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ella guro

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About ella guro

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  1. ella guro

    Doom Streams

    streaming Sigil now
  2. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    several of you all are being so much harsher on these later maps than i would be, considering how novel and strange and different they are from each other. i think it is actually a very good thing that a lot of these maps are shorter and overstay their welcome towards the end because of the usual cliches of later maps having to be super hard. i personally like how much it subverts your expectations, and i would give more consideration to that when playing these maps. difficult and long maps do not equal good maps. i'm personally glad things start moving quicker from map 24-onwards. MAP 25 is my favorite of this bunch because it has a lot of ideas going on at once and it's also very condensed. i also like MAP 24 a lot too even if it isn't like the best "conventional" kind of slaughter map out there because it's not really about that anyway. the dark castle setting is wonderfully realized to me. MAP 27 was actually a map made by Wraith to replicate the look of the Doom 1 intermission map screen icon for Spawning Vats - hence all the rocky outdoor parts and the dome split down the middle. it's a neat idea, but the map doesn't have much else going on aside from that and this was obviously just thrown in there with the rest. oh well. still, like Map 17, it would be a lot worse if this map outstayed its welcome - which it definitely does not. thankfully the last three maps of ALT bring everything in the story back into focus.
  3. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    i love Map 22/AcidJazz. it is a very smart map. it starts off in a typical non-linear "hubspoke" progression, but quickly dispenses with that from there. i am totally impressed with how 3 dimensional it feels, and how much overlapping of tunnels and areas there are. and yes, it is very confusing, but it also grows on you a lot. it's so completely dense and labyrinthine in a way that always feels surprising and unexpected instead of the slog that a lot of mazey maps can feel like. it's an interesting contrast to the more wide-open, linear maps that Azamael has done in the set. but like Azamael's Map 13, it takes a nominally typical stock Doom texture theme and then does something very strange with it. you can see various places where hell has unexpectedly invaded into this tech base. but it feels much weirder than your usual "hell invades the techbase" scenario. that's why i like both maps so much. they're obviously Doom, but not at all Doom at the same time. it's like you're revisiting something familiar but it's become strange and alien now. no maps capture that better than this one and Map 13, hence why they're my favorite in the set overall. i'm not as fond of the last part in the numbered arena, but it's at least a decent conclusion that pushes more of the story/narrative forward. BeeWen/Lestat's WIP set Voyager is worth checking out too, though it goes much farther in the direction of being very long and difficult to navigate. I like how focused Map 22 is in comparison. also re: Map 23, i don't have as much to say. i agree that the progression gets tedious. i think this is one of the toughest maps in ALT to get through. but i think the long stretch of winding hallway goes on for so long that it becomes kind of hilarious. it really feels like memory totally breaking down and recycling bits and pieces. it's kind of a harbinger for the rest of the set becoming super abstract. this map is mostly by BeeWen outside the initial few areas and the very ending couple areas, by the way - he just isn't credited for it.
  4. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    Map 20 is one of probably my top 5, or at least top 10 maps in ALT. it's a good summary of what it offers at its best. weird imagery and environments. slightly cryptic progression that is still basically fair at the end of the day once you get inside the head of the designer, and moves you along pretty nicely. revisiting of former environments and areas with a new context applied. some freaky, unexpected bits. yeah - just a great map overall.
  5. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    no hate to Chaingunner, but Map 17 is my least favorite map in ALT. it just too conventional and doesn't really fit in any context of the rest of the set. at least it's short, but it's almost jarring to have such a normal, small, mostly unremarkable techbasey map in the context of the set. Map 18 is at least better and brings back a little of the weirdness, though in a much more muted form than a lot of what surrounds it. but yeah i think maps 17-19ish are my least favorite stretch of the set... thankfully that doesn't last very long before it gets back into being ALT again. apparently 17 + 18 replaced two other maps that were a whole source of drama and led to the dissolution of Clan [B0S]. or so i've been told. so possibly they were made very quickly, or maybe at the last minute. that said, Maps 14-16 are all great for me. 14 is not Azamael's best, but i think it works as a more linear follow-up to 13 and it still takes you on its own weird little journey. and of course, the architecture in 16 is great. i like the little puzzle room in Map 15, because it's short and minimal on combat anyway. it's not the most amazing puzzle, but given the novel setting and Map 15 placement it makes sense to me. oh and also: apparently BeeWen added the whole Doom 1 + 2 section at the end of the level. Map 31 reminds me of the sort of maps that are in BeeWen's incomplete set Voyager. a lot of great ideas, but punishingly cryptic progression. Voyager's maps are incredibly pretty and highly unique, but very difficult to navigate through. and i say that as someone who likes puzzles and occasionally cryptic progression. i don't find ALT Map 13 to be so bad at all, for example, because at least it has its own internal logic to it. that said, the fact that it's a secret map here makes that more bearable. Map 32 is obviously much shorter and has similar issues, but it does have a lot of interesting ideas in it and it doesn't outstay its welcome.
  6. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    Map 12 i don't like so much. the look of the map/setting of the map is cool, but the combat is very tedious for me. especially gunning heavy enemies in narrow hallways. Map 13 is absolutely my favorite map in ALT. it is fabulous and beautiful and unique. you all are very wrong to dislike it and you will be shown the error of your ways in due time. lol. tl;dr it does a lot of different things in one map that it's hard to summarize here. i made a whole video about this map a few years back, so i guess you can just watch it here if you want:
