CapnClever

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About CapnClever

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  1. Evolution of the WAD E3 now live! twitch.tv/capnclever

  2. Episode three coming up! Catch the live recording on Saturday, April 22, starting 9PM EDT (UTC-4) over at https://www.twitch.tv/capnclever. The YouTube upload will be available by April 24. The topic: mapper retrospective of Matt "MTrop" Tropiano. He's been a mapper for two decades and counting, and we're going to cover as much of it as we can: from humble beginnings to full-blown game development, all across the Doom engine.
    Playability notes: Worked fine in PrBoom+: anything limit-removing will do. According to the text file it's been tested in a lot of source ports, so there shouldn't be any problem. The Red Line looks great, REALLY great, but doesn't have a clue how to engage the player when it comes to combat. It's not outright bad so much as uniformly peppered with encounters I was never interested in fighting. The beginning starts well enough but by the end it descends into a tired rhythm that barely registers a pulse. (Just to reiterate: the mapset, as an architectural work of art, is fantastic. My criticism and overall review is based on whether the set is worth playing, however, not simply viewing.) The first few levels are fun enough, as you're forced into either close quarters or complete evasion due to melee-only scenarios. Berserked fist and chainsaw, while certainly interesting weapons in their own right, cause the player to be in a situation of constant threat, as nearly every enemy has the advantage of range and requires you to close in. As a result, this makes the challenge somewhat automatic, and here it proves to be interesting on a basic tactical level. The foremost problem is the pervading use of imps and hitscanners. Normally you wouldn't expect this to be a problem, as imps are generally good fodder and hitscanners have their own niche use in attrition. The problem stems from their usage in every single fight: you would be hard-pressed to find a single area that didn't contain a handful of these low-tier enemies. To convey this simply, here's a list of Former Humans, Sergeants, and Imps relative to the total number of enemies (including Lost Souls) once the maps involve ranged weapons: MAP04: 90/121 (74%) MAP05: 55/68 (81%) MAP06: 96/116 (82%) MAP07: 86/139 (62%) MAP08: 208/311 (67%) MAP09: 423/586 (72%) To be fair, the density drops over time: MAP09 in particular has a section near the end with literal swarms of Former Humans and Imps (though MAP07 is lowest because of the obligatory Dead Simple fight, containing a good 20 enemies by itself). But it's not so much the count as it is the fact that they're everywhere, no exception, and you have to get rid of them or they'll plink you to death. For an illustration, this is one of the opening fights in MAP08: I just can't wrap my head around this composition! It's not intended to be easy or hard: this is a haphazard menagerie that looks kind of amusing. And while this is an exaggerated case, it's also roughly what you should be expecting throughout the set. It took me a very long time to understand why I wasn't having fun (starting near the end of MAP05), and my conclusion is that there's so very little worth fighting. Exterminating fodder all the time isn't an enjoyable experience to me, and the occasional sprinklings of harder enemies don't make up for it. This mapset doesn't appear like it's meant to be hard, but a low number of carefully-crafted encounters would play far better than a constant barrage of enemies barely worth using the chaingun on. I expect this set could be made significantly better with improved thing placement alone. My recommendation: the first 3-4 maps are neat to play through, but after that just nuke the enemies and enjoy the view. The view is worth it, even if the fights aren't.
    Playability notes: Vanilla Doom, nothing special required. MAP14 can be completed, just give it time. Congestion: 64 is difficult to rate for me because I tend to rate solely on gameplay, whereas this mapset is, by design, a satirical piece rather than a set of things-to-be-played. The whole thing is over in 15 minutes, if that. I think it serves its purpose well, though nothing exceptional enough to recommend as a must-play. As the name implies (and in contrast to Congestion 1024) this is a set of 32 maps where each map fits in a 64x64 square: no extra scenery, no monsters outside, just the player inside a box that would, at best, fit 4 players. It was released on idgames a mere five days after Congestion 1024, most likely as a parody of limiting mappers to an arbitrary square. Having played through that set myself, I can understand the sentiment. Needless to say, there is virtually no move to move, and most maps are solved simply by turning around and pressing switches. This said, each map has a uniqueness to it, and there is a clear indication of care put into the set, limited as it may be. After the first few maps, I found myself curious as to what would occur in the next map, and was entertained for the brief period it lasted. If you're still interested even after reading this, give it a go. If not, spend those 15 minutes elsewhere.
