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PasokonDeacon

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  1. PasokonDeacon

    YouTube channel dedicated to DooM PWAD music compilations?

    For MIDI recordings, I've used the Sound Canvas VA virtual instrument to handle SC-55/-88(Pro) track output. What you do is set up a new MIDI port through an application like LoopMIDI, then download SAVIHost which lets you run individual VSTs like SC-VA in a separate window. This lets me listen to in-game MIDI tracks using the SC-VA without having to run it all through VirtualMidiSynth or BASSMIDI with a less versatile soundfont. I really enjoy Patch's SC-55 soundfont and would trust that more for authentic classic Doom MIDI, but SC-VA's more flexible by far. Making a MIDI score for SC-88 playback via SC-VA would be super cool, and I get the feeling that even the best scene musicians composing/arranging for MS Wavetable Synth or SC-55 would like to break out of those constraints without resorting to fully-featured DTM sequencers.
  2. PasokonDeacon

    2018 Goals

    Get an internship. I can make time for Doom later on, but this really shouldn't wait. Plug away at finishing major WADs I've found via Cacowards and /newstuff. Experiment with map-making and practice giving map/bug feedback. See if anyone at my university might want to try classic Doom-ing both alone and in co-op (we have a great gaming center at the library, but everyone's there for Smash or eSports-focused games). Build stronger work ethic and organization; writing and reviewing short stories with friends will help. Read something beneficial everyday and cut down on social media overload. Pruning my Twitter should do the trick.
  3. From what I've played of later Wiles maps, he sticks to hell knights and cacos instead of stalling players with barons. DICKE07 through DICKIE10, SlayeR, and the early Monolith maps don't suffer from Crusades's issues. So a lot of what he did in this mapset seems experimental or influenced by a desire to make his E4 theme more unique.
  4. PasokonDeacon

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Reverie

    MAP02: Soldier's Stand Another swift hitscan squad awaited me, giving just enough opportunity to grab the shotty and conserve ammo by lining up blasts. Efficiency's the goal in this map, with key steps in progression hiding away in forgotten cubbyholes while the base stuffs itself with hidden rooms. This bunker doesn't expect visitors, nor does it give much to its keepers. Imps bide their time below the pillars and the Monolith stands guarded by apes, observed from afar by curious soldiers. Perhaps they sense how odd this backwater outpost has become. It plays quite well for its size and simplicity, with a cool encounter in the pillar room and more barrel fun elsewhere. The symmetry loosens up here with distinct parts of the compound serving different purposes (contrary to the bizarre crusher-like door lifts). Computer secret has totally evaded me, so I expect the WAD to have even more cunning secrets later on.
  5. PasokonDeacon

