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About Touchdown

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  1. Gossip Update #6.5 This is an expanded version of the short comeback update. trailer About a week ago I released a new trailer for Gossip. I'm really happy with how it turned out, especially considering I don't have any serious video editing software. Though I don't think it did anything in terms of letting people know about the project. There probably won't be any more videos so I consider this one the definitive trailer for Gossip. Making the trailer had several goals. First: to try to spread the word. The results are debatable. Second: to have an excuse to start working on the soundtrack. Success. Third: to re-evaluate some of the stuff I already made because obviously I didn't want to showcase things I wasn't satisfied with. Taking screenshots and capturing footage really helps with noticing mistakes somehow. That last point hit particulary hard. fixing old stuff As I was getting ready to start capturing footage I went back to MAP02 because I had several scenes to get from that level. I was shocked. I played a bit of it and couldn't believe just how terrible certain parts were. This is one of the earliest maps and it shows. The level of detail and the general polish was miles below MAP05 and 06. It was so bad I almost wanted to redo some of its parts completely. I wanted to see if I could salvage it somehow. It took me three days to clean it up. There's still a lot of polishing to be done but at least it's not as bad as it was. However it really brought my attention to how much I've improved over the years. The overall design and "cleanliness" of doing things is so much better now. I don't forsee any major clean ups in the last three levels but the earlier ones have some cracks in the armor. Really, it was stunning to me what I considered acceptable in 2015. Thankfully the main issues were really with the visual side rather than layout and I didn't have to rebuild anything. I'm not ruling out redoing certain areas though. If I'm unhappy with something I made then I will fix or change it, even if it's boring, tedious and ends up taking a lot of time. I've also polished up some parts of MAP03. Thankfully there's only one major area that desperately needed improvements and it wasn't even that critical. MAP03 was the first map that I consider "properly" made when it comes to elegance of the design so in general I probably won't have to do any big changes to it. I will have to clean up MAP04 but that will have to wait as I want to focus on MAP07 for now. ________________________________________________ music I don't think anyone said anything about the music in the trailer which means it's either unremarkable or inoffensive, depending on how I want to look at it. Obviously the trailer version of the music track is trimmed down. How long is the full, uncut one, you ask? 17min. Yup. Seventeen. While that may seem excessive keep in mind that the level in which it plays takes around 2h to complete. No song will remain interesting for 2h so I wanted to make sure there's enough variety and content so that you don't grow too tired of it as it keeps repeating. Not every music track will be this long but I don't expect any of them to be sub-10min. Amusingly this one sounds nothing like things that inspired it. I was really trying to channel some parts of the Dungeon music from Diablo as well as bits from King Crimson's THRaKaTTaK record but it doesn't sound anything like either of them. Since this was the first soundtrack piece I made, I allowed myself to just do whatever I felt like doing without overthinking because trying to do a perfect job on the first attempt would result in me redoing it a thousand times. It did however have some unfortunate effects. Generally my goal with the Gossip soundtrack is to have dark, unintrusive soundscapes to support the visuals and the atmosphere of the locations. One of my bullet points was to avoid straight up "music" and lean more towards dark ambient with instrumental elements to make it more interesting. Well that didn't work out for this one. Now don't get me wrong, there's still a fair number of ambient intervals across 17min but there's a lot of "action" music as well. That wasn't supposed to happen. Long story short, I will have to exercise a bit more restraint in later tracks to make sure I create a "soundtrack", not merely a collection of instrumental tracks. I have briefly tested that track while playing the actual level. It fits pretty nicely, though I do think some adjustments will be necessary. Everything is still work in progress. I will also say that working on this track really made me even more impressed with the works of the masters, like the music from Diablo. I mean just listen to the Jungle theme from Diablo II - absolute perfection. ________________________________________________ behind the scenes of map06 Finally I wanted to show this little image: These are the mechanisms for MAP06 that make everything happen, from environmental stuff, opening passages to setpiece fights. Simplicity in itself. Both large rectangles are conveyor belts. The top one uses doors for simpler interactions whereas the lower is all about timed sequences, based on the fantastic idea I got from Nine Inch Heels. Instead of trying to get the speed and lenght of the conveyor to match the desired time this system is based on the principle that a sector set to Slow moves at 35 units per second. So it's very easy to set precise timings. You can also see some dummy sectors, a light sequence conveyor to the left... The three small rectangles at the bottom are essentially for alerting enemies in monster boxes not connected to the playable area. These rectangles are -10000/10000, very tall pits and they have small triangles that are joined with both sectors that are in the level itself AND monster boxes so that the sound travels through them all. Not sure if this is the best solution, probably there's a more elegant one. It doesn't really matter that much, it works. The small sectors on the bottom left will remain a mystery for now. ________________________________________________ That's it for now. Currently I'm in the process of figuring out the layout for MAP07 and will start mapping as soon as I'm satisfied with the overall idea. The general concept for MAP07 is pretty much set in stone, I just need to figure out the details. It shouldn't take as long as MAP05 or MAP06 because it's the finale... but it'll still take months, no doubt. I'm glad you found it in the end. :) The issue with big projects coming from unknown creators is that they easily get overlooked or buried under dozens of other threads. That's why I wanted the "announcement --> release" period to be long enough so that the mapset would (hopefully) get noticed by more people over time. Thanks a lot! MAP07 is certainly supposed to be pretty epic, at least that's the intention, heh. Essentially it's the "finale" so it won't be a giant, sprawling level like the others. It's not supposed to be as big or as long as possible - I want it to be pretty much an endgame, linear, action-packed rollercoaster with the "it all lead to this moment" kind of vibe. In terms of atmosphere think Phobos Anomaly / The Living End / God Machine (from Sunlust) fusion.
