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    Doom II Community Lifespan

    I have my doubts about "Doom is forever" style optimism but think Doom as a community will be a thing for the rest of my lifespan at least... it perpetually surprises me how often I'll see someone say something on these forums that confirms them as someone a lot younger than I am. I suspect that the game's at kind of an interesting juncture, back in the early 2000s the prevailing attitude towards Doom from outside the community seemed to go something like "HAHAHAHAHA why are you LOSERS still playing this OLD game? Can't afford a better computer? Why aren't you playing Half-Life/Halo/whatever cool new thing on the block?" But now we've come to a point where there's been this resurgence in nostalgic feelings for the earlier days of video games, and disillusionment with the direction gaming has gone in of late, so old stuff is considered "cool" in gaming again. In that context I'm sure Doom gets a lot of interest for being one of the more historical games out there in how it shaped things to come. While at the same time for people who are interested in more modernized stuff there's the various ports and stuff some of which can practically be looked at as a sort of "FPS Creator Studio" type thing in their own right that's arguably more accessible than modern engines so there's interest from that end of things as well. I think Doom also benefited a lot for having a community that cared about hanging on to its old levels, and coming at a time when swapping levels online was becoming a big thing and major FTP sites were taking over from scattered BBS systems and sneakernet distribution--who knows how many levels were made for games that had editors back in the 80s (Lode Runner, anyone?) that got lost because they were only swapped around on floppy disks among a few friends. I remember the cdrom.com crisis and how a scramble was made to ensure that the idgames archive survived after the original host shut down, and I think at least among the old guard there's still this awareness from back then that if we're not vigilant in our stewardship all this stuff could disappear. I consider myself a bit of a preservationist when it comes to custom maps for old games that I'm interested in, and compared to stuff int the "Doomosphere" there are some that really feel like being an archaeologist digging up the ruins of a long-dead civilization. There's an entire generation of Warcraft II maps that as far as I can tell are preserved only thanks to shovelware CDs--they probably were posted to someone's Geocities page that's long since gone or something, so partly Warcraft may have suffered from not having a central archive back in those days. But it's an interesting example of a game that was also massively popular and influential but that got treated a lot less kindly by the ravages of time. Perhaps part of it is the singleplayer vs. multiplayer issue, a lot of the Warcraft II maps out there are only really viable if you have someone else to play them with which creates a barrier towards new interest; the AI's too dumb to get how it's supposed to play some of those layouts. Suffice to say, Doom doesn't just have a history, it has a history that's still with us in an easily accessible form and I think that also helps a lot. In a couple of millenia, will scholars be doing something like this in a Doom deathmatch? I rather doubt it, computer stuff is so much more finicky than a simple board game and already we have to wrangle with compatibility issues just to play some of our games from 20 years ago, but it's a fun sci-fi concept to think about I suppose.

    Which games are bad, but you like them?

    @RonnieJamesDiner I've said before and will say again that if asked what game I think has the best prospects to be considered "heir to the throne" to the Heretic-Hexen series since the last release of one of those, it would be Enclave. Rune and Blade of Darkness might be all-around better games but Enclave out of anything I've played is the one that comes closest to capturing the Serpent Rider "feel" to me, especially once you get the wizard classes unlocked. I'd also be very surprised if the battle with Vatar at the end of the light campaign wasn't intentionally meant to pay homage to the Eidolon battle in Hexen II. I suppose some people might argue for Ziggurat being a worthier choice, but the whole "roguelite" aspect somewhat ruins that one for me.

    Things about Doom you just found out

    I, on the other hand, knew the correct pronunciation of the word "sigil" beforehand but have been hearing so many people on videos referring to the level set as "siggle" lately that I was beginning to wonder if I was actually wrong.

    Which games are bad, but you like them?

    +1 to this. I haven't played it through entirely yet but I've been about halfway and I'd say the controls are admittedly a little clunky but it's otherwise not that bad. I wouldn't be surprised if some people are just put off by some of the less-serious theming, I mean you've got those little goblin guys whose laughing sounds like Beavis & Butt-head and stuff. Did you play the PC version, or Playstation? Supposedly they're a little different and I recall seeing people who'd tried both saying the Playstation version is the really bad one. I've only tried the PC ver. Maybe the Playstation version's super buggy or something, I dunno. Speaking of games I've seen people call "worst ever" that don't deserve it, add Daemon Vector to my list. Mediocre and behind the times of what people wanted when it came out? I'd grant that. But worst ever? Come on.

