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erzboesewicht

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About erzboesewicht

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  1. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    Final thoughts and observations Here come some notes and observations I made when playing the WAD. Overall, I enjoyed it, some maps were very interesting. Only a few were really underwhelming, and visuals were great in almost all maps. As others mentioned I think the difficulty progression isn't ideal. Even if the grouping of maps were decided by visual theme, for example MAP10 would have been better put into the last section. But other than that, it's a perfect mapset for a casual playthrough. Space usage tropes: I played this mapset primarily - like I suppose many club members this month - because I was interested in how the mappers dealt with the 1024x1024 restriction, also because I'm beginning to map myself and wanted to get some inspiration for space usage. So I made a list of "tropes" the mappers used to make the maps interesting despite of the restriction. Maps marked with asterisks are extreme in the usage of the trope. I plan also to play other restricted mapsets (like Claustrophobia 1024) to look if the space usage has become more sophisticated over the years. (Played MAP01 of Claustrophobia 1024 - is pretty well done despite of the "hitscanner hell"). Single arena: MAP01, MAP07*, MAP16, (MAP21), (MAP25), MAP27, (MAP30) That's the most simple trope: basically these maps consist of a single room (in MAP01, there's a little additional starting area, and MAP30 opens gradually), where an arena fight takes place. Everything depends on the gameplay ideas the mappers used. In my opinion, MAP27 is the one that best makes usage of it (although it uses other tropes as well), followed by MAP16 and MAP01, while MAP07 is a little bit "too (dead) simple". MAP22 and MAP25 also use big arenas, but there are more significant areas of the playable space outside of them. Miniaturization: MAP03, MAP08, MAP09, MAP11, MAP13*, MAP14*, MAP22, MAP23, MAP29 This trope means the mappers made everything small - corridors are very tight, rooms often also are cramped. The goal is obvious, to make the maps seem bigger than they are and even create adventure-style levels. MAP13 and MAP14 are the most extreme (ab)users of this trope, with MAP14 being really well made in my opinion while in MAP13 its use feels a little bit exaggerated, although overall it's a good level. MAP03 also stands out as a well made miniature "early doom map". MAP09 isn't that great visually but uses the restricted spaces very well for engaging gameplay. Verticality: MAP01, MAP02*, MAP04, MAP08*, MAP11, MAP12*, MAP15*, MAP21, MAP22, (MAP24), MAP25, MAP26, MAP28 In Doom, vertical variation adds space as well even if it's "only" a "2.5D" engine. In theory you can multiply the space if you use it together with the "transformation" trope, or if you use thin elevated walkways. MAP02 and MAP08 use this technique to create cool outdoor adventure landscapes. 3D bridges like in MAP04 and MAP15 are a clever variant of this trope. Backtracking/Re-utilization of space: MAP02, MAP05, MAP06, MAP10, MAP11, MAP13*, (MAP14), MAP32, MAP17, (MAP24), MAP25, MAP28, MAP29, MAP30 This is one of the most used tropes in the mapset: The player has to reach a room to press a switch or get a key, and then go back to a re-populated area. While in almost all cases it's a simple "go and go back" structure, the way I most liked it was the usage in MAP10 and MAP13 where you re-visit areas through a new entrance and with a new portion of it unlocked. Also, MAP25 stands out which cleverly combines it with the "transformation" trope. Transformations: MAP14, MAP21*, (MAP24), MAP25*, MAP30 Transformations use lifts/rising floors and unmarked doors to create different-looking (and -playing) spaces inside of a single area. The trope is less used in the mapset than I had expected, nobody for example tried a sort of multi-store building. The best usage is in MAP21, where corridors become an arena with interesting time trickery, and MAP25 where you maybe won't even notice that you revisit the starting area, because of the darkness and some other tricks. Gameplay slow-downs: MAP31*, MAP16, MAP18, MAP19, MAP21, MAP25, MAP27, (MAP28), MAP29, MAP30 The speed of the player's movement through a map can also contribute to make it feel "longer" (if not "bigger"). This can be achieved in several ways. First, enemies can be thrown in that take some time to fight. These can be massive hordes teleported in, like in MAP29, or the presence of bulletsponges (barons, mancubi and cyberdemons), but even more so arch-viles because of their ability to force the player to go back and hide for cover. Second, there are the obvious time/lift tricks which force the player to wait while he often must survive monster attacks. MAP31 achieves is relative "duration" exclusively because of this trope, so it stands out for me here even if I didn't like its gameplay so much. Also this is