  7. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    Map 11: from the beta version of this map i have, it appears that the core of the map is basically the same but a lot of things, especially the opening cavern area, had a lot of detailing and polishing work done to them (i assume by someone other than Maddzi... probably BeeWen). also the void maze appears to have had directional signposts added to it later, which was... a very good decision. i actually have some mixed feelings about this map. it is certainly impressive in scope - it pushes the set forward narratively, and i really can't imagine ALT without it. but it also suffers from "Community Chest syndrome" and outstays its welcome a little bit. i also am not clear exactly why this comes so early in this set (i'm assuming it's for story reasons), because both it and Map 13 being so massive in size tip the scales towards the early middle of the set. some of the sections in the teleporter room/memory recall sections feel like they drag on a bit, especially the one that in is a warehouse area and the one that appears to be set in some sort of bar/restaurant. i'm also not a huge fan of the cavern that connects up to everything, nor the instadeath in the (otherwise very cool) descending void room with the lost souls. also not a fan of the sexy duke nukem, but that's a whole other thing... lol. the Icon of Sin exit is okay given that ALT doesn't have a proper Icon of Sin fight at the end... but others are right here in that it's almost gratuitous and not needed in the context of this map. still, it's hard to deny all the cool stuff about this map. it is one that i've come to like a little bit less over time, because of it just trying to do too much at once in a set that is already very dense with ideas. but like i said, it's hard to imagine ALT without this map.
  8. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    fun fact about map 10: i got a beta version of the project from BeeWen/Lestat when i was writing my article and it seems that the starry sky ceiling in the map was added later by him. TGA also apparently made at least a couple other maps that weren't included in the project. i played them and i didn't think they were anything particularly special, so it's probably for the best that they weren't included. as far as Map 10, i think it's not too bad at all for a more conventional map in a set like ALT - it doesn't ruin the vibe or outstay its welcome. but i'm not really a fan of the other two TGA maps (one of which is map 12). i also wanted to say i appreciate how Map 08 goes in and out from being a relatively conventional techbase map to having weird and abstract sections. i also like the part with the bright blue floor tracks towards the end a lot, and how you just unexpectedly drop into it (and it's not on the automap). the puzzle there may be a little silly, but i don't mind it. one of the things i like about ALT is that different mappers have different interpretations of how to approach this kind of style but all pull it off in their own way that doesn't feel at odds with the mood of the rest of the set. getting a bunch of mappers with different styles on the same wavelength is no doubt one of the hardest things to do in community projects, and it shows how much Clan [B0S] was trying to make something cohesive here. i think the longer/more unpredictable Map 08 especially works well in pairing with the shorter and more narrative-focused Map 09, and they've definitely grown on me over time. i think i probably prefer Archi's Map 06 of Sacrament to either of these though.
  9. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    it's funny to me that the exact same stuff that is turning Capellan off about ALT is what really got me absorbed into it. for me, i get bored of the same design tropes over and over again and this set really showed me a lot of things that i never ever saw done like this before anywhere else. i mean, i guess i already knew that a bunch of different other stuff was coming after it. but i discovered this set it at a crucial time in 2012 coming back to following Doom wads after taking a break for several years and was looking for something new and different. MAP 05 is a super deceptively clever map for me. it's mostly linear, and it's very grounded in a "real life" sort of space, and it's filled with a lot of design tropes that seem like they wouldn't work at all. from like the wolf3d-feeling dormitory at the beginning, to the computer area immediately after with the super cryptic progression on that one shootable switch. all of these feel like bad "my first map" type tropes. in other places, this map almost feels kind of more like a modern FPS game in design, because of how linear it is and how much you're in ostensibly "real world" environments. parts certainly reminded me of Half-Life 1 and 2. but then, this map opens up and does a lot of very strange and unexpected things to that. a lot of bits subvert and play with your expectations, like that useless key door at the beginning. i seem to remember an eye throne and then a switch that you have to shoot about 10 different times to activate it. also a lot of unexpected height contrasts that feel really disorienting. or the way that you see the trainyard at the beginning but only come back to it at the end via a very strange and convoluted path. a lot going on in this map, basically. i'll talk about MAP 06 later, but it's also an early favorite for me. it's also the first map not by Azamael and could definitely easily derail the set at a crucial moment early on, but it feels like it keeps the mood remarkably well from something by an author (Nomad) who i've never seen anything else from outside this set. i like those Bolonoa crates btw. is that another way of saying Bologna? i always just imagined they were crates of bologna
  10. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    my feelings about Map 03 compared to the other Azamael maps are a little mixed, though i think the map has grown on me. it's a bit more conventional than a lot of other maps in A.L.T., but it also has a lot of little interesting bits that reflect the narrative well too. i guess it only makes sense that there would be a more traditional-ish Downtown type map with a twist in this set, because it seems like kind of an obvious place to go. a lot of maps in A.L.T. can be pretty linear as well, so it's kind of nice to have something much more sandbox-y in there. i feel like the contrast between this map the ones surrounding it show how much this set can go all over the place in terms of length. this contrast will get more dramatic a little bit later on, but it i think it really adds to the feeling that you don't know at all what's coming next with any given level in this set.
  11. ella guro