  2. Hello everyone. Long time no see. Here's a short update for anyone interested. 1. MAP06 is complete. I'll begin the construction of MAP07 very soon. This is the last level left to be made before release. 2. I have finally started working on the soundtrack. You can hear bits of the new music in the trailer. Unlike The Luckiest (the Gossip theme), this will actually play during a level (though the full version is a tiny bit longer). The mix is not final but really nothing is final before the release. 3. I don't want to make any promises about the release date considering how every now and then I hit the rock bottom and don't work on anything for months. It'll be finished. Eventually. It finally looks like it might be sooner than later. I really wish I could come back with a more specific release info but so far none of my projections were correct. Hope everyone's doing fine. See you when I see you.
  3. Gossip Update #5 Bad news everybody: gameplay on MAP06 is still not completed! I admit I have droppped the ball this month when it comes to mapping. And it totally has nothing to do with me playing Incision*, Cultic and replaying Amid Evil. Totally. But that's ok. I was hoping I could get the level done in November but to be honest my internal deadline for MAP06 has always been the new year. And it's not like I've done nothing. All the progression mechanisms are there so it's technically possible to play the level from the beginning to the end and everything's working. Except there are no monsters yet. ;P In other words: all the boring stuff like triggers and such are finished and the fun part is coming up - filling the map with some really nasty battles. And that's pretty much it for the main portion of the update. I've slowed down a bit but I have to recharge before I begin the construction of MAP07. And just enjoy the end of the year, I guess. * BTW: The atmosphere in Incision is top-notch and the music, HOLY HELL, the music is just amazing. To me this is by far the best soundtrack as far as modern retro shooters go. ________________________________________________ This month I did something I thought I'd never do again: I've replayed DOOM2 The Way id Did megawad. Back in the day I was pretty critical of it but I wanted to revisit it for some reason. In retrospect a lot of my opinions about it were kinda stupid from what I remember, because I think I was criticizing it for being bad at spots when that was actually the point of the project... hey @Alfonzo, you might remember my discussions with @Antroid back then when he did his LP of the mapset - I feel like I should publicly admit that I was totally wrong about certain things regarding D2TWID. I definitely had some bad takes there so sorry for that! Anyways, there are two things I wanted to say regarding that project. First of all, MAP18: The Sanctum. HOT DAMN. This map is just glorious. The atmosphere, the progression, the secrets - everything is amazing. By far my favourite level from D2TWID. If you want to know what kind of maps really work for me as far as vanilla stuff goes - play this one. It's awesome. However it was also a pretty unsettling experience. Because I've realized that I love these kinds of maps... and yet Gossip is NOTHING like it. Like, at all. Now on the surface there's nothing wrong with it. After all there are different valid gameplay styles and just because my project is not like that it doesn't mean it's bad. But at the same time it made me think of how much I enjoy THAT kind of gameplay. I'm kinda hooked on that right now and yet I work on something entirely different. Gossip is definitely more about specific setpieces and environments with an actual idea behind them rather than this more classic, raw D2 gameplay. Of course this is exactly what I wanted to make in the first place... but I do feel like I've lost a bit of that unfiltered, abstract beauty of good D2-styled maps. I wonder if I can still manage to inject a bit more of that somehow to existing maps? Or maybe I shouldn't bother and leave it for the future if I ever make more maps for DOOM. ________________________________________________ Well, I'm sure the colors make it look a bit easier on the eyes than a mess of linedefs it actually is. :) By the way, that's not the whole map. I had to hide some of the more spoilerish things the player is not supposed to know about. Also, this picture is not just for show. The sections outlined there are directly tied to the progression. So much so that I wanted to have the names of the areas written on the automap but, unfortunately, I ran out of linedefs. :P Heh, I gotta enjoy comments like this while I still can. Because once I release the damn thing I'm sure there will be a lot of "oh no, this is terrible, what a letdown, -1/10" opinions floating around. ;)
  4. Touchdown

    Doom Pictures Thread 2022

    [recovered_image_020] | Gossip thread
  5. [recovered_image_020] subject: the_glitch_anomaly location: in_absentia security_level: 4 status: contained_awaiting_further_analysis In Absentia houses the experimental Hyper Wave Accelerator deep within the bowels of its Research Sector. Formally designated HW-001-Xar, the HWA went through several iterations over the course of its existence. The device started out as a Hyper Wave Transmitter prototype, the third such unit in the UAC history which was supposed to continue the ongoing research into the faster-than-light communication methods. However after the breakthrough discoveries made by the Mars division in the laboratories of the Phobos station six months ago the HWA was redesigned to facilitate the experiments related to energy manipulation. The results were promising and the device was modified to accommodate different lines of investigation into the matter. However things have taken an unexpected turn after the Synchronicity, aka Calamity Pulse. The shockwave resulting from the Pulse has affected some of the equipment in the base but in entirely predictable ways. The only exception was the Hyper Wave Accelerator. For reasons currently unknown the HWA came online seemingly on its own during the Synchronicity and its energy yield kept going up until it reached and then exceeded the available scale. All of the attempts to shut it down were unsuccessful. The panic has started spreading throughout the station due to a risk of a meltdown which could