maybe the only trope used in MAP18. The time tricks stand out in MAP16, MAP21, MAP27 and MAP30. Warp-ins/Pop-up-monsters: MAP08, MAP09, MAP10, MAP15, MAP16, MAP19*, MAP20, MAP25, MAP27*, MAP28, MAP29*, MAP30 Warp-ins are perhaps the easiest way to add gameplay to a restricted space. Technically it's not a space usage trope, as if the 1024x1024 restriction included monsters, it would not make that much of a difference (although I can imagine some ways to use them anyway). MAP19, MAP27 and MAP29 make extreme usage of the trope, with the former two implementing it really well in my opinion, I liked the strategic placements of the destinations in MAP19 that really add danger to the player. Pop-up monsters, an alternative which does not require additional space, are not used much in the mapset, mainly in MAP15. Monsters out of the playable area: MAP16*, MAP23, MAP27*, MAP28, MAP30*, MAP32* Like the previous trope, this one is also only possible because of the relaxed Congestion 1024 rules. The "abusers" are above all MAP30, with an extremely big boss arena, and MAP32 with its big cacoswarm, and also in MAP16/27 most of the monster HP is out of the 1024x1024 boundaries. Conclusions Which map makes best use of the available space? I fell in love with the transformation of MAP21, which gave me both corridor gameplay and then a library arena. Close second for MAP25 with the clever darkness/transformation combination. Also well done in this aspect are MAP23 and MAP14. Biggest-looking maps: MAP03, MAP08, MAP13, MAP14, MAP23, MAP25 Maps that don't make good use of space: MAP04, MAP18, MAP28 Maps exceeding the restriction: MAP01, MAP19, MAP23 (?) Difficulty scale Hard: MAP08, MAP10, MAP21, MAP24 Engaging: MAP07, MAP09, MAP11, MAP13, MAP15, MAP19, MAP22, MAP23, MAP25, MAP27*, MAP28, MAP30, MAP31 Average: MAP02, MAP03, MAP06, MAP12, MAP14, MAP16, MAP20, MAP26, MAP29, MAP32 Easy: MAP01, MAP04, MAP05, MAP17, MAP18 Which map is the hardest? I will define "hardest" here as "hardest to max in a single session without saves". In my opinion the price goes to MAP08 for its ammo starvation where a "normal" playthrough without infighting won't allow you to max it. Also challenging up to frustrating are MAP21, MAP24 and MAP10. A note about MAP27: it is actually the easiest map if you play it the "Pacifist" style.
  2. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP30: Nullified Departure It doesn't seem so at the start, but this is actually an Icon of Sin map, albeit an unconventional one. It has a pretty long prelude, where you have to press switches and release enemies of all classes, to collect weapons and open up the square arena which will be your base of operations when the final boss appears. Before Romero's voice is heard, you have a miniboss fight with several high-HP enemies. It is not easy but fun to release the Cyberdemon when some mancubi are still alive. At the final boss fight itself, the spawned monsters are accompanied by some enemies emerging from the outer areas, particularly cacos and imps. Well, it isn't really a "fight", it is a survival exercise - you have to wait for three switches to lower, the final one will take the boss out. After several deaths here I found out that the best strategy is to stay inside the inner square, because most monsters will infight at the outer ring, and BFG the two little cacoswarms and any dangerous foe which is to appear (particularly arch-viles). At least you haven't to aim at Romero's head with the rocket launcher on a lift. And the final arena is really beautiful, it has a sense of grandiosity. Overall, an above-average MAP30. (6/10)
  3. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP29: Magus 196 monsters on 1024x1024? Well, let's go for it, must be a miniature slaughtermap. The start is surprisingly quiet, it's a mix of "enemies in front of you" and some minor warp-ins behind you. But still small groups and not hard, not unlike the start of MAP25. There are two archviles, but they are pretty pointless, as they have very limited resurrection power and there is always cover to hide. Then, after the yellow door, the monster groups begin to become bigger, and the plasma shoot-out of the big pinky wave is the first standout encounter. I would have thrown some more monsters in the mix as companions of the poor lonely revenant whose "meat wall" qualities are almost zero. Then what's left after the red door? Imps, and about 100 of them, in two separated spaces. Overall, I had fun with this map, it's an exercise of putting some "slaughter light" in a very restricted space. But more variety in monster usage after the red key would have been the key to make it a really great map, also because we're already at MAP29 and I would have expected if not a boss fight so at least some mid-tiers thrown into the exit battle. About the visuals: there are some nice spots that give the impression of a chapel or another kind of religious place, but overall it's a bit blocky. (6/10) PS: I'll have probably not enough time to play in the club in January, so I won't vote for the mapset of next month.