  3. Basic modifications to existing stats can be done via DeHackEd quite easily. As for running DeHackEd itself, the original was a DOS executable: if you can load DOSBox, it should run fine there. Once you have a patch, you can apply it to a source port with the -deh parameter. For example: chocolate-doom -iwad doom2.wad -file myhouse.wad -deh myhack.deh
  4. Raspberry Pi supports shell scripts. You can write a one-line script to automatically load your custom file. If you're looking for a simple way to add custom enemies in addition to the game's existing ones, you'll want to look into GZDoom (ZDoom was recently deprecated: just run the software mode on GZDoom for the equivalent). To that end, if you manage to get it running on your operating system, then you'll have something to discuss with a number of qualified experts here. If, however, you're stuck with something like Chocolate Doom, then the very concept of custom enemies becomes a great deal more complicated. The de facto method of altering vanilla-like Doom behavior is instead create what is called a DeHackEd patch. Originally these patches were used to modify the executables, though source ports have ways of performing temporary changes. Because it's limited to a modification of the executable, the patch can't mess around too much or it'd make the binary fail altogether: thus, any changes have to fit and replace existing data. In short, if you want a new enemy, a DeHackEd patch can only do so at the cost of something else. There are enough people around that would explain it far better than I can, but know the fundamental limitation when working in this medium. What you've suggested - modifying and recompiling at the source code level for the purpose of new enemies - is, to my knowledge, an unprecedented endeavor. If you choose that method then you're on your own, save the wisdom of the source port developers themselves. It shouldn't be an insurmountable challenge, mind you, but you'd have to distribute the entire executable alongside any WAD files just to get it to run.
    Playability notes: Everything works fine in PrBoom+ with -complevel 9. Pistol start on each map is recommended by the text file. Congestion 1024 is the first of its kind, at least in megawad form, and it triumphantly conveys how unrefined the craft of packing a map into a small space was at the time. As with many limitation projects, it contains notable examples in regards to visual complexity, but a dynamic gameplay experience in such confined compartments must be difficult to achieve if this set is anything to go by. There are a few diamonds in the rough, but the rough is rough indeed. The concept itself is quite simple: limit the player's area to a 1024x1024-unit square. While enemies and architecture can extend wherever it is desired, the player must not be allowed to step foot beyond their relatively small enclosure. For an example of how little this is to work with, I present Doom II's MAP07, Dead Simple: The available area is not the outer square, which is available by the end of the map; nor is it the square within that, which is what the player has available to them from the start of the map. Every map in Congestion 1024 confines the player's movement to the square circumscribing the exit and the four mancubus turret squares (in actuality this square is 960x1088, ignoring the lips, but the surface area is about the same). It's a hefty burden, but the goal should be (as with any limitation project) to create a level that plays without the player noticing any limitation at all: here, the player should feel like they can go anywhere, even though there is only a small space to actually go. Unfortunately, as I anticipated even before playing, many of the levels expose their bottled, boxy boundaries quite brashly. Some even go so far as to abandon typical mapping fundamentals to desperately squeeze their idealized map, tighter and tighter, until it's crushed and crumpled beyond recognition. However, in spite of this expectation, I was impressed by several maps that expertly provided space and progression to the player. Highlights: MAP02 and MAP04 are a step in the right direction, with layouts that keep your focus on the action rather than the limited motion. MAP08 and MAP11 are contrary to this direction, as there is plenty of action available but far too little area to enjoy it. If I recommend outright avoiding maps: MAP09, MAP13, MAP14, and MAP22. These aren't even tiny rooms connected by tiny hallways, but the opposite: hallways upon hallways, with the occasional room to break up the monotony. MAP13 in particular is titled "The Focus II" and it's embarrassing to believe that it was in any way inspired by the original. MAP15, MAP32, MAP17, and MAP28, on the other hand, are all worth a playthrough (two of those levels are part of the demo reel). They're constrained without being cramped, and difficult purely from a dynamic standpoint. MAP07, MAP16, MAP27, MAP30, and (eventually) MAP21 are arena encounters ala Dead Simple. Of these, MAP16 is the most interesting, as the intensity increases over time and can be taken at a variable pace. I recommend skipping around with pistol starts: MAP01-MAP06, MAP15-MAP20 (including secrets), and MAP25-MAP28 are the most interesting stretches of at least decent maps.
