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About TheOrganGrinder

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  1. TheOrganGrinder

    Doom II Community Lifespan

    I don't have statistics to back this up, but it feels to me as though the past half-a-year or so has brought a surge of "my first WAD" posts over in the WADs & Mods forum - I definitely have the sense that new creative blood continues to pour into the Doom community.
  2. With the best of intentions and a reasonably clear overall idea of what I wanted to do, I've found myself pretty well swamped in other things that I'm not time-managing well at all, so... basically nothing to report outside of a single barely-started map that seems to have a broken/bugged sector I gave up on trying to fix.
  3. Right now what I'm thinking is... Doom II, since I mapped for Doom last year Boom format, intended for limit-removing ports Using @ukiro's OTEX resource pack I made it to five maps last year, so 30 is probably not realistic; if I can do 11 (up to the second intermission text screen) or 8 (the first intermission text screen, plus MAP07 for the special triggers and a boss map thereafter) I'll be pretty well satisfied Plans may change if other inspiration should strike.
  4. TheOrganGrinder

    Your advices for mappers

    Play around in the editor. Experiment. Iterate. There's a lot that will become easier or more instinctive as you gain experience. If you try something and it doesn't work, congratulations - you've learned something. Don't be afraid to open up other people's WADs in Doom Builder or your editor of choice to see how they work. As a new mapper in the year 2019, you have more than 25 years of user-created content to look back over, refer to, learn lessons from, and build upon; you should feel free to make the most of this. This is as applicable to gameplay qualities as technical functionality; if you're playing someone else's level and find yourself thinking "wow, that was a really good level/a really fun encounter/a really nice room," go back, take it apart to see how it was put together, and try to understand why it was so good. Assume that one-half of the people playing your WAD are mad geniuses who will look at a situation you've constructed and overcome it in a way that you utterly did not foresee. Assume that one-half of the people playing your WAD are blind idiots who will blunder past something that you thought was obvious half a dozen times without taking note of it. Be prepared for any given player to flip-flop between those extremes over the course of playing a sufficiently lengthy level. Remember that an appropriately coloured locked door isn't just a barrier to progress along that path, it's also a signpost that tells the player, "come back here later." Consider that a trap or an ambush isn't just an obstacle, it's a way of rewarding the player for making progress by giving them challenging, rewarding gameplay.
  5. So I don't think I've done anything productive on the Doom front since last year, neither finishing up Chicxulub Impact or making worthwhile progress on anything else, but I enjoyed last year's NaNoWADMo so please sign me up again. Doom II this time I think!
  6. TheOrganGrinder

    Saltwater: A single-map Boom WAD

    Okay, further thoughts here... I think the use of large exit signs (48 units or three lines of text high, on both sides of the "bad" exit switch) over-emphasise this switch when not a lot of attention has been called to the "good" exit switch on the small island adjacent to the lighthouse and cottage, way back at the start of the map. You've made this bonus objective clear in the level description ("Can you find your way back home?") but it's easy to lose track of it or to lack a sense of your progress toward it while playing the level itself - I don't know that there's anything within the fabric of the level that makes it clear that this is an additional objective or the "good" exit that the player is supposed to strive toward. I'm playing in ZDoom using an automap configuration that highlights exit linedefs, but without that I wouldn't know what that particular switch did or why (or even if) it was important. I also found that between the distance involved and the placement of the horizontal bars in the railing texture you've chosen to surround the sea fortress, it's actually quite tricky to notice that the pillars providing a bridge from the lighthouse island to the adjacent islet with the "good" exit switch have risen - given that this is activated by a walkover linedef, the player is probably going to be quite unaware of changes taking place back toward the start of the level. I think the story that you're trying to tell here would be communicated more clearly within the gameplay of the level itself if you were to de-emphasise the "bad" exit visually, place additional guidance toward or emphasis upon the "good" exit, and rethink the way in which the player raises the pillars that grand access to the latter exit - maybe a switch located at the end of a peninsula, pier, or walkway extending from the north-west corner of the sea fortress, so that the player should be looking in the proper direction to see the pillars rising?
  7. TheOrganGrinder

    Saltwater: A single-map Boom WAD

    The texture scheme and atmosphere are just gorgeous and pretty unique, though to my tastes there are a few too many seagulls present in the audio track - I found the rhythm of the waves pleasant, the incessant cries of the gulls less so, especially when trying to sort out significant other noises (e.g. an arch-vile on the prowl, undoing all my hard work) from the cacophany. I do like the "extra lap" setup of the alternate exit, with very little that compels you to seek it out save completionism and the satisfaction of finishing things up back where you started, by your cottage and its adjacent lighthouse, instead of in the depths of the distant seashore base.
  8. TheOrganGrinder

