushers, rising out of a sea of molten metal, that appear as set dressing near the beginning of the map, and then force a narrow and perilous descent through them in the last dash to the end. Cacofleets are out in force in "Pyrolysis", though the architecture usually allows them to be funneled into narrow side passages to neutralize most of the threat. It's still pretty easy going, but just spicy enough to make you pay for poor situational awareness. The atmosphere and architectural setpieces are what really make this map work, with the moving sector machinery and the stark contrast of the greasy, soot-stained metal with the molten steel below. The maps are getting longer, though, and the short, perfunctory Abuse midis really aren't doing the job anymore... MAP05: Hardware (5/5) This mini-adventure features a lot more natural cavern areas than the rectilinear maps that preceded it, techbase seeming to penetrate and intertwine with Mars' lava caves like an organic growth. The secrets in this map are really good, especially the huge level-wide puzzle that opens up the BFG that is dangled tantalizingly in view, but out of reach, near the beginning of the level. My only complaint is that none of the fights here offer a sense of occasion worthy of the mysterious, threatening atmosphere of this map. MAP06: Collapsys (4/5) A rough, action-packed start and tense midi by James Paddock signal from the very beginning that "Collapsys" is upping UAC Ultra's ante again. Though there are no big Scythe 2-style setpiece encounters, the fights here aren't the short, claustrophobic affairs of earlier maps, requiring tactics and planning on a slightly larger scale. "Collapsys" feels something like an episode ender, both with the cyberdemon stinger near the exit, and the death exit itself, which strips away all your hard-earned weapons so you can't carry them into the next map. MAP07: Haymaker (4/5) "Haymaker" is yet another "Dead Simple" clone, but this time the order of the fights is backwards, the monsters all have high ground, and your weapons are scattered throughout the map, forcing you to recover them (sans plasma and BFG, unfortunately) while under fire from all directions. Once the arachnotrons and then the mancubi are down, you have to face the titular haymakers—they're fast as hell, tougher than barons, and fire huge floods of mancubus fireballs that can instantly wipe out a clumsy player. You can avoid the worst of it by dodging to the left, but in a small circular arena where the two haymakers come from both sides, one's left is the other's right. It's a short, sharp shock to the system, and damn good looking, too. There is only barely enough ammo to deal with all the monsters, so don't waste it. MAP08: Worst Case Scenario (4/5) The title fits—this really is a "worst case scenario" for continuous players, who will likely start this map in an even worse situation than pistol starters, with virtually no ammo, and down on health as well. With the berserk only available towards the end of the map, and no chainsaw at all, you can't rely on Tyson to save ammo, either. The bulk of this map takes place in and around a large U-shaped arena which hosts three increasingly difficult fights as you collect keys and open the map up, with both a cyberdemon and spiderdemon awaiting high-pressure buckshot infusion. The secret plasma helps, but it's not enough to kill the cyber on its own, so either way you'll have to use your rocket-dodging skills to give Cybie a double-barreled lap dance to finish him off. MAP09: Counteraction Terminal (4/5) "Construction Terminal" attempts to turn up the heat again with more spectacular and (theoretically) lethal encounters, but it's pretty hit or miss. The biggest hit for me is one of the smaller fights in the map, where a baron distracts you from several chaingunners pouring onto a ledge to your right to enfilade you. The big blowouts I didn't really care for; the first is a straightforward encounter with a haymaker that evolved into a twin-spider battle that is merely a matter of setting the two metal mothers against each other, and corner-camping the survivor of the duel with the single shotgun until she dies. The other starts with two cyberdemons in a huge hall where your only real danger is letting the cybers wander to opposite sides with poorly thought-out movement. Killing them and hitting a switch triggers a mini-slaughter with imps, mancubi, and a haymaker that is initially rather scary and yes, got me once, but simply moving to one end of the arena just as the imps start teleporting lets you trivialize the whole thing. All the boxy rooms in brown are really starting to run together—the limitations of UAC Ultra’s uniform texture theme are really showing at this point. MAP10: Skagway (5/5) "Skagway" is the UAC Ultra map everyone remembers, and for good reason. After the stodgy, sometimes tedious room-and-corridor fighting of the previous maps, "Skagway" is a fast, desperate blastfest where shocking mini-slaughters are backed up by the ever-ticking timer of your radiation suit, as much of the