  5. The -respawn parameter still works in Chocolate Heretic if you want it. I've looked into what makes Heretic inferior to Doom when it comes to gameplay, and the biggest problem is the overall lack of threat. Disciples can hurt, Undead Warrior Ghosts can hurt, and bosses can hurt if they use a good attack, but everything else is simply impotent in the damage compartment. Gargoyles deal 1-8 with their fireball. Even the plinking of zombiemen is stronger, and they're hitscan! And keep in mind that the armor for Heretic is stronger than Doom's, with the silver shield absorbing 50% and the enchanted shield absorbing 75%. Factor in that you pick up medikits to use on command, and it's way too easy to survive compared to Doom. Other significant factors include: Monster weight is much lower in Heretic, causing enemies to be knocked back with ease (speedruns use crossbow predominantly for this reason) Too many similar weapons (dragon claw, hell staff, and firemace are all useful in the same situations); crossbow's damage is far too variable (10-80 on the primary bolt!) Enemy HP for mid-tier enemies is incredibly similar across the board, ranging between 150 and 300: on the other hand, phoenix rod's damage is identical to Doom's rocket launcher (~148-288), making just about everything trivial to kill Iron Liches and Maulotaurs are too random in their attacks to be interesting when mixed with other enemies; enemies refuse to attack Maulotaurs and D'sparil; certain player attacks are hardcoded to be less useful against boss monsters (e.g., powered dragon claw's damage is effectively zero on Iron Liches); D'sparil is hardcoded as an enemy (not just being in E3M8) to kill all other enemies upon death, including other D'sparils. It really makes using them in custom maps exceedingly difficult. To most, I imagine Heretic is "that game with the Tome of Power" and lacks any other redeeming features. It looks pretty cool, but it really suffers from static gameplay. A Doom2-ization would have certainly helped: by comparison, Doom1 lacks the dynamics that Doom2 has, though at least you can still die easily if you're not careful.
    Playability notes: MAP16 has a red key door that refuses to open in PrBoom+ (and even Boom itself): other than that, everything works with -complevel 9. Couldn't manage to finish MAP25 in any appropriate source port but I reached the level's end, so it could be counted as "done". Finally (repeating the text file for emphasis) some levels may unexpectedly break due to their unique construction: if you're planning to browse a map, you may have to progress as intended to see the map as intended. 10 Sectors is a product of its era, with maps that are held in equal praise for overly-intricate detailing and for an emergent gameplay experience, but still manages to provide a worthwhile visit in the current day. As noted in the text file, this mapset is strongly recommended for pistol start, with the ordering of maps determined by judge scores rather than a semblance of size/challenge scaling. Feel free to browse and idclev at your leisure. The limitation of the project, that a map can only contain 10 sectors, is especially interesting when you know that a sector need not be restricted to a contiguous object: indeed, once you hit the halfway point you'll start to be amazed that such levels are possible with only 10 sectors' worth of information. As the contest also allowed the use of the Boom format, there's a fair bit of wizardry possible under the limitation, and the efforts of the contributors show through well. That said, my rating is ultimately based on the gameplay and presentation regardless of such limitations, and in this regard the set is a mixed bag. Highlights, for better or for worse, are as follows: MAP03, MAP06, MAP08, MAP17, and MAP24 are a cut above the rest in terms of difficulty. If you're looking mostly for challenge, these are worth skipping to. MAP21 and MAP31 can be safely avoided: the former due to its incredibly obtuse progression and frustrating elevators, and the latter due to its wholly unpleasant and length combat encounters. MAP26 and MAP27 are impressively and intricately detailed, but these details manage to disrupt the flow of the level. Nice to look at, not nice to play through. By contrast, MAP18 and MAP20 prove to give enjoyable gameplay and scenery at the same time. MAP29 is far and away the most challenging map of the set, and still manages to beautifully fit within the constraints of the project. You could easily put this in a mapset similar to Alien Vendetta and it wouldn't skip a beat. I recommend a pistol start at the beginning of each level, playing as much as you want, and skipping to the next if you run out of patience on a given map. The quality skips around a lot, but it's at least worth visiting each one.
  6. To get a soundfont working in Chocolate Doom on Windows, you'll need to install a MIDI driver that supports the use of soundfonts. VirtualMIDISynth and BASSMIDI are two I've tried (ended up preferring the latter) that can be configured to use soundfonts in place of the Microsoft GS Wavesynth table. Just use "Native MIDI" as the music type and you're good to go!
  7. Evolution of the WAD episode is live! twitch.tv/capnclever