  4. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP28: A Bridge Too Far This map is somewhat ... unbalanced. It begins in a good and violent way: you're placed on a bridge in the middle between two courtyards with high monster density. On the bridge you're safe, but to make progress you must leave it. It's a challenge to establish a foothold, above all because of the presence of several enemies with a high damage rate (mancubi and arachnotrons) and revenant snipers. You're responsible yourself to create some safe spaces. However, once you have cleared at least one of both areas, everything becomes much easier. You get a megasphere after most of the trouble is over, many of the remaining enemies can be rocketed from totally safe camping spots, and the two cacoswarms trying to harass you are very small (they could maybe cause more trouble if you should release them at the same time). A single archvile in a slightly awkward position to kill is one of the more threatening encounters of this sleep-inducing latter half, but as he cannot resurrect anybody he's also not really a concern. Also the Cybie can be taken out safely with rockets or SSG. It's a pity, the map really began in a style I liked, but then gameplay-wise went down to below-average level. I wonder if I broke the intended progression in some way? At least the visuals were nice, again with much marble but with some hellish infestations. (5/10)
  5. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP27: Tower of Hades We're approaching endgame territory! This is a simple, but very funny arena map, where you have to survive heavy fire from all sides while you wait for the access to the exit to be released. Not unlike MAP16, but imo much better done as it requires more strategy and provides means for several ways to complete it. The monster HP of this map should be enough to rival the combined total of most maps that came before, and no escape is possible because the bullets of your main foes, four Spider Masterminds, cover almost the whole map (there seems to be a very limited number of safe spots), and to flee the 1024x1024 area means instadeath. The start is actually pretty easy, you have to discriminate useful monsters (those that can help killing the spiders or at least get distracted by them) from useless ones like the notorious pinkies that only will get in your way and thus are top priority to kill. The most lethal part is a combined pinky-revenant-HK wave, in the latter half of the map where it's very easy to get cornered and you better resort to heavy weaponry which will be already available in full sight, also because stronger reinforcements are to arrive soon. A minor complaint: all keys are provided at the same time, which means one single key would have had almost the same effect but at least they add a bit of colour. Visually, the tower and the surroundings are also very nicely done. One of my favourites so far. (10/10) Spoilers:
  6. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP26: Marbelous! This map consists basically of iterations of the well-known trope "press a switch, release monsters". The start is the most difficult part, where hitscanners and a pair of revenants can drain your health quickly. And then an archvile will try to resurrect everything again. But after you pass the red door, you're over the hump. The monsters in the bloody outdoor area will happily infight, there is plenty of cover, and I could block the second archvile to stay inside the stairway area so he didn't cause trouble. The visuals are average, almost everything is marble, like the title says. There is plenty of ammo and also enough health. Not bad, but also not really good; difficulty is about average of the mapset. My impression was that of a grindy, relatively boring map, but that was mainly because I didn't find the SSG which is actually there from the trap behind the blue door onwards but well-hidden, so I had to shotgun and chaingun all kinds of low- and mid-tiers up to archviles and barons. (5/10)
  7. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP24: Zyklon B Another city map in 1024x1024 size. Or maybe another industrial complex. This one has a more chaotic approach to gameplay, often the RNG will play an important role regarding difficulty. It begins with the arch-vile in the starting room, where you can get out alive with 200 or less than 100 health points without really having an influence on it, as escaping the room fast enough is prevented by a meat wall. Then comes the most fun part, where you have to cross outdoor areas full of monsters to gun down or even better, to make them kill themselves. After some Pain Elemental dickishness the standout encounter with a close-quarters teleport to a Cybie again brings RNG luck into the game - if you telefrag it, the rest of the map is a walk in a park, otherwise it can be grindy or mean instadeath depending on your reaction and the cybie's exact position. An arch vile resurrection hunt completes the map, if you trigger it after the cybie and having a good amount of cell ammo (and preferrably the invul-sphere) left it's easy but otherwise it can be lethal. Overall, pretty fun map with some minor weaknesses. (7/10) MAP25: Stein und Stahl Very dark and atmospheric hellish outdoor/ruins map. Darkness, in fact, will be one of the main foes of several players here (including me). The fights are not really difficult, but if you oversee some of the guys hidden in the dark you easily can get cornered. Often you'll be attacked from behind, so awareness is crucial. Ammo is relatively tightly balanced, but if you aren't missing constantly and get some infighting going you should be OK, otherwise you'll likely run out of shells and bullets in the phase directly before you have to take down the first mancubus. I like the setting, encounters were varied and reasonably fun. Space usage is similar to MAP21, I like that method but the fights are more "normal" here. It is fun however to try to make the imps infight with the mancubus, which will be of great help a little bit later in the ammo starvation phase. (7/10)
