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Demon of the Well

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  1. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Hell Revealed 2

    Nah, I picked it up from the bottom of the inner ring, right at the start. Presumably Andy Olivera thought/hoped people would reflexively dive down there as soon as they started getting peppered by the chaingunners in the roosts overlooking the hub, and that's pretty much how it went for me. I didn't use the fist much in this playthrough, though, except to punch some of that initial herd of pinky demons and for cleanup of some of that first wave of creatures (nobles from SE, cacos from SW, etc.) after the infighting potential (and my patience for micromanaging it) had mostly run its course. Even that was mostly proactive insurance against the map's allegedly disastrous ammo imbalance, which I had read about here, and was probably unnecessary in the long run. IMO, the pack's not really a major factor to the map's design overall; it perhaps serves as a desperate last resort for stubborning up to the SSG if you play 'wrong' (but just restarting and trying something different is probably easier/faster I'd warrant), but loses any real relevance afterwards, since face-to-face fights are rare after that point, with a heavy skew towards thick groups of hitscanners besides. The one thing I did miss is the secret compartment which is nestled in between the southeast patio and the raised platform in the southeast yard with the level's sole green armor vest atop. Further inspection shows it evidently has a few monsters in it (as do several of the other secrets in the map), but not much else, no weapon that would swing the map balance or anything (which is perhaps thankful). Anybody know offhand what it's for? Slightly earlier access to the vest/SSG yard (!), perhaps? @Snikle I think the worst map in HRII is m25, which is abysmal in every way, save for its cool music track I guess. m26 would be a close second. On the positive side, my favorite of the set's scant handful of more authentically HR-style levels are m15 and m32, both by Chrozoron; and of the more uniquely HRII levels, m20 and m23, both by Martin "Cocoon" Friberg.
  2. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Hell Revealed 2

    Map 28 -- Beyond the Sea - 145% Kills (jaysus...) / 83% Secrets It's been many a year since I've played HRII, and memories of many of its maps which are neither my favorites nor least favorites from it have blurred and dimmed somewhat, if not entirely faded (this evidently belongs to neither camp), and so while I could remember various features of this map, such as its opening/main hub and its vaguely Cyberden-ish progression scheme, the particulars of how one is actually meant to play the damn thing had largely left me, and so much of my experience of replaying it on this fine October afternoon was fairly fresh. I've never seen the speedrun for it either, as far as I can recall anyway. Stylistically, this is a strange hybrid of HRII's homages to the original megaWAD (which are, by and large, the only times it really resembles its forebear in feel or pace, apart from the largely meaningless confluence of "also having a lot of monsters") and the dusty, musty grindhouse-villa style which comprises so much of its totally original content. In other words, we get something which is laid out and thing-placed like many of the mapset's earlier levels, but that which is meant to be played more methodically and 'strategically', with your best weapon meant to be your capacity for choosing -- and shamelessly exploiting the ever-loving shit out of -- ideal positions in battle. Similarly to many of the middle, pre-primetime maps of HR proper, to have anything remotely resembling a smooth experience with this map, you basically need to know what you're doing ahead of time; even godlike battle reflexes will not necessarily avail you of any real progress if you misspend your resources or break your momentum trying to do steps out of the intended (and largely untelegraphed) order. If you're resourceful enough, I reckon you probably can stubborn your way through it after a point, but it won't be pretty. Or elegant. Or dignified. Or.....not plain stupid. This fact alone generally guarantees that the majority of a modern audience will find the map totally without value; "back in the day" I recall we were a little more understanding (in part because we weren't as opulently spoiled for basically infinite amounts of choice in content), but even so, I don't exactly remember "Beyond the Sea" being anybody's favorite, even back then. It's a right old chore by most any standard, if not without interesting facets. My past experiences with the mapset may have served me well, or it may be simply that I was adequately forewarned by y'all's rants about it, but I was able to make it through, though not without a measure of hassle. The part of the map up to the SSG has to be played in a more or less pacifistic way; evade monsters or have them infight, but don't spend the time or ammo plugging away at them with the basic shotgun, or you'll basically break your back for ammo and hit a nasty wall trying to get past the congregation bottlenecked at the little yard housing the SSG's booth. At mapstart, I ran around and opened all three doors off of the hub; the cacos from the southwest came out easily enough, and the horde beyond the northern door basically proceeded to infight itself to death with very little prodding on my part, but the nobles in the southeast chamber had to be repeatedly micromanaged. This is the first of the map's many design problems: these monsters really ought to be able to open these doors on their own once roused, but no, you have to play nanny and do it for them. Whether this is simple naivete in design or deliberately meant to be a sort of half-assed balancing mechanism is uncertain, though my gut suggests it's the former. Bypassing or distracting the initial throngs in this way lets you slip into the narrow connecting hallway just on the other side of the window behind your start position; you can proceed to exploit this space (which only revenants can enter, and them not without some difficulty) to have everything clustered over by the southeast yard infight itself to death, netting you the SSG, which tears through the hallway ambushes nearby and allows you to clean out the initial population in a much more expeditious and ammo-efficient fashion. The forays into the side areas open up additional closets chock-full of monsters in and around this area, but these are now powerless against you, as you now command access to the back and side hallways, which the monsters cannot enter and which have assorted murderholes you can mercilessly exploit. The map is now basically won, even if it's only half over; sure, monsters appear here and there -- one cyberdemon for each of the four switches in the hub, as well a new vile for the chaingunner roosts, but the only real risks remaining are getting through the north door (and back out again to return for the last two center switches) without being bodied. The northerly area, with its freestanding buildings and bizarre ladder-esque stairways into its side wings has a similar battle dynamic to the first half, though what fun there is to be had is more readily evident in this segment since you don't likely have to deal with gaining momentum by the time you're here. However densely populated each room might be, there's always more than one vantage into it (i.e. you are never required to actually prosecute a fight through one of those laddered thresholds, thank fuck), always a lateral solution which allows you to bypass or mercilessly mow down the creatures at your leisure from a window below or across the way or w/e. 