    Camels and llamas unite!

    doomers ball shit snakes

    The worst DOOM levels ever?

    What @magicsofa said. The whole "let's make deliberately bad maps because teh funney" thing stopped being funny over a decade ago. Actually, that's a lie. It was never funny.

    Flash thoughts on Hexen: Deathkings' design

    I still maintain that Deathkings is, if not still the best, at least in the top tier of Hexen map sets, for the exact reason of "It's more Hexen" (except, I would argue, better since it's distilled into a shorter and more "expert mode" campaign, though it has its rough patches). I don't think Hexen was ever really meant to be a Doomesque game the way Heretic was and most Doomers just don't "get" it at all. It ain't for them. I sometimes wonder if there's some parallel universe where the folks at Raven put shapeshifts instead of classes, billed it as a successor to Shadowcaster rather than Heretic, and it found its target audience a lot better. Will wholeheartedly agree that Sump and Dark Citadel should never have passed quality assurance as they are, though. That maze segment would be annoying for any game but I think Sump could have been redeemed if they'd axed that and put something better in its place. It had some cool parts. If you want a take on what Dark Citadel could have been like in a better world, check out the finale of a WAD called Chuxen. Maybe not perfect but at least an effort was made.

    The Doom Confessional Booth

    I started enjoying megawads (and for that matter the D2/FD IWADs) a lot more once I started looking at them less as a continuous adventure to go through from beginning to end but rather as bundles of individual levels that I could put down or pick up on wherever without worrying about having a save left over from the earlier maps.

    Which games are bad, but you like them?

    The obvious choices are Witchaven & Witchaven II. Buggy as all get-out (especially WH2 which was pretty much rushed out in a broken state) and with a few questionable design choices but I love the theme and ideas behind them, and still give them a play-through every year or two. On the topic of Capstone, I also think Corridor 7 is better than it's generally given credit for, but that one I'd more just argue isn't actually all that "bad" to begin with. Majority of people just don't like Wolf-alikes in general any more. Catacomb Abyss / Armageddon / Apocalypse The kindest you'll usually hear about them is that they're "dated" and they're certainly kind of clunky but I still enjoy giving them a play through now and again. Rival Realms / Hesperian Wars / Atrox All panned for being low-budget "clones" of Blizzard RTS games (though "clone" is only really a fair assessment for Atrox, IMO, the other two are "clones" about in the "Doom clone" sense), and, for the most part, flat out not working on modern systems. They still had their share of interesting bits and especially Rival Realms souped up the formula with a bunch of goodies and is probably the most underappreciated one. People point out the AI being bad, but I think they have forgotten just how bad the Warcraft II AI also was. Castle of Dragon, for the NES. I'm sure, it's not the best NES game by a long shot and its not-exactly-sequel Sword Master can probably be considered superior in most ways, but I feel like a lot of the complaints regarding it are from people who just can't be bothered to understand how to play it. It's okay, probably helps that the idea of it is all the sorts of stuff I like. Gauntlet, for the NES. I've seen some people call this a "botched port" for deviating from the arcade version and a lot of people nowadays say the concept of Gauntlet "doesn't hold up" in general. The character balance is really bad (you're a chump if you pick the warrior, or maybe you want to as a challenge thing I suppose...), and there are a bunch of potentially annoying parts (have fun in those invisible mazes, or how about the dead end level(s) that if you go to them you have no choice but to die and go back to your last password) but I still like it and think that putting in a quest rather than just being "play until you die" faithful to the arcade was a good move for a home port. I'd kind of say Chasm: The Rift but I feel like that game's actually had a resurgence of appreciation these days and maybe isn't so widely regarded as "bad" any more. I'm sure I'm forgetting a bunch.

    Quake III Arena vs Unreal Tournament

    Neither, but in a "pick one" situation, Q3A because it's the one I played. I never really got into the original Unreal (I played through it once upon a time, barely remember it, and every now and then I dust it off and try giving it another go, but something about it just seems to rub me the wrong way) so never bothered with UT at all. I probably only bothered with Q3A because it had "Quake" in the name, TBH.

    Things about Doom you just found out

    Don't you tempt me. I already put "Tomb of Power" on my list of possible future map titles thanks to the perennial tome/tomb confusion from some people.

    Win 7 users, what's your plan come end of the year?

    @printz Ubuntu-based is probably still the best bet for someone who doesn't have a prior *NIX background, but pick one of the variants that uses an interface that isn't a steaming pile; last I checked mainline Ubuntu (like a lot of distros) defaults to GNOME which is godawful. My personal vote goes to LUbuntu (LXDE) but XUbuntu (XFCE) is good too. KUbuntu (KDE) is a decent interface but bloated, might be okay for more powerful systems if you like the pointless glitz of it for some reason. Though I've personally been using Peppermint (another LXDE-based variant which, as far as I can tell, is based directly on Ubuntu rather than on Mint as the name might imply). Support for proprietary "Linux native" games is hit or miss as you imagine. I've had some work with no problem, some work only after I figured out which additional libraries I needed to install (with the distro's own packaging system, that's usually figured out automatically, but GOG releases don't use that so you're given cryptic error messages to the console and left on your own) and some I still didn't figure out how to fix, not that I necessarily tried very hard. Likewise WINE is really good for the things it's really good for, but some stuff just doesn't work at all and their compatibility report site is kind of user-hostile. For someone who's really looking to get into deeper *NIX stuff and the original spirit of GNU/Linux I'd probably recommend something other than the Ubuntu lineage, though, but that's kind of going on a tangent. But I will say that anyone who has the whole "Linux security" thing in mind should remember that part of that comes from using a pool of officially vetted packages from the distro, and when you start installing third-party, and especially proprietary third-party stuff, you're entering the jungle. Even on Windows a lot of the problems aren't so much the system itself as the programs running on it.

    Heretyc Sprites modifications

    Judging by the ModDB page, the author nuked the files because they were based on some stuff he didn't have permissions for.

    unpopular retro opinions

    Yeah, as far as episode 3 goes, it was apparently super rushed in order to have a 3-episode set out in time and personally I think it's the worst episode with even Keen Dreams being better. But the Caves of Oblivion thing is totally on purpose, they even hint somewhere in the documentation that it's an "impossible maze" and there's an SGA sign that says "go up" at the beginning. Going over the top is the "proper" way to play it. Whether this was a good choice or not is another matter, but I remember thinking it was rather clever when I first figured it out back in the day. More annoying to me are the levels that have areas with bonuses that you flat out can't get to. I'm not talking about the ones where you're pretty much taking a 99% chance you die to get them because of those jacks flying around and whatnot (although that's a thing in its own right) but there's at least one level where a whole big section of the level is closed off and only accessible in cheat mode, if at all, despite having all sorts of stuff in it suggesting it was meant to be accessible. The fact that you only need to complete 3 levels to beat it is also kind of dumb but I suppose the idea was that for a first time you wouldn't know which path to take to do that given the map screen itself was also sort of a maze. Episodes 1 and 2 are good though, the only complaint I'll agree with is that the whole "one button to jump and one to pogo and hitting both at once makes you fire" can get annoying. I suppose this is related to PC joysticks prior to the Gravis Gamepad only having two buttons (which, heck, is still better than the one button ones a lot of contemporary computers were still going with). I think there's a mod for that though if it's that bad.

    PrBoom+ name bikeshedding

    I'm going to have to agree with the people not seeing a problem if the "Pr" came from some long-departed coder historically. I always assumed it was just "Pro Recording Boom" or something along those lines given its popularity in the demo recording circuit. I dislike the "+" though, given how often I'll refer to just "PrBoom" meaning the latest iteration, meaning PrBoom+, and get some reply along the lines of "ACKSHUALLY only PrBoom+ has that not PrBoom". Does a long-dead dead end predecessor that's been clearly superceeded really have that much relevance that the distinction is needed? But then I also still say "ZDoom" even though it's really only GZDoom nowadays, maybe that's a me problem. ProBoom sounds like the option I'd back out of those mentioned.