have destroyed the entire base. The eye witnesses reported seeing an orb of energy just underneath the main coil of the Accelerator, pulsating with images of ethereal places and unfathomable geometries. The whole chamber was shaking violently for several minutes until a rapid discharge ended the event and everything went back to normal. Or so it appeared at the first glance. The Accelerator was still online, feeding off of the unknown energy source, though running at what appeared to have been its minimum capacity. All of the subsequent efforts to turn it off have failed. In fact even disconnecting and dismantling of the device had no effect. The scientists have managed to pull apart multiple elements from the HWA and yet they kept operating as if nothing has changed. A number of components were removed to no avail - the Accelerator continued to work without any issues. In the final desperate attempt the engineers decided to crush one of the power rods in a hydraulic press. Unsurprisingly all of its broken pieces continued to function regardless, unaffected by their complete destruction. There was one more thing that has changed in the HWA chamber. When one of the scientists tried to pass under the main coil he has found himself on the other end of the chamber in an instant. He fell to his knees from disorientation as others watched in bewilderment. It took a few moments before anyone could utter a word. The space underneath the coil seemed perfectly normal yet there was obviously something different about it. The scientist seemed fine and against his better judgement he decided to backtrack. In a blink of an eye he "glitched" under the device again and came back to the original spot. A number of tests have been conducted in the area including trying to pass various objects under the coil. Everything behaved the same exact way: skipping the space beneath the Accelerator and instantly arriving a few meters further. At first glance the process seemed in some ways to resemble teleportation however the similarities ended on the initial appearance. There were no indications of matter transfer. It seemed more like the time itself was distorted in a bubble around the coil. The subjects entering this bubble were definitely not skipping the space in the middle of the chamber, they must have been passing under it. However the process was not observable at all, neither on a footage nor through any other methods. Interesting results came from trying to measure the time that passes for the subject when it "moves" beneath the coil. The timespan seems to be different each time with no discernible pattern but on average it varies between 10 seconds and 45 minutes. Regardless it appears instantaneous from outside the bubble. The entire area of the Hyper Wave Accelerator has been locked down. While there are no indications of any harmful effects of passing through the bubble the prospect of unknown long-term issues led to the decision to cut this section off. Examination of the anomaly has been postponed indefinitely due to the urgency of containing the effects of Synchronicity and continuation of the Gossip Project. ________________________________________________ That is entirely intentional. I am a big fan of games like Quake1, DOOM3, stalker and projects like Comatose and Unloved - titles with very subdued, depressing color palettes. Gossip is supposed to feel more "realistic", shall we say. More cold and gritty with monotone colors of metal, dirt and poison (which is pretty difficult with stock D2 textures, may I add). This is not everyone's cup of tea of course but I am trying to get away from the overtly colorful style that a lot of people use nowadays. With that said however I have been slowly refining the visuals over the course of time. The early versions of some of the maps were even more monochromatic, if you can believe it. :) So by comparison some areas are already an explosion of colors, heh. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that - while I'm not going to drastically change it - it's entirely possible I'll add extra visual touches during the final polish which may increase the color variety. So... there's still hope, I guess? ;P
  6. Touchdown

    Doom Pictures Thread 2022

    Hm... I'm not sure if that's a good or a bad thing. I can't tell whether you would prefer if it was more distorted or if you were afraid it'd turn out to be so distorted that it'd be borderline unreadable. ;P
  7. Gossip Update #4 Hey, remember when I said September was pretty awful? Well, October was even worse. Much, MUCH worse. It started with some health problems that made me unable to fully focus on mapping. Then midway through I had to undergo a Certain Medical Procedure Which Shall Not Be Named and the recovery made my life completely miserable. My brain was just not working. ~20 days went by and only about 3-4k lines were added so I didn't even bother rushing - it was going to be a setback. I decided to not force anything and just map when I feel like it. And then... somehow... for some reason... I've managed to get to my target linedef count with a few days to spare. Don't ask, I have no idea how did that happen. I guess constant pain and discomfort really focuses your mind. As a result I've officially finished the construction of MAP06. It seems like I have once again estimated the linedef amount down to the T - I wanted the pre-gameplay version to be ~45k and the final number is 45003 (I'm not making this up!). This is the third time I've managed to set a target linedef limit that turned out to be exactly what I needed - no cuts or downscaling was required. Some supplemental areas and/or extra detailing might be added if I have lines to spare by the end but we'll see about that. For now it's onto the next stage: MAP06 gameplay! Not sure how long that's gonna take but I hope I can get it done this month. When I do gameplay stuff I try to get it right immediately but I'm not obsessing over it. The most important thing is to put all the mechanics in place so that everything works and the level can be played from start to finish with the first-pass combat encounters and balance. Modifying that later is way easier when you know everything else is already done. And that's what I'm doing right now. I'll also probably start sketching out MAP07 in the meantime. The nice thing is that there