    1. yakfak

      yakfak

      good work, that was fun

  8. Next episode's set! Catch the live recording on Saturday, April 15, starting 9PM EDT (UTC-4) over at https://www.twitch.tv/capnclever. The YouTube upload will be available by April 17. The topic: Dead Simple clones. We'll be discussing ubiquitous MAP07 idiosyncrasies started by Doom II and present in so very many mapsets after. Does the concept stand the test of time? We'll find out! EDIT: YouTube video is up! Check it out here. Original post has also been updated with a YouTube playlist for easy navigation.
  9. Anything published will show up as Latest Files at idgames or What's New in the beta downloads. Alternatively, you can check the WADs & Mods subforum for kinda-finished-but-not-ready-for-idgames stuff. That's how 99.9% of Doomworld projects are findable: I suggest only making threads when you're looking for something more specific (and those go in WADs & Mods regardless).
    Playability notes: MAP03, MAP08, and MAP16 have doors that do not open for the player on one side, sometimes causing the levels to be unwinnable. MAP16's conveyor belt and MAP30's first elevator do not work properly in PrBoom+: ZDoom is therefore recommended (unlike the text file's suggestion of Boom compatibility). Five Rooms of Doom is a mixed bag but leaning towards a poorly-constructed set. Most small maps are fun due to their simplicity, whereas most big maps are not for the very same reason. The focus on "rooms", though defined generally through visibility by the project leader, seem to have suggested boxy layouts to many mappers (as seen by the resulting mapset). Nothing comes across as particularly impressive, whereas there are definite standout problems (bugs aside): MAP06's sector-sound issue that breaks what would have been its most interesting encounter MAP11's combination of open-door archviles and inevitable cacodemon swarm are just a little too hectic given the resource scarcity MAP13 is suggestive of being standalone rather than part of a set MAP15's secret exit is wholly absurd, and its berserk-only challenge is interesting but unrelenting MAP23 really hates the concept of infinite-height monsters (reminder that this was meant Boom-compatible) MAP24 is a Hell Revealed E3-style rushdown, passable in its own right except for the archvile spam MAP26 is maniacally obfuscating: some neat ideas but very poorly executed MAP28's blue key room concept is tedious guesswork There are additionally cases (MAP10-13, MAP17-20, MAP22-24) of difficulty whiplash. Overall, I can recommend the first nine or so maps in a to play in a row, at which point your mileage will vary.
  10. In the beta files section, in cases where a file has hundreds of reviews, the reviews stop loading properly after some number of pages. Alien Vendetta freaked out on page 12, Scythe on page 8. In these cases, the review tab ceases to exist altogether, and a refresh of the page is required to return it. I also noticed all the "Janurary 1, 1969" review timestamps have been replaced with "Unknown date", which is appreciated.