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Not Jabba

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About Not Jabba

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  1. Interesting. So what is the normal expectation with a gameplay mod? I know the modding community is almost entirely GZDoom-oriented and I'd assume they default to png in most cases, so I imagine a palette mod like this would be incompatible with most mods in hardware rendering, not to mention mapsets with extensive new content like Wayfarer. Is there some sort of established ettiquette for this, or what? I'd prefer to stick with pngs for mapping, but it should be simple enough to fix up the standalone mod, since @ReaperAA has already handed me the graphics (thanks!) It is a nice palette, btw.
  2. I'm not sure what's causing that. The images are pngs because it's a gazillion times easier to work with and I'm not aiming for any compatibility that requires Doom format graphics. However, all of the pngs are already Heretic palettized, not truecolor, unless I just happened to miss those water flats for some reason -- so GZDoom shouldn't be trying to convert them to anything. Are you sure it's not an issue with your palette or colormap? Edit: I think I misunderstood the problem -- so GZDoom is simply ignoring the palette when you're in hardware mode? I can't really say why the port wouldn't apply a new palette to palettized pngs -- that seems like a problem that should be addressed by the port maintainer.
  3. Not Jabba

    "Artificial Difficulty" in video games / Doom?

    Usually the latter, though I think the term once had more meaning. Consider the following scenarios: 1) A game's Normal and Hard settings have completely different monster placement, each one tailored to a specific skill level. 2) A game's Hard setting is the same as Normal, except that enemies do 2x as much damage and attack twice as fast. The second scenario's difficulty isn't *necessarily* artificial, but it certainly sounds like they didn't think about it very hard, and it could be poor design. Monster placement, on the other hand, is pretty much the epitome of a design decision that somebody has to think through. I think this distinction is what people once meant when they said "artificial difficulty," but the term has unsurprisingly been latched onto and overused.
  4. Not Jabba

    Flash thoughts on Hexen: Deathkings' design

    For what it's worth, the fact that the Wyverns and Heresiarchs get thrown at you out of nowhere instead of being predictable arena end fights was always one of my favorite things about Deathkings. I don't like the set quite as much as Hexen itself, but it's a solid expansion.
  5. Not Jabba

    DVII Second Edition underway. It's time!

    I really like what you've done there. Most people who create E1-inspired stuff go full homage, and even the ones that have a more complex artistic vision still use only stock textures (plus the alpha stuff, sometimes). The blended aesthetic in your shot looks really neat.
  6. Not Jabba

    Favorite avant-garde doom wad?