were several ideas that I had for MAP06 but decided to move them over to the final level so I've got plenty to work with. Here's a bit of behind-the-scenes trivia. MAP06 was originally going to have two distinct sections in a 3:2 ratio. However early on I started worrying I might run out of lines with an idea that grandiose. So I made the decision to take out the second section and essentially turn it into the finale of the mapset. As a result I could go all out on the main section of MAP06 AND expand upon the ideas for the other part as it's all in MAP07 territory now. It also made MAP06 more thematically consistent because it won't have a complete change of scenery 2/3 of the way through. Gotta say I'm really excited to start on MAP07. So excited that I'm silently considering splitting my time between working on MAP06 gameplay and MAP07. It's almost time for the final level, folks. I can see the ending. With that said however anyone who has ever worked on anything knows that the last 10% often takes 90% of the time. Obviously having all levels constructed will be a massive milestone but even after that there will be a lot of stuff to do. Either way I've already decided that I'm not going to rush anything. Gossip has been in development since 2014 and it'll most likely be my only real contribution to the DOOM community. So there's no point in trying to save time by cutting corners. I'll keep working on it until I feel it's as good as I can manage. ________________________________________________ Last time I've shared some of my mapping rules. Today I have some shameful confessions which should successfully curb the expectations for the mapset! [spoiler tags are there to combat the wall of text] | I almost always start with visuals first and then hope that I can eventually make the gameplay work somehow. details: | I'm bad at making an efficient use of space. details: | I'm a control freak and I have a hard time trusting the players. details: | I obsess over small things no one cares about. details: | DOOM3 > DOOM Eternal details: ________________________________________________ That's it for now. I hope that next time I will be able to bring good news that MAP06 is fully playable and MAP07 is in the works. Actually now that I said it something will probably get in the way and mess everything up. Truth be told I wanted to post an editor shot of MAP06 as a sneak peak but honestly I feel like I'm spoiling enough with the screenshots.
  8. Touchdown

    Doom Pictures Thread 2022

    [r#&ov!RED_i#@gE_019] | Gossip thread
  9. [r#&ov!RED_i#@gE_019] There are dreams for which some would burn the world down to the frames. There are wishes for which some would commit the most horrid deeds. There are people who would stop at nothing just to make their deepest desires become reality. Even if it meant plunging us all into darkness. Some believe there are many different planes of existence. That Heaven and Hell lurk somewhere between dimensions. I don't know anything about Heaven, but here's what I can tell you about Hell, my friend. It's already here. It's always been. We're in the eye of the storm, the shimmering light surrounded by the limitless void. What you think is an endless universe is anything but. Our world is the loneliest star in the blood sea burning with hatred for us - the last bastion of life. And whatever it is that protects us from it is breaking down - because someone is obsessed with widening the cracks. Someone is reaching so hard for things beyond their grasp that they're bending our world and dragging us all down with them. Someone so hollow and lifeless that they're ready to destroy all of existence to make their dream come true. Can you imagine what utter emptiness must be driving this kind of determination? ________________________________________________ Mechadon is a huge inspiration. A couple of years ago he has helped me understand many intricacies of modern DOOM mapping - I'm very greatful to him for that. With that said he's not human. He has ascended into a higher state of consciousness a long ago. That's the only explaination I have for how he's able to create such unbelievably complex levels. So while he is an inspiration for me there's no way I'd ever be able to make anything even remotely as elaborate as his maps. :)
  10. Gossip Update #3 This was a dumb and erratic month. Honestly it felt like a complete failure even though I have not only reached but even exceeded my target linedef amount. I had a massive mapper's block and around 20th I was barely above 5k lines - internally I had already accepted I'd be behind the schedule. And yet somehow I've managed to push past it. Current linedef count is 35641, a little over 10k lines added in September. Now onto the good news. I am less than 10k lines away from my target. After that I'll start working on gameplay and general finalization. There's one more section of the map left and then everything will finally come together. If things go well MAP06 should be basically complete (minus gameplay) by the end of October. I expect it'll take another month to get all the gameplay mechanisms, monsters and items in place... and then it's on to the final level. Also, I don't want to get my imaginary followers of the project too excited but... Hell screenshots coming this month. Once I begin the work on MAP07 I'll most likely be splitting my time between mapping and making the soundtrack. I have some cool ideas that I hope will make the maps feel a lot more unsettling and atmospheric. Due to that mapping might slow down a bit but that's ok because MAP07 is the finale - it won't be super short but I don't intend for it to be a 2h odyssey either. Anyway, I can't really say what the music is gonna sound like because that might change during production but I can show you a few tracks that I find quite inspiring right now. This is not exactly what I'm aiming for but it should somewhat hint at the vibe. Jocelyn Pook: Migrations (from Eyes Wide Shut) Android Lust: Cherished Agony King Crimson: The Slaughter of the Innocents ________________________________________________ Last time I said that I made an area in MAP06 that people will hate. I'm happy to report that I have added ANOTHER area that people will hate! It's not as outrageous as the other one but it'll still annoy the hell out of those unfortunate folks who will