map takes place in irradiated, lava-filled canyons similar to the opening of "Dig", only this time they're filled to bursting with cacos, revenants, hell nobles, archviles, mancubi, you name it. It's an evil and unexpected turn for a set like UAC Ultra, and had my hands quivering like your grandmother's aspic as I abandoned the goal of 100% kills and ran pell-mell through the wastes. There is something of an inverse difficulty curve; the big final fight is actually the least intimidating of the major encounters, simply because you're not on a damaging floor and are not under any time pressure, while the first few canyon fights, before you get the BFG, are pure terror as you have so little room among the hordes to fire the rockets you need to clear a path before your suit runs out and leaves you to fry on the desolate Martian surface. Stressful but rewarding, "Skagway" made me feel like the rest of UAC Ultra had been holding out on me. If you play no other map in this wad, play this one. MAP11: Sick (3/5) "Sick" is more of a visual setpiece than a boss battle. The opening scene strikes an eerie chord with the huge expanses of burning sky in what had hitherto been a claustrophobic, mostly indoors mapset, building up to tension that the combat completely fails to capitalize on. Can you circle-strafe? Can you shoot an SSG? Then you're golden. The Chimaira creature is a neat piece of sector art but without any actual pressure to go with figuring out how to open his mouth—the boss arena is only lightly defended and there's no monster spawner—he is effectively a non-threat. The streams of slow-moving imp fireballs he vomits when his mouth opens do little to deter the player from force-feeding him rockets and watching the fireworks display. MAP12: The End (N/A) Just a little doomcute scene, a shuttle interior with no exit and a scrolling HUD in front of the cockpit window displaying the credits, along with a text screen hinting at the UAC Ultra 2 we never got. Apparently the UAC spacecraft run on Windows 95, which seems on-brand for them. Should you play UAC Ultra? Unless you have a thing either for slow-paced dungeon crawl maps or the wad’s particular aesthetic, I’d say not all of it, just -warp to “Skagway”, play that, and move on. It’s certainly not one of the Great Wads, though it does have one great map, but I’d be lying if I said the dismal, dusty Mars of UAC Ultra didn’t work its magic on me. If its aesthetic appeals to you, it will suck you in and hold your attention even through the less inspired parts. It’s got a few great highlights and the lows don’t get any worse than “meh”, so I recommend UAC Ultra with reservations. It doesn’t run on long enough to really get old, and as a baseline it is at least competent all the way through. It’s also an excellent wad for a new player who feels intimidated by the fast, merciless action of modern wads, with its ample opportunities for kiting, crowd control, and disengagement, while still giving a taste of the wild side of Doom with “Skagway”. Good, but not quite a classic.
  8. Woolie Wool

    Woolie's PWAD reviews (latest: njma01.wad)

    A bite-sized review for a bite-sized map. Saw this in the WADs and Mods forum and I just had to play it. Emerald Ambush (emeamb.wad) Author: @Rook Release date: May 19, 2022 IWAD: Doom II Format: Modern limit-removing (played in PrBoom-plus Completion time: 5 to 10 minutes Layout: 4 | Visuals: 5 | Combat: 4 | UV: 2 | Overall: 4/5 Download: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1ju-3xtXk3DEg7y85WUIFw44T0hdD54Qt/view?usp=sharing “Emerald Ambush” immediately caught my attention when I was browsing through the Doomworld wads forum. I am a sucket for Ola Björling's OTEX texture pack, and even more so for natural scenery and bold colors, and “Emerald Ambush” puts all three together in a beautiful and instantly memorable visual package. Aside from the eerie green sky, this industrial complex set atop some sort of watery gorge looks laid-back, almost friendly with its bright lighting and lush vegetation. The textures are very well chosen and skillfully aligned, and the energetic midi by @Crunchynut44 caps off the atmosphere quite nicely. “Emerald Ambush” advertises itself as limit-removing, but like many recent wads it was not tested with legacy ports and will crash any of the DOS executables available due to the presence of sectors with undefined flats. Any of the common modern ports should do nicely; Boom-compatible ports should use -complevel 2. My Athlon machine under Windows XP handled it just fine with no stutters or framerate drops; I probably could have cranked the resolution up if I wanted to. Not a lot to this map, but it looks great. “Emerald Ambush” is a very small level and its compact, simple layout, with details tucked away behind barriers or impassable lines, make me wonder if it was originally intended as a deathmatch map; it would likely play very well as one. The map basically consists of two tiers, with the base and surrounding cliffs above and the gorge below, with many lifts, stairs, and pillars to allow