    People are going to be contrary about this, and yet no one is willing to mansplain to us the definition of avant-garde? Tsk tsk. Here's what I get from Google: noun new and unusual or experimental ideas, especially in the arts, or the people introducing them. adjective favoring or introducing experimental or unusual ideas. Seems pretty straightforward to me. Anyway, my favorite weird artsy wad is A.L.T., a beautifully surreal megawad that's about being trapped inside your own panicking brain as you are dying.
  7. No Sleep for the Dead by @Jan I've drifted into more critical territory in some of my recent reviews, so I figure I'll hit the reset button by saying this up front: No Sleep for the Dead is bloody excellent. Jan Van der Veken was a household name in the early Doom scene, but had almost moved on by the time I made my way to Doomworld in late 2004, so I only knew him as a periodic namedrop in discussions about classic mapping, and as the creator of some Darkening E1 and E2 maps (which are great, but I couldn't tell you which maps they are), until No Sleep came out. I played through his earlier major works last winter along with Chris Hansen's catalogue, so for those unfamiliar with his mapping, here's a quick rundown of his awarded episodes, by way of introduction. His first release, the never-quite-finished Dawn of the Dead (it has a one-room placeholder for E1M5), starts out seeming like a simple E1 replacement, but then it quickly begins to sprawl out into huge maps with surprising city-like layouts, big open areas, and hellish influences. The Classic Episode (not to be confused with Hansen's also-creatively-titled Retro Episode) is a more conventional Phobos/Deimos-style base that shows Van der Veken tightening up his mapping style quite a bit, with more flowy and compact layouts and any excess grind trimmed away. The Classic Episode 2, the most detailed of the three, offers a more unusual concept: a faux-hub where every other map takes you back to the same central area, with slight changes and fresh monster populations each time. No Sleep for the Dead appeared suddenly after a 10-year hiatus and is ostensibly the sequel to Dawn of the Dead, which came out in 1997, though thematically it could just as easily be a sequel to the Classic Episodes. Van der Veken's skills didn't languish during all those years away, though -- as far as I'm concerned, No Sleep is the best thing he's ever made. This episode deals in the usual design principles and aesthetics for retro E1 and E2 replacements -- tending more toward E1 toward the beginning and more toward E2 toward the end -- but it really does a damn fine job with them. Every map holds true to the basic idea that you should always be moving freely and quickly, know exactly where you're going, and have fun getting there. The episode also follows the core E1 trope of making sure you can see other areas through windows and grates almost constantly as you move around the maps, giving them an extremely grounded, immersive feel that's augmented by the way the branches within the layouts tend to wrap around each other, periodically interconnecting or eventually looping through in ways that feel complex but are pretty simple at heart. Simplicity is really key here -- and I don't say that lightly, because simplicity can often be a bit of an easy way out, an excuse not to worry about developing keen perceptions and methods as a designer. Van der Veken's simplicity is disciplined and consistent; it communicates to the player with perfect clarity. The combat moves easily and steadily, applying heavier pressure at times but eliciting no stress and always offering a path to freedom and a better attack vantage as long as you don't sit around waiting to get hemmed in. Even the face-off against a Cyberdemon on a bridge in the last map is more of a cathartic "fuck yeah!" than a climactic trial by fire. The whole episode is like a dance, something familiar that you feel in your bones, swaying and strafing and turning and advancing in time with the music and your trusty buckshot backbeat, just letting it flow. There's a surprisingly strong sense of place for a classic episode replacement with stock textures, particularly in the later maps. E1M5 plays with the theme just enough to really feel like a power plant, within the context of iwad-style abstraction; E1M6 has just enough laboratory elements to really bring out the feel of the setting, again without relying on detailing that would change the overall aesthetic. Something about the way the layouts shift and expand, morphing their individual themes without losing their sense of identity, makes these maps feel very real and functional to me. The atmosphere becomes progressively heavier and more Deimos-esque, with dim, pervasive shadows and high-contrast lighting cutting around pillars and other obstacles in the way that us Doomers love so much. If you're well versed in Dawn of the Dead -- which I'm not, but I poked around the older episodes again in preparation for writing this review -- you'll likely notice that "Power Plant" (No Sleep E1M5) bears some striking similarities to "Nuclear Plant" (DotD E1M2). Secrets are sprinkled all over the place and are handled with the same philosophy as the combat -- as long as you stay aware and try to find them, you probably will, because you're meant to appreciate them, and having them be hard to find would take away from the intended experience of playing the maps. It adds a nice extra element to the gameplay, something to do on a final pass of the map when things are quiet that lets you appreciate the smoothness and clarity of Van der Veken's design in a new way. I should mention that there's also a bonus map in the E2M1 slot. This map is E4-themed, and as you might expect, it's considerably tougher than anything in the main episode. You can easily be overwhelmed right out of the gate, and if you survive that, the rest of the map is a constantly moving puzzle where you have to squeeze past opponents and try to scrounge up the ammo to deal with everything that's still wandering through the tight, claustrophobic knot of hallways, screaming for your blood. It's a wild ride with lots of adrenaline, and it proves how much range Van der Veken has as a level designer -- which just goes to show that the easy-going nature of the main episode is a disciplined design choice rather than some sort of laziness or weakness. I'm told that No Sleep for the Dead was taken very seriously by the 2016 Cacowards team, though it didn't end up making the cut. I think this is probably because it was seen as a bit too simple -- which is the sort of critical assessment that I would agree with in most cases, but not in this one. 2016 was a dense, competitive year with several high-profile snubs, and the heartbreak that caused is a part of what led us to expand the number of runners-up the following year. Personally, I think that No Sleep for the Dead is among the best classic-styled UDoom episode replacements I've played, and if you haven't tried it yet, you may want to do that instead of sleeping tonight.
  8. Suggestion: put the title of the megawad at the bottom of that pic as well.
  9. Foursite by @Bauul Unlike everything else I've reviewed here so far, I had never played Foursite until now, in preparation for reviewing it. I didn't get around to it when it came out, missed it in the /newstuff queue, and it was a late 2016 snub, so it was before my time on the Cacowards team -- but I figured I'd have to come back to it at some point. After all, Foursite got a lot of attention when it was released -- even a Rock Paper Shotgun article -- despite being the first map Bauul ever made. All this attention centered on the fact that the map was huge, had taken 300 hours to build, and (according to the RPS article) took 3 hours to beat. All of this is a bit misleading, I suppose; the map is big, but not outside the realm of what the community has seen a good handful of times before. It took me about 1 hour 45 minutes on the in-game clock, with 5 out of 8 secrets found during regular play and a single sneaky enemy still banging around god knows where -- I wonder if it liked having the base all to itself after I left. As for the build time, it probably had a lot to do with the fact that the mapper was undertaking this project as a way of learning how to use the editor, figuring out how to do everything as they went; size aside, it's not a particularly complex map, and a very experienced mapper