  8. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    Fell behind (partly because of technical problems, partly because of time issues), but now trying to catch up again: MAP20: Claustrophobic Sting This is again a map that seems like a "normal" level, because of the relatively spacey corridors and rooms. Theme is a mix of techbase and rocky caverns and looks quite well. It's one of the easiest maps in the set, with only one threatening encounter, the hell knight ambush at damaging floors, which can, however, be escaped if you want (but you'll take away the fun). I liked the map's atmosphere, the ambient music fits well. Simple and fun. One monster didn't spawn for some reason (7/10). MAP21: Corpse yard Again, a more difficult map with several tricky fights. I don't know if it's only the music and the brownness, but the level start made me remember MAP01 of Alien Vendetta, even if this map is much harsher. Nothing impossible, but I scored several deaths here :) Space usage is in my opinion one of the best so far, the level gradually becomes unlocked and opened. It begins as a cramped corridor shooter with caged hell knights, you have just enough space to dodge their attacks. Then the standout encounter: you're thrown into a library arena which is actually the starting area with some walls thrown down, and have to dance around mancubi and imps, followed by other foes. The fight is based on a deal: if you want more ammo, then you'll have to fight more foes at once. Infighting helps greatly but is not easy to incite at a larger scale because if you release too many monsters at once you can get cornered. Really creative combat puzzle. The only thing I didn't like was to pistol the spectre at the start, and you can also get stuck in the central area if you jump there, but anyway, I'll be generous and I really liked the map. (10/10). PS: I wondered actually why some didn't like the arena fight, but it seems that the HMP monster mix is much more boring. MAP22: Prison Escape A nice concept. The title already says it all: you escape from a prison cell, having to pass or kill all kinds of guards - it seems not humans, but daemons have incarcered you, although, if you find the secrets at least, they seem to behave in a pretty human way in some aspects. Unfortunately, the gameplay has some grindy and boring parts, like the caco/mancubus shotgunning near the start and the strange Cacos hovering above the window when you fall down to the outer area, also the last area feels a bit repetitive with the exception of the AVs at the end. The spectres behind the mancubi are not a bad idea to keep the player engaged. Difficulty is only slightly above the average of the mapset so far, although some fights can be a bit RNG-heavy (particularly the blue door fight). Overall, I liked it. (7/10) MAP23: Close Quarters This map has excellent detailing and atmosphere (although it lacks music, as it seems, I IDMUS'd to MAP20). It is a kind of small industrial complex in a city. Gameplay has good and bad aspects. The first fight is excellent: you have to steal the guns of the commandos to get adecuate weaponry for the Pain Elemental. But then the map begins to throw lots of monsters at you, but actually you can escape almost all fights and take the monsters away from afar with the rocket launcher or even the BFG. The best way seemed to be simply killing the cannon fodder ahead of you, all the way to the Megasphere, and then rocket the AV/Caco chaos until the AV is dead. Thus, it's not among the hardest maps so far, despite of the Cybie. I think the starting area is outside the 1024x1024 space, and I couldn't figure out how to get the berserk pack (it's inaccessible it seems). Bonus point for the visuals and excellent space usage. (Just a note as some complained about the final battle: In my playthrough the cybie wasn't able to cross the narrow passage so there was actually a lot of cover to simply SSG him. It may have been luck though.). (7/10)
  9. erzboesewicht

    Questions about level design

    I like short levels, as long as they do at least one or two of the following three elements: 1) surprise me (e.g. non-obvious traps, unconventional fights, strange location/visuals/puzzles) 2) challenge me (it must not be necessarily hard, but also can be a fight with non-obvious, but easy "solution") 3) entertain me (e.g. cool fast-paced battles, lots of infighting) Well, the same is true also for mid- and large-sized levels. Some short levels that I recently played and are well done are MAP09 and MAP19 from Congestion 1024, and most maps from Going Down with MAP17 and MAP18 as stellar levels (with some already going into mid-sized terrain).