'Feeling' when and where to fight, and when and were to camp out, was for me the primary pleasure of the map, which is in line with a lot of what's cool about HR proper (i.e. you really fight with your mind more than your two-step and triggerfinger). The six arch-viles eventually set loose on the southwest terrace serve as a basically infinite ammo-generation machine by endlessly resurrecting the zombie corpses up there, which provides an ammo buffer to eliminate any further worries on that front for the rest of the map (you also never need to actually go there again once they've appeared, ironically). As with many of the screwball little exploitations in this map, it's difficult to say for certain if this was something Olivera actively intended or not, but I did find it amusing, either way. Things it would be good for someone to know before playing: * don't fight before equipping the SSG unless you've no choice. You're wasting time and ammo. * rockets are for perched/clustered softbodies and/or viles ONLY. --ONLY-- DO YOU HEAR ME? No fun allowed. This map is Serious Business. (TM) * there's no reason to keep the cyberdemons alive, they can't be used for any amusing purpose. Just kill them as they appear to avoid the hassle of evading them. Remember, boys and girls: serious business. * conveniently, if you stand on the threshold to one of the freestanding buildings in the north yard and fire a shot before it's unbarred, the creatures inside will still wake up and again, thin themselves out quite a bit through infighting. This is a grossly inelegant map, to say the least, and its most interesting aspect is that it's difficult to tell how much of its actual functionality (both the positive and negative) is really deliberate or not, hinging so heavily on exploitation and metagamery as so much of it does. I think the reason why it seems so totally abhorrent and fundamentally unreasonable/unplayable to so many (whereas my reaction was largely wry amusement) is still largely a generational thing -- right or wrong, the fact is that modern audiences take the precept that "requiring foreknowledge or any significant degree of trial/error is wrong" to be true more or less as an article of faith -- but even to a grizzled old fart like me it's pretty clear that this is a clunker which naively assumes that creating a good 'hardcore' map is as simple as ticking off a few boxes. (nice little tune tho) (still not the worst map in the WAD)
  3. Demon of the Well

    Gods&Guardians - Classic 6 map episode (v.1.0)

    @Wraith777 Many thanks for the fixed version, I replayed m02 and went on to finish the rest of the WAD using this build. All of the issues in m02 seem to have been fixed, including the previously nonfunctional lift in m02's YK room. Another player/mapper I spoke to, who had played GnG on the v0.9 build, confirms that the lift worked in that version, and surmises that a lot of m02's issues in v1.0 were due to a revert mishap (i.e. an entire map gets accidentally rolled back to an earlier build while the author is tweaking one specific part). Continuing on, I can confirm only one more definite bug in the rest of the set: at the end of m05, the lift which the player can raise to get back out of the pit with the exit teleporter/spider mastermind enclosure cannot actually be used or activated once raised (the medikit next to said lift is also 'floating' in prB+, incidentally). This is a minor issue in the scheme of things, since the player can actually get back out of the pit without using the broken lift by straferunning across the gaps/ledges back to the entrance from atop the lift at the back of the room (concealing a blursphere and some lost souls, IIRC), but a noticeable blemish nonetheless. I have some uncertainty about secrets in m06, as well. I was able to find 2 of the 3 the map officially registers -- -- and I suspect the third 'secret' might be an unreachable/unregisterable sector (i.e. the aforementioned tiny switch nook), but haven't looked in an editor and so can't confirm this. Given how cleverly concealed some of the WAD's secrets are, I'm fully aware that one of them might have just flat-out defeated me here, heh. Other than this, I was able to achieve maxkills and find all other secrets on all of the maps, even including the unofficial 'secret' in m07. I had a lovely time playing Gods & Guardians (skill 4, pistol-starts). Even though the references to id and id-adjacent maps and authors are generally pretty clear where they appear here, one can surmise why these levels wouldn't have fit in one of the DTWiD projects, as they are much more clean, orderly, complicated, and generally carefully reasoned out to ever be credibly taken as 'authentic' in the capricious, sometimes chaotic mid-90s sense that those projects aimed for. But this is no bad thing! Each of the maps had a strong sense of individual theme and identity, communicated not only through texture scheme but through central progression concepts. While the overall look and feel of the environments is largely "classic" in thrust, there's a strong sense of location to each level, and overall presentation hangs in that somewhat rare atmospheric niche where most of the geometry is pretty nonsensical/abstract Doom stuff but nevertheless hangs together in such a way as to suggest 'real places', i.e. a water treatment plant, a dilapidated sewer system, a disused maintenance junction, an abandoned city quarter, a garrison in the canals of Venice, and so on. Other than m06's track, perhaps, I felt the music selections were spot-on and made a fine compliment to proceedings, providing an extra something-something to differentiate the experience from mapsets that trade primarily on nostalgia. Navigating the complexity of these layouts, working out the puzzles of each location while immersed in that kind of fetching 'classic redux' atmosphere is the set's main pleasure, but I was pleased with the action as well. Generally speaking I'd consider the pacing of the mapset to be pretty leisurely/comfort-food kind of stuff, but I was never bored -- there's no shortage of things to shoot all in all, and the sense of escalation of stakes is carried off pretty well over the course of the six main maps, with the odd occasional toothy trap to add just a touch of sass. A number of the pistol-starts are fairly unconventional/interesting in how much they ask a player to put some thought into resource management, and in some cases how long they ask a player to go with little or no armor and limited armament; not everyone will appreciate this kind of thing, but for my part I felt these unexpected complications mostly played off well against the set's carefully metered handling of monsters/combat and general non-linearity, also helping to differentiate the feel of levels from each other (i.e. m04's pretty conventional loadout vs. m05's deliberate small-arms + chainsaw skew vs. m06's early BFG + prolonged ammo shortage). In the interest of practicality I would probably suggest an earlier/much more obvious placed chaingun pickup for m05, since it's possible to have to do quite a lot of pistoling over the course of what is probably the game's longest map otherwise, but truth be told I didn't really mind doing it all that much while playing myself. So, yes, fine stuff. The vein of big, elaborate adventure-ish maps as seen through a sort of classic/old-fashioned lens that you've been working in since "Alpha Accident" is something that really works for me, and I hope to see more from you someday.
  4. Demon of the Well

    Gods&Guardians - Classic 6 map episode (v.1.0)

    @Wraith777 I've been playing this as well, just recently (prboom-plus, -cl 2, skill 4). It seems that m02 has a number of serious bugs in v1.0 of the WAD. Unfortunately I wasn't recording while playing, but I'll try to describe the issues as precisely as I can below: * The small lift on the east side of the central structure in the room with the yellow key is untagged, and cannot be activated (outside of ZDoom-family ports). This means the player can never get the key, and the level cannot be completed. * Returning to the central ooze-chamber after taking the YK (via IDCLIP in my case), a number of enclosures in the walls have been opened by means of the peripheral platforms where imps/zombies stood lowering to ground level, to release a number of lost souls and cacos. The walls immediately behind the lowered platforms are untextured, and so there are a number of nasty HOMs now present. * In the blue key's area, the small lift which leads up to the elevated walkway on the west side of the room is untagged, and so progress by normal means is again halted past that point. The player *can* actually rocket-jump the gap to reach the walkway from near the teleporter to the soulsphere room at the end of the east (secret) walkway once the shutter there opens, but this didn't strike me as being intentional. * Also in the BK area, something is wrong with the three platforms which encircle the central enclosure where the BK + an arachnatron are found -- one can hear sector movement once the switch nearby is tripped, but the mechanism jams, and so the three platforms with the hell knights on them never lower out of the ceiling. Bugs aside, I'm enjoying what I'm seeing so far. Will report any other bugs encountered.
  5. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 29 -- The Armoury - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA I was going to remark that this might seem like a bit of an odd or 'nontraditional' choice of map for the m29 slot, but it occurs to me that perhaps that's not necessarily true, at least not these days. Looking at a lot of mapsets that I've played the past few years, be they great or small, it seems the notion that m29 (or whatever a set's penultimate map happens to be) should be an epic with all of the gameplay/scenery dials turned all the way to full is something of a declining trope, with more authors/teams preferring a relatively understated 'calm before the storm' sort of approach. More "Limbo" than "The Living End", if you will. After the clean, somewhat squarish and orderly look of m27 and m28, "The Armoury" again feels more thematically in line with the 'corporate minisode' from earlier in E3, i.e. kind of a simple, slightly roughneck melee of bodies in the action department, with a very Deimos-on-Earth flavor to the backdrop. This latter aspect is maybe more pronounced here than an in any other single map in the WAD. The texturing here is Doom II all the way, and there's a combat shotgun and a full compliment of demons from Doom II about; yet, the map itself, with its very loose collection of visual themes from room to room and old-fashioned dungeonesque layout including a dark mini-maze and a BFG 'altar', is very The Shores of Hell, I think. The choice of midi drives this OG Doom feel home all the more, and its presence gives me some confidence I'm not just wildly reading into things here. An uncommon choice of track for reference here, incidentally, very funky/upbeat, a tone which I think really is pretty unusual for m29, regardless of era. Proportionally speaking, a lot of the monsters here skew towards the heavies, but it's not really a map defined much by fights, or really even by danger per se; the single most assertive encounter is the ambush which occurs moments after mapstart. From there, the path forks off into two, eventually meeting up again in the dilapidated-looking blast chamber I've referred to as the BFG's altar; one of these has a security vest, and the other has an SSG. Perhaps somewhat unusually, if survivability is your main concern, the vest may actually be the better tactical choice (or if you know the map already you could just double back and get both before entering the altar), since the plasma gun from the opening + some smart play is enough to afford you a decisive entrance without the SSG, which requires you to soak a not insignificant number of ( likely un-armored) hits from damage-floor in order to reach it and continue on. Assuming you're not weakened to the point of succumbing to a single high-rolled attack from one of the mid-tiers in the altar room, from there proceedings are pretty routine, the biggest diversion being rattling around in the dark little maze sandwiched between the two red-locked access doors in the middle of the map. This mini-maze is also key to the optional BFG sidequest, which could prove very significant to continuous players if they don't already have this weapon -- the BFG makes quite a difference in the balance of m30, I'd warrant, maybe even bordering on what I'd call a drastic one. Knowing this, Phobus has taken pains to make actually reaching this most coveted piece of UAC engineering fairly involved, just as he's made sure that you'll be aware of the BFG's presence from the goings-on in and around the altar room. Assuming you can puzzle out where the yellow key actually is, and what actually opens the door to it (the computer area map from the other secret is of great value in this), there's still the matter of actually making the timed run there; the overall distance and time window is not quite as tight as the similar blue armor secret from way back in m10, but the actual run there is a lot more awkward, doglegged, and convoluted, so precision is at a premium. Even if you're a pistol-starter and don't get to take the big gun with you to the final map, at least you get a moment of catharsis dispatching what can only be described as the 'sacrificial offering' found in that mysterious pit. Map 30 -- Final Test - 111% Kills / No secrets - FDA I passed. Like, a C-, at best. That's still a pass!!! There are some minor technical issues here with the initial segment in the tower interior in prB+ -cl 2 (and in some other ports as well apparently), mainly involving monsters being stuck because their hitboxes overlap/are initially positioned on gaps between different sections of floor. Fortunately, this is probably a pretty simple fix with a bit of fine-tuning and pixel-bitching in the editor, hopefully much less of a hassle for the author than figuring out something for m27's issues is apt to be. So, yeah, I play like total shit here, but the map gives you plenty of resources for success, and so most players should be able to win the day, regardless of personal playstyle (most will probably also be pleased that it's not an IoS setup, presumably since this new Icon is not yet complete/active in the game's storyline). After having no real trouble in the tower interior, I get cocky and don't take the revenants on the outer stairways anywhere seriously enough, scoff the megasphere too soon, and then end up on the back foot for the rest of the map after screwing up a dodge vs. one of the cyberdemons, so it's mostly being careful and pecking what remains to death from afar after that (though I did have to take a dangerous risk rubbing elbows with the other cyb for a few moments to get some more cells). Though the struggle here is mostly a result of my own hubris, it's good to see the final map has the capacity for pronounced adversity. As my commentary on this and other WADs probably suggests, I think one often tends to find the sweetspot of fun at the point where things are just about to, or are just past the point of, getting actually legitimately out of the player's immediate control (as opposed to the player being able to maintain full control and having boundless options at all times) , and this did accomplish that; IIRC I was trying to burn down the first cyber so fast, thus putting myself in a series of dangerous situations, because I was worried the other one I had foolishly stirred up was going to come down the stairs and flank me. This is good; these kinds of possibilities are good. Once again, though, the spiderdemons here are something of a misfire, I feel -- as is, literally the only way to deal with them is to snipe them from afar, peekabo-style yet again (my lack of real patience for this at this point is probably reflected in the play here). This is quite anticlimactic as what is literally the last encounter in the game, my suggestion would be to have some more monsters teleport in on the stairs at the same time the spiders appear, so the player at least has to contest for cover for a few moments. I also totally brain-farted about the final pair of gunswitches. There are certain rationalizations that could be made here -- i.e. the classic 'the switch texture starts in the on position rather than the off position', etc., but this is probably mostly on me. It is perhaps worth noting that pistol-starters receive no hitscan weapons and no hitscan ammo other than the bullets from the backpack item (thus, the final two shots you fire in the game are necessarily from the pistol, which is quite a quirky little detail); it might be worth putting some clips or something near the final corpse with the soulsphere as an additional hint about the pair of gunswitches. These were my personal top 5 from the mapset, no particular order: Map 18 -- Meat Grinder Map 19 -- Fester Map 21 -- Security Station Map 23 -- Corporate Hell Map 28 -- Broundry 3
  6. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 28 -- Broundry 3 -- 107% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Wow, I really shouldn't have gotten away with this one. Just more proof: fortune favors the bold. And also, perhaps, the stupid. I enjoyed this map, it has that intangible sense of bloodiness to it which seldom fails to satisfy. In part this probably stems from the relatively fast/hot start (which there is no reason whatsoever to play as dimwittedly as I did, mind), but the violence has at least a couple of very pronounced additional 'waves' to it, which can be rare in something so small. Perhaps a bit of a "Dead Simple" case in that, while the overall layout is very simple, it happens to make a good frame for the action precisely because it's so intuitive; I was pleased to see that more and more monsters were gather amassing on the outer walkway as I was spazzing about in the center, and I found the square walkway + lava moat setup was naturally inviting for both zooming along and pulping things with the 'zerk fist (refresh my memory, this is the only map which gives the berserk pack freely right at the start, yeah?) and for slinging rockets around. I've seen the comments about how plasma-rich the map is, but my experience was different: after picking up the rocket launcher from the lights-out trap, I made frequent use of it, and had actually already killed all of the active creatures and opened the exit before I picked up the plasma gun (the plasma gun ambush itself is appreciated and made a good topper in this regard). The map plays well with the RL, and thankfully the supply of rockets is nearly as generous as the supply of cell charges, proportionately speaking. I personally find the RL more fun to use than the PG as general rule, so no complaints there, and I would not consider the latter being easy to miss until later (apparently) to be a problem. The one aspect of the map that I don't think works all that well is the spider mastermind. Its positioning is sensible enough 'on paper' as a kind of big bad guardian of the level's second important switch, but in practice another simplistic game of peekaboo vs. this enemy type (which the mapset has already had more than once by this point) isn't terribly thrilling, and slows the map's pace a bit. If I were to play it again, I would probably try to get the spider distracted with one of the other enemies in the room, then slip behind it to the aforementioned switch, and then make it gun-turret down all of the other creatures that charge the breech shortly thereafter.