    Hydrogen - new classic map - tell me how it plays

    Okay, I took this one out for a whirl and finished it on HMP in just a hair over 37 minutes, 100/100/100, so at least for players at my modest skill level I think your estimation of its running time is about right. In general I really like the way this map and its gameplay flow, with non-obvious triggers for releases of additional monsters as you progress through the map, reinforcements popping up unexpectedly in areas that you've already cleared. It encourages a certain methodical approach, notifying the player that changes have occurred in areas that they can't currently see and inviting them to go back and see what new opportunities have opened up. The start can be pretty rocky and I feel as though the expectation is that the player will charge forward from the start, only to get in over their head and die, repeatedly, until they've figured out where the early-map valuable resources (green armour, chaingun) are and how to get to them without releasing too many extra monsters. I would say it's fifty-fifty whether the player will have the rocket launcher or not by the time they pick up the blue key, probably a bit less than that since the player is presented with a simple left-or-right choice between the two and it's more obvious that the right-hand path will lead to the blue key than that the left-hand path will lead to the rocket launcher. Toward the end of my playthrough I found myself wishing for a quick way between the north-east corner of the main area (i.e. the north end of the east-side walkway, onto which the door from the start area opens) and the north-west corner of the main area - getting from the one to the other involves a rather length loop around the south of the map, or through the east and then the north of the map followed by a jump into nukage to lower bridge sector 162. Maybe consider adding a switch that allows sector 238 to be lowered from the top, or a series of platforms that raises between those two separate sections of the walkway? I know that taking "the long way 'round" through that section is an important part of the flow of gameplay earlier in the map, but I'm not sure I can figure out a compelling reason that it shouldn't be easier to get between those parts of the map once the initial set of challenges has been overcome. In comparison to the rest of the map's stylish design and levle of detail, I felt that the triangular arena immediately before the exit was somewhat sparse; as both a sudden shift from an industrial environment to an infernal one, and the setting for the climax of the map's combat gameplay, I found it a bit understated. Since you've included a computer area map it may be worth considering setting the 'hidden' flag on the lines that make up the "waiting rooms" from which monsters teleport, so that those inaccessible areas don't distract or misguide players looking to find all of the map's secret areas.
  9. TheOrganGrinder

    OTEX texture set – UPDATE: Version 1.0 released!