could lay out something along these lines in perhaps an order of magnitude less time. None of this is really intended to detract from Bauul's efforts -- if you want to learn how to make a Doom map, you may as well throw all in like this and end up with something that you learned a ton from and that lets you try out a ton of different ideas -- and even, hopefully, something that you can remain proud of. On the other hand, you'll probably have to be prepared to look back on it and be able to see everything that's wrong with it. Foursite is an extremely ambitious first map. I feel the need to be realistic here: it's far from perfect, and certainly not a map that feels like it has a lot of polish and experience behind it. Most people's first map falls firmly in the "My First Map" genre; I'm sure you know what I mean by that. Every once in a while, you get someone like Viggles whose first release is of high quality, probably because they had a ton of practice maps they never released, and also because they spent many years playing Doom, following theoretical discussions about mapping, and learning the general principles of game design first. Foursite isn't that, but it is promising; it's definitely a My First Map, but it's one of the most impressive My First Maps out there, with ideas that go far beyond what you would expect. I don't feel like dwelling on it too much, and I'm sure Bauul knows all of this already, but I need to go through some of the really obvious issues of this map and just get them out of the way before I move on to what I find interesting or enjoyable about it. The way most of the combat happens is that you open a door or round a corner and the enemies are just there in a mass, and then they funnel toward you while you pick them off. Sometimes it's a large amount of meat being funneled. The architecture of the map is fairly rudimentary, though often in a cute sort of way, and, like the combat, highly variable in quality; you get a few places that are really neat or have fun details, but then also a lot of windy, mazey groups of hallways, blocky rooms, or spaces that are mostly empty. The map was created with the idea that all space needs to be contiguous, so you end up with a lot of large, isolated sections that are stuffed into whatever space is available, designed more to fit the perceived boundaries than anything else. All of these are the sort of basic, fundamental problems that you would expect from a new mapper, so they're not much of a surprise. With that out of the way, here's my favorite thing about Foursite: it's designed with a lot of intentionality. Bauul went into it with a clear vision and sharp wits, and he learned everything necessary to execute the mechanics of it as he went. As a result, there are many things about Foursite that feel like a really distinct experience, and in the most important areas -- the setpieces and such -- you can clearly see the design decisions that went into play as the areas were being created. It's sort of artisanal, if you will. The map features a monsterless opener that sets the mood as you explore through the abandoned exterior of the base and the canyons outside. Bauul really savors the details here, and you get everything you could want for building up to the first encounter: painstakingly crafted wall damage, ominous corpses, barrels sitting abandoned in puddles of their own ooze, narrow passages, slow-lowering doors, a descent into darkness, a gaping abyss. And then, suddenly, the first mob of angry zombies (in front of you, in a clump around a corner...but whatever). True to the map's name, the base complex is laid out in groups of four: first a long hallway with four big sections off of it, and then the final section turns out to have its own fractal quarter-sequence to it, where you complete four challenges to keep lowering new sections of the central arena. The map is completely linear, which surprised me; normally you'd expect a map this size, particularly one with a hub-spoke design, to be very nonlinear and interconnected. That's not always the case, of course. Jade Earth is basically linear, though it doesn't always feel like it; Black Rain has an initial gated section and then multiple linear branches. Both of those maps use their different versions of linearity to create a cinematic feel to the action, controlling the rises and falls and the overall curve of difficulty and monster density, deciding exactly when and where you face the setpiece fights. Foursite endeavors to do something similar. It's framed as a series of rising challenges, each area with its own end fight that works as a sort of mini-climax. It doesn't always work, given that a lot of fights are much easier than intended while some are very tricky for any player due to the way they're set up; my more hardcore friends might say that most of the tougher areas are tough because they are reliant on randomness. But even so, it gives you a strong sense of progression, delving deeper into the increasingly hellish base as new areas unfold, knowing that each time you reach the end of an area, you'll hit a similar switch and open up the next main section. The map is good at communicating how the overall progression works, and the fact that it's tailored as a linear experience undoubtedly adds to that sense of going increasingly deeper. There are some cool individual areas as well. Some of these are enjoyable for their faux-realistic sector art (aka "doomcute"); the biggest is a detailed cafeteria with enough chairs for everyone and plenty of pots of volatile liquid cooking in the kitchen. Throughout the map, every computer console, piece of furniture, pool of liquid, and rock formation is lovingly rendered, even if the overall architecture is more rough-hewn. Some of the setpiece fights have neat ideas behind them as well; the more conceptual ones tend to play out more like movement puzzles than anything else, but you have to go through them while under fire. Early on, there's a sequence where you have unseen Mancubi shooting at you from a set of reactor-like structures, and you have to make it across a set of raising/lowering platforms to reach the end and shut them down. Later on, there's a more intense version of the same idea, a Spectre-filled midtex maze that you have to navigate while a distant platform full of Mancubi rains fire down on you, until you get to the end and have to clear off the platform to reach the main switch. My favorite fight of the map takes place on a huge sunburst-shaped platform that rises little by little, unleashing teleporting waves of Lost Souls and occasional Pain Elementals each time you bump it up. The movement here is tricky but fair; you can fall off if you're not careful and have to take some damage from the toxic floors before you get to a teleporter that brings you back up to the platform. The enemies themselves aren't too bad, but they're dangerous in combination with the movement challenges, and you have to maintain awareness. I also like that this fight is set up for dual strategies; you can either take it slow and carefully clear the waves one at a time, or you can race to the top, grab the invuln sphere, and go to town. The last quarter of the map -- the one that has its own four subdivisions -- is the most cinematic, with the best sense of steadily becoming more dangerous, and although the climactic fight with the Cyberdemons is pretty circle-strafey, with a few too many decorations to get caught on, it's fairly satisfying as a conclusion. After all of this, you get one final fight before the map exit: a nigh-invincible Spider Mastermind occupying the center of the room, and a series of platforming challenges with transforming cover as you rush to hit the various switches and bring a crusher down to kill it. It's an unusual boss fight that feels very fitting as an ending to the rest of the map. If Foursite had been released in the late '90s or early '00s, it would have been seen as a work of sheer genius, and would no doubt still be considered a timeless classic. If you're a newer Doom player, you should have little trouble seeing it from that same perspective, and there's no reason not to have a go. I'd have a harder time recommending this map to people who have seen it all already, though certainly I think there are parts of this map that are worth seeing for almost anyone. In any case, it's a promising map -- and hopefully just a tiny taste of what Bauul has in store for us in the future.
  10. Not Jabba

