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Demon of the Well

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About Demon of the Well

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    The Gatekeeper

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  1. Demon of the Well

    Do you always play the Secret Maps?

    I always find them, and I always play them at least once. Finding them is usually no big deal (and indeed, in many cases, the secret exit will purposefully be made obvious enough that it's practically begging you to take it), and in those rare cases when it *is* a big deal, most modern authors take care to make sure that the payoff is worth it, or that the search is intriguing enough in its own right to be self-justifying. I'd warrant that this is because, in most cases, the author wants the secret levels to be found, wants the search for them to be enjoyable, and wants them to be played, because all of these things are seen as a worthwhile part of the experience. If this weren't the case, why bother making them? It's hardly obligatory, after all. Myself, I enjoy looking for hidden things, and I'd remark that it's like anything else, i.e. it may seem to be a pain in the ass at first, especially if you've never really given it much thought before, but once you get some practice it soon enough becomes like second nature, and a facility that can enrich your future play experiences in ways great and small. I suppose a certain kind of author may lament the alleged "death of mystery", i.e. that nothing is truly secret anymore because it's common knowledge which mapslots house the secret exits, everyone knows the cheat codes like IDDT and IDCLIP, and so on and so forth, but more and more ports are now increasingly able to break these old rules and regain a level of real 'secrecy' for secret levels by hiding exits in new ways and in places which may be unexpected. I find the prospect stimulating, and look forward to these new and less formalized hunts. Of course, if your artistic mandate is to make something no one is likely to ever find 'naturally' just for the sake of having done so, you still have the option of not flagging anything "secret", and perhaps more difficult, keeping your silence about what you've done for weeks, months, years, etc. ;)
  2. Hello, I've been playing and very much enjoying this, just completed the unexpected (but most welcome) silent diversion that is m10, "Derelict", satisfying to figure out, particularly the secret with the four bulk cells (who's a good boy, who's a good boy??? etc.). The current RC, magspire_RC21.wad, seems to have an oversight for the player start position of m11 -- you just spawn on a death exit and instantly leave the map no matter what you do (and in some ports you see a text scrawl describing the events that supposedly transpired in that map). I reckon it won't be terribly hard to figure out what the actual intended start position is meant to be, so with a little IDxxx black magic I'll figure it out and proceed that way, but in the meantime this certainly seems like a bug worth mentioning. I'm also not entirely convinced that the secret exit in m05 (which is, conceptually speaking, quite clever and again, satisfying to figure out) will work as intended in all ports, but it's possible I'm simply missing a piece of the puzzle and it does actually work as intended. For the sake of thoroughness, I'm reporting my experience here. Basically, as far as I can figure out: Bugs and some rough edges and other RC-isms aside, this is really engrossing stuff, and I'd freely recommend it. The strange visuals and color scheme and the unusual atmosphere they serve may be the most obvious talking point, but the WAD is the total package, and has a lot of prime Doom to offer, whether you love action, or adventure, or puzzles, or all of the above. Check it out, folks.
  3. Demon of the Well

    seeking claustrophobic "adventure" maps; ruins, caves, etc.

    This should fit: Grotto of the Scorned , by Valhen
  4. About those switches, in the current version, they won't actually crush the monsters, as a 'true' crushing action has not been used, so the white posts meant to pulp the caged baddies will simply press gently against their heads like a lover's caress until they're killed by conventional means. Here is an FDA demonstrating this, recorded in PrB+ -complevel 2; this behavior is evidently different in some classic-type ports. Despite this bug, the map is actually still quite maxable with a little elbow grease, mind. I quite like how proceedings suddenly go batshit crazy after the portal behind the red door, I genuinely was not expecting something like that. :)
  5. @Murdoch here's my strategy for the final fight in Cyanotic Dreams, which worked for me during my playthrough on skill 4: The room is a big circle with a solid but fairly narrow spoke in the center, essentially a clockface without numerals. The switch which kicks off the action is at 6 o'clock; monsters spawn more or less simultaneously (the only thing keeping them back from all appearing literally at once is limited standing room, basically) in two-tiered fronts on the quadrants loosely aligned to 3, 9, and 12 o'clock; these are revenants + zombies; arch-viles + imps, and hell knights + cacodemons, respectively. The 6 o'clock quadrant where you're standing at the outset remains free of spawns, giving you a space to work from, though of course you have to act decisively and without hesitation as soon as the fight begins, as there is very little cover and nowhere to run. What you want to do is hit the switch at 6 and immediately nuke the arch-viles. You can (and should) pull the BFG's trigger before you're even aimed precisely at their spawn point; you can start at the same time you're hitting the switch, and then quickly flick your aim into alignment as you burst towards them. Once you know the spot where they spawn, you can eliminate them within 2-3 shots in a second or two, often without them retaliating, though if they hit you once it doesn't usually matter much in the long run. As soon as they're down, you want to immediately pivot around the central spoke and begin firing into the 3 o'clock quadrant, with the trigger held down on the BFG, directing all of its power into the revenant swarm as it materializes. Essentially, you're going to be tracing rapid, shallow arcs with your footwork back and forth between roughly 2-4 on the clock and the central spoke. Don't worry about aiming at any particular actor; focus on fanning the BFG's tracers into this general quadrant without relent. Don't worry about the knights, cacos, or imps overly much; they don't really matter (but be prepared to deepen your arc a bit if a particularly speedy imp starts body-blocking you). Done with determination, the front which spawns at 3 will be decimated nearly or entirely by the time you've spent the 480 - 520 cells you'll be holding when you began firing, and you'll be able to reload from the recesses at and likely adjacent to that quadrant, which will in turn give you more than enough power to vaporize the imps now spilling over into 6 from 9, giving you access to even more ammo on that side. Essentially, the design of this fight is about breaking a blitzkrieg with a blitzkrieg of your own; try to play defense and you'll be almost instantly overwhelmed. Basically, as soon as there is no active spawning on half of the clock's face you've won; after that the fight is simply cleanup, and can even be prosecuted with the plasma rifle and SSG if you prefer. Nuking the viles first is elementary (they're vastly too disruptive to any and all strategies if not removed immediately); the reason you focus-fire on the front at 3 o'clock, then, is that this wave is simultaneouly the most accessible, the most dangerous, and the most susceptible target. The HKs + cacos at 12 are farther away from you at the outset, meaning that to focus on them you'd have to cut through or operate in the midst of the imps from 9 as well, which is significantly less efficient and significantly more dangerous because the revenants from 3 will close on and destroy you far faster than anything else active in the fight at that point, even as they in turn make a much softer target overall than the clot of infernal HP spawning at 12. There is doubtless a temptation to try to continuously run around the edge of the entire arena from the outset in order to minimize your immediate exposure to a massive wall of enemy fire, but doing this both makes picking up ammo a lot more problematic (you'll tend to be hemmed into the recesses as things spawn, as you've observed) and makes it much harder to pick up the armor and soulspheres at the spoke when/if you need them, as enemies will tend to cluster around it on all sides if you're not thinning them fast enough. The central spoke does not make great cover, but it's adequate shielding from the linear fireballs/spells thrown by the cacos and HKs as you rapidly flit back and forth between it and a point on the periphery while melting the skellies. ^^ That's a whole lot of words to describe and explain a fairly simple strategy (sorry, I'm not really YT/Twitch material), I know, but hopefully it makes at least some sense. Win or lose, this fight is rather intense but also quite short, and as is often the case with this style of gameplay half of the battle is in reading the whole situation rather than getting overly fixated on one specific facet of it, which of course is easier said than done if you're not used to this kind of thing. Just keep trying, and don't be afraid to adapt what I've described to your ends if you think you're onto a better idea (and you may well be!). Don't sweat the losses, either -- a certain amount of trial and error and the resultant steady shaping of a gradually more nuanced and effective strategy is a big part of what makes this kind of thing fun once you get into it, and you can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs and all that.
  6. Demon of the Well

    Doomguy’s Face, Big HUD - Yay or nay?

    Moment to moment, I usually play with no HUD at all, i.e. screensize maxed all the way up so the screen is clear of everything but what the marine sees. I find that keeping a loose mental count on or even just a 'feel' for ammo and health status and such helps to keep me sharp, and has become second nature over the years. That said, the last thing one wants to have on mind when the fur starts to fly and the shit really starts to hit the fan is maths, so at those times I'll use a HUD for critical by-the-second info. For this, I most prefer the minimalist Boom-style HUD which is available in one form or another in most classic ports, though when using a Z-family port I generally just settle for the basic icon-based corner overlay HUD standard to those ports. Not that I don't appreciate the art qualities of a nice custom statusbar, mind you -- these I usually enjoy while viewing the automap (which also makes for a nice mental pitstop on actual ammo/armor/health status, by the by), which is evidently something I do more frequently than most.
  7. Demon of the Well

    [Boom] No Title - A single quick map

    Hello, good to see more from you. I'd describe what we see here as kind of "charismatically ugly", in that lovable Doom II sort of way. Who needs such niceties as delicate detailing, cogent representationalism, or a basically coherent texture scheme when you've got lots of grumpy mood lighting and improbable architecture to grabass around in? Not me, that's for sure. FDA (skill 4) The map is a good time, communicates brutality as you say, but also a sense of playfulness or even goofiness by turns. These contrasting attitudes synergize quite naturally here I think -- you're harried at every turn, yet there's also a certain endearing cheekiness to the whole closet-within-closet-within-another-closet deal that seems to mainly say "lol" as opposed to "fuck you." I like it. The final sequence once you drop into the big molten pit is particularly entertaining, though the second secret is perhaps overpowered, and largely trivializes the last part of the map. Thinking on it, though, the way it's basically in plain sight and simple to access yet liable to be totally missed anyway owing to the general time-pressured panic of the situation arguably suits the map's weasel-grinning tone quite well. There is only one design decision I have to say I categorically disagree with: D_RUNNIN + this map = pasta and peanuts, okay fair enough, BUT D_AMPIE + this map = bacon and chocolate. yas queen etc. Just sayin'
  8. NP, NP You should definitely still do hubs again, though (at some point at least). Everybody loves a 'stage select' setup now and again, in fact I'd warrant that's probably one of very few things one could reasonably expect most players to agree on, regardless of countless other differences in taste and predilection and so on.
  9. Hello again, I re-DL'd the WAD and played to what was functionally the end today, and there seems to be at least one final issue. The order I played the experiences in was this: Sempiternal -> Cyanotic Dreams -> LV-31 -> Omnia Mors Aequat -> Tech Duin All of the maps seemed to work as intended individually, but I noticed that when I was brought back to the hub after finishing Clay's map, the portals to the three maps I had played before it were open once again. I didn't try entering any of them, opting for the final unvisited map instead. After finishing that last map, I was again returned to the hub, with the portals to "Tech Duin" and "Omnia Mors Aequat" now barred, and the portals to the other three still open. Presumably, in order to see the final/farewell message for the mapset, I'd have had to enter and complete those three a second time (I tried re-entering "Sempiternal" again, and it seemed to load up just fine, as though I'd never visited it before).
  10. Demon of the Well

    Saltiest Doom moment that you recall?

    Hmm.... Most recent one to come to mind: (Doom 2 in Spain Only m05, "Los Tuneles de Residuos") Important context: deathblow dealt by a lone zombieman named Luisito
  11. Howdy, I seem to be having a problem with the current version (downloaded earlier today, since the last update push): if entering the map "Sempiternal" from the portal in the hub, the marine spawns on the initial featureless platform floating in space, but cannot move or act in any way, so the game softlocks indefinitely. However, if you warp to the map with IDCLEV03, you're able to move normally once you spawn and thus teleport into the map proper. The portal entrances to the other four maps all seem to work fine (as does entering them via IDCLEV or warp commands). Edit: this is using GZDoom 4.5.0. Edit 2: I should maybe mention that there's no sign of a cutscene in either case, evidently there should be one, ala "Tech Duin?"
  12. Demon of the Well

    why is plutonia's difficulty so overstated?

    If you play the game a lot, as time goes on you'll probably become more aware of the irony that, the more you play, the progressively less relatable (and relevant) your experiences and perceptions of what's 'normal' and what's 'balanced' and things like that become to the majority of other people who also play the game in some capacity. C'est la vie.
  13. FDA, skill 4 I'm posting this mainly to show that the level plays smoothly even in a 'classic' sense, without the conveniences of mouselook and height-corrected actors and such. There is one minor technical change I would suggest for the benefit of PrB+ / Chocolate / etc. users: throughout the level various hanging corpse props are 'solid', and can block player movement (from well out of visual range, generally) at odd times and places. Users of classic ports will be accustomed to contending with infinitely-tall monsters, even in the context of a highly vertical layout, but not so much with these prop items. Not all ports/play modes allow for a universal infinitely-tall objects toggle, and so flagging these hanging corpses as passthrough/non-solid would be a net gain for the whole playerbase. From a design perspective, it was my feeling that the map is successful in its goal, treating the vertical traversal aspect as its defining trait. It's moderately populated at most, and the majority of engagements are quite small, but never dull due to smart placement in the context of the vertically complicated surroundings, and quite nicely judged from a healing/ammo standpoint as well, not so tight as to seem miserly but measured enough to spread out weapon usage evenly and to prompt one to consider a balance of offense and defense, many uncommon/interesting considerations presenting themselves in this type of environment. The eclectic Deimos-style hell-pit visual theme also serves the design cleverly, I thought, the wide variety of textures and materials used in any given viewcap help to highlight the more unusual or 'athletic' avenues of movement. To that point, there *is* a several-minute stretch in the middle of the recording where I'm lost and search fruitlessly for the way forward, and it takes me some time to get back on game once I do pick up the progression trail again (my fumbling in the crusher room makes me wince a little). In hindsight, I feel that this is mostly on me, though, and not a fault of the map philosophy or the like; the thing I missed doesn't even have anything to do with platforming/climbing or the like, and the level's progression profile is generally free from dead ends (that is, areas or rooms you can go to which serve only to flesh out the map, versus having a direct role in reaching the exit), which I should have been more keenly aware of by that stage of play. The overall goal of the level -- to get back up again -- is very clearly visually communicated throughout. I did feel that the non-secret megasphere near the end of the level was a bit gratuitous (especially as it's followed by another combat armor just 3-4 minutes later), and would suggest it be a soulsphere instead (for skill 4). Likewise, just a few more rockets in the middle stages of the level would be my preference, but these of course are basically just nitpicks. Quality work overall, thanks for the Doom.
  14. Demon of the Well

    "The Little Death" My New Short Doom 2 Map

    I played as well, using PrB+ with no complevel set (as none was specified): FDA Edit: This was version 2 of the WAD. The demo doesn't quite finish the level, as the small lift in the cyberdemon's crate-den in front of the switch to lower the blue keycard is untagged and inoperable. GZDoom automatically compensates for this type of error, as the many playthroughs from others above demonstrate, but PrB+ and other classic-style ports generally don't. Incidentally, if played in -complevel 2, this wouldn't render the level uncompletable, though the bugged lift would still be very obvious, 'activating' many sectors around it not intended to move -- it's an unusual/funny effect to witness, if you've never seen it before. Anyway, the takeaway here is to be sure to test-run in all of your target ports, and to specify complevel where appropriate. Though using a simple layout, the level itself shows a good grasp for packing a lot of monsters, often from the mid-tier, into relatively small/simple spaces while avoiding any real sense of grinding through HP blocks (the Barons after the red door are perhaps a bit off) and generally maintaining a pleasant forward momentum and sense of liveliness, which I think you've accomplished by not being shy about giving the player lots of powerful weapons and ammo with very little fanfare as soon as it's time to start using them. The cyberdemon fight in the small crate room would be fairly tense if approached 'honorably' given how small/cluttered the room is, but can also be cheesed quite handily; I don't see this as a real problem, though, as the method for cheesing the fight (or at least the one I used) is kind of entertaining in its own right. Good sense of close-quarters battle fundamentals and thing balance, much room for growth in layout/flow and such. Thanks for an entertaining 10 minutes.
  15. Demon of the Well

    The Hate Flow - Epic/Accessible single map release

    FDA (skill 4) (version 1.3.1) In this playthrough, three monsters fail to teleport out (100% killscore is from arch-vile resurrections), either because they never awaken or because their closet is too small/low for them to actually move. Looks like it's the three cacodemons in the small battery just north of the larger closet holding the imps and sergeants for the second switchpress on the western wooden platform (near the 'let the hate flow' secret). No other issues, though it did strike me that the map is very dark, at least for someone playing with no gamma correction/in a port without dynamic lights tied to torches/other props, much darker in comparison than the screencaps shown by yourself and other users in the thread. This is not really a complaint, mind you -- I happen to like it (very) dark, myself, has a certain gritty authenticity and all that -- though it does undercut some of the light-based signposting in this specific case. The map is quite easy on the eyes (darkness and all), for sure; excellent texture selection, appealing complex vistas which cut across different segments of the level, and some simple but very effective 'diorama' work to give an extra sense of space beyond its playable/traversable boundaries. I particularly like the very brief peak at the sky visible from the northeastern gazebo, for instance. As an E4M2 tribute, all of the expected boxes are checked -- turret cyberdemon(s), check, platforming crossfire(s), check, hunter/hunted stone ravine maze(s), check -- but the greater expansiveness inherent in your construction style and the use of Doom II creatures prevents anything reading as to derivative. The original map is actually quite small, of course, and much of its famed ferocity comes from the chaotic feel that its condensed progression invites, as well as the relative scarcity of resources which characterizes Thy Flesh Consumed in general. Your version is less hectic in both these regards, giving more time and space to individual fights or segments, each exploring the theme of hostile/difficult terrain rather than enemies per se as the major source of complication in a different way. Thing balance seems quite well-judged, with an exciting low-ammo opening giving way to relatively generous top-ups between stages, underscoring the more setpiece-oriented design. Concerning accessibility, I found the UV setting to be both very involved tactically, but also very manageable. That is to say, there's a lot of danger, for sure, and your survivability/momentum never becomes so great that you can just tank through tough spots and expect to come out on top (the two soulspheres, one being secret, can both evaporate in the blink of an eye, and neither is anywhere close to the final/largest/arguably most dangerous encounter); yet, the design is also very forgiving in other respects, and many of the hazards can be effectively managed in a safer/more defensive way with the application of a little know-how and critical thinking. For example, penalty for falling off the track is generally minimal (whereas in the original it's bad news, and in some of your other stated influences it's basically an immediate fail state), and indeed, you can flex purposefully falling off into a tactical ploy to allow you ways to pop in and out of the hot zone at your leisure in certain fights. Similarly, the final fight is not nearly as dangerous as it may initially seem if you avoid panic, bide your time, and let the monsters outwit themselves for you. These big seams in the encounter design, which in this case are present even on the 'hard' skill setting, certainly do pitch the level somewhere below the realm of the "actually tough" or the "hardcore" or whatever one wants to call it, but given your primary intended audience I think this is more of a virtue than a failing. High-level play is frequently misunderstood/misconstrued as being about perfect accuracy and supernatural twitch-dodges and all that, but in reality it's often more about reading intentions, foreseeing and predicting developments, managing the possibilities, and generally spotting/using these seams efficiently. Levels like this, which have serious fights that also have some serious 'soft spots', are a good way to help learn and train these subtler skills. Anyway, it's an enjoyable map and a fitting tribute. I certainly look forward to your Deimos episode 'someday', and of course anything else you've got cooking as well.