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About KBlaney

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  1. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Estranged

    Map 11: There are, I suppose 4 main arenas here but none of them are particularly deadly. The main crater in the middle is probably the most difficult, but the diversity of enemies makes for a ton of monster infighting and the circular nature of the map just begs for you to start it. I also can't help but feel the blood lake in the middle was supposed to be a damaging floor. With the presentation of the BFG I was expecting a bigger ambush at the end, perhaps with an archvile. Given the theme of making it through Hell and back to Earth, a cyberdemon would not have gone amiss on that center island... maybe it just wasn't there on not-UV? Map 12: I'm not sure if this was supposed to be a recovery map from Map 11 (tonally, that is, no need for recovery thanks to the death exit). This is a rather easy map. I think my big disappointment here is the wasted potential after getting the blue key. The critical path of the map wraps back in upon itself and forks off to the blue door, however no new monsters spawn in along the overlap. Previous maps made good use of archviles in this case, so why not here? At the very least monster closets would not be out of the question. Map 13: This map really represents something of a difficulty spike here. That said the difficulty comes from the density of monsters not so much from the layout of the level which is otherwise rather linear (only minor loops backs upon itself). There is a lot of rev/caco spam in certain places. Map 14: Certainly starting to up the difficulty here. Lots of long range combat with revs and HWGs to deal with here. Luckily there is a lot of cover and tricky ways to take out the various monsters by weaving in and out of the titular fissure. That said, the end sort of peters out in difficulty which is a little disappointing.
  2. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Estranged

    Map 7: Dead Simple inspired slaughter? Oh apparently not. We have several big arena areas but there is no apparent reason to stay and fight most of the monsters as running by them can be done fairly safely. That is, until the end where... oh... this is a Dead Simple-ish level. Not a bad way to go about it, mind you. This probably ranks up there with the best of them for a host of reasons. Map 8: This is a secret hub-and-spoke level with a neat little feature where the spokes start to connect as you collect more keys. Otherwise it is a fairly short level with a few textbook fights. Perhaps the most memorable parts are the caco-imp infighting and the ambush after finding the yellow key. With all of these teleporter exits I'm missing the major selling point about the beginning of the WAD which was levels that interlocked. Map 9: A somewhat linear level all said and done, but it does tease a number of off shoots occasionally to break up the linearity. I'm actually rather pleased with myself for getting through the dark archvile (darchvile?) maze on my first try. Map 10: This has to be a nightmare on pistol start (and I see largely it was). There is some good use of archiviles here. They don't feel unfair since you hear them before you see them and you just know that you are going to have to rekill all those monsters you just fought your way through previously. It is a great use of the strengths of the monster if a bit too dark.
  3. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Estranged

    Map 4: An interesting labyrinth of a level. Clearly the intent here is that we've broken into some kind of research lab doing experiments in space travel. I don't know how Foodles is doing it, but this is the third or forth time I've found a door before the key that unlocks it. Largely I think this is good level design as finding a key reminds you to go back to a place you've been before instead of leading you to wonder what to do with this thing. The level ends with a rather surprising death exit. Did not expect that so early in the game. Judging by other people's reactions, it seems this level suffers from being played from pistol starts but works pretty well continuous. What with the copy/paste beginning/endings to level I can't help but wonder if there will be a bunch of levels like this. Map 5: This map appears to have two distinct paths that intertwine. The first is for people who are more methodical and careful, the second is for the borderline suicidal people who rush in ill considered. Normally on big open map sorts of levels I'm the “activate all the monsters first” variety so it is no wonder that I actually finished the level after my first attempt using this strategy. The major speed bump here is the cyberdemon who I whittled down with some monster infighting and then finished him off with the rocket launcher. I feel like there was probably a more elegant way of dealing with him. Map 6: Largely this ends up as a mostly linear map that exists to connect the previous insanity to, what I assume will be, the next insanity. It is quiet and calm (by Doom level standards) and would feel right at home in a continuous Half-Life map set after the craziness that was Map 5. The teleporter at the end had me thinking there was going to be another death exit, but apparently not.
  4. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Estranged