take Gossip for a spin. The worst of all: I feel completely justified with those areas. MAP06 is a Hell level and I've realized that it's not enough for you to simply see Hell. You have to experience it. What, you think Hell is a fun rollercoaster ride for the whole family? Obstacles have to feel insurmountable. You have to feel lost, confused and trapped. You have to be on the verge of either giving up or straight up cheating because of how unforgiving it is. Okay, it's not THAT bad but I think you get the idea. It's an interesting change of pace actually. I think that - as much as I am not shying away from throwing people off and messing with their expectations - previous levels are generally devoid of instances that are literally made to piss people off. You may get an unpleasant ambush or a devious trap here and there but all throughout maps 01-05 I wanted to make the experience generally pleasant. MAP06 is my way of saying: "ok bud, playtime's over - you've had your fun but now it's time to see if you're determined enough to survive Hell itself." Again, I am fully aware that what I'm doing is not popular and a lot of people will hate it. But turning this level into such a persistent deathtrap is just so much fun and it's completely in line with this being a Hell level. ________________________________________________ Speaking of design, here are some of my mapping rules that I follow when making levels. This is not a comprehensive list by any means, just some examples of my mapping philosophy. | I never do inescapable death pits. I think that having to climb back up or take a bit of damage from the sludge is enough of a punishment in itself. Killing the player for failing a jump makes no sense to me because it either means you have to replay the whole level or resort to save-scumming. | I always try to design encounters in such a way that a good player can beat them on UV on the first attempt. This is not a challenge mapset where you have to die repeatedly and come up with some obscure strategies that work once per thirty attempts. You should be able to beat those maps without prior knowledge. If you're good enough. Now obviously what is means to be "good enough" is open for discussion... But rest assured if I drop a nasty surprise in a fight, like a bunch of Viles or a Cyberdemon, it should always happen in a way that you have enough time to react to it. If your idea of fun is having to learn the perfect timing and positioning yourself exactly where the Viles appear in the precisely right moment then Gossip is not for you. | I used to have some points of no return in my maps. The reason for this was that I want my levels to feel realistic and in real life you'd sometimes have instances where you just can't go back. However after doing a lot of UV-Max runs and playing some of the recent retro shooters I find it that I hate it when I cannot backtrack to look for secrets. Sure, if the map is good then I don't mind playing it again... but having to guess blindly where the point of no return is... it's just annoying. So I made the decision that in every map once you unlock the exit you'll always be able to backtrack and look for whatever you might have missed. Kinda breaks the immersion a bit... but it's one of the case where I think breaking immersion is justified. | Speaking of secrets, honestly there aren't that many because I suck at coming up with them. Usually I just retroactively go back and add some extra areas. However I will say that there are no missable secrets in Gossip. You can always retry and find them all. | This is a controversial one, I think... I force pistol-starts in every level, even if you play continuously. This is another lesson I've learnt from UV-Maxing. Playing continuously through a mapset that is balanced for pistol-starting completely throws off that balance. Not only that but it also changes the perception of the map - when you pistol-start you're immediately on a lookout for a better weapon and you're more mindful of the enemy placement early on. That is completely gone if you carry over the stuff from earlier levels. But Touchdown, I hear you ask... why not just let people play how they want to play instead of forcing pistol-starts on them? Simple, my friend. Sometimes you know one way is better than the other but most people will not choose it even if you ask nicely ("please play on HMP" anyone?). So the only way to make sure that people have more fun... is to FORCE them to have more fun. ;P Trust me, it's better this way. And if you don't like it then screw you, it's my project, I'll force pistol-starting whenever the hell I want! [Cave Johnson impression over] | When you make progress you should know that you're making progress. This is less prominent nowadays but in older levels you'd sometimes end up running around, pressing buttons and having no idea if you're even doing anything. When you flip a switch you should either: - immediately see what it did - the thing that it does should be in the vicinity - there should be a clear indication that allows the player to find what it did The last one can be a bit sketchy. I ran into that problem in MAP05 where I sometimes have things happening in different areas. I always try to make it as clear as possible. A good example is making a distinct blockade and have the same distinct blockade next to a switch - so it's possible to recognize it without wasting too much time. Having a powerup/weapon or warping in a monster in a newly opened passage works as well. | It's ok to annoy people sometimes. I think that making levels with perfect convenience in mind makes them feel a bit robotic, as if they're designed by a committee. Spicing things up with little annoyances can effectively break up the monotony and add some flavour to make the map more memorable. Then again it should always feel more like the designer playfully messing with the players to shake them up a bit rather then making something frustrating out of malice. You should smile when that happens, not rage at the mapper. Except for that part in MAP06... That WILL piss you off. :) Alright, that update is getting a bit long and no one's gonna read it anyway so Imma just cut the list right here. Just wanted to say I really appreciate comments like this. Looking forward to seeing what everyone thinks about those levels once the project is released!