  10. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP19: Lip Service This is again more the style I like. The techbase level gets flooded with several waves of teleporting enemies who will corner you if you aren't careful. Gameplay is excellent, with particularly good noble and pinky usage - it can be tricky to navigate around these monsters, and you have always to care about hitscanners draining your health. The chaingun was my primary weapon in the first part of the level as shotgun ammo is more limited, while later you will most likely switch to the SSG when the bigger monsters come into action. Standout encounters are the ambush before the blue key in a cramped space, where the low-tier combo with a strategically placed hell knight is surprisingly lethal if you are too sloppy, and the baron/mancubus combo in the lower floor which led to three deaths in my case because they simply didn't want to infight. The exit battle is easier, despite of the archvile. The visuals are good I think, with a factory/warehouse theme, but gameplay is what matters more in this level. Fast-paced fun. (8/10 - I read the exit area is out of the mapset's restrictions, thus I give it a point less than I would otherwise do.)
  11. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP17: Omega Outpost The difficulty curve of Congestion 1024 really is a bit odd: this map is even easier than MAP16 and the secret levels and far away from the difficult combat puzzles of MAP08-11. The good thing about that is that the casual fun is back and not so much "work" is required. Basically, MAP17 is a broad spiralling corridor with two additional rooms. Plenty of space to move, and most enemies are cannon fodder, even the hitscanners are barely threatening. I died once in a "Fantastic at Doom" moment to a lonely revenant with plenty of cover. The standout encounter, which at least provides a bit of threat, is at the blue key, where a mancubus will spawn close quarters to you and a small group of cacos will try to abuse that situation to attack you from behind. I liked the visuals, while it's very brown the curved lines are an aesthetic pleasure. Not a masterpiece, but reasonably fun. (7/10) MAP18: Tutorial #99 Very short techbase level (15 monsters on UV) with an acid pit and some nice detailing, but otherwise not much to talk about. It feels more like a part of a bigger level, and unfortunately not exactly the standout part. Two arch-viles and a baron help to make it not completely trivial, but it's again much easier than most of the preceding maps since MAP07. Combat-wise, in my opinion the weakest map so far, all enemies are in front of you, the only surprise moment is the arch-vile hidden in a lift, and the exit battle (a lonely mid-tier) is completely anticlimactic. What is the megaarmor supposed to be for? And why the "Tutorial" name? (3/10)
  12. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    MAP15: Bantam 18 monsters and plenty of space, so that has to be easy, right? While with saves this is a walk in the park and for continuous players it should be completely trivial if you don't get caught by the pop-up nobles, several ambushes are threatening enough to make it engaging to beat saveless from pistol start, at least if you're not a decent Tyson player (and I'm really bad at that). The start is already not easy: with only berserk fists and pistol you have to get inside a cramped cave with imps and a hell knight to press a switch which opens the rest of the map. They can't be lured out because of monster blocking lines, a tree always gets into your way if you want to incite infighting, and outside two HKs are waiting. The other standout encounter is at the red key, where an arch-vile is likely to resurrect revenants on a cramped balcony while cacos attack from behind. Nothing too difficult and the rest is really easy, but errors in these two encounters can be lethal. Visually it's one of the weaker maps of the set, with simple brown buildings around a grass courtyard and some rocks. The secret exit is easy to activate but surprisingly hard to see, bonus point for that. (6/10) MAP31: Archvile Madness A bunch of arch-viles with occasional meat shields. The first part is completely Hunted-style with groups of two or three Arch-Viles you have to dispatch inside a building, but adecuate weaponry is available - although not with endless ammonition, so you have to manage it a bit and use the plasma rifle only for emergency situations. Once you enter the outdoor courtyard, cacodemons (and another unpleasant surprise) start to appear, which have the tendency to attract rockets, so you must at least take care of them if you camp behind the entrance and don't want to run out of ammo - or blast yourself into death, like I managed to do two times. Difficulty is average for the set so far. In my opinion one of the weaker maps of the set, as it doesn't provide nothing new, and also visually not really impressive. (4/10) MAP32: Nullspace Junior In the tradition of MAP32, the highest monster count so far, but actually one of the easier levels until now. A simple and fun amusement park. Most of