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baja blast rd.

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  1. baja blast rd.

    Good small city(-ish) maps?

  2. I'll try to get kills but won't track down stragglers and I'm usually happy with 60-80%. I have a slight push to want to find secrets but don't mind missing them. I ignore that item % is even a thing. I think of 100/100/100 as the entry level way to be a completionist. If I really want to be a completionist, I write 1000+ words about a map and try to notice everything, all the little nuances and interpretations you might overlook on a first play, which counts for more than killing one imp or grabbing that last armor bonus. I rarely do that either because it's impractical to do it more than once or twice a week.
  3. baja blast rd.

    Do you enjoy it less when you try to go for UV-Max single segments?

    I never begin grinding attempts for a truly hard map without practice. I'll throw down saves at every important setup and spend 10-30 minutes (or even longer) working out a good approach for all the hard setups. I'll often spend far less time on the run than on practice. It is really important to know when a map is not easy enough that you can string together a max just from familiarity, when it is instead more of a practice map. I usually want to know all the fights well enough to survive most 80%+, maybe some as little as 50% but not many. 20-30% is bad outside of speedrunning for records, and means I should learn it better. I nearly always think of "RNG" as meaning my strategy/skill is not good enough. 99.999% of the time, hyperspecific strategies are possible that make RNG irrelevant. A good example, SWTW map02 has this bridge fight where the cyberdemon can refuse to shoot and the HK/baron mob will overwhelm you. But you can melee-bait the HKs/barons forever, which is arcane but it works. I can't remember a hard map where spectres vs. RL gave me trouble. Can work out how to herd enemies or soften up the spectre mass so that they aren't problems at the time you might face-rocket or budget resources to tank the damage or intuit where they might be based on how other enemies are moving or Prepping with saves means you can learn fights well enough to notice ideas like that.
  4. baja blast rd.

    Unpopular Doom Opinions

    Most mappers have a good amount of variety in what they do and are capable of, and if you're pigeonholing someone into one tidy set of fixations, you're almost certainly oversimplifying.
  5. baja blast rd.

    Which custom monster have you seen most often in various WADs?

    The 1000 HP cyberdemon. I mean specifically as a recolored enemy that exists alongside the regular cyberdemon, so not counting HP nerfs to the regular cyber. That one has become very common. Understandably because it's a very good enemy. Also because "challenge wads" tend to share ideas; if you get really familiar with a concept from one wad, you don't want to start from scratch in the next. That almost feels too easy so I'm thinking about second place. This is an interesting question because what it is really measuring is "out of the enemy classes that are popular, which tend to have similar implementations from wad to wad?" For example, buffed imps are very common as an enemy class. But there are a lot of different sprites for buffed imps that get used, and there's quite a lot of range in buffed imp behavior. Many don't even fire imp projectiles. So most of those register as different enemies. Buffed cacos and buffed HKs (that fire regular projectiles) are very varied enemy classes too. But for a rocket-firing hell noble, just about everyone uses the familiar cybruiser sprite and makes it fire a rocket attack of some kind. If you want an explosive zombie, there's the familiar yodeling kamikaze bomber, which blows up at point blank. And arachnorbs are pretty common. All of those usually have different implementations too (Tarnsman's Projectile Hell's kamikaze is fancy and emanates a ring of projectiles around it when it blows up), but they register as the same monster. I'm not sure, but it might be the cybruiser out of wads I've played, because of the popularity of that sprite for that enemy niche. I've also played plenty of more obscure wads with cybruisers, like Lunar Laceration.
  6. baja blast rd.

    my 300-word reviews (most recent: JPCP by Japan)