fast and easy transit from pretty much any point in the map to any other. The gameplay is pretty standard but well-executed modern fare, with highly kinetic choreography. However, it is every bit as laid-back as the map's ambience suggests, I'd say too much so; after a slightly hairy start where you have to evade a bunch of monsters, including chaingunners and arachnotrons, to get yourself some weapons, I was never under any serious threat, and the heavily interconnected layout and the ability to use the cliffs for cover in many fights made it easy to disengage at the slightest hint of pressure and find an easier angle to approach a monster. There is also an excess of ammo in this map, especially of rockets and cells. “Emerald Ambush” is a nonlinear key hunt, with three keys scattered around the map, unlocked by switches that trigger (easy) warp-in fights, and an exit door locked with all three. The final fight had some promise with two archviles that spawn out of sight along with some revenants and chaingunners, but I was so loaded up with cells I was able to dispatch them and the monsters they resurrected with little difficulty. However, it is a handsome, fun little piece of Doom popcorn, and I can forgive its lack of challenge for its considerable eye appeal and the way it kept me moving even though I was never really in all that much trouble. I liked it, but I would have liked it a lot more as a map01 or map02 for an episode-length set that built up to bigger, badder maps later on.
  9. When building with MSYS2, how do I get the correct DLL files for Woof to run? All it spits out is an exe, and that exe only works within the MSYS2 environment.
  10. You can get CoolSoft MidiMapper to use an alternative midi synth under Native mode (hardware, FluidSynth, BASSMIDI, etc.). Can the quicksave confirmation dialog come back as a toggleable menu option?
  11. I think with retro ports like Woof the moiré should be embraced as a quirk of the original renderer. Imperfections, weird edge cases, and shortcuts, and the aesthetics those things produce, is the whole point of running a software renderer, especially at low resolution. If you want perfection, run Eternity or DSDA in GL mode.
  12. Woolie Wool

    Ozonia Boom Megawad [09/17 - RC5 Out!]

    Actually playing it instead of just writing notes out would also go a long way to explain why the solos sound natural. As for being simple, IMO midis do not really benefit from being florid and crammed with notes anyway.
  13. Woolie Wool

    Woolie's PWAD reviews (latest: njma01.wad)

    Glad to see people like it! I was worried that, because of how long it took me to finish, it would have come out a bit incoherent. I've got another episode-length review in the oven, so in the meantime here's the very first one I did on Tumblr, a wad by the infamous King REoL. REoL Tough: The Uprising (6fiffy1.wad) Author: George "King REoL" Fiffy Release date: September 6, 1998 IWAD: Doom II Format: Boom-compatible (played in LZDoom development build) Time to completion: 20 to 45 minutes Layout: 2 | Visuals: 3 | Combat: 2 | UV: 2 | Overall: 2/5 Download: https://www.doomworld.com/idgames/levels/doom2/Ports/0-9/6fiffy1 This wad made quite an impression on me when I first played it in 1999 or 2000, shortly after discovering PWADs and source ports for the very first time. Colin Phipps’ Doom Underground gave it a positively glowing review, and being a cheater using the default keyboard controls, I really had no idea what made a good level and just marveled for what, at the time, seemed like incredibly detailed architecture. In his day, Fiffy was a notorious internet troll going by “King REoL” who declared himself “The MetallicA of DooM” [sic] but the only quality he shared with said band was his pathological grandiosity (versions of his website from before he embedded it inside a homebrewed Flash monstrosity can still be accessed on archive.org and make for interesting reading), and while his level-design “brand” did garner some notoriety, it was mostly a secondary effect of the drama he generated everywhere he went. So how does this map hold up over 15 years later? Not too well, I’m afraid. “The Uprising” is a sort of fortified compound built into a cliff face; with the “back” of the fortress being a rock wall, and all approaches to the gatehouse except from the front blocked by other rock walls, the need to actually plan a coherent castle layout was obviated, and it really seemed like George Fiffy had no real plan for this map but just kind of added stuff as he went along, starting from the start across the moat and working his way in a mostly straight line back to the bailey, and then sprawled out in various directions for the key hunts. There is a succession of five or six areas, but each is its own “thing”; they don’t connect together or look into one another, and correspondingly there is very little sense of place (for instance, the underground chamber you access from the moat to raise the drawbridge has no connection to the fortress at all; it’s just there, with no way to tell that