the 150+ enemies are imps, they tend to appear in a big cage and can be easily dispatched. The occasional mid- and high-tier monsters - the Cyberdemon makes his first appearance here - aren't a problem because they tend to appear in small groups, with a Cacoswarm - which is still manageable, even if it managed to kill me once - being the only exception. The arch-viles were surprisingly easy to dispatch. Visually pretty bland, although I like the gimmick with the instantkill void a bit. Nothing special, but also not totally unenjoyable. (5/10) MAP16: Deja View Circlestrafing, the map. A very fast-paced and simple square arena, where progressively enemies will be spawned around a lava pool (which you'll probably only touch at the end) while also a couple of goodies will appear, from weapons up to a soulsphere and megaarmor. The number of monsters is small, but is comprised mostly of mid-tiers up to a single arch-vile. The monsters will happily infight, and the AV is probably the only real threat if he can attack you at a place where you don't have cover. Very simple ahd short and feels like a breather, but I had some fun. (6/10) Finally catched up. Until now MAP09 continues to be my favourite, followed by MAP14 and MAP08.
  13. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    Coming close ... MAP11: Caco District A sniper hell miniature, where you are under fire from the start. The level uses a lot of verticality, which makes it sometimes a bit bumpy, and the presence of windows everywhere makes it difficult to find safe spots to retreat. But its bark is worse than it's bite, you get a megasphere and plenty of ammo and other health pickups, and most of the time you have some place to hide and take out enemies systematically, so it's again much easier than MAP10. As the name already implies, several times groups of cacos will enter the map - not really "swarms", but they can definitively molest you with all the open windows. A little puzzle element almost made me escape to the wiki but finally I found it. Good map, but not quite as fun as MAP09 for example. (7/10) MAP12: Warehouse 667 A very simple techbase/warehouse with some verticality. Again difficulty goes down - back to MAP06 levels perhaps. While I got surprised two times by ambushes both are very easily solvable. What I most liked about the map was the first major ambush near the blue key, it honors aggressive play while punishing you if you retreat to the starting area. Then there's a pincer ambush behind the blue door with a nasty chaingunner, but simply being wary is enough. The arch-vile at the exit was not threatening at all - in contrast to the surprise pain elementals, which took half of my health at the end but didn't manage to kill me. Average level with a bonus point for the first ambush. (6/10) MAP13: The Focus 2 Well interconnected techbase level with some, but not too many similarities to the original "The Focus". Despite of its physical size, where even a part of the 1024x1024 square seems to be reserved for inaccessible areas with monsters waiting to teleport in, this is a pretty long and grindy level with again a higher difficulty. The main areas get repopulated once with enemies. There are several small-scale traps, the most deadly one being an Arch-Vile where you have to decide if you try to preserve ammo taking him out from closely but having to rely on a friendly RNG, or to take it out from a distance where you have cover but will likely need more shells. Ammo isn't exactly scarce, but it's so concentrated in the starting half that you can get a false sense of abundance - if you abuse it, e.g. killing enemies from a distance or SSG shotgun guys, you will have to rationalize it in the final quarter. The level is extremely cramped, bigger monsters are very likely to get stuck often. The 3D bridges in the arena area are neat but sometimes block you. Regading visuals, the most cute thing is this miniature machinery in the lower level, I really dig these things. Three monsters for some reason didn't want to spawn. (8/10) MAP14: House of Shadows Despite of the simple texture usage, this is actually in my opinion a little masterpiece in atmosphere with very fine ambient music. Above all, the dark area at the end of the blue section with the caco and the crushers and the final arena are really cool. And there are nice strange details like the Quake sign. The combat, however, has a problem: the corridors are so cramped that in some situations there is no way to dodge, particularly in the enclosure hell knight fight after the blue door, so you very likely will lose some health there. But the resources are really plentiful because your main enemies are shotgun guys, you get even a berserk pack and a megaaarmor (which I found after having already beaten the level). Standout encounter is the ambush at the red key, with a pack of hitscanners with very little cover, but also an invisibility sphere which helps enormously. The final area, in contrast, is quite easy. For the soulsphere secret I had to recur to the wiki. (9/10)
  14. erzboesewicht

    Is it time for a new mapset classification scheme?