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Reverie

    Never played any valkiriforce maps before...guess now's a good time to start. In fact, I've played through MAP06 just out of impulse and really like it so far. I'm playing with PrBoom+, UV, KB/M hori, pistol starts, and occasional saving. MAP01: Stratos Gate Choose-your-own-pace Entryway tribute also echoes a bit of TNT MAP01 influence with chaingunner closets, extra button panels, a loop-around berserk pack secret. The music helps, too, and it all comes together as a map borrowing just enough from Romero and Mustaine but with an order and polish through which the author shines. That said, it's a pretty barebones opener, aiming to hit a balance of many fundamentals and set initial difficulty. I don't necessarily like the timed door secret, but it never occurred to me that there was one at all...this WAD seems extra cautious with obvious secrets so long as that doesn't hinder players. The map trades out surprises and complexity for something less easily achievable: a player subliminally feeling, through just the first map, the author's purpose and what the WAD ultimately suggests. I noticed the asymmetric, oddly shaped player-start sector and wondered how something like this could end up right at the beginning. The relative boxed-in feeling I get from not achieving an exit to the outside unlike in the IWAD, joined by the climactic teleport foreshadowed by the lack of geographic continuity right from the start, brings up a notion that the player's taking control in the midst of a journey. True to its themes, Reverie made me ponder (just for a second) the quantum mundanity of the worlds Doomguy fights through, now that he's numb to endlessly iterating maps but excited regardless. This could be a kind of commentary on classic Doom gaming as somnambulism, or just a fun megawad story promise...why not both?
  6. E4M7: Bloodbath Now we're in practically a whole 'nother WAD. Limited resource options from the start don't get in the way of either methodically turtling like in previous maps or cutting to the quick by charging past sentries, right around the fork down a stairwell to hell. I think the ammo balance here puts a damper on things because you don't realize how much you have to conserve until you don't even have pistol ammo for activating the shoot switch. Everything else is generally nice compared to the middle maps, just not that. Sniping in the yard gives way to a pitched fight (or, in my case, retreat once I saw the horde of infinitely-tall cacos threatening to corner me!), and the ending rooms can't compete but are fun nonetheless. It's brisk, allows experimentation, and really could have followed E4M3 to have a more significant improvement on Crusades's overall pacing. E4M8: Gateway to Quake Wiles lays on the metaphor rather bluntly: you end up outside the confines of the WAD's previous theme, proceeding through a mysterious and tall edifice, then wreck a motley reception only to find oneself trapped in some bizarre other game. He must have known, even then, that mapping for this aging game would keep pulling him back in no matter how he tried. (At least that self-consciousness about his obsessions gave us nessy.wad.) There's no way to get back through the nukage tunnel if you backtrack after taking the first rad suit, meaning you either count your blessings after having saved at the main area or simply restart. That sucks, but at least you get to enjoy a well-designed flyer rush every time you launch into the chasm. I really like the Abandoned Mines-isms on display here as well as the closets and damage zones everywhere meant to drive you in and out of cover. As a standalone map, this could have been great with extra development, like a lengthier build-up to the spiderdemon's posse using some of Wiles' occasional platforming as well as vestiges from the SPOOKY maps like Gothic ruins or a hidden slim-ledge secret behind a false wall. We got an exciting final fight and a "thrilling" metatextual anti-climax. It's definitely a good level and one which bookends the collection in an oddly unique way. Crusades So it's got too many poorly-used barons in a few maps, mainly the result of Wiles deciding to power down the player by denying ammo and mere access to higher-tier weapons early on. Theming lacks consistency due to the cobbled nature of the pack (and even the SPOOKY maps don't all flow well between each other), making me wonder if he simply couldn't figure out how best to adapt his conceptual priorities to Ultimate Doom. With or without his Doom II legacy observing from the shadows, this WAD hasn't won me over with superb combat or sustained semblance of fairness to players starting it with expectations of a harder E4 substitute. I really like most of the layouts, certain fights and traps in maps less prone to famine, and the neat tricks and turns Wiles uses to vary progression and create the sense of being toyed with by inhuman forces. He gave his best efforts with stark lighting and solid texture choices all-throughout. Lost souls, pinkies, and imps rarely produce this much challenge and potential to wipe-out when least expected. To an extent, the author cut down on his usual checklist items and made this double-edged sword of an episode in turn, and that makes Crusades an important, decent if flawed moment in his evolution. The WAD's strongest theme isn't unique enough to warrant a community-pack episode or creative excavation any time soon, so I expect this will keep attention over the years more as a debatable 10 Years of Doom: 100 Best Wads recipient. SlayeR exists to make up for that (though DICKIE09 would better represent that series in 100 Best Wads instead of its sequel).
  7. PasokonDeacon