    Ooh, I'm looking forward to this round of updates. :) Thanks @ukiro!
  10. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP08: Unwelcome ...Oh, that's a big pile of monsters, isn't it? As many as any three or four other maps in the WAD put together. So is this going to be a vast and lengthy map, or a slaughter map, or both? I guess we'll see. As it turns out I feel that both is the answer, I'll leave it to other players more experienced in and familiar with the genre to judge whether this is a "real" slaughter map but the sheer volume of hostile flesh deployed against me certainly left me with that impression. If MAP06 was a hybrid of Industrial Zone and The Chasm then this one calls to mind the brightly-lit outdoors and fluid-filled caldera of Gotcha!, with (of course) a little Icon of Sin denouement once you've fought your way through the lion's share of the map's real estate and monster population. Overall it's a neat inversion of conventional techniques for building threat towards a climactic fever pitch, dispensing with the classic toolkit of darkness to conceal the enemy and tight confines to prevent your escape and restrict your mobility, instead thrusting you into a brilliantly lit space in which nothing is hidden and the danger comes from exposure. Resources are fairly abundant, even though I probably wasted far too many rockets trying to winnow the volume of cacodemon fireballs incoming from the towers dotted around the arena; I figured the map would conclude with crushers or some other method employed to shut down those gun turrets by killing the monsters within them, since distance, angle, and camouflage midtextures combine to make "manually" mopping them all up an impractical proposition, but even so I ended up pumping a good dozen or so rockets into each turret at various points just because there was so much fire washing down on me from each of them. Because the WAD ends at MAP08, there's no intermission screen waiting for you once you've unloaded your rockets into the heart of corruption at the end of it all, no answers nor even any real framing device for the questions you and the WAD might have been asking of one another. In the case of this particular project, I don't think that's any kind of a problem, since the work as a whole could easily be diminished by an author's narration providing an explanation for everything you've been through and the uniquely peculiar deviations from conventional Doom that you've experienced that just isn't as satisfying as what the player might've come up with on their own. Things here are too strange to be neatly concluded and encapsulation like that and I'm find with being left to wonder just what happened, and those questions are going to linger in my brain for longer than a neat and clear answer would have done.
  11. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP07: Unfeeling That giant pile of weapons and ammunition in front of you at the start of the map is Unwelcome letting you know that you're in for the traditional MAP07 arena-style throwdown. It's too big and too involved to be brushed off as just another Dead Simple clone, but it's straightforward in a way that the WAD's other levels haven't really been, and I'm not convinced the direct, pitched-battle gameplay here with no branches, choices, or secret areas meshes especially well with the projects's unique assets and off-kilter aesthetic and atmosphere. As a solitary sideways step from the gloomier and more unsettling maps Unwelcome has served up, it's interesting enough, a quick shock of adrenaline to lull you out of your fever dreams and desaturated nightmares.
  12. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP06: Undying I'm sure this is the largest map in the WAD so far, a sprawling ordeal that feels to me like nothing so much as a fever-dream hybrid of MAP15: Industrial Zone and MAP24: The Chasm. Darkness abounds, as do long drops into the endless sea of toxic slime above which the whole map is so precariously constructed; it's designed in such a way that it does an excellent job of hammering home just how small, exposed, and fragile the player is, with monsters of all sorts slinging fireballs and plasma from distant corners of the map, catching you from unexpected angles and in vulnerable moments. Foremost among these is the Cyberdemon who reigns over all from the centre of the map, and who has to be turned loose from his high castle so that you can snatch the blue key from beneath his mismatched hooves, but there are plenty of other memorable encounters to be had here. The nature of the map's central puzzle may not be clear initially, and it's easy enough to mistake the first puzzle piece that you find for some kind of button or indicator rather than part of a combination; it's not until you've encountered several such strips of blocks, each with a different block highlighted in one of two different colours, that their interrelation and purpose becomes clear, and it's entirely possible to have found four or five parts of the combination before you stumble across the lock that you've got to plug those scattered fragments of data into. I rather wish I'd started noting them down sooner; I'd have saved myself some backtracking that way! It's interest to me that one of the eight pieces of data is tucked away in a secret area; one missing piece out of eight leaves you with only minimal brute-force iteration to do if you don't find the secret, it's not going to slow you down outrageously, but it's something that helps the secret area in question feel as though you're being rewarded with more than just another box of rockets.
  13. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP05: Unspeakable This is once again a map that I feel is more about its (relatively conventional) combat gameplay than the WAD's unique palette and peculiar atmosphere. The layout consists of a succession of chambers around a central hub, with periodic opportunities to return from the outer loop to the hub to resupply as necessary; everything's quite neatly carved up into (relatively) manageable chunks, and my one attempt to rush through a particular overwhelming-at-first-glance encounter area in the hopes of finding safer ground beyond ended... poorly. The lack of significant puzzles and the straightforward progression from one area to the next game me something of an opportunity to focus on what the WAD is doing aesthetically, to appreciate its texture and its decision to abandon a paradigm of representational design for one that is purely about the feel of spaces as you're navigating, light and dark and bursts of bold colour engaging your brain and your sense of the environment in a raw and unmoderated way. As a quick note, I ended this map with one monster not killed (it was probably something that failed to teleport in, but I'm not sure exactly which monster or why) and the linedefs forming the eye logo are assigned Walk Over Once rather than Walk Over Repeatable status, so it is possible to disable the exit by walking back and forth through that section too much prior to hitting the giant skull switch. Also, no vote for next month from me, as I will have other commitments and won't be able to participate.
  14. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP04: Unbound Right up until I flipped the giant skull switch to be greeted with the now-familiar "The deed is done. Open your eyes," message, I was thinking to myself that this level felt more like a conventional Doom map than any that had come before. It's quick to lay out its objectives, showing you the skull switch behind two sets of coloured posts before sending you off into the depths of the map to retrieve the corresponding keys; there are battles and traps to be found waiting for you, but no real puzzles, nothing so jarringly strange as you stumbled your way through in the first three maps of the set. I'll admit I was perplexed by the purpose of the secret area in the courtyard, at least until I subsequently revisited the room after opening the path to the giant skull switch; it's entirely possible to press the hidden switches before you've crossed the trigger linedef, which does lead to some visual peculiarity. Other than that, though, the first half of the level could be resaturated and exported to another project and wouldn't seem at all out of place there. And then you hit the giant skull switch and things are not at all as they were before; turning around to retrace your steps to the start of the level, you might at first think that someone has simply turned out the lights, but everything around you has changed and you've got a fresh set of obstacles to overcome before you can make scramble your way to respite. It's a wonderful bit of pacing, a slow game that plays out over the first half of the level to incrementally coax the player's guard down, a bait-and-switch at what ought to be the last minute that instead catches the player in their most vulnerable moment, when they're about as satisfied and as relaxed as a Doom player is ever going to be.
  15. TheOrganGrinder

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Witness of Time & Monument & Unwelcome

    MAP03: Unhuman This one is pretty straightforward in its structure, laid out as a central hub from which two separate wings/puzzle-rooms divide, loop around, and reconnect; you can look around the hub, take in the keys, the doors, the long northward hallway with its damaging floor and a gargantuan skull-switch at its far end, and the radiation suit behind two sets of bars, and very quickly piece together what's expected of you. I found the left-hand path to be rather less of a puzzle than the right-hand route, and even in terms of combat it's a bit more straightforward; yes there's a lot of meat to cut your way through (a hell knight, a pain elemental, a pair of mancubi, plus no shortage of imps up on the balconies) but in general your opposition there is positioned ahead of you, waiting to be blasted, rather than the pincer ambush involving both teleporters and a lowering wall in the "piston chamber" on the eastern side of the map. And then it's back to the hub and yes I ran past the Cyberdemon this time because I so didn't have the firepower on hand to deal with him, and I'd found in necessary to thin out the incoming crowds to the point that I couldn't count on them to take him out by proxy.