    I had recently thought about a similar initiative. Apart from the big, well-known mapsets, it's pretty difficult to find WADs that meet certain expectations. For example, I recently played Eternal Doom the first time and after that I searched for similar adventure/puzzle-style mapsets but it was pretty difficult. I think however that yakfak is right here: meta-tags would be more suitable, because they allow several "categories" per WAD. Particularly megawads tend to use several map concepts. For example: how would you classify Alien Vendetta? It's in my opinion a WAD with adventure, challenge and (light) slaughter elements. Idem Valiant. Sunlust could be classified as challenge, slaughter and "combat puzzle", Eternal Doom as adventure and (traditional) puzzle. This would also make the whole thing less controversial as no lengthy discussions would be necessary if a WAD fits better in category X or Y. Meta-tags have also the big advantage that they can be refined very easily when people feel that it's necessary. For example, if a new genre appears (e.g. "pacifist slaughter" lol), a new metatag for it can be added without problems. It's obviously pretty much impossible to require all wad authors to re-classify their works in their text/readme files. So I think a good idea could be to use the Doom Wiki and it's category system, and obviously if people want to add metatags to the TXT file of their works, even better. The Doom Wiki's category system works very much like metatags, as it allows infinite number of category annotations per page. To work as it intended it requires, however, to create category pages first, which needs at least a minimal bit of agreement of the community. But I think one could start with the less controversial categories, like "Adventure maps", "Puzzle maps" or "Concept maps". By the way: I would differentiate traditional "puzzle maps" (like Eternal Doom MAP30) where puzzles are not combat related from "combat puzzle maps" like Sunlust's, which could also be called "combat strategy maps".
  15. erzboesewicht

    The DWmegawad Club plays: Congestion 1024

    Still behind, as things are getting tougher. MAP08: A Jagged Stroll A beautiful outdoor location in a rocky area which makes very good use of the limited space. Well, I was just complaining about the easy exit battles (or the complete lack thereof) - here I got a nice, challenging one :) As many have noted, this map is a significant jump in difficulty, even compared to MAP07. The rugged terrain and the scarce ammo make the ambush after the tunnel pretty lethal, which stars a baron and a pain elemental, both will do everything to make maxing the map difficult. It took me a save to figure out a way to make the monsters infight without losing too much health. However, with preknowledge, simply surviving and reaching the exit isn't that hard, even for pistol starters. In my opinion, verticality in this map is a little bit exaggerated, as it's difficult to see some enemies while you descend. Otherwise, a great map. (8/10) MAP09: Monday Morning Haha, that music. This level is again a bit easier, more in the line with MAP07, but with a higher monster count. We are inside a brown brick building now. Most encounters are cramped corridor fights with hell-knights and imps, with some rooms providing the main setpieces, featuring also some barons, cacos and revenants. In almost every fight you will get ambushed from both sides, so be wary. It was a bit like a miniature version of some "Going Down" maps (particularly the two staircase levels). Again, a very good use of the available space, and combat-wise probably my favourite until now. (9/10) MAP10: Gothika 1024 A nicely interconnected level in a semi-destroyed hellish castle with an open space at the end. You first have to take a lap and eventually you'll return to the starting room to grab the yellow key. Gameplay is tough, in a Plutoniesque trap style, where often high precision is necessary and ammo is pretty short. If you want to max the map, the secret is mandatory and you have to use all shots well, because in the last courtyard you'll have to deal with two viles with only a couple of rockets as ammo pickups. However, preknowledge helps here - after having panicked and ran around like a headless chicken in the first attempts to deal with that final ambush and got blasted several times, I discovered there is actually more cover than I expected at a first glance. Overall a very engaging experience. I actually needed to practice a bit until I beat it saveless - by far the most lethal encounter is the second major ambush at the SSG with HKs, hitscanners, demons and spectres. I "solved" the combat puzzle trying to take out the weaklings first (if the RNG allowed me to do so), so they couldn't corner me. One comment: In theory there are 57 monsters in UV, but I only saw 49 so I got only 85% kills. Using IDDT it seems the missing ones are already dead and in an unaccessible place. No bug report in the wiki also. (8/10)
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