    Your thoughts on TNT Evilution

    Having played Memento Mori earlier this year, I wish I could agree. TeamTNT at least put out a more unique and consistently themed community pack for Shawn Green and id Soft to roll into Final Doom. Some maps in Memento Mori are excellent and should have made it in, but there's a bunch of mediocre or a few actively poor levels which are just unfortunate to deal with. The megawad's ambition and clear-as-day passion does shine through, and I have to marvel at MM knowing how difficult it was to map back then without tools I take for granted today. Evilution's also better tailored for an easier continuous-play run with an easy difficulty curve on UV, while MM has a bunch of maps emphasizing co-op as well as a harder difficulty curve. One could say Evilution had more commercial appeal because of these factors; Icarus might have been the best fit if we're judging the megawads' Final Doom viability by ease of accessibility (but they'd have to balance the hell out of ICARUS MAP01). I don't have much to say about TNT: Evilution that the others haven't covered. The IWAD's still fun and interesting to replay on occasion. and it spawned a bunch of great mapping ideas in-between the less compelling or well-designed ones. New music's hit-or-miss but certainly a nice break from the Bobby Prince collection. MAP13 remains my favorite for its polish, quick Cyberdemon, verdant night visuals, and unorthodox open-ended progression.
  8. Good thing I voted for something with a lot less Barons and a lot more of the other weapons. E4M6: Trooper's Graveyard Backyard aside, this map handily avoids the inflated difficulty of the past two maps and generally works a lot better. Sidling past lost souls, demons, and sergeants before taking a lift straight down to barrel land is fun and hectic. The backyard gives you multiple safe options for dealing with its guards, as well as enough clearing for a precise BFG shot if you get behind the grey crate quick enough. Caco/souls trap obscuring the shoot-switch is just one example of how the progression varies, culminating in a ez-pz cyberdemon and flyers revue. The "graveyard" part shows through with how (one could assume) the UAC operated the previous maps from this base before it got corrupted even harder than the others. Strange texturing doesn't hurt the overall theme of a gothic, hyper-E4 world retaining some of its logic. I don't quite get why there's a lot of hanging corpses and entrails lying around vs. E4M4 or E4M5 where those elements fit better, but I'm not eager to complain about that. Relative lack of imp teleports and impractical Barons makes me think Wiles had gotten tired enough of his usual UDoom predilections, giving way to less tedious set-ups with or without innovations alongside. Going by sheer quality, this map sits atop the rest in Crusades. It lacks a few of my favorite moments from previous maps yet doesn't suffer from any big issues plaguing them.
  9. E4M5: The Witching Hour Somehow the map grew on me despite having to plunk away at the hobbling red hunks way too much. The baron quota's somewhat higher here than in E4M4; having to tango with two before the final elevator gets on my nerves because, at that point, you've done this before and it's not impressive or fun. Getting a chaingun early on though (after clearing some initial foes and getting max shotgun ammo), then diving below into the ditch, makes for a challenging but varied opening. The progression makes sense: start out with a Perfect Hatred-like set of fights, culminating with a baron backing you into a rocky hard place, before you warp out of there and enter the courtyard areas with looser combat. While it's not as distinctly cool-looking as the previous map, E4M5 has a much better sense of scale and makes good use of the long but somewhat narrow spaces you end up battling in. I also like how the metal bridge room changes context between when you first enter and when you return, all because of the Bruiser Brothers and cacos waiting to pounce. The biggest downfall for this map is how it leaves relative breathing room for later on. It's quick to replay upon death, but tedious, and not getting to the awesome steep courtyard fight often makes this all so frustrating. E4M5's got this weird mix of id E4M2-like puzzling ambition combined with overuse of a bad theme from the previous map. Granted, it's a solid map, but one which features the best and worst of this WAD. I also think Wiles worked better with Doom II's bestiary and SSG, though E4M6 brings needed improvement in that area. +++ Perdition's Gate
  10. I'll jump in for Crusades: PrBoom+, UV pistol starts, hori KB/M, and periodic saving (depends on the map). I've played through the whole WAD already, but will dive back into the maps to analyze things if I need to. E4M1: The Awakening This opening's all-new and prophesies the core themes of later maps both taken from Wiles's SPOOKY set and made just for Crusades. I really like the looping layout which lends familiarity to each area/set-piece as you move from one stage of the gauntlet to another. Shotgunning barons is another recurring idea which I'm much less enthused with, but it works fine here since the player can divide firepower against the baron before and after getting the red key. Wiles really loves his monster teleports, especially for imp ambushes as seen later in SlayeR. While this map pack tends to get overly linear (E4M5's an exception) and an occasional grind (unlike DICKIE09 which avoids this towards the end with less gates), the opening's brisk and gorgeous to waltz through. I'll always enjoy how the author puts exits or key shifts in map progression right behind the player start, used here to give a blunt intro to the WAD. E4M2: Night-Watch An ominous yet ineffectual crucifix and courtyard gives the first impression of entering a corrupted haven, before stumbling upon sci-fi innards. Which came first? It doesn't really matter after you've gunned through chunked garrisons of sergeants, pinkies, and cacos. E4M2 really succeeds in morphing Thy Flesh Consumed into a more calculated trip without feeling too claustrophobic or moment-to-moment. For example, seeing the secret area behind the armor pool hints at both a necessary waste area for the base and something the map wants to share with players rather than occlude; earlier on you can't see past the elevated nukage key. Multi-key doors, strongly indicated ways to backtrack from encounters, and combat variety suiting both shotgun and RL fleshes it all out. Center courtyard fight excels with pinning you against the perimeter with lost souls and spectres while cacos and the baron conduct from afar. The constant theme of working inward helps the gothic E4 aesthetics, too, though I wish the lighting could be more severe like in E4M1. And the secret exit's neat to encounter after entering the exit courtyard with its greater detail and tempting vertical contrasts. E4M9: Running Scared The shift from funneled mix-texture corridors (and nukage!) to earthy walled battlegrounds feels well earned. It's nice to worry less about resource famine and more about how best to manage the courtyard horde and teleport traps. Earlier scrounging and dashing in the tunnel section at least doesn't have any similarity with the rest of the WAD, so the challenge functions well. I can't say I didn't expect a hazardous secret map after how Wiles foreshadows its elements in E4M2. He's great as ever with platforming sections as seen towards the end. Overall this one seems about middle-tier in quality vs. its neighbors, and I definitely like how it's as much of a style shift as SlayeR MAP09. E4M3: Berzerker Dang, that mega-armor secret pays off. I don't have much to say about this one since y'all summarized it rather well. Me and Berserk punching in PrBoom+ don't mix, but I try my best when forced to, and this map's whole theme is firepower austerity. Honestly, this is my least favorite map of the bunch, with cramped and uninteresting fights against lost souls and barons. The pond encounter's fun, just not much of everything else. Wiles learned to loosen up after making something this repetitive and prone to precautionary saves just so I don't have to turtle my way back to where I died. E4M4: Haunted House I'm not a huge fan of this one because it denies plasma or rocket ammo I'd prefer to use when fighting barons blocking my way. Trying to do a relatively pacifistic run by skipping past most barons and cacos seems fine and enjoyable, but would lead to a lot more saving also. Verticality plays its biggest role yet, with spectres punishing you below and snipers killing from above. The map features many more projectile lobbers than hitscanners, but also less teleports, meaning that fights come down to quick reflexes against sergeants and shaping squads of other foes around tight spaces. Lighting's become even more severe here than in previous maps, indulging the demonized gothic style to its vanilla-Doom limits. So far this map goes to extremes the others have only dabbled in; E4M4's as close to a puzzle map as the first half of Crusades can offer. Map's decent and a memorable midway point for sure. The caco courtyard's a standout moment, partly for its awesome vista and partly because I accidentally jumped outside a lower window, landing in the courtyard which I had to noclip out of. Now there's a surprise. Don't know what I want to vote for yet, lol.
  11. PasokonDeacon

