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ella guro

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  1. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    ah, it looks like we're at the end of the month now. i feel bad for not finishing this WAD. i started out liking Map 21, until the copy + paste and slaughtery encounters in narrow spaces started again. i think it's probably better i didn't push through because it was really starting to piss me off. will have to check out some of the other maps at some point in the future.
  2. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    MAP16 - “Dark Cave” by Archi compared to Map15 which i did not like at all, i liked this one quite a bit. it's bare-bones ashwall mostly, but the huge height variation and some of the more twisty/turny layout choices made it feel kinda unique and non-standard. there was some interesting traversal through the spaces too. it may not been all-there in other ways, but like this map definitely doesn't feel quite like anything else i've played, which i tend to value more than anything else in Doom maps. unfortunately it's kinda all downhill from here for me for the next several maps though... MAP17 - “Holes of Evil” by Memfis i laughed at the name, because i'm very mature. pretty standard speedmap with a setup that feels inspired by Map04 of Memento Mori 2. wasn't too keen on the Cyberdemon on the platform, or most of the obligatory Cyberdemon use in this wad in general. but otherwise not bad, though it didn't really stand out to me in any particular way either. MAP18 - “TNT Base” by Dragon i know this is obviously supposed to be inspired by TNT, but it felt more unmistakably like a weird Russian map than anything else. most of TNT's maps have like bigger and more wide-open settings, to my memory, whereas this is a pretty narrow map. pretty standard hub-spoke and hallway type layout but all of the weird details done to the setting make this more interesting and unique to me. this is the type of map i basically like in spite of its flaws but most other people seem to not particularly like. to each their own though. it's certainly not amazing, but it has some good points. MAP19 - “Spawning Vats” by Shadowman there are a lot of unique things about the setting of this map (including the very obscure traversal via slime portal switches) that are interesting, and it's impressive for a speedmap in a lot of ways. but i feel like there's also a lot of copy+paste symmetry going on here which took away from the impact of the unique setting, and i really wasn't as much of a fan of a lot of the monster encounters as other people here. trying to run around in the slime pits while you're using a rocket launcher or something similar is frustrating - you either don't hit enemies or you hurt yourself. and repeating encounters in symmetrical wings of a map tends to just feel tedious and pointless to me. all those chaingunner snipers were stupid too. this is the sort of map that looks accomplished on the surface but the more i look at it, the more issues i have with it. i have a feeling i'm going to start to dislike more of Shadowman's maps here for the copy+paste and more questionable gratuitous combat for this reason. MAP20 - “Guard Tower” by Wraith easily the worst Wraith map so far. it starts off okay, but the end with the Cyberdemons was just stupid. i don't particularly enjoy casually fighting cyberdemons in general because they just take too damn long to kill unless you're a BFG wizard, and like having to kill 8 of them or whatever is just 8 times more annoying to me. it's like that trope of n00b mappers to just throw a billion boss enemies in one big space and have you sort it out. one of the worst maps so far i'd say.
  3. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    MAP13 - “Trapped” by Dragon Hunter this definitely feels like a Dragon Hunter map, with all the darkness and the heavy use of the tech theme. this just felt way too cramped for some of the combat encounters to be particularly fun, though. i liked the sense of unveiling things inside the very narrow space you were fighting in semi-unpredictably, but it was a bit too awkward to be really particularly fun or engaging. this map is basically like the seed of a good idea, but is just too cramped a space to execute on it well. the outside city encounters were an interesting idea, but again, a bit too awkwardly-executed to come off as more than just annoying. MAP14 - “Starport” by Azamael this one starts out a bit like both Azamael's earlier Heroes' Tails map set in a city block, and Map 06 of A.L.T. (coincidentally not by Azamael) which has a similar side-city street block that unveils things out of it at the beginning. the initial area does the job with its encounters, and the way you have a little switch hunt to lower the walls to get to the next area is a pretty nice little change-up to get your brain working. but the next area, with the short little key hunts and the cute use of Wolf3D red brick texture to create a bunch of nice architectural details is the star of the show. these spaces are actually quite detailed and nice. there's even a mystery caged off area, and a bunch of doors you can't open like many Azamael maps. it really starts to feel like the space has its own character there, and i wish Azamael used that red brick texture more in his other maps. once i hit the Starport it was pretty surprising, and really really nicely detailed. the combat may not have been crazy, but i thought it was a good coda to the rest of the map. honestly i think the hugeness of the spaceship and crawling up into it at the end of the map really makes up for it, especially because it's bewildering compared to the rest of the map. there are so many little details and distinctive areas in this map. i'll take 50 more maps as good as this one, thanks. definitely my favorite so far. i think even some of Azamael's non-speed maps are honestly not as good as this one. MAP15 - “Impocalypse” by Archi honestly i wasn't a fan of this. it's a lot of cramped rectangular-shaped rooms in a warehouse setting and a shit-ton of imps. beyond the concept, i didn't find much to hold onto about this map. the outside lava area with the Cyberdemons even felt a little clumsy. i guess there were some nice nooks and crannies hidden in the boxes though. otherwise, not Archi's best. MAP31 - “Secret of the Pharaoh” by Shadowman a perfectly good riff on "Hunted" from Plutonia with an Egyptian theme. i wasn't blown away by this map, but it did its job well. in spite of the Arcvhiles, all the twists and turns in the narrow spaces made hiding from Arch-viles not as bad as i thought it would be. the progression also wasn't as confusing as you might think it would be, given how mazey the core of the map was. so maybe a little bit derivative, but otherwise a perfectly solid and fun map and definitely fully realized achievement for a speedmap. MAP32 - “UFO Crash” by Cherepo this probably reminds me of the atmosphere of Sacrament or ALT more than any map in this set so far. the lighting is so wonderful - it's really a testament to how much a space can be transformed with just lighting alone. i might even use it to demonstrate to other people how much lighting makes a difference, haha. i LOVE the spaceship at the beginning, also. very memorable. true, the actual architecture of most of the map can be bland and lacking in details in places. some places are highly detailed and look really freaking awesome and super distinctive, others are just boxy rooms. sometimes that kind of minimalism works, other times it doesn't so much. and the progression/actual gameplay is definitely not nearly as fun or engaging on a moment-to-moment level in the way an Azamael map is. sometimes one area is interesting and engaging to play, other times it'll be tedious. BUT i still thought the mood and amount of ideas in this map more than made up for it, and i'm sad i've never seen anything else from Cherepo. i'm guessing they were just a bit inexperienced at mapping at this point and could've definitely had a lot of interesting things to contribute in the future. this is my second favorite map so far other than Azamael's, and was definitely a pleasant surprise.
  4. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    MAP11 - “The Source” by Shadowman this is definitely much more of an impressive and distinctive environment than Map 10, esp for a speedmap. i like all the details in the area in the beginning. but it pretty much has nothing to do with the rest of the map once you dive down into the hazardous city area, which is a little weird to me. i was hoping for them to intersect or interact with each other somehow, but i guess you can't expect that much from a map made in such limited time. i also think the combat in the city area started fun but started to get a bit tedious towards the end. i liked unveiling different structures and going from ruin to ruin, but once you got to the central structure and fought a bunch of Revenants it just felt kinda like busywork and less interesting or engaging. so definitely a good longer map with a nice setting, but it starts to show its seams after awhile towards the end. MAP12 - “Boiler” by Wraith i like the map. it's basically just you starting in the center of a circle and moving out from there, and it doesn't go too far beyond that. but it works architecturally and in terms of setting. it has a nice claustrophobic mood to it too, like that feeling of being surrounded on all side in the beginning is nice. like mentioned above, there was maybe one too many tricks done to artificially lengthen what is otherwise a pretty small level that probably wasn't necessary, and the ending was a bit anticlimactic. still, i had a positive experience overall and it definitely did not overstay its welcome.
  5. ella guro

    A shorter and better Doom II

    this is my fantasy Doom 2. imagine that the monster encounters were rebalanced to work in this order: Level 1: Entryway Level 2: Underhalls Level 3: The Gantlet Level 4: Circle of Death Level 5: The Crusher Level 6: Refueling Base Level 7: The Courtyard Level 8: Tenements Level 9: The Waste Tunnels Level 10: The Citadel Level 11: Barrels o' Fun Level 12: The Abandoned Mines Level 13: Monster Condo Level 14: Industrial Zone Level 15: The Inmost Dens Level 16: The Living End Level 17: Gotcha! Level 18: The Spirit World Level 19: The Chasm Level 20: Icon of Sin
  6. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    MAP09 - “Exploded City” by Archi i actually liked this map. it was a bit bare-bones, but its experimental style reminded me of some of the old Memento Mori maps that were about ideas over detail. and there are some really neat ideas here (particularly some of the blown-out bits towards the end of the map), even if they're under-detailed, esp compared to the previous map. This is something that could very easily, outside of the context of a speedmap, become a base for a pretty interesting city-themed map. it's definitely not there yet, but it has potential. but then i guess i prefer the more experimental maps i've seen from Archi (particularly Map 06 in Sacrament) to the more recent slaughter maps he's made. MAP10 - “Mudrun” by Nil i am not impressed. it's mostly a series of linear tunnels where you kill massive amounts of enemies. it's what i derisively refer to as "modern level design", lol. a lot of tricks were made to artificially lengthen this map and make it feel more epic, but i felt it was pretty light on ideas outside of one or two points. it feels foolish to also take on a map of this size in a speedmap setting, and it's pretty obvious to me that this map was made by someone less experienced. some people might find this to be more to their taste, but it feels like a waste to use a speedmap to try and make a map to the scale and ruined city setting that so many mappers have already tried and done much better.
  7. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    MAP07 - “Colliseum” by Shadowman i admit i'm not really a fan of Dead Simple remakes in general, though this was a perfectly serviceable one. the city setting was very nice in particular. one problem though - i'm not sure if i hit the switches out of order, or perhaps it's related to my loading the wrong IWAD mishap (though i don't see why that'd be the case). but at the end when all the archviles spawned in the center i got trapped in the center of the map, where the revenants and hitscanners very happily took potshots at me from the perimeter as i had an extremely difficult time hitting them from far away. the map basically went from fun to frustrating for me very quickly, and i ended up having to attempt this part way more times than you'd expect until i figured out you can very slowly snipe some of the hitscanners from the raised mancubi platforms. i guess i almost would've been better off just starting from the beginning of a map rather than save partway through. but then after i cleared out the level, the platforms to the perimeter still didn't go down and i had hit all of the switches, so i couldn't clear the level without cheating. so i'm wondering if either i hit switches out of order, or perhaps there was some bug or something. but in either case, that ending up souring the experience of the map for me. MAP08 - “Upper Town” by Azamael i have to preface this by saying that Azamael is literally my favorite Doom mapper, so you're only going to see a lot of nauseating praise from me here. his maps have a creative language all their own, and there is literally nothing else out there quite like them. and i don't mean just in the context of Doom mapping, but like, in general. i still think many people don't appreciate just how unique and different from anything else than anyone's ever made his stuff often is. i certainly hope he's having a good time with whatever he's trying to pursue now outside of Doom mapping. anyway, while this map is very short, it's no exception to the rule of me loving his maps. i love the way the spaces intersect into each other and all the little details in architecture. it always puts you on your feet and forces you to reorient yourself to the spaces, except it's also fun and not too difficult so the disorientation is more easy to deal with. some of the bits remind me of later parts of a map of his called "Wood Prison" from Sacrament (which is honestly a masterpiece IMO). the random toilet outside is classic Azamael, half-surreal out of context weirdness and half tongue-in-cheek. he even sticks a helipad there for all the helipad haters out there. truly galaxy brained mapping innovations here (okay, i'm slightly joking here but i still thought it was funny). i also actually really liked the dark trap with the hell knights. it's a bit like Tom Hall's Doom 1 Episode 2 maps - it's more about the texture that the place creates, and making you encounter something unexpected rather than just another tricky combat scenario or whatever (not that those don't sometimes exist in his maps). you gotta get your head out of everything being about combat, maaaan. basically, Azamael is a mapping genius and you all will pretend you thought so too 10 years from now, so it's time to get on the bandwagon now. that said, this isn't exactly his opus or anything like that but it's still representative of a lot of the great + unique things about his maps.
  8. ella guro

    Popular/highly rated WAD's you're not a fan of?

    there are plenty for me but i think Deus Vult II perfectly captures what i don't like about the big, popular Doom wads. super hard, super bloated levels, same kind of combat, all glitz and pomp yet somehow total high school aesthetics in other ways. i admit i'm just not a fan of slaughter wads but there's more to it that bothers me about DV2 than just that. i'm not a fan of a lot of the stuff inspired by it either, but at least a lot of that stuff took it in different directions. i also never super got into Scythe 2, though i think it's at least alright.
  9. ella guro

    Most beautiful map layouts

    always liked how Map 20 from A.L.T. looked in the editor
  10. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    ahh crap, i totally missed that! as weird as it sounds, i thought the black sky was intentional. i'm surprised there didn't seem to be any other texture errors or weird things so far, given that i was using Doom2.wad.
  11. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    okay, here we go MAP01 - “Ancient Valley” by Lainos this is a very humble map in some ways (very brown, simple architecture), but it definitely signals later and much more ambitious stuff to come from Lainos. it has that dreamy quality his maps have. i actually like the crusher trap at the beginning because it's so unexpected - it sets your expectations for something a little more environment-based, rather than the combat. the red portals were really cool. i also like the fakeout ending where you think you're done but it's just a cage, and you have to double back to do these weird little series of platforms. a lot of cool ideas in one little map here - not a bad start at all! MAP02 - “Ruins” by Shadowman the intro cavern area was pretty small, but i like the idea of crawling around in tunnels in the darkness. the highlight of the map was definitely the castle ruin area. i love maps that make you crawl on the top of ruins and be adventurous in order to progress to areas that are otherwise locked off. the ending was okay - i feel like so many maps (including other maps in this set) end with a Cyberdemon or a bunch of archviles and it often feels like kind of a cop-out. at least it gives you an invulnerability here if you look for it, though. still pretty humble setting (very brown, sparsely detailed), but not a bad map! MAP03 - “Aquapark” by Wraith this is definitely the most fully-realized setting of the set so far. the texturing and theming is a bit more unique and less standard Doom 2. i love any time people attempt to do trees/hedges in Doom. there's some really weird invisible walls and gating of progression in one or two places, but i would expect no less mystery and hostility from Russian map (edit: i was stupid and using Doom2.wad, so they're actually vines. it's actually a pretty cool use of the vines, so good work there!). i actually think that i like this more than the couple Wraith maps i played in Sacrament? or at least this is fairly equal in terms of quality to them. i don't like the obligatory Cyberdemon encounter at the end though - didn't feel that necessary. MAP04 - “Survival” by Lainos pretty unremarkable little map outside of that small spine/guts pit with the blue key, which was neat. also what's with it being fullbright when you're outside and the sky is black (edit: again, was accidentally using Doom2.wad so nevermind on that point)? this definitely feels like a speedmap that didn't really have time to develop into anything, which is funny because the previous few didn't feel nearly as much like speedmaps. MAP05 - “Canyon” by 3EPHOEd nice setting! it's hard to go wrong with castle ruins as a place. it's a bit big and empty, and like several maps here pretty much the same level of brightness. but there are some bits that have their own identity and feel more substantial than like the previous map, for example. the hangman noose area with one of the keys and a bunch of Hell knights/a baron/an archvile was cool. it also makes me feel like some maps i'd play in the future by other Russian mappers, even though i've never played anything else from 3EPHOEd. again, don't like the obligatory Cyberdemon where one of the keys are - it's another situation where you just run around him. also don't like that monsters are just kinda thrown in a big space randomly, because once you kill them there isn't much else to this map. but i do like the chunkiness of the castle ruins. MAP06 - “Nemesis” by Archi beginning reminds me a lot of a particular American McGee map from Quake 1 - it's somewhere in Episode 3, but i can't remember the name. in fact this whole map feels pretty McGee. maybe that's intentional, since this is in The Crusher's map slot from Doom 2. in any case, this is a nice, tight little map. beginning area is pretty basic but geometry and lighting, as well as the encounters, are more fine-tuned than in other maps. the area with the pit where you hit the switches is nice - that also reminds me of McGee actually. while i'm not a huge fan of obligatory boss encounters at the end, at least there's also a Spider Mastermind and an invulnerability for the Cyberdemon if you run around him. all in all, pretty good.
  12. ella guro

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Heroes' Tales

    oh, cool. i'm a fan of what came after HT, and it'd be nice to see the first Azamael maps since i'm such a big fan of the maps that came after. so i might give this one a shot!
  13. ella guro

    Favorite "Creepy" Map?

    Sacrament Map 13
  14. is this named for the artist Forest Swords? i like his music. anyway will probably be checking this out
  15. @dobu gabu maru Memento Mori 2 Map 05 is a minor masterpiece imo (though map 27 is the real masterpiece). i like you can approach that map from different angles and while it breaks the scripted feel it makes it feel more like it's own world. that was one of my favorite things about Doom 1 episode 2, particularly E2M2 and E2M7 which feel like they should be mostly linear but have moments that break that progression. i wish Paul Noble ever really did anything else. i'd say the level design trends in the Doom community often reflect larger design trends in the industry. 90's maps are all over the place, of course, but tended to have tighter spaces and more trap-oriented gameplay which reflects the design of 90's FPSes around technological limitations and just trying to wring as much out of the limited scope as you can. in the early 2000's a lot of maps tended to be higher detailed sets of corridors and hallways, like increasingly tightly-scripted linear action games of the 2000's. Or the spaces became much more open and filled with enemy activity and infighting, echoing how more games of that period became about big open spaces and a lot of emergent gameplay that came from that. and now i see way more people talking about "flow" in a level's design than ever before, which also echoes the game industry's increasing self-consciousness about design with independent games, and game design theory terms entering the popular lexicon via bloggers/youtubers/games writers/etc. obviously there are many things that don't fit into these trends, but the general patterns tend to echo how game design has been conceptualized more broadly pretty well. i'm not sure whether that's bad or good? i think it's easy to be dismissive of things which don't meet a checklist of "good design", and that's something that i try and challenge as much as i can. on the other hand, being more able to critically talk individual elements of a level's design has been a really good thing for the Doom community and videogame spaces as a whole. and of course, improving how a map feels via iterations, testing, and feedback can certainly be very beneficial too, though it can help certain types of levels a lot more than others. btw, the link to the podcast episode @Linguica mentioned above is here: https://archive.org/details/beyondthefilter17doomisanartscene_andrewstine
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