they’re supposed to be part of the same structure, and a teleporter near the drawbridge switch just dumps you back at the start of the map. The color selection is very drab; almost exclusively dull greens, browns, and grays; a strongly colored sky would have added greatly to this level’s eye appeal, but knowing Fiffy’s taste in custom textures (the Taz-Mania yellow sky from 2fiffy4, anyone?), perhaps the drab look is for the best. On that note, there is a really ugly new status bar and a set of modified sounds; I strongly recommend opening the wad and deleting them. Fiffy also included a breakable glass texture; as usual his art looks awful but the effect was so novel in 1998 I can let it pass. You needed a Pentium II for this?! And this is the best-looking room in the whole map. Presented in hi-res instead of my usual 320x200 just so you don’t interpret the aliasing as any additional detail that isn’t actually there. The infamous detail that old Socket 7 machines struggled with back in the day manages to be both elementary and gratuitous; almost the entire map is made of rectangular areas with straight walls, connected by long straight corridors and dotted with pilasters, sector furniture, and (very ugly) rows of stepped sectors to give the impression of sloped or vaulted ceilings. The only area that aspires to more than “a room” is the bailey in the center of the map, a walled courtyard with some buildings (the keep included, which doesn’t actually fit inside the wall but just kind of splatters outward in a diarrhea of nondescript birds and trees and rocks and rooms and corridors and things) which conjures memories of “Industrial Zone” from the original campaign but is more orderly and, consequently, less fun to play. Everything here is simple, regular shapes, with no overlapping geometry or structural complexity; all the detail is just ornaments tacked onto floor plans that look like the work of a novice, not an adult who had been making levels for five years. The lighting is very basic, with little contrast between light and shadow, and none of the complex chiaroscuro gradients employed by contemporary “extreme detail” wads like 99 Ways to Die, GothicDM, or Caverns of Darkness. Fiffy’s lazy lighting combine with his ill-chosen graphic and sound replacements to give a slapdash, amateur look and feel to nearly all of his work, but the sheer laboriousness of this level undermines any naive outsider aesthetic such art might cultivate in say, a 1994 wad. The gameplay is very much what someone who can’t beat a difficult map thinks a good difficult map is; lots of monsters (431 after PE spawns) placed in blocks directly in front of the player or to one side on a flat plane, but not even the most perfunctory attempts at choreography or pressure. Furthermore, a lot of these monsters are shotgunners or chaingunners, which brutally punish any attempts to rampage through areas and sow infighting. The result is a festival of corner-camping, chain-sniping, and pie-slicing that some might call “tactical” but I’d rather just call a slow, tedious grind. Making this worse is that the plasma rifle and most of the rocket ammo are tucked away in secrets, so if you don’t find any, you just have to grind, grind, grind away with the SSG. A few revenants and archviles are placed throughout the map in situations where they cannot possibly pose any threat; one of the switches required to access the red key had the first two-archvile pincer I’ve ever seen with literally no difficulty because you can slice the pie to draw them down a narrow corridor one at a time and casually butcher them. From where I was standing, these monsters were completely unable to reach me and all their fireballs hit the steps, rendering them harmless. Fiffy’s love of narrow doors doesn’t help; there must be a hundred of the things, usually with some monsters right behind it to serve as a “door with health” to delay your progress. Most egregious is one small room, which, when opened, disgorges four Barons of Hell clown car-style to waste your time and your shells. They file out into a long L-shaped corridor with plenty of room to dodge them, but there’s not quite enough room to move around them without risking melee, so you just have to stand, dodge a few fireballs, and occasionally move back a bit while firing your SSG over and over until they’re all dead. A solid minute of your time wasted. It took me 37 minutes to complete this map (I got turned around a few times; I expect a player good at FDAs could manage a thorough exploration in 20) but because the layout was so incohesive and the combat so dull, there was no “epic” feeling to any of it. It’s long, bombastic, and superficially violent, but simplistic, rote, and soulless…just like a bad Metallica song, come to think of it. Also, instead of a proper /idgames/ text file, the documentation is in a batch file full of echo commands called !!READ!!.bat, the relevant information being interspersed with bragging and grandstanding and force-fed to you screen by screen, because King REoL is just that kind of guy.