    Your thoughts on Plutonia

    The crystal sector bridge in MAP02 remains my object of hatred in this IWAD. I don't know why Dario thought this canyon trap, with an non-telegraphed bridge and flyers/revvies immediately firing upon your cramped ledge you simply have to escape (since there's no way back!), would fit the player's progression so early in Plutonia. Nothing in MAP01 is as divergent and unusual, let alone difficult to figure out the first few times. The section's just not intuitive, and it contrasts with later maps (like MAP11) where Dario makes the mechanics more clear and interesting. Either you accidentally step onto the bridge and know what's happened, or you don't. Maybe I'm just annoyed at having to restart MAP02 a few times after saving myself into a trap I didn't recognize and couldn't backtrack from, but it clearly doesn't accommodate a certain style of play. Other than that, the reviving chaingunners in MAP15 (which are at least fun to work around), and the starts of some Milo maps (MAP20, MAP24), Plutonia's not that frustrating or unfair. It's difficult for sure, a decent notch harder than community pack WADs from the period—maybe not as tough and rough-shod as Dystopia 3—but the Casali brothers present a ton of fun, replayable, and meaningful combat situations which expanded the mapping toolbox. And I rarely play TNT instead of Plutonia if I want a quick action fix or if I'm testing a mod. TNT suffers from a lot of inconsistency starting early on, plus experimental parts which weren't great even back then. Plutonia levels I end up replaying often include MAP01, MAP03, MAP07, MAP10, MAP12 through 14, MAP16, MAP17, MAP21 through 23, and then MAP27 to the end. (On a rare occasion, I'll load TNT MAP02, MAP11, MAP 13, MAP15, MAP17, MAP20, MAP26, and MAP28 through the end. That's still a very fun mapset despite its flaws.) I definitely understand and know where the OP's coming from. Abusing saves helped me get through Plutonia on my first run, and that made certain maps more unlikable than they should be. Playing less difficult but challenging PWADs afterward helped acclimate me to higher skill levels. Now that's it's easier to casually play Plutonia maps whenever I feel like it, the set's become essential. I'm still focused on playing the PWAD canon though, knowing there's so much to get caught up on.
  12. PasokonDeacon