    Any wads like AV?

    Luckily for you, virtually every Doom map made since 2002 draws some form of inspiration from Alien Vendetta, directly or indirectly. If you want the closest experience, I'd start with Kama Sutra, which Doomkid linked above, or Resurgence, Hellbound, or Bloodstain. (edit: or Vile Flesh)
  11. Not Jabba

    Slaughterfest maps: strategies to win?

    Yeah, I'm certainly not good at slaughtermaps, but a good slaughtermap is definitely not trial and error. I've seen people do some crazy things in first-time playthroughs. Slaughter players have a specific set of skills, and slaughtermappers design maps to be about those specific skills.
  12. Not Jabba

    realistic vanilla?

    It depends what kind of real place you're trying to emulate, I guess. Suspended in Dusk feels pretty realistic.
  13. Not Jabba

    Post Your Doom Picture (Part 2)

    Cool -- the contrast between the red and tan in shots 2 and 3 is really nice.
  14. Not Jabba

    Hell-Forged version v1.00b Released.

    If you go to this page, you can find a line that says "Rejected and accepted items from the last 7 days" with links to each. It feels a little sketchy because the hotlink force-downloads a file onto your computer that can be opened with a text editor like Notepad, but it seems ok and is just a readout of why each thing has been rejected. In your case, it looks like you didn't respond to the verification email that they send out automatically whenever you upload something. Maybe it went to your spam folder?
  15. Near the top of this page: https://www.realm667.com/index.php/en/beastiary-mainmenu-136-69621/doom-style-mainmenu-105-73113
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