  14. Had to add this one after playing Ozonia, @Deadwing's "Endless Citadela" from that wad's map08 and map16: I was tempted to have that one on my list, but a number of other people did so I went with "Triangle of Fear" instead.
  15. Woolie Wool

    Ozonia Boom Megawad [09/17 - RC5 Out!]

    I just finished map29 and map30 this morning and wow, this mapset rules! I remember playing Moonblood a few years ago and not being particularly impressed by it, but it blows my mind how far you've come as a mapper since then--every scene is drop-dead gorgeous and the maps are all concise enough not to get the "epic fatigue" that starts to set in in the middle section of most megawads. I played this on HMP and the fights were impeccably judged--you really know how to squeeze a gripping encounter out of only a relatively few monsters, and when the occasional slaughtery setpiece does make its appearance, it's made all the more intimidating by the contrast. However, the absolute best part of this megawad is the music. Having a real Sound Canvas (my SC-55 MkII, in this case), I of course chose the "classic" version, and I was in midi heaven pretty much the whole way through. You've got a really distinct and impressive "voice" with composition, especially the more moody jazz-rock type stuff. The guitar solos were just ace, especially since so many other composers (not naming names) use the midi guitar as just another keyboard patch and tend to write very unnatural lines--yours sound like the sort of things a guitarist--a talented, creative guitarist--would actually play. My favorite midi was "Endless Citadela", especially since "Subterraneo I" was one of my favorite maps of the set (the other standouts to me being "Moonblood I", "Caverna", "Mecanismo", and @antares031's ballbreaking "Penitência"). Hell, I even love the Portuguese level titles, they remind me of the Spanish level titles from the classic Quake level set Travail. Any chance of a pronunciation guide for us barbarians who only speak one language (well, I know a little Spanish, enough to guess the meaning of your level titles, but an American pronouncing Portuguese as if it were Spanish would be like three horrible accents sitting on each other's shoulders in a trench coat)? You mentioned Plutonia, but all the high vantage points and catwalks over (often damaging) liquids remind me even more of John Romero's mapping for Doom II and E4. I loved the sense of progression and adventure the changing styles and skies of the maps provided, even if the overarching story was entirely lost on me--Baroness? A demon-human alliance? Who is Mother? I only became more confused the further it got, but unlike Doom Eternal, it never got in the way of blasting demons left and right, so I was able to get by without it (though I kept expecting a boss battle against the mother demon 😆). The secrets were excellent, and really got me invested in finding them--rather than being random and obscure, there was a real logic to them, and figuring them out added greatly to my enjoyment of the maps even when I didn't need them. One thing I didn't like was the Dehacked monsters, but I almost never like Dehacked monsters, so that's just to be expected. I played this in PrBoom-plus 2.6.0 on my 1733 MHz AMD Athlon rig and I was surprised to get a rock steady 85 fps at 320x200, with only a few very slight fps drops in "Penitência" and "Mecanismo" (by contrast, the Athlon chokes on map15 and map26 of Eviternity, anything involving the UFOs in Ancient Aliens, map08 of Legacy of Heroes, etc.). You really know how to make your linedefs and visplanes count. As a note, the 320x240 interface images appear as an HOM in low res, and I suggest resizing them to 320x200. Bravo, you deserve a Cacoward for sure. I might review it in the future but my first playthrough took me 8 hours by the game clock and probably at least 10 with reloads and I'm exhausted. I'm kind of wondering what you'd be able to pull off with OTEX... As a bonus, here's a hardware midi render of "Endless Citadela". This one was recorded on my SC-88 since the Athlon with the SC-55 hooked up is not set up for recording, but I set it in SC-55 mode so it's almost indistinguishable: