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Phobus

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  1. After 22 years (or more?), having taken on vanilla limits, (G)ZDoom, mapping challenges, community projects, shared mapping and near enough everything else, I think it's surprisingly hard to pinpoint one or two particularly hard projects. Like, Warpzone is a ridiculously huge map and was poorly made with way more enthusiasm than skill, so testing it and implementing fixes involved hour long play throughs and completely rehauling the monster placement. I made it in ZDoom in Doom format and then wanted scripting right at the end, so had to hack something in with Decorate... That was pretty protracted. Coils of the Twisted Tale was a similar story due to its size as well. But then, Scourge MAP13 was me versus my hardware limitations, trying to make the most complex map in DEU2 that I could. I had to keep trimming my plans for the end of the map, as the editor would crash when trying to save a map that exceeded the memory limitation of the machine. On a similar note, every non-TWiD modern vanilla project I've worked on has involved reworking the map entirely to make it fit the unnecessary limits. Or there's Justice: Internal Mechanics, with that mental room with the moveable crate I put together, making something silly like 300 tagged sectors that were potential positions for this one crate. Literally could've just made it a decorate item or something, but decided I'd innovate instead... There's been countless abandoned projects too, but the one that stands out to me was trying to run a shared map community project on the ZDoom forums. I laid out some rules and a simple goal... Then was treated to some idiot completely breaking them with what was the second entry. After some drama, I gave up on ever running another CP ever again and cancelled it. That was probably over 10 years ago and, I believe I've stayed true to that having given up. Probably my longest ever commitment, ironically. I think the main lesson from this thread is that trying hard and being innovative leads to massive headaches, development hell and project cancellations.
  2. Phobus

    Interesting maps/wads made by young people

    I was between 10 and 13 when I made my various maps in the Old Map Compilation. Scourge was made by 13-15 year old me (with the secret map being when I'd turned 16); Warpzone was produced whilst I was 15 and refined at 16. I think the first version of White Light was at 15 as well. Scars of the Wounded Prey and beyond were 16 and up, though, so I imagine the relative youth expires there... 12 years ago.
  3. Phobus

    What Video Game Are You Currently Playing?

    @SGS Man, I had a go through the Devil May Cry HD collection and DMC4SE recently. My brief thoughts on the matter: DMC1: A stone-cold classic that I remember fondly from my playthroughs on PS2, but it does suffer from Resident Evil camera quite badly. I'm better now than I was then, so I chewed through it on Normal capably enough. Maybe I'll go back for a higher difficulty, or try to get and beat all of the secrets one day, but with all the games I'm still yet to play that I own, that day is a long way away. DMC2: This was my first DMC, so I'm biased towards it. I'd agree it's relative simplicity in playstyle; very shallow plot; zoomed-out, barebones aesthetic and the repetition between the two discs are all notable detractors and it isn't as good as the other two from the PS2 era, but on it's own it's still a good game. I remember the fish boss on Lucia's disc being a roadblock I never overcame on "Must Die" difficulty and the Trismaga doing the same to Dante on his equivalent, so I was content to just rip through it on the highest difficulty available at the start. I liked a lot of the bosses, even if they're not given much dialogue or weight compared to the ones in the original and I could happily go back to this on higher difficulties again, too, although whether I'd get any further these days isn't something I'd care to speculate on. The soundtrack might actually be the best in the whole series, as people have mentioned! DMC3SE : I'd never played the Special Edition before, so this was my first time with the very-obviously-inserted clown battles, the gold/yellow orb life system and Virgil's gameplay. I found the game held up very well to my memories of it as the best of the three and enjoyed the revist immensely. Revisiting the bosses so obviously at the end did strike me as tiresome, still. Particularly when I was replaying the game as Virgil anyway, although his insane damage output did trim that down a bit. Also "The time has come and so have I..." DMC4SE: Another Special Edition I'd not played before, but aside from throwing the balance out with all of those points and OP optional characters, the main thing this did was just add to the repetition the game already suffered heavily from. I mean, playing through it three times means doing most of the game six times. That wouldn't even count the great deal of difficulty modes that each character can play at. I found the permenant DT characters a bit of a laugh, though, just for sheer overpowering of the enemy cast even at high difficulties. I look forward to trying out DmC at some point as well, as I own it and the Virgil DLC. As things stand in my own current gaming, I've got 20 parks left in RCT2: TTP and I've just landed the Forza Driver's Cup in Forza 7, meaning I've now unlocked all of the elite events and still have a fair few events in the Driver's Cup to beat. Probably another month at least, in there. Hopefully tomorrow's move is to somewhere with internet so I can keep up with everything. I also revisted StarWing (now called Star Fox in the UK as well) on the SNES Classic Mini, beating all three routes. Great game that is almost visually overwhelming when blown up on a 47" TV at the end of a bed. The soundtrack is fantastic still, with great Star Wars-inspired tracks sitting alongside rock-influenced action pieces and other styles that do a good job of setting an atmosphere of menace. I wish I made more time for that console, as I'm always enjoying it immensely on the rare occassion I do play it and the games normally aren't too long.
  4. Phobus

    What are you playing now?

    I've been playing a map a day the last few days, leaning on ZDoom classics. ZDCMP#1 was first, which is still fantastic IMO - possibly my favourite WAD ever, due to the feel of it. Now I'm on The Ultimate Torment and Torture, which I've never played in it's entirety before. I'd played all of the individual releases and the new maps for this release, but taking it all in as a package, the additional polish, Realm667 features and cohesiveness does make for a remarkable experience. There was a time where T667 was my undisputed favourite mapper and this has reminded me why. I'm not sure who said favourite would be now, as a few people do stuff I like a lot. Saying that, though, his choice to include Chaingun Majors and Rocket Zombies isn't a welcome one! The first half of episode three awaits me tomorrow, which will be another chance to get screwed over by thick fog, as I remember it! Still, with the more generous ammo provision, it's not as tough as I remember, even with the added enemy variety.
  5. Phobus

    What Video Game Are You Currently Playing?

    I've just beaten the last park on the Challenging Parks tab in Roller Coaster Tycoon 2: Triple Thrill Pack. It's amazing how often the designers resorted to just building you a crap park and giving you a limited loan, then making you wait four in-game years to achieve the goal... Particularly when fixing the park up and meeting the goal can often be done in 2 years or so. I'm hoping there's more "from scratch" challenges in the Expert scenarios, although I'm going to beat the four "Real" parks that I've not already beaten before taking them on. Beating a park a day seems to fit well with my ongoing Forza 7 career, which is now up to the final cup. My understanding is that, once I've been awarded said cup, more races unlock in all six cups. Beating every race gives you an additional Master reward, per cup, so that's the real goal of the career in my eyes. After that I guess I'll take stock of my car collection (currently around 510 out of ~750) and decide how realistic completing the set is. As they're just rotating through the Specialty Dealer again, I should be able to collect any of the locked cars that I've missed from there easily enough and then focus on the ones awarded for challenges whilst using the income from races to fill out the unlocked cars... The majority of which are in the second-cheapest tier, luckily, so I'll work my way down from most expensive.
  6. Phobus

    Things modern mappers do better

    I think we've gotten better at killing the player in a way that they accept. Not many inescapable pits and random crushers these days, but big, obvious traps that we have to trigger to proceed are the norm. So I guess even in ports with no scripting, stuff like choreography and guiding the player are more important. Other than that, tightened balances are much more common and the addition of resources is second nature, which gives us a lot more variety. It used to be notable when a map came out that added to or replaced the stock resources, I think, whilst now it's almost an expectation. The big one for me is the shift way from the early tendency to obscure progression. It wasn't unheard of for maps to basically be mazes with false walls back in the day, but now we create open layouts with clear land marks and obvious routes so that the player can get to the action. I think the more innocent times where there were less standards and expectations led to a lot of rough end products, whilst today there's almost a rule book. There's great examples of both eras done right and I imagine we all have our favourites. I'm really enamoured with the 2001-2010 ZDoom stuff still, to be honest.
  7. I am a veteran... Which means that, 20 years ago or so when I started mapping, it was a pretty crude process. Exciting, though, and it felt like a better creative outlet than lego or art. I was much more excited to discover ZDoom around 2003 and DoomBuilder in 2005, though, rather than the hardships of DOS command lines, the original engine and DEU. Having a mid-2000s computer was a big boost to my mapping ability as well. The old ways were less intuitive, less reliable, more labour intensive and just generally harder work. I miss the lack of standards and expectations, though.
  8. I mapped for one a few years ago. Search for Small Dark Twisted Computer Lab, or ph_quik5.zip - I hit the marks in the randomly generated section. IIRC, I didn't bother with later ones as they weren't so easily doable.
  9. MAP07 Rather unexpected shift of game play to here to a high-lethality enemy composition, opposed by massive oversupply on your behalf. The map is pretty simple, although having to revisit some areas just to kill a few arachnotrons after fighting off a couple of cyberdemons in the central area is an odd break in both flow and pace. A lot of areas being optional is a nice touch to let the player not accidently gobble up all of the supplies for no good reason, although I can't imagine a scenario where you don't fully patch up after surviving the fight... It's just surviving that can prove a little tricky if you're not too hot with dodging, or get stuck on that silly tall flight of raising stairs with all the enemies round the bottom of it. Still, this sort of thing is alright with me, as you just save at a few sensible points and work it out, knowing that doing badly on one fight isn't screwing you over for the rest of the map; a lesson I feel a lot of today's mappers might benefit from, as they're so keen on trying to kill the player.
  10. Phobus

    Your "dream" project that you've abandoned

    I could go on about these for pages and pages, as I frequently give up on dreams after early promise. A major one would be the full release of Virus, which stalled because I had all of the monsters made but didn't have it in me to work on textures at a higher level of competency and didn't want to just keep going with 10+ solid colours. I've been telling myself for years that I should just make a mega map using all of the resources and maybe more solid colours, or some sort of low-res texture set from some other source. Maybe I will, but I think the success of the faction as part of ZDoom Wars has kind of contented me with what I've done. Another significant one was Phobus Doom, where I made 4 levels of E1 before doing a little demo release. Never bothered continuing on to complete the planned 10-map episode or the other three episodes I had in mind. I still have this, though, so I could work on it in some capacity, or reuse things. Tiny Pack 2 is in a similar place, where I could easily finish it, but just don't seem to want to. That had another 5 packs planned at one point, so maybe the ambition was too much to contemplate at a time where all of the rest of my projects were just community project map submissions and therefore over very quickly to immediate reward and feedback. The other one that springs to mind is Takeover, which was a ZDoom project to make 5 large maps, do some sprite work and all sorts. I had a few clever things done, like a volcano with a vortex of sprited particles swirling inside it, or a lab with a crate stacking puzzle inspired by Metroid Prime 2 that made use of a ridiculously complex computer interface script I'd put together... This one I did give up on and delete as it stalled pretty quickly. I chose to reuse one of the ideas on the one Tiny Pack 2 map I made, which was using sound clips from Aliens in a radio message kind of way to have the sound a of a base going to shit in the background. Basically, if it's ambitious and for ZDoom, I've not finished it.
  11. I was going to be flippant, but, honestly, there is a plan, it's just not formalised or written down. I actually have a big document full of ideas and that's about as much detail as I ever go into, because things can change based on how what I've done is working out, or how much time I feel like I'm willing to spend on it. If I want to go into proper detail with an idea, the map editor is the best place to do it these days.
  12. Symmetric rooms are fine and symmetric areas aren't necessarily bad, but an entire map layout being perfectly symmetric is just poor design. Subtle differences can rescue it, though. Particularly varied enemy encounters, theming (like in Wormhole) or methods of progression. It's a lot like the copy/paste issue, in that it's not a bad thing in itself, but is bad when overused or used far too obviously.
  13. MAP06 This sky fortress is a great example of Doom level design as an abstract vehicle for the implementation of interesting ideas. Giant pits, steep twisting stairs, doors and lifts hidden away using all sorts of non-traditional behaviour, a secret BFG slaughter room and much more besides make this endlessly interesting. I thought the enemy usage, despite having a lot of arch-viles, was very fair. There's plenty of cover, lots of powerful weaponry and occassional big power ups to keep you going, plus secrets with all sorts to provide you. I could probably fault the attention-to-detail on texturing a fair bit, but honestly, it's a fun map that looks good enough to me as is. Got to be the highlight of the set!
  14. Yes, because otherwise I've not made a megaWAD.
  15. MAP05 I see why people have been so positive about this map. Whilst it keeps up the relative sparseness of the health pickups, it balances this with less high-threat enemies, turning the whole thing into an exploratory war of attrition. Two spider masterminds, but both aren't particularly threatening. I see to have missed about 30 enemies and 5 secrets, which is actually pretty good, as it means the map had enough optional areas to warrant a replay some day, whilst still providing a solid progression that I enjoyed over my nearly half an hour play time. There's basically no mandatory damage in this map, but plenty of incidental threats and a remarkably liberal placement of Pain Elementals, which again leads to the damage being quite avoidable a lot of the time. All in all, a promising sign of growth by the mapper, which I hope bodes well for the remaining maps. I'm surprised this wasn't remade for Doom Legacy, given the time period and how many faux-3D effects the mapper put in. Perhaps he moved on to Quake or something afterwards.
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