    Sunlust by dannebubinga and Ribbiks 32 Boom-format maps for Doom 2 The big thing to understand about Sunlust is that it's half dannebubinga. He's the soul of the megawad's defining combat style: his preoccupations (bloody mixed-horde moshpit fights; open-plan sandbox slaughter; PE gangs; timed setups where the incoming second wave forces you to do the first one quickly; and endurance fights built around a fun repeated tactic) establish much of why it's so consistently enjoyable, and he proves Ribbiks's peer at building an atmosphere. What makes Sunlust special among hardcore wads is not raw difficulty (many releases, some involving these very authors, outdo it there comfortably). It's the pacing, and even more, the range. The seemingly patchwork structure would give the wrong impression of the authors' control of the experience. Few wads escalate from near-traditional intensity to borderline insanity like Sunlust does, while also treating the easier parts as so important: the breather maps, and the early game's wonderfully flowing "Plutonia meets microslaughter" phase. Sunlust has a strong handle on the 'semiotics of danger'. If you want wow factor, it's easy to drop an enormous horde, but this duo does that sparingly, despite the late game dipping into macroslaughter. They rely on striking encounter presentation and on clever concepts. When excess happens, it registers as a "holy shit" moment, like map20's cacoswarm or map24's imp exit-party or map28's [redacted], rather than being the desensitizing norm. There's plenty of levity -- breather maps and easter eggs and silly intermission messages -- but at the end, Sunlust marches into a crushing abyss. The lategame void has few pwad rivals in oppressive feel and in charismatic viciousness, which peaks in the iconic "Go Fuck Yourself," such iconic moments being Ribbiks's biggest contributions. Thanks to the build-up, when you finally reach "God Machine," it feels like something you've been waiting for, or fearing, your whole life.
  7. baja blast rd.

    Is using SAVES in Doom bad?

    Even when you are trying to become skilled at the game, practice sessions with saves are where most of the improvement comes from, and the saveless run is more like the "test" that shows whether you've put it all together and what you need to work on if not. Some improvement comes from the run itself, but not always! And that's not even casual play. Runners (which are the best players) make ample use of saves, rewind, and cheats to prepare routes, and naturally would not look down on saving. The idea of "looking down on saving" mostly comes from pretend YouTube comment trolls and people with similarly low credibility, and should be ignored.
  8. baja blast rd.

    My Map Talk Corner (most recent: Eviternity 2 map11 by Guardsoul)

    ("Titan" by Guardsoul, Eviternity 2 map11, 2023) I'm outing myself as a Guardsoul fan, this being the second map of his featured in this thread after Breakpoint map03. "Titan" has a couple of very cool contradictions. One is that it is the most grandiose mainline map to this point in the megawad, but the underlying layout structure is relatively simple, which is not obvious until you look at the automap (or read about it here lol). This is done not through building a simple arena of enormous proportions -- which is a much more common way to do that -- but through blowing up a layout that is about as complex as a small Scythe 2 map, meaning it's still a full layout, into immensity. Along with this, there's heaps of contrast in vibrancy of "Titan's" two types of settings: the buildings are cold, gray concrete bunkers -- very Winter's Fury in their particular layered-radial architectural makeup, but almost incomprehensibly tall, like something out of Sunder. The "concrete bunker" theme usually doesn't do anything special for me, but scale of it all, and more importantly the breathtakingly colorful wilderness around it, changes that entirely. (Also have to compliment the rock texture here. I tend not to mind tiling that much, but avoiding it entirely with a 512x1024 texture is even better.) Eviternity 2's natural foliage really pops, reminds me of something prehistoric, even though the pink trees are cherry blossoms lol. What I also like about "Titan" is how the monster deployment matches the local setting around it -- which seems more coincidental than some deep scheme, but that counts too. The bunkers all have a mind of their own; they dispense memorable events like the big lost soul swarm and scripted, multi-phase fights that seem wired into the underlying pneumatics of the place. By contrast, the incidental combat in the wilderness regions is very, very simple: a lot of cliff imps (not being an obligate 100%-er, I don't mind skipping these) and roaming spectres and pinkies. The indoor sections that mix foliage and concrete bunker lie at more of a mid-point between those extremes, with simple traps and also one-shot designed setpieces that are part encounter, part freeform combat. A thought I've had about this approach to design is that even though it seems like an extra constraint, it's easier to pull off. If you're knowingly designing around that sort of theme-gameplay consistency, you can build different regions of the map knowing exactly what sort of gameplay they might have ahead of time, which in turn allows you to take certain liberties with how you shape areas. The wilderness portions of "Titan" don't really need to be designed for sophisticated combat, for example. As grand as the map actually is, the implied scale is far, far larger. The design suggests that we might be on the top of a large mountain, or at least an especially tall hill. The layout is split into a low part and a high part, connected with silent teleporters to simulate fake 3D, and what gives me this idea is how the low part gives us a view of rocky cliffs obscured by mist, implying that you can keep going down quite some vertical distance before finally hitting the ground. Another of my favorite parts about the structure is the penultimate area, when you've ascended to the top of the massive building you see from the early stages of the map. The mountains and trees I was noticing around me felt like scenery, like one of the vistas that we get to glimpse many times before. This would make sense because a designed encounter wouldn't let you simply hop off and escape, right? Then I realized -- you can just hop off. We've come full circle and that's the whole start region again. This is another pretty coincidental thing, but sometimes really enjoying a map comes down to those unexpected accidents that can't realistically have been designed for. (They can be noticed by the author and cultivated -- but this one feels really personal to my own perception.) Overall, the half of Eviternity 2 I've played so far goes beyond the "Great Synthesis" model of the prequel, and feels creatively innovative in many ways. But "Titan," with its medley of settings and all the different hints of influence that are present in it, is one of those maps that shows it isn't abandoning its "synthesis" roots either.
  9. baja blast rd.

    my 300-word reviews (most recent: JPCP by Japan)

    Mutabor by tourniquet one vanilla-compatible map for Doom 2 Levels where "everything looks the same" aren't everyone's cup of tea, but Mutabor uses this design style for a rare, peculiar effect. Deep into one playthrough, I started getting genuine deja vu in the particular oblong, green-and-beige pipe-fitted area I was in -- I've been exactly here before, right? It looked so familiar. But I knew I was more than halfway across the map from UV's spawn point (which differs from HMP's and from the "Onslaught" mode's spawn points). I had to check the automap to be sure. The disorientation was unsettling and it felt like this slime city at the edge of reality was unending, in a way that Miasma alludes to but Mutabor now seemed to more deeply embody. It's made all the more strange by how the numerous "backtracking fights" -- duplicitous encounters that get you in your return through an area -- feel impossible to keep track of. Those setups, which play into the idea that the layout is some intelligent structure that can disassemble and remake itself on a whim, are the defining gameplay trope of Mutabor (the root word being "mutation"). There's nothing unprecedentedly dark and grimy about the look of this wad -- the most common color wavelength is a bright green, and some of the city textures are outright cheery. zzzv's background music is quirky but not dark either. The combat -- which is a mix of light incidental scuffling, modern-Plutonia minimalist "smart monster placement" fights, some occasional higher-bodycount arena battles, and some gimmick fights that are scattered about -- is not even especially difficult; if you can handle the middle of Speed of Doom, you'll be fine here. Despite all that, it manages to be very unnerving in a unique way. You can sure feel stranded in the infinite labyrinth. Everything fits within vanilla's blockmap limit, somehow.
  10. I have written 3000+ words about some individual maps before. I believe it would be very doable for people to write a whole book about most mapsets (and some standalone maps) without straining for substance. But that can be exhausting and I want an outlet for writing about levels that doesn't end up scope-creeping into a burden. So every review I post in this thread will be 300 words long tops. If I backtrack on that you can call me out on that. No ratings, not my style. :P
  11. baja blast rd.

    2023 Cacowards

    plz delete
  12. baja blast rd.

    12 Maps I Loved This Year

    <3 Also shout-out to @Korp for my MIDI too!
  13. baja blast rd.

    2023 Missed Cacowards - Any WADs you'd like to share?

    This one added about a third of its maps after Nov 15. Escape from Slime City is probably an extra one I would have chosen as an HM if I did everything myself. Imo more people should do informal write-ups, so I'll write one for that. Escape from Slime City by kwc Doom 2, DSDA-Doom, 1 map Escape from Slime City (much like Jimmy's Mercury Rain) shows the good you can get out of advanced-port bells and whistles by making them part of the core experience. This 15-minute lighthearted trek through a post-apocalyptic city has edible donuts, a fully stocked arcade room, a bowling alley cluttered with pins that go kathunk with every wayward SSG pellet, and much more -- playing out as a barrage of amusing ideas spaced out by punchy and sometimes unexpectedly vicious traps. There's also surprising depth if you go looking for it. Packaged alongside the brief "infiltrating a computer" set HOTFIX '93, kwc shows good taste for fx curation; nothing is ever garish, overdone, or out of place.
  14. baja blast rd.

    2023 Missed Cacowards - Any WADs you'd like to share?

    myhouse -- it only got a tiny blurb omg
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