    Continuous, Hurt Me Plenty, zDoom with basic settings Map 1: A short and straightforward map to get things started here. Nothing all that crazy, of course, but this does appear to draw a bit from Doom1's design method of “if you can see outside you can go there” but it takes it to the next level of that: “if you can see outside you can explore outside”. Map 2: A cool winding map with a nice effect at the beginning to make it feel like the game is taking place in a cohesive world. This is lacking in Doom sometimes so it is nice to see the effort made here. This map also sets up a nice effect for the end as you enter into a room with a big gap in the middle of it, want to cross because that's where your attention is drawn and then loop around the level to finish the progress. This same motivation was done a lot in Halflife and so is a great feature here. Map 3: At the beginning of the base section of this map I was really starting to think that this WAD is showing its age (somehow I assumed it was an older WAD) by the more simple detailing. Oops... I'm an idiot. Plenty of detailing in the valleys here (and the WAD is only a few months old). Seeing how this has evolved so far I can only imagine how these levels will progress into increasingly detailed maps... I hope. Also around here is where I think about going back and starting on UV, but let's hold off on that for a second playthrough.
  5. KBlaney

    Megawad with no keys?

    The two levels Romero made recently don't have any keys. He does the switch thing mentioned above and signposts it with numbers in light. So that brings us up to 18. I doubt it, but does anyone know if any Master or No Rest for the Living levels lack keys?
  6. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Bloodstain

    Map 28: Looks like this is as far as I'm getting. I spent about a half an hour just trying to save scum my way through the last encounter with the snake pile of revs, 2 cyberdemons and 4 afrits. This is a really great looking level, but it is somewhat spoiled by sheer obnoxious difficulty. All said and done I feel like there was a lot of great detailing work in this WAD and a number of really great levels in the beginning/mid section of the game. The end, however, just ground me to a pulp. I felt exhausted after some levels. To try to put my finger on it, the turning point of really cool, fun levels into grindy ones was after the ice cap levels' death exit. It didn't start immediately, but there was a real tonal shift in the overall design around that point. The highlight of the back third in my opinion was the Chambers of Suffering which gave a real "Dante's Inferno" version of Hell (even if the gameplay itself has some flaws, the environmental story telling is great). Looking at the voting so far I think I'll go with +++ Estranged because it is described as having really good atmosphere and that was really the best part of Bloodstain for me.
  7. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Bloodstain

    Map 21: So, after dying, our heroic marine apparently goes to hell with his pistol... because why not? This map starts off pretty slow but picks up really quickly. There are a bunch of interesting combat experiences where you don't have the rocket launcher (which I don't usually get because I don't really play pistol start maps). This is otherwise a pretty small map in comparison to the last few much larger maps. There's a small texture alignment mistake (which plenty of people noticed) on the far side of the temple near the exit on one of the switch looking plaques with the faces. Map 22: Ugh... This map became something of a slog. Lots of traps that outright murder you if you don't have enough health. I suppose, of course, that this fits the name of the map pretty well and I believe this is the closest depiction of the biblical hell that I've ever seen in the hell levels of a Doom WAD. The attention to detail and the inspiration here make up for the difficulty to make a pretty great feeling level. Well, I'm starting to feel like a jerk pointing out bugs like these because I feel like I'm being overly critical. The issue I found here was in the final room with the archviles. On my second attempt I managed to get double AV jumped out of bounds into the void. Map 23: Just when you think this map is ending it keeps pulling you back in. Lots of Archviles in devious places at the end for the red key. Before that I wish there was an easier way to get some of the monsters to fight the Cyberdemon after the Yellow Key. However, there is a really fun line of imps between the Yellow and Rey key areas which is all sorts of fun. Map 24: Starts with a lot of cross fire and then only gets more and more slaughtery. I had quite a difficult time with the two cyberdemons until I decided to widdle through the monsters one step at a time. Eventually I think the second cyberdemon was taken out by the mass of revenants while I handled some of the other monster and the archviles. Eventually I just decided that the Afrits weren't worth the ammo so I slipped past them into the exit. Map 25: Largely a gigantic slaughter but significantly more spaced out than the slaughter of the previous map. The various battle grounds are all separated by impassible boundaries for monsters. Except for the last battle, all of them benefit significantly from being tactical instead of aggressive. The final fight, however, is a giant mess. It probably took me a dozen or so tries to get enough BFG plasma out there to thin out the heard enough to survive the slow elevator ride to the death exit. Map 26: Quite appropriate backing music here because this level certainly was a nightmare for me. The opening involves running through a short gauntlet of imps and archviles with no well signposted escape. Expect a few deaths here until you figure it out. The next bit is slugging it out with some imps until you eventually find your arsenal minus the BFG. The last major part involves hitting a switch that is defended by 4 cyberdemons. I used the invulnerability to run behind them and flick the switch that way, but my hat is off to you 100%ers out there who will try to kill those things. There is some BFG ammo nearby, but I imagine it will be close. Needless to say from my above description this level really taxed me. Map 27: This is the map that almost killed the WAD for me. Basically the map is a giant squiggly line that intersects with itself but prevents you from cutting any corners by gating you off. This is fine in principle but it is a bit frustrating when you leave behind a medkit for later only to find you can't get back there anymore. That said, the difficulty here seems to have been turned up to 11 along that path. This is especially true from approximately the yellow key door to the red key door after which the difficulty is turned up to 12. I've heard the term “RNG-Jesus” and that is definitely how I got through a whole bunch of sections of this map over the course of 3 or 4 days. It was frustrating and exhausing and the over use of the archviles in the last area just made me glad that the level is over. (Not that I think it is going to get easier from here.) This might be it for me. These levels just take so much time I don't think I'll have the time to power through the last few by the end of the month. We'll see.
  8. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Bloodstain