  11. Touchdown

    Doom Pictures Thread 2022

    [recovered_image_018] | Gossip thread
  12. [recovered_image_018] This is the personal audio log of Drake Cygnus, dated February 26th 2179. I'm recording this to document the events of the last couple of weeks in case something happens to me, though the chances they're not gonna find and wipe it out in such circumstances are pretty slim. If you're hearing this then take heed, this is very important. I used to work for the Turmoil Security though it's more of a special forces unit that cooperates with the Government rather than a security company. High-tier assingments coming from the top, primarily dealing with gang warfare, drug deals and human trafficking. High risk, high reward. While I'd love to claim I've been doing it purely out of duty the truth is the adrenaline rush was arguably a bigger part of it. As was the number of zeros on my paycheck. However that's not what got me into trouble. A tale as old as time. We were in the middle of a raid on the Vitriol group that's been smuggling the supplies through the border. A stealth operation, we had them surrounded, just waiting for the order to seize them, nice and clean. But I guess someone high up wanted to send a message and we were supposed to wipe them all out instead. It just didn't sit right with me so I ordered the squad to take them alive anyway. The command didn't like that. Technically they didn't kick me out and I could have made it all work but the whole situation left a bad taste in my mouth - so after a lot of bickering about the whole thing I decided to quit. It's not like I had a good idea as to what to do next so I kept bouncing around for a while, trying to figure it out. I guess I have forgotten how dull life can get when you cut out the intensity. It didn't take long for me to start losing my mind because I was bored out of my skull. Then it all changed one evening. Three weeks ago I found a strange briefcase in my apartment. Whoever left it must have been really good - got through level 5 security systems like it was nothing. They didn't leave any traces whatsoever, I probably wouldn't even have noticed if it wasn't for the briefcase itself that I was obviously supposed to find. At first I thought about getting my buds at Turmoil to check it but the preliminary scan didn't indicate anything dangerous about it. Besides, if somebody wanted me dead I guess they wouldn't have left it out in the open. As soon as I opened it I noticed a secure military-grade transmitter and a bunch of documents. Underneath there was s sidearm as well as a series-Z Perception Enhancer. We've used those occasionally at Turmoil but only in special cases... I wasn't sure what to make out of it but the situation was clearly very serious. The Enhancer alone was worth a fortune, not to mention other things in the briefcase. I started going through the documents but then the transmitter lit up - someone was calling. It was no surprise that I didn't get to learn who exactly were the people that left the package - they're big shots no doubt. The conversation was brief and straight to the point. My "benefactors" are conducting a widespread investigation into the Calamity Pulse, the infamous shockwave allegedly caused by the Collar Source energy units developed by the UAC. The official statements claim there were no adverse effects of the Pulse. And yet all of a sudden we're dealing with a massive rise in seemingly random acts of violence and people suffering from schizophrenia. Now I'm no scientist and I won't pretend to know how all this fancy technology works and what it can do. But the timing was so perfect that if it was a coincidence then it's a bloody massive one. Well, the people who left the briefcase certainly think there's some connection. It was clear to me they made a thorough background check on me. Heh, at the very least they knew I wouldn't refuse the offer. The job involves looking into a number of persons of interest and investigating their potential involvement in the recent events. And what a colorful cast it is - obviously it includes high ranking people from the UAC, but also from Iridescent, Torrential Enterprises, even The Cult of Mira. It was blatantly obvious that I had to get a bit more... involved in the case in order to make some real progress. They knew it, of course, otherwise they wouldn't have chosen someone with special operations experience. They've included an advance payment for undertaking the job and made it clear I'd be rewarded accordingly if the investigation was successful. It was about to get busy. After the call I went through the documents in the briefcase. While the whole situation was intriguing I have to say just going through those papers gave me a rather ominous vibe. I had the profiles of people I was supposed to investigate, details on various points of interest and sites to check. However what made me curious was a surprising amount of medical reports. Some of them were actually from off-world stations, including that damn ghost UAC facility on Mars. Up until this point I wasn't sure if the Pulse had anything to do with the surge of violence. But after reading those reports... I don't know what to think anymore. This has been happening before. All over the place, just not on this scale. People going insane, attacking others for no reason - later having no recollection of why they did it. Some with no prior mental problems having sudden breakdowns, self-harming, even killing themselves out of nowhere. Unexplainable cases of schizophrenia and paranoid delusions. And the things those people are saying... This one really resonates for some reason: "We're but a lone beacon of life in an endless void. I can hear it seeping through, seething, ruining everything... So why? Why do you insist on shattering the only thing that keeps it out?" The earliest reports of this kind come from isolated stations and increase in numbers with time. Psychological problems have been a real plague on multiple UAC outposts for years but I guess it didn't take long for someone to realize it's not just the result of people working in remote facilities for extended periods of time. Something's been going on. I don't know what the hell is UAC doing but it's not good. And now... now it's happening in the entire city. I'm in the trenches. The things I've found out so far are troubling. I have this... apprehension. I thought the storm was brewing on the horizon. But I'm afraid the storm is already here. We may not have much more time left.