    Kate Fox has passed away

    All I can do is voice my own anguish and disappointment about this happening and taking Kate away from the world. I hope (and like to think I know) her relatives and friends will piece her life together and recover from this. The contributions she's made to the community over time haven't caught my eye before, so I'll have to do some research into her mods. It sounds like she had earned a place in the pantheon before this.
  13. To get selfish for a second, I'd love to see (and eventually try making) more "demake" total conversions which translate a classic game into the classic Doom format. Mega Man 8-Bit Deathmatch introduced me to Doom when I was much younger, so I think the outreach element of accessible demake TCs could make others more aware of the scene as a whole. This recently happened with Castlevania: Simon's Destiny, also. One condition here is that I'd rather see a focus on authenticity to the source material rather than obviously diverging to make something which plays, looks, and/or sounds more like a fan fiction than the original. MM8BDM focuses on approximating the functions of that series's weapons in polygonal 3D, alongside how physics works and what color/shading style looks closest. This all shows the flexibility of source port modding, and the TCs' proximity to other large and/or more traditional community projects could turn out for the better. Simply putting the classic game into a Doom source port greatly changes how you play and experience anyway. I'd love to see more critical perspectives on custom Doom content just in general. One Man Doom, the various streams Alfonzo and Tarnsman host, and YouTubers like Major Arlene and Custom Gamer/DaZ contribute a lot by playing through maps/projects and highlighting what makes them tick. Forum discussions are key to establishing the concepts, glossary, and specific understanding of Doom mapping and play, yet communicating all that in more accessible ways matters as well. Evolution of the WAD is a great example, though I'd love to see a more structured and beginner-friendly alternative. Finally, we should make efforts to introduce the Doom scene to less well-off parts of the world, and to foster small but potentially greater communities wherever possible. Maybe getting college/university students like me interested in the games could help with this. (Simply getting a Zandronum LAN game started at my university, despite its fancy gaming and media library, can be a pain whether or not anyone honestly wants to sit down and play.) I also wonder how the Japanese mappers are doing now after releasing JPCP and individual projects to much fanfare.
  14. PasokonDeacon

    Cacowards 2017 discussion (24 years)

    This year's list is darn tootin'. I've enjoyed most of lilith.pk3 so far, but the holiday break's a good excuse to finish it. Honestly, I'm a bit more interested in researching the runner-ups and overlooked releases of late 2016 and 2017, knowing I can always return to the Cacowards for reference on most of the Doomworld favorites. The Cacowards are a great institution which helped me out a lot when I got into Doom, so I thank everyone who nominated and judged the 24th event for doing their best to survey the community landscape. Rise of the Wool Ball deserved an award if you ask me. That mod showcases an enviable level of improvement and optimism, in addition to working as a standalone sequel to Shadow of the Wool Ball. Awards bloat could do some damage if it spirals out of control, but maybe consider adding a slot under Other Awards for total conversions? That's not going to greatly influence how much more often modders will strive to make TCs and little else, which would be the main concern in providing incentive to get this kind of recognition. Figuring out how to play all the year's nominated releases and then discuss which ones stood out for an award, depending on the judges' different experiences and tastes, makes this a challenging ceremony. So regardless of what I think, I'm glad it's here this year and I hope more people getting into classic Doom will learn how best to use the Cacowards when putting together a play-list.
  15. PasokonDeacon

    What are you playing now?

    I'm finishing up Doom II The Way id Did. Just before that, I finished Obituary, and then AD_79's Plutonia-based mini-episode which really impressed and engaged me for an hour and a half. Playthroughs on hiatus include Rise of the Wool Ball, my first run of Heretic (it's sadly been a real stop-and-go experience), and some others I probably forgot about.
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