    My wife wanting to go play Pokemon Go is eating into all of my Doom time. What am I supposed to do? "Sorry honey I don't want to go out and play that video game because I'd rather sit here and play this one."? How soon until someone makes a [i]Doom Go[\i] game so I can kill demons while my wife catches Pikachus? Map 17: This map had a really nice circulation to it. There were lots of different ways to tackle problems and encounters. Although the map seems to encourage going up either of the sides, the dedicated could easily kill the barrons and run up the middle first. The paths to the various keys strongly benefit from clearing out a lot of the main keep first to prevent you from being attacked from all sides while attempting to get the keys. I imagine that this level is quite open to speedruns based on how interconnected it is. Map 18: Bloodstain appears to have hit a nice stride of neat levels with lots of interconnected spaces and pathways which really tax the puzzle loving part of my brain. I'm often struggling to remember where those medkits I left earlier were so I can beef up for the upcoming fights. The map even starts out as something of a puzzle where you can use some pacifism tactics to make the beginning significantly easier. This might be my favorite level so far (maybe second favorite after Map 9). Map 19: Another great map with the same theme as the previous few. That is, lots of different paths through the level, some more roundabout and safer, some more direct and more dangerous. This level appears to be some kind of Arctic base which reminds me, to an extent of, “The Thing”. As I mentioned last month, maps in Doom seem to gravitate away from 80's and 90's SF films and toward the horror/Satanic panic realm, so it is really cool to see maps inspired by the former. As a side note, I believe this might be the first Mars level I've ever seen based on the Mars Ice Caps. Map 20: So this map isn't the same as the last few, but it has a really fun slaughter at the end. We appear to have journeyed through the ice to a giant Satanic temple in the arctic. Once breaching the temple we fight our way through several waves of monsters including several Masterminds and Cyberdemons. With the right amount of infighting you can activate the next wave while the current one is still around. The final wave has quite a number of archviles so with the invulnerability sphere you end up practically flying across the room with archvile jumps. After the fights you run into the obvious exit only to explode and get told just how stupid an idea that was... sort of a fun subversion of the usual Doom map tropes. As a side note here, there is a missing set of textures in the area with the Yellow Skull. If you manage to fall into one of the lava pits near the stairs, the inside wall of the pits when the elevator is down lack a texture.
  9. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Bloodstain

    Thanks for the tips. That guy in the video makes it look so easy, haha!
  10. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Bloodstain

    Doing some catching up here. Map 12: Well... my hat is off to all you pistol starters out there. I can't say I found this map very enjoyable since there were a lot of seemingly unfair tricks that could only really be solved with a reload from a previous save. The yellow key area, for example, releases a group of 4 sniper heavy weapons guys who then remain far enough away that autoaim won't hit them, then the last two switches each spawn an archvile behind you with no cover and so no good way to break line of sight. The only way, I can see, to get past that part if you are low on health is to BFG them. Map 13: We're less than half way through and these maps are getting tough. Giant ambush in the middle after getting the red key took me a few tries. Pretty sure I just got through by luck and save scumming. Immediately after there is a pretty fun slaughter with a whole bunch of imps and cacos (although after killing all the surrounding monsters I wish I had kept some for the surprise cyberdemon to kill). Map 14: So I started this map in the worst way by running around and activating a whole bunch of monsters. This actually turned out pretty well and a few dozen monsters met their end at each others hands. The variety of monsters here and the rather generous monster barriers actually turns this level into a very tactical level where you lead large groups of monsters into each other. This is a nice change of pace from the closed in knock-down-drag-outs in the past few levels. Map 15: Had a few close-ish calls on this one but, largely, this was a fun “storm the castle” themed level. The chain gunners here require a bit of strategy or they will mow you down pretty quickly. I believe this is the first appearance of the Afrit but the Cyberdemon made pretty quick work of it. I guess that means they aren't anything to be worried about. Map 16: That Red Skull trap is devious in this level. Since you have so little room to dodge. Once again I got through by save scumming and eventually escaping the room before all of the Barrons spawned and let a lot of the monsters kills each other then just filling the room with rockets. Eventually I had killed all of the monsters in the level but couldn't find the exit. All in all I like some of the battles here but the lack of sign posting for the exit and the Red Skull trap sours my memory of it.
  11. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Bloodstain