  7. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 26 -- Upper Management - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA This is the third episode's breather map. Other than the final ambush, which has theoretically high pain potential but is also very heavily telegraphed, here we see very light, almost quaint action, even borders on feeling a little patronizing to me, but that's a very subjective read, of course -- the concept of a breather map is a valid and often useful/wise inclusion no matter how your episode or megaWAD is pitched and who your target audience is (even if that audience is just supposed to be yourself, I'd warrant), and when short/casual is your modus operandi your breather map is going to be extra short and very casual, natch. Apart from feeling like it's tuned more in line with the E1 maps, in other ways this still very clearly belongs to E3, both in the leering, brooding woodcut texture theme and in the sense that the building itself is, again and still, toying with us; once again the exit is teased from the outset and then pulled away, there are a lot of one-time motion triggers which tempt you with goodies only to withhold them if you show even the slightest hesitation (permanently, in the case of the single official secret), and the back hallway is another crusher-run. Satan knows what the execs use this for....the coffee machine probably used to be in one of those dark closets, and they'd make the junior partners make gofer runs through there, that'd be my guess. Anyway, a Sunday stroll this might well be, but Kansas it definitely ain't. In the FDA, I make it into the SSG/switch room on the lower floor before the door closes, albeit more on accident than by cunning intent. Presumably most players are supposed to get shut out here, but being able to get in there early reads to me as something that the author very much planned for and was willing to allow -- apart from the early SSG, you can also go through the rear hall 'backwards' from here, which apart from the slight changes in encounter timings also saves you having to deal with the crushers (their actuation trigger is shortly after the start of the 'normal' route). This is a neat idea, from a progression perspective. IIRC I also actually reach the one-time blue armor secret, which actually *is* the result of me using my brain for once (i.e. I beeline for it as soon as my brain registers it because I've already seen lots of one-time actions in the map by this point). Map 27 -- Press Gang - DNF - FDA This map breaks fatally (in prB+ -cl 2) if the player triggers the floor crusher in the 'control room', and a baron (or dozens of them) is caught on the crushing sector. What happens is that this type of crusher does not do enough damage to kill a (healthy) baron, and so they will become stuck, still alive/solid, in the ceiling, which functionally 'jams' the mechanism, i.e. the (one-time) switch which is supposed to lower the sector back down fails, meaning you can never reach the yellow card or leave the area. Depending on if you try to press the switch for the slow-crusher in the ceiling before or after activating the switch meant to lower the floor-crusher back to ground level, the slow-crusher will either activate or fail to activate, but activating it would also jam the mechanism if it weren't already so, and so the map is uncompletable either way. Confused yet? This is what happens in the FDA -- I tried the map twice, and broke it in the same basic way both times because I didn't yet understand the problem (you can see me repeatedly hammering impotently on switches that obviously aren't going to do anything because I was confused by the ceiling crusher activating on the first run but not the second). Presumably, this issue does not occur if whatever gets caught on the floor crusher is actually killed (and thus, rendered non-solid/crushed) by it; I'm not very conversant with how damaging this effect actually is, but I know it's fairly weak, often failing to kill a player (at 100% health) if s/he is armored at the time of being caught, which incidentally also causes a dead game state. The Eternity Engine reportedly autocorrects the malfunction as seen here under standard settings, and I would assume (G)ZDoom does as well. Here is another (crappy) demo, showing what is presumably the intended map solution. This is played in -cl2 as well, but the map doesn't break because I don't touch the floor-crusher; the slow-crusher alternative neatly makes Philly goatsteak of all the hell-meat, and everything else works fine. Note that the floor-crusher and the slow-crusher are mutually exclusive effects; if the slow-crusher is activated first, the floor-crusher cannot be activated, and no harm is done if you try -- the floor remains at ground level, and you simply zip under the crusher, nab the yellow card, and continue on your merry way. Bugs aside, the map's an interesting concept, and a clever piece of scenario-craft, though I imagine it's going to be problematic and perhaps mildly infamous to some degree. I think the general solution is fairly intuitive (and the map is small enough that you can work it out with a little experimentation even if the whole scheme's not immediately clear), though this ironically might be because I'm accustomed to pistol-start play: from pistol-start, it's crystal-clear that you don't have the ammo to defeat the barons in direct combat, and so you need to seek an alternative solution. A continuous player carrying a lot more ammo and weaponry might feel that they are meant to fight the barons (not the least of which, if you'll pardon my frankness/sass, because habitual continuous players are likely more accustomed to getting away with/stubborning through whatever the first plan to come to mind is as a general rule), which is probably not especially entertaining, and certainly a disservice to the map. Also, even when functioning as intended, the double-doors setup is a little fucky, and occasionally quite a few barons will squirt out even if you do exactly what you're meant to do. This can be precluded to a large degree with a bit of metagamery: don't ever fire a shot when the barons can hear you, and few if any of them will have the chance to get out since only the ones that can actually see you as you dive for each switch will awaken. However, the sound propagation in the map doesn't play quite fair/consistently, whether by design or oversight -- the barons can hear you if you fire anywhere in the floor-lowering trap, even with all the doors closed -- which adds an extra layer of jank. I like to see this kind of thing, myself, and I absolutely think it should be left in the set and all that -- it's certainly memorable, certainly clever, and once you understand it you can pull it off consistently, no sweat. The question is if everyone will have the patience to work out how to do that, and I don't think it would be unfair for someone to feel that it's kind of 'off-brand' in some significant ways vs. the rest of the mapset. I guess giving away the answer in the demo loop (which you mention in the textfile) could be taken as smoothing this over, but....yeah, good luck with that, s'all I'll say as far as that goes. Whatever the case, I think it's a neat map, but definitely needs some rejigging and fine-tuning, though, suffice to say.
  8. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    @Phobus I'm sure I "saw" the SSG in m21 in the sense that it was visible through the marine's visor at some point, but either my little lizard brain never really registered its presence, apparently, that or something must've distracted me right after picking up the RL. My ignoring it wasn't deliberate, in any case. But it hardly mattered -- the pump-action shotgun and chaingun are fine for shooting it out with the level's population of fodder, and rockets and plasma are a better option for the incursion of arch-viles at the end anyway. Map 24 -- The Front Line - 103% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA This map strikes me as something that would have been at home in the pre-Hell part of the original Scythe. While these later maps in general appear to be dialing in and focusing more on combat in general than the earlier levels did, the overall pattern of small maps comprised of small discrete parts and thus, small discrete encounters has for the most part continued to hold steady. The miniature sandbox arrangement of m21 works in a bit of a different direction in the sense that you could choose to play it as more of an ongoing/unstructured engagement, yes, but "The Front Line" marks the first time where the author seems to be aiming for something a little more freeform as central to the map's character. Basically, here we see a slightly delayed (and thus, surprising) kickstart in the form of being suddenly dropped into the middle of a hostile area, with enemies approaching from all sides. It's not all one open space or arena per se -- there's still a sense of individual rooms or burrows, separated by short but sinuous tunnels -- but there is no solid segmentation between them in the forms of doors or lifts or whatnot, which essentially means that every monster the area contains is roaming and in play for the course of the entire battle (naturally excepting a handful of creatures perched on ledges, who are active but of course can't roam), which is far more pronounced than even in something like m16 earlier, where even though monsters could move through the layout, in practice the action would still tend to parcel out into discrete rooms or 'pods' of creatures. In this map, by contrast, 90% of the action in the level takes place as one variable and ongoing battle, whether you choose to try to hole up somewhere and play defense, or do what I did and go careening about like a headless chicken. Again, in the scheme of things this is a small battle, but the change in tenor is helpful for the sense of variety, both because it's a different kind of fight we've not seen much of in the set, and because it's a 'gimmick' that's about a fight rather than a piece of sector machinery. The last bit of action in the map is again trap-based, and while it's a familiar setup by this point the traps themselves seem to be getting a little more insistent, if nothing else. I'm not sure what the hell I thought I was trying to do in the FDA, I made that whole bit a lot more complicated than it needed to be. The combat armor secret will really take the edge off if you reach it timely, but I was in a hurry and didn't clue in to it until after all was silent. Map 25 -- Middle Management - 104% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA A somewhat ugly but nevertheless entertaining map with an amusing and thematically fitting midi, presenting a short series of breach + clear fights, i.e. fights where there's a large concentration of enemies entrenched in a room, and you have to bust in and clean house, since they aren't going to come to you. Heavy weapons are available freely by this point in the WAD's progression, so you're more than adequately armed, and a pair of soulspheres (one of them secret, granted) plus a number of other bodily aids afford you high survivability. So don't be a chickenshit! Get in there and take care of business, shake up the establishment a bit. This being a floor dedicated to middle management, it has probably very rarely seen much in the way of actual work being done. There's not much else to say. The trap at the exit is a sassy gesture, but would probably be more effective if the two viles were to split up more, rather than both landing at more or less the same place.
  9. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 21 -- Security Station - 114% Kills / No secrets - FDA I get a very TNT (read: Evilution) vibe from this one, it kind of feels like that particular group's take on a 'sandbox' map -- i.e. fairly small (in comparison to other strains of the sub-genre anyway) but also fairly elaborate and involved, some might say to a minor fault. As others have remarked, the progression logic of the map is all about the switch-porn; you have the full run of the outer court from the get-go, but accomplishing literally any other progression step in the map requires interaction with a switch, even for actions as simple as opening (repeatable) doors, and I can see where it could be easy to lose track of just what the overall plot is, both as a result of this unusually high degree of articulation in general and because it is not always immediately clear what some of the switches (typically the more milestone ones, tellingly) actually do. Because the level is small (still one of the largest ones in this particularly mapset, though, tellingly), it is not too much of an ask to find the way forward by simply rechecking old ground, and depending on your level of experience it eventually becomes evident that the map is using kind of a Hexen-esque "hub" scheme in miniature: each of the four 'quadrants' has switchwork which gives you access to the same quad from a different angle or approach (and sometimes access to a bonus weapon in the public yard as well), and the keycards themselves gate final progression through the quads into a set order. It's a lot to take in, perhaps, but there's a method to the madness. The benefit of such 'interactively busy' progression is that it creates the sense that you're doing something in-world, as opposed to just running through a dungeon and shooting stuff, though the risk is that it can bog down momentum if someone overlooks something. For my part, I found the red-locked quadrant went perhaps a bit overboard (I see no real justification for the existence of the red switch, as opposed to simply having the red card open red doors, like all of the other cards in the map do), and I overlooked the SSG (which presumably became available at more or less the same time and in the same way that the RL did), but did not find the overall scheme too hard to parse, though again, I'm something of a relic and familiar with old-fashioned progression schemes. Fortunately, regardless of one's travails with the map mechanics, there's a hearty dose of shoot-'em-uppery to keep things moving along. The station is crawling with zombies and other low-level undead, and so all the while you're dialing dials and sliding sliders and toggling toggles and all that happy-crappy you're also spraying lead like a firehose and splattering quasi-decomposed meat all over the shiny patent-chrome. While not large, this is a level that feels very good to run around and kind of improv the battles in, not only because most enemies can be engaged with from more than one angle but precisely because its highly circuitous progression scheme means you get several opportunities for engaging with each group if you don't simply clear them all out methodically from the start. The final group of vulture-viles is a very nice touch and makes for a good climax in a set (and a mapping genre, I daresay) that doesn't have a lot of very pronounced climaxes. It's big enough to chase you around and covers ground convincingly (if you IDDT near the end of my FDA you'll see that there's at least one whole other squad I never meet, despite the 114% killscore), and while of course the terrain being littered with dead former humans takes the edge of pursuit off a bit, it does read as a natural extension of the Rambo-style action which characterizes the rest of the map, since now you get to enjoy mowing all those hapless security goons down a second time. Map 22 -- Power Trip - 100% Kills / 33% Secrets - FDA A short but relatively intense helping of plasma-spamming action, as the title may suggest. It's more or less made to be plowed through, using the plasma gun like a lawnmower, though you aren't really required to do so (there is never any pressure from the rear to force you forward), and indeed it's probably wise to hang back a bit and use some cover against the droves of zombies early on. The diabolical-looking 'imp sauna' area in the center of the map, by contrast, reads much more naturally as a place you can simply wade into, since you'll need to press forwards at some point for fresh cell charges anyway. The darkened stairway wave is more of the same delivered in even simpler fashion, though I do like the dramatic, backlit look of the action here. The final room is....something. It might seem like a bit of a pickle if you don't nab one or both of the (rather obnoxious) one-time secret powerups upon entering, but if you just use your head a bit it's really nothing more imposing than a slight breeze. I did not really understand the point or value of the secret teleport back to the start of the map, and indeed found it to also be vaguely obnoxious at the time, though in hindsight I would guess that it does have a purpose, perhaps to let you make a second pass at clearing out enemies you might have missed in earlier rooms while plowing through the first time, though if so this plays off rather oddly against the one-time secrets in the final watery chamber. Map 23 -- Corporate Hell - 103% Kills / 50% Secrets - FDA Somewhat discordant-looking compact techbase level, very Deimos-in-Doom II in aspect, which seems to lean into its somewhat chaotic/abstract appearance through the use of lots of stark lighting effects, with some areas constantly yo-yo-ing from pitch dark to fully lit. The geometry itself is quite simplistic in shape and scale but also manages to communicate a certain sense of manic energy, with doors flying open and slamming shut in front of you, a somewhat inscrutable crusher hallway on the upper level, and creatures regularly popping out of broom closet-sized cubbies jam-packed into the walls of most of the rooms. This is one of the set's stronger examples of creating entertaining action using tiny spaces and (comparatively) small numbers of creatures, I thought. Enemies are densely-packed and most battles are at melee range; while most players of some experience should find it very manageable, it has a certain air of intensity and urgency in that it does actually make you keep on the trigger and stay mindful of your surroundings, as opposed to merely politely asking you to, as is often the case in the genre at large. The double loop through the layout to actually reach the exit could read as contrived to a certain mindset, but I think it plays well with the aforementioned sense that the building itself has a malign sentience, and having creatures spill out of the walls to repopulate the second loop creates a sense of violence and hard-fought progress which, again, tends to be rare in such short maps.
  10. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 20 -- Reclamation - 104% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Another tiny one, again rather badly played by me. It's action-oriented foremost, but the raising walkway/tower construction at the center of the map figures prominently as well, and has to be managed while under at least a nominal degree of incoming fire, and so in that sense the integration of standard gameplay and the WAD's running theme of sector/line machinery reads as more complete and organic here, vs. earlier maps where these two facets of play have tended to exist in relative isolation. I felt that the tininess of the actual physical structure (i.e., of the map as a whole) undercuts the potential spectacle of the tower construction, and the need for double switchpresses rather than single at each stopping point can seem a bit odd, though I suspect the x2 increments have been adopted in the interest of straightforward functionality (these actions can get fuck-y the more precious a creator gets about specific relative scales), and we would miss them if they were gone. Retreating to the tower as a firing point from which to attack the welcoming committee at the end of the little climb is a good idea, and feels like the intended design, which again helps the sense of integration between this puzzle-oriented structure and the rest of the standard Doom gameplay. The cyberdemon is a little surprising (or maybe not, if you remember this map is concluding episode 2), and the limited space at the top of the climb makes for a decent battleground for a straightforward one-on-one. Bearing in mind that this does end an episode, I expected something a little more dramatic at the exit itself, somehow (like the use of the lift out of the dark at the end of the preceding map or somesuch).
  11. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 18 -- Meat Grinder - 102% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Yes, I think I would tend to agree with the general consensus, this is one of the set's strongest maps to this point, perhaps the strongest. Certainly it's the deepest and richest, regardless of one's personal enjoyment of what's on offer here. To some extent this a function of its significantly greater expanse, perhaps, but size alone hardly explains it -- being bigger/longer may afford a map greater potential than something small and simple (or so I would personally tend to argue), but actually realizing said potential is quite another matter. Does size and scale add something of value to proceedings, or does it simply make concepts take longer than is good for them to play out? This particular map works out quite well in this regard, I think; it seems to me like the sort of level where, no matter who you are and how you play, something interesting is likely to happen to you. My blind demo of it is rather bad -- apart from a lot of poor play in general, I totally embarrass myself with a Darwin Award-grade Good at Doom Moment (TM) somewhere in there, and get lost for quite some time looking for one of the blue doors -- but still has a number of thrilling developments despite my bumbling, which generally speaks well of a level. Actual progression is linear/rigid, but the layout itself is quite non-linear, open spaces and elongated paths (many of which look over or in on each other) invite you to move through them at speed, and potential for monster-wandering is high, which means the ball is not always necessarily in your court as regards when, where and how fights occur (I think this is usually a good thing). Your route and particular habits can thus play off against both the initially stationed creatures and the later introductions in a variety of ways; the arch-vile and revenants which appear at a different point in the map once you collect the blue keycard in particular can end up in some rather interesting places and interactions, particularly if you don't initially realize they're there, and of course the link which opens between the big southern waste dump and the central meat-yard seems to exist expressly to allow the cyberdemon access to other parts of the map. This is quite savvy; being on ooze and *apparently* 'contained' and all that means that even continuous players may be somewhat dissuaded from actually killing him in his initial location (though I'm sure some are boring/joyless enough to plink him to death from the safety of a ledge, sure...), and you get a lot of potential payoff for having him around later, particularly if he's still in the mix when the big spider shows up. Many players probably will not see or realize the number of ways you can flex/stretch the map's gameplay on the first run (I certainly didn't), but I see this as one of its strengths -- a map that is truly worth replaying. Secrets here are satisfying as well -- again, these chain into each other and into particular pieces of combat in some interesting ways -- and the more chaotic theming of the visuals makes the level look a bit more alive than many of its predecessors (if you'll pardon the pun) . The central meat-yard does read as a mite empty (it's overscaled even for the potential Gotcha! showdown), though the big blood pool does look surprisingly realistic/convincing if you're looking out over it from the arachnatrons' perch at the southwest end. Only real complaint is the lift "puzzle" in the central chamber -- this I see as a simple nuisance which adds nothing of substance, and actually detracts from the level's flow and non-linearity, which are otherwise its best qualities. To make this relevant, having to double back to a side entrance to keep the lift from deactivating needs to at least expose you to some kind of danger or an actual designed subplot, and neither is the case; even with the vagaries of monster-pathing and all that (i.e. you have to quickly dip back into the meat-yard, and maybe something is moving around out there) this reads as tacked-on. Nevertheless, this is a good map. Map 19 -- Fester - 130% Kills / 0% Secrets - FDA I liked this one as well. I generally don't make it a secret that it's difficult to impress me with tiny maps, and particularly with tiny maps that are also on the casual side, but something about "Fester" just works for me. I reckon a lot of it is down to the atmosphere....the map has this sort of sinister feel to it, equal parts sleaze and macabre, probably primarily a function of the texture scheme -- it's like Deimos but in a grody old shitcaked sewer, which is a surprisingly rare combo? -- and some rather weird (if smallscale) architecture, though I did think the BGM track fit it like a glove as well, for a change. It's not a difficult map, but it's very, very trap-y, and so communicates a lot of character in a way that many of the other tiny maps (which have tended to be more mechanically gimmicky in some way) have not. It's like....it's like an ill-treated and very black-hearted little chihuahua or something, half-blind and lame and snaggletoothed and full of hate. It can't really hurt you, but it absolutely would if it could, and you both know it. Many of the traps are predictable, particularly the later ones (by which point you as the player really should have clued in to the fact that traps are the map's Thing), but the weird architecture plus the player's agency generally not being micro-managed (as it sometimes is in gauntlet-style maps, for good or ill) once again means you can find yourself in some unusual scenarios, as in when I find myself besieged in the YK chamber when doubling back through the area -- the 130% killscore does not come from nowhere. This kind of nastiness in tone also meshes quite well with the aforementioned atmosphere, I think. And so, I can't really agree with the "filler" assessment in this case -- vs. something like m07, which is all tone and almost no substance, this is tone and substance, albeit a very small serving. Reading that it was apparently nerfed to hell makes me genuinely interested to see the original version, as well, and I would be the first to endorse the reintroduction of some of that original nastiness in the name of tonal appropriateness (not that this surprises anyone, I'm sure).
  12. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 16 -- Unruly Cargo - 100% Kills / No secrets - FDA Hey, I mean, there's taste, and then there's taste. This midi is fucking terrible, not just in the sense of ill-fitting but of also being a really drool-drippingly cheesy rendition of an already corny song, though one gets the impression that the intention here might be for a bit of a "so bad it's good" kinda deal. I don't think it works. :) Map's fine, though. The Doomcute-fu is very strong here, and makes a stronger impression here than in any of the previous maps, both because it's consistent throughout the entire setting (the same was true in m01 I suppose, but it's so short it barely registers) and simply because it's pulled off well. This kind of (space)ship interior map is something of its own minor but quite defined trope throughout PWAD history, and so I've seen a lot of crew quarters, a lot of cargo holds, a lot of engine rooms, a lot of command decks, a lot of mess halls/cantines, and you better believe a helluva lotta med bays; and, tellingly, Phobus' renderings of each here are quite recognizable while being mostly pretty original in their particulars. Lots of nice little details as well, some of which are rather grim (i.e. the literal pile of corpses of the ex-crew, presumably to be jettisoned), which incidentally is part of why I found the midi so ill-fitting, but enough about that already. It makes for a pretty decent shootout, or it should a lot of the time, anyway. There are a good number of monsters (the majority of them fodder) packed in to what is once again a very compact layout, and so the vagaries of pathing and sound propagation often create a situation where this or that zombified crewman stumbles dimwittedly through distant rooms on his way towards you while you fight his odorous cohorts at the tail of the ship, thus waking up more baddies, who in turn path out towards you in any number of possible ways, creating a sort of minor cascade of monster-wandering and thus a certain element of unpredictability in the encounters. The overall level of monster density is too subdued/restrained for anything resembling real chaos to break out, mind you -- for my part, I'd happily kill twice the number of zombies that we see, and very likely more -- but this kind of built-in variability is more often than not a good asset for a map at whatever pitch, adding additional replay value which can be particularly rare in small maps. I also like that we don't bother with "security overrides" or "refactoring coordinates" or "attempting to get a message out to Earth ATC" or anything like that. Once we're ready to leave, we get off by blowing up the engine and smashing the ship into a large UAC structure as a substitute for brakes/landing gear. Map 17 -- Entrance Made - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Yes, that's certainly one way to do it, indeed (and we're just fine, of course -- our helmet, Bowie-boots, and bellyshirt combo are both highly flame-retardant and impact-resistant). The strange leap through the "exploding rings" or whatever they are right after mapstart, apropos of nothing, feels oddly fitting, somehow -- very gratuitously action-y. So, this is certainly something different for this mapset, a level which is very openly encounter-focused, comprised of three distinct fights with a definite sense of choreography to them vs. the largely incidental action which has dominated to this point. The first of these is almost certainly the most dangerous, though both the second and third fights seem like they can go wrong pretty quickly as well, which is predicated largely on the primary weapon (for pistol-starters at least) once again being the rocket launcher, which of course has an added risk of self-harm against concerted monster-rushes in what are still mostly rather small spaces. So, that first fight. I almost snuffed it here -- took some environmental damage, also got tagged by a vile -- but since it's pretty obvious the room's a trap I was able to burn through it by going all-offense from the moment it kicked off, quickly eliminating one of the viles and clearing a path to the radsuit, at which point the fight's basically won. Still, if both viles had attacked at once at the outset, I'd have been toast. Now, from what I can tell (and maybe this is something else I've totally misinterpreted), the central chrome pillar, which is driven by a pair of facing switches on the central platform, is meant to be a dynamic source of cover, but.....I've replayed the map a couple of times, and I don't think this is tactically functional in practice. It's far too slow to lower into position, and is thus very unreliable (you can amuse yourself by hiding inside of it while the monsters rage outside, but while amusing, this is not even remotely effective). Since this construction is really only relevant to a pistol-starter to begin with (continuous players probably will, and might as well, just tank through the encounter anyway), I'd heartily suggest at least making the pillar come down fast to give it some kind of viability, though in truth, I don't think it's really critical to the fight any way you slice it, and thus this is all arguably meaningless. Fight Two is all about simple target prioritization, in that you should commit to wiping out one of the major monster incursions into your space (i.e. gasbags or revenants), rather than trying to spread damage around and fight on two fronts, pretty straightforward other than that -- watch out for the specters, though. I actually like Fight Three the most, it's the hardest to predict ahead of time, and while it's probably the easiest of the three in that there are several different ways to exploit it (try priming the troll-door, and then hiding on the other side of it while the monsters tear themselves apart :D ), I feel it commands the most spectacle, and being able to break it in ways that are both amusing and functional gives it a bit of leg-up over Fight One. Edit: Oh yeah, through pure dumb luck I didn't even notice the troll-door at the start (i.e. the Frustration Door, as famously enshrined in Memento Mori II's m07) until the second time I played the map. Funny how that goes!