    Sandy Petersen interview I had never noticed before

    really interesting interview! nice to see so much candid talk about Doom and id, even if it isn't all super flattering. i still get annoyed when i think about how they threw Tom Hall under the bus during the making of D1, but it kinda is not surprising for a bunch of relatively immature guys in their 20's to not be forthright communicators. lol. it's possible that Romero was under the influence of Carmack when he said that designers were bad and they needed more artists and then changed his course and made some amends after leaving id after Quake 1. you can sort of tell that Sandy probably isn't exaggerating anything very much in here because the info is mostly too weirdly specific to lie about. although him saying E3M6 in a video interview was his first level instead of E2M6 in this interview is a little weird. but he also could have easily just said it wrong.
  12. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    this reminds me that i should at least come back to talk about MAP 13 when it comes around to it. it's probably my favorite map in the whole set, but it's also probably the most confusing (and maybe one of the most polarizing).
  13. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: A.L.T.

    i've already given this set so much time and energy, so i might sit this one out. read the piece by me linked above if you want to know more. i might chime in occasionally to tell you all that you're all wrong and you don't understand its brilliance though. lol. but seriously, happy that it's being played and looking forward to passionately disagreeing with the haters.
  14. ella guro

    Why I hate the term "mapper".

    i don't mind "mapper" as shorthand. like "modder" it can kind of be derogatory and feel like it devalues the amount of work you put into something. i don't really see it that way. but i know other people who might but also embrace that underdog status as well. one thing i will say though, regardless of what you call it: being a level designer absolutely makes you a game designer. i know plenty of professional game designers who can't design a decent level to save their lives. level design is a very underrated skill that has many more applications than you think.
  15. ella guro

    What would you consider a "good" megawad?

    i think you get at something here that i've been thinking about a lot - how a lot of mappers make maps that look different from each other in terms of texturing (and maybe lighting) but the structure/layout/gameplay approach is basically the same throughout. so it seems on the surface like variety, but what's underneath is kind of functionally the same. particularly i tend to see this as a trend of like abstract combat-oriented spaces lately, but this is a trend that goes back way before that. that's the thing about having a style. in itself, that's not a terrible thing. but in the context of 32 maps when you're demanding a lot of time from players, that can get old really fast. you start to feel like these maps were all on a very similar track through a certain style and it kinda kills your excitement about something new or unexpected happening. a game like vanilla Doom 2 might be inconsistent as hell but that variety kind of helps keep you engaged over a longer period of time. people who have played a lot of megawads in their lives are cynical. i say mix it up as much as you can if you're attempting a megawad. do the unexpected and try and surprise people. explore any different territory that comes to mind and go further than you thought you would and go out of your comfort zone. don't always try to make "classically good" maps that follow a certain form - i mean, id certainly didn't. at least i know that's what i'm always really happy to see when it does happen.
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