    Map 10: Kind of a slow burn of a level that really focuses on the horror aspect of Doom. The poorly lit cave has really good atmosphere. I found myself kiting monsters back to areas with light so that I could properly fight them because otherwise they could be almost completely invisible before shooting at me. Not hard, but rather atmospheric. "Quiet time" is an underrated aspect in game design. Often the purpose of it is to give a lull in the action of the game itself to allow the player to reflect on what is happening in the game. A well known example of quiet time being used to ramp up tension in an action game is the Delta Labs in Doom 3. In a game where monsters have been attacking you around every corner constantly, they give you a moment where nothing attacks you for 3 or 4 minutes while you do thing which otherwise would have rained Hell upon you. As another example which this community might appreciate: Brutal Doom's campaign features a bunch of quiet time right after the Marine gets back to Earth. I can't help but see this map as following in the footsteps of the above two examples. Map 11: It is nice to have an action based map after the quiet time afforded by the previous one, but this might be overcompensating a little. That said, the winding caves packed with imps are fun and there is a pretty devious and liberal use of archviles here. Probably the only thing I can legitimately complain about is the fight from the red key to the exit, especially the last popup cyberdemon right before the end. With a little preplanning here you might be able to use the mastermind against the last cyberdemon, but I'm betting that might be nearly impossible to pull off.
  12. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Bloodstain

    Map 9: Another map with monsters starting facing you, but it serves a purpose this time: to get you to run away and see the major theme of the level. The design of this level is something of the usual “main structure” type of level where most of the outside is available toward the beginning with a major building in the middle that you slowly chip your way through. However, instead of only having one or two major outside sections, those are divided up further into a sort of natural landscape area. The resulting effect is that most areas of the building have more than a single entrance and exit which allows you to be very strategic with how you want to attack the monsters (or get them to attack each other). I imagine this would also make it a rather good multiplayer deathmatch arena.
  13. KBlaney

    Fair, fun and balanced

    I'm curious. How exactly does one study, learn and practice properly? I'm wouldn't mind upgrading to UV for DWmegawad Players Club.
  14. KBlaney

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Bloodstain

    Map 7: Ok, level starts me out with a switch. Pressing it doesn't work. * fires pistol * Well... that's a Mastermind somewhere in here. From there, however the level is a pretty linear series of arena fights against a small number of monsters each time. The part about my strategy I was most proud of here was managing to time my teleport just right to telefrag the cyberdemon in the second arena. Coming off of Ancient Aliens, which had a lot of cyberdemon (Lord Xenu) telefrag kills, this one felt a lot more earned because the cyberdemon is not bound to a single area here and you have to time it just right. Fittingly the Mastermind teased in the beginning can easily be cheesed and taken out with just a few well placed shotgun shells so the things that had me most worried in this level turned out to be largely nothing. Map 8: I don't know why, but I generally instantly dislike levels that start with monsters facing you. That said, after the first encounter with a few imps this level really hits its stride with all of the hitscan infighting. My experience with the end is particularly notable because I heard the cyberdemon spawn in the central room (figuring the switch I just hit had opened the door to the exit). Not wanting to fight him, I run by onto the bridge only for two cacos to spawn. “Oh well, the exit is right there,” I think, “Just go for it.” And then an archvile spawns in front of me. I just barely managed to hit the switch before the vile blew me up.
  15. KBlaney

    Cacowards 2016 Nomination Thread

    If we are doing nominations for this also, then an early mod that I always felt used the Doom 3 assets better than the actual Doom 3 ever did was Teh_Base... although that was 7 or 8 years ago so I bet something even better came out by this point. (A quick Google tells me "Recall to Hell" was cancelled. That makes me sad.)