  13. Gossip Update #2 August was a bit slow and awkward. I had days of no mapping at all and then at times I'd get massive productivity spikes. The work continues on MAP06. The current linedef count is at 25k, ~10k lines were added this month. I have some estimations based on my past experiences. First: levels with a lot of organic shapes get worse results from sidedef compression so I will most likely not get to use all 65k linedefs like I did in MAP05. Second: I typically need ~10k lines for gameplay (monster boxes, conveyors, teleport destinations and everything else I omit during basic level construction + general finalization, extra details and such). I think 55k is pretty safe, might push it to 60k if I can. So that means I can get to 45-50k before I start on gameplay - basically 20-25k more lines. In other words I should be done with the level geometry in about two months (at the current pace). It's going about as fast as I can manage. Things are coming along nicely so I'm optimistic about starting the final level this year. I've gotta say I'm not holding back on this one. I really want it to be the best Hell level I can manage. You know how some people think that the depiction of Hell should be ambiguous and abstract? How the red and bloody Hell is cliche and overdone? Yeah, I'm not one of those people. Hell in Gossip is gonna be dark and hot, red and black, blood and lava. It's not without some twists but still, I hope you like RED. ________________________________________________ I've been thinking about this project as a whole and I'm realizing it more and more that it really targets a very specific niche of players with the taste and skillset similiar to mine. Which is... not that many people I guess? Gossip occupies that uncomfortable space where it's not firmly on any side. It's focused on atmosphere and exploration but it's probably too difficult for a casual DOOM player. On the other hand elite players will find its combat encounters nowhere near as sharply designed and balanced to be enjoyable. So neither group really gets what they want. Then there's the general gameplay/progression style. I'm doing my best to make sure that Gossip is not a completely directionless mess where you have to wander around aimlessly looking for your way out. However it does require some attention from the player. It's not going to guide you so diligently that it's impossible for you to get lost. Sometimes you have to stop and examine your surroundings instead of rushing towards the next batch of monsters. I also sometimes create areas that many people will probably consider flow-breaking or a waste of time - environmental navigation, platforming and such. That's because my maps are made to feel sort of like real places rather than carefully designed rollercoaster rides where everything is balanced to maximize the enjoyment of the audience. And I know many players do not like that. Just a few days ago I made a new area in MAP06 that will piss people off. I'm serious, everyone's gonna hate it. I'm pretty sure that the majority of players will point that place out as the worst thing in the entire WAD. But I still wanted to make it! It's an absurd middle finger to the player and I love it. It's frustrating and deliberately so. That's the kind of person I am - I do what I want to do and if it pisses people off, so be it. All of that makes me wonder just how big the potential audience is for a project like this. It feels to me like a very niche mapset. But I am unapologetic about this design style. From the beginning I wanted to make levels where you feel like a visitor in a believable, semi-realistic environment. Sometimes things are inconvenient. Sometimes they're confusing. Sometimes you get punched in the face and there's no reward for your perseverance. You're not a badass demigod ripping through enemies as if they're your Christmas gifts - you are just a regular person trying to survive. Besides stuff like that is the result of me simply enjoying myself. What's the point of making something if it makes you miserable? Sure, you don't want to make annoying crap just for the sake of being annoying but if you want to do something that's off the beaten path then don't change your vision just because some people might complain about it. When you make something for fun then FREAKING HAVE FUN. ________________________________________________ In other news, I have recently become re-immersed in the Hell on Earth idea from the cancelled DOOM4 1.0 thanks to assets / concept arts / videos unearthed by Crispies / @IrOn7HuB amongst others who have found a lot of stuff I haven't seen before from that version. Let me just say that I would have loved to see that DOOM4 finished and released. While the cover-based gameplay style would have been questionable in the DOOM game, in terms of visuals, atmosphere and the overall HoE direction that version was pretty much EXACTLY what I wanted to see from a modern DOOM game. Yes, I'm aware that I'm maybe one of 10 people who feel this way but that's just how it is. Anyway, the reason I'm bringing this up is because my project is dealing with a Hell on Earth scenario as well. And seeing stuff from DOOM4 1.0 made me realize that I have to step up my game. As I mentioned before there are two city levels in Gossip. I can't do much for one of them as I'm already above 100k sidedefs there - I don't think I can do many global upgrades there without hitting the absolute Boom limit. However the other city level still has some room to breathe. So as a result I'm gonna be overhauling it, drawing inspiration from DOOM4 1.0. Not super directly because of the engine and texture limitations (as a reminder: I'm only using stock DOOM2 assets)... However I've realized that I have to do better. The current version just doesn't cut it. So while I'm not rebuilding the whole map I will be making some serious upgrades to the visuals, channeling some of that HoE vibe from the cancelled D4. DOOM4 1.0
  14. Touchdown

    Doom Pictures Thread 2022

    [recovered_image_016] | [recovered_image_017] | Gossip thread
  15. The woods on the outskirts of Sector 19m. A sizable forested area that has thankfully remained intact despite the ongoing industrial expansion in surrounding environs. A few dozen square miles of untouched nature just past the countryside, a truly perfect locale for hiking. While there are many windy roads and some of its parts are almost unnaturally thick and dark, there aren't any stories or myths associated with it. No unexplainable sightings, no mysterious creatures lurking in the bushes. The only thing of note is the old, decommissioned railway system, along with a collapsed tunnel that for some reason didn't get sealed off. It's a relic of a bygone era left alone for decades - the contemporary transit system was constructed in a different area so there were no efforts to dismantle the old one. As I said there are no urban legends associated with this forest. Or rather there weren't until recently. In 2173 the entire area was suddenly cordoned off by the UAC. The official reports mentioned some kind of biological hazard that was tracked down to this location so the whole forest got sealed off with chainlink and guarded by armed UAC security forces. The wounds were still fresh after the global outbreak of the Nova Plague fifteen years earlier so the situation was taken very seriously. The Government essentially let the UAC take care of the whole thing, as they were the ones who managed to create a working vaccine for the Plague in 2159. For almost 5 years no one was allowed into the area except for the specialized UAC personel but in 2178 the woods were finally re-opened to the public. The UAC were detailing their efforts to deal with the contaminated area through regular progress reports. Apparently large quantities of hazardous substances, including waste from interstellar engines and fuel byproducts were located in the wilderness. This waste could have caused the destruction of the ecosystem and even contaminate the ground water so the situation looked pretty bad. The list of suspects hasn't been released though certain industrial corporations were later blamed by politicians as well as activists as a retaliation for creating a severe health crisis. The UAC never made a comment on the matter. The majority of the conversation was directly related to pointing the blame for the situation however certain facts have begun to surface since then. Some things didn't quite add up. There were multiple sightings of heavy aircrafts coming in and out of the exclusion zone which were originally thought to have been transport and science vessels. However upon closer investigation many of those looked more like construction vehicles used primarily for building massive off-world stations. The presence of such ships was not entirely surprising as it's understood the UAC must have constructed temporary outposts to deal with the situation. However the number of sightings of such vessels landing in the cordoned area made it seem like the UAC was building something more permanent there. After its reopening the area looked pretty much intact, the same old woods with almost no signs of recent activity, safe for some minor pieces of equipment left there after being deemed "safe" for the environment. No secret construction site has been found but the number of strange sightings skyrocketed. More and more people started reporting seeing mysterious aircrafts above the forest. Some mentioned hearing bizzare noises deep within the woods, low humming echoening through the trees while others claim to have seen unidentified armed personnel moving stealthily in the distance. As always in situations like this theories have began to spread like wildfire. Rumours about a super secret UAC installation hidden in the forest were running rampant. Since no one has managed to find any concrete evidence of its existence the general public ended up treating the whole thing as a harmless urban legend. I have learned to not dismiss such reports too easily though. I've heard bits and pieces of information about recent UAC activity in the city. Vague terms such as "in absentia" and "gossip" keep popping up though those seem to be pretty random. The UAC has devoted a substantial amount of resources to expansion in the area though no one is able to pinpoint where are those resources actually going. There really aren't many places where their movement would go unnoticed. I'm fairly certain they're using the forest but for what purpose? There must be something there. We're just not looking hard enough. [recovered_image_016] | [recovered_image_017]