  13. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 31 -- Holiday - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA The night scene at the bar here, out on the beach, is very pleasant. As the name implies, I'm sure this is precisely the point. I've always had a soft spot for maps set at night, particularly if parts of them are outdoors. A warm sort of nostalgia, and again the very 90s midi (which I probably would IDMUS away from almost instantly under other circumstances!) feeds into that. Presumably we're out of Triacontathlon territory here; this is full-on Doomcute from start to finish, putting it much more in line with the opening maps from the set, and indeed it reads as something where the whole raison d'etre is precisely just to amble around and admire the lovingly made sector-beds, the sector-grill, sector-urinals, and so forth. In the demo, I missed the secret exit on the initial play, but I realized pretty quickly what was up, and opted for a rocket-suicide and a flash replay so I could access it and the super-secret map legit. This is, of course, an iteration of one of Doom's most seldom-seen (and most seldom-relevant) line effects, that being a 'fuse' trigger which causes the door it's paired with to close permanently after a set amount of time, 30 seconds I think? The timer starts as soon as you move, and you've got to get into and through the kitchen, around the inside of the bar, and into the small room behind it in that time frame, before the door closes. Many players may not realize that this action even exists in the engine, so seldom is it seen (though this map's tiny and simple nature may give a better-than-average chance for someone to witness/work out what's happening for themselves, which is almost never the case where this action is used), and in that sense the secret could be read as quite mean, but once you're clued in to what's happening by one means or another actually making the run there's a snap, even from pistol-start. 30 seconds is a long time in Doom! Map 32 -- The Waiting Room - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Hey, a real fight! I'm glad I made the effort to get here. That's all this is, a straight-up fight, far more intense than anything seen in the WAD to this point, which rewards (continuous) players with a BFG, and all of us with some nice stress-relief. The fight plays out as a series of timed waves, at first cleverly gated by an array of gunswitch meat-shutters initially dividing the room into smaller segments (I guess the idea here is you bully some eldritch thing by flicking a booger into its eye, and it gets flustered and gradually loses control over these barriers it was maintaining), with some surprise teleport waves in the later stages. Depending on whether and to what degree you're used to this general kind of thing, I imagine this can either seem very brutal or a stroll in the park. For the most part I think the timings of the different waves are quite well-judged for how quickly the average player will be able to clear them from pistol-start (using carryovers I imagine you probably see a lot of downtime between the first few...?), though the time between the start of the third wave (i.e. mancubus + rocket launcher chamber) and the initial opening of the outer hall did strike me as noticeably overlong, perhaps. The sense of escalation is as about as pronounced as it needs to be for a set like this, as well, I'd warrant; whoever your target audience is, I think a map like this (esp. one that's situated in slot 32) needs to try to push things "slightly too far" to make the desired memorable impression, and I think the final big wave of imps, which I myself was genuinely surprised to see, accomplishes this without elevating the map too far out of the comfort zone the mapset as a whole seems to aim to occupy. I would personally probably suggest increasing the map's rocket count (maybe replace the bullet boxes in the outer hall with rocket cases), in the name of "fun" rather than in the name of "challenge", mind you, though obviously the balance is highly functional as it currently stands, as well.
  14. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    @Phobus After a quick runaround in -nomonsters mode, it seems the softlock in m15 stems from the gap in the floor which is created by the one-time gunswitch secret in the west/timed-shutters room. If you access that secret area, but drop down from the crates and circle back around rather than proceeding directly to platform across crates to the 'correct' side of the problem door, you can proceed past the secret area into the hall beyond, finding the section of floor next to the problem door has remained lowered, and you can drop down into the gap, thus landing on the 'wrong' side of the door. This is highly likely to occur in the current build, since the computer map and small bonus items on top of the crates naturally lead players in that direction, and a likely (necessary?) drop back to the floor, rather than towards the proper/intended entry into the next secret area. Edit: props to @eirc , beat me to saying basically the same thing.
  15. Demon of the Well

    The DWmegawad Club plays: 25 Years on Earth

    Map 14 -- Water Treatment - 100% Kills / 100% Secrets - FDA Bit of an outlier here. Versus the realistic/representational handling of many of the earlier maps, "Water Treatment" has more of an IWAD or 'classic' Doom feel, being mostly abstract and only very vaguely/loosely seeming to actually resemble its name (though there is some water about, oddly found on the upper rather than lower levels). The overall vibe is in something of a Deimos-on-Earth vein, industrial composite and piping in one room, catacomb skull-walls and demonic marble frescoes in the next, that jazz. It's a clean presentation, with some amusing aspects to it (notice the cacodemons hiding in plain sight but in the pitch dark outside the map when you get ready to work across the upper shelf), though like the other Triancontathlon maps it does perhaps read as slightly out of place at this particular party. On that note, though, I do think this is one of the more enjoyable maps from that particular project. Like the others, it's a short map, and there are a couple of single paths that are necessary, but most of its rooms and areas either have more than one entry/exit or are only soft-segmented from others, and thus can be approached from different directions and handled in different ways, so there's a lot of mileage for gameplay variety which naturally stems just from that alone. For example, in the FDA I fight the series of attack waves on the upper shelf one by one, but you can also dash through or retreat to the lower shelf, and bombard the whole throng of them from there. The group of high-damage monsters in the final room also presents quite a different type of pressure depending on whether you enter the room though the main door on the lower level, or through the upstairs side door to the southeast. A non-fatal/mostly non-harmful bug found in the FDA: I managed to lineskip the tripwire which is supposed to close the gates at the large trap in the north end, meaning I could have ignored it entirely. As it happens, I stood in the nukage and simply burned it down with the RL. While my approach probably would have been basically the same even if the gate had worked -- the damage from the nukage is largely insignificant if you've found the soulsphere earlier -- the gate malfunctioning nevertheless does undercut the fight concept, since you aren't forced to charge back towards the big ambush group (which makes using the just-acquired RL tricky) if it fails. Since the area very much "looks like a trap", I think you'll tend to see this happens to players fairly regularly, and so it's probably worth addressing with failsafe lines or similar. Map 15 -- Spaceport - DNF - FDA Like a number of the other players, I ran afoul of the softlock near the blue skullswitch southeast of the crate warehouse. I might have rocket-suicided here and resumed, but not knowing at the time just what had gone wrong, I was concerned it would happen again and so stopped the playthrough there (picked it up again a bit later and just happened to avoid the lock on that run). The problem and solution are simple; the small door just a few feet away from the switch simply needs to be openable from both sides, particularly since players are arguably *more* likely to see this side of it first. While we're on the subject of malfunctions, the paired shutters in the room on the west side certainly feel very buggy, or at least obnoxious. My read on this is that the functioning as seen is what's actually intended, but this might be worth retooling a bit regardless simply as an act of kindness. (The one-time secret in that same room I have no real qualms with; it's pretty clearly telegraphed, though granted it's certainly possible to accidentally hit the switch with gunfire while clearing the room whether or not you know it's there.) Bugs aside, the map as a whole is pretty enjoyable. It's far from a death-march, but it feels a lot more populated than some of the earlier 'lite' maps; since this population is almost entirely fodder, it's not super-dangerous and thus doesn't throw the accessible difficulty curve out of whack (or so I would argue, at least), but the extra bodycount adds a sense of liveliness. Props for an entertaining crate room (and a linear one at that), this classic trope is very much an "easier said than done" sort of proposition as regards gameplay. Oh, and neat spaceship too